A Beautiful Mess~ Chapter 16
by Faith81

Chapter 16

He had heard the lovely Theresa ramble on about fate. Suddenly as he stood in the middle of Walters Furniture store he understood what the word meant. Fox Crane watched as the feisty brunette circled a cherry oak baby bed for the third time. Kay Bennett had intrigued him from the moment she bounded into his brother’s music studio. He knew she was pregnant as well as engaged, but somehow that didn’t bother him.
He watched with curiosity as Kay Bennett shopped. The smirk that had been plastered on his face slowly began to disappear however, when he saw the tall young guy walk up to her and wrap a protective arm around her waist. He saw Kay look up at the guy and smile a brilliant smile, and then he saw the guy return the smile. “Miguel.” He spoke through gritted teeth. The guy was Kay’s fiancé, and it was very clear that this Miguel returned Kay’s feelings.
Fox watched for a few more moments until Kay walked away. It was time to do a little investigating. He wasn’t sure why he was so interested, but he knew he had to find out more and Miguel would be the perfect person to talk to.

He made his way over to Miguel forcing a smile as Miguel looked up at him. “I hate to bother you, but I was wondering, your not Theresa Crane’s brother are you? You look very familiar.” He spoke.

“Yeah I’m Theresa’s brother Miguel. Do I know you?” Miguel questioned.

“I’m Fox, Fox Crane.”

“Crane.” Miguel muttered. “I should’ve guessed.”

Fox merely smirked at Miguel’s comment. He wasn’t surprised that one of the locals would dislike him. “I take it you’re not fond of my family? Father will be so disappointed to hear that.”

“Father? As in Julian?” Miguel questioned.

“Yeah, the one and only.” Fox shrugged.

“I see.” Miguel spoke. “So you know my sister?”

“Well she is married to my brother.” Fox spoke. “She’s one tough lady.”

“That she is.” Miguel agreed as he watched Kay talk to one of the salesmen.

“Is that your girlfriend over there?” Fox questioned with a smirk.

“Actually by the end of the week she’ll be my wife.” Miguel smiled. “We’re getting married in a couple days.”

Fox tried not to show the look at disgust he knew was written all over his face. “Congratulations, but I thought you were younger than Theresa, that would make you what, seventeen?”

“I’ll be nineteen very soon.” Miguel huffed.

“Still very young to get marry. No way would I never think of getting married right now. All the fun I can have without some woman attached to me? Marriage is for later, partying, that’s what youth is for.” Fox answered back hoping he was pushing the right buttons as he watched Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald grow red.

“Everyone is different.” Miguel grunted. “I have been best friends with Kay for years. We know each other and love each other, and we’re ready for marriage.”

“Well I guess in Harmony marrying early is the trend, but out in the real world it’s not easy.” Fox smirked.

Miguel’s hazel eyes glared over at Fox. “Oh this is just classic, a Crane is going to tell me about the real world? What do you know about the real world? In the real world normal people have to work to get by. You think the real world is hard? Try living in it with a limited budget. My mother had to send my youngest sister away because she couldn’t afford all of us. I think I know more about the real world than you will ever know.”

“Perhaps you’re right.” Fox spoke crossing his arms. “Yes I am wealthy and I can have anything I want, but that doesn’t make me naïve. I know how hard any marriage is, my parents should be good example of that.”

“Look, I realize marriage is tough at any age, but you don’t know me, nor do you know Kay.”

Fox smirked; it appeared to him that all the Lopez-Fitzgerald’s had the same hot temper. He knew all about Luis wanting to kill his father, and he had saw Theresa in action. Miguel was much like them, only weaker. Yes, the man-child was indeed weaker than the rest of his little clan.

“I’ve overstepped, I can see that now. Here I am some stranger debating your right to get married at such a young age. I’m sure you know everything you need to about your wife to be.” Fox answered backed his voice cool and calm.

“Of course I know Kay! You Cranes are so nosey, you honestly think you have the right to know everything about everyone!” Miguel fumed.

“Miggs what’s wrong?” A soft voice spoke as a hand touched his shoulder.
A set of blue eyes stared up at Fox, “Oh its you.” Kay Bennett frowned. “What did you say to him?”

“Wait you know this guy?” Miguel questioned.

“We’ve met.” Kay spoke looking at Fox. “Isn’t that right Nicholas?”

