Disclaimer: These characters are mine.
Subtext warning: Yes, there is a loving relationship between people of the same gender. If this offends you or is illegal where you are, please press the back button or move on. If you are under the age of 18, go away until you're old enough.
Language: Mild profanity.
Dedications: I’d like to give a special dedication to my friend Stassy. I know you didn’t see this coming but I just wanted to thank you for being the beautiful person that you are to me… Defense mechanisms be damned J
Feedback welcome at email@example.com
Envious grey eyes with just a hint of blue watch from the basketball court as a petite strawberry blonde hugs a tall blonde guy. She smiles slightly. So, they're back together. Guess they made up. Doesn't mean that I have to be happy about it… she thinks to herself as a frown works its way onto her face.
A blue-eyed blonde girl dressed in the same basketball uniform walks up to the brunette and follows her gaze into the stands. She frowns slightly at the look on her friend’s face. "Hey, Gabbi. You okay?" she asks touching her arm.
Gabrielle Stephens looks at her then down, running her hands through her dark wavy hair. "Yeah, Tami, I'm fine," she says quietly.
"Yeah," Gabbi sighs. Things are just going back to normal, she reasoned with herself. "Whatever that means..." she mutters under her breath as she follows Tami back to her teammates.
Tami raises her brows at her friend and looks back up at the pair in the stands, frowning confusedly.
Julia Anderson watches as her best friend Gabbi walks with Tami Lockhart back to her teammates, her head down. She tilts her head frowning a bit as she studies her friend's composure. That's not like her. She's usually so pumped before games. I wonder what's wrong. She looks over at Lance, Gabbi's boyfriend and her other best friend heading their way smiling and realizes that the problem must not be with the handsome 6’2” black haired blue-eyed football player. She reaches over and touches Jeff's hand. "I'm gonna go down and say 'hey' to Gabbi, ok?"
Jeff nods, smiling. "Sure. Tell her 'hey' for me, too."
She nods and smiles slightly. "Will do," she says standing as Lance walks up to them.
"Hey, Jules. Where you off to?" he asks with raised brows.
"To see Gabbi. To wish her luck today. I'll be right back," she says moving past him, impatiently.
Lance watches her with an amused look on his face and shrugs, sitting next to Jeff. "So...?"
Jeff laughs and shakes his head. "I think we'll be okay."
Lance pats him on the back. "Now that's what I like to hear," Lance says smiling and turning to watch the girls warm up.
Julia makes it to the railing and stands watching Gabbi do drills quietly and alone, away from her teammates. Something's definitely wrong. Before she could even open her mouth to call out Gabbi's name, she's pinned in place by a beautifully intense pale bluish-grey gaze set in a flawless caramel face. The noise in the gym is momentarily drowned out by the sound of her blood rushing in her ears as Gabbi makes her way over. What the hell is going on with me? Every time she looks at me...
Gabbi takes a long steadying breath as she approaches her friend. Cheer up, Gabbi, geez! You got what you wanted. She's back with Jeff after your encouragement. That's what you wanted, isn't it? she asks chiding herself. "Hey, Julia," she says forcing herself to smile at her friend.
Julia notices that Gabbi's smile didn't reach those gorgeous eyes of hers, and tilts her head, frowning in concern. "You okay?"
Gabbi starts bouncing the ball back and forth between her legs not meeting Julia's eyes. "I'm fine," she says quietly.
Liar. Julia leans forward over the rails. "It doesn't seem like it. Nervous?" Gabbi shakes her head silently, still bouncing the ball. "Upset? Sad?"
Gabbi stops, abruptly and looks at her then, eyes flashing dangerously. "Why would I be upset or sad?" she asks tersely.
Julia raises her brows taken aback. "I don't know, Gabbi. You just weren't... I just..." she stammers trying to understand what she had said to suddenly upset her friend.
"Everything's fine, Julia. Perfect! Everything's back to fuckin' normal like everybody wants!" she yells letting her emotions get the best of her.
Julia frowns, confusedly. “Why are you yelling at me?! And what do you mean? Back to normal? I don’t understand…” she says with tears in her eyes.
“You wouldn’t understand, would you?” she asks with cold eyes. She shakes her head, disgusted. “Just leave me the hell alone,” she growls and storms back to her teammates.
Julia straightens up and watches her walk away, tears flooding her hazel-green eyes. "Gabbi..." she whispers, a tear falling as she continues to watch Gabbi’s angry, retreating form.
By the time the game actually starts, Gabbi is seething. She's upset with herself for blowing up at Julia. She's upset with Julia because she's with Jeff. She's upset that she's fallen in love with her best friend and won't ever be able to tell her. Life's so fuckin unfair! Gabbi ends up taking her frustration and anger out on the other team and punishes them for 46 points. They win the State High School Girls Basketball Championship easily. She's named the MVP of the tournament and doesn't enjoy a single second of it because as soon as the game ends, her thoughts return to Julia...and Jeff.
