Author's Note: This little drabble is based on the way Days has been handling the whole Stefan/Jake storyline thus far. I am basing it off the premise that Jake is Stefan's twin. Currently it is a one shot but I would like to continue it and develop it into a more full length story if people are interested. Please let me know if you like it.
It is like throwing yourself off a cliff.
For a few blissful moments you feel weightless, wind rushing up at you and spreading an almost euphoric sensation throughout your body. Then the ground is there to meet you, your landing is hard, and it jolts you away from any pleasure you have been feeling.
When the end comes, Gabi just lays there, eyes unblinking as the ceiling comes into focus. It is grey and sterile - a perfect reminder that she shouldn't be here. Especially like this.
She can hear his breath in her ear, sporadic and carefree (he is still falling). Something in her reacts and she is pushing at his shoulders before she can think it through. She feels his muscles tense but he shifts so she can escape.
It isn't until she is hastily reaching for her clothing that he speaks.
"You really gonna just run off?"
Gabi's fingers tangle together in the fabric of her dress. She can't look at him yet. She can't see his face (hearing his voice is bad enough; gruff yet familiar in so many ways). She swallows back all the conflicting emotions, trying to exude an air of indifference as she throws the dress over her head, shimmying it down past her hips. "I have places to be."
Silence - too heavy not to notice the implications.
"You can't even look at me." There is something in his voice, a direct challenge that bristles her. He is calling her out and she has no choice but to meet him head on.
When Gabi turns she finds him sprawled across the bed, not bothering with his clothes. He appears to be still reveling in what they have just done, a lazy smile threatening to move across his lips. She nearly bites, nearly lashes out in such a way that even he (a man who is pretty much a complete stranger to her) can predict. "I am looking at you right now," she says in the end. Her words still have sharp edges but they are more restrained than she wants them to be. She can't let him do this. She can't let him get past her defenses to call this exactly what it is.
(she will do that to herself when she is good and free of him)
Jake finally stands, moving with ease around his space (she suddenly is glad that they are here; that it is his bed they have ruined). She forces herself to continue to look at him even as he proudly struts, her arms crossing over her chest. That grin comes now and her fingers itch to slap it away - an unreasonable response but she can hardly be expected to reason correctly in a moment like this.
If he knows he is playing with fire, he seemingly does not care. He moves close (too close and she wonders if she is about to fall all over again). His hand curls around her hip and it feels like it is burning through her dress. Branding her. She immediately revolts, pulling herself free.
She doesn't belong to him.
She belongs to Stefan.
The amusement falls away from Jake's face. "And there it is," he says, his voice quiet. "The other shoe dropping."
Gabi tilts her head to the side, her chin slightly elevated. She is desperately trying to save face here but it feels like he can see into her. Like he can take her apart piece by piece to see how she works with the same ease he does those scraps of metal below them. She doesn't like it. She doesn't want him to have that kind of power over her. He doesn't deserve it.
"No," she says, cutting through whatever he is going to say with an air of authority. "We don't have to do this…" She can't bring herself to say his name. She knows he is not Stefan but she can't bring herself to call him Jake. Not in this moment. Tomorrow he will go back to being the brother of the man she had loved so fiercely, the man she would have burned Salem down to reclaim.
Right now he is the man she has just slept with.
The less she thinks about his connection to Stefan the better.
She suddenly finds herself remembering that day when they had stood where they are standing now and shook hands to seal a deal. A stupid one as it turns out - remaining celibate? Somewhere the universe is laughing at her. They now know just who he is. They had kept up their ridiculous bargain until an hour ago when he had looked at her and she broke into pieces.
(why did he have to look like him?)
She blames herself. She is heartbroken. Of course, she is going to crumble like she has. She wants to remember what it feels like to have her husband's mouth on her as his hands trace across her skin. Maybe, for one brief moment of weakness, she had thought he could help her remember.
But his mouth had tasted different. His hands hadn't taken the paths she had been craving.
But still she fell.
Now, she is on even ground, facing reality (facing him).
"We can just forget this has even happened," she reasons, with the same fortitude she usually musters when she is desperate. She wants to plow through this messy aftermath and so they can go back to their separate corners.
Something shifts on his face and she can't read him (her first clue that none of this should have happened). He squares his jaw and nods his head. "Right, right." His shoulders roll in a shrug. "No problem really. I mean, things happen…"
(if she truly thinks on it, she can't refer to this moment as a simple thing)
Gabi nods her head, seeing her out. She takes the thread he has handed her and pulls in an attempt to unravel any of the undertones they are trying to ignore (he looks just like Stefan, she is his brother's widow). "They do - and we don't have to really think about them," she tells him. There is a hint of panic in her voice, like she is teetering on the same breakdown that had pushed her to come here again.
This time it pushes her to leave (she can't repeat the same mistake again). "Like I said, I have things to do and I sure you have a grease puddle to roll around in or something," she retorts, and there it is. Her sarcasm is back in full effect and she is quickly shielding herself with it. She grabs her purse from where she had dropped it the moment he carded his fingers through her hair.
Her retreat would be perfect if he hadn't reached out to grab her arm. She immediately narrows her eyes, looking down at where he grips her elbow. She has thought he is letting her go easily, choosing to forgo the worst of what could be said. Now she fears that he is going to pull her back into it. She can't let him. She is ready to fight ( and fight dirty if she has to).
Instead, he must take the look on her face as a warning. He loosens his fingers and she is able to pull away. For a moment, they just look at one another (he is so like Stefan, but not at the same time).
Then she is pulling open the door, and getting as far away from him as she can.