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 Midnight Mischief, WIP, but posting (usually) daily
scarlett426
Posted: Jan 10 2008, 07:47 PM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



This Fic is completely independent of my first two, so you don't have to read it in any particular order.
It takes place post Bombshelter/Kaidan Grief Sex s/l.

I am posting the first four chapter now, and it is currently a WIP (writing in progress), so you'll have to be patient biggrin.gif


CHAPTER ONE

Greenlee stood staring at herself in the mirror, the floor length gown flowing loosely over her curves. The silver silk felt cool against her warm skin and she gave a slight shiver as she reached up and tucked the diamond encrusted comb her father had given her the previous evening into her upswept hair. She took a deep breath and turned for the door only to find her father looking at her, a slight smile on his face.

“Are you ready to go?” He asked her gently, correctly reading the anxiety on her face.

Greenlee merely nodded and took her father’s outstretched hand, grateful once again for his unwavering support. He knew that it wasn’t easy for her, coming back to this place, but he was so very happy that she had. He couldn’t imagine this day without her.

They walked down the stairs silently, Jack periodically giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. Lily met them at the base of the stairs and the three of them made their way to the waiting car.

Greenlee leaned back into the supple leather seat of the limousine, forcing herself to breathe deeply. She knew that she would see him there. Part of her thrilled at the idea, her body tightening in anticipation. But another part of her dreaded it – what if he was there with someone else. What if he had moved on. The thought made her head spin as she struggled to breathe normally.

“You look very beautiful, Greenlee.” Lily said matter-of-factly. Greenlee turned to look at her sister and gave her a genuine smile.

“Thank you, Lily. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that.” Greenlee replied, and then added, “You look lovely, too. I think the dress suits us both well.”

“Yes, even though we look nothing alike, the dress does seem to look good on both of us. Bridesmaids are often dressed alike.” Lily continued, “It’s due to an ancient custom where the attendants to the bride would dress similar to her so that scorned suitors wouldn’t be able to attack the bride. They were also used to fend off evil spirits. They thought that if everyone was dressed the same, the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married and therefore the bride and groom wouldn’t be attacked.”

Greenlee raised an eyebrow, “Really?”

“Yes, but now it’s just a tradition for bridesmaids to dress alike.” Lily furrowed her brow, “There won’t be any evil spirits at the wedding. That’s just a superstition. Nothing bad will happen at this wedding”

Greenlee smiled at her faintly and turned her head to stare out the window, hoping that Lily was right.

----------

Aidan fidgeted in the uncomfortable pew in the Wildwind Chapel. He was there early, but he hadn’t been able to keep himself away, knowing that she would be there. He was desperate just to see her. They had spoken a few times over the past six months, but nothing of any substance had transpired. He hoped to change that today, if she would let him.

He heard a rustling behind him and he quickly turned, anticipation glowing in his eyes.

“I’m obviously not the woman you were hoping to see.” Julia smiled wrly at him and took the seat next to him.

“You’ve seen her, haven’t you?” He asked quietly. Julia nodded.

“Yes. I saw her yesterday at the rehearsal.” Seeing the unspoken question in his eyes, she continued, “She looked beautiful, but there was a sadness about her. Her eyes were missing that mischievous sparkle. She is obviously missing something, or someone.”

Aidan hated to think of Greenlee unhappy, but he had to admit to some satisfaction that she was missing him as much as he missed her.

“I can’t believe I made such a mess of things.” He replied sadly. Julia sighed and took his hand in hers.

“People make mistakes, Aidan. Greenlee knows that better than anyone. You will find that she has a great capacity to forgive.” She said soothingly.

“She’s already forgiven me, Jules.” Aidan said harshly, “It’s the forgetting part that she’s having the trouble with. Not that I blame her.”

“But she hasn’t forgotten her love for you, either, and in the end, that’s what will really matter.” Julia stood up and smiled, “It’s almost show time, so I gotta get out of here.”

Aidan glanced up at her and gave her a smile, “I should have said this earlier, Julia, but you look beautiful.”

Julia twirled playfully in her white silk dress, and then gave him a mock curtsey, “Thank you, sir. Now I must bid you adieu for this bride must soon make her entrance.” Aidan smiled after her as she quickly walked out of the chapel.
----------

Greenlee stood nervously in the back of the chapel with Lily, Kathy and Julia, waiting for the music to cue them to walk down the aisle. She startled when she heard the first strain of Pachebel’s Canon in D and felt herself mechanically move into place behind Lily in the procession. Her stomach knotted in anxiety as first Kathy, then Lily made their way down the aisle. She moved to the open doors and started to move slowly down the aisle.

It took only seconds for her eyes to find his. She felt the heat pass between them as she willed herself to keep moving down the aisle. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of him and she knew that she was lost. Only the thought of ruining her father’s wedding kept her from throwing herself into his arms. She regretfully tore her eyes from his and focused forward, noticing the concerned look on her father’s face. She gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile and took her place as maid of honor at the altar.

She forced herself to pay attention to the wedding vows, and she was glad that she did. Seeing her father so happy with his new bride filled her with a renewed hope. As the wedding service droned on, Greenlee’s mind wandered back to that day six months ago when her world had fallen apart.

SIX MONTHS AGO

Greenlee had been given a clean bill of health just in time. Fusion was thriving and she and Kendall had decided to open a new office in Paris. They estimated that it would take about six months for them to get the office up and running, and one of them needed to go.

Naturally, Greenlee had offered to go. Kendall had her kids and since Bianca had recently moved home from Paris, she hated to leave her. Greenlee saw it as a wonderful opportunity, for both herself and Aidan. It would be like a prolonged vacation. What could be more romantic than six months in Paris?

She had been packing for the trip when he came home one day, a strange look on his face. She had known something was wrong as he took her hand and sat her on the edge of the bed, kneeling in front of her.

His words came out in a rush of emotion. How he thought that she was dead, the torture of believing it was his fault, the feeling of numbness, that life no longer mattered. What had started as comforting a friend turned into a quest to try and feel again, to try and forget the blinding pain. They had honestly believed that she and Zach were dead. It wasn’t an excuse, he said, pain lacing his voice, but it was the truth.

She sat silently as he poured his heart out, feeling the same numbness that he spoke of filling her. She listened as he told her that he loved her, only her, and that it had meant nothing, that it was a weak moment and he made a mistake. After a while he was quiet, waiting for her response. She stared at some unknown spot on the wall for what felt like forever, but what was in reality was a solid five minutes. She didn’t shy away from him, or cry, or scream at him, or any of the other stereotypical things women were said to do in these situation. Instead she placed her hand gently on his cheek and spoke to him calmly.

“Of all people, I can understand how extreme hurt can lead to extreme action.” She started, her voice level, “To have a momentary lapse in judgment, to make a mistake that can change your life forever. You would do anything to take it back.” She looked him in the eye, “But you can’t. All you can do is hope that the people you have hurt can forgive you.”

Aidan watched her carefully as she closed her eyes, “What can I do, Greenlee? How can I possibly gain your forgiveness?”

She gave him a sad smile, and replied, “I’ve already forgiven you, Aidan. One thing I have learned is life is too short and too precious to withhold forgiveness when someone is truly sorry.” She pulled away from him then, walking to the other side of the room, “It’s the forgetting part that may take awhile.” She paced the room nervously, gathering her courage to say the words that her heart screamed at her not to say, “I need to go to Paris alone.”

Aidan felt his heart break as she said the words, but he nodded in understanding, “I’ll wait for you.” He said quietly, kissing her gently before leaving the room.

Then, and only then, did Greenlee allow herself to cry.

----------

“I now pronounce you man and wife.”

The words brought Greenlee back to the present, and a smile spread across her face as she clapped and cheered along with the congregation as her father kissed his new bride.


CHAPTER TWO

Greenlee was very proud of herself. She had controlled all her impatient impulses and actually got through the infuriating hour of photographs after the wedding. She smiled as they slowly ate their way through four courses of dinner. But she had to admit that her patience was flagging as she watched her father and Julia execute their first dance on the ballroom floor. She kept the smile plastered on her face, but she was about to crack. She had been avoiding making any eye contact with Aidan. The anticipation was killing her and seeing him would only make it worse. She just needed to get through this last thing, and then she would be free to find him. She breathed a sigh of relief as the orchestra played the last note. She stood up and clapped along with the rest of the guests. As she started to walk away, she was stilled by a hand on her shoulder. She turned in surprise to see her father smiling at her. She returned his smile and looked at him with a question in her eyes.

“You don’t think I could let a chance to dance with my beautiful daughter pass, now did you?” Jack held out his hand to her, and Greenlee placed her hand in his. He led her to the center of the dance floor and they started to dance gracefully to the strains of “The Way You Look Tonight.”

“I know I’m not the man you want to be dancing with right now.” Jack said to her quietly, a small smile on his face.

Greenlee looked up at him wide eyed, “How could you say that! There is no one I would rather be dancing with right now!” She gave him a pert smile, “Not to mention that I love that every one in this room is looking at me right now. Nothing better than being the center of attention, I always say.”

Jack laughed, and pulled her a little closer, “I have missed you, Greenlee. I hope that you are back home to stay.”

Greenlee sighed and closed her eyes, resting her head on Jack’s shoulder. When she opened her eyes, she found herself looking into a pair of eyes across the room. Eyes that were filled with raw emotion – love, longing, passion, desire. Her breath caught in her throat and her body tensed. Even if she had wanted to, she felt incapable of breaking the contact between them.

As the song ended, Greenlee came suddenly back to the moment, and smiled up at Jack as he led her back to the table. She sat in her seat, taking a long drink from the water that had been waiting there for her. She needed time to collect herself before she went to him. How was it possible for him to have such a strong hold over her? It was like nothing she had ever felt before. Taking a deep breath, she stood up and smoothed her dress. There was nothing left for her but to see him, and once she made up her mind to do something, she wouldn’t let anything stop her. She started to walk purposefully towards where she had seen Aidan waiting for her

“Greenlee!” A voice, familiar but not currently recognizable, called from behind her. She turned in surprise, her brow furrowed in confusion. Before she knew what was happening, the owner of the voice had pulled her into a fierce hug. She pulled away quickly, looking up into a pair of familiar eyes.

“Omigod!” She said in surprise, “Jake? Is that you?”

“In the flesh.” Jake gave her an appraising look, “You haven’t changed one bit! You look fabulous!” The band started up once more and he grabbed her hand, “C’mon, lets dance.”

“Actually, Jake, I was just on my way to talk to someone…” Greenlee started as he pulled her onto the dance floor.

“You’ll have plenty of time for that later.” He said with a laugh, “We haven’t seen each other in years and I am desperate to get you onto that dance floor.”

She threw an apologetic look to where Aidan was watching her, a quizzical look on his face. She gave him a small smile and flashed him a pleading look which she hoped conveyed her hope that he would wait there for her. He returned the smile and inclined his head slightly. She sighed in relief as Jake pulled her into his arms for the dance.

----------

Aidan tipped back the remaining contents of his drink and signaled to the waiter to bring him another. He turned his gaze back to Greenlee and her partner and narrowed his eyes slightly.

The waiter brought him his drink and he took a long drink before muttering to himself, in a low voice, “Who the hell is that?”

“That,” Ryan’s voice answered him from behind, “is Dr. Jake Martin. He and Greenlee used to be…close.” Ryan finished, his voice almost amused.

Aidan twirled his drink and looked at Ryan out of the corner of his eye, “When was this?”

“Quite a while ago,” Ryan replied, and then continued, “pre-Leo, actually. But it looks like they are picking up where they left off.”

“You seem a little too happy to see that, Ryan.” Aidan said, a hint of bitterness creeping into his voice, “Now why would that be?”

“Because Greenlee deserves someone who doesn’t lie to her.” Ryan answered, his words harsh, “Someone who treats her with love and respect.”

“Interesting words coming from the man who faked his own death and let her believe that she was a widow. Again.” Aidan retorted, his words just as harsh.

Ryan gave him a sad smile, “And I lost her because of it. And I deserved to lose her. Maybe you do to.” Ryan raised his glass to him before throwing it back and walking away.

Aidan watched him go before turning his attention back to the dancing couple, Greenlee smiling into the eyes of her handsome partner.

----------

“So you actually tried to use logic on a leopard?” Greenlee laughed, “How did that work out for you?”

“Well, obviously I’m still here, but it was more because of the native with me than my interpersonal skills with the wildlife of Kenya.” He returned her smile, “I have to say that it was one of the most frightening experiences of my life, of course it is a distant second to dating you.”

“Oh really!” Greenlee said with mock indignation, “Well, I must say I have been compared to many things, but a leopard attack in the wilds of Kenya is a first.” They both laughed.

“So why the hell is a beautiful woman like you alone?” Jake asked her, his voice becoming quiet and concerned.

“I’m not exactly alone.” Greenlee replied cautiously, “But I’m not exactly with someone either.” She sighed, “It’s complicated.”

“It always is with you.” He replied with an endearing smile, “Make sure he deserves you, Greenlee.” The look that he gave her made her suddenly uncomfortable.

“So what about you? Where’s the wife and kids?” Greenlee asked lightly, changing the subject.

