Ashley had decided to add a couple of things to the menu for the barbecue
that evening, and had made up some frosted brownies for dessert. Then Taylor had
suggested she make some of her homemade salsa to go with some chips, that she
had learned to make so long ago. When they showed up at Zac and Kate's, they
could sense the tension between Kate and Arielle. Wondering what was going on,
Taylor pulled Zac aside and asked if he knew what was going on between them.
Zac seemed unwilling to answer his question at first, but when Ashley started
asking questions too, it was impossible for him to keep quiet about it. They
weren't about to let him get off that easily without answering their questions.
" Arielle asked Kate if she thought you two could make a relationship work, and
it upset Kate. Her and Natalie are best friends, Ashley. She is really upset
that Natalie left and that Taylor isn't going after her. In her book, Taylor and
Natalie belong together."
Ashley nodded. " I guess I can understand that. But I wish she would give me
a chance to prove that I can take care of Taylor just the same."
" I know you do, Ashley. But I really don't think you two will ever be good
friends. She'll probably always see you as the enemy. I'm sorry." He told her,
putting a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. " She just needs time, and a lot
Taylor looked over at Arielle, who was standing over the grill checking on
the burgers and hot dogs. " I'm going to go talk to her. Thanks for the heads
up, even if you didn't really want to tell us. I'm glad you did." He patted his
brother on the back, and walked over to his daughter. Kissing her on the cheek,
he smiled. " I heard you were asking about me and your mother."
She didn't say anything. She just stood there, flipping the burgers. Tears
streamed down her cheeks.
" Hey, you don't have to worry about my relationship with your mom. And as
far as your relationship with Kate goes, don't worry about it. I know you want
her to like you, and I think she does in her own way. She just misses her best
friend, sweetie." He told her.
" I know she does, but I would think she would want you to be happy too. You
are still her family." Arielle wiped at her tears.
He at rubbed her back for comfort. " I think it's going to take her some
time, Arielle. She will come around. We just need to give her some space for
She turned around and gave him a hug. " I love you, dad."
He smiled. " I love you too, sweetie." Kissing her on the cheek, he led her
away from the grill. " Why don't you go grab the paper plates and stuff while I
finish off the grilling?" He suggested.
She nodded, and went inside to grab the stuff so they could eat.
Kate hadn't said a word to Zac since their last conversation, and he hated
getting the silent treatment from her. Especially when he knew he did nothing
wrong. Leading her into the living room where no one was, he finally let her
know how he felt.
" Kate, I hate when you do this to me. You know I do. You shut me out and it
makes me feel like crap when you do that. Now I understand that you are upset,
but you need to accept Ashley into your life. Just give her a chance to prove to
you that she's an okay person."
" Zac, Natalie should be here with Taylor. Not Ashley. This is bullshit and
you know it! Those two belong together!" She screamed, throwing her arms up in
the air. " Why can't he just see that he is making a huge mistake?"
Ashley walked into the room, not surprised that Kate was throwing a fit about
her. She knew that although she was willing to care for Christopher, that none
of that would ever change how she felt about her. Zac saw her come in, and
pointed that out to Kate. Things got more heated from there.
" You have some nerve coming back here and stealing Taylor away from my best
friend." Kate screamed at her. " You are a bitch!" Without even thinking about
it, she gave her a good slap to the face.
That did surprise Ashley, and it pissed her off. But remembering what
happened last time she hit Kate, she held back the need to slap her back. "
Kate, I get that you are mad at me. And maybe after the way I treated you
before, I deserved that slap. But let's not do this. Please."
" I agree with Ashley. Let's not start this, Kate. Take a minute to relax,
and then let's have a good dinner together. It's probably almost ready." Zac
said, looking from Ashley to his wife.
" You guy's can enjoy it yourselves. I'm going out." She grabbed her purse,
and left him and Ashley in the room alone.
Rubbing at her now sore cheek, she felt tears come to her eyes. Zac gave her
a little hug. " I am sorry, Ashley. I just... I hope you can understand how hard
it is for her to see her best friend lose her husband."
" It's not your fault. My attitude towards your wife in the past doesn't
help." Ashley walked out of the room, and he stood there for a moment before
going outside to see how the food was coming along.
Dinner was now over, and Christopher had missed all the drama. He had been
too busy playing with the other kids to notice. But he felt the tension building
up, and grew curious. Knowing his sister probably didn't want to talk about it,
he found Taylor in the kitchen cleaning up and asked him about it. He didn't
think Taylor was even going to answer his question at first. He just continued
wiping the counters without a word. When he went to walk out of the room, Taylor
finally spoke up. " Kate is upset that I am with your mom. She thinks me and
Natalie belong together."
Christopher sat down at the kitchen table. " I think you and my mom are good
together. She seems happier when she is with you."
Taylor turned around to look at him, and smiled. " Thank you, Christopher.
That means a lot to me."
" Do you think Zac and Kate will get divorced too?" He asked curiously.
" I don't think so. The whole thing might affect their relationship to a
point, but I think it can all be worked out. I wouldn't worry. Besides, I think
your mom could probably get full custody of you back at this time. She has a
good job and has proven she can be a better mom. You'll be back with her in no
" I hope your right." He smiled back at Taylor. " Thanks for caring about my
mom so much, Taylor."
Taylor gave him a quick hug, and went back to cleaning up the counters. " Why
don't you go see if your sister wants to hang out or something?" He
" Okay." Christopher got out of his seat, and left the room. He found his
sister sitting on the couch, watching tv. " You okay, sis?" He asked, when he
saw she was still upset.
" I'll be fine I guess." She sighed. " I'm just thinking about this whole
thing with Natalie."
" I know you kind of miss her." Christopher said. " But I'm sure you'll see
" With the way things are going, I doubt it." She looked over at him. " You
want to go out for some ice cream or something? I'm sure mom will let me use her
" When are you going to get your own car?" He asked. " I know it takes a lot
of money, but I can't imagine mom or Taylor will always let you use their
Arielle laughed. " Maybe for my birthday in a few weeks I'll get a car as a
present if I am lucky. Let's go ask mom if I can use it."
Christopher followed her and they found their mom in the front yard, who was
still fairly upset about her argument with Kate. She sobbed as she tried to
figure out how things could work between her and Taylor if no one gave her the
chance she needed to prove she really had changed. Maybe Taylor saw the change
in her, but no one else had seemed to notice.
Both gave their mom a hug, and instead of asking to use the car, Arielle
asked if she wanted to go get ice cream with them. With a nod, she said she
wanted to let Taylor know what they were doing. He went with them in the end,
deciding it was time to get out of there before Kate did return.