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    Jodi stepped into an empty ballroom and cleared her throat to announce her entrance. Black, white and silver balloons
    covered the entire floor. With each step that they both took the balloons, much like the Red Sea had begun to part.

    “One of the waiters told me you were in here and wanted to see me,” she said. “Here I am…” her arms extended, “what
    do you want?”

    “You look incredibly beautiful,” he told her and reached up to touch her cheek with the back of his hand.

    Jodi blocked his hand and delivered a firm, “No. I’m not starting the new year playing this game with the both of you,”
    she explained.

    “Don’t you know how much I care about you?”

    “Yes I know how much you care about me and that’s the problem,” she turned away from him and headed towards the
    door to leave.

    “Please…don’t walk out. After everything that you and I have been through,” he reasoned, “this year alone. Please don’t
    walk out.”

    She turned back around, the curls of her glistening hair bounced off her back.

    “Then you tell me what I want to hear,” she demanded. “I’m tired of being the rope in a game of tug-a-war between the
    both of you.”

    “Damnit!” she cursed.

    “Jodi…” he stepped forward and placed his hand on her shoulder.

    Frustration overtook her and she shook her head, “And I’m tired of being alone. So tell me what I want,” she corrected
    herself, “need…what I need to hear and I’ll stay.”

    They stood amidst a sea of hundreds upon hundreds of balloons in complete silence.

    “I’m leaving now,” she told him. “And while you stand there watching me walk away know that the only person you have
    to blame is yourself.”
    “This is a surprise,” Josh leaned against the nurse’s station desk in the ER and glanced at his watch.

    “I thought you were going to stop by after the party.”

    “Well…” Christian smiled at him. “I was going to but that seemed a little cold hearted of me…making you spend New
    Year’s Eve all alone, “ he toyed with his stethoscope, “well not so much alone, but here of all places.”

    “You know you do have a point there,” Josh began to walk towards the waiting room. “It’s like the calm before the storm
    out there out.”

    Christian nodded in agreement, “Then why don’t you and I make the most of it. If we’re lucky we’ll be able to ring the
    New Year in the right way doctor.”

    “The right way?” Josh laughed. “Did you have something in mind?”

    “Oh did you have something in mind?”

    A smile broadened across his face and Josh couldn’t help but feel something. It was a feeling that he hadn’t felt in a
    very long time, not since he had dated Ryan.

    “Point me in the direction of the nearest on-call room and I’ll show what exactly I do have in mind,” Christian instructed
    him and Josh leaned forward pulling his boyfriend into a kiss by the open collar of his midnight blue shirt.

    Their kiss was intense, albeit brief. Josh knew what he Christian Patterson was nothing like he had ever felt for anyone
    else other than Ryan. It was a feeling that made him both extremely happy and incredibly scared.

    As they neared the on-call room Josh nearly had Christian out of his jacket.

    One of them shut the door behind the other and locked it right away.
    Josh reached for Christian’s belt and smiled…after everything he had gone through this year he knew things had to be
    better in the New Year.

    He pulled Christian’s shirt off revealing his bare chest. He kissed his neck and then worked his way down.

    His lips moved over Christian’s body. Christian’s hand moved over his. Something felt incredibly right about their
    relationship and after everything that Josh had battled this year he knew the new year would bring a change for him.

    Josh sat his wallet down next to an alarm clock after retrieving out of it a condom.

    Neither one of them realized how much things would be different in the New Year or that in less than twenty minutes
    how much their lives would change...
    Contrary to the belief of many Sabrina was not a stupid woman. She lacked a college degree yet was the Chief Executive
    Officer of one of the most successful companies in the southwest.

    As she surveyed her bedroom she took note of her 2011 Woman of the Year award given to her by the Daughters of the
    Alamo earlier in the year. Forbes magazine named her one of the most influential women under forty.

    Yet as she raised the handle of her suitcase and wheeled it down the hallway to Brayden’s bedroom she couldn’t help
    but think of how stupid what she was about to do really was. However, like many times before tonight her heart was
    doing the thinking and not her head.

    “Hello,” she heard Natasha answer.

