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When You Play With The Big Kids

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Steffy had been feeling down in the dumps lately. She had made herself foolish again. She had just had Kelly and Liam was gone. The excuses of he has to work were getting so old. She owned the company that he worked at and his excuses were so flimsy and ridiculous.

 

The last straw for her was when she found him and Hope getting hot and heavy. He must have taken her for stupid. He tried to give her the mess of it wasn’t what it looked like. Steffy felt she was going to spaz out. Hope was looking bewildered of being caught. She just looked at this girl laughing. Steffy didn’t buy her act of wanting to move on and be friends.

 

She knows that Hope was only doing it so they could relaunch Hope for the Future but Steffy wasn’t doing that. They had already launched California Freedom and she wasn’t going to invest on a second line that was basically the same thing. She was not going to be party to any Logan vanity projects least of all with the company’s assets.

 

Steffy made FC viable and profitable again. The endless circle of those in charge being more worried about the drama in the personal lives rather than the business is what made it suffer in the first place.

 

She would not follow that path. When she opened that door, she felt like cold water had been thrown on her. She won’t allow anyone to think they could ruin her personal life and she sure as hell wouldn’t allow her personal life to dictate how she ran her professional life.

 

She realized that there was no reason to have Hope at the company. She had nothing of value and she didn’t have to think about keeping the peace with her dad and Brooke because they weren’t married anymore. Dad is with mom and she feels unencumbered.

 

“I just wanted to let both know that Forrester Creations will no longer need your services. You can clear your things out effective immediately.”

 

Taking back her power made Steffy feel happy for the first time in a long time. She was tired of begging for breadcrumbs. She always had to fight someone in order to be with Liam and she was just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

 

Both Liam and Hope looked shocked when Steffy said it. They looked at each other wondering if they heard correctly and judging by their faces they knew it to be true.

 

She didn’t stick around. She was already emailing the head of HR and PR and letting them know of her personnel decisions.

 

She can hear the rushed footsteps behind her of Liam and Hope. Steffy just proceeds to go in seemingly nonsensical routes but these two don’t know the secret ways of getting out of the building which is great for her not having to deal with them.

 

As she gets into her car, she calls her realtor and tells her that she wants her house on the market today. She calls her nanny as she drives and tells her to take Kelly to her mother’s home now. She won’t allow Liam to race home and try to use Kelly as a way of manipulating her. Those days were done… the anger she is feeling doesn’t allow her accept anymore excuses.

 

She tells her mom that she is sending Stacy to her house and she will be there later. Steffy knows Taylor wants to know more but Taylor knows that she will tell her when she is ready.

 

Steffy decides to go to the bistro near her best friend’s house and buy a bottle before storming into Luisa’s house.

 

She feels frumpy and it has been the resident feeling she has had since having Kelly. She loves her daughter immensely but it’s been hard for Steffy to try and be as meticulous as she used to be before the pregnancy.

 

When she opens the door, she can smell the delicious lamb that someone ordered. If she had the time to wait Steffy knows that the lamb would be delicious. When she looks around and notices all couples around it makes herself conscious again. She tightens her coat a little tighter around her. She wants to will away the baby weight that’s left over from having Kelly.

 

She does her best to not be so hard on herself and create a complex. She just gets in line waiting to order her bottle of Greek wine and get out of there.

 

Something happens at the front of the line but Steffy can’t really see what is happening but it’s causing the wait to be longer.

 

Her phone keeps chiming and she already knows that it’s an endless barrage of messages from people she wishes to not speak too.

 

“Popular huh?!” The guy behind her comments on the chimes from her phone which just adds to her annoyance. She came here to get a bottle of wine and be done with it. She didn’t want to be bothered by messages from Liam and Hope and certainly didn’t want any strange guys commenting anything to her.

 

“Annoying much!” She doesn’t bother looking behind her but she does fold her arms. The man behind her just smirks because he knew the woman in front of him is fun.

 

The line starts moving again its slow but for Steffy its progress.

 

“You’re the prettiest person here… Are we going to continue playing the Captain Obvious game?” Before Steffy can stop herself she’s smiling at the compliment. It’s been a while since anyone besides her parents called her beautiful.

 

She is even more annoyed that the annoying man in the line at a restaurant is the person that could put a smile on her face.

 

She turns around to give him a piece of her mind and she gets more upset that he’s gorgeous. Stupidity takes over her and whatever she wanted to say died on her lips.

 

She felt frozen and her mouth was slightly parted. The man just winked at her and she’s still in a daze. He was enjoying Steffy like this.

 

“Hmm cat got your tongue huh? What a lucky cat…” As soon as he said this her fury came back.

 

“That shit might work in Chicago but honey you’re in LA now…”

 

“I got an order for a Jay Halstead-Voight… my bad the name for the order is JV…” The man at the counter.

 

Steffy guesses that must be this man because he starts to move slowly. It looks like he wants to stick around and continue whatever they have going on here but he came here for his food.

 

“Go ahead and pick up your order junior varsity… wouldn’t want it to get cold now would we?” It’s this man’s turn to be put on the spot. Steffy felt a bit of her old self come back when she felt her eyebrow subconsciously rise.

 

She was flirting and it was unambiguous for both parties involved.

 

“Ooh your good… same time… same place next week…” This Jay character picks up his food and gives her a shrug.

 

She bites her lip actually thinking about it, but she really doesn’t want to give this man the satisfaction no matter how fine she thinks he is.

 

“Maybe yes… maybe no… maybe when you can hang with the big kids junior varsity…”

 

She makes him laugh and she stops herself in a bid to keep her deadpan expression.

 

“Oh comin’ in with the fuego jokes I see. I like that… I like that a lot…” As he comes closer to Steffy she tries to figure out what the hell she is doing.

 

“NEXT!” The cashier at the counter breaks the reverie between the two of them. It was like the whole room disappeared when Steffy started to speak to him. She forgot what that feeling was like.

 

She just gives him a wink and whips her hair dramatically making him laugh. He leaves while Steffy orders her wine bottle. To say she was a little disappointed that he didn’t stick around was apt but she realized that she knew this guy’s name.

 

As she drives to Luisa’s house she asks Google to look up Jay Halstead-Voight and Steffy was not expecting for this guy to be some big shot real estate developer.

 

She finally gets to her best friend’s house with her wine in tow without missing a beat.

 

She uses her key to get inside of hears little footsteps and she knows who’s coming before she can see her.

 

“Oh its only you Madrinha… Mae… Madrinha is here…” Steffy is pressed her goddaughter is not that excited to see her.

 

Steffy at least gets a hug before Michelle goes scurrying off to her playroom.

 

“You know you really need to start knocking… You acting like I gave you that key because you live here.”

 

Her best friend may roll her eyes but it isn’t long before getting a smile and a hug.

 

She really needed this. She needed to be somewhere that she felt like she wasn’t going to go crazy or that Liam would go finding her.

 

“At least you are happier to see me unlike Michelle…” Steffy knows she’s a little in her feelings but it’s only because she loves that little girl so much.

 

“When she heard the key in the lock, I think she thought it would be Erik. I told the girl her father is on a business trip in New York but the girl barely listens to me. She was taking off before I could tell her it was you.”

 

“One of these days I’ll learn to knock…”

 

“Conte essa mentira a alguém que possa acreditar em você...” (tell that lie to someone who might believe you.)

 

É possível...” (It’s possible…)

 

“Maybe if I was asleep… Now you want to tell me what has you in a tizzy that you went and bought Greek wine?”

 

“It’s Liam… Before you roll your eyes, I am telling you I am done. I found him hooking up with Hope. If I didn’t find them, I am pretty sure that they would have been having sex. I decided I’m not bringing Kelly into this shit. I’m not going to fight and plead with a man who is somehow always there to save someone else but here I am sinking.”

 

“Do you plan on returning home?”

 

“No… you might call me extra, but I put that house on the market as soon as I could get into my car. I am exhausted from being a new mom and I really can’t do the misery anymore. Can I stay here for a couple of days? I would stay with my mother until I could find a new place, but I know that Liam would hound my parents until he could guilt me long enough for me to give him the time of day.” It helped that Liam didn’t know much about Lulu.

 

The woman hated his guts a long time ago and refused to be supportive of any kind of relationship between he and Steffy because of the sister-wives bullshit he put her through.

 

“Yeah you can always stay here… If that motherfucker somehow finds himself here, I will have his ass handled…”

 

With that being said Lu gets up and goes to get the corkscrew so Steffy can have her well-deserved drink.

 

“Thank you. I won’t stay too long I promise. I just want to find a new place and get it decorated and proofed… I’ll be out of your hair before Erik gets back…”

 

Steffy watches as her friend gives them both a generous pour and she misses being able to have wine.

 

“Stephanie please stop! You can stay as long as you need and Erik would never mind you staying and it’s not up to him anyways. I run this…”

 

“Thank you… You know as I was getting the wine… there was this obnoxious man trying to pick me up…”

 

“Hmm so how fine was he?”

 

Steffy hates how well her friend knows her.

 

“Girl he was so fine… And I just thought to myself how desperate am I to enjoy the flirting from this man I don’t even know. But it’s whatever I’ll probably never see him again. It was just nice him calling me pretty and shit when I don’t feel it. Having spit up in my hair and changing diapers at 2 am don’t make me feel like a supermodel.” Steffy missed the attention she has always been able to garner.

 

“Are you going to let me set you up on a blind date now?”

 

“I tell you I am finally done with Liam and the first thing you want to do is set me up on a blind date?” To say Luisa works with a quickness would be an understatement as far as Steffy is concerned.

 

“I have been trying to set you up on blind dates for the longest, but you have been in this endless game of tug of war with multiple women regarding Lima bean. Girl I am going to set you up with someone who’s easy on the eyes and I know you’ll have a good time with. I’m not saying y’all need to get greasy and shit but you haven’t been out on a real date in years.”

 

“Fine I’ll bite! I will let you set me up on this stupid blind date.” She may find it silly but she hasn’t had fun in so long. She can recall just about every time she has cried in the last year but she can’t remember the last time she laughed or had real smiles.

 

 

Chapter Text

After the wine session with Luisa, Steffy had decided to call her mother and give her the breakdown of what happened to her. Her mother was upset at everything that transpired but what pissed her off was Liam banging on her mother’s door demanding to know where she was.

 

He didn’t believe her mother and when her father came from his home studio to see what the commotion was about and learned from Taylor exactly what Liam had been doing it earned Liam a black eye from Ridge.

 

She didn’t really want to move but she decided videocalling her parents would be the best idea. She told them where she was and her headspace. She had to be done with this situation because she didn’t want Kelly to grow up in a tense and toxic atmosphere.

 

She was happy that she could count on her parents’ support and they weren’t pushing her to see Liam and give him a chance to explain.

 

She was done with the excuses… she was done with all of the mistruths. Done with feeling like shit because he was always just ‘helping’ out another woman he ends up in compromising positions with. She was just done being the fool. She refused to not be the first priority for her partner especially when she felt like she was losing herself.

 

Taylor ended up bringing Kelly to Lu’s house. Her mother wasn’t too sure if Lu still had a crib so she brought one just in case so she didn’t have to try and get and then assemble one. Taylor wanted her daughter to be as stress free as possible. Being a new mother was daunting enough and Taylor was sure not going to let the likes of Liam add to her daughter’s exhaustion.

 

Taylor didn’t believe in violence, but she did feel a sense of pride when Ridge uppercut Liam and pushed him out of the house.

 

 She was done pushing Steffy to try and resolve things with Liam. He never deserved her daughter and certainly didn’t deserve the myriad of chances he got with her. Taylor just hugged her beautiful girl and told her not to worry. Her’s mother told her not to worry and that she would be getting her a new place to live and take one of those burdens away and just have her focus on Kelly.

 

Steffy was worried that Kelly wouldn’t take to the new surrounding because it wasn’t home, but it didn’t bother the baby. She brought her daughter here before but that was different with her living there for some time.

 

Michelle was happy to have a baby in the house. She loved talking to Kelly because she listened to everything Michelle told her.

 

With Erik being gone for work it was just a house full of girls which seemed like a dream for Kelly because she was laughing all the time. It made Steffy’s spirits rise to see how happy her daughter could be.

 

She knows her daughter loves her, but Kelly is a social butterfly like Steffy… she really comes alive when there’s people to interact with and much to see.

 

Liam had kept blowing up her phone, but she muted him. She decided that everything should be done through lawyers and served him. Steffy knows that Liam was probably upset when she had the locks changed to the beach house. She was going to sell that place if it is the last thing she does and won’t have Liam getting in the way of that.

 

She laughed when she saw Hope trying to text her. It was clear that Hope was upset that she wasn’t going to get her line and went crying to Eric and Ridge about it. She was happy when it was reiterated that to Hope that Steffy has majority ownership of the company and the proxies of all family members with voting share.

 

Having Ridge and Eric not cave in to Hope’s wants made Steffy feel supported. While Ridge and Eric supported Steffy’s decision to do what was right for FC it didn’t mean that they didn’t hear the end of it from multiple Logans.

 

She knew that Brooke would be unsuccessful with her father so Brooke tried to sidestep to Eric and have him do something about it and Eric refused to get involved. He said that when he retired he meant it and was enjoying his life and Steffy controls his proxy so that makes her able to impose what she wants for the company.

 

These events have put many smiles on her face but she got her dose of reality when Luisa flicked her. She was getting her makeup done for her blind date and her smiling was making the makeup crease which Lu didn’t appreciate.

 

She was appreciative of her BFF making her feel her prettiest self. She had wanted to back out of the date numerous times, but she didn’t want to incur the wrath of an angry Brazilian.

 

She tried to find out info on her date but Luisa wouldn’t even give her the name of the guy. Where was the fun in that was what her friend said… When Steffy told her that he could be a crazed serial killer on the loose Lu was not amused.

 

She knows that she is overreacting because this isn’t something that she can control but she trusts her friend to not put her in harm’s way.

 

She tried not to psych herself out of the date because she is diving back into dating with a literal baby and the baggage of a baby daddy. It’s not like guys are going to be lining up to deal with that even on the front of just dating.

 

It’s hard to believe herself to be a catch because her life is so messy. But she’s gotten about five pep talks and she is listening to them and not the inner doubts that’s saying this is a mistake.

 

Taylor had found Steffy a great condo with top notch security and a private garage for her so she didn’t have to worry about encountering Liam or Hope should they somehow follow her.

 

She nervously waiting for her Uber with Lu in the lobby.

 

“It’s going to be fine and you are going to have a good time. If you don’t you can just rag on me for like a week. I’ll allow it…”

 

She feels more at ease about this date with her friend’s assurances. Lu wouldn’t let her go out with anyone who wasn’t worthy of her time.

 

When she gets into her Uber she just reiterates to herself not to have grand expectations. She is going to have a great meal and possibly good conversation out of it.

 

The restaurant her friend chose was a nice one. She hadn’t been here yet so if it’s a bad date she will never be back but if it’s a good one then who knows. She walks up the hostess and wonders if her date was already here.

 

“Hi, my friend made a reservation under the name da Costa…”

 

The hostess smiles and tells her to follow them. Some of her nervousness is back but it’s also mixed with excitement. As she gets closer to the table she wants to laugh when she sees who her date is.

 

“Junior varsity… hmph looks like you’re my date…” She catches JV by surprise and by the smile he’s sporting he is definitely liking how his night is shaping up.

 

“Wow if it isn’t Captain Obvious… what are the chances?” He laughs and it distracts her because it is infectious to her.

 

“About one in ten million I would say…” She decides to have no pretenses and smiles right back at him.

 

“Looks like I’m playing with the big kids now huh?!” She can’t believe he remembered what she said to him a week ago but she likes to think she leaves lasting impressions on people.

 

“I’ll let you know by the end of the night…” She didn’t mean for it to sound as suggestive as it sounded and it definitely takes her date by surprise but a surprise that he definitely isn’t mad about.

 

“I think I like my chances. How does the prettiest lady from Aliki’s restaurant know—”

 

“The prettiest lady from Fortaleza?” He nods at her wanting to know just how small the world is. “… Luisa and I go way back. We met when we were teenagers when my mom took our family on a vacation. My mom’s family originates from Maracanau which is in the same state as Fortaleza. Maracanau is a small city compared to Fortaleza and I wanted to experience the big city. So we met at a caranguejada and became friends after that. Like full on letters and email because cellphones and social media was not like how it is today.”

 

“That’s actually kind of cute but what the heck is a cara… cara…”

 

“Caranguejada is the unofficial but official start of the weekend in Fortaleza. It kinda translates too carb-orgy…” Jay can’t hold his laughter in because it sounds so ridiculous but so intriguing. “… The barracas… the restaurants and bars have these specials on crab plates that everyone can buy. Its really fun because its loud music, most times you are near the beach. Great food and it’s the easiest times to get beer when you are a minor. You have to have your crab with beer so cold that it’s almost freezing. We met in line and she came back with me to the beach where my brother and sister were and we all just ate this mountain of crabs… had beer and dancing to the music. I’m really interested in how you know Luisa…”

 

She feels like this date is going to a great start because she no longer feels any nerves. Jay looks really interested which makes her feel even more animated with her story.

 

“Well I know Luisa because her husband’s company helped me and my brother with a project…” Steffy loves that he is being subtle. He doesn’t know that she googled his ass as soon as she got back into her car after they had met.

 

“Whoa wait! You worked with Hayser & Hamilton?!” He looks surprised that she would know who they are. She knows he is wondering if she is some kind of real estate developer probably.

 

“Yeah… you know them? They are a boutique outfit so… are you in real estate development…”

 

“God no! No offense it’s just a really tough market but that’s also not my passion. The Hamilton in Hayser & Hamilton is my brother…”

 

“You have got to be kidding me! You’re Stephanie!”

 

“Why do you have to say it like that?!” She’s only half kidding.

 

“I just can’t believe this your brother just talks about you a lot. You kind of inadvertently helped with one of our projects. I think your brother asked you to look over his calculations.”

 

“Oh yeah I help Tom sometimes when he quickly needs someone to vet his stuff. So what you are telling me is that you should be thanking me for my services.”

 

“I’ll thank you anytime you like Stephanie…” The way he says her name sounds like a dark promise. She finds that she doesn’t want him call her Steffy.

 

“I’ll take that under advisement junior varsity…”

 

The rest of the night was exceeding the low bar that Steffy had set out for this date and she was excited when he asked for a second date.

 

He had offered her a ride home but she declined. She told him that she would allow him to wait with her while she waited for her Uber which took him half a second to agree to.

 

They had exchanged numbers and when she got into her Uber she saw that he texted saying he had a great time. She appreciated that he didn’t play any games because she hated those stupid dating rules of straight up ignoring someone leaving them wondering if they did something wrong. It was the last thing she needed right now.

 

She texted him back telling him she felt the same and she was looking forward to their next date.

 

The only thing Steffy was not looking forward too would be the gloating that was waiting for her when she got home because if there’s one thing that Lu never ceases to do is gloating when she is right.

Chapter Text

She had been texting Jay back and forth ever since their first date. He had a way of making her feel over the moon. She feels like she has the fresh start she has needed. Taylor found her a new place and had it decorated for her. It felt like home and Kelly seems to love it too.

 

Her lawyers said that they had a date set for the custody hearing and Steffy starts to feel a sigh of relief. She wants things to be ironclad and airtight.

 

Liam thinking that he can just bypass the lawyers and try to speak to her directly irritated her. It was clear that he thought he still had a hold on her, but those days left her when her nipples were still aching from feeding Kelly only to find him getting busy with Hope on company property.

 

Liam was trying to contest the firing and Bill even texted her. Even though Bill’s message wasn’t antagonistic she had decided that she was done with all Spencer men.

 

They were all trash to her in one form or another and she just didn’t care to deal with them anymore. It’s amazing how one event can give her a new outlook on life. After Bill gave her the twelve and a half percent shares she didn’t look back. It just made her even happier that Brooke tried her damndest to get those shares and wasn’t able to.

 

Brooke wanted to own a part of Forrester and be in close proximity to Ridge in the hopes of him possibly leaving Taylor but that dream never came to fruition. Steffy knows Brooke was seething that Bill gave them as a sorry for stalking and pressuring her to be with him.

 

Her family’s company is back with only the family having ownership with no outside entities.

 

Her family is free… she is free… she doesn’t have to worry about having any Spencer there and she told as much to her grandfather. When he told her that he trusts her judgment Steffy felt like she could really be successful with nothing holding her back. Donna is still there at the company, but she at least stays in her lane.

 

She doesn’t mind Donna that much because all Donna really cares about these days is Marcus and his family. Steffy would always have a soft spot for Marcus despite the fact he was a Logan. Even though they didn’t work out of any relationship she has had in her adult life… Marcus treated her the best. So when Donna shows her pictures of Marcus, Dayzee and Rosie she loves seeing photos of her first real love and his family.

She decided that she would use Marcus’s treatment of her as the litmus test for her future relationships. If someone doesn’t pass that bar then they get the boot with a quickness.

 

The back and forth with Jay has been exciting and he’s treated her with a lot of respect so far. She doubts Lu would let her around him if he wasn’t respectful.

 

Hey you want to grab lunch? -Jay

 

She’s back at work and it’s about half past two in the afternoon and she thinks to herself why not… She has been running on east coast time so she would be getting off work soon anyways.

 

Hmm… let me think about it… -Steffy

 

Come on… it would be fun… you get to look at my face so that’s a treat! -Jay

 

You are so cocky junior varsity. I suppose I could be swayed into having some lunch but I pick the place. Come pick me up now. -Steffy

 

So bossy! I like it. I’m going to see you soon 🥰 -Jay

 

Don’t keep me waiting long or I’ll change my mind. -Steffy

 

When Steffy saw the emoticon she smiled so wide that she could feel her dimples. 

 

She decides to pack her stuff so she doesn’t have to rush when Jay gets there. She hears a knock and she wonders why Aunt Pam just doesn’t use the intercom system. Before she can really think about it the door opens and she sees that it’s Hope and Steffy’s mood just drops.

 

“What are you doing here? And how did you get past Pam?” Steffy definitely knows that Aunt Pam isn’t at her desk if it means that Hope thinks she can just waltz into her office.

 

“I waited for Pam to go to the bathroom. Steffy we should talk…”

 

“We have nothing to talk about Hope…”

 

“Steffy you won’t answer any of my texts. We need to get past this and how can we do that if you just ignore me?!”

 

“Hope, I don’t need to do anything. That’s the beauty of being done… I don’t care about what you do because it isn’t my problem anymore.”

 

“Steffy, we need to talk about what happened. It wasn’t what it looked like…”

 

“Oh it sure looked like you were about to have sex but I interrupted. Hope you can have all the sex you want with Liam because I don’t care. This tug of war is done. You won the grand prize of Liam…” Steffy knows that Hope is thrown for a loop that she is just handing over Liam to her. They have fought for years over the same guy. It’s hard for Hope to believe that Steffy is just ready to give it all up. They just had a baby if anything she thought Steffy would be fighting even harder.

 

“Steffy let’s just sit down and have a talk. I’m sorry—”

 

“Save that shit for someone who might believe it. You can keep your sorry Hope because I don’t want it and I certainly don’t need it. Like I said I am done. You can have Liam it doesn’t phase me anymore. And please do not even think about speaking for Liam’s case. If he thinks that somehow sending you would stop me from having lawyers handle the custody agreement he would be more stupid than I took him for.”

 

“First of all Liam doesn’t know that I am here and second I think it’s really underhanded that you jumped to involve lawyers because you found Liam and I together. It’s not fair to Kelly—”

 

“Oh I’m supposed to believe you give a fuck about my daughter hmm… I know it eats at you that I somehow was the first one to give Liam a child but guess what Hope that’s the reality we all have to live with. And honestly you should definitely want me to keep lawyers involved don’t you think? Instead of having Liam come to my house and plead his case. He can’t be trusted in my company remember. Take the blessing for what it is.” Steffy refrains from saying out loud she regrets having Liam as the father of her child because she is tied to his ass for life.

 

“Steffy I think you are being overboard about this…”

 

“You see Hope the beautiful thing about it is… I don’t give a fuck about what you think or feel…”

 

“Steffy you can’t just ignore me I have a line at Forrester… we are going to be in each other’s company whether you like it or not. We need to have a good working relationship if we are going to make Hope for the Future viable again…”

 

“Oh honey no… You see the great thing about my father and your mother not being attached anymore is that I don’t need to have vanity projects here anymore. When you went to Italy it was amazing for me. I got to slash an underproducing line and Hope for the Future was replaced with California Freedom. Granted I could care less about both lines but California Freedom brings way more revenue than Hope for the Future ever did. So I’m not bringing the line back…”

 

“You can’t just make those kinds of decisions Steffy! You are co-CEO with Ridge and if he saw how you were reacting he would be appalled…”

 

“Oh would he now? It’s so funny how your mind works… You’re right my dad is co-CEO with me but let’s breakdown some numbers here. I own 37.5 percent of the company. I’m my grandfather’s proxy for his 37.5%. I am my father’s proxy for 20% and I’m Tom’s proxy for 5%. Looks like I have 100% controlling interest in my company Hope. That means my father works for me. I have complete autonomy on what designers I hire and boo you were just a face. A face nobody wanted as the lackluster sales showcased. Maybe if you weren’t so focused on your personal life you would have been able to focus on said line. So next time you try to invoke my father’s name. Hope remember he’s my fucking father and the days of him siding with you or your mother are long gone. Get used to the fact that your ass is unemployed. I’ll even throw you a bone. You can have the naming rights to Hope for the Future but I want your badge and fob back now…”

 

“You think you won Steffy don’t you. But you are just being bitter… You are unleashing your anger on me because you can’t manipulate Liam into being with you and he wouldn’t even stay for Kelly because I am his true love… I’m his destiny!”

 

“Just like Deacon couldn’t stay for you boo? Don’t quiver your lip now… if you want to speak with your chest go ahead but put my daughter’s name in your mouth I’ll let you know about yourself. No one’s bitter here Hope. I told you that your line sucked and nobody bought shit from it and you go straight for I must be sad and have to take it out on you as a result. But Hope you forgot is that no one gives a damn about you. I run a business and if something doesn’t perform it gets slashed because I am not wasting resources beating a dead horse. You do nothing here and neither does your lover. So guess what I’m not going to pay either of you to grace me with your presence with your holier-than-thou bullshit. I’ve said it countless times you can have Liam, I don’t want him. I swear it’s like you want me to want him. It must make your dullard life somewhat interesting to be bothered by me doesn’t it…” When Steffy gets closer to Hope it makes the younger girl gasp. “… does it make you suck his dick harder knowing my pussy has been on it? Well it’s the closest you’ll ever get to me Hope because I’m unavailable. You can leave now… Don’t worry you don’t need to give me your fob… I’ll have security disable yours.” She just winks at Hope who still looks bewildered over everything that’s happened.

 

Steffy packs the rest of her stuff while Hope makes her exit. She gets a text from Jay telling her that he is close and it brings a smile to her face because she is more than ready to leave.

 

As she is leaving she sees that Hope is sitting in Pam’s seat but She just locks her office door and pays no mind to the girl.

 

She gives her hair a dramatic flip and she struts out of the hallway and she knows that Hope’s eyes follow her. The baddest bitch at Forrester Creations is back and she refuses to let the lessers have any power over her.  

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Steffy, but she has always been a sucker for the adventure. She thought that she would have no time to date but her parents offered to babysit while she went on dates. When Thomas made a mention that he knows and likes the guy Steffy has been dating it makes her parents hopeful that this could be a nice transition to happier times for their daughter.

 

Steffy had to concede to her best friend that she really likes Jay and thanks her for setting them up. Luisa ended up telling her that she wanted to set the two of them long ago but Steffy was always chasing after Liam trying to make it work.

 

Even though Steffy knows she would have loved to have known about Jay years ago all the ups and downs led her to have her daughter and she couldn’t imagine life without her little love.

 

She’s taken a liking to day dates… something about them just makes her feel tingly. Having fun with the sun out is something she hadn’t done in so long she never knew how much she could miss it. Since her workdays started at six in the morning she had finished early in the afternoons. Her mother was on a sabbatical anyways to help care for Kelly so she would come every morning and drop Steffy at work. It wasn’t that Steffy didn’t like driving it was just easier to not bring her car when Jay would pick her up in the afternoon for their dates and then just drop her home where she could be with Kelly again.

 

She didn’t think that she would have a lot of time to commit to actually getting to know Jay but she has just about each afternoon to get to know him. they haven’t gotten sick of each other yet, so something has to be going right.

 

She thought he would want to take a step back when she mentioned Kelly and how young she was, but he just shrugged and admitted that he knew about her already. It seemed Tom couldn’t keep it to himself because he was so excited that a new baby would be in the family.

 

It took a lot of insecurity away when he just didn’t seem to care about her baggage or her daughter. He knew all about Liam and Steffy found out that Jay just doesn’t like the guy. At first Steffy was kind of upset with Thomas telling her business but Jay explained that it was really venting and asking for advice because Jay’s brother went through a really bad on-again off-again situation for years.

 

It made Steffy feel loved that Tom has been as protective as he could be even though he lives three time zones apart. She’s glad she woke up herself but it does something to your heart when you find out how much people really do care about you.

 

Her day is almost through and soon she will be on another date with Jay and she can feel the smile forming on her face.

 

Aunt Pam alerts her about a visitor without an appointment and Steffy almost wants too say not to let them in but nothing from Aunt Pam’s voice tells her that it will be a meeting she won’t like she ells Aunt Pam to let them in.

