I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on

I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on

Rascal Flatts, "I'm Movin' On"

Will got out the last three plates from the kitchen cupboard and put them next to the stove. He dished up the breakfast he had made. He knew Alex and Ari would be downstairs soon enough.

After putting the plates on the table, Will went back into the kitchen. He got a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator. Will went to grab some glasses.

'Huh,' Will thought when he saw the only glasses were the old ones shoved in the back. 'I really need to run the dishwasher.'

Will stood on his tiptoes to reach the last few cups. He found two plastic ones he and Alex saved from a trip to a baseball game and one of Ari's old sippy cups.

Will could still remember when he packed it up while still in Salem.

'God, she was so small then,' Will recalled. All he could think of was holding Ari in his arms as they wandered through town. He remembered how small she was, how delicate. That it took ages for her to talk and grow out of her shell.

"Shut up, Alex," Ari's echoing voice bellowed from upstairs.

'Don't have to worry about that anymore,' Will chuckled.

Lost in his memories, Will absentmindedly took the lid off the sippy cup. He poured some orange juice in it for Ari.

"Breakfast," Will yelled up the stairs. He heard two equally loud and slightly obnoxious voices reply.

"Daddy," Ari clomped down the stairs. "Tell Alex my shoes are awesome."

Will glanced at the shoes she got for Christmas. They were bright pink, sparkly and lit up with every step she took.

"Your shoes are nice," Will said reasonably. "It doesn't matter if Alex likes them though. It matters if you like them."

Ari stuck her tongue out at Alex in triumph.

Alex sat down at his seat at the table. "I shouldn't have to deal with this so early in the morning," Alex informed Will.

"Uh huh," Will rolled his eyes.

Alex kicked Will's leg with his foot. He caught his eyes and said, "Thanks for breakfast though."

"Yeah, Daddy," Ari responded through a mouthful of pancakes. "S'yummy."

"It's good," Alex agreed. "But what's with the cups?"

"Sorry," Will sheepishly replied. "I've been getting so caught up in my writing. I keep getting behind on the dishes."

"I could do them too if I cared enough," Alex shrugged. "So, you're making progress on the writing?"

"Well," Will sighed. "I keep writing but it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere."

"It will eventually," Alex flashed Will a sincere smile. He knew one of these days Will would find the inspiration he needed to write something brilliant.

"Can we go visit Shinning Armor after school?" Ari asked once she finally swallowed.

Alex sighed thinking about that damn horse.

Will laughed. "Yep, that's the plan," Will told Ari.

'At least the horse has been teaching her some responsibility,' Will shook his head.

Several minutes later, Will stood at the front door to wish Alex and Ari a good day.

"Do you remember what you have to do today?" Will kneeled down so he was eyelevel with Ari.

"Yes," Ari said resentfully. She traced one toe on the floor. "Tell Sebastian that I'm sorry for punching him."

"Are you going to hit him again?" Will questioned.

"No," Ari sighed. "I'll tell the teacher instead."

"Good," Will praised. He kissed the top of her head.

"I still don't know why our kid has to apologize," Alex pointed out. "He bit her first."

"Because he said he was sorry yesterday," Will reminded Alex. "And Ari didn't."

"Playground politics," Alex huffed.

"She needs to learn two wrongs don't make a right," Will commented. He looked over Ari as she put on her coat and backpack.

'God, when did she get this big?' Will thought.

"You OK?" Alex asked with a frown.

"Yeah," Will swallowed. "Just realizing my baby isn't that much of a baby anymore."

"Nope," Alex looked over Ari too. "But on the bright side I'll always be your baby."

Will lightly smacked Alex's chest. "You're an idiot," Will declared.

"But I'm your idiot," Alex puckered his lips dramatically.

"Don't I know it," Will answered. He wrapped his arms around Alex's neck and gave him a deep kiss.

Ari cringed. "Ew," she shivered. "Why are you using your tongues?"

"You'll figure that out when you're older," Will told her.

"Uh, no," Alex said. "She's never figuring that out. She will stay single forever."

"Ha," Will laughed. "With her genes? Good luck with that."

Alex shot Will a stern glare.

Will smiled and kissed him one more time.

As soon as the two left, Will started the dishwasher. Then Will went to set up his writing station for the day. He made some coffee, grabbed his laptop, a pen and notebook, and made sure his phone was nearby but on silent.

However, when Will went to get started he found himself distracted. He kept thinking about that sippy cup and how much Ari had grown.

Giving into the distraction, Will stood up. He went to look at the various pictures around the house of Ari over the years. The photos portrayed Ari as a small, red-faced newborn all the way up to her opening presents on Christmas a few weeks prior.

The only time in Ari's life there were no pictures from was the months between Will and Sonny's divorce. Right when Will and Ari moved to California.

'Well, I do have photos,' Will reminded himself. He walked over to the bookshelf where they kept their photo albums. There was a photo-safe box that had various pictures that had yet to be sorted. In the collection were the few photos Will had from the saddest months in Ari's short life.

