1×12 “One Last Night”

Episode 1×12 “One Last Night”
Written by: Chirs Coleman/Kelly Zollo
Warning: Episode contains language, sexual situations and content


The holiday’s had past in Atlas Falls and now looking at the estate decorated to the hilt for the annual party she threw she knew that things were changing. She still felt horrible for Tony, Jamal’s arrest was public news and he was awaiting trial the judge had given him house arrest. More that Lowell and Tony had paid the judge off to allow the house arrest. Jamal was safer on house arrest at an unknown location. Hidden away on the outskirts of town with police watching the house and private security to boot. She nodded her head to the wait staff as Lowell approached her and her eyes glared as Tess entered her house with Bliss following her.

“How is Tony I know he was going to try and see Jamal if Jamal will see him?” Jackie asked hoping that Tony was still holding on. She knew that he had to be hurting right now. Jamal was still not cooperating with the police or Braden if he didn’t start soon they would have no choice but to actually go to a trial on drug possession charges. Looking over at Tess laughing with a guest she snorted and then glared at him. “Really Lowell will it ever end the disrespect that you show me with Tess? I have tried with Bliss she lives here and yet you allow this?”

“What am I supposed to do ostracize my daughter’s mother? Bliss feels attacked and Tess unfortunately makes her feel safe.” Lowell said lowering his head. He never felt so low. He was embarrassing his wife, however his daughter was in pain and Tess knew what it was about. He would have to do whatever he could to help her. As he reached out to Jackie he smiled. “You have always been by my side even in times I didn’t deserve it. I don’t want to hurt you but I don’t want to lose Bliss or you. It isn’t about disrespect it’s about my love for my daughter.”

Lowell watched Tess and Bliss laughing seeing his daughter look so carefree. “I have neglected her and Tess has secrets, I’m going find out what that is. If I can ask you for a favor. Please don’t chase Tess or Bliss away. I’m going to find out what is haunting my daughter and I’m going to run Tess out of town once and for all. I don’t need a fight. I want you to play the game Jackie, don’t let her bait you because that’s what she’s doing. No I don’t think Jamal is a priority considering Selina stunt has put Mason in the line of jail.”

“No you are supposed to have my back Lowell and not let the woman that trampled into our marriage while you lowered your pants embarrass me. The only one attacking Bliss is Max but can you blame your other daughter or is it only about Bliss now? Bliss and Hunter have been spending a lot of time together or have you not noticed that?” Jackie said looking at Lowell with disgust as she looked around the room of course it was only about Bliss now. It had been for months all while his other daughter felt her father slipping away. “I heard Hunter filed divorce papers a friend of mine at the courthouse spotted the paperwork.”

Jackie watched the entire thing Tess and Bliss laughing at her party and then spotted Max with Hunter in a heated dance was her husband really that blind to Max’s needs as well? The other children had been alright with Bliss but she knew Max was different Max was a daddy’s girl had been for years. Only knew herself as the only daughter to then have that all changed on her. “I have no desire to chase Tess the woman is not worth my time or energy. I do hope Mason has learned a lesson and you need to reel Chauncey in on the whole thing. I don’t like what Selina did just as much as you don’t but the press is still raking him over the coals for being a monster if you let him continue to go after Mason it will only get worse.”

“I know that but you know our son once he’s hurt he unleashes and it’s no stopping him. I do believe that Selina deserves some sort of retribution. Friend or not Jacqueline who does that girl think she is. The hubris and arrogance of their declaration of undying love was gag worthy. How dare that little girl think she can teach a Devonshire something. I do believe if Mason has helped her in anyway well let’s just say he deserves it. Not only that but I’ll reveal other thing or two about Mason. Selina will pay for her insolence one way or another.” Lowell declared as he looked at Jackie.

“Maximilla is my heart my first born daughter who has more power than her brother. She’s much more like me than you would even like to admit. Honestly I want her gone and you can act above it but she is a problem. She has always been a problem for us and I personally want to close that chapter. If you need therapy because we never faced it. We never faced why I cheated and how you could forgive me. So if this is what I need to do to make this better then so be it Jackie. Tess is apart of our lives because of Bliss unfortunately it’s not disrespect it’s the truth.”

“Selina deserves retribution for what following her heart at the end of the day do you know how horrible Chauncey treated her? Honestly I am surprised that she put up with it so long Lowell. Looking back you and I should have stepped in before it all got so out of hand.” Jackie said looking at him and his anger at Tony’s children which up until now had always been welcome members of the family. She had no idea what this could have been about with Mason he was trying to look after his sister with everything. “How was Selina supposed to stay with him, he’s already chasing after Zerick’s wife or are you blind to that as well? Not only that the tart bitch is entertaining him.”

Jackie watched Max across the room in many ways she saw so much of Lowell in their daughter and Chauncey she saw herself in Jackson and Rory. She felt a slight relief when he said that he wanted Tess gone too, Tess had been such a conflict for them. They had never talked about the Tess affair after she left town, if anything she focused in on the twins and refused to even go to counciling back then. She forgave him for Tess because she didn’t want Chauncey to see them fight or divorce and she knew that he would be a good father to the twins. Honestly she had no desire to have some shrink analyze them and their marriage that they had built. She saw Tess making her way to them and turned to him.

“I’m going to check in with the staff please handle this.” Jackie said she stopped as Tess finally reached them to glare at her before holding her head high and walking away.

Tess laughed at Jackie’s superior act. She always knew she was the woman who would make Jackie cringe. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t oblivious to one thing. Lowell loved Jackie more than her, she and he had more passion. The undying loyalty that Lowell displayed Jackie was enough to make her sick. This should have been her life, schmoozing with the glitterati and elite of the east coast. She was built for Jackie’s life and she honestly felt robbed. If Gloria and Jackie didn’t threaten to take Chauncey and the twins she would have never lost everything. She saw her mother calling and immediately pressed ignore. This was something she had to do.

“Jacqueline I love your gown.” She said dismissively as she watched Jackie rush away like a little meek mouse. No longer was Gloria there to give advice she’d have to battle her first hand. As she turned her neck she fixed Lowell tie. “Duplicitous as you are she still lets you tie your ties. If I recall I was the best at that.” Tess looked at him. “What are you mad at me?”

“Try proverbially disappointed at you. You’re harboring whatever Bliss past is over me as a weapon. You have no morals Tess what happened to you?” He snapped looking at his one time lover. “I have spent years hiding Bliss but never did I know as a parent you would protect your interest instead of our daughter. You are vile.” Lowell said looking at almost remembering why she was the woman who nearly stole him away from Jackie to begin with. She was still ravishing in the innocent way that she tried to smile and that mischievous wink in her eye. As he shook his head, “What is going on with her and why did you make her freakout. She’s been avoiding me since that night.”

Lowell looked down at his tie and he truly felt like that he was fractured in two. A piece of his heart would always care about Tess. Here she was after more than ten years later here he was with Tess. “You are despicable person you know that? That you’ve been using this to rattle her and control her.”

“Wrong I’m not rattling her cage it was all what you said.” She said playing coy with Lowell. “I have spent years wiping her tears and ass. I was the one with the toothaches, nightmares, and on every important date of her life. Don’t you dare judge me. I am a woman who did her best when two men chose that I was a whore and needed to be sent away. Who sends a grown ass woman away. I’m back now hands down and I want everything that was promised to me.” She hissed at him.

“Anymore questions handsome? I think if you was a terror once before then wait until you see the drama I bring to your life now.” Tess seethed looking at Lowell crystal eyes.

“I apologize about the past Tess don’t punish Bliss because of your anger toward me. I am sorry that I broke your heart Tess. I know it and years ago I would have married you but things didn’t work. Now I’ll die a happy man if I can integrate my children into a family now if you know how to do that tell me. You tell me right now or I’ll throw you out of Atlas Falls. Once I call your father.” He snapped his finger. “You’ll be gone.”

Hearing at one point she was in the running burned a place deep in Tess heart. “No you won’t. I left a girl dependent on daddy. I stand a woman who owns an art gallery all over the world. You are miserable and now.” She snapped her finger. “I’m going to get my happy end.” Tess turned to walk away.

Lowell snatched her arm. “Not at the expense of me or my wife happiness.”

“Trust me happiness is relative. You know you’ve missed me but all I can think about is revenge. Revenge against the love that I lost, revenge against the woman who stole it, and revenge against the man who betrayed my heart. My father hates me and favors that woman. I assure you I won’t stop until I bury you beneath my heel. Then you’ll beg for me to love you.” Tess said with a burning passion in her voice as she touched his cheek.

“You are psycho if you think you’ll cause me pain in the.” He paused looking at Jackie watching intently. “I will crush you Tess.”

“Get your hands off me unless you just have to touch me, Jackie get your husband.” When he let her go she saw eyes on them and few tabloids even flashed the camera in her face. As she walked to the bathroom and took a deep breath. Her entire body shook as she looked at herself. He still cared and he loved her at one point. One point the truly loved each other as she folded her arms. Wrapping her arms around herself. “I will get my revenge.”


Max looked around the room her mother had outdid herself with this one it was lovely and exquisite. She had had put the house they once shared on the market. It made sense Hunter was no longer living there and she had made the decision that she would be moving back into the mansion. Things with her and Philip were still strained was a good word for it with the holidays that came up they both had family things to attend. She heard that he and Cassie got out of town for a few weeks to visit their father, she had taken Maddie shopping. Seeing Hunter in the room she cut into him as music began to play.

“We should talk Hunter.” Max said refusing to let him leave when he attempted to instead she placed her left hand on his shoulder and watched as he rolled his eyes to extend his right hand so they could dance. They had barely spoken but she knew that he had filed divorce papers thanks to a good spy at City Hall who had informed her on the matter and that Mason had been the one to start on it. “I listed the house this week I thought you should know. I hope that you have Anderson your best excuse why I missed Christmas this year Lord knows your bitch of a mother could care less.”

Hunter had decided to attend Jackie’s party for more than just one reason for the cameras he had wanted to see Bliss. They had only seen each other when they could sneak away her to the resort where they would get a room, make love all night and then she would go back to the mansion. They had agreed for now that was for the best ever since Maddie caught them he was always watching his niece wondering when the shoe was going to drop. He supposed the reason it hadn’t yet was because of Selina’s new marriage and the war that no doubt Chauncey was still waging Maddie had her own problems. He had just gotten back into town a ew days ago from visiting Anderson and yes he had made the best excuse he could. Not that Anderson or Cara seemed to mind as Cara told him Max was a tramp. The only reason he was agreeing to this ridiculous dance was so they could talk.

“You should have discussed the house with me before you listed it. It’s a joint property Max.” Hunter said smiling for the cameras as they flashed on them dancing in the room. He knew that soon Max would be served with the divorce papers it was only a matter of a few more weeks that was unless it got processed faster. The sooner the better in his mind they could both just move on. “What do you want? Why do you keep doing this to us?”

“Why do I keep doing this? Does it really matter and no it’s not a joint property so if you were planning on taking any of the money from the sell of it maybe you should look at the deed to it more closely.” Max sneered at him she was refusing that he was not getting a dime out of her and as soon as she found out if he and Bliss were really fucking well all hell would break lose. He would be ruined her sister could leave town in shame and she would still have Philip and her stake in DGI. “DGI owned the property when we bought it as you remember it was a gift from my father to us as a wedding present.”

She saw his face boiling in rage and let out a small laugh he really thought she was just going to let him walk away with her money? When he turned them she saw Bliss in the crowd giving her half sister the best fake smile she could. “Oh don’t be so upset Hunter you still have your parts of the resort for now. You really think that me or my father are going to let you anywhere near DGI even if I have been fucking Philip? You are insane if you think that was how this was going to play out.”

“No we signed the papers on that house.” Hunter said doing his best to remember the details it had all been arranged when they got married a huge party. They honeymooned in the south of France and came back and moved into the house. He hadn’t really questioned a lot when they got married but now though seeing her like this such an aggressive bitch over money and being scared of Bliss he wanted to take things from her. Her money a seat at DGI anything to stick it back to her. “You really just think that is how this will play out Max? I have footage of you tape, pictures which will throw out our prenup you on the other hand have what crazy insecure assumptions?”

“Your father can’t fix everything Max and he can’t constantly keep cleaning up your mess or your siblings. One day you will have to start being a big girl at least your sister isn’t like that.” Hunter said annoyed more than anything at the situation. He stiffened when he thought about the resort something that he swore he would not let her get her greedy hands on. He looked at Bliss across the room as the music changed tempo it was almost over thank God. “I’ll tell you what you walk away from me I’ll let you go we can split everything or better can just leave with what we came into it with. How hard is that for Max to just be happy?”

“Why would I do that just let you off scot free so you can galavant after my half sister?” Max said for a moment considering his offer only for him to stop them in the middle of the dance as he took a few steps back from her. “So this is how you want to play it?”

“Yes Max this is how I want to play it. I’m going to so speak to my friend Bliss now.” Hunter said knowing the crowd was already whispering about the encounter and he knew that only suited to his benefit. Walking away he left her standing there.

Max fumed at him as he left her alone on the dance floor wondering if what he was saying was saying was true that she was being a selfish bitch. She supposed she was but she also wasn’t about to let Bliss take her friends and family. Sighing she turned on her heel and spotted her brother in the crowd finally. It felt like they hadn’t talked in forever they did hang out over the holidays for stuff but he wasn’t living at the mansion now. He had moved in with Dani which had caused a few raised eyebrows but in a good way she thought at least with her mom. She noticed he was smiling alone and wondered where Dani was.

“Hey I’m glad you came it seems like we’ve both been busy at work and then with the crazy stuff mom had planned for the holidays. Where is Dani I was hoping to say hello?” Max said smiling at him teasing him at the same time. Jackson seemed happy with Dani enough that they moved in together which she could say was a first for her brother. Esme had always been around the house but he never moved in with her. “So when is the housewarming party? I still remember the looks you got when you announced you guys were going to live together. Is it different in a good way or a bad way?”

“She’s actually here with Talia and Bliss.” He said becoming sad for his sister. The boys always had to deal with competition while Max never had. This was new as he spotted Talia, Bliss, and Dani. He wondered if his sister was lonely, nobody really messed with Max. She didn’t have a lot of friends and at that moment he wanted to hug his sister. “She’s amazing and funny and we fight about the fact that she doesn’t want me to remodel the house. I swear it looks like a college student lives there.” Trying to amuse her. “I love you, and you’re going through a rough time. You have that fuck the world look in your eyes.”

Jackson took her to a quieter side of the room. As he looked at his twin and punched her shoulder playfully. “Dani, and I are happy but I’m worried about you. Hunter is over you and Philip is ignoring you. Don’t ask me how I know that Max. You know to be honest, I’ll tell you. Max you’re not in love with Hunter anymore if ever. I want you to be happy and if that’s with Philip Montgomery a guy who clearly looks at you like I look at Dani. That man loves you Max and I think it’s honestly childish to continue to keep locking yourself in this war. Who are you proving this too? I’m stubborn but this is insane. I’m not crazy I know what drugs will do. You’re insane because you’re doing the same thing dad did and Chauncey is now doing. God Max are you really that much into yourself that you’re going to lose this guy. You’re going to lose someone you makes you happy. I love you and you’re my twin and maybe it’s the mom in me. Maybe I’m just in love but you look miserable.”

“Of course I have the kill the world bitch face Jackson someone is messing with my life.” Max said folding her arms as she spotted Bliss with Talia and Dani before Hunter whisked Bliss to the dance floor. She wanted to roll her eyes the ink wasn’t even on the papers she bit her bottom lip for a moment as she thought about Jackson’s advice and his words her brother was finally growing up. “You’ve changed. Don’t look at me like that in a good way. I just didn’t think we’d ever be here you know? Me having to move back in with mom and dad while you are moving out.”

“Philip thinks this is easy do you know how it looks if I just let Hunter go to her? My ex-husband that she can just come in and rip out. Dad fawns over her. Philip and I aren’t you and Dani we started out fucked up.” Max said knowing she had been caught yes she loved Philip and yes she was being stubborn it was part of being a Devonshire. She grabbed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter before she took a sip. She tapped her fingers on the glass shaking her head. “Dani’s not like Skye or Esme is she for you? You mean it when you say you love her don’t you. So since you at the moment are the only one of us not miserable well maybe Rory too what would be your love advice?”

“Wow you’re asking me for advice. I’m going to say.” He looked at his half-sister and Hunter. “Let them be happy. You aren’t a mean and nasty person. Max you have a huge heart and at one point you were happy. You were happy when you were doing what you wanted to. This being stuck to a man who you clearly are disappointed with. Well that doesn’t make the fearsome Max it shows a weak little girl. I’m saying snatch back your power if you feel like Bliss is trying to replace you show you’re not irreplaceable.” He demanded wrapping his arm around his twin. “We ran Atlas Falls, you are Maximilla don’t let her shake you and clearly the fearless little sister I had. Well she’s gone because Max a couple years ago was untamable and she would have divorced Hunter and had Philip inside of his house making her dinner.”

