Affairs of the Heart
Written by Jayson Colin Vascardi
Legal Disclaimer: This story is fictional and not meant to reflect upon or imply anything about any of the celebrities mentioned herein. If you are offended by material of a homosexual nature, of if such material is illegal to view in your area, then you should be leaving now. Otherwise, please enjoy the story.
This story is copyright ©2001 by Jayson Colin Vascardi. All rights reserved.
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A mysterious woman in black, wearing a heavy black hooded cloak, shows up at the cemetery and mourns at Donald's grave for a short time, before replying, "They all think I'm dead. But soon enough, they're know that I am very much alive. I just had to wait for the right time to come back, and now that Donald is dead, it's the perfect time."

The woman pulls the hood of her cloak a bit tighter around her face, due to the chill in the air, and heads off down the gravel path to her restored classic car, a silver 1915 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

Diana Smith sits alone in the library of the Smith Mansion, looking through old photos as she goes down memory lane. She thinks about the death of her mother, Katherine Winthrop-Smith, when she was only a year old, and just how happy the family had been two weeks before, when they posed for the annual Smith family portrait. Eventually, Lance comes in, much to Diana's surprise, without Brian. Diana had until now just assumed that Lance and Brian were joined at the hip, because they seemed to always be at each other's side.

Lance laughs at this comment, and explains that Brian wanted to talk to Kevin alone. Diana and Lance start talking, at first about Brian and Lance's relationship. Then the conversation turns towards Justin, and whether or not Lance knows if Justin is gay. Diana and Lance in turn start plotting to set Justin up with Seth and Bruce Hall.

Kevin and Mrs. Lansbury are upstairs in one of the bedrooms, feeding Jeremy and Jordan. Kevin comments that Mrs. Lansbury is very good with children, and she replies that she's had a lot of experience. Kevin in turn finds out how it's possible for Mrs. Lansbury, a seventy-one-year-old woman, to be a great-great-grandmother.

The mysterious woman in black shows up at the Smith Mansion, using the Northeastern Gate, since nobody has used that gate in several years due to it's distance from the main house. She goes into the old foreman's house, where she removes her cloak, and considers building a fire in the fireplace, but decides against it.

Eventually, the identity of the mysterious woman in black is revealed: Katherine Winthrop-Smith. Its also revealed that she will not be a happy woman if the rumors she's heard that her son Ashley is gay turn out to be true.

Chapter 13

Diana Smith, who has always been a somewhat light sleeper, is awoken as usual by the midnight bells of the mansion's bell towers. Diana was just about to fall back to sleep when the bells rang for the twelfth time, when she hears a soft tinny tune coming from across the hall. Wondering what it could possibly be, Diana gets out of bed, grabs her robe, and heads out into the hallway. The music is coming from Donald's old bedroom, and as Diana walks in and turns on the light, she realizes where the music is coming from, and quickly walks over to her mother's old vanity table. What she finds there is quite unsettling.

The tinny tune is that of Katherine's favorite music box, a very fancy crystal box which plays the first movement of Piano Sonata op. 27-2, more commonly known as Moonlight. Next to the music box lies Katherine's gold-handled hairbrush, which has strands of black and blonde hair in it's bristles. The scent of lavender fills the room, and a large cut-glass bottle of lavender perfume sits on the vanity next to the brush. Lavender was Katherine's favorite perfume. Upon sitting down on the vanity's stool, Diana finds that it is still warm. Perhaps most unsettling of all, is the presence of Katherine's robe laying at the foot of the bed. The covers on the right side of the bed turned down, as if someone had been in here preparing to go to bed.

The reason that it is all rather unsettling to Diana is because she knows that Donald always slept on the left side of the bed. She also knows that all of Katherine's clothing, and most her of personal effects had been packed up and stored in the attic after she died, because Donald couldn't bare to look at them. The only thing that had remained in the room was the music box, which Donald had given Katherine on her birthday, the year before she died.

Diana stands up and walks over to the bed, quickly making the bed, before picking up her mother's pink silk robe. Diana in turn walks over to the closet, figuring that she'll just hang it up there until the morning when she can return it to the box in the attic. However, when Diana opens the closet door, she can't help but gasp, and in turn scream, "Ashley! Zachary!" at the top of her lungs.

