Cass admitted to Felicia, "I thought you'd be furious with me. Lucas is sitting in jail right now because of something I did."
"Lucas is sitting in jail because he loves his daughter more than his own life. I may not be thrilled with how he's gone about showing it, but considering the battle I waged to get him to accept Lorna, I can hardly be upset about the results."
"I'll do everything I can to get him out. I have an idea for how I can convince Hamilton to reduce the charges. I'll bring him back to you, Felicia. You have my word."
"I know you will." She smiled through her tears. "And you've already given me the best news possible."
"Really? Which part was your favorite? The one where I'm a killer, or the one where I sat back and let your husband take the blame for my crime?"
"The part where you restored my faith by telling me that Lucas wasn't some unrepentant sociopath willing to murder an innocent well, in this case one must use the term lightly bystander to further his own vigilante agenda or, worse, a led-by-the-nose puppet of Carl's. I didn't know which of those two scenarios I found more terrifying. No, Cass, you told me that my husband wasn't just a devoted father, he's a loyal friend, too."
"Lucas didn't do any of this for me. It was always about you. He kept quiet about my involvement because he didn't want you to lose us both. And he knew what Jenna's death did to you. That's why he wanted Donna to pay."
Felicia attempted a laugh that came out more like a sob. "We couldn't even get that. I've been calling the DA's office every day, and I get the same answer. All of the information found in Cecile's hotel room is unverifiable. They claim they've attempted to establish its veracity, but keep coming up against dead end after dead end."
"Lucas got the file that he planted from Carl, right?" Cass thought out loud.
Felicia nodded. "That's what Lorna told me."
"Where did Carl get it?"
"I don't know," Felicia realized she'd failed to wonder. "Lucas never said."
"Sounds like that's a piece of information we ought to have," Cass noted.
"I'm on my way." Felicia grabbed her purse and headed for the door. She told Cass, "Promise me you won't do anything until after I talk to Lucas?"
He pointed out, "No matter what he says, it still won't change the fact that I killed Cecile."
"We can't be sure of that. This could all be so much bigger than we know. Just promise me you'll wait for my call."
"No," Matt told Lorna mere minutes after she'd entered his office at C-Squared Productions. "I am not working with you. Hell, no."
"Manners, Matt," With a toss of the head, Lorna indicated Jasmine, sitting at her own official desk in the corner, watching the conversation with great interest from behind a stack of demo CDs. "And you don't have any choice in the matter. Pretty Boy Toy's manager called me personally and asked that I take over their Public Relations, starting immediately."
"I have an entire PR Department for that."
"Your online presence is virtually nonexistent, your Facebook Fan page hasn't been updated in over a month, you have no Twitter account, no YouTube channel and finding even your top artists on iTunes is like searching for a needle in a misspelled hay-stack. You're doing Lady Madonna PR in the age of Lady Gaga. That's why they called in the Marines."
"Daddy," Jasmine told Matt solemnly. "We could really use some Marines."
"Real Marines, Jazz," Matt informed his daughter. "Are less destructive than this "
"Manners," Jasmine sing-songed in perfect echo of Lorna's earlier rebuke.
"Ms. Devon and I can't work together," Matt rephrased.
"Yeah, why not?" Lorna crossed her arms. "It'll be just like old times. You stomping around with a perpetual scowl on your face; me saving both your butt and your company. Repeatedly. Through my sheer awesomeness."
"That was then, this is now. And right now, Lorna, I really can't stand the sight of you."
She hesitated, reaching into her purse and pulling out a CD. Lorna told Jasmine, "I heard you were an AC/DC fan."
"Mega," Jasmine nodded eagerly.
"In that case, you have got to hear these guys. They're called Airbourne, they're out of Australia, and if you like AC/DC, this is right up your alley."
"Thanks!" Jasmine beamed. She asked Matt, "Can I go listen to it right now?"
"Put your headphones on," he reminded, which Jasmine promptly did, disappearing into musical, and soundproof, bliss. "Nice move," Matt told Lorna.
"I figured you wouldn't want her hearing the rest of this."
"Now why would you figure I'd be against my eleven year old hearing me ream out the woman who, a few days ago, made her grand entrance at the breakfast table on my brother's arm by the way, nice move, guys, there are kids living in that house, you know?"
"They're Cory kids. They've seen worse."
"And this was after the last time we met, when you tried to set fire to my girlfriend!"
