FALL

The boxes felt heavy in his arm. He shifted them from one side to the other. Not so sure about this move anymore. He placed the box at the top of the staircase and headed down without it. He looked for his wife. She was normally in her office at this time, finishing up the last few details of a new story or just starting one. She was a writing machine lately.

After retiring as PI, Sam became a novelist. Turning her old cases into great mystery novels with the lead investigator being "The Jackal". She was quite successful and she was happy. Something he feared she wouldn't be after leaving her job. Sam was his adventure buddy that needed that excitement and risk in her life. Patrick always feared he wouldn't be enough to satiate that part of her, but as she told him many time before, "You give me stability, love, and a family. Are life is an adventure in itself. That's all the thrill I need."

She took his breath away with that. Her words were honest and endearing. Now...now he needed some reassurance of a different nature. Sam wouldn't be in her office now since it became a clutter mess with boxes. Some packed and some not. She had moved her work to the back porch. She loved the view of the Hudson River and the fresh air she got.

"Hun?" he turned the corner walking past her office and down the hall toward the cool air seeping into his house. The back door was cracked. Patrick could see his wife sitting on the old loveseat they had placed out their since it couldn't fit inside their house. Her laptop was on her lap and a hot beverage was just within her reach. She smiled at the screen and typed something. The screen of her words reflected in her eyes, they lit up like child. She was captivated. He adored that about her.

"Hun?" he said softer now. She looked up at him with the warm look of admiration and love. Wrinkles tugged at the corners of her eyes from time and stress. They were identical to his. They both wore them like the invisible battle scars that had stretched over their bodies from their life together. Ones that made their skin a little thicker and them a little more stronger. They really been through it together and now they were heading straight into their next journey.

"I think I want to stay." his words caught her off guard. Her eyes immediately widen and her voice was raised a bit. "You wanna do what?"

30 Years Ago

"You wanna do what?" Sam looked at her husband with bemusement, but a smile was tugging at the corner of her lips. "I want to move into this house. With you. With our kids. Well, maybe we can leave the kids." She laughed and hit him. "Fine. If you want to bring them, we can. I guess." he smiled.

Patrick showed her the listing for the house. She looked at the price and felt a little anxious. "I know what you're thinking. We've only been married for a few months. Danny and Emma are still getting use to living together and it will be a new adjustment, but baby we can do it." He flashed her grin and she now wanted more than anything to change the subject from moving to doing something a little more in their budget, like newlywed sex. "I was actually thinking about the price, babe. But those also good points. I don't know if Emma would like changing schools and starting over." Sam wanted to keep this going rather than face what she was thinking. "I'm a world renowned neurosurgeon. I make good money and I plan on selling this house anyway. It's time." He was becoming more and more adamant about his decision.

She looked up at him, with more seriousness than she had before. "You would sell this place? Your home? This house has been your home for so long. Emma grew up here. Can you really just give that up?" Her fears were now front and center. She didn't know if she could do the same with the penthouse. It had been her home for so long. She grew up there as a woman and fell in love there. It was Danny's home. Her home. And once upon time also Jason's.

Patrick slowly tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. Letting his hand linger on her face. Hoping she could feel his love emanate through this very touch.

"Sam, you are my home." He stated, without any hesitation. "You, Emma, and Danny are the only things that matter to me. This house carries some very beautiful and wonderful memories, but I ready to make new ones with you. No matter what house we choose as long as you're with me nothing else matter." The sincerity in his words hit her and she was pulling him in. Their lips touched and the world fell to the background. She hadn't realized she was crying until she felt warm salty tears on their lips. She was nodding fiercely in response to his desire to move. "I wanna move too. Let's make our new memories together now."

That night they created one of their best memories; their son.

"Who deserves clean drinking water? We all do!" Scarlett shouted through the loudspeaker she tightly held. She stood atop of a small step stool in front of the steps of her school. "Sadly we all don't have clean drinking water! Our tap water is filled with chemicals and we deserved to know what kind of chemical our bodies are being exposed to! So sign the petition today and be a part of the movement!" Scarlett did her best to smile, but instead got caught in between a scowl and a smirk. "Hold it higher, Gina." Scarlett ordered. Her gullible friend raised the clipboard higher. Grinning so widely some people immediately walked in the opposite direction. "Less is more, Gina." Gina dropped her grin and settled on a odd strained smile. Moving back and forth between which cheek to raise higher.

