Chapter 1: City In Shock
Who builds an apartment building and does not include a dishwasher in the kitchen? This place that is who, I know what I am doing is saving me time but I wished it didn’t come with heaps of dishes, who would have thought meal prepping for the week for lunches and dinners would make this amount of washing?
“Grace, are you even listening to me?”
My mother’s voice calls out over my phone that I have sitting on the shelf in front of me, letting out a sigh, “Yeah mum I am still here.” I told her trying not to sound like a smartass child. “Right, good me and your father would like you back home love, there has been another killing in your city we are worried about you.”
She started, dear lord ever since this person started killing she would call me up in a panic asking me to come home, so fair six girls have been killed over a space of six months that is one every month.
“Mum not going to say it again, I cannot just up and move back home, I have a job here, friends, and a mortgage I cannot just up and leave because you and dad are worried about me,” I told her trying not to yell in frustration. “No one told you had to move to Sydney love.”
Mum reminded me, I scoffed, “Yes, well I couldn’t live in Queensland anymore and you know that mother!” I snapped, she should know all of this I haven’t kept this information quiet.
Thought I was happily married to the love of my life Ben Whittaker. I know we were only married for three months but I did love him, we had been together for six years prior, part of me will always love him a very fucking small part, after coming home from work late finding my baby sister riding him shattered me.
I cannot even stand family functions with her or him cause she got everything I wanted a loving husband who was mine three years ago and two children and one more on the way. I just cannot be near them and what’s worst is my family seems to be ok with them being together now, I couldn’t go to Brisbane or the Gold Coast because he is from there I moved the furthest away from them all.
“Oh, don’t I know that Grace. You tell me all the time, why haven’t you moved on? I told you to stay in Townsville but instead, you sold up forcing them to” Oh fuck no she has started, “No I did not force them into anything mother! Ben and I had bought that house, and that investment property, the caravan, along with the bike, four-wheel drive, and my car with our savings! Last time I checked I was married to him when she chose to break our marriage up! When marriages break up so do the finances no way in hell was it fair that I walk away with Ben having all of my savings, we pooled it all together and spilt it in half which is fair! Charlotte was after everything we had built together” I was now screaming at my own mother, I just cannot believe her some days, she cuts me off mid-rant.
“Grace Amelia Miller! When will you be able to live with this? Able to live with talking about it with your own mother without it turning into a fight?” She asks, “When you stop taking Charlotte’s side in all of this mother! She was twenty at the time she could have had anyone! No, let’s have your big sister’s husband is the better option! She was my fucking sister, bridesmaid at my own fucking wedding, and was going to be an aunt! Wasn’t happy with her life she had to break mine up! Better tell Emily to keep her husband close by or Charlotte might take him too!” I roared, I just cannot believe she makes me feel better at moving so far away from them all.
“Don’t bring Emily and Steven into this!” She snapped at me, “Why the fuck not?! Where the fuck were you all when I had lost my son, Arthur?! Oh, that is right being with her while she gave birth to his child too! NEWS FLASH MUM I GAVE BIRTH TO HIS SON BUT I HAD TO DO IT ALL ALONE! BEN DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO COME DOWN TO HELP ME BURY OUR SON! NOTHING HOW COULD YOU ALL THINK I WOULD BE ABLE TO MOVE ON SO FREELY FROM THAT?!” I was now crying and screaming.
“Oh, honey how could we? You told us you were pregnant days before you gave birth to him, getting on a plane is not as easy as it looks, love.” My mum said softly, I wish I was in front of her to slap her right now.
“Right there! That is a lie! I was four months pregnant when I had walked in on him and Charlotte! We had told everyone two days before that, you all fucking knew and he even told me how happy he was that I was expecting his child! A loving family is normally there for their children not when they want to be, I will move on when I am ready, right now no harm in going out on dates considering the amount of shit I have had happen to me over the past three years. Don’t ever call me up again if you cannot see what Ben and Charlotte have done is so wrong. Also all of you for not even being here for me in the death of my son your firstborn grandchild!” I screamed.
“I regret every day for not being able to get down to you, I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that alone, but please sweetie can we just move on from this? This crazy person goes after single females who live alone, who go on dating apps I know you do please just come home!” My mum begged, she is really not listening to me right now.
“I will be careful but I don’t think I could ever move on back to the way we all used to be before all of this had happened. Your kidding yourself if you think we all could, bye mother.” I said coldly, “Stop calling me mother!” My mum snapped, “That is your name.” I replied, before hanging up.
She is a mum how can she do that to her own child? I cannot even think of doing what she has done to me if my son Arthur had lived couldn’t dream of treating him like that. I got to be with him for amazing thirty-six hours before he succumbed to group B streptococcal infection, I blame myself every day that I should have demanded that I got tested for it before I gave birth to him, should have gotten him looked at sooner, so many should haves that I keep thinking about, but one wish I had was that his own father had come down and say hello to him before he passed away or even come down after instead of making me feel like we didn’t matter to him at all. That being with him for nearly seven years meant nothing at all, that he never loved our son which hurts the most.
