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Love Will keep us Alive... Sequel  to Crush

Chapters 11-20

He walked into the room and pulled her close to him. " Mac" he whispered. " I've missed you so much.." She fought with everything she had to keep from putting her arms around him, instead letting them hang loosely at her sides. She kept her body tense, in spite of the overwhelming urge she had to press herself against him closely. He sensed her tension right away, and pulled away from her to look in her eyes. "What's wrong? " he asked. " Nothing" she said. " I just don't know why you had to come here, it's only going to make things harder on you." " You don't know why?" Billy' s voice rose. " You're my wife, that's why....one minute we're making love, the next thing I know you're gone.... Why, Mac? Why did you leave?" He looked at her with such love and desperation she thought her heart would break apart.

 

She turned away from him to face the small window. Anything not to have to see the hurt she  already saw in his eyes.

" I had to leave, Billy.... I just had to. I couldn't face the fact that we had made a mistake...we never should have done this...gotten married.. we're too young.." He stepped closer to her, so that he was right behind her.

The scent of vanilla almost sent him reeling. He lifted his hand to touch her hair, and then withdrew it. " When did you decide all this? Before or after we made love that night? And what about our honeymoon night? Do you regret that? Please talk to me... please, Mac. Tell me what I can do to make this right. If I've done something..." She shook her head, but did not turn around so he could not see the tears in her eyes.

 

Mac stepped a little further closer to the window, away from him. " I told you, Billy.. it was a mistake. I couldn't face you, you know how I am...I have a hard time admitting my mistakes..." She quickly wiped the tears off her face and turned to face him, her heart twisting when she saw the tears running down his face. Her voice became cold. " It's over, Billy...It should have never started in the first place. We're too different.. We would just end up hating each other..."

Billy grabbed her by the arms and shook her lightly. "Why won't you tell me the truth? Don't I deserve that?" She yanked her arms away. " I am telling you the truth!" Her voice became shrill. " I want you to leave here, don't ever come back....The only thing I ask you is that you tell my Grandma and Dad that I'm okay. They don't need to know anything else. You could tell them I decided to go back to my mom's...That's all I ask, Billy...please don't send them here. I'll be fine on my own."

Billy simply stared, tears rolling down his face. She couldn't have meant it, could she? He looked at her face, it was practically unreadable. Mac rarely said anything she didn't mean.

" Fine." Was all he said.  " Whatever you want" His words were choked and hoarse. He turned to leave. " I tell your grandmother and mom that you're ok, and that you're in St. Louis. You're happy and that you'll contact them." He gave her a cold look. " You will contact them, won't you?" She nodded, gulping back the sobs at the back of her throat. "Thank you" was all she could manage to choke out. " Sure' he said sarcastically. " It's the least I could do... You'll be hearing from my dad's lawyer soon." He took one last look at her, and turned and left, closing the door behind him. He stood in the hallway briefly. She wasn't lying, Billy was convinced now. He headed down the stairs sadly. Mac heard his footsteps on the stairs and let out the sob she had been holding back. She flung herself on the bed and let it all out. She had done her work well. She was sure she would never see Billy Abbott again.

 

Billy walked back into the dining room. Betty saw the look on his face and knew that Mac had been true to her word. He looked as if he had been run over by a truck. " I guess I don't have to ask you how it went." She said. " No, guess not" he said, smiling sadly. " She never wants to see me again...so I'm going to honor her wishes. I told her that she'd be hearing from my dad's lawyer soon, but that was more to hurt her than anything else. Truth is, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Could I ask you a favor?" She nodded " Of, course ". "Look out for her, okay? She talks tough, but she really isn't.... She's had a rough life... I thought those days were over..." he looked at the floor. " If she needs anything, she won't call me...will you? Will you call me if she's in trouble, or she needs anything?" She nodded. " It'll be our secret...I won't tell her, I promise."  She walked over to the hostess stand and gave him a pen and paper. He wrote down his cell phone number and the number of the Abbott house and handed it back to her.

 

" Well, I guess I should be going..." He extended his hand. " Thanks for everything, Mrs. Johnson..."  She shook his hand. " You're more than welcome.. I'm keeping a good thought for you two, you know" He smiled. "Thank you, but I don't think it will do much good. Once Mac makes up her mind, it's pretty much set in stone. Thanks again" he said and walked out the door. Betty looked at the piece of paper in her hand. " I can be pretty persuasive when I put my mind to it young man..." she mused aloud. She turned and walked up the stairs to Mac's room. She hesitated before knocking, hearing the sobs coming from inside. She cracked open the door and seeing the young girl on the bed, her body racked with sobs, she closed it again. " I'll help you anyway I can, Mackenzie..." and went back down the stairs again.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 12

 

Billy shut the car off. He was home again. Not the home he had wished for, and not the way he wanted to be, but home, nevertheless. He had caught the next plane out of Boulder. Now the hard part. Facing his parents, especially his mother. Oh, he knew she would pretend to be sympathetic, but secretly rejoicing inside. Just get it over with. He walked up to the front door and into the house. His mother and father were seated on the couch waiting for him. He had called them from the plane, not saying anything, just that he was on his way home.

 

John and Jill turned as soon as they heard the front door open, Jill heaving a sigh of relief when she saw that Billy was alone. " Son" John said. " We're so glad you're home...How did everything go?" although John could tell by the look of devastation on Billy's face. " She dumped me, Dad...just like that...said the whole thing was a huge mistake, and that she deserved better than me....pretty ironic, huh Ma? " he looked at Jill. " All along you were telling her that she wasn't good enough for me, and now it turns out I wasn't good enough for her..!" he laughed ironically. " Don't say a word, Ma... I mean it. I'll do whatever you guys want.. just don't say anything.." 

 

John walked over and embraced his son. " I'm sorry, Billy...but if she really does feel that way, then the sooner this whole thing is over, the better. When is Mackenzie coming home?"  Billy shook his head. "That's my next stop....the Chancellors. You see, Mac has gone back to her mom's, in St. Louis. She decided that she never should have left there in the first place. She seemed to be happy about it, and she asked me to tell her folks. She said that she would call them to tell them about it, but I promised myself that I would tell them. It's the last thing I have to do before I can try and forget about this whole thing." He looked at his mother.

 

"What's wrong, Ma?" Billy asked. " I thought you would be over the moon about this whole thing...Mac's gone, I'll probably never see her again...Isn't that what you wanted?" Jill shook her head, trying to appear genuine. " I never wanted to see you hurt, Billy...Everything that has happened, you'll see, it's for the best...I told you"  Billy turned and started to walk out of the room, before John put his hand on his son's arm to stop him. " Jill, shut up for once in your life!" John hissed. "Did you not just promise the boy you wouldn't say anything?" Jill's mouth snapped shut. Her mind was busy sorting out what Billy had said. St. Louis? She couldn't be there, after the information Jill had promised to reveal? No, Mac was not in St. Louis...but really what difference did it make as long as she was gone, and stayed that way.

 

" Why don't you go upstairs and get some rest? I'll call Kay"  " No, Dad- I have to do this...after this one thing, I've got all the time in the world to rest." He turned to leave. " I'll be back as soon as I can" and left. John sat down on the sofa. He looked up at Jill, who couldn't hide the slight smiled that appeared on her face. " Jill...that boy is devastated...and you're smiling?"

