The fighting was getting to be too much. She didn’t know all the details, but she’d heard enough to know that her mommy and Step-Stan were fighting about what had happened that day. It was reminding her too much of when they were in New Jersey, before her daddy moved out. She had to get away.
There weren’t many places that she could go that were within walking distance of her house, or that she could get to before anyone noticed she was gone. She knew that as soon as they realized she was missing, their first call would be to her daddy, and then, well… She hoped that the fact her mommy had already tucked her in would give her more time.
No one realized how well she had been paying attention whenever she was driven anywhere. She had already figured out the quickest and safest way to get to her destination.
It wasn’t hard to get out of the house. No one was paying attention. Slipping through the gate wasn’t hard either. She wouldn’t be able to do that much longer though. She walked down the street for a couple of blocks before making a left turn and heading toward the last place anyone would think to look for her. She just hoped that ohana really meant everything she thought it meant.
Chin was sitting on his sofa watching TV when he heard a knock on his door. He looked at the clock and noticed it was 9:30. He wasn’t expecting any company, and Kono would normally let herself in. There was another knock not long after, so he walked over to the door and looked through the peephole. What he saw had him hurrying to unlock the door.
Grace was standing there. There was dirt all over her, and it looked like she had fallen and scraped her knee. He looked around to see if there was anyone else around. Not seeing anyone, he knelt down till he was at eye level with her.
“Gracie?” was all he got out before her face crumbled and she ran toward him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
He put his arms around her and stood up. He walked inside and closed the door behind him.
He walked back over to the sofa and sat down.
“Hey, Grace… what’s wrong, huh?”
She was sobbing, but through her tears, she managed to say, “Uncle Chin… they were fighting… I had to get out… please don’t tell anybody I’m here…”
Chin hugged her close and rubbed his hand in a circle on her back. He’d never seen her like that. He was worried about making her even more upset, so he didn’t push her for more details. Instead, he decided to try and calm her down, change the subject.
“Looks like you fell down. How ‘bout we get you cleaned up?”
She pulled back and looked up at him. “Okay… My knee hurts a little.”
He picked her up and carried her into the bathroom. He sat her down on the counter, then opened the cabinet and pulled out a first aid kit. He then pulled a rag off a shelf and wet it. He carefully cleaned her knee and then put ointment and a band aid on it.
“How does that feel?”
He was about to run the rag under the water again and try to clean her up when she leaned over and grabbed the soap. She put her hands under the water and washed them.
“I’m a big girl, I can clean myself up.”
“Okay. I’ll wait for you out there. Is that alright?”
She nodded, so he walked out of the room and went back to the sofa.
Grace walked back into the living room a few minutes later. Her eyes were still red, but her face was much cleaner than it had been.
“So, you want to tell me what happened?”
She nodded and sat down next to him. “Mommy and Step-Stan were yelling, and it scared me. I had to get away, and no one was paying any attention, so I snuck out. Your house was the closest. Please don’t call my mommy.” She looked like she was about to start crying again.
Chin sighed. “I won’t call your mom, but I do need to call your dad.”
She just nodded. Deep down, that’s all she wanted really. Her daddy could always make things better.
Chin picked up his cell phone off the coffee table and walked into the kitchen.
She watched as Uncle Chin left the room. She was really tired, so she lay down on the sofa. She tried really hard not to fall asleep though. She wanted to be awake when her daddy got there. She knew that as soon as he found out she was there, it wouldn’t be long before he got there. She couldn’t keep her eyes open, though.
The next thing she heard was her name, but not her real name. It was the special name that only her daddy called her. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up.
“Daddy!” She reached up and put her arms around his neck.
He picked her up and hugged her close. “Come on, Monkey. Let’s go home. You’re going to stay with me tonight.”
“Mommy’s going to be so mad.”
“It’s okay. I’ve already talked to her, and she said you could stay with me tonight.”
She was too tired to think about it too much, so she just nodded and then rested her head on his shoulder. She stayed quiet all the way to the car. She was asleep before he even started the car.
She didn’t wake up again until her daddy was unlocking the door to his apartment. She raised her head a little.
“Hey, Monkey. You feel okay?”
“Uh huh. I’m sorry.”
“Hey now, there’s nothing to be sorry about, okay?”
“But mommy’s going to be mad…”
“What did I say earlier? It’s okay. She was more worried than anything. We’re all going to get together for lunch tomorrow.”
“I get to stay with you till then? It’s not your weekend.”
“Yeah, baby, you get to stay with me till then.”
“That’s good.” She smiled for the first time since she had gotten home from school earlier that day.
“Well, let’s get you into bed. Look at you; you can barely keep your eyes open.”
She giggled. She went into the bathroom, changed clothes, and brushed her teeth. She then climbed into the bed.
Danny tucked her in and kissed her on the forehead.
“Goodnight. Danno loves you.”
“Love you too, Danno. Goodnight.”