Hello loyal readers! I know it's been WAAAAYYYY too long. I do apologise for it taking so long for me to update this story. A lot of crap has happened in my life since the last chapter and I haven't really been in the right frame of mind to write for the longest time. But…..I'm back. I hope you enjoy this chapter, it was a tonne of fun to write. Thanks to all who reviewed, favourited and subscribed to this story. It was the type of lift I needed when things were bad. Hope to update again soon (especially as the next chapter es muy importante!)

Till then, all my love.


Twenty whole days of unequivocal bliss had passed since Jordan Catalano's emotional return to New York. It had been a passage of such incomparable happiness that Jordan found it almost unfathomable to think he'd nearly let the time slip through his fingers. Christmas day had been like a dream, with everyone rising early to exchange presents and well wishes. Jordan had felt a little embarrassed by the gifts he had to offer everyone else, the majority had been bought at the airport gift store at the last minute. Yet the gestures were met with delight and appreciation. The very fact that he'd returned was all they needed and nothing else mattered much. Jordan had sworn to get them better presents once the stores were open again, but they'd all fobbed him off, telling him he had already given them the best gift they could want.

The rest of the day they'd spent playing board games, making more snowmen on the patio and watching old black and white movies. The dinner had been a simple, Patty hadn't been able to get a turkey with all the bad weather, but the meal had been more than adequate for the celebration. Jordan had made chocolate sundaes, a tradition he'd picked up from Shane's mother. Sure it wasn't fig pudding, but seemed to fit with the slightly offbeat celebration the family was having. When the day had finally drawn to a close and everyone said their goodnights, Angela had taken him by the hand to their room. Jordan had laughed a little when she'd put a single bunch of mistletoe above his head and wished him a merry Christmas with a self deprecating smirk, but as she kissed him so sweetly the gently mocking laughter had melted softly into genuine affection .

That night when they'd had sex for the first time in weeks, Jordan had felt something powerful building between them. Their little tumble in the sheets had not been their most passionate night, nor had it been the most emotionally charged, but it still felt like something had changed. Sure, he'd always known she loved him and he loved her, but maybe for the first time he truly realised just how much he was in love with her. That they didn't always need fire and drama to keep the spark going, for the first time he saw their love and affection was just as strong when things were calm and simple too. Perhaps Angela had felt it too, this quiet self-satisfied contentedness radiating off her as she'd rested herself against him They'd laid awake till the early hours of the morning just talking in such sweet ,hushed tones and everything seemed right in the world. Jordan couldn't remember much of what they'd talked about, but he knew it was one of the best conversations he'd ever had in his life . And it was in these small moments he saw the truth that had been staring him right in the face, deep down he'd always known it of course, but now he saw it completely. He was going to marry this girl someday. There was no doubt.

The next few days passed in a blur and slap damn in the middle of the fun-filled madness had been Jordan's birthday. Much to his delighted surprise, Shane had arrived back to the city secretly and he, Regan, Angela and Jordan had hit the Village to party. Sometime during the night, Rayanne had dragged Brian out too and the six of them had gone back to Jordan's apartment for a spirited game of poker. Much to Shane chagrin Brian had won the entire pot on the last hand against him, despite Krakow's previous run of bad luck. It had taken Jordan a full hour to stop his best friend from sulking, but even so, it had been one of the best birthdays Jordan had ever had.

As the days bled into the New Year, a strange feeling of anxiety had began to grow at the back of Jordan's mind. Despite the carefree smiles he showed Angela, the promise he'd given Brian remained burning in his unconscious mind, ebbing away at his happiness. It was like a ticking time bomb that was getting louder with each new dawn and as the day of Rayanne's premiere approached, Jordan could hardly keep his the panic in check. He knew he'd run out of chances and Brian's patience was now exhausted , but the contentment he had found the last few weeks had been harder than he'd thought possible to give up.

The winter sun was only starting to heat the icy city as Jordan Catalano lay awake in his bed, staring broodingly at the ceiling. He was felt restless, despite the growing exhaustion he had from the stress of containing the secret. The knowledge that his deadline had approached, was doing nothing but making him anxious to the point of madness. Angela lay beside him in a deep sleep, oblivious to the turmoil her boyfriend was going through. As Jordan's gaze shifted from the ceiling to her sleeping face, a small smile graced his mouth for a second. Angela's lips were slightly parted as she snored softly. Her golden hair covered her cheeks and bare back as she lay on her stomach, both hands tucked under the pillow snugly. Jordan thought she looked younger when she slept, her face free of the daily stresses of life. He reached over and brushed some her flaxen locks away from her face, his hands lingering on her as he gently rubbed circles on her rosy cheek. The warm feeling of her soft skin under his fingertips seemed to lull his worries temporarily, but as she began to whimper and shift under his touch, he reluctantly removed his hand . Jordan continued to stare at her absorbedly as she stilled again, his thoughts drifting away as he watched her silently.

After a few moments Angela sighed suddenly.

"Jordan as much as I love you, please stop staring at me when I'm sleeping. It's really creepy" she mumbled grumpily, opening one tired eye and giving him a pointed look. Jordan blushed sheepish as he leaned over and kissed her bare shoulder lightly.

"Sorry I didn't mean to be" he whispered with a slight grin, his arm snaking around her to rest at the small of her back under the covers.

"You just look so damn sexy this morning" he added playfully as Angela wearily rolled her eyes at him. Her look of derision soon disappeared as a small chuckle rose from her chest.

"Dude, I was born sexy. Get over it" she replied mischievously, rolling onto her side to face him fully.

"Is that so?" Jordan said teasingly as he pulled her in closer to him.

Angela's gaze flicked from his mouth to eyes archly as she smiled smugly, her fingers rising to play with the soft hair at the nape of his neck gently.

"Yep. I'm one hot tamale Catalano." she grinned roguishly, clearly enjoying the building anticipation.

"You really are Chase" he replied huskily before he gave her an alluring smirk, unmistakably enticed too .

They'd gotten into a habit of doing this lately, playing this little game of lingering seduction. Whoever could resist making the first move ,in spite of the inevitable tension, was proclaimed the winner and so far Angela had won every battle. Yet as Jordan drew tantalising delicate circles on her back, while giving her this look of smouldering intensity, Angela could feel her strength waning. With his hair still in disarray from her fingers running through it the night before and his subdued sexy grin, he was irresistibly fuckable. She pressed her thighs tightly together to try stem the increasing feeling of arousal mounting in her as she stared him down. She wasn't ready just give in that easily.

"Did you get that new suit from the tailors yesterday ?" she said more seriously after a second, shifting herself away from him as she changed tactics . Her sudden cooling in affections threw Jordan off track, he tried not to pout in disappointment as he answered.

"Eh…yeah. Cathy collected it for me when she went to get your dress" he said blankly, his hand stilling on her back.

"And?" she said with mild curiosity.

"And what?" Jordan replied confused.

"How did it look stupid!?" she laughed.

"Good I guess" he said simply, shrugging nonchalantly.

"You guess?" Angela asked bemusedly, arching a pale eyebrow at him sceptically "Jordan you could wear a damn horse blanket and make it look good".

Jordan's cocky grin returned as he puffed out his chest a little.

"If you already knew that ,why ask?" he said self-assuredly . Angela opened her mouth to answer but couldn't find the words to explain properly.

"Well….I…was just curious about what you thought" she mumbled avoiding his eyes, knowing full well it wouldn't take long for Jordan to figure it out.

"Curious" Jordan said with added humour as he propped himself up on elbow to look at her better "why?"

Angela shrugged in feigned nonchalance.

"No reason" she said quietly. Jordan chuckled lightly, knowing she'd tripped herself up. There was no way he was letting her win now.

"Right….So you weren't trying to distract me for long enough to cool your raging hormones?" Jordan grinned wickedly.

"No!" Angela pouted, sounding utterly unconvincing.

"Really?" Jordan smirked smugly "I say bullshit! ". Angela continued to pout like a child, refusing to admit her guilt but offering no counter argument in defence.

"C'mon….admit it. You were afraid I was going to win this time" he said cockily as he leaned in closer with a smirk. When she once more refused to answer, Jordan began to tickle her mercilessly.

"Stop." she giggled as she bent over in spasms of laughter, swatting at his hands half heartedly as he loomed over her. She hated when he did this.

"Admit it then!" Jordan chuckled, still tickling her vigorously.

Angela suddenly shot forward, her mouth crashing into his with so much force he was knocked on to his back as her hands gripped his face eagerly. Before he knew it, she was straddling him, her bare ass perched precariously close to his crotch.

Pulling back after a moment ,she gave him a sulky pout.

"Fine I admit it, you win okay".

Jordan smirked again sat up and reached up to brush her hair away from her face.

"Now was that so hard to say?" He asked teasingly.

"Yes" she whined childishly. Jordan arched an eyebrow at her in mocking disbelief, before sighing in defeat.

"Would it make you feel better if we compromise and call this one a draw?"

Angela's pout disappeared as she gave him a wry smile.

"Maybe…but we can discuss the frivolous details later" she said flirtatiously as she captured his mouth again and he groaned audibly in appreciation.

"Right now I'd rather work out some other kinks in our relationship" she whispered breathlessly as she pulled back a fraction, before slowly drawing in his mouth again. Jordan skin started to heat under her hands as his grunts became more guttural in response to her languid, but sensuous pace. Angela pushed him back down onto the bed slowly, still kissing him deeply. As was to be her expectation, she felt Jordan's growing excitement pressing against her butt under the comforter.

She pulled away once more with a widening grin.

"Well someone seems to be very alert this morning!" she laughed, giving Jordan a look of mock surprise. He blushed a little in response before shrugging.

"I can't help it, I'm a morning person" he said nonchalantly.

"No, you're an 'anytime I can possibly get it' kind of person." Angela smirked playfully, pushing herself into a more seated position on him as a look of deviousness filled her face . He winked back at her and grinned in immodest acknowledgement.

Jordan watched her bemusedly in rising anticipation, thoroughly enjoying where this little tete a tete was heading. It wasn't often that Angela would take the lead in foreplay or sex, but Jordan always loved it when she did. Even the thought of it sent shivers of delight down his back. Right now, nothing seemed more appealing to him in the world than her on top, the view alone was unforgettable . He wondered if she knew just how deliciously beautiful she was looming over him so confident without a single item of clothing on. The look in her eye at that second alone, was almost enough to finish him there and then. How was it possible to love someone so passionately they could send you to Nirvana with a single glance? Without any further instruction or encouragement, he moved his hands to rest either sides of her hips, silently urging her on with his eyes. Angela arched an eyebrow at him in slight admonishment ,before running her hands over his chest with a smirk as she leaned slightly forward with a wicked grin. He gasped in strained pleasure and frustration as her underside brushed against his stiffening member, the painful throb of need surging through him.

