1×23 “Lost & Broken Souls”

1×23 Lost & Broken Souls
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo

Devin looked around the crime scene as the officers worked to do crowd control for he ever merging people that were showing up. As the techs began to gather evidence what a mess of course the only casualty was Kendrick’s but it didn’t have to go down like that. Kendrick had choices he could have made so that he could have been brought in there was no doubt in his mind. He saw Jon still standing there in the middle of the street watching the techs do their job and walked up to him placing his hand on his shoulder. He’d been through alot of shit in the military and Devin knew that, knew how much guilt Jon carried from those days.

“Gideon wants us down at the station to make statements. You did what you had to Jon, Ramirez is going to bag the body pretty soon. I’ll go make sure it’s done by the books if that’s ok with you.” Devin said Jon took the shot if Jon wanted to oversee everything he could that was his job and he wasn’t going to stand in the way of that. He also wanted to let Jon know if he needed to take a break and step back that was good too, in fact judging by the crowds Gideon would likely make that decision for Jon. “Miranda said she’s finishing up down the street and will be right here in a bit too. You need anything?”

“I asked like four times. I think.” Jon said looking at him. “I begged him not to make do that. I didn’t want to take another life again, unless it was someone after my own. Devin you don’t understand what I’ve seen. When um we are in Iraq those SOB’s choose to arm kids with guns. Child soldiers and they aim to kill and are ruthless. I had to kill kids man and I wanted to come home and legit make a change for my community. I didn’t want to do that Devin and it was a clean shot. I told him over and over again.” Shaking his head Jon looked at Devin. “I’m going to lose everything a white cop kills the most beloved black guy in Atlas Falls. They are axing cops for less and here I am killing someone like a idiot. Yasmine said I could have shot his arm or leg. I could have. Why didn’t I shoot his arm or leg?” Jon said punching the patrol car window in front of him.

“Dani was in danger and I had to but I didn’t want to kill anymore Devin. I didn’t want to kill after Iraq I swore no more death. Then I do this.” He said shaking a little. “Look at them.” Jon said watching the crowd of angry people faces emerging. “They aren’t going to see Dani being threatened, they are going to see a white man killing another black man. I don’t see color Devin you know that but God that man was a monster. Why are they here not celebrating this community finally coming together without the looming threat of a drug dealer. They are hating me and I just don’t get it.”

Devin looked over at Jon and then out at the crowd again since he wanted to make sure nothing happened, he knew it probably would though. The crowd was growing more and more agitated as the crime scene unit did their work. He knew what Jon was talking about but he also saw Kendrick with his own eyes he supposed that he should have maybe taken the shot to an arm or a leg but that wasn’t where the clean shot would be. Kendrick had made sure of that when he took Dani out of the car and placed her in front of him, if Jon would have aimed at another part there was a chance he could have hit Dani. He knew that and seeing Miranda approach Jon he looked at him.

“Stay here I’ll see where tech is. It was a clean shooting Jon, if you went for the arm or the leg when he reached you could have hit Dani you knew that.” Devin said he saw one of the tech guys waving to him and then made his way to the body. He crouched down and as the tech guy pointed to Kendrick’s waistband. His eyes zoomed in and saw the gun still holstered in his pants at first he felt ill for Jon and then he had partial anger surge through him at the loss of life. Yes black men like him were killed by police innocent men but he knew Kendrick wasn’t innocent. He saw Miranda looking at him and shook his head at her pointed to the gun at least it wasn’t a cellphone. “Make sure you get it all, leave us to do the statements.”

Miranda had helped Yasmine into an ambulance with Rory and then checked on Dani before she went to crowd control with Zach. When Zach left to go check on his cousin and get her some clothes she took a breath on the bench for a few minutes he was gone from Yasmine’s life and off the streets and that meant the only tie to Ronan was gone too. She knew that Jon had to take the shot but it felt like the last year of work was gone now, she wasn’t even sure Yasmine could testify against Ronan. Jamal’s case was all hearsay now, Kendrick was dead, Ronan was out and no one would collaborate Jamal’s story when he sat down and gave it. She focused in on her brother when Devin went to the body and hugged Jon.

“You did what you had to, like Devin said it was a clean shot. Do you want me to take you back to the station or home? Gideon will be calling you to come in you know that it’s procedure.” Miranda said looking at Jon who still seemed a bit despondent at best. He was traumatized too she’d seen that look before, knew what he had been through in the war. The promises he made to never do that ever again. Unless it was absolutely necessary to her it was, the shot was difficult if Kendrick would have moved wrong he knew he could have shot Dani or Kendrick would have moved more and he could have shot Yasmine through the glass. “He was a monster Jon he made the choice to reach for his gun.” Miranda reassured him hoping to god Devin found a gun and with his nod she knew he saw a gun and saw him point to the waistband.

“I know it was a clean shot but with public perception of police being at an all time low. Well that doesn’t make me feel safe about my family or the woman I care about being safe. These people don’t want to hear about a clean shot they want the guy who funded the local basketball tournament back.” Jon said looking at Miranda. “What have we done for Scottswood beside bust some local thugs? That guy gave them all another avenue and he was scum but he was their scum.” Looking at his sister concerned eyes he calmed himself. He had no choice but to calm himself. She was going to go straight to his parents and say Jon is off the edge again. Which was the furthest thing from the truth.

Watching Devin nodding to Miranda he knew at least Kendrick had the gun. It was a common police procedure when a shooting happened to find out if the suspect was carrying. The good thing was everything was in his favor. The bad thing was that the entire case just went down in smoke. With no Kendrick there was no connection to Ronan. “I should go see Gideon because I’m sure I won’t have my gun or badge while under investigation. I just really want to go check on Dani and Yasmine.” He said with a trail off looking at the growing crowd. “They are going to be pissed and I don’t know if we can quell the anger of an entire city.”

“Public perception can kiss my ass the man willingly kidnapped two women, held them hostage and used one as a body shield. Let them be angry then you have no shame in what you had to do Jon period.” Miranda said knowing the guilt was eating at her brother the shit he saw in war was probably ten times worse than what he had to do to Kendrick. She also understood he was concerned about the crowd with any luck the tech crews would be done in a few hours and they could all go home. “He reached for his gun he knew what he was doing. It wasn’t like he was surrendering.”

Miranda kicked at some gravel in front of her as she saw Zach approach them after returning from the hospital making sure his cousin wa okay. They were partners and more than that Zach had a level head even when people were gathering and whipping out cellphones trying to catch something amiss about the shooting. “Dani doing ok? She and Yasmine seemed pretty shook when they left. I’m going to stay and work crowd control make sure we get this done by the books. You aren’t hanging your job up if someone fucks this up. Me, Devin or Zach can give you a ride back to the station right Zach?”

“My cousin is fine and the baby is also.” He said grinning happily but seeing Jon looking like he was lost he felt horrible. Jon had seen so much at war and he didn’t want this to trigger darth Jon again. Unfortunately he saw nothing but that coming because the vacant look in his friends eyes. “She’s shaken up but I think this might be bringing her and Jackson together even more so. Which I’m happy about the guy made a horrible mistake but doesn’t deserve to be crucified for it. Which my uncle and cousin were going to do to him.” He stuck his hand in his pocket. “Jon this isn’t your fault we all saw it this is a open and shut case when Gideon investigates this.” Zach patted Miranda on the shoulder. “Miranda I’m sorry that he’s gone because more than anything I knew what taking down Ronan meant to you.”

Jon looked at Zach and a sense of calm washed over him. Hearing Dani and her child were okay he covered his mouth. Tears welled up in his eyes as he stood up and turned away. He didn’t want to them to see him crying. Taking a moment to collect himself he felt proud he saved Dani and Yasmine.  “Thanks for the update Zach, and I’ll take that because I had to.” He mumbled as he looked at Devin. “Yeah um I’m going to go to the station alone. I have to see Cassie and call Skye. I was really harsh to her and I need to apologize and I should tell them both media will be digging in their lives. They don’t deserve to be involved in my mess you know?” Jon stuck his hands in his pockets. “Miranda I’m fine sis so don’t worry let me go ok?”

Miranda looked at him knowing it was pointless to worry about it right now Jon would put on a hard front it was what he did. Instead she nodded at him and her mind drifted to what they were saying about Kendrick yes their only connection to Ronan was gone and she hated that. On the other hand the young girl she promised would be safe for working with her was just that safe. Her best friend and unborn child were also safe due to her brother’s judgement it hurt to not catch Ronan it was a loss for the team and the feds but she wouldn’t trade that for the two girls alive. “What matters today is that Dani and Yasmine are both safe. One day Ronan will make a wrong move and we’ll nail him. Let’s get down to the station so we can see Gideon then.”

Devin had just wrapped up with the techs who had photographed and were now working on sealing up the gun along with Jon’s casing as he approached them. He had overhead that both Yasmine and Dani were alright and he was happy about that. He looked at Jon taking out the keys to the police cruiser and opened the door for his partner. “I’ll drive you and then come back and make sure these knuckleheads keep the crowds down until they process the body. Call me if it gets to be too much alright Fraiser?” Devin said hugging Miranda and then waiting for Zach to answer and Jon to get into the car.

“Will do Thompson.” He said looking at Devin as he got into the car as Jon, Miranda, and Devin buckled up. Zach watched them drive away turning to Kendrick body he almost spat on him. A vile man like that didn’t deserve to breathe. “Alright guys come on we need to wrap up this scene once again don’t contaminate anything one of our boys neck is on the line.”


“Yazzy!” Trisha yelled seeing her shellshocked daughter walk into the ER. Her entire face was devoid of color and she saw Ms. Watkins down the hall waiting. No doubt wondering what was going to happen to Kendrick. The word on the street had flew Scottswood God was dead. She however wasn’t going to claim that until she got word. When she rushed to her daughter she cupped her face and kissed her lips. Touching her clearly disheveled clothes as she ran her hands down her body to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. “It’s you.” She said softly as she kissed her daughter’s forehead. “I prayed my baby wouldn’t be taken from me and God showed up. I knew he wouldn’t let me down or forsake me.” She said looking at Rory solemn expression and Yasmine looked like she was dying. “Baby what’s wrong?”

Yasmine heard Ms. Watkins screaming from down the hall hearing her eldest son was dead. It wasn’t a secret Dinah Watkins had lost another child. Her second one and it was blood all over her hands. She didn’t handle her role properly. She didn’t do what she had to do to protect herself from Kendrick’s transformation. Either way it goes she was just as guilty or she felt like it. Wrapping her arms around her mother she just weeped in her arms. “Ma.”

“It’s okay baby let it out momma’s here.” She said looking at Rory and the scream of Dinah Watkins confirmed the gossip on Facebook, Kendrick was dead. “Baby this is not your fault you hear momma. You said you were going to bring home my baby.” Trisha walked to Rory and hugged him. “Thank-you.” She said turning around seeing Dinah falling into her husband’s arms. He wasn’t Kendrick father but he was a father figure to her youngest sons. “My God what happened Rory?”

“They murdered him.” She said looking up at her momma. “Ma, I don’t believe this they just shot him. They didn’t give him a chance and yeah he had the mayor’s daughter but Ma. They shot him down like a dog in the street. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”

“Oh baby girl it’s alright.” Trisha said looking at Rory. “Kendrick was fighting so many demons sweetie you know that right? He had demons on his back and no one could prevent this from happening. Let alone you who is constantly trying to turn your life around. Tell her Rory this isn’t her fault.”

Rory looked at Trisha and then over at Yasmine Kendrick died by his own hand. He had plenty of time to follow instruction he refused and yeah he reached for something likely a gun. He heard what he assumed was Kendrick’s mother wail down the hallway and wanted to feel bad for him but honestly he didn’t. He got that Yasmine was still in shock about what happened to her she had every right to still be in shock. He moved towards them rubbing Yasmine’s back.

“It’s not your fault Yasmine none of this is. You were there Yasmine he wasn’t cooperating with the police.” Rory said it was the truth and he didn’t think Jon was a bad person for pulling the trigger. He saw Trisha and he didn’t want to fight with her about the state of Atlas Falls after this. “He reached for something they shot it wasn’t like he was some innocent bystander in any of this. Yasmine you can’t feel guilty about that.”

“I helped push him over the edge. I did, with my disrespect in front of his squad. I knew better and I just did it anyway. If I would have just not listened to Jamal. If I would have just tried to escape another way. I was desperate and not thinking. He made me feel desperate and it sucks because he wasn’t a bad guy. He really wasn’t Rory he really looked out for me when I was a kid. He made sure I had something to eat and now because I couldn’t be patient I lost him. I lost a brother who really didn’t deserve to die the way he did.” Yasmine said looking at Trisha and Rory.

“I swear to God that fucking officer was thirsty to shoot and kill Kendrick. He was bloodthirsty for someone, hell someone had to pay or fall because my rich ass boyfriend wasn’t letting me go to jail.” She said gruffly looking at her mom. “I am so angry right now man. I’m so pissed and confused because I’m happy to be alive Momma but he gone.” She buried her head into her mother’s shoulder weeping. That man wasn’t Kendrick a year had changed him but that wasn’t the man she knew. That wasn’t the guy who bought her school clothes and made sure she ate three square meals. “He grabbed Dani and not me. I know why he did that. He knew what he was doing.” She sobbed grabbing ahold of Rory hand.

“It’s okay baby Rory and I are here you let it out.” She said softly looking at Rory as she grabbed his hand.

