Gabriel & Jules
My eyebrow was itchy.
That could only mean one thing. Gabriel was home. With a girl.
He'd gone out tonight with the boys, which meant…
Yup. Max and Will were back too. With girls.
Jesus, save me now.
The sound hit me three ways.
"Oh, yes, yes, yes! Oh, my God!"
"Ah, ah, ah, hah—"
Right. I forgot. Gabriel was a spanker.
I sighed, staring up at the ceiling. Fridays were the worst. I never got enough sleep, which meant I had absolutely no energy to live on Saturdays.
My brother. This was all his fault. He wanted to save me money, at the expense of never having a full night's rest. I should've known better to accept his offer to give up on the whole college dorm thing and move in with him, especially when he told me I'd be rooming with his frat brothers.
The warning bells started going off when my brother told me that he had friends. When he told me they were in his frat, the bells promptly exploded.
I swung my feet to the side of the bed, the thump they made against the hardwood completely canceled by the ecstatic moans coming from above, below, and behind.
Gabriel had ignored me when I'd protested.
"But you're too loud!" I'd exclaimed in anger one night, when I'd been trying to study for an economics midterm and he'd been studying… anatomy.
"Trust me," he'd said, leaning so close that I could feel his breath playing on my lips. "If you were the one under me, you'd understand."
Max had agreed with Gabriel. "I need it," he'd agreed. He always agreed with Gabriel. "Or else I forget what it's like to be a man, you know?"
"No, Max," I'd snarled. "I don't know. And with how frequently active you three are, I doubt you ever forget."
"That's not the only thing," Will had cut in. "If you think about it, thrust is extremely relevant to frequency. If you combine both, you come out with the greatest force for the best—"
"No!" I'd screamed. "I don't want to hear it!"
"Jules, don't freak out." My brother, the genius who'd gotten me into this mess in the first place. "Look, if it's too bad, just bang on the wall, alright? They'll try to be quieter. You guys agree, right?" The three other guys had all nodded and smiled cherubically.
The moment my brother left the room, Gabriel had smirked at me and leaned in like he was imparting some great secret. "We'll just make sure to bang back harder."
And thus, hell began. The moment I banged on one wall, the other two would start banging back at me. With the force of the headboards rattling against my room, I was surprised my walls didn't come crashing down. It didn't help that my brother moved out with his long-time girlfriend. After a month, I gave up.
"They're just guys, Jules," my brother said amusedly every time I complained. "It's not live you've never dealt with guys before."
I did interact with guys. I'd had boyfriends. I'd been approached by perverts. But never, never had I ever been stuck with three males who all happened to have PhDs in virility along with female motion detectors in their penises.
If this was Satan's lair, I could understand why people never wanted to go. To be surrounded by sex but not be having it yourself? I'd tried that before, actually. Having sex louder. But one female and one male stood no chance against three females and three males, all of whom were hornier, louder, and also more competitive.
That's right. They competed.
"Mine was hot," Max would brag first.
Will would raise an eyebrow challengingly. "That's the only intelligent feedback you can provide, my friend? Well, mine was well-proportioned and symmetrical, with additional abundance in the chest area—"
Gabriel would then interrupt. "Excuse me, boys. Mine was a screamer. Oh, and a back-scratcher. Mm." He would stretch lithely, his face the very epitome of well-fucked. Max would groan and admit defeat, but Will would just say, "Next time."
Many next times indeed.
I rubbed my eyes, padding to the kitchen to get a cup of milk and a tranquilizer. If this started screwing with my ability to stay functional, I would kill someone. I was already on the lookout for a new flat, but with all the property-hungry college students out there, the search was turning up nothing.
I was downing my next cup of milk when I heard sound before me. I barely had time to put my souvenir mug down before my hips were grabbed and I was spun around, a pair of tanned arms pinning me to the counter.
Gabriel blinked at me with sleepy, half-lidded eyes. His black hair was messy, and he was shirtless.