Every picture showed Ari staring blankly at the camera, dark circles under her eyes. You could see how listless she appeared. The pictures including Will showed him looking almost exactly the same. Pale skin, dark circles, permanent frown marring their features.

Will glanced up at one of the pictures on the wall and saw Ari and himself. Bright smiles, wide eyes, red cheeks, and Alex standing right in the middle of them. The picture was from months ago.

'Almost a year from this one,' Will looked back at the photo in his hand. 'So much has changed from then.'

Will shoved the picture back in the box and slammed the lid closed. He hurriedly placed it back on the shelf and sunk onto the couch.

Will had not thought back to those last few months in Salem in a long time. Not since he, Alex, and Ari visited Salem a while ago. Most of the time Will preferred to keep the past in the past. He did so much obsessing over it to last a lifetime. He would go over each and every mistake he had ever made. Mistakes with Sonny, with his friends, with his mom, everyone. Over and over until he could think of nothing else. Until he had convinced himself he was nothing short of a monster, irredeemable, and unworthy.

Upon making the decision to move to California though, Will slowly started to break from that toxic thinking. Now, Will could admit his own mistakes without them consuming his thoughts. He could take blame for what he did yet admit it wasn't entirely his fault. Will found an equal balance between admitting his faults and not blaming others in a way he never had before.

Will closed his eyes and breathed in and out slowly. When he opened his eyes again, Will stood up and went back to his laptop. He was suddenly inspired to write something entirely new.

Will had been typing away for a few solid hours when he saw his phone light up. He had a new email. Finishing his sentence, Will figured he needed a break. First, Will took a sip of his now cool coffee before picking up his phone.

The email was from his father. Ever since Christmas, Lucas had revitalized his efforts with Will and Allie. He would email Will several times a day and would call Allie every night. At first it was unsettling. Will grew accustomed to his father being an absent presence in his life. But over the last few days things had gotten better.

It almost felt like it was a few years ago, back when Lucas and Will were close. Lucas was no longer afraid of holding things back from Will for fear he would lose him. Will appreciated the candor verses his father having to watch what he said. Plus, there was something easier about communicating through messages versus on the phone. Will could respond at his leisure. Unfortunately, Adrienne still hadn't caught up to that concept.

Adrienne tried with Alex but Will got the feeling she still expected too much too fast. Adrienne had been disillusioned about her perfect family in the past few years. Will knew she just wanted that allusion of normalcy back.

'But Alex isn't like that,' Will knew. 'Alex takes time and it has to be on his terms.'

Adrienne and Alex had a few conversations. Yet, Adrienne still grew disappointed each time Alex didn't react how she wanted. With just a few words she would find a way to close Alex off. Will had tried to thoughtfully explain it to her but she didn't want to listen.

Will told her Alex was like a cat. He would come to you when he wanted affection. If you tried to hold him down and pet him all you'd get would be scratch marks.

When Will told Alex that comparison he glared. Yet, proving Will's theory correct, Alex nudged Will, wanting his head scratched.

Will swiftly responded to his dad's email. Things weren't perfect between them but Will appreciated his dad trying.

'I guess just about all of us have moved on,' Will mused before getting back to work.

Alex groaned when his laptop took forever to load his pictures.

'I need to get a new one,' Alex huffed. He made a mental note to ask Will to research what kind of laptop he would need. 'Plus he can price shop and feel better about it all.'

Alex really wanted to get everything uploaded before his meeting. In the meantime though, Alex's thoughts drifted to the envelope EJ gave him for Christmas. It remained unopened in a drawer in the bedroom.

Each night Alex would get it out and each night Alex would put it back in the drawer. Alex wasn't sure if he wanted to know the truth about his mother. For so many years, Alex dreamed and dreamed of finding his mother. But, the older Alex got the smaller that desire got.

'Besides,' Alex told himself. 'Sami's more of a mother-figure than Adrienne or Anjelica ever could be.'

Hearing a knock at the door to his studio, Alex hollered that it was open.

EJ strolled into Alex's workspace with a briefcase in hand and his signature suit in place.

"Hey," Alex acknowledged before ignoring the man and finishing up his work.

EJ nodded at Alex before setting his briefcase at the nearby desk and laying out his things. EJ was used to Alex's brisk manner now. In fact, after dealing with some of his other clients EJ found the silence somewhat soothing.

After Christmas was over, EJ thought long and hard about what he wanted to do with his life. He knew he couldn't stay at the house forever. Nor could he bother Will all day. EJ went over all of his interests trying to wrack his brain over what he could do.

At the end of the day, EJ knew three things. He was good at practicing law, working for a fortune 500 company, and driving race cars. Unfortunately, he wasn't too keen on doing any of those things anymore.

EJ had become disenchanted with law. He knew personally how the system never truly worked. The idea of going to work for another conglomerate didn't sound appealing. EJ knew he would never work for DiMera Enterprises again. It would lead to too many questions he didn't want to answer. As well as too many temptations or visits to Salem he was keen to avoid. But at the same time EJ could not find it in him to work for any rival company either. That seemed almost a betrayal to his family and the legacy he helped set up.

'And racing again is out of the question,' EJ knew.

