Guidelines

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Grace felt like several kinds of a fool as she did her best to get home, shake off her guilt and not get in trouble for being out super late without a ride home. Her parents thought she was staying at Aunti Opi's for the night, Nate thought she was at home moping, and Aunti O seemed oblivious to just HOW late it had gotten when Grace took off. At eighteen Grace was old enough to take care of herself, it was just that it was late, she was alone and the city could be a might bit scary out. Not that she would ever let anyone know that last bit. Bad enough that everyone worried about her aunt, Grace knew she would go frothing at the mouth, bat shit crazy if they started to fuss over her the same way.

Still her guilt over not noticing Nate's change in self perception was chewing her fear of being out this late up and spitting it out. She was mildly worried for her safety. She was superbly worried for her best friend. True, Nate had always been a bit self deprecating, but now that it had been brought to her attention, Grace was realizing that he no longer meant those mean things as a joke. So while she all but jogged from her aunt’s apartment building to the closest bus shelter, her mind was trying to figure out when the change had occurred. And the guilt only grew as she kept coming back to her eighteenth birthday. More specifically: the weeks leading up to it. When Grace had all but thrown her friendship with Nate away to prove a point, over something as stupid as her feeling left out after he’d had less time for her and her alone. She knew now, how hard it was for him to balance his school work, with holding a job, having a social life and trying to make a place for himself in the world. But even as short as a few months ago she had simply felt like he had put her aside like a child does a once favourite toy as they grow up. She’d reacted badly and started to date the worst kind of guy, just to rub it in Nate’s face when he was around. And then when the worse nearly did happen to Grace, she’d called on Nate to bail her ass out and he had come without hesitation.

It had been a glorious thing to see. She had been drunk and stupid and discovered that her too good to be true boyfriend was a drug dealer. So like the brilliant moron she was, she’d told him to get out, punched him in the dick and flushed his coke down the toilet. Needless to say she had locked herself into the bathroom to avoid his violence and he did his best to beat the door down to get to her. So even though she’d done her best to piss Nathaniel off for half a month, she’d called him for help and he’d come running. As Grace waited for the last bus of the night, or the first one of the morning, the memory brought a smile to her face.

Nate hadn't said where he was; just answered the phone and heard her scared sounding explanation. Then he told her he was almost there and hung up. When a loud crash resounded from the other room, Grace had given an involuntary scream and wondered what else Jonah had broken. When she heard Nathaniel's voice instead of another violence promising tirade, her heart jumped right back into her throat again.

"Get the fuck out of this house before I rip your face off and stuff it down your throat!" Nathaniel roared at Jonah and Grace heard the sound of fist striking flesh.

Her hand had crept to the doorknob, shaking slightly as she contemplated opening the door and seeing how her best friend was faring, caution and recklessness warring in her gut. There was a manly shout of pain and Grace's sense of caution flew out the window. She fumbled with the lock and doorknob and flung the door open to see Nathaniel in a very handsome looking black suit, on his back on the floor, with Jonah overtop him, choking him. Grace would've liked to believe that she leapt across the room and battled the drug dealer away from her best friend but the truth of the matter was the Grace was drunk and clumsy.

She had stepped out into the room, tripped over the throw rug and slammed her face against the bed post with a sound of pain. It was enough to distract Jonah from trying to kill her best friend and Nate decked Jonah brutally in the face. The Spaniard managed to gain a better position and started to just hammer blows down Jonah's head and face, to the point that Grace ended up pulling Nathaniel away before he actually killed the man.

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