1×21 “Light On The Edge Of Town”

1×21 “Light On The Edge Of Town”
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo

Kendrick looked around the crowded YMCA as the youth basketball team played, watching the ball bounce up and down the court. Watching the people from the hood that he grew up with seeing their boys playing ball. In truth some of those young men would be in the gangs down the line recruited by his own men because that is what they knew, what his men needed to pass the baton when needed to the next generation. Scottwood was going places and it would with him at the helm, soon the drugs would infect the rest of the city and they could turn to poverty and the living conditions that forced Scottswood to become what it was. Taking out his phone he saw the text alert from Rocky who was watching the house he left with no bag meaning they could get in and get the drugs. He went to text Rocky back only to stop when Loco approached him to tell him that Ronan was spotted at the club what the fuck?

He had covered his tracks with the attempt and Loco already told him that Ivan had went back to the club to turn on him back to Ronan. Others in the rally did the same and his heart raced as one of the teams made a basket, Ronan would not be pleased that he took Yasmine. Ronan wouldn’t be pleased with how he treated the girls at the club not to mention Thor would tell him everything about what happened with Philip and Cassie. Yasmine’s words came back at him that he pushed a white man out of power and now that he had that power he was not letting it go. He nodded his head at Loco and then turned around to see Merci enter the gym. He wasn’t even sure he had invited her but she knew about it and seeing how they were seeing each other or fucking, he supposed in a relationship was the right word. It wasn’t crazy for her to be here his throat tightened he had to make her leave. Ronan would want his revenge.

“I wasn’t expecting you to be here. Don’t you have some fancy party to plan for?” Kendrick said hugging her briefly before pulling back. Things had been good between them but he knew in the life he led that it never lasted, it was why he pushed women away after Gina. He wouldn’t see another woman he cared about in a casket and his mind drifted back to Yasmine what was he doing? Yasmine was Gina’s sister, but she had betrayed him by going to Jamal behind his back and giving the stash to Jackson to move. “You really shouldn’t be here right now.”

Merci was a little annoyed that Kendrick didn’t invite her to some community event. Next time she’d help and give this little YMCA event a little class. Looking around the sweaty gym she saw so many faces. The way he approached her she felt like something was off. Playfully she punched his shoulder the man was so much taller than her. A smile appeared on her face. “Look people don’t know me and you are dating. You’ve made that very clear dude so I’m here to support a friend. I want to support the cause. These young men you help deserve and here’s a donation to the YMCA.” She saw a small child run up and hug Kendrick. “He’s adorable.” She smiled as she saw all the love for him and she couldn’t help but wonder why he went into the mob and gangster lifestyle.

“So much potential in you.” Merci said softly. “I hate what you do but seeing how these people respond to you Kendrick you are a star and it’s sad that you are always watching and looking over your back from law enforcement. I’m just coming here to say I remember you. That scrawny little boy running behind all the big dope boys. You were a force and I wish you would have channeled that into something more productive. This is what you’re supposed to be doing making our community better for these people. They need you not in a coffin or the grave.”

Kendrick looked at her and then over at the crowd of people that were there for the charity game if any of them really knew. After this morning he was going back to business he had things he had to take care of like getting his drugs back from Devonshire. After that it was onto the next plan making sure Ronan was eradicated from power completely and Yasmine, he wasn’t sure what to do with Yasmine. Merci however never had to know about any of that, that was the point in their arrangement. They each got a satisfaction from each other and he was allowed to be with her like that without strings, which was why this was so hard now. Ending things with her had to be done things would get bad coming up and she like the rest of his family that he had already got out of the Scottswood neighborhood would have to be safe.

“They’ll love it I’m sure of it, thanks.” Kendrick said taking the money from her and then looking around the gym watching his men look at them and point. Merci had money now that was the perk of her job and he had bought things for her. He also couldn’t help but notice the discord in some of the crew since the night before with what happened with Loco. “The money will go to a good cause the scholarship and the afterschool program. This is my life Merci it was never going to end any other way. Which is why we can’t see each other anymore. My life is here on the streets making the money to help my neighborhood. It involves bullet holes, selling dope, running where I need too making sure people show me and my people the respect we deserve. You can’t be a part of that someone else would be better suited for you.”

Merci eyes narrowed as he casually broke up with her without blinking. How dare he choose for her if she should breakup with him. As she saw his eyes looking defeated or dark it was something so much hiding behind his eyes. She didn’t know where to start or finish. Considering her feelings were becoming much more complex. He truly wasn’t a bad guy but did she want to be in the thick of his drama. As she slowly bit her lip nodding as se looked at him. “Another one.” She laughed to herself. “I just got through dealing with a guy who just couldn’t get past himself and what everyone else wanted. To see I was perfect for him. You however it’s sad really sad to see you this big kingpin telling me that you don’t want me. You’re the man right? But you are giving me up.” Her leg shook as she knew it was the best move. She just hated to once again be pushed to the side.

“If I didn’t get my heart broken my entire life I wouldn’t be shocked. Men are typical but I’m glad I didn’t fall for you because you’ll be in the coffin soon. Men like you only rise or fall to the power.” Merci seethed at him with enough venom that he felt how hostile she was. “This isn’t what you want it’s anxiety from Ronan but to everyone we are just mutual friends so I guess I had a hard time showing it but I care. I care about you Kendrick and we are more than lovers I thought we were friends.” She said softly looking at him seeing he wouldn’t look her in the eyes. “Kendrick are you serious?”

Kendrick wasn’t sure what it was about her that did seem to get under his skin but watching her reaction to him ending things with her he knew it was the right thing to do. She deserved a straight and narrow guy in her life, she didn’t need to be dragged down into his abyss. Something he knew would be coming for him sooner rather than later and he couldn’t have her blood on his hands like Gina and his unborn child with her was. Instead he knew that he had to keep Merci away and well if she couldn’t deal with that it was on her not on him this time. Looking over at her and then back at the boys playing basketball he shrugged yes it was going to be just like that. It was how everything had to be this time it was what it needed to be.

“Yeah I am. You and I both knew this was how it was going to end between us. I was never going to drag you down with me and let’s face the sex was amazing while it lasted Merci. Trust me this what I want.” Kendrick said coldly to her, he had to be cold with her so she got it, so she walked the fuck away from him and didn’t look back. Even if he didn’t want her too he could feel the pressure on his back with everything involving him and Ronan he wasn’t dumb Ronan would strike soon casualties would happen. “We had a good time while it lasted Merci but now it’s just over. There wasn’t anything to look forward to with us in the future. I appreciate you coming to support the boys with your generous donation.”

Merci nodded slowly as she listened to Kendrick basically say she was good ass. She hadn’t been treated like this since high school. Grabbing her arms she shook her head understanding that he wasn’t like what she thought. “I saw so much more than just a hoodlum in you. You are just like Skye said you would be. You are heartless and the way you are choosing to be this. I thought you were more and we could have been more. I guess Devin was right about you. You were never man enough for me and you are a man.” She said as she bit her lip. Shaking her head she didn’t believe how cold and callous he was being about her. Folding her arms she felt her heart beating harder. “Oh my God.”

She folded her arms as she shook her head. “The rumors are true you’ve taken over the business isn’t it. That’s why you’re breaking up with me? I’m disappointed in you because all these kids are looking up to you. What are you showing them? What are you doing? Is this the life you want to belong to? God Kendrick you are smarter than this? Do you think these white folk are going to just let you take Ronan’s position. It’s everywhere and I had to see you to tell you to stop it. Even if we are done do you want your momma to bury you? God Kendrick please! Please stop before it’s too late.”

Kendrick looked at her his arms folded as little things began clicking for her where did she think he had gotten the money to give her all those gifts? It came with being the boss he compensated his men well better than Ronan ever did and he made that cash flow the only way he knew how ganster on the streets with a hard hand. Growing up in the gangs before he was brought into the fold with Ronan had taught him that the streets in Scottswood were the rule of how things were kept in order it was how people knew who to count on and who to send up the river. Walking up to her he leaned into her ear. “It already started where in the hell do you think I got the money and the means to get all those pretty purses for you? It certainly wasn’t being Ronan’s bitch anymore. Don’t follow me Merci.”

Stepping back as Rocky came up to him he nodded his head at him and then walked out the back door to the waiting car. Once he got inside he lifted the hood from Yasmine’s head seeing the fright on her face something he had never wanted to see but it was too late to go back now. What was done was done, she had taken the drugs with Jackson and he wanted them back, his men were scouring the streets for Jamal. “If you would have just kept your nose out of shit Yas, but no you and pretty boy had to try and be the hero.” He said shaking his head as he lowered the bag back over her head he motioned for Rocky to take them back to the safehouse.

Yasmine sucked on her busted lip lightly as she looked at him. “The only language that you speak is violence. I hate you and Gina and that baby are better off in heaven than to be dealing with you.” Laying her head on the cold glass. “You almost had me raped last night. I will never forgive you for that. Drugs or not that wasn’t the code of the street that was your ego. See the streets would have just killed me.” Yasmine leaned her head back softly.

Merci walked outside and watched Kendrick drive off as her heart cracked a little. Another black man with limitless potential lost to the streets. He just left her alone like everyone had been doing since she was born. As a lump swelled in her throat she walked to her car and instantly dumped all the belongings of her purse on the passenger side. Then turned around and saw a beautiful girl walking with a baby in a stroller. “Pardon me can I have your number?” Licking the top of her lip. “Look this is a real leather 2016 Louis Vuitton I have so many bags that I don’t think I need this one. You and that incredibly beautiful baby well I think a LV as a diaper bag would be dope. Here take it trust me I don’t want the blood on my hands anymore. This will wash it clean.”


He’d been standing here for the last hour. Jackson couldn’t believe after the mind blowing sex and reunion the only thing that was on his mind was the drugs. If he just did one hit. The temptation was eating at him and he felt like a addict just standing there. Looking in the very same window last night that was filled with his future. He saw the old Jackson and the beast on his back was fighting to return. How could Dani depend on him if he couldn’t protect himself from the temptations. Every fiber in his body was saying use again. Having the drugs so close was the worse. Then it hit him he was a father to that kid and that kid didn’t deserve for that to happen. Last night Dylan called Dani and told her what happened to Tamara. It gave him chills because what if his son found him overdosed somewhere. No that wouldn’t be him. Jackson closed the garage door and slowly walked upstairs. He stopped at her bedroom and she was sleeping still. Dani was a early bird so it was ironic to see her sleeping in. She was effortlessly beautiful and it amazed him how lucky he was to find her.

As he sat on the bed he crawled back in pulling the covers on top of them. He rolled on his side grabbing her from behind and laughed feeling the swollen belly. God he was going to be a dad as he felt her squirm in his arms he laughed lightly. “Good morning. How do you do that? Your breath always smells perfect in the morning.” He laughed a little as she turned to face him. “So since you are starting to show more and more do you think that we’re having a boy or girl? Will I have the smartest little boy ever or the first female President? I think that I don’t have a preference but how amazing would it be to have a little Dani? She’d have my amazing hair, your dazzling smile, and be the end of the Devonshire versus Fraiser. However having a little me would be equally amazing a heartbreaker, who has his dad sarcasm, but is clever like his mommy and could bring end to the feud.” Seeing her smiling about the possibilities of a boy or a girl he laughed. “So girl or boy fiance?”

What time was it was the only thing going through her mind when she felt the bed shift and cracked her eyes open, seeing it was still semi dark outside before closing them again. The stress of the last few weeks had floated away since that moment in the kitchen and then watching TV on the couch and she didn’t even know what time they made it upstairs to the bedroom. The call from Dylan had come late and through talking to her nephew and then her parents she had been so tired she fell asleep. She was still semi groggy and sleepy by the time she felt Jackson get back into bed and pull her too him. She struggled playfully for a moment before she turned to face him the faint hints of sunlight in the curtains meaning it was still early. She thought about what he was asking and then traced her fingers on his chest looking at him as she did so.

“Truthfully I hadn’t thought much about it recently I was more worried about stress and just making it past the first few weeks. I didn’t want to get our hopes up to have that go away and I know how crazy that sounds. If I had to decide now though I wouldn’t mind both. Boy first and then girl down the line. I think that would be the best way to start get the wildness of our boy out of the way and then deal with girl afterwards. Seeing you protective over her would be the best sight I think.” Dani said quietly leaning up to his ear she couldn’t help but nibble on it as her hand lowered down his thigh she felt his breath on her neck and she couldn’t help but laugh into his ear. “I was thinking though we could use more practice if you want both. Perhaps a repeat of last night is in order. One of the pluses that I am sure you’ve noticed is how badly I always want you now.”

“I think that a son first would be fun considering I know that my mom would want a little grandson. Hell I think our little boy might stop our families blood feud. Sometimes when I think of  and dad need to sit down and have a brutal MMA fight to calm all the drama down. We need to be thinking of names, where are we going to live, and what color is the nursery. I have so many ideas swirling through my ideas. As for another round I’m definitely up for that. You were amazing last night.” He nibbled on her ear playfully as he watched her back arch as he kissed her shoulder. When he heard his cellphone ring he groaned it had been so perfect the last few hours. The real world would slowly start creeping back in their idealistic reality right now. “It could be work, it could be dad, or it could be anyone of my siblings. I just want to make sure everything is alright.” When he rolled over and saw Rory was calling he slide his finger across the phone.

“Hey Rory, what’s up man?” He said as Dani rolled on top of him and he laughed. “I’m a little busy man so can we hurry the hell up.” Jackson said as he thought about it. “Have you spoken to Yasmine bro? She had me help her with a couple of things and I just want to um get rid of what she gave me?” His voice became hoarse seeing Dani face react to what he was saying. Putting the phone away from his face. “Yasmine asked my help with something for her and Jamal. I think my brother and she deserve a shot after all they have been through.” Placing his phone back to his lips. “Bro are you here?”

Dani had been willing to entice him off the phone with Rory until he started talking cryptically and leaning back on his lap trying not to be swayed by his eyes roaming over her body. She got off laying back down on the bed. Her mind wandering a million miles a minute about what he would have had to do for Jamal and Yasmine? She didn’t want another fight between them but hearing Yasmine’s name set her on edge, his old dealer he had swore he was clean now and she believed him but the worry was still there. They’d fought a lot in the last few weeks and given what had happened the night before she wanted a fresh start for them, so instead she let it go for now they could talk about it when he was done with Rory.

Rory had been up for a few hours he had barely slept the night before after looking over the app and waiting for Yasmine to call, a call that never came. He knew that things were tight at the club and maybe it was so tight she couldn’t of reached out for him. By the time the sun began to rise though and he hadn’t heard from her he had got dressed, grabbed his cell phone and coat and began to look for her. When that failed he debated about who to call to help him and Jackson came to mind he knew what it was like to be pulled apart and he felt like his other siblings were to involved in their own shit to help him. He went to the mansion no luck, then to Jackson’s apartment no luck leading him to Dani’s townhouse. He didn’t think his brother would be on the outs forever with her he was going to be a father and he didn’t see him just abandoning Dani in that. When Jackson picked up and confirmed what he was thinking he had to think of what he was going to say.

“I haven’t heard from Yasmine since before she went in for her shift last night and I’m really worried about her Kendrick was being bat shit crazy at the club the last few weeks. I was going to call Chauncey to help me but he isn’t like her biggest fan. Max is well Max and reaching out to Bliss is not a good idea right now.” Rory said he couldn’t face Bliss right now after dealing with Tess and what she was dangling over his head. That would just be awkward and that left Jackson that he could depend on and maybe help him track Yasmine down. He shuffled his feet on the floor in his condo he did feel like a dick for breaking up his brothers reunion but he was glad to have his support with Yasmine. “I tried the mansion and your apartment you weren’t there. So I figured you were with Dani and I don’t want to interrupt whatever you and Dani are doing but I’m really worried about Yasmine and was hoping you could maybe help me look for her.”

Jackson immediately sat up and placed Dani to the side of him. For some reason a chill ran up his spine. Feeling like something possibly happened to Yasmine. Touching Dani’s thigh as he jumped out of bed. Instantly grabbing a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Pulling his hair into a ponytail he grabbed a pair of gym shoes and looked at her. “I need to handle this Dani, I’m going to see Rory really quick and baby when I’m done we’ll finish where we left off.” He leaned in and kissed her. Walking out of the living room he locked up the door and quickly walked to his car.

“Rory are you still here? Man I have something to tell you. Look Yasmine called me last night and they came up with a plan. By they I mean Jamal and Yasmine. Jamal had a lot of Kendrick and Ronan drugs still and they are using it to blackmail him for their freedom. You said that you haven’t heard from Yasmine and I haven’t either. I just get the feeling that something bad has happened man. Maybe we should go to the police because I don’t want to be involved in all this  and you shouldn’t either.” Jumping inside of his car he began to speed down the street. “Like how dangerous is this Kendrick guy Rory?”

“I’m still here at my condo he’s scary. He’s been holding Yasmine hostage at the club and I know he’s been in trouble with the law a lot rumor is he’s killed before. He’s not a nice guy Jackson but I don’t think any of them are.” Rory said he wanted to ask what type of a plan his brother had come up with Jamal and Yasmine but he also didn’t. Truthfully it stung that Yasmine reached out to Jackson over him like she trusted Jackson more than him to help her. “I’m still pissed that Jamal has been hiding out when all this shit is going down.”