"Please don't tease me Angie" he groaned a frustrated smile filling his face.

"I wouldn't dream of it" she whispered coquettishly as pushed herself upwards a little .She had every intention of consummating this little sexual game of teasing. Angela was just about to shift herself fully onto him ,when the bedroom door suddenly burst open.

"Mom, Rayanne's on the phone for…OH GOD!" Jason shrieked as he covered his eyes with his hands and turned away from the direction of the bed. Angela was completely startled by his unexpected appearance and in a panic, she scrambled off Jordan too quickly. In her rush to get out of their awkward pose, her legs went flying beneath her and caused her to lose balance. Her flailing limbs kneed Jordan hard in the balls as she fell off the other side of the bed, completely tangled in the sheets.

"Ow." she groaned, her voice muffled by the comforter.

"JASON! What have a told you about knocking?" Jordan growled through gritted teeth, the pain causing tears to form in his eyes as he held onto his aching crotch.

"Eh…..yeah…..sorry" Jason said in the deepest disgust and embarrassment, his face completely red "Maybe I'll come back later".

"Yea think" Jordan wheezed sarcastically, the pain beginning to subside a little, the dull throb still searing through his body.

"Wait!" Angela's muffled voice called out "what did Rayanne want?"

Still standing there awkwardly Jason cleared his throat.

"Just if you wanted to meet at the theatre tonight or travel with her and Brian to the premiere?"

"Tell her we'll go with them to the premiere." Jordan said humourlessly. Jason nodded , a distinct look of queasiness obvious on his face.

"Okay, well I'm going to go…" he said dazedly .

"That would be wise" Jordan said in annoyance. Without another word or second glance Jason swiftly left , shutting the door quietly behind him.

"Well that was awkward…. we have got to get a lock for that door." Jordan sighed. They lay there for a few minutes utterly stupefied and feeling completely embarrassed.

Jordan's pain had finally calmed to barely a niggling complaint when he began to hear Angela shuffling in the covers on the floor, trying greatly to untangle herself. Sitting up on the bed, his good humour returned as he laughed at her efforts. His girlfriend's right leg the only thing visible under the mass of twisted sheets. He watched in enjoyment as Angela squirmed helplessly, hindering her escape with her excessive thrusts underneath.

"You want some help Angie?" he chuckled softly

"Yes please, I think I'm stuck" she giggled, embarrassed at her ineptitude.

Jordan grinned as he got up and started to free her from the comforter.

"This is like unwrapping surprise present, I'm excited to see what's inside." He said teasingly, pulling the sheet away from her face and shoulders first.

"Stop being a pervert and just help me out" Angela said huffily as she squirmed to free her arms. She giggled again loudly after a second as the full extent of the ridiculousness of the situation hit home, this was not exactly how she envisioned her seduction going that morning. When the final twist of the sheet finally liberated her, Jordan leaned down and gave her a quick kiss.

"Nice to see you again Chase, that was a close one" he said sweetly, sitting down beside her . Angela smirked slightly as she stretched out her tightened limbs.

"I know, that was almost fatal. Thank God my big, strong boyfriend was here to save me from the dangerous bedding!" she sighed sardonically.

Taking her hand in his, he kissed her knuckles sweetly.

"You know me, just a regular knight in shining armour" he smiled down at her in self deprecation.

"So Jason's totally scarred for life , right?" Angela said unhappily after a second

"He'll get over it." Jordan grinned as he stroked her cheek "plus I doubt he saw all that much. You leaped off me like a ninja". Angela sighed again before her face relaxed into an easy smile.

"Sorry I kick you." she said sheepishly.

"It's okay, I've no lasting damage. In fact…" Jordan's grin grew as he moved to lay down on top of her "I'm feeling much better."

"Oh really" Angela said archly as she wrapped the covers over them and hooked her arms around him "I was afraid you were going to be turned off" she added seductively biting at her lip.

"When it's you….never" he whispered huskily, brushing his nose against hers as a hunger built within him. Jordan didn't need any further invitation as he kissed her once more with a force that left her quaking beneath him and all their previous mortification was quickly forgotten.

It was nearly lunch time as Joey McCarthy jadedly swung his legs back and forth as he sat on the trunk end of Jordan's red pick up truck. His patience was beginning to wane as he watched Jason hard at work on his car.

"Dude, this sucks. Can't we go play Halo or something? " he whined for the fourth time that hour.

"Jeez, I told you I just wanted to fix the spark plug and then we could do stuff. Be patient!" Jason grumbled.

"That was an age ago, I'm frikkin bored Jay."

Jason sighed heavily before scowling at him from the open engine of the car.

"I don't know why you're complaining so much Joe ,considering I'll probably be carting around your midget ass in this once I get it fixed."

Joey scoffed loudly.

"Midget! I'm 5''5, the doctor says I'm perfectly fine height for a fifteen year old."

"Yeah ,a fifteen year old girl." Jason laughed.

"Oh shut up, at least I'm not freakishly tall fuck face!" Joey exclaimed.

"McCarthy, I'm 5''10 . Shut up and stop being an idiot." Jason retorted with a smug smile. Joey shook his head in defeated annoyance, unable to say anything cutting in return. Silence returned between the two friends as Jason tinkered with the engine in deep concentration.

The minutes seemed to drag by for Joey as the silence stretched on.

"Seriously Jay, I can't take this anymore. I want to do something" he groaned.

"Go home then!" Jason snapped impatiently.

Joey pouted as he replied.

"You know my Mom told me I wasn't allowed home till after 6, so she could cool down."

"Well you did get caught trying to replace Jimmy's hair gel with flavoured lube, so you kind of deserve the exile dude." his friend replied nonchalantly.

"My Mom's douchebag boyfriend got what he deserved. Stupid asshole had the nerve to steal shit out my room." Joey growled.

"All he did was steal a single pack of condoms, which I may add ,you weren't exactly using." Jason laughed as he turned to friend grinning.

"And how would you know?" Joey asked huffily. Jason continued to smirk as he looked at his best friend pointedly and Joey rolled his eyes in grudging agreement.

"Fine…but I was about to start using them."

"Sure you were man" Jason said mockingly. Joey scowled at him as Jason turned back towards the car with a grin.

"Stop smirking like that, I was." he said indignantly.

"If you say so, but has anyone told Julie about this fact yet?" Jason asked cheekily. Joey sent him a withering look.

"Funny dickhead. Just because you're securely stuck on 3rd base, doesn't mean I am okay".

"Dude, Beth's only just started touching it on a regular basis. I am not pushing my luck yet" Jason said more seriously " and considering our girlfriends are practically BFF's, I know Julie hasn't exactly been forthcoming either" Jason added with a knowing expression. A deep frown set across his friends face as he exhaled loudly in defeat.

"It's not fair dude. We're young, we're virile and heading towards the prime of our lives. We should be out dipping our quills into every inkpot we can find Jay!" Joey said eagerly. Jason burst out laughing at his friends earnest enthusiasm.

"Dipping our quills into every inkpot? Do you ever listen to the shit that comes out of your mouth Joe? Maybe that's why we're still virgins!" he retorted mockingly.

Joey narrowed his eyes at Jason and harrumphed loudly in indignation.

"At least I'm trying Jay, you're too much of a wimp to actually bring it up seriously with Beth".

Jason shrugged and went back to working on his car.

"The last time I was pushy about it she stopped talking to me for 3 weeks. I don't want that to happen again." he said seriously.

"Man, that was 5 months ago and was partly to do with the fact you beat the shit out of Freddy Rodriguez " Joey exclaimed in growing exasperation, throwing his hands up into the air.

Jason stopped for a second and looked back at his friend.

"True, but as I said I'm not pushing my luck…..BUT believe me when I say, the minute she gives me the green light, it's go time dude" he grinned ruefully. Joey frown as he looked at Jason carefully for a second in thought.

"But she hasn't been clear about what your status is?" he asked bluntly. Jason shook his head as he shrugged once more.

"Not lately no".

Joey's frown deepened as he continued to look at his best friend pensively.

"You ever consider that maybe she's ready but waiting for you to make the first move?" he asked evenly. Jason rolled his eyes as he scoffed loudly.

"As if!"

"I'm serious, it makes sense! So stop being a pussy and take the initiative" Joey smirked persuasively.

"Yeah, sure. Just drop it and find a new hobby shithead" Jason said dryly, burying his head in the engine. A slow wicked grin spread across Joeys face as Jason turned his back fully to him, a sudden idea striking him.

Jason stopped what he was doing after a few moments, conscious of the fact the room had suddenly gone very quiet. Almost too quiet. His best friend was not known for his stillness and the lack of even frivolous chat immediately put Jason on alert. Without even needing to turn around, he knew Joey was no longer right behind him on the truck. It took him a few seconds to register the muffled, but tell tale sound of someone typing a text message. Jason's gaze whipped down to the toolbox where he'd left his iphone, already knowing before he looked that Joey had taken it. The tapping of the keys continued as Jason snarled in growing anger.

"Joe, give me my goddamn cell phone back" he roared, throwing down the wrench in his hand and searching the garage angrily with his eyes as he turned around. Joey didn't answer, the only sound resonating off the walls was the furious sound of covert typing.

"I swear to fuck, if you're sending DTF or anything else like that to Beth I'm going to castrate you" he growled menacingly. Jason continued to scan the room frantically, his panic starting to rise rapidly when he could find no sign of his friend. He was well and truly hidden. It was only when Joey unsuccessfully tried to suppress a loud sneeze, that Jason got a clear indication of his position.

Jason bolted over to his mother's Lexus and bent down to look underneath in one swift movement. Sure enough, in the only place Jason would find difficult to retrieve him, lay Joey wedged right underneath the exhaust pipes . The light from the phones screen illuminating his face in the gloom as typed as fast as he could. Grabbing him by the ankles, Jason dragged him out forcefully.

"You're dead!" he shouted as he reached down to try wrestle the phone out of Joey's hands unsuccessfully. The small boy was stronger than he looked and held on tight.

"Let go you fucker" Jason grunted through gritted teeth.

