2×15 “Millennial’s” Part 1

2X15 “Millennial’s” Part 1
Written By: Quentin Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Theme Song:  SZA- Quicksand
Guest Starring:
Maddie Devonshire (Natalia Alyn Lind), Dylan Frasier (KJ Apa), Wyatt Kincaid (Cody Christian), Connor Hessington (Zac Efron), DJ Willow (Ruby Rose), Kelandra “KeKe” Watkins (China Anne McClain)

Playlist: 

  • Lil Baby, Gunna- Drip Too Hard
  • Jhene Aiko- Triggered
  • Maliibu Miitch- Bum Bitch
  • DaniLeigh Ft Chris Brown- Easy
  • Frank Ocean- Bad Religion
  • Doja Cat- No Police

Tonight was the beginning of every he had been working for. Ivan buzz was becoming undeniable to the hip-hop elite. He had a remix with none other than Nas which was major clout and Ivan being the artist that burst his sound and influence onto the scene. As he looked at the club filling with people Jamal was thrilled that this was for them all. Rory app was launching, Val line was debuting, and his music was about to be in the mainstream. Walking into the VIP he saw Ronan sitting with a stunning woman, she was almost otherworldly beautiful. He stepped up and saw Aspen in a white dress so sexy he almost screamed. It was something about that girl that was alluring now and not only that but seeing Aspen and Val playing nice was good. Walking up clapping his hands he looked at all three of them. “Look at us!” A bottle girl walked up with a bottle of Ace of Spades he smirked looking at everyone. He popped the cork and everyone cheered looking at them he poured them each a glass of champagne. “Let’s make this a successful night for some motherfucking young millionaires! And in Rory case fucking young billionaire when this app launches!” Jamal took a gulp of champagne. “I took a mediocre club and turned it into the hottest spot for young people in Atlas Falls! Where else can you hear the fresh music and find live bands? You want to know what’s hot you come to Vertigo. I’m proud bae.”

Jamal leaned in and slipped his tongue inside of Val mouth and wrapped his hands around her waist. Looking over at Aspen smiling face and as Rory kissed her hand. That motherfucker was so damn smooth. Looking around the VIP was filling up and he walked to his hostess Teedra and whispered something in her ear. Then bottle girls started to appear around the club releasing the ambiance he was trying to give. It had been a week since Selina had been with pops and honestly he still wanted to kill that motherfucking Dimitri. Either way his dad had told all three of them that he’d get that prince and they knew he wasn’t playing. Dad hadn’t turned his back on his godfather and as fucked up as that sounded, he respected it. Dad was an OG and to be honest he just had that love for Lowell that wouldn’t die. They were boys and he was sure Rory all the others were fucked up. He choose to stay clear of it due to the fact that his godfather had his utmost respect, getting him out of Ronan crosshairs. Looking at the crowd forming his face scowled when he saw Brooke walk in with Atticus. Brooke was his home girl and he was protective. He wondered if brothers were alike? “What y’all know about Atticus man?” Leaning in as he poured them all more champagne. “Is he like Dimitri?”

Aspen was wearing a Heatherette hot pink, purple, black, white, and yellow leather backless cocktail dress. Her makeup was dark and her hair pulled up into a severe ponytail with extensions. Tonight Rory was about to change social media and DGI forever. She wanted the pictures to be amazing because she was going to be on his arm. He’d been different since Thanksgiving moody and almost distant except in the sack. He was always attentive in the bedroom. Men but she feared it was something even worse rearing its ugly head, that bitch Yasmine. Ever since the twins birth she felt very bothered by Jackson and Dani. She had kept that to herself because everyone was kissing their asses. It was almost written in stone they’d be the new Lowell and Jackie. Which meant she’d kiss the ring until Rory couldn’t be denied any longer. Their little stunt wasn’t unnoticed by her or anyone else, naming Donovan and JJ godparents Yasmine and Rory was cheap. She didn’t care Max was on team Aspen and that’s what counted. Rory and Max had a very solid bond as did Jackson whose balls had been neutered due to Dani’s unreasonable affection of her kidnapped bff.

“No nothing like Dimitri, Val can attest to that.” Aspen said looking at Jamal. “I’m sorry everyone is talking about Selina and what’s going on. Rory tells me a little about what Bliss went through it’s really disgusting that man is able to walk around because quote on quote diplomatic immunity. Either way he needs to be brought up on charges and thrown underneath a jail. I’m sure Atticus agrees. I met him at Harvard when he came to do a seminar on Ilsa De Cruces and the tropical Island near and underneath Florida. I just don’t see it and Brooke has always been open no way would she be being abused and not tell me or Val.” Aspen said confidently. “No offense can we just do a toast to not just Rory or Jamal but to all three of you including you Val.  Your artist, your app, and your fashion! You are stunning tonight btw and I do know we’ve had our differences but I want to say congratulations to all three of you. Cheers.” Aspen said giving a lightness to the mood because Dimitri and abuse and rape was all that had been floating around Rory. Tonight was about the launch of his app her hand dripping in leather, lace and diamonds Cartier gloves. “Baby are you excited? RePlay is going live.”

Rory had spent the week gearing up for the launch and spending his time with Aspen to get over what Yasmine had told him the other night. He had been attentive to Aspen and he sometimes wondered if it was out of guilt or not but then he chalked it up to him being really nervous about the launch. Of course his sibling shad supported him over the last week all backing him but he also had to wonder if it was all a show if they would suddenly grab for power, especially Chauncey. His father he was not talking too he refused, given how Zerick was was conceived and then everything that Bliss went trough he could barely even think about his father without getting sick or wanting to punch something. When Jamal asked about Atticus he didn’t think that everyone in the same family was the same and he agreed with Aspen if he was Brooke would not be with him. He wrapped his arm around Aspen as he took the drink from Jamal and held his glass up to toast along with his friend. Tonight was about the both of them and he was going to make sure that is what he focused on. Not everything that happened at Thanksgiving at the table or with Yasmine.

“I agree with Aspen, Brooke would tell us if something was wrong Jamal like it was with Dimirti and your sister, who I know is going to fight him with everything she has got along with Bliss.” Rory said as he pulled Aspen to his side and kissed her deeply seeing the look of approval from Val and Jamal. He was going to try his best to make it work with Aspen he couldn’t be with Yasmine at least not right now, not after everything that Forbes had done to his entire family over the years. “To all of us for growing this past year to move forward in a new direction. Jamal with the label, Val with the line that she created to honor he cousin and RePlay which will help my family and DGI to once again shine in the forefront like they have been for over thirty years.” Rory continued as he clinked the glasses together and then took a sip from his glass seeing the others do the same he was not nervous about tonight. All the testing on the app said it was ready to go and launch that it would go flawless but he knew first had sometimes big launches could backfire. He looked at Jamal smiling at him. “So where is Ivan? I want to make sure that he knows that today is important to both of us. I also have good news Aspen is going to start working for Max maybe the casino could have a shop for the new line in it Val.”

Val was wearing an orange chiffon plunging dress that Dante had drawn up over a year ago putting her own flare on it with some brights embroidery and crystals to accent parts that she wanted to like her hips and her breasts. She was on Jamal’s arm and for now that was enough tonight she of course hadn’t forgotten about her night with Kelsey or what happened between them, she had told Jamal about the encounter. He was okay with it, it wasn’t like they were serious or anything like that and she had been upfront that she was bisexual. She was relieved that even with Jamal and Kelsey she had avoided seeing Kelsey at Thanksgiving instead spending it with Jamal and his family. She had spotted a glimpse of Kelsey in the crowd and then had come back to Jamal, looking over at Rory and Aspen for his toast she leaned in closer to Jamal. She agreed with Aspen Brooke would tell them if she was getting beat downs like Selina had from Dimitri and she knew Atticus to be respectable and a gentleman. Of course Brooke had said he was an animal in the sack but always gentle Dimitri was the exact opposite. She felt bad for Selina of course she did, what happened to her was awful but she was so glad that she was standing up to Dimitri with Elliot, Bliss too. She got a chill as she thought about it and then focused back in on why they were here for the evening. The launch of Jamal’s label, her line and Rory’s app all three would work together to change their industries. The first streaming live music app, combined with social media and direct to purchase fashion app as well.

“Brooke would tell me or Aspen if that was happening Jamal I assure you of it and I know Atticus, he’s a good dude one of the better ones in that family. Aspen and Rory are right though tonight is not about Dimitri Kavanaguh or what he has done and will pay to do . It is about the label launching and all of us finally getting our due where we have earned it.” Val said taking a drink from the glass and nodding her head at him and then at Rory that she approved of the choice of drink. She expected nothing less at a merger of the label and DGI event that was going to propel the papers to gossip for weeks to come and highlight each of their goals hopefully she and Jamal would be rolling in as much as they wanted from now on. “I’ll have to talk to Max about having a boutique in there or something, perhaps you could arrange a meeting with her Aspen? I think I saw Ivan walk backstage or maybe upstairs he seemed nervous.”

Aspen nodded her head having Val fashions as an exclusive to the casino. “I can do that.” Licking her lips she leaned in and wiped the lipstick from his lips. “I love that song it’s by Ivan, Jamal it’s kinda annoying and hypnotic all at once which means it’s a hit.” She laughed seeing everyone smiling she felt easy considering Yasmine would be here. “He couldn’t be nervous I’ve seen the guy perform he’s a natural. Like literally he’s a beast on stage his performances are so lit.”

Jamal looked at Aspen and nodded. “Yo you right Ivan turns into IMoney right before our eyes and it’s magic. Man he might know that this shit is major and he might be a little nervous but everyone wasn’t groomed for this shit. We were born to be in front of crowds and I got his clothes custom, and did it real big for him. I got him a rider he just in his feelings but IMoney is going to show up and show out.” Rory stating that Ivan was nervous made him actually nervous. The last few rehearsals were live but he was holding back and he saw it but he wasn’t going to push him right now. “This is all new that motherfucker has a lot going on. You know his family didn’t even show up? Man that’s some hateful shit bro.” Jamal leaned back looking at them showing an assured exterior but he was far from it. Ivan had been off for the last few days. As if he was being haunted by something. Looking at Val staring at her phone.

“The models are going to make it baby okay? Your show going to be lit, we are the next wave you know what I mean Rory?” Jamal said still nervous for the world to hear all of Ivan’s music and his production skills. He had on a brave face but his insecurities were rearing their ugly head. “I don’t believe it. Pops and Moms here and I think that’s your mom talking to them Rory. We really up bro.” He said proudly looking at his best friend. “Last year we were in a bad place but I’m glad we here again. I missed my bro now all we need is Connor and we back at those dinners your dad used to throw.”

Rory looked out at the crowd as he saw his mother talking to Ophelia and Tony, he was glad that they where there. Jamal had worked so hard to make the label successful and launch it after the mess that was Kendrick last year. He had truly pulled himself out of the darkness and above the strife that he faced with Kendrick. He saw Val looking more nervous than she was letting on he hoped that everyone showed up for her show that was supposed too. Tonight was a huge night for her and she was one of his dearest friends. “They’ll show Val.” Rory reassured her as the staff brought over more champagne for their empty glasses and he raised his glass. “To our night to shine. As for Connor he’s here scoping it out for that blonde intern at the hospital.”

Val lifted her glass not sure she was as assured as Rory and Jamal was as he saw Kelsey again out of the corner of her eye and raised the glass to her lips taking a drink. “To us may we be forever connected by out launches. Now I saw we get this party started.” Val said leaning in closer to Jamal and smiling as the music kicked it up a notch.

Jamal raised his glass knocking it against each of them. “Cheers to upgrading our lives and changing the game from some young, rich, and powerful.”

**********

Kelsey was always a listener. It was how she got through medical school, she listened and then acted. So when her brother told her in no certain terms the best way to get over someone is under someone else. Well she wasn’t going to sit around and be lonely while Val played both sides of the fence. It was David who introduced them, a week ago after he met her through her mother his patient. She was the hottest DJ and one of Jamal’s producers in house for IMoney that rap artist with that annoyingly catchy song. She had on a Carolina Herrera sweetheart dress, with her grandmother’s jewels to lush up her dress. Not only that but she borrowed Dani’s Jimmy Choo heels. It took a tribe to get this doctor together but she pulled it together nicely. She felt beautiful tonight and considering this was the place to be if you weren’t in a coffin and her date was spinning tunes all night. She moved through the crowd and grabbed a glass of champagne, Jamal had went all out a runway in the middle of club Vertigo. He’d recently cancelled the oldie night which hurt Tam and Braden but now it was officially for the young and hip.

When she turned the corner she faced Val who was talking to people no doubt investors and she waved. Turning around she quickly began to walk away until she heard her name being called. Freezing in her tracks, Kelsey turned around and Val was in her face. Looking every bit the latina diva she was. She was sexy and her body was screaming for Val to touch her. She wanted her right here but tonight was about Jamal and she was after another prize. Who says two couldn’t play this game? After talking to Willow she was mentally and physically attracted to her. “Congrats on tonight I know how much this launch means to you. This is the first big one without Dante, and I just want to tell you that I understand you want Jamal and me. But I can’t just be alone when you’re with him Val. So tonight I won’t be giving you lusty looks and trying to snag your attention. Tonight I’m going to be with her.” She pointed to the DJ booth and seductively wiggled her fingers at Willow. “Good job Val, you deserve this.”

Val had gotten separated from Jamal in the crowd she wanted to mingle with some investors and models who had come to scope out the line launch. Dante was always so much better than she was about investors and getting them to back things it was why she was so happy when Jackie had agreed to front the money for the line something that she had just paid off last year thanks to that show she and Brooke did. Thanks to Rory she had renegotiated the contract and she owned over seventy five percent of the label, DGI still remaining a partner but at a much lesser fee than what Dante had secured and it would be hers in a year or two. The fashion world was cut throat she knew that from being a model and now a designer, brands came and went like a fresh pair of underwear. She had just finished exchanging cards with a young up and comer herself when she bumped right into Kelsey. She looked fucking fantastic and clearly her cousin had helped her out of the normal clothes she wore which she appreciated.

“Thanks I know things have still been bit heated between us. I’m so happy you came though.” Val said hoping that Kelsey got her double meaning there was heat between them in the sheets and well outside of it as well. She tapped her manicured fingers against the champagne glass that she hadn’t seen empty all night. It seemed to be going well and she saw Kelsey wave to the DJ that Jamal had hired. Willow something or other she wasn’t really sure, she had seen her interview with Jamal for the opening and the launch but other than that she had no clue about her. She was pretty enough but she didn’t scream someone she would fuck, intellectually she enjoyed Kelsey and Jamal and that was part of a requirement she had in her lovers. They had to have sustenance behind their looks. “She looks fine if that is what you are looking for.” Val said and she made sure to make sure that she was catty when she said it. “Jamal and I decided to come together for the launch I hope you don’t mind. I told him about the other night he was in agreement just like you were. I’ll make sure to stay attached tonight.” She finished looking at Kelsey and licking her lips.

“I don’t mind but I don’t judge your taste with Jamal, I ask you not to question my taste with Willow. She’s actually really sweet and sexy. I find it that we both have desires and I’m sorry if you are so vain to think that you’re the only one to be wanted.  I am wanted and tonight you’re going to see how badly you want me. No more of me locked up and feeling repressed that someone else touching wasn’t touching my body. I think it’s time to set up some rules to all of this Val.” Touching a curl in her hair as she stepped into her space. “You want me to be all yours and only yours. It can’t work like that. I can’t scratch your itch and I’m still purring.” Leaning in she bit her ear. “I want you so badly right here but I don’t want to disgrace you in front of all your fashion friends. Although from what I hear about the fashion industry it’s all depravity and sex.” Kelsey stepped back and adjusted her dress a little as she bit down on her lip.

“I should really get up there it’s rude to just be here and doing this to her. When I’m here for her so with that. I have to go Val good look on the fashion show and try not to freak out. This collection is amazing and if I had more places to go but a hospital I would buy all that line. You are an amazing designer and I have an idea that the world will know it after tonight. Dante and you were a team and I think his death may have freed you to be the best you could be. If it’s anything good that came from Dante’s senseless murder it’s that. You are so fully realized as a woman and person I just wish it was as a lover.” Kelsey turned away from Val and began to move through the crowd.

Val looked over at her as she spoke about the line and Dante of course her cousin would be proud of her that was something that she knew, he would be so proud. If that bitch Scarlett hadn’t been such a sadistic bitch he would still be alive and he would be planning his wedding ot Zach. Thinking about Dante made her miss home, made her miss her parents, made her angry at Scarlett for taking her nephew away from his family and she took a drink of the champagne to calm her nerves the feds always found nothing, Dante’s own FBI brother couldn’t find her or her nephew. She also felt for Kelsey too, Dante may of been gone but her nephew was ripped from her of course the Fraiser family kept on a face for it especially Zach and Kelsey. Sure their cousin just had twins and she was certain a part of them were at least sad if not envious that their nephew was ripped while their cousin got to have the best of both worlds. She thought about Kelsey’s statements about Willow and turned to walk away instead she followed her through the crowd gently grabbing her arm.

“I’m not vain Kelsey I want you but I want Jamal too can we at least maybe all three sit down and talk it through I don’t want to lose either of you and if you think about it you don’t want to lose me either. You’ve never even sat down with Jamal to even met him, who knows maybe you’ll like him too and see the qualities that I see in him too.” Val said seeing Willow look at them on the dance floor, she was slightly jealous at their relationship. Good she should be a woman like Kelsey was one to follow her heart and she leaned in gently kissing her lips letting her tongue slip into her mouth and then pulling back as she licked her lips. “Seems to me you still want this too no matter who you’re with so what exactly does that say to your new relationship with Willow then? You can quit hiding behind the facade that you and Zach put up about Dante and Scarlett. I’m thinking about her tonight too and what she took from your family.”

