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Steve couldn’t believe it. Grace had lied to him. Gracie! How could this happen?
Danny was in New Jersey for a family funeral. It was supposed to be his weekend with Grace, so rather than making Rachel and Step-Stan change their plans to go out of town, Steve and Catherine had volunteered to keep her while Danny was gone.
Grace had called him before school was over to see if she could go home with Lucy and let him pick her up there later. After confirming Lucy’s mom would be the one picking them up, Steve felt comfortable with it since he needed to finish a couple of things at work anyway. He also knew that Grace occasionally went home with Lucy, so there was no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary.
But then everything changed. Steve caught a case and needed to pick Grace up from Lucy’s early and get her back home before going to the crime scene. Imagine the surprise when he arrived at Lucy’s house and found no one home. Trying to keep his cool and not think about “worst case scenario”, he called Lucy’s mom. She had brought the girls home from school, but then had to run a couple of errands. She had left Grace and Lucy with “big sister”, Maggie. That also was not out of the ordinary since Maggie had watched the girls before. So Steve had three missing girls and a worried mom. Where could they be?
Steve tried not to panic, but it was getting harder by the second. He had already tried Grace’s phone twice and didn’t get an answer. He decided to try again.
“Hi, Uncle Steve.” Grace’s voice held none of her normal cheerfulness when talking to him. She sounded tentative, in fact, but he was more than relieved to at least have her answer the phone.
“Gracie? Oh thank, God. Where are you?” Steve asked.
At first, she didn’t answer, so he asked again. “Answer me, Gracie. Where are you?”
Grace sighed on the other line. “We’re at the mall.”
Steve’s mood went from worry to frustration in seconds. “Excuse me….Did you say you’re at the mall?”
“Yes. Maggie brought us, but we should be back….”
Steve interrupted her. “Don’t move. Do you hear me? I want you and Lucy to go to the food court and do not move. I’m coming to pick you up.”
“But Uncle Steve….”
“Don’t argue with me, young lady. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
Steve was furious and fought the urge to turn on his blue lights just so he could get there more quickly. At the mall? Seriously. What the hell was she thinking? He called Catherine to fill her in and then called Chin and Kono to tell them he would meet bursa sınırsız escort bayan them at the crime scene as soon as possible. They could handle the preliminaries without him anyway. The important thing right now was getting Grace back home.
Pulling into the mall parking lot, he didn’t even bother finding a parking spot. He just pulled into emergency lane so he could run inside. This time he did turn the police lights on. Some wouldn’t consider this an emergency, but he did, dammit! It didn’t take long to find Grace and Lucy sitting at a table eating some ice cream. As he approached their table, Gracie saw the look on her Uncle Steve’s face and sat up straight. She had never seen him like this before.
He stopped right in front of their table, “Grace, get your things and come with me. You too, Lucy, let’s go.”
Now Grace knew he was mad: He never called her “Grace”…..It was always “Gracie”.
“But Uncle Steve…..” Grace tried to explain.
Steve interrupted her, “Not now, Grace. Let’s go. Right now.” He looked from her to Lucy. Both girls quickly complied.
“Where is Maggie?” he asked. Neither girl wanted to make him any angrier, so they told him where Maggie could be found. After locating Maggie, who had apparently gone there to meet a boy, Steve pulled her apart from said boyfriend and glared. “What are you doing leaving two little girls by themselves in a mall?”
Maggie looked at Steve as if he had two heads. “Whatever, dude. We were only going to be here a little longer and I told them where to meet me. It’s all good.”
Steve pointed a finger at her. “First of all, don’t ever call me ‘dude’. It’s ‘sir’. Do you understand me?” Maggie flinched a little but didn’t say a word, so Steve continued, “Since you aren’t responsible enough to watch them, I’m taking them back to my house and one of your parents can pick them up later.”
“Wait a minute!” Maggie wailed, “I can’t go home without them. I’ll get into trouble!”
Steve looked at her matter-of-factly, “You’re already in trouble, young lady. Now, if I were you, I would get my ass home.”
He didn’t wait for her to respond. Instead, he took both Grace and Lucy’s hands in his own and marched them out to his truck. Neither girl wanted to say much on the ride home. They knew they were in trouble, too. It seemed to take forever, but they finally made it back to Steve’s house where Catherine was anxiously waiting.
“Oh my God, Grace! Lucy! Are you girls okay?” Catherine went to hug eskort bursa both of them in relief.
