CDTH Chapters 1-9

Chapter one
After Steve’s remark, Kayla’s eyes grew wide at his gall. “You’re incredible, you don’t have a clue do you? You know there are people at the emergency center who need me. My brother is having problems. My sister’s baby has been kidnapped, I don’t need to waste my time on people who don’t care.”

Steve’s bruises actually shook when Kayla slammed the door. Now that she was gone, his sleazy grin disappeared while his body sagged. Her parting words to him were more affective than she probably realized. He shook his head trying to clear it, to clear away the guilt he felt for treating her like that. Why did he do it? Acting like a jerk was second-nature to him, but usually he knew how to bury that desire when the situation called for it. Especially when someone was actually being nice to him. But being around Kayla, it was like he had no real control of his actions.

Steve sighed feeling incredibly tired. Treating Kayla like this now was really a rotten thing to do. She stayed with him all night, and took care of him. The way she was able to handle ALL his injuries, including the patch, made him shudder. Kayla was really not like any woman he had ever met. And that difference made it all the more harder to try to be himself with her. Coming in contact with her had the oddest effect on him. Steve was not a man to use fancy words, but Kayla really was intoxicating. There really was no better way to describe it.

Steve walked over to the mirror to get a good look at himself. His injuries didn’t hurt as bad as he played to Kayla, but they still hurt like hell. Looking at himself and seeing the newly formed bruises practically glow in his dimly lit rathole he called an apartment, he gritted his teeth. He used to think he was ugly before, that damned patch practically covering his whole face, but now he knew what a real monster looked like, because there was one in the mirror’s reflection.

Steve looked down and saw his harmonica in it’s normal resting place. He picked it up and started to play a sad song to match his mood, but Kayla’s face from a few days ago came to his mind. He had asked her to close her eyes so he could play for her but she wouldn’t do it. She stared back at him with such intensity that it actually stopped him playing. That memory kept him from playing now.

Steve laid down again and contemplated what he could do. Kayla made a declaration for him to think about someone else for once. He snorted at how funny it was that since he met her, he thought about her all the time. But that wasn’t what she meant and he knew it. Her family was going through a lot right now. Marlena was in a coma, Bo ditched them to hang out with his newly discovered richer father and did she say her nephew was now kidnapped? Steve shook his head. From what little he knew of Kayla, she probably took all their problems to heart and was trying to help each one of them. Surely there was something nice he could do for her. Let her know, that he was capable of thinking of someone else and give her a little joy.

Not sure what he had in mind, Steve got up and put on his blue jean vest. He walked up the steps, trying to remember to take it slow. He wasn’t sure how much energy he had, especially since he wasn’t even sure what the hell he was going to do, but he knew just the place to start.

Chapter 2


“I just don’t understand, Bo! This is your family!” Hope said as they stood near the bar.Bo and Hope had been standing in Shenanigans for 20 minutes, waiting on their order to be finished so they could take it and go.Bo rubbed his temple, his mind reeling about going over the same argument with Hope over and over, “Victor is my family too. This is very important to him.”

Hope rolled her eyes. Victor had made arrangements to host a dinner party at his home the next evening with some important out of town guests. Hope had no idea who these people were, and highly doubted they were anyone she wanted to spend time with. Bo had agreed that the both of them would attend but that was before all the current issues with his other family, his REAL family, had started. She couldn’t believe he was being so stubborn about this.

“Bo, I would think that your sister-in-law in a coma, plus Andrew’s kidnapping, you know Victor’s other son, would be more important and he would at least postpone the dinner.”

“He can’t. These people can’t rearrange their schedules at the last minute. A lot of time and effort has been put into this. Look, I know…” he sighed. He was getting a headache and needed some fresh air, “Let me know when the food is ready. I’ll wait outside.”

Hope called after him but he was already out the door. She was tired too. They were picking up some food to take to the hospital for Roman who hadn’t left Marlena’s side. It was the least they could do, but even this small gesture was obviously making Bo uncomfortable. Sometimes she didn’t think she really knew her husband.“What’s wrong with Little Vic?”

Hope sighed as she turned to face Steve. She was about to reply with a snide comeback but when she saw his face, concern and curiosity got the better of her, “Steve! What happened?”

Steve was taken aback for a second, he hadn’t considered that people would question him on his looks but then Hope wasn’t like normal people.

Thinking quickly, he shrugged, “Jealous husband. I get that a lot.”

Hope ignored his last remark, certain she probably didn’t want to know what really happened to him, “Steve, I wish you would stop doing this to yourself.”

“Hey, can I help it if I’m irresistible?” he grinned.

They held eye contact for a beat. Hope knew Steve well enough to know nothing she said would faze him, but she wished for his sake he could find peace.

“Food’s ready,” the bartender said.

“Good.” Hope paid and began to walk out.

“Oh, all the Kirakis money has increased your appetite,” Steve said, looking at the large bag of food.

“This is for Roman, Steve.” Hope said. “Bo and I are headed over to the hospital and we knew he probably hasn’t eaten. So if you will excuse me..”

Steve trying to use the opportunity she gave him, “Wait, how…um, how is she?”

Hope confused asked, “Who?”

Closing his eyes, this was not how he had planned out the conversation, “Roman’s wife, what’s her name, Marlena?”

Hope narrowed her eyes, “Why do you care?”

“Why shouldn’t I? I mean, Bo is, well, was my best friend and his family is suffering and I just thought it would be nice to know…”

Hope shook her head, “I don’t believe you. You and Bo have been at each other’s throats since Stockholm You can hardly stand to be in the same room much less talk to each other.”

Steve realizing Hope was on a roll, tried to get the conversation to where he had more control, “Hey, I saved his life the other day, didn’t I?”

“Yea, but even then you still acted like a jerk to him, me and Kayla.”

At that she stopped, “You know, the last time I saw you, was at the emergency center hanging around Kayla.”

Steve managed to hold back the deer in headlights look, “Yea, you did. She had to check out my injury. You know, the one I got from saving your husband.”

Hope eyed him nervously, “Steve, don’t try to hurt Kayla.”

“I would never hurt Kayla.”

“Maybe not on purpose, but she isn’t used to guys like you.”

“Guys like what?” Steve asked defensively.

“I don’t mean it to sound like that. I’m just saying she isn’t used to guys who sometimes have a hidden agenda. She thinks everyone has a good heart underneath.”

“What is mine? Made of coal?”

“No,” Hope said not realizing how bad this sounded, “I just mean…Kayla is used to a guy who treats her for the sweet, special person she is. She’s used to guys being nice, treating her nicely. You know, bringing her flowers, candy and not treating her like she’s going to be the next notch on his bedpost.”

Steve was now insulted, “I do that?”

Hope took a long breath, “Since Britta you do.”

Steve felt the air leave his gut at that one. Hearing Hope say that hurt almost as much as the hits he took the day before. When he looked back up she was gone so Steve sat at the bar. Before he knew it, he asked for a drink.

Britta was a name he hated to hear. He still had dreams about her but lately those dreams were fading. Fading very quickly. Instead of longing for her, all he felt was bitterness.

