Hi guys! I hope you'll like the story. This time no proofreader...hope no terrible mistakes...well, this is sort of a pre-quel to my story Bodyguard - what happened later.

Have a nice read!

Rachel has never been scared like this in her life before... Her breath was very shallow, quick, the rhytm of her heartbeat very unsteady.

It was supposed to be her night. She was the star of the evening, right to the point when she heard from the stage: 'Rachel Marron for Queen of the Night!'. For a short moment she was ecstatic; her first movie role, her first nomination, her first Oscar. She has had all the possible music awards already and now, at the age of 29, she received the most important one in the whole show-business. Winning an Oscar is a feeling that only few people know how to describe – like her fellow Oscar-winning colleaques, sportsmen beating a world record or lottery winners. Pure ecstasy and overwhelming joy lets you forget about all the problems and tragedies of an everyday life.

That's what happened with Rachel. Her sister was killed not that long ago, her stalker could kill her any minute, she had a feeling that Frank will not be with her for long now– yet she managed to forget all about that just now, in this moment of complete hapiness.

But it was indeed a brief moment – when she grabbed the golden statuette, raised her hands in a victory gesture, something very unexpected and terryfying happened. She felt like watching a movie in slow motion. Her bodyguard jumped at the stage, made her fall on the floor and just when she managed to shout: 'Frank, what are you doing?!' she heard a gunshot. Everything after that was a blurr – people were screaming, panic arose, Frank was all covered in blood and he shot someone. She remembered begging her bodyguard to stay with her and her despair when he closed his eyes and she thought she'd lost him forever.

Short way to the hospital seemed very long to her. Bill was holding her in his embrace, telling soothing words of comfort, while Sy took care of her Oscar and the press. Tony was there too, always ready to protect the woman he loved. Only him of all of them felt that Rachel cared for Frank much more than she let show. Tony always knew when someone was in love with Rachel and when she was in love with someone. He usually felt a little jealous, even though he never really counted on a possibility that the woman of his life could be interested in him. Instead, he wanted her to be happy and was scared to think that some playboy may break her heart one day.

He saw the feeling between Frank and Rachel even before they had admitted it themeselves. He could nearly feel their chemistry with each other. He knew it's something much more profound than simple crush. What surprised him, though, is that he didn't feel any jealousy this time. He actually wanted Rachel to end up with someone like Frank.

But right now it was not sure whether Frank will ever have a chance with anyone ever again. He was in surgery and Rachel, Frank and Tony were impatiently awaiting results. Rachel was very agitated – she kept walking in circles in the waiting room and nobody dared to ask her to calm down. She finally sat, her face in her hands and Bill noticed that she was sobbing. Tony's eye was already bandaged, painkillers injected and he was told that he will face the operation in few days because only this can save his eye. He insisted on being immediately released though – he felt like he really needed to be with Rachel right now. He was holding her hand when the doors opened and the nurse said:

- He will be fine.

This were the sweetest, most wonderful words that Rachel has ever heard in her life. Her face lit up immediately, she got up and gave the nurse a broad smile. Always impatient, she had to know all the details immediately.

- Is he conscious? Will he be released soon? What about his arm? Will he be able to move it? Is he in a lot of pain? Can I see him? - the words were catapulting from her like from the machine gun and Bill couldn't help but smile.

- Please, madame, calm down. His surgery was succesful. We've removed the bullet and luckily for him it didn't demage any major organ. He will need a physiotherapy for his hand for sure and a lot of rest – at least for few months. He might also have some emotional trauma, we don't know that yet – said the nurse.

- No, it's Frank Farmer, the toughest man in the world – said Rachel proudly – I'm not worried about this last thing. I'm so relieved that he is alright. I need to see him.

- You can't see him now, madame. He is too weak.

- But he is conscious, yes? - Rachel was really desperate.

- Yes, madame, but I guess he is sleeping now...Please come back tomorrow, during the day, you can visit him during visiting hours, between 1pm and 3pm, unless you are his wife or sister, than you can come some other time...

She looked at her skin tone and said:

- I guess you are not his sister, nor his wife as I would have it in his files. His next of kin is his father and he has been informed about what happened. He is coming to the hospital shortly. Sorry, madame.

Rachel was close to tears. She had to see him before anyone else. She had to see him in private. She wanted to tell him so many things and she wanted to tell it now, before she cools down and be back to her normal, arrogant self. She was considering her options – maybe she should bribe someone? Before she was able to do that, though, the nurse whispered carefully:

- Madame, my son is your biggest fan. Would you sign an autograph for him and I would see what I can do? I guess there is no harm in you visiting him for a short while. But please remember he is very weak and doctor would rather not see him emotional.

