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zendall44

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Reply with quote  #51 

Thanks, 9K!  Love your stories - long, short, in-between, whatever, they're all GREAT!


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Micki
Granny

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Reply with quote  #52 

9K,

 

I loved it!    If Zach were a really person and came home during lunch and caught his wife watching a soap, this is the way I would picture it.  LOL  It is almost just the way my husband is (and should I add - Kendall is the way I am - "Wait until a commercial!).  You have been given a beautiful sense of humor! 

 

Thanks again for sharing your talents and Zendall love with us.

 

Granny 

 

PS: You said it was long?  Did the Mods cut part of it out?  LOL


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Thanks, Sharon, for putting Zach and Kendall in my backyard. Thanks, Karen, for attaching this to my posts.
Ann

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Reply with quote  #53 

Thank you for keeping me soooo entertained.

I love it!!!!!


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I am NOT mean..you're just a sissy
Ann
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Reply with quote  #54 

Thanks 9K.  Finally tonight I got a chance to catch up with all your stories.  They are so entertaining.  I'm glad you have brought in other characters in PV to interact with Zach and Kendall. They truly are a magical couple - both in your wonderful stories and also on AMC.


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Roseann

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Reply with quote  #55 

Thanks 9K for another wonderful story...never too long!!!

Roseann

Granny

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Reply with quote  #56 

9K,

 

Any more chapters coming?  I've missed reading the "Happy" stories. 

 

Granny 


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ninekaronas

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Reply with quote  #57 

Jewel Day

Kendall woke up with a smile on her face. She turned to where her husband was sleeping and found nothing but cool sheets. She frowned briefly, but her smile returned when she decided he must be planning to surprise her. She knew Zach, and there was no way he would let Jewel Day pass without a little bling.

Her joyful mood faltered when she realized the shower was running. Okay, so no surprise yet, she thought to herself. Maybe he wants to do it over breakfast. Feeling like a child on Christmas morning, she slipped quietly out of bed and tiptoed across the room to where Zach's coat was thrown across a chair. She searched the pockets, but found nothing.

"Of course," she whispered to the empty room. "That's yesterday's coat. He probably still has it hidden in here somewhere." She peeked over her shoulder to make sure she was still alone and listened for the shower. Still running. So she made her way to the dresser and began sifting through the contents, wincing each time the drawer squeaked.

She checked every drawer, but found nothing. She was on her tiptoes in the closet, trying to move a box that was too heavy, when she felt his breath on her neck. "What are you looking for?" he said in her ear. She jumped, but didn't turn around. She cursed herself for not having a good excuse ready in case she got caught.

"Kendall?" he repeated, placing one hand on her hip and reaching past her with the other to grab the box she was struggling with. "Is this what you want?" he asked the back of her head. "Oh yeah, thanks. It was heavier than I thought," she said as she turned to him with a huge smile and a sigh of relief. "My hero," she added, taking the box from his hands.

Zach stepped back and watched her struggle with the cumbersome box before he took it from her and held it out to her. She lifted the lid and cursed under her breath. Hockey trading cards. How was she going to explain that? She looked up into the smiling eyes of her husband and knew she should just tell him the truth. But his smugness just made her more determined to play out the lie.

"Did you want these?" Zach asked when Kendall continued to stare into the box. "Um ... yes, of course," she stammered. "I already told you I did. Who knew they'd be so heavy? Can you bring them over to the bed for me?" she asked sweetly. Zach nodded and followed her out of the closet. She cursed again when he sat down beside her on the bed.

"Don't you need to finish getting ready for work?" she asked, trying to keep her voice light. "I'm waiting," he said casually, never taking his eyes from her face. She smiled and reached for him, placing her hands on each side of his face. "Oh, how could I forget? Good morning," she said as she brought her lips to his in a quick, impatient kiss. "Thanks," he said, licking his lips and arching one eyebrow. She ignored him and waited for him to leave. "Well?" she said when he didn't move. "Good morning to you, too," he said innocently. "Zach!" she said impatiently. "Kendall!" he replied, using the same tone. "I'm just waiting to see what you want with my hockey cards. You know I'm saving them for Spike."

"Yes, of course I know. Does that mean I can't look at them?" she said as she pulled a card from the box and pretended to read the stats on the back, ignoring her husband. Zach watched as she put that card back in line and picked up another. "Was there one in particular you wanted to see?" he asked. "Maybe I can help you." "No. Nothing in particular. Why don't you show me your favorite, Zach," she said, proud of herself for thinking of it.

"Okay," Zach said as he thumbed through the cards and pulled out one that was encased in hard plastic. "This is my favorite," he said, his voice filled with awe, as he handed her a 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card. To Kendall it was just a piece of paper, but to Zach it was pure gold. She had to smile at the look of reverence on his face. That look was usually reserved for her and Spike. Which reminded her of her original mission. She took the card from Zach and replaced it in the box, put the lid back on and shoved it aside.

"I think it is so sweet that you are saving them for Spike," she cooed as she settled herself on his lap. "But what about me?" she said. "Do you have something for me?" Zach took her in slowly from head to toe. Her bare legs, the curve of her silk-covered hips, her narrow waist and plunging neckline ... all the way up to her sparkling eyes and tousled hair. Oh yeah, he had something for her alright. He returned his gaze to her face and looked deeply into her eyes. "I just took a shower, Kendall. Can I get a rain check?" he said with a straight face.

Kendall gasped and tried to jump from his lap, but he wouldn't let her go. She heard him laughing, but she refused to look at him. He turned her face to his and kissed her. Not quick and impatient, but long and slow, as if he had all the time in the world. He felt her relax against him and knew he was forgiven. He broke the kiss and stroked her face. "You grab a shower and I'll see what I can do about breakfast," he said at last. "Make it fast. I have a surprise for you." Kendall jumped from his lap and ran to the bathroom, pausing in the doorway to look at her husband. He winked at her and left the bedroom, not seeing the huge grin that lit up her face.

-------------------------

Kendall emerged from the bathroom after taking the fastest shower in history. She was just running her fingers through her still-damp hair when she heard Zach calling from the other room. "Kendall, your surprise is here," he said, poking his head in the door of their bedroom. "You ready?" She reached for his outstretched hand and followed him into the living room, where she ran right into Marian Colby-Chandler.

"Kendall, darling," Marian said as she air-kissed Kendall's cheek. "I can't wait for us to get started. I've got some great places to show you. Now that you've got another little one on the way, we don't have time to waste." Kendall took a deep breath and glanced at Zach. He just shrugged and gave her a sheepish smile. "You said you wanted a bigger house," he said as he handed both women a cup of coffee. "Marion is here to help you find the perfect one."

Kendall was stunned. Happy, but stunned. This was not the surprise she was expecting, but shopping was always a good thing. Even with Marion. She listened while Marion went on and on about the properties they were going to visit. Zach and Kendall stole glances over her head, both exhausted just from hearing what she had scheduled.

"Tell you what, Marion," Kendall said when the woman stopped to take a breath. "Why don't I meet you at your office in an hour and we'll go from there. I need to talk to Zach first ... alone." Marion gave her a knowing smile and gathered her belongings. "Of course," she said brightly. "You know, darling, you're a very lucky woman to have such a ... generous ... husband," Marion added as she looked Zach over thoroughly. "It's a shame my Liza didn't get to him first, instead of wasting all that time with Adam Chandler." Kendall rolled her eyes as she ushered the woman out the door, blocking her view of Zach. "Well, Marion, you can just tell Liza to stand down," she said. "Zach is completely, totally and utterly unavailable. I'll see you in an hour."

"We," Zach said as Kendall closed the door. "We?" Kendall repeated. "Yes, we will see her in an hour." Kendall was caught off guard and actually did a double take. "You're going with me?" she asked. "I planned to," Zach said. "Is that okay?" Kendall rushed into his arms and kissed him. "Okay? Of course it's okay. It's more than okay. It's perfect!" she gushed. "I just assumed you were too busy." Zach stepped away from her and placed his hand on her flat stomach. "I'm not ready to leave my girls yet," he said softly. "Work can wait."

"Girls, huh?" Kendall teased. "So you've decided we're having a girl?" "Sure, why not?" he said as he absentmindedly rubbed her belly. "I have a way with them, you know?" Kendall poked him in the chest and laughed. "Yeah, I noticed. Looked like Marion wanted you to have your way with her." Zach laughed. "You saw that? I feel like a need another shower," he said, pulling Kendall closer. "Oh no you don't," Kendall interjected. "You missed your chance for that, Zach. Come on, let's go find our dream house."

------------------------

While Zach went upstairs to Ryan's penthouse to pick up Spike, Kendall made a phone call to the radio station, begging them to take her request. "It has to be within the next ten minutes, please," she explained for the fifth time. "Okay, sorry. It's just really important," she said to the disgruntled man on the other end of the phone. "Thanks," she whispered as she closed her phone and greeted her son.

"Okay, here we go," Zach said as he started the car. "If anybody had told me two years ago that I'd be house hunting with my family, I would have cut off their bar tab and called them a cab. But here I am. Life is just full of surprises," he said as he took Kendall's hand. "Yes, surprises," Kendall added under her breath.

I hear the clock, it's six a.m.
I feel so far from where I've been
I got my eggs and my pancakes too
I got my maple syrup, everything but you.

"Oh, Zach," Kendall said as she turned up the volume on the radio. "I love this song."

Dreams last for so long
even after you're gone
I know you love me
And soon you will see
You were meant for me
And I was meant for you.

"Kinda sad," Zach said. "Yeah, but what do I care?" Kendall said. "My dreams aren't gone, they're right here in this car." Zach squeezed her hand and smiled at Spike in the rearview mirror. "Mine too," he said softly.

Put on my coat in the pouring rain
I saw a movie it just wasn't the same
'Cause it was happy and I was sad
It made me miss you oh so bad

"God, that is depressing. Who sings that song anyway?" Kendall said with a sideways glance at Zach. "You love the song but you don't know who sings it?" he asked. "Nope," she said quickly. "Don't look at me," Zach said when he caught Kendall staring. "I'm more of a 70's rock kind of guy." "You mean like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?" Kendall said, emphasizing the last word a little too much. "Well, that's 60's and not really rock. But sure, okay. Close enough."

The song ended and Kendall slumped in her seat, until the disc jockey started talking. "That one's a request from a lady who must really love Jew-" was all Zach heard before Kendall turned the radio off. He hid his smile and tried to keep his voice even. "He was just about to name the singer," he said. "Was he? How stupid of me," Kendall replied innocently.

"Will you please get my sunglasses for me?" Zach said a few minutes later. "This haze is giving me a headache." Kendall opened the glove compartment and saw a small box sitting next to the sunglasses. She looked at Zach, who was giving the road his full attention. She hesitated, not knowing if she was supposed to pick up the box or not. "Yeah, those are the ones, right by the box,"  Zach said as he reached out for them. "Much better. Thanks." He put on the glasses and leaned over his wife to close the glove compartment. Kendall slumped lower in her seat, never noticing the smile on Zach's face.

-------------------------

"Whew!" Kendall said as she and Zach dropped simultaneously onto their couch. Kendall swung her legs up, resting her feet in Zach's lap, as she took Spike from his arms and and settled him beside her. Zach slipped off her shoes and began the not-too-subtly demanded foot rub. "I guess I should get used to this," he said, smiling at the look of ecstasy on her face. "You know, that's the look every man wants to put on his wife's face, but a foot rub? I don't know." Kendall laughed as her gaze met his. "Come on now, Zach. Don't tell me you haven't seen this look before ... many, many times." Zach growled as he let his hand wander up her calf. Kendall closed her eyes and let the feel of his hands and the sound of his voice wash over her.

Moments later Zach looked up from his task and felt his breath leave his body in a rush. Tears filled his eyes as he took in the sight of his beautiful wife sleeping peacefully on the couch, their son sleeping quietly on her chest, her hand resting on her abdomen. He sat in silence for a long while, just watching his family sleep. He felt contentment wash over him with such force he had to close his eyes against it. He fell asleep himself minutes later, with a full heart and a smile on his face.

-------------------------

Kendall woke to the smell of dinner wafting through the air. She sat up and peeked into the kitchen and found her husband standing over an indoor grill wearing an apron. Kendall couldn't suppress the giggle that escaped her throat. "Of course you would have a Red Wings apron," she said when he looked up at her. He looked down at the logo on his chest and back at Kendall, shrugging slightly.

"You hungry?" he asked, watching her walk toward him and lowering his head as she traced the logo on the front of his apron. "Starving," she said, reaching up to kiss him. He returned the kiss before drawing her into his arms and laying her head on his chest. "Take a seat and I'll serve it up," he said. "Where's Spike?" she asked on her way to the table. "Down for the count. All that house hunting really wore him out," Zach answered as he joined her.

Kendall was so distracted by the food on her plate that she didn't notice the small box beside her glass. It wasn't until she'd eaten half her meal that she decided it was safe to put down her fork long enough to get something to drink. Zach knew the minute she saw the box, because her breath caught in her throat. Her eyes flew to his face. In the excitement of the afternoon, she'd completely forgotten about Jewel Day.

Zach watched a huge smile spread across her face as she reached for the box. Then he watched as the smile was replaced with confusion. The box was empty. Again she looked at Zach, waiting for an explanation. He laughed when he realized she had her head tilted the same way he often did when he was waiting for her to explain something.

