He had woken that morning feeling energised and he knew that now was the time to act.
Don and Charlie arrived within the hour, both were eager to hear his important announcement.
"So I've been thinking about this for a while now and, well I didn't tell either of you but I'm planning on running against Cain when his term runs out next year." He admitted, looking eagerly around to gauge their responses.
"Whoa that's a relief!" Don quipped, "I thought you were about to reveal that you're really a woman or something!"
Finlay laughed, "So what would you both say if i asked you to be part of my campaign team?" he asked tentatively.
"Absolutely!" They both replied in unison.
"Oh Finn this is so amazing." Charlie gushed, "You're going to be the best Mayor ever!"
Finlay grinned from ear to ear, he felt the hotness creep across from his ears to cover both his cheeks in a pink flush of embarrassment at her compliment.
The hot flush was not missed by Don who asked, "OK what gives?"
"What do you mean?" Finlay asked innocently, trying to compose himself.
"You two making goo goo faces at each other what gives?"
"Oh nothing Finn's just in love with me that's all." Charlotte replied nonchalantly, her goofy grin still firmly in place.
"Huh, tell me something i didn't already know." Don retorted.
"I'm in love with him too." She countered.
"Well it's about time!" Don said joining the two of them in grinning, "It'll save me having to look at his mopey face every time you're around."
"Shut up Don!" Finlay and Charlie retorted in unison.
"I was thinking if we all worked together we could turn Eliza's old room into an office, are you guys in?" Finlay asked.
The three of them worked all day and managed to totally transform the bedroom into a working office, it was a pale imitation of what John Cain would be set up in at City Hall but it was a start.
They got to work right away, while Charlie set up their computer and telephone systems Finlay and Don began coming up with a strategy.
"We need to market this just right." Don started, "I'll draft a press release announcing your plans to run next year, but you really need to decide on your policies now so i can focus in on them."
Don really knew his stuff and Finlay knew he could leave all of the decisions as to how to market the campaign in his capable hands.
"I really want to focus in on community spirit, i think that Bridgeport has really lost sight of it's values since Cain got elected." Finlay started brainstorming ideas.
"What about families and education?" Charlie added.
"And we can't ignore green issues." Don chipped in.
They had so many ideas that soon some of them started to get lost in the process. Finlay realised that what they really needed was someone to oversee the whole campaign, a manager.
He had Charlie send out E-mails to everyone she could remember from her time working for John Cain, "There has to be someone who's willing to work with us." He said confidently.
Days turned to weeks and although Don and Finlay had figured out how to launch the campaign they still had no real action plan and worse yet no one had responded to the campaign manager's vacancy.
"Without a manager, we're dead in the water." Finlay moaned, "With the best will in the world the three of us can't win this election."
As if reading his mind Charlie came into the impromptu office announcing they had a visitor.
"Guys, we have our first interviewee." She announced excitedly, "This is......."
"Marcus Henley." Finlay finished for her.
"Oh, you two know each other?" Don asked.
"Marcus and I went to school together, in fact we've been on the election trail together before." Finlay replied.
"Ha! Class president, I'd almost forgotten about that." Marcus laughed as he stepped forward to shake hands with Don then Finlay.
Don began interviewing Marcus as Finlay sat back. It seems that Marcus had all the necessary experience for the job, in fact he had a little too much experience.
"I've lived and worked in Sim City since i graduated." He told them, "I started out working for the district attorney's office and then i jumped ship to work on the Fenton campaign."
"Barclay Fenton!" Don exclaimed, "As in President Barclay Fenton?"
"The one and only!" Marcus bragged.
Finlay sat forward eager to hear what Marcus had to say, if he had worked on the presidential campaign then he knew more about winning an election than the three of them put together, but why would he want to come and work on a mayoral election surely it was small fry to him now?
"Wow that's some resume you've got." Don gushed, he was clearly won over by Marcus and Finlay could see that he was ready to offer him the job.
