“Hey,” Grady’s voice beckoned Avery from her silence as his arms still
remained around her moments after her initial bout of tears had died
down. Now as she stood beside him, wrapped up in the confines of
his arms, she was brought back to reality as she felt the hard, metal
handcuffs pressed in against her spine. Slowly she lifted her
eyes to his seeing the intensity behind his gaze as he spoke out to her
once again, “are you sure you’re okay?”
She nodded silently taking in another calming breath as it seemed that
she was anything, but calm in a moment like this after her encounter
with Cameron replayed in her mind over and over again. Just the
expression on his face when she’d first turned around to find him
hovering over her--the way he seemed shaken and ready to do something
that he was conflicted over…well, there was no mistaking there had been
a madness behind his initial presence that had transpired into
something all the more baffling as he began to speak with her.
“You’re sure,” Grady questioned softening his tone as he shifted his
arms again feeling a bit uncomfortable in the position they were in as
the handcuffs were causing a strain upon his wrists.
“Yeah, I’m sure, but you’re not okay,” Avery finally broke her silence
reaching out to touch his face in a tentative movement watching him
flinch in response as a rush of pain shot thru him. With the jolt
he’d made, she felt the sharpness of his handcuffs dig into her back,
thrusting her in closer to him as suddenly they were both very aware of
the unplanned closeness between them. She could feel the warmth
of his body beside hers as he’d let go of his anger long enough to
comfort her and as she stood before him suddenly aware of the hand
she’d had placed leisurely against his chest, a tiny shudder passed
over her as they both did their best to dislodge themselves from one
“I’ll be fine,” Grady cleared his throat anxiously as he focused on the
floor across the room refusing to look at her as she took a step back
towards the chair where she’d left her purse hanging over the back of
“No you won’t,” she shook her head dismissing his words as she spun
around to put her back to him while she fished through her purse
seeking out the tiny first aid kit she’d always kept for her in the
case of emergency, “You need to clean that up and…”
“Avery, I’m fine,” he replied gruffly causing her to stand straight up
at attention as a shiver seemed to pass between them. “Look, it’s
just that…well, that it probably appears to be worse than it is.”
“You’re bleeding and that can never be good,” Avery insisted dismissing
the rush of hesitance his words had brought about from within as she
set her tiny first aid kit on the table before her. She glanced
over her shoulder long enough to motion for him to take a seat before
he reluctantly did so despite his own lingering protests.
“You worry too much,” he muttered grudgingly sitting in the chair she’d
had her purse on moments earlier.
“That’s what I’m paid to do here, Grady,” Avery pointed out with a
frown turning her attention to the open wound before her as she saw the
corners of Grady’s mouth, turn down in anticipation of the sting he
knew would be hitting him once she’d started cleaning out the wound on
“This really isn’t necessary,” he began to object feeling her press the
cotton pad against his face as he nearly jumped out of the chair before
“Oh would you quit being such a baby? You know this is the only
way it’s going to get better here,” she chastised him as she continued
to clean off his cut.
“I don’t need you mothering me, Avery,” he hissed flinching once again
as she shook her head at him.
“I’m just looking after you as I know that’s what our family would want
right about now,” she insisted focusing on his bloodied features as a
thought occurred to him.
“Yeah, well do you think Russ would want you doing this,” he questioned
pointedly his green-blue eyes focused upon her once again as he lifted
his chin to watch her intently.
“What? Helping you? You’re damn right he would--not that
you deserve it though,” she nodded in response, “Someone has to keep
your ass out of trouble and while things just got a bit more difficult,
well, we’re going to work on getting you out of here.”
“Speaking of things, Avery what just happened in here,” Grady
questioned thinking back to he walked in upon, “What was Cameron doing
“I don’t know,” she admitted honestly, “I was just going over a few of
the notes I’d made when I dropped my pen and then the next thing I knew
there he was standing over me.”
“And?” he probed further taking note of her uneasy silence, “Avery,
what did he do?”
“It’s not so much what he did, but what he said,” she paused
contemplating whether or not to get into detail with him, but as she
found her gaze drifting back to the wounds he’d received in coming to
her aid, she opted to just be open with him about what went on, “When
he came in here, he had this wild, intense expression on his face--kind
of like Bruce did the night he attacked me, but then, well it’s like as
soon as he saw me--as soon as he had the opportunity to take a long,
hard look at me, well, he just flipped out. He started saying all
these strange things and he was really wigging out on me there. I
didn’t know who he was, but he wasn’t making any sense and he started
rambling about how I shouldn’t be here and how he warned me to stay
away because it was dangerous…”
“And then what,” Grady inquired further watching the expression that
swept over her features.
“Then he reached for me and you came in,” she blurted out feeling the
rest of the disaster fly past her in bright, vivid color as she turned
her eyes to the floor once again.
“Avery, if Cameron came here to see you, then that in itself couldn’t
be a good thing. If you think he came here to hurt you, then
maybe we should rethink your representing me,” Grady frowned as the
words fell from his lips.
“No, no way. I’m going to see to it that you get out of here and
beyond that, well Cameron’s going to be in a world of trouble for
whatever he was planning here,” Avery concluded standing up taller as
she tried to push away her own concerns about what happened.
“While I’m sure he was going to try to hurt me when he first walked in,
something changed. I can’t explain it, but after he looked at me,
it was as if I’d done something to shake up his world--as if there was
something about me that he wasn’t prepared for.”
“Oh he was probably prepared for whatever he had in mind and if I
hadn’t shown up, I’d have to be telling Russ that this happened to his
wife because she was foolish enough to want to help me,” Grady remarked
sourly, “which is all the more reason why you shouldn’t be doing this
Avery. If there’s a chance that Cameron came here for some reason
that could put you or the baby in danger…”
“Cameron’s not going to hurt me,” Avery tried to reason with him, “I’m
sure of it. I don’t know why, but I really think that whatever he
had in mind for me left his head as soon as he had a minute to register
what was happening.”
“Men like Cameron don’t think about what they’re doing. They just
react and then the rest of the world suffers the consequences.
Avery, I’m telling you that this is something that you don’t want to be
involved with. You see what he’s done to me and if he has a
chance to hurt you or Russ to get at me, then he’s going to do
it. He’s gone after Jade and if you keep insisting upon helping
me, then he’ll have no qualms about hurting you,” Grady started to
argue with her.
“He’s not going to get that opportunity. I’m not about to let him
intimidate me in an attempt to keep me away from this. He knows
that the case against you is bull and his coming here just proves how
desperate he really is because he knows it’s not going to stick,” Avery
insisted with a huff, “that’s really all this was about.”
“Avery, desperate men take drastic measures and you of all people
should be aware of that. If Cameron thinks you’re a problem, then
he’s going to find a quick and horrible solution to eliminating you,”
Grady rose from the chair his frustrations mounting.
“I’m not going to let someone like Cameron bully me into abandoning you
when I already swore that I would help you Grady,” Avery snapped back
at him, “No one is going to have that much power over me.
Besides, my ex-boyfriend is a serial killer and I’m not about to let
him steal my life, so why would I start backing off to some nut like
Cameron? It’s not my style and I’m not about to start letting it
turn me into a pathetic, terrified woman…”
“Damn it Avery. This is not the time to be stubborn,” he hissed
at her, “This isn’t one of those times where you can stand here and
have a pissing contest with me. This is a situation where you’re
putting your life in danger unnecessarily and I’m not going to stand
“You don’t have a choice Grady because I’m not walking away from your
case,” she placed her hands on her hips with a defiant stance, “I
simply won’t hear of it.”
“Avery, you’re not listening to me, but I can work on making this
really easy for the both of us,” he declared with a roar, “You’re
“Like hell I am,” she stomped her foot with a huff, “I’m your lawyer
whether you like it or not Grady so deal with it.”
