A/N~Here's chapter 7...have fun...I sure did! As always...thanks to my co-author & editor Arifa for helping me on this.
Grace arrived home and went to bed. Around seven in the morning, she felt a heaviness laying upon her. When she went to move, a hand quickly covered her mouth and whispered into her ear "Are you trying to get up? I don't think so. Don't even think of reaching for your phone either. You are mine. Do you understand?"
Trying to squirm, her captor tightened his grip upon her. This time he moved his hand slightly so her nose was blocked and breathing was nearly impossible. "You are mine. I am going to let go of you but I do not want you to make a sound. You make a sound and I will kill you and your mother. Do you understand." Grace nodded slowly.
When he released his hand from her mouth, he swiftly raised his hand and slapped her forcefully across the cheek, leaving a bright red hand print. With tears in her eyes, Grace whimpered "I'm sorry Bobby. I'm sorry."
Bobby, her ex, mocked her "I'm sorry Bobby." Grabbing a fistful of her long brown hair, he pulled her into the living room. He growled in a low tone "I am going to make you sorry you even left me in the first place. You are nothing but a little..."
He would have continued his tirade but Grace's mother walked out into the living room. He quickly released Grace, who greeted her mother with a smile. "I'm sorry if we woke you. This is Bobby. Bobby, this is my mom."
Sticking his hand out to Grace's mother he said "Grace and I are getting back together. I drove here from Hialeah just to get her back. You are coming home with me, aren't you Grace?"
"Gracie, is this true?" her mother asked. "Are you really going back to Hialeah with him? What about Michael?"
Grace gave her mother a fake smile and replied "Michael is a good friend. Bobby and I are still working it out. Nothing has been decided yet."
Turning to him she said "Bobby, I have to take my mom to the senior center and then I'll be back." Then she headed into her room to change her clothes. She looked around room and saw her landline phone was on her dresser, hidden by her purse. She picked it up to call Michael, but cursed under her breath when she realized the line was dead.
She cringed when she heard him say "I'll come with you."
They all rode in Grace's new car in silence. She agreed to get her mother around noon and then they could have lunch. As they pulled away, Bobby yelled "You spent all this money on a new car and give me back my piece of crap junker? You won't be leaving the house for a long time, so I'll take care of the new car for you."
When they got back to the house, Bobby pushed Grace inside the door. She grabbed a vase to hit him with but he stopped her mid-swing and squeezed her hand until she yelped in pain and the vase fell to the floor. "Don't think you can take me on little girl. You tried before and remember what happened? Do I need to remind you I broke your arm the last time you tried to fight me?"
Bobby continued to yell and scream at Grace all morning. He made her pack her clothes and belongings and load them into the car. When she tried to yell back at him, or took too long doing a task, he would hit her. All morning she received punches to the back, the stomach and slaps to the face.
Around one o'clock in the afternoon Michael received a frantic call from Maddie. "Michael, you need to come over right away. Grace hasn't been seen all day and her car is still in the driveway."
"Mom, she's running errands today with her mother. She's probably been in and out all day and you didn't even notice." he tried to reason.
In the background he heard Grace's mother say "Tell him that her ex boyfriend is there they never came back to get me from the senior center and I can't get back into the house. I had to get a ride here from Evelyn."
Michael felt his blood run cold. "You guys stay inside the house and do not answer the door. I'm leaving now."
Sam, who was over to collect some paperwork he left at the loft the other day, asked "What's wrong? Your mom ok?"
"Sam, I need you to drive me over to my mom's" As he spoke, Michael reached into the cabinet under the sink and retrieve a gun he kept hidden. "Grace has an ex who doesn't understand what the term 'ex-boyfriend' means."
The two men drove as quickly as they could to Maddie's. Michael sprinted across the yard, with Sam following closely behind him. Once he was at the door Sam knocked on the door and said "Hello? I have a flower delivery for a Grace W."
They listened and heard the sound of Grace being slapped. "Who is sending you flowers?" The only response Grace could give was a loud sob. "Make them go away" Bobby growled.
Grace took a deep breath and shouted "Leave them at the door, I'll get them later."
"I need you to sign for them Ma'am. That's a company policy." Sam hoped that would get her to open the door.
They could hear her through the open window, saying "I have to sign for the flowers or else the flower guy will know something is wrong."
Bobby shoved her towards the front door. "You make one move that I don't like and those flowers will be on your casket."
Slowly Grace opened the door and saw Sam. She reached out her hand as if she was going to take a clipboard from the delivery man, but instead took hold of Sam's hand. In one swift motion, he pulled her out the front door and pushed her out of the way so Michael could go inside the house.
"Who are you?" Bobby stuttered.
As Michael grabbed Bobby by the arm, pinning it behind him and slamming him into the nearest wall, Sam answered "This guy? I think this is the guy who would be sending Grace flowers if I was an actual delivery man. Right now, this guy, he's your worst nightmare."
Grace walked into the house. Sam said to Grace "Call the cops and tell them your abusive ex-boyfriend is here and terrorizing you. They'll be here in no time flat."
Crying and pointing at the wall phone she said "He cut the phone lines and smashed my cell phone so I couldn't call for help."
