2×10 I Got Your Heart Racing Don’t I

2×09 “I Got Your Heart Racing Don’t I”
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Episode Theme Song: 
Sia ft. The Weeknd- Elastic Heart
Warning: Episode may contain violence, sexual situations and language. Episode contains graphic violence.

Yasmine lotioned up her legs in Khalil’s basketball jersey and nothing else. Yesterday was a mess and somehow she got roped into showing her Godsister, Belle the city. She didn’t know what to think about her new siblings. Cassie was cold and distant while Philip was sarcastic and bitter. Not exactly the type of people you’d want to be related too. She could hear Khalil stepping out the shower. She just wanted him to hold her after all the bullshit of her first meeting with Cassie and Philip. Not to mention the wine toss heard around the world. It was epic to see her mother act so buck but damn it was also painful. Her entire life she dreamed of what her daddy was like and now to have him was scary. He was a perfect ideal in her mind but Cassie warning echoed in her mind. From what she googled about Forbes he wasn’t to be played with. That was no doubt where she got her to take no prisoners attitude from. Laying back in the bed she closed her eyes and saw Khalil standing over her in a robe. He was so sexy with his big head ass.

“You’ve been so sweet since the dinner from hell.” She said pouting looking at him. “Why couldn’t I get two nicer siblings. I can’t stand Cassie icy ass and Philip was just an asshole. I don’t know how I am going to connect to him. The rich and have had everything that I never did. I don’t know what to talk about with them Khalil. Oh, how were the private schools you attended? How was your momma doing the opera singer who killed herself? Or how about how my big brother had me twerking in his strip club. I’m just lost for what I should do. How I should approach them because I don’t want it to be like this between us. Like if it keeps this way it’ll be Audrey kids vs Trisha kid vs Angelica kids. I just think we shouldn’t be beefing for shit our parents did. I didn’t have shit to do with their parents splitting up. I’ve been on my own. Not only that did you hear my moms? She was on her boss shit because she was like you should have sent them away! I was like mom really!” Yasmine said jumping up hyped up. “I just want it to be cool between us all you know?”

Khalil had woken up that morning after the night from hell and realized he only wanted to do one thing take Yasmine’s mind off all her family shit. He had decided maybe a trip to the dance studio was in order but then when he stepped into the main room and saw her in his jersey his mind went elsewhere. Her naked silk chocolate legs catching his eyes as he walked towards the bed and put her legs in his lap massaging her foot listening to her talk about her mom and her new siblings. He had sat silently through the dinner it was not his place to judge anyone and if he had been Cassie, Philip or Yasmine he was certain he may have had the same reaction that they did. He gently took the tablet from her as he heard some beats on the radio playing and reached for the remote to turn it up. Gently flipping her on her belly he moved the shirt up to expose her back and took his hands and some nearby oil kneading them into her back.

“Your family is fucked up that is for sure but Yasmine you’ve waited your whole life to met your father and get to know him. It’s not your fault or theirs that he never told anyone that shit is on them and maybe they’ll come around in a few weeks. You have so much good stuff to focus on right now getting to know him and the upcoming dance studio first performance.” Khalil said seeing her raise her arms to the bedpost he gently took the shirt off. Her back was smooth as silk as his hands worked lower and lower to her hips, she was humming to the music and he lowered his lips to her neck kissing her from behind while his hands moved on her ass, gently rolling her over he looked at her. “I want you. I know you haven’t been ready but baby you’re killing me” He said looking down at her wanting to know why she was holding out with him and only hoping it wasn’t because of fucking Devonshire of all people. He hoped they were past that shit he wanted to make love to her. “I did say I was going to take your mind off family drama today I want to be able to do that.”

Yasmine laughed as she looked at him pleading. She knew she was wrong for keeping this boy waiting this long. He was her first and she’d learned quite a few tricks since they last were together. Pulling him into the bed by his towel which fell off and she saw his perfect ass. She smirked. “I want you too.” She said softly leaning in and kissing him. She truly hadn’t opened up since she was betrayed by Rory. It was horrible how one man could fuck up your trust in all men. She saw that Kendrick was riding for her at one point and so was Rory but both of them let her down and to make matters worse Khalil hadn’t. He was honest and always providing her with feelings she wasn’t ready for yet. She didn’t want to be the girl who couldn’t let go of the past. That wasn’t her motivation.

Touching his chest she leaned in and kissed him. “I know I haven’t been the best girlfriend. I have been distant and I just haven’t been available to you enough. But today I want you to make me yours. I want you to make love to me all day and night until the sunset and rises because we deserve this. We deserve a shot at being normal and happy. Rolling on top of him she smirked as she kissed him again. “So am I a WAG now? Like I heard the Knicks were sniffing around you at a tryout. I’m sorry I don’t think I can just be one of those girls who lives her life for a man. So if you expect me to put my dreams on hold that’s not going to happen alright?” Yasmine declared passionately. “Now what’s up boo.” She could feel him stiffening underneath her.

Khalil felt himself stiffening when she was speaking to him being this close to her was agony sometimes and when she said she was okay with moving forward he felt like relief flooded him. Leaning down he kissed her deeply his hands moving along her sides and over her breasts. He took his time savoring the moment and making the kiss last long as he broke his lips from hers and began to move down her body. He felt her hands go to his hair and looked up at her as he took her breast gently in his mouth kissing and biting, sucking on her chocolate nub. His eyes never left hers as he continued to please her with his mouth. His hands moved to her ass gently squeezing as he moved his lips to her other breast and repeated the action seeing her biting her lip and enjoying what he was giving her. He let go of her nipple watching as it stood erect in the temperature of the room he lowered his head to her belly laying a gentle kiss there. “Hell, no baby you my boo. I got you this time and I’m not about to look screw this the fuck up by looking at someone else. Not to mention you love to dance I’d never and I mean never take that away from you.”

He lowered his mouth on her stomach again as he gently spread her legs with his hand and then pressed two fingers into her heat, he was going to please her show her how much he loved her. Show her that she was the only one that he wanted and that was the truth sure other bitches hung around the court but the only eyes he had were on her. He saw her hips squirming and watching her on the bed he lowered his head to her pussy. Licking along one wall then the next as he began to suck on her, feast on those folds of chocolate in his mouth watching her cream on his lips and tongue. “I love you, Yasmine, I always have.” He said gently as he moaned seeing her getting wetter, his hands went to her nipples squeezing gently feeling her buck and he couldn’t help the smile that came out against her heat. He let the music set the pace as he continued to drive her wild intent on having her begging for him.

Yasmine grabbed ahold of the sheets as his lips traveled down her body. At first, it was the tantalizing pleasure of her breast he sucked and squeezed on them like a pro. Then he kissed her belly taking special time to kiss her panty line. So he remembered that drove her crazy by the time he buried his head inside of her pussy she was ready to cream. She was starting to drip wetter and wetter because it didn’t make any sense this chocolate God was down here putting in this much work. He was sucking, slurping, and licking all on her cat and she wasn’t mad about it. It was something different than her sex with Rory. Rory and she had deep passionate sex. This was intense and passionate similar but much different. A soft moan escaped her lips as she saw him looking in her eyes. He wanted her to come, to come extremely fast or two he was trying to make her come then fuck her senseless either way she was here for it.

“Yes, Khalil!” She cried out as she ran her hands through his short twist dreads. Biting down on her lip she felt her legs shaking. “Baby I’m about to come! Slow down I know it’s been a while.” She said trying to slow him down but it was no use Khalil was feasting on her and she even tried to push his head away but she couldn’t. “Khalil I’m coming!” Yasmine said as she started to buck even harder. “Khalil baby!” She screamed in pleasure knowing this was only the beginning. She heard him licking and slurping up all her juices. Her breathing was rapid and she was spinning but she noticed him standing up. “Baby fuck me.”

Hearing her orgasm over his mouth was everything he had been missing from the woman in his arms over the last few years and he wondered if the rich boy ever did that for her. He sucked and sucked making sure with every tremor he took it all and when it was slowing down he stood up, grabbing a condom from the bedside table he slipped it on, he knew how stout she was about protection and then proceeded to thrust his cock inside of her head groaning at the sensation. “Fuck yes, baby.” Khalil managed to get out feeling her loosen just a bit as he pulled out and slowly pounded back into her, a few stroked later he could tell she was good to go as her hips squeezed down on him and his hands went to her hair pulling it gently. “You feel so good baby, keep doing it just like that.” He kept his pace slow and steady for now he wanted her to remember exactly who was pleasing her.

Seeing her face contort and her moans becoming higher he leaned up slightly pinning her hips in place while he watched her breasts rise and fall on the bed. She was so goddamned beautiful like this all exposed for him to take and please, her skin glistening against the morning rays, with a hint of gold in the sweat. He saw her clit becoming more and more exposed in his position and knew he was ready to increase his tempo. He leaned down to kiss her as his hands roamed the sides of her body from her hips to her stomach and those chocolate nibs of her breasts squeezing slightly as he did so. He felt her shiver and then stopped wanting to prolong her second orgasm just a bit longer. “Yasmine.” He managed to get out against her earlobe for a moment he pulled back looking into her eyes as he went back to the same tempo, looking into her eyes he lost all sense of the control he had as he started to pound her as hard as he could feeling her body shoving into the mattress as the headboard began to hit the wall. “Tell me that you still love me.” He said not even realizing he said it to her, surely her feelings hadn’t disappeared just because Rory gave her a year of his attention. He continued to move not sure if he said the right thing or not at that moment and not caring. “I never stopped loving you.” He whispered.

The pleasure was immense that was one thing between them. That evolved as they got older they always had so much passion and intensity. The look on his face and inside of his eyes made her feel like a goddess. Her tightening her muscles around his powerful dick she couldn’t help but know that this was where she belonged. Their bodies had so much chemistry and it just clicked together. When he said he loved her it took her by surprise but she was prepared to say it back. He’d waited patiently until she was ready and this was his reward not just her body but her soul. “I love you, Khalil.” She whispered back as her body started to tingle all over. He was doing it to her all over again. Who would have thought she’d be here a year ago? She was falling in love with Rory at this time and he was showing her what Christmas with the rich was like.

When he started to pound her she tightened up releasing a scream of pleasure she started to cry out. “I love you, baby.” She knew that right now it wasn’t anyone else she wanted to spend her nights with. Leaning forward their tongues spun and connected as she tried to hold herself back but she knew she was on the path to another orgasm. “Khalil.” She said crying out looking at him as her legs began to shiver and feel like jello again. He always knew her body and exactly how to hit her spot. A year had changed her because she wanted more, she was a Montgomery, and she wanted to be happy more than ever. She was working on being happy with herself as a black woman who has finally claimed her own. Not only that having this man by herself she felt in touch with everything she’d gotten over and accomplished. Being with him was different than Rory but it was much or familiar not only that but how would they be together now? She was a Montgomery and he was Devonshire that was some Romeo and Juliet shit. As she snapped back at the moment when he hit her spot again. Yasmine entire body started to jerk wildly. “I’m coming baby.” She cried out again gripping the sheets pulling them off the bed.

Khalil couldn’t control himself as he slammed into her repeatedly intent on driving her to an orgasm and when she began to tighten on him he let out a growl forcing himself all the way into her. He leaned down kissing her passionately as he kept moving her waves shaking over her and he let out a grunt feeling himself explode inside of her once, his hips kept moving as he did so again and he broke apart from her lips, burying his face in her shoulder. He felt her still shaking and squeezing on him and slowly moved his hips letting her vice him for all he was worth. He looked down at the bed seeing the sheets halfway off as he gently rolled off of her, already missing the warmth of her body around him. They had always had chemistry in bed and he took a few deep breaths as he looked over at her. It was true he had never stopped loving her when he started to pursue basketball she had started working at the club and his brother told him to move on because he had bigger dreams than the ghetto. Looking back he should have offered to take her with him, make sure she never set foot in that shit hole that was Club XES. He touched her face.

“I should have never left you, Yasmine. I was under so much pressure from my coaches and Kendrick to go be the big man on campus and leave my roots in Scottswood. I lost sight of what was important to me and I don’t care if you are a Montgomery or a Khol. I never should have let you step foot in that club and get involved with Ronan.” He said it was the first time he had said that out loud to her, he had been a young fool before blinded by his ambition. He also had to wonder if she knew that Kendrick had forced him to leave her behind, promising to take care of her only fail. He supposed that was what was part of what made him mad when his brother got killed, it all could have been avoided. “I was thinking how would you feel about staying in today a few more rounds?”

Yasmine smiled at him as she touched his facial hair. “You need a shave and I think staying in celebrating us is fine with me. Just so you know Khalil what happened to me was my fault, Kendrick warned me and I hate we ended so abruptly. Look we are past that now and I’m ready for us to be what Ms. Norma Jean used to say we’d be stars. I’m going to choreograph and you going to be the biggest baller from Penn ever. Forget the past let’s focus on what’s coming up baby which is us.” Yasmine rolled on top of him lowering her head for a sensual kiss as they playfully rolled in the sheets.


He listened to her humming Dolly Parton and swaying her wide hips to the beat of the music flowing through the air. She was watching dishes and her perfume was rolling through the apartment. Only a few more weeks until they could move into the house. It was almost fully constructed the way they wanted. Merci had helped him decorate along with things that Dani said she couldn’t live without. He couldn’t wait until the twins were here and then they could be a united front at DGI again. It had been so long since he had pleased her in all the nastiest ways. His dark pleasures weren’t being attended too but in a couple of weeks the twins would be here and they’d be able to make love. Vanilla sex was intense between them but he missed how heightened they were. He was going to do unthinkable things to Dani when she gave him his heirs. Jackson slowly crept behind her and kissed her neck startling her. He laughed as she swatted at him.

He rocked behind her not saying a word just wrapping his hands around her belly and smiling widely. “I was thinking of something.” He whispered as he ran his hands down her thighs. “I was thinking what if we named our kids after us in a way. Like we take the first initial of our names which is a J and D and we name the opposite sex with our letter. So my daughter would be Jennifer, Janie, Jessica, or some other name and your son would be Dusty, Drake, Duke? It would be a way to honor our kids. We use our mothers first initials to name their middle names? What do you think?” Jackson asked as he turned her around swiftly to Dolly Parton voice to face him. “I know I’ve been down because of the app launch is getting the star treatment. I just want the chance to show them you know? I’m okay though alright no need to worry.”

The dishes were not going to do themselves three more weeks that was all that was on her mind three more weeks in the cramped apartment and they could go home. It also took her mind off that God awful fight she had with Greer the day before the woman was a fucking menace. She felt silly standing at the kitchen sink washing the dishes from breakfast in her robe and swaying but it kept her moving and relieved the pressure she felt sometimes. They had false alarms galore the last few weeks which annoyed both her and Jackson to no end but she knew the longer they stayed in it was better too. She felt him kissing her neck and playfully swatted him away and then relented when she felt him wrap his arms around her and placed the spatula she was holding in the sink in the drying rack. Names were always a part of their discussion as of late and they still were undecided ok that was not true they had things narrowed down to a few. She felt his hands lower on her thighs and squeezed them, she should not be this horny this far along. Something he constantly teased her about and they indulged in even if they both wanted to do more to each other she smiled as she turned to look at him.

“Hmm I like the idea it would be traditional in a way yet kinda fun everyone expects us to name them some boring traditional names. Your mom and dad are still betting on Lowell for one of them, my father is salivating at Walter. My mom is begging me to pick Lauren there is a way we could do both. How about we compromise?” Dani said looking up at him seeing his eyes gleam a little as she ran her hands through the back of his hair to travel down his chest and the waistband of his pajama pants. She let her finger sit there stroking back and forth watching the bulge in his pants grow without so much as lowering the fabric, he had allowed her to be more hands on lately which she knew drove him insane. “I don’t think your mom or your dad were trying to strife you if that is what you are worried about. They know how hard you and I have worked on the energy thing they know it is a good idea, financially the numbers make sense to support Rory. Though I question their judgment entirely when they then backed Chauncey afterward.” She saw him raise his eyebrow at her and couldn’t help the shrug that came. “I haven’t forgiven him yet so sue me.”

“Sue you huh?” Jackson said leaning against the island. “I just might do that considering you are carrying my twins I might just do that. Sue you for stealing my heart away from me. I mean I was a cad before I met you. Now I’m all domesticated and it’s all your fault, my dear.” Hearing Dani still didn’t trust Chauncey made him feel relief because honestly, he didn’t trust his brother either. The guy just tried to steal the company from the entire family and everyone was just acting as if he deserved a smack on the hand. He deserved to be exiled from DGI but that was his father choice, not his. As he looked at her he felt himself getting hard and it was horrible but he needed to punish someone or something. Walking over to the dishrack he grabbed the metal spatula and quickly spanked Dani on the ass with it. “Bend over.” He said raising her silk nightgown he stooped down and kissed her red buttocks. It was stinging he could tell and he just knew that her body was calling for this just as much as he was. He was just about to unbuckle his pants when he looked at her thirstily ready to be taken from behind.

“Baby the doctor said it was healthy but what if I hurt you or the kids?” He asked still unsure how rough he could be or couldn’t. Unsure if he was fucking his wife would hurt his children. This was the brutal part of having children nobody told you about. Your wife is this goddess at this point holding the future and you were nervous about hurting or ruining anything. “Dani I want you I just don’t want to hurt the twins. I think we can wait a little longer hell the kids aren’t on the way today or anything. We can wait and when we finally have sex again it’ll be worth it.” Jackson saw the disappointment on her face. That’s when he walked her to the chair and sat her down. Then spread her legs burying his head between her legs letting his tongue please her. “It shouldn’t be about my pleasure right now it’s all about pleasing you. Trust me I’ll get mine.” He said between licks and slurps of eating her out.

Dani almost pouted at him when he moved away from her it was bad she always wanted him and bless his heart he agreed. It had been a little more difficult of late her belly getting in the way and the only position that really worked was from behind. Instead, her eyes got wide when he took the spatula and her mind mentally said he wouldn’t dare only to be thrilled instead when he did, he was the one that took away all the fun toys after six months. Instinct kicked in when he told her to bend over and she did anticipation running through her at the thought and when he kissed her ass she couldn’t help but let out a moan against the granite counter. She watched his face and felt her own flush only to almost let out a scream when nothing happened. She got that he was nervous but they’d talked about it so much with Ophelia and was cleared to enjoy it up until delivery. The worst part was she could tell that he was resisting because he was trying to be gentle with her which was even more attractive.

She wanted to object to him and nearly did till he placed her down on the chair and spread her legs and his mouth was on her. She was so swollen that she threw her head back relishing in the feeling, squirming under the seat while he stroked her over and over again, she could tell that he was even frustrated when her pregnant belly got in the way again by the way he gripped her hips and she gently tugged on his mouth to bring his mouth to hers. “Please, just this once I promise after this no more. We’ll abstain put a lockdown there or something. I want you so badly and I know you want me. You aren’t going to hurt them or me you could never do that.” She hated to beg him like this it was so weak and pathetic. With her belly being where it was the only way she was going to get relief was the old fashioned way. She even went a step further to prove her point wrapping her hand around him in his pants feeling him throbbing too.

Jackson stood Dani up and leaned her over the island counter making sure the babies and she hand room. He slid right in from behind and began to pound her. The sex between them was so intense now. She got to touch him much more because they were restricted with what they could do because of the twins. As he wrapped his hand around her hair he pulled in from behind so he could slide even deeper inside of her. “Oh my God.” He screamed as he looked at her face contorted in pleasure. “Take this dick.” He began to slam even harder inside of her it had been at least three weeks since he penetrated her and they both apparently needed this. As he saw her eyes rolling back he felt a rush of water.

Looking down on the floor he stepped back at the warm liquid that just came out of his wife. His mouth hung open. “Did I just make your water break? Dani, I told you we shouldn’t have been doing this.” Jackson said sliding out of his fiance. He began to panic. “What if I hurt you or the babies. Dani this is horrible I’m calling Ophelia now and I’m calling your mom. You can talk to her and I think I should call my mom. Wait I told Max I’d call her first when your water broke. Will you call my sister. I’ll call your mom. I think that’s what I should do and your dad. I think I should call the Fraisers. Should we get the hospital bag? That was a lot of water should you drink some?” Jackson asked looking horrified. “Oh God, I hurt you didn’t I. I’m a monster who couldn’t wait.”

Dani couldn’t help the moan that came out when he positioned her and then drove into her he always knew exactly what to do to her to please her. She arched her hips against his braced her hands against the counter and let out a moan as she felt him filling her, the sensations from the pregnancy adding even more pressure. When he pulled her hair and mounted her even more from behind she looked up at him and watched her fingers try to grip the counter seeing them turn white and the satisfaction on his face. “Jackson fuck.” She managed to get out not even sure how he was doing this to her but enjoying every moment of it. She felt him thrusting into her and grunted and moaned at the sensations as she felt him hitting her, she felt her body tightening and then pressure mounting and let out a gasp thinking it was her orgasm the only shock came when instead it felt like a balloon popped and she felt a gush of water instead. She didn’t panic as she watched him slide out and realized what happened, it was time. She wasn’t close to her due date she knew that much but Ophelia had assured her that if they came early that was alright they had taken all the precautions.

She slid her gown around her waist watching him freak out and almost wanted to laugh at him they had talked about this but certainly not like this in the middle of fucking in the kitchen. She looked at the floor and nodded at him it wasn’t his fault she didn’t think it was anyway, and she gripped the counter as she felt like what was sure a contraction overcome her. It wasn’t that bad but it did hurt a little and she remembered what it said in the book to start timing them and looked at the clock. “You didn’t do anything wrong I think it’s just time. Though I didn’t quite expect it to go down just like it did with you fucking me senseless” She managed to get out with a laugh to lighten the mood when she finally found the words to actually make sense of what was going on. She could tell that he was freaking out, their lives were about to change forever and she reminded herself that she had to bring him back down to reality and calm him down so she wouldn’t freak out too. She looked at him grabbing him by his shoulder gently to steady her and him. “ We both need to clean up, you can call Ophelia and then we can send out a text to everyone to let them know what is going on and to meet us at the hospital. You can handle this I know you can, it’s happening we’re about to be parents. So let’s split it bag, clean up, you can text your side and I’ll text mine?”

Jackson came back down to earth when she laughed. She was alright and it made him alright but seeing her clutching the counter and in pain took him through a loop. He couldn’t control this pain. Seeing her quickly embrace the pain and sort of just getting into the motion also calmed him. His first text was to his group chat with his siblings. Immediately a flurry of text backs and dings started to happen. Then he called his mother because he wasn’t sure if she was around father right now or not. He quickly shot Simon a text to reach out to dad and tell him to get to the hospital. As he rushed upstairs he grabbed her overnight bag they’d already packed and his. They had rented a hallway so that the paparazzi would give them privacy. With Zerick tanking the company and its bleeding through secrets of the past. Somehow his mind kept thinking of Zerick was his brother somehow. If he was then they stood to lose everything because their empire would be built under a rapist’s foot. They’d have to erase his father entire legacy and how could move on from that. Or they’d all have to slit the vein much earlier was the question if a DNA test happened.

