Wished away a broken fai.., p.14
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       Wished Away: A Broken Fairy Tale, p.14

           S.P. Cervantes
 
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  Jess and the girls seem to be talking about a date she’s had with Gage and I begin to have hope again that he’ll be the one to help her learn how to live again. Gage is someone I’ve always liked, always trusted, and always respected. He and I had a lot in common, and at times maybe a little too much in common. His relationship with Cassie was much like mine with Jess, and the irony of our fates is not lost on me.

  I notice the way Jess’s heart is beating as she sits lost in her thoughts while Kat and Cam gossip back and forth about Gage. I always knew that Jess and I had something very special between us. We never took each other for granted and shared a love that was honest and true. Neither of us held back with each other, so nothing ever simmered inside us reaching a boiling point in all the years we’ve been together. But I never thought that she’d still feel this fierce loyalty to me after I was gone. It’s like a yoyo in her heart right now, any time she lets herself feel affection for Gage, she pulls those feelings right back into the comfort of my memory. I wish there was some way for me to let her know that I want her to be happy, and how much I want to know she’ll be taken care of, that she’ll be loved. I want someone good in her and Charlotte’s life that will take over the role that was stolen from me far too soon. I put all of my focus on to that one idea, the idea of letting Jess know it’s ok to love again while I watch her curling up in a ball on the chair looking so conflicted.

  I’m surprised I have no anger about dying or being murdered. I have no jealousy over Jess finding love again, I only have hope. Hope that we’ll all move on to the places we belong. I’m again taken from my thoughts by the sound of Jess’s laughter and see her with her friends, only this time she feels much lighter. I have no idea what has changed so quickly in her, but the small spark of light that bursts inside her just now makes it feel as if it’s filling a dark spot in the both of us. My love for her is so strong that her happiness is my happiness, and I see a glimmer of the sassy smile I love so much peek through on the side of her lips and want that expression to be the one that will forever live in my memory.

  I follow Jess’s gaze up into the sky and notice a heart shaped cloud looming above and fill with relief that maybe, just maybe, I’ll find my peace too.

  Jess

  One would think that after six months of dating, the butterflies battling away in my stomach when I think of Gage would fade away, but when I see his car pull up, there they are fighting away. I love that he’s taken to coming over right after a long shift, rather than go home these past few months after I told Charlotte that I was dating him. I was relieved when she seemed genuinely happy, but once she met him, she was as hooked as I am. Gage treats her like a delicate princess, and she eats up every second of it. I don’t know if it’s just the pure kindness she has in her to accept him so openly, but I can often find the two of them playing a game or reading together on the deck when I get home from working at the foundation, and it makes me fall a little harder every time. It’s in those moments though, that I wonder if that would be what Dave and Charlotte would be doing if he was alive, and then I put a wall up around my heart a little bit, too afraid to feel the loss I feel for Dave with anyone else again. That’s one reason why we have not “done the nasty” as Cam has put it. She and Kat continue to be shocked that not only have I been able to hold out this long, but that Gage has let me. Gage understands me in ways they don’t. To my friends, I’m the outgoing, blunt one, who’s afraid of no one. But Gage knows that I’ve changed. He doesn’t want me until he can have all of me.

  While we’ve moved slowly in our physical relationship, the past several months, our emotional relationship has bound us more closely than I’ve ever thought possible. It’s been five days since the last time

  Gage and I were together because he had a conference to attend in Maine, and I wonder if things will be different between us this time. The last time we saw each other so much was said, so much was implied, that I hope that he understands just what I was trying to tell him that night, but was just too scared to come out and say.