"I set fire to your girlfriend's drapes," Lorna clarified. "But the fact that you can't recognize the difference between the two, also explains why you can't seem to grasp the distinction between personal and professional. Yes, I am still more than a little pissed that your girlfriend got away with killing my sister. And yes, I am currently dating your brother. But neither of those two things has anything to do with the fact that I've been hired to do a job which I intend to do. Perfectly, like always."
"When you worked with me at D&M, you drove it into the ground."
"Which, if you remember, was, in fact, my job. Grow up, Matt. I'd have thought pining for over a decade after a woman old enough to be your mother would have at least helped you accomplish that."
"Fine." Matt gave up, throwing his arms in the air and turning his back on her in favor of ineffectually shuffling some papers. "Knock yourself out. You always do whatever you want, anyway. But I'm warning you. Not a press release, not a news blurb, not a Tweet goes out about one of my bands without me signing off on it, first."
"Of course, Mr. Cory. I wouldn't have it any other way." Lorna smiled, satisfied, and turned to leave, waving at Jasmine on her way out.
The little girl pulled off her headphones to rave, "These guys rock!"
"Glad you liked them."
"Are you coming to our Pool Party, 4th of July?"
Lorna's grin grew even broader as she watched Matt's shoulders stiffen. "Wouldn't miss it for the world, Jazz."
"Jamie had absolutely no right to take my son out of state without my permission!" Grant bellowed at Amanda primarily because she was the only one around while his ex-wife lounged on a chair next to the Cory pool, modeling a rather daring, skimpy, red bikini.
Amanda craned her neck to glare up at Grant through a pair of designer sunglasses "Will you please move your hulking carcass aside? You're blocking my sun."
"I could have Jamie arrested for kidnapping."
"That'll play beautifully with Kirkland, I'm sure." Amanda tossed a bottle of sunscreen into his hands. "Fine. If you insist on standing there, at least make yourself useful and take care of my back."
"You'll have a tan line."
Amanda popped the clasp on her bikini top, cupping both breasts as it fell away. "Just do your civic duty to prevent skin cancer, would you, Senator?"
Grant shrugged off his suit jacket before obliging, unable to pass up the opportunity to assist her even as she was so obviously baiting him. Fingers slick with coco butter, he informed, "I'm having Kevin contest Jamie's guardianship as we speak."
She shoved him away but only after he'd completed his task. "Fair warning, Grant, you screw around with my brother, and I'll start screwing around with you."
"That sounds vaguely suggestive. And not at all bad."
She went on as if he hadn't interrupted, "Just what were you up to exactly for the decade in between your un-mourned death and miraculous resurrection?"
"I was taking a rest cure. Bay City had proven rather detrimental to my health."
"I wonder if vitamin smoothies and afternoon naps are all that my top-notch reporters would find were I to set a dozen or so on sniffing out your trail?"
Grant wiped his hands on a nearby beach towel. "I can assure you that my missing years were quite uneventful. There's no story whatsoever to my extended vacation."
Amanda inched her sunglasses down, making direct eye contact. "So I'll make something up then. If fake news is good enough for The New York Times..."
"Try it. I'll sue Brava down to a mimeographed newsletter."
"And how do you think Marley will enjoy her newfound fame?"
"Leave Marley out of this. She's been through enough."
"Sleep with snakes, wake up with puncture wounds," Amanda shrugged. "After everything you two have put my brother through this past year, a little venom of my own is the least I can do."
Grant smirked, "Another woman fighting Jamie's battles for him. Typical. Though, if memory serves, the last instance of you storming out to play crusading sister, you ended up just another notch on my attorney's bed-post."
"Kevin and I are done. And I'm bitter. And self-aware. And have plenty of free time now to make your life miserable."
"Allie!" Jen exclaimed in surprise upon finding GQ's ex-girlfriend at her door.
"I need to talk to you," Allie's breathing was short and shallow and she was bouncing up and down on her toes, vibrating with a contagious, anxious energy.
"What's wrong?" GQ came up behind the girls, but Allie ignored him completely to focus on Jen.
"Steven says you're an expert in brain stuff. He says you're, like, the most brilliant person he knows. And Steven thinks pretty much everyone is an idiot compared to him."
"Steven said I was brilliant?" Jen asked hesitantly, realizing that obviously wasn't the point of Allie's visit, but unable to resist.
