Best of You
Disclaimer: Same as before… The Young and the Restless is owned by CBS Broadcasting Inc., CBS Corporation and Bell Dramatic Serial Inc. and probably a host of other companies but definitely not by me. No malice or infringement of copyrights are intended by this writing and I will stop if someone just tells me to. There's no need for litigation to occur.
**Timeline: Skipping forward in time to include the Sabrina/David Chow crash. Both characters die and we move on with the story from where I left off.
Summary: Victor manipulates Amber and Adam gets an advantage.
Author's Note: I realized that I got bored with this story, which was why the updates weren't coming along as often as they should. So this is me trying to resolve the boredom and the story. Hope it's still enjoyable.
Stepping out into the rain, Amber briefly wished she hadn't forgotten her umbrella. But since there was no help for it now, she held her wide cumbersome purse over her head and dashed as quickly as her wide cumbersome body could move across the street. She was soaked half way there and resigned to the fact that she was going to have to spend the next half hour in the women's room trying to get as much as her dry as possible before she caught a cold.
"What the hell…"
Amber turned and almost lost her footing in the water and suddenly found herself under the protection of a wide golf umbrella and a strong hand on her arm.
"Are you stupid? What is wrong with you?" Billy Abbott yelled at her as he ushered her across the street and into the relative safety of an awning. "Did you not notice it's like hailing when you left your apartment?"
Wiping water from her eyes, Amber took a breath and let it out slow. "Good morning to you too Billy."
"Knock it off with the mouth," Billy said, shrugging off his jacket and draping it over her shoulder. "I'm not in the mood."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Why are you here?"
"I need to talk to your editor," he grumbled disagreeably and helped her toward the building. "Some ads needs to be changed for the upcoming Jabot campaign."
Nodding her head, she fell silent as she picked her way through the various puddles along the sidewalk, trying to keep her boots dry and thus her feet dry. She hated having cold feet; it made her cranky and sore. She was cranky and sore with an unwieldy body already, no need to add more to her discomfort.
"Careful," Billy warned as he helped her navigate the now dangerous icy pavement. "And why are you taking public transit in your condition?"
"Because my car is dead and I'm still waiting to save up for a new one," she answered absentmindedly as she clung to Billy's arm and step onto the icy patch that covered most of the sidewalk. Between the rain and the snow and then the rain again, Genoa City had become a dangerous place for her. Being unable to see past her stomach to her toes was fast coming a problem as the weather got worse.
Sighing with exhaustion, "I'll pick you up in the morning and bring you to work. I don't want you taking a fall."
"Not your responsibility," she chirped. She seemed to be saying that a lot lately: to Cane, to Adam and now to Billy. "I'm doing alright."
"Right and pigs can fly," Billy turned his body to shield her from a sudden gust of wind. "You need a better coat."
"I'm fine," she replied exasperated. "Seriously, you need to…"
"Ms. Moore," the deep voice would have been recognizable from anywhere on earth. But as Victor Newman stepped out of his car and onto the sidewalk in front of "Restless Style," he wore a particularly grim look on his face.
"Mr. Newman," Amber greeted softly, politely… with sympathy. She opened her mouth of offer her condolences but knew that nothing she said would be helpful. Sabrina Newman's sudden and unexpected death had been a shock to everyone… especially to her new husband who was dealt a double loss by the fact that they had just announce their expected bundle of joy. It was obviously by his shadowed eyes and lines on his already aged face that these past few weeks had taken a toll.
"Victor," Billy nodded his greeting, holding back his usual hostility toward anyone with Newman blood. Even he couldn't muster up anything but sympathy for the great Victor Newman after what happened.
"Billy," Victor dismissed the Abbott heir with a glance and a nod and focused his attention on the young lady before him. Eyes that missed nothing took in the fact that she was soaked and wearing two coats. Opening the door, he ushered her in with a sweeping arm out of the rain and cold. "How are you, Ms. Moore?"
"I'm doing alright. And you?" She winced as soon as the words left her mouth. It was an auto response and a stupid one at that. She tightening Billy's oversized coat over her obviously pregnant belly. Carrying twins meant she showed a lot faster and greater than normal; her petite frame didn't help any.
Victor smiled sadly, reflected on the metal doors of the elevator they stood in front of. "I've had better days, my dear."
