Gabriels redemption, p.57
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.57

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard
Page 57


  “When is she due?”

  “December twenty-third. ”

  Rachel was silent again.

  Julia heard the sound of a door opening and then Aaron’s voice.

  “Jules, I’m going to have to go. ” Rachel’s voice was muffled. “But I’ll call you later, okay?”

  “Sure. I love you, Rachel. Don’t give up hope. ”

  “That’s all I have left. ” Rachel sniffed again before hanging up the phone.

  Julia placed the handset back in its cradle on the desk before saying a long prayer for her friend.

  “This is ridiculous. ” Julia pushed her cell phone away from her the following evening.

  “What’s the matter?” Rebecca breezed into the kitchen with a stack of dish towels, fresh from the laundry room.

  “Gabriel. I’m receiving his messages, but we haven’t been able to speak since he left. I keep calling and calling and all I get is voice mail—on his cell phone and in his hotel room. ” She placed her head in her hands. “I found the charger cord to his phone upstairs. He’s going to have to buy another one. Or call me from the hotel. But he seems to be out all the time. ”

  “They took most of the pay phones off the streets of New York. He’ll have trouble finding one while he’s out. ” Rebecca folded the dish towels and placed them in a drawer.

  Julia drummed her fingers on the granite countertop while staring daggers at her cell phone.

  “I should have gone with him. ”

  “Why didn’t you?”

  “I had papers to finish. I still have one left to do, but now I can’t concentrate. ” She lifted her face to look at Rebecca. “I’m worried about him. ”

  “I’m sure he’s all right. Although it isn’t like him to forget something. ” Rebecca gestured toward the phone cord. “He’s usually so—fastidious. ”

  “That’s a polite word for it. ”

  Julia glanced at the mail that Rebecca had stacked on the kitchen island and noticed an envelope addressed to Gabriel from JetBlue.

  She stood up straight.

  “Do you think I could get a flight to New York tonight?” Julia reached for her laptop.

  “It won’t be cheap, but you could try. ” Rebecca smiled gently. “Gabriel has only been gone two days. ”

  “It seems like forever,” muttered Julia.

  Rebecca’s face wore a knowing look. “That’s because you’re still newlyweds. ”

  Julia pulled up the JetBlue website and began typing furiously.

  “The prices are a fortune,” she lamented, as she scrolled through several pages.

  “Think of it as an early Christmas gift. ”

  “It isn’t as if I spend a lot of money on things,” she rationalized. “Gabriel is the one who insists on paying top dollar for everything. ”

  “He’ll be glad you bought the ticket when he sees you. ” Rebecca glanced toward the stairs. “I can pull out your suitcase and help you pack. If your flight is tonight, you’ll probably have to leave right away. You don’t want to be stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to the airport. ”

  Julia lifted her arm and gave Rebecca a hug. “Thank you. He’ll be so surprised. ”

  “He’s probably in worse shape than you,” Rebecca observed, as she headed toward the stairs.

  Within two hours, Julia was at Logan Airport, waiting for the last flight to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. She left a message for Gabriel with the concierge at the Ritz-Carlton, telling him that she would be checking in later that evening, and she ordered sparkling water, strawberries, and truffles to be delivered to their room.

  Rebecca had been in the middle of packing her carry-on when she’d flown into the bedroom, telling her that the taxi was on its way. Julia was in such a hurry, she’d quickly grabbed her makeup and toothbrush, leaving her other essentials behind.

  She packed up her laptop and research (which were far more important than personal items, since she needed to finish her seminar paper), located her purse, and made it to the front door just in time to greet the arriving taxi.

  Gabriel was going to be surprised.

  The Professor ordered the cabbie to wait for him before exiting the taxi. They’d parked down the street from the house he was interested in, so as not to attract attention.

  He walked down the street slowly, noting the numbers on the houses. It was a residential neighborhood on Staten Island, populated by old, small homes.

  Then he saw it.

  The house itself was unremarkable—small and white with a detached garage and a short, paved driveway. It was situated on a very small lot, with a tiny fringe of lawn that separated the front of the house from the sidewalk. A new-looking black Mercedes was parked at the curb.

  Gabriel stood, two houses down, watching.

  To his surprise, the front door opened and a man with gray hair exited. The man turned his body, coaxing an elderly woman. After she’d closed and locked the door behind them, he took her arm and painstakingly escorted her down the front steps.

  Gabriel approached.

  The woman must have been hard of hearing because the man’s voice was raised, but not in anger. Gabriel heard something about a doctor’s appointment and Joey’s birthday party.

  The woman caught sight of Gabriel and stopped, staring over at him.

  He slowed his pace, finally pausing on the sidewalk across the street.

  This was his moment.

  Now was his opportunity to speak to her, to demand answers to questions, to reveal himself.

