Apparently this chapter is 8 pages long…I feel proud!

Chapter Nine

The receptionist was surprisingly helpful. Maybe it was because she didn't have a badge to intimidate him with, but it took less time for her to cross up to the 12th floor of this hotel than when she was an FBI agent.

But now, as the elevator doors opened to reveal a long hallway of Las Vegas style décor, Samantha didn't care. It had taken her longer than expected to reach this destination during her lunch hour, and now she only had thirty minutes until she had to get back. Talking was going to have to be done quickly.

With the room number still imprinted on her mind, she headed along the hallway, stepping past the employees, and occasional guests. The door she eventually came across was not unlike any other, and pausing for breath, she rapped her knuckles gently against the wood.

From within she could hear the scuffles of someone heading towards the door, and as that sound echoed in her ears, she felt her heart pick up.

Seven years. It had been seven years since she'd seen him last, and that last time had not been a pleasant experience.

Her stomach was churning, but it wasn't because of her hormones, or her emotions, or anything else that was smart. No, it was the tuna salad she ate on the plane. Of all things, she had to get food poisoning before she was to see him.

Repeatedly swallowing and downing water, she power-walked off the plane and to the nearest bathroom just in time for her guts to pour out.

Ten minutes of repulsion, and once again she felt like hell. She had been feeling so good this morning; and she knew it was too good to be true!

Now how the hell was she supposed to talk to him, deal with the fact that she was pregnant to Danny – god why did she have to be such an idiot for sleeping with him!

Feeling her stomach begin to return to normal, she hit the flush button and escaped the cubicle. A short middle-aged woman offered her a paper towel. "It may be bad now, but after it's born, you won't care." The woman smiled at her.

Sam accepted the paper towel, before glancing down at the obvious bump. "Oh, no. This isn't hormones. I ate something on the plane I shouldn't have." She responded, swallowing some handfuls of water, before dabbing her face with the towel.

The woman continued to smile at her. "Still, when you hold that baby for the first time, you won't care about how you were sick every morning, or how bad your back ached; only that for the first time in your life, you truly know what love feels like." She gently placed a hand on Sam's shoulder, before exiting the bathroom, leaving Sam to ponder those thoughts, whilst cradling her bump.

Was what the woman said true? Perhaps, but Samantha also knew one other thing; she did know what true love felt like, because she had already lost him.

Taking another piece of paper towel and drying her face, Samantha left the bathroom, and the airport, and headed for the one house in all of the US that she never, ever thought she would visit – the Deputy Director of the FBI.

-§-

Every house the cab drove past told Samantha the same story; old money. Every house in the Fitzgerald family neighborhood had to have been built very early in the previous century, if not earlier. Every house oozed the possibility of housing names such as Kennedy, Van Der Bilt, Roosevelt, etc.

And then the cab rounded another corner, and Samantha was stunned. It reminded her of houses she used to look at in books when she was a child – great palatial mansions with so many floors, windows and balcony's it was as though it was right out of a Jane Austen novel.

But the cab continued to drive past it; causing Sam to fall back against the seat.

"Yeah they're rich out here; every wife has some involvement in a charity, and every husband is a politician. You won't find any Hiltons here." The driver commented.

"I think a Hilton would make this place less dream-like." Sam responded, glancing out the window again as the cab slowed to a stop.

The house was not unlike the others, extended porch, red-brick veneer, colonial style columns, and surrounded by flora of all colors. What was surprising to Samantha, was the lack of evident security surrounding the house.

This was the home of Victor Fitzgerald; a man of extreme power and political influence, yet the only thing holding anyone back, was the low brick wall-fence.

Samantha paid the cabby, and was about to shut the door when he spoke; "No offence or anything, but you don't look like the type of girl to come from one of these families."

Sam smiled sadly at him. "I'm not, and never had any intention of being one. There's just someone who lives here that I need to settle something with."

He nodded to her stomach, cocking his eyebrows at the same time.

