"We came as soon as we could, Lucy. What's wrong?" Victor looked around as if expecting some sort of emergency.

"Kevin went to see Ryan."

"I know." He turned to her and stopped. "What are you planning, Lucy?"

"I'm going to Ferncliff."

"Are you sure that's a good idea? I mean, Ryan wanted to see Kevin." Moving closer, Victor tried to figure out what was going on in her mind.

"I don't think the two of them in the same room alone at this point is a good idea, Victor. You never saw them before. They really wanted to kill each other. Ryan pushes Kevin's buttons as well as he pushes mine. But he puts Kevin in a much darker place." Grabbing her purse, she passed Victor and Mary. "I just don't see this turning out well. They've been fed, changed, and they should sleep for another half hour or so. There are bottles already in the fridge if I don't get back in time."

Before Victor could voice another objection, she was out the door.

Mary turned to Victor. "Will she make things better or worse?"

In spite of the situation, Victor smiled. "One never knows with Lucy. That's part of her charm."

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Ryan allowed the guard to lead him to the Visitor's room and he smiled when he saw Kevin waiting for him.

As soon as the guard saw the two of them facing each other, he shook his head. "I'd heard there were two of you."

"You can leave the room." Kevin glared at him.

"No way. Why is it that everyone that comes to see him forgets what he is?" He turned to Ryan. "I thought you'd managed to delude Mommy because you'd slipped her a good one."

At the same time, Ryan and Kevin stood and glared at the guard.

"That's enough!"

"Back off!" Ryan's words overlapped Kevin's and the guard looked at them both for a moment.

"Wow. I guess the lady really got around, huh."

Both of them tried to advance on him. The chains on Ryan's arms prevented him from moving away from his chair, but Kevin took a few steps towards him.

"Don't even think it." The guard glared at Kevin, who didn't falter.

"The lady is OFF LIMITS to your perversion. Do we have an understanding?" His eyes met the guard's with a calm, angry glare.

"Whatever you say, man." But the guard didn't back down.

"That's DOCTOR COLLINS to you. Now, get the chains off of him and GET OUT." Kevin was speaking very slowly and the last two words were definitely not a suggestion.

"Hey, it's your neck. He likes to break them, you know." Shrugging, the guard moved to Ryan. "Sit down."

Holding his arms up for the guard to release him, Ryan sat.

"I can't leave the room with him free." Releasing the chains, the guard backed up a few feet. "Rules."

"Rules also include keeping your personal comments to yourself, and not interfering in the patient's lives. Two rules you seem to have a problem following." Kevin seemed to be having a hard time restraining himself, and Ryan was curious to see what was going to happen.

The guard didn't answer and Ryan smiled at Kevin. "He really doesn't like being handled, and the only person I've seen handle him better then you is Lucy."

"Enough, Chamberlain." The guard snapped at him, and Kevin realized Ryan was right.

"I'm not a patient, here, I happen to be a doctor that does hold courtesy privileges. So if you want to call this a patient consultation to cover your ass, by all means, feel free. As a matter of fact, go write it down. Slowly." Kevin moved back to the chair and waited.

"You can call yourself anything you want. That still does not give you any authority over me. My first obligation is safety."

"From where I've been standing, all I see you doing is antagonizing. The patient AND the doctor." Kevin refused to back down and his voice showed how angry he was becoming. "Now do you leave on your own, or do I call your supervisor?"

"Sounds to me like YOU'RE the one that's forgetting who you're dealing with." Ryan muttered at the guard.

"That's enough out of you, Chamberlain!" The guard turned to Ryan and glared.

"Don't help, Ryan." Kevin sighed inwardly.

"You know me, Kev. I have to rub it in. Can't help myself." Still smiling, Ryan shrugged.

"Do you ever try?" Kevin shook his head. "I'm not getting involved in this. I have the right to speak to my brother in private."

"I'll be right outside."