“Yes, I spoke to your lovely bride to be once.” Fox smirked.

“You never mentioned that.” Miguel spoke crossing his arms.

Fox only chuckled. “And you never asked.”

“Gee that was mature.” Kay sighed. “Boys if you’re done with your silly insults, I have to finish picking out furniture and Miguel I need your help.”

“You can’t decide?” Miguel questioned.

“Oh I’ve decided.” Kay smiled. “I need you to go pay for it though.”

“Do I get to pick anything out?” Miguel questioned.

Kay thought for a moment. “Hmm what color do you want the sofa? Burgundy or Wine?”

“There’s a difference?” Miguel questioned.

Rolling her eyes Kay sighed. “Never mind I’ll go with something lighter anyway.”

“But.” Miguel started. “I thought you’d need help deciding.”

“No, I’m perfectly capable of picking out furniture for our home Miguel. I’m not Charity.”

Miguel smirked. “I realize that. I like your strong will.”

“Good.” Kay smiled. “Because I have no plans of changing.”

“I don’t want you to change.” Miguel laughed wrapping his arm around her.

Fox Crane grunted as he took a step back. “I suppose I should go.”

“Why are you here anyway?” Kay questioned.

“It’s a furniture store, obviously I’m here for furniture.” Fox answered back. “If you must know I am getting my own place here in town. Living at the estate is simply to much for me to bare. Father keeps calling my cell for some odd reason and if I go back to the estate I know he’s going to try to have some strange moment with me.”

“Everything ‘Crane’ is strange.” Kay joked. Looking back over at Miguel she smiled, “Are you ready Miggs? Your mom is having some sort of special family meal tonight and we don’t want to be late.”

“You actually enjoy our family meals?” Miguel questioned.

“Your family sits down at a table and eats together without yelling at each other. I find it very refreshing.” Kay smiled. “You should really appreciate how close your family is.”

Miguel nodded. “I stand corrected.” Glaring over at Fox he forced a smile. “Interesting meeting you Crane.”

“Same.” Fox nodded watching as Miguel walked away.

Kay turned back to look at Fox, crossing her arms as she arched an eyebrow. Tapping her foot she let out a low sigh. “Ok Crane what’s going on? You’re up to something and I want to know what it is now.” She was forceful with demand, as her blue eyes seemed to darken as she stared at him.

“I’m not up to anything. I was simply having a conversation with my sister-in-law’s brother.” Fox spoke with a sly smile.

“Do I look that dumb? I don’t know what your doing but it ends here. I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you. I’m marrying Miguel in two days, so whatever you have in mind I suggest you get over it now!”

Fox took a step closer to Kay. “You could have so much more fun with a guy like me. A girl like you, we could turn this place upside down.” He added with a wink.

“Excuse me?”

Fox only smirked as Kay stepped closer her hands landing on her hips. “Baby face over there is no match for you. You need a guy that can keep you on your toes and babe that’s me.”

“Get over yourself Crane. I’m in love with Miguel, and he makes me happy. You saw me what two times? How do you know what or who I need?” Kay questioned.

“So you’re saying I’m wrong?”

”That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Kay nodded.

Fox smirked. “You have so much to learn beautiful. Cranes are never wrong.”

“Your games might work for all those bimbos you like to play with.” Kay spoke with a sly grin. “But I’m not one of those girls and if you think your charm is working on me, then your wrong.” Turning she stuck her head in the air and walked off leaving Fox Crane with his mouth wide open.

“Well Kay, it looks like I’ve finally met my match.” He grinned. “And the fun is just beginning.”

Theresa smiled as she folded her son’s tiny jeans sitting them in a pile of clothes. She was amazed at what her small breakdown had done for her. Picking up the laundry basket, she walked over to her son’s closet and sat it down.

“Don’t you have maids for that?”

Theresa turned around and saw Gwen staring at her from the door. “I fired her.” Theresa shrugged. “And my nanny, and my driver.”

“Wow.” Gwen gasped. “Theresa are you feeling ok?”

“I’m feeling fine.” Theresa smiled. “And before you say anything, I made sure that each of them had other jobs. Its not hard for Crane employees to get jobs with other families.”

“May I ask why you fired them?” Gwen questioned.

Theresa shrugged. “I don’t want to be dependent on them. I found out from Martin’s nanny that he had learned four new words while I was busy with my life. That bothered me so I decided it was time to get more involved in his life. “ Walking back over to Gwen, Theresa crossed her arms. “So, tell me Gwen why are you here?”

