It took far longer than he expected and he had to consult Alexis's rather dog-eared "Recipes for Complete Beginners" but Blake made dinner, or tried to.

He quickly realised that perhaps he shouldn't have take the piss out of Alexis's cooking quite so much when his own was little better. His guilt had only increased, his stomach churning when he realised just what she had been making, shepherd's pie.

She had been cooking the meal that had had such history between them when he with his big mouth had jumped to conclusions. When instead of just talking to her, Blake was disgusted with himself, if she really was pregnant the last thing he should be doing is yelling at her.

Putting the finished dinner on a plate Blake placed it carefully on a tray and taking a deep breath took it up to her room. Knocking on the bedroom door Blake waited for an answer, surprised when Alexis didn't even tell him to leave. Pushing open the door with his elbow Blake surveyed the empty room, he was almost about to leave when he heard the telltale sound of muffled crying from the bathroom.

Crossing the room Blake shifted the tray into one hand and rapped his knuckles against the door.

"Alexis." He began softly.

"Go away Blake." Alexis mumbled.

"I made dinner."

"I'm not hungry."

Sighing Blake sank to the floor setting the tray down next to him. "You have to eat Alexis; if you want I can just leave it on the side."

When Alexis didn't answer Blake leant his head against the door lifting his hand to rest his palm against the door. He didn't know how it started but suddenly the words were falling from his lips

"I don't blame you really if you don't want to eat it, I cooked it after all and after all these years I'm not quite sure what goes into a shepherd's pie. I probably messed it up completely and it's nearer cowherder pie or some such nonsense."

Blake joked before breaking off, hanging his head muttering softly. "I'm sorry, I can't excuse the way I have been behaving towards you. First in Acapulco, now here, it seems like I can't think straight around you just react. My emotions seem to fluctuate wildly from ecstatic to blinding mad without giving my brain chance to catch up."

Sighing Blake closed his eyes leaning away from the door as he admitted something aloud for the first time, not even certain she was even listening to him but needing to keep speaking until he had it off of his chest.

"I admit it Alexis I never really dealt with your affair, never allowed myself to confront my feelings on the matter, and just buried the hurt and anger. Locking them away and thought I'd move on eventually but now I realise all I've has done is suppress everything, so now it just bubbles up out of control…"

Shaking his head Blake added "I know I haven't done a damn thing to deserve your forgiveness; I can't forgive myself for the way we left things in Acapulco. But I really need you to understand I never meant to strike you, I always prided myself that despite my many faults I was never a man who would, even could strike a woman."

And to strike her…her of all people…

Swallowing down the sick feeling that bubbled up as he replayed in his mind that confrontation, the look of shock and horror on her face as she scrabbled away from him. The look he had sworn he would never give her cause to give him again and the same look he had seen on her face when he accused her downstairs.

He wouldn't be surprised if Alexis never spoke to him again.

So when he felt a tentative hand on his shoulder he practically jumped out of his skin. Whirling round he spotted Alexis standing behind him twisting her hands together, her emerald eyes red rimmed. Yet he felt the knot in his gut start to unwind when she favoured him with a small smile before adding smugly.

"Don't be stupid Blake there is no such thing as Cowherder pie."


Blake woke up slowly trying to suppress the excited smile that tugged mercilessly at his lips, afraid to jinx things. He could feel Alexis's warmth as she snuggled into his arms, the smell of her hair as it tickled his cheek. They had talked most of the night, briefly touching on the difficult topics, Grimes, their separation, the confrontation in Acapulco.

Mostly they had talked about when they first met, talked about happier times in their marriage with the children, about how Alexis had first met Snr Maria, had even talked about Amanda's childhood. And Blake had soaked up every story, had laughed along with Alexis as she regaled him with tales of her first tantrum, her first word, NO, and how she fell in love with the pony at her local stables and had gotten very cross when Mummy refused to buy him.

They had talked until late and yawning Alexis had leant against him her eyes drooping.

Blake had scooped her up in his arms, chivalrously intending to take her down the landing to the guest room yet he still wasn't back to his full strength and only made it as far as her bed. Setting her down gently Blake had intended to take the guest bed himself. Yet Alexis had surprised him by yawning again and sitting up long enough to drag her blouse over her head pitching it and her skirt on the floor then pulling back the covers she had sleepily told him to just get in.

