What Kendall wants, Kendall gets
"Well hello, Zach," Janet said. "I can call you Zach, can't I?" She was sitting on the bed wearing a gray sweat suit that perfectly matched the decor of the room. "You just did," Zach replied dryly as he pulled out a chair and sat down. "I guess I did. You sure took your sweet time getting over here. Didn't I tell you it was urgent? I expected to see you yesterday. Aren't you just a teensy little bit curious?" she asked, pinching her thumb and forefinger together. Zach raised an eyebrow, but otherwise ignored the gesture. "Sure," he said casually. "Anytime a woman I barely know sends me an urgent summons ... well, let's just say that curious is an understatement. But my wife needed me yesterday. So I'm here now." She leaned forward and said gravely, "Zach, your wife needs you more than you know. Kendall is in serious danger."
Zach leaned back and folded his arms across his chest, narrowing his eyes into a lethal stare. "From who?" he said coldly. He still hadn't decided if he trusted Janet or not, so what else could he do but hear her out. "From my good friend, Dixie Martin. Or at least she used to be my good friend. Now she's my bad friend, which I guess means she's not really my friend at all. I mean, there is no such thing as a bad friend after all, and -" "Janet!" Zach said in a loud voice. She flinched at the interruption, looking up at him slowly to see if he was angry. He softened his voice when he saw her apprehension. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to shout," he said with a slight smile. "You were going to explain to me about the danger Kendall is in."
"Yes," she said. "Sorry. I do tend to wander off topic from time to time. Oh, look at me. Such a bad hostess. Can I get you anything, Zach?" she said as she started to get off the bed. "Just some information," he replied. She sat back down on the edge of the bed. "Of course. I understand. Let me see, where do I start?" she said, drumming her fingers on her knees. "At the beginning, Janet. Start at the beginning and tell me everything."
"Okay. The beginning. Well, the beginning was a long time ago," Janet began. She was looking at Zach, but she wasn't really focused on him. She was searching her crowded and drug-numbed mind for some clarity. She knew the medication she'd been given before Zach arrived was beginning to take affect. She could feel herself becoming more lethargic, but also more lucid. It was important to get this right ... to make him believe her. She owed him that much. "The beginning came last fall, when I ran into Dixie quite by accident at Will's grave. She was angry with me at first, understandably. But then she changed and started being nice to me. She said it was fate that had brought us together. Two Pine Valley outcasts living in the shadows. She said if I was really sorry about her brother, I could make it up to her by helping her out with something." Janet's voice had settled into a dull monotone, as if she were drowsy. She looked at Zach nervously. He nodded slightly. "Go on," he said softly, not letting his voice betray his thoughts.
"Dixie said she'd met a man and they were very much in love. Only the man was married." Janet continued. "When she told me his wife - your wife - was Kendall Hart, I laughed at her. I told her nobody could be unhappily married to a woman like that. I mean, she is a Kane for pete's sake. But that just made Dixie mad. She told me Kendall was pregnant with another man's child. She said Kendall was destroying families, but that you wouldn't leave her because you had given her your word. Dixie said you were too honorable to put your happiness first. Then she told me ..." Janet hesitated over the next revelation, not knowing how Zach would take it. She didn't want to hurt him, and she certainly didn't want to make him angry.
"Yes, then she told you what? It's okay, Janet. You can tell me?" Zach said, tilting his head slightly. Janet could tell he was trying not to lose his patience, so she blurted it out quickly. "She told me that Kendall has slept with your son. Well, you see, I had to help her then. I mean, a woman married to one man after being with his son, and now pregnant with another man's precious little baby. Kane or no Kane, a woman like that has to be stopped. She was a homewrecker, Zach. Breaking up families. You understand why I had to do it, don't you?" she asked, suddenly agitated.
"I understand that Dixie manipulated you. She gave you the right facts, Janet, but with all the wrong meaning. And she mixed the facts with outright lies. But I don't blame you," he said as he forced himself to relax his posture. "Just tell me what Dixie wanted you to do." "You are such a nice man, Zach. Dixie was right about that," she said with a sigh. "I am not a nice man, and Dixie will know that very soon. Now, please, tell me the rest."