“I suppose you’ve spoke with Ethan?” She questioned.

“How did you know?” Theresa questioned.

“He’s predictable.” Gwen sighed. “I expected him to come running to you as soon as I ended things. So I’m right?”

“Yes.” Theresa sighed. “He came, he whined, he begged and he left with a bruised ego, that matched the black eye I gave him.” Theresa smirked.

Gwen’s eyes became wide, “You hit him?”

“Don’t act surprised, you slapped him first.” Theresa spoke. “I’m not like you however, so I took a different approach, I punched him.”

Gwen chuckled. “I’m impressed, I never knew you had in it you Theresa.”

“What hitting someone in general or hitting Ethan?” Theresa questioned. “He had it coming, but I think you already know that.”

“Wow, something we both agree on.” Gwen spoke. “Look Theresa, I didn’t come here for small talk. I’m leaving for New York in a few hours, but I wanted to see you before I go.”

“Me?” Theresa questioned. “Are you feeling ok Gwen?”

“Yes, actually I am.” Gwen nodded. “As I said, I’m moving to New York, it’s a whole new start for me and my child. Before I go, I want to clear things up with you Theresa.”

“Clear things up?” Theresa asked. “I’m confused.”

“I’m not surprised.” Gwen muttered.

Theresa rolled her eyes, “You just have to take shots at me don’t you Gwen?”

“Old habits die hard.” Gwen admitted walking over toward the large window. “This is a nice view.”

“Yes, I think so.” Theresa agreed, “Now please tell me what things you want to talk about Gwen. I have a busy day ahead of me. My brother is getting married in two days and I’m starting college soon. I have a lot of things to do today.”

“Fine, fine.” Gwen spoke raising her hand. “I’ll be blunt. When I leave this pathetic little town, I don’t want to look back.” Running her hand through her hair she sighed. “When you forced yourself into my life years ago, it angered me. You were the cause of many of my problems with Ethan, but it was also at fault.”

“You left me here to plan your wedding to Ethan.” Theresa nodded.

“Yes, and that was stupid.” Gwen sighed. “But the biggest problem was with Ethan. You didn’t force him to cheat on me, and you didn’t make him fall in love with you. Ethan did that on his own. You can throw someone in the water and tell them to swim, or drown, Ethan decided to drown.”

“You’re right Gwen. Ethan fell in love with me on his own, but I did go after him when I shouldn’t have. He was dating you, planning a life with you and I refused to see that. I can admit my wrongs now Gwen, because I know that I have did many things in my life that I should not be forgiven for.”

“Everyone deserves to be forgiven Theresa, even you.” Gwen spoke with a sigh.

“Thanks I think.” Theresa spoke crossing her arms.

“Look Theresa, as much as I hate to admit it we have a lot in common.” Gwen grimaced.

“No, no we don’t.” Theresa frowned.

“Work with me here ok Theresa?” Gwen asked with a heavy sigh. “We both want to be loved, and when we find love we fight to keep it. We both wanted Ethan, and we fought for him.”

“I’m still trying to understand why I wanted him.” Theresa sighed. “But I suppose you have a point. We are both strong willed.”

Gwen walked over and sat down on the bed. Touching her stomach she looked over at Theresa. “You’re not the little girl that wrecked my life are you Theresa?” She questioned. “You’ve changed.”

“My son changed me, and your child, it will change you.”

“I’m not so sure I need changed.” Gwen spoke forcing a smile. “But before I leave I need to ask you something Theresa.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask what.” Theresa smirked. “But go ahead, you will anyway.”

“Why did you fall in love with Ethan? I mean its common knowledge why I fell for him. We grew up together, we grew in love with each other, but you why did you fall in love with him?” Gwen spoke her eyes never leaving Theresa’s.

“Wow, good question.” Theresa spoke sitting down in her rocking chair. “You know a few days ago I would have just kicked you out before you even had a chance to ask me that.” Theresa smiled. “But now I’m glad you did. I’ve actually been asking myself the same question, but I’m afraid the answer is rather long.”

“I’ve got time.” Gwen spoke refusing to move. “Explain, and if you feel the need go in to detail. I need to understand what made you do what you did.”

“You don’t have a bat with you do you?” Theresa asked with a chuckle.

