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“I still can’t believe that you aren’t in the main house, Lindsay,” Nancy griped as she looked around the space she’d be sharing with her daughter.

“Mother, I’ve already explained why that is. Gardner and I agreed that with his divorce looming, it’s better not to tempt fate,” Lindsay stated as she continued to struggle with getting Nancy’s luggage into the guesthouse. “I’m sure you’ll still be able to use all of the outdoor amenities, like the swimming pool.”

Nancy turned back to frown at Lindsay’s nonchalance. “What the hell do I care about that? You and I both know that when it comes to meeting on home turf, these… accommodations simply won’t do! You know what, nevermind. I will speak with Gardner myself. Sometimes, it just takes a firmer hand to deal with these matters. Besides, since I haven’t slept with him, it’s not something he can readily hang over my head.”

Lindsay dropped the luggage at her mother’s feet. “Yes, well, if you sucked the right dick for once, you might not find yourself having to rely on his benevolence at all!”

Nancy gasped. “What did you say?”

Lindsay stood to her full height, returning her mother’s angry look with one of her own. “Doesn’t feel so good to have your own words hurled back at you, does it? Now again, Gardner and I agreed that in lieu of his divorce looming, it wouldn’t do to give Constance Shelton the ammunition to take him to the cleaners based on more than conjecture. So as of now, this is where we’re staying. In the meantime, you need to contact Clara and Virginia and get some balls rolling while I prepare for my appearance within Vanguard’s halls tomorrow.”

Lindsay moved past Nancy into the kitchen to have another glass of wine. She knew that living in such close proximity with her mother was always difficult, but she had somehow hoped that with a common goal in mind, Nancy could at least make an effort to act the least bit grateful. Speaking of which… “You never did tell me how much cash you have left in your account, Mother.”

Nancy flushed, but said, “That’s because I don’t feel the need to, Lindsay. You should be concentrating your own efforts on getting back into the accounts of your unfortunate mistake. And speaking of him and his father, why hasn’t Gregory been returned to your care as of yet?”

Lindsay sighed. “For the last time, Mother, my son’s name is Gus.”

“Yes, well that needs to be changed immediately.”

“Regardless of what you think, the name stays, especially since without it, Gus would have been named Abraham.”

“That would have been a lot more dignified than having a name that sounds like some auto mechanic.”

“Whatever,” Lindsay mumbled, before speaking louder. “And anyway, it doesn’t matter what he’s named, as long as I get him back. I was hoping that you would have some ideas on how to approach my half-brother about removing Melanie’s access to Gus so that all of the responsibility for his care will fall to Brian. I’m sure that after a week of having his life curtailed due to the demands of parenthood, Brian will basically beg me to either come and get Gus, or move me in with him, which would be my ultimate price for playing ‘Mommy’ again.”

“I like the way you think, but you’re forgetting one very important thing, Lindsay.”

“And what’s that?”

“Justin Taylor is also there, and I suspect that no matter what you do, he’s going to remain exactly where he is.”

“Perhaps Nathan will be able to remove his access as well?”

“Oh what grounds?” Nancy looked at her daughter, genuinely puzzled.

“Well, I mean if you think about it, it makes sense.”

“What does?”

“The fact that due to Justin’s violent past, and the subsequent near-poverty of the Hobbs family, they- specifically Christopher- would be nearly apoplectic with anger toward the young man. And Justin’s continued presence around Gus could put my son in danger,” Lindsay finished, with forced tears in her eyes.

Nancy laughed. “I hate to admit it, but your argument could work. After all, the case was a highly-publicized event…”

“Exactly. And it’s the truth as I see it. Honestly, if I was in the Hobbs family’s shoes, I would do everything I could to make that little bastard pay, including hitting him again. I mean, the double jeopardy law could apply, couldn’t it? It’s times like this I wish Melanie was still around. I could pose the question hypothetically, and she would have automatically answered, while concentrating on something else.”

“And speaking of that she-man you formally aligned yourself with, doesn’t she owe you some sort of financial compensation for the sale of the house? I mean, you did spend ten years with her as a spouse would…”

“It’s another question I will have to ask Nathan. The fact that my name wasn’t on anything will play a part. But if he could point out some loophole in the law, perhaps there’s a way to make her pay, after all.”

“Well, no time like the present to set up a meeting, preferably an immediate one,” Nancy commented, as she reached into her purse to pull out her cellphone. As soon as she finished scrolling through the contacts list and pressed send, the automated voice came on.

“If you have an emergency, please dial 911.”





“Alright, guys. We need to hurry this up. We still have to deliver this stuff to Sewickley. She said that there will be a bonus in it for us if we can get it there by six this evening.”

