1.11 Dinner Guest.

This chapter is Rated PG

Author’s note:  I know its been over a week since I posted the last chapter, but I’ve been busy with real life stuff. I’ve had this chapter done for a while actually, just never been able to get around to posting it.  I know its kind of a filler chapter, so the next chapter should be more entertaining 🙂 I hope you like it anyways!

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The early morning breeze blew over the ocean lifting my blond locks slightly, making them whisper softly over my skin.  I drew my eyes towards the sky-it looked like rain.   I drew in a sharp intake of breath, I could smell the rain on the air.

I closed my eyes and leaned back against my comfortable new lounge chair, and felt at peace.  Something I haven’t felt for so long.

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I had taken Michael’s money he had left to me in his will, I had used that money to buy a beautiful home on the water, and had given away the rest to various charities, especially to those who catered to abused and battered woman.

In addition to the money left in the will, I had also received a million dollars from Michael’s life insurance policy.  I couldn’t believe it, I decided to follow my life long dream and open my own restaurant, and Tessa was going to help me run it.

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I looked up at the sky and saw the clouds parting revealing bright blue skies.  I could feel the humidity on my skin, and knew it was going to be a hot one!

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I whistled a happy tune as I walked down to the lighthouse point, stopping along the way to gather sea shells from the shore.

I stooped, digging my hands into the cool sand and throwing rocks out into the ocean.  I smiled wistfully, it reminded me of childhood.

One of the first things I had done after receiving the money from Michael’s will, was to call my parents.  The first phone call in years was awkward,, only on my part alone.  My parents had been so happy hear from me.  I remembered my mom sobbing happily.  They were flying out next week to come visit, and I was full of anxiety and guilt.  I had even talked to my little sister, who wasn’t as happy to hear from me as my parents.

“Mom and dad haven’t been the same since you left.” She had said in ways of greeting.  “All they could talk about was you. Wondered if you were happy, if you were ok.  They stopped giving a shit about anyone else.”

Her words filled me with guilt, and I wasn’t sure if my little sister would ever forgive me for choosing Michael over my own family.

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I pulled off my black top and skirt revealing a bikini underneath.  I spread out a bright pattered beach towel and lay down enjoying the way the hot sun felt on my skin.

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Woof! I heard a dog bark from somewhere down the beach.  I could hear the sound of quickly approaching paws.

“Moxie!” A familiar male voice said sharply, clapping his hands to signal the dog back.

I cracked an eye open and saw a familiar dog approaching quickly, her tail wagging so fast it was almost a blur.

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I sat up sleepily on my towel yawning, I rubbed my cheek feeling a ridge where the towel had left its mark on my face.

“Hey Moxie.” I smiled.

“I’m sorry about that.” Ryan said sheepishly.  “I guess she likes you.  I tried calling her back but the minute she saw you, she just took off running.”  He smiled.  It was the first time I had seen him since the morning of Michael’s death out to sea.  Last time he had been wearing mirrored sunglasses, this time I noticed this eyes were a soft golden brown.

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I looked down awkwardly, not sure how to act around him.  I didn’t have the best track record with men.  I suddenly felt embarrassed standing there in my bikini, but knew if I covered up my body with my arms it would draw attention to my insecurity and possibly make him feel bad.

His eyes never strayed down looking at my chest or body, he kept them focused on my face, making me trust him instantly.

“So….” I finally said.

“I have been wondering about you, the morning I took you to the police station I had been worried sick about you since.” Ryan said.

I looked down at my feet.  “I’ve been fine, just had been dealing with a lot of stuff.”

I looked up into a pair of concerned golden brown eyes.  “Well I’m glad that everything seems to be ok, Grace.”  He smiled.

“It will be.” I said finally, trying to smile.

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Moxie lay at my feet whining for attention.  I was grateful for the interruption.

“Hey girl.” I bended down and pet her behind the ears.  Her back leg twitched with joy.

“Here,” Ryan said smiling handing me a well chewed ball.  “This is her favorite toy, if you play fetch with her she’ll love you forever.”

At the sight of the ball Moxie twitched with joy, her eyes bright and focused, her tail wagging back and forth thumping against the hard packed sand.

“You want this ball?” I smiled holding it up high.  I threw my arm back and released the ball throwing it down the beach.

Moxie let out a sharp bark that sounded joyful to my ears and took off running.  She was very agile, catching the ball before it landed.  She brought it back and dropped the ball at my feet, her eyes pleading with me to throw it again, so I did.

“You started something now.” Ryan laughed, his golden eyes twinkling as he watched Moxie bounding after the ball.

I threw the ball into the ocean once more, and Moxie took off running into the water, bouncing lightly over the small waves.

I smiled at Ryan.  “Well I guess I better get going back home.” I bended to pick up my clothes off the sand, and pulled the black shirt over my bikini top.

“It was nice to see you again.” I smiled. “Bye Moxie!” I took off in the direction toward home.

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It was a very short walk from the lighthouse to my house.  I smiled as I approached my home, my own personal slice of paradise on the beach.

Still, deep down, I felt guilty about accepting the money from Michael’s will, even though Tessa, Holden, and Gwen told me repeatedly how much I deserved it after all the hell he put me through for years.

Frowning, I hurried inside.

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Cooking had always calmed me down in times of emotional distress. As I rummaged through my well stocked fridge I couldn’t help thinking about Michael.  Even though he was dead, he still haunted me.  Would I ever be able to move past him and focus on being happy?

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I pulled out the ingredients to make my famous key lime pie, it sounded delicious and would keep my mind occupied for a while.

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I was just about to set the pie on the counter when a knock on the door startled me, causing me to almost drop the pie on the floor.  I set it down quickly on the counter and looked in the direction of the door.

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Ryan, I thought. What is he doing here, and how does he know where I live?  Goosebumps rose on the back of my neck despite the warmth of my home.

“Hey.” I greeted him opening the door. “Come in.”

“Hey, I’m sorry about following you home. I tried calling your name back at the beach, but you must not have heard me.  You left your towel at the beach, and I wanted to return it.”

He handed me the towel, neatly folded and smiled.

“Thanks.” I said.

“Ok then, we’ll I’ll see you around. Have a great day Grace.” Ryan started to turn.

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“Wait!” I exclaimed a little more loudly then I intended.

Ryan turned back around a puzzled smile on his face.

“I made a key lime pie, and I was just going to make some salmon steaks with wild rice for dinner. Would you like to stay for dinner?” I said shyly.  “I never did get a chance to thank you for that day you found me on the beach.  Please, it would make me happy to have the company.” I babbled.

Ryan looked down at the pie.  “It looks wonderful.  Sure, if you would like the company I would love some pie.  Key lime is my favorite.”

I smiled. “Mine too.  Go ahead and sit down in the living room, and I’ll prepare dinner.”

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Ryan and I kept up a steady stream of chatter as I prepared dinner, he was easy to talk too, and had a quick wit that put me instantly at ease.

“You have a beautiful home, Grace.” Ryan said gazing out the window, overlooking the ocean and expanse of beach.

I smiled, but with my back turned he couldn’t see my smile.  “Thanks.” I said.

“I live on that small little island, I can almost see my house from here.” Ryan said.

“Living on an island must be tough.” I said.

“Not really. I mean, I have to take the boat to get anywhere, but I love the privacy, and its beautiful there.”

“I bet it is.” I smiled finishing up the salmon steaks.

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I gave the steaks one last pat with my spatula and flipped them onto the plate setting them down on the counter.

“Dinner’s ready.” I said shyly, not used to having guests over, even though it was my idea.

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“It smells wonderful.” Ryan said sitting down at the kitchen table.  I sat beside him.

“Aren’t you going to eat?” He asked a puzzled look on his face.

“Oh. Yeah. I will in a minute. Can I get you anything to drink?” I babbled, my hands twisting anxiously.  Old habits don’t die easy, I thought.  I was still used to eating last, because Michael was always to eat dinner first before I could eat. 

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He closed his eyes with bliss as he bit into the salmon which was nice and flaky.  “This is wonderful.” He said with his eyes closed as I watched him chew.  “I haven’t had a meal this good in ages.” He laughed.  “You should open your own restaurant.”