“Funny.” Gwen spoke not trying to hide her smile.

“Why did I love Ethan?” Theresa repeated the question. “At first it was just some crazy crush. I won’t lie, Ethan Crane was what drew me toward him at first. He had everything I didn’t and I loved that. He also had the most gorgeous eyes I’d ever saw on a man.” Theresa smiled. “When I did meet Ethan he was everything I dreamed he’d be, only problem was he was taken.”

“By me.” Gwen frowned.

“Right, and I knew it was wrong but I just had to get to know him. The man I got to know I did fall for. Suddenly the guy in the magazine was a real human being and he was wonderful. He gave me attention that I craved and made me feel safe. I honestly thought that I loved him from the instant that I saw him.”

“Did you?” Gwen questioned.

“I did love him Gwen, but now that I look back on it, I don’t think I was in love with him. I didn’t love him like you do.” Theresa admitted. “I realized that after watching my brother and Kay.”

“Kay Bennett?” Gwen questioned. “I don’t understand what they have to do with this.”

Theresa smiled, “In many ways they are you and Ethan, only they are just now getting their chance at love. They grew up together, and they know everything thing about each other. Miguel loved Charity, I will never doubt that, but he didn’t connect with her like he does Kay. He became a different person, and when you are truly in love you should be free to be yourself. I was never myself with Ethan, it took me awhile to finally realize that.”

“I was always myself with Ethan, but it wasn’t enough.” Gwen spoke dropping her head.

“Ethan is a idiot.” Theresa said before she could stop herself. “Gwen, you asked me why I loved Ethan, and I told you. We never really had a chance because I went at things the wrong way. Love has to grow, and growing takes time.”

“Yeah, it does.” Gwen agreed. “Tell me Theresa what made you finally realize these things? It wasn’t just your son was it? Could it be that there’s a man in your life now that has made you realize what love really is? A man that happens to be your husband?”

“Ok that’s it conversation over.” Theresa spoke as she stood up. “When we begin to talk about love and relationships something strange is happening to the world.”

“I’m right.” Gwen smirked. “You may have married Chad for his last name, but something has changed.”
“Chad Harris is my best friend!” Theresa spoke. “I don’t have to explain anything about our relationship.”

“Chad Harris.” Gwen smiled. “He’s a Crane now, but that doesn’t matter to you does it? You’re falling in love with Chad Harris the person, not Chad Crane the name.”

“Time to go Gwen.” Theresa spoke trying not to blush. “I’m sure you have a lot to do before you leave.”

“Fine, I can see talking about this bothers you.” Gwen sighed giving up. “But can I give you a little advice? If you love Chad, don’t mess it up. You’re not the child that wanted Ethan now; you’re a woman who wants something real. You can’t deny what you feel Theresa; you’ve never been good at that. I’m not sure if you actually deserve Chad, but if he cares about you don’t fight it. If you do it’ll just be another regret to add to your list.”


Eve Russell walked into her home to see her daughter standing in the living room, her bags packed and a smile on her face.

”Simone!” Eve spoke her mouth dropping. It had been weeks since her and her daughter had truly talked. In passing Simone had said she might leave for college but other than that she refused to speak to her mother.

“Hi Mom.” Simone nodded.

“What on earth are you doing?” Eve questioned staring at the bags.

Simone sat the small bag she was holding in her hand down. “I guess we should talk.”

“I think that’s a good idea.” Eve nodded.

“Mom.” Simone began. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I know I’ve been staying away from you and everyone else but I had to. I needed to figure things out on my own.”

“And what did you figure out?”

“That its time for me to leave town.” Simone answered back. “I’m transferring to NYU, Mom. The fact that I got in was surprising and its something I can’t pass up.”

“Honey I thought you said it was too far away?”

“It was.” Simone paused. “When my whole family was together, but now I need this.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Eve frowned. “But I agree you can’t turn down NYU, it’s your dream.”

Simone smiled. “Mom, I just want you to know, that I forgive you.”

It was those words that caused Eve Russell to catch her breath. She looked at her daughter and saw a woman standing where a young girl once stood. “Oh Simone.”

“No I mean it mom. When dad left, he wanted everyone to think that what you had with Julian was some nasty fling. It wasn’t though was it?” Simone questioned. “It was real?”

Eve felt tears seeping down her face. “Yes it was.”

“And you loved him.”