 

She hears the door knock and sees that its Donna. She doesn’t mind letting her in.

 

“Let me guess Rosie has made a new concoction with her chemistry set? You know you should tell Marcus he better watch out because she’s getting too smart too fast…” It makes Donna smile at how Steffy is amused with her granddaughter.

 

“I’ll be sure to tell him you said that. He would definitely get a kick out of it I am sure of it. Actually I wanted to talk to about business…” Steffy starts to wonder what Donna could mean. Donna stays up to date on everything social media. It’s something she actually really good at so Steffy put her on the PR team as one of the head social media division.

 

“Has something leaked that we need to get in front of? Should I get PR in here now?” The last thing Steffy needs is a PR nightmare on their hands.

 

“Oh no! Everything is good on the social front. We actually gained fifteen hundred new followers since I left work last night and our business insights is looking really good. I actually wanted to talk about Hope.” With the way Steffy’s face falls at the mention of Hope, Donna feels like the room just dropped twenty degrees.

 

“Donna… you know that you are about the only one Logan that I like and Marcus is dear to my heart but please do not ask too much of me…” Steffy does not need Hope using the literal last link of family she has at this company to try and rescue her.

 

“Steffy you know that I appreciate you and working here but please hear me out…” She nods her head for Donna to continue. “…I know we didn’t get a lot of social traction for Hope for the Future and I’m not asking you to bring it back. I know that it would take a lot of money to be allocated to it and we would have to shut down California Freedom—”

 

“And you know that I can’t do that right?! That is Rick’s signature line for Forrester International and Maya is the face of it.” Steffy hates Rick’s gut but the line is really successful for International and at the end of the day that’s grandad’s son and Rick throwing a stink about it will mean problems for her.

 

“I know that it is and I don’t want to change that. But maybe Hope can have another job here…”

 

“Donna… no offense but she isn’t you... You actually do your job here and its not a vanity project for you. Why should I believe that she would come to work on time? Not take off in the middle of her shift for whatever crisis that she invents? I only hire people who are serious about being successful and can you tell me with a straight face that her track record showcases those values?”

 

“Steffy you know that I can’t, but Hope can learn if she is given a chance. She needs to work and be self-sufficient…” Donna doesn’t say anymore but Steffy caught on. Hope needs to have a job because she needs some kind of discipline and responsibility in her life.

 

“Fine but I’m not doing this for her… I’m doing it for you. She will be on your team but Donna you can’t treat her different than any other direct report you have. I want truthful assessments on her progress because I don’t want to pay people who don’t meet our standards. It’s on you…”

 

“I’ll vouch for her. If she doesn’t do well at her job then I will turn in a letter of resignation…”

 

“Donna, I won’t fire you… our social footprint has grown 163% since you started but you will be the one to fire Hope should she prove incapable of doing the job.”

 

“Thanks Steffy…”

 

“I just ask of one thing Donna. Please keep her away from my floor. I don’t want you thinking that you have to police her every move, but I would very much not like any ambushes. I’m sure you heard that I am using lawyers to deal with the custody agreement with Liam. I come to work to work and I expect her to do that and only that if she is to come back.”

 

“You have my word… I’ll do my best to try and keep her away from you. In brighter news Rosie definitely has been playing with her chemistry set. Do you want to see what Marcus sent me…” Steffy nods because she thinks Marcus’s little girl is special.

Donna spends the next ten minutes catching Steffy up on Marcus and his family and Steffy tells her of everything she can with Kelly. She reckons Donna has some regrets not raising Marcus herself and not  having any children after so its why she is so protective and involved with the children in her family even if Steffy doesn’t believe some of them deserve it.

 

Steffy knows that Jay is close because they are in sync almost to a science at this point.

 

“I know your workday is coming to an end, but I need to get back and crack the whip on the team… I’ll tell Marcus you said hi.”

 

“Please do. I’ll see you around Donna…”

 

As Donna leaves Pam comes in wondering if Steffy needs anything before their workday is officially over but she tells her Aunt that everything is good. She only needs Pam to lock the door before she leaves because she’s taking the back way out and Pam just gives her a hug and sees Steffy off.

 

It’s 3pm and Jay is right on time wearing a smile as soon as he sees Steffy coming out. When she gets in the car, she pops a kiss on him that has more of an effect on her then it does on him. It’s the quickest of pecks but she feels like it was electric.

 

“How was your day Stephanie?”

 

“Pretty okay it wasn’t the most eventful of days but it also wasn’t bad. I know I’m so action oriented, but I like the days where I’m not in crisis mode. How was yours?”

 

“Pretty much the same. Will and I are trying to get in on this old historic hotel but it’s going to be a bitch to get because there’s a lot of people vying for the property…”

 

“Oh well I guess I’m just going to have to root for my baby to get it.” The geeky smile Jay sends her way is exactly why she said the term of endearment in the first place.

 

It’s not like anyone can even see but they hold hands because they want too. She gives him directions to Portillo’s and he was just excited that there’s one here.

 

When they get there and wait in line Steffy just wraps herself around Jay. She isn’t embarrassed of how affectionate she’s being and he likes it. He wraps arm around her shoulders. When they get to the front of the line they both know what they want…

 

“Can I get one Maxwell Street Polish and a Chicago dog please…” It’s been a while since Jay has had Chicago-style anything. He trusts this Portillo’s is like the one back home.

 

“I’ll get two Chicago dogs please…” Steffy decides to take it easy the kielbasa has given her heartburn before.

 

“Can I get you guys any condiments on the side… Ketchup… Barbecue sauce?”

 

“We don’t do that ketchup stuff…” It’s all that Steffy says because she doesn’t want Jay going on a diatribe about Chicago.

 

“Barbecue sauce is just ketchup with a college degree…” Steffy knows Jay is so serious about this. It’s one of those quirks about him. They uphold Chicago food culture customs at all times.

 

“Respect that. I’m from Chicago too but I have to ask people here… would make my poor mother cry to see what I have been reduced to…” The man’s Chicago accent comes out in full swing and he and Jay have a quick reverie at the antics of LA people while they pay. Steffy should feel a type of way since she’s from LA but many of the things they say happen to be true.

 

While the wait for their food to be made they become that annoying couple that Steffy used to roll her eyes at. She stayed glued to him and he just kept planting kisses on her even kissing the tip of her nose.

 

When they get their food, she tries to eat like a human being chewing her food but Jay just inhales and the food is gone and just stares at her…

 

“I fucking knew you were going to do this!” He just laughs at her and she wants to step on his foot.

 

“Do what?”

“That you would do a magic act and your food would be gone. It’s why I ordered two hot dogs. I was always only going to eat one…”

 

“I couldn’t possibly eat your food babe…” Steffy just rolls her eyes because the man is lying through his teeth.

 

“I can’t eat too much because I am having dinner at my parents house later. I really did get two so I could give you one…”

 

“Man… I swear to God I could just take you to the courthouse and marry you right now.” He kisses her before she has anytime to respond but the word marriage tumbling out of his mouth makes her smile wider. She knows it just in jest but she’s falling hard and deep for this guy.

 

The feeling in her gut could be indigestion but she really just thinks it’s because he gives her that warm funny feeling.

 

“You should only be so lucky for me to say yes. Now kiss me properly junior varsity...”

 

He does as he’s told and kisses her nice and slow that she feels tingles all through her body even her toes.

 

When they finish their food, she wanted to take him to her favorite ice cream place.

 

She already knows what she wants but It’s Jay’s first time here and he takes a survey of all the flavors.

 

“Hi, can I get one scoop of the bridge of cookies to cream please…”

 

“Hey what’s in a Chicago Blonde?”

 

“It’s Vanilla ice cream with sugar cookie batter and Nilla wafer cookies… You can have a sample if you like…” Jay nods intrigued and he tries it and he likes it a lot.

 

“Why is it called a Chicago Blonde? There’s nothing like it in Chicago…”

 

“My mom put it on the menu. It was an ode to my mom’s favorite customer. She always said that the woman was the classiest lady she ever met. Served the lady a bunch of times when I was a kid… real nice used to come with her kids. They have their own flavors too. It’s called a Chicago Blonde because her kids used to ask her questions and they never believed her. She used to say ‘well what do I know I’m just a Chicago Blonde?’ always made her kids laugh…”

 

“Man this lady sounds so cool…”

 

“She really was. I used to play with her kids because I was around their age. She passed away some years ago though. We didn’t know it until after she died but she left my mom some money. My mom got to retire and now I run the shop.” It warms Steffy’s heart that there’s such kind people out there in the world.

 

“That’s such a beautiful story. I’ll take some Chicago Blonde to go home with too…” The story moved Steffy for a reason she can’t really explain.

 

She used to come here with her grandma all the time growing up and she had the best times with her here. It made her happy to know that it was the same for other people. She’s happy to get to share it with Jay too.

 

She doesn’t have much time left with him because she needs to get to her mother’s home but one of these days she is going to bring him to dinner. She thinks her parents would really like him.

Chapter Text

Spending so much time together with Jay made Steffy know in her heart she was in love with the man. It scared her because she didn’t want to freak him out because it hadn’t actually been a long time that they have been together but the amount of time they spent together really accelerated how she felt about him.

 

She decided for now she would keep those words to herself because she didn’t want to spook him. She knows she would freak out her parents too because she had a tendency to rush things with some of her previous relationships. It just feels so different than those times. She rushed in the past because she always felt something chasing her. Something on the precipice that could ruin things… but she isn’t chasing after anything or anyone.

 

She is not competing with anyone, so she doesn’t have the need to feel like she needs to lock it down because its fragile and she needs assurances.  She feels crazy because she wants more of Jay not because she’s afraid he will leave…she wants more because he makes her feel complete in a way she never has felt before.

 

When she introduced him to her parents no one skipped a beat. He was charming and sweet and Taylor approved of the relationship because he was nothing like Liam.

 

It was hard for her to be apart from him because they have spent so much time together since they have gotten together. Its been about three and a half months in real time but it’s felt like much longer because they spend nearly everyday together. When she had signed to a women in leadership conference months ago she had been so happy to do it but now the prospect of not seeing Jay for days makes Steffy’s heart lurch.

 

Just the idea of packing felt to leave made her depressed. It would be the first trip she would take since she started dating Jay. It would also be the first trip that Kelly would be going on. She supposed that this was a good thing at least for Kelly’s sake.

 

Taylor had offered to come on the trip with Steffy so she could help her daughter out with Kelly but Steffy declined. She had decided she wanted to show women at the conference the reality of being a working mom and try to take some of the stigma away that came with having a child and being in a leadership position.

 

She was honored to be invited months ago when she was still pregnant and felt at her worst. Just the invitation alone raised her spirits and made her feel worthy again. Like she mattered to somebody and she doesn’t want to squander that opportunity even if it means being away from Jay for just a couple of days.

Today would be the last date they would be on before she left and she really just wanted to see him. Even though they spend nearly everyday together she wants to fill up on some love before she has to go away.

 

She wanted to work from home today so she could focus on the last-minute prep for the trip. Jay was bringing lunch over and Steffy’s mind goes to the fact that this will be the last meal they have together before she is gone.

 

Even though she knows its only for two days it doesn’t make her feel any less heartsick.

 

She hears the knock on the door and knows it’s Jay. Steffy wonders if it’s just Jay that has a particular knock or if it’s her just making too much of it…

 

When she opens the door she is greeted with a kiss and a hug that stand on her tippy toes.

 

“Jay I’m going to miss you so much… I know it’s only two days, but we haven’t really been apart and it’s kind of getting to me.”

 

“Well… what happens if I came with you? Like no pressure… you don’t really have to say yes but I feel the same way too. I know theoretically I can go two days without seeing you but the prospect of that makes me kind of sad. I like us… we’re fucking awesome…” She could tell he was nervous even broaching the subject. Being vulnerable is hard especially for a guy like Jay who tries not to put his heart on his sleeve

 

Steffy just chuckles at his description of them and cups his cheek with her hand.

 

“You always did have a way with words junior varsity… I wouldn’t object if you wanted to come but don’t you have work?”

 

“I can work remotely… I know we could FaceTime but baby we could make this like a romantic trip. You can do your conference but there’s bound to be some free time… We could explore and eat at some new places. What do you say?”

 

“I say why the hell not… I really did not like the prospect of being away from you. It’s nice you have flexibility with your job…”

 

“I’m really glad too…” He just closes the gap between them and kisses her.

 

Steffy is really glad that she didn’t say yes to her mom’s offer because it would have been so awkward to have her mother and boyfriend there.

 

She knows that her mom likes Jay, but she knows Taylor can be seemingly innocuous but scary at the same time.

 

After they finished their lunch and packed the last bits of essentials they would need for the trip. Jay stayed there quite a bit when Steffy thought they would be getting serious, so he didn’t have to leave and go home for clothes.

 

He was able to book his ticket on Amtrak next to her and she breathed a little easier that they would be together.

 

 

She needed to get Kelly up and ready to leave. They decided on taking an Uber being their easiest option to the Amtrak station.

 

When they got to San Fran it seemed like Kelly’s eyes were just trying to gather everything in. It must have been instinctual for the baby that this was someplace completely new.

 

Her conference wasn’t until tomorrow, so they had time for themselves so Steffy suggested they get some food and maybe go to a park. Kelly had long gotten use to Jay’s presence. Kelly likes anyone that gives her attention and Jay is great with kids, so it was a good match. She knew that it was a gamble introducing anyone to Kelly but in her mind if Jay could meet her parents maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to meet Kelly.

 

When it came time for the conference Steffy rocked it and many women there asked her questions about navigating the business world as a mother and what it was like before and after she had a baby.

 

Since her conference segment was early in the day, they all had most of the day to explore more of San Francisco.

 

To anyone who gazed upon them they just looked like normal parents that just had a child. No one would ever have a clue that Jay wasn’t her daughter’s father.

 

They went to the park again and chilled on the blanket. Kelly took a nap on Jay’s chest that Steffy just loved so she took a picture. She started to visualize maybe down the road having more kids with Jay.

 

Every time he looked at her it made her throat tight and her stomach in knots. She always hopes that he feels the same way as she does.

 

When they start walking around the city they find themselves downtown. Gazing at these beautiful gigantic buildings makes Kelly quiet with wonder and the lovebirds are right there with her.

 

“Everything is so beautiful here Jay…”

 

“Yeah I’ve been here before, but I haven’t really had time to look and enjoy it for what it is…”

 

“Yeah it’s the same for me…”

 

They both stop to take a breather when Kelly starts to whine. They sit on the steps while Steffy does the smell test and Kelly’s good on that front.

 

“What’s going through your head junior varsity…” She looks at him and he looks so focused but doesn’t say anything.

 

“Call me crazy…”

 

“Okay crazy… but why?”

 

“Marry me?” Steffy’s eyes bug out when Jay says marry her. She wants to laugh but she wouldn’t dare risk hurting his feelings. She contemplates her answer… he wants to marry her and they haven’t even had sex yet. She almost wants to give herself a pat on the back because she got it like that.

 

“Call me crazy… let’s do it…” She thinks that this might be insane but she falls fast and hard but she has a feeling deep inside telling her to trust this… that it won’t be like the others. When she sees the sparkle in his green eyes she knows that she won’t regret this choice.

Chapter Text

Steffy’s POV

 

I can’t believe I got married to Jay. I have done many crazy things but this might take the cake. She has rushed marriage before but she didn’t make the decision with anyone else in mind. It was a decision all her own with only her in mind. When I married Liam it was about doing it before Hope could interfere. When I married Wyatt it was because Liam ran away to help his next damsel in distress.

 

I married Jay because I’m sprung as spring and I have to compete with no one for it. He builds me up and treats me like he’s the lucky one to have me and not the other way around.

 

The conference was the best conference of my life it seems. Jay was happy… Kelly was happy. When we got married everyone at the courthouse just assumed that she was his so it didn’t look like they were making a rushed decision.

 

We have managed to keep it a secret but its only been a couple of days. I can’t think about him now I need to focus even though he’s just so cute.

 

He woke up early to make me breakfast but he had to hide in the bedroom when mom came and picked me and Kelly up. She would have started asking a lot of questions about Jay being there so soon after my trip.

 

It’s hard to keep the truth from a psychiatrist because they usually know when you are lying. I know mom would crack me like a peanut.

 

My Mondays tend to be nonstop meetings with all the different departments discussing what the game plan is every week. One thing that I find peculiar is that I have an appointment booked with Donna. I usually just have my meeting with the head of PR and then they have their own meeting with their sub-departments.

 

I just think maybe Donna has some ideas but it confuses me why she would bypass the head of PR who’s her direct boss.

 

But then again maybe it’s not about work per se. there’s plenty of reasons that Donna could want to see me. Maybe she wants to take a sabbatical and visit Marcus and wanted to give me a personal headsup.

 

I go through my Monday meetings and its not a big deal. We are all strategizing for the future since we have all of our decisions done for the next two seasons. We just have to figure out the campaigns we want so we can maximize our market share.

 

The next time I look at my watch I see that it’s close to the end of my workday and I’m anxious to get home. Jay picks me up from work but it will be the first time he picks me up as his wife. It makes me chuckle still that he’s my husband.

 

Aunt Pam let’s me know my last appointment of the day is here. When Donna comes in it’s hard to get a read on her. Her face is just blank… not angry and not happy.

 

“Hi Donna, I was surprised that you booked an appointment for today. What can I do for you?”

 

“Well Steffy… I have to ask is there anything you want to tell me?” I have no clue what she means. I haven’t seen Hope in any hallways even though I know she is here.

 

“I don’t think so… Donna let’s not beat around the bush… just tell me…”

 

“Did you get married this past weekend?” I’m shocked that she knows about my marriage because it just happened.

 

“How did you know about that?!” I don’t bother denying it and I think this is going to get around and so many people are going to be in my face. I feel the headache starting to come along.

 

“It's my job to know things that can affect FC and well I have special alerts for all the recognizable figures within the company. You appeared on the public record in San Francisco…” She really does know everything about it.

 

“I don’t want anyone to know but it’s going to come out now…” The last thing I wanted was anyone to find out before Jay and I were ready to tell anyone. I feel like Liam and Hope will try to use this against me even though he seldomly sees Kelly and Hope could care less about my child. I can’t really stop the tears so I just put my hands on my face.

 

“Steffy don’t cry… It’s a quick fix, let me just work my magic and I will see what I can do about making it a judicial marriage retroactively. Only the judge would know and people can only get it with a court order. The vultures won’t be able to get any info on it. I’m sure they only have alerts for you in LA county.” I don’t know what to say but Donna is coming through heavy for me. This is something that she could use to help Hope and she isn’t.

 

“Thank you. I didn’t really think about what kind of marriage to get.” My marriages to Liam and Wyatt had been public record. I knew that California had secret marriages but that wasn’t on my mind. Her intellect left the building when Jay proposed they just get married.

 

“Do not worry about it Steffy. I’ve got it handled… Do you think it was the right decision though?”

 

“Yeah I do. You don’t know him but I love him and he had brought color back to my life and after the bullshit I have been through it really feels like a bright and new beginning. Please don’t tell anyone…” Having to have any shred of mercy to a Logan is killing me.

 

“I won’t tell anyone I promise. I know there’s been a lot of animosity between our families for a very long time, but Steffy I don’t want to hurt you. You were the first person to be kind to my son when he came here and that’s something I won’t forget... Did you at least get a prenup?”

 

“We didn’t but we decided that we would just keep our assets separate and get a revocable trust later on. Before you give me that look he’s not a bum… he’s a real estate developer and has his own money… he doesn’t need to be after mine…”

 

“Oh believe me that I researched whatever I could on him and he’s really cute. If I were young again, I could have been tempted to marry the guy too.” This makes me laugh because she understands my dilemma. I want it all and I want it now when it comes to Jay.

 

“So you see my dilemma…”

 

“I get it but do yourself a favor… if you don’t want people suspecting anything then you have to be more careful. I’m going to get the marriage sealed so the press can’t pry but you can’t slip up when people ask inevitably about the guy who is with you everywhere. He’s relatively quiet with his footprint but the press likes to be after you if they smell a story...”

 

“You’re right I can’t slip up. I do have my wigs so I can be incognito. Even if they won’t be able to find out my marriage I don’t want anyone making Jay’s job harder… he’s really private and might not like the scrutiny that comes with being with me.”

 

“I’ll try to buffer that as much as I can but maybe the wigs are a good option for now…” I can be a redhead by dinner if need be.

 

“Thanks for this and the discretion…”

 

“No problem and Steffy I wish you luck and happiness with your marriage…”

 

I appreciate the well wishes. We talk some more about Jay and how I met him… a knock interrupts us and I’m shocked that it’s Jay. He usually comes and just picks me up. When I look at my watch I realize that I am the one that’s late.

 

“Hey… I didn’t know you were busy sorry. I can wait for you…”

 

“Oh no Steffy and I were just finishing up. It’s my fault really for keeping her. Did you have an appointment too? I usually know all the staff at FC and I’ve never seen you here…” I press my lips into a line because Donna is fishing and Jay has no clue he’s bait.

 

“Oh I don’t work here. I’m Jay Halstead-Voight… I’m just the personal driver…” He’s so charming it annoys me as much as it makes me smile.

 

“Oh… you must give me the name of the service, I could use a personal driver if they look like you…” My eyebrows raise. Donna just sticks out her hand ready for Jay to shake it.

 

“Uh well…”

 

“Jay don’t pay attention to her… She loves tripping people up…” I take pity on him just out of his depth with Donna.

 

“Oh well it was nice meeting you…”

 

“Donna… Donna Logan and believe me the pleasure is all mine…” After they shake hands, she just gives me a look that I know that Jay sees as well and lets me know she’ll keep my up to date about her progress.

 

“I’m sorry I’m late babe I didn’t think that my last appointment would take that long…”

 

“Not a big deal. I figured that was what happened when you didn’t text back…” When he says that I look at my phone and see the missed text alerts from him. I like to have my devices on silent when I am in meetings so they don’t distract me.

 

“It was on silent! Ugh!”

 

“It’s okay really… It’s not a big deal! You ready to go or do you have some work that still needs to be done?”

 

“I’m done but we have a slight hiccup…”

 

“What’s a slight hiccup?”

 

“Donna knows about us and the fact there’s a legally binding us…”

 

“How the hell does she know?! You told me not to tell anyone…”

 

“I didn’t tell her… she knew and confronted me about it. She has an alert for the top level people here and she got a ping about our marriage. We didn’t think anything through because we were being crazy and dumb but she’s going to get it sealed…” I hope it’s honestly not too late to do it.

 

“But I thought we don’t fuck with no Logans. Are they not the enemy?” So he does listen to me.

 

“Yes that is mostly true. Donna won’t say anything to anyone she gave me her word and she won’t betray me because her son wouldn’t like that.”  

 

“Ooh her son you say… Do I have competition?” I roll my eyes at him because Marcus has a whole family.

 

“Hmm well let’s see… Marcus was my first real love and he treated me really well, so he could definitely give you a run for your money but just it’s just the past and his wife is my friend.”

 

“Well good because I would be the one to give Marcus a run for his money! I can treat you double well… triple even…”

 

“You’re a freaking dork… let’s go.” I think Jay wears jealousy well and I love that he sees that he should count himself lucky to be with me. I think I’m pretty lucky to be with him too.

 

“I’m just saying… no one is going to be treating my wife better than me.” I kiss him long and nice because he really doesn't know how much those simple words makes me happy.

 

I lock the door to my office and take the secret way out to the car. I steal a couple of kisses on the way being mesmerized by this man I love.

 

Chapter Text

When Donna reported to Steffy that their problem has been handled Steffy was able to breathe a sigh of relief. It wasn’t hard to hide the severity of their relationship with the people they loved. If anyone came to visit her they had to sign in and security would alert her so she didn’t get any surprises. Jay rarely actually left the condo when either of her parents came over or Lu wanted to hang out.

 

Steffy took it upon herself to always volunteer having lunches outside of the condo and so far it has been smooth. They had decided it would be easier for Jay to move in with her rather than the opposite because Kelly was already used to this home. It did mean that Jay’s brother asked questions but they were honest about the moving in part. Steffy didn’t want to keep on moving from one place to the other for fear that it would confuse Kelly.

 

The hardest part wasn’t keeping this secret from her family… it was keeping it from Lu because she and Erik are good friends with Jay. It was two people who are in constant contact with them that could trip them up. When they go on double dates with their friends, they make sure to only call each other by their names. Jay had gotten too comfortable with saying ‘my wife’ that it made Steffy nervous that he would accidentally spill the beans but he’s been formidable and no one has been the wiser yet.

 

Another reason they have kept quiet was because of the case for Kelly’s custody. Even though Liam has been mostly absent through the process, the lawyers are not but Steffy is happy they will not be able to find her marriage to Jay and try to use it against her.

 

It didn’t surprise her one bit when Hope turned up pregnant. She thought might as well because Liam moved with a quickness but that was okay because Kelly did too. Her first words happened to be dada and they were directed at Jay. It wasn’t done through malicious intent, Jay’s just the constant.

 

She wasn’t vindictive… she made sure to ask the court-appointed social worker that visits be set up so Liam could visit Kelly. So far, he has missed all of them. He cited to the court Hope being pregnant as one of those reasons.

 

It made Steffy laugh that he actually used that as an excuse. Hope looked fine when she was in FC café and even if Hope was bedridden how would that excuse Liam from missing all of his pre-determined visits.

 

Sometimes Steffy can’t believe she didn’t wake up to this foolishness beforehand. Just weeks after she finally said goodbye to her trash relationship Hope turns up pregnant. Now it was Hope walking around FC visibly pregnant. The one thing that Steffy did notice was that Hope wasn’t over the moon hardly ever.

“Boy he sure didn’t wait did he?” Meeting Lu for lunch at work probably wasn’t the best idea Steffy had. She knows her friend has the ability to roast people without really trying and this is where Steffy works.

 

“Not at all but it’s also how I know he was so full of shit. I jumped through hoops like I was in the damn circus while he was fucking that chick while wanting me to grovel…” It was okay to Steffy though. She was married to Jay now and her life was already on the mend before she met him.

 

“I know I’m not supposed mais aqui se faz, aqui se paga…” (but here it is done, here it is paid). Luisa really did not care and had no problem rooting for people’s downfall when she did not care for them. Steffy knows her best friend gave no fucks. Brazilians can be brutal when you cross them and she thinks to herself if she had tapped into this earlier than she could have saved herself a lot of time and heartache.

 

The girls decide to just speak in Portuguese for the rest of their conversation so they could speak freely.

 

“I like to think I am not as brutal as you are but it would be a lie. Now that I am outside of it is it wrong that I want to get some popcorn and watch the train wreck that I know will becoming…”

 

“It might be wrong but when have we ever missed the time to watch messy telenovelas?” The fact that Steffy has about a hundred hours on her DVR of Brazilian telenovelas proves Lu’s point. The ladies just toast to that and sip on their smoothies.

 

“You’re so right! Oh my goodness why is she coming over here?” Steffy rolls her eyes but it’s can’t appreciated because of her sunglasses. She could have sworn she asked Donna to keep Hope the hell away from her.

 

“Hi Steffy… I was wondering if you could talk… in private…” Luisa twisted her neck and took of her glasses to get a real good look at the audacity of this twit she never liked.

 

“Hope… if it’s business you can speak to your direct boss and if its personal then you can go because this is a place of business…”

 

“Steffy you can’t really be like this. Look at me! I am going to be giving birth to Kelly’s sister. We need to find a way to co-exist and—”

 

“So somebody knows Kelly now? Liam has multiple visits that he scheduled and doesn’t show up for. He uses you being pregnant as an excuse which I don’t understand because he should be more than capable to spend a few hours with his daughter which is honestly the bare minimum and he doesn’t even do that. My daughter would have to exist to Liam for her to coexist with your future spawn…” If Hope really wanted to march over here, she should not expect Steffy to mince any words.

 

“Do you really think that lawyers and courts was the best way to handle this? We could have sat down together—”

 

“You see that’s the problem right there Hope… You keep inserting yourself where I don’t need you to be. You helped make my pregnancy difficult. Any decisions that will be made will be by the courts where Liam will have to be held accountable to his responsibilities as a father. I would never sit down with the both of you because I know I will only hear excuses on why he can’t do xyz and you backing him up. The courts are the best option because Liam cannot shirk his responsibilities…” Steffy also wants documented proof of Liam’s neglect and flighty tendencies. Doing things after the fact only prolong the process and people doing informal agreements means nothing because someone can lie and say that’s not what was agreed upon.

 

“Steffy I know it’s been hard to deal with the situation and how it could make you feel like you have to be against Liam and I but that’s not the case we want to be a blended family—”

 

“Hope, I can truly say I have never been better. My hair is growing. My skin is flawless when I don’t have to deal with the bullshit. I have no problem with being a blended family but it will be at the discretion of the State of California not Liam.” Steffy knows she is lucky to have been born in a position where she could afford a team of lawyers to alleviate some of the stress that comes from custody disputes.

 

“Steffy I can’t believe that you could hold onto such bitterness. It’s not good for Kelly to be put in the middle—” She just can’t take anymore of Hope’s rambling.

 

“How’s Kelly’s in the middle? Where did you pick up that logic Rent-A-Center?” Lu knows her friend can fight her own battles, but she is tired and her smoothie is melting so she wants to body Hope real quick so she can just leave.

