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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Day turned into night and night transformed into day. Gone were those endless summer days and shorter evenings that affected sleep. Cooler temperatures permeated the air and with it, the trees' foliage were changing from greens into shades of vibrant yellow, red and gold. They had already started to fall and strewn along the ground creating a kaleidoscope of colors.

Lugging Trey in her arms, thoughts of family togetherness gave Evangeline a warm tingly feeling as she approached Layla's front door. The traditional styled house located in the exclusive Hightower Township featured four bedrooms and two and half baths. It made her ponder acquiring a new home even more. After Robert's death, she and Trey moved into a two-bedroom condominium taking along a few mementos. Much of their furniture remained in storage. For Evangeline, a home without Robert wasn't a home anymore. The ghosts of their life together clung to its walls. There were far too many nights spent rehashing the past about what should or shouldn't have been.

"Mommie ah wanna see Grammie," Trey insisted clutching his teddy bear tightly. Paddington bear was the last toy that his father brought for him and for the most part, he kept it with him.

"And we will baby," she replied kissing his forehead.

Trey enjoyed being around his Grandma Lisa most of all. Lisa doted on her first grand baby and Trey relished the attention. Evangeline not only appreciated her mother being around but it provided her access to a convenient babysitter when the need arose. A knock at the door and Lisa answered with a huge smile on her smile.

"There are my two babies," she said opening up her arms to them.

"Grammie!" He instantly went in her arms and embraced her tightly. Trey giggled as his grandmother showered him with kisses.

"Where is Lays?"

"On her laptop. It appears the online part of the business is pretty active."

Soon Evangeline's cellphone started chiming and she retrieved it from her bag.


"Hey....I'm fine and so is Trey...I've thought about it....No...No...not this time....I don't want him travelling around this time. I want to spend time with my family too. I'm still getting settled....It's not an excuse....Why don't you...hello...hello...helloo..." Evangeline let out a frustrated sigh, tossing the phone back into her bag.


"What was that about?"

"Grammie where auntie uncle?"

"Auntie Layla is inside the living room but Uncle Hugh is at work."

Evangeline sighed stroking Trey's back. "Robert's sister insists that Trey and I go to Atlanta for thanksgiving. When I told her no, she hung up the phone."

"Weren't you in Atlanta for Christmas last year?"

"Yes but it doesn't seem to be enough."

Lisa placed Trey on the ground. "Mama...auntie," he said patting her thigh.

"Hey sis. Thought I heard voices."

"Be careful Trey," Evangeline said as he ran to hug Layla.

"Your belly big Laylay." He said it in such a dramatic fashion that everyone laughed.

"Well your little cousin is growing inside there. Soon there will be another baby and you can have someone to play with."


"He is too cute."

"Layla can you take Trey with you into the living room. I need to talk with your sister." Lisa's mind concentrated on the phone conversation.

"Ok mom."


"It's fine mom..."

"No it's tell me what's going on. That one phone call has really affected you. It's written all over your face."

Evangeline took a breath massaging her forehead, recognizing that her mom wouldn't let it go.

"Robert's family especially his sister is accusing me of forgetting about him...and them in the process. It's just so frustrating. I have Trey Skype and talk to them whenever possible but still it's not enough. I've mourned long enough..."

Lisa rubbed her chin. "They want you to move to Atlanta right."


"It's so wrong of them. Baby live your life. You have the toughest part of raising Trey without his father..."

Unshed tears filled her eyes. "Mom I think they blame me for what happened to Robert. If he hadn't..." Words failed her.

Evangeline was usually the pillar of strength. From the time she was child, it took a lot to make her this emotional. To see her now in such turmoil made her want to take away the burden however possible.

Lisa quickly embraced her. " girl...don't do this."

"I hate him for leaving me to do all of this alone...I hate him..."

