I sat alone in my office, filling out paperwork that Carmen so kindly left out for me to sign before having to run off. It was my sixth cup of coffee and getting nowhere on these case notes off to my left, I need food. I really need to go home and sleep. Yet i couldn't walk away now. I heard a soft knock, and looked up. Who would be visiting so late?
"I brought food." Just in front of the door stood a beautiful sight, 5 foot 4, dark brown hair with blonde highlights and tipping, grey eyes, a gorgeous lightly tan skin that almost looked just like a suntan and not her natural color, and holding a bag of Chinese take out.... my beautiful sister grace.
"What's the catch?" I ask.
"No catch, just food and your awesome little sister."
I smiled and stood up, giving my usual sarcastic tone, "have I told you I love you lately?"
"No, your slipping." She sat the bag on the table and gave me a hug before pulling the food, "you work to much."
"Maybe I do it so you'll bring me food at work." I teased.
"Don't even think it. I had a free night and knew you would starve yourself."
"Mami called you, didn't she." I raised a brow as she handed me my container.
"No," she giggled, "you know mami isn't happy with me at the moment."
"Carmen." She had a smug smile as she sat down.
"Your using my secretary as a spy? No wonder you knew to bring Chinese." I sat down beside her on the couch, "thanks for the food gracie."
Her black shirt sat higher then her usual neckline and jeans actually sitting on her waist, she never dressed up when she came to see me. She said that she felt like a sell out dressing up just to walk to his office, and she wanted to hear a rumor about me having a escort in my office. She never believed me when I told her she didn't look like a escort or hooker, I would kill her before she could walk in my office dressed like what she imagined a hooker looked like. We chatted for about a hour as we ate, anything that came to mind. It seemed like ages when in reality, it had only been a week or two since we ate in my office. Grace always had a habit of bringing food to me at work when I got to involved in casework. She would cuddle on the couch with me and make me leave my work load behind until she left... she was truely my best friend, I loved my sister more then mami.... but I'd never admit it.
She turned my wrist and looked at my watch, "shit, I need to be going."
"Is he picking you up?"
"No," she gave me the infamous Barba 'seriously' look, "Recógeme en frente de un edificio de la aplicación de ley ...eso es loco. (Picking me up in front of a law enforcement building... That is crazy.)" She sighed and stood up, "business as usual. I was planning on the train."
"Nonsense, ride along. I'll get dropped first and you'll get dropped second. On me of course." I stood up.
"Your not gonna let me say no are you?" She stopped and sighed as I kissed her cheek.
"Not a chance."
"Fine, hurry up bro. I unlike you, do sleep."
I chuckled and threw on my jacket and grabbed my briefcase, "yeah, yeah.... let's go gracie."
She wrapped a arm around my waist and kissed my cheek. I just chuckled as we walked out to the waiting uber. I got out at my apartment and told her good night as laughed and hugged me through the open window.
"Night bro, see ya tomorrow." I rolled my eyes and watched her drive away, god I love my sister.
The ride home was fairly long, so I tried to busy myself on my phone. After finally pulling up at the building, I hop out and ran up stairs to find Nevada was already waiting on me.
"Hey cutie, how was work?" I kissed his cheek from behind the couch.
"El trabajo era trabajo. Cómo estuvo tu día, niñita. (Work was work. How was your day, little girl?)" He took my hand and walked me around it to sit on his lap, "hmmmmmm?"
"Good papi. Better now that I'm with you." I kissed him as he rubbed soft circles in the flat part of my hips.
"Your a little late niñita. Dijiste que estarías en casa?(You said you'd be home right?)" He nosed my cheek and rubbed his scratchy beard along my jaw.
"I had dinner with raf. Took Chinese to his office and he insisted I share a cab with him and wouldn't let me on the train." I pulled back and smirked, "Estabas preocupado?(were you worried?)"
"Always. Your brother would kill me if I let anything happen to you." His hand ran under my shirt and unclasped my bra, "I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you Mami."
My cheeks flushed as he rubbed his hips against mine gently, "as sweet as this is... I'd rather have the sex right now."
He chuckled and pushed my shirt off before laying me back on the couch. His hands working quick on my pants as mine cupped his scratchy cheeks. He never looked away from my eyes as he pushed them down and off, then he went to work on his clothes. He always knew which buttons to press, since I was a teen... Though niether of us would admit it. He knew me better then I care to admit, and damn did he make me feel every little movement feeling like a earthquake. The soft kisses down my chest, the way he hitched my legs over his shoulders... The way he slid in slowly, every inch he would stop and Bob just a few seconds before continuing.
"Fuck vada... Faster." I begged as he scratched my throat with his beard.
"What is with you barba's and rushing? Never taking your time on anything." He rolled his eyes, "prisa. Más rápido. No tengo tiempo para esto ... Debo amarrarte y enseñarte paciencia.(hurry. Faster. I don't have time for this... I should just tie you down and teach you patience.)"
I whimpered as he finally bottomed out, "god.... Move please."
He shook his head and I whimpered more, "please vada... I need more. Please, pretty please....god please."
He shook his head so I started moving the best I could and he put all his weight on his hips to hold me down, "patience.... All in good time niñita."
"Vada... Don't do this to me." I gasped as he withdrew and pushed in slightly faster then before.
"I love you grace, Solo déjame mostrarte cuánto.(just let me show you how much.)" He moved a hand to stroke my cheek.
The pace was still slow but at least he was moving. He moved my hands above my head and pressed them there as he reached for his belt from the floor. After tying me down, he started to massage and kiss my body between thrusts. It was heavenly but God did I crave more, needed more. Vada always was a gentle soul until you were on his bad side, luckily, I never made it to his bad side. From the moment we first meet when I was a toddler, I had never made it to his bad side. Even when I called him to get me out of school early at 8 and he took a beratement from both Mami's over it. Nor when I was 11 sitting in the cold winter air outside because I didn't want to be near dad and he threw me over his shoulder and carried me in to their apartment to sleep for the night, he stayed the whole night with me on the couch. He really was a gentle soul, if the world didn't constantly piss him off.
He hit a deep spot and I cried out his name, his lips curling up as he sped up finally. God I'm gonna feel that Tomorrow. He angled up and before I could speak, my body was shaking and my vision went foggy... I got light headed. I didn't hear my scream, but I knew I did as he laughed between grunts into my shoulder.
"Buena niña. Esa es mi nińita. (Good girl. That's my little girl.)" He purred as he kept going.
Only minutes later he returned the favor, filling me up and growling out my name in my ear. He collapsed on me and kissed me down from the high. He stroked the hair out of my eyes and looked at me with a big smile.
"Perfección, verdaderamente eres la perfección. Cómo pueden Barbas ser siempre tan hermosas? (Perfection, you truly are perfection. How can Barbas always be so beautiful?)" He cooed.
"The one good thing about dad." I smirked and kissed him, "I really do love you vada."
"I love you too Grace, always have."
"Then can we move to the bed? I don't want to sleep on the couch again." I pouted as he chuckled and pulled me up.
"Of course cariño." He walked me backwards to the bedroom, pushing me on the bed.
"The belt?" He chuckled and undid the belt from my wrist.
He dropped beside me and adjusted us into a comfortable spooning position. He kept me tight against him, even with the abundant heat of summer. He reached back and found the AC remote to cool it down. I sighed and rolled over to look at him.
"Hey vada, I think I'm going to visit Mami this weekend."
"Really?" He looked a little shocked, "your caving this time... And so soon?"
"It's been a week! Vada I miss her." I pouted.
"Ok.... Why are you telling me this?" He raised a brow.
"I want you to come."
"And have a pan thrown at me again, sorry no deal Gracie. Lucia es una locura. No necesito más cicatrices y ser perseguido fuera de un edificio ... otra vez. (Lucia is crazy. I do not need any more scars and be chased out of a building ... again.)" He rolled his eyes.
"For being Trujillo, your kinda a big baby." I poked his chest as he glared.
"Barbas are also assholes." He mumbled and I shoved him in the chest pushing him back.
"No, no, no... Don't even start."
"Te amo, pero eres un culo. (I love you, but you're an asshole.)" He smirked and I pushed him on his back and use my foot to get the extra force to knock him on the floor.
He tried to grab onto the bed but failed as he went face first into the carpet. I laughed and felt the sheet being pulled off me. While the air was now cold, it wasn't to bad as to do more then pimple the skin. He slowly stood up and smirked at my naked form laying out unafraid of the cold air.
"God I love you Gracie." He crawled over my body, "need some warmth?"
"Like I would ever say no... Love me vada."
He smirked and pulled the sheets over us. He kissed me and tucked me in tight, drifting off to sleep as he stroked my arms whispering that he loved me.
Please leave your thoughts on this story. I only posted two chapters but I don't know if I should continue it.
Chapter 2: A normal day (almost)
I sat in a coffee shop, sipping a tea and eating a danish. my hair pulled back out of my face as i read a book, company by George Furth. I smiled as his foot steps approached.
"Is this seat taken?"
"Not for you cutie," I winked and chucked at his eye roll.
"So gorgeous, how's the book?"
"Not bad, could be much better."
"Told you," he chuckled and took a bit of the cinnamon roll and sip of coffee.
"Stop being a dick rafi," I pulled a small part of the roll off and ate it.
"seriously? Does that cinnamon roll taste good with that tea."
"Nope, not at all."
He chuckled, "what am I going to do with you Gracie?"
"Love me, hug me....be that way to protective brother for the fact I'm thirty and your forty." I smirked.
"Your dating a forty year old."
"And I love him... He is amazing." I smiled at raf's eye roll.
"And a criminal."
"Prove it." I challenged.
He laughed before groaning at the sound of his phone ringing. He held up a finger and I leaned over to lick it.
He pulled it away quickly, "Barba."
He looked pensive, then annoyed, then sighed, "ok, I'll be right over."
"Bailing on me again?"
"Not on purpose. Caught a case and they want to deal."
"Yeah, yeah," i roll my eyes.
"How about dinner? Say tomorrow, 8ish?" He stood up.
"Ok... vada gots some work tomorrow anyways."
"Mami will be glad to see you stop by."
"No not mami raf," I jump up to grab his hand, "mami still gives me trouble about nevada."
"Nevada is trouble, you know that."
"You were friends before I was born."
"Which is why I knew where to cut ties." He kissed my forehead, "mami is just worried."
"Fine.... but promise you'll back me up. Just don't let her dog me all night."
"Promise. Text you later gracie."
"Bye rafi." He ran out the door as I chuckled.
Just then my phone dinged and I looked at it, screen displaying Nev.
N: hey mami, where you at?
G: just getting a caffeine boost. I thought you were out on business.
N: I want to take you out.
G: sounds fun. The usual coffee shop.
N: 11 minutes
I finished the tea and threw it away, walking to the front door. Stepping out into the spring air, I smile, the soft breeze blowing my flowy stripped tank top against my side, the black jacket blowing back.
I turned to my right to see my boyfriend with his sunglasses tipped down, he rolled his window down in the back of the black escalade.
"Hop in mami, I'm a busy man." He motioned me to him as he brought the glasses back up his face.
I rolled my eyes and walked over. He rolled the window backup and opened the door so i could slide in. After making sure my feet were in, he pulled the door shut and smiled across the seat. His one body guard, marco, sat across on the front seat eyeing me in the rearview mirror. I shifted uncomfortable with his stare before nevada's arm wrapped around me.
"How's my niñita?"
"Good vada... how was business?" I tucked into him.
"Business is business, Los asnos mudo no saben hacer mierda.(The dumb asses do not know how to do shit.)" He chuckled and kissed my head "how has your day been?"
Nevada tipped my face up to look at him as I spoke, "I am halfway through my new book, and the tea was delicious."
"Mira mi sólo mi pequeño ratón de biblioteca (Look at my little bookworm)," he chuckled and kissed me briefly, "I'm glad you are enjoying it. It took a long time to find it."
"Thanks vada, again." i sat up, "so where we headin?"
"It's a surprise, paloma (dove)." He smirked, "just enjoy the ride."
I got comfortable using nevada as my pillow watching out the far window as the buildings went by. He talked business, switching in and out of english. He stroked my hair softly, and gave marco a glare when he kept staring at my chest. I smiled when you could hear marco swallow and quickly looked away. After 30 minutes, the suv slowed down and I could hear it shift into park. Looking up at nevada, he smirked and motioned for me to go look. Sitting up, i pushed the door open, hopped out and smiled.
I heard his chuckle before feeling his arm around my waist, "it's beautiful, almost as beautiful as you."
Blushing, I took in the sight. The old shit hole storage dock that burnt down last year was remodeled into a small park, with the perfect view of the river behind it. With the sun slowly falling, the light colors starting to take the sky. He tucked my hair behind my ear and slowly moved me forward into the park. He walked through to the chain railing and held me to his body as I just took in the beautiful sun set. He whispered sweet nothings in my ear, little compliments mixed with soft kisses on my skin. His lips ghostly touching my skin as I felt mesmerized by the sight and feeling. Every so often he would squeeze my side softly and hum a little. Oh vada, you are to much.
It was almost a hour later when his men interrupted, some dealer was skimming profits and bragging at a club. Nevada apologized and told manny to stay with me until a guy could bring the car. I grabbed his arm before he could walk away.
"Vada can't I ride along and wait in the car? It's getting chilly out."
"Paloma (dove), Trujillo has work to do." He caressed my face.
"I promise I'll stay in the car... please, im cold vada." I pouted and he nodded.
"Ok, you can come along. But stay in the car.... I don't need to hear any shit about you getting put in harms way." He turned to the boys, "have javy and José bring him to the warehouse."
Nevada grabbed my waist and pulled me to him, "now promise you'll listen to me."
"I promise papi."
"Good, let's go... Trujillo tiene algo que hacer (trujillo has some work to do)."
I spent a long day at work after my little late lunch date. I groaned at the time, 8pm. I left the office and sent grace a quick reminder about tomorrow before being grabbed by the squad to have a few drinks. Carisi talked about his niece's birthday, then of course it looped back around to the case. I almost missed her text back.
G: like I would miss it. By the way, go get a drink or something.... you've been working over to much. And no mami didn't tell me that.
R: you should've became a cop grace.
G: to many rules.
G: now we're talking,
R: Getting a drink with the squad right now mother. Don't worry I won't get drunk.
G: no you better get wasted, I need proof that vada isn't the only bad influence.
R: night gracie.
G: Nighty nighty Rafi.
I apparently smiled because the squad noticed and asked about it. Carisi asked if it was a girlfriend and everyone chuckled, I brushed it off and changed the subject. They practically interrogated me even though I didn't budge untill everyone left for home at 10. I went home and passed out immediately, knowing tomorrow would be a nightmare. If only I knew...
The escalade pulled into the warehouse, I looked to my right. The beautiful brunette curled against the door, had retracted her feet from my lap.
"Paloma, this shouldn't take long. Just relax, then we'll go home."
I kissed her lips, pulling back and stepping out. Making sure that she was distracted with the book again before walking to the back room. My men had already roughed up the traitor and was waiting for the word to kill or release him.
I stepped in with a smile, "johny! My boy," walking over, i bent over just a little to give a full towering effect, "I was told you were skimming off my profits. Now I thought I knew you better johny boy... that pretty little sister of yours and her son sure thought they did too."
His eyes widen, "Trujillo por favor, I wasn't..."
Javy punched johny's gut.
"Don't lie. Where's my money?" I stepped back a little.
"I don't have it."
Another punch, harder to his cheek.
"Fuck... I don't have it!" He whimpered.
"Johny, johny, johny... then where is it?" i watched as johny stuttered out.
"Bx9... th...th...they heard I..i..i..i..i was...expanding my grounds and they paid me a visit."
i froze, turning back towards the boy, "expanding."
"I was selling to a few people out of our territory, they heard and put me on the payroll if I stole from you."
I was clearly pissed, "Tu jodido Traidor! (You fucking traitor!)"
Gunshots rang out from the the front of the building and suddenly everyone went running out guns drawn.
Chapter 3: I need your help
It was quiet, a blissful soft quiet as i sat alone in the suv. Nevada left men outside, with strick orders to leave me alone. I chuckled vada, vada, vada... you know me so well. I fired out a few texts to rafael before I lifted the book up a little and kept reading. I ignored any noise from outside the vehicle until it hit.
Loud consistent gun fire that leaves me shaking on the floor of the suv. I was sobbing and unable to move. I heard the door open and felt cold hands grab my ankle...looking back I scream, definitely not vada. His hands covered my mouth as he pulled me out screaming and fighting. I felt a sharp pain in my neck, then my mind got hazy and I was blinking back sleep. A losing battle as I pass out.
What the fuck? I ran through the door and straight to the open back door of the escalade, she wasn't there. I quickly looked around, my men following suit and catching one body on the ground bleeding. Where is she?! Where is grace! My heart raced, blood pumped loudly... I grabbed the man and shoved him into a wall.
"Where is she?!"
"I don't know wh..."
I punch him in his bleeding stomach, "don't fucking mess with me."
"Probably screaming for more as the...."
The guy was facedown on the ground with my boot to his head, "Llévalo adentro y hágale hablar ... y cada vez que él la menciona de esa manera, rompa un hueso (Take him inside and make him talk ... and whenever he mentions her in that way, break a bone)."
He was pulled out from under my foot and two of the men carried him back. I quickly noticed I'm down a man, Alejandro the warehouse guard was no where to be seen. Motioning to the second car, we hop in and started asking around and putting words to the runners.... you see anything, you talk, you get a reward. My mind was in a frenzy, it was all my fault she was missing she chose to love me and got thrown into danger even when I try to keep her out. It's all my fault.
I wake up sore, my body bound tightly by rope. I felt a little blood trickle down my cheek and my hair in my face. I swear that my hair was pulled back before... wait where am I? I strained my eyes to focus and didn't recognize the building in the least... it was dim and wet, like a dungeon. I struggled with my restraints before I felt a sharp stab in my side probably a broken rib...how did it happen? I whimpered softly as I try to stay calm... where am I?
It has been 2 hours and no word yet. The bastard won't talk, no one seen anything, and now I was in panic mode. I was thinking over all my choices and fell back to the only one I haven't tried. I pulled my phone out and looked at the time 4 am... god please answer. A few taps to the phone, I see his name and say a silent prayer as it starts to ring. Dios mio, por favor (dear god, please)..... I need him to answer. It was third ring when I heard the soft click to answer.
"He-llo?" He spoke through a yawn.
"Rafael... I need a favor."
"Ramirez?.... it's 4 am and your a criminal remember. I'm not helping with anything....."
"Grace was kidnapped. They took her and I can't find her."
"Grace!" His voice spiked before his growl came out, "what the hell did you get her into Nevada."
"Nothing. She stays out of business and no one touches her."
"Obviously not! How did it happen?"
"Gun fire at the suv.. she was in it outside one of my buildings. I had guards there and they still..." My voice caught as I struggled to keep my feelings down.
"Ok, ok... just calm down. Let me call in a favor and I'll get cops on the search. I'll be out there as soon as the call is done." He paused, "Why did you call me?"
"Because I don't trust easy... but I still trust that little kid that just wanted to get out of the hieghts." I sighed, "I don't want anything illegal, I just want her to be safe..... she doesn't deserve any of this."
"Finally we agree on something." He paused, "Where is this warehouse? I need a squad to examine the scene outside."
I gave him the address and I went back to the warehouse and sent the men, along with the almost dead man, out to the docks out of our area. He was useless and what the cops didn't know won't hurt. My men had pulled the video footage and it missed the guy being hit and left behind, it also missed my men firing back. It was useless but it wasn't incriminating to us. I said a silent prayer and waited for rafael to berate me.
A quick favor called into the DA at 4 am and then a second one to liv. I was up and dressed in the few minutes it took to finish the call. She was informing the local precinct and I was running like hell to the cab. The whole drive was terrifying, trying not to think of what could be happening. Then the thought hit, I have to tell mami.... oh shit.
The room was deafening, a soft drip in the corner echoing. My tears were dried and my throat soar. Then it started, the door opened and I heard foot steps.
"Look at you miss perfect.... don't see no boyfriend around now." Out walked a short, pudgy man.
"What do you want?" I whimpered.
"You don't remember me do you?" He laughed, "you have no clue."
"Please... let me go. Just let me go and I can give you anything you want." I pleaded like a child, nothing mattering but being in Rafael's arms with nevada laughing and kissing my head... Mami rolling her eyes and scolding me.
"Oh now she begs.... before you barely looked at me."
"I'm sorry.... I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?" He quipped.
"What ever I did. Please let me go!"He just chuckled, my tears running over me and my dry sobs. "I'm sorry, por favor lo siento (please I'm sorry)."
"Watch that language! Don't use that pathetic excuse for a langue near me!" He kicked my side.
"You bitch... look at me! Look!" He grabbed my face and forced me to look at him, "do you remember me now?"
"No... not at all." I cried, Please let honesty work.
He broke a rib as I cried out, "you little bitch.... you broke my heart and don't even remember me!"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
"Think hard before you say no again... do you remember me? Do you remember how you embarrassed me?!"
Then it clicked. Four years ago, right after me and Nevada had started dating in a very serious way, Just not to public knowledge, I had a issue with this chef. He liked me, a lot and I blew him off. He pushed and even sent flowers to my address which was nevada's place. Nevada got pissed and I promised to make sure he understood I wasn't interested, so I went to my boss and said he was making me uncomfortable. The boss canned him and a little over a year later, I quit the job.
"I remember." I whispered as a sudden fear hit me that hadn't been there before, deep down in my gut.
"Good.... now you'll understand what I'm going to do is poetic."
He went to work tying me to a chair and beating my side, definitely four broken ribs. He inflicted pain then went on about his feelings, how I ruined his life. I made him lose the job, which lost his home, which made him lose his kid, which put him in a rage, which got him arrested.... then raped in prison. He yelled at me, telling how he finally got parole and saved enough money to pay some guys to make it look like a gang war. Of course they just needed to bring me alive to him for torture. I cried where are you? Why aren't you here? Why am I still here?
Chapter 4: Missing
I watched the cops pull up and go through the area, ask the men questions and they showed them the footage. I noticed some detectives come up and take over. Two were sent out to help with canvasing and the other two approached and one talking to a small group of cops.
"Mr. Ramirez, you own the warehouse and vehicle?"
"Yeah," I sighed and looked up at them, "I do."
"What is your connection to the victim..."
I cut him off, "Grace.... Grace is my girlfriend."
He nodded and the woman frowned, so I took a turn to ask a question, "Who are you two anyways?"
"They are here to help, don't push your luck ramirez." I turned to see Rafael, jeans with a white T-shirt and black hoodie, walking up.
A smile flashed on my face, "glad your here." My voice had dropped low and it was almost a whisper but he caught it.
"Of course I'm here. Now play nice."
"It's not your fault." He stopped at the side as the group formed a circle, "this is detective Carisi and lieutenant Benson of svu. I asked for their help, they will find Grace... they won't let judging you get in the way."
"What do you need?"
Raf smiled, "I took care of the photo, just answer questions.... truthfully Ramirez. Compender?(understand?)"
They asked the basic questions and I gave the usual answers. They finally ended the session and walk off. Rafael told them he would be over in a moment and turned to me.
"It's not your fault."
"You don't know that."
"I doubt some gang would drug her to kidnap her."
I looked up, "They drugged her?"
"They found a needle wedged under a tire. I got them to inform me immediately if they get anything.... it's not your fault." He took a deep breath, "She wouldn't want you beating yourself up over it."
He smiled reassuringly before walking off and leaving me alone. My men joined shortly after and asked what I wanted to do, I gave them a short nothing and just waited there for word.
I walked up to Carisi and Liv now joined by detective Bartum on loan from the gang unit, "please say we found something to go on."
"Nothing on the security camera, no witnesses.... canvasing isn't helpful when people don't want to rat out the drug lord." Carisi snapped, "Why do you even know him? How?"
"Long story for after we find Grace," I looked at him, "Put aside any feelings of hate or disgust for him and focus on the innocent girl that's missing."
"How innocent is she if she's dating Ramirez?"
I flared my nostrils and bit back the urge to punch him, instead turning to Liv, "I want to know the minute you find anything. I have to give the next of kin a visit..."
"I should tag along to ask some questions." Liv adds quickly.
"Won't do any good, but sure." I start to follow her when I noticed Nevada was still standing there. "One second," I walked over.
"I'm going to talk to mami with the detective..."
"Won't do any good, Grace hasn't been over in a week because of the yelling match last time."
"I know, but protocol." I sighed, "Go home. Just try to sleep or smoke a cigar or something away from all this. I'll call to keep you updated.... por favor just go."
"Ok... but you better call." He sighed and motioned his men to the waiting escalade.
"Grace would kill me if I didn't." I whispered.
He smiled at my words before adding, "Tell mami I said hi."
"Yeah because that won't cause problems," I chuckled and walked over to Liv.
She started asking questions and I just let it all out. How Grace is my half sister because dad didn't just beat mom, he cheated too. He got a prostitute pregnant and Grace was born. I explained how she overdosed and left Grace to us, how dad didn't take care of her so we did. How at thirteen, I was taking care of a baby and before I left for harvard I had to promise the little eight year-old I'd come back. How we have a close bond and mami took her in as her own immediately. How i use to be friends with Nevada before I decided to be on the otherside. I got the ada job and we agreed to part ways but he kept a eye on her while she was in the heights. Then they became friends and at only twenty-three to his thirty-three, Grace dropped the bomb on me about dating Nevada. I wasn't happy but she loved him and he took care of her, kept her out of everything and made sure I wasn't looking like I was evolved. Then I added how mami kinda resents him to a extreme and makes it clear to Grace..... After almost six years dating, I still play referee between the two.
It has been hours and he took breaks between beating me and letting me rest as I blacked out. The room was dark with no windows, no way to tell where I am or for how long.... Then he escalated. He slapped me across the face, bruising my cheek and making my nose bleed. My body was to bruised and in pain to fight him anymore. I might let a insult escape here and there but I was almost broken... at least my body was. He cut the rope and pulled me up, shoving me face first into a table. He re-tied my wrists to the table legs, Then he tugged my pants down. I struggled and screamed, he punched my side as I screamed in pain. He took tape from somewhere and covered my mouth.
"Listen.... I want this to last. I'd hate to kill you right away. I want you to beg me and ask for this."
He rubbed his crotch against me as I cried.
"I'm going to fuck you. Show you what a real man feels like... not that pussy drug lord. A real man you turned down for that piece of shit. I'm going to make you feel like never before, make you beg for more. Then when I'm done... I'm gonna cut you up and throw you into the river. So when they find you... they will look disgusted with the whore." His hands ran up the back of my shirt, a knife cutting it off.
My tears pouring down my face, body shaking as he touch my tender body. I took inventory of my pain.... bruised cheek, bleeding nose, black eye...broken ribs, four broken ribs on my right side... my wrists are bruised from the rope. Then my upper thigh is in stabbing pain. That part was recent, probably from he way he is man handling my thighs and ripping off my clothes. As I tried to keep my will power, be the optimist at the worst moment... he crossed the line to far for me to keep control.
He cut off the underwear and threw my jeans to the side beside my hoodie. I heard him smell my underwear and laugh.
"Not that wet darlin... this is really going to hurt."
My eyes went wide and before I could try to fight, he had my thighs pinned and was ramming into me. I couldn't see through the tears as he abused me, he spit on my body. Slapping my ass whenever I tried to fight him. Then he hit a bruising pace, it felt so painful. It didn't make sense to me at first, he is beyond small compared to Nevada and his thing was so tiny... the only pain comes from not being wet. Before I could continue my thought, he came in me. Then he spit on my ass and lined up, pushing in as I whimpered. He was to soft to do much there, giving up after a few pushes.
"Next time you'll come Grace.... next time you will be wet for me." He laughed wiping himself on me, "and no... I think my cum looks good in you. Besides, if your worried about getting pregnant.... remember I'll just kill you when I'm done so it's no worry."
My body was trying to tighten into itself, to compact so tight he couldn't hurt me. It was useless though, I was still tied down. So I cried as he laughed and moved infront of me and ripped off the tape.
"Clean me up whore."
I held my mouth shut and he grabbed my jaw and squeezed till I had to open.
"Don't fight me bitch, suck me off or I could fuck your mouth."
I made no attempt to move so he shoved in and I gagged, he tasted awful.
"Taste like shit don't it. What did you think I was fucking a jelly donut?!"
I vomited as he pulled out, clearly pissed he went to clean up.
Benson and Rollins went one way and Fin and Carisi went the other way. The uniforms spread out as well and re-canvased the area.
Rollins looked at Bartum, "so how does Barba know this Grace or the drug lord."
"That's for him to tell." He looked over, "focus on the girl."
"So we are just going to over look the fact Barba the ADA somehow knows a drug lord in a none damning way?" She scuffed, "Something is fishy there."
"Are you going to let that justify her being kiddnapped?" He shook his head, "Just work Amanda."
"Your not curious?"
"I'm more concerned about the twenty-seven year old woman that was drugged and kidnapped."
Amanda stopped, she took a breath and nodded as they moved to the next group sitting on the streets. Her phone ringing, pulling her attention as Bartum came back towards her.
Carisi and Fin are working their way through the small group of people walking their way.
"Has anyone seen this woman?" Carisi shook his head as everyone looked away, "or don't even look? That's fine... Outstanding citizens you are."
"How about you sir?" Fin held the photo up to one guy separated from the group, "have you seen her?"
"I don't know the drug lords girl." He tried to slip by to catch the group when Carisi blocked him, "I talk he kills me."
"I doubt the drug lord would kill you if you help find his girl." Fin frowned.
"She is a guarantee kill, just saying her name in a bad way is enough to get a bullet." The guy went to push by.
Carisi caught him and pushed him back, "What name?"
"Grace Barba." The guy tried again to get away.
"What was that name?" Fin asked as Carisi went wide eyed.
"Shit... You didn't know it? I really am dead." He shoved Carisi back and took off down the street as Carisi pulled out his phone.
"Did he just say...?" Fin was cut off by Carisi.
"Grace Barba... I'm calling Liv." It rang twice then hit voicemail.
Fin texted Amanda instead, hoping she can get the info to Liv.
Amanda's phone was ringing, pulling her attention as Bartum came back towards her.
"Amanda a woman was kiddnapped and..."
"She's Barba's sister." Her voice going monotone, "The vic is his sister?"
He stopped and sighed, "Could we please just keep canvassing?"
She looked to her boss and nodded, suddenly finding a new focus. She didn't have time to think this through, to ask questions like why he didn't seem shocked... She had to find Barba's sister.
Chapter 5: Lucky break
Me and Liv pulled up to mami's apartment at about 6, giving her a little sleep before the intrusion I hope. We walked up and I knocked before using my key to enter.
"Mami!" No answer, so I pushed in and called again, "mami, es importante....tenemos que hablar! (It's important....we need to talk)"
I paused when she came walking out in a robe rubbing her head, "rafi... it's 6 am."
She looked at me and froze,"what's wrong mijo?"
"Mami, Grace was kidnapped la..." I couldn't finish the sentence, mami fell back on the couch looking broken.
She started a prayer in spanish and held back tears. I walked over and hugged her as her tears started to fall.
"Mami, everything will be fine.... Grace will be fine."
"It's that pendejo (asshole) Nevada's fault... dios mio (dear god) I knew this would happen."
"Mami... Nevada didn't do this."
"He is the cause of it rafi! If he would've just left her alone she would be safe right now."
"Mami, you know it's not his fault... she chose him not gave into him."
She pulled away from me and I sighed, moving to sit beside her. Liv sat in a chair to the side and asked the basic questions. When did you last see her? Did you two fight? of course that became a earful of hatred towards Nevada. Where were you last night? Can it be confirmed? Mami played along and answered everything before asking a few which Liv couldn't answer. Liv went outside and I answered what we knew as of right now. She groaned and I tried again.
"Mami, can we please set aside this hatred for Nevada and focus on Grace?"
"He's the reason s..."
"No he Isn't. She was with him but she was drugged with a needle and kidnapped.... that's not a typical gang move."
She sighed, "how is he?"
"Worse then you. I convinced him to go home but he looks like shit and still blames himself."
She sighed, "tell him if he needs it... I'm here."
"Don't worry... I doubt he'll come over mami."
She smirked, "find her rafi... bring her home."
She kissed my cheek, "go play hero."
I left and went back to Liv in the suv, off to follow along.
I sat in my apartment, with my phone in hand. I cried when no one was around, punched walls when I felt the urge, I even screamed. My world was crumbling with what ifs. What if she is dead? What if she is crying for me right now? What if she is begging for mercy? What if the bastard is r.... I couldn't finish that thought. I was on the verge off giving up everything for her.... I'd die before I'd let her die because of me.
I couldn't move a inch, my body was done completely. He had his third round of fun and I spit in his face when he removed the tape. He punch my broken ribs and left again. I passed out, came back later just to repeat the process.... it felt like days and I was stuck... his little fuck toy. So I cried until my body was dry.
The detectives caught a break, a bodega camera caught a man dragging a girl into a alley. I watched to verify, it was Grace. They pushed through and around 12:30, a woman confessed she had a guy who was "looking for help for his girlfriend". She called a cab but never let them in. The taxi gave us a address in the docks district. So we set up a full search pulling as many officers as possible to check all the buildings and containers.
Liv forced me to leave when it went down. She told me to go away and she'd call....I was to close to this. I did the only thing I could think of, I went to Nevada... I walked to his door and knocked. He opened it and let me in, concern dripping off him.
"What is it?"
"Nothing yet. They tracked down a taxi that dropped her at some docks with a man. The police is searching now.... they'll call me soon."
"Then why are you here?" He relaxed just a little knowing it wasn't bad news.
"They said I was to close to be there if they found her.... Or him."
"I would offer you something but I doubt there is anything in here.... she didn't get to do the grocery shopping before..." His voice cracked.
"I know," I hugged Nevada as Nevada bit back a cry.
This wasn't the first time I seen Nevada cry, but damn if it wasn't the worse. I seen him briefly cry when his dad died, on Grace's graduation day... Even when I left for Harvard and asked him to keep an eye on her. But it wasn't like this, this was a pain i never seen before. I couldn't be any stronger then him at this point. We both sat crying on his couch... a silent promise that neither of us would tell.
