Slow Dancing in the Darkness

59: You Can’t Make Me Love You

“Two visits in a week, I must be doing something right” Elliot smirked as he led Gabriela into his office, offering her the seat opposite his own. It had caught him off guard, when his receptionist had let him know that his ex-wife was in the foyer, he had been more than a little surprised, but he couldn’t help but hope that he had finally gotten through to her and convinced her that they belonged together.

Gabriela shook her head, carefully sitting down. It had been a couple of days, too many in her mind for her to be away from her husband, but she knew that he had made the right call. She needed to get things in order, to sort out a problem she had put off for too long, and with Lionel gone, it had provided her with the incentive. She wanted him, he was a far better fit for her than Elliot had ever been, and she didn’t want their relationship to end. 11 months was nowhere near enough for her. “It’s not a social call, Elliot” Gabriela murmured.

Elliot tilted his head. “Is there something wrong with Noah?” he posed, sitting at his desk.

“He’s fine” Gabriela noted.

“Then what can I do for you, Ela?” Elliot posed.

Gabriela swallowed, slightly nervous, before she peeked up at him. “I want to amend the custody arrangement” she murmured.

Elliot stilled. “What?” he spluttered.

Gabriela shifted in her seat. “I don’t want to change the amount of time you spend with him, though I would prefer it that you showed up when you said you would. The amendment refers to who collects Noah from me when it’s your turn to spend time with him. I don’t want you to come near my home, Eli, I don’t want you near me or Leo. I’d like your mother to pick him up and drop him off” she explained carefully, her eyes looking down at her hands in her lap.

Elliot was quiet for a moment before he let out a scoff, shaking his head. “He put you up to this?” he muttered.

“No” Gabriela refuted “It’s something I should have done a long time ago. Eli, I want you to be around for Noah, you know that, but that shouldn’t mean you have to be around me. We’re divorced for a reason and whilst I’ve had a couple of lapses, that reason hasn’t disappeared” she noted.

Elliot let out a humorless laugh. “He must have said something” he spat “You didn’t come up with this all of a sudden by yourself” he muttered.

Gabriela shook her head. “Does it really matter?” she noted “The bottom line is, I need you to do this. I am happy, Elliot, for the first time in at least 6 years, and I want to keep it that way. I am with a man who I love and I want to stay with him. Please, Eli” she murmured.

“And what about me?” Elliot posed “We had a moment before, Ela, are you really just going to forget that for him?” he countered.

Gabriela stared at her hands for a moment.

“I know you still feel something for me, Ela” Elliot continued, stepping around the desk so that he could sit just inches away from her “I can see it in your eyes and I don’t think you really want me to stay away” he noted, his hands reached for hers.

Gabriela, however, was too quick for him, pulling herself up and out of his way. “Elliot” she muttered sternly.

Elliot shook his head. “We both know without Elena, then you, me and Noah would be a family now and not in this mess” he countered.

“But Elena did happen, Elliot” Gabriela shot back, her face growing from timid to angry “You did mess me around for 6 years and now, 3 years later, you’re still trying to play games with me, games I have no interest in playing. I don’t pretend that I have forgotten all of the good things we did together, in the beginning, what we had was amazing, but it isn’t now and it won’t be again. I really don’t know how many more times I need to stress this to you, Eli. I. Don’t. Love. You” she mused, enunciating the last four words for emphasis.

Elliot shook his head, not wanting to show how much those four words stung him.

“Elliot, I’ve moved on” Gabriela murmured softly “I’ve found someone who loves me and treats me the right way and I don’t want to lose him, something I could do if you continue this way and that’s not going to win me back. What I have with Lionel is amazing, I’ve got the marriage I always thought I’d have with you, and I don’t want to lose it. Eli, please, just let me be happy” she insisted, pulling out the papers that she had had her lawyer draw up after Lionel’s departure.

Elliot tensed his jaw a little, not liking the way she spoke about her new husband, before he let out a small sigh. “You really love this guy, don’t you?” he murmured, his brown eyes looking at his former wife who stood beside the door, the papers in her hands.

Gabriela nodded. “I do” she confirmed.

“He really looks after you? Keeps you and Noah safe?” he posed.

Gabriela nodded her head, wordlessly confirming it.

Elliot swallowed. “Then I have to let this go, don’t I?” he muttered as he offered his hand out, allowing Gabriela to place the papers in his hand. With a small shake of his head, he took them and scribbled his signature across the bottom of the page before he hands them back, his brown eyes meeting Gabriela’s blues. “I know I can never make up for what I did, Ela” he murmured gently “And deep down, I know I never stood a chance when you met you-know-who, but I just wanted to try. Ela, I am always going to love you” he noted.

Gabriela swallowed. “Eli, you can try and try again, but the answer’s going to be the same. You can’t make me love you, Eli, not now and probably not ever again, and I just want to live my life with a man who I love and my children” she explained as she took the papers out of his hand, carefully putting them back into her bag “I hope you can find something, Elliot, someone who can make you feel the way I do when I am with him. It’s an amazing feeling” she noted before she pulled the office door and stepped outside, closing it with a small thud.

“I know it is” Elliot murmured, his dark eyes fixed on the closed door. He knew he’d just let go of the one person he’d ever really had an depth of feeling for.
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