The phone rang, waking Lucy. She grabbed it and whispered into it. "Hello?"



"I... I was thinking about you, and I was wondering how you were."

Something about his voice was wrong. Like he was upset. "What happened?"

"Nothing. I was thinking about you. I haven't seen you in a while."

"I've been busy. The Serena line has my undivided attention right now. Plus, DV is really getting on my last nerve. I'm not sure what to do about him." She stopped, not knowing what else to say.

"Do... you... do you think we could have lunch?"

Something was definitely wrong with him. If he was asking to see her......... "Okay. The Grille?"

"No.......... How about that little diner right off the highway?"

That little diner was really nothing more than a truck stop. "Kevin, what's wrong?"

"I said nothing." His voice took on an edge, then he paused, and when he continued, he sounded calmer. "I just wanted to see you. That's all. But I don't want to cause either of us problems."

That told her that he didn't want anyone to see them. "Okay. I'll meet you. Noon?"

"Thank you. I'll see you then." He hung up.

He'd sounded so strange, Lucy was too worried about him to really think about what he was asking her. She'd planned to go to Jax, but it could wait until after she found out what was wrong with him.

The diner was packed, but the clientele was truck drivers and tourists looking for a break from their travels. Scanning the crowd, Lucy saw no one she recognized until she saw Kevin sitting alone at a booth against the wall. He was wearing jeans, a black collard shirt, and looked nervous.

Sitting down across from him, she looked at him. "What's wrong? Don't tell me nothing. You wouldn't call be out of the blue and ask me to meet you all the way out here if there wasn't something wrong."

He looked like he didn't know where to begin. "I've been thinking about you. A lot. It's like I can't get you out of my mind."

"What about me?"

"You. Everything about you. I'm beginning to think......." He paused.

"What?" Her confusion showed on her face.

"I'm beginning to wonder....... what if........ I don't know if you really want to hear this."

"Kevin, I can't tell you if I don't know what it is we're talking about."

Slamming down his coffee cup, he stared at her. "I'm beginning to wonder if I made a mistake walking away from you."

For maybe only the tenth time in her life, Lucy was completely speechless.

Kevin continued. "I don't know what you're doing with you life. I don't know if you're in love with Scott, or you still think about me. I'm taking a hell of a chance, here, but I had to tell you."

Lucy still couldn't speak. Shocked beyond words didn't begin to cover it.

"Can you at least tell me what you're thinking?"

Finally, she tried to tell him. "Why? Why now? Because life with Eve isn't all you thought it would be? Or because I finally have another chance to have a life? Is this really about us? Or is it about the fact that I finally got up off my knees and haven't begged, pleaded, or cried to you for a while?"

"This isn't about begging, Lucy." He was beginning to get agitated. "It's about regrets. Mistakes. Being an arrogant jerk who didn't know the best thing that ever happened to him and walked away from her."

"Kevin, I don't know what to say. Do I still love you? Probably. Had I given up on you? Definitely. Can I throw away what I've got now with Scott for a maybe with you? Hell, no. I don't understand this. What's changed?"

"Everything. You have no idea."

"So tell me."

"I can't explain it. Too much."

"Then it's too much for me. When you can tell me, call me again."

Standing, she walked outside. Just as she reached her car, Kevin caught up with her. Without a word, he grabbed her and kissed her.

At first she struggled, but he was insistent, and she finally returned his kiss. It was different than she remembered, but not unpleasantly so.

Stepping away from her, he leaned on the car. "Tell me you don't think about that."

"What's happened to you? You seem so....... different."

"I'm a different person than I was the day I left you. I know you've changed. Let me show you how much I have. Please see me again."

It was strange to hear him begging her for a change. "I don't know. I can't promise you. Call me later today at Jax." Getting in her car, she left him standing in the parking lot.

Watching her pull out of the parking lot, Ryan smiled to himself. She still loved Kevin, he was sure of that. He could get her. But he'd have to work fast. Sooner or later, she'd come in contact with Kevin, and the whole thing could blow up. That was part of the fun for him. The chance of getting caught. As long as Kevin avoided her, he was free to work on her. He smiled wider at the thought of what Kevin would do when he found out Lucy was with him, thinking her dear Kevin had finally come to his senses. He decided to see how far he could take Lucy until she figured out what was really going on. Ryan wasn't about to kid himself. Lucy should be able to tell the difference. But telling her he was a different person was more of the truth than she knew. The challenge was to distract her and keep her guessing until he was ready to make his presence known to his brother.

On the other hand, he had to figure out what he was going to do with her if she figured it out too soon. He couldn't have her blow the last six months he'd spent watching all of them.

