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Her eyes were trained on her girlfriend seated at one of the bar’s tables, her face paling as she stared across the room. Dani followed Gigi’s eye-line and she caught sight of a redhead, shorter than herself and her girlfriend, but around her age with her gaze fixed on Gigi and she slowly strolled towards her. Dani wracked her brain for who this woman was, why she looked familiar but couldn’t be placed, why she seemed to have such a disastrous effect on her girlfriend. 

 

Then it hit her. This was Mona. Mona, the kids’ old babysitter. Mona, the woman who Gigi had cheated on Nat with and fucked up her relationship with Nat and the kids, her entire family life. Mona, who Gigi almost lost her kids for. The same woman who her girlfriend had painstakingly worked to write out of her life, who had been talked about endlessly between them until Dani finally accepted that this wouldn’t happen between them, that she wasn’t going to push her girlfriend into someone else’s arms.

 

Talking about her was one thing, but seeing her was another thing entirely, and Dani felt a fire of anger, a powerful need to protect her girlfriend from anything that could hurt her, rage up within herself. She stood stuck, watched as the woman, Mona, made her way over to Gigi, who looked frozen. She watched as Tess quickly, thankfully, stepped in and said something to Gigi, handing her the keys to what Dani presumed were her office. 

 

She rushed into action as she watched Gigi hurry away to behind the bar, her heels clacking as she all but sprinted to the secluded room. 

 

As Dani approaches the closed door, she slows and contemplates what to do. She could give her space, and let her figure things out until she was ready to let anyone in. Or, as the dominating part of her suggests, she can knock, enter, and support the woman who had supported her so much.

 

And that’s what she does. She knocks, calling her girlfriend’s name softly before she twists the handle and slowly opens the door to reveal Gigi sat by Tess’ desk, her head in her hands, breathing shakily. Gigi looks up, briefly, but a look of pain almost immediately overcomes her, and she stares down at her hands, looking away from Dani.

 

Dani walks towards the desk slowly, trying not to startle Gigi as if she were an abandoned animal. She reaches out to steady her girlfriend’s shaky hands. Seeing the shorter woman, usually so confident and unwavering, looking so small and uncertain absolutely breaks Dani’s heart. 

 

Gigi squeezes Dani’s hands as if she’s her lifeline. ‘I’m sorry.’ She thinks she should be stronger for Dani. Dani deserves better, she deserves someone who can be there for her unconditionally, someone who doesn’t come with this much baggage, who hadn’t cheated on their ex-wife and broken up their family, someone who-

 

‘Look at me.’ Gigi snaps out of her spiral and she lifts her head to meet Dani’s eyes - her own rounder and more vulnerable than Dani had ever seen them, glistening with unshed tears. ‘Gi, there’s no need to be sorry.’ She can see the doubt on Gigi’s face, the insecurity. How is it possible that this woman - who had been her stability for the past three months, her safe place, could consider herself as anything but? 

 

’Stop thinking.’ Gigi looks up at Dani, unsuccessfully willing her tears not to flow. ‘Azizam, you’ve done so much for me.’ She sees a pang of hurt flash across the other woman’s face at the term of endearment and leans closer into her body until Gigi finally gives in and lets herself all but fall into Dani’s body, her frame shaking with silent sobs. 

 

She feels Gigi open her mouth slightly as if to say something, before another sob interrupts her. Gigi leans back, Dani’s arms wrapped securely around her shoulders, reassuring her. ‘I hurt Nat, I hurt her so bad.’ Gigi pauses to sniffle, and a concerned Dani can’t help but soften at her adorable girlfriend. ‘And I’ve hurt you too. I know I haven’t done anything, but I cheated on Nat and it’s hurting you. I’ve hurt you.’ The woman says, tears streaming down her already moist cheeks. She can’t bring herself to look at Dani’s face, can’t bear to see the love there - the love she doesn’t deserve, so she keeps her gaze firmly fixed on one of Dani’s belt loops.

 

‘Hey, hey, it’s okay. It’s okay.’ Dani repeats in a chant as her hand trails up and down Gigi’s back, trying to calm the almost frantic woman. She starts when she feels her breath begin to even out, despite the intermittent sniffles, ‘My love, listen to me.’ She brings a hand to beneath Gigi’s chin and lifts it gently, her other hand continuing the ministrations on her girlfriend’s back. She looks Gigi in the eye, as soft as she can, and leans in to place a featherlight kiss on the woman’s lips.

 

She stays close, slightly hunched as she speaks, ‘My whole life, I’ve felt alone.’ She takes a breath, preparing herself for her own words and trying not to falter under Gigi’s rapt attention. ‘It was like there was a hole where someone’s love was meant to be, and it only grew after I…’ She exhales. ‘After I lost my Mama.’ 

 

Gigi’s hands stop fidgeting on her lap, and one comes up to Dani’s cheek, stroking it in a silent act of support. Dani leans into the touch, turning her head slightly to press her lips to the hand on her face.

 

’When I was with Sophie, it was like the hole was filled. She gave me stability, for a while, despite everything with my dad. But when I was away from her, it just came right back. It’s like she wasn’t even a temporary fix, and when I asked her to marry me it was like I was finally accepting what I refused to believe my entire life: that I wasn’t ever going to be whole again. I was just... like this.’ She sighs. Reminiscing about her relationship with Sophie used to break her heart, reminding her of the betrayal she was forced to face, the pain she had to endure. Now, it just feels like… nothing.

 

‘You know how hurt I was after she cheated,’ Gigi inhales sharply at the mention of the word. ‘But in a way, it was a blessing in disguise. It led me to you.’ Dani smiles, thinking about her first meeting with her beautiful girlfriend. 

 

‘And you were everything. You still are everything. Gigi, you helped me heal. Not only do you fill the hole, no pun intended, but you make me feel like I’m more than just someone who needs to be fixed. You’ve shown me how to be strong, you know exactly when I need pushing without forcing me to do anything I don’t want to. I finally feel whole again, even when I’m not around you. And I know this is real. You promised me that, the day of our first kiss, remember?’ Dani punctuates her speech by taking Gigi’s hands and squeezing them.

 

Gigi smiles, the first real show of positive emotion since Mona first appeared, and simply says, ‘I do.’ As she leans in to kiss her girlfriend, she wonders how she got so lucky. How she found someone that would know her so well, someone who could just speak and know exactly what to say to dispel all her insecurities. She deepens the kiss, looping an arm around Dani’s neck to pull her in closer, so the taller woman has to lean on the desk to prevent herself from falling onto her girlfriend. 

 

‘Thanks for everything. I love you.’ Gigi whispers against Dani’s lips. Dani smiles softly once more and doesn’t think she can fall any harder for this woman. 

 

‘I should be thanking you. I love you too, joonam.’ Gigi grins, and Dani pulls her in for a dizzying kiss. She pulls back too soon, and Gigi audibly protests, chasing her lips.

 

‘I can’t believe I talked about filling holes this whole time and you didn’t break once.’ The taller woman says playfully.

 

‘Yeah well, maybe I’m maturing.’ 

 

‘Doubtful.’

 

Gigi pouts, and then laughs, leaning into the warmth of her girlfriend. 

 

Once again, Dani’s not quite sure how she got this lucky, but she’s certain that she will never let this go.