Rafe had given them the all clear to come back to town. Even though news had spread about the miraculous resurrection of Nicole, Holly and Paige, most people were focused on Kristen DiMera.
Before they all left Salem, Vivian was front page news with her press conference. She was able to steal the thunder which made Nicole and Paige able to fly under the radar. Even though new things had transpired, it would only be a matter of time before people wanted to hound Paige about where she has been for all this time.
That was Gabi’s biggest concern. She didn’t want anyone harassing her sister. It was clear that a whole bunch of people were going to be questioning her sister. Between journalist, JJ and his family, she knew that it was going to be a lot for her sister.
It was something that they talked about frequently over the phone. She knew that Paige only wanted her privacy. It was something that she was guarding very closely especially because she was in a relationship with Ben Weston. It was only going to be scrutinized more if anyone found out about her romantic life.
Ben thought it would be best for them to keep their relationship under wraps while they were in town. As much as Paige didn’t want to admit it, she knew that he was right. The freedom that she felt literally everywhere else, but Salem had made her feel spoiled. They had anonymity everywhere but there it would always be the necktie killer and his victim. People would think that she was off her rocker being involved with him.
Gabi was the first one to head back to town, she was the closest. Chicago wasn’t far at all from Salem even though the time away felt like it was everything she needed. She and Stefan still haven't said a word to anyone. Her bump was so small you wouldn’t know that she was pregnant unless you felt her stomach. She found herself doing it all the time when no one was in the room.
It did become more challenging because Vivian had no cares of which room she went into and neither did her daughter, so she found herself always slipping her hand away from her stomach. It was easier said than done. She was still marveling at the fact that she was going to be having a child.
This was her baby she didn’t expect to have, she didn’t like to be defined by her proximity to other people, but this was different. A lot of times you don’t notice you want something until that choice is taken away from you. Gabi was so focused on her business and her daughter that she wasn't really thinking about having another child at that moment, she wasn’t with anyone, so it wasn’t something she seriously thought about.
It wasn’t until she heard those words that she felt like a part of her was crumbling. The kind of finality you feel when someone gives you life altering news is unlike anything she had ever experienced. She loved being a mother, she wasn’t looking to have Ari. She was the biggest surprise of her life, it actually made her life more difficult because she was so young and being a mother wasn't on her agenda. She was trying to go to school and figure life out. She wouldn't trade it for anything else though, she was happy to have a career and she knew how to do it well but the most important job to her was always being Ari's mother.
She was getting her second chance, this time she had the time and the wisdom. It felt like one of those commercials from Luv’s that she saw on TV. Your first child you freak out about everything and you make sure that there is safe as can be and you buy the most expensive diapers cause you think that they work better. She knew how to not take it as seriously now.
“How's my baby doing?” Stefan had disrupted her thoughts.
They were at the mansion and Gabi was in such a good mood that she wasn’t going to allow anyone to spoil it. She decided to come to the garden room and just be by herself. It was such a peaceful place that she felt nothing but serenity.
Stefan had known that this was one of her preferred rooms. He had always made sure that the flowers were impeccable because his wife would be there.
“The baby is doing good, I wonder when I’m going to really start to show. I have a mind to go back to Chicago and stay away from the fray when it happens. Is that bad of me?” Gabi was wondering because this was her daughter’s home, and her brother was here.
“I don’t think it’s bad of you. The one thing we want most right now is for you to have a stress-free pregnancy. I’m not going to lie this town has some of the most aggravating motherfuckers who live here so I can’t even blame you.” Stefan was trying to keep the mood light and fun. He knew that this would make his wife laugh.
Gabi clutched her stomach because her hand gravitated towards her baby not because she wanted to feel them, but it was the thing she always did when she had a belly aching laugh.
“Don’t make me laugh like that, oh my gosh. Stefan you're so stupid.” She rolled her eyes at him, but she wasn't mad.
“You know I’m telling the truth, that’s why it’s so funny. This town is filled with hypocrites. At least when I’m dealing with bastards, I like knowing them upfront instead of them being sanctimonious. Like come on… the saints of this town are the people who have done the worst to it. But if you’re a Horton Hears A Who it's okay because you have some ancestor in the stupid center part of town that absolves you of all of your sins. If you’re a Brady, just because your family makes some clam chowder you get away with everything.”
Gabi couldn’t disagree with his assessment. He was right on about Brady and Horton family committing crimes carte blanche always getting away pretty much unscathed.
“I’ll have you know that my daughter is a Horton and a Brady.” Gabi did feel that she had to state the obvious because even though he was right, her daughter was a part of that bunch.
“And what makes her interesting is that she’s a Hernandez.”
Stefan was positively gleeful when he shut his wife’s ass up. He knew that she wasn’t going to have to come back for that.
“Touché mon amour.” She had a smile that was so wide that she thought the corners of her lips would crack. As much as he made her speechless, he made her happy as well.