Gabbi is so overwhelmed by the situation with Julia and Jeff and Lance that she asks her Moma to take her to the only person she knew she could talk to who could actually make some sense out of it all…her Grams. Tangie Williams has been the one person in all of Gabbi’s life from whom she couldn’t keep a secret. And she knew that by going to her Grams, she’d be forced to talk about the whole situation.
Moma and Grams are sipping coffee after an exceptionally quiet dinner. Moma looks out at Gabbi sitting on the porch swing alone, bundled up in a throw blanket. She shakes her head and sighs.
Grams looks up at her daughter then follows her line of sight out to her sullen and withdrawn grand-daughter. “What’s going on with her, Colleen? She’s way too quiet…too sad. What happened?”
Colleen shrugs and turns back to her mother. “I don’t know. I mean, she helps her team win the state championship, but she acts as if her whole world is falling apart.”
Grams frowns and looks out at Gabbi. “You have no idea?”
Moma shakes her head. “None. I know that her and her friend Julia had a little falling-out before the game, but she hasn’t said much else other than to request to come here Sunday night. It’s been 2 days and she still hasn’t opened up to me. I don’t know what to do. I hate to see her so sad. I wonder if her and Lance broke up.”
Grams frowns confusedly. I know of Julia. She’s her best friend. And I’ve talked with my grand-daughter many times since they moved and she hasn’t once mentioned a Lance. “Who is this Lance?”
It’s Colleen’s turn to look confused. “He’s her boyfriend. Julia’s best friend, actually. Gabbi never told you about him when she called?”
“No, love, she didn’t.” Grams narrows her eyes and sits her coffee down. Can my daughter really be so blind? She stands. “Let me go and talk with my grand-daughter, huh?”
“Good luck, Moma.”
Grams smiles and pats her on the shoulder as she passes. She grabs her jacket and goes to join her grand-daughter on the porch.
Gabbi’s staring out across her Grams back yard focusing on nothing. So many thoughts are racing through her mind. She’s so preoccupied with her thoughts that she doesn’t hear her Grams come and stand next to the swing until she speaks, startling her.
Gabbi looks up at her, smiling slightly. “Hey, Grams,” she says softly.
Grams smiles back. “Can I join you?” Gabbi nods and scoots over to allow her grandmother to sit down. Grams watches as Gabbi’s head lowers again. She studies the bowed head and slumped shoulders. “What’s going on, pumpkin? You’ve always been able to talk to me…and I think that’s why you came here, so tell me, honey. What’s wrong? What has got my baby so upset?”
Gabbi shakes her head still not looking up. “That’s just it, Grams. I don’t feel that it’s wrong. It’s just…it’s just that it isn’t quite right,” she says looking up at her.
Grams cocks her head in question. “Tell me…”
Gabbi smiles sadly as her tears start. “I…fell in love, Grams. I’m in love and it feels so right to me…but I don’t think that we’ll be able to ever be together. That’s the part that hurts. I have to keep all of these feelings to myself and it’s breaking my heart, Grams. It’s breaking my heart and I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this,” she says as her tears turn into sobs. She buries her face in her hands.
Grams shakes her head as her heart breaks for her grand-daughter. I knew it. Now for her to tell me all of it. She runs her fingers through the dark wavy hair of the bowed head in front of her. “What’s her name?” she asks softly.
Gabbi looks up sharply, staring into bluish-grey eyes identical to her own. As her Grams steadily holds her gaze, she realizes that her grandmother does indeed know her true nature. She sighs. “Julia…Her name is Julia,” she says quietly.
Grams nods and touches her cheek. “Your best friend?” Gabbi nods as her tears continue to fall. “Whose other best friend just happens to be your boyfriend?”
Gabbi nods again as her quiet tears turn back into heart-wrenching sobs. Grams doesn’t hesitate this time to take Gabbi into her arms and holds on tight. She rocks her back and forth on the swing as she alternately rubs and pats her back. A combination that she found worked wonders to calm Gabbi when she was a child. Slowly her sobs subside and she takes a deep shuddering breath, not moving out of the comforting embrace. “I don’t know what to do, Grams. I love her so much.”
“Does she love you?”
Gabbi shakes her head. “I don’t know…”
“Does she know you love her?”
“I’ve never told her…so, no she doesn’t.”
Grams shrugs. “Then it’s simple, pumpkin. Tell her how you feel.”
Gabbi sits up then. “I can’t! What if…what if she doesn’t feel like that about me? What if she stops being my friend because of it? That would kill me. I can’t lose her.”
“But you’re losing her now by distancing yourself from her, aren’t you?” Grams asks softly. Gabbi looks at her hands, guiltily. “Tell me this, honey… Let’s say you don’t tell her? What are you gonna do? Keep yourself estranged from your best friend and your boyfriend until you leave for college? How is that gonna help you, baby? And what if she’d been feeling the same way all that time? You’d never know. Don’t you think you deserve to know? Don’t you think that Julia deserves to know, too?”
Gabbi raises vulnerable grey eyes and Grams can see the hope slowly filtering into them. “You think she might love me, too?”
Grams smiles at her. “You are my grand-daughter. Who could resist?” Gabbi chuckles, looking down. She reaches over and grabs Gabbi’s hands. “Listen to me. You won’t ever know unless you tell her. I’ve never known you to run away from anything in your life, Gabrielle. Don’t start now…especially when the outcome could be so great.”