Rushing downstairs he saw Dani sitting down and looking as if she was in pain. The contractions were coming fast. He walked to her wrapping her shawl she clearly dropped on her way the couch. “They are our kids you should have known they’d come into the world roaring.” As he helped her up and wrapped the shawl around her. “You ready? When we come back we’ll have two little people to take care of. I’m ready to be a father with you.” Kissing her hand he looked into her eyes and saw her fear and excitement. “I’m just glad I didn’t cause this and it’s just time.” He took her hand and walked her to the car and saw Rory, Max, Bliss, and Chauncey had all wrote him back. Rushing to the other side of the car he texted them back saying he was on his way to the hospital. “The Devonshire’s are freaking out of course Rory is analytically asking about if they’ve had enough time in the womb.” He laughed as he looked over at Dani. As he drove off he knew that they were about to be parents. “I want every day to feel complete like this day.” Jackson felt himself getting emotional. “You saved me, you and the twins. Come on we have kids to meet.” Starting up his car Jackson drove off into the rising sun.


The water was warm and he had placed her in a bathtub after she explained what a horrible person she felt like. Skye explained she knew that her son was going to a good home, not like something Merci and she grew up in. That was a big determining factor on why she gave up Miles and knowing Lex he played up all that. Slowly rubbing the loofa along her back he saw Skye shiver a little. Standing up he unbuttoned his shirt he looked into her eyes. Then he grabbed the rose water and poured it into the hot bath. Stooping down he got a glass pitcher and poured the water down her hair. He leaned in and kissed her softly. Unfastening his belt Thor wiggled out of his pants and thirstily climbed into the water. Letting his larger body eclipse Skye’s small frame he kissed her neck and looked at her in the eyes. “Hey right now this is about you and I want you to be focused on this. No more thinking of Miles right now understand?”

Thor slipped two fingers inside of her and saw her face light up with pleasure. He smirked and knew that this was what she needed more than anything right now. She needed for a man to please her and show her how much she was making a change in his life. She got him and nobody deserved this moment more than them. They were the outcast and thrown away toys in Atlas Falls. They’d found something real in being the ones nobody wanted. He needed her body because to be frank Cassie was good in bed but Skye was a freak. It was something about how vocal she was with what she wanted and how she begged to be pleased. Thor leaned down taking one of her breasts into his mouth. Nibbling and sucking for both of their pleasure.

Skye had woken and ran the bath to wash away the day before and the things they had rehashed together. It felt like she was finally able to move forward with him. She let the bubbles surround her and let herself relax as they did, he spoiled her rotten most of the time. She was used to men showering her with gifts but it was always as some sort of payment either for drugs at her lowest or to keep her quiet when needed so this was different. Thor treated her with respect which was something she was still adjusting too. She leaned back into his chest when he got in watching him discard his pants as he poured the water over her and leaned her head back. “No more thinking about Miles for now agreed,” Skye said looking up at him forcing herself to stop thinking about her son and the warning that Thor had spouted off to her about the Hessington’s she knew it was dangerous to go against them but it was her only move that she had left.

She closed her eyes again and then opened them wide when she felt his fingers gently pushing in and out of her in the water. She raised her hips to his hand and stifled a groan throwing her head back and then watched as he lowered his mouth to her breasts and a sigh escaped her lips. She leaned into his ear as her lips nibbled on his ear lost in the fact that he seemed to worship her body and her mind at the same time. Her hand went to his cock in the tub and stroked slowly matching his slow strokes eagerly. She could tell that she was driving him crazy and moved her lips to his to engulf him in a kiss meshing her tongue with his feeling his strokes increasing and his lips moving to the other breast and she let out a moan. “Thor.” She purred seeing him look up at her his fingers still inside of her as he stopped moving. “Why do you tease me so?” She managed to pout at him, her hand gripping him watching his face contorted in pleasure knowing he was imagining it inside her at her motion.

Thor knew he had to make her feel like she was safe. If they were going to go up against Charles and his family then they were going up against every crooked cop, judge, mayor, and any other government official he had under his thumb. He was getting even better political capital using Anderson Kincaid one of the most brilliant legal minds in America. Picking her up out of the tub both of their bodies dripping wet he carried her to bed the placed her dripping wet in the bed. He didn’t care. Today he wanted to please her and show her that they could do this together but she couldn’t betray him again. It wouldn’t be good and he couldn’t protect them if she lashed out. Those moments led to them losing Miles and him not getting sweet revenge on Jon. Not only that but him not winning and Thor was all about winning at the end of the day.

He was rock hard and he saw she was getting goosebumps from the cold air against her skin. Thor lowered on top of Skye and he knew he wanted to pin her down. He wanted to make her feel his body so deep inside of her she couldn’t breathe. She would listen after he fucked her like this. A bet. A stupid fucking bet led to him being with Skye and he wondered how she would feel if she ever found out. He’d fallen for her and one thing he was sure of Cassie didn’t like not having him on backup. Throwing her legs on his shoulders Thor slid inside of her wanted to burst immediately. He didn’t know how she did it but it was like she was always tighter than he last remembered. He started to pound her pussy. “You going to listen to me from now on understand?” He growled thrashing her perfect pussy.

Skye let the stress leave her body of the last few months as they were in the tub she was able to put away thoughts of Miles and how they would win against the Hessington’s. She was able to put away thoughts about how much Jon would hate her when he found out what she had done. Instead, she threw her head back thrusting her hips up into his fingers letting the sensations of the water on her body take her to a place that she knew all too well. Sex and how to please herself and her partner. Call it superficial if you wanted it was something that she knew, it made her feel valued and good and for once, in this case, it made her feel safe. When he pulled back and took her out of the tub she almost laughed when they almost slipped. When he was able to regain their footing and carry her to the bedroom though she didn’t have any more objections as he laid her down on the bed and became engulfed in being with him and only him.

She looked up at him as he threw her legs on his shoulders and dug himself inside of her and she couldn’t help but throw her head back and moan. She gripped the sheets as the pleasure overtook her as he began to move she looked up at him throwing her hips into him. Sex with Thor was different he always seemed to want to take care of her needs first and it wasn’t like he was the first man to do that by any means. Over the months they had been together though she felt vulnerable with him in a way she hadn’t before with anyone else  She opened her legs up to him welcoming his thrusts with her own pleasure engulfed in it when she bit her lips as he hit her sweet spot. When he mentioned listening to him from now on though she wanted to fight back instead she nodded her head at him. “Okay.” She managed to get out at him not able to really say anything else to him in the heat of the moment. It was a promise she wasn’t sure she could keep probably one of the many reasons she never had a stable relationship with anyone, she was always going to follow her heart and instincts first the men in her life at the time be damned.

Thor face contorted as he felt her throbbing and tightening against his thickness. The sex was amazing and seeing her in such intense pleasure made him feel weak. The only thing could ruin them right now to him was Skye’s impulse issues and his own secret. The bet was still out in the wind and Cassie had all but threatened him to ruin it. She wasn’t happy that Skye was making him feel like a shining star. To be honest it was something that Cassie had never done. They were never this happy, to be honest. Grabbing her hips and arching her back upward so that he could slide in even deeper. As he felt himself all the way inside he let out a primal growl knowing that the sex was good for her because of her face. He laughed out loud knowing that he was hitting her spot.

The Hessington’s were a major problem and the fact of the matter if Thor went up against them for Skye he could ruin years of connections between their families. He did know that they weren’t so innocent and Charles rise to the top was full of bodies. People died for him to get to be Governor of Pennsylvania and it was if she didn’t understand she sold her child to the devil himself. Charles wasn’t the only one. Whitney nor Lex was innocent and had their own secrets and hell Lex shit was out in the public. He just knew if Skye was going to get Miles back she’d need major support she was going up against one of the most dangerous people in Pennsylvania and that wasn’t a secret it the truth. As he exhaled in her ear he sucked on her neck passionately dragging his lips to her thirsty mouth. They hungrily kissed as if it was they’d never tasted each other before. Thor began to thrust wildly as she got wetter and it made him know she was getting closer and closer to coming.

When Thor didn’t respond to her she wondered if she had said something wrong and instead closed her eyes enjoying the now and the moment of what they were doing. When he lifted her legs a bit and arched her back more to go deeper she couldn’t help but feel her jaw literally drop and a moan escapes her lips. She decided to make him work for it though and began to contract her muscles with every thrust seeing his own face contorted in pleasure in response. An old trick that she had learned when she was younger that drove men to the brink and so far it had worked on everyone that she had been with. She grabbed his shoulders digging her nails in seeing them leave angry red marks with her nails and then wasn’t able to outlast him feeling her entire body clenching and tightening she let open her mouth. “Thor!” She gasped out, hearing it come out like a scream as well her hips jerked violently into his as he went harder and her orgasm ripped through her body. Quickly followed by a second and she felt him finally release into her. She laid there looking up at him as they finished and then let out an exhale as he collapsed next to her.

Sex was amazing but she had to wonder how long they could keep that up, things didn’t last for her, in the long run, she knew that it was the story of her life. She would be lying to him if she told him that she wasn’t over Jon, in a way she was in the other way she wasn’t they shared Miles together. She looked over at the clock and felt like they should be doing something anything other than laying in bed all day shouldn’t they be plotting and calling in favors to get Miles from the Hessington’s. She knew it was a dangerous game her grandmother had warned her about it in her stay while she was pregnant, Charles was known to be ruthless and their entire legacy was covered in blood. It was a risk that at the time she was willing to take the chance. She had no choice and she looked over at Thor wondering what he was thinking. Not to mention Cassie was still lingering in the back of her mind, she didn’t like that they were still friends or that Cassie had the power if she wanted to reach high and find out her secret. “I never meant to cause problems in the business with you and the Hessington’s I had no idea he was in bed with your brother. Maybe there is another way, perhaps if I tell Jon to know he could I don’t know to help us. Your brother already hates me so I’m sure this was another hit for him.”

Pulling Skye closer to him he looked into her eyes and knew that this would be the big shit in town. This could change everything with Ronan and Charles not only that it could destroy his chances with Skye. Jon would come sniffing back around but this time he was sure he wasn’t going to win unless Cassie informed him about the bet that would be the only way that the truth would come out. Stroking her cheek and moving the hair away from her face. As he nodded his head wondering what Ronan would think. He was against Skye and he knew her past so he wasn’t pleased his baby brother was lurking after an ex-hooker. This wasn’t his choice though. He would back Skye and him eventually but right now he had to think smarter than the average bear.

“No, we aren’t telling Jon just yet.” He said looking at her. “You see he’ll try to take over we want to solidify your place on getting Miles back before he files for custody. You see he can make you look really bad by not informing him. That’s not what we want to do, we want to make sure you have to first claim at your son. Our kid because he’s going to be a part of my life also. Skye I’m going to get Miles back but you have to trust me. I dedicate my life to doing this for you but we have to be a team. Something I never had with Cassie was she away from me. She might as well been in space but what a waste of time. I now know that we weren’t meant to be but this feels right to me. So if you want that kid back Skye then we will get him okay.”


“Can you sit outside here and not move?” Philip asked looking at Belle annoyed at the fact that he had to take her with him. His father demanded retribution after they ruined his perfect night introducing Yasmine into the family. This was his punishment he had to babysit this entitled spoiled little bitch. Belle annoyed him and he knew for a fact that Cassie was so pissed she didn’t catch her little insinuation. She was trying to be out as a Devonshire and soon the fame hungry monster would be after it.

Belle rolled her eyes as she looked at Philip. “I’m not two darlings you can go get your physical therapy but I don’t think the therapist helps with a limp spotted dick.” She watched him flick her off as he rolled in with the physical therapist. Standing up she paced back and forth until she was annoyed with waiting which was little under two minutes. Belle walked to the bathroom and looked into the mirror and felt absolutely stunning. She had her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and her makeup was darker than normal. Wearing a dark wine blood colored lipstick. She was in a white oversized but fitted men’s suit which she matched with a leather and gold belt. Sucking her teeth she walked out and started to walk around the halls when she froze in her tracks. She had googled him a hundred times and read all about him through his biography, The Life & Times Of A Legend: The Lowell Devonshire Story. Twisting her rings on her fingers Belle wanted to just run to her father and say, daddy. She saw him speaking with a doctor and then her eyes grew bigger. She hadn’t seen her godmother since London maybe two years ago but Tess has still had the swagger of women half her age.

When she saw her parents walking into a conference room she felt her heart thumping. Why were they together? What was going on? Didn’t they hate each other or that was what the media would like you to believe? Before she knew it she was drawn to them more and more her feet couldn’t stop moving. When she walked to the door she felt someone behind her. Turning around she saw the most dashing man she’d ever seen in her life. Hell he beat Atticus, Atticus was pretty but this was a man. He was a doctor no doubt and she couldn’t believe it but he was single clearly no ring on his finger. Belle could tell he was older but she didn’t care at all. All her lovers after Atticus was older maybe not in their thirties or forties but older. “I was looking for an application. You see I just relocated from London and I would love to do some art therapy. I need to volunteer in my major so I think this could be a great way for me to get started.” She giggled looking at him placing her hand directly on his chest. Looking at his nametag she smiled. “Dr. David Rhodes you have to show me where to find a volunteer slip or something.”

David had arrived at work to chaos all in the three hours leading up to his appointment with Lowell Devonshire, he was a bit shocked with he had arrived with Tess but it was none of his business. He had stepped out after Lowell had barked at him that Jackie wouldn’t be joining them to make sure everything was set up for the private treatment room going forward. It was a last-ditch effort he knew that Lowell knew that but he wouldn’t fault the man for trying to have a life with this terrible disease. Tess was flaunting over Lowell and his stomach churned to the point he had to excuse himself and as he was walking back to the room he stopped seeing the text from Talia letting him know there was trouble with Lowell and Jackie. Which honestly shocked him and as he looked up he bumped into a young woman she looked to be in college definitely young and smiled at her, looking past her into the room wondering if she was spying on his patients. If that was the case he knew a lawsuit could happen the hospital was high on HIPPA not to mention Lowell himself was guarding his disease with everything he could.

“This is a private wing. Young lady, what is your name?” David said looking at her with a stern look and then wondering who in the hell had sent her to the private rooms and wings for a job application? They had replaced some of the nursing staff recently so it wasn’t too far fetched that some of them didn’t know their way around the building yet. Moving to the door he shut the blinds on the outside of Lowell’s room seeing her glare at him as he did, he didn’t know what she wanted but she wasn’t a nurse may be a CNA but she was too young to be a nurse. That or she was extremely bright and skipped a few grades in school when she mentioned art therapy it hit him college student looking for a break and a part-time job. “I wasn’t aware that we had stunning young ladies from London come all the way out here to do art therapy.“HR is on the bottom floor who sent you up here? Art therapy is normally done on the seventh floor and I believe Priscilla in HR has all that information. This is a private wing and our patients up here like their privacy, especially Mr. Devonshire.”

“That was Lowell Devonshire?” Belle asked incredulously as if she had no clue. “Oh, I didn’t know that Dr. Rhodes.” Playing with a loose curl behind her neck, her eyes danced all around him taking him in. “Well I was here with my Godbrother he’s currently in physical therapy in a private room his name is Philip Montgomery. I got bored and I choose to take a walk. I got lost and turned around. I was thinking though when I was walking through why wouldn’t I use my talents for helping others. Art is something I believe in it could open someone’s mind and soul and if you let it art heals. It might not do what medicine does but it could something for the mind.” Belle said walking slowly back toward where she was coming from. “How rude of me, I didn’t give you my name when you asked Dr. Rhodes. I’m Isabelle Archibald but you call me Belle. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Pausing for her last word. “Doctor.”She said in the sultry babydoll voice she’d perfected from Marilyn Monroe movies she watched over and over again. Not only that it sounded even more seductive because of her accent.

Turning around she leaned against the wall. “Would you mind taking me to Pricilla you see I attended the Royal College Of Art. At sixteen I was there learning about so much and now that I’m only nineteen I feel like I’m grown. Most people would laugh at that notion but I am sure you understand. David Rhodes the youngest chief-of-staff in this hospital history. I knew I heard that name before. I was bored when I came here last time with Philip and I read quite a few brochures. Tell me what does it feel like to be in power at such a young age. I love powerful men they always attract me.” Twirling the tip of her finger around her ponytail. “I’ve shown in London and got quite brilliant reviews. I can show you some of my work it can be quite provocative but sometimes provocative can expand people minds. Thus opening something new to live for the art.” She said seeing him amused by her, twisting her rings on her fingers she smirked. “What is so funny?”

David relaxed her explanation seemed quite plausible, it was a big hospital and it was easy to get lost and he knew that Philip was in the same wing as Lowell for his appointment. He realized he had been quite short with the striking young lady next to him over it and shook his head at how with his position at the hospital had changed him in that way. He couldn’t just be the cool up and coming young doctor everyone loved, he had a responsibility not to mention power that most young doctors dreamed out to struggle with. Most of his graduating class were just barely at department head if that and here he was Chief of Staff after a few years of climbing the food chain at the hospital to achieve it. Isabelle Archibald seemed to roll off the tongue in his mind as well not to mention her accent there was no denying where she was from and he had to admire her spunk when it came to her personality.

“I can neither confirm or deny that was Lowell all I can say is our patients like their privacy and if you read any of the tabloids it isn’t hard to figure out who was in the room. I know the hospital board had talked about an art therapy class here research has shown it really can make a difference in some cases especially when brain function is a key component.” David said he was glad that the hospital was doing it he had wanted to ask the girl about if she actually had her degree or not but that seemed quite rude not to mention the school she had attended was very good. If they were able to get an art therapy class started he would encourage Lowell to go, that was something they hadn’t really explored yet in his treatment plan because they hadn’t actually had someone on staff to run the program let alone teach it. “Honestly it’s a pain in the ass to be so far ahead of everyone at the hospital if you want to know the truth. I never know who really to trust most of the older staff hate me for taking the position and the younger ones or the ones in my class are envious that I earned it. I was smiling because it must be the same for you then? You were a part of a grueling program.” He said as they reached the elevator and he waited till they were both inside to take them down to the cafeteria.

“I haven’t finished considering that I am only twenty years old.” Belle walked out of the elevator with David seeing his shock at her age. “I am actually on a hiatus from school but that doesn’t discredit my talent nor merit. I think if I have a chance to say that I helped start or was apart of a program like this could help me if I choose to stay in the states.” Strolling to the line she looked around and clapped her hands laughing. “It’s weird you watch Greys on the telly and it looks like this but you never imagine you’d be in America talking to a dashing young chief of staff who could double for McDreamy.” Openly flirting with him as she picked up grapefruit and cup for coffee. “It’s been hard for me my whole life. Do you ever know you’re destined for something bigger? Like life is always waiting for you to be bigger and do better. It wasn’t until recently that I figured out why I felt like that. I’m adopted surprise.” She said sarcastically finally saying it didn’t hurt any less. “My entire life I thought that I was special because I was wealthy but it was more than that. I was more than.” Pausing she knew she was saying too much about her life so she slowed down. “I mean I understand haters. I have lived a lavish life and not only that I have broken up something that was special to the Daily Mail. So I guess I have seen the good and bad of getting to the best at a young age. Even if it wasn’t my accomplishments and it was my adopted parents.”

She got her coffee as she watched David got the meals for free with a smile at the receptionist. She walked to the table and sat across from him as she took a sip of the coffee which was better than she thought it would be. “So tell me why aren’t you taken? Are you one of those men who are married to the job. I mean show me a man who isn’t married and is accomplished, I’ll show you a man who hasn’t found the right woman. I mean look at us right now, you are the most eligible bachelor in this town and I’m the biggest enigma in this town. I assure you that I’m going to quite the talk soon.” Adding another sugar to the coffee she looked at him. “So what I’m saying is that I’m staying with my Godfather at the Montgomery estate and I’d love for you to see me again. I think that I’m going to enjoy my time in the hospital as long as I get to see you.” Flipping her hair she saw Bliss, Hunter, and little Fox walking into the cafeteria. Looking down she truly didn’t want to be spotted yet by the one person who knew her since she was a kid. Especially right now when she was flirting with this hot ass man.

David filled his cup with coffee paying for his drink as well as her items as he listened to her talk about Grey’s Anatomy which humored him. Sure some of the staff had scandal he was the center of one with Ophelia years ago but for the most part, it was grueling work where you were covered in body fluids, puke, and other things all day long. You worked sometimes up to forty-eight hours straight and it wasn’t like most of the doctor interns couldn’t have their one space and had to lean on roommates. “Let’s just say there were some people who were upset that I got this position. I broke apart a marriage and started an affair with a woman old enough at the time to be my older sister. I was young fresh out of medical school, my brother had just died and we just clicked. Needless to say, I was never reprimanded for it here and some of the board members took issue with me at first, colleagues have tried to sabotage me on more than one occasion. So it’s not quite like Grey’s Anatomy all the time. You will probably figure that out when you start your therapy program.” He said seeing her look at him and he offered her a smile, she was cute and he knew she was flirting with him.

Flirting was fine in his opinion acting on it however was a line he knew he couldn’t cross again, he and Talia had a good date the other night and he was looking forward to the next one. Meaning he could be friends with the girl in front of him and hopefully she could do the same, he wasn’t going to make the same mistakes he did with Talia that he did with Ophelia. “I’m actually dating someone, Talia Rose. It’s not serious right now but it could become serious, she is in public relations for DGI. There is nothing wrong with being adopted and it sounds like you had wonderful parents.” He said smiling at her seeing the disappointment flash in her eyes when he mentioned he was seeing someone. He then saw her ducking to hide her face and played along she was likely trying to hide from Philip which could you blame the poor girl. “It’s Philip, isn’t it? Not gonna like this could be fun if he doesn’t spot you, it would require him to wheel his spoiled ass around the hospital and find you. Which would give his physical therapists a break not to mention a good laugh for the day. So what do you say should we embark on a wild goose chase?” David said not sure why she was so upset to see Philip in the cafeteria but it obviously upset her and he couldn’t blame her Philip’s shooting had left him volatile and hostile to everyone not to mention living with Forbes wasn’t exactly a walk in the park he assumed.

Belle looked at Fox, Hunter, and Bliss then she saw Philip roll in right behind them. No way was she going to wait around and get caught especially when she was McDreamy here. It was the first man in America that she had actually gotten mildly interested in other than Atticus. He made it very clear that he wasn’t interested in a repeat affair. Not only that she wasn’t here for being secondary to Brooke again. That bitch always got whatever and whoever she wanted but not today. She wasn’t going to be secondary to Talia or Brooke. Talia was her PR for DGI maybe she’d be better in Peru or Mongolia. She’d have the power to send that bitch away soon. Standing up picking up her coffee. “I think that’s exactly what I want to do. I mean he wasn’t the nicest apple on the tree before but now he’s just rotten.”

She said walking to the elevator on the other side of the cafe. Looking back he eyes met up with Bliss for a mere second she quickly turned around and when she heard the elevator ring the doors opened. Stepping inside she turned around to see Bliss eyes still eating her alive. She winked at her sister as the doors closed. Looking at David she laughed as she wrapped her arm around him and laid her head on him.  Taking his hand she knew exactly what she was doing. Feeling his hand wince in excitement someone hadn’t been taken care of in a long time.“God that was close. I don’t want to be Rapunzel locked up in the Montgomery moat any longer.” Laughing she let him go. “I’m sorry love, you’re dating someone and here I am hanging onto you.” She didn’t let go of his hand. “Oh, I’m sorry.” Letting go of his hand finally she laughed slightly as she took her hairpin out and her long blond hair was free. She threw her head forward then threw her hair back as she saw him looking at her. “Your mouth is open chief.”