"Are you making fun of me, Zach?" Kendall said, her voice barely a whisper. The smile fell from his face at her words. He glanced at his watch and turned up the radio that had been playing softly in the background. Then he walked over to Kendall's chair and held out his hand to her. He pulled her into his arms just as the song changed.

Don't say I love you,
those words touch me much too deeply
and they make my core tremble
Don't think you realize the power you have over me
And please don't come so close
It just makes me want to make you near me always

"I like this Jewel song much better," Zach said as he kissed her temple. They danced in the quiet of their condo, both thinking there was no more perfect place on earth.

Please don't kiss me so sweet
it makes me crave a thousand kisses to follow
And please don't touch me like that
makes every other embrace seem pale and shallow
Please don't look at me like that
It just makes me want to make you near me always

They continued to move together, even after the music stopped, until the disc jockey's voice jarred them back to reality. Zach walked back to the table and retrieved the box. "You didn't look closely enough," he said, tipping the lid back so she could read what was written on it. “Among life's precious jewels, genuine and rare, the one that we call friendship, has worth beyond compare," Kendall read. "For my best friend," Zach said as he held out his hand, from which hung a beautiful diamond and emerald bracelet.

"Oh Zach," Kendall cried as fastened it around her wrist. "It's so beautiful." Zach kissed her wrist and then her lips. "You're so beautiful," he said as he gathered her in his arms and carried her into their bedroom. She gladly let him remove her clothes, but she refused to take off the bracelet. And she fell asleep much later that night the same way she woke up that morning ... with a smile on her face.


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idonthave1

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Reply with quote  #58 
Karen......another lovely chapter. Thank you. Bonnie
Puppetwrangler

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Reply with quote  #59 

 Another lovely vignette. Thank you, 9K.

Granny

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Reply with quote  #60 
  9K    You're beautiful! 
 
You never, never cease to amaze me.  I really love your writings.  They are so pure.  They are just what we keep hoping the writers on AMC would write.  Who says it has to be depressing to keep the audience's attention?  Your thoughts are always fun and enjoyable.  Even if you do leave me crying!  But they are happy tears. 
 
Thanks, 9K, you ARE the best!
 
Granny 
 

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Thanks, Sharon, for putting Zach and Kendall in my backyard. Thanks, Karen, for attaching this to my posts.
Roseann

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Reply with quote  #61 
Karen, I've missed your "stories"!  This was another great one...and I totally agree with Granny...you leave me in tears, but definitely happy tears.
Thank you.
Roseann
ninekaronas

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Reply with quote  #62 

In my version of events, Kendall arrives at Zach's office before Hannah does. So all Zach knows is that Lily is suspicious.

Take a Walk in the Park Day

"There's my boy!" Kendall squealed as she ran to meet Rachel and Spike coming off the elevator at Fusion. Kendall pulled her son from the confines of the stroller and swung him into her arms, kissing his face while he laughed. "How's my little Spikey today?" she said into his ear as she hugged him. Then she settled him on her hip and turned to Rachel. "Everything ready?" she asked. "All set, Mrs. Slater," Rachel said with a knowing smile. "Great. Thanks, Rachel." Kendall pushed the stroller closer to her desk. "I guess we'll see you in the morning," she said over her shoulder, essentially dismissing the nanny.

"Okay, Spike," she said as she settled him on her desk, "let's get a look at you." She straightened the boys clothes, re-tied one of his shoes and pulled the Red Wings cap from his head. "Gotta get rid of this before Aunt Lily sees it. We don't want her to start that counting, do we?" She smoothed his hair and pronounced him "ready to go."

"Go?" Bianca said as she and Zoe entered the room. "You can't go anywhere." "Like hell I can't," Kendall said, burying her face in the soft folds of Spike's neck. "So cute," she murmured. "Spike and I have a very important date," she said as she began to gather her belongings. "Kendall," Bianca said, waving her hand in front of her face, "look around. There's too much to do. You can't just disappear in the middle of a work day."

Kendall stood up and tried to put Spike back in the stroller, but there didn't seem to be enough room for him. "How did Rachel do this?" she muttered. She handed Spike to a surprised Zoe and turned to Bianca. "Binks, you know all this mommy stuff. Help me." So while Zoe sang softly to Spike, Bianca helped Kendall reorganize things.

"What is all this stuff?" Bianca asked as she found herself trying to dislodge a picnic basket. "It's a nuclear bomb," Kendall snapped. "It's a picnic basket, Bianca. What does it look like?" Bianca looked at Zoe, who was now trying to loosen Spike's grip on her earring, and sighed. "Most people don't carry a fully loaded picnic basket in their baby strollers, Kendall. Forgive me for asking." She grabbed her nephew, kissed him on the cheek, and placed him in the stroller. "There you go," she said to Kendall, then realized what she'd done.

"Wait a minute. You just tricked me into helping you abandon us," Bianca said, wagging her finger at Kendall. "Really, Kendall.  It's not a good time." Kendall just shook her head. "Sorry Binks. Besides, if I have to stay around here and watch you two glowing at each other for one more second, I'll throw up ... again," Kendall said while absentmindedly rubbing her stomach. Bianca glanced at Zoe, who was pretending not to eavesdrop.

"You've got Zoe and Di and ..." Kendall began, her voice fading when she ran out of names. Bianca raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms. "You were saying," she said. "Look, Binks, is it my fault Annie has chicken pox?" Kendall asked. "No, of course not," Bianca managed to say before Kendall continued. "She just better be glad my son didn't get them. Then she'd really find out what misery feels like. Right Spikey?" Kendall ran the back of her hand over Spike's soft cheek before turning back to her sister.

"What about Babe?" she suggested. "Kendall!" Bianca said incredulously. "Babe nearly died, just a few weeks ago." "Yeah, well, who didn't," Kendall snapped. "She's right you know," Zoe said from behind Bianca. "There is a lot of that going around." She lowered her head and tried to hide her smile. "Okay, Okay," Bianca said as she returned Zoe's smile. "Zoe and I will hold down things here for the afternoon. Go ahead and surprise Zach."

"And what makes you think Zach is the lucky recipient?" Kendall asked coyly. "Oh please. Talk about glowing. Maybe it's my turn to throw up." Bianca said as she hugged Kendall. "Go have fun," she whispered in her ear before releasing her. "Thanks Binks, Zoe. Lunch is on me tomorrow, I promise."

-------------------------

"Thanks, Lily. No, it's fine. Really. Zach won't mind. You're doing a great job." Zach looked up just in time to see his beautiful wife come through the door pushing a stroller, his newest assistant right on her heels. "Zach," Lily said, "is it okay for Kendall and Spike to come in? You said hold your calls, but she didn't really call, she just showed up. So does that mean it's okay? Or when you say no calls do you really mean no interruptions? Which would include people who just show up without calling."

Lily was so serious Zach didn't dare laugh. "You're right, Lily. Calling and showing up are two different things. Normally I would want you to ask me before letting anybody in this office. But Kendall is different. Anytime she calls or just shows up, you can put her through." Lily nodded then turned to Kendall. "Hi Kendall, Zach says it's okay for you and Spike to be here. I'm sorry I didn't send you right in. I'll know better next time. But with all that's been going on around here with the mystery wo-" Lily continued, only to be cut off by Zach.

"So, Kendall," Zach said in a loud voice "did I thank you for the great job you did remodeling this office?" "Yes, you did," Kendall said, eyeing him suspiciously, "about a million times. What's going on here?" she asked. She looked from Zach, who looked completely innocent, to Lily, who looked ready to spill. So she posed her next question to her sister. "What mystery wo-" she began, but was again interrupted by Zach.

"You can go now, Lily," he said. "I'll explain everything to Kendall." He waited for Lily to leave then he came around the desk and pulled Kendall into a kiss. "Well, let's make it a million and one. Thank you." She lost her train of thought like she always did when he was so close. "You're welcome," she said softly. "I never told Ryan this, but I always thought he looked silly behind that desk. Like he was playing in his daddy's office or something. But this," she said as she ran her hands along the top of Zach's new desk, "this is a man's desk. Sitting behind this desk, you look like you belong here."

Zach raised an eyebrow. "Do I, Kendall? Do I belong here?" he said quietly. He sat down in the first chair he came to and pulled Kendall onto his lap. She wrapped one arm around his shoulder and the other hand she used to tilt his face up to hers. "Zach, we've been through this. Of course you belong here. You belong anywhere you want to be. That's the kind of man you are. This is not your father's company anymore, just because it still bears his name. And it hasn't been for a very long time. You will make this company - whatever you decide to call it - more successful than it has ever been. If only you could see what I see," she said as she looked into his eyes.

"What do you see?" he asked, taking her hand in his. "I see a strong, brave, courageous man who can do anything. Anything, Zach. That covers a lot. I have so much faith in you, because I've seen the kind of man you are. I've seen how you make things happen. I wish you could trust in yourself as much as I trust in you." Zach wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him. "Thank you, Kendall," he said as he held her. "Thank you for believing in me. It makes me feel like I can do anything." She pulled away from him and took his face in her hands. "You can, Zach. Anything you want. We can do it together." She kissed him gently and then jumped off his lap.

"Now, me, Spike and the boys are here to whisk you away for the afternoon, so let's get to whisking." Zach stood and placed his hand on Kendall's stomach. "Boys, huh? So you've decided to let me have my way?" "Sure. Why not? Whatever you want," Kendall said, happy to see him smiling. "Whatever I want?" Zach repeated. "Well let me think..." he began. "I happen to know that today is National Doctor's Day. Feel like playing a little doctor?" "Hmmmm ... Doctor Kendall. I like the sound of that. Would I get to wear a lab coat?" she teased. "Not for long," Zach said as his eyes and his fingers went to her exposed chest. She laughed as she slapped his hand away. "Later," she said. "Lily could come through that door any minute."

As if on cue, Lily hurried into the room with some papers Zach needed to sign. While Zach looked them over, Kendall spoke to her sister. "Lily, be a good executive assistant and re-schedule Zach's afternoon appointments." Lily glanced at Zach, who appeared to be paying no attention to their conversation, before answering. "But why, Kendall? What do I tell people?" Kendall wrapped her arm around Lily's shoulder and led her to the door. "Tell them he's out of the office," she said simply. "But he's not. He's standing right behind you," Lily replied, looking over Kendall's shoulder. "Not for long," Kendall said as she turned to face her husband. "You heard her, Zach. Grab our son and let's go."

-------------------------

"Take a Walk in the Park Day, huh?" Zach said as he walked along the path next to his wife, who was pushing the stroller. "I like it. I never played hooky until I met you, you know. You're a bad influence, Mrs. Slater." "You just bring out the bad in me," Kendall said with a smile. "Not yet," Zach said in a low voice, "but I promise I will later." Kendall laughed and quickened her step. "You know the best part of a walk in the park?" she asked over her shoulder when she realized he'd fallen behind. He shook his head and waited. "What's waiting at the end of the path," she said, as she looked him over from head to toe.

Zach ran to catch up with her. "What's waiting?" he asked. "Lunch," she replied, licking her lips. "Are you hungry?" He growled. "Starving," he answered, the look in his eyes telling Kendall he meant it. "Hurry then," she said. He took over pushing the stroller and followed Kendall until they reached a quiet, secluded patch of lush green grass just off the main path. The area was surrounded by foliage, giving them privacy.

"Ah, here we are," Kendall said as she spread the blanket she'd brought and dropped to her knees. "You get Spike and I'll take care of everything  else," she said to Zach. He frowned when she pulled out the picnic basket. "Oh, you meant hungry for food?" he said with mock disappointment. "Sure, what did you think I meant" she said innocently. "I'll show you later," he said as he helped her unload the stroller, wondering how on earth she'd gotten all that stuff in there. He had just lowered Spike onto the blanket beside him when his phone rang.

"Don't you dare," Kendall warned when he pulled the phone from his pocket. "It's Lily," he said as he glanced at the phone. "If I don't answer, she'll just keep calling." Kendall knew he was right, so she relented. "Okay, just the once. But tell her to hold your calls, all of them."

"Yes, Lily," Zach said into the phone. "Zach, it's Lily. I just wanted to tell you that the mystery woman is still following you." "How do you know that?" Zach asked as he stood up and walked away from Kendall. "Because I'm following her," Lily said matter-of-factly. Zach nearly dropped the phone. He threw his head back, shaking it slightly, wondering why he was even surprised. "Go on," he said when Lily didn't continue. "Well, I took my lunch break right after you and Kendall left and I saw a woman watching you. It was the same woman I saw outside my house this morning. I really wanted to solve this mystery, so I went to talk to her. But she got away before I could reach her. I could see she was following you, so I followed her. It was the only logical thing to do."

"Logical, right," Zach said. He glanced over his shoulder and smiled at the sight of Kendall playing with Spike. She looked up at him, her eyes questioning him. He held up one finger and turned his back to her again. "Where are you now, Lily?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. "I'm in the park, 17 feet and 5 inches from the fountain, on the southeast side," she said. "Can you still see this woman?" Zach asked. "Oh yes. She's standing 6 feet and 2 inches from the fountain, on the northwest side. She looks like she's lost."

Zach took a deep breath and stepped back into the shadows. He remembered passing the fountain, but they were nowhere near it now. Either this woman, whoever she is, lost them or Lily was wrong about her in the first place. His first reaction was to assume the latter, but his instincts wouldn't let him. But he didn't have to deal with it today. Today was about family. He wasn't going to ruin Kendall's surprise with what was probably nothing.