“Funny you mention that.  That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve never ran a business before.  I wouldn’t know the first thing about running a restaurant.” I smiled softly.  “It’s something my friend Tessa and I are talking about looking into.”

“I’m a commercial fisherman, and I sell a lot of my catch to a couple of restaurants around town,  I don’t know a whole lot about the business aspect of it, but I’m sure I can get you in touch with some people who can help you out.”

“That would be great.” I said gratefully.

Ryan stood lifting his plate to take to the sink.

“Let me.” I said, indicating the plate as if to say I would do the cleaning.

“My mom raised me that the cook never does the cleaning.  After such a wonderful meal, It would be my honor.”   He smiled, “After such a wonderful meal, it’s the least I can do.”

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True to his word Ryan had my house spotless, I wasn’t accustomed to having a man clean up after me.  I had to admit to myself that it felt nice, even if I did feel a little guilty for his generosity.

“I better get going.” Ryan said facing me.  I followed him outside to the dock where his boat was parked.  “I know Moxie is at home waiting for me, and I don’t want her chewing my furniture apart because she hasn’t been fed yet.” He laughed slightly, his eyes twinkling.  “Again, thank you so much for dinner.”

“It was my pleasure.” I smiled in return.  “Well…It was nice to see you again.”

“And you as well Grace.” He smiled down at me, his eyes were beautiful.  I looked away, and swallowed the lump in my throat and turned away before he could see how awkward I was.

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“Goodnight Ryan.” I said hurrying away, feeling horrible for basically running away from him.  He probably thinks I’m some sort of lunatic now, I thought sadly, feeling my eyes fill up with tears as I hurried down the dock as quickly as my legs could carry me.  I turned around once to see Ryan standing there looking puzzled, with his hand lifted in a slight wave.   From inside my home, I watched him climb into his boat, and disappear into the darkness.

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1.10 The Will

This chapter is rated PG 13. Some swearing.

Authors note:  Sorry for the length of this chapter.  It’s a lot of reading.  I hope that this chapter is an appropriate ending to the whole Michael drama, and ties up some loose ends.  There is a little bit of a time jump, but I hope everything makes sense why I wrote it the way I did.

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My legs could hardly support my weight as I climbed out of the boat and crawled ashore.  Once my feet touched dry land I bent double and vomited onto the beach.  What had I done?

My knees gave way and I collapsed hitting the wet sand and just laid there staring up at the gulls as they circled overhead.  From this distance, they looked like vultures circling my corpse.  I was so battered, bruised and bloody It wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination.

As the rain and clouds parted the hot sun beat down on my body, I felt dizzy, and week.  Every fiber of my body throbbed and ached.  I gently touched my ribcage, and winced at the hot flare of pain that ran up my body.  I gently probed my face, which felt hot and swollen to the touch.

It was self defense, Grace. I thought closing my eyes as another wave of dizziness hit.  With my eyes closed I heard the thump of the boat when I hit Michael’s body in the water, and I heard his outraged scream of pain.  I quickly rolled over and vomited into the sand…

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Like a movie which was stuck on repeat, the memory replayed itself over and over again in my mind.  I would never forget the amount of blood in the water, not in a million years.

You had no choice Grace, if you would have left Michael alive he would have killed you the second he had another shot, and he wouldn’t have failed a second time, I thought still staring up at the cloudy sky.

A loud bark shook me out of my troubled thoughts.  I turned my head slightly to see a large dog running in my direction with a loud bark, his or her tail was wagging excitedly.

Once the dog reached me it threw back its head and howled an alert.

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“Moxie, Come here girl!” A male voice called, he ran closer, speeding up when he saw me laying there still staring up at the sky.

I realized now, I was still in my bra and underwear, having kicked off my jeans, shirt and shoes into the ocean because it was easier to swim without them.

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“Oh my god, Miss, are you ok?” The man said standing over my body staring down at me with concern.  “Are you hurt? What happened.  Can you walk?”

“I’m ok.” I said finally, struggling to sit up.  It wasn’t easy.  My head felt like a million tiny men had set up shop in my head, and they brought sharp tools…

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I drew my knees up to partially cover my lack of clothing, now wasn’t the time for modesty.  I couldn’t lay on this beach all day, I needed to get to the police station right away and report what happened.  So much blood, there was no way he could still be alive could he? I thought.

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Gently he helped me too my feet.  My sore ankle screamed and protest, but I was able to stand with his assistance.

“Can I take you somewhere? The police station?  The hospital?” The good Samaritan asked.

I caught a good look at my battered face in the reflection of his mirrored sunglasses.  I couldn’t imagine what he thought had happened to me.

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“I have a towel in my car, I was walking Moxie when she just ran in this direction.  I’m so glad we found you.  Are you sure you’re ok?  You are really beat up.  I really think you need to go to the hospital and at least get checked out.” He said.

“The boat.  Michael. Oh my god.” I started to collapse but he held me upright, and held me as I sobbed.  How could I live with what I had done?

“What boat? Who is Michael?  Were you in the hurricane?” He asked his tone was worried, he turned toward the ocean as if looking for someone else, more survivors maybe?  I wanted to laugh, but couldn’t.  My tongue felt glued to the roof of my mouth.  No survivors…just me.  I thought feeling another surge of nausea.

“My husband.  My husband is dead.” I murmured my sanity finally cracking like an egg when the events of what happened hit me like a slap in the face.  “I need to go to the police station.  Can you please take me?” I begged.

He ran to retrieve the towel from the back of his trunk, and gently wrapped it around my underwear clad body like a gentleman, careful to avert his eyes.

“Ok, let’s go.” He said.  “My name is Ryan by the way.”

“Grace.” I whispered as he led me to his car parked near the lighthouse.  “Grace Hunt.”

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3 Weeks later…..

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“Grace!” Tessa’s voice cut through the fog of my mind like a knife through hot butter.

“Girl, you need to get your shit together, its been 3 weeks.  I know you have been through a lot, but girl, you need to join the land of the living.  Besides, you have that appointment with the lawyer here in an hour. And its a good thing I came over because you would have missed it.”  Tessa threw her hands up looking stressed out.

3 weeks…Had it really been 3 weeks?  It seemed like just yesterday.  I felt the tears building behind my eyes, threatening to cascade over my face.  I had done a lot of crying these past weeks.  First came the guilt, then the overwhelming relief that Michael was dead, and then the guilt for being relieved that Michael was finally gone.

My first stop had been the police station, despite Ryan’s attempts to get me checked out in the hospital.  I had told them the truth, told them everything.  The years of abuse, and how I finally left him and moved halfway around the country.  I told them about the private investigator that had tracked me down, and ultimately kidnapped me from my own home. 

It felt good getting everything out in the open, I was worried they wouldn’t believe me.  But my haunted eyes and battered face told another story.  Michael’s private investigator was arrested, having not been able to have left town due to the hurricane.  He admitted everything, and I was completely off the hook for Michael’s death, much to my relief.  However, I may have not been guilty in the eyes of the law and was deemed as self-defense, but in my heart, I felt like a murderer.  I had taken a life.  

The police had taken me out in a boat so I could show them where I had hit Michael with the boat.  His body was never found, but I had nightmares every night about his body washing up on shore near my house.  Probably eaten by sharks, I was told.  I should be relieved, but I wasn’t.

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“Grace are you ok?” Tessa asked her dark eyes concerned at my silence.
I rubbed my eyes tiredly.  “I guess.” I lied.  “Just not looking forward to meeting with Michael’s estate lawyer.” I said.

“If it’s too soon, why don’t you ask him if you can do it another time?” Tessa said, her face sympathetic.

“No, I might as well just get it done and over with.  It wont be any easier, a week, a month, a year from now.”

I stood.

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It didn’t take me long to get ready.  I threw my hair up into a tight bun with a ribbon tied around it.  I dressed in appropriate will reading attire.  A dove grey pencil skirt, and a silky beige blouse.  Not that I cared how I looked.  Lately I hadn’t cared much about anything.

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“You look great!” Tessa smiled.  “It’s good to see you up and out of your pajama’s.”