 

“I’m sorry but who are you?”

 

“I’m said child’s godmother… and you sure as hell don’t have to worry about Kelly because she is always the priority. Above all others to Steffy and it’s why the State will decide how Kelly’s care will be dictated because this blended family you speak of would mean that this supposed father actually showed up for his daughter. I have a bigger role in Kelly’s life than your community dick Lima bean so you can go because we good here.” Steffy just sipped on her smoothie while Lu went off on Hope. As soon as she saw Lu sit back and interlock her fingers staring at Hope, she knew it was a wrap.

 

Hope was shocked that someone would just talk to her like that especially if Steffy thinks that person would be a role model for Kelly.

 

“I am going to be Kelly’s step—”

 

“I said we good here.” Hope knew when she was being dismissed and she had two people just looking at her making her feel uncomfortable under the scrutiny, so she left.

 

“You scared Bambi off Lu…”

 

“And… she had the nerve to come over here knowing she needs to stay away from you. She’s gonna be brought to school if she think can do that. I don’t mind giving people lessons.”

 

“Well thanks for having my back even though I could have taken her to task…”

 

“I know you can but my mouth was going to say something regardless. You know I don’t like that girl and her little innocent act was getting on my nerves. Ain’t no gaslighting going to go down here today.”

 

Too many times Steffy has felt like she was going crazy during her pregnancy with the endless barrage of people like Brooke, Hope, Liam and Bill telling her what she should be doing or pressuring her and it was just too much. She’s glad that she has someone on her side with no ulterior motives.

 

“Well thank you I appreciate it. It always feels good to have someone in your corner.”

 

“Oh you know it. It seems you have Jay in your corner too. You know I love being right…”

 

It kills Steffy to keep secrets from someone who clearly has her back but it doesn’t mean that she can’t.

 

“I will say it as many times as you like. You told me so and I am not ashamed you are right. I love him and I can’t tell the last time I have been this happy in a relationship.”

 

“That’s I ever really wanted Steffy. I just want you to be happy. I want Kelly to be happy and she can only know happiness if the person who loves her most can exude that. Sour faces make sour babies.”

 

“I love you and your weird analogies…”

 

“You know what…”

 

Lu doesn’t say anything after that but her face says it all. They hugged it out but it was time for Luisa to go because she had to pick up Michelle from school and Steffy needed to get some work done before she went home for the day.

Chapter Text

Steffy’s POV

 

After the confrontation with Hope, she at least had the gumption to stay the hell away from me. Donna had apologized and promised to have a better hold on Hope but it’s not like you can control someone’s movements. And I can’t stop Hope from going to communal areas that all staff are permitted to go to.

 

After a much needed session of catching up dad to some ideas that I came up with it’s was time for me to go back to the office and collect my things for the day because Jay would be here soon. I decide to take the steps instead of the elevator to help ease me back into my active lifestyle. As I open the door, I hear voices above me talking and I almost want to leave because I don’t want to intrude. But as soon as I hear Liam’s name it freezes me in place. I gently close the door, so it doesn’t make a sound.

 

“Well word on the street is he was kissing that Sally Spectra girl…”

 

“No! You have got to be kidding?! I thought she was dating the guy’s brother.”

 

“That’s the gag boo because she was. I don’t think they are dating anymore though. My sister works at the coffeeshop the Spectra girl goes too and she hasn’t seen Sally with the other brother in a while but she has seen Liam a couple of times…”

 

“That’s so fucked up…”

 

“I’m sorry but am I supposed to feel sorry for the do-nothing princess… she walking around heavily pregnant like we can’t put two and two together. They were messing around while Steffy was pregnant. My people are from the Caribbean and there’s a saying of the same way you get a man… is the same way he will leave you. And Liam is less than a man so…”

 

“I know it’s just the whole thing is wrong. I don’t really like Hope either but what happens when Steffy finds out?”

 

“And what about it? She living her best life periodt. Like clockwork I see her leaving the building hoppin’ into this fine ass man’s car. Only waffles she having is Belgian baby.” I don’t even need to see this to know exactly who these two are. It makes me laugh that Liam’s waffling tendencies are well known even if it makes me look like a bird.

 

What she is hearing doesn’t surprise her. Liam’s bullshit with Sally is what sent her over the edge in the first place.

 

“This is so messy though… Liam going about leaving destruction in the wake, but this could be a scandal for Steffy. Even though he don’t work here now he’s gotten two women pregnant here and kissing up on a third… it puts Forrester in a bad position…”

 

“I didn’t think of it like that. Okay let’s tell Donna… she’ll know what to do…” I think to myself Donna will know what to do. I hear them leave the stairwell and I go up the stairs to my floor.

 

“Hey hon… I had a cancellation for a meeting tomorrow. It’s already been rescheduled for another day. I updated your calendar so if you want to work from home or take the day off tomorrow you can.” Aunt Pam is a really good executive assistant for me.

 

“Thanks Aunt Pam… I think I will work from home tomorrow.” Of course when I work from home it means she can to which I know she loves.

 

“Sounds great hon… is that handsome young man going to pick you up again?” Of course… I should have known better she’s seen him before but hasn’t said anything until now.

 

“Aunt Pam if you really want to know then let’s not do this here…” I roll my eyes which only seems to make her even more excited.

 

We go into my office and she shuts the door and locks it.

 

“So who is he?” I can’t call him my husband so I think.

 

“His name is Jay and yes we are a couple…” I have to choose my words carefully because I don’t like lying to my family.

 

“Oh that’s so precious… he’s very easy on the eyes…”

 

“You would love to hear this… he’s from Chicago too…”

 

“Oh is he?! That’s just lovely Steffy… absolutely lovely.” I feel like Aunt Pam might fall for him too by the way she’s acting.

 

We both here a knock on the door and the door opens before either of us can say something.

 

It’s the man of the hour with a big bouquet of blue roses and my heart melts. We have no milestones I can think of off the top of my head so he did this because he felt like it.

 

“I didn’t mean to interrupt… I can come back…” He’s too polite which only will endear Aunt Pam more to him.

 

“Oh dear it’s no interruption. It is about that time that my girl would be leaving.”

 

“Jay, I don’t know if you formally met but this is my great Aunt Pamela. Aunt Pam this is Jay…”

 

“Pleasure to meet you Jay? I have to know are you a Cubbies fan or a Sox fan?”

 

“I come from a split household I root for both but when the Cubbies won the Series I admit I cried…”

 

“Oh Steffy he’s a keeper…” I can feel the heart eyes coming from her and I have the biggest grin on my face because I am definitely keeping the man.

 

“I could say the same my fellow Chicagoan…”

 

“You are just too sweet. Did you bring those for Steffy?” Even though it’s Pam asking it’s something I want to know too.

 

I see him slip out one rose and I think it’s so sweet to give Aunt Pam a rose…

 

“I’ve seemingly changed my mind. I’d like to give these roses to you, but I would like to keep this one…” That throws me for a loop but it’s like he is ensuring that Pam will love him forever.

 

“Oh my I was not expecting any flowers from gentlemen today. What do blue roses mean?”

 

“It’s about mystery and someone who marches to the beat of their own drum…” I bite my lip because I have to control myself. He knows me too well.

 

“Oh Steffy and I two peas in a pod on that front. I’m going to leave you two kids. I have to figure out just where on my desk I want these to go…” As Pam leaves it’s just the two of us. When he asks me for a pair of scissors, I know where he’s going with this and I let him.

 

He cuts most of the stem and slips the rose between my ear and hair. It was a happy coincidence I was wearing a ivory Grecian style maxi dress.

 

“Hello…”  Even when he says simple words it can just do things to me.

 

“Hello to you mister. Should I be worried that you are trying to romance my Aunt?”

 

“I don’t know… you think I have a shot?” I give him a good shove that makes him smug.

 

“Ooh that wasn’t a no though. I will make it my mission to make her love me.” He knows what good for him at least. As he keeps talking, he picks up all my stuff and we are leaving the back way.

 

“I don’t know about that. Wouldn’t your wife have something to say about that?” I love being able to talk like this even if it’s in private.

 

“I think she would but getting Ms. Pam to love me is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

 

He’s too smart for his own good sometimes. I just replay the earlier events in my head and I’m happy and nothing can take that bliss away from me. I would happily fight Aunt Pam for Jay’s ‘affections’ than to be caught up into the abyss of messiness that goes with being involved with a Spencer.

 

“My Aunt will catch these hands if she gets too feisty…” I’m only playing but our banter is really there to make each other laugh and no one makes me laugh harder than the guy who just open the car door for me.

 

“Oh you would fight for little old me?”

 

“Jay ain’t nothin’ little about you…”

 

“Hmm I love it when you stroke my ego and… other things…”

 

“Well I won’t stroke anything on your person if you don’t start driving. We have to pick up Kelly… my mom has a date…”

 

“Fine but its only your dad… Over the river and through the woods, off to pick Ms. Kelly and I’ll get the goods…”

 

“You are such a horndog…”

 

“Aww shucks thank you for noticing…”

 

I am having too much fun. Even though my workday has ended its still early enough that we can do something. I ask Jay how he feels about taking Kelly to the park. Getting a kiss as an answer was the best response he could give me. He’s definitely going to get the goods tonight.

Chapter Text

Pam’s idea about working from home was much needed for Steffy. She got a much needed sleep in. It was beautiful to not get out of bed at five in the morning. She still woke up at the time because her body was just used to it at this point, but she just spent that time with Jay. He had gotten used to her schedule too. Normally he would go for a run since his day started much later.

 

Even though she wanted to sleep in and her eyes felt sleepy her body wasn’t letting her fall asleep yet. She scooted closer to Jay. She knew he was up when arm wrapped around her.

 

They made sure to keep her their voices low because Kelly did not like her sleep to be disrupted.

 

“Hi… how did you sleep?”

 

“It was really good… it was really sweet of you to order dinner after the park…” Even though she loved to cook she was tired. There are times where she feels like she has so much energy but then the world catches up to her and she is exhausted.

 

“Well it was really the only option. You were tired and I really can’t cook many dishes. Kelly only eats the food I make for her because it’s a food processor that does the work…” The things Jay can cook, he does well but it can get tiresome with a person like Steffy who likes to eat different things.

 

“She’s an easy one to impress. I’m sure she just loves that it’s someone easy on the eyes that feeds her.” Steffy was still breastfeeding but they have slowly started introducing different foods into Kelly’s diet. So far she has been reasonable if it has been Jay feeding her.

 

“Do I get a reward for being… hmm what did you say again? Easy on the eyes…”

 

“I could have sworn I gave you a reward yesterday…” While Kelly was distracted with SpongeBob, they were able to get away without her wondering where they were.

 

Steffy was self-conscious at first because Jay was be the first person she had sex with since having Kelly. Her body was different than it was before she got pregnant. Even though she was still in the process of losing the most stubborn of baby weight Jay seemed to enjoy her body as much as she enjoyed what he did to it.

 

She was a little sensitive because she would have been embarrassed if he wanted a divorce because of that but she got so emotional when they had sex, she cried but then laughed at her ridiculousness. They were in love and her confidence came back to her full swing because she was bare and he was touching anywhere he could reach.

 

“I don’t think I can be rewarded enough…”

 

“I’d hate to spoil you rotten so… I think you can wait. Plus I’m not having sex with Kelly in the room…”

 

He becomes so petulant he grumbles softly so he doesn’t wake the baby sleeping just feet away from them and kicks the covers off of him.

 

“That conduct is so unbecoming…” Steffy knows she’s wrong when she slips a finger in her mouth and looks straight at him.

 

He just bites his fist to contain his scream and just leaves the room. Jay decided he would just put on his running gear on now and then take a shower when he got back. As he was passing Steffy he made sure to give her a thumbs down to show his displeasure with no words.

 

This just made his wife laugh out loud which was the catalyst to waking Kelly up. In the end he got the last laugh as he walked out the door and went to the gym in their building.

 

Steffy wasn’t so disappointed that Kelly was awake. She enjoyed being with her baby and gotten better with feeding her. While it’s still not her favorite thing to do, it is a bonding moment filled with benefits for the both of them.

 

Since she decided to work from home today she told Taylor that she would be keeping Kelly since she was working home. This in turn made her mother happy because Ridge decided to stay home himself. Steffy really did not need to know what her parents do in their spare time because she likes her sanity.

 

When Jay came back from the gym, Steffy was cooking breakfast and as he passed by she didn’t bother to hide her thirst. She didn’t know what it is was but something about him being sweaty did things to her. But every time she thought of him hot and sweaty she remembered that she really didn’t care for the funk that came along with it.

The only time she wouldn’t mind it is if she was stinky and sweaty herself. She was close to finishing breakfast for the both of them when Jay came back freshly showered looking like a new man.

 

She made him up his skincare game and introduced him to moisturizer and regular use of sunscreen. She told him that he had too many freckles to not know any better. She was going to do everything she could to keep him from having leathery skin. She likes that he listens to her with no fight because in the end she just wanted him in his best health.

 

When Jay came into the kitchen, he didn’t even greet her as he went to the food processor and started adding the vegetables he wanted to use and then went in the fridge and got some breastmilk and used a little water.

 

He started making Kelly’s next meal. It always impressed Steffy how serious he was about wanting to include her daughter in their life.  She loved him looking up recipes online that he would think the little girl might like. Adding spices to her food to introduce different flavors to her palate without going overboard.

 

She realized later that this was his way of bonding with Kelly. She had the breastfeeding, but he had this. It also feel even more confident in this marriage. Jay took it for what she did… a serious commitment... it was refreshing to her to be on the same page with someone. She did have a moment right after they got married of wondering if she ruined things by doing stuff too soon but looking at them together makes her feel complete.

 

“What’s on the menu today chef?”

 

When they work from home, he takes extra time to make Kelly’s meals. If it’s a day where they go to the office, he makes it the night before but he prefers fresh because Kelly deserves the best.

 

 

“I have decided on sweet potatos with some ground black pepper and salt, with a drizzle of honey and some cinnamon. I thought I would follow it up with a glass of water with squeezes of lime.” He really was going in with adding bold flavors but in subtle doses.

 

“Too bad you can’t make adults food like this babe because that sounds fucking amazing…”

 

“I’ll try one day if you’re worth it, so you better treat me right…”

 

“Well aren’t you a big ball of sass. I could eat this whole breakfast by myself you know…”

 

“You are treating me right so please don’t…” His quick surrender makes her do a little shimmy that makes Kelly giggle in her high chair.

 

The whole time the baby had been watching back and forth between the two of them. Smelling the food being cooked. She knew her mommy was making eggs because she remembered how they would look.

 

While Steffy had a little bit of resistance introducing new foods to Kelly, Jay never had that problem. He has the benefit of not having boobs which is what she always says but he doesn’t believe that.

 

Steffy gave him a side plate of a little egg for Kelly so the baby get some choline in her diet.

 

Breakfast was a mostly quiet affair. It was easiest to judge Kelly’s reaction to foods when it was quiet to see if she really liked something. They couldn’t really do that if she was distracted by noise like watching her cartoons.

 

She seemed to like Jay’s latest concoction which was another win in his book.

 

“How much work do you have to catch up on?”

 

She thought about it as she just watch Jay clean Kelly up as she finished her breakfast.

 

“Not much probably just some emails. My Aunt really freed up my schedule so we could both work from home. Which really means my Aunt is really sleeping in and has no desires to work today…”

 

“Haha my kinda lady…”

 

“Excuse you… You have a lady—”

 

“Yeah Kelly is great best part is she’s a cheap date…”

 

“You know what… I’m done with you…” In her mock seriousness she pouts and crosses her arms but when he kisses the pout it turns to more but when they start to hear shrieks they decide to stop.

 

They both look at Kelly who is wearing a not impressed face. It doesn’t take them long to start laughing uncontrollably at the personality of this little girl.

 

Steffy gets a text alert on her phone and she really wishes that she could get one day without a text from work. Why do people always contact her like her father doesn’t have the same job as her?

 

Hey, I know you are working from home today and tomorrow. We have a bit of a situation… It’s best discussed at the office. Can you come in tomorrow? -Donna

 

Steffy knew more than likely it has to do with the situation between Sally, Liam and Hope. Her morning was going so well without a mention of any of those names.

 

Hey Donna, is it something that 911? I can make it in tomorrow for the meeting how about 12pm? Or is it better that I come today? -Steffy

 

She really doesn’t want to go to the office today for anything least of all to deal with the mess between people she doesn’t like.

 

It can wait until tomorrow I believe. I’ll see you at 12pm at your office. Have a great day with umm… your friend… -Donna

 

Lol thank you and bye. -Steffy

 

It is still wild to her that Donna is the person keeping her mouth shut about her marriage.

 

“I have to go into the office for a meeting tomorrow but thankfully it’s only one. Are you going into work tomorrow?”

 

“Do you want me to?”

 

“It would be nice for Kelly and I to have you all to ourselves for two days straight…”

 

When he smiles it brings one to her face, they just interlock their hands and stare at each other. They can’t get lost in each other for too long because Kelly makes sure to let them know she’s still in the room when she whines.

 

“Let’s take her outside and get her some fresh air after I take my shower.”

 

“Sounds good to me. Who are you going to be today?”

 

“A unicorn…” She doesn’t bother to hear his opinion before she leaves.

 

“That’s not really an answer but okay. Mommy is a little crazy huh Kelly…”

 

When Jay sees the little girl laugh, he isn’t sure if she understands what he is saying but he always take it as agreement when the little girl laughs. The fact that she laughs the hardest when it’s about him roasting her mother makes him think that Kelly definitely knows more than she lets on.

 

 

Chapter Text

Steffy’s POV

 

Our morning routine was pretty much the same as yesterday except Jay and I decided to take a long walk in the morning with Kelly. It was great for me to get exercising again but at my own pace. Even though we decided to have breakfast at a restaurant we made sure to bring lots of food for Kelly.

 

I think Jay is astonished by the sheer amount of wigs that I have. His eyes went huge the first time he saw my wig collection. Granted I changed the closet of a bedroom to be my wig room. He’s not really surprised by the room anymore but just the amount of wigs that I have. It was great for me now since we could really be anonymous with something as simple as a wig.

 

“I wish I didn’t have to go in… I know it’s only one meeting but it’s one meeting too many…” It’s not funny how amused he is. He just minds his business as he feeds Kelly.

 

Our food came but I find it so sweet he doesn’t ever eat until after she does. He’s so intuitive asking the server if he could have sliced boiled eggs. Kelly always wants what’s on our plate. This is how I can tell she is my child because she has FOMO. She always wants what we are having so he makes sure to get something healthy, so he has something to give her.

 

“It won’t last too long right?” Jay would think that but considering those involved it doesn’t feel like it will a quick 1… 2 situation.

 

“Let’s just hope cooler heads will prevail…” I already know that a headache will start to form when I get to my office.

 

“So I’m guessing it would be better for me not to wait in the parking lot?”

 

“Yeah I think it would probably be the best idea. She liked the swings and there’s a park close to my job. Maybe you two can burn sometime there… Just don’t forget to reapply her sunscreen please…” I couldn’t take it if she got a sunburn.

 

“I’m offended you know! I could never forget. I even have my timer set ten minutes earlier before I need to apply. I won’t forget… I promise…” I know he hasn’t ever but I’m overly cautious when it comes to her.

He makes me smile when he sticks out his pinky. I interlock mine with his and roll my eyes. Why didn’t I listen to Lu? I could have been with Jay even longer… but I can’t get ahead of myself because I wouldn’t have Kelly if I had done those things.

 

“Don’t forget sunscreen for you too. I am dreading it but I should get to the office and deal with this shit…”

 

Jay gets the check while I get Kelly situated in her stroller.

 

It doesn’t take us long to get to FC. I start to take off my wig and brush my hair into a ponytail. I stopped being nervous about popping my wig in and out Jay a while back but I know it still confuses Kelly sometimes. She can only tell it’s me when I give her kisses.

 

When we get to the building I take a deep breath and make Jay take me to my private garage after we get through the checkpoint. It’s also easier to be away from prying eyes because Kelly is in the car.

 

“Bye baby…” After he says this, I pull his hand and put it next to my cheek and close my eyes for a second and allow myself to just get lost in the feeling of his touch.

 

“I’ll see you soon junior varsity. I’ll call you when I’m ready for you to pick me up…” I give him a quick kiss and I get out to give Kelly some kisses before they drive away.

 

I go into my private entrance into the building which is great for not dealing with many people. I take the secret way to my office. I take a seat and play Candy Crush while I wait until it’s time.

 

Hey I wanted to arrive some minutes before the meeting to give you a breakdown. Hope and Sally will be there too. -Donna

 

I just tell Donna to come and I get up to unlock the door so she can get in. Since Pam is not here today, I really do have to do things on my own.

 

When I hear those knocks, I just take two seconds to close my eyes. Donna enters and her face is just what I expected it to be… not happy.

 

“Hey Donna…”

 

“Hey Steffy, sorry to drag you into the office today. I know you were working from home, but we have a bit of a situation. Normally we don’t really get into the private lives of employees. However, it was brought to my attention that… I’ll be frank that Sally was seen kissing Liam…” When I give her that are you serious look pretending to be surprised… I can see that she believes it.

 

“So Liam works quick, this is just great and I am guessing Hope knows…”

 

“Yes, I was the one that told her and there was a little bit of a shouting match after you and I spoke. Thankfully the door was locked but people passing by could probably hear the raised voices even if it was muddled.” This is a headache. I used to be the one doing that shit and it annoyed me then as much as it annoys me now.

 

“I’m fed up already Donna… I have put FC in too much of an ambitious lane to be undermined by shit like this.”

 

“I know that’s why I came to you to see how you wanted to handle this. I haven’t gone to HR yet because I wanted to see your take first.” I know just about everything we can do from a HR standpoint so it’s good she didn’t bother them yet with this. I am sure they would tie us up if they could.

 

When we hear a knock, Donna goes behind my desk. It’s good to look like we are a united front on this subject.

 

When the door opens it’s Hope first and she doesn’t look sure on what to do. I tell her that she can take a seat in front of me.

 

Sally comes maybe ten seconds after and she looks just as happy to be hear as Hope is. She takes the other seat in front of my desk.

 

Since Donna has more clarity about the dustup between the two, I let her go first.

 

“So we have brought you two here to discuss somethings that have occurred…”

 

“What has occurred is that Sally is being wrong with her actions…” And so it begins…

 

“That’s rich coming from you since you are waddling about don’t you think?” This is really no time for me to be impressed by Sally’s comeback. As much as I want to make popcorn and enjoy the show, I can’t have them antagonizing each other on company property.

 

“Enough. I didn’t come into the office to listen to you squabble. I have better things to do with my time… I don’t care what happens on your free time so long as it doesn’t negatively effect the company. However you are on company property you need to represent FC in a positive fashion. Having screaming matches where anyone walking by is privy to certainly isn’t one of them. You two don’t even work in the same department so your interactions are mostly minimal barring communal spaces.”

 

“Well tell that to her. She came to the designers’ studio and tried to embarrass me in front of my colleagues.”

 

“I wouldn’t have to do that if you kept your lips to yourself…”

 

“Oh you are saying I should do as you say and not as you do Hope. I’m an adult and I sure as hell do not need to listen to you. You are the biggest hypocrite in this building!” This would be interesting if it didn’t undermined my company.

 

“Stop! You can save the fighting for non-company property. If you two think that you can continue whatever this is then you will be looking for new employment. Neither of you were my hires so I have no problems being strictly by the book with either of you.”

 

“I am a great designer for FC, she’s the one with the rep of doing nothing and stamping her name on it…”

 

“Sally tread lightly because I could have sworn that’s what you did when you stole Forrester designs trying to revive your tired Spectra Fashions…” Ugh they are annoying me now and I’m losing my patience. I just look to Donna who just shrugs.

 

“One more outburst I will have both terminated for insubordination.” They both shut the hell up now.

 

“I have learned to co-exist with the both of you. You need to learn to do the same with each other. Detrimental conduct will not be tolerated. Hope you have no reason to go to the designers’ studio and Sally the same goes for you in the PR department. They are on different floors so your interaction should be minimal to nonexistent. If you two happen to be in communal setting such as the gym or one of the eateries you will give each other the minimal respect that every employee is expected to give to another. I am not here to micro-manage either of you but if your direct bosses find the situation is untenable then we will have to remedy this. I am giving you both a verbal warning and I will be alerting HR to record this in your jackets…”

 

Once they see how serious I am, they finally see that this situation is not one where either of them is in the right while the other is wrong.

 

“I hope that you two can use this opportunity as learning opportunity. You need to be businesswomen. You are going to encounter people you may not get along with in personal settings but you have to work with them in a professional manner and the expectations of professionalism must always be maintained because at the end of the day you really only have your reputation. When you walk through the door, you should never have to think of a perspective partner thinking of what fights you have gotten into at work or being painted as difficult. Let the work you produce be your bread and butter… it’s already difficult to be a woman in business but you don’t want your less than stellar professional moments to be what you are known for… especially when both of you have more to offer.” Donna is being really generous with her words, but I don’t mind being the stick and she the carrot if it means I don’t have to deal with this shit.

 

Both of them nod and Sally says that she needs to get back because she promised to send dad some sketches before she goes to lunch.

 

Hope asks to speak to me privately and Donna just looks at us wondering if she should stay and referee but I told her that we would be fine.

 

“Hope, what is it that you want to talk about?” I quickly text Jay that he can start making his rounds and come pick me up. I don’t plan on staying that much longer regardless of what Hope wants to talk about.

 

“I know that you have to do things the professional way. I am going to hold up my end of the bargain because I am not losing my job thanks to her but she is wrong. She’s kissing Liam out in the open. She dumped Wyatt just so she could set her sights on Liam. It’s wrong…” Hope I guess never learned the phrase ‘know your audience’…

 

“Hope, we aren’t friends and I’m not sure I am the right person you should be talking about this too but you should really take a look at your life. Yes Sally did kiss Liam, but Liam also kissed her. As much indignation you can have with her it should be more magnified towards him. Because at the end of the day you made yourself the fool by going to her and embarrassing yourself at your place of employment... Did that fight make you feel better? Because all it did was get you reprimanded and a warning that could eventually lead to your pink slip. Fix your life before your child comes into this world.”

 

“But she knows that Liam is with me and she did it anyways. Liam and I made a commitment and she wants to trample all over it. When I first came back to town, she was talking about how she cares for him so much and alluding to the fact that she wanted to be with him.” I really thought I would have to bite my tongue but I don’t feel any anger. I’m secure in my now that I don’t care about the past.

 

“Hope, I would talk about that commitment with Liam because Sally has shown she cares little for it and at the end of the day it should be Liam’s responsibility to not put his lips on anyone else’s if you make a commitment to each other. You need to decide for yourself if you want to deal with this and if you want to bring your child into this.”

 

“Is that what you did?” It takes all of my will to not roll my eyes.

 

“Yes… I deserve a hell lot more than always chasing after someone. I don’t need or want that in my life. I fought for someone who was not worth an ounce of my time. I just shifted back to me fighting for myself and once I did that. I won… point blank. Hopefully this doesn’t go one ear and out the other. We may not be friends but I don’t wish Liam upon any woman… I have to go... so please see yourself out.”

 

I get a chime on my phone and I know it’s Jay.

 

I’m done and coming down now mon amour. 😘 -Steffy

 

😍. We’re making a pit stop for ice cream on the way home. Kelly wants some and you can’t really say no to babies. -Jay

 

I don’t even know how you could know Kelly specifically wants ice cream but I’ll do it because my ❤️s waited for me. -Steffy

 

He makes me laugh… I have no problems telling Kelly no, so I don’t know why he uses Kelly as an excuse to get ice cream. It’s not my fault that he’s been suckered by a baby.

 

 

Chapter Text

Ever since the meeting Steffy had with Hope and Sally, the ladies did stay away from each other. Scaring them straight with the repercussions that would follow if they had another dust up at the office really hit home. Sally needed her job more than anyone else, so she wasn’t going to let anyone ruin that. Hope wanted her job to prove that she isn’t the do-nothing girl that people think she is.

 

In the end Steffy didn’t care. If they work, then they work and if they don’t there’s someone ready for the opportunity to replace them.  She doesn’t have to pretend because Liam isn’t there to lecture her anymore of why she should be more ‘compassionate’. Steffy knows that she is a compassionate person, but she never believed it extended to essentially sharing her partner with people that she knows have feelings for said partner.

 

She felt like she was in the twilight zone most of the time. But she didn’t think about the past much anymore. She was surprised when Liam didn’t blow off his last two scheduled visits.

 

On one hand the judge all but threatening to tighten the visitation schedule and him potentially losing his rights if he kept going down that road but on the other hand, it could be that Liam found out about Taylor registered Kelly as Kelly Hamilton Forrester and not Spencer or even Hopkins. Steffy knows he has to know because when he got served it had Kelly’s name there.

 

Taylor had been pissed when Steffy gave birth. Her mother hated the sight of just about every Spencer. She didn’t take kindly to the fact that the father was lusting after her daughter while the son was making Steffy grovel like she wasn’t good enough. So she did what she had to do because she knew eventually her daughter would wake up and be done with feeling used and discarded.

 

When Liam tried to petition the court to have Kelly’s name changed, he was informed that he would need Steffy to sign off on it because Kelly didn’t meet the exceptions.

 

When Justin tried to tell her lawyer that it made Steffy laugh. Liam could do all this work to try and change Kelly’s name but not see Kelly. She didn’t take too much stock in him finally going to two visits when he missed seventeen so far.

