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Author's Chapter Notes:

The main characters in this story are formally introduced in Chapter 97 of "Love Reawakened."

http://valentchamber.com/viewstory.php?sid=1901&chapter=97




Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Angel pulled off her heels four steps through the door. The clicking sound only served to compound her migraine.

Aleksey stood still at the door's frame, and watched Angel head upstairs before bellowing Natalia's name.

The longtime maid appeared quickly and seemingly out of no where. “Yes, Sir.”

“Bring two glasses of Romane Conti up to Ms. Angel’s room in ten minutes.”

“Yes, Sir.”

He made it as far as the bottom stair before changing his mind. “Make that fifteen.”

She bowed and headed for the kitchen.

He climbed the stairs slowly. She hadn't said much the entire ride home from the meeting, and it concerned him.

He slid his hand down the door, then knocked softly.

“Yes?”

“It is Aleksey.”

“Come in.”

He opened the door and out of the corner of his eye spotted her standing in front of her double walk-in closet wearing only a camisole, underslip, and what he believed to be a thong. He, unapologetically licked his lips when the slip fell to the floor. 'Definitely a thong.'

“I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

His eyes roamed across her uncovered backside as she bent down to pick up the slip. He made no attempt to hide his perusal, not even when she turned and caught him in the act. She cocked a brow at his dalliance, and he playfully returned the gesture. It was a game she wasn’t in the mood to play, so she gave him a faint smile and continued to search the closet for comfortable clothes.

“I’ve been wondering if I made the right decision, you know allowing Melanie and Val access to Destiny so soon. What do we really know about them?” After settling on a long, red plush robe, she sat down on the bed bench and stared out the window. He stood at her side uncertain if she was venting or actually wanted him to speak. “Uh, Aleksey.”

“Yes?”

This is the part where you give me your opinion.”

He cleared his throat and answered, “Okay. I think what you did was fair.”

“But, what if they aren’t as nice as they seemed at the meeting? What if they end up hurting her?”

He motioned toward the bench and sat down after she scooted over. "I think that is your fear talking.”

She looked up with glassy eyes. “Do you really think that's all it is?”

“Yes. Marat has vouched for these people, and he knows that it is his head and theirs on the line.”

A wily smile accompanied a twinkle in her eyes. “What do you mean?”

He kissed the side of her head. “That is not for you to worry about.” He stood at the sound of a faint knock on the door. “Come in, Natalia.”

She silently placed the tray of beverages on the dresser and walked back out in kind.

Angel picked up one of the glasses. “What’s this?”

“A little something to help you relax.”

“You think you know me, don’t you?”

“Yes, but I am still learning. You are my teacher, and I am more than willing to learn everything about you.”

She set the glass back down on the tray and glided over to him with a smile. “Is that right?”

He smiled back at her and nodded. “Is there something that you would like to teach me?”

“Yes, but unfortunately we don’t have time.” She turned around and he caught her by the hand.

She inhaled a sigh when he bought the dainty appendage to his mouth. “You always say that we do not have time, but we always do.”

She watched through heavy-lidded eyes as he concentrated on one finger at a time. “Having time, and making time are two different things, Aleksey.”

He removed her finger from his mouth with a sounding pop. “Maybe for average people, but as we both know, I am not average by any means.” He pulled her closer until their bodies were aligned. With both hands, he pressed her pelvis against his building erection causing a soft moan to rise from her core. She leaned back just enough for her fingers to clumsily attack his belt until he reached down between them and in one motion freed himself of the contraption.

