2×02 “Speaking Without Sound”

Episode 2:02: Speaking With No Sound
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Viewer discretion is advised episode may contain language and sexual situations.

(A Great Big World Ft Christina Aguilera- Say Something)

Merci stirred her drink with her straw. It had been a rough three months to be honest. She didn’t believe Jon had killed Kendrick but she was still bitter about his death. Hell she was bitter about how Kendrick just wrote her out of his life. They weren’t in love but they were friends and she wished he would have just communicated he was in trouble. She’d ran away from more foster homes than she could count. She could have helped him vanish and never been seen again. Ronan Madden was alive but the black boy who had dreams for his community was gone. Another black face stolen away. At least she had amazing highlights from her depression. Her mind often drifted to the persistent Devin Thompson. He was one of those guys who didn’t give up at all. She had some nerve because she pursued him for months while he was in a relationship. Merci thought back to the first week after the shooting and riot she didn’t leave her home. Devin brought her food from La Callie and even brought Skye to help her get cleaned up. She was in a slump and now she was still lost. Would she be betraying Kendrick memory by being with Devin? Hell did he even care about her like, she cared about him? Would he be in mourning like this for her? Those questions echoed through her mind.

Olympus Bar was the new remodeled bar that Hotel LaGordia created after the riots. It was stunning and a great place to think. They had redone the entire bar and made it something special. Her drinking hole. After a long day of listening to vapid rich people she always needed a drink. She played a role like she was this perky ass party planner when all she wanted to do was throw a tantrum and tell them to shut the hell up. Taking a sip of her rum and coke she looked up and saw Devin. God had he found Olympus Bar? One thing about talking to someone who was poor, they normally didn’t come to high level establishments. She knew she should have went to La Callie. Slowly flipping her long hair she’d gotten a banging ass weave also. She gulped down her drink. He was here to once again try to shake her mind out of that slump. He looked so damn good it pissed her off. God she wanted a man on top of her and that was the truth. He smelled good too it annoyed her even more because she did want him. Flipping her hair she smirked at Devin. “Good evening and I’m kicking Skye ass.” She knew her sister sent him here.

Devin had been at the station finishing up a case downtown and when he punched out he thought about going for a drive to the Scottswood neighborhood to check on things. Kendrick was gone but his presence was still there in the basketball courts, the youth program stronger than ever which was a good thing thanks to Khalil Watkins and Elliot Duvall. Men that took up the right side of Kendrick cause and he was proud of that he was also torn between doing what needed to be done for that part of himself, the black community and the other part of him, his brothers in blue. The fine line that he had to walk he couldn’t be too black in Scottswood and then he couldn’t be too much cop either, when he was at work he couldn’t be the opposite not to mention he had a choice to have Jon’s back or not. He had chosen to have Jon’s back that night and even now with his civil trial coming up that was the choice he was going to stick by Jon had done the right thing that night. That didn’t mean that he didn’t think sometimes bad cops did bad things they did, he worked for a dirty one in Gideon when everything came out but that didn’t mean all cops were bad either. The shooting had changed him and put him at the forefront of the police force on trying to heal those relations getting people in his community to see the good in cops and getting the cops to listen and act on those concerns. It had helped a little but he had backed off when he got the summons as a witness for the trial instead tonight he had gotten a call from Skye instead.

She was worried about Merci again especially with the trial coming up and in truth so was he, he still remembered that week after Kendrick was shot how desolate and broken she was. He had comforted her the best he could brought her food when she needed it made sure that a police patrol was stationed outside her place just in case someone decided to take revenge on her too. He and Skye had been polite to each other for the most part and this was the latest example of that the call that Merci was at the bar probably looking for some meaningless one night with some random stranger. So instead of going home to his bachelor pad here he was, in the words of Miranda chasing someone that could give him what she couldn’t. It was still nice that he and Miranda had been able to remain friends after their breakup, he had worried it would cause more drama to an already tough situation. He saw her at the bar in that beautiful dress that she had on and noticed her hair in the light he approved of the coloring and he took a seat next to her motioning to the bartender to pour him whatever she was having.

“You can’t blame her, she’s worried about you. So she asked me to come check on you. You shouldn’t be out here drinking by yourself and looking for what, some warm body that doesn’t even care about you to fill the void?” Devin asked looking at her and seeing her face it may of been harsh but it was something he wanted her to hear, her self worth should be something that a man would cherish not take advantage of. He didn’t know if she had that with Kendrick or if it was something else deeper they shared but he knew that losing Kendrick had changed her for a darker version of herself that he didn’t like seeing. He took a sip of his drink twirling the glass in his hand. “Since Skye has told me you are stubborn and I know that from experience that strong independent and feisty women don’t like to be bossed around or watched I have a new plan. I’ll scan all the suitors for you think of me as your wing man that way I know you’re with someone that deserves you and isn’t out to just use you for the hell of it.”

So he heard about her hookups over the summer. Xavier Bradshaw was a hot lover and she was the  bad bitch that caught him off guard. It was one bad night, after Kendrick death.  Xavier had plenty of girls but he wanted her because she was Kendrick last girl. Xavier was from Philly and he had been in a few different scandals since becoming a basketball star at AFU. Mainly being seen with Kendrick before his death, a weed bust where he was caught buying two ounces, and a rumored sex-tape. But he was brilliant mind and a star athlete so he was protected because of his skills. The school bad boy who was said to play with Atlas Falls golden boy Khalil Watkins this year and they were AFU shot at a Basketball championship. One night while out drinking and partying with Xavier she freaked out on him. It was sad because he was really feeling her and she called Devin. It wasn’t a big deal. Now Xavier and Devin were blowing up her phone constantly. Her clique was always small and never could she expect Devin to be here looking after her like this. Smiling at him she shook her head.

“What if the wing man was boo’d up with a whack cop who was posing as a stripper all last year? Then when the fly ass princess tries to find a new prince he is slain by a knight who is overzealous to save a damsel he’s always fucking loved. Listen to me I sound real bitter right now. I’m not even going to go there but just because I’m chilling Devin so please leave me alone. You know I only went to Kendrick because you didn’t even notice me. You ignored me to stay in that fake ass relationship. Don’t come over here now and just I don’t know um placate me because you are insecure that I can have any man here. I don’t need a police scanner or you as back up to do it. And I don’t know here is a radical concept maybe I don’t want to know their names. It’s my business and I’ll tell Skye that tomorrow when that mob moll gets back from her shopping spree. The princesses are upgrading maybe I’ll be a reality TV show wife or girlfriend on one of those shows.” Merci seethed out not pausing and showing how upset this entire trial was making her.

“What if wing man doesn’t just dump on a commitment he had for someone because there is more than just him involved. Whack cop was doing what she had to do to get drugs off the street. Fly ass princess got involved with a man that liked to kill for a living and then expected him to change. Said new prince kidnapped and almost raped a person he considered his sister and then kidnapped and terrorized a woman who is pregnant.” Devin retorted he looked over at her he didn’t want to be mean but she was sitting there judging people she had no idea about. That was what burned him up about them she didn’t care to see that they were real people she was too busy holding onto some resentment about her childhood. “Overzealous.” Devin laughed at her using air quotes. “Is one of the best men that I know who did what he had to do because killer prince wouldn’t follow simple instructions as he used a pregnant woman as a body shield. Didn’t matter that he lost the girl he always loved he wasn’t going to let her, her unborn children and the scared girl in the back of the car get hurt or worse die. You want to point fingers and be angry do it but you have no right to judge anyone especially Jon.”

“No you don’t need me here but I’m here because Miranda and I didn’t work and I certainly wouldn’t have kept showing interest in you if I didn’t think you could and should do better for yourself. Even when you talk shit about people I care a lot about and judge what I do for a living and what Jon does I find myself attracted to you.” Devin finished he was not going to placate her with this she had no idea what he did for living or what he came home with at the end of the day or what Jon came home with and did at the end of the day. Her life was party planning and making things pretty because she liked the illusions it brought probably to mask all the hurt she really had. “Skye was worried about you I’ll let her know to not call about it anymore if it bothers you that much. Tell Skye to watch her back with Thor right now it’s cold on that front but there will come a time when we may have to get involved again. I know you care about her and I don’t want anything to happen to her due to who she’s sleeping with. I don’t want you to go through that again alright? I think you can aim much higher than reality TV star but that’s just me seeing you for what you really want. Something you are afraid to really have.”

Merci sat silent and Devin had got her. He shot her right down and she understood what he was saying. It was a time he made her feel so good but now he made her want to cry. She wasn’t in love with Kendrick but did he truly deserve to be shot down like that? Merci was a street rat once upon a time and underneath her perky party planner image she put on. She was still a girl who was hungry as hell and never would she forget. She stole, lied, setup dudes, and did all types of things as a youth with Skye to survive. They were unstoppable and that’s why they are sisters and not just best friends. She survived pervy ass foster dad’s and bitches trying to jump. Skye and she would always be good and his threat made her scoff a little. Narrowing her eyes she looked at Devin and smiled he was relentless. He was digging at her and she would never get over how she pursued this man and now he was at her feet. Merci shook her head as wrapped herself in his arms.

“You don’t respect Kendrick but I was feeling him because you weren’t there. Honestly but I don’t believe your boy Jon should have shot to kill. Isn’t it some sort of way he could have I don’t know well not killed Kendrick? This all feels wrong. I know he’s gone and I know Jon did his job but I can’t respect that something couldn’t happen to prevent this whole mess.” Merci said with tears in her eyes. Looking up at Devin she played with his goatee hair. “As for Skye I said I’ll deal with her tomorrow and I didn’t say I was going to read her or anything. I know she’s worried and I’m worried about her. This mob stuff doesn’t seem to end well for the people who are trying to climb to the top. Skye doesn’t have a lot but she can act her ass off and my girl going to make it. So you don’t have to tell my best friend and my sister a damn thing. As for what I did with my nana is none of your business. I don’t appreciate my pussy being talked about. You men get to stick your dingalings in anything and we hoes. I’m free but I like you too and it’s a shame because you scare me. You dare to think I can be better but I wear and damn good mask so don’t go run. Run away from me as you see I’m pretty screwed up.” Breaking the embrace she walked to the jukebox. “I’m damaged goods.”

Devin watched her and she would know the truth just like the jury in the civil case would when Mason played the body cam footage something that had never been released to the public yet. The FBI had pulled it when they helped with the internal investigation, they had experts examine it and determine it was the only shot and option they had. He was still sad that it was the path Kendrick choose, he was sad about Kendrick’s family suffering his loss. He was sad that Merci was still grieving him and he was sad because he knew Jon would carry it with him the rest of his life. It was a dark part of the job and in his mind only the brave signed up to do it, Jon would have laid down his life for anyone and that included the broken woman he saw in front of him because it was the right thing to do. He hated to see Merci like this and maybe this had been the wrong thing to do but he was still going to try because at the end of the day he wanted to believe that good things could happen.

“I wasn’t insinuating you were a hoe or anything like that it just kills me to see you like this alone, angry and not yourself. Or at least not the girl I fell for while I thought that I was falling for while I was with someone else. I didn’t get to be the jerk that screwed around on Miranda like that especially because I had to think about Quinn too. I’m sorry alright?” Devin said walking to the jukebox he saw what he assumed was her hookup walk in and he couldn’t believe his timing. There was a lot more he wanted to say but that was the honest truth he had to think about Quinn in that moment and he did the right thing ending things with Miranda and then acting on his feelings for Merci afterwards. He didn’t want to be that example to Quinn down the line he watched as the man approached them. “Give me a reason to stay.”

Merci looked into his beautiful eyes and knew she couldn’t give him a reason to walk away. She wanted Devin still and actually she was afraid of what happens. Anytime she gets with someone they leave, runaway, or die. It was a proven fact and she wasn’t up for anymore games. When he said he was falling for her it made her heart skip two beats. She swallowed down hard knowing she couldn’t leave him out there emotionally hanging. Partying was a quick relief. She’d perfected partying planning a long time ago, so rescheduling events around her binders was easy. Now he was asking for her to put herself out there again. This was what she had been avoiding an ultimatum. Now she had to be vulnerable and that’s what she feared. “If I tell you that you belong to me now, would you understand what that means? I have felt invisible to you and now I’m afraid. I’m scared because sometimes a guys like you. You are way out of my league and I’m just so scared. I’m ready to take the risk.”

She walked over to him and kissed him as she felt herself melting into his arms. Her instincts weren’t wrong about this man. She was afraid and she couldn’t be afraid of just this but people leaving. Maybe deep down she knew Jon was innocent because honestly Kendrick was bugging out before he died. It was as if he was making moves because he knew he was going to die. It was eerie thinking back to those days before him dying. Merci leaned back as she smiled at him. “Is that a big enough reason to stay because I’m scared and I’m thought this shouldn’t happen because Kendrick? I don’t know maybe like a bad omen on what could be or something? Am I just drunk talking now?” Merci giggled a little as she bit her lip. “What I’m saying I’m sorry if I scared you.”

Devin looked down at her when she leaned up and kissed him and he wrapped his arms around her returning the gesture, getting himself lost in the kiss when they parted he saw the look of the other guy. The guy that was walking back out the door while he had Merci on his arm without the guilt that he used to feel when he was with Miranda plaguing him. He wanted Merci but he wanted Miranda to be happy to and not be that guy with her so this it felt new and right, exciting all at once and he spun her around on the floor. “I would say let’s see what this can be then. Without all the things that drug it down the last year. You and Kendrick and me and Miranda. I’m willing to see if you are.” He said pulling her close while they got stares with clapping and cheering. Walking back to the bar he picked up their drinks tipping her glass to hers excited to see their next step.

Merci glowed as she nodded her head. Taking a drink with him click there glasses against each others. “I’m dating a cop, God help us all.” She teased as she took his hand. “Can you take me home. I’m tired and yes my stubborn ass is ready to explore whatever this is.” Grabbing her jacket she smiled. “And you not getting none so wipe that smile off your face.” She said laughing playfully.


The house was dim light perfect marble floors in the entry way, rich mahogany hardwoods in the study and the dining room off to the side. China lined the dining room table and she heard the faint sounds of music from the living room, soft and hypnotic like. Her arms were cold and itchy and she drew the shawl she was wearing tighter around her shoulder finally coming to the staircase it’s dark brown wood looking at back at her, it’s plush runner touching her high heels as she grabbed the banister. It had been ages since she had been in this house and the music stopped and then she heard the faint whimpers coming from up the stairs. It was faint but she wanted to know what was making that sound as a feeling of regret settled in her stomach. She slowly put one foot in front of the other as she made their way up the stairs. Her heart was racing as she took each step carefully looking at the family portraits on the walls. When she reached the top she froze as the whimper turned into a cry.

Looking around and seeing no one going to the sound she started to make her way down the hallway ignoring the reminders of what was on the floor and the walls. When she reached the white door where the sound was coming from she slowly opened it and made her way inside the room. Blue lined the walls, with Noah’s ark animals, delicate fabric curtains lined the windows and the rocking chair in the room and she froze looking at the man holding the baby. Tears flew down her face wanting to reach out to them both and when she did the man pulled back. Shaking her head she knew this would happen that he would hate her forever after all she had been the one playing games with him and another man and she shook her head at him as if to beg. When that didn’t work she saw him turn his back to her facing the window and she picked up the baby book looking at his name engraved on the cover. The only stipulation she ever had or say in the matter, she wiped at her face.

“Jon let me see him please.” She pleaded and when he turned around shaking his head no at her she let out a curdling scream.

Jolting upright in the bed and throwing back the covers she took a deep breath hoping the incident didn’t wake Thor she wasn’t even sure if she screamed out loud at the nightmare which had been a recurring one for months. She supposed it was because her short stint in town turned into being here all the time and now she didn’t have a reason to run off, her bank account was set thanks to Lowell and she had Thor had started something. They occurred more often because of the news coverage all the time when Jon’s name was mentioned everywhere or when his picture was plastered all over TV. Her legs were shaking as she got out of the bed and rushed to the bathroom trying to get her emotions under control as she felt sick to her stomach. She had to take a few deep breaths to remind herself that she had made the decision because it was for the best for everyone involved. She thought about going back to the bedroom and picking up the phone to call them but she knew what the response would be. Don’t call them or contact them.