That left EJ stuck but not for long.

With nothing left to do, EJ found himself talking to Samantha about her wedding planning business. He started helping Samantha with her business model and talking marketing strategies. Before either knew it Samantha had a legitimate business. She gained employees, an office space, and advertising in all the best bridal magazines.

Samantha went from having two weddings under her belt to being booked solid through March. EJ realized he might not be able to run his own corporation. But, he would be able to help solidify other companies though.

At first EJ just worked with Sami. Eventually, though, he managed to snare Alex into taking on his services too.

While Alex had been doing rather well for himself on his own, EJ decided Alex needed a little boost. So far, through some connections, EJ found Alex a few showings. EJ threw both of their last names around at museums and galleries. He even badgered people with Alex's portfolio until he had three different exhibits downtown too.

'And just now I have some good news for him,' EJ thought happily.

Alex finally walked over to EJ. He didn't know how this partnership started up but he could admit it had been fruitful. Not that he liked having EJ of all people represent him. Alex was also fairly certain that EJ was using more than just his photographs to get these projects.

Alex caught the smug look on EJ's face. 'Oh, god,' he thought.

"Why do you look like that?" Alex warily asked.

"Well," EJ cleared his throat. "I managed to sell your latest collection."

Alex raised one brow. "Sell?" he asked doubtfully. "I wasn't aware they were for sale."

"They weren't necessarily," EJ waved that technicality away. "But I found a buyer who is willing to pay top dollar for the whole set."

EJ opened his phone to an email and enlarged the screen for Alex to see the price being offered.

Alex's other eyebrow jumped high onto his forehead. "Uh, wow," he mumbled a bit stupidly.

"Exactly," EJ nodded. "Now, shall I be telling them they have a deal?"

Alex nodded, still in a daze.

EJ responded to the email. "Now," EJ continued. "I'm getting you an interview with Digital Photography Magazine. Will is going to need to give you tips on how to behave."

Alex frowned. "I know how to talk about photography," Alex argued.

"Yes," EJ nodded. "That's true. It's just your charming personality you need help with."

Before Alex could answer, EJ continued, "Now, I'm off to another client."

"Who?" Alex couldn't stop himself from wondering.

"I've got an appointment with a small business near Anaheim so I'm in for a bit of a drive," EJ remarked. "I'll make sure to get back with you on all the details."

"Right," Alex mumbled. "Do you happen to know who exactly is buying my photos?"

"Well," EJ chuckled. "I do actually."

Alex blinked at EJ a few times. "You gonna tell me who?" he asked in exasperation.

EJ cleared his throat. "It's Chad."

"Chad?" Alex wrinkled his nose. "Why would Chad be interested in my photos?"

"He liked them," EJ shrugged. "He said he wanted to put them up in the office at TBD…" EJ trailed off.

Alex and EJ shared similar devious smirks.

"Do we get to ride the horses today?" Sydney asked Will as they walked over to the stable.

"I'm not sure," Will replied. "It's whatever your trainer tells you guys to do."

"I think today is a riding day," Johnny said knowledgably. "The horses need to exercise."

"Yeah," Allie agreed. "The past few days they've only grazed. They need to get a workout."

Will smiled at how enthusiastic everyone was about the animals. All the adults feared the kids would get bored with the horses but that hadn't happened. The four of them were all dedicated to taking care of their horses in every way they could.

Johnny proved right in his assessment. All four kids plus their trainers were warming up the horses a few minutes later.

Ari, normally distracted, was listening intently to her trainer as he led her through the warmup.

Will smiled as he sat on the fence nearby. He watched on as Ari, Allie, Sydney, and Johnny all moved on to cantering the horses. Ari and Sydney had to go at a much slower pace since they were so young and small still.

"Hey," Alex greeted as he hopped up onto the fence besides Will. "They look like they're having fun."

"They are," Will moved in closer to Alex. "They were all proud when they got to tack up their horses."

"I suppose it wasn't a horrible idea to give them ponies," Alex remarked. "Although it does mean I'm forced into more time over here."

"Oh no," Will laughed. "Poor you."

"I think I spend enough time with these people," Alex insisted. "Speaking of, EJ sold some of my photos."

"Really?" Will turned to face Alex.

"Yep," Alex confirmed. "For a pretty penny too."

"Good," Will put his arm around Alex's waist. "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Alex said. "I've been thinking though about what I want my next project to be."

"Oh yeah?" Will wondered.

"Mmm hmm," Alex nodded. "I think I want to use my favorite model slash husband slash life partner again."

"Alex-," Will started to complain.

"Ah, ah, ah," Alex cut Will off. "I found this really awesome mask I want to use."

"Mask?" Will thought it over.

"No one would even know it was you," Alex revealed. "Just think about it."

"I'll think it over," Will agreed. "But no promises."

Will and Alex walked over to Ari once her lesson was done and it was her turn to rinse off her horse.

Ari was doing her best to get the sweat off of Shining Armor but quickly her trainer stepped in to assist.

Once he was rinsed off and dried, Ari helped walk him around in the sun for a few more minutes. Then they took him inside to brush Shining Armor down.