Rory didn’t know what else to do for Yasmine other than hold her hand and rub her back. When she mentioned that Kendrick grabbed Dani over her he got a sick feeling in his stomach. She was pregnant meaning he had no qualms about using her body as a shield his niece or nephew and he shook his head and the thoughts away. Eventually he’d check on his brother and make sure everything was alright but it seemed so insensitive to do it when Yasmine needed him too. He saw Yasmine fight for her own demons and knew that he had to be strong for her too.

“Do you want me to send for someone to get you some fresh clothes. When the doctors come in with the police they’re going to want what you’re wearing. I can have a staff member at DGI do it or call Simon.” Rory said not even knowing if Yasmine realized she had blood all over her clothes from the spatter and when her clothes brushed the car. He knew that they would need them for evidence and waited on her reply as he rubbed her back. “You can’t go back to your place tonight it’s out of the question and I think your mother would agree with me about that. I’m just happy you’re safe Yasmine that you are back here with me and your mother.”

She looked down at her pants and shirt she started to shake her head numbly. The blood covered her body. It was little splatters of Kendrick all over her body. Looking at her hands she shook feverishly wanting a shower and to crawl in bed with Rory. Just to lay peacefully knowing she could be with him. She turned around from her mother and touched his face. “I love you.” Yasmine croaked out biting her lip. “Life is too short and I have to tell you I love you. Please can you get me um a change of clothes and then can we go to your place. Momma I want you to go to my house and pack up as much as you see. I’m not staying Scottswood anymore. I don’t want to be there.” She crawled into Rory’s arm and let him hold her. “Don’t let me go.”

Trisha saw Yasmine was taken care of and she nodded her head. “I’ll pack up everything and I’ll go to the hotel tonight. I don’t want to live their anymore either baby.” She kissed her forehead. “Um Rory you take care of my baby I need to handle this.” Trisha walked out of the room and clutched her chest as she started to mumble a prayer.

She covered her mouth as the guilt ate at her. Her daughter was in this position because of her illness and she wouldn’t have Yasmine be in squander anymore. For years she had hidden a secret that would rock Atlas Falls. Her youngest and most precious baby girl wasn’t just a stripper. No her daughter came for a legacy and she wasn’t ready to do this but she had no choice. Either she was going to buckle up and tell the truth or Yasmine wouldn’t ever know the truth. Truth is Yasmine pain was her fault she let Kendrick be a male figure in her life. When she had a father waiting he just didn’t know it.  Pulling out her cell phone she dialed a overseas number as she covered her mouth. As the phone rang her heart pounded due to this at one point being the love of her life. Hearing his voice her heart stopped. She swiftly turned paranoid that someone was listening to their conversation. Once she was sure of privacy Trisha spoke.

“It’s good to hear your voice, I know you said call if I ever need anything. I do I need something. I need for you to come here because our daughter deserves to know you, the man I knew.” Hearing his voice booming in her ears and the fury that came with it. “Of course doesn’t know, Yasmine is a heiress but I will tell you she’s madly in love with a Devonshire.” The voice was once again booming angrily in her ear. “Just get here because I’m not enough anymore. She needs her father.”

Yasmine watched her mother leave her and Rory alone. “So get Simon to bring me a sweatsuit and some gym-shoes. I’m ok Rory I swear.” She said looking at him. “I’m just so confused about Kendrick, I hate him and I miss him.”

Rory held Yasmine close as he took out his phone texting Simon that he needed him to stop and get Yasmine some new clothes nice ones at that. Then he sent a text to tell him to help with moving Trisha again just in case while everything settled. He rubbed Yasmine’s back taking in her words when his phone buzzed he looked down annoyed with Tess’s texts before hitting ignore on them. Yasmine would never know he promised himself that he would be better for her. He would do better for her that was what people in love did, they protected each other and if he told himself that was what it was.

“Simon will bring some clothes by, the police will be in soon to take some pictures gather your old ones. I’ll take care of you and your mother Yasmine.” Rory said letting her cry into his chest while he stroked her hair, running his fingers through the strands. They could be happy now Tess was his secret, Kendrick was out of their lives and he would take care of her and her mother. “I love you too. I’m right here I’m not going anywhere ok? We’ll go home you can shower and we’ll figure everything out with your mother too. You’re safe now Yasmine you can always trust that with me alright?”

“Alright.” She said taking his hand seeing Simon approaching with a Dior duffle bag. She knew that it was over. That this stage of her life was done. No more stripping and no more being a drug mule. That was done but what about Ronan? Would he be after her? There were so many question and unfortunately no answers. Looking at Rory she ran her hand down his neck. “We finally get to be together for real.” She laughed trying to break the drama that was clearly thick in the air. “Come on let’s go give these to Miranda and I’ll thank her for everything.”

Rory nodded his head at her as Simon handed them the bag and he went into the room with her to change it only took a few moments before Miranda and a doctor came in to get everything. It passed a blur from there with a lot of words and protocol as Yasmine was photographed and her clothes taken. The bruising from the beating being the worst he had almost went into a rage before he remembered that Kendrick was dead now. The men responsible behind bars. He waited till the doctor and Miranda had left and Yasmine came out in that Dior attire and he grabbed her hand. “Let’s go leave this behind us.”


Sitting on the edge of the exam table as she stared at the sweatpants she now wore and shirt clothing that Zach had went and got from her house for her. She had nodded her head absently as he let her know her house was still a crime scene it would be a week or two before she could go home and that a tech would come in with Kelsey to take pictures of her bruising along with Yasmine’s. She hugged her cousin before he left. Glancing over at Jackson who literally refused to leave even when she locked herself in the bathroom to change she didn’t know if she wanted him to either. She was still angry at him, maybe she wasn’t sure all she did know was that she was tired. She saw him get up and wrap the hospital blanket around her and realized she was shaking likely shock. What was she supposed to say to him?

“I still can’t believe what happened, how this happened. I’m not sorry he’s dead. Is Yasmine okay? They were close.” Dani said to him when she finally looked at him. She put her head in her hands then saw the ugly bruising forming on her wrists and saw the anger on his face at them. Sure he’d bruised her slightly before but it was entirely different before she knew it the past twelve hours of her nightmare came up and the mixed feelings with it. “He didn’t rape me or anything like that. I was so scared and confused. All I could think about was why and if I’d ever get to see you again if the baby would be ok.”

“No she’s taking this really hard.” He said as a silence rushed over the room. He knew Yasmine was down the hall screaming. Jackson just didn’t want to put the stress on her to worry about her new friend. He was glad Yasmine kept her in a safe mindset while hostage. Jackson fumbled with his fingers as he looked at Dani. “All I kept thinking about is how I got you taken. How if I lost you or the baby I would kill myself. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die because hurting you wasn’t ever my intention. Understand for once I wanted to be the hero and I wanted to be the guy who kept saving the day. I was high on that feeling because my father wasn’t looking at me as a failure and you saw me as this big time corporate raider. Well I thought I could just help Jamal and Yasmine. I thought I could be a great brother to Rory, I thought I was protecting the family.”

Jackson looked at her as he took her hand. “I never meant for this to happen. Your father and brother snapped at me. I didn’t even mind this time because I deserved it. I thought I was going to lose you. I thought you weren’t coming home safe and sound. That killed me Dani.” He said with a tear dropping down his face. “I never thought I could love someone as deeply as I love you. It scary to think of someone else more than yourself but I’m still stupid and selfish.” Jackson said hitting the side of his head. “I fucked up Dani and if you hate me I understand.”

Dani nodded her head at him when he mentioned Yasmine was taking it hard she figured she would be. She didn’t hate him she didn’t think she could but she was angry with him for all of it and she wasn’t even sure what to say. She got he wanted to play hero he had a good heart and a good soul but he lied to her walked right in her house and lied to her. He could have done anything other than bring them into her house go to the police put them in his apartment. Anywhere other than lie to her when they had just promised each other to start over. “My house. Where we literally made love in the kitchen that same night. You looked me in the eyes lied to me and hid drugs in my house.”

“Hate you? I don’t hate you. I just don’t even know what to say to you right now. I can’t even begin to think about them in my house or you around them or using them or anything else I thought about while he had me. Because if I do it breaks my heart.” Dani said feeling her eyes well with tears as she looked at him, she was so angry at him. She loved him that wasn’t the question and she got he was doing the right thing or trying to but at what cost? Would it be a repeat of him using and lying to her again about it? Was he using? Did he use again? She went to say more only for the door to open and her mother to walk in letting go of his hand she rushed to her hugging her. “Momma.”

Jackson knew at that moment if he didn’t confess to the drug usage he’d lose her. He knew it and with a clear mind he knew that tomorrow or soon he’d have to tell Dani that he used out of fear. It was a relapse but it also was a moment that he betrayed them completely. He should have had faith that she was coming home. As stood up he walked to Dani and kissed her forehead. “I was dumb Ms. Fraiser and I lied trying to be the hero for my brother and godbrother. It was foolish and I swear to you I will never put her in danger again. I will never do that to my child or my future wife.” He said smiling at Dani. “If you will have me still.”

Lauren looked at Dani and Jackson and saw the love hell she felt it. It was however today she finally saw what Walter was saying. Holding her baby she focused in on the man before her. Jackson was a wild card and he had placed her daughter in danger. At least he was saying he was a dumbass. It was clear to her he loved her but sometimes love wasn’t enough. This was one of those times. She tried to feign the expression of understanding but she was pissed at him. She wanted nothing more than to have Dani push him away. “Well I’m glad you know you were a dumbass.” Lauren said with more bite than she normally gave him.

Looking at her daughter she wanted to scream no she won’t be with Jackson Devonshire. She was done with him but that wasn’t her choice. Either way she wasn’t ready to give her baby girl up to the Devonshire’s when this happened. “Listen you better not ever and I mean ever get her in shit like this again you hear me. I’ll kill you for mine and she’s my only daughter and when you have a little girl or boy you’ll know how this feels.” Touching her daughter’s face. She kissed her forehead. “Baby I’m so glad you are alright.”

Walter had waited a few moments giving mother and daughter the reunion they both needed and he stared Jackson up and down when he entered the room. He’d heard the apology, he knew he had been out of line before when everything was so fresh but the thought of losing the only daughter he currently had chilled him to the bone. Once Lauren stepped back he wrapped Dani in his arms and what felt like the first time in years she didn’t push him away. “I’m very glad you’re alright. You gave us quite the scare.” He said pulling back. He kissed her forehead. “Jackson.” He said cordially trying to not have another outburst.

He’s went to say more only for his niece to arrive with the police photographer and he stepped back as they did their job, he watched Jackson closely seeing the worry on his face. He felt it, saw Lowell’s son did love his daughter and knew at this point there was nothing he could say or do to change that. He’d almost lost her his only daughter he had, at least with him right now and he shook the officer’s hand when they left watching Dani put her shirt back on. He’d seen the bruises her health came first before anything involving revenge on Lowell or the Devonshire’s. “You should come home for the night or stay here. Make sure everything is okay.”

Dani put the shirt back over her head feeling awkward when the police had taken the photos, it was like she was a walking piece of a puzzle that the cops needed. She knew she had bruises on her she could tell by her parents face, by Jackson’s and she looked at her father when he mentioned going back to her parents or staying at the hospital. Saw Kelsey taking notes like she was admitting her. “No I don’t want to stay here. I feel fine, everything’s fine with the baby. Come on Kelsey don’t make me stay here after the day I’ve had. Give me something to let me sleep and I’ll come in the morning for a full check up. You have my word I’ll see Ophelia first thing in the morning. Please don’t make me stay here.”

“Go home honey.” She said softly. “I don’t mean that apartment go home with your mom and dad. I want someone to monitor you even though you are alright. If anything happens we can protect you and that bambino.” Kelsey kissed Walter cheek and hugged her aunt. “We are Fraiser’s so what we are tough that doesn’t mean you aren’t breakable. Plus I think Jackson needs a moment to collect himself something of this nature can cause a relapse.” Kelsey suggested looking at them.

“I think that is the best idea.” Jackson admitted as he looked at Dani. “Babe your parents almost lost you and their grandchild. I understand you want to be anywhere but here so why not go home. I’ll sleep on the couch if that’s alright?”

“Wrong kid you will sleep upstairs with my daughter because I don’t think that she will feel safe without you.” Lauren said looking at him. “As badly as you burned my trust she still has faith and I think you deserve a second shot.” She was lying through her teeth but he was also the father of Dani’s unborn child. No way was she letting him go right now. Family was something the Fraiser clan placed emphasis on.

“So that’s my offer you go home with your parents and Jackson or stay here.” Kelsey said looking at Dani and her family. “Mr. Devonshire I suggest you do one thing for me. I suggest you don’t bring my cousin into the fray of the madness you’re used to. Dani has been hurt quite a bit and I think she deserves to have some peace and if you can’t provide that then please get away from her.” Never one to mince her words Kelsey grabbed her stethoscope taking Dani bp and the rest of her vitals.

Dani looked at them like they were all crazy she knew her parents especially her father were not a fan of Jackson yet they were inviting him back to the house. She got that with the stress a relapse could happen too and one night wouldn’t be the end she supposed of staying with her parents. “I’ll go with them or back to Jackson’s apartment he has guards there. It might scare Dylan after everything to have the press hovering at the house or guards.” Dani said, her cousin had never held her tongue but she wasn’t sure going to her parents was the best idea either. Especially with Dylan no doubt there too. “I swear I’ll take it easy and Jackson will take care of me.”

