2×08 “Ticking TIme Bomb”

2×08 “Ticking Time Bomb”
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Warming: Episode contains language sexual situations and violence.
Theme Song: “In The Air Tonight”- Kelly Sweet

Lowell tucked in his shirt and felt like the latest rounds of tests and blood work would slow down the disease. After being alone with David he felt like his ALS was taking over. How couldn’t he his days were numbered and it felt like more and more he was growing restless with life. He could feel his soul slipping away from his body and it wasn’t as if he had no chance of stopping the illness. It was cruel to deny him a  chance to fight back. He cursed his body secretly because why couldn’t he have cancer? It was morbid to question that but this illness and disease will take him out and all he worked for would never be seen. Honestly, his mind had been on Linus deeply because of their last fight. He protected his baby brother and also kept him away from DGI America. His sins had followed him even though Linus promised he’d stop. He wondered how his mother and father would feel about their sons? It was a legit question and since time was precious he’d soon find out and that brought a chill up his spine. Walking to a water pitcher he poured him a glass of water in a crystal glass. The coldness calmed the heat on the back of his neck. Sin and secrets the two things you couldn’t hide for long. It made him feel foolish for some of the things he did.

Tonight he was reaching out to Simon to help him do his last will and testament and he’d also explain what was going on and pick his successor. Simon would be the only one who knew and that would be a secret to hold but it was what he was paid to do. Hold their secrets and protect them and this would be one of the times he desperately needed him. Walking out of the office he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Two nurses and David were trying to stop her but she looked even more ravishing than when he met her in Europe again. He was in London on business with Linus and this was what he found. Tess a grown woman and not only that but a radically stunning one. Even today when she didn’t have her signature long blonde hair and it was now a short chic cut she was striking. The feelings he still had for her were wrong and he knew it. It was horrible to love two women but they didn’t know the Tess he did. She wasn’t always so hard, so evil, and so hurt. He did that to her and he knew when a woman was scorn or fed up it was nothing you could do about it. Somehow Jackie and he had never gotten to that point and it was her grace. This Zerick lie had painted them through a dark lense and he wouldn’t wonder why she was standing by him now.

Tess saw Lowell walking out looking frail and she couldn’t help but wonder why he was in the hospital so much. She was worried, to be honest, and hadn’t even told Pierre or Forbes what her suspicion was because the thrill of something honestly being wrong with him would be legit. She might want nothing but his health to be fine. No longer willing to wait. Tess arrived at the hospital after Bliss made an offhand remark about Lowell’s appointment. Wearing a couture women’s business suit by Chanel and a Balenciaga hat with a veil covering half of her face. Standing with leather red gloves she broke free from the nurses grasps and looked at him. “We will speak immediately. We have children also Lowell shall you not forget I’m the mother of your kids also.” Tess said purposely speaking in plurals so maybe he’d catch a hint. She’d hidden Belle from the right people but Dimitri was in town, along with Pierre, and Forbes knowing the truth. That wasn’t something she wanted to get to him before she could tell him. “We need to speak immediately Lowell and I won’t take no for an answer!”

Walking to him she strutted like Gisele Bundchen knowing how much he used to love her walk. He used to say she could walk into any room and demand attention with her walk. Exhaling she touched Lowell’s face and turned to the nurses and David. “Go! We have something to discuss and I told you I’m just as important as Jackie. From now on listen to me.” Lowell let her through as she walked into the private room which was stunning. Of course, he would have a luxury private room that didn’t surprise her. She sat down on the plush leather couch and crossed her legs. “Tea please, and I don’t you think I deserve to know what is going on? You’ve lost at least twenty pounds. You look fragile and Bliss is crying about you and how she didn’t have enough time. She hung up on me after that. What the hell is going on Lowell Devonshire and don’t give me I’m not Jackie or the wife shit. I spent over thirty years as your mistress and lover. No excuses.”

Closing the door he looked at Tess and leaned against the door and exhaled. He didn’t know if he could prepare to explain everything to her. Honestly, he could tell that she was determined to find out and she was concerned obviously about Bliss and Fox. Walking to the china he poured them a cup of tea. Picking up the saucer he handed it to her with a slight shake. He felt shame radiating off of him immediately as he saw her shocked expression at his unsteadiness. Sitting his saucer down and picking up the cup his hand shook and took a sip. “I’m dying Tess and I think that you should know because you have given me one of my beloved daughters. I appreciate that but I can’t look at you without seeing what you did to my son. You are despicable and desperate I can’t look at you without knowing how much of a virus you are to Bliss and Fox. You won’t love them you’ll use them. That is the truth and I can’t wait to she understand how bitter your heart is. What you did with Rory is unforgivable.” Lowell said looking at her. He could tell she was hurt from his announcement of his death and also how cruel he was being about Rory. “ALS and it’s nasty because I didn’t get early treatment and ignored the symptoms. So right now I’m doing everything to prolong my death.”

Tess gasped as she covered her mouth taking in his cold words. How could he just talk to her like that? She understood he was mad about her liaison with Rory but to just cut her out of his life. To speak to her with such utter disdain killed her. Tess had spent years being second to Jackie and she had a moment of weakness with Rory. She became enraged when he just declared Bliss and Fox. Oh, he thought she just gave him Bliss? Isabelle is also his and he was in for quite the shock. Wiping her eyes she opened her purse pulling out a silk handkerchief and dabbed her eyes and shook her head. “I know you are trying to turn Bliss against me but it isn’t going to work. I have a piece of your soul as you mine. You don’t get it back that easy Mr. Devonshire all this hate you spew is a secret need for me. Just like you took to Bliss like a fish to water. You needed her because you need me. She looks so much like me and I have more to give you in this time. I need you to know Rory was a mistake and you are dying can’t you forgive me for my faults because you left me. You left what you promised to give me Lowell and I thought for once I was going to be first.” Tess said having the conversation she had so desperately needed to have to get him back. “You know you’re mine just as much as Jackie has your heart I do. I was lonely and your denials of this are painful.” She declared looking at him. “I wanted something of you. She had everything! That woman has taken your love and made you deny how much you were ready to leave her! You promised me Lowell so many nights in my bed and if you didn’t love me how is Bliss breathing!”

Lowell looked at her and saw how much love she had for him and it ate at him. He kept Tess hostage in many ways and that was wrong. He never let her go be with another man after they started their affair and he did hold her to a wife standard. He had Jackie in America but Europe he was married to Tess in every way but legally. She raised Bliss and had a hand in getting deals with major conglomerates overseas because of her connections. “I will always love you, Tess, you know that but what you did. Was it revenge? Did you deny you foolishly throw away years of us being together for what? A one night stand with a boy who didn’t want you but a stripper? You are valuable to me and I could have still loved you. I could have still held a place for you in my heart and now it’s just.” Lowell paused looking at her. “I hate you.”

Tess felt dizzy this was supposed to be the day she told him about Belle. She was ready and he was saying such hateful things and he was being so evil. How could she tell him about her hiding a child? She’d be a fool to throw that in the flames right now. “You will need me Lowell and I promise that. Jackie has lost faith in you and the man you believe yourself to be. If you want her then prove it. Do a DNA test and yet you haven’t done that why is that Lowell? You see I have a few secrets of my own and I think I know exactly why you didn’t declare Zerick a fake. I won’t say it in this office but maybe I should go to Jackie and tell her my suspicion. Then she’d leave you either way. Either way, she’s gone and you know it. I know you well enough to know that you aren’t a rapist but I also know secrets. Secrets aren’t buried overseas they grow and flourish into a reputation. One more scandal at DGI could crumble the billion dollar empire. I have no problem doing it and unleashing all your secrets.” She snarled back at him.

“I came here to speak to you. To try to be a united front to get our grandson back from the clutches of that monster Dimitri. I wanted you to tell me what was wrong and you did. You told me you are dying and you just continue to hate me. I explained I was reaching out to you not Rory and I couldn’t get to you. It was hateful and venomous but sometimes I can be hateful. Don’t you see that in yourself? You aren’t the nicest person Lowell look at what you did to your own business partners. You have no place to judge me you have slept with more women than myself and Audrey. We know that and that isn’t a secret. You judge me for loving a piece of you because you cut me off and continue to do so. I have loved you and I wanted nothing more than be Ms. Devonshire you swore that my time would come. I hate how you think that I am stupid. I am foolish you are wounded, man. Dying right now and I didn’t crawl to you but your young and vital son. Jackie will betray you in the worst way mark my words. She thinks you are a monster but I know you aren’t Lowell.”

Lowell sat silently his wife was so distant and cold right now he couldn’t believe it. The truth was Tess hit a nerve when she questioned why he didn’t want a DNA test yet. The truth would hurt everyone and sometimes secrets needed to stay buried. Zerick should have been aborted he was a vile monster to throw this on his family. However seeing Tess here so knowing that he didn’t rape Katie. That was a shocking and that made him melt a little. Tears were in his eyes because his house wasn’t a home at all. He’d awake and Jackie would be gone. Morning breakfast with Maddie and Jackie weren’t the same. She’d ignore him and lean into Maddie while answering brief and pathetic questions. Unless it was about an appointment she was involved with him. It was like his marriage was crumbling around him right as he needed his wife the most. This was like getting the ultimate revenge on him because he was dying alone. When he never used to have a cold bed. As he looked at Tess he let her words sink into his psyche and that was partially true. Here he was dying and his body literally betraying him while Tess slept with his youngest boy. That made him feel less of a man and he couldn’t understand why but tears began to fall.

“You’re manipulating a dying man. I can’t with you anymore Tess please leave. Jackie is there for me. She loves me and you are jealous because I choose her all those years ago. I left you twenty years ago almost and you still can’t move on. What did I do to you.” Lowell reached out with his shaking hand and touched Tess’s tear-soaked face. “Don’t cry Tess move on, be a better mother to our daughter because she will need you. You are a piece of her childhood I can never be because I wasn’t always there. You are the love that she never had completely growing up but you can be now. Please, Tess, go live your life and move on. I’m a poison to everyone including you. You weren’t like this always were you?”

Tess touched his hand moving it away from her face. “Leave me alone, you don’t get to lecture me! You don’t have the first idea! You have no clue what I have given up twice for you! I loved you for my entire life! I have given you so much and you return with what! Nothing for me but your sympathy! Save it what I need is empathy Lowell. I need you to feel like how I am feeling now. I need that so I’m going to stand back and watch Jackie figure out the mystery of Zerick and when the truth comes out. Oh, I will stand back and watch the boom of your life. Remember Europe talks and they know all your sins and payouts. I know Lowell and I can’t wait until she does too. Or maybe I should tell her?”

Lowell grabbed ahold of Tess and shook her shoulders. “Stop it Tess I am telling you to leave well enough alone. You will listen do you understand. You won’t destroy my life. I’m begging you please just let this stay buried.” He declared as he heard someone walking in. Turning around he saw David.

David walked down the hallway after making sure that Lowell didn’t need him to call security with Tess Blisston’s outbursts. He saw that it was alright and went and made some calls to expedite his test results honestly he wasn’t expecting a huge change there was only so much that medication with ALS could do. The symptoms would continue to worsen until the disease was in full effect. He had no beef with Tess but he knew the entire Devonshire family did he had also heard about what happened with her and Lowell the last time. He had expected Jackie to be there but she was nowhere to be found he assumed she had a conflicting appointment that day or she would be here. It was so sad to see her and Lowell so far apart since his treatment had begun and he blamed that on the stress of Lowell’s past and recently the ugly accusations against him with Zerick’s paternity.

“Mr. Devonshire I am sorry to interrupt but we are ready for you downstairs to conduct that last test,” David said knowing it was a blatant lie but he could tell that Lowell wanted an out and if he could do that and get him away from Tess he would.

Lowell nodded looking at David. Never being so thankful for an exit in his life. As he looked at Tess he shook his head. “Stay away from me this is over Tess and I’m sorry that I don’t have anything left to give you.” Tears burned in his eyes. “I’m so sorry Tess. I am so very sorry, have a good night.” With that Lowell turned and walked out of the room and left Tess. Exhaling she knew far too many secrets and he couldn’t stand there and listen to the truth was in front of everyone face and he was afraid to face it.

Tess stood shocked knowing that Lowell had just run away from this moment. Unsure of what she could do or say to this moment. Slowly closing her coat tighter she shook her head looking at David. He gave him room to wiggle away. “You need to stay out of others business Mr. Rhodes sometimes as fast as you climbed to the top as quickly as you can fall. My mother voted you into this hospital as chief and if you want reelection I’d suggest you stay out of my way. The Blisston name brought you a certain privilege don’t forget that along with the Devonshire and others.” Slowly walking out of the room she saw people looking at her and she felt pathetic. These people judging her and how badly this all had gone. Tears formed in her eyes. Once again she was the joke or punchline but she had the ultimate end game with Belle in her back pocket. “I’m not something to be dismissed understand? I’m someone to be respected and feared just like him. I won’t be disrespected I had two daughters by him.” She couldn’t believe she slipped up and said it but she didn’t give David a chance to question it she walked away furiously.

David had followed her old ass to the door for good measure to make sure she left and wanted to roll his eyes the board was not going to get rid of him her last name or not. He honestly hated to see her around Lowell when he was so weak and fragile preying on him like a vulture would a carcass. He also hated how she would slink in when Jackie was gone clearly she was too scared to do it while Jackie was there. By the time that she left his ears ringing with her last word about having two children with Lowell. That was not possible was it she had Bliss he knew that much but another child? Bliss had never disclosed a sister to him or the rest of the medical team when they were looking at options for possible trials. Lowell and Jackie had not listed a child with Tess other than Bliss and his heart sank clearly she was talking about a tragedy likely a miscarriage and for a moment he felt sorry for her. He heard Lowell approaching from behind and shut the door he had a patient he had to talk to make plans with. Tests were never wrong it would get worse before it got better.


Dani tapped her fingers on the fingers on the glass in front of her enjoying the double cheeseburger and fries in front of her she called it comfort food. She envied Jackson and that beer he was sipping the first thing she did after she was cleared other than their fun he was taking her here for that beer he was drinking. Everything was on track with Atticus after the shower the drama had not deterred him from agreeing to start the energy plans on the island as soon as the rebels were stopped. They had an appointment with Ophelia earlier for another round of steroid shots but according to her everything was right on track where they were. Afterward, a craving hit and they had agreed to take a longer lunch to visit the Pub for lunch. She dipped the fry in ranch dressing and looked at his mortified face.

“No judging they like it. Not to mention you seem to appreciate my appetite for everything lately too. Since it’s getting close to everything we haven’t really discussed once they come. I know my mom wants to stay with us for a few weeks, your mom volunteered too as well. I don’t mind either of them coming if you don’t.” She said licking her finger as some of the ranch sauce dripped down the fry and she saw him thinking over her words. She didn’t mind the help they’d have two opposed to one and she knew it would be different than helping with Dylan, Quinn or Maddie. She picked up another and did the same taking a bite. “I think after my maternity leave and the honeymoon is up I want to go back to work too. I think we could adjust our schedules to accommodate both of us working so we could see them whenever and I know your mom and mine would help out too. Plus we got a lot of coupons from everyone else to cash in too.”

Jackson couldn’t help but think that having two experienced women with children living with them a few weeks wouldn’t be bad. Hell having twins wasn’t going to be easy especially when he’d be working and now she was coming back sooner than he thought. When she said cash in on the coupons he felt like they should hold them but hell who knew how soon they’d need someone. “Honestly babe I don’t mind Lauren and mom staying they will be amazing helping us. I think you are going to gross me out before you give birth to the bambinos.” He hadn’t stopped calling them that from Sebastian. “Can I tell you something? I honestly don’t trust my brother but Chauncey really showed me that he wanted to fix this shit between us at the shower. Like those blocks didn’t just have memories for you but me too. Man, I can’t believe we are actually talking. He texted me and asked me how you were and it was cordial. We are really trying this time and I can respect him finally because he isn’t wishing for my downfall. We’ve done some horrible shit to each other but right now I feel whole again. Not that I didn’t feel whole with you but I feel like a piece of myself was snatched away when we were feuding.”

Jackson took a swig of beer as he gripped her hand then he looked at her. “Do we want to use them so soon? We might want to spread those things out.” Jackson said laughing. “Man I’m going to be strategic about this. Plus having mom’s in the house will give us time to sleep. We won’t always have to be exhausted like other new parents which, let’s face it awesome. We have a lot of work to do with our division and with you coming back full time well I think that we could take over. I honestly think we have a chance against Chauncey and the rest of them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t party and play through class. Rory is in grad school and he’s developing apps that are pretty damn impressive. I just hope what I bring is enough to make us number one. I think about us carrying on the name and legacy a lot Dani. I know this seems silly however if we are picked as successors our lives will change. We have to plan for it. You know? What are you going to do leading up mom’s charities and her input was and is still vital to DGI. This is what’s going to be thrown at us we have a multi-billion dollar company possibly being handed to us.”

“If we’re going, to be honest about your brother I don’t trust him either as far as I could throw him. Just because he was polite at one party one time and didn’t cause a scene doesn’t mean that I’m going to say he is changing. I know he’s hurt you a lot and that matters to me not that you haven’t hurt him or other people too but you’ve changed you’re not that person anymore. Sometimes he shows his ugly head but I know you’re in control and if you weren’t you’d tell me.” Dani said as she took a sip of her iced tea she knew in those moments when she did see darkness like with Forbes and sometimes Chauncey he was still in control he went to meetings. If he did fall out of control she knew that he would tell her he had last year, then again when he relapsed to go to rehab and it was probably the hardest thing he ever had to do. “If you want to fix what is going on between you and Chauncey and try to mend that you should. I wouldn’t tell you not to I know how much you miss him. I also know you want the twins to have that sense of family with your family that I do with mine. I’m close to my aunts and uncles, my cousins are pretty much my best friends. I want that for our kids too.”

“I think for a few weeks having your mom and my mom there will be good after Ophelia gives us the clear though to resume normal activity they have to go. Not that it wouldn’t be fun to have you try and control that with them there but there are certain things our moms do no need to know.” Dani said seeing his eyes light up at her suggestion of letting their moms stay for that and she let out a smile at him wondering how they could pull that off. When he asked about work she didn’t know what to tell him she wasn’t going to be a trophy wife that was never in the cards for her. She didn’t think Jackie was that either but Jackie was a board member she had voting power and she attended a few meetings when Lowell needed her. Meanwhile, she worked and she loved it, she loved being involved from setup, to design, to advertising, to the meetings and crunching numbers she liked working nine in the morning till she felt like it was good enough for the day to then leave. “Are you upset or worried that I want to work after they’re born? I know that you want me to take over stuff with the charity work from your mom but I’ve worked really hard for my career. I can do both my mom did it for years with the pub.”

“No, I love that you want to work. I just want you to know what you are getting involved in Dani, I just feel like you have no clue. Our daughter will see a woman working and proving you don’t need me or any man. That is important to me. Max saw it with my mom, I’m just asking do you know how much our lives will change if I am named the CEO of DGI?” Jackson said knowing that she understood but they just never discussed what would happen. When she spoke on Chauncey he knew that with his brother all hadn’t been forgiven which meant they couldn’t trust each other. Not on the business spectrum but on the family he felt like that was a big step. Maddie was important to him for many reasons and he felt guilty for years taking his parents away from Chauncey. It was horrible and he was facing the darkest moment of his life while getting a literal gift from God. His niece was a blessing and he wanted to fix it for her and the twins. How couldn’t they because the Fraiser’s were a family and this was going unify them. While his family would be still in turmoil? If Bliss and Max could get it together then Chauncey and he could too.

“I just think it’s a good step Dani, I hope this isn’t a game and it’s a legit movement with our relationship as brothers. Look I don’t expect us watching football every Sunday but I’d like every seasonal sport we get together for the playoffs or something. I just think we could.” He paused seeing their waitress return she was beautiful and kind of reminded him of Dani in a different way. She had danger in her eyes and that red hair made her stick out like a sore thumb.

“Hello, again I know lunch is comped because you are the boss lady daughter but can I interest you in the desert of the day. It’s a triple fudge brownie with caramel a la mode ice cream. It’s completely delicious.” Dru said looking at Jackson and Dani. “Oh, and can I ask you a question? I’m going to club Vertigo after this shift where could I pick up a leather jacket as cute as yours? I’ve been saving but don’t want to break the bank. I asked Brooke Kincaid but she gave me all these expensive stores and I’m all girl I can’t afford that.” She said laughing looking at Dani and not even focusing on Jackson. “Sorry, Mr. Devonshire do you want anything?”

“I’ll have the desert we can share it if you don’t mind two spoons?” Jackson said looking at Dani. “Shopping all I know is Renards what about you babe?”

“That’s where Brooke sent me God it’s expensive!” Dru said laughing. “Any advice?” She felt ice running through her veins. What was a family? The Fraiser and Kincaid clans had played with family for years and would learn a very valuable lesson. She tried to keep her energy as excited as possible but she knew that she had to do everything in her power not to show her disdain. So she smiled and it was fake but she wore it well. Nobody had clocked it quite yet and she was still the sweet new girl.

Dani had been about to respond to Jackson she knew she was going to have to adjust to everything if they did get named but when that time came they’d decide what to do. He had been right in the middle of saying more when the girl approached them honestly she didn’t know her that well or her name and she looked at the name tag, Dru. She could remember that dessert was good she saw her father walk in and wondering if this was going to be another peace show or not for him with them. When the girl asked about her jacket and fashion advice on a budget she knew where she was coming from. Before she had hefty salaries she was bargain shopper herself. “Zappos is pretty good online, they have something like this. Alliexpress is pretty good too actually both are online. You could always try H&M as well they have some cute pieces too. I like your shirt flannel is so comfy this time of year.” She said one of the other things she was looking forward to hopefully fitting in her old clothes again. The girl was pretty and she was pretty sure she worked the room at the shower as well. She had left though by the time they had got back from the run in with Forbes. “How long have you been in town? My mom says you’ve really stepped up since Ralph disappeared on her.”

