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Material girl's Fan Fictions
materialgirl86
Part 11

Aruba
Madonna sighed, looking at her reflection in a full-length mirror. She wore a navy blue bikini and there was definitely a bump now. She ran her hands over it, but frowned.
"Darlin'? Are you nearly ready? The children are dying to go to the beach." Guy popped his head around the door.
"This bump has just appeared out of nowhere." Madonna turned around, sighing.
"But your chest looks great!" Guy said, smiling boyishly as he went over to her and Madonna rolled her eyes.
"Typical man." Madonna said, smiling as she put her arms around Guy and kissed him.
"Just put on an over-sized t-shirt. Or a strappy top. That will cover you and protect more of this beautiful porcelain skin...even if I think it is a crime." Guy kissed along one of Madonna's arms.
"Don't do that, or the children will be going down to the beach on their own." Madonna said, feeling her insides tingle with pleasure and wanting Guy to just have her there and then.
"We could sent them down with the nanny and a bodyguard." Guy suggested.
"Guy, that's mean. This is a family holiday!" Madonna said, pressing both hands against his chest, but not really pushing him away.
"You're my family too." Guy said, trying to kiss her neck, but Madonna ducked out of the way and put on a thin-strapped top that had pale green and white stripes.
"Is this ok?"
"I can't notice the bump, but your rack still looks great." Guy said and Madonna laughed.
"Will you give it a rest about my chest?"
"Mommy! Are we e-veer going to the beach?" Lourdes asked.
"Yes, my darling girl." Madonna said, holding both of Lourdes' cheeks in her hands, smiling down at her daughter. "And what did you forget to do, before you came into the room?"
"Knock."
"Yes."
"Sorry mommy. You were taking ages and I forgot."
"It's fine." Madonna kissed the top of her head. "We're ready now." She looked at Guy, then took Lourdes and Rocco to the beach, along with the nanny and a couple of bodyguards.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Guy and Madonna played with Lourdes and Rocco in the sea for a bit, then the nanny and one of the bodyguards went down to play with them, so Guy and Madonna could have a break and they sat up on a blanket up the beach a little way, but not too far so they couldn't see the children.
"You should make the most of looking good in that bikini, M. It won't be long before you are big. You were pretty big with Rocco." Guy didn't say it maliciously, but it made Madonna feel instantly self-conscious and she just nodded, looking timid.
he was sat in his lap and he slipped his hands up under her vest top, smoothing her stomach. It would have been a touching moment, if he hadn't made the comment about the weight she might put on.
"Do you think I'm heavy now?" Madonna looked over her shoulder and him and Guy shook his head.
"No, you just look a bit bloated now."
Madonna chewed her lower lip, feeling like she wanted to cry.
"Is that why you didn't seem that thrilled about being pregnant? Because you would put on weight?"
"Rocco's birth was pretty hard." Madonna said quietly.
She felt his hands move from her stomach to her hips, and he gripped them. "Don't remind me." Guy said quietly. "I like you when you're pregnant. Even if you do get huge again." He said and it made her feel slightly better.
"Shall I go and get the children and we can tell them?" Madonna suggested.
"No need." Guy said, as he pointed to them both making their way up the beach towards them.
"What are we having for lunch?" Rocco asked.
"You're just like your father, always thinking of his stomach!" Madonna said, smiling and Rocco and Guy laughed.
"Can we have an ice-cream or juice or something? There's an interesting looking hut thingy over there that sells a lot of interesting looking stuff." Lourdes said, pointing to a hut at the edge of the beach that was serving mutli-coloured drinks (alcoholic and soft drinks), ice-creams and various other light snacks.
"In a minute Lola, your mother and I have something to tell you and Roccs." Guy said, his arms around Madonna, his hands resting on her stomach, this time over her top.
"I'm pregnant." Madonna said, feeling nervous, almost like she was holding her breath in anticipation of the reactions.
"Can I have a sister?" Lourdes asked.
"Can I have a brother?" Rocco asked.
"Hey!" Lourdes and Rocco looked at each other and frowned.
It was such a comical moment, that Madonna and Guy started laughing. Madonna was the first to recover and she looked at Lourdes and Rocco.
"How do you guys feel?"
"Happy." Lourdes said smiling.
"I'm not going to be the youngest." Rocco said, looking a bit dismayed.
"But you get to be a big brother, Roccs. That's a very important job." Madonna said, smoothing the back of Rocco's head, looking at him with a very serious expression and he nodded.
"Maybe even if it's another girl, she will like cars and trucks." Rocco said, poking his tongue out to Lourdes.
"And even if it's a boy, maybe he will like dolls and nail polish." Lourdes countered, also poking her tongue out at Rocco.
Madonna looked at Guy with an amused expression and he shook his head, trying not to smile.
"Alright, who wants ice-cream or a drink or whatever?"
"Mommy can't have alcohol." Lourdes said straight away, looking deadly serious.
"Those coconut drinks look nice." Madonna said, looking over at the hut.
"I can get you one." Lourdes said, getting up to go with Rocco and Guy.
"Did you want anything else darlin'?" Guy asked and Madonna shook her head.
She watched her family head off in the direction of the hut and smiled. Lourdes and Rocco both held Guy's hands, and they were both clamouring for his attention. Madonna smoothed her hands over her stomach, under the vest, feeling content.
End of Part 11...

Part 12

"I don't want to go home." Madonna said, as she lay in Guy's arms on the morning for their last day in Aruba.
They had just made love and it was still pretty early in the morning - just early enough that the children hadn't ran into the room and jumped on their bed yet.
"Me neither darlin'. It's paradise here." Guy replied, kissing her forehead.
"Everyone is going to know I'm pregnant by the time we land."
"They might not."
"Have you not noticed a few paparazzi lurking?"
"I guess."
"Most people with money have holidays in the Carribean. People that get photographed a lot."
"Does it bother you?" Guy asked, frowning slightly.
"It irritates me." Madonna replied. "I like having a secret. Something that is just ours." She said, climbing on top of Guy, running her hands up over his chest.
Guy gazed up at her, a slow smile forming. He held her hips and felt incredibly lucky to be married to such a woman. Guy pulled Madonna over onto her side, with her back towards him and she felt his fingers disappear up under her slip, between her legs. She smiled, taking his wrist and guiding his hand. Guy reached around, about to grab one of Madonna's breasts, when she batted his hand away.
"No, they hurt."
"You are such a fucking tease..." Guy said, thrusting his fingers up inside her hard, as if to punish Madonna.
She gasped and whimpered, feeling his hard on pressing into her slip.
"Mommy, daddy! Can we go to the beach?!" Lourdes and Rocco burst into the room.
Guy quickly took his hand away from Madonna, who smoothed her slip down.
"It's a little early, isn't it?" Guy half grumbled.
"What were you doing?" Rocco asked.
"Just waking up." Madonna replied, looking back over her shoulder at him.
"Go and play in one of your rooms and we will be along shortly." Guy said and the children raced off.
"I wanted to say we were playing..." Madonna said turning over on her back, smiling coyly at Guy. "...aren't you going to finish what you started?" She asked and Guy parted her legs, disappearing beneath the covers.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Congratulations!" Stuart said, arriving with two Starbucks drinks. "This time I really did get you hot chocolate. Although I didn't lace it with bourbon." He joked, handing her a drink and referring to the time he said that was what he'd got her, when she had been miles away. "It's a treat, before you start telling me what diet you are following these days." Stuart said, putting his free hand up in protest and Madonna laughed.
"I was just going to say thank you, actually."
"You're most welcome. So...this obviously didn't happen in Aruba." Stuart said, motioning to Madonna's stomach with both hands, when he had sat down and put his coffee down.
"No, it wasn't planned. I swear my stomach has just appeared since I came home. I wanted to keep it just between Guy and I for a little longer. No such luck. My body isn't playing ball." Madonna sighed, sipping some hot chocolate, then licking her lips. "Damn, that is good! Please don't get if for me everyday. I will be the size of a whale."
"I won't." Stuart laughed. "Is Guy excited? And the children?"
"Guy is like a big kid." Madonna said, rolling her eyes, but smiling all the same. "He's so excited. And the children. Although I think Rocco was a bit put out that he won't be the youngest any more. But I was telling him how important being a big brother is."
"He'll come round." Stuart replied.
"They will all be my babies. Always. Even when they are twenty, thirty, forty years old." Madonna said, smoothing her stomach.
"How do you feel?" Stuart asked softly.
"About being pregnant?"
"Yeah."
"Shocked. But in a good way. Like since Rocco was a baby I have forgotten everything."
"Isn't it natural to worry though?"
"I think so. We might have to put the tour we were starting to plan back a little."
"Of course."
"I feel a bit like I'm letting you down." Madonna looked deflated.
"Don't be silly! Of course you're not. We still have an album to finish. Then it's up to you how much or little promotion you do, but we can figure that out later." Stuart said. "Are you sure you're alright, M?" He sounded concerned.
"I just feel a little overwhelmed. Hormonal. Ignore me. I'm being an idiot." Madonna said and really did start to cry.
"Can you be an idiot and not cry? I hate seeing you upset." Stuart said, pulling his chair closer and holding Madonna in his arms and she giggled through her tears, holding on to him.
"Thank you."
"For what?"
"Being so nice." Madonna said, looking at Stuart with grateful eyes and he nodded.
"You're not just someone I work with, M. You're a good friend, a sister." Stuart said, smoothing her hair and he knew Madonna was smiling over his shoulder.

End of Part 12...

Part 13

Madonna was now six months' pregnant, and very big - although most of the weight was on her stomach. Guy had stopped hitting and raping her and was more tender in some ways. He did comment on her weight though, in public he would joke about it with friends and Madonna would laugh it off, but often his remarks really hurt her feelings. Guy started telling Madonna what did and didn't look good on her. It got to the point where she was so insecure, she would run her outfits by Guy in the morning. Evening wear caused more arguments. That was what they were arguing about, when unbeknown to them, they had a guest waiting patiently to see Madonna in the lounge. The doors were only open slightly, but it was enough for the guest to witness Guy grab Madonna's arm and nearly twist it out of its socket.
"You can't wear that black dress to my film premiere tomorrow evening, M. It's too revealing. And it's supposed to be about my film, not whether your tits are going to fall out of a dress that is inappropriate, considering your size."
"Excuse me if I want to feel sexy! And all the comments about my size and weight really hurt!" Madonna frowned, but there were tears in her eyes.
"Darlin', lighten up, I am just joking around." Guy said, looking at Madonna like she was being silly, when he let go of her arm.
"Well it hurts. And I'm not taking away any attention from your film. I just want to feel sexy."
"I'm sure you can do that without revealing too much of your chest. I can help you pick something out later. Right now I have things to do. Put your feet up. See you later darlin'." Guy grabbed her neck and slammed a kiss into her forehead, then left just as Madonna opened her mouth to say something, but closed it and sighed.
"Mrs Ritchie, there is a guest waiting for you in the lounge." One of the maids told Madonna.
"You couldn't have told me this earlier?" Madonna said, embarrassed that whoever it was must have heard her argument with Guy.
"I - you weren't around. I'm sorry." The maid said quietly, looking down at the floor.
"Just...go!" Madonna waved a hand, sounding irritated.
She opened the doors to the lounge and her eyes were wide. Pedro Almodovar stood up from where he had been sitting on the sofa. Madonna felt her cheeks redden and started to walk over to him, not sure what to say or how to react.
"Congratulations. You look radiant." Pedro's face softened into a smile and Madonna couldn't help but smile as he gave her a hug and she started to cry. "Oh, please don't cry M. I came here to apologise."
"What for? You didn't do anything wrong." Madonna frowned, sniffing as he let go of her.
"I could have returned your messages and calls sooner. Come and sit down and we can talk." Pedro said, motioning for Madonna to sit, thinking it must be exhausting for her to stand for too long. "Do you want a drink?" He asked and she laughed.
"This is the wrong way round. You're my guest."
"And you are heavily pregnant." Pedro smiled.
"I'll have a green tea thanks." Madonna replied and when Pedro left the room, she grabbed some tissues from a box on the coffee table and wiped her eyes and blew her nose.
A few minutes later Pedro returned with a very strong smelling coffee for himself and green tea for Madonna. She smiled, looking grateful when she took it from him. Pedro looked at Madonna like he was studying her face before he spoke.
"Is everything ok with Guy? I don't mean to be nosy, but I heard you argue. I saw him grab your arm." Pedro said, putting his coffee down.
Madonna drank some of her green tea and set the mug down with both hands, when one of her hands started to shake. "Uh, things are a little...volatile between us recently."
"I am only asking as a friend, because I care." Pedro said softly and Madonna nodded.
"Really, I am so sorry about what happened during your film...and during a rape scene. I am mortified. You know I wouldn't - " Madonna looked close to tears, cutting herself off.
"From the way I just saw Guy be rough with you, I don't imagine you had much of a choice." Pedro said and Madonna looked alarmed at how perceptive he was, swallowing a lump in her throat, looking down at her fingers, which she was fiddling with in her lap.
"He isn't a bad husband."
"I don't really know Guy, M, but he does seem controlling from what I have seen. But I haven't come here to lecture you. I value your friendship." Pedro said and Madonna nodded.
"Me too. I wouldn't mind seeing the film again. This time without Guy. Maybe we could watch it together?" Madonna suggested and Pedro nodded.
"Maybe after you have had the baby. I think you are emotional enough right now." Pedro tried not to smile and Madonna laughed.
"All I do is cry."
"How long do you have left?"
"Three months."
"Aah, it will go fast."
"I hope so."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Very late that night, Madonna swung her legs round and sat up in bed. It was no good. She couldn't sleep.
"Darlin'. Are you alright?" Guy mumbled, rubbing his face and sitting up.
"I can't sleep." Madonna looked over her shoulder at him, holding her stomach.
"Is the baby moving?" Guy wrapped his arms around Madonna, placing his hands over hers on her stomach. He nuzzled his nose into her neck.
"A little. We have a child keeping us up already." Madonna smiled and Guy laughed.
"Do you want to know if we are having a boy or a girl?" He asked.
"I do and I don't. I keep changing my mind."
"We have one of each. A surprise is nice." Guy said and Madonna nodded. "How about we go for a drive? That might tire you out enough to get some sleep."
"I'm not a baby Guy. A drive around the block is not going to tire me out." Madonna looked like she was trying not to laugh.
"Come on. It can't harm to try." Guy said, standing up.
"Ok." Madonna said and Guy helped her to her feet.
Madonna put on a long chunky knit cardigan over her over-sized t-shirt and pyjama bottoms and slipped on a pair of flat shoes. Guy pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, then grabbed the car keys and they left. Madonna insisted on checking the children before they left. One of the nannies lived in the housse, so they wouldn't be alone.
"Can we go for a longer drive then just around the block?" Madonna asked.
"Sure." Guy said, turning off down a different road.
"Pedro came by today." Madonna said.
"So he's finally got over his tantrum." Guy smirked.
"Guy. Don't." Madonna said in a warning tone, looking at him. She left out the bit about him hearing them argue.
"I bumped into Stella today and she showed me a great dress - a black one that would look amazing on you."
"Is it conservative enough?" Madonna asked sarcastically.
"Look, you will like it." Guy handed Madonna his phone and she looked at a picture.
"That is nice." She said, handing him his phone back and he slipped it in his jacket pocket.
"See?" Guy said, looking at Madonna.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Because you look hot. Is it a crime for me to be aroused by my wife?" Guy asked and Madonna shook her head.
"No, but you are so full of it sometimes."
"What are you going to do about it?"
Madonna smiled, unzipping his jeans, looking up at Guy, who kept his eyes on the road, but smiled. She started to suck his dick and he groaned, swerving a little as he closed his eyes at first. A car blew its horn at him and Guy made a wanker sign with his hand at the driver. He kept his eyes open, squirming in his seat while Madonna blew him. Guy wrenched a hand through her hair, gripping it a little too hard, the more excited he got. It was a good job the roads they were driving down were mostly empty, because Guy drove recklessly fast, until he came in her mouth. Madonna sat back in her seat and much to his delight, wiped around her mouth with her thumb and fingers and sucked them dry.
"My god, you are filth." Guy said, doing his jeans up at a red traffic light, looking at Madonna and smiling.
Even though she smiled back at him, Pedro's words echoed in the back of Madonna's mind: he does seem controlling. Maybe Guy had taken her out because he wanted a blow job while he was driving. She suddenly shrank back in her seat, feeling cheap and very tired. Madonna fell asleep and when Guy took her home he didn't want to wake her, so he struggled up the stairs all the way to their room with her in his arms and carefully lay her on the bed. Guy got in with Madonna, put an arm around her and fell asleep shortly after.

End of Part 13...

Part 14

"The premiere is cancelled for the time being." Guy told Madonna the following morning at breakfast, not looking too happy about it.
"How come?" Madonna frowned.
"I have to do some re-shoots." Guy said, pouring some cereal for Rocco, who was banging his spoon on the table impatiently. "Roccs, give it a rest please, eh?" He said and Rocco stopped, when Guy poured milk on his cereal and he began to eat.
"Did you figure that out in your sleep?" Madonna asked and Guy laughed.
"No. I woke up very early and I was watching it and I definitely need to re-shoot certain scenes."
"You're starting to sound like me in perfectionist mode." Madonna teased, smiling and Guy nodded.
"I was thinking of shooting additional scenes too. So the premiere is going to be pushed back several months at least."
"Maybe I will have had the baby by then and might actually look good in a dress." Madonna replied, looking hopeful.
"You look good now mommy." Lourdes said sweetly and Madonna smiled down at her daughter.
"That's nice of you to say so Lola, but I am pretty big." Madonna smoothed Lourdes' ponytail.
"Only because of the baby." Lourdes said almost defensively.
"How does the baby get out?" Rocco asked and Madonna and Guy looked at each other with the same private smile.
"You don't have to worry about that son." Guy said, clearing his throat.
"Have you thought about names yet?" Lourdes asked and Madonna shook her head.
"No, Lola, but we can talk about it another time."
Guy noticed Madonna looked tired, but said nothing in front of the children.
"Why don't you go and brush your teeth and get your bags and coats?" He said.
"I should help Rocco brush his teeth - " Madonna started to get up.
"I can do it." Lourdes offered and Madonna looked grateful.
"Darlin' are you alright? You look exhausted."
"I kind of am. I don't know why, I slept well after you drove me around." Madonna sighed.
"Why don't you come to work with me today? You can sleep in the trailer - and that way I can be around if you need me."
"Are you sure? I could just stay here and sleep."
"I know how restless you get hanging around the house." Guy replied and Madonna nodded, smiling.
"You know me too well."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna slept in Guy's trailer for a while and he kept checking on her, but around mid-morning she sat on set with Guy, watching him work. It was something she rarely had time to do, but Madonna found it interesting watching him work, how he interacted with the cast and crew - being serious one minute, then laughing and joking the next.
"Are you feeling better darlin'?" Guy asked, when he spotted Madonna sat next to his directors chair.
"Yes thanks."
"I could take you to the hospital to get checked out if you were worried." Guy offered.
"Honestly, I just think I needed some extra sleep." Madonna said, holding a hand up.
"Maybe you should cut out some exercise." Guy said.
"I don't want to be big after I've had the baby."
"Getting back into shape the minute you've had a baby is hardly a priority M."
"I like being healthy, ok? It makes me feel good." Madonna said, glaring at Guy.
"Let's go to my trailer to talk." Guy said, grabbing her arm as he went, forcing Madonna to her feet.
"Oow, Guy, you're hurting me!" Madonna said, her eyes wide with fear when they were inside his trailer and he finally let go of her. She rubbed her arm when he let go of it.
"Once in a while M, you need to listen to me. Take some fucking advice and don't be such a stubborn bitch!" Guy said, sounding frustrated.
"You keep talling me I'm big and making digs at my size!" Madonna hissed.
"It's banter, darlin'! I'm just teasing you. Jesus christ, get that stick out of your ass and laugh at yourself once in a while!"
"I haven't been doing that much lately." Madonna folded her arms defiantly.
"What have you been doing?"
"Riding my bike, swimming, yoga."
"Oh no, of course not. The average expectant mum does all that." Guy said sarcastically.
"I don't do it all every day. I have to cut back some days."
"But clearly you aren't cutting back enough."
"I literally cannot be bothered to argue about this." Madonna said. "Don't you have a film to direct? I was actually enjoying watching you work."
"Ok, but this isn't over..." Guy pointed a finger at Madonna and left the trailer first. She rolled her eyes and followed him.

End of Part 14...

Part 15

With the re-shoots and additional scenes, Guy finished his film and was completely satisfied with it by the time Madonna was in her ninth and final month of pregnancy. It was the day of the premiere and Guy had made sure everything was done well in advance, so he could just relax on the day.
"Darlin', why don't you wear that sexy black dress you were going to wear originally?" Guy suggested.
Madonna frowned. "You said it was too distracting."
"I've changed my mind. If you want to look and feel sexy, go for it." Guy said.
"I might try it now." Madonna said, smiling. She went as fast as she could to her walk in closet to find the dress.
"M? How does it look?" Guy shouted.
"I can't - it's too tight." Madonna looked like she might cry. Her chest had gotten so big that the dress was uncomfortablly tight. Even her stomach was pressed right into it, whereas three months ago it would have been looser and more comfortable.
"It's a good job I got this dress from Stella for you then, wasn't it?" Guy went to his closet and pulled out the dress he had showed her a picture of on his phone last time.
"Oh my god, thank you!" Madonna looked relieved and tears started to roll down her cheeks. "I need to get out of this dress first, can you help me?"
"Of course." Guy went behind Madonna and unzipped the dress and helped her peel it off.
Madonna felt very exposed in a pale pink lace bra and matching knickers. Her stomach was very big and she had avoided being in same room as him in just her underwear.
"M, you look..." Guy started.
"No I don't." Madonna cut him off.
"You didn't let me finish. Turn around." Guy said and sighing, Madonna slowly turned to face him.
"I need to get dressed."
"You look incredible M."
"Incredibly pregnant." Madonna said, looking awkward.
"Incredibly beautiful." Guy said softly, holding her arms and kissing her.
"I just - " Madonna was about to protest when Guy kissed her again. Despite her protest, he felt her respond. "I really want too, but I'm too big to get comfortable."
"Who said it has to be about comfort?" Guy smiled wickedly.
"We don't have time." Madonna replied.
"It's my premiere. I can be fashionably late."
Guy sank down to his knees, smoothing both her legs. He started kissing up the inside of one of her legs, looking up at Madonna. She couldn't help but smile.
"Ok, ok." Madonna said, going over to the bed and Guy was behind her, as she lay on her side with her back to him. "I think this is the only way we can."
"It's fine." Guy replied.
He slid a hand between her legs, slipping several fingers inside her, whilst he kissed and licked her neck. She reached behind her and massaged his dick for a bit, then when he took his fingers away, she thrust it inside, causing herself to gasp. Guy tried reaching for her breasts a few times while he rode Madonna, but she batted his hands away every time. He held on to her hips, his fingers digging in to her skin hard and she liked it, even though it hurt and the position they were in was so uncomfortable because of her size. Madonna thrust her body back into Guy's more, almost desperate for him to hurry up and cum, so she could be comfortable again. She looked back over her shoulder at him and they shared several sloppy, hungry kisses. Guy tugged at her ear lobe with his teeth, then kissed the soft spot below her ear. Madonna came first, and her crying out turned Guy on so much that he came shortly after, grabbing her hair and wrenching it back in the throes of pleasure.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
On the red carpet Madonna looked incredibly beautiful, Guy thought, proud to have her on his arm. She wore a beautiful long black dress that covered her big bump and wasn't too tight. It exposed a little chest, but in a tasteful way and there were swirly patterns of silver thread in it, making it shimmer when Madonna moved. She wore low black heels underneath and her long blonde hair was in a chunky plait resting over one shoulder, with loose whisps of hair framing her face. Madonna wore silver drop earrings and a few delicate silver bracelets and rings. Her eyes looked feline with the black eyeliner flicked out and she wore red lipstick.
"I want you right now." Guy whispered in her ear, after leaning in to Madonna and she smiled. "You look good enough to eat." He said and she arched an eyebrow, pretending to look shocked.
"Hold that thought for later." Madonna grabbed Guy's jaw and kissed him and the paparazzi went crazy taking pictures. Guy smiled at her, discreetly cupping her bum briefly in one of his hands.
"We don't have to stay."
"Or we could and you will want me so bad, by the time we get home..."
"Who said we will even make it home?" Guy replied and Madonna laughed.
"Thank you again for this dress, it's perfect." Madonna said, as she and Guy posed for photographs.
"No problem. It does look fierce on you. And you can wear that other dress after you've had the baby."
"Yes. You're right. I was being stupid." Madonna waved it off.
"Hormones."
"I'm looking forward to this film, having seen some of it first hand on set." Madonna said.
"Let's go get this over with." Guy replied, almost with an urgency.
"Are you in that much of a rush to fuck me?" Madonna whispered, grinning.
"Darlin', you are going to have to walk in front of me in a minute." Guy replied and Madonna laughed, then her face fell and the colour drained from it. "What's wrong M?" Guy frowned.
Madonna looked down at the red carpet, moving her dress, then back up at Guy.
"My waters just broke." She whispered.

End of Part 15...

Part 16

"M, look at me." Guy whispered, holding her cheeks in what looked like a tender moment - causing another round of frantic photographing. "You are going to be fine."
"I'm scared." Madonna whispered back in a gasp, like she had been holding her breath. Guy held her arms and could feel her trembling.
"Darlin', you've had two children. Honestly, you will be fine. Don't over think it. I'll have to call an ambulance." Guy said, pulling his phone out of his pocket.
Madonna nodded, watching Guy make the call. She tried to concentrat on him as a bead of sweat rolled down the side of her face and she felt faint. Her vision kept blurring and Madonna held on to Guy's arm.
"I don't feel so good." Madonna said and Guy looked worried, nodding to indicate he'd heard her.
Guy slid his phone back in his inside jacket pocket. "They'll be here shortly. Shall we go inside? We could get them to take you out the back."
"I don't know if I can move." Madonna said, feeling paralyzed to the spot with fear.
"All we have to do is walk some more steps, just over there darlin'. Then we will be away from the paparazzi. I know you wouldn't want to start having our baby in the middle of a red carpet."
"Jesus fucking christ, NO!" Madonna said, walking several steps a little too fast and Guy saw the slightest of winces. He hurried over to her, linking his arm in hers.
"Smile M. Just pretend everything is fine and smile." Guy linked his arm in Madonna's, smiling and waving at the paprazzi. Madonna smiled also, although she was really gritting her teeth.
"Guy..."
"We made it." Guy said when they were inside the doors. He helped her over to a velvet chair.
"I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Madonna looked up at Guy, her breathing sharp as she tried to talk and breathe in the middle of a panic attack.
Guy sank down to his knees in front of Madonna, his hands on her knees. "M, look at me. Just look at me. Don't worry about anything going on around us, and take some deep breaths." He said calmly.
Madonna concentrated on Guy, blocking out the people walking past them. Some stopped and asked Guy if Madonna was ok, so he told them her waters broke and an ambulance was on the way. He kept telling people to carry on and watch the film, when crowds kept building, because he didn't want a lot of people around Madonna, stressing her out any more than she already was.
"I ruined your night after all...not with a dress though." Madonna laughed, between taking deep breaths.
Guy smiled. "You haven't ruined it at all darlin'. Are you kidding me, this is going to be one of the best nights." He looked like an excited school boy and it made her smile, even though she doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach.
"Keep talking...talk to me. Take my mind off the pain."
"I was thinking about how you seemed so interested being on set with me - that maybe we could direct  something together?" Guy half asked.
"A film?" Madonna asked and Guy nodded.
"You definitely have an eye for details and I like action films, with a good story. I think we could make something amazing together. I mean, after your album and I expect you will want to tour...but after that it could be something to seriously consider."
Madonna nodded, in so much pain she was unable to speak. The paramedics showed up and helped her on the the gurney. Guy felt a stab of jealousy when he saw the young-ish male paramedic with his strong arm around his wife, but he was more concerned with how Madonna was and let it slide. Guy had told their four bodyguards, and they were going straight to the hospital in his car, to be there ready for them. Guy went in the ambulance with Madonna and she held out her hand. He took her hand and kissed it, then squeezed it. He tried to give her reassuring looks, but one of the paramedics put on oxygen mask on Madonna when she started having another panic attack.
"B-r-e-a-t-h-e." Guy said and she nodded, her eyes filling with tears. She held one of Guy's hands in both of hers and looked up at him.
"Unbelievable!" Came the male voice - the guy who had helped Madonna onto the gurney - Tom, who was driving.
"What is it?" The female paradmedic - Casey, who was with Madonna looked up.
"I have the sirens and lights on and the paparazzi are following - actually jumping red lights!"
"Idiots." Casey shook her head, then looked back at Madonna and Guy - both were looking at her with worried expressions. "Don't worry, they won't get in the hospital."
"We have four bodyguards heading there now." Guy said and Casey nodded.
"The hospital has excellent security. And around the perimeters too." She said softly and Madonna looked at Guy.
"Darlin', I won't let them take any pictures. Or they will find themselves getting sued."
Madonna didn't say anything for the rest of the journey, but held Guy's hand and he felt her give it a squeeze every now and then. Guy sat forward, whispering words of comfort in her ear, and just him being so close made her feel safe. The ambulance went right inside a garage in the hospital and Madonna was whisked inside - no paparazzi in sight.
"I'm exhausted already." Madonna said, when it was just her and Guy in a room, waiting for the midwife and nurses.
"M, I've seen you exercise hard. This is going to be a walk in the park." Guy said encouragingly.
"What kind of fucking parks do you walk in?!" Madonna asked, and Guy laughed. She clutched her stomach.
"I feel like I should say sorry."
"For what?" Madonna frowned.
"Getting you pregnant."
"I was willing." Madonna said, brushing aside the numerous times he had raped her in the not so distant past.
"Not always." Guy said and Madonna raised her eyebrows.
"Always." Madonna said and it was Guy's turn to be surprised at her denial.
"I can't wait to be a dad again though."
Madonna smiled. "Do you think it's going to be a boy or a girl?" She winced, clearly in pain.
"I feel like I want a girl so much, it's going to be a boy. But as long as the baby is healthy and you are healthy, I don't mind." Guy smoothed wisps of hair away from her face, which he noticed was clammy.
"Me neither." Madonna replied. "Jesus christ, has everyone gone on strike in this hospital?"
"I'll go find someone." Guy headed for the door.
"Don't leave me!" Madonna cried out, looking desperate.
"I am right here darlin'." Guy said, standing in the doorway and asked a passing nurse where their midwife and nurses were. He went back over to Madonna, rolling his eyes. "They are under-staffed, but the midwife and nurses are on their way." Guy said and Madonna nodded, taking his hand once again.

End of Part 16...

Part 17

"Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!" Madonna cried out, her head tilted back, eyes squeezed shut and gripping Guy's hand so hard it had gone numb.
Beads of sweat dripped down either side of her face and Guy used his free hand to use a cold flannel to dab at her forehead. Madonna opened her eyes and looked at him hopelessly. "I can't do it. I can't do this."
"Darlin', you can do anything. Of course you can."
"I know you can push harder than that, Mrs Ritchie." Aurelia, a very laid-back middle aged Jamacian midwife said calmly.
"I can't." Madonna wailed. "It hurts."
"This is your third child, Mrs Ritchie. I have four children myself, you're stronger than you think." Aurelia continued.
"Oh god, I hope so."
"Just think of all those times you have gone nuts exercising - really pushing yourself. Think of it like that. As a challenge." Guy said encouragingly.
"I'd happily take a hard...aaaaww...bikram class right now." Madonna said, pulling a face when she felt another wave of pain.
"That the sweaty yoga?" Aurelia asked and Madonna laughed, nodding. "This has got to be less hard work than that." She said smiling and Madonna laughed again, then cried out in pain.
"Breathe M. Remember how we did earlier?" Guy said calmly.
"Yes, I remember how to goddamn breathe!" Madonna yelled, leaning over to one side and clutching her stomach.
"Ok ok." Guy held up his hands in defense. "I'll give you some space." He started to walk over to Aurelia, when she looked up at him and smiled.
"Oh honey, you do not want to be down this end, trust me. Some men faint in here before."
"You're right." Guy said, rushing back up to Madonna, who smirked.
"A walk in the park, eh?"
"No way."
"I'm sorry you had to miss your premiere."
"M I can see my film any time." Guy replied.
"Are you ready to push again, Mrs Ritchie? You were doing well just now." Aurelia said and Madonna shook her head.
"Can you give me a minute?" Madonna asked and Aurelia nodded.
"Sure."
"I actually feel sick." Madonna said, and Guy noticed she looked not only pale, but kind of greyish too.
Aurelia motioned for a nurse to get a bedpan, which was fetched just in time, as Madonna was sick pretty much straight away.
"Is there something wrong with M?" Guy looked at Aurelia with a worried expression.
"Not necessarily. Some women are sick because of the pain and the drugs we give them. It's not pleasant, but nothing to worry about."
Madonna groaned, lying back for a moment, then sat up quickly to be sick again. Guy smoothed her back.
"It's alright darlin'."
"I'm not ready. I can't have the baby yet." Madonna looked up at Guy pleadingly.
"Yes you can. Just think of the beautiful baby boy or girl we are going to have. Think of the baby as opposed to the pain." Guy said and Aurelia and the nurses thought what a supportive husband he was.
"Uh-huh." Madonna sat forward a little and began to push again. Loose strands of hair slicked to her face and neck with sweat. She gave up and lay back.
"Mrs Ritchie, you are dilated enough for an epidural if you wish to have one." Aurelia said and Madonna nodded.
"Please."
"I am going to need you to sit forward a bit." Aurelia said, and Madonna did. "Have you had one before?" She asked and Madonna shook her head. "It is going to hurt a bit."
Madonna nodded, looking away at Guy. The colour had drained from his face when he saw the size of the needle, but he tried to look calm. "Oh god, don't try not to look scared."
"M, you're going to be fine." Guy smiled, but looked uncertain.
When the epidural was administered, Madonna screamed. After she lay back, gasping for breath. She grabbed Guy's wrist and squeezed it so hard, he thought it might come off. Madonna sat up and started to push, her hand sliding down from Guy's wrist to his hand. Her hand wasn't the only one that was clammy, and nearly slid out of his. Madonna squeezed Guy's hand hard once again, crying out as she pushed.
"You are doing really well Mrs Ritchie." Aurelia said encouragingly.
"Can you see the head?" Madonna asked and Aurelia nodded. Her face fell for a split second and although Madonna didn't notice it, Guy did and he wondered what was wrong.
"What is it?" Guy started to ask, then he noticed a red stain on the bed. Madonna was bleeding. His face fell and Madonna frowned.
"Guy?"
"Mrs Ritchie is haemorraging - Delphine, inform the consultant, we may need blood on standby." Aurelia said to a nurse, who nodded and rushed out of the room.
Madonna and Guy exchanged a worried look.
"There is nothing to worry about." Aurelia said, and the word 'yet' hung in the atmosphere.

End of Part 17...

Part 18

The consultant walked into the room and crouched down a little to whisper something in Aurelia's ear that made her eyes go wide. She promptly gave instructions to the nurses in hushed whispers for them to stem the bleeding, then looked at Guy.
"Can I talk to you outside the room Mr Ritchie?"
"What's wrong?" Madonna asked, sensing the strange shift of atmosphere in the room.
"Nothing." Aurelia lied, though her expression was strained, as Guy followed her out of the room.
"Ok, so what is actually wrong? I don't appreciate you lying to my wife."
"Mrs Ritchie is loosing blood. We hardly have enough of her blood type left." Aurelia said and Guy snorted.
"This is a hospital! How is that possible?"
Aurelia shook her head. "The blood bikes are caught up in traffic - there is some major crash close to here."
"I'm the same blood type as Madonna. Take my blood. Don't let anything happen to her." Guy said straight away.
They both went back in the room and Madonna was starting to look very pale - her face was almost grey.
"Guy, I don't feel so good." She said, holding out a hand to him and he rushed over to her side, taking her clammy hand and kissing.
"M, you are losing a lot of blood. They are going to give you some of mine." Guy whispered, smoothing damp hair away from her forehead and she nodded, with tears in her eyes.
"I'm sorry."
"What for? This isn't your fault M."
"Having another hard labor. Putting you through this again." Madonna said, watching the nurses make Guy sit down, so they could take blood from him and give it to her.
"You're the one lying in the bed doing all the work, darlin'."
"Why am I having Guy's blood?" Madonna frowned at Aurelia.
"We have a low supply of your blood type and the blood bikes have been held up by a major crash. It's very generous of Mr Ritchie to offer his blood. It means we can keep the low supply for another patient." Aurelia said, looking at Guy gratefully and he nodded.
"Can I stop pushing?" Madonna asked Aurelia and she nodded.
"Yes. We need to get the bleeding under control and some blood inside you. If you continue pushing now you will use up energy and it could affect your health."
Madonna slumped down, sighing as she gazed up at the ceiling. "Why can't I have an easy labor?" She groaned.
"Darlin', hold my hand and don't stop talking." Guy said and Madonna looked at him sitting next to her. She took his hand.
"What do you want me to say Guy? I'm so tired, I just want to close my eyes..."
"No!" Guy protested and Madonna frowned.
"I don't have the strength."
"M, you always have the strength. Don't start being bloody lazy now!" Guy said fiercely and Madonna laughed weakly.
"It's taking a lot of effort not to close my eyes." She replied quietly.
"I can't do this on my own, M." Guy said softly. "I can't look after three children - one of them a baby without you. So you have to fight to stay awake."
"The irony, eh? It usually takes a lot of effort to try and sleep..." Madonna tried to smile, and Guy felt his stomach sink when he could see it was just an effort for her to move the muscles in her face.
"M, you need to try." Guy said, reaching out and taking her hand once again as she nodded slightly. Madonna could hardly grip his hand.
"I haven't really thought about names...have you?" Madonna said, almost slurring her words and Guy nodded.
"I have, but I want to surprise you when we are holding our baby." Guy said and tears slid down Madonna's cheeks.
"Guy, I'm scared."
"I am right here M." Guy squeezed her hand.
"I hope it's a girl. I want a daughter with you."
"Can I tell you a secret?" Guy asked and Madonna nodded.
"I want a girl too. But don't tell Rocco." Guy whispered, as though he was there and Madonna laughed a little.
Colour was starting to return to Madonna's cheeks when the bleeding had stopped and they gave her Guy's blood. Aurelia looked down at Madonna, her face still a mask of concern.
"How do you feel Mrs Ritchie?"
"It depends on whether you are going to ask me to push right now?" Madonna half asked and Aurelia smiled.
"No, I am going to give you some time to get some strength back. You can start pushing again in a minute, but let's take a breather for now."
"That sounds good to me." Madonna replied.
Aurelia went over and stood with the nurses, talking to them.
"No going to sleep though." Guy said.
"I wouldn't dream of it. I feel like I've got up too fast and feel dizzy - like I was on the verge of dying, but now suddenly I'm ok."
"That must be weird."
"Thank you Guy." Madonna looked up at Guy like the most grateful person in the world.
"It's the least I could do, darlin'. I could hardly let you bleed to death." Guy sat next to Madonna, taking one of her hands in both of his.
"I love you." Madonna whispered.
"I don't deserve you M, but I love you." Guy replied.

End of Part 18...

Part 19

"I can't do this anymore!" Madonna cried out, looking at Guy as she squeezed his hand, tears of frustration sliding down her the sides of her face.
"Yes you can darlin'. 'Can't' is not a word that exists in your world." Guy replied calmly.
"How can you stand there and be so fucking calm?! I nearly bled to death!!" Madonna screamed, wanting to get a reaction from Guy.
"Because I need to be strong for you, M." Guy said, not biting.
"One or two more pushes, Mrs Ritchie. You are nearly there." Aurelia said encouragingly.
"Come on darlin'. You can do this." Guy squeezed her hand.
Madonna lay back and pushed a couple of more times, alternating between crying out and screaming, until finally Aurelia held a baby in her arms.
"Congratulations, you have a beautiful baby girl."
Guy gasped and Madonna looked exhausted and cried even more, until Aurelia handed her the baby.
"She's so tiny." Madonna whispered and Guy nodded.
"Perfect." He said.
"Let me clean her up for you. I'll have her right back." One of the nurses said softly.
Madonna lay back on the bed, looking pale, with dark under her eyes, her skin covered in a sheen of sweat. It looked like she had done a really intense workout, but what scared Guy a little was how weak she still looked.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Guy asked Aurelia and she nodded, following him out of the room. "I'm worried about Madonna. She looks weak. Ill."
"Mrs Ritchie has suffered a significant blood loss and gone through a hard labor. She will need a lot of bed rest. I can appreciate it will be hard with a baby and two other children - "
"No. It won't be. I can help out a lot." Guy interrupted and Aurelia smiled.
"She is a very strong, healthy woman. There is no reason for her not to make a full recovery."
"Ok."
"Mr Ritchie, you have donated blood too and I expect you are almost as exhausted, please don't worry about a thing. We'll give you two some space. I am just alone the hallway if you need me, or one of my nurses." Aurelia said, as a nurse handed the baby girl back to Madonna and she signalled for the nurses to leave.
"Thank you." Guy smiled, looking grateful through his own exhaustion and went back to Madonna.
"What do you want to call her?" Madonna asked.
"I am not sure if you will like the name."
"Try me."
"Olivia. Liv or Livi for short."
Madonna smiled. "That's beautiful. I love it." She took her baby's fingers and kissed them. "Olivia."
"Seriously?"
"Yes." Madonna laughed.
"We nearly had a row over what to call Rocco, but you like Olivia straight away."
"Guy I am far too exhausted to row and I genuinely love the name."
"Ok."
"Do you want to hold her?" Madonna held their daughter up and Guy nodded. She watched him take her in his arms, saw his face completely soften, the love in his eyes and it made her insides melt.
"Oh my god, she is perfect." Guy said, carefully smoothing one of her tiny cheeks.
"Very much worth all the effort." Madonna said, lying back on the pillows the nurses had propped up for her, smiling.
"I agree. Although I was terrified for a minute that I was going to loose you." Guy said, looking worried, as he rocked Olivia in her arms.
"You can tell Olivia when she is old enough to understand how you were her mommy's hero when she was born." Madonna said, looking at Guy with watery eyes. "I'm sorry, I can't stop crying. I'm an emotional wreck." She sniffed, wiping her eyes.
"Exhaustion." Guy said and Madonna nodded. "Maybe you should sleep for a while, M. I can sit right here, next to you with Olivia."
"Do you mind?"
"Not at all. The midwife said you will be needing bedrest when we go home."
Madonna laughed. "With three children? A newborn included?"
"I can help." Guy said.
"I can't expect you to not work and - "
"M, for once in your life, except help. I am putting my foot down, when we get home you are staying in bed until you feel stronger." Guy said firmly.
"Do I get a say in this?" Madonna folded her arms, looking sulky.
"No." Guy replied, looking amused and she chewed her lower lip, trying not to smile.
"Fine." Madonna lay back, and couldn't help but smile at the sight of Guy rocking Olivia in his arms and she was asleep within minutes.

End of Part 19...

Part 20

"Where are you going?" Guy asked Madonna, the second it looked like she was going to get out of bed.
"I need to pee. I draw the line at peeing in bed." Madonna smirked.
"Darlin', I don't want you to overdo it." Guy sighed.
"There is no danger of that, with you to monitor every move I make and every breath I take." Madonna replied, kissing Guy as she got out of bed. "The bathroom is just there, hardly any steps at all." She pointed out, but he did not look amused.
When Madonna got back into bed, Guy handed her Olivia, who was wide awake, wriggling around and making typical gurgly baby sounds.
"Mommy, Livi is loud!" Rocco grumbled, yawning as he walked into the room, ready for school.
"Did you get ready by yourself?" Madonna frowned, feeling like a terrible mother.
"No, I helped him. I've been up for a while." Guy replied.
"Why didn't you wake me?" Madonna frowned.
"Because you would get up and start doing stuff."
"Mommy, you are supposed to be resting!" Rocco said and Madonna laughed at the almost authorative tone of her little boy.
"I know Roccs. I'm sorry if Livi is keeping you up. You used to keep me up when you were a baby. And Lola." Madonna said softly. "She'll settle soon, once she is familiar with the house."
"Ok."
"How can such a cute looking baby be so goddamn noisy?!" Lourdes also looked tired, but was ready for school.
"Don't say 'goddamn' Lola." Madonna scolded her mildly.
"You say worse. Guy says a WHOLE lot worse when his football team is losing!" Lourdes protested, her hands on her hips.
"We are adults. And really we shouldn't be saying 'a whole lot worse'. But I don't want you to talk like that, Lola. It's not nice for a young girl."
"Sorry mommy." Lourdes said, standing with both hands behind her back, looking down at the floor.
"Have you both brushed your teeth?" Guy asked and both Lourdes and Rocco nodded. "Let me see." He said, and he checked their teeth. "Do you have everything you need? Books and stuff?" Guy asked and Lourdes and Rocco turned around to show him their backpacks. "Kiss mummy and Siobhan should be waiting downstairs for you." Guy said, referring to one of the nannies.
"Bye mommy." Rocco and Lourdes said, carefully kissing her and Olivia, then Guy and rushing off downstairs.
"You're not taking them?" Madonna asked.
"No, I don't want to leave you."
"Are you sure you don't want to take them? You seem to have every thing else covered. I feel pretty redundant." Madonna said, sounding a little bitter at the start, but her voice wobbled.
"Oh M, don't be like that. I'm just trying to make your life easier."
"You are, but I'm jealous you can do so much for them and I have to rest."
"It's made me realise how much you do for the children." Guy said, looking at Madonna with a new found appreciation.
"And it only took me nearly dying, for you to realise that." Madonna joked, as she started to breast feed Olivia - the only time the baby was totally still in her arms.
"Stop it. Stop joking about you nearly dying." Guy sat on the bed and Madonna frowned.
"But I'm fine now..."
"I wake up in the night and if you are asleep darlin', I put my hand out to check you are still breathing." Guy said quietly and Madonna looked shocked.
"Oh. Guy, I'm sorry you are stressed like that. But you are doing a great job of looking after me. And the children - Olivia included." Madonna smoothed his shoulder.
"I am really sorry for the way I treated you before Olivia was born." Guy said, looking at Madonna with regret filled eyes.
"Can you just put her down a minute, before we talk?" Madonna asked Guy, carefully handing him their daughter, who had fallen asleep straight after being fed.
Guy put Olivia down and sat on the bed, looking at Madonna.
"It's all in the past now." She said.
"M, I was vile to you. I hurt you, I humiliated you and I raped you. And even worse, it made me feel great to have so much control over you. I think you would have done anything I told you too, or made you do, before Olivia was born."
"I would have." Madonna nodded. "I'm not going to lie, you did scare me at times, Guy." She frowned, nervously fiddling with her fingers in her lap. "But I never stopped loving you." Madonna looked Guy directly in the eyes.
"I wish I could take it all back."
"If I can forgive you Guy, you need to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes - even big ones. Choosing to acknowledge that and learn from it shows personal growth."
"I love you M. So much. You have no idea." Guy said, looking at Madonna with absolute love and admiration.
Madonna kissed Guy and smiled at him. "I love you." She replied, her voice heavy with emotion.
"Do you mind if I lie with you for a bit?" Guy asked, lying down before Madonna could answer.
"Of course not. You must be exhausted too." Madonna replied, smoothing his hair and kissing Guy, after he nodded. "Thank you. I appreciate everything you do for me." She whispered in his ear, snuggling up to him and he smiled, putting his arms around her.

End of Part 20...
materialgirl86
Set in 2005

Part 1

Madonna lay back, closing her eyes and gripped the bed rail above her, while lowering her body down towards Guy. He planted tantalising kisses right up the inside of her thigh and smiled when he heard her whimper and her body gave and involuntary shudder of pleasure. Madonna let go of the rail and splayed her fingers through Guy's hair, tugging at it impatiently, guiding his head between her legs. When she felt his tongue inside her, she groaned, letting go of his hair. Guy didn't need guidance, he knew Madonna's sweet spot. Although he was in a teasing mood that evening, and taking his time in getting to it. A phoned ringing broke the silence and killed the mood a little. Madonna reached for it on her bedside table, thinking Guy would stop when she answered it, but he continued going down on her. Truthfully she didn't want him to stop. Not really.
"Stuart, hi. To what do I owe this pleasure?" Madonna asked, watching Guy and trying not to gasp.
"I was thinking we could start working a bit earlier tomorrow, if that's ok?" It was Stuart Price, someone she was working on a new album with.
"Yes." Madonna said faintly, because Guy was working his way towards her sweet spot.
"I have plenty of ideas to discuss with you - sorry for the late call. I just got a bit excited." Stuart continued.
"Uh-huh." Madonna replied, tilting her hips up towards Guy more, sliding down the bed a bit.
"Are you ok M? You sound out of breath. Surely you haven't been out for a run this time of night?"
"You know me Stuart, I pack as much as I can into my days and nights."
"Ok, well I'll let you go."
"Wait - how much earlier do you want to start tomorrow?" Madonna asked, chewing her lower lip so she wouldn't groan out loud.
"A couple of hours."
"I'll see you then." Madonna said and hung up quickly, before Staurt could carry on talking. She put her phone back on the bedside table and looked down at Guy. "You couldn't have stopped when you saw me take the call!" Madonna moved back suddenly and Guy looked up at her.
"Who takes a call during?" Guy frowned. "You could have waited until after."
"I don't work to your timetable, Guy!" Madonna spat.
"Of course you don't. The world revolves around you." Guy crawled up the bed, until he was over Madonna. "But you need to learn it doesn't." He said, slapping her so hard she nearly fell off the bed.
Madonna sat up, clutching her cheek, shocked that Guy had hit her - for the first time ever. It was just as shocking as it was painful. She looked vulnerable, sitting on the bed in a baby pink slip with messed up hair and fearful eyes.
"I don't think the world revolves around me." Madonna said quietly and Guy gave her a murderous look.
"Do you want another one?" He raised his hand and she quickly shook her head. "Then shut up." Madonna shrank back and Guy turned off the light, making it clear he wanted to sleep. Madonna lay on her side, with her back to Guy, wondering where his sudden burst of anger had come from.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following morning Madonna woke up and felt Guy's arm around her tightly, like it was made of iron. His nose was nuzzled right into her neck and she could feel his breath on it. Madonna wriggled a little, trying to slip free from his grasp, but it was impossible. Guy stirred and moved, his grip loosening only a little, as he kissed her neck and she could feel his erection pressed up against her bum. He put a hand up her slip, sliding his fingers inside her.
"Guy, I'm not in tne mood." Madonna groaned.
"Really? Because you're really wet right now, darlin'." Guy whispered, tugging her her ear lobe with his teeth.
"The children will be up in a minute." Madonna said firmly, taking Guy's wrist and moving it away from her. She felt him move away from her and turned over on her back. "We need to talk about last night." Madonna said, looking at Guy.
"What happened last night?" Guy frowned.
"You hit me."
"Oh, don't be such a baby."
"Guy, you hurt me."
"And you answered the phone when I was trying to make you cum. Yet you don't see me having a bitch fit over that. Is it nearly your time of the month or something?"
"Don't be so vile."
"Darlin', you need to lighten up. Come back to bed." Guy said, loosely holding her wrist.
"Why? So you can hit me before you finger me?" Madonna said, getting out of bed.
Guy lept out of bed, grabbed her jaw and shoved Madonna into the wall. "You need to learn not to be so rude." He said through gritted teeth. Madonna's eyes were wide with fear and she was too scared to talk, so just nodded.
"I'm so sorry...I'll make it up to you..." Madonna said, rubbing her jaw when Guy let go of her. She slid straight down to her knees, pulling his pyjama bottoms down and gave him a blow job. Guy came in her mouth, then left Madonna alone on the floor, and went to have a shower.
Madonna sat with her knees to her chest, both hands wrenched in her hair and cried. She felt so cheap, but it had been to only way to calm that temper of his. Guy went down to breakfast, barely noticing Madonna, who then went to have a shower, scrubbing herself nearly raw. She got Lourdes and Rocco ready and took them down to breakfast. At the breakfast table Madonna and Guy acted completely natural with each other, like nothing was wrong and the children were chattering away as usual.
"Mommy can I have a friend round for dinner tonight? Please mommy, puh-lease!" Lourdes said excitedly.
"Can I have a friend over, if Lola is?" Rocco asked, looking at Madonna expectantly.
"Yes, both of you can. But one friend each." Madonna said, looking at Lourdes who had brought two friends last time, with no notice.
Guy smiled into his cereal. "Can I bring hom a friend too?" He asked teasingly, making Lourdes and Rocco laugh and even Madonna had a hard time keeping a straight face.
"I don't know why you are joking, because you will be taking the friends home later." Madonna replied and Guy nodded, then shrugged. "Go and get your school bags." She said, when Lourdes and Rocco finished breakfast. Madonna cleared the table, then turned around and Guy put his arms around her, kissing her.
"Don't kiss me like that." She breathed.
"Why?"
"Because I want to go back upstairs with you. We need to get the children to school."
"Later then." Guy's hands found their way down to her bum, which he gave a hard squeeze.
"Guy." Madonna gave him a look that said 'behave'.
Lourdes and Rocco returned wearing their backpacks. Rocco looked extra cute, with a backpack that was almost bigger than him. It was a nice day, so Madonna and Guy walked the children to school, with a couple of bodyguards accompanying them.
"Don't be late. I mean, if you're going in early, you shouldn't be anyway." Guy said, kissing Madonna on the forehead.
"I won't be." Madonna watched Guy head off in the opposite direction. She then went to work herself, accompanied by both bodyguards. As she walked, she was thinking about Guy and what a strange night and morning it had been, and it made her feel uneasy.

End of Part 1...

