1×02 “You’re My Little Secret”

Episode 1xo2 “You’re My Little Secret”
Written by: Chirs Coleman/Kelly Zollo
Warning: Episode contains language, sexual situations
Guest starring: Cara Kincaid (Kate Beckensale) and Anderson Kincaid (Gabriel Macht)


Kendrick looked around the gym at the local kids coming out for his annual charity basketball game his idea of giving back to a community that had been plagued with the poverty and the snubbing of the rich. Of course he didn’t tell anyone that the prize money was drug money or that Ronan had ran it clean for him, but he knew that people knew. He had watched these kids grow up on the streets and ever since Ronan’s father had taken him on when he saved Ronan’s life years ago he wanted to do the same. He smiled as the boys ran up and down the court bouncing the basketball against the varnished floors. He saw Yasmine enter the gym and waved to her as she made her way over to him.

“I’m glad you came how is your mother? I’ve been meaning to stop by but Ronan has been working me extra hard. Philip isn’t harassing you at the club is he?” Kendrick said watching her and then looking at the floor again the boys were having a ball. He felt a need to look after her always had since Gina died. “If he is hassling you I want you to tell me or Ronan.”

“Ronan don’t scare me big bro!” Yasmine said placing one hand on her hip as she smiled at Kendrick. Then she playfully grabbed his shoulder. “This is getting bigger and bigger every year. Gina would be so proud of you taking the money she hated and returning it to the community. I remember when you brought her a Gucci bag and she came home and she strutted around the house with that bag.” Yasmine eyes got big and filled with tears as she folded her arms. “Oh shit I didn’t mean any disrespect that wasn’t your fault Kendrick. Whoever killed my sister it wasn’t your fault. You hear me?”

Yasmine wiped her eyes it was Gina who thought of this. It was Gina who told Kendrick look out for the community and it looks out for you. It was also Gina who almost broke up Kendrick when their mom got hooked on the yayo that Kendrick was pushing. As a family unit they’d been through so damn much. “You know you’re my brother right? My niece or nephew was inside of Gina you my blood now.”

“Good if he is hassling you let me know regardless Ronan knows how important you are to things. I never wanted you working a pole to pay off your moms treatments if you had come to me first I could have.” Kendrick stopped knowing ears were everywhere and as much as he wanted to protect her from Ronan now he couldn’t. She had made her deal when she went to him to take out the loan a loan the feared Ronan would hold over her head. “I know how you meant it baby girl.”

Kendrick fought back the emotions about Gina about the purses and the things he used to buy her about the fact they had dreams to get out and get away. Then the shooting happened one of Ronan’s rivals and she was gone along with his unborn child. He focused in on the beating of the ball on the basketball court wanting to focus on anything other than that night and what had happened. “I know we are Yasmine. So last night at the club you and Jamal?” Kendrick finally said looking over at her.

Yasmine ears were shaken of the best of the urban youth playing basketball in the gym. The crowd was hyped and as always Kendrick was the hero. To be honest she didn’t want to ask anyone for anything else. Church didn’t help her mother and the street were calling her like a siren to a group of sailors. Something intrigued her about finally having her own money. Not having to flip a burger to get a dime. So if twerking on a pole got her the fly ass condo and paid off her mom medical bills. Well that was what she had to do.

“Jamal is a cutie.” She said smirking. “Don’t give me no drug dealer shit Kendrick. I’m grown and if I want to talk to that boy I’m going to do it. Either way I’m not staying in the hood and neither do any of us.” Yasmine words were pure and her dream was to be traveling the world dancing. “You, me, or Jamal don’t have to make hustling our lives. I got a couple of thousand left on my debt and if Ronan or Philip think I’m staying they fools. Only death could keep me in this bitch.”

“Jamal is not the guy for you and I don’t and shouldn’t have to have you see that he is in the game Yasmine. He is a vital part to what Ronan wants to achieve at the college campuses and I refuse to have you end up like that.” Kendrick said watching her as he looked at the boys playing ball. Gina would be proud of him but she would also turn over in her grave if he let her little sister end up with someone in the game. “I’m serious he’s trouble.”

“Gina made me promise to look after you and I intend to do that some guy starts looking at you I want to know about it. Someone in the game starts doing it I’m going to tell him to stay away.” Kendrick said clapping as one of the boys made a difficult shot and the crowd seemed rallied behind it enough to cheer. Looking at the gym he saw Jamal enter and he had to smirk. “Speaking of the devil.”

“And he shall appear.” Yasmine eyed Jamal as she licked her lips. Looking at Kendrick his eyes were serious and she knew better than openly defy a man who was like a father or brother. Hell to be honest she didn’t know who her father was because her mom refused to talk about it. The truth was sometimes she felt she was meant for trouble. Some much of her felt like she was destined to slip in shoes of Gina or her mother. Tears nearly came out at the sheer thought. The fact was she had to be at the club to finally give her mother the freedom of cocaine.

“He ain’t nothing but trouble.” She said nodding as Kendrick words set in, but honestly her body burned for Jamal. His smooth brown skin and dimples were honestly to die for. She could sometimes see herself following the path of destruction like her mom with Jamal. Why not? Then it hit her she was the soldier in the family. She always had to carry the load because Gina was gone and momma still need help.

“Jamal isn’t a problem for me anymore I understand what you are saying.” More than Kendrick understood. By choosing a guy like Jamal it would mean she was choosing Gina’s path.

Jamal walked through the path with a group of dope boys. He was truly in with them it was Money, Blu, an Ivan all of them were some of Kendrick warriors. They all were strapping last month he got his first gun. So he fit in and felt like one of the boys although they put him up higher because he was in college. Kendrick made him promise him to stay in school but all and all this was life. With his eyes sparkling as he looked at his the stunning Yasmine. He had never seen nor met a girl like Yasmine in high society. Fuck high society it was all about what he wanted. All of them approached Kendrick giving him love as he gave him a pound. Then he walked toward Yasmine.

“So you aren’t going to speak?” He asked wondering if she was going to play hard to get in front of Money, Blu, and Ivan. They were shocked when he said Yasmine was going to be his. All of them knew Yasmine was off limits. Too bad either way he could have had Yasmine but this was better. He’d found his Bonnie to his Clyde and Jamal wasn’t stopping. As he folded his arms

“You giving me the hard face Ma.” Jamal said

“Boy give me some space you playing yourself.” Yasmine said playfully winking at him. She eyed Kendrick’s glare. “I have to go my girls over. Hey y’all.” She said softly waving at Blu, Money, and, Ivan. She sashayed away

Walking to Kendrick he shook his head. “For real you hating?” He said as the boys snickered at him. “It’s live up in here.” He said shaking up with Kendrick.

Kendrick look at the exchange and was glad to see that his advice at least for now was going to Yasmine’s head Jamal was trouble. Ronan wanted him to move up the ranks of all the recruits he seemed next to Money have the brains to do what Ronan needed. No that Blu or Ivan weren’t valuable they were but they weren’t who Ronan wanted him to bring up inside the organization. No that was all on Jamal. Money was easily his second in command underneath him and he needed to start training Jamal to be underneath Money.

“No but my warning is the same stay away from Yasmine your head needs to be in the game, not on that understood? Ronan has big plans for you and I can’t teach you those plans if you are too busy chasing an unattainable piece.” Kendrick said a slight annoyance in his tone he would do whatever it took to make sure Jamal stayed away from Yasmine. He watched Money lead Blu and Ivan a few feet away and spoke again. “Have you made the connections at the college that Ronan has asked?”

Jamal looked at his boys smirking and laughing Kendrick had just put the kabosh on whatever he and Yasmine had. She was stunning and he fucking knew she was his girl. The girl he’d waited his entire life to find. So what he never applied himself in school he was smart as Rory if not more. He was a prodigy and seeing how he basically infiltrated a drug cartel he’d showed it. Smiling at Kendrick he threw his hands up.

“Damn old head calm down we here to watch the boys hoop right? Let’s raise some money for the community. My head in the game that don’t mean I can’t have a boo.” Jamal looked Blu, Money, and Ivan defiantly knowing that Kendrick would disapprove. He had his foot up his ass. Jamal wished this was one time he could tell him how rich he was. How truly fucking loaded he was. “Bro I’m still in school and I’m not dropping out I’m be somebody Jay-Z isn’t going to have shit on me. Producing music is actually my passion one day I’m going to have a label and Yasmine going be on my arm.” Jamal declared knowing it to be the truth seeing it as if it was the future. “So my head on this money so my black ass can stay in school and catch shorty.”

“You are young Jamal but smart that is what Ronan likes about you, that you are smart. He likes that about you the connections that you will give him for the drug trade to go through the campus why do you think he gave that job to you instead of them?” Kendrick asked as he pointed to the other group of boys none of which were in college. Not that any of them couldn’t be in college they could but it also wasn’t their crowd or place. It was that they were from the rough side of the streets. “Ronan needs that pretty little degree from you keep that in mind.”

“You are going to be following me and Money more often I would assume that piece that he provided you that you know how to use it. If not I want you to stop by the house Ronan has a range set up that he uses for training. When you are on the streets you need to make sure you know how to use it.” Kendrick said waving as a group of boys bounced by them on the court. His eyes darted to Yasmine in the stands she was smart and she wasn’t going to be making the same errors that Gina did. “You are on point for a run this week I want you to be prepared to do that.”

“I’ll be at the range yeah you know never carried one of this in Philly.” The dim light of the gym was pissing him off. Wait was Kendrick basically saying he was a long term plan. He didn’t think so. This was for cred so the streets knew he knew the struggle. This was how he found his Beyonce and this was where he saw what he needed to do. How was he going to talk about selling drugs in raps if he never did so? This was where he belonged where his brothers and sisters struggled to understand what it meant to be black. He did and this was his test.

“I’m ready give me the time and date. I’m ready Kendrick I won’t let you down. I’m book and street smart and I’m going to prove I’m worthy of her hand.” He nodded at Yasmine who he caught staring. “So can we enjoy the game boss man? Or are you going to scowl all game?” Jamal wrapped his arm around Kendrick. “You’re like a big brother to me.”

Kendrick was honestly relieved when he said that he had never really carried he didn’t want any fool teaching Jamal how to shoot. He wanted accuracy and precision about it something that Ronan had often insisted on. In fact it was something that he didn’t do often take someone out for Ronan but when he did he was precise about it enough said. When Jamal asked if he was going to enjoy the game or not he nodded his head at him and the kids on the court.

“I don’t want anyone else on the crew training you, you shoot I want you to shoot to kill do you understand? Keep your phone close to you we’ll text you with a date and time.” Kendrick said quietly as he looked over at Yasmine and the rest of the crew. Jamal had to of known that as right hand to Ronan murder was always something he had to consider. That in this life, lives had to be lost when things went downward. “You may see things that you aren’t prepared for and I want you to be prepared. Most of the men on this court will never get to where you are do you understand?”

“I understand.” For a second a feeling overwhelmed as he looked at Kendrick. It was a darkness in his eyes that made him fear what was coming. “I got you, hey I need to go study yo so I’m see you.” Jamal said as he slowly looked at Yasmine and boys. It somehow was becoming more and more real. He walked gave dap to the crew then exited the gym. Exhaling deeply Jamal wondered if he was truly ready.


Dani awoke to the sunlight shining in halfway through the closed curtains in the master bedroom and Jackson against her skin. Which was a bad idea his fingers were lazily gliding on her hips to her backside and she was trying to avoid the fact she wanted it again wanted him again. She bit her lip her thighs parting for him almost on a command as his hand brushed the inside of her leg and she took a deep breath knowing she should stop him. The night before was wonderful and something she would always remember but she wasn’t naive enough to believe that he wanted her like that again. Rolling over to face him she finally looked at him watching her she supposed it wasn’t the worst way to wake up in the morning.

“Morning. I should probably go.” Dani finally managed to get out hesitation dripping off her own voice and she wanted to scold herself. This was a bad idea staying overnight was a bad idea wanting him to tie her up and fuck her was a bad idea. She bit her lip at the fantasy looking at him through her eyelashes. “Too bad we didn’t get to the tying part.”

Jackson had been watching her sleep for the last half hour tracing his fingers on her skin watching her move, she was beautiful. The other part scared him he wanted her again. “Did you really want to be tied up? Dani for a long time I’ve wanted very particular things sexually. Some people might say I’m weird or have some type of perversion. The one thing though I’ve always been able to control is my sex life.” He said looking up at the ceiling. He’d liked her since he was a kid, though he never acted on it. “When I was twelve I remember I had a crush on you. Chauncey was teasing me so badly about a crush and who you were. My father shamed me. I don’t know why he didn’t love me liking you. Until we got older and I found out.” His voice was quiet as he spoke and he rolled over finally looking her in the eyes.

“It’s just hard you know? Like every time I thought I can do it. I can get better and prove to my father I’m not the black sheep. Yet every time I open my eyes I wish it was the last time. Have you ever felt unloved and completely unworthy of everything you have? That’s me, that’s exactly who I am. I’m not saying I’m in love with you because I don’t know how to love. So with that being said whatever this is. Dani you don’t want it. I’m a train wreck and I assure you I’m going to crash and leave a wake of destruction. What we did was fun I’d love to tie you up and show you all the things I could do to you. It’s just you don’t deserve it. I’m just not good enough for you. So let’s say we got out our childhood fantasies last tonight and leave it at that.” Jackson said knowing if she stayed he wouldn’t want to stop.

“I wanted you to tie me even when you rolled us over I wanted that. I didn’t know sex could be like that, that intense that mind blowing. It wasn’t my first time but I’ve never felt like that in bed before ever.” Dani said looking at him look at the ceiling this was the most awkward thing ever but she wanted to be honest with him about it, it was never that intense not even with Lex. When he mentioned he had a crush on her when he was twelve she couldn’t help the slight smile. “I’ve liked you since Mrs. Preston’s science class in ninth grade. My father forbid it I remember I wrote your name all girly on a piece of paper and he tossed it into the trash. It what happened over thirty years ago? Yet they act like cranky old men at a chess board.”

“You know what intrigued me the most even in Mrs. Preston’s class when we were lab partners? You’re smart always have been smart. I read your file your aptitude scores are off the charts, yet you always seem to hide behind something even when you went to college you could have easily pulled A’s. I could never quite figure you out back then even now you intrigue me. If it was up to my father I’d be working on his campaign and not betraying him by working for the enemy I get disappointment a lot from him. My entire life I have always done what he and my mother expected of me until I went to work for your dad.” Dani said it felt odd to talk to him like this after years of literally not seeing each other and not having the chance. When he mentioned love she bit her lip she wasn’t looking for that right now but a bit of fun she was not opposed to it. She rolled over onto her side so that she felt the heat between them she let out a deep breath when his cock brushed against her thigh looking at him running her fingers on his jaw for a bit. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be with you again I do. I can handle it and I’m really tired of everyone trying to make decisions for me let me make this one. If you really want me to leave I’ll get up and go.”