  We were at his humble house in Brick since Charlotte was with her grandparents, and had just sat down to watch American Hustle when he decided it was time to have the conversation that we’d been skipping around all these months. I was sitting in the corner of his large L-shaped couch, snuggled in under his Yale blanket flipping through the channels waiting for him to bring out the popcorn. I remember looking up and watching him talk on the phone, and thinking that tonight was going to be the night I would give him all of me. There was nothing I didn’t like about him, the only thing holding me back was my love and heartbreak for Dave. It was still so present, it was hard to move past at times. But there was Gage, his worn jeans hanging low off his perfectly sculpted abs, reaching up to the grab glasses from the top shelf and his white t-shirt lifting just enough to give a peek of his happy trail making me giggle like a teenager. His eyes met mine at that moment and a knowing smile played on his face and he hurried to end the call.

  Gage walked over and put the food and glasses down on the coffee table and slid in behind me, wrapping me up in his enormous arms making me feel so little, and so safe. He placed a kiss on the back of my head and I could feel his smile. “How am I supposed to be the good boy you want me to be when you look at me that way, Jessica?”

  I love that he has taken to calling me Jessica when he’s flirty. No one except my parents ever called me that, but I loved it sliding off his lips. I couldn’t help myself and leaned back into him, looking up at him with needy eyes. “Maybe I don’t always want you to be a good boy.”

  I turned and pressed my lips against his, causing him to let out a sigh, as he flipped me all the way around so that I had no choice but to wrap my legs around his waist. He slid his hands through my hair taking our kiss deeper, both of us trying to say so much with just a kiss, but it was clear, we both wanted to connect in a much deeper way when we began to move our bodies against each other in excruciating pleasure. I felt like a teenager the way we were groping passionately at each other. I let out a groan of pleasure when he slipped his soft hands under my bra and took my hard nipples in his fingertips.

  “You destroy me Jessica.” Breathlessly he pulled away from my lips, making me press my hand to them at the sudden loss of connection that I wanted to badly. He brought his hands up to my cheeks and took my flushed face in his hands, pressing his forehead to mine. “You absolutely destroy me.”

  I looked up at him through my eyelashes and noticed the look that’s become so familiar in times like these, and I wondered if it’s because he’s thinking of Cassie, and finally gained the courage to ask. I ran my fingers through his tousled hair and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “What’s going on in that head of yours?”

  He laughed and looked down at my legs still locked around his waist and squeezed my thighs sending shocks of pleasure to my core. “Which one? Because they’re definitely not in agreement right now.” He put his hands on my waist and lifted me so that I was next to him, wrapped back up in his arms. “You ready to start the movie?”

  This time I was not going to let this pass. When we first started dating, I told him that sex was off the table for now, and he agreed and has never pressured things, but it’s never come up again, and I wanted him to know just how badly I wanted him. How much I cared about him. “The movie can wait, I want to talk.” I turned and faced him, this time leaving a bit of distance between us so I could think clearly. “Why’d you stop us just then?”

  He looked at me with the same complex expression from before that says so much and I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to know what’s going on in his head. “That…that look you have? What are you thinking about? What does it mean?”

  He smiled shyly and ran his hand through my hair. “I’m not sure what look you’re referring to, but the only thing I’m thinking about is you.” His smile had a hint of bad boy in it and my insides burned for him. “I’m thinking about what it would be like to be with you. Inside you.
” he brushed his lips across mine two times before pressing one soft kiss on my lips.

  “Then why’d you stop?” I asked breathless when he pulled away.

  His eyes burrow into mine. “Because when I do, I want you to be mine. All mine.” He slid his thumb across my mouth and licked his lips. “And because I care about you too much to take you before you’re ready. As much as I’ve wanted nothing more than to touch every part of you.” He laced his fingers between mine and kissed my palm. “As much as I want to hear you cry out my name…” I couldn’t help but bite the bottom of my lip making him smile devilishly. “I need you to be ready.”

  Gage and I talked so much about our loss, about our heartache, but never about us. We’ve assumed roles of a couple without defining them, and it was time. “What are we Gage? I know you’re my boyfriend, but where do you want this to go?”

  He played with one of the curls on my shoulder, his eyes piercing my heart. “What do you want us to be, Jess?” Sudden sadness plays on his face. “All I know is that you’re all I think about. You’re in my head, in my heart, and I can’t do anything about it.”

