Slow Dancing in the Darkness

01: Not For The First Time

Sitting in the front seat of her car, Gabriela sighed, her blue eyes peeking up at the apartment complex which sat ahead of her. It wasn’t the first building, in the 2 years since she had divorced her husband, she had lived in a few, but she doubted she would be around for long. If there was one thing that Elliot was good at, it was changing his mind.

“So?”

“It’s a building, Eli” Gabriela sighed, not looking at the man who sat beside her, his irritating grin stretched across his equally irritating face.

“It’s going to be your home, Ela” Elliot noted, his hand gently settling on his ex-wife’s leg.

“Until you decided to move again, Eli” Gabriela quipped, moving away from his touch.

Elliot sighed. “You know that I can’t help it” he noted.

Gabriela shook her head. “You don’t have to keep making me come with you, Elliot” she muttered “We divorced 2 years ago, and in that time, I have moved 4 times” she added.

“It was part of the deal, Ela” Elliot muttered “You agreed to it” he pointed out.

“Like you’d have given me child support if I didn’t” she spat.

Elliot sighed. It wasn’t the first time they’d had that fight, in the 2 years since they had reached their divorce settlement and the custody agreement, Gabriela had constantly fought against it, but he wasn’t about to cave. The agreement they’d reached was the only thing stopping Gabriela from running off and he wasn’t about to step back. As fractured as things were between and his ex-wife, he wasn’t about to let it affect how he was with their son.

“Let’s not have this fight again” he murmured gently.

“I am not having a fight, Elliot, I just don’t see why you keep moving us around. I know you work, but this can’t be good for him” Gabriela replied, her eyes glancing into the backseat where their little boy sat, sleeping contently in his seat. It had been a long day for him, he’d never liked flying, and Gabriela was a little relieved to see that he was safely asleep. The last thing she wanted was to have to deal with a fussy toddler.

“It’s not going to be like this forever, Ela” Elliot replied gently “It’s just for a little while” he added.

“You’ve been saying that since we got married” Gabriela sighed “And still I haven’t stayed in the same place for longer than 6 months” she added.

Elliot spared her a sympathetic smile before he climbed out of the car, moving to collect Noah from his seat. “I had the movers place everything in your rooms” he noted, ensuring that he didn’t disturb the little boy too much “All you need to do is unpack” he added, watching as Gabriela climbed from the car, her eyes surveying the building that stood ahead of them. It was a nice looking place, the apartment blocks that Elliot picked out always were, but Gabriela knew better than to get comfortable. She had little doubt that in 6 months’ time Elliot would appear again and insist that they had to move again.

“I am going to take him upstairs, Ela” Elliot noted “I’ll get him settled and then I will be out of your hair” he added.

Gabriela nodded her head softly and watched him walk away before she leant down, collecting her bag from the floor before she swung the car door open.

“Watch it”

Gabriela blinked a little before she peeked out of the door, her eyes noting the man who stood over her, his hands having caught the door before it hit him. “I’m sorry” she noted “I should have been looking. Did I hit you?” she posed, glancing up at him.

“No” he replied “But I think you may owe me a new coffee” he noted, gesturing to the coffee cup which sat on the pavement, the warm liquid trickling into the cracks.

Gabriela shook her head. “I am so sorry” she noted.

“It’s alright” he replied, quirking the slightest of grins.

“Are you sure? I could run you to the nearest coffee shop and replace it” Gabriela offered. She knew it wasn’t the biggest deal, it was only a cup of coffee, but she still felt bad. She should have been paying more attention and was merely lucky that the cup of coffee was the only one hurt.

The man shook his head. “I shouldn’t have been drinking it anyways” he noted “You probably did me a favour…” he paused, hoping she would offer her name.

“Gabriela” she noted.

“You probably did me a favour, Gabriela” he repeated “Are you Ok?” he posed.

Gabriela tilted her head. “Why wouldn’t I be?” she posed.

The man shrugged. “You don’t look thrilled to be here” he noted.

Gabriela shook her head. “It’s nothing” she noted.

“You sure?” he posed.

“Sure” Gabriela quipped before she stood up from her seat, pushing the car door closed. “I should be getting inside” she noted, smiling at him politely.

“You live here?” he posed.

Gabriela nodded her head. “As of today, yes. I’ve just moved in” she explained, offering the building another look.

The man nodded his head. “That makes you my new neighbor, you know” he quipped.

“It does?” Gabriela posed.

“It does” he confirmed “I’m Lionel” he added, sticking his hand out ahead of him.

Gabriela eyed him hesitantly for a split second before she shook his hand, earning another slight smile. “You could at least look a little excited to be here, Gabriela” he noted “I am sure this is not the worst place in the world you could find yourself” he added.

Gabriela shook her head. “Sorry, I don’t really handle moving well” she commented.

“You do a lot of it?” he posed, tilting his head slightly.

“Let’s just say, this isn’t the first time that I have moved in recent years” she commented before Elliot appeared of her, something which made her roll her eyes. “I ought to be going” she noted.

Lionel noticed the slight roll of her eyes, but opted not to comment. It probably wasn’t his place to ask.

“I’ll see you around” he smiled, watching the other man progress towards them.

“Possibly” Gabriela returned.

Lionel offered her another smile before he padded away, leaving her with Elliot who offered her a small smile. “Noah’s out for the count” he mused “I will come by to see him this weekend?” he added.

“Of course” Gabriela replied, her voice a little flat.

“Come on, Ela” Elliot sighed “It’s not always going to be like this” he added.

Gabriela shook her head. “I wish I could believe you Eli, but I know that you’re going to appear in 6 months and tell me that we have to go again” she mumbled.

Elliot sighed and kissed her cheek. “It’s not forever, Ela” he assured.

Gabriela merely nodded. She’d bought that line before.