“I guess I have no excuse not to go.” I said blankly, feeling a surge of panic in my stomach.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to go?” Tessa asked, putting a comforting hand on my shoulder, as if saying, I’m here for you.

I shook my head, small wisps of hair that escaped my up-do hitting my cheeks.  “No.” I said confidently.  “This is something I need to do alone.”

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“Thanks for being there Tessa.” I said smiling at my friend.  “Thanks for being here.   I’m sorry I’ve been so out of it lately.”

Tessa smiled. “That’s what friends are for.  I’m just glad that it ended the way it did, and we don’t have to worry about him ever again.  You can live your life now, you can get a job where you don’t need to worry about tax info.” She smiled brightly.

“Well I guess there is that.” I laughed slightly.  “I just want to put this all behind me, and move on.” I smiled closing my eyes so I wouldn’t cry, and again wincing inwardly when I replayed the exact moment I hit Michael’s body with the boat in my mind.  Would I ever forget?  Could I?

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My body felt like a jumble of nerves when I walked into the courthouse.  I was lucky that Michael’s estate Lawyer was willing to fly to North Carolina to read his will.  I don’t think I could have made the trip back to California, mentally.  I wasn’t ready for that yet.

Outside his door, I took a deep intake of air and felt my body stiffen.  You can do this, Grace. I thought trying to gather the nerve to raise my hand and knock.

I leaned my head against the cool dark wooden door, counted to ten, and then knocked. A light little rap on the door that made me feel sick with anxiety.

“Come in.”

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“Mrs. Harris. Thank you for coming.  Have a seat.” Mr. Archibald said from behind his desk.  My feet felt stuck to the floor, but I forced them to move, and took a seat across from the thin Lawyer, who smiled at me behind his thick glasses.

“Thank you.” I said, my voice little more than a whisper.

“First off I’d like to say how sorry I am for what you went through.” He took off his glasses and polished them with a handkerchief he pulled from his suit pocket.  “I’ve been Michael’s lawyer for many years, and I never had a clue, and I’m very sorry.”  He smiled at me, replacing his glasses on his face, and pushing them up his nose.

I didn’t know what to say, so I sat silent, because I knew if I opened my mouth, I would cry, and if there was ever a time to be strong, now was it, so I just nodded.

“I’ll continue on to the reading of the will then.” He said all business again.  He opened his desk and pulled out a folder, placing it on top of the desk.

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He began to read.  “I, Michael Harris, being of sound mind and body, declare this to be my Last Will and Testament.  I revoke all wills previously made by me.

I appoint Barry Archibald, as my Personal Representative to administer this Will, and ask that he be permitted to serve without Court supervision.

I bequeath all my properties to my wife Grace Harris.  The summer-house in lake Tahoe, and our personal home in Reyes County California.

I bequeath my share holdings of Harris Enterprises to go to my wife Grace Harris…” I tuned out.  This has to be a mistake!

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When he finished, I sat there silently, my mind reeling.

“There has to be some sort of Mistake.” I said shaking my head back and forth.  I felt my tight bun loosen.

“I assure you Mrs. Harris.  There is no mistake.”  He smiled at me sympathetically.

“But.  He left me everything?” I asked incredulously.  “How.  Why?”

“Mr. Harris made this will not long after your marriage.  I assure you, he intended everything to go to you, should he die before you.” He blinked his dark eyes behind his thick goggle like glasses.

“I don’t want a damn thing from him.” I swore, suddenly feeling a surge of anger so intense my face flushed.  “He made my life a living hell.  Then he goes and leaves me everything? As if that makes up for the years of abuse?”

The lawyer sat quietly letting me vent, obviously no use to such theatrics when a last will and testament was read.

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“Mrs. Harris.”  He began.

“Hunt.”  I cut in.  “Grace Hunt.  That’s my maiden name.”

“Ms. Hunt.” He cleared his throat.  “I know Michael did a lot of horrible acts, but If I could advise you that this inheritance could change your life, and you could put the money to good use.  I think in his own deranged way, he really did love you.”

“He had a funny way of showing it.”  I said staring angrily at the wall, my mind going a million miles a minute.

“I would like to think about this for a couple of days.  Is that possible?” I asked.

“Yes, of course.  Call me if you have any questions.  You have my card.”

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I stood up reaching over the desk to shake the lawyers hand.  “Thank you.  You will be hearing from me soon.” I said confidently.

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I walked out of the lawyer’s office with my head held high even though I felt like I was dying on the inside.

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I found myself at the beach overlooking the ocean.  I stood staring out at the sea even as it began to rain.

Michael had made my life a living hell, he had beaten me down like a rabid dog not only mentally but physically, leaving deep wounds mentally that I’m not sure could ever heal, no matter how much money I received from him,  I wasn’t sure if I could ever forgive and move on.

I wouldn’t lie and say the money wouldn’t change my life.  It would, drastically.  There was a lot of good things I could do with Michael’s money.  I knew then, I would accept it all, and put it to good use, so at least one good thing could come out of this tragedy.

I tilted my head up to the sky and smiled, the rain was gentle on my face as it washed the tears away.  It felt like a new beginning…..

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1.9 Blood in the Water

This chapter is Rated R for pixellated Violence, language.

Credits:

Mechanics of Emotion-Fear Poses HERE

Houseboat:  The Sims Resource

Author’s note:  This chapter was hard to take pictures for since the game is somewhat limited in what we can do, even with poses.  I had to edit the photo’s in a photo editor, and I’m pretty happy how they turned out, especially the blood in the water pictures.  However I’m in no way near a professional, lol.  I hope you like the chapter!  I have also been suffering from a severe lack of motivation lately, but really wanted to update the story.  I hope it doesn’t suck. >.<

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I felt my body be lifted out of the trunk and I was thrown over Michael’s shoulders as I heard his footsteps echoing as he walked.

I was thrown roughly onto a hard wooden floor, my head pounding like a cheap drum.  I opened my eyes and saw his shadowy form standing over me.

I was helpless.  If he wanted to kill me now, I wouldn’t have been able to stop him.  I saw Michael produce a syringe from his pocket, I could see the long sharp needle glint in the low light of the moon.

There was a sharp pinch as he plunged the needle into the side of my neck and then I plunged into darkness.

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Michael Harris threw Grace down into the cabin of the boat and whistled a happy cheerful tune as he manned the houseboat, expertly maneuvering it out to sea.

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I opened my eyes wincing at the pain.  My head was throbbing, and I felt like I was going to be sick.

My blurry eyes searched the room.  I felt like I had been drugged.  Then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue.  I had been drugged, my last waking moment I remembered Michael plunging the syringe into my neck.

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I sat on the edge of the bed rubbing my eyes and fighting back the overwhelming nausea.  I looked around at my surroundings noting the expensive furniture and the complete lack of windows.

I stood up leaning against the wall for support, my legs shaking like jelly.  Was it my imagination or was the floor rocking back and forth.  Was I on a boat? 

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I tested the door, it was unlocked.  I knew Michael wouldn’t be far, I would have to be quiet, if I had any hope of making it out alive.

There was a wooden ladder that led to the upper level of the boat.  I put my hands on the first rung and hoisted myself up.  I was sweating profusely, the drug still working its way out of my system.

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I reached the top quickly.  I stepped quietly into the kitchen.  I was on a boat.  I had to admit the idea made a lot of sense.  Michael obviously wanted to get me alone, and a boat in the middle of the ocean was a pretty good way to accomplish that!

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My pulse was racing.  I stood still like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.  All I could hear was the gentle rocking of the boat and the sound of the rain as it hit the hull of the boat.

I took one step towards the door and froze as I saw Michael silhouetted against the darkness of the sky.

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I let out a startled scream, and looked around wildly looking for any way to escape.

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Michael said nothing as he took a step towards me.   I backed up until my legs hit the couch.  I fell landing on my butt on the soft carpeting, starring up at Michael with hate and fear.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked Michael, I would not give him the satisfaction of crying.

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“Because you are my wife!” Michael thundered his eyes full of fury.  “You belong to me!”