"Good Morning." Alexis's soft greeting jarred Blake back to the present.

"Morning." Blake replied leaning down and pressing a kiss to her forehead. Pleasantly surprised when Alexis smiled and leant up pressing a kiss to his cheek.

Gazing down at her playful expression Blake decided to take the initiative. Leaning down he pressed his lips to the corner of her mouth, waiting to see if she pushed him away before kissing her lips, softly then with increasing passion. Feeling her smile against his lips Blake resisted the desire to groan as Alexis turned and wiggled against, moving further into his embrace. Groaning for real as her hands skimmed up his back and threaded into his hair Blake rolled them over so he could press her back into the mattress running his hands down her camisole.

So he was more than a little surprised when Alexis suddenly pushed him away.

"Alexis…" Blake began to apologise, the words dying on his lips as Alexis darted out of the bed and disappeared into the bathroom.

Concerned Blake threw back the covers and followed her to the door just in time to hear her retching. Crossing back to the nightstand he picked up the water glass she had left there for him and filled it from the bottle of Evian. Then waiting until he heard the toilet flush and the sink start to run he walked into the bathroom watching her bend over the sink and brush her teeth. Closing the distance between them Blake reached out and rubbed her back before offering her the drinking water.

"Why didn't you tell me you were sick?"

"It's nothing."

"It's not nothing."

Shaking her head Alexis watched him in the mirror, catching his disbelieving expression. "It's probably just a low level virus….Either that or your cooking."

Ignoring her obvious attempt to distract him Blake retorted. "Probably? You mean you haven't been to the Doctors yet?"

"I was going to but then a certain person decided to collapse on my in the middle of Leicester Square and I had to cancel." Alexis deadpanned shooting him a glare in the mirror, yet it barely scorched.

"And you're sure you're not pregnant?"

"Blake!" Alexis all but screeched.

"Alright...Alright I was just concerned." Blake holds up his hand "but you are going to the Doctors even if I have to drag you there myself."


Blake sat as still as he could manage on the uncomfortable plastic chair, his fingers tapping a rhythm his leg whilst he valiantly resisted the urge to sigh. He hated waiting. Doctor's waiting rooms were especially dull. Earlier he had tried to amuse himself by trying to guess what each patient was here for but even that got dull after a while and Blake could only wonder what on earth could be taking so long?

However he realised he only had himself to blame.

He had been the one nagging Alexis forcing her to phone the surgery and make an appointment.

So it was hardly surprising that in order to punish him for annoying her Alexis forced him to come with her, in order to get some fresh air.

Not that there was much fresh air to be had in a doctors waiting room surrounded by sick people.

He had gotten his revenge though, reminding Alexis quite loudly to get the doctor to perform a pregnancy test just in case. The death look Alexis had shot him as she followed the nurse through had almost been worth it.

Glancing at his watch Blake considered asking the receptionist what on earth was taking so long but then he remembered the funny look she gave him when they came in and he decided against it. It couldn't have been a common occurrence, having a husband or at least ex-husband accompanying someone to a Doctor's appointment and a Yank to boot. No doubt his appearance would be dissected by the surgery gossips over lunch.

Finally before Blake actually started climbing the walls Alexis re-emerged looking pale.

Getting to his feet Blake crossed the room sliding his arm around her waist, afraid that any moment she might actually faint.

"Dear God what did they do to you in there?"

Rolling her eyes Alexis shot him a glare but Blake considered it progress when she didn't push his arm away.

"They had to draw blood and you know how I am with needles...Let's just get out of here, I really could do with some fresh air."

Nodding Blake opened the door and ushered her out yet even as the door closed behind them Blake was unable to shake the feeling of being watched.


Closing his eyes Blake felt the gentle rays on the wintry sun on his face and took a deep lungful of the crisp air, glad that for once he had actually listened to Alexis when she told him to bundle up. The lady in question was wrapped up snugly in her mink fur walking by his side in companionable silence.

They hadn't spoken much since leaving the Doctor's surgery, Alexis had been quiet and Blake for once didn't want to push. So they had hailed a cab and ended up in Hyde Park, it was winter and there was little to see, just acres of dull grass and flat ponds unbroken by the many birds that would soon be migrating back to Britain.