"I'm… I'm sorry," she made a face, wanting to find a hole to crawl into. Of all the idiotic things for her to say. "I didn't mean to…"
"It's alright," he replied quietly, "I understand."
"I'm sorry," she turned and looked at him, truly looked at him; it was then she realized how much the man had aged. "I really am."
Something in Victor softened. "Thank you."
The elevator dinged its arrival and the three got on in silence. Amber subtlety adjusted the strap to her purse over her shoulder and rubbed her kidney where the one of her babies was gently nudging her. Breakfast hadn't stuck and she was hungry again. She wondered if she had any cookies left in her drawers.
"You alright?" Billy asked softly, concern written on his face.
Victor's eyes shifted over.
Amber made a face. "I'm fine."
"You don't look fine."
"I'm fine," she repeated, her eyes gently shifting to Victor.
Billy ignore the warning. There was nothing he could do for Victor to ease his pains but Amber was another story. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she hissed back.
"Don't lie to me," Billy frowned at her.
Since Billy Abbott has proven, more than once now, that he could be a great deal more stubborn than even she, "I'm hungry, okay? Breakfast isn't lasting as long as it use to."
"I'll get you something," Billy replied.
"Not your responsibility," she repeated… yet again.
"Shut up," he grumbled.
Amber rolled her eyes and got off the elevator… and found Billy and Cane chatting at her desk. "Agh… you've got to be kidding me."
Billy snickered. "Looks like your breakfast just arrived."
"Good," Victor rumbled as he entered the too warm office with a frown at Adam. "Find Ms. Moore some dry clothes. She seemed to have gotten wet in the rain."
"I'm fine," Amber assured everyone at large, who all turned to watch the arrival of the Great Victor Newman. Sighing with annoyance at the concerned frowns directed at her, Amber shrugged off her coat… then realized that she had another one on. Throwing Billy's coat at him, she took off the ugly wool jacket she found at a thrift store and hung it up to dry.
Adam got off Amber's desk and frowned at her. "I thought you said you had a ride to work and that's why you didn't want me picking you up? What happened?"
"I did have a ride," she said defensively, wishing this wasn't playing out in front of all her co-workers… plus Victor Newman.
Grabbing a mini muffin on her desk, Billy shoved it into her mouth. "Public transit is not 'a ride' by any stretch of the imagination. Eat!"
"Stop it," she took a bite and avoided his outstretch hand with juice.
"I thought you said you were hungry," Billy complained.
"You didn't have breakfast?" Cane asked, horrified by the thought. "Why didn't you call me?"
"And why would I do that?" she ducked under Billy's outstretched arm to put her purse away. Sometimes it was good to be short. "Will you stop that?"
"You gotta eat," Billy reminded her.
"Shut up," she told him and dug through her purse again. The doctor had put her on vitamins because of the twins, her body simply wasn't processing enough nutrients to support herself and the babies sufficiently.
"What is that?" Adam, Cane and Billy asked at the same time.
"Relax, boys," Nicholas shook his head at the Three Stooges as he's come to call them in his head. "It's just supplements." Grinning, he held out some clothes. "Some samples from the last shoot. See if they fit."
"Thanks boss," she dimpled at him and took the dress. "Hey, it's one of mine."
"Yeah, it did well too," he nodded toward the backroom. "Go change and come see me afterwards. I have some things to discuss with you." He look at the three idiots as Amber waddled to the backroom, rubbing her hair dry. "You two can leave now. And what can I do for you, Billy?"
"I need to pull the Jabot ads," he pulled out a flash drive from his pocket. "But it can wait a bit," tilting his chin toward Victor.
Nicholas nodded and turned to his father, who was silently staring into the direction Amber had gone. There was a wistfulness to the way he was watching the girl waddle away on sore ankles and Nick felt his heart go out his father. "Dad, did you need to see me for something?"
"Yes," Victor answered distractedly until the door to the backroom closed then he turned those piercing blue eyes on his eldest son. "I would like to speak with you about a certain matter."
Sighing silently, Nicholas nodded and nudged his head toward the lone office that was used for meetings. He supposed he should just be glad that his father was no longer ignoring everyone and at least attempting to communicate. "Can I get you coffee?"