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“I would rather die then be with you.” I spat, boldly meeting his eyes.  “I swear to you Michael, you may be able to hold me here against my will, but I will never love you, and I swear I will try and escape every chance I get.  And if I can’t I would rather kill myself.”

He grabbed me by my hair forcing me to my knees.  I closed my eyes wondering if he was going to kill me.  Would this be the moment I would die? 

The boat suddenly rocked to one side, I opened my eyes to see Michael stumble slightly.  This was my chance.

I stood up in one fluid motion, knocking him over and bolting towards the door.

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I lunged at Michael with everything I had, and ran past him as fast as my legs would carry me. I stopped when I reached the edge of the boat and looked down at the ocean.  Did I even dare? Sure, I could swim, but we were so far out that I wasn’t sure I could make it safely back to land.

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I turned when Michael approached me laughing.

“You little bitch.” He spat.  “You won’t jump.”

I looked at Michael, then back at the churning sea.  The wind was whipping my hair in my eyes, and as I stared into his eyes, all I saw was hatred and madness, and I knew I would rather take my chances in the ocean then spend one more second with him.  I would rather drown.

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In one fluid motion, I put one foot up over the edge and flung myself into the sea.  The water was surprisingly warm as I dove deep, the hurricane gathering speed from the warm ocean waters.

I took one huge gulp of air and dove deep and swam away from the boat as fast as I could in the direction of shore.

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I swam for my life, only surfacing when I had too breathe.  When I neared the shore, I turned and gazed in the direction of the houseboat which was no more then a couple of lights far away.  I kept swimming.

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I swam until the sun started to rise, and the torrential rain turned into a slight drizzle.  I was so close, I could almost feel the sand beneath my feet.  I felt a surge of relief.

A loud motor sound made the blood freeze in my veins.  I turned and saw Michael heading toward me on the speedboat that had been attached behind the yacht.  I wanted to cry, the shore was still too far away.  I would never make it!

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“There is nowhere you can go that I can’t find you.” Michael spat as the speedboat pulled beside me, his dark eyes angry in the early light of day.

“I would rather drown then be your prisoner.” I vowed.  I started to dive, but Michael grabbed a fistful of my long hair, and pulled me upwards out of the water, I screamed with pain kicking against the side of the fiberglass boat like a hell cat.  He dragged me into the boat, and kicked me once in the ribs.  I curled up into a ball crying out with pain.  He dragged me to my feet and threw me roughly into the seat then started the engine.

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Michael took off at high speed towards the yacht, and I knew this was my only chance. I would have no other shot at this.

I popped out of my seat so quickly Michael had no idea what hit him.  I slammed into Michael with every ounce of strength I had in my poor tired battered body.  He fell out of the boat with an enraged scream, and hit the water.

I jumped into the drivers seat, having never driven a boat before, but lucky for me it was already running.  I turned the boat and gunned it straight at Michael who flailed in the water, his eyes full of fury.

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In a million years I would never forget what it felt like to hit Michael with the boat.  All I saw was his dark eyes staring at me with hate as I aimed the large watercraft in his direction, and felt it slam into his body with a loud yet satisfying thud.  The engine sputtered for a moment, and I waited for Michael to surface.  He didn’t.  All I saw was a spreading pool of blood mixing with the blue green water.

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I let the engine idle for a moment my eyes searching for any sign of movement.  Then I gunned the engine and aimed it for shore.

I was free…

1.8 Nightmare

This chapter is Rated R for Violence and characters in peril, and bad language.

Author’s note:  Ok, so the weather in beautiful sunny Evensdale County didn’t cooperate with giving me a nasty storm.  I even downloaded the mod Tempest, but my dumb ass couldn’t figure how to get it to work.  *sigh* So I decided to try other means.  I made my own rain, and I thought it looked pretty good, until I load them on here, and I think it looks like….well…yeah.  You know what it looks like.  I had to darken the pictures manually so the sky was dark, and add my own fake rain.  It looks alright, but you get the point.  As it often goes with my life, I found a really great tutorial AFTER I finish the chapter and do all that work, and I’m too lazy to go into the game and get new screen shots, so it stays how it is.

Credits:

Mechanics of Emotions: Fear  HERE

Chair with rope HERE

A night of terror poses HERE

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Drip, Drip, Drip. I heard from somewhere in the room as I opened my eyes seeing only darkness.  I can’t see!  I thought with a panic trying to stand up but something held me down.  I wiggled my fingers, my shoulders crying out in pain from being forced behind my back.  My fingers brushed up against something rough.  Rope.  I was tied down.

Everything came back in a rush, making me feel like I was going to be sick.  I licked my dry lips and tried to pick at the ropes with what little movement I had with my hands.  The rope’s dug into the sensitive skin of my wrists, they were already raw and bleeding, like I had already been struggling against them even while unconscious.

The last thing I remembered was someone grabbing me outside and dragging me away before I could scream.  By the ache in my skull I guessed he hit me to keep me quiet.  My head felt warm and wet, even though I couldn’t touch my head with my fingers, I guessed I was bleeding.

More awake now, I began to pick at the robes once again.

“You aren’t going to get free you know.” A voice said dryly from somewhere straight ahead.

I froze, my blood running cold and my veins.

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A single bulb overhead turned on, and the man speaking was revealed.  The man with the camera.  I wasn’t surprised.

“Why?” I asked my voice coming out in a moan.  “Who are you?”

“I was hired, I’m sure you can figure out by who I refer too.” He grinned his hazel eyes looked crazy and shined wickedly in the flickering dim light.

“Michael.” I said quietly.  “Of course, he would find me.”

“I found you.” He yelled, his voice echoing in the small space.  “That’s what I was hired to do.  You did a pretty good job hiding yourself little lady.  You left no paper trail, but the lady you bought a bus ticket from remembered seeing a pretty blond-haired girl who bought a ticket to North Carolina.  From there it wasn’t hard to track you down.”

“You’re crazy.” I spat trying to kick him with my feet that were untied.

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I narrowly missed his shin by an inch, the chair I was tied too rocked backwards, the legs hitting the concrete floor.  For a minute I thought I was going to tip backwards.

I glared with him with hatred.  “I don’t suppose I can talk you into letting me go?” I asked.

“Do I look like a fool to you?” He leaned in close, I could feel his hot breath on my face.  I gagged from the smell of coffee and cigarettes.

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“Honestly?” I asked “Yes.  You do look like a fool, and a psycho.  I can see tracking me down, but holding me hostage in some shed, yeah that’s the definition of a psycho.” I spat trying to kick him again.

He moved quickly, his muddy hazel eyes bore into mine, suddenly his fist was flying towards my face.  I closed my eyes, and felt his fist connect with my face.  The chair rocked backwards, I had the brief moment of feeling like I was going to fall over, then the chair righted itself and I passed out.

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I was counting the till before the start of my shift when I heard a knock at the front door of the diner I worked at.  I looked up, seeing a familiar face.  I smiled.

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“We aren’t open yet.” I apologized smiling and pointing at the closed sign.  “We’ll be open in an hour.  Sorry about that.” I smiled in apology and started to turn around.

“Grace, just let me in for a cup of coffee, I’ll leave you a good tip.”  He grinned wickedly, his dark eyes full of laughter.  “Come on, nobody will know, I promise.” He said when he saw my hesitation.

“How do you know my name?” I asked.  I wasn’t wearing a name tag.  But he had been in before and had probably heard another one of the wait staff call me by name.

“I know everything about you Grace.” He smiled his dark eyes unreadable.

“Alright, you can come in, but for one cup of coffee, then I need to finish opening up the restaurant.”

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I fixed him a quick cup of coffee, and started wiping down the counters.  He was making me uncomfortable with the way he stared at me.  I was used to getting hit on at the restaurant, it went with the territory, but coming from him, it felt….different, and I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable.  Maybe it was his expensive suit, he was obviously a very wealthy man.  What would a man like that want in a small town girl like me?

“Come here Grace.” He said watching me while I worked.  I put down the rag and stood beside him and leaned against the counter.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” I asked feeling uncomfortable, there was something off about him, something I couldn’t put a finger on.  The way he stared at me reminded me of my little sisters cat, the way it stared intently at its prey as it moved almost silently through the grass.  I was the unsuspecting mouse, and I didn’t like that feeling. 