"All right. Dixie told me she wanted to scare Kendall so she would give you the divorce you wanted," she stopped when she noticed him shaking his head, but continued when he waved her off. "Because Dixie couldn't be seen by anybody in Pine Valley, she needed me to help her. The first thing she asked me to do was start a fire. She was going to send the fire department, but only after Kendall had gotten the message. I guess she forgot to make the call. Thank God for Ryan Lavery," she said. "Yes, thank God," Zach shot back sarcastically. He was beginning to wonder just how far back the alliance between Ryan and Dixie went. Maybe Dixie was pulling two sets of strings. Except for one thing. Zach didn't meet Dixie until February. The fire was three months before that. Unless you count their brief handshake in Atlantic City a few years ago. That couldn't be right. She wouldn't derail her life based on one completely forgettable encounter. Would she?
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Janet's voice. "Do you want me to continue?" she asked. "Please," he responded. "So when the fire thing went all wrong, Dixie decided to try a different approach. Something that would not only scare Kendall, but would also give her time to think about it. You know, soul searching," she said with a nod. "So we put Kendall in a hammock and hung it off the roof at Fusion. I admit, I thought it was so clever, but it was a lot harder than we thought." Zach stared at her. He didn't move. He didn't even blink. He started to question Janet's sanity, not to mention her gullibility, then he remembered where he was. He looked around the bleak room. He decided hers was already a fate worse than death. Now it was Dixie's turn.
"So how did Dixie expect Kendall to get down? If she didn't really want to hurt her, I mean," he asked calmly. Janet looked confused for a moment, then her face brightened. "Oh, she called for help right away," she said. "Let me guess, fire department?" Zach said warily. " Yes! That's right. I left her on the street just after we did it. I saw her making the call before I went back to see my Amanda." "Dixie didn't call the fire department, Janet. She didn't call anybody. Kendall nearly died that night ... again." Janet's eyes widened and she covered her face with her hands. "Oh Zach, I'm sorry. I know it's not nearly enough. But it's all I have to give. Look around. My life has already be taken," she said somberly.
"So why are you telling me this now?" Zach demanded. "Why wait so long." "I thought it was all over," she said. "You and Kendall got divorced. I thought you and Dixie got what you wanted. But then I saw you and Kendall at the Mardi Gras ball, and you both looked so happy together. You certainly didn't look like a trapped man." He shook his head again. "And then I didn't see Dixie much after that. I kind of had my own problems to deal with," she said humbly. "But then here comes Dixie out of the blue to see me yesterday. She warned me to keep my mouth shut. She said the two of you were getting ready to run off together and if anybody asked, I knew nothing." "But what, you didn't believe her?" Zach asked. He was clearly ready to get to the end of this story. He needed some fresh air. He needed to get away from this woman before he put his hands around her throat. And he needed to get started on the plan already forming in his mind.
"No," Janet said. "I knew she was lying. We get the newspaper here, even in the looney bin. I read all about what you did for Kendall when she was in a coma. I realized that Dixie was the one trying to destroy a family. That's why I called you, Zach. She can't trick me into helping her, but she will find somebody. You have to stop her before she harms your wife."
Zach stood up and walked over to Janet, placing his hand on her shoulder. "I will protect Kendall, Janet. You don't have to worry about that. I appreciate the phone call and the information. You did the right thing this time." He turned to go, taking one last look at her before opening the door. He knew who she was and what she had done, but he wouldn't wish this kind of existence on anyone. It left him feeling sad and empty. "Zach," she said softly. "I'm sorry about Ethan." He watched as her eyes filled with tears, then nodded to her. "Well, we've all done foolish things to protect the people we love." She put her head down as he closed the door and walked away.
Zach sat in his car, his head in his hands. He felt sick. He was filled with not only anger, although there was plenty of that. But also regret. How did he end up here? He thought about all the times he’d trusted Dixie, even when Kendall begged him not to. He thought about all the lies. Hell, it was all a lie. He’d tried to do the right thing. His motives were honest enough. Just help a woman find her missing child. So why did it always backfire on him like this. When he thought about how close he'd come to losing Kendall, and on how many different occasions ... well, he just couldn’t think about it. He’d failed her. The one woman he wanted to help the most. The only woman who had ever truly made him happy. And just look what he brought into their lives. She had warned him, but he didn’t listen. But he was listening now. Now he would end this nightmare for both of them. He knew what he had to do.