Gabriels redemption, p.44
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.44
 

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard  
Page 44

 

  “Of course. It would be my pleasure. I’ll try not to be a bastard when I give you my comments. ”

  She grinned wryly. “I’d appreciate that. ”

  “Now, can we have desk sex or do you want to chat all afternoon?”

  “Desk sex, please. ”

  “Your wish is my command. ”

  Gabriel removed his glasses, tossing them aside. He closed his laptop and placed it on a nearby shelf before carefully removing the train engine. Then with one sweep of his arm, he sent all the books and papers to the floor before placing Julia on top of the desk.

  Then they spent the next hour engaged in a new kind of marital bliss—desk sex.

  (Desk sex can be very, very good, but it’s important to remove the staplers first. )

  Later, Julia began packing for their trip to Tom and Diane’s wedding, while Gabriel remained in his office, trying to write. He found it difficult to concentrate on Guido da Montefeltro at the site of his most recent (and very passionate) encounter with Julianne.

  I might never be able to work at this desk again.

  Frustrated, he closed the document he was working on and pulled up his email. He typed a short note to Carson Brown, his lawyer, asking that he begin making inquiries about his biological parents and their families.

  Then he lifted his cell phone and dialed a number.

  Julia entered the bedroom after spending the evening revising her conference paper. Her eyes hurt. She had decided that Paul was right—she was suffering from some kind of eyestrain and needed to see an optometrist. She resolved to make an appointment when she and Gabriel returned from Selinsgrove.

  “What’s the matter?” Gabriel’s voice reached her from the bed.

  She pulled her hands away from her face. He was sitting up, wearing his glasses, and reading.

  She gave him a sheepish look.

  “I was on the computer too long and now my eyes hurt. I’m going to have them checked when we get back. ”

  “Good. Your eyes are so beautiful, it would be shame for them to be injured. ” He put a finger in the book that he was reading and extended his other hand to pat the area beside him. “Come here. ”

  Julia joined him on the bed, noticing that he’d been reading his mother’s diary.

  “What made you decide to read that?”

  “Since I’m beginning my investigation of my family, I thought I shouldn’t put it off. ”

  “Is it making you sad?”

  He put the diary aside and rubbed his eyes behind his glasses.

  “It’s tragic more than anything else. She graduated from high school and moved into the city to share an apartment with a girlfriend. Her first job was working for my father’s company. One of his secretaries went on maternity leave and she filled in temporarily. That’s how they met. ”

  “She was young. ” Julia clasped her hand in his.

  He glanced down at their connection. “Almost as young as you when I met you. Funny how history repeats itself. ”

  “Don’t,” Julia said, in a low voice. “You could have gone down that road. But you didn’t. We’re different. ”

  “I went down that road with someone else. ”

  Julia felt her anger flame. “You didn’t abandon Paulina. You cared for her for years. You are not the kind of man who would abandon your child. ”

  “Say that again. ” Gabriel’s voice was a cross between a growl and a plea.

  Julia reached up to remove his glasses, lying across his body to place them on the nightstand. Then she lifted her face, still reclining over him.

  “Gabriel Emerson, you are not the kind of man who would abandon your child. And as much as you might think of yourself as the seducer, we both know our seduction was mutual. ”

  He stroked her hair lightly before lifting her chin and bringing their lips together.

  “Our seduction was most definitely mutual. You’re the only woman who ever persuaded me to give my heart. And you still seduce me, Mrs. Emerson. Every day. ”

  Gabriel stroked her hair again.

  “It sounds as if my parents’ affair started while they were working long hours together. One night, he kissed her. Things progressed . . . ”

  “Did he love her?”

  “He said he did. He bought her extravagant gifts. He wouldn’t be seen in public with her, but they’d meet at hotels. ”

  Julia fingered her necklace unconsciously.

  “I saw some of the jewelry in your desk. There are things from Tiffany and what looks like a wedding band. ”

  Gabriel scowled. “He gave her that ring when I was born. She used to wear it and pretend she was married. What a farce. ”

  “It’s possible he did it to protect her. ”

  “Julianne, nothing my father did protected her. ” His voice was cold. “She was young and had lived a sheltered life with her family. She expected he’d leave his wife and family for her. Obviously that didn’t happen. ”

  Julia tightened her arms around him. “What have you done to find out more about your family?”

  “I sent an email to Carson, asking him to make inquiries about the Emersons and about my father. ” He cleared his throat. “I made a few phone calls today and was able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Townsend. And a urologist. ”

  “I’m proud of you. I know you’re anxious. But no matter what you discover, we’ll face it together. ”

  He sighed and brought his hand up to cup the back of her head.

  “If you’re serious about learning more about your mother, I’ll help you. ”

  She turned to lie on her back, staring up at the ceiling.

