2×05 “The Truth Will Set You Free”
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Guest Starring: Linus Devonshire (Ben Mendelsohn), Lord Charles Archibald (Stanley Tucci) and Lady Jane Archibald (Laura Linn)
Theme Song: Even Angels- Fantasia
Warning: Episode may contain violence, sexual content, and language
Bliss opened her eyes as she looked up seeing Max being held by Sebastian. She was thankful that Sebastian was here for Max. It seemed she was taking father being in a coma the hardest. She had faith that her strong father would be alright. It wasn’t a secret her father was beginning to look gaunt. He seemed fragile since his return from Europe and Jackie was silent about it. She knew something because David Rhodes was always speaking with her instead of the entire family. One week their father was in a medical coma to ensure he was alright. That somehow made her more fearful. Leaning her head up from Hunter’s shoulder she felt her stomach tightening as Chauncey walked in. He would arrive when all of them were gone to visit due to everyone hating him right now. He was planning on taking over the company none of them had forgotten. His greed made her sick but she also saw a true human in him. He protected her against Dimitri and that was something she hadn’t forgotten. Lacing her fingers inside of his hand. All they knew was Lowell was coming out of his coma today. The strangest feeling was that soon they’d know if Zerick was their brother and what was going on with their father.
Standing up she walked to Chauncey and touched his shoulder. “It’s good to see you here.” The glare that Jackson was giving him made her scared about what was about to happen. “Look we all thought about what could happen if we were CEO. Chauncey, you had someone in your head pushing you but it doesn’t stop the fact that you actually did go after our company. You pushed and manipulated but we are family. No matter what and I haven’t forgotten what happened at the party.” It seemed everyone ears perked up she saw Jackie looking at her. “Dimitri cornered me in Chauncey’s office. He was threatening me and tried to choke me.” She saw Hunter face and knew he was pissed she kept this from him. “But my big brother stepped up and protected me from Dimitri. He was going to kill him if he had to stop the abuse. So what I’m saying is I know Chauncey messed up but he loves us all.”
Jackson listened to Bliss cutting for Chauncey and felt immediately sad for his sister. Some psychopathic prince was stalking her. That wasn’t something that he wanted for his sister and she was sweet. Over the summer Bliss had come to see him along with Hunter. It was a good trip where he honest got to know Bliss. She seemed way more at peace than she was when she first arrived. Unlike there other possible siblings who was claiming to every media outlet that he was a Devonshire. Not only that the son of a bitch did an entire spread in the Chronicles with Cassie. Everyone was speculating on if their father raped his wife sister now. It was out and DGI was facing a financial crisis. The Chronicles also featured Chauncey major betrayal that too had sent the stock down. Either way, no matter if Chauncey protected her from Dimitri, he absolutely betrayed the family. If he had his way he’d never be involved with DGI again. He’d never be able to betray them again. He felt Dani’s hand on his back rubbing it softly as he shook his head. Jackson could feel the bile rising inside of his stomach because of his fury with his brother.
“Bliss I’m sorry about Dimitri but I have to say Rory and I would have done the same thing. We would have tried to kill that son of a bitch if he came after you. We will stop that from happening, understand that but this doesn’t excuse his behavior. This doesn’t pardon him because he was working with that bitch Greer. He was being manipulated again by a woman who clearly had ulterior motives and he couldn’t see that because he was greedy. He wanted DGI for himself and eventually was going to push us all out. Greer wouldn’t have wanted us there would she Chauncey? Hell, do you want us apart of our father’s legacy? It took Talia and Simon to expose this shit for you to even know that woman was playing you like a violin. Did you think what this would do to your siblings hell your parents? No, you didn’t because as always it’s all about you.”
Bliss lowered her head as she looked at them. “Rory? Max? Can you tell them to stop God our father is in that room in a coma? My son is asking about his papa and I know Maddie is freaked out. Guys we’ve been attacked since last year but we don’t need to attack each other. I used to dream of you four. I used to wonder what you were like and I just want us to be a family.”
“We can’t fucking be a family when that bastard is trying to take all of our legacies!” Jackson screamed slamming his hand down on the waiting room table. “I can’t fucking deal with him. He doesn’t deserve our family name.” Spewing all his rage. “Get out!”
Chauncey had been in and out of the hospital through the week when he made sure Jackson wasn’t there he knew his little brother raged at him the most and he probably deserved that. He hadn’t spoken to Greer since it happened and he doubts he would for a while DGI was now in a crisis again investors were pulling out. Stocks were going down while their father was in a medically induced coma after what he assumed was a stroke his mother was refusing to talk about the details with them. In turn, they had done damage control the best they could which didn’t help things when Zerick was giving exclusive news stories left and right claiming that he was Lowell’s son and their brother. It was a heavy-handed accusation and at the moment a disgusting one since his father was not able to refute said claims while he fought for his life. He listened and the current crisis at DGI was his fault but he wasn’t going to get into shit with Jackson right now over their issues.
“This is not helping anyone not dad, not mom and not us.” Chauncey said doing his best to keep his anger in check as he watched Zerick walking towards them and knowing that was where Jackson’s rage was going towards. He had always had a shorter fuse than the rest of them and he looks at Bliss, Hunter, Max, Rory, and Dani to make sure Jackson didn’t start a fight. The last thing they needed was this all over the news Devonshire family starts hospital brawl and security escorts them out. “It had to be important for mom to want us all here we have to be patient and ignore the cockroach.”
Max watched her brothers and agreed with Bliss this all had to stop it wasn’t helping but she hated Zerick for what he was doing to them and her brain was still trying to wrap around his vile accusations. No one ever talked about aunt Katie and that was something that her mind wouldn’t let go of, on the other hand, she knew her father was a lot of things but rapist was not one of them. Instead, she had her siblings go back to work while they waited on the news of their father’s outcome. Learning how to run the company without him, proving to be a bigger task than she thought it would be. It didn’t help that they all had to split the CEO position between them which made investors and people who called the meetings nervous to even come in and she was glad she had Sebastian to lean on over the last week because she honestly wasn’t sure what to do next. Her father had to make a decision on CEO especially if his health was in jeopardy as it had been the last week. One of them would have to be named and she didn’t know which one it would be her, Bliss, Rory, Chauncey or Jackson. A week ago she would have said Chauncey was a shoe-in but after the party and what happened with Greer it was anyone’s guess.
“Has anyone contacted uncle Linus and aunt Camilla?” Max said out loud wondering if her aunt and uncle in Europe had been told about their father’s condition. Not that they wouldn’t know at the end of the day it was all over the news but she had not reached out and made a call and she knew her mother had spent the entire last week sleeping in their father’s hospital room. She sighed looking at Jackson and Chauncey and then at Bliss. “You are both right if we don’t band together and protect the company from him it will be too late he’ll take it. I can’t even believe we are having this conversation right now.”
Rory leaned forward in his chair rubbing the back of his neck wondering how his entire family had got to this point in their lives. Looking around at all the support that his other siblings and envied that. For a moment he wanted Yasmine there and shook the thought away. He was so done with that at the moment he had bigger things to think about and worry about that Yasmine Kohl and what happened to them. He was worried about his father and his mother, he was worried about the accusations and if Zerick was, in fact, their brother. He had wanted to release his app but stopped after what happened with his father, the first order of business was making sure DGI stock didn’t tank farther and then the app could release. He shook his head agreeing with all his siblings as he watched Zerick slink around the nurse’s desk and wondered why he was even there. His mother would have never called him if her life would have depended on it.
“Let’s focus on the positive if mom called that is good news.” Rory said getting up from his seat as he watched Zerick start to move towards them again not sure what he was doing there. He saw Hunter do the same just in case a fight broke out and he glared at Zerick. “I would say you should follow my brother’s advice and leave.”
Zerick had made his week known in town years of being in the shadows gone and he told his story to anyone that would listen. The Chronicle, Good Morning America anyone that reached out. He wanted the entire world to know exactly who Lowell was, exactly how he came into the world and in turn he watched as DGI began to burn itself to the ground. He realized halfway through the week he had lived in Greer’s shadow in their plan too long with Pierre financing them when he should have come forward years ago. Once stock got low enough Forbes would buy it off and then sell off DGI piece by piece. There would be no legacy for Lowell Devonshire to leave to his children because there would be no DGI their money would dry up and they would have a small taste of what it was like on the other side of the tracks. He had paid a lovely nurse at the front desk to keep him informed so the moment that she had called to say Lowell was awake and David would be releasing him he made his way to the hospital.
“I have just as much right to be here as you do, in fact, why don’t you cave like you always do and call your dealer for a package?” Zerick said his anger towards Jackson on full display giving no shits about his past or his addiction. He had every right to face the man that created him and make him tell his siblings the truth about his conception. He saw the horror on his sibling’s faces and let out a laugh at them. “All of you so worried about the precious CEO position when he won’t give it to any of you he’s too selfish for that and you all know it.”
Jackson had enough immediately he jumped up. “How about I put a hot needle in your arm and you vanish forever. My father is laying in a room in a coma and you have the audacity to show your face here? You must have lost whatever warped piece of mind you have.” Jackson charged at them no longer able to handle it. His pain was eating at him because his father saw him as a failure. Now he was possibly dying or whatever was going on. He had to fix it but not with this bastard here. Not with Zerick sitting here smug and in his family space. This was a place for love and good energy and the moment he saw Zerick that went out of the window. The bastard went on the national news claiming he was Lowell’s son. “I’ll say it I don’t give a damn about your mother. Katie has never been in any of our lives and you think because you share blood with us you get to lie like this. You are just as crazy as she is.” Before he knew it Jackson had his hands around Zerick’s throat. “I’ll kill you if you come near us again!” He growled furiously at him.
Sebastian along with Hunter swooped in grabbing him off of Zerick. “Get out! Go! Or I swear to God I’ll go to Ronan and have you wiped away. Erased you pathetic excuse of a man. No, I don’t need a mobster to do it, I’ll kill you with my bare hands. No you all can pacify this shit but I’m done.” Breaking free from Sebastian and Hunter he threw his hands up. He saw Dani trying to reach out to him and Jackson just stormed out of the waiting room. He immediately began to walk anywhere but there. He knew everyone was right he shouldn’t have given Zerick the satisfaction but at this moment he needed to make him feel that this wasn’t a game.
Bliss looked at Zerick sitting on the floor after Jackson attacked him. She covered her mouth as she shook her head. “And what are you, brother?” She said with a sarcasm. “Oh, it’s the scared little boy who acts out in a rage stomping his feet. How about this we all know that we are Lowell’s children but what about you? Care to take a DNA test love because I would prove your blood isn’t in me. Hell, it’s only the core four. Welcome to what happened to me last year. I made quite the splash as the long-lost daughter but you know what? I embarrassed myself and you are doing the same. Your revenge is petty because unless you were there to watch our father rape your mother then you have right lie like this. You have no right to be here at all Zerick so I suggest you leave. You go because God is going to punish you for this. You pushed him into a coma and you left in spinning the wind. Now whatever happened to you only people who know the truth is your mother and your father. You aren’t our brother.” She screamed at him. “Please if you have a drop of decency in your body you would respect our family wishes. We didn’t do this to you. We didn’t hurt you so why? Why are you doing this?”
She saw he was shocked that she was speaking to him civilly. “You are so broken and I see through you. Oh I do. I see the hurt little boy who Forbes manipulated and all the secrets you carry. Trust me I was a secret for years so I know the pain. You aren’t tough or a badass you are hurting and it’s clear to everyone in here. You are a lost if by some crazy chance you are our brother. It wasn’t rape it was an affair because honestly look at his track record. I wouldn’t be here without that record. You are poisoned and you need to suck all the venom out of you. Go before we call security.”
Zerick adjusted his collar as he watched the others pull his ex-junkie brother off of him he stared Bliss up and down she had a lot of nerve. At least he didn’t fuck his siblings’ girls once he came to town nope that was something only she did. “Aren’t you miss high and mighty? Didn’t you come to town begging for father’s affections and then started fucking our other sister’s husband?” He spat back as he watched his aunt finally approach with their father in a wheelchair he looked like had seen better times. “Aunt or should I call you step-mother?”
“You’ll call her Aunt Jackie.” Lowell said looking at Zerick with a stern voice. “You’ve done some damage. You definitely have that hateful streak of Forbes Montgomery in you. He raised you didn’t he? How does it feel to be a weapon young man? I’ll tell you what your problem is, you’ve been brainwashed but I’m going to tell you this but once. I’m not your father and I wouldn’t bore a child so treacherous that he’d reveal a lie on national television while we are going through a second women’s liberation movement era. However, I wouldn’t expect anything so low from you because you are Katie’s son. Zerick how is your mental health?” Lowell questioned as he felt an orderly rolling him forward. “You see Simon and Talia did a portfolio on you and it said you had a stint in the mental hospital. Go away boy before I ruin you. You aren’t my son and you will never be my child you are scrap at my children shoes and will never be of my blood.” Feeling himself winded he raised his hand for water. Jackie handed him a bottle of water. “Get the hell out and I’ll deal with you personally when I’m well enough. Know that Zerick you will face what you have done boy.”
Simon had a week needless to say his and Talia’s stunt had done damage to the company and he had heard about it from Jackie herself he never thought the slideshow and the after effects would send Lowell into a health crisis. On the other hand, Zerick was out of the company, Greer had been outed and the vipers that entered the nest with the stallions and mares were gone thanks to him and Talia. He was proud of himself and then looked over at the bartender he was fine as hell and if he was up for a dirty one night stand he would do instead he picked up his drink and took a sip. The pieces had fallen where they had with Zerick it was out of his hands, out of Talia’s and it was in the hands of the people that knew or could uncover the truth Lowell and the rest of the Devonshire’s. There were always two sides to every story and those two sides had yet to really examine and look at everything, now maybe they would. He knew that Talia had lost Zerick in the end and that was the price she had to pay. He looked out across the club to the dance floor and spotted Mason with Zach and he supposed he had lost too. On the other hand, Mason knew the truth now that Zerick was the one that had recorded Mason’s conversation and sent that information to Tony not him.
He tipped his glass to them seeing the sneer that Zach gave him and he didn’t give two fucks about it. Zach could glare at him all day long if he wanted, he was always going to be Mason’s first in every way that matter while Zach was leftover goods on his way to the new life he was now building for himself. Mason was nothing more than a poser in his eyes at this point a fake that only played with his sexuality when it suited him and this time he was doing it with a man that like pussy too. He shook his head at them turning back to the bar when a man sat down beside him, he recognized him from the courtroom Ivan something or other. He was good looking but he certainly didn’t expect him to be at swingers night at the club. People from all over the community were out tonight and he waved to Jamal on his way by and that was where he put the man next to him together. He was Jamal’s new artist.
“Can I buy you a drink?” Simon asked wanting to test the waters, he had heard rumors.
“Nah but you can look over these contracts bro for me.” Raising the bottle of champagne in his hand. Ivan said looking at him up and down typical preppy buttoned up white boy.“Yo Jamal was telling me you did some gutter shit. You like for real exposed a motherfucker in front of the entire city with no fucks given. I respect that shit.” Sliding him his contract. Jamal said to find a lawyer so he fucking stop recording and went downstairs and found a lawyer. “My boss pointed you out so I said I was going to ask you. If I got to pay or some shit put it on Jamal tab. Motherfucker lied about being rich I’m sure he can pay for your time. I mean how much for your time?” Letting the words linger in the air a few seconds too long. Biting his lip he looked at Simon and saw him looking at the sissies dancing over there. Men like that were disgusting flaunting that shit. His daddy said no two men who loved each other were normal. That shit wasn’t normal.
“Oh, that was yo bitch huh?” He laughed noticing who they were. He instantly put his foot in his mouth because that was Mason, Jamal’s brother, and his boyfriend. Sucking his teeth he saw he had gotten under Simon skin. “My bad look I don’t know shit about contracts and I just want to get a shot. A fair fucking shot to be successful in the music industry. I don’t want to sign a 420 that’s wild dumb man and I don’t want to not make money off my music. I’m just asking for a little help bro okay?” Ivan said wrapping his lips around the bottle of champagne taking a deep gulp. Then refilling Simon glass. “Drink man they see you miserable they win.”
Simon picked up the papers playing the part of a lawyer for a moment with the intriguing man before him the tone the way he spoke. It was almost like he was afraid of what it was like to be around gay men or worse that he knew and was hiding again. He saw Jamal walking down the stairs and tipped his glass to him seeing the mortified look on his face. Too bad the kid had led his artist right to him and he’d lap it up now for a few drinks. He furrowed his brow reading over the papers pretending to do what was asked. He saw Ivan’s body change a bit when the music slowed to a slow song, the way he stiffened in response and he scooted down the bar edging closer to him. Watching him look out at the crowd seeing the couples sway back and forth he took a chance and placed his finger on Ivan’s hand seeing him jerk back to reality and he swore the man was going to clock him one. Yes, quite the case either he was straight as can be or he was exactly like him and hiding it due to whatever reservations he had about his sexuality.
“Don’t jump out of your skin it was just a touch the things I would do to you when we would be alone should you be into that would send you reeling. If you want a lawyer you’ll have to venture out on the dance floor to the two men I was watching earlier, he is a great one. Me, on the other hand, I fix problems and I do it discreetly for a very outrageous sum of money so when Jamal sent you down here I am sure he meant for you to see Mason, his brother not me.” Simon said still holding onto the contract in his hands as he took a sip of his champagne. When the bartender came over to refill for them both he waved him away sliding him the two hundred dollars to ensure they were not interrupted further he saw Ivan see the cash. “Like I said very well paid for what I do. The numbers look good on paper he can give you more details. Care to dance like that or no?”
Ivan jerked back when Simon touched him because he didn’t do affection or any of this shit in public. “Nah bro, Jamal only got me here recording but it’s some straight freaky shit going on here. I like to look but I don’t touch.” Ivan said licking his lips as he grabbed his bottle of Hennessy. As he leaned into Simon knowing people were too involved with what they were doing to watch him. Hell, it was labeled as swingers night but Jamal knew what crowd he was bagging. He was smart as fuck because gay clubs in Atlas Falls were few and far in-between. As he looked at Simon and laughed because he saw he was interested. “You interested in me huh? You don’t know me Papi and I assure you that you aren’t ready for this pinga.” Leaning into Simon he looked up and saw Jamal dancing with Val and some girl. He wasn’t paying attention to them. It had been a long time since he had been in the embrace of a man. To be honest he wasn’t gay but he did enjoy a good fuck with a guy. He vowed after Money died that he wouldn’t’ fall for any man again. That shit hurt like hell that his boy was gone and so was his love.
“So what would you do to me if you had me? I mean hypothetically Simon right? You gay guys funny you always hunting for the dick then running from it. Honestly, I don’t swing that way bro but I’m curious. I mean I’ve had enough pussy for one man lifetime.” He saw his eyes grow wide he shocked him. “So you were with boss man brother? I heard about you though. You’re the talk of the upper crest of Atlas Falls. Jamal and his girl been chatting about what you did. So little white boy got a little gangster in him.”
Simon picked up the champagne bottle and the glass leaning into Ivan’s ear. “Follow me and find out.” He said walking away and to the stairs, he saw that Mason and Zach were watching them leave and the thought that Mason would see him with another gorgeous man was enough for him. He opened the door to the office knowing that Jamal kept it open when he was at the club and looked around the music studio he wondered if Ivan had any clue about the inner workings of what men like him did to other men. He was going to find out and he took a seat on the leather couch in the room and refilled the glasses handing one to Ivan and taking a long drink. “So this is where your magic happens then? Where you break down that wall you put up downstairs or do you wear the mask in here?” He saw Ivan glaring at him and he shook his head taking another sip of champagne.
“You’re jumpy about this just like you were downstairs meaning you’re hiding something. I’m good at keeping secrets so you can tell me what it is. That is my job keeping secrets when needed making sure those secrets are buried and stayed buried.” Simon said as he crossed his leg in front of him as he placed it on his knee and looked around the room. He wanted to know the truth behind Ivan and he looked at him and then undid a button on his jacket. “Yes I was with bossman’s brother he hid in a closet for years and I waited patiently being the midnight fuck that he needed. I didn’t expose him though that was all Zerick Westwood and outing that mother fucker was the highlight of my year so far. I don’t hide from who I am. Do you hide from who you are Ivan?” He finished as he got up and moved towards him leaning in and smelling his cologne a cheap brand that would change once the money came rolling in. He could tell the space invasion set Ivan off and then handed him the glass of champagne.