Dru smiled pretending to care about where she was saying. Dru had to dress like them to pretend to be one of them. What she wore with Ronan the other night was her speed. She liked to show her body off but she figured that the Fraiser, the city’s heart would love flannel. “Really I appreciate that your dress at the shower before that bitch came in here trying to ruin it. Well, it was amazing and I love your fashion well everyone around here is so rich and fashionable. I just want to fit in and look like I do. Oh, I hear so much about Ralph he must have been special to everyone. However, sometimes things happen and God opens up a door for someone else. But just a couple of weeks now it’s really strange to be around a whole new crew of people. Everyone seems to know each other but Ms. Cummings is really introducing me to everyone who comes in. It’s a lot to take in but I know you two from Star and InTouch like you two are celebrities well you just came on the scene Dani but he’s been the male Lindsay Lohan like forever.” She bit her lip trying to seem endearing hating every moment of it.

“I’m sorry that sounded horrible Jackson I don’t know you at all and I’m not judging you. I’m going off what I read in magazines which also report who wore it best. You two are really nice and I’m going to get dessert and bury my head in a pail of sand.” Dru turned and walked away.

Jackson watched her leaving and laughed he couldn’t believe how mortified the girl was. It was cool to see someone who didn’t hate them or want the Devonshire’s head on a platter. As she walked away. “We are going to tip her really good she’s cute. I am just saying I want you to be sure that you are up for it. I guess that’s all I’m saying. You didn’t sign up for all the responsibilities that are all I’m saying, baby.”

Dru walked out of the back with the desert on the tray and walked back to the table. “Megan demanded that you get some of her vitamin water she made. So she sent it out too and I think that is all. Sorry again Jackson.”

“No problem Dru, you know I dated Lindsay for a while right after Aaron and Hilary think it was a mess,” Jackson said smirking.

“OMG I’m dead I love Lindsay red-hair is winning forever,” Dru said walking off waving at Dani as she walked to the back and gritted her teeth. Going into the pantry she began to pace back and forth. Not knowing what to do she punched the wall and screamed a little. Nothing too loud that anyone could hear her acting a fool. As she looked at her reflection in the stainless steel she adjusted her hair and pulled her shirt down. Grabbing a canister of whipped cream she had her lie ready. Walking out she bumped directly into Walter Fraiser. She didn’t know why he was in the back and she felt the urge to punch him but pulled back. It was going to be hard to do this over and over running into her family. Looking at her biological father she felt her heart swelling in pain. A father was supposed to protect their little girl and he let her get taken. That bitch put her up for adoption and this idiot didn’t know.

“I’m sorry just needed to get some whipped cream. Can I help you with anything? Lauren is running late tonight.” Dru said leaning against the doorway.

Walter had made his way around the bar making sure things were in order he and Lauren were still splitting duties as far as the business went. She had called earlier after he was done with a meeting at city hall asking him to hold it down for an hour or two while she wrapped up some painting. He had stopped and said hello to Dani and Jackson as they ate on his way to the back to check the books, make sure an order was placed for supplies and then to head back out the floor. Lauren’s first love had been painting followed by him and Harvey, he remembered how in college she could paint anything and she had sacrificed that when they learned she was pregnant and he went into business with Lowell. He now had to wonder if that would change now though with the pub when she painted more her dreams had always been to open her own gallery to sell her art. That piece she painted at the shower had shocked him, amazed him in others and he looked at the girl in the pantry. He didn’t know her though she looked very familiar to him in some weird way maybe she had one of those faces. He looked at the canned whip cream and shook his head lesson one for the pub they served the good stuff bourbon whipped cream made from the family.

“Lauren called me my name is still on the doors under family owned and operated. Walter Fraiser, you must be the new girl she hired when Ralph skipped town. Where are you going with that? I do hope you are not going to feed my future grandchild processed junk in a can follow me.” He asked looking at her confused face and he took the whipped cream from her before going back to the kitchen. He noticed she was following and didn’t bother the other chefs or the cooks inside as he grabbed a steel bowl, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract,  and the bourbon out. “We don’t do the canned stuff here too much junk in it. One cup heavy cream add some vanilla extract and two teaspoons powdered sugar not the fine.” He said taking a whisk and working the bowl and looking at her face, she looked pissed at him and he had to wonder why their business was everything it had been since they had almost lived on the streets when Lowell ousted them. The staples were the bourbon, homemade whipped cream and a few other family recipe secrets like the mac and cheese which was his mother’s recipe. When it was smooth he took the bourbon pouring what he knew inside and looked at her mixing it all together. Grabbing he stainless steel whipping canister he poured the mixture in before tossing it to her. “Shake. How do you like it here? Your name is Dru correct is that short for something?”

Watching him rattle on and on about some family recipe which she knew was some bullshit. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she shook the whipping canister. She saw him staring at her and she caught herself she just didn’t look pleasant as she had. “I’m sorry you just remind me of my dad. Georgia is a long way and your presence well it was commanding and it just gave me daddy for a moment. Sorry yeah, my name is Druscilla. It’s funny everyone keeps bringing up Ralph I would have loved to speak with him.” Dru sneered as she continued to shake as she looked at him. “Your name is on the business but Lauren is running this place you must only come when she is running late or something. I’m sorry if I seem bitchy or presumptuous but I just thought divorced people don’t communicate as you do. They normally hate each other.” Dru said picking his brain. “I mean you did cheat right? Or something like that? I mean I think she maybe should have strayed too. It was years ago right?”

Dru once again employed her deer in headlights eyes trying to pretend to act as if she was shocked at what she just said. “I’m so out of line. That wasn’t my place to even talk about. I’m sorry Walter. I should go I’m so out of line I’m just a bartender and waitress who am I to even talk about your marriage. It’s just the entire staff talks and I’m now throwing the staff under the bus. God, I’m going to be like here.” She said shaking her head using that nervous energy that she was having the first conversation with her father as the power to act as if she was legit mortified. “I’m sorry Mr. Fraiser.”

Walter looked at the young woman she had a lot of audacity to judge he and Lauren, in fact, they had been amicable the entire divorce maybe because they were both happier people now. Regardless this woman had no right to talk to him like that as her boss or to judge he and Lauren for their past. A past he was very much so responsible for and was paying for with his family, the affair and the child with Brenda had destroyed his relationship with both of his children. “Ms. Pierce I would expect you in the future to keep your thoughts about my personal life with Lauren and both my children to yourself especially if you want to still be employed here. My affair with another woman has been plastered all over the news here it is no secret now it destroyed my family and I regret every day that I hurt Lauren the way I did. The difference is we both know how to act like adults when it comes to our children and the business. Your table is waiting.” He looked at her one last time before walking out of the kitchen and heading to the office.

While he never regretted loving Brenda or what happened with her he did regret his actions, instead of saving face he should have done the right thing and divorced Lauren. Victoria had been the glue that reunited him to his family and when she had died then he knew, but he stayed because as his parents had reminded him he had made a vow to Lauren, not Brenda. The little girl knew nothing of marriages or duty, or how much of his past he regretted and if she was wise she’d keep her nose to herself from here on out especially at the Pub.

Nodding her head she paused and turned around looking at her father. “I am so sorry Mr. Fraiser that was so out of line.” Clearing her throat she blinked her eyes looking at him. “I’ve been so welcomed and I know that came out kind of judgemental or something. It’s crazy to work with all of you people. Atlas Falls is all over the country being called the new place to live and here I am working for this lady who has been really sweet to me. I just want to keep our relationship going well. I would appreciate if you didn’t tell Lauren about this.” Dru said letting her words come out like butter. Walking away she smiled and paused as she bit her lip.

“Mr. Fraiser I admire your family and this business. I really never had a place to belong. I talk a lot of shit because I don’t know what to say when I’m grateful. Your wife saved me and I didn’t mean any disrespect by opening my big fat mouth. I just sometimes say the worst things. It’s stupid but I’m here trying to be the best because I honestly need this job. I apologize, Mr. Fraiser, my father was never there for me and I see you are here for your family. Divorce or not I shouldn’t put my own issues out there it’s called projecting or something like that. I’m so sorry it was way out of line. Dani is really lucky to have a father like you. I wish my father protected me like you do your children.” She said turning around after seeing his eyes soften. Dru turned around knowing that she had opened him up to her. Walking to the front she placed the whipped cream on the table for Dani and Jackson and walked to her next table.


Skye had not told Thor where she was going today she knew he would talk her out of it however there was something that she needed to do today and it required the drive to Philadelphia. She just wanted to visit nothing more or nothing less and she knew it was irrational but she wanted to see him, no she needed to see him through it was strictly prohibited. She had signed those papers to them, she had given them full custody and it was not an open adoption. She knew that when she signed but something inside of her had been awakened since telling Thor her secret. She didn’t know exactly what it was but it may of been regret, maybe she and Jon could have worked something out or maybe not, she had been so alone when she turned over custody. She had been barely clean from that rehabilitation place and holding down that awful job at the supermarket to support herself at the start. So when she looked into adoption and found Charles Hessington and he arranged for her to meet his future son in law and daughter. They had been a lovely couple and their story of trying to conceive and start a family tugged at her heart string they had also agreed to pay for her expenses and everything related to the adoption. She was desperate to get out of the grocery store job and wasn’t sure she could be a single mother so she had agreed.

She still remembered the birth it was long over ten hours of labor without pain meds because she was not putting drugs back into her body. She remembered hearing his cries and his purple figure with the nurses as he had come out. They had asked if she had wanted to see him and she had nodded her head yes, he had dark hair his eyes closed and then he was gone carted out of the room and he watched as Whitney held him through the window. She had stayed in Philadelphia afterwards and signed the papers three days after he was born, and she was paid a heavy amount for her confidentiality and the delivery. Her next mistake came after that when she met up with Ryan behind Whitney’s back and she latched onto him like another drug and he had been happy to make sure he was fucking her while Whitney tending Miles with promises that she would see Miles. Instead he had sent her a cease and desist contact letter in the mail and married Whitney she left town afterwards not able to take another man using her. So she then did Europe and the rest and now she was home in Atlas Falls.

She parked the car outside the massive house in Chestnut Hills tall brick on the front lawn and she knew the property well enough to get out of the car and take a shortcut through the woods to the back. She’d walked it many times with Ryan when he’d want to see her against an old tree and she’d catch just a glimpse. She walked quickly not knowing how much security they had at the moment, she supposed not a ton it was not an election year and she stepped out of the path and looked at the massive back yard complete with the garden and outdoor covered pool and then she stopped as she saw him. Eagerly running around the yard being chased and her eyes landed on the little girl who had barely begun to walk behind him and anger raged through her. Who was that? They had assured her that they couldn’t have a baby and she didn’t even hear him yell at her and her eyes looked up to see Whitney Walker ragging at her. She felt so overwhelmed looking at that woman going to her son and picking him and the little girl up.

Whitney had taken the kids outside while Ryan and her brother discussed a land development deal inside the stomach bug had finally passed and she felt terrible for missing the shower for Dani personally. They had sent a great gift and she promised her that they would be there for the wedding later in the year. Miles was growing like a weed and her little girl was catching up just as quickly a miracle literally they had stopped trying and were blessed enough to give Miles a sibling. Not that their marriage was always perfect far from it but this was why she stayed for their kids and this life she had. Her eyes had narrowed when Miles led his sister out of her eagle eyes for a moment and she followed only to almost stop in her tracts as she stared at Skye Morgan. Instinct crept into her and she made sure she grabbed both of her babies from out of her reach. She was grateful for Skye of course she was she gave her Miles but part of their adoption agreement was that she would not see him or them, that she would stay away.

“What are you doing here?” Whitney hissed at Skye not wanting to alarm either of the children and she motioned for the nanny when she came outside to come get them. Not her babies this was her house, her yard and her family. Miles was hers and Ryan’s he had been the moment Skye signed the papers to willingly give him to them. They hadn’t twisted her arm into the adoption in fact they had paid her quite a bit of money to ensure Miles had no side effects from the drugs she had pumped into her body those first few weeks were still there. She watched with satisfaction as the nanny took the children away and Skye’s face fell. “You are not supposed to be here, so leave.”

Skye tried to hold it together as she saw him her baby boy his head full of her brown curls and now that she saw his eyes they were an exact mirror for Jon’s and her heart swelled. For a split second she felt like she was just alone with Miles until Whitney had made her presence known and she stared at her up and down. She watched with tears in her eyes as the nanny took both Miles and the little girl away and she saw Ryan and Whitney’s brother Lex making their way outside to them. Just what she needed well maybe it would be for the best and they could all know how wrong they had done her. How Ryan had lied to her all those years and how looking back she should have gotten a second opinion on those papers that Lex had drawn up. She shook her head at Whitney she had lied to her too, she had told her she couldn’t have a child naturally that was the entire reason she wanted Miles. “Did you steal her from someone too? I just wanted to see him.”

“How dare you! Not that is any of your business but Torrance is mine and Ryan’s through and through. You aren’t supposed to be here so get out. Or I swear to god I’ll call the cops and have you tossed out. You signed those papers.” Whitney spat the insinuation that she stole Miles pissed her off to no end and worse that she’d do that to Torrance if she was adopted too. She saw her brother and Ryan arrive and she glared at Ryan knowing this was going to be a problem the moment they had left the hospital her father had told her so, Skye was attached because that nurse had let her see the baby. “Get her off my property now.”

Ryan Walker was from Montana he never thought he’d end up on the east coast with a flourishing life and family. Married to the governor’s daughter and with two children. He was the free-spirited older brother to Declan and Jacen Walker, never the marrying type until Whit. Whitney changed everything and had given him his very own family. For a time he was foolish enough to cheat because he was powerful. Being the Governor’s son-in-law gave him opportunity to open another oil well right in Pennsylvania and that made them filthy rich. Seeing Skye here was a rude awakening to his past because he never thought she would be stupid enough to break a cease and desist. Strolling closer to Whitney he stepped between them almost. “Look calm down the children feel all this hostility. I don’t know why you are here and what you expect to gain from this. But you aren’t getting our son alright now what you can get is maybe six thousand. You are down on your luck right missy?”

He hadn’t lost the cowboy in him and it was no need to call the police. He’d wrangle this girl out of here. “This is hard. I know that but you don’t get to come on our property and just shake up our lives Skye. That’s not acceptable or rational behavior from an adult. I know you think we did something horrible to you. That we manipulated you and I may have. I may have done some things and she knows so you’re not using that against us so what’s next? Huh? You think you’re here to do some big reveal huh about how I slept with you? Whit, we don’t need any police to take out the trash. I can do that. It makes me sick because I know you. You’re selfish and for some reason, you want my son again. I don’t know why you think that it’s acceptable.” Ryan screamed acceptable again bellowing through outside as he turned to see Lex. “To be here but you gotta go, Skye!” Just what he needed the prince here to gloat about his shortcomings with Skye. When he almost fell into the same trap.

Lex smoothly strolled down the courtyard stairs as he saw Skye and a wicked smirk lined his face. This is exactly what little miss perfect Whitney deserved. That bitch had always been his father’s heart and when Dani left it solidified it. Slithering to Ryan between his sister and Skye he felt his sisters tension. Her hostility toward Skye for sharing her precious Ryan. Ryan who cheated twice but had a sudden turn around in the last year. He was sure that wasn’t enough though. Once scorn and twice bitten as he looked at Skye still seductive as ever. She looked delicious today. He smiled shaking his head. “No my dear, nobody stole anything you handed your child over and we paid for rehab. Plus all your medical expenses throughout and after the pregnancy. I heard about you reuniting with Jon through word of mouth. My niece isn’t your concern and her conception isn’t either. So here is your last chance, Skye Morgan. Go find your happy ending with that mobster you are with. I keep tabs on all my past clients and darling you are a mess.”

Cracking his knuckles he yawned. “This concerned mother act is boring me let’s just call the authorities. She might get her boyfriend to whack us. I don’t want that so just so you know we are going to report this to the police. Go scurry along because I have no sympathy for a junkie who doesn’t know she made the best choice in her life. I know who Miles father is and the scrutiny he would have lived in during that trial. It would have affected my nephew and I’m glad he’s away from that toxic bastard.” The embarrassment of him losing her to Jackson Devonshire aloof and destructive ass. He honestly knew Whitney and Ryan would hate him but he’d been drinking. Bitter was his life his father all but replaced him with Anderson, so moving to New York and joining Sherwood & Finch firm was his next move. The loss of Dani still stung it’s weird his father disconnected from him deeper than he did when his mother died. “Oh, are you mad that your mistress is about to be arrested, Ryan?”

“Go to hell Lex, go away you honestly are making this worse! Skye please leave.” Ryan said advising her the best he could.

Skye stood looking at them all who was she kidding they were the Hessington’s one of the most powerful people in the state hell the country. Their father was going to run for Senate one day and likely win, they had money and means and she glared at Lex. Jon was not a mess far from it, but he was right he would have thrown him under the bus in an instant and having herself trashed on the stand for her ongoing affair with both him and Jackson would be terrible on Miles. She could say a lot of things about Lex being a cheater, an asshole and a dirtbag but he was a very good lawyer probably one of the best. She had gotten a second opinion on the adoption in Europe from an attorney that assured her it was rock solid the only appeal she would ever have as recourse is if Jon pursued a case. Even then she knew it was a long shot given how long that they had him they raised him from the time he came out of her. She saw the security team approaching and knew that for now it was over she caught her glimpse. She then saw Whitney looking at her like trash for sleeping with her husband and she let out a laughing leaning into her and Ryan so they both heard. “Don’t worry sweetie I wasn’t the only one he fucked wildly with that cowboy hat on because you’re too proper to get down like that. I’m just the one that he knew he can throw under the bus to please your fantasy. I’ll see myself out.”

Whitney didn’t know what overcame her when her hand raised and it smacked Skye across the face as she looked at Ryan coddling her. She wanted to shake her head this, however, was what she choose life with Ryan and their children. Some women in her position chose better they ignored affairs or they exposed them in hefty divorces she knew neither of those things was an option for her. She saw Lex looking amused at her outburst of propriety and wanted to scream at him at least she didn’t spend her time drinking away the day because Dani caught his ass. She used to want her best friend to marry her brother but was honestly glad Dani had avoided the drama of being married to him. It probably burned him up that she was pregnant with Jackson’s kids and going to marry him and it served him right, he may have helped get Miles for her but he knew about Ryan’s affairs and did nothing. “Don’t look so shocked husband the trash doesn’t get to talk to me like that ever. As for your brother is there a bottle nearby for you?”

“Don’t get pissy with me. I’m leaving my limo is here I was just coming out to say goodbye when I saw the melee but don’t ponder too long. I’m leaving for New York. I know our father is in DC so I’m leaving now. I can’t stand to see his withered face of disappointment. So with that Skye, you have a wonderful rest of your life, my dear.” Lex waved her off as he followed behind her. “I’ll make sure she’s gone and then I’ll be. You see it’s poetic I got to see the one woman who could bring down my perfect sister charade before I left my own. I can finally be my own man while you are pretending. Now honestly I can’t protect you if Jon comes after either of you. You both knew that man was the father and took that girls baby without contacting him. That’s on you if he comes after you when I told you we could have made it so he still couldn’t do anything. Secrets Whitney and Ryan. Secrets always come to the surface.” Lex said as he walked out.

Whitney stood there as she watched Skye walk away and then was shocked by her brother’s announcement she knew he was hurt by daddy picking Anderson. He was hurt that Jackson had knocked him out last year when he and their father had gone for Selina Delacroix and Chauncey Devonshire’s wedding. She had opted not to attend. She and Ryan had been in counseling at the time. He was hurt when Dani didn’t take his taunting at Walter’s election party win. In truth, Dani’s public miscarriage and their public breakup was something that she thought deep down hurt him but he was too stubborn and too prideful to say it. She also would like to think deep down he regretted what happened with Maggie Thorpe it was in the past now though and this could be his fresh start she supposed. She saw Ryan looking at her and looked back at him. “You assured me it was over I find out otherwise you’ll deal with my father and I guarantee you this time he’ll send you backpacking to Montana with nothing. I need to see the children.” Leaving her husband standing there she made her way back inside.

“Skye wait up. That was quite the slap.” Lex said gleefully as he looked at her. “You know the only way to get Miles back is to tell Jon? That isn’t what you want to do. If he finds out then it’s over forever you know billy boy scout wouldn’t understand why you did what you did. He isn’t dirty but you are. He isn’t bad but you are and I think that is why I’m going to offer you one million dollars to never come back here. To never tell that mobster or anyone else it’s called an NDA. If you want updates I’ll send you pictures and I know for a fact you want a connection to him. I’ll lead him to you when he turns to the age when he’s searching for his birth parents. Let me finesse this but don’t tell Jon, understand?”

Skye didn’t have it in her to fight with them anymore as she rushed out and she heard Lex following her and she felt sick to her stomach as she looked at him. Son that should have been the apple of his daddy’s eye instead that fell to his lovely sister, the rumor was that he was his mother’s favorite. She had never met the woman but knew she was revered in many circles and her death had been major news years ago. He was talking to her like normal human being about her son and she supposed that was progress. The things he was offering her ringing so amazing in her head pictures of her baby and maybe a chance to meet him down the line, she knew Ryan and Whitney would never agree to that. “Fine, I’ll take the money. Send the pictures.” She said quietly looking at him, formulating her own plan on her end. She’d get her son back from them even if she died trying.