  I smiled at his confession, and wondered if he was starting to fall in love with me, as much as I was with him. When you’re young, love is so easy, but with age, you realize the impact of those three words so much more, and I for one have been careful not to use it unless I mean it. But I was beginning to realize how much my feelings for him really are love. He’s been so patient, so kind. He’s been a best friend who I can go on a run with, or go play at the beach with. He’s been a partner, helping out with Charlotte when he can, treating her like gold, even though he doesn’t have to. He understands and accepts my love for Dave without question. He’s also a drop dead gorgeous surgeon who saves freaking lives for God sakes, who wouldn’t love him.

  It’s me he’s waiting for, and if I don’t let him in, I could wind up shutting him out for good. I slid up against him again, and placed a soft kiss on his favorite spot on his neck. “You’re all I think about too.” I trailed a kiss up next to his ear. “You’re in my heart too, Gage.” I bent down and placed another kiss on his thumping heart and I wondered if it’s going to explode from his chest.

  He took in a deep breath and lifted my face so my eyes met his. “This look Jess, this is a look of love.” He placed his hands on my cheeks bearing his gaze into mine, lacing his heart to mine. “When I look at you this way, you need to know it’s only because I love you.”

  My heart leapt at his confession, but then the unexpected feeling of guilt shot through me as a memory of the first time Dave told me he loved me fogs my emotions. I pressed my lips to Gage’s hoping to show him rather than say the words. Gage didn’t protest, but I had no doubt he realized I didn’t reciprocate his profession. What the hell’s wrong with me that I didn’t say anything? Gage didn’t push it, he also didn’t let us get carried away in our kiss again, and instead, tucked me tightly into him as we watched the movie like the words he said hadn’t happened.

  Now, standing here like a fool, watching him wrap his heavy black wool coat across his chest, I want to do nothing but scream out the window that I love him. Since Charlotte was spending the weekend with her grandparents, we’ve made plans to go out to dinner with Cam and Holden, and Kat and Joey who are both bringing their significant others, all of whom should be here any minute. So I’m going to have to wait for the right time to get him to myself and make sure he knows how stupid I was the other night. He has to know how I feel because I’m afraid after seeing the sadness in his eyes when I left, that I’ll lose him.

  I give one last look in the mirror, adjusting the red sweater I choose hoping to make him want me as badly as I do him. I stop in the hallway and look at the picture of Dave and me that still hangs proudly as if he’s still here. I press a kiss on my fingers and place them on his face and close my eyes knowing that tonight I have to do everything I can to focus on the here and now, rather than be pulled down by my past.

  I open the door and smile at his rosy cheeks that have been kissed by the harsh winter wind. “Hey there handsome,” I say, putting on my most sincere smile.

  He grins and kisses my cheek before letting his gaze fall over me. “Damn woman, if you’re wearing that, I don’t know if I can let you go out. I need to keep you all to myself. I’ve missed you.” His raspy deep voice washes over me and he pulls me into him and kisses me hard, pressing me up against the door taking down all my inhibitions. When he pulls away I’m surprised by the way his demeanor switches more serious. “Listen babe, there’s something I have to tell you.”

  I freeze wondering what he’s going to say, fearing my hesitance the last time we were together has ruined everything. “Is everything ok?” I stand back and search his face for any sign something’s changed between us, but when he smiles sweetly and brushes my hair from my face, the connection that’s always between us is reignited.

  “Is it alright if I come back here tonight after dinner? I’ll tell you everything then. Let’s just have fun with everyone.” He places a kiss on my forehead and insecurities assault me. So I do what I always do, I push them aside and put the mask of happiness on.

  “Sure, I was hoping you would anyway. Charlotte won’t be back from the Bosi’s until tomorrow afternoon.”

  “I was hoping you’d say that.” He begins to stalk towards me. My breath hitches when I notice the predatory look on his face.

