3×01 “The Funeral”

3×01 “The Funeral
Written by: Chris Coleman and Kelly Zollo
Theme Song: Dance With My Father- Luther Vandross
Warning: Episode may contain explicit content and language.
Guest Staring: Jeremiah Beecher (Ernie Hudson), Rebecca Nolan (Alice Eve)


There were black dresses all over the room. Her vanity covered in makeup and the Domincan girl who she hired had blown her hair out. She looked stunning and felt like she was going to be ill. Her entire body was full of tension and Selina for once had no words. It had been five months of peace and actual happiness. Her father remarried Ophelia a couple of weeks ago. Jamal actually had a career and he was doing so good. Mason and Zach were so happy it made her sick. Her brother had truly found her soulmate. Then it was her. She was uneasy every moment of the day because of Dimitri. She was truly haunted with what they did. Fear always seemed to eat at her. At first it was peaceful sleep but the fear of that body being unearthed was terrifying. Her french tipped manicured hand shook out in fear as she picked up her grandmother’s pearl necklace. Her aunt Sadie and Anita were there for her. Devin had been especially tender. Not to mention Rochelle had come from Florida she took a job in Cape Kenitrich. As she touched her perfect hair. Mason had cried, Jamal had cried, and now she wasn’t. She was the matriarch of her siblings and they needed her to be strong. As she looked at Elliot, reflection staring at her in the mirror. He’d showed her how to open her heart. Elliot was tender and always seemed to know what to say to her. It was passionate and to have a man who adored her that was life changing. This time it was real. Her daddy even approved of Elliot. Why did he do this? Why did he leave her all alone? Her father and mother weren’t here anymore.

“I’m fine baby.” She said looking at her reflection. “My father would want me to be strong. I’m so offended about his choice to just give up. I almost am confused on who raised me.” She stood up in her vintage Dior black tutu dress with a small cashmere Chanel black and pale pink bellario jacket. “I don’t know if I’m ready to do this. I’m not sure I can forget him for leaving us… Me.” She said softly as she walked to Elliot and hugged him. “Why would he do this? Why would my daddy kill himself? Lowell is still so shocked that he did this. Godfather has no idea why?” Selina picked up her nude lipstick overlaying it with a pink shade. “I’m ready to bury my father.” Walking to Elliot to adjust his bowtie, he looked so sharp. “You went to the barbershop this morning because that cut is making me want to skip this entire day.”

Elliot had been taking it slow the last months since the wedding with Selina they had went on dates, kissed a few times and then stopped and he was fine with that he wasn’t one to put pressure on a woman. Especially a woman that had been through what she had with Dimitri, she was a survivor and he was so proud of her and the other women that had come forwards after his disappearance to set the record straight about the type of monster that he was. That was what more people needed in the world and it was shocking how many different women came forward there was Selina, Bliss and Tamara and a string of others in other countries in other backgrounds that came forward. Professionally he was again at the top of his game he had so many new clients come into his office that he had to hire two more attorneys to work under him and he was getting restless as well. So much so that he had reached out to an old friend of his his a few weeks ago to inquire about running for district attorney over Braden Fraiser at the next election cycle a risky move. One that he had never considered before Selina he had been too focused on the fame and prestige but what better way to make his mark for the causes that he was passionate about than helping enforce those changes. The one thing that he hadn’t expected was Tony’s suicide in fact no one expected it.

“You look stunning I think your father would be proud of you.” Elliot said softly looking at her as she looked at her own reflection and played with the pearl necklace. Something was still bothering her and he had an inkling that it had to do with what happened at the wedding with Dimitri but he wasn’t going to press her on things when it came to that night. Dimitri was gone from their lives and that was the best for everyone in involved. Tony’s death had rocked his family to the core and he understood that it was sudden and so unexpected, he didn’t know what else to say as he took Selina in his arms and held her she was probably one of the strongest women that he had ever met and today if she wanted to be that or cry he was going to support her no matter what. “I don’t know why Selina I wish I had answers for you, Mason and Jamal but I don’t. I know that doesn’t fully help but people all over the country take their lives and sometimes there are no answers that doesn’t make it hurt any less and if you need to just let it all out and cry or whatever the hell else you need to do. Do it.” Elliot said looking at her with compassion and understanding he did want to take all the pain she was feeling but he also knew they couldn’t just leave, her family needed her for this moment to bury her father.

Selina applied a little more lip gloss on her lips and shook her head. “No, I’m not ready to cry because if I start I might not stop.” She said confidant that she was the new leader of her family. She heard rumblings that Ophelia was taking her father’s ashes to Mexico. If that was the case she would be the elder protecting her brothers. That’s what she was even if she wasn’t ready. Her aunts were still alive but they didn’t live here and wouldn’t wrangle her ruckus brothers? She picked up her Chanel bag and shook her head. “My father raised three kids alone. He was on the other side of every fall, of every rise and every morning. I’m damn sure about to find out why. My daddy was there for me when my momma died of cancer. He found love and I helped hurt it years ago because I was a jealous teenager. I resented Jamal for a period and I was horrible to him and Ophelia. I’m just glad they knew I supported them. I loved them so much.” She said almost getting choked up and then she steeled herself.

As she took his hand and walked past her boyfriend. Turning around she looked at Elliot, and smiled reaching out to him. Walking out of her bedroom she smiled brightly seeing Zach, Mason, Ophelia, Jamal, and Val. Once again she almost choked up. “Come on boys we need a picture.” She immediately pulled her handsome brothers into a picture. Then posted it on RePlay as she placed her father’s singer Luthor Vandross in the background. As she kissed Mason forehead and then did the same to Jamal. “You two okay? Merci has set up everything at La Callie and I don’t want you two to worry. I’ve hired a amazing new chef and we will be keeping the business in the family. I also want to discuss what father left us all in his will with you when you all have time. He named me executor of his estate and I also have some papers for you to sign later.” She could tell Mason was burnt out his eyes were bloodshot and Jamal looked high or drunk. Pulling her brother back in She wasn’t sure which one but an edible might not be a bad idea. Walking to Val she hugged her then to Ophelia, they were bitter enemies so much over the years. Now she was like a mother. “I love you, are you okay?” She asked, looking at them all. It was clear they were concerned by her behavior but she was the strength.

Mason had felt so lost the last week from the moment that he and Zach were at dinner and Ophelia had called him frantic by the time his entire family had reached the hospital there had been nothing to do or help. He was gone no note, no one had seen it coming and he was burying himself in cases and Zach on and off over the past week, which he knew wasn’t fair but he had no idea how to process the pain he was feeling. He and his father had mended their relationship over the last six months and it took a lot or work, trust and understanding but it felt like a gigantic hole was now left with no explanation and he wanted and explanation. Had he, Selina or Jamal said or do something that would make his father that upset that eh just decided to quit on his family? Had Ophelia done something to him? He hated to think about that his father had seemed to happy to renew his marriage to his former step mother turned step mother again but what if she had started up some clandestine affair again and that was the final nail in his poor father’s coffin? He had awoken that morning and did his best to nod and smile through all the damn pleasantries when it came to getting ready to be here, donning the best black suit he owned. Of course he was more worried about Selina and Jamal, his sister had already been through so much and Jamal had just barely got out on his own looking over at Zach he hugged his sister.

“I don’t think any of us are okay right now.” Mason managed to admit to her out loud much less everyone else that was around then it felt like a relief. He remembered that night that his father had found out about his secret how he had literally spent most of the night walking around town to head down to the overpass towards the lake and step up on the ledge. He had been so hurt and so angry at how his father had acted and honestly just had wanted to pretend like he didn’t exist as he felt like the entire world had turned their back on him to the point that he wanted to leave it, so he got it. He got it but he didn’t follow through with it because Zach had stopped his car and convinced him to step back off the edge live his own life and push forward and he did, he did so much last year to come out to his friends and family, to be proud of who he was and it worked his father and he had mended those fences or so he had thought. “I think Dad would have wanted the restaurant to at least continue even if he was gone and it’s not like me or Jamal know how to run a business or do that. So you were the best fit.” Mason said he never had taken a look at his father’s will but it made complete sense to let Selina take over his estate and it didn’t seem that even Ophelia was opposed to that idea. “He always was proud of you.” He knew that was the best option but he would kill to have his father here to hear him say that to him or Jamal one last time.

Jamal instantly lowered his head looking at his siblings hearing that his father was always so proud of Selina stung. Two years ago he was pretending to be anything but Tony Delacroix’s son now he’d do anything to get more time with his father. He saw how much Delacroix Records meant to his dad, he remembered the stories of his grandfather at the blues clubs playing the saxophone. He could hear his dad saying how he was keeping the musical legacy alive. Taking a deep gulp of air he felt weak in the stomach. “He was proud of you both.” Jamal chirped in looking at them. “I was the screwup, you two were his golden kids. Not like you pretended to be someone else did you? Not like you took up with known criminals? No that was me. I just wish I knew why. Why would he leave mom, and us? We were happy and dad is just gone and selfish. Well I’m not wasting no tears on his selfish ass.” He said as he walked to the bar daring anyone to speak to him about drinking this early.

“You two always got his approval but I just was here. Messing up over and over again.” Jamal said with such disappointment that it felt like he was being knocked over. He felt Selina rushing to him and she hugged him. He tried to push her away. She sternly hugged him until he felt himself breaking. “Let me go!” Jamal demanded screaming at Selina. “Let me the fuck go! I’m good! I swear! I swear! I just want my daddy? Why did he leave us Selina?” Jamal broke down, collapsing into his big sister’s arms crying.

Selina held her little brother furious with her father at this moment and wanted him desperately to walk through the door. Hearing the sadness in Jamal’s and Mason’s voice killed her. She had nothing else to give them. She was adored by her father but she could see the contention between father and his sons. Selina watched two years ago when Mason almost left the family. She watched as Jamal pretended to be some thug and not a Delacroix something that had to hurt her father to his core. One thing he always had was his pride and hearing his son say he denied the lifestyle he worked to give him. Well that had to destroy a piece of her father but she knew he was proud of them both. The way Mason stood his ground in his truth made father respect him deeply. He might not of understood Mason’s lifestyle but he respected him and was proud of the man he was becoming. Jamal made a mistake but the way he transformed his life last year was nothing short of miraculous. That meant the world to her father and it also showed him his legacy was strong.

“I don’t know Jamal.” She could feel Mason’s arms around them both “I got you sweetie but you have to be strong for your mother.” Selina whispered in his ear. “Our mother Ophelia needs us and she’s just lost.” She looked at the older woman and felt the crushing despair of losing the man you love forever. Selina could see confusion and grief eating Ophelia and when the older woman stormed out of the room she held onto Jamal and Mason tighter. “We will get through this do you hear me? Daddy didn’t leave us for us to fall apart, we will unite stronger than ever.” Selina said not dropping a tear holding it all in. She wiped Jamal’s face and then Mason’s tears. “We have a service to get to guys. The limo is waiting.”

Mason felt numb when Selina said that Tony would be proud of all of them if he was that proud of them why in the hell would he leave them nothing about it made sense. His world was upside down it felt like professionally it was fine, his relationship with Zach seemed solid too but his inner demons he at this moment missed his father and also really hated how he left them, just killing himself. The truth of it all was something that he had to face and those first few days he wanted to make an excuse maybe he had some underlying condition that they didn’t know about maybe someone else did it to make it look like a suicide but the truth was often times ugly. The great Tony Delacroix had decided that for whatever reason his life was no longer worth living and killed himself leaving his entire family behind. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say to Selina not sure there was anything to say so instead he numbly nodded his head wanting to forget the last few days had happened. Wanting to forgot that his father was gone and there was nothing that any of them could do to bring him back.


Val looked all around LaCallie at the somber faces many of whom she didn’t know she felt so weird honestly she had wanted to call things off with Jamal a few weeks ago and then this happened. Out of the blue and then it felt so cruel to do it while his entire family was in shock and grief over Tony’s death she still couldn’t believe it that he had killed himself. Or at least that is the only answer they had as a family he had taken a lot of his sleeping medication and never woke up and poor Ophelia had been the one to find him. She still remembered when they had gotten the call she and Jamal had been at the club while he was trying to find another act and she was looking at a text from Brooke about wedding plans with Atticus and trying to not think about what she did. Instead she had played the part of supportive girlfriend as best she could and knew that deep down she was living a total lie, one she had to keep up though if she wanted to spare Jamal pain. Taking a small plate of cheese she spotted Jamal with Rory across the room and went to move that way only to bump into Kelsey of all people.

“Sorry I didn’t see you there.” Val managed to get out they weren’t seeing each other anymore and last she heard Kelsey was still with that DJ who was off traveling most of the last few months with Ivan. She looked good though in the nice black dress she had decided to wear to the funeral and she knew that she was there for Ophelia not for her or Jamal. “It’s really sad you know what happened to Tony I can’t imagine what Ophelia must be going through you know? I know that Jamal and the rest of his family really appreciates everyone coming out to support them right now.” Val said taking a sip of her lemon water remembering being in the bathroom at the wedding months ago confessing to Kelsey what she had done, being a complete and utter mess of a disaster when it came to everything. “Listen I know we haven’t exactly kept up or in touch since the wedding but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell Jamal what went down. He really doesn’t need that right now.” She finished.

Kelsey had spent a week on tour with Ivan and Willow. It was quite the lifestyle that she wasn’t sure she wanted but she wanted Willow. For the last five months they’d talk night and day. When she wasn’t on stage and she wasn’t at work they were on the phone. When she had two days off she was flying out to this location or the next. It felt good to have that connection with someone because honestly her last relationship with Val was too much. She touched the flame and to be fair what happened between them three wasn’t bad. Hell some might say she might even go to Jamal one day for sperm for her baby. Right now though that wasn’t what emotionally she wanted or was ready for. To share her love was something that Val wanted not her. When she brought up the wedding she got a shiver. That was a secret she didn’t want to keep, and she wasn’t looking forward to discussing it. What Val didn’t was cruel in many ways but as a woman it was her body and she understood her rights.

“I don’t pretend to understand why you are still with a man you can’t tell that you aborted his child.” Kelsey looked around as she stared at Val. “We might not be together but I don’t want you to be hurt Val. I don’t want you to stay in something either that isn’t healthy and you carrying this secret isn’t healthy. Tony knew it and I think deep down you know that you should tell Jamal.” She said softly as she picked up her bottle of water taking a sip. “Val I’m worried about you and I just want you to be alright. I’m serious Val.”

Val looked at Kelsey and almost shrugged at her about her concern with her and Jamal it all seemed so fake to her, once Kelsey was done she just cut her out. That or it was the booze she had been taking from partying to hard with Jamal or on her own either way she almost choked when it came to Kelsey’s comments. She wasn’t dumb Kelsey had ran around the last few months chasing after Willow, they had been on tabloids left and right with Ivan and his group of groupies she never would have expected that from Kelsey but what did she know anymore. For all Kelsey’s protests about love or feelings she certainly wanted to run after those feelings that she had caught from Willow and a part of her was jealous. Or was she? She honestly wasn’t sure anymore things with Jamal were fine but it wasn’t as earth shattering as she thought it would anymore. He was clearly distracted by girls at the club and the label and she could feel herself getting restless with him. Regardless of what she did or didn’t do Jamal never had to find out and she knew that Tony did know and he took that secret with him to the grave.

“I don’t pretend how you chase after Willow with all those groupies on the road either but you don’t see me over here judging your ass. I mean is Willow even like remotely faithful to you? From the gossip I’ve heard at the studio was that she and Ivan like to play pretty hard together when you aren’t around. I mean there was this one blonde girl according to the tabloids.” Val bit back part out of spite and part out of jealously when it came to everything going on in her life versus Kelsey’s life, she was the one that was faking holding her life together. “You cared about me so much that you just ghosted me after that night with Jamal. What did you want me to do Kelsey thank my lucky stars and chase after you? As for Jamal we’re good right now and it’s not like I have to tell him what I did. My body my rights after all or is that only when you approve?” Val said more bitingly than she meant to and realized how catty she was being at Tony’s wake. “Tony knew but it doesn’t seem like he even let that slip in a note so as much concern as you have for me it’s really not necessary.”

“I wanted you to let me go.” She said furiously as she spat back at Val. “You know what your relationship with Jamal isn’t my concern just like mine with Willow isn’t your. Maybe if you were interested in your boyfriend career then you’d know Jamal plants those stories so Ivan doesn’t get suspicion on him. You know what that’s not my place to reveal. Tony kept silent because he trusted that you’d do the right thing. I saw him a week after the wedding and he was crushed by your actions Val.” She looked at her and knew it was time to finally close a long opened chapter in her life. “I wanted you. I wanted just you and you wanted both of us. Jamal was alright with having two women, you were alright with having two lovers, and I tried but I didn’t want it. Live your life anyway you want but I refuse to do something that doesn’t feel right to me. Living between two worlds wasn’t my idea of a relationship. You want to know why? It was no love there. It was love from Jamal and me but you weren’t sure what you wanted. You wanted us both and honestly I should have stuck to my guns and said no. So there you have it. Oh it’s necessary considering you think that you have nothing to worry about now right? You got everything you wanted Tony kept his word. Now you’re safe right?”

Jamal had been drinking since earlier in the morning. Nobody questioned his grief because right now he was honestly pissed. His father fucking killed himself at least he didn’t hang himself like a piece of strange fruit. Pinching the bridge of his nose he wondered what the fuck was he doing with Val. They honestly did care about each other but seeing what his father did. Did he just want someone who just cared about? Honestly a breakup was on the way but he needed someone warm tonight. Someone he could lie to and honestly fulfill him sexually the way he wanted. Val was a freak and that’s why she was even still around. So many girls threw themselves at him and some he’d truly wanted to take up on the offer. He kept faithful but Val and he were okay and that was never what you wanted. An okay type of romance. Or that was at least what his dad said. All those lessons about never giving up the motherfucker killed himself and gave up.

