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The applause in the ice hall was deafening as it was announced that Taylor Stuart was the new champion.

Michiru and Samantha hugged her and congratulated her to her success.

“I knew that you could do it,” Michiru said, beaming happily at the girl.

“I only managed to accomplish it all, because you were such a great coach and so patient with me,” Taylor replied.

The Asian woman shook her head. “Nonsense. You've got awesome talent and it was already there before. It just needed to be awakened. During the Olympic Games you'll be able to show the whole world what you can do. I bet Nicolette Valmy will be just as surprised as Tiffany Brooke Walther was today.”

Taylor grinned. “Enough now, before all that praise will make me blush.”

While the teenager and her coach were cracking fun, Samantha's eyes scanned over the audience and throughout the ice hall. An unsettling feeling came over her. All the time that she had lived in the jungle had taught her to trust her instincts. At the moment the alarm bells in the back of her head were ringing loudly.

Reporters were surrounding America's new favorite subject and the woman, who had trained her. They hoped to get a couple of pictures or an interview.

Samantha bent down to Michiru and whispered in her ear, “I'm gonna go and check up on something. I'll be back in a moment.”


She left them with the reporters and went to Taylor's dressing room. Tons of flowers, stuffed toy animals and other gifts from fans had been brought there. A huge stuffed panda bear attracted Samantha's attention. A pale pink envelope was hanging around its neck and the brunette knew right away who had sent it. Her protective instincts made themselves known even stronger than before, until there existed only one thought in her head, ‘We have to get out of here immediately...'




In the Stuart house, they were still celebrating Taylor's victory. Suddenly, Karen exclaimed, “I HAVE CONTRACTIONS!” Her voice had a hysterical edge to it.

Immediately silence fell and all eyes were glued to the soon-to-be-mother.

Elizabeth blinked. “What?”

“You have to help me. It's far too soon,” Karen sobbed. “Something is wrong, I can feel it!”

Nervously, Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair. “Alright, just try to calm down. I'll drive you to the hospital. Dr. Lewis will know what to do.” Then she turned to Richard and Danielle. “Could you please drive to Karen's house and pack a few clothes for her?”

They nodded. “Sure, no problem.”

“Jack and Sara, could you please stay here in case somebody calls?”

“Sure thing,” Jack replied and Sara agreed also.

Elizabeth turned back to her sister-in-law and held her hand. “Everything is going to be alright, Karen. Don't worry. I'll stay with you the whole time and I won't leave your side for even a second.”

“What about Chris?” Karen inquired. Her voice quivered from the tears that she was trying to hold back. “He wanted to be here when his children are born.”

“I know,” Elizabeth answered and pulled Karen into a hug. “As soon as we are at the hospital and Dr. Lewis takes care of you, I will try and reach him. I promise.”

“I'm scared.”

“I know. Everything is going to be fine, you'll see. Let's go now, okay?”

Karen sniffled and held on to the other woman's hand. “Okay. I really am glad that you are here.”

The blonde gave her an encouraging smile. “No problem.”




Samantha stormed out of the dressing room. In her hurry to leave, she crashed into another bodyguard. With both hands she shoved him to the side. “Get out of my way!” she roared. She forced her way through the crowd, which consisted mostly of security people and reporters, until she found Michiru. Her eyes darting nervously around, she asked, “Where is Taylor?”

“Getting herself something to eat.”

“We have to get out of here immediately!”

Before Michiru had the chance to ask what exactly was wrong, Samantha had already raced off to search for the teenager. She found her at the buffet. Reaching for her arm, Samantha told her, “Little one, we have to leave.”

Taylor rolled her eyes, exhaled sharply and muttered, “I need to eat something, I'm starving.”

“Later. We really have to go,” the brunette said urgently.

“Okay, okay. Will you please tell me what's going on?”

Samantha knew she couldn't tell her the truth, but she really needed to get the girl as far away from the ice hall as possible. “If we hurry, we will be able to catch the next flight to Los Angeles today.”

Taylor grinned knowingly. “Ooooh, that's it, huh? You just want to get back to Liz as soon as possible, right?”

Samantha nodded, forcing a smile to her face. “Yes.”

“Okay, I'll get a cab.” Before Samantha could hold her back, the teenager dived into the crowd.

