Chapter 1: Patience
I'm feeling your frustration
Any minute all the pain will stop.
Just hold me close inside your arms tonight
Don't be too hard on my emotions.
Take That - Patience
"Your doing it again." Grace murmured, stretching out her arms and the muscles along her back as she reached upwards towards the wooden headboard of the queen sized bed.
"I'm thinking." Don said, staring up at the cracks in his ceiling.
His thumbs were tapping out a pattern on the top of his dark head of hair as he lay in the tangle of sheets from their antics, propped upon his pillows.
"Your always end up thinking after we do this." Grace reminded him, drawing back the sheet to reveal her athletic naked body and coming to sit on the opposite side of the bed.
Don cast a glance at her back before pulling his aching muscles into a sitting position. He reached out for her, his fingertips tracing from the line of her delicate shoulders down along the curve of her spine before he traced the small complicated tattoo of a Celtic knot on her lower back.
"That's because we shouldn't be doing it." he muttered as Grace slid the straps of her black bra up along her arms before fastening it.
Grace glanced at him over her shoulder, her chocolate brown hair was cut to her shoulders and was designed to look sexy and messed up. Now it simply looked like that because the two of them had spent their time doing something that was also sexy and very messed up.
Her grey eyes lingered on his nude body. The sheets had pooled at his hips leaving his white, ragged scar naked and on show as he sat there watching her with torrid blue eyes. She knew what he was thinking and of course what he was feeling. Her heart was tearing itself up in her chest at the thought of leaving this bed again but she had to. There wasn't a chance in hell she could get away with staying the night because that would make their relationship into more than it was and she couldn't make that a reality now. She didn't have the emotional stability to give Don what he well and truly deserved.
Both of them knew it, which was why the two of them continued this dance. She turned her head away and groped for her panties. The rustle of sheets alerted her to his movement before she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply as his fingers traced the familiar circular burn scar that was already healing upon her right shoulder blade. His mouth descented upon the cigarette burn, his lips caressing it, causing her to shiver at the sensation. His hands were already unclasping her bra for the second time this evening and letting the straps slide down her shoulders as his teeth grazed the hollow of her throat forcing her to whimper in need. She could feel the familiar press of his firm chest against her back as his hands followed the outline of her body, moving from her breasts to the shape of her hips.
"You know I can't resist you when your like this." she murmured as his hands smoothed over her flat stomach and up along the trail of her ribs.
"I know." he breathed into her ear, a notion that he knew would send her heart rate accelerating. "This is how badly I want you to stay tonight."
Grace tipped her head back so it came to rest upon the planes of his chest as his skilled hands roamed all over her body. An illicit moan escaped her mouth as his hands steered lower.
"Don't stop." she pleaded as his lips descended upon her throat.
"I couldn't if I wanted to." he whispered against her skin, his right arm encircling her waist holding her tight against him as she arched into his ministrations.
Even with these tactics Don knew by the time dawn came around Grace would have disappeared from his arms, just like every other night.
Don was watching her sleep again. It was something he didn't realise he was doing until he became absorbed in the task and even then he couldn't stop himself. He treasured rare and precious moments like this one. There were no complications between them, everything was just simple. He could hold her close without wondering what she was thinking, what she was feeling. It was the moment of calm, he knew before the storm.
When Grace did wake up, the woman was out of his apartment in a shot. Leaving in the dead of night when he had drifted off to sleep was a habit of hers he wanted to break. Yet he couldn't bring himself to put the pressure on her to do so just yet. Everything was still raw and too new for her for him to even begin to contemplate it. He understood she was adjusting, it was hard for her to settle down after what had happened but he couldn't help but want something more long term from her.
His fingers combed through her hair lightly, as he propped his head up with his elbow on the pillow. It was rare to see her look so innocent and at peace. He hadn't known what he was missing until the first night they had fallen into bed together. Before that he had thought he had known her completely. The truth was he never really knew Grace, she was a bundle of complexity that he spent most of his free time trying to unravel as of late.
He found it hard to count the amount of nights he hadn't lost sleep thinking about her over the last few months. In the beginning it had been the constant, nagging worrying and the persistent anger at the knowledge that one day he was going to be getting a phone call to a scene at her apartment. When that time had come he had been sick to his stomach with apprehension when he'd heard the terror quivering in her voice as she spoke to him over the phone line.
Don, I think I've killed him.
Grace had been wrong, she hadn't killed the bastard who was hurting her. Instead she'd managed to fracture his skull hard enough with the glass trophy she had rewarded with for her research into Fingerprint Analysis that he wouldn't be getting back up for a few hours.
Don was used to seeing the tough side of Grace, he had experienced it at crime scenes, in interrogations, on the street when someone had cut her off at an intersection but he had never seen her cry until he walked into that apartment and saw her pointing her gun at the immobile figure on the floor, tears leaking from one black eye and while the other remained untouched.
Until then her ex had been careful not to touch her face, something that had made her abuse even more repugnant to him. It appeared from the state of her apartment that night and the bust lip she was sporting that he had been in an even worse rage than usual and Don Flack hated himself for being the reason why.
Don despised the fact he had to call it in. What he wouldn't have given to put a bullet in the back of the bastard's head and dump his body somewhere but he knew there wasn't a chance in hell that Grace would have been able to live with that. He was also very much aware that Grace wouldn't want anyone to see her in such a vulnerable state but it was his job and Grace understood that because it was part of her job too.
Somewhere in between the time he called it in and the uniforms had arrived she had managed to pull herself together and was reeling off the details in that strange mechanical manner she had when she was building up walls to protect herself.
Don's hand came to rest upon Grace's covered stomach, his thumb smoothing over the creases in the sheets as he lay his head back down, his eyes still open, watching her.
Sometimes he was terrified she would simply disappear from his life. He knew she still hid an escape bag in the bottom of her locker at the Crime Lab, filled with the necessities in case she ever had to run. He hated the fact she still felt the need to do that. He saw it as a sign that she didn't feel safe and he was trying so hard to change that.
Grace sighed in her sleep as if sensing her lovers thoughts. Her face tilted towards him, her right cheek snuggling into the pillow as a stray dark curl fell across her left eye. Her own smaller hand moved, covering Don's larger one lightly, her thumb gently caressing over the joint in his wrist as if in reassurance.
Don closed his eyes, his body brushing against Grace's as she slept. He knew when he opened them again Grace would be long gone.