He excused himself from Rory, Aspen, Atticus, and Brooke. He was happy she came back to town for this. He missed Brooke and having Rory and her here made him feel safe. They had been friends since childhood including Aspen. They were his comfort. When he went to the bathroom he pulled out his father’s old flask Lowell gave him on the day after he committed suicide. Taking sip he saw Val and Kelsey talking maybe she was working her magic on Kelsey and they could have another threesome. He wanted to fuck until everything hurt less. Putting the flask back in his suit pocket he approached hearing the end of what Kelsey said. “What did my father keep his word about Kelsey? Val could you care to explain because my entire family is trying to understand this and if you two have an idea on what happened now is the damn time to open your mouths.”

Val couldn’t believe the gall that Kelsey was showing at the moment towards her about what she had done, she was all about rights and women’s rights but wanted to lambast her about her choice. She knew in that moment that whatever feelings she may of had for Kelsey were likely fleeting ones just like her current feelings for Jamal and she wondered how she had got herself into such a fucking mess to begin with. She had went to say something back to Kelsey only for Jamal to approach them and ask if they knew something about Tony’s suicide to speak up, she wanted to say that her abortion had nothing to do with what Tony did do to end his life but she wasn’t a hundred percent sure. She supposed there was a possibility in it and she took a drink looking at Kelsey over the glass as she did daring her to refute what she was about to say in front of Jamal and cause even more chaos and hurt at Tony Delacroix’s wake.

“Your father kept his word that when I launched the new line he would cater it, the upcoming men’s line that was actually going to be a gift to you.” Val said seeing the wheels turn in Kelsey’s head it was true that she had designed a men’s line with Jamal as inspiration to hit in the fall and she and Tony and briefly discussed him catering the event. The part about it being a gift for Jamal was the lie though, it wasn’t like she gifted lines to lovers in the past she was very proud of her brand and Dante had started the process for them to have the men’s line but other things had pushed that launch to the back. People had been calling her left and right since the wedding and once word got out she was designing a soon to be princess’s dress she had barely had time to focus on Dante’s line but she did over the last few months and had taken Jamal as inspiration for most of the pieces. “I think your dad would have agreed I know that he was so proud of your or everything that you have accomplished at the label this year.”

For one brief moment she felt the air leave her body as she listened to her ex-lover lie with a straight face. As her eyes began to burn with tears. She couldn’t just watch her lie to this man and she wouldn’t keep lying to his face. She chuckled in disbelief as she shook her head. This wasn’t the woman she fell for. Feeling like enough was enough, Val knew just how to get away from the situation. Her stomach tensed as she smiled at Jamal touching his shoulder. “I’m so sorry Jamal.”

“I have to leave.” Kelsey said looking at Val. “Please give your mom my condolences. I have to get to work. Jamal I am so sorry.” Placing her clutch underneath her arm. Leaning in she touched Val’s hand and quivered slightly as she looked at her old lover. As she rushed away looking back at Val and Jamal.

“So she still awkward as fuck huh?” He asked, folding his arms. “You created an entire line about me? Even though I’ve been neglecting you lately? I haven’t been showing you love like I should. Thank you for being here for me and with my family. Val I won’t forget this.” Leaning into Val he touched her hair. “Man I’m messed up. Every moment I sit back and think did my dad know I loved him? Did he know how much that I fucking thought he was the best. I spent a entire year pretending. Pretending to be someone I’m not and that killed him. What if he killed himself because of what I did? What if he hurt himself like this because of me? They say he was proud of my last year transformation and what I was doing at the label. I was smoking, drinking, and making music. Having fun and it wasn’t like I revolutionized shit. I want to really make him proud.” Biting his lip he felt empty right now. “I’ve been taking you for granted and I’m sorry for that.”

Val watched Kelsey storm away and part of her felt bad for throwing her under the bus like she did and then the other part felt guilty for lying to Jamal about what Tony knew. She had wondered the last few months if she was kidding herself with Jamal and the abortion and when Kelsey had almost let out what Tony had overheard she knew that she was. She felt like she and Jamal were on separate paths she wanted to go back to Paris and take off on the runway with her designs and Jamal well Jamal was running a label and would java artists on tour. Not to mention that she was still bi and Jamal did deserve someone that could devote all of themselves to him and not want to be with other people too even though he said he was open to that type of a relationship she sometimes doubted that. They had fun with Kelsey or at least she had assumed that they all did but in truth Kelsey had been wounded and she had wound up with something that she didn’t want so she took steps to be rid of the baby, unknown to Jamal.

“Yeah still awkward with what went down honestly I didn’t think it bothered her that much till she ghosted me after and that is my problem not yours. I know that I needed to be here for you, your sister and brother honestly if there is anything that I can do Jamal let me know.” Val said knowing that she was at least telling the truth about that what happened to Tony was a tragedy and one that she would have to be strong for Jamal for and play the perfect girlfriend. She watched the room how all the people were there small talk and avoiding the real reason they were all there that Tony had killed himself without so much as a word. Reaching her hand out to his she squeezed it in support looking at him. “I’m here Jamal for whatever you need. I see your mom over at the table we should go see her.” Val said gently leading him towards where Ophelia was with Lauren and Jackie.


It was a lot going on right now.  Zach had seen a lot but the ramifications of what Tony had done had shaken the entire town. Suicide seemed weak to him but he also understood. That pain sometimes was overwhelming. He heard when Lucy was first locked up she tried to hurt herself and that was enough for him to drive and see her once a month. He loved her through everything and he truly hated to miss there date but his boyfriend’s dad committed suicide. He was sure Luce would understand. He had been watching his boyfriend and dug into his pocket pulling out a blue velvet box. Popping it open he smiled at the ring. They were supposed to be in New York watching a drag show and Bob The Drag Queen was supposed to be helping him propose to Mason. Just a few weeks ago Tony had given him permission to marry Mason saying he’d welcome him into the family and now he was gone. Closing the box it wasn’t the right time. They’d binged RuPaul’s Drag Race together because it was mindless fun. He needed Mason to exhale but between Selina’s ice queen act, Jamal being drunk and emotional it once again left no room for Mason to breathe or scream.

Zach watched Mason ordering everyone around in the kitchen making sure everything was perfect. Taking his boyfriend’s hand he walked him into Tony’s office because he looked like he was working not taking in his father’s repass. “You know Selina hired one of the best chef’s in the country you don’t need to be back here. Matter of fact we are going out there where people are who want to see you. Mason can I tell you something? I think that it will make you feel better? Remember when I said I was with KC, and Devin a couple of weeks ago? Well that was partially true. I took them to Rembrandt Jewelry store downtown. Then I went to see Tony right here. I showed him this.” He pulled out the blue box again. “I told him that I can’t see my life without you in it. I asked for his permission to propose to you. I know you aren’t a girl but I didn’t want to disturb you two connection and I just wanted to make sure he could handle us taking it further. Do you want to know what he said?”

Mason watched as the chef donned in a white coat moved around his father’s kitchen not even sure why he had wandered into the back after the service which was immaculate if there was such a thing. Walter and Lowell had spoken so highly about his father through the entire thing, his aunt had got the best preacher she could and choir to match. He Jamal, Devin and their second cousin Travis had carried the casket through the church and to the waiting Hearse and then repeated the action at the cemetery. Zach had been so supportive over the last few weeks and he knew that up until his father had decided that life was no longer worth living they were supposed to be off on their own adventure soaking in a few weeks before summer set in and his case load always picked up. Instead they had been forced to look for answers or he had, answers that never came to picking out the best black suit he owned to mourn his father. He had almost lost his shit when they he had entered the kitchen to see it working just as well and as much as when his father was alive and that hurt complied with all the other emotions he was feeling he almost yelled or screamed when Zach had pulled him out and down to his father’s office.

“So I’m just supposed to shrug and grin that some other chef is wearing the whites in the kitchen where my daddy slaved for years before he made it big with Lowell? Am I not allowed to take a moment to take in the fact he is gone and he won’t be cooking ever again for Ophelia or any of us?” Mason said looking at his boyfriend part of his anger showing and that anger fully remained at his father for what he did and how he did it. He understood that Zach was trying to be helpful but right now everything hurt and processing his father’s death hurt to the core almost like he was a walking zombie waiting for someone to just pinch him and wake him up from the nightmare that his father was dead. Mason looked at the box and knew what was inside of it and part of him was of course glad the other part was just numb to it all he could smile and say yes but that seemed so unfair. “It’s a beautiful box Zach and I’m not going to sit here and say what is inside is probably really spectacular but right now man? Everything hurts when it came to what my dad did or didn’t do, or what he did or didn’t say. Proposing isn’t going to make that go away.” Mason said looking at him and then glared out into the main part of the entrance as he saw Tess enter finally and almost cackled at how tacky it was.

“You’re not listening to me.” Zach said looking at Mason as he walked to his future husband. He knew what Mason would say but right now he had to keep his promise. “Tony, said that if I protect your heart and keep loving his son I got his permission to marry you. I’m not going to propose right now. I thought you needed to hear that your dad and I talked about you. I don’t know what you are feeling all I do know is right here and right now, I’m here. I promised your father I would love you until my dying days. I would protect you and if you allow me to.” He paused seeing Tess walking in. The woman damn sure had the nerve to show her damn face here. Tony detested Lowell’s new wife and Mason was also not fond of Tess. In fact if he recalled correctly he called her a gold digging bitch. He watched as Tess approached them making eye contact with Dani and Jackson sitting on the other side of the room. Zach grew silent as he looked at Tess approaching them. Looking at Jackie and Tess objectively they were two different women. Jackie was stunning in a graceful and elegant way, she always looked like a portrait come to life. On the other side of the coin was Tess she reminded him of the Housewives of whatever. She was glamorous and sexy. Zach understood Lowell’s position.

“Mason, I would like to send my condolences to you and your family. I couldn’t stay away considering I got very close to your mother. Your father might not have liked me but I can say I’m sorry for your loss. I wanted to be here for my husband.” Her eyes shifted to Jackie on the other side of the room. She didn’t like Lowell around that woman without her being near. Tess leaned in hugging Mason and leaning into Zach air kissing each cheek. “You two are absolutely adorable. I think that Simon made a big mistake because Mason you are so handsome. I see Gloria in your eyes. I always have even when you were little I saw Gloria.”

Mason didn’t know where his attitude had come from over everything especially towards Zach and he knew that he was being a selfish asshole but he remembered that He was grieving too.  He was so angry at what his father had done, how he had done it and unfortunately Zach was the nearest person that he lashed out on. Selina of course was bottling in her anger and sadness, Jamal was drinking himself till did didn’t affect him and he shrugged grabbing a glass of champagne before he paused seeing Tess walk into the fucking restraunt. She had a lot of nerve showing her face here he remembered when the news broke that Lowell had married Tess they had all been seated at the restaurant. His father and Ophelia celebrating their vow renewal when the news broke on the Inquirer and then TMZ, followed by Access Hollywood on the TV his father had simply looked aghast and disgusted. Things he knew had gotten better between Lowell and Walter since the news with Zerick broke but if rumor served everyone true than Tess was a catalyst for a lot of pain the woman that was like a second mother to him. He loved his mother and the small memories he did have of her but Jackie and Ophelia had stepped up when she died and for this bitch to come and run her nose in that wound was something he was not going to forget about.

“You couldn’t stay away of course you can’t have to be worming your way into someone’s fucking life. I mean didn’t you worm your way back into my god father’s life last year after your dramatic little show and hiding his second bastard child from him? Trashing all over the woman that helped raise me and Selina after my mother died. Your husband that is so fucking rich.” Mason said looking at her before taking another gulp of champagne from his glass his wandered to where Zach’s were on his cousin and Jackson and put his hand up he didn’t need them coming over. He could handle the trash that the old cat Lowell dragged in there was no need to bother them with it and frankly maybe he needed to do this for his own sanity, his father detested Tess Blisston and it was about him today and Lowell should have had the common decency to keep his latest trophy wife or whatever Tess was at home. “If you were so close to my mother where in the hell were you when she died, oh wait we all know where you were letting Bliss be dropped off at boarding school and lying to Lowell about Belle. No one wants you here Tess.” Mason bit out as Lowell approached them he wasn’t going to hold back as he looked at him. “You had no right to bring her ass here seeing how my dad felt about her your new wife or not.” Mason finished air quoting the wife part for good measure as he finished the glass.

Tess looked at Mason as he began to snap at her. Shaking her head Tess began to peacock even more as he began to irately lash out at her. With all the ferocity she could muster she placed her hand up to Lowell wheeled himself to them. “First off he told me to stay home and I said it’s a disgrace that anyone would say that I couldn’t pay my respect. I want to be here for my husband. You have no right to speak to me like this and you have been extraordinarily lucky that I’ve taken all your nasty little snides and comments. I will let you have this one more time Mason but know if you dare open your mouth to me again. I won’t bow again.” She walked to Lowell’s side. “You told me to stay but I’m your wife and I deserve to be here.”

“You deserve to be locked up in a sanitarium for storming someone’s repass who hated you. I apologize to Mason for the interruption. She won’t be making anymore disturbances nor will you know she’s here.” Lowell said, taking her arms as he looked at Tess who pulled away from him. “You will leave Tess. You will leave this repass right now.”

“What are you going to do? Roll over me to make me leave? I came to support you but if you don’t want it fine. Go be with Jackie she can’t seem to take her eyes off of us. You little brat careful I might clip your wings fairy.” Tess looked down at Lowell. “I’ll see you at home.”

Mason watched Lowell approach them and almost laughed at the sight of him and Tess arguing about her coming. If it didn’t hurt so much inside he probably would have the truth was seeing Lowell discard Jackie so quickly hurt everyone and he looked between them. “I see that new marriage is doing oh so well trust me when I say this Tess my father would be rolling in his grave seeing you here.” Mason said as he looked at Lowell and scoffed he didn’t need his protection anymore nor did he need to tolerate his new marriage to Tess. “I really don’t need anything from you anymore so can you please just take her and leave?” Mason asked not even waiting for a reply as he drug Mason away from Lowell and Tess not caring if he was rude or not.


Jackie looked over at Ophelia at one of the tables in LaCallie it had been a lovely service Tony . was remembered so well from those that loved him. She was still on shock that he was gone she and Lowell had no clue that he was battling whatever it was he was battling and now he was gone. Ophelia and he had seemed so happy since they got remarried, he had made amends with Mason, Jamal was on top of his won game at the label and her goddaughter was trying her best to move on from the wedding. Surely Tony hadn’t of uncovered what they did that night and even if he did she doubted that he would have been that upset for him to take his own life. Meaning she again had more questions than they had answers for what had happened. Now inside of LaCallie watching people mingle back and forth Tony’s picture on the table in the room she offered Lauren a warm smile as she approached with fresh cups of coffee for all of them and she rubbed Ophelia’s back as Lauren placed them on the table.

“Would you like me or Lauren to get you anything else? The service was quite lovely I know that Lowell did his absolute best to eulogize him to the best he could given his circumstances and what happened.” Jackie said she and Lowell had signed the papers and of course it had been painful but it was what was needed, what she had not been prepared for was his quick marriage to Tess afterwards. After their fight after the wedding it seemed that the more that she wanted Lowell to turn his back on Tess he instead had clung to her but today was not about her or any of that. It was about Tony and the life he lived and the people and lives he left behind. “I still can’t believe that he is gone and I know this has to be so devastating for you you two had just gotten back together. Never would I have thought that this is how it would have ended for him.” Jackie finished her voice trailing off not wanting to upset her friend further, she was still in shock herself from the news it was all so sad.

Lauren had just gotten back from her vacation with Randall in Lake Tahoe where he has a summer house. When she got home she heard the news about Tony. She felt ill because of everyone when they were thrown out of DGI, Tony showed concern and care. She knew that he was genuinely concerned and wanted them to be okay after being banished from high society. Randall however was showing her a wonderful return. They’d been to Australia and now Lake Tahoe. She saw Walter’s judgemental eyes after all her trips and returns. How dare he? To her it seemed he was jealous his relationship with Brenda seemed to be destroyed after Philip destroyed the Kincaid’s. As she poured cream into her coffee and sprinkled sugar into the cup. “I’m purposely trying to only remember that beaming smile. Oh he could dazzle a room, it was so intoxicating. When he was younger what a flirt.” She said grabbing Ophelia’s hand and seeing Jackie smile. Seeing them actually look happy instead of the strange puzzled expressions of grief. Both were so shocked that Tony was ending his life but in all actuality nobody knew someone else’s heartbreak and inner turmoil.

“Lowell Devonshire should be ashamed of himself. That man was so quick to marry that bitch Tess. You know I’m glad she had a bit of class and didn’t attend.” She said slowly flipped her hair. “But it is so good to see so many old faces. Tony was beloved by the people Ophelia and I hate that he left us like this but I want you to know you are surrounded by love and light my dear.” She heard that Ophelia would be leaving shortly after the funeral service going to Mexico, to the house she and Tony were going to retire in. That had to sting. She hated to lose Ophelia because recently they’d all been coupling. Even though Jackie insisted that she wasn’t dating Julian she saw the way they looked at each other. The girl deserved a happy ending. “I know this doesn’t mean much but I’m so sorry.”

Ophelia looked at Tony and tried to hold her composure. It was awful what had happened. Earlier Jamal wanted to know why? Hell they all did and she wasn’t sure what to tell her baby boy or her other two kids. As far as she was concerned Selina and Mason were her children. “It means the world to me.” She said wringing her hands underneath the table. Unable to drink the coffee Lauren placed in front of them moments ago. “Love, I thought I had it figured out. I thought in the next five years I’d retire and we’d move to Mexico. He wanted to open a La Callie in my home city and bring his vision there. We talked so much about our future. I just don’t understand what he was thinking and why he left me like this. Didn’t he think about how heartbroken he’d leave our family? I think this is the most selfish thing my husband has ever done. But I would give anything to have him back and guide us.” She said using Tony’s handkerchief to wipe the corners of her eyes.