Jackson folded his arms looking at his sister. “She isn’t you and she doesn’t have your history. We are making a place for her but you always had one. Unfortunately you never had this to deal with. You are tough, and you are strong sis don’t let your insecurities break you.” He said kissed her cheek. “Stop playing games like dad and start following your heart like me and mom and Rory. It’s like you and Chauncey want to walk in dad’s shoes. Don’t do that okay be Max not a female Lowell.” Jackson said kissing her cheek.

Max let his words sink in for a bit as she sipped her glass of champagne considering the words as she did so. Philip did make her happy but she wasn’t one to just let someone win and that was something that was bothering her about it she played to win. If she let Bliss win that meant defeat but maybe Jackson had a point. Didn’t her father they had all learned play the same games with Tess back then and look how that ended up for her mother? Finishing her glass she passed it off to the waiter as she looked at Jackson.

“I’ll think about it. As for you I still think it is weird you moved in with her in a good way I’m really proud of you. I’ve never seen you happier and it’s nice seeing you alive for once. They pulled you so down, you were such a dark person before.” Max said not sure how to bring up the drugs with him honestly it was nice to have her brother back for the first time in years. It was nice to see him care about something other than shooting something into his body seeing Maddie in the corner of the room she smiled at him. “I’m glad Selina brought her tonight I’m going to so see Maddie. Thanks Jackson.” Hugging him for good measure Max walked across the room shooting Hunter a glare when he approached Bliss.

Hunter saw Max talking to Jackson and had whisked Bliss away from Talia and Dani they needed a moment to talk together. He could tell Max was not playing around and he didn’t want Bliss caught in the crosshairs. Taking a sip of champagne from his glass he looked at her wanting to be alone with her and knowing that soon he could. He wanted to tell her now that Mason had went ahead and filed the papers he would soon be a free man no more having to force a smile with reporters, no more being the good son in law to Lowell and Jackie. He saw Tess with Lowell and was glad he couldn’t stand her much like Bliss couldn’t stand his mother.

“Hey I just wanted to let you know she wanted to dance with me about the house, she listed it. I wanted you to know that it will get ugly very soon Mason filed the paperwork. I don’t want you cut in the crossfire of it and soon we don’t have to sneak to a suite to be together.” Hunter said he wanted to let her know that Bliss was who he wanted he made that decision when he made love to her in Max’s bed. Looking over at Max talking to Jackson he looked back at Bliss she looked worried about the entire thing. “I chose you Bliss not her. I wanted to ask to about Dimitri who is he Bliss? Your mother always brings him up.”

“I’m so not worried about my sister. She’s jealous that you’re so important to me.” Bliss said as they started to slow dance. Laying her head on his shoulder honestly she didn’t care at all about people’s assumptions. Tonight she didn’t want to think about Dimitri but her mother had brought him up one to many times. It was coming and she knew that she should tell him everything. Bliss swirled around as she looked up to see Max staring viciously. The cut of her eyes she pulled up knowing how this must looked. “Dimitri is my ex-lover and he’s very rich and powerful in Europe. It’s how I know Zerick and how my mother keeps me on a leash. Dimitri was controlling and he scares me to this day.” Bliss became distant as she started to shake a little.

Making her stomach curl she swore a cold sweat ran down her back. “Dimitri isn’t anyone important anymore. He’s an old flame that I got away from. My mother is consumed with wealth and power and status. Dimitri was the trifecta he even had a crown.” Her voice was a whisper now. Her dynamic spirit was being crushed by the weight of Dimitri. “I think I need a moment can um we go get some air or something.” Closing her eyes she was in that house. That house full of horrors and she didn’t make his dinner right. How could Lowell Devonshire daughter could be an abuse victim? She was smart and fun. Then she was being beaten over and over again and being robbed of so much of her dignity. “He stole a lot from me. He stole a piece of my soul and I haven’t been able been able to get it back. I act carefree and adventurous but he is my kryptonite and the reason I’m in Atlas Falls. He found me in um Brussels of all places. I hid on a yacht and flew in on a helicopter and found me. I think my father has kept him at bay from coming here. Thus the big public spectacle of my return.” There it was. The truth was out. “I never thought I would love again, Hunter so you see my mother isn’t some saint or like Brenda. She’s twisted and evil. My father never had a use for me until I made him. So I just need you to get out of this marriage with Max. I need you to be done with it. So I can have something for myself.”

Hunter looked at her as she spoke and honestly almost stopped the dance hearing her voice waver just a bit at the mention of his name. He didn’t know all of what Dimitri did but he could tell that it clearly upset Bliss and made her uncomfortable. He saw Max looking at them and ignored her his focus was on the woman he loved now and making sure she knew he was there for her.  She looked scared whatever had happened was again rattling her, with the crowd and with Max’s watchful eye knowing he needed to do right by her he pulled back for a moment nodding his head at her. Hr ran a hand down her back to soothe her, he desperately wanted to take her into his arms and hold her, kiss the trouble only he knew right now he couldn’t.

“Jesus and your father didn’t try to stop this? You are safe here if that is what you are worried about. I had no idea Bliss I just figured she was using it to keep you away from me. He’s not here is he?” Hunter said knowing that he felt like he needed to do more for her the way she was shaking like a leaf was worrying him even more. Kavanagh the name began to linger for a bit till it hit him Atticus, he knew Atticus had an older brother but when they went to meet him when Brooke was engaged the older brother was not there. “Dimitri Kavanagh as in Atticus’s brother?”

“The one and the same.” She said softly looking at him. “He didn’t know my mother made sure to keep this a well guarded secret. I just know he’s always done business with the Kavanaugh’s in Europe. He’s ruthless and sadistic people think because he’s some Prince that he’s special. He’s an amazing liar and can be convincing. I just know that he won’t come here yet. Not yet because my father’s would skin him alive. I loved him and a fist was what I got in return. Honestly did you ever think that I would be that girl? The girl who get’s her face beat in. I’m so much stronger from it but Hunter.” She paused looking at him. “He’s going to find me.”

Bliss turned away from Hunter. As she folded her arms looking at the view of Atlas Falls from the highest peak. “I just feel like I’m walking on eggshells. He’s going to hurt everything I love and touch. Hunter you don’t understand that he’s a monster and I just want to be happy.” Secrets were buried deep and she was scared that she wasn’t going to ever get over this. The betrayal and the stolen years. Two years were gone and she was ready to snatch them back. “That’s why I’m so happy because the last man I loved hated me. Believe me I’m paying and I constantly pay a price for loving someone.”

Hunter locked his jaw what type of a man hit a woman with his fist? A coward that was who would dare hit a woman he looked around the room. Seeing her so upset he himself was upset and he knew he needed a moment to digest everything and make a few calls. He had connections and if he didn’t his brother did.

“I need to go make some calls with what you just told me I need to make sure that for now his ass is out of the country. Just I’ll call you after the party alright? Maybe we can get out of town for a few days coming up.” Hunter said rubbing her shoulder for a moment it was the best he could offer her for now. He couldn’t do anything else his divorce was still on the line. “Try not worry.” Stepping away from him before his anger at was worse than it was he walked off into the crowd.

Bliss flipped her hair as she watched him vanish off into the crowd. Her eyes narrowed over the soft moonlight. Walking into the party she plastered a fake smile on her face. As she walked up the stairs looking back at Hunter. What was she going to do when he finally found out? When he finally found out all of the truth of her past. Hunter wouldn’t or couldn’t love her. Dimitri was the noose around her neck and he was going to find her. He was going to find her and this time she wasn’t going to survive.


Skye entered the party Jackie had truly outdid herself this year the mansion was beautiful she of course had been a few times before and now that Merci was a party planner it was more easy. She had loved being back in town the last few weeks the heist had gone well enough that they were able to catch Merci up and then she put some into savings. Breathing room she reminded herself and she had been avoiding the texts the past few weeks, yes she had a job to do but the buyer could wait. She picked up a glass of champagne as she watched Merci mingling her eyes searching the crowd the text from an hour before very specific: Make a move tonight. She had hoped the move a few weeks ago would have been enough but it wasn’t Jackson did not call her in fact he was ignoring her. She had called him a few times with no answer and then he began telling her to stop texting him too. Finally spotting him in the crowd she approached him with a smile, the music was blaring.

“Do you have to keep ignoring me? I had hoped we would still be able to be friends Jackson you can’t possibly still be upset with me about the wedding I was just having a bit of fun. You used to be into that you know fun.” Skye said smiling at him with the best smile she could offer she wasn’t used to men saying no and well she at one point had that over him. She took a drink of her champagne before handing it off to the staff as she looked at him. “Let’s dance it’ll give us a chance to catch up.”

Jackson had just spoken on the phone with Natasha the woman was amazingly brilliant. The deal they were working out was going to be a revolutionary merger between SandStar Oil and DGI. As he looked up Skye he felt himself stiffen in a odd way. Skye was grown but something felt so familiar about her. It was how that glint of destruction was in her eye. History between them he knew how combustible the sex was. The fact of the matter was that was over that time in his life and Skye was stuck there. It was the time of her life, she bagged a rich guy and it was fun. It was fun for him and it was everything of Merci and Skye dreamed. Jackson for sure knew he changed her life.

“I’m not dancing with you Skye.” He looked at the same staff member nodding to a glass of champagne. Moments later he had a glass in his hand. “Listen I don’t want to be rude. I don’t really have a need for you. Seriously I have nothing to care about with you anymore like that. I can’t entertain a friendship because I’m not trustworthy. I care Skye but tonight isn’t the night for a reunion. Tonight is about me and my girlfriend. I’m fun with her goodnight Skye.” He said trying to move around her and when she moved in front of him. “Skye what?”

Skye narrowed her eyes at him as he spoke annoyed when he tried to sideswipe her. They were towards the back of the dance floor and despite his objection she invaded his personal space as a few photographers snapped their photo. Perfect he had to talk with her now if not it would look terrible in the papers Jackie would ask why he caused a scene at her party. If she knew anything about Jackson is was that he hated to upset his mother. She could swear Jackie looked at them with a disgusted look on her face if she only knew. Jackie had never liked her in fact she had over hear her call her a whore and trash numerous times.  Turning to the cameras she moved in closer to him and leaned up to his ear. “Smile Jackson it’s just a picture.”

Once they had gone she turned back to him her own glass in her hand. “I told you at the wedding we can be good together this time. I can listen to your stupid rules I’ll even let you have your toys.” Skye said knowing that she had to go all out her benefactor expected that they wanted it and she always delivered for her clients. Moving to him she trailed her fingers down his tie and his buttons. She could do that this time of that is what it took give him the control he always said he needed and if she had to she could let him use his toys. “I know you need that control and I doubt Dani is giving that to you she doesn’t have the clout for it.”

“You are so over your head because I don’t want you and I’ve told you that a million times.” He snapped at her. “Picture or not stay the hell away from me. What do you want huh? Me to shoot my arm up with poison and fuck you senseless. One thing I found out about you Skye you can’t follow because you are always a leader. You can’t be submissive because you don’t know how to submit to anything.” He snapped under his breath as he looked at her deeply. “Do you want me to hate you? I’m in love Skye stop it. God what is wrong with you? I swear if you don’t stop calling, texting, and stalking me I’m going to call the authorities it’s getting creepy.” Jackson actually had a mini-stalker years ago when he was dating Paris Hilton.

Folding his arms he looked at her shaking his arms. “You are still addicted to the thrill of hurting people. I’m sorry that you aren’t happy but I won’t risk my life with Dani. I love her so much and I want you to understand compared to her you are a blip in my life.” Jackson snapped at his ex-lover. “You are amazing man dude go find some guy who is actually interested in you.”

“You want whatever someone has always offered you, you always have. Or do you not remember how badly you were crawling to me when you got bored for Esme? Something about how she wasn’t doing it for you anymore?” Skye said looking at him challenging him about their past he thought she was going to let him off scot free for using her? He had another thing coming he would fuck her like an animal back then because he was so paranoid about Esme. Then again when Esme was revealed to have been sleeping with Chauncey maybe he should have been more paranoid. “If you can change so can I. We can go to your room upstairs you can take your time with me maybe we can even get your stash. Those were the best times weren’t they?”

Skye heard the bit about the police and for a moment she felt bad Jon, of course Jon would be the one complication about the entire thing. In some ways she wanted to hurt Dani, Jackson never cared about her he cared about fucking her but it was never a real connection and that hurt. The fact that Dani could be what he desired in that way just pissed her off even more, she didn’t like that part that she couldn’t listen to him. “So what you get to get off on her because she likes to be your slave in bed. I wonder how the dear press would feel about that knowing all the sick things you two probably do.” Skye snarled back people were staring at them and before he could object she leaned up and pressed her lips to his.

“Why is us showing our love sick? You know what’s sick? You offering me drugs when I am recovering and just so you know I’m not cool with that Skye. Matter fact I’m done talking to you. Do you hear me?  I’m done with you and you are done with me. That little threat you think you just did, I’m going use every resource available to a Devonshire to erase you from Atlas Falls. I never hated anyone but you are teetering on the edge. You know that’s a lie. I hate my brother but someone who I shared my body with. Never did I imagine that this would be us. I want you clean Skye and if you don’t want that for yourself and me. Then I can’t even be in contact with you.” Jackson shook his head as he touched her hair.

“I miss the girl whose parents died. I miss the girl who I befriended before I introduced her to drugs heavily. Skye I miss the real you not this shell.” Jackson shook his head. “Good-bye Skye and um I love Dani submissive, dominant, angry, happy, rain, sun shine, sleet, and snow. She is my everything and I want you to find someone who is your everything it’s just not me anymore.” It felt very mature to end things this way. If she pushed back then he would push her away and out of Atlas Falls. “I’ll see you around okay.”

Skye honestly didn’t have a come back to why it was sick or why she couldn’t do that with him. Maybe she wasn’t wired that way but seeing his anger and Jackie storming to them she knew to back off for now. Her benefactor had their answer it was a no she never wanted Jackson to hate her and for a moment she felt guilty about the entire thing. Only to be reminded she was doing this to survive to make the cushion that she needed to then maybe leave town again. The photographers snapped a few more pictures of them they would look good in the papers an old lovers semi embrace he could try to explain away. Pulling back from him she flashed the cameras a smile as she wiped her lips.

“When you’re bored don’t come back to me Jackson I’m sure Jon won’t be quite as stupid. I can’t wait how you explain this one to her didn’t Merci just kiss you too?” Skye spat out a grin appearing on her face at what she was able to accomplish. She turned on her heel walking away wanting to wash the shame off about the drug implication. She was not that girl anymore pulling out her phone she sent a text: No now pay the fuck up. She looked up as her eyes met Lowell’s across the room he’d better pay or she’d make sure he did.

Jackson walked to his mom as he touched her shoulder. “Mom, she just offered me drugs I want her out of the party. I want her gone is that understood. I want her never to be invited to another event.” He pulled out his phone and text Dani quick. Skye is threatening me with my… Our sexual desires. Jackson looked at his mother. “No I’m going to handle this.” Jackson saw his mother’s shock as he looked at her. “Why does everyone want to see me fall? Mom all I want to be is happy.” Jackson couldn’t help it he looked at Skye and wiped his eye. He was honestly hurt she thought that little of him. To get him to use again. “Why does everyone think so little of me.” He read Dani’s text back. She kissed me… I’m sorry Dani…

“Mom.” He lowered his head. “Why won’t they let me move on. I’m doing better here man. I just want a fucking break.” He screamed to his mom. “Thank-you for always believing in me mom.”

Jackie had watched the entire thing Skye was not welcome in her home she hadn’t exactly banned the woman but she knew how she felt about her. She was trash and while she had made a mistake to push Esme on Jackson back then she never thought he would engage in Skye’s reckless behavior. Which in the end had only caused him, Skye, Esme, Chauncey and Jon into even more contention and landed him back into the last extended rehab facility. Watching them tonight though reminder her of Tess throwing herself at Lowell all those years ago, however Jackson did the right thing and told her to get lost. Her heart was heavy as he approached her to tell her of Skye’s scheming and rage boiled in her, he was trying for the love of God what kind of a woman or person did that.

“It’s my party I’ll handle it. Not everyone wants to see you fail I don’t, your family doesn’t. You and I both know Dani doesn’t. I have never thought little of you. Take a moment and if you and Dani want to leave I understand.” Jackie said pulling her son to her hugging him, she felt like he needed that at the moment. As her eyes shot daggers to Skye in the crowd pulling back from Jackson she stepped back making her way to the speaker system. She was not playing this game and if Skye thought that she could just come into her house and her son would slip again she had another thing coming.


Dani looked at her reflection in the mirror as she noted no more champagne it was not sitting well or it was nerves. Her father had nearly had a stroke when he learned Jackson moved in and they were again not on speaking terms. Not that him moving in was bad. They fought over her decorating choices, where to put his stuff, made love when they wanted how they wanted, laughed and learned how to no kill each other so far. It was weird not wearing the ring around people she hated taking it off. They were engaged and under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be a problem but right now with so much on the line they both knew for now it had to stay between them. She closed her eyes to take a breath it was all just stress the last few weeks the holidays, Jackson moving in, him seeing the therapist, juggling both training Talia and her new job. It wasn’t like it hadn’t happened before when she was stressed her body got out of whack to then resettle. She smiled at Talia as she washed her hands thankfully her friend was alright with what happened with Braden and Selina.

