3. The Grace I've Known Ch. 13-15byinspirixis1©
SUMMER SOPHOMORE/JUNIOR YEAR
The last few weeks of the semester flew by blindingly fast. Nicholas couldn't believe how quickly winter had turned into spring and spring into summer.
He and Grace were back to sleeping together but now it was under the best of circumstances. They were in love.
There was nothing better than waking up with Grace in his arms. Sometimes he still had to do a double take to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Sometimes he had trouble believing that she had chosen him. Who would have thought that fun, sexy, dynamic Grace would want to be with a boring nerd like him?
They hadn't had sex, but he had seen her cum and she had made him. The first time had been when he was giving her the Wednesday evening massage. That week she had been learning the neck.
By that point they had given up the charade of pretending that their massages were just massages. By that point he would speak to her softly and kiss her and stroke her and she would let out little sighs and murmurs that made it essentially impossible to keep his dick limp.
She had told him that he didn't have to keep it down anymore, but he still liked to keep pretty tight control of it. He didn't want to startle her with it. He only let it get hard when he figured that she could reasonably expect that he would get turned on.
That first time he had been sitting behind her and she was lounging into him, her head resting on this belly. He had been rubbing the muscles in her neck and watching her face from above. Her eyes were closed and her mouth moved every so often. She would bite down on her swollen red lip and let it slowly slip out from under her teeth.
After he had done all of the muscles in her neck he moved on to her shoulders. It wasn't part of her assignment but by this time she was breathing heavily and her cheeks and the skin of her chest were flushed red so Nicholas could tell that she was enjoying it. He let his hands slip lower, over that hot red skin, moving in slow circles, giving her plenty of time to stop him if she wanted to.
But Grace didn't seem to want him to stop, in fact she seemed to want him to do more. She reached her left hand up found the back of his neck, which she clutched at as she arched her back so that her breasts inched closer to his hands.
"Touch them," she whispered.
He dipped his hands under the neckline of her tank top and was helpless to stifle the moan that escaped his lips. Grace wasn't wearing a bra and his hands cupped over the silken skin of the softest, most fabulous breasts he could imagine. They were the most luxurious things that he had ever experienced.
"Oh Kolya..." She sighed. Her mouth was open and her forehead was wrinkled as if she were concentrating on something.
He stroked his hands slowly over her soft round breasts and she sighed and moaned quietly. Nicholas felt her body moving in time with his caresses, her hips rocked slowly and rhythmically.
Her right hand was wrapped around his thigh and he removed his hand from her breast and guided hers down over her belly and to the top of her pants.
"Touch yourself Gracie," he told her softly.
Her eyes opened and searched his for reassurance. He could tell that she wanted to but she was reluctant.
"Go on baby," he urged, "it's okay."
Grace's hand slid under the waistband of her pants and he could see the fabric shift as she moved her fingers over her pussy. She sighed as if in relief.
Nicholas returned his hand to her breast and continued stroking, getting a little firmer with them as her sighing turned to moans and the gentle rocking of her hips became more urgent.
Grace's eyes never left his, her dark lashes blinked slowly and her lips were parted to allow her deep breaths to escape. He caught her hard nipples between his fingers and she gasped, her brow furrowed and her eyes lustful.
"Oh..." she moaned, "Oh Nicholas..."
Her voice was soft and angelic. He wanted to kiss her so badly but the angle was all wrong, he would have to disturb her and she looked like she was enjoying this way too much for that.
Nicholas kept his eyes firmly fixed on Grace's face but in his peripheral vision he could see the motion in her pants quickening.
She let out a small cry, possibly the sexiest sound he had ever heard, and pressed her head back into his stomach while at the same time her hand that was behind his neck grasped him firmly.
She closed her eyes and removed her hand from her pants as she curled into him. Nicholas took his hands out from under her shirt and pulled her higher, up against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her as she buried her head against him.
"Shh Gracie... it's okay baby... I'm here Grace."
Grace was crying against him as he rubbed her arms and kissed her hair.
