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Material girl's Fan Fictions
materialgirl86
Part 10
"Mom, I wrote a poem. For grandad. Can I read it at the funeral?" Mercy held up a notebook, showing Madonna.
"Of course you can, sweetheart. Can I read it?" Madonna asked and Mercy nodded, sitting on the sofa next to her.
It was such a moving poem, that tears formed in Madonna's eyes.
"Mom are you ok?" Mercy touched Madonna's arm.
Madonna nodded. "This...is...so good." She said and started to cry, handing the notebook back to Mercy, who closed it and put it down.
"I didn't mean to make you cry mom." Mercy said quietly, wrapping her arms around Madonna's waist.
"It's a beautiful poem." Madonna sniffed, kissing the top of Mercy's head.
"I hate that you don't have any parents, mom. It's so sad." Mercy said, looking up at Madonna.
"But I have you and the others, Guy, all my brothers and sisters and Joan." Madonna replied, sounding like she was trying to convince herself as much as Mercy.
"Are you going to say something at the funeral mom?"
"Yes, I'm working on a eulogy." Madonna replied.
"Ok I'll leave you to it." Mercy got up, grabbing her notebook.
"If you need to talk to me about how you feel - " Madonna started.
"I know mom." Mercy said, smiling, then left.
Madonna went back outside to continue helping Joan and her siblings arrange Silvio's funeral.
"Are you ok? You look pale." Christopher asked when Madonna sat down.
"I am fucking pale." Madonna replied, smiling and Christopher tried not to laugh.
"You know I could always go talk to Anthony." He said quietly.
"He would probably just try to come between us." Madonna replied.
"How about if I spoke to him?" Joan suggested and everyone stopped their conversations and looked at her.
"Joan, you're fragile right now. He was vile when Martin and I went to see him." Madonna said softly.
"He at least needs to know when the funeral is...in case he changes his mind."
"I can go and let him know that." Martin offered.
"How is the eulogy going?" Jennifer asked Madonna.
"I've only just started it. But Mercy has written a beautiful poem she is going to read out at the funeral. I don't know if anyone else wanted to say anything too? Or your children?" Madonna looked around the table and a few of them nodded.
"I am writing something too." Joan said. "Maybe we can compare notes?" She offered and Madonna nodded, noticing how the stress of everything had aged her stepmother recently.
Stelle and Estere ran outside and proceeded to climb all over Madonna's lap, followed by Rocco, who clearly had been chasing them to try and stop them from interrupting the funeral preperations.
"Sorry mom, they were gone before I realised. I think they really want you." Rocco said breathlessly.
"It's fine Roccs." Madonna smiled, struggling to hold Stelle and Estere still in her lap.
"Mommy we want you to play with us!" Stelle said.
"We can continue later." Joan said, smiling at the sight of the girls.
"Sorry." Madonna said.
"Don't apologise." Joan held up a hand.
"Do you girls want to play with your Auntie Paula and Auntie Melanie as well?" Madonna asked, when her sisters took and interest in them and Stelle and Estere nodded. Melanie and Paula went with Madonna and the girls to play at the edge of the vineyard.
"How is the eulogy really coming?" Paula asked and Madonna could barely conceal the shock on her face.
"Was it that obvious?"
"No. But I noticed how quick you changed the suject."
"I'm struggling." Madonna hung her head.
"It will come to you M. There is a lot going on at the moment." Paula said, placing a hand on Madonna's back.
"I hope so."
"I know so." Paula said confidentally.
"Are you guys going to just let the girls attack me like this?" Melanie was led on the grass, laughing as Estere and Stelle climbed all over her.
Paula and Madonna looked at each other, then at Melanie and smiled, nodding. "Yes." They both said.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Madonna paced at the foot of the bed, trying to think of something to write for the eulogy. There were screwed up pieces of paper all over the floor and a pen was shoved into Madonna's hair, holding it up in a wildly messy bun.
"Darlin', what are you doing?" Guy groaned, rubbing his eyes as he sat up and yawned.
"I can't think of anything to write for the eulogy!" She said, sounding irritated.
"You need to sleep M. Can't you do it tomorrow?"
"I haven't been able to think of anything up till now - the funeral is in less than a week!" Madonna said, throwing her hands up dramatically.
"M, you need to calm down!" Guy said, looking concerned, by trying to be firm.
"I need a drink." Madonna said, heading for the door, but Guy quickly got out of bed and closed it, blocking her exit.
"No you don't." Guy folded his arms.
"Get out of my way."
"No."
"You don't understand Guy."
"Try me."
"I write songs for a living. And I can't think of what to write for this eulogy...it's embarrassing! Even Mercy wrote this amazing poem for dad and I can't produce a thing!" Madonna looked devastated.
Guy took both her arms and held Madonna close. "Darlin', I know it will come to you eventually. But right now you are tired and upset. I have noticed you aren't eating properly either."
"I'm not hungry." Madonna said in a small voice, not looking at Guy.
He took both her cheeks in his hands. "M, look at me. Darlin'. Please." Guy said softly and Madonna looked up at him. "Please M, I am here for you. I love you." He pressed his lips to her forehead and she closed her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks, over his fingers.
"I need help." She whispered.
"Let's go to bed now. Then tomorrow I can help you with the eulogy. We could even get the children involved if you like." Guy said calmly and Madonna nodded, looking at him. He held her for several long minutes and she didn't feel so alone, enveloped in his arms.
End of Part 10...

Part 11

"Guy, I think mom is having a breakdown. Or a meltdown. Whatever it's called." Lourdes said, sitting next to Guy on the porch.
He was watching Mercy and David play with Stelle and Estere. Guy frowned, looking at Lourdes.
"What makes you say that?"
"She's gone for a run. In this heat." Lourdes replied.
"Where did she go?" Guy asked.
"Seriously Guy, you aren't going to catch her. She was crazy fast."
"Did she say anything?"
"Something about finishing the eulogy..." Lourdes said. "I dunno why that would make you want to go for a run in this heat."
"Your mother was struggling with it. Staying up late at night struggling." Guy said, sighing.
"I don't know what to say to her. It's such a shock with grandad."
"Are you ok Lola?" Guy placed a hand on her back.
"I'm worried about mom." Lourdes said looking at Guy and he realised how much like Madonna she was - changing the subject the minute someone asked how she was and it felt uncomfortable to answer.
They looked down at the children playing, then saw Madonna run towards them, dripping with sweat, but she smiled.
"Did Lola tell you? I managed to finish the eulogy! I felt so energised I had to go for a run."
"M, we need to talk." Guy said.
"I'll go play with them." Lourdes left them alone.
"About what?" Madonna walked past Guy into the kitchen, breathless and grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge.
"You were up all night writing. Then go running in ridiculous heat this morning." Guy said, looking concerned.
"I don't get what I've done wrong?" Madonna frowned, drinking half the bottle of water in one go.
"Darlin' you haven't done anything wrong...it's just...don't you think your behaviour is erratic?" Guy said gingerly.
"No. I have just lost my father Guy, how am I supposed to behave?" Madonna spoke sharply and he knew they were on the brink of an argument.
"I don't want to have an argument M." Guy said quietly.
"Don't start one then. I need to shower." Madonna shoved past Guy and went upstairs.
He watched her go, sighing and knowing better than to go after her straight away.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna climbed over Guy late that night and he couldn't help but smile, even though he could smell the wine on her breath before she even kissed him.
"Fuck me." She whispered in his ear.
"How much have you had to drink?" Guy asked.
"What kind of a question is that?" Madonna frowned a little. "I just said, fuck me. Do you need a permission slip to fuck me when I've been drinking?" She slurred her words.
"M..."
She slipped a hand down his pyjama bottoms and brushed her fingertips along his dick, looking at him the entire time.
"I know you dont really want me to stop." Madonna whispered in his ear, smiling smugly, as she felt him start to get hard.
"Darlin', you are completely hammered, this isn't right." Guy grabbed her wrist, removing her hand from down his bottoms. He held both her shoulders, sitting up. "M?"
"You're rejecting me." She said in a small voice, looking deflated.
"No. I am not taking advantage of you while you are vulnerable."
"But I want you too."
"Darlin' you can't even sit there without swaying on the spot. Just how much did you drink?"
Madonna shrugged. "I dunno."
"Stay there and let me get you some water."
"I need air."
"I can open the windows." Guy said, going over to open them.
"So tired..." Madonna lay on her back and Guy rolled her over on to her side.
"Stay on your side. Just in case you're sick."
Guy went to get Madonna some water. When he returned and handed her the glass, he saw silent tears running down her cheeks.
"Thanks." She said quietly and he noticed her hands tremble so much she nearly dropped the glass. Guy quickly put his hand on the glass and tilted it for Madonna, then put it on her bedside table.
"I keep dreaming about my dad. And my mom. And sometimes Anthony."
"Remember you used to have anxiety dreams about Chris?"
"Chris is...he is easier to get on with. Anthony is bitter towards all of us."
"And your dad passing away is bound to bring up memories of your mother. M you are being too hard on yourself." Guy said, taking both her hands in his. "Maybe after the funeral you can start to deal with some of this."
"I guess."
"At least you've written your eulogy."
"It's very long."
"How long?"
"Ten pages. Front and back." Madonna half smile and Guy fought the urge to laugh. "It's ridiculously long isn't it?"
"No. I am sure your father would be touched that you have so much to say about him. Can I read it tomorrow?" Guy asked and Madonna nodded.
"The children must think I'm crazy."
"Lola said she was concerned earlier. I think that had more to do with you going for a run in the blistering heat."
Madonna lay down, against Guy. "I don't want to sleep."
"You can't stay up for ever M. I'm right here if you have any weird dreams." He kissed the top of her head and she gazed up at him, wrapping an arm around Guy and kissed his bare chest.