“I’ll call you with the details,” Lex said as he walked to the town car. “It was so good doing business with you Skye. Now this time let’s not go through a million like you did that hundred thousand.” With that Lex’s driver opened the door and he got in the town car. “Take me to the airport and also wire a million to me. I have once again silenced Skye father but it’s going to cost us a little more than money this time.”


KC watched Miranda wearing his old college jersey and her thighs glistened in the sun. They had been holding each other and hadn’t yet made love but he wasn’t pushing it either. As badly as he wanted Miranda today was the first day they weren’t going to hide him from Quinn. He’d been avoiding her. On the first night in the cabin it was strange he slept on the couch and then she came out to get him. They just held each other and before long they were talking and she even spoiled his favorite movies which were anything superheroes. For the last week, Quinn had been with grandparents, Jon and Cassie, and most shocking of all his baby brother David. When he was younger David hated kids and it was shocking to see him all of the sudden happy with Quinn. Miranda explained how his death changed a lot of people and David was the main one.  Last night they choose to move back to the house she bought after his death. When Quinn came on he hide honestly because he didn’t want to alarm her. He didn’t want her to be angry with Miranda but she seemed pissed. Maybe it was being away for so long but they had to fix what they had. This morning he shaved and for the first time saw his reflection in the last year or so. Miranda was mixing a batter in a large bowel.

He cleared his throat and saw her turning around. She paused as he looked at her eyes which all of the sudden had tears in it. He guessed the Wolverine thing was hiding him really coming back from the dead from her. Biting his lip he smiled as he walked to her and hugged her. “Hey, no tears we are about to tell our kid that her dad is a superhero and came back from the dead. I am glad we had this time away from her it made me remember why I love you. I hadn’t forgotten but to see it all up close and personal well that was breathtaking. So do you want to wake her up or do you want me? I mean I haven’t seen how bad this get’s. She said she didn’t like to be awakened but maybe by me it might be different. Plus you are making breakfast I think this should be like our back together breakfast. I also know that you don’t cook good so this is the best damn breakfast ever. It’s the only thing you’re good at babe so she’s about to get a treat. I mean let’s be real oatmeal and corn flakes aren’t breakfast.” He teased her knowing that’s all Quinn was eating because that’s what she told him. “She’s so smart how did you do that? Or did she come out like that?” Popping a berry in his mouth.

Miranda had made her way downstairs to the kitchen from the bedroom Quinn was home now and she was going to take it one day at a time. They were still figuring out the story that they were going to break news to the media with the Feds help. First, they were going to make sure that Quinn was adjusted to the news that her friend was real and that he was going to live with them again. All of that would have to wait till after breakfast which was probably the only thing she was decent at when it came to the kitchen and she had her mother to thank for that. TJ’s had been around since she was a young girl and she could whip up omelets, waffles or pancakes all you had to do was just name it. She was glad that KC was alive, grateful for that but they were taking it slow again it was something that she knew was probably driving him crazy but it was what they needed as a family. What she needed to do for Quinn and for herself, there were two units outside the house just in case and she knew once the news broke they could be in danger again. It would take Ronan one look at her face on the news without her wig to know who she was but KC had assured her that the FBI would protect them.

“I will have you know that your daughter is picky as all heck with food and oatmeal and cereal is fast on a late morning when she likes to be lazy and sleep in. But my momma’s pancakes you know she loves those to the moon and back. She’s smart and I would like to think she got that from both of us. Go ahead and go wake her up we can eat and explain everything to her together.” Miranda said looking at him as she poured the batter on the skillet and watched him go upstairs. She heard squeals and fits of laughter and watched as Quinn bundled down the stairs and into the kitchen sitting at the table as KC followed her. Her eyes teared up a little at Quinn’s laugh as she watched her stick her tongue out at KC before running to the living room to turn on cartoons to wait for breakfast to be done. It was a simple memory a new one, that KC never got to experience until now and she supposed that was why she was so emotional over it. She had made pancakes for most of Quinn’s life on the weekends and this was the first time KC was there to share that with them. “Have you and Diego talked yet about when the press conference is going to be. This will be hard with her going back to school knowing you are here and I want to be prepared in case Ronan decides to retaliate. I don’t know all the details of what he is doing now but he will know I was the one in the club with Yasmine. She was fast to flip her testimony to not include him when Jon was at court if I had to guess he threatened her and Jamal not to say anything.”

“He told me that it would be next week sometime. They have to figure out all the optics on me coming back.” He looked at Quinn burning through episodes of My Little Pony. As he watched her he paused as he touched the wood panel on the kitchen. Seeing all the little marks on how much bigger Quinn had gotten since her first birthday. He’d missed so much and seeing her so vibrant and happy almost choked him up. As he walked to the island in the kitchen he sat in a barstool. “To be honest Ronan won’t come after either of us. He’s already shaken that the FBI is on his ass. With Steven out of office and Walter not being able to be bought. Well, I honestly think that his days are numbered. He tried to kill a federal agent meaning me, I am living proof on what Ronan did. We need a little more time to get the RICO laws in play, however, I think that we got him.” As he listened to her speak on Yasmine and Jamal. He didn’t know any of these kids but they were shaken.

“Well, it’s clear you got an in on Ronan we just have to get Yasmine and Jamal to speak on him. If we can get them back on the right side of the law well then we can get him. I’m going to hang his ass by his ankles soon enough. I can’t wait to Ronan finds out I’m alive. He failed and I’m here with my family. That’s all I need to be honest I want to reconnect with everyone but if they are butthurt about my choices. Then they weren’t truly my friends in the first place. Everyone should get I didn’t want my parents, David, or my new family in witness protection. I just couldn’t do it and I didn’t have much choice considering I came out of my coma almost a year later.” Looking over at Miranda taking the last pancake out of the skillet. He took a deep breath. “Quinn can you come in here it’s time for breakfast.”

Quinn scampered in the room with her Twilight Sparkle pajamas still on and yawned a little. She wished they wouldn’t get her up so early. Looking at her momma and daddy she smiled. “What’s up.” She climbed up on the barstool. “Momma can I get some berries.” Licking her lips already excited for the pancakes.

KC got up and walked to the fridge and picked up the blueberries and strawberries. Walking to the island he looked at Miranda and he noticed how she hadn’t taken her eyes off of him. “Hey, Queen Quinn? Can we have a serious conversation? Ok, I first have to apologize to you and your mother. I made you two fight when I should have been honest with your momma. Remember Quinn always tell the truth and you might want to say sorry to your mother considering you yelled at her. Also, I can say for a hundred percent fact that my name Kenneth Chase Rhodes and I’m your daddy. I’ve been sick for a little bit and I was in a long sleep like Sleeping Beauty was. I had to get strong to come back to your momma, you, and all our family. It’s a long story Quinn and far too complex for a child. I will tell you without a doubt your daddy isn’t going anywhere now. I’m here for momma and you. You two are my world and I am so sorry that I.” KC paused as tears burned in his eyes. “I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there for you but I’m here baby you hear me?”

Quinn saw her daddy crying and she couldn’t help it she reached up and wiped his face. “It’s okay daddy. I know you are special police and someone bad hurt you. I knew you were strong though daddy so I figured you’d come back.” She said smiling. “Now you and mommy can get married again and I can finally get a brother or a sister.”

KC touched her little hand the moment she wiped his eyes. He kissed her hand as he laughed looking at Miranda. “Um momma you care to handle that one?” Leaning over he put a few strawberries and blueberries on top of her pancakes. Then picked up the syrup and saw her spray the whipped cream first. He laughed because he always did that. Looking at Miranda he felt his heart swelling. “I didn’t think this day was going to happen.” He mouthed at his wife. “I’m sorry I left you both.”

Miranda had wondered once where Quinn got all her optimism from and she now knew KC was always a wildcard when it came to things, he always looked to the future. She was the one that worried more for the both of them, the more straight edged one which was not her daughter. Quinn was wild at times and sometimes a little unruly and she loved that about her. It was a reminder of her husband and now he got to see that too. She wanted to point out to Quinn that this would be a slow process for everyone to adjust but didn’t have it in her to tell her that a sibling was a ways off. She heard the doorbell ring and watched as KC went into defensive mode with his gun behind his back at the door and she motioned him down. Looking through the hole at David on the steps, the other person that she didn’t tell KC that was coming. David deserved to know and she hated keeping it from him it was hard enough to do so at the baby shower. KC’s death had changed him not for the worse or the better but he was lost for a time and she saw KC glaring at her.

“He has a right to know I refuse to keep Quinn from him and she has a big mouth that will tell him. He is your brother.” Miranda finished as she opened the door to her brother in law and motioned for him to come inside. He looked tired was the first thing she noticed like he hadn’t been sleeping and instead was partying when he should be sleeping and working nonstop at the hospital. He hadn’t been the same since Tamara’s overdose and the messy breakup that she had put him through and knew that he was reaching out for company in the wrong places. Then again maybe when he was with Talia the other night they had agreed to a date. That in her mind wouldn’t be the worst idea on the planet they were kinda cute together. “I’m so glad you came by for breakfast Quinn will so happy to see you and we have some big news.”

David had spent most of the night at the hospital making sure it was running smoothly there had been a gang shooting and his expertise was needed to piece back a kid with bullets into his chest. They had managed to save him and he was beaten but instead of getting some sleep he took a catnap at the office and then got the text from Miranda. He could never say no to her or Quinn, whatever she needed he would always go help her that was the type of man he needed to be since KC was gone. He had been thinking about KC a lot over the last year, especially when Braden had been unable to keep Ronan behind bars for his murder. It boiled at him that the justice system kept failing when it came to locking up Ronan Madden. Who else would have to suffer the kids in the Scottswood neighborhood that were getting pulled into that life? The officers that put their lives on the line day after day to stop the mayhem he caused? It made him angry and he knew anger was something that he could explode with so instead he buried himself into work, he gave her a hug as he stepped into the door and hung his keys on the entry rack something he had done a million times.

“You know I can never say no to your pancakes and having breakfast with my other two favorite girls next to my mom. So Quinn all ready for school or is she going to con me into one of those shopping sprees we do every year? Not that I mind I love taking her to the mall.” David said taking a few steps into the foyer and turning and he felt like the wind was knocked out of him as he stared at a man that looked exactly like his brother. He stumbled backward until his back hit the wall looking frantically at Miranda for an answer, she wasn’t alarmed and he didn’t’ know what to think. KC was dead he had given the fucking eulogy at the funeral. Then he had gone to the bar got shit faced and fucked Ophelia in a hotel room afterward, not his best shining moment. He was shaking and the man across from him he saw tears in his eyes and he could feel his own emotions overwhelming him. “KC? What in the hell is going on? How? I think I might be sick or I need to sit down.”

“Kenneth Chase in the flesh,” KC said looking at his baby brother was clearly gobsmacked that he was here alive. Walking to his brother he grabbed him to show him he was real. They held onto each other for at least five minutes. The bond between them was so tight and he felt his heart swelling. Before he knew it they both were in tears and he just held his brother was openly crying now. “No, you aren’t sick Davey. You might need to sit down because this is a long ass story. I don’t want to keep repeating but we need to call mom and dad. I need them back in town. I need you all to be in one place because He’s going to come after you guys after the press conference. I just need you all to be protected.” Helping his brother sit down he sat in front of him. “I was in a coma after the shooting. The FBI faked my death to get Ronan that’s the short version. We’ll sit down over a couple of beers.” He looked at Quinn soaking up all the information.

“Look I can’t say how sorry I am and I’ve been apologizing since I came back. Davey, this kills me how much you’ve suffered since I been gone. I’m sorry if the FBI and I didn’t come back fast enough. I know you’ve been trying to hold things together man with the family. Mom and dad couldn’t stay here without me. Too many memories and I just.” He took a deep breath. “I just am happy to see you man you got a fucking beard and your chief-of-staff. Fuck David, you are grown, man. When I left you were just a resident and now look at you. On the cover of medical times. You are the man I always knew you’d grow up to be.” He looked over at Quinn smiling ear to ear.

“Mom? Why is everyone acting like daddy isn’t a superhero? You told me that when I was little. All heroes come back from the dead it’s a comic trope.” She said stuffing a pancake in her mouth. “Uncle David why does daddy keep calling you Davey?”

KC looked at David and laughed because the nickname was rooted in him scaring the shit out of David when they were little. Jon and he would pretend to be Pennywise or any clown. “That’s a long story kid. I’ll tell you another time but ask your uncle Jon too. He’ll get a good laugh.” Watching David process everything he reached out to his brother. “David I never meant to desert you all. I suffered quietly though because my wife isn’t my wife anymore. My daughter isn’t a baby. My friends hate me and my brother well I don’t know what you feel. You could be emotional right now and then hate me like my other brothers. Jon, Braden, and Brock didn’t react so well and I did physically assault Devin.”

David was too stunned to really say anything back to his older brother he wasn’t even sure what he should be feeling at the moment other than anger but even that was not on his mind as he hugged him. Relief washed over him at the implications this meant for their entire family, his parents had retired to upstate New York after KC had died they would be thrilled that he was alive and well. A chill settled into his bones when he mentioned that Ronan would go after him though and the rest of them, on the other hand, if the feds were that close to taking him down he would have to watch what he did. So, maybe they wouldn’t be in that grave of danger. His eyes shot to Miranda as she nodded her head at them both to walk back into the kitchen likely to check on breakfast and Quinn he could hear the TV in the other room on and saw Quinn pattering behind Miranda in the kitchen. He didn’t need the details about how long KC had been alive or hiding he was just glad he was alive. The followed and he ruffled his niece’s hair as he looked at KC.

“Your daddy calls me Davey because we used to go on pirate adventures when we were kids, argh!” David said tickling her as Miranda placed some pancakes on his plate and he took a seat on the counter next to her. He watched as KC grabbed them both coffee they would probably finish the pot they had a lot to talk about. He saw Quinn finish the rest of her pancake and watched as she scampered off to the living room leaving the adults to themselves. He looked between Miranda and KC and wondered if a full union was in the works yet or not. He guessed not she was with Devin like last year so that was something they had to process likely he cut into the pancake and smiled at her and then looked over at KC. “Mom and dad are in upstate New York I can drive you up to see them it’s probably safer for everyone that way.  I would ask how long but I don’t think that is the most important thing now, is it? So how long till the press conference and I swear to God there better be some Feds watching me, Miranda, Quinn and mom and dad just in case that psycho goes off the rails. The saddest thing Braden almost had him last year man, he was close.”

“Diego has a team on you all right now. You guys just don’t know it. You will have plain clothes and uniforms on you. We aren’t taking any risk brother with this man. Look we are going to close this case and for once this city will be without that plague over it. His father ran Atlas Falls illegal activities and he is on the same path. He thinks he’s invincible but I’m going to take down Ronan Madden, Thor Luciano, and anyone else connected to them. I promise you mom and dad are safe and my family here is safe.” Taking a sip of his coffee he looked over at Miranda and he was listening to his brother but he just couldn’t stop staring at his wife. All he wanted to do was see her smiling like this all the time. She looked so happy and over the last year, he hadn’t seen her looking like this. He saw David snapping his fingers in front of his face. He still spaced out a habit that he had since he was a kid. Seeing David sneering he kicked him under the table like the used to do. When he felt him kick him back he smirked. KC noticed Miranda was blushing because he was staring.

“Ouch.” He yelped as Miranda laughed knowing exactly what they were doing. “As for my parents, I think you should go get them and bring them down. I can’t be seen until that press conference. So what if you took Quinn up for the drive.” Raising an eyebrow. “I mean bringing them here and we can call Ms. June and see if she can whip us up one of those famous lasagnas. I can make a mean salad and we can break the news to them together as a family? Plus I need to talk with Miranda about what we are going to do next. I mean about Ronan you know not us. I mean I totally want us if you want us. You know your heart is safe with me but I was talking about Ronan.” Lowering his head he felt like how he did when he first met her. Like this was the first date all over. Except they were already married and had a five-year-old. “I guess my game has gotten weak since I’ve been dead huh?” Watching David and Miranda laughing he smiled. “I always had game.” They laughed harder. “What are you two saying I’m corny?”

Miranda watched them go back and forth as Quinn finished her breakfast and David ate with KC at the countertop it was almost as if he had never left. He did though and she was glad he was back it was also nice to see his sense of humor was still there, as she took a sip of her coffee. She then began to eat her pancake looking up as David mentioned something about them and saw her husband blushing at her. They hadn’t yet and that was alright not that it was any of David’s business even if she knew that it came from a good place of concern. She placed her mug down grabbing more syrup as she stared at him and KC. “Yes you are still corny David I agree with David here nodding his head.” Taking a bite of her pancake and then sucking her thumb to get the syrup off she stared at KC knowing she was driving him a little crazy. “Obviously I want us if I didn’t you’d be at that cabin still. I’m going to shower you and David can catch up.” She finished purposely walking by him on her way up the stairs knowing he was staring at her.

David leaned back in the stool a bit watching Miranda and KC flirt like two lovesick teenagers he supposed they kinda still were. He had been gone for five years and Miranda had changed a lot so had his brother likely. He watched her leave the kitchen and his brother staring at her and then lightly punched him in the arm. “You want to get back in your wife’s pants help me with the dishes and yes for the record you are still corny as hell.” He said smiling at him as he collected the dishes to clean up watching his brother stare at the stairs.


Jackie sat at the long table at the country club for the annual charity committee’s budget and planning meeting they had to plan the fundraiser for the year and from there make sure funds were being spent appropriately. She smiled at Blythe Sinclair and almost rolled her eyes at Brenda who was on the committee by default. She had appointed Blythe to the board earlier that spring when it became clear that Phoebe Blisston wouldn’t be able to continue and she did it to ensure that Tess would never sit there. When she had started the charities for at-risk youth as well as cancer at the hospital to honor Gloria and others she had used the money not DGI’s meaning it was her choice who was on the committee no one else. She felt Blythe would do a wonderful job and after the shower, she was actually going to ask maybe Lauren to join and she had another idea as well. Lauren was painting again back in the day she turned down a wonderful opportunity to study real art in a gallery in Europe to marry Walter and go to DGI. If the committee could agree to let Lauren paint some pictures for auction one of a kind artwork she was certain it would catch for a pretty penny.

“I think the budget is on track so we can meet both goals for the year at least by Christmas. We have the popcorn tin fundraiser that is a hit every year my granddaughter has agreed to head that up at Atlas Falls Preparatory. For the fundraiser this upcoming year I would like to propose a masquerade art show for bid. My family is close with renowned artist Taylor Jensen and there is an up and coming artist locally that I could have her sponsor for the show.” Jackie said and she saw the looks of approval around the room when she dropped Taylor’s name now granted they weren’t super close but a call could change that. Taylor could come to do the art show she could convince Lauren to do a few paintings surprisingly she and Lauren had texted and talked a few times since the party and she never realized till then how much she had missed her friendship with her. Taylor could spend time with Maddie again. “I am so glad you all are in agreement.” She had gone to say more only for her mouth to drop open as she saw Zerick open the door and stroll inside.

Zerick hadn’t waited to get a clearance from the security team as he had entered the country club he hadn’t been banned there yet so he knew that he could come and go. He was banned at DGI but still had his contacts in the society like Patricia Nichols and knew that today was his aunt’s big charity meeting for the upper-crest of society many wives of big names would be there. Just what he wanted to publicly get his side out they may have threatened him from talking to the news and doing a follow-up interview with the lovely Cassie Montgomery but he wouldn’t be silenced and this was the perfect way to do it. He opened the door to the largest conference room and it was just as he remembered from the night here with Greer when they arrived last year for the fundraiser spoiled, indulgent from old money he supposed money he was owed as his mother’s son and Lowell’s bastard. Money and wealth he was denied because his own aunt refused to see what was going on but now she had to see and she would.

“Such a pretty little story to tell the ladies. Don’t mind me aunt oh I should have introduced myself, Zerick Devonshire. Formerly Westwood since I wanted to see how snakes lied in bed together when I arrived in Atlas Falls before I joined them. You see Lowell is my biological father and you are my aunt or should I call you stepmother?” Zerick asked looking at the shocked faces and he swore Brenda Kincaid was eating up his own words he would need that later from her. He knew what he had to do now to solidify those doubts in society and have those women turn against her that was what he wanted for her and Lowell to suffer for what they had done and he wondered of all the women in that room who knew about his mother’s rape that night. He knew Steven did and he looked at Brenda to refute what he was about ready to say. “I am sure some of you were actually there that night at one of those fancy DGI parties where she let her own sister Katie Davis be raped by her husband and she idly sat by and did nothing. Nothing but not believe her and then didn’t even reach out and attempt to help her until it was too late.”

Jackie was beyond mortified and embarrassed as she looked at Zerick his features resembled Katie and he also thought she saw a bit of the Devonshire line in him too. That was something that was on the forefront of the accusations Lowell may claim his innocence but on the other hand, he could easily pass as Lowell’s son too. Various ladies at the table were staring at her in shock and she saw a few glances of disgust on their faces. She held her head high as she watched Zerick study, Brenda Kincaid, what had that bitch told him about Katie? Granted she knew Katie was close with Steven years ago but surely Brenda never bought into this outrageous lie and accusation against Lowell? If she thought Lowell was a rapist that was absurd she never would have let Hunter marry Max if that was the case. Whispers were starting in the room and she for sure saw his sick look of satisfaction and knew she had to act fast to save face. She would handle this in private with him and he’d understand he would stop this until she spoke to her sister immediately.

