Chapter 8: Karma is a Bastard

Devon didn't believe in paranoia.

At least he told himself that such supernatural entities didn't exist.

His hands, however, trembled on the steering wheel, Lily's hired psychic lingering in his conscious, her prophetic words repeatedly beating in him like a thumping hammer. En route to home, rampant flashes of Hilary and their baby in danger almost caused a car accident. A gray SUV beeped at his panic stricken swerve and a fuchsia corvette driver threw up middle finger when he neglected making proper a turn signal.

"Sorry!" Devon yelled out, apologetic over his negligence.

With sweating temples and unstable mind, he reached the cottage, planning to stay inside for an hour or so. Otherwise become mad with missing Hilary. When pulling out his phone to call her, a sweet, endearing text soothed unease.

Sigh of temporal relief escaped him as one by one erratic nerves slowly calmed down.

She messaged "thank you" with an attached picture of herself wearing a smoking hot red dress and holding red roses.

"You're welcome, Baby," he responded back, thinking she meant morning flowers and breakfast. To him, tomorrow could not come soon enough. In fact, he wanted to come down to the airport to greet her and his father.

"Would I be crowding her?" He wondered.

The weekend had been harder than originally considered.

At the same time, it seemed an ultimate test- a question of whether they could exist without the other.

Short separation signaled high time to embark on the next chapter of their love story. He decided then and there that he would propose marriage.

"There's no reason to wait," he said, imagining chivalrous plans coming to fruition.

In his mid-afternoon fantasy, glowing sharply in his mind, blooming rose filled vases overtook living room tables, pink cherry blossom candles lit up their fragrant universe with poignant romance, and iced sparkling cider glinted beautifully against the backdrop of a special prepared supper. He saw her manicured fingers opening up little black box, heard resplendent gasping. Her doe eyes watered, her mouth quivered, finally expelling a passionately uttered "yes."

Devon rushed out of fantasy reverie, stroking red velvet package of French chocolate truffles flown in from a renowned NYC boutique.

Perhaps sooner than later they could tell his family everything- that they no longer had to be a secret much longer.

Still, he understood hesitation.

There remained tidbits he didn't know about Hilary. Some secrets stayed inside intelligent beauty as though shameful, horrific... maybe even grim. Perhaps her past had affected her so deeply that dormant part of herself determined safe keeping from everyone, even the ones who loved her most.

He wished she not be reluctant, that she could reveal more of her upbringing. Surely, she knew that nothing would change the course of his tender feelings for her.

A sudden knock on the door startled him.

They normally didn't receive visitors.

"It's probably Sharon," he thought, rising from the couch and opening the door.

Cane stood on the welcome mat, his features stern.

"What are you doing here?" Devon asked.

"I was going to ask you that same question." Cane's noisy brown leather loafers stepped inside without invitation and looked around. "I don't know how much longer you can keep this a secret, Devon."

"Hilary is my primary concern." Devon shut the door.

"I can see that it's eating you up inside," Cane said. "You need to tell Lily. Or better yet Neil."

"I told you that I am waiting for Hilary," Devon replied, trying to keep composure and fight growing annoyance. "We want the timing to be perfect."

"This is doing a number on your conscience. I saw the way you were looking at the kids."

He stared at his friend- the tall Aussie a father twice other. His attire a cream colored ribbed sweater with red button shirt's collar and sleeves sticking out, ironed khakis lacking slightest crease- suited parenthood role.

"It's hard." Devon resumed sitting back on the sofa, his head in hands. "I didn't think it would be like this."

Cane sat next to him and rubbed Devon's shoulder.

"You know it doesn't have to be."

"I'm the happiest I've ever been."

"I know."

"It just feels like something is going to crash down over everything."

"Well, the two of you have been careful. No else knows."

"Sharon does."

"What do you expect? She lives next door."

Devon laughed.

"However," Cane grew serious, "I think the key to relieving this great agony is to come clean."

/

Hilary's anxiousness intensified.

She preferred packing for tomorrow's morning jet ride back to Genoa City and a long, long nap rather than coming out to the intimate celebration. Yet Rick and Maya's company and a relaxing nonalcoholic drink at one of L.A.'s finest new clubs promised to invigorate her spirits.