"No! Not until I help you" Joey replied huffily as he refused to release the phone. Swinging back his fist, Jason struck Joey in the shoulder to try loosen his grip. The blow was not hard, but caused his friend to yell and kick out in response on the floor.

"Ow! What the fuck dude!?" Joey shouted.

"Let go!" Jason growled again. The phone pinged sweetly in their hands as they wrestled and Joey's grip slackened on the device .His mission had been accomplished.

Jason stared at the phone forlornly as he realised it was too late, Joey had managed to send the offending message to Beth and all he could do is wait. His faith was now in the hands of the gods.

"What did you send her? " he said shakily as he let the phone fall to the floor, his heart starting to race in fear.

"What did you send her?" he repeated more loudly, his anger returning as he pulled Joey to his feet by the lapels of his jacket.

"What she needed to hear" his friend replied simply. Jason shook his head in disbelieving anger.

Below them, the phone flashed angrily as a new message came through. Jason groaned loudly as he saw Beth's name on the screen, his face darkened considerably as glared back at his friend.

"I could kill you, if she breaks up with me I swear I'll throttle you" Jason snarled as he gripped Joey's jacket tighter, a dangerous glint entering his eyes. Joey held his hands up in defence, not liking the look on his best friends face one bit.

"Calm down. Just read the damn thing before you start beating the shit out of me" he replied petulantly. Jason released him slowly, but his glare did not soften as he reached down to retrieve his phone.

Joey watched him carefully as opened his message box, conscious he was edging close to getting a fist to the jaw if Beth had reacted badly. Jason's frown softened as he read the reply, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

"I don't know whether to hit you or kiss you Joey, but your dumb idea worked ."

Jason held out the phone and a smug smile spread across Joey's face.

"I'm ready if you are, I was beginning to think you'd never ask ;-) xxxx".

"Wow, I guess your losing the big V tonight then" he grinned ruefully. Jason's face paled considerably as his blue eye's widened in terror.

"Wait…TONIGHT!" His voice jumped a whole octave as he stared at Joey in trepidation.

"Didn't you read the previous message? I told her to come over at 11p.m " Joey replied with a small laugh, bewildered by his friends reaction.

"Dude! Why'd you tell her to come here?! I'm mean, what if someone catches us ?" Jason spluttered.

"First of all, where else could you go that's better? Jay, you can't exactly go to her house. Like, imagine if her little brother walks in on you, that would be exponentially worse than either your Mom or Dad. Plus considering you've caught them so many times and not freaked out, it would be unfair if they do. Shit I'd be fucked for life if I'd caught them on the piano, the bathroom….."

"The hallway closet, on the washing machine, the studio…" Jason shuddered as he interrupted Joey. His friend made a disgusted face in repsonse. He sighed heavily before continuing.

"Look man, you've gotten a green light like you wanted and your parents will be out of the house tonight till probably dawn. What other guarantee's of success do you need?" Joey said persuasively. Jason rolled his iphone in his hands as he stared at the cement floor in uncertainty.

"What about Patty?" he said uneasily.

"What about her?"Joey said nonchalantly "Just tell her you're staying over at my house. She'll then probably have an early night …and then we sneak back in just after eleven. You do your thing, and we sneak Beth back out just before 2am and no is the wiser. Simple."

Jason was unable to stop an excited half smile to form across his face, Joey's plan was mad enough to work.

"What's with all this 'we' Joe?" he said wryly, already suspecting he knew Joey's answer. His best friend smirked as he shrugged.

"I may have plans for Julie tonight and I thought, considering your dick owes me a favour , you'd help me in my own endeavour." he said roguishly. Jason arched an eyebrow at him, before sighing in feigned annoyance.

"I guess there's only one answer to such a proposition as this…." he said in defeat.

"And?" Joey said a little more nervously. Jason's eye's darkened as he grinned fiendishly and no verbal answer was needed as Joey grinned in response. It was going to be a night to remember.

In the many years Brian Krakow had known Rayanne Graff, there was always one quirk within her character that he found to be a constant . It was her most surprising attribute and one that seemed almost preposterous when one considered the general 'fuck you' attitude she exuded about life. He had of course known about this little idiosyncrasy well before they had gotten involved. In fact he had discovered it when they were still in high school, the memory of her choking on stage with Jordan's band ,exemplifying it to a tee. Rayanne Graff did not deal with stress well , especially when she was unable to partake in a measure of hard liquor to quell her nerves. Now filling out with the weight of his unborn child, her frantic energy was almost unbearable for him to withstand without the subtle edge of it taken away by alcohol. Today his girlfriend's unfortunate combination of hormone imbalances and risen cortisone levels, made him an easy target for her apprehension about the impending film premiere.


Brian winced as he came out of their ensuite bathroom, his fingers busy trying to knot his silk tie. She was getting really irrational in her heightened state of tension.

"Rayanne, I have not touched your shoes, why would I touch your shoes?" he said evenly, trying not to laugh.

"Well Marco put them right here when he left with his style team. And now they're mysteriously gone. So YOU must have moved them" she growled. Brian sighed tiredly, he knew exactly what had happened. Because it wasn't the first time she accused him of moving things.

"Rayanne, what did you do directly after Marco left?" he said simply. Rayanne scowled at him before she answered.

"What has that got to do with anything? "she said sorely.

"Trust me. Just think back". Rayanne frowned as she grudgingly tried to remember. Her eye's widened as she realisation hit her.

"Crap! I put them in the freezer when I was getting some ice cream!" she exclaimed, running as fast as she could to the kitchen.

Brian snorted loudly as she raced to save her borrowed designer shoes, pregnancy amnesia never failed to amuse him.

"Brian I swear if I catch you laughing at me, I'm going to punch you" she called angrily as she thundered downstairs.

"Wouldn't dream of it" he shouted back, shaking his head as he grinned.

Beside him, the phone for the intercom began to drone. Picking it up he answered politely.

"Hello, this is apartment 2612."

"Hello Mr Krakow, your Limo for the premiere has just arrived."

"Thanks Mr Jackson, tell them we'll be down in 5"

"Will do sir"

Giving his tie one final tug, he gave him a contented smile in the mirror. Brian still had mild apprehensions about the night. It was more that he worried he and Jordan would have trouble being civil to one another considering the circumstances, than the premiere going badly. Yet he was determined to be on his best behaviour tonight, solely to be as supportive to his overwrought girlfriend as he could be. Plus it was almost impossible for him to be in a bad mood this evening, for one, he didn't look half bad for once. Sighing contentedly, he went down the stairs still smiling happily.

"If you're quite finished defrosting your Louboutins , we gotta go now" he said smugly, popping his head into the kitchen. Rayanne shot him a withering look before stalking off toward the door, her semi frozen shoes still in her hands.

"You're an ass" she muttered indignantly.

"Love you too" he smirked again as he ambled after her.

By the time they climbed into Limo outside their building, Rayanne had relaxed enough to be almost pleasant. Inside Angela and Jordan were deep in conversation about something, their heads bent together as they spoke. Neither really noticed the car door opening as Brian and Rayanne shimmed into a seat, their interest taken up by the others presence.

"Ahem!" Rayanne said loudly as she cleared her throat to catch their attention. Angela jumped slightly and both of them smiled sheepishly as they became aware they were not alone.

"Hi" Jordan said softly as he grinned self-consciously "I didn't see you there". Brian smirked in bemusement .

"Sure" he mocked gently. Rayanne rolled her eyes at her friends before moving herself on the seat for a more comfortable position. As she moved, something caught Angela's eye.

"Ray…..why are your heels dripping?" she said in amusement. Rayanne's cheeks flashed pink as she glanced down to her sodden footwear.

"It's nothing" she replied tightly.

"Nothing?" Jordan smirked as he arched a disbelieving eyebrow. Brian bit at his lip as he suppressed the urge to laugh.

"Rayanne what did you do?" Angela laughed, looking at her more probingly.

"She just had a pregnant moment" Brian said teasingly.

"A pregnant moment?" Rayanne shot back crossly.

"What else would you call mistakenly pitting your shoes in the freezer" Brian laughed and Rayanne gave him a murderous glare. Angela and Jordan both burst out laughing.

"You put your $10,000 shoes in the freezer!" Angela exclaimed through her giggles, tears starting to roll down her face as she clutched a shaking Jordan.

"Yes I did okay, and my feet are totally numb in case you were in anyway concerned about my welfare" Rayanne glowered touchily.

"Oh my God! That's hilarious" Jordan wheezed.

"It's not as funny, as at Hanukkah when you asked my Mom for a prophylactic…." Brian chuckled. Rayanne walloped him in the arm as she glared at him. Angela howled in laughter again, her side starting to hurt with the force of it.

"First of all you know I meant antacid, I thought prophylactic was an over the counter brand and second…..you're not supposed to be telling people that story!" she growled . Finally getting her breath back, Angela looked at her sympathetically.

"Don't worry sweetie, when I was pregnant with Jason, I once went half way to Manhattan from Long Island without realising I'd forgotten to wear a skirt over my tights" she chuckled. Rayanne's face brightened as she looked at her hopefully.

"Really?". she said sceptically. Angela nodded in response.

"Yeah, what's worse is my tights weren't even black so you'd mistake them for leggings. They were white" she sniggered again and the whole car broke out into uncontrollable laughter, and just like that, any lingering tension within Rayanne about the pending premiere was broken.

As she once more caught her shortened breath ,Angela looked out the tinted windows in confusion as the headed East instead of downtown towards the movie theatre.

"Rayanne where we going?" she said after a beat.

"To get my Mom and Rickie stupid. They're staying in the Lowell Hotel tonight." Angela's eyes narrowed again with puzzlement.

"Why aren't they staying with you?" she said simply. Rayanne shrugged.

"She said she would disrupt the good karma in the apartment for Bump if she moved in for the weekend. Rickie on the other hand just couldn't say no to all that luxury." Rayanne smiled.

"But why didn't your Mom come stay with us? It would have saved her so much money." Angela said huffily. Rayanne sighed and looked between her friends wearily.

"Apart from the fact she hates Jordan, I don't know". Angela gasped in surprise and Jordan smirked slightly.

"Amber's still mad about the whole teen pregnancy thing then?" he sighed dryly. Rayanne smirked a little in response.

"Pretty much"

"Well this going to be an awkward car ride." he laughed slightly, giving Angela cheeky grin and she cracked a small smile despite her discomfort over the issue. The limo stopped a few seconds later outside the unassuming front of the hotel. Rickie Vasquez gave them all a big smile as he entered the car, followed quickly by a beaming Amber. Her eyes darkened slightly as she caught sight of Jordan.

