The Path to Power

Chapter Thirty Two




How in the hell did I end up in the doghouse? Ned wonders. Faith had managed to turn it around on him again. She'd ripped on him for trying to turn Dillon against her and then went straight into not telling her that his mother had been married to Soleto down in The City. Like he'd even kept track of a marriage that A) wasn't his own and B) hadn't lasted six months let alone a year. "Really gonna have to find out when Faith's birthday is." Ned mutters.

"Why?" Dillon asks. "You're not going to throw her a party or something right? Because she'd hate it-- the way she feels about surprises."

"Good point." Ned agrees looking at his brother who is driving the BMW with capable skill. When he'd declared that Dillon was with him for the day, Dillon had automatically picked up the keys. Ned had winced at that too-- more signs of Faith's influence. "Look I know you're pissed a me right now but we really need to be on the same page where Tracy is concerned. I need to know what you want, Dillon."

"I don't want any trouble because of me." Dillon hesitates before answering. "I know you and Faith were arguing about me yesterday."

"Not about you, bro." When Dillon gives him a look, Ned winces. "Okay, not just about you. Faith had a laundry list of things she'd been saving up-- pretty much dating from before we were married until now."

"Bruno says that when Faith is in a mood you just have to apologize and let her get it out." Dillon advises.

"Bruno is willing to have Faith beat him like a rug to keep the peace. I am not. Nor do I want her laying a finger on you." Ned demands authoritatively.

"There are things that hurt a lot worse, Ned."

"That's it!" Ned explodes. "I don't care what you want or what Mom wants or hell even what Faith wants! You're staying here in Port Charles. You're going to go to the local high school with kids your own age. No more hotels. No more of Tracy's neglect or drama. We're going in there and one way or another I'm getting guardianship so you can have a normal life!"

Dillon quips lightly to ease the mood. "Ned, that sounded really great. Right up until the normal part."

"Too much?" Ned half grins self mockingly. He means every word but going off in front of Dillon would only traumatize the kid more.

"Just a tad. You don't think Faith is really going to freak do you?"

"She's more likely to freak on me if I let Tracy take you out of here, or let her use you as leverage." Ned says reassuringly.

"United front, Ned." Dillon and Ned exchange man to man glances. "And leverage goes two ways." Dillon reminds. "It's not like we don't know things that Mom would prefer not being public knowledge, if it came down to it."

Ned nods. "I should call you on saying something like that. Really I should, but you've got a valid point."

"Ned, there is normal and then there is Quartermaine." Dillon says wryly.





The guard at the gate had let her know that company is coming. "What the hell are you doing here?" Faith demands, standing on the front deck in just a robe.

"Just tell me you have the coffee on." Coleman growls.

Realizing that Coleman is as pissed or more so than she is, Faith moderates her tone. "It'll take a second to make a fresh pot."

"Whatever." Cole waits until he is inside to take off his shades.

"What are you doing up so early?" Faith asks as she walks thru the cottage to the kitchen. She dumps the dregs of the pot into a cup and shoves it in Cole's direction knowing he will take what he can get until she can make fresh. "That dipsomaniac finally wise up and show you the door?"

Coleman wraps a hand around the mug, drawing it to him, smelling it, savoring before finally taking a life sustaining sip. "Faith," He growls. "I know you did your Thirty Days to Better Vocabulary in between pole dances but it's wasted on me. If you're asking if Skye kicked me to the curb-- Not yet, not that I know of."

"What did you do?" Faith slides onto the barstool next to Coleman.

"Thank you for your support." Cole says sarcastically.

"You banged her when she was so drunk she didn't know her name. You took the sloppy seconds off of Alcazar. Provided her with an alibi how many times? She acts like her shit doesn't stink and you're something that she has to wipe off her shoe most of the time. Nevermind all the things you've done for her."

"Faith..." Coleman growls.

"I'm just saying if you haven't dumped her by now then you must have done something."

"It wasn't me." Cole claims.

"Oh the other dude did it defense. That's my favorite."

"Are you going to listen or bust my chops?!" Coleman demands.

Faith sighs and shrugs. "Well I did make coffee."

Cole cuts to the chase knowing Faith had been tight with Wynonna and knows all the players. "Kyle got busted having sex on the internet..."

"Go Kyle." Faith gives Coleman a slap on the back. "Guess he takes more after the Radcliffes than that pasty faced bitch your brother married."