Looking Simon up and down and dying for some male company he wanted too. Hell, he needed to it was something that comforted him. He knew Simon to be emotional. He was forcing bossman bro out the closet demanding the shit that’s why Zerick Westwood set him up. You see out of all of them that Bonnie and Clyde shit Greer and Zerick had going on was dope. Simon was just the motherfucker who told the truth. Watching him slither around him made him want to bend Simon over and give him something right there. He resisted and he saw that Simon knew. They said you always knew your own and rumors in the community spread like wildfire. Some little fairy opened their mouth and they would find it wired shut like Kanye West was. He gritted his teeth wondering what he should do? How he should approach shorty and keep his mouth closed. Simon wanted to rub it in those other two face he was with someone else. Ivan had played along but to get the pinga well that was a different story.
“I don’t wear no mask I am who I am. I do what I want to do. I got rules shorty and you’d break them all. You ain’t submissive enough for me. You don’t know how to be dominated because you’re used to having control. Baby, you don’t want me I’m a thug and your life is by the book. I fight, I shoot, I kill and I have done some shit I can’t even tell you. So nah I’m straight.” Ivan laughed looking at his face still interested and his little refusal didn’t mean shit to Simon. This white boy was funny. “You know when I’m serious when I’m in there. I tell my story well some of it. The shooting and robbing was a way of life for me. Then Jamal put me in this fly ass brownstone right off Scottwood. Now the only thing that matter is what I say in there. My stories is haunting and what I say goes man. It’s my way in there and I’m serious about that. Let spit something for you.” Ivan said looking at him.
“King of the hill, I ain’t talking no Hank, Lowell Devonshire big bank, plotting on that man downfall, thought that ship sank.” He paused looking at Simon hanging on everything. “Loyalty.” Making it sound like Lowell name. “A motherfucker thought they took the King out Simon came through with the sword Game of Thrones him down.” He laughed sipping his drink his swagger taking him far.”Yo, I’m drunk but for real you don’t want me shorty.” Licking his lips. “You ain’t my type.”
Jackson approached his mother after seeing David and her laughing. It must have meant something good was going on. They always had a special relationship and he wondered if he could use that? He was hollering and somehow wasn’t being heard. She used to see how much pain he was in and would comfort him. However knowing what was going on with father and she wasn’t telling them was killing him. Scratching his head he had been on the roof getting some air when he got a text from Dani that they were waking up father. Approaching his mother he grabbed her and hugged her. He just held her as he felt small dots of tears mixed with pain falling on his shoulder. Whatever was going on his mother had been carrying this all alone. That was over because he’d always stand for his mother and her undying strength. He knew his father when he got a minor surgery years ago he didn’t even tell them. One thing Jackson knew was Lowell Devonshire didn’t show weakness. They all were in a tailspin first with the Zerick thing but that didn’t hurt as much as Chauncey’s betrayal. If Zerick was his brother how was he going to respect his father after that? A rapist that wasn’t Lowell Devonshire at all. Now all of the sudden the media and everyone was coming after him.
“Momma.” He said wiping her eyes. “Tell me what’s going on, please I can’t deal with the unknown anymore. We are adults and I know father made you promise not to say anything but mom. You are letting all of our minds run wild. I can’t think of anymore horrible situations and illnesses in my mind. What’s going on because I honestly am confused. My father has hurt you a million times. He truly has but to do that to aunt Katie and now he’s been in the hospital for a week. A week for a seizure that doesn’t seem that normal because David is saying he will come out of this. I mean people aren’t put into medical comas unless something serious is going on. Mom please we deserve to know and as much I respect your loyalty to father. We are entitled to know what’s the truth is.” Jackson said rubbing her shoulder seeing her pulling herself together.
Jackie was so relieved when David was able to bring him out of the coma that was the only thing that was on her mind, she had agreed to wait the week out. She had stayed at the hospital by her husband’s side his health being the most import thing to her it was a vow she had made when they got married in sickness and in health. When she had seen him wake up tears of joy had streamed down her face and then David told her the children were all there and a man named Zerick. Her entire body had went cold there was still no proof about Zerick’s claims and she had pushed aside her thoughts about it over the week. Instead she and David had talked to Lowell telling him he had to tell the children what was going on and her stubborn husband had refused. She looked over Jackson’s shoulder at Bliss, Max and Rory and wiped the tears away from her face not sure what to say to him. It was not her secret to tell it was Lowell’s and she had no answers to Zerick’s claims so for now she couldn’t answer her son with what was really going on that Lowell was dying.
“I can’t tell you anything Jackson that I don’t know about with your aunt and Zerick. I wish I could but I can’t.” Jackie said she had tried to drown out the memories of Lowell’s affairs with Tess and Audrey over the years and she had thought she was past them. But when Zerick came forward with his claim it shook everything again the thought of him with her own sister turned her stomach into knots and maybe she should have heard Katie and Steven out all those years ago. Instead she had been a coward and hung up the phone while Lowell fucked Audrey for years and then there was Tess too. Shaking her head she bit back tears knowing she could not tell him about Lowell’s condition she had been sworn to secrecy. “He’s fine and you should be enjoying the new adventure you are about to embark on being a father and husband yourself and not worrying about your father. It was a precaution due to all the stress of the party and the seizure.” Jackie finished not sure what to say to him without giving more away hating that she had to continue to lie to their children.
Jackson looked at his mother and shook his head not knowing what else he could say. Clearly she wasn’t going to budge from her stance that it was Lowell place to tell them. One thing he could tell was when his mother was holding back. Her face said it all she wanted to say more but she couldn’t. He was emotional about the entire situation. How was he to fix his family when he didn’t know what he was dealing with maybe he should be focused on Dani. He should take his soon to be wife and go because this was toxic to her and him. He wasn’t thinking of using but this stress wasn’t needed for Dani and the babies. Greer had purposely attacked Dani to get to him and break down DGI that was something right in the forefront of his mind. As he leaned against the wall. He shook his head and frowned at her. “My entire life you told me to tell the truth and now you’re lying to me. This is some type of cosmic joke huh.” Shaking his head he looked at her.
“Whatever is going on with dad we deserve to know and what makes it all the more horrible is that you know and we don’t. I know you are doing what dad wants but I don’t think that he was expecting to pass out and have a seizure. If you aren’t telling us that worries me even more. Mom just tell us the truth. I can’t see what hiding it and whispering in a corner with David will do. It’s just hard knowing that you know and we don’t. We are in the dark and it’s scary out here because I haven’t. I haven’t fixed my relationship with dad. What if he dies or something.” Jackson said with a innocence of a child. He just didn’t want it to be over. He knew he had to call his sponsor because he was beginning to stress deeply. “Mom I’m not stupid hell none of us are. You have the chief of staff and leading neurologist here something’s up with dad.”
Jackie knew she was lying to all of them and she had always told him honesty was the best policy and it was when it came to love and relationships but her husband’s illness was something that was his burden to tell them. He had made that very clear and it was his illness not hers and for her that was enough it was his secret to tell and she wouldn’t break that with him not even for her favorite child. Instead she looked at him and then looked at Dani as she approached and spoke. “You still have time. I need to go speak to David excuse me.” She said brushing past them both on her way back to Lowell’s room to be with him to tell him to tell their children she couldn’t bear it anymore.
“This is crazy!” Jackson said loudly toward his mother as he felt Dani rubbing his back. “I’m so sick of our family having secret on top of secret. My older brother is planning on taking down our father and what hurts is that we got dragged into that mess. This isn’t how it supposed to be. When he said he was going to retire we thought that maybe we all could be the CEO that we all could do this together. I can’t even look at Chauncey right now and it kills me that dad isn’t healthy. Dani those are specialist and I mean dad deserves it but I’m scared and I want to fix it. I just want him to know I’m not a failure and I want him to know I will keep DGI safe.” He said wrapping his arms around his fiance. Closing his eyes a few tears slipped down his face and then that bastard Zerick. God how much could his family take? Jackson opened his eyes and saw Chauncey standing in front of them.
Wiping his face and nose he looked at his brother. “We should be leaving soon for Dylan’s party. I think that we need to see dad first but afterwards I think we should go. I just don’t want to be here Dani it’s stressing me beyond my limit.” He was feeling emotionally spun and he just needed a moment. “What? What is that judgemental look on your face? You have the nerve to judge me? I’m a ex-addict and I have triggers and I found out you and dad are my biggest ones. Hell this family is a trigger for me and I am understanding my illness that I can’t sit here and pretend that I’m not stressed. So stop judging me alright you know what Dani can you give us a moment.”
Dani knew that he was tore up about how much distance was between him and Lowell, how much everything with Lowell affected him. She didn’t understand why Jackie was lying about what was going on, on the other hand she knew Jackie was going through hell too. She held Jackson as he broke down in her arms and agreed with him, they needed to leave this was not healthy for him. Small doses he could deal with but she also knew his triggers were Lowell and Chauncey and both were in his face right now. When he asked her for a moment alone with Chauncey she glared at Chauncey giving him fair warning punching Greer would look like nothing if Chauncey pushed him over today. “I’ll be in the waiting room. Come get me when you are ready to go. I hear you do anything and I mean anything to push him I’ll march my very pregnant ass back over here and kick yours understood?”
Chauncey looked at them both he wondered if he and Natasha would ever have that, what his brother and Dani seemed to have. When his future sister in law threatened him he knew she meant every word of it and he would never hear the end of it if the stress of that caused those kids to come early. He nodded his head at her as he watched her walk away and he looked back at his brother. He could tell Jackson was stressed and honestly ever since the party he felt bad about telling Greer to push him over the edge it was dirty and they had used Dani to do that. At the time he wanted to be ruthless and to prove to their father that he could be just as ruthless as he could at times, he wanted Jackson to fall and go back to rehab. He wanted that CEO position so badly he wasn’t above doing anything to get it even if it meant attacking Dani Fraiser. Leading to Jackson’s involvement with drugs again and relapse with the kidnapping. Looking back he never should have crossed that line ever.
“I think even pregnant she meant every word of that. I’ll be on my best behavior she’s not supposed to be under a lot of stress mom mentioned that twins are more high risk. She’s gone now so what do you want to talk about.” Chauncey said shoving his hands in his pockets not sure what to say to him when was the last time they had a normal conversation without their father around to badger them to goad each other. He had been judging him or more so watching him to see what was so different with him. Trying to figure out how little he really knew about his brother over the years. “If you are looking to fight with me I’m all burnt out. Mom doesn’t need to be dealing with that shit while dad is in here. You’re not the only one stressed and worried about dad we’re just not as emotional about it.”
Jackson raised his hands as if he was having a cease fire. Then he lowered his head not knowing what to say to his big brother. It was painful all together because he felt like was just holding by his fingertips. He didn’t want to fight but knew he had to say some ugly truths right now. Since they were alone he could finally let out years of rage because for some reason right now at this point it felt like the time. “I’m emotional because I’ve always been second to you. Chauncey I never could live up to you because you were better than me. Then last year happened and I came to the conclusion that I had to try. I had to do something to see if I could be a better man. If I could triumph over my demons and you ruined that for me. I asked you at the party why do you hate me? You never answered it. I have another question for you though Chauncey do you love me? Because through all your faults and all my painful jealousy of you I love you. I wanted to be like you years ago. I used to think you loved me but after this Chauncey how could you do that to me?” He stepped back shaking his head.
“The one time I had dad’s attention you pushed me over the edge. You led me right back into drugs and I did them that’s the truth of it. Yet you had a hand in my down fall that doesn’t affect you at all? I was trying to beat you yes but I also was trying to do the best I could to be a new me. A man that could work right beside you and be just as good. Am I not good enough to be your brother or equal? I’m a addict Chauncey not a plague victim. I want to be CEO just as badly and you can’t stop can you? Dani is none of your concern you aren’t going to come near my twins or me after this man. I just want answers to why? Why do you hate me? Why do you always want me to fail? What have I ever done to you so deeply that you are so hateful to me man.” Jackson asked as he folded his arms. “Why didn’t you come to Spain to see me so we could fix this or try?”
Chauncey had no choice but to sit and listen to Jackson and he honestly had never thought about it that way he remembered the first time that he was really pressured to be better than Jackson. They were just kids they were playing with an Erector set and Jackson had built the bigger and better tower, his father of course had entered the room and made a big fuss over it. In that moment he always wanted to be better but there was also the favoritism from their mother that killed him when Maddie was born that was his worst moment. Logan died giving birth to her and he needed both of his parents there when she died. Yet it was taken away by Jackson on a bender with Cat at the time and his mother automatically went to his aid that hurt him so deeply. He knew what he pushed Greer to do with Dani was wrong it led to so many things but at the moment he wanted to take away the one thing that mattered to Jackson his happiness. Something he was insanely jealous of if he was being honest with himself, he just expected Jackson to go back to drugs and screwing Skye and he would get all the glory again. He would fade off into the sunset and he could get the glory that he always felt was earned as CEO to see Jackson threaten that shook him to lash out in the worst way possible.
“You want to know the truth because when I was at my lowest when Logan died, mom was never there like she should have been she was off with you helping you on one of your benders. Dad was always pushing us as kids and I never thought about it like you worded it in your letter in rehab a conditioning as you put it. It was just his way of doing things. Then last year happened and for once I was jealous of you.” Chauncey said finally unleashing about Logan and that was the truth seeing Jackson happy in love with Dani reminded him of what he lost with Logan all those years ago. Seeing him doing good in business was threatening to the one thing left he felt that he was good at being CEO of DGI. “I was jealous that you were happy and you had the woman you loved while I didn’t. I never had to worry about you knocking on the door as CEO when you were high and off doing God knows what because I always thought you didn’t care about DGI or being CEO. Then Egypt happened and you won and dad of course had to call and gloat about it. I told Greer to find out a way to break you two up. I figured you’d just start doing coke, fuck Skye and start lying to her about it just like you have every other time in the past. I never and I never thought it would lead to Dani getting kidnapped. You have to believe that. I didn’t know how to face you in rehab knowing that time I was part of the reason you were in there to be begin with.”
Jackson listened to Chauncey speaking about his insecurities and he honestly felt bad for him. He never thought of the reverse element of what Lowell did to them. Chauncey always felt like it was someone on his back and he felt like he would never be good enough. As he listened to him apologized for being the catalyst for the kidnapping. His lip quivered as he asked him to believe him and he didn’t know if he could. He had done some much to him how could he just forgive and forget. Furthermore he knew he had done some horrible shit to Chauncey. His bender with Cat when she overdosed and he was nearly dead himself. He took his parents away from his brother during one of the most trying times in his life. That made his heart hurt because Logan always told him they’d fix their relationship. She believed in him and it hurt him that Chauncey never believed in them.
“I hate how badly we’ve fallen apart as men and brothers.” Jackson said with a sadness shaking his head. “I want my damn brother and I want you to stop hating me. I want you to be better and I want to actually be able to come to you and say I have a problem without you using it against me. I don’t trust you, and I don’t know if I will. You have constantly belittled and tried to tear me down. Chauncey how can we get past this because I’m sick of hating my brother. I’m sick of going to family events and you throw shade at me. I want nothing more than to see you and actually feel happiness. Secure that you won’t slit my throat to get ahead. We all want to be CEO Chauncey but now I want it even more. So I can be your boss and show you that I’m just as good and I can be better. Chauncey I looked up to you until you started treating me like shit. Do you know what you and dad did to me mentally? I am screwed up man and I want you to know that. What hurt me was your constant attacks it made me do things that lead to the kidnapping. All this could have been avoided if you didn’t manipulate my life with that bitch. Chauncey I want to win dad’s approval too did you think of that? I want to have a win for once with SandStar and I did it. Couldn’t you say good one little bro? How about this you want to have what Dani and I have well don’t marry Natasha. Marry someone who will bring the best out of you. That isn’t that girl.”
Chauncey looked over at him and he honestly wasn’t sure he could fix what was going on between them so much had happened and he knew that he was on a path now. A path he wasn’t sure he was going to turn his back on, he craved the power that came with it. Greer had opened up something inside of him that he wasn’t sure he could just shut off even when it came to family. The thrill that came with being dark was something he wasn’t sure he could turn off and he didn’t think he wanted to turn it off either. When Jackson mentioned how mentally screwed up he was he felt bad, he had assumed it was just boys being boys when they were younger. His father encouraged it and now it was just like a second hand afterthought. When he said that he wouldn’t be allowed to be around his niece and nephew though that stung he had never denied Jackson a relationship with Maddie. He was not about to just roll over and let Jackson steal that CEO seat either. He thought about what he said about Natasha and then shook his head he still didn’t get it, it was his only play that was left.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever be close like that Jackson there is too much there between us. I have nothing left now that Greer exposed what I was aiming for. I no longer have dad’s approval or anyone else in the family and I’m not about to just roll over and let you have the CEO position because you want it all the sudden. You know you claim to love me but yet you’re willing to cut me out of your children’s lives the irony of that is not lost on me. Even with everything you have ever done to the family and me I’ve never kept Maddie from getting to know any of you.” Chauncey said and he couldn’t help the sneer when he said it despite all his brother’s claims he would bet deep down he had just as much darkness in him as the rest of them. Egypt proved that that he was just as willing to be just as dirty as the rest of them. “I have nothing left to lose now so as you can see marrying Natasha well it wins me both dad’s affections back and that seat that I was earned. Her being around you to be a thorn in your side at the energy division is just a bonus. I learned the hard way that in the real world things change in an instant and you can’t count on love to be around forever. Are we done here now? I’d like to make a few calls to some investors that haven’t completely jumped ship.”
Jackson nodded his head as he felt his anxiety rising and heart mending all at once. How could he let Chauncey around the twins? He never had a damn good thing to say about him and knew he was being real. That hurt him and he knew it but at the end of the day that was the cycle right? They would never be real brothers because a company and years of sadness and turmoil. He would do anything to tell his father how much he failed them and unleash his anger out at him. Sometimes anger was the only thing Jackson could communicate. He nearly killed Zerick earlier just because of his accusations but those accusation were killing DGI. He knew he had to do something and he had to get the conversation turned around to DGI’s favor. A light bulb went off in his head but he didn’t say anything. Instead he chose to hold it to his chest for now because Chauncey was hungry for a win. Some sort of win even if it was a false win.
“Yes you can go. I don’t think we can say anything else to each other man.” He said honestly. “We both want the crown and I hate to say it. I’m glad that woman exposed you because you’ve made this much easier big brother. I’m not bragging I’m telling you honestly. You’ve made it so that I’m going to be the victor in all this. I won’t have to do much to upstage you now because what am I showing up? The constant downfall of Chauncey Devonshire? You know maybe I’m wrong but are you trying to help me win the gold.” Jackson said snidely as he stepped back. “I have tried Chauncey to fix this. I’m going to hold you to the fire now that I finally have the upper hand and I have nowhere to go but up. This was enlightening Chauncey it truly was to see what you think like. Even more so to see you truly are jealous and I am actually always going to be quicker and faster than you big brother. I’m going to take you down once and for all and maybe then after I prove to you hell to the world. I’m the one. I’m the one all along.” Jackson said passionately as he walked away and to Dani. “Let’s go to Dylan’s party. I got what I needed. Me and Chauncey will never be brothers and I have to say for once I’m alright with that. He still thinks he has a shot at being CEO. He still wants it so game on whatever is going on with dad he’s going to have to pick a successor soon. I have a idea let’s go, I’ll tell you in the car.”
After the party from hell that Simon and Talia hijacked she was ready for a redemption party. Hell something like that could ruin her business but she was still the apple of everyone eye because the party was decorated epicly. That was the one good thing about everything that happened at the DGI party. She adjusted her De La Renta skirt and her crop-top was Chanel. Teasing her hair a little in her car Merci loved the blonde locks it was a different look but it was cute on her. As she applied a little lip gloss on and slipped into her Jimmy Choo six inch heels. Wrapping a Stevie Nicks shawl around her arms she was ready. Opening her car door it was all in the past right now because it was time for a date. Although she wasn’t quite type of date they were having at his house. It was something cute because Devin was creative guy. She was excited to hear about what the basketball team was doing this year. Walking to the door she knocked on it with a smile on her face when the door opened.
“Hello, handsome.” Merci did a spin so he could see that she wasn’t a snack but a full course meal. “So I bought a bottle of a wine and your house is really nice.” She said almost shocked it was modern and very clean. It didn’t scream normal bachelor pad it was much more chic and fresh. “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but most men don’t know how to decorate it’s good to see something so nice. I guess you are different Officer Thompson which is always a pleasant surprise. So what are we doing at your house that this is the most fun I’ll have with you.” Merci said playfully as she leaned against the wall smiling at him.
Devin had been planning the night since their encounter at the bar and even called in his uncle for a favor on the matter, the best chef in town from La Callie had the night off and Tony sent him over. He opened the door to his brownstone and smiled at her taking the bottle of wine long with her wrap when she came in. When she mentioned the decorating he let out a laugh in truth that was all his mother and sister. Rochelle was off in Los Angeles finishing up her fellowship for nursing and when she was home she did help him decorate the place. His mother was always over in one form or the other while his dad worked a lot so in turn since she was an empty nester she took to looking after him and decorating his bachelor pad. So he couldn’t help the smile that came to his face when she complimented it.
