Status: active :)

Everyone's a Winner with a Heart That Small

Twenty Five


Gigi had spent the last four days locked in her room, avoiding everyone. Aunt Lindsay brought her food three times a day, but she never ate any of it. She confined herself to her room, but she barely even got out of the bed. Her phone was constantly alerting her of new text messages, but she never replied to any of them. Even Cora had resorted to texting her since she wouldn't open the door, but she didn't reply to her either. She was completely cutting herself off from the world.

Having only been awake for two hours, she had already received two texts from Pat, four from John, and three each from Ezra and Cora. She read them all but didn't reply. Instead, she spent her morning watching Lord of the Rings. After a long bubble bath, she pulled on her favorite sundress and blow dried her hair. She had just finished giving herself a manicure when Aunt Lindsay knocked on the door to bring her lunch. She was startled when Gigi opened the door.

"Oh sweetie, I wasn't expecting-.....How are you doing?"

Gigi shrugged her shoulders. "Okay, I guess"

"Here, I brought your lunch," she smiled, extending the tray toward Gigi.

"Actually, I was thinking of coming down to eat with you guys"

"Oh! Well, that's great. We'd love that"

Gigi grabbed her phone and sunglasses before following Aunt Lindsay downstairs to the dining room for lunch. Ezra and Cora were already sitting at the table eating when she entered the room and they both completely froze when they saw her. She sat down silently and began eating, for the first time in four days, while Aunt Lindsay chattered on about neighborhood parties and town events. Both Cora and Ezra kept a close eye on her throughout lunch but when she had finished, she took her plate to the kitchen then made a beeline for the back door.

She sat down on the edge of the pool, dipping her feet into the water as she pulled her sunglasses on over her eyes. Her phone beeped once again and initially she decided not to even look at it, but a second one came not 30 seconds later, so she picked up her phone from beside her to see the messages.

John: Up for talking today?

Pat: I miss you :(

For the first time in four days, she responded. She quickly sent a reply to Pat before stalling on what to say back to John.

Gigi: I'll be in my room

Immediately, she received a reply. I'll be there in ten

She headed back inside and up to her bedroom, to wait anxiously for the next eight minutes. She slowly opened the closet door and reached in to grab her duffel bag. She unzipped the bag then unzipped the smaller compartment inside it, pulling out the faded photo. She sat down on the edge of her bed and just stared at it until her door was slowly pushed open and John stepped inside, shutting it quietly behind him. He made his way over to the bed and sat down next to her.

"You look beautiful"

"Thanks," she mumbled, her cheeks heating up to a bright pink.

John rubbed his palms against his denim-clad thighs and cleared his throat. "Ezra didn't tell me anything, you know. Just that you had a bad experience that was recently brought up again. That's all, I swear"

She nodded slowly. "That's a gross understatement. It was so much more than that"

"You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to"

Gigi sighed, running a hand through her hair. "His name was Graham"

The first time she met Graham, she was fifteen years old. He and Ezra had been good friends for a few years, and when Ezra thought she was ready, he introduced them to each other.

"Gigi! Come here!" Ezra called loudly over the music. She wove her way through the masses of people until she eventually reached her cousin where he was leaning against the wall, grinning from ear to ear. "What?" she asked annoyed.

"I want you to meet Graham"

"Oh, you do? What made you decide to finally introduce me?"

Ezra shrugged his shoulders. "Come on. He's outside"

She followed her cousin back through the crowd of people, grabbing onto the back of his shirt so that she didn't lose him. When they reached the back door, he stepped outside, grabbing her arm, and led her over to a tall blonde-haired boy with the most gorgeous blue eyes she'd ever seen.

"Graham! This is my cousin. The one I was telling you about"

Graham smiled and stuck out his hand for her to shake. "I've heard so much about you"

"All good, I hope," she replied, shaking his hand.

"Of course"

They both stared at each other, unable to wipe the ridiculous smiles off their faces. Ezra took that as a good sign. He patted Graham on the back and squeezed her hand before leaving them to get acquainted. "I'll come find you later, Gigi"

"Kay," she called after him, only half paying attention.

"So, tell me something"

"What would that be?"

"Why does he call you Gigi?"