So they walked the long path, occasionally stepping out of the way of cyclists or joggers, each lost in their own thoughts, together yet apart. There were still so many things that had been left unsaid, where they went from here, if there was a future left for them, what about Amanda; the weight of them weighed down Blake's tongue.

Even though he couldn't find the words Blake still felt the need to connect with her, so when they began to stroll through the ornamental gardens it seemed natural to reach out and take her hand, lacing their gloved fingers together as if they had been doing it for years. Alexis's didn't say anything, didn't pull away she just turned her head slightly and looked at him out of the corner of her eye; a small smile tugging at her lips that started a drum beat in his chest and for a moment Blake felt let like a young man out courting for the first time. He silently thanked God he was wearing gloves so his girl had no idea how much she was making his palms sweat with excitement.

So with the sun on his face, fresh air in his lungs and his girl by his side Blake couldn't do a damn thing to get this stupid grin off of his face. He let Alexis drag him around the park, then into the little coffee shop where they snuggled over a pair of coffee's, conserving warmth in the February air and the rapidly setting sunlight.

Twice he opened his mouth to pose the question where they go from here, the first time losing his nerve and sipping his coffee. The second on the little footbridge by the lake yet this time it was silenced by the soft tentative brush of Alexis's lips against his. Perhaps it was cowardly but Blake chose kissing her back over conversation.

The afternoon had such a magical quality to it that Blake was almost reluctant when Alexis finally broke their silence and insisted they needed to head home before they froze to death. Of course snuggling together in the back of a hackney cab also had its compensation, it was warmer for one, so Alexis didn't shiver and push him away when he kissed her neck. It was nicer to lace gloveless fingers together anyway.

He should have realised it was too good to last.

It took the cabby's "What the bleedin hell is going on down here then?" To jar Blake from his fantasy.

Even from this far down the street it was easy to make out the Paparazzi staking out Alexis's house.

"Shit." It was all Blake could think of to say before his quick mind took over. "Turn us around, take us to the Ritz."

"That'll cost you Gov'ner." The Cabby blustered but Blake wasn't in the mood to care how much it cost.

"Just get us there and discretely." Blake hissed before turning back to face Alexis's confused face.

"Blake what the hell is going on?"

Running his free hand through his hair Blake couldn't hold her gaze but he managed to plead an answer. "Not here I promise you I will tell you everything but not here."


"If you need anything Mr Carrington, Mrs Carrington please do call the concierge desk. Nothing is too small to trouble us with."

"Thank you Charles." Blake muttered to the general manager gratefully accepting the pile of messages that had been left for him so he could avoid the way Alexis's eyes seemed to be burning a hole in his back.

"Darling." He added stepping back to allow Alexis to walk into his suite first, relieved when she didn't start berating him in front of others, even allowing the pet name with barely a glare.

"We will of course continue to deny your stay here for as long as necessary." Charles added before eagerly leaving the couple to it and Blake closed the door behind him waiting for the oncoming storm.

Glancing at his messages he noted Andrew had called several times, he had missed one call from his Vice-President and one from Fallon. Blake was pondering who to phone first when Alexis finally blew.

"What the hell is going on Blake?"

Sighing Blake set his messages down on the side and moved to pour them both a large brandy.

Forcing a glass into Alexis's hand with a "You're going to need this" he pulled her over to the sofa.

"Blake you're scaring me."

"I don't mean to but this is not easy to say so can you please wait until I am done before yelling at me?"

Watching her closely Blake took her lack of objection for agreement and taking a deep breath launched into his tale. He didn't try to sugar-coat it or pull any punches. He told about his anger, the pain he had felt, how he had taken refuge in a whiskey bottle. How it genuinely seemed a good idea to follow Carla to Vegas.

How after that he had only blurred memories before he woke up in a strange hotel suite, leaving out the naked in bed with Carla part, he was confessing his sins but he wasn't suicidal. Woken up married to a woman he could never love and he had done what any sane man would do, get the damn thing annulled.

Taking a deep breath Blake paused and finally looked up from his brandy glass, his face contorting in pain as he saw Alexis tremble, her face paler than he had ever seen it; her silence frightening him more than any outpouring of abuse.

"Darling say something please?" Blake muttered reaching out for her hand only to have Alexis's pull away, getting up from the sofa to pace to the window, her shoulders set rigidly as she stared at the view and ignored him completely.

