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There wasn't a much more perfect evening than the first night they spent together as man and wife. Victor jetted her off to a cozy luxury hotel in the mountains. Not exactly a honeymoon per se but rather a weekend getaway given that both were reluctant to spend too much time away from their precious little boy. Although exhausted, finally being together took precedence over anything else. Bags, clothes were haphazardly dispersed about and who had time to absorb the room's presentation. From the remainder of the evening through to the beginning illuminations of early dawn passion reigned until their bodies were completely spent.
Victor hardly slept though, choosing instead to gaze downward at his gorgeous bride who laid sprawled along his length snoring lightly. His thoughts reflected on just how much his life had transformed for the better. He never knew or understood true love until Evangeline. Much more than mere friendship, he craved her love, acceptance and longed for her presence in his life. In spite of himself, he desired to be a better human being turning aside from many of his outlandish behaviors. She saw qualities inside of him that he never knew existed.
"You are a unique individual."
"In a good way I hope."
"I think so."
Its funny how one person can affect the outlook of another's life that it totally alters the perspective forever.
His right hand stroke along her back enjoying the feel of her silky skin beneath its touch.
"Hmmm." Evangeline's eyes popped opened and she gazed adoringly at her silent alarm clock. "Good morning handsome," she announced drowsily stifling a yawn.
He smiled at her. "Good morning beautiful. I didn't mean to wake you."
She reached out and caressed his face. "I believe you too," she replied smiling up at him. Thereafter she tilted her head upwards and drew him into a sweet but passionate kiss.
"I love you."
"I love your lips more," she replied with a giggle.
"Oh so that's how it is."
He started to tickle her but as she rolled away, she groaned in pain. "Humph..." The lower half of her body felt sore.
Seeing her grimace Victor asked, "Sweetheart is everything alright."
"Everything is fine. Let's just say I've been out of practice for some time." She scratched her scalp then it occurred to her. "I must really look like a disaster right now." She was thinking about her hair being all over place; as for her makeup she assumed Victor must have kissed it away.
"Far from it." His eyes sparkled. "You.are.absolutely.radiant." He leaned in for another kiss.
"Baby you do make me feel beautiful."
He traced his fingers from her neck down to her arm. "I'm going to draw you a warm bath..."
"And where will you be?" She interrupted entwining their fingers.
"Right there with you."
"Better be." She lightly kissed his lips. "Afterwards we should order breakfast."
"My exact thought."
She ran her fingers through his hair then angled her arms around his neck. "Do I need to do anything to assist you," she whispered into his ear.
"Allow me to..." He moaned when he felt her mouth pressing on his neck.
"I didn't expect to see you this morning," Vicki remarked looking up from her paper.
"Really Vicki after what took place last night. I should be getting the exclusive but perhaps you have dibs on that."
Vicki sighed setting aside her cup of coffee. There was certainly no keeping things under wraps in
Llanview for too long. Todd's early morning presence in her living room proved that fact. Ever since his return, he has been on a solo mission to disrupt Victor's life anyway possible but thankfully Starr put an end to that nonsense.
"Are you truly happy Todd?"
He didn't expect that question. "Of course," he replied nonchalant, shrugging his shoulders. "I've got my wife, kids, a decent home life, the paper is doing fantastic. What could be better?"
"Well that's good to hear because what our brother does or doesn't do with his life isn't your concern."
"Whose side are you on?"
"I refuse to choose sides. We are a family and should be looking out for one another instead of finding ways to hurt..."
"Oh is that so..." Todd gave her the "oh really" stare. "He got to enjoy my family for eight years..."
"And all those years weren't a bed of roses either. You know that to be true. The blame rests squarely with your mother..."
"She's dead!" He turned and walked away.
And that's the problem isn't it?
Nicki was on her third glass of Chardonnay, well at least she thought so. Why she decided to come into the office after such earth shattering news was incomprehensible, yet there she sat brooding, waiting for her business partner Jay to make an appearance. How dare he? After giving her such grief about the "Lord way of doing things", this blindsided her. She practically tore her house apart with rage then bawled like a newborn baby. Their relationship really didn't count for much. Indeed she wasn't naive about the friendship between Victor and Evangeline. A couple of friends even warned her that all may not be as it seemed. There were certainly stories going around but she paid them little attention. She understood Todd/Victor to be faithful in his relationship and believed herself quite capable of fulfilling that role of becoming "his wife'. For crying out loud, he proposed. Men are such dogs! She gulped down the remainder of her drink and started to pour herself another.
"What are you doing Nicki?"
Jay's sudden appearance by her office door didn't reverse her intent.
"What do you think a woman should be doing once they find out that their recent and former fiancé just got married?" she asked disdainfully, taking a sip of her wine. "I don't expect much sympathy from a man who has been married..."
"Stop this!" he said angrily snatching the drink away from her. "Right now the continued success of our business comes first! We are supposed to be going over a couple of very important listings and putting together the client database...not having a pity party."
