Jackie and Owen’s Condo
Nick handed the wine to his mother and kissed her on the cheek as he walked into her new condo. “Not bad, Mother.”
“Yes, well, we like it.” She smiled and put the wine on the table near the door.
“No bathtub in the living room? How will you two survive?”
She fought back the urge to roll her eyes, settling for needling him a bit. “I know, but the contractor said it would take at least a weeks worth of work to install the necessary piping, so we’re going to wait until we take our trip to Spain next month.”
Nick paused and just looked at her for a few minutes as he tried to figure out if she was serious or not.
“Oh, relax. It’s just not practical when we have a small child under foot. Who knows what the future holds, though.” She sat down and patter the couch cushion next to her. “Now, tell me what’s going on with you. I heard that you’ve been spending some time with Logan and Bridget.”
“Knock it off, Mother.”
“What?” She lifted her brows and projected an air of innocence.
“Don’t ‘what’ me. You know what. We’re not getting back together. I’ve moved on and I’m sure she has, too.” Moments like this reminded him why he didn’t spend more time with his mother.
“Bah. That woman you occasionally sleep with does not count as ‘moving on.’ If she did, you’d have introduced her to Jack by now.”
“How do you know I haven’t?”
“Have you?” She raised an eyebrow and stared at him.
“No.” Dammit. Maybe giving up smoking hadn’t been the brightest idea all things considered. He should have waited until his mother was dead first and couldn’t annoy him about relationships.
“Exactly.” She smiled smugly while pouring herself a cup of tea.
“Rick? Amber Moore is here to see you.”
Rick tossed the pen down that he’d been holding and looked at the intercom in surprise. This was not a visit that he’d seen coming.
“Send her in, Pam. Thank you.”
Amber took a deep breath when Pam gave her the go-ahead and walked through Rick’s door. “Hey, Rick.”
“Amber.” He stood up and walked around his desk to give her a hug and kiss her cheek. “I didn’t know you were still in town.”
“Well, yeah. I’ve stayed close by because of Rosie. Marcus and I, we’re trying really hard to keep things easy on her. I think it’s working.”
Rick nodded as he leaned back against his desk, crossing his arms. “Still, it can’t be easy. Are you working?”
He knew his cousin well enough to know that he’d support the blonde if he had to in order to make things easy on his daughter.
“Yeah, actually. I was waiting tables at a place in Santa Monica.”
“Really?” He couldn’t help the surprised expression, but his respect for his ex-wife went up a few notches.
“Yeah. It was a bit of a hole in the wall, but a really busy one… I ran into a few Forrester employees while I worked there. They tip well. You should pay them more.” She smiled at him. He had a couple more wrinkles around the eyes, but he still seemed exactly the same as when he’d tossed her out in favor of Caroline. That still stung, but she pushed herself to ask anyway. “So, how’s married life treating you.”
“It’s great. Really, really, REALLY great.” He forced his smile to stay on his face. He and Caroline hadn’t really been getting along since Eric had walked in on their conversation in the guesthouse.
“Uh huh. Look, it’s none of my business, but you love her. It’s worth working whatever it is out.” She was surprised by how easily she could still read him and also by how little it hurt her to say those words.
Liam cleared his throat as he stood awkwardly in the door frame and waited for her to look up.
“I know you’re here. I’m just not sure why I should care.” Steffy kept sorting through the papers on her desk, refusing to even look in his direction.
“Steffy, we need to talk.”
“No, we don’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the last thing I ‘need’ to do is talk to you and I also don’t WANT to. Soooooo…” She picked up the phone and called Pam to ask her about a potential scheduling issue. She nodded a few times, jotted down a few notes and hung up the phone. Casually glancing up, she raised an eyebrow. “Why are you still here?”
“Because we need to talk. I get it. I’m not one of your favorite people right now–”
“Right NOW? No, Liam, you’re not one of my favorite people at all. Right now doesn’t have anything to do with it.”
He winced at the blunt words and took a deep breath.
“I probably deserve that.” Closing the door behind him, he walked into the room and sat down, leaning forward with an earnest expression. “Look, I was a tool the other day. I was worried about you and I handled Wyatt being there badly.”
“Yes, you were and yes, you did.” Steffy leaned back in her chair and watched him.
“What happened to us? We used to be friends.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Hell, you were my best friend for a long time and now we can’t even have a conversation.”
