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Gabriels redemption, p.47
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.47

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard  
Page 47

 

  “I mean it. Now put those things in water and let me take you to dinner. ” He handed her the roses and flashed a smile.

  She hesitated, looking at the flowers.

  “Okay. ” She opened the door wider so that he could come in. “But no mojitos. ”

  “Scout’s honor. ” He saluted her before closing the door behind them.

  Chapter Forty-five

  At the end of the Labor Day weekend, Julia and Gabriel returned to Cambridge in order to begin the academic year. Gabriel was teaching a graduate seminar and an undergraduate class at Boston University, while Julia attended Harvard.

  In the second week of September, Gabriel visited a well-respected urologist. He didn’t want Julia to accompany him, since the appointment conflicted with one of her classes. So he went alone.

  When he arrived home for dinner, she pounced.

  “Well?”

  “Good evening to you, too. ” He brushed his lips against hers and pulled back, staring at her.

  “I’m still getting used to these. ” He touched the frames of her tortoiseshell glasses.

  She adjusted them self-consciously before taking them off. “I only need them for reading. At least, that’s what the optometrist said. ”

  “You look like a sexy librarian. In fact, I think we should take them into the study and introduce them to the wonders of desk sex. ”

  Julia laughed. “You aren’t going to distract me with desk sex, Professor Emerson. I want to hear about your appointment. ”

  Gabriel’s smile faded.

  “What if I promise you consecutive orgasms?” he whispered, grasping her wrist and bringing it to his mouth. He kissed her, nipping at the skin.

  She swallowed hard. “That sounds—great. But I still want to hear about the doctor. ”

  He took a step closer, walking her toward the kitchen table.

  “And if I promise you kitchen table sex, the likes of which you’ve never experienced before?”

  He placed her on the edge of the table, spreading her legs so that he could stand in between them.

  She raised her hand to his face. “I’d say you’re worrying me because you’re trying to distract me with sex. Please tell me what happened. ”

  Gabriel pulled away and sat down heavily on a nearby chair.

  “Did you cook or did Rebecca leave something?”

  “Rebecca made lasagne. ” Julia hopped off the table to retrieve a can of Coke from the fridge. She poured it over ice in a glass and handed it to him. “I hope you’re hungry. ”

  “The doctor isn’t sure it will work. ” Abruptly, Gabriel placed the glass on the table.

  “Oh, sweetheart. ” She sat in the chair next to him and placed a hand on his arm.

  “He’s pretty confident we could do artificial insemination if the reversal is unsuccessful, but I have to be tested to see if I’m producing viable sperm. When he has the results, he’ll determine if we should schedule a reversal or not. My test is scheduled for next week. ”

  “And?”

  “Even if he performs the reversal, the probability of success is low. ” He cleared his throat. “Since the procedure was done almost ten years ago, the chance of pregnancy is thirty percent. There’s a possibility of antibodies, scar tissue, and a secondary blockage point. ”

  “I didn’t realize it was so complicated. ”

  He rubbed a hand over his eyes. “It’s far more complicated than I expected. But it’s a credit to the doctor that he was thorough in his explanation. He also forbade me to smoke. ”

  “Well, that’s a good thing. When will we know if the procedure is successful?”

  “He says I could be fertile within a few months or it could take a year. ” He hesitated. “Or never. ”

  Julia sat in his lap, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

  “I’m sorry, Gabriel. I wish I’d gone with you. I could have supported you. ”

  “You were there in spirit. ” He gave her a half-smile.

  “If the sperm production is fine, then we could pursue artificial insemination. If we want, he’ll gather sperm at the time of the reversal and freeze them for us. ” He toyed with her hair. “The doctor suggested you visit a gynecologist, in case there are fertility issues on your side. ”

  Julia grimaced.

  Gabriel watched her expression carefully. “Is that a problem?”

  “No. I don’t like those kinds of checkups, but I can see why it would be necessary. I’m due for one. ”

  “Unfortunately, the doctor also said that we’ll have to abstain from sex for three weeks after my procedure. He told me that there cannot be any ejaculation. ”

  Julia’s eyes widened. “Three weeks? Scheisse. ”

  “Exactly. Are you still sure we should do this?”

  “I’m not happy about having to be celibate for three weeks. ” She shuddered. “But I was celibate a lot longer than that before. ”

  “Quite. ” A smile played at the corners of Gabriel’s lips. “This will be new for both of us—marital celibacy. Who knew there was such a terrible thing?”

  “I certainly didn’t. Except for, you know, one week a month. ”

  “That reminds me. We’ll have to ensure that one of the three weeks coincides with your cycle. Otherwise we might have to be celibate for four weeks. ”

  “You think of everything, Professor. ”

  Gabriel’s eyes appeared to darken. “I have needs. ”

  She pressed their chests together, bringing her mouth inches from his.

