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ninekaronas

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My version of  Zen stolen moments. No tension between them, no fighting. Just a couple in love who can't let the world know it. Each chapter will be a different scene ... a different Zach & Kendall rendezvous. Hope y'all like it.

 

 

No Appointment Necessary

Zach sat in his office, listening to the commotion outside. He recognized the voice, and he wasn't about to interrupt. He just sat back and waited to see what would happen next. He jumped when the door flew open suddenly and Kendall sailed inside, hair flying, eyes blazing and mouth moving.

She was dressing down Zach's new assistant in no uncertain terms. "Listen honey," she said in her most condescending tone, "I don't care how busy he is. I'm still his business partner, at least until I clean him out in divorce court. If you want to have a job here after that day, you'll sit your ass back down in that chair and mind your own damn business. Mr. Slater and I have some very important things to take care of, and I intend to handle it today. Understand?"

She stopped her tirade and looked at the poor girl, waiting for her to respond. "Well?" she shouted when no response came. "Oh, sorry Miss Hart," she began. "That's Mrs. Slater to you. We're not divorced yet. Which means I have every right to go anywhere in this casino I want, including this office," Kendall said. "Now go away. And make sure we are not disturbed. If you put through so much as one phone call, I'll make sure you can't get a job sweeping up hair at the Glamourama. Capiche?" With a wave of dismissal, Kendall slammed the door in the young woman's face and turned her attention to Zach.

"Well," she said with a sigh. "That went well, don't you think?" Then, in a louder voice, "I'm not leaving here until we get some things straight, Zach. Your slut girlfriend will just have to wait." She couldn't suppress a giggle at the look on his face. She ran to him and jumped into his outstretched arms. "That was quite a performance," he chuckled in her ear. I thought I was in big trouble." "Oh you are. But first, lock that door. I don't trust your little secretary out there to follow instructions." "Are you kidding?" he said as he locked the door using the remote on his desk. "I dare anybody to try to get into this office as long as you're here. I just hope there's not a fire. She won't know what to do."

"I'm already on fire, Zach. Why do you think I'm here?" she said, giving him a sideways glance. "I thought you came to handle something. Isn't that what you said?" he asked, his tone innocent, but the look in his eyes far from it. Kendall laughed.  "Just who the hell do you think you are, Zach Slater?" she shouted over her shoulder. "Nice," he said as he buried his head in her neck. "You know what I think?" he asked as he straightened up and walked back to the desk, pulling Kendall behind him. "I think you are starting to like screaming at me. It's giving you a chance to get a lot of stuff off your chest, huh?" She nodded, but said loudly, "Of course not, you selfish bastard!" He wagged his finger at her and grinned.

He sat down in the large chair behind the desk and started to pull Kendall onto his lap. "Here, let me take your coat," he offered, then realized what he'd said. "Kendall ... why are you wearing a fur coat in August?" he asked. "Because I thought I might cause too much of a scene if I showed up here without it," she said as she stepped away from him and opened the coat to reveal nothing but high heels and Fusion Body Shimmer. She laughed wickedly at Zach's reaction. He immediately went hard all over, his eyes turning as black as midnight. He took his sweet time drinking in the view, but eventually brought his eyes up to meet hers.

He watched with hungry anticipation as the luxurious mink coat slid down the length of her body, revealing first her shoulders, then her breasts, her hips and finally her long legs, before settling in a pool at her feet. It was the most erotic thing he'd ever seen. "How do you like that, Zach?" she shouted over her shoulder, never taking her eyes from his. He wanted to answer her, but there were no words.

He held out his hand and she ran to him. "Bring the coat," he managed to say. His throat felt tight, just like the rest of him. When Kendall came to stand in front of him, he took the coat from her and laid it out on his desk. He lifted Kendall and sat her on top of the coat. He proceeded to kiss every inch of her, arrogantly pleased by her reaction. She forgot to breath. "Zach, you're gonna ruin my coat," she said absentmindedly. "I'll buy you a new one."

She wrapped her arms around his head, drawing him closer to her. When he lifted his head in search of her mouth, she met him halfway. The kiss was so intense, so passionate, they were both left gasping for air and desperate for more. They clung to each other. Kendall didn't know how it had happened, but she was now sitting in Zach's lap. He ran his hand along the curves of her body and listened to her shallow breathing. "Kendall?" he said in her ear. "You forgot to scream at me. You don't want my secretary to get suspicious, do you?" he teased, moving his hands up her body slowly, very slowly. "I'm about to scream all right," she said breathlessly. "Stop teasing me, Zach." He gave her exactly what she wanted, all the while making her feel safe, desirable and loved.

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

When the room stopped spinning and her heart stopped pounding, Kendall kissed him again. "You're amazing," she whispered. "You're damn straight I want more than that! I want everything you've got, Zach Slater!" she screamed for the benefit of their audience in the next room. She helped him out of his coat and unbuttoned his shirt, scraping her fingernails across his chest in the process. His sharp intake of breath told her how much he liked that. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and brought her mouth to his. This time the kiss was wild and ravenous. Hungry, hot and wet. He couldn't get enough of her - the way she tasted, the way she smelled, the way she moaned deep in the back of her throat. At that moment, he wouldn't have cared who walked in. Bring on the fire, it didn't matter. He was in heaven and nothing could touch him. Just the two of them, climbing the mountain to paradise.

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

"Well, if that's the best you can do," she yelled many minutes later. "I guess I'll have to be satisfied with that, won't I?" She was again in Zach's lap, but all of her strength was gone. "Satisfied, huh?" he said in a low, raspy voice. "Oh yeah, Zach. I am completely satisfied. How about you?" she said as she stroked his arm. "For the moment. But if you keep doing what you're doing, all bets are off," he said, following her roaming hand with his eyes.

"Okay, I guess that means it's time to go," she said as she stood up. "Tease," he muttered under his breath. He stood with her and pulled her into his arms. "Now Zach, my mother told me it's always best to leave your audience wanting more." He pulled away from her suddenly. "Oh God, Erica. Well, that killed it." Kendall laughed as she reached for her coat. "See," Zach said as he helped her put it on. "No harm done. I can be very creative when I have to." She smiled up at him and then turned for the door. "I don't need you to tell me that, Zach Slater! Don't you think I know that by now?" she yelled.

He followed her to the door and pulled her into his arms for one last kiss. "I miss you already," he whispered in her ear. "When can we do this again?" She gave him a wink and said over her shoulder as she sailed back out the door, "I'll be in touch. You can't count on that!"

 


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melian22

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9K I love it!  Cant wait for an update.


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Ann

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OMG I love it.....thank you for giving us something to help get through the garbage on the horizon.

Please continue.......(soon)

 


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Bless you, 9K! Please keep up the good work. Have a happy and safe Labor Day.

Lorene

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Thank you so much for giving me something to smile about, please keep up the good work.  Now why can't we have something so delicious on our screen?  Since when the soaps have to be so grim and gloomy filled with misery and mayhem all the time?

Thanks again and have a great Labor Day,
Leela

ninekaronas

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Thanks Mel, Ann, Lorene and Leela for the kind words. Glad y'all are enjoying the concept. If only the writers could throw us a bone and give us some happy stuff like this. Would it kill them to let SOMEBODY be happy? I wonder.

 

The Doctor Is In

"Come on, Ryan. I think I can handle this by myself. Besides, I'll have Rachel with me." Kendall said. She was exasperated by Ryan's constant hovering. He treated her like she was a helpless, know-nothing new mommy and he was the purveyor of all parental wisdom. God, she really hated him sometimes. These were the moments when she was reminded of all the reasons she was in love with Zach Slater and not Ryan Lavery. One was a controlling, manipulative and self-righteous jerk. The other one was Zach.

"I know you can handle it, Kendall," Ryan said in his condescending way. That's what his mouth said, but his body language told a different story. He looked like he wanted to rip Spike out of her arms. He actually stood there with his hands just below hers, waiting to catch Spike if she dropped him. "Back off, Ryan!" she snapped as she turned away from him. "Here Rachel," she said as she handed the boy off to the nanny. "Get Spike settled into his car seat. I'll be right out. Rachel and Spike left the condo, leaving Kendall to face Ryan alone.

"Please, Ryan," she said is a softer voice. "I'm not trying to leave you out. But it's just not possible or necessary for both of us to be there for every single moment of Spike's life. Let me take him for his checkup this time. You go on to work and earn the money he'll be begging you for before you know it. Next checkup, it's all you. Okay?" The change in her attitude worked. Ryan relented and headed to work, escorting Kendall to her car so he could give Spike one more goodbye kiss.

"Okay, here's the deal," Kendall said to Rachel when Ryan had driven away. "I've got $100 for you if you'll take off right now and keep your mouth shut about it. If anybody asks, we took Spike to the doctor and then to the park. You're on the clock, but not on the job. Deal?" "Um ... okay I guess," Rachel said. Kendall could tell she was torn. Since Ryan had really hired her, Rachel felt more loyal to him. She didn't really want to lie. But $100 to take the day off was very tempting.

