What Couldn't Be Part Two

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sorry, I just discovered that half the story was cut out in the other part! Here's the next part.

Submitted: July 28, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 28, 2012

A A A

A A A


Jethro

It was three in the afternoon and I was sitting in another, let’s say, less then invigorating meeting. I was bored. Mostly because I already understood what they were talking about, I’d already thought about it and the papers were already in the process of being signed, however I guess they felt the need to discuss it anyway. I rolled my eyes as I gazed down at the folder in front of me, to at least seem a little interested. In reality I was imagining my weekend, I couldn’t wait to get out of here and head to the country. This was my last piece of business for the weekend. Caity and Adam were already there, having left this morning. I resisted the urge to tap my fingers with impatience, I did not want to attract unwanted attention from my father. I merely sat quietly, patiently with carefully constructed calm as I listened. I looked up with interest when my father mentioned something about land in the USA that he was wanting to buy. I looked at him with mild curiosity.

“The main problem, Sir, is that there is a town there.” One of the other men protested. My father rolled his eyes.

“They’ll move.” He retorted. The man looked at him.

“You’d be displacing a thousand people!” he protested insistently. “Those people have been living there all their lives, some for generations, it’s their home.”

“It’s land that I want and their government is willing to sell me for the right price.” My father retorted. “They’ll move. I’m sure the Americans will find someplace else to go, they’re good at that when they don’t like something.” I frowned slightly. A thousand people? I thought irritably. He’s just going to up root them? I sighed. He looked at me. “Is there something you’d like to say Jethro?” he asked. I inclined my head, knowing I had to.

“I agree with you Father. They’ll move. I’m sure they have family that doesn’t live in the town, and if not, they can find somewhere else to go. I would just hope you’d give them fair warning so they can find somewhere else.” Everyone was looking at me, mostly with surprise, but with the few that knew me, disappointment. They knew me well enough to know that I tried to affect the smallest amount of people possible, I always have. My father knew this too, and smirked smugly, knowing he had successfully bullied me into agreeing with him, just like he always does.

“Exactly Jethro, well said.” He replied. “Of course I will give them notice to leave, I wouldn’t just show up and give them a day to leave.” Yes, you would. I thought acidly, gazing at him calmly.

“Wonderful, then I believe we’ve settled this matter.” He inclined his head in agreement and turned his attention back to his council to continue on to other matters. I resumed my silent observation, glancing at the watch on my wrist. I hope they don’t drag this out much longer. I thought wishfully.

About an hour later the meeting finally drew to a close and I was happy to be on my way. Granted, I didn’t make it look like I was in a hurry because if I did my father would surely interrogate me. As I left I found myself thinking about the town my father was buying out. I opened the folder he had given me at the end and looked at the pictures. It was called Caballo, and I knew it was Spanish for horse. I got into the limo waiting for me and, after pouring myself a glass of wine I started reading.

Caballo was founded in Montana by a group of Spanish settlers back during the time of the pioneers. This town is secluded in the mountains. The town has remained small since that time, the only visitors to the community are family and buyers for their horses. It is still, to this day, known for horses they breed, sell and train. The horses are the towns’ livelihood, and without them they would not survive.

Carmen Ranch is one of the oldest in the area and is worldly known for their horses. They are the main ranch that the towns prided horses come from, the family has always had a special connection to the horses that no one has seen in anyone else.

I sat back and took a sip of my wine. It is unfortunate for this poor town that their government is selling them out. I can see why my father wants this area, it’s secluded and has a lot of land, it would need it to raise so many horses. I frowned slightly. What will happen to them? I wondered. I looked at the pictures again. The town was very beautiful and homey, it made me sad to know that soon it would be taken over by Salazar Corporation. The company specialized in war things, such as weapons, uniforms and whatever else one might need in battle. We were very well taken care of by the United States. The people always seemed to be in a fight with someone. I shook my head. If a democracy means they’ll always be fighting someone I don’t see why they wouldn’t want the Queen. I mused. We are run by a Monarchy and yet we are very happy and successful as a whole. Why wouldn’t they want that? I shook my head at my musings. The Americans never did make much sense to me.

“Where are we headed sir?” my driver asked.

“We’re headed for Belton where I will leave you and head on to my weekend home.” I replied. He nodded and continued driving without further ado. I looked out my window, excited to be on my way to the ranch. My final destination was a small ranch I had bought from Adam’s grandparents. They still lived there but they almost lost the ranch for lack of funding. Adam had come to me pleading for my help. I had agreed, I wasn’t about to let our childhood escape get destroyed. His grandparents adored all three of us, always had. We had often been looked after by them when our parents were busy, though my mother often accompanied us to the lovely place. I grimaced when I thought of my mother. She died when I was twelve and my father has yet to move on. I could not blame him, even at twenty one I haven’t really dealt with her death, just suppressed it. I shook my head again, pushing the thoughts away forcefully. I was not about to open that train of thought. It takes us about an hour to reach Belton, where I move into a less conspicuous vehicle. Adam and Caitlin are waiting for me and I hugged them both.

“How was the meeting?” Cait questions as we get into the small car. I sit in the passenger’s side while Adam drives and Cait sits in the back, right behind Adam. I shrugged.

“Uneventful for the most part. Father is buying out a town in the USA.” I handed her the folder I had. “I feel bad for them but it isn’t my fault their country sold them out.”

“Jethro, this is Carmen Ranch.” She said, stunned. I nodded again.