"Okay, Lily. Here's what you do," he said into the phone. "Keep your eye on her until Bruno arrives. If she leaves the fountain area, follow her. Bruno will find you. When he does, you can go back to the office. Got it?" He could sense her hesitating. "Lily? Do you understand?" She sighed. "Yes, I understand. But I wanted to solve this mystery, Zach," she said at last. "I know, and I appreciate it. You've already done a lot. But let Bruno take it from here. Thanks, Lily," he said and hung up. He made a mental note to give Lily a raise as he returned to find Kendall and Spike eating.

"Trouble in paradise?" she asked lightly. "Nope. This is paradise," he said as he lowered himself onto the blanket beside her, "and I don't see any trouble." "What's going on, Zach?" She looked at him suspiciously. "Is there something I should know?" she asked. Zach helped himself to the plate Kendall had made for him before answering. "Maybe, but it's probably nothing. Mmmm, this is good," he said as he bit into his sandwich." Kendall continued to stare at him. He put down his sandwich and took her hand. "I'm sure it's nothing. No reason to ruin our afternoon."

"Is this about the mystery wo-" Kendall began, only to have Zach put his hand over her mouth. "The only woman I care about is right here, and she's all the mystery I can handle," he said. "I'll tell you all about it later, I promise. And then you keep your promise to me, Doctor Kendall," he added with a gleam in his eye.


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9K, I like your version. Go Lily! Your words form such clear pictures in my head, I'd swear I"d actually seen this filmed. Thanks.

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Thanks, Karen...Enjoyed this very much and certainly liked your version  a lot more than the one that is playing out on our screens.

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Karen I love it - thanks for a Sunday sighting!!!!

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Once again, I'm late to the party!  I had to work on my taxes this weekend.  Not much time to surf the net.  You know how that goes.  One thing leads to another.    What a nice surprise finding a new chapter of Life is a Celebration!

9K, Great chapter!  Love your descriptive writings.  As someone before me wrote, it as if we were watching the action on the screen!  You're so talented.  I'm glad you've written Lily a little less sensitive in being touched.  I love the arm around the shoulders.  I've wanted someone to be able to do that since day one. 

Thank you again for sharing your wonderful talent!  I ready for the next one! 

Granny 

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Okay, in my world, Zach never got the phone call concerning his father. We'll just deal with that later.

Look Up At The Sky Day

Zach stood in the dark, staring out the window of the bedroom he shared with his wife. Wife. As much as he loved the sound of it, sometimes it still caught him by surprise. The ghosts in his mind often crept up on him in quiet moments like these, causing him to wonder if he could really do it. Could he be a good husband and father? Could he be all the things that his father wasn't? Does the "man brand" have to remain the same?

He knew he could love a child. Spike had proven that much to him. He smiled in the darkness as he remembered how he'd tried to use Spike to cheer Kendall up. She pretended it didn't work, but he knew better. Spike was the one thing Kendall could never resist. No doubt about it, Zach knew he would lay down his life for that boy. And the baby Kendall carried would be no different.

He looked over at his sleeping wife. Her beauty still took his breath away. How did he get here? What did he do to deserve this? He smiled again, remembering the way she had pouted all evening, still annoyed with him for not sending Bianca back to Paris and away from Zoe. He knew she wasn't really mad, but he couldn't help but feel like he'd let her down. But he just didn't think Kendall should interfere in her sister's relationship, and there was no way he was going to help her do it.

"I hate you, Zach Slater!" Those were the words she hurled at him earlier. Of course he knew she didn't mean it. The look on her face told him that. He may not fully understand why she loved him, but he knew that she did. But what about Hannah? Could she utter those same words with true conviction? Did she blame him for Ethan's death? Did she have a right to?

He turned his attention back to the last flickers of starlight in the pre-dawn sky. These were the moments that left him vulnerable. When he was busy with work, or when Kendall was by his side, he felt invincible. There was nothing he couldn't do. But when he was alone and everything was quiet, he became haunted.

He thought about waking Kendall up, but hesitated. She was sleeping so peacefully. She even seemed to be smiling. Zach wondered if she was dreaming about the spider she'd killed in the bedroom that very night. She had teased him relentlessly about it, and he knew she always would. He shrugged in the darkness. His secret was out. Arachnophobia. Big, strong, fearless, ruggedly handsome ... and afraid of spiders. He'd tried to convince Kendall he was only pretending to be afraid to trick her into talking to him, but he didn't think she bought it. The scene he'd made when she showed him the dead spider blew that alibi out of the water.

"Zach, what are you smiling about?" Kendall said from across the room. He looked over to find her sitting up in bed, watching him. "Nothing," he said, shaking his head. "I was just thinking about my beautiful wife." "Liar," she laughed. "Why don't you come back to bed?" "Is that an offer?" he asked, eyebrows raised. "It might be," she said smoothly. Zach took one last look at the sky, now streaked with gold, before heading back to bed. He stopped abruptly when he saw Kendall look under the covers. "What are you doing?" he asked as she looked under both pillows. "Checking for spiders," she said with a wicked gleam in her eye. "Oh, you're gonna pay for that," Zach said as he climbed in beside her and drug her under the covers.

-------------------------

"I hate you Zach Slater!" Zach looked up from the paper he was reading to see Kendall coming from their bedroom with Spike in her arms. "No you don't," he said with a sigh. "At least you didn't a couple of hours ago." She smiled, but he could tell it was against her will. "Dammit, why won't you let me be mad at you? I have a right to be, you know?" He walked over and pulled Spike from her arms, placed a loud, wet kiss on his cheek, and put him in his playpen. Then he laid his hands on Kendall's shoulders. "No, you don't," he said.

"Bianca is my sister, Zach. I have every right to be concerned," Kendall said, her voice soft, her eyes pleading. "I don't want her to get hurt." Zach took her into his arms and rubbed his hands over her back. "I don't want that either, Kendall. But she's a grown woman. It's not our place to run her love life." Kendall snorted as she pulled away from him. "You mean like the way she didn't run mine? Don't you remember the Christmas after our divorce? She was all in my business then, Zach."

"Yeah, I remember. But that was different." She didn't look convinced. "Why was that different?" she asked. "Because you wanted her to interfere," he said, smiling arrogantly as he returned to his newspaper. "Now come over here and have some breakfast with me." Kendall wanted to scream, but in her heart she knew he was right. She didn't like it, and she would never admit it to him, but it was true. She had no right to try to control Bianca's relationship with Zoe. And she was eternally grateful that Binks had butted into her relationship with Zach.

She hated it when Zach was always right. She walked over to the sofa where he was sitting, kissed him softly on the mouth, and took a long sip of the orange juice he'd poured her. "I hate you, Zach Slater!" she said softly. "No you don't," he replied as he returned her kiss, licking the orange juice from his own lips.

-------------------------

"Kendall! What are you doing out in a storm like this?" Zach said when Kendall burst into his office later that same day. He had been watching the raging thunderstorm through the window. In fact, he was just about to call Fusion to check on her when she arrived. "It's all your fault, Zach," Kendall said as she tossed her umbrella into the stand and slipped out of her wet coat. Zach just watched her, trying not to notice the way her damp hair curled around her face. He wasn't through being angry with her for being out in such nasty weather.

"How is it my fault?" he said when she came to stand in front of him. "Well, when you were at the casino all day, it was too far away for me to visit. But now that you are so much closer to the Fusion offices, I can't get any work done. Just knowing you're only a few minutes away destroys my concentration." She lowered herself onto his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. He growled low in his throat and took a deep breath. "Okay, you win," he said as he buried his face in her neck. "I always do," she giggled.

Zach had just wrapped his arms around her to pull her closer when they heard a loud clap of thunder and saw the darkened sky flash with lightning. The lights flickered, but didn't go out. Kendall jumped to her feet and walked over to the window while Zach went to check on Lily. "You shouldn't be near the windows," he said upon his return. "So come over here and protect me then," she said as she watched lightning streak through the sky.

"How's Lily?" she added when she felt Zach come to stand behind her. "She's fine. She did decide to go to her closet until the storm blows over, though." Zach pulled Kendall closer and she let her body rest against his. They stood in silence watching the wind and rain. Finally, Kendall said, "How about Hannah?" She felt Zach tighten his grip on her, then relax. She turned to face him.

"Zach?" she said, unspoken questions written all over her face. "I'm sure she's okay, Kendall," he said blankly. "You know that's not what I meant. Tell me why you tensed up at the mention of her name," she said as she brought his hand up to cradle it in both of hers. Zach looked at her a long time before answering. "I'm not sure," he said at last. Kendall led him to the sofa and waited for him to sit beside her before responding.

"What are you trying not to tell me, Zach?" Again he just looked at her. She could see indecision playing across his face. "Tell me," she whispered. He cocked his head to the side, his mind obviously elsewhere, then took another deep breath. "I don't really know what it is, Kendall. Something just doesn't feel right." She nodded. "Go on." He looked into her eyes, trying to gauge her reaction to his next words. "I don't trust her," he said.

Kendall hadn't realized she was holding her breath until she released it in a rush. "Okay," she said cautiously. "Why?" Zach glanced at the door when Lily entered. Kendall thought he seemed nervous and she wondered why. "Zach, the storm is over and I'm fine now," Lily said. "I checked these figures for you and made the necessary corrections. Are you sure she's qualified for this job? She makes a lot of mistakes," she added as she handed Zach the folder.

"Where is Hannah?" Zach asked, his voice low. "Oh, she's not in the office right now. She said she had some personal business to take care of. Which doesn't seem right since she gets paid to be here working. Personal business should be taken care of on personal time. You should talk to her about that, Zach. Of course, I'm glad she's gone. I don't like her," Lily said in a rush.

"Okay, Lily. Thanks for this," Zach said as he lifted the folder. "And don't worry about Hannah. I am paying attention." He turned to Kendall when Lily had closed the door behind her. "See what I mean? Even Lily doesn't trust her," he said. "Tell me, Kendall, what do you think?"

"Oh no you don't," she said emphatically. "You first. Tell me why you don't trust her." Zach stood and walked across the room, laying the folder on his desk. "Instinct mostly," he said. "I keep expecting to feel some connection with her. But I don't. Nothing about her seems familiar. I don't know, maybe my father has just made me paranoid. But there's something about her that concerns me." He lowered himself into the chair behind his desk and waited for Kendall's opinion. "Your turn," he said.

Kendall walked over to stand next to him, leaning against his desk. "Okay, but just remember you did ask," she warned. "Uh-huh," Zach grunted. "Well," she began, dragging the word out, "I find her to be cold and unfeeling. She wasn't the least bit interested in anything I had to say about Ethan. That made me suspicious of her right away. She keeps saying she's here because she wants to know more about her son, but she doesn't want to talk about him? That doesn't make any sense to me, Zach. I mean, why is she really here. And why now?"

"Why didn't you mention it sooner?" he asked. She looked away. "Because of Dixie," she said to the floor. When he didn't respond, she looked at him. He met her gaze and waited for her to explain. "I became so jealous of your relationship with Dixie, and look what happened. I wanted to show you that I could be a grown-up. Besides," she added, her voice softening as his hand touched hers, "I thought her being here would make you feel better. Less guilty. I didn't want to get in the way of that." Zach started to pull her into his lap, but something outside caught his attention.

"Come here," he said as he led her back to the window. "See that?" Kendall looked to where he was pointing and saw it. A rainbow. "A sign of new beginnings. Fresh starts. That's us, Kendall. We've had our fresh start and nobody will ever come between us again. I promise." He put his arms around her, folding his hands over her abdomen and resting his chin on her shoulder. "As for Hannah, let's give it some more time. Maybe something really is wrong. Or maybe we are reading too much into it. I'll keep my eye on her. And so will Lily," he added with a laugh.

"Wait a minute," Zach said suddenly. "I thought you were afraid of thunderstorms." Kendall smiled sheepishly. "Why do you think I'm here?" she said brightly. "I thought you said it was because of me," he teased. "Something about not being able to concentrate." "Oh that. I was just trying to keep you from yelling at me," she said. Zach loosened his grip on her, but she wouldn't let him go. "No, no, no," she coaxed. "Okay, I admit it. I was afraid of thunderstorms. But that was before I had a big, strong husband to hold on to. I don't have to be afraid anymore. Besides, without the storm, there's no rainbow. And I wouldn't trade the rainbow for anything in the world."


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  Tissue, please.  9K, you always leave me teary-eyed.  Beautiful story.  So much tenderness.  Thank you! 

If it were a prefect world, the daytime drama writers would take a clue from your work.    

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I love your mind!

Granny 

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Thanks, Karen.  Great story.  
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Thanks, 9K!
I wondered why no one remembered they were afraid of (or at least bothered by) thunderstorms last week. Even Lily went to Wildwind on her own.
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I hope you know how much I am still enjoying your story.


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Thank you so much for another great chapter.  I wish I could see this kind of scene take place on the show.  You have really captured what Zach and Kendall are about.  Great job, can't wait for the next one.   Again thank you so much.  

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This is a long one. So long, in fact, I broke it up into four parts. Indulge me. (Note to Lorene: Got the email, check back Saturday.)

