Walk Of Shame-Final Episode 20

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Anthony opened his eyes… blinking a couple of times. Until his vision adjusted to the lights and the faces that stared down at him registered…

“Where am I? …

“What happened?”

His father’s faced was one relived… “Oh my son, my son.. My sweet boy!!”

He hugged him. Tears staining his chicks…

“Careful Sir, let him breath” the nurse on duty cautions. The Dean nods.  But he doesn’t let go of his hands. .

“Water… I need water”!! Anthony askes. Rose grabs the glass behind her and takes water from the dispenser and tries to help him drink it.

“How did I get here?” He winced holding his head… As scenes of the night replaced itself… then he starts up…

“Grace… Rose… James??””

“Sshh dude…I am here.”  …James limbs to his side… Touching his shoulders. His friend had come back to him. It’s been too long.

“Yes Antho… we are here… Always have been”. Rose takes his hand kissing it… As she sits on the bed…

“You just need to recover my son.  So you can go home.  I am so sorry… Do sorry my son for leaving you by yourself all this year’s.  Not giving you the love you deserve. Not being a father as I ought.  Please. ..Forgive me. When I thought I lost you I didn’t know how to leave with myself…Antho… My son.  Forgive an old man his lapse…please”… He cried as his laud Anthony’s hands on his grey head.

“Father…  I never hated you. I understand… but please… Don’t ask me to forgive you when I also fought you back by being rebellious.  I am sorry… Father! “”… Antho touch his face… “There is nothing to forgive… I loved you then. I love you this”…

“I love you too my son “… His father crushed him into another hug before releasing him…

“Who was responsible? …did you catch them..??

His father nodded… “Victoria and her friends….” Rose mutters… “They planned everything… they …they…–“… She blinked back tears…

“Don’t worry son. They are facing the law… and would for a very very long time…”…

“A pity… “He shook his head… “I should have known.”.    He clenches his fist….  “I should have known…. I would have protected you. ..All of you… I was stupid. .. Curse you Victoria… “… He looks around the room. All of a sudden realising someone was missing…

“Where is Grace??… He asked looking from one to the other…. as they avoided his eyes….

“Where is Grace Dad??… James. ..Rose??… “He grabs her hands…

“Please please don’t tell me… Don’t tell me she didn’t make it. .. I will die… please…please… tell me where Grace is…where my sweet Grace is?” His voice broke…

“Ssshh calm down Antho calm down…. no no… She made it…  But…. but …” his father trail off.

“James tell me…. what happened…?”

“Antho…it’s been a month… You have been in a coma for a month!! Grace left… Am sorry!!”

“Left?!! What??…Why-Why… Why??…..She left me…why….”

They avoided his eyes…

“Tell me…. or I swear by God I would go find her myself… I don’t care if I have to crawl to do So”…Anthony threatened…

James sits on the bed… holds him by his shoulders, hugging him. Rose turns away as she tries to keep the words out from floating into her ears…to forget that night.  The Dean hides his head in his hands as he watched Anthony’s expression. .. As it changed from shock…to pain and then to anguish as he held on to James. . Hugging him tight… sobbing in his arms… His heart broke for his son… even more for the girl who had to go through the ordeal…

“She is Gone Antho…She left. She left all of Us!!”…James hugs him…

Anthony turns away… facing the wall and he never remained the same after then.

 

**** two years later****

Grace had left that day. After the arrests.  Without a goodbye. Without a word. Her mother had carried her away and she never looked back.

It took a long time before she could smile again and be herself.  She was lucky they said. The drugs didn’t have permanent side effects. She didn’t contact STDS nor get pregnant… They flushed her system. She could return back to a normal life.

But no one really leaves a normal life after that. The depression. The ordeal. The Nightmares.  The cliff on her shoulders that everyone is staring at her, mocking her, laughing at her… “The Spanish fly girl in the video”. The stigma that would remain for the rest of her life. She a waste. A rotten ruined waste that no one would ever love. No!!! How could she ever return back to a normal life and thus they moved again. To the states. And didn’t keep in touch.

…..

“Happy graduation baby. Momma is proud of you”!!! Her mother hugged her from behind, as they filled output of the auditorium with the other students and parents.

Grace smiled back. She had deferred her last year for a year so she could deal. She needed to deal. Albeit late, she was happy.  To finally be able to make her mother proud. She came out with flying colours. And left her past behind her..and be able to move on in a place no one knew her story .

“I have another present for you Gracey. And I do hope you like it. “..

As they walked to the park, Grace stops…

“Oh mum…don’t tell me you got me a huge present that can’t fit in my bag?”..

“Well….” her mother dangled a set of keys in front of her. A red golf was parked beside their old car. A “happy graduation Gracey” taped to it.

Grace squeals in delight. Hugging her mother. “Thank you mummy” she goes to her new car, runs her hand over it. Delighted…

“This is much mum. Must have cost you a ton. Thank you”..

“I have another gift for you.”

“Oh dear lord…. more???” She clasps her hands together.

“Yes baby…and this isn’t material.”

“So what is it.??”

‘Not what. Who??” She smiled

Grace had a puzzled expression on her face…

“Happy graduation Gracey”…. a voice said behind her. Grace turns quickly, recognising the voice.

Four people stood a little far off behind her.

Rose, a chubbier Rose ran to her and gathers her in her arms. Grace’s eyes filled with tears, she hugs her back.. Both of them muttering “am sorry, am sorry I left. I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t let you look at me like that with disgust. Am sorry”

“Am sorry am so soo sorry grace.  I would have never looked at you queer. Never”..