“Brenda could you please show the ladies to the lunchroom the chef should have everything ready for you all there. I will be in shortly as soon as I am done talking to my nephew and only my nephew.” Jackie said and she saw most of the ladies take their cue to get up from the table and make their way to the doors that Zerick had come in through. She would put a stop to this nonsense for her own piece of mind, she saw Zerick block Brenda from her exit.

Zerick watched the old ladies move from the table the stares and the whispers had already started and he knew what would happen next. They would go home to their husbands and children to repeat what he just said. Her name would be mud when everything was said and done, she could have her fancy house and DGI her children but his aunt would not have her dignity. His mother’s had been ripped from her in a much more vulgar and vile way and his aunt would be known as the wife that stayed with a rapist. A monster that on top of defiling her with Audrey Montgomery, Tess Blisston and others had raped her own sister while she did nothing. He leaned into Brenda as she made her way out the door and looked at her he knew his mother had gone to her and Steven all those years ago. “Tell me when my mother showed up to tell your husband what happened to her with Lowell were you the one that told her to leave? Or was it him?”

“Oh please, my husband was one of the few trying to help the wretched woman. Your mother, my God Jackie you haven’t told him.” Brenda narrowed her eyes at him. “I am a lot of things Mr. Devonshire or Westwood but I don’t turn my back on a hurting woman. I don’t do that but your mother have you truly gotten to the bottom of her mindscape? She wasn’t the sanest back in my day and Jackie you know this but I hate to say it you all are pretending to not see it. I get it. I truly do Mr. Westwood. It’s easier to blame the Devonshire’s your family than face your mother never was sane enough to raise you.” Looking at Jackie shocked face she smiled. “You see Jackie that’s how you do it. You tell them the truth because I don’t have time to pretend anymore that you or Lowell deserve this. I’m going, to be honest little boy and tell you my husband helped your mother because he cared about both Jacqueline and Kathleen. You know nothing of the past but you will stop disrespecting Jackie. You youths think you can be so damn disrespectful no my dear. You will respect her.” She snapped as she walked to Jackie side.

Leaning in she saw her shocked expression. “I told her to leave after she started having a mental break not knowing she was raped. That’s the truth I’m not a heartless woman but you, on the other hand, to do this to Jackie. Well, I think you deserve the miserable upbringing you got.” She leaned in and whispered to her. “Look I know we have had our differences between Max and Hunter and other things in our past but he won’t disrespect you I got you. These young kids have to learn to respect the legacy we gave them.”

Zerick looked at Brenda Kincaid and he had to give it to her she commanded a room owned it even and he looked at her going to his aunt to console her. His aunt was still fuming at him and in his mind, that was fine with him. She could sit there with all her self-righteous indignation but it didn’t change the facts that she had let her own sister wallow in pain and suffering from that night, a night with her own husband. He hated Lowell with everything inside of him that was possible. He was pretty certain it made his soul dark and black he learned a long time ago to swallow that he was a product of darkness so he embraced it. When he was younger it was the only thing he had to cling to when his mother was unwell, he had that and Forbes with occasional visits from Tess to guide his way. The only two friends his mother had in this world that were left from her past, present and likely future she didn’t even want to see him. Then again why would she? He was a product of her nightmare and he got that, he was lost in his own thoughts as he finally heard his aunt speaking.

“Thank you, Brenda, I can handle this from here I know we have had our differences in the past but you were always good to Katie. Let the ladies know that I will be right in as soon as I am done here.” Jackie said looking at Brenda knowing that for now, they were on the same side.

All those years ago she had chosen Lowell over Steven and though they didn’t get along in the past Brenda was always kind to Kaite. She waited a few moments as she watched Brenda leave and the door shut behind her while she looked at her nephew up and down. He talked a big game and part of the things he talked about did destroy her a little every time she was always wondering now what happened with Katie that night. If in fact Lowell may have taken advantage of her while high or worse sober and what did that make her as a sister, as a woman if it was true. How could she live with herself if it turned out to be true, how could she look in her children’s eyes and then just stay with Lowell? Sometimes when Zerick would speak she would see so much pain in him that it broke her even more, she saw Katie in him. She moved from her spot in the chair to face him directly as she stared him down. She saw him take a step back and realized it was out of fear of rejection she wasn’t sure which. She didn’t know what came over her but she raised her hand and slapped him seeing his shock and bewilderment now that she had his attention maybe he would listen for once.

“Your accusations need to stop and they need to stop now. I am sorry for the way I failed my sister, the way I failed you as an aunt but I won’t and I mean I won’t tolerate you coming at me like this. I have no idea what lies you have been told by Forbes but I will be talking to Katie personally in a few weeks to resolve this. You can either join me on that trip or not it is up to you.” She said fiercely as she saw his face soften a bit at her she could accept him as her nephew but as Lowell’s son, that was another matter if it were true. Her hand rested on the table for a moment studying him and the anger that was radiating over him it came in waves, a perfect storm in her mind. She had that when she was younger so did Katie, her boys had it, Lowell had it so it was hard to tell which side that came from. “I took care of your mother all these years for you I know you don’t want to hear that. When I tracked her down it was right after an incident with you the drowning. She was unwell I wanted to take you here with me, Forbes took you in the middle of the night I never saw you again. Until now and I am sorry for that but you have to stop till we talk to your mother she will be able to tell us what we need to know. She is the only one who can.”

Zerick didn’t have time to react as he looked over at her and then rubbed his cheek when she slapped the living daylight out of him. His eyes burned with so much anger at her and then he softened she was not the target he was aiming for. He was aiming for Lowell and in part her too but she was his aunt, the only family connection he had left to his mother to his knowledge his grandparents on that side were dead. They had two children his mother and the woman he was looking at how and he could tell what he was saying was eating away at her slowly and he hoped it was. He hoped it kept her tossing and turning at night as she laid next to the man that created him. He about froze when she said that she was going to see his mother, that killed him as the last time he had visited her she had turned him away he knew a long time ago she wanted him out of her life. He learned when she tried to drown him in a tub and stared at her letting it sink in that she had gone to help, that she wanted to take him in yet Forbes had denied him that. He was certain that Forbes had his reasons even if they hurt deep down now to think about.

“You have no idea who the man is next to you in bed do you now? I hope it haunts you for the rest of your life. I hope when you look at your sons that they know what a monster he is maybe there is a shred of that in them. Perhaps they share his darkest desires and needs when it comes to taking what he wanted in a woman. You act so dignified aunt in truth that dignity was stripped away a long time ago when he was screwing Audrey Montgomery, Tess Blisston and others while you turned the other cheek. He never loved you.” Zerick said seeing her tremble just a little at him knowing that he was breaking her down little by little. He looked at her seeing the tears in her eyes knowing they were coming to an understanding. “If he did he never would have fucked another woman let alone had a child with them and now look you have two. I feel sorry for you that you weren’t enough. I want a DNA test it will clear up everything when I have that I will shut up.” He finished walking to the door he looked at his aunt watching the single tear fall down her face. “ I doubt my mother was his only victim. I will see myself out after all you have more important things to do like keeping up that image. I’ll wait for your call.”

Jackie felt herself breaking down as she looked at him and everything he said was something she had thought about since he had come forward. She knew it was horrible to doubt Lowell to think like this but she was running out of options when it came to the truth and lies with Lowell he had a track record with Audrey and Tess and now she was wondering who else at every turn. He has always been greedy when it came to the company and he indulged in drugs and booze back in the day and she stood by and let it happen. She just watched content with the money and the power that came when DGI rose with her place in society, she didn’t even realize she was crying till he closed the door and her hand came to her cheek. Wiping away the tears as she did before taking a seat on the chair in the conference room and burying her head in her hands. The tears wouldn’t stop and she looked up when the door opened and saw Brenda staring at her. She held up her hand motioning to give her a moment as she wiped her face and reached for her purse. Adjusting her makeup as she stared at her reflection in the mirror, not even sure who she was looking at anymore when she did. Putting it back in her purse she went to the door collected and poised ready to carry on the charade a bit longer until she knew the truth.


Ivan took off his headphones as he looked at Jamal’s face. He didn’t know what to say honestly, it was how he felt. His money was low and his king was gone. The rap was real to the loss he felt by not having anyone who he held him down. Now it was all different and the streets were talking. Some of the Scottswood Bois wasn’t happy he signed with Jamal at the end of the day fuck them motherfuckers. He had a chance to blow up and Jamal was giving him a legit opportunity to be the best. As he looked out at Jamal’s face he knew he stirred him to the core. “Look it wasn’t no beef boss man that’s just how I felt. A motherfucker came up in our crew and shit got different but it’s also a song man. I know it’s harsh to hear yourself in that light and if you don’t want me to record it I will drop it from the mixtape.”

“No, it’s your art,” Jamal said looking at Ivan and nodding his head wondering if he deserved to hear that song. Hell, he had gotten Ivan from the brink of suicide when he found him. He was popping pills and doing lines. He was on the verge of getting killed himself for his reckless behavior on the streets and Jamal heard all about it. It wasn’t right to leave one of the most gifted lyricists he’d ever seen out on the street. Never let the world hear his flow or what he could do behind the mic. “I just thought we were past that and I just thought.”

“What you thought that I was just going to forget how we got to this place? Man dig this Jamal you cool as fuck man. What you did was foul and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it wasn’t. You hurt a lot of people and left people to twirl in the wind. I grew up stealing for what I want and I killed for something to eat man. That’s my life and those niggas were my life. Blood or not they rode for me unlike no other and when you came around shit changed. Money was killed and then Kendrick was. I’m not saying you are the problem because you got me in this fat ass house and my dreams coming true. You have to respect that shit but bro I can’t just help but to say when you came into my life my boys died. I got my blessing and they lose their lives that’s what the song says it’s about guilt and man you guilty as fuck. Let that shit go, bro because I have and nobody going to come at me foul. Go get a drink and let’s get a few moments.”

Jamal nodded walking to do the door. “Ivan you’re my artist and I promise I’ll going to do everything I said I would do. I promise you’re going to get a chance to honor your boys. I’m going to call Val and handle a little business man. I’ll be back in about thirty or forty minutes okay?”

“Yeah go ahead.” Ivan walked to the control deck and started to tweak somethings. Pulling out a pen and pad he began to write. Lil Wayne said he had everything in his head but that was bullshit. Sometimes you had to write out your shit to get it to flow or at least that was his method. He was a freestyler and writer. When he heard the door open he spun around and saw Simon walking in. “What’s up shorty what you doing here?” Did he forget the rules already? “No public remember Si?”

Simon had done his errands for the day first stopping by the bank to make sure the document Lowell gave him was in the safe, his last will and testament he didn’t read it. He knew it was serious when Lowell had told him to place it in safe keeping away from DGI and the mansion in a safety deposit box at the bank in his name, not Lowell’s. He had then remembered that he had some paperwork for Jamal to sign and headed over the makeshift studio above Vertigo passing by the bar and going up the stairs. He had checked in with the lovely secretary at the front desk and learned that Jamal was in a recording session with Ivan, they had not seen each other since that night after the party. It had not gone how he expected and when he had awoken early that morning he had left not sure what to feel with Ivan he had acted on impulse. He wondered if that meant that he would be in the same situation that he had been with Mason for years on end. He still didn’t understand why it was such a big deal for Ivan to not be who he was really inside. Would the world really crash and burn he stepped inside the booth and then realized that Jamal was not in there as he looked at Ivan looking fine in his environment. He looked at home there and he shrugged as he looked at him getting upset.

“Rules were made to be broken I heard you the first time, we had a nice evening together. You made it very clear you are fine with hiding in the closet again for the next decade and I simply got you outta my system. I’m actually here for Jamal who seems to have disappeared the moment I showed up to sign some paperwork to transfer him some funds. You see he is taking quite the risk on you with his label and the money that DGI has fronted hopefully will make its profit back. I’ll wait in here till he gets back Lowell wants the papers signed today.” Simon said looking at him as he sat the folder down on the soundboard. It was little quant even but he knew if Ivan’s demo dropped and did well, sold well that meant that Jamal could add new artists as they came on. He had Ivan and some group called Glory Road so that was a start but they were on opposite ends of the spectrum which was odd. It could be brilliant as well if played right and he wondered how Jamal was going to launch if he had to guess he was going to hold out and launch when Rory dropped his app at the same time. “So this is where all the magic happens then? How does it work you simply step inside and then just say whatever you want into the microphone?”

Ivan looked at Simon and shook his head. This boy was going to be the death of him honestly he didn’t play by his rules. He liked that. He loved to be in control but something about Simon and the sex they had well it was great. When he stepped into the booth with him he smirked. “It’s not that easy but yeah that’s what happens. I don’t talk a lot Simon because I think most people like to hear themselves speak. I like to observe but in the booth, I’m the only voice I hear. It’s the only time I feel real with myself the shit I say is what I think. Living my life I’ve felt like I was born in Wonderland. From the moment I was little bro I just knew shit was upside down for me. Boys don’t like other boys and we weren’t supposed to be effeminate at all. My father beat all my softness out until I was hard. I figured fist equaled how you show you care and violence equates to love. I’m not in Wonderland when I’m in the booth. Everything is right side up you know?”

“Shorty you know I’m not out of your system. I’m like dope once you are a fiend you always a fiend.” Ivan stepped behind Simon and placed the Beats on Simon’s head as he smirked. “You want to learn how to flow? Say what’s on your mind? It’s actually relaxing to let it all out, Simon. Okay, the thing about rap is the flow you can say anything if you are on the beat. The beat and keeping the pace. So you want to try Mr. Rutherford or are you too chicken?” Ivan pressed his body against Simon as he walked out of the booth and went to the controls. Pressing play a booming trap beat burst into Simon’s ears. Seeing his shocked face he laughed. “Okay tell me when you ready.”

Simon looked at him a little unsure of the game they were playing he couldn’t’ write a song to save his life let alone think of some clever lyrics to go with it. Rap was fine on occasion but much-preferred poppy shit, the good stuff with artists that embraced themselves. The intriguing part about Ivan was he wondered if his album would embrace that side of him that he kept hidden. It was a dangerous game of back and forth they were playing and he wondered who would get burned this time on the other hand maybe some burning would do Ivan some good make him realize that his past should no longer define him what was his daddy gonna do? Track him down and beat the shit out of him as an adult that was soon to the wealthy as hell and could hire all the security he would need? Ivan honestly bewildered him and amused him, on the other hand, he was confusing and he supposed that was part of the intrigue. He watched as the headphones went on his head and heard the beat it wasn’t terrible.

“I think I met a boy who thought he was a man. Just a man that hid behind the shadow of his fans. He doesn’t know which way is up or down. Making sure he just wants his crown. Hiding from who he is behind a mask. Not quite sure how to take his new lover to the task.” Simon said seeing that he ruffled Ivan’s feathers as the music was promptly shut off he saw Ivan glaring at him he did tell him to just speak whatever was on his mind so he did. Wasn’t his fault that he had quite good prose with poetry when needed, a lost passion that was often overlooked with what he did for Lowell at DGI. He was good at cleaning up messes but when he had time to relax sometimes he found his prose. “I’m sorry was that too real for you? Should I go again?”

“Nah it was alright I think you about to get in your first rap beef,” Ivan said looking at Simon. Walking into the booth he immediately started spitting at him. “Yo, I got this yellow belly boy not talking Pikachu. Boy if you ever come at me like I’m soft I might knock your block off. You think you want to say I’m scared to be who I want to be. What if this is me and you just don’t want to see. I don’t lie, cuz I told you from jump what’s up but you want more. I should have never offered it but it doesn’t make it no better cuz I wanted it.” He said with such quickness he saw Simon was shocked. Licking his lips he folded his arms as he leaned against the wall.

“You think that you know everything, don’t you? You one of those smartasses. You don’t consider me a man because I won’t come out of the closet? It must be quite freeing for you to be who you are. I’m not fucking scared of my father bro. I’d kill him with my bare hands but that isn’t what I’m after. I’m after getting to the top and if this is going to stop it. Then I can end this shit right now. I told you my career is the most important thing to me. You know what I am afraid of? Mothefuckers judging my manhood. I am just as much as a man as any of them. But because I prefer a man in my bed then I’m looked at as weak. Nah I’m not weak bro and I’m all man. Boy, you must have just been looking at the dick the night we fucked.” Raising up his shirt he showed his tattoo. “Those bullets are for the people I’ve taken out. Ain’t no bitch in me and I’m a grown ass man. I just don’t have to wave no fucking rainbow flag bro.”

Simon looked at his own headphones and placed them down while he watched him rap or do whatever it was that he did. It was clear that they came from two very different worlds he supposed that was the appeal the whatever it was that they were doing. He liked the dangerous side to Ivan but it was a side that was full of selfish pride and he wasn’t even sure he could handle that given what happened with him and Mason. He had enough and walked across the booth pinning Ivan against the wall and then leaning his mouth to his kissing him. Real men accepted who they were they didn’t hide behind a fake persona of music rap, groupies and telling lyrics about fucking bitches on the corner. They accepted that they liked to fuck with dick and they wore it proudly there was no reason to wave a flag as far as he was concerned. There was a need to stand up for themselves though so young men never went through bullying in their families or the outside world, people were allowed to love who they love and he could feel Ivan reaching for his belt buckle. He refused and instead pinned his arms against the wall he would learn that he was not a pushover for sex he could have anyone he wanted.

“Oh my God, I am so sorry,” Val said standing in the doorway mouth open as she looked at them, she always assumed that Ivan was on the down low he just didn’t scream let me fuck girls. Simon she knew was out and proud she looked around the booth embarrassed for interrupting their moment. She got it the hiding hell she was avoiding it herself with Jamal and Kelsey she was stuck between two lovers. She got it she really did and she watched as Simon pulled back and Ivan looked at her mortified. Jesus this was awkward and reminded her of that one threesome she had that one time on spring break in Miami where the guy didn’t know what to expect while he fucked her and she fucked that pretty redhead. She really didn’t know what to say as she looked between them and she saw Simon straighten his shirt and start walking out. “I was looking for Jamal he may be downstairs. Again I’m so sorry.”

“You’re fine I was simply proving a point, Val. I will go find Jamal and have him sign the paperwork.” Simon said seeing Ivan glaring at him not sure if it was a glare of letting me bend you over and fuck you raw or get out of my sight. He honestly wasn’t even sure he cared all that much. “If he is downstairs I’ll have to see if there is anything else that catches my eye.” He left it at that as he walked out the door to find Jamal.

Ivan charged to the window to the club seeing Simon walk up on Jamal and waving to some drugged out twink. When he looked at him to see if he was with a watching. Looking over at Val who watched him watching Simon. “You can’t tell Jamal. He thinks I will be fucking all the bitches around. This shit is a fucking curse.” Ivan said as he grabbed a bottle and tossed it directly across the room. “Simon going to get fucked up he better quit playing with me man. I don’t do this with everyone but shorty got me fucked up. I’ll go down there and bash that fucking fag face.” Referring to the other boy Simon was talking to now that he got Jamal signature. Simon didn’t know it but he looked at lovers as watched Val horror at how angry he got. “I don’t play about mine. Simon doesn’t know it but that motherfucker mine. You know how it is in our culture you have to be machismo. Fuck that I’ll kill that boy. You better go tell him.” Ivan said walk to his Gucci book bag and pulled out a Glock.

“Go warn that motherfucker that I ain’t playing I’ll air out this entire motherfucking club. Tell that little motherfucker to meet me at my house. And Val you got my number right call me and tell me what he said.” Ivan said sitting down looking at Simon talk to that fairy. He didn’t know why but he was feeling Simon. Maybe because it was all his other boyfriends were DL or too obedient and Simon was just fucking rebellious. “You ain’t scared Simon huh? I ain’t either so let’s so who breaks first.” Walking into the booth he grabbed his headphones.

Val watched him place the headphone on his head mouth open nodding her head at him before leaving the room. Outside she took a deep breath by the door this is why she didn’t get involved with crazy love triangles. Simon probably shouldn’t be pushing Ivan’s buttons, on the other hand, Simon didn’t want to play games anymore either. Anyway she sliced it in her head it was a mess so instead, she decided to do the next best thing and go tell Simon at the bar that Ivan was upstairs waving a gun around just in case.


The sun was bright and the late summer made the city look majestic as she looked outside of her balcony. Belle was starting to regret coming with Forbes Montgomery. After how he spoke to Jackson and Dani she truly knew he was after a pound of flesh. One thing she wasn’t was a fool at all because she saw that she was a catalyst to get back at Lowell. A man who she wasn’t so sure she wanted as a father. The media was reporting Zerick Westwood was claiming that he was the bastard son of Lowell. In all respect, she was a bastard something that didn’t sit well with her. She was raised with the Archibald family where she was with her parents being beyond loving. As she wrapped her sheer shawl around her tiny shoulders. She looked in the mirror and finally saw Tess and Lowell. It was scary to know her biological parents and they not know her truthfully. Tess was her Godmother and would take her on elaborate shopping trips and vacations all over the world. She always was more of a friend than a mother so it was shocking now to have to consider her as a parent. Why did she keep Bliss and not her? She had so many questions for her mummy and father. She’d googled each of her siblings and found out Lowell knew of Bliss, but not her. Hell nobody knew about her because of Godmother.