“No, you’re not going to be my lawyer as I’m not about to be the cause
of you disappearing from Russell’s life once again,” Grady shot back
wildly as he stood taller puffing out his chest with the movement.
Avery’s eyes widened in astonishment as she took in his words standing
in silence before him before finally managing to pull together some
kind of speech, but before she could muster up a clear, concise
sentence, ironic laughter came out instead.
“What’s so funny,” he growled back at her, “Why are you laughing?”
“Because isn’t that what you’ve been trying to do since I came back
into Russell’s life?” she charged with a dark stare as she called him
upon his words, “I mean isn’t that what everything you’ve done was
about? Finding a way to get rid of me once and for all?”
“That’s not what I was doing,” he took a step back hating how she was
putting a spin on the situation between them.
“The hell you weren’t,” Avery remarked sourly, “I mean the more I think
about it, if Cameron went after me, then in his own way he’d be doing
you a favor since you’ve wanted to get rid of me.”
“Not like that I didn’t,” he argued in response, “I might not want you
with my brother, but I don’t want you dead. I don’t want anything
to happen to you or my niece or nephew…”
“Oh really?” she arched a speculative brow. “I thought you could
care less about that.”
“I could…I do…I…” he frowned stomping his foot stubbornly as his anger
bubbled inside of him, “Avery, I know what you’re doing and it’s not
going to work. I’m not changing my mind about your representing
me even if you want to turn this around on me and make this something
that it isn’t.”
“I’m not doing anything more than reminding you of the message you’ve
been trying to convey since I married your brother,” Avery snubbed him
as she turned her attention to the table once again, “I’m just pointing
out what you’ve been throwing at me and Russ since we found our way
back to one another. However, maybe your tune has changed now,
which I wouldn‘t mind at all because it‘s okay to admit you were wrong
“I never said that,” Grady started to raise his arms in an attempt to
fold them in front of his chest, but before he was able to he
remembered the handcuffs upon him and he dropped them down again, “I’m
just telling you that you’re fired.”
“Because you care what happens to me,” she turned to face him again,
“because you don’t hate me nearly as much as you claim to Grady.
“What I’m admitting to is that you shouldn’t be the one representing
me. That’s all I need is to have Russ ready to take me on again
if something happens to you,” he rolled his eyes.
“You’re such a crappy liar, but I guess I can work with that right
now,” Avery wrinkled her nose at him, “but for now we need to work on
your defense. The fact that you know as well as I do that I need
to represent you is reason enough for me to ignore your attempts to
fire me. We both know that the only way you’re going to have any
real chance at freedom again is with my help.?
“What I know is that my brother is in for far more headaches than any
man should ever have to have in his life with you as his wife,” Grady
muttered with a groan.
“And I’m your headache now…though I think we might have some leverage
here with this latest situation,” Avery began the wheels already
turning in her head as she stepped past him, “as I think I’m going to
seek out Dave and see if we can have a word with him about what went on
“Avery, wait a second,” he spun around to go after her when he noticed
something black on the ground before him. “Hey!”
“I’m not going to stand for your trying to fire me again Grady,” Avery
warned giving him another look as she found him kneeling on the floor
before her, “What are you doing?”
“Did you drop a glove,” Grady inquired turning his eyes up towards her
as he motioned to the object before him on the floor.
“Of course not. It’s spring time and I wouldn’t need any gloves
for this time of year considering that it‘s…” she stopped herself as
she thought to the momentary blur of Grady and Cameron wrestling with
one another. A flicker of the scene played out in her memory as
she remembered Cameron’s gloved hand raising to fend off the blows
Grady was giving him, “Oh my God. That’s Cameron’s. He had
it on when he was in here earlier.”
“Gee, Avery, now as you said it’s spring time and here Cameron was
wearing gloves,” Grady threw up a pointed look, “Why do you think he
might’ve been wearing them?”
“I…I…I really don’t…” she paused pondering the situation once again as
a thought occurred to her, “Grady, why were you coming back in here?”
“One of the guards told me that you wanted to see me again as you’d
forgotten something and…” Grady stopped himself as suddenly a new
notion passed over him, “Cameron wasn’t expecting to be here when I
came back. He was planning on…”
“On what?” Avery questioned uneasily, “Grady, I’m sure he was just
trying to scare me…”
“Or do something far worse since he must know about how things have
been between us,” he continued, “He’s been trying to find a way to get
between Jade and I and he must know that you’re a sore spot for us…that
you and I haven’t exactly been cordial with one another and…”
“And he was going to exploit that to make sure you weren’t able to
reach out to Jade,” Avery deduced feeling her fists clenched at her
side as her fears were replaced with a roaring anger, “that son of a
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you Avery. He’s not above
doing something horrible to get what he wants even it meant hurting
you…” Grady started to explain as the door to the room opened and Dave
“Hey you two,” Dave looked between them, “I just heard the news from
Russ in the lobby about you representing Grady here and I thought I’d
check in and see what’s going…”
“It’s bull Dave,” Avery turned to face him, “That’s what it is and if
nothing else, what just happened in here should prove that to you as
Grady isn’t guilty of anything except having pissed Cameron Stone off.”
“Cameron Stone,” Dave began in confusion as his gaze drifted over to
Grady, “What the hell happened to you?”
“Cameron happened,” Grady offered up with a frown feeling his handcuffs
gnawing at his wrists once again before he repositioned himself in an
attempt to get a bit more comfortable.
“Look I know that things weren’t on the up and up about Cameron, but
with these current charges against you Grady, my hands are tied as the
evidence kind of…” Dave offered up with a heavy sigh.
“If Cameron thinks he’s going to press charges for what just happened
in here, then he’s going to get the same charges slapped on him as I’m
not about to let him walk away without some kind of action…” Avery
“Avery, what are you talking about,” Dave gave her a strange
look. “What did I miss?”
“The idiots you have working for you let Cameron come in here and he
damn near attacked Avery before I came in and found him with her,”
Grady insisted with a frown as Dave blinked back in confusion.
“Cameron was in here? How is that possible as he’s not supposed
to be…” Dave started up taking in what they were saying.
“Well he was and he came here to start trouble,” Avery continued in a
rant, “He left with that idiot Sharpe and they said that Cameron was
about to press charges again for what happened in here, but if that‘s
the case, then I swear I‘m going to file a suit against the station as
there is no reason why my client should have to bear this kind of
treatment from an unauthorized person in this restricted area
“Hold on a second,” Dave raised his finger in the air to silence the
both of them, “I’ll be right back.”
“Fine,” Avery folded her arms in front of her chest before turning to
Grady, “See I told you I’m about to get some results here.”
“Oh I’m sure we’re going to get results, but not the ones you’re
banking on,” Grady remarked sourly watching as Dave and Patrick
returned to the room once again.
“And here’s the man of the hour,” Avery focused upon Patrick, her eyes
glaring upon him full force as Dave began to question him.
“Patrick, what is this I hear about Cameron Stone being allowed back
here,” Dave demanded as Patrick stared back at him blankly before
offering up a shrug of his shoulders.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Patrick stated blandly,
“Stone wasn’t back here.”
“That’s a lie,” Avery spat out at him.
“Patrick, they claim that he was back here and he started another
altercation with Mr. Denton,” Dave opened the ground for his officer to
speak up again, but like before Patrick just stared blankly.
“Mr. Stone was here making a statement, but as far as I’m aware, he
wasn’t any further than speaking with the officer who took his
statement about the assault that happened with Mr. Denton
yesterday. Officer Franks was doing a follow up with him and then
he left the station,” Patrick lied smoothly as Avery stepped towards
him, anger evident in her stride.
“If that’s the case, then explain what happened to my client’s face
here,” Avery insisted hoping to catch Patrick in a moment of slip up.