Kendall, sensing her thoughts, eased her worries. "It's okay, Rachel. I'm not doing anything wrong. I just want to spend the day alone with my son. The only reason I don't want Ryan to know is because he worries so much. It will be all right. I promise." She reached into her purse and pulled out the c-note. What girl could ever refuse cold hard cash? None she'd ever met. And Rachel was no exception. She grabbed the money and jumped out of the car. "Okay, thanks Mrs. Slater. I'll see you tomorrow."

Kendall let out the breath she was holding. It was amazing how hard she had to work to get rid of the crowd of people that she was suddenly surrounded by. "Okay Spikey-Poo," she said to the face in her rear view mirror. "We did it. That takes care of both of them. Now let's get to that doctor's office. We definitely don't want to be late."

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

"Right this way, Mrs. Slater," the nurse said as she led Kendall to an examining room. "The doctor will be with you shortly. It's always nice to see the father so involved," she added. Kendall arched her eyebrow and entered the room indicated by the nurse. "You made it!" she said to the man already waiting there. "I wasn't sure if you'd get the message," she said as she ran into Zach's arms. "Of course I made it," he replied. "I wouldn't miss it for the world." He took Spike from his carrier and held him close, whispering manly secrets in his ear.

"How's my boy?" he asked Spike, holding the baby away from him so he could get a good look. "I've missed you, little man. You've grown so much." He turned to see Kendall watching them. "And how is Spike's mommy?" he said to Kendall as he pulled her into his side. "She great." she answered. "But it was a struggle getting rid of my posse today. Ryan can be a real pest sometimes, you know?" "Really?" Zach said dryly. "I hadn't noticed." He leaned down and gave her a soft kiss. "I'm glad you managed to ditch him. You are very resourceful, Mrs. Slater. Your cryptic voice mail was a nice surprise." She giggled and went to take a seat to wait for the doctor. "Never underestimate a woman on a mission," she said. "Underestimate you?" he said. "Never."

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

"Where exactly are we, Zach?" Kendall asked as they settled onto the blanket he had just spread out on the ground. "What do you mean?" he asked, pretending to be confused. "You said you wanted to have a picnic in the park. So, here we are ... the park." Kendall looked around. She knew she had never been here before. She realized how little attention she had paid to her surroundings on the way here. She was far too interested in what was going on inside the car. Today was one of those "great to be rich" days. Zach brought the limo, which meant they could ride together in anonymity - dark windows, security guards and all.

"I've never been here before," she said after studying her surroundings a few more minutes. "What park is this?" "Slater Park," Zach answered casually. "Okay. What?" she said. "Look, Kendall. You said you wanted to take Spike to the park. So what's a park? Trees, grass, birds and bees. Right? So here we are. Trees," he said pointing. "Grass." He grabbed a handful and rained it down onto the blanket. "And, my favorite, birds and bees," he said as he leaned in and kissed her. "It is a piece of land on the casino's property. I have men stationed all around us. It's private and it's safe, and I'm hungry." With that, he ripped open the picnic basket that had been delivered from the casino and started emptying its contents into Kendall's lap.

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

Kendall watched the two most important men in her life. One of them was lying in her lap taking a nap, and the other one was trying his best to crawl away. She tilted her head back and enjoyed the breeze blowing through her hair. She never wanted to leave this beautiful spot. The flowers were blooming and the butterflies were fluttering all around. She had to laugh when she noticed a dragonfly on the edge of the woods. How true Zach's words had been. Now, more than ever, things were not as they seemed.

"Beautiful." She glanced down at Zach, who looked awestruck. "It is beautiful here, isn't it," she agreed. "Yes, but that's not what I meant. You're beautiful. You never stop taking my breath away," he said. She rewarded him with a warm smile. "No, Mr. Slater, you are beautiful," she said as she leaned down to kiss him. "You're the prince in our fairy tale. I am the ugly beast who managed to trick you into marriage," she laughed. "Get down here. I'll show you a beast," he growled, pulling her down beside him. He started kissing her wildly. Her face, her eyes, her neck, her mouth. "Zach!" she laughed. "What are you doing?" "I'm trying to make the ugly beast turn into a beautiful princess. Isn't that how it works in fairy tales. A kiss?" He resumed his frantic pace. "One kiss, Zach. You've got my whole face wet!" she said, pretending to be annoyed. "Ah," he said in a soft voice, suddenly very still. "But it worked. You are definitely the most beautiful princess I have ever seen," he said. "Now about that beast."

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

"Yes, Ryan. Of course everything went okay. It was just a routine checkup. No, I will not let you talk to him. I'm not gonna shove a phone in my son's face, Ryan." She held the phone away from her ear and rolled her eyes. It served her right for
answering it in the first place. She and Zach were on the way back to the doctor's office so Kendall could pick up her car. They had spent the whole day together and it had been too wonderful for words. Unfortunately, the world didn't want them to be happy together. When they returned to the car, they were both greeted by tons of nagging phone calls from people they didn't want to deal with. Zach had gone first, artfully dodging Dixie's questions about his whereabouts.

Kendall tortured him by wrapping herself around him and whispering the dirtiest things she could think of in his ear. He managed to maintain an even tone of voice, but his eyes were closed and his head rested on the back of the seat. He wrapped his free arm around Kendall, intending to pull her away from him so he could concentrate. But he ended up pulling her closer. He put the phone on the seat beside him, grabbed both sides of Kendall's face and pulled her mouth to his. When he ended the kiss, he picked the phone back up and continued listening to Dixie's complaints. When Kendall threw her legs across his lap and started inching her skirt up, he gave up. He hung up on Dixie, mid-sentence. "You win," he said as he leaned into his wife. "I always do," she said into his mouth. The phone immediately began to ring, but Zach ignored it. When it rang again a few minutes later, he lowered the window and tossed it out.

Now it was Kendall's turn to face the music. Ryan had called her several times, so she knew he was probably frantic by now. After all, she was so helpless. She couldn't possibly make it through one day without his guidance. When he called again, she answered and he immediately started grilling her about where she'd been. "God, Kendall," he'd said. "You could have called me. I've been worried sick. Did everything go okay with Spike?" Zach, being the kind, fair-minded person that he was, just sat back silently and let her deal with Ryan. At least that's what he did for the first two minutes. After that, he decided to have a little fun.

He knew his wife very well. Teasing her had become one of his favorite pastimes. He knew how to make her squirm. He started by unbuttoning the first three buttons on his shirt. He knew that Kendall was putty in his hands when he took his shirt off. As a man, he knew what there was to love about a woman's chest, but the appeal of a man's was lost on him. But it wasn't lost on Kendall, as she'd told him many times. He watched as her eyes narrowed when he released the third button. She shook her head at him. He grinned. Then he reached down and picked up her feet, returning them to his lap. He slowly removed first one shoe, then the other, careful to caress her feet just enough to make her want more. Then he let his fingertips travel very lightly up her calves, stopping mid-thigh and returning. "Breathe," he mouthed to her when he realized that she was holding her breath. She took a deep breath and moved closer to him.

"Uh huh. Yeah, I know Ryan," she mumbled into the phone. Unlike Zach, she couldn't keep her tone even. She sounded out of breath and completely distracted. She reached out and tried to finish unbuttoning Zach's shirt with one hand, too dazed to realize it was impossible. She flashed Zach a "help me" look, but he just shook his head. Finally, he took mercy on her and held the phone up to her ear so she could have both hands free. She quickly took care of the rest of the buttons and completely forgot about the phone call. She moved her head away from the phone, placing hot kisses on Zach's chest, his neck, his lips. Zach held the phone to his ear, now listening to Ryan's complaints. Occasionally he would hold the phone out to Kendall and she would say "Uh huh" into it. It was during one of those times that she hit her limit. She snapped the phone shut and threw it on the floor. When it started to ring again, she bludgeoned it with the heel of her shoe, before turning her attention back to her now half-naked husband.

"Okay, new phones for everybody," he laughed. "By the way, when is Spike's next visit to the doctor? I don't want to miss out on another day like today," he said. "Well, I've already promised Super Dad that he could have the next one, but you can sure come with me to my next appointment. I can schedule one for next week."


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Wonderful escape reading!  Thank you so much.


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I had to remember to breathe while reading this!!!  LOL!!!  June

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This is the kind of “get away” scene. Love it. Thanks. Bonnie

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9K, it is great reading your work again.  Welcome back.  We are so greedy.  We want more of your stories!  Please hurry back with more!  Granny


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ninekaronas

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Your wish is my command, Granny. Thanks everybody for the kind words. Hope y'all like this one too.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Kendall was dreaming, and she never wanted to wake up. Everything she needed was waiting for her. Spike was there. Binx and Miranda were there. Even Erica was there, but so far off in the distance that she wasn't a bother to anybody. Just a faded shadow, guilt-free and nag-free. And, most importantly, Zach was there.

They were all having a picnic. Kendall wasn't sure where they were, but it didn't matter. The weather was perfect and the air was filled with the fragrance of wildflowers. Birds were singing, children were laughing. All was right with the world. No Chandlers. No Martins. No Laverys. No murder trial. No fake affair. No stress. It was bliss.