Part 2

Guy was playing with Lourdes and Rocco on the floor, after they'd had dinner that evening. Madonna had called him and sent several texts to say she would be late home from work, but it had annoyed Guy so much that he refused to reply to any of them. When she arrived home from work, Madonna was intially annoyed, but seeing Guy on the floor playing with the children melted her insides a little.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Lourdes and Rocco went running over to Madonna, nearly knocking her over in a hug.
Madonna put her bag and ridiculously bulging diary down and kneeling down, hugged both children. Guy gave her a filthy look and she knew she would be in trouble.
"Don't crowd mommy, she's just got in from work. Why don't you both get ready for bed and she can come and tuck you in?" Guy said and both children nodded, racing upstairs.
"Why didn't you reply to my calls or messages? Have I done something wrong?" Madonna asked in a small voice, like a child anticipating being told off.
Guy got up and started clearing away Rocco's cars and trucks. "You go into work a whole two hours early, then come home a whole lot later. Can you understand from my point of view how annoying that would be?"
"I wasn't doing it to annoy you." Madonna frowned. "That's not fair."
"What's not fair is you missing dinner. Our children don't see us a lot in the week, because we are both working and they are in school."
"You come home late sometimes." Madonna said, throwing a hand up.
"This isn't about me right now, darlin'. You're their mother. They want you."
"Don't use our children and emotional blackmail to make me feel bad."
"I'm not. But if you go in early, I expect you home on time or even early. Not late."
"Guy, sometimes ideas come later and time just slips by. I don't do it on purpose to annoy you. I don't like arguing with you."
"Did you try to get away?"
"I didn't realise what the time was, until I called and left messages. I didn't expect to come home to an argument."
"You better put the kids to bed." Guy said, looking at his watch.
"Yes sir!" Madonna said, saluting him. She was just about to walk past, when Guy grabbed her forearm and squeezed her jaw.
"Don't try my patience." He said menacingly and she shrank back, nodding as much as his grip would allow her.
When Guy let go of Madonna, she rushed upstairs to put Lourdes and Rocco to bed. She took her time and read the pair of them several stories, then finally went to her bedroom. Guy was already in bed, his back to her. Madonna kicked her shoes off and stripped off, putting on her pale pink slip and going into the bathroom. She cleaned her teeth and moisturized her skin, then went to bed.
"Guy? Are you asleep? I'm sorry." Madonna whispered.
"Whatever."
Madonna kissed the back of his neck and wrapped an arm around him, slipping it down his pyjama bottoms, but Guy grabbed her wrists and pulled it away.
"I'm not in the mood."
"Guy. Please."
He turned to face her, frowning. "M, it's great you have plenty of energy after a long, long day at work, but I've been to work and looked after the children. So I am really not in the mood."
"Fine." Madonna turned her back to him, gritting her teeth and closed her eyes.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"What is she doing?" Guy muttered under his breath, as Madonna walked across the film set, with a couple of brown paper bags.
All of the crew were distracted by her, because she wore very snug tailored trousers and a thin sweater without a bra, her hard nipples pressing against the material.
"Hi. I brought lunch." Madonna said brightly, smiling.
Guy smiled back. "Thanks darlin'." He took the bag she handed him. "Let's go to my trailer." He took her arm, gripping it a little too tightly and led her away to his trailer, slamming the door shut behind them.
"Guy, you're hurting me!" Madonna's eyes were wide.
"What are you doing here?"
"Bringing lunch, apologising for being late yesterday." Madonna said, touching her arm where Guy had gripped it, when he let go of her.
"Did you not have time to put a bra on?" Guy growled.
Madonna looked down at her nipples pressed against her sweater. "I didn't feel like wearing one." She looked back up at Guy.
"The crew were staring at you."
"And?" Madonna had her hands on her hips.
"I don't like it."
"Why?"
"They look at you like they want to fuck you."
"So?"
"You're mine." Guy slipped his arms around Madonna's waist, pulling her right up against him.
"Just because they might want to fuck me, doesn't mean I want to fuck them." Madonna whispered. "I love you." She said, draping her arms loosely around his neck and kissing him.
"Then don't dress like you want to be fucked by them...I mean can these trousers be any tighter?" Guy drummed his fingers on her bum.
"I dress for myself. No one else." Madonna replied.
Guy let go of her and sat on the sofa, rifling through the bag and pulling out a sandwich. Madonna sat down the other end of the sofa, on the edge and started to eat her lunch.
"I don't bite." Guy said, seeing the distance she had put between them.
Madonna moved all the way up to Guy and he put an arm around her as he ate, kissing her temple. "Thanks for lunch."
"I'll be home the usual time tonight." Madonna said.
"Good. it isn't just the kids that miss you. I do too." Guy said quietly, looking at Madonna and she felt her frustration melt away when he looked at her with a boyish expression on his face. She smiled, touching his cheek when she kissed him.

End of Part 2...

Part 3

"Are you nearly ready M?" Guy called up the stairs, looking at his watch for what felt like the hundredth time. He wore a suit and was waiting for Madonna, so they could go to a private screening of the latest film of a friend of hers - Pedro Almodovar. It was a select guest list and not a premiere of anything, but there was a dress code and they would be going out for drinks after.
"Yes, I'm coming." Madonna said, holding up her dress and walking down the stairs.
"Wow. You look amazing darlin'." Guy said, kissing Madonna.
"Thank you. You scrub up pretty well yourself." She smiled, admiring Guy in his suit.
Madonna wore a long black dress that went over one shoulder and had a daringly high split on one side. Her hair was pinned up losely at the nape of her neck, with a few soft curly tendrils falling free from the hairpins, and gold chandelier earrings. A few delicate bracelets and rings adorned her wrists and fingers, and she wore dangerously high gold Louboutin heels. Madonna's makeup was pretty neutral, and her face looked completely flawless. A black clutch with a dusting of gold finished the look.
"It's not too much, is it?" Madonna asked and Guy rolled his eyes and sighed in an exaggerated manner.
"No, you look incredible...I can't wait to get you out of that dress, so let's get going!" Guy grabbed her arm and Madonna giggled, letting him take her out to the car, where the bodyguards waited for them.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Guy felt a little jealous when he saw Madonna greet Pedro Almodovar enthusiastically - there were hugs and kisses and they both spoke about work for several long minutes, before Madonna included Guy in the conversation. Pedro couldn't warm to Guy, even though they were both talking, maybe it was how obviously possessive he was with Madonna, keeping an arm clamped on hers the entire time and he gave off a territorial vibe. Pedro said he hoped they would enjoy the film and excused himself to talk to someone else. Madonna and Guy went to sit down, when they saw other people starting to find seats. They were sat near the back, and Pedro went down the front in front of the screen to introduce the film and talk a little about it before it started.
"Geez, this guy has a big ego, just let us watch the film already!" Guy whispered and Madonna frowned.
"Don't talk about my friend like that. He's just passionate." Madonna whispered back.
"Ok." Guy shrugged, sighing, as Pedro finished talking and took a seat not too far from them.
The lights went down and the film began. Halfway through, Guy was bored. He looked at Madonna, who was pretty engrossed in the film, then he placed a hand on her knee, nudging the split of her dress. Guy looked back at the screen, amused as he saw Madonna fidget a little, when his hand moved right up her leg, then he slipped a few fingers inside her and Madonna had to fight back the urge to gasp. It was very dark and everyone was engrossed in the film, but she felt uncomfortable. He heard her become breathless and quietly moan, when the film was loud.
"Guy..." Madonna looked at him.
"Do you really want me to stop?" Guy asked, starting to remove his fingers, but she shook her head. He could feel how wet she was and she had a hungry, desperate look in her eyes.
Guy enjoyed watching her squirm, then leaned towards Madonna and whispered in her ear. "Darlin', you could alway return the favour..." He unzipped his trousers with his free hand and she watched him. She wanted to refuse, but he knew she wouldn't risk him taking away his fingers from between her legs. Madonna slipped a hand in his trousers and began stroking his dick and Guy smiled almost triumphantly. He groaned when the film got loud again, not that either of them were watching it. At one point Madonna had her eyes closed, while she practically rode Guy's fingers. She opened her eyes and smiled when Guy came and she took her hand away, fishing tissues out of her purse to wipe it. Guy removed his fingers from her and they both straightened up, thinking no one had noticed. When the film was over and everyone was milling around, talking, Pedro beckoned Madonna over, when Guy disappeared to the toilet.
"Did you enjoy the film?" Pedro asked, but he was looking at Madonna strangely.
"Yes, it was really good. I particularly - "
"I saw you." Pedro cut her off.
"Excuse me?"
"I saw you and Guy. Pleasuring each other."
"Oh." Madonna blushed, not sure what to say next.
"You were doing it during a rape scene in the film."
"Oh, Pedro I had no idea..."
"I would have thought you of all people would show some respect watching scenes like those." Pedro frowned and looked disappointed at the same time.
"We weren't getting off over that, I can assure you - "
Pedro held up a hand. "I don't know what is wrong with you, Madonna. But save your breath. I can't look at you right now." He said and went to talk to someone else, his facial expression completely changing into a smile as he talked to someone. Madonna was left standing alone, blushing, until Guy joined her.
"What's wrong, darlin'?"
"I want to go home."
"I thought we were going for drinks."
"Let's have them at home." Madonna smiled at him a little and Guy took her arm and they headed towards their car. Madonna looked over her shoulder at Pedro, who glared at her.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
At home in their room, Guy closed the door behind them, holding up a bottle of wine and two glasses.
"You humiliated me!" Madonna said, taking off her earrings.
"How?"
"I didn't want you to do that to me in public!" Madonna said, slipping off the rings and bracelets, slamming them down on her dressing table.
"What has happened to you since the end of the film and us arriving home? You have been acting weird...I thought you were in a rush to get home."
"I was. Pedro saw us."
"So? Did we offend him?" Guy shrugged, putting the bottle of wine and glasses down on his bedside table.
"Yes, we did."
"He should have stopped watching."
"We were doing it during a rape scene." Madonna said, with tears in her eyes and Guy laughed.
"Oh come on, M. He is a bit of a drama queen, isn't he?"
"Sorry if I am offended at the thought a friend of mine thinks I was getting off over a rape scene."
"M, that is just a film. Surely if Pedro knows you well, he would know that is in no way true."
"I feel humiliated Guy! Like some cheap little - " Madonna cut herself off and pressed her lips shut.
Guy went over and held Madonna's waist, pressing her right up against him. She was practically gasping for breath as she looked up at him. "Darlin', you are many things, but cheap isn't one of them. A slut maybe. But an expensive one." He kissed her neck, squeezing her bum hard.
"That's a vile thing to say." Madonna said, pushing Guy back, so he actually staggered back several steps. "I'm not in the mood."
"Well I am, and you have a duty to me as my wife." Guy said, grabbing Madonna's arm, forcing her face-down on the bed.
"Guy, stop it!" Madonna struggled, then heard her dress rip, as Guy ripped it all the way up to her bum, and pulling his trousers down forced his way inside her. Madonna wasn't ready and cried out, gripping the sheets. "Stop! Please! Stop Guy! You're hurting me! It hurts!" She wept, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Guy grabbed Madonna's hair roughly, and most of it slipped free from the hairpins. "Stop being such a wimp, you like it rough." He whispered, kissing her neck.
"No...stop...stop..." Madonna could hardly get her words out, as Guy let go of her hair. Eventually she stopped struggling, and just gripped the bed.
When Guy came, he climbed off her and started getting ready for bed, like nothing violent had just taken place. "Darlin' - you need to get ready for bed." He pushed Madonna off the bed and she sat on the floor, looking at him, then grabbed a pair of cotton pyjamas and went to the bathroom and locked the door to get changed. She couldn't bare the thought of Guy seeing her naked right now. He'd violated her enough that evening. Tears streamed down her face as she changed out of the ripped dress into her pyjamas.

End of Part 3...

Part 4

That night Madonna barely slept. She lay on her side several times, facing Guy, really studying his face. It made her feel sick what he had done to her the previous evening, so she would then move on to her other side, with her back to him. Madonna got out of bed at one point and sat on the chair by her dressing table, holding the ripped dress and silently wept. Although she wasn't making a noise, Guy stirred and woke up. He saw Madonna wasn't lying next to him and sat up.
"Are you crying because I ripped your dress?" Guy asked and Madonna nodded.
"Yes. It's stupid I know, but I really liked it." She lied quietly.
"I'll get you a new one." Guy said softly, getting out of bed and going over to her. He sat on the floor at her feet. "I got carried away last night, darlin'. Can you forgive me?" Guy held her ankles, looking at her.
"Of course." Madonna replied, sniffing and wiping her eyes. She put the dress down. "I can't sleep. I need to take something." Madonna went to get a couple of sleeping tablets and a glass of water.
"You have been working like crazy lately. Maybe you're over-tired." Guy suggested and Madonna nodded, taking the tablets and getting back into bed.
This time Guy watched Madonna until she fell asleep, which didn't take very long. He smoothed hair away from her face and kissed her cheek, then wrapped an arm around her and fell asleep.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"They ran out of soy latte at Starbucks, so I got you hot chocolate. Then laced it with bourbon. I thought we could drop acid this afternoon, make work a bit more interesting." Stuart said, trying to grab Madonna's attention, as she accepted a Starbucks from him.
"Yeah, that sounds good."
"M, have you listened to a word I said?"
"Huh?" Madonna frowned at Stuart.
"You have been miles away today. Did you get any sleep last night? You look exhausted."
"Thank you Stuart, don't hold back, please - tell me how crappy I look, to match how crappy I feel." Madonna was irritated, but ended up looking more vulnerable than annoyed when she spoke. And like she was on the brink of tears.
"I'm sorry M. I am just worried about you."
"I never sleep well."
"Are you ill?"
"How terrible do I look?" Madonna asked in a small voice.
"You don't look terrible."
"I am just going through some personal stuff at the moment. I fell out with an old friend yesterday and I don't think he will ever talk to me again. He hasn't returned my messages or calls." Madonna said, thinking about Pedro and feeling humiliated all over.
"Some people need some time and space to cool off." Stuart offered and Madonna nodded.
"Yeah, you're right. Look, I might go early today if that is ok. I'll make it up another day."
"M, you're the boss, you don't have to justify yourself to me. But if you ever want to talk, I'm here, ok?" Stuart said and Madonna nodded, even managing a small smile.
"Thank you."
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
It was a rare occasion when both Guy and Madonna arrived home from work early - and before the children were even home from school. But that day Madonna was both glad and filled with dread at it.
"We need to talk." She said to Guy, after he'd made them coffee in the kitchen.
"That doesn't sound good."
"It isn't." Madonna said, motioning for Guy to sit down, then sitting down herself.
"Is this about us having a little fun at that film last night?"
"Yes. Pedro won't return my calls or messages. He's an old friend of mine - we go way back." Madonna looked upset.
Guy shrugged. "What do you expect me to do about it? He'll forget it in time."
"You humiliated me in public, Guy! If Pedro saw, other people might have too."
"I don't understand why you feel humiliated, darlin'. We were a married couple having a little fun. It's not like we were full on fucking." Guy said and Madonna felt anger rise in her.
"It was during a rape scene."
"I wasn't fingering you that good that you lost the power of sight, was I? You could have told me to stop."
"Would you have?!" Madonna spat, her face flushed scarlett.
"Jesus christ M, you didn't want to stop, I didn't want to stop. What is the problem?"
"I have been raped before. And you raped me last night." Madonna looked Guy directly in the eyes, almost not blinking.
"I never."
"You did."
"A husband can't rape his wife."
"Bullshit."
"I never raped you."
"I was saying no."
"You were playing hard to get."
"I was not joking when I said no, Guy."
"M, you are always up for it. You have never said no to me. And you were hardly putting up a fight."
"Because I can't match your strength, Guy." Madonna sipped her coffee.
"You weren't crying about the dress." Guy realised out loud and Madonna couldn't look at him.
"I don't know what is wrong with you lately, Guy, but - " Madonna didn't manage to say another word, because Guy grabbed her arms and pushed her back, knocking the chair over, so she was flat on her back, still in the chair.
"How dare you talk to me like that." Guy said in a low, menacing tone. He was still gripping her arms tightly and she was almost too scared to breathe.
"Sorry. I'm sorry." Madonna breathed and Guy let go of her. Madonna got up, pulling the chair up. "I - I'm going to pick the children up."
"I can come with you." Guy said and she nodded, not daring to say he didn't need too.

End of Part 4...

Part 5

"You seem happier today." Stuart said, in the middle of working with Madonna.
They were working from his apartment, a couple of hours over what time they usually worked until.
"I got some sleep." Madonna replied, smiling a little.
"Have you made up with your friend?" Stuart asked gingerly, not wanting to provoke or upset Madonna.
"No. But I am taking your advice and giving him some space." Madonna said.
"It's probably for the best. I can't imagine you have done anything that is totally unforgiveable." Stuart said and Madonna nodded.
"We've had a pretty productive day today, haven't we?" Madonna changed the subject.
"Yeah, you should stay late more often." Stuart said, getting up to answer the door when the bell rang.
Guy walked in, carrying Lourdes, who looked on the verge of falling asleep and holding Rocco's hand. Madonna looked at the time.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't realise that was the time." She said, scooping Rocco up in her arms and her son instantly held on to her, nuzzling into Madonna.
"Darlin', it's fine. They wanted you to read them bedtime stories, so I thought it would be better to come and see you, in case you were too busy to look at your phone." Guy spoke in a friendly way, but Madonna knew underneath it he was being controlling and territorial.
"We can keep our hours strictly what we agreed from now on, I know you need to spend time with your children." Stuart suggested and Madonna nodded, smiling at him in a relieved and grateful way that he had made a sensible suggestion in front of Guy.
"That would be great, mate." Guy said, also smiling. "I would put them to bed, but they always ask for their mum."
"I understand. Have a good evening." Stuart said, as Madonna and Guy headed towards the door, carrying the children.
"You too Stuart." Madonna said.
In the car on the way home, it was quiet. Lourdes and Rocco were almost asleep in the backseats, both ready for bed in their pyjamas. Madonna carried Rocco up to his room and Guy carried Lourdes up to her room, then Madonna read them both bedtime stories and they were asleep within minutes. Madonna was stony faced when she joined Guy in their bedroom.
"What the hell were you thinking? The children were nearly asleep, why did you bring them to my place of work?"
"Which strangely enough is in some dude's apartment, as opposed to a studio..." Guy said walking over to her in an almost menacing way.
"Don't tell me you're jealous of Stuart." Madonna snorted. "He's not my type."
"No, but I don't know why you have to work in his apartment."
"What is this really about Guy?" Madonna asked, with her hands on her hips.
"I don't want you working late."
"Then I won't. But I think it's unfair to take two small children who are basically asleep along to use emotional blackmail to tell me that." Madonna said and Guy slapped her hard across the face.
She wasn't expecting it, and it stung. Madonna clutched her cheek, looking up at Guy. He pointed his finger in her face. "Don't disrespect me."
"I'm not - "
"Do you want another one?" Guy raised his hand and Madonna shook her head, falling silent. "Then shut up."
Madonna and Guy both got ready for bed in silence.
"I'm sorry." Madonna whispered when she got into bed with Guy.
"You need to learn how to respect me."
"I know." Madonna said, looking vulnerable. She straddled him, kissing him tenderly. Guy smiled, thinking Madonna was being submissive to him, even though she was on top when they made love that evening. She thought if she was gentle with him, it would calm him down. Guy could be just as tender with her as she was with him. And had been until lately.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The next morning Guy had a day off work, and he woke up late. There was a note on Madonna's pillow from her, saying she'd taken the children to school and gone out for a run. He got showered and dressed and was just sitting down to breakfast, when Madonna appeared in the kitchen, talking to two bodyguards, who had clearly been running with her. They left to give her space with Guy. Even though Madonna had some massive, strange-looking sweat patches on her t-shirt and she was breathless, with loose strands of hair that had come loose from her ponytail sticking to the sides of her face, Guy still thought she looked as sexy as hell.
"Good run?"
"Yeah." Madonna said, grabbing a bottle of vitamin water from the fridge, wiping her sweaty forehead with her wrist. "I was going to wake you to come with me, but I thought you might want to sleep a bit longer on your day off."
"Darlin, you're not working late." Guy said, drinking some coffee, never taking his eyes from her.
"I'm just being nice Guy."
"Get on your knees and be nice." Guy said, looking amused as Madonna clenched her jaw and swallow the words she wanted to say back to him. Guy sat back in his chair, enjoying the power he had over her. "Come on, darlin'...don't you have anything to say?"
"Yes. I need to take a shower, because I stink." Madonna said, slamming the bottle of vitamin water down on the table, splashing the red juice in the process as she slammed the lid down seperately.
"Clean that up." Guy said.
Madonna went to get a cloth, but Guy got up quickly and grabbed her ponytail, yanking her head back. Madonna looked up at Guy with a worried expression. "Lick it up."
"That's disgusting."
"Do it." Guy forced her head down and Madonna had no choice but to lick the spilled juice up. "You're such a filthy bitch. It really turns me on. Let's take that shower now."
"Guy, please." Madonna said, rubbing the back of her head when he let go of her.
"I will give you a choice. You can get down on your knees for me, or we can shower together." Guy said, his eyes lighting up at the thought of both choices.
Madonna sank to her knees, opening Guy's belt and pulling his trousers down. She wouldn't look at him, until Guy grabbed her chin, forcing her to tilt her chin right up. Madonna looked like she might cry, but looked up at Guy all the same as she blew him.

End of Part 5...

Part 6
Madonna dug her fingers into Guy's back, groaning as he grinded into her and she clamped her legs around him tightly. He kissed her neck as she tilted her head back, closing her eyes. She scraped her fingers down his back and gripped his bum hard, urging him deeper inside her and Guy groaned with her. Neither of them realised that Rocco had wandered into the room, clutching a teddy bear. He couldn't see what them, because they were under a duvet, but he heard them. Rocco left the room and went to Lourdes' room.
"Stop." Madonna held Guy off her and he groaned, rolling over to lie next to her.
"You can't wind a guy up like that M..."
"I thought I heard something." Madonna sat up and frowned. "The door is open. I'm just going to check on the children."
"Ok. Whatever." Guy sighed, not offering to go.
She pulled her slip down and put on a long silky gown, the went to Rocco's room. He wasn't in his bed, so she went to Lourdes' room. Madonna smiled when she found Rocco curled up into Lourdes, both of them fast asleep. She went back to bed, closing the door and taking off her gown.
"What is it?" Guy saw Madonna smiling to herself.
"Rocco is asleep with Lola in her bed. They look so cute." Madonna said, as she got back into bed.
"Do you think he came in here and we didn't realise?" Guy asked and Madonna shrugged.
"But...we can pick up where we left off..." She said, smoothing a hand over his chest.
"Darlin' it's late and I just want to sleep now. The moment has gone."
"That's not fair."
"Life isn't fair." Guy said, turning his back to her.
"You're not fair, you great selfish brute!" Madonna said, meaning to just push Guy, but she did it with such force he ended up pushed out of bed on the floor. Guy looked up from the floor at her and Madonna knew she should run. She started to scrable out of bed, when Guy threw himself on top of her on the bed and slapped her so hard across the cheek, that Madonna's cheek stung, burned and ached. He pinned her shoulders down hard, his face inches from hers.
"Don't you ever talk to me like that again, you vile little bitch." He spoke in a threatening tone and she was too scared to move a muscle. Guy climbed off her and Madonna held her cheek with both hands.
"I'm so sorry Guy." Madonna said in a small voice.
"Go to sleep." Guy growled, glaring at her.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Mommy, how did you get that red mark on your cheek?" Lourdes asked at breakfast the following day.
"I walked into a door when I was exhasuted." Madonna lied easily, not looking at Guy.
"What were you and daddy doing last night?" Rocco asked and Madonna nearly choked on her coffee.
"We were playing." Madonna replied, wiping her mouth.
"You were making weird noises." Rocco said.
"I was pinning mommy down and she was trying to escape." Guy added and Madonna arched an eyebrow at Guy, trying not to smile.
"Grown ups are weird." Lourdes muttered, and this time Guy and Madonna exchanged a smile.
"Were you...in our room last night Roccs?" Madonna asked and the little boy nodded. "How come baby?"
"I had a bad dream." Rocco said quietly.
"I took care of him." Lourdes said, sounding all grown up.
"Thank you Lola." Madonna smiled, looking at her daughter proudly. "What did you dream about Rocco?"
"That someone broke into our house and started hurting everyone."
"Roccs, I wouldn't let anyone hurt you, or mommy or Lola." Guy said softly and Rocco looked up at him, his worried expression turning into one of relief.
"Ok."
"Do you guys have everything for school?" Madonna asked, noticing Lourdes and Rocco had both finished their breakfast.
They rushed off to get their things, leaving Guy and Madonna alone. He moved his chair closer to hers. Madonna looked at Guy wearily, flinching as he touched her. He held up both hands in defense, then carefully tilted her jaw.
"Does it still hurt?" Guy ran his fingers over the red mark, which was turning into a bruise.
"Yes."
"God, I am so sorry." Guy said and very tenderly kissed the bruise.
"It was my fault. I deserved it." Madonna replied, looking directly at him.
"We were playing, huh?" Guy said, smirking as he let go of her chin and Madonna laughed.
"I couldn't think of anything better on the spot."
"We need a lock for that door."
"Don't be mean, Rocco had a nightmare."
"He could still knock." Guy suggested and Madonna smiled.
"I feel like a terrible mother. I should have comforted Rocco."
"How were you to know, darlin'? At least Rocco has Lola, so he wasn't completely alone."
"Yes, you're right."
"M, I think you're a fantastic mother."
"Don't, you're gonna make me cry." Madonna said, running both hands through her hair.
Guy kissed her forehead. "That wasn't my intention. How about if I take the children to school and you pick them up? I know you're starting work early."
"Sure." Madonna said, trying not to sound amazed, as she watched Guy leave the kitchen.

End of Part 6...

Part 7

It was a rare Saturday, when Madonna and Guy had the house completely to themselves - both Lourdes and Rocco had left with friends and neither of them had anything planned.
"Guy, I want to talk to you about something." Madonna said quietly.
"Now? Really? We have the house all to ourselves darlin'..." Guy slid his arms around her waist and kissed her neck.
"Guuuy. Please. Stop." Madonna tried unsuccessfully not to smile, holding his arms. "We can do that in a bit, we have the whole day." She said and he let go of her, rolling his eyes and sighing.
"Ok, ok. What is it darlin'?"
"I think you should talk to someone."
Guy snorted. "A therapist?"
"I was thinking more along the lines of anger management?" Madonna half suggested.
"M, I don't have a problem with anger." Guy said calmly, looking at her like she was crazy.
"The bruise on my face."
"Sometimes you need to be put in your place." Guy said and Madonna raised her eyebrows.
"I can listen, when you are being rational, Guy. You've been hurting and humiliating me lately and I think you would benefit from some sort of therapy. Or anger management."
"The trouble is M, you don't want to listen half the time."
"Pretty much like I don't get the feeling you are listening to me right now." Madonna sighed. "I love you Guy, but you aren't making it easy right now."
"You blow everything out of proportion. You're such a drama queen M."
"No, I want to help you. I want to help us. I'll come back when you're ready to listen." Madonna walked out of the room.
A couple of seconds later, she heard Guy follow.
"M, I'll listen." Guy called out and Madonna turned around at the top of the stairs.
"You will?"
"No." Guy grabbed Madonna's arms and held her so she was dangled over the edge of the stairs. Her toes curled over the top stair. If he let go of her, she would fall backwards down the stairs.
Her eyes were wide with fear. "W-what are y-you doing?" She could hardly get her words out.
"Showing you who is in charge."
All the colour drained from Madonna's face and it felt like her heart stopped. "Don't let go of me." She breathed.
"Our previous conversation is over." Guy said, still looking angry and Madonna nodded slightly. His expression softened and Guy grabbed Madonna back to safety.
Madonna was frozen on the spot, still scared. Her heart went from feeling like it had stopped, to suddenly hammering so hard against her chest, she started having a panic attack. Madonna's knees buckled and she dropped to the floor. Guy didn't do anything, except watch her. He didn't move to help. When Madonna eventually got her breath back, she started to cry. Then Guy walked past her, down the stairs and Madonna winced when she heard the front door slam.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Guy returned half an hour later and found Madonna upstairs, lying on her side on their bed. He could see she wasn't asleep and had been crying. She didn't move, but he went over and sat on the bed next to her.
"M, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to scare you like that. I don't know what I was thinking." Guy placed a hand on her arm.
"It's ok. What I said was stupid. I probably would have reacted in a similar way." Madonna said, without expression, or even looking at Guy.
"I do love you, darlin'."
"I know." Madonna looked up at Guy with watery eyes. "We still have the rest of the day." She tried to smile.
"Why don't you have a nice long bath, put something nice on and I'll take you out to lunch?" Guy suggested. "When we get back, we will still have ages before the children are dropped off."
"Where are we having lunch?"
"Wherever you want, M. You can pick the place."
"Can we go in a bit?" Madonna asked.
"Yeah, if you want to sleep first - "
"No." Madonna shook her head. "I want you. I need you." She pulled Guy on top of her, gazing into his eyes, then tenderly kissing him. Guy smiled, climbing on top of her. "Please be gentle." She whispered in his ear and he nodded.
Much to her surprise, he was incredibly gentle with her. Completely different from how he had been treating her lately. After, Madonna smiled at Guy, kissing him.
"How about we stay here for the rest of the day?" Madonna suggested.
"You don't want to go out for lunch?" Guy asked and Madonna shook her head.
"Why don't we take the children out to dinner later? Go out as a family?"
"That sounds perfect." Guy replied, climbing on top of Madonna, kissing her neck and she smiled, feeling safe beneath him now that he was in a better mood.

End of Part 7...

Part 8

"Guy, I'm really not in the mood." Madonna said, when started kissing her neck, and squeezed a breast over the thin-strapped cotton pyjama top. "I have a bad stomach and it's not the best time of the month."
Guy rubbed her stomach and Madonna didn't want to admit it, but her stomach did hurt less. "You know I don't mind some blood."
"It might get on the sheets." Madonna said, pressing a hand into Guy's chest, in a feeble attempt to hold him back.
"So? It's just us."
"And what if one of the children come in? Or the maid finds a patch of blood? It's disgusting."
"Well I don't think so. And I am in the mood. And that's all that matters. Besides, it will take your mind off your stomach hurting." Guy replied and Madonna opened her mouth to say something, then closed it, thinking it best not to answer him back. She shrugged and kissed him back.
Madonna pulled off her pyjama bottoms and tried not to look disgusted when Guy pulled out her tampon. It turned him on when she paled a little, looking at her own blood. Guy put it on his bedside table, then plunged his fingers inside her with such force her eyes were wide and there was a sharp intake of breath from her.
"Guy..." Madonna gasped and he smiled, taking his bloody fingers out of her and smearing her face with two stripes of blood on either cheek.
"You have no idea how hot you look right now." Guy whispered in her ear and Madonna raised her eyebrows, not sure how she felt about having her own blood smeared on her face. He pulled her top off, casting it aside on the floor.
"Ok." Madonna said, deciding to go with it and sat up and straddled Guy, spearing him into her hard so it hurt and she winced, visibly in pain and almost instantly regretted doing it because her insides felt delicate.
"That's the spirit, darlin'!" Guy said, slapping her ass and gripping it as she rode him hard.
Her theory was the harder she rode him, the less it would hurt. Unfortunately Madonna proved herself wrong and the noises she made weren't really ones of pleasure, but more out of pain. Guy could see in her face he was hurting her, but it turned him on even more to see her in pain. She pressed both hands down hard on his chest in an attempt to concentrate on something else to alleviate the pain. Guy sat up, pushing Madonna back slightly, and he was deeper inside her and she cried out in pain. He buried his face in between her breasts and she smiled a little, groaning, until he held her bum and started pulling her cheeks apart a bit so it hurt. Guy nuzzled his face into Madonna's neck and she didn't realise he bit her neck. He was causing her enough pain in other areas, she seemed a little numb to it any higher up. Guy pulled back and looked up at Madonna. Her eyes were blank - expressionless, like she was resigned to the pain, but from the noises she made and how ferociously she threw her lower body down onto him, he was fooled into thinking she was enjoying it.
Tears started slowly sliding down Madonna's face. Guy's reaction was to push her into the bed, and he licked her face - the blood and the tears mingled together. He knew somewhere at the back of his mind that she was probably in pain and wanted to stop, but that made him want to fuck her and hurt her even more.
"Guy, please." Madonna eventually looked up at him, holding his shoulders.
"We both know you are enjoying it as much as I am." Guy whispered in her ear. "I don't hear you saying no."
Madonna groaned as he picked up the pace, which had slowed down, grinding her right into the bed, as he pinned her wrists high abover her head, casuing her arms to start aching. Guy kissed along her jaw and licked the blood and tears on her face, then kissed her, forcing his tongue into her mouth in a violent way. In some perverse way, despite the tears and pain and blood stains on the bed, it was turning her on immensely. He had been breaking her down lately in such a way, that abuse was starting to feel almost normal to her. With one final, very violent thrust, Guy came. He climbed off her after and she rolled over, then sat up and looked down at the blood on the sheets.
"I needed that..." Guy smiled up at Madonna, covered in a sheen of sweat, as he held her wrist hard and she smiled down at him weakly.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna woke up the following day with an incredible pain between her legs and the stomach ache had returned. As she stumbled into the bathroom, she washed her face quickly. Madonna had fallen asleep with blood and tears on her face and it had dried. She got into the shower and scrubbed herself down almost visciously and dried herself and got dressed. Going back into the room she found Guy fast asleep and put the dirty tampon on his bedside table in the bin, wrapped in a plastic bag. Madonna pulled the covers back and saw the blood on her side. Guy stirred and opened his eyes, smiling.
"It's only blood, darlin'." He said, following her gaze.
She pulled back the bedsheet and showed him that the blood had gone through to the mattress.
"I can't let the maid do this room. I'll have to get a new mattress."
"Problem solved."
"Do you have any idea how sore I am today?"
"I didn't hear no complaints last night..." Guy said, lying back with a cat that got the cream grin on his face.
"I'm going to sort the kids out." Madonna said, leaving the room before she said something that would earn her a slap across the face. She couldn't deal with any more pain right now.
After getting Lourdes and Rocco breakfast and ready for school, Madonna left a note for the maid to leave her room for a couple of days and had an assistant order a new mattress for her and went to work.
Madonna could hardly concentrate at work. It was like Guy had melted her mind the previous evening. She could barely string a sentance together and she kept dropping things and walking into furniture.
"M, what is that on your neck?" Stuart asked and Madonna frowned, going to a mirror and noticed a bruise on her neck. Or where Guy had bitten her the previous evening. She blushed, pulling her hair out of the ponytail, frantically covering it.
"Nothing. Guy uh, got carried away." Madonna replied, not making eye contact with Stuart, who also looked embarrassed.
"Tell me to mind my own business, but is everything ok? It's not the first time you have come to work with a bruise..." Stuart did look worried when Madonna looked at him.
"Mind your own business Stuart." She said icily. "I'm going out for coffee. We need a break."
"Stay here, I will get it. Please try not to hurt yourself." Stuart said the last part out of concern and Madonna nodded, sitting on the sofa.
"Ok. Thanks. I'm sorry." Madonna pinched the bridge of her nose.
"It's fine." Stuart said, smiling, then left his apartment. Madonna sighed and lay on the sofa, trying to concentrate on her breathing and meditating, rather than the pain and betrayal she felt - not just by Guy, but her own body for enjoying it.

End of Part 8...

Part 9

"What's all this in aid of?" Madonna asked, when she arrived home and found a candle-lit meal for two in the kitchen.
"To say sorry." Guy replied, checking the food in the oven.
"But I'm late. Really late."
Guy shrugged. "You called. I put the children to bed." He pulled out a chair for Madonna, as she set her bag down.
"What are you saying sorry for?" Madonna asked quietly, looking up at Guy as he poured her a glass of wine.
"Last night. I went too far."
"I wasn't telling you to stop." Madonna said, as Guy plated up the food.
He stopped what he was doing and carefully brushed her hair aside, pressing his fingers lightly over the bruise where he'd bitten her. "I shouldn't have done this." Guy kissed it and Madonna closed her eyes momentarily.
"Thank you for putting the children to bed." Madonna said, trying to change the subject.
"Any time."
"Were they any trouble?" Madonna asked.
"No. I explained to them sometimes you have to work late, so you can get them the best of everything in life." Guy said, putting a plate in front of her and Madonna nodded, feeling almost a little sad that the children hadn't wanted her more.
"This looks great." She said, smiling. Guy was a good cook and Madonna liked his cooking more than even the fanciest restaurant they went to.
"How is the album going?" Guy asked and Madonna nearly choked on her food. They talked about work, but it had been a while lately.
"Slow. But I'm not in a rush." Madonna said, drinking some wine.
"No. I suppose a tour will be imminent when it's done." Guy said and Madonna realised he was making an effort to keep the edge out of his voice.
Madonna nodded. "The album is nowhere near done, so it won't be for quite some time." She said and Guy looked relieved. "About last night, it really doesn't matter."
"I hurt you when you were in pain. It was selfish."
"We're all a little selfish at times." Madonna replied.
"I was thinking we could go away at the weekend. Maybe a long weekend, or a mini break." Guy said.
"Aren't you busy with the film?"
"Darlin', I'm busy with the film, you are busy with the album, but I was thinking it would be nice if we took a break. Took the children somewhere nice and just relaxed."
"Oh." Madonna said, thinking I would relax if you stopped hurting me. "Where did you have in mind?"
"One of my mates was telling me how he went away with his missus to Aruba - how relaxing it was."
"Aruba. How long would you want to go for?" Madonna asked, trying to sound interested - hoping she looked more interested at least.
"Four or five days. The flight is only like four and a half hours from here."
"It sounds perfect." Madonna smiled, only half wanting to go.
"I do love you you know darlin'." Guy said and Madonna was surprised at how vulnerable he looked.
"I love you too baby. Even more when you feed me." Madonna said, placing a hand over Guy's on the table and he smiled, kissing her.
"We have dessert too."
"I'm going to have to work out even harder tomorrow." Madonna smiled, not completely trusting the apology dinner.
"Early morning run?" Guy suggested and she nodded.
For the rest of the meal they were pretty silent, but it was comfortable silence. They finished off the wine and went up to get ready for bed. Guy noticed Madonna kept rubbing the back of her neck.
"Are you in pain darlin'?" He asked.
"No, just mildly stressed."
"Sit down." Guy said and Madonna sat on the edge of the bed. He sat behind her and began massaging her shoulders. She closed her eyes and smiled as his fingers worked out knots. "Blimey darlin', you are tense!"
"Mmm, but what you're doing is so good." Madonna said, sighing with satisfaction. "A break is just what we need." She said, changing her mind and Guy smiled behind her, knowing he'd manipulated her into changing her mind.
They both got into bed, when Madonna started to get out again and Guy frowned.
"Where are you going?"
"My stomach hurts. I need a hot water bottle."
"Come here." Guy pulled Madonna by her wrist so she lay down on top of him and he reached inside her pyjama bottoms and rubbed her stomach.
"I should fire my massuese. You are way better." Madonna gazed over her shoulder at Guy, and kissed him. He smiled, nuzzling his nose into her neck and kissing the bruise and it sent a shiver of pleasure down her spine. Madonna fell asleep on top of Guy, with him rubbing her stomach until he also fell asleep.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
When they returned from a very long early morning run the following day, Madonna was trying to have a shower when Guy joined her and they ended up having sex. Guy was the first to get out, dry off and get dressed and go down to get some breakfast. Madonna got out of the shower and had just wrapped a towel around herself when she felt sick and just about made it to the toilet, despite being so close to it. Madonna frowned as she was sick repeatedly for several very long minutes. She rubbed her stomach and frowned, wondering if it was something she'd ate. Maybe Guy had cooked a dodgy piece of meat? Madonna cleaned her teeth and rinsed her mouth with mouthwash, then spashed water on her face. She looked very pale and her wet hair clung to the sides of her face. She pulled it back in a low ponytail at the nape of her neck and got dressed. Madonna looked at her reflection in the full-length mirror in her room. She pulled up her vest and smoothed her stomach, then pulled it back down and sighed.
"M, you look like crap." Guy said, when she started making coffee.
"I'm just a bit tired that's all." Madonna lied, deciding not to tell him she'd been sick.
"Are you working late today?"
"No. I might finish early."
"Maybe you should go to the doctor."
"Yeah."
"A lot of the guys working on the film aren't very well. There's a lot going around."
"Yes, you're right." Madonna said, thinking which of her staff she would send out to get a pregnancy test. She couldn't get it herself, because Guy would find out and get angry she hadn't confided in him first.
"Or maybe take a day off? I could look after you."
"That's really sweet of you Guy, but I'll be fine." Madonna gave hima grateful smile.
"Ok. But call me if you need anything, M. Anything." He kissed the top of her head, then left for work as she nodded and watched him leave.
Madonna buried her face in her hands on the kitchen table and started to cry. She sat there for a good ten minutes, until she decided who to call to get her a pregnancy test.

End of Part 9...

Part 10

"How can I still be having a period if I'm pregnant?" Madonna asked Dr Brown, trying to keep the hysteria out of her voice. She'd done a pregnancy test and got the same assistant she'd sent out to buy it to book her a doctor's appointment whilst she done it.
"Mrs Ritchie, you can't have your period during pregnancy. You can have intermittent bleeding that can seem like a period, but it isn't the same thing as a period."
"Oh. I was just worried. I never bled when I had my other two children." Madonna said, still looking worried.
"I can assure you there is nothing to worry about." The elderly doctor said.
"How far along am I?" Madonna asked in a barely audible whisper.
"Twelve weeks."
Madonna sighed, closing her eyes for a moment. "Thank you." She grabbed her coat and bag.
"If you have any concerns, you have my numbers Mrs Ritchie." Dr Brown said and she nodded, leaving the room and chewing her lower lip in an attempt to keep back tears. Madonna left the doctors with her bodyguards and went home.
She called Stuart and told him she wouldn't be going to work because she didn't feel very well. Madonna hated lying and spent the morning pacing various rooms in the house, wondering what she was going to tell Guy. Madonna her trousers down a little and her top up, smoothing a hand over her stomach. It definitely had a softness to it, although side on there was no sign of a bump.
"Darlin'? Are you feeling ok? Did you manage to go to the doctors?" Guy walked into the room and Madonna quickly pulled her top down.
"Uh, yeah. I went to the doctor."
"And?"
"I'm pregnant."
"You were bleeding the other day."
"Apparently it can happen."
Guy looked at Madonna for several long minutes. "Darlin', this is great news." He said, smiling as he held her hips. "But you don't seem very happy about it."
"I guess I'm in shock. I wasn't expecting it."
"But M, you love being a mother."
"I do. It's the hardest, most rewarding job in the world." Madonna said.
"How far along are you? I can barely tell." Guy said, holding Madonna at arm's length, looking down at her stomach.
"Three months."
Guy slipped a hand under Madonna's top and smoothed it over her stomach. "You're just a little softer than usual. How did I miss that?"
"How did I?" Madonna asked.
"I guess we were too busy fucking to notice." Guy said, smirking and Madonna couldn't help but smile. "I knew that would make you smile, darlin'." Guy kissed her forehead. "So...are you happy?"
"Yes." Madonna nodded. "I'm just in shock, I guess."
"I hope we have a girl. I would love to have a girl with you." Guy said, sounding excited and Madonna smiled again, thinking maybe Guy would start treating her better now that she was pregnant.
"Do you still want to go away?" Madonna asked.
"Yes. I think a break would do us both good." Guy replied.
"It's going to be the last time I can wear a bikini..." Madonna sighed.
"Shall we tell the children when we are away, or do you want to leave it a bit longer?"
"No, while we are away sounds perfect." Madonna said.
"Let's go out and get some lunch now. Celebrate." Guy suggested and Madonna nodded, she couldn't help but smile at how obviously excited he was.

End of Part 10...
materialgirl86
Part 15



When Madonna arrived back at the house, pleased she had her sling off, her happy mood didn't last for long when she heard arguing upstairs. She still had her cane and it took her a while to get up the stairs, and she headed straight for Lourdes' room, where Madonna heard her and Rocco getting louder and louder.
"Can't I go out for five minutes? What the hell is going on?" Madonna yelled and both Lourdes and Rocco stopped for a moment to look at her, then they both tried talking over each other. "ONE AT A TIME!!" Madonna thundered, silencing them both for a moment.
"I went out for a swim, and when I came back I found this freak going through my stuff!" Lourdes said, standing with her arms crossed.
"Don't call your brother a freak." Madonna said sharply, giving Lourdes an icy look.
"I was just seeing if she had any joints. Jesus." Rocco said quietly, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Ask. Don't go into my room when I'm not here, like some druggie rat with a problem - " Lourdes started, but Madonna stepped up close to her, her face thunderous.
"Stop calling him names. That's a disgusting thing to say."
"Are you not going to tell him off for going through my things?" Lourdes frowned.
"Yes, but I don't need you calling him names, acting like a childish brat, Lourdes." Madonna said calmly. Rocco laughed and Madonna glared at him, until he fell silent. "I'm disappointed in you, Rocco. I thought after that accident at Ashcombe you would make more of an effort."
"That's it? That's all you are going to say to him?" Lourdes said, looking at Madonna like she was crazy. "Why are you being so soft on him?"
"I am the mother here, Lola. I deal with each of my children as I see fit. Until you have children, you wouldn't understand."
"Oh, I think I do. You would have wiped the floor with me, if I had gone through someone else's room looking for drugs. But the favourite golden boy here, who can do nothing wrong gets away with everything!"
"How dare you." Madonna said in a low menacing tone, before she exploded. "I WAS TERRIFIED ROCCO WAS GOING TO DIE!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO SCARED IN  MY ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE!!!" She screamed, red in the face, so loud that Lourdes took a step back, looking shocked. Rocco also looked shocked. Then Madonna started to cry, feeling overwhelmed and sat on the edge of Lourdes' bed.
"Mom, I'm - " Lourdes stepped forward, but Madonna waved a hand dismissively.
"Get out. Go." She tried to speak firmly, but her voice trembled.
Lourdes grabbed a small backpack and left. Madonna looked up at Rocco, who looked awkward, like he didn't know what to do.
"You can't keep doing this."
"It isn't as easy as you think." Rocco muttered. "Did you really think I was going to die?"
Madonna nodded. "Yes." She wept.
"I'm sorry."
"I don't know what to do with you anymore Rocco."
"Is this a bad time?" Guy poked his head around the door, and both Madonna and Rocco looked at him. "Lola let me in...what happened?" He frowned, seeing Madonna crying.
"I went through her stuff looking for joints. We argued and mom screamed at us both." Rocco said and Madonna nodded.
"Can I speak to your mother in private?" Guy asked Rocco and he nodded. "Stay downstairs." Guy closed the door behind Rocco. "M, he can come and stay with me for a bit, if he is being a handful."
"Because I can't handle my own son?" Madonna replied, sniffing.
"You're still injured, M. It's not a crime to need some help."
"I am in pain."
"Are you taking anything?" Guy asked and Madonna nodded. "Maybe the medication is making you weepy."
"I over-reacted when I found Rocco in my medicine cabinet yesterday."
"What was he looking for?"
"Painkillers."
"I would have reacted the same way." Guy said, in an attempt to make Madonna feel better. "Let me at least take Rocco off your hands, so you can make up with Lola."
"She screamed at me that I was being too soft on Rocco. And she thinks he's the favourite."
"Oh for christ sake. That girl is so theatrical sometimes." Guy rolled his eyes.
"I don't know where she gets it from." Madonna replied, smiling and Guy laughed.
"Have a lie down. I can take Rocco out with Jacqui and we can have a talk."
"Thanks." Madonna looked grateful.
"At least you have your sling off." Guy said and Madonna nodded.
"I just need to get rid of this." She said, holding up her cane.
"Knowing you, it won't be for much longer." Guy smiled. "You know where I am if you need anything." He said, getting up to leave and she looked up at him with grateful eyes.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna woke up later and smelled something good coming from the kitchen. Slowly she went down to see what the source of the smell was, and found Lourdes in the kitchen cooking.
"I thought I would make dinner. To say sorry." Lourdes said hesitantly.
"I'm sorry for screaming at you, baby." Madonna said softly. "I don't favour Rocco. I love all of my children equally. And I am being softer on him, because I'm scared of pushing him to do something stupid." She said with tears in her eyes.
"Sorry mom. I didn't realise." Lourdes went over to where Madonna sat and wrapped her arms around her, kissing her cheek.
"I don't know if Rocco is coming back for dinner."
"Something smells good. Like it isn't mom's cooking." Rocco said and Lourdes and Madonna saw him smiling in the doorway.
"Don't push it." Madonna said, trying not to smile.
"Roccs I'm sorry." Lourdes went over and gave Rocco a big hug, squeezing him tightly.
"Lola, I can't breathe!" Rocco said and she held his arms. "I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have gone through your stuff."
"I didn't bring any with me anyway. I want to help you get better." Lourdes replied.
"Oh god, it's like having two moms." He rolled his eyes when she let go of him.
"Where did you go with Guy?" Madonna asked.
"We went for a bike ride. Around."
"But you are still recovering." Madonna looked concerned. "What if you'd had another accident?"
"Mom, it was a gentle bike ride, not the Tour de France." Rocco replied.
"I don't care. Please don't go riding again until you are feeling a hundred percent. Guy should have known better."
"It was me who persuaded him. He said you would flip."
Madonna rolled her eyes. "Are you determined to give me a heart attack?"
"Mom, do you want wine with dinner?" Lourdes cut in, to stop Madonna getting too worked up.
"Uh, yes. What do we have?" She asked and Rocco looked at Lourdes with a hint of admiration.
The doorbell went and Rocco went to answer it. It was a nanny, a couple of bodyguards, Mercy and David. They practically jumped on Rocco to give him a hug, then rushed to the kitchen and gave Madonna a hug. They had heard about the accident and it was the first time since it happened that they'd seen their mother and brother. Mercy went and wrapped her arms around Lourdes while she was cooking and Lourdes smiled.
"Hey squirt. How are you?" Lourdes asked, using an affectionate nickname for her younger sister.
"Glad to be here. And that mom and Rocco are ok."
"Yes. Me too." Lourdes draped a loose arm around Mercy's shoulders and they both looked at Rocco, David and Madonna all talking and laughing, while the nanny and bodyguards took their things up to their rooms.


End of Part 15...




Part 16




"Mom, stop pacing. You're making me nervous." Rocco said quietly.
They were in the hospital, waiting for the doctor to return with Rocco's x-rays. It was a visit to see if the fractures were mending. His sprained wrist and ankle had healed pretty fast, and Madonna was hoping his fractures had healed too.
"How long does it take to walk from one end of the hospital to the other to collect a few x-rays? I could do it faster, and I have a cane!" Madonna said and Rocco laughed.
"You're probably right."
"How do you feel anyway?" Madonna asked, smoothing Rocco's very short stubbly hair. She looked like a typical concerned mother.
"I'm not in much pain anymore."
"Are you just saying that because you know I worry?" Madonna asked, looking a little suspicious.
"No, I am telling the truth. I know I don't give you a whole lot of reasons to trust me lately, but I am telling the truth." Rocco replied, looking sorry that Madonna didn't trust him.
"Good." Madonna leaned forward and kissed his forehead. "I don't want you to be in pain."
"How much longer do you have to walk with the cane?" Rocco asked. "I mean, it's my fault you are even walking with it."
"You didn't make me get on a horse and tear across the countryside."
"But I gave you a reason to do that."
"If I can forgive you, then you need to forgive yourself, Roccs." Madonna said softly.
"I guess."
"I was thinking if we stay here for a few more days, then head back to the city. Is that ok?" Madonna asked and Rocco nodded.
"I actually miss it."
"God, so do I!" Madonna said, letting out a sigh of relief. All the peacefulness of the English countryside and the Hamptons was starting to drive her insane. Shortly before that she'd been staying with her father at his vineyard in Michigan, which has also been quiet. "I miss attempting sleep with lots of noise around me." Madonna said and Rocco laughed.
"Mom, you're such a weirdo sometimes." He teased and she smiled.
The doctor returned with the x-rays, and Madonna mouthed 'finally' to Rocco when he was busy putting the x-rays on a light screen and looked at them.
"Sorry for the delay, every x-ray in the hospital seems to have come back today." The doctor said, leaning forward to get a better look at Rocco's x-rays. Madonna went over and stood next to him.
"Are Rocco's bones all healed now?"
"Yes. They have all healed nicely." The doctor said, and put an old x-ray with the fractures next to the new one, to show Madonna a comparison. "See, these have healed. They no longer exist." He pointed to the areas were the fractures would have been on the new x-ray and Madonna nodded. "Although I advise you to take more care the next time you're on a quad bike, young man." The doctor said, turning to Rocco, who now sat on the edge of the bed and nodded. "And wear a helmet. Those things can kill."
"Well thank you for your time." Madonna said hastily, ushering Rocco out of the room and walking with him.
"Mom, are you alright?" Rocco asked, when they were halfway along the hallway.
"Yes. I just don't need reminding I could have lost you, that's all." Madonna said, her voice wobbling.
"I think he was telling me off for being reckless, more than he was having a go at your parenting." Rocco replied, linking his arm with Madonna's as they walked. She smiled and nodded, liking Rocco's sudden show of affection.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Guy and Jacqui invited Madonna and all the children and staff over for dinner that evening, and they sat out on the back porch, which was pretty much on the beach.
"Are you and Jacqui like bff's now?" Lourdes asked Madonna quietly, when the dinner table was noisy.
"No. But she did come with me in the ambulance. And the accident made me realise life is too short to be a bitch to people that are going to be in your life."
"I guess. You didn't have a head injury did you?" Lourdes asked.
"Don't be mean." Madonna smiled. "She's ok."
"Look over there." Rocco said, sitting next to them both.
David and Mercy were playing with Guy and Jacqui's children - Raphael (6), Rivka (5) and Levi (3) on the sand. They were all building sandcastles, it looked like they were trying to build a village of building out of sand.
"It's a shame adults don't get on that well." Rocco said.
"We are trying." Madonna said.
"I know. I could still hear in that hospital, before I woke up. Even though you were outside my room with Jacqui, I also heard dad say you hugged Jacqui."
"She was there for me. And I don't really have a problem with her." Madonna replied.
"I'm gonna go and play with them for a while." Rocco said and he joined the other children and started playing.
"Mom, there's something I have to tell you." Lourdes said quietly, while Guy and Jacqui cleared the plates and went to get more wine.
"What's wrong?" Madonna frowned, picking up the seriousness of her tone.
"There has been a lot of...crap printed about you and Rocco while you've been away. About him going off the rails, questioning your parenting skills, things like that. I know you don't allow magazines or newspapers at home, but I just thought you should know. To be prepared."
"To be honest, I'm glad you told me, Lola. I never even thought about what would be written about us." Madonna looked at Rocco playing down on the sand.
"It's all total garbage. Anyone who knows you and Rocco and our family knows there isn't one grain of truth in it." Lourdes said in a fiercely protective of her family way.
"You're right. But I still need to protect him." Madonna said, looking at Rocco laughing and smiling with his brothers and sisters.
"I know you have the best intentions mom, but if you protect him too much, he might do something stupid again." Lourdes said and heard Madonna's sharp intake of breath.
"Are you enjoying yourselves?" Jacqui asked, smiling as she poured wine for them all.
"Yes, thank you." Madonna smiled and so did Lourdes, but they exchanged a worried look when Jacqui wasn't looking.