Within minutes, Ashley and Zachary are racing into the bedroom, with Brian and Lance hot on their heels. Kevin is nowhere to be found, but soon the crying of Jordan and Jeremy can be heard, and Diana can only assume that her screaming woke them up, and Kevin in turn went to tend to them.

"Diana what's wrong?" asks Ashley.

"I'm a light sleeper you know," replies Diana.

"Yes, we know," replies Zachary, as he cocks his head for a moment as he smells the scent of lavender, "But what's wrong?"

"The midnight bells woke me up," begins Diana, "and after they rang for the twelfth time, I was about to go back to sleep when I heard soft music playing. It was coming from in here. It was mom's music box, the one dad gave her on her birthday, the year before she died."

"It was playing?" asks Ashley, somewhat confused as to how it could play without someone first winding it up.

"Yes. And then of course the room, it smells like lavender, mom's favorite perfume," replies Diana, as Ashley notices the scent for the first time, and nods, "And there on the vanity table is mom's bottle of lavender perfume, and her hairbrush. And it has strands of black and blonde hair in it."

Ashley and Zachary walk over to the vanity table, and notice, just as Diana had said, that the brush and perfume bottle are right there were they always had been before they were packed up and stored in the attic seventeen years ago.

"And when I came in, I also noticed that the bed covers on the right side of the bed were turned down, and mother's robe was laying at the foot of the bed," replies Diana as she holds up her mother's pink silk robe.

"How did that get down here?" thinks Ashley aloud, "Oh well, we'll just put it back upstairs in the attic with all mom's other clothes in the morning."

"We can't do that."

"Why not Diana?" asks Zachary.

"Because I thought the same thing," replies Diana, "So I went to the closet, figuring I'd hang mom's robe up until morning when I would then put it back in the attic. And look what I found!"

Ashley and Zachary walk over to their sister, and look into the closet, and they both gasp, as Brian and Lance come up from behind them to see what everyone is looking at. There in the closet, instead of Donald's suits, tuxedos, sweaters and such, are all of Katherine's old clothes, hung up neatly as if they had never been moved. Ashley instinctively walks over to the other side of the room and opens the other closet to find Donald's clothes hung up as they should be. However, everything of Donald's that had been hanging in the closet now containing Katherine's clothes, is now thrown into a pile on the floor of this one.

"Diana why did you do all this?"

"Me?!" screams Diana, "Ashley why in the Hell do you think I did this?!"

"Well, you found it!"

"I swear to you I didn't do it," replies Diana, "But that does raise the question of who did do it. Ashley? Zachary?"

"Don't look at me," replies Zachary, "I didn't do it. I've been in bed since 10 and Ashley can confirm that."

"Yes, Zach and I have been in bed since 10," replies Ashley, "And we can of course eliminate Lance, Brian, and Kevin from suspicion."

"Yes, they wouldn't have any way of knowing where all of mother's belongings were stored," replies Diana, "And even if they did, they don't have keys to the attic door. Neither do Seth and Bruce, they returned all of their keys to this house when they broke up with you Ashley."

"So, I guess that leaves Kerr, Scott, and Mrs. Lansbury," replies Ashley, "But I can't imagine any of them doing this."

"Can't imagine us doing what?" asks Kerr, as he walks in with Scott, Mrs. Lansbury following them.

"Sorry I didn't come in sooner," replies Mrs. Lansbury, "I came running as soon as I heard Diana screaming, but I headed for Kevin's room when the babies started crying, figuring he might need some help. What's wrong, Mistress Diana?"

"Look on the vanity table, and in my mother's old closet, and take a good whiff of the air in this room, and you should know the answer to that."

Kerr and Mrs. Lansbury realize what's wrong almost immediately, though Scott, of course doesn't. Kerr whispers in his ear for a few minutes, to explain it to him, before he nods in understanding.

"Well, I didn't do it," replies Kerr, "While it's true I have a key to the attic, I don't have it with me. My key ring with all the keys for this house are laying on Ash's computer desk back in his apartment in New York."

"And I certainly would never do such a thing," replies Mrs. Lansbury, as she looks at Kerr, Ashley, Zach, and Diana, "I loved Katherine like a daughter, and I love all of you like my grandchildren. Last thing I would want to do is cause any of you pain."

"Well, if none of us did it," asks Ashley, "Then who did?"


