Mia's Heart


Page 29



Right to a bedroom door.

What the hell?

I push the door open and am shocked beyond belief.

It’s Gavin alright. And he’s naked. And he’s not alone.

Gavin and Elena are in bed.

Together.

What.

The.

Hell.

“Mia!” Gavin exclaims. He yanks the bedcovers up over Elena’s naked body and I am frozen in the doorway. I can’t believe my eyes. A week ago, I would have been devastated because I thought I was falling in love with Gavin.

Thank god I have my memories back and know otherwise.

Because this would have crushed my heart.

“What’s going on?” I murmur. I can’t tear my eyes away from Gavin’s. His are troubled. He didn’t want me to see this. That much is apparent.

“What’s it look like, Mia? God!” Elena snaps.

And we’re clearly back to normal now. Ice Bitch is back to being bitchy. Only now, I’ve got the upper-hand. I realize that in a rush. They won’t want anyone to know about this, so they’re at a huge disadvantage. I hate to play hardball with Gavin but the fate of my happiness hangs in the balance.

“Gavin, seriously! Here? On Dimitri’s new boat? What the hell do you think he’d say if he knew?” I snap. Gavin looks a bit dismayed.

As he should.

“He won’t find out,” Gavin says slowly. “And Dante won’t either. Will he, Mia?”

He looks at me pointedly.

My heart clenches a little. I do love Gavin, even if it is only like a brother or a best friend. I look at Elena.

“Get dressed and get out. I need to talk to Gavin.”

She practically snarls at me, but she does pull her clothes on. She flounces past me in a huff. “I’d better not hear people talking about this, Mia. Or there will be hell to pay!”

I don’t even bother to answer her. I wait until she’s gone and then I close the door. And then I sit next to Gavin.

“Gav, seriously. What are you doing?”

He sighs.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing, apparently. She was rubbing herself on me like she always does and I felt rejected by you and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Obviously, it wasn’t. Please tell me you aren’t going to tell anyone, Mi.”

I reach up and touch his face. His eye is still swollen and black from where Quinn punched him.

“I’m sorry all of this happened,” I tell him softly. “I’m sorry that you and Quinn fought. I’m sorry that I drove you to that. I’m sorry that I didn’t know what I wanted- and that I led you on, I guess. I didn’t mean to, but I did. And I hate that I hurt you, Gav. I love you like a brother- like a best friend. Because you are my best friend, and I’m so worried that I’ve lost you.”

I’m crying now. All of a sudden. The tears just start streaking down my face and I wipe at them.

Gavin pulls me to him. He smells like sex, but I ignore that part. I focus instead on the comforting way that he’s patting my back.

“Mia, don’t cry,” he whispers into my hair. “I love you too. And you know what? It’s okay. You and I weren’t meant to be. We weren’t. If we were, we would have realized it a long time ago. You’re my best friend, too. And I’m sorry about everything.”

I pull away and look at him.

“So, we’re good?”

He nods.

“We’ll always be good.”

I exhale slowly. Knowing that I haven’t lost him is the biggest sense of relief I’ve ever felt. But then I remember why I’m here.

I stare into his eyes.

“Gav, you’ve got to talk to your dad. It’s not right that he’s pressing charges against Quinn. Quinn was only protecting himself and you know it.”

Gavin looks uncomfortable and fidgets a bit.

“I can’t control my dad,” he finally says. “You know that. You know how he is.”

I nod.

“I do. But in this instance, you’ve got to. It’s not fair to send Quinn back to America now. Not for something that wasn’t his fault. You were mad at me, at the situation and you took it out on Quinn. He shouldn’t have to pay the price for that.”

Gavin is still hesitating, so I have to use my leverage. The leverage that I don’t want to use.

“Gav, if you make your father drop the charges, I will never breathe a word of what I saw here today. Ever. Not to anyone. Not to Reece, not to Dante, not to Dante’s father.”

Gavin stares at me, his gaze a bit cool.

“And if I don’t?”

I shrug. “Let’s not worry about that, okay? Because I know you’ll do the right thing and make your father drop this.”

The moment is charged. Gavin’s eyes are pissed. I can see that. But he has to know that I’m right. And the fact that I even had to use this situation as leverage make me angry too.

“Gavin, this is ridiculous. You’re a better person than this. You know what the right thing to do is. You’re a good person—just do the right thing.”


We’re having a stare-down. His dark gaze meets mine. And holds.

And holds.

And holds until I grow fidgety and uncomfortable.

And then finally he sighs.

“Fine. You’re right. I was pissed because things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I’ll talk to my father tonight. We’ll get it straightened out. You’re right. Quinn doesn’t deserve this.”

A rush of relief floods through me.

“Thank you,” I murmur. I reach over and grab his hand. “Thank you. I appreciate this so much.”