"Catalano" She said coldly.

"Ms Graff" he replied softly. They nodded at one another politely before Amber turned to her daughter and cooed excitedly .

"Promise me you'll stick close tonight in case she tries to poison me" Jordan whispered jokingly as he leaned closer to Angela. Entwining her hand in his ,she gave him a flirtatious smirk.

"Nothing would make me happier."

A couple of hours later all of them were flying high, the long awaited movie premiere had been an unimaginable success. Rayanne in particularly was the most playfully happy then any of them had seen in a while, unashamedly basking in the mounting praise she was getting from everyone. Her performance in the movie was quickly gaining critical acclaim. Angela watched her best friend with pride, quietly glad she'd finally gotten the recognition she deserved. After the film they'd all bundled back into the Limousine and headed for the after party in Chelsea. Each one of them giddy with excitement from the unexpectedly encouraging reaction to Rayanne's movie .Usually Angela hated going to these celebrity parties, the unbearable insincerity of some the attendee's making her want to scream at times, but this was her best friend's big night. Just once she'd make an exception.

The darkened room was thumping with dance music as she sat in a booth with Rickie, her head spinning a little from the champagne she'd been drinking. Jordan was lost amongst the masses of people in the club, gone to get another drink from the bar. On her left Rayanne was deep in conversation with her mother about something, while Brian had disappeared not long before to the bathroom. The party was better than she'd expected, and with the exception of the sudden barrage upon her senses by the music, she was having a good time. She watched the heaving dance floor with mild interest and wondered what was taking Jordan so long.

"Angela are you even listening to me" Rickie said huffily from beside her. Snapping her gaze back to her friend, she looked at him guiltily.

"Sorry…..what were you saying?" she murmured in embarrassment. Rickie gave her an exasperated smirk and sighed sardonically.

"Jordan will be back soon, so stop fretting." he said teasingly as he gave her a pointed look. Angela stuck her a tongue out in response.

"I'm not fretting. I'm just thirsty" she retorted with good humour.

Rickie arched an eyebrow at but said nothing.

"Stop looking at me like that. You've my full attention now, what were you saying?" she grinned as she smacked him lightly on the shoulder. Rickie's face broke out into a grin, unable to maintain the pretence of disapproval, especially considering what he was about to ask her.

"I was asking you if you wanted to be my maid of honour." he said brightly. Angela beamed at him ecstatically as she hugged him close.

"Oh my God yes!" she shrieked happily. Pulling back after a second, she looked at him warily.

"What about Rayanne….?"

"She's my best man" Rickie giggled and Angela snorted loudly in response.

"That's apt I guess." she laughed.

"I thought so" Rickie smiled smugly "Anyway I was hoping that you could do something for me, like, some special maid of honour task". Angela nodded enthusiastically.

"You see, myself and Jack had been disagreeing constantly about what wedding band we want and…. we've been negotiating with each other so long, all the good ones are booked. Anyway, Jack and I have decided, since know so many musicians ,that we want people we know to perform rather than hire a second rate wedding band. It just seemed more personal or something "

"So…you want me to ask Jordan and Echelon if they'd do it?" Angela said evenly.

"Not exactly…..truth is I didn't even invite Shane." Rickie said sheepishly . Angela rolled her eyes at him in joking disapproval.

"Fine, so you want Jordan to sing basically" she said sardonically.

"You think he'd do it?" Rickie asked slightly apprehensively "I mean, would he comfortable singing some deeply romantic song to a room full of gay's?". Angela looked at him with slight derision.

"Rickie, he acts gayer than you do all the time ,so I doubt he'll care. Plus he'd be happy to help out in the wedding."

Rickie's uncertain frown disintegrated and he smiled in relief.

"Good" he said happily.

"So where is your fiancé this evening?" Angela said breezily, downing the last of her drink with a smack of her lips.

"He's working at some property moguls party in San Fran so we can afford this big wedding in Seneca Falls." Rickie sighed sadly, obviously missing his partner.

"It'll be worth it" Angela said softly, squeezing his hand in hers "In a month's time you won't care about everything you had to do to get here, you'll be just too happy being Mr Roux-Vasquez". A dopey grin spread across Rickie's face as his eyes shined.

"Vasquez-Roux actually, it sounds better "he said proudly.

Angela laughed a little as she shook her head.

"You nervous at all" she said more seriously after a second.

Rickie looked at her thoughtfully.

"No." he said quietly "I waited my entire life to find someone to love as much as I love Jack. Nothing else matters"

Angela's smile returned as she gave Rickie a quick kiss on the cheek.

"No, I guess it doesn't" she said sweetly. Behind them the Dubstep music from earlier seamlessly shifted into a more well-known song. Angela's and Rickie's ears pricked up as they recognised it immediately. They grinned at one another as they shared a look, the memory of a long forgotten school dance flooding their minds.

"Want to dance Vasquez?" Angela grinned.

"To 'What is Love? '. Always!" he laughed gleefully, standing and pulling Angela to her feet.

Across the room, Jordan had finally made to the front of the bar having been accosted several times in his journey to talk to people by Delia. He smiled, made idle conversation and had finally gotten away once he'd done his duty. Delia hadn't been too pleased by his short attention span, but this wasn't his party, therefore he was not obligated in anyway to be sociable for very long. Besides, most of the people had been dreadfully boring.

" Hi man, can I've an orange juice ,two Jack and Diet cokes please and a champagne" he said politely to the bartender, a sense of quiet relief washing over him. Turning away from the bar, he looked out across the room and spotted Rickie and Angela dancing enthusiastically. He smiled fondly as he watched Rickie swing his girlfriend around the dance floor with ease, both of them moving in perfect sync to the music. It looked effortless to them and their carefree smiles seemed to add to the naturalness of their movements.

"She always was a fantastic dancer" a familiar voice said to his right. Brian gave him a friendly grin as he turned to face him. Jordan returned it ,but the warmth didn't fully reach his eyes.

"She can't sing a single note in tune, but boy can she move." he replied cheerfully. Brian nodded with a wry smile. Both of them watched the dance floor again with interest, Angela's and Rickie's improvised routine becoming more elaborate by the minute. Their dancing prowess being a welcome distraction from the inevitable awkwardness that was building between him and Brian. The weight of the unsaid issue starting to press upon them and fill the air with tension.

"So….you want anything from the bar? I didn't order you anything because I didn't know what you wanted" Jordan said quietly, finding it hard to meet Brian's eye. His friend shook his head.

"Nah I'm good." he replied in equal meekness. They stood their unsure of what to say. Jordan shifted from foot to foot in uneasiness as he waited for his drinks.

"Eh….Rayanne did good tonight" he said in strained cheerfulness, trying to spark some kind of safe conversation.

"Yeah she did" Brian sighed happily as a small proud smile graced his lips. Jordan cleared his throat loudly in awkwardness, unable to find anything else to add. Brian sighed again as a serious frown overtook his features.

"Jordan, look, I came over here to tell you that, well….I've decided I'm not going to push you into telling Angela."

Jordan's eyebrows shot up in surprise.

"Why?" he enquired hesitantly. Brian shrugged and his attention once more turned back to the dance floor.

"I guess I realised it was wrong for me to make you tell her. I still believe you should wholeheartedly, but in your own time . Then it won't be so…forced and brutal. That way ,maybe things will be okay" he said honestly. Jordan looked at him curiously.

"What made you change your mind?".

Brian frowned again and looked him straight in the eye.

"You risked ruining your career just to come home to Angela for Christmas and I've never seen her happier in her entire life. How can I take that away from her?". Jordan gave him a half smile and breathed in deep in slight relief.

"You're a good friend you know that".

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just refrain from mentioning to Chase that I knew, Rayanne will castrate me if she finds out." Brian added with a smile . Jordan laughed a little.

"Don't worry, my lips are sealed." he grinned.

"Why are you're lips sealed?" Angela said with curiosity, startling Jordan as she appeared behind them. Jordan panicked slightly as he wondered how long she'd been there. Giving her a relaxed smile, he covered his terror successfully.

"Just something Brian might be doing for Rayanne, right buddy?" he said nonchalantly, looking over at Brian.

"Sure thing" Brian said calmly "Well if you'd excuse me, I better get back to Rayanne before she starts thinking I've run off " . With that he grabbed the drinks Jordan had ordered for Rayanne and Amber and walked back towards the booth.

Jordan reached behind to grab Angela's drink, his good mood elevating as she smiled up at him affectionately as he handed her the glass.

"Thanks" she said coyly as she took a delicate sip of the chilled champagne.

"No problem" he said gently, snaking an arm around her waist to pull her in closer ,while taking a gulp of his own drink with the other. Angela beamed at him, relishing his close proximity greedily.

"How you holding up handsome, bored yet?" she asked teasingly, dangerously close to his mouth as she leaned in closer. Jordan smirked at her roguishly.

"How can I be bored when you're sashaying up and down the dance floor so sexily". Angela's face flushed a little in delight and embarrassment in response to his comment.

"Oh you saw that…." she mumbled modestly . The flirtatious glint in Jordan's eyes softened from hunger into an adoring gaze as he cuddled her closer to his body.

"Yeah I did and you're one hell of a dancer Angie" he murmured sweetly. Her face flushed again as a heat spread into her cheeks. Even after all the years she'd known him, even the smallest compliment from Jordan Catalano made her feel on top of the world. Reaching up her free hand to his face, she ran her thumb along his cheek as she looked at him in rapture.

"You want to come dance with me?" she asked with a childish innocence that immediately charmed him.

"I thought you'd never ask" he replied giddily as he set down his now empty glass and let her slowly lead him to the dance floor.

Swaying gently together, her body flush against his and her arms wrapped loosely round his neck, Angela was totally at his mercy. Jordan's great big blue eyes were locked completely on hers and he seemed utterly oblivious to everyone else in the room. The song playing on the sound system was one of her all time favourite, Tonight tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins, its melancholic melody utterly juxtaposing with the unbelievable happiness she felt in this moment. It was all unashamedly perfect. Angela wondered idly if things would always be this way, so effortlessly beautiful and simple. Ever since his dramatic return at Christmas, Angela had found herself falling deep and deeper under Jordan's spell again. Sometimes she felt like she couldn't breath, such was the depth by which loved him. Angela was sure if he ever left her, she'd never recover.

As the song drew to a close, the grand orchestral swell slowing to an almost despairing conclusion, Angela sighed contentedly. Yet when the next song started, she couldn't help but snort with laughter.

