Grace of Spades

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Chapter 23

Jai





I watch as Grace dances with Keir and I'm surprised that I don't feel more jealous. I mean, I feel it but its not the gut churning I-want-to-kill-him feeling. It's more of a longing to be with her too. Maybe Alek's plan will actually work.

I mean we all saw the scratches on Christian's back at the pool today. I was a bit shocked to see no one really got too upset by it either. I was even startled by my thoughts. I found it fucking hot. Which is nuts. I know I shouldn't want my girl to be sleeping with someone else. Christian is a good guy though. So are the others and I know they all want to protect her and actually genuinely like her. They're not just around for a lay. I think that's what makes it different. If they were just some random assholes I probably wouldn't be as ok with this situation as I am.

My phone buzzes and I look down to see Keir's text. Looks like our girl wants to go home. Thank God! I am tired of this party. This blonde bitch keeps harassing me and there's only so much I can take before getting rude. Speak of the devil. A delicate pink clawed hand climbs up my chest. Again.

"I told you already, I'm not interested." I say firmly removing her hand from me.

"But you're just standing here. We could have our own party." She simpers batting her big annoying blue eyes. God, this girl can't take a hint...not that I'm really hinting at all anymore.

I send a text to the guys that I have a stage five clinger and I'm trying to get away and before I know it Grace is I'm front of me in all her glory. And she's pissed. God, she's gorgeous.

"Addison, fuck off." She commands her smile brittle as she takes my hand.

"I thought you were here with Keir, bitch." Addison scowls. I see both Keir and Liam chuckling a few feet away.

"And Jai said no and you're not listening." Grace counters.

"God, can you ever mind your business? We were just talking." Addison huffs rolling her eyes.

"He is my business." My heart soars. "Now, fuck off." She seeths.

"Come on babe. Let's get out of here." I say stepping in before punches are thrown and Addison has to take a trip to the morgue. We don't need that mess. I tuck Grace under my arm and we walk away leaving a very shocked Addison behind us. Keir and Liam follow closely behind us.

I plant a kiss to her temple and feel her melt a bit in my arms. How can a girl be so deadly and still so adorable?

"How was your birthday?" I ask as we make our way across the front lawn.

"Best birthday ever." She beams.

"Good. Do you want to go home or do you want to stay out a bit longer?" I offer glancing back at the other two.

"It's still pretty early, we can go hang out." Liam adds.

"Sure. Let's hang out for a bit." She smiles as Keir and Liam fall in step with us. Yes! Our plan is working!

We lead her to Keir's hummer and I open the passenger side door for her before we all pile in making Grace give us all questioning glances. She's not getting anything out of us until we arrive.

Keir turns on I'm Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys on the stereo as we pull away from the party. Liam looks at him like he has three heads and Grace beams.

"I love these guys!" She cries before singing along. Now Liam is looking at her like he's only now just seeing her. I can't help but laugh and start singing along too just to fuck with him. Grace turns to look at him and giggles.

"Awe, don't look so concerned. Good music is good music." She laughs.

"It just surprised me." He shrugs.

"I got the Pogues on my Playlist too man." Keir smirks.

"Dude." Liam laughs.

"I'll take you to see Celtic Woman one day and everything will be back to normal." Grace reassures him teasingly. Keir and I both boom out loud laughs at Liam's expense.

"You are mean, Grace." He grins.

"I know, but I had to get you back for gym class." She smiles sweetly. He just chuckles as he shakes his head. "So, where are we going?" She asks.

"You'll see." Keir teases. She huffs before sitting forward. It doesn't take long before we see the black truck in the little dirt lot.

"What are you guys up to?" She mutters as we all climb out of the truck.

"Come on." Keir says taking her small hand in his giant one.



Grace



What are these guys up to?

I follow them past a beat up black pick up but hesitate as we approach the darkened treeline.

"Guys... I'm going to need a bit more information than what you're giving me." I confess stepping back into the semi-well lit dirt parking lot.

"What's wrong?" Jai asks.

"I'm not following three men into a forest at night, that's what's wrong." I say crossing my arms over my chest.

"Oh, I didn't think about that..." Liam winces. "This does look bad."

"Yep. Need some more information." I admit.

"We were going to surprise you with a birthday picnic. Christian is waiting for us with everything set up." Jai shrugs. I can see them all looking nervously at me like I'm going to be mad or something.

"Are you serious?" I ask a bit breathlessly. My heart melts at the thoughtfulness of these guys.

"We understand if it's not your kind of thing... we just thought you deserved something nice for your birthday." Liam rushes out.

