"so let me get this straight" Keely took another empty beer bottle and put it in the trash can "he told you he loved you, after only four dates, and you dumped him?" I just nodded.
Keely shook her head "Gemma, how do you do that? Half the women in town would kill to have Kane Jacobs's heart in their hands and when he gives it to you , you just throw it away?"
" I told him when he asked me out the first time that I wasn't looking for a serious relationship." I shrugged.
Keely smiled "As much as it pleases me to see all those gorgeous men suffer the same way they made other women suffer, I can't help but wonder why you would do that?" she came to stand in front of me and I sighed.
I loved having Keely as a friend and colleague, ever since I came into this town she welcomed me with open arms, while all the other women in town did their best to chase me away. I moved to the States a year ago, before that I was born and raised in Italy. Last year something happened that made me leave my job, pack a bag and take a plane to New York . I wanted to leave everything behind. I stayed in New York for about 6 weeks before I decided that I wanted to live somewhere quieter, so I travelled all the way to Silverhill, Alabama. The first day I got in town I walked into this bar called "Midnight Rodeo" Keely was working the evening shift and offered me some coffee. A tall blonde Barbie lookalike was flirting with someone at the bar when Keely accidentally knocked into a table and spilled all her drinks on a customer. She was embarrassed and I stood up to help her clean the mess,when I heard blondie say "Maybe if you loose a pound or two, or twenty, you wouldn't bump into tables anymore Keely" her evil smirk made my insides crawl.
Keely was a beautiful curvy woman with big blue eyes and long
brown hair, to me she looked gorgeous.
I turned to face this skinny looking barbie and smiled "Hi, my name is Gemma" Blondie didn't know how to react so she just nodded
"I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you," I continued "See, maybe no one ever told you," I looked her skinny body up and down "but only dogs like bones, real men love curves, so I strongly suggest that she stays the way she is, beautiful and real!" I smiled " God knows you have enough bones sticking out of your body to satisfy pathetic little high school boys who think the anorexic girls on TV are beautiful!" I could see Barbie's face heat up with anger, but before she could say anything, a big cheer of approving whistles came from the men who were sitting at the bar "You got that right baby!, wouldn't want to break my woman the minute I touch her!", "Yeah leave those bones for the dogs, and give me some of that sweet curvy lovin!" another yelled. Blondie stood up and walked out. I turned to Keely and found her big blue eyes full of tears, she was standing next to me and pulled me in a hug "Thank you," she sniffed "No one has ever defended me before, but I'm afraid you just made a big enemy out of Lydia Westfield."
And that was the beginning of our friendship,that same day Keely
helped me move into her little apartment and got Ethan to hire me
so that we could work together.
"Keely, I told you, I'm just different ok? I can't feel that way about anyone, I'm weird that way I guess" I turned away from her knowing gaze and started to clean the tables. "Gemma, can I ask you something?" I looked up at her and saw her hesitating, great! Its one of those questions... "shoot!" I say as I pick up some used napkins off the floor. "Who the hell hurt you so much that you can't use your heart anymore?" An image of blonde hair and soft milky skin flashed in front of my eyes and I could feel the aching pain all over my chest again "No one!" I said a little too harshly, Keely flinched "I'm sorry, its none of my business." she started to turn around but I stopped her, she was a good person , she didn't deserve to be treated this way "Keely, If I could tell you, If I could talk about it I would, but I just…" I took a deep breath " I can't take it, you know?" I whispered and she nodded "I'm sorry" she said as she came closer to me "but if you ever need to talk, you know I'm here for you ok?" I nodded "Thanks, but that won't happen, there really is nothing left to say, now please can we change the subject?" I begged and she smiled "You got it! I know just what you need!" she winked as she went behind the sound system at the end of the bar. It was 2.45 Am in the morning, the bar was closed and only the two of us were left to clean up. Ethan, the owner, was in his office waiting for us to finish so he could close up.