After checking on the other kids, Will and Alex eventually had to drag them away from the horses. It was time for dinner and to walk back home.

Ari was enthusiastically telling Alex all about her lesson.

"And then I almost fell off," Ari rambled. "But I held on and Shining Armor laughed. I know he did. Mr. Ross said he was sneezing but I know my horsie. He was laughing."

"I'm sure he was," Alex appeased.

"And I brushed his butt," Ari giggled. "He likes it."

"Sounds like Daddy," Alex remarked.

"I heard that," Will yelled from up ahead where he was walking with Johnny.

"I keep telling you I say these things out loud so you will hear them," Alex shook his head.

"Do you remember how to cook?" Alex asked Sami cynically when they sat down for dinner. Yet again, there was a table full of takeout.

"Yes," Sami sniped. "But I've been busy."

"I could always make dinner and bring it over," Will suggested. He knew how busy his mom had gotten ever since her business started taking off.

"That would be helpful," Sami confirmed. "But you don't have to do it all the time."

"Yes, he does," Alex replied. "Some of us like having cleared arteries."

Sami tossed a biscuit at Alex's head in response.

"Where's Daddy?" Sydney wondered as she came into the room, freshly changed and clean.

"He got a phone call," Sami explained. "He'll be right out."

"It isn't going to be like when he worked before, is it?" Johnny asked with narrowed eyes. "Where he was never around and constantly leaving us alone for projects?"

"Of course not," EJ smoothly said, walking into the room.

Sami looked at EJ oddly. "Are you alright?" she questioned.

EJ rubbed against his temples before nodding. "I'm fine," he told her.

Sami, Will, and Alex all glanced at him at the same time.

"Alright," Will got comfortable next to Alex on the sofa. "Spill it," he ordered EJ once the kids were all upstairs.

EJ should have known he couldn't get away with saying he was fine.

'Not around these people,' EJ shook his head.

"Who was the phone call from?" Sami demanded, sitting next to EJ.

EJ took a deep breath. He revealed, "My father."

"Uh," Alex stared between Will, Sami, and EJ, gauging their reactions. "The same father that somehow kept you alive and in a strange medical facility on the other side of the world that you had to escape from? That father?"

"Yes," EJ rolled his eyes slightly. "That father."

"What did he say?" Will asked delicately.

"What did he want?" Sami bluntly commanded.

EJ recalled the conversation from one short hour ago.

"Hello?" EJ said into his phone.

EJ was hard at work filling out forms. One of the downsides to coming back from the dead was the paperwork. Distracted, he was entirely unprepared for the voice over the line.

"So, it is true," came the distinctive accent of one Stefano DiMera.

EJ inhaled sharply.

He knew one day it would come to this. He knew he couldn't keep his return a secret forever. But he wasn't prepared. He hadn't had enough time.

EJ knew what he wanted. He wanted to stay in California with his family. He wanted to continue the work he had started. He did not want to fall back under his father's command.

"Father," EJ replied a few moments later.

"Imagine my surprise," Stefano said. "When I went to check on your progress. It had been a few months since I had called, I will admit. But my own failing health had taken precedence. So," Stefano continued. "I was in for quite the surprise when the good doctor informed me that I had authorized your return!"

EJ frowned when his father's started making a wheezing sound. Chad had filled him in on all his father's misgivings since EJ had left including his dwindling health.

"Just why?" Stefano asked after he caught his breath. "What have I done to make you stay away?"

"Do you really want to get into that?" EJ asked in a low, dangerous tone.

"I am your father," Stefano declared. "I am the one that brought you back from the brink of death. Do I not deserve more respect?"

"Respect?" EJ hissed. "Respect? When in my entire life have you ever-," EJ began.

Stefano fell into a coughing fit.

EJ took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

'Do not fall for this,' EJ ordered himself. 'Do not play into whatever plan he's working under now. This has always been a game for him. But you are older, stronger, and wiser now. There is too much at stake for you to get into a petty argument with Father.'

"Father," EJ said after the coughing was over. "Thank you for providing the resources for bringing me back."

"You are welcome, my son," Stefano replied. "Now, when can I expect your return to Salem?"

"Never," EJ stated resolutely.

"Excuse me?" Stefano frowned in confusion.

"I am never returning to Salem, Father," EJ informed him. "Or you."

"I am exceedingly grateful that you found a way to revive me," EJ continued. "But I have a life here. My family is here. I am not returning now or ever."

"Family?" Stefano argued. "Am I not your family?"

"You and I might share the same blood, the same genes," EJ agreed. "But that does not make a family."

"I'll always be grateful to you," EJ added. "But I am not getting involved in any more of your plots or plans again."

Stefano held his oxygen mask over his mouth and contemplated. Deep down he knew this was a possibility. When Samantha took her children and left, Stefano feared when Elvis returned it would not be for him. Stefano just wished he had more time.

More time to plan, more time to guarantee everything went his way, more time to live. After so many brushes with death and near misses, Stefano began to see himself as invincible, impenetrable. Taking note of the wheelchair beneath him and the mask supplying him with air, Stefano knew that was no longer true.