“I don’t think Selina’s even cried once. I think she’s going to explode soon. Mason is a wreck because the last two years have been so rocky between them all. Jamal is numbing himself with alcohol which I don’t blame him for. I’m close to doing the same thing. I don’t trust his girlfriend. She’s always sniffing around Kelsey and Kelsey is dating that girl who works with Jamal. What’s her name, oh Willow. I like Willow, Lauren. She’s a good girl. Both of you hold your family’s close and remember that you have no clue when or how it will happen but it could change. It could change so fast and it could destroy you.”

Jackie lifted her cup of coffee to her mouth taking a sip as she did so it was all so raw how Tony had died and she couldn’t imagine the pain that Ophelia was in, at least with Lowell they all had a timetable that was ticking down. There would be no unplanned surprises when he was gone, she of course would mourn and cry but there would neer be questions about the why of his death compared to Tony. As for Lauren she was good friend and while Julian had accompanied her a few times with Lauren and Randall she hardly considered them dating, she frankly wasn’t ready for that and Julian knew that. It didn’t make seeing or hearing about Lowell marrying Tess so quickly after their divorce hurt less she honestly thought that after her and Tess’s last tussle that he would have dropped the entire thing and they could have repaired their marriage. She knew now that was wishful thinking, Lowell had made it clear to her that he wouldn’t be dying with her by his side in some weird twisted fashion but she couldn’t pretend that it didn’t hurt when he married Tess days hell hours later. She had put up a good front for her children and bless Lauren’s heart for trying to ease her heartache but for today she was only going to focus on her godchildren and Ophelia they were in more pain than she was when it came to what happened with Lowell. She saw her ex across the room with Walter and almost had to smile bitterly years later they were almost two peas in pod and she supposed they all had Donovan and Jolene to thank for that.

“I know there is nothing that I nor Lauren can ever really say to make you feel better or ease the pain that you are feeling but Tony was loved by the entire community for the work he did here at the restaurant and how he gave back to the homeless shelter every night with the food that could have went to waste. He raised three beautiful children with you, children that are resilient and strong but I know that doesn’t make this hurt any less.” Jackie said wondering what else that she and Lauren could do for Ophelia that they hadn’t already helping arrange the service with Selina, making sure that Ophelia wasn’t left along too long by herself and wondered if that same would be applied ot Tess she hoped not the women was a viper. Seeing her here at Tony’s service was a stark reminder that men often times discarded the first spouse for the second not to mention how insulting it was to Tony’s memory as he detested Tess. “I think Selina perhaps is just still processing everything her grief will come Ophelia and you will be there to help her when it does as will I and Lauren. I think at the very least that Tony was happy that you and Selina mended fences somewhat before he died.” Jackie said wanting her to know there was a bright light at the end of all of this Ophelia and Selina had mended somewhat when the door to La Callie opened though she froze looking at Lauren who looked just as shocked as she was.

Lauren spine tingled as she saw who walked through the door. She could tell Ophelia confusion about their expressions. Where would all of them be if that man and that woman didn’t infiltrate Lowell’s head. He had some nerve showing his face here. Licking her lips she looked at Ophelia who seemed lost in Jackie’s words. She felt Jackie grab her hand for support. The last piece was finally here. For years she wondered why Lowell did it and there he was. Gloria’s lies and Jeremiah manipulations. Picking up her cup of coffee she felt her stomach clench as she eyed Jackie. “I have no doubt Selina will come to you. You two have come a long way and I truly think that you two.” Lauren couldn’t even pretend anymore. “Pardon me.” Standing up she rushed over to Lowell and Walter who hadn’t noticed who walked into the building. As she returned to the table she felt satisfied that Walter and Lowell would be throwing him out very soon.  As she sat back down she noticed Jackie was staring daggers at him.

Ophelia sat back and watched Lauren rush away and whisper something into Walter and Lowell. As she watched a debonair African-American shaking hands with people who she knew. Watching him pause staring at Selina, Mason, and Jamal. That’s when Anita charged over to him and slapped his face so hard she gasped. Devin, and Gregory grabbed her and Rochelle immediately ushered Anita away from the man. “Who the hell is that man.”

“The fucking devil.” Lauren said looking at Jackie. “That’s Jeremiah Beecher. One of Tony’s and Lowell’s biggest rivals. I don’t think that Tony would bring him up considering he nearly ruined his first marriage with that bitch Gloria.” She saw Jackie looking at her upset at Jeremiah’s presence.

Standing tall rubbing his jaw Jeremiah Beecher looked around the room with his eyes dead set on the widow and so many old friends. It had been a long time since he moved from Atlas Falls. Africa was his home now Kenya was where he lived, but he worked all over the world. Not many men could boast that they’d taken down the pristine empire of Lowell Devonshire. As he smoothly walked to Jackie, Ophelia, and Lauren. “Please Ms. Delacroix forgive me for making a scene. Anita never did like me.” He chuckled with a deep baritone. “Jackie radiant as ever, and Lauren that scowl on your face, not happy to see me love? I just got word that an old friend couldn’t handle the truth. So he ended it but I also hear I’m named in his will. Intriguing what Tony Delacroix would want to give me?” He said with enough emphasis you’d think he was a southern baptist preacher.

Jeremiah clapped his hands together noticing Walter and Lowell approaching. It was sad to see such a worthy opponent in a wheelchair and frail. Well it would make all of this easier down the line to finally snatch DGI. Folding his arms he stared at Jackie and Lauren. “You two look the same. I only wish Gloria was here to see you. I mean y’all were thick as thieves and now look at it. The Delacroix, Fraiser, and Devonshire’s have merged and become a quasi-happy family. That’s beautiful really after all that has happened. I’m looking for Selina because she is executor of the estate right?”

Jackie had watched the entire scene unfold as Jeremiah walked in smugly and introduced himself to the entire room and Ophelia surely she knew and by the look on her face Ophelia knew who he was. Tony had told her the truth about what happened all those years ago with Jeremiah and Gloria and she was sure that that secret would be one that she would keep. “Selina isn’t here yet and frankly shouldn’t you be off on whatever next takeover quest is on your scheme but I digress security would you please escort Mr. Beecher back to where he came from and have any correspondence sent to my god daughter directly to her lawyer no need for face to face personal contact.” Jackie spat seeing the few looks and stares and she did have to wonder where Selina, Jamal and Mason were as she saw the Devonshire security come forward and start to escort Jeremiah out and she couldn’t help but notice Walter and Lowell follow them hopefully to rid him from Atlas Falls again.


Jon had chosen to be respectful to Devin and wait until the morning to have the press conference. Instead his new chief of police Monique Johnson backed his move to release all the information to the public and place the suspects on high alert. Tomorrow the world would know Dimitri Kavanaugh was murdered in Atlas Falls. Not only that, the night of Jackson and Dani’s wedding was the last time Dimitri was seen alive. That meant logically someone murdered him that night. Selina, Tamara, and Bliss were his top suspects. Each one of them had ample reason and motive to kill Dimitri. Selina was sexually assaulted by Dimitri in New York the reason he wasn’t able to arrest or prosecute that son of a bitch. Then in New York also he raped and brutally beat Tamara, he however claimed through the attorney that was found dead that it was consensual sex. It was Bliss that always disturbed him the most. He was sure all of what happened to Selina, and Tamara had happened to Bliss. She ran away from him without her child. That meant her life was in danger and that meant she was the most in line to harm him. In his opinion all those women had reason and they clearly might be covering for one of them. Which he understood but he’d flesh the murderer out. Even if that meant rattling Simon also because he was involved somehow. He cleaned up messes and if he had to would he clean a murder?

Jon walked into the coroner’s office shocked to see a stunning woman before him. Since Monique Johnson had come to the department she’d been placing so many different changes in place. One being she and Walter replaced a lot of the old guard which were Steven’s appointed officials and officers. Meaning new police officers, detectives, and even a new coroner. She was from a town right outside of Atlas Falls, named Addisonville. Their sports team always played against Atlas Falls; it was a rivalry. Rumor had it Rebecca Nolan turned down the FBI and returned back to Addisonville. She was enigmatic how she moved around her lab and still hadn’t looked at him. Interesting indeed, Jon cleared his throat. “What do we have? I’m Jon Harrison lead detective on the case. Tell me how did the Prince die?” He folded his arms as he looked at Rebecca. “I want all the information because I have to look good when I go on stage tomorrow morning.”

Atlas Falls was something else entirely at worst growing up the Amish would call in with a tractor being stuck or some kids messing with their livestock it was the first thing that she had noticed when she turned down the FBI for Atlas Falls. She needed a change from Addisonville and wanted to spread her wings doing something other than helping farmers and petty disputes though the last few months she had wondered if she had bit off more than she could chew it was demanding. The chief was a great woman of color and who really knew her shit enough that she was still moving pieces around left and right when it came to all her detectives and partners. She had gotten some dude named Clive who was a good veteran presence and she’d work her way up as needed but he had taken a week off of vacation to go to New York for vacation. Meaning it was her first week alone she’d woken up and gone for a run when Monique had called her into the precinct to accompany Detective Harrison to see the body of Dimitri Kavanagh, her first actual dead body in Atlas Falls. Granted from what she understood Dimitri was a sadistic asshole that really deserved to die, but it was a high profile case and normally she wouldn’t be here. She had arrived exactly fifteen minutes early to find no one in the lab and instead had put the coat on lost in her own thoughts and looking at the notes. Like where was Joe Melborne? Instead she had turned when she heard footsteps and looked at Jon.

“Holy shit this is so unprofessional I have no idea where Joe ran off too probably had to use the bathroom for like the tenth time this hour. You would think that Chief Johnson and Mayor Fraiser could have found someone that wasn’t so near geriatric I mean was the last one really so awful even if Steven had placed them in here?” Rebecca asked taking off the coat and seeing Jon wasn’t exactly amused and she knew that could be a strike honestly he seemed to always have a stick up his ass. Not to mention she had watched him give his sister the death fucking stare most of the time at work which was awkward to say the least and she suffled her feet placing the coat back on the chair. Looking at the clock she shrugged not wanting to wait for Joe to get back she tossed the file to Jon she had read enough of the run down. “He was shot eight times close range defiantely murder in this case the drowing and burying on the lake was post mortem. Joe says we’re looking for a 9mm handgun lucky for as a few slugs were left in the body we find the gun we can match the ballistics. Aren’t you like supposed to be at that dude’s funeral? Wasn’t he your partner’s uncle?” Rebecca asked looking at him and realizing she was always so mouthy most of the time and she really didn’t want to screw this up and get sent back home to fucking Addisonville.

Jon was shocked to see her in the coroner’s lab coat and he laughed a little. “I thought you were a rookie not the coroner, glad to know I wasn’t losing it. To be honest Devin didn’t want me there. It would be a lot of people I don’t like but that isn’t your business kid.” He pulled the sheet off of Dimitri’s body looking at his face. “Something happened to you. What did you do? You sick son of a bitch? Help me out rookie. From the statements of my suspects one Tamara Wright soon to be Fraiser was abducted by Dimitri Kavanugh and then Selina Delacrox  was taken by Dimitri. Somehow Bliss Kincaid was taken also and Simon Rutherford surprised Dimitri and he escaped, then was shot eight times by a 9MM. You tell me what you think about that story that doesn’t make sense?” Jon also thought to give her the history of what happened.

“Ms. Wright the soon to be Ms. Fraiser of DA Braden Fraiser was raped and beaten by Dimitri Kavanugh; it happened in New York out of our jurisdiction. He was rushed back to Atlas Falls by the time Tamara was found, he was back here. Then in New York weeks before this assault at the Metropolitan Opera House Selina Delacroix was sexually assaulted and violated by him in New York. Then we have Bliss Devonshire Kincaid who was married to Mr. Kavanaugh in Ilsa De Cruces. He beat, raped, and tortured her their entire relationship after the marriage. It was said he possibly abducted all of them. Famed attorney Elliot Duval was right there knocked unconscious and DA Fraiser was said to be looking for Tamara and then all three women turned up after the Devonshire’s fixer Simon Rutherford scared him away. Now what sounds wrong? The video footage on the estate shows Tamara’s abduction and if I recall he had a 9MM gun on him. Now all women’s stories match but I just don’t believe Dimitri sank to the bottom of the lake alone.” He leaned against the desk. “What do you think? I smell a cover up somewhere.”

Rebecca looked at him not really sure what she was supposed to say to him it wasn’t like they were friends or anything she was practically a stranger to this town and the people in it. She had no business butting her nose into his issues with Devin Thompson though it intrigued her why he wouldn’t want to go to the funeral to support his partner and friend. As for the dead man on the slab she really didn’t feel bad for him and she didn’t think that a ton of people locally would give a shit if he lived or died, but it was her first murder she got to be a part of. That meant that she could move up in the ranks at work when it came to the police department and her career and if that meant solving the murder of the international rapist that was Dimitri than she would do it, didn’t mean she had to feel sympathy for him or even like the bastard. She listed to Jon’s theory about the ladies and their story and she wanted to believe women but on the other hand like he was pointing out it was all a little too wrapped up in a pretty bow without any fall out towards the girls.

“Didn’t someone hunt down his ass inside the hotel in town and shoot him speculation has been that it was likely one of his victims and now you’re telling me that they all just didn’t lay a finger on him after taking one of them? I mean a man violated me the way he did his victims I certainly wouldn’t have let him live to tell about it or let him run of.” Rebecca said looking at the dead body on the cold table in front of them and then looked at the report again before sitting it back down on the desk near them. She could tell that Jon was thinking like she was separating the logistics of who Dimitri was with the fact that someone did shoot him and then take the time to drag his ass to a lake and throw him in with an anchor so that he sunk to the bottom and stayed there. “I mean if I was Tamara Wright, Selina Delacroix and Bliss Kincaid I’d have reasons to want his ass dead and I sure as hell would want to make sure I had a story that matched. I guess my biggest question would be how in the hell did they drag his ass down to the lake in the middle of Jackson Devonshire’s wedding to Danielle Fraiser without so much as no one noticing a thing? Or perhaps the entire wedding party was in on it.” She finished looking at her nails and picking at a chip in them.

Jon listened to her theory and smiled that she was smart. He liked that she thought about how three women could drag a two hundred plus, six feet tall man across a winter wedding and nobody noticed. That was the question of the hour because Selina, Bliss, and Tamara all had motive. Whoever did it they were all in on it; it was just cracking each one of them. One of them would break and he’d do it. This was perfect revenge in a way. He was doing his job but finding out what happened to Dimitri tied to three biggest families in town. He had a bone to pick with each one of them. “Yes someone hunted down Dimitri and he wouldn’t say who it was.” Then it clicked. “That’s because someone was in on it. They might have told on themselves. Simon Rutherford has been known to be one of the best fixers in the country. Trust me moving a body wouldn’t be above or should I say below what he wants. Money motivates him and the Devonshire’s and Delacroix’s have a limitless pile. It’s going to be hard to get to Selina and Bliss but Tamara. Tamara is just a Fraiser and they don’t have the funds to fight against the AFPD. Thanks kid.” He clapped his hands.

“I want you to go with Zach, and Miranda to pick them up tomorrow. I want to speak with each one of them. See if their stories stick but I’m going to put pressure on all of them. I will go talk to Simon because I’m sure he’ll have an ironclad statement ready. But I want you to know something Rebecca, this case can make you. You’re going up against the biggest people in town and I want you be sure this is what you want. Trust me they won’t forget it and you’re new. If you want off this case say so now because I think I like a fresh pair of eyes in this case. Someone not attached. Miranda is connected to the Fraisers, Devin to the Delacroix, and the Devonshire’s are a billion dollar family. If you aren’t afraid I want you.” Jon asked, wondering if Rebecca was ready to go up against the town. “I like your moxie, don’t lose it.”

Rebecca wasn’t in Atlas Falls to play dumb as political politics she wanted adventure and to be a good cop make a name for herself but the people in this town, gave Addisonville a run for their money on strange shit. There was a hierarchy where she was from but it was way more livestock based and land based, not who had bad blood with who or who was fucking who. The last most scandalous thing that happened in that vein was when Reverend Hollis was revealed to having a hot affair with some young blonde housewife in his congregation that caused such a ruckus the poor women her husband had to leave town. People in Addisonville had two choices stay and farm and work for the town, or chase fame to end up on the streets if it didn’t work out, people in her family liked to do both over the years. She cocked her head to the side at him and wondered how much she should or shouldn’t say about his request to go with Miranda and Zach to start questioning people and went with her honesty about it.

“I’m not going to pretend to know the inner workings or Atlas Falls yet and the who fucks who or who backstabs who but I do know that murder is murder at the end of the day no matter who the victim is. I’m not afraid of some rich as people coming after me it’s not like they would find a lot to take we weren’t like destitute by any means growing up, my parents worked the land and I had a strange fascination with shows like the X-Files and cop shows.” Rebecca said looking at him and then looking at the ground she wasn’t one to stick her nose in where it didn’t belong but surely there could be other people he could send. Hell he could just go to his sister and one time friend and ask them himself. “Honestly I think I’d learn the ropes a lot better from someone like you or Devin versus fucking Clive. Don’t get me wrong he’s cool but a dinosaur too. Why don’t you just ask Miranda and Zach to do it yourself or better yet go with them. Why send me, the rookie on a high profile case to work versus people that you literally shared a lifetime with?” Rebecca finished looking at him and waiting for an answer it was easy to see why others talked about him the man was fucking hot and it’s be nice to blow off a bit of steam but she could settle for working a case together, romance was not something she was interested in.

“I’m sending you because you’re hungry Rebecca. You want to solve this case because it could put you on this map. I want a rookie with them because you are fresh eyes and unfortunately I don’t trust them. Not their skills as cops but their ties Rebecca. You might not know who is fucking who but I do. I know all the ties that bind these people and every body is connected to this case. Someone one they care about is involved and yet here you are rookie. With no ties and selflessly I’m putting someone who can place pressure on these people without placing personal relationships in danger.” Jon said looking at her lying he wasn’t being selfless he was using this kid as a spy for him. She’d report everything because it was her first murder and she wouldn’t miss a detail. He’d seen her record in Addisonville. She was the best and her scores had gotten the FBI wanting her. That was enough for Jon because he was sure she was what he needed to shake a very pregnant Tamara, Bliss, and Selina. He would ask Jackie some questions to get Bliss attention tomorrow even more.