I barely felt him pull out of me for the 10th time at least.... everything was just blurred together. My body was like a liquid, hanging limp as he laughed.
"Still nothing? Ok fine."
He pushed the table against the wall, i was smashed in-between them. He laughed and said he would be back soon for another "love fuck". I just cried, I was in only a ripped bra that wasn't even functional seeing as the cups were ripped off. My clothes sitting in front of me ripped and shredded except my black hoodie that was oversized. My hair was all over the place, black side from 4 broken ribs, black and blue face. Wrist covered in rope but were bruised and raw... but worse was the bruising in and around my privates. My chest was full of bite marks and bits of blood with dark hand prints and slap marks, but my lower half was raw, bloody, and still full of him. I tried to cry but was to dehydrated too... I was defeated.
My body was on fire and then I heard the door, I cringed and tried to hide my face as I whimpered. Don't look. Don't make a sound.... Resist. Even though your body is like water, draped over a table... You can't let him win. Vada will find you, Raf will find you.... Someone will save you. I flinched and tried my hardest to coil in, use my last strand of strength to give a week fetal position.... Especially since I knew my body couldn't of moved more then a inch. He's gonna laugh, he'll laugh and beat me. But instead of laughter, I heard multiple feet running my way.
"We found her!" A male yelled.
"Hey honey, stay with me.... stay with me." A female voice rang in my ears as my eyes opened up.
A brunette woman grabbed the hoodie and tossed it over me as a tall blonde pulled a knife and cut the ropes. I fell back and she barely managed to slip the hoodie over me as they pulled the table back to get to me.
"Shhhhhhh, hey its ok... it's ok... my name is Olivia, I'm with the police."
She slowly moved closer as the blonde and a black guy moved the table across the room so I could be pulled out. I couldn't fight if I wanted, just let her slowly help me up. I stood on shaky legs, made it a step before the blonde caught me. He lifted me up in a bridal carry and carried me out to a ambulance.
My head was spinning, heart beat weak, and body completely numb... but I heard one of them say something about calling Barba immediately. Barba?... They mean Rafi. They mean my bro... My Rafael. That was the first time I smiled in what felt like a week.
The blonde looked down at me. I winced at the burn in my throat when I tried to speak, so I pushed through it.
"Raf and Vada... por favor."
The man hoped in the squad after calling out he would ride with the 'vic'. I tried to stay awake, forced my eyes open Everytime they closed. The paramedics told me to relax, I was safe and almost to the hospital. Yet the urge to fight was still there, it wouldn't leave till I Knew I was safe. I need to see them to be safe.
I felt the ambulance slow and the siren kick off, before I could realize we were there, the doors were open and they were pulling the stretcher down and rushing me in. A flashlight in my eyes, cold metal to my chest to check my heart... A pulse being read off my right wrist as I heard a bunch of talking. It was all jumbled up.
"The heart beat is slow."
"She has heavy bruising down her side."
"Heavy bleeding from below, deep cuts.... We need to get her patched up and get circulation back up."
"Call a code, all staff on hand in surgery room A! I think she has a lung punctured and the ribs need immediate attention."
I barely stayed conscious as they rolled me into the ER and back to be treated. The blonde that rode in with the ambulance stopped at the doors, he pulled his phone and started a call..., then it all went black.
Chapter 6: Stay strong
It was almost 3 pm when my phone rang.
"We found her."
My face broke into a smile and Nevada quickly looked over. A glimmer of hope to be seen in his eyes.
"She was just taken to mercy, Carisi is waiting their for a update from the doctor. I'm on my way too."
I hung up and grabbed my jacket, "they found her... let's go."
Nevada didn't move.
"Hey... did you hear me?"
"Yeah... but would she really want to see m..."
"Dios mio, Por qué me estás peleando por esto? (dear god, why are you fighting me on This). Get your ass up now. I'm calling mami and leaving to see her.... she would want you there."
"Mami wouldn't.... I just cause trouble." He sounded void of emotion.
"Nevada Ramirez! I just said that the woman that loves you more then anything in the world is alive and you don't budge... she will want to see you and mami will care less if your there or not. It's about her, about Grace."I look at a text from Carisi, "she asked for us."
He didn't even look up, Time for the big guns.
"Nevada, she needs you right now. She's always needed you. You protected her from our papi when I was gone at college. You kept her safe in the hieghts, gave her her own place when her and mami fought about you two's relationship... I might be her brother, but you are her hero. You always have been."
He nodded and then slowly stood up, "let's go."
His men drove us as I called mami, she was only a few blocks away and would probably rather run then ride in here. We arrived at the doors and ran in, Carisi was sitting in the waiting room with Liv.
I walked over, "any word?"
"She has 4 broken ribs, a bruised jaw, black eye..... and clear signs of rape." Carisi sighed, "doctor said the main problem was dehydration though."
I knew Nevada sat down behind me and had his face covered, "anything else?"
They looked at him before Liv spoke, "she was in rough shape... but she was still there. She wasn't going through shock or fighting us off."
I nodded, "thank you."
I sat beside Nevada as mami ran in and right to my side. She didn't ask a thing, not a sound... just took my hand and then the miracle. She rubbed Nevada's back lightly as he leaned forward to hide his face that was barely being held together. No one addressed it... they just let it be. About 30 minutes later, the doctor came out and addressed the group.
"She is still unconscious, But she is looking good. 4 broken ribs, bruised cheek, black eye... lacerations to the chest and genitalia." He paused turning to the detectives and speaking softer, "the rape kit has been completed and they did find plenty of DNA."
"Thank you doctor," I sighed, "when can we see her?"
"Just a few minutes, they are cleaning her up to prevent any infections. As soon as they are done, a nurse will lead you back."
I nodded and hugged mami as she hid her crying face, her hand clasping Nevada's hand as he struggled not to cry. God.... why her? Why did you choose her?
My heart was beating slow... almost non-existently once I heard the doctor say rape. My body numb, I leaned back and let my head fall back as a silent pryer touched my lips but never came out. Dios mio... don't take her.... por favor don't let her go. I heard a muffled cry and knew it was Lucia right away, I didn't look over but could tell Raf was hugging her to quiet her. Then came the surprising part, her hand grabbed mine and squeezed.
For a fiesty, strong woman... Lucia could be a sweetheart... Even to me. She might curse my name, berate me, insult me, when Grace drags me around her she has thrown plenty of things at me... but she understood I truelly cared for Grace. She seen my hurt, my honest to god feeling of caring for her daughter whether it was by birth or acceptance, her daughter..... she wouldn't say it but she was glad I was here. She needed the comfort, even if it from her mijo (son) and the bastardo that her daughter is dating... she wanted me to be there. The moment her hand took mine to squeeze lightly, I knew she wanted me there.
A nurse came out and escorted us back. She walked us to the room and told us to call if she woke up, the detectives would need to talk to her. Rafael nodded and opened the door, he took the first step in, always the bravest of the family.
"Hey gracie girl, we came to sit with you."
Raf walked in and pulled the only two chairs to her left side. He helped Lucia to the first one and sat beside her holding her hand as she held back a cry. He rubbed her back and i watched the two look at Grace, the monitor behind them showing a steady heart beat. I then realized that my body wouldn't move... Not that I had the strength to handle the sight I knew was just a few steps forward.
I couldn't do it... I couldn't walk in there. Couldn't see my Grace covered in bruises and cuts. Couldn't sit there praying she woke up. Hell, I couldn't even take a step closer without having to see more then her feet under the covers. I couldn't do anything at this point, if I walked in there I would fall apart. If I seen her like that I would want revenge, want to find the man and rip him apart piece by piece..... I would want to do what I do best and I can't. The police need to take care of this, I need to stay away but for some reason... I...I....I just need to stay away, I'm the reason she got hurt. I'll be in jail if I found the bastardo that did this, then Grace would be worse off. Or possibly better off...
"Nevada? Are you coming in?" My head snapped up to see Rafael staring, "Nevada... she wants you here."
"I..." My throat was forcing out a excuse as he Interrupted.
"Need to stay here with your girlfriend. Por favor."
He's right... She needs me. Or do I just need her? Am I the one hurting her by being close?
"Nevada.... Grace would want you here."
I nodded and slowly stepped in, her beaten face coming into view much like her arms... I felt sick and anger rising up. Rafael noticed and motioned me to continue How the hell can he still play the rock? After this... how can he not fall apart?..... Always the glue to hold the family together, even now, I still don't see any cracks.
Chapter 7: Please stay with me
*****does include a flash back to underage sex/first time sex*****
I felt heavy, my body tingling and aching as I stirred awake. My eyes struggling to focus, a blurry room slowly coming together correctly. I smiled at the sight, Rafael sitting beside mami as they slept and a Nevada sleeping in a folding chair with his head in my lap. Everyone looked peaceful despite the uncomfortable positions. I barely caught myself doing it, my hand running through Nevada's hair in the same soothing manner I always used when he laid his head on me. He stirred just a little, his sleepy thoughts hiding the connection to him as he mumbled.
"Grace don't stop.... that feels amazing." He purred as he tucked his head down into my leg.
I yelped a little in pain from the pressure against my bruised skin. His head shot up as he put a hand over mine, mouth a gap.
"Lo siento Grace... are you ok?"
I nodded and bit back a tear, smiling as I see two more wake up. Raf quickly took my hand, giving a soft squeeze as mami smiled back.
"Oh my baby, Gracias a Dios que estás bien ... Yo estaba preocupado enfermo. (Thank God you're ok ... I was worried sick.)" Mami kissed my forehead.
"Lo siento mami."
"It's not your fault Gracie, you didn't do this to yourself." Raf kissed my hand and pressed the nurse button.
"It is though..." I went into a coughing fit and seen three people jump to help me.
"Shhhhhhh it's ok breath, just breath." Raf calmed me as Nevada grabbed a glass of water from the sink.
I sipped the water and watched a nurse come in and help the situation as she called the desk to have them get the detectives. When my throat had settled, two people stood in the door way. They asked to talk to me alone and I watched everyone get up, I quickly held onto raf's hand.
"Por favor rafi, stay."
He looked to the door and nodded, "ok, I'll stay with you Gracie girl."
Mami moved towards the door as Nevada gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead before following. Raf sat back down and held my hand as the two walked in.
"Hi I'm lieutenant benson and this is detective tutuola." The tall brunette spoke as she shut the door, "we need to ask some questions about your kidnapping."
I nodded and waited for the questions.
"Can you tell us what happened?" Benson sat down in the chair by my feet.
"I don't remember much about the abduction. But I woke up in a dark room, tied down with rope and bleeding. I had a stabbing pain in my side so I'm guessing broken ribs." They nodded so I continued, "he beat me, yelled at me constantly. Then...then he... he," I bit my lip as raf squeezed my hand, "he raped me."
"Can you describe the man or did you recognize him?"
"I knew him, I worked with him like... 6 years ago, right after I started dating Nevada." I shifted in bed a little as Raf looked over, "I had a issue with this chef. He liked me, a lot and I blew him off. He pushed and even sent flowers to my home, it creeped me out so I went to my boss and said he was making me uncomfortable. He was fired."
"You never told me that," Raf looked a little concerned.
"The boss canned him and I just never seen it as a issue.... no need to tell the ADA about a stalker that stopped stalking."
The woman looked at him and he stopped, squeezing my hand as I continued, "I don't know a name, that restaurant was closed two years ago."
"Is there anything that could give anything to help find a owner for records." The man asked.
I jumped a little and squeezed Raf's hand, his body tensing and fighting the urge to hold me. I closed my eyes and tipped my head back slowly.
"Record... he said he lost his kid and went to jail."
"Any kind of time frame?"
"Within that year I think." I sounded unsure and really needed reassurance.
"Grace, you ok?" Raf asked as he leaned in.
I shook my head no and he quickly pulled my head to his chest as I whimpered. He squeezed me tight and whispered soothingly in my ear. I felt too pathetic, I was falling apart and my brother was the only thing stopping me from running right now..... And my whole body being bruised. It hit all at once, the feelings of being a victim, my body felt like it was ripped apart, I was raped. My body and mind forcing me to realize what I went through, I couldn't take it.
"Shhhhh, I got you Gracie." Rafael held me as I slowly felt like I was falling apart, "breath Grace, just breath."
"I can't do this... I just want Vada." I muttered in his chest.
He must've motioned or something because when I lifted my head, it was just Raf and Vada. My face was soaked, I was crying just from the sight of vada and what had happened, how can he love me after this?. Raf stepped back and Vada pulled me in as i cried, trying to calm me down. Vada let a tear fall before he quickly brushed it away, I figured he didn't want me to see him like that.
Rafael had sent the detectives out and asked me to come in. I walk in to see Grace a complete mess, crying into Raf's chest as he motioned me in. He got her to look at me before she just broke down. I pulled her close and kissed her head, a tear escaping that I quickly wipe away. No, you got to be strong.... Raf can't be the rock alone, he's gonna crack from all the pressure alone. I felt every little shake and shiver of her body, shushing her and reminding her of how much I love her. Rafael stepped out to give us a moment, I had her calmer now and just held her more for my assurance then hers.
"Don't leave me.... por favor don't."
My heart dropped, "cariño, I'd never leave you."
"Perfect. Beautiful. Amazing.... I wouldn't leave you for anything." I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her closer, "nothing will ever change that.... nothing."
It was late October, I was walking to visit mami after she had a small scare and went to the hospital. Now that she was home, I was going to drop in. Before I could enter the building I heard a sniffle and looked up and over by the side fire escape to see Grace sitting out in a bathrobe. What the hell? Mierda, (damnit Grace). I quickly climbed up the fire escape, my twenty-five years old body working quick to reach her. I stopped on the top step and looked down at her, she was wearing only a robe easily seen with how much leg was showing.
"Niñita, What's wrong?" I bent down and watched her wipe her face.
"I'm fine Vada."
"Your not fine, your outside in fourty degree weather wearing only a bathrobe. What the hell happened and who am I Killing." I sat beside her and lifted my arm so she would tuck in close to me.
"Dad?" I whispered and she shook her head furiously no, "ok, ok.... Then who?"
"It's nothing really." She hid her face in my chest.
"A stupid boy from school. I thought he liked me and he was cute so I went out with him and tonight we were gonna...." She paused as I squeezed her tight.
"Será mejor que no lo hagas.(You better not have)."
"No... We didn't. He wanted to but a girl Interrupted and I found out he just wanted sex." She sniffled, "I actually liked him."
"Oh Gracie.... Boys are pigs." I sighed and slid her into my lap, "no boy will ever be good enough for you."
"I'm going to die alone."
"No...you just need to wait till your older." I kissed her forehead, "your just to young to understand."
"Sure whatever. Thanks vada." She pushed up and was about to leave when I grabbed her wrist softly.
"Grace, your a beautiful girl. Guys will come and go, they always do... But you deserve the best. Don't worry, you have plenty of time." I watched her face twist back up and she started crying again.
She fell back to my lap as I lifted her and carried her through her window. I laid her on the bed and kissed her forehead, I just wanted her to stop crying. It killed me to see her watering eyes. I sat down beside her and smiled softly as she shot up to hug me, her arms tight around me.
"You know, I always had a crush on you. Especially when Raf would bring you by for supper and you would walk me out of the apartment when things got ugly.... You really were a hero to me Vada." She smiled at me as I smirked.
"I never want to see you hurt niñita... I'd kill anyone who hurt you. You deserve the world." I loosened my grip, watching her smiled.
"Or just you." She whispered as my heart fell.
"Escucha vada, te amo. (Listen vada, I love you.)"
"Your fifteen, you don't know what love is." I suddenly felt the need to put space between us.
"But vada... I..."
"I don't even know what love is! How could you know?" I whispered a little harsh to try and break the moment.
She is fifteen. She is practically your little sister..... Rafael would murder you for just thinking about it. That is breaking laws that are in place for good reason... It is wrong. Very wrong.
She frowned and tried to hug me as I stood up and stepped out of reach. Her face was in a new twisted pain, something much deeper then it was five minutes ago on the fire escape. No. No, no, no.... Let her cry if it stops this... This is wrong. One look as she sniffled and tucked back broke him, he dropped back down and pushed her messy hair back from her face.
"Shhhhhhh...... Niñita, hey, it's ok."
"No it's not... I'm disgusting." She let a tear slip down her cheek, "even you won't touch me."
My mouth dropped, Shit... Don't. Please.. .please don't. I kissed her cheek, after wiping her tear away.
"Hey, you know I love you. Your my niñita, my favorite little girl." I smiled as she nodded, "but it's wrong. Your so young...."
"Just go. I don't need to hear this again." She pulled away and I closed my eyes, "you don't care. You never did... I was just Raf's little sister. The third wheel you hated having around."
"No." I sighed and grabbed her arms so she would stop fighting me, "I love you Grace. I do.... Don't do this, your not ready."
She shook her head, "you call me niñita but I'm not a little girl anymore."
She pulled her robe belt and and pushed the robe back. She laid back on the bed and smiled up at me.... My eyes trying not to look. Her light brown hair laid out around her, her tan skin standing out against the white sheets... Her grey eyes locked on my face. turn away, don't look. I lost the fight, she looked like a angel. I looked down at her, naked on the bed. Don't do this... She is too young. She isn't ready... Don't... I bent down above her and kissed her as her hands pushed my shirt off. I closed my eyes and begged myself to stop. you can't do this... This is wrong. Imagining her like this is bad enough, doing it is worse. Stop...stop... Stop... Her hand had started on undoing my pants and I froze. Stop this.... You have to stop.
"Vada please..." Her lips parted softly, "please. Vada I want it to be you."
My hand held her side as she pulled me free her eyes going wide at the sight of me. I went to pull back when her hand stopped me, her eyes pleading for me like Everytime I imagined this. Then it happened, I kissed her and let it lay on her thigh.
"Are you sure your ready?" My eyes watching as she nodded and kissed me deeper then before, "I need to hear it niñita."
"Please Vada... Yes." She frowned as I pulled back, slipping down her.
"Niñita, your not ready for it... It'll hurt." I pulled back and went to slip a finger in as she pouted, "but Vada..."
Her mouth flew open as I pushed it in, a single finger as I leaned down to lick her as well. If I was going to be her first time, it was going to be damn near perfect. I had to give her what every girl deserved, something she would never forget and always expect. I worked slowly, curling up a finger and probing softly in-between... My tongue lapping as she panted. Hit every good spot, make sure she's nice and wet... Make sure it won't hurt to bad. I pushed in a second, then a third. Soft and slow... Watching to make sure it doesn't hurt her.
After a few minutes I pulled out and watched as she looked at me, "god vada... Please."
I nodded and positioned myself above her, lining up and watching her... She isn't ready... don't... Don't... I dropped my lips to hers, a passionate kiss to distract as I slowly pushed in. The head was in and I started a soft rocking motion as I felt it, Last chance...
"This will hurt alittle..." i missed her starting to squirm but caught when she pushed up and broke it for me. Her eyes went wide and her mouth opened to let out a small gasp that I quickly swallowed up. She looked like she was in pain for only seconds, forcing my eyes not to look down at the blood. Her eyes softened, begging me to say anything as she was lost. I kept rocking until I was fully sheathed, my eyes watching her face carefully as I stopped fully inside her.
"I'm giving you time to adjust. Don't want to hurt you. (My angel, relax or it'll hurt more.)" I kissed her jaw as she sighed and tried to adjust, "(good girl)."
She whimpered and rocked her hips, my eyes shut. Oh god... She really is perfect. God this is better then I imagined. Her eyes fluttered as she moaned, i'm fucked... What am I doing? Her eyes opened and she smiled, she looked so happy in this moment.
"Oh Nevada... Por favor, (don't stop)." Her body spasmed, "por favor papi."
I felt my hips move, a soft rock that moved her up the bed just a little. Her head went back and she reached up to hold my shoulders as I did all the work. god she is beautiful... And did she just call me papi? My head was getting foggy but I forced myself to stay focused. This isn't a one night stand, a whore wanting coke.... This is Grace. This is that little girl I always protected and teased, my niñita. Dios mio, what am I doing? She's fifteen! She's just a child!
"Oh god... I-I-I-I.... I-I feeeeeeeel f-f-f-funny." She gasped as her whole body constricted and her back arched up.
"Just breath niñita." I kissed her cheek, "let it pass."
She looked absolutely perfect in that moment, her body arched up to touch mine as her hands were clutching the sheets for dear life... Perfect. I was dizzy, head feeling heavy as I tried to pull out... But not before I shot inside her. My eyes wide as she moaned through it, a shot in and two more on her and the bed. oh shit... God please.
"vada.... That... That was.... Amazing." She opened her eyes to look up at me as I got up, her face dropping, "por favor don't go."
"I'm not." I kissed her hand, "we need to clean up, it won't be comfortable if we don't."
I walked over and picked up a towel she had in the room with a bottle of water. I wet it on one end after wiping myself off on the other side, a soft wipe off the wet side to clean off the blood. I turned to her and she looked frightened, she was looking at the blood.
"It's ok niñita, your fine."
"I'm bleeding." She looked up in tears.
"No, your hymen... It bleeds when it breaks. Your fine, see?" I wiped her softly and showed her there was nothing there now, "your good. I promise you are. No injuries."
She nodded as I wiped her up a little, she softened and let me clean her up before I stuffed the small towel in my coat. She smiled at me as her eyes fluttered.
"Por favor, No te vayas (don't go.)"
I sighed and kissed her forehead, "ok... But let's put on clothes. Just in case."
She nodded and I tossed her a pj bottom and t shirt. I pulled on my boxer briefs and t-shirt, I laid beside her In her bed as she curled up to me. I just stroked her back, and hummed in her ear as she fell asleep.
I stared at that same girl, only older, her tears dried as she slept in the hospital bed. She looked peaceful around the bruises, still beautiful as always. I felt my anger boil at the thought of someone hurting her like this. I needed air as I felt my phone vibrate. I checked it before I stood to leave, Lucia walked in.
"Business. I'll be back soon." I kissed Grace's head and went for the door.
"Don't interfere in the case." She warned, "let Raf work this out."
"Wouldn't dream of it Mami."
She frowned, "just be here when she wakes up... She'll want you here."
I nodded and left, the Escalade waiting out front.
Chapter 8: The truth
I sat in SVU at the table as usual, this time though i wasn't taking notes. I was giving a explaintion to the squad as the ADA assigned, Jason Conrad, took notes. The DA told me I couldn't prosecute this case because I was a witness and I was way to close. He assigned Jason, a young man with a lot of skill... Just a little too cocky and naive. Not that I couldn't give him tips and help him along, because I would do it anyways if I felt he was failing, but I couldn't be behind the table swaying the jury. It was his job and I was trying to have faith as he sat there and made me question if I should get someone else assigned.
"So Barba, you have a sister?" Amanda asked.
"More importantly, she is dating a drug lord?" Fin adds.
"Suspected drug lord, no evidence to prove he is." I sighed, "and step sister technically."
"Okay, just tell us how you know her, explain this step-sister you never told us about." Liv nodded.
"My dad had affairs often and ended up getting a prostitute pregnant. Nine months later Grace was born. Her mom died of a overdose when she was six months and left her to her father, which meant it was on me and Mami. I helped raise her and when I went off to college, I promised a eight year old Grace I would come back for her." I leaned forward, "Me and Nevada were friends, he lived just down the hall. We grew close and would hang out when I wasn't with my friends. When I went to college and said I wanted to be a ADA and eventually a judge, we went our separate ways but he promised to keep a eye on Grace for me while I was gone. Even after I got back, I'm working constantly and got the lateral to Manhattan.... So he kept a eye on her."
"That's sweet, drug lord and the ADA's sister." Carisi rolled his eyes.
"I don't control my sister's life, she can make her own decisions."
"And it looks bad." Carisi shrugged, "your telling me you don't know anything that could prove he is a drug lord?"
"Nothing. I don't pry... She's happy with him, then I'm happy for her." I closed my eyes, "I just want her to be happy. She deserves it."
"So, with the evidence we have.... What are we looking at?" Conrad pushed.
"Grace says she remembered the unsub talking about prison and a incident with stalking her, we think we found him." Liv nods as Amanda pointed to the board, "Ian wright."
"What do we have on this Ian wright?"
"Two assault charges, one count stalking and a arrest on assaulting a police officer. Apparently he got in a fight after he lost his job and went up state for a short stint. He lost right to his kids and wife divorced him." Fin spoke, "typical scum bag."
"We have bolo for him and his car. Already looking into possible family and friends locations." Liv looked up, "we have plenty of DNA evidence and video decent enough to show kidnapping with our witnesses... We find him and he's done for."
"Good." I sighed, "let me know if I can help in anyway."
I stood and was on my way out when carisi caught me in the hall, "hey Barba... I'm sorry for what Happened."
I nodded barely turning back as he finished, "when we found her... I rode with her to the hospital and the only thing she would say was yours and his name." He nodded, "she was begging for both of you."
"She's a strong woman. After hearing what she went through and how she's doing now... She'll be fine." Carisi reasured, "Liv assigned me to take lead on her detail for the moment. I figured I should tell you."
"Thanks, at least I know she'll be safe." Raf left on that note, back to the hospital where his sister was waiting.
I walked into one of my clubs, straight to a backroom where my men sat. Marco stood up and handed me some papers.
"jefe (boss), he found something." He swallowed harshly, "this was dropped off at the building for you. Messenger with no lead to the sender."
I looked them over, they were photos of grace when she was being held captive. Some clothed, some torn clothing... Plenty of her exposed. A few of the rape. I felt sick, my heart losing rhythm as I sat them face down.
"They were sent to my apartment?"
"Yeah, boss." Gabby nodded, "we thought we should tell you Immediately."
I nodded, "who found it and opened it?"
"I did." Javy nodded, "I also caught him on the street to find out who sent. He knew nothing."
"Ok... I have to give this to the police. They'll want to question you on it." I looked at javy, "don't lie. Tell them what they need to know."
"The police?" Marco leaned forward, "Por qué diablos estamos hablando con la policía?(why the hell are we talking to the police?)"
"This needs to be clean. Grace wouldn't want me going off, she would want Raf to handle it. The police does all the work and the bastard goes to jail." I sighed, "hopefully he'll get raped in there."
"Ok boss. Whatever you say." Javy shrugged and followed me out as I called Raf.
"I found something... Pictures were delivered to my apartment." I closed my eyes, "they're of grace being raped."
"Tell me you didn't look at them." He whispered and was answered by silence, "ok... Where are you?"
"Who found it?"
"One of my men... He's here with me. What should we do." I bit my lip and waited.
"You need to get back to Grace, if she wakes up and your not there.... It won't be pretty. Send the one who found it down to the precinct with the photos." He went silent before giving a shakey breath, "did anyone else look at them or touched the envelope?"
"No... Just me and my one man. The delivery boy."
"Do you know the company?"
I looked at javy and he nodded, "yeah, he knows it."
"Good. Send him down and I'll be waiting for him." Raf sighed, "go back to Grace."
"No buts Nevada. Think about Grace, not the photos. She needs you, don't let your mind push you away. Be there for her." Raf hung up and I sent javy and the photos to the precinct.
I returned to the hospital, walking up to the room where she still laid in bed. Lucia rolled her eyes, and waited for me to enter the room completely.
"The doctor was in only a few minutes ago... He is sending her home tomorrow under careful watch. Raf called and said a detail would be assigned before she leaves." She gave a small smile, "sit... She'll wake soon enough."
I took a seat on her left side and kissed her hand just below her iv. She will be ok.
I walked in to the precinct, wasn't hard to spot Nevada's guy. He quickly came over as I hit the elevator.
"Yeah, you have the photos?"
"Tell the truth." I warned.
"Jefe already said that." He looked for a second, "you and Grace look almost like twins."
I chuckled, "the one good thing from dad."
The doors dinged and we stepped off, I lead the way in as everyone turned. Taking the final step in Liv stood up and I smiled.
"Found something... Where do you want him?"
"Interview room." She pointed to the door and I watched the man walk in before she finished, "what did you find?"
"Someone sent photos of the rape and torture to their apartment. He called me and I had him send the photos and the man that found it right down."
"Did you look at them?" She asked softly, obviously as a friend not detective.
"No... I don't want to." I swallowed back the urge to tear up, "just bury the bastard."
I stepped back towards the door, "keep me updated."
"Of course, go back to your sister. She needs you."
I nodded and left for the hospital, I need to see her. I needed to know she is ok.
My eyes were struggling to open, it was bright in the room. My body felt numb, then my senses came back quickly. I felt the iv, something pumping in me. I heard two people in the room, one sleeping and one texting by the small clicks I heard. My mouth was dry, I couldn't taste anything if I wanted to as it burned when I sucked in air. All I smelled was cleaning supplies, like someone was scrubbing a room spotless and forgot to open the window. Then my eyes were able to open, focusing slowly I seen Rafael pacing by the window texting and Nevada sleeping on my legs again. I stroked his hair again lightly, smiling as hestretched slowly and lifted up as raf turned at his soft noises.
"Wakey wakey sleepy head." Raf chuckled and tucked his phone away as he sat in the spare chair to my right.
"Me or Vada." I yawned before wincing and being handed some water.
"You. You have been sleeping for almost two days." He sighed, "how you feeling?"
"Like a punching bag that went five rounds with a pro."
"Need anything?" Vada asked as he pushed some hair from my face.
"I could use some food?"
They both chuckled, "I'll call your meal up."
Raf stood and picked up the landline in my room and asked for my dinner, while vada handed me a tissue to wipe my suddenly runny nose.
"You don't have to thank us Gracie." Raf put the phone down and sat back beside me.
"Yeah I do, I'm Lucky to have you two." I sniffled as they both leaned in to hug me.
"Por favor no llores. Odio verte llorar.(Please don't cry. I hate to see you cry.)"Raf wiped away a tear as bad kissed the top of your head, "Ahora nos tienes ... No te preocupes por nada, pero mejorando.(you got us now... Don't worry about anything but improving.)"
The tears still poured, How can they be this sweet still? I'm disgusting, broken.... Pathetic. Look at me, I am a freak! How can they look at me and not see the revolting? I watched them pull back as a nurse came with a tray. She sat it down on a small stand and moved it to sit just above my lap to eat. She walked out and I slowly sat up and peeked under the lid at the food. Macaroni and cheese, corn, a roll, and a small piece of steak. I smiled and sipped the cup, sweet tea.
"This meal is a amazing... I didn't know hospital food was like this?"
"It isn't usually." Vada smiled, "I ordered out the steak and Mac n cheese. The rest is from the hospital kitchen."
"Oh vada, you didn't have to..."
"I wanted too. Only the best for my niñita." He kissed my forehead.
"Love you vada." I sniffled a little as he smiled, "love you too Gracie."
I reached up to cut the steak, my hands white knuckling the utensils. I slipped the fork in and went to move the stake knife, I seen a little blood and felt the small friction of the cut and I dropped it. My heart was pounding and head went numb.... The blood brought back everything. The rip off the knife made my hands feel bound again.... I started shaking as vada pushed the stand back and raf hugged me.
"Hey, Grace... Gracie look at me. Look at me." He pleaded as shut my eyes tight and started to shake, "Gracie we got you. Your fine. Your ok."
I couldn't move, I felt bound again... Tied to that table as I was beaten and raped. I felt my stomach turn and started to heave. Raf pulled back and vada handed him the trash can. He held it by my mouth as I threw up. My empty stomach forcing up everything it could... But mostly blood. My throat felt raw as I vaguely heard Nevada yelling for a nurse. I was sweating, eye sight blurring, and skin paling. What's happening? What is going on? Stop...stop this! Stop it! Oh god please stop. The room started to spin and I blacked out.
We were just sitting watching Grace eat when she just... Changed. Her skin paled and she looked sick. She dry heaved on raf's arm and started throwing up blood. I ran to the door and yelled for a nurse, watching as several came running. They pushed us back and started check Grace over, then she passed out. We both tried to move closer as the nurses asked us to leave the room. I pushed to get to her as Raf pulled me back.
"Not now, let them work." Raf pleased and dragged me out the door.
We sat in the waiting room for what felt like hours... I couldn't move. I sat in one spot holding my head, my heart pounding out of my chest as raf paced the floor. He called Mami to let her know what just happened. His words sounded foreign, or maybe my ears just wasn't listening closely... Nor any part of my body as I jumped when he tapped my shoulder.
"Earth to Nevada."
"What?" I shot up.
"They have her stable. The doctor wants to talk to us before we can visit her again." He frowned, "are you ok?"
"Yeah. I'm good." I stood up, "let's go."
He grabbed my arm softly and stopped me with a small jerk, Just like Grace. "your not ok. I can tell.... You can't let Grace see you like this, it won't help her. You have to be strong."
I nodded and he points to the right, "follow me, I know where his office is."
Chapter 9: PTSD
Me and Nevada walked down the hall to the doctors office. I had visited the doctor for a few cases, he regularly appeared on the stand as expert testimony and was the main doctor for most the victims. I knew he would be the best doctor for Grace but that didn't make anything much better. We were a foot away when Nevada stopped and looked at me as i turned around.
"How bad can she be? I mean we see the bruising but...Que demonios fue eso?(What the hell was that?)"
"Let's talk to the doctor and see." I start to turn the nob and he stopped me.
"I don't know if i can.... I can't take hearing what happened to her and what's wrong with her now." He shook his head, "i can't stand seeing her like that."
No, no, no, no.... No running out, no turning away. I know this hurts because it's killing me too but you can't bail on Grace.
"What are you trying to say? You want to bail on her." I rolled my eyes, "Por supuesto que eres un criminal, corre cuando se pone demasiado duro (of course your a criminal, run when it gets to hard.)."
His eyes went wide, "no! I... I just." He ran his fingers through his hair, "i don't know what to do. I'm completely out of my element and freaking out."
"Your a criminal, of course your out of your element working with the cops."I paused "Of course you are, it's not a normal thing. Grace went through something horrible and she is struggling to deal with it..... She needs us. She needs to see us helping even when it's just giving her space. She'll want us in the courtroom with her so she can focus on us and ignore the nagging pain. She needs us. We need her." I pushed, "if you can't sit in here with the doctor to find out about her condition, how are you going to sit through the trial? You know she'll want to be at the trial and she can't do it alone."
"I know." He sighed and moved his hand, "let's do this."