Scarlett sighed. This wasn't working. "You don't even have facts to support these outrageous claims." A guy said from behind her. "Research doesn't lie, asshole." Scarlett pulled the documents from her large brown crossbody bag. The guy came closer and snatched the papers from her. Skimming through them until he made up his mind. "You're full of shit. Most of this stuff is from forums. None of this is factual." He threw the papers back at her. "You're just pissed because you're drinking water that will one day make your balls shrivel up and make whatever hair you do have surrounding that little dick, fall out." The guy shook his head and laughed. "It must be that time of the month. It turns all you bitches crazy." Gina gasped. She knew her friend's anger and what was about to come. Scarlett didn't bother stepping off the step stool. She just swung her loudspeaker. She didn't think the blow would be that hard.

In a jam

Need Ur Help

Plz Don't Call Mom or Dad :)

Emma zipped up her jacket. The temperature had dropped once nightfall hit. She could feel the moisture being sucked from her skin. She stretched out the fingers in her left hand and then balled it into a fist. The sharp pain struck her and she gritted her teeth. Swallowing the pain, she fought back tears. This wasn't the time or place for this.

She watched as Scarlett came running toward her. "Have I ever told you how much I love you. I totally look up to you as a role model. You're a phenomenal mother and-" Emma lifted her hand, stopping her. "

As much as I love your flattery, I would just love to know why were you hauled off and detained by campus security?"

Scarlett rolled her eyes and blew her breath. They headed for Emma's dark gray sedan. "It was all a misunderstanding. Don't worry this suspension is only for a week." Emma bumped her sister. "You were suspended?!" Scarlett hurried to the other side of the car and got in. Emma followed her actions, as she waited on a response. "Well...yeah. They said I was being "violent"." Scarlett air quoted. "It's completely false, Em. I was totally defending myself." Emma gave Scarlett a doubtful look. "Sure, Mousey." Emma smiled, knowing the look she was going to get for using that tiresome nickname. "Ugh. Don't call me that. I hate that name. You know I hate that name." Scarlett grimaced.

"What's wrong with the nickname, Scarlett? We all love it."

Scarlett placed her head against the window. Remembering the past times when people referred to her as that. "What's wrong is that it's a symbol of a time when I was at my weakest. The smallest of the litter. The runt. I'm not that anymore." She said sternly. Emma looked over at her sister. Tugging her hair gently. "And that's why you'll forever be mousy to us. Not because you were the sickly baby or the runt. Its because you are the strongest of all. You fought against the odds and won." Scarlett was now looking back at her. "Mousy was never a nickname created out of malice or to mock. It's to remind us that you are a fighter. No matter the battle. You conquer it." She had never seen it that way. She had always thought of it as a ridicule because of her brown hair and fragile state as a newborn. Her father dubbed her that when he first saw her and it stuck. For some reason she grew to hate it and sadly, him too.

"You can stay here for the week of suspension, but if mom and dad find out about your little "violent" incident." Emma air quoted. "Leave me out of it." Emma handed her a comforter and couple pillows. "Don't worry, Em. You'll continue on being the perfect child in their eyes. I'll keep my mouth shut on you being my accomplice." Scarlett winked Emma ruffled her hair. Causing her to push Emma's hand away."Good. Though I doubt they would kill me. I did bless them with three beautiful grandkids." She made it clear by raising three of her fingers and wagging them in Scarlett's face, who swatted at her.

Emma left Scarlett to settle in and felt the sharp pain hit her left hand again. She grabbed it with her right and pulled it close to her chest. Taking deep breaths as she did. Her kids and husband were already fast asleep. She didn't want to wake the latter. He needed his rest, but the pain was excruciating in this moment. She headed straight to her purse. Grabbing the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds she had just refilled and warmed up a heating pad.

She sat in her studio, waiting for the meds to kick in. She had made some good music here. She went from being a artist on a label to a music producer. She was of course great at it, but she missed the feeling of her fingers strumming the strings of her black Gibson Hummingbird. The melody was a familiar one. One she had heard many times before. It was the lullaby her father had created for them, but it was honor of their mother. It was Samantha's Hymn. An adoring sweet melody that soothe them to sleep and earn the admiration of their mother. One Emma could never forget, even if her hands were to somehow fall off and she was left with nubs.

The house was big and elegant. An old light gray Victorian, with a wraparound porch, overlooking the Hudson River. Six bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, three fireplaces, and a large sprawling backyard. It was big enough for the whole neighborhood, and now it was theirs.