She quickly pasted a frown on her face. " I'm not happy that our son is upset, John. I just think that everything worked out for the best. You'll see, he'll be fine..." I'll make sure of that, she added silently. "Do you think we should get in touch with John Silva?" she asked. " I mean we can get the divorce proceeding started right away..." John shook his head. " I think we have to let Billy make that decision. I'm sure he'll realize eventually that's it's his only choice. I just think we have to let him be the one to make it. I just hope he doesn't fall into the same pattern of behavior he had before he was with Mackenzie...the drinking.."  " He won't John..." Jill said. " I won't let him. I won't lose another son.. I can't" John stood up. " All I ask is that you ease up on him, give him some room to breathe for awhile. The last 6 weeks have been more than anyone should be expected to take. Watch over him, but from a distance.." Jill nodded, trying to appease John. " Of, course John, whatever you say" It didn't really matter. Jill had Billy's next steps already planned in her head. Divorce...then graduation...perhaps a new engagement in the near future? She smiled as John left the room to head upstairs. Endless possibilities now that Mackenzie was out of the picture.

 

Esther walked Billy into the Chancellor living room. Kay and Brock were waiting there for him. John Abbott had called to let them know he was on the way. "Billy.....where is Mackenzie?" Kay asked. " Did you bring her home with you?" He shook his head. " No. I'm sorry Mrs. Chancellor, I  didn't. She refused to come home with me...She almost refused to speak to me..."  Kay sat down on the couch. " How could you leave without bringing her home? Where is she?" Billy sighed. He hated lying to Mrs. Chancellor but a promise was a promise. "She's in St. Louis, with her mom. Her stepfather's gone, so she decided to go back there. She said to tell you that she's happy, and that she will contact you, soon. She also said that our marriage had been a mistake...and that she never wanted to see me again." He looked at his feet.

 

Brock stepped forward and embraced the young man who was in such obvious pain. "Thank you for finding her Billy.. and making sure that she's all right. Are you sure she said she wanted to stay in St. Louis?" Billy pulled away gently and nodded. " I think she feels that this whole thing will be easier on her if she just stays away for awhile. I'm sure when everything is settled, she'll come back here. She loves you both, I know that." Brock nodded. " What about your marriage, Billy? What are you going to do about that?" Billy sighed. " I don't know. I mean, I don't want to do anything about it...I planned on being married to her forever...I guess my idea of forever and hers were different. I don't know." Kay looked at her son and at Billy.

" I'm sorry I sounded so harsh earlier, Billy. I was just concerned about my granddaughter and you. Did she say when she would contact us?" He shook his head. " No, but I'm sure it will be soon....She did ask that you not try and contact her, or go after her...she said she would just take off again, and that nobody would ever find her"  Mac hadn't said that, but Billy knew that if anyone came looking for her again, she would take off for anywhere. At least he knew where she was, and that she was safe. If she took off again...he couldn't bear that...not knowing if she were alive or dead.

 

Kay nodded. She had to trust Billy, she had no choice. He had put his life and his heart on the line several times already. He had no reason to lie to them now. Brock spoke " I know what you're thinking Billy, and you are probably right. If we go looking for her now, she'll just take off again. At least we now she's safe, that's something. But I can't guarantee that I won't ever go looking for her. She's my daughter. Her life is here with us now. I hope that eventually, you two can work things out. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with the idea of you two being married, but I do know that you love Mackenzie...you've proven it on more than one occasion these last 6 weeks. Thank you for everything that you've done..." he extended his hand, and Billy took it. " I didn't do anything...I couldn't help loving her, I would do it all over again in a second to have her back here..."  The tears welled up again. " I really should be going" he said.

 

" I promise I'll let you know if she contacts me, although I don't think she will.... I'm sorry I couldn't bring her back to you two." Kay embraced him and he pulled away gently. " I'm ok, Mrs. Chancellor...really... I gotta go." He turned quickly and walked out the front door.

 

Kay turned to her son after Billy left. " Do you really think she's ok?" Brock nodded. " Yes.. I'm sure of it...he never would have left her if she wasn't. But I do think he's right. If we try to look for her now she will definitely take off. Let's give her a little time, wait until she contacts us. I know it's rough, but I think it's our only option." Kay nodded. " I know you're right, Mackenzie can be very stubborn at times. She'll go so deep into hiding that no one will be able to find her. I just wish she would call us again." Brock embraced his mother. " We have to believe she will, Mother."

 

Billy walked up the stairs to his room. He opened the door and threw his coat off and onto a chair. The clock next to the bed read 2:30 am. He flopped on the bed, too tired to remove his clothing. What was she doing now? Sleeping probably....dreaming happily of her new life without him, no doubt. He got up and walked over to the closet. He dug into his shoe rack. It was still there, the bottle he hadn't touched since that night he had passed out behind Crimson Lights. The beginning of this whole thing, really. He hadn't had a drink since that night. He took the bottle and stared at it. Was he what she said he was? A no good, spoiled drunk? He put the bottle back in the shoe bag. No, damn it, no. He would prove her wrong...he would prove everyone wrong. He flopped down on the bed again. Time to get on with your life now, Abbott. With or without Mackenzie. He fell into an exhausted sleep.

 

 

 

Chapter 13

 

Mac awoke to bright sunshine streaming through the windows. She had cried herself to sleep and had slept for most of the morning. She sat up in bed, and when the nausea failed to appear, she got herself up and out of bed slowly. She made her way to the shower, and was drying her hair when Betty knocked on her door. "Come in, Betty" she said. Betty walked in , carrying a glass of milk and some fruit. " I thought you should have something to eat, if you felt like it this morning. How are you feeling?" Mac forced a smile. " I'm not sick, at least not yet anyway, thank you." She took the glass and plate from Betty and set them on the nightstand next to the bed. " Good... Now tell me how you really are. Yesterday couldn't have been easy on you." Mac sat on the edge of the bed. " It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was so mean to Billy...I didn't think I could be that mean to him, ever again. I hurt him, I know I did. But it's for the best. He'll forget about me faster this way, if he thinks I don't love him."

 

" Are you sure this is the only way, Mackenzie?  I saw the look on that young man's face, it was if the light had gone right out of him. Is that mother of his really that cruel, would she turn that whole story about your stepfather into something ugly, even though  Billy knows the truth?"  Mac nodded. " She would do it in a heartbeat. She hates me more than I realized.  She looked at me with such contempt, like I wasn't worth anything. I couldn't let him feel ashamed of me, or obligated to me.. I would rather die." She wrung her hands together, twisting the ring on her finger. " I wanted to give this ring back to him, make it look more real...but I realized I couldn't. This ring is all I have left...except for.." she held her stomach. "Except for my baby...I realized completely yesterday that Jill would never let up on me, even if I stayed with Billy and tried to fight her. If it wasn't my past, it would be something else, until she tore us apart forever. I'm just saving everybody a lot of grief, that's all. If she can't accept me, how could she possibly accept my baby?" Betty shook her head. " I would really like to meet this woman someday, give her a piece of my mind...maybe you're right. No baby deserves a  grandmother like that. Mac, I think you should call your folks, reinforce the story that Billy must have told them by now." Mac nodded. " I was thinking the same thing, I'll call them right now, if you'll let me use your phone." Betty stood up. " Right this way..." and took her hand, leading her down the hallway to her room to use the phone. She closed the door and left Mac alone. She picked up the phone and dialed the Chancellor home.. Kay picked it up after the first ring, she must have been standing by the phone, waiting for it to ring, Mac thought.