Bianca wandered off to the duck pond with Miranda and Spike, leaving Kendall and Zach alone. They sat in comfortable silence on a park bench. Zach had his arm around Kendall's shoulders, she rested her head against his neck. He was humming something, but she didn't recognize it. "What are you humming, Zach?" she asked. "Don't ask me," he replied with a smile. "It's your dream."

She awoke with a start and looked around. She was in her condo, alone in the bed she was supposed to be sharing with her husband. Instead, he was across town, miserable and alone just like her. God, she hated the mess they were in. She trusted Zach completely and knew he was doing all he could to fix the situation. But it was still hard. Their married life had been filled with too many trials already. She longed for the day they could be together again for all the world to see. Just Zach and Spike ... that's all she needed for her happily ever after.

She got out of bed and went to check on Spike, who was sleeping soundly. "Show off," Kendall muttered under her breath as she gently touched his face. She left him in peace and made her way to the kitchen. She stood in front of an open refrigerator, waiting for something to appeal to her. When nothing did, she closed it and went to lie on the couch. She thought she would never be able to get back to sleep. She was wrong.

She jumped when the phone rang. She grabbed it quickly, hoping it would not wake up Spike. She caller ID showed Zach's number. "Hello," she said. Nothing. Not her husband's sexy voice. No dial tone. Nothing. Just silence. "Zach!" she screamed into the phone. "Zach! Are you there? Can you hear me?" Nothing. Her blood ran cold, but she didn't know why. "Zach, answer me dammit!" she screamed one last time.

The sound of her own voice woke her up. She was holding the remote control to her ear. She felt at first foolish, then relieved. But the cold feeling was still with her. She needed to talk to Zach. But how? They both suspected their phones were bugged. It was too late to fake a business call. She decided to risk a text message: Remembering the dragonfly. Miss you.

She sat down in the chair and waited to see if he would respond. "Please, Zach," she pleaded. She curled up in the chair, resting her head on one of the arms. After what seemed like an eternity, she got her response: Miss you too. Open the door. Kendall ran to the door and found Zach standing there. She had never seen anything more beautiful. He didn't say anything, just reached out and stroked her face. She went to put her arms around him and pull him closer, but she grabbed nothing but air. When she pulled back, he was gone.

The wind on her face woke her up. She was standing in the open doorway of her condo, holding her cell phone. She checked to see if Zach had left a message, but there wasn't one. Probably sleeping like the rest of Pine Valley she thought to herself. "Okay, Kendall. I guess it's time for you to go back to bed before you do something stupid," she said aloud to the empty room. She locked the door and returned to her bedroom. She wasn't worried about falling back to sleep. She just hoped she could re-visit the first dream.

She awoke suddenly, but she wasn't sure why. Did she hear something? She lay very still for a minute, listening. Nothing. Total silence. She reached over to check her phone for any message from Zach. Again, nothing. She let out a heavy sigh and buried her face in Zach's pillow. She could feel him. She had already taken to wearing one of his old shirts to bed, just so she could smell him. It made her feel closer to him. And she had to take what she could get.

Kendall laid there and fought back tears. She wanted her husband home, where he belonged. They were supposed to be together. They had fought so hard. They earned it. Just as the tears started to roll down her face, she felt the bed move. She jumped up to see Zach sitting on the edge of the bed, watching her. The look on his face broke her heart. He looked at her with such love ... such longing, but also such sorrow. She wanted to throw her arms around him and take away his pain while he took away hers. But she couldn't. She knew he wasn't really there.

"You again," she laughed through her tears. He looked surprised. "I know you're not really here," she said. "I've been imagining you all night. At least this time I didn't wake up in the parking lot." He cocked his head and continued to watch her. "Why didn't you return my text message?" she asked. "I've been so desperate. That's probably why you're here again, in my dreams. My subconscious just won't let you go tonight." He smiled at her and looked down at the phone she was still holding. She checked again for a message, and this time she saw it: Miss you too. Open the door.

She gasped. "Oh no, I've already done this," she said, shaking her head. "I open the door and you're standing there, looking all hot and sexy like you do right now. Only it's not really you. I mean, it's you, but you're not really there. I reach out for you and end up with an armful of nothing. No thanks." He was looking at her so intently, with the warmest look in his eyes. He was smiling at her. "Oh God, Zach. I just want to throw myself into your arms and never let you go," she said, new tears starting to fall. He opened his arms. She couldn't resist. The urge was just too strong. She jumped.

He caught her. She felt his arms go around her waist as he pulled her up against him. She squeezed him with all her might. "Oh God, please don't let me wake up yet," she cried. "Just a few more minutes. Please." "Kendall," he spoke his first words. "You're awake, sweetheart. I'm here." She pulled back and looked into his eyes, all the while touching him. She ran her fingertips down the side of his face. She rubbed his arms. She buried her fingers in his hair and pulled him in for a kiss. And he kissed her back.

It was his hands in her hair, his mouth on hers. His strength enveloping her. She felt like her heart would burst. She melted into him and waited to die happy. Nothing could ever be better than this moment. She never wanted it to end.

He stood up, still cradling Kendall in his arms as he walked around to the other side of the bed. He tried to set her on her feet, but she wouldn't cooperate. "Are you gonna let me go?" he asked. "No. Never again," she replied, tightening her hold. He chuckled softly. "Fine with me," he said as he sat back down on the bed. He just continued to hold her, letting her feel his touch. He could see the trail of tears on her face in the moonlight coming through the window. He brushed them away with his fingers and buried his face in her hair, her neck.

"Kendall?" he asked after a while. "Why are you so upset?" He tilted her face up so she would meet his gaze. "Because I needed you so badly, Zach. I needed you and you came," she said, sounding amazed. "You took such a huge risk by coming here in the middle of the night to babysit your wife. How did you know how much I needed you?" She took his hand and placed it over her heart. "Because I need you just as much, Kendall," he said. "There is no place I'd rather be than right here, babysitting my beautiful wife, no matter the risk." She kissed him again, still unable to let him out of her grasp.

"Do you know where I was when I got your message?" he asked after several more minutes of holding his wife. "No," she said, her voice muffled by his neck. "I was sleeping in my car in the parking lot outside. I wanted to see you, to touch you, so badly. But I was afraid to take the chance. I didn't want to put you through any more pain. So I did what I often do. I got as close to you as I dared. Then, when I got your message, I hesitated. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure if coming in was too dangerous. So I waited until I couldn't stand it any longer. I'm sorry I didn't come to you right away."

This time Kendall did let him go. She climbed out of his lap and held out her hands to him. When he stood before her, she started undressing him. But she never lost physical contact with him. She wouldn't let him beyond her reach, and that was okay with him. He wanted to get closer, not farther away. They fell onto the bed together, lost in each other's touch. This was the answer to both of their prayers. This was a dream.

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

Kendall awoke just before dawn with a smile on her face. Then she remembered all the dreams from the night before. Were any of them real? Her heart sank when she realized she was wrapped around Zach's pillow. She wanted to cry. "But it seemed so real," she said aloud. She climbed out of bed and went to check on her son. At least she knew he was really there.

She peeked around the corner into Spike's room, and her heart stopped. There was Zach, standing over the crib, watching the boy sleep. She came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He covered her arms with his, and they stood there, together, silently watching their son's chest rise and fall. After a few minutes, he turned to face her. He gave her a soft kiss and then pulled her from the room.

When they returned to their bedroom, he asked, "What are you doing up again?" "Zach! What are you doing to me?" she asked as she poked him in the chest. "One minute you're here. Then you're gone. Then you're here again. I can't tell anymore if I'm asleep or awake." She was trying to be serious, but the look on his face wouldn't let her. "Well, would you like me to pinch you, just to prove you are awake?" he asked, with a mischievous glint in his eye. "You wish," she laughed. "Oh I do. I really do," he said in return.

He picked her up and carried her back to bed. Then he climbed in beside her and pulled her closer to him. They laid there wrapped around each other for a long while, just enjoying each other's presence. "Zach," she said at last. "I don't want you to pinch me." She turned to look into his eyes. "And why is that?" he asked. "Because, if this is a dream, I'm not ready to wake up." He kissed her, then laid her head back down on his chest. She fell asleep with Zach rubbing her back, surrounded by his scent, his touch, his strength.

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What a wonderful way to start the day.  Thanks!


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Thank you, 9K. 

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I really think you have missed your calling.  Change your major.  Become a writer!  You capture my interest.  You are so descriptive, it's like I'm there in the room with Kendall.  9K, you are so very talented.  Please keep it up.

Granny


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Loved it 9K! Thanks


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Chivalry and romance - alive and well on the TK board!!  Thank you for giving us what we crave.  A "Toast" to you.


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9K, What a joy to read your "mini" stories!  Just love 'em.  Keep them coming!  Thank you!

 

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9K With every story I picture your beautiful writings. Thank you for the pick me ups. Keep them coming. I love them!!! You have a wonderful talent.

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Thanks again everybody for the encouragement. I hope you like this one too.