I opened the door and walked in to see Dr Liu. She waved us in, and gave her usual apologetic smile. We sat down and she nodded softly.
"How are you Barba?"
She gave a half smile as she lost her usual professionalism that she held with patients, "so have good news and bad news, which one first?"
"Bad." I braced for the worst.
"Grace has PTSD. The trauma she endured was overwhelming and she will have to work through it her way. You could try therapy or small things but honestly, it's all her." Liu leaned forward, "you of course know how everything goes with this. I can't give tips along that way but... I'm here to help where i can."
"Thanks... Is their anything you can tell us about her condition. How is she healing?"
"The majority is fine, her ribs are getting better, tears healing..... All tests came back negative so she is fine on that level." The doc smiled.
"We're good to see her?" Nevada asked.
"Yeah, she asked for you two a few minutes ago." The doc nodded and called, "have a good day."
Nevada stepped out and walked beside me slowly back to Grace's room. A few doors away i stopped him.
"Nevada, I'm sorry for what i said before. I was just trying to get your head straight. I know it's painful to watch her but taking off and giving her to much space won't help. She needs you."
"I know. It's ok, i needed it." Nevada looked ahead, "I'm just scared. What if she changes? What if she pushes us away? What if we can't help her?"
"Don't think about that, think about her. Worry about her getting better... But don't think to much."
I walked i to her room and she looked up and started to whimper, "Gracie? You ok."
My body felt broken... Not physically but... Broken. The skin was the same yet somehow rough. My hair felt like itself yet somehow brittle and outta place. All the bruises we're healing but... They felt fresh. Like i could almost feel every hit that caused them again. I was whole... But i wasn't. it's all in your head. The ringing in the room, the burning of your tummy .... It's not real. It's in your head. i closed my eyes and took a deep breath as my lungs restricted and i couldn't let air in. It stopped seconds later, just to fuel my insanity more.
I looked up at the sound of a door opening, Rafael stepped in and my heart dropped. Eyes watered and a sob escaped, Why are you crying?
"Gracie? You ok."
I felt pressure by my leg, obviously he sat on my bed.
"Y-y-y-y.......yes." i struggled as he frowned back.
Nevada walked in and kissed my forehead softly, "niñita, it's ok."
His lips touching my skin made me flinch, not from pain but from contact. The feel of someone touching me was sickening, even if it was my Vada or Rafi. I pulled back and scrubbed my skin with my hand like a kid scrubbing off his mom's kiss., noticing both looking at me worried. I couldn't stop, i wanted to but i couldn't. Then raf grabbed my hand softly to stop it and it felt like fire. I pulled it away with tears brimming my eyes.
"Don't.... Please don't."
"Gracie, what's wrong?" He asked softly.
"Don't touch... Please no... Please."
They both looked sick, then they nodded and i couldn't take it. I rolled away so i couldn't see them and started crying. I heard the door shut and it became a full wail, wanting them close but not touching. why... Why am i like this? Don't push them away. Don't hurt yourself like that. Eventually the cry died down as i fell asleep, drifting off to happier times.
I sat outside the room, looking at her sobbing form. My mind fighting my body's need to console her. Raf stood beside me and rested a hand on my shoulder.
"We'll get her through this. She just needs time."
"She was rubbing her face like someone threw acid on it. A burn that had her completely defenseless." I hissed, "how do you fix that? We can't even touch her without her body painfully reacting."
"It takes time. She has to work through it, we support her." He looked over, "she gets out tomorrow morning. We get her settled and maybe you two just won't share a bed for a while or something.... She'll work through it."
"I hope your right.... Because i can't take this to much longer." I turned away and sat in a waiting room chair as he raised a brow, "I'm not leaving her here alone. When she falls asleep I'll move into the room."
He gave a small smile, "Terco... Tus dos tan jodidamente tercos. (stubborn... Your both so fucking stubborn.)"
He left saying something about checking on Mami as i waited... I couldn't leave her.
As morning came, i woke up from my nap in one of her room chairs. I stretched silently before making sure she was still asleep, a nurse checking her vitals quickly before coming over and whispering.
"She is good to be released. The doctor signed the papers and as soon as she wakes up, we'll move her out."
"Thank you." I nodded.
She left and i looked back to my niñita, a beautiful sleeping angel. A little over ten minutes later, raf stepped in with Lucia and Grace stirred awake. She looked up frowning as a nurse brought her in a small breakfast to Chow down before she left. She played with the eggs and took maybe two bites as everyone tried not to mention it. It's hospital food.... I wouldn't eat it either. Then they gave us the discharge papers and told us they were preparing a wheel chair and some help to get into her vehicle just in case. She shut the curtains and door as we sighed. She wasn't going to let me or raf touch her so Lucia helped her get dressed at the hard parts. They had just go her into the chair as i noticed two guys were the help, so raf said they could handle it... The less men right now the better.
We pushed her out to the Escalade, as i had asked only Marco was driving and no one accompanied him. She got in and curled up against the other door, i frowned and turned back as raf spoke.
"We'll call to check in later, maybe stop by."
"Take care of my girl Nevada." Lucia added and actually stopped for a second to hug me.
"Of course Mami," i whispered and she rolled her eyes.
They left and i slowly got in, plenty of room between us and the music turned way down.... It felt so wrong. But it had to be like that. So i looked over and seen her head was pressed against the cool glass and she was watching the streets and people go by. It's ok niñita, you'll get better. I promise you will.
I was watching everything pass me by, like nothing had changed. Kids played in the streets, old timers talked on almost every corner, shopkeeps sat outside talking together.... It's like no one even noticed i was gone. Not the kids that usually follow me around chuckling before i chase them off or play with them, not the old-timers i would chat with, and not the young guys that would flirt with me till vada or one of his guys got close. All i want to do is lay in bed with vada and cuddle into his chest and cry, but would he even let me? Does he even still like me? I am repulsive, used..... I am just a fucking toy. Why would he love me after that?
We got home and i walked in the building, slowly heading up to our place. Vada kept a little distance and everyone moved away if they were in the hall near us. He pressed for the elevator and held it open for me, i stepped in and tried to remain relatively calm. It was just me and vada, the security detail would be waiting upstairs for us. The doors shut and it started to move, my hands white knuckling the bar as the elevator jerked and i fell forward. On instinct, vada reached out to catch me with only made me fidget worse as i shoved him off. I was curled up in the corner as i caught his heart broken face, Why did it have to be this way?
The doors opened and i ran out past him, to our door and took deep gasping breaths. He walked slowly over and rested his had feather light on my back.
"You ok niñita?"
"Fine.... Just peachy."
He nodded and unlocked the door carefully before letting me run in. The few cops waiting by the door watched curiously as he waved them in. He sat down on the couch, letting me curl tight into what was usually his chair, the blanket he got me for my birthday was pulled tight around me. The detail came in and started explaining they would post a car outside to watch the street and have a few extra cops in the area. One would be posted in the hallway, outside there door. After that they went to their posts and left me and vada alone. He got up slowly and grabbed his phone, he called a guy about passing business off for the moment due to the circumstances. Raf and Gabby could handle the small stuff and Mateo agreed to take over arrangements till everything smoothed over. Next he walked back over and sat in the armrest starring at me.
"Are you hungry?Necesita mi niñita una buena comida y no esa comida de hospital de mierda? (Does my little girl need some good food and not that shitty hospital food?)"
"I'm not hungry vada." I sighed.
"You need to eat at some point cariño." He frowned, "you don't need to get sick. Usted podría ser Obstinado Barba Pero escúchame por una vez. (You might be a bull-headed barba but listen to me for once.)"
"Vada I'm fine, just.... Just..... Just let me be." I got up and went to the bedroom, laying down feeling lonely.
I couldn't sleep so i took all the pillows and made a wall, pulling the blankets over me tight so vada could sleep on the other side. Still couldn't sleep, i was alone. I knew vada was out there, i wanted him closer... Just not touching. Would he even want to touch me? i shook off the thought and frowned, Maybe he would lay with me? I sat up and squeezed a pillow tight, Its just Vada... Your vada. He protected you since you could walk.... One of Rafi's best friends till college. He won't hurt you. He would never hurt his niñita. Looking up, i open my mouth and take a deep breath.
I heard a shuffle and then footsteps as he turned i to the door way, "yes Gracie?"
"Will you lay down with me?"
He looked taken aback, then sighed and kissed nodded. He walked over to me and i raised my hand to stop him.
"On the other side.... So your close." I bit my lip waiting for him to leave me.
"Of course." He went to the other side and laid down, facing the pillows so i could see his face, "get some rest niñita... Raf and Mami will be over for dinner tonight with your new unofficial bodyguard."
I nodded and cuddled against the pillows, imagining it was him, "nighty night vada."
"Buenas noches (Goodnight) Gracie." He laid there and watched as i fell asleep.
I smiled as she fell asleep. Once i one she was out, i brushed some hair from her face so it didn't tickle her nose and wake her up. I pulled my phone out and texted raf.
N: she is really bad... I'm going to need help.
R: what happened?
N: She is making me sleep beside her in bed but with every pillow in the place between us like the fucking great Wall of China!
R: It'll take time... See you at five.
I tossed the phone on the night stand and just watched her sleep. How can i help? I can't handle this stuff.... I'm just gonna fail her.
Chapter 10: Take it slow
It was almost five o'clock when i stepped out with mami, the cab waiting as we drove to Nevada's building. We were going to have dinner together for Grace, introduce her better to Carisi and make sure she'll be ok with him being her main guard. I pulled out my phone and called Carisi to make sure he was at least on his way there.
"Carisi, are you on your way?" I looked out the window at the passing buildings.
"Yeah almost there. Want me to wait for you to get here?"
"Yeah. Grace is.... She's a little jumpy right now." I sighed, "it'll only be a minute or two."
"Ok, I'll just wait here then."
I hung up and called Nevada. A little warning couldn't hurt.
"Nevada, we are only a few minutes away. Is Grace ready?"
"Kinda.... She is locked in the bathroom going on twenty minutes."
I sighed, "ok... Will she talk to you?"
"Yeah... She's fine just... Just scared of everything." I could tell he was frowning, "I'll let her know."
"Ok... See you in a few."
I hung up as we pulled up to the building. I paid the driver and helped Mami out before walking to Carisi just getting out of his car. He smiled softly and stuck a hand out as we approached.
"Dominick Carisi jr. But please call me sonny." He smiled at Mami who raised a brow.
"This is my mom Lucia. Mami this is one of the detectives I work with.... he'll be Gracie's guard for the trial." I looked at mom who didn't look to impressed.
Wait I know that look... Please don't Mami...
"Carisi... Rafi talks about you. You annoy him constantly." She shrugged and shook his hand as he looked at me.
"Thanks Mami, let's not focus on me." I quickly motioned them with me to go upstairs before she says anything worse.
I ran up the steps and knocked on the door, a silent prayer in my head as the door opened.
I was woke up by a soft whisper by my ear, no touching just a soft blow of his breath on my ear, "wakey wakey Gracie.... We only have half a hour till everyone is here."
"No vada... Sleep." I mumbled and he sighed.
"Gracie.... You gotta get up." He stroked my cheek as i nuzzled into it, "come on niñita. We don't have that much time."
I kissed his hand before tugging it down, "no. Play with me Vada."
"Your Mami will be here shortly," he warned as he kissed down my cheek, "we have to be quick."
He rolled me over and kissed down my cheek, past the throat, to my chest. He smiled as his hands slipped down under my ass and lifts me up the bed a little so he could crouch over me. His hands slipped under the waist of my pants and pushed them down as he leaned in for a kiss....... Then it went sour. His hands left me. His face turned down as he pushed up and looked disgusted.
"You didn't think you would really be worth it? You are just a whore. Your a fucking toy!" He spat and grabbed my wrists holding them down.
"Vada that hurts!" I cried out and he laughed slapped me when I fought.
"Shut up you and take." He slapped my chin when I went to speak and made it snap shut as he whispered against my face as I cried, "no. No talky.... Toy's don't talk."
My eyes were red, heart pounding.... This felt worse then before. This was the worse feeling as he ripped off my clothes and grabbed my face to make me look at him, then he pushed in as I cried louder.
"Lo siento (I'm sorry), I forgot you prefer it from behind.... Just like a fucking rag doll." He went to push me over as I fought.
"Grace! Niñita wake up, wake up!" I suddenly felt hands on my shoulders as my eyes shot open and I gasped.
I pushed him away even though he didn't touch me, he jumped back as I burst into tears. I curled up in a ball, rubbing my shoulders as rough as sandpaper before he spoke again.
"Niñita, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to touch you. You were having a nightmare..."
I shook my head before muttering, "no vada, no. No vada, no."
He was completely speechless but couldn't move, so I ran to the bathroom. I locked the door as he tried to open it frantically.
"Grace... Please open the door. I didn't mean to scare you. Please... Please open the door."
"I'm fine Vada... Just let me shower." I turned on the water, the hotter the better as I rested my head against the cool tiles.
The cool feeling brought back the feeling of being exposed and bound. I jumped back and looked to see my phone was vibrating on the counter. A text from vada showing as I found myself covering my clothes body with my arms, tears prickling at the nightmare I had flashing through my head.
N: lucia and raf will be here in about half a hour. I'm ordering the food now. I love you niñita, sorry to scare you awake like that.
I stepped in the shower and winced at first touch, then my skin slowly numbed to the pain as I stepped further in. The burning water, it beaded and rolled down my skin as it reddened. It felt horrible but somehow right... Like the scorch was the closest thing I found to feeling clean since my attack. I looked at my purple and black skin, it was starting to blend and I couldn't feel the sting it usually gave. My skin was red, it was burning... But it felt clean. I took the loofah and scrubbed my skin raw. I was just starting to actually wash my hair when my phone dinged.
N: Are you ok? You've been in there over twenty minutes, everyone is almost here.
I frowned at the text bit turn the water off, stepping into the thick steam that is filling the room. I wrap up and dry my hair, letting hang down to dry fully as I opened the slowly. Nevada sat beside the door, his knees up and head against the wall, he turned to look as I walked by.
"Niñita your red.... How hot was that shower?" He got up and walked close but never touching, "you scrubbed yourself raw."
That last part was more of a whisper, as if he understood. He stepped back to give me space before biting his lip and trying not to speak anymore. The room felt off, like the tension was at a all time high.... I couldn't take it.
"Vada can I be alone for a moment?"
He let out a large breath, as if that statement killed him alittle. But he nodded and left, shutting the bedroom door as he stepped out and went down the hall. Once the room was back to just me, I stood there a moment before rewrapping my side and walking to the closet for clothes. My fingers skimmed the hangers until one touch his and the memory of the nightmare hit again. I pulled my arm back quickly grabbed a pair of PJs and a long sleeve shirt. I threw on clothes and sat on the bed, looking towards the mirror.
"What is wrong with me? Vada loves me. Rafi loves me. Mami loves me..... Why am I acting like this?" I brushed my hair back and slowly stood up, "come on girl... Get your shit together."
Before I could attempt to leave the room, a knock sounded and I looked at the door.
"Gracie.... Are you ok?"
Rafi? So soon?
I got to the door, a quick knock as Mami and Carisi approached. Nevada opened the door and stepped aside to let us in, we quickly noticed no Grace.
"Still in her room." He motioned back, "maybe you can get her out."
I nodded and followed him back to the room as he told me about here raw skin and the long shower...Then I knocked, "Gracie.... Are you ok?"
No answer but the door cracked open, her eye came to view through the crack, "Rafi?"
"Who else would it be?" I smiled and she opened the door.
"Can we talk a moment?" She opened the door and I looked at Nevada who nodded and walked back towards the others, obviously feeling rejected.
"What's up Gracie?" I walked in and seen her sit down on the bed, looking up at me.
I scanned her body for marks, hoping not to find any because I know Nevada wouldn't hurt her. When I found none I noticed how dark it was... And her wincing as she pulled her legs up.
"I had a nightmare... And I... I.... I don't know how to move forward... Or do anything at the moment." She fiddled with her fingers looking at them and how they almost looked burnt, "in the shower... I scrubbed myself raw under the hottest I could get the water. Why doesn't it make me feel clean? Nothing makes me feel clean."
"Your skin is raw," I kneeled down and softly stretched a hand out, she placed hers on mine and I gently rubbed, "you almost burned your skin."
"It didn't help, did it?"
She shook no and I kissed her forehead, moving slowly so she could see the whole time, "lo siento (I'm sorry) Gracie, Ojalá esto nunca te haya pasado (I wish this never happened to you)."
She started to tear up and on instinct I wrapped her into a hug, there was a small jump... But she quickly relaxed and hid her face in my shoulder. I kissed her hair and squeezed softly and briefly, just enough she knew I was there.
"It was Vada." She mumbled.
"What was Nevada?"
"The nightmare... He was being sweet and we started to..." I tried to ignore what she meant there but it was challenging, "and he got forceful. He slapped me and called me a whore... Then he ripped my clothing and he...he...."
I squeezed her tighter, "shhhhhhh.... It's ok. It's ok.... It was just a dream. It wasn't real Gracie."
"I know but... But it felt real and what he said."
"He didn't say it. He would never say those things about you.... You know he loves you." I push her back and wiped her tears, "No te preocupes por eso. Nunca te haría daño. Nunca te haría daño a propósito. Se suicidaría antes de dejar que eso sucediera. (don't worry about that. He would never hurt you. he would never harm you on purpose. He would kill himself before letting that happen.)"
She nodded but a fresh tear fell, "but it...it... It's what he said."
"He didn't say it."
"You are just a whore. Your a fucking toy. Shut up you and take it. No. No talky.... Toy's don't talk." She started sputtering as she cried, "I forgot you prefer it from behind.... Just like a fucking rag doll."
"Gracie stop. Stop it.... That wasn't him." I pulled her back in and squeezed her tight, "Nevada would never say those things about you."
I pulled her off the bed, down onto my lap so I could engulf her in warmth. I held her back and pressed her front tightly against mine, just like when she was little and trying to hide from dad. She was protected, she was safe like this.... She needed to feel safe.
"Gracie, por favor, estás seguro. Nevada no te haría daño. Ese bastardo no puede llegar a ti. Te tengo, te tengo Gracie.(you are safe. Nevada wouldn't hurt you. That bastard can't get to you. I got you, I have you Gracie.)"
She took a shakey breath as I rubbed her back. It took a few minutes but she calmed down, I wiped her face and kissed her forehead. She finally looked a little better, I helped her up and she pulled me up after.
"Are you ok to go out there? The food is ready and Mami really wants her hug." I smiled softly as she hugged me, "also I need to introduce you to Carisi... He's the one that carried you out and rode with you in the ambulance...and found you. He's gonna be your bodyguard for the moment."
She nodded and I took her hand and softly walked her out as she tucked into my side. Flash backs of me walking a five year old to school swarmed my head. Especially her first day of school when she turned eight .. How sweet and innocent she was. She always was... She never lost that.
We were five steps from the school walkway, Grace tucked into my leg and hid her face.
"Gracie, you have to go."
"No. I want to stay with you rafi. Just you, me, and vada lounging on the couch." She looked up when I stroked her hair back.
"Gracie, me and vada had to go to school. Mami runs a school.... It's not that scary... You've been in school for a few years now..... I'm going back to school soon." I bent down to her hieght as she frowned.
"Why? Did I do something wrong?" She whimpered and I realized what she meant.
"Gracie no." I sighed and rested my hands on her shoulders, "I'm not leaving because of you. I'm leaving to help people. I go to school for a few more years then I'll come back and help people who need it... Help the people like Mami with daddy."
"But why so far away? Why can't you stay close and go to school..... I love you Rafi don't leave." She looked so innocent in that moment, so naive.
"I love you too Gracie, but I have to go. I got into the best school in all the US... They'll teach me everything I need to know so I can put away the bad guys... So people don't have to worry about people like daddy. So they can be safe too." I gave a half smile, "tell you what, if you go in there and make just one friend.... I might take you out to a movie tonight."
"Can vada come?" She smiled....knowing I can't say no.
"If he wants." I kissed her forehead and hugged her tight, "now run along. You have to tell me about everything that happens today."
She nodded and ran inside as more kids filed in. I stood there for at least five minutes to make sure she didn't try to leave... That she didn't need me.
At the time I thought it was wierd having separation anxiety from my little sister, now... Now I wish I never let her go. I wish I could've hid her away.... I bet Nevada felt the same too.
It had been a good ten minutes when I seen Raf walk out. Grace was tucked against him and slowly letting go of his hand as he motioned to the scrawny guy who was suppose to protect my niñita.
"Grace this is Carisi. He'll be your bodyguard for the next little bit.... Mainly the trial." He motioned Carisi over, "this is my sister Grace, she gets hurt I kill you... Or he will."
Carisi nodded as I glared, "pleasure to meet you. Glad your doing better."
"You're the one that found me." She looked up.
"Yeah. I was the one that found you." Carisi watched carefully.
"Thank you," she gave a small smile and rubbed her arm, "please sit."
He nodded and everyone sat down as raf and me brought over the food from the counter. Grace's favorite Italian place and her favorite dish on top. Grilled chicken parmesan with sweet meat sauce spaghetti. A few other dishes to chose from just in case she didn't want it, then the other four orders. Raf sat it down Infront of her as he sat beside her, I was on the other side. The detective sat across and Mami between them. As everyone ate raf tried to make conversation, not that anyone really wanted to carry it on.
"So carisi, how is the food?"
"Pretty good, kinda like moms." He smirked, "where's it from?"
"Pesto's" I rolled my eyes, quiet is better then this awkwardness.
"what's your name?" Grace looked up, "your first name since Rafi never uses first names with his co-workers."
"Dominick...but you can call me sonny."
"Ok sonny, I can do that." She looked at her full plate and sighed, "I'm going back to bed."
She stood and walked away as I looked down, raf looked back but didn't stop her. Lucia frowned and looked at Carisi.
"She just needs space. She needs to take it slow.... it wasn't you." Lucia looked at raf, "we should go."
"Yeah Mami, let's go. Carisi, you can start in the morning." Raf shook his hand, "thank you."
"No problem." Carisi walked out the door with Lucia as raf helped me clean the table and store the leftovers.
"Thank you..... Thank you for coming to ight and helping."
Raf smiled at me, "no problem. Just let me know if you need help. I'm here for both of you."
Raf waved goodbye and left, leaving me alone with Grace again. I took a deep breath before walking back to find her laying down. I tossed a blanket over her and laid down on my side of the wall. It won't be like this for long.... You will get your Gracie back. I know you will
Chapter 11: Family traits
Morning came so soon, I rolled over and reached to kiss Grace's head when I realized she wasn't there. I frowned and sat up to see better over the pillow wall, nothing. A small tinge of worry started in my stomach, my mind instantly thinking of all the bad things that could've happened. I jumped out of bed and practically ran to the living room, where I could finally breath easy. Grace was curled up in my chair holding on tightly to one of my shirts, she had it curled tight around her arms with her face resting against it. Wish you would do that with the real thing.... God I miss you niñita. I reached out to push back a small strand of hair in her face and leaned in to kiss her forehead, forgetting everything that happened recently. Her eyes shot open at the contact and she quickly pushed me away.... Everything clicking now.
"Vada... I...I..I...." She started rubbing her forehead and crying. Her tears pouring down her face as she shook.
"Lo siento niñita, I forgot..." I bit my lip as she ran down the hall to the bathroom.
"Stupid... (What the hell is wrong with you?)" I smack my forehead before slowly heading back towards the bathroom, knocking before I talk, "Gracie.... Are you ok?"
"Yes vada... Just go away." I heard a sigh and sniffle Before a knock at the door drew my attention.
I walked and answered the door, sighing as I seen the detective Rafael had brought over yesterday. I opened it up and let him in before pointing down the hall.
"She's locked in the bathroom. Probably won't be out for a while." I walked back to the bedroom to change and left the apartment with a cigar in my mouth, not even acknowledging the man.
I sat in the corner of the shower, hot water pouring over me as I tried to calm down. Now that my skin is stinging, I can start to feel better. I get out slowly, and stand in front of the mirror, tracing my bruises against the bright red skin. I paused on my ribs, wincing before I towel off. I pull on one of vada's shirts and a pair of pj bottoms before I walked out to find the detective sitting on the couch.
"Sorry... Ramirez let me in then left. He said you were in the shower and I didn't want to overstep my boundaries." He stood, "good morning."
"Good morning... Sonny was it?"
"Yes. Did you have any plans today?" He stretched a hand out.
I just stared at it as I took in his suit. He put his hand down and swallowed hard before slowly scratching his neck as I snapped out of my daze.
"No.... I was planning on staying in. Make yourself comfortable." I smiled softly and went to the kitchen to make some food, only to find we were still out basically.
I sighed and looked over at the man, he didn't look like a bodyguard. maybe I should do some shopping. We need groceries and I definitely should get out.... But I don't feel safe out there. I don't have raf or Vada to follow me and keep me safe.... Maybe sonny could make me feel safe enough? I carefully walked over to sonny and bit my lip as he looked up.
"I guess I need to get groceries... Maybe we could stop for some lunch too." I didn't even keep eye contact, looking towards my feet like a kindergartner.
"Sure, should I drive?" He stood up slowly, keeping space.
"Let me get ready." I ran back to the room and started breathing heavy before I finally got dressed.
I changed into jeans and a t-shirt, I tugged on a jacket of vada's and squeezed it tight around me as I walked out. He got back up and we started on our way out to get groceries, the whole time my body begging to go back in to my home.
I sat in the squad room with the squad. Everyone waiting on the ADA to show so they could get moving on the evidence and hopefully get a search warrant and find the bastard. Jason Conrad came in, dropping his briefcase and looking at me slightly annoyed.
"Ok... What do we got?"
"We have a tip that Ian wright is staying in this motel off of Broadway. The owner says someone matching his description had been renting a room." Fin points to Amanda at the board.
"So if we can get a warrant, we can do a stakeout and pin him at the motel. He can't ditch evidence and everything would work out perfect." She showed a map of the building and the room the suspect was in, pointing out where each vehicle would be and his normal schedule as of what the clerk noticed.
Jason nodded, "I'll get you the warrant. Have your team ready and Barba." He turned towards me, "go home or back to work. I don't need you here compromising my case."
I felt a small itch on the back of my neck and the urge to punch him. Deciding on the easier option, I let it go and waited till he was gone to start to go back to work. Liv stopped me before I got but a few steps.
"I know this is hard on you. Conrad is just looking out for the case here... That's all. He is worried about this case falling apart if you stay sitting in and listening to everything. You know the defense will use that when we get this guy." She reasoned.
"I know, it's just hard being left out of the loop on a case like this. I promised Grace I would be there every step of the way to help with the case and just sitting back doing nothing isn't working."
"Hey, you got carisi as a guard. You know she's safe, you just have to focus on that till the trial starts. Maybe then you could help more."
"Jason won't let me near him for advice and you know that won't change. He's young, ignorant, and won't take help." I started walking to the elevator with Liv beside me.
"Like stories of someone I know." She looks over as I roll my eyes, "but give him a chance. Help your sister recover and fix the damage there instead of focusing on the trial."
"But I don't know what to do there either. Grace doesn't seem to want help. She has been pushing us away and yesterday before I introduced her to Carisi, she had almost burnt herself in the shower and was crying telling me about a nightmare she had." I pressed the button and looked at her, "I know Nevada isn't the greatest guy but he would never hurt Grace... And in her nightmare he was."
"Victims always have nightmares and strange reactions until they adjust." She tried to comfort me, "I'll keep you in the loop. Don't worry about it."
I nodded and left, taking what seemed like the longest walk of my life to my office. just trust him... Let him work. He'll win this case If you let him.
I couldn't be near Grace at the moment, anytime I touched her no matter what she freaked out. I couldn't kiss my niñita without her going crazy and practically burning her skin with hot water. So I left to get some air, all the work was being handled so I just went to the warehouse and found Mateo.
"(Hello, how's Grace?)"
I gave a small smile, "not to good. She still won't let anyone touch her. I kissed her forehead while she was slowly waking up and she practically acted like I threw acid on her.... (I don't know what to do. I can't help her.)"
"Can't or won't."
"Can't" I frowned at my brother in law, "I can't get close enough but touching is like murder to her. It's a lot."
"So you came to work? (You go to work while cops are guarding your girlfriend and she had just been attacked.)" He frowned as I stopped.
"They didn't follow me. It's like I'm not even there." I rolled my eyes, "for a smart man, you can be very stupid. (Marrying my sister was pretty bad but thinking I would give the cops our operation.... Just go back to your home in the DR.)"
I waved him off as he sighed, "I can't. Someone needs to run this business and you are too distracted."
"Someone also gives shitty advice." I rolled my eyes as he shakes his head.
"You are the second oldest of your family and you act like the youngest. (Only boy or not you need to grow up.)" Mateo rolled his eyes before waving him off, "go. You aren't working until the police are gone."
I walked out slowly, trying to decide what to do. If I go home, I have to deal with Grace. I can't take her rejection right now. If I go out, I'll hear it later.... God what the hell am I suppose to do? Where's my fucking lawyer when I need him? I left and decide to take a long walk, phone in hand to call Rafael.
I was sitting in my office, staring at a photo of me and Grace. About six months ago she stole me from my late night research session at work to go out to dinner and a movie. She picked a midnight screening of rocky horror picture show and started singing along on the walk home much to my amusement.
I smile as Grace tugs my arm, "come on that was awesome Rafi!"
"It was ok."
"No it was awesome. Remember the year you came back from Harvard for Halloween and surprised me with rocky horror tickets to the Broadway show. We had the best night and then I went dressed as magenta for trick or treat because you said I couldn't be riff-raff." She spun around and then looked over at me, "come on... Remember I kept singing riff's part so you had to sing magenta's."
I shook my head as she let go of my arm and turned to face me, blocking my path in the dark park.
Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll."
She started getting into it, singing loudly as she danced that little bit.
"But listen closely..." She motioned to me and I gave up.
"Not for very much loooooonnnnnngerererererer." I belted.
"I've got to keep controoooool." She jumped up on a park bench as I chuckled trying to hold in my laughter.
"I remeeeembeeeer doing the Tiiiiime Waaaaaarp
Drinking those moments wheeeeen
The blackness wooooouuuuuld hiiiiit me
And the void would be caaaaaalliiiiiiiing" she jumped off the bench and threw her arms around me.
"Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again" we both called out as she kissed my cheek and took a picture of us on her phone laughing, I broke down laughing.
Two days later, a box was left on my desk with a note telling me to live a little. I immediately thanked Grace and left the photo on my desk. Everytime I need a reminder of something good or a escape from this stressing job, I look at that photo. Now Everytime I look at it, I see what Grace use to be... Happy. I laid the frame down and held my head in my hands. Could this day get any worse? just then my phone started ringing and I sighed, answering it after knowing the answer... Yes.
"Hey raf, can you talk?"
I was a little worried, Nevada never called me unless it was important, "yeah sure. What happened?"
"Nothing really, Grace just flipped on me again and.... I don't know what to do. (It feels like everything I do is wrong and I'd be better off leaving her to save her from it.)"
"Don't you dare. She needs you."
"(Like hell she needs me.) I woke up alone in bed to find she slept in the living room with one of my shirts. I kissed her forehead as she was barely waking up and she acted like it was acid on her face." He sighed, "I can't touch her without her burning her skin."
"This will pass." I tried.
"Ta hell it will. (She fucking hates me.)" I heard a sniffle coming from his side.
"Nevada, she loves you. She always had, always will. Right now though.... She needs space. She needs to work through this her way." I frown, "it's the biggest Barba family trait. (Stubborn and refusing help.)"
"I know... But this is too much. I can't work right now, I can't be he because my every Instinct is fighting against me.... I'm sitting in a coffee shop looking at photos of us. When Grace was Grace." He went silent, "I feel like I'm doing everything wrong. (Fucking Barba family traits.)"
I gave a soft chuckle, "it'll get better... Just go home and be with her."
"Adios." I hung up and deflated in my chair.
I lifted the photo back up and wiped off the invisible layer of dust, "Do it for Grace.... This is all for your Gracie."
Before I could even start to work again, my phone dinged and I seen Liv's name.
L: Wright wasn't there... We'll get him soon.
I sat the phone down. god... Why can't this go easy for once?
We had arrived at the grocery store, I grabbed the cart and slowly started to walk in to the store. My feet were dragging, heart pounding... The place was fairly busy and I felt the urge to run out. Before I could attempt, sonny spoke from behind me.
"It's ok, I'm right here. I got your back."
I nodded, "yeah ok... Let's do this."
We started through, isle by isle, so I can get groceries. Once the cart was mostly full, I swung back around to the produce area. I put a few bags of apples in as I started grabbing a few other things. He chuckled from the side of the cart and I raised my brow.
”making a pie or something?"
I shook my head, "no... Vada loves apples."
"Wow.... That's a lot of apples." he smirked, "nervous eater?"
"No... They are just easy to eat. Healthy and everything..... I never seen a problem with it." I chuckled and motioned to the check out.
As we went through the line, the bag boy swallowed and bagged quicker. I could tell sonny was watching him carefully and noticed I barely acknowledged it. The kid put the bags in the cart and ran off as the guy at the check out asked if I wanted to use the discount, I shot it down and paid in full. As we were putting bags in his car he asked.
"The Trujillo discount.... It's almost free unless he's angry, then it is free." I rolled my eyes, "I'm just use to it now."
"No it's a gift. It's just how things are. You get use to it when you live in the hieghts." I shrugged it off as my phone rang, "hello?"
"Niñita, where are you?"
"I went to get groceries vada, heading home now." I sighed.
"I just got home, I would start some dinner but there isn't anything her... So I ordered out. Pizza good?" He sounded nervous.
"You didn't have to do that... I could've cooked when I got home."
"I wanted to, love niñita." He sighed, "what about the stick of a cop, good with the pig?"
I turned to sonny, "pizza sound good? Any certain thing you want?"
"I asked if it was good for you, not the pig." He mumbled as I hid my laugh.
"Yes, and whatever you want." He smiled over before looking back at the road.
"Sounds great vada, be home shortly." I paused, Say it.... Say I love you... "adios."
"Bye Gracie." He hung up as I rested my head to the cool glass.
The drive home went quick, we carried up all the bags in one trip and knocked on the door. Vada opened the door and smiled, pulling the bags from my hands. He helped sonny put away everything, smiling and trying to make small talk to my surprise. Everything was getting better, I was feeling safe again... Normal. That's when everything went down hill.