“Shall we head into the kitchen to open this? Thank you can owe all this to my sister and mother, Rochelle comes home on breaks while studying for her RN and my mother as an empty nester needed a hobby.” Devin said eventually he wanted to introduce Merci to his parents but he hadn’t even really told them they were dating yet. His mom was still perplexed about why he and Miranda had broken up. Even though he had told her numerous times that it was not going to work out because neither was really ready for a real relationship. She was not ready to move on with him after KC and he wasn’t in love with her like he should be. “I hope that what happened the other night at the DGI party wasn’t too bad for business. Jon said it was quite the spectacle to be a part of minus the very bad drama that happened. You don’t believe it do you what Zerick is claiming?”
“Of course not I’ve been around Lowell he’s bossy and white guy business scary.” When Devin looked at her with a smile confused she laughed. “You know intimidating and that swagger that I’m a fucking billionaire, but I don’t get rapist from him. That’s the truth but here’s the thing I didn’t get liar from Zerick either. It’s like we are getting piece of both story and they both are sticking to their guns.” Merci said as she walked into the kitchen slowly and seductively. Leaning against the marble on the island. “No my business is secure but I have to say it was embarrassing for a event to be hijacked like that. It won’t happen again and if I see that bitch Simon and Talia. Baby that’s why she was so flighty the day of the party. It makes perfect sense now she was about to expose two traitors.” Shaking her head she couldn’t believe all that. Greer daddy was sent to jail so the bitch went insane on Devonshire for some embezzlement? Lowell could have set that man up but not rape.
“I don’t want to talk about that party I’m moving on. I have a new event that the town is going to be buzzing about. Forbes Montgomery is renting La Callie for a entire night which is very very expensive. He’s making some big announcement coming up and he wants the town’s elite to be there. This is very hush hush and he’s even inviting some actually interesting guest. So I’ll make sure you are my date and it smells amazing in here? What did you cook?” She said flipping her hair with a smile. The ambiance of the moment was quite sweet. The candles, the food, and them actually getting to know each other. “Hey I have to maybe apologize to Miranda, I honestly see why she was pissed I was invading her space with you. Quite smoove Mr. Thompson.” Taking the wine glass from him that he poured her.
“I think you just have to let it slide if there was any legal repercussions you could take I’m not sure what they would be. I can say Jon said he was itching to throw Forbes out when he started that shit if it makes you feel any better. As long as your clients are still calling to arrange parties I think you are good.” Devin said walking into the kitchen area he knew she wanted and answer about what was going on and he had every intention of surprising her. He couldn’t cook to save his life and he doubted she did either so they could learn together. “Forbes is throwing another party count me in as long as it means I can throw some cuffs on him should the occasion call for it. Just kidding I promise to not be all cop when I am there.” He said seeing her look at him and he let out a chuckle to break the ice further.
“I happen to know a very good chef down at LaCallie who was willing to loan me one of his best understudies for the night where we will be preparing a dish. I can’t cook I live on take out it is not something my momma passed onto me. That I think went to my sister.” He said picking up the hand written menu Tony had send over and he couldn’t even read half of it. It was all in French which was not something he had ever studied and she saw her looking at it too. “In truth I haven’t ate half of this but the chef went out to because of an emergency at La Callie if he isn’t back we can start without him. If you hate this let me know I wanted to do something different for you. I figured you had went to fancy dinners and movies before with Kendrick and others. I’ve never hired a private chef for a cooking lesson ever so I figured this would be good for both of us, unless do you cook like at all?”
“Do I cook? I live on take out too!” She said laughing at them both being horrible cooks. “I’m far too busy making the elite of Atlas Falls parties perfect. I think honestly that stunt at DGI helped me so much. Now everyone has been blowing up my phone. They somehow think that they’ll have a party by me it will be lit as the Devonshire one. No not all my parties get featured on Page Six.” Merci leaned against the counter. “So you learned how to make all these dishes and you’re going to teach me? This is about to be really fun.” When he brought up Kendrick her body stiffened because she spent a summer mourning him. Twisting her finger in her hair she sat on a bar stool. “Kendrick and I did go on a few dates and they were fancy but I’m not looking for that. I want someone who I can be their girl and I don’t have to worry about his rivals blowing a cap in my ass. Sometimes I feel like it was a mistake to get involved with him and others I feel like it was the best ride of my life. It was freeing being with a man like him. He was straight forward and kept it real.” Admitting that it was fun was hard because he was gone.
Merci looked at Devin’s face and smiled. “But talking about my ex’s isn’t cool on our date just like you shouldn’t be bringing up Miranda. Or at least my ex who happened to be killed a couple of months ago. Most guys only want me for the sex but it’s refreshing to be around you. I know you want the body but I also know you want my mind.” Slowly standing up seeing that he had stuff all out of the refrigerator. “So tell me what do you want with me Devin because I’m much more of a action girl.” Her voice dripping with sex. “Let’s start because my stomach is growling. I’m hungry.”
Devin laughed with her feeling more relaxed when he heard that she didn’t cook it was always so hard to tell with women. Miranda did because she had Quinn to take care of so she had to cook he was never good at it. “It something Tony came up with I just told him we would try it. I burned mac and cheese from a box so we may not even make it out of this. I think you will get out of page six eventually if you book a few gigs coming up you could be on the front page. The party was amazing by the way i saw the pictures in the paper you should be proud of your work.” He paused when she mentioned Kendrick it was ok to talk about him and it was okay to talk about the circumstances of the shooting he strongly believed that it was the only way things would change. “You won’t have to worry about someone coming to cap you with me. I think mistakes happen to everyone Merci but he was a big part of your life.”
“I was really happy when I saw you at the trial in the back after we talked before it. I know that had to of been hard on you just like it was for Kendrick’s family and Jon’s. Kendrick made an impact in his community and if anything I hope me and the other guys at the station that decided to step up and continue that do his legacy proud.” Devin said softly it was something that he was proud of that he and a few more of the guys made it their duty to help in that neighborhood at the youth center. If only for basketball and a few other sports someone had mentioned getting a flag football league going next year. “I think the only way to make things better is to make sure that we take an active role and open up that line of communication. What do I want? A girl I can have fun with for a bit this time last time it was so heavy. I was semi stepfather and friend at the same time so something a little more chill would be nice for now is that ok?”
“That’s fine Devin.” She said smirking. “I just want a guy who is real and if that’s you then we vibing honestly.” It was funny Skye had hit it big with Thor and she was now talking to a cop. The irony wasn’t wasted on her. She never sold her body like Skye but she did at one point only mess with men with money. It was all about what they could get out of a dude and they had no mercy on them. Men would spend thousands on Merci and she didn’t mind. Now she wanted to find someone who she actually could grow to care about. She wanted to roll her eyes Quinn was really cute but she knew he wasn’t going last with her. Miranda and Devin were like friends in her opinion. It wasn’t like a relationship it was two friends coming together to be together. It wasn’t real and what passion did they have anyways? Miranda was a stripper last year so that was a good gag.
“I think that’s dope that you still have her home near Scottwood projects and it’s in the heart of the community. It’s good someone cares about these kids. I was one of these kids at a time. Yeah my house was right off Malcolm X Drive. I stayed in a group home there with Skye matter fact that’s where we met at. We were scared and I saw some black girls about to jump her for some bullshit. So I jumped in and protected her and we fought them bitches together back to back. People question why I’m close to Skye well that’s why. We are sisters without blood and I hope you know to deal with me is to get her. We are a package deal.” Merci stood up in the kitchen. “I’m a bad bitch who has to learn how to cook so teach me something Devin.” She laughed walking to the apron placing it on and handing him the other one. “What are we making?”
Devin took the apron from her as he picked up the menu and the instructions it was mostly in french though he recognized the ingredients from the pictures his uncle had provided and even he thought he couldn’t screw this up with pictures included. He was then reminded of the time at a family barbecue that he was left in charge of the hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill which ended in black burgers and crispy dogs. Needless to say he was helpless in the kitchen and outside of it when it came to food of any kind. He grabbed a skillet from underneath the island and placed it on the stove while he went to the fridge and got out the ingredients that Tony had left in labeled compartments and boxes. He wondered why his uncle hadn’t partnered with something like Hello Fresh or Sun Basket or why DGI hadn’t ventured into that market he supposed that was why he didn’t go to business school because it seemed like a huge headache.
“I think we are supposed to slice the butter and add it to the skillet. Or do you think we chop all these vegetables up first? I think I have a chefs knife around here somewhere.” He said as he laid out the ingredients and then began looking through the drawers and saw her doing the same when he didn’t find it he turned and saw her holding it. He couldn’t help the smile that came on his face at her it look wildly out of place on her in her fancy clothes and gorgeous hair and he relented she could chop. “I see you found it, you are in charge of chopping. I can I guess prepare the meat. I think it would help if this was written in English for some of the methods. I think it is great that you and Skye are sisters in that way that’s how I feel about Jon. We aren’t blood brothers but he is my bro in every way that matters you know?”
“Yes we are supposed to slice the butter in the skillet and brown veggies. I watch the food network I think I can do this. It’s labeled and numbered. I see times for everything we got this.” Placing the butter in the skillet she placed the veggies inside as it melted. She laughed as she looked at him wondering how he must feel about Jon. “I never thought what it must be like for you a black man standing up for Jon right now. During all this shit storm wow I was a problem and made his life really hard. I feel bad for him in my interviews being the tearful girlfriend didn’t help him at all huh?” Devin made a look that made her know that she was telling the truth. Was he checking her out? She saw him looking at her little booty. She wanted to play with how far they could go tonight. Merci seductively walked up to him at the fridge never paying attention to the veggies. She ran her hand through his curly but kinky beautiful thick brown hair. He was so handsome and she wanted to kiss him at that moment. For some reason she couldn’t resist. Leaning up she kissed him and showed him she was ready to move forward as friends and more. Hell he wanted something light and exclusive that sounded her speed.
As her tongue explored his minty mouth she pulled back removing the apron. She grabbed him by his and pulled him to counter of the island and kissed him deeply. She felt his hand on her bare skin of her back. Wrapping her legs around his waist they hadn’t stopped kissing. She loved this moment that first electric surge between two people. Merci gasped as she grabbed his belt buckle and felt him throbbing to get out then she thought about. “Wait.” She said kissing his lips smiling at him. “I don’t want to be just a hit it and quit it. So I’m going to calm all this down.” She laughed as she dug her hands in his pants. “And believe me when I come I’m always ready. I’m glad to see you are too.” Pulling her hands out of his pants. She coughed from the dark cloud of black smoke coming from the skillet. “Oh my God Devin a fire!”
Devin had been wanting to focus on cooking but it was a little hard not to stare at her in that dress while she was putting butter and veggies in the pan. Mentally he swore however he was going to be a complete gentlemen about their evening together. He would treat her better than she had in the past and he supposed that was the way he was raised to show women respect the last time they made out when she had taken off her dress at the bar came to mind. Instead the moment she kissed him this time he went for it wrapping his arms around her back and running his hands over the smooth skin on her back pulling her closer as he braced himself against the fridge. He inhaled the scent of her perfume and his hands wandered down further to her skirt, the aching between his legs growing with every motion and when she pulled back to stop the encounter he could barely breath looking down at his half open belt. He listened to her say something about being ready and eh couldn’t help the smirk before his nose smelled smoke and they both looked at the veggies that had burst into flames on the stove. Pretty soon the smoke detector was beeping and gently moving her aside he reached into the pantry for the fire extinguisher and sprayed it over the pan looking at the mess now on the stove.
“Saved by smoke. Though now I have no clue how to clean this up safely and I may have to Google that part.” Devin said looking at her as he looked down at his pants that had almost fell down to his knees and he pulled them as he smiled at her laughing. It was nice when she laughed too and he sat the extinguisher on the counter, leaning into her he kissed her again slowly pulling back.” We can go as slow as you need Merci and don’t apologize about wanting to stop alright? Dinner is officially shot now though so maybe some takeout and we can get to know each other better or I can always call in a favor and get us a table somewhere, up to you.” He said running his thumb over her cheek for a moment before stepping back before he took her in that messy kitchen to let her decide their next move.
“No let’s go in that beautiful backyard grab the bottle and call takeout. I think that is the perfect idea.” Merci said walking to him pulling him by the tie. Pulling his head down. “I said slow but that didn’t mean that I don’t want to kiss.” She said seductively. Pulling his lips to hers by the tie. “That didn’t mean that I didn’t want to touch and feel. I just want the first time to be special between us. I have a feeling that this will be very special. You know?” She said as she seductively bit on Devin’s bottom lip. Letting him go she walked to the counter picking up there wine glasses and the bottle. “We are going to take lessons soon okay that’s a deal because what are we going to do live off takeout? No we have to do better.”
Merci laughed as she sat down in a large lawn chair that stretches out. She placed the glasses and bottle on the table by them. When they both were comfortable in the chair she handed Devin glass. “I love Chinese it’s a favorite of mine so maybe Chinese and the stars and a cuddle and a makeout session. I think that would be a perfect date.” She said raising her glass. “Cheers to a night of us getting carried away and getting to know each other better. Oh and vowing to go to some cooking classes or something.” Biting her lip she laughed running her hand through her hair.
“Mi amor here is some coffee.” Sebastian sat down by Max and Rory. Passing a cup of coffee to Rory. As he touched Max hair and saw how scared she truly was. He hadn’t lost his parents but this was a rude awakening that they weren’t immortal. Wrapping his arm around Max he slowly rubbed her back knowing she was keeping her emotions in tact. She was angrier right now and all he could do was show love. As he looked around the Devonshire’s looked beat down. Chauncey was sitting away from everyone. Jackie was pacing excessively. Jackson was so angry. Rory looked lost in the pain of the situation and Bliss was trying to keep them together. It was a mess and looking at Max he saw why she ran from this. What peace could she get from all the drama of the Devonshire’s. Looking at her face he turned her chin and leaned in kissing her lips. “That man is too stubborn to leave right now mi amor. You have nothing to worry about none of you yes?” He nodded his head trying to get her to see how optimistic people were for their father recovery.
“All of you stop it. I have heard of this man’s legacy and hell the world knows how much of a fighter Lowell is. No matter what the media and people are saying you know your father. He isn’t the monster the media is painting him out to be. Whatever Zerick is after with this claim we will stop it. You all know he isn’t your brother we won’t let him ruin DGI. I think it’s possible that we need to do a press conference to address all this. You guys have to get in front of this or else DGI could go under and that isn’t what Lowell would want right?” He said to them all. “No matter who betrayed who family is family. You all need to band together right now or else this could be the end of your family company.”
Max had been so relieved when their father came out with their mother in what looked like good spirits but it was the first time she really looked at him. He had lost weight since she was gone over the summer and he seemed more frail and she could tell that Bliss had caught onto it as well. Something was going on and she got that her mother was trying to remain strong but on the other hand she was being shifty about what was going on. He was up and being wheeled around for now and then David had informed them all that he had to remain in the hospital at least another week or two for observation. The good news was that their father was alive and her mother had taken him into the room to rest. Rory had left to the lobby to make a few calls. Jackson had left with Dani to Dylan’s party and she only hoped they didn’t kill each other so it was her Bliss and Zerick who had left and then come back. She rose from her seat going to the window and taking a sip of her coffee and then smiled at Sebastian who had followed her. He had really stuck it out all week with her and she was so grateful for that and this seemed like a good time for them to connect as well., she knew his parents were still in Spain.
“Thank you I know you are trying to help with everything sometimes we fight like cats and dogs but we’ve always been able to handle it. My mom has always been the glue and this time I don’t know if that glue will stick the accusation against my dad with Zerick seems so far out there. He’s capable of some shady shit I’m not denying that but Sebastian rape? Women threw themselves at him and yes he had affairs on my mother.” Max said it felt nice to finally talk about it with someone that she felt like she could trust that the family could trust. She would have never been able to have this type of a conversation with Philip he would have found someway to turn it against her family and go to his father with the information. She took another sip of her coffee and watched as Rory did the same and get up from his seat to pace while they waited out the day. “I think mother will reach out to have Talia handle the press conference when father is feeling up to it, not before. Right now we’ll follow my mother’s lead. You didn’t have to stay here all week I know you have other things you wanted to do on your trip here.”
“This is what I wanted to be doing Max. I am secure with waiting here with you.” Sebastian said looking at her in the eyes. “You aren’t used to people just being here for you? I’m sure your father is ready the way he roared at that bottom feeder you guys are ready for war. I was going to ask you Max if you don’t mind, I would like to extend my trip indefinitely until I know you are alright. I came to America on business but after all I also happen to be chasing after the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Isn’t it good to be rich and run your own company because you can tell them when you are going back to work. I can handle anything from here that comes the wineries way here. So if you thought you were getting away from me then you have another thing coming. Mi amor all families have there strife and I see that it’s just your time to endure. It gets dark but if you really have love behind it then Max, you all will get through this.” He touched her neck rubbing it lightly as he leaned down and kissed her lips. “When we get back to the hotel room I’ll run you a bath and light some candles you deserve it.”
Sebastian pulled her closer to him as he watched Jackie and Lowell speaking to David and some other doctors. “If you don’t mind I’ll have no problem helping with DGI and the recovery of the stocks. This is a all hands on deck situation and I do happen to have a business degree and own one of the biggest vineyards in Spain. I know I can assist and be a asset but if you are apprehensive I understand because after that Greer situation. I do think that I can bring a fresh eye so if you just want me to bounce ideas off I’m here. I’m here no matter what Max.” She had been through a lot considering her sister and ex-husband were together. That was painful and no matter what Max had to say. “As for now let’s be grateful your father is up no? I should call the driver and get us something stronger than coffee to celebrate a bottle of champagne?”
Max appreciated him for looking out for DGI in this moment when instead he could be focusing in on the wineries and his own meetings he had while he was here. She nodded her head at Rory as he left the waiting room to what she assumed was to get some air. She wondered how much longer he would actually stay in the states he had a temporary visa at the moment for six months and her mind wandered what would happen after that. In truth she didn’t want him to go, and that realization made her stop and look at his sense of humor in these times her father was barely up and moving which was a celebration where he was from. She had learned that in Spain they celebrated everything and she meant everything. Someone got married a party, someone had a birthday a party, someone made a good business deal a party, someone got out of the hospital a party their cultures were very different. She went to say something else only to see her mother enter the waiting room and Bliss rose from her seats to greet her.
“You know you keep talking all sexy to me in that accent and in Spanish I may just have to never let you leave America. We can celebrate my father’s recovery later at the hotel in private.” Looking at him she smiled for a moment and then leaned in kissing him before moving away from the window to her siblings and she grabbed Bliss’s hand. They still weren’t super close as sisters should be but they were working on it and that was something she vowed to change with them to get a strong bond again. They were going to get there after all Bliss had helped her when the gun went off with Philip it was her idea to come up with the story and they had all escaped jail time over it. “Mom how is he? What is going on no one is telling us anything at the moment. Tell us what to do with DGI what is our next move. What does dad want us to do?”
Jackie had left Lowell’s room again he was resting now he was getting winded from all the visitors and for now she was going to tell them all to get some rest they would pick things up in the morning. She had finally convinced Lowell to tell them with David’s encouragement it was time, his health would only deteriorate from here and it was better for them all to be in the loop. Especially with that Zerick was insisting was going on, she had tried so hard to push his claims away and she would continue to do that as long as she could. She was still holding onto that small glimmer that was inside of her that it was a terrible lie. To the point that she had texted Katie’s doctor begging for a copy of the diary her sister was always ill. She always kept a diary but to name Lowell as her attacker? Maybe she was overthinking things Lowell had started his affair with Audrey that night and as she approached the girls and Sebastian she took a breath.
“Your father is resting for the night, he wants you all to be here in the morning after David has monitored him tonight. The party sent him into a seizure and with everything going on from that he needs his rest to face what he has to tell all of you in the morning. It looks like you all could use a good night’s sleep as well.” Jackie said as she wrung her hands in front of her and she could already tell what they were both thinking was he going to die. The truth was yes he was going to die but it wasn’t going to be tonight David assured her of that so that was not a lie she would have to tell them. “Fox needs a nice evening at home in his own bed Bliss you look like you need rest as well. Max you need rest too your father has a plan in place that he will tell all of you in the morning. I will find Rory, Jackson and Chauncey and tell them the same he is not going to die tonight. So you all can go home and return tomorrow where we will tell you everything.”
Bliss looked at Max and Hunter her lips quivered as she clutched down on Max hands. Squeezing tightly she felt Max squeezing right back. They were holding each other up right now and that’s what mattered. This wasn’t some fluke thing and he would be back to his cankerous self. This was serious and the look of exhaustion wearing on Jackie’s face she felt her heart sink. It was when she said the word die she knew that he was dying. Was it cancer? Some sort of genetic illness? What had happened to the vital handsome man who came to see her every holiday? She gasped a little as she started cry shaking her head listening to Jackie. Fox did need to be at home with Hunter and her. She looked at Max and wiped her tears from her face.
