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Chasing Grace - Chapter 5

"No use in lying, sweetheart." - Nathan.
-Grace-

"Hurry up!" I rushed Heather.

"We have walked all around London! Can't we just sit a second?" She begged. I had dragged her to The Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, and now was photographing the National Gallery and it wasn't even two. Once the photo was snapped, I turned back to Heather who was obviously exhausted.

"I'm sorry, it's just that I've been reading about these places in my father's books for years and it feels so amazing to finally see them in person." I explain as we return to our stroll.

"Why don't we stop somewhere for a bite to eat. I think we both need a good sandwich because it is well after lunch," Heather hooks my arm, pulling me into a small cafe that had a variety of foods. We were only two blocks from the London Eye, our next stop, so I believed it was a good time for food.

While I was squinting through the list of options I hear the bell on the door ring, signaling another costumer. At this point it was only Heather and I, however I wouldn't think much of it. A worker came from the kitchen and approached the front counter where we happen to be waiting.

"Good day," said the male voice. He was my height, rather short, however had a cute face. His hair was curly and dark brown with hints of auburn. I gave him a smile that was welcomed and returned. "What can I get you ladies?"

"I'll have the turkey club." I let my face go soft, for I had been told my expressions can look hard and intimidating. I was working on this. Heather ordered the same and he rang us up.

"You ladies visiting from somewhere? You have an accent." The boy whose name tag read "Timothy". I nodded and Heather finished the sentence I couldn't seem to, "We are visiting from New York." The costumer behind us was getting inpatient, I could tell by the shifting of their weight. There were multiple of them, maybe two or three? I didn't want to risk my connection with Timothy to check though.

"Say, this might be a little out of line," Timothy started, smoothing a hand through his hair. "Would you maybe want to go out for a drink tonight? There's this little pub down the way."

"I don't know..." I look at Heather, who hit my elbow, obviously not wanting me to pass up a chance for a date with a hot British boy. I kept the pause though, rudely interrupted when the costumer behind us sighed with a, "Just say yes already!"

Whipping around, I find Nathan with his two friends. I rolled my eyes, "Of course it's you," I almost want to ask for an explanation on why we keep running into each other, however I understood that would be an unfair request.

"Oh bloody..." Nathan trailed off, smacking his palm against his forehead. His friends gave me a double take, understanding who I was.

"Is that...?" Heather trailed off so I returned the favor, "Nathan? Yes."

"This has gotten kind of weird," Timothy enters the conversation again but still goes in for another try. "But, you haven't answered my question."

"Yes, I will go for drinks with you." I give him a sweet smile and reassure him with a nod.

"You're really going to go out with this bloke?" Nathan exclaimed from behind me.

"You were on board with it a few minutes ago. Not that I have to do what you suggest," I give him a glare. Timothy scribbled down the address of the pub, the noise of the scratching filling the tension between Nathan and I.

"I'll meet you at 10?" Timothy held out the slip of paper. I nodded.

"I'll meet you then." Just then, the cook came out with our food. Heather and I took our seat on the far side of the cafe, as far as we could from Nathan and his friends. Secret glances were exchanged between us as we ate, before Heather and I agreed to continue on our tour of the historic city. Gushing over the fact that I had a date tonight, the wait for the London Eye didn't take that long. As they were closing our capsule, the three boys quickly slid in.

"Why did they let you in!" I was in pure shock of the situation. "We had to wait in line!" Nathan came up to me as a cool breeze, whispering an inch away from my ear.

"Perks of being a celebrity."

Heather overheard and with a huff walked to the other end of the capsule where one of Nathan's friends found this as an opportunity to hit on her and followed. My eyes narrowed, pulling out my camera I went to the edge and looked out, gripping the rail tightly with one hand. Nathan joined me as unwanted company asking, "Are you afraid of heights?"

I bit my lip and shook my head, trying not to give away my lies. His hand slid over my white knuckles, "No use in lying, sweetheart."

"Ugh, don't call me that." I slip my hand away. We spent a long while in silence, not finding any use in talking for neither of us could use kind words when we came to conversation between us. I found it difficult to breathe in the thickness of the silence. It was a long 20 minutes while we stood and watched. The capsule came to ground level again and I turned to see Heather laughing over a joke with one of Nathan's friends. She said her goodbyes and approached me.