Gabbi takes a deep cleansing breath and smiles, nodding. “Ok, Grams. I’m gonna go crazy otherwise. I have to tell her and deal with the fallout then.”
Grams smiles and kisses her cheek. “That’s my girl but first…you need to have this same discussion with your mother. She’s worried sick about you.”
Gabbi’s smile fades. She swallows hard. “I don’t know if I can, Grams. I don’t want her to hate me for this.”
Grams pats her hand and stands. “Your mother is a very understanding woman. She may just surprise you. Give her a chance, ok?” Gabbi nods, silently. “Good. I’ll send her out to you,” she says going back inside missing the terrified look on her grand-daughter’s face.
Get a grip, Gabbi. She’s your mother. She’s supposed to love you no matter what. But what if she doesn’t? Grams took it ok. Seems like she knew it all along. I’ll have to talk to her about that. If all else fails, at least I’ll still have her. She takes a deep breath that hitches when she hears her mother come out onto the porch.
Colleen goes and takes the seat that Grams had just vacated and turns to her daughter. She tilts her head. “Ready to talk to me?”
Gabbi looks at her trying to read the emotions on her face and nods. “Yes, ma’am,” she says quietly.
Colleen watches as her daughter fidgets nervously. Must be pretty serious for her to be this nervous. “What happened, sweetie?”
“Julia and I had a fight,” Gabbi says quietly.
Moma nods. “Before your game, right?” Gabbi nods, silently. Moma frowns in confusion. “So, you requesting to come see Grams was because of your fight with Julia?” Gabbi nods, still not looking at her. Like pulling teeth… “Ok… What had you two fighting?”
Gabbi sighs. “Jeff…”
Moma frowns. “Did Jeff do something to you?”
Gabbi shakes her head. “No…all he did was be with Julia.”
“And you fought about them being together?”
Gabbi frowns still looking at her hands. “I didn’t want them to be together even though…I made them think that I did,” she says quietly.
Moma frowns in confusion. But why wouldn’t she…? Oh my god… Oh baby… Mother was right all those years ago. She sighs and takes in Gabbi’s demeanor. She’s terrified. Moma clears her throat. “Why not, sweetie?”
“Because…I want her to be with me,” she whispers, closing her eyes as she braces for her mother’s reaction.
Colleen stares out across the backyard, losing herself in a memory of a time where she herself was young and carefree. She had met Janie at a work convention right after she had gotten engaged to Gabbi’s father. They’d had a whirlwind affair…up until the day of Colleen and Gabriel’s wedding. Janie had come to see her as she dressed for the wedding. Janie had professed her love and begged Colleen on her knees not to marry Gabriel but to come away with her and be her wife instead. Colleen never professed her love in return. In fact, she did the opposite. She had crushed Janie’s heart that day because she had just found out that she was pregnant with Gabbi. But she knew that a part of her heart would always be lost to Janie. She cried through the entire ceremony. No one knew it was from a broken heart.
Her mother is so quiet that Gabbi has to open her eyes to make sure she’s still there. “Moma…”
Moma shakes herself from her reverie and focuses on her daughter. “So, you’re gay?”
Gabbi looks into her mother’s eyes. “If loving Julia makes me that way…” Moma looks down, nodding and frowning thoughtfully. Gabbi watches her Moma then looks at her hands. “I…I never wanted you to ever be disappointed in me. I just couldn’t continue to live like this. I know you love Lance, but I don’t. And I’m tired of pretending to be something I’m not. I am in love with Julia. I have been falling in love with her since I met her. This is something I can’t help, Moma…”
Moma reaches over and grabs Gabbi’s hands, holding them tight. She looks her daughter square in the eye. “Do you understand what this means, honey? This isn’t gonna be easy. People who you thought were your friends are gonna turn on you now. Some people just can’t understand the love that exists between two women.”
Something about the way her mother said that made Gabbi look at her mother curiously. “Do you, Moma?” she asks quietly.
Moma sighs. “Yes, I do, baby. Please trust me on this. I don’t want you hurt.”
“I’m hurting so much right now without her, Moma. And I understand your concern. I do, but when haven’t I been subject to discrimination? I go through it everyday living in the south as a black person. I can’t help being black no more than I can help loving Julia. I need her. Please trust me, Moma,” she implores, squeezing her mother's hands.
Moma looks deep into her daughter’s eyes and sees the love and conviction in them. She nods. “Ok, hon. I’m on your side. Always.”
Gabbi throws her arms around her mother's neck and starts to cry. “Thank you so much, Moma. I was so scared…”
Moma pats and rubs her back. “You never need to worry about disappointing me or losing my love. You hear me? I will always be here for you. I’ll always be in your corner.”
Gabbi nods as her tears continue to fall. “I love you, Moma,” she whispers.
“Love you too, sweetie.”
Julia walks into class the next Friday and stops dead in her tracks. After being absent all week, Gabbi was finally in class. She goes and takes her seat next to her.
