"Sometimes it's hard to love me
Sometimes it's hard to love you too
I know it's hard believing
That love can pull us through
It would be so easy
To live your life
With one foot out the door
Just hold me baby
Till we ain't strangers anymore" - Bon Jovi
Somewhere in Howick Hills
Victoria’s breath caught in her throat when she opened the small black box and came face to face with the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. She did not
know what she expected, but it was definitely not this 14 karat platinum emerald ring she was now staring at.
“You remembered?” She asked breathlessly. She had not expected him to remember her birthday, let alone know her birthstone.
“How could I forget?” He drawled softly, lifting one eyebrow to show his amusement.
“It’s beautiful,” she cried. Her mind reeled in a thousand directions and she could not focus on a single thought.
“Do you like it?” He asked anxiously. Before she could answer his cell phone rang somewhere on the kitchen counter, shattering their precious moment. He
rolled his eyes exasperatedly hoping the incessant ringing would stop but it did not.
“You should get that,” Victoria whispered still stunned.
“I guess...” Storm grunted and excused himself. His heart sank as he saw the caller’s ID. This was not good!
“Melissa, what’s going?” He barked into the phone. He had left instructions with his team at the BAU not to disturb him over the next few days unless it was
“Thank God you finally picked up…You should come home!” Melissa’s voice filled him with panic and his body arched tensely. He tried to stay calm and he
hoped Victoria would not notice the change in his demeanor. She was a perceptive woman. He walked to the bedroom and shut the door.
Victoria did not notice Storm’s sudden disappearance from the room. She was still staring at the ring and still unable to formulate a response to his proposal.
This was so sudden, so rushed. They were just starting to work on their relationship and she did not know if she was ready for such a huge step. If Storm had
proposed two days ago before she found out about his tryst with Bree there was no doubt in her mind she would have said yes. But on the other hand she
loved him more than anything in the world and he loved her too, so why the HECK not?
“Melissa, calm down. What’s going on? Where’s Pete?” Storm fired into his phone, rattled by Melissa’s apparent panic. Pete was his second in command.
“She escaped Storm…Two days ago. She could be anywhere. Is Victoria with you?” She asked on her end of the phone.
“Who…Who escaped dammit?” Storm growled. Even while he barked at Melissa he already knew the answer to his question.
“Jade!” came the response he dreaded.
He stayed in the bedroom for what felt like a long time after Melissa hung up. He tried to calm down for Victoria’s sake. If Jade escaped two days ago there was
no telling how much of Victoria’s whereabouts she knew or what she was planning. For now though, he did not have the luxury to profile Jade or second guess
He quickly put on his clothes while his mind scattered in a thousand directions. His main concern was getting Victoria out of the isolation of Howick Hills he had
so desperately craved. He had to take her back to Statham Island where she would be safe in the company of friends and security detail.
Jade was insane but not stupid. Her initial plan was to destroy Victoria by hurting her loved ones. Storm was sure Jade had most definitely changed that plan.
She did not have the luxury to play mind games and toy with Victoria when she was on the run. This time she would finish her off. But he also knew she would
not go after Victoria when she was surrounded and protected. She would strike when Victoria was alone and vulnerable and that he would not allow.
He decided to call Dean and cut everyone’s vacation short.
“Dean, vacation’s over. Jade’s escaped and I have to take Victoria back home. I need you all to be waiting when we arrive. Get the next flight out!” He drilled
instructions into the phone. He heard his brother’s sharp intake of breath and he could even picture his frustrated face. But right now his brother’s frustration
was the least of his worries.
Victoria threw herself in Storm’s arms and beamed at him happily when he finally emerged from the bedroom. He was gone for five minutes but to her it felt
like a lifetime.
“Go pack your things. We’re leaving. Now! Take what you need only. We’ll come back for the rest later!” Storm growled, startling her out her happy daze and
he was immediately filled with regret. He was trying to stay calm and rational but not knowing Jade’s plans or whereabouts was driving him off the edge.
