Previously on All Or Nothing
    Somewhere over Missouri, Sabrina Davis Bradshaw slowly made her way from the back of the corporate jet to her seat
    across from Andrew. He was just as she had left him twenty minutes earlier – reading the newspaper he had bought
    before they left River’s Edge earlier that morning.

    She crossed her leg, one over the other and turned her attention to the scenery outside her window. The sun was shining
    and there were minimal clouds blocking the view of the tiny world below them.

    “Did he fall back asleep?” Andrew asked in regards to Sabrina’s five-year-son Brayden. It had been decided the day
    before that the toddler would be coming with them on their business trip to meet financial guru Jacqueline Vanderbilt.

    “Yeah,” she buckled her seat belt and swirled back to face him. “I’ve been meaning to ask you how Sharon’s been since
    the divorce.”

    Andrew glanced across at her over the financial section of The Weekly Edge and almost burst into fits of laughter. “You’ve
    been meaning to ask me that?” he questioned. “How Sharon’s doing since our divorce?”

    “I have yes,” Sabrina answered.

    “Is that a question that you honestly want me to dignify with an answer Sabrina or is there a punch line that I’m supposed
    to try and guess.”

    Sabrina shook her head at him and with a dazzling display of determination responded, “You’re absolutely right Andrew –
    I don’t care about Sharon’s feelings. Never did and probably never will. However…” she paused, “I am trying to rise above
    my willful youth and be the better person if you will.”

    Andrew nodded cautiously, “Well alright then. I suppose that Sharon is doing fine post-divorce.”

    “You suppose?”

    “Yes, I suppose,” he repeated. “Sharon and I unfortunately do not possess the same rapport that I share with my
    strikingly beautiful two other ex-wives…present company included,” he winked.
    Valerie kissed his hand and smiled, “Positive thinking my son. I know that it worked I can feel it in my heart. Besides it
    has to have worked…you deserve that much.”

    She stood up and walked back into the kitchen. “I’m going to get you a glass of sweet tea and open this chicken noodle
    soup. You should eat something.”

    Josh watched as she went into the kitchen and began working to prepare him a meal. He reached into his bag, pulled
    out his cell phone and immediately burst into laughter.

    The sound of her son laughing put a smile on Valerie’s face. “What is so funny in there mister?” she asked.

    “Oh…it’s nothing…just a text from Ryan wanting to know how chemo went today. He’s coming over later to watch movies
    and was suggesting truly tragic movies.”

    Valerie poured the soup from the can into a pan and let it heat on the stove. “That was nice of him,” she came back into
    the living room with Josh’s sweet tea. “You know I have to admit that he’s been pretty great through all of this. Your father
    and I really appreciate everything that he’s done to help you and us.”

    Josh coughed three or four times before he was able to respond, “Yeah he really has been pretty great. Can I help you
    with something in there?” he questioned in an attempt to change the subject.

    “No I have everything under control,” she returned to the kitchen and checked on her soup. “Besides you’re trying to
    change the conversation and I don’t necessarily want to.”

    “Oh mom really…” he sighed.

    “I’m just curious is all Josh. Is there something going on between the two of you beside friendship?”
    Natasha settled into her favorite chair on the porch of the cabin with a glass of sweet tea complete with extra lemons. The
    temperature was a shockingly refreshing eighty-nine degrees with a cool wind from the lake. She looked at her cell
    phone in her lap and shook her head in utter disgust. Pamela had been gone for almost an hour and Nicholas’s
    message had popped up almost two hours before then.

    “Natasha I know that you don’t want to talk to me and I respect that,” she listened to his voicemail. “However I’ve been
    informed by my attorney that the marriage license we applied for in River’s Edge was filed with the court clerk the day
    before our wedding ceremony. Can you call me so we take care of this?”
Leave your feedback at the official All Or Nothing Forum
Hosted by the EpiGuide...Your Guide to Web Entertainment
© 2001-2012 JTHawkins. All original material contained herein is the creation and property of Joshua Hawkins unless otherwise noted and is not be
reproduced and/or distributed without written consent.

Actor photographs and copyrighted material from other sources are included solely for the purpose of enhancing the reader's experience and are in no way
intended to imply consent on the part of pictured individuals, copyright holders, or associated parties.
Coming Soon on All Or Nothing
  •        Preston challenges Natasha.
  •        Sabrina tries to get through to Andrew about their kiss.
  •        Nicholas hires a Private Investigator.
All Or Nothing
Episode 145: Kiss Me Slowly
June 16, 2012
  •        The Bradshaw Corporation CFO quit. Andrew suggested hiring longtime family friend, Jacqueline Vanderbilt.