Visiting Dr. Gillian left uneasy state of panic that Hilary hadn't felt earlier. An affair wasn't the troubling factor. It was the in cahoots with Neil part that mentally set Hilary on edge. The man was definitely plotting something.

After the hospital, she took a cab to the hotel room.

An expensive red dress waited on the freshly made bed, along with a red ribbon tied bouquet of plump white roses. All thoughts of closing eyes for reprieve dissolved into warm, comforting love.

"Devon," she breathed, smelling and hugging fragrant bouquet close to her chest. Oh how she couldn't wait to return home to their cottage, to their sacred hideaway. She felt happiest there, enveloped in a euphoric world no one else could touch.

"I hadn't even told him anything," she said, reflecting on becoming Jabot's new face model.

Perhaps they truly were soul mates.

She showered and changed into the red dress. One sleeved knockout featured custom designed flowing mesh to conceal growing belly. With tremendous glee, she messaged Devon before heading out to Wild Spite.

"Girl, I must say," Maya gushed, "you always look so amazing. I can see why Jabot wants your face to front the line."

"Oh thank you," Hilary said, "and your coral dress suits you perfectly."

Maya's spaghetti strapped number reached mid calf and her spiraled hair was slick back into an elegant bun.

"Nice seeing you here," Chris said, dressed in a thigh length shimmery emerald green, her blond hair in loose tousled curls. Paul was at her side, in a navy polo shirt and black slacks- very casual for the police chief.

"Paul, Christine, hello," Hilary greeted the couple, surprised to see them outside of Genoa City.

"I heard you scored a successful campaign today," Chris said. "Congratulations."

"Thank you," Hilary said, beaming at Maya.

"Compliments to you!" An approaching waiter exclaimed, giving them flutes straight off black circular tray. "Two champagnes and two apple ciders."

"For us?" Hilary asked as she, Chris, Maya and Paul took respective glasses. "Wow thank you."

"This is nonalcoholic right?" Hilary and Chris asked in unison.

"Yes of course." The waiter scurried away.

Three smiling ladies and one man toasted one another.

"Did we miss the cheer already?" Neil asked having changed into a short sleeved white shirt and navy blue slacks, entering with Rick who left his earlier gray suit jacket at home.

"Oh no," Maya replied, taking Rick's arm. "You're just in time."

/

Neil's eyes found difficulty breaking away from Hilary. She looked fetching in the dress he picked out.

"Baby, probably thinks Devon bought it for her," he thought snidely, sipping slow, watching from crystal flute's thin rim. "But my son has no taste. He doesn't know you like I do, Hilary. You'll see."

His heart flipped every time Hilary drank, the poisoned amber liquid gliding down her smooth throat, trickling towards murdering evidence of Devon's soiled presence.

Ah, he hated thinking of his son as enemy, as an insignificant foe to best. Yet fair was fair.

Neil was the one who enjoyed Hilary's company beforehand, her beauty and grace titillated him. He had been the first to forgive her misguided thirst for revenge, bring her exquisite skills to the attention of those who saw necessary potential in so astonishingly smart a woman. She deserved a man on her level- whose very success would equal her own- not rival it. Devon had inherited a handsome sum from the great Katherine Chancellor, but he lacked a certain degree of finesse and ambition. Sure he was kind, generous, level-headed, and thoughtful, he was still too young, too inexperienced to realize that what he and Hilary had was a naive attempt at playing house.

Neil almost laughed at the thought of Devon wanting to marry Hilary- she was so out of his league.

"Well, it wouldn't hurt to tell you the news," Paul interrupted Neil's internal whirligig of excitement.

"Oh?" Neil feigned interest. "What would that be?"

"Chris and I are having a baby."

"Congratulations!" Hilary squealed.

"Yes congrats," Neil chimed in. "I know you guys have been trying for years."

"Thank you," Chris said. "We're not telling a lot of people just yet, but I'm so happy to bring a little one in the world at last. It's been a huge hope for me to become pregnant."

Paul kissed his wife on the cheek. Hilary and Maya hugged her.

"Congratulations," Rick added, kissing Chris's cheek as well.

