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Episode 9


*Eve and her family were devastated over Tom's shooting and not knowing where Melissa was.

*Cynthia had to meet Nicholas at Shirley's Bar and Grille for a late breakfast.

*Gary was infuriated that Brice was demanding to take over Jackson Industries.




The young woman’s hands clench the phone tightly. She wipes a straying tear from her face, "I love you too, sweetheart."

The voice from the other end wears layers of sadness and disappointment. It pains the woman to hear her son’s tone in that manner. It’s been nonstop hours at the restaurant and overtime just so she can assure that the rent and electricity is paid for the month. She knows that she has to remain strong and positive so she doesn’t break down from the pressures biting at her from each angle.

"Look, honey. I really have to get back to work so that me and you can keep living in the same house together like we’ve been doing. Just remember that I love you with every single bit of my heart. You do know that, Connor, don’t you?"

There is a brief silence on the other end. She can hear the heavy breathing of her son as he absorbs her words. His little 6-year-old mind is running overtime. She feels relieved when she hears him finally speak, "Yeah, mommy. I love you too. I love you lots and lots and more lots."

"Awwww, sweetie. That is so nice of you to say—"

"Lacey! Your break was over 5 minutes ago! There are two tables waiting to be served!" yells a man, who looks like he’s in his early 40’s.

"Ok, I’ll be there." She sighs deeply and then focuses her attention to her young son, who’s on the other end of the line. "Look, Connor, mommy has to go bye-bye now. Tell Amy that you can have a Popsicle. Doesn’t that sound yummy? Now you hang up and get one. Bye honey."

She slowly puts the phone back on the receiver after Connor says goodbye. She wipes her face within her hands and looks at her hands to reveal some smeared mascara from her tears earlier. She lets out a deep sigh and exhales. Her sore feet lead her back into Shirley's Bar and Grille so she can serve more food to complete strangers and get a shitty tip in return…




"Where in the hell is our waitress? I would really like to get my breakfast before lunch comes." Says Cynthia as she rolls her eyes and then uses them to frantically scan the various people and workers that are busy on every angle of the establishment.

"Technically, it already is lunch time. It is 12:14 if you didn't notice." Nicholas says with a "smart-ass" smirk forming his face. "Why don't you just chill out and enjoy the view. What's the hurry for anyway?"

Cynthia glares at her boyfriend, "I can't help that you have this unworldly unlimited amount of patience, Nicholas. I just happen to be a person who expects to be served promptly at a restaurant. Is that too much to ask for? Come on, the customers are the only way this place can stay in business anyways. Besides, I haven't eaten a single thing since like 7 o clock yesterday! Pretty soon my stomach will start feasting on its own flesh!"

"You mean its own fat." Nicholas remarks, knowing that he'll get a grand reaction.

"Fat? Look, I know I may have gained about 1 or 2 pounds but I wouldn't necessarily call it fat." She brings her ice water to her lips. "I have been watching every bit of liquid and food I've put in my body and you know that!"

Nicholas chuckles and then looks her in the eyes. "You do know that you are the most adorable creature that God placed on this green earth, don't you? I just love hearing your cute and defensive reactions. Don't you notice that I usually say things to just get a reaction?"

Cynthia allows herself to smile wide and she brings her hands to grasp his own. "Awww, I did notice." She then playfully slaps the top of his hands. "And I don't like it a single bit! Taking pleasure from my pain. I thought you were a better person, Nicholas Kane!"

Nicholas's eyes then move to look past the top of Cynthia's head of brown hair. They focus on a young woman, who looks about his age, who is fast approaching them. He swears that she has puffy eyes that are fresh from crying. He also gets the sense that she'd rather be eating glass than be working at this restaurant.

"What exactly are you looking at so intently?!" questions Cynthia as she turns her head around quickly. Her gaze immediately focuses on the young waitress who is now a mere two feet from her table. Cynthia rolls her eyes and whispers "It's about damn time.", under her breath.

Lacey Ulrich pulls out the notepad from her apron and forces a wide smile. "Hi, my name is Lacey and I'll be your waitress today. I see that somebody already got your drinks. Can I get you guys anything to eat today?"

"Well that is what people do at restaurants, isn't it? Actually, I much preferred that I had gotten my order taken about twenty minutes ago. However, I'm just a customer so what in the hell would I know, right?" Cynthia states in a biting tone.