Somewhere he could hold her until he was ready. Or just kill her, and send her body to Kevin. Maybe a piece at a time. He laughed at the thought of the look on Kevin's face. A long time ago he'd told Kevin that Lucy had 'a body that could make a man drop and beg for mercy, or more.' She still did. He was going to enjoy finding out for himself.

Chapter 2
Ryan waited until Kevin and Eve left the lighthouse. He knew they would be gone several hours, so he had time. It wasn't hard to get in the French doors. All the watching was about to pay off. He'd been inside several times when it was empty, but this was the first time he was going in with a deliberate purpose. The fun was about to begin. It was so hard for him to control himself. But the payoff would be worth it. Hurting Kevin was his main objective, but it hurt Kevin more to go through the people he cared about. And it was so much more fun.

Grinning, he moved from room to room, stopping here and there to look at what Kevin called decorations. As far as Ryan was concerned, the decorations at the prison had been better. A few pictures of Victor, Eve, and paintings. He knew they were Kevin's paintings, and it took all he had not to tear them to pieces right then and there. When he reached the upstairs, he started to search in earnest. It wasn't that he knew exactly what he was looking for, but when he found it, he would know.

Kevin's dresser. Some keys, and a picture of Eve on it. Nothing of interest. He looked in the top drawer and smiled. "Here we go."

Inside the drawer, were numerous items that belonged to Kevin. Private things, that he probably had no intention of ever showing anyone. Ryan hummed to himself and didn't realize he was also speaking out loud.

"More pictures of Evie. The love of your life this year, huh, bro? Passport? No, too obvious, don't want to do that. Maybe just one of Evie." He slipped one of the photos out and put it in his pocket.

"Jewelry? What kind do you have?" Opening the small box, he whistled.

Wedding rings.

"Couldn't bear to part with them, huh? Well, let me help you." The rings were the ones Kevin had been supposed to exchange with Lucy. Her engagement ring and both bands were in the box.

"I bet Evie doesn't know you still have these. She'd blow a gasket." The thought made Ryan laugh. Putting all three rings in his pocket, he put the box back. Under the box were more pictures. These were of Lucy. Some of her, some of her and that kid, Serena. And a duck. "Yes, Kevin, you don't care about her. Why do you have more pictures of her than Evie next to your bed? Something to think about after the good doctor goes to sleep?" He took a few out of the stack where Lucy looked particularly sexual. "Hope you don't miss these. Or if you do, I hope you think Evie found them. That would be fun."

There was nothing else of interest to him in the drawer. He didn't want to move things around too much or take something Kevin would miss immediately. Well, maybe move a few things around. He thought about it. Not enough to alarm Kevin, just enough to make him wonder.

Grinning again, he went to the shelf where Kevin kept his CDs.

Alphabetically, by artist. That was Kevin. SO organized. Just for kicks, he switched a few. Kevin would notice, but he wouldn't think anything of it.

Tilt one of the pictures on the wall just a bit. Maybe even a knife in the fork slot in the kitchen drawers. The thought that Kevin would notice things this stupid amused him. How anal retentive could you be? It never ceased to amaze Ryan the he and Kevin were related. Chaos was great. Ryan thrived on chaos. Kevin wanted his life so orderly, the forks had to be in the right slot. Go figure.

It was time to leave. Before he got carried away, and gave up the game before it really got interesting.

Chapter 3

Lucy tried to keep her mind on the numbers in front of her. But her mind kept going back to her encounter with Kevin. Did he really regret what he'd done to her? Or did he just want to see if she'd come running if he snapped his fingers.

She shook her head. Kevin wasn't one to play games. It wasn't that. Then what was it? She didn't notice the door opening.

"Hello? Earth to Lucy?" Scott snapped his fingers once. "You here?"

"Hi." Scott kissed her, and she felt a twinge of guilt at having kissed Kevin a few hours ago.

"What brings you here?"

Scott proceeded to tell her, but she didn't hear much of what he was saying. Her conscience told her to tell him she'd had lunch, well intended to have lunch with Kevin.

She knew she wouldn't tell him what Kevin had said, let alone done, so she didn't want to even start down that road.

Scott was telling her something to do with the Serena line, and the latest onslaught of DV's ugly publicity.

Scott realized she wasn't listening to a word he was saying. "So I told them to take their ray guns and get back to their own planet." No response. "Maybe we'll talk about this later. Care to tell me what you are thinking about?"

"I'm just preoccupied. Bad hair day."

Standing, Scott ran for the door. "I know what that means. I don't want to be in the line of fire. Your bad hair days make World War I look like a fist fight. I'm out of here." He kissed her once, quickly. "Luv ya, bye." And he was gone.

