3×13 “All The Rest”

3×13 “All The Rest”
Written by: Chris Coleman, Krsti Clark, Scott Andrews and Kelly Zollo
Theme Song: Leave Out All The Rest- Linkin Park
Warning: Episode may contain violence language, graphic sex and sexual situations


Merci paced back and forth, her eyes laser focused on Jon. He was the reason she broke. A piece of her knew Jon wasn’t the only problem at bay. Skye had given up and just threw in the towel. She just said she might want a new life in London or New York and here she was doing the sugar bugger again. She was infuriated and she was beyond livid at them both. Skye knew they were all they had and she just gave up that wasn’t acceptable and it wasn’t what she wanted. It wasn’t what she needed at all. Right now she needed her sister healthy and happy because she was happy. Merci wasn’t a kid and knew that wasn’t how life worked. That wasn’t how things happened. When someone was up, someone else had to be down. Yet it was jarring to see Skye who was doing so good the last few years fall from grace in such a way. Two ambulances arrived at the Devonshire mansion when they were rushing out of the estate and she saw them loading Lowell. Tonight was cursed. Hell maybe it was the mansion everytime they had an event there all hell broke loose. She silently prayed that Lowell would be okay because Jackie and he had been good to her. From orphan to party planner of the rich and influential. It was them who brought her that title and she appreciated it.

Looking at Devin she saw Jon’s head between his legs. He was suffering but he did deserve so much more. She wanted the pain to absorb him and take him away. She was sick of the wounded veteran bit he played. My brain is so fried that I can be awful to so many people. No that wasn’t how that worked and it wouldn’t be any longer. “I hate him.” She said so loudly it startled her. “He is sitting over there Devin and acting like he’s the victim. He pushed her and he kept pushing until she broke. Now she could be dead. The only person I have in my corner could be gone. No offense Devin but I have you but it isn’t the same. She grew up with me, she protected me, I protected her and we are family blood or not. We are all we have and she’s been through too much. She’s been through so much that it literally may have killed her. You may have killed her.” She said as Devin slowly pulled her toward the vending machines. “No don’t try and stop me from saying it Devin he hurt her! He has hurt so many people in validation of his opinion. He never considered that Skye couldn’t handle this. He never thought of anyone but him and his man pain. I’m so sick of him and I’m sorry that your best friend is acting like he has a soul all of the sudden but I saw what he did to her. He broke her and no matter what he says he’s at fault. He’s at fault right along with her.” She could feel Devin wrapping his arms around her as she exhaled. “I can’t lose her. I can’t lose my sister.”

Devin looked at Merci and his heart did go out to her and to Jon and hell even the Hessington’s at the moment. It seemed like hours since the ambulance had arrived at the estate to load Skye and then another to load Lowell when in reality it hadn’t been that long. He looked down at her as he held her before looking over at Jon who was just about still as ghost white as Skye had been, likely in shock and horror at what happened. He understood Merci’s anger at Jon and at the situation but Skye was also an adult who fed into what happened. It wasn’t like Jon had been the Jon everyone knew and loved in months. He didn’t blame either one of them for what happened, if anything he was sad and devastated for them both. For what happened and what would happen now from what he understood Skye had thrown years of sobriety away clearly in an attempted overdose. When she started to tell and scream he simply gently pulled her away and down the hall towards the vending machines. Everyone else was silent in the waiting room waiting to see what Skye’s status was Merci being riled up wouldn’t help that at all.

“I get wanting to protect your sister, she is your family, I get it I do. I’d rip someone’s head off if they dared to hurt Rochelle or my parents. But I also know that people are fucking human too and make huge mistakes, your sister is pretty high on that list and so is Jon in this entire mess. You’re not going to lose her but you need to just stop lashing out at Jon like that too, he knows he fucked up okay he’s owned that.” Devin said looking at her and wanting her to see reason when it came to Skye and Jon both of them had made mistakes and they needed to figure this out either together or apart. Jon hadn’t interrupted when he and Merci were at odds and it felt wrong to do that to him when he was in this position interject themselves into the ins and outs of their relationship. “Listen Jon could have handled it better when he found out about Miles no one is debating that or arguing that with you but don’t you think tonight he has had enough? I think all of them regret what happened with Skye and until we hear from one of the doctors the best thing that we can do is wait it out, I know that is not what you want to hear right now but that is all anyone has right now hope.” Devin finished seeing Jon still upset Whitney and Ryan sitting stoically by him in the chair. “Besides in some weird fucked up way you are all family right now.”

Merci lowered her head as she tried to breathe and not be infuriated with what was happening. At this very moment she felt like she was drowning in the rage. She was mad at Jon but most of all she was mad at Skye. How could she just give up like this? How could she just leave her alone? That was all she thought about at this very moment. When she got up she was going to ring her neck. She was going to use her money to get her into a rehab. She was going to be a better sister and check in more. If that meant missing parties, and not hobnobbing with the elite then that was what it was. Crossing her arms she looked at Devin and nodded her head. “He isn’t getting a break but I understand Skye took the drugs. She’s been sober for years. She wasn’t using earlier what happened? Maggie and Cassie.” She mumbled to herself as she looked at Devin. He wouldn’t approve but she was going to find out who hurt her sister and what happened. “I’m going to go back inside the waiting room. I won’t lash out anymore but I can’t hold back my anger at him. I can’t hold back my rage that I’m alone. I don’t have family Devin. She’s all I have.” She hugged him as she buried her head into his broad shoulders.

“I need to apologize but I can’t right now. I just can’t until I know she’s safe. I know he’s your friend and I know I can’t just be angry at him. But he’s not this innocent Devin, he is a reason no matter what we all say he’s a reason. He’s one of those things that pushed her back into coke. You know I could have easily been in her shoes. Back then I partied so hard coke, acid, shrooms, and whatever else I could get my hands on to make me feel good. It took awhile but I got clean and I just didn’t want my life like that anymore. I thought she was going to London or New York. I thought she was going to end up a hooker on Law & Order SVU.” She laughed and saw he was confused. “Every New York actor ends up on that show. She used to say she was going to make the hottest hooker on that show. I just miss her and I’m just scared and I don’t know what else to feel but fear. I hate fear, it consumes you and it eats at every positive thought. I just want her back.” Merci said, taking his hand as she walked into the break room and sat on the opposite side of Jon staring directly at him.

Jayden held he tablet in his hands not exactly the call he was hoping for when Skye Morgan had been brought into the emergency after he had dropped off Yasmine at her place. Girl was  a mess after what Rory had done and he had put an abrupt end to their evening and date once he realized the only reason she was kissing him was because she was so heartbroken. It seemed so dirty and wrong to take advantage of her like that and he was relieved as hell when the hospital called to tell them that they were short staffed and he needed to come in. It gave him an excuse to leave Yasmine without being a total asshole and then looked over at her and walked her to her door. Another night and maybe another time for meanwhile he was going to go to the hospital and cover his shift. He was a bit shocked when he arrived and was filled in that David had been fucking Lowell’s daughter and he about let out the biggest grin he could when the nosey nurse had let him know and then he rushed into action when he saw Skye arrive the rest was history as they would say here they were about ready to deliver the news of her status to family.

“Skye Morgan’s family? Merci…let me check DuBois?” Jayden said looking at her chart and then then seeing the women with one of the them in waiting room with her. Sista was clearly from their part of the woods and he wondered how that whole thing worked with her being a sister to Skye but that wasn’t his business. He also saw Jon Harrison in there and who he assumed were maybe the young white couple in the room maybe Skye’s cousins or another sibling. When he saw them all step up ou to their seats clearly wanting an update he looked at the woman that looked the most eager Merci and she was listed as the emergency contact so it had to be her. “Your sister is stable and awake we have started her on fluids, she was very lucky that whoever found her did so in time any much longer she would have been out too long and their would have likely been brain damage. I should let you know that we do believe that she took a very high dosage of cocaine. We have her also detoxing and she is going to have to be placed on a forty eight hour hold.” He said looking around the room and saw the other woman clinging to her husband and watched as she covered her mouth in shock before he looked at the Merci and his eyes landed on Jon. “I would strongly recommend that once she is well she speaks to one of our psychiatrists and gets into a rehab treatment facility.”

Merci was used to people looking confused when it came to her relationship with Skye. For years people questioned them. Had their mom stepped out? How were they siblings if she was white and she was black. Seeing how confused he was she could tell what Jayden was thinking. To be honest Skye was currently her power of attorney and she was sure it was the same. However things might be different because she didn’t know Skye popped out a damn baby. What else was her sister keeping from her. What would drive her to do that much coke? The doc was cute but he was dense. No shit they knew a treatment center was in Skye’s future and she wasn’t coming back to this town. As she touched her short cut and looked Devin in the eyes. “Baby I need a moment with my sister alone and I need you to let you know that I don’t think it’s the correct time for Jon.” She whispered as she saw Whitney and Ryan relief and Jon looked like was about to burst in happiness. A piece of her had so much sympathy for him and the other side couldn’t stand him. “Thank-you doctor I’ll handle my sister’s health concerns going further. I’ll help you.”

When Jon stood up and walked over to Merci. “Can we go see her correct? I need to speak with Skye and I know that it’s been a lot Merci but we have so much to attend to. I will help her this time. I’m not leaving Skye and I’m not abandoning her our what we can have now.” He could feel the energy radiating from Merci. She looked at him earlier and he felt like she didn’t want him around Skye. He could understand that but she was the mother of his child. It felt like he lost vision of that and yes someone else was raising Miles but he was theres as much as Whitney and Ryan’s. That felt no truer words now and it might have been too late. But unlike last time he wasn’t withdrawn from the world and he could do it. He could support her and fix what was broken he truly felt like that.

“I really would like to speak with the mother of my child and I’d appreciate it if you can go with me to kind of broach this Merci.” Jon said trying to rope Merci into helping him try to talk Skye into a rehab facility maybe in Victoryville or Mount Pennsylvania those were the best rehab. If he had to marry her to get her insurance he would. Or he’d pay out of pocket. He could do all he could help. He wouldn’t leave her in her darkest hour this time and this time he would be there for her. “Merci let’s help her together.”

Merci looked at Devin and she paused. “Please tell him what I told you, I have to go see Skye.” She walked away nodding to Jayden to take her to her sister. “Right now Dr. Bradshaw I’d appreciate until I get word from Skye for you to please keep Jon Harrison from her room? Are we clear?”

Jayden looked at Merci and shrugged his shoulders her wish was something that he had to follow but he was still the lead doctor on Skye’s case and cared about his patient. He’d seen family members say they would get their loved ones help and then turn a blind eye to it in some half assed treatment program that was simple in and out, where you didn’t really face recovery. Hel it was probably why the Devonshire’s from his understanding donated so much money on and off wasn’t their middle son like that. Instead he kept his cool with Merci as they walked down the hallway towards Skye’s room. “I don’t actually need your help with Skye. My job is to keep her alive and help her detox and then leave the choice to rehab up to her. I’m going to be real with you. She doesn’t clean up her act for real this time they might not be able to bring her back again. After years of drug use your sister is in bad shape.” Jayden said, looking at her and then the two men. “Family for now Mr. Harrison and if Ms. Morgan wants to see you when she is in better shape you need to go through her sister. I have some rounds to do and will be back afterwards.” He finished motioning for the nurses to make sure that everything was followed before he turned and started his rounds.

Devin looked at Merci and placed his hands on his hips for a moment looking over at Jon seeing his friends face simply crushed at the news that Merci didn’t want him in the room. He got it she wanted to make sure her sister was okay before anything else happened or any more visitors entered the room. He would have done the same thing for Rochelle if she was in the bed but it didn’t make the crushed look on Jon’s face any better in his mind. It made it almost ten times worse and then he listened as Jayden laid down the actual plan here and he wondered if Merci was really ready for that. For Skye to get really clean this wasn’t just a simple little party to much she overdosed and snorted an entire bag of coke, meaning she didn’t want to come out of it in the end. His heart broke for Skye in that regard and knew that Jon was likely a small cause of that.

“Listen until Skye is stable I think Merci wants to see Skye herself and then slowly starting to have people come in and see her. I think Skye just needs a break right now give her time to work up to seeing you and them. You’ve both been through a lot the last few months with the case with Miles.” Devin said, hoping that Jon knew that he wasn’t saying this to hurt him but he was saying this in order to help Skye. He saw Whitney and Ryan both on their phones, likely reaching out to her father and brother, and checking on their children. It was all such a mess. “I’m going to ask that everyone respect Merci’s wishes because if not I really don’t want to have to throw you down and drag you out of here okay? Let Merci have this one and then you can see Skye and talk to her after.” Devin finished looking at his friend and hoping he understood.

Jon looked at Devin and shook his head. “No, Merci can’t keep me away. Look I know what I did but she has to hear that I’m sorry. I helped break her, I have to put her together. Look your fiance hates me but I have to see her.”  He spoke as he moved around his best friend and followed behind Merci and Jayden. As he felt Devin behind him he wouldn’t be dismissed right now. He had messed up and truthfully he could understand why she wasn’t keen on him being around Skye. “Merci! Merci wait! I mean it don’t do this okay? I’ve spent a lifetime making mistakes but me being here for her isn’t one. I know what I’ve done is messed up and I know I’ve seen a lot of sorrow in her life, but me helping her heal isn’t one of them. I won’t be dismissed by Merci or anyone else. I’m her family as well Merci and I deserve to help her so I’m begging you don’t push me aside because you feel like I’m the catalyst for all of this. I’m not let’s call a spade a spade Skye and I have messed up.” He didn’t elaborate but Skye lied to him about Miles and hid the truth.

Merci had made it to her sister’s door as she turned and looked at Jon her face showed her disdain. “I tried to do this civilly. I tried to take into your feelings but at this point you want to do this. Let’s go, Jon you aren’t her family. You have been sleeping with Maggie over and over. You dumped her like trash to upgrade with Cassie and act like I have to bow down and kiss your ass? Jon Harrison you can kiss my ass and I know you know what if you come in here. I’m going to do something to you that has never happened before. I’m call the police on you and I’m going to get you thrown out of this hospital. Don’t play with me today because it is a long day! You might not care about Lowell Devonshire but he’s fighting for his life down the hall, my sister is overdosing and I don’t have the patience to deal with you. If you continue this I’m going to be a demon bitch from hell and you won’t even know where she is at. I’m protecting the only family I know.” Merci said with a ferocity as she held the wall. “I feel obligated to say you can make her the bad guy but you’re not the hero anymore. Welcome to the gray Jon and I want you to know that you aren’t to enter this room.” Merci opened the door and walked inside.


Jackson placed his arm around Maddie who was sitting to his right and he could feel Dani’s hand squeezing his. His father just passed out and he was left feeling hollow. For the last few months he’d tried but maybe it wasn’t good enough. He hadn’t let his father see the twins for a period of time and honestly shut him out. Looking at all his siblings’ faces they were feeling the exact same thing. Chauncey wouldn’t sit down and he paced back and forth. Natasha had asked him a couple of times to sit and Max was stone faced with Sebastian trying to soothe her. Bliss seemed in a state of shock. It was like too much was hitting her all at once. While Rory looked petrified and Aspen honestly had no clue what to do. Then it was her. He wanted to slap the hell out of her. Out of all the men in Atlas Falls she wants to kiss and screw on David. Then he wanted to bed his barely out of her teens sister? Belle’s face was flushed and he was sure she felt to be at fault but a stroke at that moment it wasn’t her’s. He didn’t blame her but he was infuriated at her and David. It seemed his father’s last words were to her. The kid he didn’t know with the woman he resented and hated. As he gritted his teeth he looked at his mother who had this lost glance. As if she was staring out to somewhere else. Like she wanted to be any other place but here at this moment.

What happened to him? He was dancing with mom and now he was falling out on stage? It was confusing and everything was making him feel as if he was losing it all. Standing up he walked to Chauncey and stopped him from pacing. “He’s dad guys, he’s going to be okay? We aren’t losing him right now. He’s going to see Max’s kid, he’s going to see Fox go to kindergarten, he’s going to watch Rory and Aspen get married. I don’t believe my father is down for the count and I need everyone to have positive thoughts. He’s going to make it okay?” He said looking at his siblings. “Do you all hear me? Dad isn’t dying yet. I just won’t believe that alright? So please let’s pray or something?” He could see Walter and Lauren arriving to comfort his mother. “Walter you’ve known my father for years this isn’t the end right?”

Chauncey had been silent since they arrived at the hospital on the phone mainly making sure that the narrative with the press was in their hands, he had an in with Greer and her reporters and he was happy to provide her with the first line of information. He knew lashing out at Jackson earlier on stage was just his first instincts when it came to their father but after they resuscitated his father he looked different. There would be whispers about his father’s state and right now he wanted to make sure it was spun as a simple fall, that was until he knew the truth or until Forbes or one of their enemies decided it was something else they had to be on top of it. He looked over at Natasha who seemed off in her own corner she had been off since their run in with Greer and he sat down on the other side of his daughter looking at Jackson at this point not knowing what to say their father hadn’t gotten to the announcement but he knew it was in the will. Meaning that if this was the end he knew there was nothing they could do and he had so many regrets like how he didn’t actually get to speak to his father tonight.

“Dad’s been sick for a while Jackson we all knew that this could be coming. We won’t know more until David tells us.” Chauncey said as he saw Jackson glare at him about David he wasn’t as upset at the revelation of Belle and David as some of his other siblings. Belle was young, David was older but he’d done the same thing David had to lots of younger women while he was with Selina and it was uncomfortable given that he was their father’s doctor and David was a few years younger than him. On the other hand he didn’t know Belle that well and she was an adult who could make her own choices and their little sister had come to town with a list of scandals David was simply another notch on her own belt in his mind. “I know you are angry at Belle and David but on the other hand, who in the hell are you or I to judge them? We’ve both made mistakes repeatedly with less than stellar choices when it came to the bedroom so show our sister some compassion. Not only was she exposed very publicly she has to know that is the last thing dad saw. Mayor.” Chauncey said looking at Walter and slightly annoyed at his presence granted he was Dani’s father and he knew that his father had made amends with him as well.

Walter had made his way to the hospital after they had drug Lowell out in an ambulance he had met Lauren outside with that annoying asshole Randall and agreed that she should at least go on and see Jackie for comfort he had been in her shoes. He remembered how his father had died the ambulance had come right after his father and mother had shared their anniversary dance at the pub a simple heart attack he learned later. Braden was in college at the time Dani in her senior year of high school, at leat in his mind all of Lowell’s children had been allotted time with their father. Lowell had been fine earlier in the evening and on stage and he simply walked the hallways of the hospital for a bit before making his way towards the Devonshire family and his daughter. He simply looked over at Jackson and Chauncey he knew what Lowell hadn’t gotten to say at the podium, that Jackson was in charge of at least the company but he also knew that Lowell had asked him to guide the boys not that he thought he would be up for the task. Belle was trouble had been since she came to town, honestly he was amazed that Lowell hadn’t killed over before then with her but he understood what Chauncey had said.