He was such in deep thought, he didn’t realize how long the drink had been sitting in front of him. Bringing the glass to his lips, he thought again of Kayla and before he knew it, he had a grin on his face. But Hope’s words came back She was the last person he would hurt now. He cringed thinking how he had terrified her in Cleveland. This woman who put his own problems before her own.

And Hope was wrong. He didn’t want to date her. Kayla wasn’t his type. Britta was, that was for sure. She was the love them and leave them type but Kayla would want him to stay forever. He didn’t want that. He just wanted…he wanted…

“I just want to do something nice for her,” he said aloud to no one in particular. The bartender heard Patch’s remark and took the opportunity to refill his glass.

She’s used to guys being nice, treating her nicely. You know, bringing her flowers, candy and not treating her like she’s going to be the next notch on his bedpost.

Hearing Hope’s voice in his head, Steve suddenly had an idea. Flowers would do! He couldn’t believe such an obvious gesture didn’t pop in his mind before. Checking the time, he realized it was later than he thought and decided he better head over to the flower shop now.

He was so excited at the thought of how much Kayla would love them, he hardly felt the pain.

Chapter 3


Steve walked into the florist shop, by this time he had been up all day and walked across town. He was hobbling pretty badly but managed to walk through the door standing up straight.. He didn’t know why he couldn’t just put this off until tomorrow but something was driving him to get it done as quickly as possible.“May I help you?”Steve looked at the woman across the counter. Steve got the direct impression she didn’t think he was here for flowers. It could be because of the stricken look on her face or the way she kept looking at the security camera. Maybe it was the way her right hand was stretched far up under the counter as if to press an alarm.Knowing he didn’t have time to mess with the woman, he slowly walked up, “Hi.”“May I help you?” she repeated.

“Yes,” Steve said looking around. Not really knowing what would be exactly appropriate, “Listen. I may need your advice.”

“We have an excellent selection for sympathy and condolence flowers,” she said glancing up and down at him, “We can deliver them directly to the hospital room.”

It took Steve a second to realize her assumptions, and one quick glance in a nearby mirror told him he couldn’t blame her for it, “No, um, no. It’s for…it’s not for that! It’s for a lady.”

By now, seeing Steve’s embarrassment, she realized he wasn’t there to rob them and began to relax, “Oh. A girlfriend?”

Steve felt his cheeks flush. He couldn’t believe it. It’s like he was a teenager, “No, she’s not. She’s just…”

“Just?” the lady repeated.

“Special,” he said.

“Ok. Well, what would you like to send her?”

“Um, how about a rose? A yellow rose?” he asked.

Judging by his appearance, she had no idea if he could afford it, but she decided to go with her gut, “If she is special, then a dozen would be better.”

Steve looked up on her display shelf, and suddenly he wished he had enough money for two dozen, “You’re right. Yes, make it a dozen.”

“Do you want us to deliver them? We can do it at her workplace for a small extra charge.”

Steve contemplated this. Kayla might like getting the flowers in public. Plus, if she thought they came from him, any rage might be squelched and she wouldn’t throw them, say, at his head. He nodded and smiled, “That sounds good. When can you deliver them? I know it’s kind of late.”

“Let me check our schedule. We have gotten used to delivering them at certain times for certain businesses. We can have it delivered about 2 pm tomorrow.”

Steve’s eye grew wide when he thought he could show up when they arrived. He could see her face for himself before she knew they were from him. Again, in case they didn’t make up for his earlier behavior.

Agreeing, Steve handed the woman money and told her Kayla’s name and the address to the emergency center. He was just about to leave when she stopped him. “Sir?”

“Yea?”

The lady couldn’t help it. She laughed. He was actually pretty cute. He was so obviously nervous. She reminded him, “You need to fill out the card.”

Steve felt his face flush again. He cursed under his breath for that. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. He took the card and she gave him a pen to write down his thoughts.

“You can write over there, sir.”

“Um, right,” Steve said. He stood for a long time staring at the card. Everything that popped up in his mind seemed like the wrong thing to say. “To a real Sweetness.” “You are an Angel of Mercy.” He attempted to write, “I’m not good with words..” then scribbled it out. Then he realized what he had done and looked up at the woman who was watching him, the earlier fear in her eyes replaced with amusement.

“I’m sorry, may I have another card?” he asked.

“Would you like me to write it?” she asked, “Because we close at 6.”

Sighing, Steve agreed. He watched as she got another card out, and looked at him expectantly.

“Oh, right. You need me to say something.” Steve laughed.

“It works better that way,” she said but not unfriendly.

“Ok, um, well,” Steve struggled but then decided to just play it safe, “Can it say, ‘To the best nurse there is, you are too good for your patients.’? “

She smiled and wrote it down. The telephone rang as she wrote the last word and she told him she would be just a moment. Steve didn’t really want to stick around. Besides he was really hurting by now and wanted to just get home and rest . Tomorrow he would get to see her reaction.

The lady hung up the phone and turned to ask Steve the final question but he was already gone. “Sir? What about the name?”

Chapter 4


Before walking in, Steve checked his watch. It wasn’t two yet, but he had gotten at the clinic early in case they arrived early. He knew he could find an excuse to stay, once he was around Kayla it was easy to think of excuses to stay. The best part was he didn’t need one to stop by, his bandage needed changing. Feeling oddly giddy, he opened the door and walked in.He opened it to a room full of people. He had never seen the center this busy. Was it understaffed? A moment of panic crept through Steve’s heart as he worried Kayla might actually be off that day. He calmed though the moment he caught sight of her.“Afternoon, Sweetness,” Steve beamed.

Kayla stopped, mentally flinching at the sound of his voice. She still was angry at him from the day before. “What are you doing here? We are really busy today.”

Before he could stop himself, Steve said, “I’m back to see you. I’m sure you didn’t forget, I’m here to receive the same treatment you gave me from that night we spent together!”

Kayla turned and looked at him. For a second her heart skipped a beat, something it annoyingly did around this man, “What do you want?”

“For you to change my bandages. Shall I head to Exam Room B?”

Looking around at the waiting room, she would have laughed at the gall of Steve Johnson to think he could waltz in here past a dozen people and think she would immediately see him, but it wasn’t actually funny.

Deciding it was probably for the best not to be seen telling a patient to get out, she said, “Fine, Mr. Johnson. Take a seat and someone will see you when your name is called.”

Steve’s mind was screaming at him to shut up, but there was this part of him that couldn’t deny that Kayla in this state was worth her anger, “Back to formalities, Ms. Brady? If you like it that way, you know I’ll be sure to accommodate.”

“Sit down!” Kayla said annoyed. She walked away to check on another patient. She had to count to ten when she heard Steve call behind her he would be waiting.

Steve sat down feeling dejected. He almost banged his head on the wall for the stupidity of his behavior. He reminded himself that sending her the flowers was to get her mind off her troubles. Buttering her up with offending remarks before they arrive probably won’t make her accept them any easier.

If she accepts them at all, he thought.