End of Part 11...

Part 12

Madonna woke up crying and found she was alone in bed. She really didn't feel like getting up and participating in life. Stelle and Estere ran into the rooom and jumped on the bed, climbing all over Madonna.
"Why are you crying mommy?"
"Is it because Grandad is in heaven?"
They both spoke at the same time and Madonna nodded, pulling them both closer to her and they covered her with kisses, clutching her.
"Did you like our pictures?" Stelle asked and Madonna smiled through her tears.
"They are beautiful. I love them." Madonna kissed her cheek.
"Mommy are you getting dressed?" Estere asked.
"Do I have too?" Madonna sighed and both the twins nodded.
"You can see heaven outside, it's very sunny!" Stelle said sweetly and Madonna smiled again.
"Ok. Why don't you two go on outside and I will be out in a bit?"
"Promise?" Stelle asked.
"I promise baby." Madonna replied and both girls kissed her, then ran downstairs outside. Madonna got up and looked out the window and saw the twins play with David outside.
"This is..." Guy walked into the room and Madonna turned around. He held the pages of her eulogy up and sounded choked up, like he might cry.
"Is it ok? Did I ramble on and write too much?" Madonna chewed her lower lip.
Guy shook his head. "It's perfect." He went over to her, putting his arms around Madonna and kissed her.
"You're not being biased, are you Guy? You would tell me if you thought it was too long?" Madonna said, looking up at him as she held his arms.
"Of course I would tell you, darlin'. But the eulogy is beautiful as it it - very moving. Don't make it shorter." Guy said and a few tears fell down his cheeks.
"I don't think I've ever seen you cry..." Madonna said, looking sad, as she wiped his tears away with her thumbs.
"What can I say, you have a way with words M." Guy replied.
"I feel so lazy sleeping in...I really didn't want to get up though. Now the twins have talked me into going outside, so I better grab a shower before they come looking for me."
"Sleep in all you want M. You hardly sleep at the best of times and right now you need all your energy."
"I guess." Madonna sighed, taking the eulogy from Guy and putting it in the drawer of her bedside table.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Joan?" Madonna found her stepmother sitting on the porch in the middle of the night, drinking alone.
"Do you want some?" Joan held up the bottle and Madonna got a glass.
Joan poured some wine for Madonna and they both drank in silence for a couple of minutes.
"I don't know how you manage this." Joan said.
"Manage what?"
"Insomnia. It's driving me crazy."
"I'm so used to it." Madonna replied.
"No-Madonna you are still going to come home to visit me, aren't you?"
"You can call me Nonnie, Joan. It reminds me of dad. I like it. You would be the only person who called me that now. And of course I will come and visit, this is my home." Madonna said. She frowned. "Did you think I would abandon you?"
"No. But I thought you might be less inclined to come and see me." Joan said quietly.
"Not at all. I know we've had our differences in the past and I haven't made your life easy, but I still want to come home here and see you. And bring your grandchildren to visit." Madonna said and Joan smiled. "You are keeping the vineyard, I take it?"
"Yes. I love it here. So many fond memories. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else." Joan said and Madonna looked relieved. "I am looking forward to hearing your eulogy - I saw Guy reading it earlier and thought he might cry."
"He did." Madonna said, sipping wine. "Are you going to say anything Joan?"
"Yes. I can't write it down. I've tried several times, but I get too emotional. I have an idea of what I'm going to say though." Joan said.
Madonna moved closer to Joan, and Joan put her arm around her. She remembered when Madonna was a little girl and had lost her mother and even though she was an adult now it broke her heart that she'd lost her father. Joan felt moved when Madonna cuddled up to her more and both women silently cried.

End of Part 12...

Part 13

Guy and Madonna had taken the children to the beach the day before Silvio's funeral. It had been Guy's idea, he didn't want Madonna to spend a whole day feeling anxious about the following day. Madonna had been the one who gave Joan the option of a relatively quiet child-free house, or a day at the beach with them, and Joan had chosen to go with them.
"I don't think even on stage Madonna looks as happy as she does with the children." Joan said to Guy, smiling at the sight of Madonna playing with Stelle and Estere, making sandcastles a little further down in front of them.
"I think being a mother makes her happier than anything else." Guy replied, smiling at the sight of his wife having a break from her grief whilst she played with their daughters.
"She is a really good mother." Joan said and Guy looked at her.
"Have you ever told her that?" Guy asked and Joan shook her head.
"No. It wouldn't matter if I constantly praised her. I'm not Madonna's mother. We have had a very complicated relationship over the years." Joan replied. "Although I think recently - even before Silvio passed away, it has been getting better."
"Yes, I have noticed." Guy nodded. "We will bring the children to see you, Joan. Silvio being gone doesn't stop you being family." He said softly and Joan smiled at him.
"Thank you." She felt a pair of arms wrap around her and Joan looked around to see Lourdes smile at her.
"Do you want a drink, gran? Rocco and I are going to that hut cafe thingy over there."
"A lemonade would be nice dear, thank you." Joan held one of Lourdes' hands and kissed it.
"Guy?" Lourdes asked, looking at him as she continued hugging Joan.
"Tea please."
"I'll be back in a minute." Lourdes said, running to catch up to Rocco.
"Lola looks so much like Madonna." Joan said, looking amused.
"She has her temperament as well." Guy said quietly and Joan laughed.
Both Guy and Joan looked at Madonna. She looked up at them and Guy couldn't quite read her expression.
"Do you mind if I go and join them?" Joan asked.
"No, go for it." Guy said and helped her to her feet.
Joan went and sat with Madonna and the twins and several minutes later Madonna joined Guy.
"Are you alright darlin'?" Guy draped an arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple.
"Exhausted. It's exhausting pretending everything is ok. Even if it is just for a day."
"Joan just said you're a good mother."
"I think she was getting worried I wouldn't bring the children to visit after tomorrow." Madonna replied.
"I told her we would." Guy said.
"So did I. We had a little chat last night. She's still my stepmother."
"Darlin' I don't think she was just complimenting you so you would bring the children over. Anyone who sees you with our children, or any children for that matter can see how happy they make you." Guy said softly.
"Ugh, stop complimenting me!" Madonna pretended to sound annoyed.
"Why?"
"Because I have to smile and it's making my face ache!" Madonna rubbed her jaw and cheeks and Guy laughed.
"M, it's ok to be happy you know." Guy said and Madonna looked at him.
"It doesn't feel right, considering."
Guy pressed his forehead to Madonna's. "I'm sure your father would want you to be happy." He whispered and she knew he was right and didn't reply.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna woke up in the middle of the night and frowned, seeing the pictures of her parents weren't on her bedside table.
"Nonnie. There is someone who wants to meet you." A voice made her look up at the doorway and Silvio stood there, smiling and reaching out his hand.
Looking down at Guy, she saw he was fast asleep. Madonna got out of bed and went over to her father. She took his hand and let him take her downstairs, outside. Madonna's eyes were wide when she saw her mother standing out in the garden. Her face broke out into a gorgeous smile at the sight of her daughter.
"Hello Madonna. I've waited a long time to see you."
"This isn't real. Neither of you are real...I'm dreaming." Madonna said, looking from her mother to her father.
"You need to let me go." Silvio said, going over to stand by Madonna snr, taking her hand. "Like you let her go."
"I never let her go." Madonna frowned.
"And you have spent your whole life sad because you can't let go." Madonna snr said.
"You're my parents! The most important people in my life!" Madonna yelled.
"We know how much you love us Nonnie...don't hurt yourself any more because you can't let go." Silvio said.
"No! I won't let you go!"
Madonna snr was in front of Madonna in a flash, smiling. She held Madonna's jaw, her touch feather-light. "You always were a stubborn child." Madonna snr said it as though it was funny and laughed.
"I can't let go! I won't! I can't!" Madonna thrashed about in bed, moaning, until she woke up and sat bolt upright in bed and looked down at Guy, who looked at her with concern.
"Darlin', it was just a dream." He held her arm.
"They feel so real. I keep dreaming about my parents, Guy. It's driving me crazy."
"It might change after the funeral."
"I hope so."

End of Part 13...
materialgirl86

This fiction is set in 2017. Guy Ritchie and Madonna are still married.

