Story Title: Keep the Faith
Rating: T-M as always just in case.
Disclaimer: You know the drill.
Summary: Sequel to 'Holds Me Together.' Living in the real world juggling jobs, family, social lives and kids is hard enough but can the fab four hold off the onslaught of attacks Ryan has planned for them after his years in seclusion?
Chapter 1 – The Past Is Never Far
March 13th, 2015
"Good Evening, Cappy," Grace offered a warm smile as she entered her and Luke's apartment building. They had moved to New York by the beginning of November, 2012. By then they had already gotten married, in August, on a hillside at sunset. Luke had told Grace he would be highly offended if she wore a white fluffy wedding dress, so she opted for a long flowing shiny black dress. Luke, in turn, had worn a white tux. When she'd walked up the isle for the nondenominational ceremony, she'd had to work hard not to laugh at hi, donning dark sunglasses like he was James Bond. At the reception, they danced to 'Celebration' by Kool & The Gang. It had confused pretty much everyone but Joan and Adam, who had laughed heartily when they heard it playing.
Shortly after returning from their honeymoon, which was a cruise to the Bahamas, Grace had been offered a partnership in a highly reputable firm that was looking for younger and fresh faced hard working lawyers. Luke had gladly agreed to relocate to New York. They had lived with Joan and Adam for two weeks before the perfect place had opened up just 4 blocks Joan and Adam's place.
"You're looking very lively today, Grace," Cappy, the lobby security guards said from behind the desk. Cappy was Grace' favorite person in the building, aside form her family of course. He was always smiling and happy, and greeted everyone by name. His real name was Evan, but he had been a naval captain in Vietnam. He had retired early after being a prison guard for 25 years afterwards, and winning the lottery but when his son fell on hard times, he'd spent most of the money helping his son's family and so he got a job as the building's security guard in 1999 just to make sure that ends would always meet. Grace had taken to calling him Cappy easily. He was on from 6am until 8pm with a one hour break at 1pm when the manager took over his position. Grace made sure to bring him coffee and dinner leftovers often.
"I know," Grace sighed resting the large bag of Chinese take-out she had on the counter as she stopped to talk to him.
"It's a little cold out to be going outside in just a sweatshirt and that ragged old coat you know," He told her sternly. Grace had to smile at his comment. It was the kind of comment that a father of 7 couldn't help but make and rightfully so, as it was blistering cold despite the fact that it was middle of March. It felt more like the middle of January. Grace had ventured out to get the take out in an old ragged pair tan denim cargo jeans, a light purple t-shirt with the word 'mystified' crackled and stamped across the front of it with fake paint drips as if it were still drying. Over that she had on Luke's old beat up gray MIT hooded sweatshirt and her tattered leather jacket over top of it but open. "Especially a young mother such as yourself," Cappy nodded again sternly. Grace blushed. "How are the babies?" He continued, his eyes light up. Cappy had a total of 19 grandchildren.
Grace flushed again. She still wasn't used to exchanging conversations about kids to anyone besides Joan and Adam really. "Lara's not sure if the baby's a toy or a new pet," She said with a slight chuckle of laughter. "And the baby's favorite thing to do is hurl on Luke," She finished. Cappy let out a hearty laughter. "But, of course that might be because his favorite thing to do is lift her up over his head and play right after she's done eating."
"He didn't learn his lesson after Lara then?" Cappy laughed again as Grace shook her head.
"Well, I better get back up there before he sends a search party," Grace picked up the bag. She opened it and pulled out one of the containers and some chopsticks. "This is for you," She smiled and handed it to him.
Cappy opened the container and looked in. He face lit up. "A woman after mine own heart, if only you weren't so young," He sighed contentedly. "How much do I owe you?" He asked.
"Please, like I'm that cruel," Grace waved her hand as she walked to the elevator.
"Thank you darlin'!" Cappy's southern accent could be heard as the doors shut in the elevator.
Once she'd reached the 8th floor, Grace took a right and headed for her and Luke's apartment. She walked in and up the short hallway, turning right into the kitchen.
