3×03 “Flying High”

3×03 “Flying High”
Written by: Kristi Clark, Chris Coleman, Kelly Zollo
Warning: Episode may contain graphic content, sexual situations and language
Theme Song: Black Velvet- Alannah Myles


Gia took a long hot shower, still trying to wash away the memory of that disgusting jail cell even after all this time. It must have been the thought of picking up Ronan that brought those memories to the surface. Her thoughts wandered as she felt her muscles start to relax under the hot water.

She thought of Ronan, waiting there behind bars. Her handsome Ronan didn’t deserve to be there anymore than she did. The attorneys would get him out but it wouldn’t kill him to spend a bit longer in there. He might be all the more grateful. Then she thought of his idiot brother, Thor, and her mood soured. She remembered him blubbering about how he was so sure he’d killed that cop – ‘I don’t know what happened,’ she said aloud, mocking him. She knew what happened, he was a worthless, inept, moron that didn’t deserve to stand at Ronan’s side. Too bad they couldn’t leave him there to rot but maybe it was better this way. She couldn’t make him suffer behind bars. She couldn’t take everything away from him. She decided she’d make her revenge a little sweeter; to make it worth the effort of putting up with him. She was sure he was whispering in Ronan’s ear about how awful she was. She’d pegged him as being behind that bitch attorney, Raven, digging up dirt on her. Hector had hidden that bag somewhere before everything went down and they’d all ended up in prison. She’d need to get that back to see what exactly Raven had found. “You will not come between us, Thor,” she muttered to herself.

She stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around herself as she picked up her cellphone to speak to her attorney. Once she had confirmation that Ronan and Thor’s release was under way, she got dressed and headed to the limo waiting outside. It disgusted her to know she was going to share the limo ride with Thor.

Gia stroked her stomach as the car pulled out onto the road. The baby let loose with a few quick movements and she smiled down at her quickly expanding stomach. She hadn’t truly  been prepared for the feelings of pure joy and love for this little person growing inside of her. Feelings that grew stronger each day. Getting released earlier than the others had been in part due to the pregnancy. Her attorney had played up that angle to a sympathetic judge. Pregnant woman, wrong place, wrong time. She and the baby already had an incredible bond. It was them against the world. She wasn’t sure where Ronan fit into all this yet. How far would he be willing to go for them? A thought struck her, maybe she would take him back after she’d had her revenge. Maybe she didn’t have to destroy him completely. Once he’d learned his lesson and had paid penance for her father’s death, she could accept that. She could forgive him, then. They could start again and wouldn’t it be even better? This sparked a glimmer of hope for a different future than the one she’d imagined when she first set her sights on Ronan. After all, they had a baby on the way – maybe that justified reassessing the situation.

The limo pulled up outside the jail and parked along the sidewalk. She opened a bottle of water and took several sips as she waited. She immediately smiled when she saw him headed towards them, holding the door open. She felt relieved to finally have him close again. She’d saved him. No one else could have made this happen. “Ronan, I’m so happy to see you,” she said. She made eye contact with Thor who wasn’t far behind and pulled the door closed after Ronan got in but she was too slow and Thor was able to open it before it could be locked. “Oh, Thor. I didn’t see you there,” she muttered, her stomach clenched but she forced a smile. She would have to be careful not to show her feelings for Thor in front of Ronan. No sense in giving him any ammunition to use against her.

Thor couldn’t believe that bitch. After months of being locked up because of the mistakes of others. Ronan said that KC Rhodes was dead and now he was alive all of the sudden. All he wanted was to get the hell out of the business. Cassie surprisingly was there for him during this entire ordeal. She hired a great lawyer named Iris McDowell and she was handling his case with Ronan and Gia’s lawyer. Together they amassed a dream team when Kelly O’Connor offered her legal skills. She also was being investigated but the irony was Kelly and Vlad were let go due to a technicality. They however were looking at a RICO charge and everything that the Madden organization had built was in danger. Mainly because Ronan dick wouldn’t stop getting hard from this psycho. He could say not to blame Gia but he did. He blamed her for all of this. If he was with Brooke this wouldn’t be happening. Hell he hadn’t been right since Brooke was out of his life in his eyes. Hunter was one of his best friends and it was clear Brooke was done being lovelorn for his brother.

“I’m sure you didn’t see me there.” Thor said sarcastically as he sat down and gritted his teeth. “You know that child is my niece or nephew and I want nothing for it’s safety so why don’t you do something productive Gia and give up the power that you’ve amassed to Ronan. We could use some more since we have to be damn careful. I think you are pregnant and running a crime empire isn’t productive for a baby.” He said with a sly smile he’d been thinking how to nail this bitch and this might be it. “Tell me do you plan on holding a beretta when you’re breastfeeding?”

Ronan had spent the months in lock up most of it in isolation and self confinement there were too many ears on the inside not to mentioned there was again a price out on his head, this time however there was no DA working with Raven to work out a protection deal with him. He also spent time worrying about Gia and the baby, his son or daughter being born behind bars was not something that appealed to him and he had told his legal team over and over that she needed to be out. They were adequate as far as a team went but it was thanks to Kelly O’Connor that he and Thor were finally granted freedom, he would be wise to send her a gift. Now that he was out he was going to make sure that Gia and their unborn child were the only thing on his mind he had lawyers that could stall the RICO charges and trial if he needed. The sunshine and the summer air hit him outside the gates of the jail and he took his phone and wallet from the officer that had led him and Thor out. He had been a little shocked that Cassie had stuck by his brother’s side in lock up he supposed that was for the best it meant that Skye Morgan was out of their life and the organization. He had seen the limo approaching and walked down the stairs wanting to see a glimpse of the woman that was carrying his baby to make sure she was alright and he was relieved when the door opened and he got inside to see that she was.

“I’m so glad to see you as well and everything is alright with the baby.” Ronan said looking at her and then pulling her close to him devouring her lips into his. Jail was lonely and he wasn’t anyone’s bitch so it would be nice to finally have a warm body back in his bed and if Gia wasn’t up for that perhaps that perky redhead that used to visit the club would do. Gia of course would never know and he nodded his head at the driver and at Hector who was always waiting in the shadows in some regards he remind him far too much of Kendrick. When Gia had shut the door he almost couldn’t help the chuckle that came out clearly she still disliked his brother. “We’re all on the same team brother and now Gia is family. You may not like it but she is carrying my child meaning she gets a say in the business.” Ronan said pouring himself and Thor a whiskey in the back of the limo and he watched as Gia sipped her water. “But Thor has a point it’s dangerous for you to run things in your condition. Let Thor and I run it until after the baby is born, speaking of which have you booked our ultrasound? I would like to know what we are having.”

A quick, sardonic laugh slipped out as Gia looked at Thor. She smiled but her eyebrow quirked in annoyance. Everytime he opened his mouth she hated him more, if that was possible. Of course, he would make a suggestion like that. He was clearly the type that couldn’t acknowledge when a woman was more competent than he was. “Thor, I know your lowbrow tastes prevent you from keeping up with the times but toxic masculinity is out.” When Ronan echoed the sentiment, she couldn’t believe the nerve of either of them. How stupid did they think she was? If she handed control over to them, the chances of getting it back weren’t very good. Gia hiked up her already short skirt and straddled Ronan’s lap, kicking Thor in the shin with her stiletto as she maneuvered around the back of the limo. She gave Ronan a perfect view of her cleavage as she ran her hands through his hair and behind his neck. And she’d give Thor a demonstration of who was running the show here. “If you’re really that worried, why don’t we talk about it tonight? Just the two of us,” she said, kissing him deeply as she pressed her body against his. He tasted like whisky and she knew the alcohol would only help her seduce him. Not that this was going to be a chore. She felt his arousal beneath her and moaned softly in his ear; wanting him just as much. “You know Thor’s not capable of being objective right now,” she whispered to him, trailing kisses down his neck. She was sure she could feel Thor seething across from them and it turned her on even more. After tonight, Ronan would forget all about the notion of her handing anything over to them. In fact, he wouldn’t be capable of thinking about much once she’d had her way with him.

“Oh, I already had the ultrasound. I scheduled an appointment the second I got out of jail to make sure the baby was fine. You understand, don’t you, darling? I couldn’t take any chances. I asked about the gender. I’d hoped to surprise you when I picked you up but the doctor said it’s still a bit too early to tell.” That was a lie; she didn’t want to tell him they were having a boy now that he’d sided with Thor over her place in the organization. So far, Ronan had not given her a reason to think she could trust him and if he didn’t do that soon, he would have to face the same fate as Thor. “Hopefully you can join me next time if Thor can refrain from getting you thrown in jail.”

Thor’s eyes glimmered with rage. Was this bitch serious? Ronan was supposed to kill KC, and the irony was if Kendrick was allowed to come then this would have been handled. He wasn’t even truly in the mob like that back then. Everything crumbled when she appeared she was voodoo or a bad omen. If she was pregnant with his niece or nephew he’d slap her for disrespecting him in such a vulgar way. Look at her mounting Ronan as if he was a prize and they just got out of jail. Did she think the feds were a joke or that they wouldn’t come for them. A fucking RICO charge was over all their heads and here she was challenging him and playing power struggle. His jaw clenched tightly as he turned his head unsure if he could handle this. Jail wasn’t made for a guy like him. He however was Richard fucking Madden kid and he learned the business from a fucking madame and female mobster. His mother wasn’t huge but she was strong and she made sure he understood when something was off. Gia wasn’t right and he knew it.

Taking a sip of the whiskey he looked at her and finally smiled. “I can’t wait to tell my niece or nephew the story of how mommy got out of jail just in time to tell the gender. I’m sure everyone will love to hear that story.” What this simpleton didn’t know was that Braden came to him just last week. He offered him a deal along with KC and if he would have taken it he’d be done with this mess. God he only jumped into this business to fight with Ronan and now it’s overtaken his life. He went the best fucking schools and Hunter was his childhood best friend. So if he would have destroyed his brother and Gia he would be free to be with Cassie. This bitch was so lucky because if she wasn’t pregnant he’d turn everything on her and get Ronan off. Tossing back the whiskey. “Driver, this is Culver road let me out.” Thor commanded knowing they were exiting downtown. He could get to Cassie’s from her on foot. He’d rather go back into a jail cell than be with Gia soon to be Madden right he thought. “Another body underneath your belt, right Gia?” He mumbled underneath his breath.

Ronan looked over at Thor for a moment before Gia took control of the situation and hiked that skirt across his lap pregnancy seemed to agree with her body. He was weak to what was happening around him he knew that but something was intoxicating about the power that Gia provide him and the organization not to mention how she was in bed. A bed that led to her being very pregnant now with his child, at first he was actually scared of that possibility a child but he had gotten used to the idea of it in prison. He had no one to pass the business onto before now and now he would whether it be a boy or a girl, he wasn’t opposed to either even if toxic masculinity was still a thing in their life. Gia and Kelly O’Connor had proved they had what it took to lead empires, his son or daughter would be able to do the same. “I appreciate you waiting till I was out to find out the sex Gia that is something that both of us should be there for the baby so that it knows that is what is important to us. I think Thor was just trying to point out like I was that it dangerous to be in your position at the table as a head, when you are in the condition that you are. It makes you a target as they will be coming after not me or him, it will be you and the baby that is all.” Ronan relented resting his hands on Gia’s hip her bare skin sending a pure sense of lust over him not able to control his own arousal, they could discuss this more in private at home.

He leaned back in his seat enjoying the view of her breasts that were larger now and then his eyes landed on his brothers as he requested to be let out of the limo early instead of heading back to the estate with him. So that was how it was going to be with him and Thor now he supposed it was for the best it was clear that Thor still had his reservations about Gia and her intentions if she was against them why did she work with his legal team to get them both out? He noted the address that they stopped at a few blocks easily from Cassie’s condo downtown and he had to let out a slight chuckle Thor obviously had the red head on his mind. “To Casie’s I presume what is going on with her Thor? Ready to give it another go with the feisty Montgomery heiress after Skye simply left you in a jail cell?” Ronan said he saw Thor almost shoot him a look to kill and he chuckled. “Don’t hide it just announce that you want to go see Cassie for your own pleasure while I have mine I don’t object to Cassie you know that. In fact I tried to tell you, you two would find your way to each other always have Thor.” Ronan finished arching his hips up to Gia’s hearing her moan in approval while he kissed her neck. Thoughts of Thor’s silly suspicions far from his mind.

Gia was thoroughly enjoying Ronan’s hands on her body, almost forgetting they were in the back of this limo. She was anxious to get home and rip those clothes off of him thanks to these pregnancy hormones. In fact, she thought she might be going all the way right here in front of Thor if they didn’t get home fast enough. God, he was sexy and he knew just how to touch her. And then Thor made another idiotic comment. Couldn’t he see her and Ronan were busy? Ronan clearly wanted her just as much. Especially after being in jail for months. She’d had Hector to keep her satisfied, of course, but Ronan wouldn’t have had anything but his hand. She was fairly certain he wouldn’t have been interested in his cellmate.

Gia sighed and rolled her eyes, reluctantly sliding off Ronan’s lap but she kept her arms around his neck. She’d heard Thor mumble something and knew it wasn’t anything flattering. If this asshole thought for one moment she would let him tell her son such a story he was even stupider than he looked. “Look, Thor, I’m sorry but if you’re going to continue to be so negative, I’m not going to let you near this baby,” she said, running a hand over her stomach. Her son needed a strong role model. Thor was such a whiny ingrate. Ronan must be desperate for friends. She appreciated that Ronan was trying to smooth the whole incident over but Thor had just made a clear grab for her power and they expected her to sit there and hand it over? She thought about her own brother and what she’d done to keep him under control, wondering if Ronan would ever toughen up. Thor was bringing him down and it would end up costing him everything if he wasn’t careful. Fortunately, she was here to watch out for him. She met Hector’s eyes and held them for a moment. He would know what she was thinking; that Thor was a liability. Did anyone understand her better than Hector? “Hector is more than capable of keeping both me and the baby safe. I won’t be stepping aside. You two are blowing this way out of proportion and I won’t discuss it any further.” She was glad to hear that Thor was leaving. Too bad she wasn’t driving, she could run him over with the car and be rid of him but Ronan probably wouldn’t like that. “Are you really going to your girlfriend’s house looking like that? I thought you were trying to keep her, not scare her off.”

“I’ll be fine because unlike you two I have a semblance of class and a modicum of dignity. But trust me I need not see anymore. But I was under the impression you turned men into stone Medusa not to burn my eyes forever. I won’t be able to erase this from my mind and that is the disturbing part. My brother just happens to be a simp.” Thor said, looking at Gia and Ronan. “I’d rather gouge my eyes out than see anymore. I don’t want to go to the compound. I want to be with Cassie. No offense brother I want to be away from you and everything that comes with being a mobster. You know I only got into the business to spite you. Now I’m wishing I turned everything over to you before all this shit went down. No offense you two are meant for this life. You love the drama of the police and violence of all this. I’m honestly bored.” Thor yawned as the limo stopped. “Good day.” Stepping out of the limo he slammed the door.

“God, that was dramatic,” Gia said as soon as Thor left. She couldn’t help but laugh at his ridiculous tantrum. She thought about the look on his face and laughed harder. “Is he always this moody when he gets arrested?” Gia took Ronan’s face in her hands and looked into his eyes. “You know I’m on your side, don’t you? Everything I have is at your disposal, Ronan. My attorneys, my contacts, all of it. You and I are in this together. Thor doesn’t get it. He’s not nearly the man you are.” Gia meant that, though she felt Hector watching her. He didn’t like the thought of Ronan having free access to anything they’d built but Hector wasn’t in charge. The sooner he accepted that, the better. He’d still be her right hand but he’d have to make way for Ronan. Anyway, it was all a facade. Ronan couldn’t make any real decisions without Gia’s approval; she’d just let him think he could. “He’s right about one thing though, we are meant to be. A perfect match. I might have a little more power than you but I think you like that,” she said, kissing him hungrily once again. “Now, where were we?”


Dani looked around the conference room at DGI. What used to be set up for the energy summit was now a clean stale white board for the hospital fundraiser. Picking up her coffee she took a sip adjusting her summer dress making a note to turn up the AC or install solar panels on the building. Honestly she would rather be in her office going over things for those wind turbine’s she and Jackson were working on acquiring but he wanted her to help his mother with the fundraiser. It wasn’t her first rodeo where fundraising was concerned. She had done it most of college helping Charles and then had consulted unofficially when her father ran for mayor, she just preferred other things now and she was good at them. Ever since the honeymoon she and Jackson had been in a good place and she felt that her life was actually stable for the most part. Dimitri was out of everyone’s life and while his body had turned up in the lake and the autopsy had said he was killed at her wedding she really didn’t care. She didn’t ask or question why Jackie needed the conference room for the meeting. The only thing she had been told was that a donor had come through with the last of the funds to support the ball that Jackie wanted to throw and that said donor wanted input on the event. Checking on her watch she hoped her mother in law made it a quick meeting she had other things to do and a schedule to follow if she and Jackson wanted to be home by five. Something they really tried to stick too nine to five and home for the twins. She hated leaving them every morning and always got anxious about it even after having Dru there, which she supposed was normal. She looked up when Jackie entered and hugged her when she came to join her at the table.

“I was hoping we could make this semi quick. I have a really full day coming up and I know you wanted me to help but DGI is my first priority. I wanted you to know that upfront nothing is more important to me that making sure DGI Energy is a success and that means my attention won’t be on this as much as you probably would like.” Dani said looking at Jackie and wondering if she was being too bold with her but she did mean it. DGI was important to her because it was important to her husband, those two things she had come to realize went hand in hand. Not to mention everyone knew that Lowell had to pick someone to take over as CEO when he was gone and she had placed all her faith that it would be Jackson he could handle it, they could handle it. “I know this is kinda your thing and Jackson asked me to help you but we both know that Lowell has to pick someone to be CEO and my focus needs to be with him Jackie. On him and DGI, I want him to be CEO. I know he can do it and the Energy Summit is his way of solidifying that.” Dani finished looking at Jackie.

Jackie had left the country club that morning in good hands with Zerick and headed to DGI for the hospital fundraiser meeting, she wore a navy jumpsuit and checked messages as she did. The wedding for Chauncey and Natasha was a streaming success not a word of bad press in the papers and for now a scandal was out of the way. Normally Brenda would have helped her with the fundraiser but she knew that it wasn’t smart to have the Kincaid name close to DGI, she had thought of Lauren as well but instead Jackson suggested that Dani help her. She supposed that was a good thing but she wasn’t sure how either her daughter in law or son would take the news of their benefactor, too much damage had been done with Zerick’s scandal enough that people had pulled their funding. The envelope had come a week ago addressed to her from Julian’s law firm and she had assumed it was something for the divorce only instead it was a check. A letter of pledging to fund the fundraiser that raised awareness for cancer patients and those who struggled to pay long term hospital bills signed by the Hessington Conglomerate. She had placed a call the following morning to be informed by a secretary that it was a done deal and the hospital board had agreed to the measure and she confirmed who would be running point on their end, Lex. She had smiled at Dani when she entered, hugging her as well and couldn’t help the smile on her face. Dani always had her son’s best interests at heart; it was endearing in a way and reassuring.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you Dani you and Jackson have worked hard, I was actually shocked he wanted you to help in some ways. Other ways not so much people have taken to you and him as leaders for the company and fundraising and charities are something DGI has done for years. I think he wanted you to help to prepare you for that when and if the time comes.” Jackie said looking at her and seeing Dani nod her head at her and she knew she needed to approach the next part with her carefully. She and Lowell had been civil since the divorce but of all the children Jackson still was shutting him out and she didn’t want Lowell to miss out on his final year with their son or the twins. “I know that your and Jackson’s attention is on DGI Dani but if you would do this for me and the charity perhaps I can take the twins more for date nights. Give your nanny a break and make you more comfortable with having one. I would like one more thing from you.” Jackie said seeing Dani looking at her considering her offer as she took a sip of her coffee. “Talk to Jackson about Lowell. I know he has frozen him out, you are the only one that I know that can push that fence to mend if not for Jackson’s sake for the twins.” Jackie finished looking at her and then at the door as it opened and Lex Hessington walked in. “Lex.”

