Abigail acquired a used car and then stopped at a shop and purchased a cell phone. The attendant had showed her an entire wall of technological wonders, way too complicated for her impatient simplistic mind to grapple with. She’d walked out with a small white phone and a basic understanding of how to deal with its functionality. Back outside, a shiver of apprehension had her gazing repetitiously over her shoulder. The eerie feeling of being watched followed her all the way to where she’d parked her cheery red, 1999 Volkswagen Beetle. Slipping quickly into her new car, she closed the door and engaged the locks, breathing out a sigh of relief. Hands gripping the wheel tightly, she glanced through all the mirrors before looking skyward, remembering Gabriel’s mention of paparazzi in helicopters. It’s how they’d managed to get her picture that first night with him. The sky overhead was a brilliant blue with only one or two insignificant clouds making it picture perfect. No helicopters. Switching on the radio, she eased into traffic. A soft sigh escaped her as her thoughts returned to Gabriel. What unpleasant scenario awaited her today? She hadn’t gone the day before needing a little time away from the circus of attention he drew, though staying away hadn’t been easy. He invaded her every waking thought. Abigail was accustomed to a quiet, simple life. As beautiful and enigmatic as Gabriel was, his lifestyle was far from alluring for her. She would never be able to actually be with a man like him, an adored rock god. It was too much for her. The sound of a haunting melody and equally mesmerizing voice had her turning up the volume of the radio. The man sang of love, its heartache, and complications, the loneliness of it when it wasn’t returned fully. His voice was so heartrending, so powerful and full of anguish, Abigail’s eyes misted over, her nose growing itchy. By the end of the power ballad, she was actually sniffling, loving the song and the hair-raising whine of electric guitars that made it more enthralling. It had moved her and she gasped when the DJ jovially announced that it was Diavolo’s latest hit. He went on to mention Gabriel’s accident and how he and millions of fans hoped for a speedy recovery. It took her about twenty minutes to finally make her way to the familiar imposing medical center. Having prepared before hand, Abigail tucked her blond braid under a floppy hat and switched her glasses for a dark pair of sunglasses. She made her way to the emergency room entrance and the familiar guard that always helped her and the band members make it to Gabriel’s room. All seemed quiet, almost back to normal except that she noted the increased amount of security just about everywhere. On Gabriel’s floor, the nurses at the station eyed her with a frown as she walked past. There was shouting at the end of the hall and Abigail wondered briefly who the problematic patient was. Some people just couldn’t handle being sick and cloistered in a hospital. She used to make frequent trips with the nuns at the convent to hospitals and even jails to visit the unfortunate. As she neared Gabriel’s door, she realized in dismay that the shouting emanated from there. The guards were still at the door and stepped aside to allow her to enter. The scene that greeted her made her mouth gape. Gabriel stood, fingers wrapped around a metal walker leaning with an angry scowl toward Rafael. “You’re fucking crazy, man. You just had surgery yesterday. You can’t leave. Be reasonable,” Rafael shouted, hands gripping Gabriel’s bulging biceps. “Get the fuck outta my—“ Gabriel’s yell stopped the second his burning green eyes fell on her. “Abigail.” Her name whooshed from between his lovely lips, sending a shiver through her. Rafael turned, his hands still tensed on Gabe’s arms. “Bout time you finally showed up,” he snapped, making Gabriel scowl at him anew. “Don’t fucking talk to her that way,” Rafael turned back to him. Abigail couldn’t see his face anymore but his tone was scathing. “Like hell. You’ve been a prick since waking up from surgery yesterday morning because she wasn’t here. I’m about to strangle you with the damn morphine line.” Abigail’s heart tightened. He’d been through surgery while she’d been cruising around town absorbing the scenery? Guilt had her tripping forward, her eyes traveling over him. The silly hospital gown hung down around his elbows probably from the tussle between him and the guitarist. It put on display all of his upper body. His