There was no turning back time or a clock to the moment she made the decision to alter their lives together he would be a little over two now. With a family that she knew would take care of him like she knew she and Jon couldn’t and walking to the sink she splashed some cold water on her face to wash away the tears that were streaming down. The family that took him was not touchable and she knew that, she would never have that house with Jon or that life. How she got them to adopt him played over in her head, she was scared barely off the drugs and the father to adopt was charming. She had sold herself to be close to him on a promise only to find out the charming father was nothing more than wanting to have his turn with her while going back to his wife. She felt sorry for the woman raising her son in that way that her husband wanted to fuck around on her as long as no one knew and she screamed when she felt something touch her shoulder and turned around to look at Thor.

“I’m so sorry, so sorry.” She gasped out looking at him wildly not sure what to say or do when she looked at him.

“You have been having the same nightmare and saying the same name over and over again in your sleep.” He said looking at her flushed face. She had beads of sweat rolling down her face. “Who is Miles?” Thor asked as he touched her back and wrapped himself around her body from behind. “When I first met you, I didn’t think I’d give a damn about you. Wait wait I promise this is a good story. I know you thought I was a selfish vain SOB. After Cassie I swore I wasn’t going to be with another woman to make me feel like that. My pride was shattered because I knew I was going to end up with her. Hell we had been dating since we were kids and I thought that I was going to have a future with her. Then the more time I spent with you Skye I started to see something different. Now I’m not saying I can see us spending forever together but I am enjoying this. We both have a fear of being alone. I saw it happen to my mother and father. I guess what I’m saying is I’m here for people I love and care about. I’m protector and I clearly see something is going on. When we fall asleep you’re getting back up sneaking off to the bathroom, you are pacing back and forth looking at a picture in your broke ass phone, and worse you are saying another man in your sleep. As long as it’s not Jon Harrison I’m good on that.” Thor saw her smile a little and he felt good.He wasn’t flipping out.

“Skye tell me what’s going on? Is Miles family? Did you locate your family. I’m pretty sure your family is missing out on a hell of a chick. So if you’ve found them it’s a good thing man.” Thor kissed her neck. As he touched her damp hair and slowly rubbed her back. “I’m not just trying to be a sexual toy either. I mean I know I please wonderfully but I kind of want more Skye. I want to know what you’re thinking because I want to be one of the few who can make you smile. I want to know what affecting this. You aren’t giving your all and now I find myself in a really horrible situation again. A woman who doesn’t know if I’m what she wants. I don’t want to be embarrassed again so if Miles is what you need then tell me up front. If it’s another guy man because if so.” Thor let her go feeling horrible because he honestly was falling but that bet with Cassie lingered in the back of his mind. “I’m not indecisive and I don’t want to argue all day and at night we are making love. I guess I just am lost on what this is and what is going on with you.”

“I can’t I told them I wouldn’t tell anyone I have no rights to him. He’s not another man alright and he’s connected to Jon but he’s not Jon. I know this isn’t making any sense right now. You want me to be open with you about everything and that part of my life I can’t, I thought I would be alright when I came home that it wouldn’t hurt like it does.” Skye said watching him as she pulled away from him wiping at her eyes and she knew that she had opened up a can of worms now and maybe he could keep her secret for a bit not judge her for it. She knew Jon would judge her if he ever found out, he would never forgive her for what she had done behind his back. “Miles is my son with Jon. I was coming off drugs Jon was at the VA facility I was fucking both him and Jackson. For a while I didn’t know who the father was I met a nice couple. Ryan and Whitney Hessington they wanted a baby, she couldn’t have them so I made the decision. He doesn’t know alright no one knows but you. After he was born Lowell tracked me down and ran a DNA test just to make sure, he wasn’t Jackson’s. I don’t know how to do this with you, normal and more why would you want too?”

“I’m not Cassie alright I don’t have some fancy bank account to fall back on or some daddy to bail me out when it gets tough. I’m good at sex and fucking but emotional stuff I learned a long time ago not to let my guard up around men. They use you and the only person I can depend on is myself and Merci. This is good between us and I don’t think we should make it into more than what it has been.” Skye said not even sure why she was breaking down around him about it, he was a cold hard mobster that knew what he was doing with her body and made her forget all about Jon and her past in Atlas Falls. About all the shit she had done in the past how she learned to lie, cheat and steal her way in the world. How she had sold herself for drugs at one point and the worst her body for her son on a promise that she deep down would never happen. “I don’t know what this is anymore. Now you know but you can’t say anything okay Merci doesn’t even know. Can we drop this now?”

Thor listened to her as she recalled the fact that Miles Hessington was her biological son with Jon. Biting his lip he began to see the writing on the wall. They met a drug addicted woman who was vulnerable and got her to let them adopt Miles. Not only that but Ryan cheated on Whitney with Skye. Gulping he heard stories how strung out Skye was back then and how other men had her. It made him sad that he didn’t see her back then. Maybe he could have stopped her from falling down that rabbit hole. Even if she did sold her body did that mean she didn’t deserve love or a healthy relationship? Taking a deep breath he wasn’t ready to hear that she had a child, nor was he ready to face her past. He wasn’t running away though because honestly that’s what most men had done to her. They had either used her until she was withered or left her to face there mistake. Jon went to the VA and was given a hero welcome back into Atlas Falls when Skye was alone facing if she should even have a kid. God she was braver than he thought and it shocked him that it must have been Miles who sobered her up.

“Keeping it one hundred I knew about your past with other men. My brother tried to shade me about it today, when I saw him with Mercedes. I don’t want to pretend that I don’t have a past but most men seem to have blinders on with what they’ve done. Ignorance isn’t bliss because I’m all about you. Now that I know what’s hurting you I can fix it. Look you aren’t good at romance but that’s what I do. I’ve been a romantic ever since I saw Casablanca and my mother said that was my father. I was thinking that was my inspiration as a man because I didn’t know my father. What I’m saying is Skye your past doesn’t scare me because I have one also. More than anything it’s showing me how strong you truly are but don’t just write me off like I’m every other man. I’m your man right now and if you can’t believe in me. Believe in what we are developing. I won’t bring up your kid again until you tell Merci. Yet you and I know Merci won’t let this go. She’s going to try and figure out if there is a way to get him back to you.” He said as he looked deeply into her eyes. “One more question.” He reached out to her and grabbed her hand. “Am I getting fat?” Pushing out his belly but his abs blocked him from looking bloated. “I just needed to see you smile.”

Skye stared at him astonished she was sure that he would be running for the door but it was such a relief that he just walked to her and instead held her. She was a mess and she knew that but she also knew that maybe she could figure it out this time. She didn’t know what to say to him when he said he knew all about her dark past, meaning all about it the highs and the lows. Her shame that she carried around with her in all that digging it was shocking he didn’t find out about Miles. Though the Hessingtons were very private and very powerful so no doubt she was an afterthought to them and she looked at him when he turned to the side to show her his abs. She couldn’t help the cackle of laughter that came out as she wrapped her arms around him pulling him close.


Jamal adjusted the levels of the bass in the studio as he listened to Ivan spitting pure fire. Nodding his head three months had changed a lot in his life. First off he’d revamped his image no longer was he a drug dealing rich boy. He was a rich boy who had now owned Club Vertigo and transformed the top level into a studio. Jamal bought the club because he knew the college crowd gathered here. It also was a great way to promote his new artist. Not only in the three months he’d signed a group called Glory Road. They were an alt-pop rock group with a splash of country. There lead singer was a female named Fallon she was a star no doubt. Her unique vocals hypnotized him and she was actually featured on Ivan track tonight. Hearing him spitting about life in Scottswood and Florida shook him. Jamal honestly had enough of the hood after last year. He had also signed a rap duo 2Much which had made waves in the indie rap circle. However his crowning glory was Ivan. The boy was a bonafide genius with his puns and adlibs. The boy was vicious with a pen and freestyling all he had to do was light a blunt for him and he was on fire. He didn’t condone drugs anymore but Ivan was a weed smoker. Jamal wasn’t here to change Ivan either he didn’t want anything to spoil that raw street appeal. Hearing him rap about Kendrick hurt him. It was like watching the consequences of his actions coming to life in a painful story. Three months later it was about to be dragged back up. Jamal had put that shit in the past but Kendrick family were suing AFPD and Jon. Thus he was right back in the mist of the madness he worked three months to escape.

He hadn’t talked to Rory but he had been partying with Brooke and Atticus. That was all Val who made him go back out in the public. It wasn’t long before the scandal was old news. The prince was a way better option than Ronan. No matter what Brooke said he knew she wasn’t over that son of a bitch. Val had also been a change he liked though. For once he wasn’t second to Rory because Val was all his. Feelings she gave him he knew. He knew she was for him and he didn’t have to share her. Well maybe he would have had a chance with Yas if he didn’t pretend to be someone entirely different. Shaking himself out of his thoughts. Well her perfume did that because here was his latina diva. Standing up and hugging her his abuela would be very happy he was dating a Mexican beauty. Jamal kissed her and squeezed her ass laughing playfully. Looking back at Ivan he knew was annoyed. He was kissing on Val and should be working. “Ivan take five you did that bro.” Jamal said watching Ivan taking off his equipment and headphones. Fallon had laid her vocals down earlier in the day. Plus Ivan seemed to work all night if he’d let him. He never saw whatever girls he had because Ivan was focused and he should be too. “What’s up baby?” He kissed her neck as he almost jumped back seeing Rory walking up the stairs. They hadn’t talked since after the riots when he checked in on him. They had been sort of estranged because he didn’t get why sometimes. They’d been best friends since they were in diapers.

Looking up he saw Val smirking did she invite him here? She walked over talking to Ivan leaving them almost solo dolo. It was awkward because he heard from Ivan that Yasmine wasn’t even speaking to Rory. A part of him wondered how neither of him could bag the illusive Ms. Kohl. Leaning on the desk he felt his stomach clutching what did they say to each other? They fought over Yasmine all last year and now neither of them had her. Not only that he lied to him for a entire year pretending to be a thug. He understood why Rory would be pissed it was like he ignored his life and friends. Like there friendship didn’t mean shit to him which wasn’t the case at all. “Rory what you doing here?” He cut his eyes at Val.

Rory had been so angry when he left the dance studio he went back to DGI and sulked in his office for the rest of the day and when he couldn’t take it anymore and then thought about going to Club XES to look at one of those pretty dancers Val had called. He had no excuse to not go hang out with her and he almost got out of it only for her to wonder if she should call his mother and ask if everything was alright. With his problems with Yasmine the last thing he needed was her being nosey and then his mother asking him a million questions about what happened with him and Yasmine. He wasn’t ready for anyone to know or find out what happened with him and Yasmine, he was too embarrassed to tell anyone that he had drunkenly fucked his half sisters mother. Sure he’d had his fair share of women so had his siblings and his father, but he was pretty sure neither Chauncey or Jackson had fucked someone old enough to be their own mother or someone their father had a years long affair with. Instead he drove his own car down to Club Vertigo making his way upstairs to the music studio security was tight and when he entered he saw Val with Jamal.

One thing that he was wanting was to repair his relationship with Jamal they had always been close until a girl came between them and now he wondered if that girl was the only reason. He was sure it wasn’t just Yasmine but a year ago that was what it felt like. Jamal had done some dumb shit that had consequences for Kendrick and even himself but that was something he felt was almost in the past now, until the trial drug it all back up. He knew it was coming up and he looked between Val and Jamal as Val approached him and he hugged her. He had distanced himself from most of his friends this summer, he supposed he was sulking and formulating plans to win back Yasmine and now she had made it clear that wasn’t happening so it instead led him here. He reluctantly gave Jamal a dap as he watched Val walk to the wet bar in the room and pour them all a drink. He took the glass from her and waited for her to toast only it didn’t happen and then he looked over at Jamal waiting for him to say something, instead Jamal looked pissed at him. “Val called said it was time we hung out and I don’t know man that is what I want to do.”

Val had made the call earlier that day she knew both Brooke had been worried about Rory all summer and despite what Jamal said she knew that he missed his friend too. Plus she was tired of seeing him mope all the damn time when they would bump into him out at dinner or here at the club and she decided that she could make bygones be bygones maybe if she just reached out. Drinks and maybe a bite to eat was a lot easier in her head than it was getting him here but she was glad when he showed up. She had given them a little space while she went to the bar and poured them all a few drinks. Hooking up with Jamal over the summer had been just what she needed but part of him was all wrapped up in what happened with Kendrick still and maybe Rory could break him out of that. When Rory finally spoke she raised her glass looking over at Jamal. “I invited him. I’ll give you two some space I have some calls I have to make about some fabric.” She said leaning up and kissing Jamal on the lips before going into the other room.

He had a girlfriend right now and that shit tweaked him out. Jamal enjoyed what Val brought to his life and no doubt this was some Brooke shit. She was another one in the middle of them all. Val and Brooke put this together and he wasn’t even mad at because honestly he missed Rory. It was crazy what three months could do because here he was letting go of last year. Actually producing hot ass music and finally stabilizing the vision he had for himself. When they dapped he nodded at Rory still stepping back for a second. When Val bailed on him he felt it get even more awkward. It was time for them to talk and it didn’t make it easy because they never fought before. Clapping his hand together he looked at Rory and shook his head.

“Bro I’m sorry about last year. I don’t even truly know how much that shit was worth. I got some experience in something I didn’t need. I honestly saw shit I don’t ever want to see again. I want to do something with myself. It made me see that but it also brought out the asshole in me bro. I went after Yasmine even though you two were together. I was all type of wrong but I think you understand the allure of that girl. She can treat a man cold as ice and still sets him on fire. I wanted her too and I guess that got the best of me. I respect that you pulled Yasmine as Rory and if I was Jamal then it would have been a fight.” He teased as he looked at him. “Man what happened ya’ll was rocking hard I heard hell everyone heard she messing with Khalil.” Jamal said leaning on the couch. “I gotta say I got a good girl she got my boy to come over here.”

Rory nodded his head at Jamal when he apologized about the last year and everything that had happened. He honestly never got why Jamal had the need to pretend he was someone that he wasn’t all last year and it still sounded crazy to him. He wouldn’t want to guess what he did or didn’t see under Kendrick the man was a monster and he knew that first hand when he had his goons beat him down outside of the club. He only imagined that Jamal had seen and heard things that probably kept him up at night much like Yasmine from what he knew. He had spent time blaming Jamal for all the problems that happened with Yasmine but he also knew rationally she had gotten in over her head too and it was all bad luck. One thing led to another and another and along the way everyone involved mad bad decision calls trying to rectify the situation the best they could. He hadn’t told anyone about him and Tess and honestly he wasn’t about to tell Jamal either, it made him look like an idiot. The alternative he knew was that he looked desperate and pathetic opposed to picking himself back up and just moving on.

“Last year happened we can’t change it Jamal it just did. I think you’d be right if you had told her who you were maybe things would be different. I understand her allure I think that is something we can both agree on.” Rory said looking around the studio and then it clicked this was the perfect thing to get his mind of Yasmine possibly partnering with Jamal and his app at the same time. He had been trying to figure out the best way to drop it and then integrate it with users and this was the perfect way, it also meant that he didn’t have to think about Khalil and Yasmine or what they were doing. Honestly the thought of her being with Khalil made him ill he figured that was the same way that she felt when she had found out about Tess. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work Jamal too much had happened between us. I don’t know man one thing happened after the other and I screwed up. I didn’t think she’d go back to him of all people, but enough about me alright? What about you? You and Val, honestly did not see that one coming.” He said trying to just deter the conversation to Jamal. “I also was thinking about something else about my app and this.”