“Very much.” Eve nodded.

“Do you still love him Mom?” Simone questioned. “Are you still in love with Julian Crane?”

Eve let out a deep breath as she watched her daughter study her. “I care about him.” Was the only answer she could manage.

“Mom its ok.” Simone spoke. “You loved him, but I know you loved Daddy too.”

“TC was my husband, my family it means everything to me Simone. I did, I do love your father dearly.”

“I’ve saw you with Julian mom, I’ve watched him look at you, and then I’ve saw you look back. I wanted to pretend it meant nothing but how could I?”

“Simone, sweetie you don’t have to do this.” Eve whispered.

Simone shook her head. “I do. You know I’ve always believed that a person has several people in the world that they could love
and have a life with. But I’ve also believed that everyone has only one soul mate and although you can love others, that person completes you. Mom does Julian complete you or did daddy?”

Eve gasp. She had no idea how to answer her daughter’s question. Her head was spinning as she thought of her child’s words. “I honestly don’t know what to say to that Simone.”

“You don’t have to answer me, but if Julian Crane is your soul mate don’t let a second chance get away. As much as I want to hate the idea, I can’t. I just want you to be happy Mom.”

Eve smiled. “When did my little girl become such a smart woman?”

Simone only laughed. “I always thought of you as perfect, but mom your not. You’re flawed just like I am. The fact that you lied hurts but there’s a part of me that understands why you did it. I know what its like to want to live up to Daddy’s expectations. It’s hard and it hurts.”

“Do you know how much I love you?” Eve questioned as warm tears streaked her face. “I am going to miss you so much.”

“I love you too, Mom.” Simone answered back her own tears falling as she ran over and hugged her mother. “I will always be here for you Mom.”

“And you know I will be right here for you. If you need me anytime you call me.” Eve told her.

“I will.”

“But what about Kay’s wedding? Its just a couple days away.”

Simone smiled. “Kay will understand. We promised each other once that if one of us left, we wouldn’t do the whole sappy goodbye.” Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a tiny box. “But can you give this to her on her wedding day? It’ll take care of something borrowed and something blue.”

“Of course I can.” Eve nodded taking the box.

“And tell her I’ll be back to see that baby.” Simone smiled.

“I’ll do that.”

“Mom, one more thing about Kay.” Simone spoke with a frown. “Can you watch out for her? Her mother isn’t going to be there, and she needs someone. She couldn’t ask for anyone better than you to look out of her.” Simone added. “You’re a wonderful mother, and if things get hard on her, she’s going to need a mother figure.”

Eve smiled. “I’ll do what I can for Kay. I know how much you two care about each other.”

“Thanks Mom.”

“But you’re the one I’m going to be worried about. You’ll be alone in New York are you sure you can handle that?” Eve asked her voice worried.

“I’m sure, Mom.” Simone looked at her watch. “Oh goodness, my plane leaves soon.” She frowned. “I guess I should go.”

“Let me drive you.” Eve suggested. “Please?”

Simone nodded her head. “Ok, thanks mom for everything.”

“No, thank you sweetheart.”


Julian Crane stared at the bottle of brandy in front of him. He had been calling Fox none stop since he realized his mistake but the boy refused to answer. Julian knew Fox was angry, and he knew he had every right to be.

“Julian?” A voice spoke from the door forcing Julian from his thoughts.

“Chad, son please come in.” Julian smiled.

Chad nodded his head as he walked in the room shutting the door behind him. “You know that brandy ain’t gonna help your cause.” He spoke staring at the bottle that was in his father’s hand.

“You’ve heard about Fox.” Julian questioned.

“I’ve heard a lot of things.”

“I figured it would get out.” Julian sighed. “So you know my plans.”

“To make me your head man? That’s the rumor.” Chad answered sticking his hands in his pockets.

“It’s no rumor son, its true.”

“And when were you going to ask me about it?” Chad questioned. “After we took the company from your father?”

Julian shook his head looked over at his oldest son. “I just want to make things up to you.”

Chad smiled. “Well the offer is nice, but I’m gonna pass. I want to spend my life working in music. Helping you get rid of Alistair is just a little payback.”

“So you don’t want to run this company someday?” Julian questioned.

“No, its not my thing.” He looked at the man he now knew as his father and frowned. “But it is Nick’s thing.”

“Nick?” Julian questioned. “No one calls him that.”