Walter looked at Kelsey grateful for her words and it took everything in him to not explode at Lauren’s offer though he saw it in her eyes it was forced. When Dani brought up the security that Jackson could provide at his apartment he had no retort for that. In the fray he had nearly forgot that with the shooting Dylan would be with them too meaning more press, more everything and though he would prefer she stay at the house the alternative was acceptable as well. “For once I’m not going to fight you on this. Guarantee you’ll have guards on that apartment and you won’t leave her side. As much as being at home with your mother and I is an option. Dylan doesn’t need the circus railroad it would bring given what happened with Tamara.”

“Then it’s settled we will have guards at my apartment and she’ll stay there.” Jackson said looking at Dani with a smile. “I assure you that Dani will be treated like a queen. I will take care of her and any sign of any stress she’s out of there.” With that he walked to Dani and grabbed her hand. “I promise nothing like this will happen at my hands again. This showed me one thing I can’t live without you. I can’t breathe when you aren’t with me.” Honestly he felt good that Dani wanted to be with him even though he had sent her through hell. The fear he felt must of been million times worse because she lived it. “Plus Dylan’s a cool dude she’s right he doesn’t need that.”

Kelsey nodded feeling horrible about Dylan and Tamara. She for one always liked Braden and Tamara versus the uppity princess Delacroix girl. She was spoiled and something about Tamara felt down the earth. Hell she wanted her brother with Susie Williams but Brock was forever a bachelor and Zach forgetaboutit. Looking at Jackson and Dani mooning at each other. “God get a room. Look as long as she’s safe and relaxing and promises to visit Ophelia. Then well we’re good she can go to the apartment.”


Max waited next to Philip who kept going in and out of consciousness she saw her sister check again for a pulse. Hunter was applying pressure to the wound again still and they were on their third kitchen towel set.  What was taking the ambulance so long? Her phone kept ringing and she ignored the calls her mind was still cloudy from what was going on before her what is Philip died? How were they going to explain it? She didn’t see the police buying the burglar route why would all of them be there for Philip if he was being robbed? Her mind was still racing a million miles a minute and the blood it seemed like it wouldn’t leave her hands, which made sense since they were covered in it.

Hunter often wondered how long it took for an ambulance to get around the city and having to bypass traffic and sometimes the crime to get to a scene. It had come up at city council meetings before that they needed a better system and response time in play especially for the Scottswood area. Watching the clock tick down on the wall now though he thought their concerns were valid, it was taking forever or what seemed like forever. He vowed to bring it up at the next city council meeting more spending towards those areas and first responders.

“I need more towels Max. Bliss how far out is the ambulance?” Hunter said his voice slightly raising as the towel soaked his own hands.

“They are downstairs.” Bliss said rushing to Max aid who was struggling to find the towels. She opened a drawer on the other side and handed it to her sister. Grabbing Max hand she knew she had to let her know. She had to let her know that she was here for her no matter what. “Max I need you to say someone else was here. Do you understand?” She said looking at her sister. “We won’t tell anyone else what happened. You too Hunter because you could lose your job and your entire career if this get’s out. I need everyone to stick to same story. Someone was in here and they were fighting. The gunshot went off and Hunter baby you tried to stop the assailant. You were coming to see Philip we were looking for you. I’ll call Simon to get the security footage hacked.” Bliss said as she looked at Max.

Philip was hearing words but could barely comprehend. “Veronica didn’t commit suicide. Scarlett.” He passed out trying to tell Max what he knew.

Max looked at her sister as the paramedics rushed into the scene and began to work on Philip watched Hunter step back almost as if he was in a daze. She was still in a daze with everything that was going on it had all unraveled so fast. She only hoped Philip survived and seeing her phone ring again she looked at the frantic texts from her father, mother, Rory and Jackson she wanted to focus on that but her mind drifted back to Philip. She had treated him so badly over the last year and sure she liked her games and the fucking but she didn’t want him to go off and get shot by Hunter. Her eyes zoomed in on her purse and putting it on her shoulder while she picked up the gun that she dropped on the floor she turned around when the paramedic began speaking to her.

“Ms. are you his wife? Lover? What happened?” The medic asked as she saw them place some sort of tube in Philips’ mouth saw them placing some sort on packing on his wound to stop the bleeding.

“No I’m seeing him, I came over to talk.” Max managed to get out not sure what else she was supposed to say she knew that Bliss though making up some story about an assailant was a smart idea but that seemed so unbelievable to her. She saw the medic flash a light in Philip’s eyes and then look over at his partner before looking at Philip and Bliss. “That’s my husband and my sister.” She wasn’t even sure why she said it and the medic looked at her with a strange look.

“So you were sleeping with this guy and your husband and sister stopped by for a chat? How did he end up shot?” The medic asked.

Hunter saw Max scrambling, saw the worry on Bliss’s face and then rubbed his hands over his face he told them what really happened he could lose his seat on the city council. Philip died he knew Forbes would make him end up dead or worse. He hadn’t meant to shoot Philip the gun they had been wrestling and his mind raced at what he was supposed to say and do. Max wasn’t the best liar under stress and that was showing more than he cared to admit. He wrung his hands on his pants sure he was spreading Philip’s blood everywhere.

“I was worried about Max getting involved with him the door was open when her sister and I got here. When we came in we heard a shot Max screamed up the stairs and rushed down Philip was there on the ground.” Hunter lied looking around the room hoping that was enough and he could tell the medics were skeptical. He shook his head nerves and then shot Bliss a look to back up his story. “Is he going to make it or what?”

“So you have no idea what kind of a weapon was used, this looks close range. How did they leave?” The medic asked.

“Who?” Hunter bit out.

“The person that shot him?” The man replied looking again at his partner.

“He charged past me.” Bliss said looking at Max as she grabbed her sister’s hand. For once she felt like they were together on something. “I don’t know what happened but my sister was coming to see her lover and I saw a man run past me. Tall with dark hair and dark eyes. Look my sister is shaken up her boyfriend is bleeding out can you tell us what’s going to happen?” She said looking at Max. “Can we ride in the ambulance with him? Or should we call his family? This is Max Devonshire, Hunter Kincaid, and I’m Bliss Devonshire. If we can possibly can we keep this quiet?” Bliss knew one of them had to keep their cool after all she was used to lying to everyone about one thing or another. This wasn’t simple because she literally just saw Hunter shoot Philip but she pulled herself together because a Devonshire wouldn’t fall because of a Montgomery.

Max simply nodded her head when Hunter and Bliss told their versions of the events that had happened. She didn’t know what else to do as she placed the purse on her shoulder and the EMT’s put Philips’s body onto the stretcher attaching him to it while they hung what she assumed was an IV of medications to ensure that he didn’t die. He looked so dead on the stretcher even though she knew that he wasn’t. She knew that she should be worried about what Forbes would do but even she didn’t know what to do. “He’d want me to ride with him until his sister can get there please?” It was the only thing that she knew that she could say. Grabbing her purse she saw the box crash to the floor by the couch and went to grab it only to be distracted by the medic’s voice.

“Alright. Just you. You two can follow.” The older medic said as they began to leave.

Hunter nodded his head at them as he placed a hand on Bliss’s back leading her to the door he glanced back at Max waiting for her too. Once Max was out of the door he thought about going back in to make sure nothing was left behind he had shoved his gun back into its holster in the chaos. He stopped though the medics were already suspicious enough and maybe instead Bliss could call Lowell and send Simon over or something. He saw one of the medics pull out their phone and knew the number they were texting. They wanted the cops here meaning they would have to act quick to make sure no one knew what happened.

“We’re headed straight to the hospital he’ll likely go straight back for surgery it could be a few hours. Don’t leave the hospital the police will want a statement.” The medic said as he zoomed in on Hunter.

“Okay.” Hunter said watching them close the doors as Max stepped inside. He looked over at Bliss seeing her worry. “Call Simon and your dad maybe they can get here and make sure. I never wanted this to happen Bliss. I hate the asshole but I didn’t want him dead or for you and Max to get caught up in his shit.”

“I think he was telling the truth.” Bliss said looking at Hunter as she grabbed his hand. “What if he was telling the truth and all this happened because of a misunderstanding?” Her mind traveled to losing Fox because of her lies. She shook off the thought as she walked to her purse. “The jewelry box, Hunter we need to hide that.” As she walked to the car with her boyfriend a piece of her knew nothing would be the same. “Simon I know you’re busy today. I need your help something has happened and if we don’t reach out to you and father. Well Max, Hunter, and myself can end up in jail. Yes I’m serious please get to Philip’s condo and ensure that a jewelry box is removed. Hell anything pertaining to Scarlett Nichols and I’ll explain everything to dad and you when we met at the Devonshire cabin.”

Hunter looked over at her as she made the call to Simon and he wondered if Simon would beat the cops there and how it would all play out. How was he going to help her get her claim back to her son if Philip didn’t make it, if the cops figured out that eh was the shooter? How would he help Bliss from a jail cell fuck could he even survive jail? He wasn’t sure he could survive jail he wasn’t cut out for it and instead he focused in on driving to the hospital. First they had to make sure Philip made it and then they could worry about worst case scenario, until then he hoped Simon was fast.


Ophelia had the news turned on as soon as Jamal had arrived back home from being dropped off by Diego and the FBI agents, her mind still in partial shock. Kendrick’s hold over her son was over, he was gone, dead never coming back to cause her little boy to act so out of character. No more of him running drugs or selling them she still couldn’t wrap her head around that, he was in college supposed to be getting an education. He could return to that and take that education to do something that he needed. She saw that Diego shut the door and she saw the anger on her son’s face at the shooting. She would never understand his loyalty to a monster someone that terrorized people in the streets that tore apart families and likely murdered people in cold blood.

“Jamal let’s turn off the television for now too much bad news going on. The feds no doubt will want you tomorrow for statements, mijo. I am just glad that is not you on the news.” Ophelia said going to the kitchen knowing how late it was and turning on a kettle some tea would settle her nerves as she got an alert on her phone only the rich scheduled appointments so late in the evening. She was never one to say no to her duty as a doctor and confirmed with the head nurse on call that she would be in to see the patient. Her mind raced for a moment if Kendrick was gone did that mean Jamal was clear from the threat of Ronan now as well? “I don’t understand your loyalty to him Jamal the things he made you do for him to be accepted by him. You shouldn’t feel obligated to grieve for him.”

Jamal sat on the couch numb as the news reported that Kendrick was dead. That made his skin run cold. What had Kendrick done? Everything was over? Or was it? He knew Ronan killed a man? How was he going to get out of that? Plus the drug charges he felt himself sick to his stomach. Standing up Jamal picked up a lamp and threw it across the room. As he let out a primal growl. No doubt in his mind Kendrick would be alive if he never played his little game. Hell he might never had the balls to try and take over Ronan’s empire. Everything was a mess and knowing that Kendrick was dead a sense of satisfaction waved over him but a sense of dread. He tried not to show it but Jamal was relieved and hurt all at one. He lowered his head as he bit his lip. No she didn’t understand his loyalty because she didn’t see the man behind the criminal.

“Mom he wasn’t all bad.” Jamal croaked out as he saw Mason shocked expression. “He was a friend to me and no offense Mason he was like a big brother.” He knew that had to hurt but Mason wasn’t straight. He couldn’t talk to him like he did Kendrick. Sometimes a thot was a thot and he just enjoyed being with a wild woman. Mason would tell him to respect the woman. Either way he just knew Mason wasn’t here for his shit. Kendrick seemed to understand his urges as a young guy and hearing his inspiring stories of the struggle. He respected the struggle and it sucked that this was how a legend went out. “Mom he wasn’t all bad.” Jamal repeated as he sat down at the bar.

Ophelia tried to remain calm when Jamal stated that Kendrick wasn’t all that bad all she knew was his behavior she had been first hand witness too. He had drug her son into a world of drugs and violence, nearly had a girl he thought of like a sister raped, assaulted and kidnapped a pregnat woman. Good men didn’t do that in her mind they just didn’t and she knew that getting angry at Jamal about it would prove to be no good her son was too caring, too compassionate something that he got from her. She went to the fridge pulling out some leftovers from the night before and going about getting plates when you were stressed food fixed everything. Something she got from both her parents in her childhood. Sitting the plates on the countertop along with the food she motioned to the two boys to eat. They were men now but still her boys.

“Eat it makes everything better. Don’t make excuses for him Jamal, good men don’t murder people or kidnap them or have them nearly raped. Good men respect women, work hard just your grandfather’s both did before, like your brother does too.” She almost mentioned Tony until the reveal with Mason he was a good father a good man or so she always believed. She saw them both thinking about skimping out on her cooking and looked at them both. “Homemade enchiladas with your grandmother’s tortillas you will eat.”

Mason saw the news on one hand he was sad for another life lost especially a man of color, far too often in the news as it played out they were dying. Whether it be to wrongful death at the hands of law enforcement, drugs or gang violence it was like it never stopped. He and his family had been lucky to avoid that fate and he was always grateful for that on the other hand. Everything Ophelia was saying about Kendrick was true he was the one that got Jamal drug into this mess with Ronan. He was the one that nearly had Yasmine raped while he kidnapped her. He was the one that went to Dani’s assaulted her and kidnapped her too over drugs that his brother originally had. He had almost declined the food only to know it wasn’t worth it he was starving a little bit.

“Jamal put some food on your plate we both know we aren’t leaving here without at least a plate being cleaned. She’s right Kendrick pulled you into a lot of shit, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suck that he is gone through too for his family.” Mason said trying to not let the brother comment bother him too much with Jamal they were tied by blood he always had Jamal’s back and he hoped Jamal always had his. He saw the look both Jamal and Ophelia gave him. “I do mean that it sucks for his family but he made the choices he did, he had to know there was going to be consequences. I’ll call Kyan about your plea deal you didn’t sit down with the feds yet to tell them what you saw all the way yet. It may not even be valid anymore if they can’t connect Kendrick or Rocky to Ronan.”