His thumbs hooked in the side of her panties only pausing when they got stuck on the fullness of her backside. She wiggled her hips and held on to his broad shoulders as he bent his body to the side and slowly peeled them down her long legs. He placed his hands on her waist and turned her around so that he could stare at her perfectly shaped globes right before he smacked one and then the other. She groaned when he grabbed her left hand and slipped it passed her flat stomach and down to her dripping center. She fell back against him as he forced her to pleasure herself. When her orgasm approached, he pulled her hand away and brought her fingers back to his mouth. She looked over her shoulder and watched as the tip of his tongue hungrily removed all traces of her essence. He flinched when her fingers without warning formed a sheath around his thickness. Before he could stop her, she turned and dropped to her knees. He watched with dreamy eyes as she delivered repeated tongue kisses from the head to the base and back again. She readjusted her hands and mouth as his member continued to grow. It was larger than she remembered. When she began fondling his heavy sack, he pulled her up in one motion. Her legs quickly wrapped around his waist, and her mouth fastened to his as if it were a magnet.

With eyes still closed, he walked over to the bed and laid her down; never allowing their lips to separate. Their fingers tripped over each other as they attacked the buttons of his shirt. She opened her robe slowly starting from the bottom. There were many things to appreciate, but the focal point of his attention was the place his body called home. He kicked out of his pants and underwear simultaneously, then proceeded to climb on top of her and remove her robe. There was only one thing that stood in his way. He gave her a smoldering look that almost consumed her all while running his fingers across the top of her camisole. He then toyed with the strand of hand sewn pearls and beads that stretched across the length, and gazed into her eyes as he placed his hands on the corners of her top. Without warning, he deliberately smothered her scream as he ripped the soft material apart, releasing her breasts in the process.

Before she could reopen her eyes, his tongue lazily blazed a slick trail down to each breast, then back up to her quivering mouth.

His mouth continued to swathe hers until he realized that his full weight was pressed down on top of her much smaller frame. He raised up slightly until he felt her feet press against his backside. With his eyes, he questioned her movement. She answered by locking her arms behind his massive back, and pulling him back down on top of her.

“I am too heavy.”

“Don’t move.”

There was a pleading in her eyes that drew him in. He considered her plea, and offered a compromise. “Just a little. I do not want to hurt you.”

“You’re not hurting me, Aleksey.”

“Please, just a little.” She sighed, but released her hold. He raised himself on the strength of his forearms, but allowed his lower half to remain flush against hers.

When he raised his head, she kissed a path across his jawline up to his ear. The things she whispered to him resulted in an instant blush forming across his entire body.

“Angel.” The breeze from his whisper felt like a gentle kiss against her cheek. He rolled over onto his back and surrendered not only his body, but also complete control to her. Almost immediately after she lowered herself onto him, he became flooded by a sea of emotions; all ending with a revelation that not even time could have prepared him for. His heart raced to an unnatural speed as he realized that for the first time in his life... he was in love.

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6 days later…

The receptionist ambled from behind her desk. “He’s ready to see you now.”

Gavin inwardly fought with his nerves as he entered the cluttered room.

The man looked up briefly. “Please, have a seat.”

“Thank you.” Gavin clutched his hat as if his life depended on it.

“It says here that you graduated top of your class.”

“Yes, Sir. I did.”

“And, you’ve done a lot of volunteer work.”

“Yes, at various clinics in low-income areas.”

“Mmmm.” He flipped over to the next page. “And, your last job… you were terminated. Can you expound?”

“I was falsely accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who was never my patient.”

“Were you able to prove that she was never a patient of yours?”

“No. She claimed that she used a fake name.”

“Mmmm.” He stared at him over the rim of his glasses. “But, you were still fired?”

Gavin shrunk down in his seat. This was his sixth interview, and the sixth time he was asked about the situation. “Yes. I was.”

“Do you have any history with your accuser?”

“I don't even know her real name.”

“Did you at least ask who filed the complaint against you?”

“Yes, Sir. They still wouldn’t tell me who she was. They said that since she was a victim, they were unable to give me that information. I just wanted to know why she went after me.”

Mr. Jenkins flipped through the file to one of the last pages. “I have a name.”

Gavin shot up in his chair. “You do? How? I was told that they couldn’t release that information.”

“No. Not to you, but since I was conducting a complete background check, I was able to get a copy of everything.”

“Who is she? Why did she lie?”