Jamal saw how Rory held back and knew he’d have some work to do. He knew it from his body language, how stiff he got compared to before. Yasmine was a sore spot and he understood that feeling. He however hoped whatever was going on they would work it out. “Yeah man Val came out of the blue. I met her when everything was really fucked up. I had went to see uncle Lowell and explained myself to him in a way. It was time for me to move the fuck along you know? I had screwed up royally and I’m on probation and whenever I want to go out on the road with my artist I have to get a judge permission. I’m threw man I will never tell what I saw but Rory you gotta cut that girl some slack I don’t know what happened. But bro she went through hell. And I mean hell but yeah you said something about your app you still working on that man?”

He walked to the booth and adjusted the equipment a little. Strutting out he pushed it back on himself. “Val is great man and if this is what it feels like it’s good. She’s um perfect though it’s strange I’m waiting for her to fart or something. She’s like too good to be true. It’s crazy or am I tripping? I’ve been taking my time but I think me and my girl are good. She’s cool and the fashion designer with the music producer. We look good together man I’m feeling her. Brooke did her thing on that she said we’d be cute together. So she put in a good word too. You know. But your app what’s up my music is underground. We building a lot of buzz right now though on those Philly and New York streets.” Jamal said sitting back down at the controls. “And I better start it up again. Aye Ivan get your Puerto Rican ass up here.”

Ivan strolled in flipping Jamal off. “Fuck you pussy boy.” Looking over at Rory he laughed because he was one of the men beating his ass last year. “I know you from somewhere? Do I know you?” Ivan laughed as he walked into the booth, placing on his headphones. “Run that shit back.”

“Chill Rory sit down we are about to make magic. He all woof tickets now the motherfucker doesn’t bang anymore he’s just trying to scare you. He’s a asshole.” Jamal said pressing the speaker. “Now let me hear you loud shake the studio.” Jamal smiled as Ivan began to spit fire in rapid cadences and on a high of the beat. “Hear that man?” Slapping his hand on the beat Jamal laughed when he heard Ivan rap Rory’s last name into his rap. Rich like a Devonshire that was dope as hell and he was going. “You alright?”

Val had come back into the studio to watch them all work and then leaned into Rory. “I think I may need Yasmine’s number. I hear she is really pretty and with my new line coming up soon if another model bails out. She could work the runway.” She saw Rory almost roll his eyes at her and she put her hand on her hip. “I can get it from you or go track her down myself up to you.” Grinning when Rory picked up his phone and sent her the contact info.

Rory had been looking over at Jamal and then trying to figure out what the best way was to ask what he wanted when the album was ready to drop he wanted first dibs to stream it on his streaming service. He relented to Val who wouldn’t let it go about getting Yasmine’s number and then turned back to the app. Users would then snap pictures posing them to the app where they could be shared and liked, interact with each other and so on. Live time streaming was the way to go and he had to do a double take when his name was dropped on the track and then he pretended to shoot himself in the heart and he heard the music stop, Ivan throwing down his headphones and then He felt Ivan grab him and then he saw Jamal push Ivan back. “Dude what’s your problem?”

“Are you fucking listening to what I’m rapping about? Yeah I put your bitch ass in my song just as a reference to the type of money I want. I was rapping about Kendrick and you shooting yourself in the heart? Man get the fuck outta here with that. Bro I stomped your bitch ass out before and I’ll do it again. You must have lost your mind bring wonder bread up in here.” Ivan growled at Val and Jamal.

“No I didn’t lose a damn thing. Rory and myself have been friends since we were toddlers our mothers have pictures of us bathing together because they thought it was so cute. I don’t condone what happened to Kendrick but man if you get hyped up everytime someone says something bad about Kendrick then you not going to make it. Rory wasn’t even fucking referring to Kendrick or thinking about him so you going to chill. Matter fact we done for the night. Go home and think if you want to be a rapper or a fucking criminal because if you want that life the street is waiting on you. I won’t Ivan because I found you, we both know Scottswood is booming with talent. If you ever touch someone I care about like that again I swear you won’t have time to worry about getting fired because I’m going to be on your ass. Got me son?” Jamal barked back at Ivan.

“Got you boss man.” Ivan said with a attitude. He grabbed his jacket and stormed out of the studio.

“I’m sorry about that Rory he’s emotional. Hell we all are with this trial coming up it’s bringing up all the emotions the city had buried.” Jamal said walking to Val who was in a slight state of shock. “You alright? Y’all alright?” He asked both of them.

Rory nodded his head at Jamal and Val he was alright with everything he got that Ivan was angry and he adjusted his suit lapels to straighten out the wrinkles. He was glad to see Jamal had his back and personally he thought Ivan should be grateful that he wasn’t going to end up like the monster Kendrick. He had gotten out of the hood and was living the dream. “Yeah I’m good listen I’ll send you the details of what I’m thinking for us. I want to merge the app exclusively with your label. About tomorrow and the trial if you need me let me know okay? I gotta get home and get some sleep.” He finished giving Val a quick hug and Jamal dap before heading out the door.

Val nodded her head at Jamal she had grown used to Ivan’s outbursts over the last few months sometimes he would explode but Jamal always seemed to reel him back in. She didn’t think Jamal would ever let Ivan really hurt her or someone he cared about. Plus despite what happened with Kendrick she knew in some weird way it was Jamal trying to atone by wanting Ivan there. “I’m good. Let me go grab my purse and head back to your place. I’m glad you and Rory were able to make up.” Val said leaning up and kissing him and then going to grab her purse. Knowing the storm was just about to start tomorrow with the trial.


After being accosted by none other than Forbes Montgomery, Greer was ready for some fun. She told him earlier in the summer that she wanted to be pampered again. Something she missed being married to Zerick. A move to make Chauncey jealous honestly it worked. He had just given her a diamond earrings. One thing about being a corporate spy was it came with perks. This was one of those moments because Greer lit up like a Christmas Tree. Chauncey might have be in public giving Natasha the eye however she knew exactly who was rocking his boat. It did annoy her to no end that Natasha was his choice because of that stunt Jackson pulled. He had SandStar and that was keeping her in town. Greer wanted her out of town because honestly she was more involved with Chauncey that she wanted to admit. She cared about him and honestly he was her heart. She dared not to admit the fact she loved that bastard. If she did then she’d be proving not just Forbes but that bastard Zerick right. She couldn’t truly love Chauncey because it meant that she wasn’t going to be able to do it. Greer knew she wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger.

Taking his face in her hands she leaned in and kissed him seductively. Letting her tongue explore his warm mouth and her hands running down his chest. “I’m sorry to tell you that I’m becoming very jealous Mr. Devonshire. That harpy Natasha is being seen at all the events with you. Did you know the tabloids got you two at the opera last week? I don’t normally get mad over petty stuff but a girl like me who gets dolled up just like this put to pasture for the sand queen makes absolutely no sense to me.” Slowly unbuttoning his shirt. “I don’t like that I’m second to any woman in your life. I’m ready to take my place at the throne.” Greer purred softly kissing his neck. “I don’t believe you are considering her! Is it because of that tiff me and your mom had? She isn’t thinking of that I’m Greer Bouvier now.”

Chauncey had spent the last three months dealing with the fallout of Selina leaving it had hit the company hard people were afraid to do business with them compiled with them almost losing the SandStar deal. He had been tasked with keeping Natasha on their side, he wined and dined her, not yet closing the deal of fucking her yet. On top of that he was dealing with the letter Jackson had wrote him in rehab, it lingered on the back of his mind how had they gotten there over the years. He appreciated the letter, he could accept some of the letter but showing up to bury the hatchet he froze. He also was struggling with his father’s sudden departure to Europe after shit had hit the fan with CADMUS and the kidnapping, his parents thought it was the best time to take a vacation leaving the company to him, Bliss, Max and Dani as a proxy to run which irritated him. So instead drowned he decided himself into his other guilty pleasure the magnificent woman before him. She was amazing in bed and in the boardroom, she had been hsi careful eyes over the last few months to make sure they didn’t lose more business. He knew that he had to made a decision between her and Natasha the logical part said Natasha it was good for business but the other part was screaming the mystery woman even with the tidbits he did know he thought there was more to find out about Greer. He kissed her back as she took a seat with him.

“Jealous Greer it’s just business with her you know how that can go sometimes. Public appearances for the sake of public appearances, a nice fuck in bed to satisfy someone’s need I’m doing what I have to in order to keep her and SandStar here. She has the option to pull out which will cost the DGI investment in it millions if not billions it’s a hit we can’t afford.” Chauncey said looking at her and seeing her face wrinkle up at the suggestion that he had fucked Natasha he was honestly something else when jealous a bit of a minx in there as well along with what he was sure was anger. She knew how the game was played better than anyone and he had always assumed that she knew that if he had to sleep with Natasha he would it didn’t mean he was in love with her or anything like that.  He pulled her closer to him running his hands up her thighs. “You’re not just dolled up and pasture right now are you? You are very publicly in my lap at work where anyone can see us. Not that I mind but you know it’s just been you these past few months. As for my mother and the tif you had with her she doesn’t control me Greer I can be with whomever I want especially if my siblings can do the same. I have to consider Natasha she holds the keys to bankrupting or making the company more profitable than ever.”

Greer eyes rolled as he stated that Natasha of all people was that keys to making DGI. Had she not been leading him to the water to drink for months? She’d given him clues to beat anyone and yes Jackson threw a curve ball with Natasha, but it wasn’t something she couldn’t handle. As she placed the jewelry box down she rolled her eyes at him. Pursing her lips she felt a string of jealousy which she shouldn’t. The funny part this was all supposed to be a game, now it wasn’t though. Her real emotions for Chauncey were growing daily and even though he was a douche she could see his charm. Literally Chauncey had something she loved his persona was power. She was also attracted to his intelligence because even though she was leading him around like a cat with string, he was smart. He always knew how to take a plan up another notch. As she picked up the champagne bottle she placed a strawberry in her champagne flute. Pouring them both a glass she bit her lip angrily.

“Only thing I can say is that DGI and the world is two different things. Natasha can be dismissed she merged her company with DGI and that’s her fault. Yes she can still pull out of the deal due to congress approval and SEC. I know she won’t because we’ve hated each other since we were in finishing school. She has you in the light and that’s what I want Chauncey. I want to tell you all my secrets but if I do then you’ll trip. You’ll act a fool and I am dressed up because I want to show you what I bring. What you’ll wake up too every morning. My touch is better than any other woman you’ve ever had. I bring me and I’m what you need to push you to be exactly the man DGI needs. I’m a bad bitch and I don’t plan on being second much longer Chauncey. Or else I walk and trust me when I walk away I aim to hurt.” Taking sip she looked at him. “I want you desperately and I can give you all that you need. At the end of the day do you have to even question the value of my worth?”

Chauncey considered her words yes Natasha could be dismissed but he knew his parents especially his father didn’t want that to happen, it looked bad on business. Natasha had merged SandStar with DGI as a partnership not only that she had been granted a board seat. Something that he felt was a stupid decision but was what Jackson had offered her to seal the deal and board members simply weren’t just outed. It meant a board vote and he knew that Natasha had gotten people to like her that were board members. He had to tread carefully if he ever wanted her out and she had connections that could be vital to DGI Energy in the future. He had thought about sabotaging that part of the company while his brother was gone but had relented to the fact that the SandStar merger had made up for the CADAMUS incident in covering the losses. He tapped his fingers on the table as Greer leaned in closer to him and he couldn’t help it as his free hand rubbed her thighs under the table.

“They are but my brother gave Natasha a seat and you can’t just oust a board member it has only happened once before in DGI history. When my father ousted Walter Fraiser, Forbes Montgomery and Pierre LeClerq it took years of planning for him to do it. Not to mention making her our enemy could have major consequences later.” He said hoping that was enough for her to drop the subject and his hand moved a little higher brushing over that spot that drove her wild and saw her eyes burning at him. He leaned in to hear ear and nibbled it slowly before pulling all the way back and taking a sip of champagne. “I want you Greer but not in the way that I think you want me too. Getting dumped by Selina at the altar showed me I have to be careful when I pick my future wife. I don’t think we are ready for that. However.” He said pausing not sure if it was hurt he saw on her face or not she and he had agreed he thought they wanted a bit of fun and he had pushed for her to divorce Zerick. “I was thinking we can make your appointment at DGI public finally it is time and you can be on the carpet by my side.”

“That’s an excuse Mr. Devonshire. I’ve given you everything so that you can take your seat at the table. So that you can finally have a moment that everyone sees you as the star you are. I have given you enough ammunition and helped you plot. Your body language is saying you aren’t ready for a Queen to rule with you. I am saying that if you don’t wake up you may lose me. I turned my back on my husband and friend for you. I divorced him for you and if you think that I’m going to sit around and wait. Well you aren’t as smart as I thought.” Greer said feeling his hand running up her thighs. Her eyes closed from pleasure of him touching her. She grabbed his hand and removed it from her body. “I came over like this to show you that no woman will make you complete as I will. I indulge your worst desires and enhance your best traits. I’m not a red carpet arm piece you take Natasha I’ll be there with a date.”

Standing up she stormed out to the balcony and looked outside of the mansion. The sprawling land and wondered if this was her birthright? Literally all their families had been entangled for years. Now here it was happening again. Yet she couldn’t help but to feel more of the fear of what was happening. She was falling for Chauncey hell she had fallen for him over the summer. Seeing how hurt he was after reading that damn letter from Jackson. It showed her he was human because something in those two past broke them. “You talk a good game Mr. Devonshire but I’m Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Artemisia, and any other powerful woman you can think of is inside of me. I’ve brought men to their feet and I will bring you to yours. If you don’t see my worth I assure you another man will. I have to leave a long day at work tomorrow.”

Chauncey followed her to the balcony watching her and before he knew what overcame him he pushed her against the wall hiking her skirt as his head lowered right over her heat. She thought she was so strong when it came to telling him no he was going to show her otherwise and his tongue darted into her heat over and over again. Her hips constricting against his tongue and he felt her tugging at his hair trying to pull him up instead he continued to assault her right where he knew she wanted him too. She was not just his play thing and she never was but he wasn’t going to risk DGI losing a huge business partner for her jealousy either. He added in his teeth for good measure against her clit and then pulled back. Leaving her dripping in her own juices and leaned down kissing her lips. “I’ll see you there looking forward to seeing your date.” Chauncey said against her ear before grabbing his coat and walking out of the room he had a dinner meeting to be at with Natasha.

Greer stood shook on the wall. Not even Zerick turned her on like this man. It was something that she couldn’t help. Her father warned her never to fall in love. She wished she could remove her heart from her body so she couldn’t feel. When she watched him leave she took a deep breath because she couldn’t be strong when he was before her doing those things. Her body had no control against Chauncey. It was something that hated so badly. Slamming her hand against the wall as she sat down. He wouldn’t win. No Chauncey wouldn’t make her feel like this with Natasha. If it was one thing she knew a Devonshire hated was a Fraiser well except Jackson. Walking to the newspaper she saw the article about him. “Brock Fraiser the fireman who saved all those people in the riots was named the most eligible bachelor in Atlas Falls. Check and mate Mr. Devonshire.”


Zerick had returned to the bedroom to find Talia gone and it was for the best his emotions were still all over the place and then he took a few breaths seeing the text from Forbes. They were ready to strike and then he became conflicted over the last three months he had gotten attached to DGI and his siblings and the latest move complicated that. The casino deal was good for DGI it was good for the city and honestly Forbes never told him he was going to go after it so against his mentors better judgement he was going to go see the man himself. Perhaps Lowell would surprise him and not be the monster that he knew that he was deep down and he had to remind himself on the drive over to the mansion that he had to remain calm, if his temper came out it would ruin everything. It would expose everything before he was ready and when he pulled into the circular driveway after passing through security he looked at the massive mansion. He should have grown up here that was the worst part how discarded he was. He waited inside the foyer as the maid went to get Lowell out of bed. Looking at his watch he turned around when he saw Lowell come into the foyer knowing it was late.

