"Welcome home my lady!" Stephanie smiled brightly at seeing Elinore walk back into her home. Grayson holding his wife's hand to help keep her steady. She was better, but still horribly weak. Dr. Hue had said that she had to stay in bed for about a week, making sure to get plenty of fluids and food, and then she should be able to get back up and around.

Elinore smiled at the warm welcome and slowly walked forward, feeling her body already tiring from the walk inside. She wished she could be stronger and not have to burden those around her, especially her husband and son who have put their lives on hold to be with her that past few days. She knew that Grayson had wanted to be with her, but that missing his work, when he was getting so close to being caught up, he was once again being put behind. All because of her.

"Don't worry about work, Eli. All that matters is that your getting better." he had told her. Taking her hand and squeezing it lightly.

"But I do worry." she pleaded with her eyes. "You were almost caught up, were you not? This will only set you back more..."

"Hush. Your way more important." he dismissed her words instantly. "I love you, and in a day you will be able to come back home, and I will feel more at ease. Then, and only then, will my work be started again." he smiled softly at her, pulling her hand up, turning it over, and kissing her palm softly.

Elinore had loved the sweet words and actions her husband had been giving her. It had been a long while since she truly felt beautiful and loved. They had their moments, but they didn't seem to touch her like these moments did. Sighing she looked at Grayson as he still held her arm firmly and tenderly.

"Please bring up some water and light snack for my wife, Stephanie." he asked nicely, and she bowed and did as he asked.

"There's no need Grayson. I am not quite hungry yet.."

"It's not up for discussion, Eli." he told her, leading her forward. His voice was a bit more aggressive, but at least he called her by her nickname, otherwise, she would have to deal with him being truly upset. He had been acting strange since he had gotten her back home, and she knew something was wrong. Elinore waited though, for the right moment when they were alone in the safety of their bedroom.

Grayson lead her there, taking eat step slowly. She was starting to breath heavily, so Grayson scooped his wife up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way. Finally in their room, he carefully laid her down on their bed, and pulled back the sheets to tuck her in.

"What's wrong, Grayson?" she asked softly, seeing his face full of doubt and concern.

"Nothing my dear." he replied as he continued to pull the sheets up around her, never looking her in the eyes. Elinore gently stopped his arm, and focused on him.

"Look at me." Grayson sighed and did so, seeing his wife's chocolate brown eyes bore into his soul. He was stressing out about her getting better, work, and of course, his last encounter with Cameron. He wanted to tell her, to let her be aware, but he knew that would only end badly, and Elinore would probably end up back at Dr. Hue's office.

"What is it?" he asked.

"What is wrong?" she asked in return, concern written all over her face. He felt so guilty at her tender look, and it only made him feel that much more horrible.

"Everything is fine, I don't know what your talking about."

"Your face says otherwise." she quickly replied, not dropping the subject like he wanted her to.

"There is just a lot on my mind right now babe." he told her honestly.

"About what?"

"Nothing to worry your beautiful face over." he smiled softly, leaning over and kissing her forehead. "Just relax and try to eat. I'm going to go start some work, but I'll be checking up on you every now and then." he then leaned in and kissed her sweet lips. As sick as she was, and weak, he still felt his blood run hot as he touched her. "If you need me at all, send for me. I'll be here in a heartbeat."

"You worry too much, Grayson. I'm fine and will get stronger. You go and do what you need to do and Stephanie will help me as much as I need her too. Okay?"

He did worry though. He worried the entire time he was in his office, every time he saw a plate of food, or had to sign another paper... when Cameron showed up for work. Yes, that raised a red flag instantly. He felt his body tense as she knocked and entered. He had informed her that he would be back today, and knew she would come sooner or later. Cameron still wore some tight clothing, and looked quite lustful and healthy, but he tried to ignore how his body felt as he worked. It had been a so stressful dealing with Elinore's sickness, he was all pent up inside, and with her still being sick, he was unable to enjoy himself... his body wanted to react against his better judgement.

"Hello Gray." she smiled as she sat down her things and looked around. "Starting without me?" she asked.

"Elinore wouldn't let me sit around and do nothing." he replied.

"Ahh. How is she?" she asked, walking up and placing her nice butt up on the top of his desk. He growled inside and narrowed his eyes at her.