    “It’s Sabrina…”

    “Yes I saw that,” she replied. “Sabrina it’s fifteen till twelve is everything all right? Is it Hannah?”

    She closed her eyes, sighed and then answered, “No it’s not Hannah…” her voice trailed off.

    “What’s going on Sabrina?” Natasha took a stern tone with her recalling what the judge had said the day before. “Where
    are you at?”

    “I need you to stop asking so many questions,” she told her.

    “Sabrina…”

    “I told you stop,” she snapped. “You have been unbelievably good to me over the years and I appreciate that more than
    you’ll ever know. But I have never lied to you Natasha.”

    Sabrina’s voice cracked as she turned to lean against Brayden’s closed bedroom door. “And I’ve never kept anything
    from you either so please stop asking so many questions.”
    "All right,” Natasha answered. “Then I’m coming over to your house. If you’re not there then I’m going to BE.”

    “Don’t bother Natasha,” she told her. “I won’t be there or anywhere that you can find me.”

    “Sabrina!” Natasha shouted into the telephone. “Don’t do this Sabrina,” she warned. “It’s only going to make matters
    worse.”

    “In the safe in my bedroom there’s a manila folder. It has your name on it,” she explained. “You need to retrieve it and
    deliver to Pamela as soon as possible.”

    “Sabrina…” Natasha warned as she searched the living room for her car keys.

    “The combination is Brayden’s birthdate,” she ignored Natasha’s stern warnings. “Just his birthdate minus the year,”
    she explained.

    Natasha headed towards the front door of her home.

    “I’m not sure what is going on,” Natasha told her, “but I don’t like the sound of it Sabrina. Whatever it is that you’re
    considering on doing please stop it right now.”

    “It’s too late for that Natasha,” she told her. “I love you.”
    Jodi could see the Christmas tree lit up in the window from the road. He parked the car and she committed to pushing
    her confrontation from earlier out of her mind.

    “You know what?” she asked as he opened her door for her.

    “What’s that?”

    “I honestly believe this has been the best Christmas since Jered died.”

    The brisk north air whipped through the front yard as they made their way together up the sidewalk. Once inside Jodi
    removed her coat and was about to hang it in the closet when she asked, “You don’t mind that we left do you?”

    Standing in the living room he thought for a moment, “Why would I mind? That place was absolutely insane.”

    He raked the ashes around in the fireplace with the poker and added, “You know I was talking to one of the waiters and
    he said that at midnight hundreds of balloons were going to drop from the ceiling…I can’t even imagine.”

    Jodi immediately thought of the black, silver and white balloons from earlier. That must have been a test, she thought to
    herself.

    “No I completely agree,” she told him. “It was fun for about the first ten minutes but then I was just over it.”

    From the kitchen she could hear the crackling of a new log in the fireplace.

    She called out, “What time is it?”

    “11:55.”

    “Perfect…” she sat two mugs down on the bar. “It’s not champagne I know but I’m freezing and hot cocoa is much more
    romantic. The water is almost done can you pour it into these mugs? I want to go change my clothes.”

    “Into something much more less I hope.”

    Jodi shook her head at him, “You act as though you don’t know me at all. I’ll be right back.”
    “Mommy where are we going?” the boy asked.

    “On a trip Brayden,” she answered him. “I just told you that.”

    The toddler stood in front of her with his shaggy blond hair nearly covering his eyes and he asked again, “But where?”

    “I don’t know yet,” she responded more irritated than before.

    “Its cold outside,” she zipped his jacket and handed him a stocking cap, “here put this on.”

    She surveyed his room one last time and reached for his Spiderman backpack on the bed.
    “Take this,” she told him. “Go downstairs and wait for me.”

    Sabrina turned out the light and watched as her son descended the stairs. At the bottom he turned to look up at her and
    asked, “We have to go?”

    “Yeah we do,” she answered him. “I’m sorry Brayden but this is the only way that I can protect you.

    As she opened the door to the garage an antique grandfather clock that she had purchased in July at an auction struck
    midnight.

    Five minutes later her car pulled out of the garage and Sabrina began the next journey of her life…
    Jodi returned to the living room just in time to hear Ryan Seacrest announce that the ball was about to drop.