"Great." Ryan shrugged. "Eavesdropping in the name of security."

After the security guard left, Ryan smiled at Kevin. "We still make a pretty good team."

Ignoring him, Kevin sat down and sighed. "You called this meeting, Ryan. What's on your mind?"

"Wow, you haven't cared what's on my mind in years. I guess you're really worried about this, huh."

Kevin's reply was to stare at him.

"I guess you weren't too thrilled to find out Lucy was here, right?"

Not faltering, Kevin realized that lying about that was ridiculous. "I didn't think it was the wisest choice she could have made."

"Diplomatic." Ryan shook his head. "I don't know, call me crazy, which most people do, you know, but I seriously doubt you were that diplomatic with her."

"We talked about it."

"After you threw a total fit at her, right?"

Kevin's expression told him he was right. Shaking his head, Ryan sighed. "Why does she put up with you?"

"Why am I here?"

"Pushy, pushy." Ryan laughed. "You sure like to rehash everything she's ever done, but when the spotlight is on you..... Wow. Talk about evasion. Physician, heal thyself."

"That doesn't work well in our family, does it." Kevin shrugged.

"I want to know what you're going to do to them."

"What does that mean?"

"I mean what happens to them if they do something you don't like? You've already established what will happen to Lucy the next time she pisses you off."

"My relationship with Lucy is not your concern-"

"You don't think so?" Ryan's voice rose. "I think who is going to raise MY daughters is my concern. You and Victor have Lucy so snowed that she really believes that you're all going to be one big happy family. If there was one family on the planet that does NOT deserve to try to raise children, it's this one."

"This family does include you."

Ryan laughed. "That had to hurt. But you're right. I'm sure you heard the highlights of my conversation with Lucy. She's right about what people would do to them because they're mine." Growing serious, Ryan looked at Kevin. "But what makes you think they'd be better off with you? I know why Lucy thinks so. She's completely blinded by how much she loves you. I think she needs to put them first."

"That means?"

"That probably means keeping both of us as far away from them as possible." Shrugging, Ryan sighed. "I mean, we can safely say we failed the 'heredity versus environment' study, right? What kind of chance do they have to begin with, considering their gene pool?"

Shocked, Kevin waited for him to continue.

"Our entire family is a study in psychosis of one nature or another. And now there are two beautiful little girls who have to live with that. There is a chance for something good to come out of this, but how do we make it happen, Kevin? How do we make sure they don't end up like we did?"

For a moment, Kevin was too stunned to reply. Finally he leaned closer to Ryan and spoke quietly. "I don't know what effect their genetic disposition is going to have on them, Ryan. But we both know that they're not going to have the life either of us did. Lucy would die herself before she would let anyone hurt them, and-"

"We all know Lucy isn't anything like Mommy Dearest, but we are who we are, Kevin. What they made us."

"That's not true." Neither man had heard her enter, and they both jumped and turned to face Lucy.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Mary rocked Marissa and watched Victor as he sat on the floor with Victoria. He was waving a stuffed animal in front of her and her eyes were tracking it.

"Developmentally, they're right where they should be." His voice sounded so serious, Mary couldn't help but laugh.

"I've been reading up on the subject." Victor sounded so much like he wanted to defend his observation, Mary laughed harder. "Did I miss something?"

"They're babies, Victor. I know you love to study and read, but when you're dealing with babies, it's not always best to have a scholarly approach."

As Victor looked at Mary, Victoria reached for the animal and got a grip on it as he held it. Surprised, Victor turned back to the baby. "Let's see something."

Gently, he moved the animal a bit and Victoria responded by using her other hand to hold the animal. "Look, Mary! She can comprehend the fact that using both of her hands will give her more power to hold it!"

Unable to stop herself, Mary laughed harder. "Wait until she's two and understands the power of both hands smacking and screaming at the top of her lungs."

"The development of their ID's. I'm looking forward to that stage." He smiled at her.