“Don’t you go speaking other languages on me. Do you want me to fuck you in the garden room?” Stefan was completely serious.
It wouldn’t be the most comfortable for his wife but once she was in the mood she didn’t really care. He would fuck her in that chair and make her like it.
“I will do whatever I like, it was your greatest triumph and your worst luck to marry me. You see Stefan… I own you. Everything that you are belongs to me. So you can beg me to stop… It’s cute when that little vein pops. I don’t have to do a damn thing you want. That’s why you love me so much.” Gabi started to get up because she was done with this conversation.
It was cute of him to keep her company, but she had things to do.
Stefan bit his lower lip. He loved the kind of foreplay that his wife dished out on him. It was always a fight for control… Gabi was always all talk. It was one of the things that he admired about her, she could talk her way in and out of any situation. She was trying to assert her control and he thought it was cute. She was talking about control, but he would be the one to administer it.
“Where the hell do you think you're going?” Stefan wasn't going to allow her to have the last word.
“I have plans… don't wait up. I’m having dinner with Lani. We’re going to be catching up so I don’t know when I will be home or if I will be home to be honest... Just matters on my mood.” She smirked at him because she knew that he was stewing.
She knew that she riled him up and his ego could not take him not being able to do anything about this. She just laughed as she left the room.
“Oh baby you can laugh now. Wait till you come home. I’m going to tear that ass up and let you know exactly who the Alpha is in this relationship.” Stefan was talking to himself, but he didn't give a damn.
He was mad because what the hell was he supposed to do now that his wife is gone? His best friend was at the safe house with his girl and the last thing he wanted to do was piss his off a Hernandez woman by crashing the house so he could hang out with Ben. It sucked because the safe house had a fully decked out game room.
Gabi was so happy to get out of the house. On one hand she loved leaving Stefan flustered, on the other hand she missed Lani, so she wanted to catch up.
They decided that they wanted to get dinner at a place where both of them would like so it was a definite no to Julie’s Place because the last thing she wanted to be subjected was to a horde of Hortons.
So she drove herself to the Lakeside Grille. She didn’t know if it was going to be busy tonight because it was a weekday, but you never really knew until you got there. But it was also not that serious where she had to make a reservation.
Thankfully she didn’t have to wait because on a normal day she could pick a fight but with her being pregnant it was so easy to give into the hormones.
Lani had texted her that she was a couple minutes away so she decided when she saw Lani come in that she would stand up in wave so Lani could see her.
It was so weird cause even though she hadn’t been gone long it felt like a lifetime. Because everything has been so intense it’s felt like they really needed to catch up.
They hugged and sat down. Both of them were smiling because they were together again.
“Girl, you don’t know how much you saved me tonight. Every goddamn Tuesday, I swear Eli doesn’t know with good for him. He’s always going on about 2 for one Tuesdays at Marchetti’s. It’s so annoying. And he acts like it’s always a surprise when he says it. He looked at me like he was wounded today when I said it must be Tuesday because it’s two for one Tuesdays at Marchetti’s.” Lani rolled her eyes.
It made Gabi laugh so hard because it was definitely Eli. She remembered when she dated him as she thought he could be so cheap and she told him.
“My goodness, I forgot how cheap he could be. I’m so sorry girl. What did he used to call it again?! Oh yeah… Oh yeah… I’m not cheap I’m just sensible.”
Gabi had to clutch her heart as she spoke while she remembered. It made Lani laugh so hard that she was swaying side to side in her seat.
“He always says that stupid line. Goodness gracious, I love him but damn he’s so fucking cheap and everybody knows it. I know he was mad because last week I made him take me out on a date and I told him it would not be pizza if he knew what was good for him.” Lani still remembered the night when Eli took her to the Moroccan place that had just opened up.
“Well I’m glad, you deserve to have a nice dinner out. Where you don’t have to worry about using a coupon with the meal...” Gabi knew that she was wrong for that, but she couldn’t help herself.
Is sent the both of them into a laughing fit again. their server had come asking for their orders. They quickly put it in because they’ve been here a number of times, they knew exactly what they wanted.
“Unfortunately the place has a loyalty program so you know his ass signed up! That reminds me, we are going to have to make a plan to go to this new Moroccan place that just opened up because Gabi the food was superb.” Lani still remembered Eli being completely unbothered by her stare. He told her it was sensible to be saving money. He wasn’t wrong but she didn’t want him to the spokesperson for all the Frugal Freddies out there.
Their food came and the both of them we're so hungry but for different reasons. It was a long stressful day at the office for Lani but for Gabi it was just the fact that she was always hungry.
“Not a problem. You know I love to eat.”
“So tell me what's been going on with you? You know even though we text it’s not the same.”
“I know. I’ve been wrestling with myself if I should tell you this... I’m not supposed to because Stefan and I agreed to not say anything to anybody, but this is not the same.”
“You have to tell me because I’m not just anybody. I got best friend rights and I am invoking them right now so bitch you better tell me?!” As soon as Gabi said that Lani shouldn’t know, was when she knew that it was something that she wanted to know.