"Got the food," She put the bag on the counter of the window cutout about the sink that looked into the spacious living room before shrugging her jacket off to a nearby hook and gathering two glasses and digging in the fridge for two soda cans.
"Why didn't you come get me? I could've gotten the food," Luke said from the couch.
Grace carried the cups and cans in her arm and walked around towards the living room, grabbing the bag and bringing it with her into the living room. She put it all on the rounding coffee table with it's soft, kid-safe edges and then sat on the floor with her back against the couch. Files, papers and photos lay strewn about the couch and the table, which had Grace's laptop open to a few audio recordings. Luke was enthralled in reading some of it.
"You were putting Lara to sleep," Grace shrugged. "It was just next door. I've hardly been out of this apartment since Brynn was born," She continued. "No big," She assured as Luke put the file he was reading down next to her laptop and landed a kiss on the side of her head.
"Okay," He said.
"Sick isn't it?" Grace indicated the file he'd been reading as she dug into her lo mein with some chopsticks while Luke reached in for a container of it himself. Grace settled herself back between Luke's legs, leaning her head against his knee as she chewed her noodles.
"You're totally getting scammed on that one," Luke said around a mouthful of noodles.
Grace moved and leaned her head back to look at him upside down. "What do you mean?"
"You're defending the daughter for killing the step dad right?" Luke asked her.
Grace nodded sadly. "Yeah. She's 13 and they're trying her as an adult because she's a genius and is a senior in high school. They said that clearly means she knows right from wrong. But the dirt bag abused her," Grace's blood started to flow quickly as her anger grew.
"Right, I understand that," Luke continued, "But, I think the DA should be going after the mother and prosecuting her," He said.
Grace lifted her head and shifted now to look Luke directly in the face, alarmed and confused. "Are you crazy? The woman's husband sexually abused her daughter for four months! She's devastated!" Grace argued.
Luke shook his head, "No, she set it up to look that way actually," He said after swallowing another mouthful.
Grace stared at Luke, astounded and perplexed. "How in the hell did you pick that up from reading a file?" She demanded.
Luke offered a slight smile, impressed with himself. "So you have the mother, a bagel shop owner in SoHo. Everyday this sleazy looking high school drop out turned garbage man coming in to beg her to date him," Luke started in story form.
"Go on," Grace nodded.
"He hits the jackpot for 20 million, and three months later they're married, at which point the mother learns, as she says in her interview, that he was a convicted sex offender who committed statutory rape-,"
"He was 21 and the girl was 15, that doesn't mean he was a pedophile," Grace countered.
"Let me finish. So eventually, Scumbag starts assaulting the girl, but only after he wills all of his assets to mommy and daughter in a trust fund, cap that off with a 5 million dollar life insurance policy. There's your motif," He shrugged.
"You're trying to tell me that this case should totally be about the mother because of lottery winnings and life insurance?" Grace asked with a raised eyebrow
"Money is the root…" Luke began.
"That's circumstantial at best," Grace countered.
Luke shook his head. "You're telling me, that a 13 year old genius is smart enough to graduate high school, but didn't know that stabbing her step dad in the chest with a butcher knife 3 times would kill him?" He smirked. "Besides, look at the dates. She killed him two days after the life insurance policy went into effect."
"Brain, they found evidence of repeated sexual abuse on the girl, not to mention they found his bodily fluids on her after the mother called the police," Grace stated.
"I never said the guy didn't abuse her. I simply said the mother set it up that he was abusing her," He opened a soda and drank some down. "Also, if you read the report about the knife, there's blood on the knife itself but not the handle. There's also no fingerprint. Didn't the girl had blood on her hands when she was found? She said in her interview that it got on her after the second time she stabbed him and that it was all over her and the knife," He spoke up.
Grace's eyes widened. She put her container down and began digging through papers. Her eyes scanned a few pages quickly. She was clearly in shock. She looked at Luke and then back at the papers.
"How did I miss this?" She asked breathlessly.
"Easy," Luke smiled, leaning down so his face was near hers. "You have two little daughters…you want to help that little girl," He told her. "And who could blame you? Her own mother subjected her to torture for money," He shrugged.