 

She was back in the office, catching up on her work wanting to be ready for the big inter-department meeting.

 

She loved doing those meetings because it was a great way to show employees how every cog in the machine moves and how it is vital into making the company work. She’s taken plenty of notes because she loves being hands-on with her teams. Helping support their ideas and enhancing them.

 

The reason so many people at the company love Steffy is because she really is approachable and ready to assist with ideas and loves when people think outside the box. It’s wasn’t to say that every idea would pan out, but she always did lend an ear to every kind of employee from the executive floor all the way down in the mailroom.

 

At the last minute that’s where she decided to go. She told Pam that she would be mostly indisposed of until the meeting, but she would have her phones on her if needed.

 

It’s been a while since she was there, but she always liked to visit the mailroom. It’s one of the pulses of the company. Whether it was designer’s getting fabrics from vendors or hiring managers getting portfolio submissions from candidates, Steffy has seen it all.

 

When she gets to the mailroom, she sees someone who just might be the youngest employee in the company. The greenness was just rolling like a wave from her.

 

“Hi, you look a little overwhelmed… you want some help?” The girl was by herself and had mountains of mail and packages to sort through.

 

“Oh that would be so nice! My boss was here she sliced her hand really badly processing some of the boxes and there was a bug going around so some of my coworkers had to call out. My friend went to use the bathroom and then boom all this mail shows up. It’s only our third day here!” It took everything in Steffy not to chuckle. It wasn’t funny but it was so typical of a normal day. Always trying to make things work under the toughest of circumstances. Logistics and shipping always have it the hardest in her opinion. It’s the divisions most effected by outside influences.

 

“I totally get it! I used to work down here and the same thing happened to me so many times I couldn’t really give you a number. All right first what’s your name?”

 

“It’s Melanie…” The young girl sticks out her hand like she learned in her job etiquette classes.

 

“I’m Stephanie… nice to meet you…” Steffy shakes the girl’s hand. “…I’ll show you some great ideas that helped me cut down on my sorting time. First most of the time the mail will have a descriptor like attention HR. You have this buckets, for every division in the company. So the easiest mail will be done and out of the way. The more tricky stuff would be something that doesn’t say attention but it will have someone’s name. We always keep the most up to date list of every person in every department on this sheet. There’s several places where this sheet is because it’s a great reference. I like to always have a sharpie in my pocket so I can put the division it will need to go to like this one here I know that this person works in the PR department…”

 

Of course Steffy still has her trusty sharpie and pulls it out and writes PR on it and then puts it into the bin. “… It’s great when you have at least a two-person team because while someone can initially sort stuff the other person can bundle. That’s why there’s so many rubber bands next to the bins even if you are by yourself it will help a lot still. Once you get used to doing it for a while you will start to remember who is who and won’t even need the sheet to know who is in what department.

 

They start to sort the mail when someone new joins the fold. Steffy explains the system that she uses with the new person Jasmine. Steffy decides to help labeling what departments the mail should go to since she knows every person in every department.

 

What seemed like such a daunting task in the beginning was easily tackled when they got a system in order. Steffy knows there’s plenty of systems that would work just fine but she gave them tidbits on what worked for her.

 

Steffy wanted to create an atmosphere of getting work done but also making it less daunting because they were so new, so she asked them about how they got their jobs. She found out they were students from FIDM and this was an internship opportunity for the both of them.

 

“I want to be a creative director one day, but this is a great way to get into the door you know. Forrester Creations is so respected and great place to put on your resume…” Steffy learned this one preferred to be called Jazz instead of her full name.

 

“But you don’t think them sticking you in the mailroom is kinda the opposite of that…” Steffy wanted to know as much as she could about every employee and how they think.

 

They had finished sorting out all the mail and proceeded to the elevator to start distributing the mail.

 

“Yeah I guess you could think of it like that but we don’t. Like Steffy is the big boss here but she started out in the same room as us. Like yeah her last name is Forrester but she went to school and got an MBA and still started out in the mailroom. She rose from the actual basement into the executive office. Some people might balk at being in the mail room but not us because Jazz and I are designers… creatives whatever you want to call us but so many companies have gone under because creatives didn’t know how to execute a realistic business plan or have any knowledge things like logistics. Like Max Azria had to leave his own brand after running it into the ground. The mailroom forces you to be organized and then execute it. We want to have our own brand one day and in the early days we are going to have to have every hat. We are going to have to be packing and shipping, SEO and marketing, balancing budgets, making designs. It’s great having two CEOs here because they are balanced. One is great doing the creative stuff not that he couldn’t run the business because he could it’s just he can really focus on the designs while the other CEO can optimize the analytical, marketing and logistic angle of running the company.” Steffy was impressed with Melanie’s thorough answer. It is hard to believe that this girls’ are freshman in college because that kind of thought doesn’t hit much people until much later.

 

“Every job here is vital… our boss Dania started out as a barista at Starbucks when she was our age. She has a knack for retaining knowledge and has been teaching us exercises that optimize our time and efficiency and she’s righthand woman for the VP for logistics. It just sucks that she had that accident…” As Steffy learns more from Jazz she really wants to know about what happened to Dania.

 

They get a couple of looks as they distribute the mail, but no one says anything. She can’t believe neither of the girls recognized her but a ball cap and her glasses seems to do the trick.

 

“What happened to Dania?”

 

“One of her contacts fell out as was she cutting threw the binding that was holding up boxes, we needed to ship out purchase orders. She has bad astigmatism in that eye and then sliced clean and deep into her hand by mistake.” As the girls explain what happened to Dania it made Steffy feel so bad for the woman. Jay has astigmatism in one of his eyes and has hurt himself at night trying to get around without his contacts or glasses on every now and again.

 

“That’s horrible… hopefully they can patch her up at the hospital and we can make her job easier by getting on her checklist done…” Steffy trained Dania so she really feels for the woman.

 

They have gone through each floor and distributed all the mail… so they only have to ship purchase orders at this point.

 

“Yeah, I hope so too. She wouldn’t have even been in the mailroom training us if everyone didn’t get sick. We only work three times a week, but they ordered some takeout yesterday and everyone got sick from it. So when we came to work today it was just us and Dania came down to help us.” Talk about a series of unfortunate events.

 

“Well I think you ladies have handled yourselves really well under the circumstances. I am sure I can help get you two some help with the purchase orders that need to go out, but do you want to go to an inter-department meeting. It would be great experience for what you two want to achieve…”

 

“Like hell yeah… I mean yeah that’s cool but how can you get us in there?” Steffy finds Jazz’s outburst to be so cute.

 

“Hmm well I know Pam…” The interns still don’t realize who they are speaking with...

 

“Like Pam as in the executive assistant to the CEOs. You think she would really let some interns into the meeting?”

 

Melanie is a little skeptical even though she has gotten so much help from her new work friend.

 

“She’s super nice and always has desserts. Pam’s always willing to help and she loves wheeling and dealing trust me… Let’s go…” Both interns just stare at each other but follow this woman to the executive floor. A place neither intern has been to yet.

 

When they get there and see the older woman at her desk they can’t help but notice the huge bouquet of flowers on the desk.

 

“Hi Ms. Douglas…” Pam looks up and sees Steffy with two young women behind her… she remarks they look a little scared.

 

When she heard Steffy calling her Ms. Douglas instead of Aunt Pam she knew that these girls don’t know who her niece is.

 

“Well hello! I’ve never seen you two before. Hi I’m Pamela Douglas…”

 

“Yeah we know! I mean nice to meet you Ms. Douglas.” Jazz trips over herself trying to keep her composure because they are on the executive floor speaking to one of the most powerful people in the company.

 

“Oh sweetheart no need for that. You can just call me Ms. Pam. I have some treats if you like. Today’s menu include… tuxedo brownies and s’mores. I figured that’s what the kids like these days…” What Pam really meant was that it would be what Steffy and Jay liked…

 

“That would be awesome. Stephanie said that you could get us into the inter-department meeting. We would love to be able to just get that kind of experience. We’re interns…”   

 

Melanie hopes they didn’t overstep their bounds.

 

“Oh I sure can. Grab yourselves a snack and let’s skedaddle. I have to get there myself so I can take the minutes for the meeting…”

 

The interns say bye to Steffy with huge smiles on their face and brownies in their hands. She’s alone now and briefly looks at the purple roses that Pam received and she smiles to herself and goes to her office to get dressed for the meeting.

 

It doesn’t take long for Steffy to get ready for the meeting. She is probably one of the last to arrive though because no one likes to be the one to arrive after Steffy.

 

She sees her father at the end of a table and she goes to be close but opposite to him.

 

“Hi… I was wondering if you two could find other seats please. I’d like my two new friends Mel and Jazz to sit next to me please…” To most people it would sound like they were being shunned but the employees took it in stride. So many people in the company know that Steffy loves to mentor people especially young women.

 

The girls had originally sat behind Pam and were confused when the CEO of the company asked them to sit with her. It finally dawned on the two of them that the Stephanie who had helped them was Steffy Forrester. They sit in the seats and are nervous now they know who she is.

 

“My Aunt Pam brought you two some notebooks so you can get some ideas on how the realities of different facets of business work. I was really proud to get to work with you two today... I think you have bright futures ahead of you.” After Steffy tells them this both Mel and Jazz felt more at ease. Steffy gave the girls a wink for good measure. Ridge was proud to see his daughter stay hands-on with the employees. He quickly introduced himself to the young women his daughter worked with today before both he and Steffy started to give breakdowns of the meeting agenda.

 

Everyone in the room started to pay attention to the duo and watch their leaders lead by example and give their own ideas before opening the floor.

 

This is what Steffy had always wanted to get back to and everything she does has a new sense of fulfillment that she can’t get enough of.

Chapter Text

The custody case was in the thick of it and Liam had racked up two more visits in addition to the two he had before. It didn’t really impress the judge, but she did say that it was a step in the right direction and hoped that Liam would stick with it.

 

The thing that bothered Steffy so much was that Liam kept looking in her direction as if she was supposed to give him any time of day.

 

She knew what he was doing and she absolutely hated it. Any time Liam would feel any kind of permanence of her being done that’s when he fought to keep her in his orbit. It wouldn’t work though. She was hip to his manipulative ways and she wasn’t going to stand for it. Him visiting his daughter sometimes didn’t impress her. The fact that he thought that would be something she would fawn over was just laughable to her.

 

The judge told them both that nothing would be changing in the custody order which pleased Steffy enough. Liam didn’t see any distaste from Steffy, so he was also pleased at this.

 

All she ever wanted was for Liam to be the father Kelly deserves but if he’s only doing this to try and get Steffy close to him then he will find himself at a crossroads because Steffy has moved on from him. It’s not her problem if he chose not to believe it.

 

She made sure to have her lawyers with her at all times so he wouldn’t be slick enough to try and talk to her. Steffy knows he would only do this if she were alone. These were the times she wanted to have Jay with her.

 

She could fight her own battles, but it was nice to have the support of her husband. It wasn’t discounted by her that Taylor came to support and her mother sending daggers Liam’s way also kept him from coming over when the judge decided the new temporary parameters.

 

Not much has changed. The judge decided because Kelly was so young it made no sense to move the child from home to home and possibly disorient her. The supervised visitation would still take place which Steffy didn’t object too and Liam couldn’t if he wanted to.

 

Steffy had decided to have this day off so her mother took her straight home after. Taylor had volunteered to stay with her but she told her mother that she would be fine. She did ask if her parents could keep Kelly for the night. She told her mother she wanted to be with Jay.

 

Taylor thought that was a good idea. She was happy that her daughter didn’t want to live a hermit life and move on with her life. It was really the only way she knew that her daughter wouldn’t be stuck on Liam or contemplate a reunion.

 

These were the kind of times she thought her daughter was most vulnerable but Steffy told her that she felt fine… Steffy just needed some time to decompress and feel normal after the kind of heavy day court brings to her.

 

Taylor gave Steffy a hug and kiss and then waited until she saw her daughter get inside of her building.

 

Steffy just made her way to the elevators and was just excited to see her husband again. In reality it wasn’t like she was gone long but it just felt like an eternity. Even though she has done everything right court always makes her nervous no matter what. You never really know how it will go even if you do all you can to be on the right side.

 

When Steffy got back to her condo she got an alert from her financial manager. Her manager told her that none of her maintenance payments were sent and was wondering if she had decided to sublet her condo.

 

She thought that was weird and told them that she would talk to the office about the mishap.

 

When Steffy got home she couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of Jay watching Netflix eating chips on the couch. He looked like he had no worries in the world.

 

They made eye contact and his smile instantly lifted her mood. He came over and kissed her like they hadn’t seen each other in weeks. She could taste he salt and vinegar on his lips which made it all the more enticing to kiss him.

 

“Hey…” He was as cool as a cucumber.

 

“Hey you… I missed you. Kelly’s going to spend the night with my parents…”

 

“I missed you too…” Jay started to get animated with his wife which really started to lift her mood “… are you like saying you want to take me out on a date?” He didn’t have enough hair to twirl so he twirled hers.

 

“Yeah I’d like to take my hubby out on a date…”

 

“Let me check my calendar… Hmm looks like I’m free for the rest of my life…” He kisses her again and it’s even more passionate than the last one. She wraps her arms around him and is about to wrap her legs but he stops her

 

“If you wrap your legs around me babe there’s no chance of a date… prove to me you’re not with me for my body…”

 

He sends her into a fit of laughter saying that… it’s these times where she isn’t expecting him to make her laugh that she laughs the hardest.

 

She tells him that she’s going to get ready. It wouldn’t take long because she wasn’t actually doing much, she was just changing her clothes and fixing her hair so she could put on a wig. Anytime Steffy puts on a wig she feels like Sydney Bristow from Alias and she wants to start fighting people just cause.

 

She decided on her blue dyed black hair wig that she loved so much and maxi dress and keep it simple.

 

When she came out, she saw Jay was ready to go with new pants on and she wondered when he went to the bedroom because she didn’t hear him but then she thought it was probably from the laundry.

 

“You look so pretty…” She thinks that she loves his lazy smile the most.

 

“You always say I look pretty…” She starts walking so he can’t see how his compliment makes her feel joy.

 

“Because you always do. I like to state the obvious duh…” She loves the banter they have. She never notices how far they get when they talk because the next time she pays attention he’s opening the car door for her.

 

“I thought I was Captain Obvious…”

 

“I guess you are starting to rub off on me…”

 

“I’d rather be rubbing on you…” She starts adjusting herself and lifts her dress up so she can have easy access.

 

She knows enough that her husband’s eyes are always following her and she licks her finger. She watches him while he watches her fuck herself. She taunts him with laughter and tells him to start driving. The vibrations from engine roaring alive makes Steffy moan which makes Jay bit hit lip and his fingers grip the steering wheel.

 

He knows the precise moment that his wife adds another finger because her eyes start rolling and she rolls her hips. She tells him where she wants to eat as she just fucks herself and he can barely pay attention because in between each word she’s screaming.

 

She orgasms at the fourth stoplight. Just when he thinks it’s over, she puts those fingers right back into her mouth and he’s jealous because he wanted to taste her.

 

“You want kiss me?” The light turns green before he could answer her.

 

“Fuck…”

 

“Don’t worry I’m sure there’s other red lights in our journey…”

 

Turns out it was not meant to be because it was practically green the whole way, so Jay really did have to pay attention to the road and nothing else. He was laughed at the whole ride long and he contemplated revenge.

 

When they got to the restaurant, the time was spent catching each other on their day and Jay really wanted to hear how court was and how she was doing. She loved that he was so attentive to her feelings. To Steffy it made her feel better than the gifts he could buy her because that was something so neglected in her past relationships.

 

“You know something weird happened today… my financial manager asked if I was subletting the condo. I told him no and he told me that the office hasn’t collected any of my payments for the maintenance. Did you pay it?” Steffy really didn’t have any problem with Jay wanting to but she really wished that he would have said something. They are supposed to be keeping their marriage under wraps.

 

“You don’t remember? We talked about this Stephanie… We were in bed and I told you I owned the building and it didn’t feel right collecting money from you. You laughed and I said you didn’t need to pay me to cum… I’d do it for free…”

 

He licks his lips and just looks at her and she is caught between laughter and trying to remember when they had this conversation.

 

“In bed junior varisty… come on was it before or after we had sex?”

 

“I believe it was after…”

 

“You can’t talk to me after sex… I won’t remember anything!”

 

“How is that my fault? Should I be faulted that I play your body like symphony…”

 

“You’re so fucking corny… It does feel kinda nice that you wouldn’t do such a crummy thing and collect money from me and keep it a secret.”

 

“You’re my wife… It would also be really cruel to have you pay to maintenance to live there when I own the building and live with you. I love you too much to ever take advantage of you in anyway.” He meant it… he would never knowingly hurt her.

 

“You don’t know how that’s such a foreign concept for me.” Most of her prior relationships left much to be desired but she was glad to come out on the other side. That’s what made this so sweet.

 

“Well seems like most of the people you have been with... trash but them fucking up has led to me being with you…”

 

“This is true and I am happy to be where I am now…” She loves that she found love when she least expected it. It’s what made this all the more alluring.

 

They ate their dinner talking and eating off each other’s plates. Steffy was grateful her mother was able to watch Kelly tonight so she could have this time with her husband.

 

“Don’t be alarmed but I think Liam is here…” Steffy freezes all over when she hears that. She doesn’t dare look behind, but Jay is crafty and uses his phone and records and zooms in.

 

He shows Steffy and sure enough it is Liam with Hope. She starts to go over how he would try to guilt trip her being out on a date after being in court today.

 

Steffy wasn’t facing them and she had her wig on and Jay’s jacket which helped her feel a little more assured. She didn’t want Liam to try and weaponize her being out with Jay into an advantage in court. She was allowed to have a life too, but she didn’t want that to somehow bite her in the custody case.

 

They were done with dinner and Steffy was ready to get out of there. Jay asked for the check and paid.

 

When they got up Steffy made sure to keep her back to them and Jay monitored everything in a subtle manner. Steffy made sure to keep her face to turned to the opposite side of Liam and Hope and Jay was walking with her to shield her body from them as much as possible.

 

Jay was happy he had decided against using valet so they could walk to the car without having to wait for anyone and potentially see either Hope or Liam.

 

Steffy was happy to be out of there and wanted to go on the second part of their date. They went to a movie theater that played classic movies. She loved coming here because most of the time it wouldn’t be many people who come to the night shows so they could be alone in a big theater.

 

She wanted to have her dinner and a movie and no one was going to stop her least of all would be Liam.

She saw that they had a screening of Roman Holiday so she chose that. Jay bought popcorn even though she said she didn’t want any. He learned a while back always get the popcorn no matter what his wife says because she will want it later.

 

When they get to their theater, they go all the way to the top and back row off center just like Steffy likes.

 

She always loved the experience of watching a movie at theaters. Nothing compares to the big screen for her.

 

She sees Jay starting to move and hike her dress up and thinks he’s crazy.

 

“Jay what the hell are you doing?” She picks up the popcorn and starts reclining her seat to make it easier for him to slip her panties off.

 

“Getting what I deserve…”

 

“Is this for the restaurant because if so—”

 

“No this is for the car…” She starts to laugh when she remembers earlier but it stops as soon as starts eating his favorite snack.

 

Steffy couldn’t think of anything better than to get eaten out of at the movies while eating popcorn and having a Coke.

 

There’s no one with them so she doesn’t bother holding back moans. She pulls him by the hair even closer. All he can breathe is her. He didn’t let up until he made her orgasm. He thought thank goodness for the reclining seats.

 

“Jay find my underwear…”

 

“Ah…ah…ah, I’ll be holding onto them.” He slipped his souvenir in his back pocket and sipped his coke He took the popcorn from his wife and got up. “You said you didn’t want any popcorn, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way to watch the movie.”

 

She can’t believe that he really does leave and sits about two rows below her and is carefree sipping on the soda, eating the popcorn and watching the movie like she isn’t even there.

 

She would have been laughed in disbelief if she wasn’t so impressed that Jay was being petty on a level she had to appreciate.

 

Chapter Text

The courts had decided to stick with the current agreement and only allow Liam supervised visits. Even though he started to show up to more scheduled meetings, they were still pretty sporadic that Judge Carmichael decided that it did not make any sense to upgrade any custody decisions based upon Liam’s pattern of attendance.

 

The custody lawyer Justin referred him too knew it was a losing fight given the space between each visit but still rigorously defended Liam. Hope had taken upon herself to start showing up in court and all it did was make Judge Carmichael and social services think that Kelly was not a top priority. The visible evidence of that came into the courtroom plenty of times to prove that.

 

Liam and his lawyer had argued that he wanted his daughters to have an opportunity to grow up and be close and that could only really happen if the join custody was given.

 

When Steffy looked at the Judge and the Bailiff she saw the both of them shake their head. He got reprimanded by Lola Carmichael, she said if Liam wanted his daughters to grow up as sisters then in two visits a month to the child he already have just wasn’t cutting it. The scheduled visits are usually don’t pass three hours of time. Six hours of supervised visits do not make for parenting material. He could maybe get a decent rating on Angie’s List.

 

Liam was getting ready to butt in, wanting to tell his side but his lawyer told him to shut the hell up. He only speaks when the judge asks other than that, any questions are referred to him and he will decide how to advocate for Liam.  

 

Hope had wanted to say something herself, but the lawyer didn’t believe she would be a beneficial witness on his behalf. She was pissed that she wouldn’t be able to speak and let the lawyer know that. In turn the lawyer told her that on what Earth did she think that a woman heavily pregnant by the same man fight for custody of an infant child who hasn’t celebrated a year on Earth was a good idea.

 

James the attorney told her she is a walking testament that Liam does not make good decisions and that his battle for custody will ultimately end up with someone other than himself would be taking care of Kelly. Liam’s VERY limited time only added to that.

 

Hope thought that James was being sharp with the both of them and said as much. She didn’t get a fluff answer she wanted to hear when he told her that the both of them only make it more difficult for him. Her coming to court as a show of support really only added to the detriment. Liam’s track record and his decisions only exacerbate that the social worker’s assessments and the judge’s belief that the custody arrangement should stay as is.

 

When Steffy quietly submitted to the court that she was in a committed partnership was when things started to get more intense.

 

The social worker interviewed Jay and found out that he was living with Steffy and Kelly under the same roof. Steffy and Jay had no intention of telling anyone that were married. Jay really showed how involved in Kelly’s life and how important he and Steffy work as a unit to make Kelly happy.

 

There was a point of concern during a couple of visits that the social worker made when Kelly only referred to Jay as ‘dada’. Steffy didn’t want the social worker thinking that Kelly was in anyway being forced to call Jay anything. It was something that came naturally to the baby. It actually miffed Steffy because she had wanted Kelly’s first words to be mama but alas.

 

The social worker had only written in her notepad and said nothing to either of them. She asked many questions to Jay and he couldn’t really gauge if he was doing well or not because the social worker was was very closed off in the interview. These were one of the few times in his life where he felt that being charming would not be in his favor, so he was just straightforward.

 

He knows no one could determine him leaving besides him and Stephanie but he also didn’t want to hurt his wife’s custody agreement.

 

There was one visit that was unannounced, Jay had been coaxing Kelly to walk holding her little hands to help keep her balance. Steffy went to answer the door when she was starting to prep lunch and was surprised that the social worker didn’t call ahead. Before she could really warn Jay, the social worker had come upon a scene and started to record everything she saw in her notes.

 

“Come on sweetheart, I know you can walk. Come to me sweetheart…” His voice was so calm and soothing to the baby. Kelly looked determined to do what Jay asked and started walking. He would take steps back and the little girl kept coming forward, excited that she was walking which just kept giving her more excitement. Jay gradually let go so she could walk by herself and he took several large steps back. Kelly sure didn’t appreciate the distance because she started running to him. He had arms wide open and she just ran into them and he scooped her up.

 

He gave her kisses that made her squeal in delight.

 

“You did so good sweetheart! Yes you did. I’m so proud of you. I know mama is going to be so jealous when I tell her. She’s been trying for weeks…”

 

“So…” That was definitely not the answer he thought he was going to get and it actually made the social worker crack up. The social worker had who a face of stone was just watching this display with Steffy that neither Jay or Kelly could see.

 

“Sometimes I wonder about you and how much you know…” He holds her in the air and gives her a playful lookover that makes her giggle.

 

“Mama… mama!” Kelly eyeline finds her mother with the social worker but Kelly doesn’t remember the lady’s name.

 

Jay turns around, proud and ready to rub it in Captain Obvious’s face but he sees that she isn’t alone.

 

His demeanor changes a little bit and he just brings Kelly back to his body and drops playful demeanor not knowing if it was something the social worker would like.

 

“Daddy!” Kelly did not like the change in his demeanor and put her on hands on cheek trying to force him to smile. She likes playing with his face which has led to a couple of slaps and Steffy cheering her on.

 

“Hello Mr. Halstead-Voight… Hello Kelly…” Steffy had taught Kelly enough times how to wave when someone said hi. So many times that she doesn’t have to be told to do it that much anymore. She waves to the social worker after trying to make Jay smile.

 

“Hello Ms. Jenkins…” Jay moves Kelly to one side and walks over to shake the social worker’s hand. This was the first time that the woman’s face wasn’t so blank when speaking with him.

 

“I thought to give you a visit today before I submit my findings to my boss and the court.” Those words still have a way of making Steffy nervous but Jay told her nothing is really in their control and all they could do was be good to Kelly and hope the court and Ms. Jenkins could see that Kelly is where she needs to be.

 

“Oh well is there any other questions you would like to know about?” Steffy is a little nervous because she didn’t expect the visit. All of the previous visits had been discussed before and she knew what to expect from those.

 

“No I believe I have all I need... thank you Ms. Forrester and Mr. Halstead-Voight. I’ll be going now…”

 

Steffy walked the woman out and hoped everything would be fine.

 

Now they were in court and it was the first time that Jay came. Since Steffy submitted to the court that she was in a committed relationship that included with Jay living with her there was no reason for him to stay away now. Especially when he had been interviewed numerous times by Ms. Jenkins and observed how he was with Kelly. It did throw both Liam and Hope for a loop when they saw this sharp dressed man sitting behind Steffy the whole time. He didn’t say anything much less look at them once.

 

Liam knew via his lawyer that Steffy was in a relationship with someone else and that the guy was living with her. He wanted to go ballistic when he found that out. His lawyer didn’t care for his tantrums and told Liam to stop it because it gets them nowhere and it was annoying. It would be the courts to decide if the man Steffy was dating was beneficial for Kelly to be around… not him.

 

Hope on the other hand was thrilled that Steffy had moved on. It meant less of a chance that she could lose Liam. She knew that if Steffy wasn’t invested in starting anything with Liam then nothing would be happening. Steffy cut off access to Liam which made Hope happy because Liam needed to be focused on the family that they were building.

 

She did want their baby and Kelly to be close, but she didn’t agree with the scenario Liam had because in Hope’s mind it wasn’t really necessary to have Steffy so enmeshed in their lives. It only added to her insecurity that there would be more rounds of who get Liam this time and it stressed her out.

 

Liam did not like that this Jay guy Steffy was with was just so above it all. He had his arms crossed and his leg crossed in a figure four. He was so nonchalant and he really didn’t think that Steffy would be going for some himbo male-model type.

 

Hope thought that the man was really hot and she didn’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones or what but she thought the guy really knew how to wear a suit. It did make her a little jealous that this man was allowed to be around Kelly but she wasn’t.

In her mind she is going to be around Kelly, she should be able to spend time with the girl. Have Kelly get used to the idea of her being around because Hope’s child would soon be in the world. But with the supervised visits the social worker said right now it was best that it was just Liam.

 

They all rise when the bailiff introduces the Judge back into the room. When they are all allowed to be seated. Liam watches how the guy goes right back to how he was sitting before like he has no cares in the world.

 

Steffy has been anxious because she knows this decree will probably be the last one for some time and she just hopes she did everything right. Jay’s face doesn’t show anything but all he focuses on is his wife and the tension he can see in her shoulders.

 

He knows that she is anxious, court days always make her anxious and he more than wants to just hug her and give her kisses of reassurances but that was way past not advised.

 

“I have had time to review the recommendations of the Department of Children and Families for this case. And I have come to a decision. It is not one that was made lightly but it is one that was determined with the utmost respect for Kelly Forrester…” Liam bites his tongue to Kelly’s last name. He hates the assertion that he is some kind of deadbeat but he would be petitioning the court to change it or at least add to it. He had to go above Steffy since she shot that idea down as quickly as he mentioned it. “It is my decree in the case of custody for Kelly Forrester that Stephanie Douglas Forrester have full legal and physical custody. I am granting William Spencer to continued supervised visits that can be upgraded to unsupervised visits at a later date pending approval by the Department of Children and Families. Barring emergency hearings we shall revisit new possible custody when the Department of Children and Families makes their recommendation. Mr. Spencer and counsel please be advised that I reached this decision easily but with difficulty. It is not the court’s pleasure to deny a parent joint custody however it will be done in the interest of the child first and foremost. Mr. Spencer you have a neglectful nature when it comes to your daughter. You have not demonstrated the ability or aptitude that it takes to handle an infant child. Your visits are the barest of duties that a babysitter would be responsible for and yet you have cancelled more visits than you have attended. I truly hope you change this behavior for your daughter because your custody situation will stay the same as long as you do. I also hope that you take time to learn how to be a father because soon you will have two children which will only make it more difficult for you as a parent.”