"No, thank you," Victor looked at Adam and frowned. "You should see to Miss Moore's safety more. She should not be riding the bus and walking in the rain in her condition."
"I'm working on it, Victor," Adam said patiently. His father's disapproval riled him but was tempered by the haunted sadness in Victor's eyes whenever he looked at Amber's softly rounded belly and he remembered that there was a child that had been lost too.
Cane watched the father and son a moment, amusement and fascination dancing in his eyes. That dynamics were so different from what he expected that he couldn't help but want to know more.
"Shut up," Adam said to Cane as he turned back and found his rival staring.
"Hey, no judgment," Cane held up his hand in a non-threatening way. "At least your father wants to help. My mother just yells at me about the whole thing."
"Mom still not on board yet?" Billy asked, playing with the flash drive in his hand. He hadn't told Cane that he'd switched out Lily Winter's campaign photos yet… nor did he intent to. Jabot was his to deal with now and he wasn't going to ask for approval about something as simple as ad shots. Besides, his brother shouldn't care what happens to his ex's career, right? He was over her.
"She's having a difficult time," Cane replied neutrally… okay he was lying. Jill was taking every opportunity to lecture him on the ills of having Amber back in his life. And Amber was not helping by agreeing with Jill every time the two were in the same vicinity. Amber's cooperation has managed to simultaneous please and rile Jill up – much to Cane and Katherine's confusion and exasperation. It's also the reason Jill was now banned from Crimson; Kevin and Jana were simply won't put up with it any longer.
"Keep your mother away from Amber," Adam replied sharply, impatience and frustration gnawing at his gut. Amber's steady refusal in the weeks before to even consider moving in with him has become a sore spot. Added to the stress of it was Victor's morbid presence since Sabrina and their child's untimely demise. On top of that, every time he saw Amber these days, she had either Cane or Billy hovering around her. The fact that Amber stood steadfast in her stance of wanting to handle her pregnancy alone both pissed him off and made him so damn proud of her.
On the plus side, he's managed to attend/barge in on every single one of her sonograms to date. And despite her resistance to telling him anything about the baby, he already knew… it wasn't just one baby. He briefly wondered if Cane or Billy knew.
"Why are you guys still here?" Amber asked as she made her way to her desk again, shaking out her damp dress and coat.
"You should change your socks and shoes," Billy pointed out.
Cane agreed with a nod. "Yes, you should. Cold feet isn't good for you."
She glared at the two of them. Her feet were freezing and she really wanted to defy them just because she could… but she wasn't going to make herself suffer just to spite them. Kicking her flats off, she strained sideways for a moment before she was able to reach her socks. That little motion was going to get harder as she got bigger.
"Oh for god sakes," Cane muttered shoved her back into an upright position. Grabbing her damp dress, he wrapped her wet feet in them and rubbed vigorously to dry and warm her icy toes. "You need to wear more sensible shoes and thicker socks." He glanced at the unpainted toenails, a first for her. "Call me if you don't have a ride to work, I will be more than happy to pick you up and delivery you directly to the office door. I see no need for you to trek through the rain in these shoes that weren't meant for this weather."
"Hundreds of people get to work this way every single day. Why should I be the exception?" she tried to tug her foot from his grip but found that it wasn't nearly as easy as it looked.
"Because hundreds of people aren't all carrying my child," Cane informed her in his usual no nonsense tone as he gave the soles of her feet a good squeeze and let go. "Do you have dry socks?"
"You might want to get your hearing checked, Cane," Amber replied, putting her feet on carpet so she can go in search of dry footwear, "because there is obviously something seriously wrong with it."
"I hear you plenty well," Cane replied amiably, "I just choice to ignore what you say."
"Oh so helpful," she glared at him and pulled socks and shoes from a sample drawer. She'll have to wash and replace them later. Bending to sit, she dropped the shoes when whichever brat she was carrying kicked in her the kidney. "Ow…"
"What? What? What is it?" Cane was on his knees in front of her in less than a second.
"I'll call for an ambulance," Billy said, picking up the phone on her desk.
"Put your feet up," Adam suggested as he pulled another chair over, almost crashing into Cane in the process.
