Chapter 9
The Boxcar


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Valentine's Day-The Port Charles Grill
    I sat at the table with Zander, Emily, Lucky, Elizabeth, and Nikolas. I was wearing my new blue strapless dress and in my hair was a gorgeous long stemmed blue rose that Nikolas had gotten for me. I couldnt help but thinking about the past 8 months, since the last warning from Tom. It had been 8 months, why hadn't he done anything, it wasn't like him to just threaten me. I quickly brushed those thoughts aside and concentrated on the memory of New Years Eve. Nikolas had asked me out, it was so sweet. He gave me 21 long stemmed blue roses because New Year's Eve was also my 21st birthday. Inside the roses was a gorgeous ring with an emerald and 4 diamonds which I was wearing right now, along with a matching necklace from Lucky, Elizabeth, Zander, and Emily. Nikolas had found out during one of our early morning conversations that I loved roses and that blue was my favorite color, and that I had a thing for blue roses although I think I have only seen one in my whole life. He made a bunch of calls for a week afterwards and finally found a place that had blue roses. I was happy tonight, really happy, for the first time in months.
    "Nikolas, where did you find blue roses anyway? They are gorgeous," we heard a voice say behind us, and we turned to see Lila moving her wheelchair off to one side. "Let's just say Mrs. Quartermaine that I found just about the only place in the world that has them, but it's worth the effort," He said smiling at Lila and me at the same time. "Oh I'm sure it is, you kids have fun now, goodnight Emily my darling, Lucky, Elizabeth, Zander, Nikolas you are so kind, keep this one Autumn its not everyday you catch a prince," she said, leaving the restaurant with Edward in tow. "What do you say we finish this party at Kelly's?" Lucky said. "Luke closed it for us again?" I asked. "Well it is sort of a tradition on holidays," Zander said smiling.
    We walked into Kelly's still dressed up from dinner, Emily wore a pink long dress with spaghetti straps, I was wearing a blue short dress the exact color of my rose, and Elizabeth was wearing a long red dress. I was surprised when I saw her earlier in the evening, since she had told me about the rape, and that she had been wearing a red dress, but she said since Tom was out of jail, she wanted to know she could beat him by wearing red again. I thought she was really brave.
    Lucky brought out dessert, brownies with pink, red, and white sprinkles on them and we had another brownie toast. The most telling was Lucky's toast to Elizabeth, he said "To your survival, 4 years ago you survived one of the worst experiences in your life, you didn't let him win, and here's to your strength and that fire in you that I fell in love with, I love you sweetie." Nikolas said to me,  "I never thought that I would actually fall in love for love's sake, not for lust, or need, but for actual love. We have something special now, I know its only been a month, but I want you to know I think I've found the girl I want to settle down with for the rest of my life." I started crying partially from happiness, but partially from fear. My fear came from me knowing that he wouldn't love me if he knew the truth about what had happened to me, and also knowing that they were out there and would eventually get me, I didn't want to put Nikolas through the pain of losing me forever. "That is so sweet Nikolas, I love you too." I managed to say sweetly.
    "Ummm guys I need some air, I'm going to step outside for a little while," I said. "Is something wrong, did I do something?" Nikolas said. "No it isn't anything you did or said, I just need some quiet time to absorb what you told me just now, I'm in a little bit of shock. I love you Nikolas." I said. "I love you too Autumn." he said kissing me sweetly.
Outside Kelly's
    The voices in my mind were getting stronger, telling me to run away. I can't though Nikolas loves me and I love him, and I have friends, and its been 8 months and the sick bastards haven't done anything. That doesn't mean they won't they could be watching you right now, go to the cottage and get your money and things, leave a note for Nikolas, tell him not to worry and if you can ever come back you will..."Oh god I don't know what to do," I said outloud, staring through the doors into the diner where the couples were dancing to some silent love song on the jukebox. If only I could be so carefree...but I can't, I have to go, it's for everyone's good, I thought to myself...and without another glance back at Kelly's I took off running, not sure of which direction I was going, except to get back to Nikolas's cottage and get out of Port Charles before everyone paid for knowing me. "I'M LEAVING NOW YOU HEAR ME A**HOLES," I screamed.
    It was a dark night with a beautiful full moon and a sky full of twinkling stars, I ran blindly ahead until I ran into something hard and cold. I sat on the bench for a moment to catch my breath and try to warm up since I wasn't wearing a jacket and it was mid-February in New York. All of a sudden a sick realization hit me as I looked around. I was in the park, near the fountain, on the exact same bench that Elizabeth was sitting on when she was grabbed, pulled into the bushes, beaten, and raped by Tom exactly 4 years ago tonight. I started to get up to walk away when all of a sudden a gloved hand clamped over my mouth and I was dragged backwards into the bushes.

Chapter 10