“I think you should wait until one of the doctors comes out and tells you what is going on Jackson but I won’t bullshit you. Normally when they put on oxygen it is because someone is in bad shape.” Walter said looking at his daughter and then back at the two boys Madeline in between them and he knew he had to address the elephant in the room. Both of them knew what was going to to happen tonight even if Lowell hadn’t got to the actual announcement. “I would assume that one of you has been in contact with the press or at the very least Talia. Jackson, you also need to make sure that if something does happen this evening that your father’s last wishes are carried out clearly and precisely the company will change and their could be employees that are disgruntled or upset with the change, you need to let those that are go if they wish. That is what a CEO does you save your tears for in private with the people in this room.” Water said before looking at Chauncey look at him like he had swallowed the most bitter pill ever. “You take point from your brother that is how this has to go do you both understand?”

Bliss looked up as she wiped her eyes holding her son who was asleep in her arms. As she stood up looking at Walter she felt a urge to speak up. For moments like this she had been silent. It was beyond clear what was happening tonight with his father turning the company to Jackson. He however didn’t get a chance and the way that Walter was talking was that they all had to be a monolith and run behind Jackson which wasn’t the case. “Mayor Fraiser, I do believe you are newly acquired friend of the family. Once a bitter enemy I do not think it’s in your parameters to tell any of us what we should do. As Devonshire’s we will handle this in the family which is what my father wanted. Now I respect that you two came to peace but the way you walked in and talked to us is disrespectful. Later tonight we will together run point from who father wanted to lead us but right now we are worried about our father. Everything has been prepared by Talia and Simon with our father. Greer has a copy of the DGI obituary we’ve approved of. Is that what you want to hear? I’d rather think that my father has a fighting chance than speaking like he’s in the ground.” Bliss could completely see what Dani despised her father. He was pompous and the way he thought he could come in here and rally the troops. Jackie is who they all take cue from not him. Regaining her composure Bliss pulled Fox to her and silently wished that Hunter was here. As for Belle, her eyes slowly narrowed at her. She was so attention starved that she would sleep with her father’s doctor.

Jackson looked at Bliss who was regal and refined but opened her mouth to speak out. It wasn’t normal but he liked and respected it. She was finding her voice in the family as he stared at Rory he felt his baby brother in a entirely other place. He looked lost and he looked like he wasn’t alright. So instead of festering more tension Jackson walked to Rory and sat down beside him as he looked at Dani. “If tonight is the night that meant that tomorrow we will have the press conference and announce everything. We will work together okay Walter? I want you to be an advisor when you can because you were a braintrust of DGI. “ Wrapping his arm around Rory as he looked at him. “Are you alright? Rory it’s okay alright we are going to be alright.” He said squeezing Rory shoulder. “We appreciate you being here. So tell us Belle how long were you with David? I mean it was the last thing he saw.”

Belle held her breath as she looked at Jackson rolling her eyes. “My relationship isn’t what placed my father in this condition. If we have anyone to blame Jackson since you are being so snotty. It would be all of you. I had no clue who my father was up to what nine months ago. While how many of you ignored our father’s sickness. So don’t you dare blame me I’m sick of that. So now I’m the hated sibling wasn’t that Bliss before she became saint Bliss. No Jackson pick on someone else because I’m not that girl. I won’t hold my tongue and apparently you haven’t held it in your mouth either considering Dru was all over you earlier in the night.” She said seething, staring at Dani and Jackson. She could tell Chauncey was proud but she instead folded her arms and crossed her legs, doubling down by staring daggers at Dani.

Rory looked up at his big brother trying to play peace keeper between everyone in that damn waiting room and he shrugged at Jackson he wasn’t alright their father was sick very sick. The last thing he saw was their sister with his doctor that clearly was going to affect him and part of him wanted to be mad at Belle the other part knew that she was young and could make mistakes but she was also selfish as hell sitting there smug as hell with all them like she was owed an apology. “Can we all agree that Belle was slumming likely trying to get a rile out of dad when he found out if he did and just move on. How dare you sit there and act like you are some godsend of a daughter to him, like you said he barely knew you or that you existed. Don’t you have actual real parents that raised you? Or are you still taking your bitch of a mother and god father’s side, both of whom did all that shit to our cousin for petty revenge.”

Dani had went to the hospital with Jackson and their driver as soon as Lowell had collapsed and sat in the uncomfortable chair in the waiting room for what seemed liked forever she knew it was bad when Lowell was admitted to the ICU unit. Her role was simply to support Jackson through this she was a realist and knew Lowell was sick they all did. She gave her father the biggest side eye she could though he wasn’t wrong she knew Jackson being CEO would cause issues, Bliss was simply upset at the moment. “Dad, we both know that Lowell asked you to help but for right how about you go and check on Jackie with mom and get her a coffee or something. No one here is doubting what Lowell was going to do okay, including Chauncey.” Dani said cutting her eyes at Chauncey for a moment she still didn’t trust him especially now when DGI was vulnerable. She then looked over at Belle and boiled with so much rage at the little brat she had to contain herself. “Didn’t you try and slobber all over Atticus when you came to town? Everyone in this room wants to know how long it was going on because I have a pretty good guess your father would have hated it.”

Walter looked at his daughter and Jackson they were steady for now and it was out that Lowell simply had asked him to liaison in the most diplomatic way and he looked at Chauncey. “Of course I’ll be with your mother if you need anything.” He finished leaning down to kiss her cheek and gripping Jackson’s shoulder in support before not even casting a glance at Chauncey on his way back down the hall.

Chauncey looked over at Dani and at Jackson and almost burnt a hole into them both but he knew better than to act out for now, for his fathers health he knew it wasn’t going to happen. He would let them have their little moment in the sun but when it got too much he would strike and then he looked at Belle. Clearly they were going to all be at each other’s throat and he was never one to not want to at least rile his littler brother. “Dru looked quite delectable earlier Belle does have a point, like was she even wearing anything? You’ll have to give me the scoop later Jackson on how she is. I in turn can make you really fill dad’s shoes would you like to know all the best spots wouldn’t want your wife to go a little crazy like her mother or aunt now would we?” Chauncey said seeing Jackson steaming at him and Dani about ready to pounce too. They were all interrupted as the doors opened and David stepped out.

David had came to the hospital in the ambulance with Lowell and the nurse he was with at the ball no sense in seeing his medical care treated later by someone else. His mind was still it felt like inside the imaging room with the MRI in front of him a massive stroke a side effect that he had warned Lowell about with the experimental drugs he had decided to try. He spent a good twenty minutes in that room getting a second and even third opinion his mind dwelling on Belle and wondered who snapped the picture of them outside of the hotel room where they had broken up. He never wanted to hurt Belle or cause any tension between her and her siblings but he had seen them all staring at her from behind the glass. He’d delivered end of the life care instructions before for other families but this time it felt more final and intimate, like when they had all learned KC was dead in his own family. The difference being that KC was an FBI agent that was whisked away for treatment in an undercover operation and Lowell was simply a mere mortal man.

Getting up from his chair he began to walk down the hallway his tablet in hand prepared to go over all of Lowell’s scans with Jackie and her children, Tess too if she was there. He had that part in writing from Lowell himself if anything did happen immediate family could know about his condition. He avoided the stares and the whispers as he walked the entire staff thanks to Greer LeClerq’s hold on the media knew that he and Belle had been fucking. Meaning the board would want him investigated too not that they would find anything, he covered his bases Lowell had exceptional care even while he was with Belle. Looking through the glass he pushed it open that scandal he would handle when he was investigated and he avoided Belle’s eyes when he spoke. “I have an update on your father.” David said looking at them all and seeing Jackie approaching them with a coffee in her hand and he shuffled his feet looking at them all there was no easy way. “Listen, there is no easy way to say this, your father has suffered a massive stroke.”

Bliss nearly kneeled over as she heard the news. Walter said that something was coming. Her eyes locked in on Jackie who looked gutted. She saw her mother standing down the hall. It felt like her stomach was dropping. The fluorescent light seemed blinding as she pulled Fox closer to her chest. She felt this terrible moment crashing onto her. “So what are you exactly saying? He had a stroke. People survive strokes all the time.” She said forcefully as looked at him. “Is my father going to survive?”

Jackson could hear the hurt in his sister’s voice. If Hunter was around he’d be here to support Bliss. Picking up Dani’s hand he kissed it and walked over to Bliss knowing her heart was breaking. Taking Fox from her arms he wrapped his arm around his sister as he stared at David. “Yes David I think you can answer her question? We all want to know what is going on. Is this the end or is he still fighting back?”

Belle wrapped her arms around herself as Rory lashed out at her. When she saw David entering the room she felt the dread aching through his movement. Something was right as she listened to him say a stroke she knew her daddy was gone. Yes she didn’t know Lowell Devonshire like the rest of them but did her time she spent with him mean nothing? How dare he just say because she was his newest acquired child she wasn’t as good as them. She saw Jackson supporting Bliss and rolled her eyes as the tears began to fall down her face. Belle felt the weight of hearing her father she wasn’t even going to be the same. He was already in a altered state and now he would be a stroke victim as well? She covered her mouth as she stood up. Between hearing the news and David being there she was overwhelmed. Standing up she rushed out of the room running down the hall past her mother into the bathroom. Belle went into a stall and balled up as she wept alone not feeling comfortable around any of them.

David looked at them all somberly when Bliss and then Jackson asked him to elaborate but the hardest was looking at Jackie’s shocked face and for a moment his eyes landed on Belle. He never wanted to hurt that girl across from him that was why he had ended things with her they weren’t a fit and she certainly didn’t deserve what happened tonight. He took a breath watching all the Devonshire’s looking at him with baited breath. “Your father suffered an acute stroke that led to a brain bleed, he was without oxygen for a long time even with resuscitation. Right now there is no quality of life, there is no brian activity. He’s in the ICU unit now receiving end of life care, now would be a good time to make any calls that are necessary for loved ones that want to be here to say their goodbyes.” David said quietly seeing the silence fall over the room and he watched Jackie shaking before rushing out of the room and he lowered his head at them all. “We are in the end stages now. I’m sorry for your loss.” He finished before walking back into the unit and letting his own tear slip out his face.


The air of the winter was starting to draw but she stepped out on the patio. People didn’t know St. Christopher’s had this place. It was for the elite to get their air she wondered how many times people contemplated jumping. It would be so easy to just float away and never be seen again. Right now she knew how her actions would be taken and how the Devonshire’s would react. She didn’t care though. She didn’t care because he thought she was dumb. Blinded by the fact she actually got the ring. Twisting the ring on her finger, Tess heard the glass open behind her. Turning around she looked at Pierre and smiled. He had been her rock through the entire plan. It was simple, switch one pill with a placebo and well it was bound to happen. She knew it would be dissive between the Devonshire kiddies but this was too good. Belle was going to be blamed when she stopped giving him a vital medication. She thought a seizure or maybe he’d get sickly and not stroke out. That was the shock but she was prepared and after tonight she’d have everything she ever wanted.

“I used to come to the hospital when I was a little girl. I’d stand out here in this very spot and tell the wind I was going to be something special. I’d howl at the moon and the stars praying for a get out of Atlas Falls card. It hadn’t grown this big yet and was still a town. Not yet a city completely in the way it is now. I always knew I wanted to get out. I married one man after another to get away from this ache. The feeling that I’m feeling right now is rage.” She said as she turned around and studied the look on his face. “Forbes can’t know what we are pulling until after. Once I get everything then he can come threaten me but until then I don’t think it’s a good idea to push things further. I want a seamless transition of power. Do you have it because all of our future’s depend on this?” She asked as she looked at Bliss and Hunter reuniting. “I love her but she’s so wrapped up in the koolaid how do I bring my girls back? It’s like they hate me and I don’t want them to hate me anymore. I have to get my daughters back and what better way than secure their legacies with DGI?”

Pierre had stood back at the party in the shadows, saw his daughter either that aloof caveman Brock and then turned his attention to Tess and Forbes. He was a bit hurt when he had seen Greer call Harvey over him but he understood why in many ways Harvey was the father he should have been. Regardless, things needed to go exactly as they had planned or at least as Forbes thought they had planned he always had bigger fish to fry. He wanted DGI burnt to the ground and Tess and he had the perfect plan to do that. Forbes wanted to take it over and control it to make it part of MontCorp. That was never in the cards or the plan for his revenge, no he wanted Lowell to pay painfully where it mattered most to him the money he would sell it bit by bit and little by little. The Devonshire’s reign and finances would dry up; they’d become the backwoods pheasants they all looked down upon. He looked at Tess and then up at the night sky. So far their plan was going perfectly. The one thing Tess didn’t tell him was that little photo of Belle and David he turned to her as a slight gust of wind came over him and he thought he saw a sliver of remorse for what she was doing.

“The ache to not have Lowell Tess it drug you down and you came to your senses. Now you and I both know Katie told you Lowell wanted other women like you and you did eventually bed him bit leave Jackie for you? Agnes could have told you that was a fool’s errand and dream at best. But we all must learn from our mistakes don’t we?” Pierre said and he folded his hands behind his back as he spoke Tess was always blinded by Lowell’s fake promises and Katie’s whispers she was too naive back then. She had to learn her lesson the hard way it seemed and now that lesson was even more of a stark reality Bliss was already becoming one of Jackie’s bots and he was sure that Belle would follow. Her weapons against Lowell were slowly fading almost like a blade that had been used too much. “I have what you want but I want to warn you that once we go down this path war will be on you. You can blame Belle for Lowell’s ill turn in fate but you and I both know that Jackie will sway them to her side. Now I’ll give you what we agreed upon but I want your word you’re not going to give up everything we’ve worked for in return fo sentimental value in having your precious girls by your side. Imagine how they would feel knowing your goal is to destroy their father’s legacy.” Pierre finished looking over at her even he knew what had to be done it was why he raised Greer up how he did there was no need for sentiment.

Tess looked at Pierre as he talked about her lovelorn past. How could she not feel so lost in the dream of love. Two pieces sometimes adrift in the wind would find each other. A love that somehow she’d never outgrow or feel the gravity of this loss. Right now she felt horrible for what she had done. He told her that he loved her and nothing felt right after the wedding. It was like they weren’t on the same page. It wasn’t until she found the new will in his office right before Simon went to get it notarized. He wasn’t going to leave her anything and Jackie was going to get the throne. She wouldn’t allow it and it was sad but she wasn’t ready to lose this time. Her entire life she had been second to that woman and she’d be damned if Jackie got one more win over her. She thought she won and she really lost so she went to Pierre and had him replay the game. As she took the paperwork from him. She nodded at him as she touched his hand. “Lowell has always been the biggest mistake and I ended up with two children and nothing left. I won’t suffer anymore and today is the beginning of the end of the Devonshire dynasty with Jackie at the helm. I’m the wife and it’s time to exert that power. I hope she’s ready.”

Tess looked him watching everyone comforting Jackie as if she was the widow or his wife. It was insulting and infuriated her even more. As the cold autumn’s air chilled over her arms. “I know exactly what I’m going to do. Belle and Bliss will either come home or will go to them. That will hurt either way because they will resent me. I will have them back when they figure out I’ve secured a brighter future for them. DGI should be there legacy and what Lowell was offering Belle and Bliss was laughable but they’ll get the power they deserve now. Along with their mother and then. We can watch it all burn and they thought they were going to get a happy ending. Well no they won’t Pierre and I won’t be the only one with a broken heart tonight. They have all treated me as less than and I will make them know I’m the queen of DGI. I’m the new head of the table.” Tess said brazenly as she looked at him and walked to Pierre. Leaning in she kissed him. It wasn’t brief and the coldness of what was happening wasn’t lost on her. “I won’t apologize for that. Agnes and Lowell are gone and the love of our lives aren’t here but we are and I want someone to help me with this. Will you be by my side Pierre?”

Pierre watched Tess’s emotions on her face while she spoke about the woman he knew had finally snapped. Snapped enough to take the throne from Jackie and all those fucking brats she just needed help doing it. He knew a very good forger in France and was happy to amend that will thanks to their expertise on the matter, after all he had faked birth certificates for both Greer and Zerick over the years to pass off what they needed to do over the years. A living will and testament was child’s play at the end of the day for him, not to mention Lowell was so far stuck up his own ass he likely was too busy making amends to everyone trying to be a martyr to see it coming it was almost sad in a way. He turned slightly as he too saw the swarm of people comforting Jackie and for a moment a slight sting of guilt set in for what they were doing and he had to look at Tess surely she had to know she was wife in just name. She wasn’t wife or leader in the real sense with those children or with any of Lowell’s friends, Jackie would always hold that title part of the reason what they were about to embark on was why it was delicious.

“Let’s just hope for everyone involved that they are to busy ripping each other apart to worry about you and what you have been up to if Belle even thinks something was amiss, they could suspect. Imagine how this will go down you giving those girls what you think they deserve while we sell off their father’s company under their grieving noses and the crushed look on their faces when the rest of his spoiled brats are left with nothing? When Jackie is destatue it will make everything worth it I promise.” He said looking at her that was the plan and he wanted Forbes to not be a part of it meaning he had to work twice as hard to make sure Forbes was satisfied and placated by their original deal. “I hope they see it that way and a certain other party is so focused on merging he doesn’t see the blindside.” He said before he was completely shocked when she leaned in and kissed him. His hands wrapped around her waist for a moment and his lips tasted her for a moment before he pulled back. “I’ll be by your side of course but will Forbes as well or have you decided that he isn’t to actually be trusted?”

Tess savored the kiss needing physical intimacy at this very moment. Her heart was so full of sorrow. How would she ever forgive herself for swapping Lowell’s pills for pacebos? How would she recover from all that she had lost? Was she still human? Was this the human thing to do? Lowell was miserable and a piece of her had given him peace. She knew he wasn’t happy anymore and leaving Jackie wasn’t what he wanted to do. But this was extreme even for her. Tess wrapped her arms around herself as she stepped back. “Forbes isn’t to be trusted. He wants to end DGI and I want to have all the power that DGI alots me. So with that being said I’m going to ax Forbes out of the equation. He’s no longer a factor with the power we wield Pierre, he won’t be a problem or threat. I’ll crush MontCorp if I have to.” Tess said with all might. “DGI is mine now and Jackson and Jackie will feel my wrath.”

Strutting through the door she took Pierre’s hand. “Thank-you for being my friend through this. I appreciate the comradery you exhibited at not just this moment but going forward. Pierre will you be the COO of DGI? Will you help me take this company to new heights because if so I’ll assure you that everything you want, and everything you need will be given. You are my partner now and I need you to be at my side during the takeover of DGI.” Tess turned and watched the snow lightly beginning to fall. “This is my shot to get any and everything I ever wanted. That is enough for me. If you are willing, let’s go about this together.”

Of course he knew that Forbes couldn’t be trusted on the other hand neither could he. If Tess was a smart woman she would know that and hearing her talk about wanting DGI to succeed with her at the helm was worrisome to say the least. For now she didn’t need to know about his other two angles in order to bring DGI to its knees since she was happy to still want it. He learned a long time ago to not trust anyone when it came to what was best for him or his family that included the woman before him. As for returning to DGI as COO it was a flattering offer but he also knew that the Devonshire siblings weren’t that stupid to just sniff out the fact that their father’s enemy and the father of Greer coming to DGI reeked of something amiss. He could tell that part of Greer still wanted Chauncey but frankly that wasn’t enough for him especially if she returned the gesture later he wanted DGI burnt to the ground his daughter would be an outsider there better to lay in wait on this one with his back up plans in place.