“Sebastian can you please see that my sister is safe tonight? Hunter and I are going to the mansion to get Fox from Maddie and Olivia the nanny.Then we will be back first thing in the morning.” Bliss exhaled softly as she let go of Max and then quickly leaned in hugging her again. Turning around she looked at Sebastian and smiled at the man before her. This was the type of guy Max needed. Something about him calmed her down and he was very much on the line of men who knew how to tame a hellcat like Max. Her sister loved the darker edges and the typical bad boys. However Sebastian was mysterious without being bad but still have that air of danger. It was cute because they were really into each other. Bliss wondered if the love bug had bitten Max and Sebastian hard in Spain.
“I can do that Bliss and Momma Jackie I give you all my love senorita you are in my prayers at night.” Sebastian said standing up ready to get out of the hospital. He always felt like spirits surrounded them from death to sadness it never was good energy as his abuela would say. She hated the hospitals and she died from a simple illness if she would have went to hospital antibiotics would have saved her.
Bliss walked to Jackie and hugged her and for some reason said the only thing she could say. “I’m so sorry Jackie we’ve been yelling and fussing are you okay?”
Max agreed with her sister and nodded her head at her mom she wanted to make sure she was alright. It had to be weighing on her everything that was going on with their father on top of Zerick’s claims. She leaned into Sebastian knowing that he would take care of her for the evening and then in the morning they would know what was going on. “Yes mom are you alright?”
Jackie looked at them both and nodded her head at them for now she was alright there was nothing more to do about it other than wait for Lowell to tell them. The Zerick part would come afterwards though a DNA test was not needed or she hoped it wouldn’t be. On the other hand she wanted to see the journal herself and at least make a visit to Katie to talk to her in person about her claims, her sister had no reason to lie. As for the fighting that was at least the entertaining part of the day in what was a bleak situation with their father. She nodded her head at both of them wrapping her arms around them in a hug before pulling back.
“He’s awake so I’m alright now. David assures me the staff will watch him like a hawk here tonight and after tomorrow we can discuss when he will come home. Both of you get home and get some rest. I know you both are doing what he wanted at DGI while he is gone.” Jackie said encouraging them with a gentle push before turning and walking back down the hallway to his room. Tears springing to her eyes as she passed one of the nurses before composing herself when she reached him room. Not today, today she needed to be strong tomorrow the tears would come.
Tamara placed the last streamer up as she looked around the private room. Everyone would be here soon to celebrate Dylan entering high school. It was dual purpose for her. She was in rehab when her son graduated 8th grade. She hadn’t forgotten that and tonight was to celebrate him. Dani and Jackson promised to come, Kelsey, Brock, Walter, Zach and Mason. She understood Dani and Jackson were dealing with Lowell illness that had shaken the town to core. Everyone was wondering if he was going to survive and honestly if that man died it would send Atlas Falls in a tizzy. Placing down Dylan’s gift a watch her father gave her to give to him when he was old enough. Tonight was going to be special we were here to celebrate him. She saw how much he was affected by Maddie being hurt about Lowell. Hell Maddie that poor girl was dealing with all these accusations and she wondered how Chauncey and Selina were dealing with that. To be honest she was glad Braden and Selina were divorcing because honestly her son was in tabloids and she hated it.
When she turned around she laughed seeing how tall he was. It was crazy what a summer had done to him. He was also a ginger something that Walter said came from his father. Her family had a few gingers but to see her son wow he was so handsome and he took her breath away. Walking up to him she wrapped her arms around him and smiled. “I know I’m embarrassing Dylan but you are my only child. I have to honor you and I wasn’t here when you graduated so this is my way to say I’m sorry I missed it. Not only that but the family is coming to party with you.” She saw him charging to his presents which made her chuckle. She punched Braden arm and smiled knowing he was going for his new guitar. “How did we get so lucky to get such a good looking kid? I mean look at him he’s perfect.” Wrapping her arms around herself it was cold in La Callie. “I’m sorry I’m just emotional about how great you have done with him. I have hurt him so much and you have protected him. He’s still a kid a mature kid but a kid.”
Braden had hung up his phone as he looked over the party scene everything at the office was good the gang activity had strangely ceased for a few weeks he knew it would shoot back up but for now he was glad about a break. He scrolled through his Facebook seeing that Lowell had awoken from seizure and he felt a relief which was strange seeing how he couldn’t stand the Devonshire’s. He watched as his father entered LaCallie followed by his mother, things were better now that they were divorced he could feel it between them. He was glad that they were getting along now if even for moments like this with Dylan. He shook Tony’s hand as he walked by towards the private room at LaCallie, that was awkward earlier in the week when he had called for a room. He could tell that Selina leaving had affected her family when Tony rented the room to him, he could have told him no. He watched as Dylan went over to the gifts and he nodded his head at her. Despite them and their past they had a pretty great kid that was turning into an amazing young man. He was ready to be over and move on with his life with Selina and she had been served a few days ago meaning it would be sson. He had thought about that part the moving on part.
“The room looks great and everyone will be here I promise I haven’t heard of anyone cancelling or not coming. This is something that I know means a lot to you since you missed the party we threw him while you were gone in rehab.” Braden said knowing that had been a hard spot for her when she had went away. Life didn’t stop for that though and he had tried to keep things normal for Dylan’s sake. He thought about that over the last few weeks making things go back to normal and ever since Tamara had moved in it had been on his mind, even though he knew that they couldn’t be together right now he wanted too. It felt freeing in that sense that everything would soon be over with Selina to make that step. “I know this makes him happy. I wanted to let you know first Selina received the papers yesterday after the party she should have no problem signing. Look at them not fighting for like the first time in over twenty years.”
Tamara held it in her eyes were pooling with tears because she honestly messed up so badly last year. David and her were ruined because honestly was jealous about Selina and Braden’s marriage. The drugs were to numb her pain about losing something she thought she deserved. She wanted to hurt anyone but Dylan and ended up hurting her son the most. Touching the table she turned to him and took a deep breath. “You know I heard Lowell was out of his coma. That is a relief for Maddie she was really torn up. That kid has been through a lot and although she is very um vapid she’s oddly grown and deep. Our kid has that too and I guess it comes from them seeing too much to soon.” Selina, could there never be a day when she didn’t hear that vain bitch name? She hated her so much and honestly that was the most painful thing. She had a piece of Braden that she never had and ruined him with it. She married the man she still held a torch for and threw him away breaking his faith. Biting her lip Tamara wondered what he was telling her that for. She was living with him and they had fun as a family but she knew that was over. Her heart stung though think he was sort of insinuating something could happen?
“It’s actually scary after all these years they are freaking being nice to each other. It’s good though after all the drama and stress they both went through. I’m trying to be a fly on the wall on some of those convos.” She paused thinking how to question if he was alright. His relationship with Selina was a big part of his life. He loved Selina even while in love with her. That was a powerful love and here she was watching it fall apart. The irony wasn’t wasted on her. “I think it’s for the best you two were very hateful when you saw each other. I knew you were mad but man that was quite the sight. So what’s next for you I’m still looking for an apartment Braden. I mean you are a bachelor and I think you should explore and find yourself. You know meet someone and not always have a epic romance for the ages. God look at Walter and Lauren they didn’t have a epic romance it was failure in every sense of the word but they got you two. Sometimes you can just have fun.” Tamara feeling proud she spoke the right thing. Watching Brock, Kelsey, Zach, and Mason entering. “I want you to be not weirded out to have your baby momma at the house where your new lady might be.”
“I think they’ve both adjusted pretty well considering everything they have been through as kids, kids are resilient that way. I mean look at me and my sister, or you. We’re all survivors and I know that wasn’t what we wanted for Dylan but he is that way because of both of us. You’re a survivor too.” Braden said as he watched his cousins arrive and greet his parents he wondered if Tamara had sent out invites to any of her family for the event. She had given up a lot when she moved to Atlas Falls from New York and one of those things was the distance between herself and her family, he was responsible for that. He was the one that convinced her to stay at AFU when they were in college that year that she wanted to transfer to NYU. They began their relationship afterwards while he and Selina were on the outs. “I know I haven’t said it enough since you were in rehab but I treated you really unfairly over the years enough that you got pregnant with Dylan when I know you wanted to go home. I put you in the middle of me and Selina over and over again.”
“I don’t want you to move out.” He said as he saw his mother approaching them and smiled at her Tamara had nothing to worry about he wasn’t ready to jump back into the ring with anyone and if he was going to be with someone it would be her. It was something he had been thinking about for months giving them a real go this time to fix their very broken family, he was still waiting for word about her nursing license, the board was taking their sweet time on the matter. Even when he had taken money out of his savings to pay off people to expedite the process to reinstate it. Something she did not know about and he wondered if she would look at him differently if he knew. “Mom I’m so glad you could make it. I know being around dad sometimes right now is hard for you. Dani hasn’t called or anything to say she and Jackson weren’t coming right? I know they have a lot going on with Lowell.”
“No, no, no she said he’d rather be here actually.” She said softly as she smiled at Tamara and Braden. They were such a beautiful couple once upon a time and it was hard on her to see Braden leave Tamara at one point. She didn’t want him with Selina but she also didn’t want him lost in the fantasy of Selina. It was good it all happened the way it did because she honestly thought he learned a lot from being free from Selina. He learned that he may want his family which was the most beautiful thing in her eyes. As she touched Braden and Tamara shoulders she nodded at them. “And don’t worry Walter and I know we will have to deal with each other for the rest of our lives.” She said smiling looking at Walter she walked over to the hors d’oeuvres table picking up some and smiling. “I wish everyone come on so we can eat I’m starved.”
Tamara smiled at Lauren as she nibbled on the food and she looked around at everyone mingling. She wished her family could come but her sister was a nurse and couldn’t get it off. Her parents were on vacation so she was all alone on another important family event. When Braden apologized to her she felt her eyes watering she wasn’t going to cry. Honestly that was important to hear because she wanted to go home to New York badly after school. However she got pregnant with Dylan and Braden convinced her to stay in Atlas Falls. She didn’t regret it but she sometimes wondered what there life would be like if she moved to New York with Dylan instead of staying here. She reached over and touched Lauren she was brave because honestly it killed her to know Braden loved Selina more than her. For years Lauren dealt with that and she was still dealing with it.
“I was just teasing Braden that he’s about to be the most eligible bachelor in Atlas Falls and taking Brock place. I just want to say thank you to you Lauren because your son has been helping me heal. I have received so much love from him to get on my feet this time. I know that I disappointed you all by relapsing and what it did to him. What we did to him.” She said looking at Braden letting her know she heard him clearly. “I just want to say thank you Braden because sometimes I spent years saying this is what I wanted us to be a family. Although this isn’t the way I saw it but never in my wildest dreams would I think that I’d be living his house right now. Waking up and fixing them two breakfast and they eat ravenously Lauren.” She said softly looking at Braden and she then caught herself because she shouldn’t be looking at him like that.
Lauren watched them interacting and she snickered because it was clear as crystal they were falling for each other again. Not only that but she saw how they were looking at each other. It was so cute because she truly didn’t know if they knew it yet. “Kids I’m going to tell you something. You both are young and have a lot more life ahead of you. I hope you two don’t wait too long to see what I do.” She said taking a bite of a small piece of steak from the appetizer sampler.
“Mom you worry too much. I can assure you that this time my eyes are on the prize.” Braden said he wanted to make the announcement public when the rest of his family was here he was going to let them all know that he was going to ask Tamara for a second chance. He didn’t have to pretend about his marriage anymore to Selina because it was over and there was no looking back for him with that. She had made her choice with the prince and he was going to make his. He let out a sigh of relief as Dani and Jackson entered, when they finally reached them he hugged his sister and as a peace offering held out his hand to Jackson. “I’m sorry about what happened to your dad. I’m also really glad you guys could make it. Mom is starving.”
Dani was glad to get away from the hospital finally after Jackson and Chauncey had finished in the hallway she still cast Chauncey a look as they left. She didn’t press Jackson about it on the way over but she was glad they came. It gave them both a mental break from everything going on with Lowell and Zerick’s claims and she watched as her brother offered Jackson his hand. She cast as glance as their father approached them and gave Tamara a hug. “No problem I know this meant a lot to the both of you to do this for him. You look really good Tam.”
Jackson was happy to get away from the hospital from what he found out from his mother they would find out what was going on tomorrow. Which was a long wait into morning but right now he needed something relaxed as this. A good kid getting some cool ass gifts that he and Dani got him and everyone basking over the twins. He shook Braden hand he saw Dani winking at him and he smirked. Looking at Tamara he agreed she was stunning right now and actually had something new about her. It was her looking happy and it was her making the choice to be happy and sober. He knew that feeling and he understood that feeling.
“Yeah you do tonight is for Dylan he’s a cool kid a really good one. He’s really concerned about Maddie which I appreciate they have that relationship. My niece is really stuck right now between a lot and he’s helping her through this entire thing. So if Dylan ever needs anything please don’t hesitate. College or anything going forward.” Jackson said looking at Braden nodding his head.
“Thank-you both. I’m just really happy Dani to be honest. You’ll see soon when you hold those two babies in your arms. You just want to love them the best you can. You want to give them what you had and better. You want to be better and for a while in my addiction I forgot to give Dylan better. I won’t forget this time. I won’t and I will give him the best I can be. You two are so lucky twins oh that’s so beautiful do you two know what you are having?” Tamara asked looking at them as they smiled at each other. “Braden you didn’t tell me that they were this cute my God.”
“We are having a boy and girl.” Jackson said grabbing Dani hand kissing. “We are really blessed.”
“I know you are and yes we’re pretty excited. Also no names are still under lock and key.” Dani said smiling at her mother, Tamara and then at Jackson. She knew Tamara was happy and had agreed this summer that it would be hypocritical to not be supportive since she was with Jackson. Her brother she also knew was falling for her again and even if she wanted she couldn’t hate that, she felt the twins kick again and smiled at her brother. “Well get this show on the road. Mom is not the only one starving.”
“Alright, alright pregnant lady has spoke.” Braden teasing as he grabbed a glass from the long table and tapping it as the low conversations all died down. “Can everyone please take a seat?” He waited for a few moments as he saw Kelsey run in and take a seat next to Brock. Mason was with Zach. His parents sat on opposite each other and he held out Tamara’s chair as he then remained standing. “A boys graduation from junior high should be celebrated by everyone that loves him and wants the best for him. So thank you all for coming. Tamara and I have worked really hard the last few weeks to throw this together and I know how much this all means to Dylan to have his whole family here. It’s also the perfect place that I have an announcement I would like to make.” He saw his father giving him that look and no he wasn’t proposing to Tam he wasn’t that tacky but he was going to ask her to publicly move in and start again. “As many of you know for various reasons Selina and I will be finalizing our divorce shortly and if Dani getting kidnapped taught me anything life is too short to look back. So Tamara I wanted to know if you will stay at the house with me and Dylan permanently. I don’t want you to move out and neither does he. I want us to start over now that we have the tools to maybe make it work this time, what do you think?”
Tears formed her eyes as she heard him speaking. Her heart was heavy because The Fraiser’s were here listening to Braden declare he wanted her to stay. Not only that he wanted them to be a family after the divorce. She inhaled as she tried to stop the tears but they flowed down her face. She touched his hand as she gripped it and felt her heart in her throat. Nodding her head at him “I think that’s the best thing I’ve heard.” Her thick Brooklyn accent coming out. “I’m so grateful at this chance. I won’t let you two down do you hear me? I love you.” She said looking at Dylan and speaking directly to him. “I’m so ready for a new start.”
“Ma!” Yasmine laughed clapping her hands seeing her in a stunning white gown. Next week was her awards ceremony. Her mother had done some important things at the women’s shelter and was being awarded. She heard one of her mother conversations with other hookers and drug users. It was potent and powerful to hear how she overcame her addiction. Not only that she talked about a man breaking her down and that hit her hard. Her mother was broken by a man and that’s how she got into drugs. A piece of her wondered if she was weaker would that have happened to her with Rory? Her mind drifted away to Rory and she badly wanted to reach out to him. What was she to say? She was sorry that his dad was in a coma and she was a bitch these last few months? She was standing on how badly he hurt her. Pulling out her phone from her pocket as her mother walked into the dressing room to change into another gown. Quickly she texted Rory saying how sorry she was about Lowell. Pressing send she slipped her phone into her pocket as she clapped again when he mother came out in a royal purple gown. “That’s it ma!”
She clapped her hands as she saw people rushing to them. All of the sudden the lady who wouldn’t even look at them was pulling more gowns for her mother. Her eyes scanned around the room it looked almost empty in a very crowded Renards. “Ma something is going on. It’s like they closed the entire store for us or something.” Standing up she peaked around the corner and found herself face to face with none other than Forbes Montgomery. She smiled at him and figured everyone forgot about them in the back. He was the reason the store was closed after all he had to money to close a million dollar business with the quickness. “Mr. Montgomery I know I wrote you a personal letter saying how much I appreciate your scholarship it’s truly changed my life.” For some reason she saw his eyes pooling up with tears. It was shocking because he looked scared of something. She turned around when she heard her mother shriek.
“Momma?” She turned seeing her shaking like a leaf in the wind. “What’s going on?”
Forbes stood looking at Trisha and not really focusing on Yasmine at the moment. “It’s time Trish.” Walking to the fitting room he sat down as he looked over at Yasmine.Forbes had something sinister planned and if he didn’t clean up his past then it could blow up in his face. Not only that he wanted to have a relationship with his child. After all these years Yasmine deserved to know she wasn’t a stripper but a Montgomery. Apart of one of Atlas Falls pioneering families. She wasn’t a Scottswood street rat much like the people in that damn neighborhood. “I gave you that scholarship for two reasons. I believe you are one of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen and I owe you Yasmine. For years I think that I made a horrible mistake, and I ran away from my responsibility letting your mother take care of you when she shouldn’t have. I have to say honestly that I wouldn’t have known how to handle some of the things you faced. I am a white man in America I understand my privilege. She taught you so much but I think she didn’t give you something that I think you deserve Yasmine. You deserve the world and twenty dance studios.” Forbes said sitting down as he saw Trisha face she was scared. “We have to now Trisha.”
“What’s going on? You two know each other? Wait did you get my scholarship for me momma? That’s amazing why didn’t you tell me?” She asked seeing her mother tears in her eyes. “Ma it’s okay whatever is going on. Man what are you doing to my momma she’s silent. Trust me this woman didn’t teach me to be silent so what’s going on.”
Forbes signaled Trisha to come sit down by him and once she did he looked at her. “Talk to your daughter and let her know what is so hard for me to say. This isn’t easy for me because I never knew how to raise someone African-American. I never knew how to tell you or come back and get you after all you been through.”
Trisha had been enjoying the shopping date with Yasmine but knew something was going on when the store locked the front doors a rare day at Renards. She had always known this day would come she just wanted more time before and she also never wanted to tell Yasmine the truth either. The things they had went through over the years could have easily been resolved by telling Yasmine the truth and reaching out to Forbes but instead she had been selfish and hidden her away had made sure that she was only the one in her life. She was fairly certain that if the truth ever came out Yasmine would hate her and now she had no choice her daughter was smart and if she hadn’t picked up on all the hints that he was dropping she would in a few moments. She looked into Yasmine’s eyes and felt her own pooling with tears finding her throat very dry in the moment of truth, she wiped at her face as she reached for one of the sparkling waters on the tray in front of her. It was almost too much she badly wanted to call her old dealer and get something good to make it all go away.
“I have something to tell you.” Trisha managed to get out looking over at Forbes hating him for forcing her hand like this with Yasmine. She saw that her hand was shaking with the bottle in her hand and she played with the label at any time she could have changed their circumstances at the very least Yasmine’s circumstances. Forbes was her father and he would have sent them money or taken her to Europe with him abandoning his other children, but he would not have helped raised Gina she was not his. It was a choice that she had made and now she could not take it back her lip quivered as she looked at her only surviving child. “I wanted to tell you the truth so many times but I thought I was protecting you. He wouldn’t know what to do with you, his other children wouldn’t have accepted you.” She stammered she wanted to say more how Audrey hated her but instead she bit her lip and shook her head as she watched what she was saying sinking into Yasmine’s head. “He’s your father.”