Sam shook her head; "If it were, I'm pretty sure you would have heard about it by now."

He nodded smiling, allowing her to shut the door before driving off.

Here she was, practically on his doorstep, and suddenly absolutely petrified of facing him. Yet she refused to give up, and looping her arm through the small bag she had brought, she began the trek to the house.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking into hell (or so her mother would have put it) Sam finally reached the front door, and after waiting a few moments to catch her breath, which she couldn't recall loosing, she pressed a finger to the doorbell, and waited.

Almost as though someone had been on the other side, watching her all the way up to this point, the door burst open, revealing a young Latino woman, who looked as though she had been given the task of cleaning the attic – she was that covered in dust.

"May I help you?" The woman asked, as though it were completely normal for one to greet another whilst covered from head to toe in dust.

"I wanted to speak with Martin, if that's possible?" Sam stated, her eyes darting past the woman before her, and into the room behind; a marble staircase, many flower vases, filled with multi-colored roses…

"Certainly, he's in the library. Follow me." The woman's voice stopped Sam from seeing anymore.

Of course what Sam had also neglected to observe was the eyeing the woman gave her, especially her stomach. But as Sam was lead into the house, and seeing every ornate item that she knew Martin had grown up around, suddenly she hated herself for always thinking that as the only son of a wealthy family he must have had a wonderful upbringing. Now, she continued to see a young Martin, running down the stairs and being chastised for potentially breaking things, and as a teen, having to live up to a demanding family heritage.

At the top of the stairs, Sam was forced to stop as she came upon the largest artwork she had ever seen in her life. And all it was, was a portrait of a man sitting in a high backed chair, looking to the side of the canvas.

The woman noticed Sam had stopped, and as she looked on to what Sam was staring at, she spoke. "Gideon Fitzgerald; drinking buddy of Benjamin Franklin, and the family claim the man who gave Franklin his many ideas for the Declaration of Independence." The woman winked at Samantha, smiling weakly.

Sam sighed in response. "The Fitzgerald family; the know how to influence those in power despite never holding the full mantle."

The woman looked at her curiously, before leading her on, but they were stopped when they heard loud voices echoing from the stairs.

"No mother I will not!" Sam immediately recognized Martin's voice.

"Martin, please. Virginia needs an escort. You two were such friends in school." Martin's mother's voice responded.

"We were in the fourth grade."

"Please Martin. You have been in Washington for the past three months; saying your still recovering is just not true as already you can manage without your cane. And you've been so miserable. Virginia is an incredibly attractive girl-"

"Who you just want me to be friends with, because I'm thirty-two years old and I don't have a steady girlfriend or a wife." Martin's voice came over the top of his mother's, and it was at that point that Samantha found herself staring at the man she so desperately wanted to talk to.

"Martin please!" His mother followed Martin into view, but didn't seem to notice Samantha, or the dust-covered maid.

Martin however stood frozen, staring at Samantha, and slowly his face turning a shade of red Sam had only seen once, at the same time that she saw his fists pummel into Danny.

"Martin?" His mother still hadn't noticed the two new members of the conversation, and it wasn't until it registered that Martin was staring at people did she turn her gaze. "Louisa, I thought I told you to dust the photo albums." She stated with a hint of aggression towards Samantha's companion, before turning her attention to Sam herself.

Louisa nodded her head quickly and darted away, but Samantha still felt as though she was being thoroughly assessed by Victor Fitzgerald's wife.

"Who are you?" The older woman eventually asked.

"Ah mom, can you give us a moment." Martin suddenly awoke from his state of ice, placing a hand on his mother's arm.

"Why didn't you tell me you had a girlfriend?" Suddenly her tone was happy and bright, and Sam could only assume that 'Virginia' had just flown out of her mind. But she was still feeling uncomfortable as the woman approached her.

"No, we're not together."

"She's not my girlfriend."

Both of them spoke at once, leaving Mrs. Fitzgerald to look between the two of them, then once again to Samantha's belly. "Then explain the baby?" She looked from Martin to Samantha, and then back to Martin.