For the first time in his life he was flirting with death. A real death with no possibility of rising from the ashes. If it came to that Stefano would have preferred to have all his children by his side both biological and adopted.

'But if I cannot have that,' Stefano decided. 'I will make do with what I am given.'

Stefano cleared his throat. "If that is the way you feel, my son," Stefano declared. "So be it."

EJ was doubtful. "That's it then? No arguing, no vendettas, no typical DiMera fanfare?"

"I am old," Stefano gruffly responded. "In every sense of the word. I have too much to do and too little time to do it now. I cannot waste any of it on someone who no longer wants to be a member of this family."

"Besides," Stefano concluded. "You are not my only child to come back from the dead recently."

"What are you talking about?" EJ couldn't help but ask.

"While Kristen does seem to be lost for the time being," Stefano mused. "Andre has returned."

EJ frowned. "Since when is that man alive or even your child?" EJ wondered.

"Don't be envious," Stefano chuckled. "Just a few technicalities. But I do have my hands full with Andre and Chad both. There is still hope for my legacy even without your assistance."

"So, what?" EJ sighed. "I just trust that you'll leave me in peace."

"Just like I will have to trust that you'll do the same," Stefano answered back. "Call it our last act of paternal bonding," Stefano suggested.

"Fine," EJ declared. "A cease-fire."

"Yes," Stefano nodded. He began coughing again. "I think that is the best you and I can agree to now."

"Goodbye, son," Stefano said.

"Goodbye, Father," EJ parroted, a bittersweet emotion running through him.

"Wow," Will whispered. "That's probably the most subdued Stefano has ever been."

"Do you think he meant it?" Alex demanded.

"I have no idea," EJ admitted. "I'll ensure that Chad stays atop of the situation for us. But for now it seems that my father and everything associated with him will remain in Salem."

"Are you OK?" Sami questioned. While she was ecstatic she knew EJ loved his father. This had to be hard for him.

"I think so," EJ finally answered. "My father was a part of my life I'd like to leave behind. It wasn't all bad. It did bring me to you," EJ grabbed Samantha's hand. "But we're no longer the people we used to be."

"No," Sami agreed. "We're definitely not."

"Well," Will said as EJ quieted down. "It sounds like old age has softened Stefano."

"Yes," EJ nodded. "If he was even ten years younger he would have known every move we've been making. But, as you said, he's gotten soft."

"Good," Alex stated. "We definitely don't need him fucking anything up for us."

"You know," EJ began with a soft smile towards Samantha. "When you first knocked on my door the day we first met I never thought we'd end up here."

EJ made a wide sweeping motion with his hand. "Regular careers, a normal house, 4.5 children, a grandchild" EJ sighed wistfully.

"Why am I always considered half a child?" Alex wondered.

Everyone ignored Alex in favor of enjoying the peaceful moment.

"Tomorrow is show-and-tell and I want to bring Shining Armor," Ari informed Will and Alex. They just finished with her bedtime story.

"You can't take a horse to school," Alex told her dryly.

"But why?" Ari whined.

"For starters he wouldn't fit in the classroom," Will laughed. "Plus all the kids would scare him. You can bring your pictures of him."

"Fine," Ari pouted. "But it's not the same."

"Oh, yeah," Alex sighed. "You lead a sad life. You can't take your pony to preschool. Whatever will you do?"

Will smacked Alex's arm lightly. "Maybe one day you can take some friends to see him. But not for a while."

Ari thought it over. "OK," she agreed.

"Daddy, Alex," Ari told them around a yawn. "I love you."

"Love you too, baby girl," Will responded as he kissed her forehead.

"Love you," Alex said, kissing her cheek.

"Nighty, night," Ari sighed once they turned on her night light and left her room.

Alex went into the bedroom and headed for the drawer he shoved the envelope EJ gave him for Christmas in. Every night he would take it out, fiddle with it, before chickening out and putting it away.

"What are you thinking?" Will asked, seeing the now familiar envelope in Alex's hands.

"I don't know," Alex replied. "That Stefano, EJ stuff got me thinking. Even they have some form of closure. I don't know really anything about my mom especially after she ditched me."

"Well," Alex amended. "I know things about her they are just not very good."

"That doesn't mean anything," Will reminded Alex. "Everyone says horrible things about my mom and she's fantastic."

"But we know her," Alex said. "I don't know anything about Anjelica."

"If you open that envelope you will," Will pointed out.

"Yeah," Alex sighed.

"And besides," Will moved closer to Alex. "Even if you find out something bad you still have my mom."

"I'm curious," Alex admitted. "But I think deep down I know that no matter what Sami is the only mom I've ever really had."

"You could just throw the envelope away," Will suggested. "But you'll always wonder, won't you? One way or another."

"Yeah," Alex puffed out a bit of air. "OK, I'm gonna open it."

Like ripping off a band aid, Alex opened the envelope and pulled out a stack of papers.

Will eagerly read over the same documents Alex did. There were old tax forms, change of address papers, a marriage license, and a death certificate.

"Dead," Alex stated. "Well, that figures."

