"Thank you for the loaner of world's best bridesmaid and DJ," Lorna, having changed out of her wedding gown into a white cocktail dress with sweetheart neckline and a crossover wrap at the bodice that actually let her finally inhale, walked Jasmine over to Matt and Lila. "But now would you please tell her to take a break? Rachel says they're going to start serving dinner any minute," she instructed. "And I want you to relax and have a good time, you hear me, Jazz?"
"I am having a good time," the girl insisted stubbornly to both her parents and Lorna. "I have a whole play-list planned just for the eating part. Meatloaf, Bread, Black Eyed Peas, Smashing Pumpkins, Cream, Red Hot Chili Peppers..."
Lorna squeezed Jasmine shoulders. "You are a wonder, you know that? I can't imagine how I could've thrown this hip of a wedding without you. I yield and bow down before your expert knowledge of all things music, not to mention all things girlie."
"Then can I please play just one more song? Please? I picked it out special for you!"
"Okay," Lorna said. "Just one more song. But, then you're off the clock, deal?"
"Deal!" Jasmine scurried off.
"I don't know how you did it," Lorna told Matt and Lila. "You two have raised the most amazing kid. You don't mind if Jamie and I come to you for pointers, like, every couple of hours or so?"
"You're welcome to ask," Lila began.
"But, we have no idea how we did it, either," Matt finished.
From her DJ spot between a pair of speakers, Jasmine waved gleefully to Lorna, then, with a mischievous glint in her eye, flicked a switch, the sounds of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream filling the room.
Lorna burst out laughing, beckoning to Jamie, even as the rest of their guests flinched somewhat, and Jasmine came running over to explain, "You said you wanted to know about what normal girls liked..."
"It's perfect," Lorna said, grabbing Jamie by the hand. "We are definitely dancing to this. And pay close attention to the lyrics."
With Jasmine scurrying off and Rachel urging everyone to head for the dining area, Matt and Lila strolled to check out their place-cards for seating.
"Jeanne Ewing, huh?" Lila noted when she caught sight of his assigned companion.
"Not all of us are important enough to rope in the mayor," he countered.
"What are you talking about?" Lila realized her reaction was a great deal sharper than her ex-husband's dig warranted. "I didn't Chase wanted to come."
"So, it's Chase now..."
"He's my boss. Everyone calls him by his first name. He's very informal."
"Chill, Lila," Matt raised both hands in surrender. "I was just busting your chops a little. I didn't mean anything. Frankly, in my mind, Harrison to Hamilton is a major step up."
"I just don't want you to think there's anything... inappropriate going on. We're friends. Sort of. He wanted to come wish Jamie and Lorna well in person. You know, after throwing Jamie in jail last year."
"Kevin tried to take Kirkland away, and he's here. And let's not even discuss Morgan and Felicia. I think Jamie and Lorna were in a damn, forgiving mood."
"Oh, yeah. I read about your little sexual harassment escapade. Seriously, Matt? What were you thinking?"
"Don't want to talk about it," he mumbled.
"Fair enough. Let's get back to Jeanne. Nice distraction tactic, by the way. Almost managed to redirect me for a minute there."
"What about Jeanne?"
"You two serious?" Lila added before Matt could rebuff her. "It is too my business, if it concerns my baby girl, which all your lady friends do."
"We're dating," was all Matt would commit to.
"You must like her a lot, to throw Donna under a bus way you did."
"That was for Donna's own good," Matt insisted.
"Bet she didn't see it that way."
He sighed. "She never has before."
"Truly, I don't wish you any ill-will. But, if you're asking me to be sorry regarding that... personage being out of my daughter's life for good then, nope, can't do it. To paraphrase a wise if bitter man, to my way of thinking, from Donna to Jeanne, that's a major step up."
Matt smiled self-consciously. "Jeanne is... she's something else. I think I've needed someone like her in my life for a long time. She's straightforward. No games. If she wants something, she goes after it whole hog. If she's going to do something you're not going to like, she tells you. How's that for novel?"
"Around here? I'd say that's downright unprecedented."
"Yeah. It's refreshing. I like knowing where I stand with her."
"What about where she stands with you?"
"Yeah," he shrugged sheepishly. "Still working on that part...."
"Congratulations," Alice gave Lucas a quick peck on the cheek. "Your daughter looked stunning. And it was a lovely wedding."
"She looked so happy," Lucas beamed. "That's what I couldn't get over. Happiness is... it's not exactly Lorna's governing emotion."