As she walked out of her room she watched Philip leaving with his physical therapist. Sticking her hands in her pockets she walked down the stairs. As pulled out her phone her Christopher had been calling nonstop. The only person she had talked to from London was her sister Constance. She told her not to forget about them but honestly how could she? Did the chance of being a Devonshire sound that alluring? She was wild, not heartless but she just couldn’t talk to them right now. This was her exploration on what they did. Not only that but she had to dig deeper into why she was the forgotten Devonshire. Why was she placed with an entire other family and Tess kept Bliss? Did Lowell know about her? Is it safe to even talk to a Devonshire about this? For the last few days, Belle hadn’t felt like herself, because who was she? She wasn’t an Archibald but not a Devonshire. She was lost in flux right now and it was honestly the one person who answers was avoiding all the questions. As she walked into the courtyard she saw Forbes outside with two men. “Top of the morning Godfather.” A thunderous pop echoed outside as he shot the disk. He was very good at skeet shooting which her father Christopher loved.

“Pull,” Forbes yelled as he aimed his gun and the disk flew. With a quick push of the trigger, he saw the disk shatter into a million pieces. A smile creased on his face turning around he looked at Belle and saw the spitting image of Tess. Spending time with Belle he understood why Christopher and Jane were so attached. She was a spitfire and had a serious attitude. Normally Belle would be sleep right now, he wondered what she was doing up. Soon the DGI annual board meeting would come up and if he could get to Belle, well she could change everything. She changes the structure of distribution of stock between the children of DGI. All he needed was a few more board members on his side and he could oust them all. Then take over DGI through breaking each division of the company. Soon he’d have everything he wanted after Lowell betrayed him. With or without Belle he was going to conquer but if she snatched two percent of the initial five Devonshire children. Along with the Devonshire board being very concerned with Lowell’s illness. Pausing he wondered if his ying to his yang was seriously sick. Lowell was far too stubborn to die or succumb to any disease. Plus they had a war to finish and a draw wasn’t an option.

“Good morning, Belle tell me what are your plans today? A trip to Rendards? A local museum? A day trip to New York for a show?” Forbes asked as he looked at his assistants. “Pull.” Quickly throwing his gun in the air he shot the disk missing barely. “Tell me what is on your agenda today?” Forbes looked at the two men and nodded for them to leave. “I was thinking the Atlas Falls Museum of Modern Art. You were an art student so you can appreciate some of the famous paintings and art there. I think that would be a wonderful trip don’t you?” Forbes said seeing she wasn’t amused by his selections. “Well since you are so very clearly annoyed Belle tell me what can I do for you?”

Belle tapped her foot against the cobblestone as she shook her head. “No, I won’t be attending any museums. I actually think I’m going to the Devonshire mansion.” Pausing she saw him turning around looking flushed. Exactly what she thought, he didn’t want her to be around her family right now. “Tell me do you think I’m just some foolish little girl? I’m not stupid you practically ripped Dani’s twins out of her womb with your words. Not only that but the constant press about your bad blood with my true father Lowell. You seem to think I believe your sweet words for me. Like you are my Godfather but I never knew that until you came to get me. Then you choose to keep me locked away in this mansion that isn’t what’s going to continue. I won’t be trapped here any longer nor will I be hiding from the Devonshire’s. Bliss came into town and she told everyone who she was! Why shouldn’t I do the same and make the same splash that Zerick and Bliss had?” Seeing his face when she mentioned Zerick name. “I was made to set the world on fire not sit here and be this sad sack. I won’t sit in this mansion and be a hostage to you are whatever Machiavellian plans you have for me.” Belle paused as she looked at him in his face. “You are Lowell Devonshire greatest enemy do you think I’m a fool?”

Forbes placed his gun down as he turned to see she wasn’t playing. After spending almost four hours waiting on her in London he knew she was stubborn to a fault. Not only that if she went to Lowell then the ousting of the Devonshire’s from DGI will not be easy as it was right now. Plus he had to change the DNA test for Zerick soon enough. Naming Lowell as Zerick father would give him exactly the capital to finally bury DGI. He just needed to get the last few pieces in place. He needed to reach out to Zerick to find exactly when the DNA test would be. Then he’d be valid in taking over the company from the inside. “Do you think he wants you? God, you are a blind child because you want them all to be your family. News flash my dear wake up. You will never be a part of that clan because they never wanted you. Tess wanted Bliss and she threw you to her cousins. Do you think that despite you being a Devonshire you are wanted? You aren’t Belle because why wouldn’t Tess keep you? You are a pawn and I don’t think you get it. I won’t let them use you, I’ll protect you but you have to believe in me.” Forbes said passionately as she saw his words pierced her.

“I told you that the Devonshire’s care about themselves. You will get a parade around town and everyone will know your name. Then you will have to battle Max or Bliss for a place in your father’s heart. You have no idea how the boys will react. Now I can wake you up from this illusion you are living but if you want to pretend to live in a fantasy you can. You aren’t that petulant to think that you are important. You are someone about to strip away another five percent of their overall shares. The Devonshire’s don’t care about anyone but the bottom line and you are someone taking. You see how they are ostracizing Zerick you are a fool to think you are more important than a male heir. Lowell is heartless and when he finds out he’s going to adorn you with love and attention. However, soon everyone will hate you. Understand your place here, it’s to secure your future without having to fear. I’m going to give you the life you always deserved and you’ll get revenge on them ignoring you.” Forbes declared as he looked at Belle.

Belle walked up to Forbes as if she was going to hug him and she kicked him directly in the shin. When he clutched over she grabbed his face. “Listen to me,” Belle said with fire in her eyes. “I don’t need money, I’m very wealthy by being an Archibald. I don’t need revenge because I had a wonderful childhood. I want something you can’t give me Mr. Montgomery.” No longer calling him Godfather she understood what this was now more than ever. He was after revenge but she was after something much more alluring. “Since I was five years old, I wanted to rule the world. I want notoriety and most of all I want fame. You can’t give that to me but becoming the last heir of Lowell Devonshire will give it to me. Your claim to fame is trying to beat Lowell but mine will be coming from Lowell. I’ll use it to get everything I ever wanted including the illusive power you think you are going to steal from my family.”

Pushing her back and clearly startling the waif girl he stood looking at her with anger. “I suggest you go upstairs while my shin is throbbing. Ask Philip if I like disrespectful children? Little girl you are in my home, I will lock you in a tower and throw away the key. You must understand that at the end of the day you aren’t wanted. You were never wanted and I’m bringing you here to show you they don’t care. You get that, don’t you? No, you think that because you are a Devonshire you get a golden ticket in life. Oh my dear you won’t because Lowell and DGI are going downhill. You keep saying they are your family, Isabelle they don’t want you. Are you that blind? How about this we talk about this a little later because I need to speak with an associate in a few moments. Can we table this until later?” Forbes asked looking at her wondering if he’d overplayed his hand and if his rage against Jackson and Dani had changed his luck with this damn overgrown brat.

“That’s fine, Forbes but believe we will be speaking about this very soon.” Belle turned around and walked upstairs feeling a little shaken up. The look in his eyes when he pushed her was scary enough to give her nightmares. The man was sadistic and honestly, she didn’t want to be in the house with him or here at all anymore. She was so contemplated calling her father Christopher and getting the hell out of here. When she got to her room she knew for certain that Forbes was trying to use her. Taking off her shawl she grabbed her red leather jacket and slipped on a pair of True Religion skinny jeans. Then threw out a pair of wedge Dolce & Gabbana heels. Opening her door she saw Forbes shaking hands with a stunning woman as he took her into the study she nodded her head. Grabbing her clutch purse she opened the door and started to creep down the stairs. Once she was past the study Belle immediately knew where she was going. Running out the back of the mansion she went to the garage where it was full of luxurious cars. Clapping her hands and jumping up and down. What car did she want to meet her family in?

He thought he could stop her? No Mr. Montgomery or Godfather or Forbes whatever he wanted to be called. Belle didn’t get told what to do, she did what she wanted. That’s when she saw the cars were sectioned off. Some were Cassie’s old vehicles, some were Forbes, but it was Philip’s collection impressed her the most. He had vintage cars and modern but the one that caught her eye was the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Grabbing the keys from the rack she clicked it. As she ran to the driver side she clapped again happily. As she jumped in she knew it was time. Pressing the push to start she clicked the garage open and drove out to the front of the estate. As she got to the gate she exhaled and relaxed. “Good morning Klaus.”

“Ms. Archibald, Mr. Montgomery didn’t tell me you were leaving today. Plus don’t you have to be escorted?” Klaus asked dreamily looking at Belle. “Plus that’s Mr. Montgomery car, Philip doesn’t let anyone drive them.

From the moment she arrived in the mansion she noticed Klaus a younger security guard checking her out. Why wouldn’t he? She was stunning! Today she was going to use his lust against him. Puckering out her pouty lips she looked at him as her left hand twirled her blonde hair between her fingers. “Well, Philip can’t walk so how is he going to drive, Klaus? Mr. Montgomery has guest up there oh what’s her name?”

“Ms. Khol is up there. She’s a sweet girl too.” He said looking at Belle struck with her beauty.

“Right Ms. Khol she told me about this sell at Renards and I just have to be there. I want this Balenciaga dress so bad I can taste it. Mr. Montgomery is busy and I want to exercise my right to be a young adult and go outside. I mean I am twenty and my birthday is a few months away. He’s just keeping me on such a tight leash. I need a little air so can you not tell him I’m gone. Please.”

“Will do just get back in a couple of hours it’s only so many places in this mansion you can hide from him. Belle, I was wonder would you like to catch a movie with me.” Klaus asked smiling at her. As he pressed the button to open the gate.

“No, no I wouldn’t. I’m sorry I’m destined for a star or someone influential. Klaus, we can be friends but unless you Zuckerberg your life up I don’t see it happening. But I’ll see you around.” Belle put the car in drive and peeled out the gate.


Dru waved at Walter as she grabbed her bag. The rest of her shift she kissed ass and even bust a few tables that weren’t hers down. It wasn’t long before he patted her on the back. She knew how to impress that uppity bastard. Who did he think he was? Oh, he was her sperm donor but he wasn’t her father. She didn’t have parents she had people who had to learn from their mistakes. Each one of them would feel the wrath of what she was going to do to them. Sometimes she couldn’t sleep because her mind stayed racing. She was so angry at times she couldn’t rest. How could she? One one side of her family tree was that bitch Brenda. She had it all a dead husband who left her a fortune, a son who was on the way to being a political heavyweight. Anderson Kincaid had a perfect life and she was going to rip that up also. Then the middle boy who she carried a secret with, Brenda thought nobody knew her secrets. She knew what her issue was with Hunter and she was going to expose them to the world. It would take some time with Brooke but she’d already fucked her ex-lover who everyone knew she was in love with still. Then it was her lovely father who thought he better than Lowell and well everyone. His superiority disgusted her because he was a whore and had betrayed Lauren so many times. She didn’t personally give a fuck about Lauren but she was going to suffer too. In her mind, she heard the stories about how Lauren flipped out. He couldn’t bring her home because she’d leave him and take her precious siblings. Braden had finally dumped Selina but now he was with that junkie Tamara again. Then it was the other fucking princess Dani. So what your miscarriage is for the world to see, she only wished it was her and not Greer. However, she hadn’t figured out what she would do to Dani but it was coming. They all would pay and hell if little Victoria would have made it Dru would be wrecking her life too.

As she clocked out she smiled at her co-workers and she walked out of the back. Strolling through Atlas Falls she chose to walk. The night was beautiful and she was feeling emotional right now. That’s when she saw Brenda getting out of her car with Anderson and Hunter on her arms. Her lips quivered as she entered The Pub. If only she’d stayed longer she would have gotten to serve her other brother. Nodding her head as he eyes narrowed becoming completely enraged. Grabbing a rock she picked it up and tossed it at the window of the car. “I hate you! I hate you bitch!” It shattered as she stood there fuming as she stepped back she flew into the lap of a man. Turning her head she was about to go off when she noticed he was in a wheelchair. Standing up hoping she didn’t embarrass the man too much. “I’m so sorry.” Dusting her hands off she grabbed her purse. “Pardon me.” Wondering if he saw her throw the rock at Brenda’s car.

Philip needed to get out of the goddamned house he felt like a weakling prisoner there, to be honest. This was supposed to be his moment to reunite with his father but like always he had been replaced by the newer younger model this time in that fucking brat Belle Devonshire. When he learned the spoiled princess had taken his prized car after he got out of his therapy session he was more than pissed off and had instead asked his driver to drive around town while he moved his feet in the back of the car, the feeling was all the way up to his legs now. Hopefully, the ruse with her would be fucking over soon if not he was certain he would have to give his father a reality check about who he was instead of worrying about that spoiled bitch Belle. He had even taken a few steps today it was a slow process and a sinister smile had crept on his face when it happened Max, Hunter, and Bliss would not know what hit them. He also hadn’t forgotten how that imbecile junkie Jackson had threatened his life but he would pay too. He has stopped at the Pub for a phone call to an associate and then had turned his chair around and that is when he saw her. Gorgeous red hair throwing rocks at Brenda Kincaid’s car he let out a laugh at her apologizing to him there was no need he’d be walking soon. For now, though he didn’t want anyone to know his secret until he was ready it was better to play it down.

“No apology necessary so what did she do to piss you off? Did she get her son off for shooting you in the back too and leaving you to a chair? Were you one of her precious Steven’s mistresses or was it perhaps the other son Anderson?” Philip said casually looking at her wondering who she was her face was so intriguing all that pain and anger in it. It reminded him of him sometimes with his father and he shook his head, Hunter Kincaid would pay and there would be nothing his precious mother could do to fix it. He had people looking into what Steven had before he had died and soon he would have all the ammunition he needed.  The one thing he needed though was an ally to his reign of terror that was soon to come when it came to those that wronged him a partner he hadn’t found yet. “Pardon my manners I should have introduced myself Philip Montgomery You are?”

So he did see her as she turned around away from the scene. She saw people starting to come outside to see what the commotion was. Looking at the handsome man sitting in the wheelchair she felt herself growing annoyed at all his questions. “Are you going to rat me out? I mean Mr. Montgomery I don’t know you but it seems we have something in common. We both hate Brenda and the Kincaid’s. To answer your question I’m none of the above and so I guess you’ll have to deal with not knowing why I just threw that rock.” She said leaning against the wall. “Dru Price, and it’s nice to meet you, Philip. You must be related to Forbes Montgomery everyone knows him.” She asked as she adjusted her purse on her shoulder. As she bit down on her lip she saw him checking her out. “My eyes are up here sir, I know you can’t exactly see upward because it would hurt your neck but my eyes are here.”

Dru started to walk away from the pub and saw Philip was rolling by her. “So are you going to follow me or something? Look I threw the brick because I hate the bitch. Is that enough and all these damn rich people think they can just hurt and destroy. I’m not going to take it lying down so I threw a fucking brick angrily. That’s all no story Philip and weren’t you going to The Pub? Here I’ll tell them to comp your drinks and we can keep this a secret sir.” As she unzipped her purse and pulled out her cell phone. “Wait did you say that Hunter, Bliss, and Max were lying about what happened to you? It was all over the news you were shot and all. Do you have proof on that?” She asked curiously as Dru finally made it to the bus stop. “Look let’s just say we might have more in common than I thought. Are you looking for revenge Philip?”

Philip looked up at her almost wanting to smirk just because he had to pretend to be an invalid a little bit longer didn’t mean that he couldn’t appreciate the gorgeous body that she had going on underneath that shirt and jeans. For now, though he would be a complete gentleman about it he could tell though she would be a wild ride when he was ready. He needed that after everything that Max had put him through her lies about a future and now she was fucking some Spanish asshole? He would have given her everything he had in order to keep her, he would have walked away from his father for her and everything but the moment she found out that he wasn’t so pretty inside she let Hunter shoot him. Covering it up like he was the damn plague she was out of his system now and all he wanted was revenge. Bliss would get hers too Hutner would be the worst though he was going to destroy everything he had. Jackson was going to collateral damage for thinking he was the big man now. He wasn’t stalking her if anything he enjoyed her company and he almost stopped following her only to snort when they came across her waiting at the bus stop.

“No one needs evidence in this town you’ll realize that when you are here long enough. A simple word or placement of a doubt is enough. I was there he shot me she was there too, Bliss was the one that had the idea to cover it up. I know enough but right now you see I have to play my cards carefully the air will be getting chilly tonight in a bit.” Philip said looking at her and then the clouds as the sun began to go down. He had a perfectly fine limousine that was warm and even had heated seats. He looked over her and then wondered if he was one of those rich people that she so deeply despised money wasn’t all bad in fact money came in good use when you needed it. “I’m always looking for revenge you see that is why I’m taking my time with this one I have a list. I’ll tell you what if you want a ride home with me in my car over there we can compare notes. My revenge list to yours since I’m not buying that it wasn’t personal for you and Brenda. I promise for now I’ll be a complete gentleman of course. Besides if I wasn’t I’m pretty sure you could take me on.”

Dru smirked he was right she could handle him because she’d always taken care of herself. Folding her arms she nodded as she walked to the limo that was following them the entire time. The driver helped Philip get in she leaned over him and placed on his seatbelt. Cracking her knuckles she looked at him in his eyes. “You are right it was personal but I don’t know if I can trust you, Philip. I have a list too.” She’d never told anyone who she was and until she could trust him she chose not to start right now. “I have a score to settle with the Kincaid’s and Fraiser’s. All of them have to burn and that’s the truth. I don’t mind if I burn with them as long as they are on fire.” Her eyes glossed over with tears wondering what she should and shouldn’t say. “I have done some things that made me sacrifice my own soul. I will go to war with God himself to make sure they pay. The hate fuels me and I don’t know any other game but chess.” She was subtly warning him not to betray her because she always had a trick or plan up her sleeve. Hell, she got in good with Walter and Lauren already. She was just the new girl right now but soon she’d be a trusted friend. Once that happened she was going to bury their dreams and leave them a gory bloody mess.

“No, you don’t get it. I don’t care about Max and Bliss you can do your worst to them. Me, however, I only want Hunter to tear apart. Hell, it seems you would want him too he did paralyze you. My life has been placed in a constant flux and it’s their fault so I’m going to get what’s mine. Revenge that is so sweet and tastes so good. I’ll be whole once I make sure they can never hurt someone or at least think twice about it.” Dru said passionately as she wiped her eyes. Turning her face away from him she was getting emotional and hated for people to see her cry. “I hate them and all I have every day is waking up knowing I’m getting closer to wrecking all their perfect lives.”

“I think only the real rulers of the world sell their souls to make sure they stay in power do things that the good people in the world never would. Make sure to step on the little man to get ahead and make it happen someone’s soul has to leave to do that. It is better that it be mine or yours wouldn’t you agree opposed to someone else? Brandy?” Philip asked as he motioned to his driver they were ready to go. He didn’t wait for a response from her as he poured her a glass watching her strap him in and he leaned back in the chair taking a drink of the amber liquid as he watched her do the same so she was after the Kincaid’s and the Fraiser’s that was intriguing. Most people had a beef with the Devonshire’s this could be interesting to him so he’d play her game. “So Brenda then what is your beef with her that pissed you off so good that you want her to burn in your words? Hunter, as well we have that in common. Are we talking all the Fraiser’s or just a select few? Where is your stop?”

He saw her looking at him and he rested his head on the seat he had never been the one to spill all of his cards at once but he was willing to at least show her part of his hand. He rolled up the divider and slowly raised his right leg watching her shocked face as he put it back down. “You see my dear I’m willing to pretend to be a weak nothing if it means I get my revenge. Max fucked me for over a year while married to Hunter. I was stalking a girl for murdering my first love and she found out. So instead of minding her own business, she confronted me and her husband and his lover showed up trying to stop our conversation. Hunter stopped me and instead of telling the police it was an accident Bliss covered it up. Everyone forgave them acted as if nothing happened. Max’s twin junkie of a brother soon to be a father of two then had the gall to threaten my life.” He paused taking a sip of his brandy seeing that he had her on the hook at the moment as he leaned over and wiped a stray hair from her face. “Perhaps you tell me what you want with the Kincaid’s and the Fraiser’s we can help each other out you see my revenge will be long and painful for them all for screwing me of months of my life confined to a chair.”

Dru sat as he explained why he was after the Devonshire’s and honestly she felt like she could trust him. “If I tell you why then you have to keep this a secret.” Taking the entire glass of brandy down she exhaled knowing how strong it was. Shaking her head. “My name is Kendall, not Dru. Kendall Denton. Dru was my best friend who died on prom night after we went swimming at the pool in the hotel. She hung herself and I took her name when she died. I have a grandmother who was demented and she was gone. She kept calling me Brenda and I didn’t know why. So I went snooping through my parents’ things and found out a man named Lowell Devonshire paid my parents to take me. The Denton’s didn’t love me and my grandmother told me that I wasn’t her granddaughter. The one person in this world who loved me told me I wasn’t apart of her family. That crushed me but I kept digging until I found my birth certificate which had the name Brenda Thorpe on it. Only thing I knew about my mother was her name and where she was from Atlas Falls. I googled and searched until I found all the Brenda Thorpe’s around. However, it was only one preggo at the time. Care to guess her new last name?” Dru gritted her teeth.

“It wasn’t long before I figured out why I was given up. Inside my basement, underneath the pillow in my old crib, I found a letter that was written to me by Lowell Devonshire. The letter said that my father was a man suing him and his company. I researched the year I was born and the only person who sued DGI was Walter Fraiser. Then the divorce scandal of the mayor of Atlas Falls came out. I knew it right there who I was. I was their child and I’m not going to stop until they burn. They all have to pay the two princesses that are my sister, my brothers who are so noble and my parents who are so fake. I’m going to expose every one of them and all their secrets and lies will be exposed right along with them.” Dru said looking at him grabbing the brandy pouring herself another glass. “So you wanted to know, now you have it. I’m the daughter of Brenda Kincaid and Walter Fraiser.”