Richter Scale Day

Part 1


"Now that is how you ring in Richter Scale Day," Kendall said as she laid back against her pillow, breathing heavily, a satisfied smile on her face. "Did the earth move?" Zach asked from his place beside her, barely able to gasp the words out. "Mmmm hmmm ... still is," Kendall said with a lazy sigh. Zach pulled her into his arms and waited for his breathing to return to normal. He had no idea what time it was, and he didn't have the strength to turn his head and look at the clock. He knew they were both going to be late for work, but it would be worth it. Ownership has it's privileges, he thought to himself as he ran his hands over the soft skin of Kendall's back.

Kendall, reading his thoughts, pushed Fusion out of her mind and snuggled up against her husband. The world would just have to wait. After all, it was a holiday. She dozed off with a smile on her face and the sound of Zach's beating heart next to her ear.

"Speaking of moving," Kendall said many minutes later, "today is the day for Bianca and Zoe." Zach felt her tense next to him and knew she was still more upset about it than she let on. He had to give her credit. She hadn't said anything else about it since the New Beginnings taping. She didn't like it, but she had accepted it.

"What time does their plane leave?" Zach said, his voice barely above a whisper. He'd been nearly asleep when Kendall spoke. "Ten-thirty," Kendall replied, still making no move to get out of bed. "What time is it now?" Zach asked. "I don't know. I can't see the clock," Kendall answered. "Kendall, all you have to do is lift your head and look. Come on now. We're gonna be late." Kendall grunted, but didn't move. "It's on your side of the bed, Zach. You look." She felt the rumble in his chest even before she heard the growl.

Zach made a big show of reaching over and picking up the clock. Sometime during the morning's activities it had gotten knocked over. "I guess the earth really did move," Zach mumbled as he held the clock in front of Kendall's face. "Nine-fifteen!" she yelled as she pulled away from Zach and threw back the covers. "Zach, it's nine-fifteen!" she yelled again. "So I heard," he said calmly, causing her to stop and look at him.

She recognized that look in his eye and tried to jump out of bed. But she wasn't fast enough. "Oh no you don't. Wait just a minute." He grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back up against him. Then he reached onto the floor and picked up his cell phone. He dialed, waited and then told whoever answered to "push it back a couple of hours," all the while trying to control his struggling wife. "Zach!" Kendall said when he dropped the phone back on the floor. "What are you doing?"

"Aftershocks," he grinned as he leaned over Kendall, one hand pulling her beneath him while the other one pulled the covers over their heads.

-------------------------

Kendall hurried through the airport terminal, once again amazed at the man she married. One call and Bianca's flight was delayed. Of course, being the CEO of Cambias Industries made it much easier to give the pilot orders, but Kendall was still impressed. Bianca, on the other hand, might be less appreciative, so Kendall was in a hurry to reach her.

She was worried for nothing. As she climbed aboard the Cambias jet, she could hear the commotion coming from the cockpit. Kendall stood with wide eyes and an open mouth as she waited for Bianca to stop yelling at the pilot. When it seemed Bianca was nowhere near stopping, she intervened.

"Whoa, Binks," she interjected as she grabbed her sister's hand and led her away. "What's got you so riled up this afternoon?" Bianca had stopped yelling, but was still agitated. "It's not afternoon, Kendall. It's still morning. Which is exactly what I was just explaining to Mr. Top Gun in there."

Kendall laughed, which seemed to release Bianca's tension. She took a deep breath and gave Kendall a weak smile. "Okay, tell me what's wrong," Kendall said. "Nothing really." Bianca glared at the cockpit door, then glanced at her watch. "Except the pilot is in a hurry to leave and Zoe isn't here yet."

"What? Why? The plane was supposed to leave almost two hours ago," Kendall said, flabbergasted. "I was afraid you would both be pacing up and down the runway, mad as hell at me." Bianca shot her a look. "Well, we should be. I just hope it was worth it," she added with one eyebrow arched. "Yes," Kendall smiled sheepishly, "it was definitely worth it. But we were talking about Zoe. Remember?"

Bianca smiled at the blush on Kendall's cheeks and continued. "The truth is, I was glad for the extra time. I've had a crazy morning and was running late. So I called Zoe and told her we got pushed back. She was all set to go, so she took Miranda off my hands for a while. They were supposed to meet me here 30 minutes ago."

"Should we be worried?" Kendall asked. Bianca shook her head and held up her phone. "Zoe just called and they'll be here any minute. Which will still have her here well before our scheduled departure," she added in a louder voice in the direction of the cockpit.

Both women stood when they heard Miranda running toward them. Zoe was behind her raining apologies and excuses until Bianca stopped her. "Doesn't matter," she said with a wave of her hand. "You made it in plenty of time," she added loudly. Kendall laughed when Bianca again glared at the cockpit door while Zoe took her turn with wide eyes and a slack jaw. Neither of them was used to seeing Bianca so agitated.

"Where's Spike?" Miranda asked as she pulled on Kendall's skirt. "Oh honey, he's with his Daddy Ryan today. I was gonna go get him so he could kiss you all goodbye, but I was running late." Miranda raised her arms to Kendall, waiting to be picked up. When Kendall obliged, Miranda kissed her cheek and said, "For Spike."

While the three women gushed over her, Miranda kissed Kendall again. "For Uncle Zach" she said. Then she wrapped her arms around Kendall and hugged her tight. "For you," she said, adding yet another kiss to Kendall's wet face. Then she wiggled her legs, a signal she was ready to be put down. "Oh well, I guess that's it," Kendall said as she watched her niece settle herself in an oversized leather chair with her favorite dolly and a coloring book.

Before anybody could react to the precocious child, the engine started. "Oh, he really is anxious," Kendall said as she threw her arms around Bianca, "I can't believe you're really leaving. I'm gonna miss you so much, Binks." Bianca returned her hug and tried to blink back her tears. "But you wanted me to leave, remember?" she said with a watery laugh.

Kendall glanced at Zoe before answering. "You know I only want what's best for you," she said. "I know," Bianca nodded. She looked over at Zoe and smiled. "I'm doing the right thing, Kendall," she said, her eyes never leaving Zoe's face. Kendall hugged her again before turning to Zoe.

"Take care of yourself," Kendall said as she hugged Zoe. "Take care of Bianca, too. And don't forget you're a Fusion girl now," she added. "I expect you to shamelessly name-drop our products in every interview you give when the new cd is ready." Zoe laughed and held out her finger to Kendall. "Pinky swear," she said. Kendall returned the gesture and then turned to go. She winked at Miranda as she passed her, then stepped off the plane, never looking back.

Kendall stood in the terminal watching until the Cambias jet was just a speck in the sky. She missed them already. She wiped away the tears she hadn't wanted Bianca to see and decided an afternoon of quarterly reports was just what she needed to occupy her mind. Just as she stuck the key into her car door, she heard the rumble.

TBC

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Richter Scale Day

Part 2


The noise didn't concern Kendall at first. After all, it was an airport. Loud noises were to be expected. But when she felt the ground tremble beneath her, it got her attention. She looked in the direction of the terminal and couldn't stop the scream that escaped her throat. She building was moving! Literally moving. She watched in horror as the whole airport vibrated. She looked over the fence and saw a large commercial airliner crash into a smaller private plate on the runway. Only then did she realize that her car was moving away from her. She didn't know what else to do, so she climbed in and huddled in the seat while her car bounced back and forth. Luckily, there were no cars in the spaces beside her.

It seemed to go on for hours, but Kendall knew it was really only seconds. She waited for the shaking to stop before getting out of the car, then she stood in shock as people came filing out of the terminal, pointing and shouting. Many were crying, and nearly all of them had phones to their ears. Phones, Kendall thought in a daze. "Phones!" she exclaimed. "Oh my God, Spike!" She reached for her cell phone and dialed Ryan's number.

All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later. "No! Oh God, no," she screamed into the phone. She wanted to throw it as far as she could, but stopped herself just in time. She might need it later. As she made her way back to the terminal, she noticed that everyone else was having the same problem. But it didn't stop her from trying again and again. By the time she got close enough to talk to anyone, she was nearly hysterical.

"What happened?" she asked the first person she came to. "Earthquake," came his reply as he ran past her and into the parking lot. "Earth- ... what?" Kendall screamed after him. But he was gone. She went into the airport and found it in total chaos. There was no electricity, no phone service, and no answers. Airport security was trying to keep everybody calm while the manager tried to get information to pass along to the gathering crown. He was yelling to some man in a gray uniform about backup generators. Kendall stood in the middle of the airport, dazed and confused, tears running down her face.

"Zach," she said to no one in particular, "I need Zach." Again she tried to use her phone, only this time there was no signal. "Dammit!" She was on the verge of collapse when she heard the manager make an announcement. She made her way through the broken glass and debris, trying to get close enough to hear what he was saying. She could only make out some of his words, but she heard enough. Earthquake. 6.9. Major damage. Epicenter just outside Pine Valley.

Kendall knew she couldn't stay there another second. She had to get back to Pine Valley. She had to be sure Spike and Zach were okay. She ran back to her car and joined the line of vehicles that were carefully making their way through the mangled parking lot. She tried her phone again. Still no signal. This time she couldn't stop herself. She threw it out the window as she sped away.

-------------------------------

Kendall berated herself all the way to Ryan's for letting her temper get the best of her. She wondered if she could get a signal now, not that it really mattered. Her phone was in a zillion pieces on the side of the road. "Stupid," she muttered to herself as she made her way back to the heart of Pine Valley.

She noticed with some relief that road conditions improved as she got closer to downtown. She desperately needed to talk to Zach, to make sure he was safe, but she couldn't find a pay phone anywhere. "Welcome to the 21st century, Kendall," she said to the empty car. She tried the car radio again and wanted to cry when she heard the disc jockey's voice. "Thank you, God," she said as she turned up the volume.

By the time he finished talking, Kendall was breathing much easier. The most serious damage reports were coming from the outskirts of town. In fact, except for the fact that the streets were completely deserted, downtown Pine Valley showed no signs of anything being wrong. It was so eerily quiet that it made her skin crawl.

Kendall made her way quickly to Ryan's penthouse, knowing that's exactly where Zach would go first. He would want to make sure Spike was safe. She couldn't wait to see them both. She ached to hold her son and kiss her husband. Her thoughts went briefly to Erica and Jack and Lily, but she had to let that go. Her first priority was to get to Spike.

Afraid of getting stuck in the elevator, Kendall took off her shoes and climbed the stairs at a frantic pace. Not knowing where she got the strength, she found herself standing outside Ryan's apartment in a matter of minutes, barely winded. She didn't even bother to knock, she just ran through the door.

"Spike? Zach?" she yelled as she ran into the living room. Nobody was there. The only sign of life in the apartment was the blaring television. Kendall stopped her search long enough to watch the reports on CNN. They were showing footage from Pine Valley of some devastated areas. There was something familiar about the area they were showing, but she couldn't place it. Her mind just wouldn't focus.

Just as she reached to turn the volume down, she heard her name. "Kendall," Ryan shouted into the now-quiet room. "Thank God you're okay. I've been calling and calling," he said in softer voice as he pulled her into his arms. "Spike," she choked. "Wh-where's Spike? Please tell me he's okay, Ryan. Oh God. Please -" she stammered as Ryan pulled away from her. "Oh no, Kendall," he said as he led her to the sofa. "Spike's fine, Kendall. He's great. He's taking a nap. Here, let me get him," he began, rising to go upstairs.

"No, Ryan," Kendall said suddenly, "let me." Without waiting for an answer, she ran up the stairs to Spike's room and rushed over to his bed. It was as if he knew she was coming. He was sitting up in the middle of the bed with his arms outstretched. She wrapped her arms around him and held on tight, her fear momentarily replaced with a smile when she felt his hand patting her shoulder. She kissed his soft cheek and hugged him again.

"Where's your daddy, Spike?" she wondered aloud. Her voice was heavy with unshed tears. She turned quickly when she heard someone clear their throat behind her. "Zach?" Ryan shook his head as he placed his hand on her arm. "I'm sure Zach is fine, Kendall," he said. "I just talked to Annie a little while ago and she said Fusion came through the quake practically untouched. Cambias isn't that far away, so I'm sure it's the same over there."

Kendall nodded, but wasn't convinced. "Then why hasn't he called?" she asked. "I know this is the first place he'd check, Ryan. He would want to know Spike was okay." "He would also want to know that you're okay, Kendall," Ryan said gently. "Maybe he called Fusion." Kendall jerked away from him. "Did Annie say he called? Why didn't you tell me?" she snapped.

Ryan put his hand on Kendall's shoulder, trying to keep his voice calm. "She didn't say, Kendall. Haven't you tried to call him? Where's your phone anyway?" he asked, suddenly concerned. "Don't ask," Kendall said, giving him a look that said she meant it. Ryan held up both hands in surrender. "Tell you what," he said as he reached into his pocket. "Why don't you try him again."

Kendall grabbed the phone like a lifeline and called Zach's cell as she made her way back to the living room, Spike in her arms and Ryan on her heels. No answer. So she called Cambias. Busy signal. "How can that many lines all be busy?" she said under her breath.

"Fusion, Kendall. Call Fusion," Ryan reminded. Kendall waited impatiently for the call to go through, relieved when Annie answered the phone. "Annie, thank God. Did Zach call?" She held her breath as she waited for the answer. "No, Kendall. I'm sorry, but Zach hasn't called. Kendall released the breath slowly as her mind raced with all kinds of horrible scenarios. "Are you sure?" she said desperately. "Ask around." "I'm sorry. Maybe he tried to reach you on your cell," Annie added when she heard the fear in Kendall's voice.