“I have the who, but I don’t know why she… lied. You really didn’t do it did you, Son?”

“No. I swear on my life I have never done anything inappropriate with a patient.”

The man leaned back in his office chair and rocked a few times before exhaling sharply. “Does the name, Bianca Monroe ring any bells?”

“Bianca Monroe? That sounds like a…”

“Stripper? Porn star? Yea. I thought so, too.” Gavin nodded, but didn’t look up.

“About the job...”

“Son, I would like to hire you, I really would, but with this floating over your head, it’s just bad for business.”

Gavin headed for the door. “Thanks anyway.” When he closed the door, his smiled drained away slowly. ‘Bianca Monroe? Who the hell are you, and what the hell did I ever do to you?’

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Gavin slammed through the front door. With the allegation against him, no one wanted to touch him. ‘Bad for business.’ He threw his briefcase down on the sofa and headed straight for the kitchen.

“Hey honey. How’d it go?”

“Just like all the others.”

“Things will get better.”

“I used to think so.”

“Don’t give up. Something is going to come through. What about the connections Leo gave you?”

They won’t even touch me. I’m a liability.”

“I’m sorry, Gavin.”

“Me, too. What’s for dinner?”

“Spaghetti.”

From behind, he enveloped her in his arms and delivered a quick kiss to the ticklish spot on her neck. “I've always liked your spaghetti.”

“Oh really? I can think of something else you like, too.” She wiggled against him.

He frowned at his watch. “Can I get a rain check?”

“You have a meeting?”

“Yea.”

“I am so proud of you, Gavin.”

“Thanks. I'm gonna grab a quick shower then head out. I should be back in a couple of hours.”

“Okay. Dinner, and I will be waiting.”

“Sounds good.” While he was taking his shower, the wise words from a poster at his favorite AA meeting spot popped into his mind. "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you're going to keep getting what you've been getting." 'Something's got to change.'

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Gavin's sponsor spotted him coming through the door. “Hey, Gavin. How are things going?”

“Good.” He shook his head. “That’s a lie. Shitty. Things are really shitty.”

“I take it things are still tough on the job front. Look, don’t feel bad. It’s a recession. Lots of people can’t find jobs these days.”

“That’s just it -- I’ve been offered a job -- a great job… It’s just in another state.”

“A fresh start might be just what you need.”

“I thought so too, but now that Melanie's found her little girl--”

“She doesn’t want to leave.”

“I couldn’t even bring myself to ask her.”

“But, what about you? When is Gavin going to do what’s best for Gavin?”

Melanie is what’s best for me.”

The man patted Gavin on his back and laughed. “You’ll learn, man. You’ll learn.”

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“Hey, Val.”

“Glad to see your Caller ID is working.”

“I don’t need Caller ID. What’s up?”

“I apologize for calling you so late, I just wanted to know if you heard anything from Melanie or Aleksey.”

“No. Have you?” She put the plates down on the table and grabbed a seat.

“No. As far as I know we’re still on for tomorrow. Uh, is Gavin going?”

“No. I thought it would be best if it were just you and me. Why? Are you planning on bringing your grandma?”

“My girlfriend is not that old.”

“Fine. Your great-aunt.”

He sucked on his bottom lip. “Are you jealous?”

“No.” She scoffed at the insinuation. “Why would I be jealous? I have Gavin.”

“And, how are things going with you two?”

“Great! Things are going great!”

“You’re lying.”

“No, I’m not... Okay, he’s having a little trouble finding a job, but other than that, everything’s fine.”

“Well, I could give him a job at my studio… cleaning floors or something.”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!”

“What? I’m only trying to help. I mean, somebody’s got to take care of you.”

“Well, he doesn’t need any help. He’s doing a great job taking care of me all by himself.”

“Well, good for him.” He didn't bother hiding the disgust from his voice.

“Anyway, what time are you picking me up?”

“If we leave now--”

“Not gonna happen. I’m expecting Gavin home any minute.”