“Alright gosh. I’ll tell you if you’re really twisting my arm. But you can’t say a word not to Eli not to anyone…” Gabi was serious because she didn’t want anyone knowing anything.
“I promise I won’t tell so just tell me now. Don’t give me a suspense it’s so rude and unbecoming. Ain’t you supposed to be fancy and sophisticated now?! You should know better than this…” Lani knew that she was being dramatic, but she didn’t care.
Ever since she was a little girl her mother says she had the uncanny ability to match someone’s tone, it didn’t help when someone was being dramatic because she would be just as dramatic.
“Okay fine! Only because you’re forcing me. I’m pregnant.” Gabi just looked at Lani and saw the state of shock.
“fuck out of here?! You telling me you’re pregnant. Oh my gosh I’m so happy for you! You’re gonna have your miracle baby… I’m so happy. Girl you made my night.” Lani felt like she was hit with the best news. she was wiping the tears from her face.
She knew that it ate at Gabi to not be able to get pregnant. Lani could empathize because when she lost David, it felt like a part of her died. Being told you wouldn't be able to have children anymore feels like a death because if that's something you want it becomes nothing but missed chances.
“Yeah, I’m pretty happy. I never thought I would have this again and this time I’m actually ready.”
“It's going to be so amazing. So we’re going to have to plan this because it may seem like it’s not going to be fast but we both know that it's gonna creep up on you. So as godmother… I will be planning the baby shower. Since it’s a secret I’m guessing you don't want to do a registry which is okay because I’m not giving y’all shit because you can afford it. What I am going to need is a budget because I need to know exactly how much I’m going to be able to use to make this a blowout. Do not ever expect me to use any coupons so don't be cheap I already have Eli in my life.”
“I don’t care what you do, there is no budget. The only thing is we are going to have to do this in Chicago or at the safe house because I don’t want it to be in town.”
“Oh I just had a great idea. We should have it at the rooftop of a super cute hotel in Chicago. Looking at the Chicago skyline and having a good time is just going to be amazing. I’m going to start this tomorrow. Don’t you worry about a thing.”
“I know if you on the case I certainly won’t have to. But how are you going to keep this away from Eli?” Gabi knew that Lani was a planner, so she was going to write things down.
“Girl, he may have trained at Quantico and been a special agent and he’s a police commissioner now but girl he is so oblivious when it comes to real life. I have been in lingerie, but if there is a football game and Washington is playing, he don’t even see me. Which is a damn shame... He’ll magically see me if the Wizards are losing or the Nationals don't have a fighting chance but if they do that man don’t even know who I am.” Lani rolled her eyes as she thought about all of this. She would just plan on Sundays and the nights any Washington sports team plays.
She did like sports, but she was from Miami so the best shot that she had was the Miami Heat and they could be solid one year and terrible the next and don’t even get her started on the Marlins or the Dolphins.
After Lani stop speaking, the both of them noticed that Abigail and Chad walked into the restaurant and both of them rolled their eyes and suck their teeth. Of all places that they could go to they find the one place Gabi and Lani are dining at.
“Not even one night.” Gabi was feeling so good and then she saw Ms. Sourpuss herself.
Lani asked if Gabi minded if she ordered food to go. It was nice to have a rich best friend. Gabi told her order the whole menu if she wanted.
They just enjoyed the rest of their meal and Gabi picked up the check.
As they were leaving Lani asked hold her big ass bag with enough food for a week and saw her go over to their table and she knew that Lani was going to be foul. She kept her distance, but she could hear everything.
“Funny running into you guys here. Hey Chad, you're looking good?” Lani could feel Abigail’s eyes on her.
It only gassed her up more. She could see that Chad started to blush.
“Thank you, Lani. I got a new haircut.” Lani had to stop herself from laughing because Chad actually touched his hair.
It made Abigail’s pale face get more red which made Gabi laugh from afar.
“I can see that’s not the only thing. It looks good but it looks like you’ve been working out too. Love to see it.”
She made Chad blush even harder, he was crimson red, and she didn’t pay attention to Abby, but she was pretty sure that the girl was redder than Chad.
“Yeah, I started boxing actually. Nice to know that is actually working.”
Lani wanted to go for the kill, so she licked her lips right before she spoke.
“It's definitely working. Text me the name of that gym. You know for me and Eli... It would be a great way for us to blow off some steam. You have a great night now. Don’t you forget to text me Chad...”
Lani was leaving but she definitely heard Chad say I won’t. Gabi could see that Abigail’s eyes followed Lani the whole way and then she saw Gabi. She waves to her hello and the two of them made their exit. Gabi changed her mind, she was definitely glad that Chad and Abigail chose this restaurant to dine at tonight.
She was in such a good mood and she knew that her night was only going to get better because she was going to encounter an angry Stefan. She was counting on him being fuming, the sex was always good, but it was better when he was mad.