Kendall hung up and tried Cambias again. She handed Spike to Ryan and paced around the room like a caged animal, waiting for someone to answer the phone. On the seventh ring, Kendall heard a voice she recognized. "Lily!" she screamed. "Lily, where's Zach? Please let me talk to Zach. What do you mean he's not there? Where is-". The words died in her throat when she realized what she was seeing on the tv screen. She and Lily said it at the same time ... "the casino."

Kendall dropped the phone and ran to the tv, as if getting closer would help her make sense of what she was seeing. She heard sobbing, but it took her several seconds to realize the sound was coming from her. She fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around her middle, rocking herself back and forth while she cried. When the tv cameras showed an ambulance speeding away from the site, Kendall snapped out of her trance.

"I have to go, Ryan. Zach needs me," she said, her voice flat and distant. She stood to her feet and looked around for her car keys. "Wait, Kendall. I'll go with you," Ryan said. His voice sounded far away to Kendall. She watched as he took Spike back up the stairs. He seemed to be moving in slow motion and it was driving her crazy.

"No, Ryan. I can't wait any longer. Zach needs me. Why are you moving so slowly? You don't care if I find Zach or not, do you? You want him to be dead so you can have me and Spike all to yourself. Admit it Ryan, you want him to be dead!" By the time she finished her accusations, she was flailing at Ryan while he struggled to pin her down. Her shock was turning into hysteria. Ryan managed to grab her wrists and stop her assault. He looked into her eyes and saw the fear there. His heart broke for her.

"Listen to me, Kendall. You're in shock and you're not thinking clearly. Of course I don't want Zach to be dead. I just want to help you find him. Okay?" he asked when she calmed. "What about Spike?" she asked. "Spike will be fine. Rachel is here and she'll take good care of him." Kendall nodded, but didn't move.

"Kendall?" Ryan said. "A note,” Kendall said. “I need to leave Zach a note. He'll come for Spike and I want him to know I'm okay." "Rachel can tell him," Ryan began, only to have his words cut off by Kendall. "I don't want Rachel to tell him anything, Ryan. I want to leave my husband a note. Do you mind?"

Again Ryan raised his hands in surrender. "Not at all," he said as he searched the room for something to write on. Kendall scribbled something on the page, kissed it softly and then folded it. She insisted on taping it to the door so she could be sure Zach would see it.

Then they left, headed for what was left of the Season's East Casino.

--------------------------

Kendall and Ryan weren't able to get within half a mile of the casino, even though Kendall was co-owner. "Too dangerous," was all anybody would tell them. They took turns swearing and threatening, but to no avail. Kendall tried calling Zach's cell phone every two minutes, but he never answered. Sometimes it would ring and sometimes it would send her straight to voice mail. She stopped leaving messages after the fourth one. But she did like hearing his voice. It washed over her and made her feel warm and safe and protected. He just couldn't be gone. She'd know it if he was. Her heart would tell her.

"Hold on, Zach," she said into the cool spring wind. "I'm coming."

-------------------------

After nearly an hour of begging every cop she saw to let her go to her husband, Kendall was out of options. She was on the verge of collapse, but refused the food and water she was constantly being offered. She didn't want food. She just wanted her husband. Suddenly an ambulance came screaming past them, making Kendall's heart stop. Then she remembered seeing other ambulances leaving the scene on the news coverage.

"That's it, Ryan," she said with renewed energy. "We have to get to the hospital." After giving Ryan's phone number to everybody she saw and making them promise to call her the second they heard anything about her husband, she left. She used Ryan's phone to check in with her family, all of whom were safe and sound. All of them except Zach, she thought. She welcomed the blackness that claimed her as she and Ryan made their way back to the center of town. Her last conscious thought was a prayer for Zach and a hope that she would dream about him.

TBC

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Richter Scale Day

Part 3


Ryan gently nudged Kendall awake when they reached the hospital. She had been dreaming about Zach and was angry with Ryan for interrupting her, until she remembered why they were there. She was suddenly more determined than ever to find her husband, and then yell at him for putting her through this.

The first person she saw when she came into the emergency room was Erica, and she was holding Spike. "Mom, what are you doing here?" Kendall asked as she lifted her son into her arms. "Ryan called," Erica said, seeing the panic in Kendall's face. "No honey, nothing like that. He just thought you needed your family with you, that's all." Erica hugged first Kendall and then Ryan. She could see how scared Kendall was, and she hated it. Even though she didn't understand it, she knew how much Kendall loved Zach. And she was beginning to see just how much Zach loved her daughter. It was all so unfair.

"Kendall, honey," she said in what she hoped was a soothing voice, "maybe you need to let one of the doctor's take a look at you. All this stress can't be good for the baby." Kendall lightly rubbed her stomach as she shook her head, but said nothing. She watched Julia Keefer enter the waiting room and hurried over to her.

"Julia, have you seen Zach? Is he here? Please Julia, help me?" she said in a rush. Julia gave Kendall a strange look before answering. "You don't know, Kendall?" she asked, her voice soft and low. "Oh God," Kendall said. "No, I don't know. What don't I know, Julia? Tell me what I don't know!" Julia pointed Kendall to a row of chairs along the wall and forced her to sit down.

"Zach was at the casino when the earthquake hit. He was injured, but it wasn't anything life threatening. Just cuts and bruises, including a pretty nasty cut on his arm," she said, trying to remember the specifics. "Anyway, typical Zach, he refused to be treated and insisted on staying until everybody was safely evacuated. The last report we got was that a squad car was bringing him in to get his arm looked at. That was nearly two hours ago and he hasn't made it yet. Nobody is sure exactly where he is."

Kendall didn't know whether to be relieved or afraid. While she was glad to hear he was okay ... but where was he? Maybe the reports were wrong and his injuries were more serious than they thought. So why didn't the police bring him here? And if he wasn't badly hurt, why didn't he at least call her? The more she thought about it the more anxious she became.

"Okay, here's what we're gonna do," she said to the group around her. "Julia, you go back behind that desk and find out the name of the police officer who was supposed to be bringing Zach here. Mom, I need you to please go see if Zach went home. Maybe he thought I would take Spike there to wait for him. And Ryan, go back to the penthouse and wait for Zach there. Spike and I will wait here." Both Ryan and Erica protested, but Kendall would not be denied. “I don’t need a babysitter, Mother. I just need my husband,” she’d said as she ushered Erica out of the hospital.

Fifteen minutes later she found herself pacing back and forth across the waiting room floor, trying her best to comfort her son. He seemed to sense that something was wrong and nothing she did would calm him. She couldn't blame him. She wasn't calm either. So the two of them cried and walked, back and forth, waiting for somebody to call and say they found Zach.

"Hey, there you are." Kendall turned at the voice she'd been waiting to hear all day. She nearly fainted when her eyes met those of her missing husband's. She met him in the middle of the room and then froze. She stood there looking at him, unable to move. She tentatively reached up and cupped the side of his face. When he leaned into her hand and she felt the warmth of his skin, she knew she wasn't dreaming. She threw herself into his arms and wept against his chest. Zach held her against him so tightly he was afraid he would crush her, but he couldn't let go. And she didn't want him to.

Spike, no longer crying, began to squirm on her hip. He wanted his turn. Zach released Kendall and took Spike into his arms. She smiled as he whispered in Spike's ear, making him laugh. Spike had his hands on each side of Zach’s face as if he didn’t want to let him out of his sight. Kendall noticed Zach wasn't using his right arm and remembered his injuries. He didn't appear to be in any pain, but then again, he would never acknowledge it if he was.

"Okay, Spikey, time to let Daddy rest," Kendall said as she settled the boy in her lap and begged her husband to sit down next to her. "Where have you been, Zach?" she said. "What? No kiss? Just right in with the questions?" Zach teased. But now Kendall could see the pain in his eyes. She leaned over and kissed him, then kissed him again. He laid his hand on Kendall’s stomach for a moment before pulling her up against him with his left arm. After one more kiss, he answered her.

"I've been all over Pine Valley looking for you. Thanks for this, by the way," he said as he reached into his coat and pulled out the note she left for him at Ryan's. "I thought you would go there first," she said. "I would have, if I'd known Ryan still had Spike. I thought you were gonna take him to the airport with you. So that's where I went. But I had to convince my police escort to take a little detour. When I couldn't find your car in the parking lot, I hoped that meant you were okay. So then I went home, and then to Ryan's."

Kendall wanted to kick herself, but found herself laughing instead. "Of course. You thought Spike was with me. I can't believe I forgot." She pulled his face down to hers for another kiss. "You're too smart for you're own good," she said, watching as he tried to hide his smile. "And thank you for looking for me," she added softly. He immediately went from amused to deadly serious. "I'll always come for you, Kendall. Always." She watched him wince in pain as he brought both arms around her and held her close.

"Come on Superman. It's time to get that arm looked at." Kendall once again refused to be denied. Zach let her pull him up and lead him out of the waiting room and into the emergency room. "So, I left my cell in my office, but I tried to call you from the airport and from home. What happened to your phone?" Zach asked as they sat in an examining room waiting for the doctor. "Don't ask," Kendall repeated, only this time she laughed.

TBC

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Richter Scale Day

Part 4


Kendall awoke to the sound of her husband's even breathing. She looked around the room, slightly disoriented. They weren't in the hospital, they were in their bedroom. She lifted her head from Zach's chest and ran her hand over his right arm. No bandage, no cut, no bruises.

She smiled when she realized it had all been a dream. She looked at the clock. Eight forty-five. She got out of bed, pulled on her robe and went to check on Spike. He was still sleeping peacefully. He'd been up later than usual last night because of Zoe and Bianca's going away party. So Kendall wasn't surprised that he was still out like a light.

She returned to the bedroom and climbed back into bed beside Zach. She laid her head back on his chest and continued to rub his arm, just to prove to herself that she had been dreaming.

"Don't start anything you don't plan to finish," she heard him say beside her. She looked into his face, but it was unchanged. Eyes still closed, breathing still even. She'd just begun to wonder if she had dreamt that too when his hand moved over her back. "What's with the robe?" he asked, his voice rough with sleep.


Kendall giggled as he tried to remove her robe without even opening his eyes. She struggled out of the robe and tossed it on the floor beside the bed. "There, better now?" she asked her seemingly asleep husband. He pulled her on top of him and again ran his hands down her back and over the curve of her hips as far as he could reach. "Much," he said. "I had the strangest dream," Kendall began, only to be met with his even breathing again. "And," he prodded when she didn't continue.

Kendall raised up on her elbows and looked into his face. "Are you awake, or not?" she asked. "Kendall, if you think I could sleep with my beautiful wife lying naked on top of me, then I'm not doing something right," he said, finally opening his eyes to look at her. "Now tell me about your dream."

Kendall told him everything, from the delayed flight to the emergency room, and he never once interrupted. No questions. No comments. In fact, Kendall was sure he actually had fallen asleep. She sighed and tried to ease off of him, but he immediately tightened his grip. "I'm pretty cool in your dreams, huh?" he said. "Yeah, you are. You're pretty cool when I'm awake too," she said with a smile. “And you’re also pretty hot.”

"What time does Bianca's flight leave?" Zach asked. Kendall cocked one eyebrow, knowing what he had in mind. "Two o'clock this afternoon," she answered. "Need me to have it bumped? Just takes one phone call," Zach said. "Now you're making fun of me?" Kendall said as she poked Zach in the chest. "Me? Never," Zach said as he suddenly flipped Kendall over and leaned over her.

"Tell me about the aftershocks part again," he said as he brought his lips to hers. Kendall giggled when Zach pulled her beneath him with one hand while pulling the covers over their heads with the other one.

-------------------------

"Good morning, Mr. C." The old man inwardly cringed at the ridiculously cheery voice that came sailing into his room. This was the part of the day he hated most. Already his life had settled into a routine, and he hated every second of it. And this guy's perkiness only made it worse. And the whistling. Oh God, the whistling was going to break him for sure. When this burly young man wasn't chatting his face off, he was whistling. It was enough to drive a man insane.

"Al, you didn't eat much breakfast this morning. You don't want a visit from Mr. Feeding Tube do you?" God how he hated being called Al. He didn't work all those years to make a name for himself - for his family - just to be reduced to plain old Al by this glorified maid. He wanted to scream at this silly fool, but of course he couldn't. That would ruin everything.

"Come on Al, it's time for a bath and a diaper change," the nurse aide said as he helped the old man into a wheelchair. As he was wheeled from the room, the sound of the young man's whistling ringing in his ears, Alexander's eyes landed on the calendar hanging on the wall of his room. It was one of those crazy holidays calendars. His son had put it there. As a reminder, he'd said, that life was a celebration. And he and Kendall were going to celebrate every single day, happy and healthy, while the his father rotted in the emptiness and humiliation of a prison of his own making.

The old man's mind drifted back to last night's dream. Kendall's nightmares didn't even work out the way he wanted. Even in his dreams, his son always won. Blessed with a beautiful wife and family, an indestructible love and endless happiness. That was the final nail in Alex's Jr.'s coffin as far as he was concerned. He was officially through with trying to mold his son into the man he wanted him to be. Yes, the father had failed the son, and the son had definitely failed the father. It was too late to salvage his first heir. But maybe it wasn't too late to salvage his grandson. Maybe Spike would be the one to carry on the Cambias name.