“I don’t want you to go.” Jackson said honestly looking into her eyes. Hunching his shoulders he pulled her closer to him. “I’m just afraid of something with you. Don’t know what it is but it’s easy to talk to you. I felt that also, I felt the intensity in the bedroom and I wanted to do things to you. God I wanted to make you feel all of my lust and passion. To be honest I feel naked with you not literally but just I don’t want you to be hurt. You aren’t a fragile little flower or anything but I just don’t want to prove everyone right about me. I’ve had my family wipe their hands of me Dani what makes you think that you can survive what I can do?” He asked looking into her eyes. “School was boring and I knew everything already call it a perk of the rich. I just didn’t find it entertaining.” His eyes dark and brooding as he felt the body heat between them.

He moved a piece of hair from her face as he smiled devilishly. “You are really pretty.” Jackson said with a softness he normally didn’t have with women. Tie up one model then have her best friend giving him oral while he spanked her until he exploded. Sex with Dani felt like that times ten. Maybe because he was high and it was so forbidden to be fucking a Fraiser but it was intriguing. “Dani I’m worried about you. I don’t want this to be a thing of emotions if we do this. It’s sex okay? We’re just sex and I don’t really think my aptitude tests have anything to do with this. I’m a failure but I’m a failure who knows how to please every inch of your skin. So let me do that and let’s keep the pace as friends okay?”

“So it’s settled then I’ll stay. This is nice talking to you I was always so afraid to back in high school your sister would have only tortured me worse and you always had some sort of edge about you. You were quiet though sometimes too which left me absolutely confounded.” Dani said smiling at him talking like this with him was a first and she couldn’t help but like it. When he admitted their night together was intense for him too she wasn’t sure how to respond she wouldn’t of guessed that from him. When he mentioned proving people right she felt bad for him not in pity but sad because it seemed like he was beaten down. “I don’t think you’re like people say you are. I like a challenge and I’m never one to back down from one.”

“You’re not terrible looking either. I don’t need you to be worried about me. I’m not some starry eyed teenager Jackson. So how about we call it two people who liked what they shared, want to do it again and be friends along the way. It’s just sex.” Dani said looking up at him and running her fingers gently over his chest and down his thigh, it was just that she couldn’t let it be more again. It was a need for a physical comfort for her and it wasn’t a terrible idea to be friends with the person you wanted to sleep with. “So now what?”

“The politics start now my dear if we are going to do this we’ll say we were all drinking you drove me home you felt tipsy. I slept on the sofa and now we’ve awoke from our slumber we’re famished.” He smirked as he pointed to the closet. “There are some clothes of Max’s no doubt but she has shit everywhere and considering most of it still has tags on it she’s forgotten about it in here. So get dressed because I’m famished but I want to make sure if you want to be tied up, I tie you up. You better not be giving your ass up to anyone.” Jackson said avoiding looking into her eyes because he was staring at her body.

Being home on the Devonshire estate brought so many memories back. When Max and him scared Thunder the horse and he ended up getting a broken arm. Jackson was starved and the cook would bring them breakfast then maybe they could go riding. Horseback riding on the estate was infamous in this town and it was the best time of year. “Let’s enjoy our time on the estate today and lets get to know each other. Under the guise of friends because neither of us is ready for the freak out of our parents.” He however was going to let her in and show her the many inner workings of the casa Devonshire.

Dani looked into the closet as he pointed to it and honestly she hadn’t thought that far ahead yet, it wasn’t practical to wear the same clothes from the night before. Plus she really didn’t want to call someone to bring some to her either. When he mentioned breakfast she smiled at him, as much as she would like to go another round with him then and there she certainly didn’t want to be exhausted for it. When he mentioned her not giving her body to someone else though she bit her lip at him trying to be as nice as she could about it. If that was on her she expected the same courtesy and respect from him, at least until their arrangement came to an end. She wasn’t a girl who just had random sex with strangers but if she was sleeping with him she wasn’t going to be with other men in that way.

“Breakfast would be nice. You’re right I don’t think our parents would be quite ready for this. I’d like to see you, get to know you better spend the day with you. I should probably tell you now so you aren’t surprised at DGI but your dad assigned me to work your PR with the company. We become friends that makes my job a lot easier.” She said moving some hair behind her ear as she put some distance between them to reach over the side of the bed and grab her panties and her bra. Bending over she dressed in them, feeling him watching her before she finally turned back to look at him leaning over him. Her mouth close to his own letting her panties touch his cock watching him reach up for her, as she looked into his eyes. “I won’t be sleeping with other people. I do however expect the same from you. I’m not that type of person Jackson if I’m fucking you I’m not going to be out fucking someone else.”

Jackson smiled at her magnetically as he touched her cheek. Then he grabbed her hips letting her straddle him. As he looked deeply into her eyes he’d never been a fan of monogamy. In his eyes that shit just wasn’t realistic. He however knew one thing, matter fact he was sure of it the sex with her was worth it. What he couldn’t promise was flirting, women seemed to find him irresistible. He found women irresistible it was an intoxicating combination. One thing Rory or Chauncey couldn’t do as good as him was pull women. It was a natural instinct but Dani was forbidden and everything about it was forbidden. Everyone knew his dad stole something from Walter years ago and tricked him into selling his shares. That wasn’t a secret. How all that shit went down was however something neither of their parents ever got over.

“Then let’s get breakfast and I think that I can manage keeping it in my pants.” Jackson said smiling at her. “You better be good today because I’ll make sure you can’t walk.” He said looking at her smooth skin. “I want to kiss every inch of you but you’re my little secret and we’ll see soon if you really like to be tied up. Now get ready we can get something to eat and have you ever seen the inside of the house? Well my favorite room is the solarium but you may like my mother’s green room. Exotic flowers and plants for some reason it’s a woman’s paradise.”

Dani looked at him watching her as he spoke about keeping it in his pants she’d have to take his word on it, which went against every screaming instinct she had after Lex. How long had he made a fool out of her with Maggie? Right behind her back and under her nose she reminded herself that she had to at least give Jackson a shot at his word. She let his hands rest on her hips while he spoke about her not walking and she could feel her skin flush at it, she didn’t doubt that. She leaned down to kiss him sealing their arrangement or at least agreement and then slowly pulled back biting his lip. There was something about him, the way she felt comfortable with him and a little dangerous all at once that thrilled her.

“Deal. I think you’ll find I’m pretty good at behaving unless provoked not too. I’ve been inside a few times not on a grand tour or anything but I’ve been to a few parties for the company here or if I’ve had to drop something off for work.” Dani said smiling at him before she got off the bed and they made their way to the closet and she watched him dress. Before picking out some jeans and a shirt and she was glad when she found out she and Max apparently had the same shoe size slipping on some socks and boots. “Have you given any thought to what department you want to be in at DGI? I think you’d do well in development and production. Sorry I just…I read some of your college papers it’s part of the job you’re creative. I didn’t mean to pry.”

Jackson’s jaw locked down, it was as if that question always took a piece of him. What was he good at in life other than fucking? It plagued him so much that he was driven to drugs. Some of the darkest days of his life was listening to Chauncey’s success and his father berating him for being mediocre. His eyes drifted off as he heard his father’s harsh words as he looked at Dani. She didn’t know it but she dropped a loaded bomb in his lap. Being around her kind of curved the need to touch the ghost in his medicine cabinet. Using drugs was always his way to cope with everything. Fuck dealing with it because that took too much work. Jackson never truly liked to face his inadequacies versus Chauncey’s successes.

“To be honest I hate DGI.” He looked at her deeply as he faced his very own reflection in a mirror by looking past her. “You tell me where I should go because honestly I’ve never had any guidance. That may sound strange but my potential was always looked down on. My father took what he wanted to take. He gave me something a special treat insecurities and scars no amount of drugs or shrinks can fix. Almighty Lowell Devonshire he’s a God among us mortals and he’s found his golden son. So tell me what place does the average son take? I feel like my entire life was Whiplash and I don’t really care which job or pretend title my father gives me.” He swore the darkness and heaviness of the conversation took over the room.

“Applied science. I like the applied science division.” Jackson said folding his arms. “I’m sorry to unload on you.”

Dani watched him and saw his demeanor change at the mention of DGI she really didn’t mean to cause him to get upset about it. She could tell he had a lot to unload when he did and it would have probably sent most women bolting for the door but instead she listened. She understood him, her dad was the same it was never good enough. The only time her father had ever been proud of her was when she graduated college and got out of Atlas Falls but even then the pressure came to go to law school to become her brother. When she came home and took the job at DGI it nearly created world war three at home enough that she showed up for family functions and that was it. She wondered if he even realized his hands were shaking when he folded them. She nearly reached out to touch him, offer to comfort him but stopped not sure how he’d take it or even if he wanted her too.

“It’s okay. I liked your paper that you wrote about increasing production time and value at the start up. You did something that in my opinion DGI needs to tighten down on their production costs when starting up. Your dad wastes too much money in the start of production. I think you’d do really well there, forget about your dad. I learned a long time ago to stop living for mine. It wasn’t worth it anymore after college when I realized I would never be my brother to him.” Dani said as her eyes met his she wanted to take that ache and sadness out of them. Ever since she read his file it spoke to her the most, reminded her way too much of herself. The constant look of disapproval from her father, the way he always told her to do better reminding her that she was not good enough. “I think you belong at DGI just as much as your arrogant ass of a brother if you want to be there and you’re wrong about earlier I don’t think you’re a failure either.”

“I think you are right but will my father see it like that? I want to do a lot like I see an expansion of DGI take in Saudi Arabia. The oil business is old as time but man the business we could be making but dad never got back into oil after your dad’s deal.” He said calmly but they were just still thoughts. Forcing back the thoughts he stood up and placed on his shirt. Putting on his watch he walked to the bathroom and opened the mirror. He saw the vial of coke and quickly put it underneath the sink. He didn’t need it right now. It was all about Dani and him right now. Just enjoying the day because honestly getting high wasn’t going to make it any better.  He just cracked his knuckles as he walked out to the living room. Damn she looked nice. Just with a leather jacket, shirt, and jeans.

“You ready? Let’s go eat because like I said I don’t really want to talk about DGI.” Jackson said as he grabbed his jacket. “I just don’t feel like thinking about what my future brings. You figure that shit out because it’s your job you know? I don’t want to make it too easy for you.” He winked at her as he pulled her into one last kiss. “Let’s go act like we don’t want a round two.”


Devin Thompson and Jon Harrison had arrived in the late hours of the morning last night and now nearly six hours later forensics had finally cleared them to go in. Steven Kincaid found murdered in his own bed by his wife Brenda along with what appeared to be his lover Carla Luciano. He had been with Miranda when the call had come in and he had to admit being around Jon her older brother was awkward when Jon didn’t know. He also couldn’t help but feel a bit of resentment to the man that had taken his place and his job Gideon Morris loved Jon. Fresh back from Iraq a decorated hero he just skated right into the detective position. Looking over at Jon he watched him he used to know Jon Harrison but now he was a near complete stranger he supposed that was from the war. Jon had been back a year and was just now adjusting back into life in the city and now he was a detective. Not that he begrudged Jon working up academy and taking the detective test like everyone else but he was jealous and upset about things.

“Quite the mess isn’t it?” Devin said slipping on his gloves as they began walking around the room while the coroners office finally got around to moving the bodies. He watched as Zach Cummings stopped them at least letting himself and Jon inspect them first. He walked to the bed picking up Carla’s hand no defensive wounds she had been on Steven’s lap. “She didn’t even see it coming. What are you thinking?”

“Perp comes in and shoots Carla in directly in the back of her head. She dies on top of Steven. As she falls on top of him he pushes the body off of himself. That’s why her body was positioned that way. Then the perp stops Steven from getting out of bed.” He rushed to the front of the bed. “I bet he then spoke to Mayor Kincaid. After a few moments then bang thus the blood splatter on the wall. Stephanie would you measure the circumference from that bullet hole in the wall. From where I was standing.” He looked at Devin and smiled seeing crime scenes were easy for him. He just knew and it was a gift. In many ways it was his calling after Iraq. How couldn’t he? After all the people he saved and helped he was sure that this was his moment. This was his time, to be a decorated officer.

“Carla was very close with that mobster what was his name? Ronan Madden’s father he was a big time mobster when we were little. I remember my dad shielding me from that guy and Carla. She had kid a little younger than us but that guy is going to be crushed. This isn’t any way for anyone especially our mayor to go out. Man this is all over the news and Morrison will be on our ass to get this solved yesterday. You up for the challenge?” Jon asked seeing the reluctance on Devin’s face. The guy didn’t like how he was a detective already. That however isn’t his problem he was here to work and that’s what he was here to do.

“Michael Madden yeah he died a few years back his son Ronan took over the ranks or so rumor is no one can tie him to it legally. You think Steven was involved in the mob too? Steven was known to have his hands in some shady stuff but that Jon that’s like saying the most sainted man in Atlas Falls was a fraud.” Devin said watching him watch the crime scene and even he had to admit Jon was gifted something he sometimes was jealous of. He reminded himself over the suspension was over he could be promoted to a lead as well and request a transfer of a partner. “Yeah Morrison is a hard ass.”

Devin watched as Stephanie went about measuring the marks in the room as Zach arrived on scene and he waved to him too. For it being the morning and the news breaking he looked out the window there was already a crowd gathering of reporters. He had never really cared all that much for the Kincaid family Anderson was the prized prince, Hunter was a snotty brat and Brooke form what he knew was a pampered princess but he felt bad now. No family should have their life thrust into the spotlight.

“Nice of you to join us Zach did Morrison send you over?” Devin asked with a smile he liked Braden’s cousin Zach was a valuable part of the force and in training to take the detective exam.

“Woah I’m completely on time not like any of us want to be here with this shit. I mean this case will either define all of our careers or ruin it. So I’m not exactly feeling it.” Zach said slowly nodding his head at Jon’s assessment of the scene. “But why was the Mayor faced down? This was someone he knew, could it be maybe the silver tongued bastard thought he was going to talk his way out of this? See what I mean Steven was faced down slumped over he talked to his killer.” Zach said looking at the guys. “This is a gruesome scene someone killed a mayor of a major city, guys this guy is begging for attention. Let’s run carpet fiber analysis. Also bullet forensic I want to know where these bullets came from.” Zach said putting his hands in his pockets.

Being in a complex situation considering he was one of the few who knew Miranda and Devin were dating and being Jon’s friend. “This is awkward man how are you two um working out as a couple.” Zach being a bi-sexual wasn’t something he advertised on the force but they knew his friends and family knew. “I mean partners. Either way sounds gay to me.”