The door rang and I went to get it as they continued putting stuff up, my hand turning the door nob as I chuckled. Then my heart stopped, eyes blurred, mouth went dry and body froze. Standing in front of me was my attacker, Ian wright. My head went light and I started to freak out.
Standing infront of me was my attacker. I froze, my body falling backwards to the floor before I tried to crawl away without looking away from him. I don't see Vada and Carisi turning to see what was going on... But I sure as hell heard them running over as he stepped in the apartment.
"Hey beautiful.... Miss me?" He smirked and pulled a gun to point down at me.
I couldn't move as my back hit the couch, I felt my chest heaving and tears pouring from eyes. He took a step closer and smiled before I seen Vada tackle him to the ground and start to struggle with him. They exchanged a few hits as sonny pulled his gun and pointed it at Ian.
"Let him go Ramirez." He said calmly.
"After everything he's done? No chance.Déjame matar al bastardo(let me kill the bastard)." Vada just dodged a swing before he started wailing on him.
I couldn't watch, closing my eyes and hiding my face in my knees, hand grasping on to my legs for dear life. I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel ok.... I wanted to run but I couldn't. I barely heard the words being said or anything over my heartbeat in my ears. Then as if he knew, vada wrapped his arms around me and shushed my ear softly in the tune of a lullaby. He picked me up and was carrying me out of the room.
"After everything he's done? No chance." I just dodged a swing before i started wailing on him.
"Ramirez, let him go!" Carisi grabbed my fist and pointed his gun to the man's head.
Realizing Grace was crying now, heavy before and her breathing was erratic. I got off the man as carisi cuffed him and took the gun he had pulled on grace. I walked over and pulled her in my arms, squeezing her tightly and shushing her ear in a softly tone. Her body stopped shaking so I quickly picked her up and took her back to the bedroom, the more space between her and that bastard... The better.
As I sat her down on the bed, I kneeled infront of her, "niñita, are you ok?"
She shook her head no, so I went to pull back only for her to grab my wrist, "don't go... Por favor vada...No me dejes(Don't leave me.)."
My heart broke, I immediately pulled her in tight against me. A few soft kisses to her head and a hand running through her hair. She whimpered into my chest, only causing me to hold her tighter. dont go... She wants me to hold her and sooth her.... She wants me. Maybe she is getting better? Maybe she is ok... Well long run ok. Maybe I can get back my Gracie.
I had wright cuffed and laying propped up by the wall. His face was bloody, not that I could blame Ramirez for going off on the guy. I had his gun on the kitchen counter and had made a call to Barba as a few uniforms came to retrieve wright and get him to the hospital.
"Wright just tried to pay a visit to Grace." I never got to finish my words as he frantically Interrupted.
"Is she ok?!"
"Physically yes, but I can't tell beyond that. Ramirez took her back to the bedroom to get her away from wright....but we have a bigger problem." I paused before finishing, "wright is pretty bloody from Ramirez beating the shit out of him."
"Please tell me it was self-defense or something?" He whispered, the sound of traffic in the background.
"Wright scared grace when she opened the door and after she fell back, he pulled a gun and pointed it at her. Ramirez tackled him and they struggled for a minute or so before he got the upper hand and I almost had to pull him off."
"That's not good.... Are you bringing her in for her statement?"
"Yeah, Liv wants them both down at the precinct while fin is going down to the hospital to check on wright." I sighed, "I'm about to get them out now. See you there?"
"Yeah, I'll be right down.... Make sure Conrad is there too."
I hung up the phone and watched as a few uniforms were going over the crime scene. I slipped by and knocked on the open bedroom door before entering. Ramirez looked up at me as Grace stayed tight against his chest.
"I need both of you to come down to the precinct with me to give official statements... That'll also allow time for our techs to gather evidence."
"Ok... Niñita, can I get you to stand or should I carry you down?"
She sniffled in his chest before slowly un curling, "hold my hand and I'll be fine."
He smiled as she carefully stood, he walked her out, wrapping a arm around her as we went out the door. I caught her small tremor, and the way he squeezed her side to calm her as we entered the elevator. He never let go of her hand, even when she was wrapped in his arms trying to hide her face from all bystanders. It would've been sweet if it weren't for knowing who he was... A murderous drug lord. He had pulled the jacket that was slightly bigger then her tight around her and pulled her against him in the back seat of my car. He sat in what looked like a uncomfortable way so she could lay against him and he could hold her still... maybe it is kinda romantic... They really seem to love each other.
We arrived at the precinct and I walked them up, sitting them down in the interview room as Liv came over, "what the hell happened?"
"Wright went to the apartment and pulled a gun on grace. Ramirez got to him before I could."
"Which is why he is bloody... Do you understand that this could get put on us?"
"Yeah lieu, but I stopped him before he went to far."
"I assume you called Barba?"
She looked over as Conrad came in, "what part of protection detail do you not understand?"
"Grace is fine."
"But wright is seriously injured because you didn't stop the fucking drug lord." He had me pinned in the corner.
"He was to protect race and he did. He remedy the situation the best he could and followed procedure." Liv defended me.
"Get their statements and hope wright isn't brain damaged so he can stand trial... And you," he pointed at me, "give your statement and stay away from wright. I have enough to clean up with him claiming it was you."
He walked to Liv's office as she motioned me to my desk. I barely got a step away before Barba came rushing in, he stopped me in my tracks.
"For what?" I asked confused.
"For fixing this. I know you shouldn't of called me and Nevada went off on wright... But thank you."
Carisi nodded and went to his desk as I walked in the interview room where Liv and Amanda both had entered to try and separate the two. Grace was almost clinging to Nevada as I walked in right over to her.
"Gracie, are you ok?"
She nodded and I looked over to Liv and motioned for a minute. She nodded back and I motioned for Nevada to let go. He reluctantly did so and I pulled Grace over to me.
"Gracie, you and Nevada have to be separated for your statements. He can come back after you are both done but he can't be present for it." I rubbed her back softly as he shook her head no, "por favor, I promise he'll be right back."
She whispered, "will you stay?"
I looked at Liv and she nodded, "yes I'll stay with you. Is it ok?"
She nodded and Amanda moved Nevada to another area as Liv sat down across from us. I sat where Nevada had been and pulled her close as she slowly stopped shaking from the lack of contact. I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her between my legs like when she was little. She could look at Liv and still feel me holding her, her big brother, her guardian angel. Liv gave her a second before nodding and starting her questions.
"Grace, can you tell me what happened this evening?"
"Me and sonny had just got back from grocery shopping. He and vada was putting everything away as I was just watching, waiting for the pizza vada ordered. A knock on the door and I was running over to find... Him on the other side."
"I need you to be specific Grace. Can you say the name?" Liv watched as Grace twitched a little, my arms tightening to stop her from breaking down.
"Ian wright. Ian wright was at the door and I just froze and next thing I know I was on the floor crawling backwards till I hit the couch. He pointed a gun at me and said 'Hey beautiful.... Miss me?'.... I was frozen and then vada tackled him and struggled with him. I had curled up in a ball, but I heard sonny telling vada to let him go, the sound of someone getting punched... Then next thing I knew vada was moving me away from wright to calm me down."
"That was great Grace. Is there anything else you can remember being said?"
"Not really, I couldn't hear anything over my heart beat in my ears." She sat still for a second, "he was definitely the one that attacked me. I can't forget that face....why? Why did he...he... he...?"
I tugged her tight against me as she turned around to hide her face against my shoulder. I kissed her head and looked at Liv. She nodded and left us alone for a second, no doubt going to talk to Conrad seeing as he exploded on carisi. I gave Grace a moment then pulled her back just a little.
"Gracie... Are you ok?"
"I need words, Gracie Lou."
"Yes...Solo quiero vada(I just want vada.) I want him to hold me." She blinked back a few tears, "I can't stand not having him here too."
"He'll be back in a moment. I promise... I'm just glad you two are doing better."
She sniffled, "I..I.. I just... The minute I seen Him, I wanted vada. When I was missing and he was torturing me, I kept asking where vada was.Siempre fue mi protector. Nunca dejó que nadie me hiciera daño y en el momento en que más lo necesitaba, él no estaba allí.(He was always my protector. He never let anyone hurt me and the moment I needed him the most, he wasn't there.)."
"No Rafi... Listen." She swallowed hard, "I was blaming him and that nightmare I had... I didn't feel safe without him but I was blaming him and couldn't stand him touching me. Then this happened and... And it kinda clicked you know, it wasn't his fault. He makes me feel safe because he would never do that to me."
"That's good to hear Gracie, I know he was worried sick about it." I smiled and kissed her forehead, "we're almost done.Sólo tenemos que ir al juicio y él se marchará para siempre(We just have the trial to go and he'll go away for good)."
She nodded and squeezed me tight, hugging me to her more then I was. I just held her tight and smiled, There is my Gracie... That's the little sister I remember.
The blonde lead me to a interrogation room, strangely i kinda knew they would. After all, I was still the drug lord murder that the NYPD never could pin. She motioned me to the chair and started her questions as I sat down.
"What Happened at the apartment?"
"I was putting away groceries when that bastard showed up. Grace opened the door thinking it was the pizza guy and Instead flipped out, falling to the floor at the sight of him." I felt my body twitch, the anger evident.
"I need you to say the name." She watched as I made a fist.
"Ian wright. He pointed a gun at Grace and I tackled him. We struggled then i got the upper hand." I paused, "that detective pulled me off him and cuffed as I got Grace away from him."
"You do realize that Mr. Wright had sever fractures to his face and torso." She looked at me, like I should care.
"He deserves worse. What he did to Grace should never happen to anyone.... Besides if he's gonna pull a gun, I'm gonna make him pay."
She shook her head but waved me off, said that the statement was good enough. She left through the door my the glass window on my right, so I went out the one infront of me. If someone is gonna hurt my niñita, I don't have sympathy for how they end up. I started back towards the original room I was in, just wanting Grace in my arms again since it had been a while since I could enjoy that.
"Hey Ramirez, can I ask you something?" Carisi stopped me before I could make it to the door.
"What?" I looked at him as he stood up and walked over.
"Why do you call her niñita?"
I smirked, "because she's my little girl."
He rolled his eyes, "I do know some Spanish, but why call her that?"
"I have known her since she was a baby. I always was her protector especially after Rafael went off to college... I called her my niñita so no one would mess with her. When we actually started dating, it had became my pet name for her and I never seen a reason to change it." I smiled fondly at a memory of little Grace hanging onto my side after I terrified a kid that was picking on her and stealing her lunch money.
"Nevada! Vada!" A ten year old Grace came running over to where I sat with some of my crew.
"What's wrong niñita?" I opened my arm so she could tuck under it.
She squeezed tight against me, "he did it again... He knocked me down and stole my lunch money."
"Who?" I pulled her head up to look me in the eye.
"Michael Cortez. He calls me halfy and steals my lunch money." She frowned, "I tried to stop him and he hit me."
"He hit you?" I felt a anger boiling in my blood, "let me see."
She pushed up her shirt just enough for the three of us sitting there to see a black bruise on her upper hip. I pushed her shirt back down and gently took her face in my hand.
"Tomorrow, I walk you to school. Tell Lucia I'll be by to walk you." She nodded and I kissed the top of her head, "run on home niñita, ice your side and don't forget to tell Lucia."
She ran up the steps of the building and in the door as I looked at the two men with me, continuing with business. That night I called Mateo, he was almost running the crew at the time... Third in command. I told him I would catch up with him after I dropped Grace at school, he just told me to keep it low key. The next morning, I knocked on the barba's door and Lucia opened it with a small glare.
"Buenos dias mami(Good morning Mommy)."
"I'm not your mom Nevada,Qué deseas?(what do you want?)"
"Didn't Gracie tell you?" I paused for a second concerned she might not have told her.
"She did... I don't want you beating a ten year old bloody Infront of my daughter.Es una mala influencia.(Your a bad influence.)" She warned as Grace came running over holding her backpack.
"Morning vada." She hugged my leg as I smiled back, "morning niñita, ready for school?"
She nodded and I looked back up to Lucia, "Prometo mantenerlo civil.(I promise to keep it civil.)"
She nodded and waved us off, so we walked to school. She held my hand as we walked, her pigtails bouncing as she jumped over puddles to stop her jeans from getting muddy. I would chuckle and roll my eyes when she looked up before she'd squeeze my hand or lean into me. When we got to the school, kids walking in slowly as sum sat out front, I kneeled in front of her by the steps and smiled.
"Ok niñita, have a good day at school."
"Ok vada. Will you be home so I can tell you how it went?" She smiled as I nodded and kissed her forehead.
"Run along niñita."
She started up the steps and I turned around to walk away. A few kids walked around me, apparently my reputation was well owned even back then. As I was about to head down the street I heard it.
"Hey halfy, where's my money?"
I stopped in my tracks and turned back around to see a kid a foot taller then Grace, towering over her as she shook her head no, "leave me alone Michael... It's my lunch money."
"Sure it is, hand it over." He shoved her shoulder and suddenly I was walking back over.
He gave a hard shove and took her back pack, I took the set of steps in two strides basically, dropping down to check on grace, "you ok niñita?"
"Yeah vada." I pulled her up to her feet as I heard the kid chuckle and seen several back away.
There was hushed chatter between a few boys and the bully, I made out a 'that's Nevada Ramirez.' And 'he will kill you dude'. I turned around and pulled the backpack from his hands as I pushed his head down.
"I believe this is Grace's."
He turned around, "what are you? Her body guard."
"Test me and find out.He matado a la gente por menos mierda.(I have killed people for less you little shit.)" I handed the bag to Grace then patted the kids hoodie pocket before pulling out the money to hand back to Grace.
"I'm eleven, that's child abuse. You wouldn't do a thing to me." His smug little smile dropped when I whispered by his ear.
"Who said they'd find the body for proof?" I made a motion of running my finger across my neck form ear to ear.
The kid swallowed as I turned back to Grace, "you tell me if this Pequeño gilipollas(little asshole) does anything mean to you. I just need one reason and a hour to gather the troops." I hugged her softly before standing up, making a show of my sentence to make sure no one would attempt to pick on her again, "have a good day niñita."
She smiled and walked past the boy into the school hall as everyone rushed around the bully now realizing just how bad things were. I knew the other boys were already running off, hopefully it would be enough to scare the prick away.
He never did pick on my niñita again. Nor did any kid. No one wanted to risk angering the little girl that can have you killed and never found. Trujillo's niñita.
My mind snapped back to the present, looking at carisi as he slowly walked back towards his desk. He seemed to have accepted the answer, so I walked back in and smiled as Grace turned around in Raf's lap and practically jumped to me when I walked in. She squeezed me tight as I closed my eyes and just relaxed in the moment, my niñita was back.
"Vada, don't leave me again." She whispered as I smiled.
"I won't. I'll never leave my niñita when she needs me."
Raf smiled from his seat before standing up, walking over slowly as she stretched her arm out, "you too bro... Abrázame ahora(Hug me now)."
He chuckled and hugged me, "sure thing hermana(sister)."
Raf joined our hug for a second before pulling back and Grace kissed his cheek, "thanks rafi.... I can just go home now?"
He smirked, "I'll see about it. Let me make sure everything is good."
He left out the far door, I just held her tight to me. A kiss on her head here or there to make sure she was ok. I just held her as she latched on to my side, her form steady as we waited to hear if we could go. Not but a few minutes later, raf walked in with the lieutenant and said we could go. Not even two steps out of the room later, Grace stopped and turned to look at the woman.
"Is sonny ok.... I mean is he in trouble?"
"No, we just need to get a statement from him... He will probably be back with you tomorrow." She smiled softly.
"So he can annoy you and not me." Raf smiled as Grace rolled her eyes and added, "Usted no le da suficiente crédito ... O una oportunidad realmente.(you don't give him enough credit... Or a chance really.)"
He kissed her head and walked us out to the Escalade i had waiting for us. He waved us goodbye and promised to keep us updated, making us swear to call if we needed anything. Grace got in first and cuddled tight against me still, her eyes watching the male driver carefully. Her body twitched a little and she adjusted to be tight against me. I watched her as she watched him, javy was one of my usual drivers..... Usually she loved riding with him. I frowned but just let it go, waiting for us to be home.
She practically ran up the steps and to the bedroom, stopping momentarily at the door way staring at the couch where she had been cowarding a short time ago. I wrapped a arm around her waist and kissed her shoulder.
"It's ok... Rafael said we were good. I'll have all this cleaned up in the morning.... Tonight, tonight let's just sleep."
She nodded and carefully walked around the edge of the scene. Most the blood had been cleaned up, the furniture put back in place.... Small things just needed straightened up before it would look normal. She probably will still freeze in the living room. Still look at that doorway and panic.... Ask raf for help on that later. I followed her to the bedroom and changed into clean PJs after cleaning up a little. She watched as I washed a few bruises and we're blood still sat on my skin. Before I knew it, she walked up behind me and hugged me from behind softly.
"Thank you vada.... Thank you for protecting me."
"Sabes que siempre lo haré.(You know I always will.)"
"No really, he had a gun on me and you just tackled and held him down.... You were amazing. Thank you." She kissed my shoulder and rubbed my bare back as I slid my bottoms into place.
"I always will protect you... Your my niñita. I can't let you get hurt." I smiled softly and slowly and gently dragged her around to my front and sat her on the sink, "I've always been there, I will always be there.... You're never alone Gracie."
She smiled and stole a kiss before resting our foreheads together as she rubbed our noses, "I love you vada."
"Love you too Gracie."
"Hmmmm?" I turned my head slightly to keep contact.
"Will you sleep in the bed with me.... Without all the pillows?" She pulled back, as if waiting for rejection.
"Of course... Let's go to bed niñita." I lifted her up and carried her to the bed before throwing those godforsaken pillows off over my shoulder.
She giggled and smiled as I slid in and let her cuddle up to me. She kissed my chest and hummed a soft 'nighty night' as I gave a 'dulces sueños(sweet dreams)'. Once she settled in, almost out cold, I pushed her hair from her face and rubbed her back... I'll never let you get hurt again. Never again niñita, you deserve only the best. I wasn't tired so I just watched her sleep till my eyes finally closed... Sleep finally taking me.
So after rereading my last chapter, I realized I forgot to do the Spanish translation. Everything written in parentheses last chapter was supposed to be the translation for the Spanish I forgot to put in. Sorry.
I was greeted by the morning sun as my eyes flickered open. My body tried to roll away only to be stopped, a arm tight around my waist holding me down. That's when the events of yesterday hit me, wright showing up, vada protecting me, and me telling vada I wanted to sleep with him without the pillows between us. I looked at his face, he looked so peaceful like I haven't seen since... Since That.
I went to kiss his cheek only to stop before my lips could touch him, my neck retracting back down to his chest. I couldn't get myself to do it, couldn't kiss my vada. Part of me wanted to run away, to take off to the living room and cuddle up on his chair alone. But I was stuck here, stuck
next to against him as my body was trying to create space between us and keep him close.
I needed more, wanted to feel him on me, against me.... In me. I felt a slow burning desire for everything he could give me.... And I wanted it so bad. I slowly pushed up his arm just a little and sat up after swinging my leg over him. My thighs applying a slight pressure causing him to stir. His eyes fluttered and so did my heart, his lips curling up at the sight of me above him.
"Good morning niñita." He chuckled as he ran a hand up my stomach under my night shirt.
My lips parted but twitched, a silent scream at the intimate touch being given. Before I could try to calm my nerves, my body pulled back and I almost fell off the bed. He pulled his hands back and watched me struggle to regain any form of composure. Sitting up, he wrapped a arm around me and pulled me close to hold me in his warm embrace.
"Shhhhhhhhh.... Calm down niñita. Your ok.. your ok."
I nodded and he pulled back a little, he watched how I was soothed by him and I could tell his mind was trying to figure out why I freaked out. I wish I knew why... I want it, I want you.... Why am I acting like this? Why am I pushing you away? He kissed my forehead, brushing off a tear that slipped down.
"If your not ready, then I can wait. Por favor, (please, don't rush it. I'm not going anywhere.)" He smiled softly, "te amo niñita."
"T-t-t-te amo v-v-v-vada." I took a sharp inhale as we both heard my phone ringing.
He gave me a look and when I didn't reach for it, answered for me seeing raf's face appear on the screen, "Morning."
"Morning Nevada, where's Grace? I did call her phone right?"
"Yeah, she is ok. Just a little busy." I sighed, "what did you need?"
"Arraignment is in about a hour. She doesn't have to be present but I know she said she wanted to be there for the whole trial. I'm going to be there, just making sure she knew." He paused, "is everything ok?"
"Yeah, yeah... We'll be there. Talk to you then." I hung up and kissed her head again, "Rafael wanted to make sure you knew the arraignment was today. Just checking in as always."
"When is it?" She sniffled and looked up at me.
"About a hour."
"Then we need to get ready." She hoped off my lap and quickly started through her clothes for something to wear.
I smiled, for a second she looked like the old grace. Then I realized she practically ran away to the closet because of the advances this morning. I slowly got up and put on some clothes, styling my hair as Grace slipped into a nice dress. It was a old one, I recognized it immediately. It was from her graduation party that was just family and close friends. The way it fit her was amazing after all these years, almost twelve years later she still held onto that little dress.
It was black, fitted at the chest in a ever so slightly caress of her chest. The lace sleeves stopped halfway down her arms and the skirt sat down at her knee. She looked very well put together in that dress, she always said it gave her confidence like she couldn't believe. I watched her walk over and kiss my cheek as I slowly wrapped my arm around her.
"You ready niñita."
"Yeah... Let's go."
She took my hand and we walked out to the Escalade I had waiting. Marco drove us over to the courthouse, as I watched her fidget. I could tell she was nervous about seeing that bastard again, not that I was much better. But of course, I had to protect her. We pulled up and walked in to find carisi was waiting for us. He walked us to the court room and sat down beside rafael in the back row. He smiled and gave a quick kiss to Grace's cheek.
It was quiet as the judge started, his voice filling the room addressing the case. "Mr. Wright, on the charges of kidnapping, rape, assault, and sodemy in the first... How do you plea?"
"Not guilty." He smirked.
"And the people?" The judge looked to Conrad.
"The people ask for remand your honor. The defendant kidnapped, tortured and rape the victim and attacked her at her home after dodging police."
"My client, he has strong ties to the community. He has a job that he will lose if he doesn't appear and a family to provide for." Buchanan pushed.
"He got out of jail within the year, lost rights to the kids and a forceful divorce from his wife." He looked over, "the attack on the victim should be enough to hold him."
"Remand is granted." The gavel was banged and wright was walked out of the room.
I looked over at Grace and motioned her to the hall, smiling softly as i get a hug from her, "hey Gracie, would you both mind coming to my office? Conrad wants to run through your testimonies."
"Sure," she looked at nevada who nodded, "yeah we can do that."
"Good. Let's get over there now, he'll be right behind us." I lead them out, carisi right behind me.
It was just a short walk, the whole way over I was watching Gracie walking under Nevada's arm. The dress she wore bringing me back, making me think about the day I bought it for her. One of my favorite days with her.
It was almost summer, Grace was about to graduate high school. Since her nor Mami had money, I offered to take her out for the dress. She kept refusing until I finally got her to cave, I offered her a whole day off just the two of us. So on my Sunday off, me and Gracie went to Manhattan to go dress shopping. We went to several stores, not finding one she even liked... I decided to talk to her on the way to our next shop.
"Gracie, why haven't you found a dress? Is it because you don't want me to buy it for you?"
"Not exactly. If you buy me a dress, I want it to be worn more then once." She frowned, "I don't want a one time dress like prom... I still feel bad vada bought that dress for me."
"Hey, don't worry about that. That's part of high school. Besides, we don't mind it."
"But I do. I don't want you wasting money, and you would be." She pointed out and he rolled his eyes, "don't give me that Rafi, let's just go home."
"Nope. I said I would buy you a dress. I'm buying you a dress." I pushed her towards another door, a dress shop with plenty to choose from, "money doesn't matter Gracie. I want you to walk up on that stage feeling confident and strong, because you did it. You made it."
She nodded and started through the racks. Anytime she would start to look at the tag, I would pull it from her hands and add it to the try on pile. She would glare a little and move on, a few time having to sho off one of the assistants that were keeping a close eye on the Cubans. Finally after a thousand dresses, only eleven to try on, we went to the dressing room. She tried on a few and wouldn't come out, meaning she didn't want me to buy it even though she liked it.
Then came the one. It was a simple day dress in black. Tight chest with a small curve point in the neckline, half sleeves of black lace, loose skirt down to her knees... She looked beautiful. Her demeanor when she walked out was way different too.
"I love it Gracie."
"Me too." She turned and let the skirt roll a little before running her fingers down the waist, "I... I really love it. It makes me feel, I don't know, different."
"You look professional, and that dress could be worn all the time." I stood up and walked over, "how much?"
"35." She smiled, "it's on clearance and it's perfect." She smiled wide as I hugged her.
"So this one?"
"Yes. I want this one." She quickly went back to change and brought it out to me.
We paid and left. On the wait to hail a taxi, she gave me a big hug as on pulled up. Then she just let go and got in once it stopped. Once situated, she turned to me with a smile.
"It makes me feel confident. Powerful Almost." She smiled, "like it makes me feel like a woman but so much more.... Can a dress even do that?"
"Apparently it can." I chuckled and kissed her forehead, "wait till Mami sees it on you."
"Wait till vada Sees it on me." She shot back with a smile and I shook my head.
"One day, when you finally admit you like each other, I am going to punch him. For every time he ruined a beautiful moment I had with you because you always bring up that criminal."
She rolled her eyes, "you have to prove he's a criminal."
I shook my head, just smiling at the fact she finally bought her dress. And the way she looked at graduation... So confident. It even got me a thank you, from Nevada.
"Rafi? You in there?" Grace poked my head.
"Yeah, sorry. what were you saying?" I looked over.
She giggled before tugging vada's arm tighter around her, "I asked who was the lawyer in there?"
"That's Buchanan? He doesn't look so threatening." Grace shurgged.
"Unless your standing between him and food." Grace giggled at Nevada's words.
"Don't underestimate him, he is strong in the court room. He looks for the slightest mistake and prys until the victim or witness is discredited. This trial just got a whole lot harder." I frowned as we walked into my office.
Carmen brought in my messages and she got Grace a tea and had it waiting. A fresh pot of coffee was on my stand, so I thanked her and poured me a cup and one for Nevada. It was only a minutes later, carisi had walked back in from his phone call, First time I actually noticed he wasn't with us. He sat down and we all started talking.
"So what more is there to do before the trial?" Grace looked over to me.
"Pretrial hearings... Then the actual trial. But I don't believe any motions were filed."
"No, one has been." Conrad stepped in, "Buchanan wants Mr. Ramirez's criminal history admitted."
"Why would a judge allow that? His history is completely irrelevant to the case." Carisi looked at the young ada.
"It's extremely prejudicial to his reputation on the stand, that's why he's doing it." Conrad sighed, "I can try to fight it but I doubt the judge will go for it."
"Or it's to help his defense." I looked over before turning to Nevada, "he's going to claim it was a gang or someone seeking revenge on Ramirez. He wants to play off your reputation."
"Why would that matter?" He looked over as Grace frowned as she answered for me, "because I was at the warehouse waiting on you."
"It's going to be admitted. He's going to try to destroy him on cross." Conrad glared, "and I can't take him off my witness list or he'll just subpoena him to testify."
"Use it to your advantage." I sighed, "address his reputation first and let him say he wouldn't hurt her. The fact that the police is handling everything will destroy his defense because if he was that ruthless he would've dealt with it."
"And the assault?" He pushed.
"I was defending grace." Nevada glared back.
"You have a victim scared to death and a cop that stopped him before he went to far. It's bad, but still redeemable."
"Your lucky Barba. I need to talk to Grace alone and as for you Ramirez, I will almost script your testimony." Conrad walked out as carisi stood, "I'll just go back to work, see you tomorrow Grace."
He walked out after waving, and Grace waving back. Grace got up and had Nevada get up too. She frowned and looked at me.
"I guess we'll go. See you tomorrow, assuming that cabrón (asshole) calls me in to go through my testimony." Grace hugged me, "love you Rafi."
"Love you too Gracie." I kissed her head, "have a good night."
Nevada nodded and left with her, the clock reading 3pm. I hope she is feeling better. I hope she is letting us help now. I sat back at my desk and went to work.
As we left, Nevada smiled, "how about some food? I know the perfect place."
"I don't really want to be around people vada, let's go home." I kissed his cheek, "but thanks for the thought."
"Please cariño, I promise you'll love it." He helped me in the Escalade, "very few people."
"How do you know?" I frowned.
"They are behind on collection money, I made a deal to give them a small break." He pulled me close to him, "the place is ours for the evening."
"Ok, let's eat vada..... I am starving."
He chuckled at my confession and stole a kiss, "good, cause I have been dying for some of their fish."
So if I can get thoughts on how this story is going, it would be helpful. Especially if you can tell me how you like the flash backs. Thank you!
Chapter 14: Hearings and realizations
As Conrad preps Grace for testimony and works on the pre-trial hearing, carisi has a talk with Grace and Rafael that makes him see a new side to things.
It was about noon when sonny said he would be pickng me up at three. Conrad wanted to prep me on a stand to make sure I could get through testifying, sonny thought he would prepare me for Conrad since he wasn't in the best mood lately. He figured a quick lunch might help the talk along, but then Rafi came over to have lunch with me on his lunch.
"Hey Gracie, how you doin?"
"Good bro, come in... Vada had a business meeting or something." I gave him a hug, "you good with pizza?"
"Depends, yours or delivery?"
"Mine, like I would answer the door for a delivery boy right now." I rolled my eyes, "since this will be for three."
"Three?" He watched as I checked the pizza.
"Yeah three, sonny wanted to have lunch and talk about the trial prep. Said Conrad has been a little harsh lately and he wanted to make sure I was good to do it." I looked at him, "I got the call like, ten minutes ago... Right after yours."
"Ok, I guess I can eat with him too." Raf sighed and sat down at the small bar counter, "what kinda pizza?"
"Fajita. Your favorite of mine." I smiled as he winked at me.
"Why do I need a wife when I have your cooking hermana (sister)." He teased and sniffed the air by the oven.
"I won't answer that," you blushed to hide your laughter, earning a chuckle and a straw being thrown at you, "ei, ei, ei! (Hey, hey, hey)"
He rolled his eyes and looked at the door when he heard a knock, "am I suppose to get that?"
"Podría por favor?(Would you please?)"
He got up and answered the door, slowly opening it, "hey Grace thanks for the lunch, Barba would kill me if I left you alone all d...."
Sonny stopped mid sentence, making me giggle as raf stood at the door, "you were saying carisi?"
"Don't mind him, he just wants to bum food off me. Come in sonny." I waved him in as raf smirked.
"A little late carisi, Grace has been alone for a few hours."
"Stop it Rafi, O le digo a mamá. (or I tell mommy.)" I warned and gave him a small point of my finger.
He rolled his eyes and sat down at the table, "chismoso (tattletale)."
"What's for lunch?" Sonny sat across from raf as I pulled the pizza out and cut it calling back, "fajita pizza."
"Never had it." He looked it over as I sat it down.
"I doubt you have, I'm pretty sure Grace thought it up." Raf smiled up at me, "Ella está loca de esa manera. (she's crazy like that.)"
"Love you too Rafi." I hummed before taking a piece, "so... Talk to me about this Conrad. Is he always kinda a dick?"
"Yes kinda," raf shrugged, "but usually not this bad. This case is just getting to him."
"I understand, it's a mess." I sighed, "and Nevada being the only real witness... I'm surprised we still have a case."
"Of course we do Gracie." Raf took a bite and swallowed, "you deserve justice, you'll get it."
My word hung in the air, both men watching as I rubbed my arm. The complimented the food, I brushed it off. They decided to push on, to bring me back to myself... I could tell. Then sonny got a rise from me.
"Why who?" I looked at him.
"Ramirez." He looked at me as raf looked like he was about to snap at him.
"I love him." I didn't even look slightly offended, "I have known him as long as i have known Rafi. I remember both of them walking me to school, being there when Dad flipped... They both protected me. The only difference is when he went to Harvard, Nevada was still here for me. He protected me like I was his little sister, even his sisters seen it. His Mami would let me spend the night when dad went off the rails... He beat the shit out of anyone that hurt me. The kid that ditched me a hour before prom, left me a mess, he took me. Luckily the school was willing to bend rules and not fight him on his entry."
"I remember that, you were locked in your room crying, Mami couldn't get you out and she called me then actually went to get vada. He coaxed you out after promising to go with you." Raf smiled, "I would've if it weren't for the fact I was working and you would've said no because we're family."
"He still has that photo you know? In his little cigar box, he has that photo of the three on prom night. My messy dress and you two both in suits, well kinda, outside your office." I sighed, "I always knew I'd pick vada. His reputation isn't him, what people think of him isn't anything like the real man."
"But you do know his reputation?" Sonny leaned in.
"Of course, who doesn't? But I have never seen anything illegal nor heard anything.... And honestly I don't care. I know who he really is, that's all that matters." I smiled, "I'll get dressed and then let you two tell me what to do."
I walked away, changing clothes before stopping by the closet door. I stepped in and reached up for his cigar box. Inside were just a few things, reminders of his childhood and life. His dad's cross necklace that he never fixed, a bunch of photos, my first corsage (the one he gave me for a middle school dance)... I fingered a old silver spoon, his spoon as his Mami use to say. The story rushing back to me.
It was almost midnight on a school night, I was about 12 years old at the time. Dad was angry and Mami told me to lock myself in my room, luckily my room had the fire escape because I couldn't sleep over the fighting. I pushed the window open and took one step out in the frosty cold winter night. It was blistering cold, I needed to stay inside especially when I barely had clothes on... But the noise was to much. So I went to plan b. I shimmied down the small walkway and reached over to grab the small railing, about a foot difference... With a few stories fall if I fucked up. I took a deep breath, Come on Gracie,vada does this all the time.... Have some strength. I did the small jump and rolled on the metal a little before regaining my footing on the other side. I walked to his window, curtains closed, and knocked.