Despite the fact that this trio of males was a feminist studies professor's worst nightmare, they excelled at what they did because they were hot as hell. Even Will, who studied engineering, purportedly the worst major in which to find dateable guys. Gabriel, considering that his conquests were always the loudest, was the worst one of all. Which also meant that he was the sexiest. With olive skin, a flawless complexion, and black hair that spiked up naturally, he was the one I'd castrate first. He was also the one with the most broken moral compass, which meant he would never stop trying to get me into his bed, even if there was already someone in it.
"I can report you for sexual harassment," I said, shoving at his naked chest.
He didn't budge an inch, but a lazy smile stretched across his face. "But you won't. Besides, I'm too good looking to be thrown in jail."
"I think that's exactly why you should be in jail."
Shit. Gabriel wiggled his eyebrows and poked me in the stomach. "You think I'm good looking, Jelly?"
That stupid nickname. He always called me Jelly because he claimed I was jealous of all the women he sexed up. More like I was jealous that he got sleep while I was left plotting ways for him to die.
"Don't you have someone to get back to, instead of bullying your poor housemate?"
"I wouldn't call this bullying," he murmured, his minty breath blowing into my face and sending shivers down my spine.
"If you're about to say that I like what you're doing, I'm going to punch you in the face."
"I'm not. I'm just going to convince you that you do." A hand wrapped around my black hair, tugging gently. "You smell so sweet," Gabriel whispered, his nose tracing some invisible trail from my collarbone to my ear. It was obvious why he liked cornering me so much. He thought I played hard to get, when in fact he just disgusted me.
Which was totally why my head was falling back and I was letting out a sound that sounded suspiciously like a moan…
"Just say the word, Jelly," he murmured. "And I'm all yours."
The statement struck me as funny. Gabriel, staying with one girl? Funnily enough, in the few moments when Gabriel wasn't trying to physically assault me, he was sincere and awkward to a fault. It was enough to make any girl love him, including me. I sobered up.
What was I doing? Why was I submitting to the tricks of a lothario like Gabriel Shapiro? For the longest time, the actions of these three boys had made me consider going lesbian, and now I was submitting to one of them?
I flailed, knocking Gabriel's face aside.
"Fuck!" He clutched his nose, and I already saw blood streaming through his fingers.
Then I realized the house was silent for the first time since the boys had gone on some South America backpacking excursion in the hopes of finding women who looked like Gisele Bundchen.
Then two half-naked boys were at Gabriel's side, with Will pushing Max away and focusing on Gabriel's nose with disturbing calm. An awful cracking noise filled the room, and Gabriel howled. I guessed Will had realigned his nose.
I turned towards the staircase, feeling slightly faint. That was when I saw the girls clustered at its base. All of them were beautiful. I guessed that the big-chested one with glasses was Will's, the befuddled-looking one was Max's, and that left the unnaturally gorgeous one with bitch-eyes to be Gabriel's.
"What is going on?" the last girl demanded—bitchily, if I might add.
"He's bleeding," I said with malice, pushing them aside so I could go to my room. The other two moved quickly, but Gabriel's didn't move.
"Hey! Who are you?" she asked. I glared at her until she finally moved aside.
Before I tromped up the stairs, I threw over my shoulder, "The victim."
I guessed the boys had taken Gabriel somewhere to bandage his wounds and probably to curse the day I was born, because that night, it was deathly quiet in the house.
It was the best night of my life.
Gabriel came back the next day, but the doctor had told him to give it a rest. So he stayed home that night. Alone. I was half afraid that he'd hunt me down and break my nose too. A year with him had already showed me he was a guy who liked to even things out. I ran away to the library to study. Word had already gotten out that Gabriel was out of commission for the time being in the Greek world, so all the women were left scrambling for someone else to slake their thirst.
I doubted Gabriel would let people know that a girl had broken his nose, so for the time being, I was safe from the wrath of the Panhellenic Association.
However, I'd gotten a full eight hours of sleep, and it was blissful. I went about my day with a smile on my face. It should've shocked me that I was so glad over spilling blood, but everything was just so much clearer when I was operating on a full REM cycle that I couldn't bring myself to care. I'd give Gabriel a broken nose every day if it meant I could sleep peacefully.
I snuck back into the house late at night, hoping all were asleep. But as I closed the door behind me, a light flickered on.