The next few minutes took forever as Steve sat as patiently as he could, trying to get glimpses of Kayla as she walked back and forth. She was ignoring him. Steve sat, trying to keep his mind occupied but he couldn’t help but notice the kid next to him had tried to eat a sucker he had dropped on the floor. Steve managed to stop him before he put it back in his mouth again. Before he knew it, the mother snatched the sucker away from Steve, looking at him like he had wrestled it out of the kid’s hand and started sucking it himself.

Looking over at the other person next to him, Steve noticed the guy was cutting his fingernails. Steve couldn’t believe it.

“Man, what are you doing? That’s…gross,” Steve said.

The main stopped and looked at Steve worried, “You mean, you can see it?”

Steve jumped up quickly and decided to stand over by the receptionist desk. He noticed his Snuggle Bunny wasn’t there working. Actually no one was behind the desk.

“Shouldn’t someone be behind the desk?” Steve asked.

No one answered, so Steve decided to look for Kayla to ask her. Finding her finishing up with a patient in the back, he grinned, “Hey, Sweetness! Shouldn’t you have…”

“What are you doing back here?” Kayla asked.

“I came to look for you. Shouldn’t you have a person at the front desk?”

“Only if there is someone available to sit there,” Kayla said exasperated.

“Aw, Kayla, you sound stressed. I can play you a song on my harp…”

Kayla stopped him. That’s all she needed were the patients hearing harmonica music from the back. Realizing that just seeing him now would be easier than risking offending all their patients, she told him to just go ahead and sit down.

Steve grinned, “Excellent! That will cheer you up.”

Rolling her eyes, she walked over to him as he took his shirt off. She noted he was moving easier than before but it was obvious he was still in pain. Looking over his bruises on his chest and face, Kayla fought the urge to say anything about how bad they looked. The last thing he needed was sympathy.

Looking at his back, she checked his bandage and was pleased to see it looked good, all things considering. She took it off and replaced it with a fresh one. Once she was done, she realized something and turned towards Steve.

“Are you alright?”

Steve, who had been trying to think up something clever but not offensive to say was surprised by the question. He shrugged, “Yea, everything is good. Why?”

Kayla shrugged, “I don’t think you have gone this long before being conscious but not talking.”

Steve couldn’t resist the laughter, “Sure. You confuse me, baby, one minute you tell me to stop talking, than when I do, you want me to start up again.”

Kayla had opened up the exam curtain but turned towards him, clarifying, “I did not say I wanted you talking, it’s just that I noticed…”

“You noticed that you missed me talking,” Steve finished.

Kayla felt the anger well up inside her but before she could retort, she heard someone say, “Delivery for Kayla Brady.”

“Excuse me,” Kayla said as she walked off in a huff.

Steve took a gulp. The flowers were there. It was about time. It was past two. He heard some gasps from patients about the beauty of the roses. Peeking out to the waiting room, he found Kayla with her back to him reading the card. He held his breath. Suddenly he was glad all these people were there. That vase would not go well with his bruises.

To his relief and joy, Kayla smiled and said something he couldn’t hear but then she followed up with how beautiful they were. Then he was sure he heard, “He shouldn’t have.” Grinning, Steve stood up straighter, this was going much better than he expected.

Strutting out to the waiting room, Steve got out there just in time to hear Kayla tell Dr. Curtis that she got some roses…from Chris Kositchek. That stopped him cold and the air in him drained out.

“Those are really beautiful, Kayla.”

She nodded, “They are. I didn’t expect him to do this.”

Dr. Curtis smiled, “Does this mean you are getting back together?”

Kayla’s smile vanished. Looking back at them, “Oh, no. This was just a gesture. He’s just sweet like that.”

Steve looked at Kayla and then the flowers. He suddenly felt very tired and foolish. He glared at the flowers. Why would she think Chris sent them? His curiosity asked, “Those are from Chris you said?”

Kayla turned and looked at him. She knew the minute he had walked up behind her. She could always sense him near her like that. Interpreting the look on his face as guilt, Kayla said, “They are. I mean, there was no name on the note, but what he said is basically what he told me the other night.”

Steve was confused. What was she talking about? Kayla had been with him. Looking at her, he repeated, “The other night?”

Kayla nodded, “Yes, he stopped by while I was nursing you. He said some things…well the card is obviously from him.”

Kayla had stopped before repeating what Chris had said. She was angry at Steve and he could really push her buttons but she hated to be venomous to him. Judging by his face, he was obviously upset anyway, but why was he upset now? She heard him mumble, “No name on the card.”

“Steve?” she asked.

Steve looked at Kayla. He had forgotten to have the florist put his name down. Then he remembered what Hope said. She never expected a guy like Steve, no Patch, to send her anything like this. This brought out a laugh from him, he realized this was the second time he tried to give her flowers. The other time he had stolen them. She wasn’t fooled as he had left the name of the Chinese restaurant clearly on the bouquet. Now he does send her flowers, but it doesn’t even occur to her they could be from him. Not wanting to cry, Steve began to laugh instead.

Kayla’s eyes narrowed. Now this was more like the Steve she knew. “Well, Steve, I see you find it amusing. That’s fine. I think we are done here. Let’s see if we can take better care of ourselves.”

She nearly gasped when he turned suddenly at her with that intensive look and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll be taking better care of myself.”

Watching him stomp out, Kayla shook her head. She fought the desire to look through the window at him, making sure he was ok. She checked the clipboard to see who was next, and she called the patient’s name. Looking back at the roses, she did admit they were beautiful but she worried why Chris would send them to her. She hoped he wasn’t looking to get back together.

Chapter 5


Kayla was walking by the river docks on her way home, carrying the rose bouquet with her. She was troubled because the more she thought about it, the less she liked Chris sending her the flowers. She was hoping because they were yellow roses, where yellow signified friendship, he didn’t mean anything else by it.But what if he did? Kayla had wondered if she would get back with Chris when she came back to Salem. He was her first…well her real first. But the breakup was enough to send her to Cleveland, saying goodbye to her home, Salem. She knew when returning, there might be a chance there were some lingering feelings with him still.Now that she had been back for a couple of months, she knew it was really over. She had hardly thought of Chris since saying initial hellos. He had suggested a few friendly dinners and she was fine with it, but knew it couldn’t be more than that. She just hoped the flowers were just a thank you for helping Steve.

The name of Steve Johnson made her pick up her pace. Sometimes just thinking about him made her so angry. What was it about him that could push her buttons so easily? And more importantly, what was it about him that made her feel drawn to him.

Not drawn to him. She wasn’t drawn to him, she mentally corrected. It was more like, just fascinated. He was so different than any other man she had met. His usual attitude irritated her but sometimes she could swear there was a look on his face that told her he didn’t mean it. And though she wished he would have at least thanked her for personally nursing him instead of making the unsavory remarks she got instead, she knew she would never forget what was under his patch. And the fear he had for her to see that vulnerability. How can a man get such a wound?

“Kayla!”

Kayla looked up in time to see she was about to run right into Hope. She smiled big, “Hope! Hi!”

Hope grinned at her friend and laughed, “Well, it’s no wonder you almost ran into me! Look at these flowers!”