Nobody in the room sees the eyes in the painting of Katherine Winthrop-Smith above the fireplace mantle blinking, as Ashley asks, "Then who did?"

"Tomorrow, my son," replies Katherine under her breath as she closes the little door which allows one to look into the master bedroom through the portrait's eyes, as she leans against one of the secret passage walls, "Tomorrow you will know who did it."


Nick lies in the bed that he shares with JC, in deep thought. He has been thinking a lot lately about coming out of the closet. That is to say that he's been thinking about telling the world that he's gay, and madly in love with Joshua Scott Chasez. Nick is already out of the closet with his closest friends, management, and his family, but he is beginning to get tired of hiding this facet of his life from the fans, and constantly having to pretend that he's straight. It causes a lot of unwanted stress to always have to act straight in public, when all he really wants to do is be able to hold JC's hand in public, or to answer yes to the popular interview question, "Are you dating anyone?" and in turn tell everyone who he is dating. Like any young person in love, Nick wants to shout it from the rooftops that he's in love with JC.

Nick's thoughts are interrupted when JC comes into the room and lays on top of Nick, as the pair begin to kiss each other with a passion that neither of them had ever known in any relationship that they had had previously. Both Nick and JC had had other boyfriends, and girlfriends, but they both can honestly say that this relationship is nothing like any of their previous relationships. The mutual love and admiration that Nick and JC share, and the immense passion, is like nothing that either of them would have thought to be possible. Until they got together, they never thought that it was possible for two people to love each other as completely and unconditionally as they love each other.

As their kiss ends, JC rolls off of Nick so that he's laying next to him, and starts running his hand gently through Nick's blonde hair, "What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing in particular," lies Nick, having not mentioned his desires to come out to the world to JC, because he's not sure if JC is ready for that.

"I know you're lying, I can tell," replies JC, "So, come on Nick, baby, what were you thinking about?"

"Well, okay," replies Nick, "I've been thinking a lot lately about coming out of the closet. I mean to the fans."

JC remains quiet for a moment, before he moves onto his side and looks into Nick's eyes for a moment before replying, "Well, why haven't you done it yet?"

"Well, Josh, I wasn't sure if you were ready," replies Nick, "Because if I come out to the fans, I'd also want to tell them how much I love you, and that we're together. I love you so much Josh, and I really hate having to hide that love as if it's some deep dark secret."

"Well, Nick, if you want to tell the world about us," replies JC, "Go right ahead. I'm totally ready. If the fans don't like it, that's just too damn bad, because I'm not ashamed or anything. I love you with all my heart and all my soul. If there's anyone who can't understand that, then they can just go to Hell for all I care."

"You mean it?" asks Nick, as he turns on his side and looks intently at JC's handsome face.

"Of course, Nick," replies JC, as he pulls Nick into a brief kiss, "Now, how about we fool around for a little while?"

"What exactly did you have in mind?" replies Nick, seductively.

"Well, first of all," replies JC, "We're both way overdressed."

"No problem," replies Nick, as he stands up and begins to strip off his clothes.

JC smiles at his boyfriend, enjoying the show, as he too stands up and begins removing his clothes. Once both JC and Nick aren't clothed, Nick lies down on the bed, and JC straddles Nick's waist, as he leans down and kisses him passionately on the lips, their tongues wrestling playfully in each other's mouths. JC continues to kiss Nick for several minutes, before he breaks the kiss and licks the tip of Nick's nose, before he begins to suck and nibble on Nick's left earlobe, a place which he knows is one of Nick's most sensitive areas. Nick moans in pleasure as his boyfriend sucks on his earlobe, totally enjoying the experience.

Nick suddenly pushes upward on JC, and as JC looks down at Nick's face, he sees worry and fear printed all over it, which causes him to ask, "Nick, baby what's wrong?"

"I just thought about something," replies Nick, "How will the other guys, not to mention management, react when we tell them that we plan to tell the world about us?"

JC thinks for a moment, knowing that this was a good question indeed, a question which he himself wasn't exactly sure of the answer, "Well, if they don't like it, that's tough. They'll just have to understand where we're coming from, because they should be able to see how hard it must be for us to sneak around and keep our love hidden as if we were doing something wrong. We're not doing anything wrong, Nick. There's absolutely nothing wrong with two people loving each other."