The Light From A Neon Moon

Zach felt like he had been waiting a lifetime. He checked his watch for what seemed like the millionth time since his arrival. He looked around the room again, still not believing that this was the venue choice for his meeting. It had been a long time since he'd frequented dives like this. Dark and noisy, the place was filthy, smelly, and packed to the rafters. Small town Saturday night, Zach thought. Problem was, it was Tuesday. And here he was, out in the middle of nowhere, drinking watered-down liquor and listening to tear-in-your-beer songs on what had to be the first jukebox ever made. He shook his head and ordered another beer.

As he let his gaze travel around the room, he suddenly became aware of a woman trying to get his attention. He was smart enough to keep his eyes moving. The last thing he wanted was to be the catch-of-the day in this hillbilly meat market. He raised his glass to his lips with his left hand, making sure the woman saw his wedding ring. She continued to look, but didn't make a move toward him. He considered that good enough and turned his back to the room. And waited.

Before long another woman approached him and sat down on the stool beside him. She reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. She pulled one from the pack and settled it between her lips. Then she turned to Zach, waiting for him to light it. After a few seconds of awkward silence, he reached over and picked up a book of matches from the bar. He struck one, then turned to offer it to his unwanted companion. She sucked life into the cigarette and then blew the smoke out slowly, like something she'd seen in a movie. He once again flashed his left hand, giving her a don't-come-hither smile. "Too bad," she said as she walked away. Zach checked his watch again.

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

"Yes, Simone. I'm sure," Kendall said for the tenth time to her friend and co-worker. "I'll be fine. I just want to go home and see my son." The work day had been stressful and Kendall just wanted to get out of there. She'd had enough Fusion for one day. And, frankly, enough of Simone. But Simone had other ideas. She was worried about the amount of time Kendall was spending alone since her breakup with Zach. She wanted to have a girls night out. "Come on, Kendall. All that time alone is gonna make you senile. You're the kind of girl who needs to be stimulated. It's time to get out there again," she insisted. "Get back on the horse, so to speak."

"Um, Simone," Kendall interjected. "You've been alone a lot longer than me. I don't see you hitting the town trolling for guys. Where's your horse?" Simone gave her a pointed look. "Kendall, our situations are completely different. The love of my life died. Your's just screwed around on you. I still love Ethan and don't want anybody else. But you... wait a minute," she said when she saw the look on Kendall's face. "Don't tell me you still love that lousy two-timing Zach Slater." Kendall said nothing, unable to get a word in edgewise. She gave Simone a look that said she'd better just drop it. Of course, Simone could never take a hint.

"Oh my God, Kendall! What kind of a fool are you? He slept with another woman ... while you were in a coma!" she yelled. "That makes him lower than low. And nowhere near good enough for you. Come on. Now I know we're going out. You've gotta wash that loser right outta your hair," she said as she pulled Kendall towards the elevator. Kendall hated to hear Simone say such things about Zach, even though she knew it was all said out of love and loyalty. But it was suddenly too much. She wouldn't let the woman who would have married Zach's son think so badly of him any longer. Having made up her mind, she took a deep breath and dove in.

"Sit down a minute, Simone. And listen," she added when Simone opened her mouth to protest. "I am going to trust you with something. Something huge. Promise me I won't be sorry." Simone's eyes got wide and she started squirming in her chair. "Oh, you can tell me. I promise you won't be sorry. I can keep my mouth shut," she said, frowning at the look Kendall gave her. "I can, when I want to. I promise, Kendall," she said, turning the key in the imaginary lock on her mouth. Kendall couldn't help but laugh.

"Okay, I'm gonna trust you. I need to tell somebody or I'll burst, and I really want you to know the truth. For Ethan's sake." Simone suddenly turned very serious. Kendall took her hand. "Simone," she began, "I lied about Zach. Or rather, Zach lied. There was no affair with Dixie. He's just using it to establish an alibi for the night Greg Madden was put into that box." Simone's mouth fell open and her shoulders slumped. "I knew it!" she said, suddenly hysterical. "I knew he was too much in love with you to jump that hag's bones. Why go out for hamburger when you have lobster at home. Right? Oh God, sweetie, I'm so glad for you. And I'm so sorry for the terrible things I said about Zach." She reached over and gave Kendall a hug.

"Now tell me all about it," Simone said, suddenly very enthusiastic. "Isn't it romantic?" she gushed. "No, it's not. It's hell, Simone. And I don't want to talk about it. I just didn't want you to think the worst of Zach. He's the greatest man I've ever met and I hate that everybody thinks he's cheated on me. People have said the most horrible things about him to me, and I've had to pretend to agree." She glanced up at Simone, who looked like she wanted to crawl under the desk. "Sorry honey. I've been pretty vicious myself. I didn't know," she shrugged. "It's okay," Kendall said. "I forgive you. And you can repay me by keeping your mouth shut. Okay?" Simone nodded and both women stood. "Okay. Now I really just want to go home and see Spike. I'll see you tomorrow." Kendall hugged Simone again and then headed for the elevators, looking down at her watch as the doors closed.

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

Several more women in short skirts and low-cut blouses approached Zach. By the time the last one came, he had resorted to just holding up his left hand. No words. No eye contact. Just flash the ring and wait for them to go away. It worked every time. Almost every time. Out of the corner of his eye he watched a rather tall blonde woman take a seat at the end of the bar. She arrived alone, but it was obvious she didn't plan to leave alone. He kept his eyes on the bar and tried to look as disinterested as possible. Apparently the Amazon was looking for a challenge. After only a few minutes, she made her move.

She walked over and stood right next to Zach, not even bothering to use the stool. She touched his shoulder to get his attention. He sighed heavily and turned to face her. "Hello," she purred. "Haven't seen you around here before. You come here a lot?" she asked. "Do you?" he replied. "Well, yes. As a matter of fact I do." She flipped her hair in a move that was supposed to be sexy, but reminded Zach of his mother-in-law. Decidedly un-sexy. "Then you should know that I don't," Zach said abruptly.

"Well then, sugar," she said, "What brings you here tonight?" She squinted her eyes and took a drag from the cigarette she was holding. It was a cool move, at least when James Dean did it fifty years ago. Zach suddenly felt like he's stumbled into the back lot of an old movie studio. Everybody here seemed to be playing a part. "Business," he said. "Oh well, you've found the right girl," she said. She stepped back and turned around, giving Zach a good look at all she had to offer. He looked her up and down before answering. "Not that kind of business, honey," he said with a smirk.

She leaned against the bar right next to him and took a long drink from the longneck in front of him. "Good choice, sugar," she said as she licked her lips. Zach held up the beer he was holding in his hand and smiled. "I'll be sure to tell the guy when he gets back." He had flashed his wedding ring to her several times, but she wasn't taking the hint. "Listen," he said softly. "I don't want to be rude, but you're wasting your time here. I am a married man." He held up his left hand and wiggled his fingers. She looked at him for a minute, considering her options.

"Look Miss ... whatever," Zach said. "You're an attractive woman and you can probably have your pick of any other man in this room. But not me. I'm just here waiting for a friend." "You really married?" she asked at last. "Very," he said. "Happily?" Very?" She leaned into him and put her hand on his thigh. "Sugar, I don't mind if you don't," she purred into his ear. He looked down where her hand rested on his leg and then looked her in the eye. "I do mind," he said as he removed her hand. "And I think my wife would mind, too."

"Damn right she would!" Zach turned to see his feisty little wife looking ready to take this Amazon's head off. His persistent admirer also turned to look at Kendall, but she didn't appear to be as happy to see her as Zach was. She returned her hand to Zach's thigh and gave Kendall a cold glare. "Go away honey. I've got this one," she said. Zach just sat there, looking from one woman to the other. He knew he should step in before the situation got too heated, especially knowing that one of the women had a clear advantage. But he wanted to see what would happen. Besides, he wouldn't let Kendall hurt the Amazon.

"If you don't want to be drinking your meals through a straw for the rest of your life, you will take your hands off my husband," Kendall said loudly. "He's not interested in what you're selling. So move on," she said as she reached out and grabbed the woman's arm, jerking her hand from Zach's leg. "Are you calling me a whore?" the Amazon screamed. "If the tacky clothes fit ..." Kendall said, eyeing her up and down. A shadow fell over them. From behind her Kendall heard a man's voice say, "Hey buddy, you better tell your woman here to shut her big mouth. She can't talk to my sister that way." Kendall saw the laughter in Zach's eyes change to anger. She put her hand on his shoulder when he started to stand. She gave him a wink before turning to the angry man behind her. "Your sister! I thought she was your mother!" she snapped.

The room erupted. The Amazon lunged for Kendall, but Zach was faster. He pulled Kendall behind his back and waited for the angry brother to take a swing. He didn't have to wait long. Zach blocked his swing and hit the big oaf squarely in the jaw. The man stumbled back a little bit and shook his head, clearly dazed. Kendall ran around Zach and hit the guy over the head with a beer bottle. He staggered and then dropped like a stone. Everybody started yelling at once and fights broke out all over the room. Zach grabbed Kendall by the hand, dropped a wad of cash on the bar and headed for the door. "The next round's on me," he said to the bartender as he passed. The Slaters carefully made their way through the maze of bodies, not stopping until they were safely outside.