Victoria, hurt by his reaction and the sudden change in his mood, asked in a small voice, “Storm what’s going on?”
“For once, can you just listen to me? We have to go now!” He snapped at her, all the while collecting whatever items he thought were vital for their trip. He
knew he was over reacting just a little bit but where Victoria was concerned he could not take any chances. She was his life now and he would die if anything
ever happened to her again.
Feeling like a naughty school girl Victoria turned on her heels in the general direction of the bedroom. “So much for your stupid proposal!” She snarled crossly
over her shoulder.
“Victoria, there’s something you should know,” Storm murmured seriously, taking his eyes off the road for just a second. They were now on their way back to
“Does this have to do with you going Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on me?” She asked. She was still cross with him for his outburst earlier.
“Yes,” he answered, smiling a little at her sarcasm.
“You’ve changed your mind about the proposal? I know, that’s it, isn’t it? Fine by me, it’s not like I wanted to mar---” She shot back at him, her voice rising
furiously but Storm interrupted her tirade before she could burst an artery.
He closed his eyes and he wished there was some way he could shelter her from the truth. He wished he did not have to tell her about Jade, but he knew
Victoria did not take too kindly to secrets. So with a shaky voice he told her as gently as he could, “Jade’s escaped!”
“What do you mean she escaped?” Victoria asked in a shrill panic stricken voice, “when?”
“Two days ago,” Storm answered quietly wishing he could take her in his arms right then and tell her everything will be okay.
“I don’t believe this! Just when my life’s starting to feel normal again, this happens! I must be a magnet for trouble,” She mumbled in a resigned tone. Storm
felt his rage bubbling in uncontrollable waves. He could handle Victoria when she was angry and being impossible. But when she felt dejected, like now, it cut
him to shreds and he did not know what to do except hate Jade McNamara all over again.
“We don’t know if she’s after you. She could be anywhere,” Storm appeased her gently but then realized it was the wrong thing to say.
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of; not knowing where she is or what she’s planning,” She cried sadly.
“I’ll kill her before she gets a chance to hurt you again,” he spat out vehemently, his thick eyebrows knitting into a furious frown.
Victoria did not respond to his last statement. She closed her eyes again and tried to make her mind blank. The nightmare with Jade was starting all over again
and she did not have the strength to go through with all the baggage and drama that came with it. She was still feeling nauseous and exhausted and earlier
that morning she felt slight cramps on her lower abdomen. She assumed her period was on the way; finally after three months or was it two? She had lost
count. Her life was just so complicated and stressful; no wonder she had missed her period. It all made sense now. She glanced briefly at Storm and saw he
was in one of his dark and broody moods again. “He probably regrets ever getting involved with me,” she thought to herself feeling a wave of self pity assault
Somewhere in Statham Island – Storm’s place
Everyone was delighted to see Victoria and Storm had resolved their issues and the wedding was back on track. The only damper to their mood was the
knowledge that Jade was somewhere out there, lurking in the shadows. Much to Storm and the BAU’s surprise there were no threats or any sign of trouble from
Jade yet. The FBI and Statham Island’s police were working 24/7 to track her down but this offered Storm little comfort. He knew he could not let his guard
down and this is how Victoria found herself under his constant watchful gaze.
Every time she looked up, his eyes were on her; when she moved slightly, he was all over her. There was also a dark SUV parked outside the house. Victoria
did not know if it was the FBI or private surveillance hired by Storm, but either way she felt like a nuisance - all these people going out of their way to protect
her. His paranoia was starting to get to her!
As soon as Storm went to his study to take a call from the BAU Victoria found her escape and joined her friends.
“How did you escape?” They all asked teasingly when she jumped into the hot tub.
“He had to take a call from work,” Victoria replied making a face.
“He’s worried about you Toria; so be glad he’s here to protect you,” Kendra smiled up at her. They got a chance to talk last night and things between them
were fine now.