“I know, I was surprised as well. I knew they were in the United States but I didn’t realize they were in Montana.”

“Wait, you’re buying out Carmen?” Adam asked. I shook my head.

“Not exactly, were buying the land their ranch is on. It’s perfect for one of our bases.” I explained. “Everyone is going to be forced to leave and give everything up.”

“Including the ranch. Carmen will have to move.” Caitlin finished.

“How will they move all the horses, Jethro, how much notice do they have?” I shook my head.

“I don’t know. I just know my father has given them a reasonable, by his terms of course, amount to vacate.” Caitlin shook her head in disgust.

“How many people will have to move?” Adam asked me.

“About a thousand.” I grimaced. “I know it’s not fair, but what can I do about it?” I asked. “I’m to be married in a few months time and then I could do something, but only if my father decides to go into retirement right then.” I shrugged. They both sighed.

“So you know the date then?” Adam asked after a moment of silence as we drove. I nodded.

“I had lunch with Dianne, her mother and my father today before the meeting. “It appears they have been planning for this for some time now.” I said dryly. “It is set for August 13th.” I sighed quietly. “I hope you two are able to come, they’ve sent out invitation and the public announcement of the date was apparently in the first article. I didn’t know given I’ve never actually read the article.”

“Of course we’ll be there!” Adam said, looking at me. “What kind of best friends would we be if we didn’t support you?” I chuckled.

“I still don’t think you should do it J.” Caitlin grumbled from the back. I rolled my eyes and ignored her.

“Good, because Adam…I would like you to be my best man.” He gasped and looked at me briefly before focusing on the road.

“Of course I will Jethro!” he whispered, shocked. I smiled gratefully.

“Thank you Adam.” He took my hand and squeezed it lightly before letting it drop. I turned to meet Caitlin’s eyes. “Dianne has also asked me to offer you a spot in her bridal party.” Her eyes widened.

“Jethro…”

“Please Caitlin? For me?” I asked softly. She looked at me tearfully.

“You want me to support the worst thing that could happen to you, you want me to be involved.” She whispered. I nodded.

“Please.” I repeated. “I need both of you there, I need your support, now more than ever. I need you to get me through this.” I murmured softly. I watched as a few tears escaped my best friends’ eyes, the only girl that ever truly loved me just as I was.

“Ok J, I’ll do it.” She said quietly, the desperation in my tone causing her to give in. “I will support you J, you can count on that. But I don’t have to be happy about it.” She gave me a watery smile and I laughed quietly.

“Thank you Cait.” I said with a small smile of my own. “You are amazing, you know that?” she laughed this time and rolled her eyes, regaining control of her tears. I turned back in my seat and gazed out my window.

“Almost there!” Adam said cheerfully, breaking the solemn mood set by the conversation. Cait whooped happily and I laughed at both of them, wondering how I’d ever survive without them. True to his word we turned onto the dirt road that led to the ranch a moment later and I smiled at them, genuinely smiled. They grinned back. Everything is going to be ok. I thought hopefully, though doubtfully. Somehow, all of this is going to be ok. Unfortunately, though I didn’t know it at the time, I could not be more wrong.

Gabriel

Something’s different. I thought as Michael and I walked up the front steps for dinner a couple days later. I paused and tilted my head. What is it? I wondered. When we removed our boots and stepped inside it hit me. There was no smell of dinner being made, and there was no cheerful conversation or laughter coming from the kitchen. There was nothing but quiet. I went on guard immediately.

“Something isn’t right here.” Michael whispered to me, letting me know he’d noticed it too. I tilted my head slightly to let him know I heard him.

“Rythym?! Melody?!” I called cautiously. There was no response and I headed for the kitchen. “Rythym?! Melody?!” I called again as I approached. As I neared I heard sniffling and quiet words. I looked at Michael and waved him over. He followed me into the kitchen and we were greeted by the sight of them sitting at the table. Rythym had Melody wrapped up in her arms as she cried, and Ry was murmuring comfortingly but I saw the tears running down her cheeks too. I moved to them quickly, Michael watched in concern. “Ry, Mel, what’s going on? Didn’t you hear me calling?” Mel didn’t respond, just cried harder at the sound of my voice, but Ry looked up at me.

“W-we heard y-you.” She stumbled over her words and clenched her eyes shut, unable to look at me. “W-we just d-didn’t know w-what to say. Gabe, they’re t-taking the r-ranch away.” My eyes widened in horror.

“What?” I whispered. She looked at the table, her eyes landing on a letter. I followed her gaze and snatched it up.

Dear Residents of Caballo,

We regret to inform you that you can no longer stay in this town. The United States Government has sold this land. You have until Friday, August 31st to relocate. Anything left behind will either be sold or destroyed.

Thank you for your cooperation.

My blood ran cold and I stared at the letter. “No.” I whispered. “No, No, No, NO!” I stood and started pacing. “They can’t do that! Sold the land? To who? They can’t just kick us out, there has to be some kind of mistake!” Michael skirted around me and picked up the letter to read it.

“It’s not.” Ry said tearfully, angrily. “The entire town got one, we called around.” I didn’t slow my pace, my anger building.

“They can’t do this Ry! This is our home! We live here! The land might as well belong to us. And two months? Two months to relocate a thousand people and hundreds of horses? Are they insane?! We don’t have anywhere else to go!” I yelled. “There has to be something we can do!”

“What could you do, go to the person, or most likely company, that is buying the land out from under you and try to talk them out of it?” Michael asked sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “Gabriel-“

“I could.” I interrupted him, staring at him. “I could do that?” Michael was stunned.