Nicholas flashes her a vicious glare and is somewhat shocked at her outburst. He then speaks up so Cynthia can't get the chance to speak up again. "Look, I'm sorry about that. It's just that she's had such a hectic morning and really isn't herself. Isn't that right, Cynthia?"

Cynthia crosses her arms and gives him a mean glare, not uttering a word.

Lacey tries her hardest to keep a positive face and let the stranger's scathing remarks roll off her back. "I'm very sorry that it's taken so long for a waitress to get to you. However, if you guys are ready to order now. I'd love to get your food." Please, let this day fly by. I can't take another minute of this! Who in the heck is this bitchy girl anyway? For some reason she looks awful familiar…

"Well I can't speak for my significant other here but that Steak Tummy Buster is looking awfully delicious. I'll take twenty of them!" Nicholas smiles wide as he attempts to inject some humor into the tense moment.

Lacey gives the young man an obligatory smile. "I can arrange that. Twenty would be no problem."

"Nah, I guess I'll just have one for now. Can that be arranged? I really hope so." He then hands the menu up to waitress. Her finger brushes against his as she accepts it from him.

"Yeah, we can arrange an order of one as well." Her eyes then move back to a silent Cynthia, who seems to be contently playing with the paper that packaged her straw. "So are you going to be ordering anything or do you need an extra twenty minutes? That can definitely be arranged with no problem, by the way."

Nicholas can't help but let out a small laugh at the waitress's humor. He tries his hardest to hide his amusement from Cynthia.

Cynthia acts like she doesn't notice his reaction and then gives Lacey a wide grin, "You know what? I actually know exactly what I want. While my boyfriend here can only handle one Steak Tummy Buster, I am fully prepared and hungry enough to eat twenty. So that's what I would like to get: an order of twenty steak tummy busters. Easy on the Mayo please. On second thought, no Mayo at all. I wouldn't want to get fat or anything." With that, she snidely hands the menu upwards to the waitress standing next to her.

Lacey stares at her with disbelief. "Are you seriously ordering twenty?"

Cynthia makes an overly appalled expression, "Are you questioning my judgement as a customer? Because if you are, I'm highly offended. Jeez, we are truly losing our rights as Americans these days. We even have to be told what we can order at a restaurant! Yes, I'm seriously ordering twenty!!"

Lacey rips the menu from her hands. "Well then you will get exactly what you want. The last thing that Shirley's Bar and Grille would want is an unsatisfied customer." With that, she storms towards the restaurant's kitchen.

Nicholas leans back in his chair and keeps his eyes deadlocked on Cynthia. He then utters the exact question that is on his mind: "What in the hell has gotten into you?"

Cynthia looks him straight in the eyes and then rolls her own. "Nicholas, I'm proving a point, what else? That waitress obviously has some twisted sense of megalomania just because she's the one responsible for getting the food from point A to point B. I'm just giving her a reality check. She acts like this is the hardest job in the world. Well, I'll give her a little difficulty to open up her eyes."

Nicholas just shakes his head in disbelief and doesn't utter another word.





Eve, Carl, and Philip are gathered around the table with a huge breakfast of French toast, sausage, eggs, and bacon adorning the middle of it. Ever since the fiasco at the New Years Ball, Eve has been busying herself with cooking constantly. Her cookie jar is to the top with chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies as well. Eve has been trying to have something replace her deep mourning. The baking and cooking seems to be doing the trick.

"Carl, I could have sworn I heard a slamming noise upstairs." States a worried Eve as she puts a glass of orange juice to her lips. She places the glass of liquid back down and then says, "Maybe I should go upstairs and check to see if Cassie is alright."

"She’s a grown adult, Eve. Let her get herself up in the morning without having her parents frantically worry about her. She’ll be OK." Carl firmly says as he stirs in some sugar to his coffee.

Philip then sadly looks at his grandfather and moans, "Grandpa, is daddy going to be sleeping forever at the hospital? When will he wake up? I really miss him and mommy."

Carl’s eyes meet Eve’s and the two grandparents can’t help but get teary eyed. Carl grabs his grandson’s hand gently and then looks him in the eye, "Your daddy is having a long and wonderful dream about how much he loves you and your mommy. Whenever we find your mommy and your daddy wakes up they are going to want nothing more than to hold you and to just be with you. Don’t you worry, mister. Things are going to be perfectly happy then. For now, we’ve got to have faith in God and pray. Me, You, Grandma, Aunt Cassie, Uncle Keith, and your cousin Jarrod all have to pray."