For one second she got lost in the kiss and grabbed Val. As she remembered she was here for a date with Willow she shook it all off. “No stop please.” She whispered as she looked at her lover. “Stop doing this to me and making me feel like this. Before I met you I was so sure of myself and now I feel like I’m anything but. I don’t know what to do about this but I know I’m stronger than this. I’m smarter than this.” Kelsey touched Val face. “But I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be locked in this game with you.”

Kelsey lip quivered thinking about her brother’s pain. Silence was enough to drive her crazy for him. He sort of put a box on his son and her lip quivered as she touched her shoulders. “Last year was hard for a lot of people. It really changed my family and my brother. You know my dad is still hunting for her and my nephew. So don’t do this emotional blackmail to remind me of our bond. How we bonded is our grief and this is sick Val. You want me a lesbian to talk to a another man and what start a relationship? We all become one big happy family? Maybe we should but right now I’m on a date. I’m trying to not do this? You think I don’t know you? You don’t want to let go of either of us and it’s not selfish because honestly believe you love both of us. Val what are you asking of me?” She said looking at Brooke’s face when she saw her. Val face was alarmed at her friends shock and concern. “Go handle that, I have a date to start and then we can discuss this as adults.”

Val saw Kelsey wanted to be with her too and then she turned around when Kelsey mentioned handling something and she saw Brooke staring at them. She almost rolled her eyes Brooke as her best friend and she knew she wouldn’t be blabbing her business all over the papers or the press but it wasn’t like she hid it. There were girls in Europe and surely Brooke had to have heard those rumors. She watched as Kelsey walked away to Willow and followed Brooke through the club to the bathroom ready to put out one fire at a time.

**********

Brooke was just speaking with reporters on closing Val show with Ivan performing and how this was the future of fashion and music. She got a text from Atticus to meet her in the VIP and she turned a corner lost and found Val kissing Kelsey Fraiser. She wasn’t but a few years older but she always heard Kelsey was a lesbian. What did that make Val? Were all those awful rumors about Val in Europe, Aspen told her true? It didn’t matter because Val was legit her best friend through and through. She’d support her no matter what but she also had another best friend she loved just as dearly, Jamal. If she was a lesbian or bisexual she had to tell Jamal because he had every right to know that it might not be as serious. She had at least forty minutes before the show began. She knew that Atticus wasn’t to mingle to show Ilsa De Cruces people weren’t all like Dimitri. Gossip and rumors were saying that Selina and Bliss were building cases against Dimitri, and Atticus wanted nothing more that his brother to go down. Walking into the bathroom quickly she reapplied her pink glass lipstick. Running her hands down her flesh tone bedazzled in crystals and diamond Calvin Klein dress. Her hair in a perfect bun and her jewels were from the Ilsa De Cruces royal collection.

Brooke strutted with sensuality and passion up the stairs to the VIP as she began to pass people she knew. Nodding and stopping to speak to a few. Giving a perfectly princess demeanor as she passed a waitress with champagne flutes. Picking up a glass she smiled nodding at her as her eyes made eye contact with Ronan. He sat at a table with Thor, Skye, and someone stunning woman that made her feel insecure immediately. When she cuddled up to Ronan she smirked and stopped right in front of the table watching Ronan take all of her in. She saw the woman mood shift then. “Good evening, Ronan, Thor, and Skye I hope you enjoy me, I’m closing the show it’s sure to be quite the spectacle. Pardon me my fiance is over there.” Brooke slowly strutted making sure that the plunging backless design was seen and the small pearls danced down her back as she walked away. Approaching Atticus she could tell he wasn’t happy she spoke to Ronan but she was an adult and she was sure that woman was being childish. Ronan and she are done her destiny lies with a prince. “Hello lover.” She said wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him passionately. “I was thinking your fiance might see us so we should sit down.”

Atticus has way too much shit going on with his brother and the crown at the moment so to take a break to support Brooke for the show was a welcome break. Amanda would be flying in as soon as paperwork to his brother was served courtesy of his ever lenient father, which turned his stomach like no other. The crimes his brother had committed over the years, the women that he decided to come into contact with he was of course that women like Bliss and Selina were finally taking a stand. But he wished the crown would come and denounce his brother and that his father would name him his heir it would solve so many problems in their life. He and Brooke would be the future of the monarch of course his nephew would be heir apparent, but they could rule together and take over until he came of age. The island was in chaos the rebels were gaining ground and now was not the time to upset that according to his father. Fuck the status quo in his ming Dimitri deserved to be drawn and quartered in his opinion. When he saw Brooke enter the room he smiled a bit only to watch her make her way to Ronan Madden and the woman that he was with. His smile quickly disappearing with the games that Brooke was constantly playing with Ronan. They were going to be married likely next year when everything calmed down with the rebellion it would be grand and she would be a princess. He refused to be stuck as Brooke’s second choice when it came to their life together.

“Were you now? It seems to me that you’re trying to make your ex jealous when he has clearly moved on?” Atticus bit out harsher than he meant as it came out and he pulled back from her. With everything going on with Dimitri he needed them to be stable he needed them to be the one constant in his life when it came to what was normal. “The future princess of Isla Del Cruces should not be chasing after her ex to get a rise of him. She should be focused on her own success being a gorgeous woman who can work a dress for a room. Let them gawk at you from afar.” He said seeing that she was not happy with his statement or the fact that she was all but inviting Ronan to gaze at her when she was going to be the future of his kingdom. He took a breath not wanting to cause a scene on her night but he wanted her to understand where he was coming from too. “I love you Brooke but every time we are in the same room as him you have to go over and flaunt yourself to him. Like you miss him, that you are hung up on him at first I didn’t mind it was fun to get a rise out of him but shouldn’t that be in the past now? We are supposed to be getting married for fuck’s sake.”

“I never took you for insecure but damn Atticus, I can’t speak to the man.” She said in cool tone trying not to feel guilty. She had slept with Ronan and they’d made a mistake earlier in the year but now it was just plain on revenge. He played her and was she supposed to just sit around and accept it? Her ego was far too large to be looked down upon by some skank Ronan was banging. Did it more than likely hurt Atticus she seemed so fascinated with Ronan she understood that but he wasn’t her lover. Yet now she wanted him to hurt just as badly as she was. Instead of doing what she normally would which would be fawn over Atticus she stepped back. “I know that this is difficult for you Atticus to deal with I fell for someone else but take your ceptar out of your ass for one moment. I’m here with you. I’ve been devoted to you and I’m in love with you. So I want him to feel badly for losing me, he should! Just as you did considering the slut that broke us up is in town don’t go there on who is making who insecure. She was undeniable at that time wasn’t that the words that the tabloids caught you saying?” Brooke felt horrible flipping it on Atticus but right now throwing a temper tantrum in the VIP wasn’t a good look.

“Now I apologize if I’ve made you feel some sort of way. If I treated you as if you were second to Ronan. But I want you to know something in my mind no man can compare. With the mounting pressure on your father to disinherit Dimitri and what’s in store for you and our future please don’t make him more important in our love story than he has to be. He isn’t anything to me.” She lied with ease because the truth was too painful to bare. She was still in love with Ronan and honestly he was second place to him. If Ronan wanted her back she’d run to him right now. However she knew that his lifestyle and what she wanted for herself didn’t match Ronan. So right now she was happy and content with Atticus and would train herself to love him like she once did. “I’m happy don’t you see that?”

There was speaking to a man and then flaunting in front of one he was a Lothario in his day he knew the damn fucking difference had he done that with Belle she’d be pissed as hell. He almost laughed at her was she insecure about Belle being in town? Something he had no control over and hadn’t in over two years. He honestly thought they were past that with Belle, he had made a very foolish mistake that had in turn led to Brooke coming home and meeting Ronan Madden to begin with. He didn’t want to ruin Rory’s night, or Val’s with a petty squabble that could easily become very public as he looked at her. Moving towards her he leaned in kissing her furious face, letting his tongue slip inside as he pulled back and looked at her. “I never thought Belle would come to Atlas Falls I am sorry if that upsets you, I had no idea she was going to be here. I haven’t spoken to her or carried on a relationship with her since that summer. I was young and stupid taking my sadistic brother’s advice on how a prince should act and I broke your heart I fully own that.” He said looking at her as the waiters brought in a tray for them as well as some fresh drinks before leaving them alone again, his security detail of course would not disclose any of what they were talking about.

“I’m trying to not make him important Brooke but every time we see him in public you are always trying to get a rile out of him. The crown is under scrutiny because of everything going on with Selina and Bliss not to mention the others, they are breathing down our neck now. I have cameras on me at every turn this will be all over the gossip column by morning. He will never not be a part of our life unless you make sure he isn’t.” Atticus said looking at her and wanting to believe that  he was really the man that she loved and wanted now, that they had overcome their past together to move forward. That one day if he had anything to say about it she would bear him sons and daughters to carry on his name and title. That she would sit proudly by his side as head of his country, his equal something that would never be done in his country before then. “Once this mess with Dimitri is over my father is planning on handing over the monarchy to me to run until Fox becomes of age. Eventually I think Bliss will send him to Isla Del Cruces for him to learn what it means to be king. In his steed you and I will rule together as equals. A queen Brooke not just as princess meaning Ronan Madden can no longer interfere in our life nor can Belle Archibald. If you really want this what we have I want this to stop with Ronan.”

Brooke felt like her future was flashing before her eyes. She saw herself sitting on a throne making Isla De Cruces become a better place and giving something new to humanity. She could see herself being admired and beloved but then on Fox’s eighteenth birthday she’d lose everything she worked for. Then she felt the love that she had for Atticus wasn’t worth giving up her career. She’d have to stop modeling because well she’d be a Queen. Her eyes began to blur as she smiled at him reaching in and grabbing his hand. “Look at me. I’m here right now with you not fighting for him anymore. If me speaking with Ronan and even acknowledging his presence I won’t. I was played by both of the men I gave my heart to Atticus. I know this is hard to understand, why I keep rubbing his face in me. I keep getting broken and I keep.” She shook her head trying not to cry. “I don’t know everything is so good right now but I’m so afraid that I’m going to ruin it or I’m going to trick myself into messing everything up. Why don’t I believe I deserve to be this happy? I don’t know and I’m scared that this is my way of pushing you away. I don’t want to.”

Brooke sat on his lap. “You are already my king Atticus! Don’t you see? I don’t need to be a princess? Why can’t we be together just us? No monarchy, just us living our lives in Brussels. A small beach house where we raise our children.” She touched his lips. “Please let’s not get involved in this mess Atticus and let’s run away. Leave Atlas Falls, and Ilsa De Cruces forever and never look back until our children both are past five years. I can see it our lives oh my God the love we can make and no Dimitri, no Ronan, no royalty, and just us. So what do you say? Let’s get married right now and run away. Please let’s go and leave this entire place! I’m serious if you leave to Belgium with me. Have you been I love Brussels babe let’s go.” She kissed him passionately. “Then we can begin the rest of our lives. As whomever you want to be because between us you care about Ilsa De Cruces but Atticus it wasn’t your dream to run that country.” She questioned looking at him. “Leave our lives behind once and for all.”

Atticus looked at her wondering if she had really thought about everything going on with the crown everything was not fine his family was in political and personal chaos. They were far from alright there was no way that they could get married or run off with everything going on with Dimitri the crown nor the press would tolerate it well, not to mention a courtship oftentimes was over a year in his homeland for a wedding. Unless of course circumstances being different like death or if said woman one was to marry was with child. “Are you pregnant my love the only way to expedite our marriage as it stands now which has to go through the proper channels of the house of lords is if you are with child? Now of course I would be elated at the news if true, but if not we can’t marry till then. I also can’t just leave Atlas Fallas at the moment until this business with Dimitri is settled. The crown needs me here to make sure the image is kept clean and the uglier details that could come to light do not.”

“I know that probably sickens you and your family with Hunter wanting to marry Bliss and you being close to Selina, I despise what Dimitri has become but the crown with all the political upheaval right now can’t afford that kind of press. We have to remain the good press in the US at the moment until this matter is resolved.” Atticus finished seeing her sour look he tried to embrace her on his lap and and felt her tense. He picked up his drink taking a sip as he felt her move off his lap and sighed not wanting to cause a scene with her at the club, he glanced through the club seeing Belle at the bar and wondered if he had done the same if she would have reacted that way or not. “How about we pick up on this after the launches? I don’t want to distract from Val, Rory or Jamal they are your friends. So let’s talk about something else with the engagement being long and me needing to stay here for now your modeling schedule. What is next after Val’s show?”

A small smile curled on the side of her lips as she truly felt trapped in this courtship. It was what everyone wanted for her. This was a great romance that she just didn’t want. Before she knew it, Brooke stood up and walked to the patio. “It’s fashion week coming up and I don’t believe it.” She said looking at Belle walking through the club as if he owned it. She was dressed cute and was doing the multiple labels look. She shook her head as she looked at him. “I need to go to the bathroom pardon me.” She said walking past Atticus and rushing to the bathroom as grabbed a napkin and began to cool the back of her neck down. God she really didn’t want to be a bride for a prince. “I don’t want to do this.” She whispered as she stepped back and bumped into Val.

Grabbing her best friend she just held her and wept into her shoulder. “I don’t want to be married to him. I don’t want to be a princess. I thought this was what I wanted Val and I want to do is run away. I don’t want to be the princess of Ilsa De Cruces. I want to be a model and have my career means the most important thing to me. Not a country Val. I can’t do this. I can’t marry him because I don’t even love him. Hell I’m not even sure I like him anymore, I’m just so scared of my life being absorbed into this monarchy? This crown that I don’t even want and these jewels locked on neck feel like a leash tied around my neck. I don’t know and to be honest Val you really could have told me. I don’t care who you kiss on your my best damn friend. Girl I just don’t want to marry him.” She cried softly into her friends shoulder. “I care about Atticus but I’m not sure I love him and more and more I’m figuring it out. I don’t want to marry him.”

Val entered the bathroom and looked at Brooke who was clearly having a mini meltdown over Atticus and she handed her the towels to cool down her neck. She almost wondered if the second thoughts that Brooke was having was because she has slept with Ronan a few months ago and cheated on Atticus. She also then wondered if she had really thought all of what she agreed to with Atticus when you married into royalty it was expected that you take on those duties, Brooke was a great model there was no denying that. “So what are you going to do then spend the rest of your time pinning for Ronan who rumor has it is with Gia Falcone? Listen I know you Brooke but he’s moved on and Atticus is not the worst option when it comes to all the men that are available. I remember when we were kids and we thought about changing the world, what if becoming a princess and later queen was not a bad choice or decision. Think of the influence that you could have outside of modeling, hell you can still influence fashion in that way look at Kate or Meghan.” Val said seeing Brooke look at her considering her words. “They still have identities outside of their duties still have influence and a voice. As for what you saw with Kelsey, Jamal knows so I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I don’t care about Ronan! God I loved him but the pressure to be a royal. He knows our entire lives Val! He knows when we will leave the throne and when Fox will get it and how we will train him to be a better king than Dimitri could ever be. Then we are free.” She said at her friend. “Fox is three years old that’s fifteen years. I will not be able to model and you know that’s been my dream since I was a child. I used to have Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell on my wall. Now I will be running a country and those people depending on me. I can be a humanitarian as a model but as a queen of an entire country that is so much pressure. So much pressure on my chest and he doesn’t get it. I know that he’s a prince but sometimes I just want to run away and live our lives without the pressure of a kingdom in our throat.” Brooke looked at her best friend. “And Val really Kelsey fucking Fraiser?”

**********

Belle could smell the tequila on the third guy breath that approached her. Americans were truly winners, they were disgusting. No one had that Nicholas Spark quality that she’d read about and none of them were cute enough to be that wasted approaching her. She was wearing labels head to toe and she wasn’t going to be standing around with the peasants. VIP was where her siblings were so why was she sitting around down here? Even if they didn’t know she had enough money herself to be in VIP and she wasn’t about to be grabbed again let alone groped by any of these drunken frat boys. This rapper must have brought out the hoodlums because she wasn’t impressed. Not at all. Looking down she had on a white and black Chanel midriff, a pair of Escada blue jeans she cut into denim shorts, thigh high black leather open toe Louboutin boots, and an oversized Versace cardigan. She saw the immediate nasty looks as she walked up the VIP stairs from Brooke and the group she was sitting with. Belle immediately spotted Rory who was sitting with Aspen Sinclair. Sucking her teeth she saw Atticus, God he was impressive but she couldn’t have him. To be fair she could but that wasn’t the point. The point was she wanted someone who wanted her more than anything in the world. Not someone who wanted her as a secondary prize. So Brooke had nothing to fear, if she wanted Atticus she’d already would have taken her man.

As she walked to the bouncers she saw Rory waved her through and waved her over. So she’d have to go up against Val, Aspen, and Brooke? Game on. Tossing her beach wavy hair she looked at Rory and smiled as she approached them, picking up her glass. “I would say I need introductions but I know each and every one of you. You’re Jamal Delacroix your father owns La Callie and is one of the best chefs in the world. You also own this club and has turned it into the amazing establishment we see tonight. Rory Devonshire I think we met when I was working with your father at the hospital. Val Ruiz is one of the most influential young Latina designers in America. You’re setting trends and bringing Latina to couture and upscale I respect fashion. Aspen Sinclair if I’m not mistaken my god mummy tells me your mother is very good friends with hers. We’ll just have to do lunch now won’t we? And I know you two, you’re dreadful, and you’re dull.” She said laughing at Brooke’s annoyed face and Atticus shocked one. She felt vindicated hearing a few giggles and laughs. “No I’m kidding no introductions between us three though. I do have to wonder Rory why did you call me over here?” Picking up a champagne flute.

Brooke tried to hide her annoyance with this girl but she couldn’t her face showed the instant disdain that she had for her. It was this little girl who went out of her way to seduce Atticus and broke them up in the first place. It was her meddling that made them so fragile in the beginning. Shaking her head she folded her arms knowing that everyone was lapping her annoyed her even more. Not to mention who knew this bitch was connected to Tess Blisston? “Well I told them what a home wrecking little bitch you were. No I’m just kidding I told them what a skanky little tramp you are. Nope just kidding. I told them you were the girl that slept with my fiance and broke us up the first time. Nope I just did that to everyone who didn’t know at the table which was just the boys minus Atticus.” Brooke said knowing she got underneath Belle skin.