“Really? And, what do you two have planned for the night? A couple of rounds of Parcheesi, or how about Scrabble?”

“You think you’re really funny, don’t you?”

“I’m not trying to be. It’s just that you used to have fun, and now you’re… boring.”

Boring? Oh, I got your boring!”

“Lanie, I'm just calling it like I see it.”

“Then, you need glasses.”

“Admit it, we used to have fun together.”

“Yea, when were kids at summer camp.”

“And, even in Jamaica the sparks were still there.” Her retort came in the form of a short sigh. “I felt it, and I know you did, too. Look, I know Gavin has done a lot for you, but that doesn’t mean you owe him your life. It’s your life.”

“And, I chose Gavin to be in it.”

“And, you chose wrong.”

“Who are you to say?!”

“I’m the man who never stopped loving you!”

She jumped at the sound of the front door closing. “Look, Gavin’s home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Will you at least think about what I said?”

“Fine. Sure. Good bye.”

She tried to hang up before Gavin walked in the room, but it was too late.

“Hey, babe. Who was on the phone?”

“The phone? Oh, that was just… Dani.”

“Oh, how’s she doing?”

“She’s great. Everyone’s great. I hope you’re hungry, I made too much as usual.” She hopped up and ran into the kitchen.

“Yea. I’m really hungry.” Unfortunately for her, Gavin could always tell when she was up to something. He grabbed the phone and scrolled through the list of callers. “So, what did Val want?”

“What?” She lingered in the kitchen, hoping that he would drop it, knowing that he wouldn’t.

He quietly entered the kitchen and stepped directly behind her. “I asked--” She jumped at the sound and proximity of his voice. The ceramic dish slipped out of her hands and crashed to the floor.

“Damn! Well, there goes dinner.” When she bent down to pick up the largest chunks of the bowl, he grabbed her arm and pulled her right back up.

“What’s going on, Mel?”

“You scared me, that’s all.”

“You know what I mean.” He held up a hand when she tried to speak. “I get that you and Val have a connection because you share a daughter, but this…” he held up the phone, “you lying to me... I'm not putting up with that.”

“I just wanted to sit down and have a decent meal with you without all the looks you give me every time I mention Val or our daughter for that matter.”

“I don’t give you looks.”

“You’re doing it right now. I chose you, Gavin.”

“Why?”

“What?”

“Why did you choose me?”

“We’ve been over this.” She tried to walk away and he stopped her.

“Well, tell me again.”

“You’ve always been there for me when I needed you. You’ve always had my back, and I want to have yours while you’re going through this struggle.”

“What about love?”

“I love you -- you know that!”

“You didn’t say it, though.”

“I tell you every damn day and night! What is this?”

He folded his arms over his chest. “It’s truth time.”

“Okay, I didn’t tell you that I was talking to Val. Is it really that big of a deal?”

“No, but let’s be honest for a minute, Mel. Things haven’t been the same for us since he came back into your life. Hell, since I lost my job. There’s been a wall between us. At first I thought you built it, but now I’m not so sure.”

“What do you mean?” She pulled him into the living room, and down on the sofa.

“I mean, we’ve lost something that I don’t know we can ever get back.”

“Where is this coming from? You didn’t feel this way before you left for your meeting.”

“Melanie, I’ve been feeling this way for a while; I just didn’t have the courage to tell you. I love you, and I believe that you love me, but you know as well as I do that something's missing between us.”

“Is this because you haven’t been able to find a job? I told you baby, something will come through.”

Something already has.”

She stood up and placed her hands on her waist. “So, this is what it's really about. You want to take that job in Connecticut.”

Kentucky, and yes I do. It’s the only place that’s willing to hire me, Mel.”

“But, what about us? Do you expect me to just pick up and leave after finally finding my daughter? You know I’m going to meet her for the first time tomorrow.”

“I know, and no I’m not expecting you to pick up and leave. Mel, we’re at a cross road. You can’t leave, and I can’t stay.”