Grace shuddered and shook her head.
"I'm sure there's more proof in there, now that you know what you're looking for," He spoke up. Grace dropped the papers into her lap and took Luke's face in her hands, dragging him to her and kissed him for a long few moments.
"You…are a genius," She told him when she'd pulled apart, leaving him gaping at her in shock before she hopped off the floor and went to get the phone.
"Gabriel William Rove…" Joan's stern voice made the 4 year old freeze in his tracks. He had chocolate all over his face from an Oreo and milk session gone awry and had managed to escape from Joan's clutches of cleaning him because his little sister Mac, who was two months shy of a year old had succeeded in throwing a handful of spaghetti-o's across the room where it splattered against the wall into an orange gooey mess, causing Mackenzie to laugh in delight. While Joan was cleaning that up, Gabe had gone back to drawing on construction paper on the coffee table. After a few moments he'd grown tired of the paper and had started constructing a new piece of art using a crayon and the coffee table.
Now, he looked up at Joan with big, round, fearful eyes, knowing he'd been caught in the act after she and Adam had reprimanded him repeatedly for drawing on the wooden tables. Joan stood with her hands on her hips nearby and a stern look on her face. She knew that Adam could get the crayon off, because he had before, but she was wearing thin on patience. The look on Gabe's face was, however, was so priceless Joan felt herself melting.
"What have we told you about coloring the table?" She asked, trying not to crack a smile and laugh at the bits of cookie on his face and the speck of cream that was smashed to the tip of his nose, which looked more and more like Adam's nose everyday. Joan tapped her foot for emphasis.
"Daddy says…arts stuff shouldn't be centered!" Gabe declared. "Don't center me mommy!" He said, standing up straight and pouting, putting his hands firmly on his hips to mimic her. He had said it so seriously that Joan could no longer contain herself.
"That's it, come here you!" She rushed forward as she began laughing and captured Gabe before he could run away, bringing him to the floor with her, in her lap as she started tickling him.
Gabe squealed in delight as he tried to wriggle out of her gasp. "NO FAIR MOMMY! YOU BIGGER THAN ME!" He gasped through giggles.
"Oh, tickling's no fair now?" She asked. Gabe nodded, still giggling madly. "Then kissed it is!" She cheered, pulling him up and leaving as many quick, short kisses into his cheek and neck as she could.
"NOOOOO!" Gabe protested, still giggling, and tried to stop her.
"And just WHAT is going on here?" Adam appeared in the entryway of the apartment. He tried to look stern as he crossed his arms and lowered his eyes.
Joan mocked fear. "Uh-oh…Daddy caught us in a kiss fight again…" She said dramatically sarcastic. Gabe's eyes widened seriously.
"Are you trying to steal my woman again, boy?" Adam took a few heavy, exaggerated steps forward as if he were a cowboy walking into a saloon about to get into a bar fight, placing his hands at his hips.
"No Daddy, no!" Gabe shook his head vigorously.
"So it's mommy's fault then?" Adam demanded. Gabe nodded.
Joan's face turned to a look of shock and innocence. "Honest, Daddy, I just couldn't help myself, what with his Oreo mustache…you know I just can't resist and Oreo mustache…" Joan leaned in and left a loud wet kiss on Gabe's cheek. Gabe looked alarmed as Adam feigned a look of anger.
"No mommy! Stop!" He begged.
"That's it!" Adam dove for them before either could move. Both Gabe and Joan let out a squeal of shock as he pinned them down. "I'm just going to have to get you back with some kissing of my own!" He grinned before diving in and kissing Gabe's cheek repeatedly.
"No Daddy! Kiss mommy!" He pleaded.
"I should kiss mommy?" Adam asked. Gabe nodded vigorously. Adam nodded. "Okay," He smiled and leaned in kissing Joan for a prolonged couple of seconds.
"Ew! Not like that!" Gabe covered his eyes.
"Oh, you think that's yucky huh?" Adam stood, scooping Gabe up easily into his arms, tickling him as he did. Gabe let out a few giggles as Adam brought him into the kitchen to clean him up.