Lucy stared at the door. Scott really did love her. Or at least thought he did. He knew she wasn't really over Kevin, yet. But he'd still stood by her and let her know he was there, ready and waiting for the day she could commit to him. They both knew something was holding her back.

They both also knew it was Kevin. But until she knew exactly where Kevin was coming from, she wasn't sure he was the answer anymore.

The phone rang and she absently picked it up. "Lucy Coe."

"I know who you are. The question is, do you know who I am?"

"Kevin." She was completely stunned again.

"I just thought I'd call you. Have you thought about what I said earlier?"

"Nothing else." He knew she'd been thinking about it, so she might as well admit it.


"And what? I still don't know where you're coming from."

"I'll be more than happy to tell you. Can we meet again, say tomorrow?"

"To be honest, I don't know. Where do I fit in your life? What about Eve? How long can you play this out?" Her heart pounded at the thought of seeing him, let alone kissing him again. But not enough to risk herself again. Yet. "How can I agree to anything when I have very little idea of what you're really after?"

Ryan was getting frustrated. The Lucy he remembered wasn't nearly this difficult for Kevin.

"How can I know what you're after? What if you're trying to set me up for payback? We're both taking a chance, here, Lucy. I'm willing to take it if you are."

It worked. She sighed. "Okay. Tomorrow. Where?"

"The same diner? Maybe this time we'll get to eat."

She knew he was still trying to hide their meetings. For the time being, it was okay with her.

"Fine. Noon again?"

"Noon it is. See you then." Ryan hung up, laughing to himself. Who could he cause trouble with next?

Chapter 4

Kevin was waiting for Eve to come downstairs to go to dinner. He knew he had a few minutes, and he decided to listen to some music. Eyeing his CD collection, he noticed a few out of place.

Eve must have been listening to them. Putting them back, he actually considered telling Eve to make sure she put them back where she found them. Then he shook his head. He knew what she would say. After she gave him that look she gave him whenever she thought he was doing something strange. This need to have everything in order was his problem, not hers. So he'd just put them back and not say a word about it.

Eve finally arrived, and she put her arms around him. "Where are we going?"

"I was thinking about the Outback. It's been a while since I've been there."

"Sounds good to me." She kissed him.

When they arrived at the Outback, Eve was not thrilled to see Lucy sitting by herself at the bar.

Lucy had gone there to see Felicia, and she shared Eve's sentiment when she saw Kevin and Eve walk in the door. But her curiosity got the better of her, and she tried to watch them inconspicuously, wondering where things stood with them that Kevin was calling her.

Felicia seated Kevin and Eve and walked back to Lucy. "So, what are you and Scott going to do about this guy?" Lucy had been telling Felicia about DV's attempts to crush the Serena line.

Lucy watched Kevin kiss Eve while he held her hand and lost all train of thought. It occurred to her that Kevin might be playing games. While she really didn't want to believe he was capable, the evidence was there. Tears came to her eyes, and she became furious with herself. Before Felicia could repeat herself, Lucy stood up and walked casually to the office. Confused, Felicia followed her. After shutting the door, she turned to Lucy. "What's going on? I thought you were okay with this. What about you and Scott?"

"I don't know. I don't know about anything anymore. You know what? I wish he hadn't called me." She hadn't meant to say it, but it was too late. Felicia pounced on it.

"He called you? When?"

"It doesn't matter. I don't understand what he wants, but he's not going to tear my heart out again! I can't take it." Tears slid down her face and she shrugged. "I can't take it again."

Felicia was angry with Kevin, and she started for the door.

"Felicia, stop! Don't say anything. Please."

"Why not? He calls you, I don't know what he said, but it was enough to rattle you when you saw him with Eve. What is he up to?"

"I'll find out. Just don't say anything to him. Or her. Not until I know for sure what I'm going to do." Wiping her eyes, she stood. "Besides, if he is playing a game with me, you know me well enough to know I want to be the one to blow him out of the water."

"Can I be there to watch at least?"

Lucy finally smiled. "If I decide to do anything drastic, I promise you'll have a front row seat."

Laughing, they went back out to the bar. As they crossed the floor, they both glanced Kevin's way, almost at the same time. Smiling, they both nodded to him, but their smiles were not what Kevin would term warm.

Not knowing what he'd done this time, Kevin looked at Eve, who thought it was because of her.

"Face it, Kevin, Lucy will hate me until the day she dies. Felicia isn't too wild about me, either."

"You did what you thought you had to do. How many times do I have to tell you?"

"I ruined Felicia's wedding, too. I don't think she'll ever forgive me for that, anymore than Lucy will."

Kevin hadn't really had a chance to talk to Felicia since the wedding.