Belle recoiled as Brooke lit into her she however kept a cool demeanor. “I do believe I was talking to Rory, and not you. This event is clearly not the place to hash out our differences Brooke. I thought a model and debutante of your caliber would know such thing. But you know what they say about models they are just living hangers. No brain so Rory before I was so rudely insulted and attacked I was wondering why did you call me over here.”

Rory wasn’t sure how the girl that was tending his father got into the club or the opening he thought her name was Belle something or other. Then it hit him her god mother was Tess it was flying all around the hospital and DGI and for some reason it irritated him to no end that she was out there with his father. He hadn’t gotten to know Belle very well but he did know that her name was Belle Archibald and he knew that she was the one that had fucked Atticus while Brooke was with him last time. He had made whispers through the club for his friend Connor who he had seen out of the corner of his eye making his way back to them. Connor had spotted her earlier in the night and he promised him that he would at least get them into the same space, it was the least he could do. His older brother hated the Hessington’s but he had no beef with Connor and they hung together a lot at college and outside of it. Connot was a star for the local team political son turned star athlete not to mention rich as fuck. He honestly was not going to scold Brooke for the way she felt with towards Belle that was their business.

“I wanted to introduce you to someone I see that my message got to you in the club. I hear my dad is staying with you and Tess how can you look at yourself in the mirror? Knowing what he did?” Rory said looking between all the girls and he shot Aspen a glance if her mother sided against him or any of his siblings for Tess lines would have to be drawn when it came to their relationship. Tess was a fucking monster in his mind, taking up for his father who had raped his aunt and fathered Zerick. He took a drink of his champagne as he looked at her and saw Connor approaching them he looked over at his friend and then at Belle.“Connor Hessington, Belle. Belle, Connor Hessington star forward for the Atlas Falls Ravens one of my dear friends. Yes related to those Hessington’s as in the governor of our state.”

Connor looked around the club greeting people left and right his sister had sold to Jamal last year when it became apparent that her time would have to be spent at home with his father breathing down her neck with Ryan. That and that pretense of a marriage that they kept up for appearances. Lex was in New York for a stint to get out of his father’s sight, it was a mutually agreeable decision for them all as a family, he had been barely out of high school when it happened. He still liked to think about her before the last two years she was here, before the brain tumor had taken over her entire body and she died, his brother was never the same. They were the closest he and Whitney had always been closer to their father. He was having a good evening when it came down to it and then she walked in, he had noticed the men hitting on her at the bar. He had then asked Rory to send a message through the club that he wanted to see her and meet her, using Rory as his middle man because most women wanted him for the money and the fame. His parents were political royalty in some circles and ever since he had signed the massive contract women were all over him after games for the money.

“Belle charming. Connor Hessington.” Connor said as he reached out to take her hand, bringing it to his lips for a kiss seeing Brooke roll her eyes at the gesture. She was beautiful blonde and leggy not to mention the accent was something that had filtered through the club like a song or something that was stuck in his head. He shot Rory a glance when he brought up Lowell nasty business that not even his father would touch, he had smartly stayed out of it for political reasons and re-election of course it didn’t matter if he was guilty or innocent. “I would love to interest you in a drink perhaps somewhere a little more quiet?” He said over the loud music as he looked over at her and then he didn’t give her a chance to protest and he gently led her away. “Sorry if that was incredibly rude of me but you don’t owe Rory an answer about his father. Shall we? I’d like to get to know you better.” He said turning to her and gesturing to the bar and then pointing to one of the booths.

Belle watched Aspen, Val, and Brooke staring at her with venom. It was best she leaves at the moment because those girls were going to try and eat her alive. It was no doubt she was on Brooke and Val hit list but Aspen well basic is as basic does. Her brother sure did have type mediocre. Rolling her eyes at Connor whose game was cute getting Rory to place them together. Shrugging her shoulders she paused holding up one finger to her older brother Rory. Even though he didn’t know who she was, she had to show him that she knew the truth all along. “When you find out everything you all will regret treating your father like a monster. He is a good man and I happen to think that you all are being shitty. I can’t wait to see all of your faces when the full story comes out.” Turning around she walked away seeing his confusion and she smirked sitting in the booth.

“Sorry about that Connor I just think Mr. Devonshire is a good man. I don’t know something smells really fishy with the secrets that have come out. But you didn’t bloody well bring me here to talk about Atlas Falls. You are more fascinated with yourself no doubt. You sports stars and celebrity types are all the same.” She bit her french tip on her fingernail. As the waitress appeared she ordered a Sex On The Beach. “So tell me Connor what do you want? It can’t be me because you could have any girl in this club. No way you want me because that would mean you have the most awful luck.” Belle said with sarcasm. “You see that would mean you have zoomed in on the one girl you have no chance with.” The waitress returned with their drinks she took the cherry and took a bite licking her finger. “I’m taken.”

“I prefer not to involve myself in the mess that is Lowell and his personal affairs I know Rory from school. My father can’t afford to take up a side on the matter of Lowell’s presumed innocence or guilt.” Connor said looking at her wondering if she had any clue about who his family was he may of been out from under his father’s thumb at home while his sister had to stay with Ryan but he knew better than to gossip about it when it came to Lowell Devonshire and his father’s connections politically. She was stunning she had taken his eye in town a few weeks ago in passing he was certain that he saw her in the hospital parking lot on the way to the same club they were in. She was quite beautiful so he had asked a few questions around town that had got back to Rory who tell him know that she was teaching art therapy to the people who were sick. He actually found that a redeeming quality in women, his mother volunteered so much at the hospital back in Pittsburgh and then in Harrisburg too when she was well. “I actually prefer to talk about you my mother raised me to be polite and talking about yourself if quite rude. I asked Rory for an introduction after I spotted you at the hospital, he was able to provide me with your name. I looked up the rest on my own.”

“You’re from England your parents are a lord and lady correct? You also carried on an affair with Atticus Kavanagh, pissing off a whole bunch of people here obviously.” Connor said looking at her everyone was so upset about her affair with Atticus it was something that he was not going to judge her on he had no allegiances to Brooke Kincaid. He shrugged when she glared at him he knew how to use google or rather his father’s public relations team did, he refrained from telling her he had a complete docie on her for now, if you were going to take a girl and your father was in politics he had gotten used to it by now. “Party girls bore me if you want the truth I prefer partners with a little more substance than flash, and well I know you wouldn’t be after my money. So yes I could have any girl in the club but I wanted to meet you pick that brain of yours. Do you like working at the hospital teaching art to ailing old titans that are on their way out.” He saw her glare again and took a glass. “My father knows everything that goes on in this state including Lowell’s condition. Let’s just say that he knows when to research who his enemies and his friends are.”

Stirring her drink around she smirked he was well versed on all things Isabelle Archibald. Which happened to be her favorite subject in life, herself. That intrigued her as she tilted her head. “Fine so you know I’m lying when I say I’m taken. Interesting that the governors son is so enamored with little old me.” Taking a quick sip of her drink. “I find my artwork to be very rewarding. Someday my pictures will be worth as much as the Mona Lisa but this feeds my artistic bone right now. My parents are a lord and lady which has allowed me to live the lavish life I have led. So no I’m not after any man’s money but I do expect a certain lifestyle I’m not cheap to woo Mr. Hessington. I bore with dinner and a movie. That’s child-play and if you must know I find American politics very fascinating. I think your family has been likened to the Kennedy’s not only that it’s rumored your father is retiring for a Presidential run. So that is quite the story the sports star who is dating the semi-royal rich stunning Brit. Is that your angle? Is that why you want to date me?”

Belle giggled taking another sip of her drink from her straw. “Now I don’t know your life and what’s going on with you Connor but you shoot a ball through a hoop. In Isla De Cruces I was quite the party girl. That’s how I got them quite upset with me and got Atticus. I wasn’t just a conquest unfortunately for me the conversation stopped when my parents hated to see me as a harlot on the telly and in the papers. Me personally never gave a damn about that. So would you help me piss off a lot of people? Those girls are like a ravenous pack of wolves. They are mad because I dared to not kiss Brooke’s ring or even let her know I’m coming to Atlas Falls.  To fathom? We are going to dance but not anywhere, I want you to march me right up to your friends table and I’m going to do the rest.” Belle purred biting the cherry that was garnish in her drink. “Come on I dare you Connor.”

“I knew you were lying when you said it yes, let’s just say that Atticus picked Brooke again when you should be aiming higher in my opinion. An artist like yourself shouldn’t be trying to beg for a man’s affection you should command it. Money is not going to be a problem Ms. Archibald if anything my father taught me how to properly woo a woman.  The Kennedy’s, I can see where people would make that comparison.” Connor said taking in the information that she was giving him very few people on the inside knew about his father wanting to run for the presidency right now it was in the early stages, he had yet to find his replacement as governor. It would either be his sister, brother or maybe Anderson Kincaid but he did hope it was Lex or Whitney his sister was more than capable of running the state. It also meant that someone had been talking when they shouldn’t have been to outsiders in their circle. “I’m not afraid of the press and the stories that they would want to write with their mix of reality and fiction Belle, they of course would want to spin this as they saw fit. I would play it up to my advantage as well as yours.” He said taking a an drink and then looking at her when she asked him to go to entice a riot with Brooke and the rest of them.

“Men like Atticus rarely actually keep what they want close to them it was why he cheated on Brooke with you.” Connor said knowing it was the truth look at Ryan or hell even Lex, he gave his brother some leeway on it and now he was paying for it. “So you were the casualty of Atticus’s choices in Europe and your parents called you home. Seems to me that you were the only one punished for that transgression and you want me to go over there and make them all angry at you for it?” Connor asked considering her offer, he personally thought it was a bit petty there were other ways to make them all jealous like dating him would be a start without putting on a show, rumor had it that as soon as Dimitri was caught red handed any diplomatic leeway Atticus had in the state would be done and he would be on his way home taking Brooke with him. Meaning Belle would be left in town and could easily win this game with him on her arm. “How about instead of going over and making a fool of ourselves we take this to the floor and let them gawk aimlessly from their high seats instead.”

“Fine, you’re no fun.” Belle instead walked to the VIP dance floor which was full of beautiful people. No way was she going downstairs anymore plus she wanted them to see her. She wanted them to know she was here. She said taking his hand and swirling in front of him as her body swayed to the music of Travis Scott. She didn’t know the song but his voice was really sexy. Rolling her hips she felt the eyes of Brooke and her squad watching them. Licking her lips she threw her hair on beat of the song so that people started watching her. Before she knew it a small crowd had circled around them. Now she wanted to put on a show dropping her oversized Gucci sweater. She rolled her hips as Nicki Minaj immediate rapid fire lyrics on some tropical beat played. She saw Val and Brooke walking on the dance floor dancing together. No doubt mad she wasn’t pressed about their presence.

“You’re actually a good dancer luv.” She purred looking at him. Slapping his chest as she smiled widely. “Look I’m not after Atticus. Atticus wants me and I know for a fact that if he could get a taste, he would. So I’m going to go find Bliss, I hear she’s here and I’m actually so annoyed that she hasn’t introduced me to Fox her son. So I want to have a day with him and I think we’ve caused enough trouble. Whatever this is Connor thank-you I quite enjoyed it. Seeing all them so annoyed by me and Rory letting it out that he has daddy issues. This seems to be a great introduction to Atlas Falls but tell me you aren’t living here right now. So why so interested in me? You only live here during the seasons when you dribble a ball down the court and into a hoop. So why me?”

Connor sat in the booth for a moment as he watched her go to the dance floor and then followed her when she came back to grab his hand. He knew his steps on the dance floor another thing that his upbringing had made sure that he knew how to do. His parents parties over the years had been notorious for the good food, political deals and the dancing in them and he was well trained in how to dance to a beat because of it. He wasn’t sure if the others were watching them or not as they danced and had a good time, eventually he saw them all gather Belle Archibald had something a lot of girls didn’t the ability to flock others to her either out of jealousy or curiosity. When the number ended and one of his teammates came over to whisper in his ear that he was needed for some stupid interview he looked at Belle pulling her close and kissing her hand. “As entertaining as all this was I am needed for a sports radio interview here. I’ll find you later.” Connor said stepping back as he smiled at her before turning to his teammate making sure to look over his shoulder one last time at her to let her know he was serious. Hopefully she could keep out of trouble until then.

She was intrigued by a boy who did his homework on her. Not only that he was damn sure enough to drive all the bitches of Atlas Falls crazy. Interesting indeed because soon they’d all know she was a Devonshire and then people would know the truth. She was both a lady and billionaire heiress. She’d been raised in the highbrow of Europe’s high society and lived beyond a posh life. But now it was time to make her mark on the world and she’d figure out how soon enough. Looking at Connor she waved and saw Jamal and Atticus watching her go to the bar. She turned and blew a kiss at both of the men. Sitting at the bar she pulled out her phone and saw that this launch was trending on twitter. Biting her lip she began to tweet.

*Just met @Connor_Hess for the first time I’m thinking that American men are much more than meets the eye.*

She pressed send and looked around seeing what trouble she could get into.

**********

Ivan had been preparing for this moment his entire life. Ever since he first heard TuPac’s ‘Brenda Having A Baby’ on his older brother’s speakers. When he didn’t love himself rap and music did. As he got older he found himself drawn to different rappers that pulled him in. The inventive nature of Lil Wayne, the hard hitting nature of Jay-Z, the knowledge that Common was spitting, and learning from the God himself Nas. Rap had always been his love right along with music. It was hard because so much of his life he’d hated what hip-hop represented to him. As a gay man he heard the lyrics and knew how he had to present himself all the time. It was a masculine world and the fairies just lived to be targeted. He was beaten into being this man. He was trained early to never show weakness. A twist in the hip to much would get you noticed for all the wrong reasons in Florida. He was shipped off to here because of his father saw him kissing a fucking boy. He didn’t know what gay was but it wasn’t and couldn’t be him. Something Simon didn’t understand because his family accepted him or at least tolerated the shit. His family were killers and they didn’t understand being gay. That’s why before Money died it was the best time of his life. A man who understood the code and lived the life. Now he was with Simon ass and everything was off center. He had rules and they were breaking them. He had a plan for his life and this wasn’t it. So what if he married one of those Instagram sluts or something like that. At least he was doing music. Worst of all he was falling in love.

Simon couldn’t name one artist that was out and making big music. Not one other than Sam Smith and he wasn’t popping like that. He wanted to be a star and his ambitions were higher than his heart. He wanted to make his father eat it and get his mother out of the ghetto of Florida into the luxury of California or somewhere nice. As he walked into his dressing room he saw Simon sitting down eating his rider. This was shit he wanted to eat and Simon ass was sitting down relaxed and calm he chuckled. “That’s why your pants ain’t fitting all those snacks. Plus daddy python.” He teased as he flopped on the sofa. “I’m nervous Simon. If this goes the way everyone is saying my life is different now. I’m no longer a ex-dealer I’m a rapper and real rapper who has a shot to blow. I know this shit don’t mean nothing to your Ivy League ass but Simon this is everything to me. Music was all I had when my dad was kicking my ass. It was the one time he wouldn’t beat my ass. He’d turn on the Jackson 5 or Julio Iglesias and I’d dance. Then brother would turn on the rap music and I’d rap. He’d be beaming because he saw my talent then one day he caught me dancing to Whitney Houston. I was singing my heart out too man. I wanted to be the Queen of the Night you know? I just felt her music so much and then it happened. He kicked me and told me performing was for fags. He beat me and I couldn’t do anything but rap from that point on.” Ivan confessed unsure of why he was telling him all of this.

“I’m nervous.” He said standing up from the couch. “I used to dream about getting Money and me away from the mob and gang life. Kendrick connected to gangs and mobs together it wasn’t Ronan don’t let the cops and media fool you. He made that shit happen and when it happened, everything changed. I can’t fault Kendrick or Money but I wish they were here. I know that sounds crazy about Kendrick but he gave me a shot when nobody else would. He fucking held me down and Money.” Ivan paused wondering why he lived and Money died that day. “Money was my heart man. I know how that shit feels when you lose the person you love Simon. So don’t fucking walk away from me. I need you. I need you bro.” Ivan said looking into his eyes. “My family don’t fuck with me. You real right? We real? What we doing is real right Simon? Then fucking ride with me. Don’t leave me alone because I need you.”

Simon had made his way through the club making small talk as he did so talking to investors and people in the scene. He was here of course for Ivan but he had been also been called to the party by Lowell for Rory despite being on the outs with all his children Lowell was still his boss. He may not of agreed with Lowell or the ways he went about his business but he had no choice in this he was still DGI’s employee in a designated position. On the record he was an executive off the record he was Lowell’s right hand man. An honor that he knew came with keeping secrets like the secret that he reported everything back to Lowell at the office all the gossip everything that his children were or were not doing. Spying discretely on all the Devonshire children Lowell was at the moment the most happy however with Rory and what was going on with the app. He walked through the crowd Lowell still had pull at DGI despite what his kids thought. He waved to someone on his way to the back and up the stairs to the VIP section where he found the food and no Ivan. Instead he sat down and took a bite of the food looking up as Ivan came in he didn’t care if he was mad or not. There was plenty of food there for the both of them and he listened as he started to talk about his childhood and how he had grown up. A chill came over him when he mentioned the beat down that his father had given him, he had not been raised like that.