Kayla nodded, slightly embarrassed, “Yea, they arrived at the center today. Chris sent them.”

Hope’s eyes grew wide, “Really?”

Kayla nodded. Deciding she could ask Hope her opinion, Kayla asked, “Yeah, I’m wondering something. I first thought he sent them for friendship. He can be really sweet like that. But now I worry…do you think he wants something more?”

“Well, Kayla, let me ask,” Hope inquired, “what if he does? Do you want to get back together with him?”

Judging by the look on Kayla’s face, Hope knew the answer before her sister-in-law answered, “No, I don’t. I admit I wondered when I first came back if there was anything still there, but…it’s over. But I was going to go over to Shenanigans and thank him. I just don’t know if I should be prepared to simply thank him or let him down gently.”

Hope thought about it, “Well, what did the card say?”

Kayla let her read it, and then she filled her in on how Chris found out Kayla was helping Steve the other night. On hearing about Steve, Hope became very interested. She asked, “You nursed Steve’s wounds?”

Hope was surprised to see Kayla blush. She held back a smile.

Kayla, suddenly very interested in the flowers, said, “Well, he was…he was hurt really badly. He needed medical attention. He refused the hospital, what was I supposed to do?”

Hope watched Kayla. Her friend was acting very strange now that they were talking about Steve. The brunette said, “You know, I saw him yesterday. He looked pretty bad. I asked him about it but he wouldn’t admit where he got them.”

Kayla’s eyes narrowed, “Not to me either. Who knows what he got into? He came by the clinic today. He was acting…well, he was acting like himself until these flowers arrived, then he got upset.”

Hope thought about the card. There had been no name. Remembering what she told Steve yesterday about how Kayla should be treated, she had a good idea what had gotten Steve upset. But she couldn’t be absolutely sure that Steve had sent the roses or if Chris did. Not certain how Kayla would react if Steve had sent them, Hope decided to attempt to be subtle.

“Well, Steve has his problems; I try to let them go most of the time. He’s….well, he can be a nice guy when he needs to be.”

Kayla listened, she wanted to ask more. Hope knew a lot more about Steve than she would say. Before she could do so, Hope said, “Well, I have to get to the market. I’ve got…some errands there.”

Kayla nodded, “Yes, and I need to get these home first. Then I’m going to head to see Chris.”

Before she walked off, Hope stopped her, “Um Kayla? Maybe you..maybe you should stop by the florist first.”

“Why?”

Hope, trying to sound indifferent, “I saw there was no name on the card. It wouldn’t hurt to make sure it was Chris, you know? They could tell you.”

“Oh, Hope,” Kayla said, in a doubtful tone, “I’m sure it was him. Who else could it be?”

Hope said, “Well, it can’t hurt to ask. Isn’t the florist on your way to Shenanigans?” At Kayla’s nod, Hope went on. “Besides, if it was Chris maybe the florist can tell you in what way he sent the flowers.”

That got Kayla thinking, “That’s a good idea.”

Hope nodded, “In fact, he might not have even asked for anything in particular, he just paid some money so they used the yellow roses.”

Kayla agreed, it was a good idea, “You’re right. Ok, I’m going to stop there first.”

Hope watched Kayla leave. She hoped she did the right thing. Steve wasn’t someone she was absolutely sure she could trust to always do the right thing, but he wasn’t a bad guy either and maybe Kayla was just the right person to help him with that.

Realizing she didn’t have time to stand there, she quickly ran off, immediately shifting mental gears to the huge task she had to do that evening. Not sure if she could actually pull it off.

Kayla arrived at the florist shop. She had already been home, changed ,and made sure the roses had plenty of water. On the way over, he mind went back and forth over Chris wanting to possibly be more than friends and what Hope said about Steve. Both thoughts were making her nervous and she didn’t understand why. At least, she didn’t understand why when thinking about Steve’s hard life she would become so sad for him.

“May I help you?” a friendly voice greeted her.

Kayla smiled at the florist. She seemed helpful. The flowers were beautiful! Oh, she was going to have to remember to get some, but now wasn’t the time.

“Hello, I was hoping you could help me?” Kayla answered.

“I can try, Miss.”

Clearing her throat, Kayla said, “This afternoon I received some yellow roses from this shop. They went to the emergency center on the riverfront?”

“Oh, I hope nothing was wrong, ma’am!”

Kayla shook her head, “Oh, no! They were, are, beautiful,” smiling now, she said, “I just hoped, see there was no name on the card and could you tell me who sent them?”

The lady smiled. She remembered Steve but of course didn’t know his name. Shaking her head, she said, “I’m sorry, he didn’t leave his name. He came in, and ordered the flowers and paid in cash.”

“Ok, thank you,” Kayla said, feeling dejected, “I guess you wouldn’t remember him? You probably get a lot of orders a day.”

“Actually,” the lady said, “he was memorable. I mean, when he walked in here with that patch on his face and him all beaten up like that, I can’t imagine who wouldn’t notice him.”

Kayla was silent. She felt the blood drain from her face. Steve? Steve Johnson ordered them? But he had been there when they came. Kayla now comprehended why Steve left the way he did because she had mistakenly assumed they were from Chris.

“Ma’am, are you alright?”

Kayla looked up at the woman, “Oh, yes, I’m fine. I just…you said he had a patch on his eye?”

The woman smiled, “Yes, he did. I feel so bad when he first walked in because…well I thought he was going to be…well, I didn’t treat him right. But he was really nice. Actually he was so cute about the whole thing. He kept trying to come up with what to say on the card. He messed up and I wound up writing it for him.”

“Really?” Kayla asked, hardly believing it.

“Yes, after I wrote it down, he left so quickly he didn’t leave his name. I hope you enjoyed them.”

“I did,” Kayla said quietly, “they were beautiful.”

“Good, he did say they were for a lady who was special,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

Kayla, feeling very warm, knew she needed air. Walking towards the door, she said quickly, “Thank you, that is…thanks. Um, I’m glad… you have been very helpful.”

Chapter 6

Kayla looked up at Steve’s door from the bottom of the stairs. Her mind was reeling since finding out that Steve had sent the flowers. Kayla’s face burned thinking of how she acted earlier. The guilt Kayla felt was unbearable, but it was also matched by an equal amount of confusion.

Knowing the flowers were from Steve made a huge difference to the way she looked at them. She rushed right over here after the florist informed her it was Steve, but her first desire was to go back and look at them again. In her haste to leave the shop, Kayla had forgotten to ask if it was Steve’s idea for the roses or the florist herself.

And to hear the lady talk about Steve like that gave Kayla a weird feeling in her heart. She used words like “nice” and “cute” which were not something Kayla had ever heard used in reference to Steve. Looking up at the door now, she was wondering how to go about apologizing to him. She knew when he left the clinic that something was wrong, and there was no doubt in Kayla’s mind there was real hurt in his face.

Kayla blinked when she realized she was standing in front of the door. She hadn’t remembered even climbing the steps. Standing there, music was coming from inside the apartment, no doubt Steve playing his harmonica. Hearing the sad song, Kayla hated to think she might be the cause of it.