“Shit! Taylor! Wait!”

“Sam, what is wrong?” Michiru had stepped behind her, demanding an explanation.

“Get our things. We are leaving. He is here.”

Michiru frowned. “Who are you talking about?”

“He is here! The guy, who thinks that he is Taylor's Dad. He is here in the hall somewhere.”

Shocked, the coach held a hand to her mouth. “Good God. Are you sure?”

Samantha nodded. “There is no doubt. He left another letter. Get our things, I'll stick close to Taylor.”


About 15 minutes later they left the ice hall in direction of the airport. Their hurried retreat was observed by a pair of angry eyes, which were hidden behind big glasses. “Soon, my precious... soon. Daddy will come and get you...”




Elizabeth was standing beside Karen, who was in labor, and held her hand.

Smiling, Dr. Lewis entered the room, snapping on a pair of rubber gloves. “Well, it looks as if the two can't wait anymore to enter the world, hmm?”

“But it is too early!” Karen exclaimed, hysterically. “I'm just in the 7 th month! They cannot come now. My husband isn't here...”

“Shhh, shhh, Mrs. Stuart," Gillian soothed. "Don't get upset. You are in the best hands. Fortunately, medicine has taken big steps in its development and the chances to survive for babies that are born too early are very high. Let's do another ultrasound and then maybe we can get these contractions to stop. But you, Mrs. Stuart, you have to calm down.”

Elizabeth patted Karen's hand in encouragement. “I'll try again to get a hold of Chris.”

“Yes, please, do that,” Karen nodded. “And come back right after it, okay?” She looked at her pleadingly.

“I promise, don't you worry,” Elizabeth confirmed.

Karen tried to give her a brave smile but it came out somewhat crooked.

Elizabeth stepped outside and dialed the number of Christopher's cell phone. “Come on, come on, come, on! Answer!” After a few ringtones, she heard his voicemail announce that she could leave a message. “Damn it!” she cursed and hung up.




Jack stood in the living room and held the receiver to his ear. “Yes... yes... alright... until then.” He hung up and turned to Sara, who looked at him questioningly.

“That was Michiru,” he explained. “They are on their way home.”

Sara's eyes widened in astonishment. “Already? I thought they wanted to return tomorrow? Did something happen?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “She didn't say anything. We are supposed to wait with Sakura at her loft until they are back.”

“Yes, but...”

They were interrupted as Christopher entered the house and shouted at the top of his lungs, “HELLOOOOOOHOOOO! SURPRISE! I AM BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!” He was a bit startled as he entered the living room and found Jack, Sara and Sakura there instead of his family. “Oh... Hi. Jack, Sara, what are you doing here? And where is the rest of the happy bunch? Most of all, where is my sweet wife?”

“Maybe you should sit down first,” Sara answered hesitatingly.

Christopher wrinkled his forehead. “I was sitting for hours in a plane. Would you please just tell me what's going on?”

Jack took the artist's shoulders and pushed him into the closest armchair. Together with Sara, he told him about what had happened with Karen.

All of a sudden, Christopher's face became as white as a sheet. “W-what...” he stammered in shock. “She already had contractions... oh my God... oh my God...”

Jack took hold of his shoulders again and shook him a little bit. “Don't freak now. You have to pull yourself together. Your wife and your kids need you now.”

Christopher exhaled sharply and dragged both hands through his long, blonde hair. “You are right. I have to go to the hospital immediately.”

“We will drive you,” Jack offered.

The other man nodded gratefully and hugged them both. “Thank you. I really am glad and happy to have friends like you.”

Jack and Sara grinned and replied at the same time, “No problem.”

Quickly, Sara gathered Sakura's toys.

“Do I need to bring something for Karen?” Christopher wanted to know. “Clothes or something?”

Jack shook his head. “No, don't worry. Richard and Danielle took care of that. All Karen needs now is you. So, let's go!”




Loaded with many shopping bags and boxes, Victoria entered her apartment. She threw the things on the couch. Beaming happily, she declared, “I have not felt this great in a long time. There is nothing better than going shopping on ‘Rodeo Drive' to get a woman's mind to different things and out of heavy depressions. ‘Gucci' and ‘Prada' are just heavenly.”

