What Kendall wants, Kendall gets
“Annie? What Annie? And since when does Lavery have friends?” Zach asked. Kendall couldn’t hide her smile. Zach and Ryan had been playing nice for the sake of the son they all shared, but even to Kendall it seemed unnatural. It was strangely comforting to see the latent hostility show itself. “Now Zach,” Kendall said. “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed the hot little blonde hanging around Ryan’s place. “Blonde huh?” he said. “And hot, you said?” He stared off into space with a smile on his face. Kendall knew he was trying to picture her, or at least that’s what he wanted her to think. She elbowed him. Hard.
“Why do you try so hard to get a rise out of me, Zach?” she asked as he tested for broken ribs. “Because, Kendall, getting a rise out of you gets a rise out of me.” He raised both eyebrows to emphasize his meaning. Then he pulled her closer. “What do I care about hot little blondes,” he replied. “I’m more into curly-haired brunettes.” As if to prove it, he buried his hand in her hair and pulled her to him, placing a not-too-gentle kiss on her lips. She responded, suddenly not so tired after all. Then she remembered what she was holding in her hand. The picture!
“What about it?” Zach said. Kendall hadn’t realized she said it out loud. “What about it? Zach, this is huge!” she said excitedly. “Not yet. But it will be if you’ll cooperate,” he said. She laughed, but refused to let him kiss her again. Not yet anyway. They needed to talk about this. Didn’t they? Dixie and Annie? And Ryan? Her resolve began to waver when he ran his hand up her leg. His other hand left her hair and moved slowly down her back. This time, when he pulled her to him, she met him halfway. This kiss was long and hot and left no doubt as to its intention.
“But Zach,” she said as he stood up, carrying her with him to the bed. “Later sweetheart,” he said, his voice low and raspy. “There’s nothing I can to about that tonight. But there’s plenty I can do for you.” Kendall looked into his eyes and saw the promise there. The dark promise of fulfilled fantasies and unbridled desire. The promise of her husband, the man she loved with all her heart, showing her how much he loved her. Giving her pleasures beyond her wildest imagination. Kendall dropped the picture and watched as it floated, as if in slow-motion, down to the floor. “Annie who?” she said as she waited with great anticipation the things her husband would do.
“Okay, lets talk about Annie,” Zach said as he came from the bathroom tying his tie. He went over to sit next to Kendall on the bed, where she was pouring over the surveillance photos. “Tell me everything you know about her,” Zach said as he reached out and stroked her arm. Even though their lives had returned to normal weeks ago, he was still feeling the affects of their separation. He couldn’t touch her enough, and couldn’t get enough of her touch in return. As if reading his thoughts, she reached up and pushed back a lock of hair that rested on his forehead. When he closed his eyes in reaction, she lingered over the task, repeating the move several times until he opened his eyes and gave her a small smile. He took her hand and kissed it, waiting.
“Well, I don’t really know much at all. I’ve only seen her a couple of times. She’s supposed to be in some kind of danger or something. That’s why she’s staying with Ryan. He and Erin are hiding her. He won’t tell me why, but he assures me Spike is not in danger,” she added. “And you believe him?” Zach asked. “Yes. I do. I can’t explain it, but I do.” He leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss. “That’s good enough for me,” he said as he stood up.
“What about a husband?” he asked. “No. No husband around. In fact, I kinda got the feeling that he’s the one she’s hiding from. “But,” she added as her eyes got wide. “There is a child. A daughter named Emma. I have never seen her, so I have no idea how old she is.” Kendall looked at Zach and shrugged. “I wish I could be more helpful.” “You’ve been very helpful,” he assured her as he put on his coat. “I have to go. I’ll see you later,” he said, leaning in for another kiss. “I miss you already,” she said. She stood on her tiptoes to give him a proper goodbye kiss. He straightened to his full height, causing her feet to leave the ground, and deepened the kiss. “Me too,” he said as he lowered her back to the floor. He started to walk away, but turned back for yet another kiss. It was hard to leave a beautiful woman in a nightgown whose body responded so well to his touch. He took one last look and then forced himself to walk away, shaking his head as he went.
“Zach,” Kendall called out just before he closed the door. “Try not to kill Ryan. He won’t be very helpful if you do.” She smiled sweetly. He winked and then closed the door.
As Kendall rounded the corner at ConFusion, she was surprised - though not pleasantly - to see Dixie standing behind the bar pouring herself a drink. “And here you are again, Dixie. You know, you’re like a smell that even tomato juice won’t get rid of.” Dixie ignored the insult and put on her best fake smile. “I didn’t think you’d mind,” she said, holding up the glass. “Well why wouldn’t I mind? This is not a soup kitchen. You drink, you pay,” she said as she walked over and snatched the glass from Dixie’s hand. “A little early for this, isn’t it?” she snapped. “Like mother, like son, I guess. Poor JR. No wonder he’s so messed up.”
