CDTH Chapters 20-29

Chapter 20

“Bo, I hardly think we had to literally run over here to Kayla’s!” Hope said, getting in the elevator while Bo closed the doors and pushed the button.

Bo’s silence spoke volumes on how he felt on the matter. Last night, she and Bo had managed to fight a little more but then make up a lot. She honestly expected him to be dead to the world this morning, but they only overslept a little bit before he was shaking her awake and telling her they needed to hurry and get ready. Bo wanted to check on Kayla.

“What’s taking this thing so long?” Bo griped. He just knew Steve was still at Kayla’s and the thought had driven him insane on the way over. Hearing Hope telling him to call down, Bo shook his head, “No, I will not calm down. You know Steve and you know Kayla. I know that bum is going to do all he can to trick Kayla into…well whatever.”

“I think your sister can handle Steve fine,” Hope said without thinking.

“What?” Bo asked.

Quickly, Hope cleared her throat, “Nothing. Just….nothing.”

“No, what? When has Kayla ever really handled Steve?”

Taking advantage of the fact the elevator had stopped, Hope began pulling back the door, “Oh, look. Here we are. Coming?”

Bo glared at his wife now knowing she knew something he didn’t. Walking the four steps to get to Kayla’s door, Bo took out his key. When they told Kayla she could have their old place, Bo still had kept one of the extra keys. Realizing he was just going to walk in unannounced, Hope began admonishing him, “Bo! You aren’t just going to walk in there without knocking!”

“Sure I am. Technically it’s our place.”

“That’s bull and you know it, Brady! We are going to knock like civilized people.”

“Steve isn’t civilized,” Bo shot back but then shrugged. “Fine, you want us to knock, we’ll knock.” Taking his hand, he knocked 3 times in rapid succession, waited 2 seconds then unlocked and opened the door. Hope was just about to yell at Bo again when the sight before them shocked even her speechless.

Right before them were Steve and Kayla in a passionate embrace. Hope had remembered Steve and Kayla literally falling out of the pantry and it had occurred to her their attraction for each other had gotten the better of them, but seeing it with her own eyes was another matter. She was embarrassed to be seeing such a private moment.

However, that embarrassment was nothing compared to what she felt when her husband marched over to the two, yelling at Steve and then punching him once they were separated.

Coming to her senses, Hope yelled, “Bo, Stop!” By now Bo was raving madly at Steve, and was heading towards the older man to hit him again. Steve was now fully aware of Bo’s presence and met her husband with his own fist. Before Hope knew it, both men were in a full fledged fight, and Steve was proving that Bo’s earlier boast that he could take Steve on without getting a scratch on him was a very false claim.

Kayla by now realized she had a pregnant lady screaming in her living room and two adult men, now acting like children, fighting all over her furniture. Wanting to stop the proceedings and realizing it was possible Hope could get hurt too, she ran over by the door, pulled the fire extinguisher off the shelf and sprayed it straight on Bo and Steve. Both men stopped in complete shock.

Bo was the first to ask, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I might as well ask you that,” Kayla said livid. “How dare you come into my home, unannounced and start a fight!”

Both men got up off the floor while still glaring at each other. Bo pointed at Steve, “I don’t know how he tricked you, but I’m not about to let my sister get involved…”

Kayla, still armed with her weapon, marched over to Bo with a look that he knew meant business. Pushing the extinguisher into his gut, she said, “You have no control over who I may or may not get involved with. To say it’s none of your business is an understatement. Now again, what are you two doing here?”

“We were checking on you, Sis!” Bo said, clearly not understanding how he was the bad guy. “Look, I don’t know how Steve got you into this position, but believe me, I know the guy…”

“You know nothing,” Kayla interrupted, “for your information, I kissed him.”

Bo had to keep himself from falling down at Kayla’s revelation, “You kissed him!”

“Yes, I did,” Kayla said, feeling herself blush as the realization that she was the one to initiate everything fully hitting her. Not wishing to deal with that now, she handed Bo the extinguisher and walked away, “You owe me another fire extinguisher.”

That last remark of Kayla’s, along with the look on Bo’s face, made Steve and Hope crack up laughing. Once Kayla started in on Bo, Steve had wandered over to Hope and the two had watched with amusement at the sibling squabble.

“Why are you laughing, I’m mad at you two as well” Kayla said leaving Hope and Steve to question why. “Hope, how can you let Bo come barreling in here like that? And you two walked in without knocking.”

Bo never one to learn to keep his mouth shut, shouted, “We knocked!” Kayla’s glance over at him made him look down at his feet and sheepishly admit, “Sort of.”

Kayla turned back to the other two, “And Steve, don’t you dare get in a fight in my living room with my own brother!”

Steve couldn’t believe she was yelling at him for that, “He started it!”

“I don’t care. I will not have people beating themselves up in my home, especially two people I care about.” The last phrase made everyone look at her and Kayla hoped she wasn’t blushing as much as she felt like she was. Steve didn’t have time to realize the implication of what Kayla said as Hope decided it was time to change the subject, “Well, believe it or not, there is another reason we came over here. Bo, do you want to tell them or should I?”

Bo, putting the fire extinguisher down, decided he couldn’t deal with bringing his father down and trying to protect his sisterm pulled out the film Steve gave him last night. Bo explained, “Last night after we got home, Victor was up waiting for us. Now, I’m fairly certain he bought our night-on-the-town story, but the next step is to get this film developed and obviously I just can’t walk into the nearest drug store and ask them to print this up.”

“So develop them yourself, Beauregard?” Steve said snidely, knowing Bo knew what to do.

“I will, Steve, but I need a private dark room to develop the pictures, so I was hoping,” he paused as he looked at Kayla, “we could do it here.”

Kayla, who still looked mad as hell, shrugged and said, “What are sisters for?”

“Good,” Bo said, feeling awkward. Glaring at Steve, he added, “I guess you can go now.”

Glaring back at Bo, Steve answered, “Just be glad my ankle still hurts and I can’t come over there and kick your a–” he was interrupted by both Kayla and Hope yelling his name.

Hearing the phone ring, Kayla welcomed it, needing a break. Her face went white as she recognized the caller on the phone.

“Ye- Yes, he’s here,” Kayla said, then headed the phone to Bo. “It’s for you, it’s Victor.”

Everyone looked at Bo but he was just as shocked as they were. Taking the receiver he answered the phone in the most nonchalant way he could.

“Bo,” Victor said on the line, “I hope I’m not intruding, James said you and Hope had gone to visit Kayla this morning.”

“Yes, we did,” Bo replied.

“I hate to interrupt you visiting your sister, but I need your help.”

“You do?”

“Yes, apparently, we have had some trouble with obvious trespassing in one of my warehouses. Now, I know nothing was stolen but I need to find out who was there. I was hoping to use your skills.”

Bo’s mouth went dry, he stalled, “Victor, I’m not sure I’m the right person. We are here with Kay and surely you have someone who can…”

“I know it’s a lot to ask, Bo, but I need someone I can trust on this. It’s a very…sensitive matter.”

Knowing it would be incredibly suspicious to back down, Bo accepted, “Okay, I’ll be over there.” He then listened to Victor tell him which pier to meet him, something that Bo already knew but he played along.

Hanging up the phone, Bo faced his wife, sister and Steve. Telling them about the conversation he just had with the old man, both Hope and Kayla immediately began worrying and wondered how he could agree. Hope knew the situation could let Bo accidentally let on he knew who was behind the break-in while Kayla worried that they were on to Steve.

Amazingly, it was Steve who came to Bo’s defense, “He had no choice.” The room went silent at Steve’s remark and he rolled his eye at their disbelief that he could provide an unbiased opinion. “Victor would absolutely suspect Bo if he didn’t jump in to help plus it provides him with an opportunity to hide it was me.”

It was agreed then. However, there was still the matter of developing the pictures, this is where Steve surprised them once more. “Give me the film, I’ll do it.”

Sighing at their look, he shrugged and said, “Bo knows I know how to develop pictures. We both learned together. It was while we were in the merchant marines.”

Swallowing, Bo couldn’t believe the turn fate had taken. Not just trusting Steve with his sister but with processing the evidence as well. Of course getting that evidence was all due to Steve anyway, Bo admitted to himself, so he reluctantly gave the film to his former friend.

“Thanks,” Steve said taking it. “Now did you bring the supplies we need?”

Bo’s eyes got wide realizing he hadn’t bought anything yet. “Um, no. We hadn’t gotten them yet.”

“Why not? Why come all this way to use her bathroom as a darkroom if you didn’t bring any…oh,” Steve stopped realizing the reason, “had to come and make sure I was gone first right?”

Bo shrugged, “I just forgot…look, I have to go.”

Everyone watched as Bo left through the door while Hope and Kayla turned towards Steve who was grinning from ear to ear, “Let’s go shopping, shall we?”

Chapter 21

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Hope asked Steve for what felt like the 15th time.

“Yes, Hope,” Steve said tiredly, “I promise I know what I’m doing.”

“Well, it’s the second batch we have made from the negatives, the first were all so blurry,” Hope said, trying to sound optimistic.

“I’m a bit rusty, it’s not like I do this on a regular basis, Sweet Thing,” Steve replied.

