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Falling into Surrender

By:A. Zavarelli

Falling Series Volume Three

Chapter One

Victoria



The morning sunlight filters through Gabriel's curtains, bathing my  cheek in warmth as I sprawl out across his bed. It's a warm June  morning, and all of New York is coming alive on the streets below. I'm  still wrapped up in his blankets and going on very little sleep, but  there's a smile on my face as I rub my swollen eyes.

Last night, I dared to crack myself wide open. To unleash all of my  demons and tell Gabriel the raw and unfiltered truth about Victoria  Colletti. It feels like a piano has been lifted off my chest, and even  if it doesn't make anything better, I'm glad I told my story.

Before I can go seek him out, the man himself appears in the doorway,  holding a phone to his ear. He's wearing nothing but his black briefs,  and when my gaze travels south, he cracks a smile and shakes his head.

"Hang on a minute," he says into the speaker.

He saunters over to the bed and gives me an all too brief kiss before pulling away again.

"I didn't expect you to be up," he says. "It's still early."

"I know it's still early." I roll my eyes and throw my head back on the pillow dramatically. "So what are YOU doing up?"

"I'm just making a couple calls, and then I promise you'll have my utmost attention."

"Okay." I shoo him off with a pouty face. "Go do whatever you need to do."

He smirks and goes back to his phone conversation while I shuffle into  the master bathroom. I've never been inside of it before, and I'm more  than a little curious to see what it looks like. One of the perks of  being upgraded to girlfriend status, I suppose. I get to sleep in  Gabriel's king size bed and use his bathroom.

I'm not surprised to find more gray tiles and décor, but the open stone  shower adds a nice touch to the place. It has double shower heads and  one of those sweet water proof stereos built into the wall. After  flipping through the stations, I decide on one aptly called Girl Power.

Stepping beneath the hot spray, I let the water sluice over my body and  wash away any remaining tension in my muscles. Wannabe by The Spice  Girls comes on over the speakers and I do a little victory dance,  belting it out like it's 1996.

A moment later I'm wrapped in Gabriel's arms, his chest vibrating with laughter. "Didn't know you were a fan."

"Are you kidding?" I say seriously. "This is my jam."

He chuckles and pulls me in for a kiss, which I return enthusiastically  by gripping his ass and pulling him against me. His erection is digging  into my belly, and he's making those sexy little groaning noises that I  like so much. So I'm surprised when he pulls away and holds me at arm's  length.

"Not this morning baby," he says apologetically. "We have a busy day planned."

I look up at him curiously. "Doing what?"

"Just wash up quickly and we'll go."

"Really?" I frown.

"Believe me it's taking every ounce of strength I have not to take you  right now," he says. "I promise this has nothing to do with what you  told me last night."

Just as my nagging insecurities rear their ugly heads, he squashes them  down with those words. I relax into his touch and allow him to wash me,  repeating the same process on him once he's through.

After our shower, he tosses me another one of his tee shirts and a pair  of sweatpants. The tee shirt isn't a problem, but after I've slipped  into the pants, I realize I can't walk without holding them up around my  waist like Urkel. Gabriel laughs at my dilemma and helps me roll them  down, tying one of my spare rubber bands around the excess.

"It's just till we get to your apartment," he says.

"We're going to my apartment?"

"Yes." He nods, his expression turning serious. "You should check in  with Alanna after last night, and I have something important to tell you  both."







When we get to my apartment, I'm relieved to find Alanna in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee.

"Sorry I didn't check in with you last night," I say sheepishly.         

     



 

"It's okay." She smiles. "I figured you were probably otherwise preoccupied."

Gabriel stands back with an odd expression on his face, and I shoot him a  questioning glance. He clears his throat, his gaze swinging between  Alanna and I.

"Uh, I need to talk to both of you. You might want to sit down for this."

I take a seat at the kitchen table and drum my fingers across the wood  as I wait for him to start. He's never looked so nervous before and it's  making me a little anxious in response. Especially since he's been  acting strange all morning.

"First of all," he begins, "Alanna, you should know that Victoria and I  had a very long talk last night. She told me everything about her past."

Alanna's hand tightens around her mug as she looks at me for assurance.

"Victoria?"

"Yes, it's true," I reply.

"Oh my God." She lets out a relieved sigh. "That's good. I was hoping you would."

"You were? Why?"

"I just think that maybe he can help you somehow. He has more resources than we do, Toto."

"Well, he can't," I snap, crossing my arms in frustration. "I only told  him because I think he deserves to know the truth. But I won't let him  get involved … "

"I'm already involved," Gabriel interjects. "Whether you like it or not,  Victoria. And Alanna's right, I can help you. You just have to trust  me. But first, I have something important to tell both of you."

I turn my attention back to him though I'm far from ready to let this subject drop.

"After you told me everything last night, I couldn't sleep. This morning  I had a friend run some background information. Unfortunately, I wasn't  able to locate Eleanore, because it seems she is pretty good at hiding  herself. And she has the means to do so now that her father's passed  away."

"Of course she has money now too," I groan. "That's just icing on the cake."

"A friend of mine is checking into it," Gabriel continues, looking so  hopeful I can't say anything to rain on his parade. He's grossly  underestimating how good Eleanore is at this, just like everyone always  has.

"But he did find something else this morning," he says. "Something important."

Alanna and I glance at each other, holding our breath while we wait.

Gabriel's eyes dart towards Alanna as he explains. "Your husband  Mitchell, well I don't exactly know how to say this …  but you don't have  to worry about him anymore. He was killed in the line of duty two years  ago. A routine traffic stop that went badly."

Wrong or right, his words fill me with relief. But something is off,  because Alanna doesn't look relieved at all. In fact she doesn't even  look surprised. She hangs her head in shame, and my stomach somersaults  at the implication of that guilty expression.

"I already knew," she whispers weakly.

"What do you mean you knew?" I demand.

I don't want to believe that she would keep something like this from me. That she could lie to me like that.

She looks up at me with pleading eyes, silently begging for my forgiveness. "I couldn't tell you."

"But why?" I croak.

She casts an irritated glance in Gabriel's direction as if this is his  fault somehow. "I should have known you would have found out."

"How could you not tell me this, Alanna? We've been running for years  and … " Suddenly it hits me. The realization that Alanna doesn't need to  run anymore. All of her problems are solved. That's why she let herself  fall in love with Nathan. Why she's been trying to convince me to stay.

"Oh, God." I sink into my chair. "How long did you think you could keep this charade up?"

"I don't know," she says weakly. "I wanted to tell you, but I could  never find the right time. I owe you my life, Victoria, I couldn't just  walk away from you. And I knew if I told you, there was no way you would  let me keep running with you."

"Well you were right," I say softly. "I won't let you run with me  anymore. This is good news, and I'm happy for you, really I am. But it  changes nothing for me."         

     



 

Alanna shoots a desperate glance at Gabriel, panic seeping into her  features. He walks up behind me and cups my shoulders in his strong  hands, managing to soothe me with even the slightest of touches.

"Victoria, I'm going to help you," he insists. "And you will let me. We  both care about you, and nobody is going to let you leave here by  yourself. You don't have to do this anymore. I can protect you."

"No, you can't!" I raise my voice in frustration. "You just don't get  it. She will kill you, Gabriel. She'll kill Alanna, and anyone else  who's in her way. I cannot involve either of you. It's not fair, but  that's the way it has to be."

"I want you and Alanna to come stay with me," he says softly. "You'll be safe at my apartment."

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