"You're a good girl milaya... I love you Gracie." He murmured to her.
If he hadn't known to expect this response it might have worried him, but he knew she just needed reassurance, patience and reassurance.
Each step they took together would be difficult at first. That is what the councilor had told him. When it became evident that Grace wanted to be intimate with him Nicholas had called the rape crisis center and talked to a councilor about it.
She had given him some good advice. Grace needed to know that she was in control of the situation at all times and that meant taking thing slowly and talking about it before, after and even during whatever they were doing. The councilor had also given him advice on the logistics of sex with a rape survivor. She probably wouldn't like feeling confined, any physical feeling of being restrained might cause her to have a flash back.
There was something else that the councilor had told Nicholas that was difficult to hear, but necessary nonetheless. Apparently it wasn't uncommon for rape victims to orgasm during the attack. It had nothing to do with enjoyment, it was simply a physical response to the stress of the attack. It could be terribly damaging. These women often linked orgasm with rape subconsciously and were unable to dissociate the unpleasant feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anger and resentment from the act of orgasm.
That had taken Nicholas a while to come to terms with. Every time he had cum it had felt good and it had come from feeling turned on and enjoying what was happening. He didn't understand how a woman could orgasm while she was being raped. He didn't understand how Grace, his Grace, could have had an orgasm when she was attacked. He didn't know for sure if she had, but it was possible, the way she broke down when she climaxed made him suspect that she might have.
He had gone to the library and read about it in detail. It had nothing to do with enjoyment. Just like the councilor had said, orgasm could be an involuntary response to stress and physical trauma.
He felt ashamed for his ignorance, for how quickly he had judged those women who had the bad luck to have had an orgasm during rape. At least Grace would never know his first reaction, at least if it came up with her he could have the correct response, to be the man she needed him to be.
It had been weird to talk to a stranger about sex with Grace but it was necessary. Grace wasn't just any woman, she was the woman he loved, the woman he wanted to protect and nurture and build a life with. If she had this problem with orgasm they would have to work through it slowly and carefully. He would have to help her to make new associations, feelings of safety and love and respect.
He was glad that Grace had chosen him to be the person to help her to rediscover her sexuality. Apart from the obvious reason, that he loved Grace and wanted to be with her, he knew that he was the right person to help her through this. Nicholas was nothing if not patient and he would always try to understand and accept her for who she was, no matter if she was what social expectation dictated or not.
Not that he thought Adrian was incapable of compassion and understanding, actually the opposite was true. The more they saw of Adrian the more that Nicholas realized he was a person of great intelligence... social intelligence. In a way he was like Grace, he had heaps of friends, people were always calling him, he was always silencing his phone.
Adrian would make a great politician. Not because he was slimy and corrupt, but because he was interested in people. He remembered little details that most people would quickly forget. He asked Nicholas how Lucas was, and Grace about where Matthew was applying to college. Nicholas could picture him shaking hands and kissing the heads of babies at political rallies.
One Sunday when Adrian and Sarah were leaving after breakfast Grace made a joke about how Adrian needed to get home to do his homework. "What do you think I keep her around for?" He joked, playfully swatting Sarah on the butt. She had rolled her eyes and laughed, but he knew there was truth behind the joke. Other people did things for Adrian, and they didn't mind doing them because he was such a charismatic guy.
That's why it wasn't surprising that he and his buddy Troy were subletting Nicholas and Grace's apartment for the summer while they were away, even though Nicholas would have preferred to just pay the rent and let it sit vacant for three months. He was earning enough with the movies, paying the rent for a couple of months when they weren't there really wasn't a big deal financially.
The idea of subletting didn't bother Grace the way it bothered Nicholas. He didn't like the idea of other people being in his space, and he hated the idea of other people being in Grace's space. He didn't want people naked in their shower or fucking in their bed.
But Adrian had asked in such a way that it made it difficult to say no, and Troy seemed like a nice enough guy. In the end he had decided that he should just swallow his pride and sublet the apartment fully furnished. He had every intention of having the place professionally cleaned and donating the couch and mattresses to Goodwill in favor of new ones when he and Grace came back in the fall.