"...With the Police Commissioner's daughter."

After a long pause Faith asks hopefully. "Georgie?"


"Damn. I just can't get a break."

"YOU? What has this got to do with you?!"

"Ned's little brother has the hots for the Police Commissioner's daughter. If the little tease was putting out all over town it would make my life easier."

"Sorry to inconvenience you, Faith. But you know it's not all about you."

Faith gives him a look as if she is not convinced of that. "Fine. So little Kyle was getting busy... you didn't think he was virgin, did ya, Cole? That is so sweet."

"You are the wrong person to be talking to about this."

"Probably." Faith agrees. The coffee has stopped dripping so she gets up and pours fresh cups for both of them.

"Anyway. I took the kid to school today to make sure he didn't try to skip. That way the rest of his crew could see the consequences of his actions."

"Okay I must still be asleep. Why you? What consequences? What crew?"

"His crew. The ones that hacked the school website and ran Kyle's web cam live. The consequences of Skye beating him black and blue when she found out and me because Kyle's mother; Margery, decided last night was the perfect time to chase one too many xanax with a fifth of bourbon and is now in the second day of a 72 hour detox."

"Wow." Faith doesn't know what else to say so she says it again. "Wow. Black and blue huh?"

Cole nods. "And it's a good thing too. She did it right there in front of Police Commissioner Scorpio after throwing Kyle's computer out the window. Saved Kyle from being arrested."

"Destroy the evidence."

"It's the internet, Faith. There is no destroying the evidence. This will be floating around forever like nudie pictures of some soap star." He shakes his head. "I did not sign up for this. If I would have wanted to be a daddy then I wouldn't have been using protection all these years."

"Is there a Patron Saint for Please don't let the Rubber Break?" Faith quips.

"If there isn't, there ought to be. I'd be lighting candles." Coleman agrees.

"Did he..."

Coleman nods. "Yeah, he used protection. He was hollering it when they were coming at him with a needle."


"Took him in for a blood test to make sure that he didn't have or give that girl a disease or something. I think that Skye made sure that it was the biggest, scariest fucking needle in the place."


"Stupid one way, could be stupid another." Even though his shrug is casual, he knows he's going to be sweating bullets right along with Kyle on that one.


"It wasn't until after we'd gotten back from the hospital after having the test done, amazing what the daughter of the chief of staff of the hospital can get accomplished at 2am, that I actually found Margery passed out behind the wheel of her car in the garage. I would have let her sleep it off but Skye found the bottle of pills-- so right back to the hospital. I sent Skye home in my car. I've got Kyle's. Not like the little punk is going to be getting it back anytime soon." Coleman shakes his head. "This is not my job."

"So let social services take him." Faith suggests knowing that Coleman would never go along with it. If he would have been that kind of guy he wouldn't have basically been paying child support since his brother skipped out on Kyle and his mother. Skye had never asked what Coleman had done with that quarter million that her brother had paid for Coleman to stalk Buttercup, nobody had. "It would serve that bitch right. Let her explain it to her country club friends why her kid isn't living at home."

"Yeah, right." Coleman snorts at that. "Kyle would probably be sent off to military school for a little indiscretion after she came back from the spa. What the hell am I going to do? I can't leave the kid hanging out there. And if I give Skye too much thinking time she is going to change the locks again."

"Then you better pray Kyle doesn't get expelled and that Slugger likes nooners." Faith gives Cole a commiserating pat on the back. "Help yourself to another cup of coffee. I have to get dressed to go to the park with the kid."

"Give you a hand with that?"

"Nah, thanks I think I can manage but I'll give you a call if the zipper gets stuck."





"Maybe this isn't such a great idea." Dillon worries as he and Ned stand outside of their Mother's door at the Port Charles Hotel.

"Gonna have to do it, sooner or later." Ned counters. Taking a deep breath he raps on the door. There is no immediate answer. "She's not in?"

"Great. Maybe she's already headed back to New York City or something. Maybe Europe." Dillon says hopefully. He really doesn't want Faith and his mother to meet anymore than Ned does.

