She was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Not that he'd ever admit it. There was only a small problem, the only reason she wouldn't become smitten with his incredibly sexy awesomeness.
She was married.
And not just to anyone, but to Ivan Braginski. That is, the tall Russian man that scares and intimidates every living thing within ten feet of him. The guy that promised he'd kill Gilbert if he came within two feet of his wife ever again.
It was kind of a problem.
Because he was hopelessly, irreversibly, and madly in love with this little lady.
Again, not that he'd ever admit it.
Slamming down his sixth beer on the bar counter, he began to laugh outright. Why was he even upset? He was awesome! And alone, but awesomely alone! Right, he didn't need some girl to 'complete' him or whatever, because
well, he's awesome!
He immediately began choking on the air. After a moment, he regained his ability to speak. "Oh, hey _____, what's up?" His voice was gravelly, and slurred from the alcohol. "Where's your psycho husband?"
She frowned a little at that, but didn't pursue that topic. Sliding into the chair next to his easily, she waved down the bartender before answering, "He's at work right now. I just got off and figured I'd head to our bar I was hoping to find you here, actually." She smiled, and he couldn't help but think about how positively radiant she was. And of course she'd find him here; it was a small town. Everyone knew everything about everyone, plus this was the only decent bar in the area.
"Yeah, me too." He found himself saying without thinking.
She gave him a weird look, then began leaning in closer. He felt his heartbeat jump into acceleration, as if someone had shot electricity through his body. "Gil, how many have you had?" She sniffed his breath, "Geez, man, you reek. What is this, your fifth?"
Close. "I'm awesome, I can hold my liquor better than anyone!" He boasted, picking up his beer and chugging it.
"Yeah, yeah," She rolled her eyes, "I remember that last drinking contest between me and you. If I remember right, I'd say I won."
He immediately spewed out his beer onto the counter, earning himself a dirty look from the bartender. "WHAT!?" He shouted, making the girl next to him start laughing. "You didn't win! I remember you fainting on the floor when you had your sixth!"
"What? I so didn't! Gilbert, I clearly remember you going around the bar trying to get everyone to sing a drinking song with you, and we had just hit our seventh!" She retorted, smiling slightly at the memory.
"Ja, Ja, I remember that! And then Ludwig had to drive us home at two in the morning, grumbling about work the whole time. 'I have a job to worry about, and I can't be held responsible for your bad decisions and blah blah blah'" Gil did his standard Ludwig impression, making _____ start cracking up beside him.
She wiped away a tear from her eye after a minute or two, "My gosh, Gil. And what really made it better was you throwing up all over his 'perfectly polished white leather interior'! I didn't hear the end of that for weeks!"
Gilbert started cackling at the memory. Although he didn't like the grief his brother gave him then, it was hilarious to think about now.
These moments were the ones he loved the most.
Too bad they ended the moment she met him.
"Ja, we had good times. Then, you had to go and marry that ogre." Tactfulness had never been one of Gilbert's strong suits. It was worse when he was drunk.
She sighed. How many times had she heard this before? Too many. From the moment she began dating the man up until the night she married him, Gilbert never stopped complaining about their relationship. It was exhausting, really.
"I mean seriously, the Awesome Me would have married-"
"We interrupt this program for a live news report!"
The old bar TV blared loudly at the end of the counter, much too loudly for Gilbert's liking. "Hey! Turn that off will ya!" He was about to tell her something very important! Wait
What was it again?
Everyone shushed him immediately, which he did not like. "HEY, I SAID-" Immediately, a hand clamped over his mouth and he was stunned into silence. She gave him a warning look a look he knew not to mess with and then re-focused on the TV. Gilbert followed her lead.
Flipped over on the Interstate! Emergency vehicles have made their way to the scene of the accident, where EMS are currently trying to help the person out of their mangled car. We have received no news on the condition of the person inside the vehicle, but it looks like that the accident occurred due to the slick weather conditions. As a result, traffic is backed up for miles, so if you plan on going out in this weather, we advise an alternate route."
Gilbert turned his head back to the girl sitting beside him to see her on the phone, looking panicked. He looked over her shoulder to see outside, and just as the TV anchor had said, it was snowing heavily outside. Easily a snowstorm.
"Gilbert, I have to go. Ivan, he-"
"We have just received information on the person in the vehicle." A zoom-in on the TV screen showed the EMS lifting the mangled man onto a stretcher, then covering his head with a blanket. "It was a man, probably in his mid-twenties."
"Ivan, please, pick up. Please, please, please
" Gilbert heard her frantic murmurs as she pressed the phone to her ear desperately.
"The man has been confirmed dead. When the car flipped, his skull was cracked open upon impact
"Gilbert," Her crackly voice made him look back at her, and he was startled to see her eyes glossy with unshed tears. "Ivan isn't answering his cell phone." The tears were spilling over the edge, "He always answers. Always, no matter what. Whether he's in a meeting," She hiccupped, "Or on the road, or anywhere!"
Something snapped inside Gilbert, at seeing her break down right in front of him. She had always carried a quiet strength, a calm confidence that he had always admired. Now, she was weak. Now, he had to be strong. Better yet, he had to be awesome.
And that was what he was best at.
Too bad one of his weaknesses was crying girls.
"Uh," He awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck, glancing around the bar to see if anyone was paying any attention to them. "Uh, maybe we should get you home."
"But what if he's not there?" Her bright eyes were so vulnerable. A part of him wanted to take advantage of her weak point and use it for his own selfish gain after all, he had done it to so many in the past. And yet, he couldn't. Something was different when it came to the woman he loved
"Well, then I will be." Was this drunk talk? Maybe. But she seemed to accept it, and soon enough they found themselves at her house, alone.
That night, she fell asleep crying in his arms.