"Yeah, yeah," Allie nodded. "That's why I need your help. Gregory has this brain thing. He says it's a bunch of tumors, like picking rice out of tapioca pudding or whatever."
"Gregory? Your Gregory?"
"Yeah," Allie paced up and down, forcing Jen and GQ to watch her like a tennis match. "He's had it since he was a kid and he said the drugs they gave him just slowed down the tumors growing and they can't cut them out because there's too many and now that he's had a seizure that means it's too late and "
"Hold it!" Jen raised her hands. "Slow down, please. Let me get this straight. Gregory has a brain glioma?"
Allie stopped short. "Is that another way of saying really bad cancer?"
"More or less," Jen dismissed. "Oh, God, Allie, I'm so sorry. Where is he now?"
"At the hospital. He had this seizure. He stopped breathing. Sarah and Steven, they gave him mouth to mouth and... I didn't do anything. I just stood there." She looked from one to the other, as if asking for absolution, and repeated, "I didn't do anything."
"At least he's okay. For now," Jen reassured.
"He tried to explain it to me, about how he'd already gotten every treatment possible and it still didn't do any good. But I thought, maybe you I thought maybe you might know about some new research or something that he could try?"
Allie looked so hopeful, it broke Jen's heart to say, "No. I I'm sorry. My field... the brain research that I do is completely different. I could ask some people I know, but I doubt it would be anything that Gregory's doctors wouldn't have thought of."
"Oh," Allie said, her entire body sagging from the last departing vestige of optimism. "Oh."
"Are you okay, Allie?" GQ asked.
She shook her head. "No."
GQ reached out to comfort her, then stopped halfway, sneaking a look at Jen to gauge her reaction. Jen nodded her head emphatically and gestured for him to continue. Relieved, GQ put an arm around Allie, and asked, "What can we do?"
"Nothing," Allie said, bursting into tears, her face on GQ's shoulder. "There's nothing anybody can do."
"I promised Felicia I wouldn't turn myself in until after she'd talked to Lucas," Cass said.
"That's fine." Frankie embraced him as soon as he walked through the door, holding on longer than necessary, knowing that every single action of theirs might be the last for a very long time. "I wanted to spend one last night with you, anyway. But what good does Felicia think talking to Lucas "
"It won't do any good." Cass clutched Frankie's hand extra tightly for the exact reason she'd had such trouble letting go of him. "But I have to let her try. I've known Felicia long enough to realize that she needs to feel like she is doing something to help. And I sort of see where she's coming from. At least if she can use the information that Lucas planted to put Donna away, then what he and I did will have some meaning. It might make it easier for her to live with."
"She's had so much dumped on her this past year. I'm amazed she's still standing."
"Felicia is an extraordinarily strong woman. Probably why you two get along so well."
"Felicia and I get along so well because she realizes I love you as much as she does. With me, she can trust to let you out of her sight," Frankie joked.
"Felicia also knows that you make me happier than anyone else on earth."
"Even now?" Frankie wondered.
A long pause, and then she admitted, "I'm scared."
"And you think I'm not?"
"I know. I know you are. What you're about to get thrown into is nothing compared to... I feel selfish even bringing my concerns up, much less feeling them. I should be focusing on you, on helping provide what you're going to need to get through this."
"What are you scared of, Frankie? Tell me."
"I'm scared of you resenting me, of growing to hate me for what I'm making you do. I swore to stand by you, and I intend to keep that promise no matter what it costs me. But what if, one day, you're the one who no longer wants me around?"
"I'm the one forcing you to turn yourself in. You said it yourself, I blackmailed you."
"I was wrong. All you did was make me see that there was only one option I could take."
"If you wanted to hold on to me."
"If I wanted to hold on to what was left of myself." Cass held Frankie at arm's length. "Look at what I'd become over the past few months. Not just a killer... that was an accident. I am unspeakably sorry it happened, but the reason it happened... I could still look at myself in the mirror with some modicum of self-respect. Everything that came after, though? Letting Jamie go to prison? Trying to stop you from testifying for him? And then Lucas? Lying to Felicia? If you hadn't forced me, I might very well have allowed things to stay the way they were. That's the kind of coward I was well on my way to becoming. And, in that case, how long would it have been before I couldn't face myself, or you, or the girls? I am grateful for everything you said to me. If I am still the Cass Winthrop you fell in love with, it is solely and utterly thanks to you."