Joan's laughter was just calming down when the phone began to ring. She picked it up quickly before it could wake Mac up; who had fallen asleep halfway through Joan's clean up of the mushy spaghetti-o's.
"Hello?" She asked into the receiver, a few lingering giggles escaped her.
"And how are things on the Rove home front?" Grace replied.
Joan offered a small laugh. "A mess of Oreos and spaghetti-o's," She replied.
"Sounds like nasty-o's," Grace stated, almost laughing herself.
"And how are my nieces?" Joan asked as Adam came back out with Gabe close at his heels.
"Is that Grace?" Adam questioned. Joan nodded.
"Both sleeping, which is very rare I might add," Grace said.
"Don't jinx yourself," Joan warned. "So what's up?"
"Don't forget to invite her out to dinner on the 17th, so that me and Luke can set up the surprise party," Adam said in a hushed voice. Joan waved a hand and nodded.
"SURPRISE!" Gabe yelled. Adam quickly and carefully clamped a hand over Gabe's mouth, squatting down to be eyelevel with his son. He looked at Joan to see if Grace had heard.
"Sounds like the monster's still awake," Grace commented with a chuckle.
"Um, yeah Adam's about to give him a bath," Joan commented. "What did you say you needed?" she tried to change the subject.
"I need your help with a case," Grace began to explain.
"What did Daddy say about yelling surprise?" Adam whispered to Gabe.
"Not until Gigi's party," Gabe recited perfectly.
Adam nodded. "That's right," He stood up and took Gabe's hand. "Let's get you clean, kid," He started to lead Gabe towards the hallway for the bathroom. Gabe reached out a hand out towards Joan.
"I wanna say goodnight!" He pleaded.
"Hold on one second Grace," Joan said into the phone. She leaned down and gave Gabe the phone.
"HI GIGI!" He said loudly. Gabe had never associated Grace with the name Aunt Grace. He had figured out that her full name was Grace Girardi and had somehow, at the age of two and a half picked up and started calling her Gigi. It had surprised nearly everyone when she hadn't cringed at it and merely accepted it. Everyone knew however, that if anyone else were to call her that, she would probably protest and not speak to them for a while.
Grace laughed. "Hi Gabe," She replied. "What are you still doing up?" She asked.
"Daddy's gonna give me a bath!" Gabe told her. "I can draw on the walls in there!" He cheered.
"Make sure you draw me a masterpiece then," Grace told him.
"Okay!" Gabe said happily.
"Say goodnight," Grace heard Joan's muffled voice nearby through the receiver.
"Goodnight Gigi!" Gabe said promptly.
"Goodnight Gabe," Grace replied. Adam picked Gabe up to avoid any further distractions on the way to the bathroom.
"So, tell me about this case," Joan said as she walked over and sat down at the dinning room table. She grabbed a nearby notebook and pen and pulled her reading glasses on as she started taking notes while Grace explained.
"So does 25 feel old to you?" Joan asked Grace. The two of them were in the middle of a crowded Bar & Grill that was just far enough away from both of their apartments to warrant a cab ride.
"Mmmm…only in the middle of the night when I'd like to just fall asleep for more than an hour at a time," Grace nodded. She looked around. "Why exactly, did we pick to go out to dinner on St. Patrick's Day?"
"Because it's your birthday, silly!" Joan smiled and took a sip of her drink.
Grace smirked. "The irony in that is enough to make my head spin," Grace said as she took a gulp of her water.
"What did Luke give you?" Joan quickly changed the subject. Grace looked at Joan suspiciously.
"I told him not to get me anything," She stated. "He said he'd give me my present when we get home."
Joan smiled nervously. "Well, I bet it's to die for?" She shrugged.
Grace narrowed her eyes at Joan and crossed her arms. "All right Rove, out with it, what's going on?" Grace demanded.
"Going on?" Joan let out a nervous laugh, "Nothing's going on, Grace! Don't be ridiculous!"
Grace continued to look at Joan suspiciously. "Right…I don't believe you for one second…"
"So how did it go with that case?" Joan cleared her throat.