"Well thanks so much for coming in Marcus." He said, standing up to signal the interview was over.
"Finlay, thank you for your time." Marcus replied professionally, shaking his hand once more before leaving. If he was unnerved by the abrupt end to his interview then Marcus hadn't shown it.
"What was that all about?" Don asked.
"Look I know what you're thinking, that we should hire him, but somethings not right here Don i can feel it." Finlay replied.
"The only thing that's not right is if we let him go, you can bet that Cain won't hesitate and I'll wager that's Marcus's next stop." Don argued, "Look Finn, whatever your history is with this guy we can't let him slip through the net, it isn't like we're inundated with applicants."
"You're right." Finlay sighed, submitting to Don's reasoning, "I'll call him and offer him the job."
He would call Marcus but he wouldn't offer him anything, not until he found out what his motives were, the first call he made was to Eliza.
"Hey Sis! I hope the honeymoon is over coz i need a favour."
Eliza got to work right away on her research into Marcus Henley. Henley, why does that name seem so familiar? She wondered, and then it clicked, Corbin Henley the property developer who'd been caught up in the corruption story along with Mayor Cole, he was Marcus's father.
"Gotcha." She said to herself.
"Finlay I've found the connection." She said relaying the information over the phone to him.
"Mayor Cole wasn't the only one affected by the story, it seems that Corbin Henley's business dried up after it was printed. No one wanted to deal with him because they thought he was corrupt. He was declared bankrupt a few months ago." She explained.
"So Marcus wants revenge for the story getting printed?" Finlay asked.
"Probably." Eliza agreed, "Question is does he want to take out his revenge on you or Cain?"
Finlay hung up the phone more conflicted then before.
If Marcus was in this to exact revenge on Cain, then that combined with his experience in campaigning would surely lead to victory.
But if he was intent on sabotaging Finlay's campaign by way of revenge for the information falling into the wrong hands then the effects could kill the campaign before it even started.
Sighing he rubbed in frustration at his eyes how could he make this call?
"You look like you could do with a break." Charlie said smiling at him sweetly.
"I really need to make this decision now Charlie." He replied, sighing again.
"OK I'll do you a deal." She offered, "You take a break with me for an hour and clear your head, then the right choice will come to you. I promise."
He smiled grabbing her hand, "I'm not sure how i would get through this without you."
"Well luckily for you, you don't have to." She reminded him, kissing him quickly on the lips, "Come on the hour starts now." She commanded, dragging him to the door.
Charlie took Finlay to the beach and proceeded to take his mind of business.
They watched the boats sailing in and out of the harbour.
Traded campfire stories.
Charlie was in fits of giggles as Finlay attempted to eat his cremated marshmallow, "Oh you think that's funny?" He said jest, "Here you try some." He offered waving the burnt goo in her face until she squealed for him to stop.
Laughing they gave up on the marshmallows, when Finlay realised the whole day had gone and the moon was steadily rising in the sky.
"Come here you." He said grabbing her hand in his, "You know how amazing you are?"
"Who me?" She said coyly.
"I don't know how you do it but when I'm with you it's like i have no worries at all."
"It must be because you love me." She reminded him before placing a kiss on his lips.
"Come on I'll let you take me out for some real food." She offered.
"Can we take a rain check?" He asked, wishing he didn't have to, "There's something i need to do."
He dropped Charlie at her apartment and asked the cab to take him to the address Marcus had given on his resume. It was in a particularly deprived area of the City and certainly not where Finlay would have expected him to be residing.
He buzzed the dial for apartment 15 and Marcus asked him to wait in the lobby.
"Finlay!" He exclaimed, shaking his hand "I didn't expect you to show up at my door." He said, looking embarrassed.
"I'm sorry Marcus, is this a bad time?" Finlay asked.
"No, it's just my apartment is a mess. So what can i do for you?"