“I’m fine.” Jon said stiffly as he looked at Devin. “He’s helping me along the way you know?” He said folding his arms. “Were fine.”

Devin looked at Zach he was one of the few other people that knew about him and Miranda even though they had tried their best to hide it they had been caught by Zach mid act at the station. The other person that knew was Miranda’s best friend Dani, Zach’s cousin which created just a web of mess for him. He watched Zach and Jon reading the scene he was never known for that ability Gideon always told him he shined at the harder stuff like interrogation and getting a confession. He folded his arms as he nodded at Zach and then at Jon.

“We’re fine.” Devin said though he had to wonder if that was the truth honestly Jon was different had been since he got out of the Army and returned home. He had distanced himself from his old friends minus Braden and everyone knew why there Dani and he was closed off. Something that Miranda had told him attributed to the PTSD he suffered in Iraq. “The bigger question is who would want Steven dead? The staff was saying he and Brenda got into it last night, he and Lowell Devonshire did too.”

“Come on did you see that lady?” Jon said stiffly trying to shake some sense into him. “Unless Brenda has a twin last night her schedule could have never had her here. Ditto for Sir Devonshire.” As he flipped through his notes. “However could Ms. Kincaid possibly hire someone to whack her husband? Or Lowell for that matter. We need to talk to all the servers at that party. They’re our in for that fight that they all got into.”

“Why gee Devin the boy got it.” Zach said sarcastically trying to show Jon how stiff he was being. “You see Devin while you were dealing with murder cases and solving plenty of cases. Jon was overseas forgetting how to be a human. Jon you can chill and stop being a robot. You are alive and made it man.” Slapping Jon’s shoulder the guy flinched a little.

Jon looked at Zach and almost punched him for a split second. He was overseas serving for ungrateful people like this? He was drowning in the bodies, when Christian Devane died it was one of the most harrowing nights of his life. How could anyone joke about that was beyond him. None of them knew his struggle or what he went through. Jon eyes were focused in as he looked at Zach.

“I know this isn’t Iraq considering I’m not stepping over my comrades bloody bodies, nor am I fucking shooting at someone. Yeah the war is over but my mind isn’t there. So whatever you are insinuating Zach fuck off.” Jon barked at Zach.

Zach blankly stared at Devin as the grimness of what he said hung in the air.

“You see I was serious but look who can’t take a joke.” Jon roared with a belly laugh. “Damn your faces. I was serious but I didn’t mean to minimize your job here dude.”

Devin watched the entire exchange and shuddered honestly he couldn’t imagine the things that Jon must have seen over there.  He heard horror stories on the news and Miranda always told him that he had no clue what her brother had went through. He looked over at Zach and the horror on his face as well and then took a deep breath. Jon had a point could Brenda of hired someone to off Steven? Could Lowell not to mention the other list of suspects he had. He loved Zach’s uncle but damn everyone knew if Steven was out Walter would take his seat.

“Jon is onto something who would want Steven dead? You have Brenda she obviously couldn’t be here for it but hiring someone they have the money. Lowell, how many deals has Steven negated on for DGI? Plus if they were fighting.” Devin said slowly bracing himself for the next accusation. Walter Fraiser had everything to gain with Steven’s death. “What about Walter? Sorry Zach probably not something you want to hear. He has everything to gain with Steven dead.”

“What did you just say? My uncle is the most noble man I know and he didn’t need to fucking murder a soul. He was going to win and dethrone that pompous womanizing SOB so don’t you fucking dare.” Zach snapped at Devin. “I would never bring your mom or family or Jade you remember my ex into this? You’re already losing it Thompson.”

Jon watched Zach flip on Devin which was to be expected but the thought ran across. Running his hand through his hair. “Calm down Zach think about this logically we all know Walter isn’t that man. He wouldn’t do that but we have to think.” Jon said sternly. “You just said it the stakes are high for us all so let’s not fuck this up and not overlook any angle. Look what they did to your uncle Walter, Zach. So just think and let’s solve this shit so we can go on.” Jon said firmly. Now everyone take as many pictures and let’s go figure it out first forty eight boys.”

“I’m just saying we have to look at all the angles to the crime scene and the story we have to compile a list. Just like Jon I like your uncle and I respect him the sooner we cross him off the suspect list the sooner we can move on to crossing off the others.” Devin said knowing the first thing Zach needed to do was to take emotion out of it. You wanted to be a detective or a good cop that was rule number one. “I agree. Stephanie make sure your unit gets at least as much photos as we can. No emotion Zach emotion gets you in a bind or worse.”

“Quite the mess at least from where I’m standing. Let’s let CSU finish it up we’ll know more when Dr. Clark can give us autopsy results. Let’s head back down to the station and gather what we know I am sure Morrison is going to want an update.” Devin said watching the techs arrive and Stephanie begin to give the orders to clear the scene. The sooner the body was moved the sooner the staff could clean the room. He caught a glimpse of Miranda outside the room and shot Zach glare not to say anything. “What do you say Jon think we can crack it in forty eight?”

“I don’t know but let’s figure out this mess. It’s time to get some long nights done.” He said looking at Devin. “Let’s get to work man, oh we’ll be rotating with you and Miranda. Gideon said get this case done.” Jon said walking down the stairs of the Kincaid mansion. “Lets give these people some peace after a long night.”

Devin nodded his head at Jon as he watched Zach walk off with Miranda, they were partners now but he also knew Miranda wanted to work VICE undercover. Gideon had already approved it and he knew that she hadn’t told Jon about it yet. He knew Jon would flip out about it but he also knew that Zach really supported her moving to that department and he couldn’t complain. It meant the could avoid the drama of internal department relations if and when they decided to tell people about them.

“I agree lets let them get on with their grief.” Devin said waving at the staff that it was safe to go in as he watched the crime scene unit finishing up.

He glanced down the hallway at the Kincaid family and for the first time in years he felt bad for them he hardly considered himself friends with any of them. However watching their grief as the siblings were rallied made him feel an ounce of sympathy for them losing a parent so horrifically. Walking out the door to the car with Jon he looked at the sky that had seemed to break through a little of sunlight and he could already tell it was going to be a long few days it not weeks.


Hunter was exhausted spending the night at the mansion with his mother and siblings his father was gone dead. It was still a shock that was sinking into his skull and his soul. Found dead in his parents marriage bed with one of his mistresses and a bullet between the eyes he shook his head twirling his drink in his hands. The police had been at the house since his mother made the call and even now they were saying the room would have to stay a crime scene at least until the detectives had combed through it. The press was already reporting the death and they were being asked to make a statement something his mother had refused. When he thought about his mother the night before clinging to Anderson how destroyed and broken she looked he felt sad. Though his parents marriage had always been tough and they rarely saw eye to eye, losing his father had to of hurt her. Max was long gone this morning leaving for work and he took a sip of his drink he just needed solid proof at this point, it was over. He looked out the window and saw Brooke approaching him and set the glass down going to the entryway door to greet her.

“How is she?” Hunter asked softly enveloping his sister in a hug already feeling her tears coating his shirt this would be hard on all of them. Mostly his sister she was daddy’s little girl, Anderson was his favorite son while he was the outsider in many ways. Yes his father respected him, respected the man he had become but it wasn’t like the love he held for Anderson. Pulling back he tried to smile at her unable to. “How are you?”

“I don’t know one moment I think it’s a bad dream and the next it’s a alter reality. Then it is reality you know? For the longest time dad and mom fought but I always thought they’d be okay? Somehow real love would prevail but it is a lie. For years I’ve believed in grand love and that love would make a way. Now all how can I believe in that? Mom and dad had that fight and now he’s gone. They’ll never fight again and they’ll never ever get that moment to make it better. Its just hard right now.” Brooke sniffled as she stood there looking at her handsome brother. “You are always the rock, you know that? When Anderson leaves and mom is drunk and dad wasn’t here you were the rock. So I know mom is bitch to you sometimes it’s because you know she had to be the rock. It wasn’t her place she wanted to be free and I think she doesn’t know how to let that go.” She touched his shoulder as she turned away bawling.

“Why is my daddy gone?” She asked covering her mouth. As she felt like she wasn’t breathing. “I can’t breathe.” Brooke said as she turned to Hunter. Gasping for air knowing she was doing it to herself. However she couldn’t stop it the pain was so raw. “I didn’t even get to talk to him. I didn’t say I love him or bye daddy or anything he just walked away.” She gasped as she couldn’t breathe, shaking as finally looked at him.

Hunter wrapped her up in his arms as she began to cry and he could already tell it was going to be a trying time for all of them until the funeral and perhaps even afterwards. She made a good point about their parents they were often at odds and behind closed doors they were hardly the perfect politically correct family that they presented. In fact they were a mess and had been for years and he hardly remembered when it all started maybe when they had gotten older? There was always tension between his parents and he always thought that they only stayed together for their children he realized his own tears had begun to fall as well. Their father was gone. Pulling back he took Brooke to the couch so she could sit down and get her feet about her.

“I honestly don’t know Brooke we have to let the police do their jobs. I think we’ll all miss the fighting.” Hunter said softly not sure what else he was supposed to tell her. He even had to admit he would miss that his parents epic fights that they always seemed to get past. He rubbed his sisters shoulders as she spoke about her final moments with their father. “He knew Brooke you have to know and believe that you were so special to him. He knew you loved him. Has Andy been making the calls?”

“All day.” She sniffled as she wiped her swollen eyes. “I need to wash my face Hunt, come on let’s go to see if he’s upstairs? I think he said he would be in dad’s study.” Brooke took her brother’s hand and walked upstairs with him as she looked at Hunter. She stopped as she looked at his warm eyes. She fixed his hair sort of like their father while looking at Anderson it was the most painful. He looked so much like dad it scared her. As they walked into the study Anderson stood handsome.

“Yes Cara, Lowell and Jackie have graciously offered the jet to get you and Wyatt here. Listen dear I’m thinking today we get Wes to come with you. I insist call him and tell Rebecca she must fly out also.” Anderson turned around looking at his siblings. “Hey come in guys.” He walked to them before they could get inside of the room. He wrapped his arms around her tightly. It was so good to be around them.

“Tell Wes and Rebecca hello.” She whispered Cara’s brother Wes and she briefly flirted when he and his wife were estranged. When Rebecca came back she saw she was no match for true love and bowed out gracefully.

“Babe I’m going to call you back in a hour get you and Wyatt together.” In the interim Anderson knew one thing he couldn’t come to Atlas Falls. Not when he was so close to becoming a young city council member in Chicago. He had much bigger dreams than Atlas Falls but eventually he would come home and reap. Cara and him had methodically planned the future and this wasn’t planned. Time wouldn’t check for anyone at the end. Now his father death had showed him that. “Mother is forcing me to take the mantle. I’m not here for that. Nor will I be so you both should know I’m going back to Chicago after this.”

“I think I’m staying mom is going to be a mess.” Brooke said looking at Hunter and Anderson. “We all are thinking it she’s about to crack like glass.”

Hunter watched his brother on the phone with Cara and smiled he was glad to see them working it out for Wyatt but more so for each other. Anderson and Cara had went through a rough patch and a divorce but when Anderson decided to stay and work it out with her in Chicago things got better. His mother hated it she wanted him to be the next political prince of the family to carry on the tradition that they had done for years. No doubt now that his brothers mind was made up it would now falter to him and he wanted to laugh at that the irony in that for his mother. Her least favorite holding the reins.

“I am sure mother loved that. Was she drowning in a bottle yet?” Hunter let out catching a glare from his siblings on the matter it was probably not the most classy thing he had ever said. His mother was  grieving much like they were but even she in her grief had to of been horrified at the prospect of him taking over for his precious brother. “I’ll be staying I don’t have anywhere to run off too. I’m sorry you both know how she is about me and anything relating to taking over the family legacy.”

“She’ll have to deal with Anderson doing amazing in Chicago wow you and Cara sound amazing and Wyatt will be coming that’s major. I haven’t seen him since like forever. My nephew is so handsome and smart he makes such eloquent and mature tweets. The kids major.” Brooke said wiping Hunter’s eye. “Mom has a thing about you I don’t know what it is but I’m sure it has to do with dad. Every time you were in Europe, I was in Italy or something now the Kincaid’s are together. I just hate dad’s not here to see it.”

“You’re right.” Anderson said kissing Brooke’s forehead. “I remember that time it was a lot when my little brother was born. Dad and mom were about to split up and mom was in Toronto and then California. She traveled around a lot she came home one day and it was like she wasn’t gone. It was so strange but that year here came Hunter. Our boy was a champ who brought the Kincaid’s together.” Anderson said perplexed also. “You still rock to me little bro.” Anderson said messing up his smooth hair.

Brenda stood at the door as she touched the wood on the doorway. They didn’t see her but to hear what they were saying. God hadn’t had the time to forgive her for why she favored Anderson and Brooke over Hunter. Her soul ached as she sat back looking at her boys looking just like her father and Steven. The truth was she was running away from Steven at that time. She was so involved with what she wanted and they were so right. Hunter was a trap to keep Steven even further. Hunter was her giving up on love and finally signing herself over to a loveless relationship. Not the love that every woman yearns for. Holding the wood on his door she turned away kneeling over.

Taking in a deep gasp Brenda started to cry although she knew no sound could ever come out. Brenda soul ached for a time when she felt like Steven really loved her. When he tried after she had Brooke to try to feel love again. Slowly staggering away she covered her mouth and it all hit her how much she’d given up for Steven and their legacy. Not drunk she walked to a guest room swiftly removing her robe wearing a silk nightgown. Walking to her vanity she started to apply her french cream to her face. She would look wonderful at his funeral and would take the legacy that she created, she forced to the top. Brenda wasn’t ready to let go of the power she acquired. Nor would she ever.

“You sonofabitch Steven, you think you’ve won but you’ve just unleashed me. I am form able and nobody including you bastard will take it from me. You hear me? Those kid have no clue what I will do to keep my power and what I’ve sacrificed to have it.” Brenda placed her head on the vanity breaking down crying.

Hunter looked over at his brother and his sister they were right here they all were in the same room, the same roof for the first time in years and he smiled at that. His father would have probably been thrilled with the idea no matter of brief or short of a time it would have been. He took a sigh and tried to fix his hair letting out a half-hearted laugh when Anderson ruffled his hair maybe they would be alright. He could tell Brooke was still upset and wondered how long the ache was supposed to be there how they were supposed to fix it and move on. Move on as a family and grieve along with their mother. More than that he wondered how his mother was he was never close to her but he could only imagine what she was feeling walking in on what she saw, how haunting it had to of been.