“I do, he doesn’t seem to mind either.” Chad shrugged. “I’m just not fond of the name Fox, no offense or anything.”

“None taken.”

“Look Nick he’s the business type. Sure right now he’s after the ladies, but give him time. This company, its what he wants to do later in his life. He’s the one that deserves to have that chance.”

“I’m not sure if I can trust Fox with something like this. You have your priorities in order. Fox he’s all over the place.” Julian said walking over to Chad.

“So show him the ropes. Prove to him that you do trust him with it, you might be surprised what he can do.”

“And what about you Chad? After we get even with father, what will you do?”

Chad lowered his head. “I’ll be your son.” He whispered. “If you’ll let me.”

“Let you?” Julian choked his eyes becoming wide. “I’d like nothing more.”

“But its gotta be on my terms. We take it slow, and you need to understand that music is my love.”

“I understand.” Julian nodded quickly.

“Then we’ll see what happens, Dad.”

Julian blinked as he heard his son call him dad. “Thank you so much son. Thank you for giving me this chance.”


His blue eyes sparkled when he saw her tiny frame. His sly smile when to one side as he inched toward her. She was sitting on the park bench her black leather jacket wrapped tightly around her as she just stared into space.

“Excuse me Miss?” He spoke his voice deep and husky.

Her huge chocolate eyes looked up to him, and suddenly a smile appeared on her face. “Oh my gosh! Noah!” She squealed as she jumped up from the bench and tossed her arms around the young man’s neck.

“Theresa, girl just look at you!” Noah Bennett laughed twirling her around. When he finally sat Theresa down he smiled. “I’ve missed you kid.”

“Hey! I’m no kid.” Theresa laughed. “I’m a mother now.”

“So I’ve heard, and a wife? Wow girl you’ve have a very interesting life since I left Harmony.” Noah smirked.

“Yeah I guess so.” Theresa nodded. “So your back for Kay’s wedding right? Please tell me you plan to stay longer.”

“I don’t know.” Noah shrugged. “School starts back soon.”

“Yeah I guess it does.” Theresa nodded.

“So, come on tell me about your life.” Noah smiled. “I remember when you could tell me anything.”

“Yeah, and then you left me.” Theresa teased. “I was so mad at you.”

“I had to get out of this town.” Noah spoke looking around. “My mother was smothering me and dad, all he wanted was for me to be a cop like him. “

“And you were always the rebel.” Theresa grinned. “I remember when we’d hang out at the beach, and Whitney would always complain that we were going to get in trouble if we didn’t get home in time. You just never cared.”

“You never raced home either.” Noah reminded her. “You’ve always did things your way Theresa.”

“Yeah and look where it got me.” She sighed.

“With a child and a husband?” Noah questioned.

“This is my second husband.” She chuckled lightly. “And my son belongs to his father.”

“Yeah, and you named him after my new brother?” Noah spoke shaking his head. “Looks like I got out of this town just in time.”

“First of all my child’s name is now Martin Luis, and secondly your brother will never be the man you are. He’ll never earn the name Bennett.” Theresa huffed.

“Wow, you really hate the guy now.” Noah sighed.

“Hate? Nah, Ethan’s not worth hating.” Theresa smiled. “Do you know how long it’s been since I had someone to talk to? I mean really talk to?” She questioned.

“I heard that Whitney took off, but what about your mother?”

Theresa’s brown eyes lowered. “My mother isn’t speaking to me at the moment. Other than to call about Marty she doesn’t really talk to me. The fact that I’m a Crane is just too much for her. She sees the name as evil and she can’t accept that I’m not going to walk away from my goals.”

Noah arched a eyebrow. “And just what are you goals?”

“To make the Crane name good.” Theresa smiled. “And to make sure that Alistair Crane pays for everything he’s done.”

“You think you can do that alone?”

“No.” Theresa smiled. “Chad is helping. He’s a great guy, sweet and trusting and he really wants to make his grandfather pay. I know Chad and I can do this, with the help we’ve been getting it shouldn’t be hard.”

“So tell me about this Chad guy? Do you love him?” Noah questioned. “Or is this one of your plots?”

“I love him, as a friend.” Theresa paused. “It could be more I guess, I mean he wants it to be more.”

“And you?”

Theresa let out a sigh. “I’m scared. I was ready to give up on love and then Chad kissed me. It was so unreal, and it shook me up.”

