✖ Chapter Thirty-One ✖

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Healing Gabriel: Chapter Thirty-One

                                       (*)Gabriel's POV(*)

      "So, apparently, the chick that spiked the ball at Alana was Treyvon's cousin. She learned about the fight, must've heard a rumor about Alana and I's former relationship and, thinking it was real and still happening, went after her," Evan explained, plopping down on the couch after toeing off his shoes by the front door. I mimicked his actions, except I actually bent down and untied my shoes first before kicking them off. I sat with my shoulder against the side of the couch, my feet tucked under my bottom and my knees resting against his thigh.

      "That's awful," I murmured, shutting my eyes and lolling my head against the couch. The talk with Alana had really taken a large chunk of the remaining awake and alertness I had left in me, and the quiet drive home had succeeded in calming my rushing thoughts the slightest bit.

      Evan cupped the side of my face, lightly rubbing the pad of his thumb in small circular motions against my jaw. It was relaxing; I started feeling even sleepier. "Yeah," he agreed, his voice no louder than my own. There was a brief silence, a comfortable one at that, the same as the one in the car ride minus the background stereo music.

      When I almost surrendered to the dull blackness of sleep due to the comforting feeling of safety I felt in his presence, I immediately forced myself to pry my eyes open. I refused to let my brain conjure up nightmares to scare me. I focused on Evan instead, who was watching me, a slightly faraway look in his eyes. I smiled timidly at him, pursing my lips a bit to press them just barely against his own.

      It took him about a second and a half to fully respond. His eyes widened, the dazed look clearing from his pupils and becoming replaced by one of mild shock. He then slid his hand that had formerly been cupping the side of my face to the back of my neck, tilting my chin up with the side of his hand. I relaxed into the kiss, and when it deepened the slightest bit, I was surprised at my mind for not throwing twenty different flashbacks at me. The kiss brought up zero--zero!--negative outcomes and all I felt was true, 100% tender affection mingle in with the steady movements of our lips.

      I smiled into the kiss, my heart leaping with joy. I leaned closer into him, my hands resting on his chest as I tilted my head for more--oh, my God, more! I actually wanted more, and nothing was scaring me about that. It was such a relief; I could give him as many long-lasting kisses as he wanted now without pulling away in fear.

      I parted my lips against his own for a brief second before separating our mouthes. Not for the usual reason, though. I wasn't afraid of anything at the moment; I was just really happy about being able to kiss so freely without any constrictions from my past coming into play. The only thing that could possibly make this moment any better would be if I wasn't so tired. If only I could learn to sleep without having any nightmares, the same way I learned how to kiss and touch without having flashbacks.

      Perhaps Alana was right. If it wasn't for Evan, I'd have never experienced the touching of another person's lips with my own, the feeling of someone clutching your hand or body just as desperately as  you clutched theirs. Perhaps if he spent the night with me, I'd learn how to sleep without those terrible night terrors. And right now, I was desperate. I was so tired and even weaker than usual; I'd caught myself dozing off in many situations, conversations. I needed sleep. And Evan was the only one I knew who could grant me that.

      "What do you think about spending the night?" I whispered, opening my eyes. His sweet breath breezing over my skin made them flutter close every couple of seconds, from both warmth and ticklishness.

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