“How the hell should I know,” Patrick shrugged his shoulders before
turning his attention to Dave again, “Can I go now?”
“Sure, you’re dismissed,” Dave waved him away as Patrick eased out of
the room as if he hadn’t had a care in the world.
“That lying sack of…” Avery hissed as Dave focused upon her and Grady
once again, “Dave, that’s not the truth and you know that as well as we
“Stone was in here and when I jumped him for trying to hurt Avery, then
he threatened to press charges. Lieutenant Sharpe offered to take
him to do so,” Grady continued to recount what happened.
“The only charges that Mr. Stone has against you are the ones that he
had from yesterday. I checked Grady and he dropped those now,”
Dave began to explain, “so other than what’s going on now with the
“Grady is innocent Dave. He’s being set up by Cameron,” Avery
tried to reason with him, “this whole thing reeks of that and the mere
fact that your Lieutenant just lied about what happened here says it
“What it says is that there needs to be an investigation, but even if
Sharpe isn’t on the up and up with me, it doesn’t erase the
overwhelming evidence against Grady in the Mahoney shooting. My
hands are tied Avery,” Dave sighed hating to have to be in this
position with them, “If I could do something more, then I would, but
it’s not my place to assign blame…just to stick to the facts…”
“The fact is that Cameron is the one behind it and he’s clearly got
half your officers on his payroll,” Grady insisted with a grumble as he
leaned up against the back of the chair behind him.
“Those are some pretty hefty accusations Grady and before you go
throwing those around, perhaps you should have some proof to back it
up,” Dave warned sharply.
“Well, if Sharpe lying wasn’t enough, then maybe I’d work on finding
the proof if I wasn’t locked away for a crime I didn’t commit,” Grady
sneered back at him.
“Look Grady, I’ll do what I can to find out the truth and if you’re
innocent, then I’m sure you’ll get out of here soon enough, but until
then you’re going to have to play by the rules,” Dave began bringing
his fingers up through his hair as tension spread up and out over his
“Fine, then I want to make a motion to have my client moved into some
kind of protective custody until he can have his hearing,” Avery piped
in as Dave blinked back at her incredulously.
“Avery, he’s up on attempted murder charges. I’m not going to be
able to get him moved out of here,” Dave reminded her pointedly.
“If Cameron can get in and out of here undetected, then Grady isn’t
safe. He’s not going to be able to have a chance to make it to a
fair trial if he stays here and I’m not about to risk my client because
you aren’t man enough to take care of business.”
“That’s it,” Dave frowned standing taller as he glared at her, “While I
understand you’re upset Avery, I’m going to be polite enough to forget
you said that, but if you say one more thing about me or my ability to
control my precinct, then I’m going to see to it that you’re not
allowed back in here to cause a stir.”
“Gee, would you really do that Dave? Because if that’s really the
course of action that you’re going to take, then maybe I should have
you investigated as you could be on Stone’s payroll as well?” Avery
“I’m warning you Avery…” Dave began starting to lose his cool as she
glared at him.
“Warn me all you like, but until I see justice for my client, then
you’re not going to be able to shut me up and I can assure you Dave
that I can make your life miserable in the process…” she continued on a
“Is that a threat?” Dave questioned with a frown.
“No that’s a promise and if you don’t believe me on that, then you can
just see for yourself how far I’ll go to make sure that my client’s
rights are protected even if that means going in over your head,” she
threw out at him sharply.
“You know normally I would tell you where you could stick it Avery, but
because I know Sharpe isn’t on the up and up and that Stone isn’t
telling me the truth, well, I’m going to do you a favor and have Grady
put into his own cell, but I swear to you if you even think about
questioning me or my authority again, then I’ll make sure that you
don’t practice law in this town again. Are we clear on that one?”
Dave stepped in towards her finding it hard to refrain from telling her
off as she stood nose to nose with him.
“All I want is to see that my client’s rights protected,” she reminded
him again, the same firmness in her tone as she stood tall before Dave
waiting for him to make another move.
“Fine,” Dave finally sighed in resignation taking a step back, “I’ll
see what I can do to get Grady moved into a more private, secure cell,”
he finished stepping out of the room without another word as Avery
turned to Grady.
“See, I told you that we’d get something accomplished here,” Avery
grinned proudly at the small step she’d made for Grady, “Today a new
cell, tomorrow we’ll work on getting your full freedom.”
“You’re crazy, you know that,” Grady gave her a firm look unable to
believe the mess he’d gotten into as no one could’ve convinced him a
week ago he’d be grateful to have Avery working for his best interest.
“I might be crazy, but crazy’s what you need right about now and the
fact remains that you’re stuck with me whether you like it or not,” she
declared boldly as Grady realized that there would be no getting rid of
her as it seemed that she may very well be his last shot at freedom
whether or not he liked to admit that to himself. He just hoped
and prayed that while he was stuck in jail that someone would be
looking out for Jade as well. He had no doubts in his mind that
Cameron would take full advantage of Grady’s absence at a time like
this and that in itself scared the hell out of him.
The sounds of the stairs creaked with each movement Blake made down the
dark and winding trail before her as she and Seth were about to embark
upon completely foreign territory for her. Even now as she stayed
closely behind Seth, she felt her eyes straining for more information
as the dim flashlight Seth carried provided minimal vision for the
secrets that lay beneath them. Her skin prickled with
anticipation, her fingers curled tightly around Seth’s arm as she felt
him stop mid-movement.
“What do you see,” Blake questioned craning her neck to try to see over
him as the shadows and darkness still obstructed any view of what was
kept locked away from the world until now at the Ashford guest house.
“Nothing really, although I think we’re coming to the bottom of the
stairs,” Seth whispered, his voice echoing through the stone walled
chamber as he glanced over his shoulder to eye Blake for a moment, “You
sure you still want to continue?”
“Do I ever,” she nodded eagerly inhaling the musty scent that nearly
overpowered her senses as she involuntarily squeezed his arm again, “I
need to see what’s down here.”
“Okay,” he replied turning to shine the light on the room before them
once again, “but if you change your mind…”
“Would you just go see what’s down there,” Blake urged him on nudging
him forward before reaching out to him again, “though if you hear any
rats or anything, let me know because then I might reconsider going
“If I see a rat, then I’ll carry you,” Seth suggested facing her for a
brief moment once again before taking another step forward.
“I might take you up on that one,” she confessed slowly following from
behind as she could feel the rapid pounding of her heart echoing
through her ears as it’s pulsating rhythm collected in the pit of her
“Just let me know and I’ll do it whenever you’re ready,” Seth offered
up again as he descended upon the final step of the hidden basement
only to hear the splashing sounds of water beneath his feet, “Okay we
may have a problem.”
“Rats?” Blake inquired nervously.
“More like a flood,” Seth moved further into the room catching the half
inch of water beneath him as he waved his flashlight around taking in
their surroundings. While the musty smell had given hints as to
what they’d find, the room in itself only reaffirmed his beliefs about
what they might be walking into as the stone walls were seemingly
covered in a film of sorts which Seth imagined was some kind of
mold. The water on the ground was enough to be irritating, but
not enough to cause any real damage had there been anything in the room
to harm in the first place. However as Seth flashed the light
around the windowless hideaway, he found no signs that any kind of life
form had touched this room other than of his and Blake’s arrival.
“Well,” Blake questioned impatiently stepping down into the water with
a groan as she moved in beside him, “What is it?”
“Nothing,” Seth shrugged his shoulders certain that they would’ve found
something more after all the care someone had taken to hide this place
from the rest of the world.
“Nothing,” she repeated with a frown eyeing the damp basement with
curious eyes, “You’d think there would be more than nothing down here.”