"Now that was fun!" Kendall said. She was windblown and out of breath, and grinning from ear to ear. Zach thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. "I guess Simone was right. I did need a night out," she laughed. Zach just looked at her, waiting for an explanation. Kendall read his thoughts and said, "Simone wanted us to go out tonight and pick up some guys." Zach frowned. "Simone needs to mind her own damn business," he muttered. Kendall put her arms around Zach and laid her head on his chest. "Don't worry about it. I told her I was still too desperately in love with my gorgeous husband to be interested in anybody else." He pulled back so he could see Kendall's face. "You really told her that?" he said in a low voice. "Yep," Kendall said cheerily. "I threatened her life if she told another living soul, so she'll probably continue to say terrible things to you in public. But at least she'll stop trying to fix me up."

Kendall could tell by the look in Zach's eye that he was a little nervous about Simone, of all people, knowing their secret. "Zach," she said, waiting for him to give her his full attention. "It will be okay. Trust me. Simone won't tell anybody but Ethan and her cats." He hugged her and kissed her gently before taking her hand and leading her to his car. "Okay then, Mrs. Slater. Now what? We can't go back in there, and we haven't had a chance to spend any time together." A smile lit up her face. "I know just the place. Let's go," she said.

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

Zach and Kendall were settled into a back booth in a dingy little diner not far from the bar they had just left. Still out in the middle of nowhere. Still surrounded by circus refugees. "So, how did you slip your police escort?" he asked. They were sitting side by side, his arm around her shoulders, blocking out the world. "I went into ConFusion and never came out. In fact, I'm there right now, slaving away. My car is out front and my purse is on the counter," she laughed. "I guess that means I'm buying," he said dryly. She elbowed him. "What about you?" she asked. "How did you get away?" "I drove," he said casually. "That's it? You just drove away? It's that simple?" she asked incredulously. "Uh huh. If you know what you're doing," he said, giving her a knowing look. "And I do." She was impressed, but not surprised. This man could do anything.

"Where the hell are we anyway?" Zach asked. "And how did you know this place even existed?" Kendall gave Zach a wistful smile. "We're not all that far from Pine Valley. But it's a different world isn't it?" she said. "Would you believe I actually used to work at that seedy little bar?" She laughed at the shocked look on Zach's face. "I guess not. Anyway, when I first came to Pine Valley I needed a job, but I had no skills. Plus I didn't want anybody from Pine Valley to see me working. I was far too good for that, you see," she said, taking on a haughty air. "The only work a young girl could get around here was stripping or serving. And I didn't have the ... uh ... attributes, we'll say, to be a stripper." She blushed at the look in his eyes, which only made his gaze more intense. He smiled at her and waited for her to continue.

"Um ... what was I saying?" she stammered. "You were saying you lack the attributes to be a stripper," Zach replied. "But I have to say, I couldn't disagree more. In fact, I'm imagining it right now, and I'm enjoying it immensely." She slapped his hand, but basked in the compliment. "Anyway, I lied about my age and took a job as a cocktail waitress. In fact, that's where I met Anton, my first husband." She looked up to see Zach staring at her with the oddest expression. But he said nothing. So she continued. "He stood out like a sore thumb in that crowd. He definitely didn't belong there. And since I was sure I didn't belong there either, I was drawn to him." Zach looked uncomfortable, but there was something else. Kendall's mouth dropped open when she realized what it was. Zach looked vulnerable.

"What about me?" he asked. "Did I stick out like a sore thumb. Would you have been drawn to me?" Kendall couldn't stop the tears that filled her eyes. "Zach," she said as she reached for his hand. "Don't you know?" She pulled his hand to her lips and kissed it. Then she placed her own hand on the side of his face. "You stand out in every crowd. You belong wherever you want to because that's the kind of guy you are. And I have been drawn to you, body and soul, from the first second I laid eyes on you. You're it for me, and you always will be." He turned his face into her hand, kissing her palm.

Kendall knew she made her point when the vulnerability in his eyes turned to arrogance. She was pleased. If any man alive had reason to be arrogant, it was this one. He was rich, smart, successful, handsome and sexy as hell. And he had a wife who loved him more than she thought possible. She suddenly had a horrible thought. "Oh God, Zach. Don't ever let Babe know that I used to be a suds slinger. She'd never let me live it down," she said. "Your secret is safe with me, Kendall. They all are," he added softly. He didn't like the idea of those sleazy men leering at Kendall. He suddenly felt very possessive.

He ran his fingers down the side of her face and looked deeply into her eyes. "What is it?" she asked. "I don't know," he answered. "I don't like the idea of you having another husband. I mean, I knew he existed, but I never really thought about him. What it means to us. I honestly hate the thought of it." She snuggled up closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder. "I know. I would be devastated to think you had another wife out there. I can't stand to think about Maria, and you and she never married." She waited for him to tense at the mention of Maria's name, but he didn't. She was relieved.

"You know what's funny?" she said after a few minutes. He shook his head. "I can tell you that you have no reason to be jealous of Anton. He means nothing to me now, and nothing to us. But I don't know how to make you really understand that." She pulled back so she could see his face. "Because you've told me that Maria has no hold on you, and no place in our lives. And yet my jealousy of her place in your heart is overwhelming. Do you understand?" He nodded. "I understand. But Kendall, if you're telling me that Anton occupies as much room in your thoughts - in your heart - as Maria does in mine, then I'm not jealous at all. And you shouldn't be either."

He leaned down and kissed her, gently at first. But it turned into a kiss filled with need and longing. And understanding. Zach broke the kiss and looked into Kendall's eyes. "There's no room for Maria or anybody else in my heart. You take up all the space. You're it for me. And you always will be." He kissed her again and pulled her into his embrace. "I love you, Kendall. More than I can say," he whispered in her ear. "I love you, Zach. Always. Only you."

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melian22

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9K I loved it! Thanks!


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Thanks again, 9K!

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Thanks, 9K.  We needed that.    Granny


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WOW............................................................[sighs]
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9K, thank you.  Enjoy everything you write.

 

Roseann

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A little Zen quickie!

The Lady in Red

Zach ran his hands over his face and let out a long sigh. He was right on time for his lunch date at The Valley Inn, but he wasn’t anxious to go in. He knew Dixie was inside waiting for him and he was so tired of the charade. It wasn’t that he hated Dixie. It’s just that she had caused so much trouble for him, and so much pain for Kendall. No friendship would ever be worth that. He took another deep breath and headed inside.

————————————-

Dixie was hurrying out the door when the phone in her room at the casino rang. It was Zach’s new assistant, calling to tell her that Zach would not be able to meet her for lunch as planned. She was told that an urgent matter had arisen, one that would keep Zach busy for the rest of the afternoon. The meeting would be rescheduled and she would be notified. Dixie slammed down the phone. It wasn’t the cancellation that angered her, it was the formal manner in which she was dismissed. She kicked off her shoes and headed for the bar in the corner of her room. Another liquid lunch for the town pariah, she thought to herself, suddenly filled with self-pity. “To one kidney,” she said aloud as she hoisted her glass into the air.

————————————-

Zach followed the maitre d' to his table, glad to see that Dixie had not yet arrived. He didn’t have the energy to play this out today. He just wanted things to go back to normal. He wanted to go home. He missed his wife and his son, more than a loner like him would have ever thought possible.

As he sat down, his eyes were drawn to the woman at the table next to him. She was wearing a red dress, cut high and low in all the right places, and a red hat with a veil that covered half of her face. The shadow from the hat’s brim managed to obscure the other half. All Zach could see was beautiful alabaster skin and long, shapely legs. He took a minute to enjoy the view and then turned his back to her. Too dangerous, he decided.

After a minute, he decided to change seats. Maybe he could salvage a little fun from this business lunch. He repositioned himself so he was directly in the woman’s line of vision, and she was in his. He once again let his gaze wander up the length of her body, from six-inch red stilettos to the wide-brimmed red hat. He couldn’t see her hair, so he had to use his imagination. He imagined dark curly hair, wild and untamed. The kind of hair a man could grab a handful of...

His thoughts were interrupted by the waiter’s voice, asking him if he’d like anything from the bar. “Scotch,” he said. “Neat.” He waited for the waiter to leave, then returned his attention to the woman. Even though he couldn’t see her eyes, he knew she was looking at him. He could just see it in her body language. She crossed and uncrossed her legs. He smiled and tilted his head. She held her head a little higher, allowing him to see that she, too, was smiling.

The waiter returned with his drink, and Zach held it up to her before taking a long sip. She nodded her head at him slightly before taking a sip of the cosmopolitan she was drinking. He couldn’t stop his eyes from roaming over her body again. He was beginning to have a physical reaction to this beautiful woman. But that didn’t surprise him. He could admit that he had been drawn to her from the first second he laid eyes on her.

Zach cursed softly when he felt his phone vibrating. He saw that it was Dixie and decided not to answer it. He knew she’d be there soon enough. He didn’t need to hear her excuse for being late. “Take your time,” he muttered under his breath. Then he noticed that she’d left a message. He held the phone away from his ear as he listened to her loud, angry, drunken message. Apparently his new assistant had cancelled their date and she didn’t appreciate being treated like she was a business associate. She didn’t like being dismissed by his flunkies ... blah, blah, blah.