long hair was a mess around his shoulders and his jaw stubble was now more of a beard. Her whole body clenched at the sight of him. Rafael stepped away when she approached. She looked intently for any signs of bandages to show where he’d been cut. Her eyes watered at the thought of his beautiful skin being marred by a scalpel. The bandage he’d had around his head was gone and he had a few stitches just near the corner of one brow. Abigail reached for the grayish blue hospital gown with the dark blue polka dots, intending to set it to rights when his head dipped down and his mouth sealed over hers. ******* She was a vision, fucking more beautiful than he remembered. Forgetting about the fact he’d acquired a metal spike driven into his right femur less than twenty-four hours prior, he released the walker, desperate to wrap his fingers around Abby’s slender waist and haul her against him. His mouth touched hers, his tongue finding the heaven within, before pain roared with unforgiving intensity through him. He began to go down seconds before Rafael’s arms went around him from behind with a grunt and a curse. More pain blazed through him, his broken ribs protesting the male arms that held him in a vise grip. He ignored it all. Rafe holding him up, Gabriel fused his mouth to Abigail’s again, one hand gripping the cursed walker, the other wrapped securely around her. “This is fucked up,” Rafe protested tightly. His hold was slipping. “Fuck, Gabe,” he gritted out in an almost squeaky voice. “You’re too fucking heavy. Grab that walker properly, god-damn-it. My balls are about to hit the fucking floor.” Reluctantly, whole body throbbing like hell, Gabriel let Abigail go and gripped the metal walker again. About to call Rafe a wimp, the world turned on its axis as everything wavered before his eyes, the edges of his vision going black. He was going to pass out. He heard Abigail cry out in alarm before they quickly maneuvered back to the bed. His back hit the mattress. Someone yanked his legs up onto the bed, flashing his ass and balls in the process of straightening him upon the hospital bed. Gabriel could care less. He reached out blindly for Abby and encountered a bulky male form. “Easy,” Michael muttered. Erenköy escort bayan “Abby,” Gabriel called out, blinking against the dizziness. “Calm down,” Michael ordered. “She’s right here. “What the hell were you doing up? And with your arm out of the sling? You probably fucked up your collarbone again.” Yes. Gabriel felt like shit. His body was one big ball of misery, but he’d wanted to find Abigail. He’d been desperate enough to chance walking out into the mob at the entrance of the hospital. Anyone down there would have been more than happy to drive him wherever he asked. Fans were cool like that. Abigail smoothed his hair from his face, her eyes earnest. “Where have you been?” he snapped. She flinched and moved back, her pretty face flushed. Next to her Michael and Rafael glared at him. Fuck them both. Abby folded her sunglasses and tucked them in her bag before she retrieved her glasses and pushed them up her nose. It was like a kick to his gut, those big blue eyes behind those adorable glasses, her suckable, pouty, heart-shaped lips, and that amazing rack nicely displayed by her pretty dress. A floppy straw hat was perched on her head and made her look like something out of country couture catalog. “I had things that needed attending to,” she replied in her sweet breathy voice. He didn’t miss the way she squared her shoulders before looking him straight in the eyes to answer. Still she gripped her bag with white fingered intensity, her body stiff as if waiting for him to do or say something unpleasant. His right shoulder was throbbing in agony and his hip and leg were no less painful. He extended his left hand to her and was relieved when she came forward. “More important than me?” he murmured taking her hand and pressing a kiss to the back of it. She bit her lip in response, looking extremely guilty and repentant. “I could’ve died under the knife while you were out shopping probably.” Abigail flinched visibly, making his eyes narrow on her. “Don’t be so fucking melodramatic,” Michael chastised walking around to the other side of the bed to retrieve his arm sling. “Up,” he snapped poking Gabriel in his ribs, which sent a new wave of seething agony through him. Gabriel was barely able to bite back the cry of pain. He would have given the lead guitarist hell for having poked him in his