Evening Light Ch. 06byzouzouni©
This is the conclusion to Grace and Lucas' story. I hope you like it. As always, your comments are always valuable. Enjoy :)
Lucas again avoided Grace as much as he could. He could tell she was mad at him for walking out but he needed to sort out his feelings. He owed her that much. His sister had called telling him that she was coming for a visit. He was thrilled, he missed her since she and her husband moved. They weren't that far but work and other commitments meant they didn't see each other as often as they'd liked. Also her son, Ben, was terrified of horses. He wondered how she was going to get him here since last time he'd had a panic attack. He was looking forward to seeing Ben and his niece Lucy.
Grace continued to focus on work and the ranch not leaving a great deal of time for much else. She was a little frustrated with whatever flu bug she'd picked up. It didn't seem to want to leave. It wasn't too bad and she was trying to work through it. Lucas' sister and her family were coming for a visit. She was curious to meet his sister wondering what she'd be like.
Lucas' sister, Kate, arrived with her husband Jackson and their children in tow. The children were beautiful. Ben, at six, was shy and reserved, whereas Lucy was a precocious four year old. Grace fell in love with the children immediately as they did with her. Kate seemed relieved that there was another woman around and although she was initially hesitant around her she slowly warmed up. "Wanna come feed the horses with me?" Grace asked the kids. Lucy jumped for joy but Ben's visage clouded and she caught the edge of panic. He politely declined but Grace knew there was more going on.
After she took Lucy out for a while she came back to speak with Kate. "How long has Ben had this phobia of horses?" Grace asked. Kate seemed a little taken aback.
"Well he just doesn't like them." She hedged.
"Oh Kate, the boy is terrified. Don't sugar coat it." Jackson said exasperated.
"Do you think you can help?" Lucas said quietly. Grace looked at him. She could see that he was worried about his nephew. His concern touched her and threatened to break down the wall she'd built around herself regarding him.
"There's something I can try, there's no guarantee but it has worked well for many kids. It'll take some time to set up but I could try tomorrow if you like." She offered. Kate and Jackson were looking confused. Lucas explained about Grace's other job as a psychologist and she filled them in what she would be doing with Ben. They both whole heartedly agreed. It was very hard living in the country with a child afraid of horses.
Grace spent the following morning with Ben going through a program of intensive systematic desensitization. Ben was responding wonderfully and he was now confident enough to stand near a horse. Within the next hour Grace had him on Kendra's Smile and was walking him slowly around the paddock. Where there was a shy, frightened little boy now was a confident little man. Kate and Jackson had made themselves scarce but now they came out to see what was going on.
Kate dissolved into tears once she saw Ben on the horse. Jackson was nearly in tears himself. Lucas stood next to his sister staring at Grace. Grace couldn't meet his intense gaze so she concentrated on Ben. Eventually Ben came down off the horse and ran to his mother. His parents showered him with kisses and hugs and told him how proud they were of him. Being a typical child he wondered what all the fuss was about and went off to play.
Grace spent a moment going over some follow up exercises for Ben with Kate and Jackson before returning the horse to the stables. She was red with embarrassment from their profound gratitude. She had avoided looking at Lucas.
Grace jumped when she heard her name behind her. Her heart was beating fast as she turned to find him standing there. "Um, would you care to have dinner with us tonight?" he asked.
"I don't think that's a good idea Lucas." She practically whispered. Lucas noticed that she called him by his first name and something in him purred. He didn't want to pressure her but his sister could be a force of nature when she wanted something.
"I realize you and I haven't exactly ... Well, Kate is insisting you come to dinner. She wants to thank you for everything." He said.
Grace considered refusing but she really didn't want to insult Kate and Jackson. "Ok I'll come." She said and went back to putting the saddle away. She didn't have the courage to look at him, afraid of how she might react.
Lucas was beyond confused. Every fibre in his being wanted to reach out and touch her, hold her, kiss her senseless. Warring with his lust was an unprecedented tide of emotion. Her acceptance and invaluable assistance to his family. The way she charmed and played with the children. He couldn't breathe with the power of what he was feeling. "You were amazing with Ben." He whispered his voice choked with emotion. Before she could respond he'd left. Grace shook her head at trying to make sense of him or her reactions to him.