“Just man it freaking sucks after all that it has been going on.” He said with a attitude. “I was trying to be something I wasn’t but that didn’t mean that I didn’t care. I cared about all of the people who I befriended. Kendrick was sick as hell but he was a good man. Ma I don’t know if I believe in that. I set this man on this path.” As he piled on a two enchiladas onto his plate. “Me wanting actual street cred for my music journey and everything that I’ve done. I should feel guilty I’ve lied to my parents, and family. Most of all I’m ashamed I lied to myself into being someone I’m not. I was blessed and for some reason I felt shame because the other black guys I knew didn’t have it like me. I should appreciate that my parents are a famous chef and doctor. I spat in the face of everything you taught me and now I’m looking stupid.”

He saw the look on Mason face and felt horrible. He wasn’t trying to say he wasn’t a brother. Hell Mason protected him in his youth. What he was saying was he couldn’t walk up right now and say that girl was bad to Mason and his brother agree. It was different he had known Mason was gay his entire life. It was just something he felt. “Right I just want this behind me and I for one if I can get this done. Well I’ll do right now because the things I saw. Nobody should see it’s horrible.”

Ophelia watched them load up with food and then made her own plate up to eat as well, she listened to Jamal talk and knew at this point she could only say or do so much to know what had happened, how she felt about it. As a doctor she had been trained to have compassion for years for the hurt and the wounded. She’d seen patients die and some make a miraculous recovery but in this case she felt Kendrick deserved everything that he got. It was cold and harsh of her but she didn’t care Jamal was free from him now, free from the darkness that he drug her son into.

“Well I am for one glad he is off the streets and out of our lives.” Ophelia said looking at the hurt and the shock on Jamal’s face. She waited for Mason’s dish to come out of the microwave before she placed hers inside to warm up. “I can’t say that I’m grieving him no matter how close you were to him.”

Mason took his dish and then looked over at his brother and Ophelia he was right down the middle on it currently. He knew the law but until all the evidence came out he wasn’t sure which way we could go on this particular case. He of course felt for his brother and the loss of friendship he faced, though that friendship was misguided. He felt terrible that Kendrick made the choices he did to affect the outcome. He looked down at his phone when it rang to see that security had reported that Simon had went to his office. He got out some plastic wrap to put on his dish.

“I will call the FBI and Kyan to see where your deal is currently at. I have to run though seems like an unwanted visitor has arrived at the firm.” Mason said looking between them he knew he could leave and it would be alright. He knew that they needed an explanation about who was at the office and relented. “Security texted me Simon used his key to show up at the office. It’s between him and me and I have some things I need to say to him alone. I’ll call you both afterwards.” Mason finished grabbing his plate, hugging his brother and then walking out the door to his car.

Jamal hoped Mason knocked Simon bitch ass out. He outed him for the world to see and now their father has disowned his eldest brother. Looking at his mother he hunched his shoulders. “Mom I’m going to take a nap I’m just tired after all this.” The feeling of restless waved over him. The streets wouldn’t be the same without Kendrick. Nothing would be the same he knew that. Even though he had fought for Mason equality he was fighting his own self. He had done something and the ramifications now were that Kendrick was dead. “Goodnight Ma.”


Tamara eyesight was blurry as her eyes flickered looking around the room. It was so bright it hurt her eyes and she moved her stiff arm over her eyes. She tried to speak but she couldn’t let it come out. Looking around she knew where she was and unfortunately as she shifted into a sitting position. Her eyes watered as she saw her son sitting there with a blanket over him. How long had she been out? A flash of memories came across her mind as he heard her son screaming for her to be alright. Covering her mouth she started to cry trying to let out the silent tears. He saw her as a junkie. He saw her at her dirtiest and the pain she felt from that was more than any overdose. As she wiped her tears from her flushed face. She pulled the covers back and tried to stand almost falling down. God how long had she been out? Regaining her strength she stood tall as she slowly made her way to Dylan.

“Ahem.” She said softly then playfully she tickled behind his ear. When he moved she softly gasped. Leaning in taking in that scent of sweat and some horrible teenage body spray Braden or Zach gave him. He smelled perfect. Stooping down she tapped his shoulder and saw his big green eyes opening. Dylan hugged her so tightly she couldn’t breathe. “Hey babe.” She croaked out as he she heard him crying. “Oh baby don’t cry. Listen to me baby momma’s so sorry that she messed up again. I’m so sorry but I promise you that I’m going to get it together. You understand me?”

“Mom please don’t do this to me anymore.” He said touching her stringy hair. “I just don’t want you like this anymore. I need to tell dad he’s down the hall with Aunt Dani.” Dylan said leading her to the bed.

“I’m the mom kid not you. I can walk.” She said looking at him and his peach fuzz. “Dylan are you growing a beard.” Looking at him confused about Dani. “What happened to Dani?”

“Mom can we talk about that later.” Dylan charged away from the room looking for his father.

Tamara leaned back and started to cry. God he still loved her and what did she do to deserve him? Biting her lip she leaned back in bed as she pulled the covers over her legs. When she saw Dylan and Braden return, she placed her head down. Why did he look perfectly handsome? She was always just the junkie ex-wife to the golden guy of Atlas Falls. “Dylan can you go check on Dani me and your father need to speak.”

“Mom you just woke up I want to be with you.” Dylan said looking at them. “I’m about to be in high school next year and I’m not dumb. Mom I know what happened.”

“That’s not the point. I broke my word to your father and I have to let him know that um I will get clean. I’m sorry if I disappointed you both.” She cried passionately looking at them.

Braden had just left his parents and sister in the hallway biting his tongue the entire time that he looked at Jackson escorting her out. Selina was somewhere in the hospital or making calls likely to check on Jamal as he walked back down to the ICU. He had seen Tamara get up from the bed and go to Dylan allowed them a short reunion before his son had come out and got him. He’d thought long and hard about what he was going to tell her when he saw her and he nodded to Dylan to leave the room. He waited a few moments for his son to leave the room before he looked at his ex dead in the eyes. He wanted to laugh at her they’d been down this road so many times before with her using he’d almost lost count and he knew what he’d have to do now.

“You should have seen yourself this time covered in vomit splayed out on your chaise in your room, barely a pulse it was quite the show this time. It’s over Tamara he saw you. I was going to let him stay with you next school year he had asked on the way over. After this you’ll be lucky to have supervised visits once a week maybe once a month if I’m feeling generous.” Braden said his anger from the last twenty four hours coming into play as he looked at her shocked face. He stepped towards her he couldn’t even begin to think about his sister right now. “Luckily I came home with him when I did the paramedics said any longer you’d be gone. I’d be planning your funeral right picking out a casket. David thankfully saved you. What’s your excuse this time?”

Tamara heard Braden unleash his fury on her and she just sat nodding. It was true she’d disappointed her son and he’d seen her in her ugliest. Pulling the covers closer to her body she tried to not scream out in pain. Looking him in his eyes she felt a pain burn in her she hadn’t ever. How do you get over the man you love? How do you move on when he left you at the altar and married the woman he’d always dreamed of. Her lips quivered as she felt the fear of his words. God when would he allow her to see her son? Those questions haunted her. As she folded her arms looking him square in the eyes. “I have so much to say and I don’t know where to begin. For six years I was the love that you breathed and helped you through law school. I stopped my dreams of being a writer for you. I became enthralled in you, who was supposed to be my man. Did I fail at certain things the answer to that is yes. I have failed to the moon and beyond but I cared about you. I loved you with my all and I did drugs to feel like I was someone deserving of you. I hated myself because I was low and I’m just Brooklyn girl. I lived in Manhattan when I met you and I was dreaming big. I was doing big things with my life and I thought we were forever. All the time that I had Dylan growing in my belly you loved her. You loved a woman who has constantly betrayed your values. Getting her brother off with money and power that’s not you. That wasn’t us but you wanted her so badly that it kills me. It kills me because I still love you.” She screamed at him furiously but she simmered as she wiped her eyes.

“We gave this world the greatest kid. Our kid is beyond all those other ones because he’s kind and smart and artistic and he’s us. You never loved me and I deal with that. I deal with the fact I came from the gutta.” Tamara spat at him as she wiped her eyes. “I came from the gutter and my ma taught me to love the man I was with. I was going to marry you. I was ready for the rest of my life and you threw me away. You didn’t fight for us and I was taught to fight my entire life. So no Braden I have no excuse just a broken heart that won’t mend. You love her and I can’t stop that. I can numb that though. Every day I numb that and I love hard. I love big and my entire Italian family loves big. So you remember that when you look over at that bitch at night. You remember that your grand love ruined so many people. You embarrassed Chauncey, you embarrassed her family, and you embarrassed the man you were before this grand love affair.” Tamara said bitterly as she looked at him. “You have no idea how this feels. To feel not good enough every time you look at your son. To know your ma and pa been together forever and I’m just secondary trash. I was a mistake and hell you thought of our son as that. You did in college you basically said it. So you get your love affair and you stick up your ass. You get your judgemental ass away from me. Get out!”

“I never asked you to do any of that Tamara you wanted to write then by all means write. We were together Selina had moved on we all had moved on. I would never marry you after catching you snorting drugs at our wedding period. I knew it was never going to work after that, own it.” Braden shot back at her raising his own voice, he was probably a dick to her sometimes he wasn’t stupid but she was trying to blame what happened on him. He was not the one that became addicted to cocaine to the point he was getting high on their wedding day, no that was on her and he was tired of being blamed for it. “I have and always will be a good father to Dylan and Selina has nothing to do with that. At one point I thought I loved you. Funny thing about that it all changed when you threw that away for drugs.”

“You want to blame me for your latest fix fine, blame me, blame Selina, blame everyone but yourself if it makes you feel better. I have something to tell you, after this I’m going for full custody you can have visitation supervised.” Braden bit out not even hearing the door to the room open till it clicked close and he saw Selina standing there. He could see Tamara burning a hole into Selina and then Selina glaring at him and he looked at his ex. “No judge in his right mind would give you custody now and I’ll see to it that, that is how it will play out. Dylan should never have to walk in on what he saw ever again and I’ll do anything to ensure he never does. Go ahead blame me or Selina it won’t change my mind on this. You could have moved on and made a life with David but you chose that white powder again.”

“I didn’t blame anyone but myself but can you be a man and take responsibility for your part into my destruction. Nobody fault but my own but I’m not going to have you talk to me as if I’m a horrible mother. I’m a friend and parent to that boy and you try to keep us apart. You just try and he’ll hate you.” Tamara hissed knowing the words had so much truth. “He’s seen me at my most vulnerable what kid wouldn’t want to put his parent back together again? You think that I’m stupid but Dylan will be around me and I’m apart of his life. Our son is the best of me huh and you won’t tarnish the love we feel for each other. This has made him love me more and am I wrong. Hell yeah I am for even putting him through but can you just understand me for once?” She said seething nastily feeling the weight of his threat on her chest. “You can’t take him away from me Braden. I’ll go to rehab again, and I’ll really work the program.”

It was all she had gripping the cold metal bars on the hospital bed. “As our son’s father can you love our son enough to help me.” Tamara said lowering her head. “I don’t blame you Braden I love you. I will always love you for some reason I can’t stop. It’s stupid but I need help and you can help me be a better mother for our son. Please Braden help me become a better mother because he deserves me at my best. You hate me I understand but please help.” She cried as she begged him feeling so low. This man basically and always talked to her like trash and here she was begging him. Tamara promised herself Braden would never see her this low again. Wiping her eyes she looked past Braden to see Dylan obviously eavesdropping on their conversation. “Please for Dylan.”

Braden looked over his shoulder at his son as Tamara started to cry, he really wasn’t a heartless asshole he knew that at the end of the day he was just a man that wanted the best for his son. He saw Selina standing there silent almost like she wanted him to throw in the towel on Tamara or something which he got, they likely would never get along. He wanted throw it all away lock her up for years to come maybe even sent her to prison but she was still the mother of his child and deep down he still believed in the best of people, no matter how much they hurt him. A family flaw, one that he knew haunted his mother who stayed with his father, his sister was always trying to save people his cousins all the same, it was a cursed family trait.

“I’m not that huge of a dick to send you to prison. I’ll talk to the cops and my boss but this time you have to do the program.” He said quietly he saw Dylan close to door and stop eavesdropping and picked up his jacket from the room he needed out of the stuffy room, he wanted to go home and see how much more crap he had to deal with. His phone was already buzzing no doubt his boss calling or texting about the shooting. He saw the utter look of disgust on Selina’s face almost like she thought he was choosing Tamara over her or something as they walked out of the room, he turned to her. “I’m really not in the mood Selina now is not the time to make this about you versus her.”

“I just wanted to say you were wonderful with her.” Selina said not showing her real emotion. After all these years this woman was jealous and still loved her husband. How was she supposed to feel? As she slowly approached him. “I just think Dylan won’t be able to function without her. I think it’s best if we help her into a program and we truly get Tamara the help she needs. Even though she hates me I think that she deserves to be the best she can be for her child.” She adjusted her coat on her shoulders and looked at Braden. “Come on let’s get home, I’m starving and I just want to relax after all this.” Selina walked to her husband and just hugged him. “Braden I’m so sorry.”