Eve is very touched by Carl’s words, as is Philip. She reaches her hand across the table and squeezes Carl’s left hand tightly. Tears come to her eyes as she gently says, "How about we close our eyes and pray right now together that your mommy and daddy will be alright?"

Philip nods his head vigorously, "Yes, that sounds like a great idea!"

The three of them all hold each other's hands tightly and then bow their heads to pray to God. Carl leads the prayer and begs God for a miracle. In the back of his mind is this nasty shard of doubt that he wishes he could wave away with a magic wand…




"That dream was horrific." States an emotionally drained Cassie as she looks herself over in the mirror above her dresser. All’s that has been piercing her mind is the ghastly sight of her standing above someone’s bloody body. "Just get out of my mind already!" She screams as she stares at her skinny face. Suddenly something hits her mind at full force, "I have to go and see Keith. He is the only one that can take away any bad feeling I am having."

She turns and draws her blue eyes to the portable phone that sets upon her nightstand. "I’ll give him a call and see what he’s got planned for today. I know he’s probably going to visit Tom and the police station to give that assailant a piece of his mind."

She quickly heads over to the phone and picks up the receiver. She uses speed dial to connect with Keith’s phone. It takes four rings before there is an answer.

"Keith, this is Cassie. I am dying to see you." Cassie puts all of her tangible desire into her tone of voice.

There is a moment of pause before Keith says, "Cassie, I’m not feeling so well today." In a way, Keith’s lie is a somewhat true. He is not feeling well at all for sleeping with Annie last night.

"You’re sick? You poor thing! Look, how about I come and take care of you today. We’ll stay close by the phone just in case anything happens with Tom or my sister."

Keith quickly says, "No, I think it would be better for you to just stay away from me today. I don’t want you catching anything."

"Keith, I really need to see you today. You just don’t understand. I need you to hold me and comfort me."

After Keith hears this he flashes back to what Annie was saying about Cassie being too insecure and needing him so she wouldn’t shatter to pieces. Maybe it was true, he thinks as guilt rushes through his veins. Maybe if she finds out about me and Annie she’ll have some kind of breakdown. He then tries to force those thoughts from his mind and says firmly, "I would feel a lot better if you didn’t come over, Cassie. Please let’s just leave it at that."

Cassie brushes her hand quickly through her long blonde hair before saying in an accusatory tone, "Keith, is it that you are sick or you just don’t want to see me?"





"You are nothing but a pathetic joke, Brice Jackson. There is no way in hell I am handing you over Jackson Industries!" Gary then lets his rage get the best of him and punches his youngest brother in the face at full force.

Creg casually enters the kitchen in a mission to find something to fill his very empty stomach. Instead, he walks in just as Gary's hand meets his uncle's face. Creg stares in complete and utter shock. Brice goes falling backwards and slams on the ground with a loud thump.

Brice holds his nose as blood begins to seep out of it, "Why, you do have your way with getting to the point, brother dearest!"

Gary stands above his youngest sibling with gritted teeth and fury in his eyes. "I want you to leave my home now!"

Creg watches the scene silently as Brice rises from the kitchen floor. He holds his bloody nose before letting out a grin and saying, "I can see it in your eyes, Gary. You feel threatened and you know what I can do. Do you think I’m scared of you? I laugh at your so-called power, brother dearest. This whole scene here is all about your bruised ego and you know exactly what I’m talking about!"

"LEAVE!" Gary screams as he points towards the kitchen door.

By this time, Barbara has made their way inside from the garden. Barbara looks at Gary’s face confounded. "What in hell’s name is going on in here?" She questions.

Brice quickly answers for Gary. "Gary’s just expressing his deep insecurities, Barbara. Why won’t you tell her all about them, Gary?"

Creg and Barbara's eyes all focus onto Gary’s face. They await him to explain what Brice means. Inside Gary’s mind, he is using every ounce of self-control to keep him from flying into his youngest brother and tearing him up.






The Jones’s have made their place around the table. They just finished their prayer and dig into the huge breakfast before them. Eve takes a bite of sausage before saying, "Carl, I know that you don’t want me going upstairs and be bugging Cassie but I have to. You know that Cassie is a very emotional person. As horrible as things have been for me, you know that Cassie is probably taking it ten times harder. I’m just going to go quickly check on her." With that, Eve pulls from her seat at the table and scurries away.

Carl shakes his head slowly and thinks. Maybe Eve is right. We should probably keep a good set of eyes on Cassie’s behavior. She’s gone through so much in her life and this is no exception.