Gabbi looks up as she enters and catches her eye. She then lowers her eyes to her desk, avoiding Julia’s gaze.
Julia shakes her head, sighing. I haven’t seen or heard from you all week and you can’t even look at me? Lance didn’t even know where you were. I don’t know if I should be happy about that or not, though. She frowns, slightly and writes Gabbi a note then puts it on her desk.
Gabbi stares at it for a long moment, closes her eyes briefly then picks it up and opens it.
Why are you avoiding me? What did I do?
Gabbi closes the note and shakes her head with tears in her eyes. She folds her arms and stares straight ahead, not acknowledging her or Lance. I can’t do this right now…
Julia looks at her in disbelief as her own tears form. She looks at Lance, who had been watching the whole exchange, and he only shrugs. She looks down as a tear finally escapes. She quietly excuses herself from her seat and leaves the room with Gabbi watching. As soon as she’s outside the door, she runs to the bathroom to cry in private.
Lance turns to Gabbi, frowning. “Why are you being so mean to her? To me? You avoid both of us for a week then you show up and give both of us the cold shoulder. She was worried about you.”
Gabbi sighs. “I realize that. I’m sorry for making you guys worry.”
He sighs and smiles, slightly. “Well, I miss my girlfriend. Can I take you out tonight to catch up? Maybe you can tell me what’s up then?” he asks hopefully. Gabbi looks at him then down at her hands, nodding. He smiles. “Great. Maybe we can double with Julia and Jeff. Then you can tell us all what’s been wrong with you…why you blew up with Jules at State and been avoiding everybody.”
Grey eyes narrow dangerously at him. Jeff? Are you kidding me? “I really don’t need an audience, Lance. And I certainly don’t owe Jeff a damn thing!” she exclaims, seething. “And it’s really quite simple once you think about it. If I didn’t contact you, maybe I didn’t wanna talk to you. Ever consider that?”
He frowns turning red. “Oh no? And what about Julia? Huh? She’s your best friend. She goes down to talk to you before State and you bite her head off.”
“What goes on between Julia and me is none of your business. Not at all.”
He shakes his head in frustration. “This isn’t you, Gabbi. Why are you acting like this?”
“You don’t know me! You think you do but you don’t. You have no clue at all about me or how I am…and you don’t know anything about me and Julia. So leave it alone,” she says standing and leaving out of the classroom without a backwards glance leaving him to fume behind her.
Gabbi enters the girls’ bathroom down the hall from their homeroom. She stops when she hears soft sobbing coming from the last stall. She takes a deep breath and walks quietly down to the stall. She knocks on the closed door softly. “Julia?” she calls softly. The sobbing abruptly stops. “It’s Gabbi, Julia. I’m…I…Can you please open the door?” After a brief silence, the crying resumes. Gabbi sighs and lowers her forehead to the stall door. Oh, Julia…
“Why do you hate me?” comes the quiet question behind the stall door.
Tears come to Gabbi’s eyes as she hears the pain in that question. “I don’t. I don’t hate you, Julia. I never could.”
Quiet sniffles follow that comment. “All I wanted was to wish you luck before the game. You seemed upset. I was just trying to find out why. I don’t know what I did for you to treat me the way you did,” she says as her tears overtake her again.
Gabbi squeezes her eyes shut as her tears overflow. “It wasn’t your fault. It was all my fault. There was a lot on my mind…but I blew up at you for no reason and I’m so sorry, Julia.” Julia continues to cry. I have to make this right. She didn’t deserve the way I treated her. “Julia…please…if you only knew…”
“Knew what, Gabbi?” Julia asks through her tears.
Gabbi takes a deep breath and opens her eyes. How much I love you… “How much I would give to take all of this back. I never ever meant to hurt you…but I did and I’m so sorry, Julia. Forgive me? Please?” she softly begs. Julia doesn’t answer and Gabbi couldn’t stop the tears that flowed down her cheeks. She bows her head and turns away to reign in her emotions. I’ve lost her… She turns back to the stall door. “I’m sorry, Julia,” she whispers and walks away.
Just then, the stall door opens and Julia steps out. “Gabbi?” she calls softly.
Gabbi stops and turns to her. She looks into her teary hazel-green eyes and quickly moves back to Julia to take her into her arms. Julia slips her arms around Gabbi’s neck and hugs her back. Gabbi closes her eyes, holding Julia close. “I’m so sorry,” she whispers, wishing that something other than a fight would bring her into Julia’s arms.
Julia nods into her neck. “It’s ok, Gabbi. I know you didn’t mean it,” she says softly.
Gabbi holds her tighter. “I didn’t. I swear,” she says earnestly.
Julia gasps softly at the sensations running through her as Gabbi holds her close. She focuses on the warmth of where she and Gabbi are connected all along their lengths and closes her eyes, content to have Gabbi hold her close for as long as she wanted. I am in so much trouble…
“Forgive me,” Gabbi whispers in her ear.
Julia releases a shuddering breath. I’d forgive you anything. “I do. I forgive you.”
Gabbi squeezes her tight and pulls away smiling brightly but keeping Julia in her arms. Julia can’t help but to return her smile. “So, we’re ok?”