David had followed her into the elevator and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Philip glaring at them. He didn’t hate Philip or anything but the thought that Philip was irritated was funny as hell to him especially with how he heard he treated the staff. When the elevator lurched a bit and she clung to him he was very aware of the gorgeous young woman next to him and when she held his hand it was a reaction he should be embarrassed about he hadn’t gotten laid since Tamara. Instead, he calmed down looking at her and their hands before releasing his own in hers, he wanted to try with Talia to see where it went. Not to mention the girl next to him was young and barely in college it was a bad idea even if he found her attractive and spunky. He cleared his throat at the elevator started to move and hit the button for the first floor so they could head to the HR room. When the elevator opened and he stepped out and she followed he saw the disappointment on her face.

“I just realized I have some rounding I need to attend too. I would hope that we become friends here at the hospital.” David said walking down the hallway and stopping outside of Priscilla’s room he made sure to turn his body so that the rest of the staff didn’t see his hard-on, it was hardly professional. Not to mention the rumors that could swirl and he didn’t need those to get back to Talia nothing had happened it had just been a while for him that was all. He was fully committed to exploring his relationship with Talia and not losing his shit over a hot young woman from England with a killer accent. “This is Priscilla’s office she should be able to answer any other questions you may have and get you set up with paperwork.” He said looking for an official way to escape without being super rude and was relieved when his phone rang and he heard his name over the intercoms. “That was me I do have to go it was lovely to meet you, Ms. Archibald.” He finished giving her a flashing smile as he did so, to head back towards the elevator.

Belle turned to Priscilla with a smile on her face. “I can provide you with my transcripts but I am an art student from London very interested in an internship. Or something of the sort just to help sick people.” She said turning to watch David walk away. “Also can you tell me, Priscilla, what is Dr. Rhodes favorite dessert? I want to thank him for this opportunity.” She purred looking at the woman. “Also can you call the cafeteria and let Philip Montgomery know I’m here.”


The winds of winter roared against Dru skin. It was like the weather changed overnight. It was cool autumn nights now it was frosty winter nights. Dru had been thinking about what she did to Brenda and Walter all night and honestly, revenge was what she wanted. It, however, felt hollow because her parents were mourning a false death. She was here and she somewhat felt bad for them. Her eyes batted as she looked down at her coffee from TJ’s. Her dark raven red hair blew in the wind as she walked through the park. Since meeting Philip she knew she was in good company and with the secrets she found out about Brenda and Walter. How far she was willing to go to hurt them for leaving her. For letting Lowell Devonshire keep her away when they kept one other that was unforgivable. She was going to punish her siblings, and anyone her parents loved and that was a promise. Her eyes burned with tears as she bit down on her lip looking at the sun on the day she felt promise. Ronan had left her a message but she hadn’t responded yet. She didn’t want to seem like she was clingy. It was incredible sex but he was apart of the bigger picture and it happening so fast was unexpected.

Dru looked over and saw a guy feeding the ducks bread. She smiled and the little kids with their parents skating on the ice she felt a sense of jealousy and she saw it all over his face. That look was only someone who didn’t have that moment with their parents. Someone who didn’t know that normal feeling of love and security with someone who would give the world for them. They’d protect them with all they had. People who didn’t have it knew it well it was jealousy that formed and crackled inside of them. As she walked over toward she cleared her throat to announce herself. “I don’t mean to pry but it’s hard not to know who you are Mr. Westwood or is it Devonshire now.” Dru could identify with what Zerick was going through she couldn’t tell him who she was but she felt that pain. “Look I’m not here to be nosey but I saw that look. The way you looked at that family over there. You never had it either. I didn’t either and I just want to say it’s admirable what you are doing. You are just like me in a way we are going for what we deserve and I um respect it. Lowell deserves to burn if what you say is true. My name is Dru by the way.”

Zerick had taken the day to gather his thoughts at the park away from his empty condo, away from the press that seemed to never stop hounding him. He had gone as far as to plan a trip to see his mother for the holidays after Forbes encouraged him to do so. The damage was done to DGI for now when the company sank lower Forbes would make the move to buy it out and he would sell it off piece by piece. His family had ousted him as an outsider not believing his mother’s claims she had no reason to lie though and he would make sure they all paid dearly for it by taking the very thing they valued most DGI. When he was younger he envisioned something else something more along the lines of him coming to DGI to confront Lowell and them all welcoming him with open arms, that was long gone now. He watched the family skating and realized that was never going to be him, his mother and the monster that created him. The closest he ever became to that was on the few visits with Forbes over his childhood. When the redhead sat down next to him he wasn’t sure what to say to her to get her to leave and instead decided it was better to let her stay he could use the company.

“It’s Westwood or if you want to be even more formal about it Davis. Zerick Davis my father refuses to accept who I am. He took what he wanted and I am the product of that. You are right I never had this growing up.” Zerick said looking at her and motioning to ice and the families on it. Going after what he wanted though he had to wonder if she even had a clue what he wanted most people assumed he wanted to sit at the DGI head table and continue on his father’s tainted legacy they were all fools. “You’re the girl that the Fraiser’s hired at their little bar aren’t you? How are we exactly alike my dear I can claim a billion dollar empire meanwhile you can bus tables and serve drinks.” Zerick said with a snarl he quickly realized how rude he was being and saw that she didn’t even flinch at his comment she had thick skin which meant if she was going to stick around Atlas Falls she would need it. “That was incredibly rude of me I’ve been in quite the mood for the last few months. You didn’t deserve that I do apologize in advance. Most people would probably equate my status and who I am to wanting DGI but I don’t want that. I want to take it and sell it off bit by bit and make my father suffer just like my mother has over the years.”

Dru didn’t wince at all when he lashed out she understood him. Anger was something that you’d have to live with being thrown away like he was. Not only that but he was a child of rape. That was deep something she didn’t have looming over her as he did. As she stuck her hands inside of her pockets she looked in his eyes. “I’ll keep it simple with you and say this. I don’t break easy and I didn’t expect sunshine and rainbows when I met you. You’re quite the asshole man from what I heard but I understand. I get it because if my parents are good people or normal. Matter fact I think they are stupid for even giving me away. We all have crosses to carry but I’m sure you don’t care to hear about my history nor do I think that you give a damn about what I think about what you are doing.” She rubbed her hands together. “I mean if it was me though I wouldn’t do what you are doing. I wouldn’t hurt them like that in my opinion. You were on the right path but breaking it apart so someone else can profit. No, I would create another company and I’d be the one buying each piece that I break.” Dru said honestly looking at him knowing that Forbes was apart of this made it even more interesting.

Philip was backing her but she knew that Forbes was the ultimate goal. If she got him to understand what she was after with Walter and Brenda well she wouldn’t have to deal with Philip. She saw him looking at her curiously and she smirked. “Not everyone thinks Forbes deserves DGI. You are giving him your legacy and just because you were the child of rape. Now you are in a position to be the one to take it away from those overprivileged brats you call siblings. Why shouldn’t you get the empire? You deserve those billions, not Forbes but you do what you want. I’m all up in your business because I’m just a bar wench to you huh who reads tabloids? I suggest you don’t forget the most signature con Mr. Davis, or Westwood or whatever you want to call yourself. Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Dru started to walk away she didn’t take kindly to putting herself out there and someone spitting in her face.

“Wait,” Zerick said seeing her walking away she did make excellent points with things involving DGI and Forbes but how could he turn his back on the man that helped raise him. As messed up as his childhood was with the Westwood’s. Forbes was always one constant that stuck around, he had helped him, molded him into the ruthless corporate raider he was. If he didn’t know better and known his own legacy and dark beginnings he would swear that he, not Philip was the son that Forbes always wanted and dreamed about. He supposed they had something in common it sounded like her parents had tossed her aside like trash. He understood that though his circumstances were much different his mother was violated and his father refused to take responsibility for it. “Please wait.” He said a little louder when she didn’t stop and he actually had to get up and chase after her running to the front of her and making her stop. “That was incredibly rude of me earlier and I didn’t’ want to make you feel worthless or whatever else you are thinking. You’ve caught me in a mood today that was all. It wasn’t fair of me to unleash on you as I did.”

“I can’t turn my back on the man that told me the truth when I was old enough, told me exactly how I came into this world. Told me why my mother tried to kill me when I was young, I owe him. If he didn’t come into my life I have no idea where I would be right now, what type of man I would have become.” He normally didn’t tell anyone about his past with his mother, how he came to be or what she did while she was ill. He didn’t’ hate her or anything like that if anything he felt sorry for her at times, angry that she wasn’t able to stand up to the man that violated her and had him. He was madder at what Lowell had turned her into, she was sick before and had problems but that night ruined her and took anything she had left. He took a breath seeing her eyes look at him and shrugged it off he didn’t need her sympathy. “Even if what you say is true about my father and DGI and sticking to them by claiming my birthright my siblings would never let that happen. I have a feeling they’d slit their own wrists and give it over to my ungrateful spoiled niece just to make sure I never had a chance. So tell me how would you do it?”

Dru sat and wondered silently as she looked at him. “I would play them all. Come on Zerick you aren’t dumb. You don’t feel like a tool? A weapon that was conveniently used when needed. MontCorp is stepping into all the business avenues that DGI has mastered, not only that but do you deserve to be used? You are what’s destroying DGI not him. You are something being played with but that’s my opinion. This man entire life was to dismantle that company and take it for his do you think he’s going to let you break it piece by piece? No, he’s going to stop you and eventually turn on you. That man hates everything Devonshire and you are that through and through. Your blood is Devonshire and that means you are going to have to deal with this sooner than later. One of you is going to betray the other which is why I work normally by myself when I’m doing bad things.” Dru said in a teasing voice.

“I’d give them their legacies too then I’d slowly twist them all against each other. I’d watch them destroy each other while I sit back and collect pieces to take over their portions of DGI. I’d wait and snatch everything from them too. That’s just me though I like to sit and wait slowly release my poison so when you are dying you won’t even know it.” Dru looked at his shocked face at what she was telling him. “You aren’t the only person who dreams of revenge. It’s something that has fueled me every day since I was eighteen. Since I found out how and why I was adopted. Look I’m not one to tell anyone what to do but don’t sit back and let him use you. I mean that’s what’s going to happen someone is going to be the bad guy. You just remember that he dedicated his life to destroying your family. Don’t be stupid you are a Devonshire and no matter what he wants MontCorp to thrive.” If she had it her way Philip would eventually mention her and when Zerick started to question him he’d ask who planted these seeds. Well then he’d seek her out and she wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Dru had a plan and it was going to choke everyone. “I’m sorry this is being really intrusive, you don’t know me.”

“A tool? Forbes would never use me as a tool for the Devonshire’s he has been the only one that has ever and I mean ever gave a shit about me. I was always destined to come here and wreck DGI that is what I have wanted from the very beginning.” Zerick snapped looking over at her it was the only way he knew how to react to things and people now that the charade was over with, now that everyone knew who he was. Before it was easy to play games in the shadows manipulate those around him to doing his will without worrying about the reality of his circumstances. He took her words to heart internally lately he felt like he couldn’t’ trust Forbes anymore less and less, he learned a long time ago when that happened you turned to trust no one but yourself. She didn’t need to know that he didn’t trust anyone these days and some woman off the street with a killer red smile and hair wasn’t going to change that. “Forbes should stay out of my way if he knows what is good for him, he is the one that wants to sell of DGI I want it too. Or at least I did.” He finished something about her frustrated him to no end. He shoved his hands in his pockets as he looked at her.

“You’d give them their legacies and what would you think their legacies would entail exactly? They’re spoiled, indulgent could care less about what their father did to my mother. Why exactly should I even give them the chance to have a legacy, they don’t deserve it. Just like he doesn’t deserve to have his happy ending with DGI and Jackie who stood by and let her own husband rape her sister.” He said looking at her and then down at the ground she made valid points that he couldn’t argue with. That was the bottom line, on one hand, he wanted DGI to burn on the other drawing out their demise would be satisfactory as well he could only choose one path and for now, it was the current plan he needed more information before he switched sides. “So tell me who exactly is it that you’re after again? You seem to know all my secrets yet I know none of yours. You seem to be all talk you haven’t even told me your name yet?” He said seeing the kids with their parents clearing the ice back to their busy shopping schedules.

“I did tell you my name and I don’t have any secrets. My name is Dru Price just moved here from a couple of cities over. I’m a small town girl who just understands the pain. My family threw me away and I guess what I am saying is you inspire me. You’ve made me feel like I can get my revenge and move forward. You gave me an understanding of what I should do to my parents and how I should make them suffer. It’s hard because you want to love them but they didn’t love us did they? Did they use their own selfish wills or gains to get rid of us? So why shouldn’t we do the same? I understand the anger and rage trust me. I was adopted too but I didn’t get Forbes Montgomery as my parent. I got a trailer park to reject and I lived just as humble as it sounds. Were almost by my job want to grab a drink? A beer to celebrate a new friendship.”

As Dru kicked the rocks as they walked through the park the silence was awkward. She was sure he’d never met anyone who understood what he was going through. Walking through the bar she waved at some of her co-workers and sat a booth. Looking at him she saw his hurt still on his face almost like what she said was echoing through his head. “My treat okay? You um have a darkness that I’m attracted to if you don’t mind me saying that. I guess it’s me being lonely today. I heard about your girlfriend was the one who exposed you. That had to be hard Zerick. How lonely are you?” She questioned with a breathy whisper.

He followed her inside the Pub and looked around it was so very strange to see it like this, he had walked by the night that his family had gathered for the baby shower, of course, he was uninvited to the event. He took a seat in the wooden booth with the leather seats and backs and nodded his head at her he supposed one drink wouldn’t hurt. When she asked him if he was lonely he didn’t know what to say to her he hadn’t really ever thought about it, he’d been on his own ever since he was a child sure the Westwood’s helped raise him but he was never their son. He was always an outsider pushed on people that Forbes thought it would be best that he stay with. He knew from a young age Audrey would never want him around and when Forbes remarried Angelica it was the same, he was after all just the godchild. Pierre then came into his life with Forbes blessing and began to train him in all the financial aspects and he supposed over time he at one point fell for Greer but it was never real. He looked up as their drinks arrived before looking back at her.

“Most people run from my darkness it doesn’t appease them I actually haven’t been by here since that shower they threw the other night, I observed from the window I didn’t get an invite from the happy couple. Imagine that overshadowing what my mother went through, her story should be the only thing that the press is running instead they’re on baby watch or wedding watch.” Zerick said he didn’t hate his unborn nieces or nephews but he wanted his story front and center his mother’s story front and center. Instead, he was still telling who would listen and while the company was hurting from it last he checked things hand fallen off the front page. Meaning he wanted Forbes to act and act now not in a few weeks now. “I don’t wish the children ill will I just thought that my story would be what the press would be more interested in. I’ve been lonely my entire life Ms. Pierce that hasn’t changed since I exposed who I was. I suppose you could say I was expecting something else when they all knew. Even an acknowledgment would have probably eased that a bit. Yourself are you lonely?”

Dru was taken back by the question. To be honest she was always had been a loner except when she had that tragic boyfriend. He was the only person who knew her real name was Kendall, not Dru. He was the only person who she told all her fears and he helped her get through the sleepless night in a fucking trailer park. Gritting her teeth she knew that losing him had been for the best but it also meant losing her last connection to Kendall. It meant going full in on taking over her best friend Dru life.  Moving her hair behind her ears she looked him in his eyes and wondered if she should be honest. Hell, it got her this far so why not? Dru twiddled her fingers as Bruce sat two Fraiser beers in front of them and kept going about his business. She took a swig of the beer and then closed her eyes.

“I have no one. When I was twelve my nana was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She would talk to me after awhile never knowing I was her granddaughter. It didn’t take long before she started talking in the past. She started telling me how her daughter couldn’t conceive and how her daughters’ husband isn’t any good. That was true my adopted father was a malicious drunk. I started digging at the age of sixteen and by graduation, I knew who I was. My best friend I were going to go confront my parents when we got in this horrible accident. She died instantly and I was left completely alone. I don’t know if I’m lonely it’s all I know so how can I be something that I’m used to? It’s me the loneliness is me.” Dru wiped a tear out of her eye refusing to sit here and cry. “Were tough though we don’t break. I see so much of me in you.”

Zerick nodded his head at her in understanding he got the being alone part and he picked up the glass taking a drink of the beer. He then looked up at the TV and looked at the news fed on the bottom of the screen his brother’s fiance had gone into labor, meaning the entire family would be at the hospital. He saw her looking at the screen and took the glass to his lips letting the entire glass of amber ale slide down his throat. “I do believe that is my cue, Ms. Pierce. It as nice chatting perhaps we will see each other again?” He said looking at her and reaching into his pocket to throw down his business card with his number on it. “In case you ever need to talk again.” He cast her one final glance before walking to the door and heading outside.


Sebastian held the small of Max back as they walked through St. Christopher. He was just about to make love to her all morning when Jackson frantically called Max. Not only that but he called him to make sure Max understood. The guy was a wreck and it was actually funny. He wondered how he was going to feel if Max and he ever got to that point. Slowly signing into the wing that Jackson and the Devonshire’s rented. The press was everywhere someone had clearly leaked that Dani was in labor. Looking at her gleeful expression at the fact she was the first one here. The look on Max’s face was priceless and she had all these baby gifts in her hands.

“If I didn’t know any better the woman who told me she would never have a child is having baby fever. Look at you all glowing and you have been talking about these kids almost more than the parents. Admit it the tough girl I met in Spain is putty for these ten pounds bambinos. Mi amor tell me when you want a child I have a very powerful mind. I can get you pregnant and my family would rejoice finally I’d have a baby. Seriously though I’m confused you told me when we first met that you weren’t the marriage type or baby type. Now seeing you all mushy and sensitive where is my firecracker mi amor? Or are you like most candy hard on the outside but soft and squishy in the middle.” Sebastian teased as raised her hand kissing it. “You are really happy for Jackson maybe it’s a twin thing but I believe that you maybe are rethinking everything now that you see Jackson is getting the happy ending treatment.”

Max had been in bed for most of the morning getting ready for her day at DGI and ignoring the very hot man in her bed, which was hard to do honestly. They had increased their lovemaking recently which she totally blamed on her fears that he was going to go back to Spain and forget about her. She was jealous of him wanting to leave and even more so jealous about that bitch that had a hand over his business back home. She knew it was irrational but all of those thoughts had disappeared when she had gotten the text from her twin that Dani was in labor. She had rushed around to get dressed and they had headed to the hospital. Her brother sounded like a nervous wreck on the phone but on the other hand, she was certain he would be fine. She had a feeling that this birth wouldn’t be like the last one with Logan. Their family didn’t talk about it enough she remembered that day, Chauncey’s phone call to their mother watching the glass from her hands. It was the first time in ages she had seen pure fear on her father’s face, they had all rushed to book the private jet and then Jackson had called. This would be different and she walked into the private wing, someone had tipped the press.

“You don’t know any better I have no plans to be a mother anytime soon I’m not cut out for it. I just haven’t had a niece or a nephew, in this case, to spoil in years. I’m an excited aunt again I can’t help it. Don’t you have nieces or nephews?” She asked not really sure about his side of the family, she knew that he had a brother but the rest was still a bit of a mystery She wasn’t thinking about that now though having children or anything else what she wanted now was to make DGI proud in her father’s illness make it stand tall that, was what she wanted to do. She had no time to get married or have children as much as Sebastian kept asking her about it which was endearing even if unrealistic. “I am really happy for him that he found someone that lets him be him without pretenses with my parents. They always wanted us to marry certain people had everything planned out, they just didn’t know how to let him be him. We may have a twin connection but he and I want very different things sometimes. In my family, we learned a long time ago happy endings are just that a shit fairytale. Call me a cynic. If it was a happy ending none of this would have happened with Zerick, my dad would have never had all those affairs on my mom. I wouldn’t have fucked things up with Hunter.”

Hearing how hurt she still was about the past made him sad. Her life was complex because her parents didn’t let them grow. Thinking about his abuela and how strict she was on his sisters he understood. His parents were still stuck in the structure of his grandmother. Folding his arms he nodded looking at her face. He could tell she was a little annoyed by him even suggesting a child for them. That was something he wondered how was that going to work. He had years of wanting a family and he was ready to marry his ex-girlfriend. It was one of the most painful things he went through not only that but Gia was next. He was hurt so badly and didn’t want love anymore and then came this crazy ass woman. She was wild and didn’t like to be emotional. It was almost the complete opposite of her brother who was an emotional mess. Seeing Jackson in the room with Dani he smiled brightly looking at his girlfriend who was standing there clapping excitedly. He folded his arms as he pulled her back and looked into her eyes.

“Listen to me very carefully senorita. I have dreams of having a child one day and I also have plans on never letting you feel alone again. You didn’t make it with Hunter because you weren’t meant to. Sometimes things happen for a reason and don’t you think I’m a good damn reason? You would have never found me, or you would have never stepped out of the anticipation of your parents. Look mi amor you’re not the same woman who was destined to marry Hunter and things change. Look at me? I was going home but my brother has told me that the vineyards are fine and I was going to wait to tell you but I’m applying for my dual citizenship. I won’t be leaving Atlas Falls anytime soon. Max, I’m with you but I need to know that I’m not rearranging my life for a letdown. I have so much in Spain but without you mi amor it’s nothing.” Sebastian looked at her seriously as he touched her hand. “I want a future but if there is none let me know now and I can go. I want kids Max and I want a marriage. I want to celebrate the milestones of life with someone and if you can’t see yourself married again then tell me, please.”

Max had been listening to him and when the room down the hallway opened and she saw her brother inside with Dani she couldn’t help but clap in a mixture of emotion and excitement. She looked at him as he pulled her back, she was the sister she should be in there but then she had to remember that she hadn’t been invited in there. She supposed that was something that her brother and Dani wanted to do on their own without a crowd but still she was his sister and twin. When Sebastian started talking about the things he wanted she wondered if they would ever align on the same page, she wasn’t at that place in her life right now that she wanted a child. One of the reasons she and Hunter failed and she started to fuck Philip was that reason, Hunter wanted to start a family he said he was ready and she wasn’t. At first, it wasn’t supposed to be anything more than that revenge on Hunter for pushing a family on her and she did it on purpose to hurt Hunter, only she fell for Philip. It was different than Philip though, she really loved Sebastian or she thought she did in the only way she knew how and she had to wonder if he was prepared to deal with the antics that she knew could come. She could get restless and make mistakes it wasn’t like she was some angel far from it and she looked at him.

“I cheated on Hunter because he wanted me to have a baby I wanted him to be so angry at me when he found out that I wasn’t ready and that I fucked someone else that he’d drop it and divorce me. You deserve to know that I wasn’t ready to be a mother I don’t know if I ever will be Sebastian and that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be with you or any of those things I just don’t want them right now. I turned a blind eye to the problems that Hunter and I had early on, I married him because I thought it would make my parents proud and happy for me not because I was ready to marry him.” Max said seeing some disappointment on his face she knew it probably hurt him by what she had said but he deserved to know the truth about her marriage to Hunter about why she did what she did. “I don’t want you to rearrange your entire life or your dreams for me but I’m not there yet where you are. I am barely divorced I want to be free from that for a while and I love working at the company full time, helping my father and siblings to build it and continue on his legacy. I have no time to be a mother right now or even a desire to be one. I am not my brother right now, or Bliss or Chauncey they have kids they love and adore and that is okay. Right now it would be a hindrance and distraction to what I want at DGI.”