"It's not going to be that easy. She might have gone over to the mansion. See if she could butter up Grandmother." Ned reaches for his cell and calls the mansion. "Yeah, Sally, is my grandmother or Reggie there?" A few weeks ago it would have been automatic for Lila to be home but ever since she started the community garden project down on Courtland street and kicked Edward out of her bedroom after the gatehouse burned down, Lila seemed to be spending more time not at home. "By any chance has my mother called? You did?" Ned winces and hangs up the phone.

"What? She called there?"

"Sally told her that Grandmother is down at the community garden."





The whispers are everywhere. Sure the guys are giving him the thumbs up but he can't imagine what it must be like for Maxie. She's at school. One of the guys had told him that already. Felt like a count down to his own execution. There is a play by play that is being relayed to him. When the computer expert came into the computer lab. When the Police Commissioner had shown up. Everyone seems to want to be the first one to let him know. And he'd been covering pretty well but next class up is going to be gym. Shame that doctor that had done the blood draw couldn't have given him a note to get out of PE.

"Kyle, dude, the Police Commissioner is still here." One of his crew snivels while changing books between classes.

"Then you better make sure you've gotten rid of that weed. Everyone knows we hang."

"Oh man, this is so bogus. There goes my allowance." But he races off with a baggie of trees to the boys bathroom-- whether to smoke them or flush them is anyone's guess.

Kyle rolls his eyes. If Spiccoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High had ever procreated this would have been the offspring. If Beavis and Butthead came to life... and the curse of it is, the guy's a computer genius. The one who had probably put his webcam feed on the school website. One of the other crew might have thought it was funny but they couldn't have done it without Beavis. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Maxie at her locker. "Maxie." It was one of those moments where utter silence happened to fall right when he was calling out her name and now everyone is looking.

Maxie cringes and doubles her pace shoving books into her locker and grabbing others.

Kyle comes over to the humiliated blonde. "I didn't know. I didn't know what they were doing." He can read in her eyes that she wants to believe him. Wants to believe that he wouldn't have treated her so badly.

"Just get away from her, Ratcliffe. Haven't you done enough?!" Lucas Jones give Kyle a push that has him backed into lockers and wincing.

"I didn't know. I'm sorry." Kyle says again and goes to class.

Maxie watches him leave and then not caring who is watching races to the girl's bathroom where she bursts into tears.

"Oh that's just great, Lucas." Georgie protests.

"What? Why are you jumpin on me? I was just trying to help." Lucas asks.

"You are such a... guy!" Georgie runs after her sister.

In the gym locker room about ten minutes later, Kyle is getting ready to go out to join the rest of the class when he is called back by the instructor. "You know the rules, Radcliffe-- proper gym attire, get changed."

"Look can't you just let it slide this once..." Kyle tries but at the coach's shaking head turns around and taking off his long sleeve t-shirt reaches for the school issued t-shirt.

"Holy Mother of God. What the hell happened to you?!" The coach examines the vivid bruising on Kyle's back and arms. "There something you want to tell me, Son?"

"No. I'm fine."

"You aren't fine. I think you need to go see the nurse. Boy-- you've been beat. I have to report this."

"Fine! Just fucking report it! The Police Commissioner is in the principal's office! Why don't you report it to him!" Kyle slams his locker shut and goes out into the gym, slamming the locker room door after him.





Tracy daintily extends a trowel to her mother at the end of two fingers and then carefully wipes her hands. Lila uses it to direct the activities of her boys in filling the raised beds. Reggie acts as her legs beyond the distance of her voice and Dawg, her favorite of the boys, stays close and always asks good questions. He'd already started to see an improvement in his growing operation and is eager to learn more.

"Mother, I was hoping when I sent Dillon home that he would have been staying with you and Daddy."

"Dawg, darling, do you see what he's doing?" Lila aims her trowel in the direction of the next raised bed over.

"I'm on it, Mrs. Q." Dawg hollers out. "Yo Dude, don't pack it like that." He strides over to the other bed and starts helping out.

"How can you associate with these... hoodlums, Mother."

"You are in these boys' neighborhood, Tracy. I know I tried to instill better manners than to come into someone else's home...." Lila's disappointment is clear.

Tracy is quick to apologize. "I didn't mean any disrespect, Mother. I just wanted to talk to you about Dillon. As soon as I found out he wasn't staying with you and Daddy, I came straight back to check on him. Mother, I was barred from the property where he is staying. By my own son, Mother." Tracy follows after her mother on the paths that run through all of the park.