She smiled, taking a seat on one of the patio chairs and he quickly followed, pulling his chair close to her. "He couldn't pronounce my name when we were kids so he just called me that but he never stopped. The normal people call me Georgianna, or just Anna"

"Well, Just Anna, tell me about yourself"

"What would you like to know?"

His blue eyes flickered as they met hers and he smiled. "Everything"

They instantly hit it off and withing the month they were going on dates and spending every waking moment together. Ezra couldn't have been happier that the two were getting along so well. Her parents loved him; her entire family loved him. He was a perfect gentleman and they could all see that she was head over heels in love with him. Ezra was quite proud of himself for having set them up.

They had a perfect relationship. They never fought, they never got sick of each other, they never so much as said an angry word toward each other. Everyone they knew strived to be more like them, both young and old.

"Anna?" he called softly, stroking her cheek with the back of his index finger.

She began to stir and her eyes fluttered open, immediately becoming suspicious of the grin on his face. "What is it?" she asked, looking around the room. Everyone else had already gone to bed, leaving her and Graham curled up on the floor sleeping. All the lights had been turned off except for the oversized Christmas tree in the corner next to them.

"It's Christmas," he whispered. It was exactly 12:00 and thirty seconds according to the large grandfather clock standing against the wall.

She shook her head, smiling and leaned over to kiss his cheek. "Merry Christmas"

"I want you to open your present"


"It's as good a time as any," he replied, leaning over to grab a medium sized box from under the tree. It wasn't wrapped very well, but she applauded his effort. She sat up and he set the box in her lap, urging her to open it. Because he seemed so excited, she complied and began to rip at the dark green paper covered in cartoon Santas.

When she'd unwrapped the box and opened it, she found a smaller box inside it. After opening the smaller box, she found another box, smaller still. This went on for six boxes and she was beggining to wonder if it was a joke. When she finally opened the seventh box, she found a tiny dark blue box inside it. His grin only widened and he urged her to open it. This tiny blue box popping open from the front held inside it a thin silver band adorned with a shining clear stone, surrounded by smaller clear stones.

She just stared between the box in her hands and the smiling boy next to her. He laughed and took the box from her hands, plucking the ring from its gray pillow and sliding it onto the fourth finger on her left hand. She stared at that finger as he held her hand in his. "So, will you?"

Her head snapped up and she stared into his excited blue eyes. "Is this for real?"

He chuckled. "Yes, of course it's for real"

"But-...but we're seventeen, Graham"

"So? I love you, Anna. And that fact is enough for me to know that I don't need to waste my time not being married to you. It would happen eventually. Why not now?"


"Do you love me?"

"Of course I do"

"Then marry me"

She let out a long sigh before a smile hit her lips. "Okay"



He lunged forward, throwing his arms around her and she giggled like a little girl. He quickly shushed her since everyone else in the house was asleep, but she was unable to contain her excitement. She took her cell phone off its charger and went to the bathroom to call Cora and tell her the news.

Her parents, and his too, could plainly see that the two kids were in love. None of them could deny it. Though they were only seventeen years old, their parents knew that they were meant for each other. So they all agreed about the marriage. Her father conditioned his approval on her turning eighteen and finishing high school then enrolling in college.

So, after they both turned eighteen and then graduated on May 30th, they had exactly three weeks to get the final things arranged for the wedding. June 20th was the big day. It took place on the beach, with family and close friends present, and it was beautiful.

Gigi looked down at the now crumpled photo in her palm and handed it over to John, who had remained completely silent. He stared down at it, scrutinizing every detail. He found it surreal to be looking at a photo of the girl he loved on her wedding day to a guy he knew nothing about. She looked happy- happier than he'd ever seen her. And she was beautiful.

They settled into a small house a block from the beach. He went to work for her father's company and she continued to help her mother at the small cafe she ran in town. They were happy. At least, she thought so.

As she was finishing up at the cafe one evening, her phone began to ring. She didn't answer because she had her hands in soapy water, but she knew it was Graham and that he would leave a message, so she went on about her work until she finished.

After she locked up and got into her car, she checked her phone. It was Graham that had called but he didn't leave a message like he usually did. She thought nothing of it and decided she would just see him when she got home.