    “Perfect timing,” he opened his arms and she snuggled up close to him. The fire in the fireplace crackled and she drew
    in a deep breath. This year she thought to herself…

    “It’s almost that time,” she intertwined their hands together.

    “You know there has been something that I’ve been putting off asking you for a few days now,” he told her.

    Without moving she responded, “What is it?”

    The seconds ticked away…ten…nine…

    “What is it?” she repeated. “Did you forget…”

    “Five…four…” the television continued.

    “I want you to marry me,” he revealed after a brief moment of hesitation.
    Jodi broke free of their hold and turned to face him. “What did you say?”

    “Marry me,” he repeated.

    “One…Happy New Year…”
    “Wow!” Christian collapsed on the mattress next to Josh out of breath and smiling.

    “Yeah…wow is right,” he took Christian’s hand and smiled.

    They both took a minute to catch their breath and finally Josh climbed over Christian and began to get dressed.

    “I don’t want you to go back to work,” he moaned.

    “And you think I want to back to work?”

    Christian finished button his shirt and snapped his watch on his wrist, “Looks like we missed ringing in the new year.”

    “I wouldn’t say that,” Josh told him, “we done something a lot better.”

    He cupped his hand on Christina’s cheek and kissed him, “I gotta go.”

    “Can you wait just a second? There’s something that I promised myself I would tell you if we made it here…together.”

    “It’s can’t wait?”

    “No. I’ve waited too long as it is already Josh.”

    “Well then tell me what it is…” Josh told him as his pager began buzzing from the nightstand.

    “Don’t.”

    Josh cut his eyes at him, “I don’t know what’s going on,” he said opening the door, “but I have to take my pages when
    they come.”

    Christian followed him out into the hallway and down to the nurse’s station.

    “There you are,” one of the nurses exclaimed.

    “What’s going on?”

    “We have an EMT about three minutes out,” she explained as Josh turned back to Christian.

    “You have two minutes,” he told his boyfriend.

    Christian drew in a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair as a nurse handed a pair of latex gloves to Josh.

    “Christian!” he shouted at him. “What the hell is it you want to tell me? I don’t have the time to play games.”

    “One minute out!” a different nurse shouted.

    “I have to go…” Josh turned away from him and headed toward the ambulance bay.

    Christian followed behind and grabbed him by the arm.
    “My middle name is Bradshaw,” he revealed. “I never told you because I thought you would be able to make the
    connection.”

    Josh stood in confusion for a moment as Dr. O’Connor raced by the two of them.

    “Dr. Marshall tell your boyfriend he need to go,” he told him.

    “Joshua please say something…”

    He shook his head as the doors from the ambulance bay burst open.

    “Christian I don’t know what to say right now. And don’t call me Joshua. The only person that ever called me that was…”
    he paused as he turned to see the gurney wheel passed him into.

    “Trauma Two!” O’Connor followed behind. “Come on Marshall.”

    “Ryan…” he finished.
    Kendra Logan Bradshaw stood under the glow of her porch light. She could almost feel the butterflies in her stomach as
    she smiled like a shy teenage girl with her first crush.

    “I had really good time tonight,” she broke the silence. “I hope that you did as well.”

    “Yeah,” he shook his head. “It was fun.”

    “Do you want to come in for a nightcap?” Kendra questioned. “And you know you’re more than welcome to spend the
    night.”

    “No,” he shook his head. “That’s really nice of you but I have an early morning.”

    Kendra pulled her eyes out of her purse and smiled. “I’m glad you were able to go with me tonight,” she leaned forward
    and kissed him on the cheek.

    “I’ll talk to you soon.”

    “Goodnight.”

    As she opened the door into the living room the white twinkling lights on the Christmas tree lit up a small corner of the
    room. Kendra dropped her keys in the bowl by the front door and her purse on the couch.

    Halfway to the kitchen she reached down to remove her shoe, when the ringing of the doorbell startled her.

    “Who could that be?” she asked as she stopped by the couch and retrieved her cell phone. “No missed calls,” she told
    herself thinking her date could have changed his mind about her invitation to spend the night.

