Rick leaned back in the chair, more than a bit surprised by Billy's reaction. "Now that you mention it," he smirked, "I think that was her name. I didn't really concern myself with those kinds of details."

Billy reached down, grabbing his glass and taking a long sip of water. He needed something stronger, much stronger—even if it was a lunch meeting. If the choice was drinking at noon, or putting his fist through this guy's face, he felt certain his mother would prefer a little scotch on his breath to those front page pictures.

"So uh—what's the deal with the name?" Rick continued, "You know her or something? With moves like hers, I could imagine she'd have a bit of a reputation."

"You know.." He stopped, breathing in deeply, forcing himself to center, and taking stock of the fact that he was still in a very public place, "I don't know that you should really be talking about her like that."

"Why? You know the woman or something?"

"It doesn't matter—I mean she's a real person. You could show a little respect, right?" His hands lay flat against the table. This was business and it was important business. He forced a smile. "I mean, I know we're guys and all, but sometimes we all have to rein it in a bit, am I right?"

He saw the smile return to Rick's face and he could tell he'd managed to smooth things over. "Yeah, I guess…and," He leaned forward, as if he were betraying a secret, "between you and me, I don't really have a choice but to rein it in…she wore me the hell out. I mean the woman could be a professional."

That was it. Billy stood quickly, smoothing his suit down in front of him. "I'm really sorry, Rick, but I've got to take off. I just remembered that I'm late for another appointment."

Rick looked over at him. "You understand that I'm leaving this afternoon. Any business we need to discuss will have to…"

"You know, actually I'm not really sure there's any business to discuss." He fought to maintain his composure as he extended his hand. "I'm sure there are plenty of other opportunities for you in Genoa City. I just don't think Brash and Sassy is the right fit. You understand, right?"

Standing to face him, Rick nodded. "Of course."

Billy smiled. "Great. Have a safe flight back." He didn't wait to hear if pleasantries were exchanged. In truth, he didn't care. The only thing he cared enough was making it up the stairs and finding her.

Phyllis glanced over at the door. "Again?" she called out, with a soft laugh as she got up and wrapped the sheet around her. Quickly she shuffled to the door. "I thought you said you had to get…" Her words stopped as she pulled open the door to see Billy standing in the hallway.

"Billy," she breathed, suddenly acutely aware of her lack of clothing. "I…You shouldn't be here."

He pushed past her into the room. "Neither should you." He heard the door shut and turned around to look at her. Her face was flushed though he wasn't sure if it was a result of embarrassment or fury.

"This is my room," she said, in her best attempt at composure, "You were not invited in and I'm asking you to leave…now."

"Not gonna happen."

Her mouth dropped open as she looked at him. "What the hell, Billy?"

"Why don't you tell me?" He stared at her. Logically he had no right to be angry. She wasn't his. He had no hold on her, but in his heart she'd always be his, just as he'd always be hers. She belonged with him and the thought of her in someone else's arms made him sick. Hearing Rick talk about her like that, like she was property, like she was expendable, it made him seethe inside.

"I have no idea what you're talking about. All I know is you've barged into my room with absolutely no explanation or invitation."

"But Rick had an invitation, didn't he?" He saw the shock in her eyes as he said the name. "Yeah…that's right..I ran into him downstairs."

"This is none of your business," she spat, turning her back on him quickly, not wanting to look him in the eyes.

She heard his footsteps come up behind her and she felt the warmth of his body as he stood just inches from her, his breath hot and heavy as he loomed just above her ear, "You might want to tell Rick that," he whispered, "He's got a nasty habit of kissing and telling."

"What did he tell you?"

"He told me how he met you downstairs, how you had drinks with him, how you brought him up to your room, how the two of you…." He stopped, not intending to embarrass or condemn her, "Apparently you two had quite the night."

"So what if we did?" Her voice trembled slightly as she spoke.

He blinked, his breath catching in his throat at the sound of her harsh words. "it's just…you're better than that. You don't deserve a guy like that. He's just using you."

"Who says I'm not using him? And again…what business is this of yours? It has nothing to do with you, Billy!"

"You don't get it! You didn't hear the way he was talking about you…like you were some hook up, some woman he picked up in a bar, someone he'd sleep with and just walk away—no questions asked."

"That's what it was," she huffed, "That's what I wanted."

"That isn't you, Phyllis. What the hell happened? Did he get you drunk? Is that it?"

"No, Billy. I had a few drinks, but I was in full control of what I was doing. Why is this so hard for you to understand?"

"Maybe he put something in your drink…and you didn't know."

She shook her head, sighing in frustration.

