Gabriels redemption, p.58
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.58
 

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard  
Page 58

 

  “I was just thinking about what Grace used to say. ”

  “And what’s that?”

  “That marriage is a mystery. That two people somehow become knitted together until they’re one. When we’re separated, I feel as if part of me is missing. ” She shifted slightly beneath him. “I’m glad you feel it, too. ”

  “I felt it before we were married, but it’s different now. The ache is more intense. ”

  “For a long time, I didn’t see how marriage could be something over and above love. But it is. I just can’t explain it. ”

  “Neither can I. Perhaps that’s why she called it a mystery. ”

  He looked down the length of their bodies.

  “I suppose I should let you go. ”

  “I like this. It’s postcoital-cuddling-while-you’re-still-inside-me. ”

  “That’s the technical description, yes. If we wait long enough, we’ll be able to start up again. ”

  Julia flexed her muscles around him, and he twitched in response.

  “As I recall, Professor, your recovery time is minimal. ”

  “Thank God for that,” he murmured, beginning to move inside her once again.

  It must be said that in general, the Emersons slept better when they were together than they ever did apart. That evening was no exception.

  (When they finally stopped making love long enough to sleep, that is. )

  The following morning, Gabriel awoke, noticing that Julianne was still slumbering, her face pressed against one of his pectorals. He studied her profile without moving, resisting the urge to lift her chin so he could kiss her.

  Instead, he memorized the skin of her back and shoulders with his fingers.

  A great burden had been lifted from him. He hadn’t received exactly the answers he’d wished, but he’d received something better—the gift of his sister and his grandfather. Professor Spiegel was erudite and noble, well known for his intellectual insight and charity. He was a man Gabriel desired to know better. He was an ancestor whose blood he would be glad to pass on to his children.

  The thought comforted him.

  Kelly had introduced a seed of suspicion that their father was not the monster he’d thought. Gabriel’s memories and dreams were mixed to such a degree that it was possible he’d confused one with the other. Still, the facts he knew for certain about his father were damning enough.

  What kind of man abandons the mother of his child and disowns his son?

  His throat tightened as he thought of himself.

  “Did you see your grandmother?” Julianne blinked up at him sleepily.

  “Only from a distance. She was walking from her house to a car, with someone who is probably an uncle. At least, I think she was my grandmother. She lives in the same house. ”

  “You didn’t speak to them?”

  “No. ” He moved his hand to the small of her back, spanning the twin dimples that were above the curve of her backside. It was one of his favorite parts of her body.

  (Privately, he contemplated planting a flag there in an act of corporeal colonialism. )

  “Why not?” Julia was puzzled.

  “They aren’t my family. Standing there, I realized I might as well be an alien to them. There was no connection. Nothing. ” He sighed. “At least when I met my sister I recognized her eyes. ”

  Julia gave him a questioning look.

  “She and I have our father’s eyes. ”

  “Don’t you need to speak to your grandmother to find out about your mother’s medical history?”

  “Carson was able to get the autopsy report for my mother. He was also able to get information about her medical history, through dubious means. ”

  “And?”

  “Heart disease and high blood pressure run in her family, but there wasn’t anything especially worrisome. ”

  Julia visibly relaxed under his fingers.

  “That’s good news, isn’t it?”

  “Yes. ” Gabriel sounded strangely underwhelmed.

  “What about your father’s side?”

  “Kelly told me there was some heart disease on their side. ”

  “So you don’t want to meet your grandmother or your other relatives?”

  “I have my mother’s diary and a few anecdotes from Kelly. That’s enough. ”

  “Kelly knew your mother?” Julia sat up next to him.

  “She remembers meeting her when she worked for our father. And she recalls her parents fighting, presumably over my mother and me. I’d like to introduce you to Kelly. She and her husband have invited me to dinner tonight and then Friday night we’re supposed to go and visit our Aunt Sarah in Queens. ”

  “I’d love to meet your sister. But you might have to take me shopping for something to wear to dinner. Rebecca packed for me, so I have a carry-on full of lingerie and only one dress. ”

  Gabriel’s eyes grew heated. “Clearly, she doesn’t know you very well. ”

  “Why do you say that?”

  He leaned forward, brushing her ear with his lips. “Because you sleep naked. ”

  Julia thrilled to his nearness. She began playing with the few strands of his chest hair.

  “Did you finish your mother’s diary?”

  “Yes. ”

  “And?”

  “It’s about what you’d expect. As time wore on and she realized she would never have a life with my father, she grew more and more despondent, until finally, she stopped writing altogether. ”

  Julia rested her hand over his tattoo, gently pressing into the skin.

  “Are you glad you came to New York?”