“Maybe this is the place that time forgot,” Seth waved the flashlight
around once again before Blake spotted something at the far end of the
“Or maybe time was just waiting for us to find it all over again,” she
stole the flashlight from his hand, waving it back in the direction
he’d had it pointed it in seconds earlier. As the thin beam of
light shone upon the far wall, there appeared to be a step leading up
to an old thick, dark gray door before them, “What do you think?”
“I think you’ve got a great eye,” Seth offered up snatching the
flashlight back from her before offering his arm out to hers.
“We shall,” she nodded eager to find out what else was awaiting their
arrival as she and Seth approached the doorway, only to discover that
there was a rusty lock upon it.
“The end of the road,” he offered up shining the light on the lock as
Blake stepped forward reaching out to try the knob anyways.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Blake frowned pushing against the door
in a feeble attempt to dislodge the obvious restraints someone had
placed upon it.
“Actually,” Seth touched her shoulder urging her aside as he rethought
the situation, “let me give it a go.”
“Sure,” she remarked watching as he used his upper body strength to try
to maneuver the door to work with them instead of against them as their
curiosities were running wild.
Blake stood still as Seth’s first attempt was in vain, followed by yet
another painfully useless attempt as her frustrations mounted.
She watched him try to knock the padlock off of the door with no avail
when a sudden idea sparked in her head.
“Wait a second,” Blake suggested pulling one of the barrettes she’d
been wearing out of her hair, “Let me give this a try.”
“It’s all yours though I don’t think that’s going to work since this
lock is so rusted,” he began watching her move in to inspect the lock.
“Just give me a little light,” she insisted focusing on the rusted
metal before her, “as I’ll have you know that this very technique got
me from spending a great many of my teen years locked in my room for
the trouble I’d found myself in. Time and time again, this was a
vital key to my having a social life…”
“I’m sure that made your family happy,” he teased watching as she
twisted her barrette a bit more.
“Hey, what they didn’t know didn’t hurt them,” she shrugged her
shoulders tilting her head up to look at him once again, “hey, could
you come a bit closer with that light?”
“Sure no problem, although you know now that I think about it, I think
that very statement got us into this situation once before considering
what Brant didn’t know, well it turned into an adventure,” he reminded
her with a tiny chuckle watching as the lock snapped open with a few
skilled movements of her wrist.
“Bingo,” Blake stood upright, a proud smile spreading over her
beautiful features, “I told you that I was an expert.”
“So you are. I stand corrected,” he stepped forward reaching for
the door knob as it slowly began to open and he motioned over to her,
“Alrighty then,” Blake rubbed her palms together feeling a chill
overtake her as Seth held the flashlight out to her. She drew in
a nervous breath feeling the butterflies dance in her stomach as she
rose up the step into the darkness before her ready to explore whatever
world had been hidden from her for so very long.
Tentatively Blake pushed forwards seeking out any signs of what lie
before her as her pulse quickened. The further she moved into the
room, the more the scent of a familiar floral fragrance captured her
senses leaving the musty smell in the background as it seemed she’d
stepped into a whole new world with this move into the darkness.
She lifted her flashlight to take a good, long look at whatever was
before her, but just as she’d thought she’d spotted something, the beam
of light flickered and sparked in it’s own last breath of life before
she was surrounded by darkness.
“Seth,” she practically squealed his name, ready to jump out of her
skin as she was suddenly aware of the blackness that had engulfed her,
“the flashlight just died.”
“Well, that’s not good, but I think I found something,” his voice rose
through the darkness as Blake turned towards the sound trying not to
panic, but before her fears could get the best of her, she felt her
eyes flicker as a seemingly blinding light rose from overhead.
“What in the…” she started as her eyes began to adjust to the newfound
light source while Seth slowly came back into focus and she was aware
of his presence a mere few feet before her.
“I felt the wall and thought it was a switch. I thought it might
be a longs hot, but wow…,” Seth offered up in explanation as his eyes
“What,” Blake questioned spinning around to see what had surprised him
when she found herself facing her own reflection in a large, full sized
vanity mirror before her. It was donned in a white floral print
pattern as the satin covered seat before it brought back a familiar
feeling that Blake had tucked away for a great many years. The
soft decorations and hues of white and gold, touched a place inside of
her that she had kept locked up for so very long and as she spun around
to survey the rest of the room, she noticed a long, white gown before
“What is this,” Seth questioned unable to believe how immaculate their
surroundings were as it seemed that they’d stepped into a page of a
magazine or better yet into a grandiose extension of the mansion they’d
stayed away from for the day they’d spent together.
“This is my mother’s wedding dress,” Blake whispered under her breath
unable to take her eyes from the gown before her as a lump formed in
her throat. Tentatively she reached out to finger the lace on the
gown before her as it lay peacefully over the thick canopy bed area in
the otherwise picturesque room. Everything inside seemed to have
a place of it’s own, a life of it’s own as her mother’s memory began to
haunt her, sweeping over her senses as she found herself unable to
refrain from reaching out to embrace the dress. “But how did this
all get here?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Seth offered up unable to believe all
that was revealed to him as the dark basement left no hints of what
could be laying behind the closed door.
“And look,” Blake pointed out as she rushed over to the vanity
snatching up an antique looking brush from the top of it, “this was her
brush and her mirror and her journal…” Blake trailed off as she noticed
a small, white and gold book before her. It had a gold trimmed
ribbon tied around it as she reached out to it fingering it for a
moment before the realization of what she’d stumbled upon rushed down
“Blake, what is it?” Seth questioned reaching out to touch her shoulder
“It’s my mother’s diary,” Blake revealed holding it to her chest as her
eyes remained fixed upon her own reflection in the mirror before
her. “This place…it has everything that was my mom’s and it’s
like she’s here with me--like I have her here right now…as if she never
“Oh Blake,” Seth noticed the tears forming behind her eyes as her damp
eyelashes fluttered with emotion.
“How could I not know?” she questioned unable to contain her tears,
“How could she be so close to me with this place and yet I kept her so
far away? Seth, how could I not know about this? How could
I not know that a piece of here was waiting for me after all the time I
spent here growing up?”
“Maybe the timing wasn’t right, but now, well maybe now she wanted you
to find this,” Seth suggested as she spun around to face him once
again, damp tears trailing down her cheeks.
“I only found this place because of you--because you brought me here,”
Blake continued overcome with emotion, “My mother found a way to get us
down here for a reason and now that we’re here, well I know that this
is a sign.”
“I’m sure it is,” he skimmed his thumbs over her soft, wet features
brushing at her tears as she bit down on her lower lip.
“She’s trying to tell me something Seth. I can feel her presence
in here,” she tugged on his arm guiding him across the room and leading
him over to the thick canopied bed before taking a seat beside him, “We
used to spend hours on her bed together just like this talking about
everything. She would tell me stories about what it was like
growing up for her and she would read Brant, Kenny and I my favorite
fairy tale as she always kept it right…” she stopped moving over to
seek out the nightstand that stood beside the bed and as she opened the
top drawer she discovered the book that she’d remembered from the past,
“Here. Seth, this is the book.”
“I see it,” Seth nodded watching Blake lost in a memory as she kicked
off her shoes sliding onto the center of the bed as she reached for one
of the oversized pillows.
“I used to sit right here while she brushed my hair and told me
stories,” Blake remembered touching the cover of the book as a sniffle
built up inside of her, “I was just learning to read at the time and
she would listen to me trying to help me sound out the words because I
was horrible at the time. Still, that didn’t matter to her as she
only cared about being with me. She would sit beside me with her
arms wrapped around me as she found this way to make me feel like
everything was going to be okay…that no matter what was happening, the
world would make sense again soon enough and I knew that when I was
with her that I was the luckiest girl alive to have such a wonderful
mother in my life.”
