I realize that this is probably not the most popular pairing around but I am really like HoT personally. It was the best pairing for Hope by far IMO!

A – Alone

She had never felt more alone than she did right now, sitting in her office by herself, trying to work when it was impossible with the sounds of merrymaking going on just outside her door. She swiped at a stray tear bitterly. How could Liam … How could he? They had broken things off a mere week ago and already he was engaged to Steffy - again. They were going to become man and wife for a second time according to the ever-active Forrester Creations grapevine. The worst part was that most everyone who had said they were happy for Hope when she was about to become Mrs. Liam Spencer was now overjoyed that Steffy would be. Hypocrites. Liars. That's the kind of people the world was full of. She wanted to hide away from it all. Maybe she would just get high again …

No, no! She knew she couldn't go to that place. She told herself in no uncertain terms that she was going to be strong this time, even if it killed her.

Still, another tear zipped down her cheek. She quickly dashed it away just as the door opened. She had a dismissive, hostile sentence on her tongue but when she saw him standing there, looking at her with so much concern on his handsome face, she couldn't say it. She couldn't even speak.

Thomas immediately moved over to her, knelt in front of her chair and took her in his arms. At the moment, she didn't feel quite so alone anymore.


B – Bottom

She had thought she had hit rock bottom before but apparently she was wrong because this was a new low, even for her. At this moment she felt more like Hopeless than Hope.

Steffy was standing in front of her, happily asking her to be a bridesmaid in her wedding to Liam. Was she kidding – was she freaking kidding?! Hope wondered. She willed herself not to slap Steffy and instead try to calmly communicate her feelings. Still, her voice was a bit high as she responded. "How can you ask me that, Steffy? Liam and I were engaged just two weeks ago! How can you ask me to stand up for you and act happy about your marriage when I'm not?"

Steffy sighed. "Like you didn't ask me to do the very same thing. Like I didn't give into the divorce so you and Liam could have your 'happily ever after'. How much do you think that hurt me? Seriously?"

"So I guess this is payback huh? But there's a difference between our motives, Steffy. I wanted us to be sisters back then; I wanted us to connect like we used to when we were kids… All you want to do is hurt me."

"I doubt your intentions were that pure and saintly, Hope," Steffy retorted. "I am at least offering you an olive branch here."

"No you're throwing your little conquest up in my face. It's different."

"Is it, Hope, is it really?" Steffy said and turned and walked out of Hope's office.

Two minutes later, Thomas was in her office asking her why she looked like someone had kicked her puppy. She sighed and tears filmed her eyes. "I am a hypocrite. I am a really bad person."

"What?" Thomas asked, eyes wide. "You couldn't be more wrong about this."

"Really, Thomas, because from where I'm sitting, I feel like such a- a… louse."

"Can I tell you what I see when I look at you?" He asked in a reverent voice. Hope nodded slowly.

"I see a beautiful, caring, strong woman who has been through so much. She has gotten knocked down a few times, sure, but nothing and no one can keep her down forever. I see someone who has the most loving heart. So whatever's got you thinking you're not worthwhile... Well, forget it. Forget them."

Hope slowly reached out and grasped Thomas's bigger hand in her tinier one. "How did I get so lucky to have a true friend like you?"

"On the contrary, Hope, how did I get so lucky to have you in my life?" he asked and then gave her an impromptu hug that warmed her from her scalp all the way down to her toes.


C – Cry

"Hey, Hope," Thomas greeted her as he walked into her office several weeks later.

Hope looked down for a moment and tried to discreetly wipe away her tears. She was so tired of crying. It was pathetic and pointless. Liam had made his choice – he had chosen Steffy. He was telling anyone who would listen that she was his soulmate now. Tomorrow was Steffy and Liam's wedding day. Hope felt sick at the thought but most of all, just incredibly heartbroken.

"Hope, are you okay?" Thomas asked, moving over to her. "Who am I kidding? I can see you're not and I'm sorry about that."

"Thanks, Thomas," Hope sniffled. "If I just focus on my work, I'll get through this. I truly will. It's just every time I think I'm over it, over him –"

"You realize you're not," Thomas guessed. She could see by looking into his beautiful eyes that he could relate. He had loved and lost someone too. Dayzee. Yes, Dayzee. It couldn't be Hope herself; she had burned that bridge to the ground when he proposed and she turned him down, running after Liam yet again.

"You know the feeling," Hope said quietly.

"Yeah, I do. And it sucks."

Hope nodded. She chuckled bitterly. "It sure does."

Thomas reached out and tugged a fistful of Kleenex from the box on her desk. He slowly held out his hand and she found herself holding her breath as he lightly dabbed away her tears.

"You must think I'm so pathetic – crying over a guy who clearly wants someone else."

"I don't. I'm just sorry you're so sad. I hate seeing you like this, seeing how Liam is hurting you. All he does is break people down. I'm worried for you and Steffy too."

"Liam loves Steffy though; I think he always has, even when he was with me."

"Liam doesn't know what real love is, Hope; at least not in my opinion. If he did, he wouldn't have ping-ponged between you and my sister for so long. He would have realized you were both treasures and not played games with both of your hearts. He doesn't deserve either of you."

"Maybe he doesn't but Steffy is getting the man we both love. I do want her to be happy, I do, I just wish…"

"It wasn't Liam she was getting to be happy with," Thomas said knowingly. Hope just nodded.

"Well, Hope, I am not sure that her happiness will last forever. Liam is going to disappoint Steffy one day, probably soon, and break her heart the way he has yours. Believe me; I take no joy in saying this."

"I know. And I know that I'll be okay," Hope said. "I just think I need to focus on work and nothing else right now - certainly not romance."

"All work and no play…"

"I know, I know." Hope smiled a bit. She reached out and touched Thomas on his left shoulder. "I'll be okay though. After tomorrow, after I know there's no going back in my head as well as my heart, I'll be okay. And burying myself in work is one way to not have to think about this."

"Just so you know … I am going to the wedding, Hope."

"I figured as much. And you should – Steffy's your little sister and you love her. I can't go myself; she asked me to as you know but I just can't."

"She understands, I think."

"You know what the saddest part of all of this is?" Hope asked.

"What?"

"Steffy and I were once closer than sisters and now… Now because of a guy… We'll never be sisters again, let alone friends."

"Time heals all wounds…"

"Does it, Thomas, does it?" Hope murmured. "We've been so horrible to each other … I don't think either of us can forget."

"Maybe you can forgive each other then. Not now, but some day."

"If it were any other guy but Liam I'd so be there to stand up for her at her wedding but because it is Liam… well, I hope she gets her happy ending if I can't have mine."

"I have to believe you will someday, Hope. I have to believe that," Thomas said and pulled her into a soft hug. "You're a great woman. Beautiful and kind. You don't deserve this kind of pain. I know you'll someday find someone who cherishes you the way you should be cherished."

Hope rested her head on Thomas's shoulder. "I don't deserve you, Thomas. You're such an amazing friend."

"Yeah…" Thomas murmured. He then pulled back and looked at her. "If you need anything, I'll be downstairs. Talk to you soon, Hope. Take care."

"I will. Thanks," Hope said and watched him walk out of her office.