"Be quiet!" Amber ordered then winced and sat down quickly, nausea setting in as the pain started to recede finally. She hated getting kicked in the kidney, it was worse than when the babies put their weight on her spine.
"What is going on out here?" Nicolas demanded as he approached. Amber's white face told him quickly what had happened. He's seen it one too many times now. "Are you alright? Kicked again?"
Nodding her head, Amber reached blindly for the trashcan. Throwing up on the floor was not an option.
"What's wrong with her?" Billy asked.
"Kidney," Nick explained as he reached for the row of bottled water he now kept on one of the shelves along with product placements merchandise for photo shoots.
"Is she suppose to look like that?" Adam asked quietly, as he watched Amber lean over the trash bin, breathing slowly through her mouth.
"She's right here!" Amber glared at the lot of them and started when she realized that Victor Newman was watching her silently with haunted eyes. She straightened slowly, sympathetic for the man that's always had everything but has suddenly lost so much.
"Are you alright, Ms. Moore?" Victor asked, gently.
"I'm fine," Amber forced herself to smile and be reassuring. "Baby kicked, that's all."
Victor's face gave a semblance of a smile as he gazed gently at the softly rounded belly that now carried life. "Is the child still kicking?"
Placing her hand at the side, she felt a gentle nudge with a foot. "Yeah, they've been real active this morning. Kept me up most of the night too."
"They?" Victor zeroed in on the details.
Amber winced at her own slip up.
"They?" Adam and Cane echoed, "As in twins?"
Wishing for a hole to crawl in, she almost denied the claim until she saw the hope in Victor's eyes. There was something so painful about seeing that tiny spark of light in those aged and sad eyes of a soul so tortured that that she couldn't possibly know just how deep the wound went. Unable to lie before those haunted eyes, Amber reluctantly nodded.
"Wow," Billy smirked. "You don't do anything halfway, do you?"
In response, Amber kicked him in the shin.
"May I?" Victor asked, reaching out with a big wide hand toward where her hand was still resting against her belly.
Unable to deny him, she smiled gently and guided his hand to the gentle ripple against her side. The baby kicked against the pressure, delighted by the attention. Victor gasped in surprise and pleasure. Unwilling to be upstaged by its womb companion, the other baby joined in to garner some attention for itself.
"Oh my," Victor breathed in deeply, touched by the new life that grew within her. "They certainly are strong, aren't they?"
"Stubborn," Amber replied and rubbed her side. "Like their mom."
"Healthy," Victor corrected with a smile that hinted at regret and pain. "That's what is important."
"Yes," Amber felt her heart break a little again for him.
Adam and Cane both reached out eagerly for a little connection to the children they considered their own. Amber had been steadily avoiding letting either one of them get too close to her and the babies. Neither of them had gotten a chance to feel the babies yet. When she shifted in her seat to put herself out of their reach, they two papas-to-be pouted like children.
"Come on Amber, please?" Cane begged.
"Just for a moment?" Adam bargained for.
Putting her socks and shoes on, Amber stood and head for her desk.
"Ms. Moore," Victor stopped her with a gentle hand that never touched her but offered a kind of soft comfort. "If you have a moment, I was hoping I could discuss something with you."
"Um…" Nick decided that now would be a good time to make sure Amber didn't have cause of a harassment suit. "Amber has a meeting right now."
"I do?" Amber asked.
"She does?" Billy, Adam and Cane questioned the dubiousness of the excuse.
"Yes," Nick breathed with exasperation just as the elevator dinged open. "And there she is now," nodding toward the redhead that was headed toward them. "Lauren, glad you can make it."
Lauren Fenmore Baldwin smiled and graced the room with her exotic beauty. "I'm glad you were able to squeeze me in," she reached out and shook Nicolas' hand before turning to Amber. "Ms. Moore, I finally had a chance to review the portfolio that you had sent months ago. I'm terribly sorry that it's taken me this long to reach out to you; but better late than never I suppose. I came there today in hopes of discussing doing some business with you. Do you have a moment?"
Shocked by the prospects, Amber could only stare for a moment. "Um… of course," she looked at Nick with wide eyes, to which he merely smiled and nodded to toward the conference room. "This way…"
Lauren smiled, nodded her greetings to the ring of men and followed Amber to the conference room. The amusement in her eyes was unmistakable. She had gotten an earful from her sister-in-law about Amber's current situation with the men around her. And despite having been warned, Lauren hadn't considered just how things might be for the young designer she was now determined to work with.