“I had no idea. Jesus.” It was the first thing that came out of Simon’s mouth as he looked at Ivan as he looked over at him horrified at the story of Ivan’s childhood. He wasn’t raised like that he was raised around people that were good and his father would have never ever treated him or any of his siblings like that. He gave Ivan the space he seemed to want to need and have when it came to this part of his life it made sense now why he was so caught up in the life that he was living the lie that he had told himself. A lie that society and obviously the gangs that he had grown up around had told him in his head. He got up from his chair grabbing Ivan by the shoulders to calm him down. “Hey tonight is going to be great so stop being so nervous about everything you and Jamal have prepped yourself for this moment. Who cares about what people think about you Ivan. Your music is special. What we have is special.” Simon said looking over at him and leaning in to touch his lips to Ivan’s for a kiss seeing how almost apprehensive he was, still not wanting the world to know about them he pulled back. Looking at the door he smiled. “Perhaps to take your mind off the next hour I could provide you some much needed distraction for the night?” He said his hand lowering to rest on Ivan’s zipper to prove his point that what they had was right there was nothing wrong about what they were doing.

Ivan leaned in and kissed Simon passionately as he touched his cheek. “Man you drive me crazy boy.” He laughed looking at his boyfriend. Instead of sex for once he wanted something different. Taking Simon into his arms he just held him and leaned back and smiled at Simon’s shocked expression. “Can’t I hold my man?” He asked with a gruffness as he rocked his nerves were easing. “I used to think about what my life would be like when I was a shorty yo. I would always think that I’d be married to some woman. She’d look like mom and we’d have two kids by now. That’s what I used to tell myself everyday when I was twelve. So that I could stop thinking about living with one of the boys from B2K. I don’t want this shit to be temporary Simon, I can be what you need if you look in me. I need you and I know that shit sound crazy considering we just started fucking around but I don’t got anyone Simon. It’s you, Jamal, and Ronan. My mom doesn’t even call me but you know the funny part? Today my dad called me and mom did too. The media attention must be too much for them to deny the faggot huh?” Ivan kissed Simon neck and was rubbing his abs through his shirt.

“I got a song on the album I wrote about you and Money.” Ivan bit his lip looking at Simon unbuttoning his shirt as he held him from behind. “Stop giving me that look or else I’m going to flip that ass up in the air and eat it all night. Then I won’t make it on stage.” Biting his lip he grabbed his bottle of Hennessy taking a gulp to the head. “I’m a star and they want to come back in my life. Nah baby they ain’t coming back to me and getting my money fuck them. But I’m sick of talking about them I’m trying to see what that ass do homie.” Ivan said aggressively rolling on top of Simon tonguing him down. Slow kissing him passionately as he palmed his ass. “I’m going on tour in a couple of weeks take your vacation and come with me.”

Simon looked over at him and was a bit surprised in a good way when Ivan instead wrapped his arm around him to hold him instead of indulging, it was refreshing. He wasn’t exactly the cute and cuddly type, neither was Ivan but it was nice to see the slight change.  He instead rocked back and forth with him until Ivan let go and he looked at him when he started talking about his music and his parents calling him. “I hope you hung up on them, or at the very least that they were civil to you.” Simon said he didn’t dislike Ivan’s mother from what he understood she seemed like a nice woman that was with a homophobic asshole of a husband but Ivan always spoke really fondly of her. His father was an entire matter all together in his mind Ivan never needed to see or speak to him again if he had anything to say about it. “You don’t need them in your life Ivan you have me, Jamal and our friends here.” Simon said watching him as he stepped back to take off his shirt.

“You can be anything you want Ivan and have anything that you want.” Simon said not sure what else to say to Ivan this was all new territory for Ivan and the last thing he wanted to do was scare him away. He had boyfriends move in with him before and he had been in a long term relationship with Mason for years, even if it was clandestine and secret. Ivan he knew not so much, this was all new to him and with this music coming up and launching it would be even more difficult. He kissed him back as Ivan took off his shirt and began to rub on him of course he wanted him but he froze when he asked him to go on tour, that was not possible. He turned around looking at Ivan. “To be what exactly the secret in your closet no thanks. Not to mention I can’t leave right now work will not allow it. More precisely Lowell needs me here, with Zerick trying to take a piece of DGI, the company in flux and Lowell’s failing health my loyalty needs to be to him and DGI. Of course a trip or two out to you on the road can be arranged but I have to stay here until things settle. Besides I wouldn’t want to crimp your style on the road.”

Ivan was honestly sad when he heard that Simon had so many obligations. A part of him wanted to say quit DGI and come on board as his manager or some shit like that. “I’m not going to pretend to know what all that DGI shit is. I do know you important and if you gotta stay I understand. I just want that ass on the road with me but I get it boo.” He ran his hands through Simon smooth hair. “Baby I have week off in the middle of the tour to recharge. I want you there do you understand me?” He kissed Simon lips passionately. Picking up Simon by his thighs he began to feverishly kiss his boyfriend. “Now I think you could make some time for me but right now you tripping but it’s all good. I understand you want me to be this big romance guy but give me time shorty, I told you that huh?” Biting his lip he pulled back and looked at Simon face engulfed in pleasure. He pinned him against the wall.

He was beginning to relax and sort of stop thinking of the toxicity in his family. Simon was right he had Jamal, and he had Ronan. Not only that his boyfriend was finding himself more and more devoted to him. As he kissed his neck. “When shit calm down at DGI you getting your ass on this road and you coming to ride daddy’s dick. Understand?” He asked looking at Simon looking mildly amused and very annoyed. It wasn’t until he heard the door turn in his dressing room did his heart stop. As he turned around he faced Rory Devonshire looking at Simon and he shockingly. What was he doing here? How did he get a key to his dressing room? What the fuck? “Bro get the fuck out my dressing room man!”

Simon was getting annoyed with being patient with Ivan whenever her brought it up between them that he wanted to drop all the mirror and shadow shit. There was no way he could just drop hsi job at DGI at the moment with everything going on no matter how much he cared about Ivan it was not possible. He owed Lowell for cleaning up his messes, he owed Lowell for a lot and he had repaid that over and over again with his loyalty. He gave into the kiss when Ivan pinned him and was going to just enjoy the moment until he felt Ivan stop and stiffen and he looked over at Ivan and then over his shoulder at Rory. He knew that Rory was in shock at Ivan not him, it wasn’t like him being gay was a fucking secret tot he Devonshire children and he saw Ivan getting angry at Rory and placed his body in front of Ivan and Rory. “It was likely a mix up wasn’t it Rory no harm no foul.”

Rory had went to the private rooms to do some thinking and maybe just maybe to send a private to text to his father or maybe not, he needed a break from the music and the atmosphere. Five minutes where the press was not breathing down his neck, where Brooke and Belle were not going to get into some cat fight. So he had walked down the hall to find somewhere to just calm down and think seeing a lot of the doors locked likely due to security he knew that Jamal would not mind if he used a room to do that and turned the door to the first one that would open, looking at his phone and deleting the text he was going to send and he looked up when he heard s scuffle and saw Ivan staring at him. His eyes did a double take at Ivan for a moment like wasn’t he hanging on some female models or something like that a few weeks ago. Simon it was not shocking he openly brought men around as his dates and it wasn’t like was some secret not out man he he stumbled back into one of the end tables in the room seeing Ivan lunge at him and then Simon jump in between them.

“I had no idea I am so sorry I was just looking for somewhere to, never mind. I am so sorry Simon I should have knocked the door just opened and I assumed that no one was in here. I’m going to go back out excuse me.” Rory said looking at Simon and then back at Ivan hoping that would be the end of it, he felt so foolish. It was none of his business and he saw Ivan sneering at him and was so sick of his problem and attitude with him he turned and looked at Ivan. “I’m not going to go out and blab your secret dude. I don’t know what your fucking problem with me is but whatever is going on between you and Simon is your business I’d never violate his trust like that.”

“I respect that but you know what my problem is with you? Yasmine!” Ivan finally let it out. Stepping up to Rory. “You know about Gina right? Yeah looking at your face you know all about Gina. Well she was one of my first friends in Atlas Falls. Not only that she loved me like a brother. So when I saw you doing right by Yazzy and getting her out the club I was like respect. I hated to see her stripping and trust Kendrick did too for a while. Then looking at her I think he saw Gina no offense up there and couldn’t let her go but then your ass came and shook the table. This little white boy marching up in the club saying he’s taking Yazzy. You was bold son and then you fucked up. You fucked up bad but the thing that pisses me off is how easily you walked away. She deserved for you to fight harder buddy and no matter what you say you fucked up so it was your place to fix it. But I see the rich and elite get bored with their build-a-better-person from the hood.” Ivan cut his eyes at Simon wondering if his words were an eerie prophecy for their future.

“Just like all you rich motherfuckers connected the underlings are too. Believe that and I thought she didn’t deserve to be fucked over by you. Matter of fact I’m glad you gave up on her. You ain’t right for her but Khalil my boy got her now.” Ivan said seeing Simon’s horrified face. “Just because you can’t talk to these motherfuckers like that doesn’t mean I can’t. As for Simon man that’s even worse you all call him all hours and depend on him for everything. Do any of you question what is going on in his life? Do y’all even give a fuck? Nah it’s all about y’all spoiled asses. Do you know anything about Simon other than his last name? I mean what movie does he like? Has he even seen his family since taking this damn job? When is the last time a Devonshire other than Dani even fucking cared to see if he’s alright when it’s not a code read crisis for you highbrow heathens. You know the worst part y’all just as bad as the hood but you got money to cover up the fucked up shit y’all do.”

Rory looked at him and then looked at Simon Ivan was trash in his mind always would be and thought his thug little attitude was cute Simon could so so much better. “Well good thing Yasmine is grown isn’t it for all the spouting you and her want to do about poor Kendrick you all never lifted a damn finger to get her out of the club. No you all wanted to keep her there caged up to keep up your hood reputations. You’re right I fucked up but I didn’t keep her locked on a pole taking her clothes off and running drugs no Ivan that was all on you and your boys.” Rory said he saw Simon looking between them and saw Ivan looking like he wanted to hit him. “You know what Ivan go ahead so everyone what a tough little gangster you are. You say you’re down for Simon and Jamal but like weren’t you out there like killing people over a year ago for Ronan’s dirty business? Oh that’s right we aren’t supposed to talk about that are we now? Too bad your ass didn’t go down the same time Kendrick’s did. You belong in jail and the only reason you’re not is because of Jamal and your so called good friend Kendrick being a fool.”

Rory saw Ivan lunge at him and Simon hold him back and shook his head at them both. “I probably know more about Simon than you do. I know that Simon is proud of who he is, proud of who he works for. I know for a fact that Mason fucking around with his emotions for years wasn’t fair to him. I know that Simon has done things for my family and my father that would look like child’s play to you. You know what exactly about him? You can’t even come out of the closet long enough to actually be there for him. But I don’t roll like that what you two do in the bedroom is your business. I know his father plays golf with mine every other Sunday, he is one of by brother’s best friends.” He walked up to Ivan and Simon who cut a look at him. “You’re right I’m fucking rich as hell and proud of it at least I own it. I don’t have to lie to my family or the people I love. While this has been fun I have more millions to go make.” Rory said walking out the door shutting it behind him as he heard Simon beat Ivan to the door.

Simon never in his wildest dreams ever thought that Ivan and Rory would be having it out in a dressing room and when Rory like most Devonshire’s went off he went off hard core. He had to restrain Ivan as Rory lashed into him and while they both made good points and were both right, he knew Ivan attacked Rory he’d go to prison. No matter their personal relationship Lowell would have flipped his shit if Ivan beat the shit out of Rory and he stood by and let him. When he saw Rory leave he finally let Ivan go to run to the door to stand in front of it to not let him out. Obviously they both needed cool down time and he saw Ivan pacing. “I know you don’t like them but I work for them. That is my career you’re fucking with and no one and I mean no one including you fucks with my career. I’ve worked hard for it, been mentored for it and I respect the Devonshire’s including Rory, Jackson is one of my best friends. I gotta go calm him down make sure this isn’t front page news tomorrow for you or him.” Simon said casting a look back at Ivan before exiting the room to make sure none of this was all over the papers for DGI or Ivan’s career.

“Imma kill that white boy.” Ivan screamed as he broke away from Simon and immediately turned to the mirror in the dressing room and slammed his fist into the glass. The shattering of the glass he looked at his very own reflection. A broken man full of broken pieces. As he stepped back he saw Simon shocked expression and his furious words. He wasn’t even hearing that. “You better silence him.” Ivan raised up his shirt and the tattoo of tallying marks on his torso. “I’d hate to add another body Simon.” He walked to the door slamming it in his face. “Fuck!” Ivan screamed as he flopped down on his couch.

**********

Yasmine took a deep breath as she looked around it was a new look for her. She didn’t feel like herself anymore. She remembered the old ladies on the block braiding her hair and even her mother saying a black woman’s hair was her crown. She went four hours ago to cut her back length hair into a chic shoulder length honey highlighted blonde. When her momma said she had to get Rory out of her hair a couple of days ago she felt that. She’d never cut her hair more than a few inches but right now she felt grown. She felt new and she felt like she was more than a ex-stripper she was a legacy. Wearing a white and gold Dolce & Gabbana knee length cocktail dress. She moved the bang from her eye and looked at Khalil and smiled. “So you have been staring all night and haven’t said if you like it. You’ve never seen me with this short of hair but are you nervous? Connor Hessington is here and a lot our old friends are here for Ivan. Tonight is about Scottswood standing up. Baby our hood ain’t never had a star come from it. Now Ivan is burning brighter than a supernova. It’s our time and you about to blow with Connor. The world is about to see the talent that not just the elite of Atlas Falls has but the hood.”

When he leaned in and kissed her with so much lust and passion she almost felt the breath leaving her body. “I guess that means you like the highlights and the cut hey!” She said smiling stepping on the side of Khalil she saw people’s attention immediately coming to them. It was immediate but black, white, and everyone else were running up taking pictures with Khalil. She saw Connor immediately come down and grab Khalil and her ushering them into the VIP. As they walked inside Aspen and Brooke past them. She saw Aspen rolling her eyes and whispering something to Brooke. As she turned she saw Jamal, and Atticus screaming over the balcony splashing the crowd with champagne. She slid into the booth. “Baby go, I see Connor wants to introduce you to your teammates. Go ahead I’ll order us a champagne bottle and call to see where Tucci and um Marlowe are. Ivan and the show is about to start.” She looked over and saw Ronan raising his glass to her as a bottle appeared at her table. Yasmine poured her glass and raised her glass to him as a way to say thank-you.

Khalil was decked out on a suit and some Jordan’s not exactly red carpet but it fit the swagger for basketball star the cameras were flashing as soon as they stepped out on the carpet. He knew it was because of his status with the team and not who Yasmine was that was coming later at her big party she was throwing with Forbes. He smiled at her and kissed her when she asked about her hair, it was gorgeous no matter what she did, he still preferred her natural hair but what a woman did with her hair was her own business he knew that from his momma. He had a sinking feeling that she also did it because of Rory the other night at Thanksgiving and that irritated him to no fucking end, but maybe that was her way of moving on and past what happened with her and Rory. When she mentioned that he should go with Connor he saw Connor walking towards him he was alright so far as a teammate and friend thought they came from vastly different backgrounds. It would be different than playing on the college courts too but he was looking forward to the challenge on the court, when she mentioned that he should go do some schmoozing with Connor he looked at her,

“It looks great babe it’s your hair you do what you want with it, if that means cutting it and dying  it go for it, I’m sorry if I seem a bit distracted tonight. I’m just super pumped for Ivan and the press so far has been intense, something my agent warned me about when I signed with the team.” Khalil said taking a drink from his glass as he looked around the club he wondered if his brother would have come here for Ivan’s big night and then realized how much he was relying on the past when it came to his brother which wasn’t bad. But he felt like this chapter of his life was moving forward with his life “I want to see Ivan and Connor but tonight I wanted to spend with you too eventually you’re going to get the same treatment I am when you have your party too and the shit storm that will bring.” He said looking at her and seeing her nod again for him to leave he wanted to object he really hated that Rory was there too he went to object only for Connor to come approach them and he realized he couldn’t get out of leaving her there. “Hey Connor.”

Connor had arrived at the club to the performance for the team and saw Khalil enter with Yasmine Kohl. His father was in town briefly with Ryan and Whitney for a meeting of some sort and he would see them later. Khalil was a good player a guy that the coach had asked him to help him introduce him to the team and to take him under his wing. They had gotten along in practice since the signing and he was showing him the ropes. He wondered hos chill his girl was though because women hung on them on the road like gnats, not to mention a lot of the guys had a girl in every city it was just the lifestyle. He was not one of those unfortunately being the son on the governor meant that he wasn’t allowed to have that crazy of a lifestyle that some of his teammates did. ”What’s up Khalil. You must be Yasmine he talks about you constantly at practice, Connor Hessington.” Connor said giving Khalil a hug and then extending his hand as Yasmine looked at him and he wondered if she was shocked his manners when she hesitated to take it. “I don’t bite despite whatever he has told you about us a group. I don’t suppose I have your permission to steal him for a bit to hang with the guys for a team photo and drink?”

Yasmine shook his hand as she smiled at the basketball star. He didn’t have a team last year to support him with Khalil as his point guard they might be unstoppable this year. “Listen I can handle myself you boys go have some fun. I’ll be here enjoying the atmosphere. Connor one more thing you better protect Khalil on and off that court baby. I’m trusting you with him.” As Ivan’s song ‘I Got It’ came on Yasmine slid out booth and with a glass in her hand she began to dance. This was her shit and she knew that she would have a dance to this. She wasn’t sure when Jamal was dropping a video to this but she was going to ask him for the shot. Hell she needed the exposure for her dancing and this would be amazing. She winded her hips as if she was in the middle east. Turning around she saw Rory standing across the room. He was staring at her with the intensity of two lasers. Before she knew it she threw her body into overdrive. She wanted to show him what he was missing. She wanted him to miss her. She wanted for him to look at her like he used to when she was Diamond.

