(Read "Gabrielle and Luka" before this story)
As we know, Gabrielle was sent into hiding by her father when he feared for her life prior to her meeting Luka.
Gabrielle's twin, Emanuelle, was also sent into hiding by their father, but separated from Gabrielle in the belief that it would be more difficult to track them down individually. They are a striking pair, and it would have been almost impossible for them to remain inconspicuous if they had been together.
Their father is a high-ranking German who has made many enemies due to his politics. Their mother is French and was a nurse prior to her marriage. The girls were raised surrounded by wealth and privilege and were very sheltered, especially after the abduction of their older sister as an infant. The sister was never located and is presumed dead, although the parents have never stopped looking for her and grieving for her.
After Luka's return to Croatia and subsequent exposure of the man who had hired him to assassinate Gabrielle, vigilance is relaxed and both girls are called home to Germany. Gabrielle, however, refuses to leave TEKville, as she has promised to wait there for Luka, and remains ensconced in her newly renovated room at TEK Hotel.
Emanuelle, who has been in hiding in France, is sent to retrieve her twin.
In Luka's absence, Gabrielle has had a great deal of time to reflect upon her hasty decision to forgive him.
As the weeks and months drag by, she spends many hours alone in her hotel room, wondering how she could have agreed to overlook not only the fact that he attempted to kill her -- and might even have killed someone else in a case of mistaken identity -- but that killing is a way of life for him, one to which he was raised from childhood.
Can he really turn his back on his former life so easily? she wonders. How can I ever trust him, knowing what he is and what he has done?
But she has given her word, and she is not a person to renege on a promise. Still, the weeks of her lonely sojourn drag on as she is filled with apprehension about the future and what it will bring.
One evening, as she prepares to consume the pizza that has just been delivered for her dinner, there is a knock at the door. She freezes, torn by the alternating emotions that flood her at the thought of Luka's return.
Physically she aches for him, and the knowledge that he is likely standing on the other side of the door sends a flood of tingling anticipation through her body. Mentally, however, she has been dreading this moment.
Tossing the pizza onto the bed, she slowly crosses the room and stands for a moment with her hand on the door, trying to reconcile the warring emotions that struggle for supremacy.
Steeling herself, she flings open the door . . . . and is shocked to find that it is not Luka on the other side, after all.
"Mein Gott! Emanuelle!"
After a moment of stunned silence, Gabrielle pulls her sister into the room and rushes into her arms.
They stand locked together in a silent embrace for several moments, their intimacy requiring no words.
Finally Emanuelle pulls away and takes her sister by the arms, looking searchingly into her eyes.
"Gabby, are you all right?"
Gabrielle takes a deep breath as the adrenalin rush from her anticipated reunion with Luka drains away.
"Yes, Emmy. I'm fine. Why are you here?" she asks curiously. "Not that I'm unhappy to see you, of course!" She smiles wanly.
Emmanuelle pauses, waiting for Gabrielle to invite her in. Finally Gabrielle's awareness returns and she laughs.
"Come in, Emmy! We have a lot of catching up to do, ja?"
"We certainly do!"
Gabrielle turns and her sister follows her into the room, her brow furrowed as she studies Gabrielle intently.
"Have you eaten, Emmy? My dinner was just delivered and there's plenty for both of us."
"I haven't eaten, and I'm starving! Thanks!"
Gabrielle pulls plates, napkins, wine glasses, and a bottle of wine from the stash she has collected over the past few months and the girls settle on the bed to devour her pizza.
Once the last morsel is consumed, a companionable silence ensues as they enjoy their wine.
Finally Emanuelle's impatience can no longer be denied.
"OK, so tell me why you won't go home. Mutter und Vater are very worried, Gabby! It's not like you to refuse a direct order."
Gabrielle sighs. "Oh, Emmy, it's such a long story. I scarcely know where to begin."
She pauses as Emanuelle continues to wait expectantly. "I . . . I met a man, Emmy," she says, not meeting her sister's eyes.
Emanuelle laughs delightedly. "A man! That's all it is? This is about a man?? Oh, liebchen -- why didn't you say so! Tell me all about him!"
Gabrielle chews her lip. She knows very well that she cannot keep secrets from her twin, but she is very aware of how decidedly sordid the whole tale will sound when actually put into words.
"Gabby? What is it?"
"It's just a long story, and . . . . and I don't come off well in the telling."
"Well, out with it. You know I won't think any less of you, no matter what!"
Gabrielle sighs, and begins with her arrival in TEKville, her weeks living in hiding, her eventual boredom and subsequent employment at a hospital in a nearby town . . . and then she pauses and looks her sister squarely in the eyes.
"It was there that it happened. One night a man was admitted to the ER with a gunshot wound. He was barely alive, he had lost so much blood. The hospital had no blood of his type on hand, so . . . I volunteered." She shrugs, knowing that her twin will fully understand. "I was following the doctor into the man's room days later and he had regained consciousness and had dressed himself and was actually trying to leave! Imagine!"
