Pushing You Away (Noah & Katie duet #1) - Kennedy Fox Page 0,1

arm, but he yanks it away.

There are several eyes on us, including his date’s.

“You should be ashamed.” I look at her, then gaze back to Gabe. “And you should be too. Katie’s gonna leave you when I tell her you’re sleeping around.”

The corner of his lips tilts up in a devilish smirk as he steps toward me. “I can promise you that she ain’t going nowhere. She’ll be six feet under before I allow that to happen.”

I blink hard. What the hell did he just say?

There’s no point in trying to reason with him, so I shake my head and turn around. Before I can walk away, Gabe grabs my jacket and pulls me back.

I spin until he drops his grip. “Get off me.”

“Make me.” He pushes my chest, and I stumble back into a couple of chairs. “You aren’t going anywhere until we’re done.”

“Trust me, we’re done. You’re not worth it.”

“Because you’re a sissy who can’t fight. You let me date Katie when you wanted her. You let me propose to her and then knock her up while you stood there like a pussy.” He barks out a laugh, and I'm shocked. He knew how I felt, then asked her out anyway. Bastard.

I see red when he charges at me again. “Couldn’t man up to date her, and you can’t man up now.”

His laughter has me seething, and I push him back. “Get outta my face. I’m leaving.”

Before I can walk away, he sucker punches me in the stomach, and I bend over, trying to catch my breath. Someone yells at us to take it outside, and his blond bimbo girlfriend laughs.

Just when I can see straight again, Gabe attempts another hit, but I move before his fist connects. He’s unsteady on his feet and clearly wasted but completely unfazed. He's a pro at drinking after work and on the weekends, and it’s quickly become his favorite pastime. It wasn’t always that way, but after the wedding, he changed.

“Get outta here, now!” the bartender shouts. Gabe turns toward him, and I take the opportunity to swing my fist. I deck him in the face and watch as he trips over his feet on his way down. His head smacks the ground so damn hard I swear I hear it crack. The room grows silent as we wait for him to move, but he doesn’t. He’s out cold.

“Shit.” I bend down and see his eyes are closed. “Gabe, can you hear me?”

His girlfriend screams, and a couple of other guys crowd around me.

“Gabe, wake up!” Blondie shakes him, but I stop her.

“Don’t. He probably has a concussion.”

“You motherfucker, this is your fault!” She jabs a finger in my shoulder.

“I’m calling 911,” the bartender says. “Someone better call his wife.”

The next hour is a blur.

Gabe’s pulse is weak, and he doesn’t regain consciousness. When the paramedics arrive, they take him to the hospital in the next town over. I can’t bear to call Katie and tell her myself, so I call Gemma and ask her to drive Katie to the hospital while I follow the ambulance in my truck.

Katie’s hysterical when the doctor tells her they’ve put him in a medically induced coma so his brain can heal. It’s swelling, and there’s a chance he could have brain damage.

Five days go by, and my worst nightmare happens. Gabe’s considered brain-dead due to the blunt force trauma he suffered when he fell and hit his head. My body goes from being in shock to utterly numb as I take in everything that’s happened. Katie’s a mess, his parents won’t even look at me, and my sister tries to console me, but I know she’s torn between being there for me and comforting her best friend. I don’t fault her, though, because I’m to blame for this. I should’ve stayed home that night and minded my own damn business.

The morning of his funeral, I contemplate not going, but Katie begs me to attend. My dad tells me I would regret it later if I didn’t, so I put on my only black suit and attend the wake and service. I can hardly speak to Katie, but the fact she talks to me is mind-blowing. I’m waiting for her to wake up and hate me.

She clings to me for comfort, but I don’t deserve her forgiveness, so I don’t ask for it. Seeing Gabe in that maple box with gold embellishments makes me feel sick. It’s an out-of-body experience, like none of this is