“We should probably at least check on her. I would assume someone has at least contacted the people at dad’s office as well.” Hunter said the press had to of been going crazy and for once the politics of their life were at a stand still. In truth his father had not trained him to be an incumbent mayor or a replacement, nor did he do that for his sister. Anderson would have been ideal but he was in Chicago. “So who wants to address the press?”

Brooke nodded knowing their mother was most likely in a puddle of tears. She wrapped the couch blanket on her shoulders. As they exited the study. When they entered the spare bedroom when she saw her mother crying on the vanity that used to be in her bedroom. It was a antique from her mother. It was said to be from the Alps of France where her grandmother Lorna was from.

“Mommy.” She said rushing to Brenda who wrapped the blanket around her then wiped her eyes.

“I get my comeuppance for being a bitch all these years to him by not having him now. I’ve never been one for tears on rare occasions. I’m not as heartless as you all believe shocking no?” Brenda said looking at Hunter. “Sometimes I question God’s master plan for a woman who lives by plans. I don’t like anyone changing mine even the almighty.”

“Mom we will find out who did this.” Anderson said kissing his mother forehead watching Brooke sitting between her legs. Then he watched his mother brushing her hair.

“I know baby I just wish you would be able to stay. We will find out who did this and I’m so happy to have my children here, all my children.” She placed the brush down seeing her own resentment of Hunter was affecting his potential as a man. Brenda grabbed his hand. “I’m so happy that you are here. So please just stay with me now.”

Hunter had followed his siblings into the room and had stood back a bit while they greeted and comforted her. He knew that Anderson was right they wouldn’t stop nor would they let the police stop until his father’s murderer was brought to justice. He sometimes wished that he had Max here with him by his side and he had to let his lips purse for a bit he was becoming his father in that regard staying with her out of duty when she clearly wanted someone else. He often wondered if that was the same for his parents marriage they were hardly affectionate to each other. When his mother reached out for his hand he took it in his own starring at it. Despite the strain she was still his mother.

“We’ll stay as long as you need mother.” Hunter said looking at his other siblings he had never seen her like this. The great and regal Brenda Kincaid distraught over the death of her husband, openly weeping and grieving inside their own home away from the papers. “We will get through this as a family.”


Ophelia got up from the couch watching the horror of the morning news and instantly thought about Brenda and the horror that she must have found the night before. Walking into a murder crime scene with Steven and what was reported to be his mistress of many years in Carla Luciano. One of the things that she knew from Brenda was the names of the mistresses, the faces behind them Brenda held no secrets as far as her scorn for them. Then she thought about the kids having to see that and the police questioning them about the murder how horrific. When the knock came on the door she walked too it opening it to see Tony on the other side they needed to talk about Jamal. She was sure he had been to the Devonshire estate or he would be later this had to of been horrific for them as well.

“I’m glad you came. Jamal still has yet to pick a major and last night he said he seemed happy at school but Tony his grades aren’t reflecting that. He’s pulling low C’s when you and I both know when applied more he is brilliant.” Ophelia said welcoming her ex husband into the condo. She was still in love with Tony there was no denying that but there was also a lot of hurt between them.

Tony had went to the Devonshire estate earlier when Lowell had called him about Steven and ti was all over the news as well. He had spent the evening before in the kitchen working on the dinner for Steve only to have the meal returned halfway through when the entire thing was called off. Some of the staff had told him that Ophelia and Selina had gotten in to quite the heated spat at the party and he had decided he would bring it up while he was over. Yes he and his ex needed to talk about Jamal but they also needed to talk about the constant fighting between her and his daughter too.

“We can’t force him to do his work or put the effort into his work Ophelia he is living on the campus dorm and making his own way. We also can’t force him to just pick a major either.” Tony said looking at her as he stepped into the condo, the condo his money had paid for in the divorce. “I heard you and Selina got into it at the dinner party.”

“Of course she would be all about telling you about that. If you must bring it up yes we fought.” Ophelia said her voice dripping with sarcasm at her ex. He was always so protective over Selina always taking her side. “Can we focus in on our son. I’m worried about him.”

“The entire staff heard you two going at it at the party Ophelia I was in the back and had to make sure the food got out but really at Steven’s birthday party? I thought with us being over so long that you and Selina could find a way past this to get along for Jamal.” Tony said disappointed in the fight that Ophelia had all but confirmed now with Selina. It was always a tricky point in their marriage how Selina and Ophelia refused to get along. “Jamal is young give him some time.”

Honestly when he married Ophelia it was after Gloria was gone they had a relationship that blossomed into love and when he found out he was going to be a father again he wanted to do the right thing by both her and his unborn child. He also wanted to give Selina and Mason a mother after Gloria make sure they had a female influence growing up, he wanted them to be a family unit. Life had other plans and instead Selina started to resent the fact that he moved on from Gloria with Ophelia and it led to a long and nasty marriage for him. Finding out Ophelia had an affair with a young intern over six years ago was the breaking point.

“How much time are we supposed to give him Tony? He can’t just skate in school he won’t declare a major, what happens when he graduates and doesn’t even know what he wants to do?” Ophelia said watching Tony be so demure about the entire thing in many ways she felt like he felt Jamal was less important than his other two children.

That resentment had been something that looking back she could say led her straight into a young Dr. David Rhodes nearly three years ago when she was at her breaking point with Selina. Tony was so enthralled when she got her office at DGI that he threw her this huge party at the restaurant. Mason had graduated law school that year and he did the same but when it came to Jamal’s choices there was nothing. Even in that moment Selina had tried to control Jamal and be a mother to him and when she asked Tony to step in nothing was done. She regretted the affair years later and it was a mistake she was now living with but it didn’t mean that the sting wasn’t still there.

“I am worried Tony.” Ophelia finally offered as she walked to the kitchen to pour them both a cup of coffee. It was still early morning and despite their rocky divorce they had been able to remain semi cordial and work things out when it came to Jamal. “Selina was spreading these nasty lies about him being involved at that club that Philip Montgomery runs. I told her she was mistaken.”

Tony pinched the bridge of his nose at the mention of Selina and Jamal when would it ever stop he loved his daughter but he also trusted his sons judgement and he didn’t see Jamal in that type of a place. Not that there was anything wrong with a man of Jamal’s age being in a strip club but Jamal had always been wanting to head to college. It seemed odd that he would be throwing that away on parties and women. Or maybe not he remembers how he was in college as a young man and a small smile crept on his face at the memory.

“He is young man Ophelia surely you don’t expect him to not go out with his friends even if it is a strip club and he is of age. Even boys his age in college need that.” Tony said the small bit of humor at the situation hinted in his voice. Surely Ophelia of all people had to know that a young blooded male his sons age could be sexually frustrated. “He’s not a teenager anymore Ophelia and we can’t control his choices.”

“No I would like to think he is not a monk but Club XES is dangerous you know the rumors around town with Philip Montgomery and his shady connections. He should be focused in on school and not chasing tail.” Ophelia said as she crinkled her nose at the news reports on the shooting. Such a tragic event for the entire city despite what she knew about Steven he did care about Atlas Falls and he did love his job as mayor. “Brenda must be a mess. I would appreciate it if Selina would get her facts straight on Jamal before accusing him of hanging out with the wrong people. You have to reel her in Tony she is not his parent.”

“What would you have me do Ophelia? She is his sister she is obviously worried about him too and maybe she didn’t take the best approach to things but she is still his sister. I would like to think Brenda is quite upset about the news have you went and saw her yet. I know how close you two are.” Tony said not wanting to fight with her not also not willing to let her throw Selina under the bus as well. Selina was his daughter and if she was worried about Jamal then he got that. “Have you talked at all to Jamal about any of this?”

“No I haven’t had a chance he told me last night at the party that school was going well he even brought a date with him Rachel Morrison. You need to speak to Selina Tony I’m not going to tolerate her constantly coming after me and the things she said last night.” Ophelia said taking a sip of her coffee and looking at her ex-husband. She tapped her fingernails on the coffee mug. “We aren’t together anymore Tony it has been years Selina should be over it by now. What happened with David and I was a mistake one that I am living with but I don’t have to tolerate the way she speaks to me.”

Tony bit his tongue when she brought up David which was a sore spot for him even years later it was the catalyst for his marriage to her ending and Jamal was in high school at the time. The divorce was very bitter and angry on both their parts. The fact that she went out and had an affair on him with such a younger man and one that she worked with still stung and it still hurt when he would bring it up. Worse was the fact that he knew it was a mistake on her part one that now he was sure that he attributed to the downfall of their relationship and marriage. He was far too often taking Selina’s side over her own and it caused so many problems it was Selina who had discovered her affair with David and told him about it.

“No we aren’t but you are still Jamal’s mother. I’ll talk to her about it.” Tony said watching his ex play with the coffee mug on the counter and then he took a breath. Despite her and Selina not getting along he felt like they had a bigger problem at hand Jamal’s lack of focus. Jamal’s lack of showing any interest in anything after college and that did worry him. “How about we have a family meeting about it, me you and Jamal we can discuss things with him and work on a solution together.”

Ophelia took a drink of the warm liquid as he spoke about a solution for Jamal they apparently weren’t going to discuss Selina’s behaviour the night before. She almost let about a bitter laugh at that of course they wouldn’t it was always about protecting Selina. Instead she reminded herself that they still needed to co-parent and guide their son. If anything she wanted to meet with Jamal and Tony to put her former step-daughter’s atrocious accusations to rest. Jamal was a good kid and there was no way he would have been out and hanging with the wrong crowd of people she and Tony had raised him better than that.

“I think I can arrange sometime this week to do that. My schedule is pretty open at the moment not a lot of new clients. I’m just worried about him Tony, he’s never been like this before he went to college. He may of pushed boundaries but we knew why it was because of the divorce and he was trying to make us work through things.” Ophelia said sadly thinking back about the divorce and how it did affect Jamal the most. He had acted out got in trouble anything to make her and Tony work through their problems opposed to Mason and Selina. Mason had been on the fence and Selina was happy to be rid of her. “How about I check my schedule and we arrange a time then?”

“I think that would be for the best.” Tony said watching her pull out her iPad to look over her schedule and pulled out his own.

He could be free when she wanted him to be he could move around a few private dinners if needed and catering. He was sure with Stevens’ murder a few of his more upper crest clients would be canceling and making arrangements instead to pay respects to the Kincaid family. The murder of the mayor was setting off people to talk already about who would take his place there was only two people on the ticket Steven and Walter and now with Steven gone Walter was all but guaranteed the seat unless someone else stepped up to run. He was certain for Lowell and DGI that news was unsettling, in some ways it was for himself as well years ago he had invested in DGI with Lowell, helped him start the company and then went back to culinary school where his family’s legacy was secured in investments and wealth.

“Tony?” Ophelia asked looking at his mind wandering off while she looked at her schedule. “I need to get to the office but I’ll call you with a time. You look a million miles away is everything alright?”

Tony looked back at her blinking a few times as his mind floated back to the present it seemed like years ago that he and helped Lowell start DGI and now it was a successful company. He nodded his head at her as both their phones went off hers for the hospital and his looking at the caller ID for La Callie, it was back to reality for both of them. When she had mentioned he was distracted he nodded his head at her before placing the phone in his pocket. He gave her a quick hug and a kiss, that he seemed to get caught up in as he looked into her eyes. She was still stunning and gorgeous and try as he might he had not been able to move on from her.

“I’m fine it’s just this murder of Steven it could cause a ruckus with DGI if Walter wins the seat. Plus Brenda no one should have to be doing what she must be feeling losing Steven the way she did and to walk in on it. Not to mention this entire thing with Jamal. It makes me wonder you know?” Tony said quietly as she looked at him. He ran a hand on her cheek for a moment before he stepped back.

“Makes you wonder what?” Ophelia managed to ask looking at her ex. She could swear he still looked at her with an adoration and a longing even years later when they had told each other they were done. She hadn’t seen anyone else in years, she and David were still friends but no one filled the ache in her that Tony had left. She supposed that was her punishment for the affair the constant ache that could have been. “Well?”

“It’s nothing. We’ll talk later in the week.” Tony said finally looking at her as he walked to  the door and opened it walking out. He stopped outside the door his heart beating thinking back on the future he could have had with her if she had never been with David.


Scarlett Nichols walked along the docks of the lake the late afternoon sun and the chill of late winter blowing in the air. She knew Zach was on his way home the text a few hours ago had told her that much after what happened to poor Steven Kincaid. She pursed her lips a bit at that her mother of course had cried over the idea that Steven was dead and she nearly rolled her eyes at it. Apparently Ms. Luciano was not the only woman the good mayor had been sleeping with over the years. She took out the spare key that Zach had given her a few months ago and opened the door to the boathouse. For a cop it wasn’t a bad place not exactly her style she grew up in the far more prestigious neighborhood right down the street from the Devonshire mansion. It however suited her for what she was doing now with Zach it wasn’t like her fiance was pleasing her at home, she and Mason Delacroix had an arrangement.

In public they were affectionate to each other in private though she didn’t ask about what cock was pleasing him and he did the same to her. Both were stuck in what was something that both of them needed he needed her to keep his cover to his father that he was on the straight and narrow and she needed him to rise in society. Marrying Tony Delacroix’s son suited her very well, very well indeed Tony had gotten rich years ago when he invested in DGI stock and earned a board seat. Her own father in turn had worked for DGI for years until his death a few years ago a good paying job that had landed her in the lap of luxury and upbringing. Zach was not rich in fact his parents were middle class and he was too and maybe that was what was fun about him. Not to mention he wasn’t as stuck up as the rest of his family, he knew how to have a good time. Taking off her coat to reveal her black lingerie beneath she made her way into the living room taking a seat on the couch smiling when she heard the door open.

“Hello.” Scarlett said looking at Zach place his jacket and keys down on the table as their eyes met, her hand traveled over her breast and down her side to her legs. Grinning as she watched him watch her movements he may of liked to play for both sides but she knew what it took to get him going. “How was work?”

“Have you heard about Steven’s murder? It’s a mess Scarlett after all it’s the fucking mayor and the pressure. You know Devin had the audacity to accuse my uncle Walter. That fool was suggesting that my uncle the most morally upstanding individual to run for mayor in a long time. Like uncle Walter just became a criminal all of the sudden. I want to scream this case is going to forever change everything. I mean it’s a case that’s going to make us or break us.” He curled up on the couch behind Scarlett.

“You however man.” He slowly nibbled on her neck. As he slipped her his arms around her waist. “Scarlett you can’t get comfortable with me. Well I have explained this a million times to be honest. I am bisexual and my relationship with Dante I don’t want you to get any expectations. I’m actually not ready to choose babe because I’m enjoying what you both give me. Look I don’t want Mason to get pissed or anything either we are cheating. I just think it’s exciting to have you when he does too. Matter fact it makes it even better. Knowing that you are kissing me then kissing him.”