End of Part 16...




Part 17




"Mom, you're not walking with the cane anymore - that's good." Rocco said enthusiastically, as he sat next to Madonna on the sand.
"Oh yeah." Madonna said with little expression, looking at the waves crashing gently on the shore.
"Are you alright? You've been quiet since last night. You haven't fell out with Jacqui already have you?"
"No."
"Dad?"
"No."
"Then what is it?"
"I'm going to miss the peace and quiet of this place, England and Michigan when we go back to the city tomorrow." Madonna lied, looking at Rocco.
He laughed. "Are you being serious?
"What?"
"You love noise."
"Not all the time." Madonna smiled a little.
"Is that really all that's wrong?"
"I'm still worried about you." Madonna replied, squeezing his knee.
"I'll be fine."
"It's my job to worry about you."
"After what you said in Lola's room, I decided I need to try harder. I didn't realise you were so scared." Rocco said quietly.
Madonna draped an arm around Rocco's shoulders, kissing his cheek, then pressed her forehead to his. "I love you Roccs. I would do anything for you."
"I know." Rocco put an arm around her waist, resting his head on her shoulder.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Walking through JFK airport was a nightmare, when Madonna arrived with her children, the nanny and the two bodyguards. Two more bodyguards met up with them to walk them through all the paparazzi that were waiting. Madonna wore a trilby and sunglasses and kept her head down. She held Mercy's hand and Lourdes and David kept close to her. Much to her surprise, Rocco went up and took Madonna's other hand. She looked at him and smiled. The paparazzi weren't just taking pictures, they were shouting things to Madonna and Rocco that weren't particularly pleasant.
"I'm gonna hit one of those assholes in a minute!" Lourdes said, starting in the direction of one of the photographers.
"He isn't worth it Lola." The nanny said, grabbing her away.
"Mom, are you just going to let them talk to you like that?" Lourdes frowned.
"Yes. Don't react to it Lola. That's what they want." Madonna said quietly. "Don't stress yourself out baby."
"Ugh." Lourdes rolled her eyes and gave the paparazzi filthy looks as she continued walking through the airport.
There were paparazzi outside, near their car and the bodyguards stood more closely around Madonna and the children, until they were safely inside it. A few of the airport security intervened, attempting to move the paparazzi away. Madonna still didn't feel relaxed in the car and pinched the bridge of her nose, squeezing her eyes shut.
"Mom. You know everything they say and think and print is a load of shit." Rocco whispered and Madonna opened her eyes and looked at him.
"Don't swear. I'm a bad enough mother according to them."
"No you're not." Rocco whispered fiercely.
"I'm tired and everything they said just got to me." Madonna said, sighing.
"We're nearly home mom." Rocco replied and she nodded, leaning into him.
It wasn't until they arrived back at the house that Madonna actually smiled, when she found her father there.
"Hello Nonnie. I've missed you." Silvio said.
"Oh dad! I'm so glad you're here!" Madonna flung her arms around her father and he held her, smiling.
"I was so worried about you Nonnie, when I heard about the accident."
"I'm fine now." Madonna said, looking over Silvio's shoulder at Rocco, who stood in the doorway looking awkward.
"And how is my grandson? You gave Joan and I quite a scare also." Silvio held his arms out and Rocco went over and hugged his granddad.
"I'm so sorry." Rocco said.
"The main thing is you're both ok." Silvio said, his arm still around Rocco as he looked at Madonna and she nodded.
"Where is Joan?"
"I came alone. Do you mind if I stay for a while?"
"Of course not dad." Madonna smiled again and Rocco was glad Silvio was there to make her happy.




End of Part 17...




Part 18




"I was terrified when I heard about the accident." Silvio said quietly, the following morning.
He and Madonna were the first two up the following morning, sat drinking coffee and Silvio was eating cereal.
"You probably think I'm completely crazy, but I had to try and rescue him." Madonna said, running her finger around the rim of the mug.
"No, I think you are a very protective mother, Nonnie." Silvio said, placing a hand over hers on the table. "I'm proud of you. I was scared that I might have lost you and Rocco."
"It will take more than a little accident to loose us." Madonna said dismissively.
"I hope you don't mind me coming to stay..."
"Of course I don't, dad!" Madonna kissed his cheek. "There were all these paparazzi at the airport. They were being vile and it was so nice to find you here."
"Good. I was thinking of staying for maybe a week or so? I want to look after you. You're always so busy looking after everyone else."
"I have children and staff and friends, dad. I'm fine. But thank you." Madonna smiled.
"How is Rocco doing?"
"Better since the accident. I had a kind of melt down a few days ago and I think he realises how scared I am for him." Madonna said quietly.
"He's a good kid."
"I know. I wish he would forgive himself for the mistakes he's made though. He seems to have some real self-esteem issues." Madonna frowned, sounding concerned.
"Rocco is lucky enough to have a loving family around him. He'll be fine." Silvio said with certainty and Madonna smiled weakly.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Later that day, when the house was empty, Rocco sat outside in the sunshine doing his schoolwork. Silvio went out to talk to him, taking a couple of soft drinks. When Rocco looked up, Silvio thought how much he resembled Madonna in the face. He had looked so much like Guy when he was little, but now he looked like his mother too. He sat next to Rocco, handing him a drink.
"Thanks grandad."
"How is the schoolwork going?"
"Good thanks. They said I can go back in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to it actually. I never thought I would miss school so much..." Rocco said and Silvio laughed.
"They're precious years. Make the most of it."
"I will." Rocco drank a little, then looked at Silvio shyly. "I thought you would be mad with me."
"Why?"
"Mom could have died because I was so stupid."
"I was worried about losing you too, Rocco. Anger gets no one anywhere. I just want you to be happy, like your mother does." Silvio said, placing a hand on Rocco's shoulder. "But I do agree with her - you need to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes."
"Yeah, but now all these nasty spiteful stories are being printed about mom because of me. "
"Have you ever known your mother to let some malicious gossip stop her living her life?" Silvio asked and Rocco shook his head.
"But I wish there was something I could do."
"Make her life easier, by going to school, studying hard and not smoking drugs. That's a start." Silvio suggested.
"I hurt her."
"You were hurt in that accident too."
"No, I hurt mom a couple of times before."
Silvio looked surprised. "Oh...? What did you do?"
"I shoved mom so she fell back and cut her leg on a coffee table at my dad's house. There was another time when I was staying with mom in her cottage that I was out and when I got back she was going through my stuff, looking for cannbis. I flipped out and lunged at her, pinning her to the floor. She was struggling - I think I hurt her more than she let on. And of course she came off her horse chasing me on the quad bike." Rocco couldn't bring himself to look at Silvio and all the colour drained from his face.
"What - what did your mother say?" Silvio asked, almost too shocked to speak.
"She forgave me every time." Rocco finally looked at Silvio. "It makes it worse. I wish she would yell at me."
"Madonna is a very forgiving woman." Silvio said.
"Do you hate me?"
"No. I could never hate you Rocco." Silvio replied. "You are obviously sorry."
"I need to finish this." Rocco said, motioning to his laptop.
"I'll leave you to it." Silvio said, deciding to go and talk to Madonna about her son. He hesitated by the french doors, looking down the garden at Rocco, who smiled and raised his can. Silvio felt uneasy about what Rocco had told him.




End of Part 18...




Part 19




"Dad, is everything ok? You look pale." Madonna frowned, when Silvio walked into her office.
"I was just talking to Rocco and he told me he hurt you."
"Sit down." Madonna got up and pulled a chair out for Silvio and he sat down. "Dad, it's fine honestly. I fell over a coffee table and Rocco pinned me down, aside from the accident, that's it."
"That's it? He sounds unstable, Nonnie - I was worried for you when he told me." Silvio said softly, looking concerned.
"Rocco has been having a tough time lately. I don't know if it's all to do with the cannabis. He's been depressed too." Madonna replied.
"Does he scare you?" Silvio asked. "Be honest Nonnie."
"No. He's my son, Rocco doesn't scare me."
"Does Guy know?"
"Yes." Madonna sighed, tucking a few strands of hair behind her ears. "I'm pretty sure he would have socked Rocco, if I hadn't been close when he told him."
"Rocco told Guy he hurt you?"
"Yes. He felt guilty."
"Nonnie, he might you again. Just because he is doing ok at the moment, it doesn't mean he isn't capable of slipping up." Silvio said. "Maybe he might benefit from some therapy or anger management or both?"
"Rocco is going back to school soon, I'm sure he'll be fine."
"You go to therapy Nonnie. And you've told me many a time how much it helps. Why don't you want Rocco to go?"
"I never said that."
"You were dismissive."
Madonna sighed. "I'm his mother. If Rocco has any problems, I want him to come to me." She said with a fierce edge to her voice.
"It doesn't make you any less of a mother to accept outside help." Silvio continued. "I can see you do an amazing job with those children. But maybe Rocco needs to talk to someone who he doesn't see all the time or live with. Sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger than someone you know."
"I guess." Madonna sighed. "I'll think about it. You didn't get angry with Rocco did you?"
"No. He's your son. I am just worried about you, Nonnie. Is this why Guy is following you around at the moment? In case Rocco hurts you?"
"Not really. It's because I have been struggling with Rocco." Madonna looked down at the floor, clearly feeling ashamed.
"I can always stay on for a bit longer."
"Would Joan mind?"
"Not at all."
"It would be nice." Madonna smiled.
"I want to look after you Nonnie." Silvio said, as Madonna rested her head on his shoulder, from where she sat next to him.
"I'll talk to Rocco."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna knocked on Rocco's bedroom door that evening, after dinner, when everyone went off to do their own thing.
"Come in." Rocco said.
She went in and closed the door, sitting on his bed. "What are you doing?"
Rocco was sat at his desk, on his laptop. "School work."
"You're working hard lately. I'm proud of you Roccs."
"Thanks." Rocco smiled a little.
"Why did you tell dad you hurt me?"
Rocco shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't plan too. It just sort of came out. Does he hate me?"
"No, he just wants you to be happy. Like I do."
"So he doesn't think I'm mental then?"
"No one thinks you're mental, Rocco."
"I've been thinking...could I see your therapist? I'm not saying I want to go regularly or anything, I just want to maybe see what it would be like...to talk to someone else." Rocco asked hesitantly.
"Oh. I can ask her. I don't know if she has any patients who are minors, but I'm sure she could put me in touch with someone." Madonna replied. "If you're sure."
"I almost didn't want to ask. In case you got offended." Rocco said, and much to his suprise Madonna laughed. "What's so funny?"
"I came here, half afraid to suggest therapy, and you were worried I would get offended."
Rocco laughed. "I guess we're as bad as each other then."
"Too alike." Madonna grinned.
"Did grandad suggest therapy?"
"Yes. But I've been thinking about suggesting it for a while. There never seemed to be a good time. He also suggested anger management. But I don't know, you haven't hurt me for a while now." Madonna chewed her lower lip.
"I can try that too." Rocco shrugged.
"Roccs, I'm so proud of you baby. You seem like a different person lately, since you haven't been on cannabis."
"I decided to grow up." Rocco said. He went and sat next to Madonna on the bed. "Mom, I really really am sorry for everything - all the pain I've caused you. I was a jerk and you don't deserve it at all."
"I forgave you all along, baby." Madonna wrapped her arms around Rocco and he held on to her. "I love you." She whispered and Rocco gripping her tighter told her he felt the same way.




End of Part 19...




Part 20

1 month later

Silvio had stayed with Madonna for two weeks after she'd arrived home with the children - until she had completely recovered from the accident and Rocco was back in school. Guy and Jacqui stayed for the rest of the month, until Rocco was settled back in school. His grades were better and he had reconnected with his friends. He also went to therapy and anger management, deciding they were something he needed. Madonna went to see Guy and Jacqui, just as they were getting to leave and head back to the UK.
"I wanted to thank you both for coming here and helping with Rocco. It was a huge help to me too." Madonna said, looking eternally grateful.
"Rocco seems happier than he was before. So I think we've done a good job, but you have had him most of the time, M - so I think you deserve most of the credit." Guy said, looking at Madonna with admiration.
"It was a joint effort. And thank you for being patient with me, Jacqui, even when I was a bitch. And for coming in the ambulance with me." Madonna said and Jacqui smiled warmly.
"You're most welcome."
"If anything happens with Rocco, call me any time, M. We can always come back and stay, can't we J?" Guy said, looking from Madonna to Jacqui, who nodded.
"Of course."
"Thank you."
"Are you sure you feel completely better?" Guy asked Madonna. "Because I know your idea of feeling better is different from everyone else's."
Madonna rolled her eyes and sighed in an exaggerated way. "My god! It's like having a conversation with me dad!" She said and Jacqui laughed.
"I do still care about you M. I don't want you over doing it."
"I'm fine. Honestly. And if I wasn't, I have staff and family and friends. I'm not some damsel in distress all on her own."
"Such a drama queen." Guy shook his head, smiling.
"I'll leave you too it. See you around." Madonna said and left. She drove to Rocco's school, parking across the road so he wouldn't see her.
Rocco left the building talking and laughing with Dom, his best friend and his other friends. Madonna smiled and drove home. She wasn't due to pick him up, but wanted to check he was ok. Madonna ran a few errands, then arrived home to find Rocco helping himself to a drink in the kitchen.
"Why were you at school just now? Were you supposed to pick me up?"
"No. I just wanted to check you were ok." Madonna went over to Rocco, wrapping her arms around him and kissed his cheek. "You're my baby and I just wanted to check you were ok. Having a good day. It's so nice to see you smiling and laughing again."
"Mom. Seriously. I cannot breathe right now!" Rocco said.
"Sorry." Madonna didn't realise how hard she was gripping him.
"I love you mom." Rocco said and Madonna gasped and looked like she might cry. "Oh no. Don't cry. I just wanted you to know. How grateful I am you're my mom." He said and Madonna chewed her lower lip. This time it was Rocco who hugged her, and he gripped Madonna tightly, not out of anger, but out of love.




The End.
materialgirl86
Part 7



Madonna turned around, looking up at Rocco with an expression that was equal parts horror and worry. She held up the bag of cannabis.
"Again, what are you doing going through my things?" Rocco asked, frowning.
"Where were you? I was worried sick! Everyone has been looking for you!" Madonna said, almost yelling.
Rocco rolled his eyes, snorting. "I don't care! Don't go through my stuff!" He lunged at Madonna, who was still on the floor and tried grabbing the bag.
"Rocco! Get off! You're hurting me! Rocco, damnit!" Madonna struggled beneath him, surprised at how strong her son was.
"Give me the cannabis and I'll let go!" Rocco said, trying to pin Madonna to the floor, but she rolled over onto her front, clutching the bag beneath her. Rocco didn't give up - he sat on her bum and tried to get his hands beneath her to grab his drugs.
"I can't do that, Roccs. You shouldn't have that stuff." Madonna said breathlessly.
"MOM." Rocco yelled in her ear. "Now is not the time to be stubborn."
"I'm not scared of you." Madonna lied, glancing back over her shoulder at Rocco.
Rocco lowered his face, so it nearly touched Madonna's. "Maybe you should be." He said in a low, menacing tone.
"I love you." Madonna said fiercely.
"That's kind of irrelevant." Rocco said, really digging his hands under her and finally ripping the bag from her hands with such force, as he stood up Madonna was thrown over onto her back. She lay on the floor, looking up at Rocco and frowned slightly.
"Where were you?" She whispered, wincing and clutching her lower back as she sat up.
"You keep going through my stuff. Where do you think I was?"
Madonna shook her head. "Not getting more?"
"You keep raiding my room." Rocco said, shoving the plastic bag he'd wrestled from her in his pocket.
"Because I care about your health!" Madonna said, grabbing the edge of his bed to help her get to her feet.
Rocco suddenly felt bad, watching her. "Mom, I didn't mean to hurt you..."
"It's fine." Madonna waved a hand, sitting on the edge of his bed. "I need to phone Guy and my bodyguards to let them know you are fine. They're still out looking for you."
"Are you going to tell dad I attacked you?" Rocco looked worried, sinking to his knees in front of Madonna.
She shook her head. "No, I'm not. I don't want Guy flying off the handle, it doesn't help anyone. I will tell him you were out with friends."
"You are telling dad two lies?" Rocco frowned. "Does this mean I owe you?"
"No, Rocco. I am just trying to help you." Madonna said, holding both his cheeks, stroking her thumbs across them and tenderly kissing his forehead.
"But I could have really hurt you. I hurt your back." Rocco said quietly.
"I know you didn't mean too. Not really." Madonna said softly.
"Thank you." Rocco said and Madonna was surprised at how genuinely grateful he looked.
She let go of his face and he watched her make the calls and lie very calmly to them all.
"I guess I should really stay in my room." Rocco said, looking at Madonna.
"No."
"You're not grounding me? Why?" Rocco looked confused. "I really don't get your parenting mom."
"You don't have children, Roccs. I don't think spending a lot of time alone in your room is doing you any good."
"Not really, no."
"I think I might go and have a lie down. It's been a hectic day. If you want to go out, leave me a note or text me, ok?" Madonna stood up, briefly touching her back.
"Mom, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you or threaten you." Rocco said, looking deeply regretful.
"Apology accepted." Madonna said, kissing his cheek, unable to think of anyting else to say and she went to her room and closed the door.
She felt pretty shook up. Her lower back hurt and Rocco had twisted one of her wrists and clawed at her ribs. Madonna went into the bathroom and took a couple of painkillers. Her hand shook as she held the glass of water and she had to hold it in both hands. She set the glass down, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Madonna burst into tears. It had been building up since Rocco had attacked her and she suddenly felt very overwhelmed. His behaviour was getting more out of hand and she didn't know how to deal with him.
There was a knock at her door and Madonna sniffed, wiping her eyes. "Come in." She said, going back into her room.
"Mom, I'm so sorry! I really shouldn't have hurt you like that...I'm such an asshole." Rocco said and to Madonna's astonishment her started to cry.
"Don't cry baby!" Madonna started to cry as she wrapped her arms around Rocco and hugged him tightly. "I can forgive you anything, Roccs, you're my boy." She whispered in his ear.
"You shouldn't have too." Rocco said quietly. "I think you should have this." He pulled the bag of cannabis out of his trouser pocket and put it on Madonna's bedside table. "I'll get the rest." Rocco said, going back to his room.
Madonna followed him. "What made you change your mind?" She asked.
"Attacking my mom has got to be a low point." Rocco replied. Madonna watched him retrieve several more bags of cannabis from various hidden places in his room.
There were a pile of them on his bed. Madonna frowned.
"Why did you go out to get more if you had all this?"
"I wanted to get away from you. And I didn't think you would search my room."
"To be honest I was seeing if you had packed some clothes..."
"You thought I was running away?" It was Rocco's turn to sound surprised.
"Yes. I was even going to look for your passport."
"Mom, I wouldn't leave the country on my own."
"You're very independant." Madonna said, almost aggressively. "Sorry. You were right. I find it hard that you're getting older. But that's my problem, not yours."
"I'm not making it easier though."
"Rocco." Madonna held both his hands, looking into his eyes. "I just want you to be happy. If that takes time, I will do whatever it takes to help you."
"Don't." Rocco looked distraught and like he might cry again.
"Don't what?"
"Don't be nice to me. I don't deserve it." Rocco sighed.
"You do."
"I should tell dad I hurt you."
"Why?"
"Because if he hurt me, I would deserve it."
"I wouldn't let Guy hurt you, Rocco. You're my son too." Madonna said protectively.
"With all due repect mom, you're tiny up to dad. You couldn't stop him."
"I would try." Madonna said, arching an eyebrow.
"It's really eating me, what I done."
"How about we tell him together?"
Rocco shook his head. "I need to man up and tell him on my own."
"What if I'm around? Just in case? Guy doesn't need to know I'm there. I could watch from afar."
"That could work." Rocco said, shrugging. "Look mom, if you want me to go back and stay with dad, I would understand."
"No!" Madonna said straight away. " I mean, I love having you here."
"Can we go now? I just want to tell him and get it over with." Rocco said.
"Sure." Madonna replied.
They rode up to Ashcombe and Madonna let Rocco ride on ahead, right up to the house. Guy was outside washing his car. Madonna stayed back, moving into the tree line and resting her bike against a tree, watching them.
"Do you have any idea how worried your mother was when you disappeared? How worried I was?" Guy said, sponging the car more aggressively.
"Sorry." Rocco said quietly.
"Your attitude sucks, Rocco. Seriously you need to start - "
"I attacked mom." He interrupted Guy, who frowned, dropping the sponge into the bucket of water.
Madonna bit her thumbnail from where she stood. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but their body language put her on edge. It was very intense. Rocco actually looked nervous and Guy looked like he was about to get incredibly angry.
"You what?" Guy said, walking around the car, drawing himself up to his full height. "What did you just say?"
"I got home and mom was going through my stuff. She found another bag of cannabis. I lunged at her and tried pinning her on the floor. She wouldn't give it to me, and I hurt her back and maybe her ribs and wrists." Rocco said.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU DON'T ATTACK YOUR OWN FUCKING MOTHER!" Guy went ballistic and Rocco thought he was going to hit him, so he ran. Guy grabbed two handfuls of Rocco's shirt and pushed him into a tree, so his feet were off the floor. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't..." Guy said through gritted teeth.
"GUY - STOP IT!!" Madonna screamed, running towards him. "Put him down! He's your son, for christ sake!" She pulled at Guy's t-shirt.
"I'm not letting him get away with attacking you!" Guy shouted, still red-faced.
"More violence is NOT the answer! Rocco has to live with what he's done. That is punishment enough. And I know he will make it up to me."
"Words."
"It's not hard to see where he gets his violent streak from..." Madonna shot back and Guy let go of Rocco and turned to face her.
"Excuse me if I'm not going to sit down and chant and pray and hope that solves everything!" Guy said sarcastically. "I don't want him to hurt you - you're tiny."
"Will EVERYONE stop going on about how FUCKING tiny I am?!" Madonna screamed. Both Guy and Rocco raised their eyebrows.
"I did apologise twice." Rocco said and Guy glared at him.
"You say he gets his violent streak from me, but I have NEVER hurt a woman. I never hit you or hurt you physically when we were married." Guy said, looking at Madonna. Rocco started to cry and both Guy and Madonna looked at him.
"Rocco, don't cry." Madonna started to hug him.
"Man up! Take responsibility for what you have done." Guy said aggressively and Madonna looked at Guy like she wished him dead on the spot.
"He has!" Madonna said, holding Rocco. "I didn't want to tell you what happened, because I knew you would react badly. It was actually Rocco who convinced me he wanted to tell you."
"Guilty conscience."
"I don't care what it was."
"Just hit me. I deserve it." Rocco let go of Madonna, his eyes red-rimmed, holding his hands out like he was surrendering.
"No you don't!" Madonna frowned.
"Don't tempt me, boy!" Guy growled.
Madonna stood directly in the middle of them both, looking at Guy. "If you hit him, I will do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure you never see him again." She said, pointing a finger at him, her eyes chips of ice. "And that is not a threat. That is a promise."
"Mom, don't." Rocco touched Madonna's shoulder, shaking his head. "This is all my fault. All the arguments you have lately are probably because of me. And you were starting to get along much better than you did before."
"I think you should come back here." Guy said, having calmed down. "You clearly can't be trusted with your mother."
"No, that's the easy thing to do. I've already told Rocco he can stay with me." Madonna said firmly.
"Did you see what you done to her leg on that coffee table, when you pushed her?" Guy asked, quickly dropping to his knees and pulling up Madonna's trouser leg, showing Rocco the thin red line and bruises going down her calf. Rocco swallowed a lump in his throat.
"It doesn't matter baby. I tripped back over that table." Madonna said softly.
"But I pushed you!" Rocco clapped a hand to his mouth, looking horrified.
Guy stood up and Madonna quickly pushed her trouser leg down. "You need to talk to a shrink." He said, pointing at Rocco. "And you need to talk to yours more." Guy said to Madonna.
"And you need to address your anger issues."
"Well excuse me for caring when a guy hits a woman."
"Rocco, do you want to go back to the cottage? I need to talk to Guy alone." Madonna said, pulling a key out of her bag. "This is the spare. Keep it."
"Thanks mom." Rocco took it, looking at Guy wearily, then quickly grabbed his bike and rode away.
"He is practically a man. So don't tell him to 'man up'. It took guts for him to come up here and tell you." Madonna said.
"With you here too?"
"I talked him into me being around. I knew you would try to hurt him."
"M, I worry about him hurting you."
"Rocco wouldn't ever really hurt me." Madonna said with complete confidence.
"How can you be so sure?" Guy asked.
"Because you should have seen the state he was in after. Rocco apologised twice. And he cried. I can't remember the last time I saw him cry. He looked like a vulnerable boy. He needs our help Guy, however difficult he is being. We are his parents, we're supposed to protect him." Madonna said. "And if he stayed here, I would now worry that you would hurt him."
"As if. I know you would steam up here and knock my block off." Guy said, almost smiling. "If you ever feel scared, or threatened, phone me M."
"Ok. As long as you promise me to never hurt or threaten Rocco again." Madonna said and Guy sighed. "Guuuy..." She said in a warning tone.
"I promise to never hurt or threaten Rocco." Guy said.
"Thank you." Madonna grabbed her bike, swinging her leg over it.
"Take care."
"I will." She said, and rode away.



End of Part 7...




Part 8




"Is it mother's day over here?" Madonna asked, sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes, as she yawned.
Rocco had just brought her breakfast in bed on a tray. There was muesli and coffee, a couple of croissants and orange juice. He had even picked a few wildflowers from the garden and put them in a vase.
"No. I want to say sorry and thank you." Rocco said, setting the tray down on her lap and sitting on the edge of the bed next to Madonna.
"Not too many people say that in the same sentence." Madonna said. "This looks great, thank you."
"I doubt many people are as stupid as I am." Rocco said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Those bruises and that cut on the back of your leg look painful. And I hurt your back yesterday."
"Rocco, I've had worse than a cut and bruises and little back pain." Madonna said softly. "And I don't think you're stupid at all." She said, rubbing his arm.
"You were right."
"About what?"
"I feel depressed."
"Cannabis can contribute to anxiety and depression you know." Madonna said carefully, not wishing to start another argument as she sipped some of her coffee and ate some of the muesli.
Rocco looked at Madonna. "Smoking it kind of mellows me out. It takes the edge off, you know?"
"It's not a long term solution though."
"Mom, it's a bit of cannabis, not heroin." Rocco rolled his eyes, sighing.
"People sometimes go on to harder stuff, when softer drugs no longer do anything for them." Madonna replied.
"All you really care about is your reputation though. You couldn't possibly have a junkie for a son, because how embarrassing would that be?" Rocco said, not aggressively, but Madonna looked taken aback.
"That's not at all true. I don't find you embarrassing, Rocco. I just want to help you."
"I should have spent Christmas with you. I was a brat...I just didn't want to be on tour anymore."
"There are plenty of future Christmases you can spend with me. If you want to stay with Guy, just talk to me Rocco. I was more hurt that you didn't and just took off." Madonna said and Rocco nodded. "I want you to stop beating yourself up for the past. It's over. All anyone can do is learn from their mistakes."
"But I publicly hurt you."
"It's no one's goddamn business what happens with me and my family. Everything I do or don't do gets scrutinised. It's irrelevant." Madonna said, waving a hand dismissively.
"Do you want me to come back to New York?" Rocco asked, watching Madonna tear a piece of croissant off and eat it.
"Do you want to go back to New York?"
"I'm not sure." Rocco shrugged.
"We don't necessarily have to go back to the New York City. I was staying with my dad before in Michigan, we could always stay there for a bit. Or go to the Hamptons." Madonna suggested.
"I just don't know where I want to be. I don't want to be anywhere. I don't want to exist." Rocco said quietly.
"Oh god, don't say that! Don't even think that!" Madonna put the tray on her bedside table and motioned for Rocco to move closer and she wrapped her arms around him, pressing her forehead to his. "I love you, Roccs. You're my boy and I am glad you exist." Madonna whispered, her voice heavy with emotion.
Tears slipped down Rocco's cheeks and he held on to Madonna. "I'm sorry mom."
"I know baby." Madonna kissed his temple. "We can stay here for now, until you figure out what you want to do."
"I'll do the school work you got for me." Rocco said, pulling back a little. "I don't want to fall behind."
"Thank you." Madonna said, smoothing his cheek.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It was a nice day, so when Rocco was washed and dressed and had breakfast, he took his school work outside and done it sitting at a wooden table. Madonna watched him from the kitchen. Her phone rang and she picked it up.
"How is he today?"
"Good morning Guy." Madonna said.
"Good morning M. How is Rocco today?" Guy asked again.
"He brought me breakfast in bed and is currently sat out in the garden doing his school work, which he asked me for." Madonna replied.
"Really?" Guy sounded suprised.
"Really."
"How does he seem?"
"He's depressed, Guy. I'm really worried about him." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip, her eyes shiny with tears. "I asked him if he wanted to stay here, or go to New York City, or the Hamptons or even my dad's place in Michigan and Rocco said he doesn't know where he wants to be. He said he wished he didn't exist." Her voice faltered.
"Do you think maybe he might benefit from...some therapy?" Guy asked.
"You always said therapy was for sissies." Madonna frowned. "If I can't help him, that makes me a terrible mother. A failure."
"It's just a suggestion M. It doesn't make you a terrible mother. Some things are probably easier to tell a stranger instead of your parents."
"I'm almost scared to suggest it."
"I can come over and talk to him if you want."
"I don't know..."
"M, I promised you I wouldn't hurt him."
"Ok. But can you come over in a few hours or something? Rocco is doing his school work and we can have lunch first. I'll text you."
"Yeah, that's fine." Guy said and hung up.
Madonna put her phone down on the side and took a drink out to Rocco and sat next to him. "How is it going? Do you need any help with anything?"
"No thanks mom, none of it is hard." Rocco smiled.
"Guy wants to come over later to talk to you. Is that ok?" Madonna said quietly.
"Is he mad with me?" Rocco looked nervous.
"No, he just wants what's best for you. He didn't mean to scare you yesterday, you know. He just doesn't know how to help you."
"Neither do you, but you don't completely lose it and lift me off the ground." Rocco said, sighing.
Madonna laughed. "I don't think I could. You're taller and stronger than me."
"How is your back?" Rocco asked.
"Just a bit sore. I have some cream to ease muscle pain, I'll be fine."
Rocco didn't look convinced. "If you wanted to hit me..."
"No one is hitting anyone under my roof." Madonna said firmly.
They went inside to have lunch, after Rocco gave Madonna his work. She checked it over and sent it on to the headmistress. Madonna sent Guy a message and he arrived shortly after. He took Rocco out to the garden to talk to him.
"Roccs, I am sorry for yesterday. I was just shocked when you said you attacked your mother." Guy said and Rocco nodded.
"It's fine."
"She tells me you are depressed."
"Yeah. I don't know what else you want me to say, really." Rocco replied.
"I was thinking, maybe a little therapy might help?"
"Did mom put you up to this?" Rocco looked at Guy suspiciously.
"No! It was my idea to ask you."
"But you said therapy was for sissies."
"I was wrong. We all say stupid things sometimes." Guy said. "It could help. Talking to someone who isn't me or your mother."
"It would hurt mom's feelings."
"She would get over it, Roccs. And M would do anything to help you. So would I."
"I don't know. I can't even find the words to talk to you or mom about it. I don't want you guys spending a lot of money for me to spend hours sitting in front of a stranger with nothing to say." Rocco said, looking unconvinced.
"Maybe think about it?" Guy suggested and Rocco nodded.
"Ok."
"Any time you want to come back to the house, or just come and talk to me, you can, ok?" Guy continued and Rocco nodded again.
"I wish I hadn't hurt mom." He said quietly.
"She is a very forgiving person. I doubt M is giving you a hard time?" Guy half asked.
"No, but I wish she would yell at me or hit me or something...I feel bad that mom is being so nice to me."
"Don't. Just show her how grateful you are to have her as your mother." Guy said. "And if you did want to go back to America with her, I don't have a problem with that."
"I haven't decided yet."
"I'll see you soon." Guy said, standing up, squeezing Rocco's shoulder.
"Dad?"
"Yes?"
"Thanks." Rocco looked up at him gratefully.
"Any time R." Guy smiled, then went back in the cottage. "He is going to think about therapy." Guy told Madonna.
"That went quite well then."
"It did." Guy said. "How is your back? He feels terrible about it." He put a hand on her lower back and she squirmed away from his touch, wincing.
"More painful than I let on." Madonna replied, wincing. "I don't want Rocco to feel worse than he already does. He clearly has self-esteem issues."
"I know. I hate seeing him like this." Guy said, as they both looked out the kitchen window at him.
"I can't bring myself to be angry with him. We all know where depression leads too, when it gets bad enough." Madonna said, looking at Guy and he saw complete and utter vulnerability in her face.
"We won't let it get that bad." Guy said, holding both Madonna's hands, and they stopped shaking as he looked up at him and nodded.




End of Part 8...




Part 9




"Mom, I need your help." Rocco said and Madonna looked up from her laptop, setting her reading glasses on top of her head.
"Of course baby. What can I do for you?" She asked, hoping she didn't look as worried as she felt.
"Take my cannabis." Rocco said quietly, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans, shifting from foot to foot.
Madonna stood up. "Roccs, are you ok?" She held his arms and Rocco shook his head, his eyes not meeting hers. "Look at me please." She took his chin with one of her hands and tilted his face up, so he had no choice but to look at her.
"You were right. I do have problems." Rocco sighed and Madonna let go of his chin and arm.
"This is the one time I wish I wasn't right. But I will do everything I can to help you." Madonna said firmly.
"I can't go a day without smoking it. I want to stop and maybe I'll feel better."
"Ok. But you have to be honest and give me all you have in your room." Madonna replied and Rocco nodded.
She followed him to his room and sat on the edge of the bed, while he went to various places he'd hidden his cannabis and put it on the bed next to her.
"Oh Rocco, I wish you had come to me for help sooner." Madonna said, when he had finished.
Rocco shrugged. "I thought you would still be mad at me because I didn't spend Christmas with you." He mumbled and Madonna stood up and hugged him.
"Ideally I would have had you home for Christmas. But as long as you enjoyed it wherever you celebrate it, I don't mind."
"Stop being so nice to me mom. I don't deserve it."
"You goddamn do!" Madonna said aggressively.
"Hide that. Don't make it easy to find." Rocco said, motioning to the drugs on his bed.
"I will." Madonna cleared it off the bed. "This is the first step. I'm proud of you Rocco."
Rocco rolled his eyes. "Moooom! You sound like one of those patronising American rehab places!"
"Haven't you got some schoolwork to be getting on with?" Madonna arched an eyebrow, trying not to smile.
"Yes! Such a slave-driver." Rocco pretended to sulk, also trying not to smile, but sitting at his desk with his laptop.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A few days later, Rocco was back to being moody and acting on edge. "I made a mistake, mom. I need a joint."
"No you don't." Madonna said quietly.
"I need something to take the edge off!" Rocco yelled in her face.
Madonna looked perfectly calm and didn't let him wind her up. "Try going for a walk. It's been days since you got some fresh air. Go and play football with your friends."
"We're not fucking ten years old!" Rocco said, sounding frustrated.
"Don't talk to me like that! I'm your mother. Show me some respect." Madonna said firmly.
"I can't relax!"
"Try doing some yoga."
"Yoga is for women! It's girly." Rocco looked at Madonna like she was crazy.
"I know plenty of men who do yoga."
"Yeah, we all know the kind of men you know." Rocco said rudely.
"Don't be like this. There are plenty of things you can do to relax. I honestly think some fresh air will help."
"I think you not being up in my face will help!" Rocco said, stomping away."
"Where are you going?"
"For a bike ride. You want me out of the house!" Rocco grabbed his bike from the hallway and threw the front door open, swung his leg over the bike and sped away.
Madonna bit her thumbnail, in two minds about whether to let him cool off. She grabbed her bike and raced up the road, after Rocco. He was fast, but she could see him in the distance. He was heading towards Ashcombe. Rocco disappeared from where Madonna could see him, and she felt panic rising in her chest. It made her feel sick. Something felt wrong. When she arrived at the house, she threw her bike down next to Rocco's and hammered her fists on the door.
"Guy! Guy! Guy, it's urgent!!" Madonna nearly hammered her fists into Guy's chest, when he opened the door.
"Jesus christ M!" Guy said grumpily. "Can't you knock like a normal person?"
"Where is Rocco?"
"With you? I havent seen him." Guy frowned.
"His bike is there!" Madonna motioned towards it.
"What has happened?"
Madonna ran a shaky hand through her hair. "He gave me all his cannabis a few days ago. He asked me for help. Today he asked me for a joint. I'm worried he is going to do something stupid. Guy, he's in a bad place! I am sick with worry!" Madonna said, her eyes wide, unable to stand still, her hands shaking.
"What is all the yelling about?" Jacqui appeared in the doorway, frowning.
"Rocco, we are worried about him." Guy snapped.
"Oh, he's just gone out on a quad bike." Jacqui said breezily. "I saw him out the back window."
Madonna and Guy shared a look of horror. "Shit! Shit! Shit Shit Shit!" Madonna ran in the direction of the stables.
"M, what are you doing?!" Guy started to run after her.
"What shall I do?" Jacqui yelled at Guy.
"Stay there!" Guy yelled, looking back once.
He followed Madonna into the stables, skidding to a halt. She was climbing onto an unfamiliar dark brown horse, with no saddle of anything.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Rocco needs us!" Madonna said.
"At least put a fucking helmet on!" Guy nearly knocked her off the horse, tossing one up to her. "I'll get the Landrover. It's close."
"I'm not waiting." Madonna said, quickly putting the helmet on and adjusting it.
"M, be careful!" Guy called out, but she was already riding across the grounds at nail-biting speed, having spotted Rocco. Guy jumped in the Landrover and followed them both.
Rocco was tearing across the grounds, not wearing a helmet, which terrified Madonna when she saw him. He looked back over his shoulder at her and smiled. Adrenaline pulsed through his veins as he went faster and faster. Madonna picked up speed on the horse and Guy followed, bringing up the rear, scared for them both. Rocco was showing off, when he swung one leg onto the other side, riding on one side.
"Look out!!" Madonna screamed, when she saw he was heading for a tree.
Rocco looked around too late, and the quad bike slammed into a tree and he was tossed off it, grazing the tree. Madonna couldn't get the horse to stop, not matter what she yelled at it and it circled the tree where Rocco had crashed. She started to feel dizzy and slid from the horse, trying desperately to hold on to the mane and neck. Madonna fell off completely, hitting the ground hard, not too far from where Rocco lay unconscious. She looked at him, reaching her fingers across the grass.
"Rocco..." She croaked, before falling unconscious herself.
Guy had to slam on the brakes of the Landrover, just as both accidents happened, to avoid running one or both of them over. He got out of the Landrover and called an ambulance, looking at his son and ex-wife both unconscious, feeling terrified that he might lose them both.




End of Part 9...




Part 10




Two ambulances drove across the land towards to accident. Guy was sat on the grass, clearly in shock, frowning and wondering who to go with. He knew if Madonna was conscious she would tell him to go with Rocco, but he felt guilty for leaving Madonna on her own in an amulance. Jacqui ran towards them and draped an arm around Guy, kissing his temple. He had phoned her shortly after the emergency services.
"It's ok Guy. Rocco is strong. And so is Madonna." Jacqui whispered in his ear.
Guy turned to Jacqui, clearing his throat, then spoke. "I have to go with Rocco. Can you please go with Madonna? I feel bad enough for leaving her on her own."
"Of course." Jacqui said. She looked down at him. "You're not hurt, are you?"
"No." Guy said, watching a couple of paramedics put Rocco in the back of the ambulance. "I have to go Jac." He kissed her cheek and headed in the direction of his son.
Jacqui got into the ambulance with Madonna, who was also still unconscious. It wasn't until they were on the road, heading towards the hospital that her eyes fluttered open. Jacqui was the first person Madonna saw.
"Rocco! Rocco! Oh my god, where is my son?!" Madonna tried to sit up, moving the oxygen mask from her face, but one of the paramedics motioned for her to lie back down.
"Rocco is in another ambulance with Guy." Jacqui said calmly.
"Is he...?" Madonna couldn't finish her sentence, looking up at Jacqui with the colour drained from her face and pure terror in her eyes.
"No. He was unconscious though." Jacqui replied. "Rocco might have woken up in the ambulance like you have." She said.
Both women looked at each other in silence, knowing that Jacqui was saying that to try and keep Madonna calm.
"I'll never forgive myself if anything happens to that boy." Madonna said quietly.
"It won't."
"With all due respect Jacqui, you didn't see what happened. Rocco was on a quad bike without a helmet. He crashed into a tree." Madonna winced at the thought of how badly hurt he might be.
"How did you get hurt?" Jacqui frowned, also looking confused.
"I chased him on a horse. I couldn't stop. The horse circled the tree and I was flung off."
"Jesus christ." Jacqui looked shocked. "That was a brave thing to do."
"Or completely insane."
Jacqui leaned forward. "I understand the need as a mother to do anything to protect her children." She said with a fierceness that Madonna had never heard her speak with before. It made her like Jacqui a bit in that moment.
"Thank you for coming with me." Madonna said timidly, holding her hand out and looking at Jacqui with watery eyes.
"No problem."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Rocco, you need to wake up." Guy said, squeezing his son's hand in the ambulance. "I won't be angry, I promise."
"No, but mom with probably kill me." Rocco said, half smiling when he opened his eyes.
Guy shook his head. "No. She will be glad you're ok."
"At least someone will be. She wasn't supposed to get hurt." Rocco said quietly.
"What is that supposed to mean? Roccs?" Guy sounded confused.
"Nothing."
"Were you...trying to hurt yourself?" Guy asked quietly.
Rocco shrugged. "I was trying to feel something."
"You know Madonna chased you on a horse? She's also on her way to the hospital."
"Why did she chase me?" Rocco looked worried.
"Because she was sick with worry. Because your mother is crazy and fiercely protective when it comes to her children." Guy replied.
"Is she ok?"
"I don't know. You were both unconscious."
"Dad, I'm sorry."
"I know."
"What if something happens to mom - "
"It won't." Guys aid quickly. "You know how stong your mother is. She's made music videos with broken bones and worked twelve hour days when she was pregnant." He said and Rocco smiled a little.
"Do you hate me?" Rocco asked, looking up at Guy like a vulnerable child.
"Never. I could never hate you, Roccs."
"Sorry for crashing your quad bike."
"Right now, that doesn't even matter."
"Whose horse was mom riding?"
"One of Jacqui's. Chestnut I think. He's a little nervous with people who haven't rode him before."
"I have so much making up to do with mom. All I've been doing is hurting her lately and now I really hurt her."
"Don't worry about that for now. Just concentrate on trying to stay awake."
"Is mom on her own in an ambulance?"
"No, I told Jacqui to go with her."
"When we get better, I want to go back to America with mom." Rocco said and Guy felt his insides sink. He almost didn't want Rocco to be alone with Madonna. Or for Madonna to be in a position where he could hurt her.
"I'm sure we can come to some arrangement." Guy said in a diplomatic way, which was unusual for him.
"I miss David and Mercy and Lola." Rocco said.
Guy thought what a handful Rocco was at the moment, and how unfair it would be to Madonna, even though she had staff, to expect her to divide her attention between Rocco and the others. He wondered whether he could take Jacqui and their family to New York City for a bit, to be close. Until there was some improvement with Rocco.
"I expect they miss you too, Roccs."
Rocco started to close his eyes and Guy squeezed his hand. "Keep talking to me Rocco."
"Can't..." Rocco said and started to slip out of consciousness.




End of Part 10...




Part 11




Guy was sat with Rocco, who was still unconscious, when Madonna and Jacqui entered the room. Guy looked up at Madonna, who had her right arm in a sling and walked with a limp and also some bruises down one side of her face.
"Are you ok?" Guy asked, looking concerned as he stood up.
"Yeah. I've fallen off a horse before, it's not a big deal at this point." Madonna looked past Guy to Rocco. "My poor baby." She smoothed Rocco's cheek, leaning forward and kissing his forehead very tenderly.
"He did wake up for a bit in the ambulance." Guy said quietly.
"I wish he wouldd wake up now."
"The doctor said sometimes a coma is a body's way of repairing itself."
"Rocco is in a coma?" Madonna's eyes widened and Guy nodded.
"Yes."
"Who wants coffee?" Jacqui asked, wanting to make herself useful and give them space at the same time.
"Please." Guy looked at her gratefully.
"Can I just have a word?" Madonna said.
Jacqui and Guy exchanged a look.
"If I was going to be bitchy, I wouldn't take you aside." Madonna said and Guy smirked. Jacqui followed her out of the room.
"Madonna if you want me to go, I understand." Jacqui said quietly.
"What? No. I wanted to thank you for coming in the ambulance with me. To tell you the truth, I wa scared." Madonna said, and for the first time ever, Jacqui saw her in a vulnerable way.
"Really? You didn't give me that impression. In the ambulance or there." Jacqui pointed to the room.
"In there Rocco matters more than I do." Madonna said. "Look, I know I've not always been...nice to you, and I want to apologise. Life is too short."
"It's fine. If I were in your position, I might have acted the same." Jacqui waved it off and smiled.
"Thank you." Madonna put her good arm around Jacqui, who wrapped both arms around Madonna and they hugged for several seconds.
"I'll get the coffee." Jacqui said and Madonna smiled, nodding and went back in to Rocco and Guy.
"Did you just hug Jacqui?" Guy looked surprised. "I should have taken a picture." He joked.
"Fuck off." Madonna tried not to smile. "She was really nice in the ambulance."
"Sit down M." Guy pulled out a chair next to Rocco and Madonna sat down. He went round and sat on the other side of Rocco.
"This is all my fault."
"How do you figure that?" Guy asked.
"I shouldn't have let him out of my sight."
"M it's not your fault. You can't watch him all the time." Guy replied.
"I could try." Madonna sighed.
"So could I. It's not all down to you." Guy held her good hand across Rocco and she smiled.
Jacqui returned and handed them both coffees.
"Can we just talk outside?" Guy asked and both women nodded, following him out of the room.
"Please don't let there be more bad news. I don't think I can take it." Madonna said with a wobbly voice, looking fragile and Jacqui put an arm around her, a hand on her back.
"It isn't more bad news. I was thinking about what you said, taking Rocco back to America." Guy said, looking from Madonna to Jacqui. "I was thinking we could go to America for a while. Until Rocco is more like himself. So we could be close."
"That sounds like a good idea." Jacqui said, nodding.
"Are you sure?" Madonna frowned. "I can handle him."
"I'm worried for you M. You've scraped your leg because of Rocco, he hurt your back and you fell from a horse."
"Oh my god." Jacqui looked horrified.
"It's not as bad as it sounds." Madonna rubbed her arm.
"I worry about you M." Guy said.
"We can stay in America as long as you need us." Jacqui said, looking at Madonna.
"Thank you." Madonna smiled weakly.
"I really should go, the children will need picking up from school and we are miles away. I can drop them off and come back later, or stay home?" Jacqui half asked.
"You can stay home, Jac. It's a lot of hassle for you otherwise. Thanks for everything. I'll call you later." Guy draped an arm around Jacqui and kissed her.
"Thank you again." Madonna said, as Jacqui gave her a hug, then left.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna woke up, her good hand on her back, which ached. She had fallen asleep slumped over Rocco's bed. Guy was pacing at the foot of his bed.
"How long was I out for?" Madonna asked, feeling disorientated.
"A couple of hours. Are you ok M? You look pale."
"My back hurts, my ankle hurts, my leg hurts and my arm hurts. I feel like I'm going to fall apart. But otherwise I'm great." Madonna joked.
"Do you need more painkillers?" Guy asked.
Madonna shook her head. "No, I feel weird enough as it is."
"I can see if they have a spare bed?" Guy half asked.
"No. I bet they have a bed shortage as it is." Madonna said. "I just need to stand up and move about a bit..." As she got to her feet, she nearly collapsed, but Guy caught her. He scooped her up in his arms and went to find a nurse. A few of them brought a bed back to Rocco's room and Guy lay Madonna on it. The doctor checked her over and Madonna opened her eyes again.
"What is happening? What is wrong with me?" She asked, frowning up at the off-white ceiling.
"Shock and exhaustion, Miss Ciccone. But I would like to keep you in at least overnight, just to keep an eye on you."
"Could it be concussion?" Guy asked.
"Possibly. I will check on you in between my rounds." The doctor said and he left the room.
"Blimey M, you scared me!" Guy said, mildly scolding her.
"Was I asleep or did I pass out?" Madonna looked at Guy.
"I thought you were asleep."
"Who knows?" Madonna rubbed her forehead. "Sorry."
"For what?"
"Scaring you."
"Get a room."
Madonna and Guy exchanged a look. Rocco was awake.




End of Part 11...




Part 12




"Oh my god you're awake!" Madonna looked at Rocco from her bed, tears in her eyes.
"Why are you in a bed? It sounded like you were over here before." Rocco frowned.
"I collapsed. It's no big deal." Madonna said dismissively.
"Mom, your head could be hanging off and you would say it's no big deal..." Rocco said, sighing.
"How do you feel son?" Guy asked, looking at Rocco with concern.
"Everything aches. But I'm not in that much pain."
"Thank god." Madonna said, breathing a sigh of relief she looked up at the ceiling.
"I thought you guys would be mad at me." Rocco said, looking from Guy to Madonna.
"No, we are just relieved you are ok."
"And you." Guy said, meaning Madonna.
"I'm practically a pro at falling off horses." Madonna said.
"I want to go home." Rocco said.
Madonna and Guy exchanged a look.
"Which home, Roccs?" Guy asked.
"To the States. With mom."
"We were talking about that." Guy said. "You could go with your mother back to the States, and Jacqui and I would come over and stay for a while."
Rocco looked upset, turning to Madonna. "You don't trust me not to hurt you."
"It's not that Roccs." Madonna said, shaking her head a bit.
"I want to be near your mother so we can both help you together."
"It's not mom who doesn't trust me. It's you." Rocco said, studying Guy's face.
Guy shifted from foot to sfoot, his hands in his pockets, not looking at Rocco.
"I trust you Rocco." Madonna said. "I know you never meant to hurt me at all."
"You shouldn't. Dad is right." Rocco looked up at Guy.
"I don't think you are a bad person or anything, Roccs. I just think you have...issues." Guy said, sitting on the edge of his bed.
"Rocco?" Madonna said and Rocco looked at her.
"Yes?"
"Were you trying to kill yourself?" Madonna asked and there was a sharp intake of breath from Guy.
"No." Rocco said without hesitation. "I just wanted to feel something. Mom don't take this the wrong way - I'm grateful you came after me, but what the hell were you doing?"
"Not thinking, because I was extremely worried about you." Madonna replied softly.
Rocco pressed his eyes shut. "I am so sorry."
"We just want to see you happy." Guy said, placing his hand over Rocco's. "Both of us will do whatever it takes." He said and Rocco nodded.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A day later Madonna and Rocco were back in her cottage. Rocco had several fractures and a sprained wrist and ankle, so he was resting up in bed. It had been decided when he was more physically fit they would go to America. Guy had wanted Rocco back under his roof, but Rocco really wanted to go home with Madonna. He wanted to talk to her alone, without him there.
"You seem to be worse off than me." Rocco said, looking up at her with tears in his eyes.
"The sling and cane are nothing."
"But now you feel like you have to look after me."
"Rocco, I'm your mother. The job of looking after you never ever ends. And I wouldn't want it too."
"Even when I make it hard?"
"Even when you make it hard."
"I don't want you to be scared of me." Rocco said quietly.
"I'm not. I was scared when I thought I might lose you. I was more scared than I have ever been in my life." Madonna admitted.
"You're so brave mom." Rocco looked up at Madonna admiringly.
"I think you're made of the same tough stuff, you didn't get hurt too badly."
"I don't know how I am going to pay dad back for the quad bike. It must be wrecked."
"That's the least of his worries, I assure you." Madonna replied.
"How can I make it up to you mom? I've done too much to hurt you."
"By getting better. By trying. And not doing dangerous, wreckless things that can get you killed."
"I miss David and Mercy. And even Lola." Rocco said.
"They all probably miss you too." Madonna replied, smiling.
"If you want to go and lie down mom, I don't mind. You must be exhausted." Rocco said, noticing how pale and tired she looked.
Madonna lay on his bed next to him. "I might lie down here for a bit, if you don't mind."
"No." Rocco said and even put an arm around Madonna.
"I miss this. It's like when you were young and needed me."
"Mom I'll always need you." Rocco said quietly.
"I know." Madonna said, smiling.
"I'm not going to run out and do something reckless, if that's why you are lying there. I can barely move." Rocco said.
"Am I that obvious?" Madonna laughed.
"Yeah." Rocco tried not to smile.