Philip listened to her story and immediately perked at the information that she was feeding him together they could kill both their needs with one fell swoop well more like a partnership. He could provide funding for her revenge tour and watching Brenda and then Hunter fall from her followed by him would be worth it. He could even persuade her to turn on Lowell down the line after all it seemed like he had a hand in how she was placed and discarded. He could use that down the like he could help her get her revenge on the parents that abandoned her it would be his greatest work of art in return she could help him get revenge on Hunter and by extension the Devonshire brat twins. “That is the most interesting thing I’ve heard in a while I can see the resemblance now that you mention it you have Brooke and Hunter’s nose the red hair though that is a Fraiser trait. I think you and I can have a wonderful partnership coming up. I know things about Hunter I have an excellent PI who can look into what Steven was going to use against Brenda. I know Brooke’s connections to a powerful mobster in Atlas Falls. As for your other side of the family, I can stir up a few skeletons in that closet too. Shall we discuss it on the way to your place?”

She truly needed the money because she had found out Walter and Brenda had hired a private investigator. Dru knew what Brenda was hunting for a chance to get back in Walter’s pants. He was a simple man but most were and she leaned her head back. Looking at him she smiled. “No, we can discuss it at your house unless you plan on taking this limo in Scottswood? I have their secrets already.” Biting down on her lip she leaned her head back. “I have someone helping me with the past, they know secrets and no you won’t be finding out who it is. A girl has to keep some secrets. The first business is Vance Blaine is he your private eye? Brenda hired him to find me and I need you to help me make sure that nobody knows? Prove to me that you can help and you aren’t all talk.” Dru looked at him and extended her hand. “So we can be partners? I’m in if you are.”


Sebastian placed the roses down on the table as he walked into Max’s condo. As he grabbed a bottle of champagne and orange juice. When he walked up the stairs he found Max singing in the bubble bath. Walking down the stairs he began to unbutton his shirt and placed it on the kitchen table chair. Pulling out a knife he grabbed the bottle and with a swift motion, he uncorked the champagne bottle. It was a tradition in his family to saber open the bottle. Pouring it inside the flutes and grabbing the fresh squeezed orange juice. Topping off the champagne with orange juice and Grand Marnier triple sec. Placing a few raspberries inside of the glass he smiled. Then walked back up the stairs just as he was about to go into the bathroom he saw his cell phone glowing. Placing the drinks down he walked over to his phone and saw Gio was calling. His prideful little brother who was doing an amazing job covering for him in his absence.

“Hermano bebé, ¿cómo estás? ¿Que esta pasando? ¿Cómo llegaron a la propiedad? ¿De alguna manera, Gio prendió fuego a todo el viñedo? Eso es inaceptable porque te aseguro que estaré en casa pronto. Voy a diezmar a ese hijo de puta. ¿A qué te refieres? ¿No crees que fue Lorenzo? No, no he hablado con ella desde que rompimos. Muy bien, me pondré en contacto con Giavannia lo antes posible. Solo haz que las cosas funcionen de nuevo. Duplique los turnos en los otros viñedos y mantenga los productos cerca. Estaré en casa pronto hermano gracias por mantener las cosas juntas. Hablamos pronto.” Sebastián felt the air sort of leave his body. If Gio was right that meant his ex-lover Giavannia was behind this. Gia was dangerous and most of all psychotic. He knew what she wanted if she was behind this. Walking into the bathroom he saw Max looking shell-shocked. “Mi amor what’s wrong?” He handed her mimosa and sat down by her. “Shit you heard that didn’t you? Max, I have to go check that out. It’s my business and I’ve been in America far too long without going to check on things at home. Love, I’m not going anywhere you know that right?” Grabbing her by her face. “Max, I love you. I don’t know how a summer fling turned into this but I love you. I’m planning on Martina taking over at home and I’m branching out here. I’m going to take that vineyard your uncle gave us and run with it, Max.”

Max had not been trying to be nosey she was actually enjoying the bubble bath instead of after a stressful week at DGI she needed it and on top of that worrying about her relationship with Sebastian. She was waiting for the other shoe to drop it always did with her, hell she was surprised that she hadn’t found a reason to fuck it up yet with him. It was after something she was a master at doing she was dating Thor and then she went after Hunter because he was with Cassie. After she had Hunter she had that affair with Whitney Hessington now husband because well it was boring playing society princess with Hunter and she had stopped for a bit. But then she had gone to that stupid fundraiser alone for the Governor right after she and Hunter married and it was like picking up where they left off a hidden secret that was thankfully never revealed in the divorce. Then she had run into Philip at the club one night, and they started to fuck around it was like the need to cheat followed her around like the plague. That or boredom was what was so stifling to her and as she lifted her leg out of the tub to let some more steaming hot water in she realized she was content with Sebastian. Truthfully that frightened her because she was always so restless and she had overheard the entire conversation, she was fluent in both French and Spanish.

“So who is Giavannia and why can’t your brother handle her? I’m just saying is she a business partner an ex-lover? How am I not to know she is not some gorgeous Spanish woman that you may fancy more than me?” Max said mentally keeping it in her head that he had been talking about wine and product and she was going to get to the bottom of that on her own. She knew he was in the wine business but the other product part was something she could only imagine was whispered in dirty dark places like Club XES where drugs, booze, and sex flowed like it was going out of style and not in a flattering way. In many ways, Philip had aimed a bit to low with strippers he could have aimed a lot higher if he wanted but Cassie had wanted it just a strip club. Not that other things didn’t do down there they had ruined it though by bringing Ronan and his drugs in. “If you loved me you’d let your brother handle business at home and instead stay here where I need you. My father is ill, my siblings are going to rip apart the company ok more like my brothers but I need you here. I have enjoyed what we have had this summer.” She refused to say she loved him yet the last time she said that a man ended up bleeding out on a floor in front of her.

“To be honest, I want to stay but if Gia burned down my vineyard then she won’t stop until I either meet her or go home to do what she wants. About five years ago I had an opportunity to expand my business in New York. On business, I met a woman named Giavannia. She was the air I breathed for a long time and then she betrayed me for and married another man. That wasn’t the worst part though Gia got me wrapped up in money laundering and I’m telling you this because I haven’t done it in years. She pops up and causes trouble and vanishes just as fast. She’s dangerous and I knew that going in but I pursued her because she I thought she was my soulmate. Look the mob life has changed no longer is it just made men it’s also made women out here and Gia is one of them.” He had to lie because if she found out that he was still in business with Gia then it would be trouble. Sebastian ran his hand through his dark hair he had a type. His women were all complex and much like Gia, Max was layers on top of more layers.

“You are being irrational my business has nothing do with my feelings for you.” Touching her face he smiled. “I’m going for a few days and I’m right back here. Do you understand that? I thought I would never get over how Gia and few other women in my past hurt me. Then I found a wounded bird who just needed a little love and she flew to the highest heights. You are my bird and I will do whatever it is to hear you say you love me back. I need a few days and I’ll be right back mi amor.” Sebastian took a swig of the mimosa, throwing his head back. “Now I have more reason to love and live again. You brought me back to life Max and if you think that I’m willing to walk away you’re more foolish than I thought. You are out of my league and to find someone like you. Hard yet soft, smart yet silly, and beautiful but bold. You are becoming my world so don’t get all pissy when I say that I have to go home. When I just applied for dual citizenship in America this morning. I have to learn the constitution but it’s worth it to spend my life with you.”

Max felt her body stiffen as he mentioned this Gia bitch and she gathered that she must have now been some big wig in the mob life and she almost shook she had thought she dropped that by dropping Philip. Not that Ronan had ever gone after her but on the other hand she feared Kendrick when she was in the club with Philip she knew they could be ruthless. Hell rumor was that Ronan had got on the casino deal by blackmailing her father himself due to the mess that Jamal had caused. She didn’t ask questions about how he had come to the deal with Ronan and knew better to question her father’s motives, she took the glass from Sebastian taking a drink the man could make a mean mimosa. She wasn’t used to the pampering sure Hunter had pampered her for a few months after they had gotten married and when she was fucking a man it was simply that to her fucking. Sebastian though worshipped the ground she walked on and that for her was a scary thing. Giving herself over to someone like that was scary and the sad part to fit was it was easy with him so deep down she knew that had to mean something.

“So are we fighting now then about you staying? I am just saying you have a vineyard and a winery in another country let’s just be realistic about this. You have a business and my business is here. I have gotten used to you being around my parents really like you, so does my twin brother and you know I trust his judgment in everything.” She leaned back in the tub making sure to expose the top half of her body to his wandering eyes and ran her hand over her collarbone and towards her breasts watching him watch her and lowered her hand more to the water and under the bubbles. She stopped from touching herself wanting to forget this business of him leaving and what and where they were at the moment instead she moved the water slightly exposing her pussy to him and saw him get up from the edge and she cocked her head to the side. “So are you just going to sit on the edge of the tub then or actually get in here and join me all proper? I do hate fighting but I have heard the making up is the best part when you are as involved as we are.”

“I don’t believe this is a fight mi amor, a difference of opinion. You have the opinion that I don’t love you because I’m leaving for a few days. I have the opinion that I might be doing what your father did. He split DGI into a global division and an American one. What if I did the same for my vineyards?” Sebastian said as he unbuckled his pants. “You see I think you believe that for some reason you are unlucky in love. That you don’t deserve to be like Bliss or any other woman in love. I see that men never could tame you. You have to submit like a lioness in the jungle. They have to want a male to love them. To nurture them and grow with them. Max, I want to grow with you. Be an old hairy man who tells bad jokes and sips his wine with the most beautiful woman old or young in the world. You see Max I found you and I don’t intend on leaving you any time soon. You are going to be it for me, I can’t wait for you to figure that out.”

Sebastian dropped his silk underwear and stepped in the hot water. As he sat behind her he spun her around in the large tub. Leaning in he kissed her neck and the bubbles were everywhere as he turned on the jets. Placing her legs around his waist he looked into her eyes. Positioning his manhood right in her hotness he slid in and they both let out a moan. “You see Max, I’m not into fucking you anymore. I’m making love to your mind and body.” He held her hips as she began to ride him. “Te sientes tan apretado, mi amor. Dios eres tan perfecto.” He whispered her in her ear as he nibbled on her skin.

Max smiled at him as he gave her the best view when he had dropped his boxers, he was a Spanish conquistador in more than one area. She had placed her glass down on the edge of the tub when he spun her around and drew her to him. Her body was already ready for him when he moved her legs over his own to position her and she let out a gasp as he lowered her hips into his thickness. Throwing her head back at the sensation as she gripped the outside of the tub she’d had lovers before but there was something about Sebastian that was different. “Seb.” It had been the nickname that she had given him over the summer mainly because calling out his full name seemed to come and go with the pleasure that he was giving her. She felt her body finally adjust to his as he moved her up and down on him and she leaned forward to press her lips against his letting her mouth finally explore his with her tongue.

She felt the water moving around her hips the nice warm air against her nipples and then felt them harden when she deepened the kiss and they brushed against his chest. She had fucked a lot of men and she had to wonder if she ever really made love to any of them, had to wonder if this was what it felt like because she knew that he was different. She couldn’t help the gasps that came out against his mouth and eventually she broke the kiss to release her hand from the tub and pull back, placing her hands on his shoulders for support. “Jesus you feel amazing, how do you do…” Max managed to get out gasping before she got out the rest of her sentence by him hitting her g-spot at just the right angle and seeing the devilish look in his eyes as she decided to turn the tables on him and clench down. She leaned back and did the action again seeing his face contort as she continued to ride him intent on driving him insane.

Why was it always a fight with this woman? He thought to himself. He was hitting her g-spot perfectly and she wanted to make him cum faster? Instead, he chose to make her think she was wearing him out. Until she actually clenched down and all he could do was let out a growl. Holding down on the edge of the tub he couldn’t believe how sensual this woman was. Using his right hand he held onto her hips letting her bounce until the water spilled out of the tub. His eyes locking in on her slowly kissing her collarbone and biting down on her lip pulling her into a steamy kiss. His tongue swirled in her mouth. Her wet soft body wrapped around him made him feel complete. “God Max!” He said with a growl as he felt like she was clutching onto him like a piranha to its prey. Slowly feeling his balls swelling and the pressure mounting he couldn’t believe how great the sex was between them. It was how the first connected but now he wanted to know all Max dreams and desires. This was making love at its finest. He knew she was close she started to lose control over how tight she was. When he felt her slowing her clutch on his dick he felt like it was time.

Sebastian went as hard as he could he began to pound her little pussy into his. “Yes Max!” He called out to her. “Fuck mami.” He said in her ear. “I love you.” Sebastian started to hard pound her as the water spilled out the tubs and just at that moment the jets started again and the water was splashing everywhere. “Joder, voy a tuerca! Max, vas a hacer un busto dentro de ti. Te sientes tan bien bebé “. Sebastian said inside of her ear as he felt her body begin to buck and move wildly. “Yes release those sweet juices.” When they were done he planned on eating her until she understood what he was saying. Sex was always a weapon with the women, but Max also had a gun too. He wasn’t sure why but she seemed to challenge him sexually like no other. Not even Gia and his fiance whatever her name was.

Sex was such a trick she had learned over the years and she was good at it one of the things she had learned early on with her first time with Thor. She had him eating out of her finger after that and she quickly realized what a weapon and powerful hold over men it was. It was what she used to blackmail Ryan in their affair, it was what she used when she wanted Philip, sometimes even Hunter when they had early problems in their marriage. But with Sebastian it was different he gave as good as he took with her and on top of it, she wasn’t doing it to manipulate him to hurt him or use him which left her confused about what was going on with them.  She continued to ride him placing her hand on his in the tub as the water slapped over the side and on the floor. She felt herself shaking and moaning as he pounded into her and she wasn’t able to control it as her orgasm ripped through her and she saw him smiling at her.

Max leaned into him listening to his words as he said them and she desperately wanted to believe them as she shook and came again, but saying them back made them so real. She closed her eyes and let her breathing get back under control and when she opened her mouth and spoke in a whisper she shocked even herself. “Yo también te amo.” Her eyes snapped open realizing what she said and slid off him seeing his look on his face like had finally won her and inside she was thrilled and then it hit her she was scared too and Devonshire’s never showed fear or weakness. It meant that she was vulnerable and with everything else going on with her father she couldn’t be that right now, so instead, she looked at him knowing he wanted her to stay in the afterglow. Instead, she got up from the tub and walked to the closet knowing he was watching her. She left him hanging there in the tub so she could call or text someone to figure out what was going on in her head about them before they went to dinner at the mansion.


Ronan looked around La Callie and stood as Gia entered making sure that she felt at home was for the best of both of them. He had thought about having the meeting and dinner at the club but he had it moved to this location at the last minute Thor didn’t trust her yet. He supposed neither did he but he was going to take the meeting ever since his evening with Dru he seemed to be able to get back in order to where he wanted to be. The power that came with his name and the position in the cartel he had forgotten about the perks that came with that until his evening with Dru and Yalena. He could have anyone and anything that he wanted that night he wanted Dru if his enemies went after him and she was there he wouldn’t feel as guilty he barely knew her. It was different than it was with Brooke, he loved and cared about Brooke. In some cases, the best thing to do with love was to let them go his parents had learned that the hard way. Had his father divorced his mother and married the up and coming, Carla, his mother would have never died in that car with his father. He pulled out the chair for Gia as she sat looking at her and her guards they could leave he was not about to do anything in a crowded restaurant.

“I hope you enjoyed your flight? We’re having a particular warm end of summer at the moment moving into fall but I hope you took in some of the sights on the drive over. The fall colors are nearly out. I would like to think since I arranged this meeting so out in the open that you could call of your hounds as I have done. We’re not going to be having a shootout in the middle of this reputable chain.” Ronan said handing her the menu as he took a seat across from her and poured her a glass of red wine that he had previously ordered it was Italian of course and he hoped she appreciated the gesture. It would be risky to add a run to her and then through New York but it could be done and perhaps she had a legitimate business he could tie to himself and his to make that work. The numbers were what they were, the product could go out to a market they hadn’t tapped and would bring in a hefty profit. “I was happy to hear from a few contacts that you got your siblings in line. I know that I had made that stipulation clear at the funeral you work fast which for a woman in our line of work is impressive.”

Gia had gotten her brother in line shortly after the funeral it took two of her biggest men to beat the sense into him. Nobody could do this job but her. She had the power and she was at the top of the food chain right now. It wasn’t arrogance but it was knowledge and the truth. She hadn’t got to the top for nothing and if Ronan didn’t believe he did now. Picking up the wine glass she took a hearty drink as she looked him in the eyes. Seducing him as she slowly tilted her head placing her elbow on the table looking at him. “My mother was smart to keep me away from you. I would have done whatever to look in your eyes. She knows I have a weakness for men’s eyes you see she taught me you can see into a man’s soul when you look into his eyes. You are unique I see endless darkness in your eyes and that is interesting. I read the cards because my mother was a very superstitious woman and I believe in old traditions. You are dangerous though when you can only see darkness.”

Leaning forward she twisted the glass around her left hand with her eyes still staring at him. “I have a question. Have you thought about my proposition at my father’s funeral? He was a prideful man but I’m a woman who likes to focus in on new demographics and expansion into the new. Now if you don’t want to grow with me then tell me now because sadly this isn’t a date. I don’t care for colors of the fall it drowns me out so I want to know why am I here? Although this restaurant was on my list of places to visit.” Leaning back she threw her long hair back looking around. She instantly narrowed in on a young blond girl who clearly was causing quite the stir with a young man on her arm. The short slicked back haircut made her look sensual and looking at Ronan face she smirked. “Interesting you know her? She’s a model right?”

“Your mother seems like quite the woman I do remember conversations about your parents with mine which is why your offer intrigued me. He hated mine like no other and we’d never met or had a chance to make an arrangement because of it. They’re’ not here now though it is just me and you and I want to show you around town for a bit before we decide to join together.” Ronan said looking at her taking a hefty sip of her wine he had barely noticed that Brooke had arrived with Atticus. In truth, Brooke hadn’t been on his mind like she had in the past ever since that night with Dru and Yalena he honestly thought about the alluring beauty that was turned on by a stripper getting off to them fucking. Seeing her however with the prince was like a gut punch she was still radiant and stunning, even with the short hair which highlighted those cheekbones and facial features. He turned his attention back to Gia she was gorgeous as well and he caught himself checking out her body across the table. “Your eyes give you away, my dear you want power and will do anything to achieve it but that into combination with me and that can be explosive wouldn’t you say?”

He leaned back in his chair wondering if her comments about Brooke were deft or because she really had no idea that they had been a couple last year. She should have known it was all over tabloids and papers. “Brooke Kincaid supermodel and my former lover that is Prince Atticus Kavanagh with her, they are engaged to be married. Tell me Gia if you hate our little town and the coming fall so much why are you here?” Ronan said looking at her wondering what her gameplay was and he had to imagine she came to see him they had something in her office the other day he had a weakness for the dangerous women which was why Brooke was so different than everyone else. She had a tameness in her and a kindness and that was alluring not to mention the beauty that she had come in spades inside and out. It seemed to let his inner darkness balance but it had got too dangerous to keep her with him and he had to face reality now it was better for them both. “So did you come for business this time Gia or pleasure I think you already know what my answer will be on the business front it is good for both of us.”

“Pleasure is an abstract concept don’t you think? Isn’t conquest the purest pleasure so isn’t us taking over the ultimate pleasure. A woman of my talents isn’t relinquished to being a one night stand. My body is a temple and if I give it to a man then I expect that the pleasure will be immeasurable.” Licking the corners of her plump succulent lips. “I don’t like autumn because it brings out a side of me I don’t like. I’m emotional it’s in my zodiac sign but I hate my birthday.” She said honestly for the first time. “Which happens to be today and this is the first birthday without my beloved father. So I know about men like you mobsters or made men Mr. Madden. Women throw themselves at you and you can’t keep it in your pants. I have had many lovers since my husband unfortunate disposition and condition. I, however, have a rule no made men because they are already married to something. You are married to the lifestyle and I’ll always be second to it.” Gia said looking at him as she smiled.

“Marriages of convenience happen in the mob life. I didn’t want to marry my husband nor did I love him and I did what I had to do. Now I run his mob faction and I am on my way to being even more powerful with you. That’s an accomplishment.” As she looked at Brooke she saw him wonder if she knew. Of course, she did but she was going to play politely. However, seeing the shorter than average supermodel shocked her. He had a type stunning which was good for her. “She’s very beautiful however she is a good girl. She’s innocent and untainted you didn’t want to turn her world upside did you?” Gia asked looking at him. “That’s romantic in a twisted way because it’s not many times a woman could literally become a princess. Wow, that has to sting she gets a prince after you.”

Brooke touched her short locks and looked at Atticus as she entered the restaurant. Everyone was hounding her because she cut her hair. As she turned to him she smiled kissing him as the tabloids and paparazzi lights flashed rapidly. For some reason their relationship made people go crazy and the frenzy was even more over them. It made her nervous for the entire wedding. It would be quite the spectacle which her mother would love. Twirling her engagement ring she immediately took Atticus hand as she laughed at a stupid joke he was telling. Walking to her table she briefly passed Ronan with some beautiful woman. For a brief moment, she almost lost her cool because who was that bitch? Then she thought about it, they were over. Maybe she could handle his lifestyle and who he was. A cold heartless user and that wasn’t what she wanted at all anymore.