“Well, since I have neither wife nor children, they aren’t here.” He replied good naturedly.

Greenlee looked at him in surprise, “What about Carolyn?”

“Wasn’t meant to be, I suppose.” He replied, and then continued, a bit sadly, “I guess I was just on the rebound.”

The song ended, and they parted somewhat awkwardly, their eyes meeting. Greenlee smiled and thanked him for the dance before turning back towards Aidan, her mouth opening in shock at what she saw.

----------

Aidan watched with growing agitation as Greenlee continued to smile and laugh with her partner. He was not a man normally prone to jealousy, but the precarious nature of their current relationship had him feeling insecure. He did not enjoy the feeling. So wrapped up in these thoughts, he didn’t notice the woman approaching him until she was, literally, almost on top of him.

“Aidan! I’m so happy to see you.” Maria Santos Grey, former lover, friend and fiancé, wrapped her arms around him. “God, you look good.” She said, her words slightly slurred from what he could only assume was overindulgence in champagne.

Aidan tried to gently remove her arms from around his neck, but she held fast. He took a step back, causing her to stumble and slosh what remained in her glass all over her dress.

“I didn’t know you were coming.” Aidan stated blandly.

“How could I possible miss this?!” Maria exclaimed. “My BABY sister marrying Erica Kane’s soul mate! It’s really too much. I just wish Erica was here so I could see the look on her face when Jack married a woman young enough to be her daughter.” Maria laughed, the sound bordering on hysterical. “And how could I miss a chance to see you.” She looked him up and down, lust clearly written in her eyes.

Aidan gave a long suffering sigh, “I’m sorry to have to disappoint you, Maria, but I’m not exactly…available.”

She raised an eyebrow at him, “Really? Last I heard, Greenlee had left you high and dry while she jetted off to Paris.” She turned her attention to the dance floor, “And now she seems to have caught the eye of the young doctor.”

Aidan gave her a hard look, “You don’t know anything about it.”

Maria laughed again, wrapping her arms around his neck once more, “Maybe I don’t, but what I do know is that a girl should go after what she wants.” With that she pushed herself against him, planting her mouth on his. He quickly grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away.

It was at that moment that he noticed the music had stopped. He turned to look at the dance floor only to see Greenlee staring at him, her mouth open in shock, tears in her stunned and questioning eyes. Before he had a chance to react, Greenlee fled the room.


CHAPTER THREE

Aidan swore under his breath as he watched Greenlee flee from the room. He quickly disentangled himself from Maria, ignoring her loud protests, and headed in the direction that he had seen Greenlee take. His progress was stayed by a firm hand placed solidly on his chest.

“I think you should just let her go.” Ryan said, his voice unyielding.

Aidan rubbed his hand over his face in frustration, and then looked Ryan in the eye, “And I think that you should mind your own business. It seems that neither one of us is getting what they want this evening.” Aidan started forward, but Ryan once again stopped his progress.

“You’ve caused her enough pain, Aidan, and I care about her too much to let you go in there and make it worse for her.”

Aidan gave a sarcastic laugh, “Really? I’ve hurt her too much? That’s your reason? I think it’s quite possible that you have an ulterior motive here. With Annie gone I think you just may have decided that you want Greenlee back.”

“Leaving Annie had nothing to do with Greenlee.” Ryan retorted, but he didn’t sound all together sure of himself. “I just want her to have someone who truly deserves her.”

“And all I want to do is prove to her that I deserve her.” Aidan replied quietly, “So, I suggest that you let me pass so we don’t make a scene at her father’s wedding. What do you say?”

----------

Greenlee fled into the main house, quickly ensconcing herself in the large family room. She could still hear the sounds of the party, but they seemed far away as she tried to collect herself.

What had she seen? She had been so sure about what she saw in his eyes, but could she have been merely fooling herself? Was she so deluded that she could only see what she wanted to see? She shook her head as if to clear the troubling thoughts. No! She was not crazy! She knew what she saw and he was still in love with her…wasn’t he?

She sighed and let herself sink back into the soft cushions of the couch. Love wasn’t supposed to be this hard, was it? Or maybe that was the trick – getting passed all the obstacles and coming out in tact. God knows it hadn’t worked for her and Leo, or her and Ryan…But, those relationships had been so very different. With Leo, she had still been so young, and with Ryan she had become an almost unrecognizable version of herself. But with Aidan, she had been exactly who she was, and he still loved her. And she loved him.

So what was he doing with her? Greenlee’s anger returned as she thought about seeing Maria’s arms around him, kissing him...And the look on his face! Greenlee had to admit that he didn’t seem altogether happy with the arrangement. Her frustration built as she thought about the encounter and in a fit of petulant jealousy, she picked up a pillow and flung it towards the doorway.

“What the…” Greenlee heard come from just outside the door before a woman came into view. Greenlee rolled her eyes in derision as she was Kendall Hart Slater walk through the door.

“Could my night get any better?” She asked out load, before hurling another pillow in Kendall’s direction.

----------

Ryan and Aidan stood toe to toe, the tension between them palpable. Jack crossed the room and stood next to the two men, his face barely betraying the irritation he felt.

“Would it be too much to ask that you two don’t beat the hell out of each other in the middle of my wedding reception?” Jack asked them sarcastically.

“Sorry, Jack. Aidan and I were just having a difference of opinion.” Ryan replied shortly, “He’s under the mistaken assumption that he still has a right to comfort Greenlee. I was just setting him straight.”

Jack sighed and rubbed his eyes as Julia walked up next to him, “First, why, exactly, does my daughter need comforting. And second, why do you have any right to say who should or should not be doing that comforting?”

Aidan interrupted before Ryan had the chance to talk, “She saw me with Maria.” Jack looked at him expectantly and Aidan sighed, “And she was all over me.”

Jack’s face went angry, but Julia put a calming hand on his arm and said, “Don’t blame Aidan, Jack. Ever since Edmund died, Maria has been…different. She drinks a lot more and is rather, um, free with her attentions. I would guess that she came on to him.”

Aidan gave Julia an appreciative smile, and then turned back to Jack, “I wanted to go to Greenlee to explain what had happened, but Ryan here decided that he should be Greenlee’s protector. Ironic, isn’t it?”

Jack looked from one man to another and then back at Julia, who was smiling benevolently, “Look, I’m only going to say this once. This is our wedding and I won’t have the two of you ruin it for me, or for Julia. As for Greenlee, she is a grown woman and can make her own decisions about who she wants to see. I won’t have anyone trying to take away her choices because of jealousy, or any other reason. She deserves a chance to talk to the man she loves, whether or not you approve, Ryan.” Aidan couldn’t resist giving Ryan a smug smile, but Jack continued, “And Aidan, just because you have the right to talk to my daughter doesn’t mean that I will allow you to hurt her. Just keep that in mind.”

With that Jack walked away, leaving the two men in silence.

----------

Kendall took a staggering step backwards as the oversized pillow made contact with her head, then fell on her rear end.

“What the hell!” She shouted, as she pulled herself up and rubbed her backside, “Why’d you do that?”

“You really have to ask.” Greenlee retorted, her voice laced with sarcasm.

Kendall sighed. She and Greenlee had been in constant contact over the past six months, but Greenlee had kept it strictly business, refusing to talk about what had happened between her and Aidan. She had said everything she needed to say before she left. She had forgiven Kendall, but needed some time and space to make peace with it. So, Kendall had respected that wish. It looked like Greenlee was finally ready to play again and to be honest, Kendall was relieved. She would rather have an angry Greenlee than an ambivalent one. The anger meant that she still cared.

“I suppose I don’t.” Kendall replied. She sat on the couch next to Greenlee, “So I guess the truce is over, huh?”

“I just wanted to nail you one time before we put this all behind us.” Greenlee replied blandly, “After we move on I won’t have a valid excuse to hit you.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find a reason at some point.” Kendall replied optimistically, “We’ve never had a problem finding a reason to fight.”

Greenlee had to smile, “That’s true, but I swear, if we ever fight over a man again, I say we just put the guy out of his misery and turn to lesbianism.”

Kendall nodded in agreement, “It seems to work well for Binks.” They both laughed.

“It feels good to talk again.” Greenlee said softly, “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too.” Kendall replied, her voice rough with emotion, then she smiled, “Now that we got that crap out of the way, tell me why you are in her alone…and crying.”

“It’s Aidan.” Greenlee said slowly, still awkward talking to Kendall, “I saw him with Maria.”

Kendall snorted, “That old harpy? She’ll climb on any man with a hard jaw line and a bank account.”

Greenlee sat back, looking at Kendall thoughtfully, “Ya, you’re probably right.” Greenlee felt the need to change the subject, “Is Zach here with you tonight?”

“As a matter of fact he is.” Kendall said happily, “We’ve been doing the marriage counseling thing and we’ve made some really good progress. Turns out I’m a bit of a control freak.”

“You don’t say.” Greenlee said sarcastically, “I would have never thought that.”

“No, I swear it’s true!” They both laughed.

“Am I interrupting?” They both looked up in surprise to see Aidan standing at the door, a small smile on his face.

“No, not at all.” Kendall said as she jumped up from the couch, “In fact, I was just leaving.” She gave Greenlee a reassuring smile and then slipped quickly from the room, leaving Greenlee and Aidan alone.

Greenlee and Aidan stayed where they were, seemingly paralyzed. Greenlee’s eyes searched his once more, needing affirmation of what she had seen in them before. She knew then that there could be no mistake. He still loved her, wanted her.

Aidan stood in the doorway, waiting for her to make her assessment. He held his breath as he felt her eyes search his, looking for an answer that words could never define. She gave him a smile then, and reached her hand out to him. He walked towards her, hesitant to move to fast, and took her hand in both of his. The mere touch of her skin against his sent him reeling and he sat down next to her, still caressing her hand.

He turned her hand over in his and reverently kissed her palm, sending a jolt of desire through Greenlee’s body. She watched in wonder as he kissed her wrist, and then each fingertip.

“I told you that I would wait for you.” He said quietly.

“I know.” She responded, and then drew a breath before continuing. “I need to know that I can trust you.”

“Well, that’s a question only you can answer.” He responded with a sad smile, “So why don’t you tell me.”


CHAPTER FOUR

Greenlee tilted her head to the side and looked at him with a quizzical smile on her face.

“I believe that I can.” She replied slowly, and then continued, “Because the truth is, you didn’t have to tell me what happened. You could have kept it to yourself, and no one would have ever known. God knows Kendall never would have said anything. So, I truly believe that you won’t lie to me.”

“But that’s not all of it, is it?” Aidan questioned, his expression serious.

Greenlee shook her head, “No, its not. I have to believe that something like that wouldn’t happen again.”

Aidan sighed and sat back, “The only thing I can do is tell you that it won’t happen again.”

“And I need to be in a place where that is enough for me.” Greenlee responded, “And I truly believe that I am now.”

Aidan felt the weight that he had felt on his heart the last six months lift slightly at her words, but he knew that he still needed to be cautious.

“Are you sure, Greenlee?” He asked her quietly, “If you need more time, or more reassurances, you need to tell me. If we try and start over before your ready, its bound to blow up in our faces.”

“I know my own mind, Aidan.” Greenlee replied stubbornly, “And you should know by now that when I say something, I mean it.”

Aidan gave her smile and tucked a wayward curl behind her ear, “I suppose I should know that.”

Greenlee’s voice was serious as she said, “The thing is…I love you, and more than anything, I want to be with you. One mistake isn’t worth throwing away a lifetime of happiness.” She grinned wryly, “I’m not that much of a masochist, although my history may point to the opposite conclusion.”

He smiled at her happily and pulled her onto his arms, kissing her gently on the forehead before tucking her head under his chin and resting his head on hers.

“God, Greenlee, I love you so much.” He said, his voice thick with emotion, “The thought of losing you, of never holding you again…these past six months have been pure torture.”

They sat there quietly for awhile, holding each other. A sudden lift in the volume of the voices coming from the ballroom had her looking up at Aidan curiously.

He smiled down at her, “Leave it to Jack and Julia to get married on New Year’s Eve.”

“Is it almost midnight already?!” She cried out, pulling away from him slightly, “We need to get back down to the reception!”

He pulled her back against him, “I have a better idea. Why don’t you and I ring the New Year in together, right here. Alone.”

Greenlee relaxed against him, savoring the feeling of his solidness against her body. God, she had missed him, “Hmmmm. Maybe your right, I’ve always heard that a New Year’s kiss can set the tone for the rest of the year. It may be the most important kiss of year.”

“That’s very interesting.” Aidan replied, his voice warm and husky. He moved his right hand to the back of her neck, pulling her head up close to his. Greenlee placed a steadying hand on his chest as they waited for the countdown coming from the ballroom to reach zero.

As the clock rang midnight, Greenlee closed her eyes in anticipation of Aidan’s kiss. Aidan looked down into the face of the woman he loved, and bent his head, ready to claim her lips in a kiss.

The sudden sound of a gun shot ringing out had them both opening their eyes in surprise, their New Year’s kiss all but forgotten as they stared at each other in horror.

