149 Apartment

Claire woke up as she felt Gabriel fidget. She felt a soft kiss on the tip of her ear which made her smile.

"Isn't it a bit early, cuore mio?" She mumbled as she yawned and stretched. She opened her eyes to Gabriel in his pyjamas, putting the nightgown over it. He definitely was settled in the Best's house.

"Perhaps, but I was hoping to get a little bit of time to watch you sleep peacefully. I wanted to admire you in the most shameless way possible."

"That sounds creepy." Claire grumbled. She got up too, wearing one of Gabriel's pyjamas, and with a hair in a concerning crown nest. She tied it into the bun and followed Gabriel into the kitchen. No one else was up. The sun was warming up the kitchen as Gabriel shuffled around to make coffee for them. He sat down beside Claire and the. Briefly disappeared to come back with his laptop which Claire wasn't sure where it came from.

"Apartments, Claire dear, so many but yet so little." Gabriel spoke to her as he searched something up while she decided to finish getting the jug of coffee she desperately needed.

"Are you already looking for one?" Claire looked surprised as she poured coffee into two mugs.

"I already narrowed it down to about five."

"What's your search criteria?"

"Somewhere close enough to your family. I haven't considered much more."

"Hmmm… let's see." Claire sat beside him and looked over his shoulder.

She scanned through the variety of apartments. Some resembling studios and some being closer to being a penthouse before she pointed at the three choices.

"Are you certain, Claire dear?" Gabriel asked but without a note of doubt in his voice.

"I like these as they have about enough of space for us to have a small working space, and space for ourselves. Three or two bedrooms is an abundance. Without counting the office space, open living room with downing area and kitchen. It's beyond what we need."

"I'll get right on it. We can view it this afternoon, I'm sure."

"Don't you have work or something?"

"Since I've stopped being a tyrant of a boss, I am actually able to take an occasional day off without the instant collapse."

Claire smiled at his snarky comment. As he wrote some messages to get on top with the apartment viewings, she moved a short strand of his hair out of his face.

"I love you, Gabriel." She said with the heavy storm of emotions. Gabriel looked back up at her instantly, his blue eyes glimmering with something new. He smiled with what seemed to be true joy and pressed his forehead against Claire's.

"I love you, Claire."

"Ewww… get the room!" Alex barged in wearing his pyjamas and having ruffled hair.

Both, Claire and Gabriel laughed at his comment. And just then, Claire knew that everything was going to be okay. Alex was still Alex. Zoe was still Zoe. Gina was still Gina. Mark was still Mark. Eva was still Eva. And most importantly, Gabriel was still Gabriel. "What are you guys planning to do?" Alex asked as he helped himself to the coffee that they just brewed.

"We're going to do some apartment shopping." Gabriel replied as he wrapped his left arm around Claire's waist and pulled her so that she sat on his knee. Claire rested her head on his shoulder, looking at the pictures of the apartments, imagining already how it's going to look once they settle in.

"You aren't running off anymore?" Alex asked Claire with a bite in his voice.

"No, I'm done." Claire smiled at him. "I think that we're all done with running. It's time for something else."

"Uh-huh. So, will you return to Diamond Corporate?" Alex asked. Now that he stopped sulking, he had all the questions piled up.

"It's not that simple. I'm still under the contract with Harris Studio." Claire furrowed her brows.

"The American company?"

"Yes. I didn't think you'd know them."

"This one over here was talking about it over past couple of times. Something about a designer that was a prodigy or something."

"And I was right, Alex. The designer was the true prodigy. No one like I ever saw before."

"So, you've met them?"

"You nincompoop, it's Claire." Gabriel grumbled at Alex impatiently.

"You're kidding me?"

"And you know how you called me crazy over the letters? Guess who was sending them?" Gabriel tilted his head.

"No, Gabriel. I've called you crazy for trying to dig out your wife's grave." Alex rolled his eyes.

"And if you'd let me, we would have known much earlier."

"Actually, what's in your grave?" Alex asked Claire curiously.

"I don't know. Probably a mannequin or something. At least in most cases it is."

"So I've buried the mannequin in your nice dress?" Gabriel asked with a laugh.

"Actually…" Claire pulled the pendant out from underneath her vest with the engagement ring on it. "I was lucky to have it back. All of it. The dress, cardigan, glasses, pendant. And of course, the ring."

"How were you so close yet so far?" Gabriel asked as he pushed his nose into her neck crevice.

"Bitch." Alex grumbled again. "Not that I rather you dead. Of course not. But…"

"I understand, Alex. I'm so sorry." Claire repeated once again.

"Now, what apartments are you looking at? Is it a penthouse or something?"

"No." They both shook their heads. Gabriel moved his laptop around and showed the listings to Alex.

"That's unexpected. It looks cute though." Alex looked through the pictures.

"So, when do you want to head out?" Claire asked Gabriel.

"Once my arm has finished charging." Gabriel pointed back at the room.

"That's a fun new perk." Alex smiled at Claire. "Having cyborg for a husband."

Claire just smiled at Gabriel. She still wasn't past his accident and the pain he suffered.

"I need to work out how to upgrade it so I can fire lasers out of it and all." Gabriel joked.

"Make it an iron man suit! You're already a billionaire so that ticks one of the boxes." Alex continued to tease him.

"Oi, Ragazzo, what are you doing to my pretty boy?" Nonna walked into the kitchen with a wide smile.

"Nothing, Nonna!"

"Oh look at them!" Nonna exclaimed as she looked at Gabriel still holding onto Claire. "God, you look like you were made for each other."

"Thank you, Nonna." Claire smiled. "Would you like me to get you coffee and breakfast?"

"Oh, no. I just want to get some water and I'm all about laying in front of tv until at least noon."

"Sounds like a splendid plan, Nonna." Gabriel nodded in approval. "suona splendido, Nonna."

"You've been practising, Ragazzo." Nonna was beaming.

"I need to keep up with my favourite person." Gabriel winked at Nonna which made her laugh loudly.

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