Yasmine’s lips quivered as she looked at them both back and forth. Then she clutched her hand in a fist. Immediately punching Forbes in the face. She didn’t know what else to do because he had her so fucked up. She screamed loudly as she looked between them again. She looked at him holding his jaw as she felt a surge of a rage and screamed again. “You have to be playing right? My fucking father is a millionaire and you never called him? You never fucking called him my sister could be alive right now if you called him! Told him what was going on and what we were being subjected to?” Yasmine screeched at them. Then she turned to Forbes. “You are saying that you didn’t know how to raise me because I’m half black? You fucking raise me like you would Philip and Cassie!” It hit her quickly that Philip Montgomery and Cassie Montgomery were her half-siblings. God Philip saw her stripping and he forced her to keep stripping right along with Kendrick. That was sick.
Yasmine stepped back as she sat down flabbergasted at what they were telling her. “No this is a joke or some shit right? Please tell me you both are playing! Why wouldn’t you come for me? Why would you help me? God I needed you so much in my life and I had no one! Kendrick replaced you in many ways because you were a ghost. You were a phantom and I thought you were a trick. Like she didn’t know who my father was but all along you all knew who my father was and you both just lied. You both failed me over and over how can I be from you both? You are crazy to think that I’m supposed to sit here and listen to whatever bullshit ya’ll going to spit at me. This was about you two shit not me. You two never thought about me and what I deserved but fuck it I don’t want shit to do with either of you. Stay the hell away from me both of you.” Yasmine began to walk away.
“Sit your ass down.” Forbes growled holding his jaw. When he saw Yasmine freeze in her tracks he walked to her and looked at a breaking Trisha. “Calm down don’t do a damn bump because she’s pissed.” He saw she was shocked at his frank tongue and he smirked. “Where do you think you get all that moxy you have girl? Do you think it comes from Trisha? She’s emotional but you have a rage that you can’t control. A fire sometimes that you don’t know how to control? Well that’s the Montgomery genes in you Yasmine. Now if you sit down you’ll understand that I failed you but that doesn’t change I fucking love you no different than your siblings in Mexico Joaquin and Xiomara or Philip and Cassie. You are my daughter and if you give me the chance I will make up for every pain you’ve ever felt. I will repay you the most because I did fail and I can admit a mistake my dear. I can’t do that though if you are distant. I can’t do that if I can’t trust and grow a relationship understand?” He said looking at Yasmine.
Yasmine stood shaking as she looked at the man who brought her into the world with her mother. “Ma how couldn’t you tell me! Why did you two do this? Did you care what happened to us or me at least.”
“Of course I did but I let someone get into my head to make me think because you were biracial I wouldn’t know what to do with you. I was quite foolish back then and I also couldn’t bring home my mistress baby into my home with my wife. Yasmine I’m not perfect nor is your mother and I am sure she did the best for you but it wasn’t good enough. Neither of us did good enough Yasmine and I want to make the rest of your life very special. I want you never struggle or suffer and if you don’t mind I want to give you the life you were born to have. I care about you and if you give me a chance and forgive us both you will understand it was different. You don’t love me let me show you. Let me show you that you should.”
Yasmine walked to her mother and hugged her weeping saying she was sorry. She melted into her mother’s embrace. She didn’t know what to fucking feel right now. She was pissed that was for sure but here was this man offering to be her father after twenty something years.
Trisha pulled herself together when Forbes mentioned her wanting a bump he could be so cruel sometimes and that resolved her to not give into him to show him how weak she truly felt. She stood up from the couch after hugging Yasmine and glared at him. She may of been a junkie but he was the one that made the choice to stay with the red headed bitch that was fucking Lowell. When she knew that he wanted to be with her, her body at night, she was the one that he told his secrets too. She held up her hand to him when he went to speak again and she got her resolve together. “Shut up. I told you that I wanted this to come out the way I wanted it too. Yet you couldn’t resist now could you? I gave years to you on my back thinking that it was some epic love story but I knew better. I wasn’t about to let you poison her against me.”
“You tried to poison Cassie and Philip against their mother you would have done the same to her. You wife would have never accepted Yasmine so don’t pretend that you ever would have given up your precious Audrey for her. Audrey who never had and ounce of loyalty to you since she continued her affair with Lowell for years.” Trisha said looking at the shock on Yasmine’s face the truth of the matter was people in town treated Audrey like an opera saint when in fact she was just the woman that used power to turn two friends against each other. She took a sip of her water and then a deep breath calming herself. “When she asks for distance you give it to her or I swear to God I will tell everyone what I know about how she came to be. You let her own brother watch her get naked on a pole so don’t pretend to care. You’re doing this now for you since Lowell is down striking him again with her is a way to get revenge on him for her loving Rory. There I said it she is still in love with him.”
“No I’m doing this because I have a ace in the hole against DGI and Lowell.” Forbes said looking at his daughter and Trisha. “I did this because I can’t let her pine for Rory anymore because soon DGI and Rory Devonshire will be a memory. I’m planning on decimating them one by one and I don’t want my daughter in the crossfire at all. So what I’m saying is I want a relationship with her and I know I can be cruel but that is something I do want. I have admitted that I let Audrey influence my choices and decisions but right now I’m asking for a opportunity Yasmine. I am asking for both of your help to do this because I have always been apart of my children lives. I know I am not the nice guy you most likely dreamed your father was. But I’m me and hopefully that will be enough for you. All I can do is show you with what I have how much I want a relationship with you. Money and influence will help your life and career Yasmine. I am behind you as a dancer or a executive at MontCorp. This is what I want for us to be a family to be a legacy together.” Forbes said looking at them both.
“Trisha you know that I have always loved her and if you can admit one thing is my concern about what type of life she was going to have. Without the legs up and I’ve been there and she did reach out. You never had a horrible Christmas and birthdays weren’t bad until she got hooked on drugs. Want to know how I know? I sent money Yasmine for you and I wasn’t horrible as she makes me sound. Audrey was a disloyal but my heart wanted what it wanted and it kills me now to think that she had the best of me when I gave you so little.” That was the truth although Forbes didn’t want to admit it. “Yasmine please I’m asking for a chance to be your father. Or us at least get to know each other.”
“I want to.” She said looking at her mother’s shocked face. “I want to know you Forbes you are my father and it’s really sick you didn’t stop me stripping for Philip but he never came onto to me at least. Do they know?”
“No they don’t but I’ll be informing them.” Forbes said looking at her. “Trisha can we all go to dinner or something now? Please you both give me a opportunity to make this right.”
Trisha shook her head at him he was always so charming at times and this was one of them. “Let me get out of this dress and then yes dinner.”
Forbes walked out of the dressing room and immediately had the workers of Renards sweep in and all the dresses Trisha was trying on he bought for her. As a apology for his ugliness honestly Trisha was more loyal than Audrey ever had been. He didn’t want to lead her on because he was married currently and he was sure Trisha didn’t want to be a mistress again. That would truly push her over the edge but to indulge in her again would be amazing. He had always had it bad for this beautiful woman. They were volatile at times but that passion he couldn’t find it anywhere else. When one of the shopgirls informed him of Yasmine having a lot of clothes she tried on he waved his hand. They weren’t expecting to get any of this but it was the least and the start of showing how he did feel badly. Letting Yasmine go for Audrey was one of his biggest mistake and no one would tell him it would hurt this way. Seeing her so furious at him and Trisha and hurt it all hurt him. Cassie and Philip were his elder children and he didn’t know how it killed him to see Philip in that damn wheelchair.
“Come ladies.” He said as a group of women came around the corner with all the clothes that Yasmine and Trisha even looked at. He had bought them all and fifty thousand was nothing for the women. “Did you all want any accessories? Purses? Sunglasses? Makeup? It’s at your disposal right now take advantage of it before we leave. Minks are over there.”
Greer removed her silk scarf as she entered the elevator of her father’s condo complex. Her hair waved over one side of her face covering an eye. She strutted to his apartment her first time out since Talia and Simon exposed them. She had been in hiding and didn’t want to be seen, to be honest. She knew that was for the best she got word that if Dani sued her or took any legal action Chauncey would go down also. Which meant that they were all clear because Jackson wouldn’t let his brother fry in the big jailhouse. As she exited the elevator she walked to her father’s condo. She knocked and when he opened she hugged him for a long time. It was good to be Greer LeClerq and not Greer Westwood. Touching her father made her feel like all the fear of what was going to happen go away. It was time to regroup and that’s why she was here. She needed to figure out how to get back into the Devonshire rank and take over. Before she knew it she was overcome with emotions as she started to cry.
“I’m so sorry papa I failed.” She said wiping her eyes as she touched his hands. “Papa what are we going to do? I have lost any chance of becoming Chauncey wife and I’m not pregnant yet. What are we going to do the plan has a contingency that I was with Chauncey. He won’t want me now that I’ve exposed his greed and manipulations. That bitch Talia screwed everything up and I’m going to destroy her life.” Unfastening her Burberry trench coat she hung it in the closet walking to the bar pouring herself a drink. “Please tell me what I am going to do. I’m afraid of losing what we’ve already accomplished.”
Pierre had laid back in the shadows of the shadow and watched as Forbes threw down his trump card and had sent a text to Tess to let it play out to go along with Forbes scheme. It had been quite the party and even had watched as Talia and Simon had exposed Greer’s misdeeds in public it was a setback and he had been wracking his brain on the next move. Chauncey was a creature of habit the problem was his engagement to Natasha had thrown things into another complication. Duty was something that Devonshire’s prided themselves on it was the only reason Jackie had stayed with Lowell these years. Chauncey was not going to be so easily swayed and now that Greer was not pregnant they had to think of another card to play. He hugged her when she started to cry, crying over Chauncey of all people and part of his anger towards Lowell simmered because of it. He pulled back from her handing her a tissue.
“Pull yourself together Greer he is not worth the tears, I doubt he is crying over you as well. The interesting thing about Talia and Lowell’s dog exposing you, this all could have gone differently with dear Danielle years ago, Harvey loved her mother so. Why had Lauren picked your uncle you would have had an ally a cousin to conspire with.” Pierre said he turned to the television as they announced that DGI would be coming out with a press release to refute the claims, as well as a new app, was launching soon. He then picked up the paper DGI stocks were still steadily low and he furrowed his brow as he looked over at her she had failed to secure the last name. “I am planning a visit to DGI to make sure that Lowell knows I am out now, he is weak after his episode two threats will have him spinning. Are you certain that you have lost favor with Chauncey completely?”
Greer had been wondering that exact fact herself. Her father thought she was crying for Chauncey but it was more the disappointment that was embedded in his eyes. Losing her mother was enough How out of favor was she to Chauncey? Natasha was perfection in his eye right now because she was the good one. However, she knew his body like she knew her very own. Natasha would never give her body to Chauncey like she had. Nor would she satisfy him because she was a prude. Chauncey needed a freak. Sprawling out on the couch as she crossed her legs looking at him. To be honest it would take time to get back in Chauncey good grace and he would try to attack her before the good times happened. Sex had brought down empires and she knew that she had cast a spell on Chauncey. No matter whom he slept with they wouldn’t be competition. Ever since she hadn’t been with Chauncey she had thought about him deeply. She hated herself for even still caring. It was crazy that she fell for him but she hated how they ended.
“To be honest I don’t know. I know you don’t want to hear how deep I went undercover but I made him feel so good he will need me. I am the devil on his shoulder he can’t get enough of and honestly we’ll find our way back to each other. I just have to play my part and I assure you Chauncey will be back under my spell. So what I’m saying is give me time and I’ll secure the last name father.” She said taking a deep breath. “I haven’t forgotten my mother and I won’t. I won’t forget that Agnes Monroe sacrificed her life for mine. I understand that father and I will get our revenge one way or another. If I have to go after DGI anyway I can.” Greer said softly wondering if he believed her. She would avenge her mother. “So what’s next father? Let me help you I’m sure I proved myself if Simon and Talia didn’t expose me. I would have eventually been Ms. Devonshire way sooner.”
“Keep an eye on him, for now, we’ll figure out a way to get in his good graces now I actually have another task for you. If I have anything to say about it he won’t be marrying Ms. Hassan and even if he did, you’ve trapped him. Men are subjectable to great sex once they receive that he is no different.” Pierre said as he picked up his phone and looked at the text from Forbes. Part two was in play Greer at MontCorp was the next step in his plan making Forbes believe that he was a team player. That was the key so that when he and Lowell were to busy fighting each other, which he assumed would be tied to Lowell’s last days sooner rather than later he would swoop in and take over DGI or at least the game at hand. “Our dear friend Tess still has something up her sleeve we just need to be patient. Chauncey will need you then trust me on that, be there when he does and keep that carrot dangling where we want it. He publicly humiliated you and himself the chase is something he will not be able to resist.” He poured her a glass of bourbon and handed it to her.
“You are to report to work at MontCorp in my stead. I trust you here and I have travels I need to take care of over the next few months. You will be my eyes and ears, play along with Forbes games, let him think you are on his side and report everything back to me. We will avenge your mother.” Pierre said as he took a sip of his own drink and knew to broach the next subject with care, he needed her head in the game and not sidetracked which included that poor construction worker. Not that he thought Brock Fraiser would be anything more than a fling to his lovely daughter and he wanted to make sure she understood that before he returned to Paris for a spell. “I want your head in the game this time meaning no emotional distractions you are a grown woman you have needs, don’t get caught up in lowly construction worker Fraiser while the true goal will always be to become Chauncey’s future wife so we have a share of DGI. Can you handle that my dear?”
“You are saying that because you are neighbors,” Greer said looking at him rolling her eyes. “I don’t find broke appealing. Do you think that I’m that foolish? Brock is something to infuriate Chauncey and that’s the truth and I am not falling in love with either of them.” She lied with ease. She truly did care about Chauncey and she was worried about him. This was going to either make him much more brutal or change him. Either way she wasn’t sure was that was what she wanted. As she grabbed her purse she nodded. Playing a spy again didn’t seem appealing but she also knew Forbes was arrogant. He thought because of all his connections he was untouchable. She was going to do anything to help take down both the Devonshire’s and Montgomery’s. “I’ll stay in your place while you are gone. That’s exactly what will happen because I’m not done with Chauncey. I’m going to have him begging to come back to me. I’m going to use Brock to do it.” Standing up she walked to her father hugging him. He knew he was leaving to get more on Forbes or Lowell. His scheming never stopped and she had to remember that.
“Give uncle Harvey my love and tell him I’m fine.” Touching his shoulders. “You are far too handsome of a father to be alone. When will you find a romance because my mother wouldn’t want a parade of women in your bed but one to love and take care of you.” Touching his face she smiled at him. “I have to leave, I have to find Merci because I plan on crashing Natasha and Chauncey wedding and every event. I also heard a baby shower is coming up for Dani, I want to give that bitch a gift she’ll never forget. I’ll see you when you return.” She kissed his cheek and walked to the door grabbing her trench coat, and sunglasses. As she walked out of the apartment Greer felt a relief flowing over her. She was afraid her father would hate her for the failure. Walking to the elevator she wrapped the silk scarf around her head as she jumped when she felt someone touch her shoulder. Turning around she saw Brock Fraiser standing there in workout gear. Taking off her sunglasses she smirked. “Please don’t lecture me on what I did to your beloved cousin. She deserved every moment now and what I’m going to do to her next will make leaking her medical records look like me giving the world a report card.” Stepping on the elevator with him. “She should have never placed her stubby hands on me. God, she honestly thinks she’s better than me. Blander than me more like it.”
Brock had been working nonstop on that house for Jackson over the last few weeks to get it at least ready for after the twins were born. Meaning he had to hire extra help it didn’t come cheap and luckily the Devonshire’s were footing the bill he hadn’t spoken to her since that night at the party when he learned what she did to Dani. He remembered that time with Dani and how much of an asshole Lex had been how his cousin was unstable for it afterwards and that shit wasn’t anyone’s business but theirs and he knew from then on she and Greer would never get along and he wondered if while he found Greer attractive, if he could ever be all right with that side of her. His parents had raised him right and despite his cousin being a brat sometimes family was family when it came down to it and he followed Greer on the elevator and listened to her rant and he shook his head at her. She was lucky the only thing she got out of the exchange was a black eye.
“I wasn’t going to lecture you, you’re a grown woman that loves to play games no matter whom they hurt. Do you understand the mental anguish you put her through what that entire ordeal did to her the stress it put her under, the kidnapping? It wasn’t your business to tell the media let alone twist what happened to her and if you ever thought about being her friend after this don’t hold your breath. She has reason to hate you now and the only reason she didn’t pummel you is that Jackson drugs her off you to protect those cousins of mine.” Brock said looking at her and when the elevator doors opened and some stubby older woman wanted to get on, he closed the door before she could and looked at Greer’s stunned face. No one messed with his family he didn’t care what their last name was and he was hurt by her because he honestly thought they had fun that night up until then but she had been playing him too. “Try and go after her again I dare you. You may think she’s bland but I assure you she can go toe to toe with you how did you think Lowell hired her in the first place? You know the worst part I actually thought we were having fun that night together that you actually wanted to I don’t know to try something new. And boy was I wrong.”
Greer gritted her teeth. Everyone bet on the urchin Dani and to be honest she wasn’t in the mood to play fair. Dani had attacked her and no one got to do that without feeling her wrath. He was really mad at her and she hated it because he was fun. Brock the type of guy who seemed to be all about family and that was endearing. Sucking her teeth she wouldn’t take a threat to her father or uncle so Greer understood but Dani ass was grass. She was going to feel what her rage felt like. Touching his arm she looked into Brock’s eyes. “Nothing that happened between us was fake. You knew I brought you there to get under Chauncey skin and you loved it. Now we won’t play like I’m just a horrible snake. I just manipulated a lot to get my end results and those were getting revenge, Brock. Haven’t you ever felt blinding rage? I hate Lowell Devonshire he stole my father’s companies and my mother died because of him. The stress and agony he caused her.” She placed her purse under her arm.
“Oh, you think I have to sit here and listen to you tell me what a wonderful person Dani is and how she’ll kick my ass. I would have torn that boring pollyanna apart. I do what I want to whom I want and no one will stop me. Brock, you have a lot of nerve telling me what to do and want to be her friend? Ha, I will never be her friend understand that! I went after Dani because I wanted the Devonshire’s to suffer. What I did was horrible and I know that but sometimes people are casualties in the war. That’s what your cousin was to me, is another body to bury.” Greer pressed the button. “You don’t understand what that family did to mine. My father was imprisoned for ten years and I went without him. I only had my uncle and he was loving but I just.” She paused thinking of how she felt then. It was how she felt now actually. “I never got the love I craved and for once I was getting it in the oddest place. With a man whom I was sent to destroy so I lost something too last weekend. I lost the love and attention I crave.”
“You did bring me to make Chauncey jealous and your other ex Zerick and when I asked you why Dani had such a problem with you, you chose to not even be honest with me. You manipulated people in that situation to the point that a very dangerous man broke into her house and kidnapped her and yet you feel no remorse for that at all. You really are as heartless as the papers make you out to be, aren’t you? Your father is not the only person that Lowell Devonshire has trampled over on the way to the top.” Brock said he wasn’t going to put up with her antics he had no time for that drama in his life and if she did care about him she would see that going after his family was not okay with him. Her father was not the only one screwed over on the way to the top his uncle had to start over from scratch and it put a ton of stress on his family but they overcame it and he shook his head at her. She was so caught up in Chauncey and to him, that was so sad. “I do feel rage for Lowell but you know what I learned a long time ago there are some things that are more important than that, like family. At the fire department do you know how many people I have saved over the years that held onto hate and rage to then die with those regrets I won’t be that person.”
“Do whatever you want to Dani I’m just telling you she’s not some meek person who lets people walk all over her, you included. She can handle her own and doesn’t need me or anyone else to fight her battles. She’s still my cousin, still, my family at the end of the day and you need to understand that.” Brock said he was always going to have his families back just like when Lucy went to prison it broke them but they all rallied around her to make sure she knew she was loved. Or when those bullies in high school had gone after his sister for being gay he straightened them out too along with Braden. Or with Lex he paid that asshole a visit in person, it meant everything to him and he supposed that was the difference in them. “I do know what you mean by Lowell destroying lives and families he has done it for years. Chauncey isn’t worth your time or your energy and if that is the type of love and respect you crave then I honestly feel sorry for you. That is not the attention you should want and if your father put that into your head I feel even more sorry for you. A family doesn’t operate like that.” He finished as he watched the numbers on the elevator.
She just wanted to get off the elevator ride from hell. Here she was in full rage mode and here he was just telling her what to feel. Maybe he was right for a long time she had a toxic relationship with men. Greer always wanted to man behind the bars. It was what her father gave her a conditional love that was never normal. She was always looked as a weapon to come back around one day like a boomerang. Licking her lips she felt hot she didn’t know why she wanted to slap him. She wanted to kick him or do something to make him uncomfortable. Once again he was telling her how formidable Dani was. That might be true but the bitch wouldn’t get away with hitting her. A devious thought ran across her mind and her day all of the sudden felt better. “You might be right I should let bygones be bygones with Dani. I didn’t tell Jackson to store drugs in her home to get Kendrick over there to kidnap her. That’s a reach and yes the chain of events sort of lead to me. Yet we aren’t omitting that Jackson did everything illegal along with Jamal and Yasmine. Sorry, that doesn’t get traced back to me. That’s loose and any lawyer would rip your theory apart.” Greer said as elevator jerked sending her directly into Brock’s arms.