He listened to what she wanted and for once he understood Max in a different way. She wanted to be one of the boys that were something he knew but he never thought she was hungry for DGI like the boys. Seeing that attracted him to her, even more, she was passionate about getting to the top and her ambition was sexy. “Mi amor I’m not saying I want you barefoot and pregnant right now. I want the opportunity and the chance though. To see you in a vineyard pregnant would make happy. I understand you don’t want a child now it’s not in the cards. We are not um how do you American say it? We aren’t just hooking up anymore it’s more than that and you know that. I don’t want to leave anymore and I’m not running mi amor. So what I asking for is that you possibly open up your mind to the chance of marriage, and a child eventually. Not now we aren’t rushing into that. I’m rushing you to tell me if I should stay. If I am wasting precious time my love. I don’t think a moment with you is wasted but I want to know that I have a chance to show you how beautiful you are. To show you the colors you think you don’t want to paint with. Let me love you or let me go.” Seeing her eyes soften when he said he wasn’t rushing to have a child or marriage he saw she wanted him to stay. Max just walked into his arms and hugged him.

“I think it’s amusing mostly women talk more than men in my country. You make me pull teeth to get you to speak candidly like this. I want to know what’s going on in your mind. How am I going to beat this great Hunter if you don’t let him go.” Sebastian knew he might have struck a nerve. “You have held onto this notion that you had to be something you aren’t. I like Maximilla as you are. Beautiful and flawed something he didn’t see and I know he hurt you deeply when he got with Bliss. I know it but you aren’t meant for a man like him. He needs to save a woman me I need a woman to be a partner. Those are two different things Max huh. Now if you are done telling me why you can’t be ready for what I am offering let me counter. Your mother raised four beautiful children while running a charity full time. Not only that but she was right there on the board of directors at DGI. Your mother showed you that you can do anything as a mother or woman. So I think you are bullshitting me. You are scared of love and happiness because maybe you are wrong about who truly are. That scares you but me it intrigues me to see a woman who I can open up and figure out.”

Max did love his optimism for their future even if she was still wary of it, she had so much she wanted to do and she felt like she didn’t have the time left to do it. She sometimes wondered if that was because of how ill her father was, how he was going to slip away from them all she had researched the disease over the last few weeks. She knew what a struggle it would be for him especially her mother coming up and wondered if her mother would have stayed had she known what her father would have been diagnosed with. That was still something that gave her a sliver of hope for her and Sebastian in the long run, her parents had overcome so much they never divorced and her mind raced to Zerick. Rory had brought up an excellent point the other day at their meeting, the evidence against her father was pretty damning considering and she didn’t know how to feel about it. If it was true it meant her father, the man she adored and looked up to was a monster, Bliss being her sister she could handle it was consensual if Zerick was their brother that was abhorrent on so many levels to her. She looked up at Sebastian and then down the hallway as she saw Lauren and Walter walk in so everyone was gathering and then she took a seat in one of the private waiting rooms.

“We haven’t been hooking up in a while and I don’t want to let you go. I just what I’m saying is I need time more than anything else right now to figure out when I’ll be ready. I want to make my father proud of my work at DGI I want to show him that it’s okay you know? That the company is going to be okay when he is gone.” Max said she hoped he understood and she did felt like he would this would be a first for her family losing one of her parents she knew people she had went to high school and college that had lost parents. That was different those parents weren’t Lowell Devonshire, she realized how emotional she was when she wiped at her eyes thinking about her poor mother. About how her entire life had been uprooted in the scandal of Zerick’s claims and taking care of her father up until then how she burned herself with that. “Look at me almost a blubbering mess and this should be the happiest day of my brother’s life, which yes it probably will be. You talk so highly of my mother no wonder she likes you so much. I’m so worried about her in all of this how she basically told no one and then Zerick on top of it you know? I guess I’m just trying to figure out how to handle all of that and keep us afloat at the same time.”

“Women are so strong. I sense that Ms. Devonshire is one of the strongest due to the fact she looked in the face of her husband bastard child and still gives love to the child because it’s Lowell’s child. I honor that and I understand that. Have I told you about my grandfather’s history? I have an aunt and uncle that weren’t my grandmother’s children. My aunt and uncle mother was killed in a car accident. My grandmother took them in and I see a lot of my abuela in your mother. She is holding down a man who has hurt her deeply. That’s so admirable to be me because she wasn’t scared to move forward with her life. Abuela raised my aunt and uncle as her very own and they looked at her like their biological mother. That is what I see in you but I think you don’t see it in yourself. I can be patient and I can be optimistic that we have a future. I’m not leaving and I’m not backing down either. I’m here for you Maximillia but you have to be here for me too.” He said kissing her forehead and wiping her tears.

“This day is emotional for you I can understand this is the last day your twin soul is all yours. Before he fully gives it to those two little beautiful babies about to be born. Look he won’t love you any less and you will make Lowell so proud. Look at you mi amor, you are about to start up a casino and push more profits into the company. How could he not be proud? You all are putting aside pettiness to stand together any father and man would honor that.” Sebastian looked at her feeling that at this moment she truly was at ease. He looked up and saw the waiting room starting to swell with people. “Should we go out there and interact? Or do you need a moment?” He leaned in and kissed her lips again. “I am happy and I don’t want to lose this happiness what about you?”

Max nodded at him she wasn’t afraid of losing Jackson they shared a special bond as brother and sister and twins, but his heart was where it belonged with Dani and her niece and nephew. One of the things she admired about Dani was she had never tried to come between that maybe because she was close to her own brother. Other women may have tried to step on or break that up and in the same way, while her brothers were protective over her they had never tried to step on Sebastian. Her mother had put up with a lot over the years and she wondered what else would happen, she wiped at her eyes when he mentioned they mingle they probably should. This could take a few hours maybe even longer.


It was officially winter and the cold had come much sooner in Atlas Falls. It wasn’t honestly the holiday season for him because his child wasn’t home. They had word that Scarlett was in Istanbul a few months ago but now no word. Zach was starting to get restless his son was going to be raised with that lunatic and he couldn’t stop it. He had called his supervisor on the force and explained he’d be taking a leave of absence. You see he couldn’t concentrate on anything including his relationship fully until he got his son home. Scarlett was somewhere in the world taking advantage of him being a baby and not able to say he’s needing to be home. Home with a family that was ready and willing to protect him from her. As he looked up at Mason walking up with coffee from TJ’s. He waved at his boyfriend and saw his face which was happy. Mason loved this time of year and not to mention Selina cancelling on dinner didn’t hurt either of them. When they saw that newly found viral video of Dimitri going off about homosexuality in Isla De Cruces. It didn’t endear himself to the guy anymore.

Just as Mason walked up his cell-phone chimed he dug into his pocket and phone a text message from a unknown number. Opening the message his heart stopped. She had cut and dyed her hair blonde but he knew Scarlett anywhere. That voice was haunting he didn’t see her face but her body and movement. When she turned to camera and he saw her face all bandaged up he was disturbed. Not only that but God look at his son he almost threw his phone. When Mason approached him he shook his head handing the phone to him. Tears burned in his eyes because the message said that this was the last video. Over the last few weeks he’d gotten video after video each one showing Scarlett and his son. Mason face showed the same horror as him. “What am I going to do. I can’t keep taking leaves of absences and I can’t keep going like this. Do I just close my heart off to my son? I’m dying without knowing where he is and what’s happening to him.”

Mason wrapped his coat tighter around him as he walked down the pathway from the coffee shop, the wind was picking up and he was certain that snow would be coming soon as well. He had dragged Zach out of the house Scarlett was being relentless with her taunting and it was driving Zach crazy to the point it was nearly causing a rift between them. His partner could barely focus at work and had taken so many understandable leaves, not to mention when Zach was at home he didn’t feel like he was really at home making things even more frustrating at times. He knew that something had to change from here on out with Scarlett and Kieran especially if they were going to move forward as a couple. He would need Zach to get Selina away from Dimitri, he would need Zach to be the man he knew he was. A great detective and crime solver, noble to a fault and up and coming FBI agent if they were going to find dirt on Dimitri and get him out of Atlas all and convince his sister to stay here and leave her future title of princess behind. He could tell the moment he walked up when the phone rang that Scarlett was taunting him again and reminded himself that he had to be supportive when it came to this.

“Take some of this.” Mason said handing him the cup of steaming hot coffee and he watched as Zach took a drink and he thought over his next words very carefully. He didn’t want Zach to forget about Kieran no one was asking him to do that. But Zach he knew couldn’t keep living like this chasing Scarlett down with every lead that came in, when she had the means to travel and escape authorities on will. “I don’t think anyone is asking you to give up on Kieran Zach, you have that one picture Scarlett sent you after he was born and ever since then she’s been doing this shit to you of sending videos and pictures. You know how she can be manipulative how do you even know that any of those photos that she has sent are actually of real things and real circumstances. She fled to a place with no extradition and for all we know is still there. Even if you spend all your time and all our resources going there to try and get someone to help you find them, she would likely run again.” He said softly as he took a seat on the bench and watched as Zach sat down too he could almost sense the defeat rolling off Zach’s face and he hated it. “I think for now you let some of the other guys at the agency handle this pull yourself back from it knowing that he is alive and maybe one day they will find him or he’ll return home. I know that is hard but Zach you can’t keep doing this to yourself.”

Zach sat down listening to Mason and soaking in what he was saying. That he should step back and try to live without knowing what was happening. Without knowing if he was coming home ever? He didn’t want to be just a memory of his past and he didn’t want Kieran to grow up thinking that he didn’t love him. That he didn’t want him because his entire first year he searched but his life couldn’t keep going like this. Sometimes he would have to drink the pain of giving up away. He wasn’t but he felt like it. He felt like he was numb and he didn’t know exactly what he did to hurt Scarlett this badly. He’ll admit he was sleeping with Scarlett on Dante and then he got with Mason. It wasn’t a lot of breathing room between them all. As he lowered his head tears began to fall trying to think of what he could say or do to fix this. To save his son from a life of that psychopath.

“I know man but I just can’t stop thinking what is she teaching him? What will he think of me? Or my family? Don’t just sit there and pretend that you don’t get it. You know how manipulative that woman is and is she going to turn my son against us all? I mean she’s already sending me texts saying that. He’ll never know me and I just get the feeling that deep in my soul. He won’t and I just want him to have this family unit I was raised with. You, I want him to know you and understand that you are his father and I’m his father. I want to him to be a man who doesn’t care he knows love is love. I just want to teach him that he isn’t by himself and that this world is waiting on him.”

Mason didn’t know what to say to help Zach, he couldn’t ever be feeling what Zach was Kieran wasn’t his child that was ripped away from him. He was Zach lover and friend and it ached for him to see Zach in such an impossible place, one he felt he could never fully understand. It then reminded him that he didn’t have his mother growing up and while it wasn’t quite the same thing he could offer what he could to Zach. Keiran would know his family if he ever came back, he would make sure of that he was certain that the Fraisers would make sure of it too. “I know this is hard Zach and I have no clue how you feel, he wasn’t ripped away from me and I don’t have any biological tie to him but it has to hurt. I don’t want you to stop hurting or stop holding out hope that he will come back. I also don’t want you to keep hurting yourself with the drinking because you are finding it hard to cope I wish I could take this away for you, bring him right back here but I can’t.”

“No matter what Scarlett does or doesn’t do to him you will always be thinking about him, your family will always be thinking about him and remembering him. I haven’t been around your family a lot until recently but I know how they work they’re right and no way does your mom and dad, let alone your siblings stop caring or remembering who he is and how he was ripped from you.” Mason said he saw Ivan out of the corner of his eyes and had to wonder if Simon was nearby or not, it shouldn’t matter to him one way or the other but Simon deserved to be happy too. Just no with some gangbanging little punk that probably straight up murdered people when he was running with Ronan. He instead choose to focus back on Zach. “Maybe we put all that anger and frustration into some sort of foundation for him. Father’s With Rights or something like that to bring awareness to how this can happen to fathers that don’t deserve it. Turn this nightmare into a positive for you and your family. We keep it in the news make sure that Cassie runs a story broadcast on it every year, we make sure he isn’t forgotten so if he ever even Googles here and who you are he knows what she did. He won’t be able to run from it then, it will be front and center and you and I we’ll be waiting here for him to come home.”

Zach nodded listening to Mason he knew it was time to let go. He just couldn’t figure out how. How do you walk away from your own flesh and blood? It was something that made him feel insane but he also knew he couldn’t keep on this path. His savings were blown through and he couldn’t keep calling Kelsey, Brock and his parents for more money. They were just as excited every lead and to come home empty handed just ate him alive. There disappointed faces when he returned with no child in his arms. Tears started to pool in his eyes as he wiped them and nodded. When he looked up he saw Simon right in front of them. It was annoying that his boyfriend ex seemed to always be lurking around them. It was even more annoying that this great guy was being used by a downlow asshole like Ivan. When they last talked Simon read him for filth for even questioning him about Ivan. He didn’t want to be intrusive but Ivan had a reputation on the street. He was a killer and brutal to those who opposed Ronan.

For some reason he needed to attack someone because facing the truth that he was about to let go of his little boy was too much. “Simon why everytime Mason and I are doing anything here you come? You’re always around and I’m honestly sick of it man. I’m sick of you and it so stay away from my boyfriend. He’s not yours anymore.” He lashed out immediately regretting it seeing Mason’s shocked face and Simon’s annoyance was very clear. “Look I’m sorry. Scarlett just sent me a video of Kieran and I’m just on edge this has nothing to do with you. Matter of fact it kind of does.” He paused looking at Simon. “Look I want you happy more than anyone but I did some research  on Ivan and looked up his past. The guy is trouble Simon and I don’t mean to be all up in your business but he is. His history and record isn’t good at all.”

Simon had been out for a walk when he had come across Mason and an upset Zach he felt for Zach Scarlett was bat shit crazy but that wasn’t his problem. He could solve a lot of problems but not that, he would never get being with a woman over a man he had tried it once. It wasn’t to his liking let alone getting one pregnant, of course he felt Zach’s pain even from looking at him on the bench. When he decided to get out for a run he didn’t expect to see them on the bench in the park and when Zach lashed out at him he looked at Zach and wanted to laugh as if he ever cared about him. No he didnt’ in high school or college, Zach hid behind who he was and he and already done hsi research on Ivan and knew that Ivan came from a vastly different background than he did. Who in the hell was Zach to question what he was doing and who he was in bed with?

“No he’s not mine, but he’s not yours either. He’s a hide behind everything man isn’t that right Mason? The only reason he is out now is because of Scarlett not that he ever wanted to be isn’t that right Mason?” Simon spat back seeing Ivan approaching them the last thing he needed was an all out brawl with Ivan and Zach with he and Mason having to break it up. He had enough of fist fights and drama over the last year and he then looked over at Mason and Zach he got that Zach was upset but he needed to reign it in. “Take him and go home Mason. He’s obviously had enough to drink didn’t your old man’s father have a drinking habit too? Must run in the family along with a whole list of other traits you all would like to forget exist.”

“Simon not now.” Mason said breathing out not sure what he was going to do if this evolved into something even worse than an argument. He had never been a fighter that was true and most of what Simon said to him was true none of it was his choice to come out. It had been that tape that leaked to his father and soon it was all over the news Scarlett had told them all about who he was in that tape. He knew it wasn’t Simon and had moved on from that, it was a dark year for him but he was moving on. Simon was too and he understood that even if he didn’t approve of his choices. “He’s upset Simon but he’s right about Ivan.”

Ivan walked up hearing his name coming out of Zach and Mason mouth and he became enraged. Who was these motherfuckers to judge him? Zach wasn’t exactly innocent at all. Wasn’t he fucking on Scarlett while with his fiance? Mason was on the downlow just last year and here they were throwing salt to his boyfriend? Well were they boyfriends? After all Simon might be sleeping with him but he didn’t say if they were going to be together. He took his earbuds off as he looked at Zach who was eyeing him as if he would take him down right now. He gritted his teeth then out of instinct to piss them off he slapped Simon ass. “What’s up?”

Looking at Mason up and down he was sexy but the motherfucker had a issue with him already. He laughed. “Bro you don’t know me and y’all don’t know shit about what’s going on with me and Simon. So both of you gossiping ass fags hush the fuck up. See Simon bitches like this is why I don’t come out. Why would I when fags always have something to say? You know I was reading this article about this model in the 80’s who was exposed for being transgender by her own people the gays. So don’t judge me or my choices because people like this would expose me. You don’t know me or what me and Simon have so I suggest you shut up. You ain’t on shift I’ll beat your ass boy.”

Zach was shocked that Ivan was so bold to say he’d fight a officer. On shift or not he’d arrest this little boy. Clearly that is what he was. As he folded his arms he shook his head. “I could arrest you for the threat you just issued at me. I could call in that you are causing a domestic scene in public. I could wreck your fledgling music career with one call to Perez Hilton I hear he loves exposing undercover celebrities. Either way I can end you so I suggest the way you talk to this fag Mr. Castillo.” Zach said looking at him directly in the eyes. “Simon might hate us and think we betrayed him. I think we deserve to have his back after all the hell we put him through. You aren’t good enough for him and I don’t think you’ll ever be.”

Simon saw Ivan stand up for him and he had to wonder if this was his moment that he was finally going to be the man that he wanted him to be. Instead he saw Ivan mentally back up when Zach mentioned a simple call to Perez would end him in the music industry. He almost wanted to laugh wondering what Ivan’s game was at the moment, he wanted him but he was too prideful to let the world discover who he was. “I can handle myself Zach I have always been able to I don’t need uncles, cousins and siblings to bail me out. I’m not going to fight you today especially when I know deep down you are angry about what that bitch did to you not me.” Simon spat taking a step back he had afterall just got his nails done earlier in the week and then looked at Ivan. “You suddenly care or is your career still the most important thing to you?”

Mason stood there in the middle Zach on one side Simon on the other he was lovers with both of them but that didn’t mean he didn’t care about Simon’s well being. Yes he had hurt him and blamed him for what Scarlett had leaked but he still wanted Simon to be happy. On one hand he knew that  Simon couldn’t do another secret relationship on the other he knew first hand how important it was to actually have your privacy and come out when you were ready. He knew Zach was angry and saying ugly things because of it but to threaten to out Ivan seemed extreme no matter what he thought of the other man. “No one was gossiping we were just stating the truth an arrest record longer than I can list on my fingers and toes, you’ve likely killed people in cold blood. Simon doesn’t need to get involved with your drama with being a locked away poster boy or gang banger who worked for Ronan.”

“And did he need your bougie ass? Look white boy and preppy I’ve done what I had to eat. My father kicked me out when I was a kid. I had no food in my belly and my uncle made me hustle. I didn’t go to some nice ass school, and I didn’t even finish it.” Ivan said passionately looking at them both. “Y’all think a arrest record is facts all the sudden? Like police aint crooked man you have no idea what I’ve been through and worse all y’all do is judge me for it. Mason your brother was out here slangin and busting guns. Did you know that? Your father was from Scottswood right? Or your people and your rich ass family turned a blind eye to all the violence and corruption in the streets so save all that. My record doesn’t have shit to do with how I feel about Simon. If that’s the case doesn’t he have a record. He fucked over Simon, then cheated on his fiance, then got a psychopathic bitch pregnant, and then got with you after you dumped Simon because of said psychopath. You not the only one with google motherfucker. So save all that.” Ivan said as he looked at Simon knowing he appreciated the save but seeing how annoyed he was with him, he stepped back. He kept trying with him only to be iced out. “You know what Simon it’s cool. They right I’m just a poster boy for a gangbanger so maybe we aint right for each other. Fuck this.” Ivan walked off without saying another word to any of them.

Zach saw the look of shock on Simon face as Ivan walked away from him. For a second he felt horrible here they were judging Simon for grabbing a sliver of happiness. Who were they to say that this wasn’t working. Not to mention Ivan putting him in his place was kind of hurtful. He did have a record of hurting the people he loved the most. It wasn’t until he pointed it out that he even saw it. As he looked at Mason who had a shocked expression on his face also did he understand what just happened. They might of messed up another relationship for Simon. “It’s for the best Simon. Look he’s horrible and his raps tell you that. I don’t care what happened to him in the past because one thing I know is you deserve way better than that SOB now call me a hypocrite or whatever but I know that you don’t deserve to be with him. That man is dangerous and I just don’t want to see you get hurt. You can be bitter about us but please know we care man.”

Mason looked as Ivan walked away hoping at Simon got where he and Zach were coming from they just wanted the best for him. He knew it technically wasn’t any of their business but he didn’t want Simon to go through anymore baggage than he had too. He was about to say something when he saw Simon’s phone buzz and then his and Zach’s, it was from Jackson. Meaning it was time and he saw Simon let out an exasperated sigh and placed his hand on Zach’s back. “Let’s head back to the house and when you’re ready we can head over to the hospital okay?”

Simon had enough of everyone looking out for him, dogging him and his choices not to mention being some closet secret for a guy that he felt maybe he could have a future with. Instead he was back in this position with Ivan that he had been in with both Mason and Zach. He was almost tempted to say something snarky and cruel to Zach as he watched Ivan walked off and then his phone buzzed. It was a text from Max, Dani was in labor and she had no idea where Lowell was. Meaning he would have to go get his boss and take him to the hospital and try to run press interference with Talia on the state of Lowell’s marriage to Jackie. “As entertaining as this all has been I need to go find Lowell. I would appreciate it in the future if you both would but the fuck out of my business and who I’m fucking from now on.,” He rolled his eyes at both of them and head down the path catching up with Ivan and cutting in front of him. “Why in the hell do you care so much what they think?”

“What you mean why do I care what they think? It’s you caring what they think.” Ivan said furiously. “Hell you care about everything but me unless my dick up in you. Mason hurt me, Zach hurt me, and hell nobody would accept me. “ Mocking Simon instantly with fury. “I get all that Simon but I’m here accepting you. You haven’t accepted that in my life I can’t come out. As badly as I want to, my family are bloods through and through. Do you understand what that means? I was born into gang-life. My father caught me with a boy and I nearly died for it. Did you get kicked out? Relocated to another fucking state? I left Florida and Cape Kenitrich because I was kissing a man. I can’t even go see my madre!  I was forced brutally to enter the gang life when I didn’t want it. You have no idea what it’s like to be me and what’s worse all you do is try to tell me why it’s wrong. You think it’s easy to lie to yourself every day in the mirror Simon? I’m not happy living like this but I’d die if I came out. My father, my brother, and everyone in my family would kill me. You keep comparing me to them! They have these perfect lives and I can’t compete with the memories of Zach Fraiser and Mason Delacroix. So you three keep that same energy in your twist love story maybe y’all can be a throuple. I’m done Simon.”