Kayla watched Steve as he worked on the pictures and talked to Hope. It wasn’t bickering really, more like two friends speaking about a project that was due. Kayla was learning that when Steve started on any project, he threw himself wholeheartedly into it, such as the way he shopped for the supplies earlier that morning. Bo had forgotten to give them a list but luckily Steve knew what to get.

With all the rushing to get back to her loft, Kayla hadn’t had time to reflect on what had happened the past 24 hours. If she wanted to be completely fair, the past week had been eventful enough. Her whole perception on so many things had changed, especially towards Steve. As she watched him work in her bathroom developing pictures with such intense concentration Kayla could hardly believe it was the same man who last week she saw stealing toilet paper from the restaurant he lived under. With the dim lighting, Kayla could barely make out his jaw line. Her eyes followed the patch strap through his hair and she fought back the urge to run her fingers through it.

“Kayla!” Steve said annoyed, “are you going to grab this or not?”

Snapping out of her thoughts, Kayla realized Steve was asking her to help remove the pictures using the tongs. Hoping they couldn’t see her blushing, she was just thankful she had kept her hand from shaking. Feeling Steve’s breath on her neck, Kayla swallowed as he leaned in and whispered, “Easily distracted, Sweetness?”

More angry at herself for actually enjoying such attention from Steve, she asked, “Where did you learn to do this?”

Steve smiled at Kayla’s uneven voice. He was so glad he could affect her as much as she did to him. It was only fair, after all. Answering her, he said, “There was a guy in the merchant marines who taught Bo and me.”

“Really?” Hope asked, always curious to hear stories of her husband.

“Yea, this guy was into…taking pictures,” Steve looked up at Hope and Kayla’s faces which clearly were waiting to hear of what. He couldn’t help but smirk and shrug to say, “Let’s say they weren’t the cleanest pictures.”

Hope immediately got Steve’s remark but Kayla started to ask how they could be dirty until she caught herself. Making eye contact with Steve, she realized he knew she had been slow to figure it out and her cheeks blushed again but this time she held his gaze. It was Hope that broke their concentration.

“These are much clearer.”

All three glanced at the pictures and they immediately began remarking on who they could make out. A few faces were very clear and were definitely in the same shot as the drugs. Steve pointed to one in particular, “This guy, he works at the freight company. Victor puts a lot of trust in him and now we have him caught red-handed.”

Kayla was confused, “But how does that help if we don’t have any pictures of Victor?”

Hope helped clear it up, “This should be enough evidence to arrest at least this guy and maybe the police can persuade him to roll over on Victor or someone who can.”

Steve nodded, “Maybe, though someone at the police will have to care enough to try.”

Both Hope and Kayla got angry at Steve’s flippant remark but he defended his position, “If the police weren’t already in the old man’s pocket, they could have brought the guy down a long time ago.”

Hope knew there was no point to arguing with Steve on this issue, but Kayla took the statements more personally, “My brother is the captain of the police and I resent the implication he could be bought.”

“No, Captain Brady would never do that,” Steve said while saluting her.

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing, Sweetness. You Bradys are always on the right side and wouldn’t even consider doing anything outside the rulebook.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Kayla said annoyed. “A second ago you were accusing the cops of being dirty and now Roman being honest is a bad thing too?”

Hope was growing tired of this, knowing her husband was in the lion’s den and they were wasting time arguing. “Can we skip this argument and talk about what we are going to do?”

Steve was cleaning up the supplies while he shrugged, “We? I’m done. Bo is welcome to march this over to the police when he gets back.”

“You aren’t going to go with him?” Kayla questioned, getting angry.

“Trust me, Sweetness, if I went with him, it would hurt his cause not help it.”

“Why?”

“The police don’t listen to guys like me, baby.”

“Roman would, especially if Hope and Bo went too.”

Hope had been actually thinking about this very thing. She had a new idea, “Actually, I think it would be best if Steve went on his own.”

Both Steve and Kayla stopped to look at Hope, surprised. Steve snorted and said, “Like hell I will!”

“Now hear me out, Steve.” Hope said. “Since we don’t have direct evidence linking Victor to the drugs, it would be better if you went in as a third party and told them you wanted to get back at him for…firing you or whatever.”

Kayla corrected Hope, “He wasn’t fired, Steve quit.”

Steve looked at Kayla whose familer blush had returned to her cheeks. Looking back at Hope, he said, “Again, police won’t listen to me. All I have is some pictures linking Bluto here to drugs…”

“Which should be enough for an arrest for…Bluto,” Hope said, smiling at the nickname. “The pictures can also verify that the drugs were in one of Victor’s warehouses. If you tell them that Bluto could be flipped, they could get Victor.”

Steve felt like a broken record, “And who is going to believe me, Hope? All this is me just saying that Victor is involved in this. Sure, we can say this guy,” Steve paused to point at the picture, “was definitely there but it doesn’t prove Victor was.”

Kayla, trying to help, offered, “But the picture proves you were there! Surely with the pictures, your testimonies and later on Bo’s help they can arrest Victor.”

“Sweetness, once the realize I was there, who’s to say they won’t throw me in jail too? Bluto could actually switch the whole thing around and say I’m a part of the drug thing. I’ve worked for Victor in the past and though I technically didn’t do anything illegal for the old man, at least recently, it can be assumed since I worked for him I was part of this too.”

Kayla hated to hear about Steve working for Victor but she wasn’t willing to give up. “If I go with you, I can get you in to see Roman. He would listen. I know he would.”

Steve snorted, Roman had gone back to work with Marlena’s condition not really improving. Steve was sure seeing him waltz through Roman’s door would only further antagonize him.

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Kayla,” Hope said. She knew Bo wouldn’t want Kayla to get anymore involved than she already was. “You going to the police station would put you on the record about it, and that might leak back to Victor.”

Steve agreed, “Definitely, you are staying here, Sweetness.”

“Don’t you tell me what to do. And it sounds to me like I have no choice but to go, especially since you won’t.” Kayla went to grab her purse.

“You can’t be serious,” Steve said, and realizing that Kayla could get unwanted attention from Kiriakis, he tried to make a deal, “Okay, I’ll go if you stay out of it.”

Kayla hid a smile but knew there was no real way around that she still had to go, “I’m glad you are coming but I am involved now. And Roman probably is the only policeman who will listen to us with the evidence we have. Roman will listen if I’m there.”

Steve was telling Kayla she was not going to the police station with him but the blond was ignoring him. Turning to Hope, Kayla said, “You probably need to get back to the mansion. You shouldn’t be seen with us at the police station.”

Hope wanted to laugh at how Kayla made it sound so simple but she knew she was ultimately right. Roman probably would kick Steve out of his office before hearing a word he said, Kayla would have to go with him. Trying to convince Steve of that she said, “Steve, Kayla’s right. Just go with her and get this over with. And maybe Roman can leave Kayla’s name off the record since she has no direct contact with the evidence.”

Steve rolled his eye and gathered up the pictures. He was angry that he was being pushed into doing this but that Kayla was coming along as well. And he sure as hell didn’t want to speak to Roman of all people. Before he could ask for a folder to put the pictures in, Kayla handed him one and he grimaced as he put the pictures away.

“How is your leg?” Kayla asked.

“Oh, it’s just dandy,” Steve replied sarcastically. “You know, I have a bad feeling that this leg is only the start of my problems over this.”

As they were walking out the door, Kayla shook her head, “You really are a glass is half empty person aren’t you?”

Chapter 22

Kayla sat outside Roman’s office alongside Steve feeling very nervous. Suddenly her coming along didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. Roman was running late because he had gone to the hospital to visit Marlena but everyone expected him any minute. From what Kayla could tell from the uniforms walking around, Captain Brady was never in a good mood when coming back from the hospital. Her brother, greeting her with Steve as the first order of business, probably wasn’t going to improve it any.

Still, Kayla thought, too much depended on what they were trying to accomplish. Bo was with Victor now and who knows how long before he realized his own son was trying to betray him. Kayla knew enough of Victor to know he demanded loyalty but a betrayal from someone this close would bring down his full wrath.

“Remember, Sweetness,” Steve whispered, “we don’t mention Bo at all. As far as these pictures are concerned, it was all me.”

Kayla shook her head, that part she didn’t like. Looking around the room for Roman, Kayla said, “I don’t see why we can’t say anything. Bo is Roman’s brother too! He would want to know…”

Steve shook his head, “Listen to me, Kayla. I’m sure Roman would be thrilled to know his little brother isn’t aligning himself with the silver devil but I worry about the other cops around here. All it would take is someone running their mouth to the wrong person. If that happens, Bo AND Hope could get hurt. Your brother chose this bed so what happens to him, he knew it was coming, but he dragged his innocent wife into this and she’s the one I’m worried about.”

“You really care for her, don’t you?” Kayla asked, not sure what she was feeling.

Steve hesitated on his answer. He wanted to say something smart like he always cared for beautiful women, but that would probably make Kayla angry and the last thing he needed to do when trying to get on her brother’s good side was come in with Kayla angry. It was probably better to just admit the truth.

“Hope is my friend. I would do anything for her.”

Kayla looked down at her hands. She felt conflicted hearing Steve say that. She was glad to know he was opening up to her but there was a worry as to what made Hope special.

“Kayla, we are just friends,” Steve said. Kayla’s head lifted and looked him in the eye. Did he see relief on her face? Not being able to resist, he continued, “So there is no need for you to be jealous.”