It took a minute but when he pulled back the curtains, the window immediately opened as wide as his eyes, "niñita, what the hell are you doing?! Tu jodida loca lo sabes. Dónde está tu ropa? (Your fucking crazy you know that. Where are your clothes?)"
"They started arguing again, Mami said to hide in my room.... It was just too loud." I whispered as he pulled me through the window and locked it.
"You could catch a cold dressed like that, or worse. Qué diablos estabas pensando? (What the hell were you thinking?)" He growled a little and noticed I was still laying face down on the floor, tears sparking.
He dropped down and pulled me up into his lap, my fear rising that he would make me go back, "I sorry vada, lo siento (I'm sorry)."
"Shhhhh, it's ok... I over reacted." He pulled back and tipped my head up, "are you ok?"
I nodded and he smiled, "then let's get you changed into clean dry clothes and you'll sleep here tonight."
I nodded as he lifted me up to sit on the bed, he through me a shirt off his and a pair pj pants. He was messing with something in his closet which gave me time to change without him seeing. With my curious mind always running, I had to ask.
"Hey vada, why do you still live at home?" I watched him turn around and carry a small box over and sit it on his nightstand before sitting beside me.
"Because it's my home niña tonta (silly girl)."
"But your 22. And your Mami said you bought a place." I tipped my head as he rolled his eyes.
"I did but it feels empty withy annoying family and the little girl next door breaking in my window." He smiled at me, "I'm lucky enough to be able to take care of my sisters and Mami, I pay for everything for Mami and Camille since she still lives here.... And since this is still my room, I like to sleep in it."
"Makes sense." I nodded.
"Now, here's a bigger question... Do you want to see inside the box?" I tipped my head and he smiled, "yes you do."
He opened the small cigar box that still smelt like cigars and pulled out a few things, "this here is my dad's cross. He wore it everyday until he died, then he left it to me." He sat the broken necklace down, "and this, this is my silver spoon as Mami likes to say."
"Your silver spoon?"
"Since I am the oldest and the only boy, I always got away with everything growing up... Much to my sisters dislike. They said I felt entitled, and Mami said I was just born with a silver spoon in my mouth. And since I always chewed on this one, she said it was Nevada's spoon." He smiled and rubbed the long handle, "so it seems I was always a carbón (asshole)."
I giggled and he showed me a few photos, told me a few stories to go with them. I realized that i didn't know why he was doing this, so I asked.
"Vada, why are you showing me this?"
"This is what I was doing when you knocked, and I figured since you looked scared you needed cheered up. No me gusta que mi niña se asuste. (I don't like my little girl scared.)"
I smiled and kissed his cheek, "thanks vada."
"De nada (your welcome)," he put the stuff back in the box and slid it under his bed, "now let's get some sleep, you still have school tomorrow."
He pulled me back on his chest then turned sideways, the sheet and blanket thrown over us to keep us warm. We slept tucked in tight against me each other, and in the morning he kissed my head and walked me back home before taking me to school after I changed. Mami didn't question it, and dad wasn't home to question it.... But I faintly remember hearing Mami whisper thank you to Nevada before we left for school.
I sat the spoon back in it's box, and put the box back in it's hiding spot. I switched into clean clothes and walked back out to hear Rafael and sonny talking.
Once Grace left, I looked at Carisi, "really. You ask her why him?"
He shrugged, "I've had girlfriends before...."
"Hard to believe." I slipped in as he continued.
"....and I know it's a comforting place to go to. When she looks distraught I ask her about him, not to find dirt or anything, just to make her happy again."
I paused, it was actually kinda brilliant, "I get it... When she defends him or tells stories, she is distracted and feels better. Safer since it's him."
"Exactly. We should get her over to prep, Conrad will be on a war path if we don't." Carisi stood up, "I'll bring the car closer. Do you want a ride back to work while we are heading that way."
"Yeah, thanks carisi."
He nodded and left, I looked up as Grace came around the corner. She had on jeans and a nicer blouse, I gave her a hug before walking her out to the car.
We had just arrived at 1 Hogan place, raf kissed my head and left for his office. Sonny walked me up to the Conrad's office, walking in with me to be my guard dog, temporary guard dog. The kid looked up and sighed, waving me to sit down.
"Ms. Barba, glad you could make it."
"We are here early Conrad, lighten up would ya." Sonny glared as he rolled his eyes.
"Ok, whatever. First thing first, I had the hearing this morning and the judge allowed in Ramirez's history. I know he doesn't have a record much to speak of but reputation will be damning." He looked up to me, "so I will be asking about your relationship as well as the attack and rape."
"Ok," I tucked into the chair.
"Let's start from the beginning, how long have you been dating Mr. Ramirez?"
"About five years."
"How long have you known Mr. Ramirez?"
"Most my life, I was a baby when we first met."
"You know of his reputation?"
"Yes, who doesn't know of it?" I tried to stop from fidgeting.
"Ok, your doing good... Try not to twitch like that though. A jury might find it to be misleading, like a tell that your lying."
I nodded, "ok."
"Grace, do you know what your boyfriend's job is?"
"Yes, he is a firework distributor."
"Ok, here is where it'll get harder." He leaned forward, "what happened to you on the night in question?"
"My boyfriend Nevada had picked me up from a coffee shop and took me for a walk in the park. We were there for a while before he got a call about a business issue and needed to go to his warehouse. I stayed in the SUV and let him go in with his men."
"Then what happened?" He watched me carefully, my skin started itching.
I fought the urge to itch, "there was gunshots and I moved to the floor of the SUV. I covered my head and was shaking in fear when the door opened and I was pulled out by my ankle."
"Can you tell me anything else about your abduction?"
"I remember a sharp pain in my neck, a hand over my mouth and then nothing."
"Ok, here I'll show the broken needle found at the scene that contained a tranquilizer. Then I would precede... Grace, what's the next thing you remember?"
"I woke up in cold damp room, bound in rope. I was bleeding and my side had a sharp stabbing pain... I tried to break free but couldn't." I looked down and he took a deep breath.
"I know it's hard, but keep eye contact. Don't let your fear get the best of you."
I nodded and continued, "it reminded me of a dungeon, a steady drip that was maddening..."
"Ok good, what happened next?"
"There was foot steps and he came in the room." I dropped my head and twitched a little.
"I know it's hard, but you have to say his name. Point him out." Sonny rested his hand on my shoulder, "it'll be ok, you can do this."
I shook my head, "nope.... I can't. I can't..."
I stood up and ran out, as I knew sonny was glaring at Conrad. I was down the hall to the elevator when I felt a hand on me pulling me back. I went to shove it away as a second one pulled me in, I felt a chest firm behind me and a familiar voice in my ear.
"cálmese (Calm down), Gracie breath... Carisi said you needed me." Raf slowly walked me to his office, "I don't know what happened but.... But it'll be fine."
"No it won't."
"Yes it will, I promise you that Gracie. I promise." Raf squeezed you tight to him as he stood in the middle of his office, "I promise."
Chapter 15: Stronger
"it's ok Gracie, breathe." I whispered to my sister.
"Rafi... I can't... I can't do it." She squirmed.ed a little as I felt her chest restrict, her whimpering starting again.
"Yes you can. I know you can. You'll go in that courtroom and burry that bastard.... You'll be strong when the moment comes. I know you will." I kissed the top of her head and let her go as she clings to me.
"How do you know? I'm pathetic ra..."
"No your not. I have seen women exactly like you are now go on that stand and show the world what a man like wright did... I seen women with less strength and support throw people in jail for years.... You can do this Grace, I know you can (sister)."
She nodded and let go, I watched a second and sighed as she looked up, "I guess I should go back down to prep."
"No just go home."
She stopped, "but Conrad..."
"Don't worry about it. I'll have carisi take you home and wait with you till Nevada gets back. Love you sis."
"Love you too bro." She hugged me and I texted carisi.
Once she left to go home, Conrad came over to my office walking in and shutting the door. He glared at me and slammed his hand on my desk I sat at. I looked up unamused.
"You sent your sister home during my prep? You aren't on this case!"
"And she wasn't up for it. I could tell it was useless." I shrugged it off.
"You don't have the right to dismiss my victim during my prep!"
"She left your prep and I calmed her down. She wasn't in a good mood nor really going to be helpful... Prep would stress her and make her a flight risk for trial." I stood up, "I did what you didn't know to do."
"Your not on this case Barba!" He stopped, "ok, I get it's your sister. You know her better... That's why you can't be on this case. I know you are close with SVU and they keep you in the loop on everything even what they shouldn't.. I get it. I would want that too. But you have to have some faith in me, the DA picked me for a reason."
"I know. It's just, Grace isn't a normal victim. She's family like you said. I know she could never study but would ace ever test if you let it be.... That's why I sent her home. You prep her like you would on the stand and she couldn't handle it." I walked around to face him, "you shouldn't prep Ramirez because that is asking for a fight... I know how it'll go on stand. Focus on what the defense will ask him instead, or ask me. The tricks he'll lay to get Grace to slip. I'll talk it through with them and make sure they are good... But bringing them in isn't going to help."
"Ok." He nodded, "But you need to step back. Try not to look so hard into the case, don't have Benson telling you everything happening..... Just have a little faith in me. If I need help, I will call or something. Please."
I nodded, "deal, you better win this."
Carisi dropped me off at home, He wanted to wait but I told him to go to work instead. I texted vada to see if he would be long.
G: Will you be home soon?
N: Very soon, about two blocks away.
N: Why are you back so soon?
I smiled and walked back to the bathroom, stripping down to shower off this nasty feeling. I turned the water on to scolding, then heard their voices in my head.
'Don't burn yourself (sister), Gracie talk to us instead. That water isn't healthy.' Vada pushing raf's voice aside, 'Your skin is red niñita (little girl), why are you burning your skin. Talk to me Gracie, tell vada what's wrong?'.
I turned it down, tugging a towel from the closet. I laid it on the skin nearby, tossing my clothes on the floor to the side and stepping in. The hot water pounded my back lightly and loosened the tight muscles, my eyes closing as I gasped softly. I ran my hand over my shoulders to rub out the tension, imagining it was someone else's hands.
His hands cup my shoulders and rolled down my back. Slowly they grabbed my ass before tugging me back against him, slidding to my waist as he kissed my neck. My eyes close and mouth open, I felt this burn in my stomach and my eyes shot open.
"niñita, you in there?"
His voice was just on the other side of the curtain, my eyes trail over slowly, "yeah vada.... Care to join me?"
It went silent, I bit my lip... Then his shadow slowly undid it's clothes. The curtian was held softly, as if the same hesitation we both must've felt.... Then he stepped in. He brushed my hair back carefully them kissed me as the water pounded our heads. I bit his lip, softly tugging it. His hands slowly moved down to my waist as I rested mine around his neck. It was kissing, heavy kissing, but just kissing. His hands never moved, his lips never left mine except for a small intake of air, and it was great... But I was craving more. His hands held firm, so I tugged them down to hold my ass. My body shaking slightly, whether from the nerves or the want I didn't know. He pulled back slightly, locking eyes as I leaned in and rubbed against him pelvis slightly.
I closed my eyes and forced a little more of a kiss, he broke it, "niñita..."
I tried again but this time his hands let go and he stepped back, my eyes filled with tears and heart pounded. Don't.... Please don't reject me..... Vada please. My lips quivered and he froze a second, before wiping away the forming tears.
"Gracie, are you sure?" He slowly tipped my head to kiss it, "last time you..."
"We don't need to rush." He rubbed my hips, his eyes glazing over with the same feeling I have, lust.
"I want to.... Please Vada. Please." He smiled as I nodded.
His hands squeezed me gently and slowly places me against the wall. He kept his touches light and tried to give me a easy escape if anything happened and I wanted to run. Things were heating up quickly when his hand grabbed my ass again... One hand to a cheek and I pushed him back as my body constricted.... He looked as hurt a I did, well I assumed.
"Gracie...." He bent down and carefully picked me up after turning off the water.
He brushed my wet hair from my face and wrapped me in my towel. He carried me to the bed and rubbed my back, whispering how beautiful I am and strong. Kissing my head as I hid it.... I can't.... That bastard broke me. He fucking broke me. Nevada laid me back and hugged me to him without pressure, slowly passing out under the covers. I followed him, only to wake up off and on. I eventually left and went to the living room, curling up in his chair to sleep again. Not because I didn't want him to touch me, but because my body wouldn't let him in the way I wanted.
Chapter 16: Pushing limits
Grace pushes her limits after a rough day. Raf talks the case details with Conrad. Nevada is called in to talk with them.
The day started like many lately, Nevada woke up to find me curled in his chair sleeping. He woke me up gently and kissed my head cautiously, as not to startle me like before. He started on breakfast so I could stay curled up, basically wallowing in my own self pity. He was in the kitchen silent, I could see the toll this was taking on him. His girlfriend was finally showing affection after being raped, but no sex. She kept trying and ended up freaking out. It had to have killed him a little Everytime, it sure did me. Only minutes later, I was jolted from my thoughts by a phone ringing. Realizing it was mine, I answered quickly as he smirked over at me whispering '(welcome to our world)".
I rolled my eyes, "hola (hello)."
"Hermana (sister), how are you this morning?" Raf sounded stressed.
"Better then you apparently. What's up?" I shifted to watch Nevada cook better, he had cracked a few eggs and was watching me with a smile.
"Can't I just check in on my sister?"
"Seriously Rafi, what do you want?"
"I need to see Nevada in my office. Me and Conrad need to talk with him." Then he sighed, "but I want to make sure your ok, you would be alone for a while."
"I'm an adult, I can be alone for a while." I sighed and caught Nevada smirking.
"I can call cari..." I cut him off, "no. I'm fine by myself."
"Ok, please send Nevada over. I'll return him as soon as possible." He paused a moment, "love you Gracie."
"Love you to hermano (brother)." I grumbled softly as he hung up, Nevada looking over at me.
"Niñita?" He raised a brow as he was carrying over a plate consisting of eggs and toast.
"Raf needs you, something about him and Conrad talking to you." I frowned at the plate, "just eggs and toast?"
"You usually cook," he frowned, "mami didn't teach me to cook, I had sisters to make me food."
I kissed his cheek as he handed me silverware, "you sure your ok alone?"
"Yes vada, I'll be fine. Go." I shoved him away as I took a bite.
He chuckled and left to get dressed, my eyes watching him retreat to our room. My heart pounded, like it usually would when I saw vada. Since I was a child I could feel the difference around him, the way my heart pounded, lips part to give me more air, eyes glued to him.... Everyone could see it. And I still got this way, not as bad but definitely there. He came out dressed and kissed my head, then my lips before leaving.
"Call if you need anything."
"Ok vada." I smiled as he left with a small smile, a tinge of worry evident in his face.
Once the door shut I looked at the food, it wasn't great but decent. I finished it up and washed the dishes, turning to the windows forming a wall against the outside. I walked over and looked out, my hand resting on the glass as I look down towards the street. People going about their day, without a care in the world. I wanted to do that, I needed normalcy.... I was going to get it.
I ran to the bedroom and quickly changed, sifting through the clothes. I pulled out a pair of skinny jeans, converses in red, a gray tank top, and let my fingers run over the clothes until I seen it. A old lace cover shirt in black, long sleeved to give me coverage and hopefully some courage. I tugged it on, pulled my hair back in a messy bun, and slowly walked to the door. I grabbed my keys from the hook, slipping them in a pocket and watching the door as if it would magically open if I was ready. I bit my lip, squeezed a tight fist and reached for the nob... Door open, I stepped out into the hall.
The building was owned by Nevada, a few of his men and their families stayed their. The many other rooms were other families and a few single people, but nevada always said families and married couples looked best in the building. It gave a good vibe and made it less likely anyone would be stupid enough to go near him....or me. He gave all the building work to his building manager and accountant, almost no one knew he owned the building when they rented a apartment. He liked it like that, less attention.So I slowly looked around as I walked to the elevator, a few couples had been by to check in or drop off some food after the accident at the apartment. Nevada shrugged it off, acted like it was nothing because he didn't want me to act like it was.
I stepped in the elevator, deep breaths as it shut and gave me solitude. You need to do this, you need this girl. For you... So you can be intimate with vada, so you could have your life back.... So they would believe your ok. You need this, needed the safe feeling... You have to do this. I took a deep breath and stepped off into the lobby, slowly walking towards the doors as a few people passed by. I stopped, a foot away, I just stopped and looked at the door that sat closed. My hand raised to push it open, slowly I applied pressure and stepped through to the outside.
While I had been outside since my attack, it was always with Nevada or raf, occasionally sonny. Out alone, it felt different. I felt exposed no matter how many layers I put on or how tight I pull my clothing to me... Strong Grace, strong... You are strong. They are all telling you it, it's time to show it. I let go of my sleeves that I was gripping and uncurled my hands. Show you you can do it.
I sat down in my chair, Conrad across from me. With my phone now sitting on the desk and the promise Nevada was on his way in, I started asking for details from Conrad.
"So what do we have?"
"We? You mean me." He raised a brow.
"Come on...." I started but he waved it off.
"The judge set opening statements for Monday, that gives us two more days to verify this case. I have Grace on the stand last. After the detectives, it's Nevada, Then you." He leaned back, "I figured that would allow Grace to have you both in the room for support Because we know she'll need it once Buchanan starts his cross."
"Yeah, is there anything...."
"No. The less you help behind the scenes the better. Just keep your sister together till she testifies." He sighed, "and back me up here. I doubt the drug lord will listen well."
"Not if you keep calling him that." I glared, "address him as Ramirez, only touch his work when asking questions Buchanan might ask, and most importantly... Don't look so intimidated. He has a reputation because he knows how to act."
"Thanks, very helpful." He rolled his eyes as the door opened and Nevada walked in, "ah Mr. Ramirez, glad you could make it."
"Escucha, no me gusta esto en absoluto. Si dice una cosa sobre mi trabajo, me voy.(Listen, I don't like this at all. If he says one thing about my work I'm walking out.)" Nevada looked at me as I nodded.
"He's prepping you for cross, he will ask."
"Entonces me iré ahora.(Then I'll leave now.)" He turned around to open the door as I spoke.
"No you won't, Grace needs you to do this for her..... And cut the Spanish. Conrad doesn't speak it."
"Por eso era (That's why I was)," he smirked as he turned around, "fine make this quick."
I motioned to Conrad as he started, "I trust you to behave through my questions so let's just ask the defense questions. Mr. Ramirez, what line of work are you in?"
"Are you fucking serious? Al menos suena como si lo fueras a decir.(At least sound like you mean to ask it)."
I glared and he groaned, "I'm a fireworks distributer."
"What was that Spanish?" Conrad looked at me as I waved it off, "don't worry about it."
"Have you ever been arrested?"
He glared at the young man, my finger tapping made him answer, "yes."
"Have you ever been charged with a crime?"
"You have a reputation for being violent and a serious criminal, but you have no record against you?"
"No soy lo suficientemente estúpido como para pillarme (I'm not stupid enough to get caught.)" I pointed at him, "because I haven't done anything wrong."
"A jury won't believe that, rephrase.... i haven't committed any crimes." Conrad instructed.
Not any better.
"do you have any aliases?"
"Do you have any names that people call you consistently?"
"Seriously? Qué demonios es esto? Rafael es una mierda.(What the hell is this? Rafael this is bullshit.)" Nevada started before I cut him off.
"Just answer it."
"Trujillo." He looked at Conrad, "Cual es tu siguiente puta pregunta(what's your next fucking question.)"
"Ok what's with the Spanish?" Conrad bit back.
"Nevermind, this was a bad idea. Send him home." Raf leaned back, "I guess you can't prep your witnesses."
Conrad groans and leaves, "I can't handle this case. Your insufferable Barba."
I sighed and looked at Nevada the moment the door shut, "why?"
"Better question, why the fuck aren't you handling this case? Why do we have a toddler in a suit doing your job."
"Because I'm to close to the case. I couldn't handle it professionally." I tipped my head back and groaned, "you have to work with him or you could ruin this case. Ramirez think about Grace here."
My phone was ringing before I could finish talking him into behaving. I picked it up and answered without looking, "Barba."
"Hey bro, can you come get me?"
"Grace? Where are you?" I leaned forward as Nevada leaned in expecting me to tell him what is being said.
"Some bar in Manhattan... I took a walk, a long walk." She sounded numb.
"Wait, your out alone? Which bar?"
"Give me the phone," Nevada reached for the phone and I pulled away.
"Was that vada? Shit don't tell him I'm out alone..."
"What the hell is happening? Is she ok?" He pleaded at the same time she is.
"Ok stop!.... Grace speak, Ramirez shut up." I pointed at him so he would back off.
"Can you please just come get me, without vada?.... Please." She pleaded, "I'll explain later."
"Ok, we'll get a drink alone.... Then I take you home." She agreed and gave me the name.
I hung up and looked at Nevada, "she doesn't want you there for some reason. Just go home and I'll drop her off. I promise."
He nodded and left, his anger still clearly present. I just hoped he would go home and be level headed as I packed up and ran to the bar.
I sat at the bar, a few bags by my feet. I had went to the store, and bought some clothes... Lingerie mainly. I tried it on and I thought about what made me feel beautiful, what Nevada would like... Then I bought it. Several different ones. Now I didn't feel like walking five bags home so I called raf... When he said something about a drink, I knew he wanted to talk. So as I waited for him to arrive, I realized... I wanted to talk to.
He walked in and sat down beside me, taking notice of the bags before looking up to me, "you bought a lot of clothes Gracie.
"Lingerie." I corrected and see his slight flinch, "grow up raf, I'm a adult."
"Is this going to be a sex talk? Because I can get vada here so this doesn't happen."
"I just need to talk about what's happening? I don't feel like me Rafi." I frowned, "since...... That, I don't feel like me. I can kinda stand to be around people without freaking out. I can show some affection but not alot.... I'm broken."
"That why vic..." She twitched, "people in your position talk to shrinks or.... Well... Somebody. You shouldn't keep this bottled up."
"Ok... Let me talk to you. Why can't I be physical with nevada without freaking out?"
"No.... Not talking about that. I'll find you a shrink to talk about your sex life." He tried to end the conversation and I stopped him.
"I'm not talking to a stranger about that." I frowned, "please Rafi, come on bro."
"Ok fine, no details though. I don't need those nightmares." He turned towards me slowly.
I rolled my eyes, "such a baby, like you don't talk about sex aside from your job."
"Not about my little sister." He shook his head, "talk before I change my mind."
"Why can't I be intimate with vada? I can start, the kissing and everything then my body spasms or something before freezing and then I shut down." I frown, "it's like my body can't tell the difference between vada and just anybody else. It scares me."
"It'll get better, you just have to give it time.... Or buy lingerie and force it." He looked down at the bags, "Gracie, it's ok. He isn't running off on you, your not losing Ramirez because your body isn't ready."
"I'm glad your sure, I'm still not." I took a sip of my drink, "I'm not even sure I can get on that stand."
"You know you have to. You have to bury that bastard." His words slipped off his tongue carelessly as I looked closely at him tipping his drink back.
"I don't know if I can do anything, I went out alone today and freaked out." I shook my head, "can I stay with you tonight? I call vada and explain but .... I need my bro tonight."
He nodded, "ok, only if you tell me what happened today.... And you have to testify."
"Then you'll have to convince me too." I gave a small smile, "if anyone could it's you. Love you bro."
"Love you too Gracie, now call Nevada and don't blame me."
I rolled my eyes and dialed, maybe a sleep over with my bro is what I need.
Chapter 17: Barba sleepover
Rafael and Grace have some quality time together while Nevada struggles to sleep.
I walked outside and let Grace step a few feet away to call Nevada and explain. Once she hung up, I hailed a cab and we went back to my place. Once inside, Grace fell backwards on the couch as i rolled my eyes and walked over.
"Let's talk, you weren't doing well at the bar." I sat down and she adjusted to lay on my lap.
"Because I can't explain it... I want to be back to the way I was before but my body won't let me. I know it's normal but, I try to force my self from my comfort zone... To push limits." I watched her shake her head, "Solo soy estúpido(I'm just stupid.)."
"No eres estúpido.(You are not stupid.) Gracie, por favor (please)tell me what happened today."
She teared up, "I thought if I could go outside and make myself take a walk or something that I could get more comfortable again. So I got dressed and went out the door, I started down the sidewalk and felt like everyone was watching me." She shifted, "after five blocks I felt like someone was following me so I ducked into a store and did a little shopping. I came out with some lingerie and started to walk on to a cafe or another store but this guy came up to me."
I stroked her hair and let my fingers run through it before twisting a few small strands to braid down. She shivered but kept pushing herself, it broke my heart.
"He complimented my figure, then I heard a few of his friends cat calling. I forced myself to stay strong but... I took off running to get away. I had to have ran several blocks out of fear, fear they would be around the corner and they would..."
I squeezed her side and tried to calm her, "shhhhhhh... It's ok Gracie. your safe."
"So I went to another shop. I tried on anything that would make me feel sexy again.... With the bruises and cuts, I wanted to feel like I use too. I would look in the mirror and trace the bruises that were visible, it was kinda empowering. Then I broke back down." She looked up at me as I finished the fifth small braid, "I didn't want to look at vada, to see him broken because I am. Every morning I wake up next to him is hopeful until he tries to show affection. When I wake up in his chair in the living, he has the same broken look. I can't keep doing this to him, I love him... I don't want to hurt him."
She teared up again as I pulled her up to my chest, taking a second to wipe my own teary eyes before calming her. I kissed her head and hug her tight to me.
"I know Gracie, I know... Everything will be ok.... You'll be ok, Nevada will be ok.... I know it's hard but you will make it through this." I calmly whisper, watching her nod.
"I love you raf."
"I love you too Gracie. And Nevada loves you... And Mami. You have support, use it sis." I wiped her tears, "I thought we were past the part of our lives when I would have to cuddle you and wipe your tears."
"Me too," she laughed trying to still her weepy mind, "though I do miss you braiding my hair."
I shook my head, "don't get use to it hermana (sister)."
She turned to me, feeling the small braids before turning for me to finish. My mind drifting off.
I was about seventeen, I had just walked a seven year old Gracie home from a birthday party a few blocks over. She was skipping along telling me every little detail, giggling as I shake my head. We got to the building and as normal, she stopped and grabbed my hand to walk in. Never let go of my hand, that was the rule when we got to the building. I opened the apartment door to find Mami and dad yelling, I quickly ushered her into my bedroom and tried to distract her.
"Hey Gracie, how about a sleep over tonight? We don't have school tomorrow and I have a few snacks hidden in the closet."
She nodded, afraid to speak and dad hear her.
"It's ok Gracie, I got you. Dad can't hurt you when I'm here." I cuddle her into my chest as I bent down to hug her.
"I love you Rafi."
"Love you too Gracie. So what should we do?" I walked to the closet and pulled a small box of cookies and a bigger bag of chips.
She took the cookies as usual, "can you braid my hair? Mommy never really has time to braid it like she use too."
"Yeah, sit down Gracie.Qué tal una historia también.(How about a story too.)"
Her face lit up as she dropped down with her legs crossed, I started braiding her hair and making up a story as I went. She would occasionally add to it to help me along. By the time I finished braiding it, and her cookies were long gone, she hopped up on my bed and tugged the sheet over her.
"What do you think your doing?" I teased.
"Sleeping." She hummed.
"That's my bed." I poke her leg.
"But mine is to far away and..." She stopped as if she was scared to say it out loud.
"Ok, but you have to share the bed, scoot." I bumped her towards the wall and she didn't scoot, "final warning."
"What you gonna do about it?" She gave a little grin before her face dropped as I grabbed her foot to tickle, "Rafi don't."
Her harsh whisper was lost in a fit of giggles, I tugged her down the bed and picked her up before falling on the bed while holding her smashed to me. She struggled for a moment, then I stopped and let her roll to the inside of the bed. She faced me and smiled, her little nose twitching before she leaned over and kissed my head.
"Love you Rafi. Thanks for protecting me."
"De nada Gracie (your welcome)." I tugged the blankets over us as she fell asleep, "dulces sueños(sweet dreams)."
I looked down to see her hair was almost done as she hummed a little tune Mami hummed on her happy days. Some Latin rhythm song she loved to dance to when dad wasn't around. She turned to look at me after I dropped the last braid, hopping up as I smiled at her checking it in the small mirror on the wall.
"How do you do that so well? I mean you braid better then Mami."
"Not a useful talent when I'm a career lawyer." I walked over to get a bottle of water.
"want a water Gracie?"
"Yeah thanks raf," I turned towards the kitchen and followed as he tossed me a water.
"Are you feeling a little better yet?" He asked as I took a sip.
"A little." I sighed, "this is scary raf, I don't know how to handle it.... I'm afraid of losing vada... I'm afraid he'll get off and can torture me again."
"That won't happen, I won't let it." He sighed, "you deserve better, I'm making sure you get it."
I smiled and hugged him again as he chuckled, "maybe you did have a little to much to drink."
I slapped his arm as he motioned back to the living room, "I don't have to work till after noon. How about a late night movie marathon and some popcorn?"
"So we can sleep on the couch and hear you complain.... Yeah let's do it old man." I poked his chest as he rolled his eyes.
"Your boyfriend is the same age as me."
"But he doesn't complain like you do." I chuckled and plopped down as he tossed me the remote.
I just got home, a dark apartment empty of life... Except me. For the first time in a long time, I felt alone. Not just from Grace staying at Rafael's tonight but from the distance she has created to protect herself. I know it is for the best, giving her space, but this much space is starting to hurt me. Not to mention everytime we try to show affection she breaks down... My heart slowly shatters more Everytime I see her cry because she can't do more then hug or kiss me.
I lock the door and found myself turning on all the lights, like Grace does when she's home alone. Then I slowly shut off all of them on the way back to the bedroom, lingering by the hallway bathroom where she always did. I noticed the view of the mirror, it showed me and little else from this angle. All the flaws were beneath the skin, but I felt like I could see them. Is this why she always freezes here? Oh Gracie.... Poor niñita. I clicked off the light and walked into the bedroom, sitting on the end of the bed after locking the door. I did everything like she does it, but it still doesn't feel right. I close my eyes and bow my head till it reaches my hands, a few small tears escaping. What if Grace never gets better? What if she needs more space?.... What if I'm hurting her by being so close to her?
I leaned back, softly lifting my head before falling back to the mattress. I rested my head on a pillow and took a few deep breaths, no where near tired enough to try for sleep. It was maddening, almost painful to lay in bed in the quiet alone... The bed was cold and vast,the silky sheets only adding to the cold. It's once good comfort, now displeasing to the skin. Every movement is damning to the skin, making me feel less and less. Without Grace, everything felt cold. I rolled face down and breathed in the scent on her pillow hoping to calm my nerves but only succeeding in bringing back old memories.
It was a snowy morning, I could tell by her cold calf against my chest. She was barely awake and cuddled against the corner of my bed, looking out at the falling snow. Seventeen years old and she still looks like a three year old when she sees snow. I pinched her calf and she jumped, starting to fall from under the few covers she had after wiggling up to the window.
"Vada stop." She whispered harshly as I moved my hand up to pull her away from the frozen glass.
She swatted my hand and I in return snacked it up her small pj shorts to hold her ass with my cold hand. She jumped again and I caught her before she fell completely out of bed. Tugging her pelvis to my chest and kissing every inch of skin revealed of her belly as my nose pushed her shirt up. Her hands dropped to my shoulders, pushing me back from her.
"Vada stop, were gonna get caught." She whispered through her small giggle as I licked her belly button.
"Be quiet and we won't." I hummed against her belly and squeezes her ass.
She moaned softly, "your Mami would be up by now.... My Mami will be looking for me soon."
Her reasoning ceased as my thumb slid forward and ran against her dripping lips, she whimpered softly and dropped her head to my shoulder. My thumb pushed up and found her little nub, rubbing gently as I slipped a finger in. She squeezed it tight and bit my shoulder as I pushed in another.
"Good niñita." I stroked her insides softly, "you should've known this would happen when you climbed in my window to spend the night. Making me like to both Mami's when they ask what I was up to."
"Por favor (please) vada." She gasped and I slipped in a third finger.
"Por favor qué (please what?)." I smirked as she tried to wiggle and my other arm held her still.
"Deja de bromear, por favor, no puedo soportarlo.(Stop teasing please, I can't take it.)." She whimpered and I let her go as I pulled my hand away.
She frowned sliding down my torso to kiss me, I obliged and smirked when she reached down to position me. I pulled my hips to the side and she whimpered. Her hand coming back up to stroke my stubble and left the other to hold her up.
"Papi please..." She begged and I slipped my hand down to guide me in.
Her lips curled up as she sat you above me, her eyes closed savoring the feeling as always. I kissed her hand and rolled my hips gently, watching her jaw drop. She is so beautiful... So young. She could really do anything she wants in this world, I know she could. The way her hair bounces and blows softly in the wind, her Ruby lips ever so carefully forms words and that sharp tongue is never short of any sarcasm or insult... Her greenish grey eyes sparkled, even at night. And her scent, she smells amazing, beyond words. This girl will be the death of me.... Already she has me wrapped around her finger. I tug her down, our lips colliding as I sped up feeling her squeeze as she was close. Her legs started to spasm and I held her mouth tight as she started to scream into it. She hit her orgasm, I felt her squirt out on me as I gave one heavy push and followed behind her. Her body shook and she started to fall forward, I carefully caught her as she gasped for air.
I held her a few moments, straightening her shirt and shorts before carefully lifting her up, "I'll go distract Mami, you climb into your room before Lucia shoots me."
She nodded and wiggled out the window and disappeared, for the past two years we've done this no one knew. No one could. It was illegal and I couldn't face the charges... So we hid it from everyone and acted like it was nothing. When my sisters teased me about 'which whore I brought home tonight I would chastise them about acting like their for mentioned whore. When mommy would ask me not to bring those girls to her home, I would tell her never and she pretend not to notice if I did... Or well pretended not to hear when Grace snuck in. But I never took Grace to my place, it was always at Mami's... Because that would be suspicious.
I open my eyes and gasp for breath, pushing up from the pillow and looking around the room. For moment it really felt like she was here, and herself. I wiped some unformed tears and rolled over to stare at the ceiling. Tonight is going to be a nightmare.