"Mom, please. Just give us a minute." Martin said again, this time evidently trying to push his mother away.

She seemed to take the hint, taking a few quick steps away, throwing her hands up in the air and disappearing. "Your father will want to know about this." She said as she disappeared down the stairs.

Sam noticed Martin visually bite his lip, suppressing whatever comment was about to pop out.

After the sounds of his mother's shoe-click disappearing, Martin finally spoke. "I thought I made it clear I never wanted to see you again." He stated quietly, pushing past her.

"Yeah, I got that impression, except you still haven't heard me out." Sam retorted, following him.

"What is there for you to explain?" He questioned, turning on her harshly. "You slept with my best friend; he got you pregnant, I don't give a damn how sorry you are, you performed the ultimate betrayal." He shouted at her quietly, poking her in the shoulder.

Sam was stung. "You think I meant for it to happen? You think that I planned on being dumped by you; the guy who I had actually fallen in love with?" She retorted, following Martin as he turned and strode down the hallway.

"I told you, I don't care about you anymore, and I'm not apologizing to Danny. Yes I may have reacted badly, but Samantha;" hearing him call her 'Samantha' immediately prevented Sam's feet from continuing. "What would you have done, if you found out I slept with your best friend?"

Samantha couldn't reply; she was frozen. Hearing the hatred in his voice that was directed squarely at her was unbearable, and with her hormones raging, she immediately recognized the taste of tears in her mouth.

Martin took her silence and nodded. "Now please, would you kindly get yourself out of this house, before I call the police." And with that, he turned, entered a room, and slammed the door shut.

Samantha shook her head, removing the memory of their last meeting from her mind, and set herself for blocking the door, should Martin intend on slamming it in her face again. But then, she found herself not staring at the face of a man, but rather a woman with short light brown hair, small eyes and a nose that Sam immediately decided she wanted.

"Who are you?" The woman asked her.

"I think I have the wrong room, I was looking for a Martin Fitzgerald." Sam responded, suddenly her brain in overdrive. Had she noted the wrong room number?

"Oh, no he's meeting his uncle for lunch. And you didn't answer my question." Sam paused, momentarily eyeing this woman. She couldn't see her left hand so she couldn't determine what relationship she had just discovered, but already she could only assume this was Martin's wife.

"I'm Samantha. Martin and I are old friends. I heard he was in town and just wanted to see him, catch up, you know." Sam spoke, FBI agent engaging in discussion and beginning act.

The woman shook her head. "He's never told me he lived in New York before."

Sam suddenly felt a light weight leave her shoulders. Martin obviously hadn't told her what had happened between them. "I should correct myself; we worked together for three years, then he moved back to D.C and we haven't spoken since."

The woman nodded. "Well I'll tell him that you stopped by." She smiled weakly.

"That won't be necessary." Both women turned at the sounds of Martin's voice.

Maybe it was because of the other woman, but Sam was surprised that there was no sign of hatred showing on Martin's features. Maybe seven years had eased his anger, and now he just felt indifference towards her; certainly then at least Sam could talk to him and be heard.

"Samantha." Martin nodded towards her, stepping towards them, to Sam's new acquaintance, sliding an arm around her waist. "I see you've met Julie."

"I need to talk to you." Sam spoke. "There are a couple of things that you need to know, that you wouldn't let me say last time we spoke."

"I thought you said you hadn't spoken since he moved." Julie spoke.

Sam gritted her teeth before Martin responded. "We haven't. We just bumped into each other one day just after I moved; we haven't spoken since."

Julie looked at Martin, and immediately Sam could sense that there was going to be a choice discussion between these two regarding Martin's lie. "You never told me you lived in New York."

Martin shrugged. "They weren't happy memories." He spoke directly at Sam.

Sam bit her lip, before responding. "I'm not the pregnant and highly emotional woman I was then. You hate me, fine. I still need for you to give me just five minutes."

