Gabriel let out an exaggerated sigh and relaxed his posture. After a twelve-hour shift he was finally home. “hey, you” he said to the yellow cat snuggled up on the couch. Good thing his mom wasn’t home or she would have thrown both of them out for getting hair on the couch. And believe him the last thing you want to do is mess with a Mexican mom and her couch. He picked the cat up and snuggled her against his chest ”I'm jealous of you cheddar, I go to work you're sleeping. I come back and you’re AGAIN sleeping. you spoiled brat”. He laid down and closed his eyes slowly drifting into sleep.
A sudden knock at the door woke him up. Startled and still half asleep he made his way to the front door. Through the peephole, he could see a familiar blond-haired boy. He hesitatingly opened the door. “Hey, man you’re never gonna believe what happened,” the blond said pushing his way inside.“ Stacy, hot vice press Stacy mind you. Invited us to her party!!” A dumb look on his face made him look like a weirdo. “Yeah, no thanks“
“No? Gabriel! It’s summer you have to enjoy yourself a little. Come on don’t do me like that! you’re my wingman! My best friend! plus …I heard Leah is going to be there... “ he said with a taunting voice. Gabriel blushed a little just at the mention of her name. But he was tired. all he had wanted all day was to come home take a shower and sleep. His feet hurt, his back felt on the verge of retirement, and most of all he was tired of having to socialize.
“I don’t think so, Kaleb. maybe another time. you can always ask Alex or Uriel I’m sure they’ll be all up for it.“ Gabriel said heading towards his bathroom. “I’d have much more luck catching chicks with a peanut than with Uriel and Alex as my wingmen. You know that !”
“Yeah well good luck with that, but I’m not going and end of discussion. Now if you excuse me I’m going to take a shower” Kaleb smiled mischievously “well maybe I’ll have to see if Leah likes peanuts” Gabriel’s eyes darted back at him. He wouldn’t dare or would he? Leah has been his crush since fourth grade. But In those eight years, he hadn’t gained the courage to ask her out. Kaleb knew how much he liked her and had been the one coaching him to no avail to flirt with her.
“I’m just teasing you know I wouldn’t do that. Plus she’s not my type. But if you don’t get yourself together someone else might make a move. Come on you deserve the chance to be upfront with your feelings for her not just be waiting for a miracle.” Gabriel nodded “fine I will go”
“Well I don’t see anyone we know, do you?” Kaleb said pushing through the crowd. “Um, just some guys from the football team” Stacy was one of the most popular girls and not only in her school district so it was no surprise her party was full of people from other schools. “Hey, Gabriel. What a surprise seeing you here” link the most obnoxious quarterback to exist said. “Oh...hey link. yeah just enjoying the summer” Justin forced himself to be polite. “I see, and you brought pretty boy with you! I’m surprised his mommy didn’t come with you”
“ I was so close to punching him in the face you shouldn’t have gotten in the middle!!” Kaleb looked like an angry chihuahua next to Gabriel. “I know and he deserves it! But this isn’t the place; the last thing we want is to cause a scene” if anyone knew about wanting to punch link it was Gabriel. The guy was a walking pain in the butt and somehow he always found a way to be around him.
“Hey why don’t we go look for max and the others I’m sure they’re here they never miss a party” He practically dragged Kaleb pulling him as farther away from link as possible “fine”
Max and the others were playing ping pong. Roxane his girlfriend was braiding Kaleb’s hair. He was like a child always looking for attention so for him that was like heaven. “If you try and steal my girlfriend I’ll make sure there is no hair left to braid, ” max said as he hit the ball. Kaleb just chuckled. Roxanne rolled her eyes at him a small smile forming on her lips.
Max started telling everyone about the skiing trip they took that winter and about how Kaleb had managed to get them lost even with the GPS. “So there you have me and Gabriel in the middle of Colorado. We stuck out like a sore thumb. I honestly felt like I was at Hobby Lobby. like, yes lady I’m black now stop staring.” Gabriel remembered how uncomfortable that experience had been it even gave him chills thinking about it now.
He brushed the feeling off and turned to look at Kaleb and That’s when Gabriel saw her; Leah. standing next to the drinks she looked uncomfortable. Like if she stood still enough she could disappear. It hurt him a little to see her like that.
It must have been all of Kaleb’s training or maybe the lack of sleep catching up to him but there he was walking up to her. "H-Hi Leah," he said his voice trembling a bit. " Gabriel, hi. Are you enjoying the party?"
"Yeah, it’s packed though. How about you?" He said taking note of how she looked around anxiously “well honestly I’m not a huge fan of crowds. Plus I seem to have lost Stacy somewhere around here.” She looked sad almost on the verge of tears.
“Hey, are you okay? Did something happen?” Gabriel got closer to her. She was breathing hard but still, she seems not able to catch her breath.
“I-I think I’m having a panic attack “ she mumbled. she clutched her fist into her chest. Gabriel grabbed her arm she felt cold and clammy “hey let’s get you some air.” He pulled her out into the entrance of Stacy’s backyard. Now all you could hear was the faint sound of music and talking. Leah started to feel the panic stop running through her body. She could finally breathe and her head didn’t feel like it was on fire anymore.
Gabriel had never seen her like this before; she was always so full of smiles and always walked with so much confidence. A small thank you brought him back from his train of thought. “Are you sure you’re okay? Do you want water? I can bring you water!” He said nervously in a panic.
She laughed a little “no. Please I’m better now. Sorry, you had to see that.” She sat down on the small brick wall that surrounded the garden. “This has been happening more and more recently and it’s honestly so embarrassing” she played with the rips of her jeans.
“It’s not something you should be embarrassed about but if it’s starting to be a more frequent problem you should talk to your parents about seeing someone who can help you. You have nothing to be ashamed of okay?” Gabriel sat next to her. They both looked up at the stars. It was a lovely summer night. A gentle breeze compensating for that hot evening. “Thank you”
They talked and talked under the night sky. Gabriel caught himself staring. He could not help it everything about her was so mesmerizing. The way Her big dark eyes sparkled under the moonlight. Her braided hair ran down her back making her look elegant. He remembers the first time he had seen her natural hair. she had been trying to keep it out of her eyes all morning until she finally had enough and tried to fit in all inside a beanie. She had looked as beautiful back then as she does now.
Leah mi querida Leah he had thought to himself every night since that day. For eight years this girl had been in his thoughts from the moment he woke up to the moment he fell asleep and now there she was.
Querida: loved or lovely. A term of endearment towards a female.