I sat up against raf's legs from my seat on the floor. After a small fight over who got the peanut M&Ms and who got a different snack, I had fallen to the floor in defeat. He knocked me off and took them from my hand, giving me a bag of gummies instead. I glared and threw a few at him before he used his leg to make me sit in front of him, stopping my assault on him. We were at the third movie, looking at a clock that read one a.m.
"Let's call it a night."
"Can't handle a late night old man." I kissed his cheek, "I'll see you tomorrow."
I watched him stand with a eye roll and walk towards his bed as I laid on the couch. He stopped and looked at the way I curled up, frowning.
"Oye hermanita, ¿quieres dormir en la cama conmigo?(Hey little sister, want to sleep in the bed with me?)"
I frowned and tipped my head back to look at him, "the couch is fine."
"Grace, it isn't that comfortable... I know. Come sleep on my nice comfy bed......Como usamos cuando eras pequeño(Like we use to when you were little.)."
The nostalgic feeling hit, all my sleepovers with raf when dad got angry or when he would take me over to vada's and we'd all three sleep in his room.
I was about six, dad was on a rampage as I ran to hide behind raf. Dad came up and Mami blocked him as raf ran me out the door to safety. He picked me up and hugged me tight to him, walking down the hallway shushing me. He kissed my forehead and whispered sweetly.
"Su ok hermanita, te tengo. Papá no puede hacerte daño cuando estoy cerca. Nunca lo dejaré.(Its ok little sister, I got you. Dad can't hurt you when I'm around. I will never let him.)" Raf hummed in my ear and knocked on the door Infront off him.
I was shaking and crying in his arms as a older woman I recognized as Mrs. Ramirez opened the door. She gasped and quickly ushered us in.
"Oh poor baby, your shaking. Get on the couch and I'll bring her a drink." She called to raf who sat me on the couch and tried to calm me down as the two bedroom doors opened to see what the commotion was about.
Nevada was running over and hugging me as raf walked over to talk to Mrs. Ramirez.
"Maldita sea ese hombre y su temperamento. Esa pobre chica está aterrorizada.(Damn that man and his temper. That poor girl is terrified.)"
"Thank you for letting us stay.No la quería cerca de nada de eso.(I didn't want her near any of that.)"
"Le puso una mano?(Did he lay a hand on her?)," She asked him as I heard vada clear Interrupt, "he lays a finger on a single hair of hers and I'll kill him for you."
"He tried to grab her but she just out ran him to hide behind me." Raf looked at vada holding me on the couch as his sisters came out.
First one out the door as always was the youngest, Amara. She was five years older then me and was practically my twin, always dotting on me and giving me her old clothes to wear. Next out was Camille, younger then vada by less then a year. Last was Sofiá the middle middle child. The girls ran out a blanket and tossed it over my shoulders and vada tugged it tight around me. He took his pointer and middle finger, sitting the on the soft underside of my chin and put his thumb on my chin.
"Did he hurt you?"
He checked over my face and neck, as I replied, "no... Rafi saved me."
"See brothers are the best, Quién necesita hermanas?(who needs sisters?)" He smirked as the girls frowned and bit back quietly.
"You two are staying the night. Boys can bunk together and the girls can bunk in the other." Mrs. Ramirez directed as I shook my head.
"No los voy a dejar!(I'm not leaving them!) Rafi! Vada!"
Vada hugged me and shushed me, "Mami, I think Gracie would prefer to bunk with me and raf. Le prometo que lo hará mejor.(I promise she'll do better that way.)"
She nodded, "have you two ate?"
"Yes Mrs. Ramirez." Raf answered and walked the glass of water over to me, "we were just needing sleep."
"Mi casa es su casa ... Ustedes dos son prácticamente la familia en este punto raf.(My house is your house... You two are practically family at this point raf.)" She smiled and shooed the girls back into their room for bed.
I finished the glass and she showed us into his room, raf opening the door as vada carried me in and tossed me on his bed. One thing about vada, even as a child with the silver spoon who didn't want his Mami stressing over everything, he still got the nicest things. His king size bed sat in his room and I practically rolled off the other side if raf hadn't caught me.
"Let's go to bed niñita, you have school tomorrow." He pulled the covers from under me and laid down beside me.
"I'll get your bag in the morning before school, then we'll both walk you ok?" Raf smiled as I kissed his forehead.
"Ok Rafi." I turned and kissed vada's cheek even though he was facing away from me, "thanks vada."
"De nada niñita (your welcome little girl), now get some sleep."
I curled up my face to vada's back and butt to raf's back, sandwich between my two white knights. My perfect heroes that never let me fall or get hurt.... That was one of the safest moments of my life. Nothing could hurt me with them here.
"ok raf, if you insist." I got up and followed him back and curled up in bed beside him.
The feeling was wonderful, finally spending good quality time with my brother with no interruptions... I loved it. But it made me miss vada. I hope he's doing ok.
I finally managed to cool down, lulling myself to sleep using Gracie's pillow. If she wasn't here next to me, I had to imagine she was. I drifted to sleep and let my dreams take over. Flashing through my memories with her, the way she always knew what to say or do to make me smile. Everytime she was scared and I protected her... Until wright. My blood curdled with hatred at the thought of that man. Suddenly it made sense.... I was her dark Knight, raf was her white. I was there to save her and do the dirty work while he helped her. I was better off giving her space and stopping her from trying to show affection.... I was useless to her.
Chapter 18: I don't understand
As trial begins, raf holds the group together. Nevada comes to terms with his self discovery and Grace's confusion
I sat in my office with Conrad. We had five minutes till Grace and Nevada would be in here and Conrad would leave for court. Opening arguments we're fifteen minutes from now and Conrad was flipping out. He doubted himself, which only served to make me doubt him. Can he handle this? Can he make this case without freaking out when Buchanan gives a hard jab? I had him calmed down, as a knock drew our attention.
"Come in." I called as Grace opened the door and stepped through.
She stepped in, a beautiful simple black dress that made her look professional... Followed by Ramirez dressed like usual. The two could've been going to a funeral, though the feeling Conrad was giving me was almost the same. They both stepped in as Conrad stood up.
"I have to get to the opening arguments but, I promise I will do everything I can to protect you on the stand." He stopped by grace, "I swear."
Conrad left, leaving me with the couple. I stood and hugged Grace as she kissed my cheek.
"So how does this work Rafi? What do we do?" She smiled softly as I motioned her to sit.
"We can't enter the court room until we testify. The detectives will go first, then Ramirez, me... Last up is you. That way we can be in the room to help you focus. There is enough evidence and testimony that you'll probably testify Tomorrow." I looked at Ramirez, "are you ready to take the stand?"
He shook his head, before I could push it he said he was stepping out for a smoke. I let him leave as Grace frowned, looking up only when the door shut.
"Don't worry about him..... I don't know what's happening with him." She sniffled and I quickly pulled her up for a hug.
"Hey, talk to me Gracie."
"I don't know.... Después de nuestra fiesta de pijamas, llegué a casa a un vada demasiado razonable(After our sleepover, I came home to a overly reasonable vada.)" She sniffled, "he tried to explain when I asked but, it wasn't making sense."
"It's ok Gracie," I kissed her forehead, "just calm down. I'll talk to him and figure it out."
"It won't help." She sighed, "I'm losing him."
I gave her a hot tea and made sure she was comfortable, then I ran down to find Nevada smoking. He looked over and sighed, Guess he knows whats coming. I looked at him as I stopped in front of him, he started.
"How worried is she?"
"She thinks your leaving her.... What the hell happened?"
He put out his cigarette, "I realized something while you two were having your sleepover. You her white night, she runs to you for saving. I'm her dark night, she tells me afterwards or when she needs force."
"So I'm the good guy and your a vigilante?" I frowned just as lost as Grace is.
"I fight her battles, I take care of the physical things. Your her emotional support, she runs to you with everything because she doesn't think I can handle it."
Ok.... Starting to make sense. "Ramirez, she loves you. So she doesn't think you can handle her emotions as well..... Usually it involves you or this case."
"And she can't talk to me about me." He gave a pointed look, "don't worry about it."
"No I will... She thinks your going to leave her. She needs you. She loves you."
"No she needs a protector and sex.... She can find another man easily, I see the looks she gets. Hears her stories about guys hitting on her." He shrugged, "I love her but she obviously doesn't feel the same."
"Listen, No sé lo que estás pensando en este momento. Realmente deseo haberlo hecho pero ... No puedes hacer esto(I don't know what your thinking right now. I really wish I did but... You can't do this.) She needs you. She has been in love with you since she was a little girl hiding dad and being berated for being different." I made him look at me, "how many kids did you beat up for calling her a bastard? How many times did you hold her when she was crying because she wanted her 'vada'... She wants her vada now, she wants you to be there for her as she tried to figure his stuff out."
"Then why does she only shy away from me. She is regressing again and I can't fix it."
I seen the hurt in his eyes, he was missing her. She didn't act like before.... Not just the sex but the general affection. For as long as I remember, she always kissed him and hugged him. Follow him like a loss puppy and bug him on his phone no matter how much he said he hated it and really loved it... He misses her and she misses that her too. They don't know what to do.
"Mira (Look), give her ti...."
"Time. Give her time... Rafael I have given her time and it isn't helping. I give her space and she is adding more by the minute."
"Because she can't process this. She is dealing with so much and can't add this in." I sighed, "she wants sex. She wants you... She just can't get her body to work through it."
"Saying it is one thing, doing is another."
"She bought lingerie, she talked to me about how her body is fighting it and she keeps losing. She is scared you will leave if she doesn't push and manage to get something...."
I stopped, watching as he stood obviously uncomfortable with talking about his sisters sex life much less out loud in the open.
"Then what should I do?"
"Give her time. She is trying. Just..." His phone dinged and he growled frustrated before answering the phone, "hola Mami."
He looked pensive then pinched the bridge of his nose, "no ... Mami calm down. You have to appear in court."
I raised a brow and watched him slow cracking under the pressure of trying to keep everyone whole.
"The defense has called you as a character witness, he'll probably use you to play up the defense of it being Nevada's fault.... Maybe even damage grace's image."
I frowned, wanting to stop him from pacing, to force him to focus on her alone and not everyone else having problems that are minor...Maybe I should leave it alone? I doubt grace would really want to leave me... And me pushing her away isn't helping.
"No Mami... Mami.....Mami...escucha (Listen)." He closed his eyes and snapped just a little, "Mami stop, sólo muéstrese a la corte y la defensa le llamará. Si no contesta, entonces lo llamarán hostil y lo despreciarán si no lo hace(just show up to court and the defense will call you. If you don't answer then they'll call you as hostile and hold you in contempt if you don't comply.)"
It went silent and he nodded, "ok, te amo Mami.... See you soon."
He hung up and slowly looked back at me, "Nevada..."
"Don't. I get it.... I'll just, just find a way to make it last a little longer. I can only try for her." I gave a small smile, "of course I love my niñita enough to try."
He smiled softly, "good, let's go keep her company until your needed."
We walked back in, approaching his office slowly. Rafael opened the door and Grace turned around, the hesitation evident as she looked at me. I don't understand what's happening. I can't figure anything out. Nothing is making sense and I'm going insane trying to figure out anything that remotely explains what we are...... I still love her. I'll always love my niñita, but does she still love me? We stepped in and raf looked at his phone as it started ringing again, the frown coming back.
"I need to take this. It'll just be a few minutes." He gave a half smile and shut the door with him on the outside.
Why does he do this? How is this suppose to help right now? I took a deep breath, searching for anything to say...
"Te amo vada." She whispered.
I swore I miss heard, "what?"
She locked eyes and gave a small smile, "te amo.... You know that right?"
"I love you too niñita." I slowly sat down on the couch by the door.
She took a deep breath, a look of determination on her face as she walked over and sat beside me. She curled up against me and pressed her lips to my cheek.
"I know I haven't been Me Lately but... I'm trying. I want us back....." She kissed my nose this time, "I don't want to lose you. I'll do anything vada..... Your niñita needs you."
"Te amo niñita.... I'm not leaving you, I would never leave you." I smiled softly.
I leaned up to kiss him, just softly. Then my leg swing over for me to sit on his lap, another kiss only with a little need. My tongue slidding over his lips and a soft nibble on his bottom lip. He gives way, and deepens the kiss. After a moment, I pulled back and smiled at him as our foreheads touched.
"Promise? Even with me being broken."
The smile he held was beautiful, "I'd take my broken niñita before some puta (whore) from the street."
I couldn't help the chuckle, or noticing his smile at it. Are we good? Was it all in my head, his oddities this past few weeks? Did I manufacture these issues. Was it all in my head? His arms wrapped around me, holding me on his lap as he just smiled at me. As the door opened, he squeezed my hip.
"Seriously? No sex on my couch." Raf turned away as I rolled my eyes and got up, "on the plus side, glad you two are doing better."
"Grow up, your fourty not four." I smirked as he shot back, "so ain't he but he needs to be ready to go to court at any moment."
"Ok... Lo siento, olvidé que eras un monstruo de control(Sorry I forgot you were a control freak.)" I grumbled and did a small mocking gesture, much to Nevada's amusement.
"Míralo, pequeña, le diré a mamá(Watch it little girl, I'll tell Mami on you.)" He pointed at me.
I smirked, before I knew it, Nevada was up and about to step in the courtroom.... I gave him a peck on the cheek. God let this go ok.
Chapter 19: Ramirez
Nevada takes the stand.
I stood outside the doors to the courtroom, heart pounding. The only thing in my head was raf repeating the same sentence...
Do it for grace.
I gave a soft nod and straightened my jacket. You should've took raf's word and wore a suit... Then you'd would've looked like you were trying to hard, or maybe hiding something. Stop stressing yourself out.... Do it for Gracie. Do it for your niñita. I straightened up and watched as a officer let me in and a second man motioned me to the stand. Its not like I don't know what I'm doing. I rolled my eyes and quickly got sworn in before sitting down and watching Conrad approach.
"Mr. Ramirez, what is your connection to Ms. Barba?"
"Grace is my girlfriend." I responded and watched him stop by the jury.
"How long have you two been dating?"
"A few years technically."
"But you have known her almost her whole life?"
"Can you please describe the events of the night in question?" He looked at me and I held back the urge to mouth off.
"I had just gotten done at a lunch meeting with friends and decided to spend the night with Grace. I picked her up from a coffee shop right after her brother left from there. Then we went to a park and walked around, looked at the riverfront and was enjoying ourselves until I got a call about business. She asked to ride along instead of waiting there and I brought her along." I paused and let him do his follow up question. Be nice, let him guide the questions.
"What happened at your emergency business meeting?"
"I left Grace in the SUV where she would be most comfortable and went to handle business. Half way through we heard gun shots and raced out to find Grace was missing."
"What did you do from there?"
"I called Rafael, Grace's brother, and told him what happened. He told me to stay put and he would get the police there to investigate."
"Thank you Mr. Ramirez." Conrad sat down.
Buchanan stood and smiled, "Mr. Ramirez, what line of work are you in?"
"Objection." Conrad glared.
"Overruled, please answer Mr. Ramirez." The judge glared at Conrad and motioned to me.
"I am a fireworks distributor."
"Really? Interesting work... Do you always have some many bodyguards with you for this job or is that abnormal?"
"I like to have my friends with me. I can't help it if they look like bodyguards and get protective of me." I tried not to let him shake me, but it was about to get harder... Much harder.
"You have a grave reputation Mr. Ramirez. Your name on the streets is 'trujello' correct?"
"Trujillo." I corrected as Conrad glared at me, Why did you correct him?
"Aw yes, my apologies... Why are you called that?"
"I don't know, people just do."
"Do you know the reputation of the name? Where it comes from?" Buchanan was interrupted by Conrad.
"Objection, is this a history lesson or a trial?" Conrad looked at Buchanan as the judge agreed.
"Get to the point Mr. Buchanan."
"Trujillo was a dictator know for being very brutal and bloody. Killing thousands and justifying it for the prosperity of the Dominican republic.... Correct?"
"I don't know.... I think maybe." I answered as I waited for the catch, because Rafael warned me perfusly about this man.
"So you are commonly refered to as a viscous dictator?"
"Objection!" Conrad glared.
"Substain." The judge waved Buchanan off.
"Mr. Ramirez, what was the emergency business you had to deal with so late at night?"
I froze, That I don't know how to play off... Shit don't break now. "I had a dealer that wasn't satisfied with the product." Ok a little bit of a lie.
"So you meet face to face at your warehouse?"
"My office is there and I can better discuss arrangements when I am in my office." I shrugged.
"So you left your girlfriend alone in the SUV? Why not invite her in or have a friend drive her home?"
"She wanted to wait for me, I hadn't decided if I wanted to stop at a club or not yet... And she prefers solitude from most people when she reads. She likes to cuddle up in the back of the Escalade and go through a few chapters as I work." I smiled at the thought.
"Mr. Ramirez, do you have a criminal background?"
"Objection!" Conrad looked over at Buchanan clearly annoyed.
"Is it true you have been arrested for murders of rival gangs?"
"That you murder of a little boy?"
"Objection!" Conrad tried to yell over Buchanan as the judge banged his gavel.
"Your honor, it is my belief that my client is being railroaded by the police because the victims brother is a ADA. It is much more reasonable that one of Mr. Ramirez's angry business partners kidnapped and raped his girlfriend over my client."
"We have DNA from your client."
"Planted DNA, your honor.... There is a fix going on here."
That had some chatting going on in the court, the judge banged his gavel and called for order before instructing the jury to forget buchanan's last few statement to the court and had it stricken from the record. He called the council to his office and I was escorted to a room just outside the courtroom.
I sat with Grace in my office, smiling and talking about the old days with her. So when Conrad walked in with Nevada, I was thrown for a loop.
"What happened?" I watched Conrad point at me.
"Your up. He is here just to see Grace before he's stuck on the bench." He rolled his eyes as Nevada made a mocking gesture, "Buchanan is out for blood. I managed to get the questioning against Ramirez's work thrown out for right now but he was all to happy to get you on the stand.... And he wants to recall Ramirez later on."
"Oh yay... I guess we should be going. You ok alone Grace?"
She nodded and I kissed her head and then Nevada kissed her. The three of us left her in my office and we sent Ramirez ahead, Conrad walked with me over slowly.
"Recall Ramirez?" I started with.
"His questions were asking about murder charges, he has one on record.... And it was never taken to trial. The judge told him to be more direct in the questioning and he asked to recall him later."
"That's not good." I shake my head.
"He is going to try slipping Ramirez in, of course... But I don't know where else he is going." Conrad looked at me, "I think I can use that help Barba."
"Ok, tell me what happened. I need details and I just might be able to help." I sighed, "how long is the recess?"
"Just long enough for us to get back to court."
"Oh yay." I sighed and opened the door, "let's move then."
Chapter 20: Brother dearest
Rafael takes the stand as Nevada watches.
I stood just outside the door as court was called into session. After conrad told me everything that happened with Nevada, I was sure Buchanan would be more then willing to cross examine me. I felt the small rush of anxiety as I waited, this wouldn't be easy. I walked in and to the stand, being sworn in before Conrad approached. I looked at Nevada sitting towards the back.
"Mr. Barba, how do you know the victim Grace Barba?"
"She is my sister."
"How close are you to your sister?"
"Very. We have lunch at least once a week and she usually bring me dinner when I work late at the office."
"Can you tell me what happened the night in question, when your sister was missing?" Conrad watched the jury as I spoke.
"Me and Grace had are usual lunch date at our favorite coffee shop. I was only there a few minutes before I got called back to work and she stayed behind to finish her book. A few hours later she texted me and told me to go get a drink and have some fun. We texted back and forth for a few minutes before saying goodbye." I paused and tried hard not to shift, "then early in the morning, Ramirez called me and said Grace had been abducted. I called in a favor with the DA and SVU and got a people over right away as I got dressed to headed over."
"What happened next?"
"I arrived on scene and was talking to Ramirez, trying to keep him calm and level-headed. Then I left to inform the next of kin with lieutenant Benson."
"Why did you go to inform the next of kin?"
"Because I thought it would be best if I were there to calm my mother down."
"Thank you." Conrad sat down and Buchanan stood.
"Mr. Barba, the supposed victim is your sister?"
"Yes." I was weary of where this was going.
"Isn't she your step-sister? she isn't your mother's daughter... She was born to your father and his mistress."
"She is technically my step-sister but I never call her that. I helped raise her since she was six months old and never though of her as less then my blood." I glared.
"So, on the night in question you were called by Mr. Ramirez and told she had been abducted?"
"Did he say by who?"
"Did he tell you any details?"
"Only that she was alone in the SUV and they came out to find her missing and heavy gunfire." Now I was curious as to where this was going.
"Do you like Mr. Ramirez?"
"Objection, relevance?" Conrad glared at Buchanan.
"I am just asking this man if he likes his sisters.... Sorry step-sister's boyfriend." Buchanan looked at the judge who sighed, "I'm giving you leeway Mr. Buchanan, don't abuse it."
"Mr. Barba." Buchanan motioned, "do you like the fact that your step-sister is dating Mr. Ramirez?"
"My opinion doesn't matter, it's her life and I'm good if she is."
"So it doesn't bother you that Mr. Ramirez is a suspected drug lord?"
"Objection!" Conrad tried.
"Overruled. Witness may answer."
"He is a suspected drug lord, their is no evidence he is one. And he loves my sister very much, they are inseparable." I held my tongue from the rest that was about to spew out.
"How long have they know each other?"
"Since I've known her, we use to be close friends."
"Use to be? Did something happen?"
"Age. I grew up and went to law school and became a ADA. He grew up and stayed behind, creating a business without leaving home."
"When did Mr. Ramirez start dating your sister?"
"Some years ago... I think five."
"Did you ever suspect they were dating before that?"
"Objection!" Conrad tried to stop this as I finally knew what Buchanan was going for because he knew I wouldn't lie on the stand.
"What is the relevance Mr. Buchanan?" The judge asked.
"I think the jury deserves to know the full extent of the relationship so I can establish my defense in full. The legnth would show the amount of people that would know about the relationship that could've performed this act and frame my client."
"I'll allow, for the moment."
I closed my eyes and felt an anger like when dad would go after Mami or Gracie... This wasn't going to be good.
"Mr. Barba, how long have your step-sister and Mr. Ramirez been dating before they called it dating?"
"I don't know."
"How long did you suspect them of dating?"
"A few years before they admitted it."
"Only a few years?" Buchanan frowned.
"Grace had a crush on him before she could even remember probably. She grew up with him as a second brother and he protected her even after I left for college. They have always been close and I can not tell you the exact moment I thought they actually started dating, everyone just assumed they would at some point."
"Me, our mother... His sisters and mother before she passed. People in the neighborhood that seen them together often... It wasn't much of a secret that at some point they would start dating."
"Then let me ask you this, did you ever find out about past relationships between them before they had started dating?"
"Your honor, may we approach?" Conrad stood and started towards the bench as the judge waved them forward.
They stepped up and he looked expectantly at Conrad. I couldn't make out what was being said but I could see a harsh discussion between the two and the judge nodding. Come on, this is just to bias the jury. Buchanan is trying to discredit Grace before she takes the stand. I watch as Conrad pushed, really jumping to interrupt Buchanan and the judge looked mixed. I can only sit and hope the judge makes the right choice. He waved them back and straightened to speak.
"We will precede, Mr. Buchanan."
I closed my eyes and waited for it.
"Do you have any knowledge of them having relations before they disclosed?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"Did you suspect it?"
"Objection your honor, Buchanan is moving away from simple questions of the relationship. How is my witness to know this?"
"Agreed. Mr. Buchanan you are turning this trial into a Witch Hunt against the victim. Sustain from this line of questioning." He ruled and I felt a weight lifting from my shoulders.
Buchanan nodded, "Mr. Barba, you went with the lieutenant for the next of kin notification?"
"Because I know the news would upset my mother. Without someone there to console her, she wouldn't be able to answer the detectives questions."
"Or was it so you could stop her from claiming it was his fault?"
All eyes fell on me, "I knew that would be her original thought. She hasn't been a fan of Ramirez since before Grace came to live with us."
"Why is that?"
"I don't know, my mother is strongly opinionated."
"Or were you trying to frame my client?"
"Why would a man that barely knew your sister abduct and supposedly rape her?"
"Objection!" Conrad yelled again.
"Withdrawn. Thank you." Buchanan sat down and I was excused from the stand.
As I left the stand, court was adjourned for the day. I went back to work, giving Grace a hug before her and Nevada left for home. My only thought was of dread... Grace must be scared to death to take that stand.
Chapter 21: Gracie AKA niñita
Grace breaks a huge wall with Nevada before taking the stand at court.
Age play in this chapter.
If you don't like it, skip down to Nevada's name in bold.
I barely remember last night, it was the same routine since my attack. And the same kinda dreams, sex dreams with vada.... But this one was a little different, it was more of a memory replaying in my head.... And not much sex.
I was about seventeen, sitting in vada's room cuddling close to him as I played with his hair. He looked relaxed, very calm post sex. I kissed his cheek and watched as he sighed.
I shifted and bit my lip, he noticed and he raised his brow, "did I do something wrong?"
"Why?" I hissed
"Why niñita?" I spat it out and pushed up to sit as he watched my movements.
"What's wrong with it?"
"I'm not a child!" I whispered harshly, "I'm not some stupid little girl. Why the hell do you call me that?"
He grabbed my arm as I went to stand and I swatted it off much to his annoyance. He stood and grabbed my arms firmly but not bruisingly, dragging me back and pushing me on the bed before squatting down and grabbing my chin to look at him.
"You are a little girl, your always a little girl to me." His eyes were stoney, very serious, "your my niñita. You'll always be my niñita. Don't you dare fucking say otherwise. No matter how old you get,entender(understand?).... You will always be my little fucking girl."
He let go and stood up, wiping his face and turning away... What the hell was that? All I said was I wasn't a little girl. He was the one that took my virginity, he knows I'm not some little girl. I stood and wrapped my arms around him and hugged him from behind.
"Lo siento vada (I'm sorry vada)."
He shifted and dragged me to his side, "lo siento for yelling. I shouldn't have."
"It's ok... Me gusta cuando me llamas así.(I like when you call me that.)" I sighed and stepped back, "you do know I'm not a little girl though? I lost that a long time ago, I grew up."
Vada shook his head softly, "your not that grown up." He blinked back something that looked wet, like tears, "you don't need to grow up. Don't worry about it."
He pulled me in for a hug and I smiled into his chest, a soft kiss there earned me a little squeeze, "don't grow up to much on me niñita."
I smiled and nodded, after all... I loved him. I still do...
I woke up with a small sniffle and stretched, an idea came to mind after that memory. A few times, when vada got into a mood, he made me do a little acting for him. He did a little child play with me to remind me he is my papi and I his niñita. It had been a while, of course it felt like a while for everything that happened... But that was going to change. I went to the closet, seeing he was still asleep and pulled out the one I wanted. I slipped into the bathroom and tugged it on, a old plaid dress that was a little small on me, a pair of pink underwear from when I was a little kid, and I put my hair in pig tails. I stepped out and grabbed a small stuff animal from the closet as well. I knew I looked much younger like this, I pulled it off well, so I sat down on the edge of the bed and pushed down any feeling I was having that wasn't about to help me through this. I watch Nevada sleeping, of course it six am and he would be crazy not to be sleeping.... Then I pounced on him and gave my best smile. He woke up a little startled, then confused when he seen how I was dressed?
I cut him off, "papi want to play?"
My voice had raised a little, I sounded like a little girl and he paused to take that and the outfit in more.
"Por favor papi, we haven't played in a while." I pouted and he sat up slowly, adjusting me to sit on his lap.
"No we haven't... Are you sure ya want to?" He watched me since it was a serious question, looking for my body to flinch away but I held strong. I am breaking this now.
"Por favor papi." I pouted and bounced slightly, "I promise I've been a good girl. Extraño ser su niña traviesa que juega con el gatito.(I miss being your naughty little girl playing with kitty.)"
And that was enough to win him over, I could feel him growing hard under the comforter. He took a deep breath and rest his hand on my cheek before dropping his voice to the sweet little caring voice he did well.
"Papi missed it too niñita." He kissed my forehead head, "now lay down in bed, you know papi can't put you to bed if your above him."
I nodded and laid down on my side of the bed, he gave a small stretch then adjusted to sit beside me as he threw the covers back to see me better. A small shiver escaped but I didn't let it get to me, hopefully he wouldn't either.
"Cold niñita?" I nodded a little, "I'm sorry, I just want you to be able to see. Is that ok? Te prometo que papi te lo recompensará.(I promise papi will make it up to you.)"
He watched to make sure I wouldn't freak out, then he pressed gently on my chin so I would look down to see my legs and hishis boxers still on, "I want you to watch niñita."
He shifted me so he could pushed my legs apart and I poorly tried to close them, "this feels naughty papi." It came out in a little squeal.
"It's ok, would papi ever harm you?"
"No." I bit my lip as he smiled and reached behind me to push a pillow up, probably so it wouldn't hurt as much to watch.
"Be my good girl now, mira lo que papi hace.(watch what papi does.)"
He pushed the dress up slightly, giving a good view for both of us. Next his finger taped my cotton panty covered lips at it's wet spot.
"Do you know ow what this is Niñita?"
"Sí lo es(Yes it is), do you remember what kitty does?"
"Pur to make me feel good." I went doe eyed Everytime he looked up at my face, I knew that was to much for him to fight for long... He wouldn't last more then a couple minutes before he had to initiate sex.
"Buena niña(Good girl)," he kissed my head, "do you remember how?"
I gave my best shy look without changing the doe eyes and shook my head, he smiled and pushed some hair out of my face, "I think you do."
"Papi's cock." I bit my lip and he nodded, "yes niñita, do you remember where it feels good?"
I reached down beside his hand and rubbed my belly, he shook his head no and I moved it down by his finger. He shook no and started to direct me when I tapped the right spot. He nodded yes and hooked his finger under my panties to pull them off. Then he wrapped his hand around mine and stoked my clit.
"This is one of Kitty's favorite toys, it makes kitty playful." He smiled at my soft moan.
His hand moves mine lower and slowly pushes in as I gasp, "and that's Kitty's mouth. Kitty likes papi's cock in it's mouth."
I struggled to stay in character, not because my body was fighting it but because I wanted more. For the first time since everything happened, I was actually achieving intimacy with vada. He lead my finger in and out, curling up our digits to stoke that spot that makes me shake. His smile was wicked and he kissed my cheek.
"Does that feel good niñita?" He purred in my ear as I gasped and nodded.
He pulled our fingers out raising then to my mouth, "do you want to taste your kitty? It was nice and wet already."
I pulled our fingers in my mouth, a soft suck and a tongue swirl made me feel even wetter. I missed the taste of me on his fingers or tongue, it was beautifully sweet and just a little salty, and God did he love to feed me it. He pulled them out and sat my hand down beside me.
"Did that taste good?"
"Si papi." I gave a shy smile as he stroked my hair back again.
"Do you remember papi's cock?" He sat up and I nodded, "do you want to see it?"
Nodding again, I watched as he pulled the boxers down and out it sprung. He was watching me carefully as I watched it. I knew why, he didn't want to get to far and have me flip out... I don't blame him. I hated the look he got when I rejected him, I hated that pout that wasn't a play for pity but an actual sign of pity before the self-hatred of pushing me to far. That all ends now, keep going. He smiled as I stayed in character.
"Do you want to feel it? It likes when you touch it." He stretched his hand out slowly to take my hand and rest it on his cock, it jumped and his voice strained, "see it likes that."
I slowly wrapped my fingers around it and stroked softly, his breath going shallow before he stopped my hand. I pouted softly and looked up at him.
"Papi, I wanted to play with your cock."
"I know niñita, papi's sorry but he won't last long if you keep that up. Ha pasado un tiempo y la polla de papi es un poco sensible(It's been a while and papi's cock is a little sensitive)." He moved my hand down to my side.
"Is it ok if papi takes off your dress?"
I nodded and he slowly unbuttoned the strained buttons at my chest before pushing it up and off over my head. He let the dress fall to the floor as he watched my chest rise and fall. He reached up and massaged my breast, using his thumb to roll around my hardening nipples. My back arched up and he slowly lowered me down.
"Is that good niñita?"
"Si papi." I struggled to stay down on the bed.
"Here..." He took my hands and sat them on my chest, he moved my fingers for me to start the attention smiling as I gasped again, "can you keep that up for papi? Necesitará sus manos para la siguiente parte.(He'll need his hands for the next part.)"
I nodded and raised my hips for him to push back down and a soft slap on my left ass cheek, "stay down."
He was firm, I winced and teared up a little. He rubbed my cheek and kissed my forehead to calm my sparking tears.
"Papi's sorry, but you know he has to keep his Niñita in line. Don't raise your hips unless I say, ok?" I nodded softly as he stroked my cheek after stealing a kiss, "papi doesn't want to spank his niñita, por favor no me hagas(please don't make me.)"
I nodded and he moved back to his spot between my legs. He pumped his cock twice and sat the head at my hole. His hands sat on your hips, massaging them softly as he watched me play with my nipples.
"You ready niñita? Remember papi's cock might hurt a little at first, it's a little big." He slowly pushed in when I nodded and then he bobbed with the head halfway in, "esa es mi buena Niñita (that's my good little girl.)"
"Papi, kitty likes that." I panted as he slipped the whole head in.
My hands fell to the bed to hold onto what they could, I felt that wave of panic and my body twitched. I pushed it down, I wasn't letting Nevada down this time, I wasn't letting myself down. He had tight on my waist and pushed in, inch by inch as I panted.
"Doing ok niñita?"
"More papi, kitty wants more." I wiggled my hips to get more, he smiled and tipped my head to look at him.
"Kitty wants more cock? Can kitty take more?"
"Por favor papi, gatito lo necesita(Please papi, Kitty needs it.)" I begged and and received what I asked for, he pushed in completely.
"Kitty feels funny, I think it's purring." I gasped and he started moving slowly, "I feel like I'm gonna pee papi."
"That's called Cumming, it's part of purring for the kitty." He watched me carefully, "How does it feel?"
He smiled and stayed slow, "is kitty ok with taking all papi's cock?"
I nodded as I lost my voice, I was done for. In less then a minute I would have a orgasm at this rate, my body started to twitch and spasm. He slowed way down, I could see the fear on his face. He thought he was hurting me, that my body was fighting and he started to pull out. My hand shot out to grab his hand.