Will looked it over. "About a decade ago," Will noted.

The two continued poring over the other documents. From what they could tell after giving Alex back to Justin, Anjelica drifted for a while before finding herself another rich husband. She lived a comfortable life as a trophy wife before dying of lung cancer a few years ago.

"Now you know," Will rubbed against Alex's back.

"Yeah," Alex nodded. "I guess it's nice to know she didn't have a million more kids after she kicked me to the curb."

"She didn't," Will agreed. He didn't want to make any assumptions about the woman but he would wager Alex was at least a little bit special.

"How do you feel?" Will asked.

"Fine," Alex decided. "It's nice to know what happened to her but it doesn't really change anything. She could have tried to meet me over the years and never did."

"It's like you said before," Will put his head on Alex's shoulder. "You already found a mom and a family."

Alex held onto Will tightly.

"This morning," Will told Alex. "I kept thinking about my life before."

"Before?" Alex questioned.

"Before you," Will clarified. "It's kind of weird," Will confessed. "When I left Salem I thought I'd ruined everything. I thought that was it, my one chance at happiness. I guess I had to lose everything to find out that wasn't true."

"And I had to gain a lot to realize how much I was missing," Alex decided. "It is pretty strange how everything's worked out though."

"My dad is with your grandma," Alex said.

"My dad is with Adrienne," Will added.

"Sonny and Paul are together," Alex continued. "Mom and EJ are back together."

"And Vic is still seeing Brittany," Will revealed.

"I guess it's just Joey that's the odd one out," Alex chuckled.

"Well," Will gave Alex a small smile. "I don't know if that's entirely true."

"What do you know?" Alex demanded.

Will thought back to a conversation he had with Joey when he visited for Christmas.

"I was wondering if you could do me a favor," Will flashed Joey what he hoped was a sweet, innocent smile.

"That remains to be seen," Joey replied. "What do you want?"

"Nothing bad," Will insisted. "It's just I have a friend in Salem still that's kind of lonely. I don't think many people go to visit her a lot anymore. Both her older brothers are out of town. Her sister is dead. Her parents are pretty MIA."

"And?" Joey crossed his arms. He wanted to agree but the last time Will wanted to introduce him to a girl got Vic a girlfriend instead of him.

"I just was hoping maybe you'd go and see her once a week or every few weeks," Will asked. "I know it would really help her out."

Joey planned on saying no and then he saw Will's puppy dog eyes.

"Damn it," Joey complained. "Fine, fine, just stop looking at me like that."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Will praised. "I promise she's really nice and you'll get along great."

"If you say so," Joey rolled his eyes. "How is this going to work? Do we meet somewhere or something?"

"You pretty much have to go to her," Will stated.

"OK," Joey shrugged. "Where would that be?"

"In prison," Will declared with a winning smile.

"What?" Joey demanded, crossing his arms.

"She's great," Will added. "She only killed her ex-husband, nothing to worry about."

"What?" Joey screeched.

"Hey, Ari," Will called over. He knew he was losing Joey. "Guess what, princess?"

"What?" Ari wondered, itching to get back to her toys.

"Uncle Joey offered to visit Mommy every week," Will said in an excited voice. "Aren't you happy?"

Ari started jumping up and down and clapping.

"Yay," Ari cheered.

Joey glared at Will. "That's not even fair," Joey complained.

"But Joey," Will gestured to Ari. "You wouldn't want to disappoint her would you?"

"Let me get this straight," Alex said. "Joey and Gabi are a thing? Even though she's in jail?"

"It sounds like it," Will shrugged. "I just wanted Gabi to have visitors but if they want to have conjugal visits who am I to stop them."

"Alright," Alex finally said. "My brother could be dating your baby mama."

"And we thought our familial connections couldn't get any more awkward," Will laughed.

"Definitely never thought this would be my life," Alex said with a shake of his head.

"Me either," Will agreed. "But it's kind of what inspired my writing today."

"Inspired?" Alex questioned. "So, you actually know what you want to write about now?"

"Yeah," Will nodded enthusiastically. "I was thinking about how I thought my life was over but it wasn't. I think moving on and second chances are really something I can work with."

"You're a big sap," Alex declared. "But that sounds good."

"Come on," Will grabbed the papers about Alex's mother and tossed them on their dresser. "Let's get ready for bed."

"Going to sleep at 9:30 on Wednesday," Alex shook his head and followed after Will. "So boring and domesticated."

"I didn't saying anything about sleeping," Will snatched Alex's hand. With a big smile Will pulled Alex towards the bathroom.

Will was yanked into the hotel room, stumbling over his own feet. Will didn't even get a chance to speak before being disrobed. The stranger with big blue eyes started unbuttoning Will's shirt, lips still connected.

The minute he pushed Will's shirt off his shoulders, Will's anxieties flared up. Will had been working out regularly but he wasn't sure if Blue Eyes would be satisfied with him.

'I'm not as skinny as I was when I was a teenager,' Will thought. 'What if he wants someone skinny? Am I too bulky? What if he doesn't like what he sees?'

This was the first time someone would be seeing him naked since Will's divorce. Will was nervous.

