Breaking Down(The Garage Series Book 2)(5)By: Holly Renee
The last time I saw him was at Kat’s surprise birthday party. We didn’t speak a word to each other at that party. Every step I took; he took the opposite. I tried to avoid ever looking at him, but when our eyes did meet I tried to hide the pain that I knew everyone else could see. They all looked at me with pity in their eyes, and I hated it.
As soon as his eyes met mine, he grimaced as if what he saw in my face caused him regret. I looked away quickly. It was fine if he didn’t want anything more from me. I could handle that, but I couldn’t stand the thought that he regretted it. That he regretted me.
I never realized that would be the last time I saw him. He disappeared the next day, and I had no clue where he went. Not that I expected him to tell me, but I never expected him to leave. I broke down after I realized he was gone and begged Blake to tell me where he went. Of course, he refused. He told me to give him time. All he would say was the usual. Gabe had a history that Blake refused to tell me anything about and that he needed to work it out.
I was furious. I was mad at Blake for not telling me what I wanted to know. I was angry with Gabe for leaving and not giving me an explanation, but I was mostly upset with myself. I should had gone to him and demanded that he tell me why he ran away that morning. I had every right to know, but the fear of his rejection overpowered everything else. He had rejected me in every way possible, but he had yet to say it to me. I didn’t think I would survive hearing the words come out of his mouth.
The months since Gabe left had dragged on and on. In the beginning, I avoided hanging out with Kat and the guys, but Kat refused to let me sulk. She dragged me out of my apartment every chance she got even if I went kicking and screaming.
I knew that getting out of my house was the best thing for me, but being around the guys only reminded me of Gabe and I needed no reminders. He took up all my thoughts just as he had since the beginning. Him leaving and rejecting me only seemed to make it worse. I was worried about him. I wanted to know that he was safe and that he was okay, but I wouldn’t dare call him.
I dreamt of him every night. It would be a lie to say that I wished the dreams would end. My dreams were the only place that I was truly happy. They were the only place where I had Gabe. I clung to those dreams with a ferocity that was beyond unhealthy, but I didn’t care. I needed them to get through. They made me feel like I wasn’t alone even though my reality was completely different when I opened my eyes.
The first time that I hung out with the guys without Gabe was awkward to say the least. I could tell that they were all worried about me and were careful not to mention Gabe in conversation. I could feel myself clamming up with every uncomfortable minute that went by, but Johnny changed it. He placed his arm around my shoulders, pulled me close to him, and said, “Where is a pirate’s favorite place to eat?”
I looked up to his handsome face which was covered in a beard that he had been growing out in the last few months like he was crazy.
“I don’t know?” I said it more like a question. “Where?”
“ARRRRbys.” He drawled out the word dramatically as if it was the best joke he had ever heard.
I couldn’t stop the hysterical laugh that came out of me. It was as if a dam broke, and I doubled over in laughter at his lame joke. Everyone else joined in as Cash told Johnny how stupid he was. It was a stupid joke, but it changed the atmosphere around us. There was no longer an uncomfortable bubble surrounding us. We all joked easily with each other and avoided all talk of Gabe.
Johnny became my source of comfort throughout the last few months. We hung out often, and he always made me laugh. He also let me cry. We talked about Gabe and everything that had happened. We talked about how sad, angry, and heartbroken I was. He was there for me.
The rustling of bags brought me out of my thoughts as someone walked in the front door of my apartment. Seconds later, Johnny walked into the kitchen carrying to-go bags.
“What’s up? I brought Mexican.” His smile was infectious as it always was when I was around him.
“Nice. I rented movies. I rented three because I couldn’t pick so you are going to have to pick from them.”