Knocking on the door, Kayla held her breath. Hearing the music stop, she waited for Steve to open the door. She was very nervous, more now than she was the first time she stopped by his place to check his head injury. That time she was returning the favor, checking on him after he saved Bo’s life. Now, she was going to admit she was wrong and have to thank him and apologize. There was no telling how Steve was going to behave. She knew what she wanted to say but that wasn’t the problem. Knowing what you wanted to tell Steve and keeping yourself from going off on a complete rant instead was easier said than done. On that thought, the door flew open and Kayla saw Steve looking not entirely pleased to see her.

“Well, Ms. Brady, what do I owe this pleasure?” he asked.

Kayla opened her mouth but made the mistake of glancing down at his shirtless chest and lost her train of thought. Pulling herself together, she asked, “Can I come in?”

“Why?”

Kayla took a deep breath; this was going to be a lot harder than she thought. She knew going in that Steve was going to be difficult to deal with, and Kayla was in no position to argue with that. Yet he was wrong if he thought he could bully her out of speaking her mind especially when it was an apology!

“Because…because I need to talk to you.”

Steve eyed Kayla suspiciously, “So talk.”

Kayla looked him hard in the eye, and said, “Please, Steve?”

Steve sighed. He couldn’t say no to that. He gestured for her to come in and he followed her down the stairs. She turned to face him and before he could say something smart, he saw the look on her face which made him freeze and listen.

“Steve, I’m sorry. I found out it was you who sent the roses. I wanted to thank you for them, and apologize about my attitude earlier when I received them…”

“What makes you think I bought the roses?” Steve asked but his voice was a whisper. “Are you sure it’s not your boyfriend, Chris?”

Kayla sighed, “I told you he isn’t my boyfriend. Anyway I asked at the shop. I wanted to know for sure, and when I heard you sent them,” Kayla decided to be truthful, “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Steve felt a blush creep up on his face and for once blessed the dim lighting in the room. He wanted to say something, but suddenly his voice left his body and he turned away, not wanting to face her.

“Steve?” Kayla asked, seeing his back. She fought the urge to touch his bruises, they still looked horrible and she told herself she was only looking because of her nurse’s instinct. She continued, “Steve, why didn’t you tell me at the clinic?”

Would you have believed me? Steve thought but he didn’t answer.

Kayla asked another question, “Why did you send me flowers?”

Steve started, “Because when you were here, you treated me…”

He turned to look at her, and he suddenly decided not to follow through with it. Instead he said, “You treated me just the way I like it, baby, and so I wanted to make sure you got on the Steve Johnson appreciation plan. A woman who spends the night and treats me right gets her first dozen flowers free.”

Kayla felt the frustration grow at each word he said. “Stop it, Steve! Don’t tell me that…why do you do that?”

“Do what, Sweetness?” he made sure to leer enough at her where he knew she would be uncomfortable. It worked.

Kayla cried, “Why do I bother? I thought I could come here in an adult fashion and talk to you like real adults do.”

Steve could never resist an opening like that, “I know what else adults do, Sweetness. For a change we can try that.”

She almost slapped him on that one. She was just about to when she heard his phone ring. He grinned at her and picked up the receiver.

Kayla was going to leave at that, but the stubbornness she felt got the better of her. He might have deserved an apology, but she still deserved him to answer her truthfully about the roses. She waited for him to get off the phone, while the anger in her was steadily bubbling.

Until she realized he was talking to Hope.

“Hope, I’m not sure I understand, why do I have to come over?” Steve said, looking confused.

“Please, Steve, I don’t have time to explain. Please, I…will you come?”

Steve wanted to tell her no, let Bo help her, but remembering that she was pregnant, he knew he couldn’t take that chance, “Hope, are you okay? Are you hurt?”

He noticed Kayla had changed her stance and was standing closer to him.

“I’m…please Steve. Just come? Come to the Kirakis house.”

“Ok, I’ll be there.” He then hung up the phone.

“What is it? What’s wrong with Hope?” Kayla asked.

“I don’t know. I just…” Steve didn’t know what to tell Kayla. He had promised not to say anything about the baby, if that was about the baby, and she sounded really upset. Grabbing a shirt, he said, “I have to go. This fight is going to have to wait.”

“I’m going with you,” Kayla said.

“Kayla,” he started to tell her not to and then realized it was actually a good idea, “You know, you’re right.”

Hearing him say that nearly had Kayla falling off the railing outside his apartment. “What?” she asked.

Locking his door he said, “If she is hurt, we might need a nurse.”

Kayla kept her mouth shut; there wasn’t time for a fight. She did, however, take a moment to reflect that the man named Steve Johnson was such an enigma.

Chapter 7


Hope knew she was in trouble in more ways than one. When Steve arrived, he was probably going to kill her. She had to risk it though. His background in this special area could be the only thing to pull her out of this jam, and possibly get Victor off Bo’s back.Hearing the doorbell ring, Hope ran to the front door. She had forgotten to tell Steve to come to rear entrance and was cursing herself knowing the commotion he made. Luckily, it was just her in the house as Victor and Bo were out. The butler was also away at that moment tending to an errand for Victor for that evening’s party.By the time she made it to the door, Steve was just about to kick the door in.“Steve!” Hope cried, glad to see she made it in time. “Be careful!”

Kayla and Steve rushed in and immediately started asking questions. Steve was more worried as he had concern for her and the baby. Kayla also had a list of questions of her own, especially why Hope would call Steve of all people.

Not expecting Kayla, Hope tried to calm her guests down; she only had a little over four hours.

Once Steve realized that Hope nor the baby were actually hurt, he became angry. Stomping around, he said, “What was the big hurry, Hope? You look fine to me! What the hell…”Hope cut him off, “Steve, please! There isn’t time. Follow me to the kitchen.”

Steve and Kayla looked at each other, confused but did as they were told. In the kitchen they walked into the biggest mess they have ever seen. Hope stopped and stood in the doorway, the smell getting to her. Breathing in, the nausea hit her and she had to hold a bit of her stomach to maintain control.

Forgetting his earlier anger, Steve worried again about the baby. Mistaking Hope’s touching her stomach for cramps, he said, “Hope? What is it? What’s wrong? It’s not the baby is it?”

Kayla, who was just about to ask Hope what was wrong herself, turned at that and said, “Baby? What…what are you talking about? What baby?”

Hope gave Steve a glare as realization dawned on Kayla’s face. Forgetting she needed a huge favor from Steve, she said, “Steve, I told you not to tell anyone.” Before Steve could respond to that, Hope then turned to Kayla and said, “Yes, I’m pregnant. The smell of this seafood…this lobster is really getting to me.”

Both Steve and Kayla started talking at the same time. Kayla asking how long Hope had been pregnant and why haven’t they told anyone. Steve asking exactly what was his purpose here.

Starting with Kayla, Hope quickly said, “Kayla, I’m sorry. With everything going on in our lives and the rest of the family, we decided to wait before we told anyone.”

“Well, then how does Steve know?” Kayla asked ignoring the hurt look Steve had at her tone.