----------

Jack looked around wildly as the sound of the gunshot rang out over the sounds of the celebrating crowd. The sounds of the noise makers were replaced with screams as the guests slowly realized that someone had been shot.

Derrick Frye went from celebrating guest to police chief in the blink of an eye, ordering those around him to secure the doors and the grounds, making sure that nobody left the scene. While he couldn’t yet be sure, Derrick believed that the shooter had in fact been in the room and their best chance of finding them would be to have a full accounting of everyone in Wildwind.

But who had been shot? Derrick scanned the room and noticed Jack on the floor and he immediately ran to his side.

“Jack? Are you hurt?” Derrick called out to him. He felt relieved for a moment when his old friend turned to him, but he immediately feared the worse when he saw the look on his face, “Who was shot, Jack?”

Jack shook his head numbly at him before turning his back to him once again. Derrick moved closer and saw what he had feared. Julia Santos, newly Julia Montgomery, was lying in a growing pool of blood.

----------

Greenlee held tightly to Aidan as they heard the sound of screams coming from the ballroom below. She started to rise, but Aidan instinctively held her close to him, fearful of what may have happened below.

“I need to go down there.” She said, her voice verging on panic, “I need to see whose hurt.” Aidan held fast.

“We don’t know whose down there, Greenlee.” Aidan said, his voice calm, “There could be a madman down there with a gun.”

“And my family is down there!” Greenlee yelled, tears filling her eyes.

Aidan slowly nodded, and said, “Okay, if you promise to stay behind me, and go slow so that we can ascertain what is happening, then we can go down.”

Greenlee nodded and stood up, keeping her hand in his. She followed him down the long hall to the ballroom where he peered around the corner. There was a general chaos, but it was clear that there wasn’t a shooter on the loose. He pulled Greenlee around the corner with him as he scanned the room, looking for the intended victim.

“Omigod.” Greenlee said next to him, and his eyes turned to see what she had found. Before he could respond, Greenlee ran into the room, fell onto her knees next to Julia, and pulled her crying father into her arms.

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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 10 2008, 09:56 PM


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Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER FIVE

Greenlee watched as everything seemed to move around her in slow motion. Her father was gripping her hand tightly in his, but seemed otherwise unaware of her presence next to him, so concerned was he with Julia.

Both Joe and Jake Martin were working diligently on Julia, speaking the secret code that only they could understand. There words meant nothing to her, and she grew more and more impatient with each passing moment.

“Jake!” She yelled, his head snapping up at her shout, “What the hell is going on?”

“It looks like she was shot in the shoulder.” He said quickly as he watched his father continue to apply pressure to the wound. “It made its way out cleanly, which is a good thing. Our biggest worry is that she seems to have gone into shock. We need to get her to a hospital. Fast.”

Greenlee turned to Jack, “Did you hear that, Dad?” Jack nodded dumbly, and Greenlee continued, “We’re going to get her to the hospital and she is going to be fine.”

Jack finally turned and looked at her, “Do you really think so?” His voice was so desperately sad that it made Greenlee want to weep. But instead, she smiled confidently at her father.

“Of course I think so!” She replied, “And as you know, I always get what I want.” Jack smiled weakly at her before turning back to Julia, gripping her cold hand in his own.

Greenlee stood up, wavering slightly. She looked down at her hands and dress, now smeared with the blood of her friend. She looked down at Julia, suddenly so pale and lifeless, and she felt the room swim around her.

Jake looked at her with concern, standing up and grabbing her arm.

“Greenlee…I think you need to go get some water, and maybe some fresh air.” Jake looked to make sure that his father had Julia well in hand before taking her by the shoulders and forcibly turning her away from the blood.

“But the blood…” Greenlee said haltingly, “There’s so much blood. And I have blood on me….and Julia…” Her breathing became suddenly heavy and irregular.

Aidan walked towards them swiftly, sensing that something was amiss. Jake turned, and gave Aidan a meaningful look as the two men silently communicated their concern for Greenlee.

“I don’t feel so good.” Greenlee said suddenly, as her eyes closed and her body collapsed against Jake.

----------

Aidan carried Greenlee out of the crowded ballroom and back to the room where they had been just moments before, happily celebrating the coming new year.

He checked to make sure that she was breathing regularly before settling her on his lap, her head resting gently on his chest. He watched as her eyes fluttered open and looked at him curiously.

“Where am I?” She said, her voice confused as she struggled to sit up.

“No, no.” Aidan said, gently holding her in place, “You need to stay here and rest for a minute.”

“But I’m fine.” Greenlee said, rapidly regaining her bearings, “I need to go see my dad and Julia.”

“You may be fine, but I’m not.” He said, his voice shaky. She looked at him, puzzled, “Just let me hold you for a minute, okay? Let me reassure myself that you’re going to be okay.”

Greenlee silently acquiesced, leaning back against his chest once more, “What happened?”

“You had a little bit of a panic attack and passed out.” Aidan said gently, his hand stroking the back of her head, “And now, Julia and Jack are on their way to the hospital.”

“Thank God they finally got here.” Greenlee sat up again, “Can you take me to the hospital?”

“Of course I will.” He said without hesitation.

“And will you stay with me?” Greenlee asked, suddenly shy.

“You don’t even have to ask.” He said gently. His heart was lightened by her request, although it was tempered by the reality of the situation.

After making sure that Greenlee was stable on her feet, he carried her down the stairs, although it was under protest from the lady and at the adamant insistence of the gentleman. He gently placed her in the car, and they made their way quickly to the hospital.

----------

Jack paced the length of the ER throwing furtive glances at the door to the cubicle where they had wheeled Julia upon their arrival. He couldn’t believe that this was happening, and on their wedding day, no less!

He turned sharply as he heard the door open and walked swiftly towards Joe.

“Give me good news, Joe.” Jack said sharply.

“She’s going to be just fine, Jack.” Joe put a reassuring hand on Jack’s shoulder, “The bullet didn’t hit any bones or major arteries. There was quite a bit of blood loss, but we’re taken care of that with blood transfusions. She was in shock, but we were able to get her stabilized.”

“Will you have to operate?” Jack asked, still fearful for his wife.

“No, since the bullet went through clean, and there was no damage to the muscles, we won’t have to operate.” Joe said with a smile.

“Oh thank God.” Jack finally allowed himself to breathe again as he sat heavily into one of the chairs. He looked up at Joe, “When can I see her?”

“You should be able to see her in just a few minutes.” Joe answered, “But she has been heavily sedated, so she probably won’t be awake for awhile.”

“I just need to see her, Joe.” Joe nodded his understanding and walked back into Julia’s room.

“Dad!” Greenlee cried as she ran through the door and to his side, “How is Julia?”

Jack stood up and pulled his daughter into a tight hug before saying, “She’s going to be just fine.” His voice became tearful as he continued, “Just like you said.”

“Told you I was always right.” Greenlee said in a muffled voice as she hugged her father tight.

Jack looked at Aidan over Greenlee’s shoulder, “Thank you for bringing her here.”

Aidan smiled and nodded, “I’m just glad that Julia is going to be okay.”

“So am I.” He pulled away from Greenlee suddenly and looked down at her, “And you! Didn’t you pass out? Are you okay?”

“Please, dad, I’m fine.” Greenlee said dismissively, “You have enough to worry about without thinking about that.”

“A father is always going to worry, Greenlee.” He bent down and kissed her on the forehead. A nurse motioned to him that he could see Julia and he nodded, “I’m going to go see Julia. You wait here, okay?”

“Sure.” Greenlee took a seat, thumbing distractedly through the ancient magazines.

Jack walked over to Aidan and asked, “Will you wait, too?”

“I was already planning on it.” Jack nodded and gave him a small smile before walking into Julia’s room.

Aidan went and sat next to Greenlee, silently taking her hand.

“Aidan! Greenlee! Where is Jackson?” They looked up in surprise as Erica Kane came walking towards them, “Is Julia going to be okay?”

“Erica? What are you doing here?” Greenlee asked in amazement, ignoring her questions.

“Well, I heard what happened, and I just had to see if everyone was alright. I had to see Jack.” Erica answered, “Now please, tell me what has happened.”

Aidan looked at her with suspicion, “How did you hear about the shooting so quickly?”

“Well, to be honest, I was there.” Erica admitted, slightly embarrassed.

“You were at the wedding?” Greenlee asked incredulously.

“No, I merely came to see my daughters at midnight. I wouldn’t dream of coming for the actual wedding.” Erica answered, before adding under her breath, “Sham that it was.”

“What was that?” Greenlee asked, her ire rising at the implication of Erica’s words.

Aidan put a calming hand on Greenlee’s back before throwing Erica a question of his own, “So, you showed up at the reception right before the shooting?”

“Why, yes…” Erica looked at him sharply, “Are you implying that I may have had something to do with this unfortunate incident?”

“Just asking a simple question.” Aidan replied, his curiosity, as well as his suspicion, suddenly peaked.
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amcarenuts
Posted: Jan 10 2008, 10:44 PM


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Posts: 39
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Joined: 8-January 08



Yikes, what did Erica do now????? Great update Erin. I am enjoying this very much. Thanks! biggrin.gif
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 12 2008, 02:18 AM


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Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER SIX

Erica stared hard at Aidan before turning to Greenlee, “Where is Jackson?”

“My father is with his wife.” Greenlee said a little more harshly than she intended. Erica’s sudden arrival had her on edge. She sighed, and said a little more warmly, “He should be back out in a few minutes. I’m sure he’ll appreciate you coming.”

“Thank you, Greenlee.” Erica said, sitting in a chair and folding her hands in her lap. They sat in silence, unsure how to relate to each other. At the best of times Erica and Greenlee were barely tolerant of each other.

Greenlee breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her father come out of Julia’s room and walk towards them. Erica stood up immediately and walked to Jack, her arms out stretched. Jack looked at her strangely, sticking his hands in his pockets.

Erica quickly lowered her arms, and said, “Jack, I got here as fast as I could. Is Julia going to be okay?”

“Yes, Erica, she’s going to be just fine.” He looked at her closely then, and continued, “While I appreciate the gesture, I am confused as to why you are here.”

“Why I am here?” Erica looked at him in amazement, “Where else would I be? I was so very worried about you…and Julia, of course.”

“Thank you for your concern, Erica, but my family and I seem to have this under control.” Jack replied, “You can go ahead and go home.” He tried to say it with just enough force for her to know that he was serious.

Erica seemed to take the hint, and, with a flip of her hair, said, “Well, alright, Jack, if that’s what you want. But please let me know if there is anything I can do.”

Jack nodded, and she turned to leave, a look of regret on her face.

Jack turned back and sat next to Greenlee, his body suddenly very weary. He placed his head in his hands and tried to rub the fatigue out of his eyes. He looked up and met Aidan’s eye, “I was hoping that you could look into the shooting.”

Aidan nodded, “Sure, Jack. Not much faith in the Pine Valley PD?”

“It would just make me feel better knowing that there was someone looking into it exclusively. Someone who has experience, and resources to do the job, “Jack replied, and then added, “Someone who I know cares about my family.”

Aidan was touched by Jack’s words, and he nodded again, “I’ll get started on it first thing.”

“In the meantime, there is nothing else you guys can do here tonight, so you might as well head home.” He stood up and took Greenlee’s hand, pulling her up, “You need to get out of that dress and into bed, young lady.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” Greenlee asked hesitantly. She was exhausted, but there was no way that she was going to leave her father alone when he needed her.

“I am going to spend the night in Julia’s room, so you would just be sitting out here all night. There’s really no point to that.” Jack said seriously, “I promise I will call you if there is any change.”

She smiled and gave him a hug, “As long as you’re sure.” She kissed him on the cheek and gave him a reassuring hug before turning to Aidan, “Mind giving me a ride home?”

“You don’t even have to ask.” He said with a smile. Aidan gave Jack a nod before escorting an exhausted Greenlee to his waiting car.

----------

Aidan watched Greenlee with concern as they rode in the elevator to her penthouse. She yawned sleepily as she leaned against the wall, her eyelids drooping slightly. As the doors opened, he grabbed her arm and led her to her frontdoor, fishing out his keys to unlock the door.

She looked at him in surprise, “You still have my key?”

He smiled at her, and replied, “Of course, who do you think watered your plants?”

“I only have plastic plants.” She answered him

“Well then I guess I wasted a lot of time, now didn’t I.” He answered her, laughter and exhaustion gleaming in both their eyes as they walked into the living room. “Let me just get you settled, and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

She looked at him and felt a sudden wave of emotion overcome her, “Actually, I was hoping that you would stay with me.” He looked at her in surprise, “It’s just that I’m feeling a little…off because of the shooting and you being here would really help.”

He walked swiftly towards her and pulled her close to him, “Of course I’ll stay with you. As long as you want.” He felt a sudden dampness on his shirt, and he pulled away from her slightly, “Why are you crying, love?”

“I’m not really sure.” She answered, the tears coming faster as she started to speak, “My emotions are just so close to the surface and I…” She couldn’t continue as she started to cry harder.

Aidan held her tighter, his intuitive protectiveness where she was concerned kicking in immediately. He ran his hands gently up and down her back, letting her cry it out.