“You both were very lucky as she has an incredible daughter,” Seth slid
in beside her offering his arm in a comforting gesture as Blake’s trip
down memory lane had her lost in a string of emotions.
“I always wished she could’ve seen how I grew up--that she could’ve
shared so many things with me, but when I lost her, oh Seth, it felt
like I’d lost that one thing in my life that truly made everything
worthwhile. I loved her so much and when she left me it just hurt
so damned much…” Blake broke down into tiny sobs.
“I know sweetheart,” he wrapped her up in his arms, squeezing her in
closer to him as her tears continued, “but your mother would be very
proud of you Blake. She would be so happy to see what kind of
woman you turned out to be.”
“Would she really,” she questioned turning her eyes up towards him for
“Of course she would as you’re amazing,” he tipped down to brush his
lips against hers in a tender display, “You’re an incredible woman and
I know that she’d be so happy with who you turned out to be.”
“I just wish that I could have her here with me--that I could’ve found
a way to know more about her--like what it was like for her growing
up--about what she was like at my age or about the things she loved
that we never got a chance to speak about with one another…”
“Maybe our finding this place was a way of your doing that,” he
suggested watching as confusion set in behind her blue eyes.
“How so,” she asked in a soft tone as Seth motioned to the book she’d
picked up from the vanity.
“Maybe she wanted you to find this,” he raised the small journal up
into her lap, “Perhaps this was why we found this place so that you
could find the answers to all those questions you’ve had for her over
“You really think so,” she questioned holding the book closer to her as
she fingered the ribbon that had locked away her mother’s most private
thoughts from the rest of the world for so very long, “Do you think
that’s what she would want me to do with this?”
“I’m sure she wouldn’t mind as something tells me you were right about
this place,” Seth took another long perusal of their surroundings,
“Perhaps this was a sign for us after all seeing as you‘ve had a lot on
your mind lately. Maybe your mother was just trying to find a new
way to reach out to you.”
“Maybe,” she nodded in agreement, “but if that’s what it is, then I’m
going to take full advantage of the situation as this is something that
I want to explore as much as possible. I need to know about the
things I missed with her and I want to find out just what she was
like--to know the things about my mom that I wasn’t able to discover
while she was alive…”
“Then I think finding this place was a great start for that,” Seth
offered up holding her in his arms as Blake continued to reminisce
about her mother, lost in the magic of the past that this secret
hideaway had opened up to her after all these years as it seemed that
Blake had finally found the key to bringing her mother’s memory back to
Ben concentrated on throwing the dart, however, he’d never been good at
it and it seemed that trend wasn‘t about to change in his current
situation with Diane and J.T. He focused on the center of the board and
tossed the dart. The dart spun, hit the board and fell onto the floor.
Diane and J.T. chuckled in amusement as Diane advanced over to him.
"Ben, honey, watch and learn," Diane drew back, tossing the dart,
nailing the center bulls eye. She raised her arms up in the air and
cheered in victory.
"Great shot Die!" J.T. came over and gave her a high-five, "You still
"Of course," she smirked tossing her hair over her shoulder, "I don’t
forget the important things."
"I guess that’s why you haven’t forgotten who I am," J.T. smiled
brushing his hand across Diane’s arm as he retrieved the darts.
Ben watched J.T noting the way that J.T.’s eyes drank Diane up like a
hawk stalking its prey. Diane giggled as J.T. whispered in her ear. Ben
quickly approached them and wrapped an arm possessively around Diane’s
waist. She raised an eyebrow at him and silently gave him a questioning
look. He just gave her a half shrug as they watched J.T. score high
points on darts. Diane pulled away from Ben and gave out a loud cheer.
She approached J.T., giving him another high five.
He smiled and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, "Ah it’s just like
the old days."
"Shall we get a drink?" Diane pulled out of his grasp, taking hold of
Ben’s arm, advancing to the bar.
J.T. made them a few drinks as they sat at a small table talking. "Oh
man, you wouldn’t believe some of the things Die has done," J.T.
smirked taking a swallow of his beer, "Man I could tell you story after
Diane let out a light laugh, "Oh we don’t need to go there now do we?"
"Actually I’d like to hear it," Ben sat forward in his chair holding
the neck of the beer bottle in his hand.
"She was quite the wild one in the olden days," J.T. winked at Diane,
"She dated all the wild party hard bad boys."
"Did you now?" Ben raised an eyebrow looking over at Diane.
She gave a half shrug and smiled, "I was a little rebel in that day. I
had a mouth on me that would make sailors come running out of a bar."
"Now that doesn’t surprise me," Ben chuckled running a hand gently up
and down her arm.
"That’s putting it mildly," J.T. winked at Diane once more, "This girl
would walk around and was probably the biggest little punk I knew. If
that makes sense."
"It’s hard to see Diane looking like a punk," Ben scanned her over,
"The attitude, now that I can see."
"You know, Brett," J.T. took another swig of his beer,
"I’ve got to be honest with you."
"It’s Ben," he corrected.
"Oh yes, my bad. What I was going to say was it surprises me that she’s
with you to be honest."
"Oh and why does that surprise you?" Ben stared at him, the tension
between the two of them rising at a rapid pace.
Diane rested her hand on Ben’s leg in a reassuring way, giving him a
look to stay calm. He just nodded slightly and locked eyes with J.T.
"Diane always went for the bad boy biker type," J.T. finished off his
beer and set the empty bottle upside down on the table, "And you don’t
seem to be that type."
"You know nothing about me," Ben commented, the grip on his beer bottle
growing stronger with each passing second.
"No, I don’t. But I’m pretty good at reading people."
"J.T., come on stop being an ass," Diane warned.
"No, no, Die it’s alright. We’re cool aren’t we, Ben?" J.T. proceeded
on without letting Ben answer, “You know, Benny, you look like the type
of guy that never even saw the inside of the detention classroom in
high school. You were probably the good boy that went and told the
teacher when you saw someone smoking. Most likely the kind of guy to
walk around with a pocket protector and wore thick black glasses."
"Okay, J.T. that’s enough," Diane crossed her arms, "we were having
fun, let’s just keep it at that and leave the past in the past."
"I’m sure I’m not offending Mr. Goodboy over here," J.T. shrugged
cracking his fingers.
"J.T. please, let’s just leave high school where it belongs, in the
past." Diane pleaded with him.
"I’m sorry, it’s just hard for me to picture you with a guy like him,"
J.T. shrugged and wrapped his arm around Diane’s shoulder.
"What do you mean a guy like me?" Ben’s face grew scarlet in anger.
"I’ve accomplished a lot in life. What have you accomplished? You’re a
"You have no right to sit there and tell me what I have and haven’t…"
"And you have no right either," Ben interrupted as Diane slid her hand
"Die, why are you with him?" J.T. questioned rolling up his sleeve to
expose the sleeve of tattoos underneath. "There’s nothing bad ass about
him. Me on the other hand.."
Ben stood up and slammed his beer bottle onto the table, "That’s it I’m
sick of you putting the moves on my girlfriend."
"Ben!" Diane stood up placing her hand on the center of his chest,
"Sweetie, just calm down alright."
"Yeah, listen to her," J.T. smirked, "It’s not like she was complaining
about it anyway."
Ben lunged over the table and knocked J.T. to the ground. Diane grabbed
hold of his arm and pulled him away, "Ben, that’s enough!"
He let go of J.T. and turned to Diane, pushing a strand of hair out of
her face and behind her ear. J.T. got up and lunged at Ben, slamming
him into the bar wall. Diane watched in horror as the two men swung at
each other. She approached them to break up the fight and J.T.
accidentally bumped her, knocking her on her butt.