Part 1

"I hope your father doesn't mind having his peace shattered for a while." Guy whispered to Madonna on the plane, as they watched Lourdes, Rocco, David and Mercy playing with Stelle and Estere. They were laughing and joking at lot and the plane was pretty noisy, so it was a good thing they were on a private plane.
Madonna smiled, looking at Guy. "I did tell him they are very lively. Dad won't mind. We took all the others to see him when they were little."
"We have some noisy children." Guy said, smiling and Madonna laughed.
"It will make a nice change for dad and Joan. They love being surrounded by family anyway. It can be pretty quiet, just the two of them."
"Yeah, it must get lonely." Guy agreed. "I'm glad we have Stelle and Estere, they are going to be keeping us on our toes for quite a few years." He draped an arm around Madonna's shoulders, kissing the top of her head and she smiled and sat leaning into him more.
"It's nice to have them all with us. With Lola not living at home and Rocco out with his friends so much..." Madonna's voice wobbled.
"Darlin', they come home and call you. They will always need you, you're their mother." Guy said quietly and Madonna nodded, as she gazed up at him. "I miss them too. But I know it must be hard for you." He squeezed her arm.
"Are you ok mom?" Lourdes went over to them and Guy got up and went to join the other children to give them some space.
"Yes." Madonna sighed. "I just miss you."
"I still live in the same city." Lourdes replied, smiling. "Don't be silly mom." She wrapped her arms around Madonna and held her close, so Madonna could bury her nose in her hair.
"I'm just emotional and have been sleeping less." Madonna replied, when they stopped hugging each other.
"You still have Rocco, David, Mercy, Estere and Stelle at home." Lourdes said in an attempt to cheer up Madonna.
"Rocco is out with his friends a lot. And David and Mercy are growing up so fast lately."
"But Mercy and David will still be at home for quite some years yet. And Stelle and Estere even more. Rocco and I still see you a lot too." Lourdes continued and Madonna nodded, smiling.
"I'm so glad you're back in New York. I was proud of you for going to Michigan, don't get me wrong, but I like that you're in the same city as me."
"Me too." Lourdes smiled and lay across Madonna, letting her mother stroke her hair.
Guy looked over at Madonna looking more content, and Lourdes who smiled back at him. She always knew what to say to make things better, a lot like her mother.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Hi dad." Madonna smiled, almost running into Silvio's open arms. He looked equally as happy to see her.
"Nonnie, I missed you." Silvio said, using her childhood nickname as he held her.
"Don't, or I'm going to start crying." Madonna whispered.
Guy was talking to Joan and Stelle and Estere were running around, with Rocco and Mercy trying to chase them so they could meet Silvio. They thought this was a game and continued running around, laughing.
Lourdes and David kissed and hugged Joan and Silvio, followed by Rocco and Mercy, when Madonna eventually caught Stelle and Estere and told them there was someone special who wanted to meet them.
"Girls, this is my dad and my step-mother." Madonna said, kneeling down between Stelle and Estere, holding both of their hands. She looked up at Silvio and Joan. "And these two beautiful girls are Stelle and Estere."
"Hello mommy's daddy and step-mommy." Stelle and Estere said together and they were so cute that everyone smiled and there was some laughter.
"You can call us nanny and grandad, it might be easier." Joan said warmly and the girls nodded.
"How about I show you the room you will be staying in?" Silvio suggested.
"Yes!"
"Yes please!"
"Dad, we are staying at a hotel..." Madonna started.
"Please can we stay here mommy!" Estsere pulled at Madonna's top.
"Can we see our room?" Stelle asked.
"We have more than enough room, Nonnie. A bit of noise will make a nice change. How often do I get to see all my grandchildren together like this?" Silvio asked and everyone looked at Madonna expectantly.
"Dad, we were going to stay for like a week."
"That's fine."
"If you insist." Madonna held up both her hands, but was secretly pleased to be staying there instead of in yet another hotel.
"Who wants to help get the stuff out of the car?" Guy looked at the children.
"I will." David said.
"Me too." Rocco headed towards the car.
"Do you guys want to see which room you would like too?" Joan asked Lourdes and Mercy, who nodded and followed her.
"Dad are you sure - " Madonna started again, but Silvio held a hand up to silence her.
"The house in more than big enough. And the girls can run around in the vineyard." Silvio said, looking at Stelle and Estere wandering into the house, taking everything in.
"Thank you daddy." Madonna hugged Silvio and kissed him. "I should go and help Guy."
"Ok. Will the girls be ok to share a room?"
"They would love too." Madonna said. She watched Silvio catch up to the twins and smiled, when she heard him say how lucky they were to have Madonna as their mommy. Stelle and Estere then proceeded to tell their new grandad how much they love their mommy, all of which nearly made Madonna cry.
"Darlin'?" Guy looked at her questioningly. "Someone hasn't been naughty already, surely?" He touched her arm and Madonna shook her head and told Guy the conversation she'd just heard between the girls and her father and Guy wrapped his arms around Madonna and held her. "I think you are tired M. You've been nearly crying since the plane."
"Yeah, you're right."
"Why don't you go and have a nap? The boys and I have the luggage covered."
"No, I want to help out. I'll be plenty tired by this evening."
"You are so stubborn sometimes M." Guy said, only half scolding her and Madonna nodded, half smiling.

End of Part 1...

Part 2

Dinner that evening was a whole lot chaotic than Joan and Silvio were used to, but clearly they liked the lively conversations of the children, who were all talking over each other.
"This reminds me of when you and your brothers and sisters were young." Silvio said to Madonna, motioning to everyone talking over each other and Madonna laughed.
"I didn't realise how loud we must have been." Madonna said, looking around the table at her children with some amusement.
"I do miss the noise sometimes. It's very quiet here, even with people coming to the vineyard."
"I'll try and come more often dad. Maybe not with all of the children and for a week at a time..." Madonna said and Silvio laughed.
"Nonnie I'm really proud of you, adopting those girls. They are lucky to have you as their mother." Silvio said, looking at Madonna with a mixture of love and admiration.
"Guy and I are lucky to have them." Madonna said, holding Guy's hand on the table.
"They certainly keep us on our toes." Guy said, smiling.
Estere and Stelle were talking to Joan, or keeping her entertained with their singing and encouraging her to join in. Joan was smiling and singing with them.
When the plates were cleared away, Madonna, Guy, Silvio and Joan sat on the sofas while the children entertained them. Mercy and Lourdes played the piano, sat side by side. Rocco and David played guitars and Stelle and Estere sang.
"You both have a very talented group of children." Joan said to Madonna and Guy, who nodded, looking proud.
"They are all really creative, we're so proud of them." Madonna replied.
"That wine was really something." Guy said to Silvio, who smiled.
"I can give you some bottles to take home, when you go if you like."
"That would be great." Guy said.
Lourdes and Rocco had left Mercy and David playing the piano and guitar and were dancing with Stelle and Estere, singing with them a bit as well. Silvio and Joan clapped and Guy and Madonna cheered them on. Madonna filmed some of it on her phone and posted it on Instagram.
When they finished, Madonna noticed Silvio looked tired. She followed him out of the room when he excused himself, and put a firm hand on his shoulder.
"Daddy? Are you ok?" She asked in almost a whisper.
"Yes Nonnie." Silvio said, patting her hand. "I'm just tired, that's all." He said, turning to face her.
"You would tell me if there was something wrong, wouldn't you?"
"I'm old, Nonnie. I just tire easily sometimes. I promise I would tell you if there was something wrong." Silvio said, fixing Madonna with a stare that let her know the conversation was over.
"Ok." Madonna said. Something had shifted in the atmosphere and didn't feel right, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
They both went back in the room and everyone spent the next ten minutes of so saying goodnight to each other. Madonna and Guy put Stelle and Estere to bed, reading them several stories before they drifted off.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Tell me." Guy said, as Madonna shifted for the millionth time that night and he couldn't sleep either.
"What?" Madonna frowned, still staring up at the ceiling.
"Something is bothering you darlin'."
"My dad."
"What about him?"
"I think he lied to me."
"About?"
"I asked him if there was something wrong. He promised me he would tell me if there was...and that he was just tired. But I think there is something wrong with him." Madonna looked at Guy, her eyes glittering in the semi-darkness.
"Perhaps Silvio doesn't want to worry you." Guy suggested.
"It worries me more that he won't tell me."
"M. He probably thinks you are busy enough, with Estere and Stelle..."
"I am never busy enough for my own father!" Madonna shot back, frowning.
Guy held up his hands defensively. "Ok, ok. I never said you were."
"Maybe I should talk to Joan." Madonna chewed her lower lip.
"What if there really is nothing wrong? You would be worrying Joan for no good reason." Guy said softly, looking at Madonna with concern.
"Or maybe she knows something..." Madonna got out of bed and started pacing at the foot of it.
"Get back into bed M. You are going to drive yourself crazy with 'what if' and get no sleep."
"I've spent my life on little sleep, Guy." Madonna said quietly.
"How about I talk to Joan tomorrow? I will be as subtle as I can." Guy said and Madonna stopped pacing and looked at him.
"Would you?"
"Yes."
"Thank you baby." Madonna got back into bed, moving right into Guy and he held her, kissing her.
"Please try to calm down darlin'. You need sleep, whatever you say." He said and she nodded.
The phone rang early the following morning and Madonna was the only person who heard it downstairs, because she was sleeping lightly. Madonna got out of bed and put on her dressing gown, then ran down to the kitchen and picked up the phone. Her eyes were wide and the colour drained from her face as she dropped the receiver and it swung, slamming into the wall several times and she howled, waking the whole house. Guy ran down stairs and skidded to a halt in the kitchen, when he saw the state Madonna was in, crying and shaking.
"Darlin'? Darlin'?" Guy held her arms.
"My dad i-is in h-h-hospital. H-heart a-attack." Madonna said, hardly able to speak.

