The Path to Power
Chapter Seventy Three
Summer half over
"Why are we here again?" Kyle asks Skye.
"Your uncle is supposed to meet us here." Skye answers Kyleís question but she aims the answer at Mary Bishop.
Mary Bishop nods her head and makes a check mark on her calendar. "Mr. Radcliffe has already called. His relief just showed and heís on his way. Dara is already set up in the conference room. Go ahead on in." She points to the doorway to the right of the office foyer.
"Thanks." Skye smiles and heads over to the door. She knocks on it and then at Daraís prompt enters.
Kyle is right behind her. "You still havenít told me why weíre here." He hisses in Skyeís ear.
"Weíre here to talk about the house, Kyle." Dara is the one that answers. "And weíll be ready to start just as soon as your uncle arrives."
"The house? MY house? Is my mother back or something?!"
Skye puts a hand on his arm. "I havenít heard a thing from your mom and Cole hasnít told me anything either. Iím sorry; this is really on me. I just think itís offensive to have your house sitting empty. It was one thing when I had the cottage empty after I got it in the divorce settlement from Jax. I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to burn it to the ground to get closure."
"TMI, Skye. Besides you rented the cottage out to Faith and your cousin, Ned." Kyle shakes his head. His Uncleís girlfriend definitely has her moments.
"Right." Skye takes a seat. Kyle sits down across from her knowing when Uncle Cole arrives he will want the seat next to Skye. "Anyway itís not smart to have your house sitting vacant. Any more than itís was a good idea for your uncle to be paying rent on a place he wasnít even using."
"Well for storage." Kyle grins. Heíd helped his uncle move out of his apartment. And basically it was just Cole who moved. Just about everything else went to the curb. Having Skye pack Uncle Coleís clothes probably hadnít been the smoothest move but he thinks itís how Skye found out all his sizes. He and his Uncle both are now registered at Wyndamís. Not because they would actually wear anything from the ritzy department store but because they deliver. Uncle Cole had nipped the clothes buying in the bud by telling Skye that for every outfit she bought him, heíd buy one for her.
"Iím here; what did I miss?" Cole slides into the seat next to Skye.
"Nothing yet." Dara answers. "Skye was just telling Kyle itís a waste to have his house sitting vacant. And frankly it creates a nuisance where people could be doing all kinds of illegal or other wise stupid activities."
Kyle clears his throat on that.
"Moving on." Dara smiles knowingly at the teenager. "This ended up being a handy situation. You need to rent out your house. I have a client who needs a house for his mother. He hasnít decided yet if he is going to be staying here year round or living in Hawaii part time."
Kyleís eyes get wide. He might play soccer but he followed the Stallions too of course. They are the biggest sport team in Port Charles. "The Star Rookie for the Port Charles Stallions is going to be living in my house?!"
"His mother. So yes, heíll be there a lot of the time."
"That is so kewl." Then he starts thinking. "Hey that means moneyĖ SWEET!"
"That is why we are here today." Dara nods. "You are about to become what we call in the biz a trust fund baby."
"You arenít going to get a dime." Cole makes it perfectly clear. "Itís all going into an account for school. And itís a one year lease. If you decide to go to PCU next year, then you can move back into the house and rent out the other rooms. You get accepted to a different college and weíll just keep renting it out."
Skye leans in. "I suggest you rent to girls. Theyíre neater. I know."
Dara is the one that calls too much information on that one but adds the suggestion. "Girls you arenít sleeping with. Because the idea is to use the renting of the extra rooms to pay for your education without touching the trust fund and if at all possible adding to it."
"So when am I going to get the money?" Kyle protests with just a little too much whine in his voice.
"When youíre not on my tax return. Thanks to that little stunt you pulled bringing CPS into the mix youíre on my tax return until either your mother gets her shit together or youíre out of school."
Skye protests. "Cole!" Then she turns to Kyle. "Have you ever wondered how I bought the Newspaper?"