Sam stood in the foyer, amazed and a bit out of breath. The last of the boxes were being brought in and she didn't know where to begin. She wanted to make it feel like a home, but was having a difficult time trying to get a feel of the house.

She never decorated anything. Everywhere she lived was either a motel or home already decorated by their owner. This was her house. Something her and Patrick would share together, and this was all so new to her.

"Stop it." He whispered in her ear from behind. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into the warmth of his chest. "I'm overwhelmed, Patrick. How do I do this?" She needed an answer. Her stomach felt tight and she felt nauseous. She wasn't sure why, but this move wasn't helping. "How do you do what?" He asked, turning her around to face him. She looked weary. Her dark brown eyes darted from each wall, like an unsure artist staring at a blank canvas. "How do I fill up this house? How do I make our house a home? This is all new to me?" Sam placed a hand on her forehead, as if to feel for a fever. Patrick pulled the hand away and grasped it within his. "I know how we can fill this house up." He said, giving her a suggestive look. She smiled. "And you don't have to do anything to make this house feel like a home. It already is one, because you're here. You are my home, Sammy. You know that." She felt the weight lift off her shoulders a bit. She still felt kinda sick, but now she was less anxious.

She released his hands and stepped into the living room. Surrounded by boxes and plastic wrapped furniture, she did a little turn. Her hair bouncing against her as she did. Patrick couldn't help, but be in awe by her beauty. She was someone that was always unattainable to him. A fire that could easily burn him if he got to close, but that was then. Now she was just in front of him, accessible and completely his.

"You know there is something we can do right now to make this more our home." Sam said. She had now took on his earlier idea unbeknownst to him. She read each box. She was looking for the right one and there it was just beneath another one that had the word : KITCHEN, scribbled on it in bold block letters. "And what is that?" He asked, watching her with amusement. She removed the kitchen box off top of the one that she needed. Peeling the brown duct tape off with ease. From it she took out four thick white pillar candles. Patrick was now more intrigued.

"What are you going to do with those?"

She tossed her head back and gave him a sexy smile. "Close your eyes and you will see." His heart thumped with anticipation. Patrick did as he was told and closed his eyes. He could hear her shuffling around across the hardwood floor. Then heard her bumping into something and swearing after she did. That caused him to laugh, but he covered with a cough to keep his composure.

It took her a few minutes to finally say, "Now you may open your eyes." He did. His eyes took in every little detail. He was beguiled by what stood before him. The lights were cut off and candles were lit. Giving the room a soft warm glow. There was more than four candles burning, which made the ambiance even that more alluring. Patrick's eyes now took in Sam. She was standing just a few feet away from him, wearing nothing at all. Her skin looked as if it was absorbing the radiance from the flickering light and was emitting it from the depths of her. She reminded him of luminescent Greek goddess. Aphrodite, he thought. Then shook that unspoken thought from his head immediately. No. She was a combination of Athena and Helen of Troy. She wasn't merely a beauty, but one of soul and intelligence. One he was proud to call his soulmate and wife.

"So how am I going to eat the pizza I ordered in the dark." Patrick sighed. He was aroused, but he just had to tease her a bit. She gave him an amused smile and strutted over to him. Her hands brushing against his chest, causing his heart to race even more. She let her body lightly touch his and whispered, "I think I can give you something to eat in the meantime." Her words drove him to her. Not another word was spoken between them because his lips met hers and they were enthralled.

An hour had passed, and they had christen almost every inch of that house. Pausing only to accept their pizza. The candles had dimmed and they sat intertwined in one another. The wine bottle they opened was nearly empty and the pizza was nothing more than bread crust. Sam grazed her teeth against his hand. Letting it sink a bit before releasing him. A love bite. Patrick let his free hand dance across her body. Feeling every curve and bump. "I wanna stay like this forever." He said, as his thumb ran over her pelvic bone. "Drown out the world. Drink cheap wine. And dine on the most pleasurable entrees in life." She laughed at that last part.

"Okay. Anna and my mom can raise the kids. You can quit your job. I won't take any new cases and we just live like this." Sam said wryly. Patrick tilted her head back with his hand. Kissing the tip of her nose gently. "That sounds like a plan."

Suddenly the doorbell rang. Catching them by surprise. "The pizza guy came back for a tip?" Sam said, getting up. Patrick followed. Sam was wearing nothing, but Patrick's black and red plaid shirt. Which left him barefoot and in jeans. They reminded him of a hedonistic lifestyle he once wanted. Now he was a married man and father of two.

