EPISODE # 2011-127 Part #2

“Ms. Cory – I mean, Mrs… Fowler?” GQ stammered at the sight of Amanda standing outside his apartment door at close to midnight, looking for all the world like this was not a casual social call.

“May I come in, GQ?”

“Why?” was the first word that flew out of his mouth even as the polite young man Thomasina and Carter Todd raised instinctively stepped aside and let her in.

“We have a problem with Allie.”

“With all due respect, Mrs. – “

“Just call me Amanda, would you? We’ve all certainly been through enough together to drop the formality, don’t you think?”

“Amanda. With all due respect, Allie is not my problem.”

“She is when she’s being attacked because of her relationship with you.”

“A) Allie and I don’t have a relationship. And B) I just saw her recently at school. She’s fine.”

“Did she tell you what happened to her car?”

“She said it was stolen.”

“She lied.”

“Okay. I’m still not sure where I fit in.”

“She lied because her car wasn’t stolen. It was vandalized. Someone keyed it with a message for Allie.”

“What does that have to do with me?”

Amanda took out her phone and showed GQ the photo of Allie’s defaced vehicle. “Now do you see?”

“Chemistry,” Cass said in response to Frankie’s assertion that instant attraction between two people – platonic or otherwise – was the result of souls bound together in a past life reconnecting in the present. And her challenge that, if he didn’t believe her, then why didn’t Cass identify what else it could possibly be? “Biology. Physics. Tangible things. Things you can see and prove. Anything but this.”

“So just because it hasn’t currently been proven by science automatically makes what I say untrue?”

“Well…” Cass couldn’t help agreeing. “Yes.”

“Really? Two hundred years ago, science hadn’t figured out that people were covered in tiny organisms that could spread disease. Scientists couldn’t see them, so how could it be true? A hundred years ago, no one knew that invisible radiation could kill you after it took a picture straight through your skin.”

“This isn’t the same thing.”

“No. This is knowledge passed down over thousands of years by some of the greatest minds humanity has ever produced, rather than a few decades of trial and error speculation. Millions of people believe it to be true.”

“Good for them,” was all Cass could think of to say in response.

“The instant I got my memory back, I knew who Zeno was.”

“And did you let him in on your theory?”

“Actually, yes,” Frankie shot back. “It was when I was leaving, I wanted him to understand why I could never leave him completely, that we’d always be connected.”

“How did he respond?”

“He was an angry teen-age boy, how do you think?”

“So I’m not the only one having trouble with this?”

“You are not a child, Cass. You’re an adult. You should be able to understand complex ideas, like an adult. And you know me. I wouldn’t make a claim like this unless I was one hundred percent sure of what I was saying.”

“I believe that you believe what you’re saying, Frankie. But, that doesn’t mean I should automatically fall in line.”

“Of course not. I’d never ask you to do something like that.”

“Thank you.”

“The only thing I would ask is for you to search your heart, to really and truly reach inside yourself and honestly answer the question of why you had such a strong reaction upon meeting Zeno.”

“He’s an arrogant, patronizing, self-aggrandizing brat. Who wouldn’t have a strong reaction upon meeting Zeno?”

“Three words that have never been used about you, I’m sure.”

“They came sandwiched between charming and irresistible.”

“Zeno is all of those things, too. I think if you got to know him, you’d see how alike the two of you really are.”

“I thought you were supposed to be talking this kid up to me?” Cass couldn’t help cracking a joke, the same way Frankie couldn’t help smiling at it.

“He’s a good boy,” Frankie said. “And he really could use our help.”

“Alright, Midget,” Steven ushered his sisters through the doors of the Love mansion. “You two are up way, way past your bedtime. Enough fun for tonight, straight upstairs, lights out, I don’t want to hear any arguments.”

“Where have you been?” Donna came sweeping down the stairs, glaring at Steven. “I’ve been out of my mind with worry. How dare you keep Michele and Bridget out this late?”

“It was a special occasion, Grandmother,” Bridget piped up.

“What’s so special that it requires a pair of sixth graders to be up half the night?”

“We were at Jasmine’s,” Michele explained. “Her daddy got married!”

“Kudos, my dear,” Carl rolled over in bed to give his wife one last kiss good-night before they both turned in. “I daresay, you have become quite the expert at tossing together last minute weddings for your children.”

“I long ago came to the realization that my children will never do anything in the conventional way, so I might as well go with the flow and make the best of it.”

“I am sure they would say the same thing about you,” Carl noted.

“True,” Rachel conceded. “There was a time when if anyone had suggested the possibility of you and I being together, Jamie, Amanda, and Matt would have laughed it off as utterly impossible.”