“Jacqueline.” Lex said walking up and kissing both of her cheeks. Completely at first ignoring Dani who was looking good enough to eat. Years had done his once mousey girlfriend and fiancee justice. She was looking stunning now and something about motherhood did wonders for her. The insecurity that he had to deal with was gone. His Dani would never wear something like that. The dress she was wearing told a story that he wasn’t sure he was ready for. It was happiness and seeing her flaunting her new curves and attitude nearly drove him crazy. “Why Dani, I didn’t even see you there.” He said with a coolness. Leaning down he tried to kiss her cheek but she moved away and extended her hand. Lex laughed as he folded his arms not shaking her hand. “Last year St. Christophers took a record hit because of DGI. DGI donated to St. Christopher more than any other corporation but well we know what happened to DGI last year. So with the company barely out of the gutter we the Hessington’s have chosen to step up for charity. Our money will bankroll the ball this year. It’ll be an event unlike anything Atlas Falls has ever seen or so Merci promises. I’ve already spoken to her.”

Lex had spent the last few months mewing over how to do this. His father said that his life was an oyster and they were given the pearl. Well it was clear what he had to do. Drive a wedge big as Philly through Dani and Jackson’s marriage. He hadn’t been happy since she left and that was the honest truth. When he lost Dani it seemed like his world spiraled and he wasn’t ready to lose. So what that she had the twins with Jackson, he’d eventually one day raise them. They would be Hessington’s and they’d call him daddy. It was going to happen but seeing how cold she was, ironically really was making him laugh. She was still mad which meant she still cared. Somewhere inside of her he broke her and she would be healed when they were back together. “So tell me since I am here what do we think that the theme of the ball should be?”

Jackie watched the exchange and wondered if this was for the best and wondered if perhaps she should have asked Simon to come on as well, clearly Lex still carried a torch. Her daughter in law however she could tell was quick to put up that wall informing him this was a simple business arrangement for her. She took in Lex’s words yes the company hadn’t reached their designated donation which was why she was grateful for the donor to come in last minute she just had hoped it wasn’t tied to the Hessignton unfortunately it now as and they would all have to get along for this to be successful and her balls for the hospital were always successful. “Yes DGI had a slight dip in funds so when the hospital board informed me that a mysterious donor had jumped on to help out I was grateful. I know that our families haven’t always got along and that you and Dani have a past. One that has been buried for a while now Lexington, I was quite shocked when I got your papers a week ago saying that you wanted to help on the project.” Jackie said seeing Dani fuming at her for railroading her last minute and she honestly could say that she couldn’t blame her as she took a seat at the table she looked between them both wondering how this would go.

“As I was just telling Dani normally I would ask Brenda to help me but given what happened at your wedding Dani that isn’t possible now. Your mother has opened up her art gallery and studio, I would like to commission her for a few pieces to auction off over the year. She could come in to paint patients she did after all do that lovely painting of you, Jackson and the twins. I want this year to be a resurgence of what is important in Atlas Falls and the hospital is certainly that. They need money to redo the cancer wing and the children’s wing.” Jackie said noticing Lex’s face changed dramatically when she brought up the word cancer hell even Dani softened and she wondered if it was a ploy with him. It had been national news when his mother had passed right in the middle of a reelection year that made Charles pull out of the Republican race for President that year making him stay in his Governor position instead. “If this is not going to work I can ask Simon to help. Thank you for taking on talking to Merci for me Lex in the middle of preparations for Chauncey’s wedding I had simply let it slip my mind to request her services. As for a name I would like to think that I want to leave that up to you and Dani to decide.”

Dani had almost dropped the coffee in her hands when Lex had sauntered into the room and she shot him the coldest and most callous look she fucking could. He could worm his way into Jackie’s good graces all he wanted. She knew better, she knew the man behind the facade and when he leaned down to kiss her she pushed her chair back. Putting an island between them her feelings hadn’t changed on that front she was Jackson’s now and always would be. Plus she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t scream at him or slap him for good measure again relenting to offer her hand relieved when he didn’t take it. She stared at Jackie furious at the lack of warning from her about all of it, about how she had been railroaded into it and she was pretty sure Jackson would have never told his mother she would help if he knew. “Devil in your house.” Dani muttered seeing Jackie shoot her a glare at the name suggestion and Lex looked amused. She listened to Jackie talk about how she had been barely made aware of the great gesture from the Hessington’s she could be a professional. She had done as much when she knew something was off with Lex while working for Charles, hell she had done it when she and Jackson broke up after she discovered he was using drugs no one told her what she could and couldn’t do when it came to work. She stiffened her back in the chair while Jackie spoke, gripping the pen for good measure out of anger.

When Jackie had mentioned the cancer wing she thought she saw a glimmer in Lex’s eyes and had to remind himself for all the shit he put her through he loved his mother. A mother that was no longer here to guide him or Whitney, she had been there when she died, a rare glimpse into his family. Ava’s death had broken her best friend’s family, broke the man before her and regardless of how everything went down between them she’d like to think that he was doing this for his mom. “That won’t be necessary Jackie, Simon has a lot going on with helping Lowell for his final preparations and I’m more than capable.” Dani said looking at her mother in law still glaring at her ex across from her at the table folding her hands making sure he caught a glimpse of that ring on her finger. She was Jackson’s now and the sooner he got that through his head the easier this would be for all of them. “So let’s get this out of the way. I’ll do this for Jackie because she’s my mother in law and she asked me too. You and I are over and have been for a while and if you really need a reminder I’m sure Jackson would love to put you back on your ass like he did after that shit you said to me at the club the first time you sauntered back into town. Are we clear? As for a name I’m sure you’re itching to put your mom’s on this for publicity aren’t you?” Dani finished not sure how else to slice it for any of them but wanting to be perfectly clear with Lex.

Lex crossed his legs and looked taken back at her hostility and she was all grown up now wasn’t she. She didn’t even know that his presence infuriated her meant something still simmered and when Jackson messed up he was going to be right there waiting. As he folded his arms looking at Dani and wanted her badly. She didn’t even know that he wanted his girl back. He wanted to tell her at that farce of a wedding but Dani was his soulmate. Not Jackson’s and the moment Jackson ruined this glamour over her and he tainted the love he claimed to have for her he’d be there. He will be there to catch Dani when Jackson fails as a man and father. It would taste good to snatch his perfect but not so perfect ending away. Leaning into the desk he smirked again and she was still in his mind. She knew this cancer wing was for his mother and his father’s charitable donation was for mother. “With every passing moment people around the country are dying from an illness from within and some can’t even do anything about it. Well that should end. My mother didn’t deserve to die and I believe whole-heartedly that this wing will do great work. I want cutting edge medicine practiced here and the only way to introduce Ava’s wing as you proclaimed. Is something big a gala a party, something to show Atlas Falls we are here to help mold this new industrial mecca into something even more. Right along with Atlas Falls true first family the Devonshire’s.” Lex proclaimed knowing his father was planning on attacking in some way the moment Lowell died.

“So tell me Jackie if we can’t get along, may I have another Devonshire liaison.” Lex paused and smiled at Dani then cut his eyes at Jackie.”Because I won’t deal with hard feelings. I just don’t recall you being so cold and petty. If we are to work together than I need a guarantee it won’t be like this. I don’t feel like wasting my time or energy dealing with this all the time when we have to meet. Matter fact Jackie I think maybe it’s time that Dani and I have it out and then this could be easier? Would you give us the room for a moment?” Lex asked, leaning back in his chair seeing Jackie’s unease with his request. “No offense Ms. Devonshire what you would hear might not be any of your concern and I rather not color your image of me as being a lothario. I’m so much more than a whore and your daughter-in-law might not see that anymore. Her rage is also misplaced because I do have a few questions but it’s between us so I’m asking as a gentleman and respecting that we are here for charity that I have a moment alone with Dani if she’s going to sphere head this together.”

Jackie watched the entire exchange Dani clearly laying out why she was doing this to Lex and Lex being taken aback at how clear she was. When he mentioned that she needed to leave the room so they could clear the air between them she almost said no not sure what exactly would happen a yelling match possibly that everyone in DGI could hear, she went to say no only for her phone to ring and it being the head chef at the country club. Holding up a finger she simply took the call. “Alfred what is going on? Are you sure the new linens were supposed to arrive this morning for cleaning. Simon was in charge of the order?” Jackie said looking between them both as she realized something was wrong at the kitchen, covering the phone she spoke to them both. “I’ll be right back I need to go speak to Simon for a moment.” She let it sit in the air between them for a moment surely they could be civil why she was gone without a screaming match as she walked out the conference room to go find Simon.

Dani looked across the table at Lex and his demands that she be replaced, that was not going to happen Jackie had asked her to do this. She knew what it meant to be head of the charity down the line as Jackson’s wife, he promised her that would he second to her function at DGI of course. Seeing Jackie get up and take the call from the country club though she shot her mother in law a pleading look and resigned herself to the table in front of her. The man across from her that destroyed her, she’d picked herself up and found the love of her life so she supposed she had Lex to thank for it. “It’s fine.” Dani muttered watching Jackie walk out of the room and she took a breath and another sip of her coffee before looking at him again. They were alone now and she had no idea what he thought they were going to fucking talk about, she could run this with her hands tied behind her back. Hell if she wanted her assistant could handle this call it being petty or her being cold she really didn’t care. “Did you really think that I’d welcome you into DGI’s business with open arms at a critical time for Jackson? That I’d ever trust you again? You burned that bridge with me when you fucked her behind my back for a year. I was never staying after that despite what my dad and yours tried to plant in your head.”

“You’re so vain I bet you think charity work is all about you.” He said in a melodic tone. “I mean it my mother died and you just are okay with moving on after I messed up. What made Jackson so forgivable for getting you kidnapped and me not for cheating? I mean I wasn’t putting your life at risk like he did. That wedding was also pretty murderous if I recall my dear. Greer LeClerq’s paper says that your wedding was where Dimitri Kavanaugh the disgraced prince died. Look, all I’m saying is you could be a little more friendly. It’s not like you haven’t moved on right? I’m a dog woof but I’m not your pet anymore so why can’t we just be friends and you give me a treat when I wanna?” Lex rolled his chair to Dani as he looked at her. “You married another man and I know I messed up but damn Dani. Wow you understand an addict more than you even cared to know that I was suffering. I was depressed and hurt. My mother died and I cheated because you closed down. You were frigid and icy so I don’t know I looked for some wild sex to release steam.” Lex was speaking his truth now.

“You have no idea how crushed I was to hear you were literally marrying this bozo. I guess I should have taken care and done better with your heart but I apologize. I’m not sorry it happened though because honestly those twins are cute. I saw the pictures in Page Six with Jackson with Bono, you really traded up huh. I’m bitter you know that you settled down and just left your life in Philly. You came back here and fell for some guy who.” He paused and exhaled. “Some guy who obviously you love because you had his kid. I’m jealous but I’m not going to disrespect your marriage. Look you’re determined to do this then fine but do us both a favor and drop the attitude.” Lex grabbed her hand and looked at her in the eyes. “My mother loved you. Do it for Ava.”

Dani was well aware what charity work envisioned she’d done it plenty of times for his father but when he had the audacity to apologize she almost cackled at him. Now he wanted to apologize not before or hell when she was in a hospital bed getting an emergency D&C, not when he came back to town and all but told her once again she was awful in fucking bed to begin with? She wasn’t going to dignify him with an answer about why she could forgive Jackson he wouldn’t like the answer, she loved Jackson and Jackson never made her feel like less ever. She didn’t owe him an explanation about any of it, yes they had moved on but that didn’t make them friends. Before she even knew what happened he was moving the chair around the table and to her side before he reached out for her taking her hand “I know you loved your mom, we all did. We’re not friends Lex I can be civil if you can.” Her voice was dead when she said it afraid if it was level or keen she’d scream at how uncomfortable it made her. Only she heard the door open and expected to see Jackie there. “Thank god you’re back.” Only instead it was Jackson and she was even more relieved at the death stare he was giving Lex as she pulled her hand away scooting her chair back for good measure.

Jackson looked at the sonofabitch touching his wife and felt a surge of rage flowing through his body. How couldn’t he? Dani and he were once so happy and just seeing this man around his wife made him feel slightly insecure. Why wouldn’t he? Dani was going to marry him and cheating or not she was nursing the after effects of Lex romance and that meant he was a rebound but a good rebound. They really found happiness and he almost killed him last year after his nasty comments. Strolling into the room. “I heard that you were the mysterious benefactor. Well, your father is Lex, I just had to be here to see it. The Hessington’s don’t give away to charity unless it’s something for them. I can fundamentally say the hospital isn’t for sale and you won’t be getting anything from my family but our assistance.” Jackson said as he walked up behind Lex and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Now get the hell away from my wife, meeting over.”

Lex brushed Jackson’s hand off his shoulder as if he had a plague. “I do think the meeting was over before you entered. Dani and I were just getting an understanding about our time together. She was very happy to inform me that she didn’t want anything to do with me but Jackie needed help. So here she is, that’s the cliffnotes version of what happened so she doesn’t have to repeat it. Let me scurry away so I can get the hell away from your wife. I recall you can be quite the savage. So my face doesn’t need anymore of your fists.” Lex began to walk away.

“One more thing, Hessington. Don’t ever fucking touch my wife again.” Jackson said warning him.

“Noted, Devonshire.” Lex waved him off and smiled knowing he got underneath both of their skin.

Jackson watched Lex walk away. “Where is my mother so I can throttle her. Couldn’t Max or anyone else do this? I don’t like him around you Dani and it’s not that I don’t trust you. I don’t trust Lex.”

Dani looked at Lex leave her eyes narrowed not quite sure what his game was at the moment but she was going to keep her guard up. When she saw Jackson get upset and protective though her heart melted, always willing to lay down for her melted her or the kids was attractive. When he mentioned that he was upset at his mother she shrugged it off she could do this. “I think Max has enough to worry about with a baby on the way. Besides you were the one that wanted me to do this for DGI remember?” Dani asked looking at him still upset about it. Rising from her seat she wrapped her hands on his neck making sure he looked at her. “Let me do this, I’ll watch my back I promise.” She finished resting her forehead against his feeling him wrap his hands around her waist before leaning in and kissing him.


Braden looked at his reflection one last time in the mirror inside his soon to be empty office. Everything had moved so quickly since Chauncey’s wedding. They showed up to the event, shook a few hands and returned home. Charles had arrived early the next morning around seven where preparations began for him to step down. The backlash over Greer’s article was exactly like Charles and his father said it would be. Doubt over his entire legacy as DA. Claims that he helped Tamara versus other addicts in Scottswoood, claims that he misused funds from the public in order to help Tamara. None of which was true but it was what it was, so he resigned himself to do what Charles said in the prepared statement. Looking at the index cards in front of him the peaked boxes in his office on the right he actually worried for Atlas Falls. Not all lawyers were good or after a position like DA to do the right thing, some were after fame and greed or worse about politics. He saw Tamara enter the office and he smiled at her faintly, he knew she blamed herself for all of this. None of which was her fault if it was anyone’s fault it was Greer and he knew better his father and Charles were already plotting against her. Whether she was marrying Brock or not she had gone after him and Tamara it wouldn’t go ignored.

“You really should sit down Tamara at least until we head out the door. Ophelia said any day now and I know your feet have been killing you lately.” Braden said looking at her and throwing up his hands when she simply refused to sit stubborn women he was used too. He knew that she was so worried about everything with Dimitri but what his father said the night before was true they had no concrete evidence on Tamara for murder or Dimitri’s shooting if they did, the police would have arrested her by now. Meaning Greer didn’t have the gun that she used and he actually thought about contacting Zerick to get it from him for safe keeping. “I know you are worried but I promise this is going to be okay and besides one of the best things is I can protect you and Dylan from this lie Greer has printed. Clearly if she actually had that gun that you shot Dimitri with Jon or Devin would be over here to arrest you, they aren’t no one other than me and Zerick know that you shot him. It can stay that way now.” Braden said seeing her face grow pale and he leaned down helping her sit afraid she was going to faint. “Easy I mean it you didn’t kill him Tamara but I wouldn’t blame you if you did.” He finished rubbing her back hoping that calmed her down.

Tamara’s body was aching but she wouldn’t leave her future husband’s side. Not today the people of Atlas Falls were saying her husband somehow misappropriated her funds from donations was a lie. She felt useless right now because she wanted to fight like hell but her baby needed her calm. Braden was often saying that didn’t listen but she had Dylan and so what he was sixteen soon she remembered his birth like yesterday. Rubbing her belly she smiled thinking about Dylan’s birth and how different this would be. Her birthing coach Corrine told her not to fear using painkillers if necessary but she had to have a natural birth. She didn’t want that to trigger her again. Afterall through therapy with Braden she recalled she used again after getting pain meds. That’s why she never breastfed Dylan. She wanted all that with her daughter and she wanted to raise her from birth to beyond where she was at with Dylan. Unfortunately Dylan got to witness her addiction but this baby would only see her greatness. How great her mother and father were.

When he mentioned Dimitri she snapped back into reality from her happiness. Recently she would fade away to her daughter’s first kiss, her daughter’s first dance, the first boy Dylan and Braden scare away, and that was her peace. She knew she didn’t kill Dimitri but she saw who did. She knew who did and she knew that she wasn’t so innocent. She was very much an accomplice to Bliss doing what Selina, Bliss, and she all wanted to do. He brutalized us all and in some way knowing he was dead and four women ended him gave her satisfaction. Greer’s lies didn’t scare her it was Braden losing his career that hurt her. She felt so damn guilty and she knew she was going to have to call her sponsor. “This is all my fault. I’m so stupid for using again. I was just so jealous at that time that you got married to Selina. I just was so angry that David wasn’t you and I was dating a doctor. I was on a good path and I just fell, I can’t be a disappointment anymore. I can’t do that to our baby, or you, or Dylan ever again.” She cried holding Braden. “I love you.” She whispered as she hated how hormonal this damn baby had her. “Are you ready because Dimitri doesn’t even affect me anymore.”

Braden nodded his head at her he could tell she was scared about the delivery if she needed pain meds he wanted her to take them, he was there to catch her this time if she fell. There was no way she was slipping back into bad habits when their daughter was born and he didn’t want her to be in a ton of pain through the birth. None of this was her fault it was the media’s fault and people who were wary of the office that he was in, none of that was on her. He went to reassure her only for the knock on the door to come and his father to nod his head at them it was time. He kissed her lips softly before nodding his head at his father walking down the hallway seeing various law clerks with devastated looks on their faces, Charles at the end who nodded his head at him that it was time. He would give his impassioned speech about how sorry he was for using the funds in that way, reiterating that he was still an honorable prosecutor that had done the best he could for the city, but due to this scandal and Tamara’s condition it was for the best that he step down. Walking to the microphone he paused so the press could snap their pictures and his eyes met fucking Greer’s in the crowd, bitch.

“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today, I am here to make an announcement as district attorney I have a very complicated relationship past and present with Tamara Wright. Concerned for her well being at the time of her overdose and being the mother of my son Dylan, I made the family decision that she needed rehabilitation after an overdose the same night that Kendrick Watkins was shot and killed. I never intended for that information to get lost inside of that event but it was. I used my finances to pay for her rehabilitation and I encouraged the police department to not press charges. I admit looking back that was wrong and could be seen as my office misusing city funds for personal gain.” Braden said looking at the reporters writing down their notes over his statement and he bit his lip looking at the notecards this was it. The moment that he would give up his position as district attorney he hoped and prayed that for now the law clerks at the office could continue on his work until the runoff for applicants to fill his position could happen. “Due to that and the rumor which I would like to remind you all of that Tamara murdered Dimitri the night of my sister’s wedding to which there is no proof to back that up I have decided at this time that I will be stepping down as district attorney of Atlas Falls. My record is beyond reproach and unblemished and I challenge any of you to look into that. I always strive to do the right and fair thing when my office was approached with a case no matter the gender, race or sexuality of the offender. My intern law clerk Sylvia Estes will be taking on my current cases until an elected run off can happen. At this time I will take a few questions.” Braden finished looking over at his father, Charles and Tamara’s nod of approval; this was the right move to catch them off guard at the press conference.