Will leaned against the doorframe, his hands tucked into his pockets. He'd taken out his contacts and was wearing stylish black-framed glasses.
Peering at me in a clinical manner, he said, "You'll do."
"What?" I got out, just before he leaned in and kissed me. His fingers floated lightly over the small of my back, nudging my shirt up before he pulled back, leaving me slightly breathless.
His long lashes fanned over his cheek, but he said nothing about what he'd just done. "You must have put a lot of momentum behind your fist to have done that to Gabriel's nose." He held out his hand. "Let me see."
Cautiously, I placed my hand in his waiting palm. His cool fingers skimmed over the slight bruising that I'd endured. Closing my hand into a fist, he brought it to his mouth and sucked on the injured part.
The pull of my skin against his teeth made me tingle. I hastily brought my fist away from his mouth.
"Have you ever considered plastic surgery?" he asked, and I saw that he had now brought his singular focus to my chest, of all places. "I know many women are averse to the idea at first, but I assure you, the artificiality is offset by the sort of silicone that surgeons use nowadays. Very pliable, and the resemblance to actual flesh is quite amazing—"
I crossed my arms over my boobs, which had never been examined in such a manner before. "What are you trying to do, Will?"
He shrugged. "I find that I'm looking to settle down, and through the many interactions I've had with you, you might be it. Not only are you tolerant, you are also in possession of a vast set of skills considering your double-major in economics and history. Gabriel also likes to talk about you, which means you are a woman fascinating enough to make no need for others."
"Why don't you go mate with some sorority girl?" I snapped.
"Well, that would be because everything would just become too complicated, considering how many of them I have associated with. Added to the ones that Gabriel and Max have also connived, that would just lead to mass chaos."
"I'll create mass chaos if you don't get out of my face right now," I said through gritted teeth.
Will merely used a finger to push his glasses up. "Plastic surgery. Consider it." Then he disappeared up the stairs.
I exhaled, then saw Max gingerly making his way down.
"Are you about to proposition me too?" I asked, the moment he was downstairs.
"Oh." I stepped back. "Carry on, then."
He seemed to have to stop and breathe every couple steps. Max was a football player, but he was in the off-season now, so I saw no reason for him to be sustaining any injuries.
"What happened to you?"
He jumped, tripping on the last step. I leapt out to balance him, but he cringed away from me. "I'm okay."
"No, you're not. What the hell happened?" I smirked. "Did one of your bimbos finally get an STD?"
"No," he snapped. "Gabriel."
"Gabriel got an STD?" I asked gleefully. As far as I knew, Max and Gabriel were as buddy-buddy as you could get. They shared everything. Beer, women, all the frat boy essentials. If Gabriel got an STD, it would only be a matter of time…
"He punched me, just for saying some stupid shit about you," Max ranted, too annoyed to remember the first rule of the Bro Code: Thou Shalt Not Talk to Women about Another Bro, Especially if Said Woman Cohabits Your House. "Completely forgetting that you were the one who punched him in the first place."
"I didn't punch him," I corrected. "I just… accidentally made contact with his nose."
Max snorted. "Yeah, right. Even someone aiming for his face couldn't have made such a direct hit. You definitely punched him. I'm gonna get some fucking ice." Then he limped out of the room.
I stood there, feeling proud for some reason. Oh, yeah. I got Gabriel in the nose on accident. Excellent. But he punched Max because of something he said? About me? What kind of ridiculous defensive bullshit was that? I wasn't here to be used as some sort of tool for all the guys. Not as something for Gabriel to assert his imaginary chivalry over, not a sacrilegious thing for Max to blaspheme, and definitely not some sort of housewarming experiment for Will.
Men were nature's worst creations. I failed to see why we needed them. We could just collect their sperm in test tubes and then kill them. It wasn't that hard.
I stormed up to Gabriel's room. The door was open, and I could see his unmoving form on his bed. Creeping up beside him, I saw his nose was bandaged and he was making these little snorting sounds in his struggle to breathe beyond the bandage. It was a vast improvement to the grunts and moans that came out of him normally at this time of night.