"Ass. Off." he snapped, and she held up her hands in surrender as she listened. She just smirked and stood before his desk.

"Better?"

"Not really." he cursed under his breath.

"So, I'll ask again, how is she?"

Grayson sighed and looked up into her blue eyes. Her purple dress that hugged her body brought out her blue eyes and complemented her straight brown hair. "She's better, but still not well."

"Oh." she said as if saddened by the news. He knew she didn't care though, she never did. She was still the same. "Alright then. What are we working on today?"

"This stack." he nodded towards a tall stack of papers. "Then we have two more and we should be finally caught up on everything."

"We shall have it done by today." she smiled and began pulling off the first sheet. "It should be an easy task."

Oh, it was easy alright. It was an easy task for her, not him. Thoughts of Elinore and Cameron filled his mind and he just couldn't think clearly! He wondered if Elinore had eaten, and if she had, if she kept the food down. Was she drinking her water each hour? Was she sleeping well? Looking up at Cameron every once in a while proved to be even more of a troubling thought. How the hell was he to tell Elinore about her? About their past?

She seemed to work effortlessly, and making quite a dent in all the work. She wasn't lying, she had everything done just hours later. Standing and stretching her legs, she walked over and smirked at Grayson. "What else have you to challenge me with?" she asked.

"If your finished, you may go."

"Oh, so soon?" she pouted. Grayson shot a gaze at her.

"What exactly were you thinking I would say?"

"Well, maybe you could invite me to dinner. I mean, I did work my ass off to get this done to help you out. I thought it would be nice to meet your family..."

"I don't think so." he shrugged the idea off. "You best be going."

"Your seriously being an ass." she pouted, leaning over the desk to get his attention more. Ahh, he shot a look up at her, and she smirked inside knowing she still seemed to have power over him. He made try to hide it or to fight it, but she would prove him wrong. He was still the same, even after all these years. She knew it.

"Thanks for your opinion, now leave." he quickly replied cooly. "I have things I must do."

"Like what?" she asked curious.

"If it were any of your business, I would have told you."

Cameron frowned, still not satisfied with his answers. Being bold, she walked her way around his desk and he watched carefully. She came up behind him as her hands found his shoulders and they began to need into them softly. As much as he wanted to tell her to stop, the massage made him groan and give in. He lowered his head and allowed for her to continue, enjoying the release it was creating in his muscles. "Your too tense."

"I have a lot going on."

"You need to have some fun." she leaned down and whispered into his ear. He felt his body shiver at the feeling of her breath against his ear.

"What do you suggest?" he asked, feeling his insides begin to twist as he dared to hear the answer.

"You should come out with me and some friends.." she smirked. "A few hours away wouldn't hurt anything... now would it?" she asked. Ahhh, so she was planning something sneaky. Grayson quickly stood to his feet, pulling her hands away from his shoulders as he turned to look at her. "What do you say?" she smirked.

"Leave." he demanded.

"What?" Cameron was confused, and he saw the clearly on his face.

"I said leave. How could you possibly suggest that I try to have 'fun' away from my family while they sit here, sick, and weak, and broken!? How in the hell is that fair and right!? I hate the fact that you would even suggest such a thing!" Grayson felt himself grow angry, more at himself actually. For a moment, yes, a small moment, he fucking considered her offer.

What kind of sick bastard was he?!

"Whatever Grayson!" Cameron snapped, walking over and grabbing her things. "I was just trying to help! I'm sorry if you don't see it that way, but you best treat me with respect since I work for you!" she glared, walking out and slamming the door behind her.

Grayson growled and sat down, leaning his head against the desk in guilt and shame.

Cameron on the other hand, walked fast and full of anger. He was being such a dick! Sure, she was pushing it, but he didn't have to be like that! All the old memories of him treating her like she was so special, like she was the only one he loved came rushing back and she wanted that again! Sure, she knew that she was thinking a bit horribly, but she missed him... he was the only one who treated her right... and she missed it.

"Miss Davis?" a tender voice called out just as she was about to walk out.

"What!?" she snapped, turning and seeing Elinore slowly walking down the steps. She looked shocked and the sudden words, and she quickly regretted them. "I'm sorry... I didn't realize that was you Mrs. Riddick." she bowed softly, hoping she accepted the apology. Elinore came down a few more steps and finally came to stand before her. Cameron watched her, taking in all she could about her.