“Gabe, I was being sarcastic-“

“Could I do that?” Michael threw his arms up with a sigh.

“You could, but it would be pointless. It’s probably some foreign company, so not only would you have to go to that country you’d have to get some sort of meeting with the person, and even if you got that you’d have to convince some CEO to not buy your town because of some horses. He’s not going to care Gabe!” I started pacing again.

“How do I find out what company is doing this?” I asked him. He stared at me.

“Are you serious? Gabe!”

“Michael, how do I find out what company is buying my town?”

“They signed the notice, along with our government.” He said, motioning at the letter.

“It looks like a company from the UK.” He told me, looking at the letter. “Salazar Corporation. Does that ring a bell?”

“They’re a weapons company.” Ry said disgustedly. “They make money off of coming up with new ways to kill people.” They both had stopped crying and were watching me as I paced. I have to do something. I need to do this, it’s not like I don’t have a passport or the money. But would it be worth is? I looked at the two of them, pausing. I took in the distraught looking faces of the two women who had taken me in when no one else wanted me, and stuck with me even after they got to know me. They never felt sorry for me, and they always pushed me to do better. If for no one else, I have to do this for them.

“I’m going.” They all looked at me.

“Gabe,” Michael started and I shook my head.

“I’m going to do this, I have to.” I looked at my sisters. “I have to.” Mel bit her lip but Ry held my gaze.

“Gabriel,” she sighed. “Then you have our support.” She finally finished. I moved to them and dropped to my knees beside them, wrapping my arms around both their waists. Their arms came around me in a tight embrace.

“I’m going to do everything I can to stop this.” I whispered to them softly, determined.

“We know.” They whispered softly. I closed my eyes tightly. I need to research it, find out where their headquarters is and when the next flight out is. I pulled away from them.

“I need to go pack.” I said quietly. “And figure out where I’m going.” I turned and left the room, heading up to my room. I took a shower and by the time I got out I could smell dinner being prepared. I smiled slightly to myself and pulled on my boxers and jeans. I went over to my computer and sat down. Soon I found out that Salazar Corporations headquarters were in London. I wrote down the address on a pad of paper and then started looking for flights. I came up with one for tomorrow. I would have to dive to Helena, and from Helena I would fly to London. My flight would leave at seven am, include two stops and then I would arrive in London at around six forty five am. I sighed quietly as I bought the ticket. It was one way and would cost me $1169. I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back, it’s best to do one way. I nodded to myself. It’s going to be a long day. After printing out my confirmation, ticket and itinerary I pulled out my one suit case and started packing. I heard someone coming up the stairs and my door opened.

“Dinners ready.” Michael said to me. I nodded.

“Alright, I’m coming.” I replied. When he didn’t leave I glanced over my shoulder at him. “What Michael?” I asked. He gazed at me.

“This is crazy.” He informed me. I sighed and turned away from him to focus on my packing. He was quiet for a moment then spoke; “I’m not going to pretend to understand why you’re doing this, but I just wanted to know that I support it anyway, for my aunts.” I nodded.

“Ok.” I replied. He walked over.

“Do you have any dress clothes Gabe? When you go in there you have to look like you mean business, otherwise they won’t listen to you.” I looked at him.

“I don’t have any dress clothes.” I sighed. “I guess I’ll just buy some when I get there.” He looked at me.

“Gabe, you do realize that you’ll have to have the European Currency, right?” I shook my head.

“No I don’t, I’ll just use my card, and if I decide to take money out there they’ll give me it in their currency. I’m going to be fine Michael.” I mused, shutting my suitcase. He sighed quietly.

“Gabe, I have to admit I’m disappointed you’re leaving. We didn’t get much time together.” I placed my hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eyes.

“I’m not. It’s been nice Michael, but I’m not looking for a relationship anyway. It’s probably best that I leave now, before we started something that we aren’t ready for.” I shrugged. “Plus, we’re so different I don’t ever see anything serious happening, and to be honest, if I was looking for a relationship that’s what I would want. Now let’s eat.” I turned and walked out of my room, Michael following a bit slower.

The next morning I got up early to double check everything before heading for the Airport. Ry decided to come see me off and bring back the truck while the other two just walked us out to the truck, they were going to stay and look after the horses. Mel hugged me tightly as I stood by my truck. I kissed the top of her head. “I’m gonna be fine.” I whispered to her. She sniffled and nodded.

“I know, I just don’t want you to go, even though I know you’ll come back. I feel like this is going to change everything.” I laughed softly and kissed her cheek.

“I’ll still be the same guy, regardless of how all this turns out. I’ll call you when I get there.” I promised and pulled away. I turned to Michael and paused, then offered my hand. He took it and before I could do anything he pulled me close to him, pressing his lips to mine. I was shocked, but not shocked enough to not kiss him back. I heard my sisters gasp. I pulled back after a moment, raising an eyebrow at him as he released my hand.

“Hey, there’s a chance I won’t be here when you get back, so I figured, why the hell not?” he grinned at me. I snorted and rolled my eyes at him.

“Good bye Michael.” I said, amused as I climbed into the truck. Ry got in and we drove off.

“Well, that was a surprise.” Ry commented. I sighed and rolled my eyes.

“Tell me about it. I didn’t expect him to do that.” She looked at me.

“You kissed him back.” She pointed out. I nodded.

