Todd was late getting into the office the next day. It was understandable to normal people if they knew the hell that he had been through the last few months, not to mention last night's fun. However, he was not going to be dealing with normal people when he walked through that door. He would have to be dealing with Victor Jr. He still could not believe that idiot judge have halved the inheritance. Alexis Davis had tried to find any loophole to help him, but is was all to no avail. Now he had to share the newspaper he had built with the twin brother he never knew he had. Sometimes he hated his life.
As he walked into the office, he was surprised that said twin wasn't there yet. Maybe it was his lucky day. Maybe the jerk had finally fallen into a manhole. Or walked right off the top of Llantano Mountain. Or maybe…
His musing on the demise of the twin from hell ended as the door opened and he walked in. He looked as haggard as Todd felt. Somewhere deep down he was worried. Not that he would let him see that, so he decided to start the morning off chipper.
"Hey, Vic, late night? You really need some beauty sleep. Tell you what, you go home, I'll take care of business for the rest of the week," Todd chortled, flashing his goofiest smile.
The doorbell rang at Llanfair as Viki Lord Davidson was walking out of the library with her morning coffee. It was very early for anyone to be here. Natalie had left for the day and Jessica had only just walked out the door for work (or "refereeing" as she called it) at The Sun and the babies were up with the nanny. Clint was already in the library with the paper and Nigel was serving the coffee so Viki went to answer the door by herself. To her surprise, she opened it to find her sister and brother-in-law (and soon to be stepson) standing on the other side.
"Surprise!" Tina Lord Roberts shouted as she gave her sister a big hug.
Viki accepted the hug but threw Cord Roberts a look.
As much as Victor hated the nickname "Vic" that Todd had been calling him since their partnership had begun, he had admitted to himself that it was better than his name. Of all the names Irene Manning could have cursed him with, Victor Dalby Lord Jr. was probably the worst. When he had come back from his imprisonment, he had accepted that he was not Todd Manning. But to walk around for the rest of his life with the name of that pedophile was equally horrific. He had been looking into other names for himself, but the process was long and complex. And even though that name and all that went with it was traumatic to him and especially to Viki, there was something in him that could change it. He would just have to bear the burden of being Victor Lord Jr.
He looked his twin over and noticed his own disheveled appearance. "I could say the same of you. Those bags under your eyes look like Blair after a shopping spree at Logan's."
Todd merely grunted as he looked back down at his desk. Unable to think of a good comeback, he decided this time to be the bigger man. "Late night with the baby?"
"Ah, yeah. She was up and needed her daddy, so we were bonding," he said. "What's up with you? You don't have a baby as your excuse."
"Ah, yes, but I have a sexy, nubile girlfriend sharing my bed," Todd tried to cover. It seemed to work and had the added benefit of irking his brother. If there was one thing the two seemed to shared, it was their women. Both had bedded and wedded Tea and Blair multiple times. But Todd had to admit that Blair was the love of his life and Victor would have admitted the same about Tea if asked. And neither of the men would admit it to each other.
They were working in silence through the morning until their niece Jessica Buchanan came into the office. She had been named editor-in-chief mainly as a neutral party between the brothers and had had to break up some knockdown, dragged out fights since taking the position. Today, however, she was more shocked by the silence that greeted her in the office.
"Hey, just wanted to bring you up to speed on something I found out," Jessica began.
Todd looked up at her. After a moment, he got up from his desk. "You bring him up to speed. I'm taking off," he said as he flew out the door, papers from his desk following in his wake.
"What was that all about?" Jess asked Victor, who merely raised and eyebrow.
"Tina, Cord, what are you doing here?" Viki asked as the couple entered Llanfair. Clint came into the hallway, hearing the voices.
"Cord, how are you?" Clint asked.
"Pa! I'm doing great. How 'bout you?" Cord asked him.
"Viki and Clint have to be as happy as you and I are, what with them engaged again," Tina replied for her brother-in-law. She turned to Viki. "My question for you is, have you started planning the wedding?"
Viki knew where this conversation was headed. "Tina, as lovely as that sounds, Clint and I decided that we would have just a small wedding, with only our families," Viki explained, hoping to quash any cockamamie plans she was sure were forming in her sister's mind.
Tina just stared at her big sister than shook her head. "A 'small wedding?' Just your families? Oh no, no, no. Not when we have to celebrate the greatest love this town has ever known." Tina was getting that dreamy-eyed look that was really scaring Viki. "I also have a reputation to protect. I basically stole the most perfect wedding from poor Natalie, now I have to make it up some how."
Clint tried to interject at this point. "Tina, you saved Natty from that lying SOB, Brody. There is nothing you have to make up for," he said.
"That's what I've been tryin' to tell her since you told us you were getting' married," Cord stepped in.
When Tina threw him a look, he could tell he was rapidly stepping into it with his wife. "Cord, I still feel guilty for usurping that wedding." She turned back to Viki and Clint. "So, to show I am not that selfish person I was before, I am making it up by planning the perfect wedding for my sister and father-in-law." Her smile was bright but disappeared quickly. "And no one is talking me out of it."
Todd had to get out of the office. He didn't know why, but he knew he had to. It had been the same feeling he had been having for months, if not the full year he'd been back. He wandered around Angel Square. Then he heard that voice again, a near cackle taunting him. "What, are you becoming afraid Todd," the voice said. He turned around and was again confronted by Irene Manning.