I pinched my fingers over his nose and waited.
It took him a while before he started coughing and shot up straight, looking around frantically. I stayed in the shadows before flipping the light switch on.
He saw me standing there and recoiled, banging his head on the headboard.
Gabriel recovered, since he said smoothly, "The only indication that this isn't a dream is that you're standing in the corner of the room instead of lying in my bed."
"You bitch," I said in a low voice.
Gabriel blinked. This response obviously wasn't what he'd expected. "What?"
"I didn't ask you to punch Max for me!" I shrieked. "I could've dealt with him, the same way I dealt with Will—"
"Will? What did he do?" Gabriel's face darkened, his voice getting dangerous. "I'm going to kill that motherf—"
I threw up my hands. "These guys are your friends. Why are you getting so upset?"
"Because they're screwing with you! They don't get to screw with you. Only I do!"
"Did you just…" I stared at him, and he stared back, his face comical under the white bandages on his nose. "You're unbelievable," I finally said, before leaving his room.
I returned home after a soul-sucking final to be greeted with Gabriel holding a piece of paper with a look of revulsion on his face. The moment he heard the door close, he whirled on me.
"What is this?" he demanded, shaking the paper at me.
"How am I supposed to know if I haven't read it yet?" I was mildly surprised. Gabriel and I hadn't spoken to each other ever since he'd yelled at me in his bedroom, and I was glad. He was a possessive asshole, and I didn't want to get involved.
Gabriel shoved the paper at me, looking incensed. I skimmed over it. Finally. Someone had responded to my request at a house that I'd seen for rent. If I submitted a deposit before anyone else, the house was mine.
"This," I said, waving the paper in front of Gabriel's mended nose, "is my golden ticket. Do you know how sick I am of hearing you, Max, and Will partying it up in your bedrooms every night?" Granted, I hadn't been hearing much of them these days. Gabriel seemed to be taking the advice from the doctor very seriously, considering the bandages had been removed days ago. Max was still hobbling around on account of whatever horrific injury Gabriel had dealt him, and Will… Well, Will probably just had a bridge to build or a cancer to cure.
"Absolutely not." Gabriel shook his head. "You can't move out."
In a fluid motion, he ripped the paper in half.
I rolled my eyes. "We live in the 21st century. I'm sure I have an e-version of that letter."
"I'll break your computer."
"Stop acting like a caveman, Gabriel! Living with you guys has been pure hell! I'm glad to leave!"
"Really?" This voice didn't come from Gabriel. It came from Max, who had just come down the stairs with Will, looking forlorn. "I mean, I know we haven't made it easy on you. But I do like living with you, Jules. You always fry eggs and bacon for me before a big game. I'm sorry about what I said about you to Gabriel."
Will pushed his glasses up again, looking sheepish instead of infuriatingly calm for the first time in his life. "I shouldn't have said that thing about getting plastic surgery." He sighed. "You did offer to give me a backrub when you saw me up late studying for my chemistry lab."
"You—you what?" Gabriel spluttered from behind me. "You've never done anything nice for me," he finished lamely.
"What could you possibly want from me? Do you want me to slip some condoms into your bag every day before you leave for school?"
"I'd like that," Max put in. Gabriel and I glared at him, and he said "sorry" meekly.
"All you've ever been is sleazy and presumptive. I honestly don't know why my brother thought it would be a good idea for me to live with you guys. He's obviously stupid. Or deaf." I picked up my keys. "I'll live with a friend until it's time to move out. Bye." Trying to ignore the heartbroken expressions on all three boys' faces, I shut the door behind me.
I was in the stacks at the library when Gabriel found me. It'd been a week. In two days, I'd have to go back to the house and get my stuff to start moving into the new place.
I tried my hardest not to squeal when he slid into the aisle with me, pressing a finger to his very kissable lips. The librarian had ears like a bat's. I bet if she were stuck in my place with the boys, she'd go insane even faster than I had.
"Don't move out," Gabriel whispered. I opened my mouth to tell him that I wasn't about to listen, but he pressed a kiss to my collarbone, moving his way up my neck. "Please," he breathed against my skin. And then his large hands made their way up to my face, and he brought my lips to his.
