Chapter 3: Feb 9, 2012 latter in the evening
(What are you doing Gabi, finishing your confession even if he understands how you feel knowing no matter how much you love each other nothing can or will come of it. Gabi you can do this sit and talk to him he was your best friend for three years. We use to talk for hours on ever topic under the sun, why am I scared to sit down and just talk with him. Why does it feel like things are different than before?) I questioned myself as walked up to the chapel. (All I have to do is walk through those doors, and face the man I have loved for thirteen years and knowing his feelings have not changed, but that also means nothing will happened we can just talk and catch up,) I reminded myself as come to the double doors of the chapel. (Remember Antonio is a priest and my friend and its time that we restore our friendship,) I remind myself and enter through the doors and my eyes fall on his broad shoulders and strong arms and I remember how they feel around me.
"Gabi," Antonio greeted me as his eyes meet mine with the smile that brings out his dimples and went striate to his eyes and striate to my heart.
"Antonio," I greeted him with smile as I walked towards him.
"Of all the places to find each other," Antonio said as I come up to him at the front of the chapel.
"It is small world, and only getting smaller," I responded as I come up to the pew he was standing next to as looked up to him reminding me how much taller he was than me. I have stopped wearing high heels and miniskirts, since they are not the most practical in the mountains or on a ranch, but finally to be standing next to him after so long it was a little over whelming.
"Gabi, how have you been?" Antonio asked as motioned for me to sit in pew that he had been sitting in when I came in.
"Do you want the long or short answer since it's been over a decade since we last talked, "I asked as I sat down next to him.
"Whichever you want Gabi," Antonio stated with his mischief's smile that always could brighten my day.
"Well the longer version has me moving her after Michael and Vanessa and Ben and Meg's wedding, after Sister Bertrille recommended that San D. needed a new sectary/ Dorm Parent. And then I found my calling here to help girls with past just like mine. It was also at that time I was convicted when I saw yours and Ricardo's relationship nearly fall apart I knew that needed to make things right with Paula, so I tracked her down begged her give me a second chance. What's wild she did give me that second chance and we were able to repair relationship," I answered him.
"So that's how you got here, but when we last talked you were not Dr. Gabi," Antonio asked.
"Well I found it in online college had three for one deal and thought I should go for it," I told him with a smirk.
"Three for one not bad, but really how did it come about?" He asked me.
"Well, I wanted to make more of an impact her with the girls and the Rev. Mother encouraged me to go back to college so finished my B.S. online and then went to the University of Nevada in Reno since it was the closest to us and got MS and then my PhD. Counseling I finished about four years ago and have not looked back since," I finished. "And what have you been up to Antonio?" I asked him.
"After I saw you last I was placed in Argentina where I have been working in a small parish about a day outside Buenos Aires living a quiet life and severing God, pretty boring compared to your story but it been a good life," Antonio answered.
"So why did you come back Antonio?" I asked him seeing that there was something he was not telling me.
"Mamma is not doing so well she has breast cancer and the doctors say it fifty present chance that she will make it but that it would be best if all of her children were close and eight hours away was as close I could make it," Antonio finished, I could see fear and pain in his eyes of little boy who did not want to lose his mamma.
"I am so sorry Antonio, Meg told me Carmen had cancer but I had no idea was that bad," I sympathized with him. "If I know Carmen she will fight for her life, as much as she fought not have me as a part of your family, but I as a child who has had to sit and watch her own mother die, I know that there is not much I can say, but I am sorry," I said as placed my hand on his to comfort him.
"Thanks Gabi, do you wish to finish your confession," He asks me as moves his hand from mine with a light squeeze.
"I confess about us ever year on this day, not because I regret my feelings for you or what happened between us, but because I have not been able to move on pass them, even if I have tried. I have gotten over Ricardo, but not you Antonio and I don't know why. My mind tells me it not healthy but heart will not let go. I know nothing will ever happen and before you tell me you want to be happy. Know I am happy Antonio, in my work and raising my nice and most of all serving God here by helping the girls," I answer him about confession.
"Gabi, I understand about not being able to let go of our love, but what about you're nice and what happened to Paula?" Antonio asks in shock.
"I should restate that our nice Meadow Stevens is Ricardo's daughter but he does not know that, not that I don't want to tell him but Meadow does not want anything to do with him, and to answer what happened to Paula, she was killed by a drunk driver four years ago. Elaine had stage four ovarian cancer and knew she would not live long so she made me Meadow's guardian and she passed away a few months later," I told Antonio.