"The DA dropped the case against the girl provided she's given proper mental and physical treatment. They have a solid case against the mother, since the girl's going to testify against her," Grace switched gears.
Joan smiled. "That's excellent," She said. "I can't believe anyone would…"
"I know," Grace nodded, staring down at the rest of her dinner. Joan asked the waiter for the check before Grace could demand to pay. In return, Grace glowered at Joan.
"It's your birthday; you're not allowed to pay!" Joan defended. After a few more minutes, the left a tip and went outside. Grace threw her hand up to hail a taxi as Joan dialed her phone to call Adam and let him know they were on their way back.
"He's going to see you in like 5 minutes, dude," Grace said once they'd climbed in and she gave the address for her building.
"Well, if something happens on the way, he'll know when to worry," Joan defended weakly. Grace was still suspicious. Joan was nervous. Maybe a surprise party wasn't the best idea for Grace.
"You…are so dead…" Grace whispered at the end of the night as she carefully laid Brynn down into her bassinet, which was in the corner of her and Luke's room by a changing table. The one month old barely stirred but to clench her fist and then relax is again as Grace covered her up with a blanket. She ran a weary hand through her hair and left her hand to rub the back of her neck. Luke watched her for a moment as she gazed down at their baby.
"You know you had fun…" Luke said just as quietly as he stepped over to her and started to rub her shoulders. He frowned when he felt how tense the muscles near her shoulder blades were. Grace almost gasped as he rubbed at them, arching her shoulders and roughly placing her head back against his collarbone at the jolt of pain that tingled down her spine. "Sorry…" Luke apologized. Grace simply shook her head and yawned.
"I have to be in court at 8," She sighed, glancing at the clock. 12:35 glowed back at her in thick green numbers. She closed her eyes as she felt Luke kiss the back of her head. Before either of them spoke again they heard Larissa start to cry over the monitor. Grace's head felt and she was about to head for Lara's room when she felt Luke's pull on her shoulders.
"Go to sleep," He told her, swooping in for a quick kiss before heading out of the room.
Grace waited a moment before she complied. Once she heard Luke's quiet, calming voice over the monitor, she started to change from her clothes into her pajamas consisting of Luke's old alien boxers and long sleeved long john shirt.
"Shh, don't cry, Lara," Luke almost sung quietly. His voice floated through the room over the baby monitor. "Phew…now that's a stinky baby…"
Grace rolled her eyes as she listened to Luke fumbling about, presumably changing her diaper. She heard him blow a couple of raspberries on her stomach and Lara granted him a few giggles for it, even giggling out a few "Dada's" as well.
"Whoa…" Luke uttered. "I don't care what mommy says, it is entirely impossible for those little organs to produce that much poop…" He spoke up.
Grace had to covered her mouth to keep from laughing and waking Brynn up. She continued to listen as she lay in bed under the covers as Luke started to hum to her. Grace knew he was rocking her back to sleep. She wondered exactly how she'd gotten from finishing school to being a married lawyer with two daughters under the age of two in such a short time. Granted, she was very well aware of physically how they'd arrived at this point. Everything just seemed to go by so fast. It wasn't that Grace was unhappy. Actually it was quite the opposite.
She was happy, but something seemed to keep tugging at the back of her mind in the quiet moments when she had time to think. How long, given their track record, could things keep going so well? Grace's mind briefly floated to thoughts about Ryan. She shook her head, willing the thoughts to go away. There had been no trace of him for so many years now that sometimes Grace felt a fleeting moment of calm safety. It never lasted long. Ever since she had found out that she was pregnant with Larissa, she had been looking over her shoulder more and more.
The thoughts lingered as she felt the bed move. Easily she curled over into Luke, who had already opened his arms and pulled her in.
"I still think you should lay off work for longer," Luke said quietly, breaking the silence as he ran his fingers through her hair at the back of her neck.