“Hey don’t let Lowell or Simon be too much for you at work remember it’s just reports and writing articles for the press like we did in college for our papers. I’m glad this isn’t too weird for you with everything that happened with Braden. I know you guys weren’t serious or anything but still you’re my friend and he’s my brother.” Dani said drying her hands as she smiled at Talia. When Bliss entered she smiled too Bliss had become a part of her circle of friends too and she was glad for that. “We should all do drinks again soon it’s been awhile. Besides you both keep avoiding coming over like are you guys seeing people I should know about?”

Talia looked at Bliss and Dani and adjust her Donna Karan vintage gown with fringe covering her small figure. She choose a bone straight blunt cut with feathered bangs. Her hair flipped over her eyes as she glared at Dani. In a way she was really interested in one guy inparticular however the danger was being that girl. As she applied the lipstick on her lips as she looked at Dani. This was odd question and place. She swore after almost wrecking Anderson and Cara she wouldn’t do this. It was the way he smiled and the way he looked at her. Unfortunately with her training with Dani she was beginning to work first hand with Zerick.

“I’m single however someone has my eye but it isn’t your married brother who ran to Selina on our date. So pardon me if I’m licking my wounds in Dior.” She said with a little bite. As she looked at Dani’s glowing skin. “Girl Jackson is the only one breaking your back and that’s why you are so happy some of us well we have to use the old fashioned way a vibrator.”

“So vulgar Talia.” Bliss said walking to the mirror as she touched her bun making sure that her hair was on point. Tonight was another night her mother was showing off. Seeing grandfather over the holiday in the Philadelphia estate was right up her alley. She needed to be spoiled by her beloved grandfather and her mother was once again treated like the ugly stepchild. It was what she deserved actually as she opened her purse to get her lipgloss out.

Hunter was asking questions about her past which she didn’t want. Slowly applying her lip gloss she saw Max entering and rolled her eyes as she closed her purse. “Desperation some girls are desperate for attention and they believe that they need to do more than they have to. They have affairs and sleep around when they don’t have to. They have everything they ever need and ruin it for a cheap thrill. Then are jealous when someone looks at their husband.”

Talia looked at Dani and gave her sneer as Bliss maliciously ripped into Max. “None of my business as a ex-adulteress it’s none of my business to judge anyone. I mean it’s hypocritical of girls to hate on one person and then they are doing the same thing.”

“What in the hell did I ever do to you? I thought you of all people would be happy for me. I told him to not date my friends you were the one that kept asking to date my brother. I’m sorry shit happened the way it did with you and Braden. I had no idea he was going to marry Selina then and there alright?” Dani said as looked at Talia baffled they had been friends since college Talia had really reached out to her after the Lex mess. It wasn’t like she could control how her brother behaved it was in poor form to ditch Talia at the wedding he knew that.

She then looked at Bliss and then Max that was something she was with Talia on it was none of her business and she didn’t want to pick sides between either Bliss or Max. She’d been on the receiving end of an affair once and that had sucked. “Maybe people shouldn’t stay with someone to make themselves or the person they are supposed to love miserable.”

Max looked at them all in the room before making her way to the mirror and glaring at her sister, Bliss thought she could hide her secrets forever. She was going to find out the dirt one way or another with or without Phillip’s help. She looked at Talia and then back at Bliss so little Talia had dabbled with married dick too the girl had gusto. Adjusting her hair in the mirror she gave Talia a smile and then sneered at Bliss.

“Yes well not everyone can be perfect little angels now can we? Then again I’d rather bet that three out of the four of us have all dabbled into bed with married or taken men haven’t we? So really must we all have to hide the fact that sometimes you need to get a little raunchy and it doesn’t matter who it is with?” Max said she didn’t think Dani had before she just didn’t scream that way to her. Talia though was a pleasant surprise and well it was only a matter of time till Bliss got caught with her dress off and Hunter in her. She watched as the bathroom door opened and Greer came in. “How is working with Mr. Westwood Talia? He is such a charmer.”

Talia laughed at Dani’s little sensitivity on the dig with her brother. She was really taking this personally. How gut wrenching was it to be in the middle of a wedding where her date became a groom. Now all of the sudden she was supposed to sit here and play nice. “Look Danielle I love you hate the ass that shot out of your father’s ball sack. For the noble Fraisers and the bad rap the Devonshire get your brother sure played dirty and just as dirty as Chauncey may I add. So girl don’t give all that tude I was just kidding and being shady but you can’t hang I can see.” Clearly she and Dani were having a little moment but it was also a bonding for her and Max. How bold.

“I mean it’s always praised when a man get’s a mistress but when a woman does it to a man. Well that woman should wear a scarlet A. Well not scarlet because we all know one Scarlett who loves to sleep with any guy who moves including. Well that’s just me being shady again.” Talia said looking at Dani. Walking to the mints she popped one in her mouth.

Bliss felt the pain of Dani she was getting jumped by Talia in a game of cattiness. “Hey Talia how is Zerick do you know him?”

Talia felt frisky so she chose to speak again. “Not very Bliss but it’s so clear you do.” She hissed smacking her lips.

“You bitch you don’t know anything about me so don’t act like it.” Bliss snapped back at Talia. “Here here you are in quite a mood no? Jaded because you’ve fallen for the European lothario Zerick. You thought that you may be special? I had little hope that you smarter than that. However let’s face only man you can get are taken ones.” Bliss paused when Greer entered.

Greer walked into the icy bathroom with a slick smirk on her face. The claws were officially out and 2015 wasn’t even over. Well she might as well join the party. Looking appalled that Bliss and Talia were sniping about her husband. She was however kind of shaken all night Lowell Devonshire watched her like a hawk. It was something about how he looked at her. It was like he knew for a second she was here to set fire to his son’s life. The backless black lace Carolina Herrera dress was to die. She’d only just got here and so much animosity.

“Oh please don’t stop talking because I’m here. I’m excited to know which one of you bitches is occupying my husband right now. Before he’s bored with you, look when he has a wife who looks like this could any of you bitches compare?” Greer said with a bounce walking to the mirror. “I do know your ex-fiance and he’s horrified at who you are dating.” She purred to Bliss and Talia.

“End of the day honey Zerick seems to be the man on everyone’s tongue. Just tell him to keep his mouth closed on me and what he knows about me.” Bliss said looking at Max. “Is there a reason you’re even here, I mean nobody even likes you in this room. It’s a girls chat and we all know Max doesn’t play well with others. But you’re learning to share all of your toys.”

“We were just discussing affairs you seem to fit in well with the conversation.” Max looked at Greer everyone knew something was going on with her and Chauncey and then she had to laugh when again Bliss was thrown under. So she was engaged once to someone else that was quite interesting. “Poor little sister never having a man of her own. You think Hunter wants you now. Your delusions are getting a little out of hand aren’t they?”

Dani glared at Talia as she grabbed Bliss from lunging at Max. “Fuck you Talia. Bliss she’s not worth it. You really want to go there about who has a more sordid past Max?”

Max glared at Dani knowing full well what she had on her in that moment something that could impact her divorce way more than just her affair with Philip. Dani was covering big secrets long before her father hired her.

Skye had just left Jackson on the dance floor causing the ruckus she needed to get a rile out of the cameras and texted Lowell his son wasn’t biting. Thank fucking God because honestly the next thing on her list would have been to actually go score something and dangle it there. She did that she wasn’t honestly sure that she could even say no to that. She moved past the other girls in the bathroom as she washed her hands. She looked right at Dani in the mirror a cat like grin on her face.

“I’m so glad we bumped into each other again I just came from Jackson. He still is a great kisser not only that I got him ready for you.” Skye said drying her hands as she spoke letting it sink in.

Dani glared at her and then felt her phone buzz and she saw the texts what a fucking cunt. Typing a reply to him. I’m going to kill her. She waited a few seconds and saw the second text anger surging through her. She trusted Jackson in that department and took a step to Skye raised her hand and let it collide as hard as it could against her cheek. “Stay the hell away from him or I swear to fucking God your little games will be nothing compared to what I’ll do to you. He doesn’t want your washed up skanky ass clear?” She felt Bliss pulling her back as she saw Skye reach for her cheek.

Skye let the sting on her face sit for a bit as she looked at Bliss pulling Dani to the door. “You keep telling yourself that sweetheart. Everyone in this room knows your washed goods to men don’t we?”

“Omg.” Talia said looking at Dani. “Really? And listen we may be fighting you cheap little bitch but don’t talk to Dani like that. We all know how you get down, Jon and Jackson on the same day if rumor serves me right. You are such a bitch for doing that purposely. Cheap but Jackson doesn’t use anymore so he more than likely saw you as the repulsive bitch you are.” Talia turned to Greer. “Nobody wants your husband honey and you aren’t all that.” With that she was pulling out of World War 3 and Talia brisked past Dani and Bliss.

Greer narrowed her eyes as she looked at Skye. “Don’t worry Skye my friend Lex said she’s used up anyway.” Greer blotted her lips. “Just like Bliss does Hunter or Lowell know about Dimitri.”

“I will kick your ass!” Bliss said seething at Greer as Dani held her back.

“Max you have to hear about Dimitri and Lex you should know about your sister and twins ex’s interesting reads.” Greer said looking at Bliss and signaled her hands to bring it. “Didn’t you just get into a fight with Max? So violent Bliss.”

Dani watched Talia leave and she wasn’t sure what was going on with herself the anger, she blamed it on stress and exhaustion. “I don’t think Max and I would like to compare notes now would we. As for you you’re European trash I hope you enjoy the asshole that is Chauncey.” She looked at Skye as she held open the door. “Next time you want to prostitute yourself find someone that actually wants your ass.” Shaking her head she walked out.

Max watched Dani leave and got the message she wouldn’t bring up shit from her marriage to Hunter before Philip if she kept out of her business with Jackson. Max watched Bliss walking to the door as she smiled as she agreed in the mirror. “You must tell me about Dimitri Greer I heard it is quite the story.”

Greer smirked another connection because two dumb petty bitches wanted to fight each other. The sister Devonshire’s were doomed because she was about to inject some poison in Bliss’s life. “Oh I don’t know? Dimitri Kavanaugh the actual Prince not Atticus. He’s the prince who gave up his title to live a life in the business world. Darling you have heard of the King Damien Kavanaugh and his dashing boys Dimitri and Atticus. Bliss has lots of secrets but I require a favor Max.”

Flipping her hair she looked deeply into her new friend eyes. “Chauncey, when the time is right vote yes. And I’ll help you get rid of Bliss once and for all.”

Skye looked between them looking in the mirror before leaving she felt sick as she heard the music stop no doubt the party had ended for her. Walking to the door she left Max and Greer alone.

Max considered Greer’s words so she wanted to bargain her father always told her to gain the information by whatever means necessary to then keep it. She could do that in this case until she knew what she was voting for as long as it was something against Bliss she was in. “I’m in.”


Skye left the bathroom trying to avoid the stares she was still getting from people in the crowd who had seen her with Jackson earlier making a fool of herself. Not to mention she could feel Dani staring at her with daggers, she looked at her phone wanting to roll her eyes. He wasn’t interested she wondered if Lowell hated his own son that much that he wanted him to fail and for a moment she thanked God she didn’t have parents like that. She ignored the text back she did her part and short of actually going to a seedy part of town to actually score some drugs she was not playing his game anymore. She did her part and now he owed her payment. When she reached Merci she bumped playfully into her shoulder she was so done with this lame ass party.

“You ready to leave yet I feel like the night is young and we’re far from welcome anymore.” Skye said looking at Merci wanting to get out of the Devonshire estate. Jackie was still looking at her as well Merci could get them out the party was fine she did her job surely they could go crash someone else one of the clubs anywhere but here. “I doubt they need you anymore come on.”

“You’re far from welcomed because Jackie just said over the speaker to escort you out? What is going on Skye? Fine but my choice on where we are going. I want to see Devin.” She said with a naughty smile. “And I’m pretty sure after making a fool of yourself you need someone who actually wants to kiss you on New Years.” Merci said as she laughed a little grabbing Skye hand. “Why? Why Jackson he’s so um noble now and he’s good with Dani. They actually look happy, Skye leave them alone. For real Jon wants you and that’s what you want. Why.” Merci snatched her phone out of her hand.

“Ever since you been back you haven’t put this thing down. So I’m only assuming the rich SOB in London is texting you again or you’re back with ulterior motives your sissy doesn’t know. So I’ll find out right now.” She said running in her heels reading the text. She stopped because she saw Lowell number. Hell she knew it all too well for parties and events. Turning she shook her head. “How much bitch.” She said feeling badly for Jackson. “It’s cool I don’t judge Skye.” She turned and bumped into Brenda and Gideon.

“Pardon me Brenda don’t you look beautiful tonight. After the wedding from hell I was hoping that I could decorate the hospital charity gala next year. I have the perfect theme Monte Carlo Nights.” Merci said going into business mode.

Brenda held onto Gideon arm as she nodded. “I’ll discuss it with Jackie darling you two have a wonderful New Year.” She blew a party favor she got when she entered the mansion. “Gideon tell me we will be burying crime together doll. I have many ideas for the future of Atlas Falls.” Brenda asked

Skye looked at Merci as she looked at her phone the truth setting in her friend’s eyes, yes Lowell had paid her or he was going to pay her. She damn sure didn’t just humiliate herself or attempt to sell herself for nothing and Lowell better pay up. She’d tell the press his dirty scandal that he tried to pull, she’d tell his wife, she’d tell Jackson. Taking the phone back from Merci as she saw security walking towards them she stuffed it back into her clutch.

“Fifty thousand alright? It gives me a nice cushion.” Skye said quietly she wasn’t proud of that. but she had always done what she had to in order to put herself in a better position. When they bumped into Gideon and Brenda she looked towards the door. Letting Merci make her move on working the party next year.

Gideon looked at the two women that had approached them he recognized Merci as one of the party planners. The other he didn’t know all too well his focus instead had been on the commotion with Ronan on the other side of the room. It was clear there was trouble in paradise with Ronan and Brooke it was perfect. Pulling Brenda to his side feeling her close again all these years later. With Steven gone they could reconnect he would do anything to keep her now. Leading her away from Merci and her companion.

“We will bury crime I made you a promise Brenda one I intend to honor I will bring Ronan in as soon as I fend or the detectives find something to tie him to Steven’s murder. He will be out of your life out of your daughter’s.” Gideon said grabbing a glass of champagne for them both the party was beautiful. Much of the older crowd of Atlas Falls was still there the younger ones no doubt out to club downtown his eyes scanned the room to see Walter looking at them. “You have an admirer for a man that said he wanted nothing to do with you anymore he is still quite the fool.”

Brenda folded her arms as she looked at Walter rolling her eyes. He was still enamored with her and she could tell by how he stared at her. As she sprawled against Gideon for a photograph. She was playing the widow moving on quite well. It was funny all of the sudden she was in the race. Rachel was amazing and she was still digging into Lowell and DGI. If she had Lowell in her pocket then she’d be able to win this election.

“Shall we play tonight?” Brenda asked as her eyes danced with danger. Holding his hand she looked at Walter and Lauren. Who only were here because the future mayor had to attend a benefactor like Lowell party. “Oh Walter and Lauren I expected you to be popping firecrackers. I always thought that tradition was a little juvenile but I’m sure the kids loved it. Gideon I did tell you that Anderson was working with Charles Hessington. You two know the Hessington’s you know the governor of Pennsylvania.”

“We shall.” Gideon said as they approached Walter. He politely held out his hand for the other man. ”Walter.”

Walter had arrived at the party for the press and the election not because he wanted too. He had watched his daughter with Jackson and honestly he had never been more disappointed in her. Things between them had been strained to say the least Lauren was constantly warning him to not interfere. He was patient Jackson would let her down Dani would come to her senses he glared at Lowell in the room they had not been alright since Braden had married Selina. He was sipping a glass of champagne as he watched Brenda with Gideon of all people. Gideon was not her type and yes a part of him was jealous. Something he knew he could not let show. He looked at Lauren as Brenda approached.

“We were invited but you were aware of that. The fireworks not the firecrackers are a long standing tradition we will do them later in the evening. Charles is a dear friend.” Walter said pulling Lauren to his side hoping tonight was not when she was going to cause a ruckus. The last thing he needed was that for people to think there was strife between them. “I heard Anderson is fitting in quite well.”

“It must cut like a knife that your daughter is galavanting with Jackson.” Shaking her head she looked at Lauren. “That was out of line I just have to wonder why did Dani leave Lex? He’s a sweet young man. Anderson and he visited me when that neanderthal Jackson punched him. Laying her hand on Gideon chest she eyed Lauren with a wicked stare. “Lauren where did you get that dress. It’s absolutely not fitting of the possible mayor wife. You look ravishing in a tackiest way possible. A cut out honey really? Really that’s what you want to wear?”

Lauren shot daggers at Brenda as she looked at Walter. Once again he wasn’t going to say anything. She got to insult her and the silence of the moment said enough. Ever since Ms. Va-va Voom walked in he’d be staring. It wasn’t how he stared at Lowell. When Walter’s face and eyes faced Lowell it was a harshness and a anger. When it was Brenda he had love it was what was the one that perpetually got away.