She looked up at them and huffed, "That is it! Ben, we are leaving and
J.T. it was nice seeing you again, but obviously we are two completely
different people now. I’m not who I used to be and I’m not into the
wild and crazy lifestyle. I’ve grown up and obviously you need to do
"But Die.." J.T.’s eyes were wide with shock, "He started…"
"I don’t care who started what," she glared at J.T. "From the moment I
told you he was my boyfriend you had it in your mind to make him feel
like less then a person. I thought you’d have outgrown that stage a
long time ago."
"Die, can we start over again?" J.T. gave her a pleading look.
"Unlike high school, I don’t have to give you a second chance J.T."
Diane wrapped her arm around Ben’s waist. "And you have just run out of
gas in the desert road."
Diane turned heel and led Ben to the front door and out of the bar.
Standing outside the bar Ben paused and just stood there looking at her
in surprise, "What? What are you looking at me like that for?"
"Wow," Ben grazed the back of his hand over her cheek, "I love you."
"That was very random," Diane smiled and leaned into his touch, "but I
love you too."
"I’m still trying to figure out why you used the gas in a desert road
comment," he chuckled in slight amusement.
"I don’t know," she smiled leaning up to give him a quick kiss, "It
just sounded good at the time."
"You are just full of surprises," he smiled wrapping his arms around
her waist, "You amaze me more and more."
"Well, I try," Diane locked her arms behind his neck. "Icky, Ben your
"Oh it’s alright," he shrugged. "It doesn’t hurt."
Diane ran her fingertips lightly over his eye, "It’s swollen, and it
might leave a bruise."
"I’m alright really," he turned away from her and looked back into the
bar where J.T. was back behind the counter flirting with another woman.
"Hey, you," Diane punched his shoulder lightly and playfully, "is there
"Are you sure I’m the kind of guy you want?" Ben questioned looking
back at her, as he ran a hand through her hair.
"What kind of question is that!" Diane pulled back looking him straight
in the eyes. "It doesn’t matter to me if you don’t ride a Harley, or
wear leather jackets, and tell the law to...well you know...I love you
Ben Walters and that is something that‘s not going to change. Not now,
"I love you too Diane Stevens." Ben leaned down pressing his lips to
hers as he gently ran his fingertips lightly over her back. "Diane, can
you do me a favor?"
"Hmm?" she asked snuggling into his shoulder.
"The next time I say let’s go to a sports bar talk me out of it." he
let out a light laugh and leaned down kissing her forehead as they
headed over to the car.
Diane let out a laugh and placed one hand on his stomach, wrapping the
other one around his waist, "I think I can handle."
Avery stepped out into the police station lobby finding Russell seated
on the far end of the room slumped over on the bench before her as his
head hung low in his hands. With a sigh, she stepped forward
ready to just reach out to her husband and hold onto him after the
morning she’d had. Now that she was certain that Grady was safer
than he’d been before her arrival, she needed desperately to hold
Russell and take in the comforting feeling that only he could provide
her with at a time like this.
“Hey handsome,” she greeted him with a half smile trying her best to be
calm and collected despite the turmoil she had experienced back in the
room with Grady.
“Hey yourself,” he turned his green eyes up towards her, “how’s Grady
“As good as can be expected although, well things aren’t going to be as
easy as I was hoping they would be,” she sighed heavily thinking about
what had transpired with Cameron, “but I’d rather we talk about that in
a bit as right now all I want is to just feel your arms around
me. Can you just do that for a minute or so?”
“Of course I can because right now I think that‘s exactly what I need
too,” he nodded unable to contain the relief that carried over him in
seeing her as he rose from the bench ready to reach out and hold her
with all that he had in him. Eagerly throwing his arms around
her, Avery felt him squeeze her a little bit tighter than he usually
did and as she threw her arms around him as well, she could sense that
something was wrong with him that went beyond his brother being in jail.
“Russ, what’s going on,” Avery questioned in confusion feeling his hold
on her constrict as he rest his chin upon her shoulder kissing her neck
in a slow, subtle fashion before rising up to meet her concerned eyes,
“Avery, we really do need to talk,” he urged scanning the lobby for a
moment before reaching for her hand, “Do you think we could take a
minute to do that?”
“Right now,” she questioned sensing the need burning behind his
features, “sure, of course.”
Russ nodded taking another look around the lobby before raising his
finger at Avery to let her know he’d be right back. He moved up
to the front desk to let the man behind it know that he and Avery would
be out in the courtyard should Jade or his parents come looking for
them before he returned to Avery. Saying nothing, he took Avery’s
hand in his lacing their fingers in one another as she felt her stomach
tied in knots after the morning she’d had.
While she’d have liked to come home with Grady’s freedom on the table,
it seemed that Cameron was about to make that goal increasingly more
difficult as Avery had her work cut out for her if she was going to
prove to the world that Grady was in fact innocent. Even now as
she took a walk with Russ, she had no idea how she was going to be able
to break the news to him about how far Cameron was willing to go to
keep Grady in jail. A shudder rushed over her body as she tried
not to dwell on just how far Cameron was willing to go, but as she
turned her attention to Russ, she could see that he too had something
weighing upon his mind.
“What’s wrong, Russ? Is there something more that the police came
up with in terms of evidence against Grady?” Avery questioned in a
panic wondering if Cameron had pulled something while she was in
speaking with Grady.
“Not exactly, but the truth to the matter is that while I knew we had a
problem here before, I only knew the half of it,” Russell started with
obvious hesitance as the lines of worry spread over his handsome
features, “I found out the real reason why Grady attacked Cameron.”
“Because Cameron is a psycho,” Avery wrinkled her nose in disgust, “He
threatened Jade and Grady launched an attack on him and I can’t say I
can blame him because the guy is a creep Russ…”
“Creep doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Russ paused once again
contemplating his words as he thought of the horrifying tale Jade had
shared with him, “Avery, Cameron tried to blackmail Grady into working
for him. When Grady wanted to quit, Cameron started threatening
Jade. He has some information against her that is quite…”
“Quite what? Russ, what did he do to Jade?” Avery questioned
thinking to her own encounter with the man who’d made it his mission to
destroy their family.
“I don’t know if it’s my place to be saying this, but well, I think you
need to know what kind of man you’re up against in this,” he lowered
his voice making sure that they were alone as he continued, “The reason
Grady attacked Cameron when he did is because Cameron has some
photographs of Jade when she was younger…”
“What kind of photographs,” she asked already guessing where Russ was
headed with the news he was bringing upon her.
“When Jade was a teenager, she was gang raped and somehow Cameron got
his hands on photos that were taken the night of the rape and he’s
threatened to make them public should Grady back out on his obligation
to work for him,” Russell informed her his jaw clenching with anger at
the very thought of what a monster Cameron was, “That’s why Grady lost
it and I have to tell you I’m fighting everything in me not to go and
beat the hell out of him myself for what he’s doing to Jade.”
“Russ, that’s not a good idea. I don’t want you anywhere near
him,” she pleaded with him reaching out to touch him, “I promised Grady
that we’d take care of Jade and we’ll look after her. She can
stay with us and we’ll keep her safe, but you can’t go near Cameron
under any circumstances regardless of how worked up he has us all.”
“The hell I’m not. We both know he’s the reason these charges
have been brought against my brother and I don’t know how we’re going
to prove that, but when we do…” he remarked sourly behind a clenched
“No, Russ, you leave that to me in the courtroom as I don’t want him
doing anything to you. I’ve seen what he’s capable of and if he’s
going to exploit Jade like that, well, there’s no telling what else
he’ll do to try to hurt Grady…” she lowered her eyes as a tiny tremor
raced over her as she stepped away from him, “Just promise me you won‘t
go chasing after Cameron right now.”
“Avery, I can’t promise you that because I’m not about to sit back and
let him hurt Jade anymore than she’s already been hurt…” he began again
thinking of how Cameron’s crimes couldn’t go unpunished after the man
had clearly crossed a line.