“How about this you ride with Devin and I tomorrow, matter of fact going forward until this case is done you don’t have to worry about Clive. I’m interviewing a few new officers for Clive’s position; he’s retiring this year. So I think you might have a new partner and help me solve this case and you’ll have a new job. I don’t think I’ll be getting the best help. I understand though Atlas Falls for as much as a city it is, it was once a small town. The Devonshire and industrial boom transformed this town in the seventies into the city it is now. Murder and mob violence followed the rich taking us away from the farming city and into a technological metropolis. Sorry for the history lesson but the rich of this city have felt like they could do anything and that’s the point. Someone took the law into their very own hands and I’m going to lock them up. Dimitri Kavanaugh was a monster but nobody should be killed the way he was. This was personal and don’t let me catch you into the coroner’s coat again. Let’s go.”


Natasha opened the balcony of the penthouse of the Crestwood Grand Hotel in Pittsburgh. The warm summer breeze made her smile. Being out of Atlas Falls made her happy and considering how her soon to be husband had been under her thumb, since she lost her son. The distance had grown but he was attentive to her every need and she didn’t want him or the marriage. All she wanted was her company and to leave Atlas Falls. Losing her son and someone pushing her down a flight of stairs nearly killing you did that. Wearing nothing but a Egyptian silk plunging robe, she walked to the breakfast table and picked up a strawberry and dropping it into her mimosa. Slinking to the bathroom she opened the steam from the shower poured out of the bathroom. She unfastened her robe and took a sip of her mimosa. Placing it on the counter she unfastened her robe letting it pool to her perfectly manicured toes. Telling Chauncey she had business for SandStar in Pittsburgh while they mourned Tony well was perfect. It was the perfect excuse to see him. He was what she needed. His image had taken such a hit over the last few months but his work against police brutality and racial injustice well had reformed his image.

He would be President of the United States one day and she hoped that when that time came she’d be by his side. Opening the shower she gasped seeing his beautiful soapy God standing before her. They’d met in Dubai six years ago after Tristian and she broke up. He was working with Lex and the Hessington Conglomerate lost a deal to SandStar. They met for a drink and it was then the affair started. Anderson Kincaid was her true soulmate and the true father of her baby. Her child that was stolen from them. Anderson would divorce Cara as soon as Wyatt was eighteen. Then they’d be a blended modern family but she was going to have Anderson Kincaid’s child. She was going to be the First Lady not Cara and the love that they shared was so much deeper. Stepping in the shower as she slid her hands between his legs and squeezed his heavy balls then slowly stroked him. “Anderson I need you.” Natasha purred looking into his eyes.

Anderson had skipped town and did everything that Charles demand of him to get back in his good graces after that shit with his father went down. Tour after tour had been planned and he put in the work he and Cara and he paused at that. Cara had been unwell since the wedding well both of them had she of course had welcomed their daughter into the world Pepper was a joy to both of them and it improved his image even more, she had been so consumed with that that when he told her he needed to stay overnight at the hotel with Charles she hardly had batted an eye. He had met with Charles and then went to his room to wait for her eventually heading into the shower he’d order room service after. Her miscarriage had been devastating deep down he wanted to believe that it was his son that she had lost but he had never publicly said that and he wouldn’t not until she had SandStar back. Something that he was going to be patient about she could marry Chauncey he would continue on with Cara, Wyatt and Pepper and when the time was right then they could be together.

When he had heard the shower door open he turned smiling at her as she stepped in that caramel skin glowing in the light of the bathroom hitting the water that dripped down her breasts and he couldn’t help how he reacted to her becoming hard as a rock. “You’re late I do hope it wasn’t to placate him.” Anderson said looking at her of course they still had images to maintain but Chauncey didn’t deserve her. When she cupped him he thew his head back at the sensation lost in her touch before leaning down to kiss her lips letting the water hit his back as he did so letting her stroke him as his hands moved down her breasts flicking her nipples seeing the reaction he pulled back. “Your wish is my command.” He said looking at her before picking her up and leaning her against the wall of the shower before his lips trailed down her neck to her earlobe and back, he moved lower stopping at her breast and taking the nipple in his mouth giving it a light tug hearing her moan before smiling up at her. He repeated the action to the other side before going lower blowing gently on her slit watching her quiver. “I’ve been dreaming about this all day.” He said before his tongue slipped into channel and eh began to feast on her letting her moans drive him, he wanted her begging him and then he was going to make sure Chauncey Devonshire was an afterthought on her wedding night the next day.

She held onto the wall as she began to cry out in pleasure. This is what she needed. She needed Anderson. From the moment they met their sexual attraction was electric. Now the pleasure that he gave her was threatening to be limited. They wouldn’t and couldn’t see each other after all these years because he had an image to reform. She could kill Philip Kincaid but it had given Anderson and her time to sneak off. His summits and new platform on social and criminal reform in Pittsburgh. Flipping her long chocolate hair as she ran her hands through his hair. Rolling her hips in his face she knew that he missed her body and he would take her to new heights. In a competition with a man she’d never love. She knew marrying Chauncey was what she had to do. Getting SandStar back was the goal and then she’d leave her husband and get what was hers. Anderson was her soulmate and how he fixed her heart. It made her feel like she had a home.

Even though she was getting her pussy ate her mind swirled with the rumors. Her mother’s death broke her but to hear that her father might have other children. A son and a daughter with a Indian woman who have been raised in Dubai. They would have to be conceived before her mother’s death. Noah had informed her of what people were saying and if rumors were true her father cut her out of his will due to her selling SandStar. That’s why he never came to America to see her after the push. Natasha would get her revenge by returning SandStar to previous glory but she would also show her father she was better and didn’t need his inheritance. His bastards could have it. Raising her leg on his shoulder she threw her head back in pleasure. No longer able to control her thirst for him inside of her. If she had it her way she’d be having his baby and would be pregnant again with Anderson’s child. Moving her leg down she raised him up by his head. Kissing him as the steamy hot water rained down on them. She turned around and spread her ass cheeks. Natasha moaned loudly feeling Anderson entering her from behind.   Natasha smiled knowing her father would be coming to see her soon enough. When he did she’d show him what she had become. A true power against anyone including him. “Yes Anderson.”

Sex with Natasha Hassan was always an adventure and while he was dutiful to Cara for the sake of their marriage he had a connection to Natasha that he couldn’t deny even if he wanted too. It made their affair illicit and dangerous and well his father had mistresses left and right over the years he could too, his father ran Atlas Falls with Carla Luciano he could run the country eventually with Natasha. His lips moved over her body tasting and devouring her while she cried out against the wall and he couldn’t help the smirk on his face as he did so. He had been tempted to drive her to a breaking point when she simply yanked on his hair and pulled him up. He was happy to oblige in her request his mouth exploring it’s way back up her body and then watching her as she simply just turned around to open herself up to him. She was always so eager for him and while his love life with Cara was fine something about the woman in front of him was exotic and kept drawing him back which included her desire to be a little more risky in bed. He steadied himself behind her and then slowly inched inside of her letting out a moan as he did so and the water cascaded down on them. He had every intention of making sure they were both pleased before they had to return to the real world later him to Cara and her to that waiting fool Chauncey.

He let her body clench around him and then began to pound into her ever so gently at first wanting to make this last for sure honestly he wasn’t sure when the next time they could be together would be. She would be married to Chauncey and have duties in Atlas Falls at DGI and he would need to stay in Pittsburgh taking after Charles and his advice pretending to be his loyal follower. They both had roles to play parts and he would play his dutiful husband to Cara and their two children while he secretly burned for Natasha to be by his side once he felt that her body had adjusted to his size he let his hips go, thrusting as hard as he could into her running his hands down her back as he did seeing her hands on the wall of the shower. “You feel amazing Natasha.” Anderson managed to gasp out from this angle he felt like there was no end where he began and she ended and the steam of the shower only added to that affect for him as he continued to move inside of her. He wanted this moment to last between them he hadn’t of been able to drop everything and be there for her when she had lost the baby in a way this was his way of showing that he was there for her now as short as their time could be. “I’ve missed you.” He managed to get out moving his hands to the front of her body running his thumbs against her nipples as he moaned out against her shoulder blade.

Natasha began to purr as he began to dig deeper than Chauncey could or would. You see she never compared men sexually because she was an adept lover. She could please any man but it was something about Anderson that drove her wild. For a week she laid in that hospital room in a coma. For some reason she expected him to be there. She needed Anderson to be there but all that came was a bouquet of flowers and a long letter of apologizing explaining why he wasn’t there. Jealously she hated that Cara had his daughter and she lost his son. She’d settled on the Devonshire brat to get what she wanted back. If Jackson exposed her carnal relations with Noah it would have been over. Her father would have found out about Noah and eventually Anderson. Then he would have made her marry some sheik or rich arab. That wasn’t what she wanted, nor would she. So she sold fifty-one percent to DGI and retained forty-nine percent of SandStar. Except when she got married she’d convince Chauncey to sell her two percent of SandStar back to her. When she retained control or figured out how to blackmail Jackson she was going to divorce Chauncey and leave this dreadful little town. What she prayed for most was that Anderson was done with Cara and she could have the love of her life to herself.

She could feel the pressure building the way their bodies were in sync. He was close as she grabbed his face she forced him to look into her eyes. “Say you love me.” She squeezed as hard as she could to grip against his powerful thrust.. Her voice was becoming husky as she could tell he was close. Using all her might she began to buck against him wanting him to remember every moment.  Chauncey could never fuck her like this because the fact of the matter was he didn’t love her. He had passion but it wasn’t for her. He was still in love with Greer and she knew it, but did he know was the question? Did he actually think he loved her? That was a joke. His little competition with Jackson had tricked him into loving her which was beneficial to her. “Yes I’m about to come Anderson.” She said crying out in pleasure. She began to buck and spazz against his body. She couldn’t help it. The man always made her release multiple orgasms. “Fuck Anderson!” He was still pushing deeper and deeper in her and all she could do is cry out feeling another wave of pleasure rushing over her.

Anderson was so lost in giving her exactly what she needed that for a simple moment in time he simply decided to just live in the moment and not think about Wyatt or Pepper, about his obligations with them and Cara and instead he was just going to be her lover. He wanted to not be married in that moment his father had in some ways encouraged him to marry Cara claiming it was good for the family then and he did love Cara at one point, but when he and Natasha had met a few years ago while traveling with Charles something drew him to her. They of course had made eyes over the dinner table at her father’s home, Noah Caldwell by her side a few days later they started their affair and he quickly found himself somewhere he didn’t expect out of love with Cara and falling in love with someone the he knew deep down he could never have. He watched as she came around him shaking and shivering and couldn’t help it as he felt himself shoot inside of her slamming into her at the same time while his fist pounded the edge of the shower walls his mouth opening. “Natasha.” He managed to gasp out the sensations overcoming him as he continued to move in her until he was soft pulling back and letting the spray hit him before turning it off and handing her and then himself a towel, leaning down he kissed her before walking back into the bedroom of his suite.

He watched as she looked over her clothes and began to get dressed and noticed the time she would eventually have to head back to Atlas Falls and he could return home later Cara not knowing the truth. He reached for his boxers on the floor as he went to the bedside table and retrieved his watch placing it on as he heard his phone buzz and looked at the reminder that Cara had sent for their reservations for Chauncey and Natasha’s wedding the next day. “So are you still going to go through with it? There has to be another way to get SandStar back than marrying Chauncey of all people.” Anderson said looking at her and wanting a real explanation or better yet for her to tell him that she simply wasn’t going to do it, she could remain on the board there without marrying the eldest and recently most gullible Devonshire as of late. “Rumor is that he is not going to be named CEO therefore how ever are you going to convince him to tell his spoiled ass rich petulant little brother to give it back to you. Had I of known that Charles sold you out to Dani Fraiser in that fiasco I would have stepped in to make sure those photos never surfaced. Regardless he is playing right into my hands the political backing I need to erase his legacy from the state and eventually the white house.” Anderson finished looking at her wondering if she was going to even stay the night or not.

Natasha slipped into a black lace Chanel and hand painted polka dot top. With a pair of sleek tapered women trousers and sleek go-go ankle six inch ankle boot from Gucci. Placing her signature chunky gold jewelry bangles, large earrings, rings and of course a different necklace a day kept the poor away. Turning on the blow dryer she ignored his musings as she dried her hair in the hotel bathroom. He didn’t want her married to Chauncey for his own reasons. He didn’t have his legacy stripped away and that was the truth. SandStar should have never been absorbed into DGI if anything she should have used it as leverage in the DGI and MontCorp war. No matter she would get her company back and she would marry Chauncey to do it. Not only that she was going to use her influence to secure him the DGI CEO and with that he wouldn’t mind letting her go. She knew Chauncey he was one track minded when it came to getting the throne but heavy on the head that wears the crown. Walking over to him seeing his disappointment reading all over her beloved face. “My love we are tied to binds that mean nothing understands that you belong to me and I belong to you. All is not lost I will get my company and I will make DGI beg. I will show the Devonshire’s what it means to take from someone.”

Sleekly taking face into her hands she looked into his eyes and kissed him with fire that she didn’t give to Chauncey. He pleased her momentarily not like Anderson she burned for this man. “I will marry him and I will be free as soon as Cara is gone. Pepper is beautiful but she will not be first lady at your side and I will do all I can to make you the President. SandStar’s oil is what the United States wants and needs is it not? I have power we will have power. Understand that my beloved but Cara will go.” Natasha said with a grim look on her face. “We will take over and nobody will be able to stop us.”

Anderson froze when she mentioned that she would take over at his side on the campaign trail down the line and that Cara would be on the outs he wasn’t sure that is what would happen. He had the prefect political family a brilliant son, a newborn daughter and a sexy wife that although they had problems was poised and collected under pressure. They had been married for over sixteen years and like Charles always told him it was too late now to discard that and start new, it simply wasn’t done. “I worry about you Natasha that is all I was trying to get at Chauncey likes to talk a big talk but you need an entire vote to get SandStar back or for Jackson to break his clause in your contract and hand the company back over to you, none of those are easy feats. I know that we are on different paths you should know that by now as well, perhaps before Pepper there was was a way out, now though.” He said his voice trailing off as he buttoned his shirt he could appease that side of her for a little while longer the illusion that one day he would be a free man to be with her the truth was unless Cara were to leave him or die he was where he had to be, the doting husband and up and coming political superstar that Charles was grooming him for.

“Cara will be Cara I simply can’t just leave my family for whatever this is and as much as I hate it you need Chauncey in order to get SandStar back from DGI. As you have pointed out these ties are binding to us no matter how we slice it or how much we want to try and ignore it. Cara is the mother of my two children one that was just barely born and I know Pepper’s birth had to have had an affect on you.” Anderson said looking at her as much as she hated to admit it a part of her was still grieving the child she lost he would be about the same age as Pepper was. He saw the sting on her face and was certain that he had already put a wall back up between them but the simple truth was that until Pepper was eighteen he and Cara would have to stay together for him to get anywhere with voters. “Perhaps once the wedding is over this will be a good time for us to take a break. Chauncey will no doubt want you close and right now after what Philip did at Jackson’s wedding the last thing my family needs is another scandal to come out.”

Natasha sat silent for a few moments until she got up and began throwing her things into a bag. She had to leave his presence before she bashed his head in. “You seem to think that you can end this. Play with my emotions and I end up with the short end of the stick. Heartbroken and the empty armed Madonna. No baby, no love, no life outside of being Chauncey’s perfect arm candy. That just won’t do Anderson. That will not do for me or you. Every time I’ve tried to let you go you come back more determined than ever. I lost my family’s legacy for you and the least you can do is let me pretend to be your wife. In my warped mind it may happen and you could have let me have it but we both know the truth about what happened when I fell. I want revenge and retribution and the best I can get that is if I’m by your side when you’re named President.” Picking up her bag she looked at Anderson. “I guess I’ll see you around. Both of you.” She said with a nasty tone letting him know she wasn’t playing with him or his perfect wife. “Goodbye Anderson for now.”


Brenda tapped her Manolo Blanhiks on the ground waiting for David. He’d had her here for the last few weeks. She’d had leg swelling for the last month and she wanted to know exactly what it was. As she stared at the clock on the wall. In a few days she’d be in Belize with her grandson, Cara, Pepper and Anderson for her summer vacation. The Kincaid’s having to work with the NAACP in Pittsburgh was very rewarding for her. She’d done work to rehab the family’s image and show her sons that Steven wasn’t a racist. She however wasn’t done with that little snit Philip. He’d pay very soon. She’d recently hired her a private investigator to implore why Dru Price, was so important to him? The late night visits interested her very much. Especially because Dru was also said to be possibly dating Zerick Davis. Which would cause quite the scandal because rumor had it Talia and Zerick were together after she broke her doctor heart. Brenda had all this information and before her leaving she was planning quite the return to high society. To expose Philip and let all the other chips fall. Hell when her private eye finds out more about Ms. Price she’d be the judge and jury for that little bitch also. She hadn’t forgotten her little comments at the wedding.

When David opened the door she stood up. So she had some swelling over the last few months in her legs. She had been more sluggish but she wasn’t twenty, thirty, or forty anymore. Plus the swelling had gone down and she was bored with all the tests and silly intrusive things he had been running. She was healthy and the Thorpe family didn’t die until they were at least ninety. It was genetics and she was expecting a bill of perfect health. “Good I have to meet with Merci. I want to invite you personally to a little party only for the important people darling. You know I just returned home, well I’m leaving on vacation first before the party it’s in two weeks. Belize is going to be stunning and I plan on having a ball. I’ve worked for so much and congrats is order your brother has risen from the grave. I was always fond of KC. He was quite the flirt when he worked in Kincaid manor those summers. My niece Vivian was very fond of KC and he used to bring her flowers. It was cute, David what’s the matter?” Just looking at the young doctor she saw he was deathly serious. Rumors were swirling another doctor was stealing David’s thunder which was also interesting. “I have no time for that glum look so spit out.”