"Your folks are rich." Kyle snarks as he slouches back into his seat.
Skye looks at Dara. Dara looks at Cole. "Why donít we go into my office and get all the paperwork out of the way."
"Donít I get a say in this?" Kyle protests.
"No. You really donít. This was just a courtesy information session and Iím beginning to think it was a big mistake." Cole drags his chair back from the table and follows Dara out of the room slamming the door behind him.
Skye winces. "Lovely." She pushes her hair back. "Okay. How I paid for the newspaper. I started having money put into a trust fund when I was a baby. Because youíre right; my adoptive father is rich. He and Edward Quartermaine have a lot in common."
"You mean the guy who sold you as a baby and then tried to pimp you out to Sonny Corinthos?!" Kyle regrets the comment as soon as he makes it but itís already out there. This situation isnít Skyeís fault. He is about to apologize for being a shit when Skye surprises him by nodding.
"Oh yes. But at least Edward knew I was around because he was planning on using me for something. Adam Chandler didnít seem to remember I was alive most days. I wasnít his daughter, I was just adopted to shut up his crazy wife." Skye leans in. "And Iím not saying crazy in that fun eccentric way. Iím talking certifiable electroshock inpatient treatment crazy. Adam has always had more money than time for his kids, even his real kids, and Iím not his real kid. As soon as he had real kids, I really ceased to exist: Hayley, Colby and JR. Thatís JR as in Adam Chandler jr. The heir and boy child. But he never forgot a birthday or Christmas. Or should I say his accountant never forgot my birthday or Christmas. I didnít touch that money even when I was drunk off my ass in a gutter. Every payoff from Adam, Edward, my ex's went into that accountĖ and believe me even though I knew it was going into a fund I had no intention of spending-- I made them pay. Because money is the only scorecard any of them respect. Anyway, my accountant is good, very good. I went into the Herald to get a job. You were living with me then. You know how that one turned out. I had no intention of buying the paper. They blew me off."
"But you made them pay."
Skye smirks and shrugs. "Yeah, I guess I did. But you know itís a really good job, I like it and Iím good at it. I never would have gotten it if I wouldnít have had the Fíit fund."
"Never mind. Youíll have to come up with a name for your own." Skye sees the realization in Kyleís eyes as he grins at her. "This isnít money you were expecting, Kyle. If your mother were here we wouldnít even be talking about this. If your uncle hadnít taken a bullet to pay off the house. If we werenít all living out at the Lake house. There isnít anything you need, Kyle, that your uncle doesnít try to get for you or arrange for you to get yourself."
"Whoa wait a second. What about the senior trip to Cancun?" Kyle suggests with his tongue in cheek.
"Youíd better be picking up some extra hours at Jakes or youíre going to Ft. Lauderdale like everyone else." Skye pushes back from the table and gets to her feet.
Kyle races to get to the door before she does. "Skye?"
"You are going to introduce me to your accountant, right?"
Faith looks around the cottage. With all the improvements theyíve made to the place she ought to buy it: the high fence around the property; the gate complete with guard house; the surveillance cameras; the conversion of the stables into a bunkhouseĖ hell the landscaping alone. She looks at the latest addition. There is now a ramp going up to the kitchen side door. The old lady would be able to come into the house when she came over to visit now. The place is freaking... cozy. Faith shudders. Itís pitiful. Itís pathetic. Itís homey. Gees. Made a girl just want to go out and maim something.
"The guy at the gate just called. There is a couple of guys out there. They say theyíre from MTV?"
"MTV? What the fuck?!"
"They want to talk to Bruno about a letter he sent to them about Eddie Maine?" and my car. Alice decides itís smarter to leave that part out.
"Iím going to kill him."
"Mrs. A? You want to take care of the crew first?"
"Tell the guy at the gate to send them to the Port Charles Hotel. They will be Brunoís guests. Then Bruno and Ned can deal with it. Call Ned and let him know. Iím going to have a little chat with Bruno."