Defensive, Kayla shook her head, “I’m not jealous!” His smile only antagonized her more and she turned her face way from him crossing her arms. “You’re impossible.”

Steve laughed again and was about to say something else until they heard a voice clearing. It was Roman. Kayla’s earlier annoyed look was nothing compared to the one now on Roman’s face.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Roman!” Kayla said, and deciding to really lay it on thick, she gave him a big bear hug. Quickly, she asked, “How is Marlena?”

Roman knew his sister well enough to know there was something going on. Answering her, he tried to fight back the agony in his voice when he said, “Still no change.”

“I’m sorry,” Kayla said, with real sadness in her eyes. Roman glanced over at Steve who looked incredibly uncomfortable. Roman pulled his keys out and unlocked the office door. Roman walked in and watched as Kayla and Steve entered together.

Walking over to his desk, Roman had to hold back his anger. It was all he could do not to throw Johnson up against the wall for standing that close to his sister. Turning back around, he said, “What’s going on?”

Steve shut the door and held out the folder of pictures for Roman to take. Trying to sound as matter of fact-like as possible, Steve told him how he had entered the Kiriakis warehouse and taken pictures of the drugs arriving. He also told him he had witnessed Victor himself enter, along with other gentleman from out of town.

Looking through the pictures, Roman stated the obvious, “Why didn’t you get pictures of Victor?”

Steve sighed but knew it was a reasonable question and answered, “That’s when I broke the camera.”

Roman’s eyebrow shot up, “You broke the camera?”

Roman’s tone shook Steve’s control of his attitude and he shrugged, “Yea, well those guys were so ugly the damn thing fell apart after so many pictures.”

“You think this is funny?” Roman asked, annoyed.

Before things could get worse, Kayla decided to help and explained, “The camera was broken when Steve had to jump out of the way and he wound up hurting himself. You can see he’s limping.”

That’s when Roman lost his cool and yelled, “You were there?”

“No,” Kayla said, “but Steve came to my loft when he got hurt.”

“He came to your loft when he was hurt? How does he know you well enough to make personal calls to where you live?” Roman got up and started walking towards Steve, wondering if he could put Johnson in handcuffs.

Steve started laughing; he knew bringing Kayla was a bad idea. Roman wasn’t about to listen to anything he said if he thought he had something going on with his sister. Fed up, Steve started to walk towards the door to leave, “Look, I took the pictures and there is some evidence against one guy that we all know works for Victor. Use the pictures to try to flip him if you want. Use the pictures against the other guys that show up as well. Use the damn pictures and make postcards out of them for all I care, I’m done.”

Kayla called after Steve but it was Roman who stopped him. Walking behind Steve and slamming the door shut, he said, “You aren’t going anywhere, Johnson. Not until you answer some more questions.”

Steve turned around, not liking to be told to do anything. He had started to push Roman away when Kayla walked over to him, placed her hands on his arm and asked him to please do what Roman said. Steve felt the fight leave him, he shrugged and sat down. Looking back up at Kayla’s older brother, Steve asked, “What do you want to know, Captain Brady?”

Seeing that display of intimacy between his sister and this punk, Roman wondered if it was a good idea to keep a loaded gun near Johnson. He might wind up using it on him. Trying to stick to the matter at hand, Roman walked over to Steve and lowered his head so he was eye level with him. Roman sneered as he said, “Let’s start with why are you playing the good citizen all of a sudden, Johnson? Last I checked you worked for Kiriakis.”

Steve, not wasting a second, answered, “I quit that job.”

“That job?”

“Both jobs.” Hearing that, Roman leaned up and glanced at his sister who was giving Steve the oddest smile. Roman sat on the edge of his desk facing the two of them. He then asked, “How did you hear about this…shipment?”

Kayla looked up at Roman, absolutely surprised at the question. Luckily Steve was expecting it, and replied, “I quit the day before. I overheard the men making arrangements to be at the warehouse the next night.”

“That a fact?” Roman asked.

“It ’tis, sir,” Steve answered sarcastically but decided to make it sound legitimate. “They didn’t know what it was for at the time. They aren’t the brightest bulbs in a GE factory if you know what I mean, but I put it together and figured sneaking into the warehouse early would pay off.”

Roman nodded, still obviously suspicious, “Uh-huh. And again, why would you do this? If true..”

Kayla interrupted him, “Oh, it’s true.”

Ignoring her, Roman continued, “If true, you are only going to bring Victor’s anger down on you.”

“I can take care of myself.”

That made Roman laugh, “Yeah, you can barely manage to take pictures without falling off, what was it, boxes? Then you need my sister to patch you up. You still can’t walk without limping.”

Steve’s angry retort was cut short by Kayla explaining how Steve was hurt do to the forklift incident. Roman hearing Kayla explain it made him glare hard at Steve, “You two really had a long hard talk about this.”

Kayla still speaking for Steve, said, “It’s the truth, Roman.”

“You only know what he told you, Sis, so don’t tell me it’s the truth. You can probably count on one hand the number of times Johnson has told the truth.”

Steve was holding onto the chair’s arm to hang on to his control. Watching Roman yell at his sister about him was infuriating Steve more than he thought possible.

“Again, believe me if you want or don’t. I think the pictures speak for themselves but if you are pig-headed enough to ignore evidence that can bring down a mob boss because you don’t like me talking to your sister-”

“Shut up, Johnson!” Roman said, and then walked back to his desk to look at his pictures. Flipping through them again, Roman knew he was right, that this was definitely great evidence against one of Victor’s hoods. If they could flip the guy, they could bring down the whole Kiriakis empire. Realizing what that would really mean, Roman turned back to Kayla. Looking at her, he said, “Have you talked to Bo?”

Steve kept himself from looking at Kayla, hoping she wouldn’t give anything away. To her credit, Kayla decided to tell the truth as much as she possibly could, “Roman, Bo knows nothing about this.”

Laughing at that, Roman said, “Have you talked to Bo?”

Not being able to look her brother in the eye and lie, Kayla turned away and said no. Taking this to mean she was in denial about Bo’s potential involvement, Roman nodded. “You realize that by taking Victor down, we take Bo down too? Are you ready for that?”

Steve, who just a couple of days earlier would have agreed with Roman on Bo’s loyalties, shook his head and said, “I’m sure Bo has nothing to do with this.”

“Just because Bo wasn’t at the warehouse doesn’t mean he didn’t know about this!” Roman answered. From Roman’s perspective, Bo left the family and joined with the most notorious guy in Salem for money so he thought his brother capable of anything. Saying so, Kayla argued with Roman to try to have more faith in his family, but Roman wouldn’t hear of it.

Steve knew this conversation was none of his business and, if anything, was helping take the stress off him in regards to showing up with Kayla, but for some reason, Steve’s mind turned to Billy and he had to say something, “I would think, Roman, that you would have more faith in your brother than that. Bradys stick together, don’t they?”

Probably more due to the stress of his wife being comatose, Roman answered back harshly, “Bo isn’t a Brady.”

Kayla gasped at that comment but Steve laughed, “Wow, you sure can turn it off can’t ya? I mean, if my brother was involved over his head…”

“Don’t pretend you know anything about brothers, Johnson. A guy like you runs away from families as fast as possible.”

At that Steve did leap up and ignoring the pain, he said, “You know nothing about me, Roman. Now…do I need to sign something to go on record here or can I go?”

Roman thought of it, and then decided to have Steve fill out the needed paperwork. He told Steve to go see a desk sergeant out in the hall. Kayla went to follow Steve, but Roman stopped her, “Wait a minute, Sis, I want to talk to you.”

Kayla turned around and glared at her brother knowing this talk wasn’t going to have anything to do with Bo.

Chapter 23


Kayla shut the door and faced her brother head on. She wasn’t scared of whatever he would say. She was a grown woman and she wasn’t about to listen to Roman talk about a man he hardly knew.“Kayla, what the HELL are you doing with Johnson?” Roman demanded.

“Well, you are getting straight to the point, aren’t you?” she answered sarcastically.

This scared Roman more, as she was picking up Johnson’s habits! Not backing down, Roman said, “I want to know, Kayla. What is it with you and him?”

She shrugged, “We’re just friends.”

He laughed at that, “I doubt that, Sis!” Kayla, annoyed, asked him why.

“Because I see the way he looks at you and friendship is not on his mind.” Off her blush, Roman continued, “What worries me more is the way you look back at him.”

“How do I look at him?”

Roman fought back the urge to mention words like lust and affection, he wasn’t about to say it in connection with Steve Johnson. Choosing a safe parallel, he shrugged, “Like how you looked at the strays you brought home all the time.”

Kayla marched up to Roman, angry at the comparison, “That’s a terrible thing to say! Almost as terrible as what you just said about Bo!”

“Don’t change the subject, Kayla. Steve Johnson is trouble, believe me I know this kind of guy. He literally chews girls like you up for breakfast.”

“That’s not the Steve I have seen. Yes, he has done some bad things and acted like a jerk, but he saved Bo’s life, went on a limb with this Victor thing, helped out…” she almost said Hope but managed to catch herself, “others.”

Roman sighed, he should have known talking to his sister would only make her stick up for Johnson more. He knew the only way she would learn was when Steve finally hurt her; he just didn’t know how far Steve would take it. Sighing, he said, “Listen Sis, Steve isn’t like a stray cat.”