"Yeah, I know that our love isn't wrong," replies Nick, "Our love is so beautiful to me, there's no way something so beautiful could be wrong. Oh Josh, I love you so much, is it so wrong that I want to be able to tell the world that?"

"No, of course it isn't wrong, Nick," replies JC, as he kisses Nick again, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. And whether or not the other guys or management supports us, it's still our decision to make."

"I love you, Josh, I love you and I always will."

"I know Nick," replies JC, a bright smile on his face, "And I'll always love you too."


The next morning at eight, the Smith family, Seth, Bruce, Scott, Lance, Brian, and Kevin are gathered around the dining room table eating breakfast. Jeremy and Jordan lay in their basinets, which were moved down here so that Kevin could keep an eye on them, sleeping peacefully. Mrs. Lansbury comes into the dining room from the kitchen, smiling brightly as usual, and refills everyone's coffee cups, before placing the silver coffee pot on the dining room sideboard. Just as she was about to go back into the kitchen to get more of her freshly-baked homemade blueberry muffins, the doorbell rings, and she excuses herself to go answer it.

On her way to the door, she straightens a picture in the front hall which was slightly crooked, before going up to the door, and pulling it open. Mrs. Lansbury does a double take when she sees the woman standing out on the porch, and a wave of dizziness washes over her as she faints.

"How nice to see you too, Mrs. Lansbury," replies Katherine, as she walks into the Smith mansion for the first time in seventeen years.

Knowing that her family is likely in the dining room eating breakfast, she quickly closes the front door, and removes her heavy black fur-lined cloak from her shoulders, hanging it up on a nearby coat rack. She then proceeds to walk towards the dining room to see her beloved children.

When Ashley hears footsteps approaching out in the front hall, he naturally assumes that it's Mrs. Lansbury, and asks, "Who was at the door, Mrs. Lansbury?"

"Mrs. Lansbury isn't available right now," replies Katherine as she walks into the dining room, "She seems to have fainted."

Ashley, Zachary, Kerr, and Diana all jump up from the table, totally shocked. Seth and Bruce know full well who the woman is, and aren't quite sure how to react. Lance, Brian, and Kevin aren't sure who she is, Lance and Brian having not noticed the portrait of Katherine hanging in the bedroom last night, and Kevin having never been in the room, never saw it either.

"Mother?" stammers Ashley.

"Yes, Ashley, my darling son, it's me."

"No, it can't be!" replies Zachary, "You're dead!"

"Zachary, honey, do I look dead to you?"

"This isn't happening," replies Kerr, "I was at your funeral, you're dead. You have to be. I was one of the pallbearers."

"Suffice it to say that rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated, Kerr," replies Katherine, with a smile to her nephew, "As I'm sure you can all see, I'm very much so alive."

"But the fire at the cabin," replies Diana, "The police came and said that your body was burned beyond recognition. They identified you via your dental records!"

"Well, obviously they made a terrible mistake," replies Katherine.

"Well, if it wasn't you we buried," asks Kerr, "Who was it?"

"I really have no idea," replies Katherine.

"Well if you haven't been dead for the last seventeen years," asks Seth, "Where have you been?"

"I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met," replies Katherine, "Who are you?"

"My name is Seth Hall," replies Seth as he points to his brother, "And this my brother, Bruce. We're good friends of Ashley's."

"Ah, it's a pleasure to meet you," replies Katherine, as she notices the two basinets and smiles, "Oh my what cute little babies. Whose are they?"

"They're mine," replies Kevin, "I'm Kevin Richardson, and those are my sons, Jeremy and Jordan."

"It's a pleasure, Mr. Richardson," replies Katherine, "And who might I ask is their mother?"

"My late wife, Kristin."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," replies Katherine, "You have my condolences, Mr. Richardson. You're way too young to be a widower."

"You haven't answered Seth's question," replies Ashley, "Where have you been all this time?"

"Well, Ashley, the truth is I've been living on a small, obscure island in the Caribbean," replies Katherine, "I was involved in a car accident on my way up to the cabin, and the next thing I remember I woke up on the island with no memory of my past."

"You expect us to believe that?"

"Well, yes, Diana, I expect you to believe the truth," replies Katherine, "If you don't believe me, simply call the island's ruler, Prince Christian de Montferrat, I'll give you the phone number."

"Prince Christian de Montferrat? Whose that?"