“Thank goodness for the unpredictability of existence. How tedious it would be if we stayed the same eternally, never exploring heretofore unconsidered options or opening ourselves up to fresh, dynamic possibilities. Stagnation is absolutely the antithesis of an abundantly lived life.”

“Anyone who knew me before Mac would have said I was acting utterly out of character by falling in love with him, truly in love with him, and not just with his money or what he could do for me. Anyone who knew me before you…”

“Yes, yes, we are sufficiently familiar with the general Bay City consensus on our particular Beauty and the Beast pairing.”

“I never could have imagined Jamie and Lorna in a million years. Grant and Marley… Alice and Spencer…” Rachel said impulsively, before being pummeled anew with memories she’d managed to suppress up to this point. She deliberately changed the subject. “Thank goodness I managed to nip any potential Matt and Donna reunion in the bud. I honestly didn’t think she was capable of stooping any lower, but could you believe it when she tried to convince me she and Matt were actually remarried?”

“You’re certain now that she couldn’t have been telling the truth?” Carl prodded gently. His own knowledge of Donna suggested otherwise, but Carl realized better than to get in the middle of a protective mother and her son.

Rachel refused to so much as consider the possibility. “The mere fact that she could even come up with a lie like that proves Donna’s set her sights on Matt again. And I will not stand by and watch him allow that woman to drag him into Hell, only to cast Matt aside as soon as whatever point she’s trying to make this time is made.”

“Hence the rush to the altar for Matthew and Jeanne,” Carl stated the obvious.

“I had to protect Matt.”

“Diabolical, my dear. And no less than what I’d come to expect from you. The only minor blemish I venture to say I detect in your plan is… Ms. Ewing is hardly a blushing flower herself, she has a keen mind, and even keener ambition. Should it come to that, you may well find her a formidable opponent down the line.”

“Jeanne is a babe in the woods compared to Donna. I can handle Jeanne.”

“No doubt, no doubt.”

“And besides, Jeanne has no reason to go up against me. I’ve made it more than clear that I am her biggest supporter when it comes to Matt. If she’s as smart as both you and I assume, she won’t do anything to jeopardize that.”

“I’m not sure what you want me to do,” Chase told Grant honestly after the latter, utterly unsurprised to find Bay City’s mayor still burning the midnight oil – literally – at his office, gave Chase a heavily edited rundown of the circumstances surrounding Spencer’s death. “Though I am sorry about your father, Grant.”

“Thank you,” Grant dismissed perfunctorily, having decided that the best way not to feel anything was to single-mindedly focus on the issue at hand, rather than the cause for his current desperate conniving. “What I need from you is to make sure the Medical Examiner doesn’t raise any red flags, especially with the District Attorney’s office, about my father’s cause of death. He was not a young man. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should think he died of anything other than natural causes.”

“Except that he did. He was beaten to death.”

“A private matter. We have no interest in pressing charges.”

“Come on, Grant, you’re an attorney, too. You know that’s not up to you. A crime like that is a crime against the state, not the individual.”

“Since when are you so lock-step with the state? I thought you were a libertarian! Small government, no government, all that Ayn Rand glory of the individual doctrine.”

“Please don’t go there,” Chase strongly suggested. “You’ll just embarrass yourself.”

“Fine. Then how about you think of what publicly revealing my father’s true cause of death might do to Bay City. As of right now, with Spencer Harrison gone, the mob war Carl Hutchins and Donna Love started is over. No more retaliations, no more risk of innocent bystanders getting caught in the cross-fire. Your town is safe. I’d think you’d want to keep it that way.”

“What I want is to put the people responsible for endangering us all behind bars. We now have a concrete crime that took place in our jurisdiction to go after them for.”

“You’ll never catch anyone of consequence. Maybe a few flunkies.”

“You don’t think flunkies whose job it is to beat old men to death warrant a stint or two in prison?”

“You’ll do more harm than good. Go after these people, and you needlessly put all of Bay City at risk. Close the book on my father’s death, and everyone gets to walk away unscathed.”

“Except for your father.”

“It’s too late to do anything for Spencer. I’m thinking about the people it’s still not too late to save.”

“Bull,” Chase crossed his arms and said calmly.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You’re thinking about the kind of trouble you and your stepmother could get into for not reporting a crime. Between her involvement with Gregory Hudson’s death, and you and Marley Hudson covering up Lorna Devon’s hit and run – “


“Jamie Frame called me with a hypothetical situation involving an unstable ex-wife and a rising politician playing the role of Svengali. I’m a pretty shrewd guy. And a whiz at Connect-The-Dots, ask my kid. The point is, neither you nor Mrs. Harrison are exactly first-time offenders. This could get very bad for you both.”