"Papi, don't. Kitty isn't done."
He watched me for a second, he didn't stop and hopefully realized it was my orgasm starting not nerves. I started to spasm again and squeezed him tight between my legs trying to close them.
"Papi...papi I... I..." He closed his eyes and I felt him return the favor.
He released inside me, felt full and groaned before my head started to flash back. I tried to push it down. This wasn't wright, it was Nevada. My Nevada, my sweet man. I must've missed my body reacting still because the next thing I know, he was holding me to his chest.
I had just finished, filling Grace up like we use to do often. The moment was short lived though. She was starting to cry a d curl up into a ball as I pulled out and held her to my chest.
"Hey, hey... Gracie your ok. Por favor niñita, talk to me." I kissed her head and tried not to cry as she fell apart, "niñita, baby, talk to me."
She wasn't responding so I ran to the bathroom and and started a nice warm shower, running back I pick her up and sat her down with the water rushing over her. She started to open up as I kissed her head and stroked her hair.
"Shhhhhhh... Your ok niñita. Papi got you. Papi always has you." I tried to bring her back from that blubbering mess I just seen.
After a few minutes, she hugged me tight to her, "te amo vada... Don't leave me."
"I won't leave you." I sniffled and adjusted to pull her in my lap.
She squeezed me close, kissing my hand on every other stroke she could reach. After a few minutes she uncurled and slowly stood up, she helped me up... Well tried as I slipped on the wet floor and pulled her down with me. She rubbed her head but chuckled and kissed me.
"Te amo vada." She smiled down at me.
"Te amo Gracie."
We slowly got up and decided to get ready for court. I showered with her, making it go quick for once. Then we got dressed, I was waiting on her in the living room like normal. I heard a shuffle and looked up at the hallway.
"You ok niñita?" I called down the hall and was about to walk down when she called back.
"I'm fine Vada, we need to get going." She stepped out and I was speechless.
She was most definitely a female version of her brother, she had on a very professional looking dress. Black skirt to the knee from the waist, a silky white short sleeve top with a red belt and black ankle boots. Her hair was tied up and she wore very little make up. Last time I seen her like this she was going to a job interview, and I loved seeing her like that. She walked over and kissed my cheek before grabbing her jacket.
"Ya coming?" She smirked as I followed her out.
The drive over was easy, little traffic and she never once looked nervous. Never looked like she had broke down crying only a hour before...she looked almost normal.
I walked up to the courtroom door, standing still as Rafi and Nevada walked in. They both gave me a kiss and promised to be there the whole time. No that is exactly what I'm worried about, you two hearing it all. I gave a small smile as they took their seats and I waited. A few minutes later, the baliff swore me in after a court officer escorted me to the stand. I sat down, hands smoothing out my skirt.
"Ms. Barba, can you tell me what happened on the night of this incident?"
"I ate lunch with my brother briefly, then he left for work. My boyfriend, Nevada, he stopped by and picked me up so we could go for a walk in the park. He got a call about emergency business and I tagged along and was sitting in the SUV reading alone when I heard gun shots. I dropped to the floor and covered my head before I heard the door open. I looked and seen a man I didn't recognize, he pulled me out as I tried to fight and after a sharp stabbing to my neck... I blacked out." I swallowed the imaginary lump in my throat as I waited for the next question.
"I would like to add people's exhibit 3." Conrad showed the photo of the needle found to the jury, "What happened next?"
"I woke up in a cold damp room, bound in rope. I was bleeding and my side had a sharp stabbing pain... I tried to break free but couldn't." Tears sparked up but I held them back, "it reminded me of a dungeon, a steady drip that was maddening."
"Are you ok Ms?" He stopped and approached slowly till I nodded and I could feel a shift in his approach, "may I call you by your first name?"
I nodded and he continued, "Grace, tell me about what happened just after that?"
"A man came in, I didn't recognize him at first until after he berated me and hit me." I closed my eyes and held in the tears so they couldn't run down my face.
"Do you see that man?"
"Yes, Ian wright." I pointed to the bastard and held on to the little courage I still had.
"He came in and asked if I knew who he was and hit me till I remembered. I met him four years ago at this waitress job I had. He flirted with me and I acted like it never happened until he sent flowers to my home... I was living with nevada and I felt uncomfortable with him sending me flowers as well as Nevada didn't appreciate it. I told my boss what he did and he fired him due to past claims from other waitresses."
"Then what happened?"
"He said what he was about to do was poetic, then he..." I cleared my throat, "... he beat me until I was bruised, bloody, and unable to physically fight back. Then he cut the ropes that he had tied me up with and moved me to be bent over a table. He re-tied my wrists to the table legs, and tugged my pants down. I struggled and screamed, he punched my side as I screamed in pain. He took tape from somewhere and covered my mouth."
I wasn't able to hide my tears, they were starting to flow softly as you felt everyone starting to get disgusted. The jury looked uncomfortable and even Buchanan shifted in his seat trying to hide his feelings.
"Grace, are you ok to continue?" Conrad stopped by me and I nodded.
"He stopped behind me and rubbed his crotch against me as he said, 'Listen.... I want this to last. I'd hate to kill you right away. I want you to beg me and ask for this'." I wiped a few tears away, "then he... He added 'I'm going to make you feel like never before, make you beg for more. Then when I'm done... I'm gonna cut you up and throw you into the river. So when they find you... they will look disgusted with the whore.' His hands ran up the back of my shirt, a knife cutting it off. He then removed my underwear and...and I-i heard him smell my underwear and laugh before he raped me."
"I'm sorry this happened to you, are you ok to continue?"
I nodded and he motioned me on, "that was the first time. He would come back and rape me and hit me before leaving till I woke up again." I straightened up, "the last time, I refused to beg for more and he shoved me against the wall and told me to hang in there, I would break soon enough and left. Shortly after that is when the detectives found me and rescued me."
"Thank you for being so brave as to take the stand Grace, I have a few more questions if you don't mind?" I nodded and he started, "how long have you known Mr. Ramirez?"
"Almost all my life."
"How long have you dated?"
"About five years."
"Grace, do you know what your boyfriend's job is?"
"Yes, he is a firework distributor."
"Almost done, Grace did Mr. Wright also attempted to harm you in your apartment after you got out of the hospital?"
"Yes, he started to attack me but Nevada and detective Carisi stopped him from getting to me."
"This is my last question, are you sure this man was the one that raped you?" Conrad watched carefully.
I did as I knew Rafi would, I straightened up and locked eyes, "yes, after the torture he put me through.... I couldn't forget his face, smell or voice."
"Thank you." Conrad sat down as Buchanan stood.
"Hello Ms. Barba, how old are you?"
"Twenty-nine, almost thirty." I had a bad feeling creeping up.
"How do you know my client?" He asked like he was confused.
"He raped me. Repeatedly." I bit my lip as he was starting to make me uncomfortable.
"Are you sure? Didn't you stop by to do a rape-fantasy session with my client?"
"Then what's this?" He started flashing through the photos of me being raped, my stomach turned and I was feeling the tears start again.
I started to shake and I closed my eyes to stop from looking at them. My heart was about to beat out my chest and eyes went blurry from how tight my lids were shut. Tears started to come out and I was struggling to breathe, unable to hear anything being said.
I watched Grace going into a panic attack and was about to kill Conrad for acting to slow. He jumped up and yell objection, finally showing his fury at the careless attack on grace.
"Objection, he's is attacking the witness!"
Buchanan raised his hands as the judge agreed and was asking if Grace was ok.... But she wasn't responding. She was completely out of it as Conrad ran up to the stand trying to get her back in her head. I stood up and moved towards the front of the room as Conrad looked at the judge.
"People ask for a recess." He glared at Buchanan so he wouldn't object.
"The court is adjourned and will continue with cross tomorrow."
I was past the gate and slipping past Conrad to pull Grace in as she started to break. Nevada slipped in behind me, adjusting to hug her to him from the side as I tried to talk to her and get her back from the dark depth of her mind.
"Gracie girl, hey... Listen to my voice. We're here. Right here with you. You're safe." I kissed her forehead as Nevada squeezed her tight, "niñita, shhhhhhhhh.... We got you. Lo promento (I promise), we won't let anything get you."
She was still shaking as the room had mostly cleared, as they were ushering wright out to his holding cell, he smiled and called out.
"What? Ashamed of getting caught?! You loved it you whore!"
Conrad flipped on Buchanan and pointed at wright, "tell your client to shut up. He is stepping way over the line here."
Buchanan was shocked at Conrad's bust of anger, but he did silence his client. I smiled softly, he was really trying. This was the first time Conrad completely defended her and I wouldn't forget it.... Hopefully she wouldn't either.
Chapter 22: New nightmare
The guys calmed Grace down and Grace begins to trust Conrad.
This chapter will described some of the photos of grace's rape. It's at the end if the chapter.
Nevada and me had finally calmed Grace down, now that the court room was empty. I got her to step down and she leapt into Nevada's arms.
"The photos are real." She whisper as I frowned at her words.
"They were never suppose to be shown to you or anyone but the jury in private." I tried to help as she shook her head.
"He Raped me and took photos. Rafi I....i-i-i-i was..." She was almost hyperventilating as Nevada made her sit down on the table.
"Niñita,ya no puede lastimarte(he can't hurt you anymore.)" He kissed my forehead, "I won't let him."
"Gracie just breath. Buchanan attacked you on the stand and the judge didn't like it. I doubt if Buchanan will continue cross if the judge doesn't block questioning on the subject matter." I sat beside her as Nevada pulled back, "Conrad won't let him get away with a move like that."
"Where is he?" She sniffled and looked over, "Conrad actually defended me."
I smiled and kissed her head, "I know he did, he isn't going to let shit like that happen again."
I seen a smile from both as I wrapped a arm around her, "Los mataría a los dos antes de echar a Wright si lo hacían de nuevo.(I'd kill them both before gutting wright if they did this again.)"
Grace nodded, "what now?"
"It's almost ten, I doubt the judge ended it for the day but I'll check with Conrad. Probably we'll reconvene after lunch and he'll finish his cross if allowed." She nodded, her hand shaking a little, "are you ok Gracie?"
"Mostly... I just need to get out of here and, well breath." She sighed a shakey breath and we slowly walked her out to a meeting room.
Nevada left for a moment to get food for us as Conrad texted he would be in in a few minutes. I sat beside Grace and watched as she fought with herself internally. I wanted to help, to pull her back from the darkness that she's been in since the attack. It killed me to see her so broken.
I wanted to... Needed to but couldn't. It was a bad idea and I couldn't handle it. I couldn't get pass it. I hated it, but I felt like I needed to. Closure, you bitch. Why can't you just come here and end this suffering? I sighed, looking at my bro to ask the horrible question.
"Rafi..... Can I see the photos?"
I seen both boys turn to me in shock and confusion.
"Gracie, you won't be questioned on them. Buchanan shouldn't have shown you those." Raf started but I stopped him.
"You don't have to protect me. I know what happened to me, I could tell you in detail what happened... Don't protect me when I need closure. I know it won't help to see them but... I feel like it might." I looked at them, "please rafi?"
He nodded, "I'll see what Conrad can do, it probably won't Happen till after you finish testifying unless they push it back till tomorrow."
He pulled his phone and texted Conrad, Nevada came over and hugged me again. He kissed my head and cuddled me close to him. I seen his fear, it might be pushed down but it was there. He started to whisper, nice and soft to make sure he doesn't anger me.
"Are you sure? Niñita no quiero que estés peor (Little girl I don't want you to be any worse off)."
"I'll be fine papi." I kissed his cheek, "I promise."
"Ok." He watched raf nod and we waited for Conrad.
When Conrad finally got back, he got us up to date. The judge had ruled that we would continue after lunch, Buchanan would continue cross and the photos couldn't be shown in the courtroom. Conrad looked at me and leaned towards me softly.
"You ok Grace?"
"Yes." I smiled, "thank you for defending me."
"I told you I would. Not for your brother, or boyfriend... For you because you don't deserve that treatment." He smiled back, "just rest for the next hour and don't worry about those photos."
"I want to see them." I watched him nod.
He looked pensive, "there is no need to."
"But I want to." I pushed.
He looked at the two men behind me that obviously wasn't going to tell me no. His sigh was the sign I had won the argument that wasn't going to take place. He nodded and gave a quick run through his hair with his fingers.
"After you testify."
"Why not now," I looked up, "it could help me steady myself during his questions.
Now your just lying. You just want to see it for yourself... Your prepared for it now. I waited a moment before he actually pulled out a envelope. He handed it to me and said he was going to do some work on another case, then Conrad left. Rafi watched me for a moment, then he kissed my head as I looked at the envelope.
"Do you want us here with you?" He stood there waiting, my heart fluttered.
"No." That would be like watching porn with you.... It's creepy and weird. No. Just no.
He nodded and stopped by the door, "ok, I'll sit just outside while you look."
He looked at Nevada who looked torn, I actually felt worried looking at him.
I frowned at her slightly before catching it. Do I really want to leave her alone to look at those photos? That sounds bad.... Her looking at raf then back to me, I know she is waiting for me to go. I don't want to let her.
"Vada? Are you going?" She asked shyly.
You shouldn't look at those alone but I know I'll kill him if I see them. I couldn't control myself. "yeah... Let me know if you need anything."
I followed raf out slowly, after seeing only some of the photos I couldn't take it. The idea of grace looking at all of them was worse. We had just shut the door as my thoughts were taking over, raf pulled me to a bench and stood in front of me.
"Grace will be fine. She is strong and can handle it."
"She doesn't need to see that shit, it's only adding new nightmares to her brain."
"You want to tell her no? Because I know she won't like it and she'll fight you till you let her." He sighed, "I don't like it any better but, she's strong. She'll be ok and we'll help her move on."
"I know but... Why does she have to see those photos? Sólo vi unos cuantos y me hicieron girar el estómago.(I only seen a few and they made my stomach turn.)" I shook my head.
"Es Grace, ella estará bien(It's Grace, she'll be ok.)"
I gave up the fight and nodded, Maybe she'll stop after a few.... Maybe she'll listen for once.
It was a hot summer day, Gracie was seven and running down the street in a cute little dress. She was chasing Amara down the street as she stayed just out of reach. Raf had screamed to slow down and grabbed her hand, she of course cried.
"Rafi I'm just playing, I'll be fine." She pouted and tried to pull away.
"Gracie if you fall and get hurt, Mami will kill me." He tugged her to him as she fought.
"Come on, let the girl play." Amara shouted and I sent a clear glare.
"How about you stop dressing like a little how for the neighbor kid." I harshly whispered in her ear as she frowned and tugged down her shirt.
I turned back to see Grace slip out of raf's hold and tackle Amara, "I want to play!"
Raf started to object when I put my hand on his shoulder, "let it go. She does what she wants, she won't listen... Just watch her."
He nodded and sighed, "why do I feel like her father and less like her brother?"
"Because you two don't have a father." I replied and patted his back, "let her be. We'll take care of her if she gets hurt.'
He nodded, "ok.Dios no la deje herir.(God don't let her get hurt.)"
I chuckled, "Lucía me matará si consigue un rasguño(Lucia will kill me if she gets a scrape.)"
We both chuckled and let her play. A silent understanding that she would always get what she wanted, because we could never tell her no.
I opened the envelope as soon as the door shut. The photos were upside down and I slowly flipped them over one by one. I felt a dread like never before and to my horror, I couldn't stop flipping the photos to look at.
The first one was of my front bent over the table. Wrists tied and bruised, bloody nose and black eye... Hair a mess as he tugged my head back. I remembered it, the photo made me remember that moment when he told me how he would rape me or how he would kill me. The next photo was of my back as he rode me. The bruising and broken rib almost seen under my skin. My ass bright red and covered in his semen. I gagged and flipped another, a picture of me filled. His sperm dripping down my legs as I cried and spat up blood on the table. I cringed and flipped another, him tipping my clothes off me as I struggled.
My chest tightened and pulse raced as I couldn't bring myself to stop. Another photo of him forcibly fucking my mouth as I cried and tried to get him out. The way his hand bruised deep marks on my jaw to force it open. Another flip brought out him manhandling me as he ripped me in half basically. My mouth open in my mid scream, the feel of my skin crawling and burning came back. I heard his voice in my head as I tried to stop... But another photo came to view. My skin in unnatural colors and blood running down, mouth open again as I was crying out. I was begging him to stop and he wouldn't. This wasn't a game! This was rape. He raped me.... I am being tortured in these photos, begging him to stop and crying so hard I was almost swimming in tears. And they called this staged? This was real. It looks real.... I look...
I gasped for breath as my vision blurred and my hands shoved them off onto the floor. I was shaking and struggling for air as my body curled up. How could anyone want that? How could they say I wanted this? Why are they doing this? Why did it have to be me? I fell off the chair and missed the crash, instead focusing on retreating to the corner and huddling up.... Why did you look at the photos?
We were about to start a even more unpleasant conversation when we heard a crash. Raf ran to the door and opened it as I pushed past. The table clear, the photos covering the floor as the chair she had been in was sideways and broken. Raf ran by to Grace curled in the corner, I couldn't move. Between the few photos I seen by accident as I kicked then back turning to my niñita and her balled up... I wasn't able to think. I knew it. Raf had been calling my name and I didn't hear him, his foot hitting mine drew me in.
"Shut the door and help me."
I nodded and shut the door before dropping down and pulling her in, "niñita está bien. Se acabó que no puede hacerte daño. Respira, respira profundamente.(little girl, it's ok. It's over he can't hurt you. Breathe, deep breaths.)"
Raf pulled back and shoved all the photos to the corner of the room. He turned back and watched the scene play out, me lifting her up and holding her in my arms tightly. He was about to call a squad when she grabbed his hand.
"I need to talk to Conrad."
Chapter 23: Taking a stand
Grace finishes cross with Buchanan and a surprise is given to Raf and Nevada.
*****All from Nevada's POV.******
It was time for Grace to finish cross, needless to say me and Rafael were far from ready. She looked better but then again, she just broke down crying and threw her rape pictures all over the floor... She couldn't be ok. Then she wanted to talk to Conrad alone even raf was confused. So as court reconvened, me and raf sat the front row beside a few detectives. They brought Grace in and slowly, the judge turned the questioning over to Buchanan.
"Ms. Barba, you said you have known your boyfriend Ramirez for most your life?"
"Since before I can remember." she sat up straight.
"Have you ever known him to break the law?"
Buchanan smiled, "speeding tickets, littering... Anything. I know I have had a few tickets before, I'm only human after all."
"I guess. Well not tickets because our friends like to drive us around." She shrugged.
"But aren't the vehicles register to Ramirez?"
"Yes, but I would rather he sit in the back with me and his friends love driving... Traffic or not."
I smiled at her, There's my niñita, much more confident. Rafael looked just as proud, she wasn't letting Buchanan throw her off now.
"So you've seen him break the law?"
"Not that I remember but he probably has if you include littering or something small they never really charge."
"How well do you know your boyfriend?"
"Objection, relevance?" Conrad jumped up.
"Goes to motive your honor." Buchanan looked at the judge that nodded.
"Overruled. Witness may answer."
"I believe very well." Grace didn't faulter.
"Does he have enemies?"
"I don't tend to think I do. None that owe my life or anything." He paused as he leaned by the jury, "but I'm a defense lawyer and not all my clients get out of jail."
"Objection, question?" Conrad raised his hands towards Buchanan.
"Would he have enemies that would be able to kidnap and attack you?"
"Yes, because you never know what someone is capable of." She paused, "I didn't think the defendant was either but he proved me wrong."
Raf smirked next to me as did a few small chuckles escape, There's my niñita. The judge demanded quiet and let Buchanan continue.
"Ms. Barba, you stated my client attacked you but that you only worked with him for a short period of time and that was years ago... Why would he want to attack you?"
She closed her eyes and took a small breath before answering, "because I refused him and got him fired. He lost his job and shortly after he lost his wife and kids through divorce and went to jail for assault."
"How do you know all that?" Buchanan asked thinking he found his chance to flip this around.
"He told me. When I was tied down and begging to be let go and for him to stop, he told me everything he could about and how he blames me because I rejected him and he got fired by our boss."
"Nothing further." Buchanan huffed in defeat and sat down as Conrad stood back up.
"Redirect your honor?" The judge nodded and Conrad looked at me from the table, "Grace, did you know he took photos of your rape?"
"No, not till after." She shifted uncomfortable but determined.
"How did you find out?"
"He sent photos to my boyfriend and he immediately got the to my brother and the svu squad. It slipped out on a update."
"You weren't informed of them?"
"No, not immediately."
"So you never seen them?"
She sat up straight but I could see her tears starting, "no. Not until the other councilor showed them."
"Did you ever expect to see them?"
"No. I was told they wouldn't be shown in open court, only in private due to the graphicness."
"So your outburst on the stand earlier?"
"I wasn't expecting those photos to be shown, I never expected to see them... I'm sorry, I can't keep talking about them." She wiped a tear and I watched her tense up.
"I'm sorry, just one more question... Grace, was this a consentual meeting for sex?"
I couldn't help the twitch, and raf didn't look much better. I wouldn't be surprised if he ripped Conrad a new one for that.
"No. I would never let anyone degrade, humiliate, or use me like that... I would never agree to any of that." She almost hissed out as she fought back tears.
"Thank you, you may step down Ms. Barba."
Grace stood and walked out of the room, I seen her tear up and stood to follow her out after telling Rafael to stay. The last expert testimony for Conrad was taking the stand. I waited till she had turned the corner to the stairs before I reached out and gently grabbed her shoulder.
"Niñita, you ok?"
"Yeah vada," she sniffled.
"Conrad shouldn't have asked that." I started and she shook her head.
"No vada, I told him to ask." She sighed, "after seeing the photos and breaking down... I wanted to stick it to Buchanan.Ese gordo bastardo(That fat bastard.)"
I smirked and pulled her into a hug as she shivered, "vada?"
I hummed in reply.
"Lo siento (I'm sorry)."
I pulled back, "por que lo sientes?(why are you sorry?)"
"Because I gave up... I let it happen and I never even knew he took photos." She started speaking rapidly and I hugged her tight till she quieted.
"You didn't do this... You never disserved it." She sniffled into my chest.
It was evening, raf was off working and I had just gotten home from a early meeting. Mami was already asleep and my sisters had the door shut and sounded like they weren't home. A note left by my door confirmed my theory, all the girls were out except Amara, she was sleeping off a cold. Leftovers in the fridge but I wasn't extremely hungry, so I went to my room. As I turned the Handle, a small noise came from the other side of the door.
I pushed open quickly and blinked, "niñita, what are you doing?"
"Sorry vada, I just didn't want to go home." She sat on the edge of the bed in her cheerleading outfit.
"What's with the get up?" I shut the door and motioned to the outfit, "your not a cheerleader."
"I can be for you." She looked down as I narrowed my eyes.
"Niñita, you don't need some outfit for me." I kissed her forehead and let my fingers curl her ponytail, "but it does look good."
She smiled up at me, the big ribbon bow on her head bounced slightly with her hair when I let go. I brushed her bangs back and she wrapped a hand around my leg as the other rested on my belt. I knew what she wanted, but I didn't want to push her away.
"Gracie, I love you but I'm not in the mood." I sat down beside her and she frowned.
"Could I change that?" She looked over and smirked before sitting on my lap.
"Please Vada." She kissed my neck as I felt my hips twitch, "por favor papi."
I groaned and leaned back as she pushed me back. This fifteen year old has me wrapped around her finger. I raised my hand to hold her waist as she bent down to kiss me. Her hand place mine under her skirt for me to find she wasn't wearing underwear.
"I know you quit cheerleading after two weeks of practice but, they usually wear panties under the skirts." I bit my lip as she rocked her hips against mine.
"They are called Spanx and I never got the point of them. They were just shinny underwear." She slowly unbuttoned my shirt, "but I also never wore the uniform outside of the house."
"Those girls are just bitches," I groaned, "parece que sólo te llega tan lejos en la vida(looks only get you so far in life.)"
"Can I make a confession?" She rubbed my chest, "i just wanted a uniform and to learn a few stretches and routines. That way I could show you."
Honestly, I can hardly remember that evening. The sex was great but I always loved Grace when she wasn't trying to hard. She was best when she was her. But I do remember what happened next, Grace did t want to cuddle and that made me suspicious.
"Niñita,que pasó con mi beso?(what happened to my kiss?)"
She stopped, "can I clean up first? Unless you want to get the towel for me.... Please papi."
She pouted and I shook my head, "what you hiding?"
"Nothing vada...." She tried to play it off and I stopped her.
"Niñita,usted sabe mejor entonces mentirme.(you know better then to lie to me.)" I sat up and pulled her back by her arm, "tell me the truth."
"It's nothing vada. Can I clean up now?"
I nodded and let her wipe up off over by my closet with one of my towels as I stood. She watched carefully, obviously she was hiding something. So instead of wiping up and slidding on boxers for bed, I walked over by my dresser full of junk. Her eyes grew wide as she struggled to find words that made sense for a reason not to go near it. I caught a small red flash then another.... Before she could try, I grabbed a small camera and held it up as I looked at her.
"Niñita, is this the camera I bought you?"
She looked down and started to tug on her cheerleading outfit, "I'm sorry nevada, I'll go."
"Stop." He pointed at the bed, "sit."
She sat down and I glared at her, "were you recording us?"
"I'll just go..."
"No. Answer me."
"I don't know... I just thought it might be fun.Podría tener un video de nosotros y podría verlo algún día(I could have a video of us and I might watch it sometime.)" She shifted and started to shrug it off.
"No. Niñita you can't.Si alguien vio esto, yo sería arrestado.(If anyone saw this, I would be arrested.) Your underage and it's a felony if your Mami and raf don't kill me first." I growled and turned the camera off before removing the tape from I side and breaking it.
She flinched and pulled back, I felt bad but she needed to understand, "Gracie, look at me."
She looked up slowly and sniffled, I wiped her tears, "I don't mean to act like this,pero esto es serio. Si alguien vio que estaría en la cárcel por mucho tiempo.(but this is serious. If anyone saw that I would be in jail for a long time.)" I walked over and handed her the camera before crouching down to wipe her tear, "it's not a good thing. Even when we're older, someone could find it and use it against us. It's never a good idea to video tape or take photos of these things... It's meant to be remembered in here."
I poked her forehead and she laughed, "I understand, I'm sorry vada."
I kissed her head and frowned at the bed, "stay the night. I know you have school tomorrow but you can still cuddle with your vada now."
She smiled and kissed my cheek, "thanks vada. I promise I'll never do anything like that again.... Never photos or video of sex." She hugged me tight as I adjusted to sleep, "Prometo que no importa lo que, no voy a hacer eso.(I promise no matter what, I won't do that.)"
As I slowly let her go, I wiped her tear and kissed her head. She sniffled and tugged my hand.
"We should head back in, Mami is first on the stand after this expert. Besides, it looks better if I'm present in the court room." She straightened her dress and took my hand, "I'm sorry vada."
I heard the heart break, "don't worry about it Gracie. You didn't do it."
We walked back in and took our seats, she held my hand and tucked in tight between me and raf... That's my girl, your ok niñita.
Chapter 24: Mami
Lucia takes the stand. Nevada and Grace reconnect.
Grace, Nevada, and I sat in court waiting for the house to burn down... Mami would take the stand. Everyone knew she didn't like Nevada and blamed him even though he didn't do it. I just hoped she would be nice or normal on the stand, not that Grace could handle her being normal so it had to be nice. She was squeezing Nevada's hand tight, leaning on him but just before they called her to the stand, Grace took my hand.
"The defense calls Lucia Barba to the stand."
Mami walked in and stopped at the stand. She was sworn in and she took her seat as Buchanan asked his questions from his seat.
"Mrs. Barba, you are Grace's mother." He asked and Interrupted before she could answer, "sorry I mean adoptive mother."
"Grace is my daughter."
"But you didn't give birth to her, so she is adopted." He pushed.
"My husband fathered her,Dios lo tenga en su gloria(God rest his soul), and I took her in and raised her as my own. She is my daughter, I raised her since she was a baby." Mami glared, "she's a Barba."
"But you didn't give birth so technically adoptive daughter." Buchanan added and continued, "and you know of her boyfriend?"
"What do you know about him?"
"Objection." Conrad looked over confused.
"Be more specific Mr. Buchanan." The judge addressed.
"What do you know about his work?"
"Not much or anything really. He doesn't talk about work and leaves it separate from the rest of his life." Mami looked at us in the gallery and bit her lip softly.
Like I can help now?
"How long has Mr. Ramirez known your adoptive daughter?"
"For as long as we've had her. Him and my son were close friends and they often spent time together."
"When did they start dating?"
"A few years ago, not to my pleasure."
Cool it down Mami, your doing this for Grace.
"Were they seeing each other before that?" Buchanan stood slowly.
"I don't know for sure. They were close and he often helped take care of her after my son went to college... And after he returned and got his job."
"How is he with Grace?"
"Careful, loving, sweet....Protective."
"Protective? How so?"
"A kid picked on her in school, he would make a show of not letting it happen again. A guy makes any remarks and he would threaten him."
"How often does that happen?"
"Almost everytime they go out."
No mami, this isn't helping Grace. The defense subpoena you because they knew you would do this.
"Is Mr. Ramirez a violent man?"
I swear I'm going to kill you Buchanan.
"Not that I know. He has never hurt my daughter. Only threatened people that hurt her. I can barely remember hearing about him getting in a fight from gossip on the street or his mother.Toda la corteza no tiene mordida" Lucia gave a small smirk, "all bark no bite."
I seen Nevada flinch slightly, Your ego will be fine. Let it go.
"The incident in question, between your adopted daughter and my client Mr. Wright. Did you know of it?"
"Yes, Grace told me about Mr. Wright being forward at work and I told her to go to her boss. She brushed it off but after he sent flowers, she took my advice."
"After Mr. Ramirez demanded she do something or he would?"
"Not to my knowledge though it sounds like him."
"Do you approve of their relationship?"
"No so much." She took the chance to look at them holding hands and close together, "he's ten years older then her, my son's age... He helped raise her to a point, and I find it..." She paused to find the word, "almost inappropriate. They were like siblings."
I bowed my head and sighed, Could this get any worse?
"So you disapprove of him?"
"Yes but..." She paused and Buchanan stopped her, "do you believe that an acquaintance of his could have done this?"
"Thank you, no further." Buchanan sat and Conrad stood up.
He fastened his jacket, slowly approaching the stand, "Mrs. Barba, you sounded like you had more to add to the answer you gave before. His question of 'So you disapprove of him?' could you please finish that thought?"
"Yes." She nodded, "yes I disapprove of him but, my daughter loves him and I know he would never hurt her. He only wants to protect her."
"Thank you Mrs. Barba, you said you knew of the incident with Mr. Wright?"
"Yes, Grace and I chat often."
"Your very close with both your children aren't you?"
"Yes. Still talk to them a few times a week at least." She smiled.
"Your proud of them, of how they turned out?"
"Of course. My son is a successful A.D.A. and no doubt on his way to judge. My daughter might not really work but she is happy and I know she helps where she can. She volunteers and has a big heart." She wiped what almost looked like a tear, "they grew up well."
"Do you believe that Mr. Ramirez would ever hurt your daughter or let her be hurt by one of his associates?"
"No, not knowingly."
"Thank you, that is all." Conrad sat down and Mami was excused as court was sentenced to reconvene Tomorrow morning.
Everyone exited as we waited a moment, Rafael went to talk to Conrad then the four of us walked out and found Mami by the stairs. Rafael walked over first and hugged her as they were speaking rapid Spanish. Grace was tucked under my arm and holding me tight, I knew she wanted to leave because she hated being here while the trial was still going. All the people watching the trial and they couldn't stop staring at her when she left the courtroom. Then she surprised me, Lucia looked at us and opened her arms to hug me softly before pulling Grace in. She whispered something soft that no one could make out besides her and Grace.
"Lamento haber testificado en tu contra(I'm sorry I had to testify against you)." She kissed her head, "and you are my daughter,mi hermosa niña Gracie(my beautiful baby girl Gracie.)"
"I know Mami, love you too." She hummed and pulled back only slightly.
"Barba, what's your gut?" Benson asked as she approached slowly with Carisi in tow.
"The jury looked sympathetic still, I think we have it at the moment."
Carisi stopped beside me and nodded, "ok, do you have a ride?"
Lucia shook her head, "I'll take the bus."
"No you won't Mami,Yo montaré a lo largo Necesitamos charlar de todos modos(I'll ride along. We need to chat anyways.)" Raf stretched out his arm as Carisi motioned to the door.
"Right this way, I'll take you home."
As the three left, Benson looked at Grace and rested a hand on her shoulder, "well get this guy ok? Your brother will make certain of it."
She walked off down the hall towards Conrad and Grace tucked back under my arm, "let's go home vada, I can't stand the looks anymore."
I walked Grace out the door and to the waiting Escalade. She tucked in tight against me, curling up almost on my lap as we drove home. I didn't let my arms drop in the slightest, holding her tight to me. I hummed softly in her ear, the same tune on the radio. She tucked in tighter and I closed my eyes as she slowed her breathing down. She was at peace, happy in her dazed state. I almost didn't want to stir her from her small nap to walk in... So I kissed her head and scooted her to the seat so I could get out and carry her in.
"Vada...are we home?"
"Almost niñita,solo unos pasos y un breve paseo en ascensor(just a few steps and a short elevator ride.)" I lifted her up and carried her in.
She curled tight to my chest, making it easier to carry her up. As we got in the elevator, i leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. Javy and Cortez decided to take the steps and didn't say a word. At least my men know their place right now, they treat Gracie like family too. the elevator dinged and I walked her to the door and managed to open it without dropping her, I waited to do that till she was over the couch. I kicked the door shut and smiled as she rolled her eyes and turned to smile at me.
"I love you vada."
"Love you too niñita."
I seen he pause then sit up as I went to pour a drink. Her eyes followed me then she shifted and pulled a pillow to her chest, like when she use to get shy.
I hummed in reply before she caught my gaze and I couldn't look away.
"Thank you for this morning. I know it wasn't easy and I freaked out a little..." She sighed.
