Wished away a broken fai.., p.9
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       Wished Away: A Broken Fairy Tale, p.9

           S.P. Cervantes
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  I hear a knock on my door, but before I can answer it, Kat is letting herself in holding up a bottle of wine. She looks way too hot with her long black hair hanging in loose curls over her shoulders. She’s dressed in fitted blue jeans and a white shirt that hugs her perfect figure far too well. Here I am, standing in my doorway wearing sweats and my hair tied up in a messy ponytail. A ponytail held up by a scrunchy might I add.

  Her bright smile turns to a look of disgust. “You look like crap, Jess.”

  I roll my eyes and chuck a pillow from the couch at her. “Screw you! You look like you’re ready to hit up Seaside.” I lie, but smile back at her, and am instantly glad she’s here to pull me out of my sadness. When she comes to sit by me, I grab the wine out of her hand. “But you’re forgiven since you brought wine.”

  Kat walks past me into my kitchen pulling out two wine glasses. “We’re getting out of this house tonight and going to Dukes.” Before I can rip into her, she holds her hand up to me. “Don’t even start Jessica. We’re not having this discussion tonight. The only thing we’re doing is getting you good and toasty and dancing until our feet bleed. Got it?”

  “I’m all for getting drunk and dancing, but I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to have to deal with douche bags tonight. Let’s just stay here.”

  “Oh, you’re going out tonight. Dancing always makes you happy and you know it. You’re going to flirt your ass off and we’re going to do things we regret tomorrow.” She pours almost half the bottle into my large wine glass, hands it to me, and walks out of the kitchen. “Now get your butt upstairs and let’s make you presentable.”

  I take a large gulp of my drink knowing there’ll be no arguing with her right now. All I can do is hope I can fake it through the night and get back home to think of only Dave.

  We finish a bottle of wine before leaving and an hour into the night I’m feeling no pain. I have to admit, Kat was right, dancing does always make me feel better, and flirting with douche bags is even fun because I’m not plagued with the guilty feelings I have when I think of other men. Well, mainly Gage. Ever since he asked me to coffee, I find myself day dreaming about the conflict that’s always written all over his face and wish there was something I could do to erase it. Then all I do is find myself feeling guilty, like I’m betraying Dave, or at least belittling what we had by thinking of another man less than two years after he died.

  Kat and I shoot back a lemon drop when the familiar thumping of “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Ray begins and I instantly begin bouncing up and down to the hypnotic beat. I run to this song every day and always find myself dancing down the street when it comes on. I’m glad now, that Kat talked me into wearing a tank top with my jeans instead of the button up silk shirt I had on when the heat of the small space hits me. I lift my long hair up off my shoulders when the music slows a bit in the middle and begin swaying back and forth with a smile plastered on my face, closing my eyes trying to feel the music. It feels so good to feel something other than sadness.

  When hands slide around my waist from behind, I lean back into them instead of pulling away when they grip lightly at the belt buckles of my dark blue jeans. The effects of the lemon drop has clearly already washed over me and my inhibitions are down as I let the music lead my body to move in electrifying unison with the muscular body behind me.

  “A woman who looks as good as you do, shouldn’t have to dance alone.” I close my eyes and take in a deep breath trying to calm my racing heart when I recognize the familiar deep raspy voice.