End of Part 2...

Part 3

Guy drove Madonna to the hospital not long after the phone call. He'd helped her get changed and got dressed himself. Guy then told Lourdes and Rocco what had happened and they were both left in charge of the others.
"Shall we tell the others what happened?" Rocco asked quietly.
"Is mom going to be ok?" Lourdes asked, looking concerned.
"You can tell the others, but try not to worry them. And I will look after M. Everything will be fine." Guy said calmly, even though he didn't quite believe it himself.
Madonna didn't say anything in the hour it took them to get to the hospital. She pressed her head against the window, staring out of it at nothing in particular. Every time Guy opened his mouth to say something, he closed it again. It was a very tense silence. Guy was almost relieved when they arrived at the hospital.
"If your father is as strong as you are, there will be nothing to worry about M." Guy said, when they got out of the car and Madonna looked at him expressionlessly, shrugging.
"I wouldn't know, because clearly no one tells me anything!" She sounded irate and Guy grabbed her shoulders.
"Hey! Don't be hard on Joan when we get in there."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Madonna frowned.
"If your dad had any health problems, I expect she would have known. Maybe he didn't want to worry anyone else." Guy suggested.
Madonna broke free from his grasp. "Don't worry, I'm not going to cause a scene." She said vehemently.
They found Silvio in no time at all, with Madonna nearly sprinting down the corridors and Guy following. Joan was sat by Silvio's side, holding his hand, and he was sat up in bed, lying propped up against a lot of pillows.
"I told you not to worry Nonnie, Joan." Silvio scolded his wife lightly, sighing.
"I could hardly not call Madonna, when she is staying with us!" Joan protested softly.
"Has this happened recently?" Madonna frowned, going over to Silvio and holding his other hand.
"Only a small one. I was in and out of this place."
"And nobody called me?" Madonna asked faintly, looking from Silvio to Joan.
"Your father didn't want me to, darling." Joan said, looking regretful.
"Why worry you when you are thousands of miles away?" Silvio said, shrugging like it was no big deal.
"Do any of my brothers and sisters know?"
"No." Silvio replied. "I'm going to be fine Nonnie. This is why I don't tell you, because you get yourself all worked up and stressed out." He said motioning to her.
"Shall we go and get coffee?" Joan suggested to Guy and he nodded.
"Do you want one darlin'?" He asked Madonna.
"Black please." Madonna replied.
"They decided to keep me in overnight. Just to keep an eye on me." Silvio said and Madonna frowned.
"That sounds serious."
"It's to do with my age, Nonnie. Although Joan found it necessary to call your brothers and sisters. So Chris might be coming here or by the house at some point. I do wish you would make up." Silvio said, studying Madonna's face.
She clenched her jaw. "This isn't about our problems."
"Let it go."
Madonna sighed. "Have you heard from Anthony recently?" She referred to her older brother, who was currently homeless.
Anthony was an alcoholic and had stolen from Silvio and Joan to buy drink, and despite them trying to help him and Madonna paying for a couple of rounds of rehab, he had ended up homeless.
"No." Silvio sighed. "I wish there was something we could do to help him, but some people make it impossible to reach them."
"I could go look for him, if you wanted to see him." Madonna offered.
"Thank you Nonnie, but I don't think he wants to see any of us. He knows where I am if he wants to get in contact."
"Dad, I can stay longer and help you and Joan. And I'm sure the children would help around the house. Anything you need." Madonna suggestedly, trying to sound calm, but her voice was shaky.
"That would be nice." Silvio said, knowing it would be easier to give in than argue with his very stubborn daughter.
Guy and Joan returned with the coffee and they all sat down, Joan on one side of Silvio, Madonna on the other with Guy next to her.
"Is there anything you need from home dad? I can go get it for you." Madonna offered, wanting to feel useful.
"A change of clothes for tomorrow. And there are a couple of books on my bedside table. Is that ok? I don't want to put you out Nonnie."
"It's no problem. We can go in a minute." Madonna said, looking at Guy, who nodded.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Is grandad ok?" Stelle asked, the minute Madonna stepped through the door.
"Yes. He just needs to spend the night in hospital." Madonna smiled, scooping her up in her arms and kissing Stelle.
"Mommy, you sounded sad." Estere said, looking worried.
Madonna scooped Estere up in her other arm, kissing her cheek also. "Mommy was just worried, because her daddy was sick. But they are giving him medicine to make him all better." She carried them both to the living room, where the others were and put them down.
"So is grandad going to be ok?" David asked.
"I think so. He had a heart attack, but they want to keep him in over night because of his age." Madonna said. Mercy went over and hugged her and Madonna smiled down at her daughter.
"I hope you guys have been behaving for Lola and Roccs."
"They have." Lourdes nodded.
"Is there anything you want us to do?" Rocco asked, looking up from his phone.
"No thanks, baby."
"Are you gonna stay at the hospital overnight?" Lourdes asked.
Madonna looked at Guy. "Probably not. We are just taking some clothes and books, so we might be there a while. Do you mind staying here?"
"No, we're having a good time here, aren't we guys?" Lourdes said and everyone said 'yes!' and Madonna smiled, then went upstairs. Guy went after her.
"M. He looked good." Guy said quietly, following her into Silvio and Joan's room.
"I know."
"We could stay overnight if you wanted too...looks like Lola and Roccs have everything under control here." Guy said softly.
"I don't know. Joan will be with him. I don't want him to think I'm worried." Madonna said, as she put a change of clothes in a holdall.
"Darlin', he probably knows you are worried." Guy replied, watching Madonna carefully place the books on top and zip it up. He placed both hands on her shoulders and could feel how tense she was. "Silvio is going to be fine."
"I know." Madonna said, feeling as uncertain as the previous night.

End of Part 3...

Part 4

Madonna and Guy were walking along the hospital hallway to her father, when she spotted two of her sisters - Melanie and Paula coming out of his room. Her face lit up when she saw them and Madonna ran towards them.
"Oh my god, it's so good to see you both!" Madonna said, as they both hugged her.
"We shouldn't leave it so long next time!" Paula replied, smiling.
"And try not to meet in a hospital." Melanie added and the three women laughed.
"Chris is in with him now, just to warn you." Paula said and Madonna's smile faded.
"Oh. I might just wait until he leaves."
"Darlin', don't you think you should just talk to him?" Guy suggested and all three women looked at him.
"Guy has a point." Melanie said quietly.
"I'm here for dad, not Chris." Madonna replied, looking at Guy like he'd betrayed her.
"Maybe another time." Paula said softly.
"Where are you guys staying?" Madonna changed the topic.
"In town." Melanie said.
"Why don't you come up to the house for dinner later? You can meet Estere and Stelle." Madonna said and Melanie and Paula nodded.
"Sure, we would love too." Paula said. "We'll see you later Maddy." She hugged her sister again and they both left.
"Thanks for the support." Madonna said sourly to Guy.
"Don't be like that M. Just talk to him. Let it go."
"Another time." Madonna said, sitting outside the room her father was in and Guy sat next to her. "We were so close, Guy. I can't let it go and I can't forgive him. Not now, anyway. It still hurts."
"Only because you let it."
"Ok."
Chris left the room, surprised to see Madonna, who stood up and didn't look at him, walking straight past him to her father. Guy looked at Chris, then followed Madonna and Chris left, sighing.
"Nonnie." Silvio said, when Madonna sat next to him.
"If this is going to be a lecture, I'm leaving." Madonna said and Silvio shoom his head, deciding against it.
"Thank you for the clothes and books."
"Jennifer, Mario and Martin came by just before Chris." Joan said, sounding happy that all the family were in town.
"I saw Melanie and Paula just now too." Madonna replied.
"If you wanted to go and catch up with them, I would understand." Silvio said. "There isn't really a lot to do around here."
"I want to stay here with you dad. I can catch up with them later." Madonna said, holding one of Silvio's hands. He saw something that resembled fear in her eyes, but she was doing her best to hide it.
"Silvio I might go home and have a wash and get changed." Joan said.
"Of course." Silvio nodded.
"I'll take you, Joan." Guy offered.
"Thank you, that's very kind." Joan kissed Silvio and Madonna, then left with Guy.
"It will be nice to see everyone later." Madonna said and Silvio nodded.
"I am not going to lecture you Nonnie, but maybe talk to Chris? I know he wants to buil bridges with you. You could at least listen to what he has to say."
"Maybe. I'm not promising anything though." Madonna replied.
"Why do you look so scared?" Silvio asked, frowning.
"I love you. I don't want anything to happen to you, dad." Madonna said quietly and he felt the slightest tremor in her hand.
"It was just a minor heart attack. Nothing to worry about." Silvio replied and Madonna rolled her eyes and laughed.
"Only you would call a heart attack something 'minor'."
"I'm still here, Nonnie."
"I want to find Anthony and make things right with him. So maybe I should give Chris a chance too." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip.
"That's all you can do, give your brothers a chance. The rest is up to them." Silvio replied, looking at Madonna proudly.
"I missed you. I even missed Michigan, but don't tell anyone that." Madonna said, smiling and Silvio laughed. "I'm going to try and come home more, to see you."
"That would be wonderful Nonnie."
"Not always with the children and Guy. Sometimes I want you to myself." Madonna said and Silvio nodded.
"Nonnie?"
"Yes?"
"Can you please get a nurse? I feel a bit strange." Silvio asked and Madonna frowned, nodding and hurrying from the room to get a nurse.
Madonna returned with a couple of nurses just as Silvio was having another heart attack.
"Dad!" Madonna rushed over to hold his hand.
Silvio clutched his chest with one hand and reached out to hold her hand with his other hand. "Nonnie...it's ok..." He said with some difficulty.
"Mrs Ritchie, can you please wait outside the room?" One of the nurses asked, as the consultant rushed into the room.
"I need to be with my dad!" Madonna yelled.
"Nonnie...do as you are told...for once..." Silvio managed to smile and Madonna went outside the room. She pressed her hand to the glass and Silvio never took his eyes from her.
Madonna pulled her phone out of her bag and phoned Guy. "You need to bring Joan back right now! I need you right now!" She practically screamed down the phone.
"M, calm down! What is wrong?" Guy asked.
"Dad is having a heart attack. It looks serious." Madonna said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Oh my god. We're coming. M, please try to calm down. I know it must be hard. But your father is strong."
Madonna nodded. "Yeah." She hung up, unable to say anything else, dropping her phone in her bag, feeling like she was five years old and her mother was dying all over again. It made her own chest ache and she put a hand to it, silently praying for her father.