Jordan's face grew scarlet as his own voice filled the subdued club, the unmistakable sound of 'Red' ringing around the room.

"Brilliant" he muttered self consciously as he dropped his gaze to the floor, increasingly aware of the number of people now staring at them both. Some of the onlookers looked at them with humour or passive curiosity, others with thinly veiled jealousy and contempt, while a large majority smiled knowingly. There was not one single person in the crowded room that didn't know what the song was about and it seemed that all of them were looking at Jordan and Angela. She smiled at them in slight awkwardness, before blushing a little. Jordan's face was almost on fire in embarrassment when she turned her attention back to him, his eyes firmly downcast. Knowing that trying to tackle his discomfort head on way was the wrong way to deal with the problem, Angela did the only thing she could.

Hugging him closer to her, she laid her head on his chest as her fingers twisted gently in the hair at the nape of his neck.

"You know, it doesn't matter how many years pass or how many times I hear it, I love this song as much as I did the first time you played it" she murmured sweetly. Jordan seemed to relax fractionally , soothed a little by her words. He leaned his cheek against the top of her head as he closed his eyes for second, breathing in the calming smell of her perfume. They swayed in silence to the song for a few seconds, letting the feeling of humiliation subside into a niggling lull.

"Everyone is staring at us" Jordan chuckled slightly, his awkwardness still prevalent. Lifting her head again, she pressed a quick kiss to his mouth.

"Let them" she whispered huskily with a cheeky grin.

A slow cocky smirk spread across his mouth as he laughed at her boldness. Tipping up her chin he returned her kiss eagerly, lingering longer than was polite upon her lips. The final chords of 'Red' were playing as he released her mouth.

"Might as well give them something to talk about if they're gonna stare" he said shamelessly self-assured. Angela grinned at him in delight and then they both began to laugh. Jordan's gaze drifted absentmindedly beyond them to the heaving crowd for a second as something caught his attention . His whole body stiffened suddenly as he eyes fixed on someone in the distance. Angela immediately looked at him in confusion, watching as his face darkened and eye's narrowed in a deadly glare.

"Jordan?" Angela began warily. Jordan blinked rapidly as he shook himself out of his angry reverie, his frown not softening one little bit.

"Sorry" he mumbled distractedly as he loosened his grip on her "I have to use the bathroom". Without another word he was gone, abruptly leaving Angela alone amongst the gawking masses. Angela gaped after him flabbergasted, instantly concerned as to what or who had spooked him. Turning the direction he'd been staring moments before, her stomach plummeted as she got her answer. Directly across the room in a booth in all her long legged beauty sat Amy Flynn, Jordan's ex-girlfriend. The actress was dark haired and ethereally beautiful while possessing more natural grace and charisma than Angela could ever hope to have. The very mention of her name made Angela feel inadequate. Raising her glass in a mocking salute, Amy smirked at Angela condescendingly. Angela nodded sullenly in response before turning on her heel, suddenly needing a drink more than anything else in the world. Preferably a strongly alcoholic one.

Not long after Brian had gone back to the booth to see Rayanne, he'd gotten an urgent call from work. Finally returning to the main part of the club, he found he was thirsty again. Wading his way through the crowd, he reached the smaller bar near the DJ podium. Ordering a beer, he took an appreciative gulp as he relaxed again. The night was going well and he felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Despite his lingering moral qualms, he felt as if he'd made the right decision. To his left a small, sandy haired man cleared his throat unexpectedly. Brian turned to see the stranger looking at him with a friendly smile.

"That a Corona you're drinking? I thought they didn't stock that here" he said genially, pointing at the bottle in Brian's hand.

"Eh…they don't, it's Peroni actually. " he replied politely, mildly curious as to why the guy was engaging him in conversation. The small man nodded in response and continued smiling.

"You enjoying the party?" he enquired.

"It's not too bad. The DJ seems capable for once" Brian said amiably, a half smile forming on his face as he gestured towards the podium.

"My buddy Squid will be happy to hear that, this is his first VIP party at the decks." the guy said cheerfully as he leaned against the bar.

"Tell him he did good." Brian said sincerely "I've been at enough of these stupid parties to appreciate a skilled entertainer".

"No offence, but you don't strike me as a showbiz party kind of guy." his companion responded.

"I'm not, but we often make sacrifices for the people we love" Brian said nonchalantly.

"That we do." The guy said agreement. An good-humoured silence fell between them.

The guy chuckled suddenly after a few moments.

"Where are my manners, I just realised I've been talking to you for the last five minutes and I haven't even told you my name. I'm Vince Malgarotto, I work for the New York Times" he said with a slight laugh as he extended his hand.

"Brian Krakow, I'm Rayanne Graff's better half" Brian said jokingly as he shook Vince's hand firmly "So I presume you're covering the premiere for the Times?" he added with interest.

"Nah…my colleague Stacey Morgan's the entertainment editor and she brought me along tonight for company" Vince replied.

"So what do you usually report on?" Brian asked with genuine interest.

"Crime, fraud, corruption, that sort of thing " he said with a shrug, looking out onto the dance floor with some obvious discomfort in his stance for a second. Something in the way he responded seemed to set off alarm bells in Brian's head and a distrust seemed to build in him towards the man.

"Sounds interesting "Brian said nonchalantly. Vince's friendly manner suddenly snapped back to the forefront again as he seemed to shake himself to attention.

"It is, you wouldn't believe the shit that goes on in this city. " Vince laughed as he looked directly at Brian. "The truth is, if you've got enough money, you can make anything disappear." The apprehension grew in Brian's stomach as he saw something dark flit through his companions faux friendly gaze.

"You don't need to tell me that Mister, I'm a media lawyer" he said as flippantly as he could, suddenly wanting to slip away from the over familiar journalist. Vince's Cheshire cat grin widened as he chuckled again.

"Oh yeah I forgot that. You must have some interesting stories from very interesting clients" he said pointedly. Brian chuckled a little.

"You could say that." he replied secretively. Vince's grin didn't slip one whit despite Brian's obvious tight lip, but he began to look at him more probingly. He sighed before he continued.

"Well I've got this story I've been investigating up in Southampton since November you wouldn't believe. A whole police department up there seems to have gotten an early bonus or something." he said sardonically.

The muscles in Brian's gut tightened as he tried not to show his uneasiness.

"Really?" he gasped as believably as he could. Turning back to Brian, Vince's gaze was almost menacing in spite of the wide smile still displayed on his face.

"I tried asking a few questions, but that placed was locked up tighter than damn Fort Knox. Couldn't get a single cop to talk to me. But then…..I got lucky another way."

Brian's heart was beginning to beat faster as he struggled to keep his fear in check. He continued to stare at Vince with interest, and succeeded in appearing completely calm.

"You see, late one night I go to this bar down by the harbour and this guy starts talking to me. Says he is a private investigator and he's up here doing a job for some hot shot lawyer from the city. At first I don't listen to him, he's just some drunk guy sitting at the bar mumbling to himself. But then he says something that really interests me." Vince paused and Brian began to sweat. He felt cornered now, all he could do was wait and listen. Try ascertain how much this guy knew.

" This guy, Wesley Scott or something, says during his job he'd discovered some major shit about the local police, that they'd falsified records to cover up some accident that happened during the summer for an interested party ". Brian's blood ran cold as he struggled not to panic. He stayed as calm as he could, conscious any flicker of uncertainty with give the journalist the confirmation he needed.

"Did he say who it was?" Brian said evenly, a cool edge to his voice the only sign of hostility he couldn't disguise. A look of frustration flitted across Vince's face before a serious frown filled his features. He was obviously done playing nice.

"No. But he did say I'd get an answer in the celebrity gossip magazines if I tried hard enough to look." Vince said in a low voice "And I did"

Brian's own face darkened as he looked at Vince guardedly.

"You want my professional opinion Mr Malgarotto? If someone has the financial ability to shut up an entire precinct, then they sure as hell have the funds to tie up your newspaper in a legal battle for years. Are you sure you want to risk that on something some drunk said to you one night?".

Vince regarded him with a slight smirk, before he shook his head in almost disbelief at Brian's thinly veiled threat. Looking out across the crowded night club, his eyes fell on the lonely figure of Angela Chase walking aimlessly to the other bar.

"You know what never really made all that much sense to me about your friend Angela's awful car accident last summer. If she was driving the car at the time, how did her right leg get smashed up and not her left? I mean, how is it possible" Vince asked pointedly, the menacing gleam returning as he glared at Brian. Krakow sighed as he gave Vince an arrogant smile.

"I guess we'll never know." he said glibly. Vince's eye were practically black as he continued to glare. Reaching into his suit jacket he pulled out a business card and handed it to Brian forcefully.

"If you ever figure out the mystery, give me a call. I'm sure we'll have a lot to discuss." he said coldly.

"I'm sure we will" Brian returned with equal frostiness. They regarded one another for a moment before Brian nodded and walked away from the bar, the distinct feeling that Vince's eyes were burning into his back the entire journey to the booth.

Jordan Catalano stood in the men's bathroom, staring angrily into the mirror as tried to calm down. Thankfully the room was empty and he didn't have to answer any awkward enquiries as to why he'd been there for the last ten minutes. His fury hadn't lessened much despite his best efforts and he still didn't feel ready to face the world, yet he grudgingly knew he had to. Jordan was enraged that Amy had been invited and Delia hadn't told him, the whole situation being a recipe for disaster. Even when they'd been going out ,Amy had been nothing but trouble, often finding entertainment by taking pleasure in the misery of other people. At one time Jordan had been convinced he was in love with her, but now he realized it had been nothing but obsessive lust. He had been almost relieved when she cheated on him and left, then he was free from her without getting his hands dirty. Her appearance here tonight made him wary, what was she planning? One thing was certain, he didn't like that looked she'd given him when he spotted her. Predatory didn't even cover it.

Jordan sighed in resignation as he heard the door open behind him and he stepped away from the mirror reluctantly.

"Time to rejoin the human race" he muttered reluctantly, walking out of the door.

The music was loud and frantic as he walked down the hallway back to the main area, the light from the halogen bulbs an off putting red. It confused his senses for a second and made him stop to collect his wits. At that moment, his timing was very unlucky.

"Hello there stud, you're just the person I was looking for" Amy cooed as she rounded the corner from the dance floor and walked towards him. Jordan internally cursed. She was the one person he did not want to find him.

"Hello there Amy, it's been too long" he sighed bleakly as she came closer. She pouted a little as placed her hand on his arm.