"Shall we get a table and gush as we sit?" Hilary asked.

"Well, we were having a private celebration, but-"

"C'mon Honey, the more the merrier," Paul interrupted.

"Yes, let's celebrate these two momentous occasions," Maya said. "We have a reserved table right next to the beautiful view of downtown L.A."

Neil cringed, seeing how Maya and Chris's interactions with Hilary seemed natural, too congenial. Not at all curt and business like. This was supposed to be a gathering to support Jabot's latest conjecture with Forrester. Not a female bonding party bordering on baby shower. Hilary having affable relationships with these women would be bothersome. He liked her being dependent on one person only, a person who loved her unconditionally and had best interests at heart.

He hoped that she would learn to rely on no one else but the future father of her remaining children- him.

"If you'll excuse me," he said, turning towards the bar, "I need to get a virgin drink."

"By all means go," Hilary murmured. 'We'll still be here."

"Yes," he uttered under his breath, smiling. "Soon it'll be just you and me, Hilary. And nothing will get in the way ever again."

/

At GCAC, Devon finished dinner alone downstairs and prepared to return up to the penthouse for another night of awkward sleep.

"Well, hello there," Esther said, catching him at the elevator. "I wouldn't think a handsome man like yourself would have been having a table for one."

"Good evening Esther." He fondly kissed her cheek and gave a friendly hug. "What brings you by?"

"I was just grabbing some takeout." She waved large white plastic bag. "I have a thing for the new swordfish."

"Oh yes. Chef added that recently. You can thank Lily for that."

"She's done a fine job of manning the place- or should I say wo-manning?"

Devon laughed and shook his head.

"You seem to have something on your mind though, Sweetie. Do you mind sharing a little of the load?"

"Am I that easy to read?"

It wasn't that Devon had doubts.

This would be the very first time he ever proposed marriage to a woman. He wanted nothing to go wrong. Nothing.

"I'm about to take the biggest step of my life."

"And what would that be?"

"Do you have the time?"

"Like you, I'm only eating for one," she said, taking a bar stool and patting the one next to her. "Tell me what's troubling you."

He sat down and let out a huge sigh.

"I'm not troubled at all really. Maybe excited. Maybe even nervous. I don't want to mess this up."

"I heard you have been seeing someone for months, Honey. Is that what this is all about? Are things going alright between you and the mystery woman?"

"Oh yes. Everything is fine. We're stronger than ever. What we have is real, pure, and genuine. I've never felt this way about anyone."

"I'll ask one question of you. I mean, it's obvious that you're madly in love. That I can see."

"Yes. I love her."

"Would Mrs. C. approve? She'd only want the best for her wonderful grandson."

"Oh yes," Devon said, blushing slightly. "Most definitely."

"Then by all means move onto the next step. We don't always get the chance."

She rose, squeezed his arm, and left him to blissful dreams.

/

In one quick instant, a joyous scene became gruesome nightmare.

Nighttime club used to dark corners and dimmed strobe lights turned brighter than sun rays.

On the ground, kneeling Hilary held onto Chris's waxen hand as a tearful Paul wiped traces of blood off her lips. Chris's pale face, splotchy and slick with sweat, looked vampiric, near death.

Hilary and Paul whispered Chris's name as last of her violent seizures eased. Sonorous ambulance sirens neared the evacuating club- earlier a scene of celebration.

One minute, they clinked together and the next Chris's mouth splattered blood near Hilary's dress. And then spilled in a horrific gush from between her legs.

"I've never seen this before," Rick had said, his blue eyes widening as he turned away, likely both repulsed and horrified.

/

Inside the bathroom, moments after Rick and Maya gave him horrendous news, Neil lost composure.

"Damn it!" He screamed, an unbelievable amount of rage boiling his blood. Rapid hot temperature rose to same heated degree as horrendous Valentine's Day- the day he saw them giving into larcenous lust from inside of her closet. He liked to remember that as the start to his troubles, the reason he had gone this far.

The world suffocated, squeezed him in.

Hate grew.

He saw not Mason, but Devon on the other side of petulant rage and growing hostilty.