He was just finishing packing when Adrian, Sarah and Troy showed up. He had taken Grace to the airport the previous day and his flight was that afternoon. Adrian had borrowed a friend's SUV to move but all of his and Troy's stuff still didn't fit in one load, they had to go back to their old apartment on the Northeastern campus to get the rest of their stuff.
Nicholas overheard him in the kitchen talking to Sarah about it. He hadn't meant to sneak up on them, people just rarely noticed him for some reason. Unless he said something or was directly in their line of sight he went unnoticed. He didn't understand why, he always knew when someone had entered a room, even if he couldn't see them. He guessed that most people were just excessively unobservant.
"I don't want to stay here alone with him," Sarah said in a hushed tone. "He's just... he's just so weird..."
"Hey." Adrian cut her off sharply. "Don't forget whose apartment you are standing in Sarah. Don't forget that you're talking about my friend."
"Okay, sorry" she said gently. "He just kind of scares me. He's so quiet and I can never tell what he's thinking. He could overpower me so easily if he wanted to..."
Nicholas left the room quietly and nobody ever knew he had been there. He knew that Sarah was talking about him, but instead of upsetting him that exchange had made him happy. Adrian had stood up for him. He'd said that Nicholas was his friend.
He decided to leave early and go to the gym on the way to the airport so that Sarah could wait in the apartment alone. He didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable and it couldn't hurt to get in an extra training session before he started practicing with the rest of the crew the next day.
He felt comfortable with the weapons and the tricks he had been asked to master but he wasn't sure what the other martial artists on this crew would be like. When he had shot his first movie last year it had just been kicking and hand and arm strikes and he was by far the best athlete on the set, but he wasn't so sure this gig would be the same thing.
It turned out that he need not have worried. The stunt crew on this set was professionals but he was still the most skillful by a long margin. Some of the guys who were weapons experts had some cool moves, but it didn't take Nicholas long to learn them too.
He had a bigger role in this movie. He played the right-hand man to the bad guy. He didn't have any lines but there was some acting involved because there would be some close-ups of him. He liked the acting less than he liked the stunts but he got paid way more so he put up with it.
The second week into shooting the guy that wrote the screenplay came on set for a few days. He was supposed to be there to tutor everyone on their characters, their motivation and all that bullshit. Nicholas thought it was stupid, it was an all action cops and gangsters movie, as far as he could tell the characters were there to fight and ultimately get shot or explode.
Bryan, the playwright, was a big black dude who never seemed to stop talking. It suited Nicholas just fine, when Bryan was droning on about how his character was feeling he just nodded and said 'uh-huh' every now and then to keep him going. This seemed to be all that Bryan needed and before long he was regaling Nicholas with stories of how he started out writing screenplays.
It turned out that he had played basketball for U.C. Berkeley.
"No shit?" Nicholas commented. "My aunty went to Cal. She was on the track and field team."
"What's her name?" Bryan asked.
"Emma Watson... although I guess she would have been using her maiden name back then and I'm not sure what that is."
Bryan laughed in surprise. "Emma is your aunty? Watson is her maiden name, unless we are thinking of a different person... tall black girl with a big smile, she was studying to be a social worker, she ran the 800 and 1500..."
"Yeah, that sounds like my Emma," Nicholas replied. But how could Watson be her maiden name?
"I remember I went on a date with her once but then she brushed me off, told me she was seeing someone else... How is Emma?"
"She's good. Married with five kids."
Bryan smiled and shook his head. "Five kids. Imagine that. So if Emma is your aunty you must be Sam's kid?"
Huh? How did he figure that? "No."
"Oh, you must be related to her husband then."
Nicholas was confused. Bryan seemed to know who Sam was, but he didn't think he was Emma's husband. Nicholas must have heard wrong, it seemed like Bryan thought Sam was Emma's brother. "Are we talking about the same Sam?" Nicholas asked.
"Who, her brother? Tall white guy, blonde hair, I think he was a swimmer. I guess technically he is her adoptive brother, but whatever."