End of Part 12...




Part 13




A week after the accident, Madonna and Rocco flew to the Hamptons, along with the two bodyguards. They were going to spend some time alone together, before a nanny took David and Mercy would arrive. Guy, Jacqui and their children also went to the Hamptons, to be close to Rocco.
"Mom, I only want to go out for a little swim. I won't go far." Rocco said, sounding slightly whiny.
"Roccs I think you should rest a bit more. It's only been a week, you have sprains and fractures. Even I'm not running down the beach to go for a swim yet."
"With a sling and a cane it would be tricky." Rocco said, sighing as he sat down, feeling guilty.
"I am not bitter about the accident, Roccs. I think it's really important you try to forgive yourself for it." Madonna said, squeezing his arm.
There was a knock at the door and Madonna frowned. "I'm not expecting anyone, are you?"
"No. I'll get it." Rocco said, before she could struggled to her feet. He answered the door and Lourdes stood there. She stepped straight inside and before he could say anything, she hugged him.
"Thank god you're ok! I was so worried!" Lourdes said, hugging him tightly.
"It's good to see you, L, but you're kind of hurting me." Rocco said, smiling over Lourdes' shoulder.
"Sorry."
"Are you staying?"
"Yeah. I mean, if mom doesn't mind."
"She doesn't." Madonna walked out into the hallway with her cane, her other arm still in a sling.
"Oh mom!" Lourdes threw her arms around Madonna who winced, and Rocco rolled his eyes, shaking his head.
"Mind my arm Lola." Madonna couldn't help but smile at her daughter's enthusiasm.
"I had to read about the accident in a magazine." Lourdes said, looking hurt.
"I'm sorry baby. It just never occured to me to phone you. We were just resting and starting to get better." Madonna replied, looking regretful.
"Ok. I was worried about you both. I nearly went to England."
"How did you knoe where to find us?" Rocco asked.
"I called Guy." Lourdes said.
"You are welcome to stay as long as you like." Madonna said, pleased she was there.
"Thanks mom. I'll just take my stuff up."
"Do you want a hand?"
"Mom. You have an arm in a sling and walk with a cane." Lourdes looked at Madonna like she was crazy.
"I'll help." Rocco said.
"Oh no you won't. Sprains and fractures." Madonna said firmly.
"It's ok, I can manage!" Lourdes smiled, taking her bags upstairs.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"You don't mind if I go for a swim, do you?" Lourdes said, wearing a black bikini with palm trees on it, a towel slung over her shoulder.
"Of course not. Where is Rocco?"
"He wanted to lie down."
"Lola, I don't want you smoking anything whilst you are staying here." Madonna said quietly and Lourdes nodded.
"I am aware of Rocco's problem. Something else I had to read about." She sighed.
"I've had a lot to deal with."
"Yes, I know. Rocco was told me everything. He feels so bad about hurting you." Lourdes said. "I'm worried about him. I've never seen my brother so down."
"Me neither. I don't know what to do, Lola. I try giving him space, I try giving him advise. Nothing works."
"Maybe being here will change that. It's peaceful."
"So was Ashcombe." Madonna sighed.
"I can stay for a while. Guy is close by. David and Mercy will be coming soon. Maybe he just needs everyone around him and being here - and that will help him. You don't have to try to cope on your own mom."
"It shouldn't be about just coping Lola. I feel like a failure as a mother, because I can't help my own son."
"Mom, you are not a failure." Lourdes wrapped her arms around Madonna, careful of her sling this time, pressing her cheek to her mother's. "Depression is just one of those things. Do all his friends do cannabis?"
"No. I don't think he even gets the stuff from people he hangs out with."
"I suppose that's something. He doesn't have to stop hanging around any of his friends." Lourdes looked thoughtful. "Maybe therapy? You have said quite a lot how good it is for you."
"He's a boy though. Boys don't really talk about their feelings. But I wish he would more with me."
"Did he...try to kill himself on the quad bike?" Lourdes asked hesitantly.
Madonna looked at Lourdes. "Rocco said he wasn't. But he was trying to feel something." There were tears in her eyes. "I couldn't bear it if anything had happened to him."
"He is lucky you were there." Lourdes said, looking very serious. "I was scared I had lost you both." She suddenly looked like a scared little girl and Madonna put her good arm around her, kissing her temple.
"I'm so glad you're here baby."
"I'm so glad you're ok." Lourdes replied.




End of Part 13...




Part 14




Madonna woke up when she heard a noise coming from her bathroom - like someone was rummaging through a cabinet. She sat up in bed and grabbed the baseball bat awkwardly with her good hand and slowly moved towards the door, which was open a crack and took a deep breath, pushing the door open. Madonna held the bat high, getting ready to swing it, when Rocco looked horrified.
"Mom, it's me! Jesus christ!" He said, holding both hands up defensively.
"I thought someone had broken in!" Madonna breathed a sigh of relief, putting the bat down.
"I don't think you could do much damage with one hand anyway." Rocco looked like he wanted to laugh.
"What are you doing in here in the middle of the night?" Madonna's eyes moved to the open medicine cabinet, then she looked back at Rocco with a worried expression.
"I woke up in pain and wondered if you had anything I could take?"
Madonna found some painkillers and handed him two. Rocco took them with a glass of water, then looked from the cabinet to his mother. "Can I just take them? In case I need more?"
"No. If you need them, you can come to me. Any time of day or night."
"Even if you're asleep?" Rocco folded his arms.
"Yes."
"You don't trust me."
"Roccs, you were just going through my medicine cabinet in the middle of the night. It's more that I am worried than I don't trust you." Madonna said quietly.
"How am I supposed to get better if you don't trust me?"
"Maybe I'm worried you are moving on to tablets. Or worse." Madonna said, unable to say the words. I'm scared you are trying to kill yourself.
"I wasn't trying to kill myself on the quad bike and I'm not now." Rocco said, looking hurt she didn't trust him.
"It's my job to protect you. And I don't feel like I'm doing it well at the moment, Rocco. I love you so much, but I am also scared for you right now."
"You're not scared of anything." Rocco said and Madonna smiled for a moment.
"I act that way to be strong for everyone else. For myself."
"Oh."
"I don't mind if you need to wake me up Rocco, but I would prefer it if you came to me for painkillers."
Rocco nodded. "Ok. Are you still in a lot of pain?"
"Not really." Madonna lied easily. "It's just awkward to get around. But the sling will be off soon and I won't need the cane for ever. Are you sleeping alright, aside from the pain?"
"Yeah." Rocco lied right back, then went back to bed.
When he'd shut the door, Madonna sighed. She grabbed all the medication from the cabinet and put it in one of her bags under her bed, to be on the safe side.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"You have to remember with mom that she liked being in control." Lourdes said, tearing a piece off a croissant and eating it. "Not that I think that's a bad thing."
Lourdes had taken Rocco into town for breakfast and they were sat outside in the sunshine. She had scribbled a note for Madonna and left it in the kitchen, in case she worried.
Rocco rolled his eyes. "Why does everyone think I'm going to move on to pills? You didn't."
"No, but I don't have a problem like you, bro."
"You smoke weed."
"But I don't need it. Or start acting sketchy when I don't have it."
"I kind of miss school."
"Maybe they will let you back in."
"Not until I sort myself out."
"Are you still hanging out with Dom and your other friends?" Lourdes continued.
"This is like having a conversation with mom." Rocco grumbled.
Lourdes smiled. "I'll take that as a compliment."
"I don't really feel like hanging out. So they have stopped texting me and everything at the moment."
"Talk to them. Tell them you need them. That's what friends are for - not just the good, easy times, but the hard ones too."
"Lola, we're guys, not chicks. We don't sit around braiding each others' hair and talking about our problems." Rocco smiled and Lourdes kicked him under the table. "Ow! I'm injured!"
"Because you were acting like an insane psychopath!" Lourdes said and they both couldn't help but laugh.
"I wanted to feel something."
"And did you?"
"Yeah. Like I was going to die. It was terrifying. I'm over it. I won't be doing anything like that again in a hurry."
"Good."
"Do David and Mercy know what happened?" Rocco asked.
"Yes. I think the nanny is bringing them up soon. They were quite upset."
"All I do is upset people."
"Because we love you." Lourdes replied. "Hey, you know you can always talk to me if you can't talk to mom."
"Thanks."
"I mean, I might give the same or similar advice..." Lourdes joked, drinking some of her smoothie and Rocco laughed. "Seriously though, you don't have too many more years in school. Make the most of it. And being fussed over by mom. It's weird being older."
"It sounds like you want to come home." Rocco replied.
"Sometimes. But for god sake don't tell mom, she won't let that lie." Lourdes said and Rocco nodded.
"We should go back." Rocco said.
"Try to be easy on mom. Think of things from her point of view." Lourdes added and Rocco nodded, as they left the cafe and walked back to the house.




End of Part 14...
materialgirl86
set in 2017




Part 1




Madonna was about to walk into the house with purple grape stains all over her feet, when her father held up his hand, then pointed to them.
"I don't want grape stains in the house." Silvio said, smiling and Madonna looked down at her feet.
"Oh yeah. Sorry." Madonna replied, when David and Mercy appeared - also with grape-stained feet. "We have to wash our feet first, guys." She said, ushering them to a tap outside the house.
Silvio watched his daughter wash her feet and help her children wash theirs and felt a tug at his heart. Madonna always looked happiest when she was with her children, and she was very affectionate with them all. She hadn't seen Silvio and her step-mother, Joan in a while and needed a break, so he had invited her and the children along. Rocco was in the UK with Guy, Lourdes was busy with friends whom she lived with in NYC, so Madonna took David and Mercy, looking forward to spending some quality time with them. Not a lot of vineyards did grape-stomping, but seeing as it was the right time of year, Silvio had arranged for Madonna and the children to do it and they'd spent all morning dancing around together in grapes, laughing and having a good time.
"Lunch is ready." Joan called from the doorway.
"Go and wash your hands first, please." Madonna told Mercy and David and they ran inside.
"Madonna, your phone keeps ringing." Joan said and Madonna frowned, walking up to the house.
"For how long?"
"I don't know. Since I've been cooking lunch." Joan said.
"And you couldn't come out and tell me this?" Madonna frowned, her voice a little sharper.
"Don't talk to Joan like that." Silvio said, in a surprisingly stern manner.
"I'm sorry." Madonna said, sighing. "Thanks."
"It's ok." Joan smiled and went back to the kitchen.
Madonna fished around in her bag for her phone and rolled her eyes when she saw it was Guy Ritchie calling. She took it upstairs and closed the door behind her.
"Hello?"
"Where the hell have you been?" Guy sounded very frustrated.
"I'm staying at my father's place for a bit. My phone was inside and I was out, enjoying myself with David and Mercy, if that's ok with you." Madonna said sarcastically.
"It's Rocco."
Madonna felt her stomach lurch and bile rise in her throat. She swallowed it, rubbing her forehead.
"M? Are you still there?" Guy his voice was softer.
"Yes...yes. Is Rocco ok? Has he been in an accident? What happened?" Madonna blurted out the questions as they came to her, sounding stressed all of a sudden.
"Sit down and breathe M. He hasn't been in an accident." Guy said and Madonna sat on the edge of her bed.
"What then?"
"He was arrested."
"Arrested? What for?"
"Drug possession. He took cannabis to school."
"What happened to him? Where is he now?" Madonna felt light-headed.
"Home. I bailed him out. Because he's only sixteen and it's his first offence, they gave him a caution." Guy replied.
"Will that stay on his record?"
"Yes."
"I need to come over there and be with him. Can I talk to him?"
"M, he was pretty pissed off when I said I would be phoning you. I don't think he is talking to me at the moment, so he definitely won't want to talk to you." Guy said quietly and Madonna felt so hurt, tears sprung to her eyes.
"What has the school said?"
"Rocco is suspended until further notice."
"How could you not know, Guy? He's under your care!" Madonna yelled.
"I don't search his bag and pockets every day, M! Don't blame me! Would you have known if he was with you? You're so busy prancing about on stage or stripping off for some stupid photoshoot, I'm sure you wouldn't!" Guy shot back and Madonna laughed.
"Sticks and stones, Guy."
"This isn't just my fault."
"Oh, so you are admitting some of the blame then?"
"When are you coming over?"
"I'm going to check flights right now."
"Jaqui and I are taking the children to Ashcombe for a bit. I think it might do Rocco good to be out of the city for a while." Guy said.
"That's a good idea. I'll stay somewhere close, then I can come every day and be with Rocco."
"I think it's for the best." Guy said. "Call me or text me to let me know where you are."
"Ok. See you soon." Madonna said and hung up. She slumped down onto the bed and screamed into the pillow.
"Nonnie? Are you ok? Your lunch will get cold." Silvio opened the door and spoke after seeing her scream into a pillow. Madonna turned around and sat up, clutching her knees to her chest, her face red and tears falling down her cheeks. She shook her head.
"No. Rocco was arrested." She said, her voice trembling as Silvio sat next to her on the bed.
"What for?"
"Drug possession. At school." Madonna felt her cheeks burn. "This makes me a bad mother."
"How do you figure that one out? He's with Guy. Guy should be keeping a closer eye on him." Silvio said.
Madonna smiled through her tears. "Dad, you're going to be biased, because I'm your daughter."
"And I've never been a big fan of Guy's." Silvio admitted and Madonna raised her eyebrows. "I noticed how he used to put you down and even though you smiled or laughed it off, I could tell it hurt you, Nonnie."
"This is the first time you have ever said anything about it."
Silvio shrugged. "There was no need to before. And most certainly not while you were married."
"That's very polite of you dad. But I can't help feel this is my fault."
"Come and have something to eat and we can talk some more after."
"No, I need to look for flights to the UK. Maybe via New York City, so I can take David and Mercy home to the nannies first." Madonna chewed her lower lip looking stressed.
"That sounds like a lot of hassle. Joan and I can look after them, while you're with Rocco."
"Dad that is real sweet of you, but I don't know how long I'm going to be. It could be weeks, or worst case a month or something." Madonna ran both hands through her hair.
"Joan and I can have David and Mercy, and when you want them back home, we can fly out with them."
"If you can have them for the time being, and I will figure out something, that would be great dad." Madonna said and Silvio nodded, putting his arms around her and smoothing her hair.
"It will all be fine. Rocco is a good boy really, Nonnie, you'll see."
"I hope you're right." Madonna said, holding on to her father.
"Have something to eat."
"Can I eat at your laptop? I really need to book a flight, my son needs me." Madonna said, looking worried and Silvio nodded.
"Of course."
They both went downstairs and Madonna opened Silvio's laptop and was about to grab her plate, when Mercy, David and Joan looked at her.
"Rocco has been suspended for taking drugs to school."
"Is he in jail?" Mercy asked.
"He's too young for jail." David said matter-of-factly.
"It's his first offence, so Rocco had a caution. I need to spend some time with with him."
"Are we going home or coming with you?" David asked.
"Actually, I said you could stay here for a bit longer." Silvio said. "If you would like that?" He asked and both David and Mercy nodded.
"Do you mind?" He asked Joan and she smiled.
"Of course not."
"Thanks guys." Madonna went over and kissed Silvio and Joan, then took her plate over to the laptop and started looking up flights whilst eating.
"Mom, is Rocco going to be ok?" David asked Madonna quietly, standing behind her when he'd finished his lunch.
"I hope so. If Guy and I both spend some time with him, I think he will behave better." Madonna looked up at David. "Are you ok baby?" She put an arm around him.
"Yeah. I miss Rocco."
"Hopefully he will come home soon." Madonna said softly.
"I wish Lola would come back too." Mercy said, standing on the other side of Madonna, sighing.
Madonna put her arm around Mercy, smiling up at her. "Unfortunately you will all grow up and move out eventually. As long as you come back and see me plenty."
"Of course we will!" Mercy replied, kissing Madonna's cheek.
"Do you two want to come out and pick some grapes with your grandad?" Silvio asked and Mercy and David nodded, following him back outside. Madonna gave him a grateful look, then went back to searching for flights.
"Any luck?" Joan asked, several minutes later, wiping her hands in her apron.
"Early tomorrow morning." Madonna sighed, turning to face her. "I'm sorry I didn't ask you about Mercy and David staying here first..."
Joan waved a hand dismissively. "Don't worry Madonna, it's a pleasure having them here. I hope everything works out with Rocco."
"I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight." She sighed. Joan looked around, then spoke quietly.
"I have a little Valium, if you want some."
"Joan!" Madonna looked shocked, then smiled and Joan laughed. "I better not, I will need to get up early enough. Thanks anyway."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna put David and Mercy to bed early, kissing them both and telling them to be good for their grandparents. She packed her things and called her bodyguards (who were staying locally) and told them what time they needed to pick her up and take her to the airport. They would be the only people accompanying Madonna to England, and it made her feel a little sad and lonely that the rest of her children couldn't be with her. But she knew she needed to spend some time with Rocco on her own. As she got into bed, Madonna couldn't relax and tossed and turned, before finally falling asleep.
She dreamed Rocco was in jail and she went to visit him. The jail was dirty and full of rats and other prisoners reached out and tried to grab her when she walked past. When Madonna found Rocco, he was sat in a corner on the floor, his knees pulled to his chest. He looked pale and there was dark under his eyes. With his shaved hair, he looked like a thug.
"Rocco." Madonna said, feeling terrible as he looked up at her.
"Go away."
"I'll get you out of here."
"Don't bother. It's your fault I'm here."
"Rocco! Don't be like that! I'm so sorry."
"I hate you. I hate you. I hate you." Rocco said, standing up and walking over to Madonna in a menacing way. He reached a hand through the bars and wrapped it around her throat.
"Rocco!" Madonna gasped, waking up with a start, disorientated and sweating. She looked at the time. There was only an hour before she had to get up, so Madonna just got out of bed and had a shower and got dressed. She blow-dried her hair and quietly took her luggage downstairs - that took a couple of trips. She made herself a strong coffee and poured herself a little cereal, despite the early hour. Madonna text Guy the departure time of her flight and when she was due to arrive in London and he replied to say that was fine. She cleared the breakfast things away and brushed her teeth. Madonna stared at her reflection for several minutes, then put on some concealer and a little light makeup, so she wouldn't look so sleep deprived and her car with the bodyguards arrived. They loaded her luggage and Madonna took one last look at the house, even though it was dark, sighed and got into the car. As they drove past the vineyard, she felt sorry to be leaving. It was supposed to be a relaxing break and now she couldn't stop thinking about Rocco, stressing over how he might react when he saw her.




End of Part 1...




Part 2



Madonna got out of the car and took a deep breath, looking up at Ashcombe House. The last time she'd been there was when she was still married to Guy. It felt bittersweet to be there and Madonna almost wanted to get back in the car and leave, but she was desperate to see Rocco. She knocked on the door and Jacqui, Guy's current wife answered the door. Madonna was so taken aback, that she opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
"Hi, come on in." Jacqui said brightly, smiling.
"Is Guy around?" Madonna asked flatly.
"Yes. I'll go get him. Please, come in." Jacqui stood aside, and Madonna walked past, never taking her eyes from her. Jacqui disappeared to find Guy and Madonna looked out the window at her bodyguards, who were stood outside the car leaning against it, talking and looking at their phones.
"I'll warn you, Rocco is in a foul mood. He will hardly even talk to me." Guy said, when he first saw Madonna.
"He won't talk to good cop? Oh, I am in trouble..." Madonna said, trying not to smile and Guy laughed.
"You look well M." Guy said, as he hugged her.
"Thanks. You don't look so bad yourself."
"Maybe we should talk about Rocco, before you go and talk to him." Guy suggested.
Madonna looked at Jacqui. "In private."
"I'm concerned about Rocco too, he - "
"He's my son." Madonna cut Jacqui off. "He's our son." She said, motioning to Guy.
"M..." Guy shook his head.
"I've been travelling for ten hours altogether to get here. I haven't slept I have been frantic about Rocco." Madonna said and Guy could see how tired and stressed she was and felt a little sorry for her.
"Maybe you should go and play with the children, J." Guy said and Jacqui nodded, looking hurt, but left them alone.
"You didn't need to bite her head off, M. Jacqui has tried talking to Rocco too." Guy said, quietly.
"I don't care. He's our son." Madonna replied sharply.
"Ok. Do you want a coffee?"
"Please."
"Go and sit down, you don't have to stand there looking awkward." Guy said and Madonna shot him a dirty look, then went to sit down.
"Will the school really not tell you how long he is suspended for?" Madonna asked, looking grateful when Guy handed her a coffee.
"No." He said, sitting next to her.
"Maybe I should talk to them..."
"M, they could kick him out if they wanted. Then we would have to find another school for him. I think that would be hard, considering he took drugs to school."
"Has he been acting different?" Madonna frowned.
"He's a teenage boy, M. They're all pretty moody." Guy said.
"Did you try talking to him?"
"No, because he's not a girl."
"Guy."
"It sounds like you are accusing me of being a bad parent, M. He could have done the same if he was with you."
"I would have tried harder to talk to him." Madonna shot back.
"And he probably would have came to stay with me." Guy said and Madonna looked away, knowing he was right.
"You're right. This is such a mess." Madonna ran a hand through her hair.
"Rocco isn't in a good mood. Probably because I called you. I know you're desperate to see him, but I just thought I should warn you."
"Well I'm staying in the village and I am going to come here every day until this is sorted."
"Fair enough."
"I had a nightmare when I was still in Michigan, that Rocco was in jail. I went to see him and he...he tried to strangle me." Madonna said, her voice wobbling.
Guy sat forward, placing a hand on her knee. "M, it's just a dream. No matter how moody or troubled Rocco is right now, he loves you. You're just stressed."
"It felt so real."
"I think between us, we can help him." Guy said, squeezing her knee. "You were always better with him than I was."
"Until we weren't getting on and he couldn't wait to come here." Madonna sighed.
"It was the easiest thing to do. From his point of view." Guy took his hand off of Madonna's knee.
"I guess. I kind of miss him being little, it was so much easier." Madonna said, her eyes filling with tears.
"It's just a phase, M. It won't last for ever. He's just pushing our buttons."
"What hope do I have if he won't even talk to you?" Madonna looked worried.
"You're tougher on him than me, M. I know you can get through to him." Guy said with confidence.
Madonna drank half of her coffee. "Where is he? I better go talk to him."
"He's out by the stables."
"Wish me luck." Madonna said, taking a deep breath as she stood up, then smoothed her shirt and went to find Rocco.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Rocco was sat under a tree, smoking and engrossed in his phone. Madonna went over to him and cleared her throat, looking at the cigarette and raising her eyebrows.
"It's not cannabis, take a fucking chill pill." Rocco muttered.
Madonna took the cigarette from Rocco and stubbed it out on the tree, then grabbed his phone and slipped it in the back pocket of her trousers. "Don't swear at me Rocco."
"Why are you even here?" Rocco stood up.
"Because you took cannabis to school and got arrested and suspended. I'm worried about you, Roccs." Madonna said softly.
"More like dad can't handle me, so he calls you." Rocco replied.
"He is worried about you. We both are. And I am staying here until we sort things out."
"Here? At the house?" Rocco frowned.
"In the village."
"There's nothing to talk about."
"Obviously there is something wrong, Rocco, to make you act this way." Madonna said and Rocco shrugged.
"Not really."
"I thought you would be happy here with Guy."
"I took cannabis to school, not heroin."
"Drugs are drugs. It doesn't matter which ones you took to school. I'm concerned about your health and well being." Madonna said and Rocco snorted. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"You were more concerned with your tour last time." Rocco said, looking away.
"That's not fair. We argued and you refused to come home for Christmas." Madonna's voice faltered.
"I can make my own decisions."
"You're not quite an adult yet, Rocco. Maybe I should hire a tutor for you, so you don't miss too much school work."
"How long are you staying here mom?"
"How ever long it takes."
"What if I just went back to New York with you?"
"Do you want too?" Madonna looked surprised.
"Not really." Rocco rubbed the back of his neck.
"Are you happy here?"
"I want to be here."
"That's not what I asked. Are you happy here?"
"You aren't here. What do you think?" Rocco yelled, then walked away.
Madonna was so taken aback, she could only watch him go and had to fight back tears.




End of Part 2...




Part 3
Madonna couldn't sleep. She had been lying in bed for hours, trying to close her eyes, changing position, but she just couldn't relax. It was just after one in the morning and Madonna decided she needed to do something to tire herself out. She got out of bed and changed into her work-out clothes. Madonna sneaked down the stairs, careful not to wake the bodyguards who were staying in guest rooms and left the cottage. It felt liberating to run through the village at night on her own - the only light coming from the crescent moon and the stars. There was a light breeze, but after running for several minutes she was already warming up. Madonna stopped to stretch her legs and drink some water, then ran some more. By the time she got back to the cottage she was drenched in sweat, so decided to have a nice relaxing bath. Madonna peeled her clothes from her body, which was slick with sweat and got into a nice warm bath, lying under the water for a second. She put a dry, folded up flannel behind her head and lay back, closing her eyes. Madonna opened them and washed herself and her hair, before getting out of the bath - finally feeling tired enough to sleep. She put on a fresh pair of pyjamas and closed her eyes the minute she got into bed and fell asleep.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Is Guy ever around?" Madonna asked, sighing and rolling her eyes when Jacqui answered the door the following morning.
"Good morning!" Jacqui said brightly, smiling.
"It will be if there is any coffee going." Madonna replied.
"I was just making some."
"Where is Rocco?"
"Guy went for a walk with him. He's trying to talk to him." Jacqui said, frowning slightly. "He is very troubled."
"I know."
"You can go and sit down if you like and I'll bring out the coffee." Jacqui said, as brightly as she'd been before.
"Thanks." Madonna said and went to sit down.
Jacqui returned with their coffees and sat next to Madonna.
"Thanks."
"I know you don't like me, and you think I'm interfering with Rocco, but I care about him a great deal and only want to help." Jacqui said and Madonna raised her eyebrows. The handful of times she'd seen Jacqui, she had seemed pretty passive and not the type of person to be firm with her.
"This isn't high school, Jacqui. I didn't come here to be friends with my ex-husband's wife. I am here to help my son. I appreciate you care for Rocco, but I am his mother. Try putting yourself in my shoes. Imagine Guy remarried and the son you had together spends half his life with another woman." Madonna said quietly, sipping her coffee.
Jacqui looked thoughtful for a moment or so, then nodded. "That would be hard. I've never really thought about it from that point of view." She looked at Madonna like she felt sorry for her.
"Please don't look at me like you pity me." Madonna put her mug down on the coffee table, looking horrified.
"Sorry." Jacqui said, squirming in her seat, blushing a little.
"No, I am. I haven't been sleeping well, so I'm pretty moody." Madonna ran a hand through her hair, wrenching her fingers in it for a second. "Would you mind if I go up to Rocco's room?" Madonna asked and Jacqui shook her head.
"Not at all, I'll leave you to it." Jacqui said, motioning for Madonna to go upstairs.
Madonna went upstairs and couldn't help but remember the good times she'd had in the house when she had still been married to Guy and Lourdes and Rocco had been little. Tears formed in her eyes and she wiped them away, sniffing. Madonna took a deep breath and opened the door, going inside and sighed, rolling her eyes but smiled and even laughed a little. It was a typical teenager's room in the sense that there were clothes everywhere, magazines about cars and motorbikes, several pairs of trainers and various other things. What Madonna had really gone up there for was to look for drugs. She looked under the bed, then opened several drawers, rummaging around in them. Under some t-shirts in a drawer she found several joints and a bag of cannabis. Madonna pulled it out, placing it on top of the drawers, feeling equally as annoyed with Guy as with Rocco.
"We're going out. I text Guy to let him know, he's on his way back with Rocco. I thought I'd give you guys some space." Jacqui said, standing in the doorway, holding her youngest son, her other son and daughter stood either side of her. Madonna nodded.
"Ok. Thanks for the coffee."
"You're welcome." Jacqui smiled and took the children away and left the house. Madonna looked at the joints on top of the drawer and almost wanted one herself to calm down, she was so wound up. She took them downstairs and put them on the coffee table and paced, figuring out what she would say. Madonna was concerned and upset and angry and not just with Rocco.
Rocco burst into the house first and was about to head upstairs, when he saw Madonna and what was on the coffee table. Guy arrived shortly after, just as Rocco frowned, going over to Madonna.
"You have NO RIGHT to go in my room and go through my stuff!" Rocco said, his face inches from Madonna's. He was taller than her and intimidating the closer her got.
"I am worried about you Rocco, I have every right!" Madonna yelled back.
"No, you don't." Rocco shoved Madonna hard and she staggered back, catching her leg on the corner of the coffee table before regaining her footing.
"Don't you DARE hurt your mother!" Guy said, stepping between them and grabbing a handful of Rocco's shirt, almost lifting him off the floor, red-faced with anger.
"Guy, leave him. I'm fine." Madonna said, although her heart was pounding as she touched Guy's shoulder.
"Don't you EVER put your hands on your mother like that again." Guy said, pointing a finger at Rocco.
"She went through my stuff." Rocco said quietly.
"I would say she had reason too."
"You know Lola smokes those?" Rocco said, looking at Madonna.
"Lola is an adult. And she wouldn't smoke them in my house." Madonna replied calmly.
"Well this isn't your house..." Rocco said, holding his hands out, laughing.
"It's my house and I don't want any of that in it. I don't want you smoking joints here. You have little brothers and a little sister, Rocco. What if they get hold of it?"
"Not likely, unless they are going through my stuff." Rocco folded his arms.
"You're grounded. Get up to your room and stay there, unless me or your mother says you can come out." Guy said firmly.
"I'm nearly an adult, you can't ground me." Rocco laughed. His smile faded, when he looked from Guy to Madonna. "Mom?"
"When you act like an adult, we will treat you like one." Madonna said quietly.
"Fine." Rocco stomped off upstairs and they heard his door slam in the distance.
Guy turned to Madonna. "I should have searched his room after he got caught..." He sighed.
"It's not your fault. It's mine. I'm a terrible mother." Madonna said, as tears started running down her face.
"No way M. This is not your fault." Guy frowned.
"I should have asked him before I toured if he wanted to come. At least if Rocco wanted to come here he might have come home to me for Christmas. I felt like a part of me was missing because he wasn't there." Madonna said, looking heartbroken and Guy rubbed the back of his neck, feeling bad.
"That was my fault, because I let him stay instead of sending him back to you."
"I don't blame you." Madonna said, sitting down.
"Really?" Guy sounded surprised. "I thought you were going to be mad I didn't search his room too." He said, motioning to the drugs.
"No. It's exhausting being angry all the time. I was just now when I found it. I did feel angry with you before you came back, but it doesn't solve anything, does it? Rocco needs us to be united in helping him."
"I agree." Guy replied, nodding. He saw Madonna rub the back of her leg and frowned. A dark stain formed on the back of her tan trousers. "M, you're bleeding."
"Shit!" Madonna said, lifting her wide trouser leg and saw a thin line of blood and several little bruises forming along the edges of it.
"Wait there." Guy went to get a cloth to clean it up and even some bandages. He leaned over Madonna and dabbed at her leg.
"I don't think I'll need it bandaged."
"It might get infected." Guy said and started rolling a bandage around it.
"Thanks." Madonna said, pulling her trouser leg down when he'd finished.
"You're not a terrible mother, M."
"I can hardly eat or sleep or even breathe lately, I'm so worried about Rocco. I feel borderline hysterical." Madonna admitted, swallowing a lump in her throat.
"You aren't alone, M. I am here to help you with him. Fifty fifty. But I refuse to let him hurt you. We didn't bring him up to act like that."
"No." Madonna agreed. "I need some air."
"I can walk you back to the village."
"My bodyguards are around."
"I want too." Guy insisted.
"Ok." Madonna said and she breathed in the country air when they left the house. As they walked down the sweeping driveway, Madonna turned and looked up at the house and saw Rocco in the window. He scowled when he saw her, turning his back to her then moving out of sight. "Don't be hard on him." Madonna said, looking at Guy.
"That depends on how he behaves. Clearly I've been to soft on him."
"I know you grounded him, but maybe I could take him out tomorrow? Just around the village or something. Maybe some time not being cooped up might do Rocco some good?" Madonna half asked and Guy nodded.
"Hopefully."




End of Part 3...




Part 4




"Rocco? What are you doing here? How did you even find me?" Madonna sat up in bed, rubbing her eyes. Rocco was stood at the foot of her bed, just staring at her.
"Things I heard in the village."
"It's late. Does Guy know you're here?" Madonna sat up properly, frowning.
"No."
"You shouldn't be wandering around in the dark on your own. Let me get dressed and I'll take you home." Madonna grabbed a t-shirt out of the drawers next to her and pulled it on over her slip.
"Mom, you need to go home." Rocco said quietly.
"Excuse me?" Madonna got out of bed and looked confused.
"Go home. Go back to the US. I don't want you here." Rocco said sharply.
"Rocco...don't talk to me like that." Madonna said, looking hurt. She went over to the door, to take him home, but Rocco stood in the way, blocking the exit.
"I don't want you here. You need to go." Rocco stepped towards Madonna and she felt her heart pound. "I don't want you here!" He yelled right in her face.
Madonna woke up with a start, gasping for breath, sweat dripping down her face and body. She got out of bed and looked around the room, still slightly disorientated. "Rocco? Rocco?" She whispered. Madonna wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. Her eyes focused and she realised she must have been dreaming. She stood with her back to the wall and slid down it, until she was sitting. Madonna pulled her knees to her chest and started to cry. She sat there for a good ten minutes crying, then got up and went to have a shower because she felt hot and sweaty. Madonna got under the cold water still wearing her slip and let the water slick it to her body at first, until she eventually peeled it off and cast it aside. Getting out of the shower she dried herself off and put on an oversized t-shirt and got back into bed. Madonna still couldn't sleep, so she phoned her dad.
"Hi Nonnie." Silvio said in a cheerful way that made her smile at both the tone and the use of her childhood nickname.
"Hey dad."
"I didn't call you late did I?" Madonna looked at the time. It was half one in the morning.
"No, it's only half past eight." Silvio replied. "How is it going with Rocco?"
"It's not. He hates me." Madonna sighed.
"I'm sure that's not true." Silvio replied.
"Rocco is being...impossible. I keep having all these weird dreams about him being mean to me. They feel so real."
"It's anxiety. Don't you have something to take to help you sleep - like Valium or something?" Silvio suggested.
"Dad!" Madonna laughed.
"What?"
"I wouldn't have expected you to tell me to pop pills." Madonna said and Silvio laughed.
"You need to sleep, Nonnie."
"I have never slept properly."
"I know, but you need to sleep if you are going to be dealing with a difficult teenager. You need all the energy you can get."
"Were my brothers this hateful to you when they were teenagers? Was I?" Madonna asked.
"None of you were ever hateful. A handful at times, but not hateful. Times have changed a lot since you were Rocco's age."
"Yeah. None of my brothers took drugs to school." Madonna rubbed her forehead. "I miss you dad,"
"I miss you too Nonnie. When you sort things out with Rocco, you should come back here with him."
"I don't know, dad. You have a lot of faith in me."
"Of course I do. Now take some Valium and go to sleep Nonnie." Silvio said softly and Madonna laughed.
"I love you dad." Madonna said, smiling.
"I love you too, Nonnie." Silvio replied softly and Madonna hung up, putting her phone on the bedside table, next to the picture of her mother that went everywhere with her.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following day Madonna rode her bike up to the house. Rocco was sat on the steps outside, looking down at his phone.
"I thought we could go for a ride." Madonna said, when she stopped at the bottom of the steps and he didn't look up.
"I would rather stay in my room."
"Does Guy know you're down here?"
Rocco looked up from his phone. "He said I should wait down here for you."
"Get your bike." Madonna said, but Rocco just looked at her. "I wasn't asking."
"Yes sir." Rocco said, saluting her and disappeared.
"How is your leg?" Guy asked, walking down the steps.
"It's fine."
"Are you sleeping?" Guy noticed Madonna was pale with dark under her eyes and her messy hair which evidently hadn't been brushed, was pulled back into a messy bun.
"No. I keep having dreams about Rocco. That he's angry with me." Madonna said, her voice wobbling.
"Anxiety." Guy said, rubbing her arm. "Rocco is going to have to listen to you eventually. I think it's good that you come here every day."
"Have you been talking to him too?"
"Yes. Mostly trying to get him to talk to you. And not hurt you." Guy replied.
"It's not that big a deal."
Guy stepped towards Madonna, holding both her arms. "I want you to tell me if he hurts you again."
"I don't think he will."
"Are we going on this bike ride or are you two going to stand there flirting all day?" Rocco said, riding towards them.
"Sure." Madonna looked from Guy to Rocco and got back on her bike. "Wait up!" Madonna yelled, when Rocco raced off down the driveway. She went after him, looking back at Guy once.
Rocco skidded to a halt down the bottom of the driveway and Madonna caught up with him. "I think you could do with a joint, mom. You are way uptight."
"No, I just want you to behave and be happy. That's all." Madonna said, as they rode side by side.
"Then stop coming here."
"I can't do that Rocco. Something is wrong. You don't seem happy."
"Because no one will get off my case!" Rocco said loudly.
"With good reason. I don't like that you got suspended from school."
"And I don't like that you assume I want to come on tour with you." Rocco replied.
"You never told me before we went." Madonna said.
"And you never asked."
"I love taking all my children on tour with me, because you are all growing up so fast. It won't be long before you leave home and I like to make the most of my time with you." Madonna replied, feeling like she might cry as she chewed her lower lip. When she looked at Rocco his expression was softer and he looked apologetic.
"It's not like I'm going to drop off the face of the earth when I move out. Lola still visits. So will I." Rocco said quietly.
Madonna nodded. "I would still like to know what is wrong. You say you're happy here, but take drugs to school, Rocco. That isn't like you. You've been so aggressive with me." She looked at him. "I think you hate me sometimes."
"I don't hate you." Rocco replied, almost straight away. "You just...frustrate me sometimes."
"Whatever you say or do to me, I love you Rocco. And I always will."
Rocco rolled his eyes. "Oh god mom, that sounds so grim! Like you're gonna die or something!"
"It's true."
"Where are you staying?"
"In a cottage just outside the village."
"Can we go there for a bit?"
"Sure." Madonna said, taking the lead slightly on her bike and Rocco followed.
They both got off their bikes and leaned them against the cottage and went inside.
"Do you want something to eat?"
"Not if you're making it." Rocco joked. He looked around, hands shoved in his pockets. "This place is pretty cool."
"I know, right?"
"Can I stay here for a bit?" Rocco asked.
Madonna was caught off guard and looked shocked. "I...I don't know. You're supposed to be grounded. Guy might not let you." She fiddled with her hands.
"Do I make you nervous?" Rocco frowned. "You look scared. Is it because I pushed you?" He asked.
"You don't scare me." Madonna said quietly. Rocco walked right up to Madonna and she looked nervous.
"Fuck this." He said, then turned and left.
"Rocco! Please come back! I didn't expect you to want to stay here! You just surprised me that's all! Rocco! Rocco!" Madonna went after him, but he'd already got on his bike and rode away, heading back home. Madonna watched him go with tears in her eyes.




End of Part 4...




Part 5




"Does Rocco scare you?" Guy asked, looking at Madonna like he was studying her face.
He'd surprised Madonna by showing up at her cottage, just as she was eating breakfast. She guessed he had asked Rocco where she was staying.
Madonna shrugged, placing a mug of coffee down in front of Guy. "I don't know." She replied, tucking some blonde hair behind her ear and pulling her silk gown tighter around the slip she wore. Guy looked slightly amused. "I don't think he meant to hurt me last time, it was just unfortunate there was a coffee table behind me."
"M, I don't think he would hurt you either. Rocco listens to you. Even if he does give you a barage of abuse." Guy said, drinking some coffee.
"I'm not sure about that." Madonna sighed. "How would you feel if I intived Rocco to stay here, with me for a bit? I know you grounded him, so I don't want to step on your toes."
"I think it would do him good to spend some time with you M. And if you need me, you can call or come up to the house."
"As long as you answer the door." Madonna said, rolling her eyes at the thought of Jacqui and Guy laughed.
"Talking of being intimidating..."
"Jacqui is scared of me?" Madonna grinned.
"She didn't say it in so many words. I think you make her feel...uncomfortable." Guy said, trying not to smile.
"I went to collect some work from his school yesterday."
"Did you try and talk the headmistress into letting him go back?" Guy asked gingerly.
"Of course. She said not just yet. But she will continue to email me work for Rocco and I can send it back to her, so it will be marked and he won't miss anything."
"Do you want me to stay when you tell him he has schoolwork?" Guy joked and Madonna pushed his arm.
"Don't. It will be fine."
"I know. I'll send Rocco down, save you coming up to the house and back here."
"Thanks."
"I got rid of the drugs you found in his room."
"I hope that doesn't mean you smoked it with Jacqui?" Madonna teased, raising her eyebrows.
Guy laughed. "God no, she doesn't want that shit in the house. Especially with our little ones running around."
"Fair enough."
"Sorry for showing up so early." Guy drained his mug. "I thought you'd be getting back from a three hour run or something..."
"Ha-ha!" Madonna rolled her eyes. "I'm doing that tomorrow." She teased.
"I'll send Rocco down and see you around." Guy stood up, kissing the top of her head and Madonna noticed him glance down her gown briefly, then he left. Madonna smiled, shaking her head and finishing her breakfast.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
There was a knock at the door and Madonna opened it and Rocco stood there with his bike.
"Can I put this in the house somewhere? I don't want to leave it outside if I am staying here for a bit."
"Sure, the hallway is big enough. Put it here." Madonna said, motioning to a space.
Rocco put his bike against the wall, then dumped a holdall and a big backpack on the floor. Before he could say or do anything, Madonna hugged him hard and Rocco looked surprised.
"Jesus christ mom! I'm not dying!" He said, but didn't push her away and even held Madonna back.
"I know, but I'm so glad you're here." Madonna said, her voice trembling and eyes watering.
"I guess. Do I get to pick a room?"
"Yes. Let me help you with your bags."
"They're heavy."
"Do I look weak to you?" Madonna asked, arching an eyebrow and Rocco smiled, shaking his head. She picked up the holdall and Rocco slung the backpack over his shoulder and they went upstairs. Madonna pointed out her room and the two bodyguards' rooms. There were three more rooms.
"This is the biggest cottage I've ever stayed in." Rocco joked, as he picked the room furthest from everyone else's.
"I do like it here." Madonna said, dumping the holdall down on the bed. "I'll let you get settled. Did you eat before you came here?"
"No."
"Sandwiches ok?"
"Sure."
Madonna went downstairs and started making them sandwiches for lunch. She felt both excited and nervous Rocco was staying with her. Not nervous in a scared way, but because she was anxious about them getting on. He appeared and they sat down to eat.
"I didn't think you would really want me to stay here." Rocco muttered as he started to eat.
"Of course I do."
"I was a jerk yesterday."
Madonna shrugged. "You're here now. That's what matters."
"We'll see." Rocco replied.
"I went to see your headmistress and she won't let you go back to school yet, but she has given me some work so you don't fall behind."
"Fuck that! I'm not doing that! If that stuck up bitch won't let me back in her precious school, I'm not doing the work!" Rocco started yelling, red-faced.
"Rocco! Language!" Madonna frowned. "I don't want you to fall behind. Education is important."
"I don't need to be in school to learn things."
"Smoking cannabis isn't going to teach you anything."
"Oh mom, change the record!" Rocco leaned back in his chair, looking up at the ceiling.
"I will when you do."
"Like you of all people has never done anything rebellious!"
"I never took drugs to school. How could you be so reckless?"
"I took drugs, not a knife."
"Your attitude sucks right now, Rocco."
"Are you going to ground me?" Rocco joked.
"No, but you are going to sit and listen to what I - "
Rocco held his hands up. "I'm grounding myself. It's better than listening to this." He grabbed his plate and drink and stomped off upstairs, slamming his door shut. Madonna jumped, pinching the bridge of her nose and wondering what to do next.




End of Part 5...




Part 6




Madonna put a hoodie on over her thin-strapped pyjama top and went downstairs, out to the garden. She sat on the grass, hugging her knees to her chest, gazing up at the stars. It had been a couple of days since Rocco had arrived, and since the argument over schoolwork, Rocco hadn't left his room. Madonna had took his meals up and left them outside the door when he didn't answer, then took the empty ones away when they were left outside. She wanted to call Guy or her father. Madonna decided against it, feeling like she would be a failure if she kept asking for help. A gentle breeze blew through her hair and she tilted her chin up, looking at the stars. She couldn't sleep and was thinking of her next step with Rocco.
"Mom? What are you doing out here?" Rocco asked, joining her outside and Madonna looked up.
"I can't sleep." She replied, watching him sit next to her. "I missed you."
"I haven't been anywhere."
"Rocco...I don't want to argue at this hour." Madonna said quietly, sighing as she ran a hand through her hair.
"I don't see why I should do work for a school that won't let me back in." Rocco said, holding his hands out.
"You aren't hurting the school, Rocco. You are jeopardising your future." Madonna replied, frowning at him, also looking worried.
"Why? I don't even know what I want to do when I leave, yet."
"Education is important."
"Remind me mom, how exactly has your education helped with your career?" Rocco cocked his head to one side.
"No one likes a smart ass." Madonna replied bluntly.
"You freak out over everything and then wonder why I want to stay with dad."
"I'm your mother! I love you! I care about your health and education and future." Madonna said, looking hurt.
"Sometimes you can be stifling. You can't handle us growing up. First it was Lola leaving, now me. Are you going to be the same with David and Mercy?" Rocco asked, almost accusingly.
"What ever happened to the sweet boy who used to love me and hug me?" Madonna asked, barely holding back tears.
"He grew up." Rocco replied, standing up and looking down at Madonna for a couple of minutes. She looked up at him with desperation in her eyes. "Night." He said, going back inside before she could reply. Madonna started to cry. Part of what Rocco had said was true, she found it hard that her children were growing up and at times it seemed like they needed her less.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following morning, after she'd been for an early run, showered and had breakfast, Madonna knocked on Rocco's door and there was no answer.
"I'm coming in." She said and opened the door. The room was a mess and Rocco wasn't there. The net-curtain blew out of the open window. Madonna ran over to it, looking out the window. She figured he must have climbed down the drainpipe and the ivy that grew on the cottage. "Shit!" She went downstairs and found her bodyguards having breakfast. They mostly pleased themselves during the day, the village was small and Madonna had told them she would find them or call if she needed them for the duration of their stay. "Did either of you hear Rocco leave?"
"No M."
"No. He isn't in his room?"
"Uh-uh. I'm going up to Ashcombe to see if he's gone there."
"We could search the village and call you if we find him."
"That would be great, thanks." Madonna grabbed her coat and bag and her bike, wheeling it out of the cottage and riding away, heading for Ashcombe.
When she got there, Madonna banged on the door. Guy answered, looking ready to have a go, until he saw how stressed out she looked.
"Is Rocco here?"
"No. He's staying with you."
"He's missing. We had an argument a couple of days ago about schoolwork and he grounded himself. His window was open, so Rocco must have climbed down the drainpipe. I'm so worried about him, he isn't himself lately."
"There aren't too many places Rocco could go around here. Do you want to split up or search together?"
"Together. My bodyguards are looking in the village."
"Let's search the grounds then." Guy suggested. "We are going to find him, M."
"He hates me." She said, as they started walking across the grounds.
"No he doesn't."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Do you want to hear my theory?" Guy asked.
"Yes."
"I think he might be depressed."
"Oh god." Madonna rubbed her forehead. "Doesn't cannabis cause depression?"
"Yes, but it could be his age too." Guy replied.
"I'm a terrible mother."
"Stop beating yourself up, M. You're not a terrible mother."
"Can I have that in writing?" Madonna asked, smiling a little.
Guy laughed. "Like I said, it's probably just his age."
"He won't listen to me."
"I don't think I listened to my mum at his age." Guy said, looking at Madonna and she looked away. "I'm sorry M, I know you didn't have a mother - "
"It's fine." Madonna said, looking up at him.
"I'll try calling him." Guy said, pulling his phone out of his pocket.
"If he won't talk to me, he probably won't talk to you." Madonna said. "But I guess it won't hurt to try."
"It went to voicemail." Guy slipped his phone back in his pocket.
When they'd looked everywhere, Madonna rode back to the cottage. Guy promised to call her if Rocco turned up. Madonna went up to Rocco's room and searched it. He hadn't packed any clothes so he hadn't ran away. Under a pile of clothes on the floor, she found more cannabis.
"Oh, Rocco..." Madonna sighed and was just about to send Guy a text, when Rocco appeared.
"What are you doing?" Rocco frowned.




End of Part 6...
materialgirl86
Part 19



"Can I give you my opinion?" Craig, one of Madonna's long time bodyguards asked.
Madonna was parked on the opposite side of the road to Lars' gallery. It had only taken him the few days since they last spoke on the phone for him to completely move his stuff out of the house, during the daytime hours when the only people there were the staff. Madonna slipped her shades down and looked at Craig.
"Am I going to like your opinion?"
"Probably not." Craig replied.
"I admire your honesty." Madonna smiled, pushing the shades back up and looking across the road at the gallery. "No. Yes."
"Yes or no? I don't want to get into a fight."
"I've had enough fights with Lars and the children to last me a lifetime lately. Let's hear it." Madonna said, sighing.
"This feels a little stalkerish." Craig said and Madonna smiled. "I mean, are you going to go and talk to him?"
"I don't know." Madonna ran a hand through her hair.
"He hasn't spotted us. We could go now, before he does. You know how charming Lars is."
"And what an idiot I am." Madonna said, like she was finishing something that hung in the air.
"I never meant that."
"I did."
"Personally I think you are making it harder for yourself. To leave him." Craig said and Madonna looked at him, taking her shades off and tossing them in the backseat, frowning at him.
"I really don't think I can make it any harder."
"Like I said, I don't want to fight." Craig said, holding his hands up defensively.
"Then do your job and protect me. I already have a shrink." Madonna said sharply and Craig fell silent as she pulled away.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It came as no surprise to Madonna when she couldn't sleep that night. She had always been an insomniac and survived on precious little sleep. This time she was thinking about the meetings she'd had with her lawyer, setting up another one-off show like she'd done in Miami to raise money for Raising Malawi by auctioning off the pricey gifts Lars had given to her, her next appointment with her therapist, wondering how Astrid was doing, how the children were all affected, and of course, Lars. It drove her mad that he was all she could think about, when she was in the process of leaving him for good this time. Madonna got out of bed and switched on the light. She opened her closet and walked into it. She began taking every item of clothing Lars had ever bought her and slinging it over her other arm. When the pile got too big, she put it on her bed.
"Mom, what are you doing? It's the middle of the night." Mercy wandered into the room and Madonna looked up with a confused expression, having been lost in her thoughts.
"I couldn't sleep, baby. I thought I might as well do something useful." Madonna's voice wobbled.
"Do you want some help?" Mercy offered.
"That's sweet, but you have school tomorrow Mercy. You need sleep."
"It's Saturday tomorrow."
"Is it? I've lost track of the days lately..."
"Are you still taking tablets for the pain?" Mercy asked and Madonna nodded.
"Sometimes."
"So, can I help?" Mercy asked and Madonna smiled.
"Of course. How come you can't sleep?"
"Worrying about you." Mercy said shyly, blushing a little.
Madonna went over to Mercy and hugged her, kissing the top of her head. "I don't want you to worry about me, Mercy. I'll be fine. Besides, I have you and all the others to support me." Mercy started to cry softly and Madonna hugged her tightly.
"I don't want to hurt you, mom!" Mercy wept.
"You aren't hurting me, my darling. I don't like seeing you get upset like this..." Madonna said softly, kissing her again.
Madonna held Mercy's face and wiped her tears with both thumbs.
"He isn't going to come back, is he?"
"No. And he won't be coming anywhere near you, I promise. Is that part of what is keeping you up too?" Madonna asked and Mercy nodded. "Maybe if we sort out some of my stuff, it might take our minds off him." She suggested and Mercy nodded.
"Mom, you have way too many clothes." Mercy said, sniffing and wiping her face.
"I know, right?" Madonna groaned, rolling her eyes, then laughed.
"I don't know how you decide what to wear every day...I would have to hire someone to decide for me." Mercy said, putting clothes Madonna handed her on the bed.
"I'm doing another show to auction off - some things I don't want. Maybe some of the nicer dresses as well. The rest can go to charity shops." Madonna said.
"Several charity shops." Mercy said, smiling.
When they'd sorted the clothes, Madonna and Mercy quietly moved them from Madonna's bed to the bed of a close by guest room.
"Can I sleep with you tonight mom?" Mercy asked, following Madonna back to her room and closing the door.
"Of course you can sweetheart." Madonna smiled as they both got into her huge bed and cuddled up. She missed all her children being little and ending up in her bed.
"Are you upset that you have to leave him? Even though he hurt you?" Mercy asked, looking at Madonna with her big dark eyes.
Madonna swallowed a lump in her throat and nodded. "Yes. I loved him very much."
"He is an idiot for loosing you." Mercy said and Madonna smiled at the fierceness in her voice.


End of Part 19...