Rachel smiled at her. Frank emotional? They've clearly never met. She signed the autograph and the nurse walked her to Frank's room. Luckily he was on his own in his room, attached to all the cables, very pale, but already conscious.

The nurse closed the doors behind her and Rachel walked toward Frank's bed. He was looking at her all the time and tried to smile weakly.

- Rachel...- he whispered.

- Hi Frank – her voice was very cheerful, soothing. She has put her acting skills in motion so she wouldn't break down seeing him like this. - So the nurse says you'll be alright. No major organs damaged, just your arm. Man, you've scared me – her voice was still very cheerful, nearly jokingly kind – So I guess that was your moment of fame, not mine after all, right? - She was sitting by his side now, but very unsure how long she will be able to act this way as she could feel the lump forming in her throat already – Well, congratulations. You are on front pages of all the magazines in this country tomorrow. Everyone is talking about the hero, who saved my life at the Oscars and you are a real hero – her voice started to crack, so she started to speak really fast right now. She could feel tears just waiting to fall down her face. - Damn, you've saved my life and it's more than anyone has ever done for me...- that was all she could say as tears were falling uncontrollably down her face, her voice was barely a whisper.

Frank was watching her this whole time, but didn't say a word. Now, though, he took her hand in his and squeezed it. When he spoke, there was a weakness, pain and something else in his voice, what Rachel couldn't really decipher.

- I wasn't thinking about dying, Rachel, when I took this bullet for you. All I wanted to be sure of, before I closed my eyes, is that this bastard is shot dead and will not hurt you anymore. When it happened, I was relieved – I really could die then. I protected you and you were holding me in you arms. I cannot imagine more beautiful death than that.

Rachel looked at him with surprise – what's happened to him?

- You've never been that open with me before - she said, looking him straight in his eyes. - You've always been so distant, cold. What happened? - she asked with curiosity.

- You know that this chapter in our lives has ended, right? You see that as clearly as I do. I'm not going to pretend that you are just a client to me and I'm simply happy I fulfilled my duty. I am happy that I've protected you because...well...I care about you. A lot. And I know that you feel something to me, too. But it's not gonna work, Rachel. We belong to two different worlds and I couldn't live in yours, I hate it. - Rachel was afraid to breath as she didn't want to lose a single word of his speech. They must have given him some truth elixir instead of painkillers. But she knew he was speaking from the bottom of his heart.

- So... he continued - I am happy that you are alive and at the same time happy I've killed that bastard...you know who that was, right? - his soothing voice hardened slightly as he thought about what happened in Miami. Rachel moved closer to him and looked in his eyes.

- Frank, I want you to listen to me really carefully, please. I don't know how much time we've got in private. It's important for me to explain everything to you...about Portman, there, in Miami.

Frank was looking at her in silence. His facial expression has changed. It was now less welcoming. Rachel was anxious to tell him the truth. She didn't like to go back to these moments.

- Portman was my near-assasin. Damn it! I've almost slept with him and clearly the only reason for it was to upset you...I'm so sorry, Frank! Will you forgive me? - she looked at him expecting everything but what she saw: a huge shock in his eyes.

- 'Almost slept'? Wait a minute, you didn't sleep with him? - the hope in his voice was palpable. Rachel smiled at him shyly.

- No, I didn't. We went to the room and when he started to touch me and kiss my neck...

- Ok, ok, I really don't need to know all the details – Frank interrupted her harshly and Rachel could swear she could hear a hint of jealousy in his voice.

- Anyway, I realised what I'm doing soon enough and asked him to leave the room immediately.

- Did he simply agree to do this? That would be a totally different Portman than the one I knew – said Frank ironically.

- No, he didn't. He realy tried to get what he wanted, but I was faster. He was kind of brutal with me – Rachel could feel Frank's weak hand squeezing hers with more strenght than before. His addictive blue eyes darkened with fury. Rachel got scared because she remembered of what the nurse said to her. - Don't worry, I managed to open the doors and ask Tony to kick him out. Nothing happened between us and it's important for me that you know that.