"Now that didn't sound too genuine, didn't you miss me a little Catalano?" she purred seductively, as she stepped even closer.

"You cheated on me remember. That's not exactly something that causes others to pine " he shot back a little aggressively.

Amy laughed a little, leaning in a little closer.

"That was an age ago Jordan, don't you think all the good times we had are something worth missing a little?"

Jordan regarded her for a second, her face only inches from his as she smirked demurely. She was beautiful, there was no doubt, but as he glared at her he realized he didn't find her attractive in any way anymore. Looking at her he found was more akin to staring at an impressive work of art, something you could admire from a distance but never want to have responsibility of taking care of. Up close you could always see the glaring imperfections and work that was needed to keep it maintained.

"No Amy I haven't missed you or anything else" Jordan said honestly. Amy's smirk faltered a second, before a haughty look graced her face.

"I guess someone needs a little refresher" she purred again, raising her hand to touch his face as she leaned in to him. Jordan grabbed her wrist a little roughly and jerked away to stop her from kissing him.

"No, I don't" he said coldly. Amy's eyes widened in surprise, it was very rare her plays of seduction were ever refused. In the past she could have gotten Jordan to jump through hoops at the very suggestion of sex, now it seemed he had no interest

"C'mon Catalano, what's the problem? You used to love little indiscretions in public places, regardless of if the girls were your girlfriend or not." she said huffily, her frustrations beginning to surface. Jordan looked at her in disbelief.

"People change for the better" he said simply. Amy's displeasure was evident on her face as she scoffed in annoyance.

"You know what, obviously you lost your balls not your heart to that dowdy writer. You've got no edge anymore" she hissed cruelly.

Jordan smirked arrogantly and leaned in closer. Amy flushed a little, suddenly feeling disconcerted by his close proximity.

"Amy, grow up" he said firmly before pushing passed her and walking back to the club. Amy was left smarting in his wake and unable to respond.

Across the room, Rayanne watched Angela with wonder as the antagonised blonde finished off another shot of Jagermeister with tenacity.

"Don't you think you should slow down Chase. The night is still young" she said with slight concern. Angela glared at her petulantly, slamming down the shot glass on the table.

"Nope." she said tightly "Frankly I don't think I've had enough."

"Seriously Angela, you had like five of them in the space of ten minutes. You're gonna throw up if you have anymore." Rickie said as persuasively as he could. Angela arched an eyebrow at him before rolling her eyes.

"I'm fine. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find some people who aren't completely melodramatic." she said irritably as she rose to her feet and walked off. Rayanne and Rickie looked at one another in trepidation, unsure of whether or not to follow her.

"She'll probably find Jordan and he'll make her go home." Rickie said uncertainly.

"As long as she doesn't find Amy, I think we'll be okay" Rayanne replied gravely. Brian waltzed over to the table a few seconds later, a clouded look on his face.

"What's up with you jack ass?" Rayanne sighed unhappily, not in the mood to deal with two crisis's in close succession.

"Nothing." Brian said guardedly "Just had to deal with an asshole at the bar." He looked between his girlfriend and old friend after a moment.

"Where's Angela?" he asked confusedly.

"About to go nuclear." Rayanne said in apprehension as she spotted her best friend stood completely still in the middle of the dance floor. Her eyes glued to the hallway leading to the bathrooms as Jordan strode out the doorway with a slight smile, quickly followed by a dazed looking Amy Flynn. The actress spotted Angela staring at her and rubbed her lips delicately with her fingers before giving her a salacious wink. Angela's fists seem to clench as her whole posture stiffened. Turning swiftly to her left, she stamped off towards the outdoor smoking area, struggling to maintain her cool.

On the other side of the city, Jason Catalano Chase sat anxiously at the edge of his bed beside Beth. Neither of them could speak, their nervousness striking them dumb. There was nothing stopping them now, his parents would be out for another few hours, Beth's mother thought she was at Julie's house and Patty was fast asleep. This was the best chance they'd ever had.

"So…..I guess we'd better start or something" Beth mumbled self-consciously. Jason stiffened a little as he nodded.

"I guess so" he whispered uncertainly. As he moved over to kiss her, he gulped in rising terror.

"Are you sure you're ready?" he asked quietly. Beth gave him a slight smile, realising he was almost more scared than she was. Lying back against the bed, she pulled him slowly on top of her.

"I am, if you are" she said confidently. Jason smiled down at her adoringly.

"Okay" he whispered softly.

The freezing air bit at Angela's skin painfully as she took refuge on the empty terrace., She didn't really feel the cold, the affects of the alcohol starting to take hold as a warm flush spread from her core to her limbs. Yet even still she wrapped arms around herself to stop the throbbing ache in her extremities. Her mind was feeling a little fuzzy, everything seemed far away or something. Obviously the alcohol was affecting her more than she had thought. God she hated when Rayanne was right and clearly she really did need to slow down on the Jaeger. Angela breathed in deeply as she tried to calm her anger, she knew she was being irrationally jealous, but Amy was succeeding in pushing every single one of her buttons. She'd only met the woman once before at a charity dinner, and once had been enough for her to make a fairly substantial judgement on her character My word did she loath her. Angela knew Amy was just playing some kind of twisted game, that nothing had happened between her and Jordan. The odious woman just wanted to mess with her mind and cause tension in her relationship with Jordan. Angela knew she had no reason to be suspicious or possessive, Jordan loved her. But then again, she had been getting this feeling lately that he was keeping something from her. There was this distant look in his eyes she kept seeing every time he thought she wasn't looking. It unsettled her, and she was unable to shake the feeling that he might have been unfaithful on tour.

As she paced the cold flagstones anxiously, the door to her left opened and someone step out into the darkness. Amy didn't see Angela at first, she was too busy lighting a cigarette to notice her glaring at her. She nearly dropped the it in fright when her gaze met Angela's. Amy's shock was quickly forgotten as her mouth twisted into an arrogant smirk.

"Hello Angela Chase, I was wondering where you'd gotten to?" she said smugly, taking a deep drag out of her cigarette.

"Just getting some air Miss Flynn. Are you having a good time?" she retorted acidly. Amy's smirk widened as she laughed lightly at Angela's hostility, this was exactly what she wanted.

"Why yes I am, thank you for asking. It was very nice to catch up with Jordan. We always get on so well. But then again, we know each other so well in so many ways" she grinned wickedly, taking another deep drag out of her cigarette. Angela's face darkened as her mouth set in a hard line. It took all of the will power she had not to run across the short distance and throttled the conceited bitch.

"Oh you know Jordan, he is always so accommodating towards old friends" Angela spat back with barely contained fury. A cruel gleam flashed in Amy's pale blue eyes as she continued to smirk, fully intending to play with Angela's waning confidence.

"He was especially friendly last month when I met him at the Platinum party in Miami, very accommodating." Amy sighed mockingly. Angela's blood ran cold as she heard this, she knew he'd been to parties when he'd been away. Yet he would have told her he'd bumped into Amy, wouldn't he?

"He did tell you we met there, right?" Amy asked with increasing enjoyment of Angela's growing upset. Miss Chase was right where she wanted her, vulnerable and obviously drunk. It was almost too easy.

Angela didn't respond, her eyes downcast as the urge to cry suddenly hit her. Amy stepped a little closer as her smile became more sharp and mocking.

"Oh my ,he didn't tell you ,did he? I wonder why?" she said with faux concern "I mean, was he afraid you'd get jealous? Because, we both know you totally trust him."

"Shut up Amy! I know what you're doing." Angela snapped angrily, unable to hide the shake of uncertainty from her voice.

Amy laughed at her, thoroughly taking pleasure in Angela's destruction.

"And what exactly am I doing?" Amy said innocently.

"Trying to get to me to doubt Jordan." she hissed, tears starting to prick at he eyes.

"Now why would I something like that? Jordan's my friend. I wouldn't want to do anything that could jeopardise either your relationship with him or mine."

Angela glared at her, the urge to hit her or run away and cry like a baby, was fighting for control inside her.

"Wow, you guys must have some serious issues if you're so easily suspicious of him. I mean, do you even know Jordan?" Amy said again in the fake innocent tone, yet it seemed to hit Angela square in the chest.

Why was she so easily distrustful of him around Amy?

Angela knew he hated her just as much as she did, so why did find herself succumbing to the green-eyed monster.? It didn't make sense to her. Maybe Amy was right, how well did she really know Jordan? For one, he had held things back from her in the past and some small part of the rational side of her brain still believed he was hiding something. He'd strayed before, what made her so special that he wasn't capable of doing it again?

Giving Amy one more disgusted look, she walked off towards the club again as her bottom lip began to tremble and the first of her tears broke through the barrier. Behind her Amy laughed, sometimes she loved being a manipulative bitch.

Jordan was standing nonchalantly by the bar talking to Delia and a few others when Angela reached him. Without saying a word, she grabbed him by the hand and dragged him away. It was too dark for him to see her face, but he let her lead him away in slight bewilderment. He had no idea what had gotten into her, but her assertiveness amused him. Before he knew it ,she had pulled him into a cubicle in the ladies bathroom and kissed him aggressively. Pulling the door firmly behind them, she pushed him back against it and kissed him as if her life depended on it. In that moment she needed him more than she ever had before. While she didn't exactly like having sex in public places, right now all she wanted was to claim him as hers. She needed something to distract from the aching pain in her chest Amy had caused. Angela needed to remember why her and Jordan were unbreakable. She needed the connection that only physical acts of love could bring.

It all happened so fast, Jordan had barely any time to register anything other than the wonderful feeling of he mouth against his and her hands snaking under his shirt. Jordan got so caught up by the excitement of it all he soon found himself being pushed down on to the top of the toilet seat as Angela straddled him.

"Angie, what are you doing?" he panted heavily, her spontaneity was severely turning him on.

"I would have thought that was obvious" she purred heatedly between kisses. Jordan chuckled softly as he surrendered himself to just go with the flow and returned her kisses with enthusiasm. It wasn't exactly the most romantic of settings, but he wasn't really complaining.

He was beginning to get into his rhythm, exploring her chest and lower waist with his hands, when he started to taste the salty wetness on her mouth and feel the increasing dampness on her cheeks. Angela was crying. Pushing her gently away he looked at her with concern. He now for the first time saw her red rimmed eyes and tearstained cheeks. Her gaze was dark and distrustful, and he could tell she wasn't exactly sober either. The warm flush on her cheeks was far too hot to be solely caused from the short make-out session.