Holy fuck. "Uh-huh," Nicholas managed to get out. His mind was racing. Sam and Emma were brother and sister. That's why Emma's parents were never around, because Sam's parents were also her parents.
Nicholas couldn't stop thinking about this new revelation. He didn't know how he felt about it. On the one hand it was kind of gross, it would be like if Grace and Matthew got together. That would be so weird. On the other hand he had never known, never even suspected that there was anything unusual about them.
Sam and Emma were good parents. Maybe not as good as his parents, sometimes, especially when he was annoyed, Sam would talk to you as if you were still a child and Emma was a bit neurotic at times, but they were good solid parents nonetheless. They loved their children and took good care of them. There was nothing weird or kinky in their family and so should it really matter if they were raised as siblings?
He wondered if Grace knew. He wondered if he should tell her. He didn't want to keep secrets from Grace, but this wasn't really his secret, it was just something that he'd stumbled upon accidentally. He wondered if his parents knew. He knew immediately that he wouldn't tell them. He might tell Grace but he wouldn't tell his parents.
He didn't tell Grace about it when he spoke to her on the phone that night, or the next night, or the night after that. He didn't want to say anything until he was sure about how he felt about it, and then he decided that if he did tell her he should do it in person.
It was just so weird.
"Grace, do you mind taking care of the guy in room three before you take off for lunch? It's another ACL reconstruction, he's at twelve weeks so he just needs the ultrasound, then six minutes of electrical and some ice." Amelia instructed.
Grace put on her most obliging smile. "Yeah, no problem." Of course she minded but she wasn't about to let that on to her boss. She had been working there for four weeks and she thought it was going pretty well. There had been a couple of rough spots, times when she did something wrong or someone said something that made her feel bad, but generally it was good. She was learning a lot, working was way more educational than school.
Usually she didn't have any problem putting on a smiley face and getting through the day but she was having a crappy day today. It was her birthday and she missed Nicholas. He had left a text message on her phone in the early hours of the morning saying happy birthday and that he couldn't call her until tonight. She didn't blame him, she knew it was just because of his shooting schedule, but she had been disappointed all the same.
She hadn't been prepared for how hard this summer was going to be. She had known that she would miss Nicholas, but she didn't realize that it would be such a powerful ache that would feel so all consuming so much of the time. Sometimes she cried for him at night. It was stupid, but she couldn't help it. They talked on the phone every night and some mornings too, but it wasn't enough, she still missed him.
And now she had to use her lunch hour to treat some idiot who'd blown out his ACL.
She got the ultrasound and electrical therapy machines out of the storage room, and all of the extra stuff that went with them and headed towards room three.
Paula, the receptionist gave her a funny smile as she passed her in the hallway. What was that for?
She pushed open the door and pulled the machines in behind her. The trundle wheel on the ultrasound caught and she had to struggle with it to try and get it through the door. It was frustrating.
"Do you need help?"
Grace froze. She knew that voice. She would recognize that voice anywhere. She looked up and saw Nicholas standing beside the treatment bed smiling with a big bunch of flowers in his hands. Her heart leapt. Nicholas was here.
"Happy birthday milaya," he said as he walked towards her. He leaned down and kissed her on the lips.
Grace knew that she was smiling like an idiot. Nicholas held the door open for her and she pulled the machines into the room. The door wasn't even closed all the way when she spun around and hugged him.
"What are you doing here? I thought you had to film today?" She asked.
"I told them I was sick. I wanted to see you on your birthday."
"You flew all the way out here for my birthday?"
"Of course." He was smiling at her, god how she had missed that smile. "These are for you." He held the flowers up between them. It was a huge bunch of brightly colored freesias.
"How did you know?" She asked. She didn't think she had ever discussed what her favorite flowers were with Nicholas.
"You always comment on freesias. That and ranunculus, but nobody could get those in for me, nobody grows them out of season."
Grace smiled as she shook her head and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Nicholas Gray, have I told you that I love you?" She had. She had told him many, many times.