  I know I have to be the one to say things, to open up tonight, because when he gave me the chance the other night, I chickened out, and I can’t make the same mistake again. Before he can make the first move I reach out for the collar of his shirt and twist it in my hands, pulling him towards me. When he looks at me like he is going to devour every inch of me, I almost buckle at the knees.

  He leans down to kiss me, but before he can I lift my hand up between us and press my fingers to his lips. His scorching blue eyes lock on mine with ardor and I swallow hard, knowing what I’m about to say means more now than perhaps it ever has before. I meet his gaze and hope it will show the honesty of my words. “I love you, Gage. More than I ever thought possible.”

  He pauses, and then smiles more broadly than ever before with his deep dimples on full display. The second he walked through the door, I knew I couldn’t wait to tell him how I feel. I thought that if I just came out and said it, unprovoked, and not in the heat of passion, he would realize just how much those words mean to me. He takes the hand between us in his, sliding his fingers between mine, and runs his other hand up my neck, pulling me up to him. “Those words have never sounded so sweet.” He kisses me softly at first, treating me delicately, lovingly. But when I press my body against his, he sighs and parts my lips with his tongue, moving it with such perfection that all I can do is wonder how good it would feel in other places.

  Pounding on the door interrupts our connection, and he pulls back straightening my red sweater that has moved to show more cleavage than is legal. “To. Be. Continued.,” is all he says before going to open the door, and I seriously contemplate faking sick just to get to see what “continued” actually means.

  Kat and her on and off again jerk-face boyfriend Kenny are here, followed closely behind by Cam and Holden. I sigh when Kenny walks in and gives me the up and down, causing the opposite reaction it had when Gage looked at me that way. Kat deserves so much more than Kenny, but somehow, he’s able to reel her right back in even though he’s broken her heart more times than I can count.

  I smile politely, and walk to Gage’s side, lacing my fingers through his. He kisses the top of my head, and I can actually feel the love spiraling between us when he squeezes my hand. “Hi, guys. Joey’s going to meet us there. He’s walking from the beach house.”

  “In this cold? Is he nuts?” Kat asks and all of us just laugh knowing the answer. Yes, Joey is nuts. But Cutter Lane restaurant is a quarter a mile away and if he’s been drinking, he wouldn’t risk it on these roads.

  When we all pile into Hold
en’s Tahoe, Gage pulls me up against him, laying our jackets over our laps after buckling us carefully. He surprises me when I feel his hand discreetly slide under the jackets and between my legs, rubbing and rolling his fingers against my jeans making me come alive. Having people around us this way is both exciting and arousing, and something completely unexpected. Instead of stopping him, I lean my neck back against his shoulder and run my fingers up his thigh trying to show my pleasure. The slow, teasing way he works his precise fingers against my jeans gives me a glimpse into the world I’ve been shutting him out of, and I’ve never wanted to be alone with him more than I do now. I have no idea how Gage is able to hold the conversation he’s having with Holden about the reconstruction still needed on the shore, and hardly notice when he brings up the fact that his parents will be in town tomorrow to look over some property they just purchased one town over in Bay Head.

  We pull up to Cam’s family restaurant quicker than I’d like and I pout a little making Gage laugh and kiss the back of my head before taking the coat from my lap and lifting it to put on me. “All I can think about is getting you out of those clothes right now,” he says in my ear with desire clearly in his eyes.

  “Tonight, I may just let you,” I say playfully taking the jacket and sliding out of the car.

  Cam’s right there to greet me. “Hey, girlie. How are things?” She looks at Gage whose eyes are locked on mine while he continues his conversation with Holden and Kenny. “The way he looks at you…good Lord, how have you not broken down yet?”

  I laugh and look at my friend. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to hold out much longer.” Kat takes my hand in hers and both girls smile instead of making crass jokes like we normally would have. They know it’s a big step for me, so I decide to tell them everything. “I think I’m in love with him.” Holden calls over to us and I notice Gage is still looking at me and now the look that has always confused me has become clear, his look is an unmistakable look of love. I smile at him and blow him a kiss, turning back to the girls. “Actually, I know I’m in love with him.”

 
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