This story is an Eli/Grace fic, I just hope I can do justice to those characters whose relationship deserved a chance to be explored and connected ..

It is after Jake's wedding, they never moved to Australia but Lily is still pregnant.

Grace is in her room reading the Chekov book that Mr. Dmitri gave her. Ever since he left she reads "On love" almost every night. She stopped trying to decode it the way she used to at the beginning. It is like she began to look at it as a piece of his soul that he left with her, a porthole to the time they shared. "It is such a beautiful story" she always said, yet it sort of stopped being so heartbreaking somehow.

She was reminiscing about their kiss and that parting after the school meeting. It ached her that she could not express how she felt losing him. Her mother thinks it is a school girl's crush on a special teacher or even a mentor. He thinks he used her to feel better about his miserable existence. But what they both don't know is how she needed him in her life. A connection that she longed for, a feeling that she belongs, that she fits in. Someone that made her feel special, talented and gifted. That she was worth something. He enabled her to feel things and open up and to use her everlasting agony, which for the life of her cannot grasp a reason for, to achieve something.

She is suddenly startled by a light knock on the door. She looks up and it is Eli. He is looking at her with his customary pitying look that he has been giving her these days. It is just driving her crazy. Why is everyone acting as if she is some kind of victim? And as if he cares, or ever cared for that matter.

"Come in", she says dryly returning her gaze to the book.

"Hey..." he says hesitantly standing awkwardly in the doorway with his hands in his back pockets.

"Hey yourself", she replies still acting too occupied with her book.

"I just wanted to say hi"

"You just did" she replied coldly

"uh..I have been feeling- ...It kinda of seems that we have not talked for a while, you know" he said hesitantly.

"We are talking now, are not we?"

"You know what I mean."

She was getting so annoyed with him by now, what does he want? She gave up on him since that night at the play. She had had it. This eternal crush she was having was a voluntary torture that she just could not and would not endure anymore. Plus she now experienced what it was like to fall for a man, not a confused kid. What it was like to be stimulated both body and soul. She thought she was becoming kind of immune to him.

"Well Eli, I don't know what you mean and as a matter of fact I don't care" , she said in an exasperated tone

"Why are you mad at me?, It is not like I am the one who slept with my teacher"

In a split second she was on her feet and shouting in his face, "It is none of your business Eli what I do or who I sleep with, I swear to God you can be so irritating ..What do you care anyway?"

She clenched her fist as she moved away turning her back as if she wanted to punch him.

"I don't care; I was just saying we never even discussed what happened to you."

He said it while looking at his shoes in a tone that sounded more of a whisper than anything.

She raised her eyebrows and her eyes just grew wider with anger," What happened to ME! Eli where are you going with this? I have nothing to discuss with you and – I don't need or want your pity or advice, I just need to be left alone. Get out"

On that note he regressed out of the room without raising his eyes to her again. She thought that him leaving would calm her but actually all it did was exacerbate her more.

She could not figure out why she was so angry and why did it bother her that he thinks she slept with August. And the more she thought about a reason for her anger the more she got angrier. It frustrated her that he had this effect on her. That she worries what he thinks of her, that she wonders what he is thinking. She couldn't possibly know the multitude of hours that she spent analyzing every word he says, what he meant and what was he thinking, if he did do any of that at all.

The next day she went down to the kitchen hoping she wouldn't find him there and her wish was fulfilled only she wasn't thrilled it did. She still longed for him. For a while she was consumed with the debacle of her and Mr. Demitri that she almost felt liberated from his spell. It always felt humiliating, her longing for him. He knew she liked him- or loved him at one point if she was being honest- and she knew that he knew which was even more humiliating. She always wondered if he enjoyed it and mocked her for her silly crush.

She sat eating her cereal in a rather blunt state. She couldn't cease her internal turmoil of anger. She was angry at herself, at her mother, at school, at August and probably at the whole world. She has always been angry but this felt different.

If Grace was good at anything it was coping. She has been sad, angry, jealous and even brokenhearted for as long as she could remember and she coped. She held her head high and put on the I-am-ok face to avoid everyone's looks. It was worst with her father. He was so furious that someone has violated his sacred Graciousness. But with time they all seemed to get over it and they started to treat her normally.

It was finally summer time and she was relieved she could have some break from school and all the gossip and weird looks and whispers. She acted as if it didn't affect her but it did. She hated them for judging her and him. For controlling them and for assuming she had this steamy affair whereas all she managed to do was to kiss him for the briefest moment.

For a while she and Eli didn't speak much. Other than the normal casual greetings, they seemed to ignore each others existence and she was relieved by this. She kind of missed their talks but their relation – if she could call it that- was always so complicated. He was always a mystery to her though she knew he was a simple minded boy and that she was so much smarter yet something about him made her mind numb.

Lily sure noticed the change of dynamic between the two teenagers but didn't bother her that much. She always dreaded them falling for each other for though she adored Eli , Grace was her baby. She was relieved that Grace was seemingly over the ordeal yet she feared it left a scar that would take time to heal. Grace was more withdrawn than usal and it pained her to feel that her daughter was lonely and she was powerless to change that feeling. She just had to find something to do burst this cocoon that grace is living in lately. There must be a way.