Gabrielle pauses, unsure of how to continue. After a moment's futile attempt to find a better way to explain what happened next, she blurts out "He looked at me, and . . . I can't . . . .it was . . . oh, Emmy! I've never experienced anything even remotely like it! It was as if he was looking into my soul! And his eyes . . . did things . . . I was . . ."
She breaks off, realizing by the expression on her sister's face that she is being completely incoherent.She draws a ragged breath.
"It was so . . . . so intimate. It was like we were the only ones in the room and his eyes had stripped me completely naked. And I wanted him, Emmy. I wanted nothing more than to couple with him, right then and there."
Emanuelle's gaze reflects puzzlement as well as concern. Her sister has always been the quiet one, the one who takes forever to make a decision and only then after carefully considering all of the angles. Her story itself is incredible, but her agitation in relating it is just as telling.
"What happened then, Gabby?" she asks gently, prompting her sister to continue.
"I . . . I ran. But . . . I couldn't stay away. It was like he was a magnet, drawing me to him. I came to his window day after day, just to look at him, trying to figure out what . . . what he had done to me. Every time I looked through that window, he looked up and his eyes met mine, as if he sensed I was there. Every time, I ran. But every time, I came back."
Gabrielle covers her eyes. Her hands are shaking as she relives her distress. Emanuelle gently touches her leg, lending her unspoken support. "Go on, love."
Gabrielle closes her eyes for a moment and draws a shuddering breath. When she raises them again, the torment in them brings tears to Emanuelle's eyes.
"Then one day," she begins shakily, "we collided in the hallway. He dragged me into a storage closet, and . . . . oh, Emmy!" She collapses onto the bed, sobbing as she struggles to control the anguish that wells up inside her.
Emanuelle sits up abruptly and grabs her sister by the shoulders, pulling her up to look sharply into her eyes. "Gabby! Did he hurt you? Did he . . . ?"
Gabrielle reluctantly forces her eyes to meet her twin's. "No, Emmy. He didn't hurt me. At least not how you mean it. But he did . . . . do what you're thinking."
"Mein Gott, Gabrielle! Did you report him? Did you call the police? Did you . . ."
Gabrielle stills her sister's outrage with a gentle hand to her lips. "Emmy. Stop. Listen."
She breathes deeply, willing herself to continue. "It wasn't rape. I wanted it, Emmy. I wanted it every bit as much as he did. And as often as he did. I . . . .we . . . it was . . . oh my God, Emmy, it was incredible! I've never . . . it was . . . amazing."
Emanuelle's eyes are incredulous. "Gabrielle Diefendorf! YOU?? You . . . you had sex with a man you'd barely met . . . in a hospital storage closet???"
Fighting the urge to drop her eyes again, Gabrielle stares at her sister defiantly. "Yes, Emmy. Me. And I don't regret it for a moment!"
Emanuelle is taken aback, and for a moment stares at her twin open-mouthed. "Um . . . well . . . . I guess . . . I don't know what to say, Gabby! This is so unlike you! So . . . where is this paragon of sexual prowess who has so completely bespelled my beloved sister?" She smiles weakly.
At that, some of Gabrielle's expression loses some of its defiance. There is still more to be told. She looks steadily into Emanuelle's eyes and says, simply, "He's in Croatia."
The furrow returns to Emanuelle's forehead. "Croatia? What the hell is he doing in Croatia?"
Gabrielle isn't entirely certain that whe wants to continue, but this is her twin, and they are not accustomed to keeping secrets from one another. She steels herself and relates the rest of the story -- why Luka was in TEKville, how he came to be shot, how his employer sent backup, how Luka rescued her from the second hit man, and how Luka went back to Croatia to attempt to expose his employer in order to eliminate the threat to Gabrielle . . . and in the process, the threat to Emanuelle as well.
As she finishes, she looks into her disbelieving sister's eyes and declares, "And he must have been successful, Emmy, or you would not be here."
Emanuelle holds her head with both hands to prevent it from exploding. "This is a lot to take in all at once, Gabby. You . . . in love with a hit man who tried to kill you! You must know how unbelievable this all sounds."
Gabrielle nods sadly. "I know. I've had a lot of time to think about it, and it's still pretty unbelievable even to me. But Emmy, I love him, no matter what he is or what he's done. I can't help it. And I promised him that I would wait, so I'm waiting. I can't go home until I find out what happened to him. He should have contacted me by now if he was successful in exposing the man who hired him. I'm worried, Em."
"Well, stewing about it isn't going to help. I'm here now, and I'll stay with you until you find out what happened one way or another."
She rises. "Come, Gabby". She holds out her hands to her twin. "Let's get you tidied up and get out of here for a while. Surely this town must have a bar. I don't know about you, but I could sure use a drink!"
Gabrielle smiles wanly at her take-charge sister. "OK, Emmy. Whatever you say. I haven't been there myself, but the concierge told me about a place downtown called the New York Bar. They have live music, sometimes a rock band. I know you like rock."
"I'll get my bags. You take a shower and get changed. It will do you good to get out of this room for a while, trust me."
To be continued . . . .