“Some of us really want to save Atlas Falls and aren’t concerned about a fashion label and a line. You are a virus to the candidacy and a joke. You think you can flip your hair and bat a tear and you’re politically relevant? You are everything that women aspire not to be. A vindictive shrew who is mad that I got what she wanted. Gideon this is a game because she still wants what’s mine!” Lauren said stepping in Brenda face. Walter couldn’t stop this one.

“I’m going to tell you Gideon that she isn’t anything special but a lying slut. I’ll tell it Brenda.” Lauren seethed nastily at Gideon as she slyly smiled. “Does he know what a nasty girl you are? Does he know how you slept around on Steven?” She hissed to Walter. “You know what if you say anything about my children I’m going to shove my foot right up your ass.”

“I don’t think I’m even going to dignify owing you an explanation on why Dani came home. Do you really want to discuss that right now? How is your niece?” Walter said looking at Brenda. Brenda knew full well why Dani came home well maybe not the why but she was damn well aware of the who. As for Lauren and the comment about her dress his eyes burned into Brenda’s she didn’t want to play that game with him. “I guess Jackson would be a better choice than say Ronan Madden? Your daughter better be out of the line of fire Brenda I don’t want to stick her in a jail cell.”

“I think you are mistaken Lauren of course Brenda is special meanwhile you are still trying to fit in. Ever since you and Walter were duped all those years ago even then I remember how pathetic it was that you straggled along.” Gideon said looking at Brenda and then at Walter and Lauren. Lauren still had her fangs about her and watching them snipe at each other was more than worth coming to the Devonshire party. “Shouldn’t you of got Braden on bringing in Ronan before now? Or is your son going to throw the case seeing how he is now married to Selina and her brother was on the inside of Ronan’s operation.”

“Even if you were elected you wouldn’t like to throw my daughter in jail. She isn’t a criminal and knows nothing about Ronan’s illegal activities so if you think about going after her to get to him. I’ll destroy you. Is that understood I’ll cripple you and undermine anything you do. Even if I lose this election. Just so you both know Maggie is fine she’s in some gutter that you no doubt can’t crawl out.” As she looked at Lauren and Walter. “Win or lose I’m going to make your life miserable if you try me. Do it and I’ll show how ruthless I can be.”

Lauren knew Brenda knew the situation her hillbilly niece broke up Lex and Dani relationship. As she shook her head. “Walter she nor he is worth. I know you have some say on who is the police commish maybe we need a new one. One that doesn’t seem to be influenced by a woman who is irrelevant. A vapid weak woman who.”

That was it Brenda had enough. “Vapid and weak but I’m the woman who.” She stopped herself knowing she’d be using her ace of spade if she opened her mouth. “You have no clue what type of woman I am but you will soon. Let me lose and I’ll reveal it all keep playing with fire Walter my dear and you’ll get burned.”

“Walter let’s go.” Lauren said knowing that Brenda had a boom in her back pocket. “I assure you that if you come for my family I’ll use every ounce of our power to demolish you. I hate you Brenda and I definitely will admonish you from this town.”

“Such a refined word never knew your vocabulary was that big.” Brenda said as she smirked at Lauren. As turned and the impact from Lauren fist pressed against her face and she flipped on a table. Clutching her face Brenda watched Lauren storming away. Gideon helped her up as she looked at him. “It’s fine this is exactly what I needed.”

Walter looked between them unable to stop the turn of events Lauren slugging the former lady of Atlas Falls square in the face as the cameras flashed. He stood frozen for a few seconds to gather his thoughts wanting to reach out to Brenda before it all came into focus. Turning on his heel he chased after Lauren through the crowd.


“I feel like I’m in a movie.” It had been a week since Rory helped her walk away from Club XES. Philip wasn’t all too happy nor was Ronan who had been blowing her up constantly. She changed her number so that the he would stop harassing her. Rory had paid for her mother’s rehab and moved her to Philly. Not only that she’d been staying at his penthouse basically. It was like living in heaven. Not to mention he was spoiling her. They were really learning about each other which was amazing. Matter fact it was good seeing how normal Rory truly was. They laughed at movies, washed dishes, and cooked together. It was actually more peace than she ever had in her life. She spoke with her mother about her father and it was another brick wall. She really wanted to find him.

“Rory can I ask you something? Your mom keeps looking at us does she know?” Yasmine asked as she watched Jackie dancing with Lowell across the room. Her look was piercing and it was something that was burning through her. As she spun around she bumped into Brooke who looked beautiful in a blue gown. She looked so glamourous then she saw who she was dancing with and her face grew pale. There he was, Ronan Madden the judge, jury, and executioner. Folding her arms she looked directly at him and her eyes narrowed. “Here to shoot me at a party?” She hissed at Ronan.
Brooke was having a ball at the party as her and Ronan danced. She hadn’t told him about Kendrick and she choose to keep it a secret. They had been spending more and more time together. Ronan even told her about some women who once broke his heart. They talked so much together it was like they were getting to know each other deeply. She went off to Bali to do a photoshoot right after Christmas with Avi Rose. Not only that she talked to Valentina who was considering buying the brand of her cousin’s Diego line. As she slowly bumped into Yasmine and Rory she smiled at the girl but when she snapped at Ronan a shocked expression appeared.

“Ronan trying to shooting you really how dramatic Rory where do you get these prissy princesses from?” Brooke said placing her hand on her hip as she looked at Ronan’s somber expression. This was something about work with him. She could tell looking at him he wasn’t happy his jaw clenched stepping back she looked at Yasmine, then Rory. “What’s going on here?”

“Maybe I should tell your girlfriend what type of person you really are Ronan. Up in here acting like the good people of Atlas Falls. When you a pimp, drug dealer, murderer, and corrupt as hell. Ever since Scottswood started messing with you mob folk my folk be going in pine box. I’m bleeding for my community you don’t know nothing so stay out of this.” Yasmine said pointing at her finger in Brooke face.

“Rory get this girl before I get ugly.” She felt Ronan pulling her back. “She’s rude and tactless.” Brooke said seeing Ronan darkness. “What’s wrong?”

“He want to choke me and fucking murk me that’s what’s wrong with your goofy ass. You think you know him, you don’t know this man!” She said as she looked at Rory. “Stay away from my momma or I’ll act a fool. I swear to God Ronan, I’m done I’m out.”

Rory had been helping Yasmien for the last few weeks making the moves to get her out and eventually it all came to a head after her mother was moved to a new location. He was certain that her mother didn’t approve of them but if it meant Yasmine stopped at the club he would do anything. He gave Yasmine the money and she walked through his security for her had to step in, she came to live with him where he could say that for now things were good . They were getting to be in a routine together and he thought about asking her to make it permanent  Yasmine had been telling him it was her first time being on her own though and he didn’t want to push it. When Ronan and Kendrick kept calling her though he made her get a new phone and a new number and the calls stopped. They had been having a good time at the party he had noticed his mother’s looks. He was going to say something only for them to bump into Brooke with Ronan.

“No I think Yasmine has a point Brooke. I have no problems telling you how wrong you are to bring him here hell for you to keep seeing him.” Rory said pulling Yasmine back but he also knew that Yasmine had a point Ronan threatened people like Yasmine, her mother, Jamal. Ronan killed people that didn’t follow in line and he refused to let anyone leave and the only reason he didn’t cause a ruckus when Yasmine left was because he had made her cut ties with Ronan in broad daylight at a well established restaurant. “Stay the fuck away from her Ronan. You may have the power of some street credit behind you but my last name can weigh with judges, cops, the Feds, your business. You do not want to go against me.”

Ronan had been in a mood for weeks no one walked away from the business but then Yasmine had called him to talk about her payment to throw cash down in public he had no choice. Kendrick had pleaded with his eyes to not kill her the only reason he listened was because of the the Feds who had been on him since Jamal’s arrest. The club had gone down in business since Yasmine left and the two girls he hired to replace her were more interested in snorting than selling it. He had meetings he attended while Brooke traveled and he had enjoyed their evening and then glared at Yasmine and her new lover. Rory Devonshire was a fool if he thought Yasmine was not using him for his money that she hadn’t spread her legs for love and affection before with other men. He held Brooke back his anger welling in him over it all this was hardly the time for them to fight.

“Watch yourself boy when you speak about things that are none of your concern your bitch whore of a girlfriend had a contract. No one disrespects me or my business and there is nothing that you could say that would make me change my mind.” Ronan said looking at Rory and then at Yasmine point blank no he wouldn’t kill her here at a party with people watching. Looking at Brooke he saw her taken aback by his words about Yasmine and he looked at her. “You think because you are fucking him I’m going to let you just go? Does he know about all the other men you’ve played in the past little girl ones you wanted to protect you? No one wants trash Yasmine and trust me if you don’t honor our agreement I will find your mother.”

“I’m not a fucking whore and yeah men have wanted to save me from your corrupt ass. Sweetie you have no clue what you are in store for with this man. Has he told you about bending Maggie and the twins over at Club XES. You are vile dude and if you stay with him you stupid bitch because only thing he’s doing is going to bring pain. It sucks but he’s a fucking virus that attacks your morals and eventually your soul. How much you going to turn a blind eye to white girl? Your daddy was being doped up and fucking all type of bitches and he knew. Hell I’m surprised he ain’t blackmailing your momma because of all the dirt he got on your daddy.”

When he said he was going to attack her mother she couldn’t help it. Yasmine flipped as she punched Ronan in the face. “If I’m going to die pussy then I’m going to rock you. I’m going to call the police, I’ll tell everything to news. Keep playing with me if anything happens to my mother know your operation is going down. Hell your dumb ass didn’t even know it was a snitch in your shit.” Yasmine said Rory and everyone was watching them.

“Please stop it Ronan! Can’t you talk to her she’s not all bad. God this is horrible and.” She promised she wouldn’t get into his business. “Please stop it, both of you are horrible and saying the fact of the matter is this isn’t the place.” Brooke instantly was taken back by the aggressive attitude. The way he talked to Yasmine was shocking. She’d never heard him be so ignorant and it alarmed her. The way he spoke to a woman that was heartbreaking. This was what Kendrick was talking about. Could she handle this? Could she handle every day her boyfriend and lover degrading a woman or harming someone? Could she just make love to him and just act as if everything was okay?

“Ronan I want to leave.” Brooke said obviously uncomfortable. It wasn’t supposed to be able to touch them here. Not at a social event of this stature. “You’re dating a stripper?” What was going on? First Jamal’s arrest made front page news and now Rory was dating a stripper. Judgemental as it might be she couldn’t help it. “Rory you know that type of woman would want to be adjusted to this type of life. You have to be smarter than that. I’m not being a snob but Ronan says she’s done this before.”

“You don’t know him sweetie and that’s your problem. This man is violent and arrogant thinking that he going to kill me. You think I’m dead don’t you? I got a trick for you Ronan. Hurt my momma, hurt me and I swear everything I know will be exposed to the media. I made sure of it or I should say Rory and I made sure of it. How dare either of you judge us. You are just like me Ronan your hands has so much blood them just like me. Then you two are the innocent ones dealing with our shit. So Ronan kill me and I assure you, you’ll lose her. They’ve been friend for years and I think Rory would hate her for being with you. I’m going to use every card I got to shoot you down before you shoot me.” Yasmine said softly knowing people were watching now.

Brooke ached when that girl said those words. She was right. “I want to go Ronan.”

Rory could swear people were staring at them as Ronan was threatening Yasmine as Brooke was defending him and he glared at Brooke. Was that who she wanted to be in bed with? A man that spoke to a woman like that, that pushed his drugs like a virus in Atlas Falls? “Get him the hell out of my mother’s party Brooke. I ever see him grace this house again or come near Yasmine I’ll…”

“You’ll do nothing you spoiled brat. You see your father’s hands aren’t exactly clean now are they? He wants his casino built on land I own and if you think I don’t know that then you need to go back to business school.” Ronan snarled ignoring both Rory and Brooke as he stared at Yasmine. She thought she wouldn’t come back she was wrong, the snitch part was interesting he had thought Jamal was the snitch. “Better watch your back with her Rory she’ll be moaning on Jamal if I don’t kill him first.”

Rory had enough of it and balled his fist having it collide straight into Ronan’s jaw and he watched as the man stumbled back for a moment. Gasps going off in the crowd as what he assumed was Ronan’s security and his parents all moved in towards them.

Ronan rubbed his jaw as he gained his composure holding out his hand for his security to stay back. He wiped at his bleeding lip as he looked at Rory.

“You have forty eight hours Yasmine I expect to see you back at the club. Shaking that pretty little ass for the men that come to see you.” Leaving it at that he looked at Brooke before motioning for his men that they were leaving now.

“I apologize about all of this.” Brooke rushed to Ronan’s side as she looked into this eyes. She saw he wasn’t playing. “Look at me you promised me this wouldn’t touch my life.” She cried looking at him begging for this to end. Pulling him away he watched Yasmine and Rory expression each of them had fear. “Does this have to be like that? Oh my God you just threatened her? You called her all those names? She’s sweet I’ve talked to her. You are a…” Brooke said stepping back and letting go of his hand.

She didn’t know what to do but run away. Brooke rushed away as fast as she could. Seeing her mother and Gideon she rushed past them.

Yasmine bit her lip knowing Ronan warning wasn’t a game. She had to do something as she thought quickly on her feet. Then she looked around and people were staring and looking at her. Did they hear Ronan talking to her like a whore? She saw people whispering and talking amongst themselves. “I gotta go! Rory I gotta move my momma he knows to look through your family money now. He’ll find her look I’ll call you tomorrow I got some shit to do before I bounce. Rory I’m not safe this isn’t for you?” As she placed her purse underneath her arm.

“I gotta go this was a fairytale and it’s over it’s time for real life and he wasn’t playing Rory. Money don’t stop bullets. It’s time I get real, I fucked up for both of us I should have never done this.” She walked out of the room.

Rory stood there for moment seeing Ronan walk away, Brooke storm off and then Yasmine all but dump him after he defended her. She was insane to let Ronan bully her and he looked at the crowd that was still whispering, his parents both glanced over at him a satisfied look on their faces. He was a damn fool to take up for her, brushing past the crowd he grabbed a bottle of champagne from a waiter before making his way towards the billiards room. He just wanted a drink and to be alone, how could she just do that walk away after he stood up to the mob for her?

Opening the door he entered the room shutting it behind him as he felt some tears forming in his eyes, he was a damn good man. What in the hell did Jamal or these other fools have over him to make her go back to that life? They could keep moving her mom if that was what she was so concerned about but to run from him to toss him aside after all he did for her stung. Sinking down on the floor he brought the bottle to his lips taking a swig. He had embarrassed himself and his family and for what? A woman that he honestly fell in love with that apparently when it got too tough would run? A stripper that always would run back to that life? Shaking his head as he gulped the champagne down he closed his eyes before bringing the bottle to his lips again for another drink.


“One, two, three! Quinn beats Jon for the Fraiser family annual thingy that happens on New Years.” Maddie said looking at Dylan. “What? I’m trying. I know I was a bitch on the plane but we had fun and I ordered your dad a couple suits as an apology. It was sweet of me.”

“You know most people wait to hear someone else say that their actions were sweet.” Jon said tickling his niece as they wrestled. “You know your mom used to kick my butt Quinn.” He continued to get pinned by her. As he looked at Dylan. “What?” He playfully picked up Quinn slamming her onto the couch. “Lacrosse now huh? Oh heard you made the team Dylan but I can still kick your butt too.”

“God I should be wearing couture still this party sucks. Mom!” Maddie stormed off toward the kitchen.

“So how is um having a sister?” Jon asked as Quinn pounced on him. “You are about to be terminated little girl.” In the worst Arnold impersonation ever. “She seems really high maintenance are you going to be able to handle that? Listen you ever need to chill play your guitar and hang I’m still your Godfather. You know and kid you aren’t too old or cool to chill with me. I remember when you and I rode in the cop car. I was so cool now girls and music and sports. You use call me on my cellphone. See I’m hip I know Drake?”

Dylan looked at Jon and Quinn wrestling Jon’s parents were with his grandparents in the backyard. Years later he still didn’t get why they all gathered to light off fireworks in the middle of winter but it was family tradition. Jon trying to sound or be cool though did make him smile a bit as Maddie walked into the kitchen. “It’s ok having Maddie around. Listening to Drake does not make you hip.”

Moving to the couch he shot Quinn a grin before he jumped on Jon’s back he couldn’t let a little kid have all the fun. “Don’t worry Quinny I got this.” He grinned wildly at her as she was mesmerized by the play fighting going on.

Selina appeared with Maddie on one side and Braden on another. She had interrupted a intense makeout session. Slowly running her hands down her dress and coat. The Fraisers party was in full swing. It was weird not being at the Devonshire party and she honestly understood her daughter needs. Glamour and the fast lane but this was special. It was slowing down Maddie. To be honest Maddie was on her way to being a mini-Chauncey superficial.