“I’m sorry to drop by so late Lowell but there has been a development. MontCorp has bought two of the lots and a building we were going after for the casino. We can’t break ground on anything until we have the land to build on.” Zerick said partly lying through his teeth he was not sorry he had came by this late, in fact looking at his father across from him he wondered if the man was kept up at night haunted by what he did to his mother all those years ago. He looked at Lowell to find any of himself in him and when he couldn’t he handed him the file with the receipts on the purchase of the land from Montcorp. “What do you want to do spend more money and try to get Forbes to sell to us again? Do you want us to spend more money and time surveying somewhere else for the casino to go? This halts production again we had this land surveyed months ago. I know you have been gone doing God knows what in Europe.” He said a slight hint of sarcasm in his voice at the audacity to leave DGI in the situation it had been in for months. “This is not good and I need to know how you would like to proceed.”

Lowell was preparing for bed. It had been so long since he had been in his very own bed. When the maid arrived saying that Zerick was here. When Max left to Spain with Jackson he put Zerick in charge of the casino. Now for him to tell him Forbes Montgomery had bought land to block the casino. That infuriated him because Zerick had been careless and if this was in indication of what was up then he’d boot the kid. He was recommended but this was unacceptable. No he would figure out a way to contest the sale to Forbes and that was the end of the subject. As he slammed the file down now wasn’t the time for this but he’d get the brunt of his fury. Seeing his insolence and the detesting of his vacation. Nobody knew his body was betraying him. He felt angrier because he could tell he was pissed at him for something.

“You want to know how I should proceed? I hired you as one of the best corporate raiders in the last twenty years. That’s what your last employer said about you. I had a dream that you could help me prevent whatever Forbes is planning but you’re becoming useless. So tell me what do I need you for? I should throw you away with everyone else because if you are making these careless moves now why? Why would I dare let you stay with my company Zerick? Son you are smarter than this. And when you fund a billion dollar company then maybe you can question my whereabouts. Zerick you fix this or else not only are you fired but you’ll never work in this business again. I want the land Gunner Westwood zoned for us. I think this conversation is over understand? Contest the buying of the land especially because Max put deals in place before then.” Lowell said walking into the study and pouring himself a drink. “Fix it Zerick.”

Zerick looked at him and stayed calm that was the key right now he wanted to gauge who the man before him was, if he was all the talk he put into himself r if he was just a fake. He still couldn’t gauge that and conflict ran through him he was having a hard time separating the man in the journals from the man he had been working with.  He was having a hard time reconciling the man that could rape his wife’s sister from the man who ran a tight business ship and did care for his family and he had to remember everything Forbes had told him it was all an illusion that Lowell put forward. Rape was the least of things Lowell had done to people, he had cheated on Jackie for years with different mistresses and the daft woman that was his aunt always took him back. He had sent Pierre LeClerq to prison of things he didn’t do just to out hi from DGI there was rumors he had murdered someone as well, so rape well to him it wasn’t that far of a stretch. Still he was conflicted and following him into the office he blamed that partly on Talia and the real feelings he had come to have for her.

“Max left before it was finished this is her fault not mine. She ran off to God knows where and I don’t mean to speak ill of her or disrespect her but fucking was more important than closing the land deals to her. This will take time and a lot of money and I wanted to make sure that was resources you wanted to continue with before I wasted time and money on the matter it would almost be cheaper to resurvey land and I don’t see what is so important about that location anyway.” Zerick said his voice rising a bit, his sister did have that knack from his father he supposed he did as well he could never stay in one bed long until Talia happened. Maybe Max would find that one day but he doubted it she and Chauncey seemed determined to repeat the steps of the man in front of him, when he insulted Forbes the man that practically raised him he felt his anger swell more. “Forbes struck because he knew Max hadn’t finished things. My careless moves? I’ll contact Gunner and see if I can fix your brats mistakes. Is there anything else?”

“Yes there is something else where the hell do you get off talking about my daughter like that? I don’t know if your divorce has shaded your mind but you don’t get to talk about my children. You don’t get to come into my home and talk to me like that. I see you think that you had nothing to do with this. If Max dropped the ball then you were supposed to be here to pick it up Zerick. Nothing more or less.” Lowell said looking at him with anger. He could tell somehow he’d struck a nerve with the young boy. “If you don’t want to be here the honestly you don’t have to be. You can leave DGI, I’m not holding you hostage. Matter fact the less interlopers the better so if you ever disrespect my family I’ll chop your head off myself. You know nothing about my family and what my daughter is doing in Spain. You have no room to sit in your glass house of failure and throw a stone at Max. No you don’t blame her I pay you six figures to see the shit on the wall before a fly ever lands on it. You failed Zerick and that’s plain and simple.” Lowell spat at him. “The fact that you are bold enough to sit here and disrespect me and my family. I’m honestly rethinking your position with this company.”

When he watched the boy face contorting into anger he wondered what the problem was. Any boss would be mad but the attitude he was showing was blatant lack of concern. Why wasn’t he concerned he would fire him? “What is your issue with me? You seem to think that we all are out here playing while you are working? Is that it? My children have put in work all summer and you don’t sit here and weave the narrative that I’ve failed you somehow. As for where I was that’s none of your business. I was taking care of me and my future but don’t think that I wasn’t watching like a hawk. I see everything and if you believe that you’ve outgrown DGI the door is that way. You can leave my house and my company.”

“Where do I get off that is rich coming from a man like you in your glass house on a hill.” Zerick said under his breath as he watched his father looking at him and then down at his feet.

He felt like a little child at the moment reprimanded by a school teacher not a parent because Lowell would never be that to him ever. Even when it was all said and done he would never be his father.  He would get his for everything that he had put his mother through over the years for never owning up to what he did to her, how he came into the world. He would sit back and relish in it when it was all said and done and that magic house that the great Lowell Devonshire built fell and crumbled around him. He’d have a front row seat and throw gasoline on the fire if he had to watch it burn to the ground in a way it was karma. That the most unwanted, never mentioned child be the one to take him out and he would never see it coming, walking to the desk he grabbed the papers back from him fuming. He wondered if the man before him ever wondered about him or about his mother over the years, he had to since they paid the bill every month at the home for her.

“My issue with you? You let your kids skate through everything. Anything they want you hand to them like little brats and then when they don’t do the work you blame everyone around you. I did everything you asked. I worked my tail off for you even after your son was fucking my wife for months on end without a care in the world from you. I could have went to the press exposed them caused an uproar but I didn’t out of loyalty to you.” Zerick said knowing when to play this card with Lowell wanting to see his reaction he stayed at the company granted it was all a ploy but he could have if he wanted made Chauncey and Greer fall from grace but he had held off when Forbes told him too. “Don’t ever question my loyalty to you or this legacy. Your glass house will fall one day and I’ll be around to watch it.”

“Get out before you say anymore that will make me look at you differently. You’re clearly emotional about this project which I appreciate but I feel like you’re overworked right now and saying this because you’re upset.” For some reason he saw a lot of himself in Zerick how vengeful he seemed and determined he was. Failure wasn’t an option and that drove him which he understood. He almost wished his children had this kid fire and maybe he was berating him because he couldn’t berate Max like this. “Zerick one more thing, you act as if we Devonshire’s have done something. I know my son broke up your marriage but I do think that you get along with all my other children. I happen to know that Jackie and Rory enjoy you quite a bit. I think of my business associates as if they are family. Don’t believe me as ahem Talia and Simon.” Smiling at him he showed he knew that Talia and Zerick had something going on. They could barely look at each other and the energy was so thick between them.

“I look at you as my son Zerick you have been a asset and maybe you are right I need to hold them to the fire more. My family had a hard year and honestly this is going to get worse. For them all. I’m going through something deeply personal and when the time comes you will know. I need more soldiers like you in my army but Zerick if there is something bothering you let me know I’ll handle it. I don’t know much about you but I hope that will change Zerick. Please come speak with me tomorrow in the office and hopefully we’ll figure out how to fix this.” Lowell said seeing the contemptment etched in his face. “I hope my rude behavior hasn’t tampered with our relationship.”

Zerick shook his head as he looked over at Lowell as he went to the front door to grab his coat that was the truth he wanted out of this god forsaken house as he looked up the stairs. He knew that was where it occurred and for a moment he felt a sting of tears behind his eyes and he closed them willing it away as he took his coat and put it on. “I think you’re right. I am a bit emotional about this I’m sorry. I’ll pull myself together in time to get you what you need for a solution. Please excuse my rudeness good evening Lowell.” He finished as the maid opened the door and he rushed down the steps to the waiting car almost afraid he gave everything away in that moment with the man that bore him.

Lowell stood outside of the window watching the young man drive off. A tingle ran down his spine. He walked out of the foyer slowly up the stairs. He could swear he saw tears in that man’s eyes. Either way he knew that something more was triggering Zerick. He brought up Greer and no doubt his son taking that man’s wife was a piece of this. As he walked into the room with Jackie he saw her concern on her face. “Tomorrow could you meet with Simon and inform him I want another mockup on Zerick. Not only that bring Talia to me she never could lie convincingly.” He pulled back the covers and looked at his wife. “I might be going crippled but I would love to take care of you tonight.”  Rolling over Lowell clicked off the Tiffany’s lamp.


Miranda came home from work that day picked Quinn up from her parents, she was back on desk duty had been since the shooting. While she loved the undercover work she had done to help get Ronan off the street she needed normalcy to get back to that. They had dinner together with her parents and she had then texted her brother to ask if he was ready for the trial. KC’s parents had called asking if they could see Quinn that weekend for some time and she had been glad for that distraction maybe she could spend the weekend getting in some girl time with Dani and Talia, though maybe not. They were both moving on with their lives Talia with some new mystery man and Jackson was coming home and she knew that would be more important to Dani. Her mind had wandered over the last three months what her priorities were and that was part of the reason she and Devin had broke up, she wasn’t really ready. They dated and they did sleep together but she wasn’t fully invested in the relationship, she knew that when neither of them made a move to be more than that. If she was a hundred percent happy with Devin one of them would have made the move to make it more than it was, but they didn’t. She was grateful for everything that he did for her and Quinn and that they were still friends afterwards.

Quinn had settled in to do homework in the kitchen and then she had started to fold laundry with the basket accidently hitting the remote on the couch changing the channel on the TV. News coverage and she peeked her head inside the kitchen to make sure Quinn was still there and then turned back to the stories. Another gang shooting down in the Scottswood area, fueled no doubt by the drugs that had and were still flowing there. She spaced out for a moment before another story came on when Dinah Watkins came on screen to talk to a reporter about the upcoming trial. Her stomach twisted and turned at the woman who was mourning the loss of her child. She got that if anything ever happened to Quinn she would be angry and livid, full of anger towards the fact that God took her. All that faded though when Dinah went on a spiel about how great of a person Kendrick was and her blood raged at the lie that had been spreading since the shooting. Kendrick was not innocent in what happened. Kendrick sold drugs, killed people for Ronan Madden and almost had Yasmine raped. He then kidnapped Dani and terrorized her and when he wouldn’t release her, Jon did what he had to do. That day he was a monster.

She listened to the anchor go on with her questions and then paused when they had mentioned Jon and how much of a killer he was. The irony was not lost on her that the woman on the screen before her was calling her brother a murderer. That was rich seeing who her son was, she heard the drawer in the kitchen close meaning homework was done and then turned off the TV just as Quinn walked in. She smiled at her and then ruffled her hair before heading upstairs to get ready for bed. She helped her with pajamas, brushing teeth and reading from her book before bed. Closing the door to Quinn’s room she then went to make sure the locks were closed on all the doors and the alarm was set before she went back upstairs. Going into the bathroom she turned on the tub to fill throwing in some Epsom salt for good measure and lighting a ew candles. It had been a long day and she needed this at the end of the day. She walked to the bedroom getting undressed pausing for a moment when she saw the picture on the dresser. It was the last picture of them as a family right before KC had went undercover for the Madden job and moved them back home.

They had sold the first house in DC she informed her family she was moving back when they found the house she was in now they had talked about expanding their family. KC wanted another child and in truth so did she, he was gone six months later. Tears almost fell down her face at the memory before she wiped them away and moved back to the tub turning off the water and stepping inside the steaming hot tub. The bubbles tickled her skin as she leaned her head back on the back of the tub staring at the white ceiling in the bathroom, her iPhone softly in the background playing on Pandora. It was lonely in the tub but this time she needed sanctuary and relished it at the moment. Not having to think about work, Quinn’s latest school project that she had to work on and the last her brother’s trial. She would have to testify in the civil case just like she did in the investigation on record she was fine with that. She wanted the truth out there that her brother took him off the streets because it was the right thing to do, Kendrick wouldn’t follow orders. Jon was not a racist or anything else that they were saying about him and that trial would prove that.

Her brother had problems she knew that when he came home from Iraq and Afghanistan the war had changed him he had left a kid fresh out of high school and after all the tours and dedication he had returned one of the best men that she knew. She looked over at the mirror that was on her vanity seeing it fog up and shut her eyes going over her testimony for the trial in her head wanting to make sure she had all the bases covered. She had practiced over the last few weeks with Mason and Braden intently they knew how cutthroat the lawyer that took the case was. Elliot Duvall had a reputation for being ruthless in court when it came to winning for his clients and she wanted to make sure she didn’t slip up on anything when it came to Jon’s trial, she wanted him free from this. From the torture that she knew he was carrying he couldn’t bury it all until he was cleared on this front if ever. She knew her brother would carry it with him for the rest of his life just like he carried deaths in the military with him. Opening her eyes she nearly jumped out of the tub as she stared at Quinn who was looking down at her.

“Momma I can’t sleep.” She said her voice small and frail.

“Oh baby why?” Miranda asked reaching out and drying her hand on the towel by the tub and then leaning forward rubbing her daughters back. Praying the nightmares were not back they had gone through that phase on and off and when they happened it ended up the same. Quinn would end up in her bed most of the night with tossing and turning, feet hitting her back and she wouldn’t be able to sleep soundly at least for a week. When Quinn didn’t answer her she pressed a little more. “Sweetie what is it, you know you can talk to me about anything.”

“Kids at school are talking about uncle Jon. Saying he’s a killer and a bad man. That he doesn’t like people that are different than we are. I told them that wasn’t true if it was he wouldn’t love uncle Devin.” Quinn said looking down at the ground and then back up at her mom. “Why did uncle Jon kill that man?”

Miranda looked at her daughter and anger surged through her she had tried to shelter her from the new the best she could. She knew that she couldn’t protect her all the time and the world was a scary and evil place at times, but she expected school to be a safe space. Where the questions would cease but maybe other parents were asking questions, or their kids were asking or overhearing. She knew she had to be honest as she could with Quinn but at the same time not scare her either.

“Do you remember when we talked about mommy and daddy’s job a long time ago that we take the bad guys off the street?” She said and when Quinn nodded she took a breath never imagining that she’d have to ever explain a police shooting to her grade schooler. “The man hurt people like mommy’s friend Yasmine and aunt Dani. He wouldn’t let them go he was doing very bad things and wouldn’t stop. So uncle Jon had to made a really hard decision. Uncle Jon is really sad about it he didn’t want to shoot that man. It had nothing to do with that man looking like uncle Devin you know how much uncle Jon loves Devin. Uncle Jon is not a bad person you know that and soon everyone else will too okay?”

Quinn nodded at her mother fiddling with her Frozen pajamas and looked at her mom. “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

Miranda nodded her head at her fighting back tears as she watched her leave the bathroom and she got out of the tub wrapping the towel around her and looking in the foggy mirror. Wiping her hand across it she stared at her reflection she hadn’t prayed in a while and she didn’t know where else to turn. This part of being a single mother killed her every single time came up, KC would have been the one to sit Quinn down and talk to her he was good at that. The logical side of things when it came to explaining the job. He was good with kids and she knew that long before they had Quinn when he would come home and play with her extended family when they were engaged. The way he would get down on their level and explain anything to them it was the moment she knew she wanted to have children with him. She opened the drawer in the bathroom staring at her wedding set and then picked it up clutching it in her hands.

