Grace of Spades

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Chapter 27

Grace



Jai, Kier and I pull into the Drive-in. Eight dollars to get in. How cool is that?! Keir planned this on car load Monday! Eight dollars per vehicle! Keir laughs at me as I bounce excitedly in my seat.

"What are we going to see?" I ask making Jai chuckle.

"Tonight is retro night. We have American Graffiti and Casablanca." Keir grins.

"No fucking way!" I beam. "Get ready. Casablanca is my favorite. I have a serious hate on for Ilsa, warning you now!" I admit.

"Why?" Jai asks.

"Have you seen it?" I refuse to give spoilers.

"No."

"Just you wait. She's awful!" I seeth. I am well aware that my hate for this fictional character is unreasonable but I just can't help it.

"Oook." He says looking a bit nervous.

"Thank you Kier this is amazing." I gush squeezing his hand over the console.

"You're welcome. I'm glad you like it." He blushes. Awe, I love it when he blushes. We park and watch the dancing hot dogs on the screen while we wait for Christian and Liam.

The truck backs in beside us and I watch as Liam jumps out with a feast of junk food. Off brand junk food. What are these guys doing?

"Keir, I hate you. Do you know how hard it was to get everything for twenty bucks?" Liam growls as I spin to grin at Keir.

"You planned a budget date?!" I grin my heart swelling. I really have a hard time with all the frivolous expenditures that everyone here just seems to make without thinking.

"Ya. I know you have a hard time with the heavy spending since you came here. I wanted you to feel relaxed. Is that OK?" He admits blushing again. I jump into his arms and kiss the bejesus out of him making him hold me against him and moan. Nothing is sexier than a man that pays attention. I'll say it under oath.

"That means so much to me Kier. Thank you." I gush.

"Come on, lets get the truck ready." He mumbles. So cute.

We start putting down blankets and pillows until we have a nice little nest in the bed of the truck. We all climb into the back and divy up the snacks. Liam and Christian bought a case of off-brand pop cans, two giant bags of chips and a container of gummies. I love it. Keir even brought a radio so we could hear the movies. He thought of everything.

The guys all decide since it's Keir's date I should cuddle with him so I am currently leaning back against his chest between his thick legs with his arms holding me against him.

The opening scene of American Graffiti shows up on the screen and our quiet conversation turns to college.

"Grace, where are you going to college?" Liam asks.

"Oh, um... I am going to a local community College." I shrug.

"Really?" Christians brows pull down.

"Ya, I'm just taking a few business courses. I.. uh eventually want to open my own restaurant." I admit fighting the blush that is spreading across what had to be my entire body. I've never told anyone this. Not even Ray.

"I didn't even know you could cook." Christian confesses.

"Well I used to volunteer at the soup kitchen and I've worked at a lot of restaurants but they never really last long. You can't work with food if you have bloody knuckles or cuts on your face." I shrug. "But I do enjoy it."

"What's your favorite thing to make?" Jai asks.

"Chili and cornbread. But I also like making pastries but I haven't had much practice. The bakery got rid of me after a particularly violent incident with the owner's nephew." I smirk making them chuckle.

"You should talk to Ruby and Andras. She's had her own restaurant before. Andras I'm sure would like to know so he can help you." Christian offers.

"Maybe. I'm still a bit shy about it. I've never told anyone my plans. Ray never understood why I kept up with school so I didn't bother. Besides he's always worried about Ace." I shrug.

"You mean we're the first to know about your dreams for the future?" Keir asks squeezing me a bit.

"Maybe." I hedge feeling my face heat again.

"You should show off your skills one day." Liam suggests.

"You just want food." I chuckle.

"Well ya but I also want to see you doing what you love." He smiles.

"Ok, enough about me. What are guys doing for college?" I ask.

"Well, I'm done with the school aspect of university and I'm doing a job shadowing thing." Christian explains. "I'm training to be a paralegal right now."

"I'm training in business to take over for my dad." Jai offers.

"Same."

"Same."

We settle back in to watch the movie and I find myself drifting to sleep. Bullshit funerals and kidnappings really take it out of you.





Keir



"Dude, she's asleep." Jai chuckles quietly.

"Really?" I ask looking down at her and sure enough my Grace is sleeping against my chest. She looks different like this. Sleep softens her face and her lips are gently parted in a luscious pout.

"I need some help for my date idea. Would you guys help me out?" Liam asks.

"Sure. What do you have planned?" I ask.

"I want to ask my cousin if we can borrow his restaurant for the night. Let her cook in a big kitchen." He smiles.