Part 20




It was starting to get late and Madonna was practically alone in the studio. She sat on a sofa, running her fingers over the detailing on the guitar Lars had had made for her. It was a beautiful shiny black guitar, with 'rebel heart' in swirly writing and little hearts carved in white on the front, and the constellation for Madonna's star sign - Leo carved in white on the back.
"It's a beautiful guitar." Guy Oseary said, sitting next to her and she nodded, avoiding making eye contact with him. "Are you considering putting it in the auction for your show?"
Madonna looked up at Guy. "I am considering it. And I hate you know me so well." She tried not to smile.
"You don't have to get rid of everything he gave you, M. I know how much you love that guitar. I've seen you admiring it even when you've been playing it." Guy said quietly.
"To be honest, it doesn't make a difference what I keep or get rid of. Lars has given me scars that I can't even talk away in therapy." Madonna's voice wobbled.
"I think you're being too hard on yourself." Guy said, squeezing Madonna's shoulder. "It's early days yet. I can't believe I didn't notice him hurting you on tour..."
"It's easy to pass any injury off as something stage related." Madonna said quickly. "What could you have done, anyway, Guy? I would have defended Lars not matter what he done to me at one time. How awful is it that I have only just realised how stupid that is? That it took one of my daughters witnessing him beating me and two of my sons pulling him away and nearly getting hit to finally open my eyes?" Madonna swallowed a lump in her throat.
"The problem is Lars is so charming. I imagine he could talk himself out of anything." Guy replied and Madonna nodded. "And you have a big heart, M. You're very kind and forgiving. That made it easier for someone like Lars to manipulate."
"Do you think he loved me? Really loved me?" Madonna had tears in her eyes, as she set the guitar back in the case and done it up.
"In his way, yes. There was a certain way Lars looked at you. But obivously he had to be in control." Guy replied. "I didn't mean to make you cry M..."
"I can't stop lately. It's not your fault." Madonna wept, clinging to Guy when he put his arms around her. "I'm a mess."
"Maybe you should take some time off work. Sort things out with Lars, have some time for yourself and the children, then come back when you are good and ready." Guy suggested.
Madonna shook her head. "I would be over-thinking it all."
"You are definately divorcing Lars, aren't you?"
"Yes." Madonna sniffed, wiping her tears with her fingers. "That's why I can't stop crying. I loved him so much. This is hard."
"But when it's all over, you will be happier. And feel lighter and more relieved."
"Are you studying to become a therapist?" Madonna rolled her eyes in an exaggerated way and Guy laughed, knowing she was joking and not being mean.
"I'll take that as a compliment." Guy said. "In the meantime, let me take some off your shoulders. I can organise your one off show here, god knows you have written enough notes - "
"No." Madonna said firmly. "Thank you, but I love organising shows."
"Goddamn, M, you are so stubborn! It's ok to need help." Guy said, sounding semi-frustrated.
"Good talk, goodnight Guy." Madonna said, grabbing her coat and bag.
"Goodnight M." Guy said, watching her rush from the room before he could say anything else, and shaking his head.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna saw her car out front and got into the backseat, putting her guitar, coat and bag down.
"Straight home, please." She said and when there was no answer, but the car pulled away, she looked in the rearview mirror.
Wearing a drivers uniform and hat, was Lars. He smiled, despite her face being frozen in a mask of horror. He must have been waiting for her.
"Where is Craig?"
"He probably got a call from the studio to say you wouldn't need him to pick you up this evening." Lars adjusted the rearview mirror and smiled at Madonna's reflection.
"Let me out! You can't do this to me! You can't just take me!" Madonna tried to open the door, but it was locked, so she tried the other one.
"We need to talk."
Madonna climbed between the seats and sat in the passenger seat and tried the door. Lars sighed.
"They're all locked, M. Are you really going to jump out of a moving car?" He asked, picking up speed.
"Yes. Yes I would. You don't talk, unless it involves hurting me."
"Not this time."
"Where are you taking me?" Madonna asked, looking confused.
"It's a surprise."
"I don't like surprises."
"Yes you do."
"Not your kind." Madonna slumped back in the passenger seat, like a teenager having a strop and even folded her arms.
Lars smiled. "You look like Lola when she was younger and didn't get her own way."
"I'm not the one kidnapping someone because I can't get my own way..." Madonna said, looking at Lars.
"The only way you will listen to me, really listen is if it's just the two of us."
"If you are going to kill me - "
"You honestly think I would kill you?" Lars raised his eyebrows. "I know I lost my temper a lot, but I couldn't go that far."
"No, you just break bones, bruise me and make me bleed. How presumptious of me." Madonna said sarcastically, looking out of the window.
"I am going to get some help."
"I've heard it all before. You got help. Maybe you are beyond it. Maybe I should have left you in jail."
"Even if you meant that M, we both know you wouldn't have." Lars said quietly.
Madonna and Lars both looked at each other when her phone rang.
"Answer it." Lars said and Madonna slowly took it out of her bag.
"Gabe, I'm still at work. I will be pretty late. I'll see you tomorrow." Madonna said, then listened. "I love you. Bye."
"I miss him." Lars said, sighing.
"Why did you let me answer it?"
"Why did you lie?"
"I don't know. I don't want to worry my children any more. They've been through enough lately."
"That I am sorry for. I wish I could apologise to Gabe, Trid and Rocco."
"I strongly advise against it."
Lars looked away, visibly hurt. "I got you a coffee. It's going to be a long night." He motioned to the cup holder.
"Thanks." Madonna took the Starbucks and hesitated, then drank some. "What did you put in..." Her voice trailed off as she passed out and Lars quickly grabbed the coffee and put it back in the cupholder. Madonna was completely out and the rest of the journey would be quiet.




End of Part 20...




Part 21




"You drugged me..." Madonna said, slurring her words as she struggled to open her eyes and move. "Where the hell am I?" She swung her legs to the floor and frowned at the sofa she was on.
"I am genuinely sorry. I thought it might be easier than trying to drive all this way with you angry." Lars said calmly. He sat on the other sofa, watching her intently. "We're in the Hamptons."
"Why? Why did you bring me here?" Madonna asked, standing up, putting her hands out to steady herself when she stumbled and nearly fell. Lars got up quickly to help her, but Madonna glared at him. "Don't touch me!"
Lars held up both hands and backed off.
"Why did you bring me here? I have happy memories of this place with you."
"Exactly the reason I brought you here." Lars replied.
"You just kidnapped me and brought me here. What is the reason for this?" Madonna asked, not entirely sure she wanted to hear the answer.
"I know you still love me." Lars said and Madonna fell silent, sitting back down. "See? You can't even deny it."
"You put me in hospital. I could write an entire series of books on why we can't be together." Madonna replied.
"But you can't tell me you don't love me." Lars went and sat next to her.
"But I can show you the last injury you gave me." Madonna lifted her top and watched Lars' expression when he saw the multi-coloured bruises on her ribs. "Even when they go, there are some things that will never go." She tapped the side of her head, meaning the emotional and mental scars he'd left her with.
"I don't want you to leave me." Lars said quietly.
"Oh Lars...I didn't want you to hurt me so much."
"I didn't bring you here to hurt you."
"Are you sure about that? Because it's pretty quiet here. No one to rescue me. Although if you hurt me any more right now, I will probably end up in a box." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip. She had meant it as a sarcastic joke, but she realised she made some very true points.
"I didn't bring you here to hurt you, M. And I could never kill you, please don't even joke about that." Lars looked both serious and troubled.
"It would be the next step up, from how much you hurt me."
"I brought you here for the reasons you just said. Because I also have happy memories of us here." Lars said and when Madonna opened her mouth to reply, he kissed her. Madonna didn't pull away and even kissed Lars back.
"I can't. We can't. I shouldn't." Madonna said, standing up and walking over to an open door that lead out to the back porch, which was on the beach.
It was darl and the sky was illuminated with stars. The only sounds were cars in the distance and the gentle crash of the waves on the shore. Under different circumstances, it would have been the most relaxing place to be.
"Tell me you don't love me and I will drive you back to the city right now." Lars said softly, standing behind Madonna, his breath on her neck.
She closed her eyes. "Son of a bitch. You know I can't." Madonna opened her eyes and turned to face Lars. "That kiss doesn't prove anything."
"The fact that you didn't push me away - and even kissed me back says otherwise."
"Lars, why do you have to make everything so hard for me?" Madonna slammed both her fists on his chest and frowned, avoiding eye-contact and he held her wrists.
"I am trying to make this easy."
"Let me go." Madonna looked up at Lars. "I am not about to fall out with all of my children over a man. If it's a choice, I choose them every single time."
"I would never ask you to choose."
"It's too late, Lars. I feel humiliated at how hard I tried to get them to accept you back in my life."
"I love you M. I can talk to - "
"No, you can't!" Madonna exploded. "You hurt me!" She put a hand to her ribs and winced.
"Are you ok?" Lars frowned.
Madonna shook her head. "I need some air." She said in a strained voice and walked past him down onto the beach.
"Are you sure you should be walking? Clearly you are in pain." Lars followed her.
"This is painful." Madonna stopped and Lars saw tears running down her face. "My life since you walked into it has been painful."
"Come back inside and sit down."
"No."
"There's nowhere to go out here."
"I would walk into the water to get away from you." Madonna said.
"Don't be such a drama queen, it must be freezing!" Lars replied, thinking she was bluffing, until Madonna did start heading in the direction of the water.
"So?" Madonna looked over her shoulder at him and still clutching her ribs, walked into the water, until her trousers were wet up to her knees.
"M, don't! Please!" Lars went after her and Madonna tried to move away from him faster and went under. Lars grabbed her and for a scary second, Madonna thought he was trying to drown her. She kicked and flailed, but he managed to get her out of the water and carried her back up to the house. Madonna eventually stopped fighting him and started crying instead, not looking at him. He took her up to the bedroom and went to get a couple of towels.
"You need to get those wet clothes off, M or you'll catch your death. I think you left clothes in the closet here." Lars said.
"I'm waiting for you to leave the room."
"I've seen you naked."
"Get out." Madonna said, giving him a death stare and Lars left the room and closed the door. Madonna slowly peeled off her clothes, wishing she hadn't gone in the water. It had been pretty cold and it made the bruises on her ribs ache. She dried herself and got dressed. Madonna went over to the window and opened it, seeing if she could climb out it, but sighed when she saw how treacherous it could be if she put one foot wrong.
"So, you didn't drown and now you want to climb out of a window?" Lars said and Madonna turned around.
"I never said I was finished."
"And I know you very well, M." Lars smiled and looked disarmingly handsome.
"Take me home Lars."
"No."
"You aren't going to change my mind. You can kiss me and smile and stand there looking...never mind - you aren't going to change me mind." Madonna blushed a little. "And don't you dare laugh at me!" She pointed a finger at him when it looked like Lars might laugh.
"I can't help it. You're trying to be fierce, but still managing to compliment me. M, you are great at many things, but threats aren't one of them." Lars said, unable to stop smiling.
"Let me go."
"I can't."
"Try."
"Like you are trying to tell me you don't love me?"
"This isn't a game, Lars."
"Tell me you don't love me."
"Let me go."
"I love you." Lars said, holding Madonna's cheeks and she grabbed his wrists so hard it burned and removed his hands from her face.
"Lars. If I'm not home, my children will notice."
"They will think you are working late."
"Let me show you something." Madonna said, going back downstairs and Lars followed her. She fished her phone out of her bag and held it up to show Lars the missed calls and messages - all from her children.
"How did you know? I never heard your phone."
"I know my children." Madonna replied. "You are making this worse for yourself."
"It doesn't matter if I am put back in jail. Nothing is going to be worse than not being with you." Lars replied. "Tell me you don't love me."
"Lars you're just making this painful for both of us."
"M. Please. Don't over think. Follow this." Lars put a hand on her chest and could feel her heart beating fast.
"This has a lot of injury around it. It hurts." Madonna said, motioning to her chest area.
"I should be the one to make it, make you feel better." Lars said softy and Madonna shook her head.
"No. I need to move on."
"You can't."
"How do you figure?" Madonna stood with her hands on her hips.
"Because you can't even tell me you don't love me."
Madonna took several steps towards Lars, her face inches from him. "I don't love you."
"And I don't believe you."
"Do you want me to yell it?" Madonna raised her eyebrows.
"No."
"Take me home." Madonna said calmly.
What happened next surprised Madonna - Lars sank down to his knees and started to cry. He sounded so completely heartbroken that it threw her off for a minute. Madonna went down on her knees and put her arms around Lars, holding him. Feeling his whole body shake as he cried made her start to cry again too.
"I know you don't believe me, but I really am sorry for all the grief I've - " Lars started.
"Stop. I know." Madonna said, interrupting him.
"I'll take you back. Then hand myself in." Lars said, sniffing and looking at Madonna.
"You don't have to do that. There was no harm done."
"With all due respect M, you should have left me in jail the first time around." Lars said.
"Are you going to be ok to drive? I could always drive us." Madonna suggested.
"I'll be fine. Just give me a minute." Lars said, as he helped Madonna to her feet. He grabbed a handful of tissues and handed them to her, then got some for himself.
They both went to the car and got in. It was a very quiet car journey home. Tears streamed down Madonna's face and Lars tried hard not to cry.
"Good luck for the future M." Lars said, when he pulled up outside her place.
"Thank you. Where are you going now?"
"To hand myself in."
"You don't have too."
"I really do."
"Good luck Lars." Madonna kissed him, then got out of the car and rushed into her house, closing the door behind her.
Lars really did drive to the police station and hand himself in. Madonna was greeted by all of her children - including Astrid and even Elodie, all of whom looked concerned and talked over each other in an attempt to see what was wrong because she was crying. Astrid and Lourdes managed to get Madonna to sit down, while Mercy and Elodie made a hot drink and got blankets because Madonna looked cold and her hair was wet. She sat with blankets around her, drinking a hot chocolate and told them everything. When she'd finished, Madonna looked at Gabriel and Rocco, knowing if anyone had the strongest, angriest reactions it would be them.
"He really went to hand himself in?" Rocco asked and Madonna nodded. Rocco looked at Gabriel.
"Leave him there this time mom." Gabriel said quietly and Madonna looked at him.
"That's exactly what Lars told me to do."
"We're staying over." Astrid said, meaning Elodie as well.
"Good." Madonna smiled weakly.
"Maybe we should give mom some space." Mercy said, seeing how exhausted Madonna looked.
"Don't you dare! I want you all to stay up with me for once." Madonna replied.
"Were you scared?" David asked and Madonna nodded.
"A little." She put down her hot chocolate and lay on the sofa, surrounded by her children and fell asleep while they were all still chatting.




End of Part 21...




Part 22




"What is this? I thought he was handing himself in!" Astrid marched into the studio, brandishing a magazine with pictures of Lars out and about, days after he'd kidnapped Madonna.
"Let's talk in my office." Madonna said, blushing slightly because everyone was looking at them. "Get back to work!" She said, glaring at them on her way out and everyone quickly turned away. Madonna closed the door behind them, watching Astrid go and sit down. "How dare you come in work and embarrass me like that in front of the people I work with, Astrid! You need to grow up!" Madonna yelled, trying not to wince, because her ribs ached a little.
"Mom did you swallow too much water or something?! Why do you always let him go? You're a masochist when it comes to him!" Astrid yelled back at Madonna, with tears in her eyes.
Madonna sighed, sitting next to her. "When Lars returned me - that night we all slept downstairs I woke up and called him. I told him not to hand himself in. We're getting divorced and it would just mean I have to make more trips to jail."
"So you're letting him get away with it?" Astrid sounded so surprised her voice was faint.
"No, Trid. He has to live with what he's done to me. That will be his punishment. I'm tired of violence and aggression. I want to divorce him and start moving on with my life. I know you and the others might not understand my decisions, regarding Lars, but I know what I'm doing." Madonna replied sensibly.
"It feels like he's getting away with it though." Astrid said quietly.
"He isn't. I am having nothing to do with him after the divorce is final."
"Gabriel and I don't want anything to do with him." Astrid said, looking unsure.
"Trid, the pair of you don't have to decide right now. It's all still pretty raw. Somewhere down the line you might want to have a relationship with him and I want you to know that is fine with me. You're an adult and Gabriel nearly is and I both know you are more than capable of making up your own minds."
"I have nightmares about it. About him beating you." Astrid said in a small voice.
"Have you told Elodie?"
"Yeah. She's been amazing." Astrid replied, a small smile on her lips.
"Good. Do you have them every night?"
"No. But frequent enough."
"I'm so sorry Trid." Madonna held the back of Astrid's neck and pressed her forehead to her daughters'.
"The others know he didn't hand himself in." Astrid said and Madonna pulled back, frowning.
"Should I expect them to storm in?"
"No. They figure you've had enough drama. I'm sorry for barging in to your work like this." Astrid sighed, throwing the magazine with pictures of Lars in the bin.
"I don't mind if you come here to talk to me, Trid. But please leave the theatrics to your dancing." Madonna replied, smiling and Astrid laughed, nodding.
"Deal." Astrid kissed Madonna's cheek. "I love you mom." She whispered in her ear.
"I love you too baby. Have a good day." Madonna replied, watching Astrid leave.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following evening Astrid and Elodie joined Madonna and the others for dinner, with a suggestion for her one off show/auction which was getting closer.
"Mom, I know you are super mega organised and it's probably all sorted, but Elodie and I want to help with the show - if everything isn't already done?" Astrid asked, like she had been bursting to ask.
"It's totally cool if we are too late and it's all done though." Elodie said in a calm way, looking at Astrid with amused affection.
"That sounds like a great idea. It isn't all done yet. Though it isn't going to be a big production or anything." Madonna replied, smiling.
"We know." Astrid replied.
"Are you eating enough, Trid?" Madonna asked.
"Mom, I am naturally skinny. Hello? Always dancing and doing active things." Astrid replied, rolling her eyes like it was nothing.
"Just because you don't live here anymore, doesn't mean I don't worry about you Trid." Madonna said.
"I heard you are doing a Nike commercial." Lourdes said to Astrid, who nodded.
"Yeah, later next week."
"Can I help Astrid and Elodie?" Mercy asked.
"Of course you can, sweetie." Madonna said, looking pleased everyone wanted to help.
"Sorry I'm not avaliable to help, mom, but I don't think the Yankees need a choreographer to join them at some point." Gabriel joked with a straight face and Rocco and David laughed.
"Smart ass." Madonna muttered, trying not to smile.
"Language mom!" Mercy said.
"Sorry baby."
When dinner was finished and everyone started to leave the table to do their own thing, it was just Madonna and Lourdes left.
"How are you doing mom? You look exhausted." Lourdes said quietly, looking slightly concerned.
Madonna laughed. "I'm going to work, getting a divorce and putting on a show soon. And not sleeping very well." She rubbed her face with both hands.
"Can't you put the show back a bit? Until the divorce is finalised?"
"To be honest, it gives me something more to do, so I don't have time to dwell on it."
"On Lars?"
"Yes."
"Were you scared when he took you?"
"Not really. He seemed...different." Madonna hesitated. "I'm not naive enough to think he has changed again though." She quickly added. "He just wanted to talk more than anything."
"So he didn't hurt you?"
"No."
"I was talking to dad and he said if there is anything he can do to help...he hasn't called you or anything because he knows you have enough on your plate." Lourdes said and Madonna nodded.
"That's sweet of him."
"You don't have to do any of this alone, mom, you know that right?" Lourdes said, taking one of Madonna's hands and squeezing it. Madonna felt so overwhelmed with love that she started to cry. Lourdes put her arms around her mother and held her, smoothing her hair.




End of Part 22...




Part 23


The days leading up to Madonna's show were hectic. Not just preparation for it, but meetings regarding her divorce. What didn't help matters was that there seemed to be more paparazzi around and they were trying to get closer and closer to Madonna, shouting questions to her about Lars and what had happened, even though stories had spread like wildfire throughout newspapers and magazines around the world. She went out with more bodyguards and kept her head down, trying even harder than usual to not make eye contact with them.
"Trid is looking healthier." Madonna said quietly to Elodie, as they both watched Astrid practise with the dancers.
"Yeah. I'm trying to make sure she eats. I keep slipping healthy snacks into her bag before we go to any of our many projects. She caught me out the other day, but thought it was kind of funny." Elodie said, smiling.
"You are really good for each other, you know." Madonna said, with a hint of sadness in her voice.
"She worried about you." Elodie said, also looking concerned.
"I'll be fine. I just want to concentrate on this show for now." Madonna said quietly and Elodie nodded, then went to help Astrid.
The show wasn't going to be another clown one, and longer with a few costume changes and a handful of dancers. Madonna was really impressed with Astrid and Elodie's choreography and how well they worked together. They brought out the best in the dancers they worked with and their high energy levels were infectious.
"What do you think?" Astrid asked Madonna when they stopped for a break.
"I'm really proud of you, Trid." Madonna draped an arm around her shoulders and kissed Astrid's cheek.
Astrid smiled. "If you wanted to do any more one-off shows, or another tour, Elodie and I are avaliable."
Madonna laughed. "I won't be touring for a while, but you will be the first people I come to for choreography."
"Cool."
"You seem happier."
"Elodie makes me happy."
"Good. I'm happy for you two."
"Mom, you will find someone." Astrid said, squeezing her arm.
"I want to concentrate on you guys and work for a while. I've been badly burned and no desire to rush in again." Madonna replied.
Astrid nodded. "You should concentrate on yourself for a while."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Mom, have you got a minute?" After dinner that evening, Gabriel cornered Madonna when it was just the two of them left.
"Sure, Gabe. What's up?"
"Dad keeps ringing me. He leaves voicemails and texts and really wants to talk to me." Gabriel said, sighing.
"Maybe he wants to talk to you after what happened that day you and Rocco pulled him off me."
"I almost want to hear what he has to say...but part of me wants to block his number and have nothing to do with him." Gabriel said, looking conflicted.
"Are you asking for my opinion on what to do? Or some advise?" Madonna asked.
Gabriel shrugged. "I'm not sure."
"Whatever Lars has done to me over the years, he is still your father. He is still Astrid's father. If you want to have a relationship with him, then I am fine with that. If you don't, I am also fine with that. I don't want to influence your decisions or opinions of him." Madonna said very diplomatically.
"But I would feel like I was betraying you, after everything he has done." Gabriel said.
"If you need to see Lars, promise me one thing." Madonna said, taking both of Gabriel's cheeks in her hands.
"What?"
"Promise me you won't hit him."
Gabriel put his hands over Madonna's on his face. "After everything he's done to you...why does it matter if he gets hurt?"
"Because flying off the handle is something Lars would do, Gabe. I have noticed you keeping your temper in check a lot lately."
"You don't want me to be like him."
"You are the best bits of Lars, Gabriel. Handsome, charming and intelligent." Madonna replied, smiling as she let go of his cheeks.
"Thanks mom." Gabriel smiled. "I'm gonna think about it for a while. I'm surprised you noticed about my temper."
"Are your trying to curb it or do you just not feel angry?"
"I just don't feel angry, I guess. I know you have enough on your plate, so I was trying not to be another problem."
"That's sweet, but you've never been a problem, Gabe." Madonna said, looking at him proudly.
"I have a game coming up next week..." Gabriel rubbed the back of his neck and Madonna understood what he was trying to ask.
"If you want to ask Lars to watch, please do. We might be at opposite ends in the bleachers, but we will both support you. Always." Madonna said and Gabriel nodded, looking slightly more relaxed.
"Thank you mom. For making that eaiser." Gabriel hugged Madonna, holding her tightly. He wasn't usually so affectionate and Madonna held him just as tightly back, smiling over his shoulder.




End of Part 23...




Part 24




Madonna smiled at the breakfast table as she opened an enevelope and took out the letter. She was to perform her one off show later that day, in the evening and was looking forward to it.
"Ok, what has made you so happy mom?" Rocco asked.
"The divorce has been finalised. I could kiss my lawyer."
"Don't be rushing into another relationship." Gabriel said, frowning and Madonna looked at him, touched at the edge of protectiveness in his voice.
"Trust me, that's the last thing on my mind." Madonna smiled.
"There's the show to look forward to tonight." Lourdes said and Madonna nodded.
"Exactly. I was thinking maybe we could have a little holiday after. A long weekend somewhere. What do you guys think?" Madonna asked, looking around the table and there was a lot of enthusiatic head nodding and answers of 'yeah!'
David, Mercy and Rocco went to get ready for school, leaving Lourdes and Gabriel with Madonna.
"Are you sure you're ok mom? I know it's hard for you to leave him, even if I don't understand why." Gabriel said and both Madonna and Lourdes looked at him, surprised at the maturity of what he'd just said.
"Yes. I'm finally exhausted of struggling with this. So I've decided to start acting positive and hoping I will feel it more soon." Madonna said, looking from Gabriel to Lourdes.
"That's good." Lourdes replied.
"I'm forever changing in my career and nothing stays the same in life. So I am trying to look at the positives." Madonna said, smiling. She held up the letter. "Having the divorce finalised is the first step. This has actually been a really good start to the day." Madonna stood up. "I'm going out for a run." She hadn't had any breakfast and was already dressed to workout and Lourdes frowned.
"Don't you have a workout session soon?"
"Yes, but I feel so good right now, I have to run." Madonna said, smiling again and leaving the room.
Lourdes and Gabriel watched as she left with a couple of bodyguards, then looked at each other.
"Are you buying it?" Lourdes asked and Gabriel shrugged.
"I like to think he hasn't completely destroyed her." Gabriel said. "Maybe we should try to be positive with mom."
"Yeah. I hope we go somewhere warm for this mini vacation." Lourdes said, changing the subject and Gabriel nodded.
"Guess I better go to school. I envy you not going." Gabriel said, sighing.
"Just think about playing baseball professionally. And remember discount tickets for your favourite sister and her friends." Lourdes joked and Gabriel laughed, rolling his eyes and shaking his head as he grabbed his bag and left.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
All of the children were watching Madonna's show, accompanied by friends, a couple of nannies and bodyguards. Astrid and Elodie were backstage with Madonna, helping her and the dancers get ready. They were laughing and joking and there was just as much of a buzz backstage as out in the audience, when people started arriving. Madonna mentioned to Astrid about her idea to have a long weekend break, inviting Elodie as well. Elodie smiled, looking thoughtful, then made a suggestion.
"You could come to Guadalupe. My parents have a big place." Elodie said and Astrid nodded, smiling.
"Oh my god it's like heaven there!"
"Would you parents mind? There's a lot of us...we could stay at a hotel."
Elodie shook her head. "Not at all! They would be more offended if you stayed at a hotel when they have a perfectly good house."
"That's very generous of you." Madonna said, looking grateful.
"There are no problems that a bit of sun, sea and several cocktails won't sort out." Elodie said and Madonna and Astrid laughed.
"Island girls!" Astrid wrapped her arms around Elodie and kissed her lips and Elodie smiled, holding Astrid, looking at her lovingly.
"It's my way of saying thank you for letting Trid and I help with the show." Elodie said and Madonna smiled.
"I definitely want to work with you girls again."
"Do you mind if we watch from the audience instead of backstage?" Astrid asked and Madonna shook her head.
"Of course not."
"Break a leg mom." Astrid said and Elodie gave Madonna a radiant smile, then both girls left arm-in-arm to join the audience.
The show included the auctioning of items in between Madonna's numbers, so for a one off show it was pretty long - lasting at a good three hours. Everything was auctioned off and lots of money was raised for Raising Malawi, much to Madonna's delight. After talking to several people, Madonna bumped into Sean.
"You look well." Sean said, smiling at the sight of Madonna.
"Thank you."
"I half expected to see Lars here this evening." Sean said, looking around.
"No. We are divorced now. I got the paperwork for the final stage of it this morning. It was a good start to the day. I think he will stay away now." Madonna replied.
"Divorce really agrees with you. And the show was really something, of course." Sean said politely and Madonna nodded, smiling.
"Thank you. Look, I'm sorry for what happened with Lars." Madonna touched his arm and Sean waved a hand dismissively.
"It wasn't your fault. I'm glad you got away from him. Finally."
"Me too." Madonna said.
"Come here." Sean opened his arms and Madonna hugged him.
"I feel...relieved. Happy."
"It shows." Sean said, smiling as he held her. "Are you staying for drinks?"
"Maybe just a couple. I actually feel tired enough to be able to get some decent sleep tonight." Madonna replied, yawning as if to confirm it.
She stayed with Sean and kept an eye on her children, who all eventually drifted over and they left earlier than most. When Madonna did go to bed that night, it was the first night in so long that she slept soundly, with no nightmares and nothing waking her up. There was even a hint of a smile on her lips.




The End.


materialgirl86
Part 11



Lars did go to Madonna's show and even though he'd said previously that clowns freaked him out, he did enjoy it. Madonna spotted him in the crowd, but didn't single him out, because she knew he was a private person and didn't really like being the center of attention too often. Madonna just gave him a quick wink and smile and carried on with her show. The only parts of the night Lars wasn't too keen on was when Sean was on stage with Madonna and they were having a laugh and Madonna said she would always love Sean. Lars clenched his jaw and clasped his hands together between his legs, thinking how he would make her pay for that. When it was all over, Madonna introduced the two men.
"Lars, come and meet Sean." Madonna said, waving a hand and motioning for him to go over to them. Lars stopped clenching his jaw and his face softened into a smile. "Sean, this is Lars and Lars this is Sean." Madonna said and both men shook hands and smiled at each other. Sean felt mildly amused that Lars had tried crushing his hand and had equally tried crushing his hand right back.
"I'm a fan of your work Sean." Lars said in a firm, polite way and Sean nodded.
"M tells me you run a gallery. I'll have to come by some time and check it out." Sean said and it came out almost like a threat.
"We better get going." Madonna cut in, before either of them started getting aggressive and she kissed Sean's cheek and hugged him. "Thank you so much for coming tonight. It was so good of you." She said and Sean smiled over her back at Lars, who visibly clenched his jaw.
"You're welcome M." Sean said. "See you soon Lars." He waved at him, then walked away.
The car journey back to the hotel was a quiet one. Madonna was tired from the show and Lars was annoyed that Sean had been there. Madonna quickly went to take a shower before Lars could say anything and when she came out wearing pale pink cotton pyjamas and towel drying her hair, she found Lars pacing at the foot of their bed.
"That was a very generous donation you made, baby. Thank you." Madonna slung the towel over the back of a chair and went to kiss Lars, but he tilted his face away and she frowned.
"What's wrong?"
"You said you love Sean and then ask me what's wrong." Lars said coldly, glaring at her.
"Lars, I love Sean. I'm not in love with Sean. I am in love with you. There is a difference. He is just a very good friend now."
"Maybe I don't like that."
"Why? You're acting like he is a threat. I am married to you, Lars, I LOVE you!" Madonna said, a lot of weight behind the word 'love'.
"Why did you even ask him to come to the show?"
"He likes supporting a good cause. I knew you would hate it if I asked you up on stage. I didn't even point you out during the show." Madonna said, looking desperate to diffuse the situation. "Sean knows I'm with you and I love you."
"I hope he doesn't come by the gallery."
"Were you being polite when you said you were a fan?" Madonna asked and Lars shook his head.
"No. I really do like him as an actor."
"Just not as my friend."
"Not as your ex-husband."
"You are my husband right now." Madonna said, grabbing two fistfuls of Lars' shirt and kissing him hard.
"I'm going for a walk." Lars said, when she let go of him and Madonna frowned.
"It's dark and late."
"I want to go for a walk on the beach to clear my head." Lars said. "The show was great tonight, by the way."
"Thanks. Give me a minute, I'll get dressed and come with you."
"No. Go to bed Madonna." Lars said, giving her a look that said there would be trouble if she followed.
Astrid, who had woke up to get a drink, quickly ducked back in her room quietly closing the door before Lars walked past and sent a message to Lourdes, saying what she'd heard.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A few days after Madonna, Lars and the children had been back in New York City, Sean did stop by the gallery to have a look around. This instantly got Lars' back up, although he tried to act calm and casual as though Sean were just another customer he had to charm into making a purchase or two.
"Wow, this place is impressive." Sean said genuinely, looking around, his eyes stopping on Lars.
"Are you looking for anything in particular?" Lars asked, struggling to keep the edge out of his voice.
"No, I just came to look." Sean replied. "Listen Lars, I get the feeling you don't really like me much. I'm not trying to cause any trouble between you and M. She's a good friend of mine and I don't want to cause any trouble in you marriage to her."
"Why would you say that? Has she been talking to you?"
"No. She doesn't even know I'm in the city. But before the show in Miami she was telling me how happy you guys are. I just thought you show know that. And I'm happy for her and the both of you." Sean said and Lars nodded, smiling a little.
"Ok." Lars said, his expression softening. "I'm just...protective of her, you know?"
"I understand that." Sean said.
"Do you want me to show you around?"
"That would be cool." Sean smiled and let Lars show him around the gallery.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"She dances like a Caribbean queen!" Elodie said, smiling and laughing as she filmed Astrid dancing and shaking her bum to a reggae song to put on Astrid's Instagram.
"Have you seen her on a trapeze yet?" Lourdes asked and Elodie nodded.
"She's magic up there." Elodie tossed her black hair over her shoulder. It wasn't straight or in braids, but in the natural afro curls that trailed down her back.
"Ugh, you two...stop!" Astrid waved her hand dismissively, but smiled.
"Did you want to talk about that text you sent me? About mom, Lars and Sean?" Lourdes asked and Astrid nodded.
"What's happened?" Elodie asked, sitting on Astrid's bed cross-legged.
"That charity show mom did down in Miami - she invited Sean and said she still loves him on stage. I think she introduced him to my dad. I heard them arguing back at the hotel and mom was saying she loves Sean but is in love with my dad." Astrid filled Elodie in.
"There is a big difference in saying you love someone to saying you are in love with them though." Elodie said.
"Exactly." Lourdes agreed.
"I know dad gets jealous and possesive of mom." Astrid said, looking worried.
"That doesn't mean he is hurting her though. Isn't it better they talk or argue over concerns?" Elodie said reasonably.
"I guess."
"What are you worried about Trid? That he will hurt mom again?" Lourdes asked and Astrid nodded.
"I'm worried that if he is hurting her, she will stay married to him and continue to make excuses for eveything he does to her." Astrid said, her eyes watering.
"We can all keep an eye on your mom. We won't let anything bad happen to her." Elodie said, wrapping her arms around Astrid and kissing her temple tenderly. Astrid smiled weakly and Elodie and Lourdes exchanged a look of worry. If Astrid was starting to have doubts, there had to be a reason why.



End of Part 11...




Part 12




"You are such a pig!" A beautiful blonde stormed out of the house, slamming the front door.
Madonna, Lars and the children looked up from the kitchen. as Gabriel shrugged, casually sauntering into the kitchen and grabbing a piece of toast and smearing it with jam.
"What was that all about?" Madonna looked up at him expectantly.
"You forget a girl's name and she goes all crazy on you." Gabriel smiled.
Lars laughed, clapping him on the back. "That's my lad!" He said, until he looked at Madonna and was silenced with a frosty glare.
"And that is exactly why I am gay. A girl would never talk about another girl like that." Astrid pointed to Gabriel, who just laughed.
"Trid, Elodie isn't bad ass enough to talk about you like that. Some girls might be."
"Yeah, well Im glad, because that, bro, is called respect of privacy."
"Ok, can we all just carry on with breakfast or getting ready with school. I won't have anyone in this house being late." Madonna said in a loud, firm tone.
Gabriel was about to leave the kitchen, when Madonna stood in the doorway. "Can we have a word?"
"Sure."
Madonna took Gabriel into the lounge and closed the door.
"Are you mad because I had a girl over? Because she climbed through my bedroom window and I'm not in the habit of turning down such beautiful, determined women." Gabriel said, but Madonna didn't smile.
"You could have shown her to a guest room." Madonna said and Gabriel raised his eyebrows.
"Really?"
"Gabe, I can't stop you doing what you want too much, because you're sixteen now. But I hope you are being careful. I don't want a pregnant girl turning up on our doorstep. Or several of them, from the way you go through girls."
"Oh mom, you have a sense of humour when you are telling me off!" Gabriel grinned.
Madonna tried not to smile, but Gabriel was such a charmer like his father. Even though he was sixteen and a notorious heart-breaker, he still had girls chasing him everywhere he went. "I'm being serious."
"I know mom. I use protection."
"Ok. Please tell your fan club of girls no more climbing in through windows. We have a front door and guest rooms."
"You would be cool with that?" Gabriel sounded surprised and Madonna nodded.
"Yes." Madonna replied.
"You are the world's coolest mom!" Gabriel said and he hugged Madonna. She smiled, then laughed over his shoulder.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
That same day Madonna went to work and forgot her phone, so she had to go all the way back to get it. She couldn't leave it anywhere, because there were always people who were trying to get hold of her and it freaked her out not having it, in case something happened to one of the children and they couldn't get hold of her. When she arrived home, Madonna nearly walked straight into the hallway into a stormy-faced Lars. He brandished her phone in front of her face, like it was a weapon.
"Looking for something?"
"Yes. I forgot that." Madonna reached out for it, but Lars moved it out of her grasp in time.
"Sean has been texting you."
"You read my messages?" Madonna frowned.
"You have something to hide?" Lars said, but it sounded more like an accusation then a question.
"No, I don't Lars. I told you Sean and I are just good friends."
"With benefits?" Lars raised his eyebrows.
"Don't be vulgar. I love you! Although right now I am questioning why - when you act like this!" Madonna was nearly yelling and Lars gave her a little slap across the face.
"I have more right to be angry than you, when you are texting exes!" Lars said aggressively.
"There is nothing going on, give me my phone!" Madonna reached up for it, but Lars held it up high and when she grabbed at his arm, Lars swept his other arm against Madonna hard, knocking her against the wall to the floor. She looked up at him, knowing better than to try and move.
Lars threw her phone down on the polished wooden floor and Madonna looked at him in horror when she realised what he was going to do.
"No!" Madonna was just reaching out for the phone at the same time Lars brought his foot down on it very hard, shattering the phone and crushing a few of her fingers. She screamed in pain, quickly yanking her hand back, cradling it in her other hand.
Lars kneeled down, grabbing a handful of her hair and yanking her head back, so Madonna's chin was tilted towards him.
"Well that was a stupid fucking thing to do, wasn't it?" He said and tears formed in her eyes.
"If you read the messages Sean sent, you would see there is nothing going on." Madonna said in a small voice, when Lars let go of her hair.
"No, but he is concerned about you. Being back with me."
"I told him I was happy. We were happy." Madonna said, looking desperate. "I don't know why he would be concerned."
"He came to see me at the gallery."
"What's wrong with that? He likes art."
"He could go to any gallery in the city...but maybe he is fucking with my wife and wants to rub my nose in it..." Lars said, his breath on Madonna's neck as he undone her shirt and reached inside, squeezing a breast.
"Stop. Stop it." She said with a wobbly voice.
"Do you ever tell him to stop?"
"No, because there is nothing going on between us!" Madonna protested.
"Liar!" Lars slapped her hard across the face.
He got up and kicked her in the ribs until she cried out, begging him to stop. Neither of them realised they were being watched. Astrid was upstairs and saw it all. Silent tears ran down her cheeks as she watched, her face a mask of horror. Very quietly she went to her room and closed the door and phoned Gabriel and Rocco, saying they were needed urgently at home, that Lars was beating Madonna.




End of Part 12...




Part 13




Astrid went back to the top of the stairs and couldn't believe that Lars was still hurting Madonna. Even though his back was to her, it seemed like he had completely lost it. Madonna tried to hold her hands up to protect herself, but it was a feeble attempt and she must have been in a lot of pain already from the kicking she'd taken. Tears streamed down Astrid's face, but she was too scared to move.
"Nothing is going on between Sean and I! I LOVE YOU!" Madonna tried to yell, one of her hands on her ribs and she sounded breathless like she'd been running.
"You're lying!" Lars yelled, as Madonna managed with difficulty to get to her feet. He grabbed her neck, closing his fingers around her neck as he pressed her against the wall.
"Noooooooo!" Astrid flew down the stairs and Madonna looked at her in horror, but Lars didn't let go or register his daughter was watching what he was doing.
Rocco and Gabriel both burst through the front door.
"Get back Astrid!" Gabriel swept her aside with his arm, then both he and Rocco both grabbed Lars - a shoulder each and both of them pulled his hand from Madonna's neck.
"Get off me! This is NOTHING to do with you!" Lars roared, looking at both boys furiously.
Madonna gasped for breath sharply, rubbing her red throat and looking at Astrid. "Get out of the way, baby. Go upstairs."
"Mom, I'm not leaving you!"
"Please!" Madonna said insistently, coughing.
Astrid went upstairs, but sat on the top stair, watching and Madonna was glad she was out of the way.
"You need to both leave." Lars said, looking like he was getting ready to go at Madonna again.
"Why don't you hit a man instead of a woman?" Rocco said, squaring up to Lars, putting himself between him and Madonna.
"Yeah, it's less cowardly." Gabriel said, also squaring up.
"Boys, please. I appreciate what you are doing, but no more violence." Madonna stepped outin front of them both and Lars smiled.
"You are both going to hide behind your mothers' skirts? Manly." Lars taunted them.
"Ignore it." Madonna said firmly, but Gabriel grabbed her arm, pulling her out of the way and Rocco lunged and Lars, knocking him to the floor and punching him in the face. "Rocco!" Madonna yelled.
Gabriel looked up the stairs at Astrid. "Call nine one one. We need the police and an ambulance." He said and she nodded, pulling her phone out and calling them.
Lars had a bloody nose, but had also overpowered Rocco and raised his fist. He looked up at Madonna, who felt like her heart might stop. She shook her head.
"No, don't! Please!"
"He punched me."
"You deserved it." Gabriel said, punching Lars, knocking him off of Rocco.
"Boys...please..." Madonna said, sitting with her back against the wall, a hand on her ribs, looking pale and sweaty.
"Mom!" Astrid ran down the stairs and sat next to Madonna, an arm around her. She looked at Lars on the floor. "How could you? How could you!" Astrid suddenly lunged at Lars, but Rocco grabbed her waist and pulled her back.
"Don't. He's dangerous."
"And not worth it." Gabriel said.
"This has nothing to do with any of you!" Lars said aggressively, looking from Astrid to Rocco, then Gabriel. He started to get up, but Gabriel stood over him.
"I suggest you stay down." He said firmly.
Astrid answered the door to the police and paramedics, all of which had arrived at the same time. Madonna had passed out and was carried to a gurney by a male paramedic. The boys told the police Lars had beaten her and Astrid agreed to go to the police station to make a full statement as a witness. Lars glared at his daughter as he was led away in handcuffs, but she couldn't bring herself to look at him.
"I'll go with mom to the hospital. You go with Trid, make sure she's ok." Gabriel said to Rocco, taking charge of the situation and Rocco nodded, following Astrid to a police car.
Gabriel went with Madonna and held her hand in the ambulance, even though she was in and out of consciousness for the entire journey.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna blinked slowly, then opened her eyes and squinted against the bright lights in the room. She saw Gabriel and Lourdes sat on one side of her, both looking worried.
"Where are Astrid and Rocco?"
"Astrid is giving a statement at the police station and Rocco went with her to make sure she is ok." Gabriel said.
"How do you feel? Gabriel told me what happened." Lourdes asked, smoothing hair away from Madonna's face.
"Like my ribs have been caved in." Madonna replied and Lourdes and Gabriel exchanged a look. "I take it Lars was arrested."
"Yes." Gabriel said. "Astrid was pretty shook up."
"I didn't realise she was upstairs."
"How long has it been going on mom?" Lourdes asked. "Astrid was right to be suspicious, wasn't she?"
Gabriel frowned. "Am I missing something here? Am I the last person to know?"
"No. Astrid told me she was suspicious and I said I would keep an eye on mom and Lars. I'm sorry, I failed." Lourdes said, looking away.
"It's not your fault, Lola." Gabriel said, touching her arm.
"Lola, it's my fault." Madonna said, with tears forming in her eyes and a slight tremor in her voice. Both Lourdes and Gabriel looked at her. "Lars has been...like he used to be since the tour."
"What?" Gabriel looked horrified and Lourdes was speechless.
"Not all the injuries were from rehearsals and shows." Madonna admitted. "Although today was the most violent he has been with me for years."
"Why today?" Lourdes frowned.
"He thinks Sean and I are having an affair. Because I invited him along to my show in Miami and we were being friendly. He completely lost it." Tears fell down her pale cheeks.
"Oh mom, why didn't you tell us?" Gabriel sighed.
"How could I? I gave you all this massive speech about Lars being a changed man. I feel humiliated and scared. He scares me." Madonna said, her eyes showing a vulnerability.
"Please tell me you're going to leave him." Gabriel said quietly.
"I'm too scared to leave him."
"Mom, we can help you." Lourdes said, looking determined. "All of us. You have a lot of friends and family. You aren't alone."
"But I'm scared." Madonna replied.
"I won't let him get anywhere near you." Gabriel said.
"Thank you so much for coming to my rescue. If you and Rocco hadn't turned up when you did..." Madonna trailed off.
"He might have strangled you." Gabriel said quietly, and Lourdes looked from him to Madonna.
"This is going to get out. What are we going to tell David and Mercy?"
"I don't know. I don't want to worry them, but if they find out elsewhere they might feel like they have been left out." Madonna replied. "It's all such a mess."
"We could tell them. But reassure them Lars won't be coming back." Lourdes suggested.
"I guess. I need to talk to Astrid. I can't believe she saw it. My poor girl." Madonna said, rubbing her forehead.
"She's on her way here now with Rocco." Lourdes said, checking a message on her phone when it vibrated.
"Do you guys mind giving me and Trid some space when she arrives? I would like to talk to her alone." Madonna said and both Lourdes and Gabriel nodded.
"Sure."
"Thank you."




End of Part 13...




Part 14




Astrid and Rocco arrived and rushed through the hospital, both desperate to see their mother. Madonna smiled when she saw them both and Lourdes and Gabriel sat outside the room to give them some space.
"Are you both ok?" Madonna asked.
"Mom, you're the one lying in a hospital bed..." Rocco said, frowning.
"Broken ribs and bruises. I've had the same falling off my horse." Madonna said, trying to make a joke of it.
"The only difference is your horse didn't do it on purpose." Rocco replied.
"Are you ok though? Lars nearly hit you and I thought I was going to have a heart attack." Madonna said, looking up at Rocco with worried eyes.
"I would rather he hit me than you." Rocco replied, holding Madonna's hand, smoothing his thumb in the palm of it. "Luckily Gabriel jumped in."
"Thank you. I'm so glad you were both there."
"That's down to Trid." Rocco and Madonna both looked at Astrid.
"Would you mind if we spoke alone please Roccs?"
"Sure." Rocco kissed Madonna's forehead and left the room to sit with Lourdes and Gabriel, who were talking about what had happened.
"Trid, I'm so sorry you saw that. I had no idea you were there." Madonna said softly, holding her hand out to her daughter.
"It shouldn't be you apologising mom." Astrid said quietly, pulling a chair closer to Madonna and sitting down, taking her hand. Madonna could feel a slight tremor in Astrid's hand and squeezed it.
"Thank you. For calling the boys."
"I thought something was going on." Astrid said, tears falling down her expressionless face. "I just hoped I was wrong, because you and dad looked so happy."
"Looks can be deceiving." Madonna replied and Astrid laughed, wiping a tear from one cheek.
"I was worried dad was...I told Lola."
"I know." Madonna replied. "Why didn't you talk to me?" She asked in a faint whisper.
"Would you have told me the truth?" Astrid asked, raising her eyebrows.
"I don't know."
"How long? How long was he doing this to you?" Astrid asked and Madonna shook her head. "Mom! I need to know."
"Why?" Madonna almost shouted. "It's not your fault, or any of the others. I love Lars. It's all my fault."
"You blame yourself? For every time he hurt you?" Astrid sounded really surprised, even though she frowned.
"Yes. No. I don't know. I think he needs help. Professional help."
"He needs to stay in jail." Astrid said sharply.
"What ever Lars has done, he is still your father. And Gabriel's."
"Not as long as he half kills my mom." Astrid said. "Are you mad I made a statement at the police station?"
"No, Trid. That was the right thing to do." Madonna replied.
"You are going to divorce him, and leave him for good this time, aren't you?" Astrid said and Madonna sighed, saying nothing, but nodding and pressing her eyes closed.
"I am so sorry Trid." Madonna opened her eyes and tears fell down her face. "I feel like I have let you and the others down so much now..."
"No, mom, you haven't. You just - see the good in everyone. Maybe too much sometimes. I can't bear the thought of him making you suffer. Was that why he bought you things - like that over the top necklace?"
"You are very observant." Madonna said, looking shocked.
"It is now looking like he bought your silence."
"No. He didn't. I always thought he would get better."
"I don't think I am ever going to get that image of him kicking you on the floor out of my head..." Astrid said, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"I wish there was something I could do to change that." Madonna said.
"Therapy might help."
"It's always helped me, Trid. I recommend it if you think it will help."
"Promise me you won't stay with him. Promise me." Astrid said, looking at Madonna with utter desperation.
"I promise, baby. It's over for good." Madonna said, looking her in the eyes, wishing it felt better to say it out loud than it did.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Sean Penn rushed around the hospital and stopped when he saw Gabriel, Lourdes and Rocco sat outside a room. He went over to them and they all looked surprised to see him.
"Is Madonna in there? Can I see her?" He asked, looking almost desperate.
Lourdes stood up. "I can go in and ask her."
"Please. I feel like some of this is my fault. I went to see Lars in his gallery. I never meant to cause trouble for her." Sean sat down, running a hand through his hair.
"My dad is a psycho. It's not your fault. He would have found a reason - or excuse to beat her either way." Gabriel said, looking at Sean, who thought he had the same striking looks as Lars.
"Beat her?" Sean raised his eyebrows at the thought of it being a regular occurence.
"I think you should talk to mom. It's up to her what she tells you." Gabriel replied.
"Mom would like to see you." Lourdes said, coming out of the room with her arm around Astrid, who was now crying.
"Is Astrid ok?" Sean asked, standing up.
"She saw Lars beat mom." Rocco said.
"Oh." Sean looked at Astrid. "I'm sorry." He said and she nodded, then he went in to see Madonna.
"Hi." Madonna said, looking surprised to see Sean, but managed a small smile.
"Hi. How are you?" Sean asked, sitting next to her. "That's a pretty dumb question, considering where you are, I guess."
"How did you find out?"
"From gossip in the street. Am ambulance and a couple of police cars were parked outside your place. And Lars was arrested."
"Astrid made a statement earlier. I feel terrible, the poor girl saw it all. She called her brothers and luckily Gabriel and Rocco turned up to stop Lars from - " Madonna stopped dead.
"I was just saying to your children I feel like some of it was my fault. I went to see Lars in his gallery, not to cause trouble, just to look at the art. But Gabriel said he would have found an excuse to beat you anyway, like it was a regular occurence. Please tell me it wasn't." Sean said quietly.
"It wasn't your fault, Sean. Lars thought we were having an affair. He has a real jealous streak when it comes to me. And I wish my children weren't so observant."
"So he did beat you?" Sean asked and Madonna nodded. "You told me you were happy."
"I was." Madonna smiled. "I got good, better at hiding it."
"M, you should have told me."
"It was my problem. What could you have done anyway?"
"Kicked his ass a lot harder than he kicked yours." Sean replied.
"That would just have made it worse for me."
"Did he hurt Gabriel or Rocco? They both looked ok."
"Luckily not. He nearly punched Rocco, but Gabriel punched Lars first." Madonna sighed. "It's such a mess."
"I hope you're not thinking of bailing him out."
"Sometimes I wish you didn't know me so well." Madonna grumbled, looking away.
"M, he sounds dangerous. What did he do to you that you are in here?"
"Break some ribs. Bruise me." Madonna replied.
"Leave him in jail." Sean said firmly.
"I think he needs help. You didn't see it, Sean, he completely lost it."
"Maybe someone will completely loose it on him in jail." Sean replied. "I'm more worried about you. If there is anything I can do."
"Not think you are responsible for any of this. My husband is insanely possessive and thinks every man who even looks my way wants to fuck me."
"So he doesn't trust you?"
"No."
"Maybe Lars is crazy. He has a woman who is very very loyal to him, and sticks up for him not matter what and this is how he treats her..." Sean said.
"Sean?"
"Yes?"
"Can you just please be quiet and sit with me a while? I have to cut a man out of my life I loved deeply and had two children with. It's a lot to deal with." Madonna said and Sean nodded, holding her hand and they were silent in each other's company.




End of Part 14...