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“Yes, you can go out with me Friday night.” He smiled, even though it didn’t quite reach the corners of his eyes.  His dark eyes were flat, like a sharks. 

“Oh, I work Friday night, Sorry.” I apologized feeling nervous.  I hated when I got asked out at work.  Made me feel like my tips were dependent on my answer. 

“I’ll buy the place and give you the day off.” He said with a small smile.

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, Grace.”

“Who are you again?” I asked.

“Michael Harris.  I’m kind of big shot around town, I really don’t think you should be saying no to me.” He smiled smugly.

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He leaned forward like he was going to kiss me, I froze like a deer in the headlights.  He laughed quietly as he brushed past me to lay a crisp hundred-dollar bill on the table.  Then turned and walked toward the door. 

I watched him go feeling relieved, for reasons I couldn’t explain.  Once he reached the door he turned around again.  “So, I’ll pick you up at 8 then.”  Then he left.

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I stood there a minute after he left.  What a pompous asshole, I thought a little annoyed at how self-assured he was.  I didn’t like guys like that, the ones who thought money and privilege were all that mattered and they could get anything they wanted because they wished it to be so.  But if I was honest with myself I was intrigued by him as well.  He was different from most guys, and carried himself well.  I would go on the date, after all. What’s the worst that could happen?

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“Oh Grace, if only you knew what was good for you.  You had it so good with me.  Such an ungrateful little bitch!” I heard as I came too, my head aching, and eyes burning with tears.  I must have been crying while I was unconscious.  As he stood over me, I expected to feel frightened, I wasn’t.  I felt nothing but hate and pity.

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“Funny I just had a dream about you, Michael.” I spat wishing my hands weren’t tied so I could claw at him and rip his face to shreds.  “I should have never agreed to go out with you Michael.  I knew right from the beginning that you were a psycho!” I stared at him hatefully.  I was beyond caring.  If Michael was going to kill me, and I had no doubts he was capable of it, I was going to go out fighting, and since my wrists were tied behind my back with heavy twine, my weapon was my words.  If I was going to die tonight, I was going to go out letting Michael know, how much I despised him!

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“You dumb bitch! You were nothing before I met you. Nothing.” He roared, his eyes full of madness.  “You were just some dumb bitch from a small town. You think you’re special Grace? You’re pathetic.  I was the best thing that ever happened to you.”

“You think so huh, funny how looking back on it all I have a different feeling about it all.  On our wedding day Michael I debated on jumping off a cliff to get away from you.  I knew right then and there marrying you was a mistake.” I stared at him with fire burning in my eyes.

“You are my wife. I own you.”

I pretended to yawn even though my heart was pumping fast.  I wanted to make him angry enough where he would do something stupid.  “You’re a man who likes to hit his wife cause he’s nothing but a giant pussy!” I yelled. Then spit on his shoes.

His eyes went wild with anger and for a moment I actually afraid, more so then I’ve ever been in my life.

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“You worthless whore!” He yelled.  “Classless slut.”  He was on me in a second, One hand twisted up in my hair as he fumbled at the ropes with the other hand.  He pulled me roughly to my feet.   He yanked my head back as I tried to bite him, my neck felt like it was going to snap from his rough movements.

I brought my knee up in one sudden movement and kneed him in the balls, and ran….

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I almost made it to the door when the heel on my shoes broke and I stumbled, regaining my balance quickly, but it wasn’t fast enough.  Michael tackled me around my waist, and I hit the floor, my face skidding against the concrete floor sending ripples of agony through my entire being.  I kicked at him like a bucking bronco, but he grabbed one ankle and twisted it painfully.  I heard a snap, and pain shot up the entire length of my leg.

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I fought like a hell cat.  I kicked at him with my other leg as he dragged me towards the door.  I scratched at the concrete floor while I was dragged, my fingers sore and bloody.  It did nothing to help.  Once we reached the doors, Michael pulled me roughly to my feet, I almost passed out from the sudden and quick change of movement.

“I hate you.” I managed to say as little black dots clouded my vision from the pain.

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The wind and rain were extreme as we walked outside.  I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and I wished a house would fall out of the sky, and land on Michael.  He held onto my upper arm with a vice grip, his other hand squeezing my neck and shoulder to keep me walking toward the waiting car.

The wind howled, snatching up the sound of my scream, not that I expected anyone to be around to hear me with the hurricane.  The warehouse district Michael brought me too, was deserted.  Clearly he had waited for this hurricane to make his move.

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The sky was dark, and the wind blew sideways.  Palm trees bent in the wind their leaves almost touching the ground.  The rain that pelted me felt like razors slashing across my skin.

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I stomped on Michael’s foot with all my strength and twisted out of his grasp, and punched him with everything I had.  I ran, and he caught me.  My hurt foot and leg hampering me once again.

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“Dumb bitch!” He swore and threw me down on the ground.  I hit my head on the side of the car, my vision dimmed for a moment.  I held my sore ribs and stared up at my husband with hate.

“Only a pussy would hit a woman!” I said staring at him, the hate fueling my rage, as the rain and wind whipped around us fiercely.  “Is that what you are Michael? A pussy?  Can’t get a woman to stay with you cause you beat her?” I coughed tasting blood on my lips.

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“If you knew what was good for you Gracie, you wouldn’t be such a smart mouthed little bitch” He said standing over me laughing even as the wind whipped around us in a deafening crescendo.

I groaned tasting blood once more. “Fuck you.” I managed to get out.

I didn’t move, I couldn’t move as he raised his foot and brought it down over my head.  Mercifully I blacked out.

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I was half unconscious when I felt him lift my body like I weighed nothing more than a child.  I was thrown roughly into the trunk, my head hitting the latch.  I blacked out again and didn’t waken, even as the car started and drove out of the empty parking lot.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1.7 A Storm is Coming…

This chapter is rated PG 13.  Mild violence, and characters in peril.

Credits:

A night of terror poses HERE

Don’t be sad, baby poses HERE

Couch couple poses HERE

Mypalsims Sims 3 Poses HERE

Welcome to another chapter of The Hunt Family Legacy, I know last chapter was sort of lacking, so I sincerely hope that this chapter doesn’t suck. >.<

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“Ugh no more Holden,” I groaned as he passed around the popcorn bucket.

“Fine, more for me then!” He grinned, popping a kernel in his mouth, chasing it with a big swig of soda, followed by a shot of Jack Daniels.

“What movie are we going to watch now?” Gwen asked yawning.  “We’ve watched just about every scary movie released in the past 9 years, most of them bad by the way, speaking of which Holden–you are never allowed to pick the movies out again.  Those were terrible!  I wouldn’t even call them B rated. ”  Gwen leaned forward and grabbed her beer off the coffee table and took a big swig.

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“I don’t know if I have it in me to watch another movie.” I said yawning, the copious amounts of sugary soda I consumed earlier was finally wearing off leaving me exhausted and drained, not that I was looking forward to another night of sleeping on Holden’s floor like a drunken teenager at a frat party.

“You suck Blondie.” Holden laughed.  “You all suck, bunch of wimpy women.  You guys just don’t appreciate the fine art of a good horror flick.”

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I looked down at the coffee table littered with liquor bottles, and junk food of all sorts. Nausea welled up in my stomach, reminding me that I had way to much to drink tonight, and I would be paying for it tomorrow.

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“Well I’m pretty drained–I think we all are Holden.  I say let’s get to bed, and we can have another movie marathon tomorrow night.” Tessa said through a loud yawn, she looked cute in her polka dot footsie pajama’s, complete with a flap In the back.

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“Shhh….” Holden whispered.  “The news is on, looks like we are in for a storm.”  he leaned forward his eyes on the television screen.

“No shit Sherlock.” Tessa yawned.  “Its Hurricane season, and we live in North Carolina.”  She stood. “I’m going to bed.”

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“I’ve never been in a hurricane before.” I whispered feeling worried and anxious.  Living in California all my life, we never dealt with hurricanes, although I’ve been in a couple of earthquakes, which were unsettling enough.