After a few minutes, Greenlee pulled away from him, wiping away her tears in embarrassment.

“I’m sorry.” She said, sheepishly, “I didn’t want you to see me like this.”

Aidan tilted his head and looked at her curiously, “Greenlee, you should no better than that.” He took her face in his hands and said gently, “You never have to hide yourself from me. I would never want you to.”

Greenlee looked up at him with a teary smile, and replied softly, “God, I missed you.”

Aidan gazed down into her eyes, so full of love and trust, and he couldn’t resist bending down and kissing her gently, pulling her body firmly against his own. He lingered only for a moment before pulling back and looking into her eyes once more.

“Was that okay?” Aidan asked her, concerned that he had gone too far to fast.

“It was better than okay.” She replied softly, and to prove it, she wrapped her hands around the back of his neck and brought his mouth down confidently on her own. Without breaking their kiss, Aidan scooped her up into his arms and carried her into the bedroom.

Aidan set her down on the bed and slowly broke away from her. She watched him with amused eyes as he started to rummage through her dresser drawers.

“Just what do you think your doing?” She propped herself up on one arm and raised an eyebrow at him, “Don’t you men usually wait until after the woman leaves or gets in the shower before you go through her underwear drawer.”

He threw her a grin over his shoulder before returning to his task. Finally finding what he was looking for he turned back to her.

She looked at what he had in his hand, and then looked back up at him, surprise etched on her face, “Um, that’s what I wear when the deal at work falls through, or I break a heel on my new shoe, you know, something major.”

“And I would say, what you have gone through today IS major, and this is exactly what you need.” He tossed the flannel pants and matching tank top at her.

She picked them up and looked at him in consternation, “It’s not exactly what I thought you would pick out for our first night back together. I was thinking you would go for something with a little more lace, maybe some leather…definitely see through.”

“As…enticing as that sounds, I think that what you need right now is a good night sleep.” Aidan said with a laugh. Cutting off her sounds of protest, he sat down next to her and pulled her into his lap, “There is nothing I want more than to make love to you, Greenlee, but when that happens, I don’t want you to be emotionally and physically drained.”

Greenlee looked at him and smiled, “Will you stay with me tonight?”

“You don’t even have to ask.” He kissed her gently, feeling content for the first time in a very long time.

----------

Greenlee woke up in a cold sweat, tears running down her face. It had been so long since she had that dream. The dream that ended with Leo falling into an abyss, followed by Ryan. The dream had haunted her after Leo’s death, and then again after Ryan had “died.” But it had been so long since the last time she had woken up this way. Julia’s shooting had affected her more than she cared to admit.

She settled back down against the pillows and looked over at Aidan’s sleeping form. The steady rise and fall of his chest almost hypnotic in its calming affect on her. She slipped her arm around his waist and rested her head on his chest, breathing in his familiar scent. She brought her hand up and ran her fingertips along his hard jaw line, memorizing the lines and planes of his face.

“I love you.” She whispered softly against his neck.

He murmured something incomprehensible in his sleep, turning into her and wrapping her securely in his arms.

She smiled, the harsh dream fading as the gentle sound of Aidan's breathing lulled her back to sleep.
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 14 2008, 10:33 PM


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Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER SEVEN

Greenlee woke up in a warm tangle of sheets and limbs. She fought the urge to open her eyes and instead tried to enjoy the indescribable feeling of being loved. She cuddled into Aidan, getting as close to him as possible without climbing on top of him. She gave a small smile. Now that wasn’t such a bad idea. She rolled her body on top of him and stared at him, and waited impatiently for him to wake up. She didn’t have long to wait, and soon his eyes were fluttering open. He was momentarily confused, but then his eyes warmed.

“Well this is a lovely way to wake up.” He wrapped his arms around her, brushing her hair back behind her ears before pulling her head down to kiss her gently.

“I think we should just stay here today.” She said softly, resting her head on his chest, “We can leave the real world outside the door, lock ourselves inside.” She nuzzled his neck, “We can stay here and concentrate on what really matters.”

He pulled her head back up so he could look into her eyes, “And what would that be?”

She smiled, and leaned down close to his ear, breathing the words, “You. And me. Everything that really matters is right here, in this room.”

He gripped her tighter than, her words causing his chest to tighten. They didn’t speak for several minutes, neither feeling the need to speak as they held each other. Greenlee finally sat up and rested her arms on his chest, looking at him closely.

“Life is really too short to not grab happiness wherever we find it. If I’ve learned anything it’s that there are no guarantees in life. I don’t want to miss one more minute of our lives being apart. Our love’s too precious.”

His breath caught at her words, and he was speechless. Since his words seemed to be failing him, he drew her down close to him and kissed her, pouring all his love and longing for her into the kiss.

She let him slowly maneuver her underneath him as his tongue and teeth gently grazed her ear and neck. She had forgotten what a wonderful multi-tasker he was. She gasped in delight as his talented mouth moved a little further down.

The blaring ring of her phone had them both turning their heads towards her nightstand in dismay and frustration.

He placed a finger on her chin and brought her face close to his. He looked into her eyes, and said in a husky voice, “Let it go to voicemail.”

She looked torn for a moment, and then replied, her voice heavy with regret, “Normally I would. Normally I would through the phone out the window, but it might be my Dad…with news about Julia.”

Aidan nodded in understanding and shifted his position so she could grab her phone.

“Hello?” She smiled slightly and mouthed, ‘Its Dad’ to Aidan. “How is everything there?” He watched as she nodded as Jack updated her, and then she said, “Okay, give me an hour, and I’ll be there.” She hung up the phone and smiled at Aidan, “Well, Julia is awake and doing very well, but they are both craving some non-hospital coffee and some breakfast, so……” She looked at him apologetically.

“So, perhaps we should…uh…finish this later.” Aidan completed the sentence for her.

“You don’t hate me?” She asked, guilty.

“On the contrary, darling, I love you.” And he gave her one last lingering kiss before heading for the shower. “I suggest you wait your turn in the shower unless you want to be very, very late for meeting your father.”

She watched with appreciation as he walked out of the room, and then fell back against the pillows with a sigh, “Your gonna owe me big time for this, Dad.”

----------

Aidan had found over the last six months that the best remedy for his particular brand of frustration was work. Lots and lots of work. So, after he left the penthouse, he headed directly for the office. No time like the present to get started on Julia’s case.

He made a few calls to the police and, after a fancy bit of convincing involving one Sgt. Jane Clark and a heavy dose of charm, he was now perusing the entire list of people that were found to be on the grounds of Wildwind at the time of the shooting. There were a handful of people that he could cross off the list without hesitation, but there were still upwards of 150 people that he would need to interview. Background checks would be needed on those that were unknown to him, or the family.

“Well, at least it’s a place to start.” He said quietly to himself. He started slowly going through the names, separating them into those known to the family and those that were merely working the event. He was halfway through the list when he saw a name that was not only familiar, but completely unexpected. He sat back in his chair and stared at her name, “Now what, exactly, were you doing there?”

----------

Greenlee was not known for being punctual, but as she grabbed her keys and purse, she realized she was actually going to be early. She looked up in surprise when there was a knock on the door.

She walked swiftly to the door, and pulled it open, surprise etched on her face as she looked into eyes similar to her own.

“Mother!” Greenlee couldn’t have been more shocked if the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus had been standing at her door holding hands, “What the hell are you doing here?”

Mary Smythe walked through the door, kissing the air close to her daughter’s cheek, “What a way to welcome your mother, dear. I really thought I brought you up better than that.”

“You didn’t bring me up at all, mother.” Greenlee retorted, “That would be the nanny, cook and maid.”

“Well, that would explain your plebian manners.” Mary said, before sitting gingerly on the couch, “Now come here and talk to your mother.”

“Actually, I’m on my way to see my dad, so I’ll have to take a rain check on this little reunion.” Greenlee held the door open, but Mary stayed seated on the couch. Greenlee sighed and closed the door, “As you may or may not know, mother, Jack’s wife was shot last night and I need to get to the hospital to see them.”

“Of course I heard, dear, that’s why I’m here.” Mary replied with a small smile, “I had to make sure that my daughter was okay after I heard about that horrible shooting. Of course, if Jack hadn’t married someone so….middle class, this would never have happened.”

Greenlee rolled her eyes, “Really, mother, you had to see me? You didn’t have to see me when I had been missing for five weeks? Or when I had some strange disease that no one could figure out? I think your leaving something out of this little story.”

“Really, Greenlee, you are so suspicious of me.” Mary said, making a tsking sound with her tongue, “You really should give me more credit.”

“I, along with the rest of the financial world, am smart enough to only give you credit where credit is due.” Greenlee replied, her voice laced with sarcasm, “And you aren’t due anything.”

Mary sighed and got up, “Well, I can see that you are in no mood to talk to me like a reasonable woman, so I will go…for now.”

Greenlee jumped up and opened the door for her, “It was so good to see you, mother.”

“You’re not getting off that easy, young lady.” Mary said as if speaking to a child, “Since I am in town, we are going to have a nice family dinner.” She swept out the door, then turned to her was a smile, “And make sure you bring that handsome young man of yours, too.”

----------

Aidan studied the print outs that had just arrived from the airline.

“So, she arrived here early yesterday.” Aidan looked at the original guest list that Jack’s secretary had faxed over and noticed that she wasn’t listed, “Why would she want to come to a wedding when she wasn’t invited.”

He sighed and picked up the phone. Time to find out where her money was coming from, that is, if there was any money left to be found.

----------

Greenlee had become increasingly irritated with her mother as she picked up coffee and pastries at her favorite coffee house. How dare she show up now, when she had just gotten used to her not being around.

Her face was grim as she walked into Julia’s private room, but a smile immediately lit up her face as she saw Julia sitting up, her face animated, and her father smiling down at her.

“Sorry I’m late guys, but I had an unexpected visitor as I was trying to leave that I just couldn’t get rid of.” Greenlee said apologetically as she unpacked the assortment of pastries.

“Anyone we know?” Jack asked with interest.

Greenlee shook her head in irritation, “If you can believe it, my mother showed up, claiming concern over my wellbeing.”

“Well, she is your mother, Greenlee, she may have been worried. I know I would have been if it was Kate.” Julia said, giving Mary the benefit of the doubt.

“You clearly have never met Mary Smythe.” Greenlee retorted, “The only thing that she cares about is what her cut is going to be.” Then Greenlee sighed, “Let’s drop it, though, and talk about you.”

Greenlee listened as Julia and her father updated her, but she had to admit that her mind started to wander to the events that had been cut short in her bedroom a little over an hour ago. It had been six months, after all.

When Jack had finished talking, Greenlee smiled and said, “Ya know, I hate to leave, but there is something very important that I need to take care of. Immediately.”

Jack looked at her in concern, “Nothing is wrong, is it, sweetheart?”

Greenlee grinned widely, “Not at all, Dad. In fact, if things work out the way I plan, everything will be just perfect.”

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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 16 2008, 07:14 PM


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Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER EIGHT

Greenlee made her way quickly through the halls of the hospital, desperate to get away from the smell of disinfectant and sickness. She was an arm’s length away from the elevator when she felt someone grab her hand. She turned in irritation and saw Jake Martin smiling down at her.

She gave him a quick smile and said, “Hey Jake. I’d love to talk, but I’m kinda in a hurry.” She turned to leave, but he didn’t release her hand, “Ya, I’m gonna kinda need that hand…” She looked at him expectantly.

“You’re telling me you don’t have fifteen minutes for coffee with an old friend?” He asked her.

Greenlee sighed and looked down at her watch. Okay, so she didn’t have an actual appointment to be anywhere, but she definitely had somewhere else she wanted to be. Still, she supposed she could spare fifteen minutes. After all, what was another fifteen minutes added on to six months…

“Fine, okay, you have fifteen minutes.” Greenlee gave him a tight smile and followed him to the hospital cafeteria.

Greenlee sat at the table while he bought two cups of what passed for coffee in the cafeteria. He sat across from her, lounging back in the chair.

“So what’s up with the white coat, Jake? You working here again, or you just like the attention?” Greenlee looked at him with an arched brow as she sipped at the coffee.

Jake laughed, “Actually, I am working here again. I’ve had enough of Africa for now. Wanted to get back to the people that I loved.” He stared at her intently, and Greenlee shifted uncomfortably.

“Your parents must be happy.” She replied awkwardly, “And Tad, too.”

“And what do you think, Greenlee?” He continued to stare at her.

“Well, if it’s what you want, then I think it’s great.” She took a long drink of her coffee, and then continued, “Probably be easier to find a wife here, too.”

He smiled, “Yes, I suppose it will be.” They were both quiet for a moment, and then Jake broke the silence, “Maybe you and I should give it try.”

Greenlee looked at him in surprise, “We should get married?”

Jake laughed again, and replied, “No, not married, but maybe we should go out sometime.”

Greenlee took a deep breath. She didn’t want to hurt Jake’s feelings, but she needed to nip this in the bud.

“That’s sweet, Jake, and I have loved seeing you again, but I’m involved with someone.” She kept it short and sweet, hoping he would drop it, but no such luck.