He didn't know how she felt about what had happened. "I'll make it a point to stop by this week and talk to her. When Lucy isn't around. You may be right. She and Lucy got close because of Mac and me. I hoped she'd understand. She acted like she did that day."

During the time Kevin and Eve were there, Felicia and Lucy had a few drinks. They laughed and took turns playing the jukebox in the corner. Fortunately, Eve's back was to the bar, so she missed the fact that Lucy would occasionally, more often the more she drank, glare over at Kevin. Kevin didn't draw attention to it, more to avoid a confrontation between the two women more than any other reason. He'd honestly thought they were through with all her temper tantrums about what had happened. Especially since she'd appeared to be happy with Scott.

Maybe there was trouble there. Of course, with Lucy, that was usually the case. He thought about that. 'Not bitter are we?' went through his mind. He thought HE was through with all that.

Making it a point to pay strict attention to Eve, he tried to finish dinner and pay the check as quickly as he could without drawing attention to himself.

Mac arrived and waved to Kevin before sitting at the bar, watching Felicia and Lucy, who weren't drunk, but had enough to be having a very good time together. On either side of Mac, they proceeded to try to get him to dance with them. Mac finally noticed the way Lucy was trying to sneak glares at Kevin and looked over at him. Kevin met Mac's stare and shrugged.

Something was definitely under Lucy's skin when it came to Kevin, but neither man could even begin to guess what it was. Understanding Kevin's predicament, Mac made sure he was given his bill as soon as they finished their dinner so Kevin could leave before Lucy became obvious to Eve.

Chapter 5

In the meantime, Ryan's next stop was Ferncliff. As Kevin, it was easy to get in to see Julie Devlin. The guards on duty knew him, and didn't pay attention when he only pretended to sign in. He only saw one orderly when he requested Julie be brought to the visiting room. When Julie saw him, she smiled. "Kevin. I thought you wouldn't be back for a few days."

"Changed my mind." He smiled. Now to really start something.

"I'm glad. I missed you already. I don't really trust anyone here."

"I understand that. You never know who's your friend in a place like this."

She gave him a strange look. "That sounds strange, coming from you."

"Well, I'm in a strange mood." He laughed. "I've been thinking about you. I want to know why you want me to help you."

"I thought I already told you. Only you can understand me. You know what I'm talking about."

Julie tried to figure out what Kevin was getting at. The last time she seen him, he'd seemed satisfied with her explanation.

"Why?" Ryan was intrigued. This girl was running some kind of game. He wondered if Kevin was on to her.

"Because you know what it's like to do things that you don't understand you're doing. I don't understand what you're looking for. We've had this conversation before."

"Well, why don't you tell me the truth this time?"

Julie was shocked. How much did Kevin think he knew? "I don't know what you're talking about."

Ryan grinned. Julie was surprised. That meant Kevin didn't suspect a thing. "If you don't want to cut to the chase and tell me what this is really about, I'm walking out that door, and I'm not coming back."

Julie had no idea that her buttons were being pushed by a master. But she did know that if Kevin figured out what was going on, she'd never get out of there. Touching her 'baby', she yawned.

"I'm getting really tired, I don't know what you want, but I really need to get back to my room. I don't feel very good."

"Convenient." He had to let her go. It would blow everything if he caused a scene here. Kevin would find out he'd been here, but he wouldn't find out today.

As Julie started to leave the room, Ryan grabbed her arm. "Just remember, little girl, that this game was not invented by you, and it has been perfected in a league you've only dreamt of being in. Sometimes it takes one to know one."

The look in Ryan's eyes actually scared Julie, but she didn't let him see that. Instead, anger flashed in her eyes. "I don't know who you think you are, but you're supposed to be helping me. If this is how you help people, no wonder you don't have a license."

He let go of her arm and she practically ran from the room. Ryan laughed. Kevin was going to pay for that. Leaving as quickly and as quietly as he could, he made contact with as few people as possible. No sense in tripping his hand too early.

Chapter 6

The next morning, Lucy looked at the clock on her desk. Since she'd arrived at the office, she was still undecided as to if she was going to meet Kevin or not. She alternated between hurt that he might be playing some game, and anger that he might be setting her up for a fall. Add guilt over not telling Scott, and a small genuine hope that Kevin might be telling her the truth, and Lucy didn't know which way to turn by 11AM.

Finally she sighed. She was going. All along, the whole time she was arguing with herself, deep down, she'd known all along she was going.

So at noon, she stepped into the diner. Kevin stood and smiled at her.

Suddenly, she thought about last night and by the time she reached him, she was furious. "I want to know what the hell is going on. Now!"

