✠ Chapter Forty-Three ✠

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Healing Gabriel: Chapter Forty-Three

  ※(*)※Gabriel's POV※(*)※

      I walked through the front door of my home like a zombie. After I'd finally cried enough happy tears over the fact that I was in love with someone after so long of forcing myself to never trust another human being again, and sad tears because oh, my God, Evan was getting worse, I was way too mentally, emotionally and physically drained to even remove my key from the doorknob.

      I slowly made my way into the kitchen to see my mother sitting at the kitchen table, a cup of tea blowing steam into her terribly exhausted blue eyes. When she saw me enter the kitchen, she straightened up, her eyes warming and a gentle smile creating a home on her lips. However, the smile's home was only temporary as it fell into a worried frown. "Gabriel, sweetheart, you haven't been icing your cheek like I'd told you to, have you?"

       My mother and dad had both been considerably worried about me after I'd come home from the hospital last Monday. The bruise on my face had gotten them pretty riled up, and my father was about ready to call the school if I hadn't told him how I'd gotten it. I ended up only telling them the half truth, which was that a crowd of people accidentally pushed me into the lockers during passing period. They still looked pretty doubtful, but they bought it anyways.

      I couldn't bring myself to answer her, could barely bring myself to take one more step forward without bursting into another flow of tears brought on by stress.

      "Honey . . . are you okay? Gabriel? Sweetheart, answer me," she begged, starting to rise from her seat as her voice grew more and more worried. My eyes stung even more, and all I could do was shake my head, pressing my lips tightly together to keep them from trembling. Her eyes looked lost and frantic as she took a hesitant step towards me, and it made me blink back tears even more because I made her that way. I made her hesitant, made her doubt her skills as a mother, made her rethink reaching out to me because all I ever did was push her away. I uncurled my fingers around my bookbag and let it drop with a heavy thud to the floor.

      Right then, I wanted a hug. I wanted to be held so badly, to just be comforted by another human being, to be able to stifle my sobs against a warm, beating chest and not a dull, cold steering wheel.

      "Momma," I croaked pathetically, the tears blurring my vision for good as soon as the first syllable slipped out. I reached out for her small figure, and like a magnet being switched on, she drew towards me almost automatically. As soon as she was within my reach, I took the last step forward and latched myself against her and sobbed, hard. I wrapped my arms under her arms and clutched onto her shoulders like an overgrown baby, ducking my head down and hiding my face against the side of her neck.

      She was unable to respond for nearly three whole seconds, as if trying to overcome the shock of finally being able to hug her son and comfort him again after so many years of watching him suffer and being unable to do anything about it. Then she wrapped her small arms around my upper back and squeezed me like a python cherishing its favorite human.

       The sudden waves of adoration, cherishment and love--oh, God, there was so much love--that radiated from her and enveloped me made me cry harder. I'd missed being comforted so badly, I'd missed her so badly, and with my head resting against her soft, warm chest whose heartbeat I couldn't even hear over my cries, all these memories of my childhood before the Incident began seeping into my memory again. I didn't remember much of my childhood before he snatched it away from me, only what happened during and after the Incident. The first twelve years of my life were as if they'd never happened, but right then I knew that couldn't be true because I was remembering all the times I'd been sad, or had just simply craved my mother's cuddles and hugs . . . it was all coming back to me, the feeling of having a mother who loved me. And I'd never realized how much I'd actually missed her arms around me.

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