Ivan threw up his hand as he walked away. Pausing when he heard a familiar ring tone. “Don’t follow me your phone ringing go be with them. It’s DGI right? Your job, your friends, and you don’t want me. I’m something to do until one of them frees up right? Man I should have never opened up to you. I was just trying to stay focused and I just needed.” Punching a light post he stormed away.


Savannah Murdoch was Miss Pennsylvania and Miss Atlas Falls she was one of the most beautiful girls in America. Too bad she wouldn’t be going bowling with Brock tonight because she was in Philly and her car happened to get four flats now how that happened she had no clue. However, Greer was wearing a Juicy Couture jogging suit and a pair of Puma sneakers. Her hair was pulled into a ponytail and he had been waiting for forty minutes. It’s crazy how cell service in Savannah’s area was out. Greer smirked and she’d have to thank Jinx the hacker in Philly she used sending an extra five thousand. Clicking her teeth she saw him looking defeated and Dani did tell her that he would be here. She was stupid like that. As she got out the car she whistled at him. Then saw him looking irritated as she bit down on her lip. “Brock, let’s stop trying to get even with each other. Let’s try to be friends and I came like this for you. I’m all toned down and no couture or schemes. This is Greer and I’m here because I’m sorry I made a mockery of your cousin’s baby shower and I’m even more sorry I maybe lost you.” She said looking at him feeling that he was melting a little. She was lying about Dani but losing him that wasn’t a lie. Brock was sweet.

“I came here without one designer garment. Okay, I’m lying this is a designer tracksuit but that’s not the point. I’m trying Brock and I’m a girl who likes very high expensive heels. You are a guy who doesn’t know who Ferragamo is but if you want to try with a selfish and slight spoiled princess. Come on because I want to learn how to bowl and I want to learn how to be with you.” Greer said knowing that he was blushing and the fact she completely sabotaged Savannah from even getting here was even better. “I just think you can help me learn this game or even better you can teach me and I can beat you.” You see Greer had bowled before but she wouldn’t let him know that. She smiled looking like she couldn’t do a damn thing. “Come on give me one more chance. You know you want too.”

Brock had been waiting at the bowling alley for at least half an hour maybe even longer it was so unlike Savannah to suddenly cancel let alone not show without so much as even a phone call. They had met at a friends house she was a beauty queen pageant member and he was looking for a bit of fun without the drama and contention that someone like Greer LeClerq would bring to his life. While his sister may have been right about a lot of things when it came to love and going after who you wanted he knew better than to start more family drama if he continued on with a relationship with someone like Greer. His parents had told him that how she had treated his cousin was in under no uncertain terms unacceptable so there was that. Not to mention his cousin was super close to her due date and he wasn’t going to cause her stress or anxiety to have her go into labor unexpected, though he assumed she was out of the woods now. His sister agreed and he nearly rolled his eyes at the message from Kelsey telling him to give Greer a call if Savannah didn’t show. Instead, he looked up when he heard her voice and became annoyed how in the hell did she even know where he was and then it dawned on him Dani probably opened her mouth to her. He could see his cousin doing it out of spite pointing out that he was fine on the dating scene without her.

“I didn’t realize we were trying to get even with each other. I figured me warning you to not stir shit with my cousin was enough. Dani has a big fucking mouth.” Brock bit out looking at her he could only imagine how that went down his cousin snidely staring at the woman before her in that mean streak Fraiser way. He folded his arms not wanting to concede defeat to her or worse go back on his word to his family to leave Greer LeClerq behind in that past life of possibilities. “I don’t think you get it, you went after her at her baby shower for fuck’s sake. My entire family was there my parents, my siblings, not to mention aunts and uncles and cousins. You embarrassed her at her baby shower for her kids. I still don’t even get what the feud is with you two but Dani would never and I mean never do what you did to her like that.” He saw her looking at him and then shrugged maybe his cousin would now. “Ok maybe she would have but it would be in turn to retaliate against you for what you did to her. We do this I can’t be in the middle of the drama between you two she is my family and I already let you know how important that is to me. I want to give you another shot Greer but I need your word about it and you need to prove it to me that you can change.” He said seeing the guys looking at him through the glass as he pulled his knitted cap down on his head, she looked like she had no clue what bowling was about and he figured teaching her wouldn’t be bad not to mention Savannah had flat out ghosted him.

“Scouts honor isn’t that what you Americans say?” She said walking into the bowling alley with a smile on her face. “Look I won’t hurt Dani anymore. I have gotten my little petty revenge and now I want another chance. I want to get to know you Brock and is it so bad that I had to do something back? I saw a chance and I just don’t know how to just turn off my anger. She just made me furious and I guess if I’m being honest I’m jealous.” Greer said looking at him. “She has what I don’t think I’ll ever have truly. She and Jackson have this relationship and now they are parents. I guess I thought I have had that twice and never truly had it at all. Zerick lied to me and Chauncey threw me away like a piece of trash. So I’m sorry if I didn’t follow your rules considering every man has disappointed me I just thought. You were after something between my legs instead of what was between my two ears.” She said pointing to her brain.

As she walked with him to the shoe counter to rent some new bowling shoes. Looking at Brock she saw his shock she opened up to him. “I mean Zerick was good to me and so was Chauncey but they didn’t love me. At least the way I needed, sometimes I think I don’t say enough because honestly I was bounced between my uncle and father so much I didn’t know what normal was. The bickering between them and constant backstabbing seeing someone so loyal to their family is shocking honestly. I don’t have that Brock and I guess that is what hurts so much that I don’t understand those loyalties.” She said touching his arm. “I can learn though and I just know.” Moving a strand of hair away from her face. “I just think we have potential and I don’t want a stupid move when I was angry to ruin whatever this is.”

Brock looked at her when she told him on scouts honor that the feud was over, he then looked at his phone to double check the time before he relented. He would never hear the end of this from his cousin or his parents but he supposed that is what separated him from the men like Chauncey and Zerick. It was a god damned family curse that they always believed the best in people and if Dani wanted to throw it in his face he could easily point out how she gave Jackson chance after chance so far. No one talked about that in the family mainly because it was impolite at this point and he hadn’t screwed up again, but if the same courtesy could be given to Jackson he didn’t see why that couldn’t extend to Greer. “It’s not bad I think it just the way you went about it at the shower and leaking her medical records last year upset a lot of people me and my family included. I don’t think you’re some horrible monster you’ve obviously made mistakes.” Brock said when she mentioned she was jealous over what Dani had he kinda got it. Though having kids to him seemed so far away at the moment.

“If Chauncey or Zerick wanted kids with you then they should have I don’t know offered you that and then followed through with it. They had a good relationship right now they have a lot in common but I don’t think it was planned for either of them.” Brock said he liked her vulnerability with him at that moment and watched as she got her shoes and he swore he saw a friend of his parents out of the corner of his eyes sending something on their phone, great. He would deal with it when the time came for now he was at least going to try to enjoy bowling night. “I guess you could say it is loyalty but it’s also a sense of family. We’ve always been close even when my aunt and uncle were in a pretty dark place we leaned on each other. When my sister was sentenced to prison we leaned on each other. I could never think of betraying them or backstabbing the people that have supported me the most.” He supposed that was a vast and wide difference between them but maybe one she could learn to overcome or learn to change with. “So I’m really not trying to be rude or anything, and I know this probably gets me hit in most circumstances but how much do you weigh?”

Her eyes narrowed as she playfully hit him on the shoulder. “I’m a buck fifteen which is the perfect size for all the couture I get to enjoy.” Looking him she felt herself wondering why he just asked that. “Oh, you’re trying to see which ball I could handle. I guess I should go first right? I mean I’m a gutter ball no matter what? I like the pink one.” She said picking up the ball and acting as if it’s too heavy for her. As she looked him and saw him putting their names in the electronic scoreboard. Clapping when she saw her name on the board. “My turn right? I’m first and I don’t need any help.” She arched her arm back took a deep breath and rolled the ball down the lane and got a strike. All ten pins fell down as Greer walked down to the seat. Seeing his shocked face she knew that she had to explain.

“When I was in Paris my uncle Harvey would take me to all these different things. Ice skating, ballet a favorite of mine, skiing, and we would play chess in the park in Buckingham. Well, I remember the only time my uncle and father wouldn’t fight was when they were bowling. They’d play for hours and laugh about their childhood. My two dads would be amazing at that moment and I would just love those nights. So bowling isn’t just an American sports mate. It’s an international one and next time before you think about treating me with kiddie gloves. Think again, I’m a girl who doesn’t like to label herself. I was a tomboy at one point Brock all the couture might block that but I was pretty rough and tough. Now, where is the beer?”

Brock had gone to say it was about the ball weight but stopped when she figured it out, she had a great body it was perfect from what he could gather above the clothes. When she clearly threw the ball down the lane and knew what she was doing he felt like he had been played just a little bit but for the best reasons. “I have a feeling that you are much more than meets the eyes Greer LeClerq and now I feel swindled. In a good way of course. I didn’t expect a throw down the lane and straight strikeout of a good old french girl like yourself.” He said teasing her just a bit and letting her talk about her dad and uncle. So she had good memories and he wondered if those outweighed the bad ones for her. Or if she even knew what a bad memory was, she seemed to lack that upbringing to him. Being shuffled from home to home when she was younger while her father was in prison. “My parents and my aunt and uncle used to be in a bowling league in the old days. I might have to ask your dad may have been a part of it too. That was years ago before DGI took over Atlas Falls.”

“For some reason, I don’t think that you are a beer type. Something about whatever brand of shoes you bought in here doesn’t scream beer.” He teased as he got up from their space and moved to the bar as the rest of their teams finished out the round. He picked up the menu and made a guess about her being a red wine drinker and ordered two glasses as she approached. He placed one in her hand mentally noting that she approved by the look on her face. “For some reason, I find it very hard to imagine you a tomboy without all the couture and fancy money. I did some reading about you and your father. He was sent away for embezzling sentenced in Europe. My sister is doing a stint if you want to know for the same. She got caught up with the wrong people, started cooking some books. She’s supposed to get out in a year maybe two if the parole board approves it. She’s the youngest me, Kelsey, Zach, and Lucy. So you see I’m not as perfect as you think I am either.” He said watching her drink her wine and then looked down at his phone when it buzzed with Kelsey asking for backup on her date. “So I don’t suppose I can interest you in backing out of bowling in that outfit to stop by Club Vertigo my sister is requesting some emotional backup.”

Tapping her nail against the glass of as she looked at him and nodded her head. “God I hate to bowl and run.” She said sarcastically. “That’s the worst part man you judging my two thousand dollar gym shoes! My father didn’t embezzle shit from DGI and I guess you can understand my rage at Mr. Lowell Devonshire. He is the worst he uses the greatest minds like your uncle Walter and then disposing of him like he didn’t make the program that started DGI. I’m infuriated that he thinks that he can just hurt people and destroy all these lives and he just survives it. He gets richer and more famous by the day. I guess Dani is a piece of that? You know? She gets the residuals of all blood and tears that Lowell has taken from people. Just like Jackson and the rest of them. I don’t hate Zerick if anything I hate I slept with brothers. I hate that I didn’t know what he was suffering with but I am happy he’s bringing them down to their knees. They aren’t the grand Devonshire’s no they are the legacy built on lies and rape.” Greer chugged her wine and placed it down. Wiping the corners of her mouth she looked up in the reflection of a mirror. Her eyes were boiling with tears. She steeled herself as she touched Brock’s chest.

“Is it bad I have a change of clothes in the car?” She laughed as she looked at him. For a moment she honestly felt like her heart was confused. Everything she went through with Chauncey and Zerick was hard, however, this felt easy but was easy always the best option. For her right now it was because both men had disappointed her and not only that she had disappointed herself. How was she to avenge her mother’s death? How was she to take on the Devonshire’s when she secretly had fallen hard for one? She’d lost focus and that was something that she wouldn’t have happening any longer. Reaching out for his hand she smiled when he took it.

“Okay, Mr. Fraiser I have to say I had fun tonight bowling can be our thing when we need to hash out something. Is that deal? You won’t go ghost on me again? Considering I’m new to this. Every relationship with men I’ve had has been quid pro quo. I have never had a relationship that a man didn’t want anything from me but to get to know me. You are looking at someone who is trying and if that’s enough, then we have a chance. A chance for me to have something new and a chance for you to be with this beautiful damaged woman you are so attracted to.” Greer phone chimed and she smirked as she looked at the message. Savannah was on her way to Atlas Falls. Too bad she missed him and going forward the bitch wouldn’t have a chance. Walking to her car she picked up her Louis Vuitton luggage and walked to the truck. “Let’s party.”

Brock nodded at her he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt going forward it sounded like she had gotten the raw end of some pretty fucked up deals as a child. That wasn’t her fault and it would hardly be fair of him to judge her for it, she didn’t know any better. When she looked at her phone when it buzzed he had gone to the guys to let them know that he was heading out early getting some glares along the way and wide eyes. He met her back outside and had to smirk a bit at the fact she always had two outfits on hand, he opened up the truck door for her as he helped her in throwing the bag between them. He turned the truck on and started the drive to Vertigo stopping in the parking lot and letting her know that he would meet her inside. He made his way inside looking for his sister and watched as Greer went to the bathroom to change and when she came out he had to grin. He was certain he saw Braden out of the corner of his eye in the crowd and saw that look on his face. Like the what the fuck look, the family over everything look but now wasn’t the time to fight about it with his cousin at the club. He nodded his head as Greer approached her and then he couldn’t help it as he grabbed her hand and pulled her off the dance floor and back to the parking lot. Pushing her against the truck he leaned in and kissed her.

He had always been one to throw rules to the wind sometimes, he did it when he was fighting fires all the time and he was always told how brave he was for it. Brave and noble but this was a different throwing the rules to the wind he was consorting with the enemy or at least he knew that was how some of them would see it, the others would see it as something else. He felt her tugging him closer and he couldn’t help but let his hands explore her body over those clothes as he fumbled with the door to open it. God, she was a good kisser and just as he was about to break off and ask her to go home with him he heard his sister yelling at him and his phone buzzing wildly. He pulled back from Greer looking at her and seeing Kelsey frantically waving her hands and he was annoyed as hell with her. He looked down at his phone and saw the message and his eyes got wide as his sister finally made her way over to them out of breath and he looked at Greer this would be interesting, to say the least.

“I take it you need a ride to the hospital.” He saw Greer looking at him frustrated and he did feel bad but on the other hand, his cousin was in labor. “Sorry I have to cut this short Dani’s water broke and I need to give Kelsey a ride. I can drop you off afterward?” He said he almost expected a fight from her on it the moment he said his cousin’s name instead he watched his sister roll her eyes and get in an then was shocked when Greer got in too. Walking around to the driver seat he looked over at them in silence as he started the car, hopefully, they could avoid a repeat of the last time Dani and Greer were in the same place this time.


“Ms. Wright this is your company car,” Leif said as he handed Tamara Wright the car keys for her car. “Once again welcome to MontCorp it’s wonderful to have you at the company and Mr. Philip Montgomery will be calling you first thing in the morning with details on what he expects of you come Monday morning. I’ll be seeing you around and have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Tamara had gone for an interview and before she knew it she was signing confidentiality agreements and signing off for her corporate car. It was all happening so fast she had been a secretary for her uncle’s car repair shop over ten years ago. She would no doubt be rusty but she knew she could do it and Leif believed her. She was up for the task to work in the corporate world and not being a nurse right now might be better for her health. Being around drugs especially narcotics wasn’t ideal for her and Braden didn’t know about this interview but she would tell him tonight. They were supposed to be meeting Brock and Kelsey at 80’s night at Club Vertigo after she got back. Standing for a moment she just looked at what she had accomplished now that she was sober. She had the great love of her life back and was living with her son. Working the program truly worked and that was reaffirming. It was so cold November did that and she couldn’t wait for the weather to break. She honestly felt like she had gotten her first real break since being home. This was what the family needed another income. As she walked to the car she clicked the alarm and laughed clapping her hands together she got inside and started the car up.

Pulling out she chose to use the highway to get home faster. Looking down at her phone she saw Braden text a list of things they needed. She quickly pulled into the store and picked up the few groceries and rushed home. As she pulled up she saw Braden and Dylan on the lawn playing football, tackling each other and laughing. Tamara just watched them and finally, she grabbed her groceries and bag smiling. “We have to hurry up Braden your cousins will be pissed if we aren’t there soon.” She looked at Dylan and Braden who were shocked she was stepping out of 2019 car. “I got a job today and I’ll explain can we all come inside? I’ll tell my boys everything I’m pretty sure I deserve to be saluted for this.” Tamara walked into the house as the men in her life followed looking amazed as she clicked the alarm on her car. “Okay so I got a tip from my sponsor and his best friend Leif was looking for an administrative assistant. Well, I have experience and I went and interviewed. I showed them I was the best candidate and I got it. I’m officially Philip Montgomery assistant and I didn’t even meet the man. But I’m a dammit I got hired and I get a lot of perks. This is best with my addiction I just don’t want to go back into the hospital not yet. So are you guys proud of me?”

Braden had taken the day afternoon off from cases it was slowing down at the office at the moment he felt that was a good thing. He had gone to watch Dylan’s practice with Brock and afterward they drove home and threw the ball around. It felt good to do that he was a little concerned when Tamara wasn’t home but he figured she was at a meeting and she did text him to let him know she was out and he realized that they were out of groceries. He had texted her the list back and then Dylan’s phone had gone off likely his friends he could tell his son wanted to go out and be normal but as a parent he wanted him to stay young forever and stay home. He waved to her when she pulled up distracted by the brand new car she had so much that the football hit him square in his nose. He heard Dylan say shit and knew he should reprimand him but instead he bent down making sure there was no blood and when he was sure there was nothing but it hurt like hell. Raising his head he walked to her taking the grocery bag from her seeing Dylan looking at the car as they all made their way inside the house. He had to remain calm and listened to her explanation and his stomach dropped when she mentioned MontCorp.

“You love nursing,” Braden said it was the only thing he could say she had spent her whole career helping people and excelling at it, he had made calls for her and a friend of his assured her that at the end of the week her license was going to be reinstated. He knew she was in a fragile place right now with her recovery and working the program and yeah maybe the hospital wasn’t the best place. But he knew some nurses could work the desk away from the drugs plus he hated the Montgomery’s and in his opinion, Philip was a fucking creep who preyed on women and if he could have sent him to prison for the drugs with Kendrick he would have. “I talked to Sam and was waiting to tell you, your license has been reinstated as of Friday he was able to pull some string for me. I’m not trying to tell you what to do I never would I’m proud that you took initiative and got a job. You worked so hard for your career in nursing and have overcome so much. But a new car don’t you think that is a bit excessive?”

“That’s the thing I didn’t buy the car baby. It was given to me. It’s apart of the job Mr. Montgomery says that he’ll need me on call when some big projects are happening. Not all the time but sometimes. I know he has some weird history with doing things with women but he was nice on the phone and I don’t think he would hire me to harass me. Not in the movement women are having now so please don’t worry.” She said looking at him and she saw Dylan looking proud of her. “I did work hard to be a nurse. It was my life but it also depressed me to the point I started using again. It’s dark to see people you care about die and as much as I could try not to connect to people I do. This is a job where I can focus on just the job. I don’t have to emotionally put myself out there Braden. I don’t have to care so much that it drives me to madness.” She slowly touched his shoulder. “How about this we try this. We try something new for me and if it works better than being a nurse then I’m going to accept maybe it’s time to move on.” Tamara saw him looking shocked and proud.

“So Dylan is going over his teammates tonight and I know that homecoming is coming up and we have to go shopping for a suit. Oh, these homecoming dances are different they were fancy suits and things Braden. Did you know that? I was in jeans and a t-shirt at homecoming man.” Turning to Braden she smiled at him and walked up to him and kissed it passionately. Dylan feigned disgusted and rushed out. “Don’t worry okay I’m going to get myself so far together that people are going to scream yell and shout look at this corporate bitch coming. I need this and I need a break from nursing. I know that and maybe it’ll be fun for me to just go fetch coffee and type memos and all that stuff. Babe, I got a car and a sign on bonus. We are doing good and we can get the repairs to the house and I can help with the mortgage now. Braden, I’m ready to be a team with you so this is the plan for now and if nursing is for me I’ll go home.”

Braden looked at her and he hadn’t ever really thought about it that way that the hospital could be all the cause of her relapses it made sense on hand. On the other, he had to wonder if she was just running away from her career because she felt the need to reset all her life after rehab. He nodded his head at her not wanting to fight about it, they had to do what was the healthiest option for her and when she mentioned money and repairs on the house he wanted to object. He would rather die than use Montgomery money on the house. Not to mention he didn’t need her help to pay the mortgage or the bills he made enough as the DA, for now, he would take it if she gave it and then put it into Dylan’s college fund. “If this is what you want I’m not going to fight you on it, If you feel this is how you need to start over than that is what we have to do. Don’t worry about the money alright we’ll figure it out and I’m not strapped for cash you’re part of the family and I’m not going to take rent money from you.” He said looking at her seeing her face and he took a breath. “You’re Dylan’s mother and you and I were figuring this stuff out now that I have Selina out of my head. You’re a guest here, my live-in girlfriend, not some renter. I feel like I just called you something so insignificant you’re more than my girlfriend. I’m going to shut up now.” He walked to the stairs as he heard Dylan on the phone finalizing his plans.

“I told him he could go over to Trevor’s house tonight some of the guys are having some sort of bonding sleepover thing. I figured maybe it was time you and I had a chance to go out together officially and enjoy each other without him around.” Braden said putting his hands in his pockets and turning back to look at her, this shouldn’t be this awkward between them. He figured it was though because they hadn’t been intimate in years and he wasn’t sure she was ready for that not to mention Selina had been such a problem for them before. He was certain that wouldn’t happen this time, hell he was lucky that he and Selina were able to sign the papers and get them filled so civilly so they could both move on. Normally his mind would be lingering on how Selina would feel knowing that he was with Tamara and vice versa but this time he couldn’t’ seem to care about Selina’s bruised feelings. He supposed that was because of how she had hurt him and run away to Isla Del Cruces and started an affair with Dimitri. “I figured we would drop him off and then head over to meet Kelsey at Vertigo if that is okay with you, something about it being eighties night was our attraction she said. If you want to stay in too that is alright as well.” He said seeing her cave a bit as he watched Dylan dart across the hall to get everything he needed. “Don’t worry about him I have Trevor’s parents on speed dial they assure me no parties at their house tonight.”

Tamara saw his worry because the Montgomery’s were so dangerous by reputation. However, that was reputation not on merit they hadn’t seen this Forbes Montgomery stir up anything. She didn’t doubt it but she also knew that maybe Braden and her family would be away from the warpath by being an employee. She wasn’t crazy Braden was a Fraiser and rumor had it Montgomery had it out for them all. She wanted it all to sort of blow over Dylan, and Braden. Running her hands through her hair she felt her stomach clenched as she nodded with a smile. “I truly want to go out and I just want to do the best I can do alright and that for now might be away from the hospital.” Clicking her tongue against the roof she turned around and saw Dylan being a true scamp. He was listening but trying to act as if he wasn’t. “Well I’m driving him and I think we should get dressed because we are going to a eighties night. Dylan no girls no!” She said looking at Braden shocked face. “No girls because that girl with the long hair and the beautiful skin. I saw her when we were dropping you off because Maddie was going to something with Chauncey. I saw her what was her name Silver? Or something those girls only look at him like he’s a jock or something she was grown and womanly.” She looked at her Braden smiling at him.