Ryan tensed. "What?"

"Last night? The Outback?"

Every muscle in Ryan's body tensed. She must have run into Kevin. What had happened? It took every bit of self-restraint he possessed to not grab her and run out the door. Had she blown the whole thing? She took his lack of reply to be an admission of guilt. "What am I to you? Is this a game to you? If you are so confused, then why are you still so cozy with Eve? Why don't you tell me what's really going on?"

She'd seen Kevin with Eve. But had she said anything? "Lucy, what do you want me to say? Am I just supposed to walk away from Eve, give up everything I have, for a woman I'm A. not sure even cares about me, or B. I'm not sure I can trust?"

That worked. The pain flashed across Lucy's face and she sat down. Ryan almost smiled. God she was easy. "Do you want to know what I want, Lucy? I want to know that you still love me, that you want to be with me. At least you are willing to try."

Standing, she tried to walk away from him again. Blocking her, he backed her up to sit down at the booth, sliding in and facing her. "What is it going to be, Lucy?"

Leaning in, he waited for her answer. Little did she know that her answer would decide if he would allow her to go home that night.

She was trying not to cry. "Where are you coming from, Kevin? You know I still love you. Are you trying to hurt me for a reason? How am I supposed to feel when you call me out of the blue, tell me you think you might have made a mistake, then I see you kissing Eve like everything's fine, and staring at me like I've lost my mind. I mean-"

Ryan kissed her. He had to shut her up or he was going to slap her. How had Kevin put up with her incessant babbling without killing her? When she returned his kiss, he pulled away from her, holding her face. "I love you, Lucy. I want to be with you. But I can't trust you, and until you can prove to me I can trust you, I can't commit to being with you."

Bulls eye. He was glad he'd done so much research on them. This trust thing was going to come in handy. It worked on her better than puppet strings. Looking totally crushed, Lucy stared at the table. When she finally replied, her voice was barely a whisper. "What do I have to do to prove it to you?"

Leaning over to her, he whispered in her ear. "Be with me, I need to believe in you. In your love."

Her face showed confusion, and he almost panicked. "I mean, are you willing to leave Scott? Are you willing to try to build a new life with me? Do you love me?"

"Kevin, I've told you a million times I would do anything for you. Why are you asking me this now? What's going on?"

Ryan almost had pity for the hopeful look in her eyes. God help her, she really loved his brother. She'd really blown everything he'd ever heard about her out of the water. The question was, did she love Kevin enough to leave Scott for him? "Let's get out of here. I want to be alone with you." Ryan pulled her to her feet and out the door.

Lucy let him drag her out into the parking lot. "Where are we going?"

"Jasmine Island."


The tone of her voice scared Ryan again. The island was the safest place to take her.

No chance of anyone seeing them, and if she turned out to be too much trouble, or realized what was really going on, he could deal with her there. "Think about it. Are you ready for everyone in Port Charles to find out about us? If we go anywhere else, someone could see us."

"What if I don't care if anyone sees us?"

"Are you-"Taking a deep breath, he calmed his voice. "Are you ready to give up Scott?"

"You know it's much more complicated than that."

"Then follow me to the island. We need to talk." Talking to her was the last thing he wanted to do, but Kevin wouldn't exactly take her to a cheap motel and tear her short little dress off. Which was the only thing Ryan wanted to do with her at that moment.

Finally, she nodded. "Okay."

All the way to the island, Lucy wasn't sure what she hoped for. Was she ready to trust him? Was she ready to sleep with him? That was where she thought this was headed if they were on the island alone. The thought of being with him again had a very mixed effect on her. It was what she wanted, but not like this. Not while she was still living with Scott. She felt she owed it to Scott to tell him what was going on. But what if she told Scott and Kevin changed his mind? God that sounded as horrible as it felt.

Ryan was having a few thoughts of his own. He was very close to panicking. This was going to be the test. He'd thought about all the excuses he could use if he did something that sent up a red flag. If he could pull this off, along with her dress, her- Shaking his head, he stopped himself. This kind of thinking would definitely get him in trouble.

She would be his if he played his cards right. She was so in love with Kevin, she would do anything to get him back. That was the key.

Chapter 7
When they reached the island, Ryan opened the door for her and followed her inside. Looking around, she sat on the sofa. "Well?"

"Are you in a hurry?"

"Kevin, I do have to go home at some point. Scott will be looking for me. If he calls the office, he'll-"

"You need to make up your mind, Lucy. Do you want to see where this is going to go or not? Do you think you might want to be with me? Can I believe what you said earlier?"

When in doubt, pull out the trump card. The trust thing again.

Once again, it worked. Lucy's eyes filled with tears and she looked at the ground.