Steffy stared at him for a couple of minutes. There were so many things she wanted to say to that. Images flashed through her head. Liam rolling around on their bed with Hope. Liam asking her to leave their home so he could decide between Hope and her. Liam going to Hope for comfort after their baby died and then letting Hope badmouth her and kiss him. It was as though her mind was playing a painful moments highlight reel of her past few years and Liam was in every one of them.
“Yeah, we were. Then our baby died, I left and you went back to Hope.”
“That’s not fair. You left ME. Hell, I chased you to Paris.” That should earn him some leniency, shouldn’t it?
“Yeah and you were already in a relationship with Hope while you spent five whole minutes begging me to come home. In fact, the minute you got back here, you proposed to her.” Her slight smile was pretty bitter as she straightened the papers on her desk. “Then you come into my home and judge me for moving on – and you wonder why we’re not pals anymore?”
Liam stood up and started pacing in frustration before finally turning to face her with a sigh. “You’re right and I’m sorry.”
She stared at him in surprise and a fair amount of suspicion, waiting for the rest of the sentence. “But?”
“No buts. You’re right. Wyatt’s a hot button issue with me and I act like an ass when he’s involved. I’ll work on it.”
“Okay.” He smiled slightly as he turned and walked out the door. It may not have been a truce, but at least it was a cease fire. He could work with that.
Brooke sat down at the lunch table and smiled at Eric as he joined her. “You know, you don’t have to do this every time Donna can’t be here.”
“Why not? Don’t you like enjoy my company?” He smiled at the slight color that suffused her cheeks as she rushed to reassure him.
“Of course I do! It’s just that I know how important work is to you.”
“Yes, it is, but sometimes friends and family have to come first.” He took her hand in his and looked into her eyes. “And you’re both.”
After a few minutes of companionable silence as they both dug in, he brought up his recent decisions about Forrester Creations. “Speaking of work, I have some news for you on that front. I decided to step back from the business and let one of my children have a chance to run things.”
“No. He’s just not ready to be CEO.”
“You didn’t chose Ridge, did you? Rick swore he’d never work under him again.” Brooke blinked as she registered what she’d just said and Eric looked at her in surprise.
“Brooke? How did you know that? Did you remember something?”
The blonde played the words over and over in her head. They felt right but she didn’t understand why.
“No, I just said it. I didn’t even know what I was saying until I was done. It happened the other day, too… over something that didn’t matter at all.”
“Well, this time it was something that matters. That’s incredible!”
He’d started thinking that she’d never get her memory back, and there was a piece of him that had been enjoying learning about the woman Brooke could have been had her life gone slightly differently. He buried the thought, focusing on the woman in front of him instead.
“That’s what Donna said. I think she would have thrown a parade if I hadn’t talked her down. It’s just a fragment and it may not happen again.”
Her smile wavered and she started picking at her food. Everyone was so happy at the thought that her memories might come back and she didn’t think that anyone would understand why she wasn’t over the moon herself.
“Brooke? What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing important.” She raised her eyes to his and changed the subject. “You were going to tell me who you were naming CEO?”
“Please don’t do that. Don’t hide behind my work. I’ve done it a lot in my life, so I know what it looks like. Why aren’t you happy right now?”
“It’s just… what if I go back.”
Eric sighed faintly and nodded. Now he got it. “Go back to being her, you mean.”
“Yes. I know that I had people who loved that version of me and she – I had friends, but… I don’t think I like her very much and I really don’t want to become her again.”
Eric leaned forward and took Brooke’s hand in his, again. “I thought you were beautiful, intelligent, vibrant and sweet. In a lot of ways, you’re still the same person, just without a lot of the baggage that your former self had to carry. If you get your memories back – when you get your memories back – maybe you can pick and chose which pieces you want to keep carrying.”
She looked down at her hand clasped in his and nodded before looking up into his eyes and smiling. “With someone like you in my corner, how can I fail?”
“So, I do have a new job and it’s pretty amazing but I’m not allowed to talk about it yet.”
“Really? Well that’s intriguing.” His smile faded as he eyed her appraisingly. She’d definitely changed since he’d last seen her. Amber smiled her ‘I’ve got a secret’ mysterious smile that had never failed to get his blood pumping and he cleared his throat, moving behind his desk to take a seat. Okay, maybe some things never changed about the blonde.