  •        Pamela suspected her husband was having an affair and hired a private investigator.

  •        After her miscarriage, Brittany suffered from postpartum depression.

  •        Natasha fled to Canton, Texas after her aborted wedding to Nicholas in New York City.
    “Good morning.” Natasha Garrett Bradshaw emerged from the kitchen. “I thought you might be hungry so I cooked some
    eggs, bacon and made some fresh coffee.”

    Pamela surveyed her surroundings and the memories of the previous night came rushing back to her and she slowly sat
    down in one of the dining room chairs.

    “Please tell me that last night was some horrible nightmare,” she told Natasha. “My God…please tell me that my
    husband hasn’t been having an affair for who knows how long right under my nose.”

    Natasha made her way into the dining room, handed Pamela a fresh cup of coffee and somberly shook her head. “I wish
    that I could tell you that, I really do Pamela, but we both know that I can’t do that and last night wasn’t a nightmare.”

    “I know that,” Pamela sighed. “I just cannot fathom how insanely clueless I have been about all of this. Travis and
    Rhonda probably think I’m the dumbest fool ever to have live…” she thought aloud. “How in the world could I not have
    seen what was right under my nose for months or years even?”

    Natasha reached across the dining room table and took Pamela’s hand, “You look me,” she ordered her. “This is not
    your fault Pamela. None of this is your fault. Do you hear me?”

    Pamela shook her head.

    “Good then the pity party…it’s over,” Natasha told her. “It’s time for you to figure out what your next move is going to be.
    Because the Pamela Bradshaw that I admired for years and still do, she doesn’t wallow in self-pity, she stands tall and
    when she’s backed into a corner she fights like hell to get out.”

    “This is not your fault,” Natasha repeated to her.
    “You are absolutely right Natasha. I’m the injured party here, not Travis and certainly not that whore Rhonda Duncan,”
    Pamela said as she stood up from the table.

    “What are you going to do?” Natasha’s curious was peaked.

    “The only thing that I know how to do – settle the score once and for all,” she assured her!
    Josh Marshall pushed open the door of his apartment and immediately collapsed on the sofa. The summer heat was
    encroaching on 105 degrees outside. Between the chemo, the heat, the nausea and the constant fatigue the cool forced
    air of the AC was a welcome relief.

    “How’s your stomach feeling?” his mother Valerie Caldwell asked as she closed the door behind her, sat his black
    leather messenger bag at his feet and made her way into the kitchen. “If you think you can hold something down I’ll fix it
    for you.” She opened the cabinets and surveyed the options, “Perhaps some chicken noodle?”

    Josh closed his eyes and smiled for the first time in a very long time. “Just come sit down with me for five minutes,” he
    patted the spot on the sofa next to him. “And let’s take in this moment for what it is mom.”

    She made her way into the living room and sat down by her baby. He smiled across at her and then laid his sweaty bald
    heady on her shoulder. Valerie reached up and lightly ran her fingers over his head. The last few months had been
    extremely tiring and challenging for her, but in the end she knew Josh would be okay and his ordeal had brought them so
    much closer to one another.

    “Congratulations,” she whispered to him. “You made it through chemo,” Valerie choked back tears of relief and
    happiness. A promise had been made – there was to be no crying. “I am so proud of you Josh. You have been incredibly
    strong, so brave and you should be proud of yourself.

    “Why’s that because I haven’t died or went bat-shit crazy?” he closed his eyes and took in the moment with his mother by
    his side.

    “No for fighting this battle with conviction and grace and dignity,” she kissed his forehead.

    There were so many thoughts that were going through his mind: how glad he was to be here with his mother in this
    moment, that his chemotherapy was finally at long last over and the possibility, the hope that he could be laying there on
    his sofa, in his apartment – cancer free!

    “How about we hold off on the congratulations, celebrations and reflections of a job well done until we know for sure that
    I've won this battle,” he suggested. “I still need to go and have another ultrasound with Dr. Greene to see if the chemo
    even worked.”
    “Are you going to give me an answer Josh?” Valerie questioned. “Is there something more than friendship between you
    and Ryan O’Keefe?”