Tamara listened to her fiance have to explain her mess up to the public and made her feel weaker. As she rubbed her belly she stayed sad hearing the remorseful feeling. Braden had put a few reporters in their place and she just began to feel dizzy. Then the pressure sort of mounted as she felt the warm liquid of her water breaking. She began to hold onto the podium and the cameras began clicking furiously. “Braden, I think my water just broke.” She felt Walter rushing to her side and Braden holding her from the other and Charles looking happier than a cat who swallowed a canary. It was irony that she literally went into labor in a press conference. She snickered as she looked over at Braden and she needed to make him promise her. “I don’t want them Braden. Promise me no matter how much pain I am in. I don’t care unless it’s death okay?” She pleaded to him and looked over to her left at Walter. “Please, Walter make him promise me. I don’t want to mess up again. I’m so scared so make him promise Walter.” Tamara said furiously trying to get them to talk to her about this.

Tamara could tell they were against her just having a natural birth. If she needed pain pills she would tell them but she truly needed them to promise her right now. “Fine, I’ll call Lauren and when she finds out you two are being stupid men. I have to be here for our daughter because I screwed up so bad with Dylan and I wonder does hate me sometimes because I made his life so damn hard. Braden you don’t get to give me the silent treatment when you put this baby in me damnit.” She broke free and playfully punched him. “I got this okay and my doula will be meeting us at the hospital. Let’s call her okay?” Tamara could see his fear all over her face. “We got this right?”

Walter had waited with a baited breath as he looked at Braden be a man at the podium doing what was best for Tamara, Dylan and his soon to be granddaughter a sacrifice. Fraiser’s always sacrificing themselves for the family or the sake of the family name it was never far from his mind how many times had he done it? He stayed with Lauren for years for the optics of it all to keep the business afloat, to provide for his children. He had glanced over at Charles he would be forever grateful for the work he had done to make sure that Braden still could practice law. He would owe him later that wasn’t even a statement  when it came to his gratitude and he wondered if Lowell would have helped at all? He was broken away from those thoughts when Tamara announced she was in labor, saved by the literal bell at the conference with no questions to respond to. He helped her off the stage looking at his son while she began to beg Braden please to not let her use pain meds at the birth. It was commendable but he knew his son’s safety and that of his unborn granddaughter came first. “Let’s get you to the hospital to see what the doctor and your doula recommend before we rush.”

Braden had waited with almost what felt like a heavy weight in his chest either going to crush him or be removed as he told the press that he was ready to take questions. Instead he had seen a reporter raise their hand to actually ask something only for Tamara to speak instead. What he wasn’t prepared for was for Tamara to go right into labor right there at the podium and what happened next he just thought was a surreal movie. The press started to take pictures, hands raised with questions while he and his father went to Tamara’s side to move her back into the building and to his car parked in the back of city hall. He saw that Charles had taken over answering questions of course promoting his understudy as the best replacement for the job. He was instead so focused on Tamara and watching her clutch her stomach as the contractions obviously were coming. He understood her fears about wanting to take drugs and yes it was bad when Dylan had been born it wasn’t the best shining moment that she had. However, he didn’t want her in a ton of pain either for their daughter plus he really did believe that she was stronger than her addiction, he knew that it just seemed like sometimes she needed to be reminded of that. His father was really being the voice of reason about the entire situation but he took out his phone sending a text to her doula. “All sent let’s see what they say at the hospital okay I’m sure Ophelia and the doula say.” He said gently opening her door and getting her inside before looking at his dad. “You may want to send out a text to everyone unless they were all watching the news.” He said with a smile before getting in the car and starting it to go to the hospital.


Pierre LeClerq looked at the Atlas Falls skyline from his balcony at LeClerq media looking at his watch and noting the time his date was late. He poured himself and his guest a mimosa to start while he flipped through the paper a smile on his face. The look on Walter’s face had to have been priceless when he saw the article and no doubt thinking that Greer was behind it was even richer seeing that he had let a woman far more dangerous into his family. Someone that reported to him in a mutual manner and one that he didn’t have some sort of debt too unlike his other ventures. There were always strings involved when it came to his other ventures in town with people like Forbes and Tess but with her there was pure abandonment and resentment. Both of which had festered into a girl that was willing to do whatever it took to take her family down starting with making sure Philip Montgomery happened to get that nasty picture of Steven Kincaid hoisting his prized sons at a KKK rally. As of this morning making her dear brother resign his position as district attorney of Atlas Falls and then implicate poor pregnant Tamara with suspicion of murder. He didn’t question the story when Dru had come to him with it and even claimed a friend had handed her the gun that she had in her possession. He didn’t care if it was the truth or not; if it knocked Walter and his insufferable brats down a peg or two he would publish the story as front page news. When the door opened and Dru walked him he turned from the skyline and nodded his head to the couch that was set up and the array of a brunch laid out before them.

“I was beginning to think that you had forgotten about our bargain Ms. Price if you stay long enough we could even flip on the news rumor has it that your brother is going to make a stunning announcement. Then again perhaps that you’ve become endeared to your niece and nephew? Did you know that years ago my brother thought the world of Lauren Fraiser so much so in fact that for a time he wished Dani was his daughter, thankfully she’s just Walter’s spawn so that means you and I still have something in common.” Pierre said looking at her and then taking a sip of hsi drink as he grabbed a few grapes to pop into his mouth as well. He wasn’t sure if she was looking at him with disgust or contempt in that moment and he didn’t really care. “Have you gone soft for the sister that has it all? I figured you being part time under the same roof as her and her husband you would have found some way to work those charms to at least make a little bump. When I handed you advice on how to land the nanny job by working on Lauren I didn’t think you’d move the pace of a snail on the matter.”

Dru was getting sick of Pierre telling her how she would and could handle her revenge. He was getting his rocks off watching Walter suffer, and she did understand. He was an easy to hate person. Leaning down, picking up a cracker, ham, jam, and a piece of cheese off the charcuterie board. She took some fruit and leaned back without saying anything. She just slowly began to eat looking Pierre dead in the eyes. Not stopping to look down at her food she just stared at him. He was right, this Tamara stunt was only to give her more time to figure out how to ruin little ms perfect life. How she resented Dani so much. Walter loved her it was clear and how Lauren fawned over her. Not to mention Jackson he just was putty in her hands. No man was that loyal but Jackson sure seemed to be. She had tried. He wanted blood on all of her siblings, hell if he could he’d have her digging up Victoria out of her watery grave, he would. After five minutes of complete silence she looked at Pierre with so much hatred.

“You figured out who I am. You want revenge against Walter for letting Lowell set you up. You need me to fucking pull this off. Or you can tell my father? My mother and everyone else but I’ll say you made me. It took me a while to figure out how to get from underneath your thumb. Now Pierre I find you to be a very helpful resource but I won’t be threatened. I told you it’s my revenge not yours. You are supposed to enjoy not, harass me every time you don’t feel like I’m moving at your pace.” Dru wondered how she was going to get Dani? Everything she tried didn’t work and this was becoming more intense. He could look at her “I just haven’t figured out the best way to get that bitch. But I will ruin Dani’s life and she deserves it. She walks around that house like the queen of the world. She says all these little smug things and she thinks she’s being modern when she’s just another fucking spoiled rich bitch.”

Pierre looked at her and almost laughed the reports from her intrigued him needless to say he was certain if their plan had went well that they would both get what they wanted. The problem seemed to be that the couple wasn’t biting. He’d mulled over the dilemma for the past few weeks she was moving far to slow for his liking he needed that marriage by a thread in a few months for reasons that Dru didn’t need to know about. This went so beyond Walter at this point, well almost beyond Walter he still hated him and his part in turning a blind eye to Lowell using him at DGI and setting him up. In due time, he had made various calls to various associates and he picked up the small memory card he held in his hand and then held up the second one, he saw her looking at him curiously and then held up an entire second phone. “Like I told you in the beginning Dru I didn’t have my blinders on when I arrived in town or should I call you Kendall that is your namesake is it not? Have you even spoke to your grandmother since that little run in after the wedding, it must have hurt didn’t it to have Walter look right through you and put his other children above you. Honestly a big play there could have been to play hero if you pushed her hard enough perhaps a fall. A heart attack even?” Pierre said seeing her glare at him again and he let out a chuckle at her.

“I told you I go hard Kendall and well in this case you seem to need a little help or push to do what needs to do be done. Greer would know that and she wouldn’t sit across from me threatening me she knows how to play the game. If I would have known about you years ago you wouldn’t of had to deal with scraps I would have trained you so much better. You would have had a grand entrance into their lives, money and well a poise about you that you don’t have now. I did after all help train Zerick with Forbes and look at all the destruction that he and my daughter caused.” Pierre said looking at her and then pulling the cards and the phone away from her. He relented and then handed her the phone and the cards. “So here is the deal you’ll need this burner phone. One card is for you and the other you need to slip into one of their phones. It’s a ghosting software it can intercept phone calls, texts, allows you access to everything in their phones send what you want in text or chat. Change dates the sky really is the limit. The best part they have no clue what is going on as they are unaware of the card in their phone. Meaning you can play with her life that way if you choose hell if you wanted attack that loyal husband of hers. I am sure you can get creative they have a huge function coming up. Unless you want to stick to your more traditional methods, which how has that been working out for you?” Pierre said looking at her.

Dru looked at him and wanted to claw his eyes out. Instead she picked up the plate and threw it against the wall. Standing up she looked at him and walked to him pointing her finger in Pierre’s face. “Listen to me Pierre I’m a lot of things but stupid I’m not. If you ever talk to me like that again I swear to God. I swear to God that my unsophisticated ass will show you that your perfectly trained princess will get her ass whooped against me. You will get taken down a peg if you came from what I did. You have no clue what I have in me and what makes matter worst you’re projecting old man. Yeah I know Greer’s fucking my good old cousin Brock. Not only that, she’s going to marry into the podunk Fraiser right? She must be such a disappointment when you groomed her to aspire to fuck billionaire kids right? Look at me I’m not the enemy and you don’t want me to be. I’m hungry and I’m stronger than your daughter and anyone else. I have spent my life wondering how I was going to get them back for abandoning me and it ain’t giving my old ass granny a heart attack.”

Dru looked at the card and phone she placed down when she chose to make a stance against his little jabs and smart talk. “Now understand this when I do this you’ll see how cunning and smart I am. I’m not Greer and that’s the best thing about me, Pierre. I’m all of their fucking worst nightmare and I just need you not to be on my back about fucking doing the best I could. But I have to ask you something if you had this shit months ago why in the world would you not give it to me. I can do so much more with this. With the swipe of a finger I’m going to sit back and watch them implode.” She hated to lose and refused to look back as a failure. Coming to Atlas Falls it was her job to make them all suffer. That suffering was what she lived on as a child never getting anything to eat. Not able to get clean clothes and never having anyone one to rely on. Her mother wasn’t good and her father wasn’t shit. So she learned to do what they did hurt others and she wouldn’t stop until they learned what true loss was. They all forgot about her and threw her away. Nobody would throw her away again. Nobody would deny her what she wanted anymore, which was to watch it all burn.

Dru had bathed both JJ and Donovan while they were sleeping and she really wanted to go see Philip. The way he texted her earlier made her wet with excitement. Placing her purse on her shoulder she hadn’t heard much from Dani or Jackson since they came home. She had to admit if she wasn’t after them they were cute. He really tried with the twins and Dani loved that man. It made what she would eventually do even sweeter. When she fucked Jackson she would cherish the look of devastation on Dani’s perfect face. As she walked down the staircase of their perfect new dream house. It was disgustingly perfect. She heard a soft moan and smiled slowly strolling around the back of the living room which went directly into the foyer and hallway to the kitchen. Peaking in she watched Jackson on his knees feasting on Dani’s pussy. Licking her lips she saw how large Jackson was because his dick was out. Looking at him licking on her while squeezing her breast. Made her hot and bothered. Sticking her hand in her pants she slowly fingered herself with one hand and with the other squeezed her breast.

Jackson was slurping up her juices flowing lapping up Dani’s clit. She had been so hard working on his dreams of taking on DGI eventually that he had to show her he appreciated her. What started with a little kissing had turned into a full on session. The sex between them was so intense lately maybe because they were happy. Each day he woke up and thanked God that Dani and the twins were really his. JJ and Donovan were the light of his life nobody understood him like them two. It didn’t take long but JJ was the most important girl besides his wife. He didn’t think he could be prouder but just looking at his son Donovan and he smiled and they way he was already better than him. He was calm and JJ was already a diva. It showed in how he would stop crying so she could get changed first. Shaking his tongue ferociously he began to want to fuck Dani so badly. She needed his dick inside of her and he knew his woman wanted it. Jackson stood up and pulled down his pants and began to throw Dani’s legs on his shoulders. Picking her up in mid air and pushing himself into her. He could tell she was in pleasure as he dived in her ocean.

Dru knew that while Jackson was all hot and horny this was the perfect time to try him. That he would cheat because he couldn’t get what he wanted. Pulling her hand out her pants and licking her own fingers. Adjusting herself quickly she flipped her hair and bouncily walked into the room with a baby monitor. “Oh my God.” Dru said as she saw them and the mortified looks on their faces. “It’s fine! It’s fine you two are newlyweds.” Dru pretended to not see anything as she covered her eyes walking out the room faking falling over a step. “OMG!” She yelped again.

A long day of work had them returning home after six a rarity for them when it came to the twins her husband had pinned her against the door the moment it was shut, his mouth devouring hers while Dani welcomed the gesture openly. Kissing led to him pushing her gently back into the living room, where it turned to her on his lap on the couch and before she even knew what happened it was him on his knees, lowering her dress and burying his head into her center. At first she tried to be quiet; she had no clue where Dru was or if the twins were sleeping and propriety was clearly out the window at the moment. Instead she was overcome at what he was simply doing to her, what he always did to her when they were together and her lips parted and she moaned. Nearly shouting out his name to be relieved when he stood up lifted her legs and rammed himself into her. Reality shot her back when she heard Dru’s voice. “Fuck.” She muttered seeing Jackson pull out and she shook putting the dress back on. She was still shivering watching Jackson get presentable too aching to be with him, while she composed herself looking at him kissing him deeply. “We’ll finish this later promise. I should go check on the twins.” She said feeling him squeeze her ass and she cast a glance at Dru when she passed sexually pent up from the interruption. “Thank you for staying late, we don’t need you anymore tonight.” Looking back at her husband seeing him only watching her she walked down the hallway to check on them before she headed to their bedroom awaiting his instructions.

Dru looked at Dani and smiled, shaking her head and she now understood why Dani was whipped literally. But she happened to know any man who has been with her would happen to know she was the holy grail in bed. “Sorry again guys.” She laughed awkwardly as she bit down her lip seeing her sister saunter to the upstairs. She really thought she was fucking hot shit. She looked ridiculous all prim now. She’d just caught them like wild wolves. Heading to the door she saw Jackson’s red face. “You have nothing to be ashamed of Jackson that was primal and really fucking hot. I mean no offense but if you two ever break up then call me because I see you want someone soft but I’m all hard.” Dru leaned in grabbing his still erect penis.

“Woah.” Jackson jumped back from Dru. “I’m going to act like you didn’t say that and I’m absolutely going to forget this ever happened but if you ever disrespect my wife or my home with my fucking kids upstairs not only will you be fired you’ll be back to whatever backwoods you crawled out of. Dru you are wonderful with my twins but there are millions of fabulous and more qualified nannies out there don’t make me find them. You are dismissed and forgiven. This is over, get out and see you tomorrow.”

“I’m so sorry Jackson.” Dru’s face was honestly shocked because she didn’t expect that. Most men were immediately turned on by her antics. She had been wearing suggestive outfits when Dani wouldn’t be home and an oversized sweater would hide it when she arrived. They were genuinely in love and that was like a nightmare to her. It meant ripping the newlyweds apart wouldn’t be easy. “It will never happen again.” Rushing out she almost blew it by thinking Jackson was like every other man. She needed a new way to do this and she had to do it fast because being a nanny was killing her.

“You just gave me the key to fucking tearing Jackson and Dani apart Pierre.” Dru said underneath her breath. “I gotta go. Thank-you but don’t disrespect me. You aren’t better than me Pierre. But I’ll prove you wrong. I’m going to set them ablaze and watch me do it right now.” Picking up her purse she rushed out of his penthouse to plan the destruction of her sister’s marriage.


Greer sat in the waiting room with a pale expression on her face. All she could do is scold herself because after all she had done to move away from Chauncey here she was. Holding her mother‘s vintage Chanel bag tightly. It was moments like this she wished she was around. Looking around she saw the fat swollen bellies, red ankles, and this lady’s toddler wouldn’t stop screaming. The look of horror on her face of what her future would be. Taking care of some snot nosed child. She wasn’t ready. She wasn’t ready for any of this. As she stood up her eyes met with Ophelia as she looked at her shocked to see her here. Well wouldn’t everyone be shocked she was having a baby. She wasn’t exactly maternal to Maddie or any damn child because they were horrible. Little people who sucked the youth and vitality from you. She wasn’t ready for this because honestly she never wanted a baby. Seeing the nurse wave at her she prayed she was only a few weeks along and not as far along as she thought. As the nurse began to take her to the back and she walked into the backroom. The nurse gave her one of those rough ass gowns to change into. Greer was wearing a vintage Chanel dress that her mother loved. She had to feel a connection to the one woman who no doubt would love her through this. The nurse came and took blood and urine sample.

When Ophelia walked into the room her lip quivered and she didn’t know why but she burst out crying. She couldn’t exactly go to her father and tell him she was pregnant yet. Not until she knew who the father of her child was. It wasn’t long she wasn’t crying anymore but laughing because she sounded like one of those women on Maury Povich. “I’m sorry but I’m sure the test says I’m pregnant. I’ve taken like forty of those home pregnancy test. I just suck at being nice and all those women in there were so nice. I’m not patient, I lie quicker than think, and I’m a horrible person at times. How can I be good enough to be this little person mom. Plus I’m all scared because my mom died in birth with me. She died and I don’t want to die. I’m not ready for this Ophelia. In fact I just want you to tell me this is like a tumor or something like that.” She shook her head. “Cancer is easy but a baby I can’t handle that. Plus my mom died and I just don’t know what a mother is. Or how to be one.”

Ophelia had a few more rounds to go before her shift was over and she had to meet Selina, Mason and Jamal for the will reading. It was still surreal for her to actually be reading Tony’s will, that her husband was dead, they had such a life together things that had been going so good. So his suicide was still such a dark hole left from that she had immersed herself into work until she could turn over her clients and go on that trip they planned. Hell she was thinking of retiring if the finances worked out for everyone. She had been a bit shocked when she had seen Greer’s name pop up back on her list, she remembered their first encounter when she came to town and had wanted pregnancy drugs. Of course she didn’t think the woman was serious or anything like that and besides she had been in such a scandal with breaking apart DGI, Chauncey and Zerick that a child would have hardly fit into any of those schemes. Or perhaps she was still scheming but seeing the look of dread on the young girls face she had no doubt that it was going to be very real for her. Not to mention rumor was that she was completely loyal to Brock Fraiser hell they were even engaged.

“I’m quite sure that you wouldn’t of wasted my time this time if you weren’t pregnant. I seem to remember a time ago you came to me in similar tears that you were wanting a baby so desperately with your then husband Zerick or was it Chauncey? Regardless Ms. LeClerq I take this very seriously shall we have a peek?” Ophelia asked as the nurse came back in the room and she began to do the exam noting the signs that Greer had noted on the chart and the in office test that they just had ran to confirm the pregnancy. She made mental notes that she didn’t know about her last known period and wondered exactly how far along she was. “Go head and take a seat and then lay back I want to do a dating ultrasound if that is alright with you of course. You mentioned on your preliminary questionnaire that you weren’t sure of wen your last cycle was that can easily explain why you aren’t sure how far along you are. The test definitely says that you are pregnant.” Ophelia said looking at the nurse and then at Greer to confirm that she was ready for the next part of the exam.

Greer sat quietly unable to directly respond to her. So she wanted fertility drugs a year ago. She gulped knowing that Ophelia, like all other women, was judging her. “Aren’t you my doctor? Huh? So how about you keep your damn personal feelings about what I do outside of this hospital silent. I’m not here to be judged by you Ophelia. I’m here to find out if this was cancer or a baby and it’s a baby. But I have to ask, don’t they teach you bedside manners? I’m a person Ophelia and I’m not above suing this hospital so keep your snarky ass comments to yourself. Just so you know it was for Chauncey because I wanted a baby with him. Crazy idea right because we both know the Devonshires will throw you under a bus and that’s what Chauncey did. He threw me underneath a bus because my plan was his plan. But somehow I’m the bad guy. You know Lauren Fraiser came to my home the other day and declared that it was me who planted that entire story about Braden. I mean she was violently angry at me but what she doesn’t know is that so many others that are close want her family to fall. So it wasn’t me. I’m so sick of this town making me to be the bad girl. I have been minding me own damn.” The nurse stepped in fast and squeezed a cold gel onto her belly. Greer yelped at the icy sensation on her skin. As Ophelia pressed the wand into her belly she stopped snapping when she heard the heartbeat.