He paused when Jackson mentioned the police not yet Yasmine could still turn up and he knew the cops showing up around her could be even more dangerous. He wanted her safe and something inside of him was screaming that she wasn’t safe like a dark feeling overcoming him. “Can you come pick me up at me condo and then we can make a few passes where she might be. If we don’t find her we’ll go to the police as a last resort. These people don’t fuck around especially with their shit Jackson and adding the cops in is like asking for more trouble. When you spoke to her last night was she ok? Did she sound scared? I don’t get why she would have called you over me.”

“Because I think that I have her get out of jail free card.” Jackson said speeding downtown as he pulled up to Rory condo. Throwing his keys to the valet Jackson felt his heart in his throat. “Rory I think somehow this guy found out that Yasmine was planning her escape. If that’s the case then we should go to Simon or dad. What other choice do we have because if he does have her how can we get her? Maybe contact Max and have her talk to Philip?” He suggested as he entered the elevator going to the twenty-second floor.

What if he had the only thing that was keeping Yasmine alive? What if something happened to that girl how would his little brother forgive him? Getting off the elevator Jackson knocked on his brother door.”Look I think this may be getting out of our hands what else are we to do? Rory the police or dad and you deal with whatever that comes with.” Jackson said as the door opened. Seeing Rory eyes he saw the grief on his face. “We are going to find her.”

Rory listed to his brother’s big plan and he had to wonder what kind of a mess Jamal and Yasmine had pulled them all into. He got that going to the police was smart but he also knew it could be dangerous too what if Yasmine just needed some space to herself. They called the police and suddenly she became more of a target if the police found her, leading to more trouble with Kendrick and Ronan. He hung up the phone and when Jackson reached his door he nodded at him, there was still that sinking feeling in his stomach like something bad was going to happen. He was still very worried about Yasmine and what was going on, he was afraid she was in trouble no matter how much his older brother was reassuring him.

“Ok we’ll start at her apartment and then go from there. I know she is there a lot of the time, or the school and there is a little dance joint in the Scottswood area if she isn’t there we’ll go to the police.” Rory said as he got on his coat as he grabbed the keys to his condo locking the door on the way out. They could take Jackson’s car for the search because he wasn’t up for driving as much as he appreciated Jackson helping him and dropping what he was doing for him though he couldn’t help but feel something was going to go bad though. “Thank for helping me Jackson. I love her and you seem to get that even when the rest of the family doesn’t.”


Ronan had left Brooke that morning in bed as he walked towards his waiting car it was time for his big return, he couldn’t avoid it any more mainly because of the texts he had been getting. Associates and former associates worried about Kendrick’s escalating power not to mention he had received papers that morning from the club and to say he was pissed was an understatement. For Philip and Cassie to pull out meant that things were worse than he thought, he understood that Kendrick wanted power but the club was their base of operations as he pulled into the empty lot he saw Thor pull up. The club was never not active when it was supposed to be open, it cost him money and time something that he knew that his men knew didn’t sit well with him. He glanced over at Thor as he had one of his guards open the door looking around the club, one table out of them all was in disarray. He had his men go check the office.

“You weren’t kidding were you when you said Kendrick was out of control? With the DA down our throat and the feds up my ass I had to lay low until Mr. Magini called me to tell me that Kendrick came in demanding more money from him. There is no need to be threatening those that are for our protection or family. I am glad that you took care of all the legal operations while I was gone. I also know that you dear brother were not behind the hit on me.” Ronan said looking at his baby brother as he picked up the chair and then his man came back and whispered in his ear. Everything was gone from the office books, the backup hard drives, the cash and the drugs. No one was at the club and when the door opened and he saw Philip walk him he wanted to know why no one was there working. “I figured if your sister was in bed with the police she could have got that punk ass out of my club. Where did he go Philip? Where is the money? Where are the drugs and why in the fuck is there no one here?”

“My sister isn’t with the cop anymore. I spent three years building my club and I don’t appreciate it being under siege because one of your underlings is staging a coup.” Philip said as he looked at Ronan and Thor. “That being said he’s being the most kind mobster ever and giving back to the community for whatever reason after all. Now I got a text message from Ivan about what happened here last night. Carlos turn off the lights and switch to the black one.” Lighting a cigarette he quickly pointed to the floor. “We need to remodel because Kendrick killed Loco last night. Ivan texted me and said that he’s holding Yasmine hostage I’m pretty sure you would like to know that. Ivan is on team Ronan and is disgusted he said he had Loco and Rocky almost rape that girl and if that’s the case then we need to get rid of that son of a bitch. I’m not about that Ronan.” He snapped his finger and the main level lights were on.

Philip sat down looking at Ronan. “You are lacking and I’m not sure what it is. You’re letting a rookie out move you and he’s kidnapping people? You are smarter than that. Man you know what we need to stop him because this is my club. This is mine and I built it with you Ronan not him. I’m not willing to share and if blood is shed everyone knows my father correct?” Philip said giving a definitive expression of disgust. “You are the kingpin of the east coast and your little friend is destroying everything I’ve built. I won’t have it and neither should you. Kill him.”

“I second that motion.” Thor said looking at Ronan. “Brother financially I held down the operation but if Kelly or Vlad found out about Kendrick. Then this could turn into a entire different party. So we need to terminate him before this little act of rebellion is looked down by the other cartel members. So tell me what you want? I can call my mother’s hitman is still on call and we don’t have to even get our hands dirty. So you need to handle this Kendrick. You hear me you have to handle this as soon as possible.” Thor stated as he folded his arms. “Whatever the case we need to get Kendrick.”

Ronan looked at them both kidnapping what in the world was going on with Kendrick he knew that he had issues but kidnapping was something he even rarely used as a scare tactic. It was only done in dire circumstances when absolutely necessary and there was no other options. He watched as the lights went down and the blood showed up on the floor and slammed his hands down on the table, taking out his phone and sending a text. The cleaners would be here shortly to scour what they could make sure there was no stains left for the police to find Philip was right on that front it would be bad for business. He and Yasmine never saw eye to eye on most things but she was a good employee, had repaid her debt the fact that Kendrick would allow Loco and Rocky to defile her like trash upset him. He was very strict about that with his men with a job that was a line he would never allow to be crossed hell he hated that while he was locked up Kendrick saw it fit to beat the strippers down and he tried to control his rage as he looked at Philip and Thor.

“You get me Ivan and now you call him and tell him to met me at my house I want to hear a first hand account from him. The cleaners are on their way they will come in through the back and clean this up. Make sure nothing can be traced back to the club you and I both know that I don’t want to bring your father into things.” Ronan said to Philip grateful to have Ivan on their side but it was a chess match now to make sure he got ahead on Kendrick before something worse happened the best way to do that was to bring Ivan in. Make him an offer of leniency and pay him to turn fully on Kendrick and then plan his eyes then met his brothers. “Call our people let them know Kendrick is on our list no one does business with him cut him off and his resources get the word out on the streets. No one is to make a move on him. You know I have to do what father would do in this situation. He comes to me, we bring him into me and I deal with him just like I did Benny Ruzzio perhaps worse.” Ronan said pausing and looking at them both. “I want Yasmine safe she is no use dead to me and at the moment it would be bad business to kill her for various reasons.” He heard the back door open and watched as the cleaning crew went to work doing what they did.

Phillip nodded as he watched the clean up crew erase any residue of Loco remains. A threat that not even Ronan wanted to pursue, was his father. Cracking his knuckles he looked at Ronan. “I assure you that I won’t call him if this is handled but I am not making any promises if Loco or Yasmine or anyone is hurt. My father will be flying in from Argentina and start making thing uncomfortable for everyone.” Standing up he grabbed his duffle bag. “I have a delivery to make and I hope when I return Mr. Madden my progress report better be well better.” As he rushed out of the office he pulled out his dummy phone. Then texted Scarlett a dirty little poem.

If you only knew. Who was doing this to you. Never does a day goes by. That I don’t think about how you are going to die…

Pressing send he knew that would send her deeper over the edge. She’d make a mistake soon enough. Then pulling out his real cellphone he texted Max.

Haven’t seen you in a while? Dinner and a movie?

Thor sat at the office he’d heard about Forbes and him building a fortune from well illegal windfalls. When he saw the glint of fire in his brother eyes his sipped his coffee. “Hey this isn’t your fault. If anything we could blame both of us. When my mother died I assumed the worst of you. I thought because you hated me because of father you would exact your revenge that way. You’re not a petty or small man which I appreciate because whomever killed my mom set a lot in motion. Including our war which someone benefitted from so I’m never one to be played for a fool. Hell I am a fool but I don’t like being manipulated and I think someone behind the scenes has been pulling the strings.” Looking over at him. “So could Forbes be behind this? Daddies boy just pulled a big card. If I am hearing right Forbes controls a lot of the South American markets.” He looked at him. “Come on you had to think it Ronan someone is making very calculated moves to make sure we were battling. Hell I’m starting to think that the rich and us are in someone’s big game and I’m being a player.”

Ronan watched Philip leave and then looked at the cleaners as they did what they were good at one of his guards came in to tell him that word was out the police were probably going to be on their way. Kendrick had made the mistake of drawing attention to his actions a rookie move that would ultimately end not well for him. He had no beef with Forbes but he had to agree with Thor that there was something bigger going on someone targeting the both of them to cause a rift. An interesting predicament one he would deal with after he had dealt with the Kendrick situation. He had somewhere else he had to be to get a reign on things from a business standpoint. Yasmine was involved with Rory Devonshire, Jamal was Lowell’s godson and if word was correct his other son just got in bed with the devil. It was enough to get what he wanted and motioning for his men to clear out and leave the cleaners he walked with Thor to the back door.

“For once I agree with you someone is trying to cause a rift between us set us up to believe we are enemies but who is the bigger question. One I suppose you and I should call our contacts to make sure they are all loyal. Forbes has bigger fish to fry opposed to us and it is a bad business standpoint to attack us.” Ronan said he had tried to avoid business with Forbes and his connections to the underworld for some time only for the club to present itself as the perfect place to do business. Thus he and Philip had come to an agreement that suited the both of them as his men opened the door he knew he had to go on the offensive now with Kendrick. “Make sure the contracts on the casino are in order I’m going to go cut a deal just to make sure we get what we are due there. Keep an eye on Cassie and Brooke please with Kendrick acting so irrational I want that problem solved first and then we can find out who is pulling these other strings and I swear to you brother we will get who killed your mother.”

Thor had humbled himself enough to know that his brother didn’t kill his mother. He also knew when he was being played. That wasn’t a good feeling being manipulated into war with Ronan. It did do something that years of yearning couldn’t. It made them unite and he wanted to unite with Ronan since childhood. His elder brother was something of an enigma to him. He wanted badly to be respected by him after all he was raised with their father. Hearing him ask to protect Brooke made him know that they were finally getting somewhere as brother’s.

“I promise a hair on Brooke wouldn’t be injured while you were locked away in jail. I assure you nothing will happen to her or Cassie.” He promised as he touched his brother shoulder. “You be careful this man isn’t sane right now. He thinks he’s you and we both know that their is only one Ronan Madden. For over twenty years I’ve tried to live up to dad but I should have been living up to my brother. We should have been taking on the world together. I’m glad I have a brother to honestly be around. Now kill that motherfucker.” Thor said grabbing his jacket as he walked out of office.

Ronan watched Thor go and then looked over at his main guard. “Leave the footage from the last few days and last night. Make sure to take the recording from this morning. Kendrick wants to think he is so smart, he forgot the most important thing don’t let cameras catch your crimes.”

Seeing his man nod and walk out Ronan walked to his car casting one final glance at the club, worried that Kendrick would in fact bury the organization if he didn’t get an upper hand on him. Both Thor and Philip had their points he had to be taken care of but this one hurt, Kendrick was like family he was a man he trusted like a brother and to learn of his betrayals stung. Pouring himself a bourbon in the back of his car as it drove him back to his mansion he stopped and looked at the driver. “Please take me to DGI.”


Miranda turned the corner to the club and could tell something was wrong Yasmine’s car was still in the parking lot. The lights were off and there was no one else there, she took a few breaths taking out her phone to not see any texts from Yasmine and then watched as a few cars pulled in. She looked as Ronan got out, followed by Thor to go inside the now dark club and then saw Philip pull in too. Something was wrong no one was there, there was no alert on her phone about the club not being open for the day. Not only that but her gut told her something was wrong. She waited for a few minutes slowed her breathing when the guards followed them inside before putting her car into reverse and taking the back roads back to the station. She wasn’t followed and by the time she reached the station after checking her phone every few minutes still silence. She waved to the front desk as she made her way up to homicide she and Jon had barely talked since that night at her parents, this so went above them though.

She looked around the unit and saw Devin and her brother coming out of Gideon’s office and texted Zach to get to the office as soon as he could, to not go to the club. Walking to both of them she took a breath, her and Devin she could officially say were on the rocks too since that night which wasn’t a bad thing stopping at her brother’s desk she looked at them both. “Something’s wrong at the club. I’m not playing this time there was no one there for shift, Ronan and Thor showed up. Philip too. Yasmine’s car is still in the parking lot that never happens she always goes home at the end of shift and she hasn’t texted me since before her shift last night.” Miranda said quietly looking at her brother to trust her on this trust her intuition. “I can feel it Jon something happened last night. Can’t we call Diego and get access to the club footage you and I both know they have it as part of their case. I’m really worried about Yasmine I gave her my word she would be safe.”

“So when was the last time you saw Yasmine?” Jon said instantly as he saw the fear radiating from his sister. “Devin call Diego and get a squad car to the club before the good ole boys leave. Keep them close once we call Braden and the ADA’s we will get a warrant. Let’s go Miranda and Devin we are going to that club and finding Yasmine. I promised you and I assure you that I will do all I can to save her. This is it. I think this is our chance to finally get Ronan and if we don’t jump on it. Then we are going to lose Yasmine and Ronan will get away with murder one last time alright? Let’s do this by the book and slam the book of the law on this son of a bitch. For Kendrick and for all that he’s taken us through.” Jon patted Devin on the back as the three of them rushed to get out of the station. He heard Devin on the phone with Diego and the ADA. Good they would get the warrant and the officers would rush the warrant to Club XES. As he jumped into his car with Miranda, and Devin.

“Hey Miranda tell us what’s been going on? What makes you feel like something is off at the club? Other than Yasmine car being at the club? Has something been going on? We have intel that Kendrick has taken over the club. I just don’t know how a good girl got caught up in this mess. Yasmine is special to Kendrick I think we should use that. Let’s use any and everything to save Yasmine, and whomever. Dev tell Diego to double protection on Jamal he’s on there radar as a snitch. If we don’t protect them then we might as well kill our star witness.” As he saw his sister racking her brain. “Come on Miranda anything?”

“A few days ago Philip had us on opposite shifts for the last week and Kendrick was getting so paranoid that he made sure to isolate her. She always let me know though when she started and when she finished. My jon was to see them dealing the drugs I reported what I knew to Gideon and then to the FBI.” Miranda said in the back seat of the car while her brother and Devin drove to the club.

She hadn’t even thought about Jamal till Jon brought it up frankly she was still pissed that Jamal was sitting fine in some big house under witness protection while he sold out people like Yasmine who really needed the help but that wasn’t up to her and if the warrants came through that meant that they could move onto making an arrest and having it be done legally. She wanted Ronan that was all she thought about right now she wanted Kendrick behind bars more. Kendrick was wild and unpredictable and that is what made her nervous about Yasmine going missing. Yasmine was like family to him. If he could turn on her that meant he could turn on anyone. She tried to focus in on other details but she couldn’t come up with them as Devin finally hung up his phone.

“Well? Warrants?” She asked looking at him.

“Did either of you know that Tamara overdosed and was brought into the hospital last night? They’ve put a call into Braden to meet us at the club with a signed warrant. Diego said that is where they would be ready to raid with us. We’re not supposed to go in till he’s there it could jeopardize their entire case with the Madden family.” Devin said looking at Jon and then at Miranda he knew they had to play it by the books and that was exactly what they were going to do.

He got silent about Tamara’s overdose what number was this for his friend and Dylan of all people? He’d lost count over the years some she was clean others she was not and if anything he felt sad for those involved this time. Dylan was heading into high school he was going to be a teenager meaning this had to be eating him up inside. It was hard enough to be a kid at his age but having to deal with a parent that was an addict on top of that had to be extra tough. He shook his head knowing that with the silence in the car Miranda and Jon were thinking it too. Jon was Dylan’s godfather and Miranda was practically his surrogate aunt.

“When all this shit from today settles we should go check on Dylan.” Devin said looking out the window while Jon drove a feeling settling over him that after today nothing was going to be the same.

“Man hasn’t that kid been through enough. Drugs constantly on the streets because of guys like Kendrick and Ronan. Then innocent people like Dylan pay the price. Man if we can nail Kendrick then maybe we can flip him on Ronan. Get his entire operation down.” Jon said looking at them. As he saw Devin getting back on the phone he felt his heart beating as he saw them nodding. “That’s it.” He turned on the sirens and flew down the street toward Club XES. Turning the corner he began to feel like his chest was tightening. This was the last step to finally getting his hands on not just Kendrick but the drug trade in Atlas Falls.

“If something happened to Yasmine and Jamal is safe and fine man. That kid privilege after all he’s done. I know that’s your cousin but how fair is he about to get this plea deal after he’s just as guilty as that girl. If anything Selina should have been setting them both up.” Jon looked at Miranda. “This isn’t your fault you know that right. You won’t lose her like KC you hear me?”