"I'll remind you of that when they're both stomping their feet and throwing their Cheerios." Still laughing, Mary moved to the floor beside him. "Victor, babies don't always follow a developmental schedule. All the books and websites you can find won't prepare you for the real thing."

As if to test a theory, Victor pulled the animal away from Victoria and waved it in front of Marissa. Victoria immediately began to scream and Marissa reached for the animal, but her fist didn't close around it. A concerned look crossed Victor's face and he tried to gently urge Marissa to hold the animal. Victoria screamed louder and he looked back at her. "This is absolutely fascinating. Victoria seems to understand the concept of sibling rivalry already. But why isn't Marissa using her motor skills to hold the animal?"

Shaking her head, Mary replaced the animal with her finger, which Marissa immediately gripped tightly. "Give that baby back her toy, Victor."

She sounded so stern, Victor immediately moved the animal back to Victoria, who gripped it and allowed her cries to die down to small whimpers. "The only one that needs to get a grasp of a concept around here is YOU." Her voice was soft, but she meant what she was saying.

A hurt expression crossed his face and Mary laughed again. "Where babies are concerned, there IS no concept. They want what they want. It's that simple and it's NOT some theory you can read on the internet and try to prove."

"Impulses." Victor nodded.

"Okay, if you insist on labeling it, I guess you could call it that. Babies are all about impulses. It's up to us to teach them impulse control."

Now Victor stared at both babies and sighed. "I was not very good at that the first time, maybe you and Lucy should handle that."

"Victor," Now Mary sighed. "You missed out on this with Ryan and Kevin, didn't you."

"You mean I chose to ignore it. I was so busy with my work that I missed everything that was happening. I chose to believe that they were in good hands with their mother."

"You had no way of knowing what was going on, Victor." Mary put Marissa on the floor next to her sister and took Victor's hand. "We all do the best we can. It's all we can do. I chose to ignore the problems Frank and Joe's father had. He was my husband, and to me that meant through everything. Including his alcoholic benders and the fact that he'd rather smack either of our sons then talk to them." Tears came to her eyes and she squeezed his hand. "I know that if either of us had the chance to do it over, we'd do it a lot differently. But we don't. All we can do is move forward. You and Kevin are very close. He really loves you, and I don't believe for one minute he blames you for everything that happened."

"Maybe he should, Mary. Ryan does."

"Ryan wants a scapegoat." Her tone was so sharp, Victor moved closer and squeezed her hand.

The girls began to fuss, and Mary lifted Marissa in her arms, gesturing to Victor to do the same with Victoria. "What happened over 25 years ago is beyond anyone's control to fix or change. Lucy is NOT a child molester, and Kevin is NOT a... a drunk."

Victor stared at her and realized that, even after all these years, Mary still had a hard time admitting it. Forcing a smile, he nodded. "You're right. And we can make sure that the only time they even hear about any of this is when they ask about their family history."

"I would NOT want to be the one to have that conversation with them. Why should they know any of that?" Mary bounced Marissa gently.

"Mary, as well as you know Lucy, do you think for one minute she'd be willing to tell them their family is a fairytale?"

"No, you're right. She and Kevin will tell them the truth."

"Well, most of it." Victor sighed. "I hope with all my heart they can tell them that Kevin is their father."

"That's up to them. Hopefully something good will come out of them being at Ferncliff." Smiling, Mary nudged Victor. "If nothing else, I hope we can help them plan a BIG wedding shortly."

"I think Lucy will come around shortly." His voice dropped to a whisper. "She can't help herself."

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


"Lucy! Glad you could join us!" Ryan smiled. "Since you ARE the topic of conversation."

"Nice of you to want me IN the room when you're talking about me." Her voice carried the sarcasm she felt and she moved closer to the table. "But I'm tired of rehashing the past. Get over it, Ryan."