"That's a great idea. I think she'll love it." Jai comments and I agree. She will adore it.

"I honestly can't believe how much she liked this." Liam laughs.

"I know. I was so nervous!" I admit with a chuckle.

"Why exactly did you cheap out?" Jai asks.

"I didn't... ok I did cheap out. But it's because she's always so uncomfortable when someone talks about money like it's nothing or spends money on her. I mean she practically growled at the phone when her uncle said she had an allowance for going to school." I shrug. "That, and she's always on high alert. She watches and notices everything. I just wanted her to be able to relax. And it worked." I grin gesturing to her curled up against me.

"Good call." Christian nods. "She has a hard time sleeping. This isn't normal for her. She sleeps on the floor with a knife usually."

"What?" Jai asks his eyes snapping to our girl. I don't think I'm going to like the reason behind this.

"Yep. She said she never had a bed. The first time she slept in one was with me the other night." Christian reveals.

"Fuck." I mutter gathering her up closer. Liam covers her with a blanket as Jai strokes down her glossy dark hair.

"That was my response too." Christian nods.

We settle down and just hold Grace through the rest of the movies. Grace sleeps through it all.

"God, Ilsa really is awful." Jai mutters as I pass Grace to Liam as we all get out of the back of the truck.

"Told ya so." Grace murmurs before snuggling into Liam's arms. We all fight to keep our laughter quiet so we don't actually wake her up. Liam slides into my car with her and she snuggles into his side with a sigh.

Once everything is packed away and we are back at the Van Doren estate everyone gives her a kiss goodnight before leaving me to carry her to her room.

I lay her down on her bed and slide off her shoes and cover her with her blanket. I'm at the door when I hear it. A terror-filled gasp. Her once sleep softened face is tense and tears are pouring down her cheeks. I won't leave her like this. I don't care what her uncle says.

I slide into bed next to her and hold her to me until she calms down.

"Its ok baby, I'm here. I have you. You're safe. I'm with you." I whisper and it seems to work. She relaxes into me and her breathing evens out. Thank God.

It's not long before I'm asleep too.





Grace





Waking up surrounded by thick arms and rather loud snoring I have a moment of panic before recognizing Keir. That's right, I fell asleep at the Drive-in before I could even throw things at Ilsa. Shame.

I try to untangle myself from Keir but he pulls me closer to him.

"Shhh... it's ok. You're safe." Well If that isn't the sweetest goddamn thing I don't know what is. I cuddle into him and kiss his cheek.

"Keir. We gotta get up." I say gently.

"No we don't." He murmurs turning onto his back taking me with him as I giggle.

"Come on, we have school." I try again sitting up straddling him.

"If I open my eyes and You're looking all gorgeous. We're not going anywhere." He warns and I pull a face that has my tongue out and eyes scrunched up. He opens his eyes and laughs.

"Oh that's what I'm talking about!" He laughs before flipping me on my back with a kiss. "Gorgeous." I reach up and kiss him again with some heat. "I guess we can go... if we have to." He pouts.

"Sorry hun. Let's take a shower and then we can head out." I smile wiggling my eyebrows.

"You were kidnapped yesterday. I'm not going to have you today." He scolds. Damn logical man. He's probably right though.

"Fine. But I still need a shower." I snark before jumping out of bed and making my way to the bathroom. "Even if we don't have sex you can still join me you know." I shrug. Its up to him but I really hope I get to see him all wet and naked. So sue me.

I hear him curse and mutter through the door as I get undressed and turn on the water making me chuckle. I'm under the water and have a whole lonely disappointing shower to myself. I debate whether or not to just walk out naked but decide I've tortured enough people and wrap myself in a towel.

I silently thank myself for that decision when I see Keir and Richard chatting in my room.

"Good morning." I smile grabbing my uniform and heading back into the bathroom to get dressed.

"Sorry about barging in Grace." Richard starts. "I just wanted to make sure you were OK before you headed off to school."

"Thanks Richard, but I'm fine." I assure him.

"Good. Ruby has breakfast downstairs for you both. So hurry up!" He cries and then I hear the door close. I'm all dressed and ready for my knives. I guess I slept in my thigh rigs last night so I'm a bit raw there. I settle for boot knives, one in my bra and my necklace for today. Give my thighs a break.

We head down to breakfast where we find a whole pile of awkward. Literally. Andras has piles and piles of folders all over the table.

"What is this?" I ask.

"This is your file." He frowns not looking up from his reading.
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