"It's not your fault baby and you don't hate him. You miss him. Don't you dare blame yourself and allow others to do so. I've been there... especially after your father died. You girls were so young and I felt my world was crashing in. ..." She too struggled with his family's interference. "By the grace of God we made. You and Trey will too."

"I'm not sure what to say to him when he starts asking questions about his dad. Why isn't he here..."

"You'll say that he so wanted to be here for him and he did his best but it just wasn't possible. Physically he is not here but he is forever in his heart and will always be a part of him."

"Oh mom..." The tears really started to flow.




He stood casually outside waiting for her not in the shadows per se given that it was early afternoon. Sometimes he stuck his hands inside his pockets and sometimes not. He leaned sideways against an oak tree, dressed appropriately in a dark jeans, jacket and boots. What Nicki did angered him just thinking about it but he didn't feel like barging into her office and causing a scene. However he eyed her black BMW intently, staring at the sleek ride which she kept pretty much looking showroom finish. A gift from him if anyone needed to know. For the many gifts he gave her the only one she returned was the engagement ring she threw back at him. So yeah he spoiled her, - clothes, jewelry, vacations. He believed he bought his way into her heart and that's why he was so easy to let her go.


His attention diverted when Nicki's office swung open.

"Hey Nicki..." Her face changed into stunned silence clutching her red tote. Victor's sudden appearance caught her a bit off guard. "You should have been expecting me given what you did."

"What exactly did I do Victor?" Now she appeared ready for a battle. She stood beside her car, arms folded with a "bring it on" glare in her countenance.

"I wanted that house."

"Correction - we looked at that house together. It was going to be our home after we were married. How easily you forget."

That's not the way he recalled the situation. Of course he needed to find a new place. It's just that when he found that perfect home, Nicki tagged along.

"I found that house. You just happened to be there," he replied with a slightly raised voice. "Now it's gone...sold...I know you had something to do with it."

"Prove it!"

He stepped inside her personal space. "I see that's not a denial either. ...Consider us even. If you were doing this to get my attention then baby I received the message loud and clear." He leaned in closer. "Next time you affect me in this way..."

She took a step back. "So now you're threatening me. Sweetheart to last time I checked, you're not Todd Manning..."

"I don't need to be. Pen is mightier Sweetheart."

"Oh that little magazine of yours is not the Sun newspaper," she commented brushing aside her waves.

"Oh but it reaches the right clientele -your kind. Impossible to believe right but just take my word for it. I just may request my staff to do a "special investigation". You know what I mean," he winked at her.

"What did I ever see in you?"

"Dollars never cents."

He knew she got the point when she hurriedly walked away, entered her vehicle and drove off with squealing tires.


A couple weeks later...

Llanview Hospital Charity Ball

One of the highlighted events of the fall season was the Charity Ball coordinated by Vicki and her team of organizers. The Bellevue Country Club was the chosen venue this year. The ball catered to Llanview society all dressed to the nines to be entertained, wined, and dined while bringing along their checkbooks for the sake of the new wing of the pediatric ward.


Vicki was indeed surprised that both of her brothers were in attendance given the chasm between them. Her thoughts ran deep about the woman who inflicted such a great deal of damage on her sons. In fact both parents were incapable of love. They strived on pure selfish, deviant behavior regardless of the consequences. Ultimately the children were left holding the bag; experiencing their fair share of heartaches and inflicting as much on others. She wouldn't have wish these set of circumstances on her worst enemy. Even with all the money in the world, you never knew what lay behind those polished, iron gates.


"I'm ok Vicki."

He sat down at one of the few available tables; the venue already filled by Llanview's prominent citizens

"Ok," she said quickly tapping his shoulders then dashing off.

Once again she was stressing over him especially when she learnt of his broken engagement. Thankfully Nicki hadn't made an appearance although he noted that some of her friends were giving him disgusted stares. He could hardly be bothered. His eyes returned to his cellphone screen checking his emails.


"Hello Arnold Palmer..."