broken ribs, but Abigail was doing a pretty good job of handing him his ass as it was. “Move away from him,” she snapped snatching the sling from Michael’s hands. “You need to be gentle. Can you not see he’s in pain? How can you prod and shove him around like a sack of potatoes like that? Have you no common sense? My goodness gracious. Now either treat him more delicately or move out of my way so I can help him into this.” Gabriel smirked at Michael who looked properly chastised, but fixed his expression to a pained one before Abigail turned back to him. Rafael just shoved his hands into his pockets, his dark eyes twinkling in amusement. Carefully, with the help of Michael, the sling was anchored around his shoulder and his arm propped again. Gabriel settled back into the pillows as Abigail tucked the white bed sheets around his legs and hips. He winced when she inadvertently bumped against the immense bandage at his right hip. Her eyes swung up to his, wide and questioning. “They opened me up yesterday to hammer a metal rod into my bone so I’d be able to walk again,” he said with a frown. He almost felt guilty at the panicked look she gave him. “Oh,” she said blinking rapidly. Her lips pouted and it was all he could do not to rear up and kiss the pout away. “Does it hurt very much?” Like a motherfucker, but he’d resisted overusing the morphine, not wanting to get addicted to it. His gaze swung to Rafael who was grinning like an idiot. The band didn’t need another addict. ******* They hadn’t managed to right his hospital gown. Now that the sling was back in place, it would be more difficult to cover that mesmerizing nipple he had exposed. He didn’t seem to notice it, his glassy eyes constantly roving over her. Abigail fidgeted with her glasses. Gabriel held his arm out. When she just looked at him in puzzlement, he patted the area next to him with a seductive grin. Her heart did a funny little flip in her chest as she gulped. “Humor me,” he said in his sexy, growly voice, the same voice that had crooned that hair-raising, tear-jerking song minutes ago over her car radio. She tried to sit gingerly on the bed, next to him, not sure she should. Wasn’t there a rule about how people were not allowed to sit on a patient’s bed? Gabriel’s left arm going around her waist to haul her into his side had her thoughts screeching to a halt. He was so much bigger than her, she fit perfectly into his side. “So,” he began, his lips brushing against her temple, “tell me what was so important that you abandoned me yesterday.” “I needed to buy myself a car,” she began. “I swear, Gabe,” Michael was saying, interrupting her, “I got there early, but she was already pulling out of the driveway with Edvaard. Abigail frowned and turned to catch Gabriel glaring at Michael. “Don’t be angry at Michael,” Abigail blurted in alarm, garnering Gabriel’s attention once again. “If I’m to remain in California I need my own transportation.” “The guys would be more than happy to give you a ride wherever, Abigail.” She leaned away from him a bit, leveling him with a stern frown. “I don’t need to sit and wait for people to drive me around to do my errands. I’m perfectly capable of caring for myself.” “Geez, Abigail, but you didn’t have to spend money buying a car. I’ve got five sitting at home right now collecting dust. I could’ve loaned you one of them for now.” “Absolutely not,” she said tipping her nose up a bit. “Why?” When she tried to rise from her perch next to him, he tightened his hold around her waist and grunted in pain. She gasped when his eyes slammed shut in agony before opening them a few seconds later to glare at her. Heart thudding, she did her best to wipe the worried expression she knew she wore to one of determination. “I can manage on my own, thank you. I think it’s high time I take my life into my own hands.” Gabriel’s scowl lessened. His eyes darted to Michael’s who nodded at him. Abigail frowned at both of them, wondering what secret message they were communicating to each other. “What else did you buy, Abs?” Michael questioned now, big arms crossed over his chest. Abigail arched a brow at his smug grin. “I… uh… bought a cell phone.” Gabriel’s face lit up. “’Bout time. Let’s see it.” Abigail fished around in her purse until she found her little phone. The lavender case she bought to protect it looked Escort içerenköy too feminine in Gabriel’s big hand when he took it from her with a frown. He shook his head, nose wrinkling to her dismay. “Aw, baby, what