"Darling, Ned was out with his wife at the Ward House Fundraiser. I'm sure that Ned and Faith's staff were just being protective of the children."

"I'm his Mother, Mother! They don't need to be protected from me."

"If we'd known you were coming, Mother, we'd have baked a cake." Ned says from behind the two women.

Tracy spins around to see Ned standing there with Dillon standing right beside him. For the first time she realizes she might have erred in her plan to send Dillon to Port Charles. Dillon had always been hers, always on her side. "Dillon! Darling!" Tracy runs up the path and draws Dillon into a hug. "Oh I've missed you so much. I think you've grown. Oh but the hair." Tracy shakes her head ruefully.

"Lay off the hair, Mom." But it's an old argument with it's own humor and Dillon half smiles at her.

"Mother." Ned interrupts the little reunion.

"Ned." Tracy takes a half step back but she keeps an arm around Dillon.

"You could have just faxed the paperwork to get Dillon registered for school. But since you're here... I have the paperwork in my office over at ELQ." Ned cuts straight to the point. "I wouldn't want anything to interfere with your travel plans."

"My plans are flexible." Tracy says defensively. "Really, Ned. I have yet to meet your new wife or youngest daughter. And I understand you've moved off of the Quartermaine estate."

"Kind of had to, Mom." Dillon interjects. His voice drops down to a whisper. "But we probably shouldn't talk about it around Grandmother."

Ned pulls out his cell phone and dials Faith's number. "I'm with my Mother now. She wants to meet you and the baby. When would be good for you? I'll set it up." Ned closes the phone. "Dillon, Faith doesn't want to leave the baby without one of us there."

Dillon nods. "I'll keep an eye on things. If you want to take Mom and Faith out."

"Why don't you meet me back at the car?" Ned suggests.

"See you later, Mom." Dillon starts back out of the park and to where the BMW is parked at the edge.

"Ned." Tracy says thru gritted teeth. "I didn't raise Dillon to be some kind of glorified babysitter. I can't believe you'd take advantage of your brother this way. I think it would be better if Dillon came to stay with me."

"Are you thinking that perhaps you'll get Grandmother to let you stay at the mansion if Dillon's with you, Mother?" Ned wonders with excessive calm. Then he nods. "Maybe. That might get you back in the mansion. But I run ELQ now, Tracy, not Grandfather. And Dillon will be the heir to ELQ if I make him the heir. Not you, not Edward. Don't piss me off, Mother. I'll have the registration paperwork brought to the hotel by messenger. Don't come to dinner without it signed." Ned comes over and gives Tracy a kiss on the cheek and then turns around and slides smoothly into the passenger seat of his car.

Tracy hears the electric whirl of her mother's wheelchair and turns around. "Did you hear the way he spoke to me, Mother?! What on earth is going on? And the way he talked about Daddy? There is something wrong with Ned. Something seriously wrong."

"Tracy, my darling girl..."

"Yes, Mother." Tracy bends over to hear every word.

"Don't mistake Faith for either Jenny or Lois."





If there was any higher brain function going on, there would surely be a comparative analysis of which was better: the view from the top or the view from the bottom. But there isn't. That could wait for later but for now-- "Gawd. Baby." Cole can feel Skye tightening around him as she reaches for the headboard for balance. He brings his hands up to grab her hips rocking up on his shoulders and heels.

Skye doesn't say anything but bites her lip, her hand slipping from the headboard to Cole's shoulder where her fingers dig in. "Cole. Cole."

"Now, Baby. Go. Got ya." Feeling his control slipping, Coleman urges Skye over the top before he loses it all together, and it's close. That's the thing with Skye, always with Skye. Definite case of yours, mine and more likely than not ours.

Skye collapses on him; Cole brings up his arms to hug her close. The only sound in the room is their gasping breathe slowly returning to normal. He licks the sweat from her shoulder and then presses an open mouth kiss to her smooth skin loving the shudder and moan as he hits the right spot.

"Down boy." Skye mutters.

"I'm down; I'm down." Cole laughs against her neck. "For now."

Shifting around on top of Cole until she's comfortable, Skye balances her chin on her folded hands on top of Cole's chest and looks him square in the eye. "How am I supposed to get your car back to you?" Skye asks. "I suppose AJ can follow me in mine."