He moved his lips against mine, and I struggled to stay silent even while I weakly tried to push him away.
"Jules," he hissed, his tongue tangling with mine as one of his hands slid to my bottom while another slid underneath my shirt and up my stomach. I sighed as he pushed me against the stacks, my hand unwittingly brushing against the front of his jeans. He gasped into my mouth, pinning me down with his hips.
I was crushed into his chest, almost as if the stacks were moving me towards him.
I broke free, realizing I was plastered into Gabriel's chest and that the pressure on my back was still increasing.
"Hey!" Gabriel was shouting. The pressure stopped, and a freshman peeked between the shelves. His eyes grew big as saucers and he squeaked out a "sorry!" before running away. The librarian caught him by the cuff of his shirt and made him walk out slowly, cowering all the while.
"Fuck," Gabriel growled, carefully edging me off of his body so that I could slide my way through the shelves. "Didn't we all get lectured to check the aisles before we started turning the levers?" The shelves could all be moved closer or farther apart by levers so there was more space for books, but this also ended up in a lot of hapless freshmen causing injuries, especially since people really liked making out in the stacks. Case in point.
"Fuck you," I said. "You don't get to use your tricks on me, Gabriel."
That smile was edging its way onto his face again. "You liked it."
I bristled. "It doesn't matter. It was an abuse of power, and you know it."
Gabriel ran a hand through his hair, his smile replaced by a look of bewilderment. "I don't know any other way to get you back."
"Then give up. Because I'm not coming back." I leaned around him, hearing his audible intake of breath and taking perverse pride in it. Grabbing the book on imperialism I'd been looking for, I sauntered away.
"Minx," Gabriel muttered.
I moved into the new house without incident. None of the guys were astir in the house, probably because I decided to get my stuff at three in the morning. I looked like a thief, bringing boxes from the house to the truck. Whatever.
The very next morning, someone rapped on the door. I opened the door to my brother, who was standing there holding a pie.
"Girlfriend," he said, holding the pie out to me. "I told her you wouldn't need a housewarming gift, because you wouldn't be in this house for very long."
I scowled. "Says who? You were the one who made me move into a house with a bunch of imbeciles."
He chuckled. "I would hardly call Will an imbecile."
"Fine. The other two, though."
"Jules, the guys need you. They didn't know it, and neither did you. But they did." He cast me a sad smile. "They all needed some love. While their reactions to receiving love from you didn't really make sense—"
"Max cursed my name, Will tried to propose, and Gabriel nearly raped me," I said matter-of-factly.
My brother made a choking sound. "As I said, they didn't really make sense. But they miss you, and I think you should give them another chance."
"I did give them chances. Until I had the means to move out."
"All three of them haven't had sex since you blew up at them and they're all destitute. But they're willing to brave it. For you."
"What a big sacrifice," I said drolly. "Not having sex for a month. I wonder how nuns live."
"Jules," my brother reprimanded.
"What? Serves them right. They're all monsters."
"If you ask me, they're taking this frat thing way too seriously. A different girl every time? Come on."
"It's part of the hazing," my brother said.
"The Pikes do it every year to help their reputation and to insure first pick with the hottest sorority girls," he said. "Obviously, Gabriel and the others are seniors now. But it screws with their systems, as you can see. They don't take real girlfriends because no girl trusts them. So they just keep banging a different girl every night. I thought you'd offer them some sort of constancy, and you have."
"Why are you part of such a soul-sucking institution?" I asked disgustedly. "That's barbaric. And also kind of genius…" I trailed off and put my hands on my hips. "I can't believe you roped me into this scheme of yours. Now there's no way I'm going back."
He sighed. "Gabriel's always liked you especially. I don't think any woman's stayed in his life as long as you have."
"I'm not touching that subject with a ten foot pole," I retorted. "Gabriel is the biggest nymphomaniac of them all."
My brother winced. "He does like sex. So it should mean something to you that he hasn't had any since you left."
"It means that his libido is like a volcano and has its periods of dormancy. But it's also liable to explode at any time." I stared at him hard. "And I do not want to be in its radius when it does." Considering what had happened in the stacks that day, I'd already been burnt.