“But, I love you.”

“And, I love you.” He wiped the sudden tears that clouded his vision. “I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I didn’t, but we can’t keep going in circles. By now we should both know that no matter how hard we fight it, we’re always going to always end up right back here.” He gently pulled her back down on the sofa. “If I stay, I’m gonna resent you--”

“And, if I leave, I’m gonna resent you. Why does everything have to be so damn hard?!”

She shoved her face into the warmth of his shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around her. “I don’t know, baby. I wish I did.”

She pulled back out of their embrace. “So, what now? You just leave?”

“Basically. They won’t hold the position open for me forever. If I had followed my mind instead of my heart, I would have left then, and we wouldn't have to relive this pain all over again.” He brushed his fingers across her damp cheek. “I'm sorry I was being selfish.”

Selfish? I was the selfish one. I knew you needed that job, but I couldn’t let you go. I... I still don’t know if I can.”

He held the side of her face in his palm. “Mel, if it was truly meant to be, don’t you think we would have gotten it right by now?”

She laughed softly. “I guess you’re right. My father used to say that things always happen for a reason.”

“I believe that's true.”

“Then, why the hell did you walk back in my life just to walk back out?”

“I don't know.”

“Well, will you please point me in the direction of whoever the hell can, because I am confused as fuck!”

“Mel! I almost forgot that you can curse like a sailor.”

She completely ignored his lame attempt at humor. “What am I going to do without you?”

He gathered her hands in his. “You are going to get to know your daughter, spend time with her, and be the best mom she could ever dream of.”

“And, what about you? What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to help people who need me.”

I need you.”

“No, you don’t. You’re a lot stronger than you know. I see it, and so does everyone else in your life. Come here.” She folded in his arms. “You’re going to be just fine without me.”

Quiet sobs overtook her. “This hurts so bad, Gavin.”

“I know, Mel. It hurts me, too, but one of us has to call it.”

She sat back and laughed. “Call it?”

He shrugged, and bit back a laugh. “What? Doctoring is in my blood.”

She sighed heavily, and wiped away her remaining tears. “So, when are you leaving this time?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?! But, we just discussed it.”

“I know, but there’s really no point in putting it off.”

“I never thought things would go like this. We were supposed to make it.”

“And, we will… just not together. You tell Val that if he hurts you, I’ll kill him.”

Val? Val has nothing to do with this. He and I aren’t--”

“Mel. Seriously, I know.”

“Know what?”

“I know that your feelings for him have only grown since you told him about the baby you two created. And, although you've tried to fight it, I know that you love him.” He stood up and softly said, “I told you I was selfish.”

“But--”

“No, buts. Maybe, it was supposed to be like this all along. I don’t know, but I do know is that I will always love and care about you no matter if you end up with Val, or someone else.”

“I won’t be with anyone else.”

“Mel, come on. You’re beautiful and smart; you have so much to offer. Don’t sell yourself short. Guys are going to start swarming around you the minute they find out that I’m out of the picture.”

“What if I told you that I don’t want anyone else?”

“It wouldn’t change anything... I saw this coming, and if you would be completely honest for a moment, you know you did, too.” She stared into his eyes and nodded. “I have a few calls to make, and bags to pack. Hey,  since this is our last night together, how about I take you out one last time?”

“I’m not hungry.”

For me? Will you go for me?”

“Fine. I can’t believe you’re so calm about this.”

“Mel, we're doing the right thing. It's for the best.” He touched her face, then sprinted up the stairs, closing the bedroom door behind him. It didn’t take long before he was overcome by tears. With his back against the door, he cried until he felt sick. He rushed to the bathroom and dry heaved until he was dizzy. He stood up and splashed a hand full of cold water on his face, then headed back out to the bedroom.

Melanie yelled up the stairs, “Hey, I was thinking that we could go to that little Italian restaurant we always talked about going to.”

“That sounds great.”

“I’ll finish cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, and wait for you down here.”