"Don't worry about it. This actually works better for me. Only way I can insure that Kyle is grounded from his car." Cole growls as he runs a single finger down the middle of her back.

At the mention of Kyle, Skye rolls away from Coleman. "I have to get changed." She avoids looking at him.

Coleman watches as she goes into the adjacent bathroom. "I'm going to kill that kid." He mutters. He follows Skye into the bathroom. She is already in the shower. Cleaning up, Coleman pulls on a robe that hangs from a hook on the back of the bathroom door. Skye is avoiding him or rather avoiding conversations about Kyle. Deciding to give her a little space, he reluctantly leaves the bathroom where every instinct is screaming at him to join her. Instead he goes into the kitchen and starts pulling together the fixings for lunch.

When Skye comes into the kitchen she is fully dressed and just putting on earrings.

"Lunch is about ready." Cole hands her a sandwich about two inches thick, not counting the bread.

Skye looks at him and rolls her eyes. Grabbing a knife she cuts it in half and looking at it again cuts it into quarters. Then she picks up a quarter and takes a bite. Gawd! That's good. She chews the savory combination of flavors that no way could have come out of her fridge. "I thought you had to work today?"

"Pulled in someone to cover. Till I get that kid straightened out." He observes Skye put her sandwich down as if losing her appetite. "Look Skye, I know the kid screwed up. Hell he screwed up royally. But right now I'm all he has. And I have to come thru for him." Coleman says defensively.

"His mother..." Skye ignores Coleman's snort of disgust. "... what about her?"

"She isn't getting out of detox until tomorrow. She wasn't handling it before. You were the one saying he was crying out for help." Cole reminds. "He's not a stupid kid, Skye, and Margery... " Cole shakes his head.

"I didn't help matters any." Skye mutters guiltily.

"Whoa! Is that why you've been distancing yourself? Skye, Babe, you saved that kid's bacon that night."

"He's a child, Cole. I never..."

"Doing adult things. We aren't talking crayons on the walls or bathing the dog in cologne. You saved him from having FELONIES on his record, Skye. It was the Police Commissioner's daughter! You were the only person there that could have done it. Scorpio was out for blood but he would have stopped me. Kyle's mother-- You saved that kid's ass, Skye, and he knows it. He knew it that night; he knew it this morning. Okay so he's a teenager-- he'll probably forget by this weekend."

"Coleman, it was not my intention to save him from going to jail. I wish I could say it was. I've been angry before, hell I've been spiteful at times but..."

Coleman comes around the breakfast bar and gives Skye a hug from behind. "Let it go, Babe. This isn't something that is going to happen every day. Just let me handle things until Margery gets back on her feet. Then we'll be good to go-- are you going to eat the rest of that?"

Skye gives him an elbow in the stomach. "Eat your own!" But she picks up one of her sandwich quarters and starts eating again.

"We okay?" Cole rubs the back of her neck.

"Yeah." Skye says slowly with a nod. "But you'd better check in at Jakes between babysitting me and your nephew."

Cole grimaces but reaches for the phone. He punches in a the number. "Yeah, it's Cole. How things going? You need anything before shift changes? What? When? Right gimme the number." Skye hears the gimme the number and reaches for pad of paper and pen. Coleman sees what she is doing and calls out the number aloud so Skye can write it down. "Yeah, I'll stop by before shift change and I'm on my cell. Yeah, right. So I'll check it now and then-- LATER." Coleman hangs up the phone

Skye tears off the number. "What happened?"

"School Vice Principal. I've actually been expecting it. Only question is; is it suspension or expulsion? They hacked the school website."





Dillon drives into the visitor's slot at the high school. "We're here."

"I wasn't expecting Tracy to get me that signature back so fast." Ned admits as he looks at the prisonlike exterior of PCHS. "But I don't want to give her any excuses. So lets do this. Whatever you need: notebooks, pens, whatever pick up at the school store and we'll get the rest later. You need any money?"

"I'm fine." I hate being the new kid.

I always hated being the new kid. "This is it, Dillon, from now until you graduate. I know it will be tough but you already know that one girl."


"Right Georgie. I'm sure they are going to want to do tests or whatever." Ned adds lamely as they walk into the main office. "Ned Ashton. This is my brother, Dillon Quartermaine. He's registering to finish the rest of the year."

"Hello, Dillon." The secretary smiles at the young man. She pulls a packet of forms from below the counter. "I'll let the two of you start on these and get a counselor to help with the schedule."