    Josh shook his head and answered,” Yes mom – you have figured us out,” he joked. “In my cancer stricken state where
    I've lost all my hair, I puke at least four times a day and sleep twelve hours at time, I have managed to make my ex-
    boyfriend fall madly in love with me. In fact when I’m not hugging the bowl of the toilet, we’re having wild adult relations,”
    he teased.

    Valerie shook her head, “While I am thrilled that you’ve not lost your sense of humor, you don’t have to be so crude about
    the situation Josh. I am being serious and you’re just making jokes about it.”

    “I’m sorry,” Josh apologized. “But I can assure you that there is nothing going on between Ryan and me. He’s been a
    friend during a really difficult time – nothing more and nothing less.”

    Josh took a few sips of his soup and asked, “Why would you even ask if there was something between the two of us?”

    She thought for a moment, “Well when you told me that you had a text from Ryan – your face lit up the same way that mine
    used to do when your father walked into a room.”

    “It did?”

    “Yes it did,” she told him. “And that made me happy…to see you happy. I certainly did not mean to upset you by asking.”
    The eighty-nine degrees had risen in the course of the last hour to a still surprisingly tolerable ninety-three and the
    breeze from the lake whipped through Natasha’s hair as she walked the length of the dock. As she came to the end she
    stood only a few feet from where Preston sat on the edge – a fishing pole in one hand and a beer in the other.

    “I hope that I’m not disturbing you,” she announced her arrival. “Do you mind if I sit?”

    He looked up at her and smiled, “You’re not disturbing me and of course I don’t mind if you sit Natasha. Do you want a
    beer?”

    “No thank you. I don’t like beer,” she confessed.

    “But you like whiskey?” he questioned.

    “I do,” she nodded. “I also enjoy white wine, red wine and an occasional vodka martini.”

    “But you draw the line a Bud Light?” Preston teased.

    “I do,” she laughed. “How are you today? Are the fish cooperating with you?”

    He shrugged his shoulders, “They could do a little better, but I’m holding my own. Do you fish?”

    “Me? No I don’t.”

    “I can’t believe that. Do you how relaxing fishing can be? There are no cell phones, no worrying about a wireless
    connection or that 3G, 4G crap…it’s just you, Mother Nature and an ice cold beer,” he smiled at her. “I love this time of
    year.”

    “So I’m gathering,” she responded.

    “It’s why I became I teacher,” he confessed. “That allure of a built in vacation year after year to come out and do things like
    this…” Preston thought, “it really rejuvenates me – I love it!”

    “That’s really wonderful,” Natasha told him. “How many summers have you been coming out here?”

    “I have managed to get out here every summer since my wife died – so the last seven,” he replied.

    She shook her head, “I guess you could say that I came here to rejuvenate myself too…put things into
    perspective…make sense of the craziness that has become my life as of late,” she laughed.

    “Sometimes that is exactly what needs to be done,” he agreed. “What have you got going on this afternoon? Did you
    company leave?”

    “Oh Pamela…my former mother-in-law, yes she left earlier today,” she told him. “I actually need to go into town and deal
    with a small legal issue. I was hoping that you could recommend an attorney for me.”

    Preston cringed, “How small of a legal issue are we talking about Natasha? Parking ticket small or are you a full fledge
    criminal running from the law?” he laughed.

    She too laughed at the notion. Granted she had never thought that way about her situation, but in reality it was as if
    though she was running from someone – Nicholas, she thought.

    “Nothing like that I assure,” she told him. “It’s quite a long story as a matter of fact and certainly nothing that I want to bore
    you with.”

    “Okay…” he thought for a minute and answered, “you’ll want to go see Joel Elliot on Tyler Street. It’s a family practice –
    Elliot Law Firm.”

    “Elliot Law Firm on Tyler Street,” she repeated. “I think I got it. Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome,” Preston said as she stood up. “You know I find it hard to believe that there’s anything you could
    possibly say that would bore me. Why don’t you go take care of whatever it is you need to take care of in town and if you
    manage to not get arrested while doing so…you can come over tonight for dinner.”

    Natasha raised her eyebrow, “You cook?”

    “I do,” he nodded. “And very well I might add.”

    She thought for a minute and smiled, “All right then. I will come over around seven,” she suggested. “Is there anything
    that you need me to bring?”

    Preston shook his head no and told her, “Nope. Just bring yourself and we’ll have a remarkable, memorable evening.”