Miranda knew that Jon was right it wasn’t her fault but she felt like it was if she hadn’t of asked Yasmine to spy and turn none of this would have happened. If she hadn’t of used Yasmine and reported back to the feds none of this would have happened. If she would have taken an extra shift or something at the club Yasmine would be safe, the only thing she did know was that Jon was right about Jamal. Selina should have reached out to help Yasmine to instead of just letting her brother off free instead she had left that up to Braden who thank God was noble and cared about Yasmine’s case. As they approached the club she saw the cars were gone except Yasmine’s and she saw Diego get out of his car. Weapons drawn she saw Jon and Devin do the same, vests on and the anxiety ran through her. In all the years she’d been on a case this was the first time she was front and center going in.

Devin checked his weapon and his vest before doing the same to Miranda getting a glare from her as he watched Jon do the same along with Diego. He saw Braden’s car pull up and he stepped out looking ragged and worn out no doubt from the hospital the night before and he did hate to bother him. He saw Braden hand Diego the paperwork and as the FBI officer approached them he loaded his weapon as the other units did the same.

“Let’s go.” Diego said leading the charge into the club.

It looked like any other club they had raided erotic pictures on the wall, dimly lit rooms and ambiance lighting on the stage and the booths. It also was chaos once his agents and the AFPD got inside everything was being searched there was no sign of anyone left. He saw Jon, Devin and Miranda go down to Philip and Cassie Montgomery’s office and hoped they found something while some of his men went to the security tapes and hard drives. He stepped towards the broken table in the room and bent down the smell getting to him, too fresh to clean.

Miranda followed her brother and Devin down the hallway to the offices remembering the nights she had walked this very hallway. Remembering where all the money was inside, where the drugs were kept from that one time she had witnessed Kendrick inside of the office with Yasmine when they opened the door though. Nothing just Philip’s manicured desk. A sinking feeling came over her as she looked at Jon.

“They were here I swear it.” Miranda said knowing now the raid was a disappointment and she only hoped they at least got the footage. She heard her brother’s phone buzz and she looked at him. “Please tell me that is Diego at least telling us he got the security footage otherwise this is a bust and another dead end.”

Jon turned around and nodded his head at the team to head upstairs. Something was not right it smelled of bleach and cleaners. As he swiftly saw them recovering camera footage and on the computer. They were here she was correct somehow they had to be tipped off to the warrant. Putting his gun in the holster he saw the team rushing downstairs. “Kiko what’s on the tapes?”

“Detective last night it seems to be an attack on Ms.Khol and she seems to be assaulted it’s and Kendrick kidnapped her sir.” Kiko blurted out as she folded her arms. She was shaking as she looked at Jon. Kiko was a new detective and the way they assaulted​ that young woman. “We have to capture him.” Opening the mini DVD player she showed him what they did and it cut out. There was no audio so they weren’t able to hear anything.

Jon watched as Miranda, Devin, and Diego crowd around the small screen. Biting his lip he watched Yasmine struggle against the the men. It cut out just as Kendrick killed Lorenzo AKA Loco. Shaking his head he looked Miranda. “Diego can we get a APB out on Kendrick and his entire crew.” He could feel Miranda fear for Yasmine rising. Hell that girl was either dead or being tortured. What was the big play? What was Kendrick after? A fresh start because he knew that everything was going to crumble around him. “We need to start thinking like Kendrick and get his face all over the media. I don’t want that man to take a piss thinking he’s getting out of Atlas Falls.”


Max walked through the front door of the mansion intent on one thing today arming herself, she had dug more on the box. A close connection of hers at one of the local jewelry stores telling her that the box had come from them and it wasn’t a gift from Philip to Veronica. Not it was a gift from Forbes to Veronica and that made her even more uncomfortable. Forbes Montgomery was a name never mentioned in her parents house it was why her affair with Philip was frowned upon in the first place. Why would Forbes gift Veronica a jewelry box and why would in God’s name would Philip be keeping it locked in his place? It made her hair stand up on end especially when he had lost his temper with her about it the other night. She normally wasn’t one to fear anything but ever since then she’d been looking over her shoulder left and right and she knew that her father kept a gun in the safe. She could just borrow it for a few days and if things got bad again she’d have it just in case, checking with the maid that her father was with her mother so she had time as she went to the office.

Her father’s office hadn’t changed in the last few years it had stayed the same perhaps maybe the desk had moved around a few times but everything else was the same. Rich painting covered the walls, a lovely crystal barware set in the corner with his illegal cigars. Right behind the painted portrait of her parents though was the safe. Few people had access to it only her parents and siblings no one else, not even the staff she couldn’t remember if Simon did or not maybe. Walking to the painting she pulled it out as it moved on the wall to reveal the safe. The safe that held all their documents from birth records, business deals and she’d seen it in there a handgun. She had never asked what it was doing in there, she never had a need to know. All that she did know was it was in there and placing her finger down on the pad for it to scan she felt her heart racing in her chest. Once the heavy metal door swung open and the safe light went on she looked through the papers.

Seeing the original DGI contract that Walter signed she had to smirk there was no need to have it in the safe but she got why her father kept it there a reminder that he was smarter. There was of course records on each of the children from Chauncey all the way down to Rory. Her fingers stopped on the file for Bliss and she wanted to know if her father knew about Dimitri at all and if he did why he didn’t stop it seeing the metal of the gun out of the corner of her eye her focus went back to that. Reaching up on her toes as her fingers cane in contact with the cold steel she noticed how much more it weighed in her hand. Hearing the office door open though she shoved the gun into her purse and shuffled through the papers. Turning around to come face to face with her father.

“Daddy! I didn’t hear you come in Dominique said you with mom and I didn’t want to disturb you.” Max said forcing her heart rate to calm down while her father looked at her and then at the open safe. She shrugged just slightly and could tell that he wasn’t pleased she was in it and put on the best face she could. “I was looking for a copy of my birth certificate the lawyers need it for my divorce from Hunter and I seemed to have lost the copy you guys gave me. Rather silly that they need it but I guess in order to prove who I say I when we meet to finalize things that should be enough.”

“I don’t believe you two are really calling it quits.” Lowell said sadly seeing how Max was clearly dealing with more issues than he knew. As he folded his arm walking to the safe he closed it wondering if Max was sure giving up her marriage was the correct move. Hell it wasn’t an option to get back with Hunter after all Bliss and he were a couple now. That must have stung his eldest daughter as he walked to his desk he sat down. “Sit Maximilla.” He stated as he crossed his arms. “Max I have spent a lifetime making mistakes with my wife. Your mother stood by me forever through it all I guess sometimes I took advantage. You did the same with Hunter sometimes people can’t get over the betrayal and I know you are over him. I guess what I’m saying for my special girl I want nothing more than for you to be happy. For all you put up with me this year. I know Bliss wasn’t ideal after all she did come into our family gunning for her position. I don’t know why but I do know Max that you loss from her arrival.” Lowell said honestly saying what he knew Max needed.

“Your and Jackson’s birth was the happiest day I can remember for me and Jackie. You two were special instantly and you especially held a place in my heart. From the jump I could tell you two were my daughter. I saw the mischievous glimmer in your eyes and Jackson had Jackie’s eyes. You and Chauncey are my children and I just want you to find your happiness. After all my dear you deserve your Lowell Devonshire. My daughter deserves the world both of them do and if you choose to be divorced, I’m behind you.” Smiling he looked at her. “I do have to ask you something Max. Forbes was last seen in Argentina with his new wife sailing and I just need you to tell me something. Does Phillip ever bring him up? That man Max isn’t sane and has been jealous of me since… Audrey I feel like we have a relationship where I can be real with you. I made plenty of mistakes but being in bed with Forbes was the worst mistake. I want you to know he’s dangerous and that makes Phillip just as dangerous. Understand beautiful that Forbes is going to use your relationship with Montgomery to his advantage.”

Max sat down in the chair when her father told her to holding her purse close to her body, her heart was beating like a hammer in her chest watching him close it behind her. She could see how her divorce from Hunter had deeply upsest her parents but she had to wonder sometimes if they had been better off divorced too. It wasn’t like it was a hidden secret all the rumors of the affairs that their father had on their mother, hell Bliss was living proof of one and she often at times wondered if she and Chauncey would ever be happy with normal marriage. She did want to be happy and sometimes she felt like she could be happy with Philip and other times she felt like they were poison for each other. Plus with the locked jewelry box he had  it felt like he was harboring something even deeper from her and looking at her father she nodded her head at him.

“To tell you the truth I did feel like that when Bliss arrived like she was trying to take over my life with all my siblings and most importantly you. It’s always been us daddy, you’ve always been there for me, gave me whatever I demanded or wanted, spoiled me as your only daughter. I suddenly wasn’t that too you the only daughter and that hurt it’s taken me time to get over that.” Max said she hadn’t really confessed that to anyone lately how she had felt about Bliss and her arrival. How she felt about everything for the last year. “This is what is best for everyone in loved me, Bliss and Hunter. I know that upsets you and mother and for that I am sorry. As for Audrey it’s just gossip isn’t it what happened with you and her? Forbes from what I know hasn’t been in contact with Philip for a while.” Max said her interest peaked honestly she had been wondering about her father and Audrey for quite a while now ever since that bitch Tess put it into her head.

“The past is the past and I truly don’t want to dive into the past with my eldest daughter. Look you will always be my first born little girl. The place that you have in my heart Max is irreplaceable do you understand that? I love Bliss just like you but you were my first daughter. Don’t ever forget that because of you I learned what true love was. I was selfish and I hurt your mother gravely. Bliss and my constant affair with Tess was the biggest mistake of my life. I am grateful for Bliss but Tess and my other lovers weren’t good. I let you and Chauncey believe that this is normal. That this deplorable behavior was love and how love goes. I don’t apologize for much but showing Chauncey all those women and how I behaved. I did horrible things you understand, but what I did to Audrey will haunt me.” Getting up he walked to his wetbar and quickly poured a drink.

Guzzling down the bourbon he lowered his head. “I don’t approve of Philip he’s a dangerous my dear. I don’t want you to get sucked into my feud with Forbes. You must understand this isn’t anything like Walter and myself he’s dangerous. You must understand me that if he isn’t using you his father will make him. His father will absolutely make him. People have called me a monster but Forbes is a different animal. For what I did to him, I am and you are always in danger. I ruined Forbes life in many different ways and the man has clawed back from obscurity and found a fortune again. He’s a fucking cockroach and for some reason no matter how many times I step on him. He comes back all the time.” He said sitting a glass in front of Max. “Protect your heart my dear. Every word that he could be saying could be a lie. Love isn’t that grand when you’re out for revenge. I mean look how far you kids will go for my approval.”

Max watched her father as she looked over him and then ignored everything she had asked about Audrey which made her even more curious. The rumors she remembered manifested in highschool people gossiped about how her father was fucking Audrey behind her mother’s back. They intensified after Audrey’s suicide and she had always assumed they were just that rumors until now. It was clear that Audrey was something that still haunted her father after all the affairs he had she knew that Bliss and Tess had to be big but for Audrey to be bigger was something that intrigued her. “I know that you and mom always tried to hide stuff from us but I think me and Chauncey caught on more heck Jackson too. I guess when we were younger we thought it was alright you know and that is probably the reason things went down with Hunter like they did. But when I got older dad I knew it was wrong yet I did it anyway all those times with Hunter not just with Philip, because it was thrilling and felt good. The thrill, I could blame you for that but it was my choices.”

“I know you don’t approve of Philip but I figured if you could suck it up and accept Bliss with Hunter or Rory with the stripper and Jackson with Dani you could make an exception for your oldest daughter when you look at it between all those is Philip really the end of the world? I doubt Philip would want to go down that path with me using me he had to know what he was getting into bed with me.” Max said watching the amusement on her father’s face when she mentioned all the romantic entanglements with her siblings, she could do worse she could be involved with a male stripper or Walter’s spawn or hell she could be with her sister’s ex. She knew to watch her back with Philip hence why she was taking the gun just in case but she felt a chill go into her when he mentioned Forbes. Forbes was probably ten times more dangerous and to her knowledge he hadn’t been involved with her and Philip yet. “Was it like that with mother? You telling her lies to get her to stay perhaps that is why we seek your approval so much. Why we all lie to those we really care about sometimes. I’ve guarded my heart with Philip if that is what you are worried about.”

Lowell sat in amusement watching his eldest daughter spin a tale out of her siblings relationship. He smiled as he listened to her rational about her relationship with Philip. “Max my love for your mother is boundless and what I want to tell you if Jacqueline isn’t a fool. She knew who she married and how far I would go. I am a lot of things but my love for Jackie is what keeps me human. Even when your mother deserved better than being in a token relationship Max. She stayed in the depth of my very own betrayal, I also think Bliss represents my worst because she a walking betrayal. The irony is Jackie has so much love for me she’s falling for my daughter. What you need to question is Philip the person that makes you check that beast inside of yourself. Or does he make it grow uncontrollable?” Lowell leaned over and grabbed his daughter hand. “Tess brings out the worst in me. If you see you can’t be your best or someone brings out the ugly well you see what happens.”

“Max I want to do this for you all to come together and I push you all to greatness. One day I won’t be here and one of you will be CEO. I need you all to open up and be ready Max. My stomach tells me something is coming and it is going to rock us all. Max I need you to stand tall with your siblings. All of you are special but that can’t happen if this war with Bliss continues. She set up a meeting with me and Hunter. No doubt asking for my blessing which I will give. Out of curiosity if I approve of that union and I approve of that toxic Montgomery boy. Will you two begin to work together? I need you all my children, my warriors.” Lowell knew his illness would have him incapable of being in power. Years of ignoring tremors and his eye twitching had caught up. “I am not immortal and when I do die so many people will be out for our legacy. Never let them take it because you are a Devonshire. A spawn of greatness and power only Kings and Queens have. Don’t forget it.”

Max had never thought about it the way her father was presenting things to her about her mother or his marriage to her. She was sure gossip about how weak her mother was for staying with her father had been hard, honestly she had never asked about why with her mother and to hear it from her father did get her mind curious and whirling. “Mother is pretty amazing, I honestly don’t know if I could be her if I had a situation like Bliss.” Max said inwardly part of the problem she had and was still having was how everyone fawned over Bliss including her mother, she understood that Bliss had been through alot but that the fear of Bliss taking her place with her mother did shake her still. “I don’t know if Philip is that honestly.”

Max looked at her father taking in his features for what seemed like an eternity he looked worn down was a good word for it, ragged perhaps. Likely work was keeping him up longer, he was still trying to do so much at the company even though all his children were working there. She hated Tess, really she hated every woman her father ever had an affair with but she got what he was saying about the darkness of those things too. All of them had something dark about them a side that was very ugly and maybe that was why she hadn’t decided with Philip he was one of the few that saw both sides. Squeezing his hand she got up from the chair kissing his cheek and she placed her purse on her shoulder.

“If you can approve of Philip and swallow your pride enough for that then yes Bliss and I can work together. I don’t think your children are going anywhere father look at us. Chauncey just got those defense contracts, the Sandstar deal is closed, my line is coming out and Rory is working on his app. We are going through a time of growth we’ll all still be here in the end.” Max said looking at him he wasn’t going anywhere that was what she knew. Her father was strong and took on some of the best opponents in business, people feared him. “You have time to decide who you want to run the company even if mother thinks you should retire.”

“Time.” Lowell stood up looking at the skyline of Atlas Falls and took a deep breath in as tears pooled in his eyes. Life was tricky and he had gambled and lost with his very own mortality. He walked to Max and kissed her forehead pulling her into an impromptu embrace. “Max somethings our  power and money can’t fix or stop my love. I need you all to just be ready if we are truly under attack then we will have to do anything. I built an empire on my reputation as ruthless I expect nothing else from you kids. I just wish you quit eating each other and focus on the real task at hand.” He let her go as he looked at the clock. “Your mother is waiting on me we are supposed to be meeting Tony and Ophelia.” Walking back to his chair Lowell felt winded for the first time.

“I’m proud of you Maximillia you are special to me. My first girl and the only one who I went to father and daughter dances with. You are my spitting image rebellious and free spirited. Tough but kid be careful with the love game. It cheats and when you least expect it love betrays you. Do you hear me? Love or whatever it is with this Montgomery kid understand it will be tested in the worst ways when Forbes shows his face.” Taking his coat he slipped it on and then took Max’s arm. “Walk me out huh? To the limo and I want you and I to schedule time like this every week. No matter what we set aside this time.”

Max watched as her father got ready to head out for time with her mother, Tony and Ophelia the faint smile on his face. She had always admired that about him the way he carried himself in the office and at home she supposed it was something she and her siblings had come to admire about how they proceeded at work. Thinking about DGI though and the legacy that her father was one day going to leave them she couldn’t help but wear that with a sense of pride as they walked out the door waving to the secretary on the way out. She waited at the lobby while they scanned their badges on the way out and glanced back at the marble filled lobby, the future was awaiting her and the rest of her siblings and now they just had to grab a hold of it and take it.

“Of course I’ll make sure it is arranged.” Max felt her phone ring and looked at the text from Philip before placing it back into her pocket and focusing back in on her father. She didn’t ask anymore for now out of him in fact her mind was back on the gun tucked into her purse. It was for protection nothing more or nothing less than that, her secret the gun would be returned as soon as she found out what was inside the jewelry box. “Do tell mother I said hello. Tony and Ophelia too. I have to get running don’t work to hard and enjoy the rest of the day.” Kissing him on the cheek one more time she stepped back as the car speed away. She took a deep breath knowing that the gun was going to wrack her nerves until she knew about the box, taking her keys out she walked to the garage to get her car.