"Did you arrange this?" Adam asked his brother.
"I can't take any credit for it," Nick replied with a smile. "Lauren called me about getting a meeting with Amber."
"Well… she's been trying to break into the fashion business for a while now," Billy shrugged his shoulder and leaned on Amber's desk. "This is huge for her. She certainly has the talent for it."
Cane and Adam said nothing, both happy and anxious for her.
"Hey," Billy waved the flash drive still in his hand. "Any chance we can do a little business here?"
"Of course," Nick motioned him over to the designs corner of the room. "Let's take a look," and left his father and the two suitors to entertain themselves.
Glancing at his watch, Cane made a noise of frustration. He had a meeting in twenty minutes with the investment team and his grandmother. He couldn't be late for that. But he didn't want to leave either… not when he was desperate to talk to Amber about the twins…. Twins! He was going to have twins. He couldn't wait to tell his grandmother about… Um, or perhaps his grandmother already knew. That would certainly explain why she had double the number of things she's been collecting in the designated "Amber's Room."
"Go," Adam advised leaned back on the desk to wait for Amber. "I'll make sure she eats."
Grinding his teeth, Cane nodded and got up to leave. "Call me tonight. We'll want to discuss this new things."
Adam nodded and waved him off, watching his father's stony face. He could already see the gears working in Victor's mind, none of which could possibly be good for him. On the other hand, when it comes to getting what he wants, Victor Newman was a master of the game. Perhaps Adam could pick up some pointers as to how to get Amber to look at him with a much more gentle eyes. "Victor, perhaps right now isn't such a good time to be…"
"Be quiet," Victor advised as he watched the conference room, waiting patiently for Amber to return. It was similar to watching a spider awaiting its prey. It was rather unnerving. "Go back to the office and get the new contracts from the Mississippi company ready. I'll be in to review in an hour."
"I'll make sure that Ms. Moore gets her breakfast."
"She and I should have a little chat."
Victor's eyes were icy cold when it they turned to look at his youngest son and Adam had a unsettling suspicion that things would not go well for him if he stuck around.
"Thank you so much," Amber shook Lauren's hand vigorously, her excitement bubbling over to immeasurable proportions. "You don't know what this means to me."
"I think I do," Lauren said gently. "I had to struggle once upon a time. It's good to know that I can provide the same opportunities for young people like you and make a tidy little profit as well. I look forward to seeing those designs in a few days."
"I'll have them on your desk first thing Monday morning."
"No hurry, we have some time before the spring line has to go into production. Take your time," she smiled, shook Amber's hand again and left, giving Victor a quiet and dignified nod of acknowledgement.
Floating somewhere in the vicinity of cloud nine, it took a moment for Amber to realized that Victor Newman had situated himself at her desk and didn't appear to be leaving any time soon. "Mr. Newman," she greeted tentatively then saw the breakfast Cane and Adam had brought for her spread across her entire table like a banquet. "Did the guys do that?" pointing at the food.
"No," Victor corrected as he stood and helped her into her seat. "I did. The doctors say that a woman with child would need twice the amount of food she usually ate on a daily basis. Sabrina craved salty and sweet alternatively throughout the day though she wasn't very far along when…" his voice trailed off and he cleared this throat a little. "You should eat more. If my son deemed it necessary to bring you meals, I can only assume that you are not getting enough food to sustain yourself."
"I eat very well," Amber explained with a forced smile but picked up the Danish on her desk, her sympathy overriding the alarms that were going off in her mind about all the things she knew Victor Newman was capable of. "Adam just nags."
"He is concerned, as he should be for the mother of his child."
Amber flinched at his words. Short of a DNA test, she didn't know how to convince the Newmens that she wasn't carrying their scions. "Mr. Newman…"
"I've worked very hard in my life," Victor said quietly, "Given my family the best of what I can. As anyone would tell you, I have made many mistakes along the way, some of my doing… some of others. I've endured a great deal of pain and loss in this life time too." He looked off into the distance, seeing something only he could see. "More than any man should."