“Yeah, he’s hot Ry, I wasn’t not going to kiss him.” I mused. She laughed.

“So there’s nothing going on?” I shook my head.

“How could there be Ry? He’s good looking, sure, and he’s smart, but he’s self centered and doesn’t understand me.” I shook my head. “He’s not my type. And I told him so.” I added. She nodded, seemingly unsurprised.

“I told Mel that’s what would happen, but she was hopeful anyway.”

“She always is.” I pointed out. She laughed and nodded her head in agreement.

“Yeah, she is.” Ry sighed. “I hope you can do this Gabe.” I nodded.

“I’m going to do everything I can.” I replied seriously. We drove the rest off the way in relative silence, nothing but the radio on quietly. When we reached Helena, and then the air port Ry decided to walk me to the gate. I didn’t protest, I was, to be honest, a little anxious. I’d never been on a plane before. When I finally got through the check in and everything she gave me one last hug.

“Good luck Gabe, I’ll be praying for you.” I smiled at her softly.

“Thanks.” Then she turned and walked away and I found myself alone and waiting to board my plane. I was tired, and hoped that I would be able to sleep most of the flight. It wasn’t until I was actually sitting in my seat and the ground was disappearing out of sight as we took off that it sunk in just what I was doing. I’d left home for the first time, and going to a foreign country to save my town. The seriousness of what I was about to do washed over me and I found myself sending up a prayer of my own, hoping maybe, just maybe, everything would be alright.

Jethro

The weekend had proved to be a well needed and well enjoyed get away from my life. Adams grandparents welcomed me with open arms. We were happy and relaxed, and I had really needed that.

Still, it was Tuesday and I was once again back in reality. It was two and I was heading off to lunch with my friends and Dianne, she had insisted we get together after I told her they had agreed to be in the wedding. I got out of my limo and walked into the restaurant. There were not any whispers this times, just called out congratulations and well wishes. I smiled before I was led out to the patio, where there was a private section set up for us. My friends and Dianne were already there. “I apologize.” I said as I set my coat on the back of my chair. “I know I am ate but the last conference ran a little long.” Dianne waved me off.

“Don’t trouble yourself with it darling.” She said as I sat beside her. She smiled at me and I smiled back briefly before looking at my friends.

“How are you two?” I asked. Caitlin shrugged.

“Fine, I suppose. Now, what did you want to discuss Dianne?” she asked. I sighed mentally. Oh Cait, you could pretend to like her. Adam placed an arm around her shoulders. Cait had been Adams cover for years, it was a wonder no one asked them why they hadn’t married yet. Caitlin wasn’t like us, meaning that she wasn’t gay, but she did have her secrets as well, so she didn’t mind playing along with Adam. I suppose it wasn’t too horrible for her, given Adam was merely bisexual, that, I suspected, was also why she didn’t mind playing along.

“Well,” Dianne started. “Since Adam is to be Jethros best man, and the best man traditionally walks with the maid of honor I’m offering that spot to you.” Caitlin was startled.

“Maid of Honor? Isn’t that important?”

“Traditionally, it would go to the brides best friend, but given I’m marrying mine,” she smiled at me adoringly, and my heart clenched for her, not because of this game she was playing, but because I knew she actually believed it. Dianne had always been like this towards me, and I had no doubt, that if I had been straight, I would’ve married the girl, for love instead of necessity. I inclined my head towards her, and she looked at Caitlin. “The spot is available, and I figured, who better then Jethros other best friend?” Caitlin was stunned and looked at me. I nodded slightly. Please just go along with it. Caitlin looked at Dianne and nodded.

“Of course Dianne, I would love to.” Dianne beamed.

“Oh, lovely! I’m so excited!” she said happily. “I’m so glad you agreed, we have dress fittings tomorrow so this is just in the nick of time.” Adam covered a snicker with a cough. I couldn’t help but smile smugly. Caitlin absolutely hated dresses, and dress shopping. She smacked Adams leg and gave me a dirty look. I looked away to keep from laughing and my smile faded when I saw him. I had never seen him before, I was sure but I had the strangest feeling that he was familiar. I heard him talking to the waitress that was seating him, his American accent identifying him as a tourist, or so I had thought until I tuned in to their conversation.

“Do you know where twenty first street is? I’m trying to find Salazar Corporations headquarters.” I frowned. Why would a tourist be trying to find my company.

“Jethro, what are you-hey, isn’t that the head of the Carmen Ranch?” Adam interrupted my thoughts. The girls looked over. That’s it! I thought. He was in one of the photos. Oh, no. I nodded.

“And he’s trying to find headquarters.” I tore my eyes from him to look at my friends and fiancé. She raised an eyebrow.

“So…?”

“So,” Caitlin informed her. “Jethros father is buying out the town that man lives and works in.” My fiancés eyes widened.

“Oh, that’s not good.” I shook my head.

“No, Ann, it is not.” I agreed. I looked at my friends. “He actually flew here to protest it.” I said, the idea a bit radical for me. Adam nodded.

“If he’s come this far he sure means business.”

“It’ll be futile though, Adam,” Caitlin pointed out. “Because you know he’ll never listen.”

“It is more than likely he will not even deal with him.” I said quietly, sighing. “He will send him to me.” Dianne took my hand.

“I’m sorry Jethro.” She said softly, squeezing my hand lightly. “I know that will be hard for you.” I squeezed her hand gently back.

“I will be alright. As you were saying…” I turned the conversation back to the wedding plans, but my eyes did not leave the blonde haired man that wanted to stop my father from ruining his life. I hope you have better luck then I have mate. I thought sadly.