  I now notice Joey and a few other of his friends are dancing with Kat having no idea of the effect that Gage is having on me right now. He spins me and pulls me close looking at me like he’s about to eat me alive, and I would welcome it right now. He always seems so reserved to me, but being here with him like this, looking at me this way, is about the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and he seems anything but reserved. My skin begins to get tiny bumps of excitement when he runs his hand down my arm and clenches my waist, letting out a stifled groan when I bite at my bottom lip. I’ve never wanted a song to last longer more than I do right now, because when it ends and the others approach, he removes his hands from my waist and creates distance between us that I don’t want. My eyes are drawn back up to his when he moves away and I truly see him, and holy hell, if he doesn’t look drop-dead-hot! Dressed in dark jeans and a fitted grey shirt, his muscular body is on perfect display. For the first time, I notice he has a sleeve tattoo that stops at his elbow. I trace my fingers along the Celtic knot design that is filled with words of survival and strength. Knowing that this has been hiding all this time under the formal attire and medical jacket he’s always be wearing when we see each other, makes me hot all over. I hear his rumble of a laugh and look back up at him, noticing his shorter hair is in perfect disarray and I can’t quite tell if it’s on purpose or not, but all I want to do is run my fingers through it. There’s a mischievous look in his eyes when he notices me checking him out and it almost makes me throw myself at him right in the middle of the dance floor.

  Joey’s seemingly oblivious to my reaction to Gage and leans in and gives me a kiss on my cheek. “Hey, sweetheart. How’s my favorite girl?”

  “What are you doing here?” I look over to Kat who’s laughing with one of Joey’s friends, unaware of my surprise to all of them being here.

  “Kat told me you guys were coming here and we decided to come and join you. Thank God I got here when I did. The dudes here were circling you two like sharks.” Joey pulls me closer when the next song starts to pick up pace and begins dancing to the music, unaware of the fact that I haven’t stopped looking at Gage.

  When Gage turns away and walks to the bar with one of Joey’s friend’s, I can’t ignore the flutter of jealousy I get when a group of girls approach them and begin flirting shamelessly. One is laughing and leaning into Gage, drawing her hand down his chest, and the fluttering butterflies are now having a fierce battle inside me. I try to put my attention back on Joey and remember that it doesn’t matter what Gage does, but I just can’t seem to keep my eyes off of him. When the song ends and the music changes to something new again, I watch Gage approach us, and see a smile appear at the corner of his mouth like he knows the thoughts that have been going through my mind. I’m surprised when he taps Joey on the shoulder. “I’m going to have to cut in now.” He doesn’t ask Joey, he tells him, and for some reason that makes my insides burn with desire.

  He places his hand on the small of my back sweeping the bare skin that’s peeking out and all I can do is pray he doesn’t notice the way my knees almost buckle. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay begins playing and he takes my hand in his, pulling it to his chest, causing me to sling my arm around his waist in response. As the beat picks up, he moves his body in perfect rhythm to the song making me wonder if everything he does feels as good as his body against mine does. He looks down at me singing along with a giant smile and I smile back in return. This is the most at ease we’ve ever been together, and I like it. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him give a full dimpled smile like he is at me right now, and it’s doing things to me that I can’t explain.

  I like the way he’s making sure a part of him touches me while we dance along with the others who have joined us, not caring who sees the intimate way he touches my back, or runs his hand up my waist. I feel carefree and happy gliding around on the dance floor with him this way. For the first time in a long time, I’m enjoying the attention I’m getting from a man. When the song slows again at the end, Gage pulls me flush up against his strong, muscular body and runs his hand along my bare collar bone moving my hair off my shoulder and leans in letting his mouth skim against my ear. “Come get a drink with me.”

  Again, he doesn’t wait for a reply, but takes my hand and leads me over to the bar and away from our crowd of friends. He leans over the bar to order us some water and when he turns back to me and I notice for the first time his bright blue eyes are s
lightly glossed over and realize the reason for his easiness around me is probably the same reason for mine with him--alcohol.

  “You look amazing tonight…” he pauses and rubs his hand across his scruffy chin giving me a look that turns my insides out. Watching him look at me this way while contemplating his thoughts makes me do the one thing I’ve thought of too many times of doing tonight, and I reach up and run my fingertips across the side of his face, smiling when it feels just as I hoped. He closes his eyes and smiles sadly. When he opens them and looks down at me, they are suddenly clear and bright again. He brushes my hair away from my face and his look is so full of meaning. “Jess,” his voice is a whisper, “I really want to kiss you right now.” He moves his face slowly towards mine, his gaze never breaking, waiting for me to say no or stop him. But I don’t. I can’t. His full lips press to mine, delicately at first, s,,,,etting my body on fire. His soft lips connect with mine, causing me to let out a sigh. He moves his hand up to my face and I do the same, and his other holds me pressed up against his firm body.