Rolling over Dani opened her eyes expecting to see Jackson there, he was there earlier before his phone had rang and Rory had interrupted them. She  was trying to stay awake to go over what she heard him say to Rory. Tried to wait it out with him rushing off to help Rory, it worked for a bit before she began staring at her ring waiting for him to come back and instead she drifted off to sleep again. The night before had been intense was a good way to describe it and it felt like they were closer again now that she had told him everything with Lex. Reaching over to his side of the bed it was cold meaning he was long gone and hadn’t come back yet. She couldn’t help but sigh before rolling back on her back. They had a lot of stuff to talk about and she tried to not let him ditching her to go with Rory get to her even though the worry about it was starting to creep in. Shaking her head she pushed it aside she had a lot to look forward to with them now.

Sitting up in bed drawing the sheets around her she couldn’t help the smile they’d be okay she decided last night. Plus she was excited about marrying him and doing all the plans they had already discussed reaching for her robe she put it on before going to the bathroom and turning on the shower. Pinning her hair up as she turned on the radio ignoring her stomach growling, she’d eat afterwards. She let the steam fill the room while she enjoyed the spray before finishing up with washing her body and then wrapping her towel around her and getting dressed. With it being the weekend she put on the most relaxing clothes she could find that still fit. She could swear as she slipped the sweater over her her leggings and head she heard a door open and close downstairs meaning Jackson was back now. Walking to the bedroom she looked at her phone to check for any new messages about Tamara before deciding to let it finish charging. She’d stop by the hospital after breakfast. Walking down the stairs she smiled.

“I’m glad you’re back. I’m thinking spring wedding I want to still fit into something.” Dani said expecting to see him in the bottom floor only to look around confused he wasn’t there.

She’d heard a door open and close she knew she did and walking into the kitchen she smiled looking at the damn island before going to the sink to get some water. Reaching up into the cabinet that is when she heard it again footsteps behind her she went to speak to Jackson only to feel something completely different when she felt something cold press against her skull. Everything inside of her went cold as the glass dropped from her hand and she watched it shatter in the sink, her eyes looking back at a man in the window. Did she set her security alarm last night when Jackson came over? Her hands trembled against the sink and she heard more footsteps upstairs and down the hallway she went to turn her head and the man instead pressed the gun against her skull. Closing her eyes she willed the tears back.

“I don’t think so Ms. Fraiser you just stay right there. Me and my boys will be gone soon.” Kendrick said.

His heart racing she wasn’t supposed to be there when his men had followed Jackson back here they never said anything about a woman being inside. His men had seen Jackson come that night parking in the garage and then Jackson left without the bag he came in with. He had assumed that Jackson lived there alone and when they broke in to see otherwise it was too late. It took him a few moments looking at the pictures on the walls to put together just whose house they were in. The district attorney’s sister and the new mayor’s daughter. He just wanted the drugs and so far they hadn’t found them anywhere. Braden Fraiser had been a pain in his ass and the organizations for years, he had treated Gina’s case like an annoyance at best when he was the assistant district attorney.

Was she being robbed? She had jewelry upstairs and her mind raced looking at the ring it had to be worth a shit ton of money this guy could take it and leave. Her mind raced wondering why she left her phone upstairs when she desperately needed it right now. Why were they inside of her home what did they want? A sick feeling overcame her what if they wanted something other than money. Her eyes darted to the land line that was on the other end of the kitchen while she felt the gun pressing into her skull.

“They aren’t up here boss!” A voice called from upstairs.

It seemed enough to distract the man pointing a gun at her head and instinct kicked in with her placing her foot as hard as she could on his and then elbowing him, years of self defense that every male in her family insisted she take kicking in. Turning to face him her right fist collided as hard as it could against his face and she was pretty sure her fist would feel it later as she turned seeing him still catching his breath to make a run for it. Her gun was in her office down the hallway off the kitchen, locked in her safe only to use in emergencies. Feeling the tears falling down her face she willed herself to not stop or look back only to have her foot caught behind her. Sending her flying to the ground, her hands bracing herself for the fall. Her feet kicking at the man with the gun absolutely not, she had no idea who he was or what he wanted but this was not happening. Crawling while he kept grabbing her, she kicked him as hard as she could pretty sure she got his face when he screamed.


Scrambling to her feet she heard the footsteps upstairs went to move only for the man to grab her shoulders slamming her into the wall. He had a look on his face that she could only describe as intimidation and she struggled against his hold while she stared at his bloody nose. His hand came up to her mouth and scratching at his face when he attempted to cover her mouth she screamed as loud as she could and then bit his hand. She looked at him defiantly as his backhand collided with her face and she let out sob before he placed the gun against her temple. Her ears were ringing from the backhand, her face stinging as she glared at him and she was pretty sure she tasted blood on her lip with the tears.

“Where are they?” Kendrick asked seeing Rocky come down the stairs his hands full of jewelry and he wiped at his nose. Bitch had a mean hook she was putting up a good fight and seeing her clam up at him while the tears flowed from her face. Rocky approached him picking up the vitamins he found near the sink and part of him felt sick she was pregnant. Images of Gina and their child flashed in his mind before he shook his head he had to stay focused on business right now. “I won’t ask you again where are they?”

“What you are talking about? Do you know who I am? Do you know who my father is or my brother? Hell my cousin for that matter?” Dani said defiantly feeling her legs shaking everything was shaking and she was trying to remain calm. Stress was not good for the baby and her mind raced to the child inside of her. She couldn’t lose it, where was Jackson? “If you want money take it and go, take my jewelry and my ring and go.”

“Don’t play games with me little girl.” Kendrick said her attitude pissing him off and before he knew what was going on his hand went to her throat seeing her eyes get wide as she struggled to breath. He’d kill her for them if he had too. “Where are they? The drugs.”

Dani gasped for air feeling him pressing on her throat and her hands reached out to try and force him off, tears flew down her face and if her throat hadn’t been trapped she would be sobbing. Drugs what the fuck was going on? Her mind raced who in the hell was he and then that is when she put it together she’d seen him before back in high school. Kendrick something, he had gotten in with the gangs and mob last she heard. She shook her head feeling him finally release her only when the other man made him. She let out a sob feeling her legs giving way only he pinned her with his body against the wall. She’d been pinned before with Jackson but this was different, way different. With Jackson it was intimate it was how they expressed themselves with sex and love. This felt fearful and violating and she only prayed he didn’t rape her at this point. His hands on her body touching her made her physically ill at the thought and she shook her head at him fighting back another sob.

“The drugs! The drugs that the rich ass boyfriend  of yours Jackson, took from my club. Where are they?” Kendrick repeated not sure if he believed her or not and then he saw the utter horror and surprise pass on her face.

Dani looked at him horrified what in the hell was he talking about? Jackson was clean he told her he hadn’t used regularly in months and she believed him. It made no sense why he would even go to the club and then it hit her if Kendrick was telling the truth that meant he went there before coming over the night before. Before they talked about Lex, before he proposed and before they made love a few feet away in the kitchen. If it was true she wasn’t sure they could come back from that him bringing drugs into her house. After he knew how she felt about him using or being around them being betrayed by Jackson in that way she felt physically sick. Her stomach clenching as she shook her head, tears streaming down her face while she pleaded with him.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about I swear it. Please let me go. My baby, please.” She couldn’t stop the shaking or the tears, as she watched him weighing his options with her. Her words jumbling into incoherent sobs and gasps. The next thing she knew she saw his hand raise and the end of the gun come down against her head sending everything black.

Kendrick lowered his gun looking at her before stepping back letting her body slump to the floor as he looked at Rocky he didn’t know what to believe and he knew that she’d seen too much now. Her words coming back to him once people knew what happened here there would be a man hunt on for him. Rocky looked unsure and he barked out his orders at him.

“Tear this fucking house apart top to bottom I want my drugs.” Kendrick said looking at Rocky and then back at Dani.

“What about her?”

“Put her in the car she’s seen too much and if Jackson needs incentive to bring me what is mine she’ll do. Take her to where Yasmine is.” Kendrick said placing his gun back in his belt loop as he watched Rocky take off the ring from her finger to add to his goods.

Slamming his hands on the wall in the hallway as Rocky carried her out of the house he looked frantically around the house. This was never supposed to happen this way easy in and out job. Looking at his reflection in the mirror he swore he saw a man torn there sickened at what was happening, disappointed in who he was and had become. Yasmine was right Gina would be rolling over in her grave biting back bitter tears he slammed his hand against it not liking what he saw a pussy. No he was man and in charge now and what did Ronan always say? If you wanted to be the man you led like a man even if you disagreed with the methods. Walking to the door he left broken lock open and all knowing he had one goal. Get the drugs back no matter the cost.


Miranda was pretty sure she was on her fourth cup of coffee at this point going over all the security footage on the computer. Jon and Devin doing the same Diego was on his phone getting more warrants for more locations outside the club. They finally got a few of the private rooms an hour ago meaning they had brand new footage to go over thank god everything else was a dead end. She still hadn’t heard from Yasmine yet and the more hours she went without hearing from Yasmine the more worried she became for her safety. Rolling her shoulders she looked over at Jon and Devin they were both engrossed in work and looking at security footage and she was glad they listened to her earlier. Something was wrong she felt it and her father always told her as a cop and a kid to follow her gut. Instincts were something that some people had and others didn’t she always had them though.

Turning her eyes back to the screen from the main door something caught her eyes, more like someone and she watched as Jackson walked into the club noting the time on a notepad. There was no sound and when he went to Yasmine, she nearly broke the pen she was holding was this going to be a repeat Lex situation because she swore to God. When they moved out of view she went down the list seeing them walk down the hallway to the private lounge rooms. Score she knew which one it was and quickly pulled up the footage matching the time stamps. Her eyes got wide as she watched Yasmine pull out a bag under the couch, she was pretty sure they were arguing and then Yasmine opened the bag she paused the footage.

“Jon, Devin you are both going to want to see this and can one of you pull up footage of when Yasmine arrived last night for her shift?” Miranda said she saw Devin look at her and nod as she watched Jon approach the screen. She waited a few moments before pressing play again and saw Yasmine hand the bag of drugs over to Jackson, they hugged and he walked out the back. Her body froze as she watched her brother quickly losing his cool. “You don’t think he’d take them if he and Dani were going to get together last night do you?” Her eyes turned their attention back to the footage and saw Kendrick arrive to the room with Yasmine.

Devin looked over at the footage before turning back to what he was looking at watching the strippers come in and out of the club. He saw Yasmine’s car finally pull up and then looked at the bag on her shoulder it was a match to the one that Jackson took. The one that was full of drugs marking the time stamp down his stomach sank and then he looked over at Jon and Miranda. Jon was trying to keep his shit together and then he saw Miranda’s frantic eyes on Kendrick and Yasmine in the footage and his own heart started to race. Turning back to the footage he looked over at Miranda.

“What time was she supposed to get off last night?” Devin asked pulling up the footage inside the main club area.

“Three. She didn’t call or text though hence why I came straight here after seeing her car and everything in the parking lot. I was the one that promised she would be safe.”

Miranda felt Devin scoot her seat over took a look up at her big brother his face burning with a shit ton of rage still as they all looked at the footage from the end of the shift last night. The club was bare no one was there and when she saw Yasmine come out the back for the trap that was sprung for her she gripped the pen in her hands. She watched as Kendrick and her argued and then she was pretty sure she felt stomach bile rise as Kendrick let his men almost rape Yasmine and she had to run her head away. She was shaking and then they saw the flash of a handgun her head turned back to the screen watching the man fall over Yasmine inside. She recognized him one of Kendrick’s goons Loco was what they called him. She watched in horror as the hood was placed over Yasmine’s head and as the men led her out the back door.

Jon instantly became enraged as he watched Jackson take the drugs. His heart started to pound thinking if Dani was pulled into this mess. Jackson was careless and if Kendrick knew he had the drugs well it was over. Jon wouldn’t sleep until that junkie Jackson was finally out of his friend life. He placed her directly in the line of fire. When he watched Kendrick men basically violate that young girl he shook in rage. “This guy is a monster aren’t they supposed to be like family?” He asked irritated looking at Miranda. Watching further his heart sank as Yasmine screamed when he shots​ Loco. His eyes teared up seeing men dragging that poor girl out. He hated women being violated and this was the most sadistic shit he’d seen. Looking at Miranda he saw she was beating herself up. “Sis it’s not your fault okay? We are going to find this girl. Do you hear me? KC died because of Ronan this is our shot okay. We get Kendrick we get Ronan.” Jon looked at Devin and felt uncertain if Yasmine would be found alive.

“Have we contacted all the informants? Where is Kendrick hiding the man can’t be underground so where is he. We need the helicopters and shut this fucking city down. I want roadblocks all over. Petty bust the junkies will talk along with some low level punks scared of being done in the butt.” Jon said screaming at the uniforms. “Let’s go ladies and gentlemen please a girl life depends on it.” Jon was looking around where was Gideon? “Miranda think anything you can remember that can.” Jon paused seeing Jackson and Rory Devonshire enter the station. “You have to be fucking punking me. You are the reason this girl is missing and you have the audacity to show up here?”

Jackson looked at Jon and then at his brother. Screw Jon and his obvious bitterness that Dani wanted him, seeing his brother’s face was enough to crack. “Look back the fuck off of me we are here to report Yasmine Kohl missing and I have some information important to the case so if you want to talk then I suggest you get the fuck out of my face understood little drummer boy?”

Rory looked at Jon and then at Jackson what in the hell was going on, Jackson’s entire demeanor had changed once they reached the station. They looked everywhere for Yasmine and with no leads they eventually landed back here. Why did Jon think that Jackson was behind why Yasmine was missing and why were the rest of the cops looking at them the same. He looked between his brother and Jon prepared to jump in if he had to but they were here for Yasmine not their egos. “Listen we are just here to file a report on Yasmine alright? I haven’t heard from her in almost twenty four hours she never does that. Can’t you both set as side whatever it is between you to do that?”

Miranda tried to keep her own anger in check when Jackson showed up, she had no idea where he took the drugs once he left the club. She doubted that he wanted his new perfect image tainted by the little drug secret and it was obvious that Rory didn’t know. She got that Jon was upset because she didn’t even want to think about if Jackson had involved Dani in this entire mess. Stepping to her brother, Jackson and Rory she glared at Jackson. “Let’s go ahead and take your statements then Rory first then Jackson.” Miranda said gesturing to the hallway and then she looked at Jon. “Please send a unit to get Trisha and tell her to come down I want to make sure she is safe.”

“Listen I can’t tell you but I can inform Trisha and if she chooses to tell you what’s going on in the investigation then. Look Jackson come over here and I’ll take your statement.” Jon said looking at Miranda. He walked into the back room with Jackson and Rory. “Miranda call the Russians maybe they have some ideas.”

Miranda watched them walk down the hallway her hand on her hip as she took a deep breath hopefully no one killed each other in the room. She looked over at Devin and she could tell he was thinking the same thing she was. She hoped that her brother wasn’t going to get hot headed. “Put in that call to Trisha. I’ll go make sure no one kills anyone.”

Rory looked over at his brother and then at Jon he didn’t know what the hell was going on but he knew that the most important thing was getting Yasmine home safe. No matter where she was and that is what worried him the most had Ronan got her from behind bars? Would Kendrick hurt her or worse? She never went this long without texting him period or talking to him and given what happened at the club when Kendrick’s men gave him a beat down he was rattled. He tried to not think about the bad things in his mind especially how his brother could possible be involved.


Kendrick took the phone making sure to get a few snap shoots, making sure to get the bruises in them as Rocky made sure Dani didn’t bite them again. Her hands zip tied behind her seated right next to Yasmine in the room and he knew that this was his last resort they couldn’t find the drugs. They both looked scared and they should be at this point their knights didn’t pay up he had no problem dumping bodies into the lake or a ditch somewhere to send a message. He motioned for Rocky to close the door behind them casting the girls back into the dim lit room and then typed in the number he had gotten from Dani’s phone it took a little coaxing promises of freedom a little intimidation but she had caved. Hitting send on the pictures he waited a few minutes lighting up a blunt hopefully they would scare the rich ass fool enough to tell him where the fuck they were. If not he didn’t like to think about the alternatives he took a drag before hitting dial waiting for the phone to answer and by the third ring he heard Jackson pick up.

“I see the present I sent you got your attention. You and your little friend Yasmine thought you could fuck around with me? She’s a fighter you know I can see why you like that in her. I’ve been tempted to let Rocky have a go at her see just how good that fighting can be.” Kendrick said his voice low and ice cold and for a moment he had to imagine the other man’s face the horror passing over it and he let out a laugh. He exhaled and took another hit letting everything sink in before he spoke again. “Who did you think you were playing with? Daddies corporate people? Don’t be such a pussy Jackson it’s really not becoming at this point. Is your little brother with you too? She’s alive for now but you, you have something I want back where are they?”

His heart stopped as he dropped the coffee cup in his hand. What had he done? Jackson entire body felt numb when he said that Rocky would attack her. What had he done? This was supposed to be simple. Jamal, and Yasmine’s freedom for these drugs. Drugs that anchored him in a world he had escaped. He was trying to be a good brother, he was trying to be a hero, and he was trying to do better than before. Somehow this all backfired and his pregnant fiancee was now captured by Kendrick. AFPD most wanted man which disturbed him to no end. What was the game plan? What was his goal of terrorizing women? What type of gangsters only hurt women?