Standing, Ryan moved towards Lucy. Kevin stood, but Lucy pushed him back gently and moved to face Ryan.

"That's easy for YOU to say. YOU'RE not in here. YOU'RE not about to lose your own children."

"I'M not the one that can't control the urge to kill people that piss me off!"

"Lucy," Feeling that Lucy was being way too overconfident where Ryan was concerned, Kevin reached for her hand to pull her away.

She resisted, and Ryan advanced on her. "You better be glad I CAN control that impulse, Lucy. You're still here, aren't you?"

Conceding the point, Lucy shrugged. "I'm sure I made you want to kill me. I have the effect on people, sometimes. But usually it takes being married to me to make them pissed off enough to actually try."

Suddenly Ryan began to laugh. "Well, at least you have a pretty good grasp of who you are, Luce."

Kevin was still trying to figure out what had just happened before his eyes. Lucy had thrown several digs at Ryan, and all he did was laugh. He was surprised that he hadn't had to pull Ryan off of her.

Sitting on the end of the table, Lucy studied Ryan. "This meeting was your idea, Ryan. Why are we here?"

"Well, Kevin's here because I called him. You're here because... actually, I'm not sure why you're here." Ryan snapped is fingers. "Maybe you've reconsidered your choice in brothers?"

Kevin started to stand, but Lucy grabbed his arm. "Don't. He's just pushing your buttons." Turning to Ryan, Lucy sighed. "I'm not here to play with you. I'm not here to give you ammunition to mess with Kevin. I'm here because we need to resolve this once and for all."

"And we all know how you want to resolve this, Lucy. You want happily ever after with Kevin." Standing, Ryan moved to face her. "Why?"

"What do you mean?" Lucy stared at him.

"I mean why? I know how much you love him. I made you prove it, remember?" Glaring at her, Ryan stepped closer. "You still don't really comprehend the whole Kevin."

"Yes, I do. I'm right where I want to be. Marissa and Victoria are right where they belong."

"If you comprehended him so well, why was it so easy for me to get you into MY bed?"

Kevin stood, but Lucy beat him to it. Putting her hand on Ryan's chest, she pushed him back. Ryan grabbed her arm, but she slid off the table to her feet and tried to shove him away from her. "What is it with you, Ryan? When we're alone, you're actually almost human. When Kevin's around, you get on this roll where you have to be an obnoxious jerk! Why?!" Her hands gripped his shirt and she glared into his eyes.

"Come on, Lucy. All that talk about soul mates and how he knows you better then you know yourself? Guess you don't know him as well as you think you do, or you wouldn't have been screaming his name while you were screwing me!"
Unable to take anymore of his attack, Lucy slapped Ryan's face as hard as she could. Instantly Ryan's face took on a look of rage and he advanced on her.

Grabbing her arm, Kevin pulled her away from Ryan and tried to get in front of her. Lucy struggled against him and began to scream at Ryan. "Go ahead! Remind me why I hated you! Remind me that you're such a monster that you shouldn't be anywhere near MY babies! Come on, Ryan! Show me who you REALLY are! You're good, Ryan. I forgot who you really are for a while, there. SHOW ME!"

The door opened and the guard entered the room, but neither of them noticed.

"Enough, Lucy! Stop challenging him to kill you!" Kevin held her against him.

"I'M NOT GOING TO HURT HER!" Ryan backed away a bit.

Moving between them, the guard stared at Kevin. "Talk about antagonizing the patients." He looked at Lucy and realized who she was. "Oh, no wonder."

Stopping, Lucy looked at him. "You are the last thing we need in here right now."

"Looks to me like YOU'RE the one that nobody needs around here." The guard gestured towards the door. "Why don't we step outside and give the patient a chance to calm down."

"He's calm. AREN'T you, Ryan." Lucy moved away from Kevin and looked at Ryan. "He's going to stop pushing Kevin's buttons, and we're going to talk, right?" She turned back to the guard. "You can go back outside and do whatever it is you do."