“Let the police take care of him Russ,” Avery pleaded with him facing
him again as her dark eyes filled with tears, “Let them handle Cameron
and we’ll work on proving Grady’s innocent. We can keep Jade safe
and you don’t have to encounter him again.”
“Avery, he can’t just…” he began sensing that something was going on
behind his wife’s now obviously terrified eyes, “Avery, what is it?”
“Russ, I really don’t want to get into this now,” she rubbed her hands
over her arms feeling a chill in the air surrounding her, “I just want
to go home and…”
“What happened back there,” he inquired again stepping in towards her,
“Avery, did Grady do something? Did he say something to upset you
because right now that’s the last thing he should be doing seeing as
you‘re trying to save him from this joke of a charge that‘s against
“Grady didn’t do anything to me Russ,” she blurted out in frustration,
“at least not anything like you’re thinking. It’s just…well,
while I was back there Cameron showed up.”
“He what?” Russell’s eyes widened with fury, “Avery, what did he
do? Did he hurt you?”
“No,” she shook her head quickly, “He didn’t get the chance to because
Grady came in and jumped him. I don’t know what was going on, but
Cameron just kind of showed up when I wasn’t paying attention and it
was…well, it was strange…”
“Strange how? Avery, what was he doing?” he questioned watching
her fall back into silence.
“It’s not important, but what is important is that I made sure that
Grady is safe. I had him put into a private cell and Dave is
going to make sure that someone’s keeping an eye on him. Cameron
shouldn’t be able to touch him or get to him in any way and that will
buy us time until the hearing…” she began trying to focus on the road
ahead of her.
“Avery, what aren’t you telling me? I can see you’re holding back
on something,” he touched her cheek urging her to meet his gaze, “What
happened in there?”
“Let’s just say I saw Cameron’s true colors as I think he’s willing to
do whatever it takes to destroy your brother. It’s obvious that
the man has a sick and twisted obsession with Jade and right now going
off to attack him isn’t going to fix the situation. It’s just
going to make things worse,” she pleaded with him wrapping her arms
around him desperately, “We both know that when someone is trying to
terrify you, the last thing you need to do is coax him into doing
“This isn’t the same as Bruce,” he whispered wiping at the single tear
that spilled down her cheek.
“No Russ, he’s worse and if we do anything to provoke the situation
anymore than it’s been, well I’m not sure what will happen to Jade or
to any of us and that terrifies me far more than anything else that’s
happened to us lately,” she confessed in a tight whisper as she felt
him squeeze her closer to him, “Russ, let’s just go home and we can
talk about this later.”
“Alright,” he nodded in response knowing that their conversation was
far from over, but as he thought about how Cameron had worked a number
over Grady, Jade and now his wife, he realized that perhaps being back
in the safety of their home was just what they needed. Though as
he began to ponder taking Avery and Jade home, he thought of what
they’d left behind the night Bruce had invaded their personal space,
“though maybe we should go back to my mom and dad’s house.”
“No,” Avery shook her head stubbornly, “I want to go home--to our home…”
“Are you sure?” he searched her eyes straining to see if there was any
doubt lingering beneath them.
“I’m positive,” she nodded in confession, “the security system was
installed by a company my father trusts, the clean up crew has already
cleared out the crime scene and in all honesty our home is one of the
few safe havens in this world for me other than these arms you have
wrapped around me. Even with Bruce stepping into our home and
doing what he did to upset us, well, I’ve thought about this and I’m
not about to let him take my life away from me. Our home is ours
and if I can face what Bruce did, then I’m certain we can find a way to
pull through this situation Cameron has brought upon us.”
“Avery, if it’s too much, then we don’t have to do this. You know
that I’m more than willing to take our time getting back there
considering that…” he started to argue not wanting to push something
she wasn’t ready for as he wiped at her tears.
“Russ, if I spent my life running, then that’s all I’m going to
do. Yes, I’ll admit that Cameron terrified me today, and I’m
still very afraid of what Bruce could do, but I’m more afraid that
tomorrow I’ll wake up and realize that I let my life get stolen away
from me. We owe it to Grady to try to protect Jade and the only
place I know we can really do that is in our home. You know I’m
right on this and hey if you would feel better in having your parents
with us, then have them over. I don’t mind at all, but right now,
well right now I think the only place for us is at home where we know
what to expect.”
“Okay then,” he hugged her closer to him kissing the top of her head,
“I’ll find Jade and then we can go home and try to make sense of
“That sounds like a plan,” Avery nodded still leaning against his chest
listening to the sounds of his heart beating beside her as she
struggled to hold onto the strength she’d tried to show Grady she was
capable of while her insides were in turmoil over the moment that
might’ve changed her life forever. While she was almost convinced
that Cameron wasn’t going to hurt her after today, she couldn’t write
off that fear that he’d raised in her as she realized that the moment
she let her guard down, then that would be when Cameron succeeded in
destroying her family and she couldn’t afford to let that happen.
Cameron entered his office unable to get his head clear fast enough as
he closed the door behind him with an emphatic thud, reaching for his
tie as he felt himself filled with an overwhelming need to tear it off
of his neck as a stifled groan built in the back of his throat.
Now as he eyed his office unable to seek out what had been haunting him
fast enough, he rushed towards his desk sending his hand crashing down
upon it as a muffled cry spilled past his lips.
“No,” he began in an obvious rage as his dark eyes narrowed upon the
window before him. As he watched the small town of Coral Valley
below his for the taking, he reflected upon the turn of events that had
taken place from the moment he’d attempted to take out Grady’s lady
lawyer. Shaking his head as he found himself unwilling to
comprehend what this situation could mean, he shoved the papers and
other objects on his desk off of the surface, sending them crashing
down to the ground before he took a step back bringing his hands up
into his hair as an obvious turmoil overtook him.
“No, this can’t be happening. It’s not that she…she’s isn’t…she
can’t be because I know…” Cameron muttered incoherently as his gaze
fell upon the silver framed photo over on his filing cabinet.
While it certainly hadn’t been much to think about over the past few
months since he’d stepping into Coral Valley armed for battle nothing
had prepared him for the face he’d encountered at the jail when he’d
been given the shock of his life. Now as he stalked across his
office swiping up the frame from it’s place near his important papers,
he couldn’t help but find his eye glued to the image before him as he
remembered the moment he stood smiling with his arm around the
shoulders of the woman who clearly could’ve been mistaken for Avery
Morrison--of the woman whose face had haunted him from the moment Avery
had spun around to speak to him and…
“There you are,” Thea’s voice broke through the inner conflict Cameron
had been dealing with since he’d fled the Coral Valley police station
in a rage. She smiled at him generously before her gaze fell upon
the mess he’d made of things upon his arrival and in that moment her
tone shifted, “What happened in here?”
Cameron’s dark stare rose up from the frame he held in his hand as he
spoke out to her in an accusatory tone, his words dripping with rage,
“Why didn’t you tell me Thea?”
“Tell you what?” she questioned with obvious confusion as she
maneuvered herself over one of the paperweights that had landed in the
center of the floor, “Cameron, what’s going on?”
“I’ll tell you what’s going on,” he clenched the frame tighter than
before as he approached her, ready to lash out at the one woman who
could’ve prevented the situation Cameron had so willingly stepped into
earlier in the evening. Now as he waved the framed photo at her
wildly, his voice roared with an obvious thunder of emotion, “Why
didn’t you tell me about this?”
“About her,” Thea inquired giving him a strange look before her nose
wrinkled for the briefest of moments until a groan spilled from her
lips, “what has she done now to get you so worked up?”
“She hasn’t done anything, but you,” Cameron growled down at her
throwing the frame across the room as he opted to squeeze his
assistant’s shoulders instead in a rage, “apparently you’ve been
holding out on me Thea and this is going to cost you.”
