Disclaimer: Hart, Matthews, McDonald & Clonsky are creations of the writers of Miss Congeniality. I own everyone else (so far). Enjoy!
***Dream or memory (mostly memories) ***
"Goddamn! You lying, cheating son of a bitch!!!" Grace Hart pounded her punch bag as hard as she could. Three years had passed since the Miss USA Beauty Pageant and, while keeping her firm beliefs in women's rights, Grace had grown more feminine & ladylike.
Three years had passed since the pageant, but three months had passed since Grace had thrown Eric out on his ass, along with all his stuff.
Grace kicked & punched the hanging bag with as much strength as she could muster. Again, she had spent all day trying to avoid him at work & coming home to find flowers on the doorstep & about 5 messages on the answering machine from him. She couldn't take it anymore. She dropped onto her sofa, the sofa they had chosen together, exhausted.
"I've had enough. I'm going to ask McDonald for a transfer." she told Ben, the 2 year old black Labrador Eric had bought her as a birthday present one year.
Everything in the apartment reminded her of him & though she wanted to kill him with her bare hands, she couldn't get over him. Again, just like the avoiding, the flowers, the messages, she broke down and cried.
* * *
***"I love you, Gracie Lou," Eric smiled mischievously up at her on bended knee, "Will you marry me?"
Grace looked down at him, "Of course I'll marry you, Eric"
Eric slipped the ring on her finger & picked her up to swing her around. He pressed his lips against hers & she pulled him in, deepening the pressure.
Eric breathed deeply as their lips parted, "I love you."***
* * *
"Her body was found in the bathtub of the Regent Hotel in New York." Grace listened to McDonald inform the agents of a new incident in the 'Supermodel 2003- world tour', but she could feel Eric's eyes watching her, filled with desire. She shook herself and tried to concentrate on what McDonald was saying, "…link this with the many other incidents and accidents, we believe that something very similar to the Miss USA bombing could be going down."
Mc Donald turned from the whiteboard, "Matthews!"
Eric tore his eyes away from Grace, "Yes sir?"
"You led the team at the pageant so you have the most experience with this sort of thing. Set up a team for this."
"Yes sir." Eric nodded.
McDonald smiled, "You'll be on Matthews' team- you're going undercover again. Right people, get to work!"
While people left the room around her, Grace followed McDonald, "Sir? Sir!"
Mc Donald turned to face her, "What is it Hart?"
"I don't think putting me with Matthews is a very good idea sir." Grace replied.
Mc Donald stopped and faced her, "Grace, listen. You are the only one who can do this, you know that." Grace tried to cut in. "Grace! I don't care what shit is going on between you and Eric, but you need to work it out and work together on this. Now go." With that he turned & walked away.
Grace sighed, "Damn…"
* * *
"Grace?" Eric stood behind Grace, anxiously wringing his hands.
Grace sighed, "Not now Eric."
"Grace, please… we need to talk this through." Eric pleaded.
Grace finished pouring her coffee & turned to face him, "This is not the time-"
"But we…" Eric tried to interrupt but stopped when Grace held up her hand, "However, we'll talk after the briefing that you are supposed to be giving now." She walked away and sat down.
"The briefing, yeah…" Eric muttered as he walked to the front of the room.
"Okay people," Eric stood confidently before his assembled team, "This op is basically the same as last time. Most of you were with Agent Hart & I during the pageant op, so you'll know what we have to do. The rest of you… watch and learn." Eric sat down, "Right, so what do we need to do?"
"Well, like the pageant op, you'll need the co-operation of those running the Supermodel program." Clonsky pointed out.
"Yeah, can you get on that?" Eric replied. Clonsky nodded.
"And you'll need to get the FBI jet for a while," Grace added.
"Why's that?" Eric asked.
"Because it's a world tour- the models have to travel to London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Moscow, Beijing,, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. And before all that, I'm going to need to get to Los Angeles for the USA Supermodel finals." Grace replied.
"Right, okay. Can someone get on that too?" Eric stood up. "I think that's it so far. The rest of you get working on a link between all these girls."
Grace stood up to leave. "Grace?" Eric walked towards the door, "Could you wait please?" He closed the door after the last agent had left & turned to her, "Can we talk now please?"
"I really have to be going…" Grace bundled up her papers and made for the door.
"Please Grace…" Eric stood in front of her, his face only inches away, "I can't do this anymore. I can't stop thinking about you- I miss you."
Grace took a deep breath, trying to calm herself, "Eric, meet me in the gym at lunch." With that she pulled open the door & walked out.
* * *
Grace stood in the female changing rooms, trying to catch her breath. He had been so close, his lips so near hers. She had wanted to just kiss him, but she knew she couldn't- not after what he'd done.
***"What the hell?"
"Grace, wait!" Eric hastily pulled on a pair of trousers & followed her out the apartment, down the stairs & out into the street. He grabbed her arm and spun her around, "Grace, I…"
"Spare me!" Grace pulled her arm out of his hand, the rain mingling with her tears, "I can't believe you would do something like that. I thought you loved me!"
"Grace, I did love you- I mean, I do love you. It was a mistake-"
"No! I'll tell you what the mistake was," Grace cut him off, "The mistake was the one I made believing that you could ever be a one woman man. The mistake was the one I made thinking that you loved me & me only. The mistake was the one I made thinking this would work. Well, you know what…" Grace pulled her engagement ring off and thrust it into his hand, "I won't be making mistakes anymore. Goodbye Eric."
"Grace, wait! Please!" Eric watched her run down the street away from him.***
Well, she was going to have to face him sometime. She took a deep breath & walked out into the gym. It was empty except for Eric- she guessed he had asked everyone to stay away.
She walked over to the dummy & started punching it, "What do you want Eric?"
"Look Gracie, I…" Eric walked behind her, "I don't know where to start."
"How about explaining that… what, a high school senior? Explain her and why I caught you in bed with her." Grace kicked the dummy so hard that it swayed violently.
"She was twenty-three and-" Eric began.
"That really doesn't help your situation." Grace retorted.
"I know, I know." Eric placed his hand on her shoulder, "Look, it was a mistake. She meant nothing to me- I swear."
In one swift movement Grace had pulled Eric's arm & flipped him onto his back. "Don't touch me." Grace warned, leaning over him.
"You know what?" Eric glared up at her, "You need to get out of this power trip." He kicked her legs from beneath her, like she had done just three years before. He rolled over & sat on top of her, pinning her down. "I said I was sorry countless times, I've sent you flowers, and I've left you messages. I don't know what to do anymore."
Grace brought her knee up into his groin & pushed him off. Standing with her back to him, she said, "I don't want you to do any of that. Do you have any idea of how much you hurt me?"
Eric propped himself up, looked at her & replied quietly, "No."
"That's just it," Grace turned round & Eric was surprised to see tears in her eyes, "you don't have a clue what I'm going through. I cry every night over you. I can't get you out of my mind and it hurts so much…" Grace broke off unable to control her tears anymore.
Eric got up and wrapped his arms around her waist, "I'm sorry."
"No!" Grace pushed him away, "I can't let you put your arms around me again. I can't be near you because I'm not ready to forgive you." With that Grace ran out of the gym into the changing rooms as fast as she could, leaving Eric alone.