“WHAT THE HELL?!” came the screech which caused all movement to cease momentarily. “What the hell are you doing with my friend’s stuff, Chuck! Hey you! Put Emmett’s stuff back, or I’m calling the police!” Michael demanded, even as he tried to stop the guys hefting Emmett’s sofa to move it down to the waiting moving truck.

“Novotny, what the hell are you doing here?” Chuck asked in disgust, even as he continued to flip through the pages on his clipboard. “Hey, did you guys get to the kitchen yet?”

“Yeah, it’s done, Chuck. She gave specific instructions on how to wrap everything up since it pertained to their business interests. The van is already on the way there,” Avery answered his boss. He knew better than to say anymore, since it was explained that this guy was the main reason for the rush job in the first place.

“Good,” Chuck answered Avery, before turning back to the pest still standing in the doorway with his arms folded and a pout on his lips. “So as you can see, Novotny, we’re busy. Now if you would kindly move, my guys can finish our job.”

“I’m not moving until you tell me what the fuck you think you’re doing with Emmett’s stuff! And who the fuck is the ‘she’ you all keep talking about?!”

“That’s easy to explain,” Chuck said, even as he gave the guys a wink. “It’s none of your fucking business to either question, Novotny. Now I’m going to advise you one more time to move or…”

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll have these guys run that sofa right through you. We have a schedule to keep, and I’ll be damned if I let you ruin our record out of some misguided sense of loyalty to the former resident that has come way too late. Guys, proceed!”

“That’s it! I’m calling the police!”

“By all means do that, since I have proof we’re supposed to be here. Do you?”

Before Michael could answer with the lie that was plainly about to come out of his mouth, he was bumped hard, clear out of his untied sneakers as he landed on his ass. Chuck was hard pressed not to laugh at the stunned and pained look on Michael Novotny’s face. But hey, he was warned! Avery looked back, catching Chuck’s eye before proceeding to the stairs, and he couldn’t hold it any longer.

“THAT’S NOT FUNNY! I OUGHT TO SUE YOU!” Michael screamed as he got up and straightened himself against the wall.

“Actually, it is. And furthermore, you were warned.”

“That doesn’t matter!”

“Apparently it does, especially since there are witnesses that will not say otherwise,” Chuck sighed, already tired of the little man in front of him. “Do yourself a favor, Novotny, and take my advice. You would do well to keep your mouth shut and your head down for the foreseeable future. As far as the Avenue is concerned, you’re persona non grata right now, regardless of how your mother feels about it. It won’t take but one wrong move on your part to incur the ass whipping your friends should have given you for that ever-running, shit-talking mouth of yours. The rest of us don’t have such scruples, and the last thing you need is any more attention.”

Chuck moved off, taking one last sweep of Emmett Honeycutt’s former abode, before closing the door and moving towards the elevator. Contrary to most on the Avenue, he clearly understood just why Brian and Justin have the restraining order against the idiot with the big mouth. It was mainly for his protection, even if Michael Novotny would never admit it to himself. Just as he can’t go within fifty feet of Brian and Justin, they can’t be close enough to punch the shit out of Michael Novotny. Chuck shook his head, thinking of what would happen if the little pouty man knew where all the family, sans his mother, was gathered right now, and why.

No, life for Michael Novotny will never be the same again; in fact, it’s moved on without him.

Michael watched as Chucky from Three Bears Moving walked down the hall. Emmett moved? He couldn’t believe that Emmett was moving and he was neither asked, nor informed about where he was moving to. But, had he heard right? Emmett was moving to Sewickley? 

No way were he and Uncle Vic’s pipe dream of a company doing so well that he could afford a place out there?! 

He snickered at his wayward thoughts. More likely, Emmett got himself a new sugar daddy. He would wait to see just how long it would take before Emmett came back here after the relationship ended. He felt that no self-respecting gay man would want to be with Emmett Honeycutt long term, especially not when Michael was having a hard time of his own, securing his relationship with Ben. The man had been distancing himself more and more since he’d bailed Michael out, and he couldn’t figure out why. 

But just to be sure, he would have to ask his mother about the state of affairs regarding Uncle Vic’s business. Michael was again on his last written warning at the Big Q, and if Andrew kept fucking with him, there was no telling when he would tell the man off and incur his final write-up. Based on what his mother would tell him about Uncle Vic’s finances, Michael figured that in the spirit of family, his uncle, along with his Ma, would have no problem helping him until such time as he could get Brian to take up his financial lack once again. He was tired of staying in the Garden Inn, living in a week-to-week rental just so that he could have a roof over his head. He was still pissed that Vic had made sure his mother kept to the rules about Michael using his childhood room rent free. 