When she pulled into the driveway, his truck wasn't there. She unlocked the front door and stepped inside, dropping her bag on the floor and kicking off her shoes. She went into the kitchen to check the fridge in case he left a note on it for her, but he hadn't. She pulled her phone from her pocket and called his cell phone, but he didn't answer. She thought he might be with Ezra so she called his number as she headed down the hallway to their bedroom to change into her comfy clothes.

"Hey, G. What's up?"

"Is Graham with you?"

"Nope. Haven't seen him all day. Why?"

"He's not home and he won't answer his phone"

"Maybe he got held up at work or something"

"Yeah. I'm sure that's it"

"So, are you guys still coming to the cookout this weekend?"

"I think so, but I'll have to-" She instantly stopped talking. She had opened the closet to get some clothes to change into, but now she was frozen. The closet that was once packed tightly with the clothes of two people, now, looked empty with the clothes of just one.

"Gigi? You still there?"

She couldn't answer him. She felt her heart crumbling into millions of tiny unfixable pieces.

"Are you okay? Gigi?"

She dropped the phone on the floor, her own body soon following. She curled up in the now empty corner of the closet as tears poured down her cheeks. This was completely unexpected. This was completely shocking. This was completely unbelievable.

Her phone began to ring, but she didn't bother answering it. After all, it was probably just Ezra calling back. Ezra, or whoever it was, left a voicemail, but she didn't bother listening to it. She laid down on her side and covered her head with her arms.

Within ten minutes, Ezra had burst through the front door, calling her name. Eventually, he reached the bedroom and found her curled up in the closet. He stared at the half empty closet before looking down at his cousin. "G? What happened?" She just shook her head and cried harder. He knelt down and picked her up into a hug, stroking her hair as she cried.

They both sat silently in the closet for hours. She eventually remembered the call from before and picked her phone up off the floor, looking at the screen to see who had called.

"It was him," she mumbled. "He left a message"

"Play it," Ezra urged her.

She touched the play button on the screen and was immediately greeted with his voice. Anna, it's me. I'm sorry. I'm really really sorry. I thought I was ready but I guess I'm not. I hope you understand.

"I am going to fucking kill that bastard!" Ezra yelled, getting to his feet. "Come on, G. I'll take you to your parents' house"

He helped her stand and led her to the car. As soon as he got her into her parents' house, he sped out of the driveway, presumably off to find Graham. She filled her parents in on what had happened and let them hear the voicemail before going to sulk in her old bedroom.

That was it. Graham left. She was alone. And she was only eighteen.

Gigi slowly stood from the bed and reached for the tan envelope on the desk in the corner. She picked it up, pulling out its contents, and handed them to John as she returned to sit down on the bed. His eyes scanned over them quickly before he furrowed his eyebrows and looked back up at her. "Divorce papers?"

She nodded sadly and bit her bottom lip.

"So at this moment, you're technically still married"


"Is this why you came back so upset?"

"I haven't heard from him since the day he left me five years ago. Then suddenly, when I'm a little bit happy again, I get these," she said, taking the papers from John's hands. "It's not that I'm upset because he wants to divorce me. That's completely fine with me! It's just the fact that he can't even tell me in person. He's such a fucking coward that he had to do it this way"

John nodded silently and looked down at the photo, which was still in his hands.

"I just wish I'd never even married him. Maybe then I wouldn't be so fucking scared of falling for somebody"

He cleared his throat and turned his body toward her. "Look, I don't know if this is an inappropriate time but just hear me out, okay?"


"I completely understand why you would be hesitant after what happened with your, uh, marriage. But Gigi, I care about you"

"So did he, at one point"

He handed back the picture and she stared down at it.

"Look at me"

Her eyes lingered on the picture, but then rose to meet his. He moved closer and grabbed her face in his hands, leaning in very close so that their noses were almost touching. "I'm not him, you know"

"I know"

"I would never want to hurt you"

He leaned in a little more and she froze. "What are you-"

"Just go with it"

His bright green eyes bore into hers and after a moment, she nodded.

He leaned in until their lips met tentatively. She slowly snaked her arms around his neck and pulled him closer to her, feeling him smile into the kiss. For the first time in five years, she was finally going to let herself fall for someone.
♠ ♠ ♠
Gigi. Alright, so here it is, guys. The explanation to any confusion you might've had about Graham and the envelope, etc.

Let me know what you think? :)

P.S. this is the longest chapter I've written for this story so far!