Author's note: This story starts out the last week of June, before the earthquake caused Greg's death.
Joe Martin stood in the doorway and smiled as he watched Kendall holding Spike in her arms, Zach and Ryan on either side of her. She looked up at Joe. "So when do I get to bring him home?"
Joe came into the room. "Two more days, Kendall. I think he'll be completely out of the woods by then. Of course, you know he can't leave this place until he has a name on his birth certificate." He smiled again to show he was joking.
Zach spread his hands. "What, you don't like Spike?"
Kendall sighed. "Much as I'm attached to that name, we do need to come up with something else. I don't know what, though. I haven't really given it much thought."
Ryan cleared his throat. "Actually, I've been thinking about it awhile now. How about…Christopher? Remember when we found my Saint Christopher medal in that chapel, and we decided that night to keep the baby?" Kendall nodded. Ryan continued, "Also…Chris Stamp meant a lot to me. I know he wasn't really my father, but…for awhile I thought he was."
Kendall bit her lip, thoughtfully. "Christopher. I like it. Chris and I butted heads alot, but my mother did love him and he was a good man. I'm truly sorry he's gone."
Ryan nodded. "Me too. Well, Christopher it is."
Kendall looked up at Zach. "What do you think?"
Zach cocked his head. "I think it's a fine name." He smiled down at his beautiful wife and her precious little boy. He was overwhelmed to think that he now had a family.
David quietly and urgently continued to dig, hoping that he hadn't fucked it up for good this time. He should never have lured Dixie up to Scarsdale. He should have stayed in town where he could keep an eye on Madden. It had been a waste of time going up there, anyway. Thaddeus had to come along and mess things up.
He paused a moment, concerned that the noise he heard had been human. Burying Madden in a public park had probably not been the wisest course of action. He had been pressed for time, and the landscapers had done half the work for him. He had only to dig the hole a bit deeper, put Madden and the box down in the hole, and transfer the flowers from their crates to the plot. When the landscapers came back the next day, they were confused, but they simply decided they got the paperwork mixed up. A different crew must have finished the job.
Having decided that no one was coming, David finished digging. When he got back from Scarsdale, he checked his recordings and heard Greg raving about water leaking into the box. Then there was silence for a long time. If Madden died down there… David didn't want to contemplate the possibility that he would have been responsible for Dixie losing her best chance at getting her daughter back.
David opened the lid, hoping against hope that it wasn't too late. He stared uncomprehendingly down into the open box. "What the hell?"
Greenlee sank gratefully onto one of the tiny little chairs in the blissfully cool café. It was almost July and it was already boiling hot. She contemplated the possibility of heading someplace cooler. Her grandfather's jet was waiting patiently at the private hanger near Charles De Gaulle airport. She could go someplace north. Or maybe head to the southern hemisphere, where it was currently winter. She sighed and rubbed her belly. Much as her overheated hormones wanted relief, she was going to stay here. There was less than a month before her baby was born, and she wanted him to be born in Paris.
A waiter appeared by her side. In French, she ordered a decaffeinated iced coffee and a beignet. After he disappeared to place her order, she looked around. She had only just discovered this place yesterday. Normally she wouldn't come back again so soon, since she only treated herself to a coffee and pastry once a week, but she wanted to see if he would show up again.
Greenlee felt a little shiver as she thought about the man she encountered yesterday. She had gone into the café and was heading for one of the tables when she realized that she needed to go to the bathroom rather urgently. She made an abrupt stop and turned around. The man was right behind her, and had made every effort not to crash into her. Normally she would have railed at him to be more careful, but she was feeling self-conscious these days. With her rather large abdomen, she was no longer her graceful self. Add to that the fact that she was all alone and had no one to talk to - it had left her feeling almost…subdued.
After they both finished their effusive apologies, she had finally looked up…up…up into his eyes. What she saw there was bewildering on several counts. For one thing, the look in his eyes was one of shock and…recognition? She could have been mistaken about that, but she couldn't mistake the fact that he was wearing colored contacts. In the brightness of the café, his pupils were very small, so she could see the hint of green before the brown color of the contacts obscured the rest. Usually it was brown-eyed people who wanted to make their eyes blue or green. Her gaze then shifted to his dark brown hair. Not only was it a bad haircut, but it was clearly dyed. She knew a bad color job when she saw it. This man, whoever he was, was hiding something.
