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Authors: Marlies Schmudlach Perez

47 Destinies: Finding Grace

47 Destinies:

Discovering Grace


By Marlies Schmudlach Perez



This book is dedicated to my very first fans: my mom and dad.  Your love, support and encouragement have guided me on my own destiny.  I love you both more than any words could ever describe.  Mom, thank you for passing your love for San Francisco on to me.  It is by far the best city in the world!


When creating the personality of Grace Locke, I used my sister, Heidi, as my model.  Heidi’s inner and outer beauty has been an inspiration to me throughout my life.  She is a wonderful mother, caring wife, compassionate sister, and a friend to all those in need.




Also written by Marlies Schmudlach Perez

47 Destinies

(Book One)




Cover designed by Karl Schmudlach.




Copyright 2013 Marlies S. Perez

Worldwide Rights Reserved



47 Destinies:

Discovering Grace

(Book Two)



“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny,

but in ourselves.” -William Shakespeare


Chapter 1


he darkness was pushed out by the overpowering strength of the sun as Grace Ann Locke contemplated life on her favorite purple couch.  It was almost magical.  She had done several different things on her couch; a few memories brought a quick blush to her cheeks.  She treasured its supple texture: how it curled around her body, leaving her with sensations of comfort and security.  These feelings eluded her as of late, except when she sat there remembering how things used to be.  

No matter how much time had passed, she would never forget how Derek made love to her right their in her living room.  The safety she felt in his arms when he showed his love was simply unforgettable.  The passion they experienced together was firmly etched in her mind.  His lovemaking was more than simply an act of pleasure.  They connected in every way.  Coupled with Derek, she was brought to new blissful heights of emotion she could never hope to describe.  She was free.  No other thoughts entered her mind when they were intimate.  Everything was perfect in her world of memories and nothing could take that from her; not even death itself.

It was going to be another gorgeous September day in the city of San Francisco.  As a born and raised Georgia country girl, Grace was a transplant into city life.  People often commented about her accent and asked her where she was born.  Grace loved her Georgian roots, but after falling in love with Derek in college, she knew she wouldn’t be returning home again. 

She appreciated the quiet moments that daylight offered before the rest of the city awoke.  She cradled a cup of hot Italian coffee in her hand, engrossed in yet another book about the afterlife.  Her long, toned legs were exposed from an opening in her velvety plush muted pink robe.  Grace’s golden blond hair was pinned up on the top of her head to keep it out of her sea green eyes.  Her fingers were long and delicate like a pianist’s.  Her lips were plump and a natural light cherry red.  She was a rare beauty, even without her makeup.

Grace nestled herself among the numerous pillows, savoring the feeling of comfort and relaxation.  Within minutes, her book had taken leave of her hands, resting upside-down on her lap as she unconsciously gazed through her large living room window at her idyllic garden-like backyard.  She could view the calming Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Grace cherished this time to sit alone exploring her dreamy and pleasing thoughts.  She could remember Derek at will.  She closed her eyes to replay all of her favorite memories that were well-worn by now.  The parts that were blurry, she filled in with her own re-creation of his passionate touch, tender words and gentle nature.

If she tried really hard, she could still hear the tone of his voice echo in her head.  Over the years, the exact sound began to fade, but there were still aspects she could remember.  Other parts of him were clear as day: the way his right foot wiggled whenever they lay in bed and Derek was engrossed in thought, his little quirks that she enjoyed taunting him about and the twinkle in his eye when he was full of mischief.

Grace, not fully awake in her dreamlike state, wondered when and how Derek would come for her.  All she wanted was him, and she knew he would return.  He had to.  Grace, even more compelled to be reunited, felt her body slowly leave her and gently float toward him.  As she was about to reach his embrace, he began to fade further and further into the distance.  What was happening?  Why couldn’t she reach him? As she continued her spirit-like journey for him, she sensed a soft pressure on her arm.  It felt like a delicate butterfly had landed.  She melted into the touch until the pressure turned into a violent shaking motion.  It was unlike Derek.  He had never shown her anything but love. 

The shaking continued as she heard a high-pitched voice, “Mama, are you awake?  I’m ready!”

Grace’s eyes flew wide open, jarring her back to the present.

“Mama?”  Mattias asked, now concerned with the look on his mother’s face.

“What’s wrong, Mattias?” Grace asked, full of worry.

“It’s the first day of school.  Look, I got dressed and I am ready to go,” Mattias proclaimed, proudly showing off his ability to dress himself.  His shirt was on backwards with its tag sticking up near his throat.  His red and blue striped top clashed with his green corduroy pants.  A patch of his dark brown hair was misbehaving and poking up toward the back of his head.  He was quite the sight.

“Great job!  I am proud of you,” Grace replied lovingly with a warm smile as she hugged her son, pulled him up on the couch, and cradled him in her lap.

“Can we leave now?” Mattias asked eagerly.  Grace was relieved as she glanced over at her clock.  It was only 6:00am.

“Class starts at 8:00am, Sweetheart.  We still have a little bit of time, love” Grace replied as she stifled a laugh.

“Oh.  I sure hope I learn how to tell time in Kindergarten,” Mattias said, a little baffled that he had to wait even longer for school to start.