For a moment it was as if the air had sucked right out of her. This little guy or girl didn’t ask to be here. In fact she was determined to protect this baby from the Devonshire’s. “He or she has a strong heartbeat.” She mumbled as she sniffed looking at Ophelia unsure what to do at this moment. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to lash out at you. I know you’re going through a very rough time also. This should be happy but I’m scared because I just never had mom. I never thought I’d be a mom. That’s why I didn’t go through with that plan all those months ago. I don’t want to be selfish to a kid and not give them all that i have. I know it sounds stupid because I’m fairly wealthy but I’m bankrupt on love. I lose it all and what happens if I’m no good at this. What if I’m just me you know. The same selfish bitch who tried to take over DGI.” She wiped her eyes because she was supposed to be happy. Right now she was feeling anything but. “How far along am I?” She saw how big the babies were on the monitor and felt her stomach dropping. “Ophelia can you tell me what I’m having now?”

Ophelia ignored the digs with Greer women were hormonal in this state she remembered she had went on a rage against Tony for cooking fish while she was pregnant. It was something they had laughed about later but she knew she wasn’t a pleasant person to be around at that time. So she could forgive a hormonal and upset Greer for bursting out at her like she was right now, she looked at the screen as she placed the wand on her stomach to take the baby’s measurements and she could tell by the look on Greer’s face that she was a bit shocked at the news about how far along she was. She supposed that it wasn’t that abnormal for some women to be shocked Dani had been, hell Max had been when she had done her ultrasound a few says after Sebastian was released. “The baby is looking strong and healthy a little to early to tell the sex at the moment. Baby’s heart rate of 164 beats per minute and tracking about about twelve to thirteen weeks, just one in case you were curious or not.” Ophelia said taking a look at the rest of the uterus and noting a few things that did concern her that they would keep an eye on.

“Everything looks perfectly fine and healthy with the baby, you do have a short cervix so that is something that we want to watch. It can lead to complications later but for now everything is fine. Would you like me to take a few photos I’m sure Brock would love to see them he must be so excited and Helen.” Ophelia said as she snapped a few pictures of the baby and printed them out so she could take them home to Brock. Helen was a colleague of her back in the day one of her earliest rotations had been with Helen at the hospital when she started Helen in nursing she in medical school. They weren’t close or anything like that but after what happened with Scarlett and Keiran she had no doubt that Helen would be over the moon about the news that Brock was going to be a father. “After what happened with Keiran I am sure she and the rest of the Fraiser’s must be so excited, the twins and then this one all in a few years. Lauren is just protective over her children you’ll understand that feeling Greer. I see women a lot who are afraid they aren’t cut out for the job I can assure you most of them realize it was meant to be all along.” She said softly looking at at her and wondering if she had said something wrong. “Was it something I said?”

Greer took the towel and wiped her belly off as she looked at Ophelia and knew she was right because at this moment she knew. She knew that Chauncey was the father of her baby. She was sleeping with Brock also at the same time but they hadn’t made love again until two weeks after her hookup with Chauncey. That’s fine so she was twelve weeks pregnant not fourteen. Her eyes must have had a darkness in them because she was scheming.Ophelia noticed her mind wasn’t there anymore because she was plotting a lifetime secret. Getting dressed in the bathroom she looked at Ophelia and shook her head. “No it wasn’t anything you said. This baby is going to solidify my place in the Fraiser family and you’re right I’m up for this job with Brock. My fiance and the love of my life. The man that I will spend the rest of my life with. I gotta go show him his son or daughter.” She grabbed Ophelia hands and nodded at her. “Thank-you for your kind words. I don’t deserve them but thanks.” Taking the sonogram pictures she nodded.

With that she went and got a prescription for prenatal vitamins and a supplement. Greer looked down at her belly and rubbed it. As she walked out of the office she felt confident in what she had to do. As she clicked on the alarm on her BMW she got inside. “Hello little one my name is Greer because I think mommy sounds old and wrong for me. So you’ll call me by my name, not mom. Look baby Brock Fraiser is the best man I know. He’s smart, kind, and loving so I don’t think that you’ll miss someone you will never know. You see baby your real daddy name is Chauncey and I don’t want to deal with him anymore. I don’t want him to even know about you yet because he will think this is some cosmic sign. That we are supposed to be together and it isn’t. Listen baby if you are a boy or a girl fairytale ending just don’t happen. You make them happen and I’m going to make my perfect ending with Brock. Your biological father married a woman who I can’t compete with because my image isn’t the best and hers is. That too much for you baby you shouldn’t know all that yet. All I want you to now is that you’re father is Brock not Chauncey and I’m going to marry Brock and have the family I never had with you.” Starting her car Greer smiled knowing that it wasn’t over for her and Brock it was just beginning.


Brooke placed her phone down as she finally smiled. The dress was epic and Val had truly outdone herself. It was something spellbinding and honestly all the major designers were clamoring at the chance to dress her right now. It’s not many times American models become princesses so this was a big deal and the media was starting to blow this up even more. She actually saw a profile on her dating life in Page Six and E! News. She looked outside and saw Bliss, Atticus, Fox, Hunter, and a puppy that Atticus got Fox. That beautiful little boy named his dog Buck which she thought was strange but the dog immediately took to the name. Putting two fingers in her mouth she whistled at Bliss as the men continued to play with Fox. She leaned against the island and smiled at Bliss walking in.

“I have something to ask you. How do you keep all that energy with Fox? When I have a child I want to be just like you running all over the place and enjoying my baby.” She said smiling, noticing Bliss didn’t have that perky look she had the last few weeks, something was weighing on her and she wanted to know what. “I was kidding by the way, I want to ask you something so much more important. Let me say I thought on this long and hard. I don’t have many girlfriends because my matrons of honor will be two guys and Val refuses to be in the wedding saying they are a archaic and primitive way to confirm you’re in a committed relationship. Well that leaves you and I think we’ve gotten closer over the last few months right? Will you be my maid of honor?”

Bliss was taken back when she heard Atticus bought Fox a doberman. Even though it was a puppy she wasn’t sure her little boy was ready for the responsibilities that came with having a dog. He was only four years old after all. However, hearing Atticus stern speech about how he was trying to prepare him for the future made her understand. She was a princess to the royal family of Isla De Cruces and seeing Brooke doing certain things these last few months haunted her. She remembered when Dimitri brought out the crown jewels as Atticus had. She remembered when the women of Isla De Cruces serenaded her with a song of fertility which they did to Brooke. She could even remember Hugo telling her she was perfect for Dimitri which he did to Brooke for Atticus. It was too many parallels considering how far she wanted to be from that damn island. A piece of her regretted telling Atticus that he could train Fox. He was Hunter’s son now and no matter what DNA said he’d been a better father than Dimitri could ever. He never asked where Dimitri was and never questioned that Hunter was his father. He just opened his heart up.

“I am so flattered.” She said reaching out to Brooke. “I can’t do it. It’s too much and the memories of what you’re going through. The wedding, the monarchy, and even the island brings so many bad memories. I just want Fox to be Hunter’s and not have to share him. What am I going to say? Sorry Foxworth your daddy was a monster who raped, killed, and tortured women? I just think about explaining that every day that one day I’ll have to break my own son’s heart. One day he’ll find out Hunter isn’t his dad and that his father is a sadistic murderer. I just don’t know if I can face Hugo and those people.” She gripped the counter as the tears nearly fell. “Dimitri died here and I’m happy he’s dead. I’m happy he’s no longer able to hurt anyone anymore.

Brooke was taken back by Bliss pain and how she vocalized that she wasn’t sure she could go back on the island. As a future princess she knew she had to step into this fray. She had to help Ilsa De Cruces and Bliss. “You don’t deserve anymore pain when it comes to Dimitri Kavanaugh. I think the world knows that you, Selina, and Tamara were tortured by him. I don’t know what it’s like to be violated but I can tell you that the crown nor Atticus holds any contempt for you. Bliss you ran to survive and you left your son your most precious jewel behind. But look at him he’s happy with uncle Atticus and Hunter. DNA will never matter because I’ve never seen my brother so in love with a woman or a child. I know it’s hard to hear but I think you have to face that island to get over that island. You have face what he did to you because Dimitri is still winning. You are just as much a princess as I. You have the heir to the throne in your capable hands and I just want you to not fear him knowing where he comes from. I don’t want you to not know how to tell him because Fox will understand that Dimitri gave him a crown but Hunter gave him a father.” Brooke paused then reached her hand out to hold Bliss. “He was a monster and nobody is blaming you for his death.”

Taking her hand back she blamed someone. Herself because although the moment of getting her power back meant the world to her by killing Dimitri. It also meant her sons mother just killed his biological father. That was something she wasn’t sure she could deal with if the truth ever came out. Fox might hate her and then she was sure Atticus and the empire would also. Bliss sniffled as she walked to the window seeing the men enjoying the time with Buck and Fox. “You have no idea what you’re asking me. To return to the place that he tortured me. That he violated me and nobody said anything. My damn mother knew and she just thought it would stop. Jesus Brooke I think you’re right. I have to tell Hugo how much him letting Dimitri violate me and hurt me destroyed me. I didn’t even know how to say I had a baby to my father and that this monster had him. I fell for Hunter the moment we saw each other and I knew that I’d found something so special. It was like a rainbow after a huge storm but now.” She paused trying to get out the words. Running to the left not seeing a garbage. She swiftly ran to the waste basket in the small bathroom down the hall.

Brooke followed and when she saw Bliss vomiting into the waste basket she held her hair. “It’s okay.” She rubbed her back.

“I’ll do it.” Bliss said, looking at Brooke.

“Are you sure Bliss you don’t look so hot. I should go get Hunt.” She said, grabbing a towel and wetting it to help her wash her face.

“No!” She said swiftly. “You can’t because I think since you’re helping me face a demon that I didn’t want to. You should be the first to know. You’re going to be an aunt again. I’m pregnant and scared that this all too perfect. That somehow it’ll all go away.”

Brooke smiled as she hugged Bliss tightly. “You are safe. You will be able to vocalize what the crown did and didn’t do for you. You deserved to be protected and you will be.  I can’t believe I’m going aunt again. OMG! You are so beautiful right now Bliss.” She laughed as she wiped her tears. “Did I ever tell you about Kendrick Watkins? I know you were new in town and you were making quite a stir sister. Well I was dating a really bad guy for me. Ronan Madden he was passion and fire but I got burned too badly. He had this psycho on his payroll. Kendrick threatened me so many times and he eventually did snatch two women. Now I don’t think Kendrick was completely evil because he had this amazing relationship with Merci behind the scenes I guess and he was a good person to a lot of people. But to me he scared me and I needed to know why. So a few months ago I went to Dinah Watkins. His mother and she had no words for what I went through with her son. She told me something and I’m going to tell you. The day that power of love overrules the love of power only then will the world know true peace. Honey you were deal with a man that was corrupted by power. It had nothing to do with you and the sooner you face what happened the sooner that baby growing in you will not feel a second of that fear, rage and turmoil.”

Bliss leaned in and hugged Brooke and just held her as she began to weep into her shoulder. It was weeping from fear because in all honesty she was being corrupted by the ghost of Dimitri haunting her every step of the way. “Thank-you.” She said honestly as she got up and took Brooke’s hand. “Now I have to tell your brother that I’m having our baby. You’re the first to know besides Max and Dani. They sort of ambushed me earlier and Max isn’t happy about sharing the baby bumps.” She laughed as she looked at Brooke.

“Just tell him soon because I can’t hold water.” She laughed with Bliss. “I don’t how he got so lucky after Max. I mean no woman should go after your sister.”

“Here we go. Why don’t you two like each other? You’re so cool and she’s so cool.”

“Bliss it’ll never happen. Max Devonshire is a stone cold bitch who only wants one thing. Money.”

‘I’ll have you know my sister is happily engaged, pregnant and having a banging career to boot. She isn’t  as bitchy as she was to me. She still seems like she has to adjust to the baby idea but that’s all women. And no talking about my sister. I mean sisters since you can’t stand both of my sisters.” Bliss began to chuckle as the chef finished putting the last of the food down. “Guys dinner.” She called out as she wrapped her arm around Brooke. “Thank-you.”

“What are sisters-in-law for?” Brooke said smiling at Bliss and walked up to Atticus kissing him then she snatched Fox and ran all over the island in the kitchen. Seeing Bliss and Hunter embrace she winked at her friend and her new maid of honor.


Skye had dressed the part when asked which seemed like a dumb thing to do when Jon had demanded that she go eo this meeting with Elliot and she owed him that much. She didn’t even know what she was going to say or do hell she put on the most basic clothes she could for the meeting. A plain white t shirt and a pair of cut off jeans would do, a pair of vintage Air Jordan’s to complete the look, something that seemed to piss Jon off on their drive to Elliot’s office. She didn’t even want to be in the same car with him or maybe she did, she was just confused now about everything. She knew he was out at night likely with other women and it bothered her more than she let on that it did, she knew what happened with Miles was fucked up. It was all her fault but Jon was never the type of guy that had multiple women on his arm left and right. It was part of the reason that she was so attracted to him to begin with he wasn’t a Jackson Devonshire or one of the other fucking assholes she had been with. Jon was different or so she had liked to think that he was, he wasn’t sure anymore. “Great were here can we get this farce over with I have a casting call in a few hours.” Skye muttered seeing the shock on his face she almost laughed in his face.

“Oh come on you wanted me to do this and I’m here I don’t have to be happy about doing it. I’ve told you the adoption is iron clad and it’s not like Charles is just going to let you rip away his grandchild from him. Look around you he is happy, he has two parents that love him, a little sister that he can spoil and adore. What are you hoping to accomplish?” Skye said looking at him fuming behind the wheel at her and she wondered how they had really come to this over the years between them. She was a fuck up she got that but why in the hell was he wanting to put her through a court, why in the hell was he wanting to put their son through that? She fumed at him after the shit he pulled in the hospital after whoever it was mowed her down he wanted to pretend everything was fine with them she could play that part with him down to a fucking t if he wanted her too. “You know what I used to think you were actually a good person a good guy you’re not though. Did you even care when someone mowed me down on the side of the road six months ago? I mean Lex had to haul my ass into the hospital and save my life and lord only fucking knows who you crawl to in the middle of the night.” She finished almost wishing she had something to take the edge off to run away and escape all this with them.

“You have some damn nerve.” He said looking at her. “Maybe if you hadn’t screwed over so many people we could mow down who mowed you down.”Jon said in singy tone but the rage and sarcasm was dripping from his words. “You have the audacity to open your mouth and ask me why I am doing this. I’m doing this because you didn’t have the balls to even tell me that you had my child. That’s why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because I love Miles and I want to at least know who he is. You look like some cheap little hoodlum and all I asked was for you to be respectable today. I can’t even look at you right now Skye. You know I thought Dani was special, I was wrong. I thought Cassie was special and I was wrong. But you are special because out of all the other women I’ve loved or cared about you were the one who broke my spirit. You want to know where the good old boy Jon Harrison is at Skye? You ran him down the moment you gave our son up to the Hessington’s. You want me to actually give a damn someone ran you down? When you have constantly ran my heart over.” He chuckled sarcastically. “I don’t. I don’t care who tried to kill you because you have killed me so many times over. How many times did you think to bring Miles up? I left you because you are a toxic individual but Skye you get what you want now. You get to have me and we’ll get married and live in opposite rooms. You get to be a lady in Atlas fucking Falls isn’t that what you wanted?” He said in a cool but elevated tone.

“I can’t be broken by anymore women who I think I love or love me. I’m sorry Skye that I’m not the Jon Harrison you fell for all those years ago. I’m doing what I think is right. Call me selfish but I think it’s might funny you have a memory of him. You can remember giving birth to Miles and holding him and nurturing him and letting him go. You let him go! You.” He screamed at her with rage. “You got a chance to fucking love him even if it wasn’t long you got a chance to say goodbye and now you want me to just forget him? Not get my chance to get my son back? Why don’t you love him or want him like I do? Why don’t you care about him more than the drugs you used to be on? I went to rehab but I wasn’t a junkie like you. I wasn’t a fucking mess Skye, I had some bad times but I got up. You did too except you got up with the Hessington money and I got up with the VA. You kept going back, you lied to them, you slept with Lex and Ryan. You are disgusting to me but you seem to think you deserve my pity or my sympathy. I’m ashamed of you. You couldn’t even dress right for him today. I’m fucking suit and you’re in a high schoolers getup. Mature Skye, really mature.”

“There are better ways to asking who he is or wanting to get to know him than fighting for them for a custody case you are never going to win did you even think to be rational and ask them to let you see them or him? I at least had that up until you losing your shit right before Dani’s wedding to Jackson. You never listen to me about any of it because of course this all about you and not Miles.” Skye spat back at him, that part was true Skye had been in and out of Miles life he knew her as his floating auntie Skye and that was fine. Whitney would send her small updates pictures and small mementos on her phone all of that ceased though when Jon had found out and lost his shit threatening Whitney and Ryan with a custody case. “If this was about Miles you would have taken a few days and not ruined whatever good fucking graces Whitney and Ryan allowed me with him, I could have went to them with you, let you see him but no it was all about you. And now this is what you want to do drag me through a court of public opinion so you can wave him around like a conquest trophy in your stupid feud with Jackson. Because I assure you ripping him away from the only family he knows isn’t for his own good. There were days I wish he was Jackson’s you know that right? How fucking sad is that?”

She finished looking at him fume even more at her and she didn’t regret saying it, Jon was literally like a stranger to her now and it was ugly and hurtful. It was however the bed she had made and she opened up the car door before getting out and looking at the glass building for Elliot’s office before slamming the car door after her. “I’ll never marry this version of you, lie to the lawyer all you want that we’re some happy family on the mend. I don’t fucking care I’ll play along but it will never be real at least this version of us. I’d never stoop so low to be the trash on the side of the road again especially with you, but like I said you don’t care about anyone else right now. Not me or what this could do to me and especially not our son. You’ve made that perfectly clear when you come home and I let you fuck me becasue heaven forbid I think you’ve finally forgiven me only to then leave.” Skye said she was already broken by him so it didn’t matter to her if he started to see the cracks all over again with her, maybe then he would finally understand why she did what she did. Maybe then he could forgive her, maybe then he could see that she was afraid of Charles and his power, his reach or maybe it would be to late and she wondered if she even fucking cared anymore. “So we’re here because you want to be here not me are we clear?” She finished folding her arms looking at him.

Jon looked at Skye and felt nothing but contempt and he was broken hearted. Was he being selfish? Was he being an asshole to Skye? Did she not fucking understand how he felt? Reaching over he wanted to grab her hand but the radio paused him. When he heard Braden Fraiser was about to leave office his mouth dropped. The scandal was huge but he knew Braden would never use Atlas Falls funds for Tamara’s recovery. Turning off the radio he looked at Skye. “I want to tell you something. I would have married you back then. I would have made sure you had the family you never had. Now I feel like I’m in jail right now. I’m laying in the bed with the woman who betrayed me. Can you just admit it? Can you just say for once instead of blaming me for wanting some part of his life, that you were wrong? You’ve never said it. Not even once because I want Miles somehow I’m a bad guy? Somehow I am the one who isn’t considering Miles when you never considered how he’d feel. To know that he had this huge family that wants him. But I’m here right now fighting for our son to not only know me but you. Skye don’t you want him? Don’t you love him? Do you think about our son at all?” He gripped the steering wheel and it tore him apart to think she just didn’t care how it would all play out.