 

 

" Grandma?" Mac spoke softly. "Mackenzie....it's so good to hear your voice...Billy told us everything...Are you all right? Are things okay with your mother, dear?" Mac smiled in relief.      Billy had done as she asked, she had told them she was with her mother. " Yes, Grandma, things are much better here than they used to be...I think everything will be fine except...I miss you and Dad...I love you, Grandma and Dad, too. I just think I need to be here for awhile... I promise I'll go to school, keep up with my studies...I just can't come home now..." Kay sighed. " I think I know why, sweetheart...Billy told us what happened. He was distraught, Mackenzie. You must know that.." " Yes, I know that" Mac's eyes were filled with tears once again, she had hurt him even more than she expected. She cleared her throat and her voice was firm " It can't be helped... a mistake is a mistake. It's better if we face it now.. it will be easier for both of us to move on if we do." " Make me a promise, Mackenzie..." Kay began. " Sure, Grandma..." " Promise me that you'll call me, at least once a week. .or else I will come looking for you..." Mac froze. " I promise, Grandma.. I'll call you 3 times a week. I'll call you so often that you'll be sick of hearing my voice. Please, just let me stay here awhile... I need to be here now, please." " All right, dear.. I expect to hear from you in another couple of days, all right?"

" Yes, I promise...I love you Grandma, Please tell Dad I love him, too". She hung up. She had to make sure she kept her promise...her grandmother would find her and drag her back to Genoa City...she couldn't let that happen, not before this baby was born.

 

Billy had decided to go back to school that morning, might as well get it over with. There were the expected snickers and whispers from the usual crowd, but he mostly able to ignore them. Raul had been understanding as ever.. he walked over to his locker and shook his hand, asking quietly how everything was. He told him he had heard some rumors about what had happened, and that he was sorry. Billy was grateful to Raul, he really needed a friend. They talked for awhile before classes began, and soon Billy was caught up in the usual routine. After school, he headed home. He had decided to hang on to the apartment for awhile, he figured that he would need someplace to be alone sometimes. He stopped by the apartment on his way home, collecting his thoughts for the inevitable questions he knew he would face there. Once inside, he realized this was going to be much harder for him than he had realized... everywhere he looked, he saw Mac, especially in the bedroom, the bed she had worked so hard to restore sat there still, as if it were waiting for them. He thought about the last night they had spent there, how passionate it had been, like nothing else he had ever experienced. He had never dreamed that making love could be so fulfilling to both his body and his soul. He walked through the rooms like a ghost...and sat down on the bed, held his head in his hands and wept.

 

 

 

Chapter 14

 

One day turned into another, winter turned into spring and they both fell into the new routine. Billy had eased his way back into school, and graduation was now just one week away. Mac had kept her promise and called at least twice a week. Kay and Brock still missed her terribly, but had learned to console themselves with the fact that at the very least, they knew she was safe. Jill had not given up on her quest to push Brittany on Billy. She had a private consultation with her soon after Billy had returned, advising her how and when to make her moves. She had gone slowly at first, apologizing sweetly for her behavior in the past, saying that she hoped they could still be friends. She had slowly, but surely insinuated her way back into his life. Jill knew that Billy was at his most vulnerable, lost and lonely without Mac. Everything was moving along, just as planned.

 

She had consulted privately with a lawyer, not John Silva, he would be sure to tell John. She had divorce papers drawn up on Billy's behalf, but had not yet shown anyone. He had not made any moves in that direction.. and she didn't want to push it just yet. There would be plenty of time for that later. Much to her regret, Billy seemed to still be carrying a torch for that worthless piece of trash he had so foolishly married. That would end, sooner or later. She would see to that.

 

Mac was now six months pregnant, and still working faithfully for Betty. The morning sickness had passed after the first month, and Doctor Lewis said that everything was progressing normally, she and the baby were both fine. She had enrolled in a correspondence school, and via the internet, was able to keep up with her studies. In fact, she would receive her high school diploma  in just two weeks, one year ahead of when she would actually graduate if she were still at home. All that studying she had done when she was in Genoa City had paid off. She thought about Billy every day, and the pain had not seemed to lessen. She hoped that his had, that he had been able to go on with his life. She kept up with life at home by reading The Chronicle online, the familiar names and places keeping her connected with the people she still missed so terribly.

 

Billy sat with Brittany in Crimson Lights, discussing the upcoming prom. It was to be held the night before graduation. Brittany tried to be discreet, bringing up the subject only occasionally, hoping he would get the hint and finally ask her. She looked at him and wondered if it was a good idea to keep coming here. It obviously reminded him of her, and the idea disgusted her.

Jill had assured her that she was making progress, but she wasn't so sure. Billy was decent enough to her, but sometimes distant and cold. He sat, lost in thought, as he so often was these days. " Billy?" Brittany asked quietly " Yes?" he said, forcing a smile. " Were you listening to me? I was just saying that I thought the Colonnade Room was the perfect place for the prom...don't you think so?" He nodded. " Sure, I guess..." He couldn't care less, the last thing he wanted to talk about was the prom. He looked at Brittany. He really should try to pay attention when she was talking, he just couldn't help it. Today was one of the bad days. He had good days and bad days. The good ones were when he hardly ever thought about her. Today was one of the bad ones, everywhere he looked, he saw her. Especially here. So much had happened to both of them here. Even on the good days, he wondered about her. He knew that she called her grandmother faithfully, but he couldn't bring himself to ask about her.

 

"Billy" Brittany tried not to sound exasperated. " Maybe I should just leave..." He put his hand out to stop her as she rose from her chair. " No, don't go.. I'm sorry Britt. You've been great to me these last couple of months. I really appreciate it. What were you saying about the prom?"

 

Brittany sat down again with a smile. " I was just saying that I think it's really gonna be cool, that's all..." Billy got the hint. She wanted him to ask her. He asked her " Are you  going?" . Her heart began pounding. Here was her chance. She shook her head. " I don't have a date...and I don't think it would look go to go alone, do you?" He shook his head and looked at her, tilting his head to one side. It might not be so bad, he sort of felt he owed her for being nice to him these last couple of months. " How about I take you? No pressure or anything... we could just go as friends. If you feel uncomfortable because I'm still married, I would understand..." his throat became tight with his own words. Married, with a wife and son.

