Gossip and a Revelation
All through dinner Natalie filled Victoria in on the who's who of the party.
"Those are the Chandlers from Pine Valley," Natalie said. "That's JR Chandler and his sister Colby," she said pointing to the brother and sister who were sharing food. "Those are their parents, Adam and Liza. My grandaddy doesn't like Mr. Chandler. Says he money hungry at the expense of people and he refuses to do business with him." Victoria nodded at the information. "That's the Corinthos family from Port Charles. My grandaddy says it takes a strong man to do business with a man the likes of Sonny Corinthos and his sons, Micheal and Morgan," Natalie whispered. Victoria looked at the three attractive men across the table from her. They seemed like hard men. Men who lived their lives with purpose.
"What of their mother?" she whispered to the red head as she looked at the beautiful blonde next to Mr. Corinthos.
"Oh, Miss Carly. My mama said that a woman that cruel must've seen the Devil but I think she's nice," Natalie said. "Rumor has it that she helped Hope Logan out of a bad situation with an outlaw," she said pointing to the pretty blonde girl with the sparkling blue eyes at the end of the table.
"What kind of situation?"
"Oh it was awful. He claimed to love her but he only wanted to steal all her mother's money and he was close to until Miss Carly caught wind. Suddenly the outlaw was gone and none of the money was taken."
"Oh," Victoria said. She looked at Carly with admiration. She had no idea what she as a woman could have done to scare off an outlaw but she was sure it wasn't something as sinful as adultery. She held her head high. Victoria knew that she was too strong a woman to resort to something as weak as selling herself. "Who is that? Sitting next to Mr. Murphy?"
"Oh that's Alan Quartermaine," Natalie said. "He and wife are both doctors. Isn't that wonderful? A woman doctor!" the red head beamed. She nodded and Natalie continued. "Those are their sons, AJ and Jason. I fancy Jason but he has his eyes on Colby Chandler," her tone sad. Victoria patted the girls hand. "Anyway, that's their sister Emily. I don't particularly like her. She's too nice."
"How can someone be too nice?"
"She never swears, or says a bad word against anyone. She's like a saint," the girl beside her said annoyed. "She's lovely other than the fact that she makes you feel like you don't try hard enough." Victoria nodded. She would stay away from Emily Quartermaine. She liked the use of the word damn every now and then.
"Why does your grandfather keep looking at Mr. Quartermaine?" Victoria asked.
"Oh, he thinks that he and Mrs. Quartermaine poisoned his parents," Natalie informaed her.
"They're still alive just real sick."
"That's good, I suppose," Victoria said.
"I think granddaddy's wrong, though. Edward and Lila Quartermaine have been old for my whole life. I think old age got them like Mr. and Mrs. Quartermaine said," Natalie said with a gentle smile. Victoria had more questions about the party guests. She was grateful that Natalie was so nosy. It was entertaining and informative.
"Alright now, all you children head on upstairs. The party will resume in the ballroom," Asa said rising from his chair. Natalie stood and grabbed Victoria's hand.
"I'll be right back. I want to say goodnight to my brother," she said. Natalie nodded.
"Goodnight Adam," Victoria said as she crushed him in a hug.
"I'm old enough, you know," he said hugging her back.
"I know, but Mr. Buchanan said it's bedtime," she said kissing his forehead. He sighed and grabbed Esther's hand. He looked back and waved to his brothers who had joined their sister at the bottom of the stairs.
"Are you having a good time?" Dylan asked her.
"Yes. Natalie is very nice," she answered honestly. "Are you having a good time?"
"Of course he is," Katherine said linking her arm into his. "He and Ms. Jessica are a fine match." Dylan smiled as he led Mrs. Chancellor back to the ballroom. Once inside, Victoria went in search of her new friend. She spotted her talking to people she didn't know but the three men were all very handsome. Natalie turned and held her hand out to her. She took it smiled politely at the men.
"Victoria Newman, this is Mr. Bill Spencer and his sons, Liam and Wyatt," Natalie said beaming. "They own the only printing press in Forrester City."
"How do you do?" Victoria said.
"Wonderful, Miss Newman. I knew your father. He was a good man," Bill said shaking her hand. She fought back tears and gave him a weak smile. It had been four years and still every time someone mentioned one of her parents, she almost broke.
"Victoria, Liam and Wyatt have been so gracious as to ask for our hand when the dancing begins," Natalie smiled brightly.
"That's lovely," Victoria said collecting herself.
"It will be my pleasure, Miss Newman," Wyatt said with a slight bow of his head. Victoria blushed slightly.
"I can't wait, Mr. Spencer," she said coyly with a small bow. Natalie squeezed her hand as they bid them goodbye.
"Wyatt Spencer. He's a very good match for you. We'll have to tell Mrs. Chancellor," her friend gushed.
"I don't want a husband," Victoria told her truthfully.
"But you need a husband. Who will take care of you?" Natalie asked a concerned look on her face.
