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I Am Santo

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Gavin Elliot knew the moment their eyes first met that he would love Penelope the rest of his life. The din of the room fell away; busy, hurried bodies lost to those seconds her gaze held his. Did she feel it too? Could she understand the tidal pull he felt seeing her for the first time?

He had lived fully. Gavin didn’t sip life’s experiences, he savored and nourished himself with them. His work propelled him, but he controlled the direction. And yet all of that time spent doing – feeling the sand of ancient Greek ruins spill between his fingers, toasting Elena when he made vice-president with wine more expensive than his first apartment’s rent, looking out across glimmering Los Angeles as he finished inking an important deal – all of it felt inconsequential. Because here was someone he had never prepared to meet, but now seemed as if he was destined to know.

And did she understand that feeling? Could she possibly? Maybe this feeling was his alone. The chaos of the room threatened return. His eyes remained on her. She looked away. He felt as if their moment was lost, but he yearned to live there forever. He smiled and she noticed, her eyes returning to his. And again it was only them. His insides surged with an unknown energy, a rush of electricity in his soul filling his eyes with tears and snatching his breath. Was he going to cry? Would she be frightened by that?

He steeled himself as best he could, eyes batting against tears. This was so new, so shockingly complete. Gavin had no idea. Having lived and loved so much in life, nothing had seemed surprising anymore. Yet there was this moment. She was so captivating that his life felt new. He was scared, humbled and so desperately in love. And all she did was look at him. That’s all it took, and he swore to himself he would love and protect her forever. She was his.

“Mr. Elliot, you can bring her to Elena now,” the doctor’s voice pulled him back.

Instinctively, he held Penelope closer to his chest and stepped toward his wife. He wondered if Elena would feel as he did. Her tears told him yes. And Penelope? Did she somehow know she was their life, their reason? He looked at her in his arms again and hoped more than anything that she could understand.

She could.

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