“Ah yes, Tad told me that you were, how did you put it, involved with his partner.” Jake leaned over the table, “But from what I heard, he doesn’t exactly deserve to be ‘involved’ with you.”

Greenlee felt her temper spark and she sat back, glaring at him, “That’s not really your call to make, now is it?”

“No, Greenlee, its not, but as someone who cares about you, I have to say that you seem to go from one destructive relationship to another. Have you ever been with a man that hasn’t lied to you, betrayed you, hurt you?”

Greenlee’s anger was hampered a little by his obvious concern for her, and she had to admit that his words had hit a nerve that was still a little raw.

“I hate to see you make the same mistake over and over.” He said softly, and reached for her hand. “Just think about it, okay?” He let go of her hand and stood up. He gave her a long look and a sad smile before turning and walking away, leaving Greenlee to her own thoughts.

----------

Aidan was so involved with his work that he didn’t even hear the door to the office open and close. It wasn’t until he felt two arms go around him from behind, that he figured out that he wasn’t alone.

“I didn’t even here you come in.” He picked up Greenlee’s hand and kissed it gently.

“Some super detective you are.” Greenlee said with a laugh, resting her head on his. He pulled her around and settled her in his lap. She immediately curled her arms around her neck and buried her head in his shoulder. He stroked her back and looked at her with concern.

“Is something wrong? Is it Julia?” He asked gently. She shook her head without lifting it from his shoulder, and his concern increased, “Obviously something is wrong, Greenlee. Do you want to talk about it?”

Greenlee lifted her head and looked at him, “Its nothing, really. Too much stress, I guess. With moving home, the wedding, the shooting…us. It’s just a lot to deal with.”

He nodded in understanding, “You just need something normal.”

Greenlee sat up, “That’s exactly what we need. We need to be normal again. We’re going to go out on a nice, normal, all-American date.”

“Well, you might have to plan that one, darling, as I happen to only know how to plan nice, normal, British dates.” He smiled at her.

She cocked her head and gave him a sarcastic look, “I’m sure dinner and a movie translates. So what do you say?”

“Sure…but who gets to pick the movie?”

“I do, of course.” Greenlee stated matter-of-factly, “The woman always gets to pick, usually a romantic comedy.”

“The things I do for love…” Aidan grumbled, but he smiled at her. He looked into her laughing face and he couldn’t resist kissing her.

Greenlee sighed and relaxed into the kiss, the rest of the world melting away. He bit her bottom lip gently, and she opened her mouth underneath his, relishing the taste of him. His hands ran down her back and under her shirt, stroking the sensitive skin of her lower back. She leaned into him and ran her own hands up his broad chest, shifting her position so that she was straddling him in the chair.

“Awww geez! I don’t need to see that!” Tad’s voice pierced through the veil of passion and lust and they both turned in embarrassment to see Tad standing in the doorway, his eyes averted towards the ceiling, “Couldn’t you have put a tie on the door or something?”

“Sorry Tad. I wasn’t really expecting you to be in the office today.” Aidan said, a hint of amusement in his voice. Greenlee turned her body so she was sitting more appropriately in Aidan’s lap.

“Ya, I kinda picked up on that.” Tad replied sarcastically, “I just came to pick up some files on a case I’m working on.” Tad walked to the work area and said absently to Greenlee, “So I heard you had coffee with my little brother today.”

Greenlee stiffened at Tad’s words, and then replied, “Ya, I ran into him at the hospital.” God, I hate living in a small town, she thought bitterly. “We only had about ten minutes, though, since we both had places to be.” Greenlee looked at Aidan meaningfully, but he was regarding her with a strange look on his face.

“Okay, I’m outta here, so you guys can go back to doing...whatever it was you were doing.” Tad said with a dismissive wave of his hand. As he reached the door, he turned and gave Greenlee a suggestive look, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” With a waggle of his eyebrows, he left them alone once more.

“Well, that doesn’t leave much to the imagination.” Greenlee said, and then wound her arms around his neck, “Now where were we?”

Aidan pushed back from her slightly, and said, “So you saw Jake today?”

Greenlee looked at him with a slightly guilty expression, “Ya, but like I said, it was only for a few minutes.”

“Is he the reason that you came in here upset?” Aidan asked, his concern piqued once again.

“No…yes…I don’t know.” Greenlee said with a sigh, “He just made me doubt myself, and I hate that. I hate anyone trying to tell me who I am or what I should feel. It pisses me off.”

“I’ve picked up on that.” Aidan said with a smile, but his concern for her persisted, “What did he say?”

“Basically, he said that I am self destructive and attracted only to men who want to hurt me.” Greenlee looked at him thoughtfully, “But he’s wrong. What happened between us can’t be viewed in a vacuum. Nobody can know what we were going through, and nobody has the right to judge. Honestly, I think it’s just because he wants me for himself.”

Aidan hugged her tightly to him, “I can’t blame him for that.” He pulled his head back and kissed her lightly, “But I can kill him if he tries anything.” Greenlee laughed and kissed him quickly before pulling back again.

“Oh! And in the interest of full disclosure, you will never believe who came to see me today!” Aidan raised an interested eyebrow and waited for her to continue, “My mother! Haven’t seen the woman in years, and now is when she decides to come for a visit.” She looked at Aidan, who didn’t seem at all surprised, “You knew she was here?”

Aidan nodded and pulled out the guest list, “When I was looking at the list compiled by the police I saw her name.” He handed Greenlee the list.

Greenlee looked at it in confusion, “But she said she came to see me. To make sure that I was okay after the shooting.” She looked at Aidan sadly, “She didn’t come for me at all, did she? This was all about Jack.”

“I’m not sure why she came, but I’m going to find out.” Aidan said, suspicion lacing his voice.

Greenlee looked at him thoughtfully, and then said, “My God, you think my mother might have shot Julia, don’t you?”

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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 21 2008, 12:16 AM


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Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER NINE

Aidan weighed his words carefully before responding, “I would say that your mother is a person of interest.” He said diplomatically before continuing, “It’s odd that she showed up to a wedding that she wasn’t invited to minutes before the shooting took place. Not to mention that she lied to you about her reason for coming to Pine Valley.”

Greenlee got up and started to pace the room nervously. Aidan watched her silently, allowing her to think through what he had said. She stopped suddenly and turned to him with a sigh.

“You’re right.” She said, her tone exasperated, “My mother shows up out of nowhere, feigning concern for me, lying. Who wouldn’t be suspicious of her real motives? I’m an idiot for actually believing that she came here just to see me.”

Greenlee sat down heavily on the couch on the opposite side of the office, folding her arms over her chest in a subconsciously defensive manner. Aidan got up and walked slowly over to her, sitting down next to her. He put his arm around her and pulled her stiff body into his, feeling her relax slightly.

“I can’t speak for your mother, Greenlee, but she didn’t have to come see you today. If she only came because of Jack’s wedding, she could have just left and you would have never known that she was even here.” Aidan told her, his voice soothing.

“She’s probably not allowed to leave the country.” Greenlee snorted sarcastically. She looked up at Aidan, a defiant expression on her face, “You know what, I don’t care what my mother has done or why she is here. I told you that I wanted to be normal, if only for one night, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

Greenlee pushed herself off the couch and looked at him expectantly, hands on hips. He grinned up at her and cocked his head at her.

“Anything for my girl.” He got up and pressed a light kiss to her forehead, “Give me an hour to finish up here and then I’ll pick you up. Sound good?”

“It sounds better than good, it sounds great.” She gave him a quick hug and headed for the door, “And don’t be late.”

Aidan laughed and called after her, “I wouldn’t dream of it, sweetheart.”

----------

Greenlee dropped her purse on the table as she walked in the door. She fell on the couch and rubbed her temples. Today had tried her nerves and she felt as if her entire body was wound up tight.

Maybe a quick bath is what I need, she thought, already relaxing at the thought of soaking her muscles in her favorite bath salts. She had about an hour, so she had a good thirty minutes. She jumped up and quickly went to the bathroom, feeling better already.

----------

Aidan was a little early, but he didn’t think that Greenlee would mind too much. He walked to her front door, unsure as to whether he should knock, or just let himself in as he always had. Throwing caution to the wind, he took out his key and eased it into the look, opening the door quietly.

“Greenlee?” He called out into the quiet apartment, his brow furrowed at the inactivity. He stood quietly for a moment, listening for any sound and heard the faint sound of classical music coming from the direction of the bathroom. Puzzled, Aidan followed the sound and saw that the door to the bathroom was slightly ajar. He opened slightly and took in the sight before him.

Greenlee sat in the bathtub, her head resting back on a small pillow, her eyes closed. The bubbles were so deep that they were grazing her chin and dampening the tendrils of hair that had fallen from her loose ponytail. She had surrounded herself with her favorite scented candles and her face was slightly illuminated by their glow.

Aidan slipped off his shoes and stepped quietly into the bathroom, careful not to disturb her. He sat down carefully on the edge of the tub and gently called her name. Her eyes fluttered open slightly, startled at first, then relaxed as she recognized him.

“I didn’t mean to stay in here so long.” She said sheepishly, “But it felt so good I guess I just lost track of time.” She stretched, redistributing the bubbles in such a way that Aidan found very distracting.

“You can stay there as long as you want.” Aidan said agreeably, “Our date can wait as long as it needs to.”

Greenlee’s eyes warmed and she gave him a sultry look, “Or we could stay here.”

Aidan nodded, “Sure, I could order something and we could watch a movie here. Or I could run out and get something…” His words were cut short as Greenlee sat up and ran her hand up his chest, curled around his neck and pulled his mouth down on hers.

She pulled away slightly, their breath still commingling, and said, “I meant that we could stay right here…” She gave him a look that was impossible to misinterpret, and he swallowed audibly.

“Well, that sounds like a good idea, too, although I have to admit that I was looking forward to that romantic comedy.” He stood up and quickly shed what he was wearing, Greenlee watching him closely with an appreciative eye. He slid down into the tub behind her, water sloshing over the sides. Greenlee laughed happily as she repositioned herself and settled between his legs.

His hands slid easily over her warm, wet skin. He gently started massaging her neck and shoulder and she moaned softly in response. As his hands wandered over her body, her moans became more pronounced and her body more insistent as she pushed against him. She turned her body to face his, taking his face in her hands.

Greenlee looked deeply into his eyes, and her heart swelled, “I love you so much.”

He leaned in close to her, nuzzling her neck and whispered in her ear. “I love you, too, more than you could ever know.”

As his mouth teased the sensitive skin below here ear, she smiled a slow smile of pleasure, and responded, “I think I’m getting a pretty good idea.”

Aidan pulled back slightly and looked at her, “And if the phone rings…”

“We’re definitely not answering.” Greenlee responded, pulling his face towards her and kissing him hungrily. A moment later he pulled away from her once more.

“And if Tad happens to walk in?”

“Well, I guess he’ll get one hell of a show.” Greenlee replied, her eyes dancing with amusement.

He pulled her closer as she wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.

He looked at her, both love and yearning in his eyes, and responded quietly, “Well, I guess that settles that.”

Greenlee’s soft moan was her only reply as she closed her eyes in satisfaction, finally content, finally happy, and finally home.

----------

It was two hours later when Greenlee and Aidan finally surfaced from their fog of desire and realized that they were starving.

“What shall we do about dinner, darling?” Aidan asked as he absently pressed a kiss to her brow. They were laying in slack limb satisfaction on the rumpled bed.

“I’m thinking something that can be delivered.” Greenlee responded, stretching lazily against him, “Preferably something that can be delivered to the bedroom.”

Aidan laughed and hugged her closely, “I think I can manage the delivery, but the location may be up for debate. You’re not exactly dressed for visitors.” He grinned as he looked her up and down, “Not that I mind, of course.”

Greenlee yawned and sat up, “I suppose your right, although I resent it greatly.” She through him a cheeky grin, “If you ask me, though, I think it would be one hell of a good tip.”

They got up slowly and dressed, finding it difficult to keep their hands off each other and only the need for food forced them from the bedroom.

As they waited for the pizza that they ordered to arrive, they curled up on the couch.

“So, now we’ll have that ‘normal’ date that you were hoping for.” Aidan said his voice full of amusement.

“I suppose we could, but it seems that we kinda skipped to the end already.” Greenlee said, slightly embarrassed.

“Well, you’ve never been one to bow to convention, and I have to say, in this case, I am glad you didn’t.” Aidan kissed the top of her head, “So what do you say? You got any romantic comedies around here?”

“Are you kidding?” Greenlee jumped off the couch and opened the cabinet under the TV, “I have every movie Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant have ever made!” She started happily reading off names.

Aidan had to smile as they settled in with their pizza, wine and movie. It didn’t matter what movie she chose to watch, he was just happy to see the smile on her face. He finally felt secure again. For the first time in a long time, he felt like everything was going to be okay.

Greenlee’s phone rang and she paused the movie.

“Can you grab that?” She asked, unwilling to give up her comfortable position nestled comfortably between his legs and against his chest.

He reached up and answered, his face growing serious as he listened to the person on the other end. He sighed and handed the phone to her, and she looked at him expectantly.

“It’s your mother.”