Sam swung open the door to even bigger surprise. It was Molly with Danny and Emma. Molly was also caught off guard by their appearance and immediately dropped her hands to cover the children's eyes. "Oh, wow. If I knew this was the kind of party you meant when you were talking about breaking in the house, I wouldn't have spent nearly and hour driving out here." Molly said, nodding to Patrick, who was now behind Sam.

"Well now it's a slumber party."

The elevator opened and Danny smiled. "Daniel." Georgie said dully. She wasn't in a good mood and he knew why. They had plans last night to go out to dinner, but he was getting her weird breakup vibe from her and tried to prolong the inevitable. It was their usual dance they did.

They would start out like it was the first time they started dating and be complete inappropriate with each other and then slowly it would change. The longer they were together, the more antsy he would get. His restlessness was a bit of a problem for them. As well as his commitment issues. She would then get fed up and put an end to things. Reciting her favorite tiresome line:

"You're thirty years old and still not an adult. When you finally grow up. Call me."

That's when he knew it was time to sprint to the closest bar. He loved her, but he wasn't ready to be what she wanted him to be. The thought of "settling down" was so outdated to him. Why did anyone need a title to showcase their love for one another? Isn't being together enough?

He couldn't ask his parents that. They had known each other for forty years and been married thirty of those years. They were goals he didn't want to achieve. He just rather keep it simple. Him and her...and maybe a dog. That would be much later though. He was still too forgetful when it came to his fish. So a needy dog would be out of the question at this moment in his life.

"So you want to come over for a slumber party tonight? I'll make it up to you for missing our date." He was giving her his most charming smirk and even batting the baby blues. No woman could resist those baby blue eyes. He was once told they could enchant a siren. Granted his grandmother Monica told him that, but it still stands.

"Sure. I be there at eight. Make sure you show up this time." The elevator doors opened and Georgie got off. He watched her go. She was a force of nature. His force of nature and he wasn't just yet ready to end it this time around.

Paging Dr. Drake!

Paging Dr. Drake!

Danny sighed. His body started moving like a reflex. It was instinct for him to start running when he heard his name. Nothing could compare to the rush of holding a scalpel in your hand. You are God in that moment, with one wrong move you could end the life of two people. Your patient and your career. Knowing he willed so much power was alluring to him, but it also made him fear that side to him. A side he tried to repress.

"I was paged?" He looked at the RN on duty, waiting for her to direct him to where he needed to be. "You have a phone call." She said pointing to the blinking red light. He rolled his eyes. "And I was paged for that?" He said irritated. The nurse shrugged and went back to her paperwork. He blew his breath and picked up the phone.

"Hello. Dr. Drake speaking."

The other end was silent for a minute, then the sound of a baby crying and child laughing rung out high into the receiver. Danny pulled the phone a inch from his ear and smiled.

"Emma. I see my nieces and nephew are doing good." Her laughter filled his end. It was one that he missed. He had heard it all his life and now they were miles apart from each other. Connected only through technology and holiday visits. "Baby bro, its so nice to hear your actual voice and not just hear a version of it in my head when I read one of your 3am texts." Distance couldn't change this. What they had right here was something he cherished.

"Whatever. You love those 3am text messages. It's not like Scarlett or Mason ever bothers to call anyboy."

A clattering in the background caught his attention and suddenly a new voice was on the other end.

"Some of us actually still live close enough to visit. We all don't just jet off to California to become ER doctors and live close to our super uptight girlfriends." Scarlett snapped.

"Sorry! Speaker phone."

"Mousy, you said you would give that a rest. And I didn't move to Cali for Georgie….she was just a bonus when I made my decision to leave New York." He could practically hear her eyeroll. She had never forgave him for leaving her in the "snowy pits of Hell". He just needed new scenery and not a place where everyone knew him as Jason Morgan's kid, the dead hitman. He wasn't his kid. He didn't even know him. So when a residency was presented to him all the way over here in Pasadena, he took it.

"So are you going to ever tell me the reason for this delightful phonecall or will I be stuck listening to Scarlett's silent bitterness?" Danny waited for Emma to finally retrieve the phone back from Scarlett.

"Yeah. Have you heard from Mase? It's been nearly two weeks since he sent one of his weird cryptic postcards." Danny thought about it for a second. They did skype, but it was brief and that was three weeks ago.