This pain is why I enjoy just going on one date with someone who doesn’t have to end in sex anything really, anything to take my mind off the pain for more than a few hours, some dates I enjoy just talking lame I know but I need it. Even my friends down here find it odd, one even goes to the lengths of telling me it must be a Queenslander thing.
Sitting down on the lounge with a hot tea trying to chill but all on the news is talking about this Zodiac killer, over hearing about another crazy on the news, I head to bed to get some sleep before work tomorrow.
“So Grace are you going out tonight?” Marinda asked me, my coworker, “I could be are you joining me?” I asked her, she just giggled, I don’t get that. “Marinda what is with that giggle? Nothing wrong with going out to the clubs and dancing the night away.” I said cheerfully, or I hope I sounded cheerful.
“Well, you always seem to have fun and I just got out of a relationship do I want to have that type of fun?” She asked me, why is she always so worried about everything for?
“That is all up to you, I don’t go out looking for that type of fun babe if it happens it happens it doesn’t matter that much to me, love,” I told her. “Wow, what has happened to you to be like this Grace?” She asked me quietly like hell am I filling her in on my past she knows snippets of it but not the full story, my phone pins letting me know I have a message. Pulling out my phone and smiling down at it, this new guy that keeps messaging me seems nice should I say yes to his date that he wants to do this weekend.
It has been a month since I have heard from my mum on phone calls type of way she has texted and social media messaged me and most of them I have not even bothered to read them, I know she will never get up Charlotte for what she has done if she didn’t at the beginning she won’t now and that hurts.
“So? Who was that on the phone?” Miranda asked, “Oh, right this guy that has been talking to me for a couple of months on this app, has just asked me out for this weekend. Was thinking if I should take him up on his offer or make him wait another week.” I told her, “Take him up on it babe, I will see if the rest of the work group want to go out and we catch up with you either before it or after?”
She told me while I tried not to feel like such a cow for not wanting them out with me. “Ok, why not what’s the worst that could happen?” I asked her, she just shrugs her shoulders unsure, a few hours later saying goodbye to my coworkers as I make the long trip back home in the next few months our work is on the other end of the city until our CBD center is updated.
My phone starts ringing as I enter the apartment, groaning out dropping my work bags onto the kitchen counter digging around in my handbag trying to find my phone, pulling it out after a few rushed seconds answering without paying attention to who was calling.
“Hello this is Grace, how can I help you?”
I used my work voice just encase it is work calling me.
That is all he said and my heart stopped, “Ben, why are you calling me for? Does your new wife know you’re calling me?” I snapped at my ex-husband, he let out a loud sigh, “Grace really? Right off the bat, you pissed.” Ben said trying to sound like his bossy self.
“Yeah really Ben, you haven’t spoken to me since I told you Arthur our son had passed away, nice way of treating your only son.” I snapped he cuts me off mid-rant, “I didn’t call you up about Arthur, Grace. I’m calling you up because we are all worried about you.” I scoffed at his comment, who are we? Glaring at my phone, “Who the hell are we? And since when did you ever care about me? Answer me this one question why the fuck did you marry me if you were in love with her the whole time?! Did you both enjoy breaking me into a million pieces and then forever destroying me by leaving me to birth our son alone, along with leaving me to deal with the death of our son all by myself?” I screamed at him through the phone.
“I see you haven’t gone to get help! Grace please do not go out on any dates this weekend it’s a full moon and the killer will attack” Cluing into what is going on, “Wow this is another new low for you, putting me on loudspeaker calling me up in a fake concern because my own mum asked you too. Ben if I want to go out on a date I will, you have no say over what I do in my life you made dam well sure of that when you cheated on me with my own sister! That is a dog act, and what is worse you have moved into my family and pushed me out! Enjoy your makeshift family Ben I fucking hope she does what you did to me to you!” I screamed out before hitting the hanging up button, fuck now I cannot wait for this weekend.
Going all out tonight wearing my favourite black dress it’s short but loose-fitting and has bronze dots in a flower pattern along the bottom running across and up on one side of the dress, dark eye makeup with natural lip, with natural loose curls, and matching high heel shoes to the bronze dots.
Walking into the restaurant that he had texted to meet up, hoping I have arrived after him I don’t like waiting for them to show up. Making my way towards the bar spotting him drinking a beer, smiling at him as I make my way towards him, “Nathan?”
I asked softly with a big smile on my face, he puts his beer down on the bar still smiling at me walked towards me, “Grace?” He asked, I nod my head, he hugs me before gently touching my elbow. “This way please Grace.” He said.
His voice is so thick with an Australian accent, sounding like one of the Hemsworth brothers pulling out the chair for me, sitting down and saying thank you, while he took the seat in front of mine. His photo did him no justice at all, his eyes took all of me in with a hint of a smirk playing on his lips, I smiled back at him. It has been a long time since I have been on a date and just looking at someone gave me butterflies, this could only mean good things I’m sure of it.
“So Grace, what do you do for a living?” His manly voice floated over me causing goosebumps to run up my arms. “I’m a contract Photographer I do work for most Sydney based publications, or hired for events and private functions. I wouldn’t call it work as I love it, it’s my passion. So Nathan what do you do for a living?” I asked, he took a sip of his drink before he answered with a genuine smile on his face which caused him to look even more handsome.