"It will be. If Jamie has anything to say about it."
Lucas held up a pair of crossed fingers.
"What about you?" Alice asked gently. "The last time we spoke, things were... difficult. Now that Lorna is well again, have you...."
"I don't know," he admitted. "Fanny and I, our problems didn't exactly disappear the moment Lorna opened her eyes. In a way, they almost got worse. Jamie hasn't told her what Morgan wanted to do. Or that Fanny supported him in it."
"Not an easy secret to keep," Alice said, neutrally.
"And then there are... other things." Lucas' eyes drifted to Carl, then guiltily jerked back again. "Felicia and I haven't been on the same page for a very long time. We're both keeping secrets. Not just from Lorna, from each other, too. That can't go on forever."
"I know a little about what's happening," Alice confided. "Spencer told me. He's as embroiled as the rest of you."
"And you're still here," Lucas marveled. "With him. Spencer is one lucky man."
"Hopefully, at least a few of the issues between you and your wife will clear up as soon as those... other things... are finally put in order."
"Thank you, Alice," Lucas said. "As you might imagine, there aren't a lot of people I can confide in about... this."
"I'm here whenever you need me," she reassured. "We're all family now, after all."
"Excuse me," Jeanne reached for the cosmopolitan the bartender was handing her before heading into the dining room, and addressed the man sitting next to her. "I'm sorry, but you're Dean Frame, aren't you?"
He nodded, accepting his own beer. "That's me."
"I thought so. You're Jamie's cousin, I knew that. You're going to think this is stupid, but "
"You were really into my music fifteen years ago."
She speculated, embarrassed. "I guess you get that a lot."
"You fit the demo," he said, not unkindly.
"I had your poster and everything. I bought all your albums. Ladykiller..."
"I'm sure my record company appreciated it." Realizing that came off as rude, he added, "I appreciated it, too. That was an amazing time in my life. The best time, in fact."
"What are you working on now?" she asked.
Dean pointed to Lori Ann, doing her yawning best not to fall asleep in Felicia's arms. "My daughter."
"Oh. That's right. I remember reading... your wife. I'm sorry."
"But, I mean, what are you working on musically?"
"I'm done with that scene," Dean said.
"No. Jenna was... Jenna was everything. I can't do it without her. No point in trying."
"That's ridiculous. Your talent didn't die with her no offense."
"Offense taken," he corrected, and turned back to his drink.
"That makes no sense. How can you just walk away from your career? After all the work I imagine you've put into it?"
"My kid's more important. She needs me in one place the place where the rest of her family is. Not gallivanting around the world, working nights and sleeping days."
"Are you telling me that Gymboree classes beat selling out stadiums? That you'd rather change diapers than get up in front of a crowd and make them listen to you? Make them love you?"
"Jenna loved me," Dean corrected. "Everything else is just noise."
"You're afraid," Jeanne accused. It was truly the only thing she could think of. "You're afraid you haven't got it anymore. The music business moves so fast these days, being out of the spotlight for a year or two, you might as well have died. You're scared you won't be able to fill those arenas again. That your fans have moved on."
"You still have that poster of me up on your wall?" he challenged.
And that confirmed it. "You're not staying in Bay City to take care of your kid. You're hiding behind her."
"I'm sorry, who are you again, and why do you think you know anything about me?"
"Nobody gives up center-stage voluntarily. That's something I do know."
"If you say so."
"It was nice meeting you, too," Dean said.
Handing a sleeping Lori Ann off to Lucas, Felicia finally got up her nerve to approach Lorna and Jamie as they headed into the dining room.
She tapped her daughter on the arm. Lorna turned around expectantly. Only to discover her mother standing there without a single thing to say.
Instead, Felicia silently raised her hand and stroked Lorna's cheek with the back of her fingers, looking into her child's eyes, hoping that everything she wanted to express and wish and convey and bless might somehow make itself clear without words because words, Felicia knew when it came to her and Lorna, only ruined things.
The stood like that for a long, pensive, timeless moment, locked onto each other, not moving, barely breathing. Finally, Lorna offered the slightest of nods. Which could have meant anything. And everything.
Felicia smiled. Still cupping Lorna's face with one hand, she raised one finger of the other and turned to Jamie, wagging it in front of him. "And you."
"Yes?" he inquired politely.
"You take care of her," Felicia stressed. "Give her everything she needs. Everything she deserves. Everything she never had. I am trusting you."