"Well, Zachary, I'm ashamed to admit it, but he's my ex-husband," replies Katherine, "When I had no memory, I didn't know I was already married, and I in turn married Prince Christian when he asked. We have two children together, Prince Nikolas and Prince Stephen. It wasn't until several years had passed that I started getting my memory back, and I quickly filed for divorce when I remembered that I was already married to your father."

"I'm not sure I believe this," replies Diana, with a large amount of skepticism in her voice.

"Well, here, look at this picture," replies Katherine as she opens her purse and pulls out a small album, and quickly turns to the correct page before handing it to Diana, "That's Christian and I, with Nikolas and Stephen."

Sure enough, the woman standing next to Prince Christian in the photograph was obviously Katherine, and Diana could see a slight resemblance of Ashley and Zachary in Stephen and Nikolas, as if confirming that Stephen and Nikolas were indeed Katherine's children, Diana's, Zach's, and Ashley's half-brothers.

"Anyway, I was so ashamed when I realized that I had cheated on Donald, that I simply couldn't face him," replies Katherine, "I loved him so much, he was my everything. And then to think that here I was, having assumed the identity of Princess Alexandra de Montferrat, cheating on him. I couldn't bear it, I just couldn't stand to look him in the eyes, so that's why I didn't come back. But when I heard he was dead, I knew that I just had to come back to comfort my children."

By this time, Katherine is in tears, as is Ashley, Zachary, and Diana. Kerr is close to tears, but holding them back, trying as hard as possible to remain calm. He figures that someone in the family has to stay calm, it might as well be him. Overcome by joy, Ashley, Zachary and Diana rush over to their mother, and pull her into a hug.


"Yes, sir, what can I do for you?" asks Cynthia Michaels, the President of Middlebury Savings and Loan.

"I'm here on behalf of my client, Katherine Winthrop-Smith," replies Jonas Kensington, "She has asked me to come get some important papers out of her late husband's safety deposit box."

"What may I ask was her late husband's name?"

"Donald Preston Smith," replies Jonas Kensington, "I was his attorney until he died. But, Katherine recently contacted me and hired me as her legal council."

"For seventeen years everyone in town thought she was dead," replies Cynthia, "And then yesterday she showed up here with undeniable proof of who she was, and re-opened all of her accounts. She also said that you'd be by today to open her late husband's safety deposit box. Please follow me, Mr. Kensington."

Cynthia leads Jonas down a hallway and through a large vault door. Cynthia walks over to one of the walls, skims the numbers for a moment, before she grabs the appropriate box and places it on a table in the center of the room. She smiles at Jonas before she leaves to give him some privacy. Jonas sets his briefcase down on the table, and opens it. From within it he removes a small silver key, which he inserts in the lock of the large box, and opens the lid. Inside are a few documents, $40,000 in cash, two somewhat large black velvet jewelry cases, and a pair of his and her gold and diamond-studded watches.

Jonas, whom is acting on Katherine's orders, removes everything from the safety deposit box, and places it in his briefcase, before locking the case back up and leaving the bank.


It's now about seven o'clock at night, and Katherine Winthrop-Smith has spent the entire day catching up with her children and nephew. Much to her dismay, she found out that the rumors about Ashley being gay were true, and that Zachary and Kerr were gay as well. However, Katherine didn't say or do anything at the time to make her sons and nephew think that she disapproved of their choices in life. She acted like it didn't phase her, however nothing could be further from the truth. While she didn't show it, she was fuming with anger inside.

Mrs. Lansbury was given the day off because she hit her head pretty hard on the floor when she fainted earlier. She wasn't seriously hurt, but she was feeling quite dizzy, and she will most definitely have a nice sized bump on her head by morning. When the doorbell rings, Katherine excuses herself to answer it. She returns to the study a moment later with Jonas Kensington, much to the obvious displeasure of her children.

"What is he doing here?" asks Diana, "And how did he get past the guards?"

"I invited him," replies Katherine, "And I told the guards to let him in."


"Well, Diana, I've hired Jonas as my legal council."

"Why do you need legal council, Mother?" asks Ashley, not exactly understanding it.

"Well, there are obviously a few things which have to be dealt with, what with me being thought to be dead all this time," replies Katherine.

"Also, it seems that a rather serious mistake has been made," replies Jonas, "Regarding the distribution of your father's estate."