"Fine, I'll leave you alone about it. But think about the guys. They're suffering without you."
"They imposed this drought on themselves. I've got nothing to do with it."
My brother gave me a hard stare almost identical to mine. I hated how we were related. "You've got more to do with it than you think. Enjoy the pie."
Most ominous three words ever.
I missed the guys. I really did. A person didn't live almost a year with people like Max, Gabriel, and Will and forget them easily. They were all obnoxious, and I only missed them because I hadn't been in a room with them for ten minutes. Usually by then, I would be wishing I had my own place to live.
I was studying for my War History midterm when a knock came on the door. I hated anything to do with wars, and the studying was excruciating. I really wanted some milk and cookies, but I'd been putting on weight because of all the late nights. It didn't help that the school cafeteria had varying midnight munchies schedules. Tonight's was hotdogs and peanut butter cookies.
Curious as to who would be calling at such a late hour, I peered through the peephole. Will stood outside, wearing his glasses and balancing a thick book in his hand. In his other was a box.
"Go away," I said through the door.
"Where and when did the Battle of the Bulge take place?"
What the hell?
"I'm not going to let you in, no matter how many random questions you ask."
"The winter of 1944 and 1945, in the Ardennes region of Belgium. But close enough. What started the Civil War?"
"Will, what are you doing?"
He looked right at the peephole. "I'm going to help you study for your midterm. You do have one, right?"
"How do you—" Never mind. I'd given up a long time ago on questioning how Will got his information. And I did miss his nerdiness, even though it was impossible to fathom how this dark-haired, blue-eyed god could ever be a proud member of the Geek Elite.
"I brought hotdogs and peanut butter cookies."
Well, I couldn't say no to that combination.
He smiled at me as he entered. "Thanks."
"Don't thank me, thank all the chauvinistic assholes who've ever fired shots or thrown nuclear bombs." I threw myself on my bed and dug my hand into the bag of hotdogs. He'd wrapped the cookies in napkins so they didn't get stained with salty grease. So considerate. "Work your magic, genius boy."
He hadn't been there ten minutes when there was another knock on the door. I went and saw Max with an extremely hangdog expression.
"Did you follow Will?" I asked. "Because the last time I checked, I don't give my address out to lotharios."
"I saw him sneaking out. Besides, Will usually tutors me," Max whined.
I was about to leave him outside when he said sadly, "I made you bacon and eggs."
"Max, I don't like bacon."
"That's why I fried sausages too."
Damn it, why did these boys make it so hard to hate them?
"Come in," I sighed. "Do you have a War History midterm too?"
Max brightened. "How'd you know?"
The gang was all here, squeezed into my tiny flat. Will was coolly eating a peanut butter cookie—he made everything look cool—and Max was snarfing hotdogs and getting grease all over my textbook. Except there was an absence too keenly felt.
"Where's Gabriel?" I asked casually.
Max and Will both started avidly discussing the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. "Where is he?" I demanded.
"With Stacy," mumbled Max, and Will smacked him on the head. "What?" Max snapped. "She should know."
"I'm assuming this Stacy is a girl."
"You assume correctly," Will said.
"Which sorority this time? Pi Phi? Didn't you guys say they were bitches?" My eyebrow was itching again, and I reached up to scratch it furiously. The itch wouldn't go away.
"Kappa Kappa Gamma," mumbled Max. Will smacked him again.
"Focus, Jules," he said in a low voice. "You can worry about this tomorrow. After the midterm."
"Okay, fine." I threw myself into learning about military strategy with more zeal than the subject required, determined to put all thoughts of Gabriel and whether he spanked KKG girls too out of my head.
"With how much you know about firearms, you should have this midterm in the bag," Will said at the end, though his voice was more cautious than congratulatory. He yawned. "Mind if we stay over?"
"Go ahead," I said, my eyes already starting to droop. Max patted a space that he'd made for himself on the ground. "C'mere, both of you."