“Oh well than you’re in for some excitement than!” Holden laughed rubbing his hands together.  “Oh it’s not that bad Blondie.” He said when he saw the panicked expression on my face.  “You get used to them after a while.  They become a way of life when you live along the east coast.  You just deal with it.”  He yawned.

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I watched the news eagerly, my eyes glued to the television set.  Hurricane Adam was due to make landfall early morning.  They were advising people to cover their windows, and bring in anything that could fly away in the storm.

“You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a flag pole used as a projectile flying missile.” Holden laughed commenting on the newscast.  “One year I saw it go right through a palm tree.”

“Shut up Holden.” Gwen, Tessa, and I said in unison our eyes glued to the television screen.

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I went to the window and looked out, my eyes searching the sky for any hint of things to come.  The sky was cloudy and clear.  The air held a hint of stillness that was unsettling.  The calm before the storm, I thought.  My stomach seized with dread.

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When the newscast was over, and everyone settled down for the night I pulled out my sleeping bag.  I sat next to my rolled up sleeping bag wishing I was home and in my own bed, not that being by the coast was really the safest place to be right now, but I missed my own bed, and I missed my privacy.  Holden, Gwen, and Tessa were great, awesome friends, and a ton of fun to be around, but I was tired of having to smile, and pretend like things were fine.  Things were not fine, and I was tired of pretending they were.

I had been alternating between sleeping at Tessa’s, Holden’s, and Gwen’s.  If the man with the camera was still out there, he was making himself well hidden.  Maybe he is clearing out because of Hurricane Adam, I thought chewing on my bottom lip, as I spread my sleeping bag out beside Tessa.

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I crawled in beneath the warmth of the sleeping bag, my back sore from another night without my comfortable mattress, and down filled blankets.  I looked over at Tessa, who was already passed out from a long night of drinking, movies, and silliness.

It wasn’t long before I fell asleep…..

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You’re making a huge mistake Grace, I thought as I ran down the rocky path that led from the country club.  I felt like Runaway Bride, but where that movie was a comedy, my life of late was anything but.

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I stopped when I neared the edge of the cliff and stared out over the ocean, my dress and veil flapping in the wind coming off the ocean.  I could feel the spray from the sea kiss my cheeks, as it crashed over the rocks below.  I closed my eyes, stinging with tears as they streamed down my face.

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I spread my arms wide.  I imagined that they were wings, like those of the gulls which circled overhead, how I envied their ability to fly where they wanted, without a care in the world.  They were free, unlike me, trapped in a marriage with a man I was terrified of.  A man who had changed the minute we became engaged.

I looked down over the rocks, and imagined myself leaning forward, and losing balance, my body crashing on the rocks below, and washing away by the ocean waves.  How long would it take before people realized I was gone?

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With a sigh, I turned back, and walked back up the trail to the country club where my wedding reception was in full swing.  If I was lucky, Michael would be so busy with his work buddies, he wouldn’t notice I was gone.

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Out on the back porch I stared out once again over the ocean, trying to calm myself, and to staunch the flow of tears that streamed so easily from my eyes.

This is your wedding day, I thought.  It’s supposed to be the best day of your life.  I laughed harshly, the sound swallowed up by the roar of the waves that crashed on shore.

Instead of it being the best day of my life, it was the worst.  I should have never gone through with it, I thought.  Michael had changed.  The wedding seemed to bring out a darker side of him that I could never love, never accept.  I was scared of him, and scared for the future…

“Where were you?” Michael asked scaring me as he came up behind me, silently like a ghost.  I flinched when he put his hands on my shoulders, his hands squeezing my shoulders almost painfully.

“Oh, I just wanted to get some fresh air, its beautiful here.” I said calmly, flicking away my tears before turning around.

Michael crossed his arms, staring at me cruelly.  “You’re being rude Grace.  This is our wedding day. The happiest day of our lives.  You are supposed to share it with family and friends, not to hide outside.  Now let’s get your ass back inside.”

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I turned away from him again, the hint of the old Grace shining through, anger shone out my eyes, making my face flush.  “You mean your friends, Michael.  Your family.  Not mine.” I stared at him.

“My family is now your family, and my friends are now your friends.” Michael said coldly, stepping forward slowly, his hands clenching at his sides.  “We talked about this.  Your family doesn’t fit in with your new life.  You wouldn’t want to embarrass me would you?” He asked his eyes narrowed glinting cruelly.

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“No Michael, I wouldn’t want to embarrass you.” I squeaked as his hand closed around my throat his thumbs pressing against my windpipe.

“Good girl.”  He tightened his hand once more, then released and let go.  “That’s my Grace.” He patted my cheek in a condescending manner, like one would do to a child that has been scolded for doing something wrong.  I brought my hands up to my throat, feeling the tears start to build behind my eyes.  I would not cry, I couldn’t.

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Without word, I followed him back into the Country club, the sounds of the reception underway.  I cast one more longing glance at the ocean behind me, wishing I was anywhere but here….

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I woke startled.  My pulse was racing, and under my sleeping bag, my skin was slick with sweat.  Just a dream.  It was just a dream, I told myself.  Would the nightmares ever stop?

Glancing over at Tessa who was sound asleep, I climbed out of my sleeping bag, quietly, rolling it back up.

I tip toed into the bathroom and got dressed.  I was going home.  If a hurricane was coming, I was going to make sure my house was safe.  Then I would return before sunrise, before anyone even realized I was gone.

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The sky was an interesting mix, of green, blue, and black, as clouds swirled overhead.  The wind was extreme.  There was no doubt in my mind the hurricane was approaching quickly.

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I gave the cab driver my address and sat back in my seat quietly.

“Worried about the hurricane?” The driver asked as we drove through the empty streets.

“A little.” I admitted.  “Ok a lot.” I laughed.  “This is my first one.  I live right on the water, and I want to board up my house, then I’m heading back inland.”

“Good idea.  The Weather Channel says this one is going to be a bad one.” The cab driver warned.  “I hope your house stays safe.”

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I paid the taxi driver, and headed inside.  It felt good to be home, and be surrounded by my own things.  Even though I didn’t have much, and my house was small, it was mine, and I didn’t want to see anything damaged by the hurricane.

I heard a muffled thump from outside the house. I froze.  Just the wind, Grace. I thought.

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Another thump.  I opened the door and stepped outside, the lights from the porch glowing in the darkness.  You’re just paranoid Grace, because of all that’s going on, and your dreams of Michael.  There is nobody here.

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The reeds along the shore blew in the wind, the noise was unsettling.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching me…

I took a step off the porch.  “Is there anyone there?” I asked my voice echoing in the silence of the night.

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I started to turn, laughing at my show of hysterics.  Just the wind, I thought relieved.  It was after all, hurricane season.

Suddenly I felt someone approach me quickly from behind, and before I could scream, a meaty sweaty palm was clasped over my face, and I was dragged backwards and into the night….

Just then, it began to rain….

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I see the bad moon arisin’ I see trouble on the way

 I  see earthquakes and lightnin’ I see bad times today

Don’t go around tonight Well, it’s bound to take your  life

There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hear hurricanes ablowin’ I know the end is comin’  soon

 I fear rivers overflowin’ I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Don’t go around tonight Well, it’s bound to take your  life

There’s a bad moon on the rise Alright

Hope you got your things together Hope you are quite  prepared to die

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather One eye is taken  for an eye

Well, don’t go around tonight  Well, it’s bound to take your  life

There’s a bad moon on the rise Don’t go around tonight

Well, it’s bound to take your  life  There’s a bad moon on the rise

 ~Creedence Clearwater Revival~

1.6 A Friend in Need…

This chapter is rated PG 13.  Mild violence.

Welcome to another chapter of the Hunt Family Legacy.  I know its been a couple of weeks, but I’ve been writing up a storm on my First story The Gallagher Legacy, but its good to be writing about Grace and the gang again.  I know this chapter is really short, but the next chapter will be much longer and more exciting!  Oh well, I hope you all enjoy it anyways! 🙂

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The sound of the waves crashing onto the shore was hypnotizing as I stood on the back patio watching the gulls cry and circle in the sky.  There was the smell of salt water in the air, it was a scent like no other. 