“God if you can hear me up there, tell me how to do this without you. Sometimes I feel like I can’t you know? You were always so much better at this than I was. I need you here even if you’re not here anymore. Help me with her please.” Miranda said wiping away a few stray tears as she stared up at the stars and the moon through the window she went to say more only to hear Quinn.

“Momma are you coming?”

She knew it would have to wait as she put the rings back in the drawer, grabbed some panties a bralette and her pajamas slipping them on. Crawling into bed on her back she felt Quinn snuggle up to her chest and she stroked her daughter’s back wishing that Ronan Madden didn’t take the love of her life, that he was still there right beside her.


The first woman in all black walked into Hotel LaGordia with Louis Vuitton luggage in both arms. After the first woman enter the hotel four more women doing the same entered all with Louis Vuitton luggage. Tess briskly walked into the hotel with her silky hair pulled into a high ponytail down her back. Wearing a couture sheer cutout Louis Vuitton gown and leather cape. Her red lips smiled good-bye to the shining gem of her hotel penthouse. She wanted her own land and what she had found was delicious. Moving into the old Nichols home and remodeling it all summer was Tess plan and it worked. She traveled to London she met to Christopher and Jane Archibald. Seeing her goddaughter Isabelle was the cherry on top of the sundae. She shopped and remodeled sending exquisite pieces from London, Italy, China and Paris to her new mansion. She would be hosting Isabelle soon so she had to have a home for herself. A home for another one of her darling girls. She loved her so deeply and to have her home with her for the first time ever. Well Tess wouldn’t miss the opportunity due to so many years passing by. It brought a tear to her eye just thinking about it. She was excited about the opportunity to be together with Belle made it all worth it.

“Please go to my room pack all my couture Marjorie and don’t wrinkle any of my clothes fold them delicately.” Strutting to the Olympus Bar she saw who she was supposed to be meeting. Since she left Atlas Falls in London she’d spent her parents money on herself and Belle. Not only that she sent Bliss a entirely new European wardrobe. Fashion was so different overseas than America and she wouldn’t be waiting for her couture. He had requested a meeting for them and this normally was done in the dark. However they were old friends and if anyone saw them it could be under that guise. Taking off her shades Forbes was sitting at a table and she felt his anger radiating off him. Someone or something had pissed him off men’s egos were fragile things. As she walked to the table as the maitre d’ pulled out her chair as she sat down. Looking at him her face glowed with a smile. He was handsome as ever not only that but Forbes wasn’t here for reminiscing. He was here for revenge and she hated that he was after Lowell. That made her face flushed wondering what he was about to do to her beloved.

“Forbes darling how are you don’t act like the cat who ate the canary. I was summoned to this bar I’m sure you have something you want.” She said as the waiter returned with a bottle of Dom Perignon pour her a glass. “You always knew my favorite champagne.”

This wasn’t a social call but Tess was a very expensive business partner. They’d been in cahoots since Lowell kicked her to the curb the last time. He knew that she still loved him and felt like she was a fool for that emotion. Her love was an emotion that would eventually lead to his entry way into DGI. Zerick was the key and as long as he never figure out what they’d done in the past. Then they were safe to rule Atlas Falls eventually. He went to great lengths to make sure his secrets were guarded. After over thirty years secrets were unraveling and Zerick being here was the beginning of the end for Lowell. As he leaned in he saw Tess was enjoying the game but she needed to put her head in this. “Zetrick is almost ready to explode are you ready to finally reveal the truth?” He asked looking at her.

Tess tapped her nail against the glass. Closing her eyes she could see them in Turkey and her begging Lowell not to leave her. She cried all night because she had lost. Something since she was a only child she hated. It wasn’t over for her and for him it was. Reliving that night when Lowell threw her away made her feel sick. She’d given him the best years of her life. Being second to Jackie destroyed her ego and afterwards she wasn’t the same. Something died inside of her. Never could she dream of having a business partnership with Forbes. It was then he introduced her too a young boy who was spitting pure hate. His heart was broken and somehow Forbes got his hand on Zerick. When she moved on and remarried she kept in touch with her dear friend Forbes. It wasn’t long before he asked if she wanted to take down Lowell. Nothing mattered as much as that to be honest. So she kept her secret and he helped her bury the past. She couldn’t keep her most precious gift her child. Bliss suffered because of her heartbreak and now she had another chance. A chance to give her daughters exactly what they deserved.

“Of course I’m not.” Tess said looking at Forbes. “I don’t know if that’s the right move right now Forbes. I gave you the diaries of Kathleen what more do you want?” She asked leaning in. “I need you to remember my life isn’t for your exploitation love.”

“I need you to understand that you joined in on my plan and Zerick is our project not just mine. You poisoned him against Lowell just as I have and I won’t contend with losing him or this. So when a vote comes up we will oust those other brats while Zerick, Bliss and.”

Tess stopped him before he could even speak. “You are asking me to do something I am not comfortable with yet. I have yet to even reveal the truth to Bliss or Lowell. I think they deserve to know before I plant this in their laps. Hell all the Devonshire laps and I need to learn her. I am scared to death that if I let her in she’ll see I’m just doing this for my benefit not her’s. You know all about a long lost child now don’t you? Would you use Yasmine?” She hissed as she looked at him. “My mother used to say that patience is a virtue and you have no virtues so I can see you have no idea what I’m after. I’m after my stakes in a billion dollar fortune. Not only that but my rightful place at Lowell side. I deserve to have my moment in the sun. I won’t be in the dark any longer and the love we share is real just let me get to him. Let me work my magic.”

Forbes scoffed wondering if she even believed that bullshit. “You underestimated Jackie and Lowell’s love affair for years. You thought he was about to leave Jackie when he left you or don’t you remember that? If you have magic then your spells must not be working. Or have you forgotten you bedded the youngest Devonshire brat? What will happen when Lowell finds out? The only choice you have Tess is to pull out your last trump card. Now play it before we lose the game. Once Zerick secret comes roaring out then we have a limited time to vote against those other brats. I want DGI and I already have Linus Devonshire in my pocket. Now Camilla no clue where she is at but I’m sure I can blackmail her with something. Lowell’s siblings are nothing if not carbon copies of him. I have let the chips fall in place but now it’s time to shake the table.”

“Once again your math must be off because even if we can get Linus, Camilla, Zerick, Bliss and our trump card. That isn’t enough to take on Lowell and Jackie’s brats.” Tess said looking at him.

“If you are Ms. Devonshire and I still have a snake wrapping her legs around Chauncey we can sway him. Out of all of them he is hungriest for a win and him thinking he’s going to get DGI. Well them going public with the company it will bring for stock for me to gobble up and consume. Then I’ll own DGI so I suggest you figure out how to use this Zerick situation before our time is up.” He said as he poured himself a glass of champagne. “Tess bring in our trump card and when the board meeting happens I’ll demolish them all. Once Lowell finds out about you bumping uglies with his son do you think he’ll care about you? He might run you away again.”

“I didn’t ask you how did you know about my dalliance with Rory? Oh your hooker must have told you. Tell Trisha that if she opens her mouth I’ll get some goons to shoot her up. I’ll have her drooling for dope again before she could even say a word to Lowell.”

“I doubt you would touch a hair on Trisha head. Remember Tess I know all your secrets. I’d destroy you gladly if it benefits me. Right now it doesn’t benefit me and I care enough about you to say Kathleen would be proud of us. So make her proud and finish this Tess.” Forbes picked up his champagne and guzzled it down. As he grabbed his jacket and standing up. He leaned down pouring her another glass of champagne.

“The lies you tell yourself. It must feel quite painful that every woman you love but a crackhead has wanted Lowell. Kathleen, Jackie, Audrey, and myself. It has to burn you up. I will finish this but I assure you I won’t be threatened by the likes of you. My affair was brief with Rory and I am also sure you have nothing good coming. Me either for what we’ve done but I won’t be poor and miserable so yes Forbes toast to our future. A future that we might lose our children behind a feud that has lasted far too long. Remember don’t choke on the malice you live by.” Sipping the champagne Tess felt her heart swelling.

“You don’t choke on bringing home the trump card. She’s the last piece and you better figure out how you can marry Lowell soon. You said you could get rid of Jackie, Tess make it happen or as I said I won’t have a use for you.” Forbes slipped on his jacket. “Good evening Ms. Blisston.”

“Good evening Forbes. Oh and if you don’t know I’m the biggest and baddest bitch you’ll ever cross. If you do anything against my wishes I assure you that I’ll reveal everything you’re planning. So I guess you’ve put me on alert and I’ve put you on notice. I’m not the girl who cries, I’m the girl who will make sure your children know exactly the man you are.” Grabbing her bag Tess stood up as she narrowed her eyes. Pulling out her cellphone she dialed a number. “I need to meet you. I’m packing up my things at Hotel LaGordia and I’ll be at my new home in about a hour. ”


It hadn’t been twenty-four hours since she stepped down in Atlas Falls. She recognized certain locations maybe because she researched this city. Hell she knew the history of the town and how DGI brought it into a industrial revolution. The DGI building is still the tallest building in Pennsylvania. Local attractions that enamored her, she wondered if they were ready? Ready for the chaos she was about to bring. She felt it in her bones this was her time. Her time to get revenge on them all. She had a room at the Crogan Apartments in Scottswood. The guy who rented it too her asked her if she was sure about this. Drusilla Price hadn’t been so sure of anything in her life. Moving here from Maine was easier than she thought. Unzipping her bag she pulled out two wads of money. She had done her research on one location in particular. More than any other location in Atlas Falls. The Fraiser Pub which had done renovations and was actually nice looking now. Instead of a fake Irish brewery. It had that homey look before that she couldn’t stand at any location. Lauren had done quite the job on the place. She had done her homework on one employee, Ralph Mavado. Ralph was a long time bartender at The Fraiser Pub and he also was a fucking dangerous gambler. How many times did Ralph have Ms. Mavado have to sell her jewelry and even her wedding ring because he wanted to run to the poker table? No more Ralph, some women were fools for staying with men like that. She was about to show him today wasn’t his lucky day.

They all acted like they never quite seen a white girl like her. Maybe it was because she grew up in a trailer park. Scottswood didn’t bother her at all. She walked to the roof where these the poker games were held. The biggest gamblers in Atlas Falls were there including Ralph. Predictable sad sack of shit. She paid fifty dollars to enter the roof the Crogan Apartments were riddled with drugs, prostitution, and violence. Hell that was Scottswood even though they were trying to clean it up. Walking up to Ralph who was trying to worm his way into a game. He was more than likely broke and his debt with Ronan was so high they wouldn’t let him in. She was disgusted with him. What type of father does this to their children? Licking her lips she wiggled her finger at him. Seeing his eyes light up Dru felt sick watching his portly frame waddling over to her. Not only was he a fucking horrible gambler he would fuck her if he had the chance. Pulling up her rich chocolate hair in a bun, Dru sat down at the table.  All eyes were on her she saw a man collecting money and wiggled her finger at him.

“Hello.” Ralph said as he sat down at the table. Who was this broad she was sexy as hell but what did she want with him? He was fat, balding, and had nothing for a young woman like her. “Do I know you? You seem familiar. That’s Boo, one of Ronan’s employees why are you telling him to come over here?”

Dru chuckled to herself wondering why she seemed so familiar. “I have that type of face.” She said sarcastically. “Well I’m going to pay off your debt with Boo and then I’m going to send your wife over twenty thousand dollars.”

“What are you talking about?” Ralph said confused expression on his face.

She pulled out and envelope which had twenty-thousand dollars inside. Not only that but his wife’s wedding ring sat taped on the top of the envelope. His eyes were wide from shock he no doubt thought it was gone forever. She got it from the pawn shop earlier that day. “This is five thousand dollar envelope and it’s yours. It’s all yours but I’m going to get this to Misty myself. Call it a going away present to your wife for all the shit you put her through. I’m going to offer you something and I won’t go to what did you call him Boo with what you’ve done. I’m sure Ronan killed men over less. I hired a private investigator to find out where you go every month and find out why you are broke in less than a few hours after you’re paid. I mean you’ve worked at the Fraiser Pub for sixteen years. Loyal to a fault but Atlantic City is so close right? You travel and lose all your money there instead of paying off another twelve thousand dollars. The interest now that was a bitch for me to come up with. I’m not rich you know.” Dru said seething looking at Ralph face going pale. “Now you have two options you can go fuck that fat woman in Atlantic City who loves your dirty underwear and never come back to Atlas Falls. That options I drop another fifteen thousand to clear your tab so Boo and Ronan don’t come hunting for you. Or you can stay and I can reveal everything I know to Boo who is coming over here.”

“Who the fuck are you?” Ralph said looking back. “Bitch I don’t know you. I’ve never done a thing to you.” He growled looking at her. Why did she look so familiar although seeing the evil behind her eyes.

“Ralph I’m dropping over fifty thousand dollars to make sure you are safe, your wife has a little cushion for you leaving, and you get to gamble now to your heart content. Yet you call me a bitch? Tsk tsk, Boo!” She called out to the guard of the poker games.

“Alright! My kids? I love my children.” Ralph said begging her to stop whatever this was.

“What kids? The children you neglect? Ralph you don’t have a family anymore because you didn’t appreciate them. You never spend time with those kids and we don’t have to pretend. You are horrible man and I hate men like you. Only reason I’m doing this because I need something from you. I need you to vanish and disappear. You are to get on that bus to Atlantic City and never come here until I say so. It should make you appreciate your kids way more when they hate you for abandoning them. Kids psyches are so fragile things like knowing you were thrown away never goes away. This is a burner phone text me when you arrive and your shift has started at The Pub right? You were going to be late anyway. Text me when you are on the bus you’ve been cashed out. Oh and just in case you think about double crossing me Ralph. I’ll destroy you.” Sliding him a picture of him and his other woman. Then a wedding picture “I’ll ruin your life in Atlas Falls and in Atlantic City. Susie doesn’t know you’re married and Estelle doesn’t know you’re having an affair. She’s a good old catholic girl but you know she won’t deal with an affair.”

Boo approached Dru and Ralph. “What’s up snowflake? Ralph you better have our money.”

“I heard my uncle Ralph was in deep and I just want to pay off his debt. That’s all the money he owes. Come on uncle Ralph we have a bus to catch.” With that Dru stood up and walked with Ralph to the bus station. He was in a state of confusion and his face showed that. The silence the entire walk made her want to laugh. Men couldn’t keep it in there pants and it was the fatal flaw of men. Once they arrived at the bus station. “Well here’s your stop Ralph. Oh and your cell phone.”

“What did I do to you?” He asked with tears in his eyes. Ralph handed over his phone to her.

Dru dropped it in his face and stomped on it. Then kicked it in the sewer. “Don’t cry Ralph this isn’t about you at all. Sadly this doesn’t have anything to do with you. This is about people like you. I’m here for revenge and you were just a stepping stone in me getting it. I know I’m the worst and all that but you are the first piece in a much bigger puzzle. Now goodbye.” She handed him the envelope with five bands inside. Then she waved him off watching him leaving

Then walked a few more blocks to Ralph’s home placing a envelope inside of the mailbox. Dru stopped at a gas station and started to transform herself. She first threw on a pair of glasses. It was simple things to alter your look. Ralph kept saying that she looked familiar when she didn’t need anyone recognizing or figuring out who she was. She placed on a pair of shorts and tied her shirt at her stomach like a halter with a knot. Ruffling some loose hair over her face as she applied a light coat of lip gloss. Then stuffed her jeans in her purse and tied up her boots. Taking off her adopted mother’s earrings she clutched them in her hand. She was so angry for ending up with that trailer trash. Throwing the earrings in her purse it was the only real thing she got from that bitch. She walked two more blocks and she stood outside The Pub. The students from AFU were back and the place was in full swing. It was packed with hipsters, jocks, and all the frats. The place was in full swing and she smirked. Lauren was behind the bar with another bartender trying to keep up.