"I'm good," Will said, still sitting upright on my swivel chair without a hair out of place. He rolled to my desk. "I'll just get some work done while you two sleep." He pulled out a laptop that I could've sworn he hadn't brought with him and started typing code in, looking completely lucid as he did so.
I rolled my eyes but lowered myself on the ground, using Max's stomach as a pillow. My eyebrow was still itching, but there was nothing to be done about that.
"Good night, guys," I said sleepily. "Help yourselves to some pie."
Anticipating a nice nap after the horrid exam that I was pretty sure I'd aced because of Will and Max, I tossed my keys on the table and went to my bedroom.
Gabriel was sitting on my bed with his hands clasped together and his eyes hopeful. I threw my bag at him, and he caught it with a grunt. "I just want to talk to you, Jelly."
I paused, a little hurt. "Since when do you just want to talk?" Had he and Kappa Kappa gotten comfortable? Was he here to tell me my spot with the boys had already been given away? Obviously there were tons of girls eager to take my place, but really?
"Will and Max told me you forgave them."
I grumbled. "That's awfully presumptuous of them. And it's only because they bribed me."
Gabriel started riffling through my bag. "Why do you still have this?" he asked, holding up the two pieces of paper he'd ripped apart. I'd kept it because I thought it would be funny to chortle over how mad Gabriel had gotten, but instead I just felt bad every time I looked. I'd been meaning to throw it away.
"Stop looking through that before you find my female hygiene items," I ordered.
Gabriel thrust the bag away from him. "Well, I don't care about Will and Max. I care about me. I've always been last, but I don't care this time as long as it means you'll forgive me too."
"What do you mean, always last?" I asked curiously.
"You always treat me like I'm the extra you never wanted," Gabriel said, fiddling with my blankets. "You think I'm disgusting and a sexual psychopath. At least Will is smart and Max is sweet. Compared to them, I'm just noise."
"You do make a lot of noise," I agreed.
He scowled. "I didn't know how to change your mind. I just knew I was willing to do anything to get you to stay, so I tried the one thing I knew I was good at."
"You're a presumptuous lot, aren't you?"
"Jules, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't treat you like you deserved to be treated, and I'm sorry I let how I felt about you screw up the way I treated you."
"Wait a second. How you felt?"
Gabriel snorted. "You can't possibly think that I keep coming onto the same girl after she's rejected me again and again?"
At the look on my face, he got offended. "You did think that!"
"How was I supposed to know? You never told me anything!"
"I showed you!"
"By taking advantage of me and nearly breaking my walls with your merciless banging!"
He shrugged helplessly. "I couldn't have you, and that was all I could do. I stopped, anyway. I find it's getting harder and harder not to think about you these days."
I gaped at him.
"Look, I've seen how nicely you've treated Will and Max despite the fact that we all piss you off, and you've never really gotten that mad at me either. And when you did, well, it was pretty fucking hot." Gabriel gave me a maddeningly attractive smile. "I had to make you mad again."
"You were with that girl, though," I stuttered. "The Kappa Kappa one."
"Stacy?" Gabriel raised an eyebrow. "She was helping me with my War History midterm. Didn't Will and Max tell you?"
"Those bastards!" I screeched. "I'm going to kill them!" I breathed in. And out. "I never thought you couldn't compare. You're incomparable, Gabriel. You're ruthless, indefatigable, and you can get a woman who's not a hooker to drop her panties for you in ten seconds flat. I'd call that an achievement."
"Does that mean you forgive me?" Gabriel ventured. "Will you move back in with us? Or else it'll only be us three, and it feels quiet."
"You three were the only ones making the noise," I retorted.
"True, but it still feels empty without you." His hands came around my waist. "I'll miss you if you don't come back. Also, I'll probably die from erectile dysfunction."
"Because you won't have anywhere to stick your junk?"
"I love it when you talk dirty," he murmured, his voice already moving toward husky and hoarse and all things hedonistic.
I held out a hand to stop him. "Max and Will bribed me with cookies, hotdogs, and sausages. How are you going to win me over?"
Gabriel got a devious look on his face as he smacked me lightly on the bottom, tugging me towards him. "Get on the bed, and I'll show you."
Maybe boys were good for something after all.