Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

It’s all well and good to mix business with pleasure — provided that all of the involved parties consider business a pleasure.

Confused about what you’ve stumbled upon? It’s an alternate-reality storyline for The Young and the Restless’ Victoria. See, we weren’t too jazzed about her being thrown back at ex-husband Billy (again!), so we decided to come up with an altogether different plot for her. And honestly, we probably would’ve lost interest by now. But people seem to like it. So if you’re so inclined, you can start from the beginning or dive right in with today’s installment, Chapter 6, in which we learn that…

In the days following the dinner that served as Victoria and Rusty’s official coming-out as a couple to her parents, neither of them brings up the elephant in the room: the fact that Victor had implied he didn’t think his ranch foreman was quite good enough for his daughter. But it weighs on both of the lovers — so much so that she confides in brother Nick.

“Rusty could do anything he wanted to,” she says. “He’s smart — smarter than all the suits that sit in on board meetings without even knowing what CEO stands for.”

“Constantly Enraging Ogre?” replies Nick, flashing his legendary dimples.

“You’ve been waiting for a chance to make that joke, haven’t you?” Victoria asks.

“I set you up for it like a hundred times,” Nick admits. “You never —”

“Yeah, you’re really hilarious,” she interrupts in a tone that makes it clear that he isn’t funny — at all. “Now can you be serious? I think I need to start Rusty on the corporate track.”

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Nick does a double take and then, the rarest of all takes, a triple. “Wait… and you want to do this because you think Dad said he wasn’t good enough for you?”

“You know Dad,” she replies. “If you think he said one thing, he’s almost guaranteed to have said something way worse.

“And I don’t want to lose Rusty,” she adds. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but… I love the guy.”

horse Tracey Bregman, Amelia Heinle, Beth Maitland"The Young and the Restless" Stars Equestrian Photo Shoot Malibu Creek Equestrian CenterMalibu, Ca.12/01/14© sean smith/jpistudios.com310-657-9661

Above: “I can still bring my friends over to ride the horses if I get Rusty a job at Newman, right?” thought Victoria. “Oh, right, of course I can. They’re our horses.”

Credit: Sean Smith/JPI

Nick draws a deep breath and takes a seat in Victoria’s office. Then, carefully, methodically, he confirms that she loves Rusty just the way he is, always smelling of barns and finding hay in places that are downright inexplicable. And then he asks what should be an obvious question: “Why would you try to change him for our father?”

“Because… ” Victoria begins. “Because he… ”

“He isn’t basically living with our father,” Nick notes. “He’s basically living with you. And vice versa. Why would you change him to suit someone who’s not a part of your relationship? Why would you even consider doing something like that?”

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Victoria can’t deny that Nick makes a good point, and he makes it well. Still, she can’t help but wonder whether she can’t make the future just a little less bumpy for herself and Rusty by… say, bringing home an application to the executive-training program. 

“You pulling my leg?” asks Rusty when she presents it to him.

“I know,” says Victoria. “It’s exciting. But I know you can do it.”

“I figure I probably could,” he replies. “Thing is, I don’t want to. I’m not sure what gave you the idea that I would.”

Victoria all but does backflips to convince Rusty that everyone wants to have more, to be more, to achieve more. But even as she’s doing so, she knows in her heart that she’s spouting BS. So does Rusty. “I’ll tell ya what,” he says finally. “I need very few things in this life. I need a job — got one. I need someplace to lay my head — you’re in it. And, if I get a say in the matter, I need you.

“But,” he continues, “if you need someone that wants more than that… ”

He sighs deeply. “Maybe I’m not the guy for you after all. And maybe you’re not the woman for me.”

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With that, Rusty gets up and pulls on his boots. Victoria tries to keep him from leaving, but he promises he’ll be back. The ranch hands are just out having a beer; he’s gonna join them for a while, before he starts thinking of things to say that he’ll regret as soon as he’s said ’em, and then he’ll be back. Will she be there?

What do you think? Will Victoria wait around to make things right with Rusty? Or will she take this as a sign of trouble to come and get while the getting’s good? On your way to the comments, stop off at the below photo gallery that reveals why Victoria might be so cowed by her Daddy Dearest. Oh, and as if you hadn’t noticed, Rusty is represented above by Shawn Christian (ex-Daniel, Days of Our Lives), one of several actors we think would be great for the part… well, if it was a part!

Read the next chapter of Victoria and Rusty’s story here.