Part 15




"Mom, have you lost the plot?"
"Are you insane?"
"No way!"
"You can't be serious!"
"Let him rot!"
The last comment was from Gabriel and Madonna fixed him with a look.
"He's still your father." She said quietly.
"And you want to talk to him, why? He broke your ribs, mom! He beat you up and Astrid saw it all!" Gabriel said, frowning.
Madonna looked at Astrid, the only person who hadn't said anything when she had announced she wanted to talk to Lars. Astrid hadn't said much since Madonna had been home from hospital and she looked pretty shook up.
"What do you think, Trid?" Madonna asked quietly and everyone stopped eating their dinner and looked at Astrid.
"It makes me nervous, the thought of him being in the same room as you." Astrid said quietly, meeting Madonna's eyes, looking worried.
"There would be guards. He couldn't do anything to me."
"It's too late for that. He already has. Why don't you show them the bruises on your ribs, mom?" Astrid said and Madonna frowned.
"I don't think that will help." She replied quietly.
"I saw them. I walked past your room this morning and saw them." Tears slipped down Astrid's cheeks. "I always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Baby, I'm sorry." Madonna looked horrified.
"How bad is it?" Lourdes asked, looking at Madonna.
"He kicked the shit out of her. It's bad." Astrid said.
"Language!" Madonna motioned to David and Mercy.
"We go to school mom, everyone swears." David said.
"I don't want to hear you swear. Just because everyone is doing something, doesn't make it right."
"You are divorcing him, though, right?" Rocco said and Madonna nodded straight away.
"Of course."
"Why do you need to talk to him?" Mercy asked in barely a whisper, looking nervous.
"I want to ask him why he treated me the way he did." Madonna said softly.
"Because he is a coward and a jerk." Gabriel said bitterly.
"Gabriel. Please." Madonna said, trying to sound firm, wincing slightly because her ribs hurt.
"You're still in pain, aren't you?" Gabriel said more softly.
"I have tablets." Madonna said, carefully avoiding a direct answer. She looked around the table. "I know you probably think I'm nuts or unhinged, or whatever...but I need answers from Lars. I need to sit and have a conversation with him and get some things cleared up. For my peace of mind."
"We don't think you're nuts." David said and Madonna smiled briefly at him.
"I don't have to see Lars after this, unless it's with lawyers present when we divorce. And I will have bodyguards with me also." Madonna said, looking around the table, in her attempt at reassuring them.
"Will it make you feel better, do you think? How ever he tried to explain himself or justify it?" Lourdes asked Madonna.
"I don't know about better. But I am hoping it will be a small weight off my shoulders." Madonna replied.
"The police have guns and tasers and stuff, anyway, don't they?" Rocco said and Madonna nodded.
"He would probably be behind a screen too."
"I really don't understand your need to do this mom." Gabriel sighed heavily.
"Ok, I respect that, Gabe. I thought it would just be best to tell you all. I didn't want you to think I was going behind your backs."
"He can be very charming though." Astrid said, looking worried.
Madonna shook her head. "Not this time, Trid. He doesn't hold any charm for me anymore." She said, surprised at how hard her voice hurt, and how much it hurt her inside to even say that.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna went up to Astrid's room after dinner and found her lying on her stomach reading a book.
"What are you reading?"
"I have no idea." Astrid put the book down and sat up and Madonna realised she'd been staring at it, not reading it.
"Trid, if you don't want me to go, I won't."
"You're putting this whole decision on me?" Astrid asked, frowning.
"No. And I am sorry that you saw Lars beating me. And my bruises - "
"Mom, stop. Stop apologising for things that aren't your fault." Astrid said, sounding frustrated.
"It is a little. It's my job to protect you, Trid."
"I'm an adult. Elodie asked me ages ago, when Beyonce's tour finished to move in with her."
"That's great!" Madonna smiled, a hand on her ribs because they hurt when she moved a certain way.
"I can't leave right now. You need all the support you can get." Astrid said, looking at Madonna's hand on her ribs.
"Trid, I have plenty of support. I know you will be there for me, and I don't expect you to put your life on hold for me." Madonna replied. "I've seen the way you and Elodie are around each other, you have to seize happiness and don't let go of it, ok?" Tears formed in her eyes.
Astrid nodded. "I want to hug you, but you're in pain."
"This side hurts less." Madonna said and Astrid hugged her. Madonna pulled her in as close as was comfortable. "I'm proud of you."
"Why?" Astrid held Madonna's arms and frowned.
"Because you must have been so scared, but you managed to call the boys. And the emergency services. That was very brave of you."
"I should have tried to stop him." Astrid whispered and Madonna shook her head, smoothing hair behind Astrid's ears.
"No, you shouldn't have. He would have hurt you."
"I thought he was going to hurt Rocco."
"Me too. Even though he hurt me pretty bad, I was more scared he would hurt one of you." Madonna said, sniffing as tears ran down her cheeks. "I am so sorry for putting you in that situation..."
"Oh, mom. I'm just glad you're alright." Astrid said, hugging Madonna and feeling her tears run down her sweater.




End of Part 15...




Part 16

There was a sharp intake of breath when Madonna walked into the room and saw Lars. He still managed to look god-like in an orange jump-suit, although he was sat back casually in his chair as though he didn't care he was in jail. His blonde hair was down and messy and he had two day stubble, but he didn't look angry. Lars looked at Madonna with his piercing blue eyes and he had an expression on his face that Madonna couldn't read, which put her on edge a little. Four guards were in all corners of the room and a couple of Madonna's bodyguards were waiting outside the room.
"Hi." Madonna said, not knowing quite where to start.
"Hi. How are your ribs?" Lars spoke calmly, clasping his hands together on the table, leaning forward slightly. His expression was now more readable - it was or concern or worry and regret.
"They're healing. Painful."
"I broke them." Lars sat back, wrenching both hands through his hair. "I am so sorry M..." He sighed.
"It's - it's kind of redundant, you saying sorry now, Lars. You've said it so many times, it has no meaning." Madonna said quietly.
"I never meant to hurt you as much as I did, M. What ever you think."
"You beat the shit out of me!" Madonna hissed, leaning across the table and frowning. There was no screen between them and they had the room to themselves, save for the guards, who stared straight ahead and pretended not to hear. "Astrid saw everything! That poor girl is traumatised!"
Lars swallowed a lump in his throat, looking at Madonna with watery eyes. "Would she come and see me, do you think?"
"She was nervous enough about me being in the same room as you. And she wanted me to show the others these bruises." Madonna lifted her top and Lars gasped. The bruises were big and such a deep purple they were nearly black.
"Should you even be walking around? Doesn't it hurt?" Lars asked and Madonna shrugged.
"Probably not. But I needed to come here and talk to you. I feel like there is a weight on my shoulders I need to get rid of."
"Did you show them the bruises?"
"No. I didn't want to frighten them. Astrid only saw them by mistake, she was passing my room when I was changing."
"I really lost it, M." Lars placed both hands on either side of his head.
"Why? Why were you always hurting me?" Madonna asked, frowning. "I want to understand - no, I need to understand why."
"Because I was insecure and jealous."
"You always seemed pretty sure of yourself to me."
"I didn't like the fact that men openly flirt with you and you flirt back. You're my wife." Lars said, almost aggressively.
"Lars, you flirted with women too and they flirted with you. I never saw it as a reason or excuse to hit you." Madonna replied.
"Obviously you are more secure than I am."
"I get jealous too, actually. I just try not to let it hurt me so much. At the end of the day, no matter the fact that we are both flirts, we love each other. I would never have gone further than flirting with anyone, because I love you so much."
"All I can do is say I'm sorry. I know it doesn't mean much to you anymore, but I can't take back what I've done."
"You nearly hit my son. You nearly hit Rocco. If Gabriel hadn't - would you have hit him? Honestly?" Madonna asked and Lars looked at her for what felt like several agonising minutes.
"Yes. I would have. I was so angry, I wasn't thinking straight." Lars said calmly.
"Oh my god. Oh my god." Madonna got up so quickly, she nearly knocked the chair over and turned her back to Lars.
Both the guards on her side of the room looked at each other, then Madonna.
"I haven't finished yet." Madonna said, looking at them both, then turning back around and sitting down, facing Lars. If it wasn't for her badly bruised ribs, she might have lunged across the table at him herself. "I let a man back into my life who would have hit my teenage son. What was I thinking?" She felt disgusted with herself.
"M, I think I need help." Lars said quietly. "I get so angry and I can't control myself - "
Madonna slammed both her fists down on the table so hard, it made Lars jump and all four guards were surprised such a small, slight woman had that strength.
"Damn straight you need help, you fucking psychopath!! You nearly hit a child!" Madonna screamed, then sat back and clutched her ribs, wincing and gasping for breath.
"Are you alright?" Lars asked and Madonna nodded, holding a finger up to silence him while she got her breath back.
"M'am, can I get you anything?" One of the guards asked.
"Water would be great thanks." Madonna looked up at him, then coughed a little.
"I was trying to say I think I need help. Professional help." Lars said.
"If I had suggested that to you before - I can't remember if I was ever stupid enough too, then you would have beat me into next week." Madonna replied, glaring at him.
"I know. But you would have been right." Lars said quietly.
The guard returned and placed a plastic cup of water in front of Madonna and a plastic jug on the table. "In case you need more." He said, closing the door behind him.
"Thank you." Madonna smiled, looking at him gratefully.
"Is Rocco alright?" Lars asked and Madonna was surprised at the sound of genuine concern in his voice.
"Yes, I think so. Like I said, Astrid is traumatised. Gabriel is angry. Lola, Rocco, David and Mercy are being very supportive to them and me."
"Good."
"I can't believe this is happening...I don't want to have to divorce you again. I guess this is what I get for not learning my lesson enough the first time around." Madonna said, her voice wobbling a bit. She sounded in danger of crying, even though she was trying her best to hold it together.
"None of this is your fault, M. It's all my fault. I should have gone to therapy or anger management or something years and years ago." Lars admitted.
"I would have supported you, Lars. And it's not weakness to ask for help." Madonna said, looking at him and feeling pity. She almost wanted to reach out and hold him, but he did still scare her also. Conflicting feelings were weighing her down.
"I'm surprised to hear you say that. Aside from therapy, you never ask for help." Lars said softly.
Madonna shrugged. "I'm naturally independant, I guess. And lucky enough to have friends and family in my life whom offer support when they can see I need it, because I'm too proud to ask."
"I'll give you everything you want, M. In the divorce." Lars said. "It's the least you deserve."
"That's the problem, Lars. You think everything can be solved with money and material things. I didn't need presents from you. I needed you to love yourself enough that you would not beat me. Because I know you love me. Despite all that, I could still feel it." Madonna said, never taking her eyes from Lars, and he felt a rush of love for her that almost moved him to tears.
"You never liked that necklace, did you?" He smiled and she shook her head.
"I couldn't tell you. I knew it would make me sound ungrateful and cause a huge row. I was never ungrateful for anything you gave me. The guitar was something I loved the most, because it was a more personal present - something you had made for me and knew I would love." Madonna replied.
"I thought...if I bought you presents...it would make up for the way I was with you." Lars said quietly and Madonna nodded.
"I know, Lars. But it doesn't work like that. And that necklace made me feel like I was your trophy to be paraded around. It made me feel so uncomfortable." Madonna said.
"Auction it off. For your charity - Raising Malawi. It's worth a lot, I think it would generate a lot of interest." Lars suggested. "You can do that with every present I have given you, if it makes you feel uncomfortable."
"That's actually a really good idea. Not the guitar though. I do love that."
"If it reminds me of you and it's too painful, I wouldn't be offended." Lars said quietly.
"Lars, I don't want to wipe away every single memory I have with you. They aren't all bad. I have some really beautiful memories of us." Madonna said.
"So do I. I can't believe I let a woman like you get away. Again."
"I wanted to say sorry if I ever gave you reasons to be angry. I know I have flaws too, Lars."
"Don't."
"Don't what?"
"You sound like one of those abused women who will make excuses till the end of eternity for the reasons they were hurt. And I made you that way. Something I deeply regret." Lars said and tears escaped his eyes. Madonna couldn't recall if she'd ever seen him cry before. He looked so vulnerable and she felt a tug at her heart.
"We can't go back to what we were. Make no mistake Lars, this isn't easy for me, even if you think it might be." Madonna said, staring at him, really studying his face.
"I never thought it would be." Lars replied. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure."
"Do you still love me?"
"Lars..." Madonna sighed, sitting back.
"M. Please." Lars looked desperate for an answer.
"Why do you think this is so incredibly hard for me? But you have crossed a line and there is no going back."
"You can't say it, can you?" Lars said softly and Madonna shook her head. "Then I won't torture you any more."
"I'm posting your bail."
"Why would you do that?"
"You can't get help in here."
"What did the children say?"
"I didn't tell them."
"M, you don't have too."
"I know." Madonna stood up. "I have one condition. I don't want you to come anywhere near me or the children."
"Done." Lars said. He looked troubled.
"Promise me you will get help."
"I promise."
"Goodbye Lars."
"Thank you M." Lars said, looking up at Madonna.
She nodded, then left, feeling much lighter than when she'd gone in the room.




End of Part 16...




Part 17




"DiMaggio! DiMaggio! DiMaggio!" Gabriel's friends chanted in the crowd, then others caught on and also started chanting it.
Madonna was watching Gabriel's baseball game with all her children and they started chanting the nickname he'd earned due to his baseball skills. It was his dream to play for the New York Yankees when he'd finished school and maybe college. Gabriel was very talented and athletic. There were several girls in the bleachers watching, trying to catch his eye, but he only had eyes for the game when he was playing, he was incredibly focused.
"We all know that Lars is out." Lourdes leaned in and whispered to Madonna, when the chanting had died down and Madonna looked at her.
"I bailed him out. On the condition he stays away from me and you guys." Madonna replied.
"Why?"
"He needs help. With his anger issues."
"Aren't you scared he might come after you?" Lourdes looked concerned.
"I really don't think he will." Madonna replied, looking back across the field at Gabriel. "Are you all mad at me?"
"No. Just worried."
"I think Lars will stay away."
"You are too trusting, mom." Lourdes said, sighing. "How are your ribs?"
"Still a bit sore. I have tablets to take when it gets too much. They hurt when I lie down, so clearly rest isn't always all that..." Madonna smiled at Lourdes who snorted and rolled her eyes.
"Tough. You have to rest."
"Yes mom." Madonna joked. "I'm surprised Gabriel hasn't got angry that I bailed Lars out."
"I think he is ready to defend you again if he has too." Lourdes replied.
"Hopefully it won't come to that." Madonna said, her eyes getting watery.
"G is a fucking beast on that field!" Rocco said from the other side and Lourdes looked amused when Madonna scolded him.
"Language!"
"Mom, we do hear it all in school, you know, if it's for our benefit." David said, as Mercy also looked round and smiled.
"I know, but there is no need for it. I don't want to hear you talking like that."
"Sorry." Rocco said. "But G is really kicking as - butt out there."
"He sure is." Madonna said, feeling proud as she watched Gabriel play and the crowd started chanting 'DiMaggio' once more.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
After the game, Madonna took them all out for dinner as a treat and they were talking and laughing and to onlookers they looked like any regular happy family. No one mentioned Lars or Madonna bailing him out, much to her relief. It was late when they got home and they all went to their own rooms. Madonna knocked on Gabriel's door.
"Come in."
"You were really something on that field today. I'm really proud of you Gabe." Madonna said, closing the door behind her and going to sit on the bed.
"Thanks mom." Gabriel smiled.
"I came to see if you wanted to talk about me bailing Lars out."
"Mom, I don't understand why you bailed him out. But I'm not angry. I guess you've had enough of people being angry at you." Gabriel replied and Madonna nodded.
"Yes, I have." She said. "I told him he needed to get help for his anger issues and he agreed with me."
"Do you think I need help for mine?"
"I don't think you have anger issues, Gabe. You are just protective of me and passionate. Have you ever hit a girl?"
"No."
"Have you ever wanted to hit a girl?"
"No."
"Then you aren't like Lars in that way." Madonna replied. "You are charming like him, and handsome. And your temper probably comes from us both." Madonna smiled and Gabriel laughed.
"Yeah, I guess."
"Get some sleep, Gabe." Madonna kissed his forehead and left the room. She nearly bumped into Astrid and gasped.
Ever since she'd been little, Astrid had the most beautiful pure blonde hair and she had always had it cascading down her back like a waterfall. But it was gone. Completely. Astrid hadn't just had it cut, she'd had it shaved off, so all that remained was bright blonde stubble. It made her face look sharper, but she was still completely stunning.
"What have you done to your hair?" Madonna asked, looking shocked.
Astrid laughed. "It's just hair, mom. It will grow back. I didn't want it anymore. It reminded me of him."
"You did this because of Lars?"
"Mainly. But it was actually kind of liberating."
"Is that why you didn't come to the baseball match? You were slashing your hair off?" Madonna looked almost upset.
"I didn't do this myself. I had it done professionally. I genuinely forgot. I was just going to say sorry to Gabriel."
"Ok."
"Are you mad mom?"
"No." Madonna said. "Just...it's such a radical change. It will take some getting used too."
"Elodie shaved all hers off too."
"Wow." Madonna said. "So, she liked yours tha much?"
"Yeah. We both wanted a change."
"Fair enough. Goodnight baby." Madonna said, kissing Astrid and Astrid hugged her.
"I love you mom." She said, kissing Madonna and heading to Gabriel's room.
Madonna went to her room and got ready for bed. Even though Lars had been gone a while now, she still missed sharing a bed with him. It felt too big and empty on her own. Madonna got back out of bed and went to Lars' closet. She took out one of his shirts and got back in bed, clutching it to her face, to smell his natural scent. It was soon growing wet with her tears, and though she knew she was making it harder for herself, she couldn't help it. Madonna lay with her eyes open, clutching the shirt closer and closer to her, until she eventually fell into a sleep plagued with troubled dreams about Lars.




End of Part 17...




Part 18




Elodie helped Astrid move the last of her stuff into a removal van and Astrid went over to Madonna.
"Don't you dare start crying mom!" Astrid said, pointing a finger at Madonna, even though she was smiling.
"They are tears of happiness." Madonna replied, smiling as they slid down her cheeks.
"Are you absolutely sure you don't mind me going? I could stay a bit longer if you like. I don't like the idea of dad being out there." Astrid said, looking concerned.
"I want you to go, Trid. You have your own life now, you're an adult. I wish I could keep you all here for ever, but I wouldn't have done my job right as a mother. Go spread your wings." Madonna said, squeezing Astrid's arms. She couldn't help but keep looking at her very closely cropped hair.
"Part of spreading my wings." Astrid said, running a hand over her hair, looking amused. "It will grow back."
"I know."
"She inspired me to do mine." Elodie said, setting a box down.
"It really suits you both." Madonna replied.
"You know we'll probably be back here, hanging out, between all our projects." Elodie said, to set Madonna's mind at rest a little.
"Both of you are welcome here any time of day or night."
"Thanks mom." Astrid hugged Madonna and kissed her cheek.
"I promise to take really good care of her." Elodie said and Madonna nodded.
"Thank you."
The girls grabbed the box and the last of the bags and left the house, closing the door behind them. Madonna had been helping them at lunch time and grabbed a salad and drink in between taking things downstairs and now she had to get back to work.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna had only been back at work for an hour or so, when Lars called her.
"Uh, hi, how are you?" Madonna cringed, not knowing how to talk to him now, because he felt like a stranger.
"Ok. How are your ribs?" Lars asked.
"Healing." Madonna lifted up her top and had a look at the bruises. They were changing colours now, not nearly as dark as they had been, although they still looked awful.
"Good. I was calling to ask when would be a good time for me to start moving my stuff out?"
"Oh, um I hadn't thought about that. Trid moved out today. Her and Elodie have their own place."
"That's good. I bet you are devastated though." Lars said and Madonna was a little taken aback at how well he knew her.
"Yeah. I wish I could keep them all for ever. I wish they would need me."
"M, they'll always need you, you're their mother. Just in different ways." Lars replied.
"You're right. At least I stil have four at home." Madonna said in an attempt to cheer herself up.
"Exactly."
"I guess you could get your things any time during the day. When I'm at work and the children are at school. You know our schedules pretty much."
"Yes I do."
"Do you mind me asking, where are you staying?" Madonna drank some of her coffee and sat back in her chair.
"The apartment above the gallery."
"Good. I didn't like the thought of you staying in some hotel." Madonna practically breathed a sigh of relief.
"After everything I put you through, M, I am amazed you care. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't."
"I'm not that kind of person, Lars. I loved you for years and years of my life. I can't just suddenly stop caring." Madonna said in a soft, quiet voice.
"That was always one of the qualities I loved about you, M. Your big heart."
Madonna closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Lars. I don't want to do this now. Not over the phone."
"Sorry. I know you said you don't want me near the children, but would you mind if I called Astrid? And Gabriel?" Lars asked, sounding hopeful.
"I think you'll get a barage of abuse from Gabriel and Astrid will probably hang up on you. But you can try."
"Whatever they say or don't say, I will deserve. I just want Astrid to know that I don't blame her for making a statement."
"Well that is big of you, Lars." Madonna said, unable to resist being icy. "Of course she isn't to blame. She was a witness. And even though I'm not a fan of violence, the boys were well within their right to do what they did."
"I know." Lars replied. "I wish there was something I could do to make it up to them. To make it up to you."
"Stay away." Madonna said and hung up, suddenly tired of talking to him. She opened her desk drawer and found some bourbon in it and laced her coffee with a little. Madonna drank it and frowned, feeling angry and felt the overwhelming urge of wanting to hit Lars for screwing her up so badly.




End of Part 18...
materialgirl86
This fiction follows on from Inside Out, which was the sequel to Beautiful Cracked Painting. To prevent any confusion, the last chapter of Inside Out said that Madonna was starting her Rebel Heart tour in January of 2016, so the start of this fiction is set during the last few shows in July of 2016.

Part 1

Melbourne, Australia

"We could stay here after the tour for a bit longer...have another honeymoon. After getting married again." Madonna smiled, skipping her fingers over Lars' bare chest in bed and he looked down at her, his handsome face clouded by a slight frown.
"No, we have to go back to New York City, M. I have to work too. Your job isn't the most important out of ours." Lars replied and Madonna sighed.
"You're right."
"That isn't to say we won't be going on a second honeymoon." Lars said and there was the slightest sign of hope in Madonna's disappointed face.
"Ok."
"Are you doing another show like Tears of a Clown?" Lars asked.
"Did you like it?"
"It was...interesting."
"You didn't like it."
"Do you automatically want me to like everything you do?" Lars raised his eyebrows and Madonna shook her head.
"Of course not. I would rather you be honest. It was a one off show anyway."
"Clowns kind of freak me out." Lars said and Madonna looked surprised.
"I didn't know that about you."
"I think you made it slightly better. I've never seen a clown with such a great ass." Lars said, leaning over and smiling before he kissed Madonna and she laughed.
"There's only two more shows here, two in Brisbane and two in Sydney and then you can take my great ass home." Madonna said.
"Good, I'm tired of sharing you with everyone." Lars said, kissing Madonna hard.
"I like it when you get possesive." Madonna said, smirking, though truthfully he was sometimes a bit full-on. "Talking of sharing me, I have to go work out."
"It's your day off!"
"There is no such thing as a day off. You should know that by now, baby." Madonna kissed Lars. "We can go out later."
Lars clenched his jaw and his brilliant blue eyes were like chips of ice for a moment. "Ok." He said and watched her get out of bed and leave the room.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
After her second show in Melbourne, Madonna was disappointed for a split second that Lars wasn't backstage, but he didn't go to all of her shows. He was an art dealer and could still work from anywhere, even though he preferred to work in NYC. Adrenaline and the infectious energy of her dancers kept Madonna smiling and in high spirits for a while. She got into her car and was driven back to her hotel. The first thing she did when she got in was checked on all of her sleeping children, looking at each of them fondly. Then she went to find Lars. He was sat at a desk on his laptop and didn't look up when Madonna walked into the room.
"Baby, I thought you were going to meet me after the show this evening."
"I do have things to do." Lars said calmly and Madonna chewed her lip.
"If there's something you want to say to me, just say it."
Lars got up from his chair and walked towards Madonna. "I want you to tone the last few shows down."
"I've done racier shows on tour than this one in the past."
"I know."
"Why?"
"I don't like those dancers having their hands all over you."
"Lars, they are just my dancers. I love you. Why don't you trust me?"
"It isn't you I don't trust."
"Do you really think any of them would be stupid enough to try anything with me, with you here?"
"I don't know. You spend a lot of time together."
"Not for much longer." Madonna replied. "Look, can I have a shower first, then we can talk some more? I'm really sweaty and feel a bit gross."
"Yeah."
Madonna peeled off her clothes and went to have a shower, thinking she would feel nice and refreshed before she continued to talk to Lars. But a few minutes later, he stripped off and got in the shower with her.
"What are you doing?"
"Showering with you." Lars said in a smart ass way and Madonna tried not to smile.
"You're impossible sometimes." Madonna turned her back on him and Lars wrapped his arms around her, kissing her shoulder.
"So are you M." He whispered. "Let me help you." Lars lathered up expensive soap, rubbing his hands along her arms, over her chest and stomach and down her legs - kneeling while he done so. Madonna tried not to wince as he ran his hands over bruises he'd given her.
Lars had been wonderful for so long, but since the tour had started, he'd started going back to his old ways of hurting Madonna. It was mainly down to jealousy of the male dancers. Behind closed doors, out of sight of the children, Lars had hit Madonna several times, pushed her into a wall and kicked her. It was easy during tour time to lie and say they were from accidents she kept having and no one really noticed or batted an eyelid. The fact that Lars was charming would make it hard for people to believe he could be violent anymore.
"Are you alright?" Lars asked, standing back up and holding Madonna.
"Yeah, I'm just tired."
"You need to eat first."
"I'm not sure I can." Madonna said, stepping out of the shower and drying herself with a towel.
"M. You can't come back after every show and not eat." Lars said firmly.
"It's late."
"I waited up for you."
"You didn't meet me."
"I'm sorry I am not as perfect as those guys you dance with." Lars said, throwing his hands up as he turned the shower off and grabbed a towel.
"Dancing is all I do with them." Madonna pointed out and Lars glared at her.
"It better be...otherwise..." Lars grabbed Madonna's throat and pushed her into the wall. All she could do was look at him and he let go, smoothing a cheek. "I know you wouldn't be that stupid."
"I love you." Madonna said, as she coughed, rubbing her throat and frowned at Lars. He smiled almost triumphantly and left her alone.




End of Part 1...




Part 2

Sydney, Australia


"I have to leave soon, Mom. I'm flying to Barcelona to meet Elodie." Astrid said, looking at her watch as she ate breakfast.
"I though you were coming to the party tonight." Madonna said, looking a little disappointed that her daughter wouldn't be at the end of tour party.
"Mom, I want too, but I haven't seen Elodie for a while and I miss her." Astrid said, referring to her girlfriend, who was currently in Spain, dancing in Beyonce's Formation Tour.
"I know, Trid. Go have fun. You both deserve it." Madonna smiled.
Elodie and Astrid had been together since school and now they'd left and both gone on to become dancers. Elodie had done the choreography for Beyonce's Lemonade film and her Fourmation Tour, which she was also a dancer in. She was into fitness and had plans to become a personal trainer also. Astrid done modelling as well as dancing. She had various other skills she incorporated into dancing - she'd done rhythmic gymnastics and been a majorette in school and trained on a pole and as an aerialist. They were a very talented and ambitious couple that fully supported each other and barely argued. Madonna and Lars were very proud of them both, treating Elodie like she was part of the family.
"Thanks mom. Have fun!" Astrid kissed Madonna's cheek and grabbed her bags.
"Call me when you arrive in Spain."
"Yeah." Astrid said and kissed Lars on the cheek as he entered the room. "Bye dad, off to Spain."
"Have fun." Lars said, smiling as he sat down.
"Do you want a coffee?"
"Please." He watched her pour one for him, then thanked her and looked up. "I was thinking I won't come to the party tonight."
"Oh. How come?" Madonna asked.
"I want you to have a good time with your dancers and the crew."
"And you think I wouldn't with you?"
Lars laughed. "No. You know I get jeaous of the dancers. Besides I can pick you up, if you call me later or get someone to call me."
"Are you sure? I could just not go and stay in with you."
"As tempting as that sounds, you can't not go to your own party, M." Lars smiled
"Ok. If you're sure." Madonna said, kissing him. "I will probably be very drunk. Sorry in advance." She said and he laughed again.
"That's fine. You work hard enough."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
In the early hours of the following morning, Lars picked up a very very drunk Madonna. She lay across the backseat on her side, talking nonsense and Lars adjusted the rearview mirror to look at her and answered her now and then. He helped her up to the hotel room and she had an arm draped around him as he helped her to their room.
"I am soooooo in the mood right now..." Madonna said, slurring her words, after Lars had closed the door and she started unbuttoning his shirt.
"And soooooo drunk." Lars looked amused, as he quickly held on to Madonna, to stop her from falling over.
"Are you telling me you don't want this?" Madonna continued slurring her words, as she struggled to pull the dress up over her head and Lars laughed, helping her out of it. She was completely naked and he raised his eyebrows.
"That's very tempting. But I think you need to drink some water and sleep this off, we have a flight to catch at midday tomorrow." Lars replied. "Let me get you one of my shirts. Sit on the bed."
Madonna sat on the bed, swaying on the spot while Lars fetched a shirt. She pulled him down onto the bed and kissed him, climbing on top of him. Lars grabbed Madonna and pushed her face-down onto the bed and she smiled back over her shoulder at him for a second. He took her from behind in a very rough way, pinning her wrists down, ignoring her when she cried out in pain.
"Don't pretend you didn't want this." Lars whispered in her ear.
"You're hurting me!" Madonna replied, her eyes wide with fear as she looked back at him.
Lars grabbed a handful of her hair and forced her face down, not quite on the bed and at one point she bit the pillow to stop herself from crying right out and waking up the children.
After he left the bedroom and went to get a drink and she was curled up sobbing on her own.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
On the plane home, Madonna sat next to Lars and watched him sleeping. He looked so peaceful and handsome, like an angel taking a nap with his blonde hair. It was a private plane, which was a good thing, because the children were pretty lively. Mercy was dancing around and David, Rocco and Gabriel were listening to music, playing air guitar and messing around.
Lars stirred and opened his eyes, smiling at Madonna. "Hey. I must have fell asleep." He said and she just looked at him. "What's wrong? You have been quiet all morning."
"Last night."
"What about it?"
Madonna looked around, to make sure none of the children were in earshot, then back at Lars. "You know what. I was vulnerable. How could you?"
"You were up for it last night. Don't make me out to be the bad guy. You can't wind a man up like that and not follow through." Lars said quietly.
"I was drunk!" Madonna whispered fiercely.
"Keep your voice down." Lars said in a warning tone.
Madonna got up and Lars looked up at her. "Where are you going?"
"To sit with the children."
"M, don't make a big deal out of this."
"I need some space. You hurt me." Madonna whispered.
Lars pulled her hand, jerking Madonna back down so she sat next to him. "I didn't mean too. You know you drive me crazy, M." He said, touching her cheek as he kissed her and Madonna started to feel the anger disappear.
"I think a honeymoon might make up for it." She replied, tilting her chin up defiantly.
"Yeah, I'll get on that when we get home." Lars replied, thinking he'd got round her.




End of Part 2...




Part 3
Madonna bolted through the field on her horse, feeling like the weight of touring and Lars being difficult had been lifted and like she could breathe again. The wind whipped past her face and she smiled, totally refreshed and happy at the thought of seeing Lourdes later. She rode for a good few hours and when she arrived back at the stables and jumped down from her horse, Lourdes was stood leaning against the stall.
"I've never seen you ride that fast, mom. It looks like fun." Lourdes smiled and Madonna let go of the rein of her horse and went over to her daughter and gave her a big, tight hug.
"Oh, I missed you so much!" Madonna said.
"Me too, but I kinda need to breathe." Lourdes said, as Madonna held her arms and they both laughed.
"How about I take you to lunch? Are you free now?"
"Yes, I am."
"I need to change first."
"I wasn't planning on eating with you all sweaty and stuff." Lourdes teased and Madonna smiled.
Madonna's bodyguards accompanied them, one of them driving them back to Madonna's place. She went to have a shower and get changed, while Lourdes put some makeup on and done her hair, then they went back out. Madonna let Lourdes choose where they went and they ended up at a fashionable new restaurant that served Latin American street food.
"I love the campaign you're working on with Stella." Madonna said, when their food arrived and they started eating.
"You've seen it?" Lourdes sounded surprised.
"Yes, she sent me pictures and videos. I'm so proud of you, Lola." Madonna said, looking at her daughter like a proud mother. Lourdes blushed a little and smiled.
"Thanks. I enjoyed doing it." Lourdes replied. "You look really well mom. I take it things with Lars are still going really well?" She half asked and Madonna nodded straight away.
"Yes. He was really supportive during the tour." Madonna lied, trying to push the memories of him hurting her out of her head.
"That's good. I thought Trid might have joined us...?" Lourdes half asked.
"She left before the end of the tour to meet Elodie in Spain."
"Oh yeah, Beyonce's tour." Lourdes said, remembering.
"It's so nice to actually eat something decent in daylight hours." Madonna said, groaning with satisfaction as she ate and Lourdes laughed.
"I don't know how you do it mom, I would want to kill someone not eating much all day." Lourdes said, looking at Madonna with admiration.
Madonna laughed. "Years of practise, baby. Where are you staying now? You're back in the city to stay, aren't you?" She asked and Lourdes nodded.
"Yeah, I'm staying here. With friends at the moment. Looking for a project to work on. They're all artists of some kind, which is cool. We might collaborate on something soon." Lourdes replied, drinking some juice.
"You seem really happy Lola."
"I am. College was great for a while, but it just wasn't me."
"You remind me of myself at your age. Restless."
"Yeah, that was exactly how I felt. Like I just wanted to start living." Lourdes said, looking thoughtful.
Madonna looked at Lourdes and imagined telling her that Lars was hurting her again, as Lourdes continued to talk in an animated way, smiling and looking happy. But she didn't want to burden anyone with her problems. Madonna smiled and nodded and replied in all the right places, just happy to be in the company of her eldest child.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Lars arrived home really late from work and Madonna was fast asleep. He was very quiet when he stripped off and put on a pair of pyjama bottoms and carefully got into bed.
"Hey...you're late." Madonna said sleepily, as she turned to face Lars, opening  her eyes.
"I didn't mean to wake you."
"I hadn't been asleep that long."
"M, I have something for you."
"Oh...?" Madonna sat up, wide awake now.
"Close your eyes and put your hands out." Lars said, switching on the bedroom light.
Madonna done what he said and Lars put something heavy in both her hands. "Open them." He said.
"Wow! Oh my god!" Madonna looked at a beautiful shiny black guitar. It had 'rebel heart' carved in swirly white writing with little hearts around it on the front, and a constellation of stars in white on the back of it, and little clusters of white stars and hearts going up the back of the neck.
"Do you recognise the constellation on the back?" Lars asked and Madonna shook her head.
"No. What is it?"
"It's the Leo constellation."
Madonna smoothed her fingers over the white carvings, taking time to admire the work that had gone into them.
"I am speechless." A smile spread across her face and she looked at Lars.
"One of the people who bought some art from me recently not only makes guitars, but customises them. I had this specially made for you, M because I know how much you love music and playing your guitars. I wanted you to have a really beautiful one to play." Lars said quietly.
"This is so beautiful, Lars." Madonna held the back of his neck and pulled him in for a kiss.
"I'm glad you like it."
"May I ask why though? My birthday was a while ago now."
"Because I haven't been supportive enough when you were on tour. I was a prick to be honest. I know I can't take that back, but this is my way of apologising." Lars said, kissing Madonna's cheek and holding her.
"Thank you. It's the best apology I've ever had." Madonna smiled, looking from the guitar to Lars.




End of Part 3...




Part 4




Lars pinned Madonna's wrists down to the bed on either side of her head. She arched her back, moving her pelvis up towards him and groaned when he rode her even harder, grinding her down to the bed hard. A bead of sweat dripped down between her breasts and Lars licked it up to the base of her neck, which he kissed and it send a shiver right the way down her spine. He let go of her wrists and she brushed his jaw with her fingertips and kissed him so softly, it made Lars slow down his aggressive pace. When she kissed him like that, so full of tenderness, it made him ache for Madonna all the more. She let go of his jaw and Lars leaned fowards and kissed her neck softly and nibbled her ear. Madonna ran her hands up and down his back, then pressed them down on his shoulders. Lars buried his face into her neck, taking in her natural scent and Madonna scraped her nails across his shoulders. He groaned into her neck when he got to the point of no return and she cried out. Lars lay on top of Madonna for several long minutes after, while they both got their breath back. Madonna liked how heavy Lars felt on top of her, it made her feel safe and secure.
"I missed you when you were on tour." Lars said, lying alongside Madonna, smoothing hair away from her face.
Even though Lars had gone with Madonna, they hadn't really had any time to be intimate and they both usually had pretty high sex drives.
"I missed you too. I would rather have stayed in bed with you then done cardio some days." Madonna said and Lars laughed, his bright blue eyes glittering.
"I would have been tougher on you than your trainer." Lars said, kissing Madonna and she smiled, chewing her lower lip.
"Mmm. I know." Madonna said, sitting up and stretching.
Lars watched her, then ran his fingers up her spine, wrapping his arms around Madonna and massaging a breast as he kissed her neck. She looked over her shoulder at Lars and kissed him.
"I have to get ready for work. I want to use that beautiful guitar you bought me." Madonna said and Lars rubbed his nose against hers.
"I'm so glad you like it."
"Like it? I love it." Madonna said with gusto.
"Good." Lars kissed her temple. "I hope I get a private concert soon. Not costumes necessary." He whispered in her ear and Madonna laughed.
"I'll see what I can do." She got out of bed and headed for the shower, still smiling.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"I can film this for Elodie, if you guys want to watch Astrid properly." Lourdes said, waving her phone.
"Do you mind?" Lars asked and Lourdes shook her head.
"Of course not."
"Thank you baby." Madonna kissed her cheek.
Astird wanted to add more to her dancing game than rhythmic gymnastics, majorette skills, pole dancing and arealist skills, so she had been taking trapeze lessons for a while now. She had choreographed a piece with the girl who had been training her - Natalie and they would perform a flying trapeze routine mixed with Astrid doing her own thing also. Elodie has asked Astrid to get someone to film it and send it to her, because she couldn't be there in person to see the routine.
Lars and Madonna sat down and Lourdes got the camera up on her phone ready. The trapezes were pretty high up, but there was a net underneath, much to Madonna's relief.
Astrid walked across the room gracefully, with a perfect dancers poise and stood in front of them, smiling. She wore a flesh-coloured leotard with white swirls and swarovski swirls on it. Her blonde hair was up in a perfect bun and had a silver net over it. Another girl joined them, nowhere near as striking as Astrid, but with a similar lithe, powerful looking body, olive skin and black hair in a bun. She wore the same leotard as Astrid and had the same poise but wasn't quite as graceful when she walked.
"I'm glad you guys could make it. This is Natalie Russo, she has been teaching me the trapeze for quite a while now. We are going to do a routine I choreographed to Blue Jeans by Lana del Rey. I hope you enjoy it. And mom, don't freak out, there is a net there." Astrid pointed to the net and Madonna tried not to smile, but nodded.
Both girls went to opposite ends of the gymnasium and climbed ladders, then swung the trapezes as they chalked their hands and rubbed them along the trapezes. Astrid and Natalie looked at each other and nodded and the music started. They both grabbed their trapezes and the routine started.
"Oh god, I can't watch!" Madonna covered her eyes.
"This is sick!" Lourdes said, looking at her sister with admiration. "Mom, watch it!"
"Trid won't fall." Lars said with absolute certainty.
Madonna looked at him, amazed at his faith in Astrid, then looked at her daughter. Astrid and Natalie were making the routine looke effortless, flying through the air, letting go of the trapeze, reaching out to grab each other. At one point Natalie stood high up on her platform, whilst Astrid done her solo piece, which she found easier due to her areal skills.
"She makes everything look so effortless, M. Just like you when you're on stage." Lars said quietly.
"Gross. Get a room." Lourdes whispered and both Madonna and Lars laughed.
When the routine ended, both girls climbed down their ladders and went over to their audience, who were clapping.
"That was incredible, Trid. I'm so proud of you." Lars said, hugging his daughter.
"I'm glad you didn't fall." Madonna said and Astrid rolled her eyes.
"I did in practise. That net is a lot of fun to fall onto though. Like a trampoline. Hey - maybe I'll take up trampolining next!" Astrid said and Madonna put a hand on her chest.
"Are you trying to give me a heart attack, girl?!"
"No, I love dancing so much and I like all the extra skills I have. It keeps it fresh and interesting for me. Like you mom - when you say you like reworking your songs for your tours, I like mixing it up in my routines." Astrid pointed out and Madonna nodded.
"Fair enough. That was amazing." She finally smiled and Astrid looked relieved.
"Mom, I think you should put it on Instagram if I send it to you." Lourdes said and Astrid looked at her sister and smiled.
"Sure." Madonna said. She looked at Natalie. "Thank you for taking care of her."
"Astrid is a natural. One of the fastest learners I have ever worked with." Natalie said, smiling. "It's a pleasure working with her."
"Ok, ok, enough gushing - can we all go eat? I'm starving!" Astrid said.
"Do you want to join us Natalie?" Madonna asked.
"If that's alright."
"It is." Madonna said, looking down at her phone, to upload the video to Instagram.
"We're just gonna get showered and changed." Astrid said and she left with Natalie.
"You can relax now mom." Lourdes said. "She didn't fall."
"Wait until you're a mother and your children want to be daredevils. Then you will know how I feel." Madonna tried not to smile as she pointed a finger at Lourdes, who waved her hand dismissively.




End of Part 4...




Part 5




Madonna watched Lars serve a lone female customer from the back. She'd slipped in through the back to surprise Lars, because he had been working so hard lately, and they didn't get to see a lot of each other during the week. Madonna frowned, feeling pangs of jealousy when she saw the woman openly flirt with her husband and Lars was smiling, clearly enjoying the attention.
"I think I shall be coming back here to purchase more of your pieces." The woman said in a plummy English accent, touching his forearm, which Madonna felt was a little much.
"Be sure to tell all your friends about my gallery." Lars replied, giving her a Hollywood-esque smile.
"Of course darling. Good evening." She said, turning to go.
"Good evening Mrs Dune." Lars said and waited until she had left, then flipped the sign to closed and turned around to face Madonna standing with her hands on her hips.
"Oh, darling I will be back to purchase more of these fabulous pieces of yours!" Madonna said in a mock plummy English accent, sticking her nose up in a haughty way and Lars laughed.
"That sounds like jealousy to me."
"Do I need to be jealous?" Madonna folded her arms.
"M, she had a face like a horse. Seriously?" Lars replied and Madonna laughed. "You're so sexy when you are jealous." He pulled her arms apart and slipped his arms around her waist, cinching her to him.
"It makes a change for it to be me being jealous." Madonna said, instantly regretting it when Lars let go of her and slapped her across the face. He did it with such force that she stumbled back a few steps.
"There was no need for that."
"I - I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." Madonna stammered, then trailed off. She rubbed her cheek, holding it with both hands.
"Let's not forget who it was out of us that cheated."
"That was in the past." Madonna said softly. "I wouldn't do that to you again."
"Why did you come here anyway?"
"Because I miss you. We both work so much in the week, we don't get to see much of each other." Madonna replied.
"You're right. I'm sorry M. I didn't mean to hit you. What you said was a bit below the belt."
"Sorry." Madonna said.
"Let's go and get a drink." Lars said. "A nice hot chocolate somewhere?" He suggested and Madonna nodded.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following evening Lars and Madonna both finished work early and had dinner with the children. It was unusual for them to both be present at dinner, so David, Mercy, Gabriel, Rocco and Astrid were all talking over each other and multiple conversations were going on. Lourdes was also there, looking amused at the chaos. At one point when Astrid stopped talking, she noticed the faint mark on Madonna's cheek and looked at Lars, who was laughing at something Gabriel was saying. She also noticed when Madonna joined the conversation that Lars pretty much shot her down.
"Hey, Lola, do you want to see some new dances I've put on my laptop?" Astrid asked, when they'd finished eating.#
"Sure." Lourdes said, following Astrid up to her room.
Astrid closed the door and sat next to Lourdes on her bed. Lourdes frowned.
"Are you ok Trid? You look kind of spooked."
"I think dad hit mom."
"Why would you think that?"
"I spotted a mark on her cheek at dinner."
"Have they been arguing?"
"Not that I've noticed."
"Maybe mom genuinely had an accident." Lourdes suggested. "After all the talking us around she and Lars did when they got back together, do you think mom would stay with him if he hurt her?"
Astrid shrugged. "Mom stayed with dad for years before."
"After the tour I expect mom is still exhausted, even though she wouldn't admit it. It could be a genuine accident."
"Mom had a lot of injuries during the tour - bruises and scrapes and stuff." Astrid said, looking worried.
"That's pretty standard, Trid, you know that."
"What about the way he shot her down at dinner?"
"Lars is just like that." Lourdes shrugged and Astrid sighed. "Look, if you are worried I can drop by more regularly - come to dinner and stuff and keep an eye on them."
"Yes. That would ge great." Astrid looked a little more relieved.
"Did you really have some new dances to show me?" Lourdes asked. She was proud of her sister and loved watching her dances.
"Actually I do." Astrid said, smiling a little and Lourdes sat closer to her and they both watched the new videos on Astri's YouTube channel.




End of Part 5...




Part 6




Madonna and Lars were getting ready to go to a film premiere that evening. They hadn't been to any public events for quite some time before her Rebel Heart tour. Usually they went out for meals, or to the theatre or art showings from friends of Lars - very low-key events.
"You look so handsome." Madonna said, smiling as she stood up and straightened up the white bow tie on his tuxedo suit, then kissed him.
"Thank you." Lars smiled back at her. "This dress is..." He looked down at Madonna.
She wore a long, black, strapless bustier dress. It was very elegant and her hair was pinned up, a few tendrils hanging loose to soften the look. Her makeup was subtle, save for red lipstick and she wore small dangly silver earrings and a few delicate silver bracelets on the same wrist as her Kabbalah bracelet. Madonna wore black satin heels that gave her a little height, but she was still smaller than Lars.
"Is it ok?" Madonna asked, when Lars didn't finish his sentence and smoothed her dress, looking down at it.
"Incredible, M." Lars said, gasping as he held her waist.
"I wasn't sure about it." Madonna said, looking up at Lars. In truth, she had been worried he wouldn't like it. He seemed to be very outspoken about what she wore when they went out lately, and Madonna had even had to change a few times.
"It's perfect and shows your figure off." Lars replied. "I have just the thing to make it pop even more."
Madonna frowned. "Lars, you don't have to keep buying me things." Just please stop hitting me and kicking me and hurting me in general, she thought.
"I love buying you things, M. You deserve nice things." Lars replied. "Sit down." Madonna sat on the stool in front of her dresser. "Close your eyes." He said and Madonna did, then felt something cold and almost heavy being placed around her neck. "Open them." Lars said quietly and when she did open her eyes, Madonna looked shocked. Lars had had a replica made of the huge diamond bib necklace Nicole Kidman had worn in the film Moulin Rouge. Madonna's hand shook as she touched it, then looked up at Lars.
"Say something." Lars said.
"Oh, Lars, it is so very beautiful! It must have been so expensive though." Madonna looked at her reflection, taking her fingers away from it.
"Nothing is too expensive for you, M."
Madonna stood up and turned to face Lars. "It's breath-taking. Thank you my darling." She held his cheeks and kissed him.
"You are most welcome M." He smiled handsomely, looking at his watch. "Are you ready?"
"Yes."
They went downstairs and Astrid looked up from her laptop, her eyes nearly popping out of her head.
"Whoa mom! That necklace is stunning!"
"I want one, it's sparkly!" Mercy said, smiling.
Madonna laughed. "It would be too heavy for you, sweetie. Maybe I will have a much smaller one made for you." She kissed the top of Mercy's head. "Thanks Trid."
"You definitely have great taste, dad. Maybe I could point you in the direction of some jewellery for my birthday?" Astrid half asked, half joked and Lars nodded, smiling.
"Sure. I like spoiling my women."
"We need to get going." Madonna said, after she'd kissed Astrid as well.
"Yeah."
"Don't stay up too late." Madonna said and Mercy nodded and Astrid rolled her eyes.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
On the red carpet Madonna and Lars looked like the perfect sort of couple everyone would be jealous of. They held hands walking down the carpet and Lars had an arm loosely around Madonna's waist when they stopped to pose for pictures. Both of them smiled and they spent quite some time posing when the paparazzi spotted Madonna's necklace. It secretly made her feel uncomfortable and the necklace felt cold and heavy on her chest. It was ostentatious and she wished he hadn't had it made for her. By the time they were inside and seated, Madonna breathed a sigh of relief.
"Are you ok?" Lars whispered, leaning in to her and Madonna nodded.
"Yes. It just gets a bit boring, standing around having my picture taken for so long."
"I expect the necklace was the reason for that this evening." Lars said.
"It is so beautiful. I love it." Madonna lied with convincing passion, wondering how much of a beating she would take for a present so large.
"Good. It's just as exquisite as you." Lars said and it made Madonna cringe inwardly, and feel like she was his trophy.
"Baby, stop." She said softly, pretending to be coy as Lars took her hand and kissed it. "Everyone that comes into the studio has been admiring my guitar." Madonna said and Lars smiled. "It's like having a part of you at work." She kissed him and he looked pleased.
Madonna was relieved when the film started and a hush descended over the audience. She really had to think about how she spoke to Lars, because if she said anything he viewed as being wrong, it would result in his temper flaring up and her being physically hurt.
She pushed everything from her mind and watched the film, which was long at two and a half hours. Lars put his hand on her knee, over her dress and squeezed it. A smile formed on Madonna's face, but she didn't look at him.
"Let's go straight home. You look so hot. I don't want to share you with anyone else." Lars whispered in her ear and Madonna nodded.
It was dark when they arrived home and they went into the kitchen from the garage door. Lars grabbed Madonna, hitching her dress up, a hand between her legs. Even though it was sudden and unexpected, she was ready for him and placed both hands on the kitchen table as he undone her belt and trousers with his other hand. Madonna gasped loudly, then groaned when he replaced his fingers with his dick inside her and thrust hard, his hands squeezing her bum, pulling her cheeks apart so it hurt. Shivers of pleasure ran down Madonna's back and her skin felt clammy with perspiration. Her breasts were almost spilling out of the top of her dress and she pushed her bum back towards Lars when he let go of it and gave it a slap so hard that it stung.
"Baby..." Madonna moaned, half looking over her shoulder at Lars to let him know he was hurting her, but he just thought she was enjoying it.
Lars reached up and pulled her breasts free from her dress, kissing the diamond necklace on her neck. Madonna reached up and hooked one arm around the back of his neck, closing her eyes and delighting in the pain he was inflicting on her. She couldn't help it, it just felt so good, the rush of endorphins. Her nipples were so hard and he pulled them and she whimpered. Lars licked one of her ears and thrust so hard that Madonna's hands slipped along the table and she had to grab the edges and hold on to them until her knuckles were white. Lars ripped the dress clean off Madonna, hurting her in the process, so she wore just the necklace and her heels.
He gave one last thrust that was so hard it felt like she was going to be ripped in two. He pinned her wrists to the table so hard, they felt hot like they were being burned. Madonna cried out and clenched Lars inside her and she felt his grip loosen on her wrists and he eventually let go of her.
"I liked that dress." Madonna picked up the pieces of her dress and shoved it in the bin.
"I'll get you a new one." Lars said, pulling his trousers up and doing up his belt.
"Lars, you don't have too." Madonna replied, smiling.
"Damn. All you need is a smile, that necklace and those heels." Lars held Madonna's waist, looking down at her breasts as he pressed his forehead to hers. He scooped her up in his arms and carried her up to bed.
After they'd got ready for bed, Lars was the first to fall asleep. Madonna watched him sleeping and frowned slightly. She'd had a really good evening, sex included althought it was as painful and pleasureable. The necklace as beautiful as it was had been far too much. When it was heavy it made her feel like she belonged to him and it made her feel more than uneasy.




End of Part 6...




Part 7




After Lars had gone to work and the nannies took the children to school, Madonna sat in her room at her dressing table, carefully running her fingertips over the extravagent necklace she wore the previous night. It was on a bust jewellery stand, spread out in all its glory. The necklace was beautiful, but Madonna remembered how cold and heavy it felt to wear. She had felt even more like a trophy that belonged to Lars, and the attention it had attracted had made her cringe inside.
"Holy crap! That necklace mom!" Lourdes stood in the doorway.
"I didn't realise you were here." Madonna said, jumping, but quickly smiling.
"I was just in my way out." Lourdes said, turning to show her backback slung over one shoulder. She walked into the room and sat on the bed. "Mom? Are you ok? Is everything going well with...Lars?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" Madonna said a little sharply, frowning at Lourdes.
"The necklace is a little...much. Don't you think?" Lourdes said, motioning to it. "Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful, but I bet it made you feel uncomfortable wearing it. And it's all people are talking about online - more than the film premiere or even who else was on the red carpet."
"Really?" Madonna looked horrified. "Show me!"
"Mom, I don't think you want to see what people are saying, you know how some of them hate as a sport - " Lourdes started, but Madonna grabbed her phone from her hands and scrolled through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
"Wow." Madonna's eyes widened. "I wasn't trying to be the center of attention or take anything away from the film. I wore it because Lars was generous enough to have it made for me."
"I know. Do you know how much it's worth?" Lourdes asked, taking her phone back and shoving it in her bag and Madonna shook her head. "Three million dollars."
All the colour drained from Madonna's face and she ran a hand through her hair, sighing. "I could hardly not wear it."
"Why? What would happen if you didn't wear it?" Lourdes asked suspiciously.
"Nothing. It would have been rude, Lola, to not wear something so beautiful that Lars had made for me." Madonna said calmly. "Everything is perfectly fine with Lars and I."
"Astrid said she saw a mark on your cheek at dinner a few nights ago. She's worried about you mom." Lourdes replied and Madonna worked so hard to not move a single muscle in her face.
"I'm still exhausted from the tour, I keep having stupid little accidents." Madonna said calmly. "Do you think the same?"
"No, I just said what you said - that you are probably still tired from the tour."
"Maybe I should talk to Trid." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip.
"No, don't. She'll know I told you."
"Ok."
"I have to go, I'm meeting some friends. See you soon mom." Lourdes kissed her cheek.
"I love you baby." Madonna said, kissing Lourdes' cheek.
"Love you mom!" Lourdes' voice trailed after her, when she was halfway to the stairs.
Madonna sighed, hoping that Lourdes had put Astrid's mind at rest. She couldn't have any of the children finding out Lars was hurting her again, especially not after all the talking round she'd had to do.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Lars swam lengths in their pool late that evening and Madonna walked in and sat on the side, watching him. His body looked so graceful yet powerful and he seemed to glide through the water like he was part fish.
"Why don't you come in? The water is warm." Lars said, leaning his arms on the side when he spotted Madonna, but she shook her head.
"I'm not a strong swimmer like you."
"So? It's not a competition." Lars smiled.
"I prefer watching you." Madonna put a towel on the side and rolled her trousers up, dipping her feet in.
"Is everything ok? You seem a bit...down."
"Post-tour blues." Madonna said, a small smile forming. "It'll pass."
"If you swam some lengths it might make you feel better..." Lars said in a sing-song voice, as he done the back stroke, swimming away smiling at Madonna.
"It won't."
"A holiday?" Lars swam back towards her.
Madonna shook her head. "Nuh-uh." She pulled her hair back into a messy ponytail. "We both need to get back into work."
"Because touring is a break for you...?" Lars joked and Madonna tried not to laugh.
"You know what I mean."
"I'm not sure I do, but if you come here you can tell me..." Before Madonna could answer, Lars grabbed her wrists and pulled her fully-clothed into the pool. She struggled when she first went under water, until he pulled her up.
"What the hell are you doing?! I said I didn't want to come in!" Madonna spluttered. "Why don't you ever listen to me?" She yelled as Lars let go of her wrists and she splashed him, swimming off in the direction of the steps.
"Don't talk to me like that! I was just trying to put a smile on your face!" Lars said, going after Madonna, putting an arm around her waist as she turned to face him.
"By trying to drown me?"
"Stop being such a drama queen. I pulled you into a pool. I didn't hold you under." Lars said, holding her waist.
"It was a shock. You wouldn't like it if I pulled you in here fully clothed." Madonna said and Lars nodded.
"I guess not." Lars kissed Madonna and she found it hard not to smile. "I just wanted to see that smile..." He said and continued to kiss her neck.
"You can't get around me that easily..." Madonna said, but moaned softly.
"Did you really like the necklace?" Lars asked, looking at her like a hopeful child.
"Yes, of course I did. It's stunning. Why do you ask?"
"No reason." Lars lied and Madonna wondered whether he'd seen the scathing comments on social media.
Madonna held both his cheeks in her hands. "It's the best present anyone has ever given me." She said, secretly surprised at how convincing she sounded. Lars smiled, looking very handsome. "But you don't have to get anything for me for a while. It must have cost a lot." She said and his face fell. Before Lars could react, Madonna swam over to the steps and got out of the pool. Lars wasn't far behind her and he grabbed Madonna and slammed her into the wall, pinning her wrists out at the sides.
"What does it matter how much it cost? You ungrateful little bitch!"
"Lars - please - you're hurting me!" Madonna squirmed, starting to feel cold now she was out of the water.
"Good!"
"I am grateful! I was just saying that it must have been expensive, so you don't have to get anything for a while." Madonna replied and Lars let go of her wrists. She rubbed them, looking at him.
"Most wives would love to have a husband who gets them gifts."
"I do, it's just you don't have to buy me things to show me how much you love me." Madonna said.
"I like getting you presents though. I can't believe we are arguing over this."
"Lars, I didn't want an argument. I was just saying."
"I'm going to bed." Lars grabbed a towel and wiped his face.
"Lars!" Madonna went to follow him and he grabbed her jaw, looking directly into her eyes and squeezed it. When he let go, he stormed off and left her rubbing her jaw.