  “Yes. Because of Kelly, I have some good news. Professor Benjamin Spiegel of Columbia was my grandfather. ”

  “Benjamin Spiegel,” she murmured. “I don’t recognize his name. Was he a Dante specialist?”

  “No, he specialized in Romanticism. We read some of his work in grad school. ”

  “Katherine Picton despises the Romantics. She accused me once of giving a Romantic reading of Dante. ”

  Gabriel chuckled. “Not everyone appreciates the Romantics. But Professor Spiegel did. His writings were the gold standard for decades. He published in German, mostly, but a few of his articles are in English. ”

  “And he was your grandfather?”

  “Yes. ” Gabriel wore a look of pride. “Kelly tells me he was much loved at Columbia and well known for his charity work and his leadership in the Jewish community. ”

  Julia’s eyebrows lifted. “Why didn’t you know about him?”

  “He and my father had a falling out. My father changed his name, turned his back on Judaism, and didn’t speak of his family. Kelly knew, of course. She’s in touch with our cousins. ”

  “Did she know him?”

  “Unfortunately, he died before she was born. ”

  “I guess we know where your passion for literature came from. And your interest in kosher sex. ”

  He laughed. “My interest in kosher sex is derived from other things, but maybe there’s a connection. ”

  His face grew serious. “Learning about my grandfather was the saving grace of my visit. ”

  Julia’s smile faded. “What about your sisters?”

  “Audrey won’t have anything to do with me. Kelly is wonderful, but she views my father in a very different light. ” Gabriel grimaced. “I don’t know where the truth lies. Was he the loving dad she remembers or the man who hit my mother?”

  “Maybe he was both. ”

  “Impossible. ”

  “I hope that he didn’t hit your mother or you, but it’s possible his relationship with his wife and other children was very different. ”

  “That isn’t comforting. ”

  “I’m sorry. ”

  Gabriel buried his face in her hair.

  “Why didn’t he want us?”

  Julia’s heart clenched.

  “I think he wanted you, along with his other family. Tha
t was the problem. He wanted to have it all and he couldn’t. Any failure on his part is his, not yours. ” She kissed Gabriel forcefully. “Will you tell me more about your sister? So much has happened and I’ve only been hearing pieces of it. ”

  “I will, but can it wait? There’s something kosher I’d rather do instead. ” Gabriel rolled to his back, pulling her on top of him.

  After room service had been delivered and eaten, Julianne returned to bed, covering herself with a sheet.

  “Let’s just stay here all day and have sex. ”

  Gabriel sat at her feet, his eyes sparkling. “Now that’s the Julianne I know and love. But don’t you have a paper to finish?”

  “I’d rather finish you. ” She crooked a finger.

  He was just about to pull the sheet from her naked body when his iPhone rang.

  He glanced at it.

  Then his eyes traveled to Julia’s.

  “Who is it?” she asked.

  Gabriel wore a sour expression. “Your uncle Jack. ”

  “Why is he calling you?” She sat up, tugging the sheet with her. “Do you think something’s wrong with my dad? Or the baby?”

  “I hope not. ”

  He unplugged his phone and held it to his ear. “Hello?”

  “Emerson. I’m standing in a Fed Ex depot in Washington, D. C. ” As always, Jack came straight to the point.

  “And?”

  “I’m holding a flash drive that contains videos and photographs, some of which are of my niece. And they aren’t exactly G-rated. ”

  Gabriel sat down on the edge of the bed.

  “You told me you got everything,” he growled.

  “Thought I did. The girl must have had a backup hidden somewhere. She tried to send it to Andrew Sampson at The Washington Post. ”

  “Then fix it. This is your problem. ”

  “Know that. Just called to discuss the play. ”

  Gabriel’s eyes darted to Julia’s.

  What’s going on? she mouthed.

  He held up a single finger, indicating that she should wait.

  “What do you suggest?”

  “The girl is angry with her boyfriend because he dumped her to marry someone else. She wants to embarrass him and his father. I say we help her. I’ll copy everything having to do with the girl and her boyfriend to a new flash drive and send it. ”

  “Isn’t that risky?”

  “It implicates them and keeps my niece out of it. ”

  Gabriel looked at Julianne—at the way her eyebrows were knitted together, a wrinkle forming in between them.

  “Your niece is here. Let me speak to her about it and I’ll call you back. ”

  “I don’t have a lot of time. ”

  “I’m not making this decision for her. ” Gabriel disconnected the call, tossing the phone on the bed.

  He scrubbed his face with his hands.

  Julia moved closer. “What’s going on? Why is Jack calling you?”

  “Apparently Natalie had a flash drive of photos and videos hidden somewhere. She tried to Fed Ex it to The Washington Post. ”

  “What?” Julia screeched. “It’s going to be on the Internet. It’s going to be in the newspapers. Oh my God. Oh my God. ”

 
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