  The man she was with glanced in Gabriel’s direction, then began tugging at the woman’s arm, his voice still raised.

  The woman turned away from Gabriel and obediently followed her escort to the Mercedes, where he opened the door and patiently waited while she situated herself.

  The man seemed oblivious to the Professor’s presence as he closed the car door and rounded the vehicle. He started the car and drove away.

  Gabriel watched the Mercedes turn the corner and disappear out of sight.

  Chapter Sixty

  It was well after midnight when Gabriel entered his hotel room. He was world weary and tired, his hair disheveled, his tie askew.

  Without bothering to switch on a light, he threw his winter coat over a chair and kicked off his boots.

  (It should be mentioned that his boots were almost, but not quite, bad-assed, given that they were worn with a suit. )

  Just as he was removing his tie, light streamed from the lamp on one of the nightstands.

  “What the—”

  Gabriel’s curse was interrupted by a feminine voice. “Sweetie?”

  His eyes focused on the sight of Julianne, naked in bed with tousled hair. Her dark eyes were soft and sleepy, her ruby lips parted, her voice deliciously husky.

  She looked like a sex kitten.

  “Um, surprise. ” She waved.

  With a cry, Gabriel ran toward her, crawling across the bed and placing his hands to her face so he could kiss her. He kissed her long and he kissed her well, their tongues touching until they were both breathless.

  “What are you doing here?” He pushed her hair lovingly back from her face.

  “Delivering the charger cord for your iPhone. ” She pointed to the forgotten item sitting on the nightstand.

  His long fingers slid to the back of her neck, where they massaged her skin. His eyes gleamed.

  “You flew to New York to give me my phone cord?”

  “Not just your phone cord. I also brought the attachment that plugs into the wall. You know, in case you wanted to charge it through an outlet. ”

  He kissed her nose. “I really missed that cord. Thank you. ”

  “Did you miss the attachment?”

  “Absolutely. I was very, very lonely for it. ” His lips curved into a half-smile.

  “I was worried about you. We kept missing each other on the telephone. ”

Gabriel’s expression shifted and his eyes looked tired. “We need a better form of communication. ”

  “Smoke signals, perhaps?”

  “At this point, I’d accept passenger pigeons. ”

  She gestured to the table that held the strawberries and chocolates, some of which had already been consumed. “I ordered room service. I’m afraid I started without you. I didn’t expect you to be so late. ”

  He moved so that his back was against the headboard and pulled her into his lap, tucking the sheet around her naked body so she wouldn’t catch cold. “If I’d known you were waiting, I’d have come home hours ago. I was on Staten Island and then I went to Brooklyn to see our old apartment. ”

  “How did it go?”

  “Everything seemed smaller than I remember it—the neighborhood, the building. ” He brought their foreheads together. “I’m glad you’re here. I regretted my decision to come on my own almost the moment I left the house. ”

  She breathed deeply, inhaling his scent. She smelled Aramis and coffee and something that could have been soap. But she didn’t smell smoke.

  “You’re quite the secret agent, Julianne. I had no idea you were coming. ”

  “I left a message for you with the concierge. When I arrived, he had one of the porters escort me. ” She gazed around the room. “It’s a beautiful room. ”

  His lips twitched. “I would have booked a suite if I’d known you were coming. ”

  “This is far nicer than I could have imagined. And it has a breathtaking view of Central Park. ”

  His arms tightened around her. “So now that you’re here, what am I going to do with you?”

  “You’re going to kiss me. Then you’re going to take off your suit and show me just how much you missed your phone cord. ”

  “And the attachment. ”

  “And the attachment. ”

  “I hope you napped on the plane. ” Gabriel grinned before bringing his eager mouth to hers.

  Chapter Sixty-one

  Gabriel was still inside her, their bodies entwined. Julia was running her fingers lazily up and down his back as he held himself above her.

  “You’re my family. ” His thumb traced the curve of her cheek.

  Julia’s eyes met his.

  He continued, his voice a husky whisper. “All this searching, all this anxiety, when what I was looking for was right here. ”

  “Darling. ” She pressed her palm against his jaw.

  “I’m sorry I got lost in my head and shut you out. ”

  “Sweetie, you needed to find out more about your family. It was part of your healing. ”

  “What I needed was you. ”

  She gave him a heartbreaking smile, as if he’d handed her the world.

  “I need you, too, Gabriel. I was sad while you were gone, even though Rebecca stayed with me. The house was so empty. And sleeping alone sucks. ”

  He laughed, and her body reacted to his movements.

  “Remind me of this conversation the next time I’m determined to go off on my own. ”

  “A man has to do what a man has to do. But he should bring his wife with him. ” She pushed his hair back from his forehead.

  “I’d never argue with a naked woman. ”

  Her pretty features grew pensive.

  He stroked her cheek again, his blue eyes darkening. “Have I made you sad?”

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