"No, that's... this is so sweet. No one's ever done anything like this for me. I usually spend my birthdays alone or... working." Or bleeding. "Thank you guys." I smile trying not to tear up. Jesus! These guys are wreaking hell on my emotions!

Kier squeezes my hand and I see all three of them are blushing and shuffling back and forth. Awe, I made them bashful! Tough guys blushing... that is an unexpected weakness.

I start walking towards the treeline again and I hear them release a breath before leading me the right way. So cute.

We walk for a bit until I see a light through the trees.

"Oh my god guys!" I breathe. Christian is standing awkwardly beside a giant blue plaid blanket on the ground. There are little tiki lanterns around it lighting up the area and a picnic basket. Soft music floats through the air completing the sweet image.

"Happy birthday Grace." They all mumble. I launch myself at Keir because he's the closest surprising him with a quick kiss before dropping and taking a running jump at Liam who stumbles but catches me I lay a kiss on his lips too. Jai is ready for me as I jump at him. His arms wrap under my ass and hold me to him as I kiss him quickly enjoying him against me. He lowers me slowly down his body making my body heat. I wink at him before making my way into Christian's arms and kiss him too. It might be too much but I've decided to just go with it.

"Thank you so much guys. This is the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me." I admit.

"Well, we're going to have to fix that." Liam frowns.

"Agreed." The others sound off making me blush. So sweet.

We all sit down and eat, talk and joke around. It's really nice and the food is really good. A picnic basket full of taco fixings? Yes please!

"So, I have a question. You don't have to answer it but I need to ask." Liam explains. "How did you become Ace?" Oh. We're going there? Actually, it's probably not a bad idea to rip that particular bandaid off.

"Thats a long story... so, you guys obviously know that I'm pretty fucked up." I look around to see furrowed brows and a lot of confusion which in turn confuses me. "I hide bodies and torture and kill people. I've done it for a long time." I clarify. Weirdos.

"Well, I was twelve and still living with my parents and decided to get some self defense training. I needed it. So I went to Rudy's and I cleaned it in exchange for lessons. One night was bad at home so I snuck in and slept in the locker room. It happened a lot and it was safer than my other options." I explain. I notice Kier's fists are clenched and Christian is grinding his teeth. Jai is looking at the ground and Liam looks a bit pale. Shit. Hurry maybe that will help!

"So anyway someone broke in and I killed them and got rid of the body. Rudy found out and trained me for other things. Turns out I'm really good at it and then I met Ray and we started being psychos for hire." I rush out and finish with a smile. There. That wasn't so bad.

"Wait. Your first kill was at twelve?" Jai asks looking angry.

"Technically it was at ten. But it was my first one that stuck." I shrug.

"What?" Christian asks.

"I tried to overdose my parents. But one of their friends called an ambulance." I admit.

"What?!" Liam shouts. Yay! Happy birthday to me. I am scaring the shit out of future mafia bosses. I should put that on my resume too.

"Trust me I got punished for it." I mutter.

"What do you mean?" Kier asks breaking his silence.

"Everytime I 'misbehaved' my parents sent me to this guy for the weekend and... he wasn't a good person." I hedge picking at the grass.

"Shit." Suddenly I'm wrapped in warm arms and lifted into Liam's lap.

"I need a name Grace." He commands in a soft voice.

"No. He's mine. He will die at my hands." I state. Liam nods and buries his face in my hair. We all sit in silence for a while all stuck in our own heads until Jai breaks it.

"We better get you home babe."

"Ya, I have a funeral to go to tomorrow." I admit.

"Your parents?" Christian asks and I nod. "I'll be with you there. Andras asked me to just in case." I nod again not quite sure what to say.

We all pack up and head to the cars. I point to Christian's newly acquired old pick up.

"That's better. Get a cover for the back and you'll be set. You can even hose off the bed." I smirk.

"I thought you might approve." He smiles before kissing me on the cheek and climbing in.

"Come on, we'll take you home." Keir says tucking me under his arm. The ride back to the party is quiet but not awkward.

"Ride with me babe?" Jai offers.

"Sounds good." I kiss Kier and Liam good bye and climb into the Bugatti. Its nice. Like really nice.

"Im glad we're doing this." He admits shocking me.

"Really?"

"Ya, it...it's different but... I like it." He smirks. "I also like that we're not fighting or starting a war or something."

"Ya that wouldn't be good. But remember it's only day one. We still need to get used to this." I remind him.

"True but I also like that I have you again. You've been in my head all week. I can't wait to have you to myself again." He says stroking my arm with the backs of his fingers sending my skin into goosebumps. Sign me up!

"Wanna come in for a bit?" I ask.

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