"Bruno is at the pub."
"Good I wonít have to clean up any blood around here." Faith stomps up the stairs to get changed to go out and decide which handgun sheís taking with her.
Calling Bruno and warning him would be a big mistake. Alice decides and calls the bunkhouse instead. "Luckily itís Dillonís day off." After warning Dillon about the situation she calls the gate and then Mr. A over at ELQ.
Ned races out of his office at ELQ and pauses briefly by the receptionist. "Cancel my afternoon. Reschedule. Apologize do whatever you have to do and hopefully Iíll be in, in the morning to straighten everything out." He doesnít slow down for long and is on his way.
"What the hell happened to Ned?" Zander asks.
"A phone call from the Nanny telling him he needed to get over to the Port Charles Hotel or there was going to be bloodshed."
"Well with Faith that could mean anything." Zander shrugs. "Anything I can help you with?"
"Youíre an angel." The receptionist says gratefully. "I can cancel everything more easily from Nedís office. If youíll just cover thisĖ twenty minutes is all I need."
"You got it. Youíve got the most comfortable seat in the place anyway." Zander winks at the receptionist and then shoos her in the direction of Nedís office. He logs onto her computer using his roving profile, something that Ned didnít have which is why the receptionist had to work from his office. He answers as the phone rings. "Ned Ashtonís office."
"Put my husband on the phone."
"You just missed him, Faith. He was heading over to the Port Charles Hotel. He probably has his cell on him." Zander hears Faithís nonverbal response. "I havenít seen him move that fast since Edward burned down the gatehouse. Whatís up? Helena been sighted?"
"That moron Bruno submitted Aliceís car to Pimp My Ride. I have a MTV camera crew at my gate... are you snickering?"
Zander swallows the laugh that was getting away from him and says very sweetly. "Oh no, Faith. Not me."
"Chocolate shake and a side of fries." The teenager pulls up a familiar stool at the Kellyís.
"Coach will kill you." The waitress warns.
"Hey Iím celebrating."
Kyle thinks about it for a minute and then shakes his head. Not a freaking thing. Nothing had really changed from yesterday or the day before. "Uncle Cole rented the house out to that Big Rookie, Jesse, who plays for the Stallions."
"There is going to be a professional football player living around the corner from my house?" Maxie shakes her head in disbelief. She puts up the order for the fries and starts making the shake.
"Actually his mother. You see the Herald had a story in the sports section how the Stallions are petitioning the league so that he can have his first name on the back of his jersey. Even as big as the guy is they couldnít fit all the letters of his last name on the jersey without it running down his arms anyway."
"Better to start calling him Jesse now. Big Rook only works for the first year." Knowing that Kyle likes his shakes thick, Maxie keeps a close eye on the milkshake. She pulls it off a little early and delivers it with both a straw and a spoon.
"You going to be able to get off on time?"
Maxie shrugs. "Depends on if the afternoon person shows. What did you have in mind?" Maxie groans and shakes her head. "Stop it!"
"Hey Iím breathing what do you think I have on my mind?!"
"You going to eat these fries?" Dillon pulls up the stool next to Kyle. Maxie and Kyle had been so distracted by each other they hadnít seen Dillon walk behind the counter and bring the fries over.
"What are you doing here?" Kyle asks impatiently.
"Driving Faith. I have never been so glad to be under the age of 21." Dillon shakes his head. "Bruno was the one who told me Faith doesnít like surprises. Then he surprised her. This really shouldnít take too long."
"Eddie Maine!" The production assistant from the network gets Nedís attention. Sure there were a lot of rejections out there but generally people who wanted to be in the limelight wanted to be in the limelight. They werenít normally left hat in hand at the front gate. Well, not unless they were someone a hell of a lot bigger than A Close But No Cigar rock singer. Eddie Maine is only really news because heíd had the family riches behind him and had funded his own label to get his records made. Then the way he had dropped out of sight. His ex wife is still running L&B Music successfully from the road.