Smiling to herself, Kayla answered, “No, he’s more like a tomcat.”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“What I mean is, just giving Steve kindness and attention won’t domesticate him.”

Kayla hated the way they were talking about him, “I don’t want to domesticate him.”

“What do you want to do?”

Memory of that morning flashed in Kayla’s mind, but decided she needed to quit while she was ahead, so instead she said, “Nothing! I just want to be his friend.” With that she shut the door behind her.

Looking around for Steve, she saw he was no longer at the sergeant’s desk. Asking him where Steve went, he shrugged and said that Steve did what he needed to do and was gone. Kayla walked away while the uniform got up to enter Roman’s office with the reports he just typed up.

—————

Steve had gone straight home after signing the paperwork. He was careful to leave Kayla’s name out of it, he had a bad feeling there was a leak in the department and he didn’t want Victor sending anyone after Kayla.

Settling in, Steve thought of Roman’s remarks about brothers. Taking his red shoebox out of the closet, Steve sat down at his table and opened it up. Pulling out the toy train first, Steve reached for the few pictures he had of his family. Most of them were of him and Billy, but he had one of his mother. Glancing at it briefly, Steve always marveled at her beauty but the resentment inside forced him to return her picture back.

He took out his favorite picture of Billy. It was their last Christmas before they went to the orphanage. Steve always thought it both a curse and blessing he could recall the memories of Billy so well. He never wanted to forget his brother but the pain of Billy being taken from him always followed. Steve allowed the tears to come as he remembered the day when Billy was adopted. The new parents wanted a new baby but not a five year old. Especially one that came with the extra special ability of having tried killing his father by burning him in his own bed.

Hearing a knock at his door, Steve didn’t have time to ask who it was before he heard Kayla’s voice calling out. Steve told her to go away. He just wasn’t up to seeing her now. Since he didn’t lock the door, he wasn’t surprised Kayla did the exact opposite and came in.

“Steve, why did you leave so fast?” Kayla asked, coming down the stairs.

Steve realizing he didn’t want her to see the pictures, jumped up and used his body to block her view of the table. He didn’t hesitate to bring up Roman’s obvious conversation, sneering, “So, Ro-MAN know you are here seeing the big bad wolf?”

“Stop it, Steve!” Kayla said, “Our talk wasn’t like that.”

Steve laughed, “Right, I’m sure he had nothing to say about how close you and I have gotten!”

Kayla saw her opening, and went for it, “Have we gotten close?”

Not prepared for that question, he snidely shrugged, “Not as close as I would like, Baby.”

Realizing she walked right into that one, Kayla began to move around Steve. He tried to pull her away but his leg hurt too badly and she saw the box and pictures. She asked him, “What is that?”

“Nothing, look, I think it’s time you should leave now.”

She pulled her arm back from him and walked to the table anyway, and Steve feeling so very tired, watched her. She picked up some of the pictures and looked at him. Picking up the train, Kayla remembered his making train sounds on his harmonica and realized these were things from his childhood.

“Steve, you mentioned a brother in Roman’s office.”

“I was talking rhetorically.”

“No, I don’t think so,” she said, looking at his Christmas picture with Billy. Steve walked over and snatched it out of her hand and grabbed the box.

“Do you mind, Sweetness? Kissing me doesn’t give you full reign to come in here and start going through my things.”

Kayla knew what Steve said was true, but there was no stopping now. He was so young in those pictures. What happened to his brother? She had to know. “Steve, tell me, please.”

“No, now get out.”

Instead, Kayla sat down looking at Steve sadly. If Steve wanted her out, he was going to have to push her out. She now could see he had been crying, and it was all she could do from putting her hand to his cheek.

“Steve, you can tell me.”

“No, I can’t!” He yelled, feeling the tears coming. Fighting them back, he walked over to Kayla and pulled her up. Her look didn’t waver but Steve’s drive to push her up the stairs did, especially now that he was holding her. He simply asked, “Why do you want to know?”

Kayla reached up with her hand, her fingers touching his patch and her palm cupping his cheek. She hadn’t even realized she had done it until she felt his skin on hers. Whenever she was around Steve, she felt like something else was controlling her body.

Her mouth felt dry as she said, “I just do.”

Steve felt her hand and caressed the arm that was touching him. He actually wanted to tell her. He had never wanted to tell anyone anything about his childhood before but one look into Kayla’s blue eyes and he could feel his resolve weaken. Instead of telling her though, he did the other thing he wanted to do; he kissed her.

Bending down his lips met hers and she opened her mouth for him. Steve’s hand moved from her arm to her cheek as he lowered his other hand other side. Kayla’s arms wrapped around Steve’s neck while her hands went into his hair. Steve gently pushed her up so she was leaning on the table. Moving his mouth down her side, he left a trail of kisses down her throat, pausing at the base of neck.

Kayla moaned at the sensations. Saying his name, she moved one of her hands down his shoulder towards his back. Dizziness overcame her and she leaned into Steve ‘s arms. Steve couldn’t stop tasting Kayla and for a brief moment he realized she was as sweet as his nickname for her.

Knowing the table was never going to support both of them, Steve gently pulled Kayla up. Her cry of protest made him smile and he looked her intently in the eyes before he said, “Patience, Sweetness.”

Hearing his husky voice, Kayla followed Steve as he guided her to the bed. She didn’t allow her mind to think; she looked his body up and down wanting to slip her hands underneath his clothes. Seeing the bulge he had, Kayla took the lead as her hands reached for his jeans. Steve was surprised at her aggressiveness but turned on nonetheless.

Kissing her once more, he chuckled, “Do I need to teach you the meaning of patience?”

He kissed her again as he guided her to the edge of the bed. Now he could lean her back so he would have better access below her neck. Unbuttoning her blouse, Steve took a moment to admire her chest which was rising up and down in anticipation. Kayla’s hand reached up to Steve’s cheek and she pulled him down to kiss her again. She had never wanted anything more in her life than Steve and her body couldn’t bare him not touching her for more than a few moments.

Kayla’s hands reached under his shirt and began working their way up his back. Steve moved on top of her allowing them access. Lowering himself his hands roamed her body while he continued to kiss her. Their moans were the only thing their ears could hear.

That’s why it didn’t occur for Steve to look up when his door slammed.

Steve managed to stop kissing Kayla in time to realize they were no longer alone but by then both men grabbed Steve and threw him to the floor, placing a bag over his head. Kayla screamed and she lunged for one of the men who just pushed her down. Hitting Steve over the head, one man then began to tie him up. The other guy grabbed Kayla and asked the other what he was supposed to do with her.

Kayla tried to fight back as she heard him answer, “Well, I guess we have to bring her along too.”
Taking a pillowcase, they put it over Kayla’s head tied her up. Seeing that Steve was still moving, they hit him over the head again. Dragging them both up and then down the stairs, Kayla could feel herself being thrown in a van and driven away.

Chapter 24


Bo had never been so relieved to walk into the freight company before. He had spent hours with Victor at the warehouse, trying to act like he was investigating the scene. Luckily, there was no real evidence that Steve had been there except for pieces of a camera found on the floor. Bo was glad there weren’t enough pieces to show what kind of camera, otherwise Victor might realize he owned the exact model. Once it became clear there had been a camera at the scene, Victor’s usually unflappable demeanor became driven to find out who was there.Heading to his office, Bo sat down and put his head in his hands. This change of events had really turned him for a loop; he never thought Victor would trust him enough to look into the break-in at the warehouse. He needed to pick up the phone and ask Hope how things went but before he reached for the receiver, he saw one of Victor’s henchmen hanging around the fax machine. Bo knew him to be Paul but he preferred Steve’s nickname of Bluto for him. He was the same idiot who tried to have him run over with the forklift a few weeks ago. If he was hanging around the fax machine, that meant he was ordered to do it by Victor. Bo had never understood their need for one as fax machines were expensive and a freight company hardly received orders for shipments via such a high tech device. It seemed every time it was ever “used” Bo was conveniently not around to witness it.

Watching Paul, Bo heard the telltale sounds of the fax receiving a call. Watching the larger man receive the message, Bo noted the look on Paul’s face change to worry. Quickly, he checked his watch and ran out the door. Since Bo’s office overlooked the parking lot, Bo headed over to the window to make sure Paul left. He was glad he did, as Paul grabbed two other guys on Victor’s payroll and obviously gave them some orders. While Paul jumped in his car, Bo noticed the other two men jump in a van and leave.

Desperate to find out what was in that fax, Bo walked back to the machine to look at it. Checking around to make sure he was alone, Bo popped open the back of the machine and looked inside. He smiled when he saw what he had hoped to see. The fax machine used a carbon roll. Grabbing some paper towels so not to make a mess, Bo took out the carbon roll very carefully.

Taking it into his office so he could have some privacy, Bo worked his way until he saw the last fax that came in. Though the fax was written backwards, Bo could easily see that it was a police report. Someone from the police station was feeding information to Victor! It wasn’t easy to read but Bo could see Steve’s name and realized he had brought the evidence from the warehouse to the police after all. Reading more, it seemed only Paul aka Bluto was named in the pictures.

“No wonder you freaked out,” Bo said smiling to himself. However, the smile faded once he realized that obviously Paul now knew Steve was involved. Taking the fax roll with him, Bo headed to his car and jumped in it, leaving a trail of rubber out of the parking lot. His concern making him forget he had not replaced the carbon in the fax machine.