David had a whirlwind of the last few months what was supposed to turn into just a fling for him with Belle on their little trip had become more of a relationship. One that they still needed to keep secret for his career and her father’s help, which he knew wasn’t exactly fair to a young woman like her but he did care about her. He didn’t think it would go anywhere serious though and part of him had been wanting to talk to Belle about it, she was fun but also so young and if he was honest superficial too it wasn’t like he could bring her home to his family. Lowell’s health had declined to the point that he was in a wheelchair the reality was that he was dying. His other more interesting case lately had been Brenda Kincaid who had came to him a few weeks ago with an array of symptoms from swelling in her legs, to feeling sluggish and tired, she had also off handedly mentioned she felt like she was more yellow lately. He had frist ordered blood work that gave him a slight sense of what it was and to be sure they had just completed an MRI along with a CAT scan to confirm his suspicions. He had braced for this moment Brenda was a strong willed patient and he had heard rumors that she was an alcoholic or at least a closet one but he really needed her to take this seriously. People were not immortal and if anything seeing Lowell like he was should at least give her incentive to keep on track.

“I thank you for the invite of course to a party that you would throw Brenda. It is appreciated of course as your doctor. I’ll be sure to tell KC that Viv says hi though I’m not quite sure Miranda would get a rise out of that as you would. Listen Brenda I know that were hoping for news so that I could clear you to go on a trip with your family for summer vacation but right now I need you to take a seat.” David said smiling at her for the first part he didn’t care about the whispers about hot shot new doctor Jayden Bradshaw he wasn’t going to slip up and let him take his spot as Chief of Surgery he wasn’t that daft or dumb and it would take a board vote to do it. He was happy that Miranda and KC had returned to normalcy given that it was revealed that he had that crazy job related affair while he was under and it wasn’t like his sister in law was blind to the fact her husband was sexy and desirable and besides watching them squabble over that was cute. “I don’t think there is an easy way to sugar coat this Brenda but you are in the early stages of liver failure. Whether it is genetic or perhaps related to another problem like abusing alcohol or medications that is what we are looking at. I can’t medically release you to travel to Belize when I really need you to stay here and we need to get started on the next steps.” David told her as he sat down in the seat across from her trying to gauge how she was going to take the news after a few moments he spoke again. “I’m very sorry.” He finished looking at her shell shocked face.

“I think you should run the test again. I’ve just been feeling off. I’m not dying David.” She said gripping the chair. “I just was thinking about Steven last night and how our lives have been moving since his death. I have been drinking for a long time. My marriage was so fragile over the years. I tried to mask all the pain when I found out Steven was carrying on with so many other women. So many women and I wasn’t faithful I carried on affairs with Walter. I need a drink.” She said standing up. “My life isn’t over David. I want to watch my grandchildren grow and my baby Brooke. She is marrying a real life prince.” Touching her chest she exhaled feeling weak. “I need to survive and I refuse to die. I won’t so I want to get on the list for a new liver and I will stop drinking now.” Brenda said wondering how she would stop. Since she was sixteen she’d have a beer, then it as Steven’s wife she drank champagne, and then as Walter mistress bourbon. Her father was an alcoholic, her grandfather was alcoholic and now she was alcoholic. Her father died from alcohol poisoning and now she would die from the same illness.

Wiping her eyes, her hands were shaking feverishly. “I need some water. I can’t breathe.” She said hyperventilating and mourning her beauty. “Will I look the same? I don’t want to be a corpse before I die. I don’t want my hair to fall out and look hideous.” Shaking her head as the tears covered her face. “I won’t die, I have so much to live for, David.” She took two tissues from David. “What’s my prognosis, meaning how long do I have?” She asked as she took the cup of water from David’s hand. “I’m not dying yet David. I know it.” Brenda said with a silent resilience that she didn’t even know she had. “Give me my options.”

David looked at the prim and proper Brenda Kincaid start to break down in front of him and honestly he felt kinda bad for her, after the scandal with her late husband at the wedding this was the least likely news she had expect or that he and wanted to dump on her. He had run the tests at least twice to make sure that he had a full diagnosis for her and they simply didn’t lie she was very ill and would need a liver transplant, the major problem being her years of alcohol abuse. It some ways it had reminded him of when he had diagnosed Lowell how crestfallen he was and how demolished he had become, he too had to face that he was not immortal and that was something that Brenda would have to come to terms with as well. He moved from his seat and did reach for the tissues handing them to her, watching her wipe her eyes he wanted her to have her moment and take this at her own time, he felt awful but he was going to let Brenda Kincaid decide what she was going to do. When he heard her talk about her children’s future and wanting to be there for him like her daughter’s wedding, her new grandchild and everything else he knew that she was ready for the rest of their conversation and he nodded his head at her.

“I ran the tests twice Brenda you are in the early stages of liver failure I can run them a third time I can even get you a referral if you want for another doctor but the reality is these will be the results again. I know that you don’t want to hear this right now but it is a good thing that you came in and that we were able to catch this early, I can’t in good conscience as your doctor sign off on a trip for you with your family until we set up a treatment plan and you start treatment.” David said quietly eyeing her he knew that she wanted to go to Belize with her family but at the moment that wasn’t possible. He paused for a moment as she grabbed his table and pulled up her chart knowing that he was going to have to make a moral dilemma at this point lie about her drinking to get her a new liver or if he decided to turn a cheek and recommend her for the transplant list. He felt for anyone coping with addiction it was a hard thing to deal with and he had seen it first hand destroy lives like it with patients and close friends over the years. But he also liked to believe in redemption and moving forward and overcoming those demons it seems that Tamara had been able to do it and Jackson Devonshire did too. “Maybe two years without a liver transplant. I would recommend we start dialysis now to preserve your liver and kidneys as long as possible. But you have to be honest with me about your drinking. I can’t recommend you for a liver till I know for sure that the drinking is over for good and you’ll get help for it.”

Brenda looked at him and wanted to scoff. Stop drinking? Dialysis? How would she look after dialysis? Would she still be the stunning woman she’d always been? She was Miss Atlas Falls and her beauty was something she always had? Was this like cancer where she’d prune up and die looking sickly? Would her hair be thin like her mothers was when she died of lung cancer? “You will put my name on that damn list if I have a drink or not. You will put my name on that list because I was one of the many board members who voted you into your position. Let me get one thing straight with you. I am not dying. This is easy for you to play God with people and say who lives and dies. I for one have always made my own luck and I’m not going to stop now. So if I need a heart, a lung, a kidney, and fucking liver you will deliver. You will make it so that I do see Brooke have my grandchild. I will get to go on that trip maybe not now. But I will. I will live David and you can schedule that dialysis but if I have buy a body I will. I have more money than God himself and I am connected to the most powerful people. My name is at the top of the list, that’s what will happen.” Brenda said as she stood staring at her reflection.

“Nobody is to know that I’m sick. Nor will anyone even get that inclination are we clear? Please call me directly, not my assistant with details of the dialysis and I will attend. Tonight I’ll drink but I’ll stop after doctor, that’s a promise.” Writing down her personal cellphone number onto a piece of paper she handed it to him. She could tell David was taken back by her commanding him. “I don’t pay into this hospital every year to end up dead. You will get me a liver and you will make it happen. If you don’t David then before I die I assure you Jayden Bradshaw will be the new youngest ever Chief-of-staff. I hear you truly don’t like him but I think if I ask him he’ll find me a liver. I hear he’s quite the go-getter and don’t think that my little scandal of a few months has muted my power. I have the governor as my closest friend so don’t make me use him.” Brenda looked at him seeing his disgust. “Oh is that judgement? Try dying its no fun and I won’t be not yet at least.”

David was in too much shock at the way she was talking to him let alone ordering her around that he was going to put her on the transplant list and totally ignore her underlying condition that was her drinking. His license came into question if he did, if anyone found out he could face the state medical board who could in turn terminate his license and he could lose everything that he ever worked for. He was the youngest Chief of Staff to ever be at St. Christopher’s and that wasn’t something that he took lightly in fact he was very proud of it and everything that he had accomplished as a brilliant heart surgeon that studied under the best the one blemish on his career his affair with Ophelia. It had led to her very public divorce from Tony at the time and he was labeled at the hospital as a homewrecker and a cheat among many other things, Brenda Kincaid had always been strong willed so he knew that. His mind wandered off to his current bed partner Belle was young as well as hospital employee not to mention the daughter of his patient, he knew how dirty that Brend Kincaid could play there were rumors of both her and her former husband Steven over the years pulling strings when needed. Closing her medical file on the tablet he was annoyed when she mentioned Jayden Bradshaw a newcomer even if he was a neuro prodigy and had successfully saved Natasha from the push down the stairs he was still new.

“I’m your doctor Brenda who you choose to tell about your condition is up to you. I’m not going to question how you will tell your children of your condition but I would advise that you tell someone to be your support system. I would highly recommend that you start dialysis as soon as possible to combat your condition until I can decide if I will put you on the transplant list or not.” David said not knowing if he was digging his own grave or not, it was completely illegal to put her on the list unless he knew for a hundred percent that she was done drinking and in recovery and as much as he hated going against someone like Brenda it was the right thing to do. Other people with drinking problems had been put on the list after a few months of observation with care and making sure that they were sober a few weeks in his opinion was something that Brenda could wait for. “I know you think you still have some sort of pull here at the hospital and with my job but I assure you I have just as much pull in my own right. I want you to start dialysis and then we will see in a few weeks if I can see through testing that you are done drinking I will put you on the list.” David said as he felt his phone vibrating and he pulled it out to see the notice another patient had arrived and he needed to see them. “I assume you can hand the information off to my receptionist to schedule your appointments. The ball is entirely in your court Brenda.” He finished walking out of his office to head to his next patient letting her decide her future either on his terms or hers.


Dru rolled off of Zerick as she took a deep breath exhaling and laughed because it felt so damn good. She had quite a few lovers because to be honest she was going crazy. Pierre told her to lay low and let Dani and Jackson trust her. She hated that spoiled bitch. Dani had the perfect life and she would pay for it. Lauren’s and Walter’s prized child now that she was fucking married to a Devonshire. Jackson was said to be wild but honestly he was stale. Boring and she hated taking care of those babies. Day in and day out having to sing, cradle one, and feed the other. Jackie and Lauren treated those babies like the fucking holy grail. She was still after the Kincaid’s but she had continued to fuck Ronan. That would kill Brooke when she ran back from the royal dick. As for Philip they’d have angry sex and vent about life underneath the thumb of Pierre and Forbes. It was enthralling at times and others he seemed like a whiny bitch. His mother was driven to suicide and he was a plague to his family. Philip had a obvious darkness that wasn’t going to be healed. Inherently all the men she liked Ronan, Zerick, and Philip were all screwed up men. It was her curse to like men that were just as damaged as she was.

“Why do you keep coming here?” She turned over and looked at him in the eyes. “Seriously, Talia gave up the chief of staff at St. Christopher’s. David is sexy and a good guy so she threw that away for you and you’re throwing her away. You should be with a woman like her Zerick.” She said touching his chest. “You shouldn’t be with me. I’m not normal or good or anything like Talia. I’m barely holding all this rage in and when it’s unleashed I’m scared at what I’ll do. To you and anyone else so let’s cut to the chase of the conversation. You can’t be thinking of me as anything but sex. We are just phenomenal sex. She is your future, and she’s the type of girl that will make your aunt Jackie proud. Look you did some fucked up shit and I see the whole getting your life together thing happening for you. I’m not that girl and you know I’m not that girl. You know I have a reason and purpose for everything I do. I don’t want you in my crossfire when I burn.” Dru touched his face as she leaned down kissing him. “I’m trying not to crash but I will and when I do everyone will hate me. But I’ll have my revenge you know?”

Zerick Davis was back to living the life he wanted now that the truth about his paternity was out, he fucked who he wanted and when and didn’t care about the hearts he broke along the way. He did spend at least two weeks in jail for shooting the sperm donor that was his father until the charges were dropped. Time that was well worth it when everything was said and done, he’d do it all again in a heart beat his cousins were still trying to reach out to him and he was amicable with them, but lately his relationship with his aunt had taken center stage. He was allowed an office at DGI and had consulted a few times, he was friendly with Natasha of all people. The other side was that he was helping his aunt run the country club and being her support system when it came to her divorce from Lowell. In truth he had set Talia free for her own good, he was never going to be a light at some end of the tunnel for her even now he could feel his darker side wanting to etch out and he supposed fucking Dru Price was the closest that he was going to get to that right now. He needed time to plot his revenge on Forbes for the chaos he cause at the wedding the distress that he caused his aunt and Dru didn’t ask questions and she didn’t get attached.

“I think I’m a grown man that can make my own decisions when it comes to whom I take to my bed Talia understood that. Right now I like to think that we are mutually enjoying what this is exceptional sex and chemistry that we have while you work for my cousin and his wife and I try to right the wrongs that I did to my family when I arrived in town. The way I came to town with so much anger and hate, the way I went after them I want to make up for that it was none of their fault minus Lowell of course but my cousins and aunt no it was not their fault.” Zerick said looking at her red hair cascading through the curtains and he took a breath looking up at the ceiling the truth was he was in new territory. He wanted to hate the family that discarded him, while hating the one that raised him all while trying to make everything right again. A tall order and in the back of his mind the darkness always stayed waiting to jump out and be known. “I could ask the same of you perhaps you’re bored with our arrangement and what to go back to Philip.” It was bitter when he said it but Philip knew that he was sweet on Dru and sometimes he had to wonder if this was all still a game to her.

Dru smirked as she listened to him question if she wanted him or Philip. “You two were raised together. Brothers, I’m screwing brothers.” Clapping her hands together she looked at him. “I’ve only asked you to give me a damn good time. I won’t lose my mind wondering if I should give up the man who helped me first in town. Philip’s a friend and lover just like you. I told you I have my own agenda on why I’m in town. I refuse to tell you what that is but every move I make isn’t about you or whatever this. I don’t want a man or a relationship, they don’t work. So if this is the big spill about how much want me or you want this to be exclusive, Zerick that’s not happening. I’m having fun and I enjoy having someone understand the burning rage. You don’t know me and I’m telling you grown man that she’s better for you than I am. I’m toxic, and I effect everyone I touch. I’m literally releasing you to orbit. You are happy right now being apart of the Devonshire’s if you continue this, you’ll be on the shitlist again. I’m not targeting your family but I doubt they forgive me. Zerick we gravitate to each other and I am enjoying the sex but you’re not going to place me in a box.”

She grabbed her sundress and slipped it on. “I’m not a good person for you. If you are thinking about some sort of relationship. I don’t have them. I don’t do relationships because once emotions are involved your common sense leaves the building. Zerick go to her she’s perfect. She’ll make your life perfect. The Devonshire’s love her like their own and I know when everything is revealed.” She said looking at her friend as she touched his chest. “Everyone is going to hate me. That’s my journey to walk but not yours. Not when you are just getting your life on track. I’m not letting this go yet. I want you and I want you to understand what I need. It isn’t a relationship.” Dru said purring as she leaning into him kissing his lips. “You’re my favorite lover, you know that right?”

Zerick tried to not let his body stiffen as she mentioned that she was screwing brothers sharing had never really been his style when it came to women but Dru was an amicable lover and he needed the release while he plotted. He wanted Forbes to hurt and in turn in some sick way he wanted to hit Philip too if to show him that he was always the son that Forbes really wanted, closing his eyes for a moment he pushed the image of Dru and Philip out of his head. In truth he knew nothing about Dru Price but eh was curious about her past one that she seemed keen on keeping close to her, he knew a con when he saw one. He returned the kiss before pulling back wanting to set things straight between them. “I didn’t say that you didn’t have your own agenda while you were in town, I have no desire to be in an exclusive relationship you are the one who brought up an attachment here my dear not me. Talia and I are done and even if we weren’t like you said we aren’t exclusive so it wouldn’t be your concern. Unlike yourself I would be kind enough to not throw her in your face.” Zerick finished as he looked at her the sting of Philip still very fresh.

Even when he and Greer would play with couples in a con and take other lovers he was never that insensitive there was a means to an end and then there was being a jackass because you could. He always had at least tried to be a means to an end whereas it seemed that Dru was more accustomed to doing whatever she wanted regardless of feelings, reaching down and pulling on his boxers he looked at her. “That was crass but the truth of this Dru I would never throw another lover in your face. Love is not in the cards for me at the moment right now my focus is at helping DGI and my aunt, I am sure she would be pleased if I were to start something with Talia but I am not in the headspace for that right now. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. I know my cousin appreciates how well you take care of his children and that is huge to them you’re like second family at this rate yourself.” Zerick said and he did mean it so far Dru had proven to be a capable nanny and one that he knew helped out Jackson and Dani quite a bit with the twins and they were grateful for that. He saw her looking at him and wondered where she stared off to for those few moments. “Was it something I said about being the nanny or you being like family to them already? I’m sorry if that came across wrong no one is trying to box you in Dru and honestly how bad can your scheme be? You have a cushy job, money and you literally could have any man in town. It’s okay to live for once let your past go.”

Dru lips quivered as she looked at Zerick and almost wanted to slap the shit out of him. When he spoke of her schemes and plotting. “I can’t stop it if I want to. I don’t want to though Zerick and if somehow I come out of this unscathed then you are the first guy I’ll come to and that’s me being honest. I have money? That’s funny because I’ve never had money in my life. I grew up in a trailer park and I was supposed to have so much more. You people wear Gucci and Chanel and throw away money on nothing. Look at you in a Tom Ford suit and I am wearing a Target sundress. Frivolously the elite of Atlas Falls throw away things they don’t want and I was one of those things. I was just given away and thrown to the wolves of society. I never had the shot you did. You think my life is cushy? You think because I wipe babies asses all day I’m happy and I should be grateful? No I’m not grateful when all these motherfuckers have had what I wanted my entire life. Pain they all will feel my pain.” She barked at him standing up out of bed. “Crass or real? I prefer to say I’m real and I won’t lie. I won’t lie to you and that’s my word. If you would have found out any other way then I would be a scheming bitch? After your money? Or after a big catch?”