"I can't just stop. Marla Smith already had to take over a case when I went into labor," Grace commented. "It's just this last case and then I'm completely done for at least two months," She promised even though she knew Luke would still be worried. He simply nodded. Grace resolved to nestle her face against Luke's collarbone. She was losing the fight against sleep, especially with the warmth of Luke against her and the steady rhythm of his heart beat in her ear. She felt darkness overcoming her and the last lingering memory before she fell into a deep sleep was Luke's lips on her forehead.
"What are you doing back here so early?" Grace's secretary, Gina asked.
"Jury came back in 53 minutes," Grace said, taking a sip of her coffee and picking up the messages and letters from Gina's desk. "What?" She asked when Gina looked at her expectantly.
"Pictures?" Gina, who was a 23 year old college student, just beginning her law school career, asked. She'd been working for Grace for almost a year now. Grace smirked. She reached a hand into the leather briefcase she had and produced a handful of pictures. Grace had only been in during off hours to pick up documents. Mostly she'd been at the court house and at home, resting and taking care of the girls. Gina squealed in delight at the pictures.
"You saw them yesterday, G," Grace commented, amused.
"I know but they're just so cute!" Gina couldn't help herself. Grace fought the urge to roll her eyes, mostly because she agreed.
"Unless it's the trio, hold the calls, okay?" Grace picked up her case and headed into her office as Gina nodded, thumbing through the pictures again.
Twenty minutes later, Grace's intercom buzzed. "Yeah?" She called to Gina through the phone.
"Mr. Wells is here to see you," Gina replied.
Grace furrowed her eyebrow for a moment. She didn't have a meeting with Wells, the head partner of the firm. He was mostly in charge of higher new lawyers. "Send him on in then," Grace replied.
She looked up as Wells entered with someone in tow. Grace stood to her feet. Alarm shone on her face at the man standing behind Andrew Wells. She almost glared at him but refrained, trying to compose herself as Andrew smiled at her, looking up from a file in his hand.
"Good morning Grace, how are you feeling?" Andrew asked.
"I'm Good, Andy," She cleared her throat. "What's going on?" She asked, looking from Andy to the other man, who stood, almost timidly off to the side, looking at his shoes guiltily.
"I'm assuming you know Mr. Graham here?" Andy replied, looking behind him. "As, he's put you down as a reference…" He looked at Grace for a reply.
"Yes," Grace glanced at the man, "I know Collier," She spoke up.
"Excellent," Andy smiled. He looked at Collier. "Judging from all of this I'd say you'd make an excellent addition to the firm. I'll call you with the details later on in the afternoon Mr. Graham," Andy reached out and shook Collier's hand. He looked at Grace. "Give the family my love," He waved and left as Grace nodded.
"Sorry, I'll just-," Collier made a move to leave.
"Don't you even think about it," Grace pointed to a chair on the other side of her desk. Collier obediently sat down. Grace walked around and shut the door before heading back to her seat. She stared Collier down for a few minutes. "What are you doing here?" She asked.
Collier was almost sweating. "I-I'm trying to get a job…" He coughed nervously.
"Of all the law firms in the country, you're trying here?" She asked him pointedly. This was not sitting well with her. The last time she'd seen him had been at her mother's funeral, keeping his distance. She had seen glimpses of him around campus of course, but mostly he never responded when she tried to talk to him. "What is going on Collier?" Grace asked. He looked at her and squirmed at the hurt look in her eyes.
"I was sent…" He looked down.
"Sent to what?" Grace quizzed.
Collier's eyes welled slightly. He looked like a caged wild animal; unsure and scared about new confinement. "To prepare you…" He forced out.
Grace's face had drained as various ideas ran through her mind. "Prepare me for what? Cut the cryptic crap," She demanded, trying to keep her voice from wavering.
"For what's to come," He spoke up wearily. "I can't…" He frowned deeply, "I can't give you much detail right now, Grace…" He said. She looked at him, angry. "I'm sorry…I want to. If I do, he'll send me away from you again…there are rules, Grace. I have to follow them."
"What's coming?" Grace asked calmly. Collier shook his head.
