Chapter 1

Marone Mansion

Taylor is sitting on the sofa in the Marone Mansion living room eyeing the bottle of vodka at the bar. Everything in her is screaming for a drink. She knows she's this close to losing the bottle of will she's having with herself. Jack is upstairs taking a nap; Nick is a JackieM (at least it's what he claims); and here she is figthing the urge to drown her pain and sorrows in a stiff alcoholic drink.

For the past 15 minutes, Taylor has been trying to convince herself that drinking is not the solution to her problems. However, another part of her is telling her to just let it all go and just do what will feel good in the moment. Why shouldn't she have something to take the edge off? What does she really have to lose? Her sham of a marriage? The son who's not really her son according to everyone around her?

The door bell rings. SAVE BY THE BELL.

Taylor gives the bottle of vodka one last look before walking to the door and opening it. It's Rick... Why is she not surprised? After all, he has been making it his business to come around the past couple of week.

Taylor: Rick, Hi... I see you have decided to come and monitor me again.

Rick: Hi Taylor... I'm not here to monitor you. I just stopped by to see a friend.

Taylor looked at him skeptically. She decides not to challenge his words, and just invite him in. For some reason, she has found talking to Rick to be comforting which surprised her. If anyone had told her a month ago that Rick is the one person in the world she could trust her thoughts and fears with she would have laughed at the absurdity of it. However, that's exactly what happened. Everytime he comes around, she finds herself opening up to him, and he sits there and listen to her and gives her words of comfort and even sometimes wisdom. She didn't know he had it in him.

Taylor: Well come in. You're just in time to listen to another long tale of woe is me.

Rick: Smiling There's no where else I rather be.

Rick walks into the house, and Taylor close the door.

Taylor: You must be a glutton for punishment or something.

Rick: Nah, it's just a good thing to spend time with a beautiful woman. Even when she's unloading.

He smiles at her and she smiles back at him.

Rick looks at Taylor in her sweats and hair all disheveled, and yet still thinks she's the most beautiful woman in the world. He doesn't know when and how it happened, but Taylor has become one of the most important person in his life since two weeks ago. He stopped by to drop a gift for Jack, and he ended up wanting to just protect her from everything and everyone, including Nick and his mother. He knows that she doesn't want to accept her marriage is over, but he wishes she could see that she's worth more than to be Mrs. Nick Marone; the little woman who sits home and longs for her husband's love that she will never really get.

It doesn't make sense to Rick that these men keeps treating Taylor like second best. The woman is gorgeous for cripes sake. She's beautiful, loving, caring, nurturing, and on top of that SMART. What is there not to love and want for yourself? YES, he admits it... He wants Taylor for himself. However, he's gotta take it slow. She's emotionally fragile right now, and still believes that there's a chance for her marriage. She loves Nick and she's not ready to let go of him yet.

Rick wished that Nick would do the right thing and free Taylor. Not so he can have her, but for Taylor's mental stability. He can see that Taylor is close to reaching the end of her rope, and he doesn't want her to drown because she doesn't have anyone there to catch her.

Rick: Rick looks around the living room. So where's the little man?

Taylor: He's upstairs taking a nap. He should be up any moment now. Maybe you will get to see him before you leave.

Rick: Hope so. So tell me, how have you been?

Taylor: You saw me only two days ago. Don't worry Rick, I have crashed and burned yet in the one day you didn't see me.

Rick: Embarrassed No, no... It's not that. You know...stuttering Just want to know how you are that's all. Just been polite.

Taylor: You're very good at being polite. Do you want something to drink?

Rick: Non-alcoholic right?

Taylor: Rolling her eyes, a bit annoyed. Yes, Rick, non-alcoholic.

Rick: Sorry. It's just, the last time I was here, you were very close to taking a drink again.

Taylor: Sitting next to him on the sofa. I know that, but I haven't had a drink. Don't get me wrong. I have severely tempted to do so, but every time I think of all the things I have to lose if I do, I refrain from opening that big bottle of vodka over there. She gestures to the bar. I know how bad it can end up if I let myself indulge.

Rick: Every time you feel like doing so, just call me Taylor and I will be there. No questions asked, no hesitation... I will be there and I will help you.

Taylor: You want to be my sponsor?

Rick: Whatever you want to call it. All that matters is that you're not alone. No matter how much it feels like you are.

Taylor: Why is that Rick?

Rick: What do you mean?

Taylor: I'm not trying to minimize how your friendship has been wonderful, but I still don't understand the reason behind it. I know that you are your mother's biggest champion and the biggest proponent to Nick and her and Jack to be a family.