    “Well alright then, I certainly trust that we will,” she told him.
    Josh thought for a moment that it was weird having this conversation with his mother, especially considering what he
    was about to tell her – but he pushed past that. “We kissed,” he announced. “In New York the night before the fashion
    show Ryan and I kissed and then he broke up with Sam, his boyfriend…and we haven’t talked about it since.”

    “The two of you kissed?” Valerie repeated. “And why haven’t you brought it up since then?”

    He shrugged his shoulders, “I guess we’re both afraid of what it will mean if we talk about it.”

    Valerie shook her head, “You know that you should really talk to him about your feelings and that kiss, because he may
    be afraid to bring it up as well for fear of what you’ll say. Do you want to know what I think son?”

    Josh shook his head and Valerie smiled at him. “Well I think…looking at you right now and knowing that you’re thinking
    about Ryan…counting the minutes until her shows up to watch movies…talking about that kiss…” she paused, “I think
    that you’re feelings are much stronger than you’re willing to admit to yourself. I think Josh that you’re in love with Ryan O’
    Keefe.”

    Josh cut his eyes at her and said nothing. “And I don’t need to tell you about how life is short and how we’re not
    guaranteed a tomorrow…you know all of that. But if you love him and if you think that there is even the slightest chance
    that he could you love you back the way you deserve to be loved, then don’t you dare wait another minute to let him know
    how you feel. Son don’t let an opportunity like this pass you by, you may never get another one like it again,” Valerie
    assured him.

    He shook his head in agreement and questioned, “Are you speaking from experience mom?”

    Valerie looked down at the floor, pulled a stray hair back behind her ear and answered, “Yes…yes I am Josh.”
    Brittany O’Keefe Pierce stood in the center of her master bathroom and opened her white terry cloth robe. She analyzed
    the reflection that stared back at her. The reflection was a shell of the woman that she once upon a time was. The robe
    slowly slipped off her shoulders and fell to the floor.

    There she stood in the nude looking at herself and examining what had become of her the last several months. She ran
    her hand over her stomach and looked down to the floor as the memories of that dark February night rushed back to her,
    as she had allowed them to do every day since…
    Natasha settled into the corner of Preston’s sofa in his living room and took from him a whiskey sour. She smiled and
    told him, “I’m glad to see that you remember.”

    “That you drink whiskey?” he sat down next to her and smiled. “That is not something that I’m going to soon forget
    Natasha.”

    “Well that is nice to hear,” she raised her glass. “Here is to you Preston Crawford and the wonderful, wonderful dinner
    that you not only caught,” she winked, “but also cooked. It was delicious.”

    “Thank you, thank you,” Preston titled his glass towards her. “I am very glad that you were able to join me this evening
    and found dinner to be acceptable.”

    Natasha laughed, “Well it was. I think perhaps though I should do the cooking next time and have you over.”

    “I’m going to take you up on that offer.” Preston stood up from the couch and walked across the room. “What type of
    music do you like?”

    Natasha closed her eyes and took in the moment from the atmosphere to the drink to the company she was keeping. “It
    doesn’t matter. You pick.”

    “Patsy Cline,” she smiled, “wonderful choice. But I must confess that I didn’t take you for a Patsy fan.”

    “Oh yeah,” Preston shook his head. “My mother always had one of the country greats playing on the radio growing up –
    Patsy Cline…George Jones…Tammy Wynette.”
    “Fine…” she threw her hands in the air, “if you won’t leave then you look at me,” Brittany demanded. “You look at
    me and you look at what you have done to me. You have destroyed me,” she told him. “You and Douglas…the
    two of you did this to me…”

    “Did what to you?” he questioned. “What did we do?”

    “You broke me…” she shrieked at the top of her lungs. “The two of you shoved me out of window…” she reminded
    him.

    “You have made me this way and for some reason you think that you can just waltz in here and make everything
    better by talking?” she sobbed.

    And when she finally emerged from the bathroom she saw him standing there – her incredibly handsome, sexy, devoted
    and loving husband. Ethan Pierce was more than she could have wished and it was as if her subconscious knew exactly
    what she needed in that moment…
    “That’s nice,” Natasha replied as the music filled the entire cabin and when Preston returned to the couch he sat down
    even closer to her than before.

    “Did you get everything handled in town with Joel Elliot this afternoon?” he asked.

    “Oh the lawyer – yes I was able to get everything handled I do believe. Thank you for recommending him to me.”