The man backed away, glancing repeatedly from her face to her giant belly. He apologized one last time before he turned and fled the café. His voice had changed also, deeper than it was a few moments before. Had she imagined the spark of recognition? Did he know her, somehow? His face had been unfamiliar to her. Maybe she was thrown by the hair and eyes. She tried to picture the face with different hair and eyes, but nothing rang a bell. Except….something about him. His mannerisms, his height… Something about him had unlocked within her a longing that she hadn't felt in ages. He had reminded her of… Greenlee sighed. Why was she doing this to herself? She was deliberately torturing herself by coming here to Paris. She wanted to be reminded of Leo, to feel connected to his spirit here. She wanted to banish all thoughts of Ryan by immersing herself in the past. So it stood to reason that she would conjure up Leo's ghost in the form of some mysterious gentleman.
The waiter brought her order and she looked down at the beignet. She wasn't hungry any more. She sipped her coffee, smiling slightly when she felt her little guy kick. The door to the café opened, and a woman walked in. She was followed by the man from yesterday. Greenlee froze. It wasn't just her imagination. He did remind her of Leo. The way he walked… Greenlee shifted her gaze to the woman. She was an older woman. Greenlee didn't like her expression as she spoke with the man – lectured him was more like it. He didn't seem to appreciate the speech either. There was something about that woman that filled Greenlee with dread. Something about her behavior, the way she spoke to the man, the way he reacted to her. It struck a familiar chord. Greenlee gasped as she made the connection. Just as the man somehow inexplicably reminded her of Leo, the woman that he was with reminded her of Vanessa.
The sentry quietly chuckled as he watched David through his night vision goggles. He flipped open his cell phone and pushed a button. "Mr. Wells? Hayward has found the empty box."
Ian laughed heartily. "Please tell me you took a picture. I really don't want to miss out on his expression."
"Oh, it's quite amusing, sir. Very much horrified and bewildered."
Ian shook his head. "Thanks for the update. Keep me posted on his actions. He'll never suspect the truth, but there's always the possibility that he'll stumble across some information." Ian Wells depressed the end call button on his cell phone. He looked over Greg Madden, tied securely to an examining table, and smiled.
When Ian read in the newspaper that Dixie was "resurrected" from the dead, he sent some men to Pine Valley to assess the situation. He was surprised to read in their report that the man he had helped her chase for a year, Doctor Greg Madden, was boldly residing in Pine Valley. Ian was pleased to discover that Dixie had followed his advice and hooked up with Zach Slater when she got to town. Ian had told her that since she wouldn't be able to contact him, Slater was someone she could count on if she got into trouble.
Ian could see that the situation was heating up with Madden. He decided to come to town so he could observe things from a closer vantage point. When Greg finally attempted to make an escape, Ian followed him and Del Henry to the airport. Ian boarded the jet just in time to witness David Hayward knock Madden over the head. He watched Hayward drag Greg off the jet, then glanced inside the main cabin. When Ian saw Erica Kane passed out, he froze in shock. What had Madden wanted with her? Reluctantly leaving Erica in the jet, Ian followed David and watched as he placed Greg in the box and buried him in the public park. Then he followed David back to his cabin and observed as he set up some transmission equipment.
When he left again, Ian stayed and put a bug in the equipment. After that he was able to hear everything that passed between David and Greg. Listening to Greg's ravings, he discovered the truth about what Madden had done to Erica, and his continued obsession with her. After the rainstorm, he realized that Greg was in danger of drowning. Because David was in Scarsdale, Ian made the decision to get Greg out of there before he died.
Now that Ian finally had Madden all to himself, he was going to get some answers. Hayward's plan, while certainly clever, had not been quite diabolical enough to induce the information out of Greg. Ian admired Madden's steely reserve. He would certainly be one tough nut to crack. But Ian knew just what tool to use for this type of nut. He plugged in the stryker saw.
