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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.

When Victor and Sam arrived at Llanfair, Jessica opened the door taking note that her uncle seemed and looked a bit out of sorts. He dressed neatly enough in a navy blue blazer, light-blue dress shirt, and black denim jeans. On the other hand, he appeared both physically and mentally drained. His countenance told the story of someone who hadn't gotten enough sleep along with his unkempt hair. For the moment, Jessica ignored the obvious.


"Hey Sam, are you ready to hang out with your Cousin Bree."


"Yes, Cousin Jessica."


Jessica held out her hand, and Sam took hold of it. "Come on, Bree is waiting in the backyard."


Some of the backyard features included a treehouse, zipline, swing set, and a climbing wall. There was a lot to keep the kids occupied without touching an iPad. The excited look on Sam's face said he was indeed happy to be there.


"Bye, dad."


Victor embraced him, then advised, "Be good for your cousins."


"I will."


He briefly watched them leave before bolting for the kitchen to pour himself a much-needed cup of coffee. He always felt that Lisa made the best cup of coffee in all of Llanview.


"Hmmm, this tastes so good."


"Why did I know I would find you in here?"


"How are the kids getting along?"


"They are getting along great so far."


"Is Viki around?"


"No, she's actually out of town for business."




Jessica sighed deeply. "I hope that this chasm between you two will end sooner rather than later."

Victor took another sip of his coffee. "As long as she stays out of my personal life, we will be fine. She treats me like her kid like I always need assistance tying my shoelaces or wiping my snot."


Jessica chuckled at his concept. "Mom can be controlling at times. Yet I do recognize that she wants what's best for all of us."


"We were born into a dysfunctional family. Viki cannot make our crooked straight. We need to want to do it for ourselves."


"Okay," Jessica sighed, "Enough about mom. What's going on with you?" She sat down next to him around the kitchen island.


Victor scratched his chin. "I was assisting Jack with Blair."


Jessica instantly protested. "Why? She has Dorian, Starr..."


"It's not only about Blair. I'm worried about my sons well being as well. Jack asked me to help out, and I did as much as I could. Then there is Sam, who occasionally sleeps with me. Let's just say that his movements keep me up at night."


Soon Victor became mesmerized with a painting on the wall in front of him. It was of a Victorian-era family seated around a dining room table, eating and engaged in conversation. "One day, Sam asked me about Blair. I knew he would ask. I told him that everything was going to be alright. Blair still cares for him, but she is just not herself at the moment. She's getting the help she needs to be well again. Thankfully, he has accepted that explanation for the most part."


"I guess he is also worried about you disappearing as well."


"Yeah, he has been through so much in his short life. I want to ease his mind anyway I can."


"I get what you are saying, but I also care for you very much. I don't want you to get sucked back into another Blair drama. You know how she can be. It's like you can't move on with your life."


"Jessica, believe me when I say that I've set my boundaries. Jack knows there is only so much I want to do. I've been down that road far too many times, not stay out of it. Besides, Dorian and Starr have stepped in."


"And what about Uncle Todd?" She almost regretted asking.


"Your guess is as good as mine, not my concern."


Victor took his last gulp of coffee, stood up, then began walking out.


"I just can't believe you are working today."


"I have a deadline to meet, and time is not on my side," Victor remarked over his shoulder. "I'm writing a book."


Jessica couldn't believe her ears. "What! When was I going to hear about this?"


Suddenly, he spun around. "Like now. Jessica, you tend to let things slip out around Viki."


Jessica pursed her lips together. She didn't disagree with Victor's assessment. "So you won't tell me the book's title?"


"Honestly, I'm still working on it."


"How about dibs on a first interview?"


"Deal. One more thing, will you still be able to take Sam next weekend?"


"Of course and say hey to Evangeline while you there in Washington," she said with a knowing smile.


Victor smiled back at her. "I will be there to take care of some business as well."


"You mean your book deal."


He smiled but soon stifled a yawn. "Gotta run. I'll call you guys later."


"Take care, Uncle Victor."




"Not you too, Tina."


While almost arriving at his office door, he caught Tina eyeing him strangely.

"First Paulie, then Jessica, and now you. I get that I look like crap. I promise to look better next time."


"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied, grabbing a couple of file folders.


Victor shook his head, then said, "I hope you've got the good coffee brewing."


"I'll bring you a cup soon enough. ...Victor, hold on for a moment, I have a suggestion."


"Go on."


"Since you're going to Washington to sign off on this book deal, why not ask Evangeline to look over the draft contract. She's a lawyer, and I know you value her opinion."


Victor stood quietly, wondering why he hadn't thought about this before. "That's a great suggestion," he grudgingly admitted.


"Does that mean I'm getting extra?" she asked expectantly.