"Did he pressure you?" Her eyes shot up at him. "Phyllis did he do anything to you?"

"Stop it," she screamed, her tone startling him. Her eyes flashed with rage. "Listen to what I'm telling you. Everything that happened last night was exactly what I wanted to happen. I slept with Rick because I wanted to. I invited him up to my room because I wanted to. I had drinks with him because I wanted to. I chose for it to be simple and meaningless because I wanted to, okay? Do you understand?"

"No," he said quietly. "I don't. I don't understand why you would ever settle for something like that…"

"Well good news," she whispered, "You don't have to understand. It's not your damn problem." She whirled around, "Now I'm going to ask you one more time to leave…and then I'm going to call security and have you thrown out."

"Why are you so afraid to answer my questions?" Billy stepped in front of her, blocking her path. "They're simple questions."

"I'm not afraid," she protested, "I just don't owe you any answers. I can be with whoever I want, whenever I want. If I want to go out and sleep with the entire greater Chicago area, that's my prerogative. You don't have anything to say about it."

"You think that's going to make this better?" He looked into her eyes, finally beginning to see a bit of the stubborn resolve weakening. "Did Rick make it better?"

"Rick and I had fun…there's nothing wrong with having a little fun."

He heard the crack in her voice. Her eyes sparkled as the glared at him, fresh tears brimming.

"It doesn't sound like you're having a whole lot of fun now?"

"That's because I have a man forcing his way into my suite," she spat, "and he won't go away." The tears slowly spread down her cheeks and she drew in a breath as she felt his soft hands brush them away.

"I'll go if you can look me in the eye and tell me you really want me to."

She looked up at him, her eyes searching his. "I had sex with another man last night, Billy…and this morning if we're being completely honest. Does that not bother you at all?"

His hand touched her face softly. "You and Rick—you had sex, but that's all, right?"

"I don't understand?" she said softly.

His fingertips trailed through her hair as he looked at her, "I've never just had sex with you," he whispered, "every time we were together, it always meant more. We always made love. You and Rick—there was no love there."

"No," she said softly. "But I mean..still.."

"Don't get me wrong.." He cupped her face in his hands and smiled at her, "I'd really prefer it if you didn't have sex with anyone else, but given the circumstances, I think I can get past this, if you can. If it gets me back here—if it brings me back here—back to you."

"Billy…" She shook her head as she stood in front of him, still in disbelief at his words. There was so much she wanted to say, but the words wouldn't come. Her head rested against his chest for a moment.

"You have no idea how much I've missed you," he whispered. "You have no idea how much I want you back in my life…how empty my life is without you. I was down there in that room listening to that man talk about you like that and I just wanted to put my hands on him."

He felt her head jerk back. "You didn't did you? Billy, you didn't do anything?"

"No," he smiled. "I didn't. I was too busy thinking about how quickly I could get up here to you. I knew in my head that I shouldn't. I knew that I didn't have any right to be upset, to be jealous. I knew that you weren't a part of my life anymore, but the truth is—you're in me Phyllis. You're a part of me. You're in my heart, my mind…I can't get away from you. You're in everything I do and I love you too damn much to just walk away. I should have fought harder, but I'm here fighting now and I pray to God it's not too late."

"What I said earlier about wanting to be with Rick because I wanted something simple with no strings…it's because I can't give any more to anyone. My heart's still with you. I think about you every minute of every day. I wake up thinking about you. You're the last thing I think about at night when I go to sleep. You're even in my dreams. I miss you. I know the things I said are…"

"Shhh," he whispered, "We don't have to talk about that."

"Yes. Yes we do. I said we were a mistake. I said our relationship wasn't about you. I said things that I never should have said because they weren't true. I was just trying to make sense of everything that was going on in my head and once I finally sat down and figured out how much I was really missing you and wanting you…" She stopped, looking into his eyes, "And loving you…once I realized it, you were gone, and I didn't know how to fix it."

"You don't have to fix it," he sighed. "All you have to do is say yes to me. I said it to you once. I meant it then…I still mean it now. All you have to do is say yes to me and you'll be everything to me…just like you always have been. Just like you always will be…"

She smiled, the smile he loved so much, the one that could light up a room and make him feel like the only person in it—"Well that's the easiest choice I've ever made," she whispered. "Yes."

He wrapped his arms, around her, kissing her, breathing her in, not wanting to waste another second of their life together. He felt her still, pulling back a bit.

Phyllis clutched the sheet as she looked up at him. "I haven't even showered," she said quietly.

Billy smiled. "Well, we can certainly fix that." He kissed her again as he pushed her into the bathroom, throwing the sheet out of the door before pushing the door closed behind them.

The End