End of Part 4...

Part 5

Madonna was sat outside the room her father was in, her head bowed, eyes closed and hands clasped together in front of her head when Guy arrived with Joan.
"M? Darlin'?" Guy sat next to Madonna, putting an arm around her and she looked up, her eyes red-rimmed from crying, tears still sliding down her cheeks.
"He died. Just now." Madonna said.
They both looked up when they heard Joan howl from the room and standing up, Guy and Madonna saw a couple of nurses try to console her.
"I should go..." Madonna trailed off, nodding towards Joan and Guy watched her.
The nurses left Madonna to hold Joan, and gave them all some space. Guy stepped inside the room, looking at both women. He wondered if Madonna had held her father like that when she had lost her mother. It was like she had to have the strength to be the adult all over again, and he had new found admiration for his wife.
"I am so sorry, ladies. Silvio was a really good guy." Guy said quietly and both women looked at him, while tears ran down their faces and nodded.
"I was just saying I needed to come and see dad more." Madonna wept. "It's too late now!" She covered her mouth with a shaky hand and Guy wrapped his arms around her, pulling Madonna close and kissing the top of her head.
"The rest of your siblings are on their way. Joan called them on the way here." Guy said and Madonna nodded.
"Thanks." She looked at Joan, smoothing Silvio's hair, touching his cheek, looking completely and utterly distraught.
Madonna looked over at her father and Guy felt her go almost rigid in his arms. "He looks so small and vulnerable." She whispered, looking at Guy. "I'm too shocked to get hysterical right now. This isn't real."
"Darlin', there isn't a correct way to grieve. Everyone is different." Guy replied.
"I thought he was going to be ok. I can't believe he isn't coming home with us." Madonna's voice faltered and her face was an ashy colour.
"M? Do you want some air?"
"I feel sick." Madonna said, rushing from the room. She threw up in a wastebasket next to the nurses station along the hallway, Guy hot on her heels.
One of the nurses gave her a glass of water and a bed pan, in case Madonna felt sick again. Guy took her outside the room her father was in and they sat down. Melanie, Paula and Martin returned, followed by Chris, then Jennifer and Mario. There was a lot of crying and hugging, but Madonna and Chris managed to avoid each other. Guy noticed them look each others' way occasionally, and and he wondered if the other siblings sensed the atmosphere between them.
"Has anyone talked to Anthony recently?" Martin asked, looking around and they all shook their heads.
"We could go find him." Madonna suggested.
"Maybe I should go alone...you know how bitter he has been recently." Martin said softly, not wanting another brother and sister argument in the family.
"Yeah, you're right."
"Can we go in and see dad?" Jennifer asked.
"Yes." Joan said, squeezing her hand. "Maybe a couple at a time." She suggested and the rest of them sat outside the room.
"I need to tell the children. Oh god, how am I going to tell Stelle and Estere?" Madonna whispered to Guy, who took her hand and kissed it.
"I can help you explain it to them." He replied.
"We could all come up to the house this evening and have dinner together. In dad's honour." Melanie suggested, looking around at her brothers and sisters.
Chris and Madonna looked at each other, then Chris looked at Melanie. "Maybe not."
"You should come." Madonna said, her jaw set as she looked down at her lap, then up at Chris and sighed. "Our differences don't matter right now."
"If you are sure." Chris said.
"Don't make this about me." Madonna replied.
"Hey, come on. No fighting." Paula said, looking from one sibling to the other. "We need to be there for each other."
Joan came out of the room and held Jennifer, who wouldn't stop crying. Chris and Martin went in next. Madonna stood up, looking down at Guy.
"We've seen dad. I need to tell the kids."
"M, are you sure you don't want to see him?"
"Guy, we need to go." Madonna said in the firmest tone she could manage.
"Ok darlin'."
"Is it ok if you all come at about eight?" Madonna suggested and they nodded. She turned and left, like she couldn't leave the hospital fast enough, with Guy following.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Madonna had started crying when she and Guy gathered all the children together to tell them, so Guy had been the one to tell them that their grandad had died. He had Stelle and Estere in his lap and when they looked confused, Guy explained that Silvio had gone up to heaven. Guy explained it in such a nice way, that it made Madonna cry harder. All of the children ended up in tears, even the boys - Rocco and David. Lourdes and Rocco sat either side of Madonna and David and Mercy sat in her lap. They all wanted to be close to Madonna, to hug her and also be consoled themselves. When Guy had finished explaining to Stelle and Estere, they were both crying and reaching for Madonna, so David and Mercy sat at her feet on the floor, touching her knees, so Madonna could hold them.
"All of your aunties and uncles will be coming up to the house for dinner this evening." Guy told them.
"Even Chris?" Rocco asked.
"Even Chris." Madonna replied softly.
"I'll make some drinks." Guy said, getting up and wanting to do something useful.
"I can help." Lourdes said and David also went out with them to the kitchen. "Mom looks totally out of it." Lourdes said, when they were out of earshot of Madonna.
"She is in shock at the moment. I don't think it has sank in properly yet."
"I thought grandad wasn't seriously ill?" David half asked, looking confused.
"When you are older, you are more prone to heart attacks, son. You don't need to be seriously ill to have one." Guy replied.
"Grandad was strong though. Like mom." Lourdes frowned, fresh tears forming in her eyes.
"I know, Lola." Guy said sadly, looking at Madonna. Rocco had his arm around her and she was hugging Stelle and Estere tightly, like she was scared to let go of them.
"Can we see him?" Lourdes asked and the question caught Guy off guard.
"Why? Don't you believe he is dead?" David asked.
"I can take you later, if you need to see him." Madonna appeared in the doorway, as pale as a ghost.
"M, we are all having dinner."
"Not that much later."
"Do I have to go mom?" David looked distressed at the thought of seeing his dead grandad.
"No, sweetheart." Madonna held his chin and kissed his forehead. She turned to the others. "If any of you want to say goodbye to Grandad, you can come. If not, I will understand."
"I want to come." Rocco said.
Mercy, Stelle and Estere decided they didn't want to go and Guy looked at Madonna.
"I can drive you. I don't think you should be driving, M."
"In case I suddenly get hysterical in the car?" Madonna asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Because I am worried about you." Guy placed a hand over Madonna's on the table and she looked at it, chewing her lower lip.

End of Part 5...