Rick: Look Taylor... I would be lying if I claim that I wouldn't like my mother to be with Nick. She deserves better than Ridge, and I have always felt that Nick is it. But I do not want you to get hurt in the process Taylor. I care very much about you, and I want what is best for you, and honestly I don't think that Nick. He will never love you the way you to deserve to be loved Taylor. HONESTLY and WHOLLY.

Taylor: He's my husband and I love him.

Rick: sighing I know Taylor, I know.

He moves closer to her and caress her cheeks.

Rick: Leaning into her. You're an amazing woman Taylor, and you deserve an amazing life. I wish more than anything you can see that. You're too beautiful to waste your life away on a man who cannot love you without having a divided heart. You did it with Ridge and now you're doing it with Nick. Ridge wasn't worth it, and Nick sure isn't either.

Taylor: I thought you like Nick? You want him for your mother because you think he's the worth worthy enough to be with her, and yet, somehow I deserve better than him?

Rick: You deserve better Taylor because Nick doesn't love you. Not the way you want him to. You will share his love with my mother forever. She will always be in the middle of your marriage. If he goes back to my mother, he will go back to her with a full heart that belongs only to her. Can you really say the same thing in your relationship with him? Can you really say that you have all of Nick?

Taylor: I really want to believe you don't have an agenda Rick. I really do. But when you say these things, I can't help but wonder if you don't.

Rick: The only agenda I have is to see you happy.

Taylor: People don't always get the full happiness they want Rick. You're old enough to know that. There's always something that stands in the way of that. You just have to make do with what you have and hope for the best.

Rick: Maybe... but shouldn't you at least strive for it? Shouldn't you at least be 85% happy? Taylor can you even say you're 35% happy?

Taylor: I'm trying to be happy.

Rick: You know how sad that is? Having to try and be happy in your own marriage and home? Even with a beautiful baby you wanted to share with your husband? That's not the way it should be Taylor. If a patient comes to you and say that you, you will be saying the same thing to her.

Taylor: I'm not a patient Rick, and you're not a psychiatrist.

Rick: No you're not, and no i'm not. What I am is your friend, and I would like to think you are mine, and as friends it is up to me to be honest and blunt with you. You deserve BETTER Taylor, and Nick is not IT. You may not want to hear what I have to say, but deep down inside you know i'm telling you the truth.

Rick leans into her again, and look at her straight in the eyes.

Rick: Whispering God, you're beautiful. When I look at you, I see everything that is right in the world. Every part of me just want to make everything right for you. Everytime i'm near you, I feel like I have been hit by a bolt of lightning. It's this electric energy that just surrounds you, and I want to capture it for myself.

At this moment, Taylor starts getting nervous. As Rick looks her in the eye, she can see the desire, the lust and the love, and it scares the hell out of her. This is a twist that she didn't expect. She sees him as a friend and nothing more. She's married and he's Brooke's son for crying out loud, and her daughter's ex-boyfriend. There will never be anything between them.

Then why is it that despite being nervous, she feels this growing excitement deep within her?

The door of the mansion opens, and in walk Nick.

Why in the world is Rick sitting to Taylor with that look on his face?

Nick: Hey Rick. What are you doing here?

Rick pulls away from Taylor and stands up to greet Nick.

Rick: Hi Nick. Just stopped by to see your beautiful wife and son.

Nick walks over to Taylor and kisses her on the lip.

Nick: Hi sweetheart. Where's Jack?

Taylor: He's upstairs sleeping.

Taylor was really nervous now.. Not knowing what Nick may have witness or heard.

Turning to Rick,

Nick: You come by a lot these days. Not that i'm not appreciative of your concern for my wife and son, but i'm sure you have more important things you would want to devote your time to.

Rick: NAHHHHH, nothing will ever be more important than Taylor and Jack. You're a lucky man Nick... I hope you know that.

Nick: I do... Thank you for pointing it out.

At this point, Taylor really hopes that Rick would leave. She's feeling too unsettled by his declaration. She needs to be along with Nick now. She needs the reassurance that her marriage is fine, and that the stirring in her gut a moment ago was just a temporary thing and a momentary reaction to Rick's proximity and words.

Taylor: Thank you for stopping by Rick. She looks pointedly at him hoping he will get the hint

Rick looks at her and realize she wants him to leave. A part of him didn't want to, but he's not gonna push things with Nick standing right there. For a brief moment, he saw Taylor reacted to him. If only Nick hadn't walk in at that moment.

Rick: Um, sure... Always a pleasure. I'll see you.

He walks to the door and look back at the couple who now has their arm around each other.

Rick: Have a goodnight.

Rick walks out the door and close it behind him. He looks back and wonders when Taylor will finally realize she doesn't belong with Nick. When she does, he will be right there waiting for her.