“Okay.”

'This is it.' After confirming that the job was still his, and making travel arrangements, he grabbed a suitcase and filled it with only his essentials. With his suitcase in hand, he slowly descended the steps and optically scanned everything from the scratch in the banister to the ugly painting she just had to have.

“Mel?”

“Yea. I’m ready.” She dried her hands and tossed the towel in the sink as she headed out of the kitchen. “What are you doing with that?”

“My flight leaves in two hours.”

“Two hours?! Couldn’t you get a later flight?”

“They're expecting a tornado to touch down in the next couple of days, so it’s kind of now or never.” He regretted lying to her, but if he didn’t leave right then, he knew that he may not have been able to find the strength to do it later.

“But, we won’t have time to eat.”

“The next we see each other, dinner's on me.”

“We won’t see each other again.”

“Don’t say that.”

“You know it's true. This is it.”

“Mel, how many times have we said that?”

“Too many, but this time is different. I can feel it.”

He couldn’t think of a single thing to say, because she was absolutely right. “I’m only a call away. If you ever need anything, you call me, okay?”

“I will, and the same goes for you... How am I suppose to let you go, Gavin?”

“Me moving doesn’t change how I feel about you. My love for you is still there.”

“It’s just not enough to keep you here.”

He dropped his bag and pulled her into his arms. “No. Not this time.” There was a loud series of honks outside. “I think that’s my taxi. I better go.”

She struggled to keep her tears at bay; he deserved at least that much. “I’m gonna miss you, Gavin.”

“And, I’m gonna miss you, too. Take care.” He dashed out the door and headed for the taxi.

“Wait! Gavin, wait!” He stopped and turned around. “I can’t keep this.”

He dropped his bag and grabbed her hand before she could pull her engagement ring off. “We already went through this, Mel. I don’t want it back. It’s yours to do with whatever you want.”

A stubborn tear rolled down her cheek and splashed on their conjoined hands. He pulled her into a passion-filled kiss that ended too soon. Without another word, he hopped in the back of the taxi and told the driver to go.

Melanie stood on the sidewalk and watched the car speed away until it was completely out of sight. She clutched her ring covered finger and trudged back into the all too empty house. “I can’t do this. I can’t be here.” She grabbed her coat and keys and headed for her car.

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Val reached over and grabbed his phone. “Hello?”

“Don’t hurt her.”

“What?” His question was drowned out by the irritating sound of the dial tone. “Who the hell?” He looked at the Caller ID. “Gavin?” He immediately tried to call him back, but it went straight to voicemail. Then, he tried to call Melanie, but she didn’t pick up. “What the hell is going on?”

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She banged on the door until her knuckles hurt.

“I’ll get it. You stay here.” Leo rushed down the stairs carrying a metal baseball bat. “Who the hell is it?!”

“It’s Melanie.”

“Melanie?” He disarmed the alarm and unlocked the door. “Melanie what are you doing--” Before he could finish asking, she fell into his arms. Neither noticed when the lights behind him turned on.

“Baby, who is it?” She did a double take. “Melanie?”

“Mommy, what’s going on?”

“Go back to bed, Alana. Everything’s fine.”

“Okay.”

Danielle descended the stairs in record time and took Leo’s place in her cousin’s arms.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know where else to go.”

“What happened, Mel? Is it Gavin? Did you two have a fight?”

Leo returned with a glass of water for Melanie. “Thank you, Leo.” She placed her hands on her laps and stared at them for what felt like a good minute. “He left. He really left. This time for good.”

Danielle scooted closer to Melanie and grabbed her hand. “What happened? I thought you two were working things out.”

Melanie wiped a few stray tears away. “So did I. He decided to take that job in Conneti-- Kentucky. He couldn’t find one out here.”

“So, he just left? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“It just wasn’t enough. What he and I have -- had wasn’t enough. From the time we were kids, he wanted to be a doctor -- nothing else-- just a doctor. I couldn’t ask him to give that up for me. I had to let him go.”