“How dare you,” Dixie said. “You don’t know the first thing about me. You don’t know what I’ve been through. Who are you to judge me?” she spat. “I’m not just the judge, I’m also the jury, Dixie. And the sentence will be severe. Now get out. We’re closed,” she said over her shoulder as she turned to walk away.
“Zach will be mine, Kendall,” Dixie said to her retreating back. Kendall turned on her heels, outrage showing on her face. “What did you just say to me?” she said. “Oh, you heard me,” Dixie answered smugly. She was foolishly proud that she got Kendall to return to their conversation. It was time the two women got something straight. Kendall couldn’t agree more.
She walked over to Dixie, standing close enough that Dixie had to tilt her head back to look her in the eye. “What makes you think you can get him?” Kendall asked. “What makes you think you can stop me?” Dixie returned. “Forget about what I think, Dixie. Let me tell you what I know. I know that my husband loves me. I know that he’s devoted to me and our son. I know he wants me, and only me. I know we can’t keep our hands off each other, and I know that I’m the one who falls asleep in his arms every night after he makes love to me.” She looked Dixie up and down. She was too pathetic to waste anger on. “Why do I bother?” she said. “I don’t have to explain anything to you.” She again turned to leave. Again Dixie’s words stopped her.
“What about Maria?” Dixie said. “Maria who?” Kendall asked innocently. “Oh, you mean Dr. Santos. What about her?” she asked evenly. “Maria had Zach once, too. She loved him and he loved her. But where is she now? She was replaceable, and you will be too. You’ll see,” Dixie said bitterly. Kendall refused to let Dixie bait her with Maria. That issued was settled between Zach and Kendall, and Dixie had no idea what she was talking about.
“Maria was a fool, Dixie. She let Zach get away because she was too stupid to see what she had. But I’m not Maria. And I’m not a fool. I won’t be letting Zach go. Ever. So if you think you can take him from me, give it your best shot.” Kendall walked away this time, with no intention of returning. Dixie Martin simply wasn’t worth her time.
Dixie ran to block Kendall's path. “You smug little bitch!” she spat. “You think you’re so irresistible. We’ll see about that. You’ve whored yourself all around Pine Valley. It won’t be hard to find a hundred men to tell Zach what a slut you are,” she argued. “Well isn’t that the pot calling the kettle a slut,” Kendall laughed, infuriating Dixie. “I don’t care what you say and I sure as hell don’t care what you think, Dixie. Zach knows who he married. He doesn’t need a serial homewrecker riding through town on her broomstick to protect him. He’s a big boy. Trust me,” she said with a wicked smile. “He’s a very big boy. I'm a very lucky woman. And you are just a lonely old hag with bad hair trying to find a little self esteem in the arms of somebody else’s husband. Well it won’t be mine,” she said. “But hey, I bet your son’s new mother-in-law can teach you some tricks for the aging maneater. Why don’t you look her up.”
As Kendall moved to walk past Dixie, she felt someone grab a handful of her hair. Kendall twisted Dixie’s arm until she let go. “Does kitty want to play?” Kendall asked. “Are you sure you’re even sober enough?” “What do you think?” Dixie said as she slapped Kendall across the face. “I think you hit like a girl,” Kendall said. Then she balled up her fist and punched Dixie in the stomach. “My husband taught me that,” she said. “He told me I’d need it someday.” While Dixie was doubled over, Kendall grabbed her by the hair and drug her over to the bar, where she proceeded to bang her head into the glass countertop. Again and again and again. When her hand got tired, she released Dixie and waited for her to stand up. “Now, I wouldn’t be Erica Kane’s daughter if I didn’t do this,” Kendall said as she slapped a still-dazed Dixie across the face, not once, but twice.
“What’s going on in here?” Both women turned to see Del watching them. “Kendall, what are you doing?” he asked. “Taking out the trash,” she replied. “Now get her out of here, Del. Or you’ll both have hell to pay.” Kendall left the room as Del ushered a whimpering Dixie to the door.
Ryan looked up from his desk and was startled by what he saw: Zach Slater sitting in the chair opposite him, watching. “Zach,” he said. “How long have you been sitting there?” He was a little unnerved that he hadn’t heard him come in. “Long enough,” Zach answered vaguely. “Can I offer you something to drink?” Ryan asked as he stood up. He sat back down when Zach held up the cup of coffee he’d already helped himself to. “How do you do that?” Ryan asked. Zach just glared at him as if he never heard the question. After a few seconds of silence, Ryan realized Zach had no intention of answering. “So, what brings you by? Spike’s okay, isn’t he?” “Yep. Spike’s great,” Zach replied. “I’m not here about him. I’m here about Annie.”
