"How did the conference call go?"

"Not well." Sami replied as she sat down on the sofa. She took a bite of the chocolate cupcake she'd carried in from the kitchen. "Oh my god, Johnny & Sydney were right. Abigail's cupcakes are amazing."

EJ momentarily flashed back to the moment in the shower when Abigail had taken off her bra. "They are indeed." He shook his head. Now was not the time to be distracted by thoughts of their last tryst. He turned his attention back to Sami. "What do you mean by not well?"

Sami finished chewing before answering. "Henri wants to meet with me in person tomorrow."

"Oh I didn't realize he was coming to the States?"

Sami shook her head. "No. He wants me to fly to Paris. I've already called the pilot. I'm flying overnight. I'm not coming back until the deal is done."

EJ was more than a little perturbed. There was a time when Sami would talk to him before making major decisions. Sure, she was a division head for Countess Wilhelmina, but he was still her boss and lately it seemed that she bypassed him as much as possible. He had chalked it up to a passive-aggressive response to what happened with Kristen and Eric and hoped that she'd eventually get over it. But the longer it went on, the more and more convinced he grew that nothing was ever going to change. Their relationship was in trouble. That much was clear. "It's Valentine's Day."

Sami chuckled. "So? Allie and Johnny are going to skiing at Green Mountain Lodge with Lucas this weekend, and Sydney is at my mom's. They won't even notice that I'm gone."

"Well then, I guess you've thought of everything, haven't you?" EJ snapped.

"EJ, we'll talk when I get back. Okay? I promise." Sami replied absently. "And thanks again for the beautiful necklace."

"Sure. No problem." EJ replied without enthusiasm. "Samantha, keep me in the loop about Henri."

"I will." Sami said. If she was aware of his annoyance, she wasn't acknowledging it. She stood up, finishing the last bite of the cupcake. "Wow. That was delicious. If you run into Abigail, please let her know that she's welcome to come over here and make cupcakes anytime she wants."

EJ waited til she'd left the room before softly saying. "If you only knew Samantha. If you only knew."


"Abby are you sure you don't want to come with us to Green Mountain Lodge?"

"No mom. It's been a long week and a really long day. I'm going to make some cocoa, grab a good book and hide away all weekend."

"Oh my gosh, that's right. You were up at the crack of dawn baking cupcakes with Johnny DiMera. How did that go?" Jennifer laughed.

"It was fun. Johnny really enjoyed it."

"Those poor kids. Stuck with parents too self-absorbed to help with something as simple as that."

"Oh that's not true."

Jennifer's eyes widened. "You mean Sami actually stuck around and baked?"

Abby shook her head. "No. EJ did."

Jennifer scoffed. "I find it hard to picture EJ DiMera being that hands-on."

"You'd be surprised at what EJ's hands can do." Abby replied without thinking, and then quickly caught herself. "I mean, I used to see him with the kids and with Theo when I was dating Chad. He's a very involved parent."

"Well I suppose that's one thing that he has going for him then."

"Yeah." Abby said softly, her pulse racing as her body remembered all of the other things EJ had going for him.

"Well, I guess I'd better get go make sure that JJ is ready to go. Lucas and the twins will be here any minute now."

"Have a good time skiing."

"Oh we will. It's such a relief to have JJ's trial over with. Time to celebrate. One last time, are you sure I can't get you to change your mind?"

"No." Abby shook her head. "I really just want a quiet weekend. No people. No phones. No interruptions. Just solitude."

"You should go out to Smith Island then if you really want an escape." Jennifer suggested. "You're guaranteed isolation there. Even cell phones don't work."

But EJ's does. Abby almost said, but stopped just in time. The last thing she needed now was Jennifer wondering why she knew that EJ's cell phone worked perfectly fine at the cabin.

Her mom was onto something though. The cabin was a relaxing place, so maybe she would head out there. She already knew what who be occupying her mind the minute she closed her eyes tonight and staying in Salem would put temptation far too close. Far better for everyone for her to be a ferry ride away from acting on her impulses.


EJ was a little surprised to see the light in the cabin as he walked up the path from the boat launch. From his phone conversation with Johnny an hour ago, he knew that Hope and Ciara had joined Jennifer, Lucas, JJ and the twins at Green Mountain Lodge for the weekend. And a check with the security detail he'd assigned to tale Nick, Fallon was still in Salem. Will was busy celebrating his engagement with Sonny, so that left only one Horton who could possibly be out here. Anticipation pushed a shot of adrenalin through his blood. He'd come out here to distance himself away from temptation, but fate apparently had other plans.


Abby stood back and admired the roaring fire she'd just started. "Perfect." She glanced over at the woodpile. It was running low. "May as well top that up before I take off my coat." She turned and headed to the door.


Outside, EJ took a deep breath. A glance through the window a moment earlier confirmed what he had suspected. Abigail was there, alone. He lifted his hand to knock, just as the door flung open.

"EJ!"

"Hello Abigail." He said calmly.

Abby was flustered. He was the last person she'd been expecting to see. A thousand thoughts swirled in her head. Dangerous, exciting, forbidden thoughts. She opened her mouth to speak and before she could stop herself the words tumbled out. "I need wood."