Grayson wasn't kidding when he said she was sick. She was as thin as a rail right now, and she looked weak.. and tired... She looked quite pitiful.

"It's alright. How are you? Things still been working out okay?" she asked nicely, truly wondering.

"Yes, I'm just... a bit frustrated right now." she admitted.

"About what dear?" she smiled softly. "Would you like to talk about it? We can go in the back and have some tea or something if you'd like.."

Cameron didn't know what to think about this woman. Here she was, sick and almost dying, and she never once seemed to bring it any attention. She just wanted to know about Cameron, and how she was fairing. Was she really that nice?

"I'm not sure if my presence would be welcome.."

"Oh nonsense." she smiled. "As long as I can have you aid me to the back, your more than welcome in my home."

Cameron thought it over for a moment, and decided she did want to know more about this woman that Grayson supposedly fell in love with. Sighing she sat down her belongings by the front and took Elinore's thin arm. "I would love nothing more."

"Good." she smiled, taking all the help she could to walk back to the small sitting area outside in the sun.

XxX

Elinore had enjoyed talking to Cameron so far. She was very beautiful, and it did make her feel a bit uneasy at times, for she knew she wasn't anywhere as beautiful as she used to be. She knew her body had become thin, her curves shrinking a bit, and her face looked as if she hadn't gotten a good nights rest in months. Elinore smiled at Cameron as she finished up telling a story from a while ago.

"So you and Grayson actually go back a ways, huh?" Elinore asked.

"You could say that." Cameron smiled softly. "You seemed to have known him way longer though."

"Ahh, just as children. I decided not to see him again after her ruined my 16th birthday." she chuckled as she leaned against the long cushioned chair. The sun beat down on her face and body, giving her some extra energy. She smiled softly at the memory of so many years ago. "He was so mean to me back then, but I had the biggest crush on him. After that though, I hated his guts, and refused to see him. It wasn't until many years later that I actually saw him again... and it was when I was engaged to Derek." Her heart hurt at the mention of Derek and the loss they had with him passing. "It was a blessing, but yet, I wish I could take back that time when Derek passed."

Cameron looked down at her hands as they held a small cup of cold ice tea. She felt bad for this woman, being through so much. Losing her parents, being forced to marry, then losing a good friend... but at least she had Grayson. Pain seemed to soar through her heart as she realized just what she had been trying to do this entire time. Elinore was so sweet, so nice. Not once had she mentioned her sickness, or tried to get pity out of her. She spoke truth, in love, and accepted it.

She never expected anything less from anyone else.

"I'm sorry, Elinore." she whispered.

"Sorry for what?" she smiled softly. "You have been great company. I've enjoyed having female company. Your welcome here whenever you please." she told her. Cameron fiddled with her cup.

"I'm sure you don't mean that."

"Oh but I do. Why would I not?" she smiled.

"Grayson doesn't exactly agree with you..."

"What?" Elinore asked. She already was exhausted, but she was happy to spend time with Cameron. It helped to get to see who her husband has been working with all this time. She was nice, and she liked her. She didn't understand why she would say such a thing about Grayson..

"What the hell are you still doing here!?"

Speaking of Grayson...

Elinore watched as she snapped her head towards Grayson, his tall frame walking up beside them.

"I invited her, Grayson. No need to be rude." she told him, eyeing him carefully. "I wanted to get to know her."

Grayson glared at her. "Go." Cameron didn't argue, or say a word. She stood and looked at Elinore with a sad look and then took off as he demanded. Elinore grew angry and glared at him.

"What the hell is wrong with you!?" she asked, seriously wanting an answer. Grayson looked at her, a tender look overcame his face.

"How did you get out here!? You are supposed to be in bed, resting!" he bent over and examined her and how she looked. Her skin still looked a bit pale. "Lets get you back to bed..." he went to pick her up, but she grabbed his hands and stopped him.

"You didn't answer me!" she tried again. "Why were you rude to her!? I was enjoying her company!" Grayson felt his jaw tighten. He didn't know if he should tell her now or not... what if Cameron already told her? His blue eyes looked into Elinore's brown ones and saw that she didn't. She would have a totally different reaction if she did know.

"She's not welcome here, Elinore." he stated, not expressing anymore than that. No, he knew this was no time to tell her. He would so, he told himself, but not now. She was too weak. "... your not supposed to be out..."

