Bo walked into Steve and Kayla’s room and whirled around to face his friend. Massaging the back of his head, Bo demanded, “Okay, so what they hell was that for?”
“I told you not to play dumb!”
Grinding his teeth, Bo yelled back, “I’m not playing!”
Steve shook his head, “I guess not!” Steve began pacing, he was furious with Bo after Sweet Thing told him everything that had happened between them. He’d agonized over what Hope had told him, unable to make sense of it. Now looking at his longtime friend, Steve was determined to know the truth. “So, when you told me that you two were estranged… you didn’t say it was because you slept with this Billie woman.”
“Well, first, it was none of your business, and second, that happened after–.”
“I know it happened after! And it makes me sick!” Steve spat, thinking of Hope finding Billie and Bo in the hotel room the morning after Zack’s funeral.
“It makes me sick too!” Bo yelled back. Both men began pacing, glaring at each other. “So did she give you a reason?”
“Reason?” Steve repeated, still irritated. “ For what?”
“Reason for why she left and slept with Patrick!” Bo said.
Steve shook his head, “Isn’t it obvious? You pushed her into another man’s arms!”
Bo laughed; naturally that’s what he would say. “I pushed her? How could I have pushed her anywhere? She cut me off! She wouldn’t talk to me.”
“Can you blame her?”
“Blame her? Of course I blame her! Just when I needed her most, she wasn’t there for me!”
Infuriated now, Steve grabbed Bo by the shirt. “How could she be there for you? You weren’t there for her!”
Bo laughed at Steve’s delusional ravings. “Well, Patrick was!”
Pushing him up against the door, Steve said, “That’s only after you slept with Billie!”
“After?” Bo repeated. “What are you talking about?”
“You slept with Billie the day of Zack’s funeral! Hope saw you two!”
Astonished, Bo pushed Steve off him. “What are you talking about? I was not with Billie after the funeral. I mean, I was, but not that way!”
“Hope told me how she came upon you and Billie the morning afterwards in bed, having sex. Are you calling her a liar?”
Bo was stunned. He hadn’t slept with Billie. “I didn’t… I didn’t sleep with Billie then. I only slept with her after Hope got with Lockhart.”
Steve’s eye narrowed. “Hope told me different, and I can tell you, I believe her. It broke her heart recounting the story!”
Bo thought hard. It didn’t make sense. Why would Hope think… he was too drunk to do anything with Billie, especially the morning afterwards. Then it dawned on him. “My God, Billie…”
“Billie tricked her into thinking we slept together. Man!” Bo lowered his head realizing what Billie had been doing that morning when he woke up with the worst hangover of his life.
“Why would she do that?” Steve asked, wondering if Billie was anything like Britta or Marina.
“She was trying to protect our daughter.”
“The daughter that ran over your son?”
Bo turned back around to Steve, “That was an accident.”
“If it was an accident, why did you ditch the evidence that proved Chelsea had run over Zack?” Steve asked, suspiciously.
“I had nothing to do with that! I wouldn’t have!” Bo said, his sincerity showing through and Steve finally softened.
Weakly, Bo sat down on the bed, placing his head in his hands. He couldn’t believe this was all a giant misunderstanding. At least now he knew what led her down to see Patrick. Glancing back up at Steve, Bo asked, “Is that why she asked me for a divorce?”
“She asked you? Beauregard, she said you were the one that wanted the divorce! She said she got an email from you.” That had been the one part of Hope’s story that Steve found hard to believe, since Bo had been clear about wanting to get back with Hope.
“Me? Email? I didn’t want a divorce. And if I did, I wouldn’t have used email. I got an email from her!”
Steve nodded sitting in the nearby chair, “Yeah, after she got your email for a divorce.”
Bo couldn’t believe it. Everything was starting to finally make sense in a sick way. Could all of this… after Zack’s death be one great big misunderstanding? The email part was a curveball; if he didn’t email her, who could have…
The anger returned and Bo jumped up, startling Steve. “Chelsea! Chelsea sent that email to Hope! Oh, she’s so going to answer for that…”
Steve grabbed Bo’s arm as the younger man headed for the door. “Wait a minute, where are you going?”
Bo stopped and looked at Steve like he was crazy. He answered, “I’m going to speak to Chelsea and get her to admit what she did!”
“Man, wouldn’t you rather get to Hope and straighten this all out first?”