“For now Tess you need to go in guns blazing without my support. How would that look to their brats? The sudden grieving widow brings on the man their father hated to run the company. Your girls would turn to Jackie so quickly and swiftly you wouldn’t even have a chance to win them back. But if you wait and give it time to settle that you are in charge and changes need to be made it could work out.” Pierre said looking at her looking through the window once again as the snow began to fall on the ground. He watched the wheels turning in her head while he spoke about how it would all play out at the end of it all with her children versus Jackie’s there was no way that they would forgive their mother if he was involved. “When the time is right Tess I will join you of course but for now my dear let’s give them what they truly hate you in charge. You know they don’t trust me after what Greer did, maybe if she and Chauncey were on good terms but they’re not at the moment. You were the one that was denied her rightful place by Jackie, it is only fitting you take it back now yourself. Also you never got those documents from me. I paid handsomely for them and should it ever come out I think we can both agree a mutual enemy would be the likely name said person could give the police correct?” He said taking her hand in his kissing it lightly before kissing her cheek as well.

Tess stiffened as she listened to him. He was correct this part of the mission she had to go alone. Forbes was no doubt lurking or had spies but it wouldn’t matter. Come tomorrow she was going to be the CEO of DGI and have all the power that came with it. As she touched her cheek it was the first time since her marriage previously she felt something for a man. Lowell had left her the widow Devonshire no matter what he wanted it was about revenge. She was going to make Jackie remember today for the rest of her life. As she watched Pierre shuffling away into the darkness she walked to the corridor and saw her daughter Bliss almost hanging over in pain. So it was time. Forgiveness or redemption wasn’t what she was after. Power and taking the one thing Lowell cared about was her ultimate revenge. She had to do this and it wasn’t about the girls. She could say that over and over again. It was about her chance to be something more. Lowell played with her every time she got married here he came ruining her chance at moving on. She foolishly believed him every single time. Until she was in her early fifties and no longer the woman who caught men so easily. She wasted her youth on a man who couldn’t love her because he was too invested in Jackie. He loved her to deeply to ever commit to her. That was it. It was the last straw. “Goodbye Lowell, I hope you burn in hell.”


Chauncey was pretty sure he’d been stoic since David had come out and told them about his father’s stroke. He was numb wondering how they would all cope and move forward. No doubt his father would want a fast funeral; he likely had Simon on speed dial ready to roll it out and part of him smiled. His father always had a plan of action and he was sure this was no different when it came to tonight but the gloom and darkness was all over the waiting room. His daughter had cried in his arms when David had come out announcing the news and his siblings had reacted all differently when it came to their new reality. He in turn had texted his ex that she needed to be there with them for their last goodbye to his father as a family unit and he knew that Selina needed closure too. Now they were all waiting to go into the room and he wanted to be the first as eldest. It was his right was it not? When he saw Selina finally arrive into the waiting room and got up from his chair wrapping her in his arms and looking at Elliot sulking in the corner. Despite everything that happened between them he liked to think they were better as friends than lovers and she was the only mother Maddie knew. He also went to Natasha placing his hand on her shoulder she was a part of the family too.

“David just told us the news dad had a stroke he’s not going to wake back up. I am so glad you came, Maddie is taking this really hard and I’m not sure I can do this by myself with her. Everyone else is just waiting to go in so I wanted to be the first after being passed over at DGI. It feels like I should at least have that, you know?” Chauncey said looking at Selina trying to not think about how angry he was about being passed over. He was so bitter about it and if his father was well he’d tell him exactly what he thought about it not to mention not being able to speak to him one last time. It all felt so final now and he looked over at Maddie while he walked with Selins too her. “Are you ready sweetheart? I think it’s time we go and day our goodbyes. Selina and I will be right by you and I know this will be hard. Natasha will be too I think your grandfather would like that especially for you.” Chauncey said softly looking at his daughter  and seeing his mother waiting outside his father’s door.

Selina knew she had to be here even though she had that ugly fight with Jackie earlier in the evening. The Devonshire were family friends and her father would be horrified at how she spoke to Jackie. She was indeed in shock herself as she saw Lowell falling down. “If you would just like your father while Natasha and I wait. It is truly up to you Maddie I need to tell you something because I haven’t been the best to you. My own pain has preventing me from being as active as I used to be. I want to tell you if you don’t feel safe or don’t feel the security with my presence I will absolutely understand. Maddie with the last year of my life I would hope you would show me grace. You are a special part of my life and unfortunately and I’m sorry I have acted like you weren’t the daughter that I can’t have. You are my love and I am so very sorry and apologize to you from the deepest part of my heart.” She touched her belly breathless that Lowell was truly dying. Selina composed herself for Maddie as she stooped down.

“I am asking a lot of a child and if that means you can’t do it I understand. But right now I want to be here for you Maddie. I want to be here for you so much and I wish I could take this moment from you. I wish I could absorb every moment of your pain.” She looked at Chauncey and no he was never physically abusive but he did break her mentally in many ways. He was her very first chink in her once impentrable armor and Selina was on a quest to repair it. Right now wasn’t the time or the place but she and this man had to have a conversation about their past. “Honey, talk to me. I know your grandfather meant so much to you. I know you love him and you are so hurt right now but I need you to do me a favor sweetie and tell us what we need to do.” Selina said in a comforting voice.

Maddie had latched on to the story she listened to her dad spin on the phone in the car. The one that ended with her grandfather leaving the hospital and skirting death. She’d sat in that waiting room doing her best to will it into being while everyone argued around her. But when David came out to deliver the news, the wind had been knocked out of her. This wasn’t how his story was supposed to end. Then her dad was there, like he always was when she needed him. He had wrapped her up in his arms and she couldn’t stop the tears. She’d clung to him, a fistful of his jacket in each hand. His cologne reminded her of when she was little. She would sneak downstairs after her bedtime to wait for him when he was out late. She’d inevitably fall asleep and wake up as he was carrying her upstairs. She wanted to wake up now and find all of this was a terrible nightmare. The cacophony of voices intermingled with her own sobs told her that wouldn’t happen. It felt like just moments ago she’d parted with her grandfather in the garden. Before that dance with her grandmother that had the entire ballroom enthralled and before his failed speech and before her world came crashing down. Her dad had found her sitting outside and she’d shaken off the melancholic mood to excitedly tell him she’d decided to apply for an early decision at Yale. She wished she’d gone after her grandfather instead because now Yale didn’t seem to matter so much and she couldn’t remember if she’d told him she loved him. And what if he didn’t know just how much she did love him? Now he’d never know.

Fresh tears stung her eyes when her father had said it was time to say goodbye. Then Selina was there overwhelming her with apologies and explanations and asking what she wanted. She didn’t know how to respond so she’d looked at her dad for reassurance. She’d watched him embrace Selina when she arrived and he’d told her Selina would be there and she did want that. At least right now. She didn’t know what to do with the hurt feelings or the abandonment. Everything had been subsumed by this despair that settled in her chest like a weight. So all the resolve she’d carefully erected against Selina over the past year fell apart because in this moment, that didn’t seem to matter anymore either. She wiped at her cheeks with a tissue that she didn’t really remember taking. “…Mom,” she said, a little hesitantly. Unsure if that was still the right thing to call her but it was who she needed Selina to be now. Her mom again. Even if it was just for tonight. “I don’t know what to say to any of that. Do you want me to tell you it’s ok? I don’t know if I can say that but I want you to stay with us. I’m glad you’re here. I want you to come with us to say goodbye to him. You owe him that, don’t you?” She reached for Selina and hugged her. “I miss him so much already. I don’t know how to do this.” She released Selina as she stood up, looping an arm around her and dad and sagging against his side. Her gaze fell on Natasha who looked like a death knell in that black feathered dress. A vulture lying in wait for the mostly dead to finally fall off the precipice of life. And no she didn’t think her grandfather wanted her there. Hadn’t he seen the slideshow? But Natasha was just background noise in their lives. And this was all too hard so she followed her dad’s lead again, rolling her eyes a bit and making a small gesture at the woman indicating she should join them. She probably would have come in anyway with her misguided sense of self importance. She laid her head back against her dad, holding onto him and took Selina’s hand. Her dad moved them towards the door to her grandfather’s room looming ahead of them. She looked at her grandmother for some glimmer of hope but when their eyes met, an emptiness filled the pit of her stomach.

Jackie had simply rushed down the hall with Lauren when David said that Lowell had suffered a likely unrecoverable stroke. She had broken down inside the room looking at the breathing tube keeping her former husband alive the eerie been if the machine now guiding the man that was charismatic in her youth that charmed her into marrying him, made her fall in love with him even after their divorce. She had sat in the room with Lauren crying while Walter had simply handed them both tissue after tissue. She was still shaking even though her mind drifted to their children. Wasn’t Tess supposed to be here fighting for her husband and their marriage, a marriage she knew was a ruse on the man now confined to being kept alive with a machine. She had steadied herself when Lauren had left to return and let her know that Chauncey, Madeline, Selina and Natasha wanted to see him first and she simply nodded. She could see the glimmer of hope in her granddaughter’s eyes and simply couldn’t lie or return the gesture Lowell was gone, the acute stroke was one that he wouldn’t recover from the bleeding in his brain alone had killed him. The ventilator was the only thing keeping him there with them and she knew that now was the time to let them all say goodbye to him.

“Oh Maddie I do wish this wasn’t how it ended for your grandfather. Selina he would have been glad you could make it.” Jackie said hugging her granddaughter and looking at Selina their disagreement earlier came to fruition on her mind. She simply lightly hugged Natasha as well. The woman was an ice box at times hard to read but she was Chauncey’s wife then she wrapped her eldest in her arms. She felt his tears slipping out briefly into her shoulder blade and rubbed his back before looking at him with tears in her eyes. “I’m not sure how much David has prepared you all for this. He’s on a ventilator there are tubes and wires coming out of his body, with the stroke there was a brain bleed.” Jackie said her words tumbling out trying to remember all the details something about the loss of oxygen to his brain and how there was no brain function she had overheard the nurses talking in the hall, some believed people could hear those final goodbyes others assumed there was a shell of the person that was once inside the body. “I know this will be hard but I want each of you to have a chance to say your goodbyes.” Jackie said while she opened the door.

Chauncey was so numb while he watched his daughter breaking down by his side and did what he could for her hugging her while his siblings seemed to whisper or talk around them and their spouses and for a split second he drowned out thoughts of DGI. He looked over at Selina and mouthed a thank you to her. She was always a good mother to Maddie despite their ups and downs and he wouldn’t have changed that for the world. When Maddie had side eyed Natasha he hoped that for now there wouldn’t be a huge fight about things now wasn’t the time or the place for another showdown for them. Instead he and helped her up as they solemnly walked down the hallway towards his father’s room and his eyes rested on his mother’s. He tried to be strong as he pulled way and the overwhelming sounds of the machines rang in his ears as he led Maddie and himself to a chair pulling them up to help his daughter sit down as he took his father’s hand, the coldness of it settling into his bones.

“Dad, we’re all here for you in the waiting room there is so much I wanted to say and ask you. You’d be happy to know that Walter showed up like the leech he was to try and lecture us. Just as you would say like old times, why in the hell did you have to have him help with everything?” Chauncey said quietly looking at his mother and then over at his daughter his voice cracking slightly as he felt the tears slipping out. He was so angry at him for not telling him why he was picking his brother to be CEO over him, why he never once couldn’t just had the company over to him and now on his deathbed expected him and Jackson to get along and just make up along with way with no guidance. He was so mad that his daughter was losing her grandfather so callously and harshly and more than that he was so sad that his father was gone. “Selina even made it in time to speak to you as well. I wasn’t always up to your standers now was I? I promise to at least help take care of mom. I can also at least try to be the man you wanted me to become.” Chauncey said pausing for a moment looking at his father’s face that was still unmoving and he meant that he really was trying to be better and make his new marriage and family with Natasha work because clearly that was what he wanted in an heir now.

Maddie had hung onto a sliver of hope that this was a misunderstanding, that her grandfather had beaten the devil once more despite what David had said. He was supposed to have more time. She’d read everything she could about ALS. She’d emailed David a flurry of questions since his diagnosis. Her grandfather was deteriorating and they all knew his days were numbered but the worst was still ahead of them. At least that’s what she’d thought despite her grandfather’s gentle warning that it could be any day. She hardly registered her grandmother’s words about his state. When they entered the room it was jarring. She swallowed against the lump forming in her throat as she fumbled for her dad’s hand, unable to pull her eyes away from her grandfather lying lifeless on the bed. The room filled with the unnatural sounds of the machines that were keeping him alive. She couldn’t seem to register what any of them were doing. The first whoosh of the ventilator startled her and she squeezed her dad’s hand. This was where she’d spend the last moments with her grandfather? Where the great Lowell Devonshire would take his last breath? A sterile white tomb that reeked of chemicals and had a panoramic view of the back parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. He deserved so much better. She followed her father to his bedside, her stomach doing loops the closer they got. She let him help her with the chair and tried to acclimate herself to the sight in front of them. Almost scared to touch him, she gingerly placed a hand on her grandfather’s shoulder and listened to her father. She heard the emotion in his voice and she blinked furiously against her own tears when he looked at her. “I love you, daddy,” she whispered, putting an arm around him and laying her head against his shoulder.

When it was her turn to say goodbye, she picked up her grandfather’s hand and pressed it against her cheek. But when she tried to speak, the tears strangled her voice. As the room grew blurry she desperately wrapped her arms around his chest, weaving them through the tubes and found a place to lay her head just over his heart. Sobbing, she sucked in a few shallow, shaky breaths before it felt like her lungs filled with air again. “I’m so sorry. I wanted to be brave and strong for you but I can’t. I don’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t know it was going to hurt this much,” she choked out listening to the faint beating of his heart that made it feel like he was still with them. If it had to be this way, she wanted to stay right here in this moment forever. He might not be here but he wasn’t gone yet, either. The scratchy hospital gown grew wet against her cheek and she lost herself in the rhythm of the whooshing and beeping.  She didn’t know how long she’d been like that when someone touched her and she was jolted back to consciousness. Sitting up, she took a wad of tissues from the box that Selina was holding and pressed them against her face. She took deep breaths and waited until she managed to stifle the tears before taking his hand again. “I thought we would have more time. I have a whole list of things I wanted to do with you. You would tell me to do them anyway, so I will. One day. I promise. I just wish I knew earlier that today was the last day I’d ever hear your voice or see you smile. I wish you could stay a little longer. I know you do too but it’s ok. I understand. I’ll never forget that you’re always with me. Right here,” she said, pressing his hand against her heart like he had earlier in the evening. “I don’t know what happens now, where you’ll go but… if you see my mom, tell her I said hi. And that I love her. She’ll be so lucky to have you with her. I’m glad she won’t have to be alone anymore.” Maddie wiped her eyes again and kissed her grandfather’s cheek. “I’ll love you forever.”

Selina approached Lowell bedside and sat down. She looked at Jackie, Chauncey and Maddie as she took her daughter’s hand. “I want to tell you something Lowell. Thank-you for lying to me for years. I know that my mother wasn’t a good person but you and Jackie and my father all came up with a consorted effort to be here for us. I don’t appreciate it but I do understand it. Let me be the first to tell you I’m going for my own legacy. I’m going to do what I saw you do and I hope to inspire Maddie to go even further. You are a icon in business but a father to me in my life.” She said exasperated as she exhaled letting the pain wash over her. “Never in a million years did I think Lowell Devonshire or Tony Delacroix would be gone. You two are an indelible part of my life. I can dream now to the biggest caliber because you two men helped me see what I am. I’m ferocious and I am ready to take on the world. To be a better woman and be a better human. I have suffered and I want you to know you don’t have to worry about these two. I will always have love for Chauncey and Maddie. I’ll do whatever I can to protect them do you hear me? He isn’t my lover but he is my best friend and although we have some things to address Chauncey and Maddie are my family. I promise do you hear me? I promise to always be here for them.” Selina stood as she wiped her eyes.

She felt overwhelmed by the entire situation. “Honey, would you like to go get a hot chocolate? I think we’ve all said what we need to say to him.” Covering her mouth she lowered her head. How could this be? How could Lowell have gone right behind her father? “Promise me one thing Lowell, when you walk through those pearly gates you’ll hug my father and my mother for me. Please tell them I love them and I love you so much godfather. Thank-you for all that you’ve taught me, Chauncey, and most of all Maddie. Thank-you for giving her the love when we faltered. Chauncey, I need to get some air sweetie, are you ready?” She turned and walked out of the room escorting Maddie with her as she paused and looked at Jackie. Selina walked to the other woman and hugged her tightly. “You are always my godmother.”

Chauncey had sat by his daughter’s side watching the anguish on her face all of what was happening and he felt his own tears slipping out this was a pain that neither he or Selina could fix it wasn’t a cut, broken bone or a bruise. It was the end of the man that she loved her grandfather and he knew that it was going to leave a great ache and hole in her body and soul, but they could at least try and help her through it. He looked over at his mother when Maddie and pulled back and then looked at Selina they were still family and maybe they did need to still talk about some things but that would come in time. When she was done and mentioned that they could get some air all together he nodded leading Maddie out of the room. “I think Selina is right we can go get some air.” Chauncey said to Maddie and then leaned in hugging his mother before pulling back and looking at her.. “I’m going to let Selina take Maddie home and make some calls when it’s time I’ll be back with everyone to see dad off just tell me when.”

Jackie hugged Selina back as she had stood by and reached for a tissues during Chauncey’s goodbye and then during Maddie’s she didn’t even notice she was sobbing till Chauncey had reached out to her. Saying goodbye should have been something that she felt she had neglected when it came to all her children they were all so lost at what to say or do. They had bottled it all inside so much it felt like and had stepped aside after the entire thing with Zerick. Looking at Selina she nodded her head before she left the room looking back at her son and granddaughter allowing them their moment. “Of course I will.” She said before hugging him and then walking back to the waiting room Her eyes focused instead on Bliss with Hunter in the lobby and wondered where Belle was, more importantly where Tess was in it all.

Maddie had held Selina’s hand tightly, listening as she promised she would be present in their lives in the future. After the past year, she wasn’t sure what to think but she didn’t have the strength to analyze it now. She would try to file the words away for another time. She shook her head when Selina asked if she wanted hot chocolate. The thought of eating held no appeal. It seemed like a foreign concept at that moment. Her stomach felt hollow and she couldn’t recall ever feeling so drained. She was still grappling with the idea that he could be gone. He’d been so full of life just a few hours ago. She gave him one more hug and then she was on autopilot as she moved across the room towards the door. A throbbing headache reminded her that she was awake and this was real. Just when she thought she’d gotten the tears under control, another wave would overcome her. First when she’d hugged her grandmother on the way out, just before she turned to take a final look at her grandfather. Again when she met Jackson’s sad gaze in the waiting room. She’d stopped to hug him tightly, her words lost to her but knowing he would understand. Then she followed her dad and Selina outside into the cool breeze, an arm around each of them as they huddled together in their grief.


Everything in her entire body hurt as she slowly opened up her eyes. The last thing she remembered was opening that bottle of champagne in the Devonshire guest house and laying out all those lines. Her throat was so raw and as her eyes fluttered open Skye stared at the fluorescent lighting above the bed and looked down towards her feet she wasn’t in heaven or hell unfortunately instead she was in the hospital and she turned her head to the side seeing the Iv dripping and her sister looking at her and the tears stung her eyes she knew she had broken a promise. But what else was new, it was frankly addictive behavior and over the last few months she didn’t know or have anyone she could turn to she felt. Merci was happy with Devin and didn’t deserve her entire mess with Jon or Miles in her lap. She had no other friends in town which wasn’t surprising she made more enemies than friends and she and Jon well now at least she knew. The hum of the light was dull and ached inside her head and she felt a shake coming on from withdrawal and clenched her fists. She was always doing this fucking up her life left and right had been for years since her parents died she closed her eyes for a moment.