Making her way to the front of the bar, she waved at Lauren. “Hey!” She said over the loud beats of one of those rappers.

Lauren was pissed off this was the last straw with Ralph. When he came in it was done. For over twenty years Walter and she bailed him out, helped with debts with gamblers, and protected Estelle from his cheating ass. Now he couldn’t come in or answer the phone when it was the day the student’s returned to the city? She was beyond over it and text Walter that he was fired. “Honey wait in line like everyone else.” She said popping a cap off two beers swiftly.

“No I’m new here and I want a job. I see that you’re swamped, I was a bartender in Maine and maybe this is kismet. Let me help if I can’t keep up then I’ll go but I am sure that I can do this. I can help you.” Dru said looking at her. “I just moved her I really need a job and I was coming for a drink but damn if this isn’t the best thing to happen to me. I moved in those horrible Crogan Apartment and I need a job asap so please.”

“What’s your name kid?” Lauren said whistling at the two boys rough-housing in the bar. “Hey calm down or I’m going to kick your asses out of here.”

“Drusilla Price, my friends call me Dru.” She said extending her hand to Lauren.

Lauren shook the young girl hand. “Alright sweetie get your cute ass behind this bar, and I have to say your timing is great Dru. Tonight is a trial run if you do good then you have a job and tips. If not keep the tips and find a job waitressing it’s plenty of establishments that would love to have a pretty girl like you. Let’s go.” Throwing her a apron.

Dru caught it and walked behind the bar. “What can I do for you?” She said looking at Lauren and smiled. Taking her first order and forcing herself to go harder than the other bartender Becky. The first part of her plan was a success and now it was time to implement the next part.


The sun had set in Atlas Falls. It was beautiful and she was just landing home after a long summer of traveling. It seemed her professional life was becoming much more demanding. She was in demand after her relationship with a mobster. It made her seem dangerous and they had marketed her heartbreak into a new career trajectory. Walking into the airport she wished Hunter or her mother was here to welcome her. Hell she wouldn’t mind even seeing Atticus who was in New York for the night. Plus ever since she hooked up Val and Jamal it seemed her bestie had limited time. Hell she did also because this summer she booked Valentino, Chanel, and Marchesa. All print ads and she was exclusively the face of Val line and Dior. She would have to leave in just a week to do a private showcase for Anna Wintour. Rolling her suitcase she smiled because the snow would be coming back in a couple of months. She’d be able to ski at the resort again which made her think about her father and Ronan. Her father because he was the one who taught her how to ski. Ronan because it was where they met for the first time. Thinking of Ronan made her stomach clench because she loved him still. It wasn’t a secret to anyone but Atticus because she didn’t want to hurt him. Honestly he broke her heart but she felt crazy to still love him. She had to give him one more chance. Hell all the media could see was she was back on the train of being a princess but she didn’t want that title. She wanted to be with Ronan but life isn’t perfect. Walking to her Uber she wanted to surprise her family honestly but she also needed to handle something before she moved forward.

Lately she had been losing sleep. She hadn’t been able to sleep because she knew she had to try one last time. Brooke didn’t feel like right unless she made it right. He had good intentions but at the end of the day it was her choice. A choice to be with him and with him just throwing them away well she wasn’t here for it. She wasn’t going to sit back and let him just throw this away. She had slept alone a lot this summer and none of her dreams included Atticus. He was sweet but this time she was the one not invested. If that little young whore didn’t come between them years ago she might have been a princess but just as miserable as her mother was in her youth. She followed the dollar signs and she had three beautiful children but she wasn’t happy in her life. Thus her constant interference in Walter and Lauren Fraiser marriage. Tabloids had placed her square in the middle of that mess. Now that her summer as a supermodel was calming down she wanted to know the truth. “Please go to this address thank-you.”

“You’re Brooke Kincaid? Wow my wife loves you.” He said turning on Fairmont Avenue which meant they were closing in on Maplepton Hills which was were the Madden Estate was located. “Just so you know she’s rooting for the Prince guy.”

“Yes I am and thank-you. Tell her I’m still with Atticus.” She said bashfully looking at the man. It always made her feel strange that total strangers were invested in her personal life it. It was something that celebrity she didn’t understand. They didn’t know her and who truly was a good person. The media turned Atticus into the dashing prince who learned his mistake. Honestly that was the truth but he was selfish as hell. He didn’t like to see her so happy and she moved forward from him. Not only that but she publicly stated in a interview no man made her feel like Ronan. Something that she was sure Atticus read because he brought up one night in Peru during her Valentino photoshoot. “Please deliver my bags to the Kincaid estate and I’ll double it. Thank-you and your discretion is appreciated. You don’t know where I am.” Brooke got out of the car and walked to the gate. Seeing new guards but they opened the gate for her. She took the five minute trek to the stairway. Once she got to the front door she knocked and stood back. “Ronan open up please we need to talk.”

Ronan had declined Mercedes when she had called to come over something about the way Thor had talked to him about everything earlier in the day. Looking over at his maid he waved her off when the gate called about the Uber parking down the street and he had watched as Brooke walked up the driveway and stairs to the house. His men had been told to stand down and allow her to walk though he had no idea why she was here, she was with the prince it was all over the papers and it was better that way for them both. She wouldn’t be hurt by the men and sometimes women that were after him, he wouldn’t have to hold her when and if they shot her through of holes like his father had with his mother and she would live a long and happy life. She would have children, model the world and become a princess for the world to see and that was what was best for her. Walking to the door he knew at the very least he wanted to see her and to find out what she needed.

“Brooke I wasn’t expecting this.” Ronan said looking at her and then opening the door wider so she could come inside and into the foyer. He saw the maid poke her head out of the kitchen and waved her back in hopefully this would be a short social call. He wondered how she was holding up the last few months with the truth about Steven and Carla’s murder coming out. He knew that she had been traveling for work modeling at every turn it was hard not see her in both billboards and on commercials. “I made it clear that we had to stop this and even if I wanted it to be different I have my reasons why it has to be that way. Things are heated right now at the business and we have the trial coming up in a few days if Yasmine slips it could jeopardize everything. How is the prince is he everything you want still? Everything you need? I do hope that now that the truth about who killed your father is out that you and your family can finally have peace. I know it helped me and Thor mend fences.”

“I didn’t come here for that.” Brooke said listening to him say they weren’t supposed to be together. Her heart was racing from just being around him. She couldn’t help but stare at him. How couldn’t he feel what she was feeling. What would be, would be and if it was her destiny to get killed because she went with her heart isn’t that her choice? Her heart swelled intensely and she knew he’d always keep her safe in his arms. Her father true killer being revealed as Gideon helped her get some closure and hearing he and Thor were good made her smile. That was something she wanted for them because honestly they deserved a relationship. Taking a deep breath she bit her lip and tried let it come out as natural as she could.

“You know I can’t sleep at night.” She mumbled softly. “It might be that I’m used to being in different countries. I’m completely awake and you know what I think about? What are you doing? I can’t help but think that this is a cosmic mistake the first man who never hurt or betrayed me. Well he’s walking away from me because of why? You think I can’t handle your lifestyle. Just looking at you is bringing more emotion than I’ve had in this fake relationship. I’m not happy with Atticus and I knew it. At first it was to hurt you and then it became me needing someone to hold me at night. You once told me I deserve better but what if you are the best I’ll ever have? Don’t I get a chance to have my best? Just standing here I want to run to you and touch you. Please I don’t want to be a princess, but I want to be with you so I came here. I came here to put myself out because all I ever want is love. I want you to love me and stop punishing me because of your mom.” Brooke said shocked it even came out. “If you don’t feel like this and it’s not killing you to be away from me. Then I’ll walk out that door and model and marry Atticus and move on. But if it is killing you then don’t forget how perfectly we we loved each other. I have so many fears but loving you wasn’t one of them. I can love you so completely just don’t forget it.”

Ronan looked at her and listened to her so things weren’t as perfect as they seemed with the prince which he was thankful for. Instead he studied her face and her lips he still loved her too but knew it was too dangerous even if she protested and he closed the door behind her and then leaned in pressing his lips against hers. She she didn’t push him away he wrapped her into his arms hauling her against his body while he carried her into the living room, his hands roamed down her back and to her skirt on her dress slipping up underneath her skirt. His mouth never left hers while he fingers brushed the side of the thong. Her hands were everywhere too and he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to take ti slow with her at the moment knowing she hadn’t slept with the prince. Sitting down on the couch with her on his lap he moved the dress up and over her hips throwing it on the ground beside them while his lips moved down her neck and towards her bra. Flicking it open in the back he let it fall to the ground as well, leaning back he took in her body before he lowered his head to her breasts sucking on those perfect pink nipples feeling them bead in his mouth.

His hands reached to her thong shoving it to the side while he shoved his fingers into her heat. He watched her throw her head back at him and ride his fingers while he feasted on her breasts unable to resist he pinched the already stiff peaks and then removed his fingers seeing her work on his belt he lifted his hips up letting her get the belt and his zipper undone. He was rock hard by the time she lowered his zipper and moved her closer angling her just right before lowering her down on him, he didn’t care if he was breaking his own rules nothing else matter but fucking her at the moment. Being with her in this way even if it for him it would mean the last time he wanted to feel her warm body next to his, wanted to watch her explode and he let out a groan when he was fully inside of her. “Fuck Brooke. I missed you too.” He let out against her neck placing his hands on her hips while he began to move upwards into her heat. “I thought of this every day while you were gone wondering if he did this to you every day and night.”

Tears almost escaped her eyes as he kissed her. It was almost like a typhoon of pleasure the next few moments. She hated feeling this alone when she wasn’t with him. She could tell he needed this as much as she did. The kiss was pleasurable but it was how fast his hand moved along her body that made her ache for this. She’d been walking in a fog but for the first time she could see. She lacked the will to keep moving forward without him and here there were. Never in her wildest dreams could she imagine love would have her so stuck. When there bodies connected and he entered her she cried out hissing for pleasure. Her nails clawed his back and she rode him bouncing to the moans that were coming from them were turning her out. Her tightness wrapped around his swollen pole and she couldn’t believe this was happening.

“Yes Ronan! God yes!” She cried out knowing what she was doing was wrong to Atticus but she was ready to end it with the prince and come back home. “I could never love another man like I love you.” She whispered as she kissed him letting her her tongue explore his mouth. No doubt he had been drinking but his lips tasted so sweet. Her life didn’t feel like it was her’s anymore without having the man who capture. She started to feel the pressure rising inside of him. She was starting to gasp trying to hold out before she explode. “Deeper Ronan go deeper.” Brooke knew if she just told him how she felt, he’d finally see. He’d see that they deserved this and more together. “More baby. I’m so close.”

Ronan was lost in her body the moment she began begging him and all he could do was rise up to the occasion lifting her off the couch he laid her down on the sherpa rug by the fireplace. Lifting her right leg he pulled out and then slammed back into her over and over again desperate to hit every bit of her that she was begging him to touch. He soon lifted the other leg and fucked her spread out on his rug while he looked down at her beautiful face not sure how much longer he could go but he could tell she was close. She would clench up and then stop and he leaned down over her letting his lips brush her lips as he began to slam into her full force feeling her hands clawing his back and not caring that it would be red and angry later it would be well worth it. “Brooke.” He moaned out as he felt himself swelling and then he felt himself empty inside of her and instead of stopping he kept going watching her face etch in pleasure while she shook and came around him.

He laid their afterwards taking in the blonde locks on her hair feeling her hands rake up and down his back and turned his head away from her to look into the fireplace. He wanted this to lay with her forever to tell her to stay with him but with everything happening with the Falcone clan right now he knew it wasn’t safe. Others he knew had sacrificed for the people they loved to be safe he knew that in some ways that was why he father never publicly acknowledged Thor it was why Kelly gave up her child with Brandon to be raised by him. He knew it came with the job it was part of taking over the business from his father and he knew if his father had ever wanted a do over it would be to tell his mother to run and never look back. He pulled back from her and kissed her softly. “What we have is special Brooke it always will be but this can’t be what you want for yourself. I know how it will end they will come for you it is what they will do.” He said sitting up and pulling away from her and then he saw one of his men come in look between them and he hated the interruption.

“Cape Kentrich is calling Ms. O’Connor wants to set up a meeting should I tell her you’re busy?” The man said and Ronan tucked himself back into his pants as he looked at Brooke.

“No I’ll take the call. Would you please get Ms. Kincaid home safely.” He said looking at her and then pulling himself together he turned away from her fighting back tears as he made his way to his office to take the call.

Brooke lip quivered as she watched Ronan just walk out on her for the second time. She started to dress herself again and put herself together. A look of horror etched on her face. One last night huh? No not this time he would hear her mouth. Raising up one finger to the guard she stormed past him and rushed to the office. She burst through the door and saw the coward he had tears in his eyes. Biting her lip she felt her heart pounding as she walked over to him. Brooke with all the might in her body slapped him when that didn’t satisfy her she slapped him again. Then grabbed the phone and pulled it out of the wall. Throwing it at him it missed and went right out of the window. “No you don’t get the last word. You don’t get to fuck me and use me! I don’t think you could recognize love if it was in your face. I don’t know why I even tried because you clearly don’t want me. I hate you and I will never forgive this!  Do you hear me. If you get shot or killed the world will be better because you are evil. You are a evil man who will die just like your father alone.” She said anything she could to hurt him and dig the same knife he stabbed her with into him. “If I am drowning or being stabbed or on the verge of death don’t save me. I’d rather draw my last breath than to ever see your face again.”

Brooke said looking at him disgusted and frustrated. “I’m starting to hate me because why can’t I move on. You don’t love me and I need to do better. I need to stay away from you because you are evil. You are heartless and evil man.” Turning to the guard she pointed at him. “Stay away from me. Trust me I make legal money and it’s all legit I don’t need you for anything.” Brooke ran out of the mansion. As she opened her purse she began to hyperventilate. Shaking feverishly she dialed Val number. “Please where are you? Please can you come get me I’m walking down Fairmont Avenue. I’m so stupid and I hate him. I hate him.” She ran in heels a model secret that most women couldn’t do. As she walked out of the gates she charged down the street. She ran until she couldn’t breathe. Placing the phone back up to her face she breathlessly said. “Val why doesn’t he love me anymore? Why Val?”


Wearing a silk hand painted kimono robe imported from Bangladesh and Manolo Blahnik royal blue pumps. Tess wrapped her head in a turban with the the exact same fabric as her robe. She placed a diamond pendant to keep the turban in place. It had been exactly ten years since there paths crossed and they almost made love. For some reason they always had a great rapport which made the conversation they were going to have easier. The movers had transformed a bland mansion into her new home which she called Ironstone. It had been remodeled from the tacky and Atlas Falls taste into something much more European. She’d opened the house up to make it more of a villa feel that was in Tuscany. She’d dismissed all of her staff for the nightcap she was about to have. A smile glowed on Tess face thinking about her time with him. He was smart and charismatic but she stopped herself. Not sure if it was the fact she was going through her second divorce or her heartbreak for Lowell was consuming her. She wanted to take back her life and sleeping with one of his old friends wouldn’t get over Lowell. Hell she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to do that. As she walked up the spiral staircase she walked to her bedroom which had a balcony and glass elevator outside. She grabbed a expensive bottle of perfume and sprayed it between her breast. Applying another coat of lipstick and gloss she was ready.