Zach arched an eyebrow as he listened. New assistant? What new assistant? What was she talking about? His eyes once again went to the woman sitting across from him. Again, she gave him a barely perceptible nod. Again he rewarded her with a smile. He watched as she deliberately took her napkin from her lap and let it fall to the floor. He waited only a second before rising and walking over to her. He bent over to pick up the napkin, taking advantage of the opportunity to run his fingers along the curve of her leg. He groaned low in his throat. He touched her smooth skin again. He’d know those legs anywhere.

He forced himself to stand up and face the lady in red. “Madam,” he said as he handed her the napkin. Then he reached out and lightly stroked the dragonfly pin on her lapel. “Nice touch,” he said softly as he barely touched the brim of her hat. Then he turned and went back to his seat. He watched as she started to replace the napkin on her lap, only to realize that there was a piece of paper wrapped inside it. It was one of Zach’s business cards. On the back was written: How did you know?

She scribbled something on the card and folded it. Then she called the waiter over and asked for the check. Five minutes later she had paid the bill and was making her way out of the restaurant. She stopped beside his table, bent to adjust the strap on her shoe, and stumbled. He jumped up and caught her in time. After regaining her balance, she nodded to him and went on her way. He watched her leave, once again admiring her shape, then noticed the business card on the table. She had written: Your new assistant told me.

He started to sit down again when he felt something in his pocket. He reached in and pulled out a room key. His knees buckled. He motioned for the waiter, who came immediately. “Check please,” Zach said, his voice suddenly sounding hoarse. “Nevermind,” he said as he pulled out a hundred dollar bill. “Keep the change,” he said as he hurried out of the dining room and headed for the elevator.

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Fantastic job 9K! Loved it!


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Wouldn't it be nice if this were the real story line.  (Sigh)

 

9K, you are a true romantic!  I love your stories. 

 

Granny


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9K, thanks for the last two chapters.  I can hardly wait for the next one.


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Thanks, 9K.  Great bedtime reading! 

 

Roseann

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Thanks everybody for the encouragement. Your kind words are very much appreciated. I am revisiting an old theme here. This is sort of a sequel to the last dream story.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me
part 2


Zach Slater was in his bed, tossing and turning, in the grips of a dream. He saw himself returning to the hospital to see his comatose wife after being dragged off to jail the night before. He ran to Kendall's room, but it was empty. He ran out into the hallway looking for answers. He found Erica and Bianca. "Where's my wife?" he asked, his voice sounding distant and hollow. "It's a little late to care now, Zach. Kendall doesn't need you anymore," Erica's voice echoed. Her words bit into him just as she intended. He turned to Bianca, who just lowered her head so he wouldn't see her tears. No. He wouldn't believe it. Not this. Not Kendall.

He ran down a maze of hallways through the suddenly deserted hospital. Each hallway was lined with doors on each side, but he ran past them all. Somehow he knew just where to go. He found himself standing outside an unmarked door, gasping for air. He knew she was in there. He could feel it. But he didn't want to go in. It would make it all too real. He pushed the door open and walked inside. His breath caught in his throat as he looked across the small room and saw his beautiful wife lying there, lifeless and still, looking like an angel.

His heart stopped, or at least he wanted it to. He couldn't - wouldn't - go on without her. He let out an anguished scream, but there was no sound. He laid himself over Kendall's body, inhaling the scent of her hair. He raised himself up, bringing her with him, and rocked her back and forth, begging her to wake up. Begging her to come back to him. "Don't do this to me, Kendall. Please don't do this," he saw himself say. But there was still only silence. No sound of his voice, or of his sobbing. Just the heaviness of death ... of two lives being lost forever. Hers and his.

He flinched when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Go away," he said without turning to see who it was. It didn't matter. The only person he wanted to see was in his arms. "Zach," he heard behind him. He quickly went from heartbroken to enraged. He recognized that voice. How dare she come here! Without turning to her he said, "Get out, Dixie. You don't belong here. I don't want to see you." She continued to touch him until he jerked himself away from her. "Zach," she said. "You have to come with me."

He gently laid Kendall back down and kissed her cold lips. Then he turned on Dixie. "I don't have to go anywhere with you. I told you to leave, and it wasn't a request." She continued to stare at him. "Now!" he yelled. She reached up to wipe the tears from his face, but he grabbed her wrist. "Don't touch me, Dixie. I'm warning you." "You have to come with me," she repeated. She took his hand and started pulling him away. He didn't want to go, but was powerless to stop himself. He was almost out the door when he looked back to Kendall. He felt his soul dying. He couldn't leave her. And he could never let her go. "Kendall!"

He awoke with a start, his body covered with sweat and his heart pounding. He ran his hands roughly over his face and climbed out of bed. He went to the window and looked out, letting the cool night breeze blow over him. He thought about Kendall. They had found ways to be together in the midst of this fake affair disaster, thanks mostly to Kendall's ingenuity. But the nights were hard. Long. Lonely. After all those years of sleeping alone, he now found that he couldn't sleep without her. He needed her beside him, warm and soft, to chase away the demons.

He made his way to a chair and dropped into it. It was late and he was tired, but he was afraid to go back to sleep. Afraid of the dreams. He flipped on the tv and went through the channels, but nothing held his attention. His mind kept drifting back to his family, sound asleep across town. Safe and warm. Without him. He fell asleep again, thinking of the good times he and Kendall had shared. New Year's Eve. Erica's boat. Spike.

Now Zach was sitting in a cold gray room with just a table and two chairs. Kendall sat across from him, looking as beautiful as ever. But she looked sad. She was crying. Whatever she was telling him was breaking her heart, that much he knew. But he couldn't make out her words. Then one word broke through. Divorce. He tensed and looked at her more intently, concentrating hard on every word, every sound. "Spike is five now, Zach. He's old enough to start asking questions. He needs a father." "He has a father," Zach answered. "Lavery." Kendall shook her head. "Ryan is his father. But you were supposed to be his daddy. He needs that. He needs you. So do I. But we can't wait anymore, Zach."

She reached out and took his hand, ignoring the glare of the guard looking in through the window. "I have already filed divorce papers. As soon as everything is finalized, I will marry Ryan." She squeezed his hand when he started to interrupt. "Please don't fight me on this. It's for the best." "But I love you, Kendall. You and Spike," he said weakly. Suddenly all the air had left his lungs and he was fighting for each breath. "I love you too, Zach. And I always will. You know that. But this is for Spike. He needs a family now, not in another 20 years to life."

She reached up and stroked his face. "I'm so sorry," she said softly. They both jumped when they heard a tap on the window. Zach looked up to see Ryan Lavery holding Spike up to the window. Spike was waving. Zach walked over to the glass and put his hand on it. Spike placed his hand against the glass, his tiny hand dwarfed by Zach's. Tears rolled down Zach's face as he listened to Kendall sobbing softly behind him. "Please Zach," she said. "Do this for Spike."

He turned to her when Ryan took Spike away. "Kendall, please don't ask this of me." She tried to smile through her tears. "It will all work out. You'll see. Ryan is even learning about hockey, just so he can teach Spike all about your favorite sport," she said in a tight voice. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. He pulled her into his arms and held her tight. She pulled back and kissed him again, touching his lips with her fingertips. "I'm sorry, Zach," she said as she turned to go. "No, wait. Kendall!"

He woke up on the floor, angry and exhausted, drowning in sadness. He cursed under his breath and went for a drink. He hated drinking in the middle of the night. It reeked of desperation. But that's what he was ... desperate. He put his now empty glass down on the table and his eyes went to the phone. He knew Kendall turned the ringer off on the land line when she went to bed for Spike's sake, keeping her cell phone with her for emergencies. He dialed their home number and listened to the message. He just needed to hear her voice. He hung up without leaving a message and dialed the number again. And again. And again.

He stepped into his closet and threw on the first thing he came to. Then he grabbed his keys and headed out the door. He had to get out of this room before the walls closed in on him. He needed some air. He needed to see Kendall.

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

Zach found himself sitting in his car, willing it to go home. Home to his wife and son. Home to the life he'd waited so long for. Maybe he'd just park outside the condo for awhile, like so many other nights. But he couldn't do it. It was too risky. And he didn't need to bring Kendall into his nightmares. He laid his head on the steering wheel for a moment in an effort to unravel his thoughts. He took a deep breath and got out of the car. No. He wouldn't disturb Kendall tonight. But he would definitely find a way to see her tomorrow.

He missed his wife, his lover, and his best friend. Kendall was one of the few true friends he'd had in his life. His boyhood was spent trying to survive his father's expectations. Michael had been his only real friend. He didn't realize it at the time, but his childhood had been a lonely one. At some point Alexander Cambias Jr., the lonely boy, became Zach Slater, the loner. The difference in lonely and loner was preference. He had come to prefer being by himself. No strings. But Kendall made him want to stop being alone, which left him with this loneliness.

He walked down to the beach where he and Kendall had made sandcastles in what seemed another life. He stood on the spot where they watched the sunrise. He replayed every second of that night in his head, remembering every word said, every promise made. He thought about Kendall's dress, her hair, her skin, the love in her eyes. He thought about their kisses and how much he wanted to make love to her. "This is not helping," he said aloud as he ran his hands through his hair. "Maybe I can help."

