Chapter Thirty One
Gabe flopped down on the sofa when he got home, feeling exhausted. He listened half-heartedly to the news for a while, before switching over to an old film. A few moments later, he realised he'd watched the same film with Bailey a week or two ago, and burst into tears. He sobbed quietly, trying not to disturb the twins in the next room. He finally exhausted himself with crying, and fell into an uneasy sleep on the sofa.
The next thing he knew, a warm hand on his shoulder was gently shaking him awake. He opened his eyes slowly, finding them sore and gritty with tears. Gradually, Jordan's face swam into focus. Gabe yawned and sat up slowly.
"What time is it?"
"Half past twelve." Jordan said gently. "Are you okay?" Gabe shrugged. Jordan rubbed his back for a moment, before helping him to his feet. "Do you want a cup of tea?" Gabe nodded, and followed Jordan into the kitchen. He put the kettle on and got two mugs from the cupboard.
"How did the rest of the night go? Okay?" Jordan nodded.
"Not bad. They seemed to like it."
"So, how long have you been doing this?"
"About a month. I've only had four nights so far… but everyone seems to like it." He fished into his pocket, and pulled out a small role of notes. He pressed it into Gabe's hand.
"What's this for?" Gabe asked quietly.
"It's my earnings tonight. Seventy quid. I've shared the others between the twins and Phoebe's jars." Gabe stared at Jordan for a moment, before he broke down again. Jordan looked at him in alarm, before reaching out to pat Gabe's shoulder gently.
"Sorry." Gabe choked out. He turned away from Jordan, embarrassed at letting Jordan's gesture affect him so much. "You d-don't have to g-give me this." He stammered out. "I c-can manage." He was surprised to feel Jordan's strong arms wrap around his torso and squeeze him gently. Gabriel sank back into Jordan's touch automatically.
"I don't mind, you know." Jordan said softly. "I know you struggle with money sometimes." Gabe shook his head firmly.
"It's not your responsibility, Jord." He whispered.
"It's not supposed to be yours either." Gabe twisted in Jordan's arms, sighing.
"There's no-one else." He said quietly. "You know that."
"But that doesn't mean you have to cope all alone." Gabriel took his jar down from the kitchen shelf, carefully counted out two hundred pounds. He handed it to Jordan, who scowled. "I-"
"It's yours, Jordan. You earned it, you keep it. Spend it on Tracy, or on… a mechanics qualification in a couple of years. Honestly, I can manage… But thanks for… trying." Jordan rolled his eyes, before pocketing the money reluctantly. He handed Gabe a mug of tea, and they went back into the living room.
Gabe curled up in the armchair beside the window, cradling his mug in his hands to warm them. Jordan flicked the TV to a re-run of 'The Simpsons' and settled down to watch. He noticed after a few moments the Gabriel was staring out of the window, his eyes glazed. He watched his brother for a while, before he turned off the TV and went to kneel in front of Gabe. When his hand touched Gabe's knee, Gabe started and looked down at him, blinking in confusion.
"For what it's worth, I never thought he deserved you." Jordan said quietly, half-wishing Gabe wouldn't hear him. His brother's flushing cheeks showed he did. Jordan leant up and hugged Gabe tightly, drawing back and kissing Gabe's forehead - God, he wished he were kissing Gabe's lips instead - before rising and muttering a soft goodnight.
Jordan quickly went up to his room and closed the door, his heart pounding in his chest. He hated seeing Gabe so upset - he could kill Bailey for that alone - but he was also so happy he felt his heart would burst. He flopped down on his bed with a soft groan. The thing was, what was the point in being glad that Gabe was now single, if he was never planning on doing anything about it? No point, Jordan told himself firmly. He would just have to… get over Gabe. Somehow… Perhaps he should go all the way with Tracy. That might help distract him.
Jordan sighed; he liked Tracy, but he didn't really want her to be his first. He wanted Ga- stop it! He scolded himself firmly. With a groan, he rolled over and buried his face in his pillow trying to clear his mind so that he could sleep. It didn't work.