The worst day of Grace’s life had been the day she had been forced to leave New Jersey with her mother and Step-Stan. She just knew that it would be the last time she would see her daddy for a very long time. She remembered crying and begging her mom not to go. She didn’t want to leave her Danno. In the end, she had left her daddy in the airport, his last words to her being, “Remember, Danno loves you,” and flown halfway across the world to Hawaii. It might as well have been another planet entirely.
The best day of Grace’s life had been just a few months later. It was the day that her daddy had arrived in Hawaii. At first, her mother hadn’t wanted to let her go see him. She had said it was a school night. Grace could tell they were arguing on the phone. Her mother finally relented, and she got to spend a couple of hours with her Danno.
There had been many other good and bad days over the years, but nothing really compared to those two days. There was the carjacking. That had been scary, but her daddy had taken care of it. He always took care of things. That’s what he did. She had overheard him say to her mother once, “I do this job to keep her safe.” He was really good at his job.
Then there was the day that Danno had moved in with her Uncle Steve. She remembers that day as the day that she gained another family, or ohana. Uncle Steve, Uncle Chin, and Kono had been a part of her life for awhile, but it was finally official. She now had two families. Not many people could say that. That was a really good day.
There were all the trips to the hospital. Luckily, most of those hadn’t been serious. There was the car accident, though. She still had a hard time remembering everything that had happened on that day. Concussions had a habit of doing that, making you forget things. She had never seen her daddy or Uncle Steve so worried. Daddy blamed himself, and she was pretty sure that her mother blamed him too. He had been driving when the accident happened. It was the drunk driver’s fault though.
When she turned sixteen, Step-Stan bought Grace a car. It was a nice car, not too fancy. It was a good first car. When she told her daddy, she could tell that he wasn’t exactly excited about it. Not only did it mean his Gracie was growing up, it also meant it was one more thing that he wasn’t able to provide for his daughter. Grace did ask him to teach her how to drive. He was more than happy to, as long as Steve wasn’t involved. Both of her families were there when she got her license. That was a great day.
Two weeks before Grace’s high school graduation, everything changed. She had stayed late at school for one reason or another, and when she walked to her car, someone grabbed her from behind and injected something into her neck. When she finally woke up, she was laying on a dirty mattress in a small, windowless room. Her hands and feet were bound. She had no idea how long she had been there, or what time it was. She was scared to death, but one thought kept her from totally losing it. Her Danno and the rest of her ohana would find her.
Other than food and water being dropped off, she never saw another person. No one talked to her. She had no idea why she was there, or who had taken her. She started keeping track of her time there by the amount of times she was brought food. She figured that she was being fed twice a day, or at least that’s what she hoped.
She spent most of her time either sleeping, or yelling. She decided to use some of that Williams charm everyone was so fond of telling her she possessed. Maybe if she talked or yelled enough, someone would actually acknowledge she was there. All she ended up accomplishing was wearing out her voice, so she had to stop. Please hurry up and find me, daddy.
She was startled awake by what sounded like gunfire. She sat up and pushed herself into the corner. More gunfire erupted, then silence. A few minutes later, she heard what sounded like someone calling her name. It sounded like her daddy, but he sounded weird. She stood as best as she could and started pounding on the door. She couldn’t yell out because of her voice, but she did her best to make sure he could find her.
The lock rattled and eventually the door opened. Standing there was her Danno. He grabbed her in a big hug, but it was weak. Grace heard him grunt when she squeezed him into the hug. They sat down on the mattress.
“Oh my God, Gracie. Are you okay?”
“I was so scared, daddy, but I knew you’d find me.”
He worked on untying her hands and feet. She noticed that he was having trouble, and it was taking longer than it should have. She helped as best as she could. When she was finally loose, he looked her in the eyes.
“Gracie, I need to you to go now. Run as fast as you can. There is a door at the end of the hall.”
“What about you, daddy?”
“I’ll be right behind you, Monkey.”
She hesitated, and then stood up. He stood up as well, but it was much slower than it should have been. “Go, and remember, Danno loves you.”
“I love you too, daddy.”
She ran out the door and toward the end of the hall. When she got to the door, Steve came through and almost ran into her.
“He’s right behind me.”
“Get out of here, Gracie. Uncle Chin and Kono are outside waiting.”
She ran out the door, and toward the waiting police. Suddenly, there was a massive noise behind her, and she was thrown to the ground.
The worst day of Grace’s life was the day that her daddy and Steve died. She had woken up in the hospital. Her mother and Step-Stan were sitting in the room on either side of her bed. She knew immediately that something was wrong.
Her mother told her about the explosion, and that Danny and Steve hadn’t made it out of the building. Grace didn’t say anything; she just turned her head away from her mother. She didn’t cry, she didn’t speak, and she just shut down.
It wasn’t until the funeral that she felt anything. Steve was buried with full honors, Danny alongside him. The gunfire sparked something in her, and she lost it. The tears flowed freely for the first time since she had heard the news. It wasn’t till later that day that she found out the full story of what had happened that night.
Her Uncle Chin had hugged her tight, and then told her everything. “Your father had been shot while trying to reach you. Max figures he had probably died before Steve had gotten to him. Steve wouldn’t leave him behind. If he’d left him and run, he…” He couldn’t finish the statement.
“Thank you, Uncle Chin.” She hugged him again, and they held on to each other for several minutes before pulling apart.
The day Grace graduated from the police academy was a good day. Her whole family was there. Her mother, Step-Stan, Uncle Chin, Kono, and even Mary. Between Kono and Chin were two empty chairs. After the ceremony, she went off by herself. She looked up to the sky and said, “I love you, Danno. I love you, Steve.”
Later that day, she visited their graves. She told them about the ceremony and how her mother couldn’t stand the fact that she was going to be a police officer. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.” She sat there quietly for a few minutes, before standing up. “Remember, Monkey loves you.”