Julia nods, smiling. God it feels good to have her smile at me again. “We’re ok.”
Gabbi bites her lip smiling at her and suddenly realizes that she still had Julia in her arms. Her smile fades and her eyes widen to the realization of just how tight she had held Julia. She looks down between them and notices that they’re touching all along the length of their bodies. She swallows convulsively as she feels the exquisite pressure of Julia’s breasts pressed against her own. Holy… She releases Julia reluctantly realizing simultaneously that Julia had never pulled away. She looks back up at Julia who refuses to meet her gaze. She watches curiously as a crimson wave crawls up Julia’s neck, lightly splashing her cheeks and coloring the tips of her ears. Hmmm... She smiles crookedly and looks down as she backs up a step. "I missed you, Julia," she says barely above a whisper.
Julia looks at her then and smiles. “I missed you, too.”
Gabbi smiles and reaches out to tenderly wipe Julia’s tears away. “Can I make this up to you?” she asks softly.
Hazel-green eyes close as Gabbi’s tender touch removes the evidence of her hurt. “That’s not necessary, Gabbi.”
Gabbi has to mentally stop herself from caressing Julia’s cheek. “But I want to…ok?”
Julia opens her eyes to look into pale grey ones framed by insanely long lashes. She’s so beautiful. “What did you have in mind?”
Gabbi smiles brightly. “I would love it if…damn. I forgot I have this thing with Lance tonight…”
Right. She's got a friggin boyfriend who just happens to be your best friend! Geez, Julia. "That's ok, Gabbi. It's really not necessary anyway," she says shrugging and looking away trying to hide her disappointment…but failing.
Gabbi grabs her hand lightly. "I'll call you as soon as I get home, ok? Promise," she says softly.
Julia nods, staring at their intertwined hands and slowly takes her hand back. Get a grip, Julia. You can't be getting excited every time she touches you. God, she's gotta stop touching me... She looks at Gabbi who flicks raven brows with an amused look on her face. Julia feels her face getting warm and sighs. She rolls her eyes, smiling. "I... uh...You better get back to class," she says backing away from Gabbi.
“Wait… We can’t walk back together?”
Julia shrugs. “I need a minute to get myself together. I know my makeup is a mess…”
Gabbi studies the marble-like hazel-green eyes, bright with unshed tears and slightly flushed cheeks and shakes her head. “You’re beautiful…”she says softly.
Julia bites her lip, smiling. “Thank you,” she says quietly.
Gabbi moves back to her and hugs her again briefly. “I’m glad we’re ok, Julia,” she whispers in her ear and squeezes her tight. She pulls away and lets her go. “I’ll see you back in class, ok?” she asks with raised brows.
Julia nods and swallows the lump in her throat. “Ok,” she whispers.
Gabbi looks into her eyes intently then backs away and leaves out of the bathroom. Damn. Could she possibly want me, too? Sorry, Jeff. But if that's the case... she's gonna be mine soon.
Gabbi stares out the window of Lance’s favorite restaurant later that night. I wonder what Julia’s doing. I wish she were here. I wish I were there.
“How’s your dinner?” Lance asks looking up from his plate.
“It’s fine,” she says twirling her fork around in her mashed potatoes.
“I can tell by how you’re wolfing it down,” he says, sarcastically taking a sip of his drink.
Gabbi sighs and sits her fork down. She sits back in her chair and looks at her watch. I really just want to get home so that I can call Julia.
Lance frowns looking at her. Her mood the last few days had been pissing him off. I know she had a falling out with Julia but she shouldn’t take it out on me. I’m her boyfriend for Christ’s sake! “If you had something better to do, you should’ve stayed home and done it,” he says taking another bite of steak.
She raises a brow. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me.”
She narrows her eyes at him. “Next time, I will.”
“Keep acting the way you are and there won’t be a next time,” he says taking another bite.
She sneers at him. “Do you promise?” she asks throwing her napkin down and standing to leave.
“Quit acting like a baby, Gabbi. I swear you’re spoiled rotten,” he says not taking his eyes off of his dinner.
“Screw you, Lance,” she says and storms out of the restaurant.
He rolls his eyes, sighing and signals for the check. He pays the bill and catches up with her outside of the restaurant. He pulls his jacket taut against the cold. “Let’s go.”
She looks at him and rolls her eyes. She rubs her arms, standing. Not having a jacket, she has no choice but to go with him. Way to go Stephens. How many idiots leave their jackets at home when it’s snowing outside?
He looks over at her as she’s staring out the window of his Jeep watching the snow fall. “I don’t know what’s been up with you lately, but you need to get over it.”
“You’d like me to get over it, wouldn’t you? Well, too bad. ‘Cause right about now, that’s damn near impossible. Besides, I don’t want to get over it,” she says continuing to stare out the window at the snowfall.
He grips the steering wheel tightly, frowning. “When did you get to be such a bitch?” he asks angrily.
She snaps her head around to look at him. “Did you just call me a bitch?” she asks incredulously.
He cuts his eyes at her then back at the road. “I call it like I see it.”
