First Came You (Fate series #0.5)
First comes a nickel, Then comes a shove,
Then comes loss only conquered by his love.
This is the story of my first true love. The story of how the boy next door protected me, became my best friend, stole my heart, and rescued me from my darkest despair.
Loss. The recurring theme of the last few months.
First it was her parents—my second parents. They treated me like their own even if they had their doubts about my not-so-pure feelings towards their young daughter. Their death crushed me. I couldn’t let Gabriella see it because I had to be her rock. But my heart still clenches tight with hurt when I think about Mr. and Mrs. Rossi no longer living on this planet.
Then came the slow and gradual loss of the girl who means more to me than anything. I watched as all happiness and joy disappeared from her life with that one single phone call. She hasn’t been the same. She’s so distant and cold. Not just to me—to Gina too. We talk about it all the time. How much we miss the old spunky, vibrant Gabby. How we worry about her. How we have to let her go through the grieving process in her own way.
That part’s the worst because I can’t fucking stand watching her push me away. She’s dying inside—broken—and all I want to do is piece her back together. But she won’t let me. She won’t let me do what I know I can. So I bite my tongue and take my anger out on the basketball court or the boxing bag. Seeing me angry won’t send her running back into my arms.
But tonight? This rejection is the worse loss yet.
I’ve managed to smother her—her words—by caring for her. My selfish need to keep her close and protect her have caused her to let me go. For the first time in my life, I understand the pain of a broken heart. She’s the only girl who’s ever owned it, and without her I’m not whole.
When I get back to my house, head hung low like a beaten dog, I toss the red box on the table and watch it skid in my father’s direction.
“You were right. Happy?” I growl.
Swallowing back his beer, he arches a brow. “Told you so.”
Three words I never like hearing—especially from my smug asshole of a father. Instead of pounding my fists into his gray-bearded face, I turn my back to start off to my bedroom. I can make better use of my time by packing.
My old man stops me with a gruff, patronizing laugh. “Boy, your need to fix things don’t work on the unfixable. She’s damaged goods. Don’t waste your time.”
I suck in a deep breath, and tighten my fists so hard my nails dig into my palms. Do not deck your father, Tommy. He’s not worth it. Turning to face him, I stare hard into his bloodshot eyes. “You don’t know shit about me and Gabriella. And I would never give up on her because she’s not a waste of anything. And maybe it seems like things are dark right now, but there’s nothing damaged about the beautiful girl she is and the incredible woman I know she’ll become.”
He takes another pull of his beer, slamming the empty bottle down on the table. “Suit yourself. Throw your life away before it’s even begun.”
Rushing toward the table, I get within inches of his face and growl, “Just because you’re unhappy with the way your life turned out doesn’t mean you have to take it out on me. Stay the hell out of it and save your misconstrued sense of wisdom to yourself. I’ve never needed it before and I don’t count on needing it ever again.”
I stalk off to my room, grumbling under my breath. He’s a misery. Has been for as long as I can remember, and the fact I’m doing things he never could at my age makes him resent his own flesh and blood and the struggles of being a lesser man. And my poor mother is just a naïve victim to his shit.
I’m over it.
I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here. Away from their scrutiny, away from their disapproval. My parents never appreciated my passion for Gabriella and our future. They always told me I was being stupid with my heart by giving it away too soon. They didn’t want to accept that I’d found a kind of love in Gabriella and her family that I lacked here. My parents are decent people, just not loving people. The Rossi’s gave me more.
As I toss shit haphazardly into boxes, I replay so many Gabriella memories in my head with tears burning at the back of my eyes. The beginning—when we were kids and would laugh all day while we played man hunt in the scorching summer sun. The middle—when I admired Gabriella as she grew into a beautiful girl with curves that made my mouth water and lips that made my dick think things it shouldn’t be thinking at that age. The end—is this the fucking end?