is this?” Her cheeks heated. “I-it’s my new phone.” Rafael was sniggering at the foot of the bed. Michael reached over and snatched the phone from Gabriel, his thick brows virtually touching over his blunt nose. “You should’ve gotten yourself a Note like mine, or at least an iPhone Six,” Gabriel was saying as Abigail watched Michael swerving his finger all over the screen of her phone. Abigail turned to look into Gabriel’s face, feeling annoyed. “I am not going to spend a thousand dollars on a phone. That’s ridiculous.” Gabriel’s brows furrowed. “How much did you pay for that?” “Twenty-five,” she answered haughtily. At the foot of the bed, Rafael doubled over laughing. Abigail glared at the top of his poodle curled dark head. “Say cheese,” Michael called out. Abigail blinked up at him in surprise as he aimed the phone at her and Gabriel. Next thing she knew, Gabriel was swiping his hot wet tongue up the side of her cheek as Michael chuckled and snapped pictures. Aghast, she turned, mouth gaping to Gabriel. Big mistake. He took advantage and pressed his mouth against hers, his tongue shoving in deep. She was about to struggle to get away but remembered his injuries and just froze instead. “Hey, I want in on the pics too,” Rafael called out. Gabriel reared back with a snarl. “Fuck off.” Abigail blinked at the other guitarist who was laughing hard at Gabriel’s other side. He stuck his tongue out throwing up the horns sign before following it up with his middle finger at Michael who was still happily snapping away pictures. Abigail took the opportunity of Gabriel’s lapse of attention to spring away from him and make a grab for her phone. Michael grabbed her around the waist instead and pulled her against him. Abigail blinked up at the screen of her phone as Michael held it over their faces with a big grin and snapped a picture. “Here,” he said giving her back her phone, “now one of the three of us.” “What are you all doing?” Angelo said waltzing in. “Hurry,” Rafael called out. “Abs is about to get a picture of all of us.” “Ooh, wait,” Angelo cried scampering over to the bed. He positioned himself behind Rafe as Michael occupied Abigail’s spot. They all leaned in closer to Gabriel who grinned seductively at her, naughty little nipple still on display. Abigail snapped two pictures before Angelo noticed Gabe’s hospital gown and protested. “Hey, why does he get to be the sexy one? I’m supposed to be the sexy one. Here take a pic of this,” he grinned yanking up his t-shirt to show off his fuzzy chest. Just as Abigail smirked and was about to snap the picture, Rafael turned his head and bit Angelo’s left nipple, making the drummer howl in indignation. Abigail stared at the screen of her phone, biting back a grin at the picture of the guitarist’s teeth nipping Angelo’s teet while Gabriel looked on in disgusted amusement, and Michael laughed. A few moments later, a stern-faced nurse came in and scolded them on the noise level, as well as the number of people in the room. The boys left, leaving Abigail alone with Gabriel. He beckoned for her to sit by him again. She walked up to the bed and pulled up the guardrail instead. His eyes narrowed at her as his lips drew tight. She avoided his intense gaze, fiddling with the straps of her sling purse instead. Now that the others were gone, she suddenly felt shy. “Abigail,” his deep growly voice called softly. “I just came by to see how you were doing.” “It took you all day yesterday to buy a car and a crappy phone?” His hurt one had her looking up. “I can’t be here every day.” The reminder of the horrific horde of fans and reporters just waiting below had her shivering with fear. He scowled. “And why not? Daniel keeping you occupied or something?” She didn’t miss the nasty way he hissed those words or the gleam of jealousy in his eyes. Abigail felt floored that he would even feel jealous. How was it possible? “Daniel has nothing to do with any of this,” she said defensively. Gabriel scoffed, leaning farther back into the pillows. “Then what? You just hanging around the mansion hoping to catch his eye again?” She had to clutch the strap of her purse to keep from slapping him. “You know, I’m going to ignore those stupid remarks because the doctor said you had a concussion and I also know you’re on strong meds so your brain might be a little confused,” she spat. Gabriel just sulked. Her irritation spiked because, surely, no one had the right to look so cute and sexy at the same time. Darn him. “Look,” he