    “Kendra it’s me…” she heard a man’s voice from the other side of the door and she cursed under her breath for turning
    the light on only moments earlier.

    “Um…just a second,” she called out. “Who is it?”

    “It’s um…me…” a long pause and finally, “Jered,” he answered as she finally opened the door.
    “This is a surprise,” she admitted with hesitation in her voice. “I don’t remember setting up an appointment for tonight.”

    “No you didn’t,” he answered her. “May I come in?”

    She looked around the room for a brief moment and then back at him. When she did her eyes locked with his dark
    auburn eyes.

    “I won’t stay long,” he volunteered. “I was just finishing up an appointment in the neighborhood and saw your lights on. I
    wanted to wish you a Happy New Year.”

    “That was awfully nice of you,” she replied.

    “But it’s late and I’m really tired. Plus I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to be here like this.”

    She began to shut the door and without warning felt his hand slam against it.

    “What the hell are you doing?” she fired back at him.

    “I asked you if I could come in,” he told her.

    Jered had gone from pleasant to ruthless in the matter of seconds. His voice scared her and she wasn’t sure what to
    do.”

    “And I told you I didn’t want you to come in,” she fired back. “I want you to leave. Get out!”

    She fought against his weight to close the door but iIt only took one hard push to send her to the floor and the front door
    of her house open wide for any creature to walk right in…

    “You want me to leave?” his eyes were as cold as she imagined his touch would be. She had never seen this side of
    him before.

    “Yes…” her voice cracked. “I want you…to leave…now please.”

    Kendra pleaded with the man she only knew as Jered. It wasn’t his real name. She had never cared what his real name
    was.
    But her pleas were ineffective, futile and were wasted on him.

    The front door slammed and in a fluid motion he locked the deadbolt.

    She backed into the table in the entryway. She knocked the bowl where she had placed her keys only minutes earlier to
    the floor.

    It shattered to a million little pieces, much like her life was about to.

    A picture of her with April and Jodi also shattered on the hardwood floors.

    She stumbled into the living room and braced herself on the back of one of the chairs. It was part of a set that she had
    purchased with Sharon on one of her most recent visits.

    Kendra’s mind raced with thoughts…how to protect herself…what his next move would be…in the very back of her mind
    she couldn’t help but think she had put herself in this position.

    What was about to happen as he matched her step for step was something that she had not bargained for. It never
    crossed her mind that this would happen to her.

    “I trusted you,” she cried. “Please…please,” she begged him.

    “Please what?” his voice was unfamiliar to her.

    “Don’t stop?” he asked.

    “Do not touch me…” her voice cracked and she thought she was going to throw up.

    “Please don’t touch me,” she begged with every ounce of her being. “I’ll give you whatever you want…just please…is it
    money you want?”

    Her eyes focused on the floor…on his waxy brown leather shoes. She moved from one chair to the next and saw that
    she was lined up with the staircase in the foyer.

    “Oh that’s funny because you’ve never had a problem with me touching you before,” his forceful response was filled with
    cruelty.

    Kendra made a dash for the stairs and prayed under her breath…but he proved to be far too quick for her. Without an
    obvious warning she felt his hand on her arm…he shoved her down on the stairs.

    He towered over her when he stood erect. The foyer was dark but the street lamps outside her house provided just
    enough light for her to witness him unbuckle his pants…it was a sight she had seen many times before and had
    enjoyed, but not tonight…and never again.

    Her mind raced with thoughts and she began to form a plan.

    “Unlock the door…” she whispered to herself.

    “Who was home…” she thought of which of her neighbors would be home this late at night.

    And then she took her shot as he inched closer to her. She buried the toe of her stiletto into his crotch and made her way
    to the door…
    And just as she was about to open it…he threw her on the floor…on top of the shattered glass and she felt his hand
    snap across her face…
Next on All Or Nothing
  •        Sharon confronts Gregory over his feelings for her and offers him a warning.
  •        The Bradshaw Corporation elects a new member of the Board of Directors.
  •        Sabrina asks Madison to be a bridesmaid at her wedding
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All Or Nothing
Episode 133: December, Oh What a Night
January 09, 2011