 

 

Liam is irate because he loves his daughter and it’s not his fault that he gets busy and sometimes has to cancel his visits. In his mind it would be something else entirely if he were to have joint custody. He would obviously hire someone to help take care of Kelly and it’s not like Hope would need to work anyways. She could stay with Kelly when he can’t. Hope is going to be Kelly’s stepmother and she should be involved in his daughter’s life.

 

“Honestly, judge I haven’t been afforded the time to be a father with these visits. It would be vastly different if we had joint custody. I have a partner to help me when I am busy with work and can hire a nanny as well… A partner who is not a stranger to Steffy unlike the one she brings to the court whom I don’t know. I should have a say in the fact that this guy is living under the same roof as my daughter.” Liam’s outburst made his lawyer apoplectic that he hissed for Liam to sit down.

 

All Liam did was made it harder on his self because the way Judge Carmichael was looking at him it looked like she might throw him in jail for contempt.

 

“One more outburst from your client and I will have him in jail for contempt. And Mr. Spencer let me tell you something… you do not endear yourself to anyone by saying you will dump your daughter onto your partner or nanny when you have proven that it is hard for you to take care of your child when she is in your care. You have cut short some of your visits short due to ‘business’, wasting the time of not only your daughter but also the state. You are not the first parent with a job. If you cannot find the time management skills to be a parent, then do not expect for your parenting rights to be upgraded. As for the case of Mr. Halstead-Voight… you cannot decide whom Ms. Forrester decides to let into her life. You also cannot decide her living arrangements. They satisfy the states requirement. Her choice in her companions are her own not yours. As for how that effects your daughter, Ms. Jenkins has submitted to the court her reports and she categorizes Mr. Halstead-Voight… ‘as an upstanding individual that fosters encouragement and positivity for the child. It is clear that the child has a deep bond as much as a child of her age can have with someone. The environment in which she dwells in is a happy home with two responsible adults who always have the child in mind. It is my assertion that Mr. Halstead-Voight has the same parental capacity for Kelly Forrester that he would exhibit as he would if she here his naturally or through adoptive means.’ I don’t know if you know what that means so I will break it down for you Mr. Spencer. He loves your child like his own and has put her interests above anything else which is an embarrassment of riches for you because while you need to play catch up in being a father, your daughter will not be lacking for paternal parental figures in her life. My judgement is final. Ms. Forrester I want to commend you for doing everything you need to ensure your daughter’s priorities are being met.”

 

Judge Carmichael doesn’t say anything else. She just leaves the court because she still gets worked up with parents who do less than the least… doing the absolutely most.

 

Steffy is so happy that things went her way and she thinks of Ms. Jenkins and her poker face. That lady made her so nervous and never gave anything away, but she had such great things to say about Jay and how he is with Kelly. It made her happy that no one could question that he doesn’t love Kelly. When she turned, he was already standing ready to hug her. She didn’t bother pretending anymore, it’s not like she had to care now so she kissed him and it was like no one else was there but them. Liam looked on with a face that wasn’t angry, Hope just looked at him and all she saw was sadness and that feeling dampened her mood. The last thing she wanted to see was Liam still being so hung up on Steffy.

 

She hated that even when Steffy took herself out of the equation, it was Liam who refused to let go.

 

 

Chapter Text

Steffy’s POV

 

I have felt like I have been on cloud nine since Judge Carmichael made her judgment. All I ever wanted was for Liam to take his role as Kelly’s father seriously and he just failed. In a way I can’t pretend to be surprised but it was still disheartening for my baby. Jay is a blessing that I didn’t go looking for to replace Liam. Since telling the court that we live together, it was something we told my parents too.

 

They really like him which makes me so happy because their opinion matters to me more than anyone else’s.  Mom kept asking what did I think about a future with him and things like marriage. I chose my words very carefully because mom can sense lies.  I told her he’s my forever and kept it at that.

 

Another good thing that came out of revealing that Jay and I live together was that it made mom felt less guilty about returning to work. She has been doing me such a solid with helping watch Kelly when I am at work, but I know she still has her own life. She and dad deserve to have their time alone. Jay takes her to work and sends me endless amounts of videos and pictures of the two of them. If I don’t work from home, she tends to be with him and if he can’t bring her to work for some reason, I bring her with me.

 

I had been worried about Will’s opinion of me because of Kelly but the fact that he loves Kelly too makes me so happy. The latest video Jay sent me, Kelly is just babbling and puts her hand in her mouth as Will asks her probing questions. It’s so ridiculous and absurd and it just makes me miss being with Kelly more.

 

It’s just the pick me up I needed before I go into this meeting with PR. It will be the first time that I see Hope since Judge Carmichael gave me full custody. Hope has a problem with reading the room, I just hope that Donna can keep a muzzle on her because I’m not in the mood to make her look stupid in front of my employees.

 

Thankfully the meeting with PR will be the last thing on my agenda and then I can leave and be with my family.

 

I let Aunt Pam know that she can go home now if she likes because I am leaving after the meeting. I take my stuff with me to the conference room, so I don’t have to make unnecessary trips back to my office.

 

When I get there I see some people already setting up their presentations. We are in the driver’s seat with designs, but we still need to stay at the forefront with how we interact with our public.

 

The way PR has shifted in the 21st century even in just the last five years has made me really step up the department. It’s more cutthroat it’s not at all like yesteryear.

 

I invited my girls from the mailroom to sit in on this meeting as well. I want them to keep being involved in these high level meetings and not try to start their own business from whatever they could remember from that one meeting.

 

Jeremy had given us a breakdown of what his team would be presenting. So far each person hasn’t wowed me. They were prepared but it’s lacking the creative pizazz and angle that I think that would set us apart.

 

When Donna comes up and gives us a breakdown of what the social team is doing, I hope I am more enthused by the lackluster showing of the main PR team.

 

I feel most of the same boring stuff that we have already done. It’s a little irritating to be shown stuff we have already done being repackaged as new. I know it’s hard for new ideas to just spring up and take off but I want us at the forefront.

 

There’s nothing worse to me in this market is brands just piggybacking off the other. I can’t stand Marchesa. They just swagger jack all of my favorite Arab designers. I hate seeing their dresses and thinking it’s just lesser versions of Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, and so many other Arab designers. It’s why I couldn’t stand Sally when she stole our shit.

 

It takes so much work to be original and for people to steal it is just wrong.

 

I have little to no faith that this meeting won’t be a bust. Donna says she saved the best idea for last and has her best employee go.

 

“So we see such a push for diversity in who we want to go after as a demographic. However we don’t have the credibility. Forrester Creations was founded like half a century ago. Let’s not beat around the bush most of the customers are white girls and women who know about the brand from their mothers. We’re pushing to have more people in our customer base but we read as inauthentic. Yes we have Maya and Zoe as models and spokeswomen for the company but that’s not enough. More importantly we need more diversity in the creative department. We need to be reaching out to top minority stylists like Jason Bolden, Zerina Akers, Law Roach, Laura Zapata etc. They are the keys to our credibility. Their client books are not only diverse but so is the audience that follows their clients who are huge with the millennial and Gen Z demographic. But they have just as much older A-list clients as well like Gabirlle Union, Regina King…  If we had one of them rocking our looks on red carpets or just wearing one of our everyday looks could you imagine our traffic from Instagram? We also need to invest on investing. We need to put our resources into finding designers of color or becoming minority partners in fashion lines from diverse talent. Like can anyone name a major Native American designer? I think our next pivot should be expanding who we do business without exploiting them which will only broaden our customer base… big time.” I don’t know Georgina well, but she is on the money with this assessment.

 

“I think that was the best idea I heard today. Jeremy and Donna, I want to setup something soon with Georgina to present this idea with some more people. Georgina I really love this idea and I know some of those people you are talking about and think they would be such great partners to work with. I want us to try and get this set up before week’s end so we can start doing searches for designers. Let’s expand it and make it an international focusing on the Caribbean, Central and South America.”

 

“I can do that!” I trust that Donna can scour social media and find me some really good designers and reach out to them. Jeremy says he can do the same with his connections which makes me feel so good.

 

I would love to add two million followers before year’s end. I know that is pretty ambitious but with this idea we can certainly get close to that projection.

 

“I think this meeting was very productive. I want to thank everyone for bringing such an array of ideas and dedicating themselves to thinking outside the box to keep us innovative. I hope you all have a good day.”

 

I start to get my stuff ready as people start to shuffle out and it’s quiet that I assume that I am alone at this point, but I hear the sound of shoes rubbing on the carpet rug.

 

When I look up, I see that it is Hope. I already want to pop off because I thought I made my sentiments clear that I didn’t want her around me.

 

“Steffy I was wondering if we could talk?”

 

“Is it about business?”

 

“No, but I really need to talk to you.”

 

“Hope, I really don’t think that we should talk about anything on a personal level especially at our place of work. I thought Donna gave you a breakdown of my wishes.” I know that Donna did because Hope listened for the most part but apparently today she casually forgets.

 

“Please Steffy!”

 

“You have two minutes before I am out of here. If I don’t like what you have to say I will just leave anyways.”

 

“I’m thinking about leaving Liam but…” When she points to her overflowing belly to finish her sentence, I just raise my eyebrow.

 

“And you’re telling me this because?”

 

“Because I… I—”

 

“Hope hurry this up. I don’t really know why you are choosing to tell me this because we are not friends. I’m sorry if it comes out harsh but let’s not beat around the bush.”

 

She starts crying and I feel a morsel of pity for her. I don’t wish Liam upon any woman not even Hope.

 

I don’t reach out to console her because that would be weird. I let her just gather herself long enough to elaborate.

 

“I just want to know how did you do it? I don’t want to do this anymore.” I just sit down as she talks because I realize I’m not going anywhere with this girl like this.

“Hope why do you think you want to leave Liam now?” This is the last place I want to be and probably the last person I want to speak to. She locks the door, thankfully she sits down but not too close to me which I am grateful for.

 

“Well after what happened in court. I saw so many things clearly. Clearer than I have in so many years…”

 

“And that is…” I hope she isn’t going to beg me to try and circumvent the judge’s ruling.

 

“That things will never change. When you were kissing your boyfriend it was all Liam saw. Yes I was jealous, and yes I was hurt but most of all I was defeated. The judge just really boxed him in and all he could do was look like a sad puppy when you were kissing someone else. I realized no matter what nothing would change even if you were with someone else. He still texts Sally and says that I overreact because they are just friends and I should just trust him. How can I trust him? He’s broken my heart so many times and I foolishly got pregnant. I got pregnant when he just had a baby with you. I’m so sorry Steffy, I was horrible to you when you were pregnant. I know we aren’t close but I am sorry. I don’t want to bring my child into this web of hurt and insecurity… So I just wanted to know how did you do it?”

 

 

“I stopped believing pain is love. It’s that simple Hope. I told myself that my daughter deserves to be protected at all times and so do I. Liam doing his little dance between me and you, or Ivy, Sally, whatever it didn’t matter to me anymore. I had stop believing that years spent with someone meant anything because most of my time with Liam, there was someone else in my relationship. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t recognize who I was anymore. I don’t need to beg anyone for love and I shouldn’t settle for anyone who makes me grovel over and over only to cheat on me over and over. I refuse to have a home that Liam feels he can run to whenever something gets tough. My mother’s the therapist not me. As much as I want Kelly to be protected, I decided I needed to protect myself as well. When I took myself out the equation was when I really started to thrive. I didn’t go looking for love but it found me, but I don’t need anyone to fulfill me anymore. That love shit is extra. I love myself that’s the only answer I can give to you.”

 

She just mulls over everything I said. The silence in the room is as pregnant as Hope. She starts crying again and I don’t see any tissues so it just brings back the awkwardness.

 

“I want to love me…” She starts audibly sobbing and it freaks me out. I look in my bag and try to find something to dry her tears. I only find mini microfiber towel so I hand her that. I can hear her thank you in her choking sobs.

 

“Hope find a way to be on your own. Stop relying on other people. You are grown now, you have a good paying job learn to be on your own and be the person that you want your daughter to emulate.”

 

I am glad that her sobs decreased because the last thing I want people to think is I made her cry on purpose.

 

“Thank you for the advice. I wanted to ask you one last thing.”

 

“Hope…”

 

“I want my baby and Kelly to have a relationship. They are going to be siblings and If I am being honest, I have no faith that it will be fostered with Liam. I was hoping that we could come to some kind of agreement down the line with maybe you know playdates. Knowing that the other one exists…”

 

It would be nice for Kelly to have a relationship with her sibling but this situation is a very complicated with many factors involved. I want to speak to Jay and Lu to see if I am being crazy.

 

“Hope, I don’t know about that. There’s a lot of hypothetical with your relationship with Liam. And I am not in a place where I can trust you even if you are being well-meaning. Liam has a way of manipulating things and people to doing what he wants. I am going to abide by the court and any visit Liam has will be supervised. I need to speak to my partner and get his thoughts on the matter. I also don’t want your mother anywhere near my child no offense I just don’t feel comfortable with that. If you do those things I told you about than we can revisit this topic at another time.”

 

She looks at me a little puzzled when I make the mention of her mother but I’m firm on that. I don’t want Kelly anywhere near Brooke.

 

“Is your partner that serious enough where you discuss how you parent Kelly together?” I can see she’s fishing but I don’t think she knows that she is doing it.

 

“Yeah, I trust him with my life and Kelly is my life. We live together Hope… he isn’t a driveby prescence in my daughter’s life. He is there everyday, he feeds her, changes her diaper, sings to her even if he isn’t good at it. It’s why I told the judge about him.” I don’t mention that he has Kelly with him right now because it’s not anyone’s business.

 

“Oh that’s good…” She sounds wistfully jealous not that I can blame her. Sally and Liam are still the talk of gossip around the halls. And I imagine Donna compels many ears to tell her what she wants to know. “I’m happy you found someone who loves you and Kelly like that…”

 

“Well thank you Hope. You can find that too if you open yourself to the possibility of life after Liam. I have to go Jay is picking me up and I’m already ten minutes late…” I don’t know if I sound rude or not but I don’t want to stay all day helping her figure out her life.

 

“Oh I’m sorry to hold you up. I should get back to work myself. Thanks for lending an ear…” She gets up and starts to give me back the mini towel but it has makeup all over it so she just holds it in her hand.

 

“You can keep it Hope… Take care of yourself.” She gives me a little smile and I nod and get out of there.

 

As I am walking out of the building and I think back to my miserable time being pregnant and how that low has led me to my life now. And I am the happiest I have ever been and I’m never looking back.

Chapter Text

It was a nice sunny day in LA and Steffy thought there was no better way to start her day with brunch with her best friend.

 

She asked if Jay could watch Kelly while she catches up with Lu and he said it was no sweat. When she left the two of them, he was feeding Kelly grapes lazily. He was on the couch feeding her the grapes he cut in quarters for her so she could easily eat them without choking. It really warmed her heart to see them together.

 

It turned Steffy on to see Jay being so paternal. He didn’t really pay her any attention when he was dealing with Kelly because he liked to watch the baby like a hawk to make sure nothing bad happened. It was better for him not to see Steffy lusting after him because Kelly can only take so many naps in a day. Steffy’s child is a social butterfly and she didn’t want her sexual appetite to get in the way. But Steffy just bites her lip every time she sees Jay.

 

She decides she needs to leave before she contemplates cancelling her plans and putting Kelly in her playpen.

 

When she gets to the restaurant, she already sees Lu and she brought Michelle. It’s been a while since she has seen her goddaughter, but it makes her that more excited that she came out to meet Luisa.

 

“Oi, minhas amores!” (Hi, my loves) Steffy goes to hug and kiss the both of them.

 

The smile Michelle wears make Steffy extra happy that her mom brought her with them.

 

“Somebody is in a good mood!” Lu already knew about everything that happened in court and the impromptu talk that Hope had with her best friend.

 

“What can I say? I’ve got a healthy baby, beautiful man…” Steffy looks over to Michelle and gently grasps her chin. “The most amazing afilhada… Life is good.”

 

“Ela é apenas sua afilhada porque eu fiz isso. Onde está meu elogio?” (She is only your goddaughter because I made it so. Where's my praise?)

 

Steffy always loves getting Lu riled up. The back and forth between them makes Michelle laugh, a laugh so cute and infectious it makes the grownups join in.

 

“Eu também tenho o melhor amiga do mundo inteiro.” (I also have the greatest friend in the whole world)

 

Lu rolls her eyes when Steffy emphasizes her point by having her arms open wide like Jack from Titanic.

 

“You ain’t go no sense whatsoever…” Lu picks up her menu and laughs into it. She tries to hide it from Steffy but it doesn’t work.

 

“You love me and don’t you try and deny it!”

 

“All right… all right. I love you but there’s something different about you.” She just scrutinizes Steffy trying to figure it out and her eyes go big which makes Steffy pause. “…você está grávida?!” (you’re pregnant)

 

“What?! You’re crazy I am not pregnant.”

 

“Michele, assista teu programa de tv no teu iPad.” (Michelle, watch your tv show on the iPad.)

 

“Quero ouvir ‘girl talk’!” (I want to listen to girl talk)

 

It takes only one look from her mother and she is getting her iPad and headphones but she isn’t going to watch her tv show. She’s going to listen to Douglas’s video message he sent her yesterday night.

 

“Lu, you’re crazy I’m not pregnant…”

 

“Oh yeah… when was the last time you had your period?”

 

Steffy has been thinking about it and she can’t really remember but it has been more than a month. She doesn’t feel any different she doesn’t have any sensitivity to smell and she hasn’t had any morning sickness.

 

Her breast were bigger but that’s been the case since she started nursing Kelly. She hasn’t had a hard time fitting in any clothes but when she really thinks about it she has been wearing dresses mostly. It was just easier to nurse or pump with her dresses rather than what she used to wear especially button down blouses.

 

“I can’t be pregnant…”

 

“Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. We are stopping by a Walgreens and getting a pregnancy test. Erik is in New York with Thomas for the weekend so we can take the test at my house, so Jay doesn’t suspect a thing.” Even as she listens to the words it just doesn’t seem like she can be pregnant. Kelly was her miracle baby and she never really thought about getting pregnant again because it was like tempting fate.

 

Before Steffy can just agree to her best friend’s proposition the both of them are just watching Michelle talk to her iPad. The fact that the little girl is so animated, the two friends think she is talking with someone and they go to see who it is and it’s Douglas.

 

Even three thousand miles can’t keep them apart. Lu appreciates the fact that her daughter speaks to Douglas in Portuguese. It is important to her and Erik that their daughter speak Spanish and Portuguese and stay active with it. Since Erik doesn’t speak much Portuguese so they only speak Spanish at home and Lu speaks Portuguese with her daughter when they are alone.

 

They all say hi to Douglas and Michelle told him that she will try to speak to him later because she was hungry.

 

“I thought I told you to watch your tv show…”

 

“I was but then I remembered that Douglas sent me a video yesterday, but I fell asleep. I’m in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend so…” The little girl has the audacity to shrug and Steffy just wants to scoop up her goddaughter and hug her forever. Michelle’s mother on the other hand is about ready to hand over her child.

“You see children these days. We are gonna make that pit stop before we go to my house.”

 

They look over the menu trying to decide what they want for brunch. Steffy already knows that she wants eggs, waffles and to substitute orange juice with pineapple juice for her mimosa.

 

As Steffy tries to get caught up in Michelle’s life where her nephew isn’t concerned. She can hear footsteps coming over to their table but she can see their server talking to the kitchen. By the look on Lu’s face it’s not a person she particularly likes.

 

“Hi Steffy…”

 

“Hello Hope, umm how are you?” It’s been a week since they had their talk and Steffy has been giving it some thought but still hasn’t come to a decision.

 

“I was just getting some food—”

 

“Você foi convidado para um brunch também?” Hope is confused by the little girl’s words. “Ela fala português? Ela parece confusa...”

 

Lu is content on not saying anything because she don’t give a damn about Hope and her comfortability.

 

“Minha amor ela não fala isso. Você pode falar em Inglês.” (My love she doesn’t speak it. You can speak in English.) She always speaks gently with her goddaughter.

 

 

“I didn’t know you don’t speak Portuguese. I said were you invited to Brunch? How do you know my mommy? How do you know my madrinha? I’ve never seen you before are you a new friend? You’re having a baby?” Hope just chuckles at the little girl’s endless questions. “I’m having waffles like my madrinha. What are you going to eat? Are you going to sit down?”

 

“Oh well, I don’t know I just came to say hi to Steffy.”

 

“My daughter said you can sit if you like…” It makes Michelle smile when her mom invites the lady to sit down. She loves meeting new people.

 

Hope hadn’t thought about dining in. She was just going to order and then go back home. The prospect of not eating alone is way better than eating alone. The ladies pull their bags from the other seat and let Hope sit down. Lu did let her looks intimidate this woman who had an adversarial relationship with her best friend for years.

 

“Michele não faz isso. Agora você tem que lavar as mãos outra vez...” (Michele don't do that. Now you have to wash your hands again.) The child is her mother’s daughter because if she sees a mosquito then will kill it.

 

The mother and daughter leave the table and it’s only Hope and Steffy once again.

 

“Are they coming back?”

 

“Yes, Michelle killed a mosquito and her mom just said they have to wash their hands again.”

 

“Oh okay. Just so I get this right, is the little girl’s name Michelle or Michele?” Hope did not want to piss off the same woman who told her off when she approached Steffy at work.

 

“You can stick with Michelle. Michele is her Brazilian name but her father named her after his grandmother hence why its pronounced.”

 

“Is her father not Brazilian as well? They are so fluent at least that’s what it sounds like to my ears…”

 

“No, only Luisa is from Brazil, Michelle’s father is from Mexico and his paternal grandparents are from Germany.”

 

“It’s really impressive that she multiple languages so young…”

 

“Yeah she’s pretty amazing…”

Luisa and Michelle come back to the table and the server comes back with an appetizer and sees the new addition and asks her would she like to order anything.

 

Hope only needed a quick once over because she knew what she wanted when came.

 

Steffy realized that she should cool it off the alcohol because she might be pregnant. Once Lu got that idea in her head she didn’t want to chance anything by drinking. She settled for having pineapple juice plain. Lu looked at her and decided she wouldn’t drink any alcohol either.

 

“You didn’t answer any of my questions…” The little girl asked a boatload of questions and it was hard to get any answer in edgewise so Hope didn’t say anything.

 

“Well… let’s see I am pregnant, you heard what I ordered. And I am guessing Steffy is your ma-drin-ha. I think I said it right. We work together…” Hope decided it was best not to confuse the young girl with the complicated history of her relationship with Steffy.

 

“Oh that’s nice… Are you friends with my mommy too? She doesn’t work with my madrinha…”

 

“Oh baby that’s to be determined but you’ll be the first one to know.” Lu answers so Hope can’t answer in a way she may not appreciate.

 

It wasn’t hard for Hope to get Michelle on her side. She was always good with kids. She asked the little girl about school and how she liked it, her hobbies, she wanted to get to know the little girl.

 

The food came and that really made the atmosphere feel like there was less tension. Lu was more hospitable to Hope after she was kind to Michelle. It was easier to get on her good side if you were nice with her daughter.

 

Hope started to ask Luisa questions about herself and to her surprise they weren’t tinged with sarcasm.

 

Lu decided to give Hope the benefit of the doubt and be nice to her. She has witness way too many women trying to hurt one another because of trash ass men. Steffy has moved on and let it go so she decided she should too until Hope does something she doesn’t agree with.

Steffy didn’t do much talking but she did help with the flow of conversation. She knows a lot about everyone at the table, so it wasn’t like she had burning questions that she needed answered.

 

After they paid their bill and were getting ready to go their separate ways. Michelle poised a question to Hope.

 

“Are you coming to brunch next Saturday?”

 

“Oh well…” Hope just looked from Steffy and Luisa trying to figure out the body language being given and Luisa just shrugs. “I’d like that… thank you.”

 

Chapter Text

Since the day they had brunch, Steffy and Hope had been interacting more at work. The friendship they have is fragile and new but it’s something Hope welcomes in her life. It was also something that Donna welcomed as well because even though Hope was a heavily pregnant woman, it is hard for Donna to keep track with her sometimes and the last thing she wanted to hear was about some confrontation she had with Steffy.

 

People in the office started noticing the thaw as well. The office is fiercely loyal to Steffy and it helped Hope in a way when she started going to Steffy and it didn’t devolve into screaming matches, it made people look at her weirdly less. Gossip still went around the office especially about Liam. This was something Steffy always knew. One of the reasons she is so good to her staff besides the fact that they will be more productive is that it’s easy for her to have her spies in every department.

 

Steffy likes to have issues nipped in the bud before they fester but it also brought information that she wasn’t really seeking. She hears about the burgeoning situation between Liam and Sally. She never tells her employees to stop telling her but she also doesn’t say that she could care less about Liam and what he’s doing.

 

Donna and Steffy share some of the same spies and it’s been Donna trying to console her niece and telling Hope that she doesn’t need this kind of stress in her life. All she needs to focus is on her job and having a healthy pregnancy.

 

Hope takes it upon herself to go to Steffy’s office when she knows Steffy is at lunch. She never bothers with an appointment because Pam takes her lunch at the same time, so the woman is usually with Charlie.

 

She does have enough sense to knock because she doesn’t want to be rude and interrupt something. When she does come in, she sees more than she thought she would.

 

It’s the same man from the courtroom, Hope looks at him feeding Kelly little bits of fruit and she can’t help but feel some jealousy. They all looked so happy and she thought that she would have that with Liam, but nothing has gone the way she thought it would when she came back to LA.

 

“Hope, how can I help you?” Steffy didn’t expect anyone to be coming to her office now and she could have sworn she told Jay to lock the door when he came in.

 

“Sorry, I didn’t meant to interrupt anything. I just knew you were on your lunch and I thought maybe I could have my breakfast with you…” Steffy knows that Hope has gotten used to them sharing meals when she is in the office since the day at brunch.

 

“That’s okay I guess. Could you please lock the door.” Hope does as she’s asked. She figures not being asked to leave was a good sign. She doesn’t have many friends at work. Her colleagues are just that and she refuses to count her Aunt because they are family. “Hope, this is Jay. I’m sure you remember him. Jay this is Hope…” Jay takes his eyes off of Kelly for a moment and looks at Hope.

 

Hope just looks on… from the outside looking in, anyone would think that Jay was Kelly’s father.

 

“Hi, I would shake your hand but it has baby spit and fruit juice on it…” Jay’s charm works on just about anyone.

 

It made Hope smile that he was nice to her. Jay doesn’t like anyone who his wife doesn’t like but he knows that her relationship with Hope isn’t as adversarial as it used to be.

 

“It’s nice to meet you formally Jay. Steffy I didn’t mean to interrupt with your time with Kelly. I can go…”

 

“That’s okay. I’m really just a third wheel, they don’t really care about me. It’s not like he’s feeding me grapes or anything…” Steffy hates hearing the word sorry when it’s not needed. If she really wanted Hope to leave, then she would have just said so.

 

Hope watches Kelly eat with a smile on her face. Her dark brunette hair and bright blue eyes. She favors Steffy so much. It makes Hope wonder if her baby will look like her.

 

“Just wait until Kelly takes a nap…” He just winks at his favorite girl which makes Steffy lick her teeth and Hope feels like a voyeur. She feels the sexual tension rising and it makes her start to feel hot.

 

“No.” Hope hasn’t really seen Kelly much, so it surprised her when Kelly spoke. She didn’t know if the baby really knew what the word meant or if it something she just says.

 

There’s a chime on a phone and all three adults in the room look if it’s their phone but it was Jay’s phone that sounded.

 

“Well I am going to have to cut this short. Will just texted me that he set up a meeting that the both of us need to be at…”

 

“Do you need me to take Kelly?” Hope just watches the two of them interact, moving like one

 

“You’re kidding right?! Kelly is a chick magnet… I always get free cookies from the grandmas at the Ralph’s bakery.” Steffy knows the power of Jay having Kelly in his baby carrier. He always makes her start at the opposite side of Ralph’s so the bakery ladies only see him. Steffy doesn’t ever complain because he scores her cookies too… sometimes.

 

“You’re an idiot…”

 

“And you’re a jealous cookieless hater.”

 

Only Jay and Steffy can get turned on by their mild insults of each other. She helps him put on the baby carrier and Kelly is happy to be in it. She gets a front row view of all things Jay.

 

“Are you going to pick me up later or will your meeting run long?”

 

“No, I’ll pick you up. You owe me a date at Portillo’s and I will be collecting.” He starts gesturing to himself. “All of this doesn’t come free.”

 

Steffy gives multiple kisses to Kelly’s forehead and then sneak attacks a kiss to Jay before Kelly can try and push her away.

 

Hope tells them bye, Kelly can’t see her but waves her bye while Jay tells her it was nice to meet her. Jay leaves through the back which surprises Hope because she never knew there was any other entrance besides the door she came in through.

 

 

 

“You three are really cute together…” She was just a casual watcher of Steffy and her family and she wants the same smile that Steffy has on her face but for now she is only focused on her child.

 

“Yeah I can’t complain. How are you?”

 

Steffy remembers how it was during the home stretch of her pregnancy and also being miserable during it and even though the situations are not the same, it’s not a picnic for Hope.

 

“I’m doing okay today. I haven’t told anyone yet, but I am looking for an apartment to live in. I figured since I am making a host of changes in my life why not that?”