“I’ll expose you,” Grant said abruptly.

Chase slowly cocked his head to one side. “Okay, my turn: Whatcha talking about, Senator?”

“I know about you and Lila,” Grant said.

What do you know about me and Lila?”

“That you’re cheating on Douglas with her.”

“Is that a fact?”

“You’ve got a lot more to lose here than I do, Hamilton. How do you think this will play to your base? I go to the press with what I know – are you aware that my ex-wife is the publisher of Brava? – your career is over. No second acts in this Great American Novel.”

“I presume you have proof of this?” Chase inquired.

“Don’t need proof. Just the innuendo will be enough. I can’t imagine this won’t turn into a national story. The media will eat it up – there’s never been anything like it before. I’d urge you to think of how humiliating this will be for Douglas and your daughter, but, then again, I doubt you’ll ever see either of them again once the tabloids descend.”

Chase said, “I went after Alice Frame pretty hard over the Gregory Hudson issue. She’s a tough woman, a formidable adversary. And I owe her one. I’ll talk to the M.E. and the D.A. about keeping the autopsy results out of the public eye, and the accessories away from the prosecutor’s table. Out of respect for your stepmother’s loss. And because, quite frankly, I don’t need the scandal in my administration that an association with you would bring. Here’s a tip, Grant: Before you default straight to blackmail, think about enticing me with a fair proposition that could benefit both of us without the need for threats. That how politics works. I’d think you’d know that. I’d think Spencer would have taught you that. He certainly knew it when he came to me looking for help with Jamie’s sentencing. Then again, I am the one consequently sitting behind the big desk, while you’re on the other side, groveling for favors. Oh, and one more thing…”

In a flash, Chase was up, advancing on Grant so quickly the other man had no time to respond or even defend himself as Chase sucker-punched Grant in the gut.

“Don’t you ever threaten my family. Open your mouth about them again, I’ll shut it for you permanently.”

“Are you coming to bed?” Jeanne asked Matt from where she already sat under the covers in the room that had once been just his but was now abruptly theirs.

Matt stood by the closet doors. He took off his tie and hung it up slowly on the rack. His jacket came next. It went on a hanger. He seemed to be deep in thought. Jeanne was starting to wonder if he’d even heard her when Matt slowly turned around, working on loosening his cuff-links as he informed his new wife. “I’m not an idiot.”

Jeanne frowned. “I never said…”

“You thought it.”


“I don’t blame you. Everybody thinks it. No one has ever taken me seriously. No one’s ever treated me like an adult. Maybe it’s because I was always Jamie and Amanda’s little brother. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a “real” job like they do. I’m not out there saving lives or safeguarding the Cory legacy. Maybe it’s because I spent all those years wearing that stupid ponytail. Though nobody holds his styling choices against Carl. But, I guess the accent – and the suspicion that he could cut your head off with a butter knife at any given moment – affords him a level of respect I never quite managed to get. Point is, I know what people think of me. But, I’m not stupid. I know exactly how I was manipulated into all this. I knew it every step of the way as it was happening. I mean, for real? First Mom tells me how proud Mac would have been of me, and then suddenly here are Clarice and Larry, slapping me on the back and hugging me and calling me son.”

“I had nothing to do with my parents being here. I did not want them here.”

“You wanted this.” Matt indicated the two of them with his hand. “You wanted this marriage.”

“You didn’t have to go along with it. Not today, anyway.”

“Today, tomorrow, what difference does it make in the end? You threatened to destroy me, my business, and my – Donna unless you got what you wanted. So here you go. At least this way I got to make some people happy briefly. Even if none of them were me. Mom, Larry, Clarice, they all seem to think this is a match made in Heaven.”

“It is,” Jeanne said. “You just need to open your eyes and see that.”

“Is it money you want?” Matt asked conversationally. “Because if that’s the case, name your price and you are guaranteed an infinite alimony check from here to – “

“I don’t want your money. Well, not without you.”

“Is it the Cory name? You can have that, too. Mac might roll over in his grave, but if his soul managed to rest in peace after Mom decided to give it to Carl’s son, he should be able to bear this, too. Go ahead, be Jeanne Cory, see what doors that opens for you.”

“I intend to be,” she agreed. “Jeanne Cory. Mrs. Matthew Cory.”