“My brother is right here, yes.” Jackson watched Jon, Devin, and Miranda crowd around him. “I need you to let me speak with Dani. I have your drugs Kendrick but I need you to let me hear she is safe. That woman is carrying my baby. Yasmine told me once that you were going to be a father please don’t hurt them. You want the drugs man I can get them to you right now. Plus a little more, I’m richer than God himself but I’m praying right now he shows mercy. Just please I need to talk to her and Rory needs to hear Yasmine. And how about a cool ten million that’s petty money for me right along with the drugs. If you cut the coke right man that sounds like twenty million dollars to me.” Jackson saw Jon fuming. He stepped back. “I have to hear they are alright to play ball Kendrick.”

“Nah I don’t think so you haven’t earned that yet besides she has a habit of biting when we take the gag off. I am sure you are worried about her and that unborn child of yours just where I want you. Don’t tempt me to put a bullet inside of her you see their blood would be on your hands then. Does Rory know yet? That this is all your fault you should have just said no.” Kendrick said the concern in Jackson’s voice almost made him feel bad for what he was doing. Almost it wasn’t enough though to make him just play nice just yet he had all the power at the moment and that was vital to get what he wanted. Opening the door to the room he motioned to Rocky to remove the gags while he placed the phone on speaker. “Aw I bet he doesn’t know. How you came into the club, you know she tried to lie to me you know? That you wanted a lap dance from her.”

“I remember those days don’t you Jackson? You’d come all up into the club score a line or two take one of those lovely girls to the back? How many at a time was it? You tired to change yourself didn’t you but we both know that a cat like you can’t change. I miss those days when we had an amicable relationship.” Kendrick said looking at the disgust on Dani’s face and Yasmine giving him the side eye. He took the joint in his hand and took a drag as he nodded to Rocky to undo the gags for now he was willing to entertain the idea. He’d seen Ronan torture men before for information to get what he wanted and often emotional torture worked best. He nodded to Rocky and another man to keep the guns on the girls just in case funny business happened. “I’ll tell you what I’m feeling generous, you can talk to her for a bit. Rory too. She’s here so go ahead. Though I very much so doubt that image you’ve been building up with her is going to ever be the same now.”

“I have changed Kendrick and it was stupid of me to be pulled back into all of this.” Jackson said looking directly into Jon eye’s. The look that the man was giving him showed it all. His heart sunk. How could he do this to his fiance? Couldn’t someone trace this call or something. They did it all the time on CSI. He took a deep breath as he looked at his brother. “We just want the girls home safely. I just offered you ten million dollars I think you can respect that. Men like us know money makes the world go around. With the police looking for you that type of money could get you out of the country. I want to help and if you let me help you by giving my girl back and Yasmine. I assure you that I’ll do whatever it takes to help you.” His voice trembled a little knowing that Dani could hear him. “I’m sorry baby and I love you okay? Our child will be okay. You’re going to be home soon okay?”

Yasmine felt the fabric brush off her mouth. As she looked at Dani who had a gun pointed at her head. She took a deep gulp and saw the girl crying. This life they were living wasn’t for her. She knew that better than anyone. After all she didn’t want this. “Rory?” She said her voice above a tremble. “Jackson? She’s alright just scared okay? Get to Jamal he has all the drugs. He has them and we can go home. Kendrick will let us go.”

“Yasmine how do you know that?” Jackson said looking at Jon wanting to prolong the conversation.

“Because once upon a time he was my brother and protector. He just murked a man for me. Even though it was his fault it was happening. He won’t let anyone hurt me because we love each other. We are a family.” She sniffed as she looked at him. “Or at least we were. Rory thank-you for trying. If anything happens to me I love you and my momma.” She sniffled as the gag went into her mouth.

“He heard you Yasmine.” Jackson said not hearing anything. Looking at his brothers distraught face. “Dani?” He called out.

Dani glared at Kendrick as she stared at the man with a gun to her head, normally she would have put up a fight or said something stupid but her gut was telling her not too. She still was having a hard time adjusting to what was going on Jackson took drugs from Kendrick and brought them to her house, her house where she lived. She didn’t know what he was thinking and at this point she didn’t even know if she cared anymore. She was so angry at him for doing this. “I want to go home. Take the money he’s offering you.” She managed to mumble out she went to say more only to feel the cloth shoved back over her mouth and she shot Kendrick another glare.

“Yasmine it’s going to be alright ok? Jackson is going to Jamal and we’re going to figure this out ok?” Rory said his voice shaking, he saw Jon getting madder every second he stared at his brother. He met Jackson’s eyes he saw the regret in them and genuine fear but part of him was angry at his brother. So angry at him for thinking this was a smart solution to the problem. No the smart thing would have been to call the police or have Yasmine leave the club not play shadow games with Kendrick. “Kendrick please just let them go.”

“I think that was enough talking for now don’t you both agree? Since I ain’t no fool I’m going to go now. They’re both alive, you send the cops in with you to make the exchange I put a bullet in them. I smell or hear of any funny business I do the same. Tell them better luck next time tracing this. You have twenty four hours to call me and have a meeting place.” Kendrick said into the phone hanging up. He stepped back from the girls watching his men lower their weapons, he knew the cops were onto them he wasn’t stupid it was a good move he would have done the same. “You better both hope they come through. Rocky get them at least some food and water, let them clean up too.”

Jackson sat silent as his world started to fly through. His eyes started to water feeling the pressure exploding inside of him. His entire stomach was turning tightly. As he bit down on his lip as he shook his head. “I’m so sorry Rory I thought we were about to save them. I just put my child and fiance in danger. God I’m so sorry Dani.” He said putting his head between his legs as he exhaled feeling like she in danger.

Miranda took in the scene before her Jackson’s guilt, Roy looking like he wanted to punch his brother in the face and her eyes drifted to Jon. Her own eyes started to fill with tears her best friend had gotten drug into this and her hand she realized was shaking. Devin was looking at Jon and she saw her brother’s eyes fill with rage much like they did when he first came home from the war. “Devin call Walter and Braden, and the Delacroix seems like Jamal has been playing all of us. Jesus Christ, Jackson did you even think at all? Jon don’t.” She said to Devin looking at Jackson and then warning her brother.

Rory watched his brother and before he knew what was going on he lunged for him shoving him back. He could feel someone pull him back and looked at Devin. “Really? Stealing Kendrick’s drugs? Do you know what people like him do to people that rip him off? Yasmine would have been fine we would have figured it out. Let me not even start on bringing Dani into this mess for fuck’s sake.” He glared at his brother livid, he was still his brother but he was pissed as hell.

“Stealing? I didn’t fucking steal your girlfriend and our whacked out god-brother did this! I’m clean right now. You can piss test me! I did it because Yasmine begged and she begged me so she could get to you. It was Jamal and Yasmine plan all I was supposed to do is hold the damn drugs.” He screamed back at Rory as he looked at everyone and threw his hands up. “How was I supposed to know this was all happening? I was trying to help for you.”  Pointing at Rory as he looked at them all. “For once I was trying to do the right thing and I get spit in my eye fuck you.” Jackson said storming away.


Ronan walked through the lobby looking at the employees that were there on a weekend the side eye stares he had gotten on the way in. They would never accept him as part of the upper crust of society he already knew that even though he was a part of it separately. It was inside the car ride that it had dawned on him that his problems with Kendrick and the casino deal could be solved in one move, turning to his current makeshift enemy on a united front. Lowell loved his children everyone knew that who had ever done business with Lowell and well both of his boys were in Kendrick’s way at the moment, meaning they were in his way. He rode the elevator with his guard to the top floor and when Lowell’s secretary got up shocked when he opened the old man’s door he shot her a look to sit down. He looked at Lowell behind his massive desk. He saw the secretary reach for her phone to call security and he looked at Lowell.

“Mr. Devonshire was expecting me weren’t you Lowell? You see we have matters to discuss of the uppermost importance, starting with your two sons.” Ronan said looking at Lowell coldly challenging him he called security he would do it. Take out both Devonshire boys from the threat he didn’t want too, in fact he had another plan altogether he would grant them freedom from the mess they were in, he would even extend that to Yasmine. His man leaned in and then whispered another shocking development knowing he could use that to further his cause. Inside he was boiling with anger it was bad enough to kidnap Yasmine, but a woman that was pregnant and the mayors’ daughter as well spelled disaster on every front.  “And your pending grandchild of course. Tell your secretary there is no need for security.”

Lowell had the driver go around the city a couple of times. He took his medicine and the shakes and aches faded to the background. His mortality faded back because as usual business took first precedent over almost everything. When he got back to the office he told everyone not to bother him tonight. He had a lot to contemplate considering the casino would be his last big contribution to Atlas Falls. He had to make it more epic. Bigger and grander on every scale it would cost a fortune but worth it to leave a legacy. When security called and said Ronan Madden was coming, he saw red. How dare he appear right now in front of all his staff? Who did this blue eyed thug think he was? DGI was a legit business and he wouldn’t let his play of arrogance be unchecked. Most of all Ronan wouldn’t squeeze anymore blood out of a turnip.

He waved his hand as he watched Lena close the door. Tapping his foot his rage hit the roof how could Jackson and Rory be so careless. What did this all have to do with Dani? He needed answers and unfortunately Ronan was the man with them all. “A simple call Ronan would have been sufficient but since you’ve made such a entrance. What have my son’s done and what does this have to do with Dani and my newest grandchild? Why you’re gloating Ronan that won’t do. Whatever this is you remember I’ve never lost a war but battles yes. What is your business here today?” Lowell sat back with a iron face he wasn’t intimidated by this thug. “Or should I say what’s your price?”

“I’m tired of calls Lowell since those calls seem to be about how unsuited I am to take on the casino project as your full time partner.” Ronan said looking at him and then at the plans in front of them both it was grand. The rich would start flocking there for be booze, the gambling and the entertainment of course the club would still be useful but so much more could be done out of the casino floors. “It is long overdue that we spoke about renegotiating those terms don’t you think? I think so all the time we’ve been cordial to each other you were to my father as well. Always looking down on the fact that we perhaps were just as shady as you were perhaps?” Ronan walked around the display for a moment before he sat down face to face with Lowell.

“Jackson has been quite the frequent client over the last few years even earlier this year. Rory as you know is dating Yasmine, a stripper at my club.” He paused seeing the shock and disgust on Lowell’s face about Jackson secret he was fine with that everyone had them he wasn’t above telling Jackson’s. “Jamal on the other hand that is where it gets quite interesting never knew he was like family to you all those lies he spun to get in with my crew and organization. Jackson took drugs from the club, Jamal is ready to rat me out and we both know things have been tense since Kendrick took power. Unfortunately he has taken Yasmine and Dani as his hostages due to your eldest sons stupidity in thinking he could rip me off with Yasmine. I’m going to let that sink in for a minute to let you let you digest. Let you digest who has the power right here right now.” Walking to the wet bar he poured himself a drink watching Lowell’s shocked face waiting for the old man to refute any of that.

Lowell had believed that Jackson was done with the drugs. That part of his world wasn’t colored in this sketchy world. His stomach dropped as he thought about how Jamal and both Jackson disappointed him. What made Jamal think being in the hood would help him was beyond him. Then his son was he back dabbling in drugs? Fully taking a deep breath trying to figure out how he was going to get over this. Nothing came to mind, he was trapped against a wall. Looking at the chessboard he saw that Ronan had his balls in a vice grip. Folding his arms he leaned back in his chair for a few seconds letting the silence guide them. Lowell nodded his head  as he walked to the bar. Pouring the scotch as the ice crackled in the glass. Holding his nerves back he knew that he was bested. When he mentioned the new Devonshire in danger well his blood ran cold. If Dani lost that baby he’d see to it that Kendrick died a painful and slow death.

“So today you’re asking that I cut you into the casino deal as a equal partner? So here are my terms if I do ask? Spare my son and my equally foolish godson Jamal. Both will be punished by me and I’ll cut you in. I will also assure that you get the drugs back that Kendrick so desperately wants. How does that sound Mr. Madden? You become an incredibly wealthy man by being a equal partner but not if either of those boys have a hair touched. I want them pardoned even if your world there isn’t a pardon. I want them to be untouchable to you and your boys. I want no drug dealers to be near Jamal nor sell to Jackson. Am I making myself clear?” Lowell sat down as he looked at Ronan smugness. “Oh you have just won the battle son but let me make this clear you’ve entered war with a man who has no scruples. I hope you are ready but your father wasn’t so why should I worry.” The offhanded remark was to throw him off his already high perch.

“Yes that is exactly what I am wanting. You will make me a full partner in the casino deal. I have already decided that killing Jackson and Jamal is of no good to me at the moment. It’s better for you to always be wondering what is going to happen next to them. Have them fear me in the long run, everyone wins that way and the Feds they’re a little too close to my comfort right now. Two dead bodies don’t exactly bode well on that front.” Ronan said looking at Lowell as he took a sip of his drink letting the liquid roll down his throat the aroma of the drink on his nostrils. Watching Lowell’s face so far had been the best part the shock and the disgust at their actions. He was sure he saw anger there too foolishness on Jackson and Jamal’’s front. “I have no desire to see Yasmine dead and the thought of killing the mother of your grandchild physically sickens me. I do have that limit.”

“I’m willing to let everyone have a free pass but should they decide to step out of line on that agreement. I can’t guarantee their safety. My men up until Kendrick and his power trip know that my word is bond Lowell I say no hair touched no hair touched. I see the bigger picture here. The money the casino will make me and in turn the organization is more in the long run than what your son took.” Ronan got up from his chair the insult to his father rubbing him the wrong way completely he brushed it off mentally and felt himself shrug a sign of weakness. People always knew that about him, living up to his father’s past was the biggest issue for him. Was he honoring him the right way? Was he smarter than him in the long run? “I’m not my father Lowell just like your sons aren’t you. I’m well prepared to go to war with you if I have too but I hope that it doesn’t come to that. How do you propose we do this? Perhaps you call up your lawyer to draw up the paperwork, I’ll wait and sign today.” Ronan said facing him again and taking his seat across from him again.

Lowell picked up his phone and told Simon to draw and fax over the paperwork for the casino. The entire time gritting his teeth. How could he be so dumb? How could he be so naive? Jackson changing was a pipe dream. Unfortunately he wasn’t looking right at his most sparkling son’s glory to see his failures creeping back? When had he relapsed? When had he fallen? Did Dani know. His grandchild was in danger and he knew at this moment what he had to do. Picking up his phone he called in his elite guards. These men were Marines, Special Forces, and, Army Rangers. These men would hunt and kill any street thug so if Ronan and Kendrick wanted a war well they’d play but he had to find Dani first. Thinking about Yasmine he could care less if that hood urchin was lost in the fray. Dani however was apart of his plans to keep Jackson on the right path. No way could he just let her be taken.

“I’ll give you what you want, just know that I don’t go to war like your common friends. I’m not Kendrick because I have enough money to buy you. One day for this little power play I’ll step on you.” He stood up and walked to the fax machine which was spitting out the paperwork. “Remember once you sign this you are my partner but like many men who thought they were too powerful. I will make sure you feel all my weight on your back. Don’t believe me ask Mr. Montgomery, Mr. LeClerq and so on. I have buried much more powerful men. So remember the power you are acquiring is mine and I always get it back.”

Ronan watched Lowell squirm knowing that he was in the high seat at the moment while Lowell was underneath him. He would play his cards well watching him like a snake would watch his prey in a cage. He’d heard all the horror stories from his past partners how Lowell bended the rules left and right. He would not be those men the ones that were too stupid to keep an eye on him when needed. He watched as Lowell went to the fax machine and a sly smile spread on his face, he got what he wanted out of the current agreement. That was enough for him and if Lowell stepped out of line that was what he considered an insurance policy with the rest.

“I will remember that as long as you remember that I have friends that will make you look like child’s play. I’m not like Mr. LeClerq or Forbes if I wanted your sons would be sent home to you in body bags piece by piece until I was satisfied with how much pain it inflicted upon you.” Ronan said taking a pen of the desk and tapping it against the leg of his pants. They could of course sit here and discuss which had more power and more finesse on their methods at the moment, or they could get down to business. “You will find Lowell as long as we make a profit and stay out of each other’s way I am an agreeable business partner. Also an ally should you ever need it but if you make me your enemy Lowell. I don’t really think we have to get into all that do we?”

“You think your idle threats scare me. Oh Ronan I took you as a worthy opponent not a little boy. Cut my son up hell touch my family and I’ll dismantle your business. I have very close friends with the DEA and local authorities. My reach is far and where I don’t have connections too I’ll reach out to a friend.” Then he snapped his finger. “Your entire life work snatched away. I respect the move but my son you are playing with a veteran. Understand I’m going to come back at you but today you win. I submit my grandchild, future daughter-in-law, and my godson deserve to live. They’ve played a stupid game and I pay but Ronan gloating. Well that just goads a man who hasn’t had a suitable rival in years. So my son I have to say.” He clapped slowly showing he wasn’t a sore loser.

“It’s very wise never to threaten my families life or I’ll threaten yours. Steven’s little girl Brooke is quite fond of you. I’d hate to see Atticus Kavanaugh return stateside. It would be a tragic ending to a grand love story. Or will I reveal something even more delicious like how your father was going to leave your mother for Carla. Or so many things of your past I know. You see I have an distinct advantage. I know something you don’t Ronan and it’s going to be delicious to use it at the right moment. Trust I’m going to tear your life apart but partner sign the papers and you have a deal.”