Ned is frazzled but pulls himself together. He comes over to the table. "Itís Ned. Ned Ashton. And really what Iíd like to know is what the hell is going on?!"
After everyone takes a seat. "A few months ago we received this." The production assistant hands over a copy of Brunoís letterĖ the first page of a very think binder. "We started doing a little research."
Ned winces as he is flipping the pages. No kidding theyíd done the research. Even without cooperation they have enough stories here to put together a really extensive expose. "I see. And?" Then he gets to the part of the binder that has mock up of proposals. Alice with Pimp My Ride, Eddie Maine and the Idle Rich with Where are they Now, the whole family with Cribs. He and Faith as Newlyweds. Ned closes the book quickly.
"You hit our demographic, Mr. Ashton, and weíd like to make a deal. Ideally it would be something like the Osbourneís where we could just follow your family around for the season. Let your public know how the other half lives."
"No." Faith says from behind Ned. "Not only no but fucking hell no." She remains standing as she takes the binder from Ned and starts flipping through the oversized pages. Her face gets harder and harder as the pages turn. It really is starting to feel like her back is against the wall. "What kind of fucking ambush is this? My husband is the CEO of a major player on the Eastern Seaboard and you couldnít have your people call his people rather than showing up on our doorstep?"
"It was actually your front gate."
"It was rude. It was an ambush. If thatís the way you play, then pick up your toys and get out of my sandbox." Faith slams the binder shut and shoves it across the table at the production assistant.
"Faith." Ned gets Faithís attention and then says to the others. "Please excuse us." He takes Faith by the arm and half drags her into the bar to get a private conversation. "Itís not 60 Minutes but they donít have to get our permission either, Faith. Iím a public figure. Hell youíre a public figure."
"The brat isnít. Dillon isnít. My guys arenít. Other than criminally fucking stupid Bruno and I am going to smarten him up if itís the last thing I do. Giving those guys this much cooperation..." Faith holds up two fingers together. "... and weíll all be sorry."
"Faith, weíre already screwed. The only thing to do now is damage control. Get the lawyers involved. Limit the access."
"This is Bull." Faith gives Ned a shove to get him away from her and stalks from the bar not even stopping briefly to talk to Dillon before walking out of the Port Charles Grille. Dillon had ordered his drink to go and is already on his feet and following Faith out.
Ned walks back over to the table of executives who had been watching the whole scene with rapt attention. He really hoped there was nobody on that staff that could read lips. "I apologize. Youíve come at a very bad time. With all your research, Iím sure you already know that my... cousinís ex-wife had been kidnapped. My wife is very leery of anything that will put our family more in the public eye. I respect her security concerns. I know you have enough here to do a half dozen stories and never interview me or any of my family. But it would be like any other half assed hack job, and I think we all know it. If youíre going to want any kind of access then there are going to have to be security concessions."
"And heís not coming home." Skye worries one last time. There is so little time for her and Cole between the paper, the bar and Kyle. Having to take half a day off, to get the last minute appointment with Dara is being worked into a benefit.
"Even if he breaks his leg at practice heís not going to be here before dinner." Cole runs his hand up Skyeís thigh sliding a finger between the silk of her stockings and the silky smoothness of her leg. Her back is up against the front door and Cole reaches around her to lock the door and then throw the deadbolt. "I promised Iíd break his other leg if he did." The hand that had last been throwing the dead bolt cups her rear and brings her up and close.
Skye wraps her legs around Cole. One of the nice things about summer is full skirts but itís still getting in the way. She trusts him to carry her while she gives full attention to the buttons on his shirt, his neck, his jaw, the ticklish spot right below his ear. With that kind of attention, Cole isnít carrying her far-- just to the pool table. Skye leans back and feels the warm felt and cool wood of the bumper. "Gawd, I missed this." Reaching back she unzips the back of her dress and then shrugs her shoulders causing the straps of the dress to fall.