Part 6

Guy drove Madonna, Lourdes and Rocco back to the hospital. Silvio had been moved to another room that was private, and Joan and Jennifer were with him. Jennifer had an arm around Joan and was whispering words of comfort in her ear. Both women looked up when they saw Rocco and Lourdes, followed by Madonna and Guy.
"I'm so sorry gran." Lourdes said, wrapping her arms around Joan the minute Jennifer had let go of her mother.
"Me too, Lola, me too." Joan said, holding Lourdes, thinking how grown up she was since she'd last seen her.
"Why don't we give them some space, mom? We can get a coffee." Jennifer suggested softly and Joan nodded.
As they passed Madonna and Guy, Madonna grabbed Jennifer's arm, holding it firmly. "If there is anything I can do for you..." She trailed off and Jennifer nodded.
"The same to you, M." Jennifer whispered, then followed Joan out of the room.
"What was that all about?" Guy asked Madonna, looking confused.
"I don't know. I just guess Jen wants to feel useful, like I do." Madonna replied, watching Lourdes and Rocco.
Lourdes slowly went over to Silvio and leaned forward, holding her hair back and tenderly kissed his cheek. "Grandad looks so...small." She said, frowning.
"Roccs, are you ok?" Guy asked, noticing all the colour had drained from Rocco's face, on which was an expression of horror.
"I - I think I can't handle this..." Rocco turned and practically ran from the room.
"I'll go. You two stay here." Madonna said, following her son to a bench outside.
Rocco looked embarrassed when Madonna sat next to him.
"Mom, I'm sorry. I haven't seen anyone...dead before." Rocco said. He studied Madonna's face, frowning slightly. "Grandad looked like he was sleeping, like he could move at any second."
"I know, baby. It's hard to see someone you love like that." Madonna held Rocco's forearm firmly, smoothing it with her thumb. "There is a way of thinking of it as not really being grandad, but more like the body his soul used to be in."
"That doesn't make it any easier." Rocco replied.
Madonna shrugged. "I don't know what to say. It has only just happened and it's a shock. I don't think it's really hit me yet. This just feels like a nightmare."
"Mom?"
"Yes?"
"Is it as hard as losing your mom?" Rocco looked curious.
Madonna let go of Rocco's arm and looked thoughtful, considered what he had asked. With a slight frown, she looked at him.
"It's different. I was so young with my mom. I had hardly any time with her. With dad I had years and years. It does feel strange to have no parents though." Madonna's voice wobbled.
"You have Joan." Rocco said.
"It's not the same."
"What about uncle Chris and uncle Anthony?"
Madonna sighed. "I am going to try. Only for dad's sake."
"He probably would have liked that." Rocco smiled briefly.
"He would." Madonna nodded. "Do you want some space or do you mind me staying?"
"Please stay mom." Rocco said and wrapped both arms around her, resting his cheek on her shoulder. Madonna held him, kissing the top of his head.
Several long minutes passed and they stay sat like that, saying nothing, until Rocco stood up.
"I think I want to go and see grandad now."
"Are you sure? You don't have too." Madonna stood up, looking concerned.
"I want too." Rocco said and Madonna took his hand and they went back to Silvio.
Guy was sat outside the room, holding Lourdes, who was in floods of tears. He mouthed 'I got this' to Madonna when she looked worried and she gave him a grateful nod, following Rocco in the room.
This time Rocco went over to Silvio and reached out, hesitated, then placed one of his hands over his grandad's. He then kissed Madonna's cheek and left the room. She saw him sit the other side of Lourdes and hold her with Guy, who looked glad to have company.
Madonna pushed the door and went to sit next to Silvio, taking one of his hands in both of hers. "Please wake up dad. Please. Wake up and tell us this is just a joke." She quietly pleaded. "I need you." Tears spilled down her cheeks and she felt a growing ache in her chest, it felt like it was spreading across her body. "Please don't leave me. I know I wasn't always easy and you didn't always like the things I said and done, but I would give anything to have you back. Please...please...please come back." Madonna didn't say any more, but cried and cried. Guy took both her hands and Madonna stood up and he held her, smoothing her back and her hair.
"I want him back, Guy. I want him back." She wept.
"I know darlin'." He replied. "I know."

End of Part 6...

Part 7

That evening, even though Silvio had died, the table at dinner was very busy and hectic. All of Madonna's brothers and sisters had turned up and everyone had helped cook and spent time with her children, because they didn't get to see them very often. Everyone had such busy lives, it was only once in a while they got to see Madonna, Guy and their children. When they were sat around the table eating, they were all telling positive and funny stories about Silvio. Even Joan managed to smile. Guy noticed Madonna was just pushing food around her plate, barely looking up from it. She took several long sips of wine and got up.
"I need some air." Madonna said quietly.
"I'll come with you darlin'." Guy offered, but she shook her head.
"No. Please stay here. I won't be long." Madonna touched Guy's shoulder, then almost hurried out of the back door, down to the vineyard. It was starting to get dark and even though they were on private land, Guy didn't like the thought of her being alone.
"I can make sure she is ok." Christopher offered and everyone turned to look at him, except for Stelle and Estere, who had no idea about the bad blood between their mother and her brother.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Guy frowned.
"Madonna will let me know if it isn't soon enough." Christopher smiled, then also went out to the vineyard.
He found her walking at a fast pace through the vineyard, but managed to catch up.
"Guy, I told you to leave me alone!" Madonna said in an irritated manner, whirling around, surprised to see Christopher there. "Sorry, I thought - " She stopped dead.
"Do you want Guy?" Christopher asked. "I can get him for you."
"Did it sound like I wanted Guy?" Madonna asked with her hands on her hips.
"I guess not." Christopher smirked.
"Who sent you? Paula? Joan?"
"No. I would like to apologise for any pain I caused you with the book. I know it might take us a while to have any kind of relationship again, but I would like us to try. I can't bear the thought of you hating me." Christopher said and Madonna stared at him as he spoke and her hard expression softened as she shook her head.
"I don't hate you Chris. I forgave you a while ago. I just didn't tell you. I didn't want to see you, because I thought it would remind me of your betrayal. But in light of dad dying, it seems trivial now. I know he wanted us to make up."
"He said that to you too?" Christopher asked.
"Yeah. Why did he speak to you about it?"
"He wanted me to try and reach out to you more. But he forgot how close I was to you M, I know too much pressure and I might have lost you for good." Christopher said slowly.
"I don't want to lose anyone else for good in our family!" Madonna said and started to cry. She looked so incredibly vulnerable and Christopher knew she would be ok with him hugging her. He held Madonna and she held him back.
"It doesn't feel real, does it?" Christopher said over Madonna's shoulder, as he held her.
"No. I was just telling dad that I was going to come and see him more with the children, literally today and now he is gone." Madonna let go of Christopher and wiped her eyes with her fingers.
"There was something in the way Joan panicked when she phoned me, it's almost like she knew."
"Dad kept playing it down though, saying it wasn't serious." Madonna said, chewing her lower lip.
"That was typical dad." Christopher replied, sighing.
"I keep thinking he is going to walk up that drive and laugh, saying it was a cruel prank he played on us." Madonna looked down the sweeping, dark deserted drive.
"Same here."
"I couldn't cope with being around so many people in there, I hope no one thought I was being rude coming out here." Madonna said, a worried expression on her face as she looked at Christopher.
"Not at all. We all cope in different ways. It was a bit hectic in there. I was worried if I came out here you might send me back in there!" He joked and she laughed.
"I think the vineyard is big enough for us both to have space. Although it is rather dark out here, so I do prefer your company." Madonna said, linking her arm in Christopher's, resting her cheek against him and looking up at her brother as they walked. Christopher looked down at Madonna and kissed the top of her head.
"We are lucky to have a big family at a time like this." He said softly and she nodded in agreement. They walked further in to the vineyard in comfortable, familiar silence.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"So...is everything good with Chris now? I didn't hear any arguing and you came back to the house together." Guy said, joining Madonna in bed and she nodded.
"Yes. Life is too short. I forgave him a while back. I just didn't want to see him."
"That is understandable." Guy said. He noticed there were two extra pictures on Madonna's bedside table. There was the usual one of her mother, one of her father had also been added and a picture of her parents on their wedding day. "I like those pictures." He said softly. Madonna gazed up at them and smiled sadly.
"They were such a beautiful couple." She replied.
"At least they are together again now." Guy said, thinking it would be a comforting thing to say to Madonna, but she glared at him then frowned.
"But they're not here, with me!" She said.
"I just ment - "
"I know what you ment!" Madonna spat.
"M, I am just trying to comfort you. It is difficult to know what to say at a time like this - "
"Then keep your goddamn mouth shut! You don't need to constantly be talking." Madonna sat up, wrenching both hands through her long, wavy blonde hair.
"Darlin'..." Guy placed a hand on the small of her back and Madonna flinched out of his grasp.
"Don't touch me." She made a face of disgust and got out of bed.
"Where are you going?"
"Go to sleep Guy." Madonna said, putting on her dressing gown. He heard her go downstairs and sighed. When she didn't return after about fifteen minutes, Guy went down to see where Madonna had gone.
She was sat on the garden sofa swing on the porch, eating a plate of leftovers from the meal they'd had earlier.
"I can cook you something else if you want, M." Guy suggested, sitting on the sofa next to her. It was only then that he realised she was softly crying as she ate. He draped an arm around her and Madonna moved right into him.
"I'm sorry Guy."
"You have nothing to be sorry for darlin'." Guy replied, kissing her temple.
"I am just a little hungry, you don't have to go to any trouble..." Madonna gazed up at him.
"It's no trouble. How about an omelette or something? At least it would be warm." Guy said and before Madonna could answer, her stomach gave a little rumble.
"That would be nice, thank you." Madonna kissed Guy, getting up and scraping the cold leftovers into the bin. She sat at the table, watching Guy cook.
Guy made a big omelette for Madonna and poured her a glass of wine. He sat with her and drank wine, saying nothing. She reached out her foot and hooked it around his ankle under the table. It wasn't as sexy as usual, but more a need for closeness.
"This is really good." Madonna said, through a mouthful of food and Guy smiled. He placed a hand over hers on the table at one point, then pressed his forehead to hers.
"We will get through this." He whispered and she nodded and continued to eat.