"Grace I…" He spotted a letter on her desk and he stood up slowly. "I have to go…you'll understand more…after you read that…" He pointed at an envelope. Grace looked down and picked up the letter. There was no return address but the postmark was from Somewhere in Canada that Grace had never heard of. Grace looked up to ask Collier if he knew who it was from, but Collier had already left. Grace felt uneasy now as she opened the letter and unfolded the paper, beginning to read.
"Hey, thanks again for watching them," Luke said as he entered Joan and Adam's apartment. Adam spent his daytime mostly at home, so he had agreed to watch Lara and Brynn when Luke and Grace were at work for now.
"Not a problem," Adam assured as he gathered the girls for Luke. Luke accepted Brynn from him and placed her into the carrier that was attached to the strolled. He bundled her up snuggly and then gathered Lara into his arm, resting her at his hip.
"I'll give you a call later to see what's up for the weekend," Luke said to Adam.
"Sounds good," Adam nodded before they said goodbye and Adam shut the door behind them.
"You ready to go home and see mommy?" Luke asked Lara as he walked along, pushing the stroller in front of him towards their apartment. Lara nodded eagerly around her pacifier. Luke smiled. "Me too," He said.
Luke entered the building, stopping briefly to talk to Cappy. Cappy smiled at Lara but looked at Luke, concerned.
"Grace came in earlier with someone from her work. She looked pretty shaken up," Cappy said.
Luke frowned. "Was she okay?" He asked.
"I think so. You'd better go on up," Cappy replied. Luke nodded, wasting no time in getting to the elevator. Once he got to the apartment, he went into the living room and set Lara in her playpen. Grace wasn't in the living room.
"Grace?" He called, tending to partially unbundling Brynn.
"She's right here,"
Luke turned around and saw Joan sitting next to Grace at the dining room table. He looked at them, confused. "Joan?" He asked. He looked at Grace. Grace's head was down and she was breathing heavily. Her mind was racing and she felt dizzy. Joan's face held a grave look. "What's going on?" Luke asked.
Grace shook her head. She reached up and rubbed her temple. "This is not happening," She commented.
"You'd better sit down, Luke," Joan pulled out a chair. Luke sunk into it gravely. His heart pounded. Grace slid the letter across to Luke along with the picture it held. Luke reached out and began to read, not missing the picture of Ryan at what looked like Niagara Falls.
Dearest dear little sis,
Did you miss me? I bet you did. I've been spending long enough vacationing, relaxing and just enjoying life. It's time to spread some love around. I hear you've got quite the little family growing. I've been making my way across Canada for about two years now. As you can see from my picture, I'm not too far off from you and my little nieces; I just may have to stop down for a little visit before I make my way to Mexico. Now I know what you're thinking sis, but I've changed my ways! Honest. Well, I guess seeing is believing isn't it? You'll just have to wait and see if I have or not.
I bet that useful husband of yours is plotting this second how he's going to get his FBI buddies to track me down and take me out isn't he? Ha! Well, I've got more connections this time, Gracie my dear. More connections, more options, more weapons, heck I even have more brainpower than you.
I bet as well that you want to know why I'm writing to you don't you? You think it's actually going to be me who comes down there to take care of you, don't you? I said I have more brain power than you. Besides I'm too recognizable now after my nifty fifteen minutes of fame, haha. Actually, it's pretty sad how lacking this country is in apprehending fugitives.
Do you know why I say that? I was there, sis. I saw it all. Mom's big finale. Forget 'Death of a Salesman,' I think we could crank big bucks out of a new stage play, don't you? We'll call it "Sarah: Drink Yourself Goodbye." No, you don't like that do you? Of course…that little lackey of yours…Collier Graham? Yes, he's a bit of a brown nosing stool pigeon if you ask me. Anyway, never send a messenger to do your dirty work. He barely put up a good fight. I'm surprised he lived. He was a little angry you see, I was taking great joy in your agony, huddled up and weak in your boy toy's arms, crying like a little baby…heh. Ah well, we can't all be as strong as you pretend to be. In truth, I'm not sure why I'm writing to you. Maybe I'd just like to see your reaction; see how much weaker you've gotten now that you've stopped blocking the world out with the walls you used to build up.