"Eavesdrop?" Ryan smiled as he suggested it.

The guard had enough of being told what to do. "Seems to me that when the three of you end up in the same room, NONE of you can stay calm. Why is that?"

All three of them stopped and looked at each other, but no one offered an answer. From the looks on their faces, the guard realized he was on to something.

"Wouldn't have anything to do with the kids you brought with you the last time, would it?" The guard looked at Lucy, who glared back at him.

"Get out." Kevin moved closer to Lucy.

"I told you they're off limits to you." Ryan also moved closer to Lucy.

Watching their reactions, the guard smiled at them. "This is great. Who's antagonizing who, here? I should have seen this coming a mile away. Guess his doctor should be here for this." The guard gestured at Ryan. "But from what I've found out about both of you, I'd guess that SHE'S the one that really needs him." He looked at Lucy and laughed. When Lucy's eyes dropped, Kevin and Ryan moved closer to the guard. Suddenly he put it together and it shocked him. "You really don't know, do you."

"Know what?" Lucy sighed, not really wanting to play a guessing game.

"You don't know if your kids are the next generation of stalkers or killers-" His hands gestured to Kevin and Ryan, but he didn't get a chance to finish the thought. In the same second, Kevin and Ryan moved towards him.
Ryan grabbed the guard by the neck and Kevin shoved him into the wall. The guard tried to fight back, but it only made Kevin and Ryan angrier. Lucy screamed at the two of them to stop, but they both ignored her. While Ryan held him, Kevin punched him. After only a few seconds, Ryan was holding an unconscious man by the throat.

"RYAN!" Lucy grabbed both of them by the arm and pulled them back. "LET GO OF HIM BEFORE YOU KILL HIM!"

Finally Ryan dropped him to the ground and they both moved back.

"This is great, just great! For the first time in 30 years, you two decide to work together, and it has to be ATTEMPTED MURDER?" Lucy shook her head. "Now what the hell are we going to do?"

"Finish the job and hide the body?" Ryan smiled at her.

"You think this is funny?" Almost screaming, Lucy advanced on Ryan, who backed away from her. "This is exactly what I was talking about. He was taking out who you are on them! Do you FINALLY get that?"

Stopping, Ryan looked at Lucy. "Yeah, Luce, I get it. But half that comment was directed at KEVIN! So you tell me what makes him so much better?"

"You want the truth, Ryan? I mean you aren't going to like it." When Ryan continued to stare silently at her, she continued. "HE got his life back together, Ryan. He didn't give up and spend the rest of his life BLAMING Melanie and Victor for what happened to him."

"You're treading a line, Lucy." It was a very bad point to make on Ryan, and his face showed it.

Not only did Lucy ignore his mood, she stepped closer and glared into his eyes. "You asked me!" The guard stirred on the floor, and Lucy began to pace. "Right now we have to figure out what we're going to do about him."

"Kevin won't have his life together when this jerk gets done with him." Ryan muttered.

"I don't believe this. This was supposed to be about finding a solution, not ending up in jail!" Moving between the two men, Lucy glared at both of them. "He's a low paid, self important jerk on a power trip. He LOVED pushing your buttons! And you two GENIUSES let him!" On a full blown rant, Lucy went from one to the other while they both watched her. "Ryan, you see him everyday, you should KNOW what he is. YOU give him exactly what he needs to jerk your chain! And YOU!" Lucy advanced on Kevin. "This whole thing was about CONVINCING people that I'd slept with both of you! He bought it, so you try to kill him? What IS it with the two of you? Have you both completely lost your minds?" As soon as she said it, she stopped and looked at the two of them.

"That was a completely rhetorical question." Ryan shrugged and looked at Kevin.

"Understatement of the obvious." Kevin agreed and they all looked at each other for a second, then, unable to ignore the irony of her statement, they all three began to laugh.

