This is a one shot that I threw together based on the spoilers for Monday’s US show. Though I have no reason to believe this is in any way what the show has planned, it’s nice to hope and dream.
Should it be concerning when the bartender no longer needs to ask you for your order? Probably, Billy thought to himself, but tonight he didn’t care. Tonight it meant one less thing he had to say, one less effort he had to make. He nodded politely as he took the scotch in his hand, swirling the amber liquid around in the glass.
Not even the best drink could make him forget this day. He closed his eyes as the liquor ran down his throat. Over and over again his mother had berated him about putting the company first. She’d practically pleaded with him to throw his heart and soul into the brand, to invest in it, to focus. Now he finally had. She’d finally gotten her wish. He was plugged in. Brash and Sassy was thriving and now she decides to sell.
What a slap in the face—but par for the course in the bad joke that had become his life.
He sat the glass down hard on the bar, nodding at the bartender for another—then he heard it. He’d know that voice anywhere. Slowly he turned around on the stool, his eyes searching the room and finding her almost immediately.
She glanced at his watch as he reached for his water. Dear God that cannot be right. It’s only been a half hour? Is that possible? She forced a smile and another stilted laugh as she took a drink from her wine glass.
“And everyone just assumes that once you get a law degree you want to practice law you know, but that’s not always the case. Some people just have other plans, other aspirations. It’s not always about the almighty dollar, you know?”
Phyllis drew in a breath, nodding politely. He’d been talking nonstop since the moment they’d sat down. “So, you didn’t practice law?”
“Nope,” he said, taking another bite of bread, and continuing the conversation while chewing. “I didn’t want to spend my life standing in a courtroom arguing with people all day. I mean can you imagine? Spending your entire day just talking and yelling at people over things that really don’t matter? I was far more interested in the business side of things—corporate stuff, so I figured that if I spent some time in the business world, I’d be able to spend time negotiating contracts, focusing on the numbers, making a difference in the companies that really make the world go round.”
Jesus. He can get more boring. “And, you like that?”
“Like it? I love it. I’ve got a house in Chicago, one in Aspen. I’m looking to acquire some land in Santa Monica—ocean front. It’s beautiful out there—have you been?”
“To California? Yes, a few times. It’s very nice.”
“If you’re calling Cali nice, you haven’t been with the right guy.” He leaned back in his chair as he took a drink from his water. “You need to come with me to Cali. Better yet, you like to ski?”
“I…” She hesitated.
“Of course you do, everyone likes to ski. I’m pretty sure my place in Aspen is open right now. Let me see if the plane is available. I could get us out there this weekend.”
Phyllis opened her mouth to speak, stunned at his arrogance and blatant disregard for her schedule. “Jeff, I can’t just…”
“So, this is why you can’t take Sasha to ballet practice?”
“Billy, I…What are you doing here?” She stared at him, her eyes wide with confusion. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Jeff abruptly end the phone call, quickly realizing the entrance of a third party.
“What am I doing here? I should be asking you that.” Billy glared at her, his eyes heavy on her. He looked over at Jeff who sized him up.
“Phyllis, who is this guy?”
Phyllis stumbled over her words as she tried to process what was happening. “This is…He’s….”
“Billy Abbott,” he said sternly. “I’m her husband—And I might ask you the same damn question. Who the hell are you and why are you having dinner with my wife?”
“Your wife?” Jeff looked back and forth between them in quick succession, his eyes finally settling on Phyllis. “Your profile said you were single.”
“Profile?” Billy raised his voice, his hands now gesturing wildly to add to the drama. “What are you doing—advertising on one of those God forsaken dating sites?”
It was a mix of amusement and great relief that flooded her body. Both of which made it difficult to keep a straight face, but she gave it her effort. “You know things haven’t been right, Billy. We haven’t been connecting,” she spat, looking away from him, afraid that staring into his eyes might cause her to break into a fit of laughter.
“So what? That just gives you the right to go out dating? To skip out on your responsibilities? I was the only Dad at that ballet rehearsal you know? That’s embarrassing. I don’t know how to plie or eleve. It’s embarrassing.”
“It’s not my fault you never show any interest in dance. Maybe if you’d shown up to a few of the recitals you’d..” Phyllis paused, glancing across the table, noticing for the first time that Jeff’s chair was now empty.
She smiled as she glanced back over at Billy. “Guess I’m not going to Aspen.”
“I should have figured him for a short ribs kind of guy,” Billy smirked as he took another bite from the plate. “Sucks that he didn’t even get to eat his own dinner. These are good.”
Phyllis laughed softly. “So…how exactly did you end up here to play white knight?”
“Long story,” he sighed.
She stared at him, her eyebrows arching.
“Short version—My mother informed me that she’s selling Brash and Sassy and she’s giving the three of us—Vic, Cane and I—first dibs. Of course, you know who has the best chance of being able to make the most competitive offer.”
“Victoria.” She took a bite of her salad and chewed thoughtfully. “But I’m sure she’d want you to help and maybe…”
“You really want to do that?” His eyes went soft as they looked into hers. “Push Victoria on me?”
“No,” she whispered, her cheeks flushing a bit.
Billy cleared his throat. “So—tell me what the deal is with the mystery man and your supposed profile on a dating site?” His smile grew. “What site is this?”
She swatted his hand playfully. “It’s all Nick’s fault. He decided I needed to get back in the dating game and he sat us this profile for me on this app. I just gave it a shot, but if this guy is any indication of the eligible guys in this town, I’m far better off staying single.”
“Oh, I don’t think so.” He stilled, the words having come out of his mouth before he had a chance to think. Now, it was impossible to take them back and the impact was already there—hanging in the tense air that now sat between them.
“You uh—you think there could still be a guy out there for me?” They both knew the real question—the one being asked and the one that wasn’t.
“Yeah, I do. I think there’s absolutely a guy out there for you..someone that deserves you. Someone that will love you and protect you and cherish you. Someone that will realize how lucky they are to have someone like you.” He paused, reaching out and gently squeezing her hand before standing and staring at her for a long moment. “And maybe they’re closer than you ever thought possible.” She felt his hand brush her shoulder gently as he stepped away from the table. He paused for a moment, glancing back over his shoulder to smile at her.
“Good night,” she whispered.
He nodded and walked quickly from the room.