Tamara watched Braden and Selina embracing outside of her door. A pang of jealousy ate at her. How could he be so cruel? How could they be so cruel? She wanted to be in Braden arms and hearing him tell her that she would be okay. Hell she wanted nothing more but for this man to fight for her family. A family that was broken right now. “I promise you Dylan I’m going to get better and I’m going to make us a family again. I promise.” Rolling over she saw her cellphone and she unplugged it seeing four missed called from her ma and dad. “Ma? I need to come home to New York for a while. Just for treatment I relapsed again.” For the first time she was going to her family. “I just want to save Dylan from seeing me as a hype and junkie before it’s too late.”


Gideon knew this was what he had to do as soon as the FBI had called him it was procedure he was of course following that. A shooting meant an investigation to clear everyone involved. He wondered if he should have sent Jon into all this with Kendrick. All the reports that were coming in from all the police witnesses seemed to say the same thing it was a good shooting. Kendrick reached for a weapon he had taken Dani as his hostage as a body shield. Jon took the shot it was the up to the techs and the DA office to decide if it was clean or not. He saw Jon enter his office and nodded his head at him. He did hate this part about the job a job that if everything went well he could be rid of now that he was with Brenda.

“Take a seat Jon I know this has to be difficult for you given your service record to both the city and your country. Have you given your written statement yet or filed your report yet?” Gideon asked when he saw Jon simply nod and he knew the man had to be shaken. He remembered his first time firing a shot and killing a suspect it sat with you. He paused wanting to pour Jon a drink so he did. “I’m going to advise you to call a lawyer a good one just in case and do not make a statement or write one unless they are there or a union rep is there. From everything I have heard it was a clean shooting but you know these things take time and we have to follow this by the books.”

Jon looked down at his holster and removed the gun placing it on the desk. Then he took off his shield beginning removing it as he placed it down. He was listening to Gideon but he kept going back to that moment. The moment of shooting Kendrick his eyes glazed over as he nodded. Yes he had given the statement to Tabitha Winslow to that Internal Affairs Bureau agent but he had killed someone. Not to mention blacklivesmatter had already tweeted about it. That meant someone was trying to change what really happened in the media. He lowered his head Jon knew he wasn’t a racist but these fucking people made him believe he was. Crossing his arms he looked at Gideon. “This is going to follow me my entire career. I don’t think that by the books matters.” He growled looking at his boss. “I don’t think that I should be suspended. I just ruined our chances to get Ronan let me figure out a new way to slam him.” Seeing the look in Gideon eyes he knew that wasn’t going to happen.

“You um have everything do I have to be lectured. I did the right thing Gideon. I saved a pregnant woman and that animal is protected by everyone. He’s looked at as some sort of legend when he was a criminal who didn’t deserve to breathe. He held a gun to Dani’s head and you tell me if it was you wouldn’t you shoot?” He asked with tears in his eyes. “I did what was right but why are they making me feel like the monster? Why are they looking at me as a monster because those people are evil. He almost had Yasmine raped, physically attacked Dani, killed so many people and yet I’m the bad guy.”

“It likely will unfortunate as that is by the books matter Jon all we have is our integrity when it comes to the people we serve and protect. I am going to send some officers to your home and your parents even Miranda’s. Something like this and given the crowds we want to work on de escalating things.” Gideon said looking at Jon and taking the gun and the badge from the desk and placing them in his drawer and locking it. He too thought that Jon shouldn’t be suspended from the shooting but that was out of his hands now too. “If I had the authority to clear you here and now you would be back on your next shift never doubt that. I’m not going to lecture you Jon I want you to know that I am behind you one hundred percent.”

“I remember my first shooting store burglary gone wrong young kid on meth. It stays with you. I was young few years younger than you were at the time. I had a rookie partner with little to no street training. The guy had shot up a few patrons while high, shot up the clerk right in front of me he was latino. Back then there was no internet or social media I would have likely been labeled as well.” Looking over at Jon he knew what Jon was asking him if he could work the Madden case off the books it was risky. But he knew his answer had to be no at least until the fed had decided if Rocky was going to play or not. “People need a scapegoat sometimes. I can’t let you work the Madden case until the feds decide what to do with Rocky now. He could swap us some intel decide to play ball and cooperate.”

Jon nodded as he looked at Gideon. “Make this go away fast and get me back to work. Look being at the department helped clear my head. I love getting up and going to work. Hell this job is my life sir. I wake up thinking about how I can better this community. After all the blood on my hands from Iran and then Iraq. Look I served this country with all I had. I made sure that they were protected from terrorist and all type of extremist. Either way I have done right and I hate to be persecuted by this. I’m not a dirty cop at all. I’m a good man and it disgusts me that this is on my reputation. I’m not a racist.” He looked at Gideon passionately. “That’s what they are painting and in the court of public appeal I’m looking mighty guilty.” He snapped as he felt his heart breaking. He’d ruined the case and no matter what he’d always feel like that.

“Gideon I’m asking for you not to let me think about this all day. If I don’t have work then the shooting and the million other solutions.” He paused looking at his boss. “Please I just don’t want to lose the one thing that makes me feel again. Gideon being a cop is what I live for and if it’s gone.” He paused as took a deep breath. “I don’t want to sink into that dark place again sir. Please help me because I’m asking for someone to reach out to me. For someone to care.” He didn’t want his family worried but he was feeling like he was losing his grips after shooting Kendrick. “I didn’t want the guy to die. I begged him Gideon.”

Gideon nodded his head at Jon it was what it was as far as Kendrick’s shooting went Jon was authorized to do what needed to be done. It was now up to the Feds and the DA’s office if charges were pressed and if push came to shove he knew he could save face at his own job if needed. If needed if public backlash continued after a few protests or worse he could easily remove Jon from the force with a hefty severance package. He looked at the clock as he opened his office door for Jon. “Go ahead and head home Jon get some rest if you can, tomorrow we will have more information about how we want to proceed.”

Jon stood up and nodded his head as he walked out of the office. As he stepped out of Gideon office a silence hushed over the room. He looked around at all the familiar faces who weren’t so friendly. As he walked to the door he grabbed a box and started packing up the basic stuff at his desk. Jon was sure he wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. Today he was sure of one thing that his life would never be the same and that he’d never be looked at the same. A hero with a tarnished name. Walking out of the station from the back entrance he got into his car and drove off. Texting Cassie to come over and then saying he shot Kendrick. Maybe then Cassie would see that he needed someone. He needed a friend.


Lauren sat across from Walter as she looked at her husband’s graying hair. He was so handsome and roguish even though he was the mayor. His humble expression on his face showed he wasn’t as evil as Dani thought. He was honestly worried and the fear that she saw was something that endeared her to him. Even when he was a monster she saw the good side of her husband. Folding her arms she saw the tomorrow’s paper with Jackson and Dani on the cover reuniting. No that wasn’t what she would be dealing with any longer. She tried to fight for Jackson and Dani but she could no longer support this union. A union full of lies and secrets. As she walked to Walter she started massaging his shoulders.

“You are the mayor and your police force saved our daughter. I think that deserves a little toast don’t you?” She asked pouring his aged scotch from The Pub. “I used to want her to be happy you know? That’s all I wanted was my daughter to find happiness but this thing with Jackson. He can’t be apart of our daughter and our grandchild life. He’s far to irresponsible so I’m saying something I thought I’d never say. Let’s push that prick over the edge and dismantle everything in his life so that Jackson Devonshire never makes it to meet our grandchild. Let’s make her hate him because I won’t.” Lauren gasped as she finally let it out. The fear of the last twelve hours release. “I won’t let him kill our daughter. I won’t.”

Walter had left the hospital after seeing Dani her mental state still wearing on him. She’d been through a traumatic experience and thank god for Kelsey the kidnapping and with what happened with Lex. Well it was no wonder she refused to stay at the hospital anxiety ran through him when she asked Jackson to take her home. It was becoming clear that it was the end of the line and he looked at Lauren shocked. His wife had been one of the biggest supporters of that relationship and he took the drink from her hands. He was tired of fighting with Dani and he refused to be pushed out of his grandchild’s life. His talk with Brenda had given him perspective life was too short to have Dani hate him anymore.

“A toast it is then to DanI being brought home safe and sound. You saw her in the hospital Lauren the fear she feels about everything she doesn’t need the stress. Not again.” Walter said swirling his drink for a moment as he looked at his wife he wanted no part in that. If the last twelve hours had shown him anything it was his children needed him. He needed them and Dani would never forgive them for destroying her future with Lowell’s son and he didn’t have to like it. “No I can’t do that to her I know that probably shocks you. But I can’t be a part of that destruction we’d lose her forever and we just got her back.”

Lauren knew he was right the quicker they pushed them apart the more they’d fight to be together. She knew that Dani loved him but the fear that Jackson had placed inside of her. She was so uncertain about him and what his true motives were for her daughter. Did he love her absolutely but she also knew he was dangerous and that disturbed her. Moving her hair from her face she nodded her head. “I’m scared with them being together. I’m so scared he will pull her away in a life that she isn’t prepared for. The Devonshire’s were a big part of our lives and I’m afraid of Chauncey and all the other’s destroying my baby like he destroyed me.” She said softly as she felt the fear gulping down the liquid.

“I’m proud of you Walter you truly shock me.” She said softly as she walked to her husband. “I love you are growing and I want to make sure that you’re alright. After all this media coverage you were at work when this happened. Are you doing okay?” Lauren noticed his leg hadn’t stopped shaking. “Walter she’s safe and I assure you we will make him do right by our girl. This won’t be a repeat of what happened to us.”

Of course he was scared as well he knew how dangerous the Devonshire family could be he wasn’t stupid but he’d seen it at the hospital it wasn’t going to happen with Dani. More than that he wasn’t sure he wanted it too, she’d lost so much with Lex last time and he had been a part of that. He was the one that pushed her to stay with him, even she expressed her doubts to them about Lex. “I know you are. I am too but if we push her away Lauren she’ll cleave to them, she’s connected now and you have to know I wanted her to consider her options the other night. Nothing more she’s decided to keep the baby and to keep him in her life, we either accept that or we see her pass us by cut us out. I don’t want that. We’ll keep an eye on it, advise when needed be there. Show her we care about her more than they ever could.”

He hadn’t noticed that his leg was shaking and wasn’t sure if it was because of the shooting and what happened or because he knew somewhere out there his other daughter didn’t know him. He had been thinking about them both what kind of a life did she have growing up? Did she have parents that loved her, siblings? Decisions he had been ripped apart from making and staring at Lauren he almost told her he knew what she had done, what she and Lowell had done. Instead he knew to hold that card close for now with Tamara in the hospital and now worrying about Dani he would wait for the right time. “I’m fine it’s just been a long day that is all.” Walter said turning on the news as he saw photos and videos of the shooting on the news. “They’re going to try and hang Jon for this. Honestly I don’t know how to approach this.”

Lauren watched the television they were tearing apart that park and neighborhood businesses in Scottswood. Even though she was sure Kendrick instilled more fear than anything inside of the community, he also had respect. She’d mingled with people from the wrong side of the tracks before she understood the mentality. He was a gangster but he also was there gangster and loved one. It was crushing to see that boy with so much potential go down this path. Hell it could have been Braden, or Devin either way she saw a bad reflection on what could have been. Lauren nodded her head knowing that Jon was going to be the scapegoat. She didn’t have any advice on how to protect him. The country was a politically going through a dark time. Police officers killing blacks and ethnic people legally it was horrible. Yet this situation was different. This situation was much more complex. As she looked at her husband she saw fear or worry in his eyes he wasn’t sure of which but both wasn’t a good thing for Atlas Falls.

“I think you need to support him in public. Jon needs to know that Atlas Falls has his back after all he saved the mayor’s daughter.” She said honestly as she folded her arms. “However we also need to do this in a way where people don’t immediately think to all the corruption in America that’s went on currently. Either way Jon is public enemy number one and I hate it for the Harrison’s and him. That boy should be a hero but because of dirty cops he’s going to be the villain. I just want to protect him from all the scrutiny that’s coming his way and the drama.”

Walter wanted to escape from everything going on get his head straight on all of it from Tamara’s overdose to Dani’s kidnapping, discovering he and Brenda had a child together to Jon pulling the trigger. The news of course being what the media was had been trying to twist the story since it happened putting everything under a microscope. No doubt Jon’s record would be brought up and looking down at his phone he knew that eventually they would want a statement from his office. Lifting the drink to his lips he took it, letting the liquid coat his throat and his tongue it was still the best in five states. A secret family recipe that had been perfected over four generations one day he would pass it on and he thought about that quickly to who? Braden was set on law and Dani was good at business but would now be connected to DGI and the Devonshire’s forever. He knew what Lauren was saying they had to play both sides and there was only so much he could do as mayor the investigation would have to play out.

“I will be forever grateful for what Jon did for Dani and the other girl Kendrick had hostage I’ll have the press statement ready to go in the morning he of course will have the backing of the mayor office while the investigation is ongoing. Do you think that we can trust Gideon to have his back?” Walter asked her, he had always valued her opinion on people she could read them. Tell people’s hearts and motives as he used to say she had warned him about Lowell a long time ago and she had been right. “Is Dylan settled upstairs? Braden said he would stop by from the hospital on the way home. I let him know that if Dylan is sleeping it would be best to let him. He’s been through alot with Tamara. Kendrick’s reach no doubt going all the way to her very own dealer.”

Lauren walked behind Walter and messaged his shoulders slightly looking at the skyline of Atlas Falls. She wondered what he was thinking truly. Was he over Dani dating Jackson or was this some scheme. Her husband wasn’t a saint and she was sure of his disdain for the Devonshire’s. However what was left to do? If they striked it would continue to push her deeper into the arms of Jackson. If he didn’t want to help her she knew it was over. They’d just have to let them fall apart naturally and knowing Jackson track record it would happen. She nodded about Dylan. That boy was tough as nails she was just worried that Tamara would drain his good heart.