"Well, I guess this is goodbye. Hopefully for good." I hold out my hand.

"No," Nathan shook his head.

"No?" I give him a puzzled expression.

"I'm sure we will see each other again. Fate wouldn't be too cruel to let this be our last time." He ignores my hand, so I let it fall back to my side. "Till next time, Grace." With that, he turned on his heals and joined his friends in walking down the cobbled stone streets.

"Come on, Grace. We have to get you ready for a super hot date!" She grabbed my arm, pulling me towards the direction of our hotel. A shower, four outfit changes, and a heals-no-heals debate later I was ready. I wore a fitting deep purple dress that came up a few inches from my knees. We kept playing off the hint that this "pub" was class. Due to his height the heals were questionable, however Heather fought the point that we would be sitting down most of the night so I might as well.

She won.

Giving me a few more words of wisdom, she hugged me before letting me leave.

"Have fun!" She waved. The taxi downstairs drove me to the address and butterflies started to form in my stomach. I didn't want to admit my secret so I held it in. When walking in, the pub was darkly lit, warm, and had a cool vibe to it. Dark wood and black leather were the theme in the room. There was a small stage where a man and woman were singing slow deep songs that added to the romantic affect. Because it was a Monday night, it wasn't very full, however the people who were there were couples talking in hushed tones spread out across the room. I took my place at the bar, facing the door, making sure I wouldn't miss him. Ordering a drink I began to wait.

When I finished one of my drinks I checked the time... 10:15. I ordered a second one and tapped my foot to the rhythm of the music playing. I ignored all the other wondering male eyes. People came and went, obviously to end up at one or the others house to hook up but there I sat, all by my lonesome. I ordered a third one by 10:35

"If he doesn't show, I'd love to share a drink with you after my shift, darling." The bartender offered. He was cute, but definitely not my type.

"Thank you. But, I think he will show up," I smiled. Looking over his shoulder at the clock on the wall, he stated,

"10:54. If he doesn't come soon, I just might have to claim you for myself." He winked flirtatiously. At this point it was only me at the bar, yet the musicians still played on. I had just got my fourth.

"Grace?" I hear from over my shoulder. The excitement surged through my veins as I hear the British boys voice from behind me. Turning around, my expression quickly fell.

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-Nathan-

"Nathan," Grace sighed, obviously tired and not in the mood for what I had to say. "What are you doing here?" I considered answering her curious mind, however I didn't want to explain that I purposely walked into this pub an hour after her date was supposed to arrive. I recognized the song that filled the air. Holding out a hand I offered, "Dance with me."

"Nathan, I don't want to."

"Don't let that dress go to waste, tonight." I convince her. She thinks for a moment before giving in, placing a hand on my shoulder and the other tightly grasped in my hand. My hand held the small of her back snug enough so I could guide her in a slow dance. Her head rested against my chest and I let my lips brush against her forehead.

"How long have you been waiting here?" I ask.

"An hour." Her voice was hushed and obviously disappointed. "He stood me up."

"Did he ring for you?"

"No," her tone fades off into the hushed hum of the music. "The worst part was it was my first date. Of course I'm the loser who gets stood up on her first ever date." This was a shoot to the heart. I didn't want her to know that the reason her date didn't show was because I paid him off. After being on the London Eye with her, I went back to the cafe and bribed "Timothy" to not show up, so I could come in last minute and in a sense save Grace.

"You're not a loser, my dear." I whisper for only her to hear. She shifted closer, as if settling into my arms. A few lovely moments passed before her voice reappears, "Nathan?"

"Yes?"

"Take me home?"

"Of course, Sweetheart." I let go of her, long enough to grab her jacket off the back of the chair and rest it on her shoulders gently. I guide her out of the pub and grab a cab for us to drive back to her hotel. During the drive she fell asleep on my arm, much like the airplane. She only woke slightly to walk up to her room. Outside her door, we stood while I fumbled through her purse for her key. She was in a haze and I didn't want to disrupt it. I handed the little plastic card to her and the tension swooped over us once more. Leaning forward, I wasn't quite sure what my body was doing, so I restrained and kissed her forehead.

"Goodnight." I said.

"Night." She gave me a funny smile that made my lips curve upward. I didn't leave until she was safe inside.

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Uninterested: Sorry about that. I promise to try harder.

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Published: 6/13/2013
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