    “Joel and I go back a very long time. We both played college football at the University of Texas.”

    “Yes so I learned,” Natasha titled her head to one side, “he told me as much. In fact he asked how I had the privilege…”
    she paused, “the privilege of knowing you. And trust me when I say that I know a lot of people Preston, but never have I
    been asked how I had the privilege of knowing someone before. I just wonder what made him ask such a question and
    in such a manner?” she raised her eyebrow and stared across at Preston.
    “Brittany? Are you all right honey?” Miranda asked.

    She said nothing as she continued to brace herself with the chair. She shook her head and cried out,
    “Oh…my…Ethan…Ethan…it hurts,” Brittany cried out.

    “Brittany…Brittany…what hurts?” Ethan asked her as Ryan offered his hand to his sister. “Brittany talk to me and
    tell me what hurts.”

    “Oh…” she cried out again as tears began to swell in her eyes.

    “Ethan what the hell is going on?” Ryan asked as Brittany slowly collapsed to the floor. “Brittany! Brittany!”

    “Miranda call an ambulance,” Ethan told her. “Ryan, I think your sister is having a miscarriage…”

    A steady stream of water rained over Brittany as she ran her fingers through long brown hair. As the steam rose out of the
    shower and throughout the bathroom Brittany slowly began to breathe a little easier…the last four months had taken a
    toll on her like nothing she had ever experienced before. She reached for the soap and thought of how good Ryan had
    been with her and for her during her depression…
    “Brittany Danielle Pierce…” Ethan began, “I adore you,” he told her as she began to blush. “I often find it hard to
    believe that there was a time in my life when you weren’t part of it. The truth of the matter is that before you came
    into my life I was lost. You found me and you have made me a better man for loving me and allowing me to love
    you. I look forward to the life that we’re continuing to build,” he smiled, “and recommit myself to you here and now
    – for better or for worse, for rich or poorer, in sickness and in health and forsaking all others, until death do we
    part,” he recited their original wedding vows.

    And it was in that moment that his eyes met hers from across the room. It was all she could do to not smile. Ethan Pierce
    was without question…hesitation…reservation the love of her life and she raced across the room to him.

    “What’s the matter?” Ethan asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist. He could smell the lavender from her
    shampoo in her hair.

    “Nothing…nothing is wrong,” Brittany told him as she kissed his lips. “I am just so lucky to have you in my life and I’m
    ready to start living again,” she smiled. “You have been…” words escaped her as Ethan drew her back into his arms,
    “you have been absolutely wonderful during all of this and I just want you to know how much I love you.”

    “I love you too Brittany,” Ethan kissed her a second time. “God I love you so much…” he took her back in his arms and
    finally for the first time since February, Ethan exhaled.
    “You killed her didn’t you?” Sabrina asked with a straight face. “Sharon and I will occasionally cross paths at least once a
    week at a various fundraiser or benefit luncheon and lately she’s nowhere to be seen,” she raised an eyebrow and
    added a wink.

    “I find it incredibly humorous that you would think I killed my ex-wife,” Andrew told her, “but I must disappoint you and say
    that I have not. She has actually been spending quite a bit of time in San Francisco with Kendra. At least that’s what her
    credit cards have been telling me as of late.”

    “Well Andrew that is good to know,” Sabrina laughed at him.

    “Uh-huh I bet it is,” he fired back at her. “Why am I the only one in the hot seat being grilled about my failed relationship? I
    seem to recall that you had one of those yourself not that long ago. How have you been Sabrina post break-up
    engagement with Russell?”

    “You see me every single day at the office Andrew,” she reminded him, “you know that I am doing perfectly fine post-
    breakup to Russell Banning. It was perhaps one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life – present
    company excluded,” she finished with a wink.

    “I was one of the best things that ever happened to you?” he asked her. “You certainly didn’t act as though I was.”

    “Of course you were,” Sabrina assured him. “I wasn’t expecting you to come in my life the way that you did Andrew
    Bradshaw…getting thrown into a jail cell by the Elk City sheriff,” she laughed, “but you did and here we are.”

    A smile easily emerged across his face and he agreed, “Yes here we are indeed.”

    “I think letting you con me into letting you out of that cell was probably one of the smartest things either one of us ever
    did,” she thought aloud. “I know without a doubt it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

    “Well you definitely put your misfortune to work for you,” Andrew assured her. “And you did alright for yourself in the end.”