“He’s sleeping and Tamara is awake. That’s good right? That woman has her nerve snapping at Braden. Acting like she doesn’t get it, you keep doing drugs he’s going to get full custody of Dylan. I’m sick of her yoyoing our grandson because he needs stability and happiness.” She wrapped her arms around Walter neck. “Can we go to bed, I’m ready husband because I just want to forget this all happened. Place it all behind the Fraiser family because we got Dani home, Tamara is awake, and I’m sure that we have made almost two times the profit at The Pub this month.” For a moment Lauren felt like they were normal husband and wife. It wasn’t strained and maybe this was the start of something new. “Or I can run a bath and we both can enjoy it with the oil and candles.”

Walter knew Lauren was in a place right now he could tell when she wanted to take a bath and relax he supposed he could indulge her after he made a few calls. He wanted to make sure that his office was on top of Jon’s situation and he remembered a PI that he had used a long time ago when he discovered Lowell’s affair with Tess. He was good really good and perhaps he could get the answers he so desperately needed for he and Brenda. He would remain silent to his other children for now until he found out where his other daughter was, what her life was like. He would eventually throw Lowell to the wolves for his part and when it was all said and done Lauren would get her divorce, he would have his daughter back and be with Brenda but only when the time was right.

“Go on up I will make a few calls in the study make sure my staff is onto things, perhaps call Charles and see if he can somehow help with Jon’s case. I won’t be long. Braden will do what he needs to with Tamara and he has our support. Dani’s home and safe you could call and see if she wants you to go with her tomorrow.” Walter said leaning up and kissing her lips knowing that for now he had a part to play. Pulling back he got up from the chair taking another sip of his drink on the way to his study. “We have another grandchild on the way. No doubt Jackie will be calling soon as well. I’ll join you shortly.” Walter finished walking into his office and shutting the door behind him.


Braden took off his jacket throwing it on the couch as he turned off his phone for the evening it had been a draining day needless to say. A draining twenty four hours, Tamara was out of the woods, his sister was safe and Dylan was asleep at his parents. Kendrick was dead and from everything his boss and office had heard it was a clean shooting. The media was already trying to twist things to reflect Jon as some monster that was trigger happy, he had the facts he knew otherwise. Rolling his neck to relieve some tension from his shoulders he looked over at his wife wondering if she still felt the same about the situation seeing what Kendrick did first hand, if she would blame Jon too. Would she try to turn this into some other political statement like the fight they had over Jamal months ago? She was still mad at him for what he said during the kidnapping at the police station he could tell.

“We should try and get some sleep tomorrow will be pretty crazy you have that meeting with Lowell at DGI and I need to go pick Dylan up from my parents. I’ll take him to see Tamara and make sure she starts her detox.” Braden said looking at her as she turned the TV on and he couldn’t help the anger that was on his face at it. The things they were saying about Jon about how Kendrick was innocent at the shooting, he saw some videos flash of a young girl arriving to Kendrick’s body and knew it would only fuel things more. “He wasn’t a good person Selina. I meant what I said earlier if Jon didn’t pull the trigger and I was in his position would have no questions asked. The feds will want to talk to Jamal tomorrow with Kendrick gone I’m not sure how his deal will pan out.”

Fresh out of a bath and washing the events of today off her body. Selina stood for a few moments listening to her husband. Clasping her smooth hands together she rubbed in her moisturizer. Looking in her vanity she grabbed a roller for her hair and applied it. When he said that the feds wanted to speak to her brother her heart skipped. Kendrick death was putting Jamal’s immunity in jeopardy. Something Selina wouldn’t stand for was her baby brother behind bars. Slowly applying a little lips gloss before bed she sprayed perfume on her neck. They’d been so disconnected lately and with the constant drama. Well she hoped tonight while they were alone they’d have a moment to find their bliss again.

“All I really want is to not think about any of that.” She said honestly. “Another young black leader shot down. Was Kendrick wrong absolutely but God so much potential in that man lost. It’s sad but that’s the life he choose. That’s why my brother can’t go down for all this. One way or another if I have to call in a million favors Jamal Delacroix won’t see the inside of a jail.” She wondered if she sounded hypocritical a young man was dead from the wrong side of the tracks and here she was using her influence to protect Jamal. Standing up she walked to him and helped him loosen his tie. “How was your day other than all the drama we’ve being dealing with. You know this isn’t what newly weds go through. We deserve to not be so I don’t know stressed.”

“Well let’s see Tamara overdosed knew how to pull my strings just right, Dylan is a mess. Dani was kidnapped and held hostage by a psychopath drug dealer and I find out that Jamal has been breaking his plea agreement. My day has been fantastic so far.”  Braden said looking at her and hearing ehr say young black leader made him physically ill, the man kidnapped his sister. He didn’t really care how charitable he was or how much of a political commentary people painted it Jon did the right thing. He stepped back from her undoing the tie himself. “A leader are you kidding me? He dealt drugs, killed people kidnapped my sister. Terrorized a young and scared girl that had gotten in over her head.”

“Meanwhile your brother got a chushy safehouse with government protection because you went to Kyan to broker a deal for him. When he was the one that had the drugs and came up with this whack plan to try to bargain his freedom with them. Unless Jamal can testify that he ever saw Ronan do anything and they find another witness he walks. Maybe a misdemeanor on his record for possession. I would have loved to get Kendrick alive, but I’m not going to stand here and mourn some asshole that kidnapped my sister and you if think I will you have no idea who you married.” Braden said for the first time since they got married really wondering if they had rushed into something. Sure they knew each other in college and afterwards maybe now they were too different and that gripped him in that very moment. “Who are we anymore Selina?”

Selina scoffed when he stepped back. She couldn’t believe Braden her woke white husband was now not understanding what she was saying. Gritting her teeth she shook her head as she bit her lower lip. “You see I’m not defending a damn thing Braden that’s one thing for sure. What that man did was horrible and despicable but what I won’t do is pretend not to see what Kendrick is too so many young black impressionable boys. I called him a leader because he was and if he was afforded the lifestyle that we had then maybe this would never happened. I am disgusted they say he almost had a girl he watched grow up raped. I heard he physically assaulted Dani and that disgusts me. But what I am saying is Martin and Malcolm and in modern times Jay-Z and Nas. Those men were hustlers before they became superstar multi-millionaires. This man had a influence and we have to acknowledge that because if we don’t then these protest will grow and seep into our lives.” Selina said stepping back.

“I’m not trying to make it about race and this isn’t a racial issue but damn it look at the media against a black man. The Godfather is glorified as a cinema masterpiece and Boyz In The Hood is looked as a alarming look at American black culture. All those characters were the same legacies of their atmosphere. This has nothing to do with Jamal and his stupid ass choices. I fucking detest what he did to prove he was black or down or whatever that was. I’m fighting because that’s my baby brother. That’s my heart and and extension of my family. I want you to hear me well because these men are at a disadvantage from the time they enter the world because of the color of their skin. Now do I condone killing, selling drugs to destroy the community, bringing the African-American community down? Hell fucking no. Do I condone what he did hell no! Yet I have to see a man whose potential reaches this level throughout Chattam!” Selina turned on the television showing him the growing protest.

“Who are we?” Selina laughed as she shook her head and bit her lip. “Who are we? Everyday I wake up and remember the words my Nana told me. We have to be twice as nice just to get a slice. I can’t be too assertive at work or I’m labeled the angry black woman. I can’t be too loud at a movie because I’m the black loud woman. No matter what I do I can’t change my skin and it’s tiring to be so poised all the time. So all I’m saying is I’m scared that this generation’s leader will lead to more leaders going down the same road. I’m not here for losing anymore of my people so understand when I say that at six pm it was two hundred people marching downtown at almost midnight it’s a thousand. Now you tell me who are we? We are a couple who I thought were beyond race, and I thought we were beyond judging each others thoughts. But your lack of understanding is very concerning.” Selina exhaled softly wiping her eyes as she turned to the closet. “Maybe we need some time apart.”

Braden stared at her and watched as she looked at her closet time apart, the words really hit him she wanted to just leave and at this point he couldn’t blame her. Maybe they’d rushed into things that day at their wedding maybe they should have dated again before jumping head first. It wasn’t like they could go back and change things now, they had gotten married, they hurt people and made decisions and Tamara’s words rang back at him. It was a repeated cycle with them and it always happened and perhaps again he’d been foolish to believe that it would be different. He looked at her not sure what she wanted from him. Did she expect him to go out and throw Jon under the bus? He would rather die than do that honestly, he knew about other cases in other states and counties across the country. Where officers were to gun happy, racist dirtbags that did kill innocent people and yes they should be punished for that. Jon was not one of those people. Going to the dresser he took a bag and placed some clothes in it he’d go stay with his parents for a bit, Dylan was there too.

“You stay and I’ll go. You’re right we do need some time apart to think. Maybe everyone was partly right when they all cautioned us against getting married at your wedding to Chauncey. Maybe I do have a bit of callous Chauncey in me and you deserve someone that maybe fits your world and mold better.” Braden said his voice cracking at the reality of the situation. There wasn’t an easy answer he was sorry for plight and the plight of the people in Scottswood but he wasn’t going to turn his back on Jon and lead him to the slaughter for it. “I don’t see how you can even ask me to basically send Jon down to hang for this, every social media outlet wants me too, wants my office to. I can’t I grew up with Jon, he’s a good man who took a criminal off the streets. Had this been a mistaken identity case you bet your ass I’d charge him to the fullest extent I can but that isn’t what happened.”

“What aren’t you fucking hearing?” Selina screamed alarming herself. “I love Jon just like you and I’m not asking him to be hung in public, I’m asking you to understand how half of this city feels. As ADA isn’t that your job? To understand what justice is? You can’t understand justice when you’re blind. Just go you’re right maybe we made a big mistake in our marriage. Maybe we are a mistake and we’ve romanced this relationship. We’ve put it on a pedestal when you maybe should have stayed with Tamara and maybe just maybe I should have stayed with Chauncey unhappy or not.” Selina grabbed her robe and swiftly walked to the next bedroom slamming the door. No longer wanting to see the man she loved more than life itself. A man she went to war against a family she’d known her entire life. A man she’d betrayed her family for.

Shaking behind the door Selina lip quivered as she wrapped her arms around herself. Tears slowly streamed down her face as she slid down the door. Covering her mouth she texted Mason to tell him she wasn’t sure her relationship was going to survive.


Skye waited for Thor to open the door to his place noting the guards outside no doubt waiting to protect their boss, which seemed thrilling to her a bit of a risk. Knowing she was doing something so dangerous with Thor something that would burn and hurt Cassie and Jon all at once. For her it was a win either way for her Cassie would know that she’d fucked both her men and Jon would see what he was missing. Not to mention how much she could tell Jon detested the mob and anything relating to it. Rumor was that Thor’s brother had killed KC all those years ago, so for her it was personal. Jon would take it personal and then maybe he would know how she felt all that time she felt Jon wanted someone else. Shaking her head a little at the memories of that time in her life. Taking off her coat she smiled watching him walk to the wet bar.

“I do love a good drink a man like yourself knowing what a woman wants, it’s such a shame that no women are falling at your feet. Well there is one that is yanking on your chain around we both know that isn’t she?” Skye said looking at him and biting her bottom lip he was sexy, a toned body underneath that shirt. She walked to the couch taking a seat and crossing her legs a small smile on her face when she noticed he approved of the gesture. “I like the finer things in life as you can clearly see. So what brought you to the police station tonight? You worried about a new society princess and lowly strippers too?”

“That lowly stripper happens to be a good person.” Thor said cuttingly as he poured them two scotches as he looked her into her eyes. “Personally I have stopped caring about Cassie a long time ago. She’s hung up on your ex Jon you know the shooter of Kendrick Watkins.” Watching Skye shock wave over her was satisfying since she wanted him to be uncomfortable. “Oh don’t tell me you want to run to Jon and protect that guy. What is it with women and Jon Harrison. No seriously I want to know? Is it the dumb doe eyed expression that remains on his face? Is it that he was scared and damaged in Iran and Iraq? Well let’s make this clear I don’t give a fuck about Jon and I was there not for a society princess but for a friend named Yasmine.”

Thor knew it was easy to lie no way was Skye going to be confirming his story. “So tell me Skye why are you all hung up on him. Cassie and I are friends now because she can’t commit to anyone. She’s flakey as a leaf in the wind but she’s my friend who no doubt will feel compassion for Jon. As for my sex life, I’ll have you know I have had no less than two women in my bed nursing my broken heart.” As he handed her a crystal glass. “Trust me Skye I love women who want the most in life but I always expect you to work for it somehow someway.”

“I’m sure she good at more things than being a friend she was one of your top dancers wasn’t she.” Skye said her tone just as cutting as she took the drink from his hands and let the liquid go down her tongue. She was intrigued by the Cassie comment and part of her had to wonder if it was true had he really stopped caring about Cassie Montgomery? Even in high school and after she knew that they were on and off and then on and off again. it always repeated like an old record on repeat that you couldn’t just flip through on your phone now days. Stepping close to him she ran her finger up the length of his pants and bulge.  “Well if you really want to know, he just so happens to know how to use this just right. It’s rare for a man to know how to do that.”