She felt the mood shift and decided to get to the point of her visit before he told her leave. “So, I’m not the only person you’re probably going to start bumping into around here.” She wasn’t sure how the news would be received, and that was making her very anxious suddenly. “EJ finished college and decided he wanted to come live with me in LA.”
Rick leaned back in his chair as all sorts of memories flooded through him. “Wow. So you’re saying that…” His voice tapered off as his throat got tight.
“He’s in town. I wasn’t sure if you knew or not since he’s been spending time with Hope.”
“Umm, yeah, no, I didn’t know.” He looked down and straightened his tie as he took a moment to compose himself. “Does he… does he remember me?”
“That’s why I’m here. He wants to see you. If you didn’t know he was here, I figured it’d be easier if I prepared you… and if you did know and just wanted to let things be, I could make it easier on you both. Old wounds and all.”
“Yeah. Old wounds.” He took a deep breath and looked at his ex-wife steadily. “Where is he? I’ve got some time.”
And if he hadn’t had any, he’d have made some.
“Actually…” She walked to the door and opened it, letting a tall sandy haired man through. “I kind of thought you’d say that.”
Rick stood up and walked over to where the younger man stood and clasped his hand. “EJ, it’s been a long, long time.”
The younger man let go a breath he hadn’t even known he’d been holding. “Yes, sir, it has.”
“Sir? What do you think this is? The military?” Everyone laughed, diffusing the tension in the room and Amber took that moments to slip out the door so the two men could catch up without a spectator. “Take a seat and tell me what’s been going on. Wait… and you can tell me to butt out if it’s none of my business but… EJ? Last I heard you were DJ.”
“Well, Deacon called me that for a few years. I never really took to it and Mom would slip a lot and call me Eric when she was taking care of me. It felt more like me, like it was my real name. So when Deacon went to prison, I went back. If it’s too weird for you, though…”
“No, it’s fine.” He called his dad ‘Deacon’ and Amber ‘Mom’? That was odd. “I was just wondering about the change. So, college? What was your major?”
Jackie and Owen’s Condo
“Okay, enough chit chat. I know you’ve got something on your mind.”
“Am I that obvious, Mother?”
“Only to someone who knows you like I do. Of course, the fact that you didn’t ask if Owen was here before coming by says a lot, too.”
Nick’s brows lowered as he realized he hadn’t even considered it. Logan’s illness, and what it could mean to all of them, had been nagging at him for a while.
“Exactly. So, spill.” She patted him on the knee before picking up her tea and taking a sip.
“Well, I’ve been reading up on childhood diabetes since Logan got sick. I mean, I’ve been spending more time with him so I figured it was important that I know more about it.”
“That makes sense.” Jackie took another sip from her tea cup as she ducked her head and hid her smile behind her hair.
“Don’t do that.”
“Mother, I know that tone. I am not getting back together with Bridget just because I’m spending more time with my step-brother.”
“Of course not.”
He sighed with exasperation. She was always so difficult about this subject. “I actually came by because I wanted to know what it was like for you.”
“Growing up with diabetes?” Her smile died as she thought back to all the near misses she’d had as a teenager. “It sucked. Back then it wasn’t as easy to control and things weren’t labeled like they are now. I had to test my blood sugar with an alcohol lamp and… actually, let’s skip the details. The hardest part is that I just wanted to be a normal teenager like everyone else but…” She shrugged. “A lot of that has changed, so Logan won’t have it as hard as I did. He’ll still have to read labels, carry insulin and pay attention to how he’s feeling.” She reached out and touched his hand. “The good news is that you already know all the signs to look for and so does Owen.”
“I already missed the signs once.” Nick sighed and stood up, pacing the room.
“Yes, you did, but you weren’t expecting them, either. Children his age don’t usually develop this… I’m not sure that I would have recognized the symptoms either because I wouldn’t have been looking for them.”
Humans were funny that way.
“That’s the thing. It’s not a common illness.” He’d spent some time trying to figure out what caused it and researching the genetic links online.
“Diabetes? Almost 10 percent of Americans have it.” She raised her brow as she watched nick pace. “It’s not rare at all.”
“Type 1 is, Mother, and it runs in families… and you know that.” He stopped pacing and turned to look at her. He stared at his mother, hoping he was wrong for so many reasons. “You’ve been wondering, too.”
“Wondering what, dear?” She could feel her heart speeding up in her chest as she carefully set her tea cup down so he wouldn’t see her hand trembling.
“If Logan really IS mine.”
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