She grabbed her denim jacket and her one splurge on a pair of leather cowboy boots. “I talk to God every night and I know he’s going to be pissed at me. I know he’s disappointed in me but  it’s the only thing I know how to do is make others hurt the way I’m hurting. Now you can pretend you don’t understand but didn’t you almost destroy DGI and your entire family a few months ago because you were enraged. I’m damaged just as damaged as you if not more. My story has no happy ending because I’m going to hurt people. I’m not after Jackson but he’ll feel it. Zerick I can’t stop because if I do, I’ll be deader than I already feel. Nobody cared about me. Nobody thought that I would be back and now that I am. I will see blood in the streets for my revenge. I’m going to tear apart all their lives and unfortunately right now I can’t do this. You are asking me questions because I just told you I wouldn’t lie and if you ask the right questions I’m going to tell you. You don’t need to carry my secrets.”

Zerick didn’t know how their evening had gotten so complicated in a few minutes when before they were in bed fucking like raw animals but here they were. He was jealous of Philip she had to have known that and that jealousy ran deep for him a little too deep if he was honest. Forbes had always treated him like the son he never had and Philip was always rubbing shit in his face growing up they had a rivalry one that he was certain they would never outgrow. “I mean if Jackson and Dani aren’t paying you at least a comfortable and living salary ask for a raise or hell if you want I will ask them for you. You were comparing Talia to a member of the Devonshrie family and while they do think of her like that I would like to think they also think of you like that because you are helping with the twins. I don’t even know what your life’s ambition is Dru what do you want to do career wise?” Zerick asked honestly baffled at her at the moment if she hated being the nanny so much why was she still there he was certain that his cousin and his wife could find a replacement if she wished to move on with her life and career. The problem with Dru Price for him was that she was a walking mystery and one that he wanted to discover all her secrets and see who she really was underneath it all. “I meant no offense by it you were talking yourself down when at the end of it all does it really fucking matter what everyone thinks?” Zerick asked he picked up his watch from the nightstand and put it on.

“What are you after?” Zerick asked wondering if she would ever give an honest answer that wasn’t full of half truths and riddles when it came to her motive for being in town. He could tell that she was hurting she held so much in all the time he would know that look he had it when he was younger, hell he had it last year he was damaged and used goods when his phone rang he held up a finger as he answered it. “Dr. Rutherford thank you so much for calling me back now is a perfect time.” He waited a moment as he got an update on his mother’s latest therapy treatment and that the new medications were stating to show promising signs for his mother meaning that she may eventually under strict care be able to join him on the outside again. “I understand I can relay the message of course to my aunt. Thank you.” He hung up the phone and saw that Dru was stating to leave and almost cornered her into staying again only for him to look down at her phone as it started to buzz on the dresser. “Aren’t you off today? You should probably answer that in case the new parents need you. We can talk later if you still want.” He finished realizing that he even needed to start his day and arguing or whatever it was with Dru would only dampen his mood further.

She almost screamed when he said she could get a raise, that she could do whatever she wanted. What she wanted more than anything was to destroy the fucking Kincaid’s and Fraiser’s. If anyone could understand it was Zerick but he also had gotten soft in her eyes. Since the Devonshire’s had welcomed him he was opening up his heart. Which was a good thing for him but she needed space because honestly she was about to explode. As she walked to her phone she smiled it was Pierre but she knew how to dig underneath Zerick’s skin. “Hello? I’ll meet you at the same spot.” Hanging up the phone. “I have to go. I have business to handle call me I might be up for this conversation later or I might not.” Grabbing her purse she threw the strap over her shoulder and looked at him.

“I had a good time.” She said honestly. “Call me or something maybe we can get back together without all the conversation.” Dru said walking out of his home and the sunlight of the day felt brighter than normal. Dru smiled that she didn’t explode like she would normally she just handled it. She expressed her rage without destroying her plan. Zerick would try to stop her and she wasn’t going to let anyone stop her from hurting them all.


Walter felt like life was changing too fast for him when it came to his family Dani married Jackson they had the twins. Braden and Tamara were about to have another child he hoped a girl this time but a boy would be good too. His mother had adjusted to her live in nurse something that he and Brandon had been concerned about. Brock was with that God awful LeClerq girl, Zach and Mason were a couple and his niece was with that DJ Ruby while Lauren had moved on with Randall Sinclair. He had wanted to move on but given the fact he now couldn’t with Brenda stung everyone else’s life was moving forward but politically he couldn’t be seen with Brenda again at least until the dust had settled more. Dust that he wasn’t sure was ever going to settle when it came to Brenda and the truth that happened with Steven. It was bound to come out sooner or later Steven was a part of the KKK in his youth and former days, he just didn’t quite expect it to come out like it did and so publicly. Publicly enough that it left Brenda and her children in a corner and him once again on the outside looking in. He took in the fresh air outside of LaCallie as he spotted Lowell, they had both spoke at the funeral and he looked at his former friend now friend again.

“It was a good service and I would imagine Tony is somewhere up there smiling down on us and the fact we haven’t killed each other in the last six months. He was quite proud of himself when you decided to drop the bomb on everyone minutes before our children got married and he actually had the nerve to tell me that it was his manipulations that led to us reconciling our differences. I would like to think that it was a combination of him and the twins. I will miss him though.” Walter said looking at him and fondly remembering Tony in truth they all had gotten close again since they worked together to help clear Lowell’s name, they went weekly for cigars and whiskey together playing cards as well. It felt like a transportation back into their prime in the eighties before everything had went sour for all of them. “For the record I agree with him still about the matter of Tess, you may think you have that under control but as you can tell from earlier I have to wonder who is playing who. There is also the matter about the end Lowell, have you thought anymore about your plans?” Walter asked he honestly got no pleasure from that part thinking of Lowell dying and his plans, he paused for a moment however when he saw Jeremiah approach them and controlled his rage at the other man.

Lowell sat smoking a cigar outside and wondered if the wheelchair jokes would persist until his death. His very own wife disrespected him in front of everyone. Tess had become more vocal and even colder to him after their marriage. He could tell something was bothering her but what, he had no clue. Her boldness to come to this service knowing Selina, Mason, and Jamal didn’t want her here. They were loyal to Jackie and he looked inside of the glass and saw her talking to Jamal and hugging him. She was perfect and the saddest part he wanted nothing more than to hold her hand. To see his ex-wife still the pillar of the community and he was still on the outside looking in. No matter what he did, he was going to hurt Tess in the end but she deserved it. After all these years of manipulation did she think she would just get away with it? “I have Tess under control. She’ll think she’s getting everything and she’ll get nothing. When I die I want you to make sure Jackie and my children have it all. Nothing is to be given to her, are we clear?” He heard the tone in his voice and how Walter looked at him. “I’m sorry Walter, you aren’t an employee of mine. I just hate what she did, I thought she actually loved me. I thought she stood by, but it was a ploy and game. She was more disloyal than anyone including that rat.” Lowell pulled out cigars out of his pocket handing one to Walter. Cutting his eyes as Jeremiah who was approaching them.

“It was Tony’s favorite.” He mumbled thinking why his friend would take his life? The last time they talked he mentioned how if he knew Gloria was manipulating everything he would have stopped her. Now he had to question why Gloria was so on his mind and now seeing Jeremiah Beecher in town he never truly believed in coincidences. “Tell me Walter, after all these years do you have a pang in your stomach to destroy that man. He caused years worth of strife between all of our family’s and I am questioning what I could do to him in his wheelchair. I still have enough money to destroy him.” Lowell gritted his teeth as he lit his cigar. Then pulled out one last one for Tony and handed it to Jeremiah. Lowell signaled Walter to stoop down and he lit his cigar.

“Gentlemen.” Jeremiah said as he looked at Walter and Lowell as he leaned in taking the cigar. “Tell me why the women are so bitter? I mean that was almost forty years ago you know? I came here to see what Tony left me. I mean it’s not many times the husband of the wife you just so happened to steal from him leaves you something in a will. Well I’m sure you all don’t recall it as such I mean Gloria did stay until she died. But she was never with Tony, until her dying breath we were in contact did you know that? I have to ask Lowell how did Tony become your trusted negro? I mean he wasn’t smart as me, he was powerful, he was a fucking chef.” He said, looking at them enjoying the clear rise he was getting out of them. “I’m here because I was ran out of town years ago for no reason but to be with the woman I love. Now Lowell you should understand that because of the witch hunt you placed into my life. Too bad I was a legal eagle and nobody could fucking frame me for embezzlement. I wonder if Pierre is here we have so much to catch up on. He was a dear friend of mine that I let burn for you. Maybe I could help him expunge his record. With the truth of what happened to him.” Taking the lighter from Lowell he smiled. “I think it’s time for Selina and Mason t know exactly where they came from.”

“You will stay away from Selina, Mason, Ophelia, Jamal and their significant others. You will leave town after that will read or I’ll use my considerable connections to ensure you’re swimming with the fishes. Matter of fact leave now Jeremiah while you still have a life.” Lowell said, threatening him meaning every word. Ronan might be in jail but his reach was far and wide. He’d help him to get rid of this bastard. “I don’t see color you know that and the word negro never described Gloria or Tony.”

Jeremiah laughed looking at Walter. “Mister, mayor your silence as this man threatens me. That’s’ alarming considering you are a civil servant of the people. You shouldn’t let anyone threaten me. But between me and you I don’t think that wheels here have much of a chance to get rid of me. I’ve acquired power you have no control over me. You will not kill me or a flashdrive on how DGI became the billion dollar empire will be revealed. You thought last year was bad man. I would hate to see what the world thought of you then if this is revealed.” Winking at Lowell. “Y’all motherfuckers didn’t think I would come back to Atlas Falls without a failsafe?”

Walter had to restrain himself with all the temper in him from striking Jeremiah as mayor and more so out of pure hatred for him. He always suspected that Gloria and he were somehow behind all the shit that went down and when Lowell had confirmed that to him and Tony so close to the wedding it only amplified how much he hated them. Of course Gloria and her entire family came out smelling like roses when the dust settled Selina and Mason sent to the best tutors and schools, trust funds and money was no object. Tony had apologized over the years for it he had accepted it because Tony was a good man and Lauren back then had told him he couldn’t blame Tony for what Gloria did. He hated Lowell too until it became futile to hate him any longer, not if he wanted to see his grandchildren and life was too short to hold onto that for him. It didn’t take away that while the Devonshire’s and Delacorix’s lived the lap of luxury his family struggled for scraps the first few years until the Pub took off and they were above water, thanks to the man in front of him and a deceased woman he was glad was six feet under. Everyone could keep up the scheme if they wanted that Gloria was such a wonderful person but the three of them knew the truth she was a shark that fed on the drama and a bitch when it came to getting what she wanted at DGI. She trampled over him and Lauren on her way to the top and fucked the man standing before him breaking Tony’s heart countless times and yet the man had the gall to disrespect the only decent one of any of them from that mess. He took a drag of the cigar and blew the smoke into Jeremiah’s smug ass face.

“You seem to think that because I am the mayor I have authority over what Lowell says or does I’m simply a friend who came to pay his respects to the only decent man involved in the business that happened all those years ago and my friend. Besides if Lowell didn’t threaten you I would, you need to leave town to whatever gutter you decided to crawl out of and stay there I’d hate for something to befall you upon your visit.” Walter finished he knew that Lowell had unsavory connections and if he had to rid Jeremiah from town he supposed he could reach out to Charles again make this matter of Jeremiah go away for a price maybe or Charles might even do it for the hell of it. He didn’t have to respect the man that was fucking Tony’s wife and feeding her lies or worse encouraged what Gloria did to them all but for Selina and Mason’s sake he wasn’t going to strike him either. “I see your arrogance still follows you around like people in this town owe you something, you were a cancer in this town and trust me when I say this no one missed your ass over the years least of all myself and the lives you and that bitch ruined in your wake of destruction. I see Jackie already took care of you inside do I need to do the same on the outside or will you go quietly this time?” Walter asked rolling his sleeves up on his shirt just in case he did have to get physical with Jeremiah.

“You two are cute.” Waving the cigar between them Jeremiah looked at Walter. “Arrogance is such a harsh word. I’m confident that the gutter I crawled out of was a place of my own putting. Walter can you say the same? Lowell betrayed you for years and here you are kissing a dying mans ass. It’s so pathetic but it’s all so Walter. You needed to see me here to remind you Lowell that I’m not some debutante that you get to throw away. Even more I’m not some friend that you get to play with when you want to pull them out of the toy box. You all needed to see me. I’m in town for a little bit and I’ll get whatever is coming to me. If it’s penny I want it. Tony left me something and I’m here to claim it. Believe that I won’t be leaving until I get it. Tell me Lowell, is Tess everything you dreamed of?” He laughed folding his arms as he looked at Walter. “And your relationship with Brenda. Is it still going on after all these years? I mean her husband was exposed for being the racist and I did tell Lauren all those years ago that you were still fucking her. I never liked you Walter and Lowell you were a means to becoming a very rich man I appreciate it. I’ll leave but you aren’t done with me. Good day gentlemen this will be amazing.”

Lowell watched him walking away and looked over at Walter. “That isn’t over. If I die before we get him out of town. You promise me Walter. That he will be gone because I can’t worry about anyone else coming for my family. Please Walter don’t let him into DGI or into my families life. My children are barely talking to me. My ex-wife hates me and my legacy. They are all after my legacy and what I’ve done. I promise you Walter that I will repay you for what I took but I need you to promise. They’re your family now too. I need you to hear me out and please make sure that Pierre, Forbes, Jeremiah and Tess don’t get DGI.”

Walter watched as Jeremiah’s words echoed in his mind seeping in where they would stay till he was certain that Jeremiah was gone from Atlas Falls again. None of it was over for him or Lowell by the looks of it Jerimaih was a formidable foe at times and a sneaky one at that one he would need to keep an eye on. When Lowell started to beg and plead with him, for him to promise him that he would make sure that none of them got DGI he almost snidely said no out of spite only to pause they were family now. As much as he hated Lowell Devonshire he couldn’t dare do to his grandchildren and daughter, what Lowell did to him all those years ago with Gloria Delacroix and Jeremiah Beecher. “I promise that I’ll make sure none of them get DGI but not for you Lowell I’ll do it for Dani, Donovan and JJ.” He saw Lowell look at him almost with rage and finished. “As much as I hate to admit it Jackson too I’ve grown quite fond of him as a son in law and well I refuse to let any of them leech on our future again.”


Elliot had come to Tony’s funeral and sat by Selina’s side at the church helped hold her up as the coffin was lowered in the cemetery and held her hand in the car towards La Callie taking it all in. Her father was dead and even now he barely knew any of the guests and the patrons that were filtering into to pay their respects to Tony Delacroix beloved father, community member and chef his heart was heavy for the Delacroix’s. He could tell that Selina didn’t want him to hover over her when she simply shooed him away a few times while she spoke with her aunt and cousins and he headed to the bar ordering a gin and tonic, taking a seat to people watch. Back in his Chicago days he would have easily saw this as a case that he could have latched onto went after the grieving widow in Ophelia and twist her to file a suit against the anti depression medication that he was taking, claiming them as responsible for his death. A move and a message he would have been happy to send when he worked for Beecher and Saks, a case he could have exploited to win it all felt so shady now though. He knew it was a mix of two things one his conversation the other day with his ex Monique a very good therapist who picked his brain way to often and the feelings he was having for Selina. He had went to order or ask for a lime to add to the drink only to be shocked spotting Jeremiah sulking at the other end of the bar.

Picking up his drink he moved still in shock that his mentor was in town he didn’t even know that Jeremiah was in the states last he heard he was traveling from an old former associate he worked with at the firm. He was of course also glad to see him, he looked up to him and was the closest thing he had to a father figure when it came to his professional life a person he respected. “Jeremiah I had no idea that you even knew Tony Delacroix how are you?” Elliot asked motioning for the bartender to get his mentor a drink while he took a seat next to him on the stool he had a lot he needed to fill him in on his divorce from Monique to moving here, to the trial against Jon Harrison and meeting Selina the entire mess with Dimitri that was still shady as fuck. “Such a small world I didn’t even know that you had roots in Atlas Falls I always thought you were Chicago through and through.” He finished still not sure what Jeremiah was even doing in town.

Jeremiah had left for a moment but realized that he hadn’t gotten to see Selina Delacroix. She was who he needed and when she got a moment alone he’d take advantage of that. Sitting in the bar alone he felt the tension building inside of himself. They thought that he was here for a will reading. That was comical. He’d waited all these years to get a piece of the company he helped become a success. Soon they would know why Tony killed himself. He knew exactly what was going on. When Elliott found him his heart started to pound because he was just like a son to him. If Elliott saw that everyone hated him here that could taint their relationship. Especially considering they had a valid reason. The money he got from DGI and that started his law firm. As he tapped his fingers on the bar as he looked at Elliott.

“Chicago is always going to be here for me. This is my moment to be around some old friends.” The bartender arrived with their drinks. “Tony and I were old friends but I think that he wouldn’t want me here. Hell none of them want me here. I thought you were still in Chicago, my protege here also is shocking. Tell me how is Monique and Zeke? That boy has to be at least sixteen or fifteen? I haven’t seen my godson in a few years since you left the firm. I’ve been watching you Elliott, I’m proud of you. I can’t say I was excited to see you leaving Beecher & Saks however your civil rights work has been inspired. Not only that but Elliott I have heard rumors you’re thinking of settling here. I find that interesting because I’m thinking of opening a branch of Beecher & Goldblatt & Duvall.” He said looking at Elliott. “How would you like to be a partner of this new branch and help me oversee this?”