"Am I disturbing you?" Lila poked her head into Rachel's studio, where Matt's mother seemed intent on kneading a particularly stubborn block of clay into pliant submission. "I know it's late, but I saw the light on..."
"Not at all, come in." Rachel wiped the sweat off her forehead with the sleeve of her work-shirt and looked up, smiling. "I'm afraid the last few weeks, with all that's been going on regarding Jamie, I just didn't have the motivation to generate anything beyond worry. Now though, it's as if all the stopped up ideas are coming out at the same time. I've been at it for hours. I could use a break." She reached for a bottle of water and offered one to Lila. "How are you, darling?"
Lila sighed as she took a sip. "Looking for a little advice, I'm afraid."
"That's what I'm here for."
She began, "It's about Kevin."
"Can't say I'm surprised."
"Really?" Lila screwed the cap back on. "Why not?"
"Well, let's see. You're a better mother than I ever was, so you can't be needing my advice on that front. You seem to have Grant Harrison under better control than anyone ever has, and, in any case, you wouldn't be coming to me about him. That just leaves men, an area in which I may not have more wisdom than you, but certainly a few more years of experience. Besides, I caught your barb to Amanda the other morning. Something is clearly going on."
"I'm sorry about that," Lila clarified. "I'm a guest in your home. I have no right to be treating your daughter "
"Amanda asked for it. I saw."
"Amanda came to Kevin a few days ago and said that she was sorry for dumping him and that she still loved him," Lila revealed.
"Is that so?" Rachel thoughtfully considered the disclosure. "I must say, I'm a bit surprised. Apologies aren't Amanda's strong suit. How did Kevin respond?"
"He said he didn't trust her anymore, and that was that."
"Kevin told you this?"
"Hm. Obviously he doesn't have anything to hide."
"He also told me that he was still in love with Amanda, too."
"Oh. Now this is getting interesting."
"Yeah. Especially when...."
"When what?" Lila now had Rachel's complete attention.
"When...." She stopped and started again, full-disclosure-style. "When Kevin and I first got together, we both agreed that it would be nothing serious, just two, unattached adults having a good time together."
"And are you having a good time together?"
"Do you want to continue having a good time together?"
"Yes." Lila said, "And..."
"What?" Rachel prodded gently.
"Now see, thing is, up until Amanda made her grand announcement, here I'd thought I was perfectly happy with the way things were. But, soon as there reared a possibility of it ending, I realized I I wanted something more."
"There's nothing wrong with that realization."
"There is. If you're me."
"I'm afraid I don't understand."
"Yes, you do," Lila challenged. "You're just being polite."
"Alright," Rachel conceded. "I think I do."
"Of course you do. Because you remember what happens when I set my cap for a man. Shane. Matt. I have this tendency to go a little crazy. I thought, after Frankie returned and I was able to walk away from Cass without resorting to forgery or blackmail or hypnosis that I'd finally tamed that... overzealous part of myself. Until Kevin mentioned still loving Amanda even if he didn't intend to do anything about it. And then I just felt it raring back."
"So you came to me for advice."
"You did say you had a few years of experience on me."
"Particularly in this area."
Lila squirmed. "Are you offended?"
"Not at all. I'm honored." Rachel smiled. "Tell me more."
"I can't tell you that, Fanny." Lucas sat across from Felicia in the prison's visiting room, his face a mask of determined resignation.
"Why not?" she demanded. "After everything you've sacrificed to make it happen, don't you want to make sure Donna pays for what she did to all of us? Don't you want your gesture to mean something? At least if we put Donna away, we'll know this wasn't all for nothing. Just tell the District Attorney's office where you and Carl got the information about her ordering our kidnapping. The reason they refuse to prosecute is because they have no witnesses to back up their circumstantial evidence. If you "
"It's too dangerous. Exposing how I learned about Donna would put you and Lorna in the cross hairs. I won't do that. Not even to see that bitch hang."
"I can protect myself from Carl. God knows I've done it before. Besides, this is different. He wanted Donna punished as badly as you did. Jenna," Felicia struggled to say the words. "Jenna was his child, too."
"Carl is only a small piece of the puzzle. There are other forces involved, here. Forces even he isn't powerful enough to stand up against. It won't be just my family in danger, it'll be his, too. Rachel, the twins, anyone who lives in that house, really. Heck, Lorna, if she's with Jamie. We'd make her a target from both sides. Drop this, Fanny. I beg of you. Just walk away and let it go."
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