“Listen its under control okay. I just needed a release this time after everything and you don’t need to worry about me. You and Devin have this whole wedding you guys need to plan and after this i’ll head to New York or somewhere to get away. Lots of parties out there and single men.” Skye said the last thing she needed was her sister begging her to stay in town. She saw that Merci didn’t appreciate any of what she was saying. If anything she looked pissed as hell at her and she deserved it every single look and her mind wandered to who had actually found her. Lord knows the Devonshire’s couldn’t be fucking bothered or their staff. “So let me guess the ice queen herself Cassie probably went and told you where I wandered off too tell her thanks thanks or me it was some good shit. I didn’t mean To take the whole bag, I just wanted to get away like we used to when we’d party hard. No Jon, no Miles no more fucking messes I’ve made. Or was it Maggie she was so fucking gleeful to tell me Jon’s been with her like this the entire time not that I gave a shit you know?” Skye said hoping Merci was buying her lies just spilling put no one bot even her could know the truth how broken she was by all of it.

Merci listened to Skye rant on and on. Her eyes were burning from the bland fluorescent light beaming in her face. As she paced back and forth. “You really believe I’m going to allow you to go to New York City? Have you lost your damn mind? Remember when we were twelve and we found each other? I promised to look after you and maybe I’m failing by being so wrapped up in my wedding, in my business, in my own life that I didn’t see it. Oh blame Cassie or Maggie but they didn’t take drugs Skye you did. You did this to us! You don’t want Jon? Huh because that man is outside of this very room begging to see you. Begging for a chance and I don’t think it’s fair to me or him how you’ve done this again. You keep doing this to yourself when is enough? When are you tired of all this? You’re not going to New York, Skye you’re going to rehab. You’re going to get yourself together and finally take a chance on your own happiness. Fuck Jon, and fuck Miles. You have to find happiness in your own life. Skye I am exhausted with this. I was so scared.” She said as it wail came out of her mouth. “I don’t have anyone! You are all I have and I don’t want you dead! I don’t want you to die so stop! Stop it Skye! No more excuses you are going to rehab and you will never set foot in Atlas Falls if it makes you unhappy like this. You figured it out and now it’s all mess again. I’m sorry that Miles and Jon and the Hessington’s have all slithered into your psyche and broke it again but it’s time to be a big girl and fight for your survival. I don’t mean hooking, I don’t mean drugs, and I don’t mean another fucking man!” She screamed at Skye.

“Only thing you need to focus on is getting better Skye! Getting your second chance at a life. You gave that little boy up and I need you to face it. If Miles is the pain face it. If Jon is the pain throw him away! He isn’t worth your life! I mean it Skye I can’t do this anymore. I mean it if you don’t try to fix yourself I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t face losing the one person I have. I don’t have an aunt Skye who can tell me my history! You are my history sis! You are my friend! You are all I have! Why do you keep doing this? Why? I don’t want you here anymore, I really want you to find your happiness and honey if Jon is bringing you down then it’s time to cut the cord. It’s time to move forward.” Walking to her sister’s bedside she sat down and grabbed her hand. As Merci began to weep. “You’re all I have, please stop.”

Skye closed her eyes she couldn’t bullshit her way out of this one when it came to Merci even now she knew what was up why did she overdose? The answer was simple she just needed a fucking high and to forget all the shit she had been through over the last few months with Miles and Jon. She had deluded herself that Jon would ever fucking forgive her for what she did when it came to Miles or that Charles would ever let her have a fucking win. Sure before she came back at least had a somewhat amicable relationship with her son through Ryan and Whitney she knew that wasn’t going to happen now no matter what she was able to do or to ask. There was nothing that she could or couldn’t do to get back into Miles life especially now so what did she have to fucking live for anyway? As for Cassie and Maggie no they weren’t the people that shoved the coke up their nose when it came to what she had done no she was the one that had done that. She closed her eyes tighter as she took a breath looking over at her sister and nodding her head at her she was going to go to rehab and then figure it all out how could she have abandoned or thought about abandoning the one person that was always there for her.

“I fucked up alright I didn’t think when I was doing that much or that I had control Merci I swear! I just wanted all the pain to stop for it to just stop, Miles and Jon and to feel literally nothing for once and for all.” She said letting the tears fall down her face as she spoke to them about how it was all crashing and turning around inside of her. There was so much pain there and she knew that she had to cut the cord with Jon finally for both of them none of this made sense anymore or was good for either one of them. She also knew that if she didn’t Charles would do something and the mention of her hooking days had her nearly shaking in fear sure Merci knew she hooked but she didn’t know the ins or the outs and it was better that way for everyone involved. She looked up at the bag of fluids and then the IV in her arm again. “I’m sorry I scared you and I know that I need to get my shit together for myself this time and maybe New York is a way to get that. I know you may not agree with this but I want to see Jon. I need to cut that cord if I don’t I won’t make it Merci.” Skye said quietly looking at her sister with tears streaming down her face while she looked at Merci trying to keep it together. “He has to know that its over this time for good Merci.” She whispered the last part her voice shaky when she did.

Merci shook her head as she looked at her. “He is here to fix this. I think you need to hear her him out. That man is out there begging and crying to see you. I don’t condone what he did to you. I don’t but maybe you can hear him out before you cut the cord. People love you and b you’re out here killing yourself. People need you and I need you.” She said calming her tone with Skye as she looked at her. Sitting down as she looked her in the eyes. “Tell me why don’t you care about yourself enough to protect yourself from this madness? You have been given so little from drugs except from pain. Why? Why are you doing this to yourself? My heart is breaking for you.” She eased up as she stared at her knowing she was getting emotional all over again. Walking to her sister she unzipped her purse and pulled out a brush. Merci began to brush her hair as she looked at her. “If that is what you want. I’ll go get him.” Applying her lip gloss on her lips.

“Drink some water your skin looks horrid. We need a facial. I’m going home to grab you some clothes and things you need. If you’re that stressed out let me reintroduce you to a Merci spa day. I’m pampering you and we will figure out where you’re going. I’m so glad you’re okay Skye, I’m so happy that you’re alive to kick this addiction ass.” She walked out of the room with a smile on her face as she saw Jon and Devin standing down the hall. She walked down to Devin and Jon and smiled at Jon knowing he was finally about to be out of Skye life. “She wants to see you and Devin. I need to go home to get her some clothes and things to make her feel better before she goes away.” Merci said in a sugary but venomous tone. “When we get back I don’t expect to see you, Jon.”

“Good to see you Merci and thank-you.” Jon said rushing down the hallway as he looked back at Devin who gave him a thumbs up. He wasn’t sure what changed but he needed to see Skye and tell her he had gotten help. He was ready to try and figure everything out. As he opened the door he saw her laying in the bed. His eyes glanced at her curled up in a ball she was beautiful but broken. He could feel her energy and his eyes were focused on how she had turned away from the door and him. “Hey.” He said pulling out a single rose he snatched on his way down the hall. “I brought you this but I doubt you want to see a flower. I guess we need to talk. Skye I messed up badly and I don’t expect you to understand that but I did. I messed up and I went for help okay. I’m sorry for a lot but I need you to look at me baby. To talk me so we can fix this together. Skye, I need to fix this. You are the love of my life and I want to make sure you’re okay. I know I haven’t treated you as such and I’m not asking to jump into anything. I just want us to get help together.”

Skye had no idea why she didn’t protect herself from it all this time and she was pretty sure it was the fantasy part. The dream that she and Jon would be able to work things out that he would never learn what she had done that motivated her. Once it all took a turn to darkness and shit though she knew her mistake was staying in town and letting Cassie and Miranda blackmail her into all but confessing to Miles. Then she stayed because she needed something out of Jon whether it was some form of forgiveness or fucked up sense of love she wasn’t sure but it had to end now. She had crashed and spiraled into something she promised to never do again to her sister or Miles. Now more than ever she overdosed; they would never let her see him again and it was her fault she had wanted to nod her head at her sister. But it fucking hurt to much her entire body hurt like she had been run over and left for dead all over again but this felt even worse  than that closing her eyes she heard Merci leave her in the silence of the room for a moment and closed her eyes. She was somewhere else when she did on a beach somewhere warm and sunny, the wind on her back a man next to her and she already knew who she wanted it to be and instead was jolted out of it when the door opened again and she heard Jon’s voice.

She actually almost wanted to laugh in his face as she stared at the flower in his hand did he really think a flower was going to make her feel better about any of it? She looked at the flower and then simply looked past him barely paying any attention to him in front of her. “You messed up? We really don’t have a lot to talk about Jon Harrison. You’ve been stringing me along for months and barely batted an eyelash when someone tried to mow me down at the wedding and now you want to talk?” Skye said almost manically when she did in the meat melodic voice she could it was all so futile looking back on the last few months between them how much of a mess it was. She made sure to keep distance between him and her when she scooted closer to the bed almost as if he would bite her or something and then she’d call a fuckng dealer again to try it all over again. “I tried to hard with you to get you to see why I did what I did and yet you just didn’t care about any of it, it was as always about you. So much so that you were probably out with Maggie and then come back to your house and tell me all the things I wanted to hear. Did you put her up to telling me at the party tonight for kicks? That wasn’t even the worst the worst was Cassie but then again you virtue signal for women you think are above me or Merci.” Skye spat out at him her eyes meeting his.

Jon stood back and wasn’t sure what he expected but he felt the pain of Skye’s words. He bit down his bottom lip as he stared at her. He lowered his head as he looked at her fury head on. Folding his arms he felt like his heart was in his chest. As he walked to the bed he sat down by her and looked at her beautiful face. As he listened to her harsh words as he lowered his head. “I will be breaking whatever it is off with Maggie. I never intended for it to go further than a fling and it just kept going. I feel so ashamed of that now. I haven’t spoken to her since I returned to Atlas Falls. I swear that. Nor have I spoken with Cassie. Whatever happened tonight it’s my fault. I’m to blame myself and I know that for a fact you[‘re tired. Tired of me and tired of me not listening. I haven’t been the best man I can be. I haven’t been good to you but I’m begging right now Skye. Listen to my words because they aren’t words. You’re not an option, you are the only option. Do you get it now? I’m apologizing for not listening to you about Miles, I’m talking about not putting you first, and I’m talking about not saying this. Skye Morgan, you are the love of my life. I’m a man. I’m a man who has made some mistakes, and that means you are the most important thing to me right now. I am a man and as a man I’m a fool not to see what you deserve. You deserve to be loved and I’m not saying right now I deserve that love. Yet I’m here, and I’m willing to wait and at least to fix this situation. This relationship if you want to try, and I will try. Believe me I want to be the man you need and deserve please just listen to me.” Jon said, taking a deep breath.

“I remember the first time I saw you. You were wearing a pink sundress. I think you said it was Chanel as if that mattered to me. I know that you were with Jackson but I didn’t care. I still don’t care. I am trying to grab at a chance that we’ve never had Skye. A chance to be healthy together. I’m going to therapy to fix what is broken within me. Tell me if you are listening to me. Tell me if you can open your heart. Skye I know you aren’t as heartless as me. I know you aren’t me and I know you won’t punish me. If we aren’t to be then please let me help you go to a place to help you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.” Jon said, lowering his head. “Let me figure this out and love you back to life. Love me back to life.” He looked at Skye as he saw her recoiling with tears in her eyes. “Don’t tell me I’ve done too much we both have but we are bare Skye, I’m a flawed man and you are a damaged woman but I want to love every piece of you and fix this. Say you want to fix this Skye, tell me I’m not alone anymore and we can put it all back together?”

Skye looked at him he wanted to go down memory lane as if that was comforting knowing that back then she was a fucking mess and the only reason they started was because of that his obsession with another woman. Then he started to speak about the fact that this was his fault and she close her eyes no it was her own fault sure he played a part in it so did Maggie and Cassie but she was the one that took the coke out of the bag. She was the one that laid out some lines with her American Express credit card took the hundred dollar bill out of her clutch, rolled it and inhaled that shit up her nose to drift off for a bit. No one held her face down on the table if they did maybe she would have looked into her reflection longer than the few seconds she did and stopped herself, nope for her it was herself that did the drugs. She was the one that kept fucking up left and right and then she looked at the window seeing Charles walk by and a chill went over her while she looked at Jon. She knew it was cold when she made the next choice to simply pull herself back from him completely as she rolled over in the bed. Staring at the blank wall in front of her and steadied her breathing to not shake or cry she needed this to be real and to sell it as the performance of her life. If Charles had showed up to support Whitney in this mess she knew that he could follow up on his threats if he wanted, Merci and Jon didn’t need to be in the crossfire.

“Listen it’s over, I don’t want to see you Jon. I don’t want anything to do with you anymore, I want off this toxic back and forth that we seem to be in every few years or between other people or whatever. I asked Merci to get you and let you come in and see me to give you that message I want you out of my life. You should go.” Skye said moving her head on the pillow for a moment and realizing that he was still there she turned around and looked at him. Bracing herself as she saw Charles look through the window for a moment at her and then she looked at Jon. “Get out and I mean it don’t come back in here, it’s over. Merci will come by your house for my shit and she and I will figure out something for my recovery this time. Everyone will be better this time if this just ends and we go back to the way it was before where I was the girl you had fun with to get over your petty feelings for women that really never loved you back. I go back to what I am good at, partying and having a good time without worrying about the man I’m in bed with. Now go.” Skye finished looking at him and then at the door waiting for him to leave.

Jon felt his entire chest cave in. He’d done it. He’d finally done the unthinkable and pushed her too far. This was his fault and he knew it. She was done and he deserved it but for some reason he felt like it was a bad dream. He’d just confessed his undying allegiance and love for her. He was practically on bended knee and maybe he didn’t express it enough. He wasn’t sure but at this moment he couldn’t let this happen like that. He could let Skye go without a fight and he walked to the other side of the room. “I don’t think you heard me Skye and I don’t think you understand what I’m saying at all.” Jon got down on his knees. “I’m begging you right now and I’m trying to have look at me. I’m broken without you and I broke with you but you are all the glue I need to put me back together. I fucked up but Skye this is me a man who is begging you not to do this. I can’t go back to that empty place. I can’t go back to being that empty man and I can’t go back to not having you in my life.” When he watched Skye turn the opposite way he felt that same crushing feeling as earlier. He had done it. He pushed her far and this reluctance and hurt he had done this.

Jon stood up as he sucked in the air that was left. As he let out a small sob before he tried to speak again. “You can push me away but Skye we’ve been doing this dance for the last ten years. I don’t give a damn about that petty romantic idealization of what is love. This is messy and sometimes it can be toxic but I love you Skye. I love you and I didn’t see it until it was too late but I’m not going to give up and I need you to hear me when I say this. I’m never going to get over this because I finally see that the love of my life wasn’t Dani Fraiser, Cassie or Maggie but you. You are it for me and you may hate me right now but I’m going to do everything in my power to win you back.” Jon wiped his eyes. “That’s all I gotta say right now and I’m going to let you rest.” Jon walked out of the room as he raced past Whitney and Ryan not wanting them to see him like this. Passing Charles Hessington as he pressed for the elevator. He stepped on and saw Charles comforting Whitney and Ryan as the door closed on what felt like the end of his life.


It took him about an hour to actually be released from jail and when he was Hunter was so glad to be on his way to the Summit until they were passed by two ambulances on the road heading to the Devonshire estate. He had simply told the driver to follow them to the hospital where he ended up in a half an hour traffic jam giving him time to pull out his phone with the attached power bank to see what the fuck had happened. He scanned the news sites and the gossip sites that Jackson had given a speech as planned only for Lowell to collapse on stage after seeing a picture of David Rhodes and Belle together, leading to an ambulance being called for him. Then a second one had arrived for Skye Morgan after she was found overdosed in the Devonshire guesthouse and he pinched the bridge of his nose. His mind immediately went to Bliss and how she was handling all of this, deciding that he could tell his best friend about his little visit with Lex after they knew more about Lowell and his condition. He would hold off the Devonshire’s didn’t need more drama. He thanked the driver when he arrived at the hospital and then made his way to the ICU when the nurse at the desk told him that was where Lowell was. His brain was racing a mile a minute when it came to what had happened and he took the elevator stepping off to see all the crushed faces in the waiting room as he made his way to Bliss and Fox.

“Hey I got here as soon as I could. What happened to your dad? I checked some of the blog sites on my way over with the phone charging something about him collapsing?” Hunter said looking at her and seeing her shocked face that he was in front of her half brushed up face and all. He crouched down in front of her stroking her face to wipe away any tears and hugged Fox when he reached out for him. “I wasn’t gonna be gone forever and it is a long story but what happened? I missed both of you so much.” He said seeing her still looking at him bewildered as he noticed Chauncey or Maddie weren’t there and a pit settled in his stomach seeing Belle looking out the window. Rory off to the side with Aspen and then Jackson with Dani. “It’s a long story but Dimitri us behind us for good I’m here now and I’m never going anywhere again okay?” He finished hugging her again wondering what Lowell’s status was and how he could help.

From the moment he walked in she didn’t care how it happened but it was a blessing. She knew that God had shined his light on them. When he leaned in and kissed Fox forehead she knew it wasn’t one of the dreams she constantly had where her husband returned to their family. Their son climbed out of his arms and directly into Hunter’s and all she could do was smile. Smile through the fact her father was dying and tonight would be the last night on earth. Even though she detested her baby sister Belle shouldn’t be the scapegoat and it was horrifying to see everyone sort of react to her in such a way. There father wanted them to be a unit and a family so she would try her best. As she touched Hunter’s face. “I thought I’d never see you again. I thought you weren’t going to be here anymore and it killed me. Hunter don’t ever ice me out like that. I felt so alone and this baby needs you just as much as me. I know what you were doing but I am a big girl and if it came down to me or you. You’re the better of us both. I took his life and I know Dimitri is behind all of us but I did that. Not you and I was so mad at you for taking the fall but I never loved you more.” Bliss said as she leaned in and kissed him.

“Dad suffered a stroke.” She said softly. “He’s not going to make it without life support and David basically said there was no quality of life left. He is gone and it’s just his husk. A shell laying in that room not my father. How am I supposed to say goodbye?” Questioning her husband. “I just got my daddy. In fact I just got everything I ever wanted and now I’ve lost one of the most important men in my life. He wasn’t there for me every day but I felt his love. I don’t want this to hurt our family at all Hunter. I already see it though. It’s becoming Jackie’s kids versus Tess’ children. It’s stupid but right before daddy passed out it came out that Belle and David were hooking up or in some sort of relationship. Belle is guilty and Rory is snapping, Jackson is scared, Chauncey looks so beat down, Max isn’t talking to anyone, and Jackie.” She said in a low whisper. “I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be in her shoes. They were just dancing tonight. I thought he’d fix it before he dies and divorce mom remarry Jackie or something but this is all too much.” She sniffled as Fox wiped the tears streaming down her face. “Why can’t they listen to him? Hunter I think the Devonshire’s are in real danger of each other.”