—————–

Bo made it to Steve’s place faster than he thought possible. Heading up the stairs, he saw the door was open so Bo went right in. The evidence of the previous struggle angered Bo as he headed down the stairs. Knowing he only just missed them enraged Bo and he kicked one of Steve’s overturned chairs. That’s when he saw the purse, Kayla’s purse.

Picking it up, panic hit Bo at the thought that his sister was also kidnapped. Before he had real time to plan what he should do, he heard his name called from behind. Turning around he saw Roman with his gun drawn and looking shocked to find him there.

“What are you doing here?” Roman asked, holstering his weapon and heading down the steps. “What went on here, DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS?”

Bo was still so worried about Kayla that he didn’t fight back when Roman grabbed him and shook him for answers. Seeing Kayla’s purse, Roman put two and two together and became more forceful, “Tell me what you know!”

Pushing Roman off of him and in near tears, Bo told his brother about how it was him that put Steve up to taking the pictures. That he took Steve to Kayla’s loft after he hurt his leg and now it was his fault his friend and sister were in danger.

For once, Roman felt all his pent up rage and hostility towards his little brother leave as he saw real agony in Bo’s eyes. With a calm voice, Roman said, “It’s okay. Right now we need to keep calm. Freaking out won’t help sis out. Tell me what you know about this guy, Paul.”

Bo looked at Roman and remembered what led him to warn Steve in the first place. After hearing about the fax coming in from the station, Roman nodded his head. Roman explained, “After Kayla had left, I guess now to follow Steve, I immediately began working on the evidence. We issued an arrest warrant for Paul. That’s where the leak was from, a stupid jerk working in that department. Once he saw Paul’s name, he made a phone call and then sent the fax over. If I hadn’t been personally overseeing this case I probably would never have caught him. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before, it’s a perfect place for a leak…so they can alert Victor to who in his gang will be going down at exactly the right moment!”

Bo nodded his head, not wanting to respond. Still holding Kayla’s purse, he began rubbing his eyes. Realizing he could care less about his cover, he looked at Roman, “What can we do to find them?”

“I figured they would have already grabbed Steve before I got here. Them taking Kayla complicates matters. We know he had an accomplice, that Paul guy is big but he couldn’t have snatched them both alone.”

Bo grinned when he realized they did have a lead, “Wait! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this. I watched Paul before he split; he grabbed two of our men and told them something. They left in a van. I bet it was them that picked up Steve and Kayla.”

Bo went to the phone and called the office. Trying to sound as nonchalant as possible, he told their receptionist he needed to find out which guys were missing from work that day. Not caring if she wondered why, he got their names and grinned.

Hanging up the phone he gave their names to Roman who was thrilled at the new lead. Hoping he was right, Roman said, “With any luck, Paul probably didn’t think everything through and these two guys didn’t cover their tracks. I’m going to call and get an APB on this van. I’m sure it belongs to one of them.”

Bo watched as his older brother made a phone call to the station. It had been a long time for him to be working with Roman again. He was surprised how good it felt. However, this only made him miss Kayla more, she would be the one to point out that Roman and he never stopped being brothers.

Roman hung up the phone and told Bo to come with him. Heading up the stairs, Bo asked where they were going.

Roman said, “They are already running background checks on these two guys now. Maybe by the time we return, they will something for us.”

Shutting Steve’s door, Bo could only hope so.

Chapter 25


Kayla was relieved to see Steve was finally regaining consciousness. After the van had reached its destination, Kayla and Steve had been thrown into a garage. The kidnappers, who wore masks, did remove the pillowcases but left their arms and legs tied. The men were actually arguing in front of Kayla about her presence. Obviously what they had planned for Steve was not something they were willing to do to a woman. Glaring at them, she told them they will never get away with what they are doing. They ignored her and Kayla waited for Steve to come to.Now that Steve was waking up, Kayla had to scoot nearer to him. Pushing her back to the wall so she could sit up, she called to Steve so he would turn her way. Kayla being the first thing he saw made Steve smile until he tried to move and he remembered what had happened. Getting angry, Steve started jerking his arms to see if he could loosen the ropes.

Knowing it was futile, Kayla said, “Steve, don’t waste your energy.”

Sighing, he mimicked Kayla and used the wall behind him to sit up. Now they were sitting side by side and Steve glanced at her to make sure she was alright. He then began looking around at their surroundings. Feeling like an obvious question, Steve went ahead and asked, “Any idea where we are? It looks just like a garage.”

“I think so. We drove for a while but I don’t know where to.”

“Did they touch you? Are you hurt? I swear to God, if they laid a hand on you…” Steve said, fully realizing the danger Kayla was in.

“I’m fine,” Kayla said smiling. Steve’s concern for her touched her but she was more worried about him, “How is your head? They hit you pretty good.”

“It’s okay, baby. If I lean over maybe you could kiss it.”

“Do you ever stop?” Kayla said, not really upset to see Steve acting like this. It meant his injuries probably weren’t serious.

“Not when I’m around you,” he grinned back. The smile fading, Steve looked around wondering what he could do to stop whatever it is they had planned for them. The garage was fairly empty. There was a garden rake in the corner along with a bucket and mop nearby them. On the other side were folding chairs hanging up and more rope. Steve saw no tools sitting around which made him glad that meant they couldn’t be used on Steve or Kayla but he didn’t like their chances without them.

Knowing Steve was losing hope, she tried to give him some by saying, “Don’t worry, Steve. Someone will notice we are missing. Once Roman finds out, he’ll send the entire Salem PD to come looking for us!”

Steve chuckled at Kayla, “You mean when they notice you’re missing. How long will that take? There is no sign of a struggle at your apartment.”

“That’s not true!” she started to argue. “More people care about you Steve than you think.”

“Whatever you say, baby,” he answered, rolling his eye.

That upset Kayla. “You know, this whole ‘I’m a loner’ attitude would be why, Steve. You can’t go through life pushing people away and then get bitter when it works.”

“I’m happy with my life, Kayla, it’s people like you who insist I’m not.”

Kayla glared at him, “If that’s so accurate, why were you looking at pictures of your family?”

This shut him up and he bit back an angry retort. He had forgotten all about those pictures of Billy that Kayla had seen. Regret seeped in when Steve realized he almost told her about it, and if he had maybe he would have been in a better position to defend them against the two goons who broke in. Instead, he let his desire for Kayla get in the way.

“You Bradys always have all the answers, don’t you?” Steve said angrily. “Some people just aren’t cut out for families.”

Kayla didn’t want to believe that but she knew it to be true. However she refused to believe it applied to Steve. Why would he have kept those pictures? Why would he keep looking at them?

“Maybe circumstances will push a person to run away from families and…” she paused, “…love, but that doesn’t prove they shouldn’t be a part of one.”

Lying on the floor of a garage with his hands and feet tied up, Steve was forced to listen to Kayla. If they had been anywhere else, he would have found a reason to bolt. Walking away from Kayla wasn’t an option so now he was stuck there just listening. Still trying to fight what he was feeling inside, he laughed unconvincingly, “Are you actually suggesting I could be that kind of guy? A family man? Look at us, Kayla. We are tied up in a garage! This is what happens to guys like me.”

Kayla couldn’t believe this was his argument. “We are only here because you were doing the right thing. You were helping out a friend, Bo. You have helped Hope. Whether you like it or not, you were helping out my family.”

“I wasn’t doing this for Bo! I did it for you!” he said before he could stop himself. He turned his face away from her. Kayla leaned in towards him and whispered, “I know you did.”

He turned back to her and she kissed him softly. He couldn’t believe that in such a dire situation he could be so easily turned on by her. Clearing his throat, he said, “Now who has the one track mind?”

In spite of it all, Kayla laughed. How he could do that, she would never know. Blushing, she laid her head on his shoulder, “I guess we can talk about this later.” A pain in her heart appeared because she knew the possibility that there wouldn’t be a later.

Steve had been in a lot of dangerous situations before. He hadn’t cared about his own life but now with Kayla sitting next to him, he swore he was going to do all he could to keep her safe. They sat for several minutes in a comfortable silence. The sound of the door opening and the men appearing told Steve he would be given the opportunity to keep her protect her.

Chapter 26


The two guys that had kidnapped Steve and Kayla walked into the garage and took one of the folding chairs down off the wall. Placing it in the middle of the room, they then took down some more rope.Walking towards the two of them, Steve felt horror well up inside of him when the first man lunged for Kayla. Though his arms and legs were tied, Steve used all the strength he had to push himself between Kayla and the thug. Even through the ski mask, Steve could see the guy’s sneer as he pushed him away. While Steve yelled at the man to leave her alone, the other guy walked over to Steve.
“Relax, Romeo, we just want her out of the way so we can beat you even harder.”

Steve glared as the two men picked Steve up and deposited him the chair. Using the extra rope, they fastened him in. Kayla pleaded to the two men to leave him alone but to no avail.

The heftier one, who obviously was in charge, turned to Kayla and said, “Listen, keep your mouth shut! I do not want to go hitting on a woman especially when you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Our business is with Patch here. But if you give us trouble…”

“She won’t give you trouble,” Steve interrupted trying to draw attention back to himself. He could see the look in Kayla’s eyes that meant she was going to do everything she could to help him and so Steve’s only hope to protect her was to keep them mad at him. “Unless it makes you feel good knocking a girl around. I bet that makes you feel like a real tough guy.”

