Guarding My Heart - Chapter One

Alexandra Carter studies law by day, and serves alcohol by night as a waitress at her local pub. When life throws Alexandra a curve ball in the form of Gabriel, she doesn't know what to do. From their first encounter she's drawn to his presence but he's hiding a dark secret, one that will change Alexandra's life. Comment to let me know your thoughts!
O'Malleys is busy tonight, for what occasion I have no clue but business is good and my tips are even better. I've made one hundred and forty bucks off tips in my first 2 hours so I won't be complaining, I mean it may have something to do with the short skirt and tight tank top I'm wearing, but trust me when I say this is conservative in comparison to what some of the other girls are wearing. I put my foot down when James said 'string bikini' tops and we settled on a white tank top, some nights I'll wear my black leather pants but it's been quite warm inside since our air conditioning broke.

A group of guys on the right end of the bar have been causing quite a bit of commotion and I know James is close to kicking them out. 'Baby girl' one of them screams from across the room. Rolling my eyes I continue to wipe one of the tables down and collect the empty glasses, walking back to the bar, I discard them into the sink and start rinsing them to put in the dishwasher. 'Baby girl!' The blonde one screams louder causing a few patrons to shoot him daggers, I smile at him and wave. He returns his attention to his friends.

A new group walk in, 4 girls and 3 guys. One I recognize as one of my friends from university Domenic. To his left he's walking beside a gorgeous brunette with a tan I'd die for. They're accompanied by 3 blondes who seems too caught up with the 2 guys walking in front of them, one guy with sandy brown hair and the other, oh god. Dark hair, strong jaw, and a defined chest I look him up and down and my body hums in response.

He's too busy, caught up in conversation with the other guy to realize my inspection. Standing 6'2 from my guess, wearing dark jeans and a gray sweater he is one fine specimen. Taking their seats I make my way over.

"Welcome to O'Malley's are you ready to order," I say in the sweetest voice possible. Domenic who I realize is with them shoots me a smile "Hey Alex, I didn't realize you were on shift tonight," his arm is over the gorgeous brunette "I picked up some extra shifts, I'm going to need it if I want to go to Boston." I smile.

"Okay who's ready to order?" I tap my notepad impatiently.
"We'll have 4 Martini's and boys?" One of the blondes with a bright red halter top says peering at McDreamy who's staring right at me with his clear blue eyes. "I'll have a beer, whatever you have on the tap is fine," he returns his gaze to the brown-haired guy raising his eyebrow "Make that 2 please," I write it down. "Dom you drinking anything tonight?" I ask to which they both shake their heads "Can we have buffalo wings instead please," brunette whispers "Extra barbecue?" She nods.

Walking away, I hand our chef their buffalo wing order and make my way over with their drinks in hand, placing them down I hear red halter neck top girl whisper, "I couldn't imagine serving other people drinks for a living," I slam her drink down hard and she gasps. I lower myself until we're eye level "Some of us don't have an option, try not to choke on your drink?" I wink at her and walk away. With a ring of a bell the buffalo wings were ready, walking over to Domenic I shoot him a wink and hand him his food, clearing the empty glasses while I'm there.

Wiping the counter down, I glance at the clock and realize I've just got over an hour before I'm finished. I reluctantly make my over to the group of guys who already started wolf howling when they caught me walking towards them, I roll my eyes and continue. "Alright gentlemen, we're about to close shop soon so if you want any last minute drinks, now's your chance," I clasp my hands together. The blonde is unapologetically checking me out and not in a flattering wow that gives me an ego boost kind of way, but a feeling violated and sleazy way.

"How much?" He asks clearing his throat.

"For the drinks?" I quickly skim the drinks menu in my head ready to tell him.
"No - how much for you?" His friends are looking elsewhere now, to be more specific anywhere but me.

"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that and hand you your bill," I say placing the bill on the table.

Before I have a chance to stand up he grips my wrist and pulls me across the table, I drop the notepad and grab the end of my skirt with my other hand.

"I'll make it worth your while," his breath smells of cheap alcohol I pull against his hold but he only tightens it causing a spark of pain in my wrist. With my fingers I grab his tie and with all my strength pull it, he startles and chokes on what he's about to say. 'You have 5 seconds to let go of my hand or I will smash your friends beer bottle on your head' I'm seething.

Never in the year of working here, had anyone touched me, made suggestive comments sure, annoyed and pestered me yes - but never touched me.
"Make that 2 seconds," a deep voice says beside me, before I even get the chance to look up a warm hand covers my own followed by a loud smack.