    She folded her arms over and chest and thought for a moment. “I’ll never deny what I did, there’s no point – we all know
    that it happened,” Sabrina told him. “I will concede though and say that it might not have been the most tactful of ways.”

    Andrew shook his head in agreement, “Well just know Sabrina that you didn’t play the game alone. I played it right along
    with you and in the end I dealt you a pretty good hand.”

    “You sure did,” she took in the atmosphere, there was no denying that especially today.

    “I’m just surprised that your brothers didn’t come looking for me. I probably looked over my shoulder a half-dozen times a
    minute for the first year after I met you.”

    “Oh don’t kid yourself Andrew,” she said unable to control a burst of laughter that woke Brayden from his nap, “they
    wanted to.”

    Sabrina stood up to go check on her son and Andrew thought about what she had just said. If her brothers did want to
    come after him – then he wondered, “What stopped your brothers?”

    She stopped halfway to the back of the jet, spun around and smiled at him, “It’s not about what stopped them Andrew, it’s
    about who stopped them,” she smiled.
    “Hey…hey…it’s okay,” Ryan walked around the bed and squatted down next to her. “You don’t have to do that, you
    don’t have to turn away from me when you’re upset.”

    “You’re just saying that. I know you’re tired of seeing me mope around here and cry all the damn time,” she said
    through her tears.

    Ryan shook his head, “No. You’re completely wrong about that. Scoot over.”

    He climbed into the bed with her and propped himself up against the headboard. “You know that I would never
    think that Brittany,” he scooped her up into his arms and she laid her head on his shoulders, the tears still falling.

    “You listen to me…I love you no matter what – I’m here for you, always,” he assured her as she wiped her tears
    away and wrapped her arm around his stomach.

    “You’re my baby brother,” she told him, “I’m supposed to take care of you, not the other way around.”

    “And I’m sure eventually you’ll need to do just that,” he kissed the top of her head. “But right now it’s my turn to take
    care of you.”

    And as the hot water raced down her back and all over her body, Brittany felt the worries and the sadness slowly fall
    away. She thought of all the good things in her life: her husband Ethan…her brother…her family…the career she had
    always wanted and as she turned the water off, stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself back up in her terry cloth
    robe she thought of her friends, in particular Bradley who had been so devoted to helping her have a baby. The words
    from their last meeting rang in the back of her mind…
    Sabrina stood in the doorway of her room at the Omni Hotel & Resort in downtown Chicago. She stared across the
    hallway at the closed door Room 1156 – Andrew’s suite. Her thoughts felt like a roller coast rushing through her mind
    and the one that stood out the most was if she should go over to his room or not.

    “He’s probably asleep…” she pulled her hair up into a ponytail.

    “But he could be awake and wanting some company…” she continued to reason with herself as she pulled the deadbolt
    latch out and let her door nearly closed behind her. Sabrina walked the few feet from her door to his and lightly knocked.

    “I didn’t wake you did I?” she asked immediately once the door had been opened. “Because if you were sleeping…” she
    paused and thought about what she was really doing there and changed her tone, “you know what, this can wait. We can
    just talk in the morning.”

    “Sabrina you’re here right now,” Andrew told her. “What is it that you need?”

    He towered over her by a good foot and standing before she felt so petite. It was a feeling that she had ever rarely felt
    when she stood next to Gregory or Russell. Maybe she felt differently because standing next to him was different – it
    made her feel conflicted, protected and relieved. The mixture of those feeling were like nothing she had ever felt in like
    with any of the men who had come after him.

    “I just wanted to say thank you for going with Brayden and me to the zoo this afternoon,” she smiled. “It was very sweet
    and I know that Brayden really enjoyed it.”

    Andrew shook his head and watched as she turned away from him to head back to her room.

    “Was he the only one that enjoyed it?” Andrew asked. “What about you? Did you enjoy our time at the zoo this afternoon?”

    Sabrina stopped mid-step and spun around to face him. He had stepped out of his room and into the hallway. They were
    inches away from one another when she questioned, “Did I enjoy the trip to the zoo? Yes of course I did Andrew.”

    “Good. I’m glad,” he smiled at her and Sabrina could feel butterflies forming in her stomach – no man had ever smiled at
    her the way Andrew Bradshaw had just done. “You have an amazing son and I for one am glad that I was able to spend
    time with the both of you…so thank you Sabrina!”