Ned takes the packet and hands half to Dillon along with a clipboard and pen. Applying themselves to the task they are soon distracted by the commotion in the Vice Principal's office. Ned recognizes Mac Scorpio with two other adults and a wall of kids sitting on a bench outside the office. "Looks like we're just in time for something."

"Someone hacked the school website." Dillon explains. He starts filling in blanks. Institutions are all about the paperwork. "And was running amateur porno."

"You're kidding?!" Ned looks up from the blanks he's attempting to fill. Not that he knows the answers to most of the questions, in fact the blanks were showing him how much he doesn't know about his brother. "I should have gotten this in advance." He mutters apologetically with a glance in Dillon's direction.

"Just gives them time to figure things out." Dillon states with the authority of experience. "I've got it from here, Ned. If you want to get back to the office."

"You sure?"


"Okay. I do have an errand to run. But I've got my phone so if they need any info..."


"Right. Somebody will pick you up after school. Call me if there are any problems."

Dillon takes back the paperwork that Ned hasn't completed and adds it to his own.





"Faith, you aren't going to believe this."

"What?" Faith asks the guy guarding the gate looking out the window toward the gate holding the phone to her ear.

"There is a guy here with a car. He says it's for you. He just handed me a card. The envelope says. Tell Faith I didn't know when her birthday is. Ned"

"You're kidding!"

"It's a freaking Porsche, Faith."

Faith remembers her quip to Capelli and shakes her head in disbelief. "Verify his ID and send him up." She goes out onto the front deck and stands there with her hands on her hips.

The delivery guy jumps out of the car and polishes off any stray fingerprints before running the keys and card up to Faith. "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Ashton. All the paperwork is in the passenger seat." The driver gives a wave and goes to the other dealership car waiting or him up by the road.

Faith leans over the Porsche Boxster convertible that has the top down and grabs the packet of information. She runs an appreciative hand over the glossy black exterior and buttery red leather seats.. There is no room for a baby seat in this one but who would want a baby going the speeds this baby could go. Tucking the packet of information under her arm, she rips open the envelope.

F. I don't know if you were kidding or not, but Happy Birthday, Happy Everything except for Mother's Day since this is coming on the heels of Tracy's arrival. I know this isn't what you signed on for and I haven't made it easier, Sorry. Ned.

"Gees. Roscoe would have just sent a vase." Faith muses. "These people are crazy."





Cole strides into the High School. He can see the Vice Principal standing along with Mac Scorpio, someone that looks like a PE teacher and another suit in a glass walled office. Coleman's eyebrows go up. He sees Kyle sitting on a bench outside the office.

"I didn't ask them to call." Kyle says defiantly.

"I take it this isn't about the website?"

"I should have gotten a note for PE."

"Ah." Cole nods. "Fight. You started it. Someone else finished it." He gives the cover story quickly and tersely.

Kyle nods. "Probably more believable than skateboard accident."

"True. But that one is a good one too. They say anything about suspension?"

"I think that the geeks are still working on the computer."

"Great." Cole goes over to the the VP's office and raps on the door. "I'm here for Kyle Radcliffe.... Commissioner." Cole nods in his direction.

"Coleman." Mac gives a nod back.

"You two know each other?" The coach looks from one to the other.

"We have people in common." Coleman says cryptically.

The VP has a dawning realization and winces. But performs the introductions of the Coach and Child Protective Services worker. "We're required by law to report any suspect injuries. And Kyle has been less than helpful. He told us his Mother is unavailable and he was in a skateboarding accident? Mr. Radcliffe, your nephew's injuries...."

"Don't match his story." Cole interrupts. "Kyle got in a fight. He started it. It's finished."

"It was already investigated." Mac chimes in. "Neither party wanted to press charges and believe me there were enough charges to go around. Kyle was treated at General Hospital the same night as it happened."

The CPS worker looks from face to face and sees there is going to be no assistance from the police. "Where are the child's parents?"

"His mother has custody and she's... having some tests done at the hospital." Coleman offers. "Look-- I'm his uncle and I'm staying with him."