Ronan reached for the papers making sure he read over the fine print, he’d remembered a rumor about that years ago. How Lowell would change contracts to fit his needs and he wasn’t a foo, flipping through the pages he could tell Lowell was annoyed at the action perhaps even admiring him a little. One of the things his father had made sure of was that he was able to run the drug side, the darker side of the business but also the legal side in his college education. Street and book smarts went places in his world he knew that now as he signed his name on the lines where it was required. Leaning back as he slid the contracts back over to Lowell he couldn’t help the smirk on his face.

“I don’t threaten Lowell it was simply a reminder. You’ll do well to stay away from Brooke and a call to Atticus would not end well for you. Perhaps you need to look into Bliss and her past a little more if that is really where you want to go with the Kavanagh princes.” Ronan said standing up from the table as he placed the pen down. He had other associates to call let them know the casino deal was done the organization had it now as part of their operations. The coke would blow over he would get it back one way or another, if he didn’t the bigger picture would please those he owed a call too. “We’ll be in touch Lowell. I do look forward to the opening and cutting of the ribbon on the building.” Ronan finished looking at him one last time before making his way to the door and walking out of the office.

“Until we meet again Ronan.” He said looking at Ronan leaving feeling like he had satisfaction. He was going to crumble that little pompous brat. How dare he but Lowell understood the rules of the game. He was caught slipping but never again and if when he found Ronan’s weakness he’d do everything in his power to show him he was the great Lowell Devonshire. No one walked away from him thinking they were more powerful than him. He built an empire with his blood, sweat, and tears.


Trisha knew for a fact that this would happen. Yasmine put herself in the way of so many different criminals. Her heart was pounding after that lady cop called her. Her eyes began to blur with tears. This was all her fault after all the drug use had caught up with her. This was her karma finally kicking her ass. Her eyes started to burn as she walked through the station. Where was the cops who called her? What was Kendrick thinking? Huh? What was his problem. She had called Dinah and she still hadn’t answered her phone. Twisting her diamond ring that she got when she was hooking in Long Island. Her hands started to tremble thinking of how Yasmine was born. She was a breech baby and she always said her little girl came out dancing. As she walked to the reception desk she saw him. God he looked like his father. Slowly approaching him she bit her lip.

Walking over to the young man she tapped his shoulder. “Young man you don’t know me but I assume you and I are here for my daughter. My name is Trisha Kohl and I’m Yazzy mom.” She looked at him and his chest was puffed up and no doubt throwing out his name. “You have been forcing her hand for months.” Trisha yelled as she stepped in his face. “Do you know what she’s been through because of me? Because I didn’t know who her fucking father was? Yet she told you that the ghetto life doesn’t end. That you don’t escape it but your vanity and your money made her think everyone can just walk away. Did she walk away? Huh? Or did you put these grand illusions into her head? That she could finally get away from those thugs and those men who groped her every fucking night? You know hard it was for her to get on that stage and she did for me. But she’s in danger because of you, and what you tried do. You thought that wealth could beat the streets but no nothing can. Once they have a hold nothing can snatch them back understand that. Men like you and your father don’t do the hood.” She snapped slapping him. “You pushed her now her life’s in danger.” Trisha said with a harsh tone. “What ya’ll looking at?” She screamed at the force.

Rory still couldn’t believe his brother’s stupidity as he looked up at the board in the station Yasmine and Dani’s pictures plastered onto it, he got that Jackson had wanted to to help Jamal he really did. But taking Kendrick’s fucking drugs was dumb as hell and now it looked like the girls were going to pay the price shit not to mention the trouble Jackson was now in legally. He tapped his foot on the tile in the precinct as he watched the police scouring clues making some sort of plan and shook his head maybe it was all his fault he had pushed too much with Yasmine. He saw a woman walk into the station and he would have recognized her anywhere and his stomach knotted remembering that Miranda had told him she was calling Yasmine’s mother. The Fraiser’s had been called and he felt like a tornado was swirling inside the station and Jamal was nowhere to be seen in the chaos. That irritated the fuck out of him.

It was his friends fault that they were in the middle of this shit according to security footage Yasmine had showed up with Jamal’s stash. Meaning Jamal had involved her in hiding this shit from Kendrick and then she had in turn called his brother because it fit the motive to get Jackson into the club. His older brother wouldn’t have suspicion cast on him and then his brother decided to hide the fucking stash at Dani’s of all places. Kendrick had took Yasmine and then went after Dani and now both girls were in trouble. He stood up when Trisha approached him willing to take her wrath he was the one that put the ideas into her head with Yasmine. But it wasn’t Ronan that had made the move or put Yasmine’s life into danger no it was Kendrick and when she slapped him over it he nearly lunged at her. Her precious Kendrick that would have let men rape her little girl was laughable and he saw an officer approach them and he waved them back.

“I love your daughter Ms. Kohl but don’t you dare accuse me of this. I’m not the one that had men nearly rape her and kidnap her over some kilos of drugs no that was the man you looked up to and put on a pedestal for her. I would never hurt her nor would I have encouraged her to get involved in this scheme that she, Jamal and my brother thought would get everyone out.” Rory said looking at her and seeing the pain on her face the pain of a parent scared for their child and he wasn’t a parent but he got it, it was horrified when those pictures came into his brother’s phone. The threats Kendrick made and not knowing what else to do he wrapped Trisha up into his arms holding her because he could swear that is what she would have wanted him to do for her mother. “I’m sorry, I’m scared too for her. I think I saw Miranda around do you want me to find her? You have to know I would have done this differently Yasmine would have never been hurt. I trust the police and I know sometimes you don’t but in this case I know they have the best people on it.”

Trisha collapsed in Rory arms as she started to wail. She didn’t know what else to do but call out to God. If she was a better mother than this wouldn’t be happening. She was addicted to drugs her entire life and failed both of her girls. If Yasmine didn’t make it out of this then it was her fault. All her life she had struggled when in all honesty she didn’t have too. If she would have just told Yasmine father. If her girl came home she promised herself she would tell her. She would and somehow beg for her forgiveness. Exhaling she looked at him and nodded her head.

“I was young and pretty once like Yasmine. I met many rich men like yourself Rory. None were as kind as you. You are a special young man and I’m sorry my past scared Yasmine away from you.” She could see he loved Yazzy and all she could do is try to breathe. “I have never trusted the pigs in blue. I’ve been beaten on the streets, I’ve overdosed in these streets, raped in these streets, and left for dead young man in these streets. You see these streets aren’t for anyone. Please show her the world and give my baby what I could never a life beyond these streets. I never wanted her to be in this life. Never and I never thought Kendrick would do this. I never thought it.”

Rory held onto her while she cried reality hitting how what if the girls didn’t come home? What if his promise to Yasmine to get her out ending on dead ears with Kendrick putting a bullet in her. What if she came home in a casket? He bit back his own tears he had to be strong right now that was all he knew he had to trust the police to do their job and pray for the best. He looked around the station for his brother ready to glare at him or yell at him while he rubbed Trisha’s back. Trisha was all Yasmine had of her family left and he would be strong for her for the both of them. Inside he was boiling in rage at the entire mess and how fast it spiraled out of control helping Trisha to a seat he nodded his head at her.

“We’re not all monsters you know? Everyone says that I have my father’s looks and brains, but my mother’s good will and heart. I pushed her too much with Kendrick in be first place with the drugs and the stripping. Someone of my standing just doesn’t date strippers who are dealing drugs.” Rory said his voice catching in his throat he was not a good person. What he did with Tess coming to mind his lowest point when he should have been fighting for Yasmine he was fucking another woman. “I know you don’t but I know Yasmine trusted her. So I’m going to trust her and the rest of them.” Rory said pointing to Miranda he didn’t know her very well but from what he did see Miranda cared about Yasmine as a friend and Yasmine trusted her. “I know why she did it Trisha and I can’t fault her for it I would do the same for my mom and dad or any of my siblings. I don’t think any of this is your fault it’s Kendrick’s.”

Trisha nodded her head looking at him.  Her experience with the rich and powerful of Atlas Falls had colored her choices and movements. She was so worried about Yasmine repeating her mistakes how could she not wonder if she had found prince charming. This boy was well mannered and clearly had a heart something that Yasmine father clearly never had. He was empty and hell Lowell hadn’t hurt her so who was she to judge her daughter? Who was she not to see how impactful this man was to Yasmine wanting a future. As she wiped her eyes she looked at Rory.

“Don’t hurt my baby girl okay? She deserves something like this. You see I’ve failed her in so many different ways but I know that I did show her she deserves. She knew she deserved all the opportunities and happiness you could give her. When she comes home Rory if my baby girl comes home, take her out of Scottswood. Take her away from the drugs, gangs, and violence that she’s become so used too. I finally know that you only want her happiness but don’t think I’m not here for the shit you hurt my baby I’m going to rip you to shreds. Now come here so we can pray and ask God to help us.” Reaching out for his hands she smiled at him for the first time. “God we come to you humble as your children, please lord two of your angels are in danger and I need you to protect them. I need your arms to wrap around and cover them. Cover them lord and give them all the protection and safety that they deserve.”

Rory was trying to focus in on what she was saying about peace and praying for Yasmine but he had never really been spiritual or religious. Hurting Yasmine he already had and the guilt was constantly eating at him from what he did with Tess. He wanted to tell Trisha that he wouldn’t hurt Yasmine but the words seemed so hollow if he spoke them out loud instead he let her pull his hands to her and listened to her pray.it helped he didn’t know why. He simply closed his eyes and when he opened them he knew that she was probably looking to him for answers.

“I won’t.” Rory said the lie slipping out so easily he could fix his mistake he made with Tess Yasmine would never know. He looked around the frenzied police station again keeping his eyes out he heard his phone ringing and saw Tess’s number he wanted to throw it against the wall only he turned it back off as he saw Trisha looking at him. “It can wait let’s go get some coffee.” Rory finished placing his hand on her back as he guided her through the station.

“You’re nothing like your daddy. I knew him a long time ago you know? Him and his partner Forbes.” She said as her puffy eyes saw the hope in Rory’s. “Amen.”


Brenda lit the last candle on the candelabra as she watched Val leaving the mansion. It was good to have someone here with her. She wasn’t alone in the house. Walking upstairs she quickly went into her room. As she stared in the mirror and began to finish her look. The nights seemed to blur together but Anderson would be coming to visit her.  Her hair was coiffed perfectly looking in the reflection she wanted to explain everything. To finally secure the man she loved her entire life. Tonight was a new start as she walked into her closet she pulled out the green dress that Brooke would be pissed she borrowed. It didn’t matter she was living with a gangster. Her belongs would be soon packed up and shipped to Ronan. Which she preferred compared to seeing her daughter. The man that she picked was wrong for her. She knew that Ronan would break Brooke heart and she was sure it would be his own doing. Men like that never bent. They never took the time to truly love someone else. Walking upstairs her mind flashed back to the night finding Steven. They loved each other once upon a time. Once it was a lot of love but now. She was shocked he was even gone.

Walking into the bathroom she turned on the bath she poured bubbles inside of the water. After sticking a toe inside the piping hot water she stepped inside. The smell of flowers and exotic fruit raptured her senses. As she closed her eyes submerging herself in the water, Brenda felt a calm. Tonight he’d know everything, what she had truly done and how she truly loved him. Picking up her glass of champagne Brenda thought about her past. How she should have never listened to Lowell and Lauren. How she should have kept her child. When she finally opened her eyes thirty minutes had passed and the elapsed time eased her fears. Stepping out of the bath she wrapped the robe on her body and felt the urge to look beautiful. They were about to make a big step. Going to her room she dressed immediately as Elaine informed her that Walter was at the gate. Spraying on perfume and lightly coating her lips with another lipstick. Walking down the stairs she saw Walter standing before her.

“Walter come on let’s go in the dining room because I don’t want to be interrupted but how wonderful to see you.” She bit her lip. “We have a lot to talk about.”

Walter had went home and showered after the hospital, Laurel was at the house with Dylan and seeing Tamara the night before had rattled him. He knew that drugs were the strong hold on her, he had hoped she had fought her demons this time for anything his grandson. He wondered at times if Braden not loving her had pushed her in that direction and then it made him think about his marriage to Lauren. It was no hanging by it’s bare threads for over a year now. Now that he was elected and sworn in as mayor though he wasn’t sure that was the right move. They were a power couple now the level that Jackie and Lowell were. His family was well connected on all fronts. Which led him to Brenda after making sure everything was alright at home. The debate was something he hadn’t been able to shake. Stepping out of the car he was led into the foyer as Elaine went and got her. She was still as gorgeous as ever and part of him felt guilty for that as he followed her into the dining room nodding his head.

“I doubt you think me being here is wonderful Brenda we can drop the pleasantries. I dismantled you at the debate and unfortunately for us I can’t take back how all that went down. It was years ago painful for both of us no doubt. You were married to Steven, Hunter was only a few months old. I was committed to Lauren and Braden, I had another child on the way Dani.” Walter said looking at her remembering that time in their lives. He had fooled around with Brenda back then their torrid affair of lies Lauren was about 5 months along a difficult pregnancy. Brenda had been his sexual outlet and they fucked like teenagers to drown out both Steven and Lauren. “I never apologised to you for how callous I was when you told me. At the time I thought we were doing what was best for our families. Steven could never know what happened and Lauren, she’s always suspected and knew.”

Touching the gown she walked closer pouring his favorite whiskey as she sat down by him. Twisting the sleeve of the dress Brenda really didn’t know what else to say. As she looked at him, how do you tell someone you lied for so many years? That his entire life was a lie and that she had done sometime so reprehensible taking a child from Walter and herself because of fear. Lowell had planted that in her head and she knew that she couldn’t terminate her baby. Not the only baby made from true love so that baby was given away. Taking a deep breath she took a sip of the whiskey in Walter glass.

“We need to talk because I thought years ago I was over you. When we were younger we married so fast and never got to see what we truly were. I think after all these years don’t you think we deserve to see if we were truly meant to be. This last year has been a rollercoaster full of ups and downs. I have given my love and life to Steven but I’m sick of covering up my true self with a bottle. God I drink to wash out fears that she isn’t alright. That she hasn’t had a good life. Walter we need to talk about so much more than that stupid election. Of course I’m bitter but I’m lonely and I need someone hold me. You don’t love her and you never have. I have done something stupid and I should have wrecked our marriages over thirty years ago. I should have imploded both of our lives and I wouldn’t have this conversation. Oh not making any sense am I?” Wiping her tears she looked at Walter’s confusion. “The baby we had. Walter I didn’t abort our child, I kept her and gave her away. I couldn’t do it.”

Walter stared at her what was she talking about she had the abortion years ago she had come to him and told him as much and then she had taken off on an extended vacation. The news overwhelmed him in ways he wasn’t even sure what to think. Even if she had kept the child he didn’t think he could have left Lauren at the time. He paced back and forth what had happened to their child then? Who did she give it too? Why would she do this when she knew how he would have felt about it all? He couldn’t help the anger that came after he let it sink in a few minutes, why wasn’t he given a choice in their child’s future? If anything that hurt worse than her telling all those years ago that she got rid of their child.

“You lied to me for over what thirty years? You gave it up, a little girl without even telling?” Walter let out the shock setting in as he took a step back from her. He’d always loved Brenda , their affair had been long and torrid. Something about her always drew him to her, perhaps it was because she was unattainable and he and Lauren were always at odds sometimes. “You gave away my child how could you? I would have supported you figured something out even if Lauren would have taken the kids from he and the bar I would have stood by you. I had a right to be in her life. Hold you Brenda after you just dropped this on me? What do you expect a reunion? Where is she? Who did you give her too?”

She twisted her hands around her dress as she stepped back. His brash attitude was making her stomach churn. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Why couldn’t he understand that this choice wasn’t easy. It was heartbreaking to think about the consequences of what he was saying. That they could never be together. That was a lie. It would be because she’d stop at nothing to get what she lost. Slowly walking toward him she clutched her drink. “Listen carefully I was young and I knew my family didn’t believe in abortions. I lied because you told me you were going to make it work with her. I knew Lauren had your children. I apologize because the love I felt for you was enough to know that if we brought a child into Atlas Falls they’d be nothing more than a scandal. I think our daughter deserved more than that.” Brenda guzzled down the rest of her drink.

For a second she wasn’t sure if she could win him back. Then when he asked where she was a sense of she could fix this. Finding their child was all it could take. “I was young and stupid. Lowell found out by accident I was at the doctor and he saw me. When I told him it was your child thinking you two were friends. Well he ensured me that I keeping it would ruin DGI and you. I had a choice and he helped me send her away. Sister Eugenia Marcel had her at St. Christophers. She left the church shortly later a scandal between her and a priest. I have looked and looked Walter. Only thing I know is she left to Denver after Eugenia sent her with a family. I’ve searched for the last ten years and I need your help as mayor to find her. I need your resources because I couldn’t dig to my fullest because alerting Steven I’d ruin my life.” Brenda gripped onto the couch as she gasped. “I had to because you wouldn’t leave. You wouldn’t leave your marriage so I couldn’t do it to her. I couldn’t have her be the next headline when she was being loved. Loved so pure by a family who really needed her. They choose her and I’m sorry that I betrayed you but what life would she had here? Dani hating and resenting her! Braden never loving his sister! Anderson, Hunter, and Brooke would have always hated her? Steven and Lauren so you tell me what type of life would she had? To be the rip forever between two families?”