I swing my head down and hit it against the table trying to shield myself, chairs have started to move and I'm flung against someone's chest. Thinking it's the blonde guy, I start to kick but stop quickly when I see him lying on the floor with blood running down his nose, his eyes swollen shut and front tooth missing.

His friends are trying to drag him out.

"Leave," his voice is deep and filled with so much anger.

I move back towards his embrace because I can't seem to stop my hands from shaking, the arms wrapped around my waist tighten and he rests his chin on my head, breathing in and out. I'm so confused and don't even know what to do, so I just turn and hug him. Gripping his shirt I rest my head against his shoulder, I just breathe in his scent. I need something to anchor me before I completely lose it whether it be crying or screaming. I've never felt this vulnerable before and it scared the shit out of me. When I start to process what's happened I go to step back but he moves forward with me and hugs me tighter.

"Please - give me a minute," he whispers, smoothing my hair. I don't know if it's the sound of his voice but I tears instantly spring and I feel on the verge of having a breakdown. I don't even know this guy and yet here we stand in the middle of O'Malleys in each others arms. Could this night not be more weird?
He clears his throat and steps back moving my hair from my face softly touch the lump I presume I have on my forehead.

"What did he?" Gripping his wrist I cut him off "Nothing - I hit my head on the table when you must've hit him. I thought I was going to get hurt if I keep my head up in the air," he looks at me deep in thought and nods his head slowly before dropping his hand.

"Grab your things, you're leaving," he turns before I can respond and grabs his jacket and speaks a few words to the group. Domenic comes running up to me before I make it half way to the counter "Alex are you okay? I'm so sorry I didn't even realize what was happening," I just hug him. "I know Dom, it's fine your friend was there," I rub my hands on his shoulders knowing he won't be able to sleep tonight. "I promise, I'm fine and I'll see you tomorrow," I walk over to the counter grabbing my bag and clocking off.

James will hear about this tomorrow if he already doesn't know and I'll have that conversation with him them, Jasmine one of the other barkeeps gives me a hug and says she's already called the cops and given them a description of the guy. They'll come tomorrow to ask me more questions; I swing my bag over my back and make my way towards the exit. At this point I don't know where he is but I know he's right, I need to go home. I've made it maybe 5 steps and I can feel his presence behind me.

"When I think you couldn't be any more dense you do this," I roll my eyes, "you just got attacked and the first thing you do is walk out here on your own," he grabs my wrist and pulls.

I stand still and just stare at him, I have so many things I want to say but can't seem to communicate this from my brain to mouth.

"Where the hell are you going?" He asks standing closer.

"Home, what does it look like?"

"It looks like its almost midnight and you think you're walking home alone," he crosses his arms to emphasis his dislike

"I live at the end of this street, only a few blocks," gripping my backpack.

"Alright, lead the way," he moves aside - I stare at him trying to figure out his motive.

'Do you have a name," I ask as we're walking.

"Gabriel," he looks deep in thought, scanning the area as he walks, weird.

"Alex is it?"

"Alex for short - my full names Alexandra," I shiver under his gaze, his eyes are so blue and intense. I'd love to just dive in there and take a swim in his thoughts. He just seems so intense about everything. Before I know it, I feel a warm sensation and look up to see he's shed his jacket and put it on my shoulders, I pull the lapels of his jacket tighter against me feeling comfort in the warmth - ignoring how my body lights up to the smell of his scent.

"Thank you," he just nods his head and continues walking. We reach the steps of my apartment when I turn to face him, he's lost in thought peering down the narrow ends of my street and looking around - as if he's trying to find something. I clear my throat and he returns his gaze to me

"This is me," I point behind me smiling.

I go to take his jacket off but he shakes his head quickly.

"Give it to me tomorrow," tomorrow? What is he talking about, "I enrolled into Washington University this morning, I'll see you there tomorrow."

"Thanks again Gabriel, I really do appreciate it," I smile and start up the stairs when I reach the top I hear him call my name.

"Find another job," he says with determined eyes, I look at him confused "what happened today wouldn't of happened if you'd worked somewhere else. Think about looking elsewhere for work," he walked away before I even had a chance of responding. Unlocking the door I walk up the stairs and enter my room. Undressing I slipped into bed wearing my shorts and his jacket, my eyes closed for the second time with the last thought being of his blue eyes.
Published: 3/5/2018
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