Scarlett looked looked at him as he talked about his uncle everyone in town knew Walter was no murderer. She wanted to roll her eyes at him when she thought he was ignoring her but instead smiled. When he crawled on the couch with her she turned her body to his engaging in her hands traveling down the lean lines of his shirt. Truthfully she didn’t really think about Mason when they were together at all.

“I don’t have any expectations Zach we’re just having a bit of fun. Trust me Mason doesn’t care what I am doing he is too busy with his career and pleasing his daddy.” Scarlett said looking up at him as she got his shirt out of his pants and let her hands travel up the lines of his body. She spread her legs underneath him and nibbled on his ear. “You’re a bad man Zach I would never make you pick between me and Dante.” Scarlett said feigning the last part truthfully she wanted Zach all to herself.

“Sometimes I wonder if you’re just lying to get in my pants.” He slowly removed the silk shirt from her shoulder. Slowly kissing her bare shoulders as he looked into her eyes. “You know that I have a family dinner at my cousins but I don’t want to make this too fast.” Zach was unbuttoning her shirt from the front as she slowly rubbed her breast through her silk bra. “You smell so good.” He said as he seductively kissed her neck yearning for what he knew wasn’t his. One last night was what he lied and told himself but the sex between them was far too good.

Standing up he removed his shirt and pulled his pants down knowing that Scarlett was service him properly. He needed to feel the relief after today. Blinking his eyes he felt himself getting erect he smirked. “Baby I need to get some stress relief right now.” He winked at her as he saw he was fully erect. Stroking himself he knew Scarlett would wash away all the drama of earlier today. “You ready for a taste?” Zach stated nastily.

“No why would I have to lie when we both know how this is going to go before you go off to your aunt and uncles and smile politely over dinner?” Scarlett said as she looked at him raising her arms for him while he undid her shirt. Her head thrown back when he rubbed her breasts through the silk of her see through bra and she reminded herself to wear it again it clearly did it for him. “So lets not go too fast shall we?”

Scarlett wrapped her arms around his neck while he feasted on her neck reminding herself that soon Dante would be a distant thought in his mind after she was done blowing his mind. She opened her eyes when he pulled back and pulled down his pants letting her tongue slide over her bottom lip. She did have to say he had a fine body and even fully clothed at the moment she knew the sooner she got him off or started the sooner he would finish the duty back on her. Sitting up on the couch she grabbed his hips and lowered her lips on his cock letting her nails dig into his hips she got into a steady rhythm on him determined to drive him so close until he was then buried in her.

Zach’s eyes rolled into the back of his head as Scarlett serviced him. She was amazing at oral a skill no doubt that would make her a very wealthy man’s wife. Slowly rocking his hips he feed his cock to her throat as it slid deeper with each slurp and rock. Running his hands through her dark hair he growled feeling like he was going to explode as he watch her slurping enjoying seeing him close over the edge. He closed his eyes ready to blast off and punish her pretty little pink pussy when he heard the doorbell.

“Zach it’s me I know you’re inside I know I was supposed to meet you Lauren and Walter’s but I need my cross. I don’t leave home without it.” Making a cross over his body from head to shoulder to chest.

Pulling himself out of Scarlett’s mouth he looked at her and kissed her deeply. “I know this is going to piss you off but I have to go. Dante’s my boyfriend he comes first and I promise I’ll come see you at lunch.”

“I have so much to tell you! So I had a meeting with Jackie Devonshire she wants to invest in my fashion line! Are you listening my key and cross is inside babe come on. You know my Mama is so freaking happy. To think my cousin was once the only one who became something of herself. Now me and Diego are doing it, come on hurry up I have something just for you handsome if you know what I mean.” Dante said ringing the bell a few times. “Hurry up papi!”

“Scarlett please don’t let me get caught I love him.” Zach said passionately.

Scarlett had been lost in gifting him with her mouth while her own body was throbbing for him moving her head on him feeling his push against her. His own groans of satisfaction ringing inside of her ears and then he pulled back halfway through when that fucking doorbell rang. She was instantly annoyed at the action that once again Dante was screwing up what was supposed to be an explosive afternoon with her, Dante had him the night before and she was tired of being second fiddle. She didn’t understand why Zach even had to have a boyfriend or a relationship clearly he needed both bodies to please him, she felt him kiss her and pulled back from him he wasn’t getting off the hook that easily. Digging in her heels and still in her bra and skirt she leaned back on the couch waving her hand at him.

“Find his dear precious cross and key send him away and tell him to met you at our aunt and uncles. You owe me Zach he’d had you ever night for the last two weeks we’ve hardly seen each other and well I didn’t come over here to be sent away like some thing you can throw out.” Scarlett said folding her arms as she looked at him Dante didn’t deserve a man like Zach and she hardly got what he saw in Dante anyway. Her on the other hand she knew what Zach needed and she wouldn’t be one to make him conform. “If he knows all about you then this shouldn’t be a  problem for him.”

“Tonight I’ll get rid of him and you come back over. I can’t leave him outside and just give him a cross and key and not go. Baby it’s all about us tonight I promise. I swear to you Scar I will give you what that sweet body has been craving but baby. You have to wait.” Adjusting his pants as he buttoned up. “I made it very clear Dante comes before you because he’s absolutely amazing. He’s my boyfriend and I can’t get caught so baby later tonight.”

“Zach what are you doing?” Dante said banging onto the door.

“Scarlett please.” Zach said begging.

Considering he had such good news he was shocked that Zach wasn’t at the door. He stepped back and kicked the door as Diego had showed him a million times. With that kick he swiftly walked through the house. Pausing as he saw Zach walking out of the shower with a towel on.

“Babe what are you doing?” He said smiling.

“I just was outside and I thought. I was stupid and I’ll pay for the door.” Dante kissed his boyfriend. “I’m jealous and I don’t want any other guy to have you.”

“Or girl, I’m bisexual you know.” He grinned at Dante. “Did you think? Awe babe that’s cute what’s up.”

Dante touched his wet hair as he looked into Zach eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you so much.” Zach kissed him. “Come on you know Lauren would kill you if dinner isn’t on time.”

Scarlett was not happy when Zach forced her into the closet and he quickly turned on the shower letting the water hit his body while Dante kicked in the door. She kept silent watching through the slats as Dante walked to Zach touched Zach hair a body she had been touching earlier and she wanted to scream. Instead she composed herself watching the two lovers Dante was delusional if he thought that just because he and Zach were dating that he was done with a woman. No Zach needed a woman the physical intimacy that a woman’s body gave him that her body gave him. He’d see that and she watched as they made their way down the hallway to the bed she could have bolted for the door but instead she cracked the closet just a bit to get a full view.

She watched from her spot her body hardening as she watched the two strip Dante’s clothes to the floor and Zach began to make love to him. No this was not part of what she wanted she had said that she wouldn’t make Zach chose but sometimes people needed a bit of a push to make that move. She waited till they were both deep into their lovemaking walking out of the closet and picking up her shirt that had been thrown behind the couch in Zach’s hustle to hide her in the closet. She put it on and adjusted it to make sure it was perfect looking at her reflection in the glass outside of the houseboat. A Nichols was not someone you fooled with nor did you put them on hold while serving and indulging inside of someone else if anything her upbringing had taught her that. She put her purse on her shoulder getting off the boat and walking down the pier she would be back when Zach called later in the meantime she was going to start on what she wanted. Zach all to herself no matter the cost.


He had gotten the news early that morning and for a Saturday Braden had spent most of it at the office going over the little known details with Gideon Morrison, Steven Kincaid was murdered in his home the night before. He knew people would suspect his father after all he was running against him this election and the two men hardly saw eye to eye but he could account for the fact his father was at a fundraiser the night before. A fundraiser that the entire family had come out to support other than his sister, Dani never showed. She had went out with friends to Club XES, Zach had seen her there before he had arrived at the fundraiser and he shook his head laughing a bit. His dad would have a heart attack if he heard that one that she was inside a strip club, but honestly after Lex she needed to have some fun and happiness. Ever since Dani had went to work for DGI there had been tension inside the family and sometimes he wished he could go back in time and rewind what happened all those years ago make it right for all of them.

They never mixed now Fraiser versus Devonshire and even by extension Delacroix, it was something he learned the hard way when he and Selina had tried so often to make their relationship work. He stopped himself at the mention of Selina in his head she was engaged to be married to Chauncey Devonshire and even if he wanted too, even if he hoped she would come to her senses and see Chauncey didn’t value her or deserve her he had come to terms with it. She was moving on and according to his sister and family maybe it was time he did too. He pulled his leather gloves off as he opened the back door to enter the kitchen smiling at his mother at the sink humming. He was sure his father was in his study on the phone making calls to his supporters and trying to calm the claims that he would have Steven murdered. His mother had tried to get his sister to come last night and he knew she was trying her best to mend the fences between his sister and his father.

“Hey mom.” Braden said walking to his mother and giving her a hug watching her face light up much like it had last night. In truth the entire family was proud of his father, even his sister for taking a stand against Steven though Dani would never admit it to their dad. He stepped back spinning her in the kitchen. “Where’s dad?”

Lauren was in the kitchen cutting up veggies for dinner a stew that had the house smelling very down home. Grabbing the dish cloth she dried her hands looking at how handsome her son was. Slowly walking to him she kissed his cheek. “Upstairs sit the stew is almost done these are already cooked from last week. All I have to do is drop them in and warm them up. I have some garlic bread and salad with all your guys favorite fixing set out. Where is my handsome grandchild?” Lauren said placing down her towel. “Don’t get used to this Martha Stewart act trust me it’s killing your potty mouthed mom.”

Turning up the cooler on the four wine bottles getting cold. They were going to need it after this family dinner. “Zach is on his way he is bringing Dante and he’s bring a Mexican stew I can’t wait. Tell me something will you two keep the peace between my husband and daughter? Is that too much to ask?” Folding her arms she looked at Braden. “I saw Tamara she was on the other side of town Braden I think she’s.” Pausing she saw Dylan outside strumming on his guitar as she frowned. “Its going to kill him if she hooked on drugs again. He can’t go through that again.” Placing the veggies in the boiling stew she paused. Taking a sip of her soup she licked her lips. It needed something else that was sure. “Pass me that basil in the herb drawer.”

“It smells amazing. I already told Gideon to send Jon and Devin by everyone knows dad would never do something like this and besides he has an alibi that at least two hundred people can vouch for.” Braden said watching her cook as she spread out dinner as his phone buzzed looking at the text from his sister seeing his mother’s buzz too. Apparently Dani was canceling something about work coming up he saw the disappointment on his mother’s face. “He’s outside on the porch.”

“Give her some space we all know what happened the last time when he went off on her about DGI. If work came up its important to her you know that and after Lex she needs that. Even though dad has been set on a reunion between them it’s not going to happen.” Braden said looking at his mother his father and Charles Hessington had been friends for years so when the engagement between his sister and Lex had been called off it was devastating. His eyes met his moms when she brought up his ex and Dylan’s mother. “She’s not I just spoke to her last week. She told me she is clean I believe her.” He took basil out and handed it to her.

“Everyone is coming over she can’t just cancel. Text her and tell her to be here damnit I’m sick of my dinners being ruined.” Lauren said slamming down the salad bowl. “I made her favorite soup, I’ve called over and over again. Yet I always get shut out when she’s pissed at her father. You know you kids are selfish as hell. There I said it. I fucking said it.” Knowing she didn’t curse around Dylan or normally tried to be calm. “I have spent over a year playing mediator no you tell her even if it’s desert Danielle Grace Fraiser is going to be here. Or she’s going to get a visit from me first thing in the morning.”

Lauren sat down at the table. “This has been a battle my God Dani has been raised by us. She acts like she doesn’t respect that her father detests that man. I went to high school with Steven. I saw him grow as a mayor and a man. Now I’m looking at him he was the golden boy and marred by scandal. His entire life will be remembered by this moment.” Lauren got up as she walked to the stew cutting up the basil she put it inside of the soup. “Well if she isn’t what was she doing in the ghetto? Huh? She frequented that side of town when she was using. Just think about it okay? If she is it’s going to destroy him. As for Lex that cheating, lying, snake can choke on my nicely polished heels.”

Walter had just gotten off the phone with a few supporters when he heard his son and his wife in the kitchen. Arguing of course about his daughter, a daughter that had been pushing his buttons ever since she threw away a future in Pittsburgh to head to work for Lowell Devonshire. She had been doing it since college defying him, first rejecting law school and her numerous failed romantic relationships. The only time he had thought she had her head on straight was when she went to work on Charles Hessington’s political campaign and he and Charles had introduced her to Lex. He finally had felt like maybe she wasn’t going to defy him, that she would settle into a life that he always wanted for her he had been wrong. He had to remind himself that soon she’d see the light that the Devonshire’s were nothing but crooks, cheats and liars. They used people to get what they wanted and if she thought they would not do the same to her in the long run than she was sorely mistaken.

Charles had already called in his support as a congressman for the state about Steven’s murder assuring him that he would have his back he expected nothing less. He had been politically correct when he spoke to the press just a few minutes ago to give a statement he never wanted to win like this with a murder hanging over what had been a clean race so far. He heard them talking about Tamara and reminded himself that perhaps he should pay her a visit himself if his son could not. Her drug abuse had been dangerous when the campaign had started even though she assured them all she was clean now. He stepped into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around his wife holding her for a moment before placing a kiss on her lips.

“If she feels like the Devonshire’s are more important than her own flesh and blood then so be it. I’ve told you Lauren she has to learn the hard way how they operate, how they use people if she will ever get her head back on straight.” Walter said looking at his wife knowing it was pointless to force their daughter to do anything unless she wanted to do it. She had been fighting him for over a year to forgive Lex for his indiscretion to no avail. “As for Lex we raised her to forgive Lauren, men make mistakes even good ones.” He said pausing as his eyes met his wifes before looking at his son. “Your mother and I both saw Tamara on that side of town again we wanted you to know about it. Dylan doesn’t need to be drug through another nasty court battle if she is using again not to mention what it would do at this very moment with the murder and me being now thrust to win.”

Braden watched his parents interact and smiled he wanted someone like that, despite the turmoil going on with his sister they had always agreed on that. Their parents loved each other and were still in love with each other over thirty years later. He’d known a lot of friends over the years whose parents never acted like his own they were all miserable or divorced. He had thought at one point he and Selina would have what his parents had, that was in the past now. He bit his tongue about Lex his sister would die before she ever forgave Lex for what happened and he didn’t want her too, she deserved someone that really loved her. When both of them started talking about Tamara though he made sure that Dylan was out of earshot still before he spoke and chose his words carefully.