“Do you think I like being like this?” Jon asked looking at Skye. “You know how badly I just want to hold you and tell you I’m sorry but I haven’t even heard you say you miss him. You seem so content on being Miles auntie but that would never be enough for me. I am all or nothing at all so if I can’t have him then I’d like the courts to tell me that. Not you or anyone else. I was going to marry another woman who lied to me and now I at least know. I know that that I’m angry and I don’t know how to to blame anyone but you and me. I hate myself right now Skye. If I would’ve been on top of my game I would have known you were pregnant. I would have gotten you help and I would have a family.” Jon turned into Elliot office as he parked knowing his words pierced her. “I would be flying high with a wife and kid but I fucked up and all I can do.” His voice broke and he wiped his eyes. “I want that Skye but we gotta forgive each other and get him back. You have no idea how this feels. No Harrison has been raised by someone else. We are tight family and did you think about my dad and mom? How they have lost something also? Teagan? Anybody other than yourself when you just handed him over to Whitney and Ryan?”

Skye knew she was wrong for not telling him about Miles but she wasn’t wrong for wanting to make sure that Miles had the life she never did. She was a junkie back then an awful fuck up that had no idea who the father of her baby was. A baby that didn’t deserve to grow up with her high on fucking drugs and fucking random men she didn’t know, she was smart enough to at least know that much back then, Miles deserved the best. She wasn’t at her best back then was out of options and scared she saw a good couple that wanted to love and adopt her son and a man that was bound and determined to make it happen. In some ways looking back she knew Charles had twisted her arm in his own sick and demented way with his lap dog by his side, but she also knew deep down that Whitney and Ryan would be amazing parents to her son. “I’ve told you to till I’m blue in the face that I am sorry that I didn’t tell you I was scared and young. I was really fucked up back then the entire situation with you and Jackson was fucked up. I gave him to two people that love him and wanted him even before he was born, that could provide a stable home for him. So yes I was wrong for hurting you and not telling you, I wasn’t wrong for doing what I thought was best back then for Miles.” Skye said looking at him she got that she had created this mess it was her burden now, but she did think back then it was the right thing to do for Miles. “It has never been about what I want or what you want, but what is best for him.”

She let the last part slide out her voice barely above a whisper as she held back the tears she hated that he hated her now and yes it was her fault. She knew that and didn’t wait for a response for him as she wiped at her eyes to enter the building and going to the elevator once she knew their floor number. She folded her arms and put distance between them in the elevator, she could say it till she was blue in the face it didn’t matter anymore he was never going to forgive her and she got that now. That didn’t mean that she wasn’t allowed to feel like she was again, like trash like she was on the streets and wondered why she was even still in Jon’s house. Once they entered the floor and the receptionist told them that she would let Elliot know they were there as she led them to a conference room she felt like wanting to go track down anyone she knew and score. She nearly jumped out of her seat when the door opened and shut and she saw Elliot looking between them and Jon was right she looked like a hoodlum. That seemed to be what he actually thought of her lately so why not play the part and she saw Elliot jolting down some notes likely judging her outfit and attire, judging her in general and she almost rolled her eyes she was so used to it.

Elliot had been watching the news conference and was actually a little shocked at the allegations but then something else slipped into his mind, what if he were to take that spot? Everyone was always telling him to put his money where his mouth was with social justice reform and he had a nice little nest egg when it came to his finances not to mention the spotlight it would place him into. He had made a note to look into it further maybe even reach out to Jeremiah for advice on how to run a campaign and he was sure that the people of Scottswood would come out and vote for him, would Kendrick have been on the streets if he was DA, would the kidnapping have ever happened? It was a platform that he could run on and working as attorney for the man who’s career he tried to destroy would easily bring in the other side, looking what he could find on the adoption of Miles Charles Hessington however was bleak to say the least. It would be hard very hard to get Jon’s son back to him, harder than he thought it would be and looking between Jon dressed in a suit and the women he assumed was Skye Morgan dressed in a shirt and shorts he could already tell this was going to a mess. He sat down at the table opening up his folder and jolting down a few notes before looking at them both.

“Thank you both for meeting with me today. I’m sure that Jon his informed you Ms. Morgan that I agreed to look into the matter of the adoption of your son Miles Hessington to Whitney Hessington-Walker and Ryan Walker. Let me just preface this by saying that from where the legal paperwork is concerned, it is an iron clad adoption Lex Hessington certainly knew what he was doing when he drew up the papers. He also has legal precedent in the matter Pennsylvania a one party state there was no father listed on the birth certificate at the time of birth.” Elliot said looking at them both of course there were loop holes if they wanted to jump on them could Skye remember if she was in the state when she signed the papers? Did she sign them somewhere else other than Pittsburgh? Was blackmail involved in the situation? Not to mention that she was in a very fragile mental state when it happened fresh out of a stint of rehab pregnant and alone, scared likely. He watched Jon’s defeated face and he felt like he saw what was relief on Skye’s interesting. “I’m not saying it’s impossible of course I can twist whatever story you want to sell to a judge there are loopholes that could apply to the adoption that we can work with. But it won’t be pretty nor will it be cheap Mr. Harrison. So first question what are you two at the moment?”

Jon watched relief glowing on Skye’s face. She really didn’t care what she did to him did she? “Honestly?” Jon said looking at Skye and reaching over to grab her hand. “We aren’t in a good place. Half the time I don’t know what to say to her. The other half I hate her but I know we don’t have a good chance to get our son back if she isn’t here. Maybe I do and I can stop hurting her so much. I’m sorry but I can’t keep this up. I can’t keep pretending that I can be around you. I can’t forgive you and if that’s what you’re looking for then stop. I’ll never be able to look at you the same and I will never forgive you for what you did. You may have done it for Miles but don’t act sanctimonious Skye please just be honest. You were pissed that I went to rehab when you got me hooked on drugs and that Jackie and Lowell wouldn’t let you near Jackson. You screwed around on him with me to get underneath his skin. You think I don’t remember history Skye? When you found out Jackson wasn’t the father I feel so deeply in my soul you didn’t want Miles. You wanted the fame and what Dani has. That’s why you gave up my damn son because he didn’t matter like a Devonshire right? You came back into town because of what reason? It was Jackson right?” He said sarcastically. “You aren’t fooling me.”

“You are acting altruistic like you did this for Miles, and I just don’t believe you. I don’t think you did this because of Miles you didn’t want my baby. When Jackson turned you down you came knocking at my door again. Except I had Cassie and I was happy and you didn’t like that did you Skye. I chose Cassie over you because you were a reminder of me at my lowest. But here I am with you so tell me Skye who ended up getting what they want? Me or you? You win you got me baby but after all your ugliness and scheming now you have me with my ugliness and scheming. Is this what you wanted? If she doesn’t want to help us then I’ll throw her underneath two buses. I don’t care and I want her to hear it loudly and clearly. I’ll pay whatever Elliot. I mean it if I have to sell my soul to do this but I want my son. I want him away from those people.”

Skye looked at him when he grabbed her hand and almost cackled at him for his little proclamation about all of it. In truth she had been so high when she found out she really did want it to be Jackson’s and for a long time she thought Miles was. I mean it wasn’t like either of them were safe one hundred percent of the time when they fucked, Jon always seemed to be a good solider most of the fine and wrapped up. She had been angry and mad when Miranda wouldn’t let her see Jon and when Jackie and Lowell refused to tell her where Jackson was. So she did what she did best and ran to her grandmother in Pittsburgh and worked the streets where she ran into Charles. “I’m not tainting history. I honestly didn’t know who Miles’s father was when he was born, I mean you wore a condom most of the time Jon was too soldier boy to not wrap up. Jackson was a little more free with his dick if you know what I mean. I’m sorry was that too fucking crude for you? I barely knew what day of the week it was back then let alone who the father of my baby was.” Skye said using the nickname the upper class especially that Jackson used to get under Jon’s skin he wanted to dig at her he could, she’d dig right back and be the evil bitch he wanted her to be apparently.

“You want to talk about history let’s do that shall we, I came to town when Lowell summoned me when he threw a DNA test he had obtained that Jackson wasn’t Miles’ father and told me he would tell you about Miles. I had one job woo Jackson away from Dani fucking Fraiser so you could get your long deserved happy ending with her, who by the way never once really felt hat way about you. How about how you were only with me at the time because she was with Lex? I mean if you were really that happy with Cassie too why did you fuck me on a break?” Skye said looking at him he wanted the truth there it was and she leaned back in her chair looking at Elliot look between them half mortified and half amused. Jon wanted to pretend that she was his great love. That was fine, that wasn’t what they were back then, hell it wasn’t even what Cassie was because he had never worked through the true ghost in his closet. “I mean if I really would have gotten everything that I wanted like you said that you think is the title of Mrs. Devonshire I could have done it. Lied to Jackson about Miles drove who you really wanted into your arms all that pinning and you’d finally have Dani but guess what you would have never even known Miles existed Whitney would have taken that to the fucking grave, didn’t you fuck her too? But that’s not how the pieces fell did they because your bitch of a sister found out the truth because of the bitch you were fucking was jealous and told her to look into why I left town. As for our living arrangements, he fucks me. Sometimes I let him he goes out and fucks other people, stable right?”

Elliot looked between them and jolted down notes as he did clearly they had a lot of shit they needed to work through before they even approached this case with a judge and courtroom. He’d met messy fucking people before but this was like fucking action movie on a runaway train leading to a massie crash that you know you shouldn’t watch. He had thought that there was high drama back in Chicago but it seemed like Chicago had nothing on the residents of Atlas Falls, Dimitri turning up to terrorize women and now one of the messiest mathematical shaped fuck fest he had ever seen. He wanted to represent Jon if that was what he really wanted to do but he wondered if he really understood what he was asking. What they had both said to each other just now was something that Lex Hessington would fly with in court left and right, it wouldn’t be pretty and seemed to scratch a surface that any attorney could dig into. He made a few notes in his pad noting how Skye hadn’t known the truth father at the time or so she claimed, how Jon was denied his right to even be made aware of the situation the same for the other man, Jackson that Skye was sleeping with. Was it grounds to overturn for a judge though? Maybe in some states Pennsylvania was pretty stringent on siding with adoptive parents and that part stuck out to him could he truly prove to a judge that the Hessington’s were unfit parents?

“So let’s just say for argument’s sake that I were to put you both on a witness stand in front of a judge you would describe your relationship as open correct? Jon has a stable job, stable income and I see here on review that you are fledgling actress?” Elliot said looking between them he understood that Jon wanted this to go to court but did he really? Did he really understand that Lex would destroy any sense of normalcy that they liked to present to a judge let alone stability. He felt for Jon but from what he had seen from Skye so far, she seemed content with her decision at the time to adopt out her son. Was it right to do that to Jon, no but he would like to think at the time she did think she was doing what was best for everyone involved. He saw both Jon and Skye shift in their seats at his questions and took a breath. “This is a sample of what will happen in court I can ask you both to describe your current relationship and living status, Lex will go for the jugular much worse than I would to prove you are both unfit and ripping his nephew from loving parents in a stable home is not in his best interests. So, with that being said I can still file the paperwork but perhaps instead of going before a judge we can meet with Lex, Whitney and Ryan and can work out something outside of a courtroom if that would be acceptable?” Elliot finished, he doubted Jon would get full custody with a judge but perhaps Ryan and Whitney could see reason and at least let Jon see Miles.

Jon looked at Skye and saw her mood shifting to a place of happiness because just what she suggested came out of Elliot’s mouth. He’d always want Miles and maybe Skye didn’t understand the hunger he had for his son. He was nearly not going to marry Cassie because she wasn’t certain about children. His entire life he saw himself being a father and being denied that opportunity because of Skye’s selfish choices. Hell he was nearly a damn junkie at the time and if that was the case. Then he was at fault. The crashing words of and weight of what Elliot was saying made him feel empty. Everything between them had just completely changed. Here he was ready to use every penny to die for this and she was stern in her belief. Did she not want them to be a family? Jon’s heart actually broke because he would call Dani or Braden but he had neither at this moment. Nodding his head he looked at Elliot. “I’ll call you Monday morning and see if we should even take this any further.” Standing up he shook his hand and opened the door exiting the office. Turning to Skye he paused lifting his finger up.

“I am fucking someone else. I am enjoying it because she isn’t you Skye and I think for a couple of nights while I get my mind together. You shouldn’t be at my house. I don’t care where you go just don’t be at my place. In fact Skye since you want me to be equal in this situation. Since you can’t help me fix your mistakes. Since you seem to want me to be bad guy and I was just dumb and had no fucking clue get your shit and get the hell out of my house. Since I’m so bad I don’t want you in my bed so you can’t say that. You’re right about one thing Skye, I had no chance with Dani but I stooped to a new low when I slept with you. A common whore who everyone has had. You couldn’t be my soulmate because you aren’t able to love anyone because everyone throws you away. You are broken and I can’t love you anymore. I can’t lie and live like this. Stay away from me Skye. Get your shit and go let’s go.” Jon said no longer loud or raging. He was deathly calm and hadn’t even looked away from Skye. “I don’t have a chance at ever knowing him. I guess that’s my fault but it’s over you win again Skye. But I can’t pretend anymore.”

Skye watched as Jon told Elliot that he would get in touch with him on Monday about the entire thing and felt a sense of small relief. She had been mowed down after the wedding and no she never told the police or Jon about Lex coming to Merci’s condo to threaten her, threaten Jon and her sister she wasn’t that fucking dumb. However maybe Elliot could do all them a favor and make sure that Jon saw Miles every so often that mean that the wolf that was Charles wouldn’t knock on her door. Jon never needed to know about it, Merci sure as hell didn’t and if this fancy ass lawyer could provide her son with a chance to know both Jon and his parents he had grown up with she would gladly step aside. She looked at him when he told her to get the hell out of his house and made sure she put on a face when she did one of coldness, he never really wanted her there to begin with and she knew that she just stayed because it was so fucked up. She didn’t even flinch when he confirmed someone else was warming his bed, what the fuck ever she was so tired of men using her at this point. She knew with men like Jackson or Ryan or Lex that she was nothing more than a warm body but someone like Jon back then enamored her but knowing now what she did how he thought about her he could go fuck himself too.

“I’ll go stay at the hotel a few days you were the one that packed my suitcase during Christmas and made me move in with you. I went along with it because I actually thought you cared about me you’ve made it very clear how you feel I get it now I’m the town whore that you had your way with. I can’t go back to Merci because I don’t want to fuck up her engagement to Devin, she deserves to be happy. I wish your bitch of a sister never opened her mouth at least I wouldn’t have to look at you and see you hating me every moment. At least when you used me before you were at least decent about it.” Skye said looking at him her hand gripping her phone in it wondering where she would go after the hotel she ran it provided Jon ammo she stayed it played to the Hessington’s. Lex’s words rang in her ears though Charles owned her in many ways and if they lost Miles to Jon it would come back on her, her family the man before her now and that was something that she couldn’t let happen. “For the record you never even looked at the bigger picture here have you about why I left and would stay gone? You know what never mind I gotta go.” Skye said shaking her head at him as she walked past him not even bothering to look back as she got on the elevator closing the doors and finally letting the tears fall.


It was over twelve teenage dancers sitting out in the waiting room. She knew it wasn’t a break but a sprain could ruin their showcase next month. It had been a long road for these kids and her. If Niara had sprained her ankle then that meant Mya would have to step up as her understudy. Mya was a technical dancer and absolutely a technical dancer. The problem with Mya was that she didn’t flow and let out her true feelings. She’d been so used to being perfect she didn’t know how to just dance from her soul. That was what Niara had and that was what she wanted to see on the stage. Looking over at Dex she knew he was worried. He didn’t catch her correctly and she saw him crying. Walking over to Dex she hugged him and looked at them. When she heard a yelp from the examination room she was triggered. That little scream reminded her of Aspen screaming that she hurt her baby. Shaking her head she walked into the room and looked at the nurse with a death stare to which Niara laughed at. Ever since she opened her dance studio these kids had become her responsibility and she’d come to care about every one of them. She also had let her father go about his business. Yasmine Kohl was her name, not Yasmine Montgomery.

“Your momma is on her way and they said you might not miss the showcase. But honestly Niara I want you to sit it out.” She said as the young girl began to burst out in tears. She was a freshman in high school their would be so many more shows and performances. Yasmine listened to Niara complaining about not being able to dance and she knew that feeling. She wouldn’t be able to breathe if she couldn’t dance. Yasmine asked Niara if she wanted to see anyone and she shook her head no. She couldn’t blame her, she was disappointed. Walking back into the lobby Yasmine needed to get them  “Aye!” Clapping her hands and jumping on the table in the waiting room. Getting the attention of twelve teens was complex but she had it down. She could tell some of the people around her were judging her. She looked young and didn’t think she could command the room. Or it could be her outfit. She was wearing a 76ers royal blue button up jersey, a black sports bra, Ethika underwear, a pair of Moncler jogging pants, and Retro blue and black Jordan’s. “Get y’all asses home and ice your legs. I want you back at the studio right after school.” Snapping her fingers at Leelee and Bree. “Y’all must be trying to do suicides in the studio because I know I don’t hear y’all talking while I am. Go home and tomorrow after practice we’ll come up here.” Jumping down she hugged Dex snatching her Iverson fitted cap off his head. Yasmine turned around to see a doctor she had never seen before. “You got word on Niara Bradley?”

Jayden was stuck on fucking rounds thanks to David’s rotation this month after saving Natasha’s life six months ago he had been regulated back down to rounds. For the first week of summer his ER rotation had been boring as fuck too, a few fender benders, some cases of heart burn and of course two heart cases he had to give to David. No matter he would take his licks here as needed and work his way back up it was only for a few more weeks and then the circus had happened. Or more so a bunch of dramatic teenagers had swarmed the waiting room when some young dancer was brought in. He was on call so he had come in to see the girl Niara and examine it was simple and routine enough the girl had twisted her knee pretty good, he didn’t it was broke and by all accounts her ACL was still in tact meaning she had a really bad high sprain. The girl had screamed at the top of her lungs for a simple exam and he exited the room to look for her family instead he had bumped into the stunning woman in front of him who was asking for information on her. The teens had gone out the door and from the little he had gathered from his patient and the little he overheard she was a dancer too the instructor.

“You must rule your studio with a perfectly manicured fist from the looks of it if you are going to have them running suicides. I mean I took a jazz class here and there and some hip hop but I don’t think I ever had a teacher as fine as you instructing my lazy ass to run suicides.” Jayden said seeing her look at him and he shot her a wide grin he could wrangle her into his clutches if he had too she was stunning and gorgeous. Not to mention he really hadn’t been out and about in the six months he had been in town to meet anyone he was too focused on work. Judging by the way the girl was looking at him though he could tell she wasn’t family so before he talked anything medical with her he needed the actual patient’s consent he motioned Yasmine to follow him back to the exam room. “I take it that you aren’t her mother unless you out here popping one out super young so listen before we do any further Niara I need to know how old you are and if it is okay if I share your medical information with her.” Jayden said looking at the girl and then at the woman realizing he hadn’t properly introduced himself. “Dr. Jayden Bradshaw and you are?”

“I’m sixteen. She’s, my instructor and I need to know when I can dance again so you need to tell her something. I gotta be able to perform next month and that’s on mary had a little lamb.” She looked at Jayden’s confused expression and looked at her coach. “Coach, he doesn’t even know what I’m talking about.”

Yasmine placed her hand on her hip and she laughed at Niara prodding of Jayden. “Girl hush. But my name is Yasmine Kohl and it’s nice to meet you doc. But doctor I hate to tell you but there is no way your stiff ass took dance. Bust a move right now then?” She teased and began to gag as he busted out a nice dab on her. Okay doctor had swag she laughed knowing he was young but she didn’t expect him to do all that. Looking at him he was fine as hell. He was smooth chocolate and had the most beautiful smile she’d seen in a long time on a man. She hadn’t felt like this since she first met Rory as Diamond at XES. Not that she didn’t love Khalil but it was expected that they were going to be together and she didn’t want to do what everyone thought she should do just because. It would be so easy to be a WAG with Khalil but she wanted her own shine. Never to be just a sportsman wife or girl. That was lame and her choreography with kids had gone viral to IMoney hit song ‘Traction’ on TikTok and RePlay. “Okay swag doctor but tell me when my dancer can dance again she is one of my stars.”