“So I’m thinking a winter wedding after the rebels and all of that. The island is so perfect when it’s a little cooler. I think I could get that local designer and Val to work together on something like mind-blowing. I would love to incorporate the royal wedding gowns and things into my dress.” Brooke said loud enough for Ronan to hear. “I want to wear that necklace your grandmother wore it was stunning and I’d love to have our receptions on the pink sand beach. God that place is stunning and the water looks so beautiful right there. “ She said sitting down as Atticus pulled out her chair. They were seated directly across from Ronan and his guest.

Atticus had seen him the moment they had entered the restaurant and chose to ignore him, Brooke had his ring on her finger. He still hadn’t told her about his run-in with Belle it was something she would learn eventually and he had nothing to feel guilty for. He had done Belle deeply wrong just as much as he had Brooke and he was older and wiser enough to know that couldn’t happen again. Their engagement had swept the world by storm people compared them to Megan and Harry which he didn’t mind. In some ways they were in others not so much Brooke had never been an actress but she was a well-known supermodel so there was that, she also came from her own wealthy sum of money. She was a commoner as well so she did have that as well, but that didn’t matter to him. Royals in his family had always taken the more untraditional route after all his brother had married Bliss Devonshire after a whirlwind romance and she was not royalty he assumed that his sister would marry a noble likely. Girls in the family seemed to do that more than the men and he nodded at her a winter wedding would be lovely.

“The beach is much like how they say here in the states a New England winter. So many good festivals are around that time. My mother would love to work with the royal fashion designer to make your gown I can see it now. Posh American style meets the lovely styling of Isla it is the perfect match. Of course, you will have to work on the guest list as well? So many people here to invite and so many that will be left in the cold again.” Atticus said knowing it was terrible when he said it to her as a way to throw shade at the man sitting next to them at the table. He watched her nervousness at being next to Ronan at the table and then ordered for them as the waiter approached, turning his attention back to Brooke afterward. “Love is there something bothering you? We can always leave if you’d like.”

Ronan watched them sit down with intent and wondered why she hadn’t slept with the lovely prince yet that was very clear on her face. He secretly knew why and it thrilled him because the last man she had been with was him, he almost felt guilty for Dru only instead he leaned into Gia at the table. Letting his finger trail up her bare arm as he watched Brooke look at them like she was jealous good, his other hand traveled up her thigh underneath the table stopping at the hem of her dress. “You know that I pick my business first I think we could make an arrangement to suit both our needs, don’t you? Someone once told me never marry your mirror but a private tour perhaps of my facility could change your mind?” Ronan finished watching Brooke watch him as he slipped a finger into Gia’s heat seeing her reaction. He then turned his attention to Gia making sure his finger never left that spot as he moved it in and out slowly and his lips kissed her neck softly. He felt her reach for his own pants under the table and pulled back. “Shall we?” He asked taking his hand out from the table licking her off as he held out his hand.

“We shall not,” Gia said removing his hand from underneath her dress. “You don’t get to take me and ravish me until I want it. I’ll be going back to your estate but I suspect that I’ll have my own room while I’m here. Mr. Madden. I don’t like to be used as a pawn I’m much more of a Queen than you could ever think.” She leaned down and kissed his lips slipping her tongue inside of his mouth. “You must learn a lady you don’t get to do that with. Little girls give men everything they want but you will learn you aren’t dealing with a child but a grown woman. A woman who is going to change your life but you must take your time with me.” Taking Ronan hand she dipped his finger in her mouth sucking off her own juices. “But I will tell you when the time is not you.”

Brooke felt infuriated he was flaunting some slut in her face, and he didn’t care. He just didn’t care about her feelings so why should she with his. Nodding her head she looked at Atticus seeing the tabloids still outside. She removed her silk robe coat and showed off a killer shimmering body suit and sat back down this time in Atticus lap. Two could play this game whomever that woman was she had gotten her blood hot. She wasn’t second to anyone and if anything she could live with Ronan being miserable. Honestly, she wanted him to feel bad and she wanted that deep in her heart. Him to feel alone and she wasn’t just a little girl or a clown to him. Touching Atticus face she knew she was putting on a show and she knew he didn’t care. She was proving she was over him and for once seeing his discomfort was enough to make her feel good. Tongue kissing Atticus she ran her hand down his chest. “Maybe we should get take out. I think it’s too much going on at La Callie and they let any old trash in here maybe we should go to the Hotel LaGordia next time. Or the resort something other than seeing the mob scum of Atlas Falls.”

Brooke picked up her silk robe coat and she looked at Atticus. “Let’s go, baby, I think I’ve got something you’ve been waiting on.” She grabbed Atticus by his tie and started to walk off with him seeing Ronan watching and she laughed. “Felipe can you get this delivered to Atticus suite please I don’t want to be here anymore.” Turning around she handed her jacket to her fiance and slipped inside. “Shall we?”

Ronan leaned back in his chair seeing Brooke leave with Atticus after he sucked Gia’s finger and he couldn’t imagine what was going to come next. Instead, he picked up his menu waving the waiter over and wondering if he had finally gotten Brooke out of his system if that was the case he had to wonder why it hurt so much to see her leave with Atticus still. “Slow then Ms. Falcone but I have a feeling you’ll like fast too.”

Atticus had been too shocked by her to stop her inside the restaurant as she climbed on his lap and his lips collided with hers, his hands gripping her waist over the fabric on her hips. They still hadn’t of made love yet since they had got back together he was patient. But her moving on his lap was proving difficult and when she pulled back and said she wanted to leave he didn’t even think to stop. He followed her out of LaCallie and back to his waiting limo outside. He let her climb inside first, shutting the door behind them and then put up the divider between them and the driver. He pulled her to him placing her on his lap, undoing her robe and tossing it on the floor of the limo as his hand trailed through her hair his tongue swirling with hers and his right hand lowered the zipper on her bodysuit. Exposing her perfect breast and his mouth lowered to her breast nibbling softly before fully going around her nipple and flicking his tongue over it to make it go rock hard in his mouth. He bit softly looking up into her eyes as he went to the other on and repeated the action. He kept lowering the bodysuit letting her lift herself up till it was on the floor. He watched her looking for support and didn’t give her the option as he mouth brushed against her thighs.

“I’m going to have you now.” He said before kissing her thighs feeling her shake and then inserting his tongue into her soaking hot heat. They’d been playing the petting game for weeks now and he had been a gentleman about it no more. She had let him know inside that she was ready for him to make that prick mobster a bad nightmare and he continued to feast on her while she bucked against his mouth, for good measure he added two fingers to his assault, she tasted like sweet cream and it drove him insane. He could feel her tugging on his hair and wondered how soon it would be until she exploded and gave in. Instead, he stopped looking at her flushed before him naked in all her glory and moved his hands back up her sides watching her undo his belt and his cock sprang free. “Tell me you want this Brooke that he’s just a distant memory. That this is real this time because it is for me.” He panted watching her trying to lower herself onto his throbbing cock. He held her waist in place wanting this to mean something to her too, their romance had been quick this time but he did love her and want to marry her but he wasn’t going to be second to Ronan Madden in her head or in bed.

“I love you Atticus.” Brooke knew it wasn’t the truth and she couldn’t help it but right now it felt right to say it and lie. Right now he wanted to feel important in her life and it wasn’t possible. Nobody would give her the high and the feeling she felt with Ronan but this was a bandage covering the bullet holes in her heart. As he undressed her she felt herself growing more aroused and it was possible to finally put Ronan out of her mind. As his head buried between her legs Brooke quivered passionately. Grabbing the curls between his fingers she gasped looking at him feasting on her. She tried to stay calm because she knew a driver would hear them but she couldn’t resist. She purred as his tongue flicked over her clit. All she could do was hold onto the leather of the seats. She prayed her saying I love you was enough to stop all the talking. That it was enough to just have him make love to her. To make her forget Ronan and make her truly fall in love with him. She wanted him out of her mind.

She was giving him her body to walk away from the past. It was that simple and she felt him holding her hips in place as she wanted to ride him. “You are all I want my prince.” She said as he felt him lower her on his thickness she gasped and hissed as she began to cry out. Brooke began to buck and ride on him as if she was an equestrian rider.  Leaning down his kisses on her collarbone she felt her mind drifting off from Ronan. “Yes, Atticus!” There was the man who she loved before Ronan and the sex between them had always been intense. Youth blocked them the first time and maybe she had to go through what she had to with Ronan. To appreciate what they had right now and right here a man who worshipped her. Squeezing tightly with her muscles as her ass rose up and down slamming into his lap on the beat of the riding limo. She leaned down and kissed him biting on his lip.

Atticus finally gave in to her when she told him she loved him and that he was her prince and he couldn’t help the satisfied looked he gave her when she lowered onto him. He knew she was on protection and if not that was not a huge deal to him they were going to be married and a royal baby would delight his parents. She felt so amazing after years away he had been a less than stellar lover before nervous and in some ways inadequate he felt, they had also both been young. They were both older and wiser now and he could tell that by the way she was squeezing on him and he couldn’t help but grab her hips as she rode him and his lips explored her collarbone going down to her breasts again making sure that he was giving her all the pleasure in the world. His hips bucking up into hers he was certain his driver knew what was going on and he didn’t care he was paid enough to keep his mouth shut and he knew he would. He loved this woman on his lap and knew now that she was giving herself to him again they could be together.

“I love you, Brooke.” He managed to get out against her breasts before he glanced up at her face seeing how close she was he stilled her hips and steadied her pace. He wasn’t quite ready for that yet and instead moved her slowly up and down on him watching her look down between them while she was reaching to touch herself instead he grabbed her hands in his own interlocking their fingers. Releasing her hips and leaned into her mouth kissing her and pulling back seeing her face as he put all effort into his hips. He could feel himself hitting the back of her channel where her g-spot was and leaned back in the seat increasing his strokes. “No my love that is my job.” He whispered hearing her moan at the sensations and he couldn’t help it as he groaned feeling himself almost ready to let go and come inside of her but he held back wanting her to go first. He kept up his tempo resting his forehead on her shoulder ready to go right when she was all she had to do was let him know by releasing herself.

Brooke clenched down as waves of pleasure washed over her body and she felt herself crying out in pleasure. It wasn’t long before she felt him shivering and she felt a powerful explosion. She laid her head on his shoulder as she caught her breath. Leaning in she kissed him biting his lip playfully. “That was amazing.” She said as she looked at his brightly smiling face. “I think that was the best we’ve ever am I tripping?” Brooke laughed as she climbed off of him and grabbed a napkin to quickly clean herself up. Then began to dress as she noticed they were nearing the mansion. Looking at him adjusting his pants and his shirt. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, Mr. Kavanaugh.” Leaning in she kissed Atticus again.

Atticus felt his body giving way to her movements and soon was bucking up into her and he was pretty sure the driver was getting an earful as he felt himself swelling. He buried his face in her breast grabbing her ass in his hands intent on giving her an orgasm and when she came clenching down on him in waves couldn’t help it but bite her nipple in his mouth and groan. He stroked a few more times making sure her pleasure came first before he came jerking into her and feeling her still clenching on him. He laid there for a few moments afterward taking in her body relaxing into his, running his hands on her back to calm her. They had made love in the past but it was almost never like that and he hoped this put her fears aside that he was going to repeat the same mistake with her, even though he had yet to tell her about Belle being in town.

“Nor I you Ms. Kincaid. I know what I have now Brooke and I won’t let it go this time.” Atticus said lowering the divider a hair as the driver peered back at them and he looked over at her. “Take us back to the Kincaid estate and of course as always the crown values your discretion that is all.” He finished as he rolled the window back up and drew Brooke back to him for another long kiss.


Skye had driven back to Atlas Falls ignoring Thor’s calls the afternoon had been trying needless to say. She was tired of being looked down upon and worse the way Ryan and Whitney had looked at her was so shocking. Not to mention Whitney’s smarmy brother that was always there in the shadows lurking like a leech ready to suck on whatever was near to him and draining it. She remembered how he had walked into the room and pressured her to sign the papers on Miles’s adoption, how he had stared at her with those smarmy eyes. She signed because it was best for Miles and then she realized it would never happen unless she fought for it. She was going to convince Thor that they should fight for Miles and to get him back, it happened for other people all the time. Why couldn’t it happen to her? Bliss Devonshire got her soon back due to her money and wealth, she needed that to get her son back. Thor had the means. She had been trying to teach her sister for the last hour and it pissed her off when she couldn’t.

Instead, she parked the car outside LaCallie where she saw Merci’s car out front and then handed her keys to the valet. She entered the restaurant and then her eyes landed on Merci who was engrossed in conversation with that buffoon of a cop Devin who was Jon’s best friend and her heart sank. So Devin was more important now than she was she had called her over and over and she didn’t answer because he was with Devin. She put her purse on her shoulder brushing past the fancy waiters that were blocking her way and trying to get her to leave. “I have been calling you for the past hour. I need you and yet you’re here with him instead of being there for me? I thought we always said it was us against the world but I guess that only applies when you’re not with buffoon of the police force.” She knew she was emotional and was fighting back tears as she looked at her sister.

The date was really cute so far they had gone to a movie and saw the latest movie that everyone was talking about. Then to the carnival for Atlas Falls Prep and now they were at dinner with an enormous teddy-bear in the backseat of Devin’s car. They’d laughed through a glass and half of wine and the first course. She might be ready to give Devin the desert when she saw Skye storming past the maitre’d and she shook her head. No dessert tonight. She knew some shit was about to fall in her lap. They were best friends and sisters so she knew her moods. This was full on panic and she was ready. The question was could Devin handle how intrusive they were in each other lives.  When she called him a buffoon she shook her head. “Sis calm down.”

Merci ran her hands through her hair she was just eating dinner and now she was dealing with Skye entire emotional breakdown. She stood up and walked up to her and hugged her. “You know I don’t play about you! First of all, I was on a date sis but if I knew it was that deep I would have called you back. I was waiting until it was over. Secondly, I don’t call that greasy ass boy out of his name you won’t call mine either. Now I’m sorry Devin but tell Tony the steak was delicious but I gotta go.” She said looking at him begging to understand her. Sometimes this happened when Skye got all in a huff because someone called her out of her name. She needed to be told she was beautiful which her sister was and she was strong as hell. “It’s cool right Devin because I’ll come to see you tonight right?”

Skye shook her head at Merci she felt so incredibly foolish for going there too for wishing she hadn’t signed those papers so she could have a piece of Miles still. Jon still didn’t know and that was the part weighing on her if he knew he’d want Miles too but what was she supposed to do go up to him and tell him? She knew Jon would never forgive her for it hell at one point when she came back she thought he could love her again. She had been so close to that with him again and then the stupid shooting happened and she started to fuck Thor and she could feel the sting of near tears falling down her face. Thor had called out Cassie’s name that was still not far from her mind lately and then he had gone to see her before that big DGI party too and though Thor assured her it wasn’t a competition it felt like it. She saw Devin looking at them and almost laughed at him if he only knew how much she still had a hold over Jon. She had also made a deal with the near devil himself when she accepted Lex’s help.

“Well are you going to just sit there gawking or didn’t you hear my sister, you can go back to the station go arrest some criminals or whatever it is that you do.” Skye spat as she shook due to the shame of what had happened at the Hessington’s. How low she had thrown herself and she wondered if now would be the best time to tell Merci she knew why she came home to seduce Jackson last year on Lowell’s orders. But she didn’t know the why of it. That Lowell knew about Miles how gleeful he had been at first only she had let him down when he did the test himself to know that Miles was not Jackson’s son. In truth sometimes she wondered if it would be easier for Miles to be Jackson’s surely they could have gone against the Hessington’s to get him back with no problems. She could have got that happy ending that everyone else got and she shook her head at all the mistakes she had made. “Leave us.” She said softly as she watched Devin getting up from his table and the commotion she was causing enough to have Tony himself come out of the back and she felt even more foolish and dumb.

Devin had sat in his seat still when Skye had barged into LaCallie and he could tell that she was clearly upset he was honestly pissed this was his big date. To make up for that awful baby shower party and their first disaster of a date at his house. He had called in a lot of favors to make this happen with various people including his uncle. He never had a personal beef with Skye he thought she was a drugged out mess that was poison for his boy but other than that why she was calling him a Buffon was beyond him. He was a damn good cop who was good at his job, maybe it was because she was fucking Thor Luciano and that made her nervous around cops suddenly. Well, maybe that served her right. He got up from his seat when the staff called his uncle out and nodded his head he’d make sure they went outside. He didn’t give into her hissy fit as he gently placed a hand on Meri’s back as he saw her gently grab Skye to lead her to the terrace which was empty to get whatever was going on done outside and away from his uncle’s business. He saw Merci’s grateful expression and nodded his head at her family was important he got that.

“I’ll go make sure dinner is boxed up and get the check. I can take your car back to your place afterward. Take care of her and we can have a rain check on tonight. No harm no foul inside besides it will give those uppity people inside something to gossip over.” Devin said leaning in and kissing Merci’s cheek as he then cast a glance back at Skye to head inside.

Merci wanted to stomp her foot but she knew that this was important. There go her dick for the night and she was ready to put it down on him. As she flipped her hair she looked at Skye and hugged her again because she could tell she wasn’t clearly hurting. Grabbing her hand she stormed out of La Callie so that people were gawking and staring at her sister breaking down. Snatching Skye purse because her eyes were puffy from crying she opened it and pulled out the keys. Unlocking the door she sat down in the car and sat down. “I have been going through some crazy shit these last few months Skye. I honestly have with seeing Kendrick body that shit changed me. I guess I can think about it more and more until it doesn’t make sense in my head. What I did learn was when someone else is burying something deep down. You can lie to me girl and you can pretend like you are alright but bitch today you are going to tell me what’s going on with you. You pushed Devin on me Skye and now you are acting like he’s a goofy. Ever since Jon left you a while back you’ve been off bitch. What’s up?” Merci said starting up the car.

“You aren’t getting out of this car until you tell me so let’s go girl.” She said looking at her best friend and sister. “You have this bomb ass boyfriend who is taking you on shopping sprees, you are living in a penthouse, and have access to all his perks of being a mob girlfriend. Skye that’s all we wanted when we were little. Security and you’ve got it with Thor although I think the bubble could pop any moment. You see what happened with me and Kendrick. They go through shit that regular guys don’t and if you can deal with that Skye. I’m all for it baby but you gotta tell me what’s eating at you.”

Skye was too embarrassed as Merci had led her to the car like a fucking child and away from La Callie it was so God awful. So when she unlocked the car she got inside and took a few deep breaths. She had no idea where to start sure Merci know she went to Philly for rehab and then Europe but she had no idea what happened, really happened in those few years. She couldn’t remember if the Hessington’s had ever been clients of her either but she was bound to at least run into Whitney and Ryan at the upcoming wedding. Her hands were shaking as she took a tissue from her purse wiping at her eyes. Lex’s words ringing in her head she was a mess, God what a mess she was back then even now. She saw Thor calling again and pressed the ignore button she was too drained to deal with him after what she did today. She already knew what he was going to say let it go, Miles was happy now that is what mattered but he never had to give up his own child. Never had to let that child go to two new parents that didn’t even know him or where he came from. He couldn’t comprehend that he knew where he came from, she didn’t what could she tell Miles? She looked over at Merci biting her lip.

“I went to Philadelphia today down memory lane I guess you could say. I just needed that you know to see where I was back then. I never told you the whole truth about what happened there you’re going to find out. I was super fucked up back then Jackson then Jon and back again sometimes in the same day or week even. Anything for a drug high with Jackson and an emotional one with Jon. I didn’t just leave to take acting classes.” Skye said looking at her and remembering the day she had left and why she didn’t tell Merci. She had gotten the two pink lines and without telling Merci had walked down to the abortion clinic halfway through the appointment she realized she couldn’t do it. “I was pregnant I knew that if I told you, you’d make me go to the clinic and get rid of it. So I tried by myself and couldn’t do it. I went to Philly instead I had a long-lost aunt there that turned me away years ago surprise she did the same I ended up working the program and ran into Charles Hessington. He found out about my situation.” She saw Merci’s eyes get big when she dropped the name and looked at her. “Yes, those Hessington’s. They paid for everything my rehab, a place to live, medical expenses, in turn, I gave them the baby when he was born a hefty sum afterward my nest egg.”

Merci almost felt sick as she pulled over listening to Skye story. She had a fucking baby and thought she was ready for what? The trouble that was going to come with that child? When she said that she was going between Jackson and Jon she lowered her head. Now it made sense why she didn’t want Jackson when she first came back. Biting down on her lip she figured it out. She was torn up about Jon because he was the father of that fucking baby. It was insane what she was saying. Shaking her head she punched Skye arm as hard as she fucking could. “Are you out of your damn mind? You didn’t tell me why? I couldn’t stop you, Skye, if you wanted to keep that baby! I would have gone harder and if I had to con twenty of these rich motherfuckers. I would have done everything for you and that baby bitch are you crazy?” Skye started to cry harder when she said that. “Sis you know I love you and if you wanted your baby I wouldn’t have made you go to a clinic. Do I think you are responsible? Hell no you lost my Louboutins but your baby I know you would have loved that kid and we would have given it everything we didn’t Skye!” Merci screamed at her looking at how hurt she was Merci calmed herself.