Victor's body stiffened at the sight of Todd standing before him.

"Get to the point Todd and then move along."

Todd leaned down closer. "You know you should get out of Llanview. The sooner the better."

"Fat chance. We are the same, brother."

He straightened back up. "No we're not..."

"Think again. We leave on our own terms not anyone else's."

"Todd!" Blair called out to him

"I think you should go or perhaps I should pay Blair a visit," Victor said with a smirk. 

"Don't you dare talk to my wife."

" that so..."


Reluctantly Todd left more than a little ticked off.

Yeah Todd blamed him pretty much for everything believing he should have known. If he had truly known would he have wanted Todd's reality given all he endured because of except for one thing - the relationship he created with Starr and Jack was indeed special.


Ladies and Gentlemen may I have your attention please.

The gathering quieted down and turned their attention to the announcer on stage. He went over a few things which included the purpose of the charity ball as well as what they should expect for the remainder of the evening.

 Now would you please give a round of applause for Mrs. Evangeline Parsons who has generously given of her time to perform for everyone tonight.

When she walked onto the stage, Todd briefly lost his train of thoughts. From the midnight blue, floor length gown, hair styled in a sleek updo, sparkling diamond earrings and flawless makeup - her presence mesmerized everyone including himself. The lights died down; music started to play and she briefly closed her eyes, fingers curled around the microphone.





If you're lonely

And need a friend

And troubles seem like

They never end

Just remember

To keep the faith

Uh Huh

And love will be there

To light the way


Anytime you need a friend

I will be here

You'll never be alone again

So don't you fear

Even if you're miles away

I'm by your side

So don't you ever be lonely

Love will make it alright


Oh those memories of times spent together being there for each other flooded his brain. It didn't matter that he was Todd Manning at the time. She meant so much to him and the fact that he so callously took their bond for granted made him feel ashamed. Was it enough that he wanted to beg her forgiveness unsure of what her response may be. The last few times they saw each other felt awkward to say the least and it was his fault.


If you just believe in me

I will love you endlessly Oh...

Take my hand

Take me into your heart

I'll be there forever baby

I won't let go

I'll never let goooo....


Anytime you need a friend

I will be here

You'll never be alone again


So don't you fear

Don't worry, don't fear

Even if you're miles away

Yes I'm with you

I'm by your side

Wherever you are

So don't you ever be lonely

It's alright

It's alright...It's alriiiight


Anytime you need a friend

I will be here

Yes, you know it's alright

You'll never be alone again

So don't you fear

Don't ever fear

Even if you're miles away

I'm by your side

I'm by your side

Don't you ever be lonely

It's alright


The crowd stood to its feet giving her a loud, thunderous applause and Evangeline gracefully bowed.


"Wow that was an amazing performance! That really stirred my heart..."


They were still applauding as she walked down the back staircase. The people who were backstage took time out to express their appreciation, coming up to embrace her, sharing heartfelt compliments. The last person she wanted to see though was Todd Manning, scotch in hand, back pressed up against the wall.


"Such an amazing performance..."

"What else," she snipped at him already aware that this wouldn't be a pleasant conversation. "I'm sure you're dying to say more."

"I'm just wondering if that performance was for the donors or for that brother of mine."

There was no way she was going to allow him to bring down her spirits. She did her part; gave it her all.

"None of your business but I do understand why you're jealous of my relationship with Victor...given your options." She snatched his drink away.


"I believe you need a refresher."

She slowly poured out the remaining contents over his head, set the glass on a side table and strolled away. She heard the laughter and Todd yelling at them.


Victor stood by the exit watching the whole scene play out. At first he wanted to intervene but something told him that Evangeline could take care of herself around that menace.

She gave him a small smile when he saw him waiting.

"I saw Todd..."

"Nothing I couldn't handle. I'm certain he's going to write something not too flattering about me in his paper but I could care less."

"Can we talk?"

"Sure...lead the way."

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.