Placing the drink down she began to drop it low and before she knew it a crowd was forming around her. It was effortless and she knew what she was doing and for some reason it felt good. It felt good to be able to whip people into a frenzy. Stripping wasn’t all bad honestly because for a period the attention she got was intoxicating. As she turned around she saw him directly by her. “Rory.” She said smiling at him. “I was going to ask you could you tell Jamal to call me. I want to get some of the kids in any of Ivan’s video’s. I just think they’d live for that and I’m sorry about Thanksgiving, Forbes is on this I’m daddy kick right now.” The music was banging DJ Willow was clowning as the entire room erupted as ‘Drip Too Hard’ Blasted on the speakers. Yasmine turned to see if Khalil was around she wanted to move as she saw Rory head nodding. Strutting to the floor she knew a dance wasn’t going to hurt a damn person and they were some sort of friends. Who was a little dancing hurting? The music shifted and it slowed as a melodic echoes of a sensual voices echoed in her ears. “Wanna dance Rory?”

Rory wasn’t quite sure where Aspen had floated off too in the crowd she probably went to see Max, which he wasn’t against my any means. It was better than her shoving her nose into his business all the time, so in this case it made sense that she could just be friends with Aspen instead. He was not a huge dancer by any means but he was tapping his foot to the beat while he waited and then he saw Yasmine start to dance and work up a crowd. He wondered for a moment how Forbes would react to that, like his father there was always some sort of sense of breeding about them growing up. They had to act just right in public appearances were important after all maybe not quite as scrutinized as the political families in the area but he and his siblings were always under a microscope due to DGI. Yasmine would have that burden now with Forbes as her father would have siblings she would have to live up to hell maybe even compete with. He lifted his drink to his lips and took a long sip of the liquid. He knew that he should have been one to just say no but he really couldn’t deny that Yasmine looked gorgeous in that moment swaying to the music so he nodded at her as he followed her onto the dance floor.

“You look great.” Rory said quietly as he tried to keep up with her moves and the crowds kept pushing them closer and closer together. His head looked around trying to see if Aspen was in the crowd or not she was already questioning if he was still hung up on Yasmine and knew this would only fuel that. He still had feelings for Yasmine he always would but he also was trying to be the man that Aspen deserved if the entire thing with Tess and Yasmine had taught him anything it was that. That he had to be a better man that he had to be a man that respected the woman he was with. “I wanted to apologize to you about the other night.” Rory said his voice trying to rise above the music. He was ashamed of that what happened the other night when he had came over to speak to her and discovered that she was Forbes’s daughter.

“Its cool my dad hates your dad. It’s actually tragic considering how close we were. If we would have stayed together it would have been world war three. So now we’re good and friends.” She said smiling at him. “I think that’s what we should remain considering both of our parents are gunning for each other. Us ever crossing that line would be crazy you know?” She said looking at him. “But you were the first one to show me that I deserved more than Scottswood and dancing at that skivvy club. I will never forget that, you had more faith in me than I had in myself. That was so fulfilling to have someone who had my back and loved me enough to want more for me. We don’t have to be lovers but we can be friends Rory and that’s what I want. I want to have you my life because you signal the change. When I stopped being a stripper and started being an adult. So if you can, I’d love to be you friend again. I’d love to just laugh like we used to.”  Yasmine said as she dipped low slow bringing it up. Turning to face him she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Sometimes when they were like this it was perfect. It was like they were in sync and she missed that. Khalil and she never had chemistry like that, while she knew he loved her so sometimes missed the sparks. “I think we’re going to be all over the Chronicle tomorrow as many pictures flashing. Maybe we should stop. I don’t want Aspen to think I’m after her man and I don’t want my man to be after you. So let’s stop.” She said pulling back and smiling at him. “Thank-you for dance Rory. Thank-you for apologizing to me because you were a little whack for coming at me like that. I didn’t know he was my dad nor did I know this feud between them. I don’t think that means we have to be distant because of them. There shit isn’t our shit you know?” Yasmine said softly as she looked at him. “We can be better than this Devonshire versus Montgomery shit.”

Rory was so lost in the dance he honestly didn’t even think about how the press was going to twist things until she mentioned it. He wanted to be her friend but he knew very few people could actually do the lovers to friends thing and he was one of them. He didn’t trust himself around her even now when he was fully committed to Aspen he silently was wishing he was with Yasmine. He also wanted to believe in her naivety when it came to the feud between his father and Forbes which was now even more clouded in his head given the Zerick accusations. Was it better that his father was fucking Audrey that day or was it worse that he raped his aunt? He took a step back from her she may of saw it that way but there was a reason his family was at war with the Montgomery’s and it extended all the way back to his father fucking Audrey. It extended recently to Philip playing games with his sister and the final straw was that insane verbal attack he went on with Dani was pregnant.

“Yeah we should stop I don’t want the press to run with this Aspen doesn’t need to be pulled into any drama where there is none you know? Neither does Khalil when he has that big game coming up.” Rory said seeing Aspen spot them both and begin to make her way over to them he really didn’t want drama. He looked at Yasmine though and thought about what she was asking for him to just be her friend and to forget that his father and hers weren’t feuding. He wasn’t his brother and had Dani not ever got pregnant and the twins never been born he wondered if his father and Walter would still be going at it like wild wolves over a dead piece of meat. “I don’t think we can be friends like that. I know I can’t Yasmine when I’m around you all I think about is how I had you and stupidly fucked up. Maybe you can just turn that off but I;m not sure I can I’m happy for you if you’re happy. We have to get along for the twins if anything were to happen to my brother and Dani but I can’t just forget everything that happened including who your father is.” He felt Aspen come up and pulled her close giving her a kiss on the lips before looking at Yasmine seeing her he could swear tear up at the gesture. “Hey we were just talking about you weren’t we?”

“We were.” Yasmine said looking at Aspen who had this smug look on her face. “I was telling Rory that we should be friends. All of us.” Yasmine touched Aspen arm. “I’m sorry about the fight the other day. I was out of line and what I was saying was wrong.”

Aspen looked at Yasmine and smirked. “Of course we can be friends. I think we’ve gotten off to the absolute wrong foot. I do ask you stop stripper dancing on my boyfriend.” Aspen took Rory’s hand and walked away with him.

**********

The air from the entire room seemed to be seeping away it was just nerves. Jamal knew that tonight dropping Ivan’s EP and him being the face of this app right now was exactly what they all needed. Ivan was going to bring viewers to sign up for Rory’s app free. He prayed that Tidal, Spotify, and IMusic streams were high also. He needed this EP to burn the charts down because Ivan was his first artist and it was his first shot to see what was coming for them all. As he stood on the stage he looked around seeing DGI bosses, and the Devonshire’s sitting all down the front row of the runway. Strutting to the top of the runway he looked around the room and winked at Val and noticed Kelsey standing by her. “A few months ago I started in the music industry. I had a hands up because I had everything but the talent. I found Ivan rapping last year standing right here with Kendrick Watkins. Not only that he was spitting so much fire that it filled me up. In that one moment I didn’t know about his struggle or who he was. I just knew he was a musical prodigy who the world deserved to know. I partnered up with my boy Rory who has started a music app that also you get to express yourself through music. Now together we want to introduce y’all to IMoney and I want y’all to whip out your phones download RePlay right now!”

Jamal said looking around as the music started humming louder and louder. “Before IMoney come out here and rip the stage apart, can I get a round of applause for Rory Devonshire who is here to now announce and show you all RePlay!” He said screaming into the microphone turning around he saw Rory walking out looking confident. Walking up to his boy he quickly pulled him into a bro-hug. “Here to explain the revolutionary app that will change not only music streaming but social media Rory Devonshire!” Jamal stepped back and passed him the microphone.

Rory had wondered for weeks what he would say when this moment came how he would make it his moment, in a moment that shined for his steps to take his place at DGI. He had always been referred to as the youngest son, as the son with the dreams and often he was always overlooked by his father for his siblings, Chauncey was the eldest and thought he was owed the CEO seat. Jackson wanted the CEO seat and approval so bad it nearly destroyed him over and over again. Max was the only girl growing up so she was always cut throat about wanting to be CEO and their father’s by far favorite. Bliss was the unexpected wildcard that came into their lives and if asked he was certain she would take it too. Zerick had blown any chance in his eyes and the board and he knew that, even though none of what happened in the past was his fault. He scanned the crowd and the applause looking over at Jamal with a smile they were both here in this moment ready to shine and he knew this would be his moment. He had no desire to be CEO, that was never his dream if anything he wanted to create his own company and his own start up but for now he was happy to let the light shine on him.

“How is everyone doing tonight with my boy Jamal and IMoney? I know you all are excited for him to come out here and put on a show but we have a treat for you. I want all of you to go to your stores whether it be Google or iStore and look for the app called RePlay? What if I were to tell you that as you listen to iMoney rap that you can gain access to his entire album before it’s release by joining the app?” Rory asked seeing people pulling out there phones and a few squeals going on he looked over at Jamal seeing the reactions too this would be good for the both of them. Pre access to albums that you could only get with Jamal’s label at the moment soon they could expand to other labels and musicians, he put the microphone to his mouth as he saw everyone still following his instructions. “What if I were to tell you as you are creating your account it will link to your Facebook, your SnapChat and your Instagram to get the word out that you are an owner? Now what if I were to tell you that it can also let you buy designer clothes ahead of their presale as well? You all know we have MS. Val Ruiz here tonight who will be following up the start of IMoney’s event with a fashion show to debut her new line. A line that all you have to do is pay for the app, which come on you all know you want to and then not cancel that subscription to get early access. Now before I spoil more and you all are busying getting those fingers to work as you connect I’m going to had it back to Jamal to give you a sneak peak of some of the talent he has coming up.” Rory finished seeing the photographers flashing, the reporters going crazy, he pulled out his phone to quickly see RePlay starting to trend on twitter and the subscribers starting to pour in.

Jamal stepped up and looked at the crowd. “When I started this label I didn’t let anyone know what my musical ambitions were. I not only have iMoney but I have a group that is insane. This music is the music I grew up on. It’s tejano, Motown, NWA,Tupac, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and so many other insane artist that aspire me to be greater. So I now introduce you to Legacy Records may I present Glory Road, VanGaurd a reggaeton duo, and I’m actively on a search for the first lady of Legacy a songstress and dancer so innovative and fierce that will set the music industry on fire. This label is the legacy of my mixed heritage growing up hearing Stevie Wonder and Gloria Estefan together. Bridging the gap between Latin and black music which isn’t one. It’s just all music so my artist will be diverse and my premiere act iMoney. Tonight I have brought one of the most talented rappers in the game. His spitfire lyrics and wild word play has changed the game. Nobody has the talent and skill this rapper has and he comes right here from Atlas Falls. He reps the Falls in his blood and not only that one of the states most infamous project communities Scottswood. I’m not hyping up his pain and legacy but I’m telling you his story and I don’t think anyone can do that better than my brother a man I consider the best rapper alive! A man that has taken trap rap and gangster rap to a new level. I motherfucking Money!” Jamal had put the call out there. Women from all over the country using RePlay would be putting their music out there trying to become the first lady of Legacy Records.

As he and Rory stepped back fire flashed on the stage and people gasped. As Ivan walked out and began rapping his favorite track on the EP ‘Shine’. The song was about people who didn’t want to see you shine. His eyes glazed over looking at Rory and grabbing his boy and screamed into his ear hugging him. “We’re trending iMoney’s trending man my artist’s trending bro our dreams are coming true. Rory do you know what this means? The new school just saved DGI’s fucking third quarter. When Lowell bailed me out I told him tying all this shit together was lucrative. Your dad is a brilliant man but you are a genius. You’re going to fucking kill it. Ivan’s jumping up the iTunes charts.” He pushed Rory playfully as he looked at the first models beginning to line up. “Man this shit is crazy Rory.” He saw who he was staring at. “Man Aspen is a bad girl but she ain’t shit if you don’t really want her. You better go after her if you staring like that bro. Yasmine look good as fuck tonight though.”

Rory looked over at Jamal he was right Aspen looked amazing tonight and things were going good for them as a couple but there was always this nagging in the back of his mind the what ifs of his past with Yasmine. What if he had never slept with Tess that night? What if he hadn’t pushed Yasmine back to the club at the New Year’s Eve party? Not to mention the kidnapping and how that went down, or how Yasmine found out the truth about Tess after witnessing Kendrick die in front of her. He watched her in the crowd before turning to one of the reporters asking him about the app, not giving Jamal an answer. His focus today was going to be on the app launch and rebuilding DGI not about his past even though he had a sinking feeling that his past was far from over.

**********

Maddie stood fluffed her hair looking around the club she felt her heart throbbing. This was amazing. All the beautiful people, the drinking, and clearly the partying. It was addictive because all she wanted to do was be in this scene. Looking around she was wearing a pink silk and satin DVF jumpsuit. Her lips were glossy and pink and she looked way older than fifteen. Her dad only let her attend this event after she promised no more outburst about grandpa. However Maddie knew for a fact she wasn’t about to sit around and let her grandfather be railroaded and his legacy forgotten. She had a plan and if she had it her way soon Zerick would be a long lost cousin they don’t talk about. As she walked through the crowd she downloaded replay and immediately got on SnapChat. Zooming around she saw the girl who saved her from wearing that awful dress at homecoming, Belle Archibald. Waving at her she felt kinda jealous because she couldn’t be much older than her but she was dressed so much more provocative. Her dad wouldn’t dare let her out with what that girl had on. Ending her snap so the world could see she was in a club. She walked up on her plus one who was sitting backstage rapping all IMoney words. She did have a surprise.

“You know this our first time in a club and we don’t get to drink or smoke pot. I think that sucks because I clearly smell the weed rafting off the VIP section. Not only that but look at me Dylan. I should be up there with Brooke,Val, and Aspen. I’m one of those girls so what they are like seven or eight years older. I’m an heiress too and I’m going to be bigger than all of them. Like you know my mom left me all that money and I’m a Devonshire. I just can’t wait until we get out of high school and start being looked as more than the kids. I want to drink and I want to go out of state without our parents knowing. I want to go to IMoney concert and not be monitored by my family. I guess what I’m saying is Dylan we both have had such fucked childhoods. No seriously I have known from six years old that I killed my mom. Your mom was a junkie no offense she’s amazing now. We just deserve to drink and be normal teens for a night. I want to feel good so.” She slid off her teddy-bear mini Moschino bag. “I got us a bottle. I snagged for about a hundred dollars more than it was worth. However we can have our first drinks together.” She pulled out a joint she bought. “I got this also because why wouldn’t we. I mean we rode over here in my limo so we can ride back to the mansion before the events over and be wasted. What do you say?” When she looked up her heart dropped it couldn’t be. “Dylan is that Wyatt talking to Connor Hessington.”

Dylan looked around the club and down at his wristband wondering how his dad had ever agreed to this with his mother on the other hand he was glad he didn’t have to lie to them to get here. He looked over at Maddie as he drank his Sprite it was still fun to hang out with her but sometimes she could be a bit much even for him. He still remembered how mortified everyone was at Thanksgiving and he almost rolled his eyes at her that was stuff that they didn’t have any business being a part of with Zerick. It was also a talk that was awkward as hell that he had later that week with his parents the importance of respecting women and the birds and the bees. He didn’t know Lowell all that great but he trusted the judgement of the adults in his life to make the best decisions when it came to that situation, he got that Maddie love her grandfather but if his had ever done what Lowell did he’d never speak to him again, ever. He was here to maybe show Jamal a few strums on his guitar and a tune or two and that was it, he was not going to get in trouble and he almost dropped his drink when she pulled out the bottle from her purse. She was more the push the limits type girl and he kinda had a sense that she got that from being Chauncey’s kid his eyes got wider as she brought out the joint and he got uneasy. Was she insane given everything with his mom and what she went through?

“I say that you should let he adults handle the Zerick thing it’s not really your business. I get it Maddie you love your grandfather but what he did.” Dylan said his voice trailing off he knew she didn’t like the word and for her reality was still stuck in the past with Lowell. A test was pretty fool proof in his eyes and in the eyes of the law when it came to it, he had overheard his dad talking about it with his mom the other day when they thought he wasn’t listening something about the statute of limitations. He had to Google it afterwards and he honestly felt bad for Zerick and his mom, the limit was twenty years meaning nothing could be done when it came to what happened back then. “You want to spend the night wasted I guess go for it? I thought you came because you wanted to watch the concert and get out. You want to smoke that go find someone else to do it with I mean it.” Dylan said looking at her and narrowing his eyes at her to let her know he was serious, drugs were not cool and his parents would flip the fuck out not to mention his mom who was in recovery. He looked across the crowd and rolled his eyes as he saw Wyatt who was supposed to be like in another city. “Yeah that’s Wyatt. Probably here to visit or something.”

Maddie totally forgot about Tamara and how anti-drug Dylan was but it was a joint not pills or coke. She understood though so she placed the joint back into her bag. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to rile you up about drugs and I just thought we should be like everyone else in here. Numb.” She said honestly looking at him. “You know sometimes I forget what a good guy you are but Dylan don’t you want to cut loose sometimes? I’m not going to believe my grandfather is a rapist and you’re going to help me.” She demanded looking at her best friend. “When I told you never to give up on your mom because she was alive. I don’t have my mom and yeah Selina is my mom too but she isn’t either. She just left me and I don’t think a parent should and would do that. She has no biological bond to me and I love her and respect her but she isn’t my mom clearly I’m white.” Maddie laughed as she looked at him wondering if he would drink with her. She bit down on her lip softly as she narrowed her eyes at him. “One drink isn’t going to change your life. So can we do that?” That’s when she locked her eyes in on Wyatt and she smiled directly at him waving her hand signaling him to come over.

“As for helping me, I may have contacted Julian Rutherford after I overheard grams talking to Zerick on the phone about aunt Katie’s health. I scheduled my aunt Taylor to come to dinner this year for Christmas right along with aunt Katie and Julian. We are going to get to the bottom of this because they are all staying until after the wedding.” She took the cherry off her Shirley temple and took a bite. Damn Wyatt had grown up watching him floating over here.. “I just need you to help hide them out with me in the mansion it’s easy. It’s a mansion and when I put everyone in the room together the truth will come out. That my grandfather slept with Katie not raped her and she’s crazy. No enough with the rape talk Wyatt is almost over here.”