"Angela, are you okay?" he said softly.

"I'm fine. Just stop talking" She replied huskily, as tried she to pull him in again. Jordan pushed her away once more3. as he looked at her more searchingly. What ever confidence she'd had left her, and she looked at him woundedly, feeling totally rejected.

"Angela, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" he said with added concern, watching as more tears fell from her eyes.

"It's nothing" she whispered sadly as she tried to smile.

Jordan cupped her face in his hands, using his thumbs to wipe the tears from her cheeks.

"It's not nothing" he whispered seriously. "What happened?".

Angela face scrunched up again as she tried to stop the tears.

"Amy" she mumbled miserably, staring at the floor. Jordan exhaled loudly in resignation, of course Amy had gotten to Angela.

"What did she do Angie?" he said sweetly, trying to get her to look at him.

"She….she….she was messing with my head. Making me question things, you know about us….. I don't know why I listened" she cried. Jordan ran his thumb along her cheek to try sooth her a little as she looked at him forlornly.

"Angie, Amy Flynn spends her life trying to make others feel small. Don't believe a word she says. Ever" Jordan said firmly.

Angela 's face was forlorn as she sighed, the alcohol in her blood making her gaze slightly detached as she looked at him. Even still he saw she'd taken in what he'd said.

"Jordan" she whispered vulnerably, as her eyes dropped again "Why do you love me?"

"You're my dream girl, you know that" he whispered affectionately as he held her face between his hands and gave her forehead a kiss. Angela smiled for a split second before her confidence seemed to lessen again.

"But why?" she said

The question threw him off balance and he didn't answer immediately. He never had to quantify something like that before.

"I guess" he began hesitantly as he gently lifted her chin to look at her face "It's because you love me despite every bad thing I've ever done in my life. You get me and I don't think there's a single person in the world I can depend on like that, not even Shane ". Angela's dark sadness dissipated a little and it gave him the confidence to continue on.

"I love you, because you remember all the little things, like my favourite sandwich or the fact I secretly love snuggies." he smiled and Angela couldn't help but smile too.

"Angela, I can't imagine growing, old ,fat and senile with anyone but you." he said sweetly. Angela's small smile grew into a beaming grin.

"Jordan….you're never going to be fat, you'll probably going to be one of those freakishly handsome old men like Paul Newman." She joked. Jordan's heart did a little leap, he was overjoyed to see the old spark back in her eyes. She sighed contentedly and put her head against his chest, momentary lulled and reassured. But even still there was that niggling feeling of doubt and distrust that wouldn't leave.

"Were you at the Platinum party last month?" Angela said seriously after a brief interval, rising up to look at him with interest. Jordan frowned in confusion, not really knowing what that had to do with anything.

"Yeah I was" he replied warily.

"Did you happen to meet Amy at that party?" Angela asked evenly, watching his reactions with curiosity.

"No, we left just after she arrived" he said huffily, not understanding why she was cross examining him.

"You swear." Angela asked with minor distrust.

"Angela where is this coming from? Why are you asking me this?" Jordan said in annoyance.

"Just answer the question Jordan" Angela said blankly, her eyes boring in to his.

"Is this what this all about? Amy filled your head with shit and now you think I cheated on you or something? What the hell Angela" he snapped angrily. Angela looked at him sheepishly as she dropped her gaze again. She was being a tad ridiculous.

"What have I got to do to make you trust me?" Jordan hissed desperately, gripping her by the shoulders.

"I know I must sound crazy Jordan, but ever since you came back from touring I just keep getting this feeling you're hiding something." she said quickly, her face flushing pink in shame at her drunken confession.

Jordan froze, his heart stopping dead in his chest. Panic started to fill his whole body as he digested what she'd said. Angela had always been able to see things he often didn't see in himself and obviously his growing unease over the secret had been more apparent then he'd thought. He struggled to find the words to respond adequately. Even through her drunken haze Angela noticed his sudden silence immediately.

"Wait….is there something you need to tell me?" she asked in horror. Jordan weighed up his options in his mind, taking into consideration how she'd react to the truth. It would be a lot less messy if she wasn't already emotionally overwrought and blatantly drunk, yet maybe this was the opportune moment. For one, at least she'd stop thinking he was being disloyal. It was like taking off a band aid, it was often easier to just rip it off and take the short burst of pain than languishing in fear of the pain. It was time. At this point the had no choice, he couldn't lie to her face.

"Angela…." he began solemnly.

"Yo Chase are you in here?" Rayanne's voice interrupted loudly from the other side of the cubicle. Jordan cursed her internally for perfect timing as per usual.

"Chase?" Rayanne said again, this time more anxiously.

"In here Graff." Angela replied as enthusiastically as he felt.

"Oh thank God I found you, I couldn't find shit face Catalano anywhere." she said in relief.

"Shit face is present and accounted for" Jordan said dryly as Angela smirked.

"Oh" Rayanne began awkwardly with a short chuckle "sorry to interrupt whatever you were doing, but you're Mom called Angelika". Angela and Jordan frowned at one another with trepidation.

"Yeah and what did she want?" Angela said uneasily.

"She said there was a little incident with Jason that you two need to go home and deal with." Rayanne said simply. Jordan sighed in annoyance at his son's uncanny ability to find trouble. Angela rolled her eyes in exasperation before she got off his lap and opened the cubicle door.

"Incident? What sort of incident?" Angela asked unhappily. Rayanne shrugged.

"She didn't say, just asked you to come home soon."

Angela exhaled huffily, before turning to look at Jordan.

"You want to go home." She asked jadedly.

"I doubt we've a choice" he smirked in resignation.

The party was starting to wind down a little as Rayanne, Angela and Jordan exited the bathroom. The music was much more calm and subdued then it has been and it had the immediate affect of calming Angela's lingering apprehensions towards Jordan. Taking his hand in hers, she gave him a small smile of apology for doubting him. He smiled back at her in acknowledgement, a pang of guilty coursing through him as he convinced himself that sometimes ignorance was bliss. Right now, it was better that she still didn't know. Walking hand in hand across the dance floor, the atmosphere between them was affectionately light again. As they neared the last booth before the cloak room, they spotted Amy again. She was chatting to some friends and did not notice the couple. Angela stopped dead in her tracks as she stared for a moment.

"C'mon Angie, it's not worth it" Jordan whispered persuasively as he leaned in close. Angela breathed in deeply.

"Just wait here a second, there is something I have to say" she said resolutely, still staring darkly at Amy's table.

Before either Jordan or Rayanne could stop her, she marched over to Amy's booth.

"What's Jordan's favourite sandwich?" Angela asked suddenly, startling Amy. Angela did not care one whit when everyone else at the table stared at her like she was crazy.

"Excuse me?" Amy replied sourly.

"You said you guys know one another so well, so I was curious whether you know Jordan Catalano's favourite sandwich" Angela said again eerily calm. Amy looked at her in exasperated confusion.

"I don't know a Reuben?"

"Nope. A Philly Cheese steak. What's his favourite flavour of Doritos? His favourite Star Wars movie and actor that played Batman?" Angela asked again with strange calmness.

"What are you trying to prove with these ridiculous questions?" Amy exclaimed in annoyance.

"Just answer my questions and I'll answer yours"

"Oh for Fuck sake I don't know. Now piss off" Amy shouted.

"The answers were, all of them, the Empire Strikes Back and Adam West. The point of them ,was to answer what you asked me earlier. You know, if I actually know Jordan? Bitch no one knows him better" Angela replied brashly. Amy's face darkened.

"So?" she retorted petulantly "You're still nothing but a momentary distraction for him. He'll get bored."

Angela laughed at little at her petty attempt at sabotage.

"Yeah maybe, but I'm still the one he ditched a very lucrative tour to spend Christmas with. The truth is Amy, despite all the fake ho's like you he's forced to flirt with for the sake of his career and all the desperate girls that throw themselves at him, I'm the one he comes home to every time. And tonight I'll be the one taking him home and screwing his brains out. "

Amy's eyes widened in complete surprise at Angela's brazenness and she was unable to respond. She hadn't expected her adversary to recover so well and best her at her own game.

"You see, you may the type of girl every guy wants to fuck Amy, but I'm the type of girl every guy wants to marry and in the end ,that matters more" Angela grinned with glee before turning on her heel. Amy's mouth fell open and she gaped after Angela speechlessly in astonishment. Angela strolled up to Jordan with a confident bounce in her step. He arched an impressed eyebrow at her.

"Feeling better?" he asked with a hint of pride in his voice.

"Infinitely" she smiled as she leaned up and kissed him briefly "lets go home" she added happily.

With that he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close as he led them out of the club, a growing smile on his face.

There had not been many moments in his short life that Jason had experienced that felt more awkward then right now. Sitting guiltily at the kitchen table across from his fuming Grandmother, he had never been so self conscious. Patty couldn't even look at him , she was so mad. The kitchen was silent, the only sound disrupting the eerie quiet was the old grandfather clock by the stairs. Everyone else had been sent home, Joey's Mom had been puce in colour when she'd collected the wayward teen, and Jason had been ordered to sit in the kitchen to await his fate when his parents returned. He knew his mother was going to kill him, she'd always been strict about the 'no girls after 10' rule for exactly the reason he was in trouble right now . Jason was sure he wouldn't be let out of the house again until he was 40 if she had her way. His Dad, well Jordan would probably support Angela's punishment while secretly congratulating him when she wasn't looking. At least he hoped Jordan, it seemed the type of thing he'd do in the circumstance. Regardless, Jason was willing to accept his punishment, it had been idiotically stupid to get caught when things were so easily hidden. He'd unfortunately made the rookie mistake of letting Joey use the guest room beside his grandmothers room. His best friends loud panic attack in the middle of foreplay had woken Patty up and from then on, their cards had been marked. But Jason didn't care really as he smiled to himself, he'd had sex. Therefore, totally worth it!

Despite his momentary pride, Jason winced as he heard his mother thunder up the stairs. Obviously someone else had told Angela before Patty had gotten the chance.

"Jason Graham Catalano Chase, you are in so much trouble right now! How dare you do this" she roared as she crossed the room, her features dark and angry. Behind her, Jordan came up the stairs slowly, an unreadable expression on his face. Jason stared at the floor sheepishly as he mumbled an apology.

"Who told you?" Patty asked in mild surprise.

"Karen McCarthy, she sent me a text apologising for her son trying to use my house as a hook up point." Angela spat out, sending a murderous glare towards Jason "I got a very similar one from Julie's Mom and Beth's."