End of Part 7...

Part 8

"I am going to find Anthony this morning." Madonna announced at the breakfast table the following morning.
All her brothers and sisters were there, spending most of their time at the house since Silvio died, although they stayed in town. They all looked at her.
"I'll come with you. He can be difficult at the best of times." Martin said and Madonna smiled at him, looking grateful.
"Thanks Marty."
"He had a massive row with your father, the last time they spoke." Joan said quietly. "See if you can bring him back here. I'm sure we would all like to see him." She said and there were a lot of heads nodding. "He might take some persuading though."
"When you say bring him back here, do you mean to stay?" Martin asked and Joan nodded.
"Anthony hasn't got anywhere else to go." Joan replied.
"I can stay here and look after the children." Guy said, placing a hand over Madonna's on the table and kissing her cheek and she smiled weakly.
"We can all help with that." Paula said, smiling warmly and Guy looked grateful. He remembered Madonna saying she was the sister she was the closest too, the one who reminded her the most of their late mother.
"Mommy! Mommy! We made you pictures!" Stelle and Estere ran into the kitchen, excitedly showing Madonna their pictures.
There was almost a collective sigh of relief that the animated little girls had broken the heavy atmosphere with their positive energy.
"Wow, these look colourful!" Madonna smiled, taking both pictures.
"That's grandad - he has wings like an angel. And your mommy is an angel too." Estere said, explaining the picture she'd drawn of Silvio and Madonna snr as angels holding hands.
"I drew grandad looking down at you from heaven." Stelle said, explaining her picture of Silvio on a cloud, looking down at Madonna.
Madonna was speechless and felt deeply touched, like she was barely holding back a flood of tears.
"I love them." She finally said after what seemed like an eternal silence.
"Girls, let's put those on the fridge and do some more." Lourdes said, then looked at Joan. "Is that ok?"
"Of course, Lola. They are beautiful pictures." Joan nodded, smiling.
Estere and Stelle kissed Madonna's cheeks and she kissed them back, giving them both a big hug.
"Be good for Lola." She said and they nodded, running off.
"Mom? Are you ok?" Lourdes whispered, placing a hand on Madonna's shoulder.
Madonna nodded, unable to speak, and patted her hand. When Lourdes left the room, Madonna got up quickly and went outside. She ran down the length of the vineyard, as far away from the house as she could, then sank to her knees on the grass and cried and cried. She was hysterical when Guy reached her. He sat next to Madonna and held her. They both knew there wasn't anything he could say, so he held her in silence, smoothing her back comfortingly.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Are you sure you are up to this?" Martin asked Madonna, when they were walking around looking for Anthony. They has a picture of him to show other homeless people and were asking as they went. So far with no luck.
"Yes, why wouldn't I be?" Madonna looked at Martin.
"You were very upset a couple of hours ago."
"It's the pictures the girls drew me. I was just really moved by them. Silly really, I know." Madonna laughed awkwardly.
"No, it's sweet of them." Martin said, taking Madonna's hand. He felt it tremble slightly in his and he held it tighter. "They're great girls."
"I am so lucky to have them. It's impossible to feel sad when Estere and Stelle are around."
"Yeah, they certainly are energetic." Martin smiled.
"What are you doing here?" A rude, gruff voice came from behind them.
Madonna and Martin turned around to face Anthony. They looked at his brother who had a beard, glases and wore a dirty hat and coat. There were holes in his shoes, and he looked in good need of a wash. He didn't look pleased to see either of them.
"New project? Help the homeless in the hometown?" Anthony spoke bitterly to Madonna and she jerked her head back, like he'd just slapped her across the face.
"Don't talk to her like that." Martin stepped between them and Anthony laughed.
"How is Chris?" He continued to needle Madonna.
"We have made up actually." Madonna said quietly.
"One brother down, one to go is it?"
"Anthony. We have to talk." Madonna said quietly, choosing to ignore his insults.
"We have nothing whatsoever ti talk about. None of you want me in the family."
"Stop being such a bitter narcissist and listen to us." Martin said calmly.
"I have no interest in anything you people have to say." Anthony turned and started walking away. Madonna and Martin looked at each other.
"Dad is dead, Anthony. He died of a heart attack." Madonna yelled after him.
Anthony stopped in his tracks. His shoulders visibly slumped, but he didn't turn around at first.
"You are all dead to me." Anthony said just loud enough from them to hear.
Madonna started to cry and stomped after him, with Martin following. "How dare you say that! I have tried to help you! Dad tried to help you! We all have!" She got in front of Anthony and pushed him. "Don't you dare walk away from me!" Anthony laughed when Madonna pushed him.
"Get out of my way mighty Madonna." He said aggressively.
"No." Madonna folded her arms.
"Get out of the way, or I will make you get out of the way." Anthony said.
"Don't threaten our sister!" Martin said, squaring up to Anthony.
"You all washed your hands of me. Don't come around here again." Anthony turned and walked away in a different direction.
Madonna went to follow, but Martin put an arm around her waist, pulling her back and shook his head.
"Let him go." Martin said softly. Madonna looked at him.
"I made up with Chris. Why won't Anthony listen to us?"
"Your feud with Chris was a walk in the park compared to Anthony and us and dad. You know what he is like. He won't help himself and he won't let us help him." Martin said.
"What now?"
"Do you want a coffee and something to eat? I'm kinda hungry." Martin said, rubbing his stomach and Madonna rolled her eyes, trying not to smile.
"How can you eat at a time like this?"
"Food makes it all better." Martin replied, looking serious.
Madonna wrapped an arm around Martin's waist, leaning against him. "You're such a...guy!"
"There is an insult." Martin laughed and they walked back into town.

End of Part 8...

Part 9

It was the middle of the night and Madonna had gone downstairs, originally to get a drink, but she had ended up on the sofa, sat crying alone. She didn't realise anyone else was up, until a voice spoke.
"Mom?"
Madonna looked up and saw David. He held two mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows in and held one out to her.
"I couldn't sleep either. I heard you crying and thought this might cheer you up." David said quietly.
"Thank you baby, that's so thoughtful." Madonna took the mug, touched by the kindness of her son. She took a sip and set it down. He noticed her hands were shaking.
David also put his drink on the coffee table, then sat next to Madonna, wrapping his arms around her and hugged her tightly. "I'm so sorry about grandad, mom." He brushed tears away from her face and kissed one of her cheeks.
"You're such a caring boy." Madonna said, smiling at David proudly.
"Thanks." He said, looking modest. "I miss grandad too. I didn't see him a lot, but he was a really nice man." David said softly.
"He loved you guys so much." Madonna replied, her arm around David, pressing his head to her shoulder. "I don't know what I am going to do without him."
"Let us look after you, mom." David said, reaching out for his drink as Madonna let go of him. He ate a couple of the marshmallows and Madonna frowned.
"Look after me?" She looked confused.
"Yeah. You always look after everyone all the time, even when you have a lot of work on, or you are sick yourself. But now we all need to look after you." David said, as though it was obvious what he ment.
"I guess."
"I know." David said firmly.
Madonna ate some of the miniture marshmallows and swished some around the hot chocolate, then frowned. "How did you make these drinks without me hearing you?"
"I'm not exactly loud mom, I don't bang things around. I saw you were crying and I wanted to make you smile." David replied.
"Are you...having trouble sleeping because of grandad?" Madonna asked.
"Maybe." David shrugged. "I have trouble sleeping from time to time."
"You never told me that." Madonna looked concerned.
"Mom you have enough on your plate. Like I said, it's not all the time."
"Tell me in future."
"Ok."
"It worries me more if you don't tell me things and I find them out later." Madonna said and David nodded.
"How do you sleep when it's nearly impossible too mom?" David asked.
"Valium. But you are far too young to be taking that. I will have a think about what you can do."
"Maybe you shouldn't be taking it." It was David's turn to look concerned.
"I don't take it all the time. More as a last resort. And who is the adult here?" Madonna joked, realising she was justifying herself to a child. David laughed and she grinned.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Is it bad that I don't want to help with the funeral arrangements?" Madonna asked Guy, as they rode their bikes through the countryside.
"It's understandable." Guy replied carefully.
"Stop being so fucking diplomatic Guy." Madonna rolled her eyes and smiled.
"I can't judge you, darlin'. I don't know how it feels to be you right now." Guy said, looking at her sadly.
"It's not because I'm an asshole." Madonna said.
"I never thought you were an asshole." Guy frowned.
"Making the arrangements...makes it more real." Madonna said quietly.
Guy squeezed his brakes and Madonna stopped next to him and looked at him expectantly.
"Not making the arrangements doesn't change anything M."
"I know."
"Is this because of the way Anthony treated you? Because I can go and knock his block off - " Guy started, but Madonna held up a hand to silence him.
"Don't tempt me to say yes. But it wouldn't achieve anything. And beating up a homeless guy - my brother, would be another story for him to sell to some newspaper or magazine."
"Surely he wouldn't..." Guy looked shocked.
"He hates us, Guy. We have all tried to help him. On several occasions. But there comes a point, even with family, where a person has to admit they have a problem and start helping themselves. He is in denial he has a problem."
"Didn't you pay for him to go to rehab once?"
"Yes. He is so bitter Guy and takes no responsibility for anything."
"I'm proud of you for making up with Chris though." Guy tried to lighten the mood a bit, tenderly kissing Madonna's forehead.
"That makes me feel a bit lighter. I kind of hope we can build up a relationship again."
"I'm sure you will."
"When the arrangements are made and a date is set, maybe one or two of my brothers and sisters could let Anthony know. I don't think I can face him again quite so soon." Madonna said, swallowing a lump in her throat.
"Someone else can go. It's really affected you and you have enough to deal with." Guy said.
"Can we just sit on the grass here for a bit? I don't want to go back yet." Madonna said, looking at Guy pleadingly.
"Sure."

