Chapter 39 - A Solid Hunch

You turn to the window, and whatever it was
We were discussing escapes
In a flutter of poplar leaves:
We are left with mere afternoon, in a daze ~~Rosanna Warren

Port Charles, New York
Apt. #915 Scarlet Road

Elizabeth cried out as she felt him slip further inside her. Her hands clenching the bed posts a bit tighter as they continued to ‘break in’ the new mattress and apparently the bed frame as well. She heard it squeak beneath them and laughed as his moist chest slid against her bare back.

His teeth grazed her skin as he moaned. Loving every minute of being inside this woman. Savoring every sensation. Every clench of the walls that surrounded him. Her name slipped from his tongue before he let it side down the center of her back. Holding her hips from behind and stilling his movements as he reached up for her hair.

The ends were damp and clung to her skin in a haphazard design. He brushed it out of the way with his long fingers and kissed her between her shoulders. Letting his lips travel down the same path that his tongue had took down her spine just a moment before.

When he began to move within her again she hissed through her teeth. His hands roaming the soft curves of her body as his rigid one pushed and thrust against her. His fingers slipped from her hips to her waist. Messaging her reverently and then moving down to her inner thighs.

Where they would tease, tantalize…wait to bring her to the breaking point.

God, she felt so good today.

Of course she always felt good, but she seemed to feel…fuller, almost curvier today. Maybe because it’d been awhile since they’d begun making love again.

Only a little over a week…but still.

It was probably just his imagination – but whatever it was – God, he loved it. He wanted to see it. Wanted to see every inch of her.

That desire caused him to pull back, and her to whimper as he lowered them both to a sitting position. Her hands sliding away from the brass poles of the headboard to clasp around the back of his neck as she started to rock anxiously in his lap.

"Slow down," he whispered deeply against her neck. Licking the salty skin he found there. "We’ve got all morning."

And they did. A day off…all to themselves…Except for that little trip he planned on making to the city.

‘But other than that…Jesus, look at her,’ he thought. His hands sliding up her slightly less than flat stomach and through the valley of her breasts. God, she was wet everywhere. He clasped one hand gently around one soft mound. Flesh that both appeared and felt fuller today. He let his eyes feast on the way they molded to the shape of his hand.

Elizabeth’s head rolled back on his shoulder and she sighed long and hard. Wondering only briefly about the ache she felt in her breasts when Lucky leaned over and took one agitated bud in his mouth. Suckling her as if he’d never tasted her before.

The slight tenderness was probably due to her period being just around the…

It occurred to her as Lucky started to move a bit quicker beneath her that she didn’t know exactly when her cycle was anymore. It had come sporadically during the past few months for short periods of time, but it wasn’t like the clockwork schedule it had once been.

Hopefully her doctor’s appointment today would clear…

"Oh God!" She cried out. Every thought fleeing from her head as his fingers slipped effortlessly through the swollen folds between her legs. He rubbed her expertly – incessantly. Bringing her closer and closer and then withdrawing. His hips smacking against hers and then slowing down to a near halt.

She was breathing so hard. So hard he could feel her heart beating in his own chest. Could feel him self throb inside her like he never had before. It was so hot inside. Sweltering around him like an oven.

"Come for me baby," he whispered against her ear. Pulling her hair back from around her face. "Come…I wanna see you. I wanna feel you…"

When he nudged her back up to her hands and knees she could barely balance herself atop the rocking bed. But he held her securely around the waist. Pushing…faster and faster. His fingers, expertly helping her get there.

God, was he growing inside her still? Everything was so intense. She felt ready to cry at the sensations that pulsed through her body at lightening speed. She could barely breathe and she panted his name and he pounded against her. Causing her to reach out for the brass railings once more.

Images of his old room above the bike shop swirled through her head as she started to come. Shades of paint and the smell of brownies. An antique bed frame so similar to this that at the moment it looked to be the same. It was the same and she felt 15 again. Fifteen and getting fucked ingeniously by Lucky Spencer.

‘Screw that,’ she thought blindly as the colors faded back to reality. ’Fifteen would have never felt like this.’


At the sound of his own name he came in torrents. Exploding inside her like he knew he would. He groaned like a wild animal as his body jolted against hers. The air around him hot and thick as he fought the urge to collapse on top of her…

Sex in August. Maybe they could make this into some kind of series.

He was glad his hair had grown in a bit, when he noticed how badly he was sweating. Glad it wasn’t rolling down his face. Licking his lips, Lucky watched as Elizabeth crawled towards the pillow. Her body sated and glistening as a light, rare breeze blew in through the gauzy curtains on the window.

It felt good against his skin as he closed his eyes and moved behind her. Spooning his naked body against hers. Outlining every curve with hard angles. He saw her nipples pucker under the ministration of the wind and couldn’t help but reach out and brush the back of his knuckles over one.

She shivered then from something other than the wind sifting along sweaty flesh. God, how could you want someone when you’d just HAD them?

‘Just like chocolate,’ she thought to herself with the easy grin of a satisfied cat. ‘You always want more…even after you’ve eaten the whole damn box.’

Now THERE was an idea – a whole damn box of chocolate…

The mere thought caused her to lick her lips and turn around. Settling for the tied-winner with a box of chocolates – his lips. "You taste…" she sighed. Mumbling around that luscious bottom lip of his. "So good…"

His hand drifted lazily along the side of her body. Following the indentation of her ribs down to her hip and back up again. She was beautiful – and his.

"You taste better," he moaned. Taking her top lip into his mouth for a moment. His hand roamed its way back up to her lovely breasts and made a stop there. Fondling…squeezing.

He pulled his hand away immediately when he heard her hiss. "I’m sorry…did I - are you ok?"