"Don't apologize." I walked over and quickly sat down to pull her in, "you didn't freak out. You fought it.... You did exactly as I knew you would, you broke through your rut."
"It did feel good, though it didn't help me really." She sniffled, "I thought having you.... Yeah like we use to would make me feel better. My body wouldn't tremble, I would panic. But none of that happened."
"Niñita, that won't happen over night.Tu hermano te dirá eso.(Your brother will tell you that.) It's a process baby." I wiped her tear away, "This morning was progress, hopefully soon we can be back at that level we had before."
She sniffled and nodded, I wanted to fix her. I always want to fix her. To see that smile.... I want my girl back.
It was shortly after her first time. Big grey eyes suddenly liked to put on make up and lipstick. She wore her clothes to school right but once or twice I caught her hiking up her skirt or tying her shirt. It didn't set well for me. The moment that broke me was about two weeks later she was talking to a guy. Her skirt was less then a inch from showing her panties and her shirt was unbuttoned to just above her bra, which gave a great view. Her hair was in low pony tails and she wasn't shy about brushing against the guy as he ogled her. It made me sick, so I had to stop it.
"Oy! Cabrón, aléjate de la chica(Dumbass, step away from the girl.)" I walked over as the kid jumped and backed up.
Grace turned towards me and parted her lips as I put my hand over it, "no talking. Shut up, stand still."
"I'm sorry, I didn't... I never..."
"Cállate joder (Shut the fuck up!)" I yelled at the kid that trembled, "go."
"Are you stupid?Vete de aquí antes de cortarte la polla por ti.(Get the fuck out of here before I cut off your dick for looking at her.)" The kid ran off and Grace scuffed causing me to turn and look at her.
"What the hell Nevada?"
"Don't. You don't get to ask questions when I find you vestida como una prostituta y frotando a un aspirante a matón.(dressed like a whore and rubbing on some wannabe thug.)" I spat and grabbed her skirt to tug down and held the top of her shirt closed as I buttoned it quickly.
She glared at me and I threw my jacket over her too. She didn't fight, she let me pull her down the block to the building. I pushed her to climb the fire escape and she went to her room, Lucia was at work and her dad was out for the next hour at least. She climbed in and I followed her in, she sat on the bed and pouted.
"I'm sorry vada, I didn't know you had claim to me now." She smiled and reached for me but I stepped back.
"Don't talk, listen." I warned and slapped her hands down, "The make up needs to go,pareces un estriptista(you look like a stripper.)"
"Uh." She gave a short puff of insult with it before I pointed at her.
"Don't speak." My finger was right Infront of her nose as she swallowed, "you never dress like that. Your not a whore niñita.... And I swear if you rub against a guy like that again I will be telling Lucia and letting her take care of you."
"You wouldn't dare!" She stood up to a little over a foot shorter, "I'd have to tell Mami about our night together then."
I snapped, I put my hand over her mouth and shoved her back to the bed, "don't fucking play with me niñita. Your a little girl, your not some street whore and definitely aren't going around looking for sex from stupid boys that'll use you or abuse you."
Her eyes showed her fear, she poorly tried to pulled back and held her tongue. I removed my hand and watched her carefully, she wiped her face.
"I'm sorry niñita, I didn't mean t..."
"It's fine Vada. I get it." She sniffled, "lo siento (I'm sorry)vada."
I leaned down and kissed her head, "don't grow up on me."
She nodded and hugged me, squeezing tightly as I hummed by her ear. I don't know how much of it was jealousy and how much was anger at the way she was dressed. But I do know she never dressed like that for anyone else. Gracie was officially mine after that night, but we couldn't say that. We wouldn't for several more years.
I sighed and pulled her up, "let's go to bed niñita, we have more trial Tomorrow."
She nodded and walked with me, tucking into bed beside me to sleep. I held her tight and prayed to God she would still be like that in the morning. I needed her close.
"Yes niñita." I hummed in her ear sweetly.
"Elegiste al chico perfecto."
I tipped her head to look at me, "what?"
"What mommy whispered before she left.... You picked the perfect guy." She kissed me, "Mami might not like you as much as any of us want, but she knows your mine. She really does approve of you, you've won her over."
I smiled as she curled back against my chest, I love you Grace Barba, always have.
Chapter 25: Talk amongst yourselves
Rafael and Lucia have a chat, Grace asks sonny for advice and Conrad apologizes to Nevada as the trial continues.
I wanted to talk to my Mami, she's been a little distant with us during the trial. Why they can't talk the case u til after she testified, she could've still talked to us. It was worrying, watching Mami withdraw from us and I wanted to make sure she was ok. We walked up to her apartment and I waved Carisi off with a silent thank you.
"Mami, can we talk?"
"Claro, Rafi, ¿quieres un trago?(Sure Rafi, want a drink?)" She started to make a cup of tea as I shook my head.
"No Mami,se trata de Grace.(it's about Grace.)"
"What about her?" She turned around with the glass as I frowned.
"Are you dealing with this ok?"
"I'm the mother Mijo,Debería preguntarte eso.(I should be asking you that.)" She walked by and sat down.
"I work with this daily Mami, I'm fine. You've barely talked to us since court started." I sat across from her.
"Me dijeron que no a causa del juicio.(I was told not to because of the trial.)"
"Yes Mami, only about the case though. We didn't have to avoid each other." I took her free hand, "what is bothering you?"
"Nothing Mijo, I promise.Es por eso que querías cabalgar para llevarme a casa?(Is this why you wanted to ride along to take me home?)"
"Yes Mami and I know it is." I pushed, "Háblame(talk to me.)"
"It's Ramirez's fault. He makes sure everyone knows she's his and when problems come up she fixed them so no blood spills. He caused this, but I know he didn't. I still want it to be him."
"I know it isn't. I know she loves him. I know he takes care of her more then any of us could, that he loves her..... I just wish he was that little boy you use to hang out with not the man he became."
"Mami he is that kid. He was charming and clever enough to never get into trouble but cared enough to never involve me in it. Same with Gracie, he doesn't bring her into it and he uses his reputation to protect her. Always have."
"I know, I just wish it wasn't like that. Nevada became a great man, and maybe even one day a good man."
I hugged her and gave her a quick kiss before she patted my cheek and sent me on my way home. I took a cab and checked my phone before going to bed.
After arriving at the court house the next day, Nevada was grabbed by Conrad for a talk and raf was busy talking to Benson and the rest of the squad about a different case. I was standing outside taking in the crisp, cold Autumn air alone when a familiar voice found me.
"Hey Grace, doin ok?"
I smiled at the tall Italian, "yeah sonny, just fine."
"Mind some company?"
"Sure." I sighed and took a second before turning to him, "can I ask you something sonny?"
"Sure, what's up?" He watched me lean against the large pillar.
"Do you ever see victims after the cases? See how they are doing?" I watched him frown slightly.
"No. I mean sometimes you bump into them and they might talk to you. Sometimes they wind up back on a different case.... But I don't actively searching them out. I wouldn't want them to relive that time, the investigation and court is the hardest part after a assault." He leaned beside me, "why do you ask?"
"I know raf tries to block stuff out but I can tell sometimes it gets to him. Those are the times I bring him food or force him to put work away... But after going through what they do, I was curious to see if any of you can block it out."
"You can't, some cases just stick with you. There isn't a way to fix that." He sighed, "it's part of the job. You have to have compassion but hide the bleeding heart. Even when it gets impossible."
"Thanks sonny." I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to freeze my lungs.
"Now I have a question for you." He looked over as I opened my eyes, "this stays between us, swear to God as a Catholic."
I chuckled at the hand raised but nod, "shoot."
"When did you and Ramirez really become a couple?" He watched me shiver, "I don't mean dating because I believe you didn't until later. When did you two become more?"
"Between us, fifteen." I paused, "first kiss and you know, first time."
"Statue of limitations is done pass so yeah, fifteen. Raf was off at work like usual and Mami was working and protecting me from my dad... Nevada was there and after a really bad date, he forced me to go in my room from the winter weather in my under dressed state. I begged him for sex and he turned me down, I fell apart and begged more and he broke." I shrugged, "I really love him, always have and I knew it was wrong and he did to but it happened and after that... I never really tried to date or anything. I wanted him and only him."
"So you hid it."
"Yeah, I love Nevada. That won't change."
He smiled, "I believe you... Criminal or not."
His phone dinged and I watched him check it before motioning to the door, "courts about to begin, let's go."
I stood in a small meeting room as Conrad shut the door. He turned around and sat down.
"Mr. Ramirez, please have a seat."
"No, I'm fine." I watched carefully.
"Ok, fine. Barba told me to be direct." He sighed, "I'm sorry for treating you like the criminal you are."
"Ok then..." I blinked slightly confused.
"You don't seem like that bad of a guy when I stop letting you get to me." He looked at me, "I'm sorry I can't do more to stop the defense from accusing you. I know you would never do anything like this to Grace."
"Your not doing to bad." I surprised myself with those words, "Raf and Grace both trust you, I'm starting to come around."
Conrad smiled and got up, "court starts in five and we never had this chat."
I nodded in agreement and left to find Grace.
Chapter 26: Beginning of the end
The group had just settled in, Grace between me and Nevada as usual. She cuddled up close to him but still put her hand over mine, she always has to show she care. My attention turns back ahead as the closing arguments started. Everything my dear sister went through was about to be left with twelve strangers in the hopes they will do what's right. Buchanan stood confident, his usual smugness leaving a bad taste in my mouth. He can't win this. There is no way... His defense had to many holes in it, we should have this. I felt a small tinge of worry, because Buchanan cold be very persuasive. Next came Conrad, you could see he was determined but slightly wavered on the delivery. I knew he was stressing about this, called me last night to give corrections over the phone. He asked my read on the jury and if he should hit hard or leave it alone. I hope he got something out of it, Grace needs the vindication.
The jury was sent to deliberate and I turned to Grace as she hugged me, "what do you think bro?"
"The jury is sympathetic, they believe you. As for the rest... I don't know. Buchanan is good." I kissed her forehead, "you'll be fine. They'll do the right thing."
"Rafael, honest opinion." Nevada watched me shrug.
"I'm not a psychic, I can't say." I frowned and helped Grace up, "it'll be fine though, Conrad did this right. The case is strong."
She turned towards him and kissed him softly before smiling, "I'm going to use the restroom, I'll be right back."
She walked out and Nevada looked at me, "Rafael, tell me we have this."
"I think so. Hopefully the jury won't be long." I smiled before his phone rang and he frowned before leaving to answer it.
I was getting a call from Javy, deciding it had to be important if he was risking the call. I walked out to answer it privately, slipping down to the lower floor that was mostly vacant.
"Jefe, tenemos un problema(boss, we have a issue.)"
"qué problema(What issue?)" I asked trying not to stand out.
"A runner got word that BX9 was dealing on our turf and while we were setting them straight, they told us something.Ese idiota Wright, les pagó para secuestrarla y rechazaron el dinero(That asshole wright, he paid them to kidnap her and they turned down the money.)" Javy paused, "they did it on the house as payback for you killing their guy."
"Payback?Esos hijos de puta no tienen las agallas para secuestrar a Grace mientras ella está conmigo.(Those motherfuckers don't have the guts to kidnap Grace while she is with me.)" I spat.
"Boss, we thought the same but they aren't denying it." He sighed, "they just didn't get their turn with her."
I was about to punch the wall, Could this affect the case? Am I technically the reason why? Those stupid bastards kidnapped her for Wright to get back at me? I told Javy to leave it alone for the moment, I needed to tell Raf and see what will happen. I barely got back up the steps after pocketing the phone, raf was standing outside the women's restroom and motioned me over.
"Grace had a panic attack. She doesn't want to come out and the jury is about to give the verdict."
I froze, tell him now or wait till after the final decision.... I took the silent path and waited with Raf, Grace needed us and I wasn't going to fail on both.
It had been a while, or rather twenty minutes. I felt my body shaking just knowing that at any time the jury would decide his fate. They could let him off the hook, could brush you off as if you wanted it or planned it. It was hitting me hard. The rapid pulse that i felt in my ears, my heart pounding, eyes blurred, lips open as I gasped for air. Sweat dripping down my face, pale skin was the best I could see of my reflection. They can't .... They wouldn't let him go. I shook my head to gain focus, a simple felt two arms wrap around me.
"Breathe niñita,te tengo(I got you.)"
"Gracie, your ok. Just calm down." Raf smiled as he came into view, "the jury is on their way back in. Let's go watch.... Ok?"
I nod and let them lead me out of the ladies room, Olivia following us in the courtroom. She had been standing just outside the door of the ladies room, probably making sure no one went in while Raf and Vada pulled me out. The doors opened and they stopped for a second, testing the water to see if I would be ok. So I took the first step and deep breath as they smiled and followed me to my seat. The room was in a slight buzz as everyone settled in, the baliff calling out when the judge entered and the jury returned. The dead silence in the room was almost palpable...
"Does the jury have it's verdict?" The judge looked to the forewoman.
"Yes your honor."
"What say you?"
"On the charges of kidnapping, rape, assault, and sodemy in the first, we the jury find Mr. Wright..... Guilty."
Sighs of relief was heard all over the room, hiding my small one as raf hugged me and Nevada wiped a tear that started. Wright is convicted... He really is done? I... I can't believe.... i-i-i-i'm finally safe. Tears of joy sparked at your eyes as both raf and vada wiped them away. The safe feeling was overwhelming, the judge setting the date to give his sentence. I almost ran out after hearing the good news, my heart racing with joy as I practically ran outside. As I seen Nevada exit I tackled him and hugged him tight, he chuckled and squeezed back.
"It's done.... It's finally over." I whispered as he kissed my head.
"Yes Gracie, Wright's going away for a long time." Raf smiled at us.
"Can we go home? I think I might actually get sleep now." I smiled as they nodded.
"Yeah, of course... Let's go niñita." Vada nodded to raf then left with his arm around me.
I was sitting in the back of the Escalade, my arms tight around her as we watched out the far window at the passing people and buildings. I couldn't help but think about what Javy told me, Should I tell her? Should I tell Rafael? Maybe I'll be better off keeping it to myself. As the car stilled, I helped her out and up to the apartment. For the first time since the attack, she didn't shy away from people in the hall. She was happy and I hated to tell her the truth, that I was part of the problem. I couldn't. So I let it go and followed her to the bedroom, she didn't give me much choice. She pulled my clothes off and kissed me, one hand giving a sharp tug to ground me as I lost attention.
"Pay attention vada,Solo estoy haciendo esto una vez(I'm only doing this once)." She smirked and dropped to her knees as I watched.
She kissed the tip and licked up my legnth. My eyes shut and head tipped back, the sensation was overwhelming. I know Gracie was finally able to engage sexually again, I just didn't know she would jump back to this so soon. Her lips puckered, slowly taking me in and cupping my ass till I was seated fully in her mouth. I could feel her swallow and a small gag but she wouldn't let me pull back, she wasn't letting this end. Not that I wanted it too.
"Niñita, I can't last much longer." I gasped as she twisted her head slightly before pulling off and leaving a freezing feeling before pulling me on top of her.
"Then let's get to the good stuff." She hummed and lifted up her hips.
I kissed her and slowly lined up for her to push up and take me in. My eyes closed and lips peppering her neck as she threw her head back to get a breath. She was struggling for air and I started to stop only for her to whine.
"Please papi, don't stop."
I closed my eyes and kept going as she groaned and met my thrusts.
"More papi, I need more."
I moved faster and hit just a little harder, sending her up the bed. A little rougher then I want right now but Grace was loving it. All it took was one soft moan as she arched up and I broke. Barely catching myself before I fell on her, she kissed me and slowly pulled me down to lay on her. My head against her chest, her hands rubbing my back and running through my hair. I closed my eyes and listened to her heart beat, the soft thumping dragging me into my peaceful rest. I finally have my Gracie back... My girl.
"love you niñita."
"Te amo vada."
I had just sat down with Liv in her office, talking about a case before I would run home before the final end of Grace's trial. We were almost done, falling into personal talk instead of work. I was about to leave, my notes packed away when Fin stepped in.
"Hey Liv, we might have a issue." He looked over at me, "the councilor might want to hear this too."
"Is it the Jefferson case?" I started to pull my notepad back out when he spoke.
"No, your sisters case."
My head shoot up and Liv nodded quickly motioning him in, "what about it?"
"I got a call from the gang unit, they picked up a few BX9 members and trying to deal their way out... They gave some info on the case."
"What information?" Liv looked to me then back.
"BX9 never took any money for the job, they did it for free. Once wright said it was Ramirez's girlfriend, they didn't want a payment." Fin couldn't stand to look at me, "they said the second part of the deal was they got some alone time with her. Wright broke the deal by moving her to a separate location so they didn't get to."
"The bastard didn't buy the work, they wanted payback for something and did it for free." I scuffed and started thinking about how I was going to kill Ramirez for this, "Ok, this changes things."
"No it doesn't." Liv looked at me, "he was convicted and this evidence won't change that. It will only hurt Ramirez."
"Don't defend him..." I started.
"I'm not. I'm thinking of grace." She sighed, "if we believe this claim then we have to investigate Ramirez for whatever crime they claim he committed. And if we passed it to gang unit, they won't find anything on it like usual but dig into it and probably upset Grace. She needs time to recover and it wouldn't help.... And they probably wouldn't find anything."
"You want to look the other way?" I asked as Fin gave the same look of confusion.
"Yeah, it does more damage then good." She smiled softly and nodded, "unless you want to override this."
"i-i-i-i don't know." I paused, "we know wright did this, that BX9 helped... I don't want Grace to get hurt because of a investigation into Ramirez."
They both looked at me for the answer, I need to find that answer as well. I took a deep breath and nodded.
"Let me go chat with Ramirez... I'll call you tonight with my decision."
Liv nodded, "ok Barba."
I left the office and headed straight out to their place, I need a face to face chat to set this straight. I didn't want to hurt Grace and I know he wouldn't tell me what happened, but if I could see his face I could tell if he knew this from the start. I could tell if he hid it... I just pray he didn't.
As I knocked on the door, a set of footsteps cane running and I see the door open to Grace in her silk robe with a small frown, "your not the pizza man."
"No, andno viste ropa(your not wearing clothes)." I replied as she tipped her head.
"My apartment, I don't have to wear clothes." She had a small smirk before the door opened wider to show Nevada in boxers.
"Rafael." He looked confused.
"We need to talk." I gave my sister a small hug, "just me and Nevada."
"Ok... I'll just get that shower I wanted. Don't talk to long now." She kissed my cheek and ran back to their bedroom.
He shut the door behind me, giving me a chance to sit down as he sat directly across from me. He took a sip of his glass before turning his head enough to hear and verify the click of the bedroom door shutting and the sound of the shower turning on before she shut the bathroom door too.
"What can I help you with Rafael?"
"We found new evidence and I need to know if you knew about it." I locked eyes with him as he sighed and took a second sip.
"About BX9 doing it for free?"
"I found out right before the verdict. One of my men found out through the grapevine... I was going to tell you but Grace was having the panic attack and she comes first." He took a second to look down.
"You know why they did it for free?"
"Yeah, me... They helped that bastard because of me."
"Y no sabías esto hasta hace unas horas?(And you didn't know this till a few hours ago?) Seriously." I glared as his head wiped up.
"What the hell are you saying? That I let this happen? I would never hurt Gracie, you know that."
"I don't know you Ramirez, I never really did. I want to believe you wouldn't do this but I don't know..." I took a shakey breath, "Mami was right. You did this."
"Nunca la lastimé, nunca la lastimaría(I never hurt her, I would never hurt her)." He growled, "you can't believe that."
"Well.. I can't say for sure." I stood up and felt the tears prickling, "can't say I ever did believe you."
"Now who's lying." He glared, "I saved your ass as a kid."
"And here we are Nevada."
I walked out the door and shut it, slowly walking to the elevator as I made a call to Liv, "Hey, it's Rafael."
Chapter 27: The End
Grace finally gets closure.
Rafael had just left and I was about to refill my glass when Grace came out in a towel. She smiled at me and looked around.
"Rafi leave already?"
"Si niñita (yes little girl)." I looked at my glass, she must've noticed.
"What did he want? He looked irritated." She waltzed over and took a sip of my scotch, "vada?"
I stood Infront of Grace, she was waiting for the answer that would determine everything. Do I roll over or do I fall out... Can I even do that? Should I tell her? If I don't Rafael will. Will she feel safe with me still? She'll want me to leave the job, but I don't think I can. What do I do? I looked at her confused face slowly as I white knuckled the counter.
"You ok papi? What's wrong? What Happened with my bro? Háblame Vada(Talk to me Vada.)" She reached out and took my hand slowly, rubbing my knuckles as they regained color.
"Rafael found new evidence." I closed my eyes.
"What evidence? Will it change the verdict?" She sounded scared, but then again, so was I.
"BX9 wasn't paid to kidnap you, they did it for free." I slowly opened my eyes and pulled my hand back from hers, my vision only blurring up with tears as I was focused on my feet.
"What? So they helped Wright just to." She paused and swallowed, "they helped him as payback for some of your business?"
"So you think it's your fault." She spoke smoothly.
"No." She said firmly, before gong to that sickly sweet voice she does to well, "look at me."
I didn't look up, I didn't want to hear what she was about to say.
"Look at me vada.... Now Nevada." Her tone telling me she wasn't playing anymore.
I looked up at her and she took both my hands, "it's not your fault."
"It's not your fault." She glared at me to warn me about speaking right now, "you didn't do this. Business is business, you didn't tell them too and you didn't help them. This isn't your fault."
She was waiting for me to nod or acknowledge her, but I couldn't agree with her words so I stayed still.
"Vada,Wright hizo esto porque lo rechacé.(wright did this because I turned him down.) Now I can't say I didn't turn him down because of you, but I probably would've turned him down even if we weren't dating. I'm trying to convince myself it's not my fault for accidentally getting him fired." She squeezed my hand to pull my head back up as I tried to drop it.
"They helped him because of me."
"He also had more then enough money to convince them to do it for him if they didn't do it for free. Your connection bares no weight to what happen, it wouldn't matter in court and it doesn't matter to me." She lifted one of my hands to kiss, "I love you Nevada, I always will."
"Your really not blaming me?" I watched her lips against my skin, perfectly smooth and a vibrant red next to my tanned skin.
"No. Do I wish sometimes you didn't do this work? Yes, but it makes you you. And I love you, I don't want you to change." She let my hand, still in hers, fall to the counter between us.
"So you don't want me to leave the business?"
"You know if I keep going, you can be in more danger."
"Yes, but I don't want you to stop because of me." She smiled softly, "what was that phrase you always told the estúpido(stupid) runners?No me iré de mi pueblo y gobernaré a menos que esté en una caja de pino.(I'm not leaving my town and rule unless it's in a pine box?)"
I smiled softly and let my hand trace up her arm slightly, "and Rafael?"
"Let me talk to him. I will fix this." She took my forearm and pulled me closer, "lo promento. (I promise.)"
I pulled her closer as I laced my fingers through her wet hair, "te amo."
I stole a kiss and she slowly dropped the towel from around her. I can't believe it.
I was almost home when I got a call, Grace. I knew Nevada had to have told her, she must've took his side. Now she was going to straighten me out.
"Hola hermana(Hello sister)."
"Rafi we need to talk." She said quickly, "tell me you didn't turn in that evidence."
"It changes the ca...."
She cuts me off, "no it doesn't. It's not his fault."
"Are you saying this or is he?" I started as I unlocked my door and walked into the empty apartment.
"Me. He thinks it's his fault."
Wait, he actually thinks it's his fault? I knew Ramirez had a heart but does he really have a conscious?
"I know what your thinking, I know you need to turn the evidence in, but does it really."
"Yes Grace, it needs turned in. It could effect the case." I pushed.
"But it doesn't! Rafi, Wright had enough money to buy the service...it would've happened either way." She begged, "please don't do this."
"Tengo que. Es mi trabajo.(I have to. It's my job.)"
"Who is this going to help Rafi? They will investigate vada and pry into our lives..." I heard her voice crack and a wet whisper, "Haven't I suffered enough."
"Gracie, you didn't deserve any of this. You are a good person." I sighed, "ellos no te presionarían. La investigación está en Ramirez.(they wouldn't push you. The investigation is into Ramirez.)"
"But they will. The information came from my attack.Hermano, por favor, no puedo perderlo ahora mismo.(Brother please, I can't lose him right now.)" She was pleading.
"Why didn't he just Kill me?" She whispered so softly I barely caught it through the receiver.
"Grace, don't say that." I started to rush my words as I heard a click and the line went dead.
It's the right thing to do... Then why does it feel so wrong?
I hung up and walked over to the large windows. I was in only a robe and I knew Nevada was in the room about to shower. Maybe he would be better off without me? All I do is get in the way. I wiped a tear and my nose, resting my forehead to the cold glass. My thoughts making my head hurt, tears starting... I went through the whole trial in denial. That life wouldn't change because he raped me. That me and Nevada could go back to the same way as before. That guilt wouldn't eat us both alive. That the police wouldn't investigate him and raf wouldn't have eyes on him because his sister is dating a drug lord... I was stupid to think this could work. That I wouldn't be a victim anymore just because they caught him.
As I heard the water start, I snuck in to grab clothes and I slipped out of the apartment. I had one goal at the moment, fixing my life. I tugged on a hoodie and made it down onto the street and a few blocks away before I made the call from a small bar.
"Hey it's Grace, I need your help."
I had just got out of the shower and started to put on clothes. Seeing it was almost midnight and Grace wasn't in the room, I called out to her. No reply and I was immediately worried. The I realized that her phone was turned off and sitting on the nightstand. I ran out to the living room and looked around, started checking every spot I could before I called raf in.
"Ramirez, I just talked to Grace a little while ago..."
"She's not here."
"What?" He groaned confused, "I'm talking to you, I'm not expecting her..."
"No I mean she isn't home. She was here when I got in the shower and now she's not. She won't answer her phone and she isn't in our apartment." I stressed.
"Maybe she left to take a walk?" He dismissed.
"She left her phone here."
That must've got a rise because I heard sheets moving, "ok, I'll be over in a minute. Let's look around before we call in the national guard again."
I hung up and called Liv as I got dressed and ran out to hail a cab. It took her a moment but she finally answered.
"Liv, did you hand that information over to gang unit yet?" I was speaking faster then usual.
"No, I was holding off till morning. Why?"
"Good, don't. Grace has ran off and I think it's because of this."
"How so?" She asked.
"I may have talked to Ramirez before telling you to hand it over. Then Grace called and begged me not to." I sighed, "I fucked up."
"No your fine, stop that." She was probably shaking her head, I could almost picture it, "Grace is a strong girl, she probably just needed space to think."
"And she left without telling anyone?"
"Would either of you let her walk on the street alone right now?"
It went silent and I bit my lip, Damnit.
"Exactly, just give her some time. She'll call one of you if she's in trouble. Till then, let her have her space."
"Thanks Liv." I sighed and apologized for waking her up before having the cab driver drop me at my place again.
After paying for the useless ride, I called Ramirez and told him to just wait up for her or go to bed. He agreed to not look for her but wasn't sounding to good with it. I went back to my apartment and went to bed again. Maybe tomorrow things could make sense again.
It was only ten minutes later when sonny pulled up outside the bar. He looked worried and I quickly got in to hopefully silence both our fears.
"No they don't know where I am. No I don't want them too. And yes I wanted to ask you something.... Are we good to start?" I looked over as he he sighed and nodded, already giving in like the other two would.
"Is it ok if I stay at your place tonight? I need some space to think and know you'll protect me if anything happens... Win win." I gave a small tug of a smile and he nodded.
"Ok, let's get back to my place then we can talk more... If you want."
I nod and let him drive. The silence in the car cut by the soft music he turned on from the radio. Out of everyone, I hoped he would understand. He rescued me after all, found me in that dungeon and carried me out to the ambulance. He would be the over supportive, loving, advice giving person that my brother or boyfriend would be right now.... And Mami, I was scared to know if I could even talk to her about this stuff right now. It had to be sonny, I knew it.
We arrived at his building and he showed me upstairs. I stepped into his small place and instantly felt a cozy sense of home. I tucked my legs under me as I sat on the couch and he walked to his cubby hole of a kitchen.
"Can I get you something to drink?"
"Tea would be nice." I watched him pull a bag from a cupboard and two mugs.
It only took a few minutes, making two teas and walking over the steaming hot mugs. He sat a small bottle of honey down and a small container of sugar before sitting on the otherside of the couch.
"Didn't know how you liked it." He shrugged as I smiled.
"Thank you." I breathed in the aroma of the tea before adding honey and sipping.
"So, what did you want to talk about?"
"I take it you heard about the new evidence?" I looked up and he nodded, "what do you think?"
"It's none of my business. You seem like a smart girl Grace, I trust you can find your own way through this." He smiled, "but more importantly, why do you care?"
"Because I'm in denial since I was attacked and everything seems to be piling up on me." I sighed, "I thought nothing would change, that everything will go back to normal after he was caught."
"But it hasn't." He finished, "so why come to me?"
"You were very understanding before. You really tried to help me."
"I see, can I tell you a story?" He waited for me to nod before he continued, "my sister, she had found out she was pregnant and had asked me to help her move stuff around so they could make this spare room a nursery. I get over there and her husband is there, a real screw up. I didn't care for him much when they met but then in college he decided to merge pizza delivery and pot selling. He did probation and was 'turning his life around'. I didn't believe him, I never liked him really so I wanted to find fault. Then my sister calls because he didn't come home a few nights later, I find him arrested after getting into a fight at a bar. I was sure he was heading up state and then he told me his parole officer forced him to have sex with her. I was about to kill the guy for cheating on my pregnant sister when Liv said it was possible to force him to have sex."
"So you helped him?"
"Kinda, Liv wanted to look into it and I wanted my sister off my back after having her find out he was arrested. Turns out, the probation officer forced him and at least one other man to have sex, held them at gun point and threatened to send them to jail if they refused. Your brother found a expert that proved it was possible and when my sister found out, I defend my brother-in-law. And to this day, he has proven me wrong about doubting him."
"Ok, what was the point of the story?" I frowned confused.
"Not everything needs to go back to how it was before you were attacked. Somethings might even get better if you let them and stop trying to force them back." He took a drink and smiled, "I mean, look you made a friend. You know I'm always happy to talk to you. You know Nevada is beyond loyal to you, that he cares for you more then anything. You know your brother, he truelly cares for you if he is willing to put scrutiny on his every move if it means helping you."
"What about the denial of being a victim?" I watched him sit his might down.
"It'll pass. I have worked SVU long enough to know things get better if you let them." He smiled, "so, I only have one bed but I don't mind the couch..."
"No. I'll take the couch. I'm not extremely tired and could use the TV for a distraction." I smiled, "thanks for this sonny."
"No problem, get some rest before sentencing Tomorrow." He went to his room and went to bed.
I sat up watching TV and thinking about what sonny said. I was trying to hard to make everything go back to the old way I never even realized the good that came from this. I finally passed out around three and slept peacefully until sonny woke me up at noon. Sentencing would start in a hour and he didn't want to be late. I looked at the clothes, not the best but they weren't horrible for court. I went to the courthouse with sonny, his smile reassuring me as we arrived and started in. On the top of the steps, raf was talking with Benson and Nevada. As we approached they both turned quickly to me.
"Gracie,bgracias a Dios. Dónde estabas?(thank God. Where were you?)" Raf smiled and gave me a quick hug.
"I stayed with sonny... I just needed a little time to think clearly." I smiled as Nevada hugged me too.
"You ok?" He looked at me closely.
He clearly meant 'are we ok', but I nodded, "yes. Perfecto (Perfect.)"
"Ok, then let's get inside and to the court room.La sentencia comenzará pronto(The sentencing will start soon.)" Raf motioned everyone in.
I froze a second and sonny gave a reassuring smile, the boost I needed to tell them, "actually, can I talk to you two alone?"
Liv nodded and sonny walked on, leaving me with my two men. They both looked confused but paused to hear what I wanted. Raf in his crisp suit, he stood to my left and Nevada in his usual black attire was to my right.
"What is it niñita?"
"I love you, both of you. But I need this to end. Don't ignore the other until they're needed, be friends again. You won't find anything to report at work, and you vada, you won't hurt raf. As for you raf, I know you have to report the claim but I wish you didn't." I paused as he smirked.
"Gracie, I didn't. Like you said before, they wouldn't find any evidence that can damage him." He smiled, "the claim died with SVU, on Benson's request."
"Oh thank God." I smiled, "what about the other part?"
Nevada and Rafael looked at each other and chuckled, "we can make it work. Just for you Gracie."
My heart missed a beat as I tackled them both for a hug. They pulled away after a moment and we went in. The room was slowly filling up and Conrad sat at his table and turned around with a small smile.
"Did you still want to say something?" Conrad asked as I thought it through.
"Ok, I'll inform the judge you have a statement to give the court and then we'll go to the actual sentencing." He looked at the full room, "your sure? There is a lot of people."
"Yeah, I want him to understand what he did."
Conrad left for a moment and came back as Wright was brought in. I but my lip as the judge entered and started speaking. Ending with how I wished to give a statement and address the court. He motioned me to speak and I stood up on my Shakey legs from the seat behind Conrad, everyone watching me.
"Mr. Wright, you are barely being punished for what you did to me. You kidnapped me, beat me bloody and black, raped me... And if that wasn't bad enough, you degraded me and threatened my life. You said I was a piece of meat that deserved it. You said I deserved to be raped, mutilated, and left in pieces for the world to see. You then came back and held me at gun point in my home. You have became not just a man, but my recurring nightmare. But the worst part of this, you don't even see what you did wrong. You blamed me for something out of my control and took it upon yourself to punish me." I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked at him as he smirked at me, "you deserve life, to to be punished until your on your death bed. Then let God give you mercy, because no one deserves what I went through... And maybe one day, you might actually see that."
I sat down, the words sitting in the room as wright smirked and looked at the judge. No regrets, not a single ounce. The judge watched that look then sentenced the highest he could. The room would've been filled with cheers if it was appropriate, as a weight left my shoulders. Wright was dragged off and the group left on a high, rad and Nevada both walking me outside and hugging me as I teared up in joy. Finally, finally I can breath. I felt safe, I felt free... Even if things weren't back to normal, I was able to actually believe it could be.
Thank you for reading!