Bo opened his mouth but closed it quickly. Steve let go and Bo hung his head. “Will she want to talk to me?”
Steve shrugged, “I don’t know, but you both deserve to know the full facts. Hopefully it will make a difference.”
Bo nodded and quickly flew up and hugged Steve. “Thanks, man, I owe you one!”
Steve returned, “You owe me a lot but we’ll figure it out later. Now go see Hope!”
With that, Bo ran out, nearly knocking Kayla down in the hallway. She watched Bo leave, then turned and walked into the room, shutting the door behind her. “Well, I was coming up here to find out what you two were yelling about. We could hear you down in the pub but I guess it’s okay?”
Steve nodded, “It seems Hope and Bo have had a lot of problems communicating.”
“I know. I tried to get them to open up to each other,” Kayla replied sadly.
“Well, maybe they will now that the truth is out.”
“What do you mean?” Kayla asked.
Steve filled Kayla in and upon hearing about all the misunderstandings, Kayla sat down on the edge of the bed in shock. “Wow. You know, I knew there was an explanation for much of their behavior but I had no idea it was all of this.”
Steve sat down next to her, not being able to take his eye off her beautiful face. “I guess it’s a perfect example of two people needing to get everything out in the open.”
Kayla turned and looked at Steve, realizing how close he was. Her body, still remembering his earlier kiss, reacted strongly to his nearness. Kayla could hear her heartbeat soaring. Her mouth dry, she started to speak, but Steve silenced her with a kiss.
Kayla gave into the kiss, lifting her arms to circle Steve’s neck. He pulled her close in response. Gentle at first, the kiss began to escalate in passion and Kayla fell back on the bed. She reached up and caressed Steve’s cheek as one of his hands worked its way through her clothes and finally found bare skin at her waist. The intensity of his touch elicited a gasp from her, and he lifted his mouth from hers and began kissing her along her neckline.
As Steve’s body shifted down, Kayla let both hands meet each other in Steve’s hair. He opened her blouse and dropped soft kisses down her front, driving her . crazy with desire. Herr inhibitions were vanishing along with traces of any rational thought left in her mind. Right now, she just wanted Steve to make love to her!
Steve began removing Kayla’s blouse, his lips working their way down her chest. Just when he felt the lace on her bra, his thoughts were snapped back to reality.
“Steve! Kayla! Are you in there?” yelled Adrienne through the door. “I got a surprise!”
Cursing under his breath, Steve raised his head up and glared in the direction of the unwanted sound. He hoped his sister could feel the heat from his gaze through the door and leave on her own.
No luck. The knocking continued.
“Why is it that everything that was comforting has changed, like the Salem Fish Market, but everything frustrating, like Adrienne interrupting us, remains the same?” Steve got up while Kayla giggled, despite the situation.
Without regard to checking himself at how he might look, Steve threw the door opened and glared at the red-head. “What is so important?”
Realizing what she was interrupting, Adrienne took a moment to make a shameful face. Then she remembered why she was knocking in the first place. “Here,” she said, while handing Steve a phone. “It’s for you.”
Confused, Steve answered it. He heard a woman’s voice return, “Stevie? Is that my boy?”
Hearing his mother’s familiar voice threw him. How could a man who had learned to live on the streets at such a young age revert to a heap of mush by simply hearing his mother’s voice? “Momma?”
“Oh, Steve! It is you! Adrienne called to tell me! You can’t know how much I have hoped for this day… to have all my children back and well again!”
Steve started to sit down but realized there was no chair underneath him. He managed to get to the bed corner while he listened to his mother joyfully gush over what having him back meant.
“What do you think of Stephanie? I heard she headed out to Salem on her own! Now, I hope you and Kayla aren’t too hard on her; she just wanted to meet her father. Oh, isn’t Kayla beautiful? She really is. I keep telling her she hasn’t aged a day. I know I have but Vern thinks I look good which, he really is such a sweet man. Oh, did you know I’m with Vern now? He’s…”
Jo trailed on and Steve listened with his bottom lip trembling. Oddly enough, listening to his mom do what she did best, ramble, was giving him what he needed, the comfort of familiarity. Relief washed over him as he listened; she still was the same woman underneath. Her topic switching charmed him until a wide smile was across Steve’s face through the tears.
Steve was so intent listening to his mom go on while getting a few words in, he hadn’t noticed Stephanie when she showed up.