THE END

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Ann

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Oooooh!!!!! What a wonderful surprise!
Thank you so much.

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I am NOT mean..you're just a sissy
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Thank you 9K for another wonderful series!  These stories always put a smile on my face.  I have a lot of catching up to do, but wanted to let you know I have enjoyed all the ones I read so far.
I hope you are already working on ideas for the next series

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Reply with quote  #79 
Welcome back 9K.  We've missed your delightful fantasies!

You were mean to us with the first part of this sequence.  We should have known Zach would be fine!  As mean as you might be, you would never kill our Zach! 

Thanks for the fun afternoon!  Please, don't stop now. 

Granny 

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Thanks, Sharon, for putting Zach and Kendall in my backyard. Thanks, Karen, for attaching this to my posts.
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Perfect, absolutely, perfect!  Your "stories" are never too long!
Thanks. 
Roseann
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I just want to say that I just love all of your stories. They are so what I wish AMC would do with the Slaters all the time. Keep them coming.

Dana

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Thanks, 9K!

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Thanks 9K - I enjoy your  stories !!

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ZACH'S ALL FOLKS

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This one's for you, Lorene.
 
National Day of Puppetry
 
'What you got there?" Zach asked as Kendall joined him on the couch, book in hand. "Oh, just some poetry. I thought you might like to read it to me," she said casually. When he continued to stare at her blankly, she laughed. "Go ahead," she said and handed him the book.

Zach took the book, but didn't open it. "Kendall, you can't be serious," he said at last. "I'm totally serious, Zach. Don't you know what today is?" "Saturday," he said flatly. "And," she prodded. "And what?" "And ... it's Great Poetry Reading Day. Come on, Zach," she begged as she took the book out of his hand and opened it. "Surely there's something in here you'd like to  say to me."

"Oh no," Zach said as he walked into the kitchen. "If you think I'm falling for-" He cursed when he found the calendar. She watched him scratch his head, then smile. He walked back to the couch and sat down beside her, immediately pulling her into his arms for a kiss. "Okay, honey. You win," he said. He kissed her again, then put his arm around her and forced her head onto his shoulder.

"Comfortable?" he asked. "Well, not really, there's something..." "Great," he said over her protests. "Nope. Don't need it. I've got the perfect poem," he added when she tried to give him the book. "There once was a man from Nantuck-"

"Zach!" Kendall gasped as she put her hand over his mouth. "That is NOT a poem, it's a limerick. And it's not romantic." "You want romance, huh?" he said, his voice muffled by her hand. "What?" Zach removed Kendall's hand from his mouth, kissed her palm, then kissed her lips. "I said, you want romance, huh?" he repeated.

"Yes, I want a romance. Parapets, remember? Now read me a love poem," she stated emphatically, once again offering the book. "Keep it," he said is he tilted his head and stared off into space. "Got it!" he said. "The perfect love poem. But first, you may kiss me." "Oh this better be one great poem," Kendall said as she leaned up to kiss him.

"It's good. You'll see," Zach said. "Ready?" "I'm ready," Kendall said with a laugh. Zach took her hand and began his recitation: "Once, men came home from war, or from the sides of family graves, to lace up skates and play for it as if everything could be remade in a silver bowl passed hand to hand."

"Zach," Kendall said before he could continue. "Is this about hockey?" He had the nerve to look starry-eyed. "It's an ode to my first love," Zach said. Kendall punched him. He kissed her. When she tried to pull away, he kissed her again.

"What are you doing?" she asked when he let her come up for air. "You don't like it?" he teased. "Not if you're just stalling," she answered. "What stalling? Didn't you see the calendar? Today is also Kiss Your Mate Day. So kiss me ... mate." "You're making that up!" Kendall accused. "No I'm not. Check it out," he said, gesturing to the calendar hanging on the side of the refrigerator.

Kendall retraced his steps from earlier and confirmed it. "Hmmm ... Kiss Your Mate Day, huh?" she said as she leaned over the back of the couch and wrapped her arms around his neck. "How about if I give you a kiss after you read me a poem?" "Get over here," Zach said, pulling her over the couch and onto his lap. This time, she kissed him first.

Kendall broke the kiss suddenly. "What am I sitting on?" Zach raised an eyebrow. "You mean -" he began, but stopped when she pulled the newspaper from behind her. "Oh that," Zach said, trying to take the paper from her hand.

"Look, Zach. They're having a Puppet Fair in the park today to celebrate the National Day of Puppetry." "Perfect," he said as he took the newspaper and threw it over his shoulder. "The puppets can read the poetry while I kiss my pretty little wife."

Kendall giggled as Zach nibbled on her neck. "I'll give you a puppet show," he muttered under his breath. "I meant for Spike," she said. He pulled back and looked into her eyes. "You're serious?" he asked with a groan. "You'd rather see a puppet show than make out with your sexy husband?"

"No," Kendall said. "What I really want is for my husband to read me a love poem." "What time is the puppet show?" Zach asked dryly. Kendall elbowed him. "They'll be there all day," she replied. Zach touched his lips with his forefinger. "Convince me." Kendall leaned in to kiss him. The next thing she knew she was lying next to him on the couch. Her head was on his shoulder and his voice was soft in her ear as he said in a low voice:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

-------------------------

"Okay, where are they? Let's get this over with," Zach grumbled as he walked beside Kendall in the park. Kendall was pushing a stroller, but Spike wasn't in it. He much preferred being carried by his daddy. Kendall stopped and looked around, hoping to follow the crowd. Off to her right, just past the fountain, she saw something that looked like a seven-foot feather boa. "Over there," she said as she led the way.

"I can't believe I'm spending my Saturday afternoon at a puppet show," Zach pouted. "I can think of a few things that are a lot more fun." "Later, I promise," Kendall said. "Now stop acting like a baby. This is for Spike." "Using the boy to manipulate me is pretty low, Kendall," he said. "Maybe. But it worked didn't it?" She took his free hand and pulled him through the crowd.

"Trust me, Zach. It'll be fun." "How?" he said, tugging on her hand until she stopped and looked at him. "Is there a drinking game? Every time somebody says 'boys and girls' I get a cold beer?" Zach looked hopeful. "Would you settle for a hot kiss?" Kendall asked. "Every time, boys and girls," he answered immediately.

Kendall put her hand on his chest to steady her as she stood on her tiptoes to kiss him. But before their lips met, they were interrupted by the sound of music. Kendall jumped at the sudden noise, but Spike didn't seem to notice it. "We've gotta get closer," Kendall said as she pressed further into the crowd.

When they made their way to the front of the group, Spike squealed with delight. There were puppets of all shapes and sizes, and they were all so colorful. There were several booths set up, all featuring different kinds of puppets. Kendall heard Zach chuckling at the antics of a ventriloquist, while she found herself drawn to the marionettes. Spike liked the more traditional puppets, like the ones he was used to seeing on Sesame Street. There was even a booth where you could make your own sock puppet. "Don't even think about it," Zach said when he saw Kendall's eyes light up.

After visiting all of the booths, Zach tried to convince Kendall to sit down for a while, but she refused. She wanted to be able to see Spike's face. In fact, the two of them were so consumed with watching Spike, they were oblivious to the woman standing only a few yards away, hidden behind a baseball cap and dark sunglasses.

Hannah knew she was taking a big risk, but she couldn't stop herself. As much as she hated having to witness their nauseating domestic bliss, she needed to know what made Zach vulnerable. What was his Achilles heel? She knew how much he loved his family, but how far would he be willing to go for that love? What would he be willing to give up? That's what she needed to find out before they could put their plan in motion.

-------------------------

"Home at last," Kendall said as she plopped down on the couch and put her feet up. She watched Zach put their sleeping son into his playpen, laughing at the sock puppets sticking out of his pocket. When he joined her on the couch, he pulled her onto his lap. And, of course, he kissed her.

"Wasn't today fun?" Kendall gushed. "Poor Spike it wore him out, but I think he really liked it." Zach looked over at the boy and then back to his mother. "I think his mom really liked it, too," he said. "But she also looks worn out. Why don't you go take a nap? For the baby," he added when she started to protest.

"Why don't you join me?" she asked, stroking the hair at the base of his neck. "Because if I do, you won't get any rest," he said as he took both of her hands in his. "Okay, in a minute," she relented. "But first I want to thank you for spending the day with me and Spike. I'm sure there's a hockey game on somewhere, especially with Detroit in the playoffs."

Zach nearly fell off the couch. "How do you know that?" he said, smiling broadly. "I pay attention, Zach," Kendall said defensively. "Besides, a wife needs to know all she can about her husband's mistress. How else am I gonna compete with a bunch of padded guys on ice skates chasing a little piece of ... what is it? Plastic? Rubber?"

"Doesn't matter," Zach said. "There is no competition, believe me." He couldn't believe his own luck. He had found the perfect woman, and somehow convinced her to marry him. "Amazing," he muttered as he pulled her close. "Will my wife ever stop surprising me?" he said. "Not if she can help it," she answered with a kiss.

The kiss was interrupted by a ringing phone. Zach reached into his pocket, saw who was calling and immediately answered. "Slater. Yeah, hang on a second," he said. Then he lifted Kendall to her feet and walked out into the courtyard. "I'll be right back. I need to take this," he said as he left.

Kendall watched Zach from the window. He didn't seem upset, so it wasn't bad news. But the way he rubbed his face told her he wasn't happy about what he was hearing. She resented whoever was on the other end of that conversation for ruining their perfect day.

She looked up when Zach came back inside, his face showing no emotion at all. "Who was it, Zach?" she asked. "It's not important," he said. Not really a lie, she thought to herself. But not an answer either. "Are you gonna make me guess?" "Do you want to?" he countered with a slight smile.

"Sure, I'll bite. Let's see. It could have been either Otto or Bruno, but my money is on Otto." Zach's smile faded, but he said nothing. "Okay, Otto it is," Kendall continued. "And he wanted to give you a report on the woman he saw following us today, right? Am I warm?" She couldn't help but laugh at the look on Zach's face, even though she certainly wasn't taking this lightly.

Zach walked over to stand directly in front of her. "Which one of us is Hannah following, Zach? And why didn't you tell me? I thought we were through keeping secrets." Zach took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then he sat down, pulling Kendall down beside him. "Amazing," he said, shaking his head. Kendall put her hand on his face and waited for him to look at her. "I'm not made of glass, Zach. Tell me."

Zach took another deep breath before answering. "I don't know, Kendall I don't have any answers. That's why I haven't told you. I didn't want to worry you until I was sure there was a reason. Hannah has been following me since before I even knew she was in town. I've had my men watching her around the clock, and I've got people looking into her background. But I still haven't figured out what she wants. How did you know, anyway?"

"I saw her. More importantly, I knew you had seen her too, but you pretended not to. And she definitely didn't want to be recognized. Did you see those glasses?" Zach nodded and waited for Kendall to continue. "Anyway, I noticed that after seeing her you never let me or Spike out of your reach. That's when I realized that you view Hannah as a threat. Is that why you hired her?"

"Uh-huh. Keep your enemies closer," he said. "Why didn't you bust me in the park?" "Because I was having too much fun. I like it when you cling, Zach. It's hot." That got a laugh out of her husband. "So you're not mad at me for not telling you about it sooner?" he asked. "Nah," she said. "I should be, but I'm not. I trust you, Zach. And I know you just want to protect me. Besides, I can think of more interesting things to do than fight."

Kendall stood up and walked toward the bedroom. "Like what?" Zach said to her retreating back. He took his time enjoying the view. "Like that nap you wanted me to take," she said coyly. "Sure you won't join me?"

Zach bounded off the couch and followed Kendall into their bedroom. What he found surprised him. Kendall had turned on the TV and was holding out the remote to him. "Tivo," she said as he settled himself beside her on the bed. Zach laughed out loud when that afternoon's Red Wings/Sharks game started playing.

"Amazing," he repeated as he pulled Kendall into his arms. Zach let all thoughts of Hannah and his father fade into oblivion. He had everything he needed. Playoff hockey, a son who knew just when to take a nap, and the most perfect woman in the world snuggled up against him. "Amazing."


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 Wow, Karen! What more could we ask?  Poetry, puppets, puckers, and pucks- all in one story! Woohoo!!!
Thank you for spreading the word.
   Lorene
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Reply with quote  #86 

Another great one.  Thank you.


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Thanks, Karen!  Loved it.  Just what I needed to unwind after a long day at work..
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9K, This is just perfect!  Kendall knows which buttons to push on Zach!  Zach definitely knows which buttons to push on Kendall!  I loved how both Kendall and Zach saw Hannah but were trying to spare the other any worries.

The poetry - visualizing Thorsten reciting it - Couldn't get any better!  Thanks!  I love your humor.  Thanks!

Granny   

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Hi Karen,

 

I’m late to the party. Thank you for the latest lovely chapters. Keep them coming. 

Bonnie

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Be warned. This is ridiculously sappy, even for me. But I couldn't let the day go by unnoticed ... even if ABC could.
 
Zenniversary

"Yes, that's right. Three hundred and sixty-five. Pink. Right. Now read the card back to me. Perfect. That's all. As soon as possible. Thank you." Zach hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair, picturing his beautiful wife's face the way it had looked when he had dropped her off at Fusion that morning. She was disappointed, but had tried to hide it. He couldn't stop the smile that spread across his face, or the tightness in his chest. She was perfect. Simple as that. And he was the luckiest man on earth.

