The following morning was Friday, the day of the party. Gabe tried to hang around as long as possible before leaving for work but Genevieve stayed in bed. Before leaving he told Eric to answer any questions she had but try not to irritate her. Genevieve had no intention of asking Eric any questions. For whatever reason, she wanted to hear everything from Gabe. She'd tossed and turned half the night thinking and deliberately trying not to think. When she got up, she went out back to the hillside the looks over the town. Eric watched silently from the kitchen.
'What have you done Daddy?' she wondered to herself as she looked out on the seemingly peaceful town. Despite her desire to think Gabe was crazy and lying, some part of her believed him.
She spent most of the day sitting on the hill. She played the guitar some and she stared off into space a lot. Eric never bothered her but he watched her from the garden, the house or the porch. When Gabe got home, he took over. He tried to let her know he was there but she didn't respond to him. As the party approached, she moved inside to get ready. Eric went out front to greet the guests and Gabe paced nervously in the hall. He had wanted to talk to Genevieve before the party...
After the first of the guests had arrived, Genevieve made her way downstairs wearing a beautiful light blue gown unlike any she'd shown Gabe. She's seen it and admired it during the shopping trip but had not picked it. It had shown up laid across her bed today though and she simply couldn't resist. Gabe was in the hall near the stairs when she came down. He smiled reassuringly at her.
He went to her side and offered her his arm to escort her around for introductions.
After he'd introduced her to various guests, he leaned in close and whispered in her ear. "You look beautiful." He smiled at her. "How are you?" he asked...
Genevieve smiled. "After the party." she said answering his unasked question.
Gabe nodded and took her hands. "Come on, let's go party." he said with a grin. He led her into the living room. All the couches and chairs had been moved along the well, the dividers and chess table had vanished to make room for a dance floor. The stereo was being discreetly DJed by Eric.
Gabe led her to the dance floor and they danced together for most of the party.
During one of their breaks, they sat close together on the couch. Genevieve found herself leaning into Gabe. "Shouldn't you be socializing with your guests?" Genevieve asked him playfully.
"Probably" Gabe said with a smile.
"Are you going to?" Genevieve asked, not sure if she wanted him to leave her side or not.
"Not yet." he said pulling her a little tighter to him. "Not yet" he added softly.
Genevieve didn't resist having his protective arms around her and cuddled closer to him.
After awhile they broke their cuddle and Gabe did actually get up to socialize with others. Before leaving her, he kissed her hand and smiled at her. He met up with Don Lothario who was less than thrilled. Apparently he was getting nowhere with the other guests and watching Gabe and Genevieve all cuddly on the couch was too much for him. He left the party in a huff.
Gabe caught Genevieve's eye and smirked. He shrugged as if to say "whatever". Lothario wasn't really Gabe's concern at the moment. After awhile the rest of the guests departed and most of them had a good time. Gabe, Genevieve and Eric each grabbed a plate from the buffet table since none of them had taken a chance to eat during the party. Genevieve finished first and kept eying Eric. She wanted to be alone with Gabe to talk....
'He really must be the slowest eater ever..' she thought to herself while glaring at him
Finally Eric finished up and left the table. Gabe and Genevieve looked at each other across the table. Without saying anything, they both knew it was time to talk. Gabe got up first and cleared their plates to the kitchen. Then he led Genevieve to the library. Once they were seated Gabe waited as Genevieve seemed to be collecting herself. She took several deep breaths and stared at the wall. Without looking at him she nodded. "Okay, I'm ready..."
Gabe realized she wasn't going to ask any specific questions so he looked at her and started talking. "As you know, your father is a rich man. With that money comes a lot of power and a lot of enemies. As I mentioned the first day we met, he tends to bring out the worst in people which doesn't make real friends." he said calmly. He paused trying to word exactly what we wanted - needed - to say. "You have to understand," he said looking her in the eyes, "he's not a good man Gen. He's...he's just not a good man. He buys loyalty with money and when that doesn't work...." he trailed off for a moment.
"When that doesn't work?" Genevieve repeated. "You have to tell me Gabe..."
Gabe blew out a breath and leaned forward in his chair looking down at the floor for a moment. He looked over at Genevieve. "He owes a debt to Patrick and Ronan - Patrick is the man from last night. Ronan was being dealt with by Eric. Anyway, it's not a debt that can be paid with money - Patrick and Ronan have money."
"Then....what?" Genevieve asked. After he didn't say anything she gasped. "You don't mean...me?"
