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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Fanfiction · #2206873
Haldir /OC fanfic, modern day, mostly teen rating , occasional M for violence later on
" An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." ~1~
Chinese Proverb ~2~

The air was hot and humid, an oppressive blanket that hung heavy, as Grace Abbott sat in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart, which was located a stone's throw from the Galveston seawall, steeling her nerves as she surveyed the packed parking lot. A deep breath and a sigh of resignation, she exited the rusted and faded black Jeep Cherokee that had no air conditioning beyond rolling down the one window that worked. Someday, she would trade in "trusty rusty" for something that had air conditioning or seats that weren't held together with duct tape, but not this year. This year was going to start off badly, no thanks to Kevin messing up her plan to start the school year back up in a week. The money had lasted just about long enough for Grace to get through summer school and start the normal school year. But, life wasn't going to cut her a break after all. Glancing at the tall palm trees that hung slack in the stale air, Grace had a serious sense of foreboding. It was the proverbial calm before the storm, specifically hurricane Kevin, the monster category 4 that was churning across the Gulf of Mexico with Galveston Island in the target zone. According to the latest forecast, the high pressure system that was supposed to push hurricane toward Louisiana had stalled, and Kevin was now packing winds of 178 miles per hour. The storm was now twenty four hours from land. Voluntary evacuations had already begun on the island and Grace was here to gas up and get ice, hoping to get on the roads before it became gridlock. It was a lot of miles to get from Galveston to the Kootenai River valley in northwestern Montana, her childhood home. It was a world away. ~3~

After spending what seemed like hours in the store, Grace only managed to get some of the things she was hoping to pack in the cooler for the long trip. There was no bread left at all and the best Grace could do for sandwiches was bologna, so instead she settled for trail mix and yogurt coated raisins to last until she could get out of the Houston area. A quick stop back at home to load up and make a couple of last minute calls to her boss, David Arnold, the principal of Austin middle school and to the landlord of her two bedroom bungalow that had been built in 1925, a stones throw from Galveston Bay. The landlord, Walter Cook, was already at the house when she arrived, busily boarding up the windows and tying things down. The white haired man was deeply tanned and lined from a lifetime spent in the sun , his calloused the evidence that he had worked hard all of his life. Quick with a smile and a firm handshake, he was a throwback to another generation when a handshake was a promise made and kept. ~4~

"Well, girl, I'm mighty glad to see you before you take off," he said in that slow Texas drawl that was characteristic. ~5~
Grace gave a grimace before answering, "I hope the house makes it through ok. I love this old house." ~6~

Mr. Cook just shrugged and said , "Seen storms before. It'll be alright." ~7~

With that, the elderly man turned back to the window he was currently boarding up and started pounding away again. Grace smiled at the old man as she picked up her suitcases. He was never one to waste time or words when a job needed to be done. He was like her father in that way. Grace said a silent prayer that he was right and that she would still have a home to come back to. It would be a shame to lose a piece of history such as the old cottage. The houses of today were just cookie cutter images of one another without the character of the old style arches and niches to be found in her home. ~8~

Her fixer upper just needed a bit of TLC to go from the diamond in the rough to a true gem. Not unlike the eighth grade kids she taught during the year. Austin middle school was a poor school situated just to the north, on the mainland of the Texas Gulf coast, where a lot of kids were seen as not having potential to succeed. To Grace, the kids were the ones forgotten by the rest of society, the cast offs. All they needed was a bit of TLC to shine and someone who was willing to put in the effort. Grace, knowing that the district was poor, worried about what would happen to her kids. How would the rest of the year play out if the school was ruined by storm surge? Those kids were already desperately poor and the hot meals offered made a difference. Grace vowed silently that she would be back as soon as she could to help however she could. Grace knew all too well what it felt like to be abandoned during a crisis. She would not let the kids go through the storms of life alone.
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