She busied herself with going through her newly bought clothes until a noise made her look up.

A very dejected looking Dorian was leaning against the door frame.

“Hey, what happened to you?” she asked concerned.

“I'm a little bit sad,” came the shy reply.

“Really? Why?”

Dorian fell down in an armchair and sighed.

Victoria knelt down in front of him and placed her slender hands on top of his knees. “Come on. Tell me, what's wrong?”

“The dig in the Stuarts' garden is almost finished. There is not much left to do.”

“And your problem lies where?” she inquired.

“I don't know what's going to happen afterward.”

Victoria drew her brows together. “I don't understand what you are talking about. Could you please be more specific?”

Silence ruled for a while, until he confessed, “I will probably go back to Finland.”

Her eyes widened. “What? Why? You could stay here...”

“I can't,” Dorian interrupted her. “I don't have anything to do here.”

“Do you WANT to go back to Finland?”

He shook his head. “No, not really. I have friends here that are like a family to me and I don't want to lose that.”

She smiled and patted his knees. “Well, then stay.”

“I would like that, but I don't have a job, I don't have a place to live...”

Victoria put an index finger on his lips to shut him up. “That's nonsense. With your skills you'll find something quickly. Maybe as a teacher at the university or a job at the museum. Besides, you won't need to worry about a place to live. You could move in with me.”

He stared at her with his mouth agape until his brain was working again, enabling him to form words once more. “Are you serious?”

“Would I suggest it otherwise?” she asked. “By now, you should know me well enough to know that I really mean it when I say something. You mean so much to me, Dorian. I really want you to move in with me.”

They looked at each other and time went by without either of them uttering a syllable.

Victoria became very nervous and feared that she had said too much.

Dorian finally took her hands into his and looked deeply into her eyes.

“Dorian?” she whispered.

He grinned and then just said, “Okay.” After that he pulled her forward to sit on his lap and they melted into a gentle kiss.




Nervously, Christopher paced in front of the hospital room in which Karen lay. “I don't understand. Why did Dr. Lewis ask us to leave the room? I should be in there and support my wife. I should be in there, holding her hand and wiping the sweat off her forehead. I should be in there, taking away her fears!”

Elizabeth pulled her clearly upset brother into a hug. “I know you are feeling helpless right now. But we have to trust her. Dr. Lewis knows what she is doing. I'm sure everything will be fine, thanks to her.”

“Did you see all that blood?” he choked through his dry throat.

“Yes, I think Karen's placenta loosened too soon...”

He held on tighter to his sister, tears welling up in his eyes. “Like with Mom... when Taylor was born...” Christopher lost the battle and the sobs that he had been trying to hold back broke from his chest with all their might. “That must not happen... Karen must not die...”

“Everything will be alright,” Elizabeth told him, while tears rolled down her cheeks too.

“I could not survive if I would lose her...”

“You won't. Believe in Dr. Lewis as I do. Soon you will hold your kids in your arms and you will be looking forward to a very happy future... you, Karen and your children.”

“I hope so, Liz. I really do.”




Alexander returned to his room, after he had brought back the letters that he had taken from the secret space of his mother's desk. “I can't believe it. Mom had a lover... Colin...”

Sitting down on his bed, he frowned and brooded. “Why does the name sound so familiar? Who is Colin and how does that guy fit into Mom's life? There has to be a way to find out about that. Maybe that Colin guy is Vicky's father? I don't believe the story that Mom told about the one-night-stand... she is far too classy for something like that. There is more to the story. How well did you really know each other, Mom?”

He tapped his index finger against his chin. “I think I should check some photo albums. Maybe they were business partners or colleagues at some time. I just can't imagine another way of how they could have met. During the time Dad had left her for Kayla, she never went out on dates... mmhhh... questions upon questions that all need to have an answer.”




Greedy hands tore open the brown envelope and emptied its contents on top of the table. The publisher's eyes almost popped out of his head as he had a good look at each of the 25 pictures. “That is...”

“Just breathtaking, isn't it?” A woman, who hid her identity behind big sunglasses and a silk bandana wrapped around her head, finished his sentence. “Who would have thought that Elizabeth Stuart is so promiscuous and shameless, am I right?”

The publisher swallowed hard to wet his throat that suddenly had become very dry. “How much money do you want for the pictures?”