“Monique and I divorced two years ago it was for the best. Zeke is doing well he’ll be sixteen this year getting ready for football camp this summer normally I get him for the summer but it was such a good opportunity for his future Monique and I arranged to wing our custody agreement so he could do it.” Elliot said for a moment he paused had it really been that long since he and Monique had officially divorced, in truth their marriage was long over before it was official they had drifted too far apart and held different viewpoints of the world. Monique was always trying to shrink him in their marriage and he was always trying to make her one of his cases or clients, towards the end they slept in different rooms and had even thought about taking on separate lovers before they decided it was time to officially file. They had been adults about it and learned they had a wonderful son out of the marriage and were far better friends then man and wife, which suited them all for better. “I needed a fresh start after that and a few cases caught my attention in LA and New York, last year a man named Kendrick Watkins was shot and I decided to pursue the case here it made national headlines. Wasn’t a win but I really ended up liking it here.” He didn’t know if Jeremiah knew about the case or not or the fact that Mason and Braden had won the case for Jon Harrison it wasn’t his most shining moment and it had been the moment that he met the Delacroix children.

“As flattered and honored as I am that you want me to join the firm as a partner at this time I will have to decline I’ve actually been thinking about continuing in my own private practice here and I’m toying with the idea of running for district attorney against Braden Fraiser when he is up for reelection. Instead of fighting that fight from the outside looking in think of all the civil rights cases I could actually make a difference at if I was on the other side this time?” Elliot asked seeing Jerimiah almost spit out his drink in shock or was it anger he wasn’t sure but he had been thinking about it for a while and he attributed that to Selina, not that Braden was a bad lawyer or a bad DA even but it seemed like Atlas Falls needed fresh blood in the office and maybe he could make a difference where it mattered. “I had no idea that you knew Tony Delacroix I had the pleasure of getting to know him the last few months even had dinner with him and his family over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also have been seeing his daughter Selina I do have to attribute some of my viewpoint changing because of her you know? Monique was great but she wasn’t the one for me you know? If you were friends with Tony why wouldn’t anyone want you here?” Elliot said looking at Jeremiah and then around for Selina he would love to introduce her to his mentor.

Jeremiah felt the twinge of guilt when he said that he divorced Monique two years ago. They were so perfect at one time as a couple. He hadn’t been there for his mentee and that would change. Hell he hadn’t been there for Elliott for a long time. When Elliott said he was going to run for public office he almost spewed out his drink. When did he become so altruistic? He’d always taught him to go for the gold and being an elected official wasn’t even bronze. To him it was always a dead end and he knew that. Unfortunately this Jesse Jackson routine he had going was blurring his brain. “I am offering you a chance to partner in one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Adding your name to our company and you are saying no. You’re either really dumb or you have found something that makes you feel like you’re making a difference. Honestly as a lawyer I never felt that. It was all about the mighty dollar and getting my face out there. You know me man but Elliott I want you to really think about it before you say no. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it could give Zeke an even better chance at life.” He knew which strings to pluck with Elliott.

When he said he was dating Selina Delacroix it felt like some sick history repeating itself. “Elliott, nobody wants me here because I was Gloria Delacroix’s long time lover. Tony and myself were friends before he found out and then he tried to kill me. I deserved it, I was diddling his wife. I loved Gloria just as much as I loved Norma. Gloria was my fire and I remember touching her and it felt like I was burning. I knew it was wrong but tell a young man to leave the woman he was obsessed with? She pursued me and I couldn’t get enough. Watch out for the Delacroix women once they are in your blood you’ll never be free of them.” He looked at Elliott’s shocked expression and he laughed. “I did have a life prior to mentoring you know that right? Kendrick case was impressive, I personally thought you should have won. See I’ve followed you but Mason is quite a beast in the courtroom. I think that’s funny how Tony’s son is an amazing lawyer that is pure irony.”

“You were what?” Elliot said having to do a double take as he revealed that he had been Gloria’s lover, he was honestly shocked at the revelation he always assumed that for the most part Jeremiah was a stand up dude. But to sleep with Tony’s wife seemed super foul not to mention he could see why that would be a problem for a lot of the people in town. Selina talked about her deceased mother a lot and a secret like that would destroy her and her brother. He knew when to hold a secret when it mattered and when Jerimiah again offered the partnership to him he considered it in the back of his mind, it was something he would think on. As for Kendrick’s case it really could have gone either way but the truth was he picked the wrong case to ride into town on. “I’ll think on it.” He offered taking a sip of his drink and finally seeing Selina spotting him he waved motioning her over to the bar. “You might just want to keep the part about fucking her mother to yourself.” Elliot said looking at him and then wrapping her into his arms for a quick kiss before moving to the side. “Selina Delacorix this is my mentor Jeremiah Beecher.”

Selina was exhausted from shaking hands when she saw Elliott with a handsome man who looked like he could be his father. When he introduced himself she was taken aback. She’d heard that name before. She just didn’t remember where and when. “Baby you left me back there with Shirley Mosby the church pianist she also talks way too much. Hello, Jeremiah, I’m Selina and I’m so sorry you are here meeting me and my family like this.”

“I actually know your family Selina. Your father and I were close friends once upon a time.” Jeremiah said looking at her. “You remind me of Gloria. She was just as stunning as you are.”

“That’s funny I thought I knew all my father’s friends and honestly he’s never brought you up. Wait are you the guy that Jackie was throwing out earlier? Mr. Beecher I think whatever reason you had to show up in my father’s repass it wasn’t with the best intentions. Mentor or not I think you should go before you upset my godmother again.”

Jeremiah laughed looking at Selina as he finished his drink. “Little girl you know nothing about the past or your parents. They’ve all really brainwashed you into believing they care. Maybe you should learn your history. Remember what I said Elliott and I’ll be seeing you soon. You really do look like my beloved Gloria.” Seeing his mentee’s face of shock he smirked. He was always the best closer.


She couldn’t believe what she just read in this journal. The only thing in his lockbox in his office. Ophelia walked around Tony’s office in the house and felt like he was still here. She could feel a faint scent of his cologne. Her fingers trace the pictures of Jamal, Selina, and Mason. She laughed looking at the pictures they held so many memories. Picking up the picture from their most recent wedding Ophelia felt the air leave her body. She swore that they were on the other side of her affair and he’d finally left Gloria in the past. Believe it or not she haunted them for years because Tony hadn’t let her go either. When they married this time it was perfect. She loved him more than she could breathe and this time they had it right. Now all that love was still here but she couldn’t give it to him. She ruined it last time and now the timing seemed wrong. Slowly looking around she grabbed his chef’s coat and sniffed it deeply. “Tony.” She mumbled as an agonizing howl escaped her lips she fell to the floor.

Slightly hyperventilating on the floor she knew it wasn’t healthy to be alone. She hadn’t eaten all day and all she had was coffee. She felt weak and all she could hear was Tony promising her the stars for the rest of her life. How could he just fucking end it? He didn’t think that he was killing a piece of her? She told him she was a part of him and he was a part of her so how could he just let all that go? How was she going to stay in Atlas Falls? She didn’t want to because around every corner she’d see Tony. When she heard the door open she saw Selina standing before her. “I’ll be out in a few moments. Just give me a few moments okay.” Clutching the coat tighter she began to weep into it. “I don’t even know why? I can’t even figure it out? I can’t.”

Selina stooped down and held Ophelia and rocked her listening to her cry. She could smell her father’s chef coat and she almost began to cry herself. His cologne was always a signature of her daddy. He smelled good even after he had worked in the kitchen. He never had that food smell on him. “Are you alright?” She said smiling at her. “Look at us? I’m hugging the wicked step-monster as I used to call you. Ophelia I want to talk to you. I should have embraced you as a mother but I was a teen and eventually a young adult who was so mad at my father for moving on. I thought because you had Jamal and had my daddy that he’d somehow love me less. I became brutal to you and I don’t think your marriage was safe because I wouldn’t allow it to be. For that I apologize for how unfair I was.” Selina wiped a tear from Ophelia’s face.

“Water under the bridge.” Ophelia said, smiling at her daughter. “You are my daughter now and forever you understand me?” Using the coffee table she stood up and helped Selina up. “You know next month we were supposed to be gone? The chef DeAngelo today he um was going to replace your dad at La Callie and Tony and I were leaving Atlas Falls. He had this trip to see the world with me. We were going to go everywhere on the cruise. From one destination to another one. He had bought the tickets and all. I just don’t get how someone who had so much planned and to live for just let go. He just gave up on us.”

“No, Ophelia, he loved you. He would never give up on us. Whatever this is, it wasn’t him giving up on us. You mustn’t believe that. You can’t because that.” Pausing almost to convince herself more than her stepmother. “I think whatever this choice was and reason is. It wasn’t to hurt us. His last few weeks he loved us so much and I remember how much he told us all how much he loved us. I can’t believe he was going to retire. What about you? What are you going to do? I mean your practice is here and your life was in Atlas Falls.”

“I was going to turn every patient I had over to Kelsey and I was going to be gone with my husband. To be honest I am thinking that I’m going to do that still. Selina I’m going to take that cruise and I’m going to see everything that we wanted to. I think that you can keep Jamal out of trouble and I just need to do this for me and Tony. I need to go on this trip for Tony.” Ophelia walked to the desk and picked up her purse and the old journal that she had just read. If this journal was found by Tony it could explain some of where his mind was. That was the truth and she didn’t need Selina or Mason to lose the image of Gloria. As she began to gather everything she wanted rush away and burn this awful diary of the past. Walking to Selina she hugged her tightly. “You better protect my boys you hear me? I’m not going to be here much longer and they are going to need their big strong sister.”

Selina lips quivered as she finally started to break. “You can’t go.” She said unable to truly handle her brothers pain, her own pain and murder that was weighing on her daily. She shook her head as if she wouldn’t receive that information. Exhaling she finally shrieked a little as she grasped her belly for levity of the moment. “Oh.” She said breathing harder. “I’m fine.”

“Oh Selina.” She said walking up to her stepdaughter. Cradling her face in her hands. “I always wanted a daughter too.” Wiping her eyes as she steeled up again she saw that she was holding everything in. “I can’t stay here and I can’t look at these streets without him. I can’t be in Atlas Falls right now honey. I need you to be strong for the family but being strong doesn’t mean holding it all in. Let it out.” As Selina collapsed in her arms she held her as she gripped her so tightly she felt like she wasn’t breathing. “Breathe Selina. Breathe baby it’s okay.”

Selina clung to Ophelia feeling like she was losing a losing game. “That book you grabbed. I want it it’s my mothers.” She said, wiping her face, pulling away from her. “I used to watch her writing in it every morning outside. In the rain, in the snow, in the sunlight she always wrote in that book and I remember that.”

“Selina you don’t need to read this. Your mother wasn’t what you believe and I don’t think your father would want you or Mason to read her thoughts. I think he read them to move forward. However I also can’t stop you. I was going to burn it because I read some things about Tony that I didn’t like. I read some things about Gloria that shocked me considering that so many people idolize her.” Ophelia pulled it out of her purse. “Honey, you won’t like what’s inside of this diary. It’s her opinion and it’s her truth but sometimes knowing the truth hurts more than anything.” She pulled out the diary and extended it to her.

Selina felt her entire body grow cold. A tingle shivered down her spine. “Thank-you Ophelia but I’m an adult and if this can maybe bring me solace. I want it and I would like to say I appreciate that you wouldn’t burn my mother’s diary.” She knew she just turned bitchy again but Selina didn’t appreciate Ophelia taking it in her hands to burn her mother’s diary good or bad. It was her mother’s. “I’m sorry.” Taking the diary from Ophelia.

“Remember someone’s past, can always end another person’s future. Pardon me I gotta go see Jamal.” Reaching out to Selina she squeezed her hand and walked out the office truly wondering if she just hurt Selina more by giving her that diary. Turning around looking at her step-daughter. “Be careful in the past honey.”


Chauncey had a week of course making sure that everything was in order for the next great Devonshire wedding hopefully it wouldn’t be the shit show that was his brother’s to Dani six months ago. He preferred not to think about that night mainly due to the fact that he had lost his son with Natasha that evening due to whoever pushed her down the stairs, he knew now that it wasn’t Greer he had been angry at the time and lashed out. He supposed he was still mourning months later trying his best to be a good future husband and a supportive partner to Natasha but sometimes he felt that there was an ocean between himself and Natasha emotionally. DGI was doing well surprisingly Rory’s app had been enough to salvage their last quarter and he knew that later in a few months even that when the energy division and partnership with Isla Del Cruces that DGI could rest easy a part of that unsettled him that Jackson could still possibly unseat him place as future CEO. This time however he was certain that he could handle the competition and handle it fairly if anything last year with his father had taught him that somethings were more important that feuding with his siblings. Taking a sip of his scotch on the rocks he turned in his seat when he saw Greer sit down beside him.

“Greer lovely to see you as always, where is your adoring fiance?” Chauncey asked looking at her a smirk firmly planted on his face as he looked at the mediocre rock that was on her finger from Brock Fraiser. He knew that the Fraiser’s weren’t super well off by any means but surely Greer herself had to be questioning her own choices at this point in her life, it wasn’t even up to her are minimum standards and he doubted very much in the long run that she was going to stick with Brock at the end of the day, he simply couldn’t provide what she really craved power, wealth and the name to go with those things. “Did you and Brock get your invitation to the wedding I didn’t notice your name on the RSVP that Merci sent over last week my mother is so excited about this wedding. I mean how often in a year do her children get married? Have you even told your father your good new will the reception be at that God awful Pub?” He said watching her reaction to his words and he couldn’t help it as he reached out brushing his fingers on her bare arm.

Greer recoiled from his touch. God she couldn’t stand his arrogant ass anymore. As her eyes began to narrow. “I didn’t see you there Chauncey.” As the waiter brought over her drink.Being a regular at The Rawlings truly had its perk. A gin and tonic was needed to deal with her demented ex-boyfriend. Rolling her eyes she looked at her engagement ring and smiled. “You wouldn’t want me there Chauncey, to tell your precious fiance exactly where you like to stick it.” Turning her neck she began to feel completely uncomfortable. “I just wanted a drink because never mind that. My ring and my life isn’t your concern or shall we go back in the time machine where I almost left a man who truly loved me for a man who played a game to get revenge on me. But why Chauncey? Why if you are so happy with Natasha do you always have to try and get under my skin. Is it because you secretly still can’t get me out of your system? Are you really marrying her for eternal love or is it guilt someone sent her flying down the Devonshire steps?” Seeing him instantly get uncomfortable when she brought up baby death she couldn’t help but get a sick sense of satisfaction.

“To answer your question Chauncey, I need stability not influence. My father can hate who I choose to be with all he wants, I’m an adult. As for where I’ll have my wedding and reception if it’s at The Pub so be it. The last wedding I did was with Zerick and we went to the courthouse.” Picking up a bar nut she placed it in her mouth. She paused knowing Chauncey was reading her mind. It would be a wedding. It would be quaint and cozy. It wouldn’t be Greer LeClerq at all and that was fine. She would be Greer Fraiser and that’s what she wanted. Someone who wouldn’t hurt her. Someone who wasn’t a risk and someone who didn’t do what Chauncey did to her four months ago. “If Brock wants a small wedding and our reception at the Pub instead of the Rawlings, or La Callie or the Crestwood. I would welcome it because I’m happy for once. I’m asking you to just leave me alone. Stay the hell away from me and what I want. I want to be clear when I say this, congratulations on your wedding but you stay the hell away from me. I want nothing to do with you ever again. In fact if you and Natasha die tomorrow it would be too soon.” Greer felt nauseous at the moment as placed her drink down. She couldn’t even hold down the one damn drink she’d been drinking since childhood. “I really thought after you lost your son you’d see something different but you obviously don’t see me anymore.”

Chauncey couldn’t help the chuckle that he let out at her and her little show that she was putting on he could see the distaste in her eyes at the mere mention of the Pub and he knew exactly what to do in order to drive that point home. He heard it from his mother’s gossip to Lauren that the proposal had been awful when Brock had lured her to the Rawlings with the entire Fraiser clan there. “A man that truly loved you? Oh Greer I think if anything how that man acted that night should show you that one thing will always come first for him and you simply aren’t it. Or do I need to remind you that you found and sought me out that night?” Chauncey asked remembering what happened between them she had left the Rawlings to head to the Crestwood hotel where he had been after a meeting with a client. “I do hear from Dani that she was elated the way it all went down with you fleeing the scene in tears while her cousin stared after you debating which way he was going to run. You keep telling yourself that Brock really loves you and I do mean all of you.” Chauncey said looking at her for a moment as he moved some hair from her face.

“I told you I have my reasons for marrying Natasha mainly I want her completely loyal to my family and SandStar to remain stable to appear to be the good son I am trying to be to my father. I told me not to attack my siblings and I am trying my damndest to do that in order to make sure that when he dies he names me as his CEO, as for who pushed her down the stairs I will make sure as soon as I find out who did it they are buried.” Chauncey said looking at her the miscarriage was crushing and it hurt he had lost his son that night and it was a shear miracle that Natasha didn’t have a broken neck or side affects from that night that were long lasting, she had tremors and night terrors he heard her crying at times and she still refused to share a room with him so in a way he did owe it to her to stick out their marriage. “That had to have hurt didn’t it Greer when Brock just let you go? Shall I remind you of what happened afterwards?” Chauncey asked leaning in and pressing his lips against her gently feeling her kiss him back and for a moment in time he was sucked back into her and pulled back there was no one at the bar to report back to Natasha not that he needed one, they had a clear arrangement and had since their engagement was announced. “How did your father take the news? I’m quite curious about that.” He finished looking at her flustered face and wondering how long she was really going to keep up her charade.

She could hear her father’s words of how disappointing it was for his daughter to be marrying an offshoot Fraiser. He spoke of his distaste on the Frasier legacy and exactly what they could bring to the LeClerq clan? With Brock it hadn’t been the fairytale like she presumed the night of Jackson and Dani’s wedding. The first thing she didn’t like was how he looked down on her rebrand of Atlas Falls Chronicle. She renamed it The LeClerq Chronicle which would be a part of LeClerq Media. Her father’s plan was now to shape the narrative of Lowell and his legacy including all of his children. He couldn’t do that without an inside man and that was her. She also noticed her father over the last few months mentoring Dru Price. “My father wasn’t happy about my engagement. Chauncey why are you pretending that you care? You proved your loyalties and marrying Natasha is that.” The second she felt recent resentment that she wasn’t herself anymore. Greer wasn’t some pollyanna she released Dani’s records because she knew it would slow down Jackson and Dani. Brock wanted her to be good and all she was thirsting for was to be naughty as possible.

