Chapter Thirty Four
(Two Weeks Later)
Bailey stumbled through the door, followed by a giggling Gabe.
"Shut up." Bailey grunted, going into the kitchen and putting his bags on the side. He and Gabe put away the groceries quickly and went into the living room.
"Do you want to come over for Christmas dinner on Friday?" Gabe asked. "You're not working, are you?"
"Nope. When do you want me to come?"
"We usually eat around twelve. But come over whenever you like."
"Is… Jordan coming over?" Bailey asked tentatively. Gabe shook his head.
"Phoebe asked him to come a couple of days ago at school, but he refused. He did say he'd come by with presents for the kids, though." Bailey squeezed his shoulder sympathetically.
"Are you… getting him anything?"
"Just the money for his exchange." Gabe said quietly. Bailey stared at him. "What?"
"You're still going to give him the money? After how he treated you?"
"Well… yeah." Gabe said, frowning. "Just because he doesn't like how I get money, doesn't mean he should miss out on an educational opportunity." Bailey shook his head slowly.
"I don't understand how you can be so nice to him."
"He's… my brother." Gabe said, shrugging. He saw Bailey open his mouth and leant over to kiss him quickly. Bailey responded immediately, a low growl rumbling from his throat. Gabe straddled Bailey's hips, twisting his fingers into Bailey's thick hair.
That evening, Gabriel walked slowly to Tracy's house, an envelope stuffed with money in his pocket. He stood on the pavement outside the house for a long while, trying to summon the courage to walk up the driveway. He knocked on Tracy's front door and stepped back, his heart pounding in his chest. A few moments later, Tracy's mother came to the answer.
"Can I help you?"
"Could I speak to Jordan, please? I'm his brother." She looked at him for a moment, before she nodded.
"I'll fetch him for you. Wait here." Gabe waited nervously, twiddling with the zip of his thin jacket. Jordan came down the stairs a moment later, saw Gabe, and scowled.
"Before you… go all 'Jordan', can I just…" Gabe shrugged helplessly. He took the envelope of money from his pocket and thrust it into Jordan's hand.
"I don't want-" Jordan began, when Gabe interrupted him firmly.
"It's for the trip to America. If you're still wanting to go in January. There's enough there to cover all your expenses and flights and stuff… if you don't go then… give the money to Tracy's parents as rent, or something."
"What did you have to do to get this?" Jordan spat. Gabe turned to leave, ignoring Jordan's jibe, when a wave of anger made him look back.
"I'm not proud of what I do, you know. It doesn't give me a glowing feeling of achievement every time I earn fifty quid. But I do what I have to, to keep you and the kids fed and clothed and in school, with a roof over your heads. But then I suppose I shouldn't expect you to understand. You've never sacrificed anything in your life. Except, perhaps, a date with Tracy when I've asked you to watch the kids while I go out whoring. How could you possibly understand what I've sacrificed, when you've never done that yourself." Gabe exhaled heavily. "So yeah, I'm a prostitute. A whore, a hooker, a slut. And I'm not proud of it, but I'm proud of myself. For keeping you guys living as well as you have, for as long as I have. And you don't have to like me for it, but you damn well can't expect me to let you treat me the way you have and not say something about it." Shooting Jordan a filthy look, Gabe left the hall, resisting the urge to slam the door behind himself, and stalked away down the high street.
To his great relief, Jordan didn't seem to be following him. He wandered down the high street, hands deep in his pockets, quite proud of the fact that he wasn't bawling his eyes out as he walked. Someone bashed into him, hard, a teenager running to catch a bus, and knocked him off the curb with a muffle oath. A moment later, the world went black.