“I have about fifteen cases I am working on at the office going to court with her over this wouldn’t be a good idea at the moment. I can’t accuse her of using again that is not fair and Dylan is with her every other week. I have to focus on getting Ronan Madden’s guys off the streets that is my job going back for custody would be a mess right now.” Braden said looking at his parents not sure if he wanted to believe what they were telling him or not. Tamara had kicked the habit she was clean and sober things were good right now with her and custody. “No one believes you had anything to do with what happened to Steven dad that’s just the press looking for a bite.”

“How about this Walt she’s your fucking daughter and I don’t want to see her get sucked up by them? You keep telling her to learn a lesson did you? Or is your hate for Lowell still one hundred percent? What we need to do is get our daughter out there.” Lauren said slamming her hand on the table. “Now I’ve let you do be the man, I’ve let you put your foot down, I let you run for mayor now you will help me get our daughter away from those people.” She said wiping her eyes as she stood up knowing what Walter was insinuating. Yes she forgave him but it didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt. Some people thought they could cover wounds with band-aids.

“Now either you figure a way to fix this with our daughter or go on stage tomorrow without me.” Before Walter could argue, she called for her grandson. “Dylan come inside!” She turned to look at Walter and Braden. “You know how you got your name? I argued for hours that the man who protected Walter when he was kid. You were supposed to be named after your uncle Brandon. He talked me out of it but I knew your name is Braden. I challenge and if you aren’t going to fight for Dani then I will force you.” Moving her hair from her face.

“Grandma chill aunt Dani will be here I’ve been texting her and mom isn’t on drugs none of you can whisper.” Dylan sat down as he looked at them.

“No you eavesdrop it’s your fault you hear things you aren’t supposed too.” Lauren said looking at Braden seeing his upset face. “Listen if she isn’t I’ll apologize kiddo but I don’t trust your mother. Your granny has never held shit back from you kid. Not going to now because we are going to be Mr. and Ms. Mayor. I don’t know I’m going to be first lady when I have the biggest potty mouth.” She winked at him. “I made a french silk pie and the wine is over there guys what time did Zach say he was coming over?”

“I’m texting aunt Dani and mom if she’s using you all aren’t going to keep me away from her again. I’m almost in high school you aren’t doing that to me and my mom.” He demanded looking at them all. “Pass the milk.” Dylan smiled at his granddad.

Walter knew one thing about his wife she was stubborn something he was certain their daughter had inherited from her. His hate for Lowell Devonshire would never die he had dug his heels in and thirty years later knowing what a fool he was to believe that Lowell had been honest and fair let alone a friend stung. He reminded himself that Dani had to learn the hard way it wasn’t like she was fully in bed with the Devonshire’s. She was just working for them once Lowell screwed her over she would be running back to them. To appease the mood he decided to not bring up DGI at dinner and it seemed as if his grandson and twisted her arm into coming. Something they could always count on Dylan for. Grabbing the milk from the fridge he ruffled Dylan’s hair casting a glance around the room to drop the subject of Tamara till later.

“Braden open up some wine. The only reason we talk about your mom kiddo is because we all love you and want the best for you.” Walter said he avoided Braden’s eyes and looked at Lauren they had overcome a lot in thirty years. Including the turmoil that their daughter had been born into he shook his head at the thoughts as he watched Braden pour some wine into their glasses.

Braden saw his phone buzz at his sisters text stating that as soon as she finished up what she was doing she’d be there for dinner and he had to smile at the implication that Dylan had something to do with that. Despite what was going on between her and their father Dylan had his aunt wrapped around his finger had been since he was born. His father would forever hate Lowell and he didn’t see that ever changing period, he still held a grudge years later. He opened up the wine and couldn’t help the look that his parents shot each other about forgiveness. When the focused shifted back to dinner he was glad that Tamara discussion was off the table in front of his son, he’d call in a favor to Gideon to keep an eye on her or something just to make sure. Pouring the wine to the adults he took a sip of the lovely Merlot knowing they would probably at least finish off all the bottles.

“See mom family dinner crisis avoided. Zach said he was going to take a shower and clean up and then he would be over. He was at the scene today.” Braden said he was still perplexed about what Dani was doing working on a Saturday for DGI but she had been pushing herself a bit more. Zach being late he got murder didn’t take a day off and plus with his folks on a cruise it was just him for the next few weeks and his mother always extended an invitation. “You know if no one runs you’ll be swore into office. I suppose tonight though it may be morbid can be a celebration as well. Congrats dad.”


Brooke looked at the snow falling over Atlas Falls she had to pick up a few garments considering she was staying. She could have went to Renards but she just wanted to shop in peace. With the news and media circling them like vultures. Anderson addressed the press begging for peace in a very difficult time. The truth was they all knew at this time her father death had brought shame and dishonor to their name. Not only that she was thinking how embarrassed her mother must been to have his mistress die with him. Carla really that old witch was still around? Who knew? Anderson always said the affairs truly started after Hunter’s birth, he caught father. It was something Brenda and her family kept a secret that was now public for everyone in the world to see. When she looked up she saw him. A piece of her wanted to run to him. The snow was about to melt as she watched the flashes of cameras of her in the window. Moving the stray strands from her hair, looking at his eyes she wrapped her hand on stomach.

“Please don’t say I’m sorry to me I don’t want to deal with another apology.” Brooke said running her hand through her hair. She ran her hands through her blonde hair. As she flopped down on the couch wrapping her legs into the couch. It smelled like so many different memories. “I’m not going to all psycho on you. What are you doing here? I mean you’re one of daddy’s bigwig friends shouldn’t you be gasping at the adulterous mayor? I mean it is a major scandal I’d be all up in this if it wasn’t my own life.”

Ronan had heard the news that morning along with the rest of town Steven and Carla. He knew how inappropriate it was to even visit the resort and reach out to Brenda given who Carla was to his father. But he needed to see if Anderson was going to to run or not in the race with Steven dead that jeopardized the entire operation. Which created a huge problem for him he needed a mayor that was willing to turn a blind eye when he needed it. It was how people like him stayed in business however when he walked into the resort and saw Brooke again looking so distraught his heart softened. Walking to the window he closed the blinds and curtains in the boutique in the resort giving her a bit of privacy from the reporters.

“Alright then I won’t tell you I am sorry. I came to see your mother offer her my condolences.” Ronan said softly looking at her for a moment before looking down at the flowers in his hand before giving them to her. He bit his lip as she mentioned him being shocked about her father’s adultery no he wasn’t and he felt bad for sending him women over the years now. Though Carla he had never sent her she never worked for him ever. “I’m not honestly shocked at your father and Carla. Your father lets just say it was well known in our circle that he was not faithful to your mother. I’m sorry if that upsets you.”

Her eyes glossed over as she looked him smiling as she wondering if he was being nosy or just concerned. A lot of people in the town knew about her father’s extra activities. The truth was that her mother has been looking like a fool for years. Everyone laughing behind her back and she’s had to fight the hardest for respect. Brooke felt out of control and wanted to tear apart something. Her anger was just for her father’s killer but her father. He was always in the favor of these cheap whores. Couldn’t respect mother or think about if he got shot in the head with a whore how would it leave them all. Just as fast she sat down, she got up she flipping over the table the glass shattered everywhere. She saw the staff rushing in and she looked at them as if they said a word she’d spit fire at them. Slowly picking up a vase she threw it across the room.

“So my mother who already is insecure about her place in that man’s life was correct? I mean it makes me wonder did he ever love me or was that all a show? I just want to break things and run away because the tabloids are everywhere. It feels like I can’t grieve because it feels like I can’t breathe.” She said looking at him but holding out her hand so he won’t go near her. “I’m not some fragile little girl. I’ve lived on my own since I was thirteen, oh please don’t give me that look. I’m not bullshitting you what do the elite think boarding school is? It’s a school where they don’t take care of their children someone else does. Now since they pushed me away for years I only this superhero in my head. This amazing dad who was perfect and now he’s gone. I’m sorry.” She collapsed by the fireplace in tears.

“Your mother was not blind to his indiscretions if that is what you are asking. I think your father loved you and his other children very much but obviously something was missing at home with your mother honestly I didn’t ask a lot of questions about it.” Ronan said as he watched her unleash her anger on a helpless table shattering the glass on the floor before she picked up a vase and threw it against a wall.

She had every right to be angry he had been the same when he learned of his father’s affair with Carla years ago he had been young at the time his parents were going through their divorce. His mother couldn’t handle the life anymore when he was in college not that it mattered she along with his father had died in the end before anything was ever finalized. He watched her hold out her hand to keep the space between them and respected that he hardly thought she was crazy if anything he felt like she had been hurt. Hurt was a desperate action that he knew all too well he often times had to bury his own and he was good at it when people were angry and hurt that was when people made mistakes in his line of work.

“I am sure they sent you there to have the best education available to you. I know some people throw their children to boarding school to not deal with them but I know your father was very proud of you. At least in our brief and small talks at the office and your education.” Ronan said when she moved to the sofa by the fireplace he moved to sit by her. She was grieving that was very clear and he could at least be there to support her while she did. “You’re fine you’re angry you have every right to be. I think maybe for your parents it was easier this way strong for their children and united but apart they needed different things.”

“Why are you here? I mean you no doubt have a huge mansion or something better to do. How did you find me or were you even looking?” She laughed as she laid her head on his shoulder. “Is it strange I feel really comfortable talking to you? I know my parents just wanted me to be the best but I just feel like my life is spiraling due to what my father has put us through. If he was murdered by himself it would have felt better. Is that cold to say? I just feel like it would have been better.” Brooke said softly looking up at him.

“Oh my God, I’m crying all on your expensive jacket and I must look like some alley cat.” She said moving the stray strands from her face. “You don’t need some little girl weeping on your shoulder, I’m going to call the driver and get out of here. I guess I should call um maintenance and the housekeepers.”  Brooke wanted to get out of here. “Thank-you I’m a mess right now.”

“I came to see your mother and offer my condolences. I wasn’t looking for you but it felt terrible rude of me to walk by when you were obviously upset and distressed about what happened to your father.” Ronan said watching her rest her head on his shoulder as she spoke and he couldn’t help but see an innocence in her eyes, she had very lovely eyes. He reminded himself that he was well over ten years older than her, his life was not made for someone like her. “No it’s not cold to say.”

Ronan looked at her after that statement in truth her father had many enemies within his organization and sometimes even himself. Anyone could have killed him. In fact if anything he knew the police were probably already thinking of him as a suspect given who he was. He wondered how much Brooke really knew about him or his last name given she had been sent to boarding schools on and off over the years. When she mentioned that she looked like a hot mess he shook his head no at her she was lovely. When she mentioned calling a car to come take her he shook his head no it anything that would cause the press to only question her more and worse accuse the family or attempting to cover something up.

“I think running right now wouldn’t be a wise idea the press will only use it against your mother at the moment and the office your father had. Mascara washes out and it looked like you needed at least a good cry.” Ronan said giving her a soft smile as he reached out and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. He stared at her a few moments as his body leaned into hers his lips almost touching hers, he wanted to kiss her it was crazy and stupid but he liked talking to her, he stopped when a low gruff came from the doorway and he turned to see her brother Hunter standing there.

“Mr. Madden.” Hunter said looking at Ronan Madden known mobster and associate of his fathers leaning in to kiss his sister.

After earlier in the day and Anderson addressing the press he had spent the afternoon with his mother making plans on his father’s coffin. Of course they would need to wait to have the body back which after making a call to Gideon Morrison it could take up to a week. It gave them all ample time to grieve and then bury his father with some dignity and respect instead of the last images that were not plastered on the family name. He knew at least that much despite his father’s lack of fidelity he was a good man may not of been a fair mayor he knew his dad was in some shady shit obviously cause Ronan was here to offer his condolences but his dad was still just a man. He felt bad for his mother too with him good his seat would go to Walter Fraiser and even if she wanted she couldn’t change that he had no desire to run against Walter or be mayor in general.

“Brooke, Anderson was looking for you he wanted to talk some flower arrangements for next week for the funeral.” Hunter said folding his arms looking between them if Ronan was smart he’d take a hint. Looking at his sister to make her own exit out the door of the boutique.

“Gardenias are my favorite flower and father would always send them to me every week. I want nothing but gardenias at his service.” Brooke leaned in hugging Ronan knowing her brother wasn’t going to be happy. He was way too old for her. Hell he and Anderson were near the same age. As she stood up she looked in his eyes and for some reason her heart started to pound. She saw a crew of workers arrive to clean up her mess she walked to Hunter throwing her arms around her brother.

“I’m miss dad.” She whispered in his ear. “Um Ronan.” Brooke swiftly picked up her purse and pulled out a card. “This is my number give me a ring thank-you for letting me vent. Father was really lucky to have you as a friend.” Taking her brother hand she saw the look of disappointment in his face. “God we weren’t going to kiss. I was crying and I tore up the lobby it’s nothing. I needed to break something he was really compassionate to me.”

Ronan got up from the couch watching Hunter look at him with disgust and he wanted to smirk at him did the boy know how close he was with his father? Probably not Hunter had always been too far up Lowell’s ass to really get to know his old man. He knew people in town hated him but he also knew that others feared and respected him he wasn’t sure which category Hunter fell in. He adjusted his jacket as he handed the flowers to Hunter he doubted Brenda wanted company.

“I simply came by to offer your mother my condolences. Such a tragedy what happened to your father.” Ronan said coldly as he placed Brooke’s card inside his jacket. He couldn’t help himself as he leaned into Hunter’s ear. “With no replacement in the family you would do well to remind your mother what your father promised me when elected should continue on to Walter Fraiser.” Stepping back he watched Hunter’s face as he exited the store.

Hunter watched the entire exchange and couldn’t help the uncomfortableness that he felt with Ronan and Brooke, that was going to happen over his dead body. Comfort or not, friend or not the man was way too old for her not to mention he was connected to the mob. He took the flowers from Ronan and then wanted to punch him for the warning. What had his father promised Ronan? He always knew that his dad was shady but to really have it in with the mob let that reality set in sent a shiver down him as he watched him leave. Perhaps his mother knew or didn’t know more so he only hoped it would be Walter’s problem now instead of his mother’s.


Jamal sat in his Charger wondering if he’d just gotten over his head with this entire thing. How would he tell Ronan or Kendrick he didn’t want to do this anymore? The it hit him he was being a bitch. This was the lifestyle he wanted and now he was acting all scared. This was his life and he was going to do what the fuck he wanted. Right now it was selling drugs to show his parents he was a self made man. He didn’t need his father’s money all he needed was his very own dollar. As he drove down the streets wondering if he could get away with this. This town knew who exactly who he was could he pull it off? This was the question he constantly pouring through his malayed mind. Somethings about what he was doing was truly disrespectful to his parents and how hard they worked. He just wanted them to see he was doing it on his own. When his eyes fixated on Rachel Morrison standing outside with a flat-tire. What was she doing on this side of town? Why did he keep running into this girl other than she was cute as hell?