"Look Marcus, I'm gonna be straight with you." Finlay began, "I know about what happened to your dad and that it was because of the article in the Tribune." He confessed.
"So you've done your homework." Marcus replied.
"I admit it was me who gave the information to Cain, but i swear to you i didn't expect him to leak it. If i could take it back i would."
"That story cost my father everything he spent his life working for." Marcus recalled bitterly.
"His company was his life, now he's just a broken man. You know i used to resent my father, he was always telling me i had to be the best at everything, no wonder i was such a jerk at school." He smiled wryly.
"But truthfully he's my inspiration, he came to this City with nothing and he made millions. Now it's all gone thanks to John Cain."
"Let's take him down." Finlay said offering Marcus his hand to shake.
Marcus eyed his outstretched hand cautiously, "You still want me to manage your campaign?" He asked.
"Absolutely." Finlay replied without hesitation.
The two men shook hands, "You won't regret this Finlay." Marcus promised.
Finlay took a cab home, he wasn't certain that he had made the right decision, Marcus was difficult to read, but one thing was certain he had good reason to want to beat Cain and that was good enough for Finlay.
As he pulled up to the house he noticed that the lounge lights were still on, it was kind of late for his parents to still be awake.
"Cherry!" He exclaimed, "What are you doing here?" He shook his head in confusion as he walked towards her.
Just as he was about to give her a hug for old times sake he realised they weren't alone.
A little girl, the spitting image of Cherry sat on the floor playing with one of Finlay's old toys.
"Who's this?" Finlay asked smiling at the little girl, he couldn't believe Cherry was a Mom.
"I'll put her down in Grady's spare crib." Audra offered scooping the child up from the floor, "you two should talk." She instructed before leaving them alone.
"Can we sit down Finn?" Cherry asked, looking extremely nervous.
Finlay ushered her to the couch his concern growing with the uncertainty surrounding her late night visit.
"I'm sorry to just show up like this." She began, "But i had to see you Finn."
"It's been a long time Cherry." He stated.
"Three and a half years, since Monica's wedding." She corrected him, "My daughter is coming up for three in September." She paused.
Finlay looked blankly at her, why was she making idle chit chat with him? he wished she would get to the point.
Cherry sighed, Finlay was a typical man he never got the meaning of subtle hints, she would have to spell it out for him.
"Finn, my daughter Hope, she's your daughter too." She admitted.
Finlay sat forward at her revelation, did she just say I'm a father? His brain was working over time trying to process the information.
Jumping from the coach as the implications of her announcement sunk in he yelled, "And you just decided to tell me this now?"
He felt the rage boiling inside him, "How could you keep something like this from me?"
"It's one thing to rip my heart out and cheat on me but not to tell me i have a daughter, that's heartless." He accused.
"Finn please calm down." She begged, "Let me explain."
"Explain? How can you explain this Cherry?" He demanded.
"I didn't know she was yours." She admitted shamefully, "You're right i did cheat on you, i met Dean my first day at Simstyle and i fell for him. I didn't mean for it to happen but it did."
"When i found out i was pregnant i thought the baby was his." She explained.
"Then what makes you so sure that she isn't this Dean's?" He spat.
"Dean broke up with me a couple of months ago. I tried to get him to pay child support but he refused, he said he wanted a paternity test and it turned out that Hope isn't his. She's yours Finn." She pleaded with him to believe her.
"How can i be certain there wasn't anyone else?" He asked, hating himself for doing so, but he had to be sure.
"There was no one else Finn i swear it on Hope's life." Cherry replied.
He could see the sincerity in her eyes, "So you're here to ask me for child support?" He asked.
"I'm here so we can be a proper family." She said, moving closer to him and gazing at him with her soulful eyes.
"I made a mistake Finn, i should never have left you."
She stroked his arm lightly as she spoke coercing him with her touch and drawing him in with her words.
"We could be together, the three of us Finn. We could be happy."