Jayden looked at Yasmine and then at his patient as the girl clearly was trying to get Yasmine to flirt with him and he smiled at the both of them he remembered being as young as her dancer was back in his days. He was older now but he playfully did a dab in hopes to amuse her and he smiled when he saw that he had. He looked at the chart and felt the girls knee again and hoped that the news wasn’t too devastating it was going to be cutting it really close to her show whether or not she danced or not it was all dependent on if she followed his orders. “You have a high knee sprain I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. That is easily a month of recovery time maybe more depending on how well you follow directions as a patient. You really need to rest, use crutches for the first two weeks slowly work up that knee to full mobility again. You are really lucky that you didn’t tear your ACL.” Jayden said seeing the girls crushed face he brought up her scans on his iPad drawing a few lines on her x-rays so he could put it in simpler terms for her. “Think of your kneecap like this a pulley to the rest of your body right? This is your ACL it moves that pulley to stabilize the rest of your body, it’s strained see?” Jayden said zooming into the x-ray for a moment before zooming out.

“As a dancer I am sure you push yourself to your absolute limits when it comes to your moves you practice constantly and consistently to make sure you are the best, you don’t stay off that knee till I tell you it is safe to do so you risk tearing that little rubber band and putting you out at least six months of recovery time, including surgery to repair it.” Jayden said seeing the Niara and Yasmine look at each other and then at him. He shrugged for a moment writing up a prescription for some pain meds for the girl to drop off and get filled, along with one for some crutches she could use. “Here is your prescription that you can get filled at the pharmacy two weeks worth of pain killers that I want you to keep up on. Ice and heat every 3-4 hours alternate and keep pressure off that knee as much as possible that is what the crutches are for. You come back to me for a follow up in two weeks an we’ll see or maybe I can hop by the studio and take a gander see what the fuss is all about.” He said smiling at Yasmine as he licked his lips at her watching her dance he was sure would be worth it. He also knew that last name he wasn’t a complete dolt and knew all about who Forbes Montgoemery was. “What do you say? Here or the hospital Ms. Kohl?”

Yasmine placed her hand on her hip and looked at Jayden seeing he was running game on her but she liked it. Giggling she looked at Niara and saw she was grinning also. She shook her head feeling like she was going to tell all the other students about this. It was cute that this man seemed somewhat interested in her and her dancers. It was what she did and no offense but she felt that Khalil was all about basketball. She saw herself getting sucked up in that life and she didn’t want it. She wanted to be great, she wanted to be a choreographer for Beyonce, and completely be known as one of the baddest dancers ever. “How about you come by my studio after you take me to La Callie.” She heard Niara snapping outside of the room. She laughed as she pulled out her phone. “So you’re going to make me ask for your number?”

“I don’t normally just give out my number to patients.” Jayden said playfully with a huge smile on his face as he looked at her. It was a bit of fun, fun he hadn’t had since he arrived in town. Dating was the furthest thing from his mind and he wasn’t sure what it was about the gorgeous woman in front of him but maybe he was being too closed off about it. Work wasn’t everything, that was something both his parents and hell his own brother always told him. He was still annoyed as hell at his shift at the hospital but he also knew that Forbes Montgoery’s daughter on his side for an evening or two, hell who knew maybe more would actually raise his profile at the hospital too. “I’ll make an exception in this case though I mean how could I not?” He said licking his lips for a moment before taking out his business card and handing it to her writing his cellphone number on the back.

Yasmine saw Niara’s mother and baby brother approaching. “I’ll use this believe that but everything you told me tell her Ms. Azealia is a mess. You gotta repeat that and answer all her questions because she is a definite dance mom and one more thing Doctor Jayden Bradshaw when I call you better answer. And since you don’t know my number you better answer all calls because I don’t leave messages.” She walked up to Ms. Azealia gave her a hug and kiss then tried to take Mike Mike’s basketball. As she flipped her dark chocolate hair smiling at Jayden switching her ass as she walked away because she knew he was looking.


Lowell sat at his desk taking off his glasses watching Braden stepping down but it was Tamara who stole the show. He chuckled at the baby who seemed to not care that her parents were facing their darkest day. He folded his arms as he looked at the screen on the computer. There were pros and cons that came with both Chauncey and Jackson. Chauncey had the experience since a teenager he’d been by his side at DGI but Jackson was on a rise that reminded him of his own. He needed Walter in the beginning but it was his mind and intellectual superiority that lead DGI to the top. Picking up the red wine his hand began to shake feverishly and he hated it. He gulped down the liquor and leaned back unsure of what to do. When he heard a knock at the door he felt ashamed because his hand wouldn’t stop shaking. “Damnit!” Lowell said knowing that life was slipping out of his body. When he saw Simon walk into the room he lowered his head. “I’m dying Simon and if I had my way I’d shoot my damn self but my hand won’t even stop shaking so I can’t even pick up a damn gun.” He looked at his old friend’s son.

“I need to know if my will is still under your control. Simon I need you to understand that nobody can ever know you have that. I’m trusting you more than anyone else. You see my wife is going to try to take everything from my children and Jackie. I can’t have that selfish bitch get a penny. I want to destroy Tess and I need your help. This isn’t a short game of us hurting a company. Simon Tess is vile. She literally planted memories in a fucking mentally challenged woman head. I will be handing over the CEO seat at the energy summit. Please tell Talia to announce that and get her to put it in the LeClerq’s paper. Make sure everyone is at that party. I know who the CEO is.”

Simon felt like he had been working non stop at DGI for the last six months while Ivan was on tour, that meant a lot of texting and phone calls and worry for him. He knew that Ivan was still too scared to come out to the world but he was tired of the games with it all, it felt like he was right back in the closet that he was never in to begin with hiding his life. Hell Pride month was coming up and the parade and he couldn’t even go out and be a part of his community because it would be cheating on the man he was with who was still in the closet. Instead of that he had focused in at DGI over the last few months making sure that no one knew about Dimitri that didn’t need to know about it, making sure to keep track of who was and wasn’t on the property of the lake Dimitri’s body floating to the damn surface thanks to a fucking fisherman was a simple slight in the plans. After Jackie’s run in with Jon at the wedding he knew that he would have to feed off the police department now too which was fine, throw them a bone every now and then. Make sure they were an arms length away he had showed up to DGI’s office that morning went over some paperwork and noted his meeting with Lowell. He had nearly jumped when the glass had hit the door and watched as the man who was once so strong was quickly failing in front of him.

“A gun would be an awful bloody way to go out. Surely you can think of a more dignified way if you are that desperate.” Simon said the image of Dimitri’s body flashed into his mind and he pushed it back to the back of his mind. He supposed there were better ways that one could go out other than a bullet in Lowell’s case medicated suicide could be an option and he nodded his head at the will. He found it quite interesting that he trust him the most with the will not Jackie or even one of his children and sure as hell not Tess Blisston, meaning he respected Lowell’s position on it. How long had he cleaned up messes, he still shuddered to think of discovering Catherine’s body at a party dead in the pool from an overdose and making it all go away, paying off her family to leave town no charges against Jackson for the drugs and Max for throwing the party. Claiming it was himself high at the time who had accidentally pushed Catherine into the pool where she had hit her head, in truth the girl would barely stand and fell over. It was a story he had told so many times he actually believed it now, so when her parents looked at him with disgust and contempt it felt real. “Noted you want Talia to announce that you are announcing the new CEO of the company should she attach a name to that release yet? As for Tess of course she’s a vile bitch, you doing this to her I think evens out that shit she did last year if you want my opinion. Your will is safe.” He said walking to Lowell and pouring himself and Lowell another glass of wine as he took a sip. “It’s what I’m good at isn’t it keeping family secrets?”

“I never thanked you for that. It seems I have to say this more often than I’d like but thank-you Simon. I don’t know all the secrets but Simon I appreciate you and your family will be handsomely rewarded for your loyalty. As for suicide I don’t have the balls for it. I want to see how it ends but damnit it’s hard to live like this.” He took a sip of his wine because even though it was early he felt the need to tell him. “I want a clause in my will for my grand-children to give them a piece of DGI also and so on. Any living descendant of mine will get a piece of our company. Or a place in the legacy of the company is that clear? Amend it and I’ll sign it. You have kept our secrets for a long time Simon. I want you to listen to me breathe when this is over and leave. Leave for a while and enjoy the world have you been to Europe? Handsome men over there, I never gave a damn about sexuality. I hate you and Mason didn’t work out but Simon you are every bit as powerful as I am. If not more. I get my strength from my soldiers and honestly even you need to recharge. Simon I need you to go when this is over and when you come back protect DGI and my boys. Jackson and Chauncey will be the last two standing working for DGI. Bliss will want to eventually raise Fox full-time and if she has anymore children I truly think my daughter will become less and less interested in working and more in her home. Now that might sound sexist but I think she is old school, that’s what she wants.”

“Max will do something different also. I think she will stay at DGI somewhat but her goals won’t be just DGI either. I see her as a caged pitbull and if she’s anything like me she’ll take on something new and fresh. Belle I don’t know what she will do but when she does it it’ll be great. She is bright and ferociously hungry to prove herself as a Devonshire and on her own. Rory is already beginning to break free but my boys Chauncey and Jackson the two I messed up most with. I need you to make sure they get the most and both have a hand at DGI future. I want Tess to have nothing and I will do everything to ensure she is given my name in name only. She wanted Lowell Devonshire she’ll get him but not the rich billionaire. She’ll get my name and my dead corpse.Nothing more she deserves everything she shall receive.” Reaching over he gripped Simon’s hand. “My boy homosexuality makes you no less of a prize and I suggest you remember your worth. You are worthy to be shown off and I assure you it’s millions of men who would want to be with Simon Rutherford, rap star or not.” Lowell said looking at Simon’s shocked expression then came the knowing smirk. “I’m Lowell Devonshire, my boy I know everything.”

Simon was glad to hear that he wouldn’t take the easy way out suicide seemed so easy and honestly he was so shocked that Tony had killed himself, he of course had sent flowers to Mason. They weren’t together now or anything like that but he did care for Mason as a friend and to lose his father like he had, had to have been the most crushing feeling. His parents had always been loving and supportive so henever had the fear that Mason did growing up with Tony. “I’ll have the will amended to include any living grandchildren if that is what you want. Leave Lowell and leave all my family and friends behind, I’m not sure I could if I was honest with you about it. I’ve traveled a bit in Europe before for work of course and there was that summer me, Hunter, Mason and Jackson spent in France but Atlas Falls is home. Besides who would sweep up all those dark secrets into closets and bury those bodies that need to stay buried in my stead?” Simon asked as he took a sip of his wine mulling over Lowell’s he assured last wishes for him and he couldn’t help but feel somber about it he looked up to Lowell like a second father. He’d never thought about an opportunity over seas he had always envisioned that he would stay at DGI and in Atlas Falls. “Perhaps if the correct opportunity arose for me to relocate to another DGI office I would take you up on that offer. As for the company, Lowell I think you are right in your thinking both Jackson and Chauncey want CEO. Bliss not so much, Max I’ll have to keep an close eye on we wouldn’t want repeats with her.”

He smiled at that Max was flighty and could gamble with the company and her heart at the same time so often that it was hard to reign her in, besides if he was a betting man he’d actually expect her to branch out like Rory did. That was not ever a bad thing in his mind DGI embracing the millennium with a family hold with some members while others doing other things. “I think if she keeps away from Philip Montogmery in the long run Max will be just fine and who knows maybe motherhood will change her too. I think she has found her Dani in Sebastian too bad I didn’t push you to arrange that one too.” Simon said with a slight twinkle in his eye Sebastian fit into the family perfectly as Max’s suitor much more than Hunter ever did in many ways. He paused swirling the glass in his hands as he remembered how well that went. His back stiffened with the mention of Tess venomous bitch was going to try everything she could to get DGI he knew that and well it was up to him to make sure it never came to fruition. “Let Belle discover who she is she wants DGI it can be arranged to have her be on the board. As for Rory I think you were wise to release him from it and let him and Jamal start over. The matter of Tess Lowell, she’s going to try to contest whatever I present as your final will and testament that is why I’ve reached out to Julian on the matter to make sure that it’s iron clad.” Simon said seeing Lowell’s face at the mention of Julian. “Jackie is still mourning your marriage she is not with Julian truthfully I don’t know if she will ever move on. I suppose that is why you want to mention Ivan? I’m aware he would be happy for me to move on Lowell. Not everyone has an epic love story for the ages.”

“Epic love stories is what we all want Simon. Don’t delude yourself into believing otherwise.” Lowell quipped back at him. “I know Belle, Max, and Bliss will find their way but I would like to add a dark horse in the race. I want someone who can play the equalling force between the boys. If you aren’t there then that equalizer will clean up any messes and will be Zerick Davis. I want Zerick to be given a position of active company director as long as he’s willing to have and only be given to someone by Zerick. I want him to be apart of my will because I screwed up and I need them to know it. I kept silent about a lot and I need you to record something. Listen I don’t keep mentioning you leaving for nothing. Simon you’ll be the only one with my video will. Listen to me please keep it safe. I want them to see me at least like this with some dignity left. Thank-you because my kids will need to hear I forgive them and love them. I am sorry and I should have done better. My boy find love that you want to scream about. I wish I knew what I knew now about love. Jackie was and is the love of my life.” He didn’t know why he felt nostalgic today but the memories were there and floating to the surface.

“I can remember when I forgot that she was the most important thing. It was when my work became more important to me than her. I will never forgive myself for missing the late nights and early mornings with my children not enjoying life. Don’t be like me Simon live because I promise you life and the future waits for no one.” He raised his glass. “My boy, you are being released take it. When I’m done you’ll be just as rich as my children and you can do whatever you want. I don’t expect to see you being with a closeted hip-hop star. I want the world to see that you Simon Rutherford are one of my students and gay or not you will set this world ablaze. You are going to be unstoppable because you mastered how to take on the world. You are free and I will name my successor in private so you won’t even know. My boy live your life, understand me? If I never told you Simon you are a son to me and I’m sorry that it took this long for me to see you are just as important to me as if I’ve had you myself. Cheers.” Raising his glass Lowell wiped his eyes. “I love you and thank-you for loving my son. I know it’s hard to love Jackson but you, Hunter, Mason, and to an extent Thor all protected Jackson in his down and out years. That will never be forgotten. Understand me? Never and I will never not repay that debt.”

Simon listened to Lowell talk about the plans for the future of DGI and a strong sense of sadness came over him wondering it Lowell would have the same conversations with his children. It almost made it feel final in a way, that the great Lowell Deovnshire was really going to die he wasn’t stupid medicine couldn’t cure the man in front of him but he wished it could. He looked over at Lowell and nodded his head he could make sure that Zerick was there as a tie breaker but he wondered if Zerick would actually stay who knew maybe he would actually surprise everyone and play nice with his cousins. “I think you should enjoy your last final months too Lowell and now with that.” Simon said his voice wavering off as the door opened and he stared at Tess looking between them and he quickly switched modes. Lowell had been very clear that Tess wasn’t to be made aware of his last will and testament. He knew why but the bitch didn’t need to know the real reason. “I’ll take your advice Lowell as always it’s been more than valuable over the years. I really do need to get back to the country club to help Jackie. Ms. Blisston.” Simon said looking at Tess rage at him he couldn’t help the smirk that came out ever since Chauncey had called her that at the wedding all of them had followed suit reminding her what her real place was in DGI and the family.

Tess eyed Simon always so close to Lowell’s chest even when he was dying. She wondered what Simon and Lowell were just chatting about. “Tell the ex-Ms. Devonshire I said hello.” Tess said nastily as she walked over to Lowell massaging his shoulders. She watched Simon leaving as she looked down at her husband. What were you up to Lowell, Tess thought to herself.


Randall looked at all his notes as his fingers typed into the email to his editors they wanted a six month timeline on his new book hell they were already asking for a title. The Lost Fraiser Princess sounded pompous for Lauren’s daughter. Little Girl Lost sounded like a horror movie or a straight rip off from Gone Girl. Missing Victoria: Finding Victory in Loss was what he had decided on he of course would present his theory on the why’s about the case but he wanted a human piece as well showing how the family changed and moved on from that terrible night. He had started the process of research first going to the local city archives and finding every news article he could about the accident, honestly looking at the pictures from the paper of Victoria’s funeral had sent a chill down his spine at how broken Lauren looked, hell how broken Walter looked. It was enough to send chills down his spine he looked down the page the photo of Braden holding his sisters hand, somber members of Atlas Falls society behind them, hell even the Devonshire’s were in the back. He spotted even a somber looking Forbes and Audrey in the pictures in the crowd he put the article down as he checked his messages on his laptop. He was going to get unrestricted access to the case files from the police department and he wondered if he was doing the right thing.

Lauren still didn’t know and for the last few months he hadn’t even touched the book especially after Aspen’s miscarriage. He was devastated by and so were Aspen and Rory but he also knew it was a blessing in disguise neither one were ready for a baby in their lives. He and Lauren had just gotten back from a week in Tahoe that was enjoyable but not real life was catching up to him he needed to start work on the book, or he would miss his publishing deadline. His teaching salary was good but it had never paid for his wages or living expense it was his fiction novels that did that and Blythe’s salary at DGI. Now that they were divorced he needed his writing career to be successful so writing this book was a part of that contract requirement. He was still debating on how he was going to bring any of this up to her or if he even was, that was the truth. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Lauren, her family and their relationship when the doorbell rang he got up from the table to answer it. “Blythe are you alright is everything okay with Aspen? I told her of course she could call me if she needed but I haven’t heard from her in a few days.”

Blythe had heard that Randall was writing another book and her friends at Schuyler Publishing had informed her what it was about. Even though her ex-husband and she couldn’t make it, she still cared about him a lot. So hearing that he was digging up the Fraiser’s biggest pain wasn’t easy. She didn’t want him to screw up his relationship and recently Aspen had taken to Lauren deeply. After that guttersnipe ripped her daughter’s chance of having a Devonshire baby. She didn’t think Aspen was ready but seeing the grief on her child’s face. That ate her up and she’d always been harder on Aspen than Randall but right now she needed him. Her daughter hadn’t reached out after many calls. Taking off her jacket she looked around her house and touched a picture of Aspen. As she gasped no longer able to handle it. Tears started to form as she immediately began to cry. Randall got the house in the divorce and she missed the house they built but she was also loving her new freedom as a woman.

“She won’t talk to me.” Blythe looked at Randall and gripped his hand. They weren’t that friendly during the divorce but after Aspen miscarriage he’d actually become a friend. “I know she’s so close to you Randall but I need you to talk to her. I need you to tell her I’m no longer wanting to punish her. If anything I’m proud of her returning back to school at AFU and her degree in business. I know she thought I was hard on her last year but she’s shutting me out and I don’t want to lose my daughter. I know I can be a bitch but this is extreme Randall she won’t answer. I went over to her and Rory’s and she was upstairs I felt it. My little girl didn’t want to see me and I am hearing things about you.” She paused as she looked at him. “Are you sure about this book Randall. You’ll be digging up a lot and I know Lauren has been plenty of help with our girl. I don’t want her to lose that because of this book. Randall just write another novel. God knows Atlas Falls is full of secrets but Victoria? That could really bring up dark times for your relationship and that family.”

Randall had been a bit taken aback when she started to cry looking at the house of course he had moved on in the divorce but her presence was still very much a part of the home. Aspen’s pictures lined the walls and in his office on his desk a photo of her there too. He wasn’t sure how to make Aspen reach out to him or Blythe after her miscarriage it was such a private thing for her to go through and he had just assumed that Rory was helping her through it. “I had assumed that Rory was helping her and they were taking the advice that Ophelia had offered about counseling. She of course has been reserved to even open up to me Blythe but I haven’t heard from her in a few weeks. You know how hard what they went through together was, how hard it was for her and I had hoped that she would reach out to you as well. I encouraged her to Blythe the last time I spoke I told her that she should really talk to you about what she was feeling and how what happened was affecting her.” Randall said looking at his ex and then at hsi master board of clues on his desk the reminder of the dark that was surrounding his latest book.

“I didn’t quite think that this is what the true crime part of the publishers would want me to look into. Honestly I would have preferred maybe looking into how DGI came to such an abrupt ending all those years ago with Walter and Lowell. Hell Lowell is dying they could have asked me to write a tell all about him but I guess the dead little girl sales more.” Randall said quietly still not sure if this was what he really wanted to do or not, he didn’t really see a choice he was bound by his contract. Lauren was an impeccable mother to her own children and even a better grandmother and she had taken Aspen under her wing as well so he didn’t want that to come back and reflective negatively on her or all. “It wasn’t my choice Blythe I’m just bound by the contract with the publishing company. I would never do something to jeopardize our daughter Blythe which is why I haven’t told Lauren about the book yet. Not until I know what is or isn’t true about the case for all we all know Victoria died in the lake and floated down the channel and out to sea. But they want a good story so that’s what I am going to give them my objective view at a good story.”