- He would f...you and then he would kill you. Damn it – Frank was clearly moved. She touched his cheek and it seemed to calm him a little. Rachel looked at him with concern and asked:

- Are you ok, Frank? You seem upset. The nurse told me that I shouldn't upset you. I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have come here so soon after the surgery and maybe I shouldn't have been bringing up such difficult subjects – tears started rolling down her face again and Frank's face expression softened. His beautiful blue eyes looked at her again and he said to her:

- I'm ok now, Rachel. It wasn't easy for me to watch you two go to that private room there, in Miami. For many reasons...first of all, I had no control over what was going on there – he could have killed you. Unfortunately I had no idea that it was him at the time. Now it all makes sense – Portman knew where my father lives. Second of all, I was really annoyed by your recklesness and silly behaviour in Miami. You behaved like you wanted to be killed. And then...I didn't like the thought of what was going on behind these closed doors. I know why you went there with him, I knew it then too. I knew that I hurt you and you wanted to act out, but …

Frank interrupted and Rachel exhaled slightly. She was holding her breath that whole time, but now she really had to take a deep breath. She was surprised how incredibly brilliant he was and how he had seen her through, even though she should know he would. He knew she acted childish then and that she'd lost some of his respect then. She knew what he wanted to tell her, so she finished the sentence:

...but it was childish and stupid, behaving like that...I know that you must have lost all the respect you've had for me then.

- Well, not all...it made me angry and frustrated. It was the first time I seriously thought of leaving you. Not only you were behaving that way but also I didn't like my reaction to this. I was losing my cold blood, I wasn't acting like I was trained. I was unable to block these feelings that were destructable and unhelpful. I was jealous...yes, I was and I hated myself for that... I also often found myself looking at you instead of a people surrounding you and it was purely dangerous. I understand why you became a big star, you have this appeal that only few women have... So you understand how difficult it was for me. But the turning point was when you went shopping with Tony without telling anyone where you go. I've never been that furious in my whole life. I got revenge on an innocent guy in the kitchen who had a bad luck to be on my way...It was a turning point and I've decided I'm leaving.

- So what made you stay? - Rachel asked quietly. She's had a lot of information to process.

- You...asked me if I could protect you and Fletcher...I have seen you that scared only once before. It was that night when that concert went wrong...

- ...and you saved me. Yes, I guess it was comparable – Rachel added.

- I saw fear in your eyes and despair. I knew you would treat me seriously from that moment on. And I didn't want to leave you scared. I'd never forgive myself if something happened to you. But I've decided to be more careful this time and block my feeling towards you entirely.

Rachel was listening carefully. She knew everything he was saying before, but she really needed to hear it from him. She knew she was driving him mad; she knew that she was reckless more than once; she also realised that he had feelings towards her just like she had feelings towards him. She knew it even then, in Miami, but was stupid enough to act childish just to make him angry. And he was angry – she saw that too. It didn't make her satisfied, though. Instead, she was scared she can lose him forever and be killed on top of that. When she said to him then, at the balcony, that 'she wasn't going to beg', she knew she actually would if she had to. She was desperate for him not only to keep protecting her she also wanted him to respect her again, to see this sparkle in his eyes just like when he was looking at her in this dodgy pub where they were dancing listening to this 'funny' country song. She wanted to redeem herself in his eyes. She could feel these unspoken feelings between them in his father's house, she knew how devestated he was when they've lost Nicky and that he blamed himself; she finally saw this sparkle – and something else maybe – in his eyes when he kissed her passionately in her garden. So many feelings was unnamed, unspoken between them – and she knew that many of them will stay like that. She was actually surprised how open he was with her tonight – but she also knew he made this effort for her and it made him really tired. He's made his decicion – he wants to move on. Move on with his life without her in it. She'll have to live without him. How can she manage that? She knew it will be for the best – their worlds were too different to make this relationship work – but she also knew that she wil miss him terribly. She closed her eyes and asked him quietly:

- Did you succeed in that, Frank?

There was a moment of silence and finally Frank said:

- No...I didn't. But you know it will be...

- I know – she interrupted him. She pressed cheek, full of tears, to his and they were lying like that for a longer moment in complete silence.

The silence was broken by the nurse, who interrupted this intimate moment.

- Madame, I'm afraid you have to go now. He is paler than he was before and is still very weak.

Rachel reluctantly stood up and looked at Frank. He was looking at her like he wanted to say:'stay'. But he didn't say a word, only closed his eyes when she kissed him in the lips.

- Maybe we'll meet again, Frank Farmer. For sure in the future life, but I have a feeling it might be in this life too...

She saw him smiling with this sweet, kind and genuine smile that she hadn't seen for such a long time and which she will be missing for many years to come, she suspected...