She saw him get uncomfortable in return and she smiled at him two could play that game but it wasn’t a lie Jon was a lover girls fantasize about. He was caring and took care of her needs her glass rested at her side near her hip as she looked up at him. “He’s good to me always has been even when I treated him like trash you know nothing about that. I had no one growing up other than Merci, no parents to love me and when Jon and I started fucking well that is what it felt like. You don’t have to worry about that now he made that perfectly clear earlier.” Skye said call her a bitch and cheap if you wanted but she wanted Thor to just fuck her brains out and then rub it in Jon and Cassie’s face. “So are we going to stand here all night or are you going to prove that you can do it better?”

Thor turned his head and then out of anger and maybe out of proof that he was fucking better than Jon. He grabbed Skye by the throat and choked her as he slammed her body onto his table. Not too rough but just enough to shake her up. “You have smart ass mouth. I like it.” He growled as he leaned in and kissed her sliding his tongue in the back of her throat as the explored her fit and lean body. Finally letting her throat go he started to kiss where his imprinted hands were. Lifting her skirt up he ripped her panties purposely as he looked at her hungry eyes. “You want daddy’s dick.” He growled as he slammed inside of her. This wasn’t love it was fucking and he was going to fuck the shit out of Skye.

Entering her love tunnel inch by inch he pushed all the way inside of her. Until he could pull back and slam back inside. When he heard a gushy noise he knew she was wet as an ocean. It was on from this point on. Thor started to slam furiously in and out. Sliding his dick almost out of Skye then slamming it deeper and deeper. With every moan and panting from her soft voice he begins to wrap his hand again around her throat. “Say my motherfucking name.” Roughly slamming into her warmth. “Say it Skye!” Sweat beads falling from his face until he heard her crying out for pleasure.

Skye was shocked when he shoved her against the table his hands on her neck, frightened just a scare but then his lips met hers and she tasted like good brandy and tobacco. She felt his hands on her body as her legs wrapped around his waist, her mouth exploring his. She needed this to pay Jon back to pay for earlier that night. Pay Jackson back for treating her like trash when they were together before, maybe she was that trash. Maybe she always would be but if it meant seeing the look of horror on Jon’s face and that smug bitch Cassie when they were done she could live with that. She let out a moan into his mouth when he ripped her panties off, her legs being spread eagerly for him.

She felt him slip inside of her and closed her eyes exhaling as he did so inch my glorious inch, her mouth eagerly exploring his while he did. Her thighs squeezed his while he plowed her and her hands went to that button down shirt of his gripping his abs, scratching while they traveled to his ass digging her nails in. She let him fuck her on that table shamelessly she wasn’t one for love making at least not tonight, she’d done that with Jon recently and for what him to trample on her heart again? She arched her back and then focused in on him demanding that she say his name, she shook her head no at him a few times until he slammed into her again and gave in.

“Thor!” She screamed not quite sure what was overcoming her feeling herself starting to cave with him, her mind was on another planet it felt like. Her body caving so quickly, a sign that maybe she just needed this right now, to go back to who she was all those years ago. The skank and easy girl boys in highschool and even college thought she was. “More.” She managed to purr out.

Thor loved that she was just as deprived sexually as he was. Sometimes he wanted it wild and this was just what he needed. The fury between them made this all the more intense. She thought that this was just simple revenge sex. He knew it and he knew this was the first step.into driving soldier boy even more loco. Thor leaned down and ravaged her perky.perfect tits. At this moment he knew no matter what he did they’d be fucking again her body was amazing. He finally slowed down from drilling Skye and started to give her long deep strokes.

“You want more? Huh how about this.” Thor pulled his hips back slowly pulling out then slamming back inside of her and thrashing the pussy. He’d go slow exiting then furiously thrusting powerful strokes. Feeling her body starting to gush and become wetter he knew she was close. Picking her up he held her in midair so she could ride him. “Shit I’m close.” Thor growled bouncing her up and down in his arms. He could feel her squeezing him that was.driving him crazy. “Say my name!”

Skye didn’t have a choice but to let out a groan when he pounded her even harder and when his lips and tongue tasted her breasts she couldn’t help the shiver that came out. The release that she felt with Thor it wasn’t intimate like it was with Jon and that was the difference for her. She could just fuck Thor and be done with it no mess of tangled feelings or the past to complicate things. The pace when he changed was just what she needed and when he lifted her up into his arms and told her to say his name, she couldn’t even speak it out instead she let out a scream when she came around him. She couldn’t speak the feelings of great sex taking the place of words.

She gripped his shoulders waiting for him to finish while her hips tightened to then relax, only instead she knew she could please him too and squeezed around him a second time a smile of satisfaction on his face. “I’ll scream yours if you scream mine.” She whispered in his ear letting her body work its way into another orgasm. Seeing him fighting her on it she clenched down again kissing him ferociously on his lips. “You know you want to Thor so do it.”

Before Thor knew it he was lost in the lust. Either way he was ready to explode and her body was talking to him in ways he didn’t even expect. Her cries of pleasure meant he was hitting her spot. He wasn’t going to call her name you see she’d think he was tamed by her sex. Even though it was phenomenal he did know that he wasn’t losing power or control. Then a light bulb went off in his head knowing how to piss Skye off immediately which would push her to going after Jon even more.

“God Cassie!” He screamed as he exploded inside of her. A slick smile appeared on Thor face as he pulled out breathing heavily. Licking his lips he grabbed a towel wiping himself off. “Man Skye you’re a animal.” Seeing her pissed off expression his smile faded and a confused look. “What’s the matter you clearly got off my Italian leather will never be the same.”

Skye glared at him when he screamed Cassie’s name her face trying to hide the rejection she felt and relief swarmed her when he pulled out of her. Her legs were shaking from the encounter her body still feeling the aftershocks of their tryst, she would have said love making but that wasn’t the case. She didn’t know why it hurt her so much when he said Cassie’s name but it did and she pushed the tears back as she lowered her dress and felt him seeping out of her. She held her head high while she grabbed her purse and went to the nearest bathroom she could leaning on the sink for support. Grabbing some tissues she wiped it away, she’d wash it all away later they both got what they wanted. They hadn’t even used a condom, she was on something but just to be safe she wasn’t taking any chances as she took out her phone and texted Merci.

Need to stop at the pharmacy on my way home, please text me.


Greer grabbed the water bottle in her car and splashed some water on her hands. Smearing her mascara down her face. Grabbing a handkerchief she wiped her hands off as she looked at herself she felt the part. Distress young woman confused about if she’s pregnant. Ophelia Delacroix was the local OBGYN and she’d called the woman away from her crisis. Having a delinquent child doesn’t mean that she gets a off day. Greer had determined that the only way to save her chances in keeping Chauncey was a child. Grabbing her purse she rushed out of the car and into the hospital. Pulling out her phone she googled fertility drugs because she had to ensure that she became pregnant in a short amount of time. That’s when she read up about one that seemed to work wonders for patients, gonadotropins. Greer rushed into the office looking as if she was in a panic. Her hands were shaking as she tapped Ophelia shoulder.

“Thank-you for coming out. I’m afraid that I may have done something so stupid.” Greer began to fake cry. “I have to know if I’m pregnant because if I am. Oh God Ophelia if I am pregnant and me and my husband are breaking up.” She trailed off looking away knowing she had to play the part. “I can’t have a baby I just ordered the couture from Paris last week. What am I going to do with all those clothes. No children and me don’t mix.” Greer paused feeling the truth to the words. “They are vile little creatures who steal your youth. I’ve seen the hippest girls go from trendy to wearing mom jeans. I can’t be caught dead in mom jeans.” She cringed openly. “Oh and they take too much of the attention off of you. All of the sudden they are the rage and you’re doomed.” Shaking her head she knew that this child was a weapon and she’d use it as such. “I don’t know if I can love anything more than myself and that’s the honest truth Dr. Delacroix.”

After making sure that both Jamal and Mason had their fill of food she had got in her car and began the drive to the hospital. Greer Westwood had made a last minute appointment it was after normal hours of course but she knew how money worked. She stopped at the nurses station taking the messages at the desk and looking at the one Kelsey left her and then noting the change on her schedule, she’d see Dani as her first appointment in the morning. Moving to her locker she put her purse inside before thanking the desk and moving to the OBGYN wing waving to a few colleagues who she was sure had to be staring at her. With the shooting and Jamal’s name being thrown around she was sure it was from that and she went to the room taking out her iPad and looking at the young woman in front of her. She’d seen Greer a few times socially and listening to her speak her heart went out to her.

“First of all Mrs. Westwood this visit is confidential are we waiting for your husband to come as well? I can assure you we will figure out what is going on with you today. First let’s get some questions out of the way, take a seat on the exam table.” Ophelia motioned waiting till she saw that Greer was comfortable as she took off her stethoscope and began to take her vitals noting them as she did so. She got some gloves on and gently lifted Greer’s shirt not seeing a bulge or anything like that if she was pregnant she wasn’t that far along. “Are you currently on any birth control that I need to know about? When was your last period and how many days late are you?”

“I’m two weeks late, and my last period was last month.” Greer said instantly knowing the lies were needed. If she didn’t get Ophelia out of the room how was she to steal the drugs? She’d run some test but either way she knew she had to strike fast. “I just want to make sure this child isn’t a Westwood so my due date would be appreciated unless I’m not really pregnant. If that’s the case I’m going to feel insane. I just can’t stop thinking about a child with this guy. We have so much in common.” She adjusted in her chair. “Ophelia I love Chauncey he’s the man I’ve always wanted and if I’m pregnant with Zerick child then I don’t want it.” She said with an assurance in her voice.

She wasn’t pregnant and knew it but this would be the easiest way to become pregnant. If she had Chauncey child then Natasha wouldn’t stand a chance. Either way she was up for what she had to do. “Can I ask you another question you’ve been friends with the Devonshire’s for years. Will he want this kid? I mean we weren’t exactly planning on having a baby. You know? It’s all just on the fly.” Greer honestly wanted to see her response. Ophelia had known Chauncey since he was a teen. If anyone would know his reaction it’s Lowell’s best friend ex-wife. She’d seen the Devonshire’s up and down. “I just want to make him happy.”

Ophelia took some notes and then nodded her head what a mess, honestly she didn’t see Chauncey as the settling down or marrying type especially with what was essentially a conquest to him. The man was going to marry Selina Delacroix to please his parents and solidify himself at DGI as Lowell’s successor. She honestly felt sorry for Greer and the lies she had obviously fell for with Chauncey, he liked to fuck around but his parents would never let him marry a woman like Greer. Taking out a test cup from the drawer she handed it to her, step one make sure she was pregnant. They then could get the ultrasound machine in afterwards go over everything with her and then decide what to do, it would give them a better idea of how far exactly along Greer was. Who knew she had seen women change their minds once seeing the child inside of them on screen.

“Chauncey will of course want the child Greer but anything else with him, let’s just say it probably won’t be in the cards. You’re married to another man regardless of whether or not you are having his child, he would do anything to please his parents. That would include not stealing another man’s wife.” Ophelia said not trying to hurt her feelings by any means but she wasn’t going to lie to the woman either. Who knew what Chauncey had told her wince he started fucking her, the man was a known liar and cheat and she no doubt knew that he would be onto the next thing rumors were already swirling about him and Natasha in the papers. “I’ll step out and check on a few patients while you get me a sample. We’ll see what the test says and go from there. You don’t have to decide anything today either way.” Ophelia said handing her the cup and then stepping out to give Greer the space and privacy for it.

Once she saw the door close Greer jumped up and swiftly walked to the medicine cabinet. It was a good thing Ophelia had a private practice inside of the hospital. Greer walked to Ophelia purse and quickly found her keys. Without a second thought she began trying each key one after another until the lock clicked. Scanning the room drugs she found it after a couple of attempts to find gonadotropins but she did. A smile creased at the corners of her mouth as she poured the pills in a vitamins bottle and poured the vitamins inside of the bottle for the gonadotropins. As she locked the cabinet and placed the keys inside of Ophelia purse. She sat down and a few moments later there she was.

As Ophelia entered Greer sighed in relief. “Please tell me I’m not pregnant. Please tell me that I’m not going to be a mother because I’m honestly not ready.” She spoke candidly and honestly. “I’m too selfish and all I think about is myself. I want to be happy you know before I have a child. Get my shit together but it’s scary to know.” Greer paused looking at Ophelia. “To know you are in control of another person’s life. I just don’t think I’m ready.” This was a brilliant plan but the truth was this kid would be with nannies and nurses it’s entire childhood. She would send the brat away as soon as it was school ready. Greer just didn’t want to be a mother and the sooner these nine months were over the better. “Tell me the news.”

Ophelia had done her rounds and then returned to the room seeing the sample on the counter she got out the test. She could tell that Greer was anxious to know the results and in a few minutes when the rest came back negative she had her answer turning to Greer. “No you aren’t of course we can still do a blood test if you prefer. Stress can cause a missed period, if you were pregnant and being this late it would show up normally in the urine test. I know you were not wanting to be pregnant so this has to be a relief. Perhaps you want some birth control if you are going to continue with your husband and Chauncey?”

“No need I trust you doc.” Greer jumped up walking to the bathroom inside Ophelia office. Grabbing a towel she wiped her face removing the smeared makeup from her face. Greer pulled her blonde locks into a ponytail and returned to the room. “My husband has a secret and honestly Ophelia I don’t want to leave him. He makes me feel normal you know? Then I meet a man who makes me feel like a Goddess. You have to know that feeling because.” Greer paused seeing Ophelia face when she about to bring up the affair with David. “I’m just saying at this point Zerick doesn’t appreciate me and I don’t want that in my life anymore. We were able to be a team and now.” Greer felt her true feeling seeping into the entire mess. “We are on opposite sides of everything yet Chauncey is here and at least I know he cares.” Picking up her purse she looked at Ophelia.