The woman made a declining hand motion. “I don't care about money. I have enough of it myself. What I want is that every day there will be one of the pictures with a nice little article on the front page of your newspaper.”

He raised his eyebrows in astonishment. “If that's all you want then we definitely have a deal.”

“Good,” she said and smiled widely. “I really like doing business with you.” The woman rose and shook his hand. “Goodbye. I'll be back if I have more.” With that, she left the room.

Outside, she stopped for a second. “Finally! Finally the damn Stuarts will get the consequences for everything they did to me.” She laughed and that laughter echoed eerily throughout the building.




It had taken a few hours. Finally, the door opened and an exhausted looking Gillian stepped into the corridor. She took the mask off her face and gave Christopher a beaming smile. “You can go in now and see your family,” she said. “Congratulations, Mr. Stuart. You are the father of two healthy boys.”

There was still a trace of fear on his face as he looked at the doctor and asked, “What about my wife? How is Karen?”

“She is exhausted, but don't worry. She will recover. She is a true fighter.”

He shook hands with her. “Thank you. Thank you so much for everything from the bottom of my heart.”

“You are welcome,” the doctor replied and walked away.

Christopher turned to his sister. “Liz, did you hear that? I have two sons!”

Grinning in the face of his happiness and excitement, she nodded. “Yes, I heard. Congratulations, big brother.” She hugged him and he lifted her and spun her around for a second.

“We have to call everybody, Uncle William, Jack and Sara and...”

“I'll take care of that. You go in now to see your wife and boys. I'll be with you in a moment.”

“Okay,” he responded and pressed a big kiss on her cheek. “I love you, Liz.”

“I love you too. Now go, your family is waiting.”

Christopher disappeared into the room and Elizabeth stepped outside once more, reaching for her cell phone. “First Taylor wins the national championship, now the twins are here and everybody is happy and healthy... God, Sam, how I wish you could be here with me right now to share all that happiness and excitement with me... I miss you so much, my love...”




Jack unlocked the door to the beach house and turned to his beloved. “Is something wrong, sweetheart?” he inquired. Since they had left Michiru's loft, Sara had been the epitome of silence. “You are so quiet. What's on your mind?”

“Something is wrong,” she answered.

“What are you talking about?”

“Michiru and Sam. Didn't you notice how strange they were acting?”

Jack wrinkled his forehead. “I still don't know what you mean.”

“Why were they in such a hurry to get Taylor home? I could not say goodbye to her... hell, I couldn't even say hello and congratulate her in the right way.”

He smirked. “There is a very easy explanation for that. Sam is horribly missing Liz and wanted to get home as soon as possible.”

Sara looked at him. “Really? You think so?”

“Of course. Now, stop worrying and let's go inside.”

They entered the house and both were very surprised as they entered the living room, finding Matthew and Rose there.

“Dad? Rose?”

“Helly, my sweet. Jack,” Matthew greeted them.

“Mr. Jones. Rose, what...”

Matthew interrupted him. “I'm here because I have made a decision and I want to tell you about it.”

“Well, let's hear it,” Sara responded, sounding much braver than she felt in that moment.

“After thinking about it a lot and after having a lot of long conversations with Rose about this matter... uh... well... I have made the decision that I won't stand in your way any longer if you want to get married.”

Jack and Sara blinked in astonishment.

“C-could you pl-please repeat th-that, Daddy?” Sara stuttered, unable to believe what she had just heard.

“If you still want to marry, you can do that with my blessing,” Matthew said.

Overwhelmed, Sara dove into her father's arms, hugging him tightly. “Oh, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You don't know how much that means to me.”

“Oh, I think I have an idea,” he responded smiling, before pulling the completely stunned Jack into an embrace. “Welcome to the family, my son.”




In the paleness of the porch light, Samantha sat on the swing in the garden, holding a white envelope. “It's in here. The information that will influence my life. The information that will tell me where I am really from.”

She turned the envelope in her hands. After a while, she stuffed it back into an inner pocket of her leather jacket. “No. I'm not going to look at it yet. There are other things that have a higher priority.” With one hand she reached for her medallion, opened it and stared at Elizabeth's picture. “Angel,” she whispered in a broken voice. “I miss you so much...”