"Oh just shut the hell up!" she growled. "I'm fine!" she told him, pushing his hands away more so that she could get up herself. She was pissed, and he knew it, and he was angry too, but more at himself than anything. How the hell did they get into this situation?! "I'm tired of you keeping things from me! Treating me like I'm so fragile and that I can't take anything!"

"You are fragile! You can't handle anything strenuous!" he snapped back. His eyes watched as his wife turned, placed her feet on the ground and slowly stood. He went to reach down to help her, but she stopped him.

"Let me do it!"

"Don't be stubborn woman! You need my help!"

"I don't need your help at all! I've had to do this all on my own since Jayden died, and I can still do it now!" she snapped, but instantly regretted it. The look on her husband's face made her heart break. Just mentioning her name, and what she had said to him, caused him to hang his head in defeat.

"I don't need reminding that I failed all of you." he whispered. "I know that I have. I blame myself every fucking day for what happened to her, to us!" he looked up at her, holding back the pain the wanted to pour out of him. His insides felt tight, his jaw set in stone, his body becoming stiff. He felt as if he couldn't move or he would break and all hell would break loose. He loved his wife, he loved his son, but he felt he didn't deserve their love and devotion to him.

"Look, Grayson.. I... I didn't mean it..." she took a step towards him, quickly wrapping her arms around his waist, and holding him close. "I'm so sorry... I didn't mean it.." She took in his scent, and felt his still strong arms slowly wrap around her small thin frame.

"I did fail you... I left you to fend for yourself... I was selfish... I didn't do anything as you waisted away..."

"I'm still here Grayson, I'm not dead... I will get stronger, and I will do that because of you, and Derek... I promise." she began to cry into his chest. "Please don't leave me... please don't hate me... I know I'm ugly now... I can't please you as I once could... please don't walk away from me... I need you..."

Both of their insecurities began to come out. Most of them didn't make sense, but they felt real and painful still. Fear had set into their hearts since their daughter died, and they had let the fear grow over time. Now, it was too much to bear, and it was now coming out. Grayson was heartbroken to know that his beautiful wife, no matter what she looked like, thought she was ugly and pathetic and weak.

"I would never leave you... never.." he whispered. Slowly pulling back from her, he lifted her chin and then gently cupped her face with his palms. "You are the most beautiful woman I know. You always have been, and it's no different now. I love you Elinore Riddick, and I will always love you. Can you forgive me for my weakness and fear that allowed for such thoughts to fill your beautiful soul?"

Tears continued to run down her cheeks as she took in the words that she so desperately wanted to hear. "I forgive you." she whispered. "Forgive me."

"There is no need, you've done nothing wrong." he leaned down and sweetly placed his lips to cover hers.

What in the hell had he been thinking earlier? All those horrible nasty thoughts that had come into his mind about Cameron, the idea that she worked for him... it was all stupid on his part! He knew from the start that something like this could have happened, and now he knew what he had to do... something he should have done long ago.

"I love you Grayson... I'm such a wreck right now." she chuckled lightly, feeling the words sting her soul.

"We are broken together, my love. We will make things better... just wait..."

Grayson ended up lifting her up and carrying her up into their bedroom. He smiled softly as she was already passed out in his arms by the time they reached the door. She was so tired and always put on a strong front. The love for his wife grew then, and realized that he had some major problems he had to deal with. He laid her down onto the bed and covered her up, kissing her forehead lightly before walking out.

"Hey dad, where are you going?" Derek asked, seeing his father pass him and put on his light jacket.

"I have a meeting I must attend. It came up last second. Please keep an eye on your mother." he told him. Derek nodded and continued to see his father walk down the hall and to the stairs. Something was wrong, and he could tell. What was it? Derek found himself more curious than ever, and decided to for the first time to go against what he father had told him to do.

He was going to follow him.

Author's Note: Ahhhh I got another chapter up! Boy, I am in a funk lately! I have to get back rollin into this stuff! I now have a new job, and boy is that taking a toll on me! Haha. So I will continue to update as much as possible on this story, as well as my others! :D thanks so much for sticking by me and I hope you enjoy! Things will be turning around soon... but will it be for good or bad? Hmm? haha Review to find out! :D Until next time!

Lerato