“Wow. I’m so sorry, Mel. I know how much you love him and how much he loves you.” Melanie’s phone vibrated against Danielle’s leg. “Maybe, that’s him.”

“It’s probably Val. He’s been calling non-stop since Gavin left.”

“When you say left--”

“I mean his flight will be leaving in like a hour.”

“Damn.” Leo quickly covered and uncovered his mouth. “Sorry.”

Melanie laughed once. “It’s okay. I can’t believe it either.”

Her phone vibrated again. “I can’t deal with him right now.”

“Aren’t you two supposed to see your daughter tomorrow?”

“Yea. Maybe, he's calling about that. Will you excuse me?” She attempted to stand, but Danielle placed her hand on her arm.

“You stay, Leo and I will go start a pot of coffee.”

Melanie's smile was obviously fake, but it was the best she could do. She pulled out her cell and called Val; he picked up on the first ring.

“Melanie, what the hell is going on?”

“That seems to be the million dollar question.”

“What?”

“Nevermind. I’m returning your call. What do you want?”

“I want to know why Gavin called and told me not to hurt you.”

“He did what?!” Danielle rushed out of the kitchen full of concern. “Sorry. I’m gonna take this outside.” She thought her car would provide a better buffer should she feel the need to have another outburst.

“Melanie? Are you still there?”

“Yea. I’m here. Start talking.”

Me? I don’t know what’s going on?”

“He called you?”

“Yea.”

“When?”

“About forty minutes ago. I tried to call him back, but he wouldn’t pick up, and then I tried calling you and you wouldn’t answer. What kind of games are you two playing?”

“Nobody’s playing any games.”

“Why would he tell me not to hurt you?”

“He left, okay?”

“What do you mean he left? You guys got into a fight or something?”

“No. He decided to take the job in Kentucky, and since I can’t leave--”

“That son of a bitch. He just dropped you when you needed him the most? The day before you meet your child for the first time?”

“It’s not like that, Val.”

“Then, tell me how is it, then.”

“Look, what happens between me and Gavin is none of your business. I don’t know why he called you.”

“Because, he knows that you belong with me.”

“You have got to be kidding! I just broke off my engagement, and you’re telling me that I belong with you!”

“He saw it, Mel. Hell, everybody saw it.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The chemistry between us.”

“The only thing between us is the daughter we created when we were fifteen. Nothing else.”

“You can keep denying it all you want, but it’s there. It’s always been there.”

“I thought the same thing about Gavin and look how that ended.”

“And, look at who’s still here.”

Her snappy comeback dissolved with the shooting star that suddenly passed by in the otherwise darkened sky. “What time are you coming to get me?”

“I can come and get you now.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why not? Your last excuse was dinner. Have you eaten?”

“No.”

“Then, that settles it. I’ll be at your house in ten minutes.”

“I’m not there.”

“Where are you?”

“At my cousin’s house.”

“Fine, I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Val, wait.” He hung up before she could talk him out it -- as if she ever could.

'One man couldn’t wait to get away from me, and now another one can’t wait to see me. Can this night get any more complicated?'

“Get out of the car, bitch!”

‘Damn! I guess so.’






Chapter End Notes:

I know there are some Gavin fans who didn't want "Mavin" to end (okay, clearly I'm not good at meshing names, lol), but he is a character that I have been struggling with for months. As much as I like him and all that he has done for Melanie, he just doesn't work with the direction this particular story is going in. NOW, just because the door is open, it does not necessarily mean that Melanie is going to go to or end up with Val. With my imagination, she could very well end up with Aleksey's butler -- and no, that is not a spoiler. Since this is a new story, I didn't want to drag over too much of the old story into it, and Gavin and Melanie's history and sole existence are too etched in "LR" for me to start anew.

<>For those who read "Love Reawakened" you may remember who Bianca is, and understand now why she went after Gavin. If not, keep reading, because she's not done.<>

Thanks for the feedback. =)







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