 

Chapter 15

 

Mac sat in the dining room, staring at the envelope she held in front of her. She opened it and pulled out a large flat document. Her high school diploma. She smiled, happy that she had been able to keep another one of her promises to her grandmother. Just in time, too. Keeping up with the courses and working, along with being pregnant were keeping her exhausted all the time. It seemed all she did was work, study and sleep. At least now she would have some extra time. What she would do with it was another problem. The good thing about being so busy was that she had very little time to think about Billy. Except in her dreams, where she was unable to keep him away. They were usually happy dreams, of her and Billy together, happily awaiting the birth of their baby. But sometimes they were bad, nightmares almost, with Jill's face appearing, snarling some evil lies about her. In her dreams, Billy always believed his mother, and left her. She usually awoke from these dreams in a cold sweat.

 

Betty walked in, holding her hands behind her back. She walked over to the table where Mac was sitting. She brought her hands in front of her, and held out a small box to her. It was wrapped in white paper, with a white ribbon around it. "Congratulations, graduate!" Mac looked at her. "For me?" Betty nodded, "Please, take it.." she urged. Mac took the box reluctantly, although she was secretly touched by Betty's kindness. She had done so much for her already. She unwrapped and opened the box. Nestled on a bed of white cotton sat a thin gold bracelet, a single charm dangling from it. Mac pulled it from the box and held it up to the light. The charm was a small gold diploma, surrounded by a small gold ribbon. There was an inscription on the back, and Mac held it closer to her face to read it. " For Mackenzie, with love and pride from Betty, June,2000." She read, and tears came to her eyes. She seemed to cry nowadays at the drop of a hat, probably hormones, but in this case, she was genuinely touched.

 

She stood up, and hugged the older woman tightly. "Thank you, you really shouldn't have done this...you've done too much for me already...." " Nonsense" Betty said. " I'm only doing what you're family would do if you gave them the chance. You are to be admired, Mackenzie. Not many girls in your situation would have handled things as well as you have, all by yourself. I'm only giving credit where it's due, that's all". She pulled away to look in her face, brushing the tears off her cheeks, realizing there were tears in her own eyes as well. " I don't think everyone would agree with you, Betty. I'm sure most of Genoa City is happy to have me gone". Betty motioned for her to sit down, and then did so herself. " Only because they don't know the truth, Mackenzie...When are you going to tell them? Doesn't that baby you're carrying deserve to know its father?"

 

Mac nodded. " I guess so, I know how hard it was for me to grow up without my Dad. Maybe after the baby is born, I can go home again." Mac spoke the words aloud, but wondered silently if she could ever go home again, and if she did. Would Billy still be waiting for her?

 

Jill sat in her office. Where was that girl? She and Brittany had taken to meeting there, most times after hours, less chance of people hearing anything they were talking about. The door opened and Brittany walked in, large garment bag in hand. The prom was tonight, and she wanted to get Jill's final approval of her dress. It was pink, of course, and Brittany thought it was absolutely devastating, sure to get Billy's attention. " I'm sorry to be so late, Mrs. Abbott. I wanted to bring my dress so you could see it. I know Billy doesn't want to make a big deal about tonight, so you might not get a chance to see us before the prom". Jill nodded. She hadn't thought of that. Brittany was a quick learner, all right. "Good idea, dear. We don't want Billy to think that tonight is any kind of big deal, but we know differently, don't we?" Brittany nodded excitedly as she opened the garment bag. She looked on as Jill oohed and aahed over the dress. She had plans for tonight that even Jill didn't know about. She would have Billy tonight, no doubt about it. She had been ready for this since they were supposed to go to Aspen this past winter. Until Mac had ruined everything for them.

 

She shook the thought from her head. Mac would not be here to ruin tonight for them.. Jill's voice interrupted her thoughts. "So, is everything ready? Do you have everything you need?"

Brittany nodded. " I just wanted to touch base with you, see if you had any last minute advice for me." Jill stepped forward and touched the girl on the arm. " Just go with your instincts.. I think enough time has passed, Billy is ready to move on. And I for one, can't think of a better person for him to move on with...all I ask is that you be careful. And don't let Billy drink...please.." Brittany nodded, but had no intention of listening to Jill. If booze was what it took to get him, booze was what she would use, no matter what Mrs. Abbott said. She nodded  again and smiled sweetly and Jill was a little startled to see how obviously phony it was.." Of course, Mrs. Abbott.. I know about your other son, and what happened. I would never let anything like that happen to Billy. Never" Jill smiled, reassured. Perhaps she had imagined that her smile had seemed false, it seemed genuine now. "Thank you, dear and make sure you take lots of pictures.. I want to see everything.."  "Sure, Mrs. Abbott, I've really got to get going, though.. Billy is picking me up in two hours.." and she zipped up the garment bag and slung it over her arm.

 

"Have a wonderful time, dear.." she embraced Brittany and the girl endured it. This woman was really some piece of work, she thought. Just go along with it Britt, once you get Billy, she'll be putty in your hands. " Thanks, Mrs. Abbott, for everything. I think I can handle things from here." She waved her hand and left the office. Jill sat back in her chair. Brittany had proven to be very useful. She was perfect for Billy, docile and sweet. Right family, right connections.

Things were progressing very well, indeed.

 

 

Chapter 16

 

Billy stood before the door of the Hodges home, wondering how the hell he had gotten there. What was he doing? The last thing on earth he felt like doing, tonight or ever was going to some dumb prom. Pasting on a smile, laughing at everybody's lame ass jokes, knowing that the minute he turned his back, the whispers and giggling would begin again. He was already sorry he had asked Brittany. It had been useless to ask her not to make a big deal. Brittany had done nothing but talk incessantly about this night until he had wanted to scream. He couldn't back out, he owed her for helping him get through these last few months, but sometimes he wondered what he had ever seen in her. She was pretty, all right, but not much else. Sometimes, he could swear he was being manipulated by her, but chalked it up to paranoia. Just get through this night, Billy, then you owe her nothing.

 

He rang the doorbell and Mrs. Hodges answered. "Billy! come in...don't you look handsome? What an unusual tuxedo...." He stepped in the door and smiled, holding the corsage he had brought along. A white orchid, just as Brittany had requested. Billy thought it was hideous, with its long yellow center, big and gaudy, but at least she hadn't asked for daisies...he knew he would never buy daisies for anyone again. He smiled at Mrs. Hodges. "Thank you, Mrs. Hodges" The woman continued to gush. " You look like Cary Grant, Billy... where did you ever find a tuxedo like that?" Billy's mind reeled at her words...Cary Grant...the name that Mac had used, that night in Chicago. That night that seemed like a lifetime ago, not mere months.

 

He smiled weakly "Thank you again, Mrs. Hodges... I rented it because it reminded me of one I saw a long time ago." It was true, the tuxedo was exactly like the one he had worn that night,

He had rented it without realizing how similar it had been, he hadn't realized it until he had put it on a few hours earlier. Billy now realized it had been a mistake. He should have gone for blue, or pink or green, anything but the same tux he had worn that night. It was a constant reminder of her and that night. Deal with it, Billy. Move on. Mrs. Hodges smiled again " You two will be the handsomest couple there tonight, Billy. I guarantee it." Mrs. Hodges knew some of what had happened to Billy and at first had been reluctant to let her daughter drift back into his life. After all, he was still married to that worthless girl who had abandoned him. Brittany had convinced her that it was indeed over, and that a divorce was already in the works.