“What’s going on?” the young girl asked.
“Your father is talking to grandma on the phone,” Kayla replied, emotional herself in watching.
“Oh,” Stephanie said, feeling disconnected. Her eyes going back to Kayla, Steve, and Adrienne, Stephanie realized she was the only person who didn’t have tears in her eyes.
Steve said then, “Yes, yes, I am back with everyone now. Things have… have changed a lot around here.”
He smiled again at whatever Jo was saying back. For several minutes the conversation went that way, Steve making one or two comments with several minutes of Jo’s response.
After the phone call was done, Steve closed the cell phone and handed it back to Adrienne. Steve himself actually wished he could have spent more time on the phone with her but oddly it was Jo who had to go because her cell phone battery was about to die. His earlier anger vanished, Steve suddenly gave his sister a big hug which she returned. Pulling back, Adrienne couldn’t help but smirk, “So I take it, it was alright to contact Momma?”
Steve nodded, smiling though embarrassed now that he realized Stephanie had seen him during such an emotional state. “Hey, Little Sweetness. How are you doing?”
Stephanie smiled back, not sure how to respond. She was glad Grandma Jo had been able to finally speak to her father. But at the moment she wasn’t sure what to say, given the gushing moment that happened a few minutes earlier.
“Hey! It’s grown serious in here!” Steve said. “What should we do, ladies? We have the whole day ahead of us!”
Kayla and Adrienne both laughed but Stephanie, still bitter about having to do kitchen duty while on vacation, voiced, “Well, for me it’s working until nightfall in the kitchen.”
Confused, Steve asked, “Why do you have to do that?”
“Because Mom told me I had to.”
Steve’s eyes left Stephanie and landed on Kayla, whose smile had dropped and was glaring at her daughter. “Kayla, why would you tell her to do that?”
“Because,” Kayla said, annoyed, “she has to pay back the money she owes for her plane flight out here.”
“I don’t understand. Weren’t we going to bring her out here anyway?”
Kayla’s eyes left Stephanie’s and landed on Steve. She realized he was irritated with her, not their daughter. “Yes, we were eventually, but…”
“Eventually? You said first thing this morning we would book passage from LA to Salem for Stephanie to come here,” Steve was confused and upset. He didn’t understand why Stephanie coming to see him earlier than planned would have upset Kayla so much.
“Yes, from us permitting her. What she did last night was in direct opposition to what I told her to do plus…” Steve cut her off and began pacing the room. Adrienne, realizing this was a moment where she didn’t belong, said quickly she had to go downstairs for something. No one noticed her leaving.
Within minutes, Stephanie left as well too. She was hoping she could get out of kitchen detail and hopefully now that Dad was back and on her side, she would be getting her way.
“So were you lying?” Steve said, angrily as Kayla shut the door. He ignored the hurt look on her face. It had to be asked–why was she so upset that Stephanie made a trip to come see him?
“Lying about what?”
“Lying that you would send Stephanie out here to see me?”
Kayla was astonished at Steve’s question. How could he think she would be lying? Everything she had told him since seeing him was the truth. “No, I wasn’t. How can you ask that?”
“Well, it just seems to me,” Steve said, pacing around the room, “too many people keep saying one thing and meaning another. I’m not a child. I may have been out of the loop for awhile but I can handle news, you know!”
“I know,” Kayla said. She started to respond more but Steve interrupted her.
“I get that people have been through some of this before and they might be able to offer suggestions but no one knows me better than me! And I’m telling you I want to know everything.”
Kayla shook her head, tears forming in her eyes, “I have told you everything!”
“Well, you didn’t mention this thing about Stephanie being punished,” Steve said, steeling himself against Kayla’s tears.
Reminded of Stephanie’s punishment, Kayla felt her anger return. “There wasn’t time. You just got back and ran up here to talk to Bo!”
“Well, I haven’t been talking to Bo all this time. Why didn’t you tell me after he left?”
Kayla folded her arms around her chest. She yelled, “I fully intended to, but you… distracted me.”
Feeling like his fears were confirmed, Steve turned and got in Kayla’s face, “Is that what it is? A distraction? I’m a distraction?”
“Steve, if you would just calm down and let’s talk about this rationally…” Kayla said, trying to get the situation under control.