Without another word, Ryan went to the kitchen and pulled a bottle of Chardonnay out of the refrigerator. He personally hated the stuff, but Kevin liked it. And the red wine had given him away before. It wouldn't this time. After a moment of consideration, he crushed a small pill and dropped it in Lucy's glass. Just a mild tranquilizer, to keep her from thinking too much about anything wrong he might say. He wasn't ready to keep her here, yet. He needed her to come to him willingly. He laughed. "So let's just lower the old I.Q. a few points. I have to give it to you, Lucy, you're a lot smarter than I thought you were the first time I saw you."

Back out in the living room, he handed her the glass. Sitting next to her, he took her hand. "You want to know where I'm coming from. So I'll tell you as best I can. I miss you."

He couldn't help himself. Touching her hair, he inched closer to her.

She tensed, but didn't pull away from him.

Ryan's mind was racing. This was Kevin's woman he was trying to seduce. She belonged to him, and Ryan was about to take her. His fingers were trembling as they brushed her cheek and down her neck. The thought of how easily her neck would snap in his hand almost pushed him over the edge. He struggled to get himself under control.

Just as nervous as he was, but for different reasons, Lucy drank her wine quickly. When she put her glass down, he was smiling at her strangely. "What are you thinking about?"

"You. Me. Where we're going." Pulling her to him, he kissed her.

Returning his kiss, she leaned back on the sofa. Everything she'd felt since the day he'd left her came back to her. When she felt his hands caressing her breasts, she pulled away. "I can't. Not like this."

"What?!" He screamed at her, and she jumped.

Standing, she faced him. "What's wrong with you?"

"What's wrong with me?" Panic set in. What could he say to her that wouldn't make her more paranoid than she already was? "What's wrong with me is that I bear my soul to you, and you won't even tell me what you're thinking. You act like you want me, then you pull away from me. What am I supposed to be thinking?"

It seemed to satisfy her. He didn't know if it was the drug, or she was really that stupid. It didn't matter, as long as she stayed.

"I'm confused. I don't know if I can get my hopes up, or if I should cut my losses where you're concerned. I do love you. Do I think we can be together? You tell me! I wanted to be with you, I wanted to marry you!" She began to cry. "I wanted to be you wife, the mother of your children, I wanted to be your life. I wanted you to build your life with mine. You're the one who didn't want it! You're the one who walked away from me. I didn't. I begged you to stay." Not knowing she was really talking to Ryan, she had no idea how much danger she was in for crossing him. In anger, she grabbed his shirt and pulled him to face her. "I did something I swore I'd never do again when I was 16 years old! I begged you! I swallowed every ounce of pride I'd ever had and I begged and pleaded. Ego? Self-respect? Forget it. I gave it all to you. And you looked me right in the eye and threw it in my face."

As her tirade continued, Ryan was finding it harder and harder to concentrate. He wanted to hit her, choke her, anything to shut her up. Her voice was grating on his nerves, and he didn't think he could go one more minute without shutting her up forever. Next time he'd give her a stronger dose. If he didn't kill her this time. Then it clicked in his mind.

Marriage. She'd mentioned it at least twice in the little part he'd actually listened to.


She kept going.

"Lucy!" Finally he grabbed her arms. "Lucy! Listen to me!" When he jerked her body, she finally stopped and looked at him.

"You want to know where I'm headed with this? I'll tell you. Wait here. Quietly, please."

Running up the stairs, he jerked open the drawer in the room he'd been sleeping in. Grabbing what he was looking for, he came down the stairs three at a time and faced her.

"Remember these?"

When she saw the wedding rings, she began to cry again.

"Do you remember what I said to you when I gave you this?" He wanted her to tell him. So he didn't make a mistake.

"Of course I remember! I'll never forget. It was one of the happiest days of my life." Gently, she touched his face. "That's what you don't get. The happiest days I've ever had were with you. But I've also had the most miserable, lonely days of my life because of you. Can I open myself up to that again?"

His patience was beyond the breaking point. "This is yours. I gave it to you."

"And you took it away!"

"And it was a mistake. I admit it. Is that what you wanted? I admit it was a mistake." Would she ever shut up? "I want to put this back on your finger. I want to tell everyone we're back together. But I need to know you're for real." He held the side of her face with his hand, his thumb very close to her windpipe. The smartest thing she could do right now would be to stay quiet. "You have to prove to me that you want to be with me." He tried to make it sound like a challenge.

"How?" Her eyes met his.

He kissed her. The ring worked like a charm. She returned his kiss without the slightest hesitation. Knowing he had the perfect carrot to dangle in front of her, he ran his hands over her body. But he couldn't sleep with her. Not yet. It was too much of a risk that she would be able to tell he wasn't Kevin.