She narrows her eyes at him. “Stop the car,” she says quietly.
Oh shit…He sighs. “Gabbi, just…”
“Stop the fuckin’ car, Lance!” she yells at him at the top of her voice.
He pulls over to the curb and stops. She grabs her purse glaring at him. “Where you gonna go, Gabbi? Huh?”
“Anywhere away from you,” she says getting out and slamming his car door. Why didn’t I bring my goddamn jacket!!!
He rolls down the passenger side window and leans across the seat. “Get back in the car, Gabbi. Do you know how cold it is out there?”
“Just leave me alone!”
“Come on, Gabbi. Your Mom’ll never forgive me…”
“Just go away, damn it!” she yells at him.
“Fine!” he yells back spinning off.
“Damn it!” she yells, kicking a stray soda can. She runs her fingers through her hair. God, Julia. What are you doing to me? She pulls out her cell phone from her purse, chewing her lip tentatively then dials the only number she could think of at that moment.
“Hello?” a soft lilting voice floats over the phone
Gabbi immediately begins to relax. “Julia? Hey, it’s me…Gabbi.”
Julia smiles warmly. “I know your voice, Gabbi.” Gabbi smiles, blushing slightly and looks down. “You home already?”
Gabbi sighs. “No… uh… that’s why I’m calling. Where are you right now?”
Julia glances at Jeff coming out of restaurant. “I’m…uh… I just picked up Moma some Chinese food. Why?”
“Can you come and get me? Please?”
Julia frowns, concerned. “Sure, I can, Gabbi but where’s Lance?”
Gabbi snorts, lightly. “He left me on the side of the road.”
There was an angry pause. "Are you serious?" Then a sigh. "Tell me where you are..."
Julia speeds to Gabbi’s location after dropping Jeff off at home. That bastard! How could he leave her out here like that? She pulls up and gets out leaving the car running. “Geez, Gabbi! Where’s your coat?” she asks pulling her dad’s oversized racing jacket taut.
Gabbi shrugs, freezing. “I left it at home. I wasn’t planning on being left out in the cold like this.”
Julia tilts her head and sighs. “You can’t get straight into the heat from this cold. You’ll get sick. You gotta warm up slowly.”
Gabbi rubs her arms. “How do you suggest I do that, Julia?” she asks shakily through chattering teeth.
Julia opens her coat, smiling mischievously. “There’s room enough for both of us in here.”
Gabbi raises her brows, smiling. Oh yeah…“You don’t have to tell me twice,” she says moving quickly into Julia’s embrace. She wraps her arms around Julia’s waist and closes her eyes as Julia closes the coat around her, wrapping Gabbi in her arms.
She smells so good, Julia thinks to herself smelling her hair.
This is the second time today that I’ve been in her arms. I sure could get used to this. Gabbi sighs contentedly. “You feel so good, Julia,” she whispers against her neck, warming quickly as she snuggles in Julia’s embrace. She can feel Julia’s heart speed up.
Julia tightens her arms around Gabbi. “You feel so good, too, Gabbi,” she whispers. Shit! Did I just say that out loud? “Uh… I mean…” she stammers.
Gabbi chuckles quietly and rubs her back, smiling. “I know what you mean,” she whispers.
“Do you?” Julia asks in a nervous whisper.
Gabbi pulls back looking at her. “I sure hope that I do,” she says softly and biting her lip.
Julia stares at her mouth then looks into her clear grey eyes. She smiles softly and looks down. She looks back at Gabbi. “Are you warm now?”
Gabbi nods smiling slightly and backs away, looking down at her shoes. Julia catches her hand before she could pull all the way away. Gabbi raises her head, catching her gaze and steps back to her as they hear a car’s tires squealing to a stop. They both look towards the sound. Julia, seeing Lance’s Jeep pull up, slowly drops Gabbi’s hand. Gabbi watches as Julia takes a step back away from her.
Lance gets out and comes up to them. “Gabbi, you need to come with me now.”
Gabbi takes a step away from him and towards Julia with a frown on her face. “I’m not going anywhere with you,” she says folding her arms.
Lance sighs and looks at Julia. “What are you doing here?” he asks if just noticing her.
“I called her. So, you can leave now,” Gabbi answers for her as she gets into Julia’s car.
Julia walks up to Lance. “What were you thinking, Lance? Leaving her out here without a coat? You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t get sick from this.”
“I wasn’t gonna leave her. I came back,“ he says looking at Gabbi through Julia’s back window. He sighs. “Can you talk to her for me? Please?” he begs her.
Julia sighs. Not again. Not now. “I’m gonna take her home…” she says not promising anything.
He nods. “All right. Thanks, Jules,” he says going to get back in his Jeep and leaving after a look back at Gabbi.
The ride back is a silent one.
Julia turns down the road to her house. Gabbi looks over at her questionably. “I’m gonna take Moma her food. I’ll only be a second,” Julia says pulling into her driveway.
“Ok,” Gabbi says quietly and looks back out the window.
Julia looks at her and sighs. She grabs the Chinese and gets out going inside.