Michael yelled at Bobby while slamming him repeatedly into the wall while still pinning his arm to his back. "What do you get out of this? She calls you to get your car and you think you are walking away with her? That's not how this works. She's done with you. You ever come back here and lay a hand on her again I will make sure its the last thing you do."
Feeling so much anger and rage, the only thing Michael could hear was the sound of the blood rushing in his head. He had no idea that Sam was trying to get his attention by calling his name. Finally Michael heard Sam say "STAND DOWN. I will handle this, you take care of Grace and call the cops."
Michael let go of Bobby once he was sure Sam was in control of the situation and took Grace outside of the house. Handing her his phone, she called the cops just as Sam instructed her. When the call was done she stood there looking so sad, scared and lost. He guided her over to Maddie's front steps so she could get some distance from the house until the police came.
After Grace spoke to the police who led Bobby from her house, she said to Michael "I should go in and tell my mom that I'm sorry I didn't pick her up at noon." she wiped the tears from her face and stood up, shakily. Michael tried to gently ease her back onto the steps, but she swatted him away. Finally Michael gave up and let her go into the house.
Maddie came out and joined Michael on the front steps. "I thought you would have been coming in right behind her."
"I tried to make her sit with me out here but she pushed me away. Everything is ok here, I am going to fix the hole in the wall that I made later. I'm going to go back to the loft." Michael said, standing up and putting on his sunglasses.
Maddie quickly grabbed his hand and said "No. Everything is not ok. You are staying here. Grace pushed you away because she is feeling lost , alone and embarrassed that she was beaten. You need to go inside, sit her down, put some ice on her face, and fix her cuts. She needs to know she has people who care for her and want to be there to support her when she needs it." Maddie paused for a moment and said "That was something I never had when I was with you father. I could have used support."
Michael took off his glasses and stood up, this time walking into the house. Grace was in the kitchen, having a drink of water, when Michael surprised her. "Sit down on the couch and I'll get you some ice for your face."
"I can't thank you enough. Don't worry though, I'm fine. In fact, I'm going to take my mom home and just relax the rest of the day." Grace said, her voice and body shaking.
"You are not fine. You went through something traumatic today. Let me take care of you until your nerves have settled at least. If you still want to leave and be alone after you've calmed down, I won't stop you." Michael said, taking a bag of peas from the freezer. He placed them on the counter and took Grace into his arms giving her a gentle hug when she started to cry. "You're ok. It's all over." He said as he gave her a kiss on the forehead.
As soon as she sat on the couch, Grace put the bag of frozen peas on her face as Michael fixed her wounds. "I'm sorry you had to save me." Grace said softly. "You probably think I'm this girl who needs to be rescued and can't do anything for herself."
Wanting to ease her mind, Michael looked into her eyes and said "It's nice to have someone to rescue and appreciate it in return. I've gotten people out of situations and they have pretty much slapped me in the face when all was said and done." Michael looked away and said softly "Thank you for letting me take care of you."
"I'm kinda tired. Maybe I could take a quick nap before you leave?" Grace asked sheepishly.
Realizing that she was hinting that she wanted Michael to stay while she slept, Michael got a pillow and blanket for Grace. He made her take some aspirin before going to sleep. Once she was comfortable, he said "I have some work to do here so I'll be here when you wake up."
While she slept, Michael took care of fixing a few small things inside Maddie's house that he had kept neglecting. About an hour later, Michael sat down at the dining room table with a glass of iced tea. Maddie came in from outside and sat down next to him.
"I checked on Grace's mother. She is ok. She's more worried about Grace."
Michael smiled. "Grace will be fine. Her ex is gone and she'll move on in her life. She'll find the life she deserves to have."
Maddie reached across the table and took Michael's hand. "What about you Michael? Any thoughts on your new life?"
Michael shook his head and said softly, trying to hide his breaking voice. "I tried to explain to her my decision, I have no idea how my voice mails I left her, I used the CIA to track her, and even sent her an email begging her to not turn me away."
"After Nate died, I was so angry at you because I blamed you. I cut you off and whenever you reached out for me, I turned you away." Maddie said, taking her time to chose her words. Seeing that Michael was getting tense, she continued her talk, hoping to ease Michael's mind and prove a point at the same time. "I found a way to forgive you. I had to forgive you because I didn't want to lose you. You tried your best with Fiona, but I hate to say it but you've lost her. You know that because you saw her kissing another man. She's moved on and I think it's time for you to move on as well. Don't get stuck in one place too long because you might lose something precious."
Struggling, Michael said "When you were packing up the house, you told me that when everything was over you wanted me to start a new life. I always thought it'd be with Fiona. What do I do now?"
"Don't shut yourself down Michael. Keep yourself open to things because you never know what will be coming around the corner. Just start moving forward and you will find your way."
Noticing that Grace was moving and starting to wake up, Michael looked over her way and smiled. Maddie, noticing the smile, said "Why don't you take Grace home? You can fix the wall tomorrow. Those will be the first steps in your new life."
Michael helped Grace up, and walked with her to her house. At her front door, she moved to give him a more romantic kiss. Michael stepped back, but took hold of her hands. Looking into her eyes he said, "Neither of us are ready for this yet. Slow down, I'm not going anywhere."
Grace had no response to Michael. At first she was hurt he didn't want to kiss her, but then his words gave her a feeling of hope that maybe she did have a chance with him after all.