“Hey you need to calm down. We are guest at a party or have you forgotten that.” Selina said softly to Maddie. “Don’t go getting pouty I love-you go have fun like fourteen year olds do. Not be on that phone you know play in snow. Or are you scared.”

Maddie looked at her mother and picked up a snow packing it into tight snowball. As she looked at her mother. “No I’m not too grown to play in the snow. Actually I’m thinking that you know I can kick your.”

“Madeline!” Selina said looking at her smirking.

“Your butt what? And just to show my staddy I love you.” She threw it directly into Braden face. “Um you were supposed to duck.”

Jon snuck up behind Maddie as she gloated just like a Devonshire. He picked her up swiftly with Dylan and Quinn as his accomplices he was ready. “Say you are sorry princess or else. That’s my best friend.”

“You brute put me down! Dylan were besties and can’t let him do this me.” She giggled as Jon ticked her midair.

Selina looked at Quinn and Braden. “This mean right Quinn?” She laughed as she looked at Miranda and Devin about to join in. “I’m sorry Jon the Queen Quinn what do you say?” Selina had it on good authority that Miranda and Devin were reading Alice In Wonderland to Quinn.

“Off with her head.” She giggled running behind Devin and Miranda

Jon instinctively dunked Maddie in a pile of snow as Brock let off the first round of fireworks. He heaved as he looked up and his friends and family. Women were tricky but this was simple. Walking to Braden and Selina as he watched Maddie and Dylan chasing Quinn. “You know seeing you all like this um makes me jealous I want a family.”

“One day you’ll find the girl.” Braden said looking at Jon as he watched the kids chase each other. Jon deserved that a girl, the kids, the works and Braden knew that one day he would have those things. Seeing his sister finally arrive he smiled. “Finally you showed up. Don’t worry mom and dad are still at the Devonshire party.”

“So look who I found wandering down the street.” Dani said approaching her brother, Selina and Jon. Stepping to the side she smiled at Jon with Cassie by her side. Hugging her brother and then Selina as she shot her nephew and Jackson a warning look seeing them arming up snowballs and pointing at her. “What she is better than the bitch that is Skye. Why do we still do this, it’s cold.”

“Because mom and dad are crazy and to amuse them?” Braden said smiling at his sister and then looking at Cassie. “Glad to have you here.”

Cassie hadn’t been sure what to expect when Jon had called her over the holidays they hadn’t had time to see each other or talk she had went out of town. Now that she was back though and things with Thor had cooled down to the point of ice she figured now she and Jon could talk. She was glad that she had said no to Thor and over the holidays she had also realized that seeing Jon kiss Skye had awoken something in her. She wasn’t sure what to call it but it set off something that told her she had to try with Jon. She had went as far as to ask him if they could meet tonight and he had invited her.

“I think you and I can agree on that.” Cassie said smiling at Dani about Skye honestly she wasn’t concerned about Dani anymore. Just by looking at her around Jon and her family it was clear Dani thought of him like a brother and only had eyes for Jackson. Looking at Jon she tightened her coat around her with a smile. “Thanks for inviting me we haven’t had a lot of time to talk with everything.”

“Honestly I wasn’t on the best behavior that night either. I let the emotion of seeing Skye and me being angry with you. Well that hurt me seeing Thor proposing to you.” He touched her curly red hair and her cheeks were flushed from the cold air. “Hey I’m glad I get to see you too. How was Christmas? I spent a lot of time with Quinn and Miranda. It was nice.” Jon looked at Dani being chased by Jackson and Dylan. Then scooped a snowball in his hand. “Look we better be prepared because I know these kids are animals. Look at Maddie she’s attacking everyone. This is calm but you are in the warzone. He playfully stood in front of Cassie as Dylan shot a snowball at them.

He threw one at Dylan and smiled at Cassie. “I love to have fun. You know one day if I have a son as cool as that kid I’m going to be pretty good. Cassie look Skye is someone I care about I heard you saw us. I wasn’t trying disrespect you. I was jealous and unfortunately I fell back into Skye’s web. Hell I was in love with Skye but we had a lot of stuff in the middle of us. I was lost and she is too. I don’t know maybe I deserve a fresh start.”

“I suppose I don’t really have a right to be jealous over what I saw it wasn’t like we were or are together it just happened . Thor and I aren’t getting married.” Cassie said watching the kids playing in the snow with Jon’s friends and family. Honestly she felt like they needed more space to talk about them or what did happen with them away from the noise and happy laughter. He was good with kids and she nodded her head at him. “I think you’re good with kids. Listen can we head somewhere still here but a little more quiet I really want to talk about Christmas and what happened with us that night. It wasn’t fair to run out on you it’s just really noisy here at the moment.”

“Come on Lauren and Walter set up a warming table on the deck.” He said looking at her pretty face. As he walked to the heating lamps where fires were raging from them. Nodding at Brock and some stunning woman. They were talking as he sat on the desk and touched a curl on her hair. “I’m sorry that messed up so badly on Christmas. I didn’t react to your proposal so well. I just was with you and you showed up to a wedding with him. Look I’m not even talking about the entire mobster thing Thor isn’t healthy for you. You two have been doing that how long? He still hasn’t made his move until someone else saw how utterly beautiful you are.”

Looking at Dani and Jackson he saw how happy his friend was and knew that he wanted it. He wanted a happy ending, a family, and someone who truly loved him. “Dani brought you here because everyone heard about you. Okay she did because I was utterly confused and I needed a woman that was not Miranda answering my questions. Look I have a connection with Skye, she was really apart of my life in a dark day. I don’t know why she’s back but we aren’t a couple. Okay we aren’t anything right now I’m still as single as the day I met.”


Walking into her home she saw her family playing and having ball made her heart drop. How had she lost her youth on that man. How she’d be robbed of being with someone who truly loved her. The reporters had already started to call to find out why she punched Brenda. They had no clue to drama that woman had put her through. Years of wondering when she would swoop in and take a man who didn’t love her. Not the way she deserved to be loved. As she opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of vodka. She poured herself a glass and saw her husband’s car pulling up. As she downed the cold clear liquid she stood over the sink. When he walked in she immediately threw the glass at Walter.

“How many times am I going to go through this. It’s embarrassing and I’m sick of being the bitch. I’m sick of being the bad one because you can’t keep it in your pants. You slept with Brenda over thirty years ago. You got her pregnant five years later thank God she aborted that child. You continue to make me be a bitch but I’m dying here. I’m dying because I am never the woman you want. You can’t hide your eyes, you love her still and I can’t believe that I’ve ruined my own chances of being happy by leaving you. I should have never married you I’m should have married Harvey and never looked back.” She snapped at Walter with a heartbreaking result. “If it wasn’t for our kids I would have never married you and you would have never married me. Say it. I want to hear you say it. Say you don’t love me.”

Walter had done his best to avoid the questions of reporters as he left the Devonshire mansion wanting to not cause more of a scene or to answer questions about he and Lauren. Instead he had went for a drive to clear his head arriving home only to glare at his daughter at his home with Jackson did she have no shame? Of course Brenda’s words stung about that the fact that Dani could pick someone like Jackson over Lex. Charles had banned Maggie from his office and word was she was shamed turned away to no avail. Entering the house and having Lauren toss a glass at him he was used to it they hadn’t been the same since the affairs with Brenda and he glared at her. That was something he honestly didn’t like to think about Brenda hadn’t even asked him before she did it.

“You have an obligation as the future lady of Atlas Falls to behave as such instead of what slugging Brenda the former one in public? What did you hope to accomplish other than I am sure the headlines that will follow tomorrow? Of course I love you, I picked you over her didn’t I? It is so nice to know that my child you wanted dead then again you’ve been a frigid bitch for years I now understand where your daughter gets it from.” Walter said looking at her his rage boiling a bit while he looked at her he could hit her too where it hurt their precious daughter that she trapped him with. Picking up a glass he poured himself a glass and took a sip. “You know the one that is out fucking Lowell’s son? The one that I didn’t want to begin with you like to accuse Brenda of trapping me. But you, you are maybe even worse seeing how you knew I didn’t want more kids.”

“What type of man resents his daughter and I never trapped you. More and more I’m seeing you are a weak ass man. I didn’t lie down by myself so the trapping statement mute. Go get a damn vasectomy if you didn’t want anymore children. You are a disappointment as a husband and worse you won’t man up. Man up and say it because the only reason you only want me is because of Dani. Dani held you from with your precious Brenda. For some reason you find her endearing and beautiful. Does she make you feel like a man? Do I emasculate you? Is my attitude too much? I’m sorry okay. I’m sorry that I’m not Brenda that trailer park bitch. You think she’s so special and you still resent Dani. You still resent that our daughter didn’t marry Lex and further your political career.” Leaning over the sink she looked at Walter.

“She is happy and you are miserable it must kill you. You are a bitch and I swear if I was smart I would have married Harvey. Harvey was a real man who adored my attitude, he loved me so purely. He loved me so real and I left him because of you and it’s the biggest mistake of my life. I love my children but if I would have stayed with Harvey I would be happy. I would be in peace without out you. Without being hurt because honestly you don’t look at me how you look at her. I know, women know when they aren’t the one their love’s heart belongs too. I’m done I want a…”

Zach entered with Mason as he looked at them. He ran into Walter and Lauren looking intense. When Mason called he said that it was about Scarlett. That girl wouldn’t stop it was always something. No matter what his penis felt she was becoming a problem. The sex was utterly amazing. She loved the way he made her feel. Honestly he couldn’t blame her they were sexually compatible. As he looked at Mason to see if he was tripping. Was there a air of tension between them.

“Hey, I found Mason outside he’s here to see Selina. She’s in the back.” He said looking at them. “Um are you two alright I mean glass is everywhere.” He looked over at Mason.

“If your daughter didn’t constantly make stupid choices in her life they could have worked through it. But no she did what she does best run away…” Walter said his anger at Lauren apparent at the Lex dig. A well kept family secret she was always disappointing him he stopped however when he saw Mason and Zach enter the house no doubt overhearing most of their argument. “Everything is fine Zach. I believe Selina is with everyone else in the back yard and maybe you could talk some sense into your cousin. Since she doesn’t seem to care about what anyone else in this damn family thinks.”

Mason had arrived at the Fraser’s after getting more calls from Scarlett with her breathing down his neck Chauncey threatening to take his license he needed to see his sister. With Jamal being arrested it felt like they needed to ban together and they weren’t doing that as a family. When he had arrived he saw Zach and offered him a slight smile they were friends and he knew Zach to play both sides. In truth he was still angry at Simon and getting over that had been harder than he imagined with everything else going on walking into the Fraiser’s he was pretty sure they had barged in on an argument between Walter and Lauren.

“Mr. and Mrs. Fraiser thanks for letting me stop by.” Mason said casting a glance at Zach this was awkward.

“Yeah I think that they are in the back.” Lauren turned around gripping the sink as she started to cry. It wasn’t visible to anyone but Walter. “Hey could you got and turn off the smoker Zach we have the ham inside of there and I want everyone to be able to eat. You’re welcomed Mason you’re family go to the back please.” She lowered her head as her tears fell into her face. Forcing her to pull herself together. She couldn’t fall apart now.

Zach patted Mason arm seeing the tension he nodded to the back. As they walked to the back he noticed the fury.

Turning around she looked at her husband. “Walter if you say one more disparaging thing about my daughter. I swear I will kill you.” She turned around furiously. “I hate you!” She charged at him and fought him furiously. Her right hook was lethal as she punched him and then quickly slapped him. “You ruined me! You have ruined me!” She screamed furiously. Tears streaming down her face as she grabbed ahold of his jacket. Lauren crumpled onto the floor as she cried looking at him. “Why don’t you love us? Why don’t you love me? I’ll rise one day and it’s going to kill you. I swear it.” She cried holding her mouth gasping softly.

Walter looked at her for a moment on the floor sitting there after her rage he knew they wouldn’t get anywhere tonight. He didn’t have anything else to say to her as he walked out of the kitchen and into the study they both needed a moment to pull themselves together. Their marriage was what it was something that they both agreed to and now it was what it was.They made it work or perhaps they put blinders on to their bigger problems with Brenda and everything that happens.


Scarlett parked her car in the street looking up at the Fraiser’s yard a smile creeping on her face she had gave Zach ample time to grieve Dante. The fact that his death was still not solved let her breathe a bit easier. She got out of town for the holidays with her mother and Mason had moved out of the condo. Now was the perfect time a public place for Zach to find out the news he wouldn’t be able to reject the notion or treat her horribly in fact if she knew Zach like she thought she would he would be elated. Taking off her seat belt she smiled at her now showing belly, such a good surprise she tucked the cellphone into her purse pressing send on the message to her mother, it was showtime. She made sure her coat was slightly open for dramatic effect as she walked down the street seeing Zach’s family outside in the half snow covered back yard the fireworks about to be set off. When Zach turned and looked at her in complete shock she couldn’t help the smile that formed, gotcha.

“Hey Zach thanks for answering my text earlier it was nice to get out of the condo. I know things haven’t always been the best between us.” Scarlett said as she approached him and then she looked at Mason who was glaring at her too. Perfect timing the fact that Mason was here made it all the more sweeter he could see Zach’s shock and nodded her head at him. Selling the lie was easy her mother always said she could have been a great actress if she wanted. “I’m sorry to spring this on you but I felt it was best to keep my distance for a bit and let you grieve Dante. I know I was being a bitch before about us but I never wanted anything to happen to Dante.”

“None of us did but we are dealing with it. Look Scarlett you’re pregnant and we both know it’s not Mason’s kid. I have to ask what are you both planning on doing when a white baby comes out? Mason are you going to make Scarlett look like a cheater? Are you two thinking about the consequences. You lose that lifestyle you love and you lose the fact that you’ve been wearing a mask your entire life. I just am fully confused on what we all are going to do. I mean Scarlett you love couture more than a kid. Mason you don’t need to be outed. I think I have perfect solution. I never normally wouldn’t say this but this kid could ruin all of our lives. Let’s do the responsible thing and get rid of it.” Zach felt horrible even saying it but look how it could ruin everything.

“Look you can’t be serious I don’t want a kid neither of you want a kid.” He said looking at them. Scarlett face said it all. “No you can’t be serious Scarlett I don’t want a baby what am I going to do? I’m a single bi-sexual cop and you are a socialite. Why would you want to have my baby?” He asked looking at Mason. “Mason please say something this doesn’t make sense. You two aren’t a couple. This is a joke right?”

“You think that I should what get rid of it? If you really want to know it is too late for that they don’t do abortions this late in this state and frankly this child deserves a life. My family would never tolerate me giving it up for adoption either so for now I think I’ll keep it.” Scarlett said letting her words sink into both Mason and Zach as she spoke.She drummed her fingers on her purse strap for a moment wanting to make a point about it the baby was coming one way or another. ‘Could you imagine the headlines ‘Mayor’s Nephew forces lover to give away child’. Zach it just wouldn’t fly your family is so traditional.” She made sure to air quote the words for emphasis as she watched Mason and Zach’s faces.

“We had our fun Zach and well you and both know Mason wasn’t plowing me he was too busy being plowed by Simon. Now I’ve done the right thing I stayed away while you grieved Dante but now it is time for you to man up to what we created.” Scarlett said giving him her best smile while Mason shot her daggers. There was no other option for Zach he had to know that soon it would be out and no doubt his family would make him do right by her. “I see your aunt we should tell her the news.”

Mason was furious with her did she not think of anyone but herself Simon had left him, his father was asking him when Scarlett was coming over so they could discuss the baby. His entire life was in ruins he hadn’t been outed just yet but the bitch was not getting away with this. It was his life she was starting to play with it even more, he glanced over at Zach knowing all too well how this was going to play out. She had done it made sure that she couldn’t get rid of the baby, trapping them all in this madness.

“You’re a real piece of work you bitch you know that my father if he finds out it will kill him. What do you want? Simon left I moved out, you can’t be considering this Zach?” Mason said looking at the man standing next to him soaking in Scarlett’s words. Shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself from strangling her he spoke again. “Make her do a DNA test I mean are you even sure the brat is fucking yours?”

Zach snatched Scarlett arm as he looked at her and in her eyes. “This isn’t funny and I agree with Mason how am I supposed to know that baby is mine. So you won’t be telling my aunt anything. You correct if this is my baby my family will know it but you did this on purpose. You have money to abort this child and you choose to keep it because it benefited you for what. For me to care about you? I don’t and I won’t ever. I won’t ever fucking love you Scarlett, I’ll never love you because we were sex. We were just sex so maybe when you have that baby I can have Braden check your old record. Then maybe I’ll get custody you keep you away from our child. If our child is anything like you I’m fucked.”

As he looked at Mason he shook his head. “Mason you are going to break up with Scarlett before this. I slept with her after this and the baby is mine. Why are you so determine to out him? You are a vicious person to do this. Scarlett if and when this is my baby you gear up for a custody battle. I’m going to fight you with every penny my family has. Hell you just made an enemy of Mason I’m sure he’ll do it.”