"I know," Jamie said.
"Dad!" Kirkland rushed up, apologizing for interrupting and giving Felicia an easy out to fade away. This was as good as matters were going to get today. No sense pushing it.
"There you are," Jamie slapped his son on the shoulder and beckoned Kirkland to follow them over to their seats at the head table. "I wondered where you disappeared to."
"We've got a problem," he cringed to Jamie and Lorna.
She tensed instantly, despite Jamie's look warning her not to. "What's wrong?"
"It's Steven. He called me. He had to take off. He's really sorry. But, he's not going to be able to make the Best Man toast."
"Forget the Best Man toast," Jamie waved that aside. "What's going on?"
"He said to tell you not to worry, he's okay. But it was kind of an emergency."
"Steven, what are you doing here?" Marley tried a nonplussed tone, offering her nephew and Jen a confused smile. "Your father's wedding "
"Isn't over. Who the hell said you could take Bridget and Michele?"
"We're going on a trip!" Michele once again eagerly supplied. "To celebrate Aunt Marley being all better now."
Steven blinked in disbelief at his sister before looking to Marley, his body still, his eyes radiating the struggle between believing in the woman who'd raised him for the past ten years and not ignoring the facts.
Grant stepped forward. "Steven... Whatever you're thinking..."
"I'm thinking that Marley is trying to run away with my sisters. I'm thinking that you're helping her."
"Running away?" Michele frowned while Bridget's furrow relaxed in shock, the pieces finally fitting together.
Cass and Frankie, meanwhile, kept silent, figuring they'd contribute what they knew when and if asked.
"You're scaring your sisters," Marley accused. "And jumping to conclusions. I'm not running away, I... we discussed this. I was going to talk to them? Explain everything?"
"At the hospital. After Dad's wedding. And I would be bringing them to you."
"I know. But, then I thought that doing it this way.... after a nice trip... would be better."
"Without me or Kirkland? Without telling us where you were going or when you would be back? Without even alerting us that you were taking them?"
"I do not have to check in with you or Kirkland or anybody about anything regarding my girls!" Marley snapped, fed up. "If I want to go on a trip with them, there isn't a damned thing you can do about it. I am the adult here, Steven, not you."
"What are you doing?" Grant demanded, watching Steven reach for his phone. "Who are you calling?"
"Someone who can settle this once and for all."
Grant charged Steven, seemingly looking to snatch the phone away from him, only to be met with his former stepson's fist squarely to Grant's jaw.
He stumbled backwards. Cass catching him at the last minute was all that kept Grant from hitting the floor.
"I'm not six years old anymore, Grant," Steven shook his head, struggling to keep his emotions in check, mostly for the horrified Michele and Bridget's sakes. "I know how to fight back now."
"The police won't help you here," Grant insisted, shoving Cass away in disgust, and more than a little embarrassment. "Marley is fully within her rights to "
"I'm not calling the police. I'm calling my father."
"I'm sorry, Dr. Frame," the butler pulled Jamie aside, handing him the cordless phone and urging him to step away from the party for a moment. "Mr. Frame is on the main house line. He asked to speak to you immediately."
"Thank you," Jamie grabbed the receiver and pressed it to his ear, stepping into the hall. "Steven? Where the hell are you?"
Lorna followed, closing the door to give them some privacy. She watched Jamie's face darken as he listened. She looked at him questioningly. He shook his head, holding up a hand, indicating he'd fill her in shortly.
"No, son, it's okay," he swore. "Thank you for calling. I'll be right there."
"What's wrong?" Lorna demanded.
"Steven's at the airport," Jamie relayed the words as if he couldn't believe it himself. "Marley tried to make a run for it with Grant. And the girls. I've got to get down there before "
"I'm going with you," Lorna said.
"No," he was already headed for the door. "It's been an insane day. You need to rest."
"What are you doing here?" GQ asked Allie, having followed her out to the now deserted gazebo. "Party's inside."
"Yeah," she hugged herself. The evening had cooled down considerably. But, that didn't seem to be the entire reason for her shaking. "I kind of couldn't take it anymore."
"I know," GQ sympathized. "Katy Perry can drive anyone away."
Allie smiled weakly. "Where's Jen?"
"She took off," GQ admitted.
"What? Why? Where?"
"I don't know. She sent me a text. Some kind of emergency she'll explain later."
"Oh," Allie said, visibly uninterested. "Weird."