I managed to avoid a confrontation with Gabriel, the office was good at putting off people they didn’t want to bug us. As it was, when I did finally meet Gabriel it was not in my office at headquarters, it was on the tube on my way to Secrets. A couple of people were drunk and harassing the tourist and I frowned.

“Oi!” I said, striding over. “If the bloke says leave ‘im alone, leave ‘im alone!” I drawled with an accent I did not have, I did not want to risk these men identifying me, though judging by the amount of alcohol that was wafting off them I figured that was not really a risk. They took a moment to acess the new odds and, grumbling, they stumbled off.

“Thanks.” Gabriel said, looking tired and annoyed.

“No problem mate.” I said, sitting beside him. “Tourists really ought to not take the tube this late in the evening. You never know what pricks will be riding.” Gabriel sighed.

“Well, I don’t know my way around enough to rent a car , so this is the best I’ve got.” He replied, looking at me. “Why do you have your face covered?” he asked suspiciously. I snorted.

“Oh, I am not a threat to you.” I promised, amused. He narrowed his eyes at me.

“You didn’t answer my question. Who are you?” I sighed quietly.

“Jethro.” I told him, not really knowing why. I certainly did not have to.

“I’m Gabriel.” He offered his hand and I took it. I was surprised to feel how rough it was, rough from a life of working with horses I was sure. Lucky bastard. I thought.

“Pleasure.” Was my reply.

“Uh huh.” He grumbled. “So, Jethro, why are you taking the train late at night dressed like a bank robber?” I couldn’t tell if he meant it as a joke or not but I laughed anyway at the absurdity of his statement. He merely raised an eyebrow at me.

“Well, Gabriel, I am terribly curious what you think I am doing.” He eyed me, trying to decide whether or not he wanted to take on the challenge in my tone. Like the American he is, however, he took it after a moment.

“My guess? If you’re not out to rob banks or kill someone, I’d say you’re probably on your way to some sort of club or party, and that you don’t want to be recognized. This tells me you’re probably someone important, up to something they shouldn’t be.” I was stunned and he smirked. “And not just important, but probably well known if you thought it was necessary to mask your voice to those dumbasses but speak freely with me, a tourist. Am I right?”

“You are very fascinating Gabriel.” I replied without answering his question. He just snickered and nodded.

“I’m an American, not an idiot.” He retorted. I snickered.

“You have admit though, in most cases the two go hand in hand.” He laughed.

“I could say the same thing about Brits being snobs.”

“Ah, yes, and you would be right.” I replied. He laughed and smiled at me. My heart clenched at the sight of his smile. He is so gorgeous. I cursed my traitorous thoughts. I found myself smiling back, even though he could not see me.

“You’re alright Jethro. It’s crazy, the nicest person I’ve met today has been a stranger on the train. You just might have restored my faith in your people.” It was my turn to laugh.

“And you will meet ten more tomorrow that will destroy it again.” I assured him. “But we are not all bad.” I promised him. He sighed and leaned back against his seat. The announcer called my stop as the next one but I hesitated. I wanted to keep talking to Gabriel, as odd as that was. “Where are you headed Gabriel?”

“128th Ave.” he replied, I frowned slightly, that was heading back into London, and I had wanted- the announcer called last chance for my stop and I surprised myself by saying;

“What a coincidence, I am as well.”

“Really?” he looked relieved, like he had not wanted to ride alone. I nodded. He sighed, relieved. “Cool.”

“So, Gabriel, how long are you going to be in town?” I was shocked by my casual statement. I just hit on him. What is wrong with me? He did not seem to realize this and shrugged.

“I’m not sure, it’s looking like I’ll be here longer then I hoped. The latest until the end of August.” I whistled.

“That is quite the vacation.” I commented. He is willing to stay right up until they take over the town. He is determined, isn’t he?

“It’s not really a vacation, more of…business I suppose.” I looked at him.

“Business?” I repeated, seeing if he would tell me anything more. His face darkened as he glared at nothing.

“Yeah, business. This jerk is buying my town out from underneath us and I’m here to stop him.” I raised my eyebrows. Stop him? I mused.

“That sounds like quite the goal.” I commented. He nodded.

“It’s ridiculous how determined he is to avoid me, the stupid secretaries are making up all these excuses…hey, do you know anything about Salazar Corporations?” I grimaced and stiffened slightly.

“Depends.” I replied flippantly. “We all know of the company-“

“Do you know anything about the guys in charge, what’s his name, Elroy, and his son, Jethro? Oh, that’s weird, you have the same name.” I shrugged.

“It is a popular name.” I said wryly. “I know that Elroy Salazar always gets what he wants. To be honest Gabriel, if that is who you are fighting you might as well give up. He will not listen.” I told him honestly. He groaned quietly.

“No, I won’t stop until I at least get to talk to him. This is my town, my home and my family we’re talking about Jethro, wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were me?” No, no way in hell. I thought.

“Gabriel, there are very few people that would do what you are doing.” I told him honestly. He frowned.

“Then they’re cowards. How could you not stand up for what you want? This isn’t even about what I want though, it’s about what’s right.” He declared firmly. I sighed and shook my head. “Anyway,” he said. “Thanks though, it’s good to know what I’m up against I guess.” He sighed. We sat in silence for a little bit, it was not awkward, we were just both lost in our thoughts. When the announcer called our stop we both jumped a little and we looked at each other, then burst into laughter. “I guess this is where we get off.” Gabriel said. I nodded.