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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 22 2008, 11:23 PM


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Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER TEN

Greenlee hesitantly to the phone from Aidan and frowned at it before speaking.

“Hello Mother.” Greenlee said, unsuccessfully trying to hide her annoyance. Aidan watched in mild amusement as a myriad of emotions played on her face as she listened to her mother on the other end. Finally, after several minutes of silence on her part, Greenlee sighed and said, “Mother, can you please just get to the point. I know you must want something or you wouldn’t have called….”

Greenlee went silent again and then grimaced before mouthing to Aidan that her mother wanted to have dinner with them. He nodded eagerly at her and she stared at him, stunned for a moment.

“Can you hold on for a minute, mother?” She placed her mother on hold and looked at Aidan, puzzled, “Why on earth would you want to subject yourself to an evening with my scheming, manipulative mother? And more importantly, why would you want to subject ME to an evening with my scheming, manipulative mother?”

Aidan laughed before replying, “Because we can question your mother about why she was at the wedding. Not to mention why she lied to you about when she arrived in Pine Valley. Hopefully we can eliminate her as a suspect.”

Greenlee nodded slowly, and then said, “Ya, your right. We could totally nail her to the wall.”

Aidan planted a kiss on her forehead and replied, “That’s the Greenlee I know and love. Now tell her that we can meet her tomorrow night.”

Greenlee took her mother off hold, “Okay Mother, it looks like we can make it tomorrow night. How about 7:30 at the Valley Inn? I assume that is where you are staying.” Greenlee nodded into the phone, and then said, “See you then.” She flipped her phone closed and looked at Aidan warily, “I hope we don’t live to regret this.”

Aidan gave her a wide smile and put his arm around her, “It may not be the most pleasant evening we’ve ever spent together, but at least we’ll be together.”

Greenlee looked at him coyly, and replied, “So, what was the most pleasant evening we’ve ever spent together?”

He pulled her into his lap and nuzzled her neck, whispering huskily in her ear, “Well, this very evening comes to mind….” He went on a more extensive tasting expedition, teasing both her neck and earlobe with his talented mouth.

“And the evening is young…” Greenlee replied breathlessly, tilting her head to give him better access to the sensitive skin of her neck and shoulders.

“That it is, darling.” He replied hungrily, “That it is.”

----------

Greenlee startled awake. They had fallen asleep on the couch after the second round of love making had left them weak and unable to move to the more comfortable locale of the bedroom. Aidan lay snoring softly next to her and she smiled at the way the moonlight played on his face, making him seem so innocent and boyish.

She slid off the couch quietly, making sure that she didn’t wake him. She moved to the large window with its sweeping view of Pine Valley and looked out, her eyes not focusing on any one focal point. She wrapped her arms around herself, hugging against the chill in the air.

She had the dream again. She watched her loved ones fall off the cliff one by one, unable to stop them. She had felt the sharp pang of loneliness and fear. The desperation of never seeing them again. And the she woke up, a cold sweat dampening her skin.

She jumped as she felt a strong pair of arms go around her, but immediately relaxed into the broad chest she knew was behind her. They stood there for a moment before he turned her to face him, tipping her head up with his hand.

He looked at her in concern as he wiped away a tear that she hadn’t even been aware had fallen, “Why are you crying, love?” He whispered, kissing her damp cheek lightly.

She rested her cheek against his chest and sighed, “I just had that dream again.” He nodded in immediate understanding and she continued, “I just hate the way that it makes me feel so weak and vulnerable. I hate not being strong.”

Aidan pulled away from her and forced her to look at him, “Greenlee, you are the strongest woman I have ever known. Being afraid doesn’t change that. True courage is acknowledging the fear and continuing anyway. I have seen you fight through some horrible things. You can get through this, too.”

“But I’m afraid…” She took a deep breath and continued, “I’m afraid that I am going to lose everyone that I love.”

“There are no guarantees in life, Greenlee, but I can promise you this.” He looked at her intently, “As long as it is within my power, I will never leave you.” She gave him a watery smile before retreating once again into his arms. “Now let’s get you to bed.” She gave a little laugh as he swung her up into his arms and carried her off to bed.

----------
They woke up the next morning to the blaring of the alarm clock. Greenlee absently slapped at her nightstand, hoping that one of her hits would find its target. She was exhausted and the thought of going back to work made her want to crawl back under the covers.

Next to her, Aidan stirred, but he seemed as unwilling as she to get up and face the day. She sighed and looked into his sleepy face.

“I guess we have to go back to work, huh.” She said her voice husky from sleep.

He cuddled closer to her, burying his head in her shoulder, “That would be the responsible thing to do” was his muffled response.

She blew out a sigh and attempted to get up, but he kept her pinned to the mattress. She laughed and said, “Tell you what, if you let me get up, I’ll buy you breakfast.”

He looked up at her suspiciously, “Anywhere I want?”

“Within reason.” She said, and then added, “I’m not going to take you to Paris for breakfast or anything like that.”

He gave her an offended look and replied, “Why would I want to go to Paris when I could go to London?”

“My mistake. We can go anywhere in Pine Valley. Is that better?” She asked

“It’s a deal, but I get to help you in the shower.” He stipulated.

“Fine with me.” She said with a laugh as she hopped up and made a dash for the bathroom.

----------

After they had used up all the hot water, they got dressed and made their way to breakfast.

“We’re having breakfast…at a bar?” Greenlee looked at him incredulously as they pulled up to the Comeback.

He looked at her and said, “They have a surprisingly good breakfast.”

She looked at him with a bit of misgiving, but got out of the car and followed him in. The bar was half full for breakfast and Aidan waved to the corner booth where Tad was sitting alone.

He looked at Greenlee and asked, “Do you mind if we join Tad?”

Greenlee shook her head and they headed over and joined Tad, who was shoveling in a huge fork full of eggs.

“The eggs are fantastic.” He said, as pieces of that very food fell out of his mouth.

“You might want to slow down.” Aidan told him good naturedly, “You’re not as young as you once were.”

“I’ll have you know that I am just as young as I ever was.” Tad sucked in his gut and puffed out his chest, “All the women still line up.” He gave Greenlee a leer, but she merely shook her head at him.

“Sorry, Tad, I’m a one man kinda woman.” Greenlee said apologetically.

Tad slumped in his seat and sighed, “All the good ones are.” He winked at Krystal as she walked up to their table to take their order.

Tad and Aidan talked business while they waited, while Greenlee started to think about the new product line launch that was coming up. There was so much that needed to be done and she had been in Paris for so long, there would be a lot of catch up for her.

Work was pushed aside when their food came and they enjoyed a lively breakfast with Tad before Greenlee looked at her watch.

“I really need to get to work.” She looked at Aidan, “Can you drop me off? Or do you want me to call a cab?”

Aidan shook his head, “No, I’ll take you.” He turned to Tad, “I’ll see you at the office later?”

Tad nodded, “Ya, I should be in later this afternoon.”

They said their goodbyes and left, Greenlee growing more apprehensive about work as they got closer to her building. When Aidan pulled up to the building, she took a steadying breath.

“You okay?” He asked.

“Ya, I guess I just have first day back jitters.” She said with a tight smile, “I don’t know what it’s going to be like working here with Kendall again.”

“Well, if anyone can make it work, it’s the two of you.” He gave her a quick kiss, and then said, “Now go take the business world by storm.”

She laughed and got out of the car, giving him a small wave as she walked in the front door.

Aidan watched until she was safely inside and then turned to leave. They both had a lot of work to do. Today he was confident that he would catch the person who tried to kill Julia…
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 24 2008, 08:33 PM


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Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER ELEVEN

Aidan spent the first few hours at work going blind staring at the dozens of background checks that he had done on the workers that had been at Wildwind the night of the shooting. Unfortunately, nothing was popping for him, and all the workers seemed to check out.

He leaned back in his chair and rubbed his tired eyes with the back of his hands. Frustration was setting in, and he knew that he was chasing nothing by looking at all these reports. But it had to be done. Every person had to be looked at it, no matter how unlikely they appeared.

He didn’t look up when he heard the door open behind him, assuming that Tad had finally decided to roll into work.

“I can’t take much more of this.” He said with aggravation, “I’m getting nowhere with these background checks.”

“Well, maybe I can help you with those pesky reports.” Aidan looked up in surprise to see Maria walking towards him in three inch heels and a tightly cinched trench coat that fell just above her knees. She leaned on the corner of his desk and pulled a flask out of her purse. She held it out to him.

“Care for a little drink?” She purred.

Aidan held up a hand and gave her an incredulous look, “Thanks, but no. It’s a little early for me.”

“Suit yourself.” She replied, tossing back the contents of the flask before turning back towards him, “Now, how can I help you burn off some of that frustration?”

He caught her hand as she reached for him and looked at her sternly, “I’m not really up for any games today, Maria, so unless you have something useful to say, I suggest you leave the same way that you came.”

He dropped her hand in disgust and went back to reading the background reports. Maria looked at him, rage tingeing her features for a moment before a seductive smile started to curve on her lips.

“Perhaps this will change your mind.” She hopped off his desk and quickly unbelted her coat, revealing what she was wearing underneath…nothing.

----------

Greenlee had fallen back into the groove of working fairly easily. The truth was that not much had changed since she had left. The office still looked the same. The people were the same. It was comfort to Greenlee who felt somewhat out of place. They were having a meeting in an hour to catch her up on the intricacies of the latest products and promotions.

“How are you doin’, Annie?” Greenlee asked her as she dropped off the latest marketing report on her desk.

“Why?” Annie looked at her suspiciously.

“Was just curious…Sorry I asked.” Greenlee said, looking away.

“Greenlee, I’m sorry.” Annie said with a sigh, “I’ve just been on edge ever since the divorce. I guess I’m just a little bitter.” Annie gave her a small smile.

“Oh, I understand. Marriage to Ryan wasn’t exactly easy for me, either.” Greenlee said sympathetically, and then continued, “If you ever need to talk, just let me know.”

Annie gave her a genuine smile then, “Thanks. Maybe I’ll take you up on that sometime.” Annie walked away and Kendall walked quickly over to Greenlee’s desk.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen Annie smile in months!” Kendall exclaimed, “What did you say to her?”

“Just that I was around if she needed to talk about being married to Ryan.” Greenlee said simply, “Nothing earth shattering.”

“Well, I don’t know how in the loop you were while you were in Paris, but the breakup was very sudden, and very ugly.” Kendall said in a low voice, “Apparently Ryan told her that he made a BIG mistake when he thought that she was his soul mate. Turns out it was someone else all together.”

Greenlee looked at Kendall, puzzled, “Who is it?”

“Well, he never told her, but everyone was pretty sure it was, well, you.” Kendall finished awkwardly.

“Me!” Greenlee looked stunned, “That can’t be right. He married her after I came back and told him that I wanted to be with him. That’s crazy! We’ve all moved on!”

“Well, you’ve moved on.” Kendall said with a small shrug, “But I’m betting that he hasn’t.” Kendall gave her a pat on the shoulder, and then walked away, leaving Greenlee speechless.

----------
Aidan looked up at Maria, a disinterested look on his face. He pushed himself out of the chair and took a step toward her before picking up her coat and thrusting it towards her.

“I think you dropped this.” He dropped the coat in her hands before returning to his seat.

“God, Aidan, you used to be so passionate.” Maria complained as she quickly wrapped herself back into her coat, “I could make you want me, anytime, anyplace.” She shook her head sadly at him, “What happened to you?”

Aidan turned and looked at her, “What happened to me? You’re the one traipsing about town half naked, throwing yourself at any man who gives you the time of day, and your wondering what happened to me?” Aidan looked at her sadly, “You used to be one of the strongest, smartest, most vibrant women I knew. But now, you’re just….” He gestured helplessly, unable to find the words.

“The world is what happened to me, Aidan.” Maria said, her voice suddenly desperate, “I used to rule this town. The men all adored me…you, Edmund, Dimitri, Zach, David…they all wanted ME.” She started to pace the room nervously, “But now, now they’ve all left me. Left me for younger women who don’t have half of what I do. Women like my sister Julia and Kendall and your precious little Greenlee.” Maria pulled out her flask and took another drink.

“You’re still a beautiful woman, Maria, but you left.” Aidan said quietly, moving to her side and gently guiding her to a chair and then kneeling to her level, “People move on with their lives, find new things, new people to love.”

Maria looked up at him, her eyes clouded with sadness and alcohol, “Everyone found someone, Aidan, but I didn’t. There is no one out there for me, so I came home, only to find that everyone I loved is gone, replaced by men who are no longer interested. Even Julia has moved on, married into the great Montgomery family. Where does that leave me?”

“I can’t answer that for you, but when you go home, to California, maybe you should find someone you can talk to about these things. Someone who can help you move on.” Aidan answered kindly.

Maria’s eyes lit up suddenly, “Home? I am home, Aidan. I’m never going back to California. Everything I lost is here, and I intend to get it all back.”

She lunged for him suddenly, knocking him off balance in his kneeling position, and sending them both sprawling onto the floor.