-------------------------

"A card?" Di said too loudly. "That's it?" "Well, that's not so terrible," Annie interjected, trying to soften the tone of Di's remarks. "A card can be very romantic. Did he write something nice in it, Kendall?" Kendall held up her hands in exasperation. "Yes, it was a beautiful card and no, I won't tell you what he wrote. This is not Fusion business, ladies, and therefore none of yours." She walked away from the group in an effort to end the conversation.

"But Kendall, it's your first anniversary. I thought even Zach would do something special," Di said. Annie shook her head at Di. "The day isn't over. Maybe he'll send you flowers or something," Annie said. "Yeah, a dozen long-stemmed red roses would be perfect," Di said enthusiastically.

"Zach knows I like pink," Kendall said. "And what does even Zach mean? Zach is the most romantic man I've ever met. You should be so lucky. He shows me in a thousand little ways every day how much he loves me. So, again, mind your own damn business." Kendall once again skirted around the women and went back to work. Anniversary or not, she knew she'd married the perfect man and she was the luckiest woman on earth.

-------------------------

"'What's the special occasion?" Hannah asked from the doorway of Zach's office, having caught the end of his conversation. Zach let the vision of Kendall fade away and turned his attention back to work. "Hmmm? Oh, that. It's nothing. Personal stuff," he said, dismissing the topic. Hannah watched him closely, waiting for him to continue, but he didn't.

"Somebody's birthday?" she guessed. She walked further into the room. She had planned on taking a seat opposite Zach's desk and hoped to spend some time with him, but Zach had other ideas. Ignoring her question, he met her in the middle of the room and held out his hand for the folder she was holding. "Something you need me to look at?" he asked. He worked to keep his tone casual, but not too friendly. He didn't want to make Hannah suspicious, but he didn't want to send out any mixed signals either.

"Just some numbers on that German company we talked about," she said as he flipped through the contents of the folder. "I thought you were gonna handle that," Zach said without ever looking up. "I was ... I mean, I am. But I wanted to be sure we were both on the same page."

Zach looked up when he heard the agitation in her voice. She seemed nervous. He gave her his warmest fake smile and handed the folder back to her. "Yes, we are. So go ahead and make the deal." He walked back to his desk and picked up his cell phone, placing it in his pocket. Then he headed for the door, motioning for Hannah to precede him.

After speaking quietly with Lily, Zach headed for the elevator. "You're leaving?" Hannah asked, her voice raised so she could be heard over his humming. The look on his face when he turned to her made her hand itch to slap him. He had been smiling, practically running for the elevator before she spoke. Now he was looking at her like she was an ant at a picnic - annoying and unwanted. But then he immediately schooled his features and now just looked distracted.

"Yes, Hannah, I'm leaving," he said. His tone was even, but Hannah still felt condescended to. And she didn't like it one bit. "If you need me for anything, Lily can reach me. But only if it's urgent. Otherwise, I don't want to be bothered," he said, leveling his gaze at Hannah. "Right, Lily?" he said cheerily. "Right, Zach," Lily said.

Lily was about to comment on Hannah's angry face, when she caught Zach's eye. He knew exactly what she was thinking and quickly interrupted. "Was there something else, Hannah?" he asked. "No. Just have fun," she said with a tight smile, "wherever you're going." "Oh, I will," he said as he resumed his humming and hurried toward the elevator.

"Okay, Lily," Hannah said as soon as the elevator doors closed, "I need to leave for a little while. Josh can handle things until I get back." Lily frowned and shook her head. "But Zach said you would take his place during the conference call with our international offices. It starts in seven minutes and 43 seconds."

"Cancel it," Hannah said, "I have other plans." "I'll have to check with Zach before I can do that," Lily said. "He said the meeting was important and I think he might get mad if I cancel it." Lily picked up the phone, but Hannah stopped her. "Just buzz me when they're ready," she said through gritted teeth as she stormed back into her office and slammed the door.

-------------------------

"See, I told you," Annie said as Kendall opened the long narrow box and lifted out one single, perfect pink rose. She brought the delicate flower to her nose, inhaling the light fragrance and smiled knowingly. She knew what one rose meant. It mean more were waiting for her ... somewhere. She lifted the enclosed card and read: Just one of the reasons this has been the best year of my life. The other 364 are with me. I'm so happy to have found you at last." Kendall grabbed her purse and ran for the elevator. "See you tomorrow, girls. I've got a hot date with my hot husband."

-------------------------

Zach watched from a distance as Kendall came closer. She was carrying the rose he had sent, and was stopping to pick up each one he'd left along her path. His breath caught in his throat when she got close enough for him to see the light in her eyes. She was glowing, and it made him feel like he was ready to burst into a million pieces.

"You made it," Zach said when Kendall was within earshot. He offered her his hand and helped her aboard. "At last," she said breathlessly, taking in her surroundings. The deck of the At Last was transformed. There were twinkling lights that were just beginning to stand out against the beginnings of a glorious sunset. Pink roses covered every surface, including the table for two that was set up near the cabin door. Kendall looked into Zach's eyes, unable to find the right words.

"You made good time," he said, breaking the trance. Kendall blinked, and then smiled. "I was in a hurry." "I'm glad," Zach said as he pulled her into his arms. "Been waiting long?" she teased. "You have no idea." His lips found hers at last, and Kendall melted into the kiss. She scolded herself for ever doubting him. He always found a way to go beyond her fantasies.

"How did you get Adam to let you borrow the yacht?" she asked when they broke the kiss. Zach just looked at her. "Zach?" she said, her tone wary. "What did Adam say when you asked him to borrow his yacht?" "I didn't. Where's the fun in that, Kendall? I didn't ask your mom if I could borrow it the first time, did I?" Kendall gasped, but Zach immediately pulled her into his arms. "Trust me, Kendall. I took care of it. Just relax and enjoy the evening." He knew he should tell her that he'd actually convinced Adam to sell him the yacht, but why spoil the fun?

Kendall took a deep breath and relented. Tonight belonged to her and Zach. "That's a lot of roses," she said as she touched one of the blooms. "Just wait until our tenth anniversary," Zach said as he came to stand behind her. "They're beautiful," Kendall said softly, awed by the gesture. "You're beautiful," Zach countered, his breath on her ear just before his lips touched her cheek.

"You know what else I am?" she asked. "Hmmmm ... let me guess," Zach said as he led her to the table. He lifted the silver dome in front of Kendall's plate to reveal a huge succulent lobster, already out of it's shell. "You're starving," he finished. Kendall looked at him like he was Santa Claus, her eyes wide and shining. "And you, Mr. Slater, are amazing," she said, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him again.

He growled when she stepped out of his arms and took a bite of the lobster. He was hungry too, but it wasn't for food. He decided to keep that to himself. After all, his beautiful wife was eating for two - at least - he thought with a smile. So he held her chair and then seated himself across from her, his eyes never leaving her face.

-------------------------

"Oh, Zach, that was spectacular," Kendall said as they stood side by side and watched the last traces of sunset. It had provided a breathtaking backdrop to their dinner, as if God himself was smiling on them. Kendall needed to stretch her legs after the meal, which is how they ended up at the railing, arm in arm, counting the stars as they emerged.

"What? The sunset, or the chocolate cake?" Zach asked with a smile lurking at the corners of his mouth. "Both," Kendall said. "The whole evening has been spectacular. The food, the sunset, the roses. But you want to know what the best part has been?" she asked as she turned to face him. He nodded as he rubbed her arms in an effort to ward off the chill. "The view," she said softly, looking into his face.

Zach tilted his head and looked into her eyes. Kendall reached up to touch his face. "I never get tired of looking at this face," she said. "You're so beautiful, Zach. And you make me feel beautiful, and so lucky to have found you ... at last," she added with a smile. "You are beautiful, and the luck is all mine." He pulled her into a deep, lingering kiss before wrapping his strong arms around her. "I love you, Mrs. Slater," he said into her ear as they swayed gently to the sounds of the soft music and ocean waves.

-------------------------

"Presents!" Kendall exclaimed. "You bought me a present?" She pulled herself up and leaned against the headboard as Zach lowered himself beside her on the bed. "I was gonna give it to you earlier, but you decided to give me a present instead," he said, grinning shamelessly. "Oh no, that was definitely your gift to me, Zach. I mean, you were so ... so ..." At a loss for words, Kendall brought her hand to her flushed face. "Well if you don't want this," Zach began, only to have Kendall snatch the box from his hands. He chuckled as she ripped it open.

"Blueprints?" she said, looking up at him. "Not blueprints. House plans," Zach clarified. "I think the guy found a way to incorporate everything you wanted. Check it out," he said as he pointed to a spot on the paper. "There's the huge kitchen you wanted, though I can't imagine why." He grunted when Kendall drove her elbow into his ribs. "And here is the master bedroom, just down the hall from the nursery. Big closets, just like you said. And a very large bathtub," he said suggestively, turning to look at her.

"It's perfect, Zach," Kendall gushed as she poured over every detail of the house plan. "I feel bad. I left your gift at home. When you didn't give me anything this morning, I was too embarrassed to give it to you. I didn't want to make a big deal out of our anniversary if you were just going to keep it simple." She glanced up at him and saw that he was trying not to smile.
"It's not funny," she said. "You scared me, Zach. I thought today was just another day to you. No big deal. Then you gave me the card, and it was so sweet. So I just figured that was it. Sweet and simple." 

Zach pulled her against his chest and tried not to laugh. "It is just another day, Kendall," he said calmly, his voice soft and soothing, but suddenly serious. "Another day in paradise. Another day in a lifetime of days where I am happier than I ever thought possible. It's very sweet, but there's nothing simple about it." He felt her relax against him, so he continued. "And you've already given me the perfect gift," he added as he splayed his large hand across her stomach. "You and our kids, I don't need anything else."

Kendall turned to kiss him, then settled back against him. "Okay, so I'll just give the tickets to Ryan. Maybe he and Annie will want to see Game 6 of the playoffs. Of course, they'll probably want Emma to sleep over with Spike, but-" Kendall stopped talking when Zach's lips met hers.

"How?" he said, too stunned to form a more coherent sentence. "Well, first anniversary is paper, right?" she began. He nodded. "So I immediately thought of the tickets. But then I was told that the game was completely sold out. So I found another way," she said with a shrug.

When he continued to stare at her, she continued. "I shamelessly name-dropped," she admitted. "There are a few perks to being the daughter of Erica Kane. Just don't tell my mother," she said with a shudder. Zach didn't know whether to laugh or groan, so he did neither. Instead he got out of bed and retrieved a bottle of sparking cider and two glasses.

"To fifty more years," he said as he touched his glass to Kendall's. "Only fifty?" she said with a pout. "That's just the honeymoon phase," Zach corrected. "Then what?" Then we enter the newlywed phase." Kendall handed him her glass and laid back on the bed. "Which means?" she asked, running her hand up Zach's arm.

He dropped the glasses on the floor and turned back to Kendall. "Which means, since I'll be over 90 years old, I'll only be able to make love to you once a day." "Well then, I better get all I can, while I can," Kendall said as she pulled Zach down on top of her. "Fifty years is not a lot of time."


 


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WOW!!!!
Have I told you just how much I enjoy your stories? Because I really do.  Each one is like finding a prize egg at Easter.



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9K!  I love Sappy!  This was the best!

Granny 

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Reply with quote  #93 
Thanks, Karen.  I love sappy, too!!  Great Zenniversary present.
Roseann  

idonthave1

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Reply with quote  #94 

Karen, even AMC/ABC failed to mention their anniversary, you, Vickie, and Monica did not disappoint us. Great story and love it.

 

There is always room for Zappy. Keep them coming.

 

Thank you,

Bonnie

 

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 (No pink roses available. )
What a lovely first anniversary celebration, Karen.
Thanks,
Lorene
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Reply with quote  #96 
Wow,

Another great story for Zach and Kendall, sure glad that a few of us here did not drop the ball like AMC did and forget the 1st anniversary of our favorite couple Zach and Kendall Slater. Hope we get something good next week and not get interrupted by Ryan and Annie like we did last week that is not fair... Well it did mention in Kendall's blog that she is looking for ideas for an anniversary present  for Zach so hopefully they will get a mention and have some loving next week... Keep the stories coming they are so good, wish the writers would start giving us some good stories again soon... Have a great rest of the weekend...

Dana : )

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Awwwwww   If only AMC could give us a Zenniversary half as romantic as your version!  They sure cheated us out of the celebration, but I am glad that we Zen fans are not forgetting.  Thanks for another wonderful chapter


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Monica, that was beautiful, someone needs to tell the writers on AMC how to give the audience what we deserve.

I really enjoy your stories, keep them coming.

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Thanks for the kind words, everybody. Okay, I admit it. Pack Rat Day was last week. But I couldn't get the story from my head to my computer in time, so I'm bringing it in late. Feel free to deduct points from my final score.
 
Pack Rat Day

"Kendall!" Zach called as he entered their condo. He knew Spike was spending the day with Ryan, but he wasn't sure about Kendall's plans. Even though it was a work day, he knew she wasn't planning to go into Fusion. He just couldn't remember if she told him why. One thing he did know, he wanted to see her. He had tried to get some work done that morning, but he couldn't concentrate. His wife was too much on his mind. He just hoped she was home.

"In here," he heard, coming from their bedroom. With a sigh of relief, he closed the door and followed the sound of her voice. The urge to see her, to touch her, to see with his own eyes that she was okay had been overwhelming. So the sight of her, sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, flooded him with warmth. Then curiosity took over.