“We will figure out what to call me eventually.” She walked upstairs getting dressed in a pair of leather pants, genuine cowhide leather corset, and lots of jewelry. Feeling every bit her Madonna fantasy after she saw look all together. After ten minutes she crimped her hair and put it into a ponytail. Blotting her lipstick she walked down clicking and clacking as she saw Braden had out a costume also. “You look totally tubular and I have to say, Dylan, I can’t wait to drop you off at Trevor’s so we can party.” Clapping her hands together picking up her keys. “Let’s go man.” As she flipped her hair taking Braden’s hand. “I always get into this place for free. I used to have New York nightlife underneath my palms this is going to be so fun. Memories of the nineties and early two-thousands. You weren’t a thought in my mind peanut.”

Braden watched her walk up the stairs to the guest bedroom and followed into the master and the empty closet ok it wasn’t all empty just Selina’s side. He had packed everything up and politely sent it to her at the Delacroix estate if only so he wouldn’t’ have to see her with Dimitri. He changed into some Levi jeans and shirt, putting on some old worn boots to complete the look and saw Dylan looking at them both. He opened the front door and led them both to the car holding open the door for her and then took off towards Trevor’s house. Once there he watched Dylan get out relenting when his son insisted that they not walk him to the front door this was always the hard part he felt, letting go. When Dylan was younger he wanted to protect him from the world and shelter him, over the years he had learned to pick his battles and this was one of them. He saw Trevor’s mom arrive at the door and he gave her a wave as he pulled out of the driveway and headed towards the club glancing over at Tamara as he did so. She looked amazing and he had to remind himself that they were taking things slow because of her recovery and whatever happened tonight would happen.

“That was way more anxiety than I thought it would be, you’re rubbing off. He’s had a hard year not to mention a weird one. I should have talked to him before I married Selina and uprooted his life with you. We’re lucky he hasn’t acted out yet or worse.” Braden said pulling onto the freeway and then merging, the music of the radio playing. Luckily for them, traffic wasn’t terrible and he pulled off and made his way down to the club parking and looking up at the neon lights. For date night to themselves, he couldn’t remember the last time he was this nervous and for a moment he felt that she was too. “This gets too much for you inside you will let me know right? I know that alcohol isn’t a huge trigger or anything for you but your sponsor did say that sometimes it is best to avoid it too.”

“I was a bartender and alcohol was never the issue.” She said honestly knowing that being around people who were high would be a test. Clubs bred drugs and excess. It scared the hell out of her thinking that she could be that lost again. Inside of her own pain and inside of her own rage. Rubbing her knees she leaned over and turned Braden’s face. “I am stronger than I have ever been and I want to tell you something. I have something to fight for now and to stop that feeling. That emptiness that has eaten me alive since I was twenty-one years old. My father and my family losing him did something to me and us. I lost my daddy and soon after I lost my relationship. I lost so much including custody of our son. I have everything and I have to believe that my daddy is watching this and approving. I am so alive and full dealing with you so no triggers tonight. I want to give you a night we both won’t forget a start to a new job and the beginning of our new lives together.” She leaned in and kissed him. She sat silent for a few seconds as Braden wiped his mouth removing the remaining lipstick on his lips.

When he opened the door she saw people that she knew all standing around in eighties costumes and everyone looked like they stepped out a time machine. She laughed taking Braden hand she felt a pat on the ass and saw Kelsey waving at her talking to a long leggy brunette. No doubt Kelsey was going to have her in bed. The other side of the Fraiser’s were funny. Brock was a traditionalist through and through, Kelsey seemed to fall in love rather fast, Zach was the golden boy but oddball and Lucy was the screw-up. They all seemed to have the Fraiser lust for what they want. Cyndi Lauper was booming through the radio and then it was being mixed with a Blondie classic. She started to dance as they got to the middle of the floor. “Remember we danced all night that New Year’s Eve? We had just met and I felt like the world was on fire just like I feel right now.”

Braden nodded his head at her she was a bartender for a few years in college while they were both in law and nursing school, she knew her way around a bar. His heart skipped what he was sure a few beats when she kissed him and he wiped at his lips when she pulled back. He just didn’t want her slipping or relapsing he had avoided the club scene for years. It was never really his thing in college either they had gone a few times, but he’d seen enough drugs to change hands and had called it good. He followed her inside the club that was full of smoke and what he was sure was weed too, it was busy and he didn’t see his cousin in the crowd. He saw a flash of people walk past them and then saw the girl swat Tamara on the butt he nearly objected only to realize underneath that outfit of Cyndi Lauper it was his cousin. Kelsey had never been afraid of who she was and he admired that about her and politely nodded his head at her brunette companion as Tamara drug him to the dance floor.

“I remember,” Braden said looking at her swaying her hip at him to the beat of the music and he did feel young for once at that moment that they were back to where they started all those years in college ago. She looked so pretty underneath the lights of the dance floor and he found himself staring at her. She was still as pretty as he remembered but maybe even more so her eyes were really clear this time, he’d seen a few times before she never used while she was pregnant that he knew of it seemed to happen afterward. He leaned into her body smelling her perfume and before he knew what happened he leaned down kissing her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and moved his hands on her hips to the music before pulling back and smiling at her. “You were wearing something a little more accessible at the time if I remember correctly. We had an amazing night that night.” He said seeing a gleam in her eyes at he even remembered that night. How cold he finals week and then a few weeks later they had made Dylan.

Tamara laughed playfully slapping his chest as she looked into his eyes. “If I recall I got you drunk that night and we ended up in the staff bathroom. A few weeks later Dylan.” She giggled as her eyes twinkled looking at him. “I’m grateful at first it felt like I just got my best friend back. Then it changed all of the sudden I had the man who used to look at me like I was a Goddess back. I was worried that if we went back to this stage somehow Selina would pop up. When you told her that it was finally over I believed it. This time I think that we are on this path that I don’t know. It feels so right and it feels like I’m so happy. Our son is content and our lives are on an upswing. I know me working for the Montgomery’s isn’t ideal for you. I want to pull my weight in the family. I want Kelsey and Brock and Dani to see me as their family too. I want you to see my mom and sister as your family. I want us to be what we never got a chance to be this time and I see it.” She laughed as Kelsey walked past her passing them two champagne flutes.

“She is having a ball.” Tamara laughed looking around seeing Brock enter with none other than Greer LeClerq. Before she knew it Braden was charging toward him. Tamara snatched him by his leather Jacket. “No, come here!” She said taking his champagne flute and rushing him into a back storage room. “Calm down because I saw you and I know and you were about to make a huge scene. Look I was a teenager in New York and partied in New Jersey of all places. My father hated this guy name Gino who I had the biggest crush on. He was a total jerk and douche bag but he was mine. The more my father objected the closer I got to him. Sound familiar? If you go beating your chest to Brock he’s going to latch on even tighter to that girl. We saw what she just did to the Devonshire’s don’t let her destroy and ruin the Fraiser’s.” She saw it all in Braden’s eyes he wasn’t convinced at all. She immediately removed her leather jacket and leaned in and kissed him passionately. “Care to do something risky?” She giggled locking the supply room door.

Braden had lost all train of thought about being mad at Brock with Greer when Tamara had to drag him off the dance floor and walked them to the grimy storage room. He watched as she peeled off her leather jacket and he stepped forward kissing her while pinning her against the door, he didn’t know what it was about Tamara but she had always been able to do this to him. Turn him off the proper gentleman that he was raised to be and his mouth tangled with hers against the door as he placed his hands on the side of her face, making sure he was tasting her lips all the way the champagne still fresh on them. He didn’t relent as his hands traveled lower and he felt her tugging on his hair and he broke the kiss apart letting his mouth trail down her neck as his hands worked over her curves, stopping at her dress and flicking his thumbs across the fabric feeling her nipples bead at the touch. He looked up at her trying to hide the moan and then moved lower raising her skirt and pushing aside that thin fabric of her thong and then buried his head in her juices.

He felt her shiver at the action and then dipped his mouth inside slowly as he did so, his fingers played with her hips as he repeated the action slowly again. He opened his eyes as he repeated the action again watching her mouth as he did so and her desperate attempts to stay quiet, against the loud music in the club or people passing by he wasn’t sure but he was beyond turned on at it. He increased his tempo a bit with quick lashes and circular motions before adding two fingers into the mix to spread her just a bit more and when their eyes locked he went mad raising her right leg and throwing it on his shoulder as he sucked and nibbled. His hands went along with his tongue, intent on working her into a frenzy and just when he felt her about ready to come he completely stopped and his hands went to massage her thighs watching her squirm. “Is this what you had in mind or was it something else?” He asked his fingers lightly brushing over her heat while his arms pinned her hips against the door and he saw a few footsteps stand outside as he placed a finger in her waiting for her answer.

Tamara couldn’t believe they were doing this again. As horny young adults but here they were as adults still as adventurous as they were when they were young. Back then it was temporary love and that was something that she understood now. This time he was all in though and that was different. Selina wasn’t looming over them as a threat and it felt safe to give in to the pleasure. Running her hands through his hair as a soft moan escaped her mouth when he started eating her out. His tongue was still magical which wasn’t shock sex between them had always been intense. It was the relationship that never worked until now. They’d become friends this time and it was a normal progression. Tamara was shivering underneath the pressure of his tongue he was amazing. It happened so fast but the next thing she knew he pinned her against the wall. She couldn’t say much because he was being so aggressive and passionate. She leaned into him as their tongues interconnected and she knew this time was different. Her body shivered as she heard his belt unbuckled and pants fell to the floor.

She could feel how hard he was as she wrapped her legs around him she felt the head of his penis entering her body and the next thing she knew she felt a burning intensity as inch by inch he pushed inside of her body. She released a loud moan as she tried to hush herself but she couldn’t stop herself. His hand covered her mouth knowing she was a screamer and not only that the feeling was so good. Quivering she clenched down as he pulled back and slammed into her. To be honest she was rescued from a dark place by her son and Braden. Now, this was the light the pleasure for all of the work she had done to fix herself. “Yes, Braden.” She said in a muffled moan his hand still over her mouth.

Braden continued to feast on her until he was certain that she couldn’t take it anymore and then let his lips travel up her thighs and over her dress, he made sure to force the fabric of her thong to the side as he undid his pants. Letting them pool to the floor, his mouth covering her as he slowly inched inside of her letting his hips jerk as he did because of how fucking tight she was. He moved slowly against the door to the beat of that slow song that was playing over the speakers, relishing in the way her body was visiting against him and he pulled back from her mouth looking at her face as he continued to plow into her. She had always been a screamer and watching her try to stifle her moans and cries even turned him on more. When he was sure she couldn’t take it anymore of the slow pace grabbed her legs lifting them around his waist and using the door for support exposing her channel all the way for him. He slammed into her making her body violently hit the door placing a hand over her mouth.

He smiled at her as he did it, again and again, increasing his tempo each time as he did so, he was pretty sure he heard the faint ringing of his phone and didn’t care. Watching her eyes feeling her mumbled lips on his palm as her teeth grazed his flesh, he kept fucking her wondering if people were standing outside the door as he did so. They had always had a good sex life that was not their problem or even his problem with Seline it was the trust issues, the drugs and everything else between them. When he heard a fast and hard song come on and the DJ outside raising the volume he removed his hand from her mouth focusing instead on placing it on her hips pinning her into place so he could pull out and slam into her heat. He could tell he was driving her to the brink just by the way she was arching against him, by the way, she was grabbing into his skin. He leaned into her lips kissing her softly. “It’s okay to scream baby I don’t think anyone can hear you anymore but me.” He said pulling back and burying his face into her shoulder.

“BRADEN!” She called out as she felt him swelling inside of her as she started to moan and scream. He always seemed to hit her spot which was shocking to her considering so many men hadn’t hit her spot. Sex with David was just more or less drug-fueled so she wasn’t even sure if she enjoyed it or if she was just going with the motions. She knew that the passion was building inside of her. This was something she had touched herself to the thought of him so many times. She missed him and him just walking away on their wedding years ago did so much damage. Not only that the ugliness with him taking Dylan it hurt her so deeply she never thought they’d be here. However, a new chapter was being turned and they were connected in a different way than in the past. He was her hero and equal all at once. They had a life they deserved a long time ago right now and it was what she needed to feel complete. A new job, a new life and a family to focus on instead of chasing the next high.

As her breaths became more lapsed she knew she was close as waves of emotions and feelings started to bounce out of her. Cries of pleasure and a multitude of waves of intensity rushed over her body she could feel him bursting inside of her. They were one, one soul and one family. She was breathing heavily as she leaned in and kissed him. Then it happened she burst out in tears. Stepping back she was so embarrassed and scared she ruined the moment. He instantly questioned did he hurt her and she shook her head signaling no he did not. Finally, after a few moments of awkward silence, she laughed. “I’m happy. I’m so happy I was scared and emotional. I never thought after you married her.” She paused and exhaled again. “I never thought that you would be with me again. I thought it was over and I am so happy I was wrong because I have everything I want.”

Braden couldn’t help it as he felt her shivering and shaking eh released into her with a heavy groan, his body jerking into her and then noticed she was crying and he hoped he hadn’t hurt her. Sure he could be rough sometimes with it they both could but he would never hurt a woman on purpose, he was certain he asked that as he mumbled and when she shook her head and answered no he felt relief. He stayed there for a moment resting against the door with her his mind swirling with everything that he was feeling. He finally let go of her body with his as he stepped back and helped her straighten her dress. He wasn’t sure what to say to her it was such a perfect moment for the both of them they were finally past all their demons. His nerves showing as he reached down for his pants. He felt his phone buzz again and was annoyed who in the hell was trying so desperately to get a hold of him. At first, he thought maybe Dylan. Instead, he saw the walls of texts from his parents and then swiped his finger to listen to the frantic voicemail from his mother, his sister was having the babies. They were early not by much he thought and he hung up smiling at Tamara and kissing her mouth

“It was perfect we are in a good place a right now a great place that was all I want this time, us to get it right. I’m happy too but scared we’ve never been how do I say this gently stable?” He said looking at her and helping her back into her jacket and his phone buzzed again as did hers and he knew who it was. “Dylan.” He said seeing her say it at the same time and looking at his phone he was right, his son wanted to go to the hospital with them and he saw her looking at the text-happy for his sister too. “We can arrive in style and mystery, or just happy. Come on let’s go pick up our son so he can meet his cousins we can take our time you and I both know labor can last hours.” He said opening the door to the room and checking that the hallway was clear he remembered it like it was yesterday over fourteen hours from start to finish and Dylan was born babies came on their own time schedule.


Hunter looked up at the clock before rising from the couch putting his laptop down as he did, everything had been a fight at city hall over the last few weeks. Walter was all over the building plans for the Scottswood renovation, which was irritating to no end. When shit like this happened he wished he had just taken Lowell up on his offer to head over to DGI and plan their projects to avoid all the politics that came at his position now, but then he was reminded that his father dedicated his life to Atlas Falls. He was never going to fully follow his father and become mayor but if he could give back at least this way, it was something. He saw his phone buzz and looked at the text from Anderson he still hadn’t found a way to legal ground Dimitri from taking Fox out of the country and he felt like he and Bliss were on borrowed time. She had gone to see Fox by herself and he objected to the point that they had fought before she had left. He didn’t trust Dimitri at all when it came to Bliss especially after the DGI party, he knew something had happened though she refused to say what. He went over to the media cabinet and moved a book reaching for the small box on the shelf. It was his great grandmother’s ring he had went to the house and got it a few weeks ago. He always planned on proposing to Bliss he just thought it would be down the road. He heard the front door open and placed the small box in his pocket walking to the foyer.

“How did it go?” Hunter asked gently not wanting to fight with her but wanting to make sure she was alright he hated this. That she went to see Fox and every time she came back, she was sad and lonely. Almost as if she had lost her son all over again, he couldn’t imagine the strength she had to have to leave him in Egypt with Natasha and her father the first time. He was thankful though that Natasha seemed to have kept an eye on Fox for Bliss afterward. He watched her hand up her coat and when she didn’t reply he went to her wrapping his arms around her and kissing the back of her head. “I’m sorry we fought I just worry when you are with him that he’ll hurt you again or play mind games with Fox with you. Anderson is doing everything he can to find a way to keep Fox here and get around his diplomatic immunity. He has Charles helping him and Charles’s son who specializes in real estate and this type of thing.”

“I know you’re doing all you can but every time I leave my son with that man I feel like he’s slipping through my finger like sand.” She confessed to Hunter looking at him. Bliss touched his face as she hugged him taking in the musky scent that Hunter wore. He was worried about her and it was to be understood. Dimitri hadn’t done anything but taking him to back and it was killing her. Just hearing that Fox would spend time with a nanny instead of his father because Dimitri was attending his event at the New York United Nations. She was shaking out of fury and frustration. “I just don’t understand why anyone would be with that man. Let alone let him have a child. Everything he does is sneaky and I just know he’s up to something. It’s only a matter of time before I know. I know he’s going to hurt me or Fox to get at me. I just wish we could do something to look even better in any judges eyes.” As she walked to his coffee maker and poured her a hot cup of java.

As she sat across from him tears refused to fall down her face. “He loves you he cried.” She said thinking out loud. “He was crying he didn’t want to go back with that man. He knows that you are his father I think deep down in his soul. He feels my fear of Dimitri and I just want him to be happy. I don’t want him to grow up knowing that man is his father. I don’t want that crown to corrupt him and I just can’t. I can’t deal with this anymore because if I don’t get him. I’m going to take him from here. I ran away from Ilsa De Cruces and I hid, Hunter we can go. We can just leave to some tropical island I can forget the Devonshire’s. I’ll write to them once a year and then we can even organize a family visit. We can leave and never look back I’ll never look back I assure you. Please let’s do this together.”

Hunter listened to her and followed her into the kitchen and watched as she made herself a cup of coffee, he didn’t understand it either, he had no idea how someone like Selina got sucked into Dimitri. He felt his heart swelling when she said that Fox loved him and them and for him, that was the worst part knowing that Fox was with Dimitri and not with them. He knew that being with Bliss meant that he had to be a father to Fox too and he was prepared for that. Fox would be treated like his own as long as he was in his life, they came as a package deal and that was why this entire situation with Dimitri broke his heart over and over again, it wasn’t fair. He grabbed her hand across the island for support, wanting her to know that he supported her no matter what. He knew what he had to do and it would make them a stronger front against Dimitri and now was the time. He was ready to commit to her and Fox all the way, and even if it seemed fast for others he knew time was the most important thing in this case. No one knew how long the Isla Del Cruces crisis would last or when Dimitri and Atticus would travel back to the island, meaning they had to act now.

“And I love him too Bliss but right now we have to be smart about this right now he and the pretentious crown he sits on is holding all the power. Anderson is doing all he can with Charles to find something on him to legally keep him here and not let him return home so we can file for custody, but it’s hard with all the political tape and diplomatic immunity he has. You ran away because he’s an abusive monster and you wanted to get out alive and then get Fox there is no shame in that.” Hunter said softly not wanting her to blame herself anymore for what was going on with Fox or the circumstances surrounding how she left. From the little that she had told him Dimitri was abusive and beat her often. Had she not of gotten out he would not have put it past Dimitri to try and kill Bliss or worse beat her to an inch and let her live to relive it all again. He knew she had no choice but for her to get to safety first and then figure out a way to get Fox back with her. “I wanted to wait a bit but.” He said walking around and reaching in his pocket to pull out the box and getting down on his knee. “Marry me, Bliss. Forget about everything you think you know or have known.”

He saw her looking at the ring when he opened the box and continued. “I’m asking you now and not to take away from your brother’s wedding, or your other brother’s engagement but to let you know I’m here and committed to you and Fox. I love you both with everything I have and I want to be able to fight Dimitri with everything we have. This makes us so much stronger when we file for custody a stable home and marriage. Two people that love each other over a tyrannical monster. I know this is sudden I was at least going to wait till after Jackson and Dani’s wedding, but we don’t have the luxury of time.”

Bliss felt like she was knocked out in an entirely new way. The air left out her body and she couldn’t breathe. Seeing him down on one knee and all the love he expressed she wiped her eyes. She was so uncertain of what was going to happen with Fox but this was what she was certain of. Wiping the tears from her eyes she stooped down and nodded her head. “I don’t want to spend a second of my life with anyone else. I don’t want to breathe without you do you understand that you saved me. I thought I couldn’t be loved anymore after what Dimitri did to me. I knew I was unlovable and I came here to start drama and be my mother. I wanted to just spread all the pain that I had inside of me for leaving my son. I was so ashamed and scared, to tell the truth. Then I did and you still loved me. I can’t understand what I did to deserve undying and unwavering love from you. I will marry you. I will marry you and love you forever for what you have done. I’m afraid of him, I fear what he will do. As long as I have you I don’t fear him and I know we will be able to get our son from him. I know I didn’t give you a choice with Fox but you stepped up and love him so much. Please understand I will never know why you chose to love me like this or if I’m even worthy of it. I will promise I will work to show you how much every day is a blessing. We will have a family and life Hunter thank-you.”

Bliss wiped her eyes and as he placed her diamond ring on her finger. Her finger was sparkling and she just felt so alive. “It’s beautiful you knew that you had to get a bigger diamond than Max.” She laughed placing her head to his. “Wait, Hunter how soon are you thinking of getting married? When do you want to do this?” She asked feeling like he wanted to get married much sooner than she was thinking. “Hunter, are you saying we should like now? For Fox?” Bliss knew he loved her but this was so much more.

Hunter nodded his head at her as she started to ask him about if he was certain he was, and maybe it was crazy and maybe it was too soon but this was a way to keep Fox with them. A way for them to start to start as a family together he was ready and when she said yes he knew she was too. He wouldn’t outshine Jackson they had been friends for years so maybe not till after his wedding to Dani but soon he was thinking soon if needed. He wouldn’t mind a long engagement or anything like that but he also knew he couldn’t let Fox out of the country with Dimitri either. Anderson had told him to wait it out a few more weeks, watch and see what happened they filed for custody in the US Dimitri would have to stay and fight them. If they were married when they filed it made their case stable and they could prove to the judge that they were more fit than he was. They right now would have to play their engagement by ear and if they had to marry sooner then they would do that and he hoped their friends and family wouldn’t be offended or upset about it. He pulled her to him nodding his head at her not quite sure how to explain his thinking.

“I want a long or a short engagement we can play it by ear and what Dimitri decides to do. I love Fox like he was my own and I want to be a good father to him and any of our future children. I don’t know how upset Max will be at this but I would like to think she is happy for us and will be. I would never think of upstaging your brother and one of my friends’ wedding unless it was absolutely necessary to get and keep Fox.” Hunter said smiling at her, he loved her and she wanted the same things he did a family. Max had never wanted that with him over the years and looking back it was something that he knew they should have maybe settled long before they said I do. He took her hands in his own helping her put the ring on her finger and he was so glad that she loved it, it was a family heirloom and he knew that his grandmother would be so proud to see it on her finger as would his father. His father had never even acknowledged that Max should get it so he had never asked. “I promise I will do everything in my power to protect you and Fox from Dimitri, he won’t hurt you or him ever again. I will be a good father and a good husband to you both no matter what. I never want you to feel like you did when you were married to him ever and you never will with me I swear it, Bliss.”