“I’m never rational, baby,” Steve said. His back to her now, Steve sighed, realizing he had gotten off topic. Trying to remind himself what they were initially fighting about, Steve said, “I just want to be a father to Stephanie. A real one. Not one like… Jack. One who comes back from time to time to see her and then leaves again.”
“I don’t want that either!” Kayla said, not sure why he was bringing this up. “Steve, what Stephanie did was wrong. She should not have jumped on the plane like that and flown out here, especially without telling anyone. Can’t you see that?”
Steve turned back around, not sure where to start. “No, I can’t. Since I have woken up, the only thing I wanted to do is get back to see you and my daughter. Why didn’t you want to bring her with you?”
“We’ve been over this! I didn’t have enough information about you! I had to protect Stephanie!”
“From her own father?” Steve said, his voice cracking. “That’s what hurts the worst! You thought I was capable of hurting her?”
Kayla sat down on the bed, outright crying now. She shook her head, “No, I didn’t think you would on purpose but again, I have no idea what really happened to you. I couldn’t reach anyone that knew for sure.”
“I thought of nothing but seeing you and Stephanie.”
“I wanted to see you too! I even jumped on a plane as fast as I could after I took care of Stephanie. If that was a mistake, well, then I’m sorry but I won’t be sorry for the decision itself because Stephanie is all I’ve had and she’s been my first priority.”
Silence fell between them. Steve wanted so desperately to reach out and take Kayla in his arms. Why couldn’t he get past this?
Kneeling down, he took her hands in his. Looking her in the eyes, Steve said, “I understand that and it’s over and done with.”
“Yes it is,” Kayla so wanted to kiss him. Steve smiled and Kayla’s heart lifted a bit. Smiling herself she thought to add, “We can move on. Stephanie is just going to work for Caroline while we are here…”
“Why?” Steve asked, his smile fading.
“Because she can’t get away with this, Steve.”
“What is there to get away with? She didn’t do anything wrong!” He got up then, still angry Kayla couldn’t see it his way. “She did exactly what you and I did. Hopped on a plane as soon as she could to come to Salem.”
“Yes, but we aren’t sixteen, Steve,” Kayla said, getting up. “And whether or not you agree, what Stephanie did was wrong.”
Not listening to Kayla now, Steve began pacing again. “Well, I say it’s understandable why she did what she did, and it’s not like its going to happen again. Why not let it go and…”
“Because there are consequences to actions, Steve! She must learn that running off like that means she has to pay for it through work or money. It’s how I was raised and..”
“So you’re saying I don’t know how to raise a teenage daughter?” Steve said, feeling insulted.
“That isn’t what I was saying but now that you mention it…” Kayla said, her temper getting the better of her.
At that, Steve had enough. Opening the door, he walked through it saying “Fine, that’s just fine.”
Kayla yelled back, “Fine!” Once she realized he was leaving the pub, Kayla sat on the bed and began to cry.
After finally coming down, Steve realized he had walked over to the Salem PD. His anger pushing him forward, Steve hadn’t thought where he might be headed to, he didn’t care. He just needed to walk. Winding up here surprised him to no end. It was true that Steve had become a police officer in the last days before he died, but it was more likely his draw to this spot was because he had spent so much time on the other side of the bars.
Steve sighed, not feeling like talking to anyone that was glad to see his return and shocked at him being alive. Turning to the voice, Steve was actually the one shocked, he had no idea who this guy was standing in front of him smiling.
With no real clue as to how to react, Steve shrugged and replied, “It is.”
“Wow,” the man said, while looking Steve up and down. Shaking his head, the man pushed out his hand while saying, “I have to say, it’s one thing to hear so much about you, but it’s another to finally meet you!”
Steve hesitated but finally met the man’s hand, shaking it firmly. That’s when he finally introduced himself, “I’m Roman, Roman Brady.”
The shock of meeting the real Roman rendered Steve speechless. Now it was his turn to look the person up and down. So this was Kayla’s real brother? So far, he was a lot friendlier than John’s version was, at least so far. Steve wasn’t sure how long that would last, especially given the state he had just left Kayla in.
Realizing Kayla could have called Roman, Steve asked, “Did your sister tell you to keep your eyes out for me?”
“No, should she?” Roman asked, suspiciously. He didn’t know his brother-in-law but something told him that the man was upset. “Mom actually called me this morning to tell me the news. I was actually leaving the precinct to head over there to meet you but I guess you saved me a trip.”