 

"Mr. Hodges is away on a business trip, He'll be so sorry to have missed this. Brittany promised to take lots of pictures, though." Brittany just then descended the stairs into the living room. Billy paused and looked up, knowing that she had waited in order to make a dramatic entrance. She looked very pretty, although he thought the dress more appropriate for a showgirl, not a high school prom. It was pink, a screaming hot pink, strapless, with a thigh high split. She wore with it a matching pink angora shrug, and dyed to match pink strappy sandals.

It was a dress that made a definite statement, and it definitely wasn't just friendship. She paused at the bottom of the steps, waiting for his reaction. He forced a smile, and walked over to her, kissing her on the cheek, handing her the wrist corsage. " You look beautiful, Britt" he said. "Thank you" she answered, trying to keep her voice calm. "Ready to go?" he asked. She nodded and he offered her his arm.

 

They walked to the door, Billy anxious to get away from the gushing Mrs. Hodges. He promised they would be careful, and that he would have her home by sunrise, as was tradition on prom night. The one night they were allowed to come home at dawn. Brittany smiled, she was certainly going to make good use of her time with him tonight

They rode in John Abbotts car, Brittany had decided to forego renting a limo, wanting to spend the time alone with him. She looked over at him as he drove. He was silent, with that same look in his eyes again. She smiled again to herself as they pulled up in front of the Colonnade Room. The valet took the keys and they headed inside. The room had been decorated with balloons for the occasion, pink and silver. No surprise, Brittany was on the prom committee, Billy thought.

 

He spotted a punch bowl over at one side of the room. "Want some?" he asked, pointing to the table that held the punch bowl. She nodded and he walked over to retrieve two glasses. She clutched her pink dyed to match purse and cracked it open. The small flask she had lifted from her father's liquor cabinet was there. She had filled it with vodka, she figured that had little or no taste. She just had to find a way to spike his drink without him knowing it. He returned a minute later with two glasses of evil looking punch. She spotted Raul across the room, entering with Kate Valentine, Esther's daughter. She had returned to Genoa City during the winter, and she and Raul had hit it off immediately, and had been practically inseparable ever since. Brittany didn't make a practice of becoming friendly with servants families, so she barely knew the girl. Billy and Raul had become almost as close as they were before, with Billy happy to see his friend find someone who appreciated him for who he was. It eased his guilt a bit about the way he and Mac had treated him. Brittany saw an opening and went for it. "Billy look, there's Raul...why don't you go say hello to him? It will give me a chance to say hello to JT and everybody without things being awkward."

 

Billy looked over and saw Raul with Kate and smiled. He liked  Kate , she was spunky like her mom. He thought that she and Mac would have gotten along really well.  Kate was almost as honest and upfront as Mac was. "Sure" he said to Brittany. "I'll be right back, hold this for me will you?" he handed her his glass of punch and she smiled. Worked like a charm. She walked over to a table, and turned her back on the crowd, pouring some vodka into the punch glass Billy had handed her. She put hers down and left it there, so she wouldn't confuse the two glasses. She walked over to JT and Brianna, making small talk, in case Billy was watching. She got away quickly, and walked over to Billy, handing him the glass. " I thought you might be thirsty" she said sweetly, and handed him the glass. He smiled at her, and took it. He took one sip, and noticed the strange taste. He looked at her, " Did you spike this?" he asked and her face turned white. Raul whispered to Kate.. "Let's go dance..." and they quickly walked away to join the other couples on the dance floor.

 

"Answer me, Britt...did you spike this? I know what vodka tastes like.."  She looked at the floor and stammered.. "I'm sorry, Billy I just thought it would loosen you up a little, you know ...maybe you'd relax a little, have some fun" She knew he might walk out on her, she looked up.

He was still there. " I can have fun now without being drunk, it's a little something I've learned since we were together. Don't do it again, I mean it Britt" He walked over to the table with the punch and placed the glass there. He returned to stand next to her, debating his next move. Should he leave her here? No, he couldn't as much as he would like to at this moment. Just get through this night Billy, that's all. Brittany's smile was forced, a note of panic in her voice. "I'm really sorry Billy, please don't let this ruin the whole night, please?" He nodded. " It's ok, really, but I was serious, no more tricks.. Let's dance, ok? Try to have a good time?" She nodded and they headed towards the dance floor.

 

The next couple of hours went on the same way, with Brittany trying to pull out of himself. He tried, but his heart wasn't really in it. He smiled and attempted small talk, but in reality the night didn't seem to go by fast enough. All he really wanted was to get the hell out of there.

 

Soon, the only formal part of the evening left was the crowning of prom king and queen. The crowd dispersed, forming in a circle around the edge of the dance floor. The vocalist for the band stood before the microphone, waving his hands to quiet the crowd. " Okay people, the part of the evening I know you've all been waiting for...the votes are in" he waved an envelope in his right hand. " The king and queen of the prom for the year 2000 are.." he opened the envelope and read. " Brittany Hodges and Billy Abbott!" Brittany squealed and jumped up and down, turning to clutch Billy around the neck. Billy wished the floor would open up and swallow him. What kind of a joke was this? That's exactly what it was, a joke. He knew that Brittany had probably put all of her friends up to this, and they had been more than happy to go along, knowing just how much it would embarrass him. She dragged him by the arm to the center of the dance floor. Flashbulbs popped in their face and Billy hung his head to avoid being blinded.

 

Brittany was in her element, eating up all the attention. She took the bouquet of roses and linked her arm through Billy's, smiling like Miss America, not caring that the red roses clashed horribly with her pink dress. She posed for every picture, accepting congratulations. She whispered to Billy " I knew this would happen to us the moment I met you...isn't this awesome?"  Billy said nothing, again wishing he had never agreed to this whole thing. A few months ago, he probably would have gotten a kick out of this, but now all he wanted was to be out of here. Eventually, the crowd dispersed and people began leaving, but not before paying tribute to the queen and king. Brittany stayed for every one, refusing to leave until almost everyone was gone. Just when Billy thought he couldn't stand it one more minute, Brittany turned to him and said " I think we can go now, everyone else seems to be going.." Billy sighed in relief. "Sure. I'll take you home..." and took her arm, leading her to the door.

 

Brittany planted her feet " We're not going home now Billy! It's only midnight!" her voice rising. She regrouped and made her voice softer " Everybody's going to the lake...please? We don't have to stay long, besides...." Her voice became a whisper, "How would it look if the king and queen didn't show up for the after prom activities?" He sighed again. " I don't care how it would look, besides we didn't say anything about the after prom stuff." He looked at her face, she looked as if she might cry. He accepted his fate. " Ok, ok...but just for a little while..." She smiled again, and linked her arm through his, walking out to street to wait for the valet to bring the car. Last chance, Britt...don't blow it, she thought as they waited.

 

 

Chapter   17

 

 

Billy parked the car next to some others he recognized. Brittany got out and he followed after, loosening the bow tie which was beginning to feel like a noose. They walked towards the edge of the lake, where the music was already blasting. Some kids were dancing, others making out, leaning against cars, some on blankets. Billy noticed the coolers loaded with beer. Brittany was soon surrounded by girls wanting to see her crown and flowers. Billy stood off to the side alone, wondering for the umpteenth time that night why he came here.