Her brow furrowed for a moment before she nodded. "Yeah…I’m fine. I think maybe I’m just…you know – it’s about that time…but I – I guess we’ll see."

Lucky licked his lips and drew back for a moment. His brain still too addled by sex to understand sentence structure. "What’s that mean?…We’ll see?"

Elizabeth shook her head and got under one of the messy sheets. Starting to get chilly now. "Nothing…I just. Things have been a little strange with my biology lately," she laughed. "It’s probably got something to do with the stupid drugs Alex had me on."

It was Lucky’s turn to knit his brow together. His eyes fierce when he asked the question. "What drugs?"

The image of a brown prescription bottle blurred through his mind. Finding it in Alex’s office…in the drawer. He needed to get that to a lab somewhere. It had to be analyzed. Whatever they could use against Alex – they would use.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and shook her head. Grinning a bit to diffuse the anger she already felt tensing in Lucky’s chest. "It’s nothing, I’m sure. He just…I told you that he wanted to have kids…Anyway…well he thought it’d be cute I guess, to drug me without me knowing…I was on the pill, but apparently he was giving me something to counteract that."

She knew the darkness that moved behind those blue of his eyes was about more than just the fact that she’d mentioned having kids. "Not that it would have worked anyway since we weren’t having sex," she added quietly.

Lucky bit his lip and nodded. "I know that."

"Anyway," she said quickly. "It doesn’t matter because I’m going to a new OB/GYN today – I got a referral from Gail…who says she’s one of the best…so – I’ll find out what’s going on."

"Oh," Lucky said. Propping himself up on his elbow. "Today? What time?"

"Couple of hours…why?"

"Well because I wanna go with you – that’s why."

"Lucky you don’t have to worry about that. Go ahead and do whatever it was you needed to do today."

"What I needed to do can wait. I’m coming with you…besides I was just going into the city to pay my x-loan shark a visit. I’m not exactly anxious to do that."

Elizabeth watched his eyes cloud over. "I’d like to be with you when you do that."

"Elizab –

"If it concerns getting Alex put behind jails, it concerns me Lucky."

He gazed into her eyes for a moment and simply nodded. "You’re right…you got it."

The new agreement was: everything together. And that meant EVERYTHING. Even when his initial instinct was to protect her. But things were already better this way – he could feel it.

Elizabeth leaned in to kiss her friend, her lover…the only person she’d ever truly needed in her life.

Something had changed a couple of nights ago when he’d come home. It felt as if they’d turned some kind of corner. And though she knew from Lucky’s account of his conversation with Laura, that his mother hadn’t been the total cause of it – she still knew she had to thank her, the first chance she got.

"Ok," Lucky sighed as her lips retreated from his. "So we’ll go to your doctor then we’ll take a drive into Queens…Do me a favor though Elizabeth…just – follow my lead and do what I ask you to do ok?…If things get dicey with this guy –

"Hey," Elizabeth said, tilting her head to the side as if insulted. "Wasn’t I cool with the caretaker in Florence?"

The thought of Florence made them both sad for a moment, and Lucky inhaled deeply before smiling weakly. "Yes…you were more than cool in Florence. Highly impressive actually."

Suddenly there seemed more to Lucky’s sadness than just the thought of Italy and the connection it held to their child. "Lucky…what is it?"

"You were so good," he sighed. Staring up at the ceiling. "It reminded me of what my parents were like when we were on the run from Frank Smith…it made me think about how things could have been…if I’d made a different choice. If I would have told you what was going on…if I would have just said ‘screw Helena,’ and taken you with me………it’s not that I ever doubted that you could handle it. It wasn’t that at all…I just –

"You just didn’t want me to HAVE to deal with it," Elizabeth finished for him. "I know that Lucky. And I understand why you felt that way.

"Of course it doesn’t stop me from hurting when I think about all the time we had to spend apart," she admitted. "But I know, that in your heart…In your heart, you thought it was the right thing. I know you thought you were saving me from giving up a life that I loved…I know that."

Lucky blinked back tears and sat up. Shivering when she trailed her hand down his chest. Following every line of every muscle. He lifted it to his lips and kissed the back of it. The blemish-free skin causing him to look down at her other hand – the one that had been scarred.

‘Stop it,’ he thought to himself. Not wanting to go there today and feeling guilty for not wanting to, just a second later.

Grief would never get easier. He was sure of that.

Her fingers began to drift again and he looked down into her eyes. Those deep, dark blue seas that succeeded in rocking him out of his haze. As if floating on an ocean of calm water.

"How long do we have before your appointment?" He asked suddenly. Wanting nothing more than to kiss the lips that sat perfectly against an already perfect face…and then move on from there.

The corner of her mouth tilted upwards into a grin. "Long enough."

~~ A Few Hours Later ~~
General Hospital
OB/GYN – 3rd Floor
The office of Dr. Terrie Allan, M.D.

"Well," the doctor said. Removing her gloves quickly and letting them fall into the trash receptacle. She released the foot pedal and continued. "Everything looks good, nice and normal."

‘Nice and normal,’ the words ran through her mind quickly. Ricocheting against everything Elizabeth thought she knew about herself and her body. All that was now abnormal. "Normal?" She said softly.

"Well yes," the doctor smiled. Slightly amused by the look of shock on the young woman’s face. "I mean, we’re gonna run the standard tests on the pap…but everything looks as it should. Typical 22 year old female reproductive organs."

Elizabeth sat up and arranged her hospital gown around her legs. "Oh…maybe you didn’t – I mean the chart there," she said, stammering as she gestured towards the countertop where her new folder lay. A nurse having asked her for her entire life history when she’d first been shown back to the office. "Maybe you didn’t see…but I…I had a Salpingostomy."