Not far enough. Cole runs his hands down her arms bringing the dress down exposing lace and satin barely covered breasts. That tit for tat deal with Skye is definitely working in his favor. Sheíd order some new boxer briefs and socks from Wyndams and heíd gone to town at Victoriaís Secret. Even with her arms close to her side because of the dress holding it close to her sides, Skye reaches for the belt buckle of Coleís pants and quickly unfastens it, unzipping his pants and slides her hands inside. But the lack of free movement quickly frustrates her and she leans back to get her arms out of the dress and then restarts where she left off. Cole did make it easy for her. A quick lift of her hips and she isnít wearing any underwear either. Cole can't resist the temptation in front of him and relishes the fact that he doesnít have to. Anywhere he wants to put his hands, put his mouth, itís like an all you can eat buffet and heís starving. But he wants to savor every taste, each smell-- committing it to memory.
Skye whimpers. He can play her like a violin, and he always took his sweet time driving her crazy. "Cole, please..."
Kyle glances down at his watch. Coach had fabulous timing on cancelling practice on the one day when he really couldnít go home. He is about to find something to do when Skyeís brotherís big hummer pulls up.
AJ rolls down the window. "Hey. Where is everyone?"
"Coach cancelled practice. Some family thing. He probably called everyoneís house. Iím the only one that showed up." Kyle calls back. He reaches into his pockets for his keys.
Lydia leans over the seat to the back and says something quickly to Michael.
Michael rolls down his window too. "Kyle, do you want to come over to my... fatherís house? Father Frank wouldnít mind if we used the Queen of Angels field to practice some more." Figuring heíd sweeten the offer. "Sally made cookies."
Kyle shakes his head but then agrees to the impromptu practice. He knows what Lydia is up to. AJís wife and Skye spend a lot of time together. Lydia knows exactly what Skye and Uncle Cole are doing. "Iíll follow you." He heads over to his car.
Inside the hummer, AJ mutters in his wifeís direction. "Why did we just do that?"
"I suspect Kyle canít go back to the lake house right now. It would be better if he called first."
AJ winces as he realizes. It had been said more than once that Skye and Cole seldom come to practices but always to games. "Why do I ask these questions? Now I have an imagine in my head that really doesnít belong."
Lydia reaches over and since AJ had taken off early from work, she grabs him by the tie and brings him closer to her. Planting a lip lock on AJ that will not allow any stray images into his brain that donít have her in it. She pulls back and after quickly catching her breath suggests. "Then think of your sister owing us some privacy since weíre preserving hers."
AJ grins at his wife and starts the big rig up. Making sure he sees Kyle in the rear view mirror he heads back to his brownstone. Itís a short trip. He pulls into the garage, Kyle parks along the back alley way. For once there isnít a big paparazzi presence, or if they are around theyíre hanging in the front. Going to the trunk of his car he pulls out his gear. Michael is already racing in the direction of the fields in the back of Queen of Angels. Kyle wonders what the heck when he sees a big guy wearing a jacket that is just a little to warm for the weather following Michael across the street. AJ walks over to Kyle. "Iím going to get changed then if you donít mind Iíll join you guysĖ hell Iíll be the goalie."
"Whatís up with him?" Kyle nods in the direction of the burly guy.
"Security because of what happened to Michaelís mother. Because Michael has grown up around Sonny Corinthos, I donít think he even sees them."
What a truly sucky way to live. Kyle sighs. "Michael and I will work on passing and dribbling until you show up." Tossing his gear over the fence, Kyle jumps the fence next ignoring the gate that is just a few steps away. Unzipping his jacket he throws it down on the grass near the gear bag and grabs a ball. "Yo, Michael." With a quick underhand throw, he puts a ball in play.
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