Finally she broke her silence, asking in a low tense tone, "How could you be so stupid?"

Getting to his feet Blake crossed the room setting down his glass before resting his hands gently on her shoulders, distressed when she shrugged him off and moved to put more space between them."

Running his hand through his hair Blake sighed deeply before answering candidly. "I was hurt...I was drunk. I'm sorry but I honestly can't remember anymore motive than that."

Yet if Alexis heard him she was too distressed to listen, babbling on as if he had never spoken.

"And to drag me into all of this, to bring those vultures to my home? What will my neighbours think, my friends seeing my name splashed all over the papers? How could you humiliate me like this Blake?" Alexis broke off her voice cracking slightly before she visibly pulled herself together.

Setting her glass down Alexis grabbed her purse and coat surprising Blake as she stormed towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Blake asked.


"But you can't go home; those vultures would pull you apart."

"I never said I was going home, I just can't stay here." Alexis added her hand on the doorknob.

"But WHERE?" Blake demanded crossing the room and grasping her arm. "You not in any state to be out there alone, do really think I am just going to let you go like this..."

"Yes you are!" Alexis hissed wrenching her arm free with surprising strength. "As for where, away from you Blake. I just can't look at you right now."

If she had punched him the gut she couldn't have knocked the wind out of him so surely and staggering back Blake had no choice but to let her go. Yet his heart foolishly leapt into his throat when Alexis paused in the doorway looking back at him an inscrutable expression on her face.

"Was any of this real Blake, your confession, your taking care of me, this afternoon... Or was it just you trying to escape the consequences of your actions?"

Gaping at her question Blake was too surprised to formulate an answer, knowing that the moment she shut the door behind her that that had been the moment; the moment to tell her he still loved her and that it is very real. So why had the words stick in his throat?


Blake found it difficult to settle, his worry sat like a stone in his stomach, churning over and over again. It had been hours and hours and he hadn't heard from Alexis.

He had briefly phoned Andrew, touched base with his secretary but he hadn't been able to talk to Fallon, she was too close a connection to her mother for Blake to keep the tremor from his voice.

He had ordered room service but hardly touched it, somehow the perfectly sautéed beef didn't tempt his taste buds the way slightly burnt toast and marmalade or homemade shepherds pie had done.

Instead he found himself randomly ringing reception asking if Mrs Carrington had reappeared, had checked into another room perhaps. Each time the very patient receptionist had explained with barely a hint of frustration that no they hadn't seen Mrs Carrington and of course they would phone him the moment she reappeared.

So it came as something of a surprise when he received a call from Charles who was just about to go off duty, informing him that Mrs Carrington could be found in the roof terrace bar where she had apparently been for the last few hours. Reading between the lines especially after a glance at the clock where the display showed the late hour Blake could only guess they wanted to close up but Alexis was refusing to leave.

A few moments later and Blake was riding the elevator to the top floor, his eyes quickly adjusting to the dim light. The long bar was dominated by a large expansive glass window and there silhouetted by the glow from the streets and signs stood Alexis.

Crossing the room Blake came to a halt a few feet away surprised when Alexis suddenly spoke.

"Tracked me down I see."

"Charles called."

"I see." Alexis replied simply taking another sip of her martini, her expression as cool and as icy as her cocktail.

"Have you eaten…You should you know…Why don't you come down to the suite and I'll order something from room service."

Alexis didn't answer instead she shook her head and continued to silently watch the traffic moving below. For a few minutes the tense silence hung between them Blake hovering, wanting nothing more than to pull her into his arms, to demand where the hell she had been, didn't she realise he was worried sick. Yet fear kept him away, afraid that any pre-emptive move and she would turn around and leave again.

Glancing around Blake watched as the barman wiped down the long bar one last time before switching off the lights and leaving them alone.

Finally Alexis spoke her voice low yet it carried in the quiet room. "I tried going home but they were camped out there probably for the night…Damn vultures…Mrs Anderson from across the road was talking to them, so no doubt by morning all my private affairs will be splashed across the papers."


"And what about Amanda?" Alexis added cutting him off. "How is she going to react when her parents are all over the gossip columns? God knows what that dratted Anderson woman has been saying she never liked me. She's probably painted me as some unfit mother, shacking up with my sex crazed ex-husband whilst my bastard child sleeps under the same roof."