The guard rolled over and moaned. Ryan and Kevin became silent, but Lucy went from laughing to crying and put her hand over her face. "What are we going to do?"

Kevin moved to Lucy and put his arms around her. Ryan watched them for a moment before gripping Kevin's arm. "You EVER dump on her or those babies, I'll find a way to hunt you down, Kevin." Ryan's eyes filled with tears and he touched Lucy's face gently. "This isn't for HIM. You know that, right?"

Confused, Lucy stared at him.

His fingers gently gripped her jaw and he forced her to look in his eyes. "Don't you EVER let him or Victor hurt them."

Before Kevin or Lucy could say anything, Ryan moved to the guard and nudged him with his foot. "Don't bother calling for help, you hear me? The next time you say one word about those babies, KEVIN won't be around to protect you. I'll kill you."

Lucy and Kevin stared at each other for a moment, then Ryan grabbed Kevin's arm again. "Help him up. And keep him away from me."

Still not entirely sure what was happening right in front of him, Kevin grabbed the guard and helped him to his feet.

Jerking his arm free of Kevin, the guard backed towards the door and fumbled with his keys. "You're going to solitary, Chamberlain. It will be a long time before you're going to see your brother, you lover, or your kids again." He pointed to Kevin. "You're going to jail, DOCTOR COLLINS."

Kevin was still confused, but Lucy advanced on the guard. "For what? Saving your worthless ass from Ryan?" She turned to Kevin. "Next time let Ryan finish the job."

"I offered." Ryan shrugged.

"All three of you are nuts, you know that?" After finally finding the correct key, the guard let himself out and locked the door behind him.

For a moment, all three of them were silent.

"What's going to happen to you?" Lucy's voice was quiet as she moved to Ryan.

"What can they do? Arrest me?" He smiled. "Solitary for a few days. The security can't get much heavier. I think it will be a while before I can be out of my room without chains, but the only time they set me loose was when you were here, anyway."

Nodding, Lucy turned to Kevin. "Can you do something about him?" Lucy gestured towards the door, indicating the guard.

"I can talk to the administrator. He really shouldn't be allowed access to the patients. I've never defended Ryan before, so it should be believable." Kevin looked at Ryan. "I'm not sure what to say at this moment."

Ryan glared at him. "Don't say anything. This has NOTHING to do with you. This has to do with the fact that those two girls need a father. And for some reason, Lucy has decided that it's going to be you. I don't want them to turn out like us, and visiting both of us behind bars is NOT the way to begin to make that happen."

"What else do you want, Ryan?" Knowing there was more, Lucy closer to Ryan.

"I want to see them, Luce. That's all." Taking a breath, he tried to smile at her. "Show them what Uncle Ryan turned out to be and where they DON'T want to be 30 years from now."

"That's it? You're really going to....." Beginning to cry, Lucy couldn't believe what Ryan was saying to her.

"I'm not giving them up completely, Luce, so don't get your hopes up. I'm not going to press for the RFLP UNLESS you decide to cut me out."

"Strings." Speaking softly, Lucy stared at him.

"You know it. We all know the truth. Whether or not they ever find out is up to you."

Sitting back down on the end of the table, Lucy looked at him. "Spell it out for me, Ryan. What are the conditions?"

"I want to be included. That's all. I want to know what they look like, what they sound like. I'd like to see them once in a while."

Glancing at Kevin for a moment, Lucy nodded. "I can live with that."

Voices carried into the room from the hallway. Leaning closer to Lucy, Ryan deliberately whispered loud enough for Kevin to hear him. "Send me a wedding picture. But cut him out of it, gotta have something to think about on those lonely nights."

Lucy rolled her eyes, but Kevin glared at him.

The door opened and several orderlies entered with two security guards. One of them stopped. "Step away from him."

Lucy hesitated, but Ryan stepped back from her and sat in the chair. Immediately they approached him and put the chains back on his arms.