"Where you staying with him when Kyle got into this fight?" The CPS asks pointedly. Spotting Cole's wince, she nods. "That's what I thought." Going over to the door she calls Kyle in. Kyle walks in hesitantly not know what to expect. The CPS lays it on the line for everyone in the room. "I'm going along with the fight story but only so far. Young man, there will be an open and active investigation in my office. It cuts two ways. If you're in trouble, if your situation isn't... safe-- I can help."

"You said two ways." Kyle goes looking for the other shoe.

The CPS nods. "If you get into any trouble from here on out: school, substances including alcohol, curfew, criminal-- any trouble, I will file a Minor in Need of Supervision so fast your Mother's head will spin." With that the worker stuffs her notebook into her satchel and leaves.

Mac puts in his two cents. "Shame she said from here on out. Or you would already be on your way to Juvie." Mac turns to the VP. "Let me you know what you want to do about the website, PCPD will take it from there." Mac leaves.

The Coach shakes his head and starts to leave too but he pauses at the door when Coleman asks, "You call the Juvie cops when you see a fresh tatt on one of the kids too?"

"Uncle Cole." Kyle protests.

"Last time I heard those were illegal too for people under eighteen. Mutilation pure and simple."

"Good point." The coach agrees and then leaves.

"You are totally going to ruin my life." Kyle slumps into a chair.

"Yeah, you bet I am." Cole agrees. He leans over to whisper in Kyle's ear. "I was trying to make up with Skye when I got the call to come down here. Your toes are so going to be on the line. And I figure the fewer friends you have the less likely we are to see that CPS worker again."

"Speaking of friends." The Vice Principal interjects. "It's just a matter of time before the police prove who hacked the school website. Or you can tell me now."

"I didn't know what they were doing." Kyle shrinks in the chair with the Vice Principal in front of him and his Uncle standing behind him.

"Oh I believe that, Mr. Radcliffe. But you see I didn't ask you what. I asked you who. And you know who." The Vice Principal leans in planting both hands on the arms of the chair where Kyle is sitting.

"Isn't one of you supposed to be the good cop?" Kyle pleads. He sighs a breath of relief as the final bell for the day rings.

But it doesn't seem to have any affect on the men who don't lose focus until the Secretary comes in. "Bob, I think you need to see this."

"See what?" The Vice Principal looks around and sees that there is a loggerjam of students at the front doors. "What is going on?" Turning back to Kyle he slams out in a terse voice. "Suspended until the guilty parties are brought forth. So if you aren't going to talk you better hope either your friends do or the cops are quick or else you'll be repeating. Now get out of my office." But he is the first one out the door and clears a path to the front door where there the mob of students gather. Coleman and Kyle are right behind following in the Vice Principal's wake.

The attraction is soon apparent. Across the parking lot is a platinum blonde in a very short black dress and very high heels leaning up against a brand new black Porsche. Every teenage boy's wet dream come to life, right here in the parking lot of his school. Coleman steps up to stand beside the Vice Principal and once he sees who it is just shakes his head and grins. "Faith."

"You know her?!" The vice principal asks. "She's causing a scene."

"She knows. Faith lives to make a scene." Coleman retorts wanting to know how this plays out. And it doesn't take long.

Dillon walks out of the school talking to Georgie and it takes a minute for him to realize that there is something going on. "Oh hell. I gotta go."

Georgie recognizes Faith from the park and holds back and Dillon walks alone across the parking lot. Faith straightens from the car and walking to the front so that she is standing by the hood with one hand outstretched-- opening up her hand to offer the keys.

Dillon reaches out and to take the keys but Faith closes her hand around his and pulls him in close for a hug and a close mouth kiss that just misses his lips. Then stepping back she has Dillon escort her to the passenger side of the car. After getting her settled and belting her in, Dillon goes around to the driver's side of the car and climbs in. Praying that he doesn't kill it or otherwise make himself look like an idiot, Dillon focuses on getting to the road and away from all the eyes. "What was that all about, Faith?" Dillon asks as soon as they are out on the road.

"Building your rep, babe." Faith brushes the hair at the base of his neck with her fingers. "It is the least I can do. I have you to thank for this very sweet ride."

"How do you figure?"

"Ned starts worrying that maybe your Mama is gonna tick me off and he buys me a Porsche. I think he's feeling guilty. But he set the bar so high. What is he going to give me when I catch him with his dic... playing footsie with someone else's?"

"A divorce." Dillon says flatly. "Ned is capable of a lot of things, but he is not a cheat."


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