“I guess I did,” Steve said. Putting his hands into his pant pockets, he looked down at his feet. He felt odd standing next to a perfect stranger but one who happened to be his brother-in-law. He knew enough of Roman’s background but he had no idea what the man was really like.
“So, what happened?”
“Excuse me?” Steve asked, his eye meeting Roman’s.
“I said, what happened? Something must have, or you wouldn’t have wondered if Kayla told me keep an eye out for you.”
“Oh,” Steve sighed, mentally wishing he hadn’t given anything away. He had no intention of talking about it to Kayla’s older brother. “Nothing, we’re fine.”
Roman didn’t believe it, even without knowing Steve Johnson the body language he was giving off at the moment told him the man was hurting. “As fine as you can be coming back from the dead, huh?”
“Something like that,” Steve said as he looked around for an excuse to leave, but Roman wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily. The older man said, “Here, why don’t we go to this bar down the street, I’ll buy you a beer.”
Steve perked up at that. Not being able to literally afford to turn free food away, Steve nodded and followed Roman.
With their drink orders in hand, Roman was about to make a toast when he saw Steve drank the beer down as fast as he got it. Surprised, he uttered, “Wow, do you always drink this fast or just on days like today?”
“Only days after I get back from the dead,” Steve said, not feeling any better.
“So tell me, what’s wrong?” Roman said. “I would imagine things would be great for you since coming back alive.”
Irritated, Steve shot him a look. “Oh sure, everything is just dandy. I wake up to find out I’m a hell of a lot older, the whole world has changed around me, my daughter has grown into a lady without me and my wife thinks I’ll be a lousy father.”
Now Roman was shocked, “Whoa! Where did you think Kayla is disappointed in you?”
“Well, given she punishes her daughter when she drops everything to see me it was kind of obvious.”
Roman started to reply but quickly shut his mouth, deciding on a different approach. Taking a moment, Roman asked, “Steve, did they tell you about what it was like when I returned and John was still thought of Roman?”
Roman continued, “You know, I came back after being gone like seven years. It seems, in that time, Marlena had moved on with another man. Actually she convinced herself he was me; course she had help with Stefano’s implanted memories in John too.”
Steve made a face at Stefano’s name but otherwise remained silent as Roman went on, “You know, Marlena was gone nearly that whole time too. She only had about two or maybe three years without me. Yet, she managed to fall for John.”
“But she went back to you when you returned. You guys were together for another couple years, weren’t you?”
Roman shook his head, “Yes, but it was never the same. I really think,” he stopped, talking about this got to him. In truth it still hurt like that hell Marlena loved John more, but if talking about it would help his sister he could get through it, “if John hadn’t been madly in love with Isabelle during that time, Marlena would have chosen him instead.”
Steve didn’t know what to say. He began staring at his hands.
“So Steve, I was gone for three years and Marlena moved on. Marlena was gone for five years and John moved on. It’s one thing to see how life goes on without you, but your family moving on, that’s a big pill to swallow.”
“Yeah, I know,” Steve said, understanding that very well.
Roman then put his hand on Steve’s arm to force him to look at him, “Sixteen years, Steve, Kayla couldn’t move on. I’m not saying she didn’t try. She dated and only she can tell you how far that went, but she never gave up on you. Her life has been mainly about Stephanie, which is all she had left of you. In many ways, I think your return will finally awaken her and let her live her life again. Something she certainly hasn’t been doing since you’ve been gone.”
Steve let Roman’s words sink in. The pictures he looked at back in Miami of Kayla and Stephanie over the years popped in his head. In all of them, Kayla looked like she was missing her spark, the spark that shown right through the minute he saw her in the airport. Steve looked at his second beer but couldn’t find the strength to drink anymore.
“Well,” Roman said, hoping he got through to the man, “I’ve got to get back to work now. It was good to finally meet you.”
As he left, he patted Steve on the back and walked out the door.
Kayla had to get out and get some fresh air, she wasn’t going to stay cooped on in the pub waiting for Steve to return! Since their fight, the sadness and hurt had subsided and Kayla was just plain angry now. Knowing she had disciplined Stephanie correctly, Kayla couldn’t believe Steve would question it.
Turning the corner, Kayla was shocked to run right into Hope. Both women exchanged awkward pleasantries, neither had seen the other since Zack’s funeral. Finally, Hope broke the silence, “I saw Steve. He came by.”