"Any requests baby?" Keely smiled at me and I nodded "Figured you out, byNickelback" I yelled and she shook her head "Don't know how you can listen to that kind of music but, you deserve it! so here it goes" she turned the volume all the way up and the pain that I felt earlyer when I remembered my past went away again, a little smile crept over my face. I cleaned tables while I sang along to the song, knowing every single word. Keely laughed at the way I moved my body while cleaning the bar stools and she started to move along with me too. Half way through the song her smile faded and she looked behind me, startled . I turned around to see what she was looking at and came face to face with Ethan.
"Oh" I jumped away and a little smile crept over his handsome face, his dark green eyes looking right in to mine. "So,I heard you dumped yet another one of my customers last night" he shook his head and then looked me up and down "Don't know how you do it Gemma, you date the most desired men in town, take their unused little hearts and leave them to bleed" his hand came out to put a stray lock of myhair behind my ear and I shivered "Ethan..I.." I started to apologize but his finger came on my lips to silence me "Shhh" he smiled and I looked over his shoulder to where Keely was wiping the floor, she looked at me with big questioning eyes and shrugged. I looked back at Ethan and waited for him to continue. "Gemma, I'm not mad about it, and honestly they kind of deserved it all, you don't know how many girls I've seen them use and discard over the years" his smile vanished and he looked serious "But, I'm worried about you, this is a small town, people talk, I don't want you to get hurt" he looked sincere and I couldn't help but smile at him, if I had a heart, he was one of those men I would trust it with, but I didn't have one, and I didn't want one anymore, so we were just friends. "Ethan, thanks for your concern, but for them to hurt me, I would have to care, and I honestly don't give a damn about what those women think of me". Ever since I defended Keely the first night I came into town, Lydia, the town's rich Barbie and her clique formed by Megan and Kayla , also bottled blondes , decided to make my life a living hell, or tried to.They never succeeded in doing it, because they wanted to hurt a part of me that was long dead. "I know you're tough and God knows I enjoy seeing those pathetic bitches eat their hearts out, but last week they told everyone in town that you had an orgy with frank and some other drunken old guys in my bar!" he shook his head "I can't have that Gemma, this needs to stop" he looked pained and I took a deep breath "Ethan if you want to fire me I understand, just give me one weeks notice so I can find myself another job in another t…" He put his finger back on my lips and shook his head, an angry smile on his face "Gemma I won't fire you! I'm just asking you to slow down with all the dating and flirting that's all!" he took a deep breath "Why don't you date me instead?" his flirtatious smile came back and I looked away. It wasn't the first time that Ethan tried to ask me out, and he truly was one of those rare good men that treated women with respect, and he was handsome too, but he was also a man that was looking for a serious relationship, and I couldn't risk that "Ethan, you know I care about you, I truly do, but I can't date you, I'm sorry" I looked up at him again and a sad smile formed on his face "why not? Am I that ugly? Or is it because I'm not a bad ass heartbreaker like all those other losers you dated for the last three months?" he looked hurt and I hated it "Ethan, nothing is wrong with you, any girl should be happy to have you and you deserve a good woman at your side, but I can't be that person" I turned to walk away but he caught my arm "How do you know that Gemma? How can you be so sure that you wouldn't feel more than just friendship or lust with me?" here it goes... I sighed and looked him in the eyes "Because I don't have a heart to give anymore, and I don't want to hurt you, I care about you and I couldn't stand to be loved by you while I feel absolutely nothing but friendship for you, you deserve so much more than that Ethan" he looked away and took a step back, his hand releasing my arm "If I ever find the person who made you this way, I'll kill him!" he looked up again "whatever they did to you, I wouldn't do that to you! I would never hurt you Gemma!" he begged and a painful memory came to my mind
"I never believed in soul mates before I met you Gemma, but now … I think you're mine" big brown eyes looked at me and came closer "I don't want to loose our friendship, you're my best friend, you know me better than anyone" I whispered "I know that you're scared Gemma, but I will never hurt you, I promise , I will always be there for you, no matter what" tears filled those big brown eyes and then soft lips were on mine, silently begging me to open up, our tongues met and our hands explored…
I shook my head to stop the memory and looked back at Ethan. "you may mean it now Ethan, but I know better, trust me"I smiled sadly "we're better off as friends" I turned around, picked up the garbage bags keely had lined up next to the door and went to throw them away.