Blythe looked at him and her eyes narrowed. Randall had always been thick headed when it came to matters of the heart. This however was different because she was absolutely sure that this wouldn’t be good for him and Lauren. She couldn’t imagine if someone went looking into Audrey’s suicide. She didn’t want her sisters secrets to be revealed and she refused to let them. People could gossip about Audrey and Lowell’s affair but there was no proof. This was literally bringing Lauren and Walter’s greatest tragedy back to life. As she nodded she looked at him. “Listen tell Lauren because I don’t want our daughter to lose a mother figure.” She touched her chest as she exhaled looking down. “I really screwed up with Aspen. I thought being harder on her was the best but I hate how she is closing me out. I want to help her.” Whispering as she sat down at the dinner table.

“Have you spoken to Forbes? I mean he knows all about that night. He doesn’t speak on it but you need him.” She said softly tapping her fingers on the kitchen table. “Just be careful because we don’t know everything that happened on that night.” She saw him bringing her coffee. “My daughter is hurting and I can’t help her but Lauren seems to have a connection. I just don’t want it to end. She has to talk to someone and if it’s Lauren I’m not jealous. I’m just happy she has someone who cares about her to talk to her.” She commented looking up at him. “Forbes is actually haunted by that night he changed also.”

Randall listened to her advice about wanting to tell Lauren about what was going on but he wanted facts first before he told her or sprung it on it her. He would in his own time tell her that it wasn’t his idea to write the book his publisher had insisted. He had no choice in the matter but he did care about Lauren and the family that they had sort of bonded and created. Not that he didn’t have a family with Blythe and Aspen he did, but Lauren’s family had been so welcoming her children accepting that it was a nice feeling to belong. He placed the coffee down for Blythe not even realizing he had been making it, old habits for sure died hard even almost a year after their divorce was final.  “I will tell her Blythe it just needs to be on my own time and when I am ready to, hopefully she will understand and no I haven’t spoken to Forbes yet.” He said quietly honestly not sure he was looking forward to that.

He still remembered the first time that he had met Forbes Montgomery he and Blythe had been together for a few years it was right before he proposed. He found his future brother in law dangerous and Audrey was like a bright beam of light that people flocked too, an opera star married to a man with shady under dealings. They were the talk of the town next to Lowell and Jackie Devonshire and when Blythe was hired at DGI he remembered Forbes almost losing his shit, for all that though he owed Forbes. Forbes and Audrey had secured the adoption for him and Blythe found Aspen for them and he was eternally grateful for that. “I know he doesn’t like to talk about that night but it was nice for Atlas Falls to see him as a human you know how we know him. As the uncle that adores Aspen and the man that thinks the world of you as Audrey’s sister. He’s not evil Blythe and maybe this book will bring that out more.” He smiled at her for a moment and then had an idea. “Perhaps I should invite Aspen and Rory over for dinner sometime next week you come too. Give us a way to check up on her and him. I know she misses you too Blythe even if she doesn’t admit it.”

Reaching out she touched his hand as she smiled at Randall nodding her head. “Losing our grandchild and seeing our daughter so distraught and devastated did something to me. I was always hard on her. Trying to make me again, but then recently I have been listening to my sister’s music. Oh she was such a force of nature and she seemed so alive when she performed Randall. I think I’ve stifled our daughter into a mold that she didn’t want to be in. I should have let her be the star she was instead of forcing her to Harvard and trying to get her in those elite schools. I did everything wrong with her. I have such a good relationship with Cassie because I was there for her when Audrey killed herself.” She said killed herself in a soft quiet tone. It was as if it was hard to believe still to this day her big sister committed suicide.

“I would appreciate that. I want to fix the anger she has at me. I want her to know that she has her mommy and I know you are such a good father to her. You have loved our daughter so much and I think you were right. We should have told Aspen she was adopted a long time ago. She should know that fact and I’m sorry I fought you on it. I was scared that she wouldn’t be my little girl anymore but now she isn’t. She’s gone and I don’t know how get through to her Randall. I have to get through to my baby because she doesn’t know. She’s not the only one who miscarried a child. We had three boys that never made it and I want nothing more than for her to know that she’s not alone. So many women have been there.” Blythe knew that he would understand why she wanted to talk to Aspen now. “I should be leaving because um your girlfriend will be here soon. Thank-you for letting me cry, you know I don’t like emotions.”

Randall let her cry on his shoulder in their old house in their kitchen so she could let her emotions about all of it out, Blythe knew what Aspen was going through. He knew what Rory was going through all too well, and it was a somber reminder for him of how Forbes had showed up and saved their marriage. They were at an impasse about the miscarriages, their ability to not have children and he had doubted himself as a man due to it. Blythe was blaming herself and working till the bone at DGI he even suspected that she was having an affair but Forbes and Audrey had swooped in telling them it would be alright. A few days later Forbes and his attorney had showed them a precious picture of a little girl who had been abandoned by her teenage mother and put up for adoption, they fell in love with her upon first sight and met her later that afternoon. He would always be grateful to Forbes for that even if he didn’t agree with Forbes’s personal business nor how he raised his nieces and nephews. He valued that Blythe and he had relationships with Cassie and Philip, and he loved that Aspen had an uncle that always adored her.

“I think that you should go as well not that you’re ever not welcomed here but like you said I don’t want Lauren to get the wrong idea. Who knew that when we signed the papers it would be like this seeing how we were so bitter and fighting over every little thing in the divorice.” Randall said as he looked at her finishing her cup of coffee as he took the cup and rinsed it off in the sink. He was glad they were in this place now after everything the year before that they could be civil hell even friendly and a part of him would always love and care about her after all they had Aspen together but he was happier than he had been in a long time. Lauren made him truly happy and he was glad that they decided to give their relationship a go. ‘I don’t regret a minute of our life together with Aspen but Blythe I want you to find the happiness I have with Lauren. Let us go finally, go out there and start dating. I know that Aspen sees that in you that you still long for us to magically fix what was broken, maybe if she sees that she can open up again to you, you know?” Randall finished looking at his watch as he shut the doors to his office to hide the book stuff from Lauren before their date.

“Just because you two don’t know whom I’m seeing that doesn’t mean I’m not seeing anyone. So Randall you aren’t the only one who is comforted right now.” Not that Randall or Aspen would like who she laid it in the bed with. As she looked at her ex-husband and felt a sense of happiness. I’m glad we are friends now again.  I hated when we weren’t talking Randall. Please figure out what you need to know about that book. Then bury it if it means your relationship is going to fail.” She touched Randall’s face and smiled. “We were happy once and I’m so happy you seem to have that again. Goodnight, Randall.” Blythe walked out of the door and saw Lauren pulling up. Holding her hand up she waved at Lauren as she walked to her car with a smile on her face because Randall and she would help Aspen through this.


Tamara legs were open wide as she saw Ophelia, Kelsey, and a slew of nurses. Her doula Mecca was squeezing her hand and they had trained for this. To be able to give birth without pain pills. Aspirin was the strongest thing she used. As she felt the baby pushing this little girl was ready to see the world. She gripped the rail as she felt another wave of dull pain washing over her. Her lower back and abdomen felt like it was on fire as she began to scream out. She shook her head at Kelsey and Ophelia as she began to cry. She could see Dylan on the outside of the room looking petrified. “I can’t do it to my daughter. Please, please, please listen to me I don’t want drugs. I can do this.” She screamed out in pain as Kelsey encouraged a strong push. Tamara turned her head and cried out in bed. Unsure if she could do it. She heard her doula Mecca whispering in her ear as she started to breathe again. Taking deep breaths and then small quick ones to help distract her mind from the baby girl who seemed so anxious to get into the world.

She saw Kelsey and Ophelia talking and she knew what they were saying. “I said fucking no! No meds! I beg you as a recovering addict please. Please I know I’m in pain but women did this before epidurals and pain meds. I can do this and I can bring her into the world without medication being in her system. I can do this for her and for Dylan. I have to be stronger than all of the pain! Ophelia please listen to me. I’ve trained for this moment and I didn’t have it when Braden and I were having Dylan. We were young and stupid and I’m older and I know myself now. I know that I don’t like drugs anymore. I love my family more than my addiction so I’m begging you please don’t. This is what I need to do okay? I need to face this head on and have this baby.” She started to feel another contraction beginning. “I was so afraid when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t understand why God would have me get assaulted and then find out something so beautiful. I know now it was for this moment right here to face all my demons and come out stronger please no drugs.” She knew it wouldn’t be long before her daughter met the family because they were coming back to back.  “Let’s do this okay?” She looked at Braden who had a worried expression on his face. Not only that but she saw Lauren and Walter now peaking in the small to see their latest additions. “Ahhhhhhh!” She screamed out as she began to feel the next contraction roaring through her.

Ophelia had been concerned since Tamara was brought in, her face twisted in pain and had been shocked when she had refused pain medication. She had never actually lost a child in utero in her watch and she wasn’t about ready to damn start today but little baby girl Fraiser was making that absolutely difficult today. She understood Tamara’s fears about the drugs and relapsing and she had advised both her and Braden that an epidural would be best only for Tamara to refuse. Braden had been skeptical but had obeyed her wishes, her team up until now had done their absolute best to wave off the pain, the baby was now breech though and she feared if she didn’t get something into Tamara to help that it would result in an emergency c-section that wasn’t in the plans for her delivery. She had pulled Kelsey aside to discuss the matter. “Her blood pressure is very high at the moment, the baby is face down and breech. We can try turning her in utero but I’m afraid if I do that will send Tamara over the edge pain wise. The time for an epidural has passed she’s over seven centimeters at a ten. I could start a morphine drip.” Ophelia said and she heard Tamara scream out to them no again the woman was stubborn as a rock and she knew that she had to follow her oath as a doctor first and foremost which meant respecting patient wishes. “Your baby is face down and breech I really wish you would let me give you something to take the edge off, Braden convince her it’s not going to harm your daughter.”

Braden had remembered the first time that he had been here with Dylan and Tamara she had the epidural that time, she was also still coming out of using and the drugs did probably cause her to relapse. So this time was already different and he had been there for the entire thing, Tamara had been a champ through the entire process hell he’d even say the doula knew what she was doing. But watching her in so much pain right now and refusing to take anything made him uncomfortable for her and their daughter there was stubbornness and then there was irrational fear. He felt like this was the later but he also felt that it wasn’t is place to take this moment away from her the moment that Ophelia made things even more real and scary for them he was torn. He fet Tamara squeeze his hand telling him no over and over again as he looked at Ophelia’s pleading face. Dylan’s birth had been so fast and calm no complications, hell his niece and nephew were the same so he had just assumed that everything was going to be the same with their little girl. He wasn’t lost on the irony that only their daughter would of course be stubborn and pick the worst way to come into the world.

“Tamara listen to her please.” Braden said his voice barely above a whisper and he felt her crush his hand and she looked pissed at him he knew there was no bargaining with her right not. She looked like he was pissed off at the suggestion and was reminded that he had promised her they could do this her way this time given everything she had been through with Dimitri. Did she think if she had drugs that he would think less of her? Or that it would ruin the birth or that she wasn’t a woman or that Dimitri would win? He didn’t pretend to understand her logic when it came to a birth plan with no drug but what kind of a man would he be if he didn’t obey her wishes and just overrode her? That wasn’t how he wanted to have their relationship play out this time he wanted a really strong start to their new life after everything that they had been though, she had been through. “Kelsey I love you as my cousin and Ophelia we are grateful for everything that you have done but we agreed that no drugs. It’s what she wants.” Braden said looking at Tamara flash him a small painful smile and he watched as Ophelia looked at him with concern and he reiterated his point. “No drugs that’s final.” He finished.

Ophelia looked at them both as she checked the stats again, again it was the same conclusion she had to reach in and try to flip the baby which could be painful. The baby had been fine last week at the regular appointment but had flipped herself breech sometime during the week which wasn’t abnormal. Getting her gloves on she looked at both of them. “I need to reach in and help guide her out. Your blood pressure is extremely high we can’t wait any longer.” Ophelia said as she watched Braden’s concerned face and Tamara’s before they both nodded and she reached inside grabbing the baby to start to assist it out hearing Tamara’s screams ringing in her ears. It felt like minutes when it was really seconds before the baby slid out just as planned, she cleaned the airway and a healthy cry came out as she handed the baby girl to the nurses to make sure she checked out okay. No cord wrapped in places it shouldn’t be and she let out a breath before checking in with Tamara who she was worried had passed out from the pain. “Tamara talk to me.” Ophelia pleaded hearing the baby cry and let out another relieved sigh when the head nurse gave her a thumbs up, baby was okay.

Tamara laid there exhausted as she looked at the baby and smiled she began to cry because for the last nine months it was hell. It was hell in the beginning when she was raped, it was hell when she shot Dimitri and became an accomplice in his death, and hell right at the end now with his disgusting corpse being resurfaced. But God it was all worth it because hearing her small cry and then a loud roar Tamara laughed through her tears. It was a blessing to have her daughter she looked at Dylan who waved at her and his little sister. She laughed at him looking at all protective over her and the baby. She wiped her eyes as she saw Mimi outside with a bag full of baby goodies and nodded for Lauren to come into the room. She was in all the gear and she smiled as she looked at her mother-in-law. “It’s okay let Braden hold her first I need a second please.” She watched her fiance pick up their daughter and she began to cry again. She was worth ever fucking day in hell and what she just did was amazing. She felt powerful again like she reclaimed her power from Dimitri and the drugs that once kept her shackled down.

“Braden and I were thinking of a name Lauren.” She began to cry as Mimi her sister walked in and began to kiss her she hugged her sister tightly and her baby boy Dylan walked into the room with tears in his eyes. “We were thinking of our grandmothers names and I think Deliah June would be a beautiful name. We also were thinking about Jolene Jacqueline who they nicknamed JJ well we can call her DJ and I think they will be really close as cousins. I’m so sorry Dylan you were stuck with us stuffy adults.” She laughed as she wiped her eyes. “Braden you can let your mother and Dylan hold her.” Once again passing her off because she didn’t want her bad luck to pass off on her baby girl. Dimitri was haunting them and she didn’t want him to be on her baby. She was scared with what Jon and everyone would find. “She’s beautiful isn’t she Lauren?”

Lauren had tears flushing her face as she looked down at this beautiful perfect little baby girl. She reminded her of Dylan so much the rosey cheeks and head full of dark hair except Delilah’s hair was reddish brown instead of the red tint of Dylan. Looking at her son he was in love and the feeling of protective Fraiser men had been cursed to another girl. Poor little baby didn’t know she had a insane father and even crazier big brother who would be President or something amazing to scare away all the little boys.She looked like Braden and saw her legacy living on as she felt Walter’s hand on her shoulder. “Although we aren’t together young lady still expect us to spoil you rotten.”  She just held her close to her heartbeat letting her know this was one of her many homes in her arms. But something startled her, she heard Tamara saying Dylan could hold her. “Oh she is just as perfect as Dylan was I don’t know about now though now my love.” Lauren teased as she snuggled little Delilah June. “But I think she’s just aching for her mother.” Lauren walked over to Tamara and passed her Delilah June.

Tamara began to wept as she held her daughter for the first time. She looked at her family and looked off in the distance of the beautiful outside window, unable to truly enjoy the moment. It was like he was still here haunting them and this time it was a threat to her freedom. Greer had made it so the media thought she killed Dimitri. Proof or not the court of public opinion mattered and if she was chosen to be a killer. “I got my family.” She said softly to Delilah June.


It didn’t take much to make her happy. Having David’s credit card more than made up for him not coming along with her as her date. How dare he continue to treat her like a second best when she was first. She still hadn’t spoken to her mummy since she slapped her at Chauncey wedding a couple of days ago. Her father and she were so close it was strange. She knew he was dying and she knew that he wasn’t going to be here much longer. That fact was so painful so instead of thinking of her father dying and leaving her alone with the psycho that was mummy. She stopped back Max and gave her this platinum and gold rattle to be engraved with the baby’s name upon birth. She looked quite shocked but call it her weakness she liked the Devonshire kids. Maddie was going to work for her when she turned eighteen. Belle had been thinking long and hard and she had an idea on what she wanted to do. When whomever became CEO she was going to go to them. Wearing a simple DVF baby pink slip dress, a blue jeans denim Balenciaga oversized jacket, and white Yeezy gym shoes. she was accessorized with golden bangles, four golden chains, multiple gold rings on multiple fingers and finished her look with sparkling diamond and gold hoops.

Belle walked into Dante’s Boutique and immediately was taken back by the designs, the fresh looks and smiled. Adjusting her Birkin bag on her shoulder and smiled as heard Childish Gambino’s ‘Redbone’ playing in the boutique. She cringed at Brooke portraits at least she had good taste in music. Picking up a garish sweater she quickly put it down. As she saw a clerk absolutely flustered that she was in the store. She loved it. Rory told her basically one day while at an accidental dinner they had the algorithm of RePlay and she was gaining quite a little following. As she flipped her long blonde hair she turned to see Jamal arrive with a bouquet of flowers in his hands. She had to laugh as she noticed him looking around for Val. She picked up a cute jersey sweater dress. “I have to ask you, are those for Val? Tsk tsk darling I think that clapped bitch deserves to be kicked to the curb for what she did.” Belle noticed the clerk gagging at what she said casually. “What her clothes are stunning and I’m a wavey girl.”

Jamal had been neglecting Val after the funeral. He really had been into this new artist Jahima, a singer and rapper he discovered outside of Chicago. Music was pumping through him and he was doing some next level things. Plus he couldn’t wait for Ivan to get off tour. The music he was producing was next level. What was amazing was that IMoney was nominated for a Billboard Award and that meant the industry was taking notice. He was going harder and he wasn’t going to be able to devote all his time to Val. Jamal  did know he had to show her he appreciated her. He was coming to get her for this reading of his father’s will. He really didn’t care who got what. When he saw Belle he licked his lips. He didn’t want to see Rory’s little sister like a snack but damn she was fine. She had that Brit style shit on lock and her attitude made her even more sexy. She seemed proverbially pissed at all points. It was that stuck up Europe shit.

When she talked about Val his nose flared. What in the fuck did that mean? Why in the world would he kick Val to the curb? What did she do? Jamal felt confused and didn’t know what to think but he had a few questions. “Wassup Belle, how are you doing? That’s how us commoners greet each other. Why can’t let all that bs go Belle? Whatever your beef with Brooke and Val is, that is what I mean by bullshit. You know that’s why nobody messes with your cute ass, you’re messy.”Jamal teased laughing while holding the flowers. “Maybe we’ll give you your roses when you stop being so dramatic. But in turn I have to ask what Devonshire isn’t drama. So you fit right in but they are prickly as hell so play your part they’ll welcome you. They did with Bliss.” Jamal paused and Belle’s superior tone earlier echoed in his ears. He knew sounds and she knew something. “I’ll bite Belle, what did Val do?”

Belle picked up a pair of leggings and jeans that were cute. She was moving onto the shoes and bags. Val’s boutique was actually cute. Listening to Jamal’s speech about how she must stop her shit with the soon to be princess Brooke and Val. She rolled her eyes and knew that he didn’t understand one bit. Matter of fact she was sure at that very moment Jamal had no idea that Val aborted his child. She listened to Jamal’s jokes and knew he must be insane about not caring about his father’s will reading. When her father died and his will was read it would mean everything to her father. “Well I didn’t ask you for your advice, especially because you have no idea what type of girl you are dealing with. Since you seem to want to give me advice about my family, how about I help you about another family member you lost. Val isn’t innocent she aborted your baby. I heard her telling Kelsey Fraiser that at Dani and Jackson’s wedding. So don’t lecture me about your girlfriend’s bullshit. But I appreciate you calling me cute, I’m far more sexy in my opinion.”

Jamal dropped the flowers on the floor. He looked at Belle who was so matter of fact he knew she was telling the truth. He felt her slipping away around that time. When he turned around he heard someone calling Carmen’s name. Turning around he saw Val and charged at her grabbing her by her shoulders. “Tell me she is lying! Tell me that she’s motherfucking lying Val. You aborted me baby? You fucking aborted my child?”