One of Dr. Allan’s eyebrows arched. And she referred back to the file. Yep, there it was in plain blue ink. Damn had it been that long of a day already?

"I’m sorry…how long ago did you miscarry?"

Elizabeth bit her lip. "Around 4 years."

Dr. Allan nodded sympathetically and narrowed her eyes. "Well, I probably wouldn’t have seen any evidence of that procedure during a superficial exam like this…your surgeon obviously did a fantastic job though. I saw no evidence of scarring."

The blank look on Elizabeth’s face caused her to back track swiftly. The doctor, wanting to kick herself. It had definitely been too long of a day when she talked about the value of technique over the value of feelings. "Jeez, I’m sorry. That was really cold and clinical of me. I didn’t mean to minimize what you must have gone through."

"No, no…that’s ok," Elizabeth said weakly. The pain of what could have been still fresh in her heart from this morning. "I guess…I mean I guess that’s good to know."

Dr. Allan tread lightly. "Are you trying…are you and your husband trying to conceive?"

"My…oh!…No, I’m in the process of getting a divorce. We’re def –

"You’re in the process of getting a divorce from the guy outside?!" Abandoning all decorum at the sound of Elizabeth’s words. Aside from the fact that the guy was HOT with a capital H-O-T, he’d looked completely devoted to her. He’d even wanted to come inside with them.

"Oh!" Elizabeth gasped. "No!" Realizing now what the doctor had meant. "We’re not – I mean…I thought you were talking about my husband. He and I are trying to get a divorce…the guy outside he’s – he’s not my husband."

A total stranger could have figured out that the woman wished otherwise.

Using as much discretion as she could, Dr. Allan posed the question. "Well are you and…the cute one outside trying to…conceive?"

Silence settled over Elizabeth for a moment. If she could…

"No," she said finally. The mere idea too scary to even contemplate. "No, we…the baby that I lost…Luna – she was ours."

"Oh," Dr. Allan sighed. Nodding. "Well, you know…I’m not suggesting that you try and replace or ‘makeup’ for your loss – that’s impossible. You could never do that. And you’d never want to…But…maybe you two should consider –

"No," Elizabeth said again. Without hesitation this time. There was just no way. She wouldn’t put herself through that again, she wouldn’t put Lucky through it. Even though they had each other to lean on now – there was no way. If she ever had to go through losing another child she’d kill herself. There was no doubt in her mind.

"We aren’t…I’m not going to have another child," she said finally. When the doctor only nodded, Elizabeth quickly steered the conversation in a new direction. "What about my periods? Do you think that little pill could be the reason they’ve been so sporadic? I mean…I used to be like clockwork."

The doctor shook herself from her thoughts and looked down at the small pill that her patient had given her. "It definitely seems possible. Of course I’ll have to give it to the lab guys – that may take a few weeks," she said pausing for another sympathetic grin. "But, judging from what you told me…if this is some kind of rapid detox for birth control – it’s more than likely what’s causing your sporadic cycle……I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about though. Your period will probably return to normal before I even have the lab results back…

"And," she added with a slight grin. "If it turns out to be experimental…as you think it is – you may just have more ammunition in your divorce."

"And a lot of other things," Elizabeth mumbled under her breath. Even if Alex contested the divorce – which she knew he would – he couldn’t do shit from behind bars.

Because she’d seen the way the Elizabeth had reacted to even suggesting she have another child, Dr. Allan didn’t ask the question that was on her mind. Whether or not she could have been pregnant already.

She’d simply find out for herself by killing two birds with one stone. "Ok, so that does it for us," she announced. "Go ahead and get dressed and I’ll have my nurse come in for that blood test."

"Blood test?"

Dr. Allan nodded quickly. "The lab guys will probably analyze your blood quicker than they will some pill that I bring down to them, as a favor, you know? So we’ll go ahead…take some blood – see what we’re dealing with and how it’s affected you…Then I’ll get back to you…Sound good?"

She’d rattled everything off so fast, that Elizabeth could only stare wide-eyed and blink. "Sure."

The Waiting Room

Lucky flipped through another baby magazine and then threw it back into its pile. Using more force than necessary when the small blue-eyed wonder smiled back up at him from the cover.

He turned away immediately. His eyes connecting with the low-volumed television that sat angled down from the corner between the wall and ceiling. The news anchor was wrapping up some story about a child abuse case.

He folded his arms and leaned back against the maroon cushioned chair as his chest tightened. The mere idea of someone beating their child, completely unfathomable to him. There were people in the world that didn’t deserve to be parents. Yet they got to be anyway.

‘Like Dad always said,’ Lucky thought, watching the images of the television blur before his very eyes. ‘Life ain’t fair.’

Though at one point in his life he would have argued that point, Lucky knew now that his father had been right. Life wasn’t fair.

Or maybe…maybe sometimes it was…

Lucky stood as Elizabeth emerged from the office with a soft smile that he knew she reserved for him.

"Hey," he said quickly. Reaching for her hand. "How’d it go?"

"Ok," she answered nodding. Staring down at the band-aid for a moment before returning her eyes to Lucky’s. "The doctor says that everything looks ok…she’s gonna send my blood work and that pill to the lab…and we’ll see after that."

"But she thinks everything looks good? You’re ok?"

"Yeah," Elizabeth said quietly. "All the abnormal stuff…it’s probably…it’s probably just a result of whatever this drug is…No worries."

‘If that’s true, why are your hands so clammy?’ She thought silently.

Lucky’s brow knit together. "You’re sure?…You look a little –

"I’m fine," Elizabeth interrupted with a smile. "I think maybe I’ve got a right to be just a little weary of doctors after finding out that my last OB/GYN was plotting with Alex behind my back to get me pregnant, don’t you?"