But first he had to get Brian to talk to him, but how? Michael smiled to himself then. If anyone could get Brian to remember his responsibilities to those who truly matter- those who have always been there for him- it would be Lindsay. He hadn’t heard from her since the confrontation they had at the courthouse, even though they were supposed to meet at her house later that afternoon to plan on when and how to catch Brian without Boy Wonder or his other legal guard dogs around. But he hadn’t been by Melanie and Lindsay’s since then. 

In fact, he wondered if she’d gotten Mel to return to normal, which would work to both of their advantages. Whenever Brian and Mel fought, Michael would always drag Brian out to Woody’s and Babylon for some much needed relief and relaxation. Then Lindsay would always hit Brian up for money. And although Michael didn’t agree with it, it never stopped him from asking Lindsay for a loan immediately afterwards, which she had no excuse not to give. Of course, it also helped that Michael knew exactly what Lindsay would use the extra money beyond the child support for, so it was a win-win for both of them. 

Yeah, I think it’s time to go see Lindsay again.  




“Has she woken up yet?” Brian asked the attending physician, Roman Shepard. Joan had been given a room a little more than two hours ago, due to the nature of her injuries and age. As far as Brian was concerned, she could have stayed down in Emergency with the police guarding her there.

“Not yet, but undoubtedly it will be soon, Mr. Kinney,” the doctor answered. “I have to say she really did a number on herself, as I understand it.

“I’m sure,” Brian said, wryly. “Look, here’s the thing, Doc. It’s more than obvious that Joan can’t make solid decisions for herself. So, I’m going to authorize the hip surgery, and I want these two on record as a contact in my stead.”

“Whoa there, Mr. Kinney… I understand what you are basically demanding, but things aren’t necessarily done that way, even when there’s a POA involved. We have to wait for her to wake so that we can assess her comprehension of the situation. There are...”

Justin interjected, already seeing the impatience flowing through Brian. “Doctor Shepard, how much were you told when Joan became your patient?”

“Only that she was brought in from a self-inflicted injury due to her inebriation.”

Justin nodded. “So only the bare minimum of the facts. The truth is that Joan Kinney is an alcoholic and has been throughout most of her adult life. I’m sure if you check her liver, it will give credence to what I’m telling you. Consequently, she and Brian have a contentious relationship. Joan is actually the type of woman to deny treatment in order to keep Brian dancing attendance on her simply because she feels he should.”

“Are you saying that she would permanently disable herself just so that Mr. Kinney would pay her attention?”

“In basic terms, yes. Although there is definitely more to it than that…”

“My mother is a hateful bitch, whose sole purpose is to make my life a living hell!” Brain burst out, unable to stop himself. 

“Mr. Kinney…”


Mel snickered, at both the doctor and Justin trying to calm Brian down. She shook her head and laid her hand upon his shoulder. When Brian looked at her, she could see all that he wasn’t willing to say: the abject fear that what they planned wouldn’t work; the fact that he would have to deal with her directly; the worry of her being able to affect John and Peter’s well being as well as his own… It was all there, if one knew what to look for. Taking a deep breath, while keeping her eyes on Brian, she asked, “Doctor Shepard, where are the forms that need to be filed to authorize the surgery for Joan? I can fill them out with Brian’s input, while you all take whatever x-rays and CT imaging you need to before deciding for or against surgery.”

“Ms. Marcus, it doesn’t work that way exactly…”

“Actually it does in terms of a POA. Look doctor, no matter how sober Joan may wake up being, she’s still likely to make the wrong decisions for herself. Now we can certainly go through a judge to make it all nice and official, which we intend to do anyway. But while we’re doing that, she will also move hell and high water to make her injury that much worse, both to avoid prison, and also to keep Brian here where she believes he belongs. This way, while you are preparing for the worse case scenario, Brian and I will be seeking legal guardianship of Joan. This latest round of bad decision-making on her part will undoubtedly give credence to why she needs one. Honestly, it’s just a matter of activating all of the paperwork.”

The doctor seemed to mull over Melanie’s words carefully. In retrospect, he wouldn’t be doing anything he wouldn’t have done for any other patient. However, if the three people in front of him were to be believed, any inaction on his part at this juncture would result in him possibly being sued for malpractice based on the action of the sedated woman, whether or not he was the intended victim of her malice. So, to that end, he looked to his nurse. “Have Mrs. Kinney taken down for an X-ray. I also want a bone scan, and while we’re at it, we might as well see what kind of condition her liver is in.”