  “My father has her stuff. I don’t think it’s a good idea to ask about it. He’s got a lot on his mind. ”

  “You’re right. Have you heard from him?”

  “Diane sent me an email about my bridesmaid dress. I’m supposed to pick it up when we arrive. ”

  Julia was quiet for a moment, thinking. Then she spoke.

  “Do you think God has forgiven you?”

  His brow furrowed. “Why would you ask me that?”

  “Because of our conversation in the shower. You seem to think your past hasn’t really been forgiven. ”

  He shifted next to her.

  “When I was in Assisi, after we’d been separated, it felt as if God forgave me. ”

  “But you still look at yourself and don’t like what you see?” Her tone was gentle.

  “Why should I? I have so many faults. ”

  “So do all human beings, sweetheart. ”

  “Maybe I’m more conscious of my own sin. ”

  “Maybe you haven’t accepted the grace and forgiveness you’ve been offered. ”

  He looked at her sharply.

  She moved closer to him.

  “I’m not saying this to grieve you. I see how far you’ve come, and it’s nothing short of a miracle. But part of that miracle is recognizing the magnitude of the grace. ”

  “I did so many terrible things,” he whispered.

  “And God’s forgiveness is so small. ” Julia glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.

  “I don’t think that. ”

  “But you act like that sometimes—as if you’re still in Hell. As if God couldn’t forgive you. ”

  “I want to be better. ”

  “Then be better. Accept the fact that God didn’t bring you this far only to abandon you. He isn’t that kind of father. And you won’t be, either. ”

  Gabriel pondered her words for a moment.

  “If what you say is correct, then you have no reason to fear being a mother. No matter what happened with Sharon or what’s in your past, grace is available to you too. I guess we both need to overcome our fears. ”

  He caressed her cheek before rolling her beneath him.

  “You will be a wonderful mother,” he whispered before bringing their lips together.

  Chapter Forty-two

/>   Labor Day Weekend, 2011

  The Hamptons, New York

  Holy fuck!” Simon exclaimed, collapsing on top of her.

  “Holy fuck is right. ” She giggled, wrapping her arms around him. “That was amazing. ”

  Simon couldn’t disagree. He could barely feel his body, his orgasm had been so strong.

  Of course, the fact that he and April Hudson were several mojitos past being drunk might have had something to do with it.

  In the back of his mind, there was something he was supposed to remember. Something important. Something regarding April.

  She climbed on top of him. “Let’s do it again,” she slurred, leaning over him. “It barely hurt. I don’t know why I was waiting . . . ”

  Chapter Forty-three

  Labor Day Weekend, 2011

  Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania

  Your dad has been using this room as the guest room, but we were thinking of making it the nursery. ” Diane opened the door to the small room that was next to the master bedroom.

  Julia entered the room behind her, carrying a blue-and-white gift bag.

  It was a few days before the wedding and she was helping Diane with things around the house.

  “I wanted to paint the walls and have the room ready before the baby came. Now . . . ” Diane moved her hand over her abdomen, back and forth.

  “I don’t see why you can’t get the nursery ready. ” Julia looked around the room, eyeing three familiar-looking boxes on the floor of the closet.

  “He might not come home,” Diane whispered, close to tears.

  Julia put an arm around her shoulders.

  “The hospital and the doctors are familiar with cases like this. And there are a number of children who’ve gone through the surgeries that little Peanut will have to go through. ”

  “Peanut?”

  “Since we don’t have a name for him, I’ve been calling him Peanut. ”

  Diane pressed her hand over her stomach. “I like that. Peanut. ”

  “We’re all hoping and praying that Peanut will be okay. Decorating the nursery could be an expression of that hope—that you believe he’s coming home. ” Julia fidgeted with the bag she’d been carrying. “I bought you and the baby a present. ”

  “Thank you. That’s the first gift we’ve received. ”

  “Since he’s my little brother, I wanted to be the first. Open it. ”

  Diane carefully pulled back the tissue paper, revealing a rectangular wrapped object. She placed the bag on the floor and unwrapped the gift. Inside, she found a print of a cherub playing a guitar, housed in an ornate gold frame.

  She held it up in order to admire it.

  “I know that you’ve been hesitant about preparing for the baby. ” Julia’s voice was soft. “But I thought that the angel would be an expression of hope. The painting is called Angelo Musicante and it’s housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. ”

  “Thank you, honey. ” Diane hugged her. “That’s very sweet. ”

  She walked over to the window and placed the frame on the wide windowsill, leaning against the glass. It looked as if it belonged there.

  “Your dad was talking about using your room as the guest room, once the baby comes. ”

  “It isn’t really my room. I grew up in Dad’s old house. ”

 
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