Greer painstakingly recalled the night of her proposal and how Brock just let her run off. After the Dani flipped out, Walter finally said a LeClerq wasn’t to be trusted, and Zach along with his parents voiced their concerns. She told them she would do her best to win their trust. When Brock’s grandmother called her a slut and everyone laughed she’d had enough. She couldn’t believe how gullible she’d been when she turned to him. Chauncey and she hadn’t talked but fate seemed to draw them together. It still stung that he was marrying her childhood rival. Natasha always had a way of taking everything Greer wanted. Even now she was sure Natasha didn’t care about Chauncey. She saw her when she was in love and this was something else. One of her many weaknesses when she loved she loved hard and she couldn’t prove it but someone else had Natasha’s heart. Taking a sip of her drink she bit her lip. “I was there Chauncey. I don’t need any reminders. Honestly I haven’t thought of that night since we had sex. I know I hurt you Chauncey and I know losing that baby hurt you but I never thought you’d grow weak. I never thought you’d dismiss me for Natasha.”

Valentine’s Day
Four Months Ago

Greer stood inside of the lobby of the Crestwood hotel; it was even more beautiful than she remembered. Last time she was inside of here she was sneaking around with Chauncey. They were good together. They made sense and before the truth came out no one else knew what he was feeling. That emotional connection couldn’t just be ripped apart. She had only told his secrets because it saved her skin and he had to understand that. He had to see she needed him and she felt such a connection with Chauncey that she needed him. Brock Fraiser didn’t leave with her. He just tried to subjugate and ease suspicions of her. She didn’t need the judgement and if they didn’t accept her, she knew someone who did. Chauncey Devonshire and she belonged together and Dani said tonight that she wasn’t over Chauncey so let’s prove them correct. Looking down at her Alexander McQueen corset top and highwaist custom leather and suede pants, with thigh high Louboutin boots, and a gray and white chinchilla fur wrapped around her petite frame. He was sitting at the hotel bar eating a steak, drinking a glass of red wine. She was never a good girl and he loved that about her. Pretending wasn’t for her and not being real wasn’t either. She wanted him to take her. 

Walking to the table she walked past the maitre de hotel and right to his table slamming her McQueen clutch on the table as the waiter arrived taking her fur and she sat down. Picking up the wine bottle she immediately poured herself a glass. “He proposed to me in front of everyone at the damn Rawlings. All the Fraiser’s were there and it went as wonderful as you can expect. I can’t do it anymore Chauncey and I know we aren’t together anymore but what are we doing? You can’t be serious with her. Let’s get a room like old times here and talk and I promise after tonight we can figure everything else out. They talked to me like trash and like I wasn’t even in the room. They all just trashed me and I’ve really been trying to fill a hole inside of me with Brock but you’re it. I love you Chauncey still. I haven’t stopped and I just want you to let me show you.” Greer’s hand reached out to his as she used her left hand to guzzle down the entire glass. “That’s my fourth one. We should take the bottle upstairs. I don’t plan on leaving tonight and you shouldn’t either.”

Chancey had just finished taking the last bite of his bison tenderloin encrusted in pistachios and a red wine sauce while browsing of the last quarterly reports at DGI numbers were up which was good. He had reached for his glass of wine and heard the heels clicking across the floor looking up at Greer taking a seat across from him and snatching his wine. In truth as the engagement with Natasha went on and on he wondered if he was doing the right thing or not, they had pushed it back to the beginning of June his father’s sudden need to marry Tess being the catalyst for the pushback as to not overshadow his dying father. It was a compromise that seemed to suit them both he had heard of Brock’s plans to propose he had overheard a conversation about it at DGI between his brother and sister in law and a part of him had been envious. He had put space and time between himself and Greer, yet he still thought of her as much as he wanted not too and to hear that Brock was going to propose left a sour taste in his mouth. What life could Brock possibly offer her in his run down little house, his little company and his noble persona that he fronted or that was really him, which was more annoying.

“He’s a Fraiser Greer did you really expect him or his entire family to warm up to the idea of you involved in their lives? Time heals wounds, just not wounds that deep in this case, was it every bit the show that he wanted it to be? Let e guess the room was decorated exactly to his mother’s liking not yours, it was a wonderful speech about how much he loved you until then it wasn’t?” Chauncey asked looking at her flushed face and he couldn’t help but reach out and take her hand the truth was he loved Greer especially the ugly and dark parts a mirror to his own soul. Something that he was certain that Brock Fraiser would never be able to understand let alone accept. He simply got up from his chair Natasha was out for the week some sort of thing she had to take care of back home, though he guessed her legs wouldn’t be closed and they had an open arrangement, he waived to the waiter on his way out they could put the meal and bottle on is tab as he took the bottle off the table. “I know that I said some harsh things at the wedding and hospital Greer but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t stop caring about you and we both know that Brock Fraiser is not the real man for you. He’s too pious for it, to centered for it and yet here I am still not married and you came here.” Chauncey said as he walked them to the elevator to his private penthouse slipping a tip to one of the bellmen as he did so. “I think I could take your mind off him and the rest of the lot of them if you’d let me.” He said leaning into his ear to whisper that part as his hand skimmed the bare skin on her shoulder waiting for the elevator.

Greer smiled as Chauncey talked to her he always could talk her down. It was funny the more they were away from each other the more they yearned for each other. She felt the burning just being in his presence and that was intoxicating. “Yeah you stopped caring, let’s not pretend you didn’t.” She saw his shock. “You moved to my lifelong rival, you turned your back on me, and you couldn’t handle a woman taking you for the ride this time.” Greer said as they walked off of the elevator. “You’re right Chauncey, I want a riot. I want love so intense that it could destroy a nation. I want to be Cleopatra or Helen of Troy. I want that type of passion and intensity that I don’t have with my boyfriend. His love is average flowers, candy, and sweet words. Sometimes I wonder if I’m ruined because I don’t want sweet words, or flowers, or candy. I want him to throw me on a wall and screw my brains out. To not look at the ugliness that I place into the world as all that I am. I came here because you were and are the only person who saw me as more than an evil bitch. You saw my heart, you saw nastiness, and you saw how much you hurt me. You did it on purpose because you knew I wouldn’t push her. Not my style to get my hands dirty.” Greer said with a calmness as she shivered feeling his hands on her again. 

“You had no idea how that made me feel. You are so concerned with my marriage and I honestly could care less if you marry Natasha. You know that she isn’t the one and it’s funny you seem to think that she’ll get you DGI. She’s going to betray you. At least my betrayal was the catalyst to you getting everything back.” She walked into the penthouse and smiled. “It was hideous not one couture in sight. Just streamers, and balloons I felt like I was in a strange kids movie. Girls dream about getting married and the proposal, I can honestly say having Dani the shrieking witch flip, and Lauren the hypocrite come at me. That wasn’t my dream proposal. I just don’t know if this is what I want because I’m sure that I still want you.” Greer covered her mouth as she looked out the window. “I didn’t mean that like that. I mean we still have that thing you know? Chemistry.”

Chauncey listened to her talk about how she thought that he had moved on in truth he had forced himself to move on for the betterment of DGI a business decision he knew that Greer deep down got that. Had she not of blown the entire thing up at the anniversary party there was still a chance for them to come out on top but she had played her emotions too well and sold him up river to his family at the time. In truth he knew deep down that Greer didn’t push Natasha the cameras were out in the hallway the staff was not even near the wing meaning someone else did someone that was scared of getting caught. He placed the bottle down on the table and thought over her words once his marriage to Natasha was legit they could go after the CEO position, DGI would be his and she could have SandStar back a win for everyone and they could go their separate ways if they so desired. Watching her talk about his sister in law though a smirk had formed on his face Greer still hated her and maybe he could play that to his advantage Greer did after all own the media in town now and Natasha disliked Dani too. When she was finished talking he poured a glass taking a sip before walking to her and kissing her letting the wine and his tongue swirl in her mouth.

“Hmm I think we can stop talking so much about the past don’t you? Instead we could just be in this moment together.” Chauncey asked pulling back as his hands moved up her sides to take the mink off her shoulders letting it fall to the floor. He looked at her shocked face and a part of him almost wanted her to stop him from cheating on Natasha the other part wanted her all over the room all night long it wasn’t like Natasha was remotely faithful to him and he was stupid if he ever thought she was. When he saw it as an invitation to continue he let his hands slide lower to the zipper on her pants before slowly pulling them down along with the thin fabric of her panties. He saw her looking up at him and couldn’t help it when he leaned forward and gently licked her seam seeing ehr quiver. “Better?” He asked before diving head first into her heat and pressing her firmly against the wall near the window where he began to suckle and tease her.

Greer had saw Chauncey was listening and that he understood her. He understood what she needed and how she wanted it. There bodies from the moment they met were in tune with each other. The way he kissed her, the way he touched her made her come alive. Pressing her hands against the cold winter glass against the crackling of the roaring fireplace across the room. She began to moan as he licked between her legs. She missed him so much and how he knew what she wanted. Greer looked at him and felt her entire body trembling. “Look at me.” She said commanding his attention. “Look at me while you taste me.” Greer commanded as they looked deeply in his eyes.

Throwing her legs around his neck she started to roll her hips on his tongue. “Yes Chauncey baby I missed you.” Seeing him lapping up her juices she knew that he needed her as badly as she needed him. “Yes Chauncey.” She said as she saw him unbuckling his pants. “Yes I’m ready Chauncey give it to me.” Greer begged as she untied her corset letting it fall to the floor with a dark glimmer in her eyes. “Fuck me.”

Chauncey couldn’t help the moan that came out when her mouth opened and she let out her first cry of pleasure and he continued to feast on her taking her right to her tipping point only to stop and do it all over again. He eventually let his eyes met hers like she asked and he did have to wonder if Brock ever fucked her like he was going too and that thought alone got him painfully hard as he undid his pants and began to stroke himself. He watched as she undid her corset and those beautiful breasts spilled out and he moved his mouth up slowly to devour each one slowly sucking and biting just a bit on her nipples before spreading her legs and then plugging into her. “Fuck Greer.” He managed to groan out slamming into her as hard as he could against the wall wanting to give her exactly what she said she wanted a good fuck against the wall. He pulled out all the way before slamming back into her again. “Does he do this to you?” He whispered against her ear seeing her quiver he smiled pulling back and then began to thrust his hips nice and slow in her.

He wanted her to remember this moment when it was all done how he not Brock Fraiser was the one that was giving her the intense desire and pleasure that she so wanted. A woman like Greer needed that raw passion to survive in the world she was accustomed too and a borderline quiet life as the wife of a firefighter was not it. Brock would never be what he was cultured, rich beyond measure and that dark craving that a woman like Greer needed and wanted for him that was the thrill of it Brock could never love Greer the way he did. He wasn’t sure he could ever say that out loud to her at the moment he wasn’t built like his brothers or Bliss, he was much more like Max he went after what he wanted but he wasn’t about to tell Greer that she still had his heart. He had too much riding on his upcoming marriage to Natasha. He couldn’t help the fact that his body was going crazy inside of her his pace quickening and the moment he felt her about to orgasm he stopped carrying her to the bed and laying her down before standing at the foot where he began to fuck her again, his hands playing with her breasts massaging them and flicking her nipples as he did. “I did miss you Greer.” He groaned so close to coming but wanting to please her first.

Greer knew what she needed and this was it. She’d seen him flaunting Natasha around town since the loss of their baby. She would go shopping and Brock would ask if she needed another dress considering she’d taken over his closet. Seeing Natasha and Chauncey looking so happy killed her. He acted like he didn’t understand why she betrayed him. Honestly he’d do the same and he was going to do the same thing to save his skin. They couldn’t carry on after the destruction of all they built last year. It was crazy she didn’t expect to find someone who understood her so deeply. She got with Brock because he was sweet but it was quickly becoming a bore and chore to be with him. She couldn’t do the good girl shit anymore. When he plunged into her she lost her breath and the way he slowly started to make love to her tenderly. When he questioned did Brock do this to her body? The answer was yes and no. Brock was a wonderful lover but he was also more interested in pleasing everyone else and that meant she only got a portion of him. When she wanted it all. Chauncey somehow even now when he wasn’t hers gave her more. 

“Fuck!” She cried out as she began to tremble as her nails clawed into his back and she began to cry out in pleasure as waves of satisfaction began to overflow inside of her. It felt like every pleasure receptacle was open and right now she needed it. Before she knew it she could feel Chauncey swelling to the point of about to explode inside of her. She squeezed as he began to thrust ravenously inside of her until she felt warmness flowing inside of her. Wrapping her weak arms around his shoulders she leaned up and kissed him sucking his tongue. Exhaling she smiled feeling satisfied that she had him back. “When are you going to tell her? That’s it’s me. It’s always been me Chauncey. Look maybe if Logan was around I’d have competition but you’re my soulmate and I don’t say this lightly. I love you.”

Chauncey kept fucking her until he felt her quivering and shaking around him and watched as she came hard all over his cock before he grunted and slammed his hips roughly into hers groaning as he did so. He felt himself shooting inside of her while she milked him and closed his eyes to the sensations that caused, the memory of her body intertwined with his. It was bliss for those moments in truth he and Natasha had only been together sexually a handful of times since their son died and he felt it was more out of duty than anything. His eyes opened his eyes and looked at her while she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, his lips eagerly seeking her own before he pulled back the reality of what she was saying sitting in. Tell Natasha about his indiscretion with Greer? Ruin everything that he was working for to become CEO over a night of mutual and shared passion? It was a risk that he wasn’t wiling to take he fucked it up with Natasha she could easily turn on him in the boardroom and side with Jackson for the spot.

Pulling away from her as he slipped out he almost jumped the lack of her warmth around him as he looked at her sitting there on the edge of the bed. “Tell her what exactly that we fucked if she asks I’ll be sure to let her know. I am still going to marry her Greer for the company, to be CEO. Natasha is my key to making my father see that I am best fit for the job she knows that.” Chauncey said looking at her and he could swear that he almost saw tears forming in her eyes and then paused she fully expected him to say it back to her that he loved her. He at the moment knew it was a choice he had to make lose the title of CEO to his internal feelings for Greer LeClerq or say nothing at all about love to her and let her be with Brock. Unfortunately for her he was going to pick the latter he had worked too hard, accomplished too much to let his brother win the race for CEO as far as optics at the company and the image that everyone knew the next CEO needed to have, Greer didn’t fit into those plans at the moment his father would have rather rotted before he let Greer into the company again. He heard the ringing of one of their phones and he went to check his pants, it wasn’t his and then reached into her clutch on the floor pulling out the ringing cellphone Brock’s face plastered on it as it stopped only to buzz at a text and then start ringing again. “Are you going to tell him?” Chauncey countered seeing her reach out for the phone. 

For a brief moment she thought that Chauncey would really leave everything for her. She fucked him passionately and gave her body to him. She gave her mind before and now he was taking her spirit. Picking up her clothes scattered around the room. Why did he keep hurting her? Why did she keep falling for it. Her lips quivered as she stared at him heartbroken and feeling completely used. Ignoring Brocks’ call she threw her phone back in her clutch. As she picked up her fur to cover her body all the sudden feeling like she didn’t want him to see her vulnerable around him. She walked into the bathroom and closed the door. She didn’t deserve to feel like this. Greer quickly covered her mouth with both of her hands. As she slid down onto the floor. For a few moments she let the tears fall down her face. Then she got up and got herself back together. After about ten minutes in the bathroom she emerged looking like perfection. 

“You asked me if I’m going to tell Brock? The answer is no I am not and neither are you. I want you to stay away from me Chauncey. I don’t ever want to see you again. You aren’t good for me anymore and I can’t watch you marry her. So please stay the fuck away from and don’t use me like that again. I know what that was, revenge right? You wanted to fuck me but you still aren’t man enough to see.” She paused looking at him. “Never mind, please just leave me alone and forget this ever happened.” Greer stormed out as she walked away from the one man who she truly loved. For once she hated her father and his revenge scheme because the man she loved completely would never be hers again.

“I can’t do this right now with you. Enjoy your wedding and it’s a million places to have a drink in Atlas Falls. But you won’t trigger me, stay out my way. I’m done with you Chauncey and I hope she hurts you the way you hurt me.” Greer said in a commanding tone. Unable to finish her drink she looked at him with tears burning in her eyes. “I should be going.”

Chauncey looked at her never really understanding how much he hurt her till now but it was water under the bridge he was going to walk down the isle tomorrow and marry Natasha solidify his place at DGI and worry about the pieces falling where they may. He almost laughed at her seeing right through her little game she was playing as he leaned over the bar letting his hand rest on her thigh as he did so, seeing her face flush. “Shame I bet you Brock still doesn’t fuck you like I do or love you like I did. If you can’t see why I had to do what I did that night something you would do for your own father you didn’t know me at all. Natasha is a means to an end for me to make sure that I’m at least still in the running for CEO but I’ve never loved her.” He finished kissing her lips softly before pulling back and throwing some money down for his drink. “So yes I’m going to marry her tomorrow to make sure my name is still in the fucking running and I won’t apologize for that to anyone even you. I should get home.” He finished before leaving her at the bar knowing that tomorrow he would be even more entangled with Natasha Hassan and SandStar to the point he could finally win.

Greer sat at the bar with tears cascading down her face, feeling even more stupid. She was going to tell him. She was going to admit it to stop him. But he wanted DGI more than her and that stung. As she walked to the bathroom and walked into the bathroom stall. Locking it behind her she wiped her eyes.  Unzipping her purse she pulled out the first one, then the second one, after the fourth one she began to cry harder. Looking at all the sticks with the plus and double lines. Biting her index fingernail she felt miserable at the moment. She never wanted children but here she was pregnant with Chauncey Devonshire’s baby and actively engaged to another man.