"Come back inside. It's cold out here."
"I thought I could do it," she said. "I can't. I was listening to Jamie just now talking about Lorna guess Steven had something better to do, too. Him telling everybody in there what she means to him. How she saved his life. How she made him look at himself in a whole new way. He said she was his hero. That's why they played that David Bowie song in the beginning. I thought it was strange. I know what he means, though. Because that's exactly what Gregory did for me. A few months ago, Jamie was asking me when I knew it was time to let Gregory go. Because he thought that time might have come for him and Lorna. And now they're married. And Gregory is dead. It's not fair. Damn it, none of this is fair."
She started to cry. Quietly. The last remaining light bounced off the tears sliding down her cheeks, her face otherwise mostly in the shadows. Her shoulders shook, and still, she barely made a sound.
"Don't Allie, please." GQ took a step closer to her. "You're right. It's not fair. But, it's going to be okay. Gregory wouldn't want you to..."
He put a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, shaking her head. He put his arm around her. It really was cold. And she was trembling so hard.
And then he kissed her.
"I knew we were stupid to trust you," Lorna spat Marley's way once she and Jamie arrived at the airport, Steven sitting in one corner, a protective arm around each of his sisters, Marley and Grant a few feet away from them, being watched over by okay, this was unexpected Frankie and Cass. And then there was Jen Fowler, looking like she really wished she could be anywhere else right about now.
Frankie was the first to stand and approach them, prompting a befuddled Jamie to wonder, "What are you doing here?"
"Long story; I'll explain later," Frankie sighed.
"I warned you, Marley," Lorna stormed up to Steven's aunt, throwing off Frankie's attempt to hold her back. "I warned you. Cross me and "
"Go to Hell!" Marley shot back, pushing off Grant and storming past Cass towards Jamie and Steven. "You don't know what's going on here. None of you do! You think I'm in the wrong for trying to get out of this damned town? I'm trying to protect my girls."
"The only person those kids need protecting from is you," Lorna contradicted.
"People are trying to kill us! Because of Donna and Spencer and Carl! Everyone wants to believe I tried to commit suicide, but I didn't! Someone tried to kill me!"
"Stop it, Marley!" Jamie warned, shooting a look to the girls. "You're scaring them."
"I'm telling the truth! Grant knows. He can explain. Tell them!"
Grant hesitated, understanding the Hail Mary pass Marley was making, aware that this might well be the only thing capable of vindicating her. But, at the same time, terrified of the utter chaos his confirmation could, and most likely would, cause. He'd inadvertently triggered Carl's underworld war by protecting Marley once before. To expose it now... that would only put all of them in more danger. He couldn't risk making whatever Carl and Spencer were working on public knowledge. He had no right to tip their hand until he'd had a chance to figure out what that might mean for the rest of them down the line.
"Tell them!" Marley demanded, Grant looking at her regretfully, the rest mistaking his ambiguity for disbelief at Marley's behavior, his inaction damning her even more in their eyes. "Grant..."
"You can drop the act," Lorna refused to hear another word. "We're not buying it. And neither will the cops."
"What cops?" Marley clung to the last remnants of her bravado. "I haven't done anything wrong. I'm Bridget and Michele's guardian. I have every right to take them wherever I want, whenever I want."
"You signed commitment papers, Marley," Jamie wondered if she were so far gone that she really failed to understand her situation. And realizing, with a gut-pang of regret, that he truly could no longer summon up the wherewithal to care. "You can't duck out of that."
"You're going to jail," Lorna said. "That's the only way we can make sure you'll never hurt any of us ever again."
"But... we had a deal!"
"Null and void," Lorna snapped, as Jamie took out his cell phone and began to dial.
"I'll make you a new deal," Grant snatched Jamie's phone from his grasp, the father obviously not as fast with his fists as the son.
"You have nothing I want."
"I have Kirkland," Grant said, looking Jamie dead in the eye so that there could be no mistaking what he was saying.
"What?" both Marley and Lorna's heads whipped around in near unison, while Jamie simply stared mutely at Grant, watching him as one would a caged, and crazed, animal.
"I have Kirkland," Grant repeated. "That's something you want, we both know that. If you and Lorna spare Marley the agony of jail and revert back to our original agreement allow her to check into Clareview instead I will give you full custody of Kirkland. I'll sever my paternal rights and renounce all claims to him, now and forever. He'll be totally yours." Grant stepped in between Jamie and Marley. "Do we have a deal?"
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