Scarlett pulled her arm away from him rubbing her wrist no it wasn’t funny and it was not a joke either both of them were about to pay and in the worst way with their lives. Now she wasn’t above trapping Zach, love please this was her insurance policy on all the other shit that happened. “I certainly have only been fucking you do you really think I am that dumb? Even if I did it on purpose you will never be able to prove that. A judge please my mother would buy it off and frankly having a grown ass woman that could provide for our child over some swinger that can’t ever decide which he wants more pussy or dick which would you pick? Better think fast Zach or has the cat got your tongue this time.”

“Mason won’t do a damn thing you know why he is scared his daddy will find out he prefers dick. You see him dumping me and then going after my child just looks desperate not to mention however will he explain it once the baby is born.” Scarlett said looking between them they both thought she would be intimidated they were wrong. She was anything but this was all calculated to play out the way she and her mother planned. “Now Mason has the choice he can amicably cut his loses and we can all move on or well let’s just see how far your little family can go in court shall we?”

“Jesus Scarlett.” Mason said staring at her knowing his hands were tied as he looked between Zach and her, frankly she had him there. He left angry and went after her kid for Zach his father would raise an eyebrow not to mention the shame it would cause if she just happened to blab to him about Simon. In many ways that was worse than him just coming out at this point the fact that she could expose him whenever it suited her. “She has a fucking point. What do you want Scarlett?”

“I want you to tell your father that we are done it was never going to work out with us. Afterwards Zach here will do the right thing when I announce our pregnancy in the papers no harm no foul. Your father will assume that I was unfaithful to you and you get to keep the fact you like it deep in the ass a secret. Should you both not agree I can make the both of your lives hell.” Scarlett said picking her nails as she tapped her phone in her hand waiting for their reply. They wanted to play hard ball they could.

“Mason just take the deal. Listen man she has us both by the balls.” He wanted to figure out a way for Mason and he out of this. This is what she won’t out you and Simon okay. It’s not worth you two to be outed. I’m sorry Scarlett that I didn’t see.” He said looking at her. “I’m sorry ok you’re pregnant and we are bitchily discussing you like you aren’t here. I love that kid if it’s mine are you eating right? Can we go to a appointment. I do still want a DNA test but wow you’re really going through with this.”

He looked at Mason and knew this wasn’t his fault. He just didn’t want to be exposed and Scarlett acted like she didn’t benefit from seeing Mason. “Look don’t make Mason look like a fool or a idiot during this reveal. Look I’m sorry just let’s do this the smartest way.”

“Well you see now don’t you? Yes I’m taking care of myself my mother has been helping me through this time. If you want to go to an appointment that is fine.” Scarlett said inside she was squealing at the victory that was now hers. She reminded herself that the phone call could wait till she was done as she looked at them both. Now that she was going to be giving Zach a child the least he could do was invite her in. “Are you going to invite me in then?”

Mason shook his head at her and Zach realizing that no matter what he did it was a ticking time bomb for his father now. Either way he played it he lost what mattered to him, his father’s respect. “You two figure this out I need to head out after I at least see Selina. I hope you get everything you wanted you bitch.” Mason said turning and walking into the backyard wondering how in the hell he was going to deal with this now.


Cassie had moved them away from the heaters for a bit after he told her that he and Skye were not a couple she was glad for that. When he brought up Thor she nodded her head at him it was a cycle not necessarily a toxic one she and Thor just saw things differently. He was a mobster and she honestly could never see herself in that life for the long run, always watching over her shoulder at every turn if they had kids they’d be targets. She knew about those times with Skye, she was always in the club when she was in town before partying at the club she had seen her with Jackson a few times and turned a blind eye. Looking back at the Fraisers she never knew them to be so normal then again she didn’t know a lot about them it wasn’t like they all hung out.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to come honestly until Dani dragged me up the driveway though I don’t think she was ever in love with you if that helps anything. She does care about you as a friend though and that is rare plus we have the same taste in the past women you’ve been with.” Cassie looked at him with a soft smile hoping to get that awkward moment out of the way for them. She wasn’t worried about Dani with him anymore it wasn’t like she got that vibe from her and he had nothing to worry about with Thor. “I honestly brought Thor to the wedding because things with us were so intense that night, I’m not even remotely used to that. Hence why I snuck out the door once you had fallen asleep and have been ignoring you. I had no clue he was going to ask me to marry him you have to believe that.”

Jon adjusted his hat on his head. As he looked at her he felt badly for jumping to conclusions against Cassie. She didn’t exactly communicate everything properly. He was furious that she ran away and let him open up Skye again. He was amazingly stupid she was afraid. He wasn’t though because honestly Jon was open to spending his life with. As he looked at her he’d wondered what he should do? Skye was back and he thought she was gone. Now all of sudden he was back in the mix of Skye’s web and Cassie was asking for a shot. He didn’t know what to do. He’d never been in a situation where two beautiful women were vying for his attention. For a second his eyes flashed to Jackson. He wondered what advice the jackass would have for him.

“I do believe you but Cassie you can’t just run and expect that people are going to be around. I thought that we were just something that you were doing. I am really interested in you. You intrigue me a lot I just have to make sure you’re in this. I don’t want to turn away someone who truly I have a history with and I care about. I know what you saw with Skye. She’s someone from my past and I’m sorry if I made you feel badly that wasn’t my intentions. I just wanted to feel wanted and Skye wanted me at that moment. I guess it hurts a guy pride to see men keep taking what he wants. It does make me very happy you aren’t going to marry Thor and you weren’t trying to embarrass me. If I’m the one you want then you need to say that like a adult Cassie.” Jon walked up to Cassie and smiled leaning in.

As he took a leap of faith. If he she really wanted it took time and it wasn’t going to come easy. He knew that Cassie was someone he was interested in and Skye. Well as badly as he wanted to taste forbidden fruit and he wanted her too. He wanted something new. He wanted his very own happy ending.  Jon leaned in and kissed Cassie and when he pulled back from the sweet moment. He saw her. Was this some sort of joke? Did Brock do this because he always was comedic. Skye was so breathtaking. This was a joke right? As he lowered his head and laughed. “So you can believe that I didn’t invite Skye or Merci right?”

Merci and Skye walked into the fireworks as the first part began and they giggled. They had both brought bottles of champagne. Merci looked at Devin and Quinn. “I brought bubbly happy new year! This is the party you watch and learn how nasty it’s going to get tonight. Hey you need to um end that thing with you know who. It’s sick and we maybe orphan, thieves, bitches, but we aren’t twisted Skye. Go get him.” Merci walked away over to Devin and Quinn while watching Miranda glare at her from afar.

Cassie let him kiss her and gave into the moment letting her mouth glide against his in a promise. Promises she felt like she could believe from him that was the scary thing, she felt like she could trust in those with him. When he pulled back and mentioned Skye with Merci she wanted to roll her eyes was the girl stalking Jon? It wasn’t like Skye was close to the Fraiser’s she could tell that by the way Dani was glaring at her so why was she here? She tried to not be annoyed at the interruption.

“No I have a feeling this was all done on purpose by her. Look she obviously isn’t or wasn’t invited judging by the daggers she is getting.” Cassie said watching Skye make her way to them. She was pretty that was something she knew men flocked to screw her and she never understood why. The girl was an orphan, a desperate, needy mess that men felt like they needed to save. “I should probably let you and her talk. Unless you of course want me to stay while you tell her off?”

Skye shot Jackson a smile at the party watching as he led Dani away from her, both had the best sour faces she could imagine. Merci had been on the money to crash the Fraiser fireworks and she knew why Devin. Glaring at Miranda as the bitches mouth flew out to then turn her attention to Devin they were clearly fighting. Had her friend convinced Devin to invite them? That was a step up even for them, looking at Jon kissing Cassie though sent off jealousy in her. Please Jon had almost fucked her against a wall a few weeks ago and Cassie thought he was serious about her? She placed her hands in her coat feeling Jon stare at her.

“Hey Jon. Well well Cassie I’m surprised to see you here. Shouldn’t you be wrapped up in that little mob war that Thor has going on? Oh wait I forgot he left you high and dry that night of the wedding. We had a good time though didn’t we Jon?” Skye said looking at the both seeing Cassie roll her eyes good she was showing her true colors, exactly what she wanted. Taking a seat next to them at the fire pit she brushed her hair over her shoulder seeing Cassie glare at her interruptions. “I am so glad that Devin invited us. We really should talk Jon you made it sound like you were really ready for this, us this time.”

Jon looked at Devin with a confused look on his face. This was crazy why would Devin invite either of them unless. He saw Miranda and Devin the undercover stripping was tearing them apart. As he narrowed his eyes he saw Merci playing with Quinn and he was immediately shocked how good she was. Then he looked at Cassie and felt like a dick. Skye was obviously here to mark her territory looking at Cassie face she wasn’t backing down. He gulped a little. Jon had such a connection with both women what was he going to do? Folding his arms he looked at Skye.

“I think Braden is calling me. Hey Braden.” He said uncomfortable immediately walking down the patio. “Hey um Skye? I just want you to know.” Jon bit his lip looking at someone he’d always cared about. Lowering his head and exhaling. “I’m on a date with Cassie and we are going to get something to eat right Cassie?” He turned and smiled at her with a wink.

“Yes we’re going to get something to eat. You know I have to go make a call.” Cassie said smirking at Skye as Jon basically side swiped her into oblivion at the moment. Rising she went to the other side of the deck to check in on the club.

Skye watched Jon get up and go to Braden and leaned back in the chair he was still nervous around her. Which meant that he felt it too that they still had unfinished business between them. “I don’t really care what you need to do. We can drop the etiquette I want Jon and you better make sure Cassie I always get what I want this time.” Waving her hand at Cassie as she watched her walk away she looked at the happy people. Life was a bitch and she always was willing to be the biggest one.

Devin watched them walk in and knew he could be in trouble for inviting them but honestly he felt bad that Merci had nowhere to go for the holidays. He made sure that Miranda was over by Dani before he approached Merci who was over with Quinn. He smiled at Quinn who waved to him and then ignored the daggers from Jon across the yard at Skye. He knew that Merci was best friends with Skye but obviously given all the history at play it was starting to make people uncomfortable.

“So how is my friend princess?” Devin said leaning down to Quinn who smiled at him before laughing and going back to playing. He smiled at Merci wanting her to at least feel welcome. “I was glad to get your text people shouldn’t be alone on the holidays. I can already tell there may be some backlash with you having Skye tag along but I get it. How have you been since the fundraiser?”

“She’s a doll!” Quinn said running into the house for a brush and comb.

The moment Merci walked in she ran into the cutest kid ever. Looking at those long lashes and those cheeks she was no doubt Miranda’s daughter. When she heard the name Quinn she stooped down and immediately started to play with her. Ignoring everyone else. Call her a sucker but kids always did something to her. She reverted because honestly she had no one of her own. No offense to Skye but she had memories of her parents but she didn’t. Skye didn’t know anything about her past but she had still been looking for her family. Who just drops a baby off in a Church? As she slowly stood up she dusted her pants off.

“I told her I was a doll come to life like that Tyra Banks movie with Lindsay before the drugs. Oh me and Skye watched that movie all the time. It’s where Skye said she wanted to be a model. Look none of you people know us so I don’t know why all the judgement. What makes it worse you all have been in our place. You all have been judged by the rich hell your cousins and uncle don’t even invite you to rehearsal dinners. So the fact that all the middle class are sticking their noses down at us orphans well that’s racist.” She said with a giggle. “Ok not so much racist but pretty judgy for people who frequent a pub.”

Merci jumped as the first round of fireworks went off. “They are a lot louder than I thought. You know I am dating someone.” She said kicking rock-salt on the ground. “Sadly I only have eyes for one person. Have you ever used someone for something. I don’t know Devin you know? I use sexuality as a way to feel, I use my body as a way to feel, and sex is always a way to feel. I guess I am as empty as those girls and guys say.”

“Quinn likes people I can see why she would think you are a doll. I would think at the moment Jon had no idea that Skye was going to be coming with you. I’ll hear about it at work and besides she’s been stirring up shit with Jackson too again. In this case I can see why people are leery.” Devin said looking at her he never had been invited to his cousins as a kid and that never really bothered him. His family like his parents and Rochelle and then here at the pub was home. “A pub that is a great locale for a brew and hangout.”

“Scared of a little firework? You haven’t seen anything yet then again I think every year we kinda wish someone would light themselves on fire for shits and giggles. I know you think this is going to maybe go somewhere but I really do love Miranda and Quinn. As for the guy you are dating and or using Merci it doesn’t always have to be like that. You should want more for yourself and to be treated better.” Devin said he got the whole latch onto comfort somewhere he would be in a very different place if some very wise people hadn’t of been there after his injury in college. But a relationship needed to be something more than a booty call. “I don’t think you’re empty at all I think that you have to believe in better.”

“I bet you tell that to all the girls.” She said softly knowing if he knew who she was dating he’d hate her. She was weak and needed someone. “I’m empty look at me pawing over another woman’s man. No matter what you say I like you and it sucks because you are so morally great. I want someone like you and I want to play dirty against Miranda. I just can’t because you love her and this kid. So I am stuck because every fiber of my body get’s Skye and her choices. Her choice to fight but who am I to ruin a kids second chance at a father. A good father.” Merci said looking at him.

“So to answer your questions I do find worth in Merci but it’s hard being alone. I want better but I don’t think I’ll get it. Orphans don’t get happy endings except for Annie.” She looked at Quinn running back. As she dug through her bag Merci pulled out a bottle of champagne kissed grape nail polish. It had sparkles and she knew Quinn would love it. “How about we go paint nails? I have this fab color and nobody to put it on.”


Tess strolled through the mansion looking around taking it all in. This was once supposed to be her home. They talked about remodeling the house years ago to remove Jackie’s influence. Her heart felt heavy, as she looked at Jackie and Lowell. Her heart felt so heavy and alone. That was supposed to be her. She was supposed to be gallivanting all over the world with Lowell. As she slowly touched the gold handle. Turning it she entered the billiards room. Leaning against the door she held her breath. Tears slowly fell down her face as she heard something in the darkness. Knowing this room because it was where she conceived Bliss. She walked over and clicked on the light. Seeing Rory sitting in the dark she scoffed as she looked at the little boy. Wiping her face her anger subsided as she sat by him.

“Everyone heard.” She said looking at him and picked up the bottle. “At least you aren’t hated by everyone you come in contact with.” Tess said vulnerability showing she took the bottle and downed a deep gulp. “I loved your father he wasn’t always so stuffy. Oh we would travel all over and go to the best parties. Then your mother found out and Bliss was born and I was gone. I was gone from Atlas Falls my home because of Lowell and my brother.” Tess looked at him. “Do you get along with Bliss? She’s been through so much just try to get to know her. She’s not bad at all.”

Rory leaned his head back against the wall of course everyone fucking knew in the dark he could tell it was a woman. Lifting the champagne bottle to his lips he took a drink again, so it was out he was dating and fucking a stripper great. No doubt sending his parents into a rage or a fit his father would be all over banning her from his life now. What a joke, he was fairly certain he could barely make out the figure in the room and then she started to talk about his father and Bliss, Tess his father’s old mistress. What in the hell did she want? Word was from his sister that she was a waste of space and only thought of herself. He was so tired of everyone thinking about themselves maybe being a selfish asshole as the way to go in life afterall? His father was able to get his mother back and be rid of his mistress.

“Here to gloat then? I loved her and you know what she did, just left like that after I put everything on the line for her. Right now I am pretty sure on the hate or disappointment level I come in at very high with my parents you should be happy about that.” Rory said handing her back the bottle if he was going to get shit faced he might as well. She wasn’t the best companion but it wasn’t the best of choices either. “Bliss and I get along it is Max you have to watch out for with her. Why are you here?”

Tess scoffed almost irritated that he thought so little of himself. When she first got her job at DGI she was amazed at what Lowell had done. It was the eighties and Reagan’s administration was power and it gave Lowell the reign to turn a small company into fortune 500 company. As she if he needed a stripper. This was quite the scandal though Tess mused as she looked at him. To her Chauncey looked most like Lowell in his prime however it was Rory’s eyes. His eyes reminded her of her old lover. She looked down and saw two other bottles of Moet & Chandon one in his hand. She took it and took a sip from the bottle as she looked at him.

“If you know what’s good for you you’d warn your sister not to try me. I snatched her up once, I protect what’s mine.” Tess purred as she placed her legs up on the couch. “You are so much potential and I can’t believe you don’t see you deserve better. I see it Rory and no matter how much you hurt now you’ll get over it. Heartbreak is temporary it’s a shattering feeling that never goes away but you learn to live with it. It aches and.” Tess touched his chest with her hand as she looked at him. “It remains, it burns but you live and you find someone to replace them for a moment. Then eventually you’ll move on unless it was life changing. If it was life changing then that feeling never goes away.”

“Max is a big girl that can deal with her own shit then again everyone knows she is fucking Philip Montgomery it’s just not something we bring up. You know the sad part I should have dad’s approval I’m not out chasing skirts like Chauncey, I’m not out fucking the enemy like Max or Jackson are. I’m not lusting after my siblings husband or wife. I’m not doing drugs. But no it’s never fuckign good enough for him.” Rory said grabbing the bottle back from her and taking a drink watching her legs rise up to the sofa. Jesus she was pretty he could see why his dad wanted a piece of her all those long legs that went still to those perfect hips.