 

Brittany wandered over to JT and Brianna who were leaning against a car, making out. She cleared her throat several times before they noticed her. "Sorry to interrupt, Brianna I need to speak to JT alone a second, ok?" Brianna nodded and giggled, staggering slightly as she went to find more beer. "Nice timing there Britt..." She laughed and said " I know and I'm sorry, it's just that I really need your help...with Billy" Now it was his turn to laugh " Still haven't given up on Abbott, huh? Why bother? There's tons of guys here who would be happy to take his place. Me included" She smiled. "Thanks, but I think I'll stick with Billy...I was just wondering, do you have any suggestions on how I can get him to loosen up? He refuses to drink anything but soda, and I'm running out of time here..." she tried not to make her voice sound desperate, but she was beginning to panic. JT smiled. " If it were me, honey I wouldn't need anything to make me loosen up..." he paused and then continued " but if you insist..." he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small prescription bottle. " I lifted these from my mom's medicine cabinet, she's got so much stuff in there, she'll never notice they're gone." He shook the bottle, rattling the pills inside.

 

"What are they?" she asked. " Some kind of tranquilizer...my mom gets these panic attacks sometimes. They just make you kind of mellow." He opened the bottle and shook out two pills.

"Crush these up and put 'em in his soda. You'll be having your 'way' with him in no time". He dropped the pills in her hand and she curled her fingers around them. Could she do this? She didn't want to hurt him.. " Will they hurt him? I mean he couldn't overdose or anything could he?" JT laughed. " I don't think so, two lousy pills? Go ahead..." He pushed her towards Billy, handing her a can of cola he fished out of the cooler. She opened the can, crushing the pills in the palm of her hand and dropping them in the can, swishing it around to make sure they dissolved. She took a deep breath and headed towards Billy.

 

He was lost in thought again, leaning against someone's car. So deep in fact, that he hardly noticed her standing next to him. "Billy" she whispered. " I brought you a soda. It's open because I took a sip" she smiled, urging him to take it. He returned her smile and took it. "Thanks" he said and took a long drink. " Did you say hello to everyone?" he asked her.

She nodded. "Seems like everybody's having a great time" she said, smiling as he drained the soda can. "Sorry" he said " I didn't ask you if you wanted any. Do you? I'll go get you another." He stood up suddenly and wondered why everything was suddenly spinning. He staggered, and Brittany grabbed him around the waist. "Are you ok?" she asked. He nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little dizzy...I haven't eaten anything since this afternoon. Maybe that's it." She walked him towards the car. "Why don't we sit in here for awhile? It'll probably pass. Then we can go home if you want". Home was the last place they were going, but he didn't know that.

 

He nodded and let her walk him to the car, opening the doors and climbing inside. They sat in the dark for awhile until Brittany noticed Billy beginning to nod off. She gently reached over and pushed his seat back, all the way to the reclining position. She opened the buttons on his shirt and removed his cummerbund, opening the button and lowering the zipper on his pants.

She locked the car doors and pushed her seat down to the same flat position. She took off her shrug and opened the zipper on her dress halfway, this had to look just right. She knew that as people walked by the car, they would be sure to peek in, and she wanted the show to look as realistic as possible. She draped herself across his chest and closed her eyes. When he woke up, she would have her story ready. She had a smile on her lips as she fell asleep.

 

The beginnings of dawn were peeking over the horizon when Billy opened his eyes, then closed them immediately, his head was swimming. Where the hell was he? He felt someone next to him and in his muddled state, he smiled, thinking it was Mac. He reached down and touched the hand on his chest, leaning his head against her hair. The smell was not vanilla, but some sort of flowery perfume...he opened his eyes and looked down. The hair beneath his face was blonde, not brown...he removed his hand from hers. Brittany...Oh God, what had he done?

And why couldn't he remember anything? He looked down at himself. His shirt open, his pants loosened. No. He couldn't have. His other hand touched bare skin. The back of her dress was open, oh God...She stirred against him, yawning. "Good morning" she whispered. He said nothing, waiting to hear if what he hoped hadn't happened really did.

 

"I'm so happy, Billy. Last night was so beautiful...I knew it was destined to happen from the moment we met.." she purred, rubbing her hands over his chest. His head was really spinning now.. "What exactly happened, Britt? I..I.. can't seem to remember anything" He sat up, pulling away from her, fastening his pants, pulling up the zipper. She played it to the hilt, her eyes filling up with tears. "You don't remember us making love last night? It was so beautiful Billy...you said that it was..why are you pretending you don't remember?" He looked at her, angry now, with himself mostly for  getting into this stupid situation. "I'm not pretending, Britt. I really don't remember. I'm sorry...if we did anything I'm sorry, it shouldn't have happened." She was angry now. " You're sorry? Who do think I am, that slut ex-wife of yours? Think you can screw me and dump me?" He grabbed her arm, so tightly she winced. "She's my wife, not my ex-wife. Call her that again and I'll slap that pretty face of yours. As for dumping you, I already did that months ago. And about last night...I would know if we had sex , I don't know what happened, but I am going to find out. Pull yourself together, I'm taking you home" He sat up, trying to shake the cobwebs out of his brain and started the car. She gripped his arm. "Why won't you believe me Billy? I know what happened, I just told you. We made love last night, it was wonderful..." He turned to look at her. " If that's true, then we had sex, we didn't make love. I could never make love to anyone but my wife...If I did have sex with you, I musta been outta my mind" He pulled her hand off his arm and started the car.

 

Brittany zipped up her dress, trying to make herself presentable for her entrance into her house. What if Billy found out everything? Her life would be over, that's all. He pulled up in front of her house. " You getting out?" he asked. He could barely look at her. She nodded and turned to him. " You have to believe me, Billy...I would never lie to you about something as important as this". He looked fully at her, and noticed the fear in her eyes. Something was definitely up here, he just had to figure out what it was. " We'll see about that Britt.." he patted her hand. "Don't worry, if it's true, it's true, nothing I can do about it now. But if it's not true, I will find out, count on it." She got out of the car and walked to the front door. She had a sinking feeling that her foolproof plan had failed, and that the fallout was about to begin.

 

 

 

Chapter 18

 

 

Mac turned on the computer and clicked on the internet connection, waiting for the connection to finish. She wanted to read the Genoa City Chronicle. She usually only did this every other week or so, just to catch a glimpse of familiar places and names, but with school finished she had some extra time on her hands, and she hoped to see if there were any pictures in it from last nights prom. She knew she was only torturing herself, but she couldn't help it. She and Billy had never talked about the prom, but she had secretly always dreamed about going, especially with Billy. She looked down at her swollen belly and laughed. Imagine yourself at the prom like this, Mac. She opened the Genoa City Chronicle page and looked for the lifestyle section.

