Chapter 11

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Alex tried. She really tried not to. But eventually she would give in and glance in the direction of Val and Angela. The two were sitting cozy and close, leaning over the table, staring into each other's eyes, whispering amongst themselves. The smiles on their faces were so loving it was almost gross.

Alex wasn't the only one stealing peeks though.

Occasionally, Alex would feel like she was being watched and would look up only to catch the two staring at her from across the room. She liked that; it meant they were talking about her. In response, her lips would form a knowing smile, amusement swirling behind her eyes. This would make them both instantly look away, Val due to embarrassment and Angela due to dislike.

But Alex kept trying. She tried not to look. She tried to distract herself with work, with her customers, with Gabe who would give her looks of pity and slide her a beer, which she accepted with a grateful glance in his direction. She didn't even like beer all that much.

"Man, I've never seen you like this before," Gabriel said, wiping the inside of an empty glass with a rag before placing it back on the counter. He looked at Alex, who wasn't even looking at him again, far too focused on where Val and that beautiful woman had gone. "Are you listening to me, boss?"

Blue eyes struck him suddenly, and if Gabe hadn't been used to them he would've jumped in shock. They were stunning, really, her eyes. Never before and never again has Gabriel ever seen such a shade of blue, like the purest sapphires. Normally Gabe saw an ocean in them, the ebb and flow of the tide, the gray of the sea foam, the deep waters.

But now all he saw in them was a storm, the dark clouds gathering, the waters becoming rough and treacherous. He fought back a shiver.

"What are you talking about?" Alex asked, arching a sculpted brow in his direction. A smirk tugged at her lips and she gave him a pointed look. "Are you worried about me?" She made a dramatic show of placing her hand over her heart. "I'm touched, really, but I'm fine."

Gabe didn't look convinced. "All you do is look over at Val. What's the big idea? Who is the woman she's talking to?"

Alex's smile instantly dropped and she let out a sigh before leaning on the countertop again, resting her cheek in her hand and discreetly glancing in their direction again. Gabe had never seen the woman look so miserable. No, that wasn't it. It was that he had never seen Alex so expressive. Normally she was a statue, hard as rock. But now her movements seemed fluid and almost exaggerated. It could be the alcohol, or it could be that her emotions were so strong that they overrode the years of tutoring that had Alex keeping her emotions hidden.

"That's her girlfriend." She paused, and then added, "Ex-girlfriend, I think. I'm not entirely sure. Val seemed to think they were broken up but Angela didn't get the memo."

Gabriel blinked. "Val is gay?" He thought the woman, Angela, looked a tad too old for Val. But then, Angela was also a total babe. Should he high-five Val next time he saw her?

Alex froze. Woops. She kind of figured everyone knew. She looked at him. "You... didn't know?"

"I guess I did. Though I was hoping she was bi like you."

At this Alex perked up. She stopped slouching over the counter and straightened instead, her fierce blue now fixated on Gabriel. They narrowed and she looked him slowly up and down, like he was a crime suspect. "Why? Why were you hoping she was bi?"

Gabe rubbed at the back of his neck and then brought his hand around to scratch at the stubble on his cheek. He looked upwards, towards the ceiling, as he thought about it. Finally he shrugged, leaning his elbow on the counter and meeting Alex's steady gaze with his own. "She's cute." His lips formed a handsome smile. "I wouldn't mind..." he put his hands behind his head and began thrusting his hips. "You know..."

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