“I did what I had to in order to protect you, Fox and this little one and I would do it again Bliss.” Hunter said looking at her and touching her belly. Thank everything that the baby was okay after what he put her through which he knew was foolish and selfish when it came to everything but at the time it was the only option that he had. The only option that kept her safe and with Fox he didn’t care to know the details of what happened between Walter and Charles to get his release at the moment. There would be plenty of time down the line for them to discuss that matter and for him to find out what was traded and for what all that he did know was that he was out of jail and home now. He’d also done a lot if thinking behind bars about how to make things up when it came to how to make things right with everything that had happened with his father. He was going to run for mayor against Walter during the next election there was no need for his legacy to die out with his father’s mistakes he could be a good mayor he knew that. “I’m not leaving again but we have a lot to talk about with how I got out as for your dad I am so sorry Bliss.” He said hugging her tightly he knew what it was like to lose a parent maybe not in the same way but he got that ache.

His was gunned down in bed with his mistress by Gideon Morrison and thinking about it even for a moment it was so gory and gruesome it made his stomach clench. Life wasn’t always prefect in their house but did his dad really have to go out like he did riddled with gunshots to his body with Carla Luciano? Lowell having a stroke however was devastating it was so unexpected was a good word for it everyone knew that he was sick, but they all thought it was his illness that would take him. “At least you have a chance to say goodbye Bliss and have that closure with him where you can tell him everything you never got to say, not everyone gets that moment. I know I didn’t and neither dif Brooke or Anderson and it hurts when we think about it. At least this way you and the rest of your siblings can do that with him, I know he would that for you all.” He said softly pulling her close to him as he looked at her and he didn’t know what to say to the fighting Tess had turned Lowell on Jackie, Jackie in turn was set in her ways when it came to her children. Though he did think that Bliss was part of that group now as well and he glanced over at Belle. “I think he knew that could happen with Tess and Jackie, how is she taking it?” He finished as he tried not to think about Jackie’s pain to much she had been through so much with Lowell and she was like a second mother to him now.

“She said some ugly things and Rory unleashed on her. It wasn’t nice what he said either and I just hate she can’t ever be a normal human instead of this spoiled little bitch. She is so malicious at times and I want to hug her because she ran out of the room. It was really bad because David was the one who told us. Well I guess you’ll hear it sooner than later but David and Belle have been having an affair for a little while. It was exposed when dad had his stroke. So Jackson is sort of but not blaming her and she is always left out in the cold. I’m so exhausted with it. I’m so exhausted with my little sister never getting a chance for us to love her.” Bliss didn’t place the thought of what was truly happening to get him out. She really wanted to know because her life had changed and she didn’t no she couldn’t take any more seismic shifts. Losing her father was eating at her and she felt herself tearing up again and they slowly fell down her face. “I know all this emotion isn’t good for the baby but I just have to say goodbye.”

Standing up she took Hunter’s hand and walked to Lowell’s room as she turned to see her mother at the end of the hall looking haunted. Jackie was right there letting people in and out of the room and that felt appropo at the moment. She saw Tess charging away with tears falling she was emotional as well and wondered what she would do. As she opened the door she touched Jackie’s shoulder. Then she looked at her father. The tubes, wires and beeping alarmed her senses. Fox was sleeping in Hunters arms as she almost doubled over in pain. It felt like she was seeing someone else. The shell was still here but his spirit was gone. She wanted to scream at him for leaving them. How could he do this to her? How could he just leave her when they were all in need of him. She cried out as it escaped her lips walking to her father and touching his hand. “Oh daddy.” She said kissing his hand. “Daddy I’m here, I’m right here and I have Hunter. You said he was going to come home. What did you know that I didn’t and that was a question I have to ask but I will never get what you were going to do. Oh father how could you leave us when we need you the most right now. I’m scared for us all and I just want to hear you say we’ll be okay.” She looked at Hunter who had tears in his eyes. “Please you knew him longer say goodbye as well.”

Jackie had watched Selina, Chauncey, Natasha and Madeline leave agreeing with her son that it had been a long night and that he would come back after seeing Maddie off at home. She had agreed and then simply hugged Bliss and Hunter when they had approached the room she wanted to go comfort Bliss but Hunter was there and it felt like that was more appropriate. She had simply looked down the hallway at Tess icily when she had spotted her and then saw Belle exiting the bathroom. Looking around for an exit and it dawned on ehr why it felt so off to have Bliss in saying goodbye, she needed her sister there as painful as it was for her to admit. She steadied herself wondering if she could really do this make amends with the child that was so disrespectful to everyone and really anything since she had come to town, including her. She had heard the first part of that speech and at the time wondered if she was capable of what he was asking but now that he was all but gone, she knew that she had to for the family. As painful as it was Belle was a part of that, the painful reminder of the lie that her husband carried on with Tess but if she could heal that perhaps that would ease the ache she felt in her heart at the moment. She didn’t even realize that she had walked down the hallway to Belle who was now at the elevators when she tapped her shoulder seeing the girl jump when she turned and she looked at her softly.

“Perhaps we could start over this time like your father wanted. I think your sister could really use you at the moment and as painful as this is for me with you. The right thing to do is to put the past few months aside for all of us and move forward as a family. I know you may not think that you are that, but I am going to try and honor the man in that bed and his last wish to me the best way I can. I know we’ve had our differences but I see a lot of him in you, Max and Chauncey.” Jackie said looking at her and she almost felt like Belle might be still wanting to go and she honestly looked at the young girl gently reaching out to take her hand into our own. People liked to say she was soft when it came to Lowell’s affairs and his indulgences and maybe she was but it was his final wish that she try and help the girl before her and she was going to try and honor the man in the room the man she loved. “He would want you to go and say your goodbyes. I’m happy to not be there in the room if that is what you and Bliss wish but you two should be there together.” Jackie finished looking at her and releasing her hand and not wanting to push it further between the sisters and her own children.

Belle’s lips quivered. “I killed my daddy.” She said softly as she squeezed Jackie hand back. “I can’t say goodbye after what I did. I messed up so badly and I just wanted someone to love me. Oh God Jackie, why did I hurt my dad?” She said, collapsing into the older woman’s arms. “He saw me. He saw me and I don’t know how to fix this. He’s dead in there and I can’t do this.” She said as the tears soaked her face as she tried to back up. The more she tried to wiggle away from the embrace that she felt Jackie holding her into. “Bliss hates me, you all hate me and I know what I did.” Belle cried as she shook her head seeing Rory and Aspen passing. As she exhaled from the pain feeling like she had done Lowell the most wrong. Here he was thinking he could watch her and she was sleeping with David behind his back. “Everyone hates me and I don’t want to disturb them, Jackie. They knew him longer and I know what I’ve done was wrong but I really cared for David.” She began to hyperventilate from crying so hard. It was like the air wasn’t coming. This must be what people felt when they had a panic attack. “I can’t breathe, this is all my fault.” She said pulling away as she shook her head watching Aspen and Rory starting down the hall.

“I’m so sorry for what I did.” She said as she exhaled lowering her hand as she felt someone behind her touching her shoulder she turned around and saw her big sister.

“Hey.” Bliss said as she looked at Jackie and nodded at her letting her know she had Belle. “We happen to think you are a brat and self absorbed Belle but make no mistake little sister we all saw how you believed the sun and the moon revolved around our father. Listen to me we don’t hate you. None of us can blame you for this stroke.” Bliss said as she began to cry. “We don’t hate you Belle but it’s hard for Jackie and them to see us. Honey I need you to come to terms that our existence has broken a family. A family where you need to find your place. You aren’t just a punchline and a sassy commentary, we see you as our blood. I am fully your sister and I don’t believe in that half shit. Those are my brothers and sisters too. I need you Belle to help me right now. If you can please come say goodbye. Unfortunately we all were so mad at dad that we fucking wasted so much time and you got to be with him. That to me is amazing sweetie and I want to know more about him. You got him at the end and I want to know if he was proud of us, if he understood us, and if he truly understood that we loved him.” She held her little sister. “Please come with me?”

Belle looked at Rory who honestly looked as if he was horrified that she was expressing this. She stared at Jackie and leaned in and touched her arm. “Thank-you.” She mumbled as she walked toward the room with Bliss. “Jackie.” She said as she turned around around. “I sometimes wish that I wasn’t the bastard. I just want you to know that. I wish I could have been raised around all of you and not felt like I was such a oddball.”

Bliss walked into the room while Hunter sat rocking Fox to sleep in his arms.She stood on one side and Belle on the other. “Hello, Daddy.” She said softly. “I want to tell you a story if you allow me. There was once a little girl who dreamed of America and being apart of a dynasty that was so amazing. Well this girl ended up in a twisted fairytale where the prince didn’t save her but haunted her. She used to dream of her father saving her and her beautiful little boy she had with the dark prince. Then one day she took a leap and her father did just that. He rallied all the family to protect the little girl. If you are holding onto the fact that you didn’t know I was being abused, then I need you to let go of that guilt daddy. You hear me? The Devonshire’s and Hunter saved me. You changed my life and Jackie is a more of a mother than I’ve ever had.” She said covering her mouth. “She is amazing and incandescent so you picked a good one. I’ll protect my mother though. I’ll comfort her because I know nobody has. You may say Jackie is the love of your life and I agree but you cared for mom to. Or else we wouldn’t have been here. So as badly as my life has hurt that woman I appreciate you. I honor you for your mistakes brought me here. To my siblings, to a woman who should hate me but loves me, and even a bratty little sister I never wanted. You have given me a family and I thank-you.” Bliss said as she walked to Fox and kissed him.

“I remember when you told me life is like chess daddy. I told you I’d rather play polo or read a book and you told me how every piece of the chess board reminded you of your family. I won’t go down which piece is who because I think it’ll change over the years. I guess all I can say is that you were right. Things are moving in ways I never felt. I’m sad because I will never know you like Bliss or any of the others. I’ll never get a chance to tell you that I did care about David and I really wanted to make you proud. Yeah David was about me making you proud. I don’t want to be the screw up or the unlovable person that I am. You saw through it but I hope my siblings don’t leave me. I hope you don’t leave daddy. I can’t do this Bliss.” She said as she began to run out.

Only for Bliss to walk to her sister and hold her. “Belle I’m right here say what you have to, to him. If you don’t you’ll regret sis.”

Belle just cried in Bliss arms as she saw Hunter standing and walking to them and rubbing both of their backs. “I love you daddy. I love you so much.” She mumbled as she looked at him hooked up to all those machines. Giving him air, living for the great Lowell Devonshire. “Please I need some air.” She broke free and rushed out of the room.

As Bliss turned to Hunter. “I have to do better by her. I resent her and I can’t help but feel for the girl also. Oh my God Hunter I was jealous and I didn’t even know it. I think I’ve been to hard on her and I think we all need to protect her because we know when Devonshire’s go down a dark path we don’t come out unscathed.”

Hunter really didn’t know what to say when it came to Belle or Bliss and even his goodbye he was simply at a loss for words he had said everything he needed to when it came to Lowell over the years. He thought of him as a second father and he looked up to him he had said goodbye quietly and without much fuss while Bliss was gone and he had rocked Fox who was still sound asleep. He watched as Belle had rushed past them both and saw Jackie looking at them and then down the hall at Belle as well. “You did what was right when it came to your sister Belle and I think that is what he wanted for all of you. If you can be the first the other ones can follow your lead.” Hunter said quietly wrapping his arm around his wife and kissing the top of her forehead while he did so, Fox still between them and he knew nothing was ever going to be the same for the Devonshire family going forward but hopefully they could all band together instead of ripping each other apart.


Max sat in the waiting room, feeling a sense of stillness in the air. How could this be happening? Things had progressed more aggressively than she had played out in her own mind. This wasn’t supposed to happen this way. She knew those images had forever changed the landscape of her family, and would alter the future of her own family. How could this have been prevented? If only she had known what Belle had planned and been able to stop it before the images of her and David had been broadcast for Lowell to see. The perpetual state of concern over her father’s condition heightened from the burgeoning hormones, caused by her pregnant state. It pained her she couldn’t have been more proactive as she’d been before, but the ongoing public and private pressures surrounding her were beginning to weigh, and she felt herself caving to a certain point. She could feel the presence of Sebastian beside her and, much to her surprise in that moment, it provided her with some comfort.

Taking in a momentary breath, she expressed out loud: “This should not be happening right now. This is happening far too fast and too soon. I mean, he was fine and in a snap second, everything just… it turned. This shouldn’t be happening. I refuse to believe it is.” Expressing her thoughts out loud, even with Sebastian, turned her heightened concern into a blood-boiled, about-to-burst sense of rage and devastation. Thanks to that bitch, her father’s life was hanging in the balance and there wasn’t a thing she could have done, to that moment, to prevent it from happening. She was facing the mortality the human race seems to casually ignore in their everyday lives.

“This is not how it was supposed to happen,” Max continued. “We were supposed to have more time together. More time to adjust and be blissfully ignorant of the inevitable. Now? We’re fucked to face everything. How could this be happening right now? Of all nights, why tonight? This should’ve been a distraction. Instead, it’s become an absolute shit show.”

Sebastian had stood by Max the entire night and it seemed to be going well. She talked to her beloved father and then his heart just cracked for them all. From the moment he saw Lowell fall he had a bad feeling. Everyone had warned him when Lowell died that Max wouldn’t take it well. His mama even said to watch her during that period. She was mostly worried about the baby. It seemed she didn’t care for Max but she was obsessed with that baby. He rubbed her belly to gently remind her to calm down for their son. “I think you need to calm down mi Amor. It’s not good for you to be this upset. You hear me? I know that you are uncomfortable with losing Lowell but I doubt he’d want you to placing our baby in danger. Your emotions are heightened and I know you are upset but I’m not willing to take a chance with this. Kelsey was saying you need to relax your blood pressure is high, remember.” He said, kissing her hand as he looked into her eyes. “I think we should see him soon and maybe get some air. Don’t you? A stroll the snow is just um starting to fall and I remember you promised me snow angels and big snowmen this year huh?” Sebastian said trying to place a smile on Max’s face. Which was becoming harder and harder to do. At one point they were always laughing and now it was difficult to get her to crack a smile. His calm exterior shifted immediately when Belle walked back into the waiting area. The entire ride over here Max mumbled and grumbled about Belle and how her father better be okay.

For a moment he was going to ignore her but the look on her face. The girl was haunted and he knew that he had to help. Pulling out a handkerchief he extended it to her. “It’s alright nobody blames you for what has happened today. You know that right? Your father was a very sick man and he wasn’t getting better. He would never want any of you to be crying like.” He paused. “Okay Lowell would want a entire festival honored to him? He would want everyone mourning him and he would want for a very brief second for the world to stop. Then he’d tell you all to get the hell to work right?”

Belle laughed a little for the first time he was funny. It was absolutely nice what he was saying but Max was staring daggers at them both. “You can stop looking at me like that.” She said wiping the corners of her eyes. “You really think that I did this to him? I love my father and I want you to know that. He was so much to me. He was so amazing and so smart and intelligent. I wouldn’t embarrass myself like that. David doesn’t want me and I wouldn’t put that on display. I don’t know who knew but that wasn’t me. I pull a lot of stunts but having my father see me kiss his trusted doctor isn’t one of them.” Belle saw David speaking with Jackie outside. “Max? I know you don’t know me that well but I was wondering if we could talk. I mean you did have a relationship with your teacher right? How do I get over that?” Nodding to David.

Could this be happening right now? In a split second, Max’s distraught nature of her father’s condition was overcome with the overwhelming, immense fiery-rage she was now feeling towards Belle’s and her ever-so cavalier questioning. The audacity Belle had to come forward, and put on the act of the concerned, long-lost child did not bode well for Max. Noticing Belle’s nod of David put even more fire on Max’s already heightened emotional state to the point where, at this very moment, she was close to unleashing it with explosive results.

“How dare you,” Max snared at Belle. “Coming over here as if you’re welcomed or ,,, wanted. You’re the one that did this, Belle. ‘Oh, I love my father.’ Bullshit. The only person who you love more than yourself just so happens to be yourself. You are that self-centered and self-absorbed. You are the lowest of the low Belle, and the audacity you have to come here, try and pull off the innocent victim card and do it so poorly is almost as laughable as that knockout you’re attempting to pull off as Couture.”

Max inched closer to Belle, establishing her dominance over her half-sibling. “That boy,” Max stated, nodding her head towards David, “He’ll leave your ass before the dawn of tomorrow once he figures out what a lowlife you actually are. The only place you belong is the bottom of the damn barrel, and you should crawl back into the abyss of nothingness you crawled out of. It is laughable if you think, even for a moment, you can try and compare notes with me. I am Maximilla Anastasia Devonshire, cream of the crop. You are Isabelle Archibald. Nothing but a tawdry knock-off wannabe, who will never amount to the stature of which I have been esteemed. You claim I don’t know you, but I have known plenty like you. I don’t want to know you. I know enough to know you will continue to scrap the bottom of the barrel, in the hopes of achieving some sort of relevance, when all you will ever, ever achieve is not even one ounce of what my family has achieved.”

Letting out the slightest smirk, Max issues another blow to Belle’s diminished ego, “The smell of fear radiates from you, Belle. And that’s the difference between you and me. I will provide you one semblance of advice, free of charge, of course. Don’t let them see you sweat. It’s unbecoming, even for someone as loose as yourself.”

Belle gripped the arm of the chair as she stared at her sister and her brow scrunched up. She literally was trying to get some help about how she feels but when she went on the attack for no damn reason and it pissed her off. “I guess a whore can call me a whore. Takes one to know one big sis. I am Isabelle Devonshire. Our father got my name legally changed and sadly you don’t know that because you weren’t around. Too busy hating our father for your mother.” She said knowing she stung Max back as hard as she could. “You are pathetic and still jealous that you aren’t the only girl. But the truth is you aren’t the youngest Devonshire, you aren’t the prettiest, and most of all underneath all that bravado you’re nothing more sad woman. You’re miserable being tied down to one man because we all know you love to be a man eater. Sebastian? How do you put up with her aloofness to your child? Only reason you’re having that kid is to compete with Jackson and Chauncey. Father wouldn’t give you the crown and trust I don’t want it but you do. You want more than anything to be looked at as valuable as Jackson and Chauncey but you aren’t.” Belle touched her face as she looked in the glass reflection. “Youth I have it while you are aging and becoming a mum. Your bitchy mean girl act its played out Max. You should try to be a little more maternal because you have eighteen years of being a mummy. I hope you’re prepared Sebastian because she’ll just throw you away sooner than later. It’s her pattern Hunter, Philip, that professor, and now you will be the latest that she’ll find something wrong with. But oddly enough it is never her. It’s always them, but you know what I think love it’s you. You say I can’t love anyone but myself. Well it must be genetics because I think the same thing about you.” Belle walked to the other side of the room to get away from Max and flopped down.

