22// Tori

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Have you ever heard the expression "The calm before the storm" while I think these last few weeks have been the calm and the storm  is coming soon.

These last few weeks they've been too quiet, too peaceful. No headless teddy bears, no notes, no yellow roses, and no car bombs...I'm talking nothing.

Derek and me, we've walked through Main Street and down the beach holding hands. We've gone out on dates, making the most of our time, getting to know each other. And nothing has happened, it's like this creeper has just vanished into the shadows without a trace.

This doesn't sound like a good thing to me, Jack, and Derek they have still been working on the case, and to be more aware they gave me a rundown on a profile on what this person could be like and look like.

But it really doesn't help me, I mean when they were telling me it was like they were describing every male in River-Cove.

With my dad being my dad, I know how to spot things that are out of place. And I know how to see if someone is acting out of character.

Speaking of my cop father, he actually found out about my stalker and threaten to come down here and bring me home.

Apparently, when Deacon's car got blown up and with me being involved, my name was on the police report, and because the missing girls is an opening state-wide case, seeing as all the girls are from different states.

The river-Cove police department has to keep, different departments updated. And well it got back to my dad, lucky enough I managed to talk him out of coming here.

It helps that Derek explained everything and how he will keep me safe at all costs, and also he promised he would keep him updated daily. Cop to cop.

And when I'm not with Derek or even Jack, there are at least two patrol officers outside the house.

I'm safe, logically this guy would have to go through the whole River-Cove police department to get to me, but my gut is telling me him being silent means he's planning something and we're about to find out what.

"Tori do you want some coffee?" Snapping out of my thoughts and looked over to my babysitter of the day...Jack.

He's off on orders of the chief and Derek had a few things he needed to follow up at work. So he tasked his best friend to stay with me, which I fought him on. But he wouldn't listen, neither would Jack for that matter but I hate that people are having to put their time on pause to watch me.

"Nah...I'm good thanks..." I replied and sighed, just as he grabs his cup and comes over to the sitting area, and takes a seat in the chair.

"You really don't have to spend the afternoon with me, I'm a big girl and there's an officer outside" I argued, as I look at the dark circles under his eyes.

In this case, it's personal for him too, just like it is Derek. Jack, he's been chasing this creep for seven years and he always slips away, that's a lot of pressure to carry around for several years.

"Derek would have my balls if I left you alone...so I'm staying" He smirked.

"I can handle Derek, don't you worry" He chuckles and takes a sip of his coffee.

"Oh I have no doubt you can't but still your important to him, he's my best friend, therefor your safety is important to me too...also Grace has threatened my balls too if I didn't protect you"

Shooting my eyes to his as he mentions my best friend, I've spoken to Grace a handful of times since she left to go back to California, but she never said that was in contact with Jack.

I knew she found him attractive when she met him at the Deacon's BQQ that time, I also know that they spent that whole evening talking together.

But I didn't know it went further than that night.

"I didn't know you and Grace, were so friendly..." I trailed off on the word friendly.

Grace doesn't trust men, she doesn't do male friendships, she stays clear of them, unless it's a one-night stand, it's her way of surviving.

So the fact that she trusts Jack enough to give him her number, to be friendly with him even is huge....and I'm kind of pissed off she hid it from me.

"I'm friendly....she's something unique-;" He broke off for a moment and smiled softly to himself before adding,

"Her on the other hand just makes threats against my balls and my pretty face on your behalf, that woman has a lot of walls up".

Nodding my head because I know who exactly caused those walls, but that's not my story to tell.

"That's she does...but she has good reason too" I whispered sadly.

Jack studies me for a second, like a detective trying to work out a key piece of evidence.

"I like her Tori...any advice for me?" He announces after a few seconds of silence between us.

Leaning forward and looked at him, not sure what advice I could give him because I know Grace, and I know the battle she fights with herself most days.

"I don't know what to tell you Jack, the thing that I can tell you, is not push her because she will push back and only move ahead if you really do care about her and are willing to go slow and lower your expectations, her walls...her scars that haven't fully healed-;"

"What I'm trying to say is that she's a broken soul, but she's worth the fight" I whispered last the part as he keeps his eyes on me.

I think Jack could be the one to heal Grace's soul, be the hero that she needs, be the love and the man that she deserves.

But if Jack wants to see it through that he needs to make sure he's in it for the long road because Grace won't make it easy, and her walls aren't coming down so easily either.

"Thanks, Tori," he says sadly, just as the front door opens and Derek comes walking through it, his eyes automatically searching for mine.

When he sees me, he smiles and my heart flutters in a way that every little girl hears about in fairy tales and I've realized something these last few days, and that is...I'm in love with Derek Henderson.

Holy shit.

Loving Derek (River-Cove Series: Book 1) ✓Where stories live. Discover now