Alex pulled the blonde's shirt off as quickly as he could and started working on his pants.

"Fuck," Alex groaned looking over the man's body. 'Fuck, I want my camera.'

Will swallowed nervously as he stepped out of his pants and underwear. He had kicked his shoes carelessly to the side.

Alex pushed the blonde onto the bed and worked on his own clothes.

Admiring the blonde, Alex commented, "God, I can't wait to put my mouth on you."

Alex smirked wickedly when the man licked his lips and blushed. Alex had never gone for the wallflower type before. Typically he enjoyed going for the one that was sought after. He wanted to find the most popular in the room and watch as they fell all over him. But there was something about this one.

"Oh, god," Will said out loud. The more clothing the man removed it became apparent how good looking he was.

"Like what you see?" Alex wondered with a grin.

Will nodded dumbly, hand reaching out to touch the man's stomach. Will didn't think it was fair to have a face and eyes that nice and still look that good naked.

'What does this guy even see in me?' Will thought. His hands were mapping the expanse of skin in front of him.

"Good," Alex declared before pouncing.

Will's head hit the pillows and every insecurity fled. He had never been kissed this way before. It felt like the man was trying to consume Will, swallow every thought until there was nothing left but him.

Alex ran his hands up and down the blonde's sides. His fingers caught on a scar near his stomach. Alex wondered vaguely what it was from. Throwing the thought away, Alex lifted up the blonde's thighs and laid down directly on top of him. Naked skin to naked skin.

Will groaned at the sensation, fingers digging into the man's thick hair. He had no idea when his hands even moved there. He literally couldn't think this close to Blue Eyes.

Alex gently thrust against the blonde. Their cocks touched briefly, enticingly.

"What do you want to do?" Alex whispered in the blonde's ear. His mouth trailed from the blonde's kiss swollen lips to the shell of his ears. "Hmm?"

Will tried to think. He really did but it was impossible.

"I don't know," Will practically whined. He gasped when their cocks made contact again.

Alex chuckled darkly. "Do you want to rub your pretty little cock against me?" he teased. "Want me to swallow around you? Fuck you? What?"

"Fuck me?" Will asked still not sure.

"And how do you want it?" Alex knew sex between men was different than a stereotypical view of sex. Some guys considered different things fucking.

"What do you mean?" Will frowned.

Alex pulled away to look at those pretty blue eyes again. "What do you mean?" he asked.

Will opened and closed his mouth a few times. He didn't know. He really, really didn't.

"Fuck," Alex closed his eyes. "You are hitting all sorts of kinks I didn't even know I had."

"OK," Alex cupped the blondes face. "Do you want us to suck each other off? Jerk each other? Penetrate, what?"

"P-penetrate," Will cautiously said. The minute Blue Eyes mentioned it Will wanted to salivate. The thought of the man using those strong thighs to rock inside of Will made him blush.

"And you want me inside of you?" Alex questioned again. He didn't know why he was being so gentle. Normally he would push and press until he got what he wanted.

'But there's just something about this guy,' Alex thought again.

Will nodded and bit his lip. "Y-yeah," he responded. "Unless you don't want that. We could do it the other way. I have befo-,"

"Shh," Alex ordered, finger over the blonde's mouth. Alex lifted up and off the bed to grab his bag. He riffled to find a condom and lube.

Will watched nervously when Blue Eyes got off the bed.

Tossing the items near the blonde, Alex crawled on his knees and stopped in front of him. "Trust me, pet," the name slipped through Alex's lips unbidden. "All I've been thinking about since we started dancing is getting myself nice and deep inside you."

Will shivered.

Alex grabbed the bottle of lube and opened it. To distract the blonde, he leaned forward again and captured his lips.

Will moaned, body instantly responding to his mouth and touch. When he felt one thick finger sliding inside of him Will bit on the man's lip.

"Fuck," Alex whispered in delight.

Alex slowly, teasingly opened the blonde up. It didn't take a genius to realize it had been a while since he was fucked. Alex knew that was going to make their time together even better.

"Can't wait to feel you gripping my cock like you're gripping my fingers," he whispered into the blonde's ear. "Are you going to make those cute little whimpers too?"

"Oh, god," Will panted. He didn't know if he could take any more teasing.

"Are you ready, pet?" Alex mused, tongue licking the shell of the blonde's cute little pointed ear.

"Yes, yes, yes," Will chanted.

Alex found the condom and unraveled it before applying more lube.

Will wanted to close his eyes in discomfort once Blue Eyes entered him but he didn't. Instead he held the man's stare and exhaled, pushing out.

Alex held himself steady inside of the blonde. It was harder than he thought. Once he felt the man unfurling around him, Alex wanted to pound for all he was worth. But he had to wait at least a minute to let the blonde relax, adjust.

'Don't be a fucking asshole, Kiriakis,' Alex ordered himself.

Will held onto Blue Eyes' wide shoulders and tried not to wince. It had been so long since he felt this stretched and connected to someone else. But he couldn't wait anymore. Instead of vocalizing his needs, Will pulled away slightly before falling back down.