End of Part 7...




Part 8




Madonna arrived home after a good morning session at the studio, hurrying to the kitchen to pick up some lunch and head back to eat it at work. Lars was sitting slumped over his laptop at the breakfast bar.
"Baby? What's wrong?" Madonna touched his shoulder, frowning.
"I just feel a bit rough, that's all. It's nothing." Lars sat up. He looked pale with dark under his eyes, hair working loose from his ponytail and his clothes looked rumpled. It was so unlike Lars, who usually looked immaculate.
"You haven't been to work, have you?"
"I did, but then I left Pierre in charge and decided to work from here." Lars replied. "How come you're home?"
"I forgot lunch. Listen, let me take you to the doctor, Lars. You look really rough."
"Gee M, you know how to make a guy feel better!" Lars said sarcatically, but grinned after he coughed.
"I wasn't insulting you, I just worry about you."
"I'm not going to the doctor. I hate going to the doctors."
"They will probably give you some antibiotics." Madonna said.
"If I lie down for a bit, I will be fine." Lars got up and nearly passed out, but Madonna grabbed him, struggling to hold him up with both hands. He grabbed the counter as well and smiled sleepily at her. "Then again, it couldn't hurt to go to the doctor, could it?" He said and Madonna shook her head. She helped him through to the garage and Lars sat in the passenger seat.
"Are you sure you don't want to lie across the back?" Madonna asked and Lars shook his head.
"No. If I fall asleep, I might be out for hours."
"Ok." Madonna fished her car keys out of her bag and they left the garage.
They were quiet for the first few minutes or so, with Madonna looking at Lars every few minutes to make sure he didn't pass out.
"When did you start feeling like this?"
"To be honest, when I got up. Not quite as bad, I thought I would be ok at work. But I got worse."
"Do you want me to come in to the doctor with you?"
"That's sweet of you M, but I can go in on my own."
"I can have lunch at home and stay with you this afternoon."
"If you want to go back to work, I'm not going to hold it against you." Lars replied, looking at her.
That would be a first, Madonna thought, but smiled. "I would rather look after you."
"Thank you." Lars said, resting his head against the window and sighing.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Lars was told he had a virus and given antibiotics and Madonna took him home and he went straight to bed. She had lunch and called the studio to let them know she wouldn't be returning for a few days. When he woke up, Madonna was sat next to him.
"What is that smell?"
"Tomato fennel soup from that place you like near your gallery."
"You went out especially to get it?" Lars sat up and Madonna nodded. "I would kiss you, but I don't want you to get ill and look this crappy." He said motioning to himself and Madonna laughed.
"You don't look crappy."
"Just pale and tired, with dark under my eyes and messy hair."
"But you're rocking that look." Madonna joked and Lars laughed, taking the bowl of soup and starting to eat it.
"That's good." Lars said, looking grateful. "Look M, I'm sorry."
"For what?" Madonna frowned.
"Being such an ass when you told me I don't have to buy you gifts. I flew off the handle and there wasn't any reason too."
Madonna shrugged. "Water under the bridge." She said, a slight knot in her stomach.
"I like buying you things, but I could lay off it for a while." Lars said, blowing the soup on his spoon and eating it.
"I hate seeing you like this." Madonna said, smoothing his hair back and kissing his forehead.
"Antibiotics and my own Florence Nightingale and I shall be well soon." Lars half smiled.
"I'll have someone bring my guitar from the studio and sing you to sleep too." Madonna joked and Lars laughed, though it resulted in a bit of a coughing fit.
"Don't make me laugh. It hurts."
"I can't promise anything." Madonna replied and Lars smiled at her.
"I don't deserve you."
"Yeah you do."




End of Part 8...




Part 9




"I think you should go and watch Astrid perform tomorrow night." Lars said, looking at Madonna, who was sat on her knees next to the bath he was lying back in. "I think Elodie is due back today, so you could go with her."
"But I feel mean leaving you here on your own." Madonna said, looking worried. It might be the sort of excuse he would find at a later time to hurt her.
"I won't be alone. We have quite a few children, you know." Lars smiled weakly.
"Do you feel any better?" Madonna asked.
Lars rolled his eyes and groaned. "Not enough to come and see Astrid."
"I didn't mean it like that. I love you and I don't like seeing you ill." Madonna replied, reaching out and cupping one of his cheeks in her hand. Lars moved his face into her hand, clearly liking the affection.
"Oh. I'm sorry." He looked at her with those piercing blue eyes of his that she always found disarming.
"It's fine. I can film it on my phone for you it you like."
Lars shook his head. "No thank you. I think that annoys Trid as much as it annoys you when you perform. Watch with your eyes, enjoy it. Astrid is always performing, there will be plenty of other opportunities for me to come."
"Yes, you're right." Madonna kissed his forehead very tenderly.
They heard a door slam downstairs and a lot of girly screams, squeals and laughter. Madonna and Lars looked at each other.
"What was that?" Lars frowned.
"I think Elodie. You know how crazy Astrid is about her. I'll tell them to keep it down." Madonna stood up and Lars took her hand, looking up at her.
"Don't. They aren't bothering anyone."
"Don't you have a nap to get too after this bath?" Madonna said with her hands on her hips, when Lars let go of her hand.
He smiled. "You look so sexy when you're telling me off." Lars laughed. "Yeah, they might have calmed down by then. I'm fine here."
"I'll be right back." Madonna said, going downstairs to see what all the commotion was.
"Mom, look who is home!" Astrid said, motioning to Elodie and she couldn't smile enough.
"Hey M. Sorry about the noise. We're so excited to see each other." Elodie said, also smiling. She seemed to be more confident since working with Beyonce. When Madonna had first me Elodie she was pretty shy, but seemed to have come out of her shell.
"Hi Elodie, it's so nice to see you. How was touring with Beyonce?"
"Ah-mazing! I want to do more choreography for sure. But I can't wait to see Trid on a trapeze tomorrow evening, that video you sent me was dope." Elodie replied.
"Next time I tour, I want you girls to do my choreo. With all your skills combined, it would be incredible." Madonna said.
Astrid and Elodie looked at each other and squealed, jumping up and down holding each other.
"Trid, your dad isn't very well, as you know. I appreciate you girls are excited to see each other, but can you please keep the noise down?" Madonna asked firmly.
"Oh, I'm so sorry M." Elodie said, looking serious for a minute.
"It's ok, I'm taking this one out for dinner." Astrid said taking Elodie's hand.
"Ok, well you girls have fun." Madonna said and she smiled at their high energy as they left. She went back up to find Lars just getting into bed. "It was Elodie."
"I figured." Lars smiled.
"They're so good together." Madonna said and Lars nodded.
"Like us." Lars said, watching Madonna get ready for bed and she smiled, nodding at him.
No, better she thought.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A week later Lars was better. It was like the minute he was better, he started on Madonna. She'd told him about a special one off show she was doing in a show in Miami at Art Basel in a couple of months time to raise money for Raising Malawi.
"Another clown show? Really?"
"I enjoy doing them and you don't have to come!" Madonna said a little too sharply.
"Oh, so you don't want me there!"
"That's not what I said. Don't twist what I am saying, Lars - it's not fair." Madonna said loudly, her voice faltering.
"What is not fair is that your career comes above everything."
"It does not."
"Are you that blind or just in denial? Because it really does." Lars said in a tone that insinuated he thought she was stupid.
"Lars, it's for charity. You realise you are arguing with me over ONE show for CHARITY."
"Don't talk to me like I'm the idiot."
"Oh no, because I clearly am the stupid one out of the pair of us, for thinking you would support me!" Madonna said and Lars slapped her across the face.
"Talk to me like that again." Lars said in a low, menacing tone, his eyes chips of ice. "I dare you." He said, taking steps towards her, so she felt intimidated.
Madonna stood with a hand on her cheek, looking at him with fearful eyes. She let go of it and straightened herself up. "We would only be staying in Miami for a few days, if that. Hell, it could just be one night. We could fly back here as soon as I come off stage, if that's what you would prefer."
"I don't dislike Miami."
"Just the fact I'm doing a show there."
"M, you have not long completed a tour."
"That doesn't mean I'm going to put my feet up and do nothing."
"Has it ever occured to you that I get frustrated and angry, because I worry YOU are overdoing it?" Lars asked quietly and Madonna looked taken aback.
"Not really."
"Well I do."
"That's really sweet of you. But it's just one night. For charity."
"We could do with a break."
"Exactly."
"I could make sure you do take a break."
"Please come, baby. If you needed to go halfway across America to sell art, you know I would come with you if you wanted me too." Madonna said softly and Lars gritted his teeth, then smiled.
"I'll take you up on that."
"Do."




End of Part 9...




Part 10




"Madonna, it's been a while. I was starting to worry about you." Dr Gold said, the moment Madonna sat on the sofa opposite her.
"Sorry Alicia, I've been exhausted since the tour ended." Madonna lied, although from the slight flush in her cheeks, the doctor knew she was lying and arched an eyebrow.
Dr Gold had been Madonna's therapist for over twenty seven years now. She was a few years older than Madonna, with hair in varying shades of grey that she wore in a loose bun at the nape of of her neck and big, brown warm eyes. They were on first name terms and the atmosphere was always relaxed - Madonna could tell her anything. Dr Gold had helped Madonna as much as she could the first time she'd been married to Lars.
"I was starting to think Lars had talked you out of coming back to see me." Dr Gold said, pen poised over her notepad.
"No. Not at all."
"Does he know you're here?" Dr Gold asked and Madonna nodded.
"Yes. I don't think he was entirely happy, but I told him therapy has helped me a lot over the years."
"I will agree there." Dr Gold smiled a little, scribbling away in her notepad. "And how are things between you and Lars?"
"Good, I guess." Madonna twirled a strand of hair around her finger.
"You don't sound totally sure." Dr Gold said, looking up at Madonna and waiting patiently.
"I'm doing a show in Miami for charity - a one off show. Another clown themed one. Lars isn't too keen on me doing it." Madonna sighed.
"Because you haven't long since finished touring?" Dr Gold suggested and Madonna nodded.
"We were arguing and Lars said has it ever occured to me that he worries I am overdoing it."
Dr Gold looked thoughtful for a moment or two. "He might have a point."
"You're agreeing with the man who cancelled my therapy sessions?" Madonna frowned a little, but also smiled.
"Not entirely. But I do know what a workaholic you are, Madonna." Dr Gold replied, writing some more in her notepad. "Are you sure it will just be the one show?"
"Yes. It's for charity, that's why I got annoyed with him and we argued."
"Does it scare you when you argue?" Dr Gold looked directly at Madonna, who shifted a little, feeling uncomfortable.
"I - I don't know what you mean." She replied in a small voice.
"Madonna. I know every singled thing that Lars has ever done to you. I have all my old notes in your file. Do you want me to get them and - "
"No!" Madonna held both her hands up defensively. "No. Please." She lowered her hands and closed her eyes. "It does scare me when we argue."
Dr Gold wrote some notes. "Has he hit you?"
"Since the tour." Madonna said, swallowing a lump in her throat. "I guess you think I'm stupid now. To believe he could change."
"No I don't at all. Do you think he really did change, or it was all an act?" Dr Gold asked calmly.
"He really did change. Even Lars couldn't act that well. It just makes me kind of sad that he's back to his old ways." Madonna sighed. "During the tour, it was easy to come up with lies for the scrapes and bruises."
"It must be hard now." Dr Gold said softly and Madonna nodded.
"Lola told me that Astrid is suspicious of Lars again."
"Do you know what you are going to do yet?" Dr Gold asked and Madonna shrugged.
"I have no idea. I love him. I can handle Lars."
"What if one of your children saw him hurt you?" Dr Gold asked.
"Lars is cleverer than that. He doesn it when no one is around, not even a member of our staff." Madonna rubbed the back of her neck. "What would you do?"
"If I were in your situation?" Dr Gold asked.
"Yes."
"Honestly, Madonna, I have no idea."
"Bullshit." Madonna said and Dr Gold tried not to laugh.
"It wouldn't be professional of me to influence your decisions with regards to your marriage. I'm sorry." Dr Gold said and Madonna nodded, looking away and biting her thumbnail.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Are you going to be rehearsing the entire time we are here?" Lars moaned at Madonna, when they met up for lunch.
They had decided to spend a bit more time in Miami, because she wanted to rehearse and he was getting restless already.
"The show has to be just right. We can stay for a while after and enjoy Miami."
"I have to get back to New York City. I need to work too."
"But you can work anywhere."
"M, why couldn't you have done the show back home instead?"
"I'm not doing it to be difficult, Lars." Madonna frowned. "I thought we agreed this would be a nice little break?" She half asked.
"Then we'll get home and you will want a honeymoon...I know you M, and  you can't stay still!"
"We don't have to take a honeymoon yet. Hell, this can count as one if it suits you, Lars. I'm sick of arguing about the same thing over and over."
"So am I."
"If you want to go home, just go."
"And have you moan I don't support you when you return? No thanks."
"I wouldn't moan. You came with me on tour and I thought you were very supportive." Madonna replied. When you weren't adding to my bruise collection, she thought.
They both fell silent when a waiter set their order in front of them, until he had left them.
"No more shows for a while after this?" Lars placed a hand over Madonna's on the table, holding it hard.
"No more shows." Madonna said and he let go of her hand. "I know you don't like the whole clown theme, so if you don't want to come..."
"I will come. I want to donate too."
"You don't have to - "
"I want to." Lars replied and when Madonna smiled, he did too. This time he held her hand without trying to crush it.




End of Part 10...
materialgirl86
Part 17




"M? Are you ok in there? Do you want me to get you anything?" Carlos knocked on the bathroom door.
Madonna had locked herself in there and was doing a pregnancy test, waiting to see if she was pregnant. She paced up and down in front of the marble counter and stopped to look in the mirror. She lifted up her vest top and smoothed a hand in a circular motion on her stomach. Madonna frowned, thinking she definitely looked softer.
"Go back to bed Carlos, I'm fine!" Madonna called out, her voice faltering a little.
On the other side of the door, Carlos rolled his eyes, sighing and got back into bed. Madonna looked at the door listening to him move, then looked back at the test. She was pregnant. Madonna didn't know whether to laugh or cry, feel happy or down. She was dealing with a lot of things emotionally at the moment, was due in court in a couple of weeks and wasn't sure she could cope with pregnancy hormones on top of all of that.
Quickly Madonna snapped out of the daze she was in and wiped tears from her eyes. She grabbed a wad of tissued and placed the test between them, then put them in the bin, putting existing rubbish on top. Madonna ran the cold water and splashed some on her face. After composing herself, she unlocked the door and walked back into the room, acting as casual as possible, even though her heart felt like it was hammering inside. Madonna climbed into bed and Carlos looked at her.
"What?"
"Is everything ok M? You're acting a bit..."
"Yeah. I couldn't sleep. I was just seeing if there was anything I could take." Madonna replied.
"Ok." Carlos wrapped his arms around Madonna, pulling her in closer to him. He knew she was lying, because not long ago she'd wanted to throw the contents of the medicine cabinet in the bin, so there was no way all of a sudden that she wanted to take anything.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The following morning the nanny took Lourdes to school, because Carlos had an early training session at the gym and Madonna was also going to work. Carlos had just finished breakfast and went up to the bedroom, when he stood in the doorway and watched Madonna struggle with a pair of trousers, groaning when they wouldn't do up.
"Goddamnit!" Madonna looked annoyed, pulling them down and throwing them on the floor. She opened her closet and sifted through her clothes.
"Everything ok M?" Carlos walked into the room and Madonna turned around, frowning slightly.
"You made me jump."
"Sorry."
Carlos picked Madonna's trousers up off the floor and handed them to her. Madonna took them, looking at him.
"I think they must have shrank in the wash."
"M I think you have a big enough wardrobe that one pair of trousers being too small isn't a problem." Carlos said softly, smiling and Madonna laughed.
"I guess you're right. I think I'll wear a dress instead." Madonna was careful to turn her back to Carlos and take her top off, then quickly pull on a black dress with white polka dots.
"You look great." Carlos said and Madonna managed a small smile. He was a little disappointed she didn't tell him she was pregnant and left for work.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Madonna had even lied about going to work, she had an appointment with her doctor, to confirm she was pregnant. When she got hom she changed into an old pair of joggers and a vest, along with a chunky cardigan and thick pair of socks, because she was cold. Madonna had literally just pulled her long hair back into a messy ponytail, when she had to rush to the toilet to be sick. She spent a portion of the morning there, then went down to the lounge with her laptop and a glass of water and decided to catch up on her emails, which always mounted up no matter how often she kept on top of them.
"Hey." Carlos walked into the room with a brown paper bag.
"I thought you were at work." Madonna said.
"And I thought you were at work." Carlos sat next to her on the sofa.
"I went to the doctors."
"So are you pregnant?"
"Did you find the test?"
"No. I figured it out."
"When?"
"This morning when you were having an argument with a pair of trousers."
"You did see that." Madonna blushed a little.
"When were you going to tell me?"
"Today when you got home from work."
"Aren't you happy M?" Carlos looked worried.
"I don't know what I feel. You know I love being a mother and Lola is the best thing that ever happened to us. I'm just beginning to deal with what happened to me. And I still have court. Extra hormones and me being more emotional is something I don't need right now. The timing sucks." Madonna sighed.
Carlos sat back on the sofa, draping an arm around Madonna's shoulders. "You aren't going through any of this alone, M. And you are the bravest, strongest woman I know. If anyone can get through this, it's you." He said, his face inches from hers.
"I'm tired of being brave and strong. It's exhausting." Madonna replied.
"M, you're just having a bad day."
"And I look like crap."
"No you don't. Just a little pale and tired." Carlos replied and Madonna was trying her hardest not to smile.
"What's in the bag?" She said, nodding towards the brown paper bag.
"Spicy ginger stem cookies - the kind you liked when you had morning sickness with Lola. I also got some coconut water, ginger tea and a big bottle of Mountain Dew, because I remembered you - "
Madonna silenced Carlos with a very long kiss. "You are so good to me. I can't believe you remembered all that. Most guys wouldn't." She said, pressing her forehead to his, looking into his eyes.
"I love you M. I just want you to feel good again." Carlos reached through her cardigan and placed a hand on the small swell of her stomach.



End of Part 17...




Part 18




Madonna and Carlos agreed not to tell Lourdes she was pregnant until after court, because she might get excited and tell friends and teachers, which would result in it leaking out to the media one way or another. When she went out, Madonna was careful in what she wore, and when she didn't wear black she wore patterns that hid her soft stomach well. Luckily she wasn't that big, but she didn't go out too much and told no one else, not even her friends that she was pregnant yet. The only other person that Madonna told was Sachie, who smiled and said she'd guessed as much.
On the day she was due in court Madonna wore a smart black dress with a grey blazer that had black pinstripes and black heels. Her long wavy hair was down, but done in a softer style, not left to go wild like she usually wore it. Madonna wore a gold cross on a thin chain, small gold hoops and a few delicate gold bracelets on the same wrist as her Kabbalah bracelet. Her makeup was minimal and Madonna stared at her reflection in the mirror for a while, giving herself a pep talk in her head. She cupped her stomach in both hands, looking down at it.
"Be careful not to do that in court. It gives it away." Carlos said, standing behind Madonna, a hand on her shoulder.
"I can't help it." Madonna half smiled. "I'm so nervous." She closed her eyes.
"Remember what Sachie said, M. If you can tell us and the police, who were recording you - you'll be fine. And everyone in that court room will be on your side. You're the victim in all this, ok?" Carlos said. Madonna opened her eyes, looking up at him and nodded. "And when all of this is over, I'll be right by your side to help you deal with it. And we can tell Lola you're pregnant - think of how happy she will be. That's something to look forward too."
"You're right. I think she will make a great big sister." Madonna replied and Carlos smiled.
"She's certainly bossy enough." He joked and Madonna laughed.
"Are you ready?"
"Yes."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Sachie arrived wearing a sharp navy suit and looking like she was getting ready for war.
"I'm sorry I couldn't get the paparazzi to stay away from the courthouse." Sachie said, sighing as they arrived.
"But, there isn't a photographer in sight..." Carlos said, looking confused.
"It might have leaked that we would be arriving at the back entrance." Sachie smiled slyly.
"You're a genius, Sachie. Do you want to come and work for me in PR or be an assistant?" Madonna smiled.
"Tempting as that is, I love what I do. I spent many long hours and years studying hard to be a lawyer. But it's nice to know I have options if I ever do fancy a career change." Sachie replied.
"The door is always open."
"Let's get in there fast, before they realise they've been duped." Carlos said.
The three of them hurried up the steps, flanked by two bodyguards and were inside, before any of the paparazzi thought to go round to the front and see if they'd spot Madonna.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
It was a very long day in court, and felt like the longest day of Madonna's life. When she took to the stand and made her statement, she remembered not to cup her stomach in her hands and find a spot to fixate on while she spoke. Not once did Madonna hesitate when she gave her statement, but her hands shook and tears ran down her face. She did make the mistake of looking at dark hair and blonde hair, whose names were Damien and Paul respectively and felt a cold shiver go down her spine. Judge Cartwright, the female presiding over the case was a very stern-faced woman, but this expression softened when she looked at Madonna, ans a few times she even told Madonna she could have a minute or two to compose herself if she needed it. Some of the women in the jury were dabbing at their eyes, finding it horrific what Madonna was saying, and the men on the jury were looking at Damien and Paul with total and utter disgust. There were witness statements from the bar where the party was held, and the hotel. Also CSI Oates and Dr Thompson were also called to the stand to give statements and answer questions.
The jury were gone for a while and Madonna felt very uneasy sitting next to Sachie. Carlos felt on edge for her to and wished he could go and sit with her and put his arm around her. When they returned, the jury said they found Damien and Paul guilty on all counts. Which was kidnap, rape, poisoning, theft, blackmail (the videos that they'd sent to Madonna. Those had been watched by the jury in a private room, as the Judge deemed them to delicate a piece of evidence to show the entire courtroom). Neither of the men would ever be coming out of prison. Madonna watched them both being taken down and felt such an overwhelming sense of relief, she cried even though she was smiling. Sachie looked very pleased as well, as she stood up. Madonna got up and hugged her lawyer, much to her surprise. Carlos went down to Madonna, smiling and he held her, kissing her cheek.
"It's over." He whispered in her ear. They both knew it wasn't completely, and that she still had issues - particularly trust ones to work on, but for the moment it felt good to celebrate something positive.
"I was so scared up there, I felt like I was going to pee my pants." Madonna whispered.
"M, you were amazing up there. I thought you might have needed a break once or twice, when the judge suggested it, but you powered through." Carlos kissed Madonna's temple, holding her. "Thank you thank you, thank you!" He said, looking at Sachie.
"A pleasure as always. Spoil your wife, she deserves it." Sachie said, smiling from Carlos to Madonna as she gathered her papers up and put them in her briefcase. "Wait for me in the foyer, I can get us out of here without being photographed again." She said and they both nodded.
"I hope she isn't going to be too long."
"Do you feel sick?"
"A little."
Carlos produced a bottle of coconut water and a packet of ginger stem cookies from his bag and Madonna smiled.
"You're a lifesaver. Let's find somewhere to sit." She said and they ended up sitting outside the courtroom. After eating a couple of cookies and drinking some of the water, Madonna didn't feel as bad.
"Which entrance are we leaving by?" Carlos saked Sachie, as she joined them again.
"I'm ahead of you Carlos. The paparazzi are all camped out the front. So the back."
"This is almost too easy. How can they be so stupid?" Madonna asked.
"Let's go quickly, just in case." Carlos said and their two bodyguards met them and they did leave via the back entrance and drove home.
"I can't believe I've managed to go in court and come out without being photographed once." Madonna said.
Sachie smirked. "That's the first time I've ever called the bluff on them. I will have to remember for next time."
"Do you need to come back with us?"
"No. I will be in touch soon. Would it be possible for you to drop me off please?"
"Or course."




End of Part 18...




Part 19




"Shall we tell Lola this evening? I was thinking of getting something nice for dinner and we could celebrate?" Carlos suggested.
"Mmm-hmm." Madonna said, staring into space.
"Are you ok? Don't take this the wrong way, but you look terrible." Carlos looked concerned and stopped putting things in his backpack for work and looked at Madonna.
She frowned, looking up at him. "How many ways are there to take 'you look terrible'? I had a weird dream about the guys who attacked me, then woke up and puked for like a half hour, so I'm sorry I look like this..." Madonna said, motioning to herself. Her messy hair was half up in a ponytail, she looked pale with dark under her eyes and she looked dishevelled in general.
"M, you know I didn't mean it like that." Carlos sighed.
"I don't magically feel great because I've been to court, Carlos. I did tell you that." Madonna said, getting up from the table and slamming her dirty dish in the washing up bowl.
"Hey, hey. M." Carlos stood behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. "Talk to me."
Madonna turned around and faced Carlos, nearly in tears. "I'm not going to have any time to get over this, and now my body is changing and I can't cope with it. I'm not even going to get to feel good again, because I'm going to be fat!" Madonna wailed.
"M, you weren't that big with Lola. You still worked out and ate relatively healthy."
"God, Carlos, can you just fight with me when I'm trying to pick a fight?" Madonna rolled her eyes, sighing dramatically and Carlos laughed.
"I'm not biting."
"You're no fun." Madonna smirked.
"I can take some time off work and we can take Lola and go away for a while."
"As appealing as that sounds, I don't want too right now. I'm exhausted a lot lately, from all the sleep I've missed out on while the case was open. And I liked being only a drive away from Dr Goldstein at the moment. I know that makes me sound like a pussy, but I need her right now."
"It doesn't make you sound like a pussy at all. I understand, M. Why don't you go and catch up on some of that sleep now?" Carlos suggested, kissing her temple and Madonna nodded. "Are we still ok to tell Lola later?"
Madonna smiled. "Yes. I'm looking forward to telling her. And I will make more of an effort." She motioned to herself.
"If you feel really sick or need anything, call me M." Carlos said.
"Ok. Have a nice day." Madonna kissed Carlos and watched him go, then went back to bed.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna looked better that evening, and more awake. She wore an apple green slip-style top, deep purple loose trousers and a thin beige cardigan. Her hair was in one long plait resting over one shoulder and she'd even put a little makeup on.
"Daddy said I can have cake and ice cream after dinner!" Lourdes said, while they were eating and Madonna laughed as Carlos smiled.
"I got that chocolate cake you like from Serendipity 3 and we can have it with ice cream or cream, after this." Carlos said.
"You remembered! Man, I'm going to have to work out so hard!" Madonna joked.
"Daddy said you both have something to tell me." Lourdes said and Madonna nodded. She placed her hand over Carlos' on the table.
"I'm pregnant, Lola. You are going to have a little brother or sister." They both looked at Lourdes expectantly.
Lourdes smiled and clapped her hands together. "Yay! Can I help name the baby?"
"Of course you can sweetheart." Madonna felt so happy her little girl was excited, like her heart might explode.
"If it's a baby girl you can't call her Blossom."
"Why not Lola?" Carlos asked.
"Because when I get a pony for my birthday I'm calling her Blossom."
"What if you get a boy pony?" Carlos asked and Madonna kicked him under the table, raising her eyebrows at him, as if to say 'don't encourage her.'
"I can call him Jasper." Lourdes said, looking serious while Madonna and Carlos tried not to laugh.
"Stop teasing her." Madonna whispered.
"Mommy, when am I getting a brother or sister? Can I have both?" Lourdes asked excitedly and Carlos laughed.
"In five months. And it will be a brother or a sister, Lola, not both." Madonna said, looking amused.
"Can we choose?"
"No, sorry sweetie."
Lourdes frowned. "Why does it take so long for a baby to come? It's only little."
"It takes a while to form inside me. I'll tell you in more detail when you're older." Madonna said and Lourdes nodded.
"Can I share a room with the baby?"
"For the first few months, or even maybe a year the baby will sleep with daddy and I, because he or she will be crying a lot. After we can put another bed in your room if you like."
"Yeah!" Lourdes smiled.
Carlos cleared away the plates and brought out plates with chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. Within minutes Lourdes had chocolate and ice cream all around her mouth and both Carlos and Madonna laughed.
"You're supposed to eat it, Lola, not wear it."
Madonna waited until after they'd finished eating and wiped Lourdes' mouth with a cloth, then the little girl ran off to play.
"Mmm...you look so good." Carlos said, his hands on Madonna's waist in the kitchen.
"I'm not going to soon, if you keep feeding me so well..." Madonna joked.
"I can help you work out." Carlos said, kissing her neck and she smiled.
"Lola is just through there." Madonna said.
"We could put her to bed early and continue celebrating..." Carlos suggested, kissing her neck again.
Madonna held his cheeks, smiling. "Ok, but not this early. Let her food go down."




End of Part 19...




Part 20




"Congratulations - on the baby and the verdict in court!" Dr Goldstein smiled when Madonna first sat in front of her.
Madonna smiled weakly. "Thank you."
"You look exhausted. I imagine you are feeling pretty overwhelmed right now." Dr Goldstein said and Madonna nodded and started to cry. Dr Goldstein handed her a box of tissues, then sat next to Madonna on the sofa, something she'd never done before.
"I should be happy, right? Those...animals went down and I'm going to have another child. I love being a mom." Madonna said, a hand on her stomach.
"I'm sensing a huge 'but' coming on." Dr Goldstein said.
"I am having a hard time letting go." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip.
"In what way?"
"Lately I've been having weird dreams. Last night I woke up in a cold sweat after dreaming I was stuck in a room with both of them. They were abusing me and I was trying to claw my way out - there were no doors or windows, just walls. Claustrophobic does not even begin to cover it." Madonna took a deep breath.
"Are the other dreams similar?" Dr Goldstein asked, scrbbling away in her notepad, then looking up at Madonna.
"Yeah. I'm nearly always trapped somewhere I can't escape from with them. I do have an idea - something that might stop the dreams."
"Tell me."
"I was thinking of going back to the hotel room where it happened." Madonna said tentatively and Dr Goldstein looked surprised.
"Is that the best idea, considering you're pregnant? It could be stressful."
"Having the dreams is stressful."
"Maybe if Carlos went with you it wouldn't be as stressful."
"I was thinking of going alone." Madonna said, looking directly at Dr Goldstein. "They're my issues and even though Carlos has been amazing, truly, I feel like this is something I need to deal with alone."
"Madonna, you know usually I wouldn't try to talk you out of an idea I think would help, but I think you need some support. If not Carlos, maybe a friend of two? They don't even have to be in the room with you, they could wait outside while you go in." Dr Goldstein suggested.
Madonna shrugged. "I guess."
"You can't afford to be having to much stress right now, Madonna." Dr Goldsteing said firmly.
"I'll think about who I take." Madonna said, fiddling with a strand of her hair.
"Maybe if you have a distraction like work, it might help?"
"Make the dreams go away?"
"Yes. I'm not saying overdo it, and you won't be able to work for too long, because you are pregnant."
"Carlos won't be happy if I do either." Madonna sighed.
"Sometimes Madonna, you need to be a little selfish and do what is right for you. Especially in circumstances like this." Dr Goldstein said and Madonna nodded.
"I guess."
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't want you to go to that hotel room or work. Why can't you just take it easy for a while?" Carlos said, frowning.
He had met Madonna at a restaurant for lunch after her therapy session.
"Can you please lower your voice? If this is going to be an argument, I'd rather wait until we aren't in public." Madonna said, blushing a little.
"Sorry. I just don't think you need any stress whatsoever in your life right now M." Carlos said, lowering his voice.
"I agree. But I am having all these horrible dreams, most nights about being trapped with those guys. I need something to take my mind off it."
"Then let's go away."
Madonna shook her head. "I would still have too much time to think."
"Can I come with you to the hotel, if you must go?"
"I haven't thought about whether I would have you come with me, or Rosie and Debi..." Madonna sighed, dabbing at the corners of her mouth with her napkin, drinking some of her virgin cocktail.
"I am not jsut worried about the stress. It might cause you a major panic attack, M. Or something worse."
Madonna leaned forward and spoke quietly. "If I weren't pregnant you would be fine with me going."
"No. I would still want to come with you, M. I am not just worried about the baby, I am worried about you too." Carlos replied.
"It sounds like it's stressing you out." Madonna sat back, a slight frown on her face.
"I love you, M. I want this to be over for you."
"Then don't fight me. Support me."
"Do you not think I've supported you through this entire ordeal?"
"I never said that."
"I don't think you should go back to work just yet, M. Wait until after the baby. Hopefully by then you will have let it all go."
"I agree." Madonna said and Carlos looked surprised. "But if I choose to go to the hotel with friends instead, I don't want you to be offended. It would not in any way be personal. Whoever goes with me would be waiting outside anyway."
Carlos opened his mouth as if to say something, then rubbed a hand down his face in frustration and looked around the restaurant, then at Madonna. "You drive a hard bargain."
"I will make a decision soon. It's driving me insane having those dreams." Madonna continued eating.
"You never talk about them with me."
"I know." Madonna put her knife and fork down. "I'm just hoping they will go away, I guess. I'm almost sick of talking to people about everything in all honesty."
"I don't blame you."
"Do you have any sessions later this afternoon?"
"No. Why?"
"I fancy going for a bike ride. Blowing the cobwebs away."
"Sounds good." Carlos replied, smoothing a hand over Madonna's on the table and a small smile appeared on her lips.




End of Part 20...




Part 21




A few months later, Madnna was still having the dreams. She was being hounded by the paparazzi even more, and at six months she hadn't been able to hide the fact she was pregnant for over a month. Even though true to what CSI Oates said, the tapes of Madonna were destroyed after the case went to court, the entire story leaked out to the media. It wasn't a very relaxing time for her, even though Carlos was her rock.
"The dreams haven't gone away. I need to go back to that hotel room. And I need you to come with me." Madonna said very calmly one morning, avoiding looking at Carlos.
He frowned. "M, we should have done this months ago."
"I wasn't ready months ago." Madonna glared at Carlos.
"It's going to be stressful. You're heavily pregnant M."
Slowly Madonna stood up, holding her stomach in both hands. "I wasn't asking, Carlos. I was just being polite, telling you. And hoping you would be as understanding as you were a few months ago. But if not, I can call my girls and make a day of it - hell we can even get lunch and joke about it after." The last sentence was dripping in sarcasm and Carlos clenched his jaw, nearly knocking over his chair as he stood up.
"Don't joke about it M. It's not funny."
Madonna took a few steps towards Carlos. "Not sleeping isn't funny." She said, holding his glare.
"You're not going to let me talk you out of this, M, are you?" Carlos said and Madonna shook her head.
"All this time spent arguing is pointless. The sooner we go, the sooner we can get on with our lives." Madonna said, looking desperate. "This baby is going for gold in gymnastics inside me, it's moving so much, I am constantly tired." She said and Carlos laughed. "It's not funny!" Madonna said, trying not to smile.
"We're not going to be able to give the paps the slip, you realise that?" Carlos half asked and Madonna nodded.
"This is one of those rare occasions where I really, genuinely do not give a fuck. This is about me being able to move on." Madonna said.
"Us being able to move on." Carlos said, holding her close, despite her size and Madonna smiled. "What if you really freak out?"
Madonna bit her lower lip. "Hypnotise the memories away? I don't know."
"Someone might have the room." Carlos said, ignoring her joke.
"Then I will talk to the manager of the hotel. I'll get him on the phone with my shrink. Whatever it takes."
"I'll clear my day." Carlos said, grabbing his phone. He looked up at her. "Are you sure?"
"I am sure something heavy is going to be sailing towards your head soon, if you ask that again." Madonna said with an expressionless face and Carlos held up his free hand, then phoned his assistant to get his training sessions covered by other people.
"Now?" He asked when he hung up and she nodded, looking nervous.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna spoke with the manager of the hotel, while Carlos and a couple of bodyguards waited for her in the reception area. She reappeared with the card for the room, which she held up, but didn't smile, then told the bodyguards to stay where they were and took the lift up to the eighth floor. Madonna took Carlos' hand and squeezed it so tight it went numb. She looked straight ahead and he kissed her cheek.
"You can do this." He whispered fiercely in her ear and she nodded.
They walked to the room and Madonna swiped the card, opening the door.
"I'll wait out here." Carlos said, taking a step back.
"No!" Madonna said, looking terrified. "I - I don't want to go in there alone! Not really. I'm scared." She swallowed a lump in her throat.
"Ok M." Carlos followed her into the room, closing the door behind them.
She walked into the room and the first thing Madonna looked at was the pristine clean coffee table, that had been covered with alcohol and drugs the night she'd been there. Carlos stayed by the door and watched Madonna walk further into the room. She sat down on the sofa, running both hands through her hair and closing her eyes.
"Can you come over here and sit with me please?" Madonna asked quietly, opening her eyes and looking up at Carlos.
He went over and sat next to her.
"I hope you aren't still blaming yourself." Carlos said quietly, a hand on her knee.
"No. Not any more." Madonna replied, looking at him with watery eyes.
"Good."
"Being here...it feels like it happened to someone else almost." Madonna said, frowning. "I wish I could take a baseball bat to this room, then burn the entire thing down."
"Visualise doing it." Carlos said.
"You sound like Goldstein." Madonna smiled a little. She wiped tears just as they slipped down her face. Madonna got up and walked through to the bathroom, Carlos waiting in the doorway. "They replaced the medicine cabinet." She said quietly, running her fingers down the glass on the door, remembering the painof having the side of her face smashed into it. Madonna pushed her long hair back and traced a finger along the side of her face, along the very faint scar that was there.
"I can hardly see it anymore." Carlos said and Madonna looked at his reflection in the mirror.
"Thank god." She breathed a sigh of relief.
"Are you sure you don't want me to wait outside the room, M?" Carlos asked, but she shook her head.
"No. I really need you here."
"Ok."
Madonna left the bathroom and headed to the bedroom. She stared at the bed for a while, then went over and lay down on it. Carlos sat on a chair and Madonna stared up at the ceiling. Her fingers gripped the covers either side until her knuckles were white and she gasped, sitting up with a start.
"M?"
"I need to go - you need to go, we need to go!" Madonna didn't pause for breath.
"M, the only thing you need to do right now is calm down and breathe." Carlos said softly, sitting on the bed with her.
"I can't!" Madonna wailed and she began to cry, clutching her side.
"Are you in pain?"
"I feel winded..." Madonna gasped for breath.
"It's ok M. It's ok. We can just sit here for a while. You have been so brave, coming here today. I'm really proud of you." Carlos said, rubbing her lower back. "I know I didn't want you to come, but I was wrong. This is good for you."
"I can't take anymore though. We need to go." Madonna said, desperate to get out of the room. Carlos helped her to her feet and they left the hotel room for what would be the last time.
Carlos took deep breaths and Madonna copied him, until her breathing was back to normal and they went to the lift. A maid who just left a room she'd been cleaning quickly grabbed her phone and held it up, taking a picture of Madonna in tears and Carlos looked up at just the right time to catch her.
"If you don't delete that picture right here and now, I will call her lawyer. And trust me, you don't want her on your case." Carlos said not in a threatening way, but firmly.
The maid blushed and went over to Carlos and showed him as she deleted it. Madonna didn't even look at her or say anything until she was in the lift with Carlos.
"Thank you." Madonna said, and Carlos knew she meant not just for the fact he made the maid delete the picture, but for being there with her, at the hotel.




End of Part 21...




Part 22




"Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!" Madonna looked down at her hand, which was shaky and had blood on it. She was loosing the baby, she knew it. Her body felt like it was covered in a sheen of sweat, but she was burning up. Madonna was about to shake Carlos, when she saw an empty space next to her and frowned, where was he?
Slowly she got out of bed and poked her head in the bathroom, then started searching the guest rooms, then Lourdes' room. Lourdes wasn't in her bed and it freaked Madonna out. Where would Carlos have taken her at this time of night? Madonna was just on her way back upstairs, when her head tilted and she saw that there was a trail of blood. She followed the trail backupstairs and sat with her back against the wall, looking along the hallway at the trail of blood she had left behind. Madonna screamed.
Carlos shook Madonna. "M, M! Wake up! M! You're dreaming! Wake up!"
"I'm loosing the baby!" Madonna wailed straight away, as she opened her eyes and they were wide with fear.
"You're not loosing the baby, M, it was a dream!" Carlos grabbed her arms and shook her as Madonna looked down at her hands, which had blood on them minutes ago. "Why are you looking at your hands M?"
"There was blood on them just now..." Madonna looked confused.
"No, my darling, there really wasn't. I promise you just now you were asleep, moaning and thrashing about." Carlos replied quietly.
Madonna shook her head. "I was bleeding - there was a trail of blood. You weren't next to me and Lola wasn't in her room. I was all alone."
"Madonna, you're not bleeding." Carlos said, concerned ashe looked at her.
"I am!" Madonna started to put a shaky hand down her pyjama bottoms, when Carlos took it away and started to put his hand down there. "Don't! You will end up with my blood on your hand!" She said, but he carefully put his fingers between her legs, then pulled his hand away, holding it up for her to see.
"There, no blood. You were dreaming."
"It was so real!" Madonna sat up, gasping a little, a shaky hand wrenched through her hair.
"There is no way Lola and I would not be here in the middle of the night."
"The first night I don't dream I am trapped with my abusers, I dream I'm loosing the baby." Madonna gazed up at the ceiling.
"M, you've been under a lot of stress lately." Carlos said, resting both hands on her shoulders.
"I want to scream - and not because I've had a bad dream, but because it's never ending, all this shit."
"There's not much I can say to make it go away, M, but just try to think about the end game. When you have this baby and you're holding him or her in your arms, it will all melt away. None of it will matter, but the baby and Lola."
"And you." Madonna said quietly, her voice loaded with passion as she held his cheeks and kissed him. "Thank you so much for your patience and love." She whispered, pressing her forehead to his.
"I'd do anything for you, M. You know that, right?" He said and she nodded, holding on to the back of his neck, her forehead still pressed to hers.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It was the weekend and the following afternoon Madonna was asleep on the sofa with Lourdes. Carlos had to work in the morning and when he returned home, he found Lourdes asleep on Madonna's bump, her little arms and legs dangling over the edge of her. Madonna's arms were around Lourdes and it was such a touching, peaceful scene that Carlos was quiet so as not to wake them.
"Hey." Madonna whispered, looking up as she opened her eyes.
"Is Lola ok to be sleeping on you like that? Isn't it uncomfortable?" Carlos asked, pointing to Madonna's stomach and she shook her head.
"No. I find it comforting."
"Did you manage to sleep better?"
"Yeah, thanks." Madonna slowly sat up, carefully transferring Lourdes from her stomach to the sofa and pulling blankets up over her.
"Are you hungry?"
"Not really. Carlos, I'm sorry you haven't been getting any sleep because of me and my stupid dreams lately. I would totally understand if you wanted to sleep in a guest room, or wanted me to sleep in one." Madonna said, looking a little embarrassed.
"Don't be silly M. I'm not throwing you out of your own bed, and there is no way I'm leaving you on your own in bed either. You aren't disrupting my sleep that much. And it's not like you're doing it on purpose." Carlos replied sensibly.
"Ok, if you're sure."
"I am. What else is on your mind?"
"It's driving me crazy not knowing the sex of the baby." Madonna said.
"You wanted it to be a surprise." Carlos smiled.
"I know, but it's driving me nuts now." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip.
"I need to know as well to be honest. We'll find out first thing on Monday, ok?" Carlos said and Madonna nodded. Little did she know he hadn't just been working that morning, but also organising a surprise baby shower for her.




End of Part 22...




Part 23


Carlos had taken Madonna to work with him that morning, after they'd dropped Lourdes off to school. He said he wanted to try out a new gentle yoga session plan with her, because he wanted to start having yoga classes for pregnant women at his gym. Carlos had been talking to Madonna's friends - Debi, Rosie, Ingrid and a few others about organising a baby shower for a while. He had been talking to them via email and phone when Madonna wasn't around and described how he would like the lounge and kitchen decorated.
"You're not going to work me too hard are you? I'm feeling really heavy and uncomfortable today..." Madonna groaned.
"No. I know what levels of fitness you are M, even when you are heavily pregnant." Carlos said.
"I'm glad one of us is certain about that."
"Did you have a bad dream again last night?"
"No, I'm just being a grumpy bitch, Carlos." Madonna said, smiling a little.
"That wasn't what I was implying."
"I know. You're too nice to imply that." Madonna looked out the window at the city going past, on the way to the gym.
Carlos placed a hand over Madonna's and when she looked at him, he kissed her. "We get to find out the sex of the baby after yoga."
"I know."
"What are you hoping for?" Carlos asked, because he couldn't remember Madonna saying she wanted a boy or a girl.
"A boy. I know it's what you really want, and it would be nice for Lola to have a little brother." Madonna replied, her face softening.
"Think of that when we are meditating and don't be a grumpy bitch." Carlos said softly and Madonna laughed. "What's funny?" He smiled.
"I can't remember the last time I heard you swear. It just sounds funny, coming from you." Madonna said, resting her head on his shoulder and Carlos looked down at her.
"I'm glad I could make you laugh." He said, kissing the top of her head.
They arrived at the gym and Carlos took Madonna up to a room that looked like their calm room at home, only it was a lot bigger. He took her to the centre of the room and they sat on mats and Carlos began. It was a ninety minute session that comprised of gentle stretches and meditation.
"I think this class is going to be popular." Madonna said, as Carlos helped her to her feet.
"Yeah?"
"I feel so mellow right now."
"Good." Carlos smiled.
"I still need to shower and change though, because I did sweat a bit and I want to be clean when we go find out what sex the baby is."
"Sure. I have a private shower next to my office. I put some clothes in your bag."
"Wow, you're organised today." Madonna smiled. "Are you coming with?"
"I will go in after you. Otherwise we'll never get to the doctors."
"You're right." Madonna said, smiling to herself and disappearing.
She showered and put on a dress Carlos had packed, wondering why he hadn't put something more casual in the bag for her to wear.
"M, you look great!" Carlos said, kissing her and smiling.
"It's a little much just for the doctors..." She chewed her lower lip, looking down at the plum coloured dress with little white butterflies on it.
"I thought a dress would be more comfortable." Carlos replied and Madonna nodded.
"You were right."
Carlos had a quick shower and got dressed and they went to the doctors. Madonna couldn't sit still in the car and Carlos smiled, taking her hand and she squeezed it.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
On the way home, Madonna couldn't stop crying in the car. They'd found out she was having a boy and she was so happy she felt really emotional. Carlos held her in his arms, unable to stop smiling.
"This means we can talk names now." Carlos said, sounding excited and Madonna gazed up at him, nodding as she sniffed.
"Yeah. Oh my god, this is the first time in quite some time I've actually felt happy." Madonna said, smiling through her tears.
Carlos gently wiped her tears away with his thumbs and pressed his lips to her forehead. "It's good to see you smile again."
"Sorry, I'm being soppy, I can't stop crying!" Madonna said, laughing as fresh tears escaped down her cheeks.
"It's fine, honestly. As long as you are crying because you're happy, not sad." Carlos smoothed hair away from her face, tucking it behind an ear.
When they arrived home, Carlos took Madonna in the front door and it wasn't until they got to the kitchen, that everyone yelled 'surprise!' The kitchen and garden had been decorated for the baby shower. Madonna, who was already crying, cried even harder.
"Damn, I don't think I've ever seen someone cry before coming to a surprise party!" Debi said.
"We just found out we're having a boy." Carlos explained, which had everyone talking.
"Congratulations Mo!" Rosie said, hugging Madonna, as she manuevered her bump out of the way.
"Thanks Ro." Madonna held on to her friend and cried on her shoulder for a bit.
"We decided to decorate the kitchen and the garden - it's so nice out, we thought it would be nice to be outside as well." Ingrid explained to Carlos, who nodded, looking appreciative.
"Good idea. Thank you for doing all this, ladies." Carlos said to Ingrid, Debi and Rosie and they all smiled and nodded at him.
"Did you guys organise this?" Madonna asked, looking around at her friends.
"We helped Carlos, it was all his idea." Rosie said.
Madonna looked at Carlos and smiled. "That's why you brought this dress. And got me out of the house to do yoga."
"That wasn't a complete lie - I am bringing in some yoga teachers who specalise in meditation for pregnant women. I just wanted to see what you thought." Carlos replied.
"I thought it was great. I felt mellow up until we found out we are having a boy and got emotional." Madonna went over to Carlos. "Thank you for this." She said, kissing him.
Ingrid handed Madonna an iced tea and the two women talked, then Madonna circulated, talking to other friends, smiling and laughing.
"She seems so much better these days, considering what she has been through recently." Debi said quietly to Carlos and he nodded.
"M is stronger than ever she realises. I was so proud of her in court, she handled it all so well." Carlos replied quietly.
Madonna looked over at Carlos and they smiled at each other.
"You two are sickening." Debi joked and Carlos laughed, used to her dry sense of humour.
After catching up with friends and buffet food and more drinks, Madonna sat on the sofa in the gazebo in the garden and everyone gave her presents. She insisted on Carlos sitting next to her and he enjoyed watching Madonna open all the presents excitedly and hug and kiss her friends. Carlos put all the rubbish Madonna cast aside in a binliner, then leaned over and whispered in her ear.
"I have a present for you."
"Me?" Madonna raised her eyebrows and he nodded.
"The baby has a lot of presents and I wante to get you something nice."
"Carlos, you didn't have too."
"I wanted too." Carlos said, handing Madonna a large necklace box, with a bow around it. Everyone watched as she opened it.
Inside was a beautiful amethyst bead necklace - the same type of necklace that usually had a cross on it, but on this necklace was a beautiful gold hamsa hand.
"Wow...that's gorgeous!" Madonna said, looking taken aback.
"You like it?" Carlos asked.
"I love it." Madonna looked up at him. "Can you help me put it on please?"
"Of course." Carlos took it out of the box and fastened it around Madonna's neck. She pulled the gold hamsa hand down and smiled up at Carlos, kissing him.
"Thank you so much."
"You're most welcome M." Carlos said.
Everyone clapped and cheered and admired Madonna's necklace and she smiled again, looking up at Carlos, happy at last and he felt like the luckiest man on the planet in that moment.




End of Part 23...