Val had been talking with some of her investors and actually planning a show in Paris she wanted Brooke front and center afterall she wasn’t sure how much longer Brooke would be able to model given everything with Atticus. Not to mention her dress was going to be even more stunning and grand than her first wedding dress that Dani Devonshire worn. She had heard the door open and peeked her head out to see Belle walk in and almost rolled her eyes at the girl, such an insufferable brat before minding her own business and going back to stock checks. When the door opened the second time and she peeked out she saw Jamal with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, flowers that she really didn’t deserve and guilt ate at her. She hadn’t been sleeping well the last few night ever since Tony’s funeral what Kelsey said to her weighing on her. Regardless she was Catholic and an unwed bi Catholic at that, no way in hell was she ready for a baby nor was her family and truthfully neither was Jamal. She had turned the corner to go out and greet her boyfriend when she heard Belle expose her dirty laundry right there in her store, clients all around, people whipping out their phones to record it as Jamal stalked over to her and grabbed her shoulders.

“I….I…can we please talk about this in private.” Val said her voice barely above a whisper as she glared at Belle who had the smuggest look of satisfaction on her face. She was such a shit fucking stirrer no wonder Brooke hated her ass and how in the hell had she overheard shit at the wedding, did she creep in dark corners to be a nosy British bitch. “This really isn’t the place Jamal please, I can explain…I swear I can explain.” She didn’t deny it even when she opened her mouth to lie to him face to face she couldn’t lie when he flat out asked her for the truth. Her hand was shaking as she covered her mouth shaking her head knowing her actions were giving her away. She swore Jamal was looking at her like he hated her and he had every right to do but it didn’t make it sting any less and flashes of going to the clinic entered her head. “We weren’t ready okay. I wasn’t ready.” Val said her voice cracking while she looked at him not sure what else there was to say as people gasped and recorded their encounter.

Belle walked up to the cashier and snapped her fingers from the exchange. “Ring me up.” She said looking at Val. Whipping out her credit card she smirked as the woman rang her up and looked at her shocked at what she had done. “See you two later.” She picked up her bags. “Oh Val, I won’t be coming back. I did all I was supposed to do today.” With a sense of satisfaction on her face Belle sauntered out. “Good luck you two.”

Jamal looked at Belle and wasn’t sure if he was pissed at her either because she kept this secret since the wedding. He did know that this would have never come out if it wasn’t for Belle. So in a way he was grateful for her he saw her exit and he rolled his eyes. She was such a shit starter and now she was leaving not even seeing the chaos she created. Gripping Val’s shoulders he let her go. “Nah we aren’t doing this in private. You clearly have been talking to Kelsey about this shit so I assume she knows. I’ll be damn here I thought you were eating to box again but to find out you were conspiring against me in such a fucked up way. Did she do the abortion? I mean Kelsey? You know what I don’t want to know because I’m absolutely done with your ass Val. I promise you I’ll buy this little boutique and when I tell Jackie and Lowell what you did. Your little partnership with DGI is over.” He snatched one of the girls camera and threw it across the room. “Stop fucking recording me!” Jamal screamed at all of them. He saw the girl shivering. “Oh you’re going to sue me for assault.” Digging into his pockets he threw six crispy hundred dollar bills at the girl. “There’s a new one.”

Jamal stepped back looking at Val. “I’m going to ruin this business, you, and every dream you have. I’m run you out of Atlas Falls. Believe that and when I’m done you will be a bad memory of mine. You betrayed me and you took that chance from me. The chance to be a father. Worst of all I was here to apologize for the shit I keep doing but in my soul I knew something was wrong with you. I just never knew that you were an evil bitch. You took my chance to be a father from me so I think it’s fair I take all this shit from you. I’m going to strike back and with all the money my pops gave me. He may of taken the weak ass way out but I’m strong and I’m standing here to tell you I’m not your lover or boyfriend anymore. Bitch I’m your enemy.” Jamal pushed over two displays full of clothes. “Fuck you!” He screamed, punching the plexiglass shattering it as he walked to the exit. “Stay away from me I mean it Val.”

Val knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when he found out what she done she just didn’t think it would go down like it did with him or maybe she should have braced herself for that kind of a reaction. He was fully entitled to his feelings about the abortion and how she went about it, she was a little taken aback by asking if Kelsey had done it. Cringing about the truth she went to the women’s clinic she didn’t even bother with the actual hospital or going to see a real doctor because she didn’t want the press knowing where she went and why. She was shaking like leaf when he yelled at her and called her worthless trash basically that wasn’t quite sure how she imagined it going down. Looking over at the people recording she felt physically ill at the thought that this was all going to be in the tabloids, tabloids that talked about everything in fashion not to mention that they were also all over Jamal’s label. There was no stopping this now and she could have ripped the fake blonde from Belle’s head as she marched out the door after opening the can of worms in her store. That was a fact one day she would get her revenge on Belle Archibald and it wouldn’t be something that she would have to announce to the world.

She wiped at her eyes realizing that she was crying when everything happened and then he had the nerve the threaten her deceased cousin’s line that he had left her like the spoiled rich indulgent brat he was? Who in the hell was he to say that he could destroy her brand or her business she didn’t go after his label or all the shit that she knew went down there. Her assistant looked absolutely mortified at what had happened either at Jamal’s outburst or at her and she didn’t care which one it was when she let out a blood curdling scream throwing one of her purses at him on his way out. Her assistant was already starting to shove people out the door and she looked over at her grateful before she turned the sign around to closed as she sat down on one of the chairs outside the dressing room. “Can you please hold all my calls I just need to be by myself for a moment.” Val said her voice quiet for a moment as she looked down at her shaking hands realizing reality was starting to set in with what she had actually done.


Ophelia looked at the doors leading to O’Sullivan & Jordan and it all felt so final for her after a trying day at the hospital after today it would be real Tony would be fully gone. She could hardly believe it had been only a few weeks since she had buried him at the church his passage at LaCallie after but here she was. She was so deep in thought she barely saw Mason next to her holding the door open and she could only smile at the man that she had raised even if he wasn’t her flesh and blood she did think of him and Selina as her own children, of course Jamal was fully hers and Tony’s but that didn’t mean she loved then any less. How could she? They were her husband’s children and despite the mistakes they had made along the way, she was so grateful that they had been reunited when he died.

“Thank you Mason I was just thinking how proud your father would be of you. How proud of you I am for living your life and I know one day your name will be on these doors. Your father said that Julian and his partner were eventually going to take on a third partner. I assured him Julian would be a fool to not name you. How are you and Zach?” Ophelia said trying to break the silence between them and seeing him flinch a bit when she mentioned Tony, and she closed her eyes for a moment to remind herself it was all fresh for everyone. That included all the children, the town, herself but she also wanted to let him know it was okay to still talk about Tony and remember him. “I’m sorry I just sometimes forget you know that it’s so soon. Are your brother and sister here yet?” She finished as the secretary led them both down the hall and she looked at his office it looked like a mess, they wandered down a left and a right and she saw him shake his head no before they arrived at a conference room.

Mason had been working a case of a young daily in the Scottswood family that had been harassed by one of the bad cops on the force, someone that even Zach had backed him on going after. It had been a good distraction from his father’s death and he just heard back from the police union rep that the officer was resigning and a settlement with his clients would be met later in the week. Afterwards he had turned on the news stunned at the fact that Braden was stepping down as DA and the scandal surrounding the reasons why, not that he believed any of it and an uneasiness went into it, who would take his place? He’d never thought of public service like that your entire life in a microscope for people to prod into the moment you fucked up, one of the reasons he went into private practice instead of interning at the district attorney office right out of college. He turned off the TV and straightened his suit jacket and tie before looking at his watch to peek down the office hallway where he saw his stepmother, or really the only mother he ever had staring at the glass. Almost as if she was afraid to come in, so he opened the door for her freezing when she mentioned his father. He was gone and it felt like there was a searing hole inside of him when he thought about him, an emptiness and he simply walked with her down the hallway to the conference room.

“I’m not sure if Julian is looking to add on partner, it would be an honor if that was the case I know he and dad were close. Like not best friend with Lowell close or anything but Jullian’s always managed the estate from my mom and helped him with legal stuff for the restaurant. Zach’s good I still can’t believe he’s thinking of joining the FBI though but in some ways I think Diego helping with Kieran kidna made him think it was a good idea and maybe it is you know?” Mason said looking at her it was the first time that someone had asked him about him and Zach in weeks, instead of asking him how he was about his father. Honestly it was a nice change for him and he mulled over that he and Zach were in a fantastic place he felt, his life was moving forward with a partner that loved and respected him. “I want him to find Kieran and who knows maybe one day we can expand our family you know? It’s fine Ophelia I promise you can mention dad around me and you don’t have to walk on eggshells.” Mason said and he did mean that when it came to talking about his father and smiled when he saw Selina walk in with Jamal behind her. “So you guys ready to do this then?”

Selina looked over at Jamal wondering if he could do this. He’d just received news that rocked her little brother. If he needed a moment she understood what he said but she never expected that from Val. She seemed such a strong part in why Jamal was doing well after her father’s suicide. Touching her chest she looked at Jamal and knew he wasn’t able to even say he was mentally exhausted with all of it. Looking over at Ophelia and Mason who seemed to be having a more peaceful conversation. “I think Jamal is spinning. He just found out Val aborted his baby last winter but he said he can do this. I believe him because whatever happens today doesn’t define the man who you spent over thirty years loving, and who was all of our father.” Selina said rallying the troops to sort of now band around Jamal like elastic. She had already found a video going viral now on Twitter of Jamal flipping out on Val and the optics were looking good for Val and not Jamal.

As she sat down on the plush leather she looked at Ophelia and reached out to her, seeing her staring at Jamal. Mason had his arm around their baby brother Jamal was shaken up and had every right to be but she also scolded him about his behavior and rage. “He’s going to be alright.” She mouthed to Ophelia as she looked at stepmother and knew she was the only mother she truly knew. The grace that she had wasn’t from Gloria but Ophelia and she knew that now. Reading her diary showed it more and more. As she leaned back she thought about what Elliot said about going into the past and what Ophelia had warned at her father’s services. She got a chill as she heard the door opening and seeing Jeremiah Beecher walking inside. The man looked even more sharp than the last time she saw him. He had on a Tom Ford suit and she could smell his cologne in the air. He looked overly confident and something about how sauve he walked in turned Selina’s stomach. She felt immediately offended he was even here. What was his purpose?

Jeremiah knew that Tony was smart and after all these years he’d waited for Tony to croak. Unfortunately it took a ghost to make him finally end his life. He’d like it better if it was like Lowell’s slow and prolonged. However Tony just upping the stakes and killing himself just as his one true love Lowell dies, well that was poetic. Always kissing that white man ass and thinking that he was here for him. Lowell only wanted what was best for Lowell and that was why he broke all they weak asses apart. It was simple: big fish eat little fish and he ate them all up. Today was vindication and his way of finally getting his foot back in the company and helping him finally get his hands on something fabled in Atlas Falls. After his affair with Gloria he was going to reclaim not only his legacy but his place at the table. Did he make his own table? Yes he had a successful law firm but he wanted what he manipulated to get and it was for Gloria. All of this was for Gloria.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I was invited here by Tony and I am feeling hella lucky and i hope I haven’t wasted anyone’s time.” Choosing to sit away from the family which seemed to be in the middle of a moment. He looked at Selina and it was startling how similar they looked. She had the same eyes when suspicious and angry. It was eerie in fact and the expression she had on her face he could tell she was upset. “What’s the matter, Selina looking just  like your momma.”

“Well your very presence annoys me that’s for starters. I believe you are here for nefarious reasons and I don’t think you are anything of a friend to my father since you bedded his wife. You are a lack and I can’t wait for my father to prove what I already know. You’re a piece of shit and I don’t want to see you in Atlas Falls anymore after this. Or else I’ll use my considerable amount of power to boot you out of this city. Now you assume that I’m just some victim but I’m a grown ass woman, who does have every intention to give you whatever you’re after.” She said looking up and seeing Julian walking into the room.

Julian had made sure that everyone was gathered into the conference room from his secretary before he picked up Tony’s last will and testament to read to the family and by extension Jeremiah Beecher. He was one of Tony’s closest confidants over the years and Tony was a good client, it had taken years but the stronghold that Jeremiah thought that he had on Tony and the past was going to come to a close. He looked around the room at Tony’s wife and children no matter how he ever sliced a will reading a part of him always felt sad for the family. To say goodbye to a loved one like this felt so final and he knew that would be the same for the Delacroix family. Hopefully they would all see how much Tony loved them each individually and how much he had sacrificed over the the years for his family.  A sacrifice that he had wondered when he got the call about his clients death had been the cause of the suicide or at least part of the reason that led to it. Clearing his throat he sat down at the table as he waited for the rest of the family to take their seats.

“Thank you all for coming it looks like we are all here.” Julian said opening up the will and putting on his reading glasses as he started to read. “I, Anthony Delacroix being of a sound mind and sound body declare this to be my last living will and testament and proceeds the rest of my wills. To my wife Ophelia I leave her the estate including all furniture and belongs inside to do with as she wish. To my son Mason I leave him y library inside the estate and full access to his trust funds including held shares that upon my death and that of my first wife he is entitled too in various companies for a list of those my attorney will provide them to you.” Julian said pausing and seeing the slight tears on Masons face he waited a moment before he proceeded and took a breath. “To my youngest son Jamal I leave my entire old record collection and players, along with the same shares that Mason is entitled too. Lastly and most importantly to my daughter Selina. I leave you my entirety of shares at DGI including those of her late mother to do so as she wishes proving her and any future grandchildren there of to with what they wish. All my children have equal say in the restaurant chain and may see fit to do with it as they wish. As for Jeremiah Beecher he is entitled to absolutely nothing as my wife’s attorney upon her death he tried to steal those shares from me. They are rightfully Selina’s to take therefor Jeremiah you lose.” Julian said putting the paper down and seeing the absolute rage on Jeremiah’s face was well worth it.

Selina looked at the documents and it made her now not only an employee of DGI but an official major shareholder. She had no clue her father had shares of DGI and this meant that somehow he wrangled control of these stocks from not only Jeremiah but Lowell. It clicked and registered on Selina’s face. This is what her mother meant when she said she was taking over in the journal. But who stopped this from transpiring as she looked at Jeremiah she opened her pursue pulling out her mothers diary or journal whatever you wanted to call it. Waving it at him like a preacher with his bible at Sunday service. “You seemed two seem to assume that my father was weak or less formidable because he was soft spoken. Even in death he’s teaching me how to out maneuver a slimy son of a bitch like you. I don’t know why you’re bold enough to think that my father would leave a cent or anything to you. But my mother bore Anthony Delacroix children then married a doctor who raised us to be more tough than you have a clue. From the moment I met you I have had a natural disdain for you and whatever you are after.” Selina paused and looked at Jamal teaching him something that father taught her a long time ago. You didn’t have to thump your chest to get what you wanted, you simply had to control the board. Then the pawns would fall in line.

Leaning back she looked at Jeremiah now ready to play even more. “You say that I look like my mother and you say that as if I care. That woman died to me the moment I read that she cheated on my father. Now if I would have known she was a stone hearted bitch I wouldn’t have let my dad, Ophelia, Jackie and my godfather put such a fictional spin on the story you say you here for business well that was it. You thought that I would get anything less? I’m Tony’s pupil and he wanted you to see me get everything. Since you want these DGI stocks so badly you will watch me use them to take DGI and the Delacroix to entirely new levels unseen before. I’m pretty sure Jamal needs more funding for his label and fuck it Mason pardon me Julian but screw his name on the window how about his own law firm. You see brother since you say I look like my mother let me move like her. Get the hell out.”

Jeremiah clapped his hands at Selina’s little speech. His nose fully flared and looking at the fag, the want to be thug, the Latin bitch and Selina who was the only Delacroix to worry about. “You more like Gloria than you think. I mean in a lot of ways. Didn’t you play Chauncey only to get married to Braden who he hates? Well Gloria did that very same thing to me and your pops. You see he owed me those motherfucking stocks after your mother died. We were going to use them to bankrupt Lowell and use the board to do a hostile takeover. Those were the days and your mother was ruthless kind of like y’all planting that project on Dimitri Kavanuagh. Oh he was a bad dude but war crimes that fuck up was you and Chauncey’s right Selina. Little girl you look like your momma but you ain’t her. You aren’t dark enough and you don’t have enough what is it you young folks call it swag. You don’t have enough power or swagger to be Gloria you in your coldest days couldn’t be Gloria my dear in fact you are a pale imitation. It’s ironic you waving that journal around like you got all the power. Your momma loved me little girl and your punk ass daddy killed himself because she was going to leave him for me. I told him the truth a couple of months ago and he still couldn’t handle it.” Jeremiah smiled seeing Mason’s horror, Ophelia’s instant heartbreak, Jamal’s rage and Selina’s shock.

“You would have been mine little girl if your mammy was alive but she isn’t so you were raised to lay with these white men. What my boy Elliot sees in you is a spoiled pillow princess who couldn’t beat a disgruntled prince’s ass. Girl you like your momma the worst parts of her not the woman who had every member of DGI under her thumb. No Selina you aren’t Gloria but I’m going to do what she would have done at this moment. I’m going to tie you up in court so long you’ll never see those damn shares. I swear it little girl and all of you this isn’t the last you’ve seen of me. Oh Jamal boy I see you itching to try to jump up at me. Boy come on so I can lay your ass down.If your father had some balls he’d stay and fight this shit out himself but he left it to you Selina. And fight we shall little girl.” Jeremiah adjusted his suit jacket and looked at Julian. “Nice to see you again Julian you’re not Lowell’s bitch anymore. How have we grown up haven’t we? Such big boys.”

“Get the fuck out before I show you who is a boy. Man get him the fuck up out of here!” Jamal roared. “Talk about my daddy one more time!”

Mason was reeling from the reveal of the shares yes he knew his mother was on the board and he wasn’t that dumb to think that Lowell gave anyone other then his family a piece of the pie, he was also shocked about the library. He had loved to read as a child probably a reason why he went into law he couldn’t stop reading and his eyes teared up at the reveal at how much his father did care about all of them. Meaning why in the hell would he still take his own life and he wiped at his eyes and leaned back when his father ripped everything and any once of control away from the stranger in the room that was Jeremiah and he had to look between his sister and back this asshole was sleeping with their mom? He barely remembered his mother and he looked at his sister and then rose from his seat the moment that the asshole in the room started spewing shit about his deceased father who the fuck was he?

“Get the hell out of here asshole before I lay your ass out! You wouldn’t be the first one that Jamal or myself gave a beat down too! No one gives a shit who you are least of my father and that proves that today since he brought your ass here to embarrass you.” Mason screamed at Jeremiah lunging at him as he felt Julian hold him back and he had to remember that he was still an employee of the firm and he shrugged him off. Walking to the conference phone and picking it up daring Jeremiah to stay if he dared. “Get out or I’ll call building security here so fast your fucking head will spin. As for the shares obviously my parents thought Selina should have them as did our godfather not you. Crawl back into the cesspool that you crawled out of and I look forward to seeing you in court.”

Jeremiah adjusted his tie as he looked at Selina. “Keep reading baby girl you’ll see your daddy wasn’t a hero either. You see there are no heroes or villains in this story just the victors of the spoils. I gave my heart to your mother, little boy and I sold my soul for those very shares. I’m not leaving Atlas Falls until I get what’s mine. Until I get what Gloria and I fought so hard to get. We schemed and manipulated so Lowell wouldn’t have a monopoly of that company. Now you Selina are the tie breaker and I think that will make things quite interesting because as long at you have those stocks you can’t work for DGI as a majority stake shareholder. So your job is done so you think if this is what you want people have died for those stocks. I’m not saying you will die but people have.” Jeremiah smiled smugly at them and walked away.

Selina stood up and looked at Julian and knew she had to know the connection between the two of them. “That man wants war he can get one but I assure Jeremiah Beecher that he will lose and when I’m done grinding him into dust nobody will be able to save him. My father started your embarrassment but watch I end him period. He wants these stocks he’ll have to kill me for them.” She said feeling Mason arm on her shoulder and then Jamal’s as Ophelia stood breathless behind her and her siblings.