Walter was floored when she started talking about how she gave away their child. The worst part was Lowell’s involvement back in the day things had never been the same for her and Lowell all those years ago. Now he knew they could never be rectified it was not Lowell’s decision to make. Anger surged through him again when she blamed Steven and Lauren for her deception. It was their child their flesh and bone that she gave up. A part of him and her a part he didn’t even get a say in. He honestly didn’t know how Dani or Braden would have reacted he wasn’t on the best terms with his daughter. Braden was loyal to her and his mother they never got the chance to find out. He paced back and forth for a bit trying to compose himself with her trying to make sense of it all. Shaking his head he spoke.

“You let Lowell dictate to you what you did with our child? Not me not Lauren or Steven, Lowell? He’s just as much to blame for this as you are and I assure you I’ll let him know I know.” Walter said looking at her before reaching for a glass on the bar and pouring himself a glass. Letting the liquid go down his throat he then thought about the rest of what she said how she wanted to find their daughter now. He was curious of course he would be he had to wonder how that would look as the new mayor. For the image he was building Lauren would leave him his children would turn their backs on him. “You have no idea what I would have done Brenda you never gave me the choice. I was going to leave Lauren I would have. Now is not the time to divulge into this just off the election. Of course I would help you find her just to make sure she is well cared for and loved. What more do you want me to say.”

“That’s all you have to say.” She said with her voice above a whisper. “I just need you here to help me. This wasn’t Lowell choice however he colored the choices. I know that for a fact. After all what he said truly was of value. You two were best friends. Look I just need to find her and hold her. Stroke her hair and tell her how sorry I am. How stupid I was so many years ago. I know I didn’t give you a choice. I didn’t give myself a choice but I’m here saying I’m sorry. I’m here saying that I know that I messed up and ruined everything. Just give me the chance to fix this for us. So we can truly have her back. A piece of me and you that is just made out of love and not secrets. I’m sorry.” Brenda expressed again hoarsely as she looked at Val pulling a U-turn out of the circle driveway at the estate. Pulling her hair behind her ears she saw his expression was lost. “This is going to be a publicity boon for you. Trust me the affair didn’t slow you down this won’t either. A new shiny child to show off to the media. Just let me help spin the story and I’ll look like the bad guy.” Brenda said knowing how hard he had worked to be mayor. That wasn’t going to end.

Brenda walked up to him. “Let me tell my children and you tell your children alright?” Walking to the television she picked up the remote. Turning on the television a reporter instantly came on with breaking news. Two women had been abducted by Kendrick. God was it Brooke? She was involved with that scoundrel Ronan and her not calling her was scaring the hell out of her. As she rushed to her phone, the reporter announced the names of the women. Yasmine Khol and Danielle Fraiser as her mouth hung open horrified she turned to Walter who expression said it all.  “Walter.” She said softly walking to him.

Lauren had been in the bar and the news had shook her to the core. How had her daughter ended up kidnapped? What was going on? All she could do was call her husband. He was the mayor and had to be able to help. He had to be able to do something. As she screamed dialing his number. When he didn’t answer she called again. Did he know something. “Damn it Walter now is not the time! Please answer this phone.”

Walter was trying to think of something to say to Brenda no matter what way she spun it, it would be the end of his marriage to Lauren. It would likely be the last time his son ever had his back and Dani he would forever be trying be the father he should have been to both his girls. When the news came on and his cell phone started ringing he was staring at the screen. What was going on how had Dani got drug into Kendrick’s affairs? It then hit him Jackson. Not only had Lowell keep his other daughter from him, Lowell’s son had drug bjs daughter into his worst fear drugs and he cartel.

“I can’t even think about our child right now Brenda I can’t. I told her this would happen with Jackson once she got involved with him. I never actually meant for it to happen.” Walter said not sure who he was talking to as be stared at the picture of his little girl on screen almost ignoring Brenda. Their child could wait as his stomach dropped and knotted his other child was in danger her life and his unborn grandchild at stake. Reaching for his phone he pressed his finger on the button answering Lauren’s ringtone. “Jesus what is going on? How did this even happen? Where are you? Have they called the police surely Jon has to be looking into this.”

“Jon is sending a car to pick me up please get to the station. I have no information on what happened. I’m just so scared Jesus this guy is said to killed people Walter. What has our daughter gotten herself into? I’m going to kill him myself. If anything happens to Dani or the baby. Oh my God the baby.” Covering her mouth thinking about Dani last time pregnant. She went through too much. “I’m heading to the station please just hurry.” She hung up as she saw Devin face she smiled. “Oh Devin.” Rushing to the car she knew this was serious. She knew that the petty fighting had now come to a crashing halt. Could her child be leaving earth.

Brenda sped walked right by Walter grabbing his coat for him. As she looked him in the eyes hers teared up for Brooke. What if she never got that her life would constantly be in danger just like this. She helped him slip on his jacket as she grabbed his shaky hand. Mouthing the words be strong, she stepped back as she saw his driver outside starting up the car. She wanted Brooke, she wanted her daughter to the life that she would be living. Brenda knew that this moment would be defining in their lives. This moment would be the moment when Walter would slowly become her man. Them looking for their daughter was for two reason. Brenda Davis would never be lonely and secondly he was always her’s, or didn’t Lauren know? As she watched the snow crunch against the tires of Walter driver speeding him to the police station, a car came through the gates.

As the bentley pulled up she gasped seeing who it was behind the window. Slowly rushing down the long stairs she gasped when Anderson stepped out of the car. “Oh my boy.” She cried as her arms embraced him completely. “Anderson I’ve missed you.”

“Mother I’ve missed you too.” Anderson wiping his mother tears with his spare arm. “Cara and Wyatt couldn’t make it but I’m here. Mother what’s going on?”

“Brooke is out of control, and I have something to tell you Andy. A secret but come inside and I’ll explain everything.” Brenda held onto to her eldest son for dear life. He would heal the family. If anyone could it would be Anderson. “I’ve missed you. I can’t believe you are here.”

Walter took his coat from Brenda almost in a daze as he listened to Lauren’s frantic voice on the phone, his own sense of dread overcoming him. Of course he was hard on Dani, but he’d never wish harm on her or her child he wasn’t that cruel. He barely remembered Brenda gripping his hand on his way out the door to his waiting driver. When he’d taken the mayor position and some of the perks that came with it including a driver he thought it was a bit excessive. Now though as the driver opened the door to the car and his feet crunched in the snow he knew he was in no condition to drive.

“Where to sir?” The driver asked.

“Police station as fast as you can.” Walter said as the man nodded his head and closed the door behind him.

Leaning back he closed his eyes against the seat he had a daughter with Brenda and in truth this changed everything. His other daughter though needed him more right now and he refused to fail her this time. Or perhaps it was too late and he already had? Either way if anything happened to her or his grandchild he would make sure Lowell and Jackson both paid. He wouldn’t stop either until that happened.


Zerick poured himself a glass of bourbon in his office, filling up a tea cup as well for his guest before turning back around and handing it to Patricia Nichols. Greer was somewhere he honestly didn’t care where anymore, she had come home late last night and that was when he knew. There was no sense pretending anymore between them she had been at DGI with Chauncey and he slept in the mansion office that night guarding what he took from DGI the night before with his life. He had woke up showered and went about his morning Greer had yet to emerge from her room when the knock on the door came and he was greeted with Patricia on the other side. He had wanted to roll his eyes but then knew that without her none of this was possible and Greer already knew about her.

“We have been over this Patricia Scarlett’s secret is safe from that night. I have the footage the police cannot get a hold of it. I have people with the skills needed to make sure she never showed up in the copy they have which is what happened.” Zerick said handing the older woman a glass, years ago when Lowell’s ego had got the best of him when everything happened with Walter, Forbes and other business members there was always Yuri who was the inside piece. A piece that Zerick knew that he could use and exploit their loyalty to Lowell was always something that wavered between what benefited them. “So what can I do for you this morning. It is risky for you to come here and be seen with me outside of the occasional board meeting.”

Patricia took the teacup and saucer from him she had always loved a good cup of tea and she couldn’t fathom how one drank bourbon so early in the morning. Yuri had always been fond of that even in the early days of their marriage of course the drinking had led to drugs, the parties that the Devonshire’s had always threw and thus why she hated them. Yuri had changed then becoming in her mind more and more unstable. Secrets in their family started around that time how old had Veronica been then? She brushed the thoughts aside as she looked over at Zerick leaning back in the leather chair across from him. Scarlett was holding things together but the recent text had proved possibly more than she could handle not to mention the phone call the other day. Someone knew and if they knew that she needed to make sure they had no idea about Dante.

“I know very well that we have been over this but you can see why I am concerned with recent developments. You and Greer have been given everything you could possibly want to take down Lowell yet you hesitate playing childish games.” Patricia said taking a sip of her tea as she looked at him, shaking her head. They had all been so carefree back in the days before Lowell had rose to fame and fortune with DGI taking her husband and others with him. “Scarlett is still getting calls, we all thought it was Dante that was stalking her wanting her out of his life due to Zach but we know different now. You had assured me you would look into this and take care of this.”

Zerick leaned back in his chair what was it that he had always been told as a child that there would come a time with allies would rally against Lowell? This was one of those times thanks to Yuri all those years ago he always had an ally at DGI. When Yuri had passed that went to Patricia and in exchange for information over the years. He had been watching and waiting and it just so happened that he came across Pierre and Greer in Europe at the same time. Meaning he was one step closer to making Lowell pay for everything. Taking away what was most important to Lowell at the end of the day his company and destroying as many of his children he could along the way. Of course that was now coming at a price when it came to the Nichols family.

“Yes we had assumed it was Dante and now that we know it is not perhaps the question should be who else have you pissed off over the years? It’s not like your daughter is some innocent bystander in anything that has happened to her. Of course everything you have done for me over the years will be rewarded, your loyalty after everything was invaluable.” Zerick said moving from his seat to make sure the door was shut just in case Greer overheard something she shouldn’t. She knew that the Nichols were an ally but never to the extent that he was comfortable telling her about. “I know how much you wanted Yuri out of the way and you made that happen. I will dig deeper but no one will ever know about what happened with Scarlett and Dante, your job is to make sure in board meetings I still get what I need.”

“Yuri was never the same after, after everything that happened all those years ago. He turned into a monster of the highest form.” Patricia said looking at Zerick he looked so much like his mother that at times she often wondered if things had been different where they would all be. Shaking her head she tried to shake the cobwebs of the past she had seen so much at DGI over the years. Things she sometimes wished she could unsee for all their sakes instead she rose from the chair to look out the window and the view of the lake from the estate. “It never sat well with Yuri what Lowell did all those years ago to your mother. He was lost after that but there is no sense dwelling on the past as I am sure you know now. It was why he started sending you what you needed. He became a monster slowly after that.”

“Scarlett needs assurances that you will not let anything happen to her or her unborn child. She was the one that sent those contracts to you about Cadmus, she was the one that got them from Chauncey. You owe it to her to make sure that video you have is destroyed.” Taking a drink of her tea she moved back towards the chair and the desk reaching for the laptop on the desk only to feel Zerick grab her hand. They said darkness lived in children based on who their parents were and in that moment she could feel it in his eyes, it was the same look that Scarlett would give sometimes and she jerked her hand back watching him press a few keys and then close the laptop placing it in his desk. “What are you doing give me a copy now.”

“You can have the hard copy when I am satisfied not before then. I want insurance that Scarlett isn’t going to snap like Yuri did or worse expose everything to Lowell. Everything I have built over the years depends on it. The people I have paid off to lie and with Simon and Talia sniffing around I want to make sure you and your daughter remain my allies.” Zerick said watching the anger pass on her face as he locked the laptop in his desk he would move it to his personal safe later and make a backup copy for the security deposit box later. He saw her shock for a moment before he rose and looked at his reflection in the mirror. “We all have things we need out of this arrangement. I need your loyalty a bit longer nothing more.”

He stopped for a moment to reflect he had heard so many stories growing up about that night, about how he came into this world. Years later that fueled who he was now against the Devonshire’s how they tossed his mother aside outcasted. Shaking his head he knew something else reflecting on that now was something that he could not afford it would expose him and his weakness. He couldn’t afford that not when he was so close to getting everything that he wanted out of DGI out of making sure that Lowell paid dearly with betrayal from the inside out, Greer was part of that. He had went through great lengths to keep Greer from everything that he had arranged from learning the truth and today was just the same walking to the door to his office he cleared his throat opening it.

“Your concerns Ms. Nichols are noted. I can assure you that me and my wife are on top of everything involving Cadmus.” Zerick said seeing the maid outside the door and Greer a little bit down the hallway wondering what exactly she had overheard. “Greer going somewhere?” He asked noticing the bags.

Looking at Ms. Nichols who was a informant for Zerick and her. “Yes phase two is beginning and I have to move to the country club. Chauncey is falling and I assure you Ms. Nichols we are one step closer to taking down Lowell.” As she placed her bags down Greer knew for certain it was more going on. One thing she wasn’t was dumb Zerick had kept secrets from her that would be unearthed. Licking her lips she looked at Patricia who seemed crazed and angry right now. Her daughter was a sociopath so the apple might not have fallen far from the tree.

Walking to Zerick she slowly stalked him. Biting down on her lip she looked at him. “Patricia if you don’t mind I need a moment alone with my hubby. After all you’ve had him all afternoon.” Watching her step outside Greer’s smile and pleasant demeanor dropped. “I was going through our credit card statements and I found an unusual charge on your card. I just happened to be overcharged for a pair of shoes and ran across this.” Greer said circling a fourteen thousand dollar recurring charge. “So my question Zerick if that’s your name who is staying in the insane asylum. Willowbrook is a funny farm and I want to know who is staying there or lose me as your inside track with Chauncey.”

Zerick nodded his head to Patricia as she started to leave waiting till she was out of the house to then address Greer. Looking at the charges on his card the first thing that would change would be to take Greer off his credit cards. She could have her own, it would play well into the narrative they had to sell to each other. Looking over at her a sneer appeared on his face he didn’t need her as an in with Chauncey any more. They had long been keeping secrets from each other over the past year that would stop today. No today would likely be the end of their partnership which was fine with him it was how it needed to be. Taking the bill from her he sat down on the chair in his office crossing his leg over his knee.

“Who says the room is for me perhaps I am warming it for your stay. Think about it Greer rich man’s debutante french wife loses it, could make for an interesting narrative don’t you think?  Let’s just say I have my secrets just like you have yours, I know that you saw your father recently and I don’t even want to think about what you two conjured up recently.” Zerick said watching her face as he spoke and then looked over at her letting out a laugh. He leaned over his chair running hand on her chin dancing with her before smirking at her. “I don’t need you with Chauncey anymore. My pieces are in place I do hear Natasha is staying in town for the foreseeable future, leaving you what is the American term again, just a mistress.”

Greer smiled as she showed her despise of him. “Now that wasn’t nice you’ll be licking your own wounds Zerick. Understand this if you undermine me in any way to the top. I’ll step on you because I know this little room is connected to whatever you want to bury. I assure you Zerick I’ll bury you and think nothing of it. From what I’ve been told about the insane and unstable they don’t like new environments. Know this we aren’t friends in this little game anymore. I can’t trust you and you most definitely can’t trust me but call a spade a spade. If you affect me and my path I’ll lay waste to you and give Talia or Simon a clue about the secret that you’ve been hiding in Willowbrook understood.” Her face was gagged he was keeping an eye on her. Here she thought she was being discrete.

Slowly walking toward the front courtyard. She turned to him and pushed him angrily. It was something about the way he was just so ready to dismiss her. That he didn’t even fight. He didn’t care at all. He never cared a little about her. Greer infuriated ran to him slapping him as she felt his arms holding her. “You bastard you never even cared about me! You just used me and now you don’t want to even fight for me. You son of a bitch!” She screamed raging because no matter what Zerick held a place in her heart. “Ugh get your hands off of me. You are pathetic and you’ll never be happy because you are truly miserable. You are unlovable not me. You are Zerick nobody can love a person who doesn’t open anything up inside of them.”

“What game did you think that we were playing Greer love and happiness? This was a job you are the one that crossed all those lines and thought this was something more than what it is. We were partners Greer, lovers and I thought friends. But was I ever in love with you no? You had to know that deep down I’m not capable of that.” Zerick said following her into the courtyard. He watched her attack him and for a moment he thought about snapping on her only he stepped back she was weak and now she could go to Chauncey Devonshire as his mistress. “I do hope your suite at the country club is worth it. Chauncey of course will bed you and when he marries Natasha do send me an invitation dear wife.”

He watched her face burn with rage and then took a few steps towards her kissing her briefly before he stepped back when she pushed him away. Wiping at his lips he knew the game was over and it was up to them to decide which was going to win the battle. Win DGI he still had his ace up his sleeve while she had her father’s backing and money. “Even now you can’t differentiate between the two when we married and began this long con you knew what you signed up for. I know what you sacrificed but you went along with it because deep down you are just as twisted and as dark as I am. It’s what makes us not able to ever really work Greer.”

Greer listening to his words shaking her head. She was messed up but the Devonshire’s had ruined her father and her mother died because of this. Her relationships with men were all disasters but Zerick was like her. Maybe the truth stung because he was right she was twisted. She was too much of a control freak to ever truly let go enough to love completely. Ironic he was saying that he was the exact same way. As she looked at him she nodded and smiled as she slowly walked to her bags. Biting her lip she smirked as she turned around.