“Yes, it would seem so.” He was gazing at me thoughtfully and I gazed back, even though he could not see my face clearly because of the hood.

“I guess…well, it was nice talking to you Jethro.” He said. I nodded.

“And you as well, Gabriel.” I replied as we stood and got off the tube. He was about to walk away when I reached out and grabbed his arm. “If you end up staying for awhile Gabriel, I would be glad to show you around.” I pressed a paper into this hand before striding off into the dark quickly. I did not dare to look back and see how he reacted. I cannot believe I just did that. What happens when he finds out who I am? He hates me on principle. I was amused when I realized, of all the things that ran through my head, the thought that he might not be gay didn’t even cross my mind. I headed home, knowing that I was going to have a fitful sleep at best tonight, and that Gabriel would be in my dreams.

Gabriel

I stood there, stunned. Some guy I barely met, on a train no less, had given me his number. It wasn’t that I hadn’t been considering asking him or anything, because I had. That’s what concerned me. The fact that I had been considering it, the man was a stranger, was what disturbed me. I shook my head, staring at the paper in my hand. I was even more surprised that I was keeping it. I put the paper in my pocket. I didn’t know what it was about him that made me want to see him again, but I did all the same. Plus, I reasoned with myself, just because I kept the number doesn’t mean I will call him, or whatever. I smiled to myself as I walked back to my motel, feeling lighter then I had all day. I fell into an easy sleep, seeing Jethros face in my dreams to go with the voice. Maybe that’s why I kept that paper, because he hid his face from me, but I’ll never know.

It took almost another two weeks before I had gotten anywhere at the headquarters, but I decided I must have annoyed them enough as I was ushered into the elevator and then into an office. It was a nice office, a few stories up and the entire side wall was just glass windows. It was a very pretty view. I looked around and noticed there were very few personal decorations. In front of a desk there were a couple leather chairs and behind the desk there was a bookshelf, which held the only personal touch in the room, a framed picture of what looked like three kids. A dad? I thought. I thought Jethro Salazar was only twenty one. On either side of that were two filing cabinets. There were actually quite a few of both in the average sized office. I decided to take a seat and wait for my host to show up. I was happy I didn’t have to wait long. Soon enough the door opened and a tall man, a couple inches taller than me I guessed, with jet black hair and the most vivid blue eyes I have ever seen. His face was longish and he had well a well defined jaw bone with what looked like porcelain skin. He was dressed perfectly, in an all black three piece set that included slacks, a button up and tie with a vest. He was possibly the hottest man I had ever seen. “Mr. Salazar.” I greeted, he paused, his eyes widening ever so slightly as recognition flashed in his gaze. He approached his desk without answering me. He set down his suitcase and turned to face me. His eyes were friendly but his body language spoke business.

“Mr. Andrews, am I correct?” my blood ran cold at the sound of his voice. He was the man from the train.

“No.” I muttered to myself.

“No?” he asked, an amused lilt to his voice that I knew for certain was from the man on the train.

“I mean, yes that is my name.” I said coldly, angrily. He looked up from his folder at my tone.

“Mr. Andrews, please take a seat.” I shook my head and turned on my heel, marching out. I heard him sigh heavily. He lied to me. I thought.

“You’re alright Jethro. It’s crazy, the nicest person I’ve met today has been a stranger on the train. You just might have restored my faith in your people.” I said, he laughed and for some reason the sound made my heart skip a beat.

“And you’ll meet ten more tomorrow that will destroy it again.” He assured me.But we are not all bad.”

I scowled in irritation. Not all bad, sure asshole. I got on the elevator and stormed out of the lobby. I noticed out of the corners of my eyes a couple of the receptionists trading looks. They probably think he’s pissed me off. They’d be right, but they have no idea why.

That night found me sitting at a pub, turns out the legal drinking age in England is eighteen. I stared into my glass, oddly enough I was just drinking a soda, no alcohol, but at this time of night everywhere else is closed. It was about eleven o’clock and I stared down into my drink morosely. I couldn’t get over the fact that the nice guy I met could be such an ass. We had been talking since he gave me his number, about anything and everything. I knew he was gay, and he knew I was. I knew he was twenty one and I told him I was nineteen. We had talked about mundane things, like favorite colors and sports. We talked about the weather and I told him more about Caballo and my family. He told me about his friends and we talked about our love of horses. It had been crazy, how quickly I had grown attached to this man I’d only ever met once. That’s why I was so upset about what he’d done. Just buying out someone’s home. I scowled and took a swig. I remembered what he said;

“Elroy always gets what he wants.” He’d said it with such disdain, it made me wonder what he thought about the whole thing. I pulled out the paper in my pocket and stared at the number setting it, as well as my phone on the bar next to each other. I stared at then. Just text him. I thought. He could help you. I bit my lip, wondering if that was really why I wanted to text him so badly. Of course. I thought defiantly. I had been so mad when I found out who he was I had deleted his number. I picked up my cell phone and put in the number.

You lied to me.

I sat back on my stool and waited. A moment later my phone buzzed.

I know.

Was his response. I snorted. Of course he does. I glared at my phone. It buzzed again.

I know. I’m sorry.

I frowned slightly and responded.

I deserve an explanation.

I agree, but I would rather discuss it in person.

I’m at Alejandra’s.

Ok. I will be there shortly.