 

“What brought about this change?”

 

“Ugh well… If I’m being honest… you. I want to be on my own and yeah the cabin is fine or whatever but it’s still like living at home and I’m having my own child. I want my own space… my own home. It’s also a way to put a barrier between me and Liam. When I told my mom that I didn’t want to do the back and forth anymore her first thought was absolutely not. She wanted me and Liam to ‘work it out’ but she isn’t really listening to me. There’s been a few awkward sequences where she has tried to ambush me and It’s not like I can outrun either of them in this condition…”

 

As she listens to Hope, Steffy is reminded how invested Brooke is in her daughter’s life. It’s weirdly co-dependent and it seems Hope is the one that wants to break it.

 

“Well I’m not going to mince words because it’s no surprise that I despise your mother, but I think that’s a great idea even if I didn’t know anything about Brooke. Putting barriers in my personal life has only brought me more happiness. There’s nothing wrong with protecting yourself. If you need help finding a place let me know. There’s some vacancies in my building, Jay has more properties to if you want to take a look. Can even throw a discount your way…” If Hope is serious then Steffy doesn’t mind helping her.

 

“Well I’m not trying to use my mom’s money because she will invite herself and I am trying to cut the cord, so I don’t think I can afford to buy…”

 

“Oh well I’m sure we can check some things out. You know what let’s do it now…”

 

“Steffy we can’t, we’re at work. I only came to eat breakfast.”

 

“Well the perk of owning the company is I can do what I like. Just text Donna and tell her that you’re with me problem solved.”

 

“Yeah, okay.”

 

“Did you bring your car with you?”

 

“No, Donna brought me to work today.

“Okay I’ll call us an Uber.” Steffy just packs up her stuff and Hope is glad that this was her first stop because she really didn’t want to walk back to her desk to pick her stuff. Everything feels like a workout at this point. She just follows Steffy who takes the back way and Hope is still shocked because in all her time she never knew about this exit.

 

Steffy did talk with Jay about the prospect of Kelly spending time with Hope’s child and he gave his thoughts saying it would be good idea for the children to bond as long it wasn’t used as a screen to have Liam bypass the ruling.

 

It was not a secret that Jay didn’t like Liam as much as Liam was jealous of Jay, but he didn’t want it to bite his wife in the ass. He didn’t even like the perception of helping Liam deceive the court because it could hurt Steffy’s standing with the court and Ms. Jenkins in the end. There’s no way that Jay will ever let Liam win.

Chapter Text

Steffy wasn’t overly concerned with Hope knowing her address. She believed Hope when she said that she was done with Liam. Liam is already banned from the building anyways so he would be arrested if he dared to trespass on any of Jay’s properties.

 

This was what made Steffy love him so much. He didn’t think she was crazy for wanting these things. He just supported her and made sure that his staff knew what the deal was.  

 

When the ladies got there, Steffy made a beeline to the second floor. She knows they don’t have an appointment, but she was hoping that today wasn’t too busy. Jay was always telling her that they have condos off-market but this was different this was pretty spontaneous.

 

Hope is excited to see the places. The building alone looks way out of her budget but the prospect of finding places to live makes her hopeful about her future.

 

Jay had given Steffy a fob that had access to every floor, but she can only remember being here once. She doesn’t really have a sense of where she is going but she pretends to as Hope follows behind her.

 

“Hi, I know we don’t have an appointment, but we were hoping to see some places if someone is free.”

 

“Oh welcome, I’m actually not an agent but let me go see if one is available for a tour. I’ll be right back.” The lady Steffy caught in the hall was nice enough to try and get someone who could help them.

 

Hope had a mind to sit down but sitting down was always easier than getting up so she decided to stay standing.

 

They could see the woman talking to some guy, Steffy guesses he is one of the agents. She watches him as he looks over and just laughs.

 

“Why would you even entertain this? I don’t do walk-ins and you want me to believe that they are serious buyers who just came off the street. If they want to waste my time, then they will have to make an appointment.”

 

Before Steffy can march over there and curse this guy out, Jay comes from the corner with Will in tow.  

 

“What’s going on here?” Jay is pleasantly surprised to see his wife but is confused because she’s already back even though he said he was going to pick her up.

 

He absentmindedly rubbed Kelly’s head while he checked his watch to see if he somehow last track of time but it was still a while away until he was expected to pick her up.

 

“These ladies are walk-ins wanting to look for properties without an appointment…” The agent is trying to defend himself in front of his bosses.

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t think it would be a problem…” The lady who spoke to Steffy and Hope before looked like she wanted to be anywhere but here.

 

“Well Greg if you’re free then it should be no problem to tour, why didn’t you take it upon yourself to offer these ladies a tour after Melanie told you they would like one.” Jay is in the business of making money and he doesn’t make money with people being rude. In his mind there’s no harm in showing a unit. It’s his and Will’s reputation for how their employees act.

 

“Come on, they are walking-in to get tours of multi-million dollar condos. No offense ladies but I doubt it’s going to be a purchase.” Steffy just scoffs but Hope thinks to herself yeah, she probably won’t even be able to afford the rent for a place valued that high, but this asshole doesn’t get to talk to her like that.

 

“You see that woman right there? She’s the CEO of a Fortune 200 company, she also happens to be the mother of my children. Any place in this building trust she’s good for it. I doubt you have a job Greg because you’re fired.” Jay was so close to spilling the beans about Steffy being his wife because he is livid, but he remembers that his employees NDAs only cover details about business.

 

Steffy just smiles devilishly when her husband gives a full-hearted defense of her while he has a whole baby strapped to his chest.  Everyone in the room take witness to this.

 

“Melanie, thanks but I can do the tour myself.” Jay talks to the woman a little more telling him that he’ll be done for the day.

 

“Hey you okay?” Will just felt like he walked into the twilight zone with what he just saw.

He and Jay trust the judgment of their staff but the choice in that agent left much to be desired. He made a note to speak to the hiring manager about this.

 

“Yeah, I’m good Will, thank you for asking. That guy is lucky it was Jay that spoke to him because I probably would have cursed him out. Anyways Will meet Hope. This is Jay’s big brother.”

 

“Nice to meet you Hope. I’m sure there’s a home that my brother can find for you and congratulations. Stef, I’ll see you later at dinner?” Will has become a fixture in their home because he can’t cook either. He’s become a sort of brother for her too.

 

“Oh thank you! I hope so too, I’m kind of in a hurry to find a place because of this situation.” She points to her belly as an emphasis.

 

“Well I wish you luck. You ladies have a great day… Hate to leave but I actually have a skype meeting with your brother that I can’t miss.” Will gives his sister-in-law a kiss on the cheek and retreats to the elevator.

 

 

After Jay finishes talking to the Melanie lady, he comes over with Kelly surprisingly still asleep in the baby carrier.

 

“Let’s go check out some properties…”

 

They go into the elevators and Jay has a list of properties that are available to view and they arrive at the first one on his list. When he opens the door, Hope is wowed because the condo is beautiful with great views.

 

“The condo has an abundance of natural light but if you prefer block out light there’s an automated feature that block that out for you. Another great feature is that no one can see you from up here. The kitchen has all new Samsung appliances… Stephanie can attest that it works like a dream. It’s three bedrooms, two of them are en suites. Your balcony is spacious. You can have parties in the summer if you like. You have access via the master bedroom and the living room. I personally don’t like open floorplans, this a medium so if that’s something up your alley than this is a dream because you have a dedicated office space that’s enclosed so if you do have multiple people in your home you can actually concentrate. It’s 2,560 square feet. So it really is a house enclosed with other homes. The amenities are top notch. We do our best to stay as green as possible so we do have solar panels so you don’t have to feel as much guilt for doing things like letting the air conditioner run. Since you know Stephanie, I can rent it out to you for $5,600. You get access to all of our amenities and utilities are included.” Steffy knows Jay is vastly under selling this property. The price is not even three dollars a square foot and in this zipcode, it’s more than a steal… it’s highway robbery.

 

“Jay this place is really beautiful and I could see myself in it but it’s just not something that I can afford. I didn’t mean to waste your time.” Hope realizes she is trying to play catch up in the grown up department. Her mother had always handled everything when it came to financials. She was now realizing she is nothing without her mother’s support and it makes her so frustrated with herself. She is about to have a child but still relies on her mother for just about everything in her life.

 

Steffy can feel Hope’s emotional meltdown coming and that’s the last thing she wants to deal with.

 

“Hope, are you serious about leaving Liam and starting over on your own?” It’s do or die… Steffy is serious and wants an answer quick.

 

Hope looks at Steffy like she has two heads, of course she was done with Liam. Liam is still sniffing around Sally and she decided she just needed to let go and be better for her child.

 

“Well yeah Steffy but I can’t afford this on my salary and when the baby it’s going to be even more expensive…”

 

“Okay…” Steffy looks towards her husband as he tends to Kelly who starts waking up. “Jay, we need to help her…”

 

Hope is shocked when he just shrugs…

 

“What’s in it for me?”

 

“Free hot dogs for life on demand but don’t get crazy.” Jay is liking the way his day is shaping up.

 

“Hmm… throw in ice cream…”

 

“Ugh fine…”

 

“Deal…”

 

Hope just looks at them like they are crazy because she’s trying to figure out if they are being serious.

 

“Are you serious?! You would give me this place even though I can’t afford it?!” She starts to get hysterical because surely, she’s hearing wrong and the prospect of being in the cabin knowing sooner or later her mother will be urging to move forward with Liam because he is her ‘destiny’ makes her shudder. It was why she packed a suitcase and moved in with Aunt Donna.

 

“Well she’s my sugar mama and she feeds me and my brother so I kinda do what she asks.” Jay doesn’t even linger his eyes on them long before he starts playing with Kelly’s little hands.

 

Hope starts to sob at the kindness being given to her and its by Steffy no less. She never in a million years thought Steffy’s kindness would ever be given to her especially after consistently treating her pretty shitty for over a year. The crying gets louder which only made Kelly not like the atmosphere. Her face started to morph and she started wailing without really knowing why.

 

“Umm, I am going to take Kelly home and calm her down, but I want six of my regulars and 2 gallons of the ice creams you know I like. Your brother should be done with my brother. I’m going to go play Madden with him.” Jay just tells them bye and hightails it before Kelly gets worse.

 

Hope can’t really stop crying with her stupid pregnancy hormones, so she just reaches for Steffy and tries to hide her face from Kelly which doesn’t do much good.

 

Steffy just walks them both over to the couch and let’s Hope cry on her shoulder until she can regain some of her composure.

 

“I was so cruel to you, why would you help me Steffy…”

 

“Hope, I’ve been where you are even down to the sobs. Jay has plenty of buildings and plenty of properties within them. This is not going to kill us to give and the prospect of helping you get out of a relationship with an emotionally abusive bastard is one I’ll take. Your life is going to be difficult being as a single mother extracting herself from two different co-dependent relationships. You don’t need the added stress of trying to find a place to live.”

 

Steffy thinks about the story her mother only told her recently about her own abusive relationship. She never thought her mother who’s the strongest person she knows would have been in a physically abusive relationship. When her mother told her they don’t have to hit you to be abusive. It woke Steffy up and she chose to see that her toxic relationship for what it was, it battered her emotional health and she was just done after that. It’s not like she was going to tell her Hope about her mother’s ordeal but Steffy is not opposed to helping someone who was in the same place she once was.

 

“I would say I would pay you back but that would be a lie. Let’s be real I can’t afford this. The balcony alone is insane. It’s like a private terrace really.”

 

“Jay stopped because it was clear it was becoming overwhelming for you, but the place has so much more. It will feel like your home. I don’t need your money Hope. I need you to promise yourself that you won’t go back and let the cycle continue.”

 

“I promise I won’t. I’m tired of feeling like this.” She wiped her tears and picked her head up from Steffy’s shoulder. “When we were downstairs, Jay said you were the mother of his children. Are you pregnant?” Hope doesn’t know why she is so excited at the prospect, but she is.

 

“Yeah I was dumb enough to get caught having Irish twins. I don’t look it but I’m about five months…” Steffy kept fighting Lu about being pregnant. She didn’t get her period but didn’t think much of it because she is still breastfeeding and her doctor said that it was very common to not have your period when you breastfeed. This time though her pregnancy would be one filled with happiness and joy and it tickles her heart

 

“What?! That’s awesome. I look like a blimp…”

 

“You look fine. Now that you have your new place… you’re going to need to decorate. Do you have any stuff from your baby shower?”

 

“I didn’t have a baby shower… I didn’t want to get my hopes up after what happened last time.”

 

“Hope you are going to have your rainbow baby like I had mine but we have to fix this mess. You can’t be unprepared for when the baby arrives because believe me even when you think you are prepared you aren’t.”

 

“What the hell, why not?”

Chapter Text

Steffy had decided to work from home for the last week. It was pretty easy to just take meetings via video and approve pitches via email.

 

It gave time for her and Luisa to give Hope a baby shower. It was a lot to try and do within a couple of days but Steffy never met a challenge that she couldn’t beat.

 

Hope said liked a neutral color scheme, so Steffy forced Jay and Will to paint the baby bedroom some variations of tan and olive green. They also got a lot of help with the in-house interior designer. Hope said she wanted a really homey vibe but wanted it to also be playful and colorful.

 

Steffy has just been running around town with her best friend going from baby store to baby store trying to make the nursery look like something Hope would like.

 

She’s having more fun this time being pregnant because she is just happy, no one can bring her down.

 

After not being able to come to an agreement the two friends decided that they should let the interior designer figure everything out. All they did was make each other hungry.

 

With all the planning, Steffy asked Hope who did she want to invite and she was surprised when Hope didn’t say Brooke. At first, she thought Hope just didn’t mention it because it was an automatic but it’s when Hope revealed to Steffy and Luisa that she wasn’t on speaking terms with Brooke.

 

Luisa didn’t hesitate to call Brooke trash. She’s not one to mince words, so it was easy for her to explain herself saying if a mother who had a grown ass child with their own child on the way gets mad that they want to live on their own, something in the milk ain’t clean.

 

Hope sometimes didn’t know how to articulate her relationship with her mother. When she was younger, she used to think it was such a great thing that she was close with her mom but as she has gotten older, she started to feel differently.

 

Her sister had no relationship with their mother because of betrayals she couldn’t forgive. Hope thought she had a different version than Bridget had but the more distant Bridget made herself… the tighter Brooke would have a hold on Hope.

 

It was something that Hope had never noticed because Brooke was her cheerleader when it came to Liam. Always there to whisper in her ear that they were meant to be together. Hope made a promise to herself when she was young that she didn’t want to end up like her mother.

 

It was hard for to look in the mirror to see that she was slowly becoming a version of Brooke ready to bulldoze through anyone to get what she believed was hers. Now when she looks at Steffy, she’s perplexed… trying to figure out how she could think any man was worth it let alone a man who played with her heart back and forth. A man that suggested her that she should abort aborted her child because it was with Wyatt and not him.

 

How could she love a man like that? And her mother just keeps shoving Liam in her face.

 

She hates him for thinking they have a chance. There’s such strong chatter when she is at work about Liam and Sally. Even if she wasn’t one to believe it which she would have to be a fool not to. Every time Sally looks at her it’s like Sally was baiting her but she just walked away. She was doing everything she could to not stress herself out because she has been paranoid for her baby.

 

It’s been comforting for her to be nurtured by both Steffy and Luisa. For so long her best friend has been her mother. She never thought about the things she was missing. She looks at her Instagram page and sees most of her posts happened within the last couple of weeks.

 

Now she is playing catch up in life in so many ways. Nothing has ever been hers and hers alone. Even when she lived in Italy, it was her mother’s property or she lived with Wyatt and Liam when she was with them.  Even though Steffy and Jay gave her this home they made it clear it was hers and it was her choice what she wanted to do with it.

 

After her initial meeting with meeting, Luisa and Hope became good friends. Even though she became more tired as her pregnancy she didn’t feel that way when she hung out with her friends.

 

She got used to having lunches and early dinners out. She was nervous to have a baby shower but also very excited. She knew whatever Steffy planned it would be something good.

 

Steffy asked Hope who she wanted to be there. She was bracing for Hope to say her mother but when Hope didn’t say Brooke’s name it surprised her.

 

Steffy didn’t want Hope to think she couldn’t invite her mother because she doesn’t like Brooke. She can stomach Brooke for an afternoon, but Hope told her she doesn’t want her mother there. She’s been staying with Donna for a while now because she just felt stressed that she might have to deal with ambushes.

 

Steffy and Lu had put the finishing details into the shower and blindfolded Hope. Steffy had a knack for really tripping people up so she drove them around the bloc a couple of times so Hope would have no clue where she was being taken to.

 

They got back to the building, Steffy and Lu were on either side of Hope slowly guiding her to their destination. They got back to Hope’s new home. When Steffy took off the blindfold Hope heard a chorus of surprise.

 

She was happy to see her aunts and it was a surprise for her to see Bridget. Luisa brought Michelle for the festivities which made Hope smile because the little girl was slowly becoming one of her favorite people.

 

She was most shocked to see Bridget though. They were not close by any means but when she started to know more about her circumstances, she started to see just why her sister wasn’t around.

 

It’s not everyday that you find out that your sister was also your stepmother the day you were born. It’s just so sleazy and perverse. Her mother is addicted to her hurting the people she claims to love. She did that to Bridget twice.

 

Her Aunt Katie had her own falling out with her mother and after Katie told her to go to hell, they hadn’t spoken to each other since. It was always Brooke’s belief that she would be forgiven and they could move on but Bridget and Katie decided they would rather life their lives without her.

 

Because of them Hope saw it was possible to live without Brooke in her life and she would be fine.

 

Donna had long been the middleman trying to keep the peace between the people in her family, but it came to ahead when Donna couldn’t ignore it anymore. She tried to get Bridget back in the fold who refused. Then Brooke betrayed Katie twice like she did Bridget and even then Donna tried then to get her sisters back on talking terms.

But Donna couldn’t ignore that it is Brooke that’s the problem, when she kept stressing Hope out who already has an anxiety disorder. When her niece showed up at her door with a suitcase, she knew that she couldn’t be the middleman anymore.

 

She took a side and all the people on that side are celebrating the fact that Hope is having a child.

 

“Oh my god! Everything looks so beautiful!” Hope jumps up and down ignoring the fact that every time she comes down it feels like she’s carrying stone.

 

She hugs each of her friends before she goes over to her aunts and sister and hugs them too.

 

Katie was surprised at the fact Hope and Steffy hugged and there was no sense of animosity between them.

 

She didn’t believe Donna when her sister insisted that the women were friends. Even when she saw her Instagram feed with them in pictures her mind just didn’t believe it.

 

Both Hope and Steffy’s feet started to hurt carrying the extra cargo and go to sit down. Hope looks around at her new place and it really feels like hers. She described what she wanted and the interior designer somehow they knew how to make her new home feel like a home.

 

Michelle started passing out papers to the ladies. The little girl wanted to help with the baby shower. Not because she liked Hope even though she did, she liked putting her organizational skills she learned from being in the girl scouts.

 

“Hi! Welcome to Ms. Hope’s baby shower! I’m Senhorinha Ellie. I’ve given everyone the activities we will be doing today. This party is for Ms. Hope and her baby. Please clap for Ms. Hope…” The ladies listen to the little girl and start clapping the guest of honor.

 

But this girl isn’t satisfied. “It’s a party! Let’s show our love for Ms. Hope and clap louder!”

 

Lu smiles because her daughter is so lively and positive. “That’s right baby girl. Let’s bring that cheerful energy to Hope and her baby.”

Everyone gets into it with their whoo-ing and clapping. It’s a very emotional moment for everyone in the room. All of the women in the room are mothers and it’s as if she is being blessed by them and it brings happy tears to her eyes.

 

Michelle grabs the big bouquet of orange roses and gives it to Hope. She hugs them to her, feeling special in the moment where everyone is cheering for her. She doesn’t know what the orange roses mean but she knows Steffy is a fan of flowers, so she knows that it ties to the occasion somehow.

 

Everyone settles down after Michelle tells them they need to get a move on with items on the agenda. Hope opened her presents and she got some typical gifts from her aunts and sisters that she was grateful for.

 

When she opened the gift she received from Steffy it’s a red baby beanie and Luisa’s it’s red booties.

 

“Is there a theme going on for the baby I don’t know about? Is it going to be a photo shoot?” Hope thinks the gifts are so cute.

 

 

“If you want there to be… we can make that happen. Lu had one my cute little miss was born. Birth is an extravaganza for Brazilians, so it’s not uncommon to see a new mother in full makeup.” Steffy wrangles her goddaughter and scoops her into her lap and hugs her tight. “We give expectant mothers red clothing because it represents us wanting good luck and health for the child. My mom had a red onesie ready for Kelly as soon as the doctors gave the okay.”

 

It makes Hope cry when she hears this. All she wants is for her child to be born… and breathing. She is touched her friends would give her these deeply symbolic things from their culture for her child.

 

“Thank you! For everything… for everyone. All of this means the world to me. I was scared to have a baby shower because the last time I was so excited to become a mother it only ended in heartbreak. But being here with everyone has only made me feel stronger, loved and supported. I feel excited for my future and I’m just happy to have all of you in my life.”

 

Katie gets up and pushes her hair behind her ear and just looks at everyone in the room.

 

“Hope, you know that I love you dearly. I’m so happy to see you happy. I know these months have been difficult for you and sometimes filled with doubt. Sweetheart that’s normal to feel that way but it gets better. This day is proof of it. I never thought I would see the day when Steffy Forrester and Hope Logan but here we are. So that brings me to you Steffy. I know you and Hope haven’t had the best history even me and you but you chose to be kind to my niece…” Katie starts to choke up because she loves her family so much. “… at a time when she was at a crossroads. She’s had a rough go recently but now when I talk to her or go on Instagram, I see full smiles. I want to thank you and Luisa for not just throwing this baby shower and inviting us but just being girlfriends to her…”

 

Donna gets up and wants to say something herself.

 

“My sister really made a good speech huh?! I would like to say a few words. Steffy and Lu thank you for hosting this baby shower for my niece. Steffy you know you are my girl. I know first-hand what a big heart you have, it made me so delighted that it extended to my niece. I loved the fact that Hope wasn’t eating at her desk anymore. Hearing that she was going to lunches or seeing Hope scarf down smoothies with Lu. Female friendships are so special and to me they are sacred because sometimes you find your strength in your friends. Knowing that someone has your back so you can take that leap. Which brings me to Hope. Sweetheart you are taking that leap. I will always be there for you. You are growing everyday into the person you want to be and that just makes me so proud. This journey you are on remember you are not alone, you have everyone in this room cheering you on. I love you sweetheart.”

 

Bridget gets up and it seems like a theme is starting…

 

“Hope, I know we don’t have this strong sisterhood and bond. We can’t always change our circumstances but we can choose how we deal with them. That’s what you are doing now and it’s admirable. I am so proud to see that you chose yourself. There’s fierceness in dignity and sometimes it’s so hard to reach for it but you did it anyway. And it hurts sometimes, honey I know it does but you choosing yourself has brought you to this moment. There’s no shame in that… no judgment. Everyone in this room loves you and will fight for you. We will fight for your child. You have that promise in me.”

 

Lu stands up ready to address Hope.

 

“Girl, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? I know sometimes you feel lost or you’re playing catch up. Honey we are all playing catch up. You are figuring it out, but you do it at your own pace. If anyone got anything they want to say then you can send them my way, I love to talk. Stop worrying about what other people are saying and follow your gut. It brought you to where you are now to this very room filled with people are here for you. I can’t speak for anyone but I can for me and Michele and we’re bomb company… but for real don’t worry about where you think you should be and enjoy where you are now because you are going to be living your best life with your baby in tow.”

 

Steffy and Michelle are last ones in the room who haven’t said anything yet. They both get up to talk as well.

 

“We haven’t had the easiest history between is but in a way we are kindred. We can understand each other in a way that others can’t. You took the time to look at yourself and your life and say I deserve more. And I know some days it’s not as easy as others but trust your gut because Lu is right it led you here to this very space. There’s two proverbs my mom used to tell me when I was little ‘apressado come cru e quem espera sempre alcança’. The first one basically translates to those who hurry eat things raw and the second means those who wait, reach. It’s always going to be someone ahead of you at something, that’s just life but you have to live at your pace and not be ashamed of that. You will reach the goals when you reach them. Just stay focused on what you want in life, have patience and it will come. I was in your booties not too long ago. All I knew was I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore. I wanted to love me again. I didn’t want to lose myself and bring a child into the world and not be able to love them with all of me because part of me was broken. It’s a scary and vulnerable place but it’s also exciting. You are going to bring a life into the world and love them with everything you have because you are whole again Hope. You reclaimed yourself and you will reach new heights… I’m living proof of that.” Steffy rubs her belly to make her point.

 

This day has been so emotional for everyone in the room especially the guest of honor. Hearing the beautiful words from everyone is what she needed. She feels like she can stand on her two feet and be just fine.

 

Steffy sits back down and hugs her friend and to provide a little comfort she knows today is a lot.

 

“I want to say something too. Ms. Hope is really nice person and I like that she always will color with me when I bring my books. I really like that she pledged that she would only buy girl scout cookies from me--”

 

“Michele Estefânia, what are you doing?!” Lu is exasperated with her daughter but Steffy sure ain’t mad at her.

 

“Excuse me, it’s my turn! Madrinha tell her! Every audience is a buying audience.” All she can do is laugh because only her goddaughter could try to divide and conquer. She just tells her biffle to let her speak but Lu is giving her daughter and Steffy the side-eye. “Like I was saying, Ms. Hope promised to only buy cookies from me. If you look at the last page it shows I’m also taking pre-orders for cookies and just because you buy in bulk does not mean you get a discount. I am a top-tier daisy scout for Los Angeles and I wanna stay number one! I’m a business girl and so are all of you. So, I give you a deal if you buy at least 15 boxes you get a free hug from me.” Luisa cannot believe the stunt her daughter is pulling.

 

“I guess I will have to buy 30 boxes because I want two hugs.” Luisa just roll her eyes at everyone in the room laughing because of course Hope would encourage her daughter. Her daughter didn’t get to be the number one daisy scout by just her cuteness.

Chapter Text

Lu decided to have a semi-impromptu churrasco at her house. Michelle had wanted to do something fun for her dad when he came back from his business trip and Lu liked any excuse to barbecue. She invited Steffy and Hope and some other friends to enjoy in the festivities.

Steffy loved the idea and asked Jay if he wanted to come with her. It didn’t take him long to say yes as soon as she said barbecue. Will had already been invited by Erik already himself so he was going as well.

Hope moved into the building after the baby shower and felt so at peace in her new place. Donna has been helping her get acclimated to her new place and stayed with her some nights. When Hope got the text, she wanted to go and invited Donna. Since Hope was due any day now Donna made sure she had a to go ready.

People started to trickle into Luisa’s house and the aromas in the air was making everyone so hungry. When Steffy arrived she saw that her parents were already there. Her mother was talking to Bridget while her father was talking animatedly with Erik about some soccer game.

Jay and Will ditch Steffy and Kelly to go to her father and Erik so she makes her way over to kitchen to find Luisa and let her know they are there.

“Oi!”

“Hey girl, welcome aww look at Kelly in her itty bitty bathing suit. She looks so cute!”

“I figured we might go for a little swim later maybe depends on my mood. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Umm, I don’t think so… The mac and cheese was the last bit and it’s in the oven baking. I might need some help with setting the table though. How’s it looking out there?”

“Pretty chill but the guys are acting a fool but that’s to be expected.” She doesn’t know why but men and grills are so weird to Steffy.

“Tell me about it. I offered to help Erik with the meats since I was the one that marinated them. He told me that we were going to have Mexican churrasco today and I needed to just let him have his process. I told that man ain’t no body out here who knows Mexicans for churrasco. He pouted and I just rolled my eyes.” When her husband pouted was the exact time her daughter decided to make her entrance and obviously sided with her father, so she just let the man be.

Outisde, Donna and Hope made their arrival and it was a pleasant surprise for her to find her sister had come. They make their way over to Bridget to say hi.

“I didn’t know you would be here Bridget. Hi Taylor, Hi Michelle.”

“Oh yeah Taylor and Ridge invited me as their plus one, so I thought why not it seemed like fun.” Bridget had made it a regular habit every time she came back to LA to visit her brother and Taylor. Taylor was one of the people that helped filled the gaps in her life even when she was on talking terms with her mother. Ever since she cut off contact with her mother nearly twenty years ago, she kind of stuck to Taylor which has been one of her better decisions in life.

“Yeah I am excited. Everything smells so good, I’m glad I came hungry.”

“Me too, Ever since the baby shower I have been clamoring to have some of Luisa’s cooking again.” Donna had thought it was catering they were eating at the shower but when Luisa said nope she was shocked and knew she needed to have it again.

“Oh it’s going to be good. Lu made so much food, I’m sure you will have leftovers for days.” It hits Taylor different when it comes to Brazilian food. Even when she’s full she still eats more.

The ladies talk amongst themselves some more just catching up with each other and Hope giving progress reports on the baby front.

Luisa sets the timer so she could get an alert on her Galaxy for when oven and went out with Steffy.

Steffy spots Donna and Hope with her mother and Bridget. Michelle was in her mother’s lap just talking to her about who knows what.

The ladies go over to them to see what’s going on with them.

Everyone tells Luisa that everything smells so good and they can’t wait to try it. A few more people from Erik’s family came. They to come for the weekend when they heard him talking about the barbecue.