Ryan’s mouth fell open. And the constant lip licking told Zach his mouth must have gone dry. “Maybe you need something to drink, Lavery,” he said. “No, I'm fine. I just didn’t know you knew about Annie,” Ryan answered. “Kendall shouldn’t have said anything to you.” “My wife doesn’t keep secrets from me,” Zach said roughly. “No, I think keeping secrets is your area of expertise, right?” Ryan replied. “Don’t do that,” Zach warned. “Do what? Tell the truth?” “Don’t pretend you know anything about my relationship with Kendall, or my life. You only know what I allow you to know. Despite how it may look to outsiders, you are not a part of our marriage.
“Whoa Zach,” Ryan said, raising his hands. “Didn’t mean to hit a nerve,” he said. “You couldn’t, Lavery. Because I could care less what you think. Now answer my question before I get upset,” Zach said casually. “What question is that?” Ryan asked, playing dumb. “Annie,” Zach said in a loud voice. “I want to know about Annie.” “What about her?” “Don’t play dumb, Lavery, if you can even help it. You and I both know you brought a stranger into your home. A stranger with secrets who has access to Spike. I want to know who she is and what she’s hiding,” he demanded.
Ryan was immediately suspicious and annoyed. “Spike is my son, Zach. I would never do anything to put him in danger. Besides, he’s none of your concern.” “Wrong again, Lavery. Spike is our son, and very much my concern. I’m the one who rocks him to sleep every night. I’m the one who holds him when he has colic. And I’m the one who will have to put his mother back together if anything should happen to him.
Ryan jumped up, now very angry. “Listen Slater. You are Kendall’s husband. Fine. You’ve got her, for now, and there’s nothing I can do about that. But don’t you dare try to cut me out of my son’s life. Don’t think you can take my place,” he shouted. “Relax. If I wanted you out, you’d already be out. I have never stood between you and your son.” Then Zach’s voice got very low and very dangerous as he looked Ryan right in the eye. “But never think for one second that you can insinuate yourself into Kendall’s life. I love her, and she loves me. I will never let you hurt her again. Now,” Zach said as he sat back in his chair, “Let’s get back on topic, shall we?” he asked calmly. “Fine,” Ryan said as he took his seat. “Annie is a friend of Erin’s. She came to The Miranda Center for help and Erin offered to let her stay with us. She’s cool, Zach,” he said. “She’s hiding out from her ex-husband and we’re giving her a safe place to sleep. That’s it. No danger to Spike at all.
Zach narrowed his eyes as he glared at Ryan. After a minute, he spoke. “Why is she hiding from her husband?” he asked. “Ex-husband,” Ryan corrected. “And it’s got something to do with a custody agreement.” He immediately wanted to cut his tongue out. He hoped Zach wasn’t paying attention, but the look on his face proved otherwise. Funny though, Zach didn’t look surprised. “There’s a child?” Zach asked. Tricking Lavery into giving up information was easier than he expected. He guessed the grifter was losing his touch. “Yes,” Ryan answered calmly, more calmly than he felt. “Annie has a daughter. Her name is Emma.”
“And how old is Emma?” Zach led. “I don’t know! What the hell difference does it make,” Ryan protested. All these questions were starting to get to him. He had to get rid of Zach, even if he had to pick a fight to do it. “Get out, Slater! I can take care of my son. You go home and take care of your wife while you still have her.” No reaction from Zach, so he continued to push. “I’ve been there before, and if you don’t watch your step, I’ll be there again.” Zach just laughed. He knew what Ryan was trying to do, and he guessed he’d just have to accommodate him. He had what he came for and didn’t want to tip Ryan off. He didn’t buy the Saint Ryan act and he sure as hell didn’t trust him. He stood up and waited for Ryan to continue. He knew he would. Ryan was a fool. And fools never knew when to quit.
“I’m just warning you, Zach. Once a man’s had those long legs wrapped around him, it’s hard to forget. Just ask ...” His sentence was cut off by Zach’s backhand across his face. “My wife taught me that,” he said. “She told me I’d need it someday. But this,” he said as he punched Ryan in the stomach, “is all mine.” Zach turned and walked out the door. His whistling could be heard all the way down the hall.
Ryan dropped into his chair and tried to catch his breath. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. It hurt like hell, but it was worth it. At least Zach was gone. “Hey,” he said into the phone. “We’ve got big problems. Zach knows.”