“The only thing I did do was let her into my heart she kept warning me you know? But I had to keep pushing her and now what was it all for? For her to go back to shaking her ass on a pole half naked while men touch the shit out of her body?” Rory said he was bitter and for once it was nice to just unleash he was the one that made love to Yasmine what right did some asshole have to touch her skin run their hands on her, hell touch her? He supposed any she let at this point clearly she was too scared to actually stay by him to trust him that he could handle Ronan. “I thought it was life changing maybe I was just kidding myself. You did the same thing with my father.”

“I waited for years for some sort of magical moment.” She said bitterly. “For him to come back and make me and Bliss happy. Even when I was chased out of Atlas Falls I believed and honestly every year that passed I broke a little more. If he would have just said to me it was over.” Tess said reliving the moment her father and mother confronted her with the affair. Jackie’s face watching and gloating. The disappointment etched into her mother’s face and the hatred on her father’s. He was disgusted with her ruining his precious business. It still haunted her. As she covered her mouth she felt wet tears covering her hand. “Oh how shameful I’m crying.” She said standing.

“I’m sorry I interrupted you Rory but don’t be like me. Don’t fall for a unrequited love don’t do it yourself because you deserve so much more.” She leaned down and touched his face. “You have your father’s eyes. I see so much of him in you before he turned into a monster. Before he left me heartbroken. I see so much.” Tess leaned in and couldn’t help it. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was her heart hurting, maybe it was touching the past. She couldn’t help it she leaned in and kissed him passionately. “I’m sorry that was a mistake. I just missed your father’s touch so much.”

Rory knew that he should stop her somewhere in the back of his head he knew this was very wrong. He also knew that he had been drinking that bottle of champagne for the least hour and was near wasted if not drunk. There was something that was familiar about a kiss with a woman even one old enough to be his mother when he was lonely. He was so lonely and felt so alone at the moment. Yasmine just left him alone after everything he had done for her, she just just up and left him. He pulled back from her when she finally spoke.

“We shouldn’t be doing this. I get that you are or were in love with my dad but I.” Rory said pausing for a moment as he felt the room spin he wasn’t his father right and he did love Yasmine right? He thought he did until a few hours ago, leaning his head against the wall he felt his body reacting to having Tess so close, it felt like his hands were on autopilot as they moved down her side to her hips and he pulled her too him. He blinked a few times trying to clear his head. “You are right you should probably go.”

Tess gasped as his hands touched her hips. She’d taken younger lovers before hell she was just flirting with a younger man tonight. This however felt like something more. It felt like she knew that this was crossing a line. The truth of the matter was that Lowell left her alone years ago. He left her so alone and now here was his youngest child. His prodigal boy in her lap touching her just like Lowell did. This was twisted and wrong and she knew that tonight she would finally get her revenge. Revenge on Jackie for pushing her out of Atlas Falls. For Lowell encouraging her father to banish her. Her parents go their punishment when Bliss never visited them. Lowell nor Jackie had paid.

Slowly she released a seductive moan. Tess left hand unzipped her dress as she stood letting it pool to the floor. She was almost eight years younger than Lowell and Jackie. Not to mention nips and tucks plus lot’s of yoga gave the body of a woman in her thirties. No doubt that her body looked amazingly sculpted out of stone. She wasn’t sagging and her body was still as vivacious as some stripper. She knew she was sexy and she made it a habit to keep herself up. Her bra and panties were silk as she pressed against his body. “Rory.” She ripped open his shirt. “Make me feel young again.” She purred into his ear. “Show me you are a man.” Tess growled passionately.

Rory was pretty sure all train of thought was lost when she stood up and dropped her dress, he was painfully hard as he looked at her body. Shit women that old should not look like that. He shifted his legs a bit when she slid down on him again and before he knew it his hands were on his hips going down her thighs and then he placed two fingers inside of her pussy, feeling how wet she was already, he built her up working his fingers in and out of her tracing small circles on her clit. He was a man damnit and a Devonshire women wanted him, he felt himself growing more hard as he continued to play with her body. When he felt that she had nearly had enough he reached into his back pocket pulling out a condom he fumbled with it for a bit before it fell to the floor. He watched Tess looking at him, pushing her panties to the side he went back to her pussy with his fingers making sure he was pleasing her.

“Fuck!” Rory said letting his hips slowly buck up into her he wanted to forget about tonight wanted to forget Yasmine leaving him for a pole and drugs.It wasn’t like at the moment he was with Yasmine she made that clear when she embarrassed him by leaving.  Wanted to forget that he was non existent in his father’s eyes everyone had a place but him. He had honestly never even been with an older woman before. “Jesus. How do you want it?”

“Let me show you how I want it.” As she unzipped his pants she was surprised by his girth and thickness. She stroked him until she felt the precum oozing from his tip. As she straddled Rory with no condom. No need she wasn’t having any babies anymore. Slowly she lowered her hungry clit onto his throbbing penis. As he pushed through she was tight as ever. A vaginal refresh was all the rage in Europe. She squeezed her muscles slowly as she eagerly took each inch of his dick. A gasp came out of her mouth as her ass started to bounce.

Once she felt comfortable with with his girth she looked him in the eyes. “Fuck me on every surface in this room.” She yelped sexually as Rory carried her to a wall. His legs were wobbly but he made it and next thing she knew she was crying out as his hips were slamming into her pussy. She gasped into his ear. “You’re so much better than your father. Fuck the pain away.”

Rory groaned feeling her hips pulling his dick in and then pushed his hips up into hers gripping her ass to spread her just a tad. This was what he needed the warmth of a body for the night or a few minutes. He focused in on the chandelier on the ceiling imagining it was Yasmine in his arms while he drove into Tess over and over again. Imagined it was Yasmine calling out his name into his ear, he was jolted back to reality when Tess looked at him. He nodded his head at her lifting her and pressing her into the wall.

“Fuck…” He moaned knowing that this would not last and he spread her legs more pinning one of her legs into the wall leaving her completely open for him. He moved his head to the side before he pressed his lips into her neck, his hands moving down her sides to her clit again. He traced it with her juices, feeling himself breathing heavy knowing he was close, he fucked her hard hoping no one on the other side of the wall was listening. “You feel so good, I’m going to cum!” He managed to gasp out he couldn’t stop it as he exploded into her. Fucking her through his orgasm as he felt her tightening down on him. “Yes Yasmine!” His lips still on her neck while they moved.

Tess slid down her legs shaking as she immediately slapped him for calling out another woman name. Even though she got an orgasm she wasn’t through with with Rory at all. Slowly wobbling away she grabbed her dress. She looked at him and saw him sliding down the wall. “I’m Tess and you don’t forget that Yasmine left you.” Tess placed on her dress with rapid speed. Sex had worn off her buzz and here she was with the love of her life son. Not only that but her daughters brother. Gasping she looked at Rory and knew she’d just gotten a gift from God. This was a gift she was going to use to her full advantage. Strutting to Rory she stooped down and grabbed his face.

“This isn’t over.” Tess said with a sexually charged kiss. She kissed him again and felt alive. When Jackie thought she had her against a wall she’d use this to bury that bitch once and for all. Not only her but Lowell also. Seeing the poor boy passed out she smirked wondering if he would even remember the fling. “Goodnight Rory we’ll be seeing each other so soon.” Leaning in she kissed his lips as she stood and walked out of the room.


Merci looked at her nails and smirked. Always keep a bottle of nailpolish. Quinn was all about the sparkling and she had painted her nails. It was a win with Devin that little girl latched onto her. Looking around she saw a sour looking Mirand approaching her. That girl just had a eternal bitch face. She knew what it was about Skye had told her a few moments ago. She sipped the Fraiser’s special ale beer. A sinister smirk appeared on her face. Miranda didn’t want any nail polish on Quinn. Truth be told it wasn’t that. It was that Quinn and she hit it off. That her daughter truly thought she was a walking doll. That wasn’t her fault. Playing with her extensions she turned away from Miranda and when she felt a tap on the shoulder. She turned around.

“Miranda I’m so glad that Lauren let us in because your daughter is absolutely the cutest little baby ever. She has those sparkling hazel eyes and she loves fashion what are you going to do?” She said insulting her clear choice of clothing. Passive agressive was always stronger than being a full out bitch. “I have to ask why haven’t you taken her to a nail tech she would love it. Maybe Devin and I could take her on our own, alone?” Merci snickered okay being a bitch was way more fun. Playing with her long extensions twirling the blond hair around her finger. “Oh Miranda I know. I know that it kills you that Quinn thinks me and Skye are Barbie’s. I know it kills you I’m here. I know that you’re scared I’m going to take Devin. But here’s the kicker you should be. You stick high and mighty nose down at everyone but wait until I give you a reason.”

Miranda had enjoyed her time at the fireworks and with the night winding down she began to say her goodbyes with Devin till she saw Quinn in the corner with Merci. Hell no this was not happening at the moment the bitch could do anything but be around her kid. Stepping away from Dani she made her way to where Merci and Quinn where and rolled her eyes at the nail polish. Quinn didn’t need a nail technician she was a kid, a bright and funny kid that had plenty of time to grown into being an adult or get her nails done. Walking up to Merci she tapped her shoulder and shot her daughter the look. There were certain people that were allowed around Quinn people she trusted and loved and Merci was not that.

“Quinn go see Aunt Dani for a moment mommy needs to talk to your new friend.” Miranda said looking at her daughter.

“But mom.” Quinn said looking at her for a moment only to get the look. She got up and moved towards Dani grown ups were no fun.

“Quinn doesn’t need a nail technician she’s a kid and I don’t appreciate you painting or doing her nails without asking me. The only reason you and your whore of a best friend were invited in was because Lauren has class it wasn’t out of the goodness of her heart. You know what I think it’s about time you and Skye left.” Miranda said seeing Lauren watching them ouf of the corner of her eye. She also could swear Devin was leaving talking to do Jon to come attempt to rescue her and she laughed at that. Merci was about to be the one that needed rescuing. “It’s a family and friend function and you aren’t either. So how about you take your polish and your ugly extensions and just leave.”

“Aw are you jealous? That your daughter likes me? That’s really sad that Quinn and I happen to get along wonderfully. A family function you’re right but nobody threw us out because we brought the party and the fun. I can’t believe how you are reacting. You must be really pressed that Quinn was having fun together. You know what my extensions cost more money than your car. You know what your problem is? You want to cut loose like me but we all know that you can’t. You are a frigid bitch Miranda and your icy demeanor does nothing but let everyone know you aren’t capable of handling a man like Devin. He’s going to be mine. You want to know why?” Merci knew how to cut a girl like Miranda down to size.

“Didn’t Quinn’s daddy die? Didn’t he get killed in the line of duty? What that tells me is from your history men are dying to get away from you. You know what I think, why you are so intimidated about me and Devin you are unlovable. I mean your child loves you but we both know that’ll wane because you’re cold. Everything about you is frozen since your husband death and I don’t have to do any scheming, you’re going to ruin it. And I’ll be waiting with my extensions and my stunning body. Oh he’s going to thaw out because I’m going to make him a so hot.”

“No I’m not jealous Quinn likes everyone because I raised her to, she has a loving family and friends, adults she can actually look up to as role models. The only reason you weren’t thrown out is because Jon asked them not too. Believe me it it was up to me or Dani you and Skye would be out of here period.” Miranda said glaring at her her attitude was pissing her off looking at Devin she shot him daggers to stay back she didn’t need him interfering no one questioned her parenting skills. Especially not some two bit hussy that was out to try and wreck her relationship with him. “You’re extensions make you look cheap which everyone in this room knows you are. Even that can’t even mask the fact that you try to fit in where you don’t belong with the upper crest when you should just go back to that damn home you came out of. What’s the matter your parents didn’t want you? I can see why.”

“You’re a vile bitch to even mention Quinn’s father. How dare you!” Miranda said her voice rising she felt Lauren come to the table and looked at her godmother as she clutched the end of the table staring down Merci. She had a lot of fucking nerve KC put himself on the line every day for people like her that didn’t deserve it and he was cruelly and callously taken from her, she saw her knuckles turning white saw Jon walking to her. Jackson was holding Dani back. “Lauren get this gutter trash out of your house before I toss her out for you.”

“Hit me bitch police brutality I would love to nail you against a wall.” Merci said with exact malice she was spewing. “Oh but you can talk about I’m adopted and I’m supposed to be all happy go lucky. Bitch please don’t try it with me. I have chewed little girls like you up. I was in a home and I can give it as much as you can dish it. I’m not scared of you Miranda.” She hissed back and Miranda as Jon, Devin, Jackson, Dani, Skye, and everyone started to approach the scene. “I think this must be a joke man. I’m supposed to be nice when all of you look their nose down at us. My mother whatever you want to call me loved me enough to know that I wasn’t good in her hands. You can go to hell Miranda and one thing I know is I’m right. You are unlovable and you are a miserable hateful bitch.”

Turning to Skye she grabbed her pinky like she always did when something hurt them. They would never show it to these people. “Middle class, low class, high class, or any class. I’ve spent my life trying to belong to someone. I rather not be tied to anyone because I can’t disappoint anyone but you are vile you stuck up bitch.” Skye had her and pulled her back. “Go to hell, I’m ready to go. Get me away from that unlovable bitch.”

Lauren looked at Miranda and Merci and saw the pain they just inflicted on each other. Words hurt no matter what people said. “You girls please don’t turn into me. Bitter and hurt and saying things that you never truly mean. Miranda go cool off okay before you get your daughter okay babe? And Merci honey I have no room to judge anyone about their past. None of us do and you have a family here.” Many people didn’t know Lauren knew Merci, and Skye from the group homes. When she was younger she volunteered at the shelter those girls were raised in. “You may not know your past but you know you have a.”

“Future.” She looked at Devin and smiled at Miranda.

Miranda lunged she had enough and she felt Jon holding her back he should just let her go to rearrange Merci’s face cop or not she wasn’t on duty. She glared at Merci and she only hoped Quinn was occupied she glanced around and she was with Dylan and Maddie who were distracting her. “Let me go!”

Dani looked at her mother and then flat out looked at Skye and Merci. “You need to leave now.” She felt Jackson tug on her arm and wrenched it free looking at Skye. “I warned you in the bathroom quit playing your little games or you and I were going to have a problem. That includes your friend trying to screw with my best friend.”

Devin had watched the entire thing and honestly he thought he and Merci could be friends but using KC was low even for Merci. KC’s death had been a tragedy and no one least of all Miranda or Quinn deserved to have him taken from them. He shook his head knowing he was caught in the middle.

“I think you and Skye should leave.” Devin said looking at Merci as he saw Jon dragging Miranda outside so she could collect herself.

“I think you are right. I should have never and I mean never came here.” She looked at Skye and nodded to the door. As she grabbed her purse and she stormed away. Looking at Jon and Miranda talking she done what she came here do. Show that perfect Miranda wasn’t as good as everyone thought she was just as dirty and malicious. As she walked to her car she clicked the door alarm and jumped inside. She knew Skye was saying goodbye to Jon and she screamed in frustration. She was satisfied but in the same lane she was furious. The feeling of nobody wanting her was so strong it ached at her heart. Merci knew she was half way drunk but it hit her none the less. Hitting the steering wheel she placed her head against the wheel and let out a sob.

Pulling out her phone she texted him. She knew he’d make her feel better. Her body at least. Merci started to type.

Can I come over? 1:55am

…Yeah 1:56am

I need to be held… I need you to make love to me…. 1:58am

I got you ma 2:00 am

Merci wiped her eyes as she saw a car speeding down the street. Rolling down her window she couldn’t tell who was behind the car the lights were so bright. Raising her hand to her face she saw Miranda and Jon still in the middle of the street talking. “Look out!”

Jon turned around as Merci voice told him to look out. Skye had come over to speak with him as Cassie watched angrily. Miranda had walked away from him as he turned around he saw a car speeding directly at Miranda. “Miranda!” He screamed loudly.

A man swiftly pushed Miranda out of the way and landed directly on top of her. Looking into her eyes he saw her passing out. “Miranda get out of Club XES. It’s all going down hill.” The man in black leaned down and softly kissed her lips as she passed out. He looked up and saw Jon running toward them. The men jumped up and dashed away from the scene. As a stream of fireworks played on cue blinding everyone. As he saw Devin still on his trail no doubt to thank him. He just couldn’t be seen. Not yet at least because he had to nail that bastard to wall. Once Ronan was gone it would be safe. It would be safe to get his family and life back.

Turning the corner he jumped into his car and drove into traffic and saw Dani and Devin looking for him. As he drove calmly down the street he placed on a baseball cap and pair of shades. He watched from afar.

Miranda honestly had no desire to sit there and get a lecture from Jon about her behavior was he kidding her? The bitch was asking for it had been since Merci had been coming onto Devin at the fundraiser. She turned on her heel deciding it was best to walk away for a bit until she could collect her thoughts about everything, for fuck’s sake KC was dead he loved her. He had loved her, loved Quinn how dare that bitch. She wiped at her eyes and barely heard Jon yell her name before she felt hands shoving her to the ground she turned her head slightly and she could swear it was him staring back at her. Her eyes felt heavy as she closed her eyes and then she didn’t know how much time had passed before she heard Kelsey yelling at her.