The ladies took some selfies for the Gram when Lu got the alert for the macaroni. She told Steffy she was going to need some help with carrying the food to the tables. Hope offered to help but they told her just relax because she was so near to pop.

Everyone started to venture to the outside dining table. It was loud and chaotic at the table with everyone wanting to get everything of everything.

About an hour and a half after everyone started eating someone said a joke and it made Hope laugh so hard but then she started to feel a little wet. When she looked down, she saw her lap was soaked when she realized her water must have broke.

As she freaks out silently, Steffy looks at her and sees the wet spot on her dress. She calmly tells everyone that Hope’s water broke and that they need to get to the hospital.

Bridget and Steffy help get Hope out of her chair and Donna is already getting ready to go to her car. Lu tells her husband to pack up the food so it doesn’t go bad and to meet her at the hospital when he’s finished.

Everyone at the party was excited that a baby was coming and went to the hospital with them.

The contractions Hope felt were not that bad. She didn’t know if they were just mild or if she was just so excited that her daughter would be here soon that she was able to separate herself from the pain.

Steffy had called Hope’s doctor ahead and told her that would be at Cedars pretty soon. When they got there, Hope was ushered to her room and was comfortable in the bed while she waited. The waiting room was filled with everyone who was at barbecue. Some people didn’t even know Hope for even a day yet but showed up for her. Donna called Katie and told her that Hope was in labor… Katie told her that she would be there ASAP.

After the doctor got Hope comfortable, she asked if her friends and her Aunt could be there with her.

Hope just wanted to pass the time talking about simple things to help distract her until the active part of her labor.

Donna had her phone glued to her, keeping Katie advised on every update even though it wasn’t that much to update about yet.

“Hope, I don’t mean to upset you but what do you want to do about Liam and your mother? Do you want me to call them?” That was the big elephant in the room but Donna had to ask it.

“Aunt Donna you can call them but please can it wait until after I give birth please?” Hope knew that the question would be asked eventually but she knew that her Aunt would abide by her wishes.

“Of course honey. I’ll be right back okay. Katie’s parking her car. I’m just going to go get her okay.”

As soon as Donna left Hope was hit with another contraction but this time it was intense and it wasn’t one that could simply ignore and she knew it was about that time.

She had a few more contractions in such a short time that Steffy pressed the call button for the doctor. As soon as Donna got back to the waiting area, Katie made a beeline for Bridget while Donna went back into the room.

The doctor and nurses started to file into the room and Hope started to sweat. The doctor gave her another quick examination and told them that everything was looking right. The doctor told Hope that this labor will most likely be shorter than the first.

Steffy and Luisa were on either side of her and she started to sweat more when the doctor checked her after the last contraction. She wanted to push so bad but she wouldn’t until the doctor gave her the okay.

When the doctor said that she was fully dilated, she felt so ready to do this. Her friends held each of her hands and when the doctor said it was okay to push she pushed as hard as she could.
Everyone in the room was just encouraging her but Hope was silent. She didn’t make any noise as she pushed even when she squeezed her friends hands hard she didn’t make any noise. When the baby came out the doctor and nurses started to clamor. Her baby didn’t make any sound which scared her. Her doctor told her to focus because she needed to push out the afterbirth as well. She started to scream because she was afraid but they gave her the baby and her doctor told her that skin to skin contact is preferable. As soon as Hope brought her daughter to her, they cut the umbilical cord which makes her daughter wail and Hope starts crying. Her baby was alive. Steffy just pushed the hair was got stuck to Hope’s face from her sweat.

The room was calm again and that was when Donna called her sister and Liam to let them know that Hope gave birth. Luisa went into Hope’s baby bag and dressed the baby slipping the red beanie and booties last when Hope mouthed thank you.

Donna had gotten off the phone with Brooke and went to address the waiting room.

“Baby and mom are during great!” Both Bridget and Katie let out a breath because the baby was alive. “Hope has decided to name her little girl Evangeline Halle Henderson.”

Bridget and Katie just look at each other because when they heard the last name to them it might as well have been a fuck you and the both of them are just living for the name even if it was a little petty.

Taylor just looked at Bridget when she heard the name and she was not surprised in the least when she could see that Budge was absolutely gleeful at the turn of events.

Bridget knew her mother was coming and is just ready to see the look of shock on her face. Now that they could be calmer about the baby she knew the fireworks was coming and she wasn’t going to miss the show.

“What would you like to name her?” Lu was gentle with her voice because she didn’t want to disrupt the calm for the baby.

“Evangeline Halle…”

“That’s a beautiful name… Evangeline.” Lu was happy for her friend, she got her baby… happy and healthy.

“Steffy, could you fill out the birth certificate for me. Please put her last name as Henderson. I changed my name.” Hope had kept this secret from everyone. She did the hard part and wanted to give her daughter her name but she also wanted to be separate from her mother. So she decided to honor her grandmother but also have a name of her own.

Chapter Text

Steffy watched her friend as she took a little nap just so to make sure nothing happened to baby Eva while Hope slept.

 

They were taking turns while Donna was waiting for Brooke to get there. When Lu came back into the room after checking on her daughter and husband, Steffy wanted to do the same.

 

Steffy got up when Lu sat down. When she got outside, she could see that Kelly was asleep in her carrier next to her father while he and Jay spoke to each other.

 

It made her heart do cartwheels how well they got along. Both she and Jay were nervous when they first started dating on how their parents would like the other. They have been so crazy for the other it made them fret if one of their parents didn’t like them. She got to meet Jay’s parents when they visited last and Kelly stole their hearts.

 

Steffy felt so calm when Jay’s mom Katherine complimented her or his dad called her doll. She sends them pictures of Kelly all the time which makes them so happy.

 

They’ve been nudging Jay to think about marriage but every time they do, Jay just looks to Steffy with mischief in his eyes because its something they already did. With her being pregnant it’s just intensified from both of their parents, but they stay cool as cucumbers because they already did the deed. They know that will have a ceremony and invite family and friends but that isn’t really on their minds right now. They are just focused on Kelly and making sure Steffy stays healthy for when their next child.

 

When she starts walking their way, Will gets up so she can sit next to Jay.

 

“How are you doing babe?” Jay was happy to hear that Hope and her baby were doing great, but he also wanted to know how his wife was. She is six months pregnant herself, so he’s always wanting to know how she is.

 

“I’m doing good JV, thanks for asking. I’m not tired, I’m going to stick around until Hope gets discharged so I might need a change of clothes.” Steffy knows she didn’t absolutely have to stay but she wanted too.

“I can do that. Ridge and Taylor volunteered to watch Kelly for the night…” Jay decided that he would let his wife make that decision when his father-in-law told him this.

 

“That’s fine with me if that’s what you want to do.”

 

“I think that’s okay. I do have some meetings tomorrow that need to be in-person. Your dad said he was going to take the day off so he could watch Kelly.” This is news to Steffy’s ears. She loved having her parents together because when one worked usually the other would take some time off and when it was needed, they are always happy to watch Kelly for her.

 

“Well it sounds like dad has it all figured out. I’m going to go back inside okay, let me know when you plan to leave. I’m sure Liam is going to be here soon, it would be best if Kelly wasn’t here.” She reaches over to kiss him. She pretends no one else is there. Even without trying his kisses set her on fire.

 

She quickly remembers where she is and who is present, so she reluctantly pulls away. When she looks into his eyes, it’s filled with promises and she starts to get hot again, so she knows this is when she needs to retreat.

 

She gets up and goes back to Hope’s hospital room after chatting with her parents for a couple of minutes as Jay gets ready to go and asks his brother if he wants to come with him.

 

The precise moment Steffy steps into Hope’s hospital room was when Brooke made her appearance with Bill in tow. In a very Brooke-like fashion her entrance was dramatic as she paused to look for her sister. She was met with surprise when she saw Ridge and Taylor. Though its been years it still stings her to her core to see Ridge with Taylor.

 

He was supposed to be her forever and he was here with the only woman who could truly rival for his affections. It grated on her that it was that woman who had Ridge’s children. She came close once but in the end, it was Nick’s which was the beginning of the end. She locked eyes on them noticing the person on the other side of Taylor was Bridget.

 

This was something she really hadn’t expected. When she and Bridget had their last real conversation it was an ugly fight. Bridget told her that she was just so tired of forgiving her and Stephanie had always been right about her. Always defending the indefensible because it hadn’t touched her personally.

The situation with Hope’s existence took a lot of soul searching for Bridget to even have a path of reconciliation with her mother. When it seemed like they were getting to a place of trust her mother betrayed her again and she wouldn’t forgive the same transgression twice. It was embarrassing for her because gossip magazines lived for headlines like this.

 

In the end she was glad she kicked Nick to the curb after Stephanie gave her the hard truth. It would have been even more embarrassing for her if she stayed married to Nick because the dozens of paternity tests that had been tampered had said Ridge and Nick were the father at different times. Finally when an independent lab far from the reach of people with motives ran two separate tests it proved Nick was the father. The last thing she ever wanted was even for a minute to be stepmother to her mother’s children… again.

 

Now that said mother was looking at Bridget with longing, but the feeling was not reciprocal. Brooke never liked how close Stephanie and Taylor were to Bridget. She especially hated how when anything happened it was Bridge that always ran to Stephanie. And the woman would always turn into a dragon and Brooke would have to bear the brunt of the fire. Any problem Bridget had Stephanie would berate her, telling her that she never deserved a daughter like Bridget. Stephanie got her wish because Bridget walked away and never looked back.

 

For the first time in years, Brooke sees her daughter and she’s next to Taylor. If looks could kill it would be a gruesome murder the way Taylor looks at her.

 

As Brooke breaks eye contact with Taylor, her eyes meet her sister’s and there’s a pang in her heart. She wishes that she and Katie were close again, but Katie said they were done after Brooke was caught will Bill yet again.

 

Katie found it so hilarious that Bill Spencer ran behind Brooke like a little puppy. It used to get to her that Brooke could betray her so easily but there was a great sense of satisfaction that Brooke would never be Bill or Ridge’s first choice. Brooke can have Bill now because Steffy wants nothing to do with him. Ridge won’t leave his wife for Brooke which might be a little immature for Katie to admit but she relishes that Brooke loses to the Hamilton women.

 

Her sister desperately wanted Bill’s twelve and a half percent stake in Forrester and made herself look foolish to get it.

 

Bill got what he deserved when Steffy froze him out of her life after he signed away his stake in Forrester to her. And Brooke got what she deserved when she thought she would be able to get him to give her that stake.

 

Seeing Brooke and Bill doesn’t hurt her anymore, but she does get pleasure when things don’t go their way.

 

Donna sees the intense stare Katie has for Brooke and she gets up and tries to keep tensions low. She knows Katie won’t do anything unless Brooke tries to speak to her.

 

Brooke takes a couple of steps to get closer to her family.

 

“Bridget… it’s nice to see you sweetheart.” Brooke meant what she said, she wanted to have some kind of relationship with her daughter.

 

“Brooke, you don’t exist to me so save that for the daughter you actually have a chance with.” There’s no venom in Bridget’s voice which makes it hurt worse for Brooke.

 

Donna can see things going at the rails quickly if she doesn’t separate Katie and Bridget from Brooke. She couldn’t believe that Brooke came here with Bill on her heels but instead of calling her sister out about this and possibly creating an unpleasant and mortifying scene she just pulls her sister away from the waiting room and towards Hope’s room. She asks her sister to stay outside while she checks in on Hope.

 

When Donna gets back inside, she sees Hope holding the baby while softly talking with her friends.

 

“Hey sweetheart, so I have your mom—” Before Donna could finish her sentence Brooke comes barreling into the room.

 

“Oh Hope, I couldn’t wait to meet my grandchild.” She was already inching closer to Hope and her child which made everyone in the room uncomfortable with.

 

“Hey lady you need to back up and give Hope some space.”  Lu doesn’t take to it kindly with this woman coming barging in here. It doesn’t matter to her that this Hope’s mother. Hope is not in the space to be handling all that comes with Brooke Logan right now.

 

“Excuse you, but I am her mother—”

 

“Precisely which is why you need to take a step back Brooke.” Dealing with Brooke is not something Steffy loves to do but she will put the woman in her place if she needs to.

 

“Steffy, why are you even here?!” Brooke was baffled how Hope could let Steffy into her life but try and cast out Liam.

 

“Shut up. You are not going to come in here and start to yell. My baby was just born, I won’t have you or anyone disturbing her peace. My friends are here because I wanted them to be here. I had Aunt Donna call you, but you are starting to prove that was a mistake.”

 

“You’re right I’m sorry Hope. Thank you for reaching out. I haven’t really spoken to you much since you left, so I’m happy you let me be a part of this.”  She chose her words carefully to not upset her daughter, but she is mortified that Steffy was in her daughter’s hospital room before she was. “What’s her name?”

 

“Evangeline Halle…” She had been doing a lot of research on names because she wanted to have a name that was extra special for child. Evangeline meant bringer of good news and Halle was unexpected gift. Her daughter coming into the world at a time she was in a transition in her life. This baby was the starting point of something new.

 

Brooke wondered about the name. She thought that Hope would choose names that meant something to the family. Earlier in her pregnancy she talked about maybe Beth or Helen, but Hope ended up not choosing either one. Brooke nodded and pretended to be excited even though she felt a little bit of disappointment in Hope’s name choice. “Evangeline Halle Spencer… has a certain ring to it doesn’t it…”

 

“Hmm…” Hope didn’t say anything about her daughter’s last name and everyone in the room stayed mum and let Brooke assume what she liked.

 

“Brooke, I think that’s enough. Let’s let Hope and the baby have some rest…” Brooke looked at her sister who was fuming and she knew she couldn’t make a fuss without Hope getting upset.

 

She did leave the room even though she was upset that Steffy got to stay. She is livid that Steffy found a way to worm her way into her daughter’s life. She didn’t know if it was a punishment to Liam or her. She seethes as Donna escorts her out.

 

In the waiting room, Bill just stands awkwardly as no one acknowledges his existence. He’s relieved when he hears Liam’s voice calling out for him. When he turns towards the voice, he sees his son walking towards the waiting room, but he isn’t alone.

 

Bill still can’t believe his son was entertaining any kind of relationship with that red-haired medusa.

 

“Hey dad, have you gotten to see her yet?” Liam had been at lunch with Sally when Donna contacted him about Hope. He was telling Sally about the sorrows he had with the failed relationships he had with both Steffy and Hope. He didn’t know if Hope had the baby yet or if she was still in labor. He tried texting Donna back, but he just figured she was busy contacting people about Hope.

 

He looks around in the waiting room and he sees that he doesn’t know most of the people there. He takes a glance at the people he does know and his former mother-in-law looks like she just could kill him right where he stands with her eyes. Ridge looks like he could just punch both him and his father and that’s much preferable than the look he gets from Taylor.

 

As Brooke comes back to the waiting area with her sister, she sees Liam which makes her excited because it’s times like these that people realize what’s important. Babies have a way of making people come back together and she knows a little nudging can get Liam and Hope back on track. “What’s she doing here?” Brooke doesn’t understand why Sally is here. She isn’t family and she certainly isn’t Hope’s friend. Her daughter told her about the tense conversation she had with Sally when she first got back where Sally admitted her feelings for Liam.

 

“Brooke, I asked Sally to come… she’s my friend and she’s here as support.” Everyone who knows Liam can’t believe that this is his reasoning on why he would bring Sally here. Brooke wants to slap Liam for being so insensitive. He only makes it that much harder to get back with Hope when he does these dumb spectacles.

 

Donna texts Steffy and let’s her know that Liam is here and it might make for an awkward situation.

 

Steffy left the room but Lu stayed behind just so Liam didn’t get any ideas. Steffy decided that she was going to sit next to her mother. When she walked out into the waiting area both Liam and Bill’s eyes followed her which annoyed Brooke to no end. Both men bristled when they saw that Steffy was pregnant… heavily pregnant. She flew right by them and paid them no attention.

 

Her father quickly got up and offered his chair to her so she could sit next to Taylor. He took it upon himself to physically shield Steffy from view so she could feel a little more comfortable.

 

“Liam come on… let’s go see your daughter…” Donna didn’t need to stick around to watch Brooke’s stink eye or Bill’s hanging jaw. If it were up to her, she would have had Bill far away from here. She doesn’t say anything else to Liam but just lets him follow her. She fixes him a look and tells him to stay there until she tells him that he can come inside. Donna let’s Hope know Liam is outside and when Hope gives her a nod she fetches Liam.

 

When Liam gets in the room, he’s eyes go straight for his baby. She was beautiful and looked peaceful as she slept in Hope’s arms. He finds a seat next to Hope and he’s overcome with emotion as he says Hope with their daughter.

 

“She’s beautiful.”

 

“I agree.”

 

“What name did you want to call her Elizabeth or Helen?”

 

“Neither I decided to go in a new direction. Her name is Evangeline Halle…” Hope never gets tired of saying her daughter’s name.

 

“Oh… that’s beautiful and I think it fits her. I miss you Hope.” He has and he thinks they can get back to that place. They have their daughter and they can have the new beginning they always wanted.

 

“Liam we are co-parents period, end of story.” The finality in her voice shakes Liam. He notices that Luisa is in the room and he wonders when did they become friends. That’s the woman who hated him more than rain at a picnic.

 

“Don’t you see Hope… Evangeline is our new beginning. We can have everything we always wanted.”

 

“Liam, there was a time where I believed that, craved that even but then I remembered the less than desirable moments in our relationship. The last time I was pregnant you wanted me to lie to Wyatt about my son and then I told you I didn’t want to do that you suggested that I get an abortion so we could be together. I look back and that should have been the moment I said no more. Back then I thought it was a sign of devotion that you really wanted to be with me, but I see it for what it is now.” It was toxic behavior that was romanticized. “You didn’t want anyone to have me because you saw me not as a person independent of you but that I belonged to you, not with you. I made so many excuses blaming Steffy and Ivy but it was you. I had a part-time relationship with full-time heartache. It disgusted me, you disgust me Liam. But we have this daughter and we are tied to each other for life so I will do right for my daughter, but it won’t be with me as your anything.” Luisa wanted to snap her fingers like she was at an open-mic poetry slam at her friend telling Liam that he was a fucking poisonous toad.

 

Liam wanted to say something, but he knew he couldn’t really get Hope to see his point with a woman who hated hi and would shout all his missteps from the rooftops and Hope’s aunt.

 

“There’s a lot of things to discuss Hope and we have a complicated history, I know that but I love you. I know you love me too. And we have this beautiful creation of that love.” Luisa kept her mouth shut because she was really close to molly-wopping Liam. She really doesn’t find it romantic with Liam impregnating another woman while he degraded Steffy and made her beg her whole damn pregnancy. “Our baby Evangeline Halle Spencer…”  In his mind, he thought he would work it out with Hope eventually.

 

“Henderson…”

 

“What?”

 

“Her name is Evangeline Halle Henderson…” Donna looks at Liam’s face and he presses his lips into a thin line.

 

“You’re just like Steffy huh?” He was starting to get upset again that yet again this was happening.

 

“Yeah I guess so… I outgrew you too and it kills at you that I’m not looking back. So get used to it.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Life was settling down again just a tad. Jay felt like he hadn’t seen his wife much at all over the past week. He knows that she’s been helping Hope adjust to being a new mother, but he misses her. He’s been truckin’ it doing most of the heavy lifting when it came to Kelly because Stef still had to juggle work as well.

 

It didn’t bother him because he loved being with the baby. He never thought he could be so fulfilled by a person who barely keeps her shoes on.

 

He asked Stef’s parents if they could watch Kelly tonight which they agreed to in a heartbeat. He dropped her off before he picked up his wife from work.

 

When he got there, he was surprised that she was already down there. She’s not usually late but he always comes before she gets off.

 

She climbs into the car and packs on a kiss before he even has time to greet her and it makes his heart skip a beat. He loves the fact that she seems to be over the moon. She’s usually happy but she’s happier than usual if that makes any sense.

 

“Hey, I was thinking…”

 

“What were you thinking about JV?”

 

“What do you say we do something just us?” As soon as he said it, Steffy took a pause and thought about everything lately.

 

Jay never asks her for anything really, besides feeding his brother. The last couple of weeks start running through her mind. She hasn’t really spent anytime with Jay… not really they go to bed and they get up for the next day. He works out while she starts her day. Most of the time they actually spend together is in the car when he’s taking her or picking her up from work.  

 

She feels a little guilty for neglecting him now when she examines everything. He always gave to her with no hesitation and she never wanted to take that for granted.

 

“I love the sound of that baby. What did you have in mind?”

 

“Nothing to out there, maybe some dinner and then go home and watch Netflix…” She could just kiss him. She could read between the lines, he didn’t care what they did as long as it was just them. It feels like everyday she could just fall deeper in love with him and it makes her giddy.

 

“You like me… you really like me…”

 

“You really live up to your name Captain Obvious.”

 

“Oh you want to play that game Junior Varsity? I promise that you will lose…”

 

“With you sweetheart even when I lose, I win. Do you want to go home first or you want to grab something to eat?”

 

“I’m always hungry babe so take me out to eat. I’m feeling like I’m in a Thai mood.” Steffy directs him to a place she likes and a place she knows that she can toy with him. It was great that it was still pretty early so they were still able to get a table with a short wait because Steffy preferred not to be on her feet. She requested the most remote booth in the whole restaurant. It was dimly lit which lends itself to a romantic ambiance. Great for dates without much pretense.

 

When the server left to get them some refreshments, Steffy asked about his day. Jay went on and on about his big meeting and normally Steffy would care but she liked to prove points. She traced her finger on his thigh. She knew she had to have the right pressure because of his jeans. It was only successful if he got distracted. When his hand flexed and gripped his glass of water was when she knew this would be fun.

 

Her fingers started gravitating closer to where she wanted to be. She ran her finger around the crotch of his pants he stuttered and stopped talking and she couldn’t have that. “Baby, why’d you stop? I love hearing about your day?” She bared all her teeth like a shark as she said this. She batted her eyelashes as she pulled his zipper down. His eyes fluttered when she held him in her hand.

 

“Continue please.” She hissed in his ear. She bit his earlobe and soothed with her tongue as she smeared his precum around the head of his dick. He always laughed at her for bringing her whole life in her handbags. He never saw when she went into her Mary Poppins bag and pulled out her little bottle of hand lotion.

 

She flicked the cap with her left hand as she teased the vein she usually licks with her tongue. She moves like lightning because he never noticed what was in her other hand until he choked on a breath as the cold lotion made his cock twitch. She had him right where she wanted him. He tried so hard to not react, but his body betrayed him. She knew how to play with him too.

 

He tried get back to the story and not give her the satisfaction, but she knew she had the upper hand. She bit that sensitive patch on his neck that always made his toes curl as she pumped him with a tight fist.

 

As she drags the tip of her nose alongside the column of his neck, she can’t see his eyes, but she knows they are closed. He doesn’t look at her, but she studies him and his jaw is clenched tight and his body was practically humming. She gives a firm stroke and a twist she has coming everywhere.

 

Steffy took a finger with his cum and slipped in her mouth as he looked on, still coming down from his euphoric high. She never cared for the taste of cum, but she did love the taste of victory.

 

She didn’t say a word, got up and walked away to go wash her hands. She left him with his dick all out, he tried to use as many napkins as he could to mitigate the disaster that is Hurricane Stef. He quickly put himself back together and balled up the napkins. When his wife came back, he got out of the booth before she stepped back in. He needed his own bathroom break and to throw away the evidence of his destruction.

 

As they had their dinner it was filled with measured laughs and subtle threats or pleasures depending on how one would read them. They were caught up in a dangerously frustrating game that neither would back down from.

 

When he drove them home, the car was filled with silence as the tension was reaching a boiling point with every turn he made. They were on opposite sides of the elevator just staring at each other. They spoke only with their eyes. When the elevator car reached their floor, he of course gestures for her to leave first because he’s a gentleman after all.

 

He let her walk in front of him just admiring her from head to toe as she took deliberately slow steps to frustrate him some more. She waited at their door, he knew what she was doing. It wasn’t like she had no key to her home. Steffy was a patient woman when she needed to be. He shook his head but walked to their home to open the door.

 

All he could feel were her blue eyes staring at his profile as he opened the door for her.

 

“After you, I insist…” He was trying to find the higher ground but when she did was chuckle, he knew that was still ahead.

 

She just kept walking deeper into their home while he locked the door. When he got to the living room, he couldn’t believe she was just sitting on the couch watching television. “Didn’t you say you wanted to watch Netflix?” She doesn’t laugh but her head toss and smile says it all.

 

“Fuck Netflix…” He walks over picks her up and moves her to the sectional. He didn’t give her anytime to get play catch up in their game. He doesn’t play fair but neither did she. He ripped up her lace panties and tossed them. She looked at her underwear discarded on the floor and tsked in disappointment as her husband destroyed yet another pair.

 

He made a broad lick on her thigh that made her hiss. Her dress was bunched at her hips and she was bare to him and it made her whole body shudder. She always felt like crying every time he made his first lick to her core, she never knew if it was from relief or frustration.

 

He was slow downright lazy in her opinion, but she knew this was a punishment for what transpired before. She wasn’t going to beg at least not yet so she slipped her hand down to clit while the other ventured to her breast. Steffy was more sensitive when she was pregnant, so orgasms were even easier to get but Jay made it a point to draw it out.

 

As soon as she thinks she will get the relief she craves he rebuffs her fingers with his tongue. He rubbed her clit with his tongue and she tug hard on her nipple and she was screaming.

 

She bit into a pillow as her climax ran through her and the cold air from the AC felt like needles on her skin. “Fuck you.” She whispered but it might as well have been a shout.

 

“Oh you will…” He wasn’t done eating her out yet. He started to fuck her with his tongue. She bucked her hips trying to create more friction. When she didn’t get what she wanted, she hammered her closed fist on the sofa.

 

“You fucking bastard, I know you want me to beg.” She found enough breath to curse his name and all she got was a cruel laugh which only made his tongue vibrate in her pussy. He massaged her clit with his thumb. The tables turned and he knew he had the upper hand now and he was enjoying every minute of it.

 

She fell apart again as her back arched like a bow which amazed him given how pregnant she was. He took this time to take off his clothes. Looking at his handiwork made him even more hard.

 

He got back on the sectional and looked at his wife. He saw that she was all there again. She had a scowl on her face which made him feel smug. Her face morphed when he teased her with his dick. Her gasp when he teased her slit fed his ego in a way that nothing else could.

 

That moment when he enters her for the first time always makes the both of them see stars. Steffy loves the feel of him stretching her. He lifts from her hips and slips a pillow under her. The new position has him holding up one of her legs across his body. She feels him even deeper and it makes her heady. “If you’re gonna fuck me then you better do it right.” She maybe writhing but her words cut into him.

 

Even now she finds a way to taunt him and she steals a breath from him when her pussy squeezes him. It took a lot of restraint to not just fuck her senseless. He was sweating but so was she. He set a pace that he didn’t want her to get used too. Every time she seemed to catch on he would change his speed. “Fuck me harder…”

 

“Say please…” He was having so much fun toying with her, but he didn’t know how long he was going to last. She felt like velvet and her clenching on him made him close to the edge.

 

“Baby, fuck me like you love me…” It was like a flip of the switch and he picked up a bruising pace. “Yes Jay, like that… ooh.” She sank deeper into the couch and bit her finger but it didn’t stifle her moans.

 

He swirled her clit with his index finger and had her coming so hard, tears leaked from her eyes. She had no more control of her body as she orgasmed, but her pussy gripped him like a vise. His rhythm became sloppy uncoordinated because all he wanted now was to cum and he couldn’t think straight. Two more pumps and he was gone. He fell deeper into the couch splayed next to his wife twitching.

 

He felt like he ran miles. His hot breathes touched Steffy’s skin and gave her goosebumps. As they started to come back to themselves.

 

“I didn’t say please…” She’s pleased with herself that she didn’t give into him his demands.

 

“No you didn’t and that’s okay. Even with your poor manners you still seem to forget…”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“Even when I lose Captain Obvious...” When he kisses her sweaty cheeks, his laugh is really a taunt. He reached over and slipped a finger in her cunt and swirled it around knowing she was sensitive. He took his time to smear his cum all over her heated vagina. “I win…” he whispered in her ear and bit her ear lobe soothed the sting with his tongue.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

As Steffy was getting close to her due date, Jay’s parents decided to take an extended vacation to Los Angeles. They didn’t want to just hear about the birth, they wanted to be able to celebrate with their son the arrival of the baby.

 

Ridge made it a point to take over all duties as CEO for Forrester Creations so Steffy could be on her maternal leave. She was 39 weeks but if it was up to her, she would have kept working. She was hot and uncomfortable all the time that the AC had to be left on a low temperature.

 

They had to start dressing Kelly in warmer clothes because of it but it was the only way Steffy felt comfortable in her home. She was getting more irritable since normally she had her work to keep her focused.

 

When her father told her that maternity leave means no work, she wanted to bop him on the head because work kept her busy. This time was special though because she got to spend most of her time with her daughter. It was getting harder to keep up with Kelly though she was near to give birth as Kelly has discovered her love for running… and grabbing. The number of times Kelly has taken off running with her phone has made her immune at this point.

 

She stopped running for it after the second time. She let Kelly tire herself out even if that took longer than she thought. The amount of effort it took to get up was just not worth it at this point. Her back ached all the time. She could only sleep now if her side of the bed was raised. It annoyed her how much energy it took to get up.