Zach turned to see a vision before him. A vision of his wife. "You're the only one who can help me," he said quietly, afraid to break the spell. He closed his eyes, expecting her to be gone when he opened them. But she wasn't. He wanted to run to her but he was afraid she would vanish before he reached her. He didn't want to do anything to wake himself up. So he just stood there, leaning against a rock, drinking her in through tear-filled eyes.

"Zach," she said softly. She walked over to him and touched his face. "I'm here, Zach. Tell me what's wrong." The sound of her voice and the feel of her touch stirred something deep inside of him. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her up against him. "Are you real?" he asked when he gained control of his emotions. He pulled back so he could see her face. "As real as it gets," she said with a smile. He brought her back to him, hugging her fiercely. Then his lips found hers for the kiss he'd been desperate for all night.

"How did you know I needed you?" Zach asked after settling Kendall in his arms. He was now sitting on the ground in front of the rock. She sat between his outstretched legs with her back up against his chest. "I heard the phone ring," she said. "Ryan has Spike for the night, so I never turned the ringer down. I didn't get to it in time for the first call, but when I saw it was you and you didn't leave a message, I guessed you just wanted to hear a friendly voice." "Not just any friendly voice," he said as he kissed her temple. "Your friendly voice."

She rubbed his arm and continued. "But when you called back, I knew you were in trouble. I actually answered the phone the second time, but you were already gone. I was halfway out the door when the third call came. By then, I knew I had to see you. I thought you needed me, so here I am," she said with a shrug. "I do need you. Always," he said. "And I am so glad you came."

They sat for awhile in comfortable silence and gazed at the stars as if they didn't have a care in the world. They talked some, but not too much. Conversation wasn't what either of them needed. They needed time to be together, just the two of them. Time to reconnect. Time to build up their strength for the next day's battle with absurdity.

They found themselves laughing about the last time they were on this stretch of beach. Kendall wanted parapets. Zach just wanted Kendall. They wondered how things had gotten so far off track from that night. And they vowed to never let secrets come between them again.

Zach held her close as they watched the sunrise. "Perfect," he said in her ear. "Just like last time." "No," she laughed. "You said last time that it needed a little more gold." He looked at her and smiled, amazed that he still could. She had done it again. She had chased the demons away. "I meant that you were perfect ... the night was perfect, just like last time," he said. "Oh, good answer," she said as she turned in his arms and kissed him. "You're a real smooth talker, you know that Mr. Slater?" "And you, Mrs. Slater, are my lifeline," he answered, suddenly serious. "Thank you, Kendall, for rescuing me." "Anytime," she said softly before he covered her mouth with his.

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

Zach walked Kendall back to her car just after dawn. They both knew it was dangerous, but they would not be denied. Being together was worth the risk. "Have a good day," he said as he leaned in to give her one last kiss before she drove off. He started to close the door, but stopped. "Kendall, will you do me a favor?" he asked. "Anything. Just name it," she said immediately. He arched an eyebrow and paused, then decided to stick with his original request. "Don't ever let Lavery teach our son about hockey." "Okay ... I guess," she laughed. "What are you talking about Zach?" "It doesn't matter. Just promise," he said with a twinkle in his eye. She crossed her heart. "I promise." He leaned down to kiss her one more time then watched as she drove out of sight.

He found himself humming as he made his way back upstairs. Maybe today would be a good day after all, he thought. The first thing he did when he got to his office two hours later was have roses sent to his beautiful wife. Lots of roses. Luckily for Kendall, she was alone when the flowers arrived at Fusion. She couldn't hide her smile or stop the tears from running down her face as she read the card: Loving you is still who I am. Thanks for being my dragon slayer. Until the next sunrise ...

Kendall tucked one of the roses into her purse for a memento and waited until the office filled back up before throwing the rest in the trash in a fit of mock rage. But the card stayed hidden, next to her heart.

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Granny

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Reply with quote  #33 

Damn YOU 9K!  You have me crying like a baby. 

Thank goodness I'm not at work reading this!  First you had me crying with the second dream (which I didn't know was a dream).  Then again with the beautiful ending! 

Girl!  If ever you decide to write a full blown novel, let us know.  I'll be the first in line to buy it!  I love your work. 

Granny


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Puppetwrangler

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Reply with quote  #34 

Oh, 9K. That was beautiful.  Thank you so much.

Lorene

Roseann

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Reply with quote  #35 

9K, Guess you have all of us crying.  Beautifully written...Perfect on a rainy night.  Thank you.

 

Roseann 

Diva

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Reply with quote  #36 

9K, loved all your stories.  Finally got to read them tonight.   They can keep us warm during these dreary times on AMC.  From the spoilers it seems that its going to get worse before it gets better. Keep them coming.


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Aukalina

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Reply with quote  #37 
Thanks again 9K. You out do yourself with each story. I too had tears. Just wish this what we could see on TV. I will have to keep using my minds eye which works very well (wink wink).

Kathleen
Alennie

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Reply with quote  #38 

Thank you for the wonderful stories.  I love reading about them being happy again and you do such a great job.  Here's to 9K for sharing your talent with us

 

  Thank You!!!

ninekaronas

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Reply with quote  #39 

Room With A View

As Pine Valley slept, Zach and Kendall made their way to the airport. Zach was headed to Las Vegas on business and Kendall was seeing him off. Sneaking away from the watchful eyes of the Pine Valley Police Department was getting easier for the couple, especially at that hour. Most of the town was still asleep, just like the two cops sitting in the car outside Kendall's condo. All Kendall had to do was take a little walk down the block and wait for Zach to pick her up. Piece of cake.

For Zach, ditching his police escort was never a problem. He had too many weapons at his disposal, not the least of which was a security team that could blend into the background and never asked questions. If Chief Frye only know how much time his men spent watching a building Zach wasn't in. Zach smiled to himself as he drove away from the casino. Maybe he'd tell Derek all about it some day. Maybe.

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

"Tell me again why I can't go with you," Kendall asked as she snaked her arm underneath Zach's jacket. She was pulling out every trick in her arsenal: whining, begging, pouting, and now seduction. She gave him her most devastating smile and tried to pull him to her. But he was on to her. He wouldn't budge. But he did smile, and then he rewarded her with a kiss. "I don't have to tell you again, because you remember the answer from all the other times you asked," he said. He laughed when she jerked her hand from his back and resumed pouting.

He ran his finger along her extended lower lip and laughed again. Then he kissed her again, this time pulling her tightly up against him. "You know it's not smart for us both to disappear at the same time. My plans are well known, so it won't be hard to find you. It's too risky, Kendall." She sighed heavily and then relented. "I know," she said sadly. "But I will miss you so much. We haven't had this much time alone since ... well, never. I hate to see it end," she added. He shook his head. "It's not ending," he said. "Just a little break to take care of business. That's all. Besides, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe when I get back you'll love me even more." He looked at her intently, the smile in his eyes not showing on his face. "Impossible," she said as she leaned up and kissed him again. "I couldn't love you more."

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

"Mr. Slater, your wife is on line 6." Zach thanked his assistant, but made sure to look beleaguered. "Uh-oh. What did I do now?" he said as she left the room carrying the files he'd just handed her. "Hello sweetheart," he said when the door closed. "I heard that," she snapped, but he could hear the smile in her voice. "Just putting on a show for the staff," he said softly. He had already checked the room for bugs and this was a private line. So as long as no one else was around, he could speak freely.

"In that case," she said, "I forgive you. And hello yourself, handsome. How's business?" He leaned back in his chair and put his feet on the desk. "Booming," he replied. "But Vegas is lonely." He heard her sigh. "So is Pine Valley. I miss you, and so does Spike." "Has he been asking about me?" Zach joked, enjoying the sound of her voice. "Of course," she said enthusiastically. "He's dying to talk about last night's Black Wings game with his daddy." "Red Wings," Zach corrected. "And the season hasn't started yet." "Oh," she said under her breath. "Well, I guess Spike doesn't know that. You're not doing such a great job of teaching him are you?" she said lightly. He could picture the look on her face. Green eyes shining with laughter while a slight blush covered her cheeks. God he missed her. "Sorry. I'll do better," he said after a minute.

"I know. So will I," she said as she cleared her throat. Zach knew a change in topic was coming. "Anyway, I actually called to tell you that I will be out of town myself for a few days. I've got a meeting with a retailer who's interested in carrying Fusion products," she said. "I'm gonna go give him my pitch. How do you like that? Pretty impressive, huh?" He could tell she was excited about it, but he wasn't. "Impressive, yes. But I don't like it," he said. "Let Simone pitch." "Simone has been sick for how long now, Zach? She's just getting back on her feet and she's in no shape to make a full-fledged presentation. She needs to stay here and run the office." She waited for what she knew would come next. He hesitated, knowing what her response would be. "How about Babe?" he finally said. His suggestion was met with silence. He could only imagine the look on her face now. "No way," was all she said.