Taking the elevator this time Tess walked to the living room and saw a picture of Bliss and she. Touching her painting she wondered if she set her daughter up? She pushed Dimitri down Bliss throat and she even called him into town. He didn’t come but she felt like he knew she was trying to get in good with her daughter. She did of course have her own reasons she didn’t want Bliss with Max’s sloppy seconds. Did she know about the abuse though? Yes and no that was the truth. By the time she found out Bliss was exiting Ilsa De Cruces in secret and when she confronted Dimitri he denied it. However she knew Bliss well enough to know she wouldn’t lie about a man striking her. She would get Fox away from Dimitri if it killed her. Her first grandchild wouldn’t be a womanizing abusive man. Wiping her eyes she touched herself she truly was rotten to the core years prior. Hell she still was and Tess knew she couldn’t fool herself. She was plotting still to get a man who had rejected her not once or twice but her entire life.

That’s why she had to be so careful with that trump card. She couldn’t screw up two lives. A knock on her door scared her out of her thoughts. Swiftly walking to the door opening it she smiled seeing that devilishly handsome face. “You haven’t aged since I saw you in Vienna. Come in Pierre how are you?”

Pierre had left this meeting with Forbes and went back to his suite at the hotel to make sure he had his safeguards in place. He and Greer would strike while the pan was still hot when it came to everything. Forbes wasn’t the only one with contacts and he had turned on the news about the upcoming trial for tomorrow it was too high profile for him to be seen yet, if Lowell got wind that could jeopardize Greer’s cover. So he would sit and wait and he did only to get a call from Tess and he had dressed to nines for the occasion. A solid blue suit and he brought her flowers her favorite as he stepped out of the car and made his way up the steps to the mansion that she had bought and redecorated. He had a fire for Tess at one point he had been grieving and so had she, instead they became old friends and he was happy with that decision. She was still a viper at the end of the day and wasn’t afraid to strike when needed and he held out the flowers to her as she invited him inside. She was still gorgeous in all the right places that would matter to a man and he knew she used that to marry as many times as she had.

“Very glad to get your call actually. I know things have to be tense right now with you and Bliss. Forbes is flexing his muscles the best he can, thinking he is on top of the world with Zerick. You and I both know if the truth ever gets out that will crumble in an instant.” Pierre said looking over at her as he followed her into the kitchen watching her put the flowers in the vase. He took a seat at the stool by the island and took in her beauty she had barely aged a day in her life in all the years since they had spoke. “He threatened Greer and you know how I feel about that, she’s my only child Tess and I can’t imagine what he would do to her or if he were to threaten Bliss as well. Does he know you called for a visit? He could be watching us their very minute. I want my revenge and I know you do to but not on his terms and his rules.”

Arranging the flowers he brought her gardenias as she walked to a fruit basket she picked up a strawberry. Taking a bite she listened and knew that it would be only a matter of time before Forbes was threatening her daughter. That wouldn’t happen at all she’d stop him before it got that out of hand. She’d been thinking about her future because honestly if this all came out she’d be crucified. “He’s not watching me but he did come at me tonight. He’s using some information that I gave him years ago. He’s trying to turn my power play into our power play and I refuse to be used like that. Mother used to tell me before she was all demented and drooling a woman never lets a man get the best of her unless she wants him to. I absolutely don’t want him to get the best of what I have to offer. If and I mean if it comes a time to fight against him I need a ally to work with. That’s you and I will say this he does think he has the perfect Trojan horse in Zerick but that boy will crack. I assure it because the allure of the Devonshire’s. No matter what he says he wants to be one of them.”

Walking to the bar. “You still love scotch I have a 1966 The Glenlivet it’s smooth and the fruit notes are amazing.” She said sitting the scotch down by him as she sat across him. “I also imported my father’s wine collection over so maybe we can drink and figure out how to take Forbes when that time comes. So what I’m saying is that I need you because Forbes is going to push my hands and soon some things will come out and I will have a upper hand against the Devonshire’s. I just don’t want him to overpower this and I lose something I’ve waited on for years. I want you to be my secret partner and when it’s time we not only snatch DGI but MontCorp and leave him desolate once again. I think if anyone can do it’s us and I’m not here for him threatening Greer or my daughters.” Picking up a raspberry she popped it in her mouth. “I assure you our business partnership could be very problematic for Forbes and anyone in our path. I think we just have to wait because we all know he’ll crash and burn because he doesn’t know when he has won. He wants to destroy completely when we both know the fun is leaving them with a drop of hope and then extinguishing it.”

Pierre knew his next move had to be precise and when she mentioned a business partnership between them he knew at the time it was the best option he had. She could tell him all the things that Forbes wasn’t telling him and in truth she could reel in what they needed with Zerick down the line if he had any regret it was poor Katie in all of this. Agnes and Katie had been friends with Tess the younger generation of women that were meant to take on DGI at the time until everything happened with Katie. There were rumors over the years and while Forbes insisted that it was Lowell that had done the dead he even still today had his doubts sure Lowell fucked around on Jackie all the time sometimes but he’d never heard of a woman claiming to have been raped by him. Regardless he had always taken Katie’s word on the matter she had no reason to lie about it  He had never asked to see the diaries knowing it would only serve as a reminder that Agnes was no longer with them and her word was good enough. He looked over at Tess taking the drink from her hands and nodding at her.

“I always knew there was something funny about that entire thing with Jane Belle though is the splitting image of you and Bliss. Keep her in your back pocket till it is safe to have her in play and when the time is right he tells you to bring her bring her.” Pierre said looking at her he knew the only way to get Jackie out of Lowell’s life was the scheme that she was going to play and in turn she could turn the hands over to him and Greer. Forbes didn’t know that he knew what she wanted more than DGI or anything else she wanted to marry Lowell she wanted the happy ever after that she was robbed of. “Zerick is too emotional you’re right there he has been seeing Talia in secret for months and if he wanted to hurt his father he would have by now. He’ll cave because he’s been in the game to long caring about his father and siblings to long. I suggest that we make sure we get what we want with his secret wouldn’t you agree? Once Lowell sees that you will stand beside him we move quickly. I can assure you that I have people in place to make sure the moment you convince him to divorce Jackie it gets done quickly.”

Tess heart skipped when he figured out what her trump card was. It was the first time other than Forbes knew her secret. She was going to tell him in Turkey when he met them there. She could still see that night when Bliss ran into her father’s arms. How she was so happy to be having another child by Lowell. When he told her it was over it took her two days to get out of bed. She had a ten year old who he barely even saw because of Jackie. For a long time she was in love but for the first time she was pissed. She was pissed her daughter didn’t get the life she wanted for her. She was covered in shame and all the ugly things her mother used to say came into fruition. All she was a whore to him and he left her. Standing up she walked away she didn’t know how it all got to this point. She always thought she was going to have that moment with Lowell. How sad was that after all he done she was still selfishly holding onto that man. He lead her believe he was leaving Jackie and then left her. She was too heartbroken to raise Bliss after that and God Isabelle? A new baby? No she couldn’t raise his children anymore after he left her.

Gasping as she wiped her eyes. “I was selfish back then but I’m so happy that she was with Jane. Now after all these years she’s all I think about. You know my nickname for Bliss when she was little?  I used to call her my Beauty. You know what Belle means in French? It means beauty and of course you know what Belle means you are French. To be honest I love Lowell but not that way anymore. He’s broken me into a million little pieces. I hid my own child from the world because look at Bliss. She let a man beat her face in because she didn’t have a great male figure. She was searching for him and I just can’t let him turn my baby girl against me. Or for him to ruin it until I’m ready you know?” She walked to him and smiled. “I will marry Lowell but I think I bet on the wrong horse all those years ago. It feels natural to scheme with you.” Tess leaned down and kissed his lips. “Thank-you Pierre I knew I did the right thing by calling you.”

“Of course you did.” Pierre said turning his face to hers as he lightly brushed his lips to hers and before he knew what she was doing his mouth as exploring her and reality jolted him back she was Agnes’s friend.

He had never crossed that line with any of Agnes’s friends it felt so wrong to do that to her memory and that was part of the reason he had wanted them to move back to France all those years ago. The other part was that he wanted to be close to Pierre family was such a fragile and rare thing and he knew how important  that had been at one time to him. He looked over at her and sipped some of his drink and then looked back at her. It was late and he should be getting back to his hotel room just in case. He could tell she had a look of bewilderment on her face at the kiss which perplexed him as well. But he was a gentleman at the end of the day and the memory of his late wife was something he held onto as particularly sacred.

“I should be going. Call me on this number.” Pierre said handing her a number to his second burner phone. He handed her the glass as he made his way to the door. “About Zerick I don;t know what Katie told you all those years ago or if what she told any of us was true. What I do know is that if Jackie even has any doubts about Lowell and Katie you must exploit that anyway you know how. It is the only way you get what you want.” Leaving at that he walked out the door and into the night.

“Trust me I plan on it.” Tess said seeing how cold he got after they kissed. What had happened it changed his mood. Then it struck her he as still hung up on Aggie. How she missed her best friends one was in the ground the other in a mental institution. She saw much of Agnes in Greer that mischievous smile and that killer fashion sense. Well that was all Aggie and Katie well she knew the truth of what happened that night. She just had to use it to her advantage. Kathleen never deserved to be driven mad and what happened that night had done it. School girl crushes that’s what they said we had. However she was now two children in with Lowell and had a full affair for years. She locked the door and walked upstairs knowing that she had to see her girls. Walking to a picture in her bedroom she took it off the wall and revealed a safe. She pressed a code and pulled out a old leather tattered book.

Inside of it was pictures of Tess and Bliss through the years. In the back it was full of pictures of Isabelle. The daughter she didn’t know and the daughter she was determined to know. “I love you both so much and you don’t understand why I’m the way I am. My mother was wicked and despicable. I honest think she never loved me or said one good thing about me. You girls are my world Bliss and Belle my beauties. Nobody can know not until I tell you Isabelle. Oh my love you’re coming home.”


Max waited at their table at LaCallie anxious about introducing Sebastian to her brother and Dani, it had been last minute and when she called which she guessed was at a bad time she didn’t know if they would come. In truth she had spent the entire summer in Spain to drop Jackson off at rehab and to stay and keep an eye to make sure rehab really stuck this time call it a twin thing she wanted that this time. Once she had arrived in Spain and bumped into Sebastian who had swooped her off her feet though she didn’t want to leave and once she got back she knew what she wanted. Sure she could have taken him home to her parents first, it felt like she needed to have him meet Jackson first the other part of her. She and him had been so close as kids and then they grew apart him with the drugs and her with being ambitious, one of the things she felt they could fix now that he was on the clear. She wanted to be a better sister to her twin and she wanted to be the best aunt she could for her pending nieces or nephews. When she saw Jackson enter with Dani finally she smiled at them waving and looking over at Sebastian hoping this wasn’t too much for him. They had a lovely flight on the way home after Philip had called and enjoyed the plane to their desires and she rose from her seat wrapping her arms around Jackson.

“I’m so glad you guys came. It was so last minute when we landed and we were both starving from the flight and I wanted to show him the sights. I was thinking I should have invited everyone else but I really wanted this to be for us. Sebastian Navarro my brother Jackson and Dani Fraiser his girlfriend. Jackson, Dani Sebastian Navarro winery owner.” Max said letting go of Jackson as she then hugged Dani pulling back it was still weird but in a good way. She’d grown used to Dani being around and she looked at her hand seeing the ring and then looked between her brother and Dani. “I should have said fiance apparently, congratulations. Are you going to be all pregnant in the wedding? Do they even make maternity wedding gowns?” Max teased seeing the playful glare from them both she laughed. “Just teasing. I wanted you both to meet the man that swept me off my feet while I was keeping an eye on you in rehab.” Max said looking at Sebastian while her brother helped Dani into her chair. “When’s the big day have you told mom and dad yet?”

When Max called them to come meet Sebastian and her at LaCallie he was shocked. She barely brought Philip around and not only that it took years for her to fully admit she cared about Hunter. Hell he wasn’t sure the wedding would go through because of that. She eventually started to bring Hunter around when he was approved of by father. The drive over was full of baby names. He wanted something more modern but she was so traditional which meant that they were going to compromise. They had made love all afternoon and it was crazy that their chemistry was still just explosive as before. He just held her and she caught him up on all the drama. Talia was secretly all about Zerick Westwood. Simon was still single and bitter. Yasmine was broken up with Rory. Her parents were divorced. Braden was falling back in love with Tamara or so Dani said. Once he felt like he caught up on everything he missed and they watched videos of her through the months of the pregnancy that he missed. He’d have to thank Simon and Talia for how much they were there for Dani. Not only them but Yasmine and Miranda were amazing as well. He’d donate to Yasmine charity and youth center. He wasn’t sure how to thank Miranda but he’d figure out something. Devonshire’s always paid their debts back.

“I would appreciate if we were able to tell everyone we are officially engaged. As for our wedding we’re choosing to have Dani have the kids before. I mean it’s not often twin boy and girls are born in two generations.” He smirked at Max as he lightly kicked her underneath the table like they used to. “Yup we are having a boy and girl.”

Sebastian kissed Dani’s cheek she was a beautiful pregnant woman. Some women looked even more beautiful while carrying a child she was one of them. She had that entire glowing thing going for her and Jackson looked healthy. It wasn’t as if he didn’t when they met briefly in Spain. It was something about him that just screamed he was happy. That man that he saw before him in Spain was missing something and Dani was clearly that. “It’s very nice to meet you both and congrats. We must toast now because honestly how many times do you hear that? Dani tell me how far along are you? I want children one day honestly I think it’s beautiful to see your legacy live on in someone else. A piece of you always on earth.”

They’d went home and spent the entire day together and any fear she had about them making love and the kidnapping affecting that had went away, he was gentle with her even when she knew he didn’t want to be. She surrendered to him when he pinned her and she realized it was all in her head with Kendrick it didn’t have to dominate who they were. She caught him up on all the gossip going on and they decided they would wait till after the kids were born to get married. Rushing it seemed really stupid and she wanted to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy with him he had missed so much and she tried to catch him up as best she could with the videos and sonograms. She wanted to relish in it building their family and then get married when she could actually fit into something. She playfully glared at Max’s jokes and took the glass of water when everyone else poured a glass of wine.

“It’s lovely to meet you too. We want to tell everyone after the trial is over I’m so stressed out about my testimony tomorrow. Surprise boy and girl meaning you weren’t right either. Max said it was girls too.” Dani said looking at Max warmly and then at Jackson. She turned to Sebastian he was mysterious in what she could only describe in a sexy Spanish way and she smiled Zach would have some awesome word for her to call him or something. Max looked happy with him though and she picked her glass of water for the toast declining the wine, she knew some women had a drink or two while they carried but it wasn’t worth it to her. “Twenty nine weeks so seven months almost 8. Did your winery have a good harvest this year? Max said you showed her the vineyard is it like a distillery? Do you use copper or wood?”

Max couldn’t contain her excitement over the news of a boy and a girl she beamed at her brother and then looked at Dani she really was happy for them. They’d been through a lot the last year and seeing Jackson reach that with her gave her hope for her future after divorcing Hunter. She grabbed Sebastian’s hand on the table while they all took a sip of their drinks and wondered if that meant they were going to have a big wedding or not. The last one her family tried to throw ended in disaster with Selina marrying Braden and now they were getting a divorce too. She sent Dani a look of thank you for asking about the winery it was a good conversation starter and maybe it would show Jackson that Sebastian wasn’t that different or maybe he was in a good way. In truth she found her time in Spain at the winery fascinating watching the process with him from harvesting to fermenting and then barrelling. She wondered if the process was the same for a distillery she supposed it was and she watched Seb relax a bit at the table.

“Dani’s family owns a brewery here in town I’ll vouch for the whiskey family held secret I don’t even think my brother knows the actual recipe and locals swear by the beer. So after they’re born then are you thinking of names Maximillia better be on the list older brother.” She said looking at them both and seeing Dani roll her eyes she let out a laugh she assumed Max was off the list. Which was alright with her she was going to be an aunt again and she hadn’t really thought about it before children till now when Sebastian had brought it up. Partners wanted that now days she supposed and she wondered if she would ever be ready. “Word of advice avoid a big wedding lets see Chauncey and Selina ended in well you know a pending divorce, Me and Hunter divorce.” Seeing them both look at her worried she shook her head. “All teasing aside you’re going to have two children and plan a wedding at the same time? Why don’t you hire Merci to do it.”