She saw Lucky wince and quickly looked down. Shaking her head a moment later as she apologized. "I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shoot off at the mouth like that. I’m just not the best patient, you know? I’ve never liked being poked and proded…And I’ve just been totally stressed out, waiting for Alex to respond to the damn divorce papers. I wish he’d just DIE."

He didn’t flinch. "That could probably be arranged."

Her initial smile dissipated when she looked into his eyes. Knowing that it hadn’t been a flippant comment, said to cheer her up.

"I mean I think I almost accomplished it a few weeks ago," Lucky continued. "But I obviously didn’t do the job well enough."

She watched as he flexed his healed hand and stared up at the television. Able to actually feel the anger radiating from inside of him. "Lucky…"

"Don’t worry," he said a moment later. Turning back to her with a sardonic smile. "I just got you back. There’s no way I’m willing to settle for conjugal visits……Not that they’d give us any."

Elizabeth inhaled deeply and he looked down. "Wow…we’re really a pair today aren’t we? Both of us self-pitying and homicidal? You know, I think maybe we shoulda just stayed home where it’s safe."

Lucky smiled in spite of himself. The one thing that had never changed about Elizabeth was her ability to make him laugh when he thought he never would. "Safe huh? I don’t know…you almost killed me this morning."

A suggestive eyebrow arched high on her forehead and she bit her lip before moving closer to him. Thankful that the waiting room was empty. Aside from the receptionist behind the counter who she didn’t really think would mind getting an eyeful of her man, all hot and bothered.

She’d been eyeing him since they walked in the place, anyway.

"Well," Elizabeth sighed against his neck. "Since we’re obviously not supposed to be out among the living today…why don’t we go home?…And I’ll see if maybe I can get you to hit that note again…you know that really high one that had the dogs in the neighborhood barking?"

When her fingers grazed the front of his fly, Lucky squirmed back a step. Licking his lips as he stared down at her. Her wanton eyes, blazing. "You wanna hear that again huh?…You know what I wanna hear?"

"What?" She asked. Her hands, beginning to roam once more. God, she couldn’t even believe how fucking turned on she was all of a sudden. She’d been in a horrible mood just seconds ago and now she was ready to jump him in a medical front office…if she didn’t get him home soon they’d have to sneak into an examination room somewhere.

‘A thorough exam indeed,’ Elizabeth thought.

Lucky leaned down and bit her lobe before whispering into her ear. She shivered against him. "I know it’s egocentric…but the sound of my name. The way you pant it…the way you whimper it when you’re just about to –

"Let’s go home."

He grabbed her hand roughly and headed for the door. His merriment cut extremely short by the sounds coming from the television behind.

Elizabeth halted in her tracks when he did. Coming up just short of running smack into his back. "Lucky?" She said. Gazing up at his eyes when he turned around. The glazed expression one she didn’t recognize.

She turned her eyes in the direction of the television. The news anchor reporting a story about a man found dead in his apartment. A man by the name of Timothy Durts, who they said, was better known as ‘Dirty Tim’ to neighbors.

"Lucky what is it?" She asked. His eyes never having veered from the screen.

"I shoulda killed Alex when I had the chance," he sighed. "Before he decided to take out another piece of the puzzle."

"What?…Lucky, I don’t understand."

He looked down then. Disbelief in his eyes. "Dirty Tim…also known as Tim ‘the loan shark’ Durts."

~~ A Few Hours Later ~
The Spencer Residence
24 Royal Street

Lucky only glanced back at Elizabeth when he heard her sigh. Reaching back inside to lug her suitcase out of the backseat of the Mercury.

"Lucky come on," she whined. "Is this really necessary?"

He glanced back once more before retrieving another bag. "It’s only a couple of days, Elizabeth. Long enough for me to go down to the city and find out what the Hell is going on…and pay a little visit…to Alex."

She bit her lip at the way he’d said the name. Hissing it through his teeth. "Lucky how do you know this has anything to do with him? I mean how do we even know –

"Helena was watching our every move Elizabeth – that means Alex was too. That means Alex has plenty of reason to want to see a loan shark that they probably paid off to CUT me OFF – dead."

"But Lucky," Elizabeth sighed as she followed him through the grass and up the steps to the porch. "The guy was a smarmy loan shark – don’t you think there are plenty of people that probably wanted to see him dead?"

"Yes," he said letting his hand drop to his side before knocking on his parent’s front door. "But I’d bet that none of his customers are rich enough to have the deed done like this…Elizabeth, it was obviously a professional hit."

Elizabeth groaned and ran a hand through her hair. "I can’t believe this. I can’t believe that I’ve gotten us into this. Why the Hell did I ever let –

"Stop it," he said quickly. Taking her face in his hands. "This isn’t your fault. This is Alex thinking he rules the fucking world…He’ll soon see that he doesn’t."

It seemed to Elizabeth that that was a matter of opinion. When they’d arrived home from the hospital, the divorce papers she’d wanted so badly had come. And just as she’d thought – Alex was contesting it.

"Lucky…what are you gonna do? How are you even going to be in the same room with him and not -

"I’m not gonna do anything Elizabeth," Lucky interrupted. "I’m just gonna show him that he’s not in charge of our lives anymore – that’s all. We’re just gonna talk. I mean it’s about time I got to have a little talk with Alex, don’t you think? We haven’t done much talking."

She shook her head. Talking was the last thing on Lucky’s mind and they both knew it. "Ok, fine," she said, taking a step back and lifting her suitcase. "Then let’s put this back in the car because I’m coming with you."