"I can take care of myself," she said as they took a seat on one of the plush couches. The ginger girl shook her head.
"Do you remember me mentioning Hope Logan?" she asked.
"There she is with her brother Rick. That woman beside them is their mother Brooke Logan," Natalie said jerking her head toward the beautiful blonde woman. "She's a widow."
"So, I don't want you to end up like her," Natalie said quietly.
"What do you mean?" Victoria asked.
"What do you know of my grandmama?"
"Not to much."
"Well, it's a bit of a well known unspoken secret kind of thing, what I'm about to tell you," Natalie said leaning closer to her.
"I don't understand what you mean," Victoria whispered.
"My grandmama is a madam. It's well know because people know about it but it's unspoken because no one speaks openly about it for fear of my grandaddy's gun and it's a secret because newcomers don't know it," Natalie explained.
"A real madam?" Victoria asked her eyes flashing to her red haired woman smiling next to Asa.
"Yes. Well, Miss Brooke works for her. Has for a few years now. People don't know that she run the house in Forrester City but I do. I saw her here in the house once and I overheard them talking about it."
"I appreciate you thinking of me, but I wouldn't become a whore," Victoria told her. "I'll manage."
"Just think about it please. Mr. Spencer comes from a very wealthy family and he's keen on you," Natalie said.
"I'll think about it," she lied.
"Thank you," the red head smiled.
"Hello, Nattie," a beautiful raven hair girl said as she sat down beside her.
"Hi. Stephanie Forrester, this is my new friend Victoria Newman," Natalie said introducing them.
"How do you do?" Victoria said.
"Fine, call me Steffy," the girl smiled. "What are we talking about?"
"I was telling Victoria about everyone."
"Have you gotten to my family yet?"
"Not yet," Natalie said.
"I'll do the honors," Steffy smiled. Natalie stood and pushed Victoria to the middle as Steffy continued. "That is my father Ridge and my mother Taylor. That's my twin brother Thomas, who's sweet on Natalie."
"No thank you. I see him as a brother," Natalie said shaking her head causing Victoria and Steffy to laugh.
"Yes, he knows. It still disappoints him," the dark hair girl chuckled. "Oh and that's my uncle Thorne and his wife Macy."
"What does your family do?" Victoria questioned.
"Well my grandmother, Stephanie is an expert dress maker. She always has been. My grandfather Eric believed that they could make it a successful business," Steffy replied. "We make and sell dresses, gowns really. My grandfather has a deal with Mr. Micheal Baldwin in Genoa City."
"I know him."
"Well, then you know that his wife, Lauren Fenmore-Baldwin owns a store. The first of it's kind. A clothing store," Steffy said.
"Yes. It was very exciting when Fenmore's first opened," Victoria smiled.
"You can buy Forrester Creations there," Steffy smiled happily. "I believe you're wearing one."
"Oh. This is lovely," Natalie said admiring the blue dress.
"Thank you," Victoria smiled. She was about to speak again when loud laughter drew her attention to the far side of the room. "Who is that?"
"That's Crazy Miss Addie," Steffy whispered.
"Yes, the Cramer Women of Llanview," Natalie said. "My cousins by marriage."
"How?" Victoria asked.
"Her right there. That's Blair Cramer-Manning. She's married to the man next to her, Todd Manning, he and my mother are cousins," the red head explained. Victoria nodded as she continued. "Crazy Miss Addie is her mother."
"Dorian Cramer the head of the household of ladies, she's the dark hair lady," Steffy said pointing slightly. "She's Kelly Cramer's mother," she said pointing to the blonde next to her.
"Why do you keep calling Miss Addie crazy?" Victoria asked but before either girl could answer, Wyatt was standing in front of them.
"Miss Newman, may I have this dance?" he asked sweetly, his hand held out to her. She blushed, nodded and placed her hand in his.
"Of course," she smiled.
Dylan danced Jessica around the ballroom. He did like her and he understood that as the oldest he would need to be with someone who was a good match for him. Jessica was beautiful. She had long blonde hair and royal blue eyes. She came from a wealthy family and even though he knew that because he did not have a family home he would have to leave his siblings and move to Llanview, he was prepared to do so. It was what was best for everyone.
"You're a wonderful dancer, Mr. Newman," Jessica said as he led her to a chair.
"Thank you, Miss Buchanan," he smile sweetly.
"Newman," a voice said from behind him. Dylan turned to see two men about his age approaching him. "I'm Micheal Corinthos and this is my brother Morgan."
"Nice to meet you," he said shaking their hands.
"Good evening, Miss Buchanan," Morgan said kissing her hand.
"Good evening, Mr. Corinthos," she smiled.
"Miss Buchanan," Micheal said. She nodded as she rose to her feet.
"I'll leave you gentlemen alone," Jessica said touching Dylan's hand before walking over to join her mother. The three of them stood silent for a few moments before Micheal made a grunting noise.