As soon as Elizabeth came home, her eyes landed upon the luggage that was still standing in the entrance hall. “They are already back?” she asked herself, greatly astonished.

She put down her bag and quickly climbed up the stairs. “Taylor? Sam?”

Elizabeth stormed into Taylor's room. “Swee...” She stopped as she recognized her sister on the bed, who was deeply asleep. Lovingly, she covered her with the blanket and brushed some hair off her forehead. “Sweet dreams, my little champion,” she whispered and quietly left the room, closing the door behind her.

She went downstairs and as her glance fell into the living room, she noticed that the porch light was on.

As she went outside, she discovered the woman that was sitting forlornly on Taylor's swing. Elizabeth walked to her. “Sam?”

The other woman looked up. “Oh... hi.”

An uncomfortable silence fell, where neither knew what to say. They could only stare at each other.

Samantha was the first to lower her eyes. All she wanted was to pull the blonde into her arms. But she didn't dare because she was scared of receiving a negative reaction from the other woman.

At the same time, Elizabeth was wrecking her brain, trying to come up with something to say that would break the uncomfortable silence. “The twins are born,” she finally said softly.

“Oh... that's wonderful.”

“They are two boys.”

“They are two months too early, aren't they?” Samantha inquired.

Elizabeth nodded. “Yes, but they are healthy and strong. Dr. Lewis said they will make it.”

“What are their names?”

“Christopher Junior and Colin.”

“Congratulations,” Samantha responded with a tiny smile. “You are an aunt now.”

Again silence fell and the only sound that could be heard was the singing of crickets.

Elizabeth simply couldn't take it anymore. She fell to her knees in front of the swing and hugged her jungle princess tightly. “Oh Sam! I missed you so much.”

The brunette placed a hand on the other woman's head and stroked her hair. “I missed you too, Angel. Not only yesterday. I missed you the whole time you were pushing me away.”

“I'm sorry. I wish I could explain my horrible behavior...”

Samantha cut her off. “I only want to know one thing. Do you love me? That's all I need to know.”

Elizabeth looked deeply into the blue eyes in front of her while tears were running down her cheeks. “Yes. I love you.”

Samantha cupped her face, her thumbs running tenderly over her cheeks. “And I love you. More than anything in this world.” Then she pulled her forward and kissed her, softly, gently and with all the love she could muster.

They parted to breathe and Samantha rose from the swing.

Elizabeth took her hand and led her back to the house.




Christopher stood in front of the incubators that contained his sons.

Completely exhausted, but also happy, Karen had fallen asleep.

He looked at his babies and a lone tear of happiness trailed down his cheek. “My boys. Finally you are here. You did frighten your Mommy and me a little bit with that stunt of coming too early, do you know that? But now everything is going to be okay. Your Daddy is here now and I will always be here for you.”




Wrapped around each other, Elizabeth and Samantha lay on the bed. The brunette's head was resting on Elizabeth's shoulder and she had her face buried at the smaller woman's throat. Her regular breathing indicated that she was asleep.

Elizabeth's tender fingertips stroked across Samantha's naked back. She leaned her cheek against Samantha's temple. “Maybe I'll be successful,” she whispered. “Maybe I can have both... the company of my parents and the love of my life...”

Samantha mumbled something in her sleep and snuggled up closer to the warm body in her arms.

Elizabeth tightened her hug a bit and the other woman calmed down immediately. “My love, there has to be a solution. I love you so much and I don't want to lose you...”


***** SOME WEEKS LATER *****


Dorian and Victoria were sitting together, having breakfast.

“Dorian, I have to tell you something.”

“What's wrong?”

She hesitated a moment because she was a little bit scared of his reaction, but then she blurted, “I have decided to go to therapy, with Dr. Elias Lunaris. I believe that would help me to cope much better with the situation I find myself in.”

“If that is your decision...”


Dorian nodded, smiling. “I have to tell you something too.”


“I'll stand by you, Vicky. In good times and in bad times. I want you to know that I will always be here for you, no matter what. I'll stand by you and I'll help you, no matter what.”

Victoria was so touched by his speech that tears welled up in her eyes. “Oh Dorian... that... I... that was the nicest thing anybody ever said to me.”

“There is something else.”