He nods. “I know. And it’s the right thing to do. I’m sorry that he was arrested in the first place. My dad was angry and I couldn’t talk him out of it.”

“I know,” I tell him. “That’s exactly what we thought happened.”

Gavin gets dressed and we find Dante, Reece and Quinn. Before anyone can say anything, Gavin steps forward and holds his hand out to Quinn.

Quinn shakes it without hesitation.

“I’m sorry,” Gavin tells him. “I shouldn’t have punched you. Or shoved you. It wasn’t your fault that the situation frustrated me. I hope you can forgive me. I’m going to talk to my dad tonight and convince him to drop the charges.”

Quinn nods and accepts his apology. And then we all sit and chat for another hour. It’s so surreal that I can’t even believe that it’s happening.

But it is.

And we actually have fun, all curled up on the stern of The Sunflower, sipping at champagne and eating appetizers. We laugh, we joke, and things almost seem normal. I don’t say a word about finding Gavin with Elena and I don’t see her again all evening. Gavin doesn’t even seem to notice her absence.

Later in the night, after we go back to Giliberti House, Gavin calls and tells me that his father agreed to let the whole thing go.

I exhale a long sigh of relief and I feel like the weight of the world has slipped from my shoulders. I didn’t even realize how uptight I was about it until this moment. And in this moment, I feel like I could fly.

So I fly down the hall and tell Quinn the good news.

It is morning before I creep quietly back to my own room.

Apparently, New Mia’s boyfriend is sexy as hell and has mad-bedroom-skills.

I smile as I close my bedroom door softly behind me. My knees are still weak, but I don’t meow at myself this time. Anyone’s knees would be weak after the night that I had.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Two Months Later

Reece and I are meowing at Quinn.

This is not unusual. Every chance we get, we do it. It’s hilarious. Or we’re just easily entertained. One or the other.

This time, it is because Quinn is refusing to wear a speedo in the normal European fashion. He insists on sticking to swim trunks. Although the point of him wearing a suit at all is sort of moot. He still can’t swim.

We’re at the beach today. Dante and Reece stayed in Caberra and school finally resumed after construction was complete, but we’re out for Christmas break now. It’s been a hectic and stressful past couple of months.

We’ve worked our tails off, volunteering on different clean-up committees, to get Valese back to the beautiful, pristine city that it should be. And we’ve succeeded. You almost can’t tell that an earthquake ever hit.

Sadly, the construction on my own home is almost finished and I’ll be moving back home within the month. I say sadly because I love being out at Giliberti House with Quinn, Dante and Reece. But I’ll just have to make the drive to visit them after I move.

Every day.

Maybe even twice a day.

“Quinn, just grow a pair and wear the speedo,” Gavin shouts from down the beach. He and Quinn have patched up their differences in the way that only boys can and even consider each other a friend again. It will never cease to amaze me how boys can get mad, get in a physical fight and then get over it. The male species is truly weird.

Gavin shouts again, louder this time for effect. “Just grow a set!”

Quinn runs him down, then tackles him to the ground and they roll in the sand for a bit. Somehow, and I don’t exactly know how, Gavin’s speedos end up floating on the waves of the sea.

Reece and I look at each other and laugh before we resume looking at our magazines from the safety of our beach chairs. The boys rough-house for a while longer and then Dante joins them to throw a Frisbee around.

As I look around, at my laughing friends, at the beautiful sea, at my BFF next to me, I can’t believe how lucky I am. Life really does seem like a fairy tale.

But even fairy tales come to an end. I swallow hard as I remember that sad fact. We’re all looking at colleges now though and I know that our happy little group will split apart next year. Gavin and I are looking at Cambridge, while Dante and Reece are looking at colleges in the States. Quinn hasn’t decided yet what he’d like to do. I’m hoping that he will come with me, though.

Yes, that is selfish.

But honestly, Cambridge? It’s not exactly like it’s a hardship.

And even though some things end, endings are just doors closing so that new doors can open, right?

I watch Quinn now, his muscles flexing and moving as he dives to catch the Frisbee. He holds it up, showing the others that he did, in fact, catch it before it hit the ground. Then he crows because he won.

He makes his way over to me and with the sunlight shining from behind him, he is heart-stoppingly gorgeous.

Seriously.

I squint up at him as he holds a hand out.

“Yes?” I ask him, then grin.

“Come on,” he tells me. “You’ve got a deal to uphold.”

I’m confused and I tell him that. He smiles.

“You were supposed to teach me to swim months ago. And you haven’t yet.”

I consider that.

“True,” I tell him. “But we’ve been busy with other things. Like, you know, rebuilding a city.”

He laughs and pulls me to my feet.

“Excuses, excuses,” he chuckles. “I don’t see a hammer in your hand right now. I think you can fit me in.”

He wraps his arm around my waist and I tuck myself into his side. We walk leisurely down the beach and I stare up at him.

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