James, who limped slightly comes and fixes himself in their hug.

“Hey James.  ?””

“Hey Grace. You are mean. You left us. Wasn’t so nice of you. !!!! He pulled her chicks.

She laughed… “I am sorry”… Hugging both of them tight. Tears flowing freely.

Mr Anthony senior walked to her mother,

“Thank you for reaching out to us. Anthony never gave up trying to find her and when your email came. I knew stopping him would be foolish and I did anything a father would for his son. Booked the next flight. He blamed himself you know…

“When he woke up a month later. He was in a coma you see. And found out she had gone. It changed him. It took him longer to heal. Months. He finished school but he never stopped searching for her. Thank you for putting the sparkle in my boy’s eyes. “He shook her hand. She nodded. She didn’t know why she reached out. But she knew that Gracey needed people in her life who loved her despite.

Anthony didn’t move. He couldn’t even if he wanted to.

Grace lets them go, Rose and James and steps away.

One reason why she didn’t object leaving was that she feared, amongst others that Anthony, would hate her too. Find her disgusting and irritating. A girl who was video – taped and aired. A girl everyone would scorn and laugh at.  A stigma for life. A ruined and damaged goods. No!!! She couldn’t bare it… His looks. His disapproval and eventually his distance. And so she begged her mother and they left.

But here he was, standing here in front of her and all that she could see was happiness in his eyes or something that looked like it.

She walked to him slowly.

He walked to her slowly and they both met each other halfway…

He shakes his head, taking her hand in his, he brushes her knuckles with a slight feather light kiss.

Then he reaches out and wipes a tear from the side of her face, touching her hair… Tears falling from his eyes. He kept shaking his head and touching her face… Kissing her fingers… Without words he stared at her, as one who hasn’t been seen before…

“You don’t feel repulsed. You don’t find me utterly damaged to touch me??” She sobbed.

He shakes his head… kissing her fingers one at a time. Blinking by tears…

“Am sorry I left. I- I couldn’t face you after then. I knew you were fighting for your life but…I ran away for me. Because shame. Because disgust because I wished they had killed me instead of having me live this life of disgrace… am sorry Antho–”

He places a finger to her lips. ….

“Ssssshhhhhhhhhh!!! I don’t see you as anything.  “.. His sweet rich voice came as a whisper.

“Don’t ever think that Gracey. I don’t find you disgusting nor repulsive. If anything I find you beautiful. .kind… A little clumsy yes”…

She laughed in her tears, he smiled into her face…

“Stubborn yes Too.  Ridiculously Cute too. And nothing else.  Every other thing doesn’t matter.  All that matters is after all this while, I found you. All that matters is what I feel in here ” he places her hands to his chest… he flattened it, covering her hands with his…

“This longing. This want. The feeling that kept me awake most nights…praying you are okay. A life and well.  So no, I don’t care about anything else. You are still Gracey I fell in love with even if i never got a chance to tell you or give you our first kiss. So don’t say another sorry. You have said enough. You. Me. Here. That’s all that matters. NOW! I haven’t been able to fill the void…  This hole in my chest since you left. I felt lost and alone and nothing else made sense…

You came into my world and caused a chaos … but it was a beautiful chaos and I realise that loving someone truly and utterly without strings is the purest love of all… And you Grace changed me. Loving you …even in silence without knowing it was my high…”

He pulls her into a hug. And for the first time, Grace hugged him back. Tighter than she had ever hugged before. Her heart busted with love she never knew she felt for him.

“I love you Grace… now that I have found you… I won’t let you go… and I don’t care what you think… you are stuck with me like glue…” he breathed into her hair. She laughed.

She knew… everything was going to be okay.

Her mother sobbed silently as Mr Anthony senior gave her his hanky to dab her tears. Rose and James hugged themselves… They had been married for a year now.

“I love you too Anthony… Gosh!! I never knew I would ever get to say that… I love you.. I love you. … I love y—-

He didn’t let her finish… his heart was beating fast…  And he knew if he didn’t do it… He won’t be able to stop his heart from racing…

“I want to kiss you so bad ….. Much more than I have ever wanted anything in my life….”… He whispered brushing her chicks…

She looks into his eyes… Smiling….

“You have no idea how much I have dreamed about kissing you too Anthony…. “She blushed…..

 

He tips her jaw upwards… staring into her eyes… drawing into the moment… both hearts had begun to race in unison… Grace blinks… Then nervously bits her lower lips… Anthony’s heart skipped a bit…as he swore. .. Closing the distance and covering his lips with hers…

 

Yes!! Grace thought as she kissed him… Savouring his lips and basking in the moment as they hugged tightly.  Holding on as though their life depended on it. If her dreams about kissing Anthony and knew it was going to be divine, she was mistaken… it was pure heaven and she loved every bit of it.

 

She had a mother who loved her.  Friends who cared for her.  And Anthony “the handsome” who was in love with her and she realised she had loved him silently too. She had all she needed… and she knew her past didn’t hold her bondage no more..

She knew…This was the beginning of a new life… And just because she found love in the strangest of places, and of hearts..

Three months later…

They announced their engagement and a year and half later, they christened their first child..

“Anthonia!!!”…

Sometimes….. Thing’s do work out, even if differently as one once imagined.

But all ends well that means well.

Stay in the light.

Curtain closes.

The End!

By Stephanie Egberike

Like her page The Sweet Perspectives