Patty nodded as she rose to her feet.

"Well then, I think it is fairly redundant for me to still be up to deal with this" she said jadedly "I leave this in your capable hands Angela. Goodnight ".

With that she gave her daughter a kiss and shuffled sleepily back down the hallway to her room.

"Jason what the hell were you thinking sneaking everyone in?" Angela growled as she as sat down noisily in the chair beside him. Jason shrugged as he face grew bright red, his eyes securely downcast. On the other side of him, Jordan sat down with a strange calm. It was an odd atmosphere that surrounded the young man, fire on one side and ice on the other.

"Jason answer me!" Angela hissed.

"I….I wasn't thinking. I just wanted to be with Beth" he mumbled in humiliation.

"Be with Beth? Jason you see your girlfriend more than you see your family. How much more time do you need?" she said huffily.

Meeting her eye for a second, Jason looked at his mother uncomfortably.

"That's not what I meant" he said quietly. Jordan's eyebrows rose high as he instantly understood what his son was saying. Angela looked across at him in slight confusion, not quite getting why Jordan was looking so surprised. When he smirked slightly it finally dawned on her.

"You snuck your girlfriend so you could have sex!" she spluttered in disbelief "Oh my god! What the hell is wrong with you".

Jason's eyes narrowed as he momentarily forgot his embarrassment.

"Nothing! I love her and we were ready." he said touchily.

"You love her. You're fifteen years old, what the fuck do you know about love Jason.? she shouted back.

"About as much as you did." he spat back. Angela was speechless as he cut short her argument. How could she counter his line of reasoning when she was engaged in a serious relationship with the same guy she'd love since the age of fifteen.

Jordan started to feel uneasy as Angela's face grew redder and redder in anger. He could feel it, she was about to completely overreact to the situation.

"Angela, you look tired. Why don't you go to bed and I'll take it from here?" he said calmly, trying to diffuse the growing tension.

"No way, you'll probably high five him and give some money for condoms the minute I'm out of earshot." she hissed.

"Angela please, you're tired, emotional and frankly drunk and it's making you unreasonable. Please just go to bed and let me handle this." Jordan said more firmly.

Angela scowled, her anger now turning on him.

"Fuck no!". Jordan's own temper started to rise as he stared her down.

"For once in your life will you just listen to me and not be so bull-headed. Just go to bed" he said in low voice with authority. Angela opened her mouth to argue again but Jordan shot her a warning look and she rolled her eyes in response.

"Fine" she said rising to her feet "But I'm holding you personally responsible if Beth Sanchez gets pregnant. Got it".

With that she stamped loudly upstairs in a flurry of indignation.

Jason breathed out a sigh of relief as the atmosphere calmed again.

"Thanks Dad, she was completely overreacting" he said happily.

"Shut up Junior. I just took a bullet for you." Jordan growled. Jason's shoulders slumped again and he looked at his father sheepishly.


Jordan sighed as his face relaxed a little.

"Look your Mom is going to ask me exactly what we talked about ,so I'm going to have ask you some personal questions that you need to answer honestly."

Jason nodded in agreement and braced himself for the inevitable embarrassment.

"Did you have sex?" Jordan said evenly.

"Yes" Jason said openly and a small smile tugged at the edge of Jordan's mouth.

"Did you use protection?"


"Did Joey?".

Jason suppressed a smile as he tried not laugh.

"He didn't need it, he had a panic attack before they even got to 3rd base".

Jordan snorted loudly.

"Poor guy." he laughed as his eyes lit up with amusement

They sat there for a few seconds in good humour, the situation too funny not to enjoy a little.

"Look Jason, I understand you sneaking Beth in, but being talked into letting Joey in was honestly retarded." Jordan said pointedly. Jason cheeks flashed pink and he nodded in resignation.

"I know." he said quietly. The clock behind them struck three a.m and Jordan suddenly felt exhausted. It had been a full day.

"You know what you did was highly irresponsible, so I can't let this slide. Your Mom won't let me do it. So I'm sorry Jay but you're grounded indefinitely. And I'm taking your phone in the morning" Jordan said firmly as Jason looked at him beseechingly.

"Dad!" he began.

"Jay, if you do the crime you have to do the time." Jordan replied simply he got up from his seat "Now I'm going to bed. Hopefully you're mother won't smother me in my sleep."

Jason pouted like a toddler as he leaned his head against his arm, he hated being grounded.

"By the way" Jordan said more brightly as he gripped Jason by the shoulders "Congratulations!".

Jason gave him a bashful half smile as his father grinned proudly all the way up the stairs.

When Jordan reached their room, Angela was already in bed, her arms crossed in annoyance as she glowered at him.

"So I guess you let him off Scot free then" she said tetchily. Jordan sighed as he removed his tie ands slipped off his shoes.

"No actually I didn't" he replied indignantly "He's grounded. Indefinitely."

Angela's angry posture relaxed as she uncrossed her arms and looked at him a little awkwardly.

"Oh…good" she said more amiably. She didn't say anything for a while, instead watched with mild interest as Jordan stripped down to his boxers and tee-shirt. She contemplated suggesting some kind of make up sex to atone for her less than good humour that night, but she wasn't really in the mood. Plus she'd put on the least sexy sleep wear she owned, her old ratty college shirt and track pants were far from seductive. Tonight she just wanted to sleep.

As Jordan returned from brushing his teeth she frowned seriously.

"What are we going to do about Jason?" she said quietly. Getting in beside her in the bed, Jordan looked back at her thoughtfully.

"Nothing." he said bluntly "He is a teenage boy and he's going to do it anyway. All we can do is make sure he's being safe, which he is."

Angela's eye grew sad, as if she'd lost something she never wanted to say goodbye to.

"But he is only fifteen Jordan, he's still only a kid" she said unhappily.

"And you were only sixteen" Jordan said pointedly, looking at her deep in the eyes.

"That was different" she replied quietly "I was in love with you".

"And he is with Beth. Look, at least he was at home and deflowering that poor girl in a nice ,comfortable environment, in an actual bed" Jordan said with humour.

"Yeah…..and not trying to do it in some dank abandoned house." Angela smirked and Jordan grinned wickedly.

"Still would have been a better experience than my actual first time" Jordan muttered sardonically.

"Let me guess. In the boiler room with Cynthia after the Halloween dance your first Sophomore year." she said mockingly

"Actually worse than that, behind the dumpsters outside Pizza Hut to Bonita Cawley, Freshman year." Jordan laughed lightly in shame. Angela's mouth fell open in surprise.

"Oh my god, you lost your virginity to Creepy Crawly Cawley, the girl who gave crabs to the entire soccer team. Ewww… Jordan that's gross."

"This was before she got crabs I swear" Jordan groaned defensively his face flaming red " Besides I guess it proves my point that guys don't really care about where they loose it, they just want to do it. What Jason did tonight, that was all for Beth. Why?" Jordan asked rhetorically.

"Because he cares about her." Angela sighed in defeat .

"I suppose I'll have to get used to the idea my little boy isn't so little anymore" she said despondently.

Jordan gave her an compassion smile as he squeezed her hand.

"Give it time, you'll be okay" he said sweetly. Angela returned his smile gently before leaning her head against his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around her and they both relaxed against each other.

They lay beside one another in the silence for a while, the quiet of the night calming all the negative energies of the previous few hours. Jordan thought about how close he'd gotten to finally coming clean. It was getting to the point of being farcical he hadn't told her, tonight had been the closest yet something always seemed to get in the way. At this point it was snowballing into this uncontrollable force that he either needed to face head on, or get the hell out of the way. He was going away again next week to finish off the last part the tour, maybe it was better if he waited till after , then when he came back he'd have months to try fix. But then again, there was no time like the present.

"Angela I have to tell you something" Jordan said soberly, stiffening a little as he steadied himself to say the words that could destroy his life. Angela did not stir beside him, in fact it was at this point he noticed her steady shallow breathing. She was fast asleep against his shoulder.

"Brilliant" he muttered in frustration, knowing he'd never be able to raise his courage enough to actual come this close again. It seemed fate had other plans for him. Sighing in defeat, he closed his eyes and resolved himself to try again tomorrow.

A couple of nights later Rayanne Graff waddled uncomfortably down the stairs of her apartment, the weight of her growing abdomen making her movements increasingly heavy. Bump, it seemed, now taking a break from playing football with her bladder, now wanted her to eat a family pack of Oreo's. At 4a.m in the morning.

"Listen to me Bump, this is seriously starting to annoy me. Stop making me alternate between wanting to pee and wanting to eat cookies all the time. But then again I am at least thankful you've stopped craving pickles " she said hoarsely as she rubbed her belly with a smile.

The kitchen was cold and dark as she padded across the wooden floor to the pantry. Grabbing the first box she could find, she ripped it open and proceeded to devour three treats in quick succession. Now no longer feeling like sleeping, she plopped herself down on the couch and turned on the TV. Munching her way through half the packet in no time, Rayanne sighed contentedly as she watched a comedy re-run.

As she shifted on the couch, she felt something cold and metal pressing into her back.

"What the…."she moaned as she retrieved Brian's cell phone from behind her. It was strange her boyfriend had left his phone behind, usually it would be glued to his side in case work called.

As she looked at it she saw three missed calls from an unknown number. Curiosity got the better of her as she scrolled through Brian's missed calls from the previous week, most being received from the same unnamed number. Something was obviously going on. Rayanne didn't like it one bit that someone was harassing Brian and being her usually impetuous self, she pressed the call button.

The number though rang out to voice mail.

"This is Vince Malgarotto. Leave your name and number and maybe I'll get back to you." the voice on the tape droned. Rayanne didn't say anything as the beep sounded down the line. Frowning deeply as she hung up the phone, she wondered who the hell Vince Malgarotto was and why the hell he wanted to get a hold of Brian so badly?

Deciding to dig a little deeper, she took a peek at Brian voice message inbox. Sure enough there were one or two from Vince. Feeling a little intrusive, she reluctantly opened one of them and listened.

"Krakow, I've tried calling you a hundred times. I know you helped block my publication, why can't you own up to it like a man. You know I can't do jack shit about the Catalano scandal so at least show me the decency to admit you know he did what I think he did. I know he bribed them so please ,don't cut off my balls and my head too. I know I'm right"

Rayanne was even more confused as the message ended.

What the fuck was going on?

-Spoiler alert: next chapter the SHIT WILL HIT THE FAN! Who doesn't love drama at weddings ;-)

Any comments or advice, please do message me.