Wyatt Kincaid had come to this event with his god-brother Connor Hessington. It wasn’t the first time he’d been too concert but this was much more, everyone wanted to be on RePlay. Rumor had it was going to be the new place for anyone who was in the know. Running his hands through his hair he looked at Dylan and Maddie. He’d seen her fine ass from across the room earlier but he played it cool. He wasn’t like Connor who had Rory to help him introduce him to a girl. Even though the other blond bombshell was that girl he was after. He however had another on his mind. To be honest he couldn’t believe that Atlas Falls was about to be his home soon. It wasn’t his fault he got kicked out of military school. His father and he clashed all the time because he didn’t want to be the new Hessington’s. He just wanted to be Wyatt Kincaid not some carbon copy of Charles and his fucked up kids. Only one was normal was Connor because Whitney and Lex were fucked. As he strutted up he saw Dylan looking annoyed by his presence, somethings never change.

“Wassup girl.” Wyatt said instantly pulling Maddie into a bear hug as he looked at her.  “Damn Maddie who told you to grow up and get all sexy?” He chuckled looking at Dylan. “Drew right? Drew Fraiser man last time I saw you we were in like preschool. Do you remember I slam your head into the sand and your mom with thick New York accent chased me all around the park. It’s good to see you man. You two a couple now because I remember y’all always used to be together. Drew you’re like the captain of Atlas Falls Prep lacrosse team? Well crazy right that I was the captain of my team and since I happen to be enrolling into the school next semester maybe I can do a late in the season tryout?”

Maddie snorted when he called him Drew. Seeing Dylan’s face turn bright red made her snicker even more. He was very annoyed by Wyatt’s presence.“Us together? Ha! He’s like my brother it’s gross ew disgust.” Maddie said looking at Wyatt. “So I have this.” Holding up the bottle. “It’s from the bar and I’m trying to get a little buzzed so Wyatt a shot with me and Drew?” She laughed again. “His name isn’t Drew it’s Dylan, Wyatt.”

“My bad man. I guess wasn’t good with names in preschool except Maddie’s of course. You know unforgettable she is right?” Wyatt asked looking at Dylan. “My bad Dylan about the name.”

Dylan rolled his eyes at Maddie as she mentioned that he was going to hijack his aunt’s wedding to help in her crazy scheme that was not going to happen it wasn’t his business. He was trying to be cool and yeah he and Maddie were close and if his dad hadn’t of married Selina he would have actually worked up the nerve to ask her out, so when she all but made fun of him along with Wyatt he couldn’t help but be pissed off.  He had his big moment earlier with the stage and Jamal now here Wyatt was about ready to upstage him, make him feel like a stupid little kid and try and take Maddie all in one swoop? He leaned back in the booth remembering what his grandfather had told him people don’t put Fraiser’s in a corner that wasn’t what their family did they just fought back harder and it wasn’t like he didn’t know how to kick Wyatt’s ass. He took boxing lessons and went to the gym with Brock, Zach and his dad regularly to work on his skills just like everyone in his family did including the girls.

“Did your parents not like want you anymore? Your grandma from what I heard has like no one so I guess it’s a good thing she took you in.” Dylan said being as much of a smartass he could two could play at this game but he was sure if his grandma was here she would slap him upside his head. He looked over at Maddie and shrugged. “Team’s all full sorry Richie Rich as for Maddie she doesn’t even like talk about you unless you’re in town, so I’d say you were pretty forgettable in kindergarten.”

“Well we will see what coach Thomas has to say about that now won’t we? You know my grandmother donates to the school already. So I guess we’ll see who the best on the field now won’t we.” He picked up Maddie’s bottle of vodka and smirked. “Yeah we can drink Maddie what about you Dylan? You taking a shot or are scared?” He wanted to so badly say he’d been around Maddie for years and never thought man she was stunning. Hell his stupid ass just sItting here looking dumb when she was trying to turn up. He was lame. Even worse he had it bad for Maddie and she didn’t know it.  All he could think was don’t hate on me man because you’re lame and you didn’t or couldn’t bag Maddie. Wyatt immediately sat between Maddie and Dylan.

“Aye Dylan did you know we’ve been destined since Max and Hunter married and we got play married right with them. I was ring boy did you know that and she was flower girl.” He chose not to speak on his parents. “My family dynamics aren’t any of your business. I mean considering your dad was married last year to another woman and is now banging your mom. You know what Drew. You Fraiser seem to always have your nose up in the air about everyone else but you motherfuckers are snobs so don’t play with me. I might be from blue blood but I don’t act like I’m better than the next. You all are fake as hell because your granddad was screwing my granny.”

“Hey!” Maddie said looking between them. “You two are wilding.” She poured them three a drink. “I’ve never drank so I want to do this with my best friend and a close friend. Can you two divas calm down so we can enjoy the moment. IMoney is about to hit the stage and we’re underage in a night club about to have a drink. Can we just turn up to that. Let’s enjoy.” Maddie leaned over and poured a shot for each of them in Styrofoam cup. “You down? You don’t have to do this Dylan no pressure swear.”

Dylan glared at Wyatt he was so fucking annoying not to mention an asshole and he clenched his fist under the table when he insulted his family. He could have opened his mouth about rumors about Wyatt’s parents but he instead chose to shut his mouth his parents were happy finally. They were repairing their family he of course felt bad for what Selina was going through but she left him and Maddie last summer. He saw them take the cups and didn’t know what came over him he supposed it was wanting to be cool he took the drink almost spitting it out instead manning up and swallowing it. “There are you happy now?” Dylan asked shooting Maddie a look he wasn’t sure why he did it. He supposed it was because is conscience was telling him drinking and lying to his parents was wrong. “Can we now go actually have fun, I might just go find Kelsey if that is all you want to do drink and get high.”

“That’s what you rich ass white kids do? Get drunk and high?” Keke asked as she placed her hand on her hip. “My weave don’t have no time for that smoke. So if it isn’t the princess of Atlas Falls Prep, I guess y’all aren’t the only one with connections huh? Well since you passing out shots where’s mine at?” Sucking her teeth she had been around both Dylan and Maddie due to them all being on student council and she was absolutely sure Dylan liked Maddie. For whatever reason because the girl was about as deep as Lake Everest and our lake wasn’t known for its depth. Holding out her cup she saw Wyatt staring at her curiously. “And since we all have to be up in the morning and my Godfather is performing tonight I say we turn up because that’s your uncle on stage right?”

Maddie face flushed seeing her dad staring so intently at Rory as she poured Keke annoy ass a shot. This girl irked her to no bounds. She was absolutely sure she liked Dylan. He was oblivious as most boys are but she wasn’t. Maddie refused to ever let a public school refugee get her Dylan. So every time she blocked their little conversations but tonight she had no choice but to be around her. Who knew iMoney was Keke’s godfather that was so annoying and all she could do was place the bottle into her purse as she lead the group to the front. Listening to her uncle she whipped on her phone and downloaded RePlay and noticed everyone was doing the same. She also instantly downloaded iMoney EP Scottswood Dreams. Clapping her hands she jumped up and down as iMoney appeared on stage. “That’s so cool that’s your Goddad. I am such a fan his music is so hard.”

“I agree.” Wyatt said downloading Scottswood Dreams immediately as he watched Ivan rapping ferociously on the microphone. He yelled throwing his hands up as he looked at Dylan also immersed in iMoney performance. They were all underage at a club and drinking this is how transferring from an all boys military academy was like then count him the fuck in. “So let’s turn up like the song says!” Wyatt screamed as he walked onto the dance floor. Taking Keke’s hand instead of Maddie’s.

“Come on Dylan, let’s dance.” Maddie yanked his hand and spun around seductively. Looking at Dylan and smiling as he danced on beat. “Look at you growing out of your two left feet.”

Dylan looked over at Keke as Maddie drug him to the dance floor honestly he wasn’t sure how he felt about her. Ever since the trial and knowing the life Kendrick had on one had he felt bad for her for losing her brother, on the other her brother had terrorized his aunt that day. She was on student council and that was really the only time they hung our and maybe he needed to be a better neighbor and friend to her. He saw the way Maddie looked at Keke like Keke was less than her because of her social status and financial well being. He wondered if she looked at him like that too now that their parents were divorced.

“I’m outgrowing a lot of stuff Maddie like my two left feet. Keke’s on council not a lot you can do about it. Maybe we should invite her to hang out more you know?” Dylan said hoping to plant the seeds that Maddie needed more girlfriends in her life and to not be so shallow with other girls.

She danced with Dylan as she looked at Wyatt and Keke laughing. She’d never admit it but a girl like Keke intimidated her. It was clear how everyone thought she was so cool. “I have no problem chilling with her. Matter of fact we can all go to the guest house after this.” She said leaning her head on Dylan shoulder as IMoney song slowed. “I’m sorry about the weed. I’ll flush it, I was just trying to be cool. I guess.”

**********

Val was on her last nerves tonight everything was going smoothly for Jamal and Rory and at first for her it was the same until now. Stupid dumb ass bitch model that she had booked out months ago got another gig for some up and comer in Miami and if she didn’t know better that Florida connection went deeper than Miami. She was so frustrated she was one model short, Brooke was already headling the show. Aspen and she were not close not to mention Aspen was lapping up the attention that Rory and the press were giving her. She didn’t need another male model she needed a female one with the right skin tone to rock that stunning gown that she had designed mocha was the only thing that came to mind and her eyes landed on Yasmine. She didn’t care if there was beef between Yasmine and Rory or hell Yasmine ane Aspen she looked about the right height luckily the dress could be adjusted to fit her shape and she passed her glass to one of the waiters. Making a beeline for Yasmine who was over with Khalil and Connor Hessington along with the rest of the sport crowd.

“Yasmine hi, I don’t believe we have been properly introduced Val Ruiz. You must be Khalil everyone here knows your the man going to be putting up those points with Connor, if you will excuse us.” Val said gently looking at her and before moving her hips to the side and dragging Yasmine behind her gently as she saw Khalil chasing after them. Men could be so damn fucking annoying sometimes and she pulled Yasmine to the private section where all the models were getting ready waving at security to let Khalil through. “What size are you I was going to say an 8 maybe a 6? Someone get me that champagne colored low back!” Val said placing the tape measure around her neck as she looked at Yasmine and then Khalil staring at her like she was crazy. ”Well don’t just stand there and gawk get those clothes off, all of them bra included we’ll use tape to hold up the girls and it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. I don’t have all day one of my models dropped out the last minute, sometimes they do it. I need someone your height to show off this piece.”

Yasmine was enjoying the event considering Khalil had press passes to attend the launch of Rory’s app. Not only that Khalil was really close with Ivan due to Kendrick and the music was something that Khalil listened to all the time before games. Ivan did have some hot ass tracks and she was loving his summer bop. When she saw Val coming up to her she immediately rolled her eyes. Somehow the rich folk drama was coming toward her. Khalil and Connor were discussing everything coming with him signing with the team. She was sipping champagne and when she listened to Val she immediately smiled. “You want me to model?” She said incredulously as she spun around and felt two girls immediately helping her get undressed. “Wait Val, I’ve never done this girl I only watched Top Model. I’m from the ghetto I don’t know how to walk a catwalk.” She said as the girl immediately helped her get into this shimmering champagne dress.

“Val.” She said looking at the woman immediately going to work. “I’m a size six but can you answer me a question.” Yasmine said looking at the girl who was tightening the dress on her body. “Is Rory really happy with Aspen?” She looked down at the woman. “He is really mad at me right now and I just want him happy because he deserves some happiness you know? I was so mad at him a couple of months ago and I jumped into something and now I’m not sure what’s going on. Everything is moving so fast and the moment I saw him with Aspen.” She paused looking at Val’s obviously shocked face. “What girl you need me to model and I need to vent. I just want them both and I don’t want Rory to be with her and I don’t want Khalil to walk away either. Have you ever felt like that? Like you want the best of both worlds?”

Val was so focused on getting the garment on her she looked up at Yasmine as she placed a few pins and then motioned for her assistants to get the dress off again. She almost rolled her eyes at Yasmine worried about the walk when all she wanted her to do was walk across the stage and back. She took out a needle and thread to match the fabric, as the dress was flipped carefully inside out and made the whip stitches carefully. She lifted her head a bit when Yasmine started to talk about her problem with Rory and Khalil and she was grateful at the moment that she didn’t have to be conflicted. She wasn’t one to gossip about Aspen, she hadn’t done anything to her and she was close friends with the Devonshire’s and Brooke. She watched as the assistants helped with the dress again and her mind drifted to Jamal and Kelsey surely there could be a solution. She walked to Yasmine grabbing some powder to freshen up her face and reached for lipstick to match the look, she saw Brooke looking over at them and saw Yasmine get nervous.

“He seems happy with Aspen like you are with Khalil. Listen this may sound like weird but why not share them both, maybe that isn’t how you roll. Like I know that is not how Rory rolls no offense but I’ve loved two people at the same time, it’s not easy but it can be done.” Val said looking at Yasmine for a moment as she saw it finally dawn on Yasmine that she was bi. “I didn’t learn how to make women’s clothing and then how to style up a man just looking or being with one sex. I’m pretty how should I say it flexible like that.” Val said standing back to admire her work as she motioned for Yasmine to spin in the dress. “I need you to simply walk down the runway, stop do a few looks over your shoulder back at the flashing cameras on each side and end of the stage, you simply walk back. I needed you to walk because you are the right height and build. You will do fine you will walk right before Brooke.” Val looked at her seeing if she was still nervous or not. “You will do great do you and Brooke not get along? I can stick you with another if you want.”

“I wouldn’t say we don’t get along but we just cut from different cloths. She seems to not like how her best friends were all up in my mug last year” Smacking her teeth she looked Brooke. “Plus we saw the real Ronan the one she never saw. The motherfucker that was a monster and I do think she saw the romantic side of mob life she never saw the truth. Either way I don’t got no problem with her.” She looked at Brooke and waved her hand. “It’s cool if you call her over? I’m a dancer and I think that walking shouldn’t be that hard. As for having them both girl it doesn’t work that way and I didn’t know you were bisexual. Good for you whatever you want girl go for it but I don’t think Khalil Watkins star basketball star and Rory Devonshire billionaire tycoon won’t let me share. I hope that I can figure out this shit so I can stop feeling so uncertain. I love both of them you know.” She said noticing Val waving Brooke over and she appeared. Val explained everything and next thing she knew Brooke was strutting back and forth teaching her how to walk.

As she laughed with the other girls she noticed Rory watching her from behind the stage. As she strutted she felt herself become enthralled with the feeling of modeling. It was fun. The other girls were laughing and clapping for her she turned to Val. “Can I really do this? It’s kind of fun girl thank-you Val. It’s really fun this fashion thing.” Yasmine said doing a twirl and spun around. As she looked at Val. “I’m nervous but your show is about to start and Ivan is ripping. I know you proud of Jamal right? You seem to have experience in the whole two people in love thing. This time it isn’t so easy for me. I had Jamal chasing after me but you knew this. If this is awkward just let me.know I didn’t think about who I was talking to.”

Val looked up at Yasmine when she spoke about Ronan and decided to shut her mouth on it she got why Brooke got enthralled with Ronan the danger he presented but at the end of the day Yasmine was right he was a killer too. Instead she stood up took one final look at Yasmine and went to work on some other things, listening to Yasmine talk. She was jolted back to what Yasmine was saying when she thanked her and acknowledged that she had experience. Id the girl only knew now she just had to get Kelsey and Jamal to see it that way too. “No it’s fine and everything will work itself out Yasmine. You look great and I’m glad we got a chance to talk and get to know one another better.” Val started only to hear one of her assistants call her name and she turned to see that one of the models had accidentally ripped one of the pieces. “Pardon me I have to go tend to that at the moment we’ll talk more later.”

Rory had come back out from the back rooms and got another glass Aspen was off talking to some friends that she had seen and he had seen Val charge through the club. His eyes narrowed a bit as she then found Yasmine and he saw Khalil following Val and Yasmine back to where the models were. He stayed in the shadows until he saw Khalil step out of the dressing room to answer his phone and stole another glance at Yasmine in the dress. She was stunning and gorgeous, but he knew that from the first time he saw her in the club she could have easily been a model if she had wanted. He watched her watch Brooke and decided that he ultimately looked like a creeper in the shadows and stepped out when she spun around and spoke. “It suits you. You’ve always been so scared to be beautiful Yasmine and own it now with who your father is you can own it and then some who knows maybe he’ll come after Val’s new line now that you slipped on her designer dresses, even though my mother backed her and Dante from the get go.” He said looking at her wanting to give her an idea about who Forbes was and what he was really like. “In all seriousness though you look positively stunning as usual. I just wanted to stop in and say hello before you went out there on Val’s orders and tell you that you will do great.”

“I cut my hair because of you.” Yasmine said looking at him. Wrapping her arms around herself as she looked at him. “When you kept coming back to the club over and over again. I thought who is this crazy ass white boy who couldn’t get enough of me. Then you started to remind me that I didn’t deserve to be on a pole. Then you showed me what true love truly is. I can’t thank-you enough for what you did for me last year. Nor can I change my DNA so we are at an impasse because I think we could be friends again. Hell I just miss having your optimistic outlook on life around. I’m a pessimist remember? Rory we have people in our lives that are so good to us. Aspen is making you happy and Val even said that. Khalil is making me so happy but why are doing this? Why can’t you stay away from me? Why can’t I stay away from you? Look I don’t want to fight Aspen and I don’t want you back. The way you reacted to my father, was out of line. I don’t shit to do with whatever war is going on. Hell I didn’t know I was apart of this war.” She stepped up to him and touched his tux lapels.

“Rory we didn’t say goodbye and I think it’s time to say goodbye.” She said in a whisper. “I threw you away and it’s a regret that I’ll have to live with until I’m hundred. I thought that you deserved to be punished and I punished myself. I denied myself what I wanted which was and to a certain extent still is you. You think I don’t think about where we could be if I forgave you? If would have been a grown woman and just said I love you enough to work through Tess who is now housing your daddy.” She said with the same bite he said about her father. “You look good too Rory and you deserve this app to be amazing. You were working tirelessly when we were together to get this off the ground. Now you and Jamal are about to take off. You both deserve it. I should get to makeup.”