When he pulled over he jumped out the car showing his suave side was gone. He wasn’t dressed like prince charming. He had on a pair of joggers, a over sized Philly’s sweatshirt, and fresh Jordan’s. His gun was underneath his seat but he didn’t need it now. “What are you doing over here? Girl this isn’t no where for Gideon Morrison’s daughter to be. Come on you can wait with me until the tow-truck comes. I’m sorry I used you last night that wasn’t my intention but maybe I can take you up the street after your car is towed. It’s a nice soulfood restaurant. Oh girl you look like you’ve never had soulfood. It’s the bomb my dad makes a mean ass pot of greens.”

Rachel had driven to Yasmine’s before over the years but for some reason she had taken a left somewhere about ten blocks back and had gotten lost. She hadn’t been paying attention to the road when she felt the car jerk underneath her to get out and see that she had ran over a broken glass bottle and her read tire was flat. She had opened the trunk to look for the spare and then realized that there wasn’t one that she had replaced from the last flat tire she had. Instead she had called Triple A and clutched her pepper spray inside her purse as she watched a group of young men about a block away looking at her. She was certain most of them knew who her father was it wasn’t hard to know police commissioner of Atlas Falls. When she saw Jamal approaching her in some sort of grunge dress she raised her eyebrow at him she could handle herself and besides what was he doing on this side of town too?

“I took a wrong turn a few blocks back I’m here to visit a friend apparently the city needs to spend some more money on litter cleanup I ran over a bottle. I’m fine I called Triple A I am sure they are on their way, besides what in the hell are you doing on this side of town too?” Rachel asked when he told her she could wait in his car while she watched the group approaching them. The group looked rough around the edges and while she and Yasmine had been friends and she carried mace she never really had been cornered like this enough to feel unsafe even in college. “Shouldn’t you be at your house or something? This is a rough neighborhood especially for you to be here too.”

“I’m good my father has a few friends on this side of town. Plus I was picking up something to eat.” He said smiling as he folded his arms. “Gideon Morrison’s daughter is gangster all across town lines and shit. I just like come over here I’ve never quite fit in in with my siblings who assimilated to the lap of luxury. I personally find us all to be spoiled and self-serving. It’s just easier to ignore all the shit around us and live on that side of town. You know these people have struggled more than any of us. It makes all the war over who screwed who out of millions of dollars somehow more trivial. When you think about look at what we’ve had and look around.” He said taking in the torn apart buildings, destroyed streets, low income housing, and putrid smell.

“There’s the tow truck. How about I pay it to deliver to your apartment and I take you to my dad’s favorite restaurant. Contrary to what Tony Delacroix might tell you he was raised on chicken not quail. My dad became a chef and it seem his black card flew out of the window.” For some reason it felt so condescending to say that. His father struggled in Paris to become a world renown chef. “Sorry venting inner thoughts.” Jamal noticed how uncomfortable she was on the End. “Across those tracks huh? It’s startling I never knew about this side of town. Now that I do I’m shocked how much I’ve had you know? How much these people haven’t.”

“Uh huh I just wouldn’t of figured you for this side of town honestly I figured you’d be at home or at school your mother seemed pretty insistent on that one. I’ve been down here before actually one of my really good friends lives down here we were supposed to meet up today.” Rachel said taking out her phone and seeing a text from Yasmine that today wouldn’t be a good idea.she had to head into work. She didn’t know much about Yasmine’s job she was pretty secretive about that but she assumed it was because she was embarrassed at working something on that side of town. “Just cause my dad is now police commissioner doesn’t meant that he and my mother struggled hell he had to rise all the way up from patrol to get where he is now. My mother worked double shifts at the hospital so that we could move in junior high to place me in a better school district and my dad made detective.”

“She’s cancelling so I don’t have any other plans at the moment and you know your dad is one of the best chefs out there black or not.” Rachel said looking at him not sure why he was trying to make a big deal out of his dad being black the Delacroix’s were from an affluent family in town and Tony had gotten rich off the DGI investments. She doubted that Jamal had ever worked a hard day in his life she shut her mouth at it watching the group of guys that she was sure were involved in the criminal underworld staring at them more specifically Jamal. “So what did you do to them then? Those guys haven’t stopped staring or approaching us since you got out of your car.”

“My mother doesn’t run me.” He said looking at her deeply. His entire life Ophelia had been protective over him. Her only child and only son. It was deeply disturbing that she’d invested all her energy in him. “Can you keep a secret? He pulled out a dime bag of weed smiling. They know I keep the money you know and it keeps me from being stressed. Finals and midterms and marijuana good combo.” He leaned against his car. “I mean what I’m saying is that I have struggled and sometimes I yearn for that. Like maybe it would push me to my desires. Sometimes I feel like a bored rich kid, who has nothing to offer to the world because I’ve been given everything.” Jamal said lost in his own thoughts.

Watching the crew he shot them all a dirty look, to stop staring. What was Money and Blu doing here anyways? He left them niggas at the game and now they were all in his face. “So about that restaurant. I love my dad’s cooking he built an empire with La Callie in Chicago, London, New York, LA, Paris, and two in Pennsylvania. I’m proud to be a Delacroix just doesn’t think it helps me you know? It hinders what I want to do.” He looked at Rachel. “Another secret, I want to own a music label but that won’t happen. I’m going to end up working with Selina at DGI.”

“Mothers are supposed to look out for their kids isn’t that their job and it probably wasn’t all that easy for her seeing how she only had you. I never had siblings only child but I’m sure your mom means well.” Rachel said looking at him pulling out the weed in front of her.

Weed wasn’t that big a deal to her she’d done it a few times in college on the insistence of her roommate who insisted it was the shit at a few parties but honestly didn’t see the point in it. She wanted to point out that having your entire life paid far wasn’t exactly struggling but instead refrained. She gave the tow truck driver her information for her insurance as she filled out the paperwork so that he could take the car to get it fixed. She looked over at the group of boys again and felt herself shiver her father always said to trust her instincts and this time hers were saying to run as fast as she could out of this part of town and go with Jamal.

“Your sister if probably one of the most influential people in the business world. Like seriously people could not stop talking about her in some of my business classes. I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up at DGI. Listen I think I’ll take you up on your offer. Though they better have good food.” Rachel said knowing when to stop when she felt so uncomfortable with the boys still staring at them both.

“Fried chicken, greens, corn bread, ribs, pasta, and the famous Ms. Anne cakes.” He smirked as he walked to the car letting Rachel get inside after he opened the door. Then he got inside of his car as it sped down the street wondering if his connection to Rachel just sealed his life. Blu and Money no doubt would tell Kendrick they saw him with Gideon Morrison daughter. Dear God what was he doing?

“Sometimes people look at me and if they could see the two sides of me they’d get me much better.” Jamal said unsure of if he was truly good or bad. Or was he neither and something much worse a fraud to everyone.


Jackson opened his father’s study and was instantly transferred back being a child. Coming into his office and seeing it hadn’t changed. Pictures were updated, but it looked the same as he took a seat in the office. All in all for him he counted the day as pretty amazing so far and he enjoyed spending it with Dani being around her drugs didn’t even enter his thoughts. He also could say he liked the time he did spend with her she was different than he thought she was. “I’m just coming to speak to you because you were the only one missing from my welcome home. Listen I was talking to Dani, she seems to think I can do something in the company. I guess what I’m asking is can I start to work? With my siblings here.”

“You know I always wanted the best for you Jackson.” He said removing his glasses and placing them on the desk. Watching his publicist leaving the mansion. “Dani is off limits understood? You aren’t to sleep with her, you are to let her help mold you to be the man I need you to be. You’re a placeholder because I honestly don’t believe you’re ever going to be sober. You see Jackson after ten years of dealing with constant disappointment I can’t trust you. Soon not now but years down the line I will be a distant memory when Max, Chauncey and Rory are running the company I need you just to be sober to vote with them. We’ll give a fancy title but it will mean absolutely you will never be apart of DGI in any form.” Looking at his son he saw the tension in his shoulders.

Lowell lowered his head wondering if he was being too strict on his son. After all he wasn’t dumb his petty need to push both of his sons into the stratosphere helped one and ruined the other. Not only that he was sure Jackson hated him the way he looked at him. Looking up at Jackson he smiled at him. “You were brilliant when you were small. I remember when you learned Mozart and Jackie taught you how to play the piano. Only five year I know you could do some of the most beautiful music. Where did we go wrong Jackson? Where did I fail you as a father?”

Jackson stood up with a locked jaw as he looked at his father watching Dani leave the mansion listening to his warning about sleeping with her. Frankly it wasn’t his father’s business who was warming his bed and he wasn’t going to throw Dani to him either. His eyes became hard as he watched his father berate him. His eyes darkened nodding his head as he slowly looked at his father. “You’ve failed me in so many ways dad. I am nothing to you. Max is the VP of something, Rory’s the quiet genius, and Chauncey God you bust a nut every time you think of him taking over. Dad I’m not a failure.”

“To me you are, you sit here and periodically try to reform yourself why? If you’ll always end up with another stint in rehab.  Why have drugs claimed you like this? I don’t know if you are using but I see you never getting a chance to destroy my legacy that I’ve built. You barely made it out of high school and college now you come in here saying you want a job. I can’t give you a job Jackson because I can’t depend on you.”

“Damn dad, you care about all of them and they all fucked up my twin is having affair you sit there on your high horse. Did I not see your bastard daughter gallivanting throughout town. Yet you act like I should be perfect, I wish you nothing but the best thanks for nothing.” Jackson said standing up walking to the door.

“Be a man, my God Jackson look at you sniveling and not demanding your legacy. I can’t hand it over to someone I can push to use. Look at you your hand is shaking. I’m celebrating the success of what I’ve done. Billions of dollars in weapon creating, pharmaceuticals, and hell if I can make money off Max’s expensive taste I will. She came with a brilliant business proposal for a luxury brand and a new hotel. We are expanding and I don’t need another distraction by you. I’ve done this before Jackson, given you the keys to my empire and let you drive. What I won’t do is stroke your ego so reduce the chip on your shoulder son.” Lowell said looking back at his next quarterly reports.

“A man? You have pushed into so.” Jackson said in a little voice.

“Shut up with the whining!” Lowell roared looking at his son almost in tears. “Jackson this isn’t for you.”

Jackson pulled out a scratch piece of paper he used with Dani earlier in the day to write his ideas down on. “Saudi Arabia, and Denver are said to have oil still if we could get them. When I went to Dubai I met a sheik. Never mind it’s not for me.” Jackson said dropping the paper on his father’s desk and walking out as he felt the urge to find his vial and forget he even tried.

“Jackson wait!” Lowell said knowing he just hurt his son deeply. “What did I just do.” Placing his hand over his face he opened up the folded paper. Then he read a detailed plan of his son’s plan on expanding DGI into the oil business. He quickly saw a unique opportunity and wondered if his son just may be changing. Picking up a phone he pressed a button. “Get me Dani on the phone now.”


Brenda swiftly turned the corner as she saw Cara and Wyatt. She squealed in excitement seeing how handsome and big he was getting. She saw Cara and she was ravishing as always. It was always good to see them so put together. It was amazing how far they came from almost breaking up. That little tart Skye almost ruined her son’s life and it wasn’t to be forgotten. Whatever the case she knew that Cara and Anderson stood united and powerful. With a handsome little boy and rumor had it Cara was expecting. Okay it wasn’t a rumor it was the truth. They weren’t talking or telling anyone about it but she knew. Her spies in Chicago always were on point. The baby clothes, baby stuff, and books Cara was getting. It was pink also meaning her first granddaughter. It was perfect with death comes life.

“Well if it isn’t my favorite grandchild maybe because he’s my only one but nonetheless my favorite.” Brenda said kissing him pulling out a new video game that wasn’t out until next month. “I heard you were once again on the dean list Wyatt, so smart and handsome. So rewards come to those who deserve them.” Winking at Cara. “Go I know you want to play it plus I need to speak with your parents alone.”

“Mom that game isn’t until next month how did you?” Anderson said itching to play along his son but not revealing it to them. He smiled at her. “You look better than earlier.”

“Darling I can’t wait, I have to get going if you or Hunter is taking the mantle. I’ve been unjust to your brother through the years. I haven’t exactly shown him favor as you or Brooke. That’s going to change. I’m going to truly try and hand him or you your father’s position.” Brenda said as she stood back. “You’re glowing Cara you look stunning as always.”

Cara smiled at her former and once again future mother in law in truth she was glad that she and Anderson had taken the time apart to come back together. She had learned she was pregnant a few months ago and so far had kept things hidden with the stylish maternity clothes she had they also found out it was a girl. She and Anderson had been planning on telling Brenda and Steven later that month when they came for Wyatt’s birthday only for the family to be rocked with Steven’s sudden death. She watched Wyatt go off into another room to play the game and looked back at Brenda.

“I am so sorry Brenda Wyatt and I caught the first plane ride out anything that you need you let me know.” Cara said looking at her and then at Anderson already knowing what was coming she wanted Anderson to stay in Atlas Falls throw away what he was doing in Chicago.

Hunter watched his mother with Anderson and Cara Brooke had went upstairs for what he assumed was a rest she needed it the day had been heavy on her on all of them. He already knew what his mother wanted with Anderson and Cara for them to stay she had made that beyond clear. She always wanted Anderson in the spotlight for their family if anything happened to their father, he was fine with that choice. His hands moved to his sides not really wanting to hear this speech but knowing that he had to stay. Anderson he wasn’t sure if he was even going to stay or not but he doubted it things were on fire for him in Chicago.

“You look lovely Cara.” Hunter said looking at Anderson knowing that it was no just a matter of a waiting game till his mother told Anderson where he was supposed to stay.

“Mother, Cara and I have some news. I was going to wait until after the funeral but I’ve learned one thing. Life is too short to hide and have secrets. First we are moving to Washington because I have a job with congressman Hessington. Mother the political scene in Atlas Falls isn’t what I want. The political scene is about local scene I refuse to be limited. We want more. So Cara and I would also announce we are having our second baby a beautiful daughter, just like her mother.” He kissed Cara lips and turned to his mother hugging her. Then he shook Hunter’s hand. “Baby brother, you’re an uncle again and maybe it’s up to you. Its your time Hunter.”

Brenda eyes narrowed at the thought of Hunter before the obvious choice of Anderson. Then it rang on her Hunter years of being on the city council would work to their advantage. A warm smile on her face appeared. “Anderson it has been a dream of mine for you to enter politics but your damn it if you aren’t going for something higher. Now Hunter if that is your choice as a mother I would have to support you. You are more than qualified with your status as of now.” She then walked to Cara touching her beautiful face. “You are a blessing to our family the fact that you just keep giving when we just lost.” She looked around the room and eyed Hunter especially. “You must keep the family legacy going. We’ve all worked so hard and Brooke needs something I’m so worried about her.” Brenda said sitting by Cara.