"I wish they had stayed home," he muttered.
"Who?" Dylan asked following his gaze. He felt the blood in his body boil. "Do you know the Abbotts?"
"No. I know of them," the older Corinthos boy said. "And that is enough."
"He knows things about them," Morgan added.
"I know gossip about them," Micheal cleared up.
"What do you mean?" Dylan asked his eyes locked on Jack Abbott.
"I've heard things from friends about them," he said.
"Where did they hear it?"
"One of the saloons our father owns in Port Charles," Morgan said.
"I don't understand," Dylan said his eyes meeting Micheal's.
"Oh you don't know," he chuckled. "Jack Abbott has an...appreciation for saloon girls."
"Yes and apparently, once you get a few drinks in him, he can't keep his mouth shut," Micheal said, taking a sip of the drink in his hand.
"What have you heard?" Dylan inquired.
"Not that you can truly believe a whore but according to one, the house they live in is on burned land," Micheal said.
"That's the truth," he muttered.
"How do you know?" Morgan asked.
"I used to live on that land." The Corinthos brothers nodded. "What else?"
"Well, you know they came into a lot of money in recent years," Micheal said.
"I had heard, yes." Dylan said.
"Apparently it's because they sold a lot of items that weren't destroyed in the fire," Micheal explained. "Jewelry, portraits, other things like that."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I also heard that they didn't get rid of all the valuables. They use them to pay for things," Micheal said.
"What do you mean?" Dylan asked.
"Jack tries to pay the girls with jewels but Milo, the man that runs the saloon, told him that cash was the only thing the girls would take," Morgan said. "He didn't like it but he still paid." Dylan's eyes searched the crowded room for Jack. Had he heard right? They had sold things that belonged to his parents. Things that rightfully belong to him and his siblings.
As the party wound down, Victoria bid goodnight to Wyatt Spencer and Dylan to Jessica Buchanan, Ester handed a sleeping Adam to Dylan and their carriage took off toward home. When they got home Esther came to retrieve Adam but Dylan shook his head and carried his younger brother into the house and up to his room.
"Adam," he said undressing him.
"Huh?" the boy asked his eyes still closed.
"Wake up. Listen to me."
"I'm 'wake. What?"
"When you hear three knocks on your door tonight, get up and come down to the parlor," Dylan said helping his brother climb into bed. "It's important."
"Ok, Dyl," Adam said nodding. Dylan leaned down and kissed his baby brother on the forehead and left his room. Once he was in his own room he undressed and put on his night clothes. He paced the floor. He was waiting for midnight. He knew that Mrs. Chancellor, Mr. Murphy and Esther would all be asleep by then.
When the clock in his room struck twelve he tiptoed out into the hallway. He rapped three times on each of his siblings' doors before heading downstairs. He smiled when he saw the fire still burning. Murphy always liked to have a brandy by the fire after parties. He said it calmed his soul and he slept better. Dylan knelt in front of it and warmed his hands; he looked up when he heard the door creak open. Coming toward him were his three siblings.
"I know who did it," Dylan whispered to his siblings. They were sitting by the roaring fire with him.
"How?" Adam whispered warming his hands.
"It don't matter how. I just know," the oldest Newman chuckled tousling his brother's hair.
"Who was was it?" Nick asked.
"The Abbotts," he said.
"What?" Victoria asked aloud. "How do you know?"
"Pentacities ain't that big," Dylan said kneeling in front of the fire again.
"Dylan, how do you know that?" Victoria asked again.
"Micheal and Morgan Corinthos," he said. "They can't keep their big mouths shut."
"What'd they say?" Nick questioned.
"Just that the Abbotts have been sitting pretty for the past four years," he said.
"What's that matter?" Adam asked.
"You were five," Victoria said. "You don't get it."
"Well, you can tell me."
"The Abbotts were dirt poor," Dylan explained. "They had nothing. They squandered everything their daddy left them and that was long before any of us were born."
"So why did they kill..." Adam asked quietly. They were all silent. They looked to Dylan for answers.
"The money," he told them. "They took everything then burned the house to the ground."
"Are you sure that's true?" Victoria asked.
"Micheal and Morgan didn't say that exactly but I ain't stupid," Dylan said.
"They need to pay," Nick said angrily.
"What are we supposed to do now?'" Dylan asked. "It's been four years."
"What happened to all of ma and pa's belongings?" Adam asked.
"They sold 'em," Dylan answered.
"Then we need to get it all back," Victoria said, her arms folded across her chest.
"How Vick?" Nick asked looking up at her.
"I've got a plan but we've gotta leave Genoa City as soon as Adam's old enough," she said.
"What's old enough?" Adam inquired.
"Old enough to ride alone and shot," she said.
"Oh. I'm learnin'."
"I know Adam, and in a few years you'll be fifteen and we can put my plan into action."
"What's the plan?" Dylan asked.
"We'll talk about it later," she whispered. "We better get to bed, I think I hear Esther."