"What's going on in here?" he asked as he bent to kiss her. "What? All this?" Kendall said, indicating the boxes that were piled up all around her. "Just getting ready for moving day." He raised one eyebrow and stared at Kendall. "You do know that we just approved the house plans, right?" he asked dryly. "Yes, of course I know that. I also know that you're paying double crews to work around the clock to get it finished. You tired of the Careys already?" she added with a smile.

"Too many Careys, too many Martins and too many Chandlers," Zach said as he pulled Kendall up and into his arms. "Not enough Slaters." Kendall automatically placed her hand on her stomach and smiled when Zach covered it with his own. "Tell me about it," Kendall said. "The courtyard is crowded with more white trash than one of Krystal's Christmas hoe-downs." She gave Zach a quick kiss and then settled herself back on the floor, pulling him down beside her.

"Wanna help?" she asked. "Why not let professionals do it?" He looked around at the mess surrounding them. "Zach, professionals can handle the big stuff," she said with a gesture towards the dresser, "but surely you don't think I'm gonna let strangers pack my underwear." "Of course not. I thought I would pack your underwear." Kendall looked at him, saw the gleam in his eye, and laughed.

"You'd want to?" she teased. "Oh yeah," he said, nodding. "Deal." Kendall giggled as Zach pulled her against him and peeked down the front of her shirt. "You won't forget?" "I won't forget," she laughed as she pulled away from him.

"Why are you even here in the middle of the day, Zach?" "Oh, that," he said, taking off his coat and tossing it in the direction of the nearest chair. "I wanted to see you." "Why?" she asked suspiciously. Zach frowned at her. "Why? Have you looked in the mirror lately? You're hot," he said, now removing his tie.

"Zach! What are you doing?" she asked when he started unbuttoning his shirt. "What? You're the one coming on to me, Kendall. I'm just giving my pregnant wife what she craves." She stopped him, but not until his shirt was open and untucked. She ran her fingers over his bare chest and moved closer. "What I crave, huh?" she purred. "What I'm really craving," she whispered in his ear, "is lunch."

Zach pushed her off of him and grunted. "You women are all alike," he said as he began to button his shirt back up. Kendall laughed as she slapped his hands away. "Now don't be hasty, Zach. I'm flexible." "I know. That's why I couldn't wait to see you," he teased. "I was thinking about all the things we-" he began, but stopped when her hand covered his mouth.

"Oh, so you're into whales, are you? I don't think so. Tell me why you're really here." Zach sighed and placed his hand on the small bulge of her stomach. "I'm into the beautiful woman who is carrying my future goalie," he said as he kissed her gently. "And I missed you." "And," she prodded. "And I love you?" he guessed, hoping it was the answer she would settle for. "Okay, fine. Don't hurt yourself," she said as she returned his kiss. "I love you, too. Now either help me, or go get me something to eat."

When Zach walked back into the bedroom a few minutes later, he found Kendall sitting on their bed, sifting through the contents of a small wooden box. He laid the tray he was carrying on the nightstand and joined her on the bed. "Ready to eat?" he asked when she didn't look up. "Uh-huh," she answered distractedly. "What you got there?" he asked as he peeked into the box to see what had her so mesmerized.

His breath on her face snapped her out of her reverie and she turned to face him. "It's my box of treasures," she said, her voice taking on a wistful quality. Zach looked at her, then back into the box. He reached in and pulled out the dragonfly pin he gave her just before their divorce.

"Haven't seen this in a while," he said as he ran his fingers over the stones. "Things aren't always as they seem," Kendall said as she took the pin from him. "Pretty prophetic, huh?" "How so?" Zach asked, head tilted. "Our relationship has been full of 'not what it seems' moments, wouldn't you say?" she answered wryly. Zach reached up and tucked a stray curl behind Kendall's ear before responding. "Tell me about them," he said. Kendall twirled the pin between her fingers as she thought about her answer.

"Well, first there was the marriage itself." "But we said up front it was just business. So it was exactly as it seemed," Zach interjected. Kendall shook her head. "No, I mean later. We both know it stopped being a business arrangement long before we got divorced. In fact, the divorce was another 'not what it seems' moment. We loved each other, but we got divorced anyway." Zach ran his hand down her arm, waiting for her to look at him. When she did, he kissed her. "That was my mistake. If only I'd known." "And whose fault is it that you didn't know? I knew how you felt, Zach. But I was afraid. That divorce is all on me."

"We'll call it a tie. What else?" Zach said. "Then there was the time we were apart after the Mardi Gras ball. We seemed to be apart, but I still felt so connected to you, Zach. I couldn't help myself."  Kendall reached up to stroke his face. "I know," Zach said softly. "Me too." Kendall sat in silence for a second, then continued. "Then there was the coma. It may have seemed like I was lost, but I was never that far away. I couldn't have been, Zach. I could never leave you and Spike."

Kendall watched as the tears gathered in his eyes. She could see the pain that still lingered there. She couldn't imagine how hard that must have been for him. She hated that he had to go through that - alone - and she hated JR for putting her there in the first place. She shook her head as if to ward off the memories and continued. "And what about that whole fake affair fiasco? That was a perfect example of things not being what they seemed."

Now it was Zach's turn to see the pain on Kendall's face. "Never, Kendall. Not for one moment-" "I know," she said softly. She nodded and smiled weakly when he brushed the tears from her face. "I know."

The mood was broken by Kendall's growling stomach. They both laughed, glad for the interruption and Zach served their lunch. After wolfing down his sandwich, Zach leaned forward, rubbing his hands together, and picked up the box. "What else have you got in here?" he asked. "May I?" Kendall nodded her approval, so he brought the box to rest between them.

"Oh, I remember this," he said as he pulled out a dried and pressed white rose. Spike, right?" he asked as he held it out to Kendall. She instantly brought it to her nose and let the faint aroma take her right back to the day she came home from the hospital to find her apartment filled with white roses. "You have staff," she said with a smile. "I have staff," he repeated.

"What's this?" Zach asked as he unfolded a piece of paper. "Oh God, Kendall, I can't believe you kept this." Kendall snatched the police report from him and held it to her chest. "Are you crazy? This is the most romantic thing I've ever seen," she said emphatically. "Of course I kept it."

"That is the most romantic thing you've ever seen? Not flowers and candlelight at the gazebo. Not sand castles or disco bowling? Getting arrested is all it takes for you, huh? Man, I'm trying too hard," he chuckled. Kendall laughed. "Okay, so you've done a lot of romantic things. And they have all been perfect. But this," she said as she waved the paper in front of him, "this was more than a sweet gesture. This, Zach, is proof. Proof that you listen to me. Proof that you love Spike as much as I do. Proof that you love me enough to honor my wishes, even when it could cost you everything." Again he brushed away the tears than ran down her face.

"Dammit, why do you keep making me cry?" she laughed. "Must be the hormones," Zach said as he refolded the arrest report. "Yeah, hormones," Kendall agreed. She leaned forward and kissed him. "Thank you," she whispered in his ear, so softly he wasn't sure he heard it. He wrapped his arms around her and held on tight. "Thank you," he said when he released her, "for coming back to me and Spike."

"Now if you want to talk romance," Zach said as he peeked into the box, "this is romance." He opened out the Team Slater family cutout he had given her just weeks before on their anniversary. "Damn right," Kendall said. She punched Zach in the arm when he didn't fold it back properly. "Men!" she exclaimed. "No sentimentality at all."

"I'll have you know I have plenty of sentimentality. Who says only women can have a box of treasures?" Kendall perked up at that remark. "Zach! You have a box of treasures? Where? Where is it? Can I see it?" Zach held Kendall at arm's length as he pulled another item from the box. "Maybe," he said. "But first I want to see what this is. It must be something good, since it has it's own special box."

Zach opened the flat box and pushed aside the tissue paper. "Oh, I see it's laminated." As soon as the word was out of his mouth, he knew what it was. He looked up to see her staring at it. He couldn't tell by the look on her face if it was something she treasured, or despised. She looked up at him and he saw the emotion in her eyes.

He carefully replaced the tissue paper and started to put the lid back on when Kendall stopped him. "Read it," she said softly. "Kendall, I ..." he began, but he stopped when she took the box from him. She very carefully lifted the letter from the box and handed it to him. He looked into her eyes. "Are you sure?" he asked. She nodded. "Why?" She took his big, strong hand in both of hers and brought it to her heart. "Because I want to hear your voice, not mine," she said.

Zach paced around the room as he read the letter aloud. Neither of them noticed that Kendall was mouthing it along with him. When he finished, he looked at her. "Kendall?" he said, his voice hoarse with emotion. "Are you okay?" She smiled at him. "That's just the way I imagined it would sound." She jumped off the bed and ran into his open arms. "Nobody has ever loved me that much either, Zach," she said into his chest.

After a few minutes of silent togetherness, Zach walked away from Kendall and went into his closet. He came back with a cigar box. "Not as fancy as yours," he said sheepishly. "I should hope not," Kendall said seriously. "You're a manly man." "Manly. Right. Just open it," Zach said as he thrust the box into her outstretched arms.

Kendall gasped when the first thing she saw upon lifting the lid was a sonogram. She picked it up, and then realized it was actually two sonograms. The first one was the new one she had just given him. "Our goalie," she said with a smile. The second one was Spike. But Kendall had never seen this one before. "When was this ... oh," she said simply when she realized when the sonogram had been taken. "I didn't know," she said as she traced Spike's tiny body. "Why haven't you shown it to me before now?"

Zach looked uncertain. "When that sonogram was taken, I didn't know if you would ever see your son ... didn't know if he would make it. I wanted you to have it when you woke up, you know, just in case he was already gone. Silly, I guess, since I didn't know if you were gonna make it either," he shrugged in an attempt to keep his tone casual, but Kendall could tell he was anything but. She fell in love with him all over again.

"You are the most wonderful man I have ever known," Kendall said as she stood in front of him with her heart in her eyes. She laid the cigar box on the bed and wrapped her arms around Zach's neck, bringing his lips to hers. "How did I ever get so lucky?" He kissed her again before answering. "You didn't. I did," he said as he led her to the bed and settled her onto his lap. Then he handed her the box and waited for her to continue.

"Oh my God, Zach! I can't believe you still have this," Kendall exclaimed as she held up the bubble gum cigar. "It's a baby," she read from the tag. "What made you keep it?" Zach took it from her and ran it under his nose as he would a real cigar. "You did. It was supposed to be a reminder of just how much you are capable of giving ... how fiercely you love. I never knew anything like that until I met you." "And now?" she prodded. "Now it's also serves as a memento of the most precious things in my life. My son," he said, his voice breaking, "and his beautiful mother."

"Wow, this has turned into a pretty emotional afternoon," Kendall said as she again felt tears running down her face. "You want to stop?" Zach asked, trying to take the box from her. "Not on your life." Kendall held the box away from him until he wrapped his arms back around her waist. "Is this what I think it is?" she asked a she held up a small bottle filled with sand.

"You mean you don't recognize your parapets?" he chuckled. "No, you never made my parapets. You like modern. Remember?" she said indignantly. "I remember. Okay, just say the word and I'll call the architect right now," Zach said as he reached for the phone on the bedside table. "Parapets," Kendall said, chin raised, calling his bluff. She jerked the phone out of his hand when she heard him leaving the man voice mail. "You win, Zach," she laughed.

The smile froze on Kendall's face when she saw what was resting in the bottom of the box. She moved aside some of the other items and pulled out the 5x7 picture of Amelia. "I thought your father made you throw away the only picture you had of her," Kendall said, her voice reverent. "So did he. Bastard," Zach said through clenched teeth. "It was the only picture I had of her for years. But I found this one when I was going through the warehouse."

"Well why is it buried in this box, Zach? It should be in a frame, put in a place of prominence," Kendall said. She went into the living room and picked up one of the many of pictures of Spike they had scattered around. She removed Spike's picture and replaced it with Amelia's. Then she placed it in the center of a group of family photos.

Zach watched in silence while she worked. He was honestly surprised by how moved he was at seeing the picture in that context. For him it had always been a reminder of what he had lost. Something to keep hidden away so the memories wouldn't overtake him. But now, mixed in with the pictures of Spike and Miranda, Bianca, and even Erica, he saw her for what she was. His mother. A part of him. The first woman who loved him more than herself. Not a ghost from his past who needed to be kept hidden. He smiled at the realization.

Zach looked up at the only other woman who ever loved him more than herself and pulled her up against him. "It's perfect," she said. "Don't you think?" "Mmmm hmmm," he nodded. "Perfect. Just like you." "Oh really," Kendall said as she tilted her head to give his roaming lips better access to her neck. "Now I'm perfect. And that's all it took?" She heard the growl in his throat. "I need to get some copies made of that picture. We can put one over here," she said, indicating another shelf. "And over there. And how about the bedroom?"

"Now that's a good idea," Zach said as he lifted Kendall into his arms and carried her into their bedroom. He gently laid her in the center of the bed, then came down beside her. "Enough old memories, Mrs. Slater. It's time to make some new ones."


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Reply with quote  #100 

Deduct points?  9K, you get extra points for nudging the Slaters closer to their new home, LOL.  I had to finish reading this chapter, even though it is way past bedtime.  Thank you for sharing.  Have a safe holiday weekend, and hurry up with that next chapter already!


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