“I’ll tell you later!” Hope said exhausted. She mentally cursed her hormones, she honestly felt like crying at this point. Looking at Steve, “Steve, I need your help. It’s a long story.”

Steve leaned up against the wall in his usual obtuse manner, but his face showed anger. Gesturing towards the kitchen, he said, “By all means, let’s hear it.”

“Steve, there isn’t time! Let me just say…” Hope began.

“I can guess what you want me to do here. And you scared me half to death! Now…you tell me the whole story, what this dinner is for, who is coming and why the hell you are in charge of it instead of a catering service. Cause unless the old man has lost his mind, I can’t believe he would put his daughter-in-law in charge of the kitchen, ever.”

Hope was glaring at Steve now. Kayla, for her part, was confused and upset at the whole situation. Though she hated Steve’s actual comments and had no idea what he was doing here, getting an explanation from Hope didn’t seem unreasonable.

Sighing, Hope went through the story. Last night the caterers had called to tell Victor they had accidentally double booked and they weren’t going to be able to provide their services. Apparently, Victor’s status and money couldn’t convince them to drop the other dinner, as it was for the Mayor. She remembered Victor’s cursing, which was rare for the usually in control man.

Hope had actually bit back the temptation to laugh. It was amusing and she thought her prayers had been answered. The dinner was going to have to be postponed after all. Quickly that thinking changed when Bo, who seemed just as upset that the dinner wouldn’t go on either, offered up Hope’s cooking talents as a substitute.

Victor was just as surprised as Hope with Bo’s words. He insisted that Hope had cooked for dinners in the past and made delicious meals. The food wasn’t going to have as much variety as the catering service, but she did know how to cook lobster and had an excellent recipe.

Victor kept glaring at Hope like he thought this was some trick. The anger Hope had towards Bo wasn’t nearly as strong at her resentment at Victor for doubting she could pull it off. Before she knew it, she was nodding saying she could easily handle the dinner. Victor wasn’t convinced by far, but he had no choice in the matter. His normal cook had been let go under unusual circumstances, and now the catering service wasn’t available. Unless he wanted to hire Caroline to make some clam chowder, this was it. He had asked what kind of lobster recipe she knew.

“I have served lobster with asparagus before,” she said coldly.

Victor thought on it and said, “Ok, a former employee of mine is a good pastry chef so he can handle the dessert, but I will have no choice to use you for the rest.”

Hope steamed but nodded her head. After Victor left them, Hope pulled Bo over and asked, “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Bo knew this was coming, “Fancy Face, you can make a good lobster dish. You have made it countless times before.”

Hope glared, “That was just for the two of us. I have no idea what to serve for…what? Twelve? With lobsters? And the appetizers, the soups, I can’t believe you have gotten me into…”

Bo took a deep breath, he had no choice. The people on this list read like a who’s who list of organized crime. If he could get them in the same room together, it was quite possible he could help bring down not just Victor but crime bosses all over the country. The dinner had to go on.

Looking at Hope, he wished he could share this with her. He didn’t dare. It was better she didn’t know anything, but convincing his wife of that was one of two different things. He said, “I know, I’m sorry. I wish. Can…can you just trust me on this please?”

Hope hated the look Bo was giving her now. She gave in but she knew part of it was she wanted to wipe the skeptical look off Victor’s face.

Starting out early that day, Hope had gone through all errands she needed to do for a 12 person dinner party. She looked up various recipes and ran to the Brady Market and got Shawn to agree he would deliver the lobster. She went through more checklists of making sure of other ingredients and had it delivered or picked it up herself. Since cost would be no problem, she had over-ordered to make sure she had backups in case anything got ruined. There was even a backup recipe using most of the ingredients in case disaster struck. With all that planning, the problem she encountered was something she never expected. Since being pregnant, Hope hadn’t eaten any seafood. Now was a lousy time to find out the smell, especially lobster, made her sick; strongly sick. She could hardly be in the room. She knew Steve could help her out, if she could convince him. It wasn’t going to be easy, but luckily he already knew about the baby coming. Calling Steve was the only thing she knew to do.

When Hope was done, she looked at the two people she hoped could help her. Kayla was now giving Hope a look of sympathy and no doubt was going to do everything she can to help out. Steve, who was still leaning up on the wall with his arms folded across his chest, gave a different reaction. He started laughing very hard. Kayla yelled at Steve that it wasn’t funny but Hope rolled her eyes. She should have expected nothing less.

“Not funny?” he asked. “How can it not be funny? I mean…look at the situation. Sweet Thing here gets herself tricked into doing a fancy dinner for a large number of guests who probably are expecting snails or something. She has no real experience at this but thinks by just buying two of everything she will be covered. Then when it’s time to actually start to make it, she finds out she can hardly come into the kitchen because the smell makes her want to vomit! I mean…seriously Hope. I think you should consider opening up a restaurant.”

Kayla glared at Steve as he fell back into another round of laughter while Hope rubbed her temple. Waiting a minute or two, Hope finally said, “Yes, I know it’s funny. I promise when this is all over, you can tease me all you want until the day I die, but right now, I need you to help me so get in here and please, help me cook this.”

The more Hope talked, the more Steve laughed, which annoyed Kayla, but she had to ask, “Steve cook the dinner? What makes you think…”

“Believe it or not, Steve is a great cook. He actually is a gourmet, I believe,” the look on Hope’s face told Kayla she was telling the truth but Kayla was having a harder time believing this than Steve sending her roses. Looking at Steve who was finally pulling himself together, she repeated, “A gourmet cook.”

“Sweetness, I’m an expert at two rooms in a house, and the kitchen is the other one.”

Kayla, disgusted, walked away from Steve. Hope was still looking at him and said, “Steve, are you going to help?”

“Why should I? It’s not like I am welcome in this home. I’m damned sure I’m not going to turn myself inside and out to help out Victor and Junior,” he said nastily.

“Steve, I know it’s a lot to ask…”

“Isn’t it, though?” he said, “I think you can head over to that burger joint down by the river docks, you can probably get the super family size and save some money…”

Kayla was furious, “Steve, why are you being like this? What is so important that you can’t help Hope out? Is it too much to ask…”

Steve cut her off, “Yes, it’s too much to ask. This isn’t me warming up a grilled cheese in the frying pan, baby. Look at this kitchen. Look at everything. It’s a mess. Not to mention I have no idea if Hope has the right ingredients…”

Hope who was holding back tears, said, “I do, Steve. I promise. What can I do to get you do…”

“Nothing, Hope. There is nothing you can do. Steve only thinks of himself. He’s incapable of doing anything nice for someone, isn’t that right, Steve?”

Steve got quiet then, hearing Kayla talk like that hurt more than he was willing to let on. He watched as Kayla marched over to the phone, saying, “You know what, Hope? I’ll call Chris. He’s a good cook too and I’m sure we can get him to come over…”

“Wait a minute,” Steve said as he grabbed Kayla’s hand before she touched the phone, “what would Kositchek know about cooking?”