“I’ll write up your orders and call for an attendant right away, Doctor Shepard,” the nurse agreed. 

Personally, Colleen Miller had been in a similar situation with her own mother and knew the truth of Joan Kinney and the Kinney family. Joan was the kind to make her own mother look like a saint, so she actually applauded Brian’s restraint in not letting her go it on her own. To her mind, he was smart to delegate the direct responsibility of the most hateful woman of her acquaintance. She would certainly give Doctor Shepard an abbreviated history lesson about the Kinneys. He was going to need the heads-up.

“Now that that’s being taken care of, you have about two hours before all the tests are completed,” the doctor advised them.

“No problem,” Melanie stated. “We’ll be in and out of the hospital since a close friend of ours is about to become a father. It’s why we were able to get here as quickly as we did.”

“Well for what it’s worth, congratulations. I would imagine that all of you are excited, even though it’s being tempered by a less than desirable occasion.”

Brian started to utter a sarcastic rejoinder, but Justin’s quick smack to his stomach silenced him. Justin snickered, even as the doctor looked on the action, puzzled for a time. “Not really, doctor, but we appreciate being notified all the same. Well, we’ll let you get to work while we go and activate the guardianship.”

As Doctor Shepard moved away, Justin looked at Brian. “It’s a good thing that your dealings with Joan will be few and far between from here on out.”

“You’re telling me? The first thing I wanted to do was go in there and hit her in her affected hip.”

“BRIAN!!” Melanie and Justin yelled, even as they snickered afterward.

“What? Tell me neither of you had the same thought.”

“That’s completely uncharitable, Brian,” Mel scolded, even though she was still on the brink of tears from picturing it.

“Brian, you have to behave,” Justin laughed. “You know that wasn’t right.”

“It’s not, but it’s no less true, Sunshine.”

Justin just shook his head at his lover’s antics. He knew that Brian would never be deliberately cruel without a good reason, but still… “So Melanie, is Hoffman going to drop the papers up here or do we need to go to him?”

“He said that he would bring a copy, but in order to see the originals we have to go by his office. In the meantime, I think we need to speak with Nathan about the guardianship papers for Joan. Brian, do you know where they are?”

“I would imagine that they are in the safety deposit box at First National where she and Jack had their accounts. Speaking of which, I really need to check hers. I wouldn’t be surprised if she drank this month’s utility money away, automatically expecting me to pay them.” Brain sighed. He did not want to deal with any of this! Shaking himself out of his thoughts, he said, “Okay, so we need to go make sure Honeycutt hasn’t fallen through the floor since I’m sure he’s worn a hole in it by now; and then…”

“Then you get something to eat before going to the bank. Brian, you haven’t had anything since that toast and coffee this morning,” Justin reminded him.

“Between you and the boys, I’m sure you’ve all eaten enough for me and a third world country. We won’t even talk about Daphne,” Brian shook his head, amid Mel and Justin’s laughter. 

As they passed by Joan’s room, Brian peeked in past the officers standing guard, making sure she was still asleep. Silently he replayed George’s words in his head, If we would show kindness to a dog, then how could we not to a fellow human being? Brian was proud of himself for dealing with this particular woman this way, when if given half a chance, she would’ve done everything in her power to keep him suffering at her hands. But he still wanted to teach her the most valuable lesson she would ever learn in her life… That she does NOT hold any power over Brian Aiden Kinney, and never will again.

“I know what I want to do with the inheritance,” he said, stopping Mel and Justin in their tracks.

“What did you have in mind?” Melanie asked, even as Justin smiled.

“You’re sure?” Justin asked, looking at Brian closely. He smiled at what he saw there, even as Brian smiled back.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Brian answered, before moving his eyes to Melanie. “I want to divide it between me, you, John, and Peter. After all, I can’t think of a better way to give the big FUCK YOU to all the bitches involved. And what better way to do that than to fix it so they will never be able to control any of us.”


Melanie smiled slowly, thinking that Brian really was a damn genius. “First, we need to find out how much it’s worth, and then we’ll do as you suggest. I have a feeling those umbrellas of concrete are going to be needed sooner rather than later. Between finding out that you and I are the only children of Jack Kinney, plus by holding John and Peter’s part of the inheritance in trust for them until they reach eighteen so that Claire and Joan will never be able to touch it, I have a feeling that Virginia, Clara, Nancy, Joan, and especially Lindsay, will have a scream and excretion-fest the likes of which Pittsburgh has never seen. Come on guys, we need to speak to George and Ted.”

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To be continued.
Nichelle Wellesly is the author of 25 other stories.
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