“You gave your fucking kid to Charles Hessington family? As in the governor of Pennsylvania? What would make you do something like that baby? How are we going to get your kid back now? And am I right is Jon the father? That’s why you were so butthurt when he ditched your ass for Cassie? God Skye this is a mess if I’m right! The Harrison’s are going to come after you and hell the Fraiser’s everyone will hate you for this Skye? What were you thinking oh God what were you thinking?” She asked her sister knowing she was under a lot of stress. “I’m sorry I’m not making this better am I? I’m afraid that you aren’t listening. Skye, you have a baby and it’s Jon’s and you are going to visit the baby? Girl this is a hot fucking mess and you are looking like you are going to crack right now.”

“I had no out when I went to Philly I had no idea who the father was Merci I just wanted help I wanted to break free from the drugs and give my baby the life we didn’t have. So Charles arranged it I met with him, his daughter Whitney and her soon to be husband Ryan and his son Lex. They drew up the paperwork and I signed I never told them that I didn’t tell the father. I didn’t know who the father was even when I gave birth but I hoped he was Jon’s the dark hair. I thought I was in the clear but then Ryan came around and I gave in.” Skye said it felt so nice to get this off her chest after years remembering the affair with Ryan the nights he spent with her while Whitney was at home with her son the promises. She had done a lot of shitty things but fucking the man that adopted her kid as some sense to get close to her kid still made her feel like a dirty junkie whore. “I fucked him Merci right under her spoiled nose he put on this loving father and soon to be husband front all while having me in his bed. He promised me I could see Miles and then took it back right before he married her and Lex began his fall from society ousted as the womanizing cheater he was. I was left alone again and Charles and Lex came to me. Paying me my nest egg to leave and never look back I had no choice so I did.”

“I know alright I know it’s crazy! I went over there today to just see him to catch a glimpse of my baby and they sent me away. That wasn’t even the worst of what happened. I was going to stay in Europe and away from this God awful city, only Lowell tracked me down last year when Jackson started to see Dani. Told me he knew all about my secret told me that he knew why I didn’t name a father on the birth certificate. I don’t know how he got a DNA test done on Miles I didn’t ask but when it came back that Jackson wasn’t his father it settled any doubt he was Jon’s. I was desperate to get out of Europe I had gone through my payout from the Hessington’s so I came home.” Skye said looking at her she was certain that she was a mess at this point mascara streaming down her face as she looked at Merci. She had lied to her sister about why she came home. “So I took the job that Lowell offered me to try and seduce his son because I needed money I was done after your party when you found out. So he then wanted me to go to Jon and spy on him too. I didn’t want to but a girl has to eat and shop you know? Thor knows and what if I made a mistake giving him to them I want him back Merci. Jon could help me get him back Thor knows he could help me too. I can’t avoid it they will be here for the wedding he looks like a ringer for Jon, Merci.”

Merci sat silently looking at Skye wondering what she could say to comfort her and tell her. “Which do you want more? Your relationship with Jon or your son? I think we know the answer and what Jon isn’t is cruel. He’ll never keep you away from that kid so if you tell him before this shit spills out. Then you will get a chance to at least be with him. Jon isn’t heartless he’s going to be pissed and I think he’ll hate you but you want him back, Skye? We have to tell him that’s the only way because you signed over your parental rights no doubt right? I’m mad as hell at you right now girl. I love you and you didn’t tell me! You lied and we could have planned better than this Skye. You were out here bad and you just let me think you were fine! God, I’m so mad at you right now but you don’t need anger you need love so I’m trying to be both but girl.” She said slapping the wheel of the car. “Skye you are my best friend, my sister, and the only person on this earth I’ll kill for. I don’t know my momma. I don’t know any secret aunts but if you ever lie to me again I won’t have to worry about anyone but myself capiche?” Merci snapped on Skye.

This shit was a hot mess but Merci was already scheming on how to make Skye look like the victim. The Hessington’s seduced her and tricked her with the money into signing over her legal rights. She’d have to put money down on a lawyer in America that Elliot guy was good honestly she didn’t care who but Skye was breaking. Soon this shit would be out if she was visiting the little baby and she knew she’d have to face the music. “I have done some freaky shit Skye but this is deep. You have fucked this woman husband and you are asking someone to feel sympathy for you? Look I’m not judging but you fucking him under her nose will make you look bad in court. One prude bitch and you done baby and no baby. God, I’m trying to figure this out but bitch.” Merci leaned back. “We will do it okay? We will scheme and plot to get what your son back. Look I’m sorry I didn’t answer sooner but now it’s back in hustle mode. You’ve cried now girl now we need you back hungry. To cheat, lie and do whatever it takes to get us that boy back with Jon and eventually back to you.”

Skye looked at her knowing it was a bad idea to agree to Merci’s manipulations she doubted Jon would ever forgive her for keeping him from their son. She could tell Merci’s brain was already working to try and make this out to be how she was alone and manipulated which was a lie and one she wasn’t sure she could put Miles through. Everything was so messed up and she knew that but what choice did she have now? If she wanted Miles back she would have to fight dirty that was clear now even though she was certain her payment from Lex would be coming in the next few days how could she explain all the money that she had taken from them in court? She knew what would happen in court all the people they would drag in on both sides to testify and honestly that scared her but she knew now was not the time to tell Merci she couldn’t do it. She honestly didn’t know what she was going to now with Jon or any of it.

“Can you just take me back I feel so embarrassed and stupid coming here and making another scene after making one with them earlier. I need to just rest I think and then decide how we should handle this.” She said softly looking at her sister before looking out the window and waiting for Merci to just drive them home.

“You aren’t going with Thor, I’ll text him and let him know where you are and that you’re safe. You know I love you.” Merci said as she drove toward her condo. “Skye we are going to get Miles back and we are going to take down the Hessington’s. Ryan Walker doesn’t get to fuck you over and just leave you with all these emotions.” As she turned on Ridgemont Road getting on the expressway to downtown. “I’m going to pamper you, sis! A facial, nails, lots of ice cream and our favorite movie.” They used to watch it almost every week. “Pretty Woman time honey and then in the morning we are going to get a plan going.” Knowing that she was going to have to lie to Devin and the consequences of this would reach far and wide. “I got you, sis. We going to get through this.”


Jamal watched the last of his workers leaving the club. Club Vertigo was his and today he honestly felt like he made the biggest song of his career. It was a club song but Ivan was in a thug love type of mood. It used a trap beat along with an old Gloria Estefan sample. It was exactly the sound everyone was listening to now but it was almost classic new beat. Latin rap, mixing trap influence but Ivan bars were so catchy and heartfelt about someone. He wondered if he had a girl right now or something. He had never heard him spit so candidly about how anyone was making him feel. He crossed his fingers he could get Rory or Simon to help him get a money for a major artist. Nicki Minaj or Cardi B would be banging on the remix eventually to this song. Looking out the glass window he saw Val sitting at the bar drinking alone. His baby waited on him which also made him feel good. His parents gave him his inheritance early so he bought Vertigo and Lowell gave him the money to start his label.

“What’s up sexy how you feeling? I’m ready to go home what about you?” He’d moved into his new apartment downtown and was happy right now. He literally felt like he had a girl who was a rider, his best friend was back, and his professional life was coming together. Not only that he’d graduate on time as long as he got through with his last classes in time. When she continued her conversation he playfully came from behind her and tickled her. “Boo.” He said looking at Val face she was legit scared. Jamal laughed as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “What man got your attention that much?” Playfully reaching for her phone.

Val had been so focused on what she witnessed with Ivan and Simon earlier that she had been ignoring her phone most of the day. She had given in though when Kelsey texted her she had felt bad for her behavior at the shower she wasn’t sure what Kelsey expected of her either not to mention she was kinda in an involved relationship with Jamal. They weren’t living together or anything like that but they were dating and had been sleeping together for a while too, so she supposed she was in a committed relationship with him or was she? She made sure to keep the phone out of his reach he didn’t need to be seeing the text messages or listening to Kelsey’s voice on the other end. The worst part about all of this she had to sneak out of the club like a scared teenager to call Kelsey back and she had got her on the phone and nearly jumped out of her skin as Jamal snatched the phone.

“It’s no one an investor you scared the crap out of me,” Val said shoving him back and then looking over at him and his shocked face. She stood there frozen for a moment looking at her boyfriend and then over at her phone. Kelsey was on the other line no doubt heard all of this and she knew at the moment she had a choice to make and it was really the only one she could. She didn’t know who she wanted or maybe she did and she wanted both. She saw Jamal looking at her to explain herself and put the call to her ear looking at him as she spoke. “Kelsey I’m going to have to call you back I have to talk to Jamal alright? Maybe we can all work something out.”

“Don’t hang up on me Valentina!” She yelled into the phone as the call ended she fell back in her bed. As her pager went off and she rolled her eyes. She threw her phone into her bed and fell into it. Screaming into her pillow. “Women!”

Jamal looked at her like she was crazy. At first, she said it was an investor by the end of the conversation she was saying she’d call Kelsey back. Kelsey as in Dr. Kelsey Fraiser the resident and proverbial sainted lesbian of Atlas Falls. She had all type of bad girls when they all attended college together. Then it clicked Aspen little jokes at the party a couple of weeks ago. “Val you like girls?” Jamal laughed looking at her and when she didn’t laugh his heart jumped. What American man didn’t want his girl to have a girlfriend? This was amazing and to make matters even better Kelsey was fine as hell. Biting his lip he smiled looking in her eyes. “It’s cool bae if you want her. I’m not tripping I just gotta be there and watch and maybe participate.”

Jamal saw she was relaxing when he wasn’t tripping on her. “You never told nobody, did you? Oh shit! So I’m the first person to know Val like the kitty? Aye, we all like the kitty so that can and could be a couple. Maybe you were right we all could work something out. Look I don’t mind if you got a little fun on the side as long as you don’t bring no drama home and you make sure I get to have some fun every once and while. I’m cool with it but I gotta ask are you cool with it. Most bisexuals I know aren’t so secretive about it and don’t flip their shit when their boyfriends ask questions.”

“Wait, what?” Val said when Jamal all but agreed to enter into a three-way relationship with her and Kelsey. Most guys were not into that they wanted their woman to be theirs and didn’t want to share them with anyone. She didn’t know what to say to him about all of it she was with both of them and maybe this could be something good for all of them she had been hiding it and if Jamal and Kelsey could meet and they could have a  threeway everyone would win. She was shaking a bit as she placed the phone in her purse and ran a hand through her hair. She wished she had a cigarette or something good to smoke at the moment may be a little weed to take the edge off. “Sorry, Jesus this is so weird. I’m not like most bisexuals okay I’m not good about telling people how I feel let alone my lovers how I feel. My parents are really strict Catholics. So, me liking to fuck women and men wouldn’t exactly go over well with them. I tried to avoid what Aspen was saying at the party because I was scared of how you would react. Kelsey and I hooked up a few times before we became a real thing.” She felt like such trash telling him this now that she’d been hooking up still on the side it made her an awful person.

“It’s happened a few times since then too and I didn’t ever mean to lie to you about it or to hurt you when it happened. We were just starting to get a little more serious because I just thought it was us having fun you know which is what I wanted in my life. Kelsey wants me to commit to her fully and I haven’t made up my mind yet because I really like you too. I figured since you were a Delacroix and stuff you wouldn’t’ want to be like that with me and her.” Val said honestly she debated about if she should tell him about Ivan or Simon but instead knew that was not her secret to tell. So instead she focused on them if there was a them anymore and she looked at him wondering if he was pissed at her or not. “I like to have a man fucking me while I get a girl off okay and some guys think that shits weird. Not that we don’t have great and amazing sex you’re amazing in bed but so is she. When she confronted me at the shower I could tell you wanted to know what was going on but I didn’t want to cause a scene at the shower it wasn’t the place for our drama. Jesus, I am rambling, would you say something? Like do you want to meet her or something if you want this to be over now that is ok too.”

“Did I say that?” Jamal said leaning against the bar. “I’d be a hypocrite to judge what you like after I bashed my father for being a douchebag to Mason. Do I like your ass lying to me hell no, however, I understand your parents are Catholics and are really strict. My father is baptist and it’s terrible how he treated Mason. So what I don’t understand is liking the same sex but that isn’t my place to understand or judge. I just want you to know nothing you could do would make me think it’s weird. I like you a lot man, I’m falling for you and if Val you think that you liking women is going to end this. Nah baby girl you stuck with me alright?” He said as he touched her hand kissing it softly. “You are perfect as you are Val okay. Plus I can get two women duh I’m down.” Jamal teased as he pulled her to his arms and kissed her. “Don’t lie to me again.”

As he started toward the door and he took her hand, he smirked walking out. “Let’s go I gotta lock up this place.”

Val was still a little too stunned by his willingness to ride on the wild side with him when it came to sex and adding a third person to the mix and before she even had time to really think about the answer she spoke. “Okay, no more lies. I’ll be a hundred percent upfront with you about you and her.” She said nodding her head for good measure.

The hard part would be convincing Kelsey who wanted her all to herself but she wasn’t a full on lesbian. She liked fucking men too and she nodded her head at Jamal maybe now everything could be out in the open as far as her desires both ways. She kissed him back as he seemed totally cool and okay with the idea as they walked to the doors and he locked the doors. Taking out her phone she texted Kelsey an apology and a proposition that Jamal wanted to play too and then put it back in her purse. If she had both of them it would be easy she wouldn’t’ have to pick and choose and everyone won or at least she hoped they all did. As they walked to his car and she looked at the night sky a chill came over her as well, wondering if she could keep her word to him to never lie even though she had told him she could.


Belle opened her eyes as the smoke from the car was everywhere. She had ridden past the Devonshire mansion at least three times. Each time she felt the courage to drive up there she lost her nerve. What if Forbes was right? What if they didn’t want her and she was left all alone? She had shunned her family in Europe and now she was here in America alone. No matter what that man said he was using her for a bigger game. Her parents were shaken when he came and that meant one thing, he wasn’t good for her. She closed her eyes she was so thirsty for the fame she didn’t see that Forbes could be problematic. Looking at the bent in bumper her heart pumped with fear. Philip was going to act a fool and Forbes was going to throw a fit. Looking at her face in the mirror no marks just sore all over. It happened when she was leaving the mansion the last time she sped away and the car went too fast. It was really brief but she hasn’t injured the car was hurt badly but she wasn’t. That was the good thing she guessed. Stepping out of the car she looked at the damage and felt her heart pumping. If she called Forbes he’d know what she was up too.

As she climbed out of the window she saw a car approaching her. Dear God if it was the police she was going to jail. Not only that this was the Devonshire property she was on. She had to call someone and tell someone what she had done or else she was going to be arrested. When she saw the car pull over to the side of the road. Belle saw it wasn’t a police car and she felt relief. Reaching into the car she grabbed her cell phone and texted Forbes. She had too what if they called the police? Sending him a pin of her location Belle held her hand over her eyes because whoever it was had the brights on. “Hello?”

“Ah, senorita it’s Bliss she was in an accident,” Sebastian said looking over at Max who was taking off her seatbelt. Getting out the car he approached Bliss wondering where was Hunter. They were supposed to be meeting them at the mansion for dinner. “Bliss are you alright?” He called out as he walked up closer and saw it wasn’t Bliss but the young girl looked enough like her that they could be sisters. Hell, she looked like Max to him she had that same cute nose. “Are you alright? I’m sorry I thought you were my girlfriends’ sister. Max, it isn’t Bliss but I have to ask what are you doing on Devonshire property? Senorita are you alright? ¿Conoces a ésta chica? Maximilla?” As he walked to her he helped her out of the ditch. “I can call a tow truck.”

Belle looked at the handsome latino man before and saw Max stepping out of the car. “No, ella no me conoce en absoluto.” She said letting him know that she knew exactly what he was saying. “I’m just turned around I was looking for my Godfather home. All these bloody mansions look the same nothing like Kensington it impossible to get lost. Well I mean I’m from London so I guess it’s harder to get lost in your home turf.” Taking his hand she climbed out of the ditch and looked at Max approaching them. “My name is Isabelle Archibald. It’s very nice to meet you, Max, I think I heard him say that was your name and you sir are?”

“Sebastian Navarro, it’s nice to meet you, Isabelle,” Sebastian said looking at her. “Maybe we can invite her to the estate while the tow truck or her godfather arrives? What do you say, love?”

“Call me Belle.” She said staring at her eldest sister. She was so poised and silence made her nervous. She looked like she was looking right through her. “You are Max Devonshire right?” She said softly. “I have something to tell you.” Her hand shaking still a little shook up from the crash.

Max and Sebastian had made up after their fight or was it even a fight in the tub she considered it amazing lovemaking following a conversation. They had dressed and gotten in the car to head to the mansion for dinner with her parents, Hunter and Bliss which seemed weird but on the other hand, it was a start for her and her sister. She wasn’t fully jealous of her anymore she had come to accept it and they all did share what happened with Philip. Looking at Sebastian as they rolled up to the car her heart sank for a minute how in the fuck could Philip drive he was in a fucking wheelchair. She knew she would feel bad if he was dead though she never wanted him dead or to be killed and she watched as Sebastian got out and she gripped her phone. Ready to call 911 if needed and then she heard him say Bliss was in the car. Her heart started to beat and she was out of the car in an instant with fear that she was hurt only instead she came face to face with a young girl who was strikingly as pretty as Bliss was. She had to wonder if they were related did Tess actually have siblings that produced offspring?

“Ok Belle it is, are you okay? Was there a man in the car with you? He would be slimy looking with dashing hair a wheelchair in the back at least we could all hope anyway.” Max said seeing that the girl was still in shock from what happened. She looked around the car or Philip as she took off her jacket and gave it to her and then looked over at Sebastian who was doing the same thing she was looking for Philip. When she was sure there was no sign of him she looked at the girl’s face which looked rough from hitting the steering wheel and the airbag as it deployed. She didn’t know who the girl was or if she should call the police instead she went to her and attempted to be comforting which was not her thing like at all. “Are you hurt anywhere? Is there someone you want us to call? Do you need an ambulance? You’re lucky how fast were you going?”

“No Philip isn’t with me.” She said softly looking at Max. “No I don’t have an American license and I don’t want to get in trouble. I can get the car towed although if Philip ever walks again he’ll be highly pissed that I ruined his car. I’m fine and I don’t want to go to that house.” She said softly as she looked at Max. “My Godmother used to tell me about this house she talked about it like it was a palace. She used to say how much she wished to live here and I guess I understand it now. This place has a magic on it. The fountain and its changing colors. It’s stupid I guess sometimes you run right into what you were looking for. I’m sorry I must not be making much sense. I just look at this house and it feels like home.” Looking over at Sebastian and Max faces they were watching her concerned. The must have thought she had a concussion and that made her snicker. “I sound crazy don’t I?”

“Loco is a term that my family doesn’t use senorita Belle. We don’t because we believe that people are all crazy.” Sebastian smiled at the small girl. She was shorter than Max and Bliss but the similarities were jarring. It was like looking at the perfect mixture of Max and Bliss. It was eerie and totally strange to him. As he stepped back he looked at his girlfriend. “Come on Belle we can take you to your godfather and we were early so we can help her right Max?” Just as a tow truck and a limo pulled up right outside the road toward the mansion. Who was this girl?

Forbes stepped out of the limo looking at Sebastian and Max looking at a Belle as if she was a freak of nature. He wondered if she exposed herself to them on who she was. “Isabelle that was a dirty trick you pulled on me and Klaus. Who is now fired and has been banned from my property. I was afraid for you and you text me and tell me you were in an accident. Outside of this house well, I’m disgusted. The Devonshire’s especially this murderess bitch won’t help you. You do know she got Phillip shot? She is the reason my son isn’t walking.” Forbes declared to Belle his voice and baritone bellowing outside.

“Who are you calling a puta? Listen to me old man you disrespected Senorita Dani but you won’t do it to Maximilla didn’t you get your ass whooped by Jackson. I’d hate to finish what he started but you won’t call my girlfriend out of her name. Now take this young lady home and make sure she’s all healthy since you clearly know her. I do have a question for you why does she look like Bliss and Max?”

Belle looked at Forbes and he was staring at her furiously. Rolling her eyes she folded her arms. “I think I have my own look but thanks. They are world-class beauties.” Belle said walking to the limo turning and looking to Max. She was so close to telling her and now he was here. “Max? I hope we can see each other again.”

“Get in the limo Belle,” Forbes said as he closed the door. “I have it from here on you two can leave. Thank-you but trust me I won’t be thanking you anymore after this.”

Max looked at the girl she had a striking resemblance to her and Bliss which made sense in some ways but others not. She and Bliss shared their father so that made sense, their mother’s different. Which meant that maybe this girl was distantly related to Bliss through family with Tess. She was shaken out of her thoughts when she looked at Forbes arriving and sneered she had heard that Jackson kicked his ass or he would have killed him if Dani hadn’t stopped him with Brock. “I think I would love to see you around town.” Knowing when to hold her cards close to her and when to spill them the reached into her purse handing Belle her business card with her contact information in case she needed a chance to escape the madness that was her apparent godfather. “Call at anytime Belle if you need anything do give Philip my best Forbes it must kill you having him in that chair due to his foolishness. Sebastian would you please escort me back to the car I would hate to be late for dinner.”

Sebastian walked with Max and his hand on the small of her back. He opened the door turning around looking at Forbes and Belle driving away. “She was going to say something Max before he came. Who is that girl?” He asked feeling the same way like they should have snatched her away from him. “Come on.” Starting the car Sebastian did a U-turn to head back to the estate as looked out of his mirror seeing Belle and Forbes disappear into the darkness of the night.