Ignoring the sensations in her hand from Steve’s touch, Kayla looked at Steve very directly to get her point across. “Chris used to cook me dinners all the time, and I’m fairly confident that with his help…”

Steve laughed, ”Just cause he could make dinner for two doesn’t mean he can cook for a dozen, especially with the type of food Victor will expect.”

Hope snorted at that remark realizing the truth in it, but stated, “What else can we do though?”

Sighing, Steve looked at both women and shrugged, “I guess I will have to think about someone else for a change.”

Kayla met Steve’s gaze at the last part, knowing it was intended for her. She felt bad for throwing Chris’ name as it was a complete bluff. Steve did agree though now and maybe they could do this. She couldn’t let her sister-in-law down. Deep inside Kayla’s mind, there was a voice telling her she was not doing this for Hope’s sake, but to see Steve in action in the kitchen. She ignored it though as Steve started giving them both orders.

Chapter 8


Kayla was actually enjoying herself. She couldn’t believe it. If someone had told her the day before she would be in Victor Kirakis’ kitchen happily cooking up lobster with Steve Johnson and Hope Brady, she would have thought that person crazy.So far Steve had proven excellent in the kitchen, just as he said. After doing a quick inventory on all the food that Hope had bought, he had decided to throw out the recipe she had originally selected and instead chose to serve Lobster Au Gratin, saying the recipe was made for 12 people and worked better. The ingredients differed to Hope’s but it called for ordinary items and Steve checked to make sure the pantry was stocked with them.Steve would handle the main course himself and put Hope on the appetizer, a simple chicken wrap recipe which didn’t make her nauseous while Kayla was in charge of soup and salad. Kayla became slightly flustered as her cooking skills were novice at best and given the importance of the evening she had been really nervous in what she was doing.

To her surprise, Steve was really patient with her and showed her an easier way to cut lettuce. She would feel her cheeks flush every time Steve would “check” on her, which was much more often than he checked on Hope whose appetizers were slightly more difficult. He simply said he knew Hope could handle the wraps, but wanted to make sure Sweetness could handle her end of the soup and salads.

With less than an hour ago, everything looked good. Steve put the lobster meals into the oven, and insisted they could warm there until ready to be served.Hope still worried, “You sure they won’t burn?”

“Do you trust me or not?” Steve asked frustrated.

“I do, but…it’s just we’ve already cooked them…”

Steve sighed, “I picked this recipe because you can reheat them up before serving. It will be fine, I promise. Are you sure you will be okey to eat this meal? You still look green.”

Hope made a face at that, “I’ll have to, won’t I? These crackers help. I just hope no one notices.”

Kayla was standing to the side watching them interact, feeling an odd wave of jealousy at seeing how comfortable they were around each other. She knew Hope knew Steve fairly well, but she had no idea they could be so friendly with each other.

“So what does this taste like anyway?” Kayla asked curious.

Steve grinned, “Like lobster.”

Kayla, knowing Steve was teasing, replied, “Which I wouldn’t know.”

That surprised Steve, he said, “You mean you have never had lobster before?”

Kayla shook her head.

Steve couldn’t believe it, “How is that possible? I mean, your father is a fisherman, how can you not ever have lobster?”

“Well, when I was little I used to watch the live lobsters in the market. I…well, I hated the idea that we were selling anything live, so when my parents weren’t around, I used to set them free.”

The mental image popped in Steve’s mind and he cracked up laughing. Kayla looked hurt at first, but then realized it was probably funny. She smiled and said, “So I wasn’t really allowed in the store when lobster was in season.”

“I guess not.” Steve said, meeting Kayla’s gaze. They stared at each other for a beat until Hope jerked.

“Did you hear that?” the brunette asked.

Steve and Kayla tore their eyes away from each other to try to listen to what Hope heard. Voices down the hall let them know they were no longer alone in the house.

“Oh, God, Victor and Bo are back!” Hope exclaimed, “You two need to get out of here! They can’t see you.”

Steve said loudly, “Well that’s quite a thank you, Sweet Thing. Kayla and I work our butts off and you are going to take total credit…”

Hope wasn’t listening though. Victor and Bo were getting closer. Not thinking entirely clearly, she pushed Kayla and Steve into the nearby pantry, “Just shut up and get in here!”

Slamming the door on them, she heard Steve and Kayla make some noises and Steve attempting to talk. Hope said through the door, “Kayla, please get Steve to shut up.”

She heard some movement and then Steve making muffled sounds and hearing Kayla say “Just be quiet for once, Steve!”

“Please, Kayla, you need to be quiet too!” Hope whispered.

Turning to the door, she managed to stand near the oven where the smells of food were coming through strongly. She reminded herself if she breathed through her mouth she would be fine.

Walking through the door came Victor, Bo and James the butler who had also returned and was bringing in the desserts from the catering. Bo’s eyes were wide at the mess but they could see the food was pretty much ready. Bo had earlier had felt bad about pushing this off on Hope, but was really impressed with the look of the food.

“Wow, it looks great,” her husband declared.

“You say that as if you didn’t have faith in me, Brady,” Hope answered him giving him a look that he knew meant there was going to be consequences.

Bo laughed nervously but Victor answered, “I’m sure Bo had every confidence in you. I must say, I expected tonight to be disaster. I’m pleasantly surprised.”

“Thank you, Victor,” Hope said through gritted teeth, “Now, I’m sure you have things to do, and everything is ready and we must get ready for guests to arrive.”

“When will you be expected to serve?” asked Victor.

“The food is simply warming now, its already cooked. We can serve anytime.”

A noise suddenly came from the pantry and she heard a barely audible “Ow!” that was no doubt Steve. Trying to be nonchalant as possible, Hope walked in front of the pantry doors and again insisted everyone leave the kitchen to get ready.

To her relief, Victor agreed as well. He instructed the butler to continue get the dining room set up and set up the bar for cocktails. Victor gave Hope one last look which was just as unreadable as his other expressions as he and the butler left the kitchen. Bo began to follow but when he saw that Hope wasn’t behind him, he stopped.

“Aren’t you coming?” he asked.

“Soon. I’ll be there soon.”

Bo grimaced, mistaking her distracted looks for anger at him. Sighing he walked back to Hope and said, “I’m sorry, Fancy Face. I really am. I know this was a lot to ask but…it’s going to be worth it in the end. You’ll see.”

Hope’s eyes narrowed, “What do you mean?”

“Nothing,” Bo said, clearing his throat, “Come on, you need to take your shower first. Let’s go.”

“Well, um, okay. I’ll be there in about five minutes.” She smiled really big trying to be as convincing as she could. “I have to talk to James about how to serve the dinner.”

Bo didn’t look entirely convinced but decided to leave anyway.

Knowing she didn’t have a long time, she crept over at the pantry and was surprised at how quiet it was. Before she could open the door, she heard a cough behind her.

Jumping straight in the air, Hope turned and looked at James who was standing in the kitchen now, “What did you need to tell me, Mrs. Brady?”

Cursing his quickness, she told him her instructions were for the dining room and she would be there in one second. He looked at her quizzically but left. Quickly Hope turned back to the pantry and whispered, “Okay, wait about one minute and then leave out quietly out through the back! Thanks for being so quiet!”