End of Part 9...

materialgirl86
Part 21

Olivia was crying, but before Madonna could even open her eyes and move, Guy was already out of bed and held her in his arms.
"Do you sleep with one foot on the floor, ready?" Madonna joked, smiling sleepily as Guy handed Olivia to her.
Guy laughed. "I sleep lightly." He replied. "I think Livi needs a feed."
"You can tell the difference in her cries when she is hungry?" Madonna's eyes widened with surprise as Guy nodded. "I'm impressed."
"You're looking stronger these days, darlin'." Guy said, sounding almost relieved as he watched Madonna feed Olivia.
"Yes, I definitely feel better. Does that mean you are going to let me get up and just walk around the house a bit? Sit in the garden for some fresh air?" Madonna asked, looking at Guy hopefully and he nodded.
"I guess it must be driving you a bit crazy, staring at the same four walls." Guy said and Madonna nodded. "No work outs though!"
"Not even some gentle yoga?" Madonna suggested softly and Guy rolled his eyes.
"You're worse than the children - seeing what you can get away with."
Madonna laughed, then looked down at Olivia, who seemed to be concentrating on her face while she fed, holding one of Madonna's fingers in her entire tiny fist.
"I am going to go out running or cycling straight away. I just want to do something."
"I'll think about it." Guy replied.
It was Madonna's turn to roll her eyes. "That's what I say to the kids when I mean no. You can always supervise and tell my trainer off if you think she is working me too hard."
"Maybe next week."
"Next week then." Madonna said like it was definate.
"M, you are more impossible than the children." Guy said, trying not to smile.
"I like to keep you challenged, so you don't get bored, being home with me and Livi."
"I could never get bored, being home with you and Livi, darlin'." Guy replied, kissing Madonna's forehead.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
By the following week Madonna was stronger. She had been walking all over the house and around the garden on nice days and it felt great to be out of bed. Everywhere she went around the house, she had Olivia on her hip, giggling at everything. She was such a happy baby, it made Madonna feel better. It was like everything Guy had done to her was a distant memory, he was a completely different person now, so patient and tender with Madonna and Olivia. He only left the house to run occasional errands, or when Madonna persuaded him to take or pick up Lourdes and Rocco from school. They rushed home every day straight to see their baby sister and play with her, much to the delight of Madonna and Guy.
Guy was sat watching Madonna do some gentle yoga with her trainer. He had been pacing originally, but Madonna had told him to sit down, because he was breaking her concentration. Guy thought it was going to be boring watching her, but Madonna wore a very fitted vest and yoga pants and seeing her bend and stretch in various positions, he thought how sexy she was. Even when she had sweat patches and it started dripping down her face. That did take Guy back to the delivery room and it freaked him out a little.
"Enough. Stop. You're doing too much if you are sweating like that." Guy said, frowning.
Both Madonna and the trainer stopped and looked at him.
"Guy, I sweat a lot anyway." Madonna whispered.
"Please."
"We should do this gradually." The trainer said.
"Ok, I'll see you tomorrow, same time?" Madonna half asked and the trainer nodded, leaving. Madonna looked back at Guy. "What's wrong? You have gone pretty pale." She sat on the floor in front of him, a hand on his knee, looking up at him with concern.
"The last time you were sweating that much, you were pale and I thought you were going to die." Guy said quietly.
"You've been taking such good care of me, Guy. I am so much stronger than when I was in that hospital." Madonna replied. "You should know it doesn't take much to make me sweat like this..." She smiled mischivously and Guy nodded, laughing. Madonna got up from the floor and sat next to Guy.
"Do you think I'm being stupid?" Guy asked, not looking at her.
"No, I think I am lucky to have you as my husband. And the only reason I wasn't scared in that hospital, was because you were with me." Madonna said very quietly, lacing her fingers in his and Guy kissed her hand and looked at her.
"I was scared."
"It didn't show."
"Do you want to go out for dinner this evening? We can take the children." Guy suggested and Madonna nodded, smiling and sat with her cheek on Guy's shoulder, lifting his hand which she still held and kissed it.

End of Part 21...

Part 22

"Darlin', you know Livi has just gone down for her nap, Lola and Roccs are in school and we have the house to ourselves..." Guy said, sliding his hands through her arms, holding Madonna's hips as he kissed her neck. She smiled, turning to face him, her cheeks a little rosy - suddenly a little shy.
"I - I don't really feel great about my body. I still have baby weight. All that resting..." Madonna said, rubbing the back of her neck, dropping her eyes to the floor.
"M, you have no baby weight. You look incredible." Guy said, kissing her. Madonna mirrored the longing in his kiss, holding his cheeks and smiling a little.
"You would say anything to get into my pants."
"Is it working?" Guy asked.
Madonna took several steps back, taking off an item of clothing with each step. First it was her trousers, which she shimmied out of, then dropped on the floor. Next she slowly unbuttoned her shirt and let that fall out of her fingertips to the floor. Madonna stood a few steps away from Guy in skimpy lacy nude coloured underwear. She had stopped breastfeeding a while ago, so her breasts were back to their normal size, but still looked impressive and like she had never breastfed in her life. Guy saw her lose her nerve a bit as she looked at the curtains.
"Can we close them so it's a bit darker?"
Guy shook his head, slowly walking over to her, until she could feel his breath on her neck, sending a shiver down her spine. "Lie down M." He whispered and she lay back on the bed, never taking her eyes from him.
She watched him strip off, then climb over her on the bed and kiss her, a hand sliding between her legs, under her lace knickers. It wasn't rough, more curious. He slid in the tips of a couple of fingers and heard her whimper. Guy smiled and with his free hand unhooked her bra and threw it back over his shoulder and Madonna made a noise somewhere between a giggle and a groan, as his fingers went deeper. She grabbed his wrist, pulling them out of her and was now in a frantic hurry to get her knickers off. Madonna meant to throw them over Guy's shoulder, but threw them at his face by mistake. Guy made a big show of taking them off his face and sniffing them, before casting them aside, making Madonna laugh and relax more.
Guy kissed from one of Madonna's ankles right the way up one leg, dangerously up the inside of a thigh. He lowered himself down on her, kissing her collarbones, up her neck and along her jaw, as Madonna massaged his dick in her hand and eased it inside her. It had been quite a while and they both groaned  at the same time. A feeling of longing on both parts had been building up between them for a while and neither Guy nor Madonna realised quite how much, until now, when they were physically together. Madonna arched her back, pushing her body up off the bed towards Guy, who held on to her torso, kissing a breast around one of her hard nipples and he heard a sharp intake of breath from her. Madonna ran both hands down Guy's back, digging her fingers into his skin, really urging him to be further inside her. Guy picked up the pace a little, but was careful not to be too rough with Madonna.
"Harder, harder." She whispered in his ear, tugging at his ear lobe with her teeth.
He grinded into her harder and she cried out, her hands on his bum and thigh, squeezing them as hard and she'd squeezed his hand when she had been in labor. Guy pressed a hand down on one of Madonna's breasts, her nipple between his splayed fingers, which he closed, pinching it. Madonna closed her eyes, crying out, a smile on her face as she clamped her legs around him and she lost her breath every time he rode her hard. Her toes were curled into the sheets and she opened her eyes and cried out repeatedly when she came. Guy buried his face in her neck, letting himself be overwhelmed by her natural scent. Her skin was so soft and wonderful to touch and everywhere her skin met his it drove him crazy, sending what felt like jolts of electricity through his body. His blood rushed and his heart hammered and she came again when he did.
They lay together after in a tangle of sweaty limbs, breathing heavy. Guy lay with his head on Madonna's stomach and she smoothed his hair.
"I missed you." Guy said, resting his chin on her stomach, after kissing it.
"I'm right here." Madonna replied softly.
"Before I scared you so much, you practically winced if I touched you." Guy said, sitting up.
"Not anymore. We have moved past it Guy. Let it go. I have." Madonna said, sitting behind him, kissing his neck as she wrapped her arms around him.
"Really? I know you said you have, but you're a forgiving person M." Guy said, looking over his shoulder at her.
"I'm still here, aren't I? We have a beautiful baby daughter together now, Guy. Look at that as the chance for a new beginning." Madonna said and after looking thoughtful, Guy nodded.
"You're right." Guy smiled, as Madonna pulled him back down to the bed and climbed on top of him. "Damn." He said, lying with both hands behind his head, marvelling up at his fantastic wife. Madonna smiled and couldn't feel more happy or content if she tried right in that moment.

The End.
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...