It worked; the man turned and smacked Steve across the face. Steve could hear Kayla yell at them to stop so he kept talking, “Is that all you have, man? Victor must be scraping bottom if he uses the likes of you two to get information out.”
“We’re just getting started, Patch,” the other guy said and hit Steve on the other side of the face as well. “You can insult us all you want but we just want one thing from you.”

“Sorry, you aren’t my type,” Steve sneered. That sent the smaller guy right into his face, “Stop playing stupid! We want to know what you told the police.”

Steve grinned, opened his mouth like he was going to say something, and then spit right in the man’s eyes. He was rewarded with getting a punch to his side which was hard enough to tip him and the chair completely over.
While the shorter man was cleaning his face off, it was now the larger one’s turn. Walking over to Steve, he leaned in, “Bad move, man. Now it’s my turn. I hit harder.”

Nearly laughing, Steve said, “You almost have to, wouldn’t you?”

The little man, Steve began to think of as Stubs, cursed and ran back towards him but the bigger guy held him back. “Relax,” he said and told Stubs to sit down.

Turning back to him, the man glared, “Stop being all tough for the lady here. We just want to know what you told the police exactly.”
“Don’t you already know, Brainiac? Who sent you? Victor? Paul?”

At hearing Paul’s name, Brainiac kicked Steve straight in the gut. Being unable to recover from that easily, Steve remained silent. Brainiac said, “Paul. What did you tell the police about Paul?”

“Go to hell,” Steve said weakly.

Not being able to stand it anymore, Kayla began to tell them, “That he was at the warehouse the other night.”

The two men turned from Steve and looked at Kayla. Steve pleaded, “Kayla, don’t!”

“Steve, this isn’t worth your life. Just stop hurting him. If you let us go I’ll tell you…”

Brainiac got right in Kayla’s face which frightened her enough to force her to shiver. Leering, he said, “No, you are going to tell us now!”

Taking a deep breath, Kayla made a decision, “I’ll tell you, if you just let Steve go. Just let him go…”

“Kayla!” Steve said, horrified at the thought.

Stubs walked over to Steve and pulled out of his back pocket a knife. Placing the blade on Steve’s cheek he looked over at Kayla and Brainiac, who said, “If you tell me, my buddy won’t take out Patch’s other eye.”

Defeated, Kayla knew she had no choice, “Okay, Steve told them that Paul was at the warehouse with the…shipment.”
Brainiac stood up straight and repeated, “Shipment?”

“The drugs,” Kayla said, with tears in her eyes. She hated herself for giving in, but she couldn’t let them tear Steve up right in front of her. “It was a shipment of drugs.”

“How do you know that?” Stubs asked.

Taking over where Kayla left off, Steve picked up with the story, “Because I got pictures. And she saw the ones with Paul in them.”

The two men walked over to Steve and asked him who else was in the pictures. Steve shrugged, “My memory isn’t that good.”

Annoyed, Stubs walked over to Kayla with his knife forcing Steve to admit, “Okay, okay, it was Paul and a few other guys that work with him. That’s it.”

“That’s all you got?” Brainiac said.

“That’s all they need on Paul,” Steve said. The two men looked at each other and were convinced that was all Steve and Kayla knew. Taking the knife, Stubs cut the ropes that tied Steve to the chair but made sure to kick him one more time. Then the two men walked out of the garage together.

Steve wondered what was going to happen now. There was no reason to keep them alive any longer. Glancing up, Kayla had already managed to scoot across the floor to see how he was. She was struggling with her own ropes, frustrated she couldn’t touch him to see if he was alright.

“Now it’s you who is wasting your energy, baby,” Steve said sadly. Kayla bent down and touched her forehead to his, a small gesture but one that surprisingly strengthened him.

“I know you’re upset with me telling them, but I couldn’t watch them…”

“Ssssh, Sweetness,” Steve whispered, “it’s okay. Believe me, if it was you they were going to attack, I would have done the same thing. I understand.” Steve reached up and kissed her softly.

For a moment, Steve and Kayla looked into each other’s eyes. Steve kissed her again this time more tenderly. Kayla smiled, prompting Steve to say, “There’s your smile. I’m glad I got to see it again.”

“Steve,” Kayla said, “if we don’t get out of this…”

Steve shook his head. He didn’t want to hear her giving up. Kissing her softly again, he said, “Now don’t say that. We will. Miracles happen everyday.”

They stared at each other for a beat while praying for a miracle.

Chapter 27

Waiting on their ultimate fate was bad enough, but Steve hated to see Kayla’s face despair. Glancing at the door, Steve wondered how much time they had before the goons returned. Trying to pass the time, Steve said, “So, what do you want to talk about?”

Kayla couldn’t help but look at Steve confused. His tone sounded like they were sitting down at a table at Blondies, rather than lying on a cold concrete floor in a garage with their lives in danger. Kayla sighed, “You don’t have to do this.”

“Do what?”

“Try to keep my mind occupied. I’m fine.”

Steve’s heart ached hearing Kayla sound strong, though there were still tears in her eyes. A woman like her was the last person who deserved to end up like this but Steve wouldn’t blame her if she were to lose it and break down. Instead, she was lying there, keeping herself together and showing she was far stronger than he ever thought possible. Remembering that first night he saw her, spying on her from her own closet, Steve felt shame not just at his stalking but his whole perception that Kayla was simply a middle-class nurse. He thought she was a woman who was self-righteous enough to want to change the world but only up to a point. Steve thought how a woman like her was worth a dozen Brittas. What would have his life been like if he had met Kayla years ago?

Deciding not to give up, Steve continued, “Sweetness, maybe I want to keep my mind occupied for awhile.”

Kayla didn’t blink when she said, “I’m waiting for you to say with your hands tied up, all there is left is for us to talk.”

In spite of the situation, Steve laughed, thinking she could give back as good as she got. Nodding his head, Steve said, “Maybe, but come on. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I’ll talk about anything you want.”

“Anything?”

Steve grinned, “Anything, Sweetness.”

Adjusting herself so she could see Steve’s face fully, Kayla decided with their limited time she would be very direct. Looking him right in the eye, she asked, “What happened to your family?”

Steve’s smile fell, and Kayla was worried he would push back his defenses. Realizing there wasn’t any reason to hide anymore, Steve began, “My mom gave us up for adoption.”

Off Kayla’s concerned look, Steve rolled to his back and stared up at the ceiling. Recalling the events of his past, Steve decided to just go with the whole story. Before long, he was living the life again.

He could remember his Dad beating his mom. How sometimes he would beat her so hard, Steve thought she was dead. Steve would get smacked a lot too, but usually his mom would jump in the way to protect them. He knew that was what she was doing. Even at five years old, he knew a human shield when he saw one.

So he decided to stop it. Try to stop his dad from hurting his family. After his Dad beat his mom unconscious, he had passed out on their bed. Steve walked into the bedroom and found some matches. He set the bed on fire. Dad had spilled some alcohol on the bed earlier so it went up much faster than anyone would think. The scream that came from his father woke up his mom, who for some reason put the fire out and called an ambulance. His Dad was rushed to the hospital but was screaming when he got back that he would murder Steve.

Shortly thereafter Jo had put him and his little brother up for adoption. Scared to be given away, Steve promised his mom he would never do it again. He would be a good boy, just don’t give him away. She was in tears too but she said it was for his own good. Billy was just a baby, about a year old. Steve didn’t understand why he was punished as well. Steve promised Billy he would look after him. He thought his mom would come back for them eventually, but it wasn’t long before he gave up that dream.

After few months at the orphanage, a couple wanted to adopt Billy. Steve saw the parents and begged them to take him too. Billy was all that he had left. He was the only person in this world who loved him. Steve had been with Billy for every feeding, every bath, and even bedtime. These people were strangers and Billy was crying when they took him. Steve desperate to be with Billy had told the couple that they would need him to keep Billy happy. Billy couldn’t be happy without him.

The child services person tried to calm Steve down and ease his fears that Billy would be so much better off with this couple. That he would soon forget Steve and think of these people as his family. Steve cried harder than he had when his mom had given him up. The truth was Steve needed Billy more than Billy needed him. No one understood that.

Steve jarred himself out of his reverie. He couldn’t believe how everything had come out so easily. Blinking his eye, he turned his gaze from the ceiling back to Kayla. His mouth fell open when he saw the tears running down her face. He had meant to keep her mind off them dying!

“Oh, Kayla, it’s okay. Don’t cry. I won’t…I won’t let them hurt you. You will see your family again.”

Kayla shook her head not being able to form words yet about the sorrow she was feeling. As a child, this man had experienced more suffering than what others receive in an entire lifetime. Seeing the concern he had for her now led her to lean forward and kiss his cheek.

“Steve, I’m crying for you. I wish I had known. I wish…”

Steve was taken aback she would cry for him. This was all years ago. And here they were simply waiting for the men to come back to do God knew what, but she was going to cry for his childhood. He tried to say something to her; he wanted to tell her not to shed another tear for him. He wasn’t worth that but he couldn’t get the words out.

“Kayla…I’m not” was all he could say. Guessing what he was thinking, Kayla said, “Don’t you dare say it, Steve. You are worth it. You are worth it to me.”