“Enough both of you. Your father didn’t want you guys fighting please. He’s suffered enough and I’m sure he doesn’t want to look down and see his daughters at war. Max that was uncalled for and Belle right now isn’t the time for advice. Please Mi Amor apologize to your sister and Belle you do the same. This is uncalled for. I understand that you aren’t the best of friends but I do think you two could behave a little more mature right now. Your father is dying and you two are scrapping like cats in the alleyway. Mi Amor you can be upset but unleashing on Belle will do nothing but make matters worse between you all. You have opened your heart to Bliss so I would hope you could do the same with you last sibling. Didn’t Lowell ask you to watch her? All of you? So you choose to snap and you choose to provoke? It’s not good ladies this is a vital time for the family. When you lose a piece of the body you must work hard to regain movement again. You have lost the brain and now the body without a center. You all can’t be a war with each other Forbes, Pierre, and more are coming now and all fighting makes it really easy to break you all. So come together plus my mama is coming and she wants to meet all of you. I want a family dinner and all the family together. That includes Bliss and Belle. Mi amor I thought you were over all this.” Sebastian asked as he looked at Belle and he was shook at her words. They didn’t know each other but she had a piece of Max pegged. She did come off almost uncaring about the baby and when she said that he felt a sting. “She loves our baby just so you know Belle, and I’m not letting her go. We are a team just as much as Jackson and Dani.”

“Sure Jan.” Belle said, looking at Max and Sebastian. “You just keep the faith. That you won’t be chewed up and spat out.”

Briefly turning her attention to Sebastian, Max reached out her hand into his, and stated: “I’ve got this. Don’t worry.” Letting go of his hand, Max immediately stood up and briskly made her way towards Belle, as if to pass her. Reaching where she sat, she firmly grabs her by the upper arm, forcing her out of her seat, and putting her in front of her.

With the strongest sense of heightened anger from within her, Max moves ferociously close to Belle. “Now, you listen to me and you listen closely, because I am only going to say this once. You may think you’re sly and cunning, but you are nothing less than a pathetic excuse and waste of air. I’ve eaten girls up worse than you, and left them struggling for air, in a metaphorical sense, of course. But make no mistake, Belle, I know who you are and what your intentions are.”

Feeling Belle pull away, Max grabbed Belle’s chin, pulling her back into the conversation. “Make no mistake, I will destroy you. You want to play with the big kids, then you’ll play with the big kids. And you’ll be the one to get chewed up and spat out, like the gutter trash you are. You are nothing, Belle. Nothing. And I promise you, the moment I give birth is the moment you should run, because I’m coming for you. And I won’t stop until you pay for the Hell you’ve put my father through. And that’s a promise.”

“Max, that is quite enough!” Jackie said watching the exchange from down the hallway while she looked at a text from Simon hoping that he was on his way with the will or something to help her family. She wanted Lowell’s last wishes followed through on and to make sure that Tess played no part in that and after her run in with Belle she felt a sense of protection in a way over her husband’s youngest daughter. To watch her only daughter lashing out at her was quite the shock, or maybe she had put blinders on to the situation with Max but regardless now was not the time for whatever the girls were getting into. “You should go and see your father.” She said pointedly looking at Sebastian to take her daughter away from Belle before it got worse.

Hearing her mother’s voice call her, Max turned back to Belle and issued one final warning: “We are not finished here. Not by a long shot.” Her tongue pierced her words, like a venomous snake paralyzing their prey. Taking a deep breath in, Max turned back around, taking Sebastian by the hand, and walked towards her mother, who stood outside of Lowell’s hospital room. As the pair come upon the doorway, an emotive Max expresses, “I need to do this alone.” Seeing the look of approval from both her mother and Sebastian was the comfort she felt she needed in this moment. Letting go of Sebastian’s hand, she walked towards the ajar door to her father’s hospital room.

Taking in a deep breath, Max sat in the silence of the room, with only the beeping of the machines working to help her father remain in the physical realm. “You’d hate this,” Max stated out loud, before letting out a brief chuckle, “But you also love this. The attention you’re getting. And that makes you completely sick in the head. But it also makes you my father, doesn’t it?” Turning her attention to Lowell, Max begins to break down into a stream of tears that flow down her face. “Oh daddy, how could this be happening? We were supposed to have more time together. This isn’t right. It’s not fair and it’s not right.”

Sitting the chair next to her father, she takes his hand into hers and she begins to lightly run her hand over his, in the hopes of it providing some comfort of him knowing, subconsciously, she was there with him, comforting and loving him. “You know, I never realized how much I have your hands. I’ve been so self-centered I didn’t realize a lot of things. And I am so sorry I didn’t realize it before this moment, because it would’ve changed a lot for us. But, that time has come and gone.” Collapsing into him, Max cries, “Oh daddy. I’m just not ready. I wish you’d just wake up, tell me everyone was going to be okay, and we could go home. So many memories left to make. And this baby,” Max placed Lowell’s hand on her stomach. “This baby needs their granddaddy so badly. To raise them in the family business, in the same way you did with me, Chauncey and Jackson. Who’s going to spoil them rotten? Sure, mom will, but she was never able to do it with the love and thought you always did.”

At that moment, Max felt a fierce kick from her stomach. “See, even they are trying to make their point: they need you. They need Lowell Devonshire in their lives. Without a single doubt.” Looking back outside of the hospital room, Max noticed Jackie and Sebastian talking, appearing to be concerned about Max and her being within the room. “Look at them, thinking I can’t handle this. But I can. I’m a Devonshire, right? We’re built for this. I promise you, this baby will know about their grandfather, and how much of an incredibly important and powerful person you have been. Your legacy will live on. I promise you. And I promise you the person responsible for this will pay. I will make sure of that.”

Wiping the tears from her eyes, Max issues her final goodbye to her father, a moment she had dreaded all of her life. “This is it. I want you to find peace and to be happy. It’s what you deserve. I’m going to miss you. But we’ll be together again one day, and now I know we’ve got a true guardian angel looking out for us.” Placing her hand on her stomach, Max leaves over and kisses her father on his forehead. “I love you daddy. Thank you for everything.”


Charles watched Devin and Merci leaving no doubt to get Skye’s belongings and somethings. It was so horrible to see one of his angels fallen from the sky, pun intended. He’d been gracious with her but Skye had been lying to a lot of people. She was in Europe with Esme just a few years ago and learned far too much. His agency was for the elite and he prided himself on having the best. Young black girls, young white girls, young Asian girls, any flavor he had them but Skye was special. Something about her was extra delectable; he’d had her in bed more than once and she was a pro and everyone seemed to never forget a night with Skye. Including himself an eightball she’d do whatever you wanted. Hell it became less than that as time wore on but she never lost that magic. That thing that made her a star to him. It was sad she wasted it on a cop but that Jon Harrison was nothing if not a prime reason you never fall for a whore. They’ll always disappoint you. Stepping into her room he closed the door and saw her immediately sit up. She was alert good all that coke hadn’t warped that dumb little bobble head. Clearing his throat he sat on the chair by her side raising his leg across the other. As he pulled out a pipe and lit it up.

“You know why I can do this? Power I have unlimited and unfathomable power Skye and you know that. You know how far I reach and what I do to help my girls. Tanya just went on to get into a graduate program for education, Lisa is on her way to being a psychologist, and Sherri is working with Ralph Lauren. You know I take care of my girls so why Skye? Why do you keep doing this to yourself? You should be on Billboards and magazine covers not some pathetic little burn out who has no idea how much her life truly doesn’t mean to me. Insignificant is what you truly are but I have shown you mercy. Did I not bring a warning before the storm in the form of my worthless son? I sent Lex so many times and so many times it seemed you ignored my warnings. Why Skye? Now look at you, a coked out whore who nobody loves, they all just pity. You are pitiful and I wanted the world for you. I wanted you to be the next fucking Julia Roberts or Marilyn Monroe at least when she fucked for love it was with Presidents not some lowlife. Did you learn nothing from Esme? What can I say? I have a soft spot for strays like you so I have an offer and if you don’t take my offer then I have the ultimatum for you. How about that? I know how this story will end but you don’t. So which one is it Skye, the red or the blue pill?”

Skye looked at the tray in front of her the shakes were still there after her encounter with Jon but the nurse and that fucking annoying doctor said she needed to eat. This the jello on the tray, the half eaten turkey sandwich and the salad, the real wives of something or other playing in the background on the TV. Merci had come in Devin sulking in the corner for a bit and she simply told her sister that she needed her things back from Jon’s place still not sure where she was going to go next. The plan of course was a rehab facility first and then New York or maybe even Europe she knew is she stayed any longer things could spiral. When the door opened and she snapped her head up from her pillow she looked at Charles as he walked into the room. He was intimidating always had been, she was a trick but a smart one and had seen some of what went on in his little ring and some of that shit she was into hell she knew people that would be into it, but there was something dark in Charles. How he liked to collect his little harem of women that worked for him and her throat tightened as she reached for the nursing remote to see him pull it from her reach. She looked at him for a moment cocking her head at him did he think she would go that easily this time?

“Because you are a creepy old man that likes to watch young girls fuck his old pals to stay in power? Oh Charles cut the shit will you I know for a fact that you can pretty much do anything you want btu would you really want to do this right here and right now? With two of Atlas Fall’s finest down the hall to hear me scream and plead this time, where is your little lackey? Probably hiding outside the door with his tail between his legs. For the record he fucks way better than you do he can still keep it hard at least.” Skye said sneering at him for a moment he thought he was so smart all the time the truth was all it would take from her is a few words from Jon and the case with Miles would be the least of his problems. It would also probably be the last words she uttered to herself, Jon or Merci and it was the main reason why she hadn’t said anything her life was on the line all of theirs. “I don’t have any l left if you were here to party old man. I told you that we would back off the case with Miles and it seems that Jon did so what in the hell do you want? I’m not stupid enough to tell him about all the girls that you like to help. What are you going to do send Lex in here and shove some more coke up my nose, or maybe a needle this time with all these machines it would be such a bad move. So what do you want Charles?” Skye said using the help in air quotes to annoy his creepy old ass for old times sake feeling the chill set into her while she spoke to him.

“Well I told you the red or blue pill. So your first option is to leave Atlas Falls even though you won’t open your pretty mouth about the girls. I just don’t trust you. You know the unpredictable addict thing and all. The second would be you’d leave Atlas Falls and you take Jon with you and you two live your hillbilly fantasy. Jon has backed off but those puppy dog eyes and that sad expression he wears every damn day. My son-in-law is a simp and my daughter will bend. She’s already bent over for him once. I predict if he keeps up well I think he’ll be sitting at Thanksgiving. So tell me which will it be? I don’t like him and I don’t like you being here anymore. I am not a fool oh we are all one woke agenda from being taken down. Who has a reason to take me down but the whore who I forced to give her baby up? I hate to say it Skye because it’s totally cliche but I am offering you a clean shot. One hundred thousand and never to step foot back in Atlas Falls. I have big plans for this place and my dear your bleeding heart and your coked up mouth. Now you I’ll deal with one of you invading my family but you’ve had a shot and you’ve failed one to many times.” Charles picked up a pillow.

“You know how easy I could rid the town of you? That’s not why I’m here, I’m here to give you a going away gift. Money, a new life, and a chance at your dreams again. Forget about Miles, and all the things that came with him. Including Jon if he has to stay but I don’t want you around anymore. I don’t do liabilities and that’s what you are. So tell me, do you accept it? Will you go off to wherever and restart? A local theater siren or a B-list special. Skye you never could have made it to the A-List you are too lost. But maybe when you’re older and smarter honestly you’ll be able to reclaim some of the charisma you used up. Now I could wire the money in your account today and by twelve noon tomorrow I expect you to send me ticket confirmation. I have spent years perfecting an image and you don’t fit into it. I won’t fall like others have.” Charles gave a chef’s kiss smiling at her. “I won’t be Lowell who is dying down the hall. I won’t fall on my sword and if I have to I’ll behead so many others first.”

Skye would do anything she could at the moment to press the fucking pain button on teh nurses call while she listened to Charles drone on and on, the tricky part was he knew she could take his little empire down. The problem was she knew that his wrath would be worse if she did not only Jon and Merci but all those others he had in his employment, she didn’t need that shit on her conscience at the moment. She watched the heart monitor spark slightly while she looked at him pick up the pillow at move towards her was he fucking serious, there were people right outside of the door and down the hallway was he fuckign insane? No one was going to let him kill her at least not today and she took in his words about how much he was going to pay her he really thought a hundred thousand was what she was going to leave for? That was like fucking pennies at this rate she would be back on the streets in no time and she refused to do that and she knew the Hessingotns were worth way more than that. They’d bought her to go away before but it was more go away and keep away from Miles, this was go away and keep your fucking mouth shut. Go away and leave the people that she loved behind like her sister, and maybe Jon still she didn’t know for sure. It was going to take a lot more than a hundred thousand for her to leave the cushy little life she had built this time along with the protection that Jon offered her.

“Oh Charles you think I’m going to just go away for little basic fee package this time? I’m opening up a play here I have top billing, a career I’ve built hell the director wanted me to join him in New York on Broadway and you think a hundred thousand will but it this time? Sure your little payments before worked when I was stupid and naive. You should know how much real estate even is in New York, Lex has his sweet little place there probably brings your little girls there like Maggie to play with still. Doubt he pays full price though, they just like him better.” Skye said seeing his face burning with rage and it took everything in her to reach out as fast as possible and wrestle with him for the nursing button. When he wouldn’t let go her chest started to heave while she looked into the cold hard eyes before her almost eyes that went black with a void in them before she pulled back in defeat he wanted to kill her, just do it already and be done with it. “You want to kill me do it already once or twice maybe the third time will be a fucking charm. How would you explain it though? And I don’t mean to the press how would you all explain it to Miles, how his auntie Skye was fine one minute and dead the next when you left the room?” She let her words sit a minute before she looked at him. “I want at least a million maybe two or I’ll start singing Charles.”

“Or I could give you the five hundred thousand and not a penny more. You won’t say a word because I’ll kill Merci, or maybe Jon could get into an accident. I could see Devin comes home and Merci’s at the bottom of the stairs and her neck is broken. Or maybe the brakes on Jon’s car goes out or Merci’s. I’ve had enough of you thinking you have power. You want to see some power Skye? I’ll erase every fucking body you care about and that makeshift family you’ve formed will vanish. I’ll kill Devin, Merci, Jon and leave you alone. I mean your one aunt you fucking know I’ll kill her I have no problem wiping everyone you love off the earth and leaving you with no one. Now I’ve given you an accumulated over maybe two million already and you blew through that. You expect to fucking get another million. No Skye five hundred thousand is what I’m sending you off with. That’s enough for a condo, a full life and hopefully you’ll get yourself together. That’s all I have for you so either you take it or I’ll fucking destroy you. I’m sick of you thinking you have some sort of claim to more when all you did was suck and fuck and bore my grandchild.” Charles looked at her dead in the face.

“I’ll leave you with nothing, no sister that you love so much or no man who you love so much.” Charles leaned in. “You think you’re alone now just wait until I literally erase everything fucking person from your life? I will make you destitute emotionally and I hate to say it but if you continue on ranting about a million I’ll erase Jon, Merci, and what about we end all of this stress. Go away and start over or I swear I’m going to kill everyone you fucking love.” He said loving seeing her body shivering and the fear was eating her up. “Tell me is another five hundred thousand worth Jon and Merci’s life?”

Skye looked at him and took a breath looking at the pillow that was still in his hands and swallowing the lump of air that seemed to have filled her lungs. She knew there were ways that Charles could do what he threatened and it would always never come back to him. She was stuck no matter what she chose she stayed everyone was in danger, she left everyone would hate her no matter what she did she lost. Charles knew that and that was why he was giving her this ultimatum in a way to punish her and defeat her, beat her down even more and she simply nodded her head at him “Fine I’ll be gone out of your life, out of Miles life. But when he asks where I went I can’t wait to see how you all explain that one to him while Jon is in town. Now get the fuck out of my room.” She finished letting her hand glide to the nurses button and pressing it seeing him scuttle for the door as he left. She leaned back on the pillow closing her eyes knowing that she had just made the ultimate sacrifice for everyone.

Lex should have been balls deep in Dru right now but instead he’d been standing outside the room on guard duty like some fucking rent-a-cop while his father terrorized Skye. Earlier in the evening Ryan had made it clear that he and Whit were having second thoughts about destroying Jon. They hadn’t been able to talk about it further but if they felt that way about Jon, he doubted they’d be on board with running Skye out of town. They’d already made her a part of Miles’ life and his sister seemed oddly attached to her. For all he knew Whit slept with her like the rest of them had. He didn’t agree with keeping either around, especially since he’d been the one doing all the work to get them out of their lives but at the end of the day it was Ryan and Whitney’s decision. Or not with Charles involving himself, which was happening with much more regularity recently. The governor’s office was racking up a ton of billable hours for his services this month. If Charles thought he was doing any of this for free he was crazy. He’d moved closer to the door to listen in, figuring he could still claim plausible deniability from anywhere in the hallway. Charles was straight up losing his shit in there but he had to give Skye props for standing up to him especially coming off an overdose. He stifled a laugh when she gave Chucky a zero star rating in the bedroom. Bragging about having his and Ryan’s sloppy seconds was gold. He wished he could tell Ryan about it but that would lead to questions Lex knew he couldn’t answer. Damn his luck that Skye was a raggedy ho and a coke fiend because her spunk was kind of turning him on.

“Jesus,” he said when his father scurried out of the room like the rat he was. “Nice story starring you as the Fairy Godpimp but was it necessary to go full defcon 1 on the pimps up, hoes down routine in there? She was under control. Despite making some stupid decisions like snorting enough coke to fuck up an elephant, she’s invested in Miles and wouldn’t have jeopardized his well-being. She could have helped when it came to Jon Harrison who Whitney and Ryan seem to be softening towards, B-T-Dubs. According to you, Whitney can’t be porking him during the campaign so now he’s a wild card. A negative factor, if you will.” Lex said, using his father’s own words from the party earlier. Skye and Jon had effectively neutralized themselves. What harm would it do for them to stay in town now? Charles’ actions were extreme. He had a bad feeling he was going to be on the hook for some of the fallout from this. Dani might be his only saving grace. If he and Dru could just get Jackson out of the way and Dani back in his bed, he was sure his father would ease up. Give him some time to think about how he could extricate himself from this shitshow. He hadn’t had a chance to discuss Lowell’s serendipitous face plant with Dru. No doubt they could capitalize on the emotional aftermath it would have on Jackson. “How are you planning to explain Skye’s sudden disappearance to Whitney? Whitney launched a full on manhunt through the Devonshire mansion for her tonight, what’s going to stop her from trying to track her down again? You’ve made a major miscalculation this time.”


Rory stared at the carpeted waiting room floor. There were specks of gold in it mixed in with the gray and black. It felt like a slow progression of death amid their group as he’d watched all his siblings go in before him except Jackson. There were whispers between the nurses as they came and went about how sad it all was and he was sure that he had seen Tess lurking somewhere. Aspen was still at the hospital with him though he had told her to head home for the night he wasn’t sure when it would be his turn. It still wasn’t even really real for gim yet what happened one moment he and his father were in his office talking about love and life, he was dancing with their mother and then he was gone he didn’t even get to see him that evening before the stroke hit. He wanted to hug him and let him know that he chose Aspen let him know that he wasn’t going to string her align anymore. It was all so fleeting now and he saw Max and Sebastian leave the room; his sister looked like a wreck. His mind wandered to Belle for a moment he knew lashing out at her was wrong and in time he would talk to her they were all just stunned and angry about what happened and how.

