Disclaimer: I own nothing from Miss Congeniality, unfortunately. But if I ever do, I'll be sure to give you a call.

A/N: Please excuse any mistakes. I'm not really sure who got third and fourth runner up. I think it was NY and CA, but I wasn't sure which order. I got the idea last night when MC was on TVand just HAD to write it down. Might be a bit fluffy at the end.Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

I was nearly weak in the knees I was so nervous. I wouldn't have admitted it then, but now I'm not afraid to say it. I tried to tell Victor, but he just didn't understand.

"Yes, be the crown! You are the crown!"

I didn't care about the damn crown. I just cared about the bomb that Frank had attached to the crown. The bomb that would blow up the future Miss United States if I didn't stop him.

I signaled furiously to Victor who was standing just offstage. He still didn't understand. God, he could be so stupid and thick sometimes! I didn't think he would ever understand, but at least I was trying.

"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this year's Miss United States pageant!" Stan's voice erupted over the loudspeakers. "Tonight we will announce the winner…"

Yeah, yeah, no one cares, Stan! Get on with it! I thought. Looking backstage frantically, I only saw Victor standing there, beaming like a little kid at Christmas.

"…And now for the results. The fourth runner up is…Miss California!"

The said Miss California looked shocked and disappointed to say the very least, but she accepted her position with grace and poise, as was expected.

"The third runner up is…Miss New York!"

The same could be said about little miss NY. She obviously thought she would win.

"The second runner up is…Miss Texas!"

Out of the three, Texas looked the most revolted. Her mouth hung open slightly and she had a sour look on her face, looking about ready to kill the first person who said a word to her. I had to keep myself in check and make sure I didn't start laughing at her expression.

"Now, there are only two left. Miss New Jersey and Miss Rhode Island."

Oh, God no. This was it.

"The first runner up is…New Jersey, meaning Miss Rhode Island has just won the Miss United States pageant!"

"Oh!" Cheryl squealed in delight and surprise.

"Cheryl!" I yelled "Don't take the crown! It's a bomb!"

"What? I can't hear you!" she yelled back, pure joy written across her face. Not for long, I thought to myself.

A guard started to lead me away as a sash was draped over Cheryl. Someone handed her a bouquet of roses and Gloria glided across the stage, the crown on an embroidered pillow in her hands. Cheryl's eyes shone brightly as the glimmering crown was laid on top of her head. I looked up and there was Frank Tobin, crouched in the shadow of Lady Liberty's bust. At some point, Eric had appeared backstage and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him follow my gaze upwards. Understanding filled his face and he dashed off immediately. And that's when I started to fight.

I kicked in the guard's grasp, flailing madly. I was not going to see my best friend blown up by Frank Tobin and his conspirator mother, Kathy Morningside. They would not win this battle, and I was going to make sure of that.

The guard fought with me as I struggled to get away from him. I finally just punched him and he reeled back but I didn't pause to make sure he was okay. I ran across the stage, pushing past people and not caring if they fell or lost their balance. I found myself in front of Cheryl and I tried to pry the crown from her head. She immediately started whacking me with her roses, which lost all their petals instantaneously. Mary Jo grabbed me from behind and started fighting with me, trying to keep me away from Cheryl. God, I wish she had just understood! Then I wouldn't have had to break her nose to get her away from me. But I did. I didn't have a choice.

Then I turned on Cheryl once again. This time I was able to snatch the crown from her head. She had a mixture of hurt and disbelief on her face, and I was sorry for what I was doing. God, I was so sorry, but I couldn't let her blow up.

Up above us, I saw Eric appear behind Frank. They immediately engaged in a brawl so I figured I had a little time.

"Cheryl, it's a bomb," I yelled to her again. "The crown is a bomb!" I saw a flicker of comprehension on her face before I pushed her down and got ready to throw the crown.

Then I threw it. Suddenly everything turned to slow-mo. Tobin stood up and aimed the control to detonate the bomb just as I released it. Eric lunged himself at Tobin, looking absolutely furious. Kathy looked shocked and Stan looked dumbfounded. Everyone else was screaming, but I didn't hear any of it when the bomb went off.

Suddenly everything went to its normal speed. Eric tackled Tobin to the ground and the control flew out onto the stage. I felt a huge blast of air as the bomb discharged. Crown fragments felt like glass as they flew towards me. I was knocked backwards with the force of the explosion. I landed hard on the ground. Cheryl was screaming. My head hurt. My legs hurt. My chest hurt. Everything hurt. Where was I? Oh God, Cheryl's crying. Why is she crying? I felt myself flitting in and out of consciousness. I didn't know what was real and what wasn't.

Suddenly Eric was beside me. And there was Victor, standing next to Cheryl. Eric's mouth was moving. What was he saying? Oh…Gracie? That was my name, wasn't it?

Suddenly I got my senses back. I could hear everything. It was all so loud. Eric was screaming at me.

"Gracie! Gracie, what hurts?"

What hurts? I don't know…I was starting to feel numb.

I opened my mouth and a croak came out. Eric picked up my upper body and supported me. I tried to speak again. I gasped a little from the pain, but finally managed to say something in a tiny voice.

"I…I did—did good…didn't I, Eric?" It was more of a question than a statement. I really wanted to know if I had done well.

"Yeah," Eric said quietly, his eyes shining strangely. Was he…was he crying? Eric Matthews was crying over me? Impossible!

"Yeah," he repeated, cradling me gently. "You did real good, Gracie Lou."

And then everything went black.

Like it? Yes? No? Just review! I may do a chapter from Eric's POV (this was in Gracie's POV, in case you didn't notice ;) ) and then do what happens afterwards. Anyway, hope you liked it!