When the elevator stopped she looked up at Brock. Then pushed him back away from her. “Very funny is this supposed to be a joke?” She said snapping at him. “You have insulted me and I would rather gargle glass than to be stuck with you any longer!” Greer slapped the elevator doors. “Help! Help me!” She screamed as she turned back to Brock. “You have no idea how I was raised and what I’ve needed to do. I have had to reclaim everything that I have had. You don’t get to judge how I love and the only way I know how to love. Pain is a pleasure and sometimes I am ashamed I don’t know how to love someone normal. I seem to go after the men that are all wrong for me you think I don’t know that? You aren’t my shrink you are a jerk. A man afraid of a woman like me. Oh, I said it, you were walking around with me to goad your cousin. Look at me I can get a rich one too Braden bro oh Dani look I got that bitch at work you hate. You have no idea what it is like to be me. Don’t you ever and I mean ever talk down to my father. He suffered more than starting over with a damn Pub. He lost the love of his life and me and his freedom. You don’t compare it because it doesn’t. Sometimes I wish I was a normal Parisian girl. I’m not though and I don’t need you or anyone else judging me! I’m grateful to be that witch woman the media paints me out to be. I’ll always be more complex than Dani. I’ll always be the one who is wrong trust me I’ve come to that conclusion.” Greer said rolling her eyes. “I need to get out of here. I hate small spaces oh no.” She said starting to hyperventilate. “I can’t breathe!”
When the elevator jerked and they stopped he let out a frustrated groan before his phone started to ring. He picked it up answering it. “Yeah, Lenny I know about the power outage over at the Starling Condos I’m stuck in the elevator. Get the guys together and break it open will you?” Brock said as he nodded his head at his firefighter spoke to him and he looked at Greer. “You’ve been training a long time to lead should the chief have an issue with it I’ll deal with it when I get out of here. Hurry will you there is a lovely blond lady in here who looks like she is claustrophobic I’ll try and keep her calm till you guys can get the doors open.” He finished the call and looked at Greer small spaces and she didn’t get along and maybe he did want to show his cousins he could bag someone rich too but that honestly didn’t interest him and he knew it didn’t interest his cousins either. Even if it looked like that on the outside to other people, it was all in how they were raised. They were all raised to see past money and fame after Lowell outed his uncle from DGI and he bit his tongue it wasn’t just his uncle that was affected his family was too. His parents had debt afterward because they had been counting on the money from their uncle at DGI. “Breathe in and out through your nose slowly.” He said watching her calm down.
It felt like an eternity while they waited and as soon as he heard the prybars going into the elevator doors he smiled up at Lenny when they had them finally open and they threw down a harness, helmet, and the rope. He walked to Greer motioning for her to get in the harness and as she rolled her eyes he almost laughed. Helping her inside was a task but they got it on her. He made sure it was secure on her tugging on it a few times. He then tied an eight knot through the loop making sure the rope was secure before getting the helmet on her. He tugged on the rope twice and watched as his men pulled her up and into the hallway. He waited a fore moments before the rope and harness came back down for him. He got secure and was lifted out and then looked at Greer who was standing in the hallway staring at him still.
“We have a wreck over on 9th. Lieutenant.” Lenny said and he nodded his head at him.
“Get the men to the truck I’ll be down in a minute make sure all the other elevators are clear,” Brock said as he watched them all go before turning back to Greer. “As entertaining as that all was I have to get to my second job. I’m not afraid of you quite the opposite I find you quite fun and fascinating, I just don’t want to be a pawn in your little games. Your father went to prison and instead of trying to mend his relationship with you, he uses you and your self-worth for his petty feud. So to me, he’s not world’s best dad just like my uncle isn’t he’s quite the asshole too. Anyway, you want to keep being that you do that. I’ll see you around Ms. LeClerq.” Brock finished grabbing the uniform that his men had left for him and walking away from her.
Greer took her hair down from the ridiculous bun it was in. Infuriated that Brock just left her and didn’t give her a chance to respond. How dare he! Who did he think he was? Once again judging her and what did he know about her life? She shrieked taking off her shoe she threw it at him missing on purpose. “This isn’t over! Friday we are going to La Callie for dinner and you are to be there. I don’t take defeat easily. You don’t get to save me. I save myself!” Greer declared as she walked to him. “Now I’ve asked you out twice does that sound like a game?”
He turned back to her when he heard the shoe fly at his head. “I think I’m working late at the house how about this you met me somewhere a little less pretentious. I’ll meet you at the bowling alley at seven.” Brock said back it was league night and they were short a player. Plus sitting on Tony’s fancy ass restaurant was not his idea of fun for the evening. “Take it or leave it LeClerq you have my number.” He finished walking out the door to the waiting squad truck and getting in.
Tess walked into the hospital wearing a classic Chanel jumpsuit with white mink stole wrapped around her shoulders. It was a particularly chilly day in the summer months. It was showing that the weather was about to break. As she walked to the private sector of the hospital which housed important officials. For the last week, she had been given silence and she wouldn’t take it anymore. Last night she went to see Fox and Bliss was devastated. She had a real fear and that made her fear what was coming. Could a Titan about to fall? She couldn’t think of it. Lowell actually being sick she felt her stomach turning at the thought. Did she sleep with Rory of course but it was because he looked so much like Lowell. It wasn’t because of him. She wanted to be close to the man she needed more than anything. Jackie wasn’t the only woman who loved Lowell. She felt feelings she didn’t know she still had for the man when Bliss broke down in her arms last night. Her daughter was scared and it was clear something bad was going on. She might not be Ms. Devonshire but she deserved to know right along with the rest of the family. He should have stopped the relationship before she had two of his children.
Strutting into the family private waiting area she saw Rory pacing. He was early she planned on speaking with Lowell before they all showed up. Clearing her throat as he turned around. “I know I’m not your family but my daughter will need me today. I want to be here for Bliss and I need to be there for her. I have done some horrible things to Bliss and I want to start repaying her now. I want to be her mother and I don’t want to lose my child to Jackie. She isn’t Bliss mother and I won’t be pushed to the side today.” She stepped forward seeing Jackie talking to David Rhodes. “Tell me, Rory, how is your relationship with young Yasmine? Is she still enraged that I got a taste of her boy candy?” She taunted as she sat down picking up a strawberry for the family and taking a bite. “It was delicious.” Wiping the juice from the corner of her mouth.
Rory knew that when he got home the night before he had to do what was right and tell his father or the very least Bliss about what happened with Yasmine and Tess. It was time and the secret hanging over him did nothing but stress him out to the point he couldn’t focus on anything. He could barely focus on finishing up the app as it was and this was just something else that was weighing on him. He hadn’t even responded to Yasmine’s text from the night before about his father. She had made her choice perfectly clear when she had picked Khalil over him and he understood that now, it was his mistake to live with and he felt talking to her would open up old wounds again that he promised to erase. She wanted to move on and maybe it was time that he did too. He couldn’t stay hung up on her forever and he had such a good time with Aspen the other night maybe he was ready to dip back into the dating world. He had made his way to the hospital early to talk to his father alone without his siblings around and then became enraged when he saw Tess walk in like she actually had a place there. It wasn’t like she was related to them and he glared at her.
“You aren’t wanted here do you not have any respect for yourself or my mother? Bliss wants your old ass she can call you when she and Hunter are at home, she wouldn’t call you to be here to insult my mother right now. It must burn you a lot doesn’t it that my mother has been more of a mother to her than you could ever be?” Rory said snidely as he was looking at her grabbing the strawberries and munching on them like she owned them, a fruit tray that no doubt that his mother had got for the family. She wasn’t family as far as he was concerned she was a warm body for a night from hell when he was feeling alone with Yasmine and he had a fight. He made sure to keep his rage and anger in check as he looked at her. “Yasmine would wipe the floor with your old ass but she has too much class to get her hands dirty let alone waste her time with an old bitch that is dry like you. You had no effect on me Tess that should have been clear the moment I called out her name when it was over. More like revolting, you can go now like I said Bliss wants you for comfort she’ll call you when my mother isn’t around..”
Tess narrowed her eyes at Rory and felt the urge to smack his face. Standing back up she shook her head as she looked at him. “I’m not going anywhere. Little boy, you weren’t better than your father. That’s one thing I can say at least, he lasts and kept it strong. You three Devonshire brats all have the worst part of Lowell inside of you. Chauncey is power-hungry, Jackson is addicted to anything, and you are weak for women.” Her eyes dressing him up and down. “And where is Yasmine? Oh, that’s right she’s moved on with that handsome young strapping sports star. Look at you the son of the great Lowell Devonshire a punk bitch. Crying over a woman who will never want you again. I assured of that because I wrote Yasmine a letter detailing our one night. I’m sure she can’t get the image of you passionately making love to me out of her small mind. I had to make sure she got the point after you talked to me so pointedly. As for class, a woman who showed her body to the entire world isn’t classy. She’s foolish giving away what men will pay for so willing.”
Standing up she looked at him with a disdain. “You are out of your league playing with me Rory. I’m bored with talking to you. I’m going in there and demanding to find out what is happening to Lowell because I love him. I love your father and haven’t stopped it lead to me being with you. Listen I see you blame me for your relationship being dust now in the wind. I did not come here to fight with you or anyone. I came here for honest to God support. My daughter did reach out to me and tell me she wanted me here. You don’t believe me then she’ll be here shortly. I begged her to have a moment with Lowell. I just need to know he’s all right just like all of you. I spent my entire twenties, and thirties being with this man and I know you don’t understand. I was his mistress and I wasn’t the one for him. Not like Jackie.” Those words ate her up but she would have him soon. When she saw Jackie approaching them she rolled her eyes. “Jacqueline you are stunning really going for that worn and tired appearance. Darling let’s call a truce today my daughter needs me and I’m here just to be a support to Bliss. Just as you are to your four children.”
Jackie had gone to the private medical wing as soon as she had got there and after she had the fruit tray delivered so that they could all talk about Lowell’s condition. Make plans for the months coming up in a calm environment and then she saw her with her son and rage boiled in her. This was not her place to be here at all, she was Bliss’s mother that was enough but she was not family and she never would be. It took al the grace that her upbringing had taught her to keep everything in check when she looked at Tess Blisston and what she had stolen from her over the years. Lowell’s affections, his love and worse things that he missed with their children because he was off carrying on their years-long affair. An affair that was in her face daily now that she and Bliss had become close and she wouldn’t punish the girl for Tess’s choices. She’d, however, die before Tess started manipulating her other children with her games and schemes. Walking towards them she could tell Rory looked worried what was she up to now?
“Well it is better than being gaudy trying to win the affections of the man that still chose me at the end of the day but beggars can’t be choosers. Do tell us is that mink from last years line? Used goods as always I see. You have exactly five minutes to leave this hospital and me in peace or I’ll have security throw you out.” Jackie said looking at the other woman and she meant every word she didn’t get to be around for this Lowell telling the children, she didn’t get to pretend like she mattered to him or their family. Not today, not tomorrow and not when he was gone DGI and Lowell’s heart would always be hers from here on out and she was not going to have his final months spent wondering when Tess would show up to cause him more stress and ruin that. “Rory dear if she was bothering you don’t pay her any attention she was just leaving back to the hole she crawled out of, weren’t you Tess?”
Rory had been raised you didn’t hit women if you were angry with them and he never would but something about Tess set him off to want to kill her. He knew it was because of her constant blackmailing of what had happened between them he was so tired of lying about it to everyone that mattered in his life. He couldn’t tell his parents why he and Yasmine broke up because she was always looming and telling them it just wasn’t going to work with them he knew they knew he was lying. He had gone to bat for Yasmine against his father when he told him not to date her and he defied that so they could be together. Only for him to screw it all up with Bliss’s mother and he sneered at her when his mother read her. She thought that she could come in here and pretend to be his mother? Whatever she was smoking had to be really good to think that.
“It’s fine mom she and I were just talking about how she shouldn’t even be here weren’t we Ms. Blisston. You aren’t family and even if Bliss called to have you come here my mother doesn’t want you here and I know my father doesn’t so if you have any decency or respect you’d leave like she asked.” Rory said folding his arms and hoping she went away so it didn’t come out this way right now in the hospital while his father was likely fighting for his life or whatever was going on. When he saw one of the nurses rolling his father to them he looked at him. “Tess was just leaving, wasn’t she? Father, after all, there is no reason for her to be here is there?”
“I have every reason to be here!” She snapped at them. “You two might never understand that I have given my love and life to this man twice! I have given him just as much as you have Jackie and you don’t get to dismiss me.” When she saw Lowell look of disdain for her she had enough. She would cause commotion and confusion today because they were making her feel like she was nothing. She loved Lowell and he loved her clearly mistress or not she had his heart twice over. She had two daughters by him and they would know that soon enough. “You talk to him like he’s a little baby boy. He’s no baby that baby rocked me all night long like a grown man should. I had your son Lowell and Jackie in the most primal and carnal way. I’m the reason the stripper no longer wants him so you should thank me for him dodging that bullet. You have no idea what this is doing to me, do you? You think that I am just a mistress? I loved him in ways you had no idea he wanted. I was the woman who gave him pleasure you could never. He spent twenty years with me and Audrey and you stayed home. We traveled and did things while you were the housewife but I was the arm candy. I was the woman who helped him close deals because of my beauty.” She snapped as tears flowed down her face.
“So when I see my daughter damn near hysterical I need to know. I need to know if you are all right because I can’t get you outta my system. You have infected me and I don’t know how to live without you. So I’m sorry I defaced your son but I needed something of you. I needed to feel you again and he was the one thing I could grab ahold of.” Tess said weeping hearing how pathetic she sounded. “I’m sorry my beloved I need you to tell me you love me. I need you Lowell because you are all I know and the only man I have ever loved.” The pain of exposing herself so raw ate at her. Tess knew that this would forever make Lowell hate her but she didn’t care.
“What did I do to you,” Lowell said looking at the woman before him begging for a chance to just be his mistress again. “I’m so sorry Tess that I lead you on that we could be more than what we were. I never was leaving Jackie because she was my wife. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better father to my children and that includes Bliss. What I can not forgive is you sleeping with my son. How dare you do that as some sick act of love? You wanted me so badly you slept with my son that is sick even for you. I knew you were spoiled and selfish but never so wicked. He never did anything to you and did either of you think of how this would make me feel or Bliss? This is something neither of us would want to think of. I can’t believe you Tess was it worth it? Rory was it worth sleeping with your sister’s mother? God that sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer. You both should have done better but you didn’t and now look at this. Look at what we’ve become? I can’t even look at you right now Tess.” Lowell snapped as he saw Rory face of horror. “It’s okay son she seduced you no doubt about. Tess has always wanted to hurt Jackie and this is low.”
“Low? Low! I did it because I needed you again! I’m not begging I’m telling you that you will need me. Everyone sees it all over Jacqueline’s face. She is plotting her escape because she believes Zerick. She believes that you raped Katie all those years ago. I was her best friend and I was the one who held her as she cried about someone raping her. Yes, Jackie, someone did rape her but I don’t believe it was Lowell with every fiber of my body. Can you say the same? No, you can’t because you are disloyal. The media Lowell they have no doubt been keeping it from you everyone is saying Jackie is going to leave you and take half of your fortune.” Tess said knowing that she had to fight back somehow against the angel Jackie and try to get Lowell to see. He was being unreasonable. Rory was innocent in their one-night stand. “It was one night and she doesn’t trust you anymore.”
Jackie raged at her for even coming here and watching her beg for Lowell made Tess look even more pathetic than she had before, the affair still hurt her and seeing her like this was just tipping for her. Though Lowell claimed to not love Tess in that way she had always wondered about it and Audrey, why wasn’t she enough for him over the years, to begin with? She had his children, she raised them, she supported him when he would railroad people like Walter, Pierre, and Forbes all to be played for years. When she heard that she had slept with Rory though she felt ill as she looked at her youngest son and the shame on his face. She didn’t need the gory details enough to know that Tess no doubt targeted him after that fight with Yasmine and Rory being young was taken advantage of, she shook with rage at her and then looked at Lowell his affair with this woman led to this. When she had brought up Katie though she never denied that she was doubting some of the things that occurred that night until she actually talked to her sister she wouldn’t know the truth and before she knew what came over her she lunged at Tess. Pulling at the fake as mink as they both toppled to the floor. She’d been in her face for years and as she slapped her as hard as she could across her face it felt good to finally release that rage on her.
“I hate you! You bitch! You never could just leave me alone or my family even when he told you over and over again. Why don’t you just leave!” Jackie screamed at her as they toppled and rolled again and she felt Tess slap her back. She could feel someone pulling her off Tess and looked at her youngest son and saw Lowell staring at them. She adjusted her dress and wiped at her eyes as she saw the nurse checking on Tess and she glared at her husband she had put up with so much over the years was it too much to ask that he tell her to leave and not come back? “I want her gone Lowell now I’ve put up with a lot over the years but I won’t be disrespected by this anymore especially now. Tell her to go back to Europe she wants to reach out to Bliss do it from another continent. You ever come near my son again I’ll kill you Bliss’s mother or not.”
Rory had watched the entire exchange and he felt bad for Tess and he wasn’t sure that was possible and then he felt terrible for his mother the pain that was etched on her face seeing Tess. He knew he had disappointed them both as he looked at his parents and then over at Tess they had his back. He knew this could destroy his relationship with Bliss and in truth, he never thought about how it would affect them as a family, he had thought about his dick at the time and not anything else. He had destroyed his relationship with Yasmine over it and at that moment he knew he had some of his father in him and the looks on his mother’s face reminded him of Yasmine all over again. When his mother had attacked Tess he was so shocked she was always so poised and put together and when he saw it getting out of control he pulled them apart and look at his mother’s crushed face as she spoke to their father.
“Dad please just tell her to leave I fucked up I’m sorry about that and yes Yasmine and I broke up because of it. We were fighting over her involvement with Ronan and the drugs and how you treated her and she stormed out of the party. I was drinking a lot and she just came onto me and we fucked, it didn’t mean anything at all I even called out Yasmine’s name. She’s been blackmailing me ever since.” Rory said finally able to get it off his chest and he looked at his parents he wanted that from them for them to get Tess out of our lives. He saw his father actually considering letting Tess say and the mere thought made him sick to his stomach for him and his mother. “She’s a manipulative bitch who doesn’t care about you or Bliss dad. Regardless of what happened with Aunt Katie all those years ago none of us have all the facts and she’s just trying to manipulate you more by throwing shade at mom.”
“You are a little liar!” Tess screamed at him. “You don’t know what or who I care about you know nothing!” Jackie had attacked her and she felt completely out of herself. She was here begging for a moment of glory just a moment of respect that she was also apart of Lowell life and legacy. She gave birth to two of his daughters and he should know that she couldn’t be pushed aside. She wouldn’t be just pushed to be background any longer. “You don’t have to tell me to go I’m leaving but I assure you all that I will never forget this. Lowell how you just stood there and lied to yourself. You left me not because you wanted to get your life together with Jackie but because you couldn’t face it. I made you happier and you needed Bliss and me! He tells you it’s all to fix your relationship but that isn’t the truth he was happy with us something you never fully gave him.” Tess seethed as she looked at Rory and Jackie.
“You don’t have to tell me to leave! I’m leaving but I assure you not Atlas Falls. I’ll get mine and I will have everything you have. The respect, the love, the admiration Jackie I will get my roses when I’m alive, not dead.” Tess screamed enraged as she wrapped her mink around her body.
“Tess wait,” Lowell said looking at her sadly. “You are to never approach my wife or son again. Stay away from Bliss and stay away from me. You are a miserable person and it’s sad that I had a role in this. I am seeing what my escalation to the top did to so many of you. It caused mass chaos and destruction and you are a victim of that. I loved you Tess but never the way I loved Jackie. Never will you be here and I want you to leave.”
Tess turned around and saw Bliss standing with Hunter with her hand over her mouth. “Bliss I was lonely and I just.” Before she knew it she felt Bliss hand across her face.
“Get out! Get out! Did you sleep with my little brother because why? Why mom? Why do you do the things you do? You think I don’t know? You’ve been talking to Dimitri? That psycho cornered me, mom! He was going to beat me again and you have no idea how much that hurts that my mother brought him here. That you’ve been communicating with him! This is so like you to do something so disgusting and underhanded. He’s twenty-three mom! He’s young and he’s vulnerable and you took advantage of that. You are sick! You are pathetic and you aren’t my mother. God, I wish you weren’t my mother.” She said shaking her head. “I’m so sorry Jackie you have had to deal with that vile woman.”