“So what did you and Papa Chace get up to in his cabin?” Daniella asked wickedly. There was only one thing that could be responsible for Victoria’s glow…no,
“I don’t kiss and tell,” Victoria pouted at her friends and she blushed slightly at the memory of what she and Storm got up to once their bickering stopped. “But
I will tell you though…He proposed!” She squealed excitedly.
“Oh my gosh, Toria that’s great! Congratulations,” was the chorus from her friends. “Where’s the ring? Let’s see it! Have you set a date yet?”
“Whoa, slow down. I haven’t given him an answer yet…” Victoria murmured and then proceeded to tell them about the proposal and how they were rudely
interrupted by the news of Jade’s escape.
Before her friends could quiz her any further, Storm waltzed into the room and mumbled in a commanding tone in Victoria’s direction, “go get dressed. We’re
“But I thought I’m not allowed to go anywhere,” Victoria cried, annoyed a little with him. She was really comfortable in the hot tub with her friends and she was
having so much fun.
“Don’t be absurd! I’ll be waiting in the car,” he retorted and strode out of the room. Victoria fumed inwardly as she watched his retreating back. She had
forgotten how overbearing and demanding he could be.
On their way back to Statham Island Storm realized that they had never been on a proper date or did fun things together. Their relationship was never normal
and they always gravitate between two extremes. Things were either unrealistically perfect or devastatingly destructive between them. He thought by doing the
normal things that normal people did they would eventually find a middle ground in their relationship. So by taking her on a proper date he hoped to steer their
relationship in the “normal” direction.
Somewhere in Downtown - Red’s Diner
“I thought I was on house arrest, what changed?” Victoria asked leaning forward to take her shot. They were playing pool at Red’s 50s Diner in Downtown.
Storm looked at her small but curvy frame and smiled. Would he ever look at her and not want her?
“You still are and I don’t think you are so unobservant that you didn’t notice Special Agent Lynn Lane in the corner over there pretending to be engrossed in her
game,” he drawled, still staring at her and wishing they were home in his bed.
“So I guess Jade’s still out there huh?” She continued, taking her eyes off the ball for just a second to look up at him. Her heart stopped when she found him
staring at her with the strangest look in his eyes.
“Yes she is, but it doesn’t mean our lives have to be on hold. Besides, I wanted you all to myself,” Storm whispered, leaning closer to her to caress her cheek.
It was crazy the way he wanted to spend every waking moment with her. As soon as they came back from Howick Hills yesterday afternoon he went to the
office for a debriefing session on Jade and when that was over, instead of catching up with paperwork he rushed straight home to be with Victoria. He was
irrevocably in love with her and there was no turning back now. It did not escape him that she had not accepted his marriage proposal but he promised himself
he would not push her. He would let her come to him when she was ready and on her own terms.
An hour later they sat down to a quick dinner of greasy hamburgers. Storm watched Victoria push her French fries around her plate without eating any.
“What’s wrong, feeling guilty about your little indulgence? Come on, Kendra won’t know,” He murmured softly, his eyes dancing mischievously. Sure she had
put on a few pounds but she still looked perfect to him and there was no reason for her to starve herself.
“I’m not hungry. It’s weird…some foods just make me feel nauseous. Besides, with the wedding just two days away, Kendra will kill me if I gain more weight!”
She moaned. She felt nauseous and sick all over again as she looked at her burger and chips. Every time she tried to eat something she felt like throwing up.
Come to think of it, the only foods she enjoyed were veggies and fruits now.
“Should I take you to the hospital?” Storm asked his dark brows knitting into a concerned frown as he gently took her hand in his.
“I’m fine. I just feel so tired suddenly. Do you mind if we call it a night?” She asked abruptly.