Hunter looked at his brother talking about Washington he was surprised that he was leaving Chicago to go to work for Charles Hessington but that was expected the man knew the state inside and out. He was honestly proud of his brother reaching and wanting to achieve higher in his mind with the family and legacy and maybe it was time someone else was mayor. The Kincaids had never been anything other than successor to mayors before them or political and when he heard his mother mention him running he shook his head. He had no desire to fight Walter Fraiser to become mayor of Atlas Falls his destiny he had realized was much more. His father’s sudden death had showed him that he loved being on the city planning and development committee he loved the project and the title that his father had bestowed on him. That was where he wanted to be honoring his father by continuing all the projects that they started together.

“Mom I don’t want to run.” Hunter said looking at her and then looking at the entryway as Bliss walked in holding the loveliest set of flowers he had ever seen. He was surprised to see her but he could feel himself smile at her as he did. Yes she was Max’s sister and estranged from her family and sometimes he felt the same walking to her he took the flowers smiling at her. “Bliss, Brenda Kincaid my mother. Anderson my brother and his wife Cara. This is Bliss Devonshire.”

“Hello all.” She waved quickly brisking pass Brenda as she looked at them. “I know it’s a horrible time to introduce myself but I couldn’t stay away. Hunter was a very nice to me yesterday and I wanted to get him something. You all something really this is a tragedy and I know the police force will do everything they can. So I heard something about you running you shouldn’t do it unless you want to break your poor mother heart.” She teased looking at Anderson and Hunter. “So where is my dear sister in this tragic moment?”

“God only knows somewhere between Philip Montgomery legs.” Brenda said mumbling as she watched Bliss eyeing Hunter. No way was she going to let another Devonshire come between her family. “Very nice to meet Lowell’s bastard.”

“Mother!” Anderson called out. “Please excuse my mother she has a natural instinct to be rude. I wish we could blame it on the grief. Anyway it’s very nice to meet you Bliss.”

Hunter shot his mother a look when she mentioned Max’s affair with Philip well this just got a whole lot more awkward. It wasn’t like it was going to be a secret forever and he was tired of hiding it and then he smiled at Bliss. Yes she was Lowell’s bastard but she was also his guest at the resort until she found a more permanent living situation. Plus he liked having her around for the most part it was something that he had been looking forward to seeing her again. She was smart he had no interest in running and well his mother would only be let down if she wanted to push the issue.

“My mother in her grief has lost her manners. You are my guest. Is the room at the resort meeting your needs alright? Thank you for stopping by it means a lot.” Hunter said wanting to make sure Bliss didn’t feel too out of place about being there. She was his guest and he refused to let his mother bully her out. “Max is at work she will be by after.”

“Grief and manners are two very distinct and different things Anderson and Hunter. You don’t actually think that my loss has made me a fool? No on the contrary I just don’t think you need to be in bed with another Devonshire.” She hissed as she sipped her coffee. “Especially one even fairer than you.” Brenda waved her hand at Max entering with another arrangement.

Bliss saw Brenda’s disdain all over her face but chose to let it get under her big sister’s skin. “The room is fine however I’m lonely, I miss having someone to talk to. I think we made a nice friendship don’t you?” Turning her head as if she just noticed Max. “We were just talking about you, your ears must be burning.”

Max had went to DGI for work after all business didn’t stop just because Steven got murdered or caught with his pants down. They were on the middle of launching her line for a hotel chain what she didn’t expect however when she arrived to support Hunter was her sister standing in the room. She eyed Bliss up and down and shot Brenda the fakest smile she could why couldn’t they of taken her out too?

“I am sure you were. I’m so sorry I am late baby some of us in the family actually have to work.” Max said slowly approaching her sister and Hunter she placed her hand on Hunter’s back watching him almost squirm. She wanted to roll her eyes but refrained soon and when she was ready she would leave Hunter.

“Max.” Hunter said hearing the snark in her voice when she talked about actually working. He had wondered about that though if Bliss would ever work at DGI with her siblings, smiling at a Bliss he spoke. “You have my number we should get together for coffee this week.”

“Maybe we could go get a spa treatment? No doubt with all that stress at DGI you need a little pick me up. I mean not all of us come from two rich families.” Moving her long hair as she looked at Hunter. Adjusting his hair she looked into his eyes. “I should be leave see you, I don’t know about arrangements but let me know. I’ll be there for you unlike someone else. See you Maximillia.” Bliss walked away.

“Isn’t that cute? She’s all up under you and your wife is at DGI. You couldn’t take the day off you little bitch?” Brenda growled as she grabbed her coffee cup. “Vodka is calling my name pardon me because I’d rather not remember you never living up to your legacy.” She briskly bumped into Max with purpose. Swiftly turned around she grabbed her arm. “I know little girl. I know.” Brenda said with a whisper as she walked past them.

Max watched Bliss leave with a snarl watched Hunter watching her leave, if her sister knew what was good for her she’d stay out of her way and away from her husband. If not she’d destroy her knock her down to the ground where she belonged she was not stealing her life. In truth Bliss being around was a disgrace to who she was, to her mother and her family and soon she’d learn that. Her father was not going to have Bliss just ride into the sunset and push her out no, that was never her sister’s place. She looked at Brenda as she grabbed her arm and spit venom at her about her affair with Philip before she coldly looked back at her jerking her arm away. Brenda was one to talk about knowing things rumor for years had been both she and Steven had affairs who was she to judge her. She watched Brenda leave before she looked at Hunter who turned to look out the window as Bliss walked down the steps of the mansion. No she wasn’t quite ready to give up her charade and game just yet, not at all.

Hunter watched Bliss go and he felt a connection to her that he didn’t feel with Max, Max had been so distant over the years. He wondered if that was more of a habit that they had forced themselves into afterall they had married right after college at one point he did love her. Bliss though understood him in ways he didn’t think Max ever could, no Max was too focused on work or herself to really care about what he was going through with his parents especially his mother. He watched Max watch her sister leave and knew he had to be smart about this not give into temptation too much was at risk what if Max went after his inheritance in a divorce? He watched his mother grab Max’s arm and knew she had whispered about her affair with Philip, he watched Max’s face as she pulled away. His mother knew everything about her children and he was sure Max knew he knew. He wasn’t quite ready to give up just yet though let her win, no he would do it at the right time and he would not end up like his father. Married to a cold and distant woman that couldn’t stand him let alone love him. Turning to the window he watched Bliss leave and couldn’t help but wonder if something more was out there for him someone, perhaps Bliss herself.


Zerick Westwood handed his travel bag to the private flight attendant he looked over at his blonde companion it was a simple job really what they were about to do. Take out one of the most prominent men in America, dismantle his company from the inside out. Everything was set in Atlas Falls they had acquired the massive estate next to the Devonshire mansion a few weeks ago and the real estate agent he had in place was very coy about the owners to Lowell Devonshire. Which is exactly what he wanted or should he say what they both wanted a slight hook enough to stir up curiosity that Lowell would notice. He took out his tablet as he settled into his seat and the staff brought out a bottle of champagne and he checked the news. Steven Kincaid’s murder came at the most opportune time for them to be able to pull this off.

He looked up from his pad smiling at the woman sitting across from him, his lovely wife they were in this together and he would have never been able to do this without her. She afterall had all the connections they needed to pull this off. Lowell wouldn’t know what had hit him he was weak with the news of his secret love child coming out, DGI’s numbers were barely holding steady and his children were restless. Overshadowed by their father who sat on a throne and often looked down on them, thinking he could live forever. In truth Lowell would be to busy with the anniversary release of the Andromeda software, a new casino project that he was a part of and the inclusion of his estranged daughter in family functions he wouldn’t be focused where he should be on his oldest son. A son that he had it on good authority and sources was bored staying in the shadows.

“We start first thing tomorrow morning. They will be curious when they see the staff delivering things to the house. Are you ready for this?” Zerick said taking his glass and raising it to his lips to take a drink. He and her had a lot at risk on this for both of them. It was what would make the entire thing so good in the long run the woman sitting across from him would deliver Lowell to them on a silver platter and they would sit at DGI. “I would assume that you have everything in place on your end for our arrival?”

A group of men loaded her luggage on the plane. She was leaving Paris after all no way was she not going to bring her best. A girl needed all the real couture she could. Wearing a vintage Valentino baby pink lace babydoll dress, JPG heels that strapped up her calf, and a Birkin bag on her shoulder. Playing with her braid she smirked at Zerick, huffing a little. Of course she was ready. Of course they would start as soon as they landed. Of course she’d be dangling bait for what they were planning. Twisting the end of her fishtail braid around her finger Greer Westwood was sure this was about to get very interesting. Since she was a child she seemed to always wrap men around finger. Little boys would give her their dessert. Now she was ready to use her considerable charm for something more.

“Champagne please.” Her accent wasn’t French anymore. It took almost a year to break her natural accent. Plus her father wasn’t going to handle this. It was up to Zerick and her to make sure the Devonshire fall was swift and painful. After all she’d spent her entire life trying to deal with the fact she killed her mother. If her father wasn’t exiled out of America maybe her mother would be alive. Lowell Devonshire had so much blood on his hands he should be known as serial killer.

Once the flight attendant returned with her champagne she rolled her eyes at Zerick watching her ass. “You know you’re going to have to be a lot more convincing than that. I mean I’m not that bad to look at but you prefer brunettes. The house is decorated and I have everything I need. This marriage is a sham but we have to make look as if we are at first the perfect couple. Then Chauncey’s mine trust me I seduced you didn’t I?” How they found each other wasn’t a mystery but she had to show her father she was up for the job. What better way then screw who he was going to use. “Now let’s find what we need to strip away from DGI first. I’ll work Chauncey, you work on spooking Lowell.”

“I see you’ve kicked the accent. Remember it could give us away. Brunettes if you really want we could do a fabulous dye job on your hair.” Zerick said watching her take a sip of her champagne it was true she did seduce him or he had let her but she didn’t need to know that. It was the perfect plan they both had a mutual enemy and for the right reasons decided it would be mutual and benefit them both if they worked together. it helped that Greer’s father was very powerful in Europe and agreed to fund their little excursion. “Then again I don’t remember any complaints from you when we were together.”

“We won’t attend the mayor’s funeral but in their grief I can see them being curious about the move and our arrival. If we show up at the funeral that would be a bit obvious remember Chauncey likes the chase in many ways I feel sorry for Selina Delacroix if she only knew the truth about him.” Zerick said that part in honesty he felt bad for Selina Chauncey’s soon to be wife and fiancée, he also fancied blondes something about this ex. A reason that Greer was perfect now Chauncey had been good since proposing to Selina but he knew men like Chauncey once the chase was on well they hardly ever stayed that way and Greer was like a delicate little dessert. “I would assume you have studied the numbers on DGI’s stock pointed out the quarterly numbers to memory showing that Chauncey’s number were  bit better on his last project than that of his fathers? Men like their egos being stroked especially men like him.”

“First don’t tell me how to run a con. I am very good at my job I know all the quarterly projects by heart. How Chauncey’s new stealth military helicopter is now surpassing Lowell’s little casino project in revenue has not gone unnoticed by me.” Greer said with a sweet nastiness in her voice. “My job isn’t to just make Chauncey chase me, my job is to make Chauncey lose his inhibitions inside of me. You see the art of seduction and unraveling a man like Chauncey is stroking not just his cock or ego but his mind. I have make him hungry for power and I can do that very easily when I show him that Rory is his biggest rival. Rory will be the heir because he’s too sexist to give it to Max and Jackson is a total loser. Its Rory who will be the heir. Then I’ll make him take it then we’ll take it from him.” Her eyes glazed over thinking about giving DGI  to her father.

“Money isn’t an option Zerick you’re from the Westwood’s of England you were sent to a boarding school in America. Any more of the story you want to go over?” Greer said looking at him. “Listen carefully husband our doomed marriage will get us our futures and I’m taking that lightly. My father isn’t allowed in America because of him. My father has made some moves and friends. One imparticular who is help that situation and very soon we’ll be able to strike. You just get Lowell off his square. I’ll get Chauncey that isn’t a problem at all.” She said finally letting her french accent flow.

As she stretched across the plush leather of the seat she looked at him and smiled bouncing up. “A toast to you Mr. Westwood, Zerick thank-you we will get our revenge.”

“I’m not telling you how to run one dear wife believe me that is not what I am doing.I know you don’t need that you could con anyone. The helicopter is something that you know that we need on our side Lowell is a fool you and I both know that. The casino is a good distraction for us as well, Lowell isn’t paying attention to what he needs to busy and greedy with his next project.” Zerick said he loved the way her mind worked she was just as devious as he was meaning he had to keep an extra eye on her. She was smart too had been trained by the best and could run a business probably better than their target could which was what they wanted. “I have no doubt in your abilities.”

“No money is not an option this time we both know it is not about the money. It is about what is due to us. I am fine with the story, you were raised in New England we met of course at Cambridge when you were on holiday with your family.” Zerick said playing the game with her he knew their backstory as well as she did line by line. He gave her a pointed look as her accent came out she’d have to be careful about that it was a dead give away. They had agreed her native tongue would only be used for the purpose of enticing Chauncey with the fact she could speak a few languages.”That accent will get us in trouble.”

He leaned into her space taking a sip of his champagne and letting the amber liquid slide down his throat. She wanted to be convinced he could do that for her he moved a slight piece of hair out of her eyes before he leaned down pressing his lips urgently against hers. His hand slid down her side over her breast trailing to her hip her lips parted and he took a taste before pulling back and leaning into his chair. Two could play at this game and sell a story it was all about appearances something he had been working on for years.

“To you Mrs. Westwood and yes we will have our revenge.” Zerick said watching the stock numbers on his pad as he felt the plane beginning to lift off.

It would start soon the mass chaos and destruction that he had been planning for years DGI would be a distant memory with Lowell at the helm. A new era would come in with himself and Greer at the helms and Lowell out in the cold after everything he had done, all the people he had killed, stepped on and cheated to get there. It would be beautiful to watch happen to be a part of it, see the horror pass over the old man’s face as his world came crashing and tumbling around him in beautiful waves. Looking at the water as they started out he closed his eyes now was not the time to think about that and he suppressed the memory that threatened to fall. No now as the time for focus and revenge, revenge that they would have.

“And let the games begin Mr. Westwood.” Clinking her glass against his as she smiled seductively at him. “My accent won’t be a problem at all I know how to cover it Zerick you watch I’m going to shock and surprise.” Greer leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Wait until you see how i drive him wild.” Pulling back she playfully sipped her champagne. Lowell and the Devonshire’s had no clue she would be the beginning of his downfall.


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