Grace squeezed him tightly in her arms and kissed him all over his face. “You are too cute!  I love you! I love you! I love you!  You will learn all types of new things.  Let’s go make some breakfast so the time will pass a little quicker,” she said as she pulled the belt tight on her robe. 

She couldn’t believe the day had arrived.  Her little boy who reminded her so much of Derek was going off to his first day of school!  Derek would have been so happy and proud on this special day.  He loved to celebrate all of their accomplishments, no matter how big or small.

Grace had no idea how she was going to make it through the day without him.  A single tear slid down her cheek.  Why where these significant days that much harder without him?  It had been over two years since Derek passed away.  Why was she still dreaming and thinking about him all the time?  Was she ever going to heal?  It was such a challenging struggle.  She knew she had to move on.  If for nothing else, she needed to do it for her children.  They needed a mother who was actively engaged in life, not an emotionally absent one who watched life pass her by.  Most people didn’t see her pain; she hid it well.  Grace was the only one that knew the depth of her despair.  She kept it deep down in her soul and let it thrive there.  In fact, she still wore her wedding ring.  She wasn’t ready to let him go.  She wondered if she ever would be.

The ringing doorbell jolted Grace out of her recurring thoughts.  Before she could reach the door, Bella, her youngest child, bounced out of her room and flew open the front door.  Bella’s blond curly locks matched her frenzy of activity.

“Grandma! Grandpa!” Bella squealed as she jumped into her grandfather’s welcoming arms.

“Grace, darling.  I hope you don’t mind if we barge in on this special occasion.  We didn’t want to miss Mattias’ first day of school,” Leslie said as she pecked Grace’s cheek with a kiss.

While Grace was not raised in a manner that appreciated unannounced drop-ins from her in-laws or anyone for that matter, she kindly responded, “Leslie.  Robert.  Thank you both for coming.  It means a lot to me.  Would you like to join us for breakfast?” Grace was genuinely happy to be sharing the day with Derek’s mother and father, Robert and Leslie Locke.  They had been consistently supportive over the last few years.  She couldn’t have done it without them.

“That was our surprise plan for you!  I brought Mattias’ favorite blueberry muffins and a little special something for Bella,” Leslie said, removing a pink pastry box from her Louis Vuitton bag.

“Doooonut?” Bella asked with anticipation.

“Let’s see,” Leslie said, peering into the box.  “It looks like there is a chocolate donut with your name on it.”

“Taanks, Grandma,” Bella said as she clapped her hands together with pleasure.

After breakfast, Leslie redressed Mattias and the group headed out.  The school was teeming full of cars, buses, parents, and students.  The energy level was high; it was like an electrical storm bringing forth excitement and wild enthusiasm.  

Grace looked around at the other parents with their children.  It was painful to see that there was a mom and dad with most of the kids.  Grace pushed the thoughts aside and focused her attention on the little boy holding her hand.

Mattias’ face displayed a mixture of determination and fear.  When they reached his classroom, Mattias stopped and peered up at Grace.

“Mama, I’m scared.”

Grace knelt down and pulled him into her long, slender arms.  “It’s okay to be scared.  Once you meet some new friends, you will feel better,” Grace said, reassuring her timid son.

Grace made her way into the classroom while the grandparents kissed Mattias and walked back to the car with the beautiful three year-old Bella. 

The classroom was a child’s dream.  Planets hung from the ceiling while stars were sprinkled all over the walls.  Color spilled out of every corner.  The creativity and imagination spent on each of the details were incredible.  All the little desks had nametags on them welcoming the new learners.  There were cubby holes for backpacks and lunches.  Paints, crayons, paper, and every fun object to create was available. 

“Good morning, can we have all the students please find their seats so we can begin?  Thank you to the parents that have joined us.  Please say your goodbyes. Our first day will end promptly at 12:10pm,” Mattias’ new teacher said warmly as she led Mattias to his seat after he hugged his mother one last time.  Grace waved goodbye and regretfully turned to leave the room.  Mattias was already engaged in drawing a picture at his desk.  He was going to be fine.  Grace, on the other hand, was not doing as well.

Robert and Leslie dropped Grace and Bella off back at their house.  Derek and Grace bought the home right after they got married.  Derek worked at the family business, Locke Incorporated, with his younger brother Brent.   Grace had lived there almost six years now.  They both had inherited significant trust funds after college, so they paid the house off outright.  The house was more extravagant than Grace needed, but Derek insisted that she have the very best.  At the time, all Grace wanted to do was bring Derek happiness.  A few months after their first anniversary, Mattias was born.  Derek wanted the house to be full of children, so Bella was born two years after Mattias.  They were trying for their third when Derek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

So much was taken from her when Derek died.  Grace rubbed her stomach, saddened that she would never have another child.  She had built her whole life around him and now felt completely lost.  Grace was so busy being the perfect wife and mother that she was unsure of her own identity now that Derek was gone.

Grace looked at herself in the hallway mirror.  She still looked good for being a 29-year old mother of two small children.  Her blond hair was straight as a board and sat a little below her shoulders.  Derek loved it short, so she kept it that way for him.  However, about a year ago, she made the decision to grow it out.  She felt more feminine with longer hair.  It was one thing Grace had control of in her life.

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