  “As do I, Professor. I’m sure we can attend to some of those needs without involving your injured parts. ”

  “Injured parts?”

  “I’ll take very good care of you and all your parts. You’ll need me to be your nurse. ”

  Gabriel slid his hands down to cup her backside.

  “I like the sound of that. A nurse, a librarian, a student, a professor—is there no end to your talents, Mrs. Emerson?”

  “None. In fact, I have another secret identity. ”

  “Oh, really?”

  She brought her lips to the curve of his ear, “I’m also Lois Lane. ”

  “I think I’ll need to pick up my Superman suit from the dry cleaners. ”

  “Merry Christmas to me. ”

  “It will be. ” He gave her a heated look, heavy with promise. “So we’ll schedule a few more appointments, but we’ve agreed to pursue this?”

  “Yes. ”

  “And we’ve also agreed that we aren’t going to start a family until you graduate. This is all—preliminary. ”

  She smiled and kissed him, and then they decided to delay dinner in favor of celebratory kitchen table sex during which Gabriel pretended to be Superman, coming home after a long day of fighting crime.

  (It must be said that superhero kitchen table sex was an even better domestic coupling than regular kitchen table sex. )

  A few hours later, Julia and Gabriel sat on the floor in their bedroom, going through Sharon’s boxes. They found photo albums filled with baby and toddler pictures. They found toys and the bracelet Julia had worn in the hospital when she was born.

  She was surprised that her mother kept the baby memorabilia. She was even more surprised to find a copy of her parents’ wedding picture, along with a series of photos from their courtship. There were even a few family pictures that predated the divorce.

  One box held costume jewelry and scarves and photos of Sharon with different men. Gabriel watched as Julia disposed of those pictures with barely a glance. Given what he knew about Sharon’s behavior with her boyfriends, he understood why Julia would want all memory of them destroyed.

  He ran a finger across the back of her hand, caressing the knuckles. “You have a home and family now. ”

  “I know. ” She gave him a little smile, but it didn’t touch her eyes.

  She looked in vain for her mother’s engagement and wedding rings. But they’d likely been pawned long ago. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen them.

  If Julia had expected to find answers among her mother’s things, she was sorely disappointed. The materials they found didn’t explain why Sharon decided that the baby girl she initially loved to distraction became an annoying household presence. They didn’t explain how alcohol and sex became more important than flesh and blood.

  “Darling?” Gabriel’s voice broke into her thoughts.

  “A whole life. Three boxes. What a waste. ”

  Gabriel rubbed her back sympathetically.

  “Why didn’t she love me?” Julia croaked.

  Gabriel felt as if his heart were being torn apart. He sat behind her, pulling her back against his chest.

  “I wish I had an answer. All I can say is that I understand. Believe me, Julianne, I understand. ”

  “It’s hard for me to believe she ever loved me. ”

  “She kept the photographs. It’s clear she loved you when you were born. You can see it in her face. She loved you after that, too, when you were little. ”

  “But she loved alcohol more. ”

  “It’s an addiction. ”

  “I’m not without compassion, Gabriel, but I can’t contemplate choosing alcohol and men over my child. ”

  Gabriel’s grip on her tightened. “That’s as it should be. But you’ve never struggled with addiction, Julianne. That’s something I know too much about.

  “I’m sure there were times your mother wanted to stop. ”

  “There were times she went into recovery, yes. ”

  “There but for the grace of God go we,” he whispered.

  When she didn’t respond, he continued in a whisper, “This is my fault. I’m the one who insisted on looking into our parents, and now see what’s happened. ”

  “You aren’t the one who hurt me.

  “I suppose it was silly to think I’d find an explanation in one of these boxes. If my dad doesn’t have one, how could there be an explanation in a pile of junk?”

  “Your baby things aren’t junk. We’ll frame the photos and put the other things on a shelf. Someday, if we have a little girl, you can show her how beautiful her mama looked when she was a baby. ”

  Julia pressed her face into the crook of his neck. “Thank you. ”

  He gave her a tight squeeze, holding her until she was ready to pack up the boxes.

  Chapter Forty-six

  I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” Julia stared wide-eyed at her gynecologist.

  It was the third week in September and Julia had just had her yearly physical exam. It was supposed to be routine, with a view to uncovering any fertility issues. But the doctor’s remarks indicated that the exam had been anything but routine.

  “I want you to have an ultrasound. My secretary will contact radiology at Mount Auburn Hospital and schedule the appointment. I want you seen immediately, and I’m noting that in my referral. ” Dr. Rubio scribbled hastily in Julia’s chart.

  Julia’s stomach flipped. “So it’s serious?”

  “Potentially serious. ” The doctor paused, her dark eyes meeting Julia’s. “It’s good that you came in when you did. I found something on one of your ovaries. We need to know what it is. You’ll have an ultrasound, the radiologist will write up a report and send it to me, and we’ll go from there. ”

 
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