I'll be seeing you real soon, sis. Tell the girls Uncle Ryan's coming to visit!
A/N: There you have it. It's a pretty lame beginning I know but, hey could be worse right? And hey, this was pretty quick after those two quick updates of the last story, cut me some slack. Tell me what you hate, tell me what you love, review! Note: Because I know it's strange, Lara's full name is Larissa. I couldn't help myself…Dr. Zhivago is one of my favorite books/movies….anyway…
Story title from 'Keep the Faith' by Bon Jovi.
Chapter title from 'Name' by The Goo Goo Dolls.
Responses: Sayxanything – Glad you love HMT, thanks for the kudos! I'm sorry I keep making people cry! Don't kill me! I made it! I'm sorry you're confused. If you're still confused, e-mail me and we'll sort everything out (for you and in the story)!
Kool-Wolf – DUDE! BUT THIS FREAKIN STORY IS JUST FREAKIN STARTING! Yes…I gave people more kids…don't kill me. I'm pretty sure the beginning here was lame with Ryan stuff but I do have a plan. Yo, I hate beyond every fiber of your being, we're getting down to subatomic particles here. Violence to you!
Jane and Adam – Thanks! What'd ya think of the beginning?
Tiffany – UPPPPDAAAATEEEE! I didn't leave, I swear. Yay, it was one of my best? Yay! Yes, I still get that hate mail. It's just it's rather amusing now. I read the story, and I'm very sad that it won't be continued btw. Don't be sad! Smile! It makes people think you're up to something.
Audrey – GO US for being hopeless romantics! Thanks for the ending kudos! ) What'd ya think of this?
Carol – I can't believe it was over too, FYI. I kinda felt this Ryan stuff was lame but like I said, I have a plan, seriously. ) Thanks for the kudos.
Butterfly Dancing – Lol, don't thank me! I did miss you! (No prob, I meant it about your aunt). Yay for updates! Thanks for the kudos! I laughed heartily when I was writing that scene with J and G and A and L as well!
Em'sPride – Helloooo! Thanks for the kudos! I'm glad you got to read it and enjoy it and humbled that you sat down and took a big chunk of your time to do so! I'm speechless that the plethora of adjectives you left there and I thank you for them! ) P.S. – loved 'No Place Like Home' seriously.
Magentabear – Thanks for the kudos. Romantic without sappy is impressive for me, I tend to just meld them together…you know being a hopeless romantic and all. Lol, Gabe was fun to create. Did you love him even more from this chapter? I actually read your review in the middle of writing the tickling scene and laughed. Thanks on the career path thing. I'm going to play around with some of it possibly in the future. Mostly Luke's and maybe Adam's because there's flexibility there. Response to random side note part 2: It definitely is a great philosophical movie. I actually didn't see it until about two years ago because I'm not a big jay and silent bob fan…well I wasn't at least. Anyway that sounds like a cool group of friends there! And a fun conversation! Finally: no need to thank me, I meant it. I literally cheer when I see it's updated. My mom asked me if I was losing it last time cause she heard me! )
Coveredinrain16 – Don't cry! Lol, I threw you there for a minute with Gabe didn't I? Don't worry, that was meant to be confusing. The bachelorette party was them going to the clubs the night before, ditto the bachelor's. I figured it would be better than a whole party bit, so I worked it in subtly. Lol good song mixture with reading there! I love Journey…although Faithfully is my favorite song…ahem. Ah, Ironically I did the Celebration thing at the beginning of this, for their actual wedding song. The other song they danced to in HMT, was because the whole time writing it that's where I wanted to end it, with that song because of the lyrics. I'm glad I didn't get crappier! Go me! Luke and Grace are gonna start getting rocky. Soon. Thanks again for the most excellent kudos! P.S. – I loved that scene too!
Shout out to Laura – Good luck on the exams! You can do it! P.S. look your name's in the story…albeit no really, just a short version of a longer name but still! I thought it was funny when I realized it. ) I miss the e-mails my lowland friend, and await for your exams to finish! Hopefully in the future I won't make you cry before clubbing again…!
That's all for now folks…so tell me…did it stink?