 

Sure enough, there were pictures from the prom. Mac recognized a few kids, and smiled when she saw Raul in one of them, dancing with a pretty dark haired girl. He looked happy, smiling widely at the camera, holding his date closely. The caption said her name was Kate Valentine..oh, Esther's daughter.... She stood up and went to the door, calling Betty upstairs. She wanted her to see the friend she had talked about so often. Betty came up the stairs and entered the room. "What's up?" she asked, drying her hands on a dishtowel. "Betty, come see..." she pointed at the screen. Betty looked at the picture. "Oh, so that's him!" she cried in delight. "The Raul that you talked so much about? What is that, a party or something?"

 

Mac shook her head. " No, it's the prom...isn't that girl pretty he's dancing with? That's Esther's daughter Kate, you know, the Esther I told you about" Betty nodded and spotted a picture on the lower half of the screen that Mac hadn't seemed to notice yet. " She's very pretty, and he seems like a nice boy from what I can see. Why are you looking at those pictures, Mac? Why are you torturing yourself?" " I'm not torturing myself...it's good to see those people again. Well, some of them at least." She clicked the scroll bar and the picture in the lower corner of the screen came into full view. A feeling of nausea, worse than any morning sickness she had came over her in a wave. Billy. Brittany. King and Queen of the Prom, said the caption. Brittany in a low cut dress, slit up to there. Mac again looked down at her swollen stomach, rubbing her hand over it. Billy, heartstoppingly handsome in a tuxedo. She was smiling like the queen she was. Mac took small consolation in the fact that Billy was not smiling in the picture, in fact he looked as if he were at a funeral instead of a  prom.

 

The tears were rolling down her cheeks now. How could he? Betty's voice cut through her tears.

" I'm sorry, Mac.." She shook her head, wiping the tears away. " About what? There's nothing to be sorry about. he has every right to go on with his life. I told him too." She turned around to smile at Betty " Looks like he took me up on it, too." She said it coldly, trying to cover the hurt she felt, but Betty was not fooled. " He looks pretty miserable, if you ask me. Is that the Brittany you told me about?" she nodded. " She's pretty enough, I guess...never did go for that blonde, fussy type.." Betty took the mouse and clicked the page closed. She pulled Mac up from her chair gently, she had to be careful nowadays, Mac was really getting big with child now. "Forget about it. You said that's what you wanted, isn't it?" Mac nodded, but the tears began again. The woman embraced her, smoothing the back of her hair. " I know what I said I wanted, but seeing the two of them together...it just makes it so final, you know?" She pulled away from the embrace and walked around the room.

 

"The only thing I can't figure out is why I haven't heard anything about a divorce yet. It's been 6 months, almost 7...what is he waiting for?" she asked. Betty shook her head. " I don't know. Maybe he's not ready for that yet. Maybe he hasn't given up on the two of you yet."

"It sure seems like he has..." Mac said. " Maybe now that they're officially together again, he start the divorcé. Maybe he was waiting for Brittany to take him back."

 

Betty walked over to her and touched her arms gently. "Why can't you believe that he still loves you? I saw it all over his face when he was here...you saw how miserable he looked in that picture...my guess is that mother of his put him up to it, told him it would be good for him. She probably figured you might even get a glimpse of the two of them together. The reason there's been no word about a divorce is that he doesn't want one. He's delaying as long as possible, hoping to get you back. That's the only explanation that makes any sense". Mac looked at her.

"How could there still be a chance for us?" she whispered through tears. "After all the things I said to him. Everything that's happened?" Betty answered simply "Because he loves you, that's why...and you still love him and deep down, I think he knows that."

 

"It doesn't matter anymore" Mac said. "He's gone on with his life, and I'm happy for him. He's done so much for me already. He deserves to be happy." She smiled at Betty, but it was an act, Betty could see right through it. " I'll be fine.." she looked down at her stomach. "We'll be fine, really."  She wrapped her arm around Betty's shoulder. " C'mon, let's go downstairs, I'll help you set up for the lunch crowd." They walked out of the room and down to the dining room, but Mac knew the image of Billy and Brittany together would not leave her head any time soon.

 

Chapter 19

 

Billy stood in front of his locker for the last time, closing the door. Graduation ceremonies were over, his family were waiting for him outside. He looked around the school, knowing that the next time he came back here, if he ever did, it would look very different to him then. " You ok?" a voice came from behind him. He turned around. It was Raul, with Kate standing close behind him. Billy smiled. "Sure..fine. How about this, huh? Finally outta this place..." Raul nodded. Even though they had both enrolled at Genoa City University, they knew this was a major step in their lives. " I know this day had to be kinda rough on you, considering everything that's happened...if there's anything I can do"  Kate stepped forward. "We can do, you mean.." Raul smiled at her. He was a lucky guy, he thought. He had met her at what he thought was the worst possible time in his life, and she had quickly turned it into the best time of his life. He still cared about Mac though, and wished things could work out as well for his two friends.

 

Billy smiled at both of them " I'm good, really, but thank you. You guys have been just great. I'm just thinking about last night..." Billy had told Raul about what had happened. He and Kate had not been at the lake last night, they had hung out with another, quieter group of kids.

" I still don't believe anything happened, Billy" Kate said firmly. " I don't know Mac, but I think I know you...and I think I know Brittany" " Kate" Raul began. " No I won't shut up about this, Raul..even though I know you want me to." Billy smiled. " I know that girl is up to something. I don't like the way she looks at us, like she scraped us off her shoe...I wouldn't put something like this past her."

 

" I happen to agree with you, Kate" Billy said. " I just wish I knew what it was.. Are you guys leaving now? I'll walk out with you". They nodded and walked out front to their waiting families. Billy knew his parents had wanted to take him to the Colonnade Room for dinner, but he had talked them into dinner at home. He saw his father and mother standing by their car and headed towards them. " I'm ready to go whenever you guys are.." he said as he reached them. John smiled and wrapped his arm around his son. "This has been a big month for you  son, turning 18..graduating high school. I just wanted to let you know that your mother and I are proud of the way you've been handling everything, I know the last six months haven't been easy for you." He embraced his son. "Thanks, Dad". Jill stood by, watching proudly. Her stupid conscience had been nagging at her lately, something that rarely ever happened. She pushed the thoughts out of her mind. She had barely had a chance to speak with Brittany about last night. She was dying to know how it went. She smiled and said "Ok, you two break it up, my turn now" She pulled her son to her, embracing him, hurt when he seemed not to respond at first, but eventually giving in and embracing her. " Let's go, I'm starved..." was all she said, however and they piled in the car towards home.

 

A couple of hours later, while  the three were sitting at the dinner table having coffee, the front doorbell rang. Jill went to answer it and was surprised to see Brittany standing on her front doorstep, smiling. "Hello, Mrs. Abbott" she said. Jill opened the door wider and motioned for Brittany to step inside. " How wonderful to see you, dear, come in, we're just having coffee, won't you join us?" Brittany nodded and stepped inside. She was dying to give a full report on last night's activities to Jill. They walked into the dining room. "Billy, Brittany's here" she announced, motioning for Brittany to sit down next to Billy. Billy barely looked up as she sat down, waiting for what she was going to say. John smiled at Brittany. She was a lovely girl, he thought, but somehow something about her seemed false. "So" he began " How does it feel to be a high school graduate, Brittany?" She giggled. "Relieved!" she exclaimed. " I'm soo happy to finally be out of high school. I'm sure Billy feels the same way.." she looked at him, hoping to draw him into the conversation. Billy shrugged his shoulders. " I feel like I left high school behind a long time ago, it's just that it's official now..." Brittany kept silent, knowing that he was really talking about everything that had happened to him in the last few months.

