"It's not going to be that easy to get rid of me." Philip muttered to himself as he strode away from the Pub toward his car. "I messed things up with her twice before, but I'm not going to make another mistake." Angry thoughts flitted through his mind with every step as he remembered Lucas' efforts to maneuver himself into being Chloe's hero with the opera suggestion. "I'm the one that set up that grant in Kansas City and you know it. But that's okay big brother...I've learned to always have a backup plan."

By the time he nosed his car into the sparse Salem traffic the rage had ebbed as he focused on the smile on Chloe's face and the way it had felt to hold her in his arms again. Setting up her audition wouldn't even take a special phone call, but there was no need for Chloe to know that he'd already made the arrangements before he found her at the Pub.

"I'll let Lucas play the hero tonight. Meanwhile I'll be the one loaning her the Titan jet and traveling with her while I take care of some Kiriakis foundation business." For a moment he felt a twinge of guilt at the way he was manipulating the situation, but then he remembered the way Lucas had said Sami's name at the hospital and shook it off.

Musing quietly to himself as he drove, he rationalized that Lucas and Sami were just going to get back together yet again. Even without knowing the details of her conversation with Nicole he could see that Chloe was unhappy. And Lucas was clearly using her to upset Sami and help him with Alli. "No, there's no point to waiting for things to fall apart on their own. Not when we've already wasted so much time."

As Philip wound his way home content in the day's events, Lucas was feeling more and more unsettled about what he'd seen through the Pub window. Chloe's initial glee had faded into a quiet contentment that should have been comforting, but he couldn't get the image of Philip's signature on the grant out of his mind, or how close they'd seemed before he'd joined them. By the time they reached the cabin and were juggling Allie and her things through the door he felt like he'd burst out of his skin if he didn't get some answers.

"You didn't tell me you were meeting Philip tonight." Lucas whispered as he laid Allie into her crib, before gesturing to Chloe to follow him back into the front room of the cabin.

"I wasn't meeting him. He just happened to show up while I was sitting there." Chloe replied softly. "You know we're still good friends." She kicked off her shoes and flopped onto the couch with a soft sigh.

"Philip doesn't have friends. I thought you'd know by now that there are people he has a use for, and then there's everyone else." Taking a seat next to her he said "I know you're about to bring up him giving me this job. But the old CFO had a heart attack and won't be able to come back to work. This way he didn't have to hunt for a new person, and it has the added bonus of making me indebted to him."

"You make him sound so..."

"Ruthless? Someday I'll tell you how I lost my job at Titan in the first place. Let's just say that Philip is a chip off the old block. I know I suggested he help you out with the Kansas City thing, but you should get out there on your own and start auditioning. I know you guys were close as kids, but he's really not that guy now, and I'd hate for you to pin all your hopes on him."

Chloe shrugged "I've heard from well...everyone how much he's changed since high school. Including him. But when we're just hanging out and he's not doing his evil corporate guy thing he's still the funny sweet occasionally jerky guy that he's always been. I know he's changed, we've all changed over the years. But he's been through a lot and I'm always going to be his friend, so you can't say he doesn't have any friends." Her tone was acerbic, and when Lucas didn't reply she rose to her feet "I'm really tired, and Alli is probably going to be up at the crack of dawn. You coming to bed?"

Lucas shook his head "I've still got some stuff to read before my first meeting tomorrow. I'll be in later."


He frowned as she walked out without bothering to kiss him goodnight. Part of him wanted to get up and shake her for being so blind, but he knew it wouldn't do any good. Chloe was probably the only person whose life Philip hadn't shredded in recent memory and without seeing him morph from his current mask of dispassionate businessman into the vengeful creature that had rampaged through Salem not so long ago, she probably wouldn't believe just how bad things could get for someone that crossed his brother. Shaking off his own dark memories, Lucas pulled out his laptop and got to work.

"Why borrow trouble?" He murmured to himself, "Maybe all of that stuff is done now. Philip's with Morgan and he seems to be fine with my relationship with Chloe." The figures in front of him helped push away the thought that courtesy of Philip's help he and Chloe would be spending a lot of nights apart in the near future.