"No way," he said removing it from her hands. "Elizabeth I didn’t want you anywhere near him weeks ago, now that he’s targeting off people that could help us…there’s no way in HELL I’m lettin’ you within 2 feet of the guy."

Elizabeth’s jaw dropped. "I thought we were doing everything together now. What happened to that? Is that suddenly null and void?"

Lucky tilted his head. "You know that it’s not…but this is different Elizabeth."

"How is this different? As far as I can tell – it’s exactly the same. You going off to fight the bad guys while I stay here and keep the home fires burning…or – whatever."

"It’s not the same at all," he said quickly. Narrowing the space between them once more. "For one thing, I’m leaving for a couple of days Elizabeth…And secondly…secondly you know that I love you more than life itself right? You know that…right?"

Tears came to her eyes and she looked down. Nodding in spite of herself.

"Say it," he whispered. Moving closer. "Say you know that I love you."

Stubbornly she met his eyes. "I know you love me……I love you too."

Lucky pressed his lips to her forehead, feeling the tension there. "Please don’t be angry with me…Elizabeth I just can’t – I can’t lose you…When I think about that…God, please understand that I can’t even think about that right now. I can’t even…

"Sssh," she interrupted. Placing her fingers to his lips. She knew he wasn’t even seeing her anymore. He was seeing their daughter. "I understand…I’ll be waiting for you…

"Do this quickly, alright?" She continued.

"Will do," he agreed quietly. "I’ll be back before you miss me."

"That’s not possible…I already miss you."

"Oooh no…mushy stuff."

"Damn, the shrimp caught us," Lucky said. Sighing before he turned and smiled at his little sister. "Hasn’t anybody ever told you that children are supposed to be seen and not heard?"

Lulu rolled her eyes. "Yeah, lucky thing for you I’m not a child."

"Oh yeah," he stated. "My bad………Well, non-child," he said leaning down to kiss the top of her head before she moved away. "You gonna make sure Elizabeth has a good time this weekend? Because if she doesn’t…I’m blaming you."

Once again Lulu rolled her eyes. "Like I’m in charge of the entertainment committee or something? That’s Dad’s job."

"What’s my job?"

Lucky sighed. A moment alone with your girlfriend at Casa de Spencer had always been a lost cause. He remembered one Thanksgiving Day in particular when it had seemed impossible.

Long ago, when things had been so sublimely simple. After tonight maybe they’d have that again…

‘Who are you kidding Spencer?’ The dormant part of his brain reminded. ‘Things will never be simple again.’

"Entertaining me!" Elizabeth smiled. Squeezing Lucky’s hand comfortingly as she read his thoughts. "Mr. Spencer…is your job."

"Oooh," Luke said, rubbing his hands together. "I’m gonna like that…but this Mr. Spencer stuff is gonna have to stop. I know it’s been awhile Elizabeth…but it hasn’t been that long – you know better."

She smiled through sudden tears. Tears seemed to come quickly these days. "I’m sorry…Luke."

He gave her a smile that would have melted any woman’s heart. "This is gonna be good," he sighed. "Three beautiful women under the same roof with yours truly…Son, you must be crazy leaving her here."

Lucky grinned and gazed at her for a moment in the waning sunlight. "I must be."

Catching the look that passed between them, Luke corralled his daughter under his arm. "Lu, why don’t you go inside and help your mother with dinner…I’m gonna get the rest of Elizabeth’s bags…since it looks like she’s got enough for a fleet of Miss America contestants."

Elizabeth laughed gratefully as Luke and Lulu both disappeared and Lucky let his fingers drift through her hair. His voice merely a whisper. "Don’t get any more beautiful while I’m gone ok?…I don’t think I could take it."

He smiled a bit at the tears in her eyes and wiped them away with his thumb. "It’s almost over Elizabeth…whether he wants a divorce or not – it’s gonna happen. And he’s gonna go to jail for every evil plot he concocted with Helena………don’t cry sweetie," he finished. Kissing her forehead

She reached up to brush at her own tears and grinned weakly. "I don’t know what’s wrong with me…I’m sorry."

"I’ll call you - ok," he said. Pulling back. "As soon as I find a place to sleep for the night."

"Lucky – don’t sleep in the car, ok?"

"You kidding me? I ain’t sleepin’ in that damn car…she’s beautiful – but I wouldn’t sleep with her."

Elizabeth giggled and looked down. Looking up as the light evening breeze ruffled the fresh new strands of Lucky’s hair…He was gorgeous.

"That’s a nice laugh…thank you," Lucky sighed. "Now all I need before I leave…is this."

Their lips met in one of the most beautiful kisses either of them had ever felt. Certainly there’d been thousands shared between them. Many given to each other in the heat of passion, or in the newness of morning – but this one, at sundown - felt like a vanilla-coated dream. Sweet as a dream could be. Lingering just long enough to hang from the edges of consciousness as they pulled away from one another.

His forehead leaned against hers for a moment. His nose inhaling the world around him. The dwindling summer day, the newly cut grass, and the apple shampoo she’d washed her hair with that morning.

"There’s a little voice in my head that’s not my own," he whispered. His skin still pressed against hers. "And she’s telling me we can get through anything now…even a few days apart."

Biting down on her lip, Elizabeth took a step back and nodded. Swallowing hard as she reached up to hold his face in her hands. "She’s a smart girl……I’ll see you in a few days."

Lucky closed his eyes as Elizabeth rose to her tiptoes and kissed his forehead. Smudging away the lipstick as she descended to the ground.

The sound of Luke clearing his throat had her turning around and regarding both men. Luke was looking good. It gave her high hopes for Lucky at that age. High hopes indeed.