Gabbi watches her, silently. She knows what’s going on with us. She feels something for me, too. I know she does. But Lance is her best friend. It wouldn’t be right to come between them. But how can I not follow through with my feelings? She watches as Julia comes and settles back in the car.
“All set,” she says buckling up and backing out to drive the short distance to Gabbi’s house.
Gabbi looks at her. Now or never. “Julia?” she asks softly.
Julia looks at her. “Yeah?”
“We need to talk about all of this… you know?” Gabbi asks softly with raised brows.
Julia nods and looks back at the road. She turns down Gabbi’s street. “I know,” she says pulling beside Gabbi’s curb and parking. She sits back in the seat and sighs. Lance is my best friend. How am I supposed to betray him like this? But how can I not reciprocate her feelings when I’ve been feeling the same way for months now?
Gabbi watches her in the moonlight. God, she’s beautiful. She sighs. She watches as Julia avoids her gaze. “He asked you to talk to me for him, right?” she asks softly.
Julia looks at her then, noticing how her pale grey eyes have turned nearly clear in the moonlight. “Yeah, he did,” she confesses quietly.
Gabbi nods and reaches over to hold Julia’s hand. Julia looks at their hands then up at Gabbi. Gabbi raises Julia’s hand to her mouth and closes her eyes as she kisses the inside of her wrist. Julia gasps softly as warmth spreads from Gabbi’s soft lips all the way through her body. Gabbi looks into her eyes. “Don’t bother,” she says softly and lets her hand go.
Julia misses the contact immediately. “Gabbi… Lance… he… he loves you…” No, I love you. Oh my god…I love you.
Gabbi looks at her hands and sighs. “I know,” she says softly and turns to open the door. She shakes her head in frustration and turns back to stare into Julia’s eyes. “You have my heart, Julia. Don’t you think it’s time to claim what’s yours?” she asks softly then gets out of the car and hurries into her house.
Julia watches in stunned silence as Gabbi disappears inside her house. “Damn it!” she exclaims punching her steering wheel. She punches it again and again. She runs shaky fingers through her hair, sighing. How did I manage to screw this up? I can’t help it if she doesn’t want to be with him. She loves me and by God, I love her, too. She looks over to where Gabbi was sitting and notices that she had left her purse behind. She grabs the purse, biting her lip. I can’t help this. We can’t help how we feel. She takes a deep breath, shuts the car off, and gets out, locking the doors. She goes up to the door and rings the bell.
Gabbi storms through her living room past her mother and into her bedroom. She strips and heads straight to the shower.
Her Moma knocks on her door and peeks in. “Honey? You okay?” she calls out.
“I’m fine, Moma. I’m fine,” she calls out from the shower as her tears start to fall.
Moma starts to continue to questioning her when she hears the doorbell ring. She closes Gabbi’s door and goes to answer it. “Julia… Hi, sweetie.”
“Hi, Mrs. Stephens. Gabbi left her purse in my car…”
“Oh, well, I can give it to her if you want…” Moma says reaching for the purse.
“No! Actually, I’d like to return it myself,” Julia says clutching the purse to her chest.
Moma raises her brows. “Ok, hon. She’s in the shower right now but you’re more than welcome to wait for her.”
“Thanks,” Julia says coming inside.
Gabbi comes out of the shower and dresses in gray sweatpants and a white tank top. She goes and sits in her window seat and watches the snow fall. How much worse can this night get? Maybe she doesn’t want me. Maybe she loves Jeff and I’ll never get to be with her in that way. Jesus… How can I go back to being just friends now? There’s a knock at her door and she sighs. Not now, Moma, please. She stands and goes to the door. She opens her door only to stand face to face with Julia. “Julia…”
“Hey… uh… can I talk to you?”
Talk to me? “Sure…yeah,” she says stepping aside and letting Julia into her room. Julia comes in and Gabbi closes the door behind her after glancing at her Moma who was watching curiously. She turns to Julia who’s standing in the middle of her room. “So…?”
Julia turns to her. “You…uh… forgot your purse in my car, “ she says holding it out to her.
Gabbi takes it frowning slightly. Is that it? “Thanks,” she says quietly and goes to sit back in her window, drawing her knees up to her chest and watching the snow.
Julia watches her then goes to sit next to her. She looks at her hands and sighs. “Do you ever feel like your life is one big play? Like you’re playing a role for everyone to see…but when the lights go off, you’re really somebody completely different?”
Gabbi nods and looks at her, lowering her chin to her knee. “Everyday,” she says softly.
Julia looks at her. “Me, too. I know that everybody expects me and Jeff to be together…to be head over heels in love…but the truth is Jeff and I know that the most we’ll ever be is really good friends.”
Gabbi tilts her head narrowing her eyes slightly. Just friends, huh? But I thought…
“And I know that people expect you and Lance to be together, too. I mean, you two are absolutely gorgeous together and he really does love you so much…” Julia says softly. Gabbi sighs, lowering her legs to sit Indian-style and looks at her hands. Julia dips her head and lifts Gabbi’s chin to look into her eyes. Gabbi looks up into an intense green gaze. “…but he’s not the only one, Gabbi,” she whispers.