murmured fiddling with a fold in the sheet draped over his lap, “I’m sorry. It’s just that… yesterday…” He took a deep breath, finally looking up at her, eyes guarded. “I woke up after the surgery thinking you’d be here, but you never showed up. Guess I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I shouldn’t have snapped at you that way. I’m sorry.” Abigail let out a pent up breath. His apology had her heart melting like a scoop of ice cream on a hot summer sidewalk. Oh-no, Abigail—she admonished herself. Do not fall for him! “You need a shave,” she said trying to change the subject. His lip kicked up at the edge. “I can’t shave one-handed, not unless I want to peel part of my cheeks and throat off.” He gave her a slow blink. “Want to do it for me?” Abigail’s cheeks turned hot. “Shouldn’t that be the nurses’ job?” His smile fell, replaced by a frown and eyes turning away from her. “It’s bad enough the take liberties when bathing me. The least I can do is keep them out of my face. I’d rather grow a long beard than have them trying to kiss me too.” Abigail felt indignation roll through her. “Liberties? My-god, Gabriel. Are some of the nurses molesting you?” Gabriel looked at her coolly. His sculpted shoulders rose in a shrug. “I’m a rock star. That type of attention comes with the territory.” Abigail shook her head, refusing to accept that. “You’re hurt and in their care. They need to respect and care for you, not treat you like some prime cut of man flesh they can ogle and touch at will.” Gabriel smirked, one inky brow rising into a peaked arch. “Prime cut of man flesh?” She choked on her own breath, avoiding his piercing gaze. “Is that how you see me, baby?” he purred. She needed to leave. He was too potent for her. Way out of her league. She didn’t understand his fascination with her, but was sure it was most like due to the hit on his head. Before the accident he’d been bent on using her for revenge. Either way, she was heading to heartbreak Tuzla escort with him as soon as all this blew over and he went back to his normal life of being a rock god. Diamond had assured them all that she was just the flavor of the week, obviously much like Mikayla had been. “Abigail,” he snapped. She flinched and looked at him. He stared at her, eyes wary. “You okay?” “Yes. I’ve gotta go.” He was shaking his head, eyes wide, hand going out to try to grab her. She stayed out of his reach. “If you wouldn’t mind giving me Anna Maria’s number. I’d promised her I keep her abreast of how you were doing.” His hand stretched farther toward her, eyes pleading. “Why are you leaving? Where are you going?” She stood taller, taking a deep breath and pasting a smile on her face. “I’m going apartment hunting.” “You’re leaving the Montenegro estate?” His hand gripped the metal railing she’d pulled up between them. “Yes. I think it’s better if I live on my own.” His brows furrowed. “Uh… that’s great. Where are you looking to settle down?” She blinked at him. “I haven’t decided yet.” “I might know of a place that’s available to rent.” Abigail snorted. “I most likely wouldn’t be able to afford whatever you have in mind.” “What price range were you looking for?” he asked, determined. “Less the fifteen, I guess.” His brows shot up. “Fifteen grand?” Abigail rolled her eyes. “Of course not. Fifteen hundred, and even that’s a bit steep. I still haven’t gotten a job so I’m not sure how much I can afford yet. I’m just shooting for something inexpensive for now.” Gabriel tipped his head to the side in consideration. “Well, this place I know, the owner is looking an in-house housekeeper. You’d be paid to live there and keep up the place.” Abigail blinked at him. It sounded too good to be true. “And who is the owner of this place?” Gabriel’s eyes grew cool. He shrugged, “Someone I know. I can tell Mike to take you by the place and show you. He has the key.” Abigail frowned. “Well, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable living in someone else’s home. I wanted a place for myself.” “Trust me. This dude won’t be back in a while. By then You might be able to secure yourself a job and find something you really like instead of going through your savings as I’m suspecting you’re planning to do. Right?” Abigail bit her lower lip and nodded after a while. “I guess I can think about it.” “Good. Now lower the damn rail and sit with me. I missed you.” She gripped the straps of her purse again and swallowed. “Gabriel, we need to stop this farce already.” He