----------

Greenlee felt better after the meeting. Everything was on schedule and she still felt the same connection to the people that worked that she always had. Annie had seemed more relaxed after the meeting, too, although Greenlee attributed that to the fact that she had casually announced that she and Aidan were, in fact, back together. Annie looked relieved and Greenlee wondered if she had feared that she and Ryan were going to give it a try.

Amanda hopped onto Greenlee’s desk and popped one of the chocolates that Greenlee kept on her desk into her mouth, “Ya, know, I don’t blame you one bit for getting back with Aidan. He is too good to be true.”

Greenlee looked at her with a raised eyebrow, “Well, I feel so much better now that I have your approval.”

Amanda gave her an irreverent smile, and then said, “I knew you would be. I just meant that Aidan is a great guy, with a great accent…” Amanda’s sentence trailed off as she seemed to lose herself for a moment.

Greenlee gave her a slap on the arm and said, “Hey! No daydreaming about Aidan is allowed, unless it’s me doing it.” She gave Amanda a mock severe look.

“Okay, okay….its just a shame that all the good ones are taken. The pickings are getting pretty slim here in the Valley.” Amanda said wistfully, and then said, “Hey, can you find out if Aidan has a brother, or a hot cousin or something?”

Greenlee laughed, and said, “Sure, I’ll get right on that.” Amanda thanked her then grabbed another chocolate before returning to her own desk.

Greenlee sat back with a smile, thinking how great it was to be back where she belonged.

----------

Tad walked into the office and sighed at the site in front of him.

“Really? Is there no other place for you to do this?” He said to Aidan, who was trying, unsuccessfully to stand up and disentangle himself from Maria.

“This isn’t what it looks like.” Aidan said, feeling immediately idiotic for saying such a clichéd line.

“I’m married, not stupid, Aidan. I may not remember what it feels like, but I do remember what it looks like.” Tad said with a shake of his head as he looked through his mail, “What I really want to know is why I can’t get any love in this office. Is it something I’m putting out there?”

Aidan ignored Tad as he finally stood up and escorted Maria to the door.

“Until we meet again.” She said with a smile and a wave before walking out the door.

“Not if I can help it.” Aidan replied as he slammed the door at her retreating back. He looked at Tad, “That woman is certifiable! She tried to violate me!”

Tad looked at him wistfully, “I can’t remember the last time I was violated.”

Aidan frowned, “This is serious, Tad, the woman is off her rocker. I think it’s very possible that she’s our shooter. And if she is, there are several women in this town who aren’t safe, including Greenlee.
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amcarenuts
Posted: Jan 25 2008, 01:04 AM


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Thanks, Scarlett. I love this story! biggrin.gif
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 27 2008, 08:51 PM


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Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER TWELVE

Aidan looked up as Greenlee came through the door of the penthouse, throwing her bag on the table and looking at him with a shake of her head.

“You would not believe the day that I had!” She said, walking towards where he sat on the couch and grabbing the beer out of his hand. She took a long drink and handed it back to him.

He gave her a wry smile and replied, “Your day couldn’t possibly beat mine.”

“Care to share?” She asked him with a raised eyebrow. She sat next to him, tucking a food underneath her, “I could use a good laugh.”

“Not really sure that this will make you laugh.” He gave her a quick kiss, and then continued, “And we have to meet your mother in half an hour, so it can keep until after dinner.”

Greenlee leaned her head back and closed her eyes, “I had almost forgotten that we agreed to meet with her.” She looked up and gave him a seductive smile, “Is there anything I can do to convince you that we should cancel and just stay here?”

“I have no doubt that you could convince me to do just about anything, darling, but you’re not going to.” He replied, taking her hand in his as she gave him a pretty pout, “You’re not going to because you know this could help us find out who is trying to hurt Julia.”

“I really don’t like it when you’re right.” Greenlee grumbled, “It’s annoying.” She stood up and headed towards the bedroom.

“Where are you going?” Aidan asked her suspiciously, “Not planning any daring escapes, are you?”

She turned and looked at him, “No, I was just going to change.” She took another step before adding, “But thanks for the idea.”

----------

“You’re going to owe me big for this.” Greenlee said as she fixed her hair in the mirror on the passenger side of the car.

Aidan looked at her out of the corner of his eye as he drove, “I’m the one that has to have dinner with YOUR mother. How exactly is that I’ll owe you?” He asked her incredulously.

She flipped the mirror up and looked at him, “Um, well, lets see….the only reason I even agreed to do this was to help you with your case.”

“You mean the case where I’m trying to figure out who shot Julia, your father’s wife? That case?” He had to laugh, “You’re always working an angle, aren’t you?

She frowned, “Not always….” She was quiet for a moment, and then she continued, “Okay, so we’ll call it a draw on this one.”

“It might not be as bad as you think.” Aidan put his hand on her leg and gave her a reassuring squeeze. She put her hand over his and turned to look out the window.

“You don’t know my mother.” She said quietly, “I only see her when she wants something. Sometimes its money, sometimes it’s a man….but it’s always something.” Greenlee stopped talking when she felt the tears creeping. She hated to cry and she sure as hell wasn’t going to waste her time crying for a mother who never cared about her.

“I can’t make up for a mother that was never there for you,” Aidan responded, his heart breaking for her, “But I’m here for you know. If it gets to be too much for you, just let me know, and we’ll leave. Okay?”

She smiled at him and nodded gratefully. He gave her leg another reassuring squeeze as they pulled into the parking lot. She took a deep breath and got out of the car.

----------

Mary Smythe was already waiting for them, an impatient look on her face, when they walked into the dining room. Greenlee saw her look at her watch before she noticed their entrance, a seemingly genuine smile spreading across her face.

“Greenlee, darling, how wonderful to see you.” Mary rose and greeted her daughter, kissing the air next to each cheek, “Introduce me to your handsome friend, dear, we don’t want to be rude, now do we?”

Greenlee swallowed the urge to scream, and turned to Aidan with a smile, “Mother, this is Aidan. Aidan, my mother…Mary Smythe.”

Aidan turned on his best “meet the parents” smile and took Mary’s hand in his, “It’s wonderful to meet you, Mrs. Smythe. I can see where Greenlee get her striking beauty.”

Greenlee looked at him in derision, rolling her eyes at him. Mary stood between them, her eyes roaming up and down Aidan’s body slowly and blatantly, “And it is lovely to meet you. My daughter has always had wonderful taste in men. Something else she gets from me.” Mary gave him a cat like smile.

Greenlee gaped at her mother open mouthed, before responding, “You have wonderful taste in men?” Greenlee gave a sarcastic laugh, “The only man you’ve ever been with that was worth anything was Jackson. After that, it pretty much went downhill.” Greenlee sat down heavily, taking a large sip of the wine that had already been poured for them.

Mary pursed her lips and sat down, “Really, Greenlee, I don’t where you got that smart mouth of yours.” She cleared her throat gently, “I say that we change the subject.”

“Fine with me.” Greenlee said, and then asked, “So why exactly did you lie to me about why you came back to Pine Valley?”

Mary choked on the wine that she had just sipped. She slowly lifted her napkin and wiped at the corners of her mouth, and then responded, “I told you why I came, Greenlee. I wanted to make sure that you were okay after the shooting.”

“Yes, that’s what you said, but the truth is you were at the wedding, so you were here before the shooting. You being here has nothing to do with me, so what did you come here for?”

Mary took another drink of her wine and watched her daughter carefully. She weighed her options before sighing and saying, “Fine, the truth is that I came her to keep Jackson from making a huge mistake.”

“And what mistake would that be?” Greenlee was sure that she knew the answer, but she needed to hear her mother say it.

“Why, marrying that nurse of his.” Mary replied, looking at Greenlee as if she had sprouted another head, “Clearly she is after his money. Why else would she marry someone so much older than her?”

“And who would know more about that than you, right, Mother?” Greenlee laughed humorlessly and shook her head, “I knew you didn’t come here for me, but I’m such an idiot for not seeing why you really are here. It’s Jack…you want him back, don’t you?”

“Well, of course, darling, I would love for your father and I to be together. Wouldn’t it be nice to have our family be complete?” Mary put her hand on her daughter’s, but Greenlee quickly pulled it away.

“It’s just a little late to have a beautiful family moment.” Greenlee said bitterly, “You wanting to be with Jack has nothing to do with me, or wanting to be a family. All it is is your selfish desire to be with a man. You don’t care about anything or anyone other than yourself.” Greenlee pulled the napkin off her lap, throwing it on the table, and turned to Aidan, “Can you please take me home? I’ve heard everything I need to hear.”

“Greenlee, please, you’re making a scene.” Mary said with quiet urgency, placing a hand on her arm.

“If we stay any longer, I’ll show you a scene.” Greenlee said, her voice determined, “I can’t be around you right now, mother, so please just let me go.” Greenlee and Mary stared at each other for a moment, Mary finally releasing Greenlee’s arm.

“Fine, if you must go, then go.” Mary brushed at her hair, trying to look calm and assured, “We can have dinner some other time.”

Aidan sat quietly watching the battle of wills between the two women. His Greenlee needed no help from him, he thought with a smile. His eyes roamed about the room and landed on another woman who appeared to be heading right for them. As he realized who it was, he swore quietly under his breath, and braced himself for the onslaught.

“Why Mary Smythe, I never thought I would see you again.” Erica Kane said, her voice and smile both dripping with insincerity, “At least, that’s what I hoped.”

Mary turned her gaze from Greenlee to Erica, “Ah, Erica, how lovely to see you. You look the same as ever…you really must give me the name of your surgeon. I may need him in 15 years or so.”

Erica’s yes flashed dangerously, and Aidan quietly moved the bottle of wine out of her reach, “I can’t imagine what you’re doing here. It seems clear to the entire room that your daughter doesn’t want to see you. What other possible reason could you have for being here?”

“If you must know, I’m here for Jackson.” Mary said, haughtily, “He is clearly in need of some guidance. Years of being with you has left his mind and heart weak and vulnerable to any gold digger that catches his eye! He needs to be reminded of what a real woman is like.”

Erica laughed, “And you think that’s you? Jackson wants nothing to do with you after you lied to him for years about having a child!” Erica continued, “And don’t you worry, as soon as his…infatuation with Julia Santos is through, he and I will be right where we left off.”

The two women glared at each other as Aidan and Greenlee watched in stunned silence. Greenlee finally regained herself, and stepped forward, between the two women.

“You two are unbelievable!” Greenlee exclaimed, “You have the entire restaurant staring at you, and you don’t even care! You’re risking public humiliation for a man that doesn’t want either one of you!” Mary and Erica looked at Greenlee in disbelief, and she continued, “Jackson LOVES Julie, not you,” She said looking at Erica, and then turning towards her mother, “And definitely not you.” Greenlee shook her head sadly, “You both will be much happier when you accept that.” Greenlee walked away then, leaving them in stunned silence.

“Ladies.” Aidan gave them a nod, before turning and following Greenlee out of the room, a huge smile on his face.
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amcarenuts
Posted: Jan 27 2008, 10:31 PM


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Wonderful Chapter! I loved all the interaction! biggrin.gif mfight.gif
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 29 2008, 07:47 PM


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Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Aidan jogged to catch up to Greenlee, noting that she wasn’t heading for the exit, but for the bar. She took a seat and ordered a cosmopolitan, looking up as Aidan took the seat next to her.

“Come here often?” He asked her with a smile.

“Wow, that’s original.” Greenlee said with a laugh before sipping her drink, “Next you’ll be asking me what my sign is.”

He motioned to the bar tender for a beer, and turned back to Greenlee, “I guess I’m a little out of practice. Haven’t had much need for pick up lines lately.”

“Well that reassuring, I suppose.” Greenlee tipped her drink back, draining it, and then leaned in close to him, whispering, “But I’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t need to use any sorry lines on me. I’m a sure thing.”

Aidan laughed, choking on his drink, “Well, that is good to know.” He watched her carefully as she ordered another drink and downed it as quickly as the first, “Are you alright, Greenlee?”

“Oh, I’m just fine.” She said lightly, gesturing absently with her hands, “I just wanted a drink or six after that fiasco of a dinner.” She ordered another and swallowed it in one drink.

“Well, just keep in mind that we didn’t actually HAVE dinner, so you may feel those a little sooner than you’re used to.” Aidan said with concern.

Greenlee looked up at him and giggled as she drained her fourth drink, “You’re worried about me...that’s so sweet.” She leaned up and kissed him hard on the mouth, “But don’t worry. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”

She sat back on the bar stool, and promptly fell on the floor. Aidan looked down at her laughing face and sighed. He threw some cash on the bar to cover their tab, and bent over to pick her up.

“Hmmm…my knight in shining armor.” She said quietly as she nestled her head between his shoulder and his head. He smiled softly as he carried out of the Valley Inn.

----------

Greenlee, refusing to be carried into her penthouse, stumbled through the door, running into the table as she fumbled for the light. Unable to locate it, she turned to Aidan who stood patiently behind her, watching carefully to make sure that she didn’t hurt herself.

“Maybe we don’t need a light.” She said, her voice husky, as she ran her hands up the front of his shirt.

“Maybe we should get you into bed.” Aidan replied, taking her hands in his own.