“It’s getting late. Aspen if you need to head home, I completely understand. The last thing that I wanted you to have to deal with was this tonight you and I should be celebrating our engagement instead of this. I just don’t understand, you know he was perfectly fine earlier in the evening and I was waiting till after his speech so we could go talk to him.” Rory said, folding his hands in his lap and clenching his hands together while he glanced over at her. It was all so final now and he watched his brother and Dani in the editing room wondering if he was going to go next and instead saw them get up and walk away and hisbheart felt so heavy. “I just wonder if he saw this us all falling apart and bickering between ourselves. And it’s not that I don’t think Jackson can’t be CEO if Chauncey fights him on it, it can get ugly quickly you know?” He finished knowing their bickering could easily spiral the rest of the family.

Aspen clutched her purse as she stared at her diamond ring. She wanted to help Max and Rory right now. Her heart seemed to pound as she listened in on her fiance. “No, I’m not going anywhere. Also I don’t think Chauncey or Jackson are worried about who is CEO right now. It’s sad but right now I don’t want you to think about them. Your father is in there and hopefully when I have to face this I’ll have someone by my side. Like I am right now.” She said softly as she touched his back. “Rory, you are so amazing. You are thinking about your family when you need to be thinking of yourself. I’m sure they will appreciate you but in theory think that you need to be with him.” Her eyes traveling to Lowell’s room.”You deserve to say goodbye without the stress.” She touched his back as she looked into his eyes. “That’s your only job right now Rory. You need to say goodbye.” With that she took his hands and tried to guide him to Lowell but he was still frozen in shock emotionally. He wasn’t moving.

“Follow me.” She said softly as she felt her heart aching. Was she the one he wanted to face losing his father with? Losing Lowell would forever change the Devonshire family. “Your father trusted that Chauncey and Jackson could do this and I need you to have that same faith. DGI will be alright and going forward it’s in very capable hands. You need to remember that Rory, your father picked you all for his own reasons. I don’t know what he gave you or wanted you to do but I do understand your place in Lowell’s heart. He was proud of you. He saw that you were the best of him and I am sorry I didn’t get to know him as an adult better. I remember the grouchy but lovable guy who was hard on you. He was hard because of Jackson, something you don’t bring up. You don’t tell your brother that he put so much weight on you to be perfect but this isn’t that time. This is messy and painful but it’s your time to say goodbye. When Randall or Blythe go I know I won’t be ready but I know I’ll have to face my goodbye. So we can stand out here or we can go in there. I’m one hundred percent behind my fiance. So it’s what you want to do.”

Rory looked at her and for some reason he felt like the words were almost falling on deaf ears in a way he needed to be strong for his family if he wasn’t who in the fuck would be? If he knew his oldest brother he was thinking about being CEO just as much as Jackson was, thank God he had taken himself out of the running for it they both would be and then his thoughts drifted to Tess. Where in the hell was the woman that had thrown all the loops into their family the last few years and what if she tried to take his father’s legacy for herself? “I know Aspen but sometimes especially right now I need to think about DGI and everything else for him. I know that sounds crazy and for you it might not make a ton of sense but for us it does in some bizarre way. Thank you for being here.” Rory said looking over at her and nodding as he rose from the chair with her while he walked down the hallway seeing his mother outside the room he looked at her, his eyes full of tears before he leaned over and hugged her. “Mom.” He felt her wrap her arms around him and he simply cried into her shoulder as he looked through the window at the machines and his father laying there.

Jackie had waited wanting each of them to take their own time to walk down that hall, knowing that it was what he wanted. She had thought she was almost out of tears by the time Rory had come down so quietly Aspen’s heels clicking on the tile on the floor as they made their way to her and she simply saw his hurt and wrapped him into her arms. She let him cry while she reached out and squeezed Aspen’s hand she still wasn’t sure about their engagement but if it was what made Rory truly happy she wanted to accept it. “Oh Rory.” Jackie said rubbing his back like she used to do when he was little to soothe him and she hoped it helped and she looked at him when she pulled back. “He’s there and now is the time to say goodbye in your own way just like the rest of your brother and sister’s have so far.” She said watching him open the door as she followed him inside the room.

Rory listened to the machines in the room almost as if they were haunting him and he watched as the pump went up and then down. A sound that he was certain would always be in his mind now and the room smelled so sterile this was not how he thought it would go in a hospital he thought for sure his father would pass on his own terms surrounded by smoke from a cigar and a really nice glass of wine or whiskey. This was so sterile when it was all said and done and he took a seat slowly by his dad’s side as he looked over at his mother who touched his shoulder and he reached out for Aspen’s hand taking it in his own and helping her sit down next to him. He wiped at his eyes as he looked at the frail man on the bed before him the man that stood so tall when he was little and that he looked up too. He at one point wanted to be his father and then he realized he had become the worst parts of him over the last few years. He would rectify that mistake going forward and in some ways he already had by proposing to Aspen and letting Yasmine go. He knew his dad was sick but he thought that they would have more time together that his final moments or months would come after he had officially handed the company over to his brother.

“We were supposed to have more time Dad and I know that I shouldn’t blame Belle but that was the last image that you saw her and David kissing in a photo and I can only imagine the shock it sent you and maybe even the heartache too. We then all yelled at her and we probably shouldn’t have I’ll do better with her, deep down I think you would want us to embrace her like we did Bliss.” Rory said quietly looking up briefly at his mother the pain that she had to feel with Belle and Bliss was something that he never wanted to inflict on Aspen or Yasmine which was why he had made the choice that he did. He took a breath that he didn’t know that he was holding as he felt the tears falling down his face while he looked at his dad. “You were so proud of my starting DevTech and I will do my best to keep that going with Jamal as my partner with his label you have left such a legacy on all of us and you let me be me finally at the company. I also wanted to tell you that I listened to your advice the other day with Aspen. Life is too short to dwell so much on the past and I want to be a better man that you told me that I should be and I wasn’t sure if you saw it at the party but Aspen is going to join the family.” Rory said looking at him and then giving Aspen a squeeze of his hand before taking a shaking breath to continue.

“I know that you regretted how you did mom with her and Tess and I’m not going to repeat that mistake again and I wanted you to know that I’ve made peace with my choice and I hope one day you can be proud of that where you are up there with Tony.” Rory finished feeling the weight lift off his shoulders at the confession when it came to everything. It felt nice to say that out loud in front of the man that he had a conversation about it with last in his life, that Lowell encouraged him to pick. He wasn’t sure how Apsen felt about his confession either when it came to what he had said she wasn’t a second choice by any means but she was a choice and one that he had spent time thinking about and over. Sometimes you couldn’t go back and erase your past no matter how much you wanted to or tried too. “Besides who knows down the line it won’t just be Chauncey, Jackson, Max or Bliss giving your legacy a boost when the time is right maybe me and Aspen can try again and honor you in some way. I also want to say that I will help everyone look after mom too so you don’t have to worry about that either, we got her back.”

Aspen listened to Rory and her heart broke for the loss. She truly couldn’t imagine losing Randall or Blythe? That alone shook her to her core. It was when he spoke about Belle she truly saw how sensitive a man she was marrying. The man underneath the love triangle. The unintentional yo-yo that he yanked both Yasmine and she on. Did she love Rory? The answer wasn’t as clear as she once assumed. All the scheming got Lowell where? All the lies and manipulation left him miserable with a woman he could never love as much as his first wife. Is that what she was signing herself up for? A cold hard truth hit her and she didn’t like it. With a squeeze of her hand she was snapped back into the moment. Rory needed her and she would be here and present for him. As she learned that he made the choice to be with her. That was what she needed to hear. That was the cold hard truth and she won. No matter what Yasmine says or does ever matters because she won.

“I know we didn’t have much time Mr. Devonshire but I remember you’d always sneak us extra cookies and treats. Even toys before Christmas at the company parties. I’ll protect Rory and love him, I swear it. I love him so much and I thank-you for giving me the love of my life. I do have to say you have an extravagant taste in diamonds.” She turned and looked at Jackie’s ring still glistening brightly. Giving Rory a stern hint that she didn’t find his Kay’s jewelry store purchase funny at all. “Thank-you for making my life so big because of your ambition. My mother has an amazing career and I see what it’s like for a woman to work every day and be respected for her job. Thank-you for recognizing women’s ingenuity and our intelligence.” She couldn’t lie that the Devonshire’s afford her the opportunity to even go to Harvard. “As for another child I think we can wait because Chauncey, Jackson, Bliss, and Max interestingly have that covered.”

Rory looked over at Aspen and then up at his mother before he reached over and squeezed his father’s hand leaning down and placing a kiss on his forehead it seemed like that was the least that he could do. He felt his mother gently pulling him from the bed  and he had seen the look that Aspen had shot him, it wasn’t the best ring he knew that but it was a ring maybe down the line he could upgrade it when the time was right and it didn’t seem so tacky to do it. He pulled Aspen to him as he leaned on her while his mother seemed to walk them back to the door. “At least it’s you here mom and not her. We’ll be in the waiting room.” Rory said quietly looking at her sad face before he and Aspen walked back down the hall to the waiting room.


Jackie had been in the room with all her children to say their goodbyes and she didn’t think there were any more tears that she thought that she could shed while she held Lowell’s hand. It was her duty to bring each of them in to say goodbye but she left the final one up to when her middle son was ready, not before he had been so quiet when she went out to let him know it was his turn and it was close. Dani had been by his side simply nodding at her before she had come back to the room thanking the nurses as she did watching them support his head, the tube that was coming out of his chest helping the man that she loved breathe. Her last memory with him being their dance earlier on the dance floor where he told her about all the things that he should have done and tears sprang to her eyes, while she grabbed a tissue before sitting down by the chair and reaching for his hand. She knew that his mind was no longer there but he was still there, his body was still there breathing. She stroked his cheek for a moment wondering if that meant that he was really hearing all the goodbyes as they were being said. If death had taken him so quickly as David had said there would at least be comfort to the children and she wiped at her eyes.

She kept holding out hope for something like him to just wake up and to squeeze her hand but nothing came and the fleeting moments of the last few months had flashed into her mind. She understood why he had let her go even if it was selfish of him but she couldn’t help the sense of overwhelming regret that she herself now had even if he had told her to move on and be happy hours earlier. How did people do this, because she wasn’t sure she was cut out for it the first had been tough for sure with Chauncey, Maddie and Selina who had finally arrived Natasha sitting towards the back. The one after was a shock for herself that she was willing to let Belle in with Bliss and Hunter but it had seemed right and she was grateful that Fox was sleeping she was worried about the trauma that would bring he had already lost his monster of his father. When Max and Sebastian had arrived it was somber and they had all quietly cried together her strong daughter breaking down in front of her but it was cathartic in a way too, soothing almost. She saw Rory trying to be strong for her but she knew that deep down he like all his siblings were holding in all that hurt for later, his goodbye to promise to be better than Lowell and take his advice she only prayed that he used his heart and not his head when it came to Aspen and Yasmine. When she heard the door open she almost expected a throw down with Tess who she had seen lurking in the hallways of the wing instead she looked at her son and Dani.

“He’s comfortable or at least that is what David and the nurses have said, they say he can hear us too but I’m not really sure if that is true or not. I keep thinking he’s going to just open his eyes you know but I know better. I’m even more shocked that Tess hasn’t marched in here yet, I’m sorry I’m rambling.” Jackie said looking at him she knew that her son and his father had a lot of hurt between them more so than any of his other children and now a new era had started for their family and her son. She’d placed a lot of faith in him over the years and knew that in his father’s death he had finally done the same. “Come on in I’ll let you and Dani say your goodbyes. I’m so glad you decided to come in. He would have been so proud of you for your speech tonight and I know that he was so happy to make that announcement before he collapsed. He was always proud of you I think Jackson even if he didn’t say it enough.” She finished getting up from her seat to hug her son and daughter in law.

As he entered the room his eyes burned with tears. As he hugged his mother and Dani and she embraced. His dad was just lying there and hearing that beeping sound was eerie. The way he was breathing made him feel horrible. Just seeing his father like this he would never forgive himself for keeping his kids away. How could he know that this was going to happen but time was never anyone’s friend. His body was so frail his dad was fit and now he was just so frail. Jackson was moving in slow motion as he sat down across from his mother. “Momma.” He said looking at her. “Please don’t leave me.” Jackson called out to Jackie. As he grabbed his father’s hand and lowered his head. A small sniffle escaped his mouth.”I have so much to tell you. I have so many more questions about being CEO. I want to try and keep the peace with the family but it seems so hard right now. I want to be strong for mom because I know you’d want us to protect her. In all the realms and multiverses I swear I’ll never learn enough from you. I’m sorry pops. I’m sorry that I have broken your heart dad. I know I did when I was on drugs and I want to say sorry. I know you were embarrassed and God knows I pray that I’ve made you proud. I can’t wait to tell Donovan and Jolene all about you. You the great Lowell Devonshire. I can’t believe that this is where we are?” Jackson said as he felt Dani rubbing his shoulders and back.

“I know I have so much to learn from you and I feel horrible for some of the things I’ve said. Please forgive me dad.” He said as he lowered his head. “I know you are already gone but we need you dad. I need to figure this out. How did you manage having so much and your family? I need your wisdom because I refuse to lose my family.” When he heard someone opening the door he saw Tess Devonshire standing before him. As his face snarled he looked at her. “What do you want?”

Tess was going to give them a moment but his damn mouth. Her lip flared as she looked at him strutting to Lowell she leaned down and kissed his forehead. As she stood up she saw them staring at her like she had lost her mind. “I think you’re the last child correct that needs to see Lowell? I have done the nice thing and let all of you see him but as his wife I feel a blatant disrespect from her.” She said turning her head to Jackie. “She is not to be in this room for the rest of the duration of Lowell’s life. She is not allowed anywhere in the room with him. I’m his wife and legally I have the right to say who is and isn’t allowed in this room. You being around Lowell isn’t a good idea I mean he exerted himself for you. Dancing around you probably caused his stroke and I have no faith that you truly have forgiven my husband. What happened to my husband is your fault. He wanted to impress you, and now he’s dying. He’s dying and I don’t get a happy ending. But neither will you and I have informed David that if he allows you near Lowell you’ll be removed from the hospital. Now go.”

Jackie had squeezed Jackson’s shoulder as he asked her not to leave him and she wouldn’t. He was actually the most emotional of all her children next to Rory. She knew how painful this was for him after the last few years with his father but she also knew that deep down Lowell loved him very much. Her ex-husband didn’t know a better way to raise his boys and she had simply let him take command of them early on. Looking back she should have challenged that more. Perhaps if she had there wouldn’t be so much pain or damage between the two even now. She saw Dani rubbing his back and felt a sense of peace he had the support he needed and that was how she knew that he could handle DGI and be the leader she knew her older son couldn’t Chauncey was far to selfish to lead if it wasn’t for his own gain. She watched and waited for Jackson to say goodbye when that was over she would call of the children in and then the door opened and she was actually taken aback by Tess and how she came into the room marching right over and kissing Lowell as if he wanted her there.

She felt like she was in a bad movie when Tess started talking acting as if she had allowed something that she had control over, Lowell would want to see all of his children. Then to imply that Lowell having the stroke was somehow her fault when in fact he saved the last dance for her that was what she was sure was really bugging Tess. That when he was going to turn over CEO to the son next to her his thoughts were still with her and he still wanted to spend those moments with her and not Tess. But to come into his room and demand that she leave was she simply insane. “Lowell I assure you was very clear on his last wishes to David Tess and he wanted me here. Do you really have no shame to come in right now and not allow myself or my son any peace in saying his goodbyes? Perhaps instead of sulking off into the hallways and ignoring your girls you should have been there for them.” Jackie said quietly surely David knew that Lowell wanted her there she felt Dani simply reach over and touch her shoulder.

Dani watched Jackson breaking down at his father’s bedside and rubbed his back listening to everything that he was saying she was grateful that before the Summit he had changed his mind and let his father see the twins. At the time she knew that he thought it was for the best that they keep Lowell away but the peace she felt because they had buried the hatchet at least for her was good. She knew that his biggest fear was losing her or the twins and she had went to say something only to have Tess barge into the room and she glared at the woman who in the hell just did that? This was suppose to be a private moment between her husband, her and her mother in law Tess frankly didn’t need to be there. “He’s not done. I don’t see my husband or Jackie bursting in and telling you to leave. The very least you can do is take several steps out of this room and let them say goodbye in some peace. Instead of being a circling vulture over his father. Throwing around a title that frankly you don’t deserve.” Dani said glaring at Tess and reaching out to Jackie for support.

“You little bitch shut up.” Tess said in the most icy tone she could muster. “You think that I care what Lowell wanted? Huh? He didn’t want me! Oh Jackie you thought I didn’t know what he was up to. Make me suffer while you get to live happily ever after. Wrong you are not allowed in his room and if you continue to open your mouth Danielle then I’ll have you escorted out. I will play nice with the kiddies because I’m not heartless but you. You are not allowed in my husbands room.” Picking up her hand she waved it where the diamond Lowell put on her finger. “He played with my emotions and you expect me to respect his wishes. No honey you got the last dance! You got the last moment with him and I continue to always be second. Not this time. He married me and I’m saying you aren’t allowed in this room. I’m telling you that if you don’t leave I’ll have you escorted out of this very hospital that your family helped build. Oh the irony isn’t lost on me! Jackie you aren’t allowed to see him and I’ll be the last presence he feels when he dies and slips away after I pull the plug. Lowell isn’t surviving past tonight. This husk isn’t our husband.” She laughed slightly. “Our husband I finally got one up on you. I finally win something! He loved you until his very last breath and I’m sure Belle wasn’t what he saw at the end it was you. You were always the one and I know that I’m not a fool but I won’t be shamed anymore. I won’t be looked down upon because I wear the crown. I win because I’m his fucking wife.”

Jackson lightly moved Dani back as he stood up and charged at Tess. Before he knew it he had his hands wrapped around his neck. “You hateful bitch! I swear to God I’m going to help Bliss and Belle by getting rid of you. My father should have snapped your neck years ago and we have the money to make you disappear you ungrateful harpy. I get to choke the life out of you do you hear me. You won’t disrespect my mother anymore! You were the side piece not her! You don’t get sympathy bitch! I’m going kill you!” Jackson said as his eyes glossed over it was a out of body experience because at this very moment he didn’t even know what he was doing he was just throttling her because he was seeing red. “I’ll kill you and heal this family once and for all. I’m the CEO, I have the power to make you a bad memory for us all. I’m going to eradicate the world from your presence.” He could feel Dani and Jackie pulling him back but he wouldn’t let go until he felt the last breath slip out of her body. “You’ve disrespected my mother for the last damn time you hear me! You hear me!”

Jackie had let out a small smirk when Dani had all but politely bit off Tess’s head at the nerve that the woman was showing at the moment and her body trembled in rage as she simply went on about how she wouldn’t respect Lowell’s last wishes. What kind of a woman or a wife did that to the husband that she claimed to love and adore? It donned on her that only Tess would look at this as some sort of sick competition when it came to their war on Lowell’s death bed and she had went to say something before Jakcson had moved Dani back before he shoved his chair back and charged at Tess. She let out a shriek at the action. She barely had time to think as she stood frozen for a moment before following her daughter in laws led and trying to rip her son off Tess. “Jackson no please!” Jackie pleaded her voice low when she said it was shaking almost and she frankly wasn’t even sure he had heard her as her eyes looked over at Dani.