Amber felt her heart break a little for him. "Mr. Newman, I'm so sorry about your wife and…" she felt the tears well in her eyes. She knew the lost of a child more than once. She knew the pain that can never be healed. "I'm so very sorry."
"Thank you," he looked at her with kind eyes, the kind of eyes that was warm with hope. "I cannot tell you how much it meant to me knowing that the child… the children that you carry are safe and protected. Thank you, Ms. Moore. Thank you for that."
Agonizingly, "Mr. Newman…"
"Knowing that you were carrying Adam's child has gotten me through many dark days now," Victor told her gently. He stood with a sigh that was from deep down and full of pain. "It's lonely at the ranch, just myself and memories of missing things. I know you weren't keen on the idea before but I'd like you to reconsider moving to the hunter's cottage."
She sighed tiredly. "These aren't your grandchildren, Mr. Newman." She hated disappointing him like that, especially faced with so much lost he's been dealt with lately. "These aren't Adam's children."
"Adam says that they are."
"He's wrong," she corrected gently.
"He's not," Victor replied quietly, resting his hand on Amber's for a moment; conveying something to her that was important. "One does not need to share blood with a child to be a parent, to love a child."
Frozen in her seat, Amber didn't know what to say.
"Please reconsider moving to the Ranch. It's safe place and I have servants and drivers at your disposal. In your condition, you should be looked after and protected. And knowing you are safe and comfortable would bring me a peace of mind; I think it would help both of us." He smiled gently, warmth in his eyes as he patted her hand softly in reassurance.
What he was offering was more than just a roof over her head. He was offering her safety… peace… a home; a support system at her back that she's hasn't had in a long, long time. He was offering her support and a shelter from the world. He was offering her a family for her babies; a real family that takes care of one another. And he was backing it all up with the Newman name, money and power.
And he didn't care that they weren't his blood; he wasn't judging her.
It didn't matter.
Victor reached out and held out a tissue to Amber. She hadn't even realized that she was crying. "You'd be safe," he told her quietly. "You'll be okay."
She nodded and wipe her tears with a sniffle. "Okay."
He tilted in his head in question, "Okay you'll move in?"
She swallowed her tears and nodded again. "Okay, I'll move in."
Adam almost dropped his coffee and files when his phone unexpectedly started to ring in his pocket. Juggling coffee cup, pens and spreadsheets, he finally picked up just before it went to voice mail. "Hello?"
"Pack your bags, you move back to the Ranch tonight."
"What?" blinking fast. He glanced at the phone to figure out who it was. "Victor?"
"Move back to the Ranch tonight."
"Amber has agreed to move onto the Ranch, the hunter's cottage."
Certain that he heard wrong, Adam gave himself a moment. "Say that again?"
"Ms. Moore is moving into the hunter's cottage as soon as we arrange for movers; which will be by the end of the day. I don't want her in that horrible apartment any longer than necessary for her to be comfortable. I've seen the stairs, they're not meant for human living conditions. I'll talk to Estella tonight about getting a decorator for a nursery section at the cottage until Ms Moore is more agreeable to moving into the main house."
"Moving into the main house?"
Victor made a noise of annoyance. "You do not want to be close at hand when your children arrive?"
"Of course I do," Adam protested defensively.
"Then the cottage will need to be remodeled before it can accommodate that many. In the mean time, the main house has plenty of room for you, Ms Moore and the children once we can convince her to move there before the children arrive. Now pack your bag tonight; I'll have Estella prepare your room."
"Um… Yeah… of course," he stumbled over his own words and almost pumped his fist in the air. "I'll be there by midnight."
Victor paused for a moment. "You're my son, Adam. Try not to forget that." Then hung up.
Adam grinned like an idiot to the buzzing of the phone amazed at Victor's impossible feat. Then ran like a giddy schoolboy to his office, too excited to do anything more than try to get through the day so he can get back to the Athletic Club to pack his bags. He couldn't wait now. Toys, he was going to need toys. And a new crib. And baby blankets. And mobiles, the soft ones with a names that spin and plays music. And… oh who case about that all that. It can wait. All of it can wait because he was going to get plenty of time to handle all that later. He was going to get more time now that Amber was going to be so much closer. His dream was coming true…
Amber was moving in!
To be continued….
Thoughts? A little feedback?