I don't know what it is, but I've once again found my inspiration for this story! There won't be so many gaps in between chapters, I promise my good people. Hope you all enjoy this latest installment. If there is a way that you would like me to slant in my storytelling give me a shout and I'll definitely consider your thoughts and ideas :)
"Steffy I swear—this better be serious. If someone's not dying then I don't want to hear it."
She went right for the jugular, not holding anything back. "It's not over Bill—what happened with Amber. She knows."
"What the hell are you talking about?" His voice resonated in irritation—but there was a slight hint of panic emerging as well.
"Amber knows you were at the beach house the day she fell off the balcony. Bill—Bill she's got proof."
There was a hard moment of silence before he answered her. "What do you mean, she has proof? What kind of proof are we talking about here?"
Steffy closed her eyes and quickly exhaled her anxiety. "Amber asked Liam to install security cameras on the grounds because she was afraid of being alone in the house all day. She has the laptop containing the footage of those security cameras…she saw you coming up behind her right before she fell. She also saw us talking right before you left, and how I pulled her from the cliff. She knows Bill—and she can use it in a court of law to sentence you to prison."
Bill's anger began to flare within him. The sound of his exhale mimicked a raging bull, ready to charge. "Steffy…who told you this?"
"Amber. You just missed her."
"That little gold-digging bitch…it's not enough that she tries to ruin my son's life, she's got to ruin mine too?" He began pacing. You know right now, I really wish you hadn't been there to save her. If you would have just left when I told you to none of this would be happening right now!"
"Hey—don't you dare blame me for this! If Amber would have died by your hand things would have been much worse for you and you know it. Think of the kinds of charges you'd be facing right now!" She ran her hand through her hair in frustration. "Let that be a reminder to you the next time you want to blame me for your mistakes!"
Bill turned away from her, embarrassed by the rashness of his words. Steffy was absolutely right—not that he would ever really admit it straight out. "You make—you make a good point Steffy."
"You're damn right I do."
"Alright…what else did Amber tell you? What does she want?"
"She wants a pay off."
Steffy didn't want to say how much. All she wanted was for this to go away. She thought of the way Marcus had held her earlier…how safe his muscular arms had made her feel. Then she drifted to the feeling of Bill's lips on hers…
"Three million a year. For life…"
"Damnit!" He pounded his fist against her wall.
"Hey! You don't want to add a bill for fixing my wall to your Amber tab, do you?"
"Very funny Steffy. Now get serious. I'm gong to call my lawyers. Maybe I'll talk to Justin as well, see what he can do for me."
"Wait—Bill—you are sure you want to go running to your legal team right this second?"
"Are you kidding me? Of course I want my lawyers on her tail. I pay their salaries—they'll find a way to make Amber wish she was never born."
"I don't doubt the skills of your almighty lawyers. I just think there are a few people we can talk to first before they get involved."
Bill raised his eyebrows, almost mockingly. "Who?"
"Steffy grinned at the realization of the ally that laid right in her pocket. "Marcus."
"Marcus? Are you insane? He's the father of her baby, for God's sake! If she saw the way I was lurking up behind her he'd press his own charges against me."
"But you don't—"
"—No. No 'but's' Steffy—no one, and I mean no one can ever find out about what happened that day. You need to take this to the grave." He grabbed a firm hold of her shoulders. "Do you understand me?"
"You're making a mistake. Marcus can help."
"He is to know nothing about this. Now I'm not going to ask you again. Don't. Say. Anything. To anyone. I'm going to handle this my way and that is final."
Steffy broke free from his grasp, and looked him square in the eye. "You're welcome. By the way," she answered icily.
The look he gave her shifted from desperation to sympathy. He took her hand in his and held it. "Steffy," he began softly. "I do appreciate everything you've done for me. Don't think for a second that I don't."
When Steffy saw his expression, she knew exactly what it meant He truly was being sincere.
Bill pushed a lock of hair out of her eyes and grazed her cheek gently with his thumb. "You know, sometimes I wonder what I would do if I didn't have you looking out for me. You're loyalty speaks volumes. It's exactly what makes you so fierce, so admirable. You are exceptional in every way."
Damn. He's good. "Is sweet-talking stapled into the Spencer gene? Or is it just you?"
For the first time since he arrived at her apartment he actually laughed. "I think I add a special something."
"Yeah, you're something alright," she quipped. Then she turned serious. "Do you think Katie would be able to understand what went through your head that day? What you were truly feeling? Because if you do, you're only fooling yourself."
He rolled his eyes. "Enough about Katie. I don't want to hear it, Ok? I've got enough on my plate to deal with. I don't need you bashing my wife on top of everything else."
"Fine. Just…know I'm here. If you need anything. I'll always be on your side Bill."
"I know," he answered matter-of-factly.
"Good." She smiled.
"Alright, I'm gonna get going. You let me know if Amber bothers you again and 'll make her regret that too."
"I will. And hey," she took hold of his arm before he walked out her door. "Everything will be Ok Bill. This will all turn out in your favor, I can feel it."
He nodded, evidently trying to believe her words to ring true. Then without another word, he was gone.
Steffy slowly shut the door behind her and leaned against it. "I need to protect my daughter. That is my top priority."
"He's the father of her baby, for God's sake! If he saw the way I was lurking up behind her he'd press his own charges against me."
"If I have any chance at all at gaining full custody…"
"He is to know nothing about this. Now I'm not going to ask you again. Don't. Say. Anything."
"Oh Marcus," she whispered aloud. "How am I going to be able to help you too?"
-End of Chapter 4-