“No problem,” he answered quietly, trying to shake off his irritation. Did she not like spending time with him? Was he so boring? It was barely 8 pm. Feeling
confused and disappointed he took her hand and led her to his car. Victoria noticed Special Agent Lynn Lane follow closely behind them and got in the dark
SUV that parked across the road. She sighed softly wishing Jade would just show herself and all this police protection would cease.
Day 02 (Rehearsal night)
Somewhere in Statham Island…
The small chapel looked drab and gloomy and it jogged a memory from Victoria’s not too distant past when she buried her parents. She forced herself not to
think about that day and she was thankful for Kendra’s light hearted banter. They were at St. Anne’s chapel for the wedding rehearsal
“We are getting closer and closer to my big day,” Kendra danced happily around the room. The four of them were waiting for Pastor James, Dean and his
groomsmen to take their places at the altar.
Hugo, Storm, Dean and Pastor James followed on Drake’s heels and took their places at the altar. Their task was easy. They just had to enter through the side
door and wait at the altar. Kendra and her bridesmaids had a tough job because they had to enter through the chapel’s front door amidst everyone’s stares,
walk up the aisle and time their pace to the music and still manage to look beautiful and regal.
Cassie, being the bridesmaid who would stand furthest from the bride was the first to walk up the aisle. She timed her steps to the music all the while focusing
on Hugo’s face for assurance. She beamed up at him as she took her place opposite him on Kendra’s side of the altar.
Daniella was up next. The stares from the wedding guests would not be a problem for her at all. She liked being the centre of attention even if it was only for
two minutes. Right now though, she only craved the attention of a certain groomsman. She pinned her eyes on Drake and when she finally got to the altar she
flashed him a naughty smile full of delicious promises.
For Victoria, being the maid of honor, the plan was to walk up last before Kendra and take her place opposite Storm. She hated being the centre of attention
and she was nervous about Kendra’s big day hence her gratitude for this test run.
She was doing fine and walking to the music at the right pace when suddenly the room blurred and spun out of control. She stopped halfway through the aisle
trying to focus but she sunk to the floor and….Darkness claimed her!
“Victoria!” Storm growled as he launched himself from across the room and knelt besides her protectively. The others followed closely behind him. It was crazy
the way his protective instinct kicked in every time Victoria was in trouble. “Sweetheart, open your eyes. Wake up!” He cooed at her, kissing her forehead
gently. All he could think about was how much he loved her. He was startled to feel she was running a fever again.
Slowly Victoria opened her eyes and blinked rapidly. The room was so bright and the light hurt her eyes. “Storm, what’s going on?” She asked confused.
“You fainted,” he whispered hoarsely, scooping her in his arms, “I’m taking you to the hospital.”
He was mad at himself because he knew Victoria was not feeling well for some time now but he kept hoping she would shake it off and get better. He should
have just taken her to the doctor when he first realized she was sick instead of taking her to his cabin. How could he have been so selfish?
Statham Island Medical Centre
Storm paced agitatedly in the waiting room. He was glad the others listened and stayed away. He would not have had the patience to deal with Kendra’s
hysterics. “What’s taking so damn long?” He swore furiously, attracting the attention of the other visitors in the waiting area.
“Mr. Chace? Can I see you in my office please?” Dr. Warren asked walking into the waiting room fifteen minutes later. Storm did not like the sound of the
doctor’s voice or the look on her face. He panicked as he remembered the last time Victoria was in hospital and how he almost lost her.
“How is she?” he asked as soon as the office door closed behind them.
“Your wife is doing great. Her fever has subsided and we can safely say she’s going to be okay,” Dr Warren replied. He did not correct the doctor’s assumption
that Victoria was his wife.
“Can I take her home now?” Storm asked hopefully.
“I’m afraid she has to stay overnight for observation. You see, there were complications with the baby---” the doctor continued but stopped mid sentence at
Storm’s startled look.
“Victoria’s pregnant?” Storm asked awestruck. They had only become intimate again two nights ago at Howick Hills after three months of being apart. So what
the doctor said about Victoria being pregnant did not make sense to him.