Fortunately, she made the first move. Pulling away from him, she looked at him. "I can't do this. Not like this. I have to tell Scott."

Ryan almost held his breath. "Does that mean you want to be with me?"

Crying, she nodded.

Smiling broadly, he pulled her to him and held her. His pleasure was no act. This was what he wanted. Stage one was falling into place perfectly.

Lucy couldn't believe what was happening. Kevin was here, telling her he wanted to marry her, and he loved her. For the last few months, she'd given up all hope that he would ever want to be with her again. But her heart hadn't cooperated. And here she was, with him, kissing him, making plans to be with him.

He realized he wasn't home free yet. He had to make sure she stayed away from Kevin until he was ready to have Kevin find out for himself. "Lucy, look. You need to understand something. I want to believe in you. I need you to make me. When you're ready to make the commitment, I'll make one to you. In the meantime, you don't want Scott to find out until you're ready to tell him, I don't want Evi- Eve to find out until I'm ready to tell her. I want you to promise me that you won't tell anyone until we're ready." Silently cursing himself for almost slipping, he stared at her.

"So we're back to that delayed gratification thing again?"

Not having any idea what she was talking about, he simply nodded.

"I guess you're right. I need time to think about this. I'm a little overwhelmed. I have to find the right way to tell Scott."

"So, for now, this is our secret?"

She nodded.

"I'll call you tomorrow. Okay?" He kissed her, and was startled by the intensity with which she returned his kiss. Once again, he felt her body with his hands. This woman did have her finer points. And he was holding a few of them as he thought this.

As soon as she left, Ryan took a long deep breath. It surprised him that she was still breathing. Talk about delayed gratification. If she'd only known how close she'd pushed him to killing her tonight. He was going to have to speed up the plan a little. He didn't want to lose control and kill her before everything fell into place.

Chapter 8

After Lucy left the island; Ryan decided to make sure he was ready for Lucy to come to him. She would soon. All he had to do was keep her around until Kevin figured things out. And he had to make sure that happened soon after. He wanted to see Kevin's face when he saw Lucy here with him. Not to mention Lucy's when she realized what she'd done. He had a full bottle of those tranquilizers, and he intended to use them. Something had to work to keep her quiet. They weren't actually for humans, they were for cats. But they were very popular on the streets, and not very expensive. Not Rophynol, but similar. She wouldn't black out, but she would be.... less inhibited? Ryan laughed. "Face it. I need these so she won't realize I'm not her darling Kevin until it's too late."

Mentally, he went through a checklist of what he intended to do. So much, and so little time. The last thing he had to decide was how he was going to bring Kevin to the island.

Instead of going back to Jax, Lucy went to the Outback. She'd already slipped to Felicia; she might as well talk to her about what Kevin wanted from her. One look at Lucy and Felicia pulled her to the office. "Tell me what's going on."

"Scott has no idea what I'm thinking about doing to him." Beginning to cry, Lucy flopped on the chair. "Why did Kevin wait till now to pull this?"

"What? And what does Kevin have to do with it?"

Lucy stared Felicia in the eyes. "He wants me back. He says he loves me, and he wants me to marry him."

Felicia had the same reaction Lucy did. Utter shock. "He WHAT?"

Lucy told her the whole story.

"So you're going back to him?"

Lucy shrugged. "I love him. I always have. I didn't stop because I thought he did. You know that."

"What about Scott?" Felicia didn't like where this was going. She liked Scott and Kevin, and she didn't like the thought of either of them being hurt.

"He loves me. I think I love him, too. But we're not in love. Not like he was with Dom, or I am with Kevin. I never told him I didn't love Kevin." A defensive tone crept into Lucy's voice.

"I know. I was there, remember? I know how much you love him. I'm just asking what about Scott? You need to be absolutely sure before you hurt him. And what about Kevin? He was here with Eve. Are you sure what he wants?"

Nodding, Lucy leaned back. "I told you, he still has our wedding rings. He told me as soon as I make a commitment to him, he'll give it back to me."

"What about him? When does he make the commitment? How long does he get to have both of you?" Felicia couldn't believe they were talking about Kevin. This just didn't sound like him. If he didn't love Eve, and he wanted to be with Lucy, why was he staying with Eve?

"He can't trust me, Felicia. I have to prove to him this isn't a game. He knows how much I love to play revenge games."

"That doesn't sound fair. You're the one who gives up everything on his promise?"

Lucy's reply was so low that Felicia had to strain to hear her. "If fair was an issue for me, we never would have gotten together in the first place."