Gabe looked back at the floor. "Yeah. You. You were the payment. Are they payment. They still have to collect."
"No! He wouldn't!" Genevieve sputtered.
Gabe arched a brow at her and replied, "How's Annabelle?" he asked pointedly.
"Annabelle? How do you know about my sister?!" Genevieve asked alarmed.
"I know your father Gen. I know he forced Annabelle to marry a man she'd never met in order to take care of a problem client. I know she then disappeared. She hasn't been found or heard from in three years. Her husband managed to remarry and is living off your family's money." Gabe said.
Genevieve was silent. She knew he was right, she'd talk to Annabelle a lot before and after her marriage to a brutal man. Tears sparkled in her eyes as she acknowledged truths she'd known for a long time.
She stood up and paced the room for several minutes. Then she turned to Gabe and with a heavy sigh spoke. "Okay, tell me about Patrick. I heard you and Eric talking - why am I in danger?" she paused, scared to think about what Gabe would say. "What would he do to me?"
Gabe stood up. "This place, Riverview, it's not just a simple farming town. There are...forces...at work here."
"What forces Gabe? What are you talking about?" Genevieve asked trying not to get annoyed with his no answer answers.
Gabe stood up straighter and nodded. "Okay, Patrick is a vampire. Malone, the blond you met the other day in town, he's a werewolf. All the supernatural creatures from the books, they're real - all of them. And most of them...they come here. Because there's power here; some supernatural, unseen, unfelt by humans power. He draws them here like moths to a flame."
Genevieve stared at him. Surely he was crazy or confused or trying to scare her into listening to him. And yet, she felt the need to trust him. He'd protected her and she just knew he wasn't crazy. But vampires? Seriously?! "You can't be serious." she finally said lamely.
"Why?" Gabe asked. "Did you see Patrick's eyes? Have you ever seen red eyes before?"
"But vampires, werewolves...it's crazy talk! None of that's real!" Genevieve countered.
Gabe didn't say anything for several minutes as she seemed deep in thought. "I can show you proof." he finally said. He motioned to the book case behind him. "I have books, reports, pictures, videos, charts, the entire history of Riverview...I'll call Malone and have him shift in front of you if you like." he added with a small smile.
Genevieve looked at him. Even though it all seemed crazy, something about it and the look in his eyes made her believe him. "No, no. Assuming all this is true - what about you? What are you?"
"Human" Gabe said with a smile.
Genevieve watched him, waiting for more. When he didn't offer further explanation she sighed. "And?! What's a Regent? Is Eric human? How can you protect me? WHY do you want to protect me? Come on Gabe!"
Gabe laughed for the first time since they'd come into the library. He sat down and motioned for Genevieve to sit again. "A Regent is a representative. Seventy five percent of the population of Riverview are supes of various types. The other twenty-five percent are human and for the most part oblivious to the status of their neighbors. Each supe group has a Regent so that everyone gets along...for the most part. I'm the Regent for the humans. I try to keep them safe from extinction. It's an inherited position and comes with a certain degree of protection, particularly on this house. My father was Regent, as was my grandfather and so on and so forth. It's always the first born son."
"So it's your job to protect me?" Genevieve asked. "Eric mentioned others...are there other human regents or something?"
"No but the other supes could have taken you in, they chose not to because they're afraid of Patrick and your father - mostly Patrick." Gabe said. "And yes, protecting you is part of my job."
"What about Eric - is he human? Is he your body guard?" Genevieve asked.
"Yes and yes." Gabe said. "He's also a good friend."
Genevieve sat back in her chair feeling tired suddenly. It felt like she'd just downloaded an encyclopedia into her brain and it was overloading. "This is all too much." she said. "This is..."
Gabe stood and pulled her to her feet. He pulled her into a hug and just held her. "I know, it's crazy, all of it. Just know you're safe here."
"Come on" Gabe said taking her hand. He led her upstairs and into his room. She pulled back for a moment, not sure what he was thinking was going to happen. He rolled his eyes with a smile. "I want to take you on the deck." he said.
"Oh." Genevieve said looking slightly embarrassed. She followed him onto the spacious deck that looked out on the hills around Riverview. "I'm not really a country girl but it's beautiful out here." she said.
"You're beautiful." Gabe said
Genevieve blushed. "You think I'm beautiful?" she said softly
"You ARE beautiful." Gabe said. He took her face gently in his hands and looked into her eyes. "Gorgeous." Then he leaned in and gently kissed her.
Genevieve leaned in and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him into a deep kiss.