The water stretched as far as I could see, all the way to the horizon, changing color with the light and the color from the sky, from blue, to green, to grey, depending on the weather.  Today the ocean was a brilliant aqua, the color of my eyes…

I watched the ripples and waves continuously flow toward shore, eventually breaking into foam, and then slide back just as quickly. 

I was so lost in the view and in my thoughts, that I didn’t hear the heavy sound of footsteps approaching me from behind.

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“Why isn’t dinner ready?” I whirled around startled, my hands flying to my chest.  My eyes widened, when I saw my husband, Michael Harris, standing before me, his arms crossed across his chest, his handsome features scowling, his brow furrowed.

“Michael, your home early!” I exclaimed, instantly feeling guilty about not having dinner ready and waiting. 

He took a step forward, his hands flexing and clenching at his sides.  I would have taken a step back, except I was already against the railing.  I could feel its hardness digging into the small of my back.

“That’s not a problem, is it?” He asked his voice low and angry.

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“No, of course not, Michael, I’m sorry about dinner.  I guess I lost track of time, I’ll go start it right away.” I babbled feeling tears spring to my eyes.  I lifted a hand to my face to partially block my face, as he hated to see any display of emotion.  I was to be the perfect wife at all times, and the perfect wife did not cry, she did what she was told, without complaint.

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When the roast was cooking, I prepared a salad.  I also grabbed a cold beer from the refrigerator, as Michael, usually wanted something to help him unwind from a long day at the office.

My hands were shaky as I carried the salad out to the dining room.  Lately, I was always nervous around Michael. 

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Wordlessly I placed the salad plate in front of him, and took a seat across the table from him.  As usual, he was to eat first, until he was finished, then I was allowed to eat. 

His arms were crossed across his chest, and he didn’t look up, even when I sat across from him.

“Is something wrong Michael?” I asked, hating the way I sounded like a timid little mouse.  He would hear the tremble in my voice, and be very angry.

“You know I don’t like croutons on my salad.” He said coldly, pushing the offending plate away from him in disgust.

My heart sank, of course.  I had been in a hurry to prepare dinner so quickly, that I forgot.

“Of course Michael, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.  I’ll get you another plate.  No croutons.”

I stood up.

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I came around to the other side of the table, reaching down quickly for Michael’s plate.  All of a sudden, he was out of his chair, and his fist slammed into the side of my face, making me fall back and hit the floor painfully. 

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I moaned, reaching a hand up to touch my split lip, wincing at the stinging pain as my fingers probed the wound.  I couldn’t help it, tears streamed from my eyes, mixing with the blood on my face. 

Michael stood over me angry, panting.  For a minute, I thought he was going to kick me while I lay there bleeding. 

He straightened, and adjusted his collar.  “I’m going out for a bit.  Remember this the next time you think about having dinner late.” 

I watched him turn his back on me and exit the room, a few minutes later I heard his Porsche speed out of the driveway.

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For the longest time, I lay there staring up at the ceiling.  My ears rung, and my face felt hot and swollen to the touch.  I knew I was going to bruise. 

Finally, I rolled over on to my hands and knees, panting slightly, my whole body aching.  I began to cry in earnest now, my split lip throbbing as the salty tears mingled with my lip.

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I found myself once again staring out at the ocean minutes later. 

The wind picked up, and I looked overhead as the gulls turned and dipped in the darkening sky.  A storm was coming. 

Tonight is the night, Grace. I thought remembering the bags I had packed long ago waiting for the day to arrive when I would finally leave Michael for good. Tonight is the night….

* * * * * * * * * *

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Who is crying? I thought groggily, my hands touching my face gently, as if I still expected it to hurt.  Instead of blood, I felt tears.  It was me who was crying.  And I was safe. I was no longer under Michael’s domineering thumb.  It had only been a dream….

I tried to sit up, something was on top of my chest.  It fell to the floor with a loud clatter that echoed through the silent night.

Probably, a book.  Although I don’t remember having read before I went to bed last night.

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I yawned, turning on the lamp, and stretching.  I stood up, my toe bumping into a solid object that rested by the bed.  I stopped down to pick it up.

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A cold flash went through my body making me feel nauseous and dizzy.  In my hands was a photograph, taken of me last night while I had been sleeping.

I dropped the picture, the glass shattering as it hit the floor.

I screamed.

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After a quick scan of the house, and making sure all the windows and doors were locked, I couldn’t go back to sleep. How would I ever be able to sleep again?

When I saw the first rays of Dawn over the ocean, I knew it was time to talk to Tessa.  Maybe she had seen someone last night?  She was in fact, my closest neighbor, and a self-proclaimed busybody.

I knocked, looking over my shoulders.  It was a beautiful day, the sun shone, a slight breeze came off the ocean, but it felt somehow…off to me.  And I couldn’t help shake the feeling that I was being watched.

“Its open!” Tessa called from inside.  I took one last uneasy look around, and pushed open the door to walk inside.

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“What’s shakin’ bacon?” Tessa smiled at me as I sat beside her.  Tears sprang to my eyes instantly, it felt so good to be near someone I trusted.  It helped ease some of the fear in my heart.

Tessa’s smile faded, her dark eyes growing concerned when she saw my tear streaked face. “What’s wrong Grace?”

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“I don’t even know where to begin.” I said honestly.

“I can tell its something serious, it will help to talk about it.” Tessa said patting my shoulder.  Her kindness opened the floodgates, and my story came rushing out quickly, like a damn had busted.

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“Do you think Michael is behind this?” Tessa asked finally speaking.

“The guy I saw at Holden’s house with the camera, was definitely not Michael, but its possible Michael is behind it somehow. I don’t get it though, this isn’t his style.  If Michael knew where I was, he would have done something about it by now.  I just don’t get it.” I said.

“I don’t like this.” Tessa said.  “Not one bit.  We need to go to the cops.”

“We can’t go to the police.” I panicked.  “Don’t you see?  What if this is all a misunderstanding.  If I open up an investigation, Michael will find out where I am for sure.”

“So what?” Tessa snorted cracking her knuckles.  “Let Michael come, he’ll have to get through me first.”

“You don’t know what he is like Tessa, he’s evil.” I said shuddering, remembering how cold his eyes would be even as he was hitting me and watching me sob for him to stop.  “He is completely without remorse.”

“Stay with me a couple of days,”  Tessa begged.  “You can’t go back to that house until we figure something out.  And the nights where I work you can stay with Holden or Gwen.”

“I don’t want to put anyone out.” I said looking down, my eyes stinging with emotion at her kindness.

“Shut up.” Tessa said.  “We are your friends.  And friends help each other out.”

I smiled, a genuine smile, which was the first in days.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1.5 Friends, and strangers

This chapter is rated PG 13.  There is some minor use of adult language, and sensitive subject matter, that might upset some. Read at your own risk.

Credits:

Tears:  Tiffa’s blog HERE

The other poses used have already been linked in other chapters and can be found via the credits page.

In the last chapter we saw, the reason for Holden’s behavior.  Will Grace be able to talk some sense into Holden?  Also the arrival of a stranger in town spells trouble for Grace…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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By the time my eyes finally closed, the sun started to peak over the horizon.  I groaned against the early light, my eyes swollen and sore from last nights tears.

I rolled over in bed and groaned and watched the ray of light that played on my wall grow larger.  Finally I threw off the covers and stood up rubbing my sore puffy eyes.

I was in desperate need of a good nights sleep, and I felt like I was running on fumes, and it wouldn’t be long before I would be on empty.

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I groaned and stood up squinting against the early morning sun, and got dressed.  Quietly, I walked past Gwen’s room, and wondered if she slept ok.  I hoped I could get her job back, I felt like somehow it was my fault she got fired.  It was I who encouraged her to go see Holden, and if I admitted it to myself, I was a little selfish in my attempts at getting them together.  But all that was a moot point now. Holden was gay, and Gwen was jobless.  Thanks to me.