Dinner was a lively affair with everyone exited about Ben's achievements. Miss Em had outdone herself with the food with Kate's help. Kate told some amusing anecdotes about her childhood with Lucas much to his embarrassment. Kate put the kids to bed and the adults were settling in to drinks in the living room. "I should go. You guys have a lot of catching up to do." Grace said excusing herself from intruding on family time.
"Don't be silly, after what you've done for us I consider you family." Kate said and hugged her close. Grace was touched. It wasn't often she had this level of inclusion and feeling of family. Her emotions were all over the place and tears threatened to spill. Grace averted her face as she wiped at her eyes. She could feel Lucas' eyes on her and that made her uncomfortable. She wanted to cry and she definitely didn't want to do it in front of him.
"Thank you, but I do have an early start and I can't shirk my chores." She said as she bid them all a hasty good night before leaving.
"So baby brother, what's with you and Grace?" Kate asked. Lucas scowled at her. Sensing his wife's need to talk with her brother, Jackson excused himself to check on the kids. "So spill." Kate pressed.
"There's nothing to talk about." Lucas mumbled.
"You've got to be kidding me. The way you've been looking at her is not 'nothing'. So have you two ...?" Kate left it open.
"It's complicated." He allowed.
"Oh so you have, what, is there another guy?" Kate giggled. Lucas looked up angrily at the mention of Grace and another man.
"Oh my God you've got it bad haven't you. You're in love with her. My baby brother is in love." Kate sighed. Hearing it out loud confirmed it for him. He'd never felt this way about anyone before. He put his head in his hands.
"I've kinda made a mess of things sis." He confessed and told her about everything that had happened. He talked about why she came to Evening light in the first place, her run in with Tex and consequent illness, their night together, his attempts to talk to her. All of it came pouring out. He was grateful for his sister; she was so easy to talk to. Kate told him off for being an idiot but then tried to help him reason out his feelings.
"You've got to talk to her Lucas, you have to tell her." She said for the fifth time.
"Yeah and that went so well last time." He griped.
"Well this time you need to actually talk." Kate laughed. "Go on, go. And I'll pretend to be shocked in the morning when you didn't come home." She teased.
Lucas was nervous. What if she didn't feel the same way? He didn't think he could stand it. He hesitated at her door. Going to knock but pulling his hand away. He was acting like a lovesick teenager. Giving himself a mental shake he knocked on her door. Grace answered in her PJ's. She looked delectable but he tried to keep his thoughts focused. "We need to talk." He said.
"I don't know. It didn't quite work out that well last time." She echoed his earlier concerns.
"I know." He said and walked passed her and sat on the couch. Resigned, she closed the door and sat across from him. He realized that he was too nervous to sit so he stood and started pacing.
"Are you Ok?" she asked worried about his behaviour.
"Yes. No. I don't know." He forced out still pacing.
"Can you stop moving for a minute and tell me what's wrong." She said. He stopped in his tracks and sat down again.
"I don't know where to start." He admitted.
"How about you start with why you walked out after .... last time ... you know." She stammered unable to get it out without blushing. Lucas looked at her with genuine regret.
"I'm sorry about that. You remember when you told me that this scared you," he said indicating the two of them "yeah well it freaked me out too." He said, his voice low. "I've never met anyone like you, you make me crazy angry and crazy with want too. It was all too much. Then you go and help Ben like that. Help a family you don't even know. You are remarkable. I was watching you with the kids, you know, you're amazing. I started thinking what it would be like to see you with our kids. I remembered that we didn't use protection and you know what, that made me happy. Do you get it? Instead of being freaked out, it made me happy that you could be having my child." He said all in a rush.
Grace was shocked. He was talking about things that she wouldn't even allow herself to admit she'd thought about. "We haven't worked out us and you're talking about kids?" she said incredulously. Lucas sat next to her and held her face in his hands forcing her to look at him.
"Haven't you figured it out Grace, I'm crazy about you. I can't imagine my world without you. I want you in my life, my work and yes my bed. I love you." He said his voice thick with emotion. Grace searched his face for evidence of guile. This had to be a joke. He couldn't be making all her most secret hopes come true.