"Possibly, possibly," he replied while walking away. The idea kept rolling over in his mind.



By the middle of the morning, a visitor stopped by the office. At first, Tina was a bit startled to see someone other than Paul stepping through the elevator doors.


"Evangeline, you almost gave me a heart attack," she said, taking a deep breath.


"I'm sorry, Tina. Paul must have neglected to call you."


"Or believed that we were expecting you to come. It's certainly a surprise to see you, and you come bearing gifts as well." She spied the white foodservice bag in her right hand.


"Oh, it's just some sandwiches, fruit and danish."


"Wow, Ms. Williamson, you know how to impress."


"Well, I've been trying to reach Victor over the phone, but he hasn't been picking up. I finally deduced that he must be at the office trying to meet his deadline. Of course, you guys would be here with him as well."


"Thanks for thinking of all of us. Victor must have mistakenly turned off his phone. You can go on in. I'm sure he will be happy to see you, but I must warn you that he's not himself today."


"Deadlines can do that to you."


"Among other things," Tina commented underneath her breath.



When Evangeline stepped inside his office, she could see that he was fully concentrating on the laptop screen, with the sound of his fingers tapping away on the keyboard. She has been there and done that.


"What is it, Tina?" he questioned without looking up.


She tossed her purse on one of the side chairs. "And here I thought that the scent of my perfume..." 


"Evangeline!" Victor's head popped up at once. He quickly ran up and pulled her into a long embrace. "I'm so happy to see you." He gave her a chaste kiss and hugged her again. "Why didn't you tell me that you were coming?"


"I tried, but your phone kept going to voicemail."


Victor smacked his forehead hard. "So it's glaringly my fault. Sorry about that."


"My unanswered calls didn't deter me, however. I just had to figure out where you could be, so all is forgiven." Evangeline gave him a brief once over. "Humph, you do look like crap."


"Did Tina open her big mouth?"


"Only to give me a heads up." Evangeline dug around in her bag and found a pocket comb. Evangeline did her best to tame his wild tresses. "Someone looking in from the outside would say that you're taking on too much. I say that you are doing an excellent job. I'm so proud of you."


"Thanks," he replied with a boyish grin. "I'm glad you've always believed in me."


"And I always will." Evangeline completed her task and said, "There, that is much better."


"See, your visit is already proving beneficial for me."


"Thanks." She stared deeply into his eyes. "Don't overdo it, okay.""I promise you I won't. Evangeline, I have something to ask of you?"




"I would love for you to go over my book contract. Of course, it all depends on how much time you have to spare."


"I'll make the time just email me a copy."


"Standard fee?" he asked with a smile.


"Dinner would suffice."


"Coq Au Vin."


Evangeline beamed at the suggestion. "You remembered my favorite dish."


"Always. Hey, let's sit down." Both plopped down unto the plush sofa. "It's nice seeing you, but what brings you here when you knew I was coming to Washington next weekend? Is something wrong?"


"It's work. My supervisor placed me in an untenable position."


"But knowing you as I do, you would rather walk away."


"Right. You also know how much I love this job. No one is going to put Baby in a corner." They both chuckled and leaned their foreheads together.


"Can I help?"


"Not this time around. Just seeing and talking to you has helped a great deal. Sometimes a phone call doesn't cut it." She laid her head on his shoulder, and he wrapped an arm around her. "I truly hope that I'm not interrupting your work. Laying my problems on your doorstep when you have a full plate."


"Anything for you, Evangeline," he remarked, kissing her temple. "You are one of the most important people in my life next to Sam. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you," he softly said.  


"Anything for me," she whispered against his chest more to herself. She took in a breath. Finally, she was able to take her mind off troubles at work and started to relax. Being this close to Victor meant so much. Their situation became much clearer.


Her thoughts had been here before, but over the years, she chose to distance her mind from such possibilities. It was safer that way. There was too much upheaval going on in both their lives for it to have worked out.


But what about now?


"This is where I want to be - in your arms. Of course, you made the first move, and it very much surprised me. It's difficult when it's your best friend. You don't want to ruin that part of the relationship built over time through blood, sweat, and tears. You know I'm very analytical. I have weighed the pros and cons, and you know what, who cares. You and I are a perfect match."


She paused, waiting for a response, but none was forthcoming because Victor had quietly fallen asleep. She chuckled to herself.


"So, this is what gets you to slow down." She briefly stared at him. Behind those handsome features was a supportive, compassionate man who understood her needs. She leaned over and pressed her lips softly against his. "Sweet dreams. We'll have this conversation soon enough."


Even if she wanted to stay, it wasn't possible. A meeting with the partners of S & L lay ahead. This trip to Llanview was an opportunity to rejuvenate her mind and soul. Victor helped her accomplish both.

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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.