“Yes, I know!” Kayla said, then remembered what happened, “When he got back he smacked Bo several times.”
Despite the situation, Hope smiled at Steve’s gesture, “I’m sure he did. Bo told me.”
“Oh? You saw Bo?” Kayla said, trying unsuccessfully to look nonchalant about the question.
“Yes, he came by and we talked. I’m just…” Hope was tired and like Kayla, needed to go out to get a breath of fresh air. Her heart was hurting from all the misunderstandings and she wasn’t even sure what she should be feeling right then. “Honestly, I’d rather not talk about it. I’d rather talk about you and Steve.”
“Oh, me and Steve,” Kayla said sadly while walking in the direction Hope had been. Hope followed. “We, sort of, got into a fight.”
“You did?” Hope asked.
“Yes, it was… it was about Stephanie. Steve is having issues with realizing that I know our daughter better than he does.”
“Why would he have issues with that?” Hope said. “I mean other than the baby he held a few days ago to him is suddenly now this grown young woman. You’ve had all this time with her and helped shape her into the person he sees before him, where as he has had none.”
Kayla stopped and looked at Hope. “It’s not that! It’s just… I disciplined Stephanie for heading out here on her own after I specifically told her to wait until we called for her. Steve is furious with me.”
Hope waited a moment before answering. She finally said, “Is he furious with you for disciplining her or for not talking it over with him first?”
“Yes. I mean, both actually, I think. I don’t know. It was hard to tell.”
Hope nodded, and linked her arm in Kayla’s. She said, “You know, I understand where you are coming from and frankly I also understand where Steve is coming from as well. The thing that I think you need to do, and all you have to do is look at Bo and my situation for evidence, is talk it out. Sit down and tell him everything so then hopefully he can tell you what he is feeling.”
Kayla wanted to argue saying she tried but her heart stopped her. Sighing, Kayla nodded. She hadn’t tried. At least not hard enough.
Steve walked into the Salem Inn. He had returned to the pub and had a chat with Stephanie who felt terrible about the fight that resulted. However, she quickly told him to head over here because Kayla had called and asked him too. Walking towards the front desk, he gave the clerk his name.
The man smiled, “Yes, sir, here is your key, please go up right away.”
Steve nodded, a little nervous. He was going to buy Kayla some roses to ask for forgiveness for the fight but he had no money nor credit cards. It was frustrating as hell. As he went up in the elevator he kept going over what he wanted to say. He wanted her to know how sorry he was.
Making it to the door, Steve wondered if he should go right in. Knocking instead, he heard Kayla’s voice telling him to come in. Using his key, he opened it and walked in.
Walking through the door, Steve was met with a hotel suite filled with candles. Kayla was dressed absolutely stunningly. She stood wearing a black silk and sleeveless nightgown, covered barely by a sheer, matching robe. The first thing Steve had wanted to do was apologize, but instead he was rendered speechless.
Kayla waited nervously. She needed to keep herself together as inside she was terrified. Steve had every right to be still angry and might take this all wrong. No matter what, Kayla was intent on getting her apology out. “Steve, I know you’re angry at me and you have every right to be, just let me just start off…”
Steve, still focused on how incredibly beautiful his wife looked, could hardly comprehend. He interrupted, “Wow.”
At his reaction, Kayla blushed hotly, but tried to continue, “Thank you. I… I just want to let you know from this point on, we’ll discuss Stephanie’s punishments together. I never meant to leave you out of anything, I just…”
It sank in to Steve that Kayla was apologizing to him,which had been his own intention when stepping into the room. Walking over to her quickly, he shushed her by placing his hand over her lips The look Kayla gave him made his heart skip a beat and he smiled. “You have nothing to apologize for. I acted like a complete jerk. I… should be thanking you actually… ”
“Thanking me?” Kayla asked confused.
“Yes, it’s just… you dropped everything when I came back. Sixteen years is a long time, Kayla, it would have been perfectly understandable if you… had changed your mind about me.”
Kayla was shocked. “Changed my mind? How could I have changed my mind about you? You’re the only man I have ever truly loved!”
Steve, nervous now, took a few steps back. “You could have moved on. You… dated, didn’t you?” Even though she was here with him now, Steve still was very fearful to hear her answer.