Blake walked up behind her watching her reflection carefully in the glass; Alexis looked vulnerable and upset.

"I'm sorry. I honestly didn't think…"

"That I believe."

Blake ignores her sarcasm "That anyone over here would care or be interested in little ole me."

"What can I say? It's been a slow news week." Alexis scoffed and Blake's heart lightened slightly at the fire in her voice, much better than the sense of defeat that had been there before.

"I am sorry Alexis; I never intended to drag you into the middle of this. All I want to do is protect you and all I seem to end up doing is hurting you."

"What are we going to do Blake? Amanda is away at school and you know how children can be, how cruel. This is not how I would want her to get to know her father, learning about his drunken fumbles with a model under half his age!"

"We will deal with this I promise." Blake soothed her gently, unable to contain his relief at her use of the word 'we'. "Amanda is a smart girl, if we talk to her first, warn her and promise to explain everything properly at the weekend."

"You have an explanation suitable for a twelve year old?" Alexis scoffed meeting his reflected gaze.

"Maybe not explain everything." Blake clarified with a slowly rising eyebrow and Alexis had to restrain a snort of laughter. Sensing a slow thaw Blake edged closer relieved when Alexis didn't move away as he slid his hands round her waist resting his chin on her shoulder

"What we need is a nice juicy scandal to take the heat off." Alexis quipped before glancing over her shoulder at him. "Know any good gossip?"

"Not that I am prepared to spread over the newspapers." Blake retorted smirking when Alexis's eyebrow rose slightly mirroring his expression.

Lifting one hand Blake stroked her cheek disappointed when Alexis grasped his hand and pulled it away from her face yet she didn't let go of his hand completely, her fingers stroking his before lacing them together.

"I need a reason Blake…I need you give me a reason why the hell I should forgive you?"

Lifting their joined hands Blake kissed her knuckles one by one waiting until he finally had her full attention, her emerald eyes locked seriously on his dark orbs and suddenly the block in his throat was gone. He had her answer.

Leaning down he pressed a chaste kiss to her lips, pulling away he smiled tenderly at her.

"Because I love you."



Friday, March 31, 1978

"Send in the next one, Jane," Blake Carrington instructed with a heavy sigh.

He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the intense throbbing at the base of his skull. Jane Reynolds, the wonderfully efficient and loyal woman who had been his secretary since he had founded Denver-Carrington, was retiring at the end of April and he'd been interviewing replacement candidates all week.

He had yet to find one that he felt comfortable with. All of them had been immensely qualified, but none had possessed that certain quality he'd been looking for, that certain something that went beyond how many words a person could type in a minute or how fast they could take dictation. He had to have someone he could work with, someone he could trust.

Someone who could handle the long hours and the stress and the fast pace of working in the very competitive and cutthroat oil industry. And, he admitted ruefully, he needed someone strong enough to put up with his demanding nature and occasional bad temper. After today's round of unsuccessful interviews, he was beginning to wonder if such a person even existed.

With another frustrated sigh, he sat up in his chair and straightened his tie in preparation for the final interview of the day. Seconds later, the door swung open and Jane escorted the last applicant into his office. "Mr. Carrington, this is Krystle Jennings," she said and handed him a folder containing her résumé.

Extract Beginnings by Paige .?showtopic=661&st=3040

The interview had gone well, far better than Blake had expected. Krystle was a woman with whom he felt immediately at ease, he had a good feeling about their ability to work together and it didn't hurt any that she was rather easy on the eyes. In fact he was almost tempted to offer her the position right then and there, but his better judgement won out and he decided to take the weekend to think about it, offering her his hand to shake as he escorted her to the door.

"Thank you for your time Mrs Jennings my people will be in touch soon."

Yet before he could open the door it opened suddenly and a rather flushed Alexis stood in the doorway her eyes widening and the smile fell from her lips when she realised he wasn't alone.

"Sorry Blake, Jane wasn't at her desk, I didn't realise you had company." She added emerald eyes scanning over Krystle Jennings narrowing slightly in what Blake quickly realised was a distinct sign of disapproval.

"Forgive me Darling." Blake muttered placatingly. "We were just finishing anyway. Alexis, this is Krystle Jennings I was just interviewing her for the Jane's position. Mrs Jennings my wife Alexis."