 

It has been nice to have Jay with her all the time though. He took himself away from work to just be there with them. Even though Jay couldn’t cook anything to save his life, he did pick her up anything she was craving with no complaints.

 

This was something she never got to have the first go-around. As much as she loves Kelly, the time she was pregnant versus this time. She didn’t think of pregnancy as a misery-filled experience anymore. It did have it’s time that it grated on her. Constantly going to the bathroom and swollen feet weren’t her highlights but this experience is light years ahead the last one.

 

She did have her parents and Lu in her corner, but they had their own lives. She doesn’t know how in the hell she lucked out with having a man like Jay on her side.

 

She knows she doesn’t deserve anything less than a good man, but she can’t say she wasn’t losing faith that it would come.

 

She invested so much in Liam and the more she invested the more she committed herself to pain. She would always just try to psych herself up and say it was worth it because she and Liam had to be. She wasted almost a decade with the back and forth, she wanted for it to be worth it because she didn’t want to admit to herself that she wasted her time.

 

She has been with Jay for considerably less time and yet she hasn’t ever felt more loved in a relationship than now. Being with him made her realize it didn’t matter the amount of time you spent with someone, the quality of the relationship was what really mattered.

 

He’s goofy, charming… quick-witted and makes her heart skip a beat. He makes her laugh when he does the Heisman pose using Kelly as the football. So loving when it comes to Kelly. She was always hesitant to date after having Kelly because she was always worried that she would be cast aside when she disclosed, she had a child but Lu told her it wouldn’t matter with this guy.

 

The same guy who intrigued her while she was buying Greek wine. She thought the butterflies she felt then was just happiness that someone wanted to flirt with her, but she recognizes them for what they are now. He just has a way with making her feel like she’s in love for the first time again. That write in your diary because you’re so smitten love.

 

She feels so at bliss thinking about Jay and how they are together. They created their own little family…

 

“Babe. Babe?” Steffy hears Jay’s voice but he sounds like he’s far away. His voice starts to get louder and the heady feeling is starting to go away. “Baby you need to wake up.” She feels herself become more alert and she looks at Jay and feels so weird. She was sad that she finally fell asleep after so long.

 

“Why won’t you let me sleep?”

 

“Baby, your water broke. We need to get to the hospital.” His words shake away any sleepiness that lingered. She looked down and saw that she was soaked. Jay helped her out of the bed and her dress was just ruined, she needed to wear something else.

 

The bigger she got the more she invested in Maxi dresses. They were easy for her to get into and out of. She pushed the straps off her shoulders and let it fall. Jay helped her out of her soaked underwear and put on a fresh pair and a new dress.

 

They had a bag the car ready for weeks, so they just grab Kelly and go. On the way down was when Jay started calling their parents. He decided that he would be the one to call people so his wife could focus on breathing.

 

This time around Steffy knew what to expect so she wasn’t as freaked out as she was last time. She was quiet and tried to just meditate through the pain. It helped to center her as Jay drove her to the hospital.

 

When they got there, Steffy’s OB was already there waiting and they ushered her to her room. Some nurses came in to take her vitals. Kelly just stared not sure what was happening but the smiles Steffy sent her way soothes her. She cuddles up deeper into Jay’s side when she is satisfied her mommy was okay.

 

There was a slow trickle in of both of their parents and Taylor made a beeline for the seat next to Steffy and their hands cleaved together.

 

Ridge stayed where he was to not overwhelm her and gave her a sweet wink that made her smile. Jay went to hug his mother as she came in. Normally Jay’s father was a stoic man who rarely displayed emotion was smiling ear to ear.

 

Steffy’s contractions started to get closer together and Jay escorted his parents and Ridge out and left Taylor alone with her daughter.

 

This was what Steffy missed the first time with Kelly. Her mom being there to soothe her and give her the strength she needed.

 

When Jay came to the waiting area, he saw that his wife’s friends were there and greeted them. As he was giving Kelly to his mother, he hears footsteps coming their way and sees Thomas heading over.

 

Thomas decided to make the move to be closer to his family after Caroline died. Him being here for the last month had made Steffy over the moon and Jay loved the fact one of his friends lived closer too. It was nice to catch up over beers.

 

When Hope sees Thomas, she is a little taken back. When she sees him, she thinks back to when they were together. She was so crazy about staying in Liam’s orbit that she took for granted how amazing Thomas was with her when they were younger.

 

Time had been really kind to Thomas because he was even more handsome since she saw him less. It was clear that he loved working out and she found that she was really attracted to him as she saw him speaking with Jay.

 

As Jay leaves, she gets out of her seat she sees him stepping over to a corner and checking his phone. She ventures over there but his back is turned so he doesn’t see her.

 

“Hey Thomas.”

 

Thomas turns at the sound of his name and Luisa who was watching her daughter using her phone turned her eyes over to Thomas and Hope.

 

“Oh hey Hope. Long time no see.” Thomas can’t even remember the last time he saw her. He never really kept in contact with her after they stopped dating which was years ago.

 

“Yeah I know it’s crazy. You’re back in LA?”

 

“Yeah… I came back to be closer to family.”

 

“That’s very noble. We should catch up sometime…” Hope was ready to move on from Liam and thought maybe this could be the first step. Thomas thought it was a little weird, but his sister told him that they wouldn’t be shoving cake in each other’s face anytime soon.

 

“Umm I guess we could.”

 

Douglas was making his way over to the waiting room, but he needed to be perfect.

 

“Madrasta, Do you think I look good?” (Madrasta=Stepmom)

 

“I think you look great baby…” She made sure to do his hair perfect and pick his best outfit. He kept instructing her that he couldn’t mess this up.

 

“I have to be perfect, this is different.”

 

“Você está perfeito meu amor.” (You look perfect my love)

 

Thank you, mommy.” He held his stepmother’s hand as he got closer. He saw his dad talking to some lady but who cares because he had other things to do.

 

His stepmother guided him to his favorite person.

 

“Olá Michele!” It has been a while since they have seen each other in person and Douglas wanted to look perfect for this moment.

 

“Oi, meu Dougie. I missed you.” Michelle hopped up out her seat without waiting for her mother’s help and hugged Douglas. When she gave him a kiss on the cheek, his eyes fluttered and his skin blushed. They were tiny that the both of them culd fit in one chair and they started catching up as if no time passed by them.

 

Thomas saw them and told Hope that it was a maybe about catching up. He made his way over to where Douglas was and was happy to see his son was excited. It was hard for him to adjust with so many changes in his life.

 

When Caroline died so unexpectantly it really shook all of them. And then Sasha’s mother dying. He didn’t understand the concept of death because he was so young but it was cruel to Douglas how he could lose his mother and grandmother so close in time.

 

“Hey baby, I’m going to go check on my sister.” Thomas was okay with staying in New York, but Sasha was having a really difficult time after her losing her mother. Sasha quit working when her mother got sick and had her move-in with them. The illness got so bad so fast and her mom died before they could get her a kidney transplant.

 

Nicole wanted to be there for her sister and best friend and said maybe they should move back to LA since both Thomas’s family and hers were here.

 

Thomas held her head in his hand and kissed her that always made them tingle.

 

He ruffled Douglas’s hair which was very not appreciated. Douglas wanted to look perfect for his girlfriend and his dad was ruining it. Sasha quickly fixed it as Douglas’s face started to get sour. But the little boy kept talking to Michelle. Thomas gave Michelle and Lu quick hugs before he was off to see his sister.

 

Sasha got up and went over into Hope’s direction. Lu was vaguely aware of what was going to happen so she got up herself just in case something should happen.

 

“Hey Hope, I was wondering if I could talk to you for a sec?” Sasha sounded friendly enough… but Lu knew better.

 

Hope was thrown for a loop when Thomas kissed Sasha. She didn’t know he was with anyone.

 

“Oh hey Sasha, sure what did you want to talk about?”

 

“I know that my sister is married to your brother but let’s get something straight. You’re walking into the danger zone. So if I touch you, I’ll be wrong… So don’t mess with my man because I’ll be the one to bring it to you.” Sasha was serious as hell. She did not like Hope wanting to ‘catch up’ with Thomas. She saw them and even though she trust Thomas… Hope’s intentions were clear and she knows when someone’s thirsty.

 

“What?”

 

“Ladies, let’s calm down we are a at a hospital waiting for Steffy to give birth let’s not make any scenes please.”

 

“Lu, let’s hope not but let her know she better keep her intentions away from Thomas period.” Sasha doesn’t want any drama in her life but will bring that smoke if someone messes with what’s hers. She walks away and goes back to Douglas and Michelle and rubs her stepson’s back. She didn’t learn a whole other language and be a stepmother to Thomas’s son for someone else try to wreck her family. She had enough to deal with.

 

“Hope, I hope you were not doing what Sasha thinks you were doing…” Lu saw the whole exchange and she doesn’t blame Sasha for coming to that conclusion but she wanted to hear what Hope’s side was.

 

“I didn’t know that Thomas was married or that he was even here in LA.”

 

“He’s been back for about a month, but that woman right there basically said she will beat you down to Nivea lyrics. I would not mess with her Hope. So whatever that was with Thomas I hope it is rated G.” When Lu heard Sasha reciting those lyrics was when she knew she had to step in.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Thomas gets to his sister’s room, he realizes he’s happier that they came home. It was great for Sasha to be closer to Nicole, but he realizes no matter how much time goes by he always wants to look out for Steffy. Especially at these kinds of times where she would look for Phoebe the most.

 

When he opens the door, he sees Jay and his parents on either side of Steffy. It’s seems like a wild dream that his buddy and his sister were having a baby. He tried for so long to get his sister to move on from Liam, but he also knows the kind of person Steffy is. She has to come to that conclusion herself no matter how hard you get her to see. She could only be swayed in the business sense. He’s so proud of her doing big things for FC and in her personal life.

 

The siblings were able to cheer each other on with them being in different fields. When his eyes catch his sister’s, it’s like they know what the other is feeling. It’s always been like that. Thomas always made himself to be the protector of his sisters with the chaotic environment they grew up in. They knew they could always on each other regardless of the uncertainty that surrounded their lives.

 

After Thomas gives his friend a quick hug, he goes to his parents and does the same and his dad gets up so he could sit next to his sister. He gives her a kiss on the forehead and holds her hand.

 

“So you’re having a baby…” That was one way of breaking the ice.

 

“I’m having a baby, can you believe it?” It was wild for Steffy to think about. Just a few short years ago she thought she would never have the chance to have children without adoption. Now she was having another child. She never thought this could be the life she dreamed of.

 

“Yeah I can, you are going to do great.” He’s excited for his sister. The happiness that eluded her for so long finally came to her and it brings a smile to his face. “I’ll be in the waiting area. I’m not going to leave I promise.”

 

Steffy wanted to cry because even now he was still being the big brother she loved so much.

 

“I love you Thomas…” she says this as she squeezes his hand. He squeezes back and tells everyone in the room goodbye.

 

He makes his way out of the room and settles in a seat next to Sasha. He doesn’t know if Douglas realizes his presence or not but his son just keeps on talking to Michelle.

 

“How are you doing?” When he picks up his wife’s hand and interlocked their fingers it makes Sasha happy.

 

“I’m good. How’s your sister doing?” Sasha meant every word. It’s been a hard time for them all but seeing Douglas happy to be reunited with Michelle is like a balm that helps her keep things in focus.

 

“She looks good. I think she’ll be fine, but I just want to be here you know.”

 

“I get it babe. I’m happy we came back…” They share a look. It was weird but they could look at each other and find their sense of peace within the other. Sasha nor Thomas ever had that with anyone they had been with before.

 

As Thomas speaks to his wife in the waiting room, Jay goes back to his chair so he could be next to his wife.

 

“I know it’s annoying but how are you feeling?” It’s the little things like him checking up on her that makes her so happy to have him in her life.

 

“I feel great to have someone as lovely as you wondering how I am feeling…”

 

She never forgot her parents were in the room, it was why she made sure not to say anything about him being her husband but when her mother just said aww it made Steffy feel like a little girl.

 

“You two are so cute aren’t they Ridge?” It does something to Taylor to see her baby girl so happy.

 

Ridge was enjoying the teasing. “The very cutest I must say doc.” he said in a dramatic manner but his smile conveys his true happiness. He’s happy he gets to be a grandfather again.

 

Another contraction starts and they keep getting closer which makes her nervous. She’s anxious to meet her baby. The contractions weren’t overly painful after being pregnant the first time. She knew what to expect now. She was able to just breathe through them.

 

Taylor kept timing them to really judge when the baby would be coming.

 

About thirty minutes went by and Taylor had Jay use the call button so the birthing team could come because this baby was going to be coming soon.

 

“Babe… I’m right here.” Jay whispers in her ear and gives her a kiss on her sweaty cheek. He can’t believe he’s hear in this moment with her. Loving her beyond what words could describe. Lu had always been trying to set them up. He say her picture on Instagram and just thought she was just too beautiful.

 

He never could understand how someone could hurt her so deeply and repeatedly. He dated here and there before her but found himself wishing that one day she would find herself single just so he could have a chance. It was hard to hear from Thomas, Lu and Erik that Stephanie would be amazing for him. How awesome and fun she was only to never know it himself.

 

He loved waking up to her. Even with her pregnancy making her all over the place so they fought sometimes about the most ridiculous things like him forgetting to add something to their take out when he knows that he didn’t. She made his smiles wider, his hugs feel tighter… everything about her makes him fall a little deeper as each passing day.

 

With every push she makes he just encourages her some more. The full weight of the moment is coming to him that this is his life and he’s never going to let anyone take it away from him.

 

“Jay, I’m never doing this again!” Steffy is exasperated at this point. Pushing as hard as she can but even as she is giving birth her personality shines through and it makes her husband and parents just laugh. This was easier than bringing Kelly into the world but for Steffy it was still a hard task no matter if she was calmer this time.

 

She could feel sweat everywhere. It made her legs feel slippery.

 

“Steffy, baby your so close give mama a few more pushes.” Doc pushes her baby girl to give a little more so her grandchild can come into the world.

 

Steffy breathes long and hard and yells a mighty scream into the air and pushes with everything she has and her child is out. She can hear her baby’s cries and it makes Steffy so relieved even though she knows the job isn’t done she needs to deliver the placenta.

 

“All right time for the next one… You can do it give me a few more pushes it’s quicker with the second one.”

 

Steffy feels like she’s in the twilight zone. “What’s the fuck?!” Before she can examine the fuckery of that statement she has the urge to push and she does and four more pushes she’s in disbelief that another baby comes out of her. She delivers her after birth and she wants to just never do this again.

 

The coordinated crying from the twins just make it surreal to Steffy. Jay on the other hand was so shocked he had to sit right back down because he was just utterly flabberghasted because how did they miss that in their scans?

 

Ridge is asking Taylor how was this possible and both Steffy and Jay are listening to how it is rare but possible while the doctors attend to the children and clean them up.

 

When they give each parent a baby none of the confusion lingers. They just enjoy the moment that they created two perfect little beings and they were healthy. Steffy and Jay had been fighting over what to name their daughter but now the fact that they had two just sounded ridiculously convenient. The birthing team says they will check on them later and Steffy thanks them for everything they have done for her.

 

 

“Let me go get Katherine and Hank so they can share in our confused happiness as well.” Ridge is still in a state of shock but he’s so happy right now. As he exits

 

“Baby I know this is a shock, but you are going to be fine and you two are going to be amazing and loving to these precious little ones.” Taylor knows that this can be overwhelming, it was the same feeling when she had Steffy and Phoebe and she knew about the twins. Grandma just slips little socks on the children. Jay carefully places the baby he was holding on Steffy’s otherside so she could have skin to skin time with the children. He asked Taylor if she had something that could help differentiate the twins. When his mother pulled out two different red beanies, he put the red and white beanie on the baby he first held as his parents come in.

 

To say there’s shock registering on his parents and Will’s faces are understatements. His mother’s jaw might as well have been on the floor and for once in her life she didn’t have something to say which was very surprising.

 

“Youse a wise guy now Jaybird? It’s double the fun in here?” Hank was having the best of days and it got even better as far as he was concerned.

 

“I’m going to kill you Jay, but they are so precious. Did you know what you want to name them?” Katherine was just floored at the sight of two babies. She made sure to speak lowly so she didn’t disturb the babies. Her fellow grandma gave her and her husband some chocolates. They found out this is a common custom in Taylor’s family.

 

Will was more subdued he just hugged his brother and commended Steffy for her heroics to have four babies under her roof.

 

“We have been fighting for months on what to name our child and it seems that the problem has been solved for us. Don’t you think Captain Obvious?”

 

“Yeah, I think so. The baby on my left is Taylor Maria and the baby in this cute red and white beanie is Katherine Luisa.” It was so hard for Steffy to possibly not name her child after her mother and knew it was the same for Jay.

 

In a way the universe solved that for them even though they would have loved to be told beforehand.

 

It makes the grandmas in the room so emotional. In that moment everything felt just how it should be. Each grandparent got to hold each child and it never felt like they had enough time with either child.

 

Ridge starts to let some people in and he swears that his dad almost has a heart attack when he sees two little baby heads on Steffy’s chest and everyone in the room shrugs except Steffy. His excitement is palpable with two new members of his family. When baby Taylor wraps her little hand around his finger he tears up a little.

 

More people start to be escorted into the room by Ridge. When Thomas and Sasha come in they just look at each other and silently laugh that it’s double the trouble. Thomas feels especially happy because Steffy looks so much like their mom he can vividly imagine when he met Steffy and Phoebe for the first time and he thinks somehow they finally come full circle in a way.

 

Their lives weren’t easy and it’s been filled with a lot of loss and heartbreak but seeing these little girls makes him think about Phoebe and how happy she would be for their sister. It was always the three of them against the world and it would always be the three of them even if Phoebe wasn’t physically there with them anymore, she was still there.  He knows that he would go to the ends of the earth for all his nieces.

 

“Steffy you don’t have to be an overachiever in everything you know that right?” He just snickers when his sister rolls her eyes at him. Steffy wishes she could pull her brother by the ear and twist because his comment made everyone in the room chuckle.

 

Sasha pinches her husband which makes him try to soothe spot and Steffy wants to give Sasha a hug for helping her sister-in-law out while she held this babies. “I’m so happy for you Steffy. My goodness you’re hands are going to be full but if you ever need Aunt Sasha is on the team.”

 

Steffy’s appreciative that she has so much family ready to help when needed. “Thank you so much Sasha. I will definitely be using your Auntie services.”

 

After Thomas gives his sister quick hug and kiss they leave. They get to the waiting room and wake little Douglas to take him home and even tired and groggy, he tries to convince his parents he needs to stay with Michelle even though the girl fast asleep too.

 

After a couple of pouts and trying to convince his stepmother to turn against his dad which it didn’t work, Thomas scooped up his son and carried him. Sasha promised she would do her best for him to see Michelle tomorrow which pacified him enough to leave without anymore bargaining.

 

When Ridge comes to get Luisa, Erik and Hope for their turn to see Steffy they were out of their seats and walking swiftly into the room.

 

They are not ready for the sight of two babies, Jay just says it was a surprise to all of them and it makes them all laugh.

 

“Of course you had to go on and have two babies at once. I have two new godbabies and I’m so happy for it irmã.” (Irmã=sister) The more the merrier as far as Lu was concerned.  Erik just chats with Jay about everything while the women speak. He wants to wait before he gives his congratulations so Lu can have her time with her best friend.  Hope got really jealous when Lu said both babies would have her as the godmother. It hurts her because she doesn’t have good enough friends for her to be godmother too. She’s sad she doesn’t have a friendship as solid and long as they have.  She knows that she and Steffy have a good friendship now but it’s still pretty new compared to her and Lu and it didn’t warrant her to be a consideration for an honorific for Steffy’s children. “Steffy I’m so excited for you! This is such an amazing blessing for you.” And Hope meant that with every fiber of her being. Steffy was getting the life she wanted and she deserved.  “Thank you both for the kind words. I literally said what the fuck to the doctor when they said there was another baby. Apparently it’s rare but possible that to miss this in ultrasounds.”  “Well you never been basic so of course it would extend to your children.” Lu booped Steffy’s nose with her finger as she said this which made her friend smile.   Erik came next to his wife and offered his congratulations. He was so happy for the both of his friends to find each other and to be expanding their family.   “Gracias Erik…” She could feel Erik’s heartfelt words and she took him by the hand and gave it a squeeze. He has always been such a great man, she had always wished for a man to be as good as Erik is to Luisa for herself and her friends came through for her.   When everyone leaves the room, Jay just sits back down right next to her. It’s just them for now as her parents which Kelly.   “You know I think this might be the universe telling us what goes around come around…”  “What do you mean Jay?”  “Think about it, we got married and told no one and then bam we find out we’re having twins when you were ready to tap out after delivering Taylor…”  “So you’re saying we played ourselves DJ Khaled style.”  “Yeah because look we literally have another one.” He kissed his wife making sure to be careful of the children. He was expecting the kiss to be quick and chaste but when his wife slipped in that tongue he had to will himself to not let himself get turned on at a hospital.  What both of them did not see was that Taylor had the door ajar. She was coming into the room to get her handbag so she and Ridge could go get another crib but when she heard them talking she had to just listen and she found out that her daughter and Jay are married and she slowly closes the door when they kiss.  She let’s a few minutes pass by before she softly knocks and comes in. She tells them she’s going to get another crib for them so everything can be perfect for when they go home. “You know now that the babies are here you two should really think about getting married. We’ll talk more details later.” Taylor looks between her daughter and her newly discovered son-in-law waiting for their reactions and she enjoys jay squirming and Steffy trying to look at anything but her. Taylor knew she was going to have fun with them.   

 

Chapter Text

After they had the twins, they decided that it was a good time to get married.

 

They didn’t rush into anything. Steffy took the time she needed away from work to really be an engaged mom and love this time at home. It was different for her this go around. She wasn’t by herself doing the heavy lifting. She had a partner that is a parent not a babysitter.

 

Steffy had been worried how Kelly would react to the new babies. She was already used to Beth but it was different because Beth didn’t live with them and she doesn’t know if Kelly remembers living with Beth when everyone thought she was Phoebe.

 

Kelly became so curious about these new babies. When she kept seeing them she took a liking to them. She decided that she liked them a lot because they kept mommy busy which gave her more time with daddy.

 

“Daddy, I like it!” Jay never gets tired of Kelly being impressed by everything he does. She was going to be four soon and he gets so sad because he doesn’t want his girls to grow older. He knows it’s selfish but he doesn’t care. Tay and Kat had the nerve to become 1 on him and he cried into his cake that he’s because it felt like yesterday they were bringing them home for the first time.

 

He just watches his oldest eat her peanut butter and banana sandwich with no crust. Only he can make the way she likes, it makes his chest puff out more that people can make the same exact thing but she swears it taste different because he makes it and the secret is he does but he will never tell.

 

The twins had the same problem Kelly had when she was their age. They run all around the house and as soon as you catch them, they take off and run again.

 

Steffy and Jay both work from home more because they didn’t want to miss anything. With Kelly going to pre-school now it just became a reality that the kids were growing up and no matter what they did, they couldn’t stop it.

 

When Steffy walks into the living room the twins trail after her. It amazed her that the twins couldn’t get enough of her while Kelly always usually wanted to be with Jay. Steffy didn’t mind it at all. She used to get a little jealous every now and then but when she thinks of how much love and devotion that Jay gives all the kids she gets it. Kelly fell in love with Jay at the same time that she was.

 

The twins settled down on the floor and Kelly got up from the couch after she finished her sandwich and gently played with her sisters.

 

It brought a smile to both parents to see Kelly be so loving to the babies. She was always talking to the babies, telling them stories that she made up from the top of her head.

 

“You know that Lu has been hounding me about seeing you today… She kept saying that even if she isn’t superstitious that I shouldn’t be seeing you.”

 

“Well tough luck. I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity of pre-wedding sex.” When he sticks his tongue out and mimics cunnilingus she just throws a pillow dead in his face. He just laughs at her but he gets up and gives a kiss to all his ladies because he does need to start getting ready.

 

The perks of owning hotels was that you could have any room you like and they decided to stay for a couple of nights here so it would be easier since they would be using the banquet hall here.

 

Jay decided to leave after he took his shower and get ready in another hotel room with Thomas, Will and Erik before his mother-in-law could come and possibly beat him into the next century for staying the night.

 

When Taylor does arrive, she comes with reinforcements in the form of Sasha, Lu, Michelle and Hope.

 

Steffy wanted this wedding to be fun and lowkey with just family and a few close friends. Her grandfather made a custom one of a kind wedding dress that took her breath away every time she looked at it.

 

Her daughters looked so cute in their pastel colored dresses looking like little peeps. It made her laugh. While bride and groom got ready for the impending nuptials news was spreading out about the couple.

 

The amount of dedicated blogs and social media for #Stay was mind boggling. Jay had always been a pretty private person and Steffy was the first person he ever dated with a high visibility.

 

He was shocked at how many people rooted for them as a couple. He was touched that people cared so much about her happiness. They did have some people that didn’t like them as a couple because they thought Liam is such a prince charming.

 

As much as people can root or root against them it just reminded both Steffy and Jay that most people don’t know them. They don’t know the truth and all the heartache she had with Liam. He isn’t this knight in shining armor and Steffy wasn’t relationship goals with him if people knew how Liam actually is like it would make Spencer Publications stock plummet.

 

As the couple was getting ready to get married again this time with their family and friends around, Liam was at home when he saw an alert. He still had google alerts for Steffy. His phone pinged and there was a story showing a leaked invitation to her nuptials and it still made Liam cringe in a way.

 

He still wishes that he could turn back time to when he and Steffy were together. They were so dynamic together and he was his most mature self when he was with her.

 

They worked side by side at Forrester trying to create something new as a legacy, but she was forging a legacy without him.

 

“Liam is that work? You promised us a day away from Spencer…” Sally gets irritated when he does things for Spencer when he’s at home. Especially when she knows it’s his father’s doing. The mutual dislike between Sally and Bill never ceased even after Liam got Sally pregnant.

 

She pushed him to marry her and in the end that’s what she got even though Bill made his objections loud and clear all the time even up to this day.

 

What Sally didn’t know was that Liam tried to contact Hope numerous times ‘in an effort to have a better co-parenting relationship’. When he got hit with the contact my lawyer from Hope he saw a chapter of his life closing.

 

He could never choose between Steffy and Hope. They were so different and each spoke to a different part of him. He still goes through his mind remembering his time with the both of them and how much he missed that.

 

But he had a life with Sally now. When they had baby Melanie who they call Lenny for short, Sally thought that she would finally prove to Liam that she could give him what Steffy and Hope did.

 

They get into avoidable fights but it seems like Liam leans into them. When he leaves it makes her antsy because she does most of the heavy lifting with Lenny.

 

She fought so hard to be with Liam and she sometimes wonders if it was worth it. She heard around the office that Steffy was getting married today.

 

She didn’t see Steffy that much at work because she was under Ridge’s designer wing but she saw that Steffy had two more children and she looked so happy.

 

It was hard not to be envious of her. She tried to get Liam to see her in a romantic light when Steffy was pregnant with Kelly. She got what she wished for and as she looks at Liam who’s stuck to his phone, she doesn’t know if she made the best choice.

 

As Sally thinks about her life choices, Steffy was putting on her veil.

 

Steffy loved her first wedding for what it was. It was spontaneous, reckless and everything she wanted. This time it was planned, meticulous and still everything she wanted.

 

Her mom and friends were running around after the kids and trying to prepare the final touches.

 

She felt so thankful to be able to have this day. Meeting her father outside her room.

 

Her walking the long aisle with having people they love cheer her on. The hollering seem to disappear when she looks at her husband. 

 

He looked so dapper in this his white tuxedo jacket and black slacks. She wanted to take the man home and have so much sex that she might end up pregnant.

 

She laughs when she gets to the altar because there was no fucking way she was getting pregnant with three bad ass kids they have now. She asked Jay to get a vasectomy. She knew it was a lot to ask him but it was less invasive than her getting her tubes tied.

 

He agreed but decided just in case to store some sperm if they ever change their minds.

 

They only had eyes for each other when they were reading their vows to each other but wet eyes littered the audience and yet they never noticed.

 

When they were announced to be husband and wife. She pulled his face to hers and he was not going to be outdone so he picked her up by the waist and twirled her in the air.

 

The reception got into full swing with loud music and conversation flowing everywhere. Steffy was moving like her feet weren’t going to hurt when she took her shoes off but she didn’t care. She could call Jay her husband and not worry about them slipping up anymore.

 

“I can’t believe that no one ever figured it out…” Jay looks sly as he says this. He felt like a smooth operator with how they were able to keep things a secret for so long.

 

“Can’t believe what?! That you two were married before today?” This makes Steffy freeze and wonder how the hell did her mother know.

 

“Mama, what are you even talking about?”

 

“I didn’t raise you to play stupid Steffy. Come on you said it yourself that Jay was your husband. Word to the two of you… You not as clever as you think you are.” Taylor just gives them a wink and walks away The couple try to go through the rolodex of interactions they had with her mother but nothing comes up for either of them.

 

They realize they don’t care much because Taylor didn’t seem mad. She was just teasing them…

 

They kiss and Steffy thinks of her first time seeing Jay. She has wanted to kiss his smug grin off his face and now she laughs into her kiss because she can do that everyday.