“I’m a personal trainer, I co-own a gym with my best friend.” He said that explains why he looks so buffed, “Good to hear you’re a photographer as we are always in need of one for work, happy to see your work later on with my best friend if you want to.” He said quietly, I smiled brightly at him, “I would like to show you my work.” I said happily as he smiled brightly at me.
“Have you worked out what you want to eat?” Nathan asked me, “Hm I have never been here and just reading this menu so many things I would love to try.” I said softly, smiling. “A lady who is not afraid of saying she loves food.” Nathan said with another smirk on his face, “I love food, but I don’t see the point in keeping that quiet.” I stated.
For the next two hours we ate and chatted so freely, I have never been on a date where it was easy to talk to him, when it came to paying for my meal his hand went over mine smiling at me, “I asked you out Grace, I will pay for our meals.” Nathan said quietly, I smiled and nod my head.
Standing outside of the venue looking at each other feeling very nervous now, “Well Grace I don’t know about you but I don’t want this date to end just yet. Did you want to head to that club for some dancing?” Nathan asked, I smiled broadly at him.
“Me either, I like the sound of that.” Holding my hand out for him to take and he did walking towards the nightclub down the end of the street, it was a nice cool night tonight the moon was full and so bright.
“You like the moon?” Nathan asked, “It’s pretty tonight.” I said instead of answering him, making it to the club we didn’t even line up the bouncer let us in over everyone else who had been waiting while I looked back at Nathan in shock, “How did we get in without waiting in line?” I asked him.
“Bouncer is one of my private clients, he always lets me in for free. Did you want another one of those gingerbeers that you had been drinking?” Nathan asked kindly, I smiled at him. “Lucky you, yes please I would love another with a lime please,” I told him as I made my way to the dance floor making sure he can see me from the bar as I dance to the beat of the music that is blasting from the sound system, he handed me my drink he wraps his now free arm around my waist pulling me into him gripping my hip, grinding into me from behind Nathan leans down towards my ear, “Grace your fucking smoking hot.” He said loud enough for me to be able to hear over the music.
Instead of replying turning around in his arms with my free arm gripping his shirt pulling him down kissing him softly started to pull away instead, his free hand gripping the back of my head kissing me back softly at first, gripping my hair with his other hand that is still holding his beer pushing his tongue into my mouth giving me the best kiss of my life.
Pulling away as I nearly dropped my drink on the pair of us, both smiling at each other Nathan leaned into my ear talking loudly so I could hear him over the music. “Wow, Grace that is some first kiss.”
His words sent chills down my body, smiling at him before finishing off my drink, he took my now empty glass asking if I wanted another I said no, he just dumped the empty items on the bar racing back towards me on the dance floor grinding himself into the back of me, shit I have never in my life wanted to be with someone so fast and in public before.
We danced like this for five more songs before he starts biting my earlobe, “Care to take this back to one of our places?” He asked, should I? I know one-night stands are not new to me but they have never started from a date night that was this full of a need for the other person.
“As much as I would love that, I’m going to have to pass up on that” He cuts me off by spinning me around kissing me roughly, “Really love? I know you’re enjoying yourself.” He said. “Oh I am Nathan, this is one of my best dates since before I married my ex-husband.” I said loudly, “How about this how did you get here?” He asked, “Public transport.” I told him and his face lit up. “I will take you home, then you can give me your answer love,” Nathan said grabbing my hand and leading us out of the club.
Pressing me up against his car kissing me roughly, fuck how am I going to say no to this man when he kisses this well. He finally pulls away opening up the door next to me for me, I climbed in, and Nathan walks around to the driver’s side quickly starting the car but before leaving the car park he looked over at me, “Grace what is your address?”
Nathan asked kindly, I smiled at him and told him my address, he chuckles shaking his head, “Grace why the hell did you agree to go to this venue when it’s so far from your home?” He asked, I shrugged, “I don’t mind, crowd watching on public transport is fun some nights.” I said, “Also very dangerous too.” he stated.
Finally arriving at my apartment building parking out on the street, turning towards Nathan giving him a small smile, “Thank you for dropping me off Nathan, it was one of the best nights. If I’m not too blunt would love to go out again” He cuts me off, “Oh Grace I would thoroughly enjoy another night out with you. Can I walk you to your door?” He asked, I smiled nodding my head, “Sure, follow me.” Reaching my apartment door, “Well this is me.” I whispered, he smirked before leaning down kissing me gently.
“Well Grace, thank you for a great night, I will call you tomorrow to make plans for our next date,” Nathan said smiling broadly at me, turning around heading towards the elevator while I unlock, closing the door behind me locking it, letting out a sigh touching my lips making my way towards my kitchen as a soft knock came from my front door, hmm wonder what he had forgotten, opening the door without checking first thinking it was Nathan.
Instead, I was greeted with a punch to the side of my head, screaming out in pain as my vision starts to fill with dots before the blackness took over.