“Then I don’t want to wait.” She said looking into Hunter deep blue eyes she felt warm inside. “I don’t want to steal Jackson and Dani thunder so getting married soon in secret is the best. Hunter, I did a huge wedding once before and I was the most beautiful bride the magazines and papers said. I was the most unhappy bride because I didn’t know what to think? I didn’t know what to do. I was being broken every single day and I it killed me. I was literally lost with him and I ran divorcing myself from a crown and life of servitude to a monster. I want you to know that finding you and having you Hunter is so healing. You have healed my soul and I can’t be without you. I can’t live without you because if I do, I wouldn’t be me. Hunter Steven Kincaid, I give my soul and heart so open to you and a man after what he did to me. I will never forget how you saved and loved me. You are the epitome of a man and a good man at that. You have given me so much love that Fox and I know you are his father. You are my husband and I don’t need a vow to know that.” She touched his chest placing her hand right over his heart.

“I feel your heartbeat when I sleep. Hunter, I breathe you.” Bliss sniffed as she wiped her eyes. “I don’t want to wait to give him a chance to convince Selina even more? I just can’t give my son up and if we are married it’s a good appearance for the courts. I just don’t want him bouncing from home to home you know? I don’t want him around that man anymore. We are Devonshire’s and Kincaid’s why can’t we snatch my son and take him away.” She said arrogantly feeling herself getting enraged. “I can’t wear my ring until after New Year’s Eve. That’s when Jackson and Dani get married. We have to do this fast because mom is involved. She texted me earlier and said she is pulling some strings with someone. Mom might ruin this for me and I have to be ready for war and I’m sorry if I’m ruining our moment but I’m so scared of losing Fox again.”

Hunter understood what she was saying and yes he agreed he didn’t want to wait to give Dimitri any more power than he had he also didn’t want to hurt his best friend with Jackson. Then again he had a feeling with all the crazy shit Jackson had been though he would probably tell him to elope anyway and he didn’t think it would be something that would hurt him. He nodded his head at her they could do it in secret he could give a few people the heads up that was the only way he could do it with a clear conscience he got that Bliss had already done the big wedding with everyone and he wasn’t trying to take that away from her or anything but his mother was still a huge part of his life along with Brooke. Not only that he felt like to keep the peace he would tell Max and give her the heads up to, sure things were good now between them but he wasn’t engaged to her sister then. It would be awkward at times he was certain at times because he had been married to Max, but it was all worth it for Fox.

“We can figure out a game plan for Fox and the wedding as soon as we can alright? It doesn’t have to be right away but soon, we can tell a few people to give them the heads up. The last thing I want is you at war with Max or my best friend and your brother finding out in the wind.” Hunter said looking at her and smiling he was so glad she said yes that they could start their future and then he saw her phone and his vibrating and he looked at the text. His heart kinda stopped for a minute it was time his first real friend was going to be a father and granted he was new at this whole father thing but he felt like he had done a good job when he was around Fox. he saw Bliss sending a quick text back and he did the same. “I think maybe we keep this to us for now at least for today and quietly break the news later what do you say? How about we head over the hospital and see those new kiddos and cousins for Fox and our future children?”

Bliss nodded her head as she looked at him smiling about the twins and looking down at her engagement ring. She truly didn’t want to take it off but she knew it was right. She had to give Max and a few others head up before she just got married for the second time. “Can I wait to take it off at the hospital before we go inside. I just want to look at this ring all day and all night. I’m going to wear it around the house and around my neck until we can tell everyone.” She looked at him playfully as she took his hand. “You don’t have a ring oh my God. I need to get you one and I need to do so much before we get married. God, I’m so happy because for once my story doesn’t end with sadness. I see such a bright future for us and Fox and whatever other children we have. I am hoping for a little girl but hey if I get a son by you then I know he’ll be the best little boy ever.  You see he’d be heroic, smart, kind, and compassionate. I know because you are all those things. Come on let’s go I think I’m in charge of the food! I hear Devonshire labors are long.” She said taking his hand and walking outside. She never had been truly loved like this.


Rory placed his hand on Aspen’s back as he entered The Pointe Bar inside the Rawlings with her spotting her father Randall waiting for her at the table with him. Ever since their first dinner with him the other night he had been around a few more times. A deal was a deal when it came to him and Aspen and he felt like he owed her for helping him through Yasmine with Khalil. Not to mention he had a feeling that he was starting to maybe develop real feelings for her even if he and Yasmine were starting to text again. She looked absolutely stunning in that dress she was wearing and those heels that put her eyes right on level with his. He pulled out her chair watching as Randall rose from his hair and gave her a hug and kiss on the forehead. He knew from their first meeting that Randall loved her very much it was endearing and he had seen that before with his father and Max. He had met Blythe once and while Aspen got along with her mom and he knew her briefly from DGI it was very different than her with Randall. He could tell that she was closer to Randall than her mother.

“Mr. Sinclair,” Rory said shaking his hand and taking a seat at the table looking at him as he looked between the two of them wondering what this dinner was all about.

Randall had been so busy with grading finals he had yet to take Lauren up on her offer but he had been digging into Aspen and her story over the last few weeks. A former straight a student hat suddenly dropped out of school, was unheard of. He had tried to call the Dean of students at Harvard but he was on vacation for the next few months traveling and the associate Dean let him know that Aspen had simply dropped her classes and left. It was odd behavior from her needless to say and something he wanted to get to the bottom of. He had risen from his chair when she arrived with Rory that was something else that wasn’t adding up. Where did her sudden interest in her childhood friend Rory come from and he wasn’t an idiot Rory was intertwined with Yasmine Kohl most of last year. He knew first hand that relationships were complicated but he doubted Rory was completely over Yasmine meaning why was he with Aspen? He had so many questions about all of it and it seemed that Aspen would always ignore those questions when they were together and now she had been bringing Rory to everything almost as if he was her clutch.

“Rory,” Randall said politely as he got up to hug Aspen and kiss her forehead, shaking Rory’s hand in return. He helped her sit down and took a drink of his water looking between them both. “I called Dean Hardgrave this week he is out of the office for the next month or so. I was still trying to figure out why you suddenly found an interest to come back to Atlas Falls? You were doing so well at Harvard and dating that boy, what was his name Seth something? I quite liked him when you brought him home last year over winter break. I know things have been rough with your mother and I divorcing but to give up on Harvard and transfer back to Atlas Falls Aspen.” he paused seeing her squirm a bit in her chair, she knew how academically inferior Harvard was to some of the same programs in Atlas Falls he saw Rory rolling his eyes and he didn’t mean to upset the youngest Devonshire he was after all an employee at the college to. “You worked very hard to get into Harvard and I’m just trying to understand why you would throw that opportunity away to come back here.”

Coke. She had never used any drug except medication that she was prescribed by her doctors. It disgusted her the drug usage and she hated it but telling her father that she got kicked out because of drugs wasn’t an option. If anyone revealed why she left the school she’d sue Harvard so fast its head would spin. Exhaling she looked her father and took Rory hand. “Well, last summer I visited Atlas Falls remember. It was right after that horrible situation with that man Kendrick. I saw Rory and we just bonded again. He hadn’t seen me since I lost weight and we just bonded. What started as two friends being email buddies developed into something so much more. Father Seth Ewing is a lying piece of shit and please pardon my language but he hurt me and Rory helped through it. Just like I’m helping him recover from the heartbreak of losing his first adult love he’s doing the same for me.” Picking up the bottle of red wine she looked at Randall flustered face. She could tell he still wasn’t buying it. Aspen wasn’t a fool she knew that the subject had to change or else she’d be explaining everything over again.

“The new novel how is it going? Rory happens to love your books the Nolan Rian books are his favorite aren’t they Rory.” She watched him take a drink and she kicked him underneath the table. “Dad AFU is one of the best colleges in the country it isn’t an Ivy but it’s prestigious just like one. Look at all the talented people who come to this university. Yes at one point Harvard was my dream but now I have to ask? Was it? Or was I doing everything to make my parents happy? I worked so hard to get in there and lose weight before college and I did. It still didn’t make me happy and I feel happy. I’m home with mom and you. I know you two don’t like each other right now but I love you both. I want a better relationship with you both. Please, dad, can we push forward and you be happy I’m with a great guy and not a jerk.” Aspen asked looking at her father disappointed eyes she looked down. “If I have to I’ll go back but I thought for once you two needed me. You needed your daughter here when you two were going through the worst thing that could happen the end of your marriage.”

Rory sat and listened to Aspen talk about their fake meeting and how they began seeing each other and forced a smile to Randall hoping he was selling this. Some of Aspen’s story even made sense to him if it was true the other part though made him really nervous, he was with Yasmine when Aspen probably arrived back in town. He’d, of course, screwed up with Tess with Yasmine but Blythe was employed at DGI knew he was seeing Yasmine the entire time. He was technically still with Yasmine when Kendrick was shot and he only hoped that Blythe and Randall were completely on the outs in their divorce and he was none the wiser. He still had no idea why Aspen left the school he didn’t think it was his place to ask, sometimes schools weren’t the best fit for people. He had offers from ivy league school so did most of his siblings, but he had opted to stay home close to his family and friends at the time. Maybe the pressure for Aspen had got to her Harvard was a big deal, a top ten school and from the little, he knew Aspen was always trying to better herself. He had no idea who this Seth guy was but it sounded like that had ended really badly for her.

“It’s true Mr. Sinclair I was going through a pretty rough time with everything that had happened with my family and Kendrick. I just kinda bumped into Aspen and we hit it off again. I think Aspen is really great and it is nice to reconnect with her now that she is back in town, college isn’t for everyone Mr. Sinclair.” Rory said wondering if he said the wrong thing when he noticed Randall’s eyes get huge that was not at all what he meant. Of course, Aspen was smart and capable but not everyone could jump right into college and succeed away from home. She wouldn’t be the first girl that wasn’t able to do it heck the first guy either, it was a reason DGI always seemed to have internships and they covered schooling for employees sometimes, some needed real job experience and couldn’t stand to be in a classroom the entire time they were in school. “It was my idea, Mr. Sinclair, that she starts school here instead, Harvard seemed like it was really overwhelming when we were talking. Atlas Falls has some really good programs too and she could be closer to home too. I did enjoy reading your latest book.” He finished lying about the book through his teeth he hadn’t picked up a book in months. He had been too busy partying and working to enjoy actually reading a book. He looked over at Aspen picking up his glass and taking a good drink of it.

“The new book is going well I plan on having it to my publisher in a month or two afterward I have another book series I am thinking about. Something interesting here at home that caught my eye while doing some research here the other day. So Mr. Devonshire who is your favorite character in the series, not the main one course?” Randall said looking up at the server as he brought out some of the stuffed mushrooms he had already ordered. He noticed the silence between Rory and Aspen when he asked and saw him uncomfortably shift in his chair, taking a bite of the mushroom he chewed before placing his fork down on his plate. “You’ve never actually read the books, have you? You know Aspen if you wanted to just let me know that you dropped out of school to chase a Devonshire you should have just said that. Instead of how do I put this politely without upsetting the great Lowell’s son? Trying to convince me that he actually has ever read my books and pretending to flatter me. I suppose maybe you have gotten that from your mother though.”

“Your mother and I thought that it be best that you stay in school, there was no need for you to be here, for all the ugliness this has happened. Your mother still working all the time, accusing me of affairs with my students when I would wager she has been the one stepping out on me. Don’t look so shocked Mr. Devonshire compared to your father’s many and I do many many affairs and one night stands over the years, my wife is a fucking saint.” He saw Aspen looking at him and took a drink of his wine she was old enough now to be an adult about things and frankly he was tired of putting on the charade for her while Blythe continued to try and discredit him both professionally and personally with her outlandish accusations. He placed the glass down on the table and saw Rory glaring at him and shrugged the evidence against Lowell was pretty damning not to mention he had a very bad past including one with his very own sister in law. “I did everything to make your mother happy when we were married even going as far….” His voice trailed off remembering that difficult time when he had gotten sloshed and told Forbes his marriage was falling apart because they had found out that he was the one that couldn’t have a child compiled with Blythe’s history as well. “No matter if your mother and I were hard on you, you were the best thing that came out of our marriage and you have to believe that. I, however, didn’t raise you to lie to me or try and deceive me Aspen.”

Aspen picked up her napkin no longer in the mood to eat or have pleasantries with her father. This is why she was fat years ago, they made her feel so unlovable. Here she was saying she was happy with Rory and here he was picking at her. Nothing she could do would ever be good enough for Randall and Blythe Sinclair. Picking up her glass of white wine she purposely gulped down in front of her father. As she placed the glass down she saw the look of sympathy on Rory’s face. It didn’t work in convincing him they were this long-lasting couple. It was true though they were developing into something. As she bit down her lip she saw Rory’s look of sadness for her. Picking up the bottle of wine she poured herself another glass as she leaned into her father. “You are unbelievable.” She said with enough venom inside of her small frame.

“I come home after not even coming here over the summer at all. I come home because I honestly miss my family and my parents are going through a horrible divorce. Where my mother calls him names in the media and I just should just read about it in the New York Post.” She sassed with no mercy. “I did lie to you father about my boyfriend liking your dated ass books. I’m sorry that he never has time to read them he’s too busy creating the next twitter or facebook. You two always have put your careers before me when is this any different? I mean it’s clear you don’t even want to deal with me as an adult. I mean why didn’t you just send me away when I was a kid? Rory, I’m done with this dinner thanks dad I have no appetite no wonder I got skinny.” She said sarcastically as she picked up her purse. “I’ll call mom and let her know I’m in town God only knows if she even will pick up the phone for me. Oh, and one more thing dad, Lowell Devonshire company kept us afloat when you couldn’t get a hit on the New York Times to save your life. I wouldn’t just dismiss his son and him if I was you. That was completely unnecessary and only you could make meeting my boyfriend even more awkward. Up we are out of here!” Aspen said demanding Rory to move with her because it wasn’t even in the mood for their judgment. Walking to the waiter she picked up her coat. “I’m sorry he’s normally a lot more charming but I guess I’m um such a disappointment.”

Rory immediately pushed in his chair as he saw Aspen do the same and glanced back as they left Randall sitting at the table that was awkward. He placed his coat on his shoulders as he walked out and got into his limo, making sure Aspen was ok once they were inside and he closed the divider giving her privacy from his driver. He never quite understood what it was like for her at home and now he kinda understood a little better, clearly, she was under a lot of pressure from her mom especially. In his opinion, though Randall didn’t’ need to be so curt and a jerk about it. He placed his hand on her back to make sure she was okay and he couldn’t stand to see her look so sad and cry she was smart and funny. Capable and beautiful just the way she was he leaned into her body. Not even sure why and let his lips press against hers, he was with her now. Yasmine was off with that fool Khalil and Aspen had been with him through all of it as his friend, he closed his eyes as he felt her gripping the side of her face and moved his hands up the side of her dress and let his fingers slip underneath her panties to her heat.

He moved up in the seat a bit as his free hand worked on removing her jacket, silently slipping another finger into her heat and feeling her shiver a bit. Once the jacket was gone he reached behind her lowering her zipper and watching it fall around her shoulders, he let his weight rest gently on top of her in the seat as his lips moved from her mouth down her next. Her skin was like China it was the best way to describe it creamy and smooth and he saw her nipples harden. “Fuck you’re gorgeous.” He let out lowering his mouth over her breast and slowly sucking while his fingers moved in and out of her slowly. He wasn’t sure if this was what she was after but he assumed so they had almost gone all the way the other night. Plus she hadn’t said no to him yet and he gazed up at her as his free hand came to her other breast and he brushed his thumb against her hard raspberry bud. He released her breast and kissed his way to the other repeating the action as he placed a third finger into her. Rory was already hard and ready to enter her body when she gave him permission. Ready to move forward from memories of Yasmine in his bed, ready to move on since clearly, his ex was doing the same, he was young and had his whole life in front of him.

Aspen exhaled as he slipped the fingers inside of her she didn’t know what to think. Her mind was still spinning about her father. How much longer would he just treat her like this? It wasn’t her fault they were divorcing and it was her choice to leave Harvard. Well not honestly but she wasn’t ready to face what happened and if he knew he’d hate her even more. She’d be even more of a disappointment. When he touched her she shivered because he was only the second man to ever touch her or see her this vulnerable. No matter what she looked like Aspen would always be that same overweight girl who nobody cared about. When Brooke was the most attractive girl in school she stood in her shadow. Now look at her she was beautiful but her life wasn’t perfect as she thought. Aspen at one point honestly thought losing weight would change her family life.

“Wait.” She said looking at him. “I haven’t been with anyone but Seth and he hurt me to the core. If you aren’t serious about moving forward with me then please tell me now.” Aspen leaned in and kissed him as she rested her forehead on his. “I want you, hell I have my entire life but Rory I don’t want to be a rebound. I don’t know who I can trust in life but I always could trust you. Please don’t hurt me as you see I’m in constant flux because of my parents… I’ll never be enough for them. You see that and I just don’t want to be hurt so if this isn’t what you want just let me go.” She felt his lips on hers as she closed her eyes. “Rory please don’t.”

Rory didn’t know what to say to her but he wasn’t going to be like her asshole of an ex if he was going to be with Aspen he wasn’t going to be fucking someone else or hurting her like that. He felt like he had learned his lesson from Tess in that regard. He looked at her and nodded his head at her listening to the music as it filled the limo and then pulled back from her lips ignoring the buzzing of his phone. “I won’t hurt you, Aspen.” He finished before leaving on her again and kissing her feeling the car move while her hands started to undo his jacket.


Atticus stepped back from the podium as a few of the UN nations began to clap at his speech about Isla Del Cruces putting an end to the civil upheaval. It was a long and tiring task not to mention something that had been marred when Dimitri went awol and had Forbes supply him those weapons to fight the war against the rebels. He saw Brooke on the side and started to ignore all the press as he walked with his security team over to the side of the stage and her. He simply stated no comment when they asked about the uprising as they were escorted to the waiting limo to take them to the theater. He leaned on her shoulder on the ride over, it was such an American thing to go to the theater and for such a good play like Hamilton as well. When they pulled up to the theater, he held out his hand as they entered the theater and were escorted to the private booth once they entered he saw Selina sitting in the chair and his heart started to beat, Dimitri was supposed to stay away while he dealt with the UN.

“Selina I had no idea you would be here, my father made it very clear that Dimitri was supposed to remain in Atlas Falls while I took the trip here to represent the crown. I had assumed you were both going to spend the rest of the week in Atlas Falls with Fox.” Atticus said looking at her and his mind couldn’t help but race at the thought if she was going through what Bliss was. It was an ugly part of his family one they kept hidden in the dark and he desperately hoped that Selina wasn’t that type of a woman that she was smarter than that. He saw Brooke and knew the same thoughts were on her mind as well as he helped Brooke into her seat visibly scanning Selina for evidence and noticing she was covering up her arms a bit, bile rose in his stomach. “Brooke and I were planning on spending the next few days here, do tell us you will join us surely my brother can let Fox stay with Bliss for a few days. You two can then go retrieve my nephew afterward. Brooke has an upcoming photo shoot that we need to stay for and I have some meetings now that the UN speech was hopefully well received.”

“I will suggest that to Dimitri, I do know he’s rather strong-willed when it comes to Bliss and Fox. He knows how he wants to handle things. I somehow think you know exactly what Dimitri would like to do to Bliss.” Selina said with enough sarcasm to let him know she understood Bliss complaints now. “To be fair what was any of you to do but throw the crown prince away. Listen to me very carefully. I’m only remaining in this farce with your brother to help Bliss get custody of her son away from this monster. Which from what I know is your ultimate goal? He’s here to usurp your position in the media as the prince of Ilsa De Cruces. He knows King Hugo is no longer here for him and you are what the people want and out of the two of you, you’re the sane one. We all know that but now that I’m here to stop Dimitri and no love is in my heart for a woman abusing monster. So you are going to help your nephew go to where he belongs, and that’s with Bliss and Hunter.” Selina said rolling her hands down her Oscar De La Renta gown.

Turning her head she looked around for Dimitri no doubt talking to someone or making a back alley deal to secure something. She saw the look of shock on both Brooke and Atticus face. “Dangerous isn’t it. Your face tells me Bliss isn’t lying and you are afraid of what he would do to me if he found out what I’m up to. Well, I’m not scared of Dimitri and I refuse to be either. Now you can stand here and smile with me and pretend I’m not saying what I’m saying. I don’t want him to ever get the idea to punch me, or beat me. You know Bliss begged for help and Atticus neither you nor your father did anything to help. How does that make you feel Brooke about this man?” Selina said turning to profile smiling at the camera with the other two people before her. “I’m sorry I don’t mean to be a bitch.” She said gritting it out between a fake smile plastered against her face. “I’m going to take him down and I need you so please help.”

Brooke looked over at Selina as if she had lost her damn mind. She was a model so faking wasn’t a problem until she heard exactly what Selina wanted. This was crazy if Dimitri found out he’d kill her. The truth was when she first visited Ilsa De Cruces rumors about Bliss abuse was everywhere. When she first visited the castle she heard Bliss screams and even saw a physical altercation between them. She could remember grabbing Dimitri and him almost hitting her. If Atticus wasn’t there she was sure he would have beat the life out of her right along with Bliss. She feared Dimitri and to be honest any woman should he had no respect for them. She reached over to Selina and touched her hand. “No don’t do this Selina just get the hell away from him.”

She looked at Atticus who had such a sad expression on his face. “I know this hurts because your big brother wasn’t like this all the time. If he finds out about what she’s trying to do Atticus she’ll be killed or worse. I know everyone just thinks I’m a model but I don’t want to be just a model. I want to be a humanitarian and that means telling you that you won’t make it out of this alive. Please, Selina, I don’t know what game you’re playing but it’s game over. I’ve known you since I was a little girl and I don’t want you hurt by him.  Atticus he’s a monster and we all know it so why stay? We are going to help Bliss please rethink this Selina.” Brooke said grabbing ahold of Atticus as she looked in his eyes. “You might not be with Braden but you are someone who has been an inspiration since I was a child. Don’t do this.”

Atticus didn’t like this plan at all and he honestly thought Selina was obscure and insane, everyone who was on staff for the crown or around it knew about his brother. Knew that he was a monster in the worst way but because he was the oldest and the heir to the crown no one said anything. Not even him, because if he did he knew the consequences would be dire he could be exiled or dethroned. Instead, he tried his best to shield Bliss and Fox looking back on the situation though his efforts were short-sighted and not enough. It was no wonder that his sister even enjoyed studies in Great Britain and Princeton opposed to returning to the crown and the castle. He agreed with everything Brooke was saying Selina was playing a dangerous game a game that he could only protect her so much from especially if she went along and continued the scheme at her own will. He had learned that women were often stubborn when it came to their ordeals and dreams, he admired that most of the time but in this case it was mad. He looked back to make sure that his brother’s security details were gone before he spoke.