I put my phone away and waited for him. The fact I had been talking to him so much was what made me so angry when I found out the truth. The train had been one thing, we had been strangers, but the fact he never told me since we’d been talking…I shook my head in irritation. It was about fifteen minutes before he showed up, but when he did he took a seat beside me, wearing the casual clothes I had first met him in, but this time he looked up so I could see his face. “Gabriel…I am sorry. At first I did not see the point of telling you who I was on the tube, we were strangers.” He said quietly. I glared at him.

“And the last two weeks?” I snapped. He grimaced.

“The last two weeks I just haven’t wanted to. I knew you would react like this, and Gabriel I didn’t want you to hate me when you didn’t know the truth.” I frowned at him.

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re town had nothing to do with me. You know I don’t approve of the project.” I simply stared at him.

“So everything you told me was true?” I asked him skeptically. He nodded.

“Every single word. I didn’t really lie to you, technically speaking. I simply did not tell you something to avoid hurting you.” I snorted.

“Oh, and finally letting me in to talk to you today was the right way to tell me?” he shook his head, holding up his hands.

“That wasn’t me either! I just told you I hadn’t wanted to tell you, why would I do that?” I snarled at him.

“So you just weren’t going to tell me? Ever? You were just going to keep doing…whatever it is we’re doing and just leave it at that?” He grimaced.

“No, yes, I don’t know!” he exclaimed, frustrated. “ I hadn’t decided yet, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was we were doing, I was just trying to figure that out before I made any rash decisions. You were sent into my office today probably because my father has grown tired of you harassing the receptionists and wanted me to deal with you.” I snorted.

“And acting like you didn’t know me? What was that?” Jethro shook his head, making an overwhelmed noise.

“I panicked Gabriel. That’s all.” He sighed, seemingly exhausted by this conversation. I just stared at him as I felt my anger lessen. He gazed at me uncertainly.

“Alright.” I finally said. He blinked.

“Alright?” I nodded. “What does that even mean?” he demanded. I snorted.

“It’s means alright, I’m not mad at you anymore.” I watched as he relaxed on his stool. “Will you help me Jethro?” I asked finally. He blinked, confused.

“With what?” I rolled my eyes, again. “You know, if you’re not careful your eyes will stay like that.” He informed me indignantly. I snorted.

“With saving my town, there’s gotta be something you can do, you’re his son.” I watched straighten in his chair and his eyes darken.

“I will try.” He replied quietly. I smiled at him.

“Thank you.” I murmured. He nodded and shrugged. We talked for awhile longer before we both decided it was time to call it a night. We walked out of the bar together and I paused, tilting my head up slightly so I could look up at him. He felt my gaze and glanced at me, a smile played at the edges of his lips.

“So…uh,” I shifted slightly. He laughed and glanced around before taking my face gently in his hand and placing a chaste kiss on my lips. We kissed for a moment before he pulled away.

“Good night Gabriel.” He all but purred. I blushed lightly and closed my eyes briefly. When I opened them he was gone, having strode off in the shadows, like he had the night we met. I shook my head. I’m going crazy. I thought before heading off to my hotel. I frowned slightly. It’s getting expensive staying in a hotel this long. I need to find a room to rent, and not at a daily rate.

Jethro

Two weeks after that night with Gabriel, I insisted he come with me to the ranch, to meet my friends. I suppose he and I were unofficially dating, we spent a lot of time together, and with Dianne out of the country with her mother and my father away on business life was blissful. Things at the office required little of my attention, which was good because I had very little to spare. Gabriel came to my office and knocked lightly, smiling at me. We did not talk much about what was going on, I told him I was working on his problem and he was satisfied by that. Honestly, I thought he was just relieved to have someone else worry about it. He was barely more than a boy and he did not handle stress that well, or at all really. I smiled back at him. “I’m almost ready.” I promised as I filed away some folders. The receptionists were not surprised to see Gabriel come back, but they were surprised, and relieved, that we had become friends. He nodded and came in, leaning on my desk to get a better look at the picture.

“You know, I thought these were you’re kids.” He mused. “That first day when I came in here.” I looked at the picture and laughed.

“Well, they are not.” I mused, picking up. “It is simply Adam, Caitlin and I, when we were, oh, I am not sure, nine maybe?” I guessed. He pointed at the women in the picture.

“Who is that?” My smile faded and I set the picture back on the bookshelf before turning to look at him.

“She was my mum.” I replied, standing and grabbing my jacket.

“Was?” he asked. “Did your parents split?” I shook my head.

“No, she died when I was twelve.” I answered. He looked at me sharply.

“I’m sorry Jethro, I didn’t know.” I shrugged slightly and snapped my brief case closed.

“Do not fret.” I replied. “It was a long time ago. Shall we?” I motioned to the door. He nodded silently and walked out. I followed and locked the door. “Good bye Ms. Lucille, good bye Ms. Rachael.” I said with a warm smile at the young women. They smiled back and waved.

“Good bye Jethro!”

“Have a nice weekend!” I nodded as we walked out and I opened the door to my limo. Gabriel raised an eyebrow at me before getting in. I followed after him, shutting the door.

“The usual Angel.” I said to the driver before he could ask. We pulled away and I looked at Gabriel, who was staring at me intently.

“What happened to her Jethro?” I sighed heavily and poured myself a glass of wine. I offered him some but he declined. I sat back and took a sip, matching his gaze.