"Are you sure?" she asked dazed.
"It took me a long time to admit it to myself but yes I'm sure. I love you." He said again. Grace's heart leaped for joy.
Grace kissed him. She kissed him like she she'd never kissed him before. She allowed all her fear and concern to fade and she kissed him with all the love she had. "Say it Grace." He panted. "Tell me."
Grace looked into his eyes seeing the apprehension there "I love you Lucas. You infuriate me but yes I love you." She smiled. Happiness like nothing he'd ever felt surged through him. Standing he dragged her to her feet only to pick her up and whisk her to the bedroom depositing her on the bed. He followed her down pinning her underneath him. She giggled as he kissed her.
"Tomorrow," he said between kisses. "tomorrow you start moving your things to the main house. You sleep in my bed from now on. And you don't have to do the stables anymore if you don't want to. My wife will not be a slave here." He continued to kiss her.
"I like the work Lucas and ... hang on did you just say ..." she couldn't breathe.
"Yes I did. You are mine and I'm not letting you go." He said firmly, staring at her.
"Lucas it's nice to be asked, you don't just go around demanding things," she started angrily.
"Please, Grace." He started kissing her again. "Please say you'll marry me so I can kiss you like this forever." He said against her lips. She was quiet for a heartbeat too long and he looked at her worried that she was going to say no. Grace was quietly freaking out. She'd barely admitted that she loved him and now he was proposing. She looked into his eyes and saw the fear and the love there. All her fears disappeared. There was no one else for her.
"Yes Lucas. I'll marry you." She whispered. Lucas whooped for joy startling her. He then kissed her ravenously. They practically tore each other's clothes off in their haste but each touch and caress was designed to show the other the depth of their love. It was late when they collapsed sated and fell asleep in each other's arms.
True to her word Kate pretended to be shocked when Lucas strolled in the next morning but smiled when she saw them holding hands. "Uncle Lucas, is Grace your girlfriend?" Ben asked.
"Kinda buddy, does it bother you?" Lucas replied. Ben thought about it for a bit and said
"Nope, she's kinda cool for a girl." Before leaving to go riding with Bradley.
Once they'd recovered from their laughter Lucas turned to his sister and said "She's more than my girlfriend. She's agreed to be my wife." Kate stared at him then her face broke out into a huge grin.
"Yesterday he was in dire straights and today he's getting married. You don't do things by halves baby brother. I'm so happy for you both." She exclaimed. Grace was relieved that Kate had accepted her so easily and hugs and congratulations were exchanged all round. "So when's the big day?" Kate asked. Grace looked at Lucas, they hadn't discussed this.
"As soon as humanly possible." He said holding her tight to his side.
"I'm glad I came then. We have a wedding to plan." Kate said taking charge. She immediately grabbed pen and paper and starting peppering Grace with questions about flowers, colour schemes and dress designs.
Grace's head was spinning as she walked out to get some air. She wondered to the stables to say hello to Kendra's Smile. Being around the horses always relaxed her. That's where Lucas found her. "Not getting cold feet?" he asked as he brushed her lips with his. Grace felt the wave of desire well up and wondered if she would ever stop wanting this man.
"No, its just all happening a little quickly that's all." She breathed.
"I don't want you to feel rushed or forced into anything." He said concerned.
"I don't." She assured him and he kissed her again.
"If you keep doing that we won't get anything done." She admonished him breathless.
"And who says there's anything else I'd rather do." He said his eyes dark with desire. Grace melted into his kiss feeling the flames of desire licking along her veins. They broke apart breathing heavily. Lucas grabbed her hand and dragged her along with him.
"Where are we going?" Grace asked almost jogging to keep up. Lucas didn't talk he simply strode purposefully into the house, passed everyone, up the stairs, into his room. Once there he closed the door and captured her lips again in a blistering kiss. "Lucas, everyone is downstairs, they'll know ..." Grace breathed.
"I don't care, I want you." He said determinedly. Grace gave in and allowed him to do whatever he wanted because she knew that she wanted him too.
"Grace, you really need to see a doctor. The wedding is tomorrow." Kate admonished as Grace returned from the bathroom after having thrown up again.