Despite the pain, Steve leaned in and kissed Kayla softly. He felt the moisture on his cheek and was surprised it came from his own tears and not hers. If only they could get out there.

As if right on cue, the door opened and in walked Stubbs and Brainiac. Steve and Kayla rolled a part some and Stubbs said, “Time to go for a ride!”

Chapter 28


Steve and Kayla knew protesting was useless as Stubbs and Brainiac picked them up. Noting they weren’t going to be blindfolded this time, Steve asked, “Where are you taking us?”“You’ll find out soon enough.”

Dragging them to the garage door, Stubbs let go of Kayla to open it up. Blocking their view to the street was the van, the rear facing Steve and Kayla. Stubbs opened the van doors and he grabbed Kayla and shoved her in. The physical force of his shove prompted Kayla to cry out.

This triggered Steve’s anger and he began fighting with Brainiac who was surprised that, even with his arms and legs tied up, he couldn’t handle an enraged Steve. Calling for Stubbs to help him, the smaller man tried to grab Steve’s legs. Using Brainiac’s hold on him as leverage, Steve was able to push his legs up and kick Stubbs right in the face, forcing him outside into the driveway.

Angry, Stubbs ran back inside, yelling as he did so, and threw a punch in Steve’s gut. Because their attention was with Steve, Kayla was able to work her way to the front of the van’s cab. Her ropes had loosened a bit and she was able to get her arm slightly free. Using her elbow, she began honking the van’s horn. Maybe someone passing by could hear it and stop.

Cursing when they heard the noise, Brainiac yelled at Stubbs to stop Kayla. Instead of going through the rear of the van, he ran around to the side and up through the driver’s door pushing her away from the steering wheel. Remembering Steve’s earlier move, she used the passenger seat to hold her weight as she kicked Stubbs as hard as she could in the face. Stubbs fell down to the pavement.

Angry that the smaller man couldn’t handle a simple woman, Brainiac dropped Steve and started heading for Kayla through the rear of the van. He had been on the fence about hurting a woman, but now he knew he would be able to take care of her properly once they made it to the dump site.

He realized very quickly that they weren’t going to be headed to the dump site anytime soon. Before he could reach for Kayla, he heard a commanding voice yell, “Freeze!”

Kayla’s eyes followed the sound of the voice and to her great joy she saw Roman standing there with his gun drawn. She couldn’t stop the tears welling up when her older brother asked, “Are you alright, sis?”

Steve heard Roman’s voice too, as well as seeing two uniform police draw their weapons on Stubbs. Trying to get his legs under him so he could sit up and look in the van, Steve grunted and yelped in pain, drawing Kayla’s attention to make sure he was alright. Looking back at Roman, “Steve’s in there. He’s hurt. I need to check on him.”

She had already tried to jump out of the van forgetting she was still tied up so Roman was forced to catch her before she could hit the pavement. Bo, who had been ordered to remain in the car saw his sister and couldn’t stop himself from getting out and running to her.

Helping her out of the ropes, Bo gave her a hug but she quickly ended it when she ran back to check on Steve. Begrudgingly Bo followed, but upon seeing Steve with his newly acquired bruises his old concern for his friend overtook him.

“God, Steve, you look like hell.”

Enjoying Kayla’s arms around him, he didn’t mind Bo’s remark and grinned back at him, saying, “Well, I guess that means my modeling days are over.”

Bo and Kayla helped Steve out of his ropes. Steve tried to stand up but his bad leg along with the bruises he had received meant he couldn’t stand on his own, at least for the moment. Kayla immediately let Steve lean on her and worriedly said, “I’ve got to get you checked out.”

Steve wanted to say that would rile Bo, but remembering Kayla had both her brothers there he knew the odds were against him being able to leave in one piece.

As they hobbled out of the garage, Roman was watching as Stubbs and Brainiac were being led away in cuffs by the uniforms. Directing his attention towards their captives, Roman was a bit shocked at Steve’s bruises but relieved to see Kayla didn’t appear to have a mark on her.

“Are you okay, Kayla?” Roman asked.

“I’m fine,” Kayla said, smiling at her brother. She turned and looked up at Steve, “Thanks to Steve, he made sure they didn’t lay a hand on me.”

Steve felt emotions well up in him as he thought how easy it would have been for them to have hurt Kayla. He managed to hold them back and shrug for Roman and Bo’s benefit. Regardless, Roman and Bo had caught his earlier look.

“Come on, I’m afraid we need to take you two home so you can rest. We’ll make sure these guys are locked up while throwing the key away.”

Kayla added, “Along with Victor as well.”

In the car, Roman had explained to Steve and Kayla that after Bo got the names of Stubbs and Brainiac, Roman was able to do a background check on them. Finding out that one of them had inherited a small house in the country, Roman knew that would probably be the place to take them. Seeing the van in the driveway confirmed it. They were debating about how to storm the place when the garage door opened and they saw the fight.

“What about Bluto?” Steve asked.

“He’s taken off,” Roman said, “but we will find him.”

Steve nodded his head but silently wondered if Bluto, aka Paul, had run off or gone missing. Steve’s knowledge of how Victor worked reminded Steve how lucky he and Kayla really were. Without any hesitation, he wrapped his arm around Kayla, for once not caring what her brothers thought.

After Roman dropped them off, Kayla and Bo took Steve up to her loft. Finding Hope there surprised them all. Apparently, after Bo had taken off without a word, Victor had guessed that Bo had betrayed him which was proven when his son failed to replace the carbon roll in the fax machine. He had asked Hope to pack up their things and leave, and so she did gladly.

Though slightly disappointed in having his cover blown, Bo was so relieved to have his favorite sister back safe and sound. Plus, now he would no longer have to pretend he preferred Victor’s company to his real family.

Kayla sat down next to Steve, and immediately went into nurse mode forcing his shirt off. Not being able to resist, Steve teased, “Baby, shouldn’t we wait for them to leave first?”

Kayla smirked as she knew his comment was for Bo’s benefit which naturally worked. Her younger brother said, “We aren’t going anywhere, Steve, once she is done taking care of you, we are taking you back to your place.”

Glancing up at Bo, Kayla shook her head, “No, you’re not.”

“Excuse me?”

“Just because you were a help to get us rescued does not mean you can start barking orders at me now.”

Bo couldn’t believe he just got his sister back an hour ago only to have her yelling at him, again. Defending himself, Bo stated, “Look, Kay, I’m just trying to…”

“Run my life, yes, I can see that,” Kayla answered angrily. Steve would have enjoyed another front row seat to a Brady squabble if she wasn’t actually nursing him. Her anger at Bo was causing her to rub the medicines hard causing Steve to flinch.

Kayla, finally finishing up on Steve to his great relief, continued, “Listen, Bo. You are perfectly welcome for rescuing me from masked kidnappers who brandish knives and ropes. But leave my love life alone.”

Steve’s eyes perked up when Kayla said the last phrase and felt himself blush. Bo, shocked at his sister’s declarations, stammered not being able to find the words.

Hope smiled. Walking over to her husband, she said, “Listen, we can argue about this some more but it’s late.”

Turning to Kayla, Hope asked, “Kayla, I hope it’s okay, but since we have no place to stay at the moment, I moved our things into the guest room.”

Kayla smiled and nodded. Hope turned to Bo before he could protest. The look she gave him, forced Bo to stop talking and realize his wife, for some reason, was angry with him. Sighing, Bo said, “What did I do now?”

“Several things,” Hope answered, but took his hand. Leading him to the guest room, Steve and Kayla could hear Hope say, “For starters, let’s begin with how I didn’t know about Kayla and Steve being kidnapped.”

“Oh, Fancy Face, there wasn’t time.”

Being left alone with Steve, Kayla felt her cheeks blush again. She hadn’t meant to say what she did to Bo, but was glad it was out.

Steve, feeling vulnerable, returned to old routines. Glancing up at Kayla, he said, “Well, with them in the guest room, that leads me to spend the night in your…”

Placing her hand over his mouth, Kayla leaned in and said, “On the couch, I’m afraid.” She chuckled at the hurt look on his face.

Getting behind him, Kayla said, “You need your rest, so take it while you can.” She then leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. After watching her head up the spiral staircase to her bedroom, Steve reminded himself he needed to breathe.

While upstairs, Kayla sat down on her bed and said a prayer, thanking God that Steve was alright. There wasn’t anything she wanted more than to have him in this bedroom, but she resigned herself that he needed a good night’s rest. That is if he was capable of sleeping anymore than she was.

Chapter 29


“What do you mean we have nothing on Victor?” Steve angrily said.It was the next day and all four of them had met Roman in his office at the police station. Roman had practically worked all night on interrogating Steve and Kayla’s kidnappers. The two men had only dealt with Paul directly. Though the two knew Paul was working for someone else, he never called Victor by name.

Steve’s leg was feeling better so he was back to his pacing, raving self. He couldn’t believe after everything they all had been through, Victor was going to get off again. He continued, “I guess when you have Victor’s money, you can pay off anyone.”

Roman angrily shot back, “Steve it’s not even that. These two morons who kidnapped you were picked out by Paul. They never met with Victor himself. Paul never referred to the man he was working for by name.”

“Great, that’s just great,” Steve said, slamming down into a seat near Roman’s desk.

Hope trying to think of something else, asked, “What about the carbon roll that Bo took? Can’t we use that?”