Martin shrugged, before looking down to Julie. "Could you give us five minutes?" He asked her quietly.

Julie shrugged, stepping back into the room and grabbing a sweater. "Five minutes will be plenty of time for me to organize a choice discussion topic." She placed a fake sweet smile on her lips and headed off down the hallway.

Martin looked to Samantha, and the anger that Sam was surprised to see missing was once again evident. "Are you happy now?" He asked, turning his back on Sam and walking into the room, Sam following him closely.

"Getting a chance to talk to you without having a door slammed in my face, yeah. About revealing a lie you gave your wife, no not really." Sam retorted.

"What do you want anyway? I told you, I don't want to see you again." He took a bottle of water from the bar fridge and downed a couple of mouthfuls.

Sam paused, taking a breath and composing herself before she started.

"Well speak!" Martin demanded.

"I loved you! I just didn't realize how much I did until you ended things. I left the office in tears that night, got drunk. I thought I was calling you, telling you I needed you. Danny showed up, I wasn't concentrating. And you can not begin to imagine how many times in the past seven years, I have so desperately wanted to take that night back." Sam shouted.

"What about your daughter?" Martin questioned, taking a step towards her.

Sam shook her head slowly. "I love my daughter more than anything else in this world. Whilst taking back that night would remove her from my life, when I have those thoughts, the following one was how much I wish she were yours."

Martin didn't respond, just smiled angrily and walked away from her. "Why are you telling me this?"

"The night you were shot, when I was told, I was told that you were in bad shape, and all that went through my mind was how if you died, I was certain part of me would die too. And then I found out I was pregnant, and part of me was so excited because it was yours, then I remembered Danny, and everything sank.

"I told you at the hospital because I wanted to be honest. You always told me I was keeping things to myself, I was trying to open up. But it didn't work. And then Danny found out, and a paternity test was performed, and it was his, and when those words were uttered, I know Danny watched all hope in me drain."

"I don't care about Danny! You haven't told me why you are telling me this." Martin shouted at her again.

"I'm telling you this because for the past seven years, I have been living a life I don't want. I have a daughter who only knows what love between a father and daughter, and mother and daughter is like. She doesn't know what love between parents is. I don't love Danny; he doesn't love me. You have moved on, I understand that, but I also know, that you have to understand just how sorry I am."

Sam watched as Martin's expression changed, he looked as though he was about to start laughing, and then he started. "You still don't listen to me." He laughed, stopping and stepping up to her. "I don't care about how you live your life. Any care I was to have of you was lost the moment your brain decided to have sex with Danny Taylor."

Sam couldn't help herself. It was like a reaction one gets when they touch something boiling hot. Her hand acted ahead of her brain, latching onto Martin's left cheek and leaving a near perfect imprint. "What's happened to you?" She was sobbing now. "What happened to Martin Fitzgerald, loving, caring and the most brilliant man I've ever met? I'm trying to apologize here. I have seven years of guilt, and you have seven years of anger. What would make you happy? Would me having an abortion make you happy?"

Martin held his cheek, wincing visually, and Sam knew he'd be feeling her hand for at least a week.

"You know, have you ever sent a thought to Danny? He was your best friend after all? Or was you giving him a set of broken bones your way of getting that anger off your chest?" Sam questioned.

"What are you offering to lie down and be assaulted?" Martin asked dryly.

Now it was Sam's turn to smile angrily. "Is there any feeling left in you? And no happy memories here in New York? What about the Tolland's? Despite Bonnie, I know you loved the time you spent with them, I saw it!"

The click of the room door alerted both Martin and Sam to Julie's presence, both stopping and immediately looking to her. "Five minutes." She spoke simply, pulling her sweater off and throwing it on the bed.

Sam held up her hands, and stepped away. "You know, my father wasn't a great man. Although I was always certain I wouldn't fall for a man like him, I see now that I was wrong." And she left, the last thing she heard as she disappeared was coming from Julie;

"Who was Bonnie?"

-§-

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