“Yes, Aunty Cath. We’re fine. But Uncle Steve is really mad. He hasn’t even let me explain.” Grace pouted as both girls turned to look at him. Steve, however, was too upset to be deterred this time by the pouty faces or sad eyes that were turned his way.
He pointed to the couch, “Grace, Lucy, sit down. Now.”
They weren’t about to argue.
Catherine gave Steve a look of her own before taking his arm and leading him into the kitchen where they could talk privately for a minute. She knew Steve was upset. He had also obviously been alarmed when he couldn’t find Grace. But there had to be a logical explanation. This wasn’t like Gracie.
“Steve, you need to take a deep breath and calm down before you go in and talk to them.”
“I can’t calm down, Catherine! Gracie lied to me. She was supposed to be at Lucy’s house, but she ended up at a mall with a sixteen year old who was more interested in putting her tongue in her boyfriend’s mouth than watching two little girls. Maggie left them alone. I mean, I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.” Steve’s voice was getting louder and he was pacing.
“Shhh!” Catherine shushed and poked him hard in the arm. “Stop it! Sounds to me like the problem should be with Maggie, not Grace and Lucy. Besides, you’ve never been upset with Grace like this and you have those poor girls scared to death.”
“Well, maybe they should be. After a stunt like this, I may put both of them over my knee.”
Listening in the other room, Grace and Lucy looked at each other wide eyed. He wouldn’t, would he?
Catherine put her hands on her hips, but her voice remained calm, “Steven John McGarrett, those girls deserve a chance to explain what happened before you fly off the handle. You know this isn’t like them. Now wipe that scowl off your face, Commander, and get in there and let them explain.”
Did she just call me by my full name? Steve thought half amused. And she poked me! In the arm! He rubbed the tender spot where her fist had jabbed him and thought about what she’d said. He knew Catherine was right. So, he took a deep breath, calmed himself down, and walked back into the living room with Catherine following close behind.
He sat on the coffee table facing Grace and Lucy. Seeing their innocent faces on the verge of tears, he felt himself soften a little. Rather than letting himself get upset about what could have happened….again….he took another mudanya escort”>mudanya escort”>mudanya escort deep breath.
“Okay, who wants to go first?” he asked as calmly as he possibly could.
Both girls looked at him hesitantly before Grace finally spoke up.
“We didn’t want to go to the mall, Uncle Steve. Honest, we didn’t. But after Lucy’s mom left, Maggie said she just wanted to go by for a few minutes and then we’d come right back home. When we got there, she met her boyfriend. Maggie told us to walk around a little and meet her back at the fountain when it was time to go home. We were only going to stay for like 30 minutes.”
Lucy picked the story up from here. “We went back to the fountain when we were supposed to, but Maggie wasn’t there. I tried to call her a couple of times and she didn’t answer, so we just kept walking around trying to find her.”
Steve’s blood pressure started to rise again. So they had tried to call big sister and she didn’t answer? Oh, he was going to have a word with her father about this.
Steve looked back at Grace. “Why didn’t you answer your phone when I called?”
Shame filled Gracie’s face and she swallowed, “Because I knew you were going to be mad. I wanted to find Maggie so we could get back home before anyone knew we were gone.”
“You still should have answered the phone, Gracie. When plans were changed and you found yourself somewhere you shouldn’t have been without permission, you knew better than to stay there by yourself, right? You had us worried sick!”
Grace looked down at her hands folded in her lap. “I know. But we knew Maggie would get into a lot of trouble if you guys found out. I’m really sorry.”
Okay, so now what, Steve thought. Just then, they heard a knock on the door. Lucy’s dad was there to pick her up with the same scowl on his face that Steve had been sporting a few minutes earlier. Steve and Catherine relayed the girl’s version of what had happened. Lucy’s dad left with Lucy in tow and a promise to Steve that he would handle the issue with his oldest daughter once he got home.
After they were gone, Steve looked at Grace who remained sitting on the couch. Sweet Gracie. He was still upset with her, but overwhelming relieved that she was okay. He sat down beside her and took her hand. “Gracie, I really have to get to a crime scene, so we’ll talk about this more when I get back. Okay?”
“Please don’t tell, Danno.” Grace pleaded. Much as Steve would’ve liked to comply with that request…..especially since he knew Danny was going to freak out…he also knew he couldn’t do it.
“You know I can’t do that. Danno will find out sooner or later anyway, so it’s better if I tell him now. But don’t worry. I’ll tell him that we’ve handled it. Okay?”
Grace looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “I’m
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