 

She changed the subject. " Did Billy tell you about last night?" she asked. Billy looked at her, she wouldn't, would she? Jill leaned forward, " Not much. Why don't you tell us about it?" Brittany sighed. " It was wonderful, not just the prom, but everything about last night was wonderful. I don't know how to say this, but Billy and I became closer than I ever expected last night.." Jill's face reddened. "What are you talking about?" she asked, her voice rising. Brittany's face became a smiling mask. The bitch was gonna get it now, she thought, right between the eyes. " I'm saying that last night, Billy and I took the ultimate step...if you know what I mean.." Billy tried to keep his rage under control. "What are you talking about Britt? Are you crazy?" He looked at his parents, his mother's face was nearly purple, his father just stared in amazement.

 

"They deserve to know, Billy. If you and I are going to continue our relationship, then they need to know that we'll be safe, you know, taking the proper precautions..." Billy looked at Brittany and realized that she was serious. She was telling his parents that they had slept together. He stood up. "Mom, Dad, I can explain..." John stood up " I wish you would, Billy. For months you've been telling me how much you love Mackenzie, then at the first opportunity.." "Nothing happened, Dad. I least I think nothing did. I can't seem to remember anything that happened last night." Brittany took this opportunity to burst into tears. " Stop saying that! You've been saying that since last night..." "That's because it's true! I don't remember much about last night...I'm still married, remember?" Jill stood up, furious. "Billy, what's wrong with you? Haven't you considered Brittany's feelings in this whole situation? I can't believe that you did this...I thought since Mackenzie left we were rid of this sort of thing.."

 

"Don't talk about her, Ma. I mean it. You never knew her, you never wanted to. Don't try to tell me how to behave about it, you never understood what we had together. As for Brittany...she's lying. I haven't figured her whole scheme yet, but I will, count on it." He leaned over to speak to her more closely. " I owe you nothing, Britt, absolutely nothing. Consider us, whatever we were, over and done with."  He looked at his father. " Dad, can I speak to you alone for a minute, there's something I need to discuss with you." John nodded. " Let's go upstairs to your room, Excuse us, will you?" They left and Jill swooped in on Brittany, who was crying for real now. " It's all right, Brittany...you'll see, he'll come around..." Jill wasn't so sure this time. What were the two of them talking about upstairs?

 

 

Chapter 20

 

Billy closed the door to his room behind them and his father took a seat on the chair near his bed. "So, Billy... what is it?" He looked at his son, his face was dead serious. He spoke softly. "Dad, first of all, I wanted to tell you that I'm positive nothing happened last night. She tricked me, or she tried to at least. She tried to earlier, but I caught her." John sat up straighter. "What do you mean 'tricked' you? What happened?"  Billy sighed " I caught her trying to spike my drink with vodka, she admitted it to me Dad, said something about trying to make me loosen up, have a good time, you know? I explained to her that I didn't feel the need to drink anymore, that I was past that, and she apologized. If she tried it once, why wouldn't she try it again?" Billy asked. John looked thoughtful " What's the last thing you remember about last night?" he asked.

 

" The last thing I remember was Brittany handing me a soda, and me drinking it. After that the whole thing becomes kinda hazy. I've thought about it over and over, the soda tasted fine, I would have noticed if it had booze in it. But there had to be something there. I'll find out, though, she's not gonna get away with this." He looked at his father. " You believe me, don't you?" he asked him. John nodded. " You have no reason to lie to me about this...I just don't understand Brittany's motives, what could she hope to gain by this? She knows you still love Mackenzie, doesn't she?" Billy shrugged. " I never told her in so many words, I guess I just didn't wanna talk about it with her. I will find out about this though, I mean it". He hesitated before continuing.

 

"That's not all I wanted to say Dad.. I wanted to tell you that now that I'm 18, I'd kinda like to give living on my own a try." John smiled. " I know about the apartment, son" Billy looked at him in shock. "How?" he asked. " Your landlord called when you were looking for Mackenzie all those months ago. He hadn't seen her coming in and out for a couple of days and he was checking to see if she was all right..." John hesitated, seeing the hurt in his son's eyes at the mention of his wife's name. " He seemed genuinely concerned, so the only thing I told him was that she was fine. I even went to check the place out.." Billy again looked at him. He nodded and smiled. " Yes, I know I shouldn't have, and don't worry ,I didn't say a thing to anyone. I guess that you two were very happy there.."

 

Billy got up and walked around the room. His next words were choked with emotion. " I was happier there, with her, than any place I've ever been in my life...I know it's gonna be hard to try and live there without her, but I've gotta try. Do you think you can understand that?"

John got up from his chair and put his arm around his son. " I think I can, and the summer job at Jabot should help cover your rent for awhile. I assume you want to move out as soon as possible, correct?" Billy nodded. He needed to be by himself, he felt as if everything he had been through these last few months was finally catching up with him. " I'll miss having you here son, but I think this will be good for you. I know it's been difficult for you to continue your life without Mackenzie, but I think you realize that you must now. She's been gone for such a long time now.." "Thanks, Dad. You've been really great to me these last few months, I hope I can live up to it" He embraced his father.

 

They headed downstairs where Jill had finally succeeded in stopping Brittany's tears. They both looked up as John and Billy headed downstairs. "Everything all right down here?" John asked as they entered the living room where Jill and Brittany were seated. Jill nodded. " Yes, I think Brittany is feeling much better now, aren't you dear?" Brittany nodded. Billy spoke abruptly. "Shouldn't you be leaving now, Britt?"  Brittany stammered, shocked at his rudeness. "I guess I should, yes. But Billy you weren't serious before, were you? about us?" Billy nodded. " I don't know how to be more serious, Britt. I meant it, I don't want us to see each other anymore." He did not mention what he had told his father, he didn't want his mother to know anything yet. " It's for the best, really.. It wouldn't be fair to you or to me" he added. Jill glared at Billy before putting her arm around Brittany.. " Come dear, I'll walk you to the door" Jill walked Brittany to the door, and reassured her in a whispered voice. "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything" before opening the door to let her out.

 

Jill walked back into the living room. "Would you like to tell me what this whole thing is about? Why were you two upstairs?" John spoke first. "Billy had some things to tell me that he didn't want to say in front of company.. Our son has decided to move out on his own" he waited for the explosion, and when none came he asked " What, Jill no reaction?" Jill inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. She thought that perhaps Billy had found out that she was the one who forced Mackenzie out of his life. " I think it will be good for you, Billy. You've come so far in these last few months, your father and I are so proud of you." was all she said. Billy sighed in relief. "Good" he said. " I'll go upstairs and pack...Dad, will you tell Mom the rest?" John nodded and sat down to tell Jill the story, wondering why she was being so calm about this whole thing.

Chapter 1-9 | Chapter 10-20 | Chapter 21 - 32 | Chapter 33 - Epilogue

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Page updated 7/9/12

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