“Just understand this, Mrs. Cory: I will suck it up and do what you say until I figure out some way to get out of this Devil’s Bargain you’ve coerced me into. In the meantime, I will not touch you, I will not come near you, and I will not, by any means or stretch of the imagination engage in any conduct that might suggest, imply or so much as hint that I consider us husband and wife within any definition decreed by religion, law, or custom. In other words, Jeanne, no, I am not coming to bed. Now or ever.”

And with that, Matt picked up a pillow, flung it onto the couch in the sitting room just off his bedroom and pointedly closed the door between them.

“You can’t ignore her forever,” Lorna gently chided Jamie after he took one look at his vibrating cell phone, saw that it was Rachel, and turned the device off for the night.

“I know,” he climbed into bed next to his wife. “But not today. I can’t deal with anything else today.”

“It could be an emergency. She’s called practically every half-hour.”

“If it was an emergency, she’d call you or Steven or Kirkland to make sure I got the message.”

“As you send her one of your own by not answering Rachel’s calls.”

“Considering what I’ve just dealt with over the past few days, I feel I’m entitled to avoid another confrontation for as long as I can.”

“So what are we talking about here? A week? A month? Your birthday’s coming up, so is Thanksgiving. Will we be declining a Cory Thanksgiving in favor of dinner with my parents? And Cass and Frankie? And Morgan?”

Jamie grimaced. “I vote for staying home, lying low, and ordering in if it comes to that. The Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game should actually be good this year.”

“Sticking your head in the sand,” Lorna nodded. “There’s a plan that won’t blow up in your face.”

“When the alternative is to risk changing forty years of status quo in a monumental way…”

“You don’t know what she’ll say. You don’t know what, if any, role she played in this, or that Rachel even knew what Carl was up to.”

“And that ignorance, while not bliss, allows me to keep my mother just a little bit longer. Because if she knew…if she knew what Carl was setting up and she didn’t tell me...”

“A lot of people knew what Carl was plotting – well, mostly – and they didn’t see fit to tell us. My father, for one. Spencer and Alice, for another.”

“They are not my mother,” Jamie said with such feeling that Lorna cringed. “They’re not supposed to have my back like she is. Believe me, I am not thrilled with how the rest of them left us oblivious to the deadly arrows flying over our heads. But, call me crazy, I expect my mother, of all people, not to be a part of nearly getting her grandson killed.”

“I guess I can understand that. If this was Felicia we were talking about… let’s just say I wouldn’t be as calm as you are now. She’d be as good as dead to me. Which,” Lorna curled up in Jamie’s arms, relishing the sensation again after way too many nights alone. “I realize is harsh and not a very helpful thing for you to hear.”

“No, I…” he shook his head and regrouped. “I don’t want to cut my mother out of my life. I don’t want Devon to lose her grandmother but…I can’t ignore what she’s done.”

“If she’s done anything.”

“Given that she has to know by now – through Carl – what’s happened to Spencer and Kirkland, and she hasn’t shown up here to see how any of us are doing…”

“She’s done something she feels ashamed of and she can’t face you directly, so she’s doing a fishing expedition via cell phone,” Lorna finished his thought. “Okay, well, that may be the case, but it may not be as bad as you think.”

“You’re right. It could be worse.”

“You won’t know until you talk to her,” Lorna indicated the cell phone still lying on Jamie’s nightstand. “Call her. It’s not too late.”

“I will,” Jamie nodded. “Right after you tell me what you and Steven were so deep in conversation about when I came home. More Gilmore Girls episodes?”

“Oh, that,” Lorna remembered off-handedly. “Did I forget to mention that I invited your son and his sisters to move in with us? He’s been feeling pretty uncomfortable over at Donna’s House of Horrors.”

“I don’t blame him. And Lorna, I love you for being willing to do this, and I’m proud of Steven for wanting to look after his sisters but, no, absolutely not.”

“What?” Lorna swiveled her head. “Why not? We have the room. Kind of.”

“Because the last time you and I encroached on something Marley believed to be rightfully hers, you ended up in a coma for three months. Almost a year ago exactly, remember that?”

“I do, but…”

“Bridget and Michele mean a great deal to me, but I am not putting their welfare ahead of yours and Devon’s. We can help Steven find his own place. I will go over there and watch the twins myself. But, I am not giving Marley even the inkling of an idea that you and I might be trying to take her girls away from her.”

“I think that might be what Steven has in mind.”

“Then I’ll support him all the way to the Supreme Court if need be. But, I am not risking you. Never, ever again.”

“Okay,” Lorna kissed him. “We’ll find some other way to help your son. Right after you set a good example and settle things with your mother…”

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