Dorian took a couple of deep breaths and gathered all his courage. “I... I... I love you, Victoria.” Now that he had said it, he relaxed visibly and looked expectantly at Vicky, whose mouth had fallen open in surprise as her ears had received the words.




Sara and Rose were covered in work. There was still so much to do and to prepare for the soon-to-be wedding of Jack and Sara.

With displeasure, Sara thumbed through a catalogue about wedding fashion. “Gee, that's all so damn ugly. Jack will look like a penguin and I will look like a barrel. Don't they have anything beautiful?”

“Don't give up. I'm sure you will find something,” Rose responded, smirking about the pout that was about to form on Sara's face.

“Yes, but until then it will be too late and my wedding will be over!”

“Sara, don't be so impatient.”

She sighed. “I'm going to the kitchen. I think I saw another catalogue there.” She rose and was on her way to the kitchen as she suddenly grew dizzy. Little black dots were dancing in front of her eyes and she managed to hold on to the wall to keep from falling.

“Sara!” Rose jumped off the couch and hurried to her side. “What is it? What's wrong?”

Sara waved her off. “Nothing, nothing, I'm fine.”

“It doesn't look like it to me. I'll drive you to the doctor.”

“NO! I really am fine. Honest,” Sara insisted.

“And why do you look as if you are going to faint any time soon?”


The housekeeper cut her off. “End of discussion! I'll drive you to the doctor now!”




Angrily, Elizabeth slammed the receiver down. One of their investors had pulled out due to the provocative pictures that had decorated the front pages of several newspapers every day. “Why, just why?” she said to herself. “It is nobody's damn business what I do in my life. I bet if Sam were a man then they wouldn't act like that! Do I not deserve some happiness after all the hard times and problems our family had to overcome?”

She buried her face on her palms and shook her head softly. “I just can't stand it anymore. They won. I'll end my relationship with Sam.” That thought tugged strongly at her heart and she felt as if somebody had pierced it with a sharp dagger.


As the lady at the front desk looked up, she saw Samantha coming up the stairs.

The brunette had a happy smile on her face like always and she carried a red rose in one hand. She stopped in front of her and asked, “Hi Nance. Is she still in her office?”

“Hey Sam. Yes, she is still in her office. I have not seen much of her today so I guess she is buried in work.”

“Thank you. Have a great rest of your day.”

Nance watched her, as she walked to Elizabeth's office and sighed. “Now that is true love. My husband would never do anything like that.”


Elizabeth had turned her chair to the window and was looking out.

Samantha entered and rapped her knuckles against the door frame. “Knock, knock.”

The blonde turned around and Samantha's broad grin disappeared as she saw the traces of tears on the other woman's face. “Angel? What... what happened to you?”

The blonde wiped her face and pointed at the chair in front of her desk. “Please, have a seat. We need to talk.”

Samantha sat down. “Did something happen?”

Elizabeth decided to just blurt it out and not beat around the bush any longer. “Sam, what I have to tell you now will hurt you and me both, but there is no other way. We have to end our relationship.”

Samantha looked at her in disbelief. She thought she had heard her wrong. “What?”

Since Elizabeth didn't know how to explain it, she told her the biggest lie she could think of. “I don't love you anymore.”

“I don't believe you!” Samantha exclaimed and jumped off the chair. “Just this morning you told me the opposite and I could feel it in the way you touched and kissed me.”

“I lied. I didn't want to hurt you unnecessarily.”

“Why are you doing this, Liz?”

“Can you not just accept my decision?!”

“No, I can't!” To keep her hands from shaking, Samantha stuffed them into her pockets. “You want to deny our love. I'm not stupid. I know the real reason. It's because of the pictures and articles in the newspapers, isn't it?”


“I know it's bothering you that our love isn't accepted freely in this society. But, we don't need them! We have each other and your family accepts us!”

“Sam, I can't,” Elizabeth answered, battling another wave of tears. “I can't stand the pressure here.”

Reaching forward to take the small hands in hers, Samantha answered, “Then let's go away from here.”

Elizabeth sighed. “And where to, Sam?”

“Back to Vanuatu, to the jungle, to Shakira...”

Shaking her head, the blonde cut her off. “No, that's impossible. I can't abandon the company.”