As they led Ryan out, one of the orderlies turned to Kevin and Lucy. "They want the two of you down in administration."

Nodding, Lucy took Kevin's hand and walked into the hallway.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


"Just like that?" Mary stared at Lucy and Kevin. "He just admitted he did it and let the two of you leave?"

"No, not just like that." Lucy shook her head. "He's going to hold the RFLP test over our heads. But as long as we include him in their lives, he won't do anything."

"What about the guard?" Victor looked at Kevin.

"He's fine." Shrugging, Kevin leaned back on the sofa next to Lucy. "We told the administrator what he had to say, and then we convinced him that the guard just confused the two of us. Ryan admitted he was the one that punched him, so it wasn't that difficult to convince anybody he was wrong."

"And you should have heard Doc, here." Smiling, Lucy squeezed his hand. "After the administrator gets done with that guard, he'll be lucky if he gets to stand guard over trash cans."

"I merely informed the administrator what his guard likes to do to the patients. And their visitors." Kevin tried to sound nonchalant, but Lucy began to laugh.

"The last thing he wanted was a slander suit against an employee of the hospital. Not to mention the possible repercussions of antagonizing the patients." Lucy grinned. "It was so much fun to watch him handle this idiot paper pusher."

"No better then the way you handle Ryan." He looked at Victor. "The more he tried to get to her, and me, the more she fought back." No longer smiling, Kevin pulled her hand to his face. "You really scared me a few times. The way you kept getting in his face and pushing his buttons, I was afraid he was going to hurt you."

"He wouldn't have, I know that."

"Why is it that you STILL think you can handle any man, Lucy?!" His voice rose and Lucy turned to face him with an angry expression on her face.

"I DID handle him, Doc! I know it's not ME, it's Marissa and Victoria. He won't hurt me because of them."

"That doesn't mean you'll get away with poking him with a stick. I thought you were the one that didn't think pissing him off was the answer. Forgive me if I'm missing something, but you didn't think SLAPPING him would piss him off?"

"You slapped him?" Victor stared at Lucy as is she'd lost her mind.

"Well," Shrugging, Lucy glanced at Kevin before continuing. "he pissed me off. It was like being in the room with a different man. Ever since I gave birth to them, he's been concerned and worried about them. Throw Kevin in the room with him and it's like a complete turnaround. Back to the Ryan that we all know and despise. And I'd heard enough."

"And you got away with slapping him?" Victor was still having a hard time with the thought. "You really took a chance with him, Lucy."

"No, to be honest, I just lost my temper. I told you that Ryan and I could push each other's buttons, but he was using me to really jerk Kevin's chain."

"Do you really think that he'll let the birth certificate stand?" Mary watched Lucy think about it.

"The guard proved my point. They made him pay for it, but he took a serious shot at the twins about following in their father's footsteps. Really shook him up and made him understand what I said to him." Shrugging, Lucy turned to Kevin. "I'm not fooling myself into thinking this will ever be over. But as long as we keep in touch with him, I think he'll keep what he knows to himself."

"He knows we don't have a choice."

"Doc, he knows we want to protect them." Lucy stood and began to pace. "He made it clear that this is for them." She turned to Victor. "He threatened what he'd do to Kevin if he ever hurt them. So, yes, I do believe that he'll let them keep Kevin's name."

"I'm so glad." Moving to Lucy, Mary hugged her. As Victor moved to Kevin to ask him a few more questions, Mary whispered to Lucy. "And when is YOUR name going to be Collins?"

"Mary!" Lucy grinned and shook her head. "Do you ever stop?"

"Do you?" Glancing at Kevin and Victor, Mary kept her voice down. "Has he mentioned it again?"

Before Lucy could answer, one of the girls began to cry in their bassinettes. As Lucy smiled and moved away, Mary muttered at her. "Momentary reprieve, Lucy."

Picking up Victoria, Lucy smiled at Mary.