"Meadow is Ricardo daughter, why did Paula never tell him," Antonio asked anger coming out in his tone.
"Paula did come back right before I left Sunset Beach, but you and I were in jail for Ricardo's 'death' and when the truth came out she was so mad she left without anyone knowing she had even been in town and that was his lowest point and I don't blame her for not wanting anything to do with him, but that is now water under the bridge, but Meadow only sees Ricardo as a dead beat dad, who didn't care about her mother which both you and I know is not true. Ricardo has turned his life around he went law school became lawyer and has been married for now ten years to Amanda English and they have two kids or a lest that what I have heard from Meg," I answered him.
"Meadow knows who I am; that I am her uncle and that is why I got the cold shoulder," Antonio stated as he got up and started to pace the floor.
"Yes, that would be why. I want her to meet Ricardo, but I don't know how to tell him he has a teenage daughter," I confessed him.
"Well she might not have a choice he going to be coming up here this weekend or next; when I requested an emergency transfer I did not know where I was going to be placed only in California, so I sent my things to Ricardo in Sunset Beach," Antonio stated as he stopped passing.
"Antonio I know this a lot to take in and we have an early morning so I will let you be," I said as I stood to leave.
"Gabi, I'm sorry I am very happy to see you again have missed you every day when I did not see your smile in morning, and I knew it was still only in my dreams hurt more than I can say, "Antonio said as looked down into my eyes with same love from so long ago.
"I missed you too; leaving you Antonio was the hardest thing I ever did even if it was right thing to do," I said as his hand brushed my cheek with a gentle love that I felt always down to my spine.
"Gabi," Antonio whispered as his hand left my face.
"I should go now," I said as I stood and tripped over my own feet fell into his arms just like old times.
"Gabi, I…," Antonio started something but I could not stay here and hear the reasons this bad idea again so I gently step out of his reach.
"I'll see you in the morning," I said as I walked quickly out of the chapel. I walked as quickly as I could to the cabin my mind racing. (Antonio, what was that about, we cannot do this again even if I love you, but are you the same man you were then. Antonio your hand on my face felt wonderful, but we can't relapse.) I thought as came into my cabin and saw Meadow waiting for me.
"He knows doesn't he Tia Gabi," Meadow said to me as the door shut behind me.
"Antonio is your Tío and he loves you and so will your Papá if you just give him a chance," I remind Meadow as I check the fire to make sure it's was well stoked so it would keep the cabin warm in the night.
"Why did you tell Father Antonio that we are family," Meadow asked as went to get the big red oak logs that we use to heat cabin at night.
"Because Meadow your only living Abuela may be dying and you have never even met your Papá and you keep judging him by false impressions about him," I told her as she put the log on the fire.
"My Abuela Carmen is dying," She said in comer tone.
"Yes, she has breast cancer; you should prepare yourself Ricardo shall be coming up in a week or so to see Antonio," I answer as I pull her into a hug. "She will want to meet you and Carmen will love you, and so will Ricardo. Carmen has fifty percent chance to make it your Tío Antonio was brought back as precaution only so he could be good son," I told her as let her go.
"I'll try to give Father Antonio a chance," Meadow said as let go of me.
"That's all I ask, now get to bed we have early start," Reminded her.
"Okay, but just because Papá may be coming does not mean I have to talk to him," Meadow finished as walked into the girls room that all six shared.
I walked into my bedroom; and ready myself for bed knowing that weather I like it or not my dreams would be of Antonio as they are most nights. My dreams are comfort on most nights I know they will only bring pain and guilt. As my head hit my pillow the tears come and I cry myself to sleep.
Warm winds surround of the Santa Anna's come in from the south as I stand on beach on the far side pier as the sun is setting and the moon is raising on Sunset Beach. Strong arms come around me and warm hands rest on my swollen middle as I stand in wedding dress with pale pink roses embroidered on it and my veil billows below at my feet. "We may have had a late start but it not the end; we have eternity left for us and our family," Antonio said as kissed my shoulder. "So please Gabi don't give up on me," he finished as he turned me around and kissed fully and more passion than he ever did in life. I saw him he did not wear the collar of a priest anymore. "I can't let you give up being a priest for me," I said as he placed kiss on my forehead. "Gabi, I love you, but I did…" Then I woke up.