    Now she stood there and watched as he turned away from her to head back to his room. She needed to stop him, she
    wanted to stop him and the only thing that she could think was what she had wanted to say since 2001 when they first
    met in an Elk City jailhouse.

    “I should really be thanking you,” Sabrina’s declared.

    “I beg your pardon?” he turned around to face her. “What did you say?”

    Sabrina pursed her lips and repeated, “I should really be thank you…for today and well for so much more.”
    “What do you want me to say Natasha? I guess some people consider it an honor to know me,” Preston reached across
    and touched her arm. “Or maybe I called Joel right after you left to go into town and told him to put in a good word for me,”
    he flashed a wickedly delicious smile and she felt the butterflies in the pit of her stomach take flight.

    “Uh-huh that is more like,” she reached out and ran her fingers up his arm in a playful manner.

    “Can I tell you something?” he asked.

    “I suppose so,” her eyes met with his.

    “I’m glad that you agreed to come over for dinner tonight.”

    “Well I’m thrilled to have been asked over for dinner tonight,” she conceded to him. “Like I said it was delicious.”

    Preston ran his hand up Natasha’s arm and back down again as their fingers interlocked with one another. She
    suddenly felt her cheeks turn a rose color of red and he smiled across her.

    “You’re blushing,” he told her. “How come?”

    “Because…” she said in a faint, muffled whisper.

    “I’ll tell you like I tell my students Natasha, because is not an answer…especially when it’s coming from a woman as
    beautiful and smart as I know you are.”

    Their fingers still interlocked with one another, Natasha made no effort to pull her hand away from his and she
    confessed, “Because I’m not used to being in this type of situation – especially with a man that’s decades younger than
    me.”

    “But you are used to being in these types of situations?”

    “Oh no, no…don’t misinterpreted what I was saying Preston,” she told him as a flash of embarrassment crossed her
    face.

    “I don’t think I did. I can definitely see why any man would be taken by your intoxicating beauty Natasha,” he said to her as
    she felt him inch closer to her.

    As he slowly inched closer to her, Natasha’s heart jolted and she could feel her pulse steadily rising. This man – this
    beautiful, younger man was about to kiss her…and suddenly she felt Preston’s lips pressed against her, then gently they
    covered her mouth…and she was shocked at her own eager response to his touch…
    Sabrina stepped towards him and spoke quietly as not to disturb the other guests in the hotel. Her mind raced with
    thoughts and the butterflies circled her stomach ninety miles a minute.

    “All day I’ve been thinking about our conversation on the airplane and I have been literally dying to tell you how I feel,” she
    confessed. “In all of the years that we’ve been a part of one another’s lives I have never, not once Andrew properly
    thanked you for coming into my life.”

    He shook his head, “Sabrina this isn’t necessary.”

    “Don’t you think I know that?” she laughed. “Do you know that I can’t remember why you were in Elk City when you were?
    And don’t why we crossed paths when we did – but what I do know is that not a day goes by that I am not grateful that you
    came into my life,” Sabrina smiled. “If I had never met you, Andrew Bradshaw, I cringe to think of how my life would have
    turned out.”

    Andrew took her hands in his and looked into her large brown eyes, “You would have been just fine with or without me in
    your life Sabrina.”

    She shook her head, “You see that’s where you are dead wrong Andrew. You saved my life. I didn’t realize it or know it
    then – but I do now.”
    “I didn’t save you Sabrina,” Andrew persisted. “You saved yourself.”

    “No…that’s what I would like people to think, but it’s not the truth,” she assured him. “You ended up in an Oklahoma jail
    cell and before that I didn’t have a future. I didn’t have hope that my life would amount anything and you changed all of that
    for me.”

    “Why are you telling me all of this?”

    Sabrina shrugged her shoulders, “Because our lives have gone on for far too long without it being said Andrew and I
    thought you should know. God, for so long I tried to convince myself and anyone that would listen to me – that you were a
    bad, bad man.”

    “I’m not a bad man Sabrina,” Andrew assured her.

    “No you’re not a bad man – you are a wonderful man and I’m telling you all of this because it’s high time someone does.”

    She looked up at him and now Sabrina held his hands in hers. Without any further thought she raised herself on her tip-
    toes and their lips met one another…and as she was about to run her hand through his still golden blond hair – he
    pulled away from her.

    And it was there in the hallway of the Omni Hotel in downtown Chicago that they stood together, their eyes locked with the
    other and she suddenly watched as Andrew turned away from her without saying a word and went back into his room.