CHAPTER 2

Taylor feels relieved that Rick left. However, she's still unsettled by what happened before Nick walked through the door. Her life is complicated enough without having Rick Forrester as part of the equation stirring things inside of her that shouldn't be stirred. She can't even begin to enumerate how wrong and disturbing it would be to let things get out of control where Rick is concerned.

Rick needs to stay away from her and her home, and she would find a way to get that through to him. She loves her husband and son, and she won't let anyone stand in the way of her family being happy; not even Eric Forrester III.

Taylor turns to Nick who went straight to the bar to prepare himself a drink.

Taylor: Honey, would you like something to eat? I have a couple of steaks out I can grill. I can quickly put something together before Jack wakes up.

Nick turns to his wife. He looks at her and senses that there is something he's missing. He knows that he walked in on something between her and Rick on the sofa; but for the life of him he can't seem to grasp what it is. However strange Taylor has been acting since Jack's birth, he can't quite get his mind to Taylor being improper with Rick.

That said, he's not so sure about Rick. He knows that Rick wants him with Brooke. He has vocalized his opinion on his marriage to Taylor so many times and made it very clear that Nick should be with his mother. He wonders if Rick is trying to pull something and trying to get between him and his wife. He needs to have a talk with Rick, and make it very clear that he shouldn't mess with his marriage. He likes Rick and all, but he's not gonna let the younger man play games with Taylor's already fragile mind. Taylor is barely hanging to her sanity as it is since she found out that Brooke is Jack's mother.

It's been such a tough balancing act, trying to keep Taylor from going over the edge and maintaining a relationship between Brooke and Jack. Nick knows he is playing a dangerous game letting Brooke and Jack form a bond, but he can't help himself. Whenever he sees her with the baby; holding him, cuddling him, kissing him, and loving him; his heart just melt. It reminds him of the life he could have had with her if RJ had been his son. It reminds him of the family that he always wanted with the woman who taught him how to love. Loving Brooke is an ingrained part of him. Letting go of Brooke is not an option no matter how hard he tried. Marrying Taylor was supposed to severe the hold that Brooke had over his heart. Taylor and Jack was supposed to be his new beginning. Finding out Brooke was Jack's biological mother changed all that for him.

Life is such a *****. He finally has the child he always wanted with Brooke as his biological mother, and yet, he can't have the life he wanted which includes Brooke/RJ/Hope. He has to keep his vows. He can't abandoned Taylor. Not after all the sacrifices she has made to give him a child. So he will stay married, and keep his vows, and not let Rick mess with his wife or marriage. He has to make it very clear to Rick that he has no place in Taylor's life. His marriage is barely hanging on by a thread, and he can't let any outside forces be more of a threat to an already fragile situation.

Answering Taylor.

Nick: No, it's okay sweetheart. I had something to eat at the office. I'm not really hungry.

He walks over to Taylor and smile at her with a seductive smile that makes Taylor's tummy flip flopped. Despite all their troubles, there is always one place they can always connect on some level, and that is the bedroom. It's the one place they can pretend is not being invaded by Brooke. When they are in bed together, they can shut the outside world and pretend their life together is perfect. Nick can pretend she's the only woman he wants, and she can pretend she's the only woman he wants. It does help that the sex is great. Nick has realized a long time ago, that you don't have to be in love with someone; heck, you don't have to love someone to have amazing sex with them.

It does help that he loves Taylor in his own sort of way.

Taylor looks at him, and at that moment decides to erase Rick out of her mind and concentrate on her husband who's looking at her with such lust and desire. Sex is the one good thing in their marriage, and it's the one thing she has decided a long time ago to use to keep Nick in line. Nick is a sensual man, and it's the one power Taylor knows she has in her marriage. It's the only time she knows she can keep Brooke Logan out of his mind and out of their lives. She hates feeling that desperate, but for some reason she has let herself fall head over heels in love with this man, and she can't let go. She tries to convince herself that Jack deserves a family. Some days she manages to do a good job at convincing herself that her marriage is too important to give up because that bimbo Brooke can't keep herself tied to just on man. But there are days, she does want to give up.

Nick pulls Taylor to him and gives her a passionate kiss, slipping his tongue into her mouth. He smiles to himself as he hears her moan. He continues his trail of kisses down to her neck, kissing her collarbone along the way; teasing and sucking at all the right places. Before he knows it, she's pulling at his shirt, unbuttoning and caressing his chest. Before she can reach his pants, he pulls away and whisper in her ears.

Nick: Let's take this upstairs.

He takes her by the hand and leads her up the stairs toward their bedroom. He hopes Jack sleeps for at least another half hour.

He lets go of her hand and sits on the bed. He watches her all flustered with desire. He sits back with hooded eyes.

Nick: Take your clothes off... SLOWWWWW.

Taylor smiles at him. So he wants to play games huh?

Taylor starts undressing; taking each piece of clothing very slow, letting him enjoy the view, and boy does he love the view. Say what you want about his wife, but she has great genes. You would have never guess she had a baby not too long ago.

After undressing, Taylor stands only in her little bikini panties, and starts climbing on the bed toward Nick. As far as she was concerned, Rick and the rest of the world are irrelevant at this moment. This is all about her and Nick and how much she loves him.

For the next hour, the only noise that could be hear in the Marone Mansion is the loud gasps, moans and screams of desire between husband and wife; shutting out the rest of the world.

Across town, at the beach house

Rick is sitting in the living room with a beer in his hand, wondering what is going on with Taylor right now. Tonight he didn't want to leave her with Nick, but he knows that he had no choice. Taylor wants her marriage to work so desperately.

Shouldn't he let her have her delusions about her marriage?

Maybe he should just back off and let what he knows will happen, happen. This way when Nick finally drives the stake through her heart, he will be whole and standing and ready to catch her and repair her broken heart.

It's bound to happen, sooner or later; and he, Eric Forrester III, will take her out of the ashes and help her rebuild again.

Rick take a swallow of his beer, sitting in the dark, waiting for the day when Taylor will be his.