"Okay, so it has to be you. But why now? Why not wait until I get back to Pine Valley?" he said. "I don't like the idea of us being so far apart and neither of us being at home. What about Spike?" "Spike will be fine. Ryan is getting pretty good at the whole single father thing. And I will actually be closer to you than I am right now. My meeting is in Chicago. And I'm leaving tomorrow," she said. She heard him take a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Why did I have to marry a mogul?" he asked. "Because you fell head-over-heels in love with one," she answered without missing a beat. "And because I'm the luckiest woman in the world," she added, throwing his own words back at him.

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

Kendall had been in Chicago only one day, but it had been a whirlwind. Having not done the corporate executive thing in a while, she found she was a little rusty. She missed her husband and her son. She never realized how much she took holding Spike for granted. She wanted more than anything to hold him right now. Ryan had been kind enough to send her pictures over the phone this morning, and that helped a lot. She was in a cab on her way back to the hotel after a long meeting with the marketing director. She would have to go back tomorrow and give the full presentation to the rest of the suits, but she already knew this was a done deal. Those guys were putty in her hands. She checked her watch, bit her lip and took the plunge.

"Hello," she heard Zach say in her ear. "Is now a bad time?" she asked, suddenly nervous about her decision to call him on an unprotected line. The number to the private line was written down at home, but she had not yet committed it to memory. "I know it's risky on the cells, but I just wanted to hear your voice," she said quickly. "No, it's fine. I'll take care of it. It's good to hear your voice too," he said. "I miss you, Mrs. Slater." Kendall relaxed and rested her head on the back of the seat. "I miss you, too. Did you get the picture I sent of Spike? How cute was that?" she asked. "Very. Nice one of you, too. Quite a hotel room you've got there. I hope Fusion is picking up the tab." She laughed, but he wasn't fooled.

"Is everything okay?" he asked. "You sound tired." She closed her eyes. "Yeah, I am tired. And I'm homesick, or at least husband-sick. And Spike-sick. I've changed more than I realized since becoming a wife and mother. Maybe I can't do this mogul thing anymore," she said. He chuckled softly. "Kendall, you are the most capable woman I know. You can do anything you want to do. You're just tired. You'll be fine after a long hot bath." "Mmmmmmm ... now there's an idea," she purred. "Too bad you can't join me," she added. He groaned. She giggled.

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

Kendall climbed out of the cab and paid the driver before turning her attention to the building she was about to enter. It really was very nice. Elegant. The food was great and the suites all had balconies overlooking the city. She hadn't taken the time to notice when she arrived last night. She shook her head over her own self-centeredness as she made her way through the lobby to the elevator.

As she rested her head against its paneled walls, her thoughts drifted back to Zach. They had managed to make the most of the difficult situation they were in. It had almost been fun trying to find new ways to be together. But this was real separation. He wasn't just across town waiting for their next plan. He was so far away and she wanted him. Here. Now. She was tired of being alone so much of the time. Spike was great, but he wasn't Zach. And he wasn't very talkative. Then again, neither was Zach, she thought with a smile. Oh well, she'd have to settle for a long hot bath and the knowledge that she would at least see Spike in a couple of days. Maybe Zach wouldn't be too far behind.

Kendall was standing in the deserted hallway fumbling with the key card when she thought she heard a crash. She looked around, but didn't see anything. It was impossible to tell where the sound came from. Relief washed over her as she finally got the door open and went inside. "Hot water here I come," she said to the empty room. Then she stopped dead in her tracks, totally shocked by what she saw. She wanted to scream, but the sound wouldn't come. Instead she ran. Right into the waiting arms of her husband.

"Zach!" she cried as soon as her voice would cooperate. He was standing in the middle of the room holding the flowers from a vase that lay shattered at his feet. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen She wrapped her arms around his waist and held on for dear life as he squeezed her tightly up against him. She pulled back as soon as he loosened his grip and peppered him with kisses. He threw the flowers he was holding over his shoulder and put his hands on each side of her face to hold her still as he brought his mouth down to hers. She leaned into his kiss, feeling the stresses of the day melting away.

"You're amazing, you know that?" she said as she looked around the room. The doors were open to the balcony and she could see that there was a table set up outside with dinner for two and a flute of champagne. Soft lights were placed all over the place, casting the room in a romantic glow. There were roses everywhere she looked. "I can't believe you did all this," she said at last. "What do you mean?" he said as he pulled her back into his arms. "This is just like me." She looked up and saw the laughter in his eyes. "Yeah, you're right," she said as she pulled his head down for another kiss.

"You're better than a hot bath, Zach. I was so tense when I came in, but one look at you and I feel so much better," she said as she walked out onto the balcony. The breeze on her skin and the wind in her hair affected them both in very different ways. It made her feel calm and relaxed, but it made him feel hard and wild. "Does that mean you're revoking the offer?" he asked, sounding disappointed. Again she looked at him and saw the teasing in his eyes. But there was also something else there as well. It made her shiver.

"Oh no, the invitation still stands," she said. She walked over to him and ran a hand over his chest. "But what about dinner? Should we eat first?" He grabbed her hand and kissed the palm. "Dinner can wait," he said as he picked her up and carried her into the bathroom. She gasped when she saw the tub already filled with steaming water and rose petals. There were candles on every flat surface and still more roses. "Amazing," she repeated as she kissed him. "Did you buy every rose in the city, Zach?" she asked as she continued to survey the room. "Maybe, but these you can keep instead of throwing them out."

He dropped her feet and held her close to him, letting her body slide down his until her feet touched the floor. Then he began the glorious task of helping her undress. Just as she started to help him out of his suit, he ran from the room. "Zach?" she called. "Where are you ... what's going on?" She went to the bathroom door and peeked out just in time to see him come in from the balcony carrying the bottle of champagne. Then he went to the front door, hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the doorknob and returned to the love of his life.

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

"Wow," Kendall exclaimed as she and Zach enjoyed their dinner on the balcony. "The view is just spectacular. Don't you think?" "Spectacular," he replied. She turned to find him watching her, not the skyline. "I always like a room with a view," he said. She smiled at him and returned her attention to her plate. "The food here is delicious, Zach. I can't believe this is still warm." "Uh huh. Delicious," he said, still staring at her. She laughed then and pointed her fork at him. "Behave," she scolded. He smiled at her and leaned back in his chair, tossing his napkin on the table.

"So Kendall, tomorrow's the big day, huh? The big meeting? You know, I've heard that picturing your audience in their underwear can help calm your nerves. You should try it." "Nah," she said. "I'm not nervous." She knew he was teasing her and she refused to take the bait. "Well, maybe you could picture me waiting here in my underwear," he said, one eyebrow cocked. "How would that help?" she asked, trying not to laugh. "I don't know. I always picture you in your underwear when I'm trapped in a meeting, and it helps." He won. She laughed. "You, Zach Slater, are wicked," she said. "And you, Kendall Slater, are welcome," he replied. She took the bait. "But I didn't thank you," she said, confused. "You will. Believe me, you will," he said as he reached for her hand and led her back inside.


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Roseann

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Reply with quote  #40 

Thanks 9k.  Another great story!  Perfect way to end my night.

tkaddicted

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Reply with quote  #41 

Thanks so much.  What a bedtime story.  I can hardly wait for more!


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zendall44

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Reply with quote  #42 

Thank you 9K!  These stories are just so delicious!!!


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Micki
Granny

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Reply with quote  #43 

Oh, man, such a shame.  Why can't they do stories like yours on AMC?  9K, you never let us down.  Thanks, Granny


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Abigail

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Reply with quote  #44 

9K....just tagging on here to let you know how much I love this story!  It's smart, it's witty, it's clever and your writing style is just so darn much fun to read.

 

IMO, this is how TIIC at AMC should have written at least part of the current Z/K storyline.  Instead of pain, jealousy, distrust being served up to us in nauseatingly huge doses, why not throw in a little clever "Zendevousing" from time to time?  But no, that might actually be something the audience would enjoy and we can't have that now, can we?  I'm so glad you saw the potential here and are running with it.

 

Update soon, please!


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Aukalina

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Reply with quote  #45 
9K, How I love your stories. Great job.
Love love how you bring out Zach's romantic side. This story reminded me of a old Hepburn Tracy film, two of my all time favorites - romantic and funny and sexy - just like TK and AM.

update soon. Thanks
Kathleen
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Reply with quote  #46 

Thanks 9K I just love your stories - they are so TK and AM when we read them - picture perfect -


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Ann

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Reply with quote  #47 

I am loving these little stories.

Thank you for helping me keep my sanity through the crap on my screen everyday.


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Ann
leela

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Reply with quote  #48 
Thank you for giving me something to smile about, the whole sl is too close to home for me that I barely watch these days but I love these little stories, thanks a million for sharing them with us.  I would have loved to see something similar on my screen but I suppose as long as there is misery, anguish and the Paris Hilton Wanna Be's, the Hack doesn't see any reason to have some love in the afternoon.
Thanks again and please keep up the good work.

Leela

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Reply with quote  #49 

  9K, I really enjoy these vignettes! I definitely wish there was a little more fun and romance on the show. Sigh...

Lorene

jam

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Reply with quote  #50 

Great story 9K!!  Keep 'em coming!!  June

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