Gabbi loses herself in that green gaze as her mouth goes dry and her heart beats triple time. “He’s not?” she whispers. Julia shakes her head, looking in her eyes. “Why not?” Please say it. Please just mean it.
Julia smiles softly and caresses the cheek she’s touching, knowing that Gabbi needed to hear the words. “Because I love you, too…so much, Gabbi,” she whispers tenderly.
Gabbi smiles as tears come to her eyes. She touches the hand that’s caressing her cheek and sighs. “I love you, too, Julia. With all my heart, I do,” she says hugging her. Julia closes her eyes and holds her close. Gabbi pulls away and touches Julia’s cheek. “I love you so much,” she whispers. Julia smiles and bites her lip. Gabbi smiles and runs her fingers through Julia’s hair around to her neck and gently begins to pull Julia towards her. Julia’s hand balances her on Gabbi’s thigh as she leans forward. Their lips are so close that they’re breathing each other’s air when there’s a knock on the door. Julia sits back, laughing. “Geez!” Gabbi exclaims, dropping her head in frustration.
“It’s probably your Moma.”
Gabbi rolls her eyes. “Perfect timing, huh?” she asks going to the door. Julia shrugs smiling. She stops before opening the door. “Will you stay? Tonight? Will you stay with me?”
Julia nods, smiling. “I’ll stay. I just have to call my Moma.”
Gabbi smiles at her. “Ok,” she says watching her pull out her cell phone. She opens the door. “Hey, Moma.”
Moma looks at her daughter with raised brows. “Everything ok?”
“Yeah, Moma. Everything’s fine.”
“Did something happen with you and Lance? Why did Julia bring you home?” Moma asks frowning.
Gabbi sighs. “That’s a long story but I’m ok. Julia helped me out. She was gonna stay over if that’s ok.”
“Sure it is. Maybe you should clear the air, huh? I’m here if you need me,” Moma says smiling.
Gabbi smiles at her. “I know, Moma. Thanks.”
Moma touches her cheek. “Love you.”
“I love you, too. ‘Night, Moma.”
“Goodnight. Don’t stay up too late, ok?”
“’kay,” she says closing the door. She sighs and leans her head against the door, locking it. Julia goes to her and runs her hands up over her back. Gabbi bites her lip as intense tingling sensations run through her body. She turns to Julia and after looking into her hazel-green eyes that are filled with love and desire, she finally loses control. She eliminates the space between them as their lips finally meet.
Julia loses herself in the softness of Gabbi’s lips upon hers. She parts her lips, inviting Gabbi deeper and moans softly when Gabbi takes immediate advantage slipping her tongue inside. Julia backs Gabbi up against the door as they continue to explore each others’ mouths with their tongues.
Gabbi pulls away, breathless. “Oh my god, Julia,” she pants as Julia trails kisses down her jaw line to her neck. She moans softly as Julia runs her hands over her breasts down to her waist and pulls her body against her.
Julia continues to place kisses on Gabbi’s neck, losing herself to the passion she had been holding inside. There’s no way I’m turning back now. She wants me as much as I want her. She runs her hands over Gabbi’s butt and as she bites her neck, softly. She hears Gabbi gasp and holds her tighter. “I love you,” she whispers.
Tears come to Gabbi’s eyes and overflow. “I love you, too,” she says sniffling.
Julia pulls back to look at Gabbi and sees the tears. She touches her cheek, wiping her tears away. “You okay? Gabbi, we don’t have to…”
Gabbi shakes her head and grabs Julia’s hand. “I want to, Julia. Since I met you, this is all that I’ve wanted. I just never thought that I’d actually ever have this…have you.”
Julia smiles softly and laces their fingers. “Me, too. I wish I had met you first.”
Gabbi smiles and kisses Julia’s hand. “Me, too,” she says leading Julia to her bed. She sits Julia down and kneels in front of her. She puts her arms around her waist and Julia runs her fingers through Gabbi’s hair. She runs her fingertips across Julia’s lower back. “If we do this…”
“When we do this…” Julia corrects softly.
Gabbi chuckles and looks down. “When we do this… It’s gonna mean a lot more to me than just…I mean I’ve never…”
Julia leans down close to her face. “I know, Gabbi. I know you’re a virgin. I am too. And I would never wanna rush you or cheapen this. I wouldn’t hurt you that way.”
Gabbi looks at her. “I know you mean that.”
“I do. Listen to me, ok? I love you so much and I would do anything in this world for you. You’re my everything. And I know it’s gonna be hard…breaking it to our parents and Lance and to Jeff even. But as long as I know that I have you and you love me, I know it will be ok. I’m gonna do everything I can to make you happy, Gabbi.”
Gabbi smiles at her. “You do make me happy, Julia. It means so much to me to know that you loved me enough not to leave…but to come here for me. And I’ll stay happy as long as you continue to love me.”
Julia touches her cheek and runs her thumb across her lips. “I will never stop loving you, Gabbi. Ever,” she whispers, leaning in to kiss her again as they lose themselves in each other and the promise of their future.
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