"Well Senior and Junior…I’m going in to help Laura with dinner…if she’ll let me inside her kitchen."

Lucky blew her a kiss and she caught it. "Bye…"

"Bye…kiss Lu goodnight for me – even if she doesn’t like it."

"Will do," Elizabeth sighed before retreating into the house. She watched him from over the threshold for just a moment before heading to the kitchen.

Luke deposited the one bag that had taken him 5 whole minutes to get out of the car onto the porch and turned towards his son. They both knew that Luke knew. That his wife had told him all about her visit with their son in the park the other day, but neither of them said it.

"If you wanted any help on this ride, you’d ask right?"

Lucky glanced down at the grass and pushed his hands into his pockets. "I’d ask…I may not have when I needed to…but I would now. I’d do a lot of things differently…now."

Luke only nodded. "You got some kinda mantra in your head?…Somethin you’re gonna say to yourself when you see him? To keep from killin’ him?"

"Not a mantra…but…there’s a voice – yeah."

His father inhaled deeply and thought for a moment. Shaking his head as he did so. "I always knew you’d end up a better man than your father Lucky…that’s not a hard feat to accomplish. I guess, what I didn’t count on was that you’d be the BEST man I’d ever had the pleasure of knowing."

As his brow creased, Lucky shook his head. "I’m not…I never have been. I’ve made mistakes that I’ll never be able to forget. Mistakes that have caused me…

"Mistakes or no mistakes Lucky, you’re standing up. You’re standin on two strong, sturdy legs after being dealt the rawest deal anybody can ever be dealt in life. You’re walkin and talkin and breathin…

When the rest of us…I specifically – would have dealt with the anger in a far less constructive way. With my fists, or guns, or –

"Believe me, I’ve thought about it. I’ve DREAMT about it Dad. Please don’t put me on some noble pedestal because I don’t deserve to be there. The only reason I haven’t shot someone, and kept pulling the trigger until the gun was empty…is because I’m having a little trouble deciding who that someone should be.

"Alex because he took her away from me? Or myself because I wasn’t there when she needed me."

Luke’s sharp intake of breath nearly sent him off balance. "You did what you thought you had to do son. The first time you showed up in my living room again, anybody with eyesight could tell you would have done anything to have kept from leaving her."

"Well knowing that doesn’t do anybody any good now, does it? Our lives are still changed forever. A child I never knew existed is still dead.……All I can do is take care of her NOW, and spend the rest of my life making it up to her…Starting with putting this asshole in jail where he belongs – secondary only to a shallow grave."

"That could be arranged," Luke said. The words echoing in Lucky’s ears and mixing with his own from earlier that day.

Lucky shook his head. "I appreciate the offer Dad. But if anybody puts him there – it’s gonna be me."

Luke only nodded before glancing over his shoulder to the house. The sound of his own wife’s laughter enough to make him understand why Lucky had done what he’d done. Though he’d gone a different route with Laura, you couldn’t fault the kid for wanting to keep that laugh in tact. For wanting to give her the life he thought she deserved and not deprive her of the riches he thought awaited her.

"Is there anything…anything I need to keep tabs on? Anything she doesn’t know?"

Lucky shook his head quickly. "If Elizabeth asks about anything – tell her. We haven’t gone over all the evidence together because we haven’t……well – we’ve just had other things on our minds lately…but – I’m not keeping anything from Elizabeth anymore. Let her see anything she asks to see."

Nodding, Luke placed his hands in his pockets. "Ok…be careful Lucky………and remember……I’m only a phone call away. Hell if you send up the bat signal – it’s quicker than that."

They exchanged a silent expression then that was filled with so much understanding that neither one of them had to speak. Luke would never know what his son was feeling, he could only imagine the depth of his pain if anything had ever happened to his own son or daughter. He remembered briefly what it had been like to think that Laura was dead for a time.

The fact that his son put one foot in front of the other was a miracle in itself.

"Alright Dad," Lucky said after a moment. Reaching out tentatively to hug him with a manly slap on the back. "Take care of her for me will ya?"

Luke shook his head and wrapped both arms around his son for a long moment. "You’re already doin that."

~~ A Few Hours Later ~~

Lulu smiled at herself in the mirror and ran a finger through her curls. "Thanks Liz."

"You’re welcome," Elizabeth smiled. Trying not to get choked up when she caught Lulu’s eyes in the mirror.

Lucky was right. They were Luna’s.

She absently ran her fingers through the girl’s hair. Feeling it slip silkily through her fingers. As black as night - not like Luna’s. But the texture…God, she bet the texture was just like this…and Lu would have made a wonderful aunt. She would have played with her, and brushed her hair, and…

‘Stop this,’ Elizabeth thought quickly. Chastising herself as Lu regarded her strangely in the mirror. She was scaring the poor girl.

"You ok Lizbet?"

"Oh I’m great honey…I’m fine. I was just remembering…stuff."

The smile on Lu’s face when she turned around made it impossible for Elizabeth to dwell in bittersweet dreams. One of her teeth was missing. "I was too!…I was remembering that one Thanksgiving when you and Lucky came to visit? Remember?…You did my hair then too…but this is much more sophisticated. You musta learned this from going to all those fancy parties with celebrities and stuff, huh?"

Lu turned back around to the mirror to inspect the ‘updo’ once again. Elizabeth had called it some fancy French word that she couldn’t remember. She wondered if maybe Elizabeth could do it again before she went to school on Monday. Maybe since Liz was staying in town now, she could do things like that. Come over and help her out with her hair and stuff. Like a sister.

All the prissy little girls at school would be jealous.

Emily came over and did her hair sometimes and let her wear lipstick and stuff as long as she stayed in the house, but usually she was too busy modeling or playing kissy face with Nikolas.