"Mrs Carrington." Krystle replied politely a distinct flush gracing her cheeks as she turned back to Blake adding in a breathy tone. "Thank you for giving me this opportunity to meet with you Mr Carrington."

"My pleasure." Blake added seeing her out the office before turning to his scowling wife. "What's the matter, did you and Fallon have another spat?"

"No." Alexis retorted shrugging off her fur and throwing her purse down on the chair.

"No…" Blake teased closing the distance between them and sliding his arms around his wife's waist, kissing her neck as she tugged off her gloves and slapped them into her palm. "So you turned up out of the blue simply because you missed me?"

"Can't I come and visit my husband without having a motive?" Alexis retorted curtly pushing his wandering hands away and walking over to his desk where the folder with Krystle's resume lay open. "Besides maybe I don't feel like telling you anymore."


"Mrs Jennings seemed like a pleasant enough woman." Alexis commented sharply and Blake had to stifle his amusement, she was jealous.

"She is very pleasant." Blake added playing along watching as Alexis tensed at his comment.

"She certainly seems qualified."

"Very qualified." Blake agreed slowly stalking his wife round his desk as she flicked angrily through the paperwork.

"And pretty." Alexis commented slapping the folder back on the table lifting her eyes to meet his gaze a challenge quite obvious in her eyes.

"Some might say beautiful." Blake countered watching the slight twitch of his wife's eyebrow.

Snorting Alexis snapped back sharply. "In a common, farm girl manner perhaps."


"And she is married?"


"I see."

Now the twitch was obvious and Blake found his enthusiasm for this game waning. "Darling I was just interviewing her."

"Of course you were, but if she gets that flustered just being interviewed by you Blake, I'd hate to see how she would react going off on all those business trips, or working late or…"

"You're jealous." Blake cut in smugly.

"Me jealous, honestly Blake, I was just looking out for you. I mean you hardly need a secretary who is going to spend her time daydreaming about her employer rather than concentrating on her work…"

Sinking down into his chair Blake reached out and pulled a protesting Alexis on to his lap, cutting off her rant with his lips as he kissed her thoroughly. A few minutes later the pair pulled apart breathless and Alexis tucked her head into the curve of his neck playing with his tie before she grudgingly admitted.

"Perhaps a little jealous."

Smiling Blake pressed a kiss to her forehead. "There is no need."

"Don't hire her Blake." Alexis wheedled looking up at him with wide emerald eyes.

"Alexis this is business, I need to find a replacement for Jane soon and Mrs Jennings is by far and away the best candidate…"

"So far!" Alexis added.

"I need to hire someone soon and she fits all the criteria."

"Well she doesn't fit my criteria!" Alexis added petulantly. "I mean this is a woman you are going to spend the most time around other than myself, so surely I should get some input?"

Rolling his eyes Blake stifled a chuckle. "What did you have in mind…Nobody under the age of fifty?"

"Fifty-five actually." Alexis retorted back sarcastically.

"And how is my geriatric secretary supposed to keep up with my demanding schedule?"

"Fine then forty-five, happily married with half a dozen children, that's my final offer!"

Laughing at her suggestion Blake shook his head. "I love you Alexis and for that alone I will interview for another week, but after that I will pick the best candidate for the job."

Meeting and holding his gaze Alexis pouted slightly before grasping his tie and pulling his face down till it was millimetres from her own. "Well then Mr Carrington I will just have to make sure you have no reason to need a pretty secretary, and to make sure you spend every night at home."

"Hmmm and how exactly do you plan on accomplishing that Mrs Carrington?" Blake teased waggling his eyebrow suggestively.

"Oh I can think of one or two things. For the rest I will enlist the children, they should keep you busy enough."

Shaking his head Blake smiled chuckling, "I somehow doubt Fallon or Steven want to spend their nights entertaining their old man when they could be off at college and Amanda will soon grow out of it as well once the novelty wears off."

"I wasn't talking about them Blake." Alexis replied softly, a knowing smile playing around her eyes as she bit her lip.

Gasping Blake was momentarily speechless, all thoughts of secretaries or Denver Carrington fleeing from his mind. "Alexis…Are you saying…"

Cutting off his question with a soft kiss Alexis happily threaded her fingers through his and snuggling deeper into his embrace before she added smugly. "Let's just say it's a good job we have that big house."