“I---m sorry. I thought…” Dr. Warren Stammered apologetically.
“How far along is she?” he asked again ignoring the doctors stammer. His voice sounded strained this time.
“Twelve weeks, give or take,” the doctor informed him gently.
Storm quickly worked out the date of conception. It happened in Belladonna Cove the night of Victoria’s parents’ memorial service. He felt the blood drain from
his face as the timing of conception sank in and he felt sick to his stomach. It was happening all over again. She knew she was pregnant and she kept the truth
from him AGAIN. Had she not learned anything from the mess with Julian Scott? A muscle twitched in his jaw as he tried very hard to stifle the sudden spurt of
rage boiling inside of him.
“Mr. Chace, your wife’s results indicate she is not getting enough nutrients. She is also anemic. The baby’s depleting her iron reserves pretty quickly. The first
trimester is crucial to the baby’s development and her stress levels have to be kept as low as possible. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s important for her to have
lots of rest and a well balanced diet.”
“Yes, of course Doctor. I’ll personally make sure she does!” Storm promised taking Victoria’s prescription for her pregnancy vitamins from Dr. Warren and
sauntered out of the office in a daze.
Statham Island Medical Centre
Victoria smiled when she opened her eyes and saw Storm’s tired blue gaze fixed on her. “Hey…can I go home now?” She asked softly. It was still way too early;
the hospital was deathly silent except for muffled footsteps in the corridor as the nurses did their rounds. Instinctively she touched her tummy gently.
She was pregnant after all. She told Dr. Warren about the cramps and that her period was long overdue. So she did a thorough examination on her and
confirmed her pregnancy last night after her sonogram. She could not wait to break the news to Storm. She wanted to tell him last night and she had asked
for him but after Dr. Warren left her to find him she must have fallen asleep.
“I’ll get the doctor,” Storm told her in a clipped tone. A bewildered look flashed in her eyes as she tried to figure out what was bothering him.
“Hey, are you okay?” Kendra, Cassie and Daniella immediately swooped in on her when she and Storm got home an hour later.
“I’m fine. Dr. Warren said it’s dehydration,” Victoria lied and quickly glanced at Storm’s scowling face across the room. She did not want to break the news to
everyone before she spoke to him first.
“I’m going to take a bath,” She smiled up at her friends as she excused herself and dove for her guest room. She felt his cold eyes on her and she knew any
minute now, he would follow her.
“How could you keep this from me? Didn’t you learn anything from the mess with Julian?” Storm roared, moving closer to her threateningly. Victoria, afraid of
the wild look in his eyes, tried to step away from him but he locked her in a tight grip and shook her like a rag doll.
“What?” Victoria stuttered, shocked at his angry snarl and the strange questions, “what are you talking about?”
“You knew you’re pregnant but you just kept starving yourself. Was fitting in your bridesmaid’s dress so important to you? Is Kendra’s stupid wedding more
important than the precious life we’ve created? What is wrong with you?” He screamed at her, the last shreds of his self control suddenly gone. There was no
doubt in his mind that Victoria knew about the pregnancy all along and she was just keeping him in the dark. She had done it before why would she not do it
“I didn’t know we are pregnant. I---took the test---but it came back negative and I just thought…” She cried softly. “---And I’m not starving myself. I can’t hold
down anything. I honestly didn’t know. I thought I was sick or something and I wanted to go see the doctor but with Kendra’s wedding I just couldn’t find the
time! You have to believe me. I would never hurt our baby. This is just a misunderstanding. Please listen to me,” she wailed helplessly.” She did not
understand why Storm was under the impression that she knew all along about their pregnancy when she was just as surprised by the news.
“Victoria, you are damn right about one thing- you will never HURT my baby and you will carry him to full term. Make no mistake about it,” He hissed icily
through clenched teeth before stepping out of the room. He was violently furious and he was out of control; he knew if he stayed he would end up hurting her