Tess stood there shocked that her daughter slapped her and that she was defending Jackie. She had done some horrible things but honestly, she brought Fox back. She talked Dimitri into bringing Fox to see Bliss. How could she think so low of her? She hated that bastard for beating her daughter and when she found out little did Bliss know she went to Isla De Cruces and was going to do a tell-all. She was going to expose Dimitri as a woman beater but the Royals have a way of paying for silence. That money was used to help Bliss when she first came to Atlas Falls barely with a dime in her pocketbook. “You have turned my daughter against me. You all will pay.” Tess stormed out with tears flowing down her face.
“I brought you all gifts,” Linus said as he looked at his big brother sitting in bed staring at him. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you all. I have never met you Bliss but it’s truly a pleasure to meet another one niece welcome to the family. Max has a necklace just like this it was made of your grandmother’s famous strand of pearls. I sent this to my jeweler and he made this diamond and pearl necklace. My daughter Kimber has one and now you do too.” He leaned in kissing Bliss cheek. “Welcome to the family love. Now to my eldest nephew its two tickets for you and Maddie to come to London for a holiday. I know it doesn’t seem like much but that is tickets to her favorite group The Foreigners on there. They are amazing I’ve seen them live and I think Maddie will enjoy it after all she’s been through. Plus I think you should spend much more time with her. Maddie is always talking to Kimber about how busy you are. Jackson my favorite nephew is having his own children now I want to be the first to present your twins with stock from DGI and Wasteland. Wasteland is Barron’s new computer company that is a subsidiary of DGI. Well, Max what do I give my precious niece that she doesn’t already have? Well, that’s easy you are dating Sebastian Navarro? What about your own wine vineyard in the South of France? It’s yours, my dear. Rory let’s go to you. I know you and Barron worked on the app together and I think that’s amazing. I was hoping to give you a little favor. You know Kimber has connections to the music industry well Taylor Swift will be debuting a song on your app buddy. Finally my brother and beautiful sister-in-law. I have a spa vacation to the Alps if you two want it and I think you two deserve it.” He said looking at them smiling at him.
“I just heard how bad this was Lowell and I had to come. We are brothers and no matter what I refuse to let you down. I will be here through whatever is going on. I have been trying to reach out to Camilla but she is in Dubai and you know the service out there. Either way, right now I want to reconnect with my nieces and nephews.” It was his way of showing Lowell there was no ill blood and that they could be brothers still and always. “Please tell me what’s new in all of your lives. Tell me what I can do to help DGI right now while I’m here because you all can use me. I know you aren’t up to a hundred perfect brother so let me do what needs to be done. Or even better let me take on some of all of your burdens.” Linus said as he touched Jackie’s hand. “You all look like hell.” Teasing them as he smiled at Rory and Jackson.
Chauncey had been a little surprised to see his uncle Linus at the hospital London was his territory but he also understood why he was there. He was his father’s brother and often times he wondered why Linus had moved so far away to London and not stayed in Atlas Falls to be a family with them over the years. Sure sometimes they spent the holidays together but they weren’t a super close family to his cousins, he wondered if Maddie would have that with the twins. He hoped she had something more, a family with long connections that would last a lifetime and he took the tickets from his uncle. He was glad that Kimber and Maddie were semi-close. “So many gifts uncle it would be rude to decline them. How long are you in the states for?”
“I don’t think it matters Chauncey,” Rory said always the suspicion with Chauncey when it came to their uncle or anyone sniffing around DGI. Plus now wasn’t the time in his eyes to be such an ass about it. Linus was their father’s brother he had every right to check on him. When his uncle mentioned Kimber having a connection to Taylor Swift he knew it would be good for the app and he would politely accept the invitation but she wouldn’t be opening the app. He had already made a deal with Jamal he was going to skyrocket Ivan’s career and have him launch the app in real time at the fashion show for Val coming up. It was the perfect time to drop his name in the ring. “Thank you, uncle Linus. I’ll reach out to Kimber.”
Max mulled over the offer on a vineyard of her own she had no need for it she didn’t ever see herself actually running one but she supposed she could take the gift and sell it to Sebastian. Make his company more profitable she had every intention of staying right where she was at DGI investments she liked playing with the numbers getting subsidiaries on board. She let her brothers handled the big wigs the huge clients, she knew what kept the company up and running when those contracts left the smaller companies that they had. They were their bread and butter, the casino would be that and she was not going to just give that up. She supposed she could have brought in the winery but she didn’t know the first thing about running one and thinking of Sebastian staying long term to do that with her seemed so permanent. “Bliss that looks so gorgeous we’ll have something that matches, thank you, uncle. As for the vineyard, I am sure I will find something to do with it.”
“What a generous gift for the twins,” Jackson said smiling at his uncle. Honestly, he saw him as another interloper. No matter what DGI should be in the hands of one of father’s direct bloodline, not an uncle or anyone else. “I appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else does their gifts as well. Yes uncle how long will you be here?”
“Well, everyone just a few weeks. Not long because Rainer has some work to do in Egypt for SandStar and he’s running the international side of DGI. He’s keeping me afloat of everything Lowell and if anything comes up I can go home. I do want to make sure you all are alright before I go home. My brother has run DGI into a billion dollar empire and I want nothing more than to step in if he needs me to. I want to make sure he’s a hundred percent before he goes into that office. I want you all to be back on your best also because it seems Forbes is trying to buy companies overseas we need to compete against big oil with the clean energy initiative. I want to stop that by having Jackson file a monopoly charge with the SEC. Now I didn’t come here to talk business. I came here to support you all and step in if I need to. I think we can do that in the following weeks before I leave.” Linus said looking at Jackie who seemed to be extra stressed and sad. Her radiant beauty wasn’t glowing as it always had. She seemed stressed and that saddened him.
“I appreciate you coming all the way from London for me Linus. I hate that I’m taking you away from your work. Kids your uncle will be here a week at max. I need him overseas stopping the purchase of anything that gives Forbes strength. I won’t allow that bastard to block my children’s dreams and endeavors he can come at me all he wants. He’ll stop coming after you or I’ll use whatever else is left of my life to kill him. Make sure he rots with me in hell.” Lowell said looking at Linus giving him a death stare. He wouldn’t be staying here at all. It was too dangerous for Linus to be around while he was sick. Lowell did know that his brother had to know. He loved him but some secrets buried deep between them. “Thank-you I’ll visit you when we use these. Jackie and I are planning a vacation and you might have given us a place we haven’t been since our twenties.” Lowell said looking at Linus. “Jackie can you please get me a bottle of water.”
Jackie had sat back and let Linus shower the children with gifts and mulled over the ugly fight with Tess earlier in the lobby, so when Lowell asked her to get him a bottle of water she nodded her head. She wanted to have a small break to herself and as she exited the room where her husband was with her children with their uncle she leaned against the wall for support. She held her hands in her face to cover her mouth and felt the tears prick her eyes it was all so much. It was beginning to weigh on her the doubts were swirling in her mind about everything and what the family was going through and for the first time, she wondered if it was true. Why else would Linus be here but make sure the problem went away had Tess been right? Pulling herself together when one of the nurses stopped to stare at her she walked down the hallway back to his hospital room and grabbed the bottle of water. She would get to the bottom of this as soon as she spoke to Katie.
Lowell was still reeling from the fact that Tess seduced his son. Rory was susceptible to a manipulator like Tess. He didn’t know how to deal with someone like her. He could tell Bliss wasn’t happy either she was clearly disgusted that Tess did that. He sat up tall knowing his boy was beating himself up enough. Normally he would disown Rory or lash out in some horrible way. He loved Tess and knowing his son who was vital and youthful had her. That stung and he knew why. Tess and he had a relationship no one but them could understand. She loved him when he didn’t love himself. She stayed when she could have gone away with plenty of other men. Even now when they were over she was begging just to be here. Begging to still be around him a man who used her badly. Honestly, he didn’t rape anyone but he had hurt so many women that alarmed him. Jackie, Audrey, and Tess were products of his indecisiveness and need to have his cake and eat it too. Looking around the room his children and spouses were all surrounding his bedside. He was confined to a bed a man who built an empire was now confined to a bed. The doctor said it would be best to use the wheelchair some and walk the other part. His gait and balance would be off. Chauncey, Jackson, Max, Bliss, and Rory were all here. They deserved the truth he had put them through hell. He also knew he couldn’t hide it anymore.
“A year ago I was in this very room. I was about thirty pounds heavier and felt more alive than ever. I knew I was going to pass the company on to my eldest son and I was going to live in Argentina with my wife. I was going to give it all up because I knew my time was limited. In my dreams, I would be a ninety-year-old man dying of old age. Instead of withering away inside of myself. I have been diagnosed with ALS and I’m dying. I ignored the symptoms for a long time and now the symptoms are taking over my life. I will eventually not be able to swallow. I apologize to you all for making Jackie lie but I’m dying and I don’t have much time left. David predicts a year at least and I plan on using that year to protect you all. To make sure that DGI and your legacies are in place. I will also name a CEO before I die so this isn’t just a sad moment. I want to celebrate my life and what is left to live. I want to meet my grandchildren and know that I am leaving my mark on the world.”
Bliss sat silently as she felt Hunter rubbing her back. She shivered as she looked at her siblings she had never seen Chauncey cry and Jackson looked numb. She reached out to Max and Rory grabbing their hands. She started to cry as she held Rory into her arms. As he rested his head on her shoulder she rubbed his head. “I love you baby brother. Father why wouldn’t you tell us? We deserved to know! I would have tried harder to get Fox here. What am I to tell him? He loves you already and talks about you getting better.” She said sniffling as she wiped her eyes.
Jackson lowered his head as he thought about his father dying all this pain he would be in. He covered his face with his hands trying to hide his emotions as they threatened to explode. He touched Max as Dani grabbed him and held him. “I don’t believe this. You can’t be dying, dad.” He said mumbling as he buried his head into Dani’s shoulder crying right along with everyone else. “Mom I’m so sorry you’ve been carrying this all this time. I was such an asshole yesterday. I’m so sorry mom.”
Max had sat as she listened to her father speak and she knew the worst had come when he said the words in his dreams, it was a term he never spoke of. They always looked to the future but dreams were not something they talked about, they just went after it and didn’t worry about the dream if they wanted it they took it. Her heart sank and it felt like she had been punched in the gut when he mentioned ALS, she had heard of the disease before in one of her college classes a long time ago. She remembered it because it was right around the time she had considered for a split second maybe branching off and doing nursing or becoming a doctor. She buried her head in her hands as she felt the tears flowing down her face and felt Sebastian wrap his arms around her as she began to sob. She couldn’t even speak as she shook her head knowing how hard the coming months would be and how this had to weigh on her mother.
Rory had remained standing when his father spoke honestly he had been shocked that he had taken it so well when he had come forward about Tess. Normally he was certain that he would be outed by the family and the company he had been prepared to do that instead he felt the sting of tears in his eyes. Life was so short and it felt like another crushing blow to their already fragile family, they just had Zerick come out with these outrageous claims and now his father, his great father was dying. He knew it was bad over the last week when David and a top neurologist was around but he never thought it was the end of the line. He figured he would have time left that it was just old age his dad wasn’t even seventy yet. “Mom.” Rory managed to get out as he felt his mother wrapping his arms around him and he didn’t know what else to say.
Chauncey looked at his father and wondered now what would happen to them as a family in many ways he was the glue that held them all together. His parents had been together for over forty years they were unstoppable for the most part and now he didn’t know what was going to happen next. For once DGI had no clear vision of the future their father was still undecided on who was going to be CEO and everything over the last week came crashing down on him. He buried his head in his hands, how had they come to this as a family and he glanced over at Jackson not sure if they could fix this before their father passed. He wiped at his face as he felt Natasha grab his shoulder and he wondered why it didn’t strike him to lean into her for support. He supposed they weren’t built like that and as he wiped the tears away and took a breath he looked at his father. “You have to have more than a year left. Isn’t their clinical trials and treatments we can try surely if we need the medication here in the states there are people we can call to help us?”
“I have gone to all the clinical trials in Europe and they prolonged it for as long as they could. That’s why I couldn’t come to see you, Jackson. I couldn’t leave my trials to come to see you. I apologize, son, there is nothing I want to do more than mend our rift. I have done some horrible things to you all. I want to fix my relationship with you. I’m so sorry if I hurt you by not coming to see your recovery, Jackson. I am so sorry but I was trying to live longer and to see you all grow into a unit. I want you all to flourish and work together. My death is coming and I’m sorry if you all don’t want to hear that. Listen to me you need each other. I’ve called out your weaknesses but your strengths you all have to find them. Call upon them and use them people will come from all over and far and wide to divide you five. They will try to get you two to fight all over Chauncey and Jackson but I’m sorry. I’m so sorry boys that I ruined you. I didn’t show you love or respect to develop into the men you could have been.” Lowell wiped his eyes as he looked at his sons. “Love each other because soon you won’t have a reason to hate each other. I’ll be dead.”
Lowell inhaled growing trying to choke back the tears. “I’m sorry Max my first born daughter. I must have disappointed you as much as your mother bringing Bliss into this world. You were thought to be my only girl for so long and I apologize to Bliss for keeping you in the shadows and I think I may be that is the reason you thought it was acceptable for a man to place his hands on you. You two please me for putting aside pettiness and finding your sisterhood. Thank-you both for that because you’ll need each other. I don’t know Sebastian and I do know you, Hunter. Please take care of my girls that’s all I ask of you. Rory, you are my boy the son that actually has the genius intellect and sometimes messes up because you are unsure of who you are. Rory go find that man and know him because when you do they all better watch out.” Tess words were echoing in his head. Did Jackie not believe him? “I’m sorry I kept this from you.”
Jackson looked over at Chauncey and saw he was tearing up and that made him tear up. Did he say they won’t have a reason to hate each other because he would be dead? God dad that was cold and it made it all the more real. When he spoke about coming to see him Jackson couldn’t take it anymore he started to weep and fell into Dani’s arms. God, he wanted to come to see him but he was getting help. “Dad this can’t be real, this isn’t real dad you aren’t dying. Please tell me you aren’t dying.” He said devastated, he rubbed Dani belly feeling one of the twins kicking. “My children will never have what Maddie has with you, Dad?” Jackson plans were going out the window. He had a dream the twins would melt the distance between them. His parents would travel around the return moving back into the mansion. Where father would teach his son and daughter how to ride horses just as he had Max and him years ago. Jackson and Lowell would share a drink and cigar every Sunday he brought them over from Cuban vacation with Dani. They would discuss DGI and what he could do to improve business although retired. He knew where their relationship was going and it was being crushed. “Dad try more than we have to do something else. You are a billionaire we can’t get the best. David is good but I’m sure there is better no offense.”
Bliss was grateful Fox was back and could spend as much time with Lowell as he needed. He had to have memories of his grandfather to have. She wrapped her arms around Hunter as the tears started seeing Jackson cracking. It was primal almost cry for help she prayed her brother didn’t relapse. He had so many demons with their father she prayed it didn’t take him over the edge. She opened her purse and passed around tissue as she looked at Hunter. “I agree we need a specialist or something here. We need third, fourth, fifth options because I don’t accept that you are dying. I don’t believe this, I can’t breathe.” Her powerful father who brought her gifts every holiday and celebrated her with diamonds and the best. Who he showered with love and affection. When he spoke to Max and her she grabbed her sister for support.
“Hunter get her some water, please. Bliss, breathe baby its life. I’m dying but I will be fighting with you. Forbes and Pierre LeClerq will be dancing on my grave. Pissing and throwing flames at me. Just as Zerick Westwood is doing. I will not be here to fight but you five my glorious children will be. You will fight and I vow you will be ready to take on anyone who comes your way.” Lowell declared looking at each of them in the eye.
Hunter felt bad for the entire family and he simply nodded his head at Lowell as he moved from his seat by him to grab a bottle of water for her. He knew what it was like to lose a parent his own father’s death had been something that their family was still recovering from. He sat back down and handed the water to Bliss watching her take a drink to calm down and rubbed her back looking over at Chauncey. He nodded his head at Lowell he would take care of Bliss and keep an eye on Max though he guessed Sebastian would do more than well enough.
Chauncey took in his father’s words and wondered how he could fix things with Jackson at least they had Rory between them. Maybe he could try with Jackson seeing how much it hurt his father that they weren’t as close as they should have been. He was so grateful that Maddie had years with him and he realized that Fox and the twins wouldn’t have that and teared up. He looked around the room and for the first time since everything had happened with Selina he wished she was there because she was someone he could lean on and he avoided looking at Natasha because of it. She was trying her hardest to do that for him but he didn’t care about her in that way and he wondered if marrying for SandStar was the right move. His skills over the years taught him you did what you had to in business and this would secure so much for DGI. He wasn’t able to say anything and instead sat with tears brimming in his eyes at the ugly truth of his father’s condition began to sink in.
Rory looked at his two brothers and then at his father and though he was still reeling from his fight with Tess. His parents now knowing the truth he was going to be strong for his siblings right now. He put a hand on Jackson’s shoulder and then Chauncey’s they were all so far apart the last few years and they could at least honor their father’s dying wishes to work on fixing that. He bit back his own tears and knew that he would be returning Yasmine’s text about his dad and then reaching out to Jamal and Brooke too. He would need his friends around him right now he didn’t have someone like Max, Bliss, Chauncey or Jackson he had screwed that all up when he bedded Tess. He looked over as he watched Bax rise from her seat with tear stained cheeks and waited for her to speak.
Max looked at her father and mother, the news sinking in and then looked around the room as her siblings all began to crumble and she did too for a moment. She rested in Sebastian’s arms and cried and when she finally came up for air she knew what she had to do. She had to lead the rally to her siblings with their father, they had to fix the dysfunction in it before there was no time left. She wiped at her eyes and made the walk that seemed super slow and agonizing to her father’s side and grabbed his hand in hers. Her strong father was weak now, would grow weaker as everything deteriorated and he would be looking to them to secure the future of their family and DGI. “We’ll fight this all together father and you’re right we can overcome this as a family to bond together.” She said pointedly looking at her two brothers to fix this before it was too late.
Lowell looked at Linus shocked face and he stormed out. His brother was horrified at what he was saying. He didn’t think that he would get his hard-earned legacy. What a terrible mess because he knew that was why Linus was here. Sniffing around to see if he was dying now or later. He wanted DGI when his company never took off as a consolation prize for his failed purpose and dreams. When he looked at his children he nodded at them. “Together you are a stronger family is all you all have. You will need each other through this.”
This company had made men go crazy. After all, he had. Living in London wasn’t so bad once he got used to driving on the other side of the road. Working for his brother no under his brother was the worst part. He never got respect for the gains he made in London or at all. His children were secondary to the great Lowell Devonshire no matter what he said. His voice never mattered in this company and that would change. Lowell was dying and that meant DGI was for grabs. All those children weren’t ready to take on the responsibility of a billion dollar empire. Scandal after scandal said that much to be the truth. He was here to protect DGI from Lowell’s out of control spawns and get what was his final. To finally get enough proof that he was ready to step up and show the board members he was ready to take DGI to new heights. As he walked through the office he noticed a light on and wondered who took their job this serious. When the CEO was dying in a hospital bed they were still working.
When he opened the door he was shocked to see Zerick Westwood cleaning out his desk. He smirked he needed to see this kid. This punk and explain one thing to him he wasn’t a Devonshire. He’d never be a Devonshire because he’d see to it. Linus touched the Jeff Koons artwork on the wall and smiled admiring his work. “I can get lost in art. Art is inclusive and exclusive if you are apart of the right scene. This piece Lowell bought from Christie’s New York maybe ten years ago for forty million dollars. I thought how frivolous but then he said to think about all the hard work we’ve done to get here. We have worked our entire lives to keep DGI afloat. Then the first major scandal to rock us is Bliss which we rode the wave and eventually introducing her to the public. You, however, can’t be introduced and repackaged as a Devonshire boy. I seriously doubt that is what you want at all though. You want fire and brimstone while I want you to seriously think. Think about what I am telling you, you are to leave Atlas Falls or I’ll kill you with my bare hands. You think that your mother is the crazy one but your father he’s much more insane. He’s ruthless and cold and uncaring about your plight in life. You had a rough one big whoop. You write a tell-all, speak about my family, or even go near the media I’ll kill you. You seem to think this is a game but I will tell you the Devonshire’s have already won. Now that is your choice boy. Leave or die.”