She pouted as she looked at him, “I haven’t had a bed time since boarding school.” She smiled, and then added, “And I’m not so drunk that you have to worry about taking advantage of me.”

Aidan steered her to the couch and sat, pulling her into his lap, “Why don’t you tell me about this boarding school of yours,” He said, trying to change the subject.

“Really? Well okay then…I only went for a year before they…” Greenlee searched for the right words, and then continued, “asked me, very politely of course, if I wouldn’t be happier at another school.” She laughed.

“You got kicked out of school?” Aidan asked incredulously, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth, “I mean, I know you’re a pain in the ass and all, but I never imagined you as a juvenile delinquent.”

Greenlee punched him in the shoulder, “I am not a pain in the ass!” Aidan looked at her with a raised eyebrow, “Ok, I am, but it’s not nice of you to point it out.” She leaned back against him and said, “All I really remember is the little plaid skirts, the white button shirts and the knee socks.”

Aidan was quiet for a moment, forming a very nice mental picture in his head, “The school girl fantasy.” He murmured almost to himself.

Greenlee laughed and turned to face him, “Ah, so that’s what you wanted to know about.”

“Well, no, not when we started, but since it came up…” He brushed her hair back and pulled her face to his, kissing her gently, but thoroughly.

When she pulled away, she said breathlessly, “Well maybe one day I can find that old uniform of mine.”

“Wonderful idea, darling.” He said against her neck as he gripped her body tightly against his own. She sighed happily as he eased her dress up and over her head, bestowing warm kisses to the newly exposed skin. She fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, desperate to feel his hot skin on her own. When she finally succeeded in removing the offending article, she threw it carelessly to the side, her fingers mad with desire to touch him.

“I think its time to get you into bed.” Aidan said his voice low and thick with desire. This time, she nodded in agreement as he swept her up in his arms and carried her off to bed.

----------

Greenlee opened one eye as the rising sun poured through the bedroom window. Her mouth was dry and her head hurt a little, but other than, she wasn’t suffering any ill effects from the night before. She was a little sore, too, but that had nothing to do with the drinking. That was because of something all together more pleasant. She smiled at the memory and closed her eye again.

She didn’t open them again until she felt the mattress dip slightly next to her. She looked up at Aidan, who was already showered and fully dressed, sitting next to her, holding a steaming cup of what she really hoped was coffee. She took it wordlessly and took a sip, sighing in satisfaction as the warm coffee slid down her throat.

“I almost feel human again.” She said with a smile, leaning back on the pillows. She tipped her head at him and said, “You let me sleep in.”

“Well, I figured one of the perks of owning your own company was that you could sleep off your drinking binge from the night before.” He answered her, a wide grin on his face.

“I didn’t drink that much!” Greenlee said emphatically, “And I’m not hungover!”
Aidan put his hands up in mock surrender, and replied, “Of course, of course! My mistake. I just thought you need a little extra sleep. Plus, there were a couple things I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Oh yeah, you wanted to tell me about something that happened at work yesterday.” Greenlee looked at him hopefully, “Did you make some progress on Julia’s case?”

“Maybe.” Aidan said hesitantly, and then continued, “I had an interesting visitor at my office.”

“I’m all anticipation.” Greenlee said impatiently.

“Maria came by.” He watched Greenlee’s eyes narrow, but she didn’t say anything, waiting for him to continue, “She was rambling on and on about how nobody paid any attention to her anymore, and all the men in this town only wanted youth. She made a point to include Julia in her little rant.”

Greenlee thought about what he said, and then replied, “You think she shot her own sister?”

“Five years ago I would have never even considered it, but she’s so different now, so bitter and filled with hate and regret.” Aidan said sadly, “I think it’s possible.”

Greenlee nodded in agreement, and then stopped and looked up, “So, how exactly did this all come up? And why was she at your office?”

“I was afraid you’d ask that.” Aidan said with a nervous smile, “She came with certain…intentions.”

“And how exactly did she let these intentions known?” Greenlee asked, her anger rising.

“Well, mainly I figured it out because she wasn’t wearing anything under her coat.” Aidan winced as he saw that temper flash in Greenlee’s eyes, “But obviously I made her cover up right away. That’s when she went ballistic and started raging about her sister and all the other women in this town. Tad showed up a few minutes later and she left.”

“Tad and his perfect timing.” Greenlee said, irritation clipping her voice, “Well, it’s obvious that I’m going to have to kick her ass.”

“I wouldn’t recommend that.” Aidan said.

“You don’t think I can take her?” Greenlee asked, her eyes daring him to say that she couldn’t.

“No, it’s not that. I’m sure you could kick her ass anytime you wanted.” Aidan answered quickly, “However, I think it’s a very good possibility that she would shoot you before you even got the chance.”

“She wouldn’t shoot me.” Greenlee answered, sure of herself.

“Oh, I beg to differ. If she could shoot her own sister, I don’t think she would hesitate to shoot a woman that has no connection to her.” Aidan said seriously.

“Actually, I do have a connection to her.” Greenlee said sitting up and putting her hand on his, “You.”

“Which makes it even more likely that she would do you severe bodily harm.” Aidan replied, a chill running down his spine, “In fact, you may not have to provoke her at all for her to come after you.”

“What about Erica and my mother?” Greenlee said hurriedly, “Aren’t they just as likely to have been the shooter as Maria?”

Aidan shook his head slowly, “I really don’t think it was them. They’re both crazy, but I just don’t think that either one has it in them to shoot Julia. But Maria…” Aidan trailed off as he thought about it.

“So, you really think it was Maria.” Greenlee said slowly.

“Ya, I really do.” He replied, worry edging his voice, “And I’m afraid that she might be after you next.”
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scarlett426
Posted: Jan 31 2008, 08:07 PM


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Group: Members
Posts: 24
Member No.: 4
Joined: 10-January 08



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

“I think that you’re worrying over nothing.” Greenlee said with a shake of her head.

“Its part of my job to worry.” He said in response, “You have to take things like this seriously, Greenlee. I’m not asking you to lock yourself in your bedroom or anything, just try to be a little more aware.”

“I can do that.” Greenlee said agreeably, “Although I might be up for that locking me in the bedroom thing if you’re in here with me.” She batted her eyes flirtatiously and let the sheet fall away from her just enough to gain his interest.

“Don’t you have to get to work?” He asked, his voice already growing thick with desire.

“Like you said, one of the perks of owning your own business…” She sat up slightly and grazed her lips lightly across his, “I think I’ll take a personal day.”

He smiled in pleasure as he bent his head to kiss her, gathering her close to him.

----------

An hour later, Greenlee stepped out of the shower with a smile on her face. She quickly dressed and walked out to the living room where Aidan was waiting for her, going over his notes on the case. He looked up and closed the folder when he saw her.

“I want to get over to the hospital to talk to Julia.” He said, “See if she has any thoughts about who may have tried to hurt her.”

Greenlee nodded, and replied, “I think I’ll go with you, if you don’t mind. I want to see how my dad is doing, too.”

“Ya, sure.” Aidan replied absently, and then added, “How do you ask a woman if she thinks it’s possible that her sister tried to kill her?”

“Very carefully.” Greenlee said with a small smile, and then added in a more serious tone, “Just try and tread lightly. She’s not going to like what you have to say.”

“I know.” He said, his brow furrowed with worry, “And just when I got back on your dad’s good side, too.”

He walked to Greenlee and helped her on with her coat before grabbing her hand, and heading for the door.

----------
On the ride over, Aidan asked Greenlee to get her father out of the room once they reached the hospital.

“Its not that I think she won’t talk in front of him,” Aidan said, “But it might be easier for her to talk about Maria and what’s happened to her if she doesn’t have an audience.”

Greenlee agreed, and after she talked with Julia for a few minutes, she asked her dad if he wanted to go with her to get some coffee and doughnuts for everyone. He hesitated slightly before Julia gave him the go ahead and they headed out the door.

Julia turned to Aidan and said with a smile, “Okay, now that we got rid of them, what do you want to talk to me about.”

“Am I that transparent?” He said, grinning.

Julia shrugged, “No, but I know that your looking into the shooting for us, so I knew you would want to talk about it sooner rather than later. So what do you want to know?”

Aidan pulled the chair up close to the side of her bed and sat down, “Do you know why anyone would want to hurt you?”

Julia seemed to think about it for awhile, and then replied, “Not really. I mean, if you had asked me this a couple years ago, I would have had a list longer than my arm. But now, with all that behind me, I can’t think of anyone that would want to do this. It doesn’t make any sense to me.” She was quiet for a moment, and then continued, “But I have a feeling you have someone in particular in mind.”

Aidan leaned forward and replied, “At first, I thought it may be a spurned ex-lover of Jack’s.”

“Erica.” Julia said matter-of-factly.

“And Mary Smythe.” Aidan responded.

“Mary? Isn’t she somewhere in Europe with her gigolo of the month?” Julia asked with a half smile, half grimace.

“Well, she actually crashed your wedding.” Julia raised a surprised eyebrow at him, “Actually, they both crashed your wedding.”

“What a couple of bitches.” Julia said angrily, and then turned to Aidan, “Sorry, but I have had enough of Erica Kane to last me a lifetime, and toss in Mary Smythe…”

“Ya, well, Mary Smythe isn’t exactly the most popular person around our house right now, either.” Aidan said with a wry smile.

“So, it’s ‘our’ house, is it?” Julia looked at him happily, “I guess you and Greenlee are back on track.”

Aidan couldn’t help but smile as he replied, “Things are going really well.” Julia gave him an encouraging grin, but he shook his head, “Business before pleasure. I need to finish asking you a couple things.”

“Fine, fine, but only if you promise to give me all the details when we’re done.” Julia replied.

“Deal.” His grin faded as he struggled with how to phrase his next question, “Tell me about Maria’s odd behavior.”

“Maria?” Julia looked at him in surprise, but then continued, “Well, ever since Edmund was killed, she’s been on a slippery slope. You remember her drunken outburst at his memorial?” At Aidan’s nod, she continued, “Well, its gotten worse. She drinks constantly, Haley and Mateo have taken Maddie and Sam into their home, and Maria lost her job at the hospital.” Julia shook her head sadly, “I always looked up to her, but she has become virtually unrecognizable to me.”

“What about her behavior with men?” Aidan asked delicately.

“She’s been with a lot of men since Edmund,” Julia said, slightly embarrassed, “It seems it’s the only way that she can validate her self worth anymore. She doesn’t care about her work or her children anymore, just how she looks and how many men she can get to notice.” Julia smiled sadly, “I think she was a little jealous that I was getting married again.”

“Why do you think that?” Aidan asked eagerly.

“It’s no one thing that she did or didn’t do.” Julia said, “It was her attitude about the whole thing. She treated me as if I was a child who couldn’t possibly be with a mature man, or really any man.” Julia blushed, and then said, “And she got a little drunk and the rehearsal dinner and made a pass at Jack. And just about every other man there, too.”

Aidan sat back in his chair, thinking about what Julia had said. Julia watched him, a sudden idea dawning on her.

“You think Maria was involved in the shooting?” Julia asked him incredulously, her eyes narrowing slightly, “You think my own sister could have done this to me? Are you crazy? She would never hurt me!”

“If Maria was the same woman she was four year ago, I would agree.” Aidan said quickly, “But there is something about her that has changed. She’s a very troubled woman.”

Julia glared at him for a full 20 seconds before she finally sighed and sat back against her pillows, “I will give you that. She is definitely….disturbed.” Julia’s eyes filled with tears and Aidan got up and pulled her into a hug, “It’s so hard to think that your own sister could cause you harm.”

“I know, I know…” Aidan said against the top of her head, “I’m sorry that I had to bring it up like this.”

“Well, well.” A voice from behind them said, “Just what are the two of you up to?”

Aidan pulled away and turned to see Maria staring at the two of them, a smile on her face, and rage in her eyes.

----------

Greenlee and Jack sat at a small table in the cafeteria, drinking coffee and splitting a chocolate glazed doughnut.

“So, tell me about you and Aidan.” Jack said, a spark of concern in his eyes.

Greenlee couldn’t help but smile, both at her father’s concern and the mention of Aidan’s name.

“We’re doing good.” She said noncommittally, and then she laughed and said, “Actually, we’re doing great. I was miserable for six months, trying to convince myself that I just needed to get over him and move on. The truth was, that wasn’t what I wanted. I’m glad we took a break to sort things out, but he’s what I want now. I hope you can be happy for us.”

“Of course I’m happy for your Greenlee.” Jack said with a warm smile, and then added, “Of course, you’re still my daughter so I’m going to worry about you. I don’t want you to get hurt again.”

“I know.” Greenlee said gratefully, and then she sighed as she said, “What happened, with the bomb shelter, and me being sick, it wasn’t real life, ya know? So I’m not going to let something that happened during that time in my life define the rest of it.” She smiled at him in her customary self confident way and Jack knew that she was going to be alright.

“Let’s go back up and see how Aidan and Julia are doing.” Greenlee said, and they left arm in arm, to see the ones that they loved.
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amcarenuts
Posted: Feb 2 2008, 03:55 AM


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I love this story! biggrin.gif alfonzo.gif
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