“Then give it to Karen and Chris.”

Elizabeth rubbed her temples and then looked at her. “What about Taylor?”

“We'll take her with us. She'll love the jungle, I know that.”

“No. No, I can't.”

Samantha exhaled sharply and looked at her with frightful eyes. “Is that your last word?”

“Yes. I'm sorry.”

Her whole body trembled and she breathed quickly, trying to keep the tears at bay. “I guess there is nothing left to add then.” Samantha threw the rose upon the table top and walked to the door. “Goodbye, Angel. I will always love you,” she whispered.

After the brunette had left the office, Elizabeth broke down crying. Her body convulsed violently under the painful force of her sobs. “Sam... I'm sorry... I will always love you too...”




Now that she had overcome the first shock, Victoria gave him a big, happy smile that brightened up not only her face but the whole room too. “You... you love me?”

“Yes,” Dorian confirmed.

“Just like I am? With all my faults and moods and everything?”

“Hey sweetheart. Nobody is perfect. We all have our little flaws and faults.”

Victoria rose, sat down on his lap and pressed a hot kiss on his lips. “I love you, too. Oh God, this is all so wonderful. I think, I've never been as happy in my life as I am right now. Thank you so much.”

Dorian smiled at her. “Well, what can I say. The first moment I saw you, I knew you were the only one for me.”

“Really?” she asked and raised her eyebrows in astonishment.

He smirked and nodded, waggling his eyebrows.

Victoria chuckled. “You are such a sweet-talker.”




As Taylor came home from another training session, she couldn't believe what she found.

A sobbing Samantha was busy pulling her clothes from the wardrobe and stuffing it into bags.

“Sammy? What's wrong with you? Did something happen to Liz? Why are you crying?”

Samantha stopped with the packing and turned her red-rimmed eyes at the girl. “I'm moving out,” she replied hoarsely.

“What?” Taylor's eyes widened in shock. “No, you can't do that!”

Samantha sat down on the bed and patted the mattress beside her. “Come here, sit down.”

The teenager did as she was told.

“What I will have to tell you now, won't be easy for you. Your sister and I... we broke up.”

The news hit the girl like a ton of bricks. “What? Why? I don't understand. Everything was perfectly fine this morning...”

“I wish I could explain it to you, but I can't.”

“Did you two have a fight?” Taylor inquired.

“Not exactly.”

“Then why do you want to move out? Sammy, you don't know what that will do to my sister. It will destroy her!”

“Do you think the situation is easy for me?” Samantha asked. “It's not. Not at all. It's tearing up my heart! But I can't stay with somebody, who wants to deny her love for me in front of the whole world. I just can't!”

“Sammy, please, don't go,” Taylor begged, her lower lip trembling. “Please, don't go.”

She pulled the girl into a hug. “No matter what happens, I will always be here for all of you. You will always be my family. That won't change just because I don't live here in the house anymore. Besides, my little ice princess needs a bodyguard so that she won't get in trouble.”

Samantha let go of Taylor and put the rest of her things into the bags.

“Sammy, please, don't go,” Taylor pleaded once more. “It's a mistake!”

“I'll see you tomorrow at the training session.”


The brunette took the bags and without glancing back, she left the house.




The whiskey bottle was halfway empty. Elizabeth poured herself another glass and finished it quickly. Then she lay her head upon her desk and cried.

Her eyes fell on the red rose. Reaching out with one hand, she tenderly caressed the blossom with her fingertips. The lyrics of a song she had heard not so long ago come to her and she whispered them. “Baby, like the rose... oh, Darling... you put color in my life. Baby, take my heart forever... oh... I don't want to be afraid...”

She sniffled. “Yes, Sam. My heart will always belong to you.”




The doorbell rang and Karen opened the door. “Sam?” she asked in surprise.

Only a moment later, she held a six feet tall, trembling, sobbing bundle of nerves in her arms. “I lost her. I've lost my Angel!”

Karen was confused. “Sam, what do you mean?”

“Liz and I... we parted ways. It's over. Our relationship is over. Forever and for always.”

Blinking in shock, Karen took Samantha inside, together with the bags that contained all of her belongings. “Now, tell me everything from the beginning. I promise you that we will find a solution together and the problems will disappear.”








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