Zerick had conceited to defeat at DGI when he had shown up at work and Simon had handed him his termination papers vowing that if he fought it he would be arrested for trespassing. He had thought about possibly calling in the police to cause a scene but knew there was another way to play the hand. Noah and Natasha were still in his back pocket he would make sure that she started up drama at the energy division until he would take his place back at DGI. He could be patient and of course, Forbes would take care of him when it came to things he had already asked about MontCorp and was told to come on over. He had gone to his office to pack his things and as he was loading the last item in his box Linus Devonshire had come into his office. At first looking at the painting and then he heard his uncle threaten him and he let out a laugh at him he was so full of it. Always trying to cover up something with this family.
“My father is ruthless and cold, just something we have in common but I at least can man up to my misdeeds he just screams denial. Normally when one screams denial so much it means it is true obviously that is the same in this case.” Zerick spat out eventually Lowell would have to face the truth and the man before him could go back to London and squander away for all he cared. He was out for anyone that stood in his way and that included his outsider uncle that he had never met and could care less about. He smirked at him as he walked around the desk and face to face with him. “I think I’ll stay in town and when the Chronicle calls about a follow up to the article that they just ran I’ll give them the juicy details. How a rapist sat in a hospital bed and denied the claims, even more, firing me in the dead of night trying to erase his mistake. Can’t wait to see the stock here after that. Should be entertaining watching you all scramble.”
Linus laughed as he looked in his face. “This company won’t be going down. It won’t be scrambling for much longer because you won’t be doing any more interviews.” Grabbing Zerick neck he slammed him against a wall. Placing his entire forearm into his throat. “I suggest you leave this town because boy you are going to get yourself in something more than you know. I will decimate and destroy you for DGI. You think you are so smart and cunning, don’t you? I bleed for this company and have lost so much behind DGI so I won’t let some smug punk come here and take it away from us. I should remove you now. I should wipe you away like a fly on my windshield but I much rather you stay. You have no idea your lineage and you claim to be Lowell. I was there that night did you know that?”
Goading Zerick was going to be fun. “Are you sure that she was raped? Oh, Zerick back then Katie was a wild girl. Let me say this Katie was a doorknob any and every man had a turn. She was what you called a community girl. Everyone had Katie and I hate to make you upset but Lowell wasn’t the one. Forbes, Harvey, me and so many others. We all fucked your psycho mother so because you have a book you think you are Lowell’s. A book that your bipolar schizophrenic mother sad so? Forbes told you it was true and you believed him didn’t you? You have no idea the history of this that you are walking and you know me. I’m an asshole and I’ll break your dreams that Lowell is some monster. When your psycho mommy has lusted after anyone with a schlong and a wee bit of money. She was a whore and you are a bastard but not Lowell’s.” Linus said pressing more pressure on his neck.
Zerick fumed at him when he shoved him against the door and he felt him pressing his forearm against his throat. He was struggling to breathe and when the man let go long enough to let him gasp for air he took his chance and took a breath. Who did this man think he was he knew Linus Devonshire his uncle who was one of the ones that covered up his mother’s rape. He thought about struggling for a bit and did for a moment until the gun was placed against his skull weren’t firearms illegal in the United Kingdom last time he was there they were. He calmed his breathing he would make it out of this office alive and well to throw things into Lowell’s face for the rest of his life, to be the child hiding in the corner ready to step out when needed or not needed. It didn’t matter to him anymore, he would never go away and no amount of threats would do that for him and he honestly didn’t believe that Linus had it in him to pull the trigger anyway, US murder didn’t scream the best way for his uncle to finish out his life.
“Do it pull the trigger such a big man threatening Lowell’s other son that will go over well here in the papers. Lost son’s dead body discovered in DGI building, uncle arrested for murder. Facing charges since the US has extradition and vice versa to England. Kimber and Barron Devonshire lose their father to madness and murder.” Zerick said leaning into the barrel and then he saw the shock on Linus’ face at his boldness as he shoved him back. He adjusted his tie and his coat as he grabbed his box of things and walked to the door. “Touch me again and I’ll have my lawyer call yours, better yet you and Lowell want to stop me from talking contact my lawyer Raven Paloma. Unless you can disprove anything at the moment I’m entitled to my free speech about what happened to my mother. I’ll see myself out.” He finished opening the door and letting it close behind him as he shook in rage on the way to the elevator he would prove it. Prove that Lowell raped his mother one way or another.
He pulled back the safety on the gun and shot above Zerick head. “Listen carefully I will always have the upper hand over you, little boy. They told me something that Bliss said about you. You’re a scared little boy. If your father is Lowell then you truly were made of ugliness and darkness. You don’t deserve to be here and honestly, you are a mistake. You’ve always been a mistake little boy because Katie was wild and crazed. You know your nothing but let me tell you that Zerick you won’t go to the lawyers. If you continue you won’t have a life and that’s a promise. I don’t have to get my hands dirty but I’m sure I could chop a strong man like you up and get millions. Don’t think that Lowell and I came from a good upbringing, sir. Only begging I do is your pardon understand now. I’ll make your life very miserable boy you have no idea Zerick. You have none honestly I want you to keep going. You’re going to make me do things I haven’t gotten to do in a long time. I’m craving to take you out.” Stepping back he saw security scuttling through. “Get him the fuck out of here. Don’t come back you’re not a Devonshire. You are nothing understand. You’re nothing!”
Christopher Archibald was enjoying a particularly sunny day in his family mansion in the most rich neighborhood in Kensington. His eldest daughter was graduating medical school this year and his baby girl had returned home. Well somewhat you couldn’t tell Belle what to do if you wanted. Sometimes it was hard to understand how she became so stubborn. Well knowing her true lineage he understood clearly. Folding his arms picked up his imported tea from China which was called Da-Hong Pao tea. It was a gift from a friend and it was the most expensive in the world. He saw Jane walking down the stairs and he smiled at his radiant wife. Her skin glowed in the sunlight and her eyes were always shimmering. He loved that woman with all his heart as he stood and began to pour her a cup of tea. “Top of the morning love, I have to go to India tomorrow for a business deal. Don’t fret my love though I won’t be leaving you either. Why don’t you come with me Jane? Belle is a big girl she can handle herself. We can’t keep hiding her from the world sooner or later she’ll figure everything out.”
Christopher pulled out his chair for his wife and pushed her into place. He grabbed a bowl of fresh fruit flown in from the Bahamas. Scooping them a bowl full and taking a strawberry and biting it he looked at her. “Well what do you say let’s leave and let Belle be twenty. We can’t keep cleaning up her mistakes, Isla De Cruces was horrible but if Belle wants to be that girl she’s just turned twenty we can’t stop her. What I’d like more than anything if she went to college and finished school. That art history degree isn’t completing itself and she’s a great artist but nothing will happen without a degree behind her name.” He took a sip of his tea as he saw her riding on her Arabian stallion Sundae, she was beautifully clearing each hurdle. “We’ve raised an amazing girl we can’t protect her from the world any longer beautiful.” He knew that hurt his wife badly. She was her baby and he knew that she was extra protective over Belle. “What are you thinking love?”
Jane Archibald knew this day would come and it did when she woke with the sunlight streaming into her room Belle was twenty and when a friend of hers told her that she had spotted him at London International she knew what was coming next. His first order of business would be to come here and have Belle leave with him to fulfill her true destiny. As she dressed that morning she reflected on how they had gotten here both their girls were adopted and well loved beyond anything she knew it could be. Belle though was special and when her friend had come to her in trouble pregnant she and Christopher had begged to raise the baby and love it under one condition when the time came they would tell her the truth and she would have to go. She had made her way down the stairs and then watched out the window to the massive riding ring as Belle jumped meticulously over each one before joining her husband for breakfast. She was distracted and as she reach for her tea she finally spoke.
“Amelia texted me she saw him land at the airport this morning he’ll be here soon. Belle has to make her own choices that is what we raised her to do and hopefully she sees that. We have no time left why you ever convinced me to agree to that when the adoption was finalized I’ll never understand. Loyalty to Forbes Montgomery will get you nothing in the end but misery look at the Westwoods.” Jane said as she bit her lip looking at him knowing her heart was breaking and blaming him was not helping she had agreed to it as well and now the time had come. She had desperately wanted another child and when the situation fell into their lap she wasn’t one to argue with how it came to be or the finer details. “This will change things with her, change us with her make him go away when he gets here. Do it for me and our family tell him it’s null and void now whatever it takes.”
A deal years ago during the 2007-2008 financial crisis had cost them their daughter. They invested in the American stock market and lost big during that time. The Archibald estate was up for grabs and he couldn’t lose his family’s legacy. Forbes came to them and bailed them out giving him enough money to restart his company. It was from there he rose from the ashes but he always knew that Forbes would be back. That Forbes dirty money would taint there perfect world. Amelia warned her and he had gotten word that man was on his way to there home. Belle was leaving today and the world that they had built for her was coming to a end. When Tess came to him he had no idea that he’d sell their daughter. They all loved Belle and wanted the best for her. Now came one of the hardest choices he’d ever have to make. Which would be having Belle leave with Forbes because of a deal made long ago when she was just a child.
“How are we going to stop him. All we can do is try and warn Tess that he has her. She called the other day saying that if anyone called or asked about Belle to feign ignorance. I knew he was coming then. This is a day we’ve been dreading but she has to know her legacy. She has to go back to them even if it kills us to do so.” He reached over to touch Jane’s hand and saw Vera there majordomo standing above them. “What is it Vera speak up.”
“Mr. Forbes Montgomery is here.” She said as she stepped aside and Forbes stood over them.
“Thank-you Vera, I’ll take it from here. This is a personal matter.” Forbes said walking down the steps. “It’s been a long time Christopher and Jane you two look wonderful. I have to say saving this mansion was worth it. It looks even better than before business must be good? I came to you when you were on the verge of losing everything and gave you millions to start over. You rebuilt Archibald Industries beautifully. I never asked for anything in return but a chance to bring that young lady who is clearing those riding rings beautifully may I add. To Atlas Falls and be the one to have the swing vote on any DGI matter in my corner. What a surprise when all my numbers began to be blocked and I couldn’t get ahold of you. Well I thought why don’t I travel thousands of miles out of my way to Europe to come and get her right now. It’s time you two pay up.” Forbes declared as he sat down and poured himself a cup of tea. “She really looks to be a lovely young woman.”
Jane rose from her seat as she looked at him the great Forbes Montgomery and the noose that was always around their neck when it came to him. He controlled so much with their family over the years and then looked over at her husband so this was it. She would just leave and no longer be an Archibald any longer and that saddened her she had heard all the rumors from America and DGI and Forbes would throw her in the fire. Belle being Belle would be drawn to the power, the truth about her heritage and they would fade from it and she bit back the bitter tears as she looked at Forbes. He had no compassion and no heart, she knew that years ago but she also knew that she wanted to be a mother again badly and her hand shook as she took a sip of her tea watching Belle dismount done with her ride for the morning. In a few minutes she would walk through the door and their world would forever change.
“She is a lovely young woman. One that I would hope you would let us tell her the truth as her parents.” Jane said her thick british accent coming through and she could tell it wouldn’t happen that way when Forbes looked at her again. She paused for a moment sitting the tea cup down and getting up from her seat as she moved to the fireplace in the dining room. England was so pretty this time of year with the pending fall the humidity gone. “You traded an infant to us for a business venture, you don’t care about her not like we do. She knows you as Uncle Forbes but we raised her, we fed her, we loved her from the moment she was born and you and Tess brought her here. I am begging of you to let me do the one thing I can as a mother to preserve the relationship I have with her as that. Even you wouldn’t be so cruel to us.”
“Tell her what you must but you will let her know she is coming with me once this is all done. I don’t care who tells her personally me or you two. You aren’t her parents and the moment that little firecracker hears who her parents are well you know it’s over for you two?” Forbes laughed looking at them. “I flew over the Atlantic for one reason to get Belle in my clutches before Tess does. Now I’m going to do change the game even more. She’s a pawn but she is your child and you want to let her know the truth I don’t mind not being the one who spreads the word. The one thing you will do is get her on my private plane. She is coming to Atlas Falls tonight and tomorrow my next wave begins. I didn’t pay for your company resurgence and this home for nothing. Now work it out between you. I’ll be sitting here waiting.” Forbes said as he looked at them both.
Forbes had been waiting a long time to get his hands on Belle. When Tess came to him with the news that she was pregnant. Well he knew for a fact he was going to use it to his advantage. When Christopher and Jane stepped up as Belle parents it was perfect cover. The golden couple adopts another child and Tess would return looking stunning nothing different. Then the financial crisis happened and it completely solidified his hold over the Archibalds. “Here she comes.”
Christopher looked over at Forbes with disdain how could he be so cruel? This man was a vicious beast. As he saw Belle coming to the sunroom where they had breakfast every morning. That wouldn’t be a family tradition anymore because Belle was about to complete her destiny. Her arrival meant all of Lowell’s children were in Atlas Falls. This would forever change everything. When she opened the sunroom door his heart fell into his stomach. “Good morning Isabelle how was your ride?”
Belle removed her helmet and white leather gloves one finger at a time before answering. She looked up and saw a visitor and wondered why was he at breakfast. Anyone else who arrived this early would have to wait up in the office or foyer until father was ready to see them. Holding her gloves in her hand she slapped them in her palm. Pulling her long mermaid braid from her double breasted cream Alaia sports coat, with a white cashmere sweater underneath, spandex white riding pants and a pair of Chanel riding boots. “I cleared all the obstacles in the ring and everyone said Sundae wouldn’t ride the same after her injury. She’s even better.” Pulling back a chair she looked directly at the man and wondered who he was and why her parents were acting so weird.
“Tell me who are you because my parents seem to have swallowed their tongues. I’m Belle Archibald but if you are here bothering me with your presence at breakfast and breaking a lasting family tradition, I’m sure you know that.” She grabbed a waffle. “So is anyone going to tell me who this person is or am I going to guess? However since you are my parents you know I hate to guess. Christmas was particularly difficult with me due to me being very impatient. I would unwrap everyone presents underneath the tree three years consecutively in a row.” Spreading Nutella on her waffle sprinkling on fresh fruit on top.. “I have a shopping appointment soon so shall we make whatever life coach or new aged guru you’ve brought to fix my attitude. Mummy I’m fine I just think that I’m better than everyone and honestly is it not the truth?” Belle asked with sarcasm and a hint of her burgeoning arrogance. “Daddy you too?”
“Forbes Montgomery is his name Isabelle, he’s a family acquaintance and he isn’t a guru or life coach. He’s here to take you to the one place I never wanted you to go.” Christopher said placing his tea cup down. “Isabelle you know we have always told you how special you are because we have chosen you. You know you are adopted my love but for a long time mummy and I have kept a secret from you.” Christopher looked at Jane and his eyes pooled with tears. “We know who your parents are, we have all along. I want you to know you have been our biggest gift and the love of our lives. I don’t want you to think that you aren’t our daughter after you find out who they are. I love you and my beloved you have two families. Ours and them but don’t forget us I beg of thee.” Leaning into his daughter he kissed her forehead.
Belle bit down on her plump lip as she adjusted her sitting position. Pushing herself back away from them she needed to feel distance from them. As her father kissed her she batted her eyes as tears crawled down her face. Her entire life they knew who didn’t want her. She exhaled trying to hold back the temper tantrum that was about to happen. They knew and that was enough to make her scream. Bawling her tiny fist she looked at him and her eyes narrowed. “He’s not my father is he?” She said pointing at Forbes. “If you are I hate you!”
“No Belle he isn’t your father but he’s here to take you home. Belle you are very special girl your mother is a millionaire and your father a billionaire. You are the last born child of your godmother Tess Blisston and Lowell Devonshire. You are the last Devonshire heir you are heiress to a even bigger fortune and family. You are.” Christopher was about to speak but she cut him off.
“A Devonshire!” Belle said standing up and shaking her head. “I don’t believe any of you. Why is he here everyone in the media is saying you’ve declared war on Lowell Devonshire. Do I look like you can stamp fool on my head and I will go with it. No this is a lie and Mummy tell them that they are wrong. Even if it is true why would I go with him? Jane?” Pointing her finger at Forbes. Looking at her mother’s tear soaked face she knew it was true. She couldn’t even look at her. “Christopher?” She said looking at them being defiant because they weren’t answering her questions. “If it is true why do you want me with my true daddy’s sworn enemy?” Belle said with a snideness and poise that was poisonous. She had a anger boiling in her she had never had before. “You two have lied to me so right now you will bloody well tell me the damn truth! Oh fake mummy Jane says something!”
Forbes sat back watching Isabelle Archibald in her nastiness in two minutes she went from her parents princess into a demon spawn. It was impressive she had that nasty cadance that Tess perfected and Lowell’s fire when mad. Bliss seemed domesticated compared to Belle this is what he expected Bliss to be. Well someone raised the hell out of Bliss but Belle was spoiled and used to getting her way. Leaning back he cleared his throat. “It’s very nice to meet you Belle.”
“Go to hell!” Belle spat at him throwing her gloves at him. “You shut your mouth I don’t know you and I’m not going anywhere with you. You two aren’t going to kick me out or anything. I’m your daughter why do you think I have to go with him. What’s going on?”
Jane had let the words drown out in the distance when Christopher told Belle the truth she had been unable to speak, because speaking would make everything true and real. She had focused back in when Belle’s rage and anger came out something over the years she and her husband had no idea on how to tame, not that Belle was unstable. She was just headstrong and stubborn, she felt like she was owed something in the world and always wanted the best things. They had spoiled her she supposed, neither of their daughters ever had to want for anything and now Belle never would. She knew that their relationship would never be the same after this it was already changing when she was yelling at them, there would be walls put up and once she went to America with him she would not look back. Greed did that to people and she and her husband were no exception to that rule it was after all how they had gotten her in the first place.
“I am still your mother you will not talk to me or your father like this.” Jane said her voice booming over the room, her breeding coming to play. She came from a noble line and she would show her the respect that she and her husband deserved. “Your biological father needs you. Forbes is your guardian, your godfather he is here to take you to America to meet your biological family. That doesn’t make me or your father anyless to you or I hope it doesn’t. You would be a foolish stupid girl to turn down a relationship and a seat at a billion dollar company like Devonshire Global Industries. We can’t force you to leave but we had all agreed when the time came you would have the option to meet them. Based on the news coming from America time is of the essence that you do.”
Belle sat silent as she stared down each of them. Her eyes focused on Forbes he was creepy and had a sinister expression on his face. It was something seriously unlikable about that man. She could tell that her mother didn’t want her to go but she also knew if she didn’t they’d eventually force her to go. She looked at them and nodded her head. What was going on in America? That last sentence told her so much and nothing at all. Her eyes cut to her parents and she leaned down and kissed her Jane and Christopher cheeks. “I’ll pack my bags now I hope you have room because I’m taking everything. I think I need a very long vacation away from you two. You’re throwing me away to Godmother and this Lowell Devonshire man. He’s being accused of all these horrible things in the media and you want me to go to him? Fine I will but I assure you that my sister will be the only one I speak with for a good long time.” Belle turned around and stormed away.
As she looked at the stable boy with Sundae she rushed over to her horse. “Move!” She said looking at him nastily. ”Leave the stables all of you!” Watching them skimper away she turned to her horse and touched his head and began to brush his coat. Pulling out a couple of cubes of sugar from her jacket. Feeding her prized horse the sugar it loved. “I’m going for another vacation but I’m afraid I could be there much longer Sundae so I’ll be sending for you. I won’t leave you alone for a long time. I’m about to head to the top of the world and nothing will stop me now Sundae.” Hugging her horse one last time she walked out of the stables and stormed up the courtyard steps right past the sunroom. Into the main house Belle walked into the staff lounge. “Valeria please tell every available staff to bring all my luggage upstairs then you grab all the laundry staff and send them to my room. Also call Marjorie and inform her I’m cancelling our shopping date. Also bring a box with a bow and ribbon. The biggest box you can find. It should look expensive all my handbags are going in there. I’m going to America it have to make an impression.” Belle walked upstairs to her room and walked to her vanity. Sitting down she picked up her cellphone and googled Lowell Devonshire. Then swiped over to Chauncey, Jackson, Max, Bliss, and Rory.
That’s when it hit her. Bliss the girl she idolized for years was her actual biological full blood sister. A smile appeared on her face thinking about it. She always felt like she was above everything it was the wealth and nobility that came with being an Archibald. However this was even bigger she was a billionaire all of the sudden. She was princess and last born to American royalty. The Devonshire’s were front page news all the time. Clicking he nail against her phone she bit her lip. “Valeria and ladies I’m leaving to America for a extended period. I want everything. In storage also which means my leathers and fur goods. I want every shoe, purse, and outfit accessorized and photographed. Then I’ll tell you what I want and I don’t to bring.” Unbuttoning her jacket she began to remove her turtleneck. “Because you ladies are about to get some amazing couture gifts.” Wearing her riding pants and bra. “Take your time ladies Mr. Montgomery or Godfather has all day to wait on me. I’m the main fucking attraction.” Closing her bathroom door Belle smirked as her daily bath was waiting on her