Belle stood behind the clothes rack watching Rory and Yasmine touching unattainable love story. “God if it got anymore Shakespeare up in here I would have hurled. I think Rory, Jamal is freaking out upstairs about something in the VIP and he’s looking for you and you need to be in makeup, I mean those teary eyes don’t exactly scream top model.” Watching them both look shocked at their intimate moment ruined. “I’ll be going, I kinda stumbled right in there huh?” As she walked around backstage she saw the red dress that Val had given explicit instructions to take out of the show. “Far too stunning to just sit on a rack.” A wicked smile etched on her face. “Pardon, hi I’m Isabelle and Valentina told me to wear this red gown can you help me? I think I’m supposed to close the show.” One of the seamstresses took her hand and walked her into a dressing room.

“Do you know that girl?” Yasmine said looking at Rory. “She’s been a guest at my father’s and now she’s living with Tess and your father. Who is that chick? My father seems to think she has some importance in all this but I think she’s a colossal bitch.”

Rory had listened to her talk and wanted to say something back to her she was right they really shouldn’t keep dancing around what was going on between them. He supposed it was kismet what he had with Yasmine that they’d always been in each other’s orbit or maybe it was just the universe playing a cruel joke on them. He honestly could not at this point in his life look past the fact that she was Forbes daughter, too much ugliness had happened between his dad and Forbes, had happened between Max and Philip for him to look past that. He was not his brother at the moment when it came to their enemies but he kinda had to wonder if the Frasier’s were enemies or not anymore, heck even his father and Walter quit squabbling. He wasn’t wired like Jackson was to just forgive her father after all the shit that Forbes did to him over the years and even recently at the twin’s shower, which was fucking evil in his eyes. He did really like and care for Aspen as a friend and she was a good lover so maybe that was the fresh start they both needed. He looked at her when she mentioned all the stuff about her hair and the glared as Belle just fucking intruded on their privacy, seriously she was everywhere from the hospital to his fathers lap and that pissed him off even more and he glared at her as she left to then look at Yasmine again.

“I’ve met her a few times at the hospital she’s doing some art therapy classes with my dad and now she’s living with Tess.” Rory said taking in the last bit of information that Belle had actually stayed with Forbes when she was in town before Tess wonderful. He wasn’t mad at Yasmine for it or anything like that it just frustrated him he saw the models getting ready to go on and leaned in kissing her cheek before pulling back. “You’re right friends that is all this can be now. I’ll see you out there I should really get back to Aspen before she sends a security team to find me.” He stepped back casting a final glance at her before walking back to the front of the stage and the crowd.

Val had watched the entire exchange between Rory and Yasmine, giving them the privacy they needed and waited till he was done and had left to clear her throat. “You’re up after Brooke you ready?”

“Yeah I’m ready.” She said looking at Khalil smiling with his phone out. That’s all they could be because she really loved Khalil and she would never stop loving Rory. At this moment they were friends and that’s it. Brooke pinched her butt and she stormed onto the runway. Seeing Brooke she felt the energy for the crowd. They were eating her up and her movements were so precise that she felt entranced. It was interesting to see how she commanded the room with a walk. Taking a deep breath she knew she closed the show. When Brooke turned around she felt people pulling on her dress and fixing her hair and makeup. Then it was on her because Brooke gracefully strutted past her. As she stepped out she could feel the eyes on her and she began to walk with grace and purpose. It was nerve wracking seeing all the flashing lights and she really didn’t know where to stop but stopped when she saw Khalil. She smiled at him and spun around freely. As she walked back she felt the energy and became excited. Walking backstage she saw the girls lining up in bikinis for Ivan performance. The models were in the gowns lining up to do the final walk. “Is she in the show?” She tapped Val and Brooke on the shoulder.  The lights went off and then they flashed on with Belle storming the runway in a dress that looked like it took years to construct.

Brooke turned around with Val and saw Belle storming out on the runway in a dress that Val had taken out of the collection. That little sneaky bitch. Val looked as if she was about to blow two caskets and she rushed over to the runway. People were standing up and cheering Val wanted that dress in her winter spring collection not only that she was supposed to wear it in less than a few weeks at NY fashion week. “I don’t believe her! I’m going to rip her matted blonde hair out of her head.”

Belle walked backstage as she looked at everyone. “What we couldn’t let this amazing garment go to waste in the back. I had to show it off and plus they ate me up and Yasmine too. Brooke I’d be worried about your job.” She slowly strutted to the end lineup. Val fuming face said it all. So she had to pluck her nerves a little more.“Can I walk with you since I did close the show Val? I’ll clap passionately.”

“You ruined her show.” Brooke snapped as she grabbed Belle’s hair and her hand ran across her face. “You think you can just throw you sleeping with Atticus in my face.”

“What are you talking about? Get your hands off of me!” Belle screamed loudly kicking Brooke leg ripping the dress.

“Oh shit white girl fighting.” Yasmine said looking at them stepping back.

“Get your damn hands off of me you harpy!” She yanked a handful of Brooke’s hair. Sling her into the wall to get her to let go as they both went tumbling in high couture. Security arrived and pulled them apart before it got ugly. “Get your hands off of me.” She screamed at them.

Jamal walked up. “Get her out of here. Baby you good?” He watched the bikini girls go out and Ivan rapping furiously on stage. “Aye and get her clothes my girl need that dress.”

**********

Jamal sat back watching people partying all around and felt his soul soaring because he had done it. Ivan was trending tonight on Twitter so was RePlay and Legacy Records. They had three of the American trending spots on Twitter. They were a hit and he watched Rory app steadily getting downloads. As he looked up at Val reading fashion reviews her scowl showed maybe she wasn’t getting news. He pulled up Vogue and immediately smiled she was getting a glowing review and they were amazed by Belle’s dress. Oh shit that’s why she was pissed they were talking about the fight backstage all over. Shit he didn’t want this to overshadow Val’s line. Jamal rubbed her back and looked at Kelsey standing outside the door. He wasn’t sure he wasn’t enough for Val but she clearly had tastes that he couldn’t understand. Jamal wasn’t jealous though because maybe he could have it all. As he walked to the door he saw Kelsey standing shaking a little.

“Come in.” Jamal said as he walked her to the office and closed the blinds. The low tones of Jhene Aiko sensually set the mood. He walked to his bar and poured her a double shot of Patron tequila. “Sit down and let’s talk. It seems we have a lot in common considering we both are in love with Val. Now imma handle this grown as a can by saying I’ve always been selfish as a boyfriend and a man. But I’d like to do something I don’t think I’ve ever done. I’m here to share her and I don’t say this lightly. Kelsey if we make Val choose she’s going to walk away from both of us.” Taking a drink of his tequila and saw her eyes grow concerned. “So I’m proposing something different.”

“She told me that you know about us but I’m shocked you’re taking this so well.” Kelsey said looking at Val. “I know that she doesn’t want to let go of either of us. So what are we supposed to do? I love her so much and I tried to go on a date and I just can’t keep Val out of my mind. So I want to know what you are going to propose. My job as a doctor is to be a detective of the body. I have to figure out how to fix the problem and to do that I should hear every option. To eliminate every avenue that we could go down. I’m just glad you don’t hate me Jamal. I didn’t mean for this to happen to any of us. We are in the most strange situation.” Kelsey said looking at Val who also had a shocked expression on her face looking at Jamal.

“Well I see this going in two different ways. We can keep pulling Val in half until she breaks and chooses one of us or we can both give her what she needs.” He looked at Kelsey and Val. “I’ve been reading about this it’s called a throuple. Look a polyamourous relationship could be what we all need. That way we are committed to each other and we both get to keep her. Plus what are you going to do when you need sperm for a kid Kelsey? Val? I’m here and I want kids eventually. Why not? We are young and we only live once.” Jamal touched Kelsey face. “Now I’m not saying we all have to share a bed unless we want to.” He snickered. “What you don’t have to question is if you are going to lose her anymore. If she is going to leave to me or if she’s going to leave me for you in my case.”

Kelsey looked at Val who was just as suckered punched as she was but it was clear that Jamal had thought this out. He had planned it and she was sure she wasn’t ready to lose Val. She also saw Jamal wasn’t going anywhere. “We would need to set boundaries I mean Jamal I’m a lesbian so what are you suggesting? I don’t like men are you suggesting that?”

“I could teach you that all men aren’t so fast. Some men enjoy prolonging pleasure and tasting every drop of you and Val. Rumor is you had a bad experience in high school and then next thing the town knows you are only into girls. Let me show you that we aren’t bad and we can give you the pleasure you want. Not only that, I can give you the woman you love without drama. Let’s join forces and we all get what we want.” Jamal grabbed a remote pressing a button as the blinds lowered. “So you wouldn’t be turned on Kelsey if you saw me pleasing Val?” Jamal reached out to Val pulling her in sexually. As he began to untying her dress off her body. As she stood before them both naked he begin to taste her juices dripping from her legs. Grabbing a leg he placed it on his shoulder and began to feast on Val in front of Kelsey. Tilting his head he extended out his right arm for her to join them.

Kelsey stood shocked at what was happening. She couldn’t believe Jamal or Val were so bold. Her lips quivered and she didn’t know what was happening but seeing Jamal smooth mocha skin merging with her beautiful golden kissed skin she began to feel hot. She wasn’t sure what was happening but she couldn’t stop herself. Kelsey unzipped her dress letting it fall to the floor and began to slowly strut to Jamal. Kelsey reached out and took Jamal hand as she sat down by them. “What do we do now.”

Val hadn’t quite been sure what to expect when she had first suggest what they were about to do to Jamal. She had deceived Kelsey to even get her into the room with a text but she was determined for them to all come to an agreement. So when Kelsey came she was thrilled and then the way Jamal was handling it was even better, she shot Kelsey a seductive look as Jamal took off her dress letting her see her body. She locked eyes with Kesley as Jamal got on his knees and she opened her legs giving him access to her body as his head lowered. She couldn’t help herself as a moan escaped her lips when he began to feast on her, and she saw Kelsey looking at them her hand went to Jamal’s hair to curl in his curls, she was Kelsey twitch and remove her dress and then saw her walk over to them. Her right hand reached down to Kelsey’s face urging her to stand and pulled her close once she was up.

“We do this.” Val said looking at her before leaning in and kissing her letting out a moan into her mouth from the pleasure that Jamal was giving her. She deepened the kiss as Jamal continued to feast on her and then pulled back tugging on Kelsey’s lips. “Then this?” Val asked lowering her hand to slip two fingers into her heat watching KelSEy’s eyes widen and the shock. It felt so good to be with both Jamal and Kelsey this way, to be able to share them both so intimately, her head leaned down, letting out another gasp as her lips closed around Kelsey’s nipple to suckle and tug. She didn’t want Kelsey to do anything that she wasn’t comfortable with but she wanted them all to get off properly. “What do you want?” She said coming up for air as her hand continued to move in Kelsey’s heat.

“I don’t know.” She said touching both Jamal and Kelsey hand. “I want you both I think.” Kelsey said softly. It didn’t take long before Jamal had stop feasting on Val and then his head was quickly buried between her thighs. As her eyes began to roll in the back of her head. She didn’t think she liked men but this was different. This was the only way that she was going to have Val and for some reason she was so safe with them both. A low moan came out of Jamal mouth and her body began to react in a way she didn’t think it would for a man. As she threw her head back as she leaned in and kissed Val. She couldn’t believe this was happening. The sex was mind blowing and she wasn’t insecure this time. She wanted to explore this all completely.

“Wait.” Kelsey said as she raised Jamal head and looked at Val. “I think I want to see what else can happen.” She looked at Val and gulped a little. “Jamal will you um, I think I want to try it.” She said looking at Val who had the devil in her eyes. It was as if she was getting everything she wanted. She was just trying to open her heart to do something for Val and Jamal wasn’t bad at eating her out. Val always said how much pleasure he gave her. Well she would see tonight. She leaned down and kissed Jamal then turned to kiss Val.

Jamal instinctively laid Kelsey down and nodded at Val to come to the front. As he laid down on top of Kelsey body. He looked inside of her eyes and inch by inch entered her tightness and he saw Val playing with herself watching them. He was getting the best of both worlds. His freaky ass girlfriend and lesbian that only one other dude had hit. It was perfect and he knew that this was the best day in a long time. Jamal started to get a rhythm as he started slamming into her tight wetness. As he stared in Kelsey eyes which were rolling but what he wasn’t expecting was Val to come and literally sit on Kelsey face. He could tell she didn’t know what was pleasing her most. He grabbed Val face and tongue kissed her passionately. “Fuck!”

Jamal began to furiously slam into Kelsey tight wet pussy. He saw Val dismount Kelsey face which was soaked with Val juices. Jamal leaned down and began licking her face as if he was a cat drinking it’s first taste of milk. “Look at me Kelsey.”

Kelsey couldn’t look him in the eyes because it would be real and she’d be enjoying a man pleasing her. Now it wasn’t something she wanted but when she got a taste for it. She knew where she was going. Jamal was an amazing lover and she was enjoying every moment of this. Between being able to have Val and have something new she was excited and enthralled in this entire experience. “Yes.” She cried as Jamal pulled out and grabbed Val to finish her off. All of the sudden Val head was between her legs and she began to shake.

Jamal watched Val and Kelsey exploring each other bodies and immediately continued to stroke his pole. As he watched Val wiggling her ass in the air he walked from behind and inserted himself inside of her from behind. As he started to thrust all of them were starting to reach their peaks. “Fuck y’all both so tight.” Jamal cried out.

Val was a little shocked with Kelsey asked Jamal to fuck her she wasn’t exactly sure why she was so shocked mainly because Kelsey had always been so adamant that she was a lesbian. She couldn’t help herself though as she watched him fuck Kelsey and her hands went to her own heat stroking along and then she moved to the bed placing her pussy over Kelsey’s face. She was moaning and throwing her hips feeling Kelsey’s tongue lashing right at her G spot only fo the contact to break when Jamal moved positions and she was Kelsey lean back on the bed clearly on the verge of her own orgasm. She lowered her head between Kelsey’s legs feeling her pull on her hair her hands snaked up to her breasts stroking and rubbing her nipples and then she let out a moan feeling Jamal starting to pound her from behind. She couldn’t help it as her tongue darted with his rhythm over Kelsey’s spot and she felt herself shivering and then suddenly her body was jerking against Kelsey’s thighs and she was groaning with her orgasm hit. She felt Kesley begin to gush over her mouth and was so high on the sex she wasn’t sure if she had come or not. She felt Jamal slowly pounding into her and releasing and her eyes looked up to see Kelsey touching her breasts and coming too.

“Fuck.” She managed to get out moving her mouth away and gently rubbing Kelsey’s clit to allow her to orgasm again as she shuddered with Jamal still moving. She let out another sigh into the leather sofa. “So how was that for everyone?” She managed to get out.

Kelsey immediately was satisfied the sex was so intense between the three of them. As she grabbed her dress. Slipping inside of it she quickly slipped on her heels and grabbed her purse. “I have to go and figure all of this out.” She stormed out of the room before anyone could argue.

“She’ll be back Val.” Jamal grabbed his girl and looked her in the eyes. “She’ll be back that’s for sure.”

**********

Belle was waiting on her Uber to get home after Brooke and her little fight. Standing down the street from Vertigo she wasn’t trying to stay down there. She wasn’t sure if Brooke and her cronies would come out and attack her. As she turned around she saw Connor jogging up to her. She shook her head it wasn’t in the mood to flirt or even talk. She wanted to rip Brooke apart and she would. That bitch would pay and she wasn’t playing this time. She always resented how the British press fawned over Brooke. She wasn’t special she was the fucking daughter of a Duke and Duchess not only that her biological parents were basically American royals. She wasn’t in the mood and even worse looking at hot mess in front of Connor wasn’t her exact idea of a good time. Twisting her cardigan sleeve around her hand. She shook her head showing she wasn’t here for him. But the look on his face was absolutely adorable.

“I guess I deserve it.” She said folding her arms. “But I thought walking a fashion show would be fun. Hell it was and I just think that she’s so annoying. Connor I can’t stand that girl and I promise when I’m bloody well done with Brooke Kincaid she’ll wish she was living on Ilsa De Cruces. How dare she touch me!” Belle said with a screech. Leaning on the wall she looked into Connor face. “This isn’t funny! She attacked me like some ravenous bitch in heat! I can’t believe her! That’s it, I’m going to ruin her!” And Connor was going to help her but he didn’t know that nor would he. “You are spending Christmas in Atlas Falls you have that charity basketball game correct? What a girl has google.”

Connor was honestly amused by her the entire room saw her walk the catwalk but he knew the nitty gritty stuff like how Brooke and her and gotten into it behind the scenes. Honestly he was amused that Belle thought she was so entitled to walk in the show in the first place, not to mention override Val herself and her line. He wasn’t scared of her it was a challenge for sure but maybe the fight was what she needed to realize there was a place in Atlas Falls and Pennsylvania society that she simply at the moment wasn’t a part of. She was spoiled for sure and reminded him abit of his sister in her younger days before she had to toughen up in father’s words when mother got sick. Whitney was now a viper in many ways striking before someone else could get the upper hand and she kept it there her status being one of them. He handed her his coat it seemed like the gentlemanly thing to do on the balcony in the middle of fall in Atlas Falls.

“You wrestled with one of the queens of Atlas Falls and yet your shocked at the outcome? The world works different here there is a hierarchy that you aren’t a part of. Hell I’m not even a part of it here. Brooke Kincaid is marrying a crown prince and you’re simply his damaged past goods.” Connor said looking at her and shrugging when she glared at him, it was the truth he knew who she was and what she had done in her past with Atticus. The truth was the press loved Atticus and Brooke together and Belle would always be that stain to them, it was what it was. He wasn’t going to sugar coat it for her like other people in her life would. “Sure you got the spotlight but it’ll be forgotten tomorrow the moment the headline reads Atticus’s past shows up desperate to end his reunion with Brooke. I won’t sugar coat it for you here you are simply Forbes’s goddaughter that appeared out of nowhere and people here in town don’t care about that. I’ll be in town till after Christmas and then back the following week for the wedding. My sister is the maid of honor.”