“I’m so close to figuring out what the Devonshires did to you. Why you are invested in this? I’ll find out and when I do I’m going to break you apart into a million pieces. You think that we couldn’t work because we are dark and twisted. No Z man that’s why we could. We don’t work because underneath all of our bravado are two very wounded people. I’m starting to see that your ice in your veins is thawing. You want something but most of all you are looking to make it all burn. If you get in my way I’m going to expose you and trust me my sex is good enough to confuse anyone. Chauncey is mine and so are you. I know when I’m in a man’s blood and no matter what you do you can’t shake it. So one wounded person to another stay out of my way. And hubby see you around you enjoy these basketcases.”


Ronan walked into the house his men on his right and left, just coming from DGI it was now plan to do what he and Lowell had agreed upon reach out to Kendrick to face his fate with him. Time to put an end to his reign that he felt entitled too when in fact he had no claim to the business if anything Thor had a stronger claim. Not to mention the unwanted attention it was about to draw to the organization, attention that he couldn’t afford. It was one thing to take Yasmine but he made it political when he took Walter’s daughter something he couldn’t afford. The casino deal was everything and it required them to be on good terms with the city and the council which included the mayor. He looked up the stairs before going into the living room and pouring himself a drink turning on the news no doubt the pressure would be on soon. He brought the glass to his lips as the amber liquid went down and he took a breath. He had never had to do this before betrayl of this level, never had to deal with it.

He thought about going up to speak to Brooke but knew better than to do that until after he dealt with Kendrick. He often wondered how others in his position dealt with it if they had loyal members of their organizations try to surpass them and how they dealt with it when they did. Perhaps he should make a few friendly calls to find out, loosening his tie he sat down on the couch watching as the station broke away to report on the missing girls it was out now. Walter had made his move and now every cop in the city would be looking for the man he once considered a brother, a man that had conspired to have him killed. A man that was right now making the organization look bad hence why he and Lowell had met before hand. He would take care of Kendrick if he had to make sure everyone got what they wanted and he hoped with the call he was going to make Kendrick would see reason. Grabbing his cell phone he dialed waiting for Kendrick to pick up.

“Hello Kendrick you thought you had heard the last of me hadn’t you? Turn on the television.” Ronan said his voice cold as ice it was out now Kendrick had two choices turn himself in or be hunted down.

Kendrick had went back to the safehouse after calling Jackson smoked a few joints and watched as the men checked on the girls. When the door would open and he would make eye contact with Yasmine he always had to look away. The disgust on her face showed and he was sure it was because of who her current roommate was. Guilt ate at him for that taking a pregnant woman and holding her hostage, Gina had died pregnant and he wouldn’t wish that on his worst enemy but he had to think of the bigger picture now. He couldn’t just release them both they both knew too much had seen too much, Yasmine especially unfortunately for the other she was a bystander. He also had to keep an eye on Rocky the way his crew member eyed them like he was going to just take them, Yasmine’s words from the night before shaking him. Women in the hood were raped on a daily basis and he’d never forced himself on a woman but seeing that gleam in Rocky’s eyes turned his stomach into knots. It was a waiting game now waiting for Jackson to call to make the exchange. He had given him a deadline.

Instead he went back into the living room and seeing that white powder on the table he closed his eyes rolled up a bill and took the hit. He needed it weed was normally what he gravitated too but the shit that had happened in the last few hours he felt he needed something stronger, rolling his neck as that high hit him he let out an exhale. His mind was filled with thoughts of Gina and how old his child with her would be if she lived, about how much different life would have been and the ringing of his phone caught him off guard. He motioned to one of the other members of his crew to turn down the music that was blaring. One of the other was fucking some girl over a table and he motioned for them all to leave the room looking at Ronan’s number. He knew this day would come but he didn’t expect it to be today, he had hoped to have the drugs back his position solidified before that happened. He swiped his finger as he listened to his former boss’s voice, someone he once considered his best friend and brother before turning on the TV as requested. The APB was out on them all and he looked at the video footage on screen from the night in the club, them taking Yasmine right before the newscaster broke into how he had taken the mayor’s pregnant daughter as well.

“Ronan you supposed to be in a body bag aren’t you or rotting away didn’t realize they gave you cell phones inside. What do you want?” Kendrick said getting up from the couch his mind swirling at the news report. People in Scottswood didn’t rat on the organization making it the perfect place to take the girls but fuck the video footage showing him putting a bullet into Loco was enough to nearly send him over. Taking out his handgun from his waistband he paced back and forth with it. He had done it to protect Yasmine from what he had pushed Loco and Rocky to almost do. “You ain’t got no place here former bossman.”

“Former bossman? Listen to yourself I still have all the power Kendrick you’ve been ratted out left for the wolves don’t believe me have that crew of yours make a few calls. I have already began to spin this as you can see. Did you really think this was how you would get power kidnapping our best asset and the mayor’s pregnant daughter? Straining our already tender business partnership with DGI over what a few kilos that I could have had easily returned to me in the wave of a hand.” Ronan said his voice rising and he was certain that Brooke had heard by now he was home as he looked out the window on his property. Night was falling and if he knew anything now would be the time that the calls would be made at the station he paid a few beat cops to keep an eye out. “You’ve been caught did you really think I would stay locked up forever?”

“You did didn’t you? Or did you think I wouldn’t find out about that deal you made to have me taken care of behind bars. Your ego has gotten the better of you here I always had someone else who watched my back that is where you failed. You have two choices now don’t you? You can release the girls have Rocky take them somewhere and dump them no questions asked, return here and be dealt with or you can take this to the next phase as a wanted man.” Ronan said twirling the glass in his hand he had already made up his mind which he would rather. He would rather Kendrick try and go out in a blaze of glory as opposed to pulling the trigger himself if that was cowardly so be it. “You are jeopardizing everything and for what? Drugs you feel you are owed? No one owes you anything as you were never in charge to begin with.”

Pulling the phone back from his ear he looked at Rocky. “Get me the Changs on the phone.”

He watched as Rocky called the number the Changs could get him some money to tide him over, weapons if he needed and he watched as Rocky’s face fell to be replaced by anger. “Kendrick man they said they don’t do business with you anymore.”

Kendrick was fuming as he looked at Rocky and then saw his phone start to blaze up with text messages from various contacts stating that they no longer could help or assist him. This had to be Ronan’s handywork and now he was sure of it Ronan had taken back over complete control but how? He wasn’t even aware that Ronan was out and then realized that possibly within his own crew was where the deception was lying. He waved his gun around sending Rocky out of the room as he kicked the coffee table in front of him the adrenaline already adding to his high from the coke. Walking back down the hallway he paced opening the door to the room and look at the girls before slamming it back shut as his brain tried to think of what to do next, he was a man. A real man would take a stand, it was just like Yasmine had said the white man was back to push him back out.

“Naw man this is not how it goes down you don’t get to come back here and push the black man out because you were to pussy to do what needed to be done. She was playing you, the feds have Jamal in custody and you goin down for murder Ronan once he talks it’s all over. Where you be at then? You think your new white bitch going to make it all go away, naw man she won’t she’ll run too.” Kendrick said picking up the lit joint on the table and taking a drag as he knew what he had to do. He’d give the girls back once he had the drugs back. “I don’t listen to you anymore, you don’t control me anymore and this is not your business anymore now is it.”

“End this now Kendrick hand the girls back over I will send Thomas or Thor to get them. You do not want to make my your enemy right now. You are risking everything that I have built with my father. What would Gina think of all of this?” Ronan said determined to not have things end like this between them. They had been close at one point like brothers, Kendrick was his most trusted guard and friend the one he depended on the most taking a breath he tried to stay calm. “Give them over to me so I can make sure they are unharmed we can clear this all up if you don’t I can’t help you Kendrick. The police will hunt you down, this will not end well for you. You know my stance on women and children a good friend advised me of long ago.”

“I have been working on the casino deal for over a year I’ve reached terms with Lowell I will give you a cut of the profits but in order for it to be signed I need the girls back. You will give them to me, you will leave Jamal and the Feds to me and come in. Don’t make this messier than it already is.” Ronan said seeing Brooke enter the room his stomach formed a pit, he could hear Kendrick’s loud breathing on the phone. He wondered where their relationship had come so strained to the point he attacked him over race, tried to take his power and then spoke out against Brooke. Perhaps it was the pain of the life they lived from losing Gina and his unborn child. “I won’t ask you again Kendrick.”

“Don’t mention Gina again to me Ronan I don’t answer to you anymore. I want those drugs back and then we’ll see who the men flock to, who in the organization sees the power with. I gave Devonshire twenty four hours generous and if I have to silence both those bitches I will. I’ll do whatever you have alway sbeen not men enough to.” Kendrick said his voice full of venom as he looked at himself in a mirror on the wall before shattering it. He shook his head letting out a laugh Ronan thought he could control him still that he was his little bitch. “We’ll see Ronan we’ll see who rallies behind me or you. Fuck you.”

Hanging up the phone he tossed it on the couch as the news played again with his picture plastered on the screen followed by the girls. Already the story was spinning in the press and he sent a text to his contact at the local paper they wanted a show he’d give them one. Tipping them off to his charity work in the neighborhood how many men had been killed by the police in the states recently? No he’d pin this all on the cops if this went sour sitting down on the couch he took out his wallet opening it to the picture tucked inside of Gina and him. His arms tucked around her it was taken right after he found out she was pregnant and suddenly he felt ill. Sick to his stomach about taking Yasmine, about threatening to kill her and the other pregnant woman in the room he took another hit from the blunt calming his nerves. That life was long gone now and what mattered was the drugs and the power. It was the only thing that mattered now.

Ronan heard the line go dead and looked over at Brooke so the line was drawn in the sand with him and Kendrick one that they couldn’t come back from. He saw Brooke step out to reach him as he took a few steps back from her she couldn’t be a part of this. He couldn’t let her be an accessory to murder, the men on his payroll at the police station could take care of this before anyone else got hurt, before Kendrick did something even more drastic and stupid. Bringing the glass to his lips he took a drink shaking his head to think about his time with Brooke. It was what was best for her if Kendrick survived this he knew the next target he would take would be Brooke looking over at Ivan his voice was ice cold as he spoke. It had to be done.

“Call everyone be discrete if they can bring him to me. If they can’t bring him to me take care of him on sight. Don’t stand there and stare at me do as I say before this escalates even more!” Ronan said as he watched Ivan’s face the horror on it eh watched Brooke’s face as it slowly registered what he had ordered. Kendrick was a loose cannon that was endangering everything he worked for with the casino. Jamal would never talk to the Feds about him Lowell assured him of that. In return for half the casino profits he would let Jamal and Yasmine go, Lowell’s boys would go untouched. It was a good trade off it make a profit and the organization would run discretely in the casino. Once Ivan left he looked at Brooke. “Don’t look at me like that it had to be done. He’s gone off his rocker look at the women he took. He’s not listening to reason and I have to take care of it before the police or the Feds take him alive and he talks. You need to leave now Brooke.”

Brooke was in her robe and nightgown. She tied tighter when he barked at her to leave. Hearing Ronan command that Kendrick be killed it made her shake in fear. Honestly she understood the order. She heard him trying to rationalize with that man and he didn’t listen. Slowly walking to him she wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest. “No I’m right where I belong Ronan and I know that was hard on you. You really love Kendrick and his betrayal is the worst but baby he isn’t a good man. He isn’t you he’s kidnapping women it’s all over the news and Dani is pregnant. This is horrible but you’re going to end it. Can we please go sit down? I’ll fix you something to eat and somehow you’re going to get through this.” Walking to the kitchen Brooke was shaking.

Kendrick was a monster in every way but did he deserve for his life to be ended? Who made these choices? Gasping for air Brooke knew that if she loved Ronan this is what she would have to deal with. He deserved it but something inside of her ached at the power Ronan wielded. With the limited food she made him a sub and chips. Not the best meal but it was something to ease both their nerves. “I’m happy everything will be over and done soon.”

Ronan took the food and then put distance between them again, his mind was racing about everything that was going on with Kendrick. When Ivan came back in and told him that his orders had been followed through he nodded to him. Lowell would take care of things on his end, scare Jamal into not ever talking and if Yasmine made it out of Kendrick’s stupidity he would go to her. She would never talk as well, meaning both his dead ends would be tied up in a diplomatic way with no bloodshed and well should they both negate on that, he’d already warned Lowell about the consequences. In truth he had admired Jamal wanting to make his own way apart from his parents, it was gritty but his business had been compromised in the process.

“It will be ending soon. We will both be able to move on from this. Ivan please let the staff know to pack Brooke’s things.” Ronan said knowing that this would for now be the end of their relationship. With the moves he just made with DGI and against Kendrick tensions would be high between men in the organization loyal to him and others that were loyal to Kendrick. A coop had already happened and he couldn’t risk a second one that would put Brooke’s life in danger and he looked at her shocked and hurt face and he swore a part of him died. He pushed aside those feelings and when she reached out for him he got up from the table to look at her coldly. “I will have Ivan drive you back to your mother’s. It’s over Brooke for Kendrick and for you and I. Surely had to anticipate this day coming, you know it would.”

“What are you saying?” She managed to gasp out as she looked at him. “I took on everybody I loved for you. Please don’t say this because I love you Ronan and you love me.” Brooke walked to him and touched his hands. He was looking at her so coldly but she knew this wasn’t what he wanted to do. They had just got together and were in a place of happiness. Shaking her head she looked at Ivan swiftly. “Don’t you touch one thing of mine. You don’t touch anything of mine you hear me Ivan! I refuse to leave you when this man is threatening you. When you need support and I know that you have been betrayed by Kendrick. I am right here because I didn’t believe you and I’m looking to right all my wrongs. I’m so sorry Ronan and I knew you would never lie to me. So I’m sorry but we just made love, we just found our way back and you are kicking me out. Don’t do this to me please Ronan.”

Brooke saw his eyes and saw that he looked so cold. She crumpled in her spot falling to the floor. Time had told her that heartbreak heals but she felt shattered in this moment. “No Ronan please. I just fought everyone in my family for you. I just threw away everyone for us please don’t turn on me like this. I won’t be able to recover. Oh my God Ronan.” Brooke grabbed ahold of his leg. “Don’t make me beg because I love you. You love what’s going on? Ronan stop this! This is a cruel joke.” Looking wildly over at Ivan continuing to pack her belongings. “Stop him!” She said looking at him. “Since I met you, you’ve been the one. Please stop it Ronan please don’t let us go to waste. I haven’t let you down at all but why are you throwing me away? You are the one for me. You’re switching up everything that you promised Ronan.”

Ronan said nodding his head to Ivan to finish packing her things as he pulled his hands back from her. He had to be cold with her it was the only way it would work this time last time in jail he had to do it because the enemies were inside now he had to do it on the outside for other reasons. The people on the outside would be worse they would come for her, he would be under even more watch now that he was going to be in business with Lowell at the casino. His enemies could get her the feds could try and turn her, he had his own skeletons to worry about it wouldn’t be the first time the feds had tried to get into the organization though those closest to him.

“I’m saying it’s over. It’s not safe for you to be here anymore. To be in your life anymore do you want to end up like those girls on the news? If it’s not Kendrick that gets you it will be someone else. Get up Brooke it’s not like you to beg.” Ron said feeling her tugging on his leg as he stepped back from her. Yes they had made love, they had agreed to start over but that was before Kendrich had went completely off the rails. It was out of his hands now he had to put on the hardest and coldest face he could as he looked at her. “Ivan stop she can help you pack her things. You’ll be fine, a prince will come along again and offer you everything that I can not give you. I’ll give you the time you need to pack your things. We can remain friends Brooke.” Stepping back from her he waved his hand at the guards on the door to stay make sure he backed up as he forced back the tears and walked out of the door. It was for the best it had to be at this point.

Watching him walk away he sent her a very clear message. No longer would they be together and it wasn’t as destined as she thought. As she stood up she saw the door close and she jumped. She needed his love, why would he break them like this? Brooke let out a gasp and it grew into a powerful sob. Walking to the room she saw Ivan and screamed at him. “Leave!” She said as he lowered his head and walked out. Before she knew it Brooke was seeing red. Throwing the last of her belongs in her suitcase. He maybe didn’t break the way she broke but he would break none the same. He’d feel her wrath one way or another. She saw Ivan was outside the door. Walking to the fireplace she picked up a fire poker. Walking to the glass doors she swung furiously until she heard the shattering of glass all around her. Turning around she grabbed her heels slipping them on. No glass in her toes today. Next was the expensive decor in the room she swung seeing Ivan open the door he was shocked. Wild eyed she pointed the poker at Ivan.

“Get my shit!” Brooke commanded looking at him with a fire in his eyes.

“Aye you rich bitches crazy.” Ivan said raising his hands as he walked to the master bedroom.

Brooke turned to the table and placed her back into one swing. The entire glass table crashed on the floor. Furiously Brooke didn’t know what else to do? Walking into the bedroom she grabbed all of his expensive suits she dropped the poker.  Walking through the glass Brooke went to the balcony with a purpose. Clicking on the outdoor fireplace she threw them all in the firepit. Immediately the expensive silks and fabrics crackled underneath the fire. As she walked to at the bathroom she broke the mirror inside of the room. Grabbing a letter opener she slice all the artwork on the walls.

“Now you tell your boss was he expecting this? He had to know I was going to do all this. You let him know he can go to hell. He can die all I care. I hate him!” She felt Ivan hand on her back she screamed. “Don’t touch me!” Wiping her eyes she rushed down the hallway. Pulling out her cellphone. “Val please can you come and get me. I’m at the resort please.” She said crying hearing her friend voice as she sat in the lobby in shock. It was over as soon as it began. Her mother was right. He was going to hurt her and he did. “She was right, oh my God, Val she was right.”