"So when are you going to make that commitment?"

Lucy sighed. "Tonight. As soon as Scott gets home. I just wish I knew I wasn't making a big mistake. I know I love Kevin. I don't want to hurt Scott. But I won't sleep with Kevin until Scott knows, and the next time I see Kevin, I'm not sure I'll stop." Smacking the chair several times, Lucy screamed. "How do I get myself into these things?!"

Chapter 9

Kevin went in to the visiting room at Ferncliff and waited for Julie to be brought in to see him.

When she did, she stood back and looked at him as if he was going to bite her.

"What's wrong?"

"What's wrong? After the way you treated me? You ask me what's wrong?"

For the second time that week, Kevin was confused. "After the way I treated you?"

Julie started to really tell him what she thought, but then decided not to go into it. He'd let her know in no uncertain terms that he knew she was playing games. But how much did he know, and who did he intend to tell? No, it was better to let him make the next move. She smiled. "When you were here the other day, I thought you might have been having a bad day, or something."

"Why?" His blank stare told Julie he had no idea what she was talking about.

And she was the crazy one? All of a sudden she realized her doctor might be in need of a doctor himself. Forcing herself to not smile, a thought occurred to her. If Kevin was developing a habit of forgetting what he'd done, it might come in handy. "I just got the feeling you were not having the greatest day. You were just... well, not like yourself. Maybe it was me."

Shrugging, Kevin sat down. "I'm sorry if I offended you. I came by today to see how you were feeling."

"Tired. Being pregnant wears you out." Patting her 'pillow', she watched him carefully.

He thought the pregnancy was in her mind, but said nothing. Maybe he'd said something a few days ago when he'd been there that she'd felt threatened by. He made a mental note to himself to be more careful of what he said to her.

Chapter 10

When Scott opened the door to the firehouse, Lucy was waiting for him.

The moment he saw her, he knew something was wrong. "What's wrong? Did something happen to Serena? You? What'-"

"Scott, nothings wrong with Serena. She's with Karen. I'm fine. I just needed to talk to you. I mean I have to tell you, I don't know how to begin, I mean, Scott, do you-"

"Lucy! Whatever it is you don't want to tell me, just say it!"

"I've been seeing Kevin!"

The room instantly grew silent. Scott stared at her. Finally, with a shaky voice, he spoke. "You what?"

"Don't make me say it again. You heard me."

"How long have you been seeing Kevin?"

"I've only seen him a couple of times. But I have to tell you......." She started to cry and she couldn't finish.

She didn't have to. "You're going back to him, right?"

Nodding, she turned away from him.

"What do you want me to say? Good luck? You're gonna need it. Or maybe we're still friends, and I'll wait patiently until he hurts you again? No way, Lucy. You want to run back to him and let him throw you out the next time he thinks he's done with you, fine.

But I won't be around to watch."

"Scott, you don't understand-"

Losing what little bit of patience he still possessed, he got right in her face. "That's your stock line when you know what you're doing is wrong! After everything he's done to you, after everything that's happened between us, you're just going to run back to him! Go! Get out! If Serena and I mean so little to you, don't even spend one more minute here." Grabbing her arm, he pushed her towards the door.

Jerking her arm away, she stopped and looked at him. "I never told you I didn't love him. You knew the reason I couldn't commit to you was because I STILL LOVED HIM."

She screamed at him. "That doesn't mean you and Serena don't mean the world to me. You know that."

"Not enough of the world, apparently. You're not exactly stopping to think about us before you go running back to him."

"Scott, I'm not running out on you. And I'd NEVER run out on Serena. I'd never hurt her."

"What do you think this is going to do to her? I'm not going to let you hurt her again. I swear to you, Lucy, this is the last time my daughter is going to cry because of you."

Lucy realized what Scott was saying. "You're going to...... you can't do that, Scott. I love her. She loves me."

"Well you should have thought of that before you agreed to be Kevin Collins's personal doormat again. Serena won't be part of it." Opening the door, he pointed. "Get out. Don't make me throw you out. I guarantee you'll get hurt."

"Scott," She was shrieking now. "You can't take my little girl away from me!"

"She's not your little girl, Lucy. She's Dominique's daughter. And no matter how hard you try, you'll never be her mother!" Scott knew he'd crossed the line with that comment. It was one thing to yell and scream at her. It was another to completely tear her apart. But it was too late.

He could see the damage all over her face. And he was too angry and hurt at the moment to try to do anything about it. His voice wasn't calm, but it was quieter.

"Lucy, you need to leave. Before I do something we'll both regret. I'll send your things to the lighthouse in a few days."

Not thinking about anything besides what he'd said about Dom, she walked out the door.