He recalls a few years back when they had Cassie committed for her pure hatred towards Melissa. Cassie tried to kill her and do anything to ruin her life. Yes, they did a phenomenal job for her at that hospital but who knows if she is ever going to relapse again. She definitely now loves Melissa but this whole ordeal could drive her emotions skyward and cause her to act very irrational again.

"What are you thinking about, Grandpa? Are you thinking about my mommy and daddy?" Philip gives Carl a very curious look.

Carl smiles at his grandson and says, "Yes, I have thought of your mommy and daddy ever since things happened. Please don’t focus on the negative of everything going on, just pray to God and you’ll be OK."

Philip smiles. "I’ll do just that, grandpa. I don't really know when he’s going to wake up my daddy and send mommy back home. I just need to keep praying, don’t I?"

"Yes you do." Carl proudly smiles at Philip. That kid is going to accomplish so many things someday.




"Of course I would love to see you, Cassie! I’m just real sick and I advise you not to come over." Keith hopes that this will get her to stop pressing him on.

Cassie suddenly bursts into tears. "I just hope you are not pushing me away from you, Keith. You know how much I feel for you." Her mind flashes back to Annie convincing her that she should leave Keith. Maybe he is secretly seeing Annie.

Eve opens the door to Cassie’s bedroom and is just about to say something but she doesn’t speak when she realizes her daughter is on the phone. Instead, she just listens in.

"Keith, tell me. Are you being completely honest with me about everything? Do you feel for me the same way I feel for you?"

Keith clears his throat and then answers, "Cassie, where is all of this coming from? Look, I know you are extremely upset about your sister being missing and Tom being in a coma but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost any feelings for you. Of course I care about you."

"That is not what I asked you, Keith! Do you feel the same way for me that I feel for you? I love you so much. Do you love me just as much?"

Keith feels as though he has been slammed with a ton of bricks. What am I supposed to tell her? She can’t know about Annie because that would push her right over the edge. I’m going to have to lie to her again. He then slowly says, "Of course I love you, Cassie. I love you just as much as you love me."

Cassie wipes her eyes and then smiles. "Good. I just thought that you had changed your feelings for me. I’m sorry for acting so emotional like this. Things have been so hard, you know. I guess I won’t come over, Keith. Please get lots of rest, OK? You need to get all better."

"Don’t worry. I’ll get some rest, Cassie. So I guess I’ll talk to you another time, OK?"

"OK. Bye, Keith. I love you."

"I love you too, Cassie. Bye." Keith is stunned by the amounts of lies that have been stacking up lately but he knows he can’t tell Cassie the truth.

Cassie slowly puts the receiver back on its base. Keith really does love me, she dreamily thinks. The thought of Keith caring for her actually cheers her up a lot. Cassie feels that someone is watching her and she quickly turns around to see her mother standing by her bed.

"Honey, there is a big breakfast prepared downstairs. I haven’t seen you eating that much lately. Please come down." Eve says very motherly. "Are you going to be OK?" She adds as she walks up to her daughter and puts an arm on her left shoulder.

Cassie quickly wipes her eyes, "Of course, mother. I’m just so upset about Tom and Melissa like we all are but as long as I have Keith in my life, things will be so much better." She then lets out a genuine smile as a happy feeling surges through her body when she pictures Keith’s face in her mind. The horrid images of her nightmare have disappeared for the moment.

"Honey, if there is anything on your mind and you want to talk with me about. I’m there for you. I am in complete sadness just like you but I just handle things differently. Yes, when it was happening before our eyes I was flipping out totally but I’ve been praying to God and things have been a little easier for me."

"Don’t worry about me, Mother! I will be just fine. I’m in love with Keith and he’s in love with me. He is going to help me feel better through this whole ordeal. Now let’s go downstairs to the breakfast table. I am starving!" Cassie happily heads out of the door.

Before Eve follows Cassie downstairs, she pauses at the doorway in thought. Cassie, I just hope that you don’t get too dependant on Keith. Maybe I should have a talk with him and make him realize how much Cassie truly cares for him. Though I’m sure he knows all about how much she does. Still, why was she questioning Keith’s feelings when I first came up here?

"Mom, aren’t you coming?" Cassie’s voice comes from the direction of the staircase.

Eve breaks her train of thought before answering, "I’m on my way, Cassie." She heads towards the staircase in worry over her daughter.