“When I was twelve I was with my mother when we were attacked. They wanted me, figuring I was the best boon for my fathers money, or intel or whatever it was that they wanted, I honestly do not know. My mother fought them, and so they killed her. Her screams, mixed with mine were enough to attract attention, and our attackers ran off. She was stabbed to death, pronounced dead on arrival. My father has never forgiven me for surviving when she did not.” Gabriel gasped, and his eyes widened in horror.

“I’m so sorry Jethro. That’s so horrible. I can’t believe he blames you for that.” I shrugged, looking out the window.

“I can. Do not hold that against him, I have yet to forgive myself as well, and I doubt I ever will.” I saw Gabriel move and suddenly he was sitting beside, pulling me around to look at me. He took my face in his calloused hands, like sand paper, and stared hard into my eyes.

“Jethro, that is not your fault. You can’t blame yourself for it. You had no control of what happened.” My expression turned pained.

“I should have done something, anything. I should have told her to run, I should have fought harder.” I whispered back. “I should have protected her.”

“You were twelve!” he cried indignantly. “What could you have possibly done?” I shook my head. I did not know, but there had to have been something I could have done. He pulled me into his arms tightly, holding me, soothing my aching heart with ever brush of his words and fingers. I found myself wrapping my arms around him in response, holding him just as tightly. I closed my eyes as slowly some of my pain and guilt melted away as his fingers stroked my hair. We stayed like that for awhile but finally I pulled back. I gazed into his earnest eyes and smiled softly at him.

“Thank you.” I whispered. His expression lit up and he smiled back.

“Don’t worry about it.” He replied and pressed his lips to mine tenderly. I sighed against his skin but the kiss remained innocent until he pulled away. We settled into the ride silently after that, and it was ok, because we both knew it was enough to just be here with each other. About an hour later we got to the meeting spot and Gabriel hesitated in the vehicle as I got out. I smiled at my friends.

“Where is he?” Caitlin demanded, smiling brighter then I had seen in a long time. Adam nodded his agreement.

“Come on Jethro, don’t hide him from us!” he complained. I laughed.

“I am not!” I mused. I turned back to the car, resting one hand on the door and another on the roof I leaned in. He looked anxious. “It is ok Gabriel, they are just my friends.” He looked at me, irritated.

“I’m not afraid of them Jethro.” He snapped. “I just don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like people. Besides, I thought we were going to the ranch.” I nodded.

“We are, but we ride from here with them to avoid the paparazzi and such. Come out so we can get going.” He sighed in irritation, glaring at me but made a move to the door. I stepped back and he climbed out, shutting the door a bit harder than necessary. I rolled my eyes at him and turned to my friends, who were grinning.

“Hello Gabriel.” Adam offered his hand and Gabriel stepped forward, taking it and shaking it strongly.

“Hello Adam.” he didn’t say it with the friendliest tone but Adam took it in stride.

“It’s awesome to meet you, Jethro here talks about you all the time.” Gabriel gave me a sideways look.

“Does he?” he replied as they released hands.

“Yep, my turn!” Caitlin responded, ignoring Gabriel’s hand and pulled him into her arms. “I’m so excited you came, I know Jethro was so happy when you agreed to come.” She pulled back and looked at him. “You are quite handsome Gabriel.” She looked and me. “Good choice love.” I snorted and Gabriel looked uncomfortable. I took his hand and pulled him away from her.

“I think so too.” Adam added. I rolled my eyes.

“Let’s go, shall we?” I mused and headed for the car. I opened his door for him and he got it, scooting over to the other side so I could slide in next to him. I did as the other two got in.

“We’re going to have a great weekend.” Adam announced happily.

And we did. We had an amazing weekend actually, the best weekend I had had since my mother’s death. Gabriel got along fantastically with Adams grandparents and the horses, we spent the majority of the time out there, just with each other and the horses. I couldn’t remember being happier.

We returned to regular life feeling ten times lighter and I found myself enjoying life more. Gabriel had started staying with Adam and Caitlin after our trip. Gabriel and I’s relationship was growing and strong, I found myself considering leaving the company, being disowned to be with him. The only thing that kept me from doing so was knowing that if I left I could not help Gabriel, I could not save his town. I finally, about two weeks after we returned from the ranch, invited him back to my flat. It was the first night he had ever been there and he was shocked by how lifeless it seemed. I explained to him that it had never been a home to me, that the ranch was really where I wanted to be. He had understood me. We had watched a movie together and had then proceeded to my bedroom. That had been a couple hours ago and we were currently laying in my bed, Gabriel curled up to my side. I had my arm wrapped around him tightly and he rested his head on my bare chest.

“It might be too early to say this.” Gabriel whispered breathlessly, and so quietly that I could barely hear him. I looked down at him, straining to hear him over my own quick breathes and pounding heart.

“Hmm?” I murmured, struggling to focus past the post coital bliss that just did not seem to be fading. He smiled at me sweetly, sleepily.

“But I’m gonna anyway. I love you Jethro.” He breathed. All the air seemed to rush out of me. He loves me. I smiled back at him, and kissed him softly.

“Go to sleep Gabriel.” I breathed back. He frowned slightly at me.

“Do you love me?” he asked softly. I held back a sigh. Do I love him? I wondered. I would do anything to see him smile, and kill anyone that tried to hurt him. I would try, am trying, to do everything in my power to see him happy. Yes, I love him.

“Of course I love you Gabe.” I breathed back, my heart clenching painfully at admitting it. He grinned at me happily and closed his eyes. I settled into my bed and looked up at the ceiling. What have I done? I thought as I drifted off to sleep.


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