"What mistake?"

"Well, Zachary, unless I'm wrong, your father's estate was divided up in accordance to the Will which was kept here in the study's wall safe, correct?"

"Yes, it was." replies Zachary, "So?"

"Well, could one of you please get it out for me?"

"Sure," replies Ashley, as he gets up, and swings out the family painting, which is on hinges along the right-hand side, to reveal a wall safe. He quickly turns the dial a few times before turning the handle and opening the door. Ashley rummages through the contents of the safe for a moment before he pulls out the Will and hands it to Jonas.

Jonas puts on his reading glasses, before taking the document from Ashley. He opens it and quickly peruses it, before replying, "Just as I thought. This will is dated March 26, 1999."

"So what?"

"Well, Kerr, it would seem that your uncle had a second will drawn up in November of 2000," replies Jonas, "It was kept in the safety deposit box at the bank. Now since the estate hasn't been finalized, we obviously have to go by the will dated November 2000, and not the one dated March 1999."

"Okay, well, then I guess we're going to be having another will reading then?" asks Diana.

"Yes, Diana, I happen to have the will with me right now," replies Jonas, "On your mother's orders I went to the bank today to get some personal papers and other items of hers from the safety deposit box. The will was among them, and to put it mildly, I was a little shocked myself to see it. Donald didn't have me draw it up, so I had no idea it even existed. And I expect that none of you did either."

There's a collective "No" from Ashley, Zachary, Diana, and Kerr, as Jonas opens up his briefcase and removes the will dated November of 2000 from his briefcase and opens it up to read it.

He reads:

I, Donald Preston Smith, of the City of Middlebury, County of Addison, State of Vermont, being of sound mind, memory and understanding, and mindful of the uncertainties of life, do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking any former wills or codicils by me made.

Article 1.

It is my will, and I direct that my funeral expenses and expenses of administration of my estate be paid by the Executor of my Will, hereinafter named, before any other distribution is made.

Article 2.

All of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, I give, devise, and bequeath as follows:

a) To my beloved wife, Katherine Winthrop-Smith, the sum of $155,000,000.00, 100% ownership of the Smith Mansion, and 61% of Smith Industries, Incorporated, if she survives me.

b) To my father-in-law, Thomas Winthrop, the sum of $20,000,000.00 and 50% ownership of Thomas A. Winthrop and Son Investment Services, if he survives me.

c) To my brother-in-law, Richard Winthrop, the sum of $20,000,000.00 and 50% ownership of Thomas A. Winthrop and Son Investment Services, if he survives me.

d) To my son, Ashley Smith, the sum of $25,000,000.00, if he survives me.

e) To my son, Zachary Smith, the sum of $25,000,000.00, if he survives me.

f) To my daughter, Diana Smith, the sum of $25,000,000.00, if he survives me.

g) To my nephew, Kerr Smith, the sum of $15,000,000.00, if he survives me.

h) To my nephew, Quentin Smith, the sum of $15,000,000.00, if he survives me.

i) To the Association for Children and the Enforcement of Support, the sum of $5,000,000.00.

j) To the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the sum of $5,000,000.00.

k) To Middlebury College, to be used for scholarships, the sum of $5,000,000.00.

l) If any portion of my estate, devised and bequeathed in sub-paragraphs 'a' through 'k' above be undisposed of by way of lapsed legacy or otherwise, then I herewith will, devise, and bequeath such portions to the other beneficiaries mentioned in sub-paragraphs 'a' through 'k' inclusive, in proportion to their respective legacies.

"Okay, I have several questions about these new terms," replies Diana, "But first of all, who in the hell is Quentin Smith?"

"Quentin is our cousin, Di," replies Ashley, "He's our Aunt Margot's son. Margot was father's sister, but the two of them never got along. She only dropped by once when Quentin was 4 years old, and that's the only time father saw Quentin, and the last time he saw Margot before she died. This was two years before you were born."

"When did Margot die?" asks Katherine.

"About two years ago," replies Zachary, "We didn't go to the funeral because we didn't hear about her funeral until three weeks after the fact. We never mentioned it to Diana, because she was in the middle of getting settled at Harvard Law and we figured why burden her with the news of the death of an aunt she never met and didn't even know existed."