Dani tried her very best to not roll her damned eyes at Tess or stand up from her chair and drag the bitch out herself. Tess going after her was her first mistake when she saw her husband’s jaw twitch. Her second one was going after his mother and she saw Jackson fly into a rage that unsettled her a bit. When he moved her, shoved the chair back and then lunged at Tess to begin to choke her. She had barely glanced at Jackie before going to try and pry Jackson loose and she could feel his entire body shaking at Tess and his eyes were so dark. “Jackson stop!  None of what she said changes what we both know that your dad wanted for you and that didn’t involve prison.” She dug her nails into his bare arms finally seeing him react to the action, snapping out of it and she shoved him back standing in front of him so he didn’t have to look at the awful woman behind her. “Be the CEO he wanted you to be right now.” She said looking at him and then back at Tess. “She wants a war she’ll get one, one she will lose.”

Jackson’s chest heaved as he stared at Dani and nodded her voice shifted him back to reality. His hands were shaking feverishly. His father was dying and this woman was a viper slithering in his mother’s presence. Who did she think she was? Why did she think she had the right to tell the woman his father clearly loved to leave? “You get out! You leave!” Jackson screamed. “I asked my mother to stay with me and you’re telling me I can’t have that comfort? You have ruined our family over and over again. You purposely had Bliss, you hid Belle and now you’re saying I can’t have my mother in the room with the man that loved her most in this world. You are the most pathetic creature I have ever seen.”

Tess stood for a moment grasping her neck seeing the rage in Jackson’s eyes. Gasping out trying to clear her throat she clasped her hands around her throat trying to soothe the pain. As she stepped back she looked into Jackie’s face who was horrified and satisfied all at once. “Make no mistake Jackson.” She croaked out. “If I find Jackie anywhere near this room again. None of you will see him. In fact get out all of you! Get of my husbands room or I swear security will remove you! You won’t be at his funeral, you won’t know where he’s buried, and you won’t say goodbye Jackie. This wound will fester forever because you don’t get a goodbye. You get the hell of his room I swear that you all believe I’m playing. I have power of attorney right now as his wife. I’m telling you all to leave my husbands room or else I will have you arrested and removed from this hospital. Are we clear? Choke on that Jackson. You have five minutes.” Tess stormed away out of the room.


How dare that woman tell her to leave Lowell’s side before she even got to share her own words with him, the man she would always love. Jackie remembered David arriving with security to escort her out of the room, her son and his wife in tow the look she had shot her rival. To be barred was so painful and Jackson had convinced the guard to leave her in the lobby while he went to find out who was actually in charge of this damned hospital. None of it was David’s fault and she knew that but it still stung and enraged her at how little of a fight he put up for her to be with Lowell at the end. He knew how long she had kept his illness from their children before Bliss came to town and after how long she had stood by his side caring for him while he was sick, it was almost unfathomable to her that he just blindly follow whatever it was Tess thought that she had. A legal document barring her from Lowell’s body in his final moments, he would never and she wondered if she could call Simon or not perhaps one of the boys already had, he would know and so would the company lawyers, they could sort this entire mess out. She could feel people around her but they didn’t actually feel like they were there as she stormed to the on duty security guard that no doubt David had placed in the waiting room.

“You tell Dr, Rhodes that I would like to speak to him immediately this is outrageous and I refuse to be outside that room while she in there with him.” Jackie sneered as she bit back the bitter tears that started to fall as she felt a hand on her shoulder looking at Dani and then Lauren and she shrugged them both off to move around the security guard. She glanced up at the man who simply outstretched his hand to prevent her from entering the ICU wing’s doors let alone stepping to the phone to be called to let inside and she didn’t know where the tears came from as they started to pour out of her and everything that was happening to her at this moment, knowing that Tess was with him and that she would be the last one to see him before he was taken off life support the entire thing vanquished her. “No you don’t understand he wouldn’t have wanted this! His last moments to be with that bitch! Please if you just let me pick up the phone you will see Dr. Rhodes.” She pleaded with the man and then turned to look at Jackson who had pulled her back. “He wouldn’t want this,” She kept saying over and over again her legs beginning to shake at the reality of it all.

Zerick had spent most of the party in the back of the party mulling over his whiskey before reaching for a second and a third and eyeing Dru with that asshole that was Lex Hessington across the room in theory Lex was more of a competition for a woman like Dru. Rich as hell though the political baggage could drag a woman down if she wanted a fish he wasn’t the worst catch. Philip was one thing, it was for sport when they competed for women and he knew deep down no one could actually love or care about his surrogate brother like that. He didn’t want to get tangled up with Ronan either so he was in a conundrum where Dru Price was concerned. Not to mention tonight showed him something inside of her that she wasn’t being entirely truthful with him about why she came to town or her past he saw a con now with her and just wasn’t sure what type it was. Regardless, by his third glass he had looked to the stage when his cousin gave his speech and watched part of his uncle’s too. He had seen Lowell fall down and in the chaos had lost sight of his auto as the mansion cleared out and a maid said she had gone to the hospital. So he spent the near hour in traffic headed to the hospital to be delayed by an accident and construction about another hour. He actually didn’t like hospitals; he had paid full memories of them like the time his mother tried to drown him in a fit of rage; he wiped the memory before he made his way inside. He saw his aunt being held back by his cousin Jackson watching as both Chauncey and Rory arrived before he looked at his cousin while he glanced at his clearly distraught aunt.

“What is going on? Why isn’t she in the room with Lowell? Is this all really necessary?” Zerick asked looking at his cousin for the first two and then at the portly security guard who looked like he was about to call for additional help. Against his aunt none the less and he was simply bewildered at it all there was no reason why she shouldn’t be with the man that he shared part DNA with, he was still Lowell to him not his uncle if he were to claim that he felt it would give him far too much validation with the lie he carried on. “Now would someone for the love of God tell me what is going on? She’s clearly upset about what is happening and we all know that he would want her there for his care.” Zerick said he had never seen his aunt that upset before not even during her divorce from Lowell or during what he thought was his paternity reveal, no this seemed different almost as if she was grief stricken and a pit settled in his stomach wondering what had happened to Lowell to put her in this state.

“Tess barred mom from dad’s room. She’s barely letting any of us inside of the room.” Jackson said calmly. “I may have made the situation even more hostile by attacking Tess. I couldn’t help it Zerick she was inside of the room saying mom couldn’t be here with me. I just saw red and I know I shouldn’t be doing this but I can’t help it. When I see my mother in pain I just get enraged and I know it’s not for the best. I gotta control my temper.” Jackson said immediately blaming himself. As he saw Rory sitting down by their mother. Chauncey was on his way back because David had sent a message out to them all. Tess was talking about taking their father off of life support. “Is she really going to be the last one in there with him?” He asked Zerick as he saw his cousin begin to become enraged. He’d seen that look before it was the same face he made when he believed father was his own father. “Zerick we can’t go in there gun blazing because she has control.”

“Finally you got a brain.” Tess said, stepping out of the room with David. “I’ll be turning off the machines in less than an hour. This shell isn’t my husband and I’m sorry Zerick no more visitors and Jackie you can leave. If you are even near this room those guards are to throw you out of this very hospital. The irony he thought that I wasn’t going to get a shred of revenge on you. You did this to me.” She said passionately. “Why don’t you bring me the coffee like Jackie, why don’t you organize a event like Jackie, why can’t you simply stay out of my way like Jackie did. Oh I have spent over thirty years in your shadow. Tonight I’ll haunt you. You will remember this for the rest of your life. How you didn’t get to say goodbye to your beloved Lowell Devonshire. That is truly satisfying.” Tess said as she looked at David. “Tell them or I will and I expect it to sound so much harsher coming from your lips.”

David’s head was still spinning as he had watched Tess storm out of Lowell’s room followed by Jackie, Jackson and Dani under five minutes later and she had approached him with the documents she had. He had taken his time reading over them signed by Tony himself and then made sure with the legal team at the hospital that they were in fact real, according to them they were much were. Tess was Lowell’s wife and he had assigned her as his power of attorney and legally his hands were fucking tied at the moment when it came to Jackie’s involvement in his care. They already hated him for what happened with Belle even though it was really none of their business to begin with. He walked down the hall with the security team after the call had come in that Jackie was hysterical in the lobby about being banned from Lowell’s room and he glanced at her and then caught the eyes of her boys and he really did feel like that they would all come after him and kill him if needed. It was what he thought could happen with the news he was about to deliver and he hated it and then he looked over at the woman standing there looking like she had won some sort of fucking battle. In truth he didn’t know how Tess did it got Lowell to give her his power attorney but he had to of known that it would come to this with her versus his children.

“Tess as power of attorney over Lowell’s care I’ve checked the documents myself and had the hospital legal time look at them too. Listen I know that none of you want to hear this but this is apparently what your father wanted. The hospital has to follow the documents that we have for his care and they conclude that Tess Devonshrie was to be in charge of his end of life care. If any of you try and interfere with those proceedings then I will be forced to let security escort you out of the building or worse call the police and have you arrested. From what staff has told me you all have got to say your goodbyes is that correct? There really is nothing else I can do for you my hands are tied.” He looked over at the boys and then at Jackie’s crumbling face.

Jackie felt like the rug was being ripped out from underneath her when Tess came out and told her that she was going to make sure Lowell was off life support, She clutched to Jackson like he was her lifeline as she felt Rory come and grab her while she lunged at Tess and then she felt Chauncey hold her back too. It was so cruel to not say goodbye and she knew that wasn’t what Lowell would want. Her heart felt like it was breaking in two as she stared at Tess. “No! You vile worthless piece of trash he wouldn’t want you there! After everything that you did to him over the years, thinking he was going to leave me for you to the point you likely tried to trap him with Bliss and then you didn’t have the balls to even tell him about Belle. Then you had the gaul to take my poor sister into your arms and twist her up in knots thinking that Lowell would ever forgive you for it? You’re a monster this is preposterous let me see the damned papers you viper. You will never and I mean never be rid of me and you will never set foot inside the company!” Jackie screamed at her trying to reach her only to feel her sons holding her back as she felt the tears streaming down her face. “I haven’t David please don’t do this.” She said gasping for air when she did she had let the children first but she hadn’t gotten to say goodbye and to hear that Tess was going to stop her now was simply breaking her heart.

Zerick looked over at the woman that was partially responsible for the state of his life and almost reached out to take the life out of her he could do it to the bitch in front of him. He looked over at her and then at his aunt that was heartbroken because of the bitch that was on the other side flanked by the chief of staff at the hospital and a security detail and he tapped his foot on the tile for a moment before he looked up at Tess and David. “This is preposterous just like my aunt said there is no way that Lowell’s final wishes were to be in the presence of her. Let us look at the damned papers that you are both so sure of, there shouldn’t be a problem with the entire family looking them over to make sure that everything is in order is there? Afterall we all know how honorable you are Tess don’t we? How petty you can be when it came to Lowell.” Zerick sneered looking at her and then at his aunt who seemed to have at least calmed down a bit. “Show us this proof you have otherwise get the hell out of the way and be prepared to call the police because my aunt will be there not you.” Zerick finished.

“I don’t have to show you a damn thing. That’s the beauty of being his wife and David knows it.” Tess said triumphantly. “I have the right to say goodbye to my husband in peace. You think I’m so evil but I’m not I mourn that man in that room just as much as her. I just don’t have to deal with it anymore. For the last moments in his life he’ll be mine. When he slips away I will be the last sight he sees not you. Did you think that I’d just let you come in and run the show.” As she raised her hand to Zerick pointing her index finger at him. “Poor little lost puppy dog always kicked around and never given the love that you so desperately crave. Now that mommy is still a nut you’ve officially replaced her. Well Jackie another stolen child. I saw you holding Belle’s hands, and comforting my daughters. You said you would take them well by all means. If they aren’t with me then they are against me. Right now I’m a room full of people against me and I could care less. I’m the big bad witch you will see in your nightmares but you won’t see Lowell. You won’t get a chance with my husband because I am his last love and wife. I have his last will also kiddies. You might want to buckle up all isn’t what it seems.” Tess walked over to David taking the paperwork off his clipboard and walking to Aspen and Dani.

“Here read it and weep, that was in poor taste.” She sneered and raised a eye brow maliciously. “What it is saying is I am power of attorney over his end of life care. Which means if I so forth see it and it isn’t in the best interest of my husband which Jackie I’m sorry but you exerted him tonight. I don’t think it would be wise to have you near him. Zerick is that enough explanation for you? Did you all get that? I’ll be the only one in the room when he goes to the other side. I’m his wife and I deserve this. You think I’m heartless? You think I’m cold? Well I am and I’m broken because I’ve loved him. I didn’t twist his head up Jackie oh you misguided soul he loved me in his own broken way. I wasn’t second when he really loved me! You gloss over that I gave him two kids as well and I know neither were under the perfect circumstances but.” She said as she found herself gasping. “But I won’t be disrespected you can’t see him. You can’t see him in fact all of you get away from my husband! Get out! Go! You aren’t welcomed. I wanted peace with you but somehow I am always the villain so if this is destiny let me play the part.” Tess looked at David. “I don’t want to see any of them.” Turning away as the tears began to pour down her face. “Get out of here! Now!” She roared.


“I bet you didn’t see this coming.” Tess said softly she laughed. “For months you treated me like was a second class citizen in my own home. You thought I didn’t know. I’ve loved you since I was eighteen and you thought I didn’t know. It was a good plan Lowell finally give me what I want and I guess I blinded myself to it. I sat back and I knew you were still in love with her. I knew it because every time you looked at me you had discontentment in your eyes. You weren’t happy and you suffered your last moments because of me.” Tess exhaled as the tears fell down her face. “Before this all happened we had a lot of good times. You remember me, Bliss and you in Aruba? Do you Lowell? You told me you loved me there. You told me that and I believed you. Every time you said it to me. But it was all lies wasn’t it? You only loved Jackie and that my love is why everything you built will be mine. I have stood by second for my entire life. In a shadow of disgrace for loving you. I was chased away from my family, and I was shunned because I dared to go against your beloved Jackie. This town has always catered to her but today I showed her. I showed them all what you taught me. The art of betrayal. Lowell I want you to know I figured out your little plan a long time ago. It was around the time we got back from the Island. Oh the wedding was perfect and then I saw and heard you and Simon. You love that little gay. He annoys me so much. But that’s when I saw forth to do something daring. Oh something so outlandish that nobody would see it fucking coming.” Tess stood up and walked to her purse opening it she pulled out two champagne flutes and a bottle of Lowell’s favorite champagne.

Tess popped the cork as champagne bubbled through her fingers and onto the floor. Pouring two glasses she laughed. “I remember when Simon took what he assumed was the updated will to the safekeeping but things can get all mixed up and switched without you looking. All it would take is a few extra minutes in physical therapy or maybe it was bathtime I don’t remember but he took it just like I knew he would. A loyal flunky for the king but what about the queens? One is beloved, everyone mourns for Jackie and me? I’m the pariah so why don’t I embrace it? I want you to know.” She sipped the champagne. “Jackson isn’t taking over the company, I am. I did some fine trickery for this all to go down the way I want. I got you to make me your power of attorney and that was the first strike against your beloved Jackie. You all worried about Forbes and I understand he’s scary. His big speeches and long soliloquies are intimidating but he wasn’t who you should be looking at. He kept coming and the infighting it all worked to my advantage because tomorrow I will claim the throne. I get my shot at being immortal. I get my girls their due not a few millions but everything their heart wants.” She laughed, placing her champagne glass down.

“I should be crying right now but oh I used all my tears earlier. I loved you. Did you hear that? I loved you so much. I thought I would die for this man but would this man die for me? That was a haunting realization. The notion that I would literally give my life to give you more. I was pregnant again once with another man’s baby. You remember what you told me? I was happy and you came back in my life and you remember what you did? You told me to divorce him and that we would be happy and I did. I did and I killed my other child. I did it for you. I did whatever you wanted and I jumped when you said how high. I have devoted my life to you and in your death. You will give me your legacy. You owe me that. You have stolen years and lied and hurt me in ways that I just can’t forget or foresee what I am and going to do them all. All the ones you love more than me Lowell.” She picked up her champagne glass and chugged it down. Then walked to the bottle and refilled her glass. “So I want to tell you what type of wife I am. Chet my tennis instructor. I had him in our bed, Isaac the art curator of the mansion I had him in your office, and Bryce your banker. Well, it was easy to get you after I got him in bed. See I still got it. I may be older but I’m just as sweet.”

Standing up she looked over his bed and touched his face. “For thirty years I played second to Jackie and even right now I feel your need for her. You’d just slip away if she came in would you? You’d be at peace? But what about me? Audrey? The women you promised the moon and stars to? You want her but I’m letting you know she’s not coming to see you Lowell! I banned your beloved Jackie from seeing you. Isn’t that a plot twist? She doesn’t get to say goodbye and you don’t get peace. I don’t want you to rest in peace, you son of bitch. You thought you could write me off? You could erase our kids and my legacy? Your grand plan to place all the kids in their respective divisions has failed. I’m going to fire them, I’m going to torment them and I’m going to make DGI mine. It’s mine now. All you worked for and all they feared was going to happen will and it will all be because of me. I’m taking it all. I’m taking what belongs to me and I don’t feel bad that I stopped giving you your anti-seizure medication. You know the one you should take to counteract all the other medication you were taking?” Tess smiled as she cocked her head. “Oh don’t look so surprised I knew Bliss was getting abused and I turned a blind eye for more money. My love for my girls is unlimited but I was broke and right now I’m not. I’m going to become the richest woman in America shortly. I’m going to take DGI and take what is mine from Jackie and those other kids. My girls were made to feel like bastards but what happens when Jackie’s kids are no longer in favor? What happens when I turn the table on everyone? I will succeed in ways you have no idea because you underestimated me. They all did but my plan is one of beauty and merit and greed. I want it all and when I’m done bankrupting MontCorp and watching them bleed, I’ll gut the remaining Devonshire’s from your tribe with Jackie.” Leaning down she kissed Lowell’s lips.

“So thank-you my beloved Lowell. I salute the man who broke my heart but this dumb immbecile who let me worm my way in. Well I pity you. I pity the depth of hell you will burn in. You aren’t a good person and I’m not either hell I admit but you thought some angel named Jackie would save you. You thought she was your redemption. When I’m the only salvation you ever had. I wonder if you could hear what I just said. Truly hear what I am saying right now. If you understand how you made this all happen. How this is all your fault. You loved the idea of me and now you will get to see what happens when you enrage a woman of my caliber.” Walking out of the room she saw the guards standing outside of the waiting room. They hadn’t left just outside waiting on word. She’d let David tell them the news. It was fun torturing them with him.  David Rhodes would be a constant reminder that he was fucking there baby sister and her daughter while caring for there sickly father. Let’s see if he’s up for chief-of-staff next year? “Nurse, I’m ready.” She said as she stepped back and watched the woman enter. She looked at her and Tess nodded as she watched her immediately went to the machines as David entered the room with them. He walked to the nurse and together they turned off the last machine. As Lowell heart rhythm flatlined immediately. The eerie high pitched squeal made it somehow so much more real. Tess stepped back and her elbow knocked over the second glass of champagne. Picking up her purse Tess walked out watching David shed a tear over the loss of Lowell Devonshire and she was crying as well because for the first time ever in her life. She was about to win over the one person who haunted her most, she was about to beat Jackie Devonshire.