She then chased after James. In the dining room, they stood as Hope tried to think up something, anything, to tell him. Looking around, she finally told him it would be best to serve the food right after he takes it from the oven.

“Yes ma’am, I do know that.”

“Right,” Hope said, kicking herself for such a stupid remark, “I’m, I guess it’s just that I also needed you to know that….the appetizers might not work well on these serving trays.

The blank look he gave her told her nothing but he finally said, “Is that all, Mrs. Brady?”

“Yes, James, yes,” she said. He began walking back towards the kitchen, “Wait! Where are you going?”

“To the kitchen, Ma’am. I was going to…”

“No, don’t do that yet. Just, um, oh, I know!” she said as inspiration struck, “I’d like you to get me a wine list of the available wines from the cellar so we know exactly what to serve.”

“The master likes to choose the wine, Mrs. Brady.”

Hope’s eyes narrowed at this, “Well when the master begins cooking his own meals, than he can go back to choosing the wine. Please, I need to see a list.”

As usual, James tone revealed nothing of how he felt as he said, “As you wish, Mrs. Brady.”

Watching him walk off, Hope lowered her head in her hands as she let out a sigh. The cooking was done but so far nothing was any easier. Just then, she heard a crash coming from the kitchen.

Running back, Hope found Steve and Kayla sprawled on the floor. Both were turned sideways but were tangled in each other’s arms. Their faces were as red as….well lobsters actually, and Hope had a big suspicion just what Kayla did to keep Steve from talking. It didn’t look like it had been a big sacrifice for her.

Not wanting to get into it with them, and the last thing she needed was Bo to see them like this, she ordered them to get up and get out. For once Steve really had nothing to say, and he helped Kayla off the floor and both of them left in a hurry. If Hope had been in a better mood, she would have chuckled that Kayla managed to do the impossible and render Steve speechless.

Chapter 9


“I guess not,” Steve said, his eyes never leaving Kayla’s.
Kayla felt heat rise in her cheeks as Steve stared back but she couldn’t bring herself to tear her eyes away. She looked down to his lips which were curled up in that same smirk he usually wore but for some reason Kayla found especially attractive. Her mind was going crazy trying to think of something to say, to continue their conversation, but her body was content at just staring.“Did you hear that?”

Remembering she and Steve weren’t the only two people in the room, Kayla tried to concentrate to listen. Voices were echoing down the hall and Kayla briefly worried she would have to see Victor.

The worry wasn’t needed as Hope began panicking and wanted them out of there. Steve started arguing with her and Kayla didn’t have time to listen to all the conversation because Hope was actually pushing them into the pantry. Kayla started her protests but the wild look in Hope’s eyes almost scared her. Steve went in first, followed by Kayla and before the pantry door shut, Kayla wondered if there was even enough room for the both of them.The answer was no. The pantry was a good size and plenty of room for one person but with Steve and Kayla packed in there together and all the food that had been bought for the party, they were practically on top of each other.Steve made a noise as he felt the shelves in his back push into his bandage which really hurt. He adjusted his stance but found the more he did that, the more he brushed up against Kayla which…didn’t hurt Not sure why, he suddenly started putting all his body weight towards the shelves.

Getting angry, Steve asked to get out. He couldn’t…wouldn’t deal with this. He heard Kayla shushing him, but he was more aware of her breath on his throat. He heard Hope say something to Kayla about shutting him up and the next thing he knew a hand was pressed against his lips. His first reaction was to ask what she thought she was doing but it came out muffled.

Kayla’s said, “Just be quiet for once, Steve!” All Steve could think about was that in a room full of food, Kayla’s scent was the thing to over power him. Steve closed his eyes, mentally wishing Kayla would remove her hand.

Kayla was having a hard time breathing. She had meant to shut up Steve but his breath and feel of his lips against her hand was….distracting. Removing it, she realized Steve must be leaning up against the shelves which couldn’t be good for him.

She tried to move to the side some so Steve could sidestep and maybe they would have more room. Steve followed but when Kayla’s foot hit an object on the floor, her defense reaction was to jerk back which only brought her closer to Steve. Kayla told herself she threw her arms around Steve’s waist to steady herself. Unfortunately they were right over Steve’s bruises.

“Ow!” escaped his mouth, and Kayla flinched as she knew that was her fault. Kayla leaned up to Steve and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” She didn’t remove her arms though.

Steve didn’t feel anymore pain. Kayla was so close. Her breath was on his cheek. He shook his head no to tell her he was alright. The lighting in the pantry was very dim but he could make out her eyes. Trying to get some distance between them, Steve leaned his head back but that only served to give him a better view of her face.

Kayla arms had started reaching around to Steve’s back. Before she knew it, she began rubbing her hands slightly in little circles. Steve’s breath began increasing and Kayla attempted to stop. For all she knew she was making the pain hurt worse. But he wasn’t complaining. The look on his face looked far from complaining in fact. Kayla glanced at his lips which were very close. Closer than they ever had been. She saw his head dip down and without knowing what she was doing, she reached up.

Their lips met briefly. Kayla’s heart skipped a beat and before she could think. Steve leaned in and kissed her again. Having no control over her body, Kayla’s mouth welcomed him while her arms circled up over his shoulders, at last caressing his hair with her fingers. As the kiss deepened, Steve’s arms slid down her side and one hand reached around and began massaging the lower part of back, matching the pace of the kiss. Kayla barely managed to hold back a groan as she leaned in to him.

They allowed for only one second to separate to catch a needed breath of air then they were back tasting each other again. Kayla didn’t hear Hope gently knock on the door and tell them when they could leave. She didn’t hear her sister-in-law thank them for being so quiet. Kayla didn’t hear anything but her own heartbeat.

Steve’s other hand managed to raise up and reach behind Kayla’s head, dipping it back so he could taste her better. Coherent thought left him; any pain from his injuries was gone as pleasure from touching Kayla was overtaking him. Kayla couldn’t hold back the moans anymore and hearing them quickened Steve’s pace. He pulled her to him tighter and their bodies fit perfectly. Losing feeling in his legs, he leaned to his right and Kayla went with him.

Literally. The rush of falling all the way to the ground shocked them enough to stop what they were doing. Steve had managed to take most of the blunt of the fall but Kayla was still in his arms. The reality of what just happened paralyzed them where they were. Kayla wanted to ask Steve if he was okay, but she was still very close to him and her body began leaning in again.

Hope’s sudden presence stopped her. Kayla knew what it must look like to her. Hope was ordering them out of the kitchen, out the door in fact. It took all her strength to pull herself away from Steve. They both got up and Kayla couldn’t bring herself to look at either one of them. She started out the door as Hope told her not to forget her purse. Steve managed to grab it for her, but he had to tell himself to hold onto it firmly because he didn’t have a lot of strength right now. His mind was still not caught up with what was going on, and he shook his head to clear it. Not sure if it was lucky or not, Steve and Kayla had to hurry so fast to get away from the Kiriakis grounds that there was no time for them to really absorb what just happened.

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