frowned. “Farce?” She bobbed her head up and down. “Yes. I’m not your girlfriend. If you wanted to get back at Mikayla for lying and tricking you, I assure you she has learned her lesson. Daniel and she are already putting the finishing touches on their nuptials as we speak. There’s no need to pretend you like me anymore.” Gabriel’s eyes were the darkest shade of emerald as they held hers. He licked his lips slowly. “But, Abby… I do like you, a lot.” Abigail’s jaw dropped. “No,” she whispered. “Yes,” he reiterated, face more serious than a heart attack. She shook her head, her hat tipping off her head to fall at her feet. Her long braid fell over her shoulder drawing Gabriel’s smoldering gaze. She laughed nervously. “You can’t possibly be serious?” He frowned now, eyes going back up to stare intently into hers. “I’m serious, Abigail. I really like you. You’re sweet, untainted by all the hype that surrounds me and you’re… you’re real. I love that.” “I’m different,” she said without an ounce of emotion. His eyes became wary again. “Yes. Different.” She walked over to the railing and reached up to undo the ties to her sundress. His eyes widened, pupils widening enough to almost swallow the glittering green irises. “So that’s why you want me? Want to peel off my clothes and have your way with me?” her fingers slipped into the bodice of her dress to pull it down slowly, exposing an inch of the top swell of her breasts. Gabriel’s eyes were glued to the movement, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the harried gulp he took. “Oh-yes, baby,” he sighed. Abigail blinked back the wetness of her eyes. He only wanted her for sex. Lowering her hand to the railing, she leaned down to look into his confused eyes. “Well that’s too bad, Mr. Raven, because there has to be more than that for a man to have access to my body.” He flinched, and frowned. “Okay. What else do you need to let me f—“ Abigail reared back, her face flaming. Luckily he stopped himself in time before he said what would have probably had her turning around and leaving that room for the last time. He pressed his lips together. “Abigail, clearly I have no experience in dealing with a good girl like you, but I want to try. Do you think you can find it in your heart in having a little patience with me? I’d really like—no, love to get to know you and see where this leads.” She shook her head. “I can’t—“ “Why?” His hand covered one of hers on the railing. “Is it because of how I look?” he gestured to his tattoos. Abigail shook her head, appalled he’d think she thought less of him because of his hair and ink. “No. It’s just the whole…” her free hand flailed. “I’d have no privacy anymore with reporters and fans hounding—“ “It isn’t always that way, Abby. They get tired and move on to something else. That’s how this has always been.” She shook her head. There was no way she could deal with having her image and name everywhere. And what about when Gabriel finally tired of her. Because he eventually would. He was exciting and she was nothing but a boring simple girl. “Abby, please,” She snatched her hand away. “Look, I need to think about this. Stop pressuring me.” “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to lose you.” She looked at him, saw the sincerity in his eyes. “Gabriel,” she sighed. The sudden urge to kiss him had her drawer closer. Just one little kiss and she’d leave. He gripped her hand as she leaned against the railing. Behind her the door opened and footsteps sounded behind her, along with the sound of a man clearing his throat. Abigail straightened, her cheeks already warm with embarrassment at almost being caught kissing Gabriel. Turning, however, the color drained from her countenance as she faced none other than Daniel and Mikayla. Daniel’s expression was stony, but Mikayla’s was downright poisonous. “I’m sorry if we interrupted anything,” Daniel said primly. “No,” Abigail laughed, her voice too shrill even to her own ears. “I was just leaving. Goodbye, Gabriel,” she said patting his hand before dashing out of the room.” She was sure she heard Gabriel shout out her name, but by then she was halfway out the door and sprinting toward the elevators before the doors closed. Her hands shook as she waited for the elevator doors to finally close. She almost half expected him to come hobbling out of his room after her. Silly, of course, because the man had a busted leg and couldn’t walk well yet. The doors finally closed and she closed her eyes in relief.