“You have no idea who you are speaking to Connor.” She said with an amused expression on her face. “In a couple of days I’m going to have the entire state no this entire country talking about me. I’m going to change everything for everyone and you’re going to be my arm candy through it all.” Belle said smirking as she walked up to him. “Mr. Hessington I’m so much more than Forbes goddaughter and when you are seen dating me. Your profile as a superstar sports player will go up a million percent. I did happen to overhear that Forbes and Yasmine are having a charity event for Scottswood. Well I’d love to attend and considering you are Khalil’s teammate well I just have to be there. It’s a social event that I assure you will change Atlas Falls forever.” No more waiting in a few nights everyone would know that she was Lowell Devonshire and Tess Blisston daughter. “Call it the Kylie Jenner effect. You know how she upgraded Travis Scott. Well I’m going to do the same for you.”

Connor’s facial expression showed he wasn’t a believer but she wasn’t going to back down. “I was just about to get an Uber home. If you don’t mind I’d love for you to take me home. Maybe you’ll see why I’m so unforgettable than? No man has been able to resist me and I hate to say it Connor. You’re already under my spell.” Biting her plump bottom lip she took his hand. “So which one of these expensive cars is yours? I love to go fast considering that I don’t plan on slowing down for these Yankees at all.”

Atticus had seen and heard about the fight no doubt it would be all over the papers tomorrow and the crown would be under even more scrutiny as if they weren’t already. With the press here in Atlas Falls running a story about his brother the last thing the crown needed was another scandal and the people thinking that he and Brooke were on the outs. He had been looking all over the club for Belle as Brooke had disappeared too no doubt to maybe try and help Val get ahead on the press. Maybe it was wrong for him to think that Belle needed him to save her for vice versa but she had to know that word would get back to him about her fight with Brooke. He loved Brooke was looking forward to spending is life with her and the last thing his relationship or the crown needed was speculation that it was over thanks to his ex. He spotted her outside and then stopped a bit when he noticed that she was with Connor Hessingron a bit of a downgrade if you asked him and he couldn’t help his judgement when it came out.

“Ah there you are Belle I see with the rich of the state shame he doesn’t have a title though a little beneath your status. Afterall the Lady Belle Archibald should at the very least date at her station not below it.” Atticus said with a sneer as he looked at Connor and then back at her. He was well aware of what she was trying to do this time when it came to him and Brooke but he wasn’t going to let it happen. He was fine with making the governor’s son cringe a bit, not to mention the way the great Charles Hessington refused to intervene on behalf of the crown when it came to Fox and his brother. “You had to of known that I would find out about your scuffle with Brooke. I thought we had talked and agreed that you wouldn’t make trouble with her while you are here for your holiday. Don’t get your hopes up Connor she’ll be gone back to the lords and ladies in England soon she is here on holiday, aren’t you?”

Connor knew who Atticus Kavanagh was the mysterious prince of Isla Del Cruces second in line to the throne and knew the shots all too well when it came to the hierarchy of England. Lex had spent one semester over there in school to promptly be sent back home a family embarrassment in his youth. His American royalty status didn’t translate over seas. He could have any socialite in America that was never a question for him or Lex they had both been groomed in politics and moving up the social ladder. At one point even speculation that his father would make a run for president. But the daughter of a duchess and duke was even out of his reach though he was pretty irritated with the way the dude talked to Belle. He wasn’t going to judge her rumor was that she had engaged in the fight with Brooke first but still it was condescending to just reprimand Belle in his mind.

“I’m sure you’ll remind me your highness. Shouldn’t you be you know chasing after Brooke to reprimand her for the fight opposed to worrying about your ex and who she’s spending her evening with?” Connor said as snottily as he could and hoping to rubbed him wrong when he emphasized the word your highness for good measure. Everyone and their mother in America knew that title belonged to his older brother who was making waves and not in the positive light his country wanted.

Belle watched as the men begin to clash clearly over her. This made her feel a rush which she loved. She was the center of attention and his world. Folding her arms she nodded agreeing with Connor. He was here to spank her hand and tell her to stay away from his precious Brooke when that girl attacked her. She could feel it in her body that Atticus was pissed she was even talking to Connor. No man would be good enough for her in Atticus mind because she was already with a royal. If he maybe opened up more and confessed how special she truly was to him, then they wouldn’t be there. As she grabbed Connor arms as she looked at Atticus and her brow furrowed in anger.

“I am on holiday but I don’t think there is an expiration date on my visit so I suggest you don’t get used to me leaving anytime soon. It’s so frustrating to be berated by a man who left me alone because the royal throne that will never be yours. I think you owe me an apology and until I get it then I won’t be nice to Brooke as you requested. But just as Connor said I won’t be reprimanded because your relationship is clearly declining so go fix your fragile relationship. Go on run along and be a good great doggy for her. We have to go so if you will, pardon me. Oh and it’ll be my pleasure to make her life miserable.”

Atticus looked at her a little shocked at how brazen she and Connor were being with him did they not understand who he was? He was also annoyed with the Brooke comment of course he and Brooke had disagreed earlier in the evening but he didn’t think it was declining per say. He didn’t leave Belle alone the press was all over them after his night with her was exposed he was trying to win back Brooke and she had rushed off to England, which was at the time the best for everyone involved. “Due take caution Mr. Hessington Belle likes her men a little more influential than the basketball son of the governor she prefers they come with a title. Belle.” He said looking between them before heading back inside he would leave the young man to be eaten alive by Belle.

Connor watched him leave and shifted his feet a bit wondering what was up between Belle and Atticus, clearly a past history was there and he had to wonder if there was a present one too. Belle was simply Forbes’s goddaughter she could easily jet back to England anytime she wanted to go after bigger and and titled fish. He knew one thing from his years in the spotlight though this was something you never showed to someone like Atticus and even Belle, you showed it at home around people you could trust like his sister and brother. Instead he looked at Belle and pointed to his Maserati as the vallett brought the car around. He made sure to tip him as he opened up the door for her to climb in there was no need for her to actually call an Uber he could easily escort her home for the evening. He wasn’t going to be intimidated at the moment by Atticus’s insecurities that were clearly rising because of everything that was going on with his brother and maybe even Brooke problems. He could see if he could squeeze and answer out of Anderson the next time they spoke, maybe there was smoke where Belle said there was fire.

“Come on let’s get you home you can tell me all about how you whalloped Brooke or how it was a tie on the way.” Connor said shooting her his best grin as she got in the car and he shut the door. He took out his phone sending a text to his father asking to speak to Andserson later before walking around and getting behind the wheel. “Don’t let him rub you the wrong way seems to me he let something go and now may be regretting that.” He said before starting the car and pulling out onto the road.

“Don’t they all.” She said sarcastically as she leaned back in the Maserati with a smirk on her face. Atticus was jealous which meant he still cared and not only that Connor was going to help her drive Atticus and Brooke up a wall.

**********

Ivan stood above the club and the rush of adrenaline was pumping in him. He just killed his performance but his mind wasn’t on the stage. It was on Devonshire because that motherfucker knew his secret now. He was saying that he would keep silent but he needed assurance in another way. He’d kill to keep people quiet about him being gay. His lip quivered as he looked at the reflection in the mirror. He could hear his father in his ear calling him a faggot as blur of fist pummeled his small body. Ivan could smell the blood on his father knuckles pushing into his face. If his mama didn’t stop him he would have been dead. All he could hear was his father calling him a maricon and battyman. If this got out then he’d prove his brother and father right. He’d be a disappointment. Ivan walked down the hall and saw Rory standing on the balcony that was above the club. Jamal and he would look down at the people partying all night sometimes and smoke a blunt. He knew he had to talk to him. Make him understand that he can’t ever tell anyone including Jamal. Exhaling he turned back to his dressing room and grabbed his gun. If he had to scare this little white boy with heart he would.

“Wassup Rory?” Ivan said as h walked out on the balcony. “You should be motherfucking proud bro you just changed social media.” Licking his lips his eyes lowered as he looked at the other man. “You know Jamal told me we would get money together after he pulled the shit he did I didn’t believe. Then that dude bought this club and transformed the upstairs to the studio. Next thing I know I’m rapping right here. We don’t fuck with each other but you’d bury Jamal your boy if you reveal my personal life. Now Rory I think we need to come to a man to man understanding. I’m not here to play with you boy. If you ever and I mean ever say anything about me and Simon.” Ivan raised his shirt to reveal the gun. “I’d smoke you faster than people downloading RePlay. Now do we got an understanding? You feel me? Huh? Do you feel me?” Pulling the gun out he aimed it at Rory releasing the safety. “I’m not playing rich boy. I’d fucking kill you before the world found out about me. We clear?”

Rory had went to the balcony when the text had come in on his phone congratulating him on the app launch, he didn’t want to trouble any of his siblings with it they were all enjoying the party. Not to mention he wasn’t sure how he even still felt about all of it, Zerick and Bliss the claims that had been made. Maybe Max and Chauncey were right, maybe Jackson was too maybe it was a different time period back then and the only two people that knew the truth were his father and Tess there were no other witnesses. He had stared at his phone debating about sending a text back before he simply put it in his pocket not sure what to do. He couldn’t act like the accusations weren’t there especially seeing it effect his mother like it was. He instead kicked the ground thinking about his other problem at the moment Aspen and Yasmine he was certain he was over Yasmine but she had this pull over him every time they were together. He didn’t want to fuck up again like he did with her though and hurt Aspen. He turned his head when Ivan came out and let out a sigh how much more drama was this dude going to pull him into?

“As I told your insecure ass earlier I don’t give a shit who you are fucking and I’d never out Simon’s lover for fuck’s sake. Simon’s my dude man like what in the hell is your big problem with me?” Rory said finally losing his cool with Ivan as he turned to face and then looked at him and his gun. This dude was whack in his mind and Simon could do way better than some dude that was in the closet and unhinged obviously. “I have way bigger shit to worry about then who you have your pants down around. You’ve had beef with me since you signed at the label and I’ve never done a fucking thing to your ass. I owned that I fucked up with Yasmine but she clearly had no problem moving on to Kendrick’s brother again is that what you are mad at? That your gang banger friend made a ton of bad decisions that day and now you’re mad at the world? So either pull the trigger or get the fuck out of my face”

Ivan stood unsure of what to do this motherfucker isn’t afraid of the gun. He said that but every bone in his body was afraid. The truth could shatter his new life and not only that ruin everything he wanted for himself. Stepping up he knew what he needed to do. Dropping his gun on the ground. Ivan began to swing furiously at him. At first it was about Yasmine but now it was about how disrespectful this motherfucker was being. He seemed to think that they weren’t going to bang. Not only that but disrespect to Kendrick wouldn’t be accepted. “Motherfucker!” His fist immediately connect to Rory face and then he started to punch his ribs. Before he knew it Rory was defending himself back. White boy had some strength because he wasn’t backing down. “I’m beat your ass.” Ivan said looking at him with rage he hadn’t felt in a long time. The repression from hiding himself. The anger and the pain of being a gay man.

Ivan slammed Rory with all the strength he could muster. Then he hopped on top of him and placed his forearm into his throat choking him. “Talk all that shit now motherfucker. Say it with some bass white boy.” Pushing harder on his throat. “I’m going to fucking end you. You come in here disrespecting Kendrick, making jokes about my life, and just fucking annoying me white boy. I’m kill you!” He screamed as he looked at Rory struggling for air.

Jamal was upstairs reading all the hip-hop blogs who were going up for Ivan. Kelsey had left and Val was going to do damage control about Belle and the infamous dress. He picked up the blunt and sparked it up. As he heard a scream, everyone but Rory and himself should be here. Walking down the stairs he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Ivan and Rory were brawling and this was the stupidest shit he’d ever seen. “You motherfuckers gotta be kidding me!” Jamal yelled from the top of the balcony as he ran down the stairs to get to Ivan and Rory. “Man have y’all lost your minds?” When he got to them he saw them exchanging blows. Somehow Rory got on top of Ivan. “Come on man! Big Rick! Get your ass up here!” He said to security. Grabbing Ivan he immediately felt a surge of rage. “Calm down we can fix this shit!”

Ivan bucked Jamal off of him and turned around and pushed him back. As he turned to face Rory he felt a connection to his face and heard a loud thud. He heard Rory screaming loudly then stood up to see Jamal flipped over the balcony. Ivan stood back and began to shake feverishly. It wasn’t the fact that Jamal looked dead it was that the man tried to help him. Did he kill him? Was he dead? Ivan head shook and looked at Rory. “I gotta go man. I gotta go!” Ivan charged away from the scene immediately.

Rory was lying on the floor and suddenly fist were swinging and he was fighting back as Ivan pounced on him and threatened his life again. This dude was fucking crazy, he tried to shield his body as best as he could and before he knew it Ivan had gotten the upper-hand pinning him against the patio and then he felt his hand wrap around his throat. He tried to fight back and could hear footsteps running up the stairs and the bang of the metal on the side of the building, his vision was blurry and his ears were ringing and he swore he heard Jamal’s voice and then a release and a gush of air came back into his lungs and rose to his feet taking a swing at Ivan’s face. He then watched as Ivan shoved Jamal and Jamal went flying over the railing his mouth popped open and he let out a scream seeing his best friend flying over the railing and rushed forward to try and catch him only for him to see Jamal land hard below with a thud. He turned back to see red at Ivan and charge him only he saw Ivan instead running into the building, he stopped for a moment pulling out his phone and calling 911 as he took the back stairs down to the parking lot.

“Hello this is Rory Devonshire I need an ambulance fast to Club Vertigo it is my friend he just fell over the balcony and landed on the pavement in the parking lot.” Rory said the words tumbling out as he bumped into a shocked Simon who was standing there and he rushed to Jamal while on the phone with 911. He checked to make sure he was breathing and had a pulse as instructed nad pulled the phone away and looked at Simon. “Are you happy now? Your stupid ass boyfriend shoved him over the railing.”

Simon had went out of the club after taking a few calls from the press about the app launch and was trying to find Ivan to see what the plans were for the rest of the night. He had stepped out when he heard the loud bang on the roof and then saw Jamal fly over the edge and his mouth was wide open in shock he heard Rory screaming and rushed to the back staircase to bump into him. When Rory unleashed on him about Ivan a sinking feeling came over him as he turned back to the club doors around the corner and saw Ivan rushing out he pushed through the crowd after him. “Ivan stop! What in the hell is going on? What happened?” Simon shouted finally catching up to him and shoving him into the alleyway wall as he heard the blare of the ambulance.

Ivan was shaking as he looked at his boyfriend and grabbing Simon arms as the siren seemed like an alarm to run away. His heart was pumping hard as he looked at Simon. “I didn’t mean to. I was just so scared Simon that he would reveal everything and ruin my career. I have been up against the ropes my entire life and I just know how to fight. I was fighting and he came out of nowhere. It was an accident, Simon I thought that I was handling it. I was just going to scare Rory and keep him silent.” He said looking at Simon knowing that he was completely afraid. “Don’t let me go to jail, don’t let this end my career.” He said with tears in his eyes as he punched the wall repeatedly. “Is he alive? Is he okay? Jamal has been good to me. I think this is his way of repaying Kendrick and I messed it all up. I just don’t want to be out. I don’t want everyone to know I’m gay. I don’t want everyone to know I love you.”

Ivan fell to his knees afraid of what everyone would think. Most of all afraid that his secret wouldn’t be a secret for much longer. “Simon please help me.”

Simon stood looking at Ivan and then back down the alleyway everything made so much more sense now after what Rory had said to him. He wasn’t sure he was in love with Ivan yet he wasn’t that foolish to give his heart away to someone who wasn’t out. Especially since the last time he did Mason stayed in the closet for years more. He did care about Ivan and now with this mess with Jamal, he understood that Ivan was scared about his life changing and he really didn’t think he would ever intentionally hurt the man that helped break his chains from Ronan and the life he lived. He made a decision in that moment he could convince Rory to keep his mouth shut, he could make sure this all went away but he had to be smart about it till they were all sure Jamal was okay. “I’ll help you figure this out okay? No one is going to jail over this I promise.” Simon said hearing the slamming of doors as he was certain the ambulance was there and getting ready to load Jamal.

Aspen walked up to Rory who was on the phone with the authorities. She was shocked to see Jamal so lifeless. Approaching her boyfriend she saw his eye was puffy and his clothes were unkempt. Walking to Rory she grabbed him and made him look at her. “He’s going to be fine. He has a pulse and a doctor is here. I’m going to find Val because I don’t want her to know about this through social media. Rory stay right here, I’m here for you okay. He’s going to be okay.” She rushed to the steps and looked back at Yasmine and Khalil approaching him. As she walked up the stairs she saw Val walking out of the office. “Val, it’s Jamal you need to get to him.” Aspen took Val hand and rushed her down the stairs back to Yasmine, Khalil, and Rory.

“Baby.” She said looking at a distraught Val. “He’s going to be okay.” She repeated seeing Yasmine turning her head and burying it into Khalil shoulder. She approached Rory. “Care to tell me what the hell happened here?”

Rory was in too much shock as he looked down at Jamal keeping his head still as possible like fuck what if he broke his back? There was blood behind his head to that was seeping out on the pavement or at least he thought it was blood it was so dark he couldn’t tell if it was blood or oil from an engine. He saw Val come out and freak out and then saw her rush back in as he was listening to the operator on the phone Jamal was breathing shallow and he still had a pulse and he stepped back when the paramedics started to load Jamal on the stretcher. Val came out and rushed towards Jamal and he restrained her the best he could until she had begged them to her ride with them. He looked at Aspen as the police cars arrived and he wondered what in the hell he was going to say as he looked at her.

“Ivan happened.” Rory whispered not sure what he was actually going to say to the cops as they approached.

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