Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own any of the North Shore characters!
Chapter 1 : The Letter
"Hey Frankie, what did Vincent say about your night club?" Gabriel walks over to one of his few friends on the island after his shift. "Well he agreedâso long as I could raise ten thousand by the end of the first night!" Frankie mumbled as his smile disappeared trying to figure out how to go about earning the now rather impossible seeming sum of money. "Don't worry man, the club will be rocking and the hunnies will bring in all the beach boys, ten won't be that hard." Gabe tried to sound as if it was a piece of cake, but was having big doubts about the first night.
"Gabriel Miller!" Tessa called from the counter, "You've got a letter here. Try not to give out this address as your, because you certainly don't own the hotel." Tessa flicked her hair and returned to counting the till money.
With a scowl on his face, Gabe grabbed the letter and tore it open. "Oh my god!" his face lit up for a brief moment as he caught the name at the end, but quickly turned into a frown as he read the letter. Frankie was looking intently at Gabe because the more he read, the darker his face became, and he honestly couldn't remember Gabe ever getting a letter from home before. "Gabe?"
The sound of his name seemed to snap Gabriel out of his trance. He looked into the imploring face of his fellow co-worker and mumbled some lame excuse about having to get back to work and headed out the door. Frankie watched him go, figuring it was just another bill, until he realized that Gabe had the afternoon off today. Curious as to what could make him so upset as to lie to him, Frankie followed Gabe out the door.
When Gabe reached his room, he shut the door behind him and stumbled to his bed, still clutching the letter. As if to make sure he hadn't dreamed it, he reread the letter twice before letting it slip from his fingers to the floor.
"Gabe?" Frankie knocked on the door before he peeked into the room. The lost look that Gabe gave him told Frankie that something was seriously wrong. "What is it?" Taking a seat across from Gabe at the desk, he waited for Gabe to answer. But Gabe couldn't seem to find the words; instead just opening and closing his mouth liked a stranded fish. "All rightâum, who's the letter from?" At this Gabe picked the letter back up and looked at the bottom as if to assure himself who had sent it.
"Nikkola." Frankie had never heard Gabe mention Nikkola and hadn't the slightest idea as to who she could beâbut then again, Gabe didn't talk about his past that much. "And Nikkola is?" Trying to figure out what the hell was wrong; Frankie wanted to keep the talking going – even if it was only one word answers. In a daze, Gabriel answered automatically, "She grew up next door to me for like ten years. The three of us used to hang out all the time, he was the one who taught me how to surf." Gabe dropped his eyes back to the letter again. "Well that just explains it all now doesn't it! Gabe, what is wrong?" Frankie stand up, snapping out of his daze a little, Gabe looks at Frankie like he just realized he was there. "Explains what?" Gabe looks around his room realizing where he was and wondering when he had got there. "Explains what is wrong, man. Why are you like this? What did the letter from Nikkola say?" Frankie grabs the letter and waves it in front of Gabe's face. "Oh," a sigh passes over Gabe's whole body and he takes the letter back from Frankie, "it says that Jack, Nikkola's brotherâwas in a surfing accident and died two weeks ago." Realization struck Frankie, he had heard Gabe mention something about his childhood friend Jack, and knew that they had been close. "Oh man, I'm sorry. I know this has got to be hard, um, well I'll just give you some space now then." The grateful look Gabe gave him before he closed the door, told him that this is what Gabe needed right now.
After Frankie had left, Gabe grabbed a picture off the desk, it showed Jack, Nikkola and him the day before Gabe had left. It wasn't until he saw Jack smiling from the picture that the death hit him. "Christ, he was only twenty-one!"
--Beep Beep Beep-- Gabe reached over and shut his alarm off. Rubbing his eyes clear of sleep. Looking at the clock he realized it was seven in the morning and he had half an hour to get to work. As he slipped his shirt on, he saw the picture of Jack and all the memories came flooding back, forcing Gabe to sit down before he fell. Realizing he hadn't gotten to sleep until three a.m. last night because he's been thinking about Jack and had eventually cried himself to sleep over losing him, he decided to skip breakfast and grab some coffee before he headed to work to wake himself up.