I sat down at the kitchen table and poured myself a big cup of coffee.  I pinched the bridge of my nose, feeling a massive headache coming on.

I sipped at my coffee, slowly, bit by bit feeling a little better with every sip.  Is there anything coffee can’t cure? I thought wrapping my hands around the warm mug.

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I took a pack of post it notes out of the top drawer in my kitchen and scrawled a quick note to Gwen.  I was going to go see Holden, and I was prepared to beg for Gwen’s job if it came down to that.

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I hopped on my bike, glad the trip to Holden’s house wasn’t far.  I was really going to need to save up for a car, if I even still had a job at this point myself…

It was another beautiful day in Evensdale, the sun was bright, but the wind coming off the ocean provided a gentle breeze.  Everywhere I looked people went about their days as if they didn’t have a care in the world.  Off in the distance I watched a couple of sail boats on the water as I peddled.

I didn’t know what I was going to say to Holden when I got there.  Maybe I was making a huge mistake by butting into his personal business.  I know what it was like to hide such a big secret and value your privacy.  But I owed it to Gwen to at least try.

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Holden lived in a cute brick 2 story home on the edge of town.  It was a peaceful neighborhood, quiet, quite the change from my beach bungalow on the water, where there was always people coming and going.

I stood out in front feeling unsure.  Holden would not like the fact that Gwen told me his secret, something he obviously felt he had to hide.

I stood up straight, and marched up to the front door and rapped on the door twice with my fist.

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“Hey beautiful, came to apologize for yesterday?” Holden leered at me and winked.  This time I saw right through it.

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“Cut the crap Holden, Gwen told me everything. Can I come inside? We need to talk.”

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Holden threw up his arms angrily.  “God damn it Gwen.” His cheeks flushed an angry red.  “What did she tell you? She’s lying.”

“She told me everything, she’s really upset Holden, can I please come in so we can talk about it?”

“No you can’t come in, This is none of your damn business, you can consider yourself fired as well.” Holden yelled, his face the color of a new brick.

I reached out and turned the door knob, and let myself in to Holden’s house. I wasn’t going anywhere until I got Gwen’s job back, and hopefully mine as well.

Angrily, he followed me into the house.

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“First off Holden, if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at me, not Gwen.  I told Gwen to come see you.  She had a crush on you, and I encouraged her to come over and tell you how she felt.” I began.  Holden was silent looking down at his shoes expressionless.

“She wasn’t spying on you.  She knocked at the door, and as she was leaving she saw movement in the window.  You wouldn’t even listen to her explanation, you fired her without hearing her out. She cares about you, and she doesn’t care if you are gay or straight.”

Holden still sat there staring at the wall blankly.  Am I reaching him at all? I thought sadly.

To my shock, Holden burst into tears…

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“Well that’s all fine and dandy, Gwen will care about me no matter what.” He said angrily his hazel eyes flashing bitterly.  “You know who will turn their backs  on me? My parents.”

“Holden, your parents love you, maybe they will understand.” I tried to reason.

“You’ve never met my parents.  My dad is a pastor, and as for my mom, I’m her only son.  She wants grandchildren someday.   How do you think being gay is going to go over with either of them?” Tears slowly coursed down his face, I felt terrible.

“Is it better to live a lie, or to come out and be who you truly are?” I asked.  “Don’t you deserve to be happy?”

“I’ll lose everything if my parents find out I’m gay.  Everything.  They will cut me off.  To them, homosexuality is a sin.”  He bowed his head down in shame.

“Then you are better off without them, and your real friends. Gwen, Tessa….me.  We will stand by you.” I said with conviction, trying to meet his eyes.

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“How long have you known?” I asked.

“Well I’ve always known one way or another.” He said with a small yet sad smile.   I denied it for years.  I made it a point to go after every pretty girl.  Like you.” He said, the smile not reaching his eyes.

“I know I came on really strong with you, but I guess I was trying to put it out there that I was straight.  I knew in a million years a girl like you would never be interested in a guy like me.  You were safe to flirt with.  Gwen on the other hand…I know she had feelings for me, and that’s why I acted the way I did.  I was a total douchebag.  Can you forgive me?”

“Of course I forgive you, but only if Gwen can have her job back.” I looked up at him hopefully.

He laughed, wiping away his tears. “Of coarse, and you too, Grace, if you don’t mind working with a total asshole like me.”

I joined in his laughter, smiling.  “I think I can handle working with an asshole like you, but only if he lets me do some of the cooking.”

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“It’s a deal.” Holden smiled.  “Thanks Grace.  For everything.”

“I understand Holden, I know what its like to have to keep a secret.” I said my chest feeling tight with sadness.

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“Well whenever you are ready to talk about it, I’m here for you. Now that you know I wont be all over you, you can see what a pretty nice guy I really am.” He laughed.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I smiled standing up.  “I gotta get going, Gwen slept over last night.  She’ll be happy to know that everything is ok now.  Give her a chance Holden, she is a true friend, and really cares about you.  She just wants you to be happy. Don’t shut her out.”

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“A friendly hug?” Holden asked.  “No touchy feely I promise.”

I laughed and hugged him in return.  I saw a flash from the window, and a man standing there with a camera.  I let out a shriek and jumped back quickly, my pulse racing.

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“Ow my ear.” Holden laughed.  His smile faded when he saw my pale face and wide eyes.  “What’s the matter?” He looked puzzled.  He followed the direction of my eyes with his own, looking puzzled.  The man with the camera was already gone.

“There was a man standing in your window taking our picture. He can’t be far.” I ran outside…

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Holden followed me out on the porch.  My eyes scanned up and down the street anxiously.  I walked around the house, there wasn’t a soul in sight.  Was I losing it?

“Now I know your secret.” Holden laughed.  “You’re a movie star in disguise.”

I ignored him, wringing my hands anxiously.   I remembered the flash from last night, thinking it was heat lightning.  Was it really the flash from a camera instead?  And if it was.  Why?

I said a quick goodbye to Holden and hopped on my bike, the entire trip back, I couldn’t help feeling like I was being watched….

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Gwen was awake when I got back.  I locked the door behind me feeling frazzled.  I tried to smile at Gwen.

“I got your job back.” I smiled.

“What? How?”

“I went to talk to Holden.  We had a good talk.  And all is forgiven.  He needs your support, he’s going through a rough time right now, and needs all the support he can get.” I said.

“I think its time him and I had a talk. I’m going to head over there right now.” Gwen smiled.

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I followed her out to the porch, my eyes scanning the yard for the man with the camera.  Nothing.  Maybe I really am losing my sanity, I thought. After all, I hadn’t been getting much sleep lately, maybe all the stress and lack of sleep was playing tricks on me.

I gave Gwen a huge hug.  “Thanks for all your help Grace.” Gwen whispered.  “You’re a good friend.”

I watched her go, smiling.  As much as I liked having Gwen around.  It would feel good to have a night to myself.  Hopefully I would be able to sleep tonight…

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Once inside, I locked the door.  The unsettling feeling that someone was watching me wouldn’t go away.  I made myself a sandwich, and stared out the window, scanning the beach for any sign of the stranger in the trench coat.

You’re losing your mind Grace, I thought.  You’ve finally gone off the deep end.  There is nobody out there…

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I tried to relax, I watched TV, even tried to read a book.  I wrote in my diary for awhile, nothing helped to calm my frazzled nerves.  Finally I climbed the stairs and walked out onto the balcony.

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It was a beautiful view from up top the deck.  I could see for miles.  I scanned the landscape anxiously.  It was a quiet but windy night.  It looked like we were in for a storm…

I yawned and headed back inside.

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I dressed in my pajama’s and sat on top of my bed.  I know I had to be crazy, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that trouble was heading my way, and soon.  I crawled under my blankets, too tired to cry.  It wasn’t long before I fell asleep…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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The stranger approached the bed quietly, his shoes not making a sound on the hardwood floor.  He raised his camera and snapped a picture.

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*Note*  I know the last few chapters have been more about Grace’s friends then her own drama, but don’t worry, that’s coming soon enough.  Thanks for sticking with the story so far, and I hope that you’re enjoying it. 🙂