“Miranda can you hear me?” Kelsey said feeling for a pulse as she looked at her brother. “Brock help me lift her.”

Miranda felt her body being pulled up as her eyes opened and a bright light shone in her eyes, it took her a moment to get her surroundings as Kelsey was waving the flashlight back and forth. She felt something applied to the back of her head and looked at Brock placing the icepack on her skull. Jon looked white as a sheet and she looked frantically around.

“Where is he?” Miranda asked knowing what she saw.

Jon walked to his sister after chasing the guy who saved her. She looked so confused as Brock and he helped her up. Looking at his sister he touched her hand. “I’m sorry, Miranda I love you are you okay? Kelsey help her she can’t be alright that guy tackled her.” He said looking at Devin, Jackson, and Dani returning from chasing after the stranger. Devin shook his head. “Who was that?”

“I didn’t get a shot of his face. I’m sorry man.” Looking at Miranda Jackson finally figured out why he knew her. She was Mia from Club XES. Gulping a little he thought about it and wasn’t Miranda a cop? What was going on?

“Dani, Brock help me get her in the car we’ll take her to get checked out.” Kelsey said insisting and when her brother and cousin nearly refused she glared. Helping Miranda who was still confused to her car.

Miranda looked at Jackson and could tell he finally caught on to who she was yes she wore a mask and wig in the club but now that he knew maybe he would stay away. Her case would depend on that her cover now. Not that he had been coming around since she had been there anyway and if he did he looked like a nervous junkie before he would check his phone and leave. She supposed that was a good thing it meant she hadn’t seen him score and then she wouldn’t have to break her best friends heart.

“I’m fine. I just saw…nevermind.” Miranda said once they reached the car she leaned her head back in the seat the ice pack feeling good on her skull as she heard the car door open and Devin get in. She saw him she knew she did, she saw KC her husband it was fucking crazy he was gone but she saw him. Or maybe she thought that she saw him because she was projecting given what Merci said.


The cool air of Atlas Falls hit her as she got into the town car waiting on her. Opening her purse in the back seat she opened her compact and looked at herself. He looked so much like Lowell did in the eighties. It was chilling looking into the soft eyes. The way he touched her was just like  his father. She had slept with her daughter’s half-brother. She leaned over and pulled the bottle of champagne out and poured the golden liquid into the glass. As she leaned back she looked at her driver. “To my suite in the Everest Resort.”

As she pulled out her phone out of her bag she saw she missed a seven calls from her mother. Listening to the frantic messages on the phone she heard her mother declare her father to be dead. A piece of her shattered due to the shame she placed on the Blisston clan. Her heart broke because her father had just stated she was such a disappointment with her. Lowell had kept her away from Atlas Falls and her father. Her beloved father and he also pushed his love away from her. Years of poisoning against her had cost a valuable relationship. Tears nearly came out but then she gulped down her champagne. Furiously she knew what she had to do. Her father’s contributions to DGI were endless and as a board member she knew she had to inherit his place. She knew she had to take over her rightful place. If tonight showed her one thing. Lowell thought about it and his heart was broken when Jackie found out about the affair. He said it to her tonight and even apologized for breaking her heart. That wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough until she crippled her lover.

As the driver pulled up to the driveway of Everest Resort Cortez got out the car. She dug through her bag putting on her Chanel sunglasses she noticed a few tabloid sleaze reporters. No doubt wanting to monopolize on her and Bliss grief. Stepping out the cameras flashed dramatically as she walked through her mink slink against the marble ground. Walking to the front desk. “Please all flowers bring directly to my room. Also make sure no one photographs me and my family. My father will be buried in Atlas Falls.” Her stomach dropped as her rage ripped through her. How could she just sit here and pretend all was well? She knew what she had to do. Destroy the love of her life. Rory that sexy man boy who was hurting tonight had given her the first step. She was going to use that she slept with Rory as a way to destroy not just Lowell but Jackie also. Then she was going to do whatever to ensure Bliss won the battle of supremacy. Once she got the board seat he was going to feel her wrath.

Slowly walking upstairs to her bathroom she started to draw a bath. Making sure the water was steaming hot she placed bath beads inside of the water letting the bubbles rise. She walked into her cosmetic bag and pulled out rosewater bubble bath from Peru. Placing it in the water, she slipped off her gown letting it pool to the floor. Women were always placed into pasture after a certain age. Remembering how painful it was when Dimitri chose to entertain her much younger daughter who was barely legal. How she needed the money so that she would be successful in her art career. Now that she owned her own company and was in power, she’d use her world connections to make Bliss the star of DGI. Then when it was time they’d swoop in and takeover together. Touching her face her skin was still beautiful a young man wanted her as many did. How after all these years Jackie had no true voice in DGI she’d never knew. Walking to the bar she poured herself a glass of vodka.

She wasn’t old. She was ripe for a takeover and transformation. As she walked upstairs she stepped in the bathwater and slipped inside of the bathtub. As she took a gulp of the champagne. Tears fell down her face she thought of her father. He was an amazing man and she missed him already. How did she lose her father without even getting a chance to get his forgiveness. Rory was flesh of Lowell and she wanted his flesh. Blood of blood because Lowell and Jackie tainted her father against her but she’d do the same with Rory. He would be her access and her weapon to take DGI. Tonight was the beginning of the end of her hollow existence. She was going to be something and a force.

Grabbing her phone she dialed her mother’s number. “Mother what are we going to do. Of course Bliss will be devastated. I was wondering who will be at the board meeting for the board of directors. Of course I could do it mother. Mother this is Bliss calling, I’ll call you back.” Dropping her phone a sinister smile crept on her face. “Daddy I have all I need now to make you proud. The seat on the board will give me the power to destroy Lowell brats and give Bliss and me what we deserve.” Tess went under the water of the bathtub.


Walking into the his house Braden held the phone to his ear as he spoke to the federal agent in charge of the Ronan Madden case.

“I have not gotten Jamal to talk yet he is refusing to see me or anyone else. I understand as soon as you land I will have the officers take you to where he is. See you in a few days.”

Turning around he looked at Selina who entered too. Dylan was with Tamara for the next week and Maddie was at the Devonshire mansion. It was late and after spending the first part of the evening at his parents for fireworks and the countdown he could tell that Selina still was angry about him about Jamal. Mason had came by so that was good though Mason asked him questions about the charges Chauncey was threatening with him. They were serious charges Mason could lose his license to practice due to what he did with Selina for Maddie. He also knew that Chauncey was doing this on purpose to in order to make Selina feel guilty.

“How much of that did you overhear? I have a job to do Selina you knew what I stand for when you married me. I’m trying as hard as I can to arrange a deal for Jamal that doesn’t involve jail time but he won’t cooperate with me or my office.” Braden said they had fought over it quite a bit ever since their honeymoon when she found out about the arrest at the wedding.

“I would never let this happen to Dani.” Selina said with a cutting tone in her voice. It was cold due to how she felt. Her brother could go to jail and nothing Braden was saying really made her feel like it was alright. She’d heard the FBI was coming into this case because of they had some things to nail Ronan to the wall. As she folded her arms looking deeply at her husband.

“My brother is deeply in pain to do something like this. Jail won’t fix this and I completely believe that you need to help him get out of this. He is just as much my family as yours now and laws or not if it was Dani, Zach, or Brock or hell didn’t you help Lucy and we know she was every bit as wild as Jamal. So please don’t let him catch a knife there are so many more people out there that’s guiltier of much worse than Jamal. Ronan is a kingpin and Philip knows about the drugs go after them. Not the low men on the totem pole. Jamal wasn’t a drug lord he pushed drugs to experimental college kids. Marijuana and if I recall we indulged in a little pot in college.” Selina said unfastening her cape where her mother’s diamond brooch fastened it close. As she sat down she clicked on the fireplace and sat down in front of it.

“Please, you love me and you’ve been around since he was a kid. You know he’s not bad don’t let the FBI and God know who else hurt my brother. He sold pot to be popular and be a bad boy. You know he believes he’s Jay-Z or Puffy or someone like that not this drug kingpin. You have to cut him a deal and if I recall when you were cutting your teeth you helped Lucy. Help me and my brother.”

“No you wouldn’t then again Dani wouldn’t be out selling drugs. If you want to get technical about it, three was more than weed with Jamal. There was coke handoffs and other offenses not to mention an illegal firearm he had.” Braden said he had smoked weed a few times in college he didn’t get the thrill personally. It wasn’t about Jamal doing some minor thing and it was something that Selina he felt didn’t get he was the right hand man to Kendrick, Ronan’s second in command. “Lucy cut a deal it was less than what she would have got here. Your brother isn’t helping anyone least of all himself while he refuses to talk to me or anyone that is trying to help him. Then again he has it engraved in his head that since he is your father’s son there aren’t any consequences.”

The fireplace cast a warm glow on the living room which he was sure was not up to her standards she had moved into his house. He got that Jamal was a good kid, he was but he also knew that Jamal was an adult that could make his own choices and unfortunately he couldn’t coddle him on this. Once the feds stepped in it was in their hands how hard the prosecutor wanted to go after Jamal, granted his father could call Charles and get a favor if needed but he didn’t see it playing out like that. Taking a seat on the couch he leaned back and closed his eyes knowing a fight was going to come.

“I shouldn’t even be talking to you about this. You want me to help Jamal tell him to help himself.” Braden said knowing legally he couldn’t discuss the case with her he wanted too but he may of already said too much.

Selina stood from the fireplace and walked across the room. His arrogance was becoming very clear. Not only that but his distaste for the rich was showing. She had never thrown her money or her family’s wealth in his face. She honestly loved him deeply however she felt like the poison was already seeping into their marriages. The crackling of the fireplace startled her as she wrapped her arms around herself, hugging her body. She turned away looking at their marriage photograph in a frame. “So is that all you can say? Tell him to talk? He’s scared that if he opens his mouth then he’ll kill us all. He’s apologetic Braden and if he did do more so what? My brother doesn’t deserve to be in jail for the rest of his life. You are a lawyer and a DA that means you can make this easier or harder on him. Make it easier that’s what I’m asking. It’s his first offense at the end of the day.” Selina knew that this was getting worse for Jamal.

“You think that he’s only thinking that he’s untouchable because of daddy? My father didn’t raise us like that. Jamal isn’t even like that he is spoiled and indulgent but he’s also not bad. You watched him grow up and if it was Dylan who made a stupid move. You’d move heaven and hell to help him. Now I’m asking can you move heaven and hell to help my brother. I know it’s a lot but Braden please. I’m married to the damn future mayor son and DA and I can’t protect my brother? Please help him because it’s killing my father and it’s destroying Ophelia.” As badly as it was with Ophelia she didn’t wish this on her. “If not for me then don’t wash another black man down the drain for drugs. He’s so much more than a thug and criminal Braden.”

“Yes that is all I can say why can’t you understand that? My career is to serve the people of Atlas Falls or is it only your career that matters? Jamal is an adult and can make adult decisions which includes getting involved in Ronan Madden’s drug ring. At the moment it is not up to me what the Feds do unless he talks to me to broker a deal for him.” Braden said looking at her the way she apologized for the drug trade as if it was no big deal. The way she made excuses for her brother getting involved in it all to begin with, as if he had it so bad at home? Jamal had everything any kid in his position would want. “Given the shit Dylan has witnessed with his mother I doubt he would get sucked up in the shit Jamal is.”

He didn’t mean for it to sound harsh but it was Dylan had witnessed first hand his ex on and off drugs he knew better than to be out doing the shit that Jamal was. The moment she brought race into it he shook his head it had nothing to do with race. Jamal was caught and thankfully was pulled out before shit got worse then he wrapped himself up into. It was an election year and if he was soft on Jamal that meant everyone would expect him to be soft for them too. “Wash another black man down the drain? I can’t even believe you just went there with me. How about your brother not be dealing them to begin with and take some responsibility for what he has done? Or is that too much for the son of Tony Delacroix?”

“You know what I’m talking about the countless black men who are incarcerated for crimes that were excessive time. The reason I didn’t go into law was simple. I didn’t like that a child molester gets less time than a drug dealer. You uphold the law as if it’s some golden rule. It’s not it’s corrupt but you’re too blind to see it. Yes Jamal has more than most kids and he made a mistake. You know what maybe we shouldn’t talk about this. You seem to think because Jamal has a trust fund that he’s not remorseful for his actions. He’s ashamed but you don’t fucking see that..” Selina shook her head and looked at him. Dylan mother was a junkie and that wasn’t anyone fault but her’s. The fact that he just was so insensitive to her family showed exactly what he thought of her family. “Oh my God, I don’t believe you. You are judging him already? OJ Simpson murdered a man and woman. Money got OJ off and I assure you if you don’t help me money will get Jamal off Feds or not. I’m sure the Feds have dined at La Callie’s all over the world.” Storming to the kitchen she threw her blanket on the couch.

As she stormed upstairs she went to her suitcase and started to find a white pantsuit. She’d gotten spoiled the tailor was inside the mansion. As she started to get undressed she swiftly started to get dressed. When she heard Braden footsteps upstairs she turned around with a bra and white pants. “What? You here to make Jamal to be a thug? Want to tell say how much of a failure we are as a family and how perfect your family is except for Lucy. Lucy is the exception to the rule. I’m sorry my brother made a stupid ass choice. The thing that hurts me the most is that you don’t seem to care at all. You don’t seem to get Jamal isn’t some just stupid kid he’s my brother.”

Braden watched her storm up the stairs as his phone rang seeing it was the FBI he pressed ignore right now the last thing he wanted was to deal with them. Jamal was her brother there was no denying that but he was also in trouble. He honestly was sad that this is what they were fighting about on top of sometimes fighting about Dylan and Maddie. He was not nor had he ever thought different about skin tone, he wasn’t raised that way and while he thought America was in a transition period and there were men that were incarcerated longer than they should and they needed a better system in place he knew he could only help someone that wanted his help. So far Jamal was acting like he didn’t want his help or any of their help. Walking up the stairs he looked at her in the doorway.

“I never said Jamal is a thug I simply stated that until he wants my help I can’t help him and you don’t seem to want to hear that either. You keep bringing up Lucy like I had some control over what happened to her I didn’t.” Braden said taking a breath with her not wanting to fight anymore but clearly she had to see his side too. It seemed like all they did was fight and that was not how he envisioned them starting off their marriage or their life together. “I have a job Selina one that I was elected too. You keep saying money isn’t a problem or it doesn’t matter but it does look at how you or Chauncey handle something with Maddie. It’s a cycle that is all I am saying that doesn’t make your family horrible but there is a precedent that you all have set.”

“A precedent? Are you judging how I am raising my daughter? I was going to call a friend and see if we could help Jamal talk to you. Cool off because I am emotional and I’m unloading on you because he’s in jail. You think that money is all that matters!” She screamed at him. “I don’t care about money. You want me to give up my trust fund I can and I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to fight with you anymore you hear me? I don’t so let me get some air because righteous indignation is disgusting me right now. I have spent my life being the girl who hurts you and I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I don’t want to be like this and I don’t want our marriage to be this. You keep judging my life and why can’t you just accept me as Maddie’s mother. I don’t like how militant you are with Dylan but God I don’t judge.” She slipped on her white jacket. As Selina sat at her vanity she quickly applied her her lipstick on her lip.

Looking at the clock it was 3:00am as she grabbed her purse. “I think tonight emotions are high and I’m angry and I’m confused. I want to um go get some air and see Jamal maybe I can talk some sense into him. But us maybe we should schedule something with Kelsey because it’s really difficult to blend right now. When you hate how I let Maddie be who she is. I can’t stand how you don’t seem see gray in life. It’s black and white and your father has morally corrupted you and I’m sad for that. I would kill for your family and sadly because of your father’s moral code you wouldn’t do the same for mine. A moral code what a joke you are so blindly unaware of who your beloved daddy is. You are a daddy’s boy Braden and I need a man! A man! Right now to fix this and you aren’t doing that. Chauncey as horrible as he is he would have fixed this.” Covering her mouth she couldn’t believe she said that. The mean and nastiest thing she ever sad. Then she saw his confusion on his face. “I didn’t mean that. I…I…I gotta get out of here.” Knowing exactly how what she said would weigh on not just him but their marriage. She had just unleashed thousand of questions inside of his mind about his father.

Braden looked at her grabbing her purse to run away from him and their problems, was this what it was going to be like? When she mentioned seeing Kelsey he bit back laughing at her no he was not going to his cousin to spill their marriage problems. Everything was off though when she mentioned his father this was not about his father, it was about them. He could feel the hurt seeping in when she said he was no Chauncey no he wasn’t, he would never be Chauncey. Chauncey would rather throw her or her family to the wolves if it served his own purpose. Staring at her he walked to the bathroom.

“I’m going to shower I have court in a few hours. You know what you think Chauncey is such a better man than I am go to him. It’s what you’ve always been good at.” Braden said casting a final glance at her before closing the door. He took a few breaths as he leaned against it, how in the hell had they gone to hell so quickly?