“It’s not like the faxes had headings that labeled themselves ‘TO: VICTOR-MOB BOSS’. We have our leak in custody but he only dealt directly with Paul as well. Paul did inform him to check on anything that dealt with Victor’s name or his own but a good attorney will spin it that Paul was still only protecting his own hide.”

By now Roman was pounding his hand on the desk to show his own frustration. He wanted to nail Victor as badly as they did but he knew a brick wall when he saw one.

Kayla, who had been sitting in another chair next to Bo, wondered, “But Roman, Steve saw Victor enter that warehouse where we have pictures of the drugs. With Steve’s testimony, isn’t that enough?”

Roman gave Steve a look and a silent message passed between the two men. Steve sneered and looked away. Kayla seeing the look, asked, “What?”

Roman took a breath, knowing what he was going to say was going to sound incredibly cruel. Looking at his sister, he stated, “I told the DA that Steve was a witness. She said that it’s Steve’s word against Victor’s. And she is more willing to believe an upstanding business man like Kiriakis over a known criminal like Steve.”

Roman’s guess on Kayla’s reaction was right, as hearing this infuriated her. Getting up out of her chair, it was now her turn to pace while raving, “That’s not true! How can she think Victor isn’t involved? We have his employees, we have his own warehouse, and he even owns the fax machine. Steve has pictures up until right before he comes in.”

Roman, playing with a rubber band to keep his hands busy, replied, “Oh, she believes the photographic evidence. She just thinks Steve is over-reaching and trying to take down more than what it really is: a bunch of street thugs trying to make money in a drug ring. She thinks Paul was actually orchestrating it and any talk that he reported to someone else is just a cover to protect him.”

Both Kayla and Hope scoffed at Roman’s words. He continued, “I completely agree. No way is Paul going to be the one to handle all of this. The amount of drugs that appear in those pictures takes huge connections that your everyday street thugs aren’t going to have. This assistant DA is trying to play it safe because she plans on running for District Attorney in the fall. Her name is…”

“Who cares what her name is, man?” Steve interrupted, having enough of it. “It’s over isn’t it? Victor gets away scotch free.”

Roman didn’t have an answer for Steve. He looked over at his little brother who had been uncharacteristically quiet since they arrived. Roman asked, “What are you thinking, Bo?”

Bo looked up at Roman. He thought about the months he spent in the Kiriakis mansion and the only thing he had to show for it was some pictures Steve had taken and some evidence from a fax machine. He knew of countless times Victor had gone into mysterious meetings in his limo. He knew of phone calls that Victor had received that Bo was asked to leave for, but unfortunately he had not recorded the dates and times of those meetings and calls. At the time, he had been worried a list like that floating around the house could be found by James and his cover would be blown. He had worked so hard to try to infiltrate Victor’s inner circle and had nearly done it. Sighing, Bo shrugged, “I’m thinking it’s over now. Victor knows I’m more of a Brady than a Kiriakis. I’m sorry I couldn’t have figured this all out. It’s my fault Steve and Kayla were involved and were nearly killed. It would mean something if I could have actually done what I started out to do, take Victor down, but it’s over now.”

Hope, seeing Bo’s despair, said, “That’s not true, Bo! You’ve accomplished a lot. I’m very proud of you.”

Kayla agreed, “We all are.”

Even Steve felt it was worth saying out loud, “It took guts to risk everything like you did.”

Roman remained silent and it was noticeable. Roman looked down to the floor, he had spent the last weeks being so mad at Bo he was still adjusting to the fact that Bo never really betrayed them at all.

“Roman!” Kayla said to her big brother, not liking his silence on the matter.

Roman smiled at his sister; her unfailing faith in people was something he hoped she would never lose. Looking at Bo, he admitted, “I can’t deny I have been so angry with you, Bo. I wish now that I could have been like Kayla, the only one of us who managed not to judge you. I’m sorry for my treatment of you and Victor getting away doesn’t matter if that means I can have my brother back.”

In spite of himself, Bo couldn’t help but tear up a bit before blinking them away. He wasn’t going to cry, especially not in front of Steve. He reached out his hand to shake Roman’s but his larger, older brother smirked. Grabbing it, he pulled Bo up and gave him a big bear hug. Kayla and Hope smiled at the scene.

Steve was incredibly uncomfortable. He knew what this meant for Bo and Kayla and wasn’t going to ruin it with a smart remark. He was surprised at Roman’s words about Kayla. While working at the freight company with Bo, Kayla had been the only family member to come visit him regularly. Roman admitting that she was right all along got to Steve some and he was glad no one could see how it was all affecting him.

—————

Later, the group broke up to do their own thing. The search would continue for Paul but no one had any real faith he was going to be found. Stubbs and Brianiac were going to jail for a long time. That day Roman returned to see Marlena in the hospital; it was told to him her statistics were improving and he decided to try some of that faith that Kayla always had. Though disappointed that he failed bringing Victor down, Bo and Hope were able to finally visit his parents properly; Shawn and Caroline welcomed him back with open arms. Now that Bo was out of a job, he decided to give Shane a call and see what he could do to help with Andrew’s search. Kimberly was more then welcome to have her baby brother in the family again and prayed this would help her find her missing son.

Kayla had taken Steve back to his place. She was surprised her brothers didn’t give them a rough time considering they were leaving together. She wasn’t deluding herself to think the lack of resistance meant they were welcoming Steve, but she did think it was a good sign they could eventually learn to accept him as part of her life. Kayla wanted Steve to be a part of it; she had made up her mind back in that garage. As for Steve himself, he had been strangely quiet. As Steve and Kayla walked down the stairs, she was reminded of the struggle that had occurred only the day before.

Kayla went to start cleaning up but Steve told her she didn’t have to do that. Worried for him, Kayla asked, “Are your injuries hurting?”

Steve shook his head no. Kayla then asked, “Then why are you so quiet?”

“Why…why are you here?” Steve hesitantly returned.

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean, Sweetness. Why are you hanging out with a… with a one-eyed bum like me?”

Taken aback by Steve’s directness, she walked over to him. “I don’t see a one-eyed bum. I never saw that.”

Steve began to scoff and turn away, but Kayla reached out her hand and pulled him to face her again, “I initially saw a man whose inner pain was written on the outside. You did scare me in the beginning but not the way you think. I’ve never met anyone like you. I have always been drawn to you, and no matter how hard I tried to fight that… you always managed to overcome it. You have more compassion and love inside you than any other man I have ever met.”

Steve felt fastened to the floor. He argued, “You can’t know that…”

“Yes, I can,” Kayla said, then leaned up and gave him a gentle kiss. He responded and pulled her into an embrace. The kiss soon became more urgent as his need for her was overtaking him. Pulling back, Steve saw the disappointment in Kayla’s eye.

“You should go,” Steve demanded. He meant it. They were no good for each other. Kayla’s reaction to his demand was something he least expected. She laughed.

“I’m not going anywhere, Mr. Johnson. You might as well get used to me.”

Steve’s eye narrowed at Kayla’s determined stance. It brought a grin to his face that he couldn’t hide. She grinned back and took a step towards him.

Recovering himself, Steve knew he had to be more forceful. “Listen, Baby, I’m more man than you can handle. I suggest you grab your purse and walk up those stairs…”

He stopped because Kayla wasn’t doing that. The look in her eyes told him she had something else in mind. She was shaking her head and whispered in Steve’s ear, “Why don’t you cut the bull and let me prove to you that we are perfect for each other.”

Steve’s breath left him as Kayla kissed Steve again. He couldn’t believe she was so aggressive. He also couldn’t believe he was fighting her on this. His hands reached around her back and began exploring up and down, forcing her to growl.

Steve could feel Kayla’s hand run down his abdomen and towards the top of his fly. Stopping her, Steve again pulled away. Breathing heavily, Steve said, “Baby, we just can’t do this…”

Kayla was growing impatient. “Why not?”

Trying to keep everything light, Steve said, “Because every time we get to this point, I wind up getting attacked, either by protective brothers, kidnapping goons, or expensive kitchen floors.”

Steve was still holding Kayla’s hand while partially embracing her with the other. Smiling, Kayla said, “And yet we keep trying, that must mean something.”

“I just don’t want to hurt you,” Steve said quietly, “or get hurt.”

Making sure he kept eye contact, Kayla admitted, “Neither do I, Steve. But I know this can be great if you let it. Look at how well we have worked together so far. Being kidnapped, cooking, photo processing…”

Steve was quiet as Kayla worked her way back to his lips. Giving in, he turned her around towards the bed. Leaning her down, he pulled off his shirt. Feeling Kayla’s fingers on his chest, he heard a growl escape his own throat before kissing her again.

As they explored each other, Steve could feel the tension leave his body. This felt so right, he couldn’t fight it anymore. Suddenly needing her to understand that, Steve pulled back. Looking into her eyes, he said, “I don’t just want you, Kayla. I need you.”

Kayla was about to answer she needed him too, when she realized he meant it to be more than just the physical. Putting her hand to his cheek, she said, “Just don’t deny this, Steve. Be honest with me and don’t fight it.”

Steve nodded, a tear appearing in his eye. He couldn’t deny how he felt. He couldn’t deny his own heart. They fell back into the bed and nothing interrupted them the rest of the evening or really, the rest of their lives.

THE END

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2 thoughts on “CDTH Chapters 20-29

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