While Zach was driving Kendall home, he asked her about Chris Stamp. She rested her head against the window as she thought about the man her mother almost married. "As Erica tells it, when Chris first came to town, he was very mysterious. He pretended to be a janitor, handyman, bartender. He was really an FBI agent trying to find out the identity of a drug lord known as Proteus. The drug lord turned out to be Leo's mother, Vanessa. Remember I told you about how Leo died? He went over the falls with his mother and they were never found. You see, after she was revealed to be Proteus she went crazy. Nuttier than a fruitcake. She threatened Greenlee's life on more than one occasion. She was put in a loony bin, but she escaped and kidnapped Greenlee. When Leo went to rescue her, he lost his life."
Kendall was silent for awhile as she remembered Greenlee's grief. It had taken her so long to come to terms with Leo's death. Kendall frowned. "How did I get to talking about Leo and Vanessa? Oh yeah, I was telling you about Chris Stamp." She sighed. "Anyway, he and Erica fell in love and got engaged. She went on trial for Frankie's murder. Frankie was Maggie's twin sister – Leo was their cousin and Vanessa was their aunt. Vanessa was the one who actually killed Frankie, but my mother was the prime suspect and she was eventually arrested. Chris decided to be Erica's attorney. He had a law degree, but had never practiced. I came back to town to try and sabotage her defense, so he and I were at each other's throats alot. It eventually came out that Chris and Ryan's mother had been an item at one time. Because of the timing, they concluded that Chris was Ryan's father. They became pretty tight, and after Ryan blew town, they kept in touch. I drove Chris crazy trying to get him to tell me where Ryan was. A long time after Chris died, Erica read in his journal that he really wasn't Ryan's father. Chris let him think he was because he wanted Ryan to stop seeing himself as Patrick's son, a chip off the old block. When Ryan found out the truth…well, you were there when he spiraled out of control."
Zach pulled into the parking lot in front of the condo cluster. "How did Chris die?"
Kendall got out of the car. "Chris went ballistic after he found out Erica had been sneaking around with Jackson. Some scumbag he knew from one of his FBI assignments thought he would do Chris a favor and have Jackson taken out. Jack ended up in the hospital and almost died because they couldn't find a blood donor that shared his rare blood type. That whole thing was what led to the discovery that Greenlee was his daughter. Anyway, Chris went after the scumbag, who ended up kidnapping Maddie Grey. The guy shot Chris and Maddie managed to escape and get to her father. Chris died a hero."
Zach and Kendall entered the condo and she went over to a cupboard and pulled out a photo album. Flipping through it, she came to the page she was looking for. "There. That's Chris Stamp."
Zach took the album and gazed down at the picture of Chris Stamp with his arm around Erica's shoulder. Years of self-control kept his hands steady, his breathing normal, and not a glimmer of his true emotions in his expression. He would never have laid odds on the possibility that he knew this man. He remembered when he first came to Pine Valley, he marveled at the strange coincidence that his brother's life had ended in the same town where Maria lived, the woman he had loved and lost. Now there was this…this other strange connection to a small backwater town in Pennsylvania.
Zach had known Chris as Sam Keith. He had often wondered in the past three years why he never heard from him any more. He'd been suspicious that Sam was dead, and now he had confirmation. He suppressed the urge to laugh bitterly. Kendall called him a hero. In many ways, he was more ruthless, cunning, and cold-blooded than even the Cambias men. But Zach wouldn't have called him evil…not in the way that Michael had been evil. Sam was the type of man who decided that the end justified the means. His motives were often pure, but the way he went about achieving those goals would rob any normal man of his soul. Zach's own soul was in tatters because of Sam. Zach took responsibility for his own actions. He made every decision knowing what the consequences would be. But it was Sam who had given him the choices to be made. It was Sam who had played God with his life and many others. Zach was relieved to know that he wasn't immortal after all.
Zach looked up from the picture and saw that Kendall was frowning at him. He wondered if his expression had not been as impassive as he had intended. He searched for something innocuous to say. "I'm sure your mother will love her grandson's new name."
Kendall shook her head. "No. You're not going to do this to me again. You're not going to shut me out. You were trying to hide it, but I can see that something is very wrong. You tell me what it is now, or you can sleep across the courtyard in your old place with Ryan."