"Okay, now I have to wonder what father was thinking when he drew up this will," replies Diana, "Doesn't it seem odd that he's leaving the bulk of his estate to mother? When we all thought she was dead at the time the will was written?"

"Yes but Diana the question is, did you father think she was dead?"

"What the hell are you talking about Jonas?"

"Well, Diana what I mean is, it may be possible that Donald knew that Katherine was alive at the time he wrote this will."

"I highly doubt that," replies Ashley, "Father would have told us if he found out that mother was alive. Another thing I don't understand is why he suddenly gave Quentin money. He wasn't mentioned in the previous will, and now suddenly he's getting 15 million dollars."

"Well, Ashley, he is family," replies Katherine, "He's entitled."

"Father hasn't seen him since he was 4!" replies Zachary.

"Well, at any rate," replies Katherine, as her manner changes suddenly and she points at Ashley, Zachary, and Kerr, "I want you, you, and you out of my house immediately! No sons and nephew of mine are going to be gay! Get out now!"

Ashley, Zachary, and Kerr are bit taken aback by Katherine's outburst, as is Diana, but none of them moves until Katherine speaks again, "I SAID GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!! NOW!! BEFORE I HAVE SECURITY THROW YOU OUT!!"

"Your house?"

"Yes, Ashley, MY house. In case you didn't hear it in the your father's will, I own this house!"

Ashley, Zachary, Kerr, and Diana all give the mother/aunt a very dirty look before they all get up and storm out of the room. Within the hour, they're getting into their cars and leaving the Smith Mansion to check into motels. Lance, Brian, Kevin, Seth, Bruce, Jeremy, and Jordan also leave the mansion, after Katherine threw them out as well.


Two days later, Ashley, Zachary, Diana, and Kerr file the necessary papers with the courts to contest Donald's will. Unfortunately, they soon realize the error of their ways, when they finally look at copies of the will, which they refused to do until after they had already filed the necessary papers to contest. Ashley, Zachary, Diana, and Kerr get looks of utter horror on their faces when they read the fourth article of their father's will.

It reads:

Article 4.

It is my will and I direct that my final wishes not be questioned. I specifically disinherit any beneficiary who contests my Last Will and Testament. The inheritance of any such disinherited beneficiary in turn given, devised, and bequeathed to the remaining beneficiaries.

To make matters worse, Ashley soon learns that the first executive order that Katherine Winthrop-Smith has issued as the new Chairman and majority stock-holder of Smith Industries, Incorporated is the termination of Ashley's modeling contract, which had been issued by Five Star Models, Inc, which is a subsidiary of Smith Industries.

Zachary quit his teaching job in order to start modeling with Ashley, but Five Star Models, Inc has of course refused to give him a contract. He would have just taken his old job back, but the school has already given the job to Agatha Bradshaw on a permanent basis, so Zachary is unemployed now as well. As for Diana, she has always counted on the money from her father's vast estate to pay for her college tuition at Harvard. Katherine has put a stop payment on the money going to Harvard, so now Diana is in debt to the tune of nearly $175,000 dollars, a doctoral degree in law, especially at an Ivy-League school, is not cheap.

Ashley uses the money he has in savings to help pay off Harvard for Diana, but can't pay off the entire sum. He also soon realizes that he isn't going to have enough money to stay at the apartment in New York City for very long. Not with the rent being $1,200 a month, but considering that Ashley came from a wealthy family and had a very good job as a model, he didn't mind shelling out that much a money. But, now things are different, he isn't wealthy, and he doesn't have a job.

Both Ashley and Zachary have tried to get contracts at other modeling agencies, but every time they come close to getting signed, Katherine somehow manages to buy up enough stock to have majority control of the board, and Ashley and Zachary are thrown out. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that all of the Smith children hate their mother.

"What are we going to do?" asks Ashley over breakfast three weeks after Katherine turned up.

"I don't know, Ash," replies Zachary, as Diana simply nods her head, "I honestly don't know."


To be continued...

Well, here is Chapter 13 of Affairs of the Heart. Thirteen is considered by many to be an unlucky number, and as ya'll can see from this installment, it seems very unlucky for the Smith children, who are now all unemployed and practically broke. What will happen in the next installment? You'll just have to wait and see. Until next time, stay *NSYNC.

This story is copyright ©2001 by Jayson Colin Vascardi. All rights reserved.
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