"I'm fine it's just a bug. All this running around for the wedding isn't helping either. Really who on earth plans a wedding in two weeks? Oh yeah, that would be me." Grace said collapsing on the couch next to Kate.
Kate giggled but wasn't to be dissuaded. "Yes you and Lucas are certifiable. Me too for helping but I still think you need to see a doctor. When was your last period?" she asked innocently.
The question took Grace by surprise. She hadn't really thought about it. The pressure of the incident that lead her to Evening Light, the episode with Tex and all that happened afterwards had put enormous strain on her body. Her period had become anything but regular, so missing one or two hadn't registered with her as unusual. She grabbed her diary and started going over the dates. It was definitely a possibility. She looked up at Kate not knowing what to say or do.
"I'll call Doc Jenkins and drive you down there right now." Kate said heading to the phone.
Grace just sat there. She wasn't sure how she felt about this new development. What would Lucas think? He'd implied that he would be happy but the idea of something isn't often the same as the reality. What if he didn't want her anymore? What if he didn't want their child? She was nearly in tears when Kate came back in the room.
"There now. Why are you so upset? I thought you'd be happy." Kate asked, confused.
"Lucas. What if he..." Grace choked out. Kate caught on to Grace's unspoken fears immediately.
"Don't you worry about him. He'll be over the moon. He loves kids and family is the most important thing in his world. Come on now, let me drive you to the doctor and we can find out if we are right." Kate said.
An hour later Grace walked out of the clinic with a look of shock on her face and a small ultrasound picture in her hands. Kate was almost skipping with joy. She started chanting "I'm going to be an aunty, I'm going to be an aunty."
"Kate, please keep your voice down. I'd like to be the one to tell Lucas not the county grapevine." Grace said coming out of her shocked state. Kate agreed and they headed home. The following day saw Grace walking down the aisle in an outdoor ceremony at Evening Light ranch. Lucas throat closed with emotion as he watched her walk towards him. He never thought he would experience the depth of feeling he felt towards this woman. She literally took his breath away.
They said the words that millions of others had in front of their closest friends and family. And then they kissed to lots of whooping and laughter as the kiss was a little much for polite company. Blushing, Grace turned to greet their guests. All in all it was a simple affair with some friends from work, all the ranch hands and their families and Lucas' sister and her family.
Grace's parents didn't attend; they refused to cut short their holiday. A small part of Grace was upset but mostly she was relieved. They had always prioritized their own lives above her needs and in the last few years they had barely spoken. Grace felt that she'd found her own kind of family at the ranch. That was even more true now.
Grace was standing on the porch watching twilight descend when she felt strong arms surround her from behind. She leaned in to his masculine strength and sighed. "How's my wife?" Lucas smirked.
"Fine, husband." Grace said rolling her eyes. He'd been calling her 'wife' every opportunity he got.
"Are you sure, you look a little pale are you feeling sick again?" he asked as he turned her round to look at her with concern.
"Lucas, I need to tell you something." She began cautiously.
"Oh my God, you are sick, and you didn't tell me." He growled.
"It's not what you think Lucas." She soothed. "Remember when we first made love?" she asked blushing.
"Yes." He gave her a heated smile and kissed her.
"Lucas stop that. I can't think when you do that." She tried to push him away but he held her tight.
"That's the point. Besides you're the one that brought up such pleasant memories." He said chuckling as he continued to kiss her earlobe and neck.
"Mmmm, do you remember that we didn't use protection and you said you'd be happy if ....? Happy if...?" she couldn't continue he was driving her crazy with his tongue on her throat. Lucas however, in spite of his mounting desire managed to put two and two together and he stopped abruptly.
"You mean you're ... we .... I'm going to be.... WOW a baby!" He whispered in utter shock.
Grace was beside herself, he was silent for what felt like forever. "Please Lucas, say something. Tell me what you're thinking." She pleaded concerned that he'd be angry at her. Lucas was in heaven, a slow smile spread across his face until he positively beamed.
"We're having a baby. I'm going to be a Dad." He said again. He took her in his arms and pressed her hard against him. "Have I told you how much I love you?" he breathed against her lips.
"Only a couple of hundred times today." She smiled. "You're not mad?" she asked.