Part 24




"I'm going to bed. I can't physically stay up any more." Madonna said, easing herself off the sofa to go upstairs. She was a couple of weeks away from her due date and constantly felt exhausted. Carlos was being sweet as usual, which made her life much easier, even though all the resting sometimes drove her crazy.
"Ok. I'll be up in a minute." Carlos said, after Madonna leaned forward and kissed him.
"You can stay up later if you want. I am going to be asleep the minute my head hits the pillow."
"To be honest, I've been so busy at the gym lately, I'm tired too." Carlos admitted and Madonna nodded, walking away with her hands on her stomach.
She made it to the stairs and sat on the bottom one, frowning. A couple of minutes later, Carlos stood in front of her. Madonna looked up at him.
"I don't think I am going to make it up the stairs." She said and he nodded, sitting next to her, because she looked worried.
"Have your waters broke yet?" Carlos asked and Madonna shook her head.
"No." She said, and it seemed to him like she was sat frozen in fear.
"M, you're going to be fine. You've done this before." Carlos said softly.
"A couple of years ago now." Madonna said, her face betraying the beginnings of pain.
"I have to take you to the hospital, M."
"Not yet."
"There are no drugs here, if you have the baby here." Carlos said.
"I know. But I can't move."
"Pain?"
"And fear."
"Considering what you've been through this year M, you have nothing to be scared of, really." Carlos said.
"When was the last time you pushed a baby out of your vagina?" Madonna asked Carlos, looking deadly serious for a minute and he didn't know what to say.
"I just meant..."
"Carlos, I'm fucking with you!" Madonna said, laughing as she pushed him and he shook his head, trying not to smile.
"You don't have pick your moments to joke around..."
"Can you help me up please?" Madonna asked and Carlos helped her to her feet and her waters broke. She held onto the pole at the bottom of the stairs, wincing. "Oh my god..."
"M, I can carry you, let me just get someone else to drive." Carlos said and he rushed away and came back with a couple of bodyguards. "They're bringing the car around the front."
"With the paps that hang around out there? Are you insane?"
"M, it's the quickest way - if I carry you straight out through the front door to the car."
"Ok." Madonna said, and let Carlos scoop her up in his arms. He carried her out to the car and they were driving away before the paparazzi even had time to take pictures. "You were right. That was quick. How? I weigh a ton!"
"No you don't, M. And I've probably been working out more at the gym, because we've been so busy." Carlos replied.
Madonna was led out across his lap and Carlos held on to her. She looked up at him.
"I had a bag prepared - "
"I put that in the car at the start of your ninth month. It's in the boot." Carlos replied and Madonna smiled.
"You're more organised then I am."
"In theory so you are less stressed." Carlos replied.
"That's sweet of you." Madonna said, looking up at Carlos gratefully. "Look, I know I haven't been easy to live with this past year, but I want to tell you how much I love you, Carlos. You have been loving and patient and supportive, even when I've been frustrating and difficult."
"M, you're talking like you are dying. It's freaking me out." Carlos said, looking worried.
"It feels like this baby is trying to break my body. But maybe that's what I need - to be broken completely, so I can start again." Madonna said, holding one of Carlos' hands.
He lifted her hand to his lips and closed his eyes for a moment as he kissed it. "I love you too M. I think this baby is going to help heal you."
Even though it wasn't too late, there was hardly any traffic around and they managed to get to a hospital before Madonna was in any real pain that required drugs.
"I can't do this...I know you believe in me...but I can't...!!" Madonna shook her head, lying back on the bed, as she squeezed Carlos' hand, looking hopeless.
"Yes you can, M. You can do anything." Carlos said in a soothing voice.
"I can't!" Tears streamed down her cheeks.
"You can M. Just breathe. Like we practised in the calm room." Carlos replied, doing a demonstration and Madonna looked up at him, copying his breathing to calm down, then pushing when the midwife told her too.
"I want Lola is be here when the baby arrives. She wanted to help name him." Madonna said.
"I can call the nanny and get her to bring Lola and take her for a drink or something, until the baby arrives."
Madonna nodded. "Go call her now, quick - I need you in here!" She said panting and Carlos rushed out of the room to call the nanny. He was only gone a few minutes and when he returned he placed a cold flannel on Madonna's forehead that was handed to him by a nurse and she looked grateful.
"I hope she doesn't think we are calling him Jasper though..." Carlos said, and despite her pain, Madonna laughed.
"Blossom would have been nicer, if it had been a girl!" She said and Carlos smiled.
A few hours, more drugs and after pushing harder later, Madonna was handed a tiny baby boy and he took her breath away. It was as if the events of the past year were starting to finally fade and he would breathe new life into her. Carlos was just as mesmerised by his new son as Madonna, unable to stop smiling as soon as he saw him. A nurse took the baby away to clean him up, but returned shortly after, handing him back to Madonna.
"He's so perfect!" Madonna said, smoothing one of his tiny cheeks and looking up at Carlos, who was looking at Madonna and their son proudly and nodded.
"Wow. You have beautiful babies, M."
"We have beautiful babies, Carlos."
"Well, yeah, but you do all the hard work."
"I want more. I want another boy and another girl." Madonna said, looking down at her little son.
Carlos laughed. "Let's enjoy him and Lola for at least a year first."
"Can you go and get Lola please? I want her to see her new brother." Madonna said.
"Sure." Carlos said and he left the room and found Lourdes with the nanny in the hospital canteen. The nanny waited outside the room with the bodyguards, while Carlos and Lourdes went inside and he lifted her up onto the bed so Lourdes could be close to her mother and brother.
"Here is your brother, Lola." Madonna said, holding the baby out a little and Lourdes moved closer.
"He's so little." Lourdes said, looking at him in wonderment.
"You were that little once." Carlos said, smoothing her ponytail.
Lourdes reached a small hand over to stroke his cheek, and the baby grabbed her finger with his whole fist, looking at her and he smiled.
"I think someone is saying hello." Madonna said, smiling down at Lourdes.
"Did you have any names in mind Lola?" Carlos asked.
"Romeo." Lourdes said straight away and Madonna and Carlos exchanged a look.
"You aren't reading Romeo and Juliet in school are you?" Madonna asked, looking worried, because it was more of an adult story.
"What's that?" Lourdes frowned. "There is a boy in my class called Romeo. I like the name."
Carlos and Madonna breathed a sigh of relief, looking at each other. "What do you think?" Madonna asked.
"I like it."
"Romeo." Madonna said, looking down at her son. "I love it Lola."
"He doesn't look like a Jasper and I might have a boy pony at some point." Lourdes pushed stray hair out of her face.
Carlos stifled a laugh and Madonna smiled at him, rocking the baby in her arms, knowing her daughter wouldn't be letting the subject of owning a horse go any time soon.
"Is Romeo and Juliet a good book mommy?" Lourdes looked up at Madonna.
"It is, sweetheart. But you'll have to wait until you're a big girl to read it, because it's more of an adult story." Madonna replied.
"Ok mommy." Lourdes said. "Can we take Romeo home now?"
"Soon, Lola. Mommy is tired after having him, so she needs to rest a bit first." Carlos said.
"Can we wait with you until you can come home mommy?" Lourdes asked.
"I would love that. And so would Romeo." Madonna replied.
Carlos kissed the top of Madonna's head, then Lourdes'. He noticed Madonna didn't look as stressed or troubled as she had done mere hours ago, and for months and months and knew that becoming a mother again would be the making of her.




The End.
materialgirl86
Part 9


"I swear it's taking longer to get Lola to sleep." Madonna rolled her eyes. but couldn't help smiling one evening as she closed the door behind her and Carlos smiled.
"I would try, but even if I do, she will ask for you too." He replied.
Madonna laughed, nodding and grabbed her laptop as she got into bed. "I just need to reply to a few emails." She explained.
"But you are going to try to sleep right?"
"Of course." Madonna said.
"You are a rubbish liar." Carlos replied, watching her blush slightly.
"If I'm not done in fifteen minutes, I give you permission to take my laptop away." Madonna joked, as she opened it.
"I am going to hold you to that." Carlos said, looking up at Madonna as he lay down next to her.
Madonna went through some of her emails, then frowned when she opened one from someone she didn't know. All of the colour drained from her face when she watched the video clips attached. Madonna slammed her laptop shut and got out of bed.
"M, what's wrong? You look awful." Carlos frowned.
"Nothing - I - I just feel sick." Madonna ran to the bathroom and closed the door and Carlos heard her lock the door and throw up from the other side.
Carlos knocked on the door. "Let me in, M."
"You don't need to see me throw up." Madonna's voice trembled.
"I'm worried about you."
"I will be fine in a bit." Madonna lied, rubbing her forehead.
Carlos opened Madonna's laptop and looked through her emails. He found one from an unknown sender. Carlos thought this was unusual - the only people who emailed Madonna were family, friends and co-workers, as she had an email address that would be impossible for anyone who didn't know her to guess. Carlos watched the videos and clapped a hand to his mouth, his eyes wide with shock. They were graphic videos of Madonna being abused by the two guys who had been hanging around her at the party on that fateful night. Clearly she had been plied with spiked drinks, because she looked almost totally out of it. Not only were there videos, but a message asking for a ridiculous sum of money, otherwise the videos would be leaked online and to the media.
"What the hell are you doing?" Madonna opened the door, looking horrified. "Don't look at that!" She ran across the room and nearly took Carlos' fingers off, she snapped her laptop shut so violently.
"It's too late M. I have already seen it."
"Why? Why would you watch that?"
"I didn't know what it was going to be, did I? M - we have to show this to the police, right now." Carlos said, sounding urgent.
"Jesus..." Madonna wrenched both hands through her hair. "Other people are going to have to watch it." She said, looking ill at the thought of it.
"Only the people who are going to catch that scum." Carlos replied.
"It doesn't matter. Still more people."
"Does it...did it make you remember?"
Madonna nodded, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Vaguely. I can remember a little."
"We need to hand in your laptop right now M."
"It's late. What about Lola?"
"The nanny is here. M, they could catch them based off this. More so than the sketches."
"I feel like I want to throw up my organs at the thought of that video getting out."
"Exactly. So let's go now."
"Ok." Madonna started looking for something to wear.
"I'll let the nanny know and have the car brought round." Carlos said, pulling on a t-shirt and pair of jeans.
He left the room and she put on a dark, loose pair of flowery trousers and an over-sized sweater. Madonna slipped on a pair of flat shoes and pulled her hair back into a messy ponytail. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and felt nauseaous when she thought of Carlos seeing those video clips. Her face was still very pale and there was dark under her eyes, giving her a ghostly haunted look.
"Right, are you ready?" Carlos asked, when he returned and Madonna shook her head and started to cry softly. He went over to her and held her. "M, you're trembling. They are going to be caught, ok?" Carlos smoothed her ponytail and nuzzled his nose into her neck.
During the car journey to the station Madonna was very quiet. She drummed her fingers silently on her laptop, the only thing close to noise in the car. Carlos stared out the window on his side and Madonna looked at him nervously, wondering what he might be thinking. When he turned to look at her, she looked out her window, then closed her eyes and wished the ground beneath would swallow her.
"I called Sachie, she's on her way." Carlos said, referring to Madonna's lawyer, breaking the silence.
Madonna looked worried. "Do you think they'll want a statement too?"
"I imagine they might want to ask if you remember anything else, after watching those clips." Carlos replied quietly.
"Oh." Madonna looked deflated.
"If they let me, I can come in with you, M." Carlos said, placing one of his hands over hers on the laptop.
"I'd like that." Madonna said, swallowing a lump in her throat.
They arrived and got out of the car, meeting Sachie at the entrance and all of them, including the bodyguard who'd been driving and another who had been in the passenger seat got out and flanked them. Madonna went up to the front desk with Carlos and explained why she was there, then they went to an interrogation room with Sachie, where they were made to wait by the police, while they watched what was on the laptop in another room.
"I'll get us coffee." Carlos said, leaving the room and going off in search of a machine.
"Carlos told me what was on the laptop. They may keep it as evidence, but I can try to get it back for you - " Sachie started.
"They can keep it. I really don't care." Madonna said expressionlessly, staring at nothing in particular.
"Ok. Now, they might question you on what you remember, Madonna. It could be more forceful then before, because they think you will remember more or all of that night due to watching the videos. I'm not going to let them push you." Sachie said and Madonna looked at her. "At all." She said in a fierce, blunt manner.
Carlos returned with three coffees and both women thanked him as he sat the other side of Madonna.
"Are we going to have to pay these guys off? Or pretend too?" Carlos asked.
"No. No way. Pay these guys and they have nothing to loose. They could still distribute the videos. Or keep asking for more money."
"But while we are waiting they could distribute them..." Madonna said, looking worried.
"Not if they think they will get a large sum of money." Sachie replied.
CSI Oates and a male detective walked into the room, closing the door behind them and started the interview. Carlos held Madonna's hand under the table and she gave it a squeeze every time the detective started putting a little pressure on her, with regards to her memories. It seemed like he was the bad cop and CSI Oates was the good - and more sympathetic perhaps, because she was a woman. Sachie shut the detective down every single time he put the pressure on, much to Madonna's relief and Carlos looked at her, pretty impressed with how protective the lawyer was. 'My client has no comment' and 'no comment' and 'you don't have to answer that' were the most frequent things said in the room. When it was over, the detective left with a clenched jaw and CSI Oates looked at Madonna.
"Don't worry about him. You were very brave to even come here tonight, then to hand in that laptop and talk to us. Unfortunately we are going to have to hold on to it, for evidence. But on the plus side, we can track where the email was sent from and catch those guys."
"That's fine. I don't mind you keeping it. I just want this to be over."
"Do you still have my card?" CSI Oates asked and Madonna nodded. "Any time of day or night, if you remember anything, be sure to call or leave a message and I will assist you as soon as possible."
"Thank you." Madonna whispered, leaving the room with Sachie and Carlos. "Sachie, thank you for everything this evening. I couldn't have got through that in there without you."
Sachie smiled. "Yes you could, you just don't know it." She said. "Don't forget to call me before you call Ms CSI in there. Or even your therapist, ok?"
"Ok." Madonna looked amused.
"Goodnight."
"Goodnight." Madonna said.
Shortly after, she and Carlos left the building and went home. The drive home seemed shorter and they both went up to their room the minute they got back, and began getting dressed for bed again.
"I hope they catch them. I can't have those video clips leaking." Madonna said, her voice wobbling as she lay in bed next to Carlos.
"They will. And that CSI was right, you were very brave this evening, M. I admire you." Carlos said, an arm around her as he went to kiss her lips, but she turned and he knocked her cheek instead. "What's wrong?"
"How can you admire me after watching that?"
"The fact that you can't remember it and you were very clearly almost out of it and still managed to show that to the authorities takes a lot of guts, M."
"How do you even want to be in the same bed as me right now?"
"Because I happen to love you." Carlos said softly.
"I still feel a bit queasy. I might go and just sit by the toilet for a while."
"Then I will sit with you." Carlos said.
Madonna went and sat by the toilet and Carlos sat next to her.
"You don't have to do this, you know."
"I want too. Besides, you look pretty pale, M." Carlos said, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
"This could be a long night..."
"I've slept in less comfortable places." Carlos replied. "Maybe you should go to the doctor tomorrow."
"No. She will give me medication."
"M, if you are feeling sick or something, it's fine."
"No. I don't want to take anything and I don't want to drink." Madonna replied aggressively.
"Ok, ok." Carlos said, holding up his hands.
"Maybe I can find something natural to make me feel better tomorrow."
"I can help you look for something online." Carlos said, pulling Madonna onto his lap. He felt her body go rigid. "M?"
"Aren't you disgusted by me?"
"No. And I wish you could stop feeling disgusted with yourself."
"Mmm." Madonna chewed at her nails, until Carlos took her hand away from her mouth.
Both of them were silent and eventually Madonna fell asleep, curled into Carlos. He watched her for quite a while, then very carefully - so as not to wake her, carried Madonna to bed and pulled the covers up over them both. She was in such a deep sleep, she never even stirred once.


End of Part 9...




Part 10


The blonde guy and the dark haired guy led Madonna along the hallway to their hotel room. She was smiling, even though her eyes were only half open and felt drunk enough that her legs could give way at any given moment.
"We're gonna have fun tonight, baby." Blonde said, grinning.
Madonna had her arms linked through both of theirs and stumbled along, hardly aware of where she was or what was happening. Dark hair opened the door and Blonde led Madonna inside, closing the door behind them.
"Music. We need music." Dark hair said and went to put some on.
"And drink...and pills and coke." Blonde said.
"I don't...don't do any of that..." Madonna slurred her words.
"Of course you don't, sweetheart." Dark hair said sarcastically.
"We wouldn't tell anyone if you did." Blonde replied, holding Madonna's chin and kissing her hard.
"I'm married." Madonna held up her hand, which had a beautiful white gold wedding band and a diamond engagement ring on the wedding finger.
"If you take them off, it doesn't count." Dark hair took her hand and carefully eased them off. He held them up and put them down on the table, so Madonna could see them.
"Let's get a drink." Blonde said, leading Madonna away. He looked back at dark hair and winked. Dark hair slid the rings off the table and put them in his pocket. Blonde poured Madonna a glass of wine and handed it to her. "Have this, while I make you a cocktail."
"I've had too much already..." Madonna held her hand up.
"No way, we're just getting the party started!" Blonde handed her the glass and Madonna took it.
While she was drinking and looking around, blonde had his back to her and started making a cocktail. Dark hair joined him and handed him something to slip in the drink.
After several cocktails, Madonna was dancing between both men. Their hands were all over Madonna, on her bum, her thighs, her boobs. Dark hair kissed her, while blonde squeezed her breasts. It started to feel wrong and she stopped the kiss and stumbled away from them both.
"No...I can't..." Madonna stumbled into the bathroom to splash some water on her face.
She felt someone grab a handful of her hair and smash her face on the medicine cabinet. "You don't get to walk away from me."
"Dude, chill out. Go get us some drinks."
Madonna turned to face dark hair, who frowned. "Excuse my friend. He can be a bit moody." Dark hair walked past her and grabbed some tisses and wiped her face. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah." Madonna lied.
"Let's go an sit down. We can dance a bit later." Dark hair took her out to the sofa, where Blonde had drinks for them.
"I overreacted. Sorry baby." Blonde handed Madonna a cocktail, laced with some drug and she nodded, drinking it.
Dark hair snorted some coke and sat on the other side of Madonna on the sofa. He poured a little coke along his thumb and offered it to her. Her inhibitions had been lowered from the alcohol and constant drugging and Madonna snorted it, pinching her nose after.
Blonde and dark hair exhanged a smile behind her.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"My rings, my rings, oh god - my rings!!" Madonna sat bolt upright in bed, in a blind panic.
Carlos stretched, yawning and sat up, rubbing his face.
"What did you say M?"
"They took my wedding band and my engagement rings! Oh god, Carlos - you had the wedding band inscribed! I love them!" Madonna started to cry, clearly distressed.
"M, I know how much you love those rings, but I am glad YOU are ok." Carlos said, holding both her cheeks, as her tears spilled over his fingers.
"I was made to take them off. I told them I was married, but they said it didn't count if I took my rings off. Carlos I was so out of it, I think...I think I did pretty much whatever they told me or made me do." Madonna swallowed a lump in her throat, taking both of Carlos' hands away from her face.
"It's not your fault, M." He frowned. "I wish you would stop beating yourself up."
"I don't want to go back to sleep."
"We can meditate. Or have a warm drink to relax." Carlos suggested and Madonna shook her head.
"I need some air."
"Let's go out in the garden for a while."
"Yeah."
Madonna pulled a hoodie over the fitted pyjama t-shirt she wore and slid on a pair or flip-flops. Carlos put a jacket on over his vest and they both went downstairs to the garden.
"Do you want anything to drink?" Carlos asked.
"Coffee would be great."
"A stimulant?"
"I'm not planning on going back to sleep Carlos." Madonna looked up at him.
"I will make you a milky one, in case you change your mind."
"Ok." Madonna sighed.
Carlos made them both coffee and joined Madonna out on the swing garden chair.
"Thanks." She wrapped both her hands around the mug and blew it a little.
"I guess there's no need to ask what you dreamed about." Carlos said quietly.
Madonna held her hand out, looking at her empty wedding finger. "I feel so naked without my rings. And not in a good way."
"How did they even talk you into going back to a hotel with them?" Carlos asked.
"I don't know. I don't remember that part. And I guess I must have just looked like a drunk woman going back to a hotel room for a good time with a couple of guys to the receptionists and everyone else that saw us." Madonna frowned. "I feel like I've betrayed you, Carlos. I cheated on you."
"M, you never cheated on me. I don't see it like that at all. Cheating is a decision you make. And you had alcohol and drugs in your system. And two men manipulated and blackmailed you."
"I feel like a vile, vile woman. Disgusting. Dirty."
"And you have been scrubbing yourself raw nearly every day."
"How do you know that?" Madonna looked confused.
"You spend ages in the shower and your arms and legs have red marks on them." Carlos replied.
"I sound like a freak."
Carlos shook his head. "You are still going through a massive trauma, M." He kissed her temple and she looked at him, feeling an ache.
"I really want you, but I..." Madonna looked at Carlos, clearly nervous and conflicted.
"M, I want you too, but I can wait. You're practically trembling." Carlos said, putting his mug down and placing both hands around hers.
"I'm so lucky to have you." Madonna said, a slight smile forming.
"This will get easier eventually. I promise." Carlos kissed her forehead softly.




End of Part 10...




Part 11




Lourdes ran around in the park with the other children, laughing and smiling. She made friends easily and played with anyone and everyone. Madonna and Carlos watched from a nearby bench, after being told by Lourdes that she was 'old enough' to go and play with the other children.
"I can imagine you being exactly like Lola when you were little." Carlos said and Madonna laughed.
"Lola is probably cheekier." Madonna replied.
Carlos placed a hand over Madonna's and she looked down at his hand and held it.
"What are you thinking?"
"Are we doing the right thing - bringing Lola up in this city?" Madonna turned to look at Carlos. There was so much confusion in her eyes. He knew how much she loved New York City, and hated those who had made her doubt the place so much.
"Where else would you want to bring her up?" Carlos asked.
Madonna shrugged. "Miami? Los Angeles?" She half suggested.
"I really want to bring up Lourdes here, M. And I know deep down you do too. You're just scared right now, and that's perfectly understandable."
"Don't talk to me like I'm a child, Carlos." Madonna said a little too sharply, sitting with her arms folded, watching Lourdes play.
"I'm not. I am trying to understand you right now, M." Carlos said and Madonna slid her shades down and looked over the top of them at him. "I don't think we would be able to leave the city now, with the case ongoing..."
"I know." Madonna sighed, taking her shades off and sitting them on top of her head. "I feel so trapped."
Carlos looked past Madonna, behind the fence and saw some paparazzi lurking. Madonna followed his gaze.
"Outside a park, where children are playing? Really??" She sounded annoyed. "I think we should go."
"We've been here a while anyway." Carlos replied.
"I'll go get Lola." Madonna glared at the photographers, then walked over to the climbing frame, where Lourdes was just in the process of climbing down. "Lola, we have to go." Madonna said, reaching out to her.
"Ok mommy." Lourdes said, letting Madonna scoop her up in her arms and carry her away.
Carlos walked behind Madonna and a couple of bodyguards flanked them. Madonna headed off in the opposite direction of the paparazzi, walking fast, like she might break out into a run.
"M, we need to go that way." Carlos pointed back towards the photographers.
"We can take the scenic route."
"Mommy, is it a game?" Lourdes asked.
"Is what a game, baby?"
"You going fast!"
"Yes, it is a game, Lola. Do you like it?" Madonna almost smiled.
"Yeah! Go faster mommy, faster!" Lourdes said, smiling and laughing. Carlos and the bodyguards stayed close to Madonna and Lourdes, and soon they were out of sight of the paparazzi and on their way home.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"What are you doing?" Debi asked, frowning, when she walked into Madonna's room and found clothes strewn over every possible surface.
"Debi!" Madonna smiled and rushed over to her friend, nearly crashing into her and Debi hugged her.
"It's good to see you too, M." Debi smiled.
"Mommy is having a biiiig sort out, cause she has too many clothes!" Lourdes said, appearing on the floor, with a camisole on her head.
Madonna took the camisole off her head and both she and Debi laughed.
"I think you're too little to be helping out with all this, sweetheart." Debi said softly.
"Lola, why don't you go and play with daddy for a bit?" Madonna suggested.
"Ok." Lourdes shrugged, then ran off.
"How are you, M?" Debi asked.
"I'm not dying, Deb." Madonna joked.
Debi looked around the room, then back at Madonna. "No, but you have everything sexy or racy in that area - " Debi motioned to a big pile of clothes. " - everything sensible here, and stuff you are sorting there."
"Maybe you should go work with the people working on my case." Madonna replied.
"None of this is your fault, M." Debi said.
Madonna flopped face-down on a pile of clothes on the bed and screamed into them. Her scream was muffled, then she turned over and lay on her back, looking at Debi, who sat on the bed.
"Carlos has been saying that a lot, huh?" She guessed and Madonna nodded. "Even if you are sick of hearing it, M, it's true."
"The way I dressed or acted made two men want to drug me and drag me off, and..." Madonna trailed off, looking away from Debi.
"So you dress sexy and flirt with everyone? So what? A lot of women do, M. None of them are asking to be abused. Nothing you say or do made those sickos do what they did. They're deranged and dangerous." Debi said, lying alongside Madonna.
"I'm starting to feel deranged myself. I tried throwing away all the alcohol in the house a few days ago. I wanted to do the same with the medication, but Carlos talked me out of it. And I don't want to sleep. But I keep remembering things when I sleep." Madonna said, watching Debi sit up and look down at her.
"Think of it this way, the sooner you remember everything, when they catch the scum who did this, it will be over sooner. And you have a lot of friends to support you, myself included, Carlos, Lola - she's like a little ray of sunshine, your daughter." Debi said and Madonna smiled, nodding.
"She certainly is."
"I think you've got too many clothes anyway, and I could always take some of this off you..." Debi said, trying not to smile and Madonna laughed, pushing her playfully.
Carlos walked into the room, carrying Lourdes. "Would either of you ladies like a drink?" He asked, his eyes wide when he saw the state of the room.
"A coffee would be great thanks." Debi replied.
"The same for me please." Madonna looked amused at his face.
"This Lola, is what I NEVER want your room to look like, ok?" Carlos said and Lourdes looked serious and shook her head in agreement.
"I'm helping M tidy up down. We were just catching up." Debi said and Carlos nodded, smiling.
"I'll be back with those drinks in a bit." He said, leaving with Lourdes still in his arms.
"M, you have a perfect family. I don't know how you feel right now, but that's got to count for something, right?" Debi said and Madonna nodded.
"Yes. Yes it does."




End of Part 11...




Part 12




Madonna had Lourdes on her lap, who wriggled around as she ate breakfast.
"You are such a fidget-butt!" Madonna said and Lourdes giggled, dribbling milk from her cereal down her chin. Carlos handed Madonna a couple of tissues and she wiped Lourdes' chin.
"Mommy, can you take me to school today?" Lourdes looked at her expectantly.
"Of course baby." Madonna kissed her little cheek.
"And you daddy?"
"Yes." Carlos smiled. He lifted Lourdes off of Madonna's lap, kissing her cheek. "Let's go and clean your teeth." He winked at Madonna, who looked grateful she could now reach her coffee. A few minutes later Carlos came back on his own.
"Lola is just putting some things in her backpack."
"I have to do a lineup, after we drop her off at school." Madonna said quietly.
"I'll come with you."
"The thought of having to see those men..." Madonna trailed off, gasping and covering her mouth.
"M, they won't be able to see you from behind that glass I don't think."
"I hope not."
"They should be the ones embarrassed to see you."
"Yeah, I guess."
"Mommy, daddy, are you ready?!" Lourdes shouted from by the front door and Carlos and Madonna smiled at each other and went to take her to school.
"Yes Lola." Carlos repplied.
They looked like a regular family, Lourdes walking in between Madonna and Carlos, who held a hand each - accept for the fact they had a couple of bodyguards accompanying them.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna's hands were trembling and slightly sweaty when Carlos took one. He leaned over and kissed her temple.
"M, it's going to be fine. I know you can do this." He whispered in her ear.
She swallowed a lump in her throat and chewed her lower lip. "I should ask if they found my rings."
"You would have had them back by now." Carlos said.
"I loved those rings." Madonna squeezed his hand.
"I know." Carlos said. "Shall we get a cab? or call for a car? It's a little way."
"No, I want to walk. The fresh air might help." Madonna replied and Carlos nodded.
It took them around forty minutes to arrive at the police station. Along the way people stared at them, whispered and a few paparazzi took pictures. Madonna kept her eyes downcast and gripped Carlos' hand. He glared at people who stared too long and the photographers. It was a relief once they were inside. The two bodyguards waited in the reception area, while CSI Oates and another woman - a middle-aged red head called Detective Grimes led Madonna and Carlos away to a room.
The Detective and CSI went through what would happen during the lineup and Carlos noticed Madonna getting paler and paler, nodding as she listened.
The all turned to look at the glass, through which Madonna had been reassured no one would be able to see her. Eight men walked out, each holding up a number and Madonna stumbled back, nearly tripping over a chair as she moaned, looking horrified.
"M, are you ok?" Carlos grabbed her elbow and put an arm around her.
"Mrs Leon, do you recognise any of these men?" Detective Grimes had a hard voice, but was trying to sound softer.
"Y-yes."
"Could you tell us the number please?"
"Both of them are there." Madonna said, staring at the lineup.
Detective Grimes, CSI Oates and Carlos all looked at each other, equally stunned. They had expected Madonna to maybe pick out one of the men, not both of them. Madonna moved away from them all, walking right up to the glass. She stared at the two men, who even happened to be standing next to each other. Flashes of memory ran through her head. Talking and laughing and drinking at the party in the bar, the hotel room, having her clothes stripped off, feeling too fuzzy to stop them or even care what they were doing to her, constantly being given drinks, having her face smashed into a medicine cabinet. It was almost too much for her. The silence in the room was a heavy one, as they all waited for her to speak. Madonna eventually looked back over her shoulder.
"Five and six." She said and the Detective scribbled the numbers down.
"Are you absolutely sure, Mrs Leon?" CSI Oates asked and Madonna nodded.
"I am sure."
"Thank you, Mrs Leon. Myself and CSI Oates appreciate that must have been hard for you." Detective Grimes said.
"What happens now?" Carlos asked, a protective arm around Madonna's waist.
"We take them in for questioning. Also we will get search warrants for their residence and collect any evidence, then potentially ask Mrs Leon back in for questioning and take it from there." CSI Oates said.
"But we will be kept in the loop?" Carlos half asked.
"You will be." CSI Oates said. "Again, thank you for today, Mrs Leon." She looked at Madonna gratefully and Madonna nodded, still looking troubled.
Carlos led Madonna away, down the hallway towards the exit. CSI Oates and Detective Grimes watched them leave.
"That poor woman. She looked rattled." Detective Grimes said, looking sympathetic.
"So would you, if you'd been kidnapped, drugged and abused." CSI Oates replied. Both women watched Carlos lead Madonna away, with their bodyguards in tow.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
When they got home, Madonna went straight up to her room, through to the bathroom and couldn't strip off and get in the shower fast enough. Carlos followed her, knowing where she would be going.
"This has to stop M." He said, getting into the shower fully clothed.
"I'm just having a shower!" Madonna almost yelled, frantically scrubbing.
"You've rubbing yourself raw!" Carlos tried to grab Madonna's arms.
"Stop it! Get off of me!" Madonna struggled with Carlos, who was trying to stop her scrubbing herself without hurting her.
"I am trying to help you, M. Please, stop struggling."
"Get out of the shower, Carlos." Madonna said, pushing him back, nearly through the door to the cubicle, which was open.
"No. I won't let you do this to yourself."
"I will scream the house down if you don't get out." Madonna said, glaring at him with tears in her eyes.
Carlos backed out of the shower, holding both hands up defensively. "Ok, ok, I'm going." He said and left the bathroom, closing the door.
A few minutes later, Madonna walked into the room, soaking wet and completely naked. Her long, wavy blonde hair was slicked to her body. Carlos lay on his back on the bed and Madonna went over to him and lay alongside him.
"M, you're going to freeze." Carlos said, looking at her, wet and curling into him.
"I don't care."
"I do." Carlos got a towel and dried Madonna as she lay on the bed.
"Do you still find me attractive?" Madonna asked, lying on her back, looking up at Carlos. She looked fragile, like she might break and he realised she'd lost weight.
Carlos kissed Madonna, in both a loving and hungry way. "Of course I do M."
"Fuck me."




End of Part 12...




Part 13




Carlos kissed Madonna's bare shoulder, as he sat up and wrapped both arms around her, grazing a breast. They'd just made love for the first time since she had been attacked and she felt more relaxed then she had done in a while. Madonna smiled, turning and kissing him over her shoulder.
"I hope they find my rings...it feels like kind of a betrayal to you that Im not wearing them." Madonna said, holding her hand out.
"If they don't, I can always get you new ones M."
"But they were personal. You had them both inscribed, Carlos." Madonna frowned, sitting back in bed, so she could see him properly and not just over her shoulder.
"I can get you new rings and have them inscribed. You can pick out the rings and and we can both decide on what to have inscribed. If your rings aren't found." Carlos suggested. Madonna opened her mouth as though to say something, then closed it. "I know how much you love those rings, M, and I am sure they will turn up."
"I hope so." Madonna touched the faint red marks around her wrists and Carlos looked at them.
"The marks are going down. And the bruises on your body."
Madonna frowned, sliding out of bed ad quickly putting a short pale pink cotton gown on and doing the belt up. "Oh god, please don't tell me you were checking my injuries, because that really has killed the mood."
"Not intentionally. I just happened to notice." Carlos said.
Madonna rolled her eyes. "I feel like I'm being processed all over again."
"M, I love you. I want those bruises to disappear, along with the cut on your face and the marks around your wrists."
"Do you think once they go, that's it? I'll be all better?" Madonna said sarcastically.
"No I don't. But it's a start. I was thinking it would make life just a little easier for you, having no physical scars to look at. I'm not naive, M, I know it's going to take quite some time for you to get over this."
"It would have been easier if they'd killed me."
Carlos frowned. "Don't say that! Don't you dare say that! I love you! Lola loves you!"
"I didn't say I want to die, I just said it would have been easier."
"Don't say it. Don't think it M. What is you've said before - 'easy doesn't make you grow'?"
"Yeah, but I don't need to be completely fucking abused to the point I don't feel safe in a city I love to grow!!" Madonna screamed and Carlos sat back, like he'd been slapped.
"Scream and shout all you want M. If it makes you feel even a bit better, then I'm glad." Carlos said quietly.
"Oh my god, you are so frustrating!" Madonna said, red-faced.
"Why? Do you want me to yell back at you?"
Madonna got up and grabbed some clothes off a nearby chair. "Don't fucking analyse me, Carlos! I pay enough money for someone to do that!"
"Where are you going?"
"I want to be on my own."
"Stay. Talk to me."
"Carlos." Madonna held up a hand. "Please." She grabbed her bag and a coat and left. Carlos heard her go downstairs, then looked out the window, and saw her car leave the garage.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna went and picked Lourdes up from school early. She lied to the teacher, saying she had a dentist appointment and had to leave early.
"Mommy, you never told me I had the dentist today." Lourdes frowned, as Madonna strapped her into the carseat she'd moved into the passenger seat.
"You don't, baby." Madonna said, getting into the car. "Mommy needs cheering up. I thought we could do something together."
"You lied!" Lourdes' eyes were wide.
"It's naughty really, Lola. Promise me you won't tell your teachers or friends."
"I promise mommy." Lourdes said, smiling. "Daddy?"
"You can tell daddy." Madonna said, thinking Carlos wouldn't be too happy, but not caring for the time being.
"Where are we going?"
"How about the beach?" Madonna said, already driving to the Hamptons.
"Yay!" Lourdes clapped her hands, looking delighted and Madonna smiled.
It took them just under two and a half hours to get there. They played I spy and Madonna put on some audio books for Lourdes to listen to and she fell asleep for part of the journey. When Lourdes woke up she was wide awake and Madonna took her to a bakery for a treat, then they went to the beach. Madonna and Lourdes kicked off their shoes and rolled up their trousers and ran down to the water. It was a little cold, but they had run running in and out of it, splashing each other. After a while they sat on a blanket on the sand, letting their lower legs and feet dry in the sun. Madonna bought them ice-creams and drinks for the journey back.
"I like naughty mommy." Lourdes said, getting ice-cream all around her mouth. Madonna laughed.
"Are you eating that, or wearing it?" She asked and the little girl grinned.
Madonna got some tissues out and dabbed at Lourdes as she ate her ice-cream.
"Mommy, are you happy now?"
"Very much, Lola." Madonna smiled, feeling more relaxed, even though she knew another argument with Carlos was going to happen when they got home.
"Good." Lourdes said.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Where the hell did you get too?" Carlos asked, when Madonna returned with Lourdes.
"Daddy, it's not nice to say hell. Mommy needed cheering up, so we went to the beach." Lourdes said breezily.
Carlos looked surprised, and like he was about to get angry.
"Lola, why don't you go and play upstairs for a bit, so daddy and I can talk?"
"Oh-kaay." Lourdes said. She stopped halfway up the stairs and looked down at Carlos. "Daddy, don't be mad at mommy. She was sad and I made her happy." Lourdes said, then ran all the way up to her room.
"Let me have it." Madonna tilted her chin up, ready to get a telling off.
Instead of yelling at her, Carlos hugged her. "I was worried when I saw you driving off, about where you would go." Madonna was surprised that he hugged her at first, then relaxed into it and held him.
"I know it was reckless, but I just wanted to spend some time with Lola."
"What if you were spotted? What did you tell her school?"
"That she had the dentist." Madonna replied and Carlos tried not to laugh.
"Did you have a good time?"
"Yeah. It was worth it, even if her school finds out and I get a telling off." Madonna said.
"I'm sorry if I upset you earlier." Carlos said, looking regretful.
Madonna shook her head. "I'm really moody lately, up and down. I am sorry Carlos. You have been - you are being amazing. This is putting a strain on our marriage." She said and he nodded, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Maybe we had sex too soon?"
"Christ, no. I wanted too, Carlos, you never forced me. If I waited until I was perfectly fine, it wouldn't be fair on either of us." Madonna said, waving her hand dismissively. "I was just being moody. And how did you know I'd gone somewhere?"
"I thought you would pick Lola up and it doesn't take hours to get her home from school." Carlos said. "I was just worried more than anything."
"I wouldn't put our daughter in danger." Madonna said and Carlos nodded.
"I know."
"So you aren't mad at me?" Madonna chewed her lower lip.
"Not really. You can make it up to me." Carlos said, smiling and Madonna laughed.
"Deal."




End of Part 13...




Part 14




Madonna's face broke out into a smile and there were tears in her eyes as she held her phone to her ear. It looked like she was relieved. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" She put her fingers to her lips and Carlos looked confused. "I can come and get them. Now, if that's ok?" Madonna hung up the phone and jumped up and down clapping her hands.
"Don't keep me in suspense...what is it?" Carlos asked, smiling at how happy Madonna looked.
"They found both my rings!" Tears of happiness and relief streamed down her cheeks.
Carlos wrapped his arms around Madonna, nuzzling his nose into her neck and Madonna held on to him, smiling over his shoulder.
"I'm so happy for you M. I know it was causing you a lot of stress." Carlos said, when they finally stopped hugging.
"Do you wany to come with? I mean, you can go to work if you want...I take up enough of your time lately - " Carlos cut Madonna off with a very passionate kiss. " - Oh." Madonna looked taken aback, but smiled, touching her lips. "Kiss me like that any more and we might not make it to the police station..." She said and he laughed.
"No, we need to go. I know how important the rings are to you. And you don't 'take up my time', M. You're my wife. I would rather spend time with you than anyone else." He said and she smiled.
"Let's go - it feels weird not wearing those rings."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
When they arrived at the police station and Madonna spotted CSI Oates, she almost ran towards her. CSI Oates handed Madonna a little ring box and opened it, handing it to her.
"We found them in their apartment. I took the liberty of having them professionally cleaned for you and the jeweller put them in the box for me."
"Were they dirty? Did they have blood on them or something?" Madonna frowned.
"Oh, no. I just thought it might be nice for you to have clean rings on your finger. We don't know where they have been until we found them."
"How much do I owe you?" Madonna asked, routing through her bag for her purse.
"Nothing. Someone at Tiffany owed me a favour." CSI Oates smiled.
"Thank you so much, you have no idea how happy I am that you found these!" Madonna smiled, her eyes filling with tears, as she took the rings out of the box and slid them both back on her wedding finger.
"You're most welcome." CSI Oates said, as Madonna put the empty box in her bag.
"Have you made any progress with the case?" Carlos asked, a protective hand around Madonna's waist.
"I have some more good news, actually. The videos have been completely destroyed." CSI Oates said quietly and Madonna raised her eyebrows.
"Are you sure?" She asked and the CSI nodded.
"After extensive interrogation. We seized their phones and laptops. After we copyed everything we needed from them to our systems, we were granted permission to destroy them."
"But you still have the videos on your system." Madonna said in a small voice.
"Yes, but this case is very restricted. The only people who watch them are those of us working on the case. We haven't even talked about the case within the department to anyone who isn't involved with it, so they aren't aware the videos exist." CSI Oates said, and it sounded like she and her co-workers were taking it very seriously.
"When...when this is over, will the videos be completely destroyed? I don't want there to be the slightest risk they will leak. My daughter should never have to see that." Madonna said, looking worried.
CSI Oates nodded. "After this case has gone to court and a verdict has been served. Literally the same day, we will destroy them."
"Thank you. And for my rings and having them cleaned." Madonna forced a smile, even though she felt nervous as the sound of court being mentioned.
"Again, you're welcome." CSI Oates smiled, then left Carlos and Madonna.
"You look worried." Carlos said, as he walked her out to the car.
They got in the backseat and the bodyguard drove them away. Madonna rubbed her forehead with her hand.
"Court." She said simply, not looking at Carlos.
"I will be with you."
"That's sweet and all Carlos, but I have to stand in that dock on my own, face a room full of people and recount what happened on the worst night of my life." Madonna said softly, looking at him. "I wasn't just abused. I was humiliated."
"People doing jury service aren't allowed to talk about cases outside the courtroom." Carlos said and Madonna laughed.
"You really think with a case involving me they won't?"
"Maybe they will have to sign something, because you're high-profile." Carlos said optimistically.
"Jesus christ, I hope so. This is that one time I can do without the judgement of everyone else." Madonna replied. "I'm glad I have you to look on the bright side for me. Because I can't right now." She touched her lips to his and he felt her tears on his face.
"At least you have your rings back, and they are nice and clean." Carlos said, holding her hand out and Madonna smiled down at it.
"Yes, you're right."
"I expect Sachie will more than prepare you for court. She has done in the past." Carlos said and Madonna nodded.
"She would make a good sergeant major in the army." Madonna managed a small smile and Carlos laughed.
"Yeah. She kind of scares me a bit."
"Good. Maybe she will terrify those guys in court." Madonna replied, daring to feel a little hopeful and Carlos nodded, kissing her cheek and squeezing her hand.




End of Part 14...




Part 15




Madonna was in the calm room that evening, lying on the floor like a starfish, with her arms and legs spread out wide and her eyes closed. There was soothing music of gentle waves crashing on in the background and candles all around the room were lit. She had been finding it hard to relax before she went to bed, and Carlos had suggested Madonna use the calm room to see if it helped. When she felt relaxed, Madonna found her mind drifting off to the party. It all came flooding back to her - the two guys talking to her, buying her drinks (that she didn't see being laced, because they were very sneaky about it), then dancing with her and eventually taking her back to the hotel. Madonna even remembered glancing over at a girl on reception, who barely hid a look of digust as she was walking past with the guys. Once in the room Madonna remembered being given more drinks (laced) and dancing, being groped. She remembered a brief moment between drinks where she was almost lucid and it all felt very wrong. Then having her head smashed into a medicine cabinet when she tried refusing drinks. Madonna remembered sniffing a little coke from dark hair's hand. She had been forced down onto her knees and made to give the blonde guy a blow job. While she was doing that, the guy with the dark hair was snorting coke off the table, drinking from a bottle, then turned his attention to her. He caressed her bum and ran his hands up over her breasts, gripping them hard.
"You are going to be one memorable fuck." Dark hair had whispered in her ear. He had then pulled her away and made her blow him, while his friend drank, took some pills and snorted some coke.
Blonde hair grabbed Madonna as he lay on the sofa, forcing his dick inside her, smiling over her shoulder at dark hair, who was even rougher in forcing his way in her bum. She cried out, but was pretty numbed from the drink and drugs. Their hands were all over her, pressing her skin hard. Dark hair nibbled her ear and licked it, blonde hair grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her down for a kiss, forcing his tongue in her mouth so violently, that she had to swallow the bile that rose fast. It seemed to go on for ever, but when they both came, they tossed her to the floor, like a doll they were momentarily tired of. Madonna was on her hands and knees, drunk, drugged, naked. She saw her clothes scattered on the floor, ripped from where they'd been in a rush to get her naked.
"I don't know how that husband of yours lets a pretty little thing like you out of his sight...I would never." Blonde hair said, grabbing a handful of her hair.
"Stop grabbing my hair! You're hurting me!" Madonna wailed. She even reached up and shoved him.
Dark hair slapped her. "Don't you dare, you little slut." He grabbed a straight-backed chair and made her sit on it. Blonde hair bound her wrists with several cable ties. They were what would leave the fierce red marks around her wrists.
"Fiesty cunt, aren't you?" Blonde hair smiled and Madonna just glared at him. "What, no come back?" He held his hands out. "Come on, don't be shy. You weren't just now, when you were fucking us. Or sucking us off."
"It's not like I had a choice." Madonna replied. "Let me go. I won't tell anyone."
Dark hair laughed. "Yeah, sure you won't." He tipped a little coke on his hand and offered it to her and she shook her head, so he grabbed her hair and smashed her face into his hand.
"Drink this." Blonde offered her a drink and Madonna's nose hurt and she drank it and felt the room tilt. "Are you going to behave?" He kneeled down in front of her and she nodded, smiling, her head feeling hazy. Blonde hair cut the cable ties, after several minutes and she had horrible red marks on her wrists. Despite the recent drink and drugs, Madonna felt the pain and rubbed her wrists and began to cry.
"I think you need to lie down." Dark hair wrapped an arm around her and picked Madonna up, throwing her down on the bed.
Both of them got into bed, lying either side of Madonna. They ran their hands all over her, slipping their fingers inside her as tears spilled down her face and she groaned with the slight discomfort of it. She fell asleep after that. That was when dark hair and blonde hair must have took whatever they were recording on away, along with her clothes and disappeared - leaving her to wake up alone and disorientated the following morning.
Madonna's eyes flew open, staying wide with surprise that all her memories had suddenly came back to her in one go. She felt pinned to the floor momentarily - too scared to move. Then it was like Madonna had been winded badly. She sat up and started gasping for air, really struggling to breathe, clutching her throat.
"Mommy, mommy, come and play with me!" Lourdes opened the door and found Madonna gasping for breath and her smile gave way to a look of pure terror. "Mommy!!" The little girl whimpered, rushing over to her.
"Daddy...get...daddy..." Madonna gasped and Lourdes nodded and she heard her run downstairs and scream to Carlos.
Carlos appeared, with Lourdes standing in the doorway, looking worried. He ran over to Madonna and sat next to her, placing a hand on her back.
"Can't...breathe..." Were the only words Madonna managed to say.
"You're having a panic attack M." Carlos said softly. "Try to clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing. Count your breaths."
"All...memories..." Madonna frowned. "Can't...clear...m-mind."
"That's great that you have remembered everything, but you need to try to calm down M." Carlos continued speaking in the most soothing voice, even though it worried him seeing his wife in so much distress.
Eventually Madonna did calm down and Lourdes walked over to them. "Are you better now mommy?"
"I am now you and daddy are here, Lola. You are a good girl for getting him for me." Madonna pulled Lourdes onto her lap and kissed and cuddled her and Lourdes looked more relaxed.
"Thanks Lola." Carlos smiled, smoothing her hair and kissing the top of her head.
"Are you better so you can come and play with me?" Lourdes asked.
"In a minute baby. Why don't you go and pick out some toys for us to play with in your room and I will be along in a minute?" Madonna suggested.
"Ok." Lourdes smiled, toddling off.
Carlos looked at Madonna. "You remembered it all?" He asked and she nodded.
"Yes. I was relaxed for a while, then it all came back to me. It's a little much. I woke up and couldn't breathe. It felt like I was actually there. It was such a real memory." Madonna said, her voice wobbling as she took a deep breath.
"Maybe you should make a statement." Carlos said.
"Yeah. I want to talk to Sachie first though." Madonna replied.
"Good idea."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
After taking Lourdes to school the following day, Madonna and Carlos were sat with her lawyer, Sachie Hattori in the kitchen, drinking coffee while Madonna described her memory of that fateful night. Carlos looked horrified, and Sachie had the usual deadpan expression she wore when anyone spoke to her.
"Oh my god." Carlos said, running both hands through his hair when Madonna had finished.
Sachie looked at him, then Madonna. "When you are giving your statement Madonna, choose something in the room and look at it. Focus on it, and speak without hesitation. Try to keep your chin up and your voice steady."
"With all due respect Sachie, did you just hear what she said?" Carlos looked amazed the lawyer could seem so indifferent.
"With all due respect Carlos, I am a lawyer. It is horrific what Madonna went through, truly, but I am here to advise in a legal capacity." Sachie turned to Madonna. "I don't mean that to sound cold or uncaring."
"It doesn't, I understand." Madonna said, drinking some of her coffee.
"I am advising you to keep your chin up, voice steady and focus on something in the room, because it will help you when this case goes to court. The easy part is saying all that in a police station, where they can stop and start the tape and give you breaks if you need them, Madonna. In a court that isn't possible."
"Is there any way the court can be closed to the public?" Carlos asked.
"The jury is made up of the public." Madonna said, looking at him.
"I will have to see what judge you get, they may decide to close it off to the public anyway, due to it being a high-profile case. And the jury will have to sign secrecy papers." Sachie replied.
"That's fine."
"I have another meeting with a client, Madonna, then I will meet you at the police station later if that's ok?" Sachie got up and put papers in her bag.
"Thanks you." Madonna walked her to the door.
"You were very brave." Carlos said, looking at Madonna proudly, but she just looked at him and walked away.




End of Part 15...




Part 16




Carlos woke up before Madonna the following day and watched her sleep. She looked so still and peaceful and he planted a very soft kiss on her forehead. The cut running alongside her hairline, down her face was fading, along with the marks on her wrists and the bruises on her body had all but gone. Madonna's eyelids twitched and she opened her eyes.
"Sorry, did I wake you?" Carlos asked.
"No." Madonna smiled lazily, sitting up as she opened her eyes and yawned. "Are you alright? You look...troubled."
"I should have been there to protect you." Carlos replied, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Neither of us knew what was going to happen. You can't always be with me, Carlos. It was just very very bad luck." Madonna said, smoothing his cheek. "I don't want you to beat yourself up over it."
"But if I had been with you, they wouldn't have approached you." Carlos replied, looking at Madonna with sad eyes.
"We probably would have split up to talk to people. My drinks could still have been laced at the very least. If anyone should feel guilty, it should be me. As much as I love you and Lola, I wanted a night out." Madonna sighed.
"You deserve nights out. There is no reason for you to feel guilty, M. You look after us and work hard." Carlos replied.
"I don't think I'm going to want a night out ever again. Not without you at least." Madonna said, kissing his neck, wrapping her arms around Carlos, pressing herself into him. He took one of her hands and kissed it, glancing back over his should at her.
"Eventually you might M, when you feel stronger again."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"This is too soon." Madonna chewed her thumbnail, looking at the letter on the coffee table. It told her when the court date was, which was in a couple of weeks.
Sachie was sat perched on the edge of the sofa next to her, bolt upright like a dancer. Carlos had gone to pick Lourdes up from school, and to give them some space.
"To be honest Madonna, there is never a good time for court. The least time you have to overthink it, the better." Sachie replied.
"You don't have to get up and say what I have to say."
Sachie nodded. "Granted. By I will lay down the floor for you. You're not alone in there, Madonna. Carlos will also be there. And after hearing your statement, I don't know a jury in the world who wouldn't sympathise with you. They will get what they deserve." She said the last part with determined aggression.
"It's not necessarily all that I'm worried about."
"What else?"
"The press."
"I'll get a press restriction inside the court and see what I can do about them keeping a distance outside too." Sachie said, making a note of that in her notepad. "I might not be able to do as much outside the court as inside, but I will try."
"Thank you." Madonna looked grateful.
"Do you have any other concerns I can help with?" Sachie asked.
"Not that I can think of."
"Ok. If you do, please try to tell me sooner rather than later, so I can sort them out for you."
"Yeah."
"Madonna, you sat and told me and Carlos. You were recorded at a police station. A courtroom is just a slightly bigger place, with a few more people. I believe in you." Sachie said. "Find a spot - or a person and fixate on it when you deliver your statement. If you don't feel confident, act confident. But not too much. It's perfectly fine if you get emotional, or cry. That's understanding. You have Judge Cartwright - a female judge who has sat on plenty of cases similar to this one."
Carlos returned then with Lourdes, who ran in and climbed up onto Madonna's lap.
"Lola! Madonna is trying to talk to Sachie." Carlos half-heartedly scolded her, it was hard for him to be even a little annoyed with his daughter.
"It's fine." Madonna said, rearranging Lourdes in her lap. "Did you have a good day at school, Lola?"
"Yeah!" Lourdes said, nodding, but looking at Sachie. "Are you mommy's friend?"
"Yes." Sachie smiled warmly, deciding against trying to explain her profession to someone so young.
"Do you want to come and see my room, Sachie?" Lourdes jumped down from Madonna's lap, holding her hand out.
"That would be nice." Sachie said, standing up and taking Lourdes' hand, looking from Carlos to Madonna and they both nodded, looking amused.
Lourdes took Sachie upstairs and showed her her bedroom and her books and toys. Madonna and Carlos went up with her and eventually Lourdes lost interest in the lawyer and started to play.
"I have a daughter and a son." Sachie said, looking at Madonna with an uncharacteristically warm expression.
"How old are they?"
"Daiki is eight and Aiko is six." Sachie replied.
"We're hoping to give Lola a brother or a sister soon." Carlos replied and Sachie smiled, looking at Madonna knowingly.
"I'm all done here, if you are?"
"Yes, thanks for everything."
Sachie raised a hand on her way out. When she was out of earshot, Carlos looked at Madonna.
"I can imagine her being really strict as a mother."
"There's nothing wrong with that."
"I couldn't be that strict with Lola." Carlos replied, looking at Lourdes playing with her toys on the floor.
"No." Madonna smiled down at her daughter.
"What was that look Sachie gave you when I said about giving Lola a brother or sister?"
"There was a look?" Madonna lied.
"Maybe not." Carlos said and when he walked away, Madonna looked down at her stomach, placing both hands on it.




End of Part 16...