"Give me that!" Jay confiscated her Chardonnay as well. "How long have you been drinking this?" The bottle was almost empty.
"It's just wine..." She felt a sharp pain strike her head and settled back down in her seat massaging her temple.
"What's wrong with you?" He stared at the woman who hardly looked like Llanview's most successful real estate agent.
"Everything I suppose," Nicki lamented.
"You are better than this. This is so unlike you."
"I know," She softly admitted raking her fingers through her hair. "Sorry..."
Jay folded his arms, disappointed by her uncharacteristic behavior. One of their biggest clients was coming into the office for a meeting Monday morning and here Nicki was having a breakdown. Business 101; never mix business with your personal stuff or you're asking for a whole lot of trouble. Hopefully a couple of aspirins, some water and a call from her friend Pamela would return her back to normal.
Floating rose petals, scented candles and romantic music although cliché, are the right combination for the perfect bath.
"Feeling better?" Victor asked from behind Evangeline. He gently kissed the side of her face.
"Much better," came her relaxed reply. The warm bath did indeed soothe her aching muscles and this was sure to please her husband she surmised. "I called Trey and he's doing well but he's anxious for us to return home. He's already quite attached to you."
"Same here. Do you believe he'll wholly accept the transition? After all it happened quite suddenly."
"Honey he loves you and the way he embraced your presence in my life made my decision pretty easy."
Victor started reminiscing. "You know when you first came into my life, I didn't care where it would lead or what it took to make it sane again. As time went by it all made perfect sense, you make me whole. Life is greatest with you. Hearing you say you love me with all your heart blew me away. Some...ow! Honey why did you pinch me?" he asked in an incredulous tone.
"Wasn't your next words going to be - someone pinch me because this must be a dream?"
"No...you didn't give me a chance. Evangeline Lord - I think you pinched me on purpose," he chuckled.
"Victor Lord now I know you are definitely dreaming. There are many things I can do purposefully," she said breathily while rising. Victor instantly became quiet. Did his heart just stop at seeing his beautiful wife standing in front of him? Water cascading off her skin. She loosened her bun, hair fell around her shoulders. His eyes drank in all of her and he swallowed. He reached out but she eluded his intentionally touch. She winked at him and stepped out of the bath. "I'm really starving for some breakfast and I hope you are too. Coming?"
Victor cleared his throat. "Y-yes."
A competitive game of squash with her friend Bitsy at the Town's Country Club seemed to clear up some of that deep seeded anger and sadness. The meeting with Jay went forward as planned with her business partner taking on most of the responsibility. You owe me.
"We were really working up a sweat," Bitsy commented while dabbing off the perspiration on her arms and brow.
Nicki did so as well and faintly replied, "Yeah we were."
Bitsy took a hold of her arm. "Hey you don't need him. He's a major scumbag. There are plenty of guys out there waiting for a chance to date you..."
"It's far too soon to even think about dating," she countered. Unlike Victor who dove headlong into an instant marriage.
Wow Nicki had really turned over a new leaf. The Nicki she knew would have already called up a couple of friends and jetted off to Aspen for the weekend. "I get your point. Next week we should go out for a ladies' weekend..."
"Nah...I've got too much on my plate at the moment plus I have this huge listing to take care of with Jay. I owe him big time for having my back. "
"Oh ok. If you need to talk, I'm just a call away."
"Thanks...," she replied flipping the towel across her shoulders.
"Hey I'm going to hit the showers. Are you coming?"
"Not yet." She spied one Todd Manning walking in her direction with a bottle of water in his hand and a racket beneath his arm. There was barely any visible sweat on him.
"What are you doing here Nicki?" he asked a little annoyed.
"I'm a member of this club. I'm not stalking you if that' what you believe. I'm just here to relieve some stress just like you."
"Ah wanting to push past the pain of my brother's betrayal."
"So you know." She was a little surprised then again Todd had his ear to the ground on most everything.
"Who doesn't at this point? I suggest you find a girlfriend or two to work through your heartbreak. You don't want your personal affairs affecting your career."
Nicki flicked her tongue. "Huh...people who live in glass houses. I know Victor gets under your skin - pretty deep..."
"Nicki what my brother does on his personal time is his own damn business and I could care less."
"Then why did you need my help derailing his closing?"
Todd sighed. "At the time Victor was ticking me off and you were the perfect fly to put in his ointment so to speak."
"What is it with you and your family?" she questioned in disgust. "You guys are sick. Is this how you get off, going around mistreating women for your fancy."
"Only those we don't care for much. Take my advice Nicki forget you ever met, interacted or bedded my brother. It would do your heart well." Nicki gave him a hard slap against his cheek which made a few club members stop and notice.
"First Step," she remarked then hurried away in a huff.
Todd massaged his reddened cheek and chuckled. Fiery women, can't live without them.