"What are be doing here Gabe" Genevieve asked, tight in his embrace.
"We're kissing Gen, go with is" Gabe said with a smile.
"Whatever you say" Genevieve said with a similar smile.
Eventually they both looked to the sky and saw the saw steadily rising. "It's morning" Gabe observed.
"Did we talk all night?" Genevieve asked
"Well there was the kissing..." he replied with a grin.
Genevieve let out a large yawn then and stumbled slightly. "You're exhausted" Gabe said catching her and pulling her into his arms.
Once again, he found himself carrying her into the house. He laid her in his bed as it was closer than her room and laid down with her. They slept the day away together.
Genevieve woke up in an unfamiliar bed. She looked around and got her first comprehensive look of Gabe's room. It was decorated in dark colors but it was elegant. She looked over and saw the other side of the bed was rumpled as well so obviously Gabe had slept next to her. She couldn't remember getting in the bed...
She got up and changed quickly. She'd just pulled her hair into a high ponytail when Gabe came out of the bathroom. "Morning gorgeous." he said with a smile. He laid a quick peck on her cheek and when she didn't say anything he pulled back and looked at her. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Er, well...what happened last night?" she paused a moment and then went on quickly "I remember the party and the talking and I remember the kissing..." a small smile played across her mouth. Softly, almost to herself she added "Yeah I remember the kissing..." she said stifling a girlish giggle.
"You remember the kissing?" Gabe said with a knowing grin. "Did you like the kissing? I liked the kissing..." he said before pulling her into a deep morning kiss.
Then he leaned in close and whispered in her ear. "Nothing else happened. You were tired, I carried you here - my bed is closer to the deck than yours and I hoped you wouldn't mind."
"Okay." Genevieve said. "Good."
"Good." Gabe said.
"Good, because I'd hate to forget this..." she said pulling him onto the bed as she sat down. She snuggled into his arms and kissed him.
"Are you sure about this? It's been a hard few days for you..." Gabe said, trailing off as she kissed him again.
"Gabe" she said looking him in the eyes. "Shut up and hold me..."
One thing led to another...
It was near dusk when they finally surfaced outside of the room. Eric watched them and then looked at Gabe as if to say 'you didn't?!'. Gabe just smiled and worked on articles for work while Genevieve relaxed in the library and Eric restored the living room furniture to it's rightful place.
Genevieve was engrossed in a book written by a distant relation of Gabe's when she felt a little ill. She ran to the bathroom...
"Ugh" she said as she brushed her teeth to get the nasty taste out of her mouth. She returned to the library and curled into the chair with her book. The third time she had to dash to the bathroom, she gave up on the book entirely and went outside to sunbathe. That night she pulled Gabe outside to look at the stars. She seemed nervous and kept pacing along the cliff's edge making Gabe nervous. "Gen..." he started to say. She held up a hand to stop him. She resumed pacing. A few minutes later he tried again. "Gen..." she stopped and stared at him.
Finally, in one long blurted word she said, "Gabe-I'm-pregnant-oh-my-goodness-I'm-pregnant-what-are-we-going-to-do?"
Gabe eyed her and considering asking her to say it again but feared he wouldn't get anything clearer. He'd caught the word pregnant so he latched onto it. "You're pregnant?" he asked.
Genevieve looked upset. "I think so. I threw up three times today and then felt these....flutters..."
"Flutters?! Really? Can I feel?" Gabe asked excitedly. Genevieve was surprised at his reaction but nodded.
"Gabe..." Genevieve started to say. "Are you upset?"
"What? Why? Why would I be upset?" Gabe asked confused. "I love kids and I love you" he said casually.
"Huh? You love me?" Genevieve asked, her face a mix of confusion and delight.
Gabe looked at her seriously. "Yes. You may get under my skin at times and Eric very well might like to strangle you, but I. Love. You. It just hit me, like lightening and it's simple. I love you..." he said.
"Oh Gabe!" Genevieve said throwing her arms around him "I love you too!"
"Genevieve...my love..." he turned away from her momentarily and seemed to be digging in his pocket. As he found his treasure, he got down on one knee with a beautiful (pink) diamond ring held out to her. "Will you marry me?"
Genevieve couldn't help but admire the rare pink diamond cut into a heart and set into the rink briefly. It was gorgeous! More than that, she saw Gabe and her heart melted. "Yes! Oh a thousand times yes!" she jumped up and down making it hard for Gabe to slide the ring on her finger but he managed. They jumped into each other's arms and Gabe spun her around a few times.