"Fuck," Alex groaned. He planted his knees on the mattress and started rocking slowly, building up a steady rhythm.

Will wrapped his legs around the man's waist, meeting him thrust for thrust enthusiastically.

"Feels good," Will breathed out, winded. "Feels so good."

Alex put one hand behind the blonde's neck and yanked him into a wet kiss.

With their tongues twisting and bodies grinding into each other, Will found himself closer and closer to the edge. His cock was rubbing against the dips of the man's abs.

Alex's breath hitched when he felt the blonde contracting around him, spilling between their stomachs. "Fuck," Alex clamped one hand on the blonde's ass and started thrusting as hard as he could through the other man's orgasm.

Will fell back against the pillows. He was somehow both relaxed and worked up at the same time. 'It's been entirely too long since I've done that,' Will decided.

"Fuck," Alex moaned as he gently pulled out of the blonde. He tossed his condom in what he hoped was the direction of the trash.

Alex flopped next to the blonde and laughed. "I was so right about the whimpers," he teased.

"Shut up," Will snorted around a giggle.

Alex didn't know what he was doing. Small talk after fucking was not his forte.

"I just hadn't been fucked like that in a while," Will bashfully replied.

Alex liked seeing the flush on the man's face brighten. He liked watching it spread down his neck and towards his chest. He liked way too much about this experience.

"Is that so?" Alex hummed. He glanced at the blonde's naked, gleaming body. "I think I'm just going to have to make up for lost time," Alex declared.

Will fell into another deep kiss easily.

"Jesus," Alex moaned, gripping the blonde's hips tightly. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."

Will backed against Blue Eyes' cock, hands finding purchase against the slippery shower wall.

"We were supposed to be cleaning off," Will reminded the man, breath hitching.

"Stop looking so fucking good, then," Alex reprimanded.

Will laughed which caused Alex to groan.

"Goddamn it," Alex complained. "It's like you want me to get addicted to your sexy, perfect body."

Alex smirked when he saw the back of the blonde's neck blushing oh so prettily.

"So good," Alex continued. One of his hands slipped down around to the man's cock. "So, so good for me."

"God," Will threw his head back, resting it on Blue Eyes' shoulder. "More," Will moaned.

Alex started jerking the blonde's cock in time with his thrusts. "Gonna come all over the shower, pet? Gonna make me clean you all over again?"

"Yes," Will confirmed. "Yes, please."

"Shh," Alex hushed. "Just let go, pet."

Will arched his back and worked with Alex's thrusts, letting go off all the tension inside of him.

"Yes," Alex praised. It only took a few more thrusts to follow after the blonde.

Will pulled away from the man and whined. His muscles were so sore and his body so stretched. He hadn't gone through anything like that in ages.

Alex wiped the water from the showerhead off his face. He looked over the blonde's body, a long assessing glance.

'God, he's good looking,' Alex decided. He was right earlier. There was something about the blonde that got Alex going.

Will felt his face heating up knowing the man was looking at him.

"Stop it," Will ordered, rinsing his body off.

"No," Alex gave the man a small smile. "Can't," Alex admitted.

"I'm sure you can," Will chuckled.

"Maybe," Alex grabbed a bottle of shower gel and began to once again wash over the blonde's body. "But I don't want to."

Will stepped away from the wandering hands. "Nope," Will shook his head. "That's what got us into this mess in the first place."

"Fine," Alex conceded, peeling off another condom. Alex watched Will's own hands glide over his own body. "I can work with this just fine."

"I'm kind of ridiculously in love with you," Alex panted between slow, wet kisses.

"I noticed," Will responded playing with the sweat soaked hair at the base of Alex's neck.

Alex propped himself above Will, letting his heartrate slow down to a gentle thump. He kissed Will one more time.

"Thanks for dancing with me the night we met," Alex said. His words were low and gentle but he was staring right into Will's eyes.

"Thanks for noticing me across the room," Will replied. He pulled Alex back down for another kiss. "I love you," he whispered.

"Let's go hose off," Alex suggested. He helped pull Will's loose limbs off the bed.

"You say that like it's going to be quick," Will laughed.

Alex smirked. "I don't think we've ever had that problem."

"Good thing we bought a house with bedrooms were on opposite sides," Will remarked.

"Very good," Alex commented. "Our sex life would be boring if we had to keep quiet all the time."

"I don't think anyone could ever accuse us of being boring in bed, or in the car, or outside, or-," Will began.

Alex cut Will off with a kiss.

"Less talking more getting your naked ass in the shower," Alex ordered.

Will grinned before walking into the bathroom and starting the shower. Alex admired Will, water droplets drifting down his bare skin.

"Alex," Will called out, embarrassed.

"Sorry," Alex shook his head. "Déjà vu," he mumbled before closing the bathroom door and joining Will.


Author's note:

I'm not really sure what to write here. I've been writing this for such a long time it's very bittersweet ending it.

Thank you to each and every reader. I appreciate every one of you. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, inspiration, and ideas.

Thank you for reading this story and please leave any comments or questions.

A very big thank you to iluvh0rs3s. I know this story never would have come this far without you.