“Selina I strongly advise you to break off this engagement with my brother. Return safely to your father, brother, Chauncey, Braden and leave this to my contacts here to fix. You’re playing a dangerous game one I am not sure I can protect you from.” Atticus said quietly there was only so much he could do but he was doing everything he could to get his brother’s claim to the throne gone from his mother and father back home. They were stubborn and traditionalist the crisis didn’t help his case, it was chaos over there the army was fighting rebels. Internationally it looked terrible for the crown and the monarchy so he knew that was the priority over dethroning his brother but he was trying. “Dimitri is not the man you think he is.”

“And what man would that me exactly dear brother?” Dimitri said entering the private balcony.

He had just gotten back from the kitchen area a lovely blonde girl that didn’t know better he, after all, had a type, he had simply batted his eyes at her earlier in the evening when she served him and Selina some champagne when the intermission happened he met her in the service rooms. She should have known what he was asking when she was waiting there for him to arrive, at first of course pretending to be into it. He, however, had enough of her whining and protests, thinking back on that memory a sick smile spread on his face. He had covered her mouth with service napkin, he had left her on the floor let his security team know that she could be quieted the normal way before heading to the restroom to clean himself up. He knew that he had to act fast with Forbes to make sure everything went his way and he needed the warm body of a blonde since seeing Bliss earlier with Fox. No matter how he would continue the charade with Selina who seemed to be testing his patience more and more, that atrocious gown she was wearing tonight being one of them. He told himself soon this would be over he would be married to Selina in name, she’d adjust or he’d make her adjust and they would leave back to the island with Fox.

“I would hope it would be the most dashing prince on the island and as soon as this little coop is over with King,” Dimitri said leaning down to kiss Selina on the lips seeing the disgust on Brooke’s face. Such a petty American bitch and if she wasn’t Atticus’s soon to be wife he’d teach her what a real man was too. He ran his fingers around Selina’s neck sinking his fingers deep into her collarbone and looking at his brother’s steely gaze. Daring him to do anything he saw Brooke move to do something and Atticus hold her back, he grinned a little bit when Selina winced and released her sitting down next to her. “So my love I assume you told my brother I am exactly the man you thought I was?”

Selina was immediately shocked when he gripped her neck. A small gasp escaped her lips as she looked into Brooke’s horrified expression. She assumed that someone would stop this but seeing Atticus holding Brooke she knew she was in this by herself. Her french manicure nails dug into his hand trying to remove it from her neck as she started to gasp. “Yes, he did.” She said as tears started to form and the blurriness of her eyes sight forced her to close her eyes. Tears slipped out as she was shocked that the man she was making love to all summer long was more than what she had not seen. Not only that the taste of his lips was still fresh on her’s. How could he just cut her down like this and do a woman like this? As he released her throat she felt Brooke’s immediately support touching her back as she exhaled. Looking up she saw the sickest look she’d ever seen in her life. He was getting a thrill out of this entire thing and that’s when she knew. Bliss hadn’t lied. That girl was telling the truth and she was in a fog somehow. Knowing she had to help them all. If she got proof that he was abusive no court in America would let him keep that kid. Tears soaked her face as she shook her head.

“No, he was trying.” She croaked out throat feeling raw. Looking around she saw some people staring at her and others completely ignoring the entire situation. She shot Atticus a look of is this what you let happened to Bliss. Questioning him was something she wanted to do more but she saw his disappointment and hurt in Dimitri. The look he was giving was a mixture of hatred and sympathy. “I told him I love you and nothing else mattered. We are one and.” She said as Brooke rubbed her back she looked at the young girl and felt her anger searing. “I’m fine Brooke please, he was being rough but he was just playing.”

“I don’t call choking a woman just playing. You are a monster! No Atticus! I can’t hold my tongue anymore and Selina he did beat on Bliss! This isn’t a game he’s dangerous and he’s a monster. He needs to take from women and I know your type. You think you can intimidate a woman. I’ve stood up to men like you before. His name was Kendrick and last year he cornered me around this time of the year. It was snowing and I saw the devil in his eyes. Selina, he has the same look that evil that lives inside of him. You are crazy to stay with him because he’s abusive. That’s choke was only the beginning you know that right? Do you know that it’s only going to get worse? He’s only going to attack more now that you’ve covered for him?” Brooke said snapping as she looked at him. “You saw where Kendrick ended? You were in the thick of it with Jamal don’t stay Selina.” She felt Atticus pull her back for the second time.

Brooke turned to the media who were walking over. She felt her anxiety rising as she looked at Atticus wondering what he was thinking. This was so crazy and Selina looked so hurt and shocked. When the photographer asked for a picture of them all she looked at Selina who was straightening up her image. “I’m not taking a picture with this man Atticus. I stood up to Kendrick who had a gun pulled on me. I won’t let a man who uses his fist to express himself. It must be because of his lack of penis girth.” Brooke looked at Dimitri with pure hate.

Selina snickered shocked at Brooke’s gumption this girl wasn’t to be played with. “Please for Ilsa De Cruces can we take a picture?” Selina said looking at Atticus and Brooke pleading.

Dimitri glared at the insubordinate girl and glared at his brother. “Leave now take that with you and get her out of my sight. There will be no picture of her with the crown if I have any say in it and you know that right now brother I have all the say in it. I am regent at the moment while father is contemplating giving me the crown.” He moved from his seat quickly seeing his brother’s fear as he made Brooke stand behind him well he should be afraid, he’d teach that bitch a lesson as soon as he could. “You came in once and tried to sit on the crown do you need a refresher of what happened? He found someone better someone younger and fucked her senseless because like with your untitled ass wasn’t worth it. You see little girl you’re nothing but a face on magazines, who would sell herself out to pose nude and fuck mobsters. Once I am king he’ll have to make a choice you or his title and crown I can assure you it won’t be you he chooses.” He saw his security team step in and looked at Selina’s shell shocked face. “Paulo will you please escort my brother and his bitch of an American fiance out of my presence they have caused enough damage.”

“Yes, your majesty.” The man said looking at Atticus and Brooke .”Your Highness.”

Atticus looked at Dimitri and had moved Brooke to the back of him just in case silently cursing at her for pushing his brother’s buttons and his heart sank when he spoke. Everything he was saying was true he was regent right now according to his father, meaning his brother had all the control at home and with the staff. Brooke had tried to tip their hand and he saw something sinister in his brother’s eyes, the press was already starting to snap pictures and he looked at Paulo when he entered. So it was the life of the crown and he knew better than to argue with his brother’s hand-picked security team, he wondered what Brooke was thinking when he brought up Belle and their past. He inwardly was hoping he came out the winner and his mother and sister could convince his father to name him regent and successor but it wouldn’t happen like this with Brooke starting a fight with his brother.

“We’re going, brother. Please think about what I said, Selina.” Atticus said as he and Brooke were escorted out and he could tell she was already glaring at him as they went out the booth and entered a private hallway. He kept a firm hold on her from turning back and starting a fight with his brother a fight she could not win at the moment. Once they were alone he looked at her. “Don’t egg him on Brooke it makes it more dangerous for Selina if you do. Let me handle this with my parents.”

Brooke looked back at Selina as she was leaving and her heart pounded for the woman. “I have to apologize to him he’s going to hurt her. Look at him.” She said with tears in her eyes she couldn’t believe how he talked to Atticus and her. “If he hurts Selina I’d be devastated, I’ve known her since I was a girl. She’s always been so pleasant and I just wanted to tell him people weren’t afraid of him but I may have put her in so much more danger.” She exhaled as she buried her head into Atticus shoulder. Holding him tightly she had tears in her eyes and didn’t know what to do. “Are you alright?” The way he spoke to her she could tell he infuriated Atticus and she could feel tears falling on her face. He was hurt and more than that she saw hate in his face. “It’s okay Atticus we will get Fox away from Dimitri and you won’t have to give up your legacy you hear me.”

Selina watched Atticus and Brooke vanish and she had a chill running down her spine as she looked at Dimitri and walked behind him. Rubbing his shoulders knowing he was tense she wanted to stab him in the neck right now. She was afraid but didn’t want to show it right now. As she walked in front of him. “Was that truly necessary? The more I am getting to know you the more I’m becoming afraid.” She said backing up knowing that she was going to stop him. “I’m not listening to anything your foolish brother is saying though because I know your heart is with me,” Selina said as she stood on his side again. She saw two men escorting the young blond woman out of the building. Selina instantly took notice that the men had on the crest of Ilsa De Cruces on their uniforms. “What happened to her?” Selina saw a sadistic smile etched in his face he hurt her. “Why are our men taking her out?” That’s when she finally saw what Atticus and Brooke looking back at them. “What have you done?” She said hitting him enraged. “What have you done!” She screamed loudly.

Dimitri watched as his brother and Brooke were escorted out of the back and the girl followed them poor timing on his team’s behalf as he saw the fear in Selina’s eyes. So she would know now about who he was and he inwardly gleamed, he’d been holding off and until now abiding her playing the perfect part running out of patience he quickly backhanded her seeing her body go flying into the wall where he pounced on her as the lights in the opera dimmed. His hand went to her neck pressing as hard as he could while his other slapped her across the face again, he saw her nails scrape as his hand and placed his knee against her stomach to pin her there hearing her breathing coming out in gasps and rasps. “So so stupid you were to not see what was in front of you. You ever and I mean talk to me like that again I’ll fucking kill you. You are simply a means to an end.” He whispered angrily as he saw her eyes glaze over in fear as his hand crept under her dress and he saw her bite back the tears when he finally found that little spotted he shoved his fingers into her. “You see your pussy is only so good. You’re a wretched weak little bunny and I need something more. But you’re going to stay and help me get Fox you’ll become the queen. You have nothing else, Selina, after all, you came to me isn’t that right?”

He saw her fear as he continued to move his fingers inside of her saw her sobbing watched as her eyes pleaded with the security team this was more fun than actually fucking her with his cock, When he saw her trying to fight his hands he slapped her again covering her mouth from sobbing and pulling her hair to pin her against the wall seeing her wince. He never let lips touch her face or took away the tears. He increased his tempo seeing her face shaking in anger, they always wanted it like this no matter how much they protested she was no different. “You see you wanted the fucking crown welcome to it. If you ever and I mean ever go against me again this will be nothing. Consorting with Atticus, secret meetings with Chauncey at the fucking dress shop where you let him dress you as a harlot?” He seethed seeing her body go lax as her tears soaked his hand he removed his hand seeing her defeated and coming on his hand he snickered. “Pull yourself together you have no power here, you chose to be here. It wasn’t even that good.” He said looking down at himself where he was barely hard before taking a seat as motioned to his team to leave her there while he focused on the Opera.

Never had she imagined this would be what she was facing. Her entire life she had been privileged never to see poverty or any sort of abuse. When he pinned her against the wall it was like a new world opened up. Men were never monsters to her but she finally saw the devil in his eyes and saw how dark and deprived the world could be. She was so strong how could this happen? Men feared her at one point in her life. She tried to close her legs but he was so strong and his fingers felt like they were scrapping her insides out. Her body was frozen against the wall and then she felt limp like a noodle and slid down. Her eyes glossed over as one of the guards tried to help her up. She gasped at a man’s touch as she wildly flung herself back away from him. She used one of the box seats to stand up as the Opera seemed to hit a crescendo of the women all singing together holding hands.

Dragging herself to the bathroom she saw Paulo following her and no longer able to look her in the eyes. She opened the bathroom door and saw a bathroom attendant standing before her shocked at her roughed up appearance. Slowly she walked to the bathroom stall and grabbed some tissue crying trying not to wail or be too loud. She wiped between her legs and saw blood. His nails had scratched her thighs and she was slightly bleeding from her vagina. Trying not to scream she heard a knock at the bathroom stall. “I’m fine.” She said instantly flushing the tissue. “Do you have any hairpins and hairspray.” Selina was shaking and she couldn’t stop as she opened the stall the woman face said it all. She knew. Shame waved over her she wasn’t this woman. She wasn’t a woman who got beat or violated like this. Looking at the plump older woman with dreadlocks in her head she felt so ashamed.

“Come child.” She said in a low Jamaican tone. “Sit child.” The woman began braiding her hair into a bun. “If he hits you again your hair won’t be a way for him to hold you down. Always wear your hair up dealing with an abusive man.”

Selina did what she said as the woman touched her cheeks. Wincing at the pain of her face. He beat her like she was a man on the street. Selina was always taught that no man should ever touch her like this. She was sure she’d have a black eye tomorrow. How was she to explain this to her family? How was she going to go on around this man when she wanted to place a gun to his head and blow him away. “Please just hurry up he’s going to come for me. I can’t run or get away. I did something foolish.”

“Hush up child you didn’t do a tang wrong and you can leave him.” She said waving her finger in Selina’s face. “A rose is still a rose, my child.” She pulled out some blush and colored Selina’s face. Lifting her face up as she held Selina in her arms as she wept. “There there child don’t let the darkness steal your light. Girl love yourself enough to know without him your life goes on and you’ll be so much happier.”

A knock at the door shook Selina out of the words of this wise woman. Touching her hand she looked at the woman. “I did something so foolish that can ruin another woman’s life. I let down myself and everyone. I gotta go.” Selina stood up and nearly fell back down as she started to walk away.

“Child no, don’t go back to him.” The woman said reached out as she saw Selina walk through the door. She walked to the counter and saw the woman left her purse. Opening it she pulled out the woman’s ID and saw it said, Selina Delacroix Fraiser. “I remember them days girl don’t let him break you


She hadn’t been in Hotel LaGordia since she moved into her new home. It brought back those horrible memories of sleeping with Rory. It was a mistake and she was at first blackmailing the kid but it was more about Lowell. He looked so much like the man she loved when she was a girl. Now she wasn’t so sure who he was? He was so frail and she could see the bones in his hands and neck. He was dying and it killed her. She had set all this in motion to get Lowell away and now he was dying. It almost felt cruel to rip Jackie and Lowell apart but when was she to get her happy ending? When was she to feel like she got what she wanted? Those questions haunted her and she didn’t know if it was right. Walking to the bar she ordered a Manhattan cocktail and took a deep sip. Exhaling she looked over at David entering Club Olympus. She wanted to leave him alone but she couldn’t. She couldn’t just get Lowell and lose him just as fast. Twenty plus years of being a mistress and now it was her time. Only time was slipping by so fast through her fingers she couldn’t breathe.

“Please, Dr. Rhodes sit with me. You saw me in there with Lowell and I know what’s going on now. I’m his… I’m a very close friend of his and I know that it’s something else we can do. I have had him just a few moments longer. Jacqueline doesn’t have faith that he’s not a monster but I do. I know the man he is and I know for a fact that he didn’t rape anyone. I know it and I love him. One day we all have to answer to a higher power but today you can answer to me. My family built St. Christopher it was my money who funded this hospital along with the nuns. Please, I’ll pay any price keep the man I love alive just a few more years. She’s had decades with him and now he’s mine and I have a fledgling moment. A spec of his life compared to the grand love story that she’s had with him. I don’t want to lose him. Not so fast David please.” Gripping her martini glass with both hands she knew it wasn’t anything he could do. “I know you like Jackie hell this entire town does but you have no idea. The life I’ve lived being second and never having him truly to myself. Can you imagine always being second? Never was I the first choice all those years and finally, I am. I am and he’s dying.”

David had called Talia to let her know that he was going to be at the bar for drinks after work, he figured she wouldn’t be able to make it. The press was all over the hallways and the wings trying to get information on the Devonshire soon to be born twins, which meant he figured Talia would be with them and then keeping the press at bay. So instead he went to the Olympus bar for a drink a much-needed one after today, there was a lot of other patients he had tended to today including that um and coming basketball star that collapsed on the court to be rushed in. What was supposed to be a consult turned into a five-hour emergency surgery where they were unable to save the young man’s life. He hated this part about the job and telling the parents was the worst part, he was pretty sure the young man had undiagnosed HCM but he promised the parents the would make sure of that. Nothing had gone wrong in the surgery that he could remember and as he ordered a double whiskey on the rocks he had been enjoying the solitude until Tess had sat next to him. This was something he had not prepared for he despised what Lowell and Jackie were going through, he thought that Zerick’s announcement and claim had cast a dark shadow over them. To him though seeing them fall apart to the point that Tess was the one at appointments with him was heartbreaking.

“Mrs. Blisston I really can’t talk about Lowell’s care with you, you are not his spouse even if he let you go with him to the hospital today. I know Lowell as you do and no I don’t think he is a rapist but the evidence is pretty damning when you look at all the circumstances. I can see why it would upset Jackie so much it’s her sister’s word versus her husband that is a hard position to place anyone into.” David said politely he couldn’t discuss Lowell’s care with her if it got back to the board or the patient he could be sued or worse lose his license due to HIPA. Not to mention how angry he suspected both parties of Lowell and Jackie would be at him and he looked over at her. He picked her in some ways letting Lowell lead her on all these years. “You chose to be the mistress of a powerful man Tess I can’t change the past with that Tess you aren’t his wife. He and Jackie are still married money or not, she is still his spouse and the only one that I can release medical information too. So we can talk about anything else other than his medical care. I am sure he appreciates you being there as his friend, but I am sure he’d want his wife there too.”

Tess wasn’t sure how to take that statement. If Jackie loved Lowell so much wouldn’t she be there in his darkest hour? He was dying and here she was turning her back on the man who loved and adored her more than anything else. He left Audrey and her for a life with Jackie that had to mean something to that stupid woman. Clutching her necklace she looked at David and understood his stance. Legally Lowell and the Devonshire’s could sue the hospital and him if his personal medical information was privy to the world. She wasn’t just anyone though Lowell and she were growing into something special and the more Jackie pushed him away the closer they got. She was on her way to finally being Lowell’s wife and finally having a chance to have a seat at the table. It was so tantalizing that it made her mouth water. To have the power of being Ms. Lowell Devonshire and to have the man that her heart would always ache for.

“The position of a friend I’ve never been Dr. Rhodes, I’ve always been much more than that. I have a child with Lowell and shared years with him. Now I know that doesn’t legally get me a damn thing but I need to have faith that this man is going to live just a moment longer. Dr. Rhodes, you don’t know me but have you ever felt something so special with someone you weren’t supposed to?” Tess stopped closing her eyes knowing she placed her foot in her mouth remembering the gossip she heard about David and Ophelia. “I’m so sorry that was out of line. I didn’t mean to insinuate or bring up any old memories. Are you in a relationship now doctor? I’m sorry this is inappropriate but I have no friends. No one to share my fears and concerns with. I have a daughter. That’s all and right now Bliss hates me and my godchild she’s in London and she’s a handful. I have no one and it haunts me all the time. I’ve spent a lifetime loving a man and losing people close to me. I was friends with Katie. She was my dearest friend and I have nothing. I’m sorry I’ll leave you alone.” Tess said gulping down the rest of her drink and waving her hand for another to the bartender.

David figured the position of friend comment would get under her skin, she was so much more than that he had been that to Ophelia and Tony and interloper that didn’t belong in their marriage no matter what. Of course, he felt that with Ophelia in the passion with her, in the forbiddenness with her of their affair and it was wrong, if he could go back in time he would’ve made better choices. It was done and over now he was happy he thought with Talia and dating to see where they went, on the other hand, he had met that lovely firecracker of a younger woman in Belle earlier. He shook his head he was not going to be that man again between two women, he was not going to be a Lowell whom he liked and knew. He did, however, respect Jackie for staying with Lowell and fighting for her marriage even though it had to have hurt what Lowell did with Tess and the others. His parents had been married for a year never had the problems Lowell and Jackie did at all but it was endearing that a promise actually meant something to people in his mind. It wasn’t any of his business what Lowell was doing or with who professionally he was his doctor though he found that hard to separate out as of late, Jackie had given him the opportunity to be Chief of Staff she had turned the ears of the board to that decision so he assumed he had to have loyalty to her and he did.

“I do know that feeling but I certainly didn’t worm my way in and stay there like a permanent stain on their relationship either. I knew better than that I was the outsider looking in.” He snapped at her he knew that everyone was thinking it with Bliss she was the permanent stain on Lowell’s past in his families face front and center now. The way the siblings had seemed to accept her and Jackie herself though was something he wondered if any woman could do. “I’m seeing someone actually and I quite enjoy spending time with her. I learned a long time ago that it wasn’t going to work out with Ophelia and I. I think sleeping with Bliss’s half brother probably has something to do with her hating you at the moment. I’ve heard the rumors it wasn’t like the entire floor didn’t when it all came out. Your goddaughter?” He asked then he remembered running into Belle earlier in the day, the girl had mentioned that she was here in the states to visit her godfather perhaps Tess was her godchild. “Belle Archibald by chance? I met her today I think she is starting work at the hospital soon. I didn’t know that you were her goddaughter, she did say she was in town with her godfather.”

Tess was at first insulted at how David spoke to her however she dropped her drink when he said, Belle Archibald. The sticky liquid covered her feet as her face grew white. How was she in Atlas Falls? How had she come then it hit her. He had brought her into town. He was using her daughter as the final nail in Lowell’s coffin to bury him before he was even dead. Stepping back she gripped the table as fury covered her face. She was in town. God, how had she been so stupid to think he would have kept silent or sat on Belle for years? Zerick was just the first bullet and Forbes had chosen to choose her daughter as the kill shot. Her hands shook as she looked up knowing that she had startled the man. Sitting down gathering her thoughts she shook her head trying to think fast. How was she going to make this right? How was she going to fix this? Belle was supposed to be a surprise and a big one. Here is the child she had even kept from Bliss. Holding her pendant of her mother’s she exhaled trying to calm her shattered nerves. The bartender walked over with another drink Tess waved her hand signaling no more drinks. Another staff arrived moments later with supplies to clean her mess. “No, I’m fine.” She said still dazed out as David looked at her.

“Belle is here? She must be trying to surprise us all. That’s wonderful.”  She tried to seem more enthusiastic than she truly was. This could ruin Lowell and her before they had a chance. Belle was supposed to be the cherry after they got together not now. Grabbing her purse she looked at the doctor. “Well she must have been with Forbes and she must be staying a lot longer than I thought. I want to thank you, David, for listening to my ramblings. I must say that I hate how you judge me however I have to thank-you. You’ve just helped so much but David.” She said as she grabbed her mink. “David you have to go for what you want. I see you pleasing everyone else and yet you won’t win. I know I have place giving anyone advice but here I am with the man I love and I thought that would never happen. Everyone can judge me all they want but I will get my happy ending. And thank-you Belle is coming home away from Forbes he’s even a worse influence than I.” Storming away Tess was enraged she warned Forbes but he seemed to not get the message that Belle was off limits. God had he told her who she was? That was the only way her spoiled ass would have left Europe. Her hands were shaking like a leaf in the wind as she dug in her purse. Dialing his number wasn’t easy. They hadn’t talked since that mistake of a kiss. When she got his voicemail she yelled exasperatedly.

“Pierre, you must get into town. This is an emergency he’s brought Belle to Atlas Falls and he’s going use her. I don’t know how to stop this please I need you. I know we ended in a strange place but we’ve always looked out for you. I would help Harvey buy Greer those beautiful dresses from that shop in France. Please help me stop Forbes from destroying my last chance at Lowell. Not only that your last chance at insider in DGI!” Tess dropped her phone in her bag and prayed that Pierre called her back. She needed someone to bounce ideas back and forth with and he was the best. As she walked to her limo her phone lit up with his name. “Oh thank God.” Stepping into the limo she smiled. “I need you Pierre in Atlas Falls as soon as possible.”