  He pulls back before I can get lost in him and take the kiss deeper like my body’s screaming for me to do. It’s been so long since I’ve been kissed and as innocent as that was, my body is reacting like I’ve just been seduced for hours. I bite down on my lip, too afraid to say something stupid. I’m so much more reserved around him than I am with anyone else. A part of me is afraid if I act on my thoughts, I’ll make him run. He looks down at me and kisses my forehead. “You look so sexy when you do that Jess, you have to stop, or else I won’t be able to.”

  Did he just say I’m sexy and imply he wants more than that far too sweet kiss? I decide to call his bluff and bite down on it again and give him my best smoldering look. He actually lets out a growl before pulling me close again and nips at my ear. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with Jess. Don’t tempt me.” He pulls back and his eyes turn soft. “We’re both drunk, and I don’t want you to have any regrets tomorrow.”

  Guilt hits me. Not once since Gage’s hands were on me, did I think of Dave. Not once. It’s our anniversary and I’ve been flirting and having inappropriate thoughts about another man. Tears well in my eyes and Gage immediately notices he triggered something. “Oh shit, Jess. I’m sorry.”

  I take his hands in mine and manage to hold the tears at bay. “Don’t be sorry. It was nice. I’m just tired…and drunk, like you said.”

  He lifts our hands and kisses the palm of my hand looking up at me over them with those eyes that make me melt. “Coffee, Monday.”

  Joey and Kat come over to us and it’s clear they’ve seen everything by the grins on their faces. Joey pats Gage on the back and looks at me with an impish smirk. “Dude, I’ve tried to get you to hook up with a chick at one of these places for three straight years and you choose my girl?” Just when Gage looks at him with concern, Joey musses my hair and kisses my cheek. “I’m just pissed you beat me to it.”

  The guilt is building up inside me with Dave’s best friend standing before me knowing I’ve betrayed him. I should be honoring him today and not getting drunk at a bar and kissing an incredibly hot, smart, and apparently rich man. I’m not myself anymore and I hate it. I used to be happy all the time and loved going out with the girls, even when Dave wasn’t with me. Tonight, I took things too far, and I can only be glad that it was with someone like Gage who understands my pain, and most importantly my undying love for Dave. We stand there in awkward silence for a moment when neither Gage nor I say anything back to Joey. Gage is watching me curiously when he turns to Joey. “Joey, I’ve seen you do more with my mother. Jess and I are friends, nothing more.”

  I hate that my heart sinks a little and have to look away from him, not wanting him to see the truth. Joey laughs and pats Gage’s back. “Uh huh.”

  Kat has finally caught on to my uneasiness and tries to make light of the situation. “Well boys, we better be going. Charlotte’s going to be home bright and early and won’t want a hung over mommy in the morning.”

  Joey gets a smile on his face that lets me know he’s up to something. He turns to Kat and pulls her in to a deep kiss, and she responds with equal enthusiasm. Gage and I just stand there watching in shock. When they finally break their kiss that made mine and Gage’s look like child’s play, Joey pats Kat’s behind. “Drive safely, friend.” Clearly mocking the fact that friends don’t really kiss that way.

  Kat just laughs and grabs our purses before heading to the door. Gage gently grabs my forearm before I can follow Kat out. “I’ll see you Monday.”

  I smile up at him, doing my best to hide the fact that as soon as I get home tonight, I’m going to get his number and cancel coffee. I can’t be tempted this way. It’s too soon. And he’s far too tempting. “Sure.”