"Actually," Elizabeth explained. Pulling a few tendrils out of Lulu’s hair in front. "I learned this LONG before I went to any of those stup…any fancy parties. I used to like doing things like this with my hair when I was your age…and when I was in high school and stuff. I remember when your brother and I first started going out I would try something different with my hair EVERY, SINGLE, TIME and it never came out the way I wanted it to," she laughed. "But with you…Well your hair is so exquisite anything looks good."

Lulu turned around once again as Elizabeth checked the temperature of the curling iron. She liked that word…’exquisite’…it sounded so grown up. Her eyes caught Elizabeth’s again.

"Lizbet what’s wrong? You seem sad…you keep looking like you’re about to cry. Did you and my brother have a fight?"

Elizabeth smiled and lifted the curling iron. "No honey…your brother and I are fine…it’s just – woman stuff…you know."

"Oooh, you’re period huh?" Lulu commented nonchalantly. "Yep…Thank God I’ve got at least two years before I get all weird."

"Thank God," Elizabeth laughed. Brushing at her tears.

"Are you sure it’s your period though?" Lulu asked. "Because I saw this one show…where the lady cried all the time and she THOUGHT it was her PMS stuff, but she was really pregnant."

Because she knew she’d start to bawl if she stopped what she was doing, Elizabeth simply draped a few strands of Lu’s hair around the barrel of the curling iron and rolled it upwards. "No honey…I’m sure. I’m not pregnant."

"I don’t know," The little girl persisted innocently. "Mom says you get pregnant when you love a boy really, really, really a lot and he loves you really, really, really a lot back. And it looks like you and Lucky love each other really, really, really a lot."

Elizabeth breathed heavily and continued. "Yeah, you’re right…we do love each other beyond really, really, really a lot. But we…we probably aren’t going to…well we probably…"

"Probably what?" Lulu asked. Her brow knitting together at Elizabeth’s silence. If you loved someone and were gonna get married like she knew Elizabeth and Lucky were – you had babies. That’s just the way things went.

Elizabeth tried to block out the doctor’s voice echoing through her head with Lulu’s looped through it. Tried not to remember the several times she’d asked if they tried. Even her old doctor had said it was possible. But even if it was…God help her how could she open herself up to that kind of pain again? Or Lucky?

Yes, fertility advancements were wonderful these days…but…

‘But can you really afford to deny yourself the pleasure of combing your own daughter’s hair one day? If it IS at all possible?’

"I’ll tell you what Lu…why don’t you go show your Mom what we did to your hair ok?" Elizabeth asked suddenly. "I’m gonna throw some water on my face and then I’ll be right down."

The sudden change of subject had Lu’s radar going up, but she played it off like she wasn’t suspicious. That’s what her Dad always told her to do. Let them think you believed them.

"Ok," she nodded. "She’ll love it…besides – we need some snacks…I’ll start raiding the fridge."

"Ok," Elizabeth smiled. Holding back the urge to cry once more. The little girl was so beautiful and energetic. It made her think of what Lucky must have been like as a child…and what their child would have been like. "I’ll be down in a flash."

Evergreen, New York
The Hart Mansion

Alex sat forward in his leather recliner. Reaching forward to retrieve the matchbook in the first drawer of his desk. Because his nerves were still shot from being attacked by that animal, he jumped at the movement in the corner. Darkness, having fallen completely just moments ago.

But his eyes were playing tricks on him of course. No one was in the mansion tonight but him.

After spending all that time at Wyndemere – a house that should have been his anyway – he was sick and tired of servants, so he’d let them go home. He was sick to death of people – period.

One person in particular had pushed him too far this time. Her petition for a divorce shook in his hands as he lit the match against the back of the small book. Igniting a small flame.

If the bitch wanted a divorce she was damn well going to have to fight for it.

"I wouldn’t do that if I were you."

The voice shooting through the darkness nearly caused Alex to drop the lit match into his lap. But he held it up instead. The flame flickering just enough to illuminate the bastard that had nearly beat him to death.

"What the Hell are you doing here?"

Try as he might, he hadn’t been able to keep the fear out of his voice, and Lucky fed on it. Moving closer beneath the cloak of night. "You like sitting in the dark? With matches?…You know that’s probably not very safe."

His eye had just healed properly, so Alex’s vision wasn’t all it should have been. Especially when the idiot kept moving in and out of the shadows. "What do you care about safe?" He asked. Hating the fact that his voice shook. "You nearly killed me last time you were on this property."

"Nearly…" Lucky sighed. Moving about the room.

Before Alex knew what he was doing Lucky had torn his own match from the book and threw it in the fireplace. A gleam of red and orange emerging as Lucky’s silhouette played over the walls like a dancing devil.

"Alex…do you know how easy it’d be – I mean with all your servants gone. The house completely still...for someone just to walk right in…kill you…and have it be seen by the general public as an accident? It’s such a big house…there’s not a neighbor for miles…

"The Headline would read something like…Tragic, careless death of hotel industry millionaire…Alexander Hart found dead in his multi-million dollar home after attempting to torch his wife’s divorce papers……They’d call it tragic. Those of us who know you…we’d just call it serendipity."

"If you think you have any evidence against me you’re wrong," Alex stated. Paying no heed to the veiled threat. "Like I told your brother…documents can be falsified. People in this state respect me – I’m important. They’ll never believe any of it if I tell them you’re lying – she’s lying."

Alex felt his chair lurch backwards and his legs leave the floor as Lucky pressed his wait against it. His hands clutching the cushioned arms as he lunged towards Alex. "You really are a stupid son of a bitch aren’t you? You think I won’t kill you? Right here and right now?"