“I was going to suggest that to her. After we find the perfect location for our house. Merci is good and I think she could figure all the big stuff you know?” He said looking at Max. “And sorry sis no form of Max is on the list. Maximillia, Maximus, and big no to Maxie. So what I’m saying when you name your kid then we will see what your name is.” Jackson smiled as he looked at his twin looking at her phone. The fun sucked out of her face. They were all smiling and now something was wrong it was clear. Kicking her leg again under the table. “Can I speak with you and yes my future wife it’s another surprise for you. Sebastian I promise to bring back my beautiful sister but I want to get something special for my girls and I think Max would know where mom put all that type of stuff right Max?” Which was bullshit because Max was the most unemotional person he knew. She wasn’t the type to fall into overly emotional things unlike him he was always emotional which made business much harder for him. Once they went around the corner he took her arm into his he sat down in the conference room once he saw it was empty. They’d be at La Callie since they were kids. “Spill it call it twin intuition but I feel like something is up with you and I can tell it isn’t a man. The guy is actually a good one Max.”

Sebastian watched Jackson usher Max off and he knew who it was. “Do they do that twin thing often? I mean we are dating twins we may have to get used to that huh?” He laughed as he leaned in to Dani. “I have to tell you she was stubborn as two bulls senorita. However what ended up happening is I’m persistent as a moth to a flame. My family uses wood it’s the only way to bring the true flavor of liquor and to get the true flavor from the wine. Maybe if your family would want I could get a few bottles of my wine shipped here see how it sells and if it does good we can come up with something. I also have to tell you that your loyalty to Jackson impressed me. Every time you visited him and Max went to see you I found it endearing and I think she’d never admit it but I think you have opened her up. She wants what you two have and it’s actually helpful to me Dani. I am getting a Max that I’m not sure any other man has but I’ll tell you that I’m in love. I think she’s the most intriguing creature on earth.” He laughed wondering if telling her this all was too much. “I just think she’s my soulmate and I’m afraid to tell her that. Max has a history of running from things. I don’t want to chase her away just yet. But as I said I’m persistent so it wouldn’t freak me out if she ran.” Seb picked up his glass and smiled at Dani.

“To loving a Devonshire no?” He asked with a laugh.

“All the time I’ve actually grown used to it over the last year. They have a special bond and maybe my kids will too. We use both at the distillery while you’re in town I’ll call my mother to give you a tour. The copper is good the the fermentation stage for the whiskey and the hops for the beer. Wood is used for the aging of the whiskey.” Dani said looking around LaCallie wondering what Jackson had up his sleeve now honestly maybe hiring Merci was a good idea and the house comment made her smile. When Sebastian asked about her loyalty to Jackson that was something she would never waiver from she loved him more than anything. “I love Jackson in every way that should matter. I think you’re good for Max even if she won’t admit it to you. So yes to loving a Devonshire buckle in it is definitely an interesting ride I speak from first hand experience.”

Max had looked down at her phone knowing it was a mistake the moment she did Philip’s message chilled her to the bone and she looked around LaCallie wondering if he was actually there. She had spaced out when Jackson had been speaking only to be brought back down when he bold faced lied to Sebastian and Dani to take her out of the room. Once they were in the conference room she felt like she could breathe and she took a few deep breaths looking at her twin. “It’s Philip he’s been blackmailing me about the shooting. He says he wants shares of DGI or he’s going to the cops and look I don’t want to drag Sebastian into that mess he’s a good person and I don’t know I’m happy. I feel like I may be getting what you have with Dani and I don’t want to lose that. I go to prison he goes back to Spain the company fails.” Max said looking at him knowing he would understand what that meant more than anyone she had fallen for the handsome spaniard. “Tell me what to do.”

Jackson looked at Max and when she admitted that she was getting blackmailed by Philip. “The only thing I can think is beat him to the punch. Flip the script on him if you go to the police about the blackmail then maybe. God do you know if he did anything illegal while he owned Club XES or wasn’t he stalking Scarlett? Everyone seems to forget that no doubt. You aren’t giving up our birthright and he won’t be sending you to prison. Do you hear me? You’ve covered for me for years. If it was drugs or any other bullshit I was going through. You were there for me and I’m not letting you go to jail and you see that guy?” He turned her chair a little. “Look at him he’s not going anywhere. He’s charming the hell out of my future wife. Wait a minute let me get back out there.” He teased as he saw her calming down. “I struggled with a lot of shit and you made it vanish. It’s time for me to be your big brother okay let me handle Montgomery.” Jackson stood up and hugging his twin. “I got you now matter fact I have the Devonshire’s. It’s my time to show you guys I’m down for the family.”


Walter had left the bar after speaking with Brenda and wanted to make arrangements for when he was gone the few days that he was going to be gone. He had texted his children to let them know he would be leaving as well with no reply and then made his way to city hall. His assistant was out and he looked around the office that he had fought so hard to gain. Now that he was mayor he also felt like there was nowhere to go from there or maybe it was his old age catching up with him perhaps a midlife crisis. He hadn’t had one of those yet or at least he didn’t think or maybe this was the sign that he was due one since he was planning on running out on Atlas Falls with the woman that wrecked his marriage. The woman that he had a child with, a daughter and he looked at the photo on his office desk of his other children. Lauren had been removed from the office after the divorce but his children were still on the desk along with Dylan. He noticed the light on down the hallway and made his way there spotting Hunter inside his office.

“Late night?” Walter asked the young man, in truth they were related now through his daughter with Brenda but he also knew he wasn’t going to spring that on Hunter that was her secret to tell. He knew first hand how hearing that news from someone else could really affect his life and he didn’t want to ruin that for Hunter it was his mother’s secret to tell. He looked over at Hunter’s desk and looked at the picture of Bliss on it and then glanced to see a picture of Brenda as well. He saw Hunter look up at him and some of the city plans and that was when he knew what he would do while he was gone Hunter could act as acting mayor in his place. “I’m actually glad you are here I had something come up and as you know I have it in my power to have someone on the city council act in my place. I have to leave on a personal trip for a few days and was hoping you could hold down the office while I am gone.”

Hunter had spent the last three months carefully planning out with Bliss how they would get Fox back from Isla Del Cruces and it was turning out to be harder than he thought it would be. It would require a lot of legal and political work it did help that his sister was sort of back on good terms with Atticus. He and Max had officially divorced the same day that she left for Spain they were speaking and surprisingly mostly getting along she had even given he and Bliss her blessing. Which seemed to make sense as she was seeing some exotic guy in Spain according to Bliss. He had been at city hall and still loved his job it gave him a great way to do both help with the city and still be part of DGI, planning and zoning for projects he was good at it. It allowed him to use his business degree too and not be exactly like his father was with the mayor position. He looked up from his desk at Walter and ran a hand through his hair looking at the time, crap he completely forgot that he and Bliss had plans for dinner.

“Yeah I’m still here sorry I normally don’t creep around city hall late at night while no one is here you know. I just got distracted by the DGI project they had all the permits and were ready to build and then MontCorp came in and snatched up the plots. Sorry I know how you feel about Lowell and wanting to stick it to him you’ve made that clear.” Hunter said looking at the map and then back up at Walter the man that took his father’s position in town and he watched as Walter leaned over the city map to inspect the plans. He saw him eyeing the business district downtown and then his eyes went to the lake and back again. He wasn’t sure what he was getting at and then spoke again. “I don’t think Forbes will be keen on selling back to Lowell nor will he release the land. I told Bliss I’d help find some sort of a solution to the problem and now I’m late for dinner. I don’t know what to say about the office I mean I guess I could.”

Walter nodded at him and looked at the map again and at the plans for the casino building it would fit over by the north side of the lake that was undeveloped and he took out his phone sending a text to the contact. It had been an idea had been talked about a few times and they owned the land he heard his phone buzz back and looked down at the screen. He could arrange a meeting between the two, teh casino would be profitable on land and on water. “Contact Reggie Bradshaw and his wife they’ve been holding onto that parcel of land up by the lake that has already been surveyed for commercial purposes. His son is an engineer at a boating company and at one point was looking to sell a floating steamboat to some casinos last year. You won’t have to resurvey the land they would made some money on property they’ve held onto a long time. Tell Bliss and present it to the other children you get the profits inside the casino building and in casino steamboats.”

“Pick up your jaw Hunter.” He saw Hunter look at him wide eyed everyone thought he was such a monster when it came to DGI and Lowell sometimes but he had been the brains behind their first big software launch. In truth if he had stayed at DGI he wondered if his life would have been vastly different or not, if he and Lauren would have made it work better or not. If he would have never carried on an affair with Brenda on and off all those years. He wondered if he would have been a better father or not, if he wouldn’t of been so bitter. His children would have turned out different they would be the ones closest with the Devonshire family, he took a breath. “See not so much of a monster they all make me out to be am I after all. I’m not even doing it for your or Bliss it’s more for the future. Take over for me for a few days and I’ll make sure that you get to meet with Francesca and Reggie as soon as I get back. You get all the glory.” Walter said seeing him consider it.

“I never thought about that as a solution I always assumed that the lake and rivers couldn’t be used like that. Thanks I think. About that report about you and my mom.” Hunter said looking at Walter and then looking in the doorway when Bliss arrived with takeout. He had a lot that he wanted to tell Walter like how much of an asshole he was to his family, how the honorable image he had was nothing more than a lie and he wondered if he had any right to throw an accusation at the man in front of him. He got up from his desk as he made his way to Bliss kissing her lips and then pulling back as she was cautiously looking at Walter sticking the model on the map and saw her face part anger on it. Everyone knew that the Devonshire and Fraiser families had bad blood and never in a million years did he think that Walter would offer up a solution to help with the problem. “I don’t know what went down all the those years ago with you and my mom but she’s really fragile right now and you’re going through a divorce so just stay away alright?” Turning to Bliss he went to say more only for Walter to speak.

“Bliss since you’re looking so angry at the moment I was simply offering Hunter my advice on how to solve your latest conundrum. Forbes is not going to sell to your father, I know it you know everyone knows it. I know your old man wants that casino downtown so his name can shine in lights you’ll be held up in court for years. So instead you buy this.” Walter said pointing to the spot on the map. Watching her face and he knew what she was thinking why was he offering to help. He knew the reason it would get him back in Dani’s good graces and he didn’t want his grandchildren broke down the line due to stubborness. “Build the casino here on the lakefront, take out steamboats and made a double profit. You don’t have to mention my name or my advice on the matter when you present it to your father and your siblings. You and Hunter take the credit everyone wins. Your dad gets his name in flashy lights on the water to reflect on the city, you and Hunter prove you can take on the project with the rest of them. People in need in town get the jobs they have been promised.”

Bliss stood shocked that Walter was offering up a solution to the problem everyone was freaking out about. It had been a long summer they weren’t any closer to figuring out how to get Fox from Dimitri. Slowly strutting into her boyfriend office she felt the electricity of the idea. Picking up the maps she smiled brightly as she looked at Hunter. Who had a Cheshire cat grin on his face. It was brilliant they could use the land for the main casino and the steamboats into mini-casinos were they have parties and all sort of other income from the boats. Walter was brilliant and this made her wonder why the hell her father fired him. What happened all those years ago. Folding her arms she narrowed her eyes. “I don’t trust anyone who treats there daughter the way you have. Honestly I look down at you not because I’m rich but what type of man does what you did to Lauren and Dani? Hell Braden too you’ve been emotionally distant from the their entire lives. I didn’t live with my father and I felt more of a connection to him than what Dani and Braden have. I also have to wonder did my father turn you a brilliant businessman into this person.” Bliss would have to mention this to Dani to see if it was any type of motive behind this. No matter what this idea was the best thing that could have happened and it was given by Walter Frasier.

“I thought I heard you were leaving so if you do can you leave me and my boyfriend alone for a moment. I need to discuss this idea.” Bliss said taking off her sunglasses and removing her scarf around her head to show her cute new haircut. She walked to Hunter and leaned down kissing his lips. “I thought we were going to dinner but someone had me looking quite the fool at La Callie. So what came to my mind was simple bring him his favorite takeout because he’s working like a madman.” She rubbed his face and smiled. “So how in the hell did you get Walter to help us? I mean that’s going to save a lot of people jobs.”

“I’ll see myself out and take advice about your mom. Would you both tell Dani hello for me when you see her. I have to get going. I’ll keep in touch thank you Hunter.” Walter said looking at them both and leaving them to finish out their evening he had a bag to pack and a plane to catch with Brenda.

Hunter watched him go wondering what that entire thing was all about perhaps revenge on DGI or maybe just maybe it was Walter showing he had an actual heart when it came to his children. He supposed he did it to say he had helped with the job growth and the other part was because Dani was involved with the Devonshire’s now and about to be a mother to two of them. “That was weird he just came in here saw me staring at the map and laid out this entire new plan. Which face it saves everyone’s ass. I don’t honestly think he had ulterior plans maybe as a peace offering because of Dani. I’m so sorry about dinner. I lost track of time and I really wanted to find a solution to the casino. It won’t happen again.”

Bliss sat on his lap and smiled. “It better not because I’m not a girl who gets stood up.” As she used her index finger to trace his jawline. “You given me the best year of my life I want to let you know that. You do know that it’s exactly almost a year since we met at that party. So I also got us this.” She pulled out a slice of TJ’s anniversary cake which was legendary in town. It sold out fast and she wanted to truly celebrate them being together. Unbuttoning a few buttons she showed him the sexy lingerie. “I also got that for you. Maybe you shouldn’t get a peak because you did leave me all alone.” When she heard footsteps and a small laugh. Bliss stood up and buttoned up her blouse. Turning around a curly headed blond boy ran through the office door. Her entire face dropped. Was she dreaming? What was going on? How did her son get here. Covering her mouth she started to gasp as she ran to Fox and scooped him up in her arms. She squeezed so tightly she wasn’t sure he was breathing. She had to hold him tight because this is what she dreamed of. She almost fell down because he kissed her cheek. She felt enchanted because she was full for once. She was full on the love she felt for a man and her child. “Oh God thank-you.” She said between gasps and sniffles of tears.

“How are you here?” Turning to Hunter she tried to see if he planned all of this. Tears were rushing down her face. His face said it wasn’t him. “What are you doing here? Who brought you oh my God I won’t let you go. I promise I won’t let you go. I’ve been waiting for a long time. I promise momma won’t let go of you Fox. Hunter this is my baby. This is my son this is Fox oh God it’s him.” She walked to Hunter and wrapped her arms around him. “Hunter this is Fox this is my baby.” Bliss was shaking like a leaf. As her face coated with tears of happiness as she hugged them both. “Fox this is momma’s friend Hunter he’s a very good man.”

“Ahem.” Selina said wearing a black and red leather dress that looked painted on. “Fox came here with us.” Reaching out her hand out to Dimitri. “Hunter, you know me but I’d like to introduce you to my fiance Dimitri Kavanaugh.”

Hunter looked at the man in the doorway with Selina and gripped Bliss’s hand and it took everything in him to not run and kill the bastard before him. He felt disgusted that Selina was even siding with the monster before him.

Dimitri walked through city hall passing an older man on his way out with Selina by his side. The man had shot Selina the nastiest glare he had ever seen and she told him who it was Walter Fraiser her soon to be ex father in law. He had let Fox go ahead of them a game to find mommy the emotional torture would begin now with this game her thinking she was just going to keep him here in the states. He looked at her from the doorway and resisted the urge to lick his lips at her while Selina stood next to him. “Hello Bliss I thought it was time that we visited I know he and I have missed you so.”