His arm, seeming to ride on the wing of intense destruction, crashed through protective glass, blasting emergency bells.

He hurried out, monstrously pissed, blinded.

There would be no way he could murder off the fetus without anyone questioning the closeness between two miscarriages and his constant vicinity. Even if he could try to stage a little accident, it would seem too coincidental- especially with Chris the D.A. heavily involved. She would want justice served to fullest extent of the law.

As for Mason, Neil wanted to kill the idiot.

"I have gone too far for him to screw this up," he growled, grinding his teeth together so hard they were sure to fall out from rough abrasion.

"It's not over," he said, calming himself down, recalling steps in A.A.

He could always raise Devon's child as his own.

After all, he did it before. With all the love and passion he had for Hilary, he would do anything to have her.

Anything.

/

At Jabot, burning late night oil, Gwen twirled in office swivel chair, flashing back to morning's failure. It was too foolishly soon to play the old "wear nothing under the trench coat" tactic with Devon. They hadn't created a real solid connection, let alone spent intimate time together. Desperation kicked in, telling her to rush, make haste. She gave her best shot, praying that Devon could be similar to any other lust-driven male.

Much to her chagrin, he wasn't.

She hadn't expected Hilary's spell over Devon to almost mirror Lydia with Bryan- although the latter a false pretense scheme.

Devon's mind numbingly exquisite engagement ring reinforced memories of Gwen's snatched happy life. She had been robbed by Hilary's gun tooting father and dead sister. She could never ever forget or forgive it.

"I know that she will say yes," Devon had with confident assurance, heavily lashed brown eyes swimming in a disgusting sea of steadfast affection.

"That's what you think," Gwen grunted. The numbers, desperate for crunching, tried to work into math obsessed brain, but concentrating on Jabot business seemed inadequate.

"Your Bryan died."

Gwen's fist balled up. Her imagination concocted delightful thoughts of wringing Hilary's neck, choking until brown skin paled and crumpled into a chilling, fateful end.

"Working late?" Mason asked, entering.

Gwen jumped only for a moment and smiled at handsome accomplice dressed in devil's black.

"Oh hello." She stood, walked over to him, and kissed his mouth. "Catch the red eye huh?"

"As soon as the deed was done."

He leaned on clean, organized desk, his back suddenly facing her.

"You mean, you didn't stay to watch Hilary collapse in a heap of pain?"

"No. I couldn't."

His brooding mood strangled her instant glee, turning into another notch on misery scale. Disastrous chain of events had to be stopped dead in their tracks. If she had to throw largest hissy fit, stomping enraged toes on each sworn enemy, she would smash Louboutin heels on every single one.

"Defeat and best them all," she thought.

She looked at Mason. He had grown solemn in uncomfortable silence.

"Mason?"

"Why are you hellbent on Hilary?" Mason asked. "It was her father who shot him."

"She's his daughter. Eye for an eye as they say."

"Their relationship isn't cozy."

"I'm just saying you should be concentrating those ruthless energies on the culprit. Hilary was just a kid then- an innocent bystander."

"I would if I knew where he was," she lied.

Her anger and envy, tied viciously together, was saved for Hilary alone.

/

Douglas was pleased to see Dr. Gillian.

They met on the rooftop of L.A. General Hospital, secluded by shadows.

He looked older. Gray nearly overtook thick black beard and clouded hair, his sepia eyes reddened and awakened, as though he hadn't slept in days.

"Where does your husband think you are?" He asked, licking ashen mouth, eagerly waiting information like it food needed to survive.

"On a call," she whispered, calmly keeping anger at bay, her hands gathered into white lab coat pockets.

"And the patient?"

"Which one?"

"Why my Ann of course."

Dr. Gillian rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue.

"The baby is well," she replied. "Hil- I mean Ann is stressed. She knows Neil is blackmailing me."

"You should've been a little more careful."

He touched her cheek.

She slapped his hand away.

"This is your fault for coming to Genoa City in the first place!" She screamed.

"I'd keep that tone in check if I were you," he sneered, his voice like a dart striking target.

"You're getting everything you want."

"Yes. Yes I am. With this grandchild of mine, I finally get the chance to start over and make things right again thanks to you."