Inhaling deeply through his nose, Alex searched for something to say. "You would have done it already. You would have done it that night."

"I could have very WELL done it that night. The only reason you’re still breathing is because a few people had enough presence of mind to pull me off of you…But don’t kid yourself Alex we’re all alone here… and you being alive has got nothing to do with me – it must be the sheer grace of a God I don’t understand.

"Besides," Lucky added after letting Alex stew in his own churning stomach acids for a moment. He slowly let go of Alex’s chair. Reveling in the sound of him letting his breath flow freely out of his lungs. "Killing is your specialty right?"

Alex froze. A bead of sweat, rolling down the center of his back.

What did he know? Surely if he knew, he wouldn’t have hesitated in killing him right?

No…He couldn’t know…Could he?

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," he sighed shakily.

"Oh, but don’t you?" Lucky asked. Standing back when Alex rose from the chair on shaky legs. Moving slowly towards the door. Lucky blocked his path. "Leaving so soon? "Man, I just got here…you are such a rude fucking host."

Lucky could literally feel the fear course through Alex’s veins and it only made him stronger. He moved closer to him still. Hearing the panting, the shortness of breath that wretched its way through his lungs and chest. "You ok Alex? Need some water?…Would you trust me with your water Alex? Trust me not to lace it with arsenic?"

Alex turned with wild eyes.

He knew…he knew…

Because Lucky pressed his hand against the door again, Alex could only stay put and pant. Like an animal that had been caught in a cage. "You don’t know anything. Helena –

"Helena what?!" Lucky spat. Interrupting. "Helena called out to you from the grave and ordered you to kill Timothy Durts? Is that what happened?"

"D – durts?"

Lucky stepped back. "Of course. Who else did you kill today Alex?"

Alex shook his head slowly. Letting his hand fall from the doorknob. ‘Durts…he’s talking about Durts…that’s all…that’s it.’

Lucky’s eyes narrowed as he watched Alex’s eyes shift around in his head. Obviously trying to come up with something to say…but that wasn’t all. There was something else. He’d thought he’d been referring to something else…what?

"I don’t know any…Timothy Durts," Alex swallowed.

Shaking his head, Lucky almost laughed. "You gotta be kidding me right? Are you still gonna try and worm your way out of this? It’s all documented PROOF Alex. All of it. Helena was actually stupid enough to give you a chest, chalked full of fucking journal entries!"

‘Everything?’ The word tripped through his head at lightening pace. Why hadn’t he thought of it? Why hadn’t he expected that? She’d have written that down as well right? The biggest, most integral part of their plan to keep Lucky and Elizabeth apart. That had to be in there too. Dear God…

But he must not have looked at it all yet. They must not have gone through every item…

If he could just get it back…

"You look a little pale Alex…can I get you that water now?"

"You don’t know anything," Alex stated again. Moving back towards his chair. "I don’t know any Dirty Tim."

Lucky licked his lips. "Did I say his name was Dirty Tim?"

Alex shut his eyes at the slip up. "I saw the news report this afternoon."

"Sure," Lucky stated. Walking towards him. "You know Alex…I hate to use Poker metaphors – and I think you know why – but I’m gonna have to anyway. Because you can stomp your feet you can contest the divorce…but none of it will matter in the end… All the cards are falling into place Alex…and when they do, I’m gonna play my hand….

"You’re goin down Alex…and when you’re finally down there – in Hell I mean – look up. I’ll be the one smilin."

Alex shivered as Lucky moved backwards through the shadows and through the French doors that lead outside to the garden. Wondering briefly how he’d gotten in without him ever having heard anything.

It didn’t matter.

Lucky Spencer, DIDN’T matter. All that mattered now was getting a hold of whatever documents linked him to the death of Elizabeth’s child…and getting it fast.

The Spencer Residence
24 Royal Street

Elizabeth smiled and rolled over in her sleeping bag. Having opted to make it a real slumber party and camp out in Lulu’s room instead of trying to make a go of it in Lucky’s. It would have brought back too many memories anyway. Memories of Lucky’s hands all over her. Memories of trying to keep quiet while his little sister and his parents slept across the hall. Until she could feel those things again, it would do her no good to dwell on them.

"Aren’t you tired yet?" Elizabeth asked. Already knowing what the answer would be. The kid was a Spencer on a sugar-high. That pretty much guaranteed she’d be up for another couple of hours.

"Nope," Lulu giggled. "Mom says that since there’s no school tomorrow AND it’s kind of a special occasion with you being here – I can stay up as long as I want…so tell me another story about when you and my brother ran away from home."

Elizabeth shook her head. The girl had high adventure on the brain. "Ok, I’ll tell you a good one about the time Lucky and I snuck into Wyndams if you hand over those cookies."

"Sure thing!" Lulu laughed sending the bag of cookies sailing towards Elizabeth.

She reached up and caught them, quickly unrolling the top of the Mother’s cookies bag. It didn’t occur to her until after the pink elephant was sliding against her tongue, that she hated them.

Or at least she always had. Except for those few nights when she’d binged on them. Back when she was…

Elizabeth swallowed hard against the sweet pastry and drew the bag away from her chest as the realization hit. Not noticing until that moment, the sheer irony of the product label: ‘MOTHER’S cookies.’

"Lizbet?" Lu said softly. Noticing the look of completely shock that passed behind Elizabeth’s eyes. "You ok?…Tell me about that time in Wyndams!"

The blank expression that Elizabeth wore in the dim light of the room on increased as the knowledge sunk in. And the story seemed distant, and her voice…was shaky.

"My nose…my nose had been itchy………It meant someone was coming."

Poetry exerts from, "The Couple." Written by Rosanna Warren