“You aren’t a shrink and I’m not preggo so let’s just stop this ok?” She walked to the door and turned around. “Jackie she hates you too can I get any tips on dealing with the Devonshire clan from a vet?” Greer asked curious at what Ophelia would or wouldn’t say. After all she was a outsider and after all Ophelia had been terrorized by Jackie and Selina. Folding her arms she looked at the other woman letting the tip of her tongue touch upper lip. “Are you ever truly a Devonshire or should I say how did you become tolerable to them?”

Ophelia looked at Greer as she came out of the bathroom and then began on her affair with both Chauncey and Zerick. She understood and then when she looked at her asking for an opinion she wanted to tell the girl it was a mistake. She had made that years ago leaned on David while she was with Tony fell into an affair that ruined her marriage. Looking back if she had to do it all over again she would have never slept with David it cost her everything. Her family, Jamal’s love at the time, her step children only hated her further and Tony it took years for him to forgive her. Even now she wasn’t sure if they had ever really healed from that moment where she made that decision.

“I would say don’t follow my footsteps and get a divorce before you go around fucking around on your husband but I have a feeling your marriage with Zerick is very different than mine was with Tony. I made so many mistakes my biggest regret sleeping with David.” Ophelia said as she finished writing some notes on her chart and then looked over at the clock her next appointment. When she asked about the Devonshire family though bitterness came over her how Jackie had treated her all those years, she was Jamal’s mother but never welcomed with full arms. She doubted that would change with Greer. “You’ll never be anything to them Greer if you want the cold hard truth. I tried for years to live in Gloria’s shadow have a fraction of acceptance I never got it. I tolerated Jackie’s rude behavior and Selina’s because of Jamal but I was never fully welcomed. You have two strikes already against you, your affair with Chauncey which probably started before the disaster wedding and your husband being apart of DGI. If anything you will have an uphill battle.”

Greer eyes started to burn with determination. At the end of the day her goal was to marry Chauncey to get access to DGI now. The game was changed when Zerick walked away. Either way she was here for a reason and she wasn’t going to let the Devonshire’s bougie behavior stop her. She was a LeClerq her family came from French nobility and she wasn’t here to kiss ass. She was here to take DGI from them and get it all in her families hand. For years her father rotted in a prison cell because of Harvey her uncle and Lowell’s betrayal. If it wasn’t for unforeseen forces she would have never even met her father. A bitter taste was in her mouth and it would be even sweeter revenge to finally have DGI in the LeClerq’s hand.

“I hate to admit to say it Ophelia but I can tell you weren’t built for this. All the secrets and lies inside of the Devonshire family. You are honest and actually a good person. Get away honey because I’m going to get my white horse and carriage. Then I’m going to take everything that was taken from me. First though I have to go see Chauncey. Thanks for your advice darling I won’t be taking it.” Greer adjusted the strap on her Balenciaga bag. “I’ll be back for a check up in a couple of weeks.” Walking out of the office she opened her purse and picked up her pills. “These are the key to getting Chauncey.” Shaking them she walked away with a satisfied smile on her face.


Merci had received a text message from Kendrick telling her how sorry he was about the breakup. It had her slightly in a funk but seeing what he did after. Well that was the disturbing part of the entire equation. Somehow she prayed he made it out but a guy from the ghetto against the suburban princess that was Danielle Fraiser. It wouldn’t work out well for Kendrick. She walked around her condo with a pint of brownie fudge rocky-road ice cream and her most comfortable pajamas. When the newscaster reported shots fired she dropped her ice cream and rushed to the television. They were in Fremont Park, Merci had to know. She had to know if Kendrick had made it. Grabbing her jacket and her furry house heels she ran out of the door. The doorman spoke but she didn’t have time to speak to him. Kendrick had to be arrested and Ms. Watkins would need help.

As she jumped into her car she drove without a thought of Kendrick being victim of violence. When the radio stated that someone had been killed. Her heart dropped he didn’t hurt Dani or Yasmine did he? He wasn’t that cold no Kendrick didn’t do that. It wasn’t in him to be like that. Parking her car at Fremont Park it was swamped with police and FBI agents all around. She slid on her heels and ran down to the viaduct and saw the police tape. Her heart stopped when she saw his Jordan’s in the middle of the street. She’d just bought them a few weeks ago as a gift to him. Showing him that he was important to her. So what he was a gangster he was someone who showed her undying love at a point. When she saw Devin, Merci just flipped. Her fist connected to his back as she screamed. An officer grabbed her and she broke free again. This time running to Kendrick.

“No!” She said as she fell to the ground covering her mouth. “No Kendrick.” She said weeping as pulled the white sheet back and saw his face. Touching his skin he was ice cold. “No!” She said again falling on him. “God no!” She screamed looking around as people all seemed to stop and stare at her. “God please no. Help him Devin! Help him!”

When she saw Miranda and Zach standing watching she knew this was real. His cold blood covered her hands. “He’s cold please do something. I know you hate me but please help him. Please someone help him.” She said frantically. “Maybe we can get him to the hospital.”

Devin had just got back to the crime scene making sure everything was still going ok as he watched the crowds grow more and more police were being called in. With the shooting they had to make sure everything was done like Gideon said by the books, which was why Jon was placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Thankfully the FBI was already there on part of Ronan so they would be able to assist. He had asked Miranda and Zach to go home and get rest and they both refused. They stayed working crowd control and he barely had time to react when Merci hit his back and she started yelling, he saw people in the crowd whipping out their cellphones to record it. He waved to the officer trying to restrain her they didn’t need the added publicity and let her run to Kendrick’s body, he wondered what the press line would be if they snapped the picture of her sobbing over Kendrick’s body. He walked towards her knowing she was destroying the crime scene and reached for her shoulder when she shoved him back.

“He’s dead.” Devin hissed out at her wanting her to see how crazed she looked at the moment not sure what he was supposed to do. He was still shocked that Kendrick’s gun never left his belt but he knew the shot was legal period. Many officers had yelled at Kendrick to stop and not persist, Jon didn’t have a clear shot anywhere else on his body since Kendrick used Dani as a human body shield. “I know this is hard there is no hospital for him now Merci you have to take a few steps back. It’s cold out let me take you home.”

Merci wanted to know what happened. She had to know what happened because Kendrick wasn’t some dumb thug. He was smarter than this entire situation. To let himself be killed like this wasn’t who he was. As she looked at Devin she shook her head. Merci let it sink in, that he was dead. Her lip quivered as she felt the cold wind of the spring day hit her. She shook her head looking at Devin. “A couple of days ago we broke up. He knew that this was all going to happen. He knew that he was going to put himself into this situation. He knew it was over and he didn’t want to hurt me.” She covered her mouth putting all the pieces together. “Ya’ll been after him for months and you kill him? What type of officers are you?” When she saw Miranda watching her she walked up to her. “You enjoying this aren’t you? Huh to see me like this?” She hissed looking at him.

Devin knew that Merci was upset and he shot Miranda a look hoping she would be compassionate about everything. She knew first hand what it was like to bury someone that she loved and he saw that flicker in Miranda’s eyes. He pulled Merci back as he waved to the techs and the crew as they started to load Kendrick’s body into the coroner’s vehicle. The crime scene was still being processed but it was now being passed over to the Feds meaning most of AFPD could head in for the night. Taking off his coat he wrapped it around Merci’s shoulder’s seeing her start to shake.

“Let me take you home. You can unwind there make calls if you need too.” Devin said as he watched Miranda look at them. He felt it too a shift he and Miranda would not be the same now after him helping Merci. Looking between the two girls he wanted to make sure that nothing more would go wrong today. “Come on Merci I’ll take you home. Make sure you’re settled..”

Miranda watched Devin with Merci the kindness he showed her the gentleness and she couldn’t help the jealousy. In truth she didn’t like to see any wife or lover mourn the loss of someone they were with it killed her when KC died but she certainly wasn’t going to apologize for what her brother did either. Kendrick was a loose cannon, had reached for his weapon had terrorized both Dani and Yasmine. No the only thing she was sad about was that they didn’t get to nail Ronan’s ass in the process of everything that had happened, that was the truth.

“No actually I feel for you. I know what it’s like to lose someone. Now maybe you’ll understand why what you said to me the other night was so uncalled for. Don’t expect me to say I’m sorry about how he went out. I won’t.” Miranda said it was probably harsher than she should have been and she didn’t even care when Devin glared at her. Yeah she was a bitch so sue her she was glad Kendrick was off the streets. “Go ahead and take her home Devin. I’m going to get Quinn and probably stay at my parents tonight in case Jon needs me.”

Merci looked at Miranda and got silent when she mentioned losing KC and Kendrick. They had a bond over that she presumed. As she turned away she looked at Miranda and Devin she didn’t know what to feel. All the sudden a sob came out of her lips as she looked at the body. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered slowly stooping down by him she looked at the blood on the ground. Covering her mouth Merci started to bawl as she finally got Kendrick. He was protecting her from the fall out. “You knew all along you were going to die. You knew it didn’t you?” She said between the tears as she looked at Devin and Miranda. “I’m sorry for what I said it was ugly. Hell I’m a ugly person I’ll do anything to get what I want. I’m so sorry for not seeing how lost you truly were. I just took purses and clothes that you gave me. Never knowing it was killing you to do what you do.” She cried as she leaned her head against the car.

When she felt Devin standing her up she fell into his arms. “He was a good person Devin. I swear he was a good person.” She could feel his lips on her neck. He wasn’t the love of her life but she could see her loving him. Hell she already did. She had mad love for Kendrick and how he seemed to be happier with her. “He wasn’t a monster or mean with me. He was just Kendrick and I saw so much more in him. Devin why is this happening? What are you guys going to do about the constant mob influence in this town?” Merci seethed as she looked at him. “How many more people are going to see their loved ones gunned down in the street?”

Miranda tried to not let the whole scene get to her but it did she got that Merci was in pain it was understandable but seeing Devin be so intimate with her was enough. Even if he didn’t want to admit it Devin had feelings for her. Shaking her head she motioned for the coroner team to take the body before making her way to her car. She had bigger things on her mind at the moment like her brother and his mental state, how they were going to bring down Ronan now and then the biggest of all if she and Devin were going to make it out of this unscathed too.

Devin waved back a few officers to help him as he looked at Merci casting a glance back at Miranda who he knew was watching him. He did the gentlemanly thing and wrapped Merci up in his arms inhaling her scent and he couldn’t help himself as his lips leaned in just slightly before pulling back. She’d literally just lost Kendrick and despite what he thought about him that did have to hurt for her and those that cared about him. He pulled back when she began speaking again and insead opened up the car door helping her in and then going around to the driver seat.

“He hurt people Merci, he got sucked into this life at a young age I could have been him at one point. I made better choices. Tonight Kendrick made a choice it was a bad one, a lot of them. I don’t know what we will do now our best witness and key in just died. I doubt Rocky will flip.” Devin said realizing he was talking about the case with her he stopped as he stared the car. He let the officers in front of him break up the crowd as they threw stuff at his car, yelling slurs at them while they left the scene. “I want to send some uniforms over to your place tonight especially with the crowd.”

Merci nodded her head not denying the help. People knew she was Kendrick last lover they’d want to know what was on his mind. As a party planner she was right there with the media. She knew how it worked until another sensational story was exposed she and Kendrick family were targets. Looking at the photographer’s taking pictures of the scene her heart jumped. That was truly the last time she was going to see Kendrick. This was the saddest ending for a man with so much to give the world. “Devin.” She mumbled as the tears flowed down her face. “I’m sorry if I’ve been in the way of you and Miranda. I let my crush on you guide my judgement. I truly shouldn’t have been such a bitch to you and her.” She said honestly as she touched his shoulder. “You’ve been such a great friend.” Merci said softly getting into the car.

“Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I was one of those girls.” She said looking out at Miranda. “She had everything her brother was a awarded hero, she married a hot cop, and had a family. Then she started her own family.” Merci touched her chain. The only belonging that her parents gave her. “Everyone in town doesn’t look at her as that trashy girl. They see her as a hero too. I just want to be normal you know she might have lost KC but she’s normal. Me I date a mobster and make a scene when he’s killed by the police.”

Devin didn’t know what to tell her to make things better he wasn’t going to mourn someone like Kendrick. He couldn’t go back in time and make them switch spots or have her switch spots with Miranda or any of the other girls in school. Life didn’t work out like that he tried to ignore the paparazzi as they came to take the pictures, saw the news vans pulling up and knew a media circus was about to explode. Merci and the rest of them would all be in the spotlight. Stopping at the stop sign as he pressed the gas he looked over at her. “I’m not I like who you are Merci sure they had the money, the family support system, all the things you want. What I admire about you and I am sure Kendrick did too is that you stand on your own, remember that ok?” He finished letting the street lights illuminate them on the drive to her place.

Merci nodded her head slowly as she listened to him yet his voice drifted off. Leaning her head on the glass. She released a moan as she placed her head down from the flashing lights. Her entire body shivered wondering if the scene she just made had her as a target. Taking a deep breath she took Devin’s hand. “You are one of a kind and Miranda should know she has an amazing man.” Letting go of his hand Merci felt safe. “I work in parties and I know the media I’m a target now.” Looking out of the window. “Take me to a hotel, I shouldn’t be seen in the public right now.” It was never going to be the same in Atlas Falls and she felt it.