“I did,” Kayla said, guilt swimming around her. “Oh, Steve, I had wanted to talk to you. I am afraid, not long after you died I went through a rough time. I thought what Stephanie needed was a family. I jumped straight into a relationship which… I did sleep with him. It was an affair and I’m so sorry.” She paused to see Steve’s reaction. She knew she needed to tell him who it was, but right now she couldn’t get out the name; not yet.
Hearing Kayla admit it didn’t hurt as much as seeing the way she looked at him now, like she was scared to death of his reaction. Taking her into his arms, Steve whispered, “Sweetness, it wasn’t an affair! You thought I was dead. You were probably lonely and you had Stephanie…”
She shook her head, she had to let him understand. “Steve, it was like… I wasn’t myself. I hurt people with the affair. Kimberly didn’t speak to me for so long, my whole family was angry at me. Shane and I were both in bad places…”
“Shane???” Steve said, stepping back. That was the last name he expected to hear. “Shane Donovan?!?”
Kayla nodded. “He and Kimberly weren’t together! They had divorced. We both were trying to move on from everything… the great loves of our lives. He was… there.”
Steve turned away, letting the idea sink in. It angered him, he couldn’t deny that. Thank God he didn’t know where Shane was; he’d hunt him down at this point. How dare he take advantage of Kayla?
Misunderstanding Steve’s actions, Kayla allowed the tears to come. “Oh, Steve, can you ever forgive me? After we ended things, I knew, I knew it was stupid and wrong and never compared to what I had with you! I’m so sorry…”
Hearing Kayla cry forced Steve to turn and face his wife. “Kayla, come here. I… I don’t know how I feel with this bombshell, but don’t blame yourself. If anyone is to blame, it’s Donovan for switching sisters…”
Kayla shook her head, “It was both of us. I freely admit that. But… it was clear by the time it was over that things weren’t going to be the way they were with you. I tried to convince myself I could settle for less, but…”
Steve couldn’t help but smile at that, but then guilt washed over him at rejoicing in hearing that Kayla hadn’t succeeded in replacing him. “Sweetness, I can’t deny that I am glad things didn’t work between you two, but you have to believe, I never wanted you to be lonely.”
Kayla smiled, walking closer to him. “I wasn’t so lonely, I focused on Stephanie and she was a handful, even as a baby! I left Salem thinking that maybe the hurt and pain of you being gone would subside. I suppose it did help a little but it was always there, never letting me forget or move on.”
Steve didn’t know what to say. “So… after Donovan?”
Kayla shrugged, “He was the only one after you. I did date some, mainly setups by co-workers, but I couldn’t let it get serious…”
“He was the only one after me!” Steve exclaimed, letting it sink in that when Roman said about Kayla was completely true. “How long ago was that?”
Embarrassed, Kayla said, “Fifteen years.”
Kayla nodded, wrapping her robe around her tightly. “You see, the reason I didn’t want to make love last night wasn’t because I didn’t want to. I wanted to, believe me! But, it’s been so long and frankly,” Kayla trembled a bit as she admitted, “I’m much older now. Certainly since you’ve last seen me like that. I’m not in my twenties anymore, Steve.”
For the third time since walking into the room, Steve’s mouth dropped open. How could this desirable woman have doubts on how attractive she is? Steve closed his mouth then and gave Kayla what she needed. He walked over, took her in his arms and kissed her as passionately as he could.
Kayla was caught off guard but quickly recovered. Steve’s lips tasted so good and she let his tongue meet hers. The electricity coming off Steve’s body was making hers go limp but luckily Steve held her up. Her arms reached around to give herself more support and she met him with her own passion. Several minutes later, he pulled back.
“You listen to me,” Steve said, intensely, “I have always desired you. I have desired you when you were nine months pregnant. I have desired you when you were soaked to the bone and your make up was running. I have desired you when you were filthy after hiding out in a forest. And I desire you more now than I thought possible. You are the most beautiful, sexy, and dammit, enchanting woman I have ever known!”
“Oh… Steve,” Kayla could get out, so moved by his words. The kissing resumed. Kayla felt Steve’s body react against her. She held him tighter as she leaned into his arms. Now that he was fully supporting her, Steve picked her up and took her into the master bedroom side, closing the door behind him.
Inside the bedroom, Steve and Kayla made up for all the lost years. Kayla’s inhibitions properly dismissed by Steve, Kayla was able to relax and give into the man she had been waiting to return to her. The love making not only matched but exceeded her memories of him, her only complaint that they took so long to pick up where they left off.