"Gabe, how're you doing man?" Frankie noticed the dark circles under Gabe's eyes and could tell he hadn't slept at all in the last week. "I'm fine, just lay off all right?" Gabe threw him a dirty look and pushed past him to get to work. "Fine." Frankie walked away and knew that something wasn't right with Gabriel.
"Frankie!" Nicole called from behind him, "What's up with Gabriel? He looks like shit." The genuine concern on her face relaxed Frankie a little. "He got a letter that told him some long time friend died a couple of weeks a go." Nicole looked after Gabe feeling sorry that he had to go through something like that. "Well, Vincent has been getting complaints from customers, so tell Gabe to deal with it another way other then taking it out on the guests, or Vin will fire him and I don't think that's what he needs right now." Nicole gave a small apologetic smile before heading upstairs. 'Great, just what I need, tell Gabe to get over the fact that his best friend just died and start helping all the spoiled little guests!' Not looking forward to that conversation, Frankie decided he really needed to start working out the finer points of his club, which hadn't started out too bad. Sure it didn't quiet make ten thousand, but it had made enough that Vincent had agreed to keep it going.
Nicole managed to slip into her old room unseen and smiled when she saw Jason lying on her bed flipping through a magazine. "Finally!" He stood up and encircled his arms around her, pulling her into a passionate kiss. "So? Anything yet?" Jason pulled away and looked questioningly into Nicole's eyes. "I mean, you've been there a week, you've got to have seen or heard something." Nicole shook her head and walked to the window. "He's either really good at acting, or my father had never done anything he regrets in his life. I mean, the man is always happy!" Fed up and very confused, Nicole shakes her head clear. "Okay, so I asked him about my mom's disappearance and he changed completely, he got defensive and upsetâbut his wife left him, don't you think any man would act like that?" Nicole turned to face Jason. "Well sure, or he's trying to hide that fact that she didn't just walk out of your house one day and not come back. Listen babe, there's something that doesn't fit about your dad, I don't know what, it's just my gut telling me that things aren't right." He moved closer to her and put protective arms around her waist. "I know, it's just that he's my dad. I can't believe that he wouldâyou know." Tears welled up in Nicole's eyes and Jason brushed them away. "It's all right, we'll get to the bottom of this, I swear." He pulled her into a hug and she relaxed as she felt his body's warmth stop her shaking.
"Hey, has anyone else noticed the lack of Gabriel tonight?" Jason glanced around the night lounge looking from face to face. "I mean, he's big on the party scene and he hasn't even been to this club yet!" Nicole looked at Frankie and knew that Gabriel was still dealing with Jack's death. "He's not in the mood I guess." The grouped continued on, unaware that at that moment Gabriel was sitting on the cliff looking into the ocean.
Gabe watched as the waves crashed into the rocks and let the sound wash over him. His heart began to beat with the tide and he smiled. Opening his eyes, he lit a branch on fire that he had carved Jack's name into and threw it over the cliff. The old Hawaiian traditional symbol for offering peace to a lost soul gave Gabe a kind of reassurance. He stretched his arms out and lay back down, letting the sound of the surf put him to sleep.
Waking to the sound of tourists enjoying the mourning sun, Gabriel stretched his legs and looked at the beautiful morning, realizing he had had a good's night rest finally. Something on the water caught his attention, there were lots of surfers out on the waves today, but this one was further out and riding a lot of the bigger waves. The style with which the surfer handled the raging water reminded him of Jack, in fact it was exactly like Jack. As the surfer hit the sand, Gabe noticed that the wetsuit and even the board looked exactly like Jack's, there was no way he would forget the personalized board. In a rush of excitement and complete denial, Gabe ran down from the cliff to the sand – only to be met with a greater shock then he expected.