“Theresa, if your husband is a good man, and you feel like you can make your marriage real, then you have to give it a try. Ethan was a jerk, but not all men are like him. Just think about that.”

“Funny that’s just what Ethan’s ex told me today. I’ve spent the last few years fighting with the woman and today she gave me good advice.”

“Well maybe its time you listen.” Noah smirked. “Instead of just doing your own thing.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Theresa nodded as thoughts of her husband suddenly took over and she smiled. “I think I’ll go home and see Chad.”

“Good idea.” Noah nodded.

“Thanks Noah.” She grinned jumping up. “I owe you big.”

“Another refill.” Jessica Bennett sighed sticking her coffee cup out at the waiter. Tapping her perfect fingernails against the table she let out a sigh.

“Hey kid, why the frown?” Fox Crane questioned taking the chair in front of Jessica. He had just had a very interesting talk with the girl’s sister, now it was time to work on her. He knew she was the kind of person that would spill information without realizing it.

Looking up at Fox, Jessica rolled her eyes. “I hate men.” She groaned. “All men.”

“All men?” Fox smirked. “Now I find that hard to believe.”

“I am on my third cup of coffee and do you see my boyfriend? No, because he’s not here.” She rattled.

“Third cup huh?” Fox laughed. “I feel for ya.’

Jessica dropped her head. “He never stood Kay up.” She muttered. “Never.”

Fox’s ears perked at the name of Kay Bennett. “Your boyfriend dated your sister?” He questioned.

Jessica frowned. “Well yeah sort of.” She shrugged. “But it was all one sided.” She admitted. “Reese wanted Kay, Kay wanted Miguel.”

“And you wanted Reese?” Fox finished.

“Something like that.”

“Interesting.” Fox nodded with a smirk. “Very interesting.”

“Its no big deal really.” Jessica shrugged. “I’m with Reese now, and Kay’s marrying Miguel. We both got what we wanted.”

“Except you’re here talking to me and your boyfriend is no where to be found.” Fox spoke. “Tough break.”

“I’m sure it has something to do with school, he’s been really busy getting ready for classes to start back.” Jessica excused.

“Perhaps your right.” Fox nodded.

“I am.” Jessica answered quickly. “Reese he’s so smart and school comes first for him. I knew that when I started dating him.”

“But you said he never stood Kay up? Why is that?” Fox saw the look on her face and he had to hold in his smile. He was playing his game and at the moment he was winning.

“I didn’t mean what I said.” Jessica sighed. “I was just upset.”

“Sure looked like you meant it to me.” Fox tried again.

Jessica took a sip of her coffee and stared at Fox. “Kay was Reese’s first love. He really wanted it to work, and he would do anything for her. It’s no big deal really. Kay isn’t like me, and that’s why Reese is with me now. I get him.”

“Sure kid, if you say so.” Fox agreed watching as her eyes lowered. “I’m sure the dude just lost track of time.”

“Last time, he stood me up for a rock.” Jessica suddenly blurted.

Fox cracked a smile. “A rock?”

Seeing his smile Jessica smiled too. “Yeah a rock.”

“Must’ve been some rock.” Fox chuckled.

Jessica began to laugh too. “Its not funny, really it’s. I just thought I was more interesting than a rock.”

“Was it worth anything?” Fox asked.

“No.” She spoke bluntly. “He thought it was rare, but it was just a rock.” She frowned. “A ugly gray rock.”

“Well you’re prettier than any rock I’ve ever seen.” Fox spoke trying to cheer her up. He felt bad for the girl, and he could see she was upset. Her family was more like his than he had realized. She was jealous of Kay, Kay was jealous of her cousin, and their mom was too busy to care. Indeed the Bennett family was more interesting that he had once thought.

“Thanks, but I know you want my sister.” Jessica said dropping her head. “Kay’s spunky and fun. I know guys like that about her.”

Fox smirked. “I never said I wanted your sister.”

“No, but when I speak her name your eyes light up. Its ok really, I understand.”

“Well what I don’t understand is where you boyfriend is kid. Personally I think you should find that rock and hit him with it.”

Jessica laughed. “Maybe I will.” Standing up she looked at Fox. “For a Crane, your not that bad.” She joked. “Thanks for cheering me up.”

“No problem kid.” Fox answered back as Jessica smiled one last smile before walking away.

Chapter 17
Chapter 15
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