  He looks at me and I know he’s not buying it, but I turn and walk out anyway. We drive home in silence, both knowing better than to bring up either of our kisses tonight after we’ve been drinking. I wish I had Cam here to tell me it’s ok, that Dave wouldn’t be mad at me. All I can think about is Dave watching me from Heaven and feeling the betrayal that is pulsing through my veins. When the car drops us off at my house, Kat stops at the door. “Are you sure you’re ok with me staying?”

  I roll my eyes at her trying to hide the sadness overtaking me. “Of course I want you to stay. You can’t drive in this state anyway.”

  “I can go to Joey’s.” She starts laughing and walks inside heading for the guest room. We both know where going to Joey’s would lead, and he’s probably brought a few of the girls following him around all night home to have some fun by now anyway. When my thoughts shoot to worrying that Gage went back to Joey’s too, I push it away and say goodnight to Kat before going up to my room that still feels so empty without Dave in it. I get undressed and turn on some music hoping it will drown out the sobs that break free when I see Dave’s picture on my nightstand. When “Mine Would be You” begins to play, I let the tears lead me into sleep.


  I totally pulled the wimp card and sent a text to Gage cancelling our coffee date last minute rather than call. I knew if I gave him too much notice, he’d try to set a date for another time. Instead, I told him I had to help Cam with the baby while Charlotte’s at school, and would get in touch with him when I had some free time. We haven’t talked since Saturday night, and part of me is sad he hasn’t called and the other part is relieved. I instinctively touch my lips remembering the way his mouth felt on mine, and decide I have to do something to keep myself busy. My excuse to Gage wasn’t a total lie, I am going to Cam’s today, and I’ve been there the past few days since she’s come home from the hospital. I spent most of yesterday whining to Holden and Cam about the kiss and they both were no help at all. They both got excited and Cam couldn’t stop telling me how great she thinks he is. It surprises me how much they are encouraging me to see where things go with him considering how much they loved Dave. Such a large part of me feels like if I move on with someone else, it will diminish the love I have for Dave. I know he will never be back with me, and that I have a lot of life left to live, but Charlotte needs to always know how much her dad loved her. If another man came into our lives, I don’t know if I could keep his spirit alive the way I do now with all of the pictures I have around the house and stories I tell her when she is feeling down. I know Dave would want me to do that. I know he would want me to parent her as if he was still at my side.

  When my thoughts slip back to Gage and how sexy he looked the other night, I decide to go on a run to clear my head and calm my thoughts of him. I’m sure there will be times over the years where I’ll have a fling or two to get my needs met, but if that happened with Gage, I don’t know if I could walk away. He doesn’t seem like someone I could just walk away from, or someone who would let me walk away. As much as I try to keep him out of my mind, I can’t. I turn up the music on my iPhone and push myself to run faster down the gravely road hoping the exertion will calm my hormones that have raging lat

  When I make the turn back onto my street, I’ve run at least five miles and am thinking only of what I should bring to Cam’s for lunch when “Summertime Sadness” begins to play in my ear buds. I can’t help but smile thinking God or someone is playing some joke on me letting me know that Gage is going to be harder to shake than I thought. I pull my headphones off when I approach my house noticing a black BMW parked out front that I don’t recognize. I wonder if it’s someone renting the house next door for an instant, but I quickly realize I’m wrong when Gage comes walking down the steps of my porch holding two cups of coffee looking So. Damn. Hot! I mean really? Really? I just pushed my body to the limit trying to get those freaking magnetic eyes and dimples out of my head, and here he stands in front of me while I’m dripping in sweat and most certainly red faced, with that hot as hell tattoo on full display. I love that he still has that slight scruff that I want to feel all over my body. What am I thinking?

  “I was at the coffee shop when I got your message, so I decided to bring the coffee to you.” He hands me the cup and looks down towards Camryn’s house. “Do you have a minute to talk before you head over to Camryn’s?” his deep raspy voice makes it impossible to say no.

  I wipe my forehead, feeling the drips of sweat beginning to pour down my face now that I’ve stopped running, remembering how I look. “Sure. Um, come inside and let me just get a towel or something.”

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