"Danny?" He could hear the concern growing in her voice.

"I haven't….Scarlett?"

"Nope. Not even a "I'm still breathing" text." She was also worried.

"I mean it's Mason. He's probably driving through Vermont as we speak. Heading to mom and dad's with a bag full of laundry."

He wasn't too sure of this, but did his best to conceal the fear sitting in the back of his chest.

"I don't understand." His voice was hard and his chest felt tight. Mason looked up at the girl he been seeing for six straight months in disbelief. "How do you wake up one day and fall out of love with somebody?" He was truly perplexed by this. He loved her. So much so that he didn't split after their first one night stand. Mason thought their little life was good. He even got a job for her. "Mason, I'm just not feeling it anymore. We had a great spiritual connection. Like our auras matched and we were cute, but now you're a bit...clingy?"

Mason jumped up from the bed he was sitting on. "Clingy? You're calling me clingy? I change the brand of toothpaste I use every other month because I get bored of the taste. I don't even own more than five pairs of underwear because I don't like my dick feeling trapped. I'm the least clingy person I know and I know a lot of people." Mason started grabbing his things. The first thing being his guitar and the next his black leather boots. Two items he had own for longer than this entire relationship. "Mason this anger isn't necessary. You also don't have to pack your things right now. I want us to be frie-," Before she could finish that last word and further insult him. He needed a conversation ender. Something that would get her angry. Something that would hurt her. "I slept with your sister." He blurted out. Her lips stopped moving and she tilted her head in confusion. Silence filled the space between them. He waited for her to respond, but the more the awkward silence grew the more he felt like maybe he should've went a different route.

"What did you just say?" Her jaw clenched and her right eye started to twitch a bit. He started wondering where were the tears and shouting. "I. Slept. With. Your…" This time she cut him off by letting her fist connect with his jaw. He fell back into the wall. Then next came the running. Let's just say for a girl that weighs a good one-eighty and considers photography a workout, her ass was a track star in that moment.

"You told her you had sex with her sister?" his best friend, Nick asked in disbelief. Mason let a cold beer rest on his face. "Yeah, but I thought she would do some normal girl shit and bawl. Dude, she turned into a MMA fighter on my ass." Mason sat up and lifting the beer off his face. "She nearly scratched Prudence. Chasing me down the street as I drove off." Mason could still see her running down the street, nearly a block, after his black 1963 Mercury Comet. He was lucky there wasn't one red light in his way. A sign that God had his back, he concluded.

Mason repositioned the can and Nick grimaced at first glance of Mason's face. It had become swollen after arriving at his place. Mason noticed his reaction. "Does it look that bad?" He turned before Nick could respond and looked in the mirror hanging across the wall from him. "SHIT! Half my face is blue and purple." Mason threw his back onto the couch and placed the beer back onto his face. Groaning in pain and from embarrassment. "So like a post blueberry Violet Beauregarde?" Nick teased with a slight nod. Mason raised his middle finger high in the air at him.

"So did you really? I mean did you really sleep with her sister?" Nick was curious. Mason sighed and sat back up. "I didn't even know she had a sister." This got a laugh out of them both.

He gripped the phone tightly in his hand. Not sure of what he was going to say. "Do you know what you're going to say to them?" Sam mimic Patrick's inner struggle. He thought about it a little longer. Coming to a swift and final decision. "I got it." He announced. She raised her head from the tenth box she had been unpacking and gave him an unsure look.

Patrick quickly dialed the eldest of his children. It took Emma a minute to get to the phone. "Dad? I didn't expect a call. How's mom? The kids and I are good. Cam is also doing well." Emma rambled. Patrick instantly knew she was hiding something, but didn't want to push her to find out what at this moment. He needed to get all his kids home. He needed them all under one roof for once. It had been quite some time since he had all four of them back here. So he had to convince them.

"I'm about to get your brothers and sister on the phone." He simply stated, putting her on hold. Sam watched him wondering how he was going to get this done.

Scarlett answered on the first ring. "Hey, Dad!" Her voice was too high. He could tell she was hiding something as well. Maybe they both were hiding the same thing?

"Wait." He said, putting on her hold too. He was able to reach them all, but Mason. That kid was always difficult to get a hold of. So he would have wait for now.

"Okay. Now that I have you all together I have some news." He slowly said. Letting it sink in. They each stayed silent waiting for him to speak again. In a heavy dramatic voice he said,"Kids….I only have six months to live. This is the end."