“Holding out on you,” she repeated incredulously, “Cam, I don’t know
“About Avery Morrison-Denton,” he seethed down at her, gripping her
harder than before as he found himself shaking her, “why didn’t you
“About Avery Morriso--” Thea stopped herself suddenly realizing what
Cameron was getting at as she placed her palm out into the center of
his chest to shield off any further blows he was about to deliver to
her, “I thought--I thought you knew.”
“Knew,” Cameron repeated his voice rising with the moment as he shoved
her aside sending her back into the sofa across the room while he
clenched his fists at his side straining to keep from tearing the
office apart piece by piece, “How would I know Thea? Why would I
know and how would I think to know? You were supposed to keep me
informed about these things Thea. You were supposed to tell me…”
“I did what you asked me to Cameron,” she charged in response shaken by
his violent response to her, “I gave you all the information you asked
about where she was concerned. You were the one who chose to not
bother with looking it over. You had it in front of you for
months, but you continually ignored it in light of your latest
obsession with Grady Denton‘s law clerk.”
“You leave Jade out of it,” Cameron hissed back at her, “as you and I
both know this has nothing to do with her.”
“Oh but it has everything to do with her as you’re so blinded by this
agenda of yours that you’re losing sight of the entire picture,” Thea
shot back at him boldly pulling herself up off of the sofa, “you’ve
gotten sloppy Cam and something tells me that whatever happened to have
you in such a tizzy over Avery Morrison-Denton was for your own good as
it might get you back in the game again.”
“I’ve been in the game since it began, Thea. I make the rules and
I don’t like being screwed with especially not from you. You’ve
made one mistake already in dealing with Doug and I’m not about to let
you sabotage me like this any further. Do you have any idea what
almost happened tonight? What I was about to embark upon before
your misinformation lead me to hesitation? Do you know what this
could do to all my plans?”
“I don’t have the first inclination of what you’re talking about Cam,”
Thea insisted watching the wild expression that filled his features.
“She’s a dead ringer for Angel. That’s what happened and you
should’ve told me. You should’ve kept me in the loop about this
as I was about to finish things and seal Grady’s fate, but then when I
saw her…Avery could’ve been…”
“Her?” Thea couldn’t help but offer up a wicked smile, “Is that what
threw you, Cameron? That she could’ve been Angel? Because
you know if that‘s really what‘s got you going, you and I both know
that she couldn‘t possibly…”
“I don’t understand how this could happen or how I couldn’t have
known. You said nothing Thea! Nothing and it may cost me
everything! Do you have any idea what your little omission
could’ve done to me tonight when I saw her?” he continued lashing out
at her, “I was so close to…”
“To what Cameron? Letting the enemy inside?” Thea’s voice
thickened with the moment, “This was your mix-up--not mine. I had
that private investigator work up a profile on that woman. I did
everything you asked of me, but you’ve been too lost in your own
personal agenda that you haven’t been thinking clearly since we got
into town. You don’t know what damage has been done because you
haven’t been keeping up with the enemy and now, well now if it blows up
in your face, then you have no one to blame but yourself.”
“Bold words from a woman who could find herself on the receiving end of
my wrath and believe me Thea, right about now I’m ready to give you
that,” Cameron felt his hands trembling in the moment as he thought
back to that moment in time when his hands were so very close to
stealing away the life force of a woman who so closely resembled
someone that he cared about--someone that he loved far more than he
could put words upon.
“Between your joke of a marriage and this little crush you have on
Jade, I’m afraid that your methods have soured Cameron and the anger
you should be feeling should be at yourself instead of at me,” Thea
took a step back standing firm in her ground as she backed towards the
door knowing not to push too far as Cameron was far beyond the point of
no return should she say the wrong thing, “Maybe it’s time you
reevaluate what it is we’re doing here and gain some focus before it
all comes crashing down around you.”
“Get out Thea!” Cameron finally snapped back at her as he looked up
from his hands to discover she already left his office. Now as he
looked at the remains of his rage, he found himself drawn back to the
image he’d discarded in a haste. Bending down he reached for it,
lifting it up from the floor as the crack in the glass ran down the
center of the photo, offering up a distortion to the memory Cameron
had. While he couldn’t quite see her face clearly, it made no
difference as Cameron thought to the woman he’d recently shared the
moment with--then to the woman that he’d almost eliminated.
It didn’t make any sense, he thought to himself as he brushed his
finger over the glass absorbing the memory of a time when the
photograph had been taken on this island--away from the rest of the
world when things were different--when there wasn’t so much riding on
what he had to do in Coral Valley--when revenge wasn’t the only
Now as he held the frame in hand, Cameron made his way over to his desk
slumping down into his chair as a single file remained before
him. Eyeing it intently, he realized that it was in fact the
information that Thea had gathered on Avery Morrison-Denton and
suddenly she became something of an intriguing enigma to Cameron.
She’d certainly been less than nothing to him before tonight, but as he
pulled an image that the private investigator had taken of her out of
the manila folder, Cameron slid his own framed photo out onto the desk
for a comparison. There certainly was no denying the stunning
similarities as there was something that ran far deeper than Cameron
wanted to face up to as his Angel and Avery seemingly could pass for a
double of the other.
With that thought in mind, Cameron reached for his phone, pulling it up
off of the ground before dialing as an urgency overtook him. Once
he heard a voice on the other end of the line, his focus returned to
him and he strained to keep from losing it completely as his tone
turned clear and concise, “I need to get in contact with Angel.
Yes, yes I’m aware of what I said before, but it’s urgent that you
locate her. I need to speak with her as soon as possible,” he
finished hanging up the phone before returning his attention to the two
images before him as he pondered how this surprising discovery would
impact his future in Coral Valley.
“Listen to this,” Blake tugged on Seth’s sleeve as she lay back into
his chest thumbing through the pages of her mother’s journal feeling as
if she’s opened up the door to a new communication with her as Blake
read aloud, “today Blake said her first word and yes, it was mama and
while Nicholas was hoping that she’d say dada first, I must admit I
felt a strong sense of pride in knowing that my beautiful little girl
was the first of our children to say that,” Blake lowered the book
setting it down into her lap as she tilted her head back to look at
Seth, “isn’t that adorable?”
“It sounds like she loved you very much,” Seth mused bringing his
fingers through her long hair as she remained beside him reaching for
her mother’s journal once again as she skimmed over some of the entries
“I just can’t believe that I found this,” Blake continued thumbing
through the pages as she took note of the dates realizing that they
went back quite a ways before her arrival in the world. While she
was certain that she would have hours of reading ahead of her with her
mother’s knack for the written word, Blake only caught a few passages
here and there as she promised herself she’d save the more private
things for a time when she was alone so that she and her mother could
share that special bond with one another even after her mother’s
“I’m glad you did because something tells me this will help you with
what you’ve been feeling,” he whispered leaning back against the
pillows behind him as Blake shifted in his arms setting the journal
aside before tilting her head up towards Seth to meet his dark eyes.
“You really think so?” she questioned innocently rubbing her palm
against the center of his chest gingerly.
“I’m sure of it,” he nodded in response brushing his fingers over the
side of her face as a faint ringing surrounded them causing them to
both jump with a start until Seth realized the source of the sound was
coming from his pocket. With a sigh of relief, he pulled his cell
phone out and eyed the number, “It looks like it’s Jade.”
“I’m sure surprised that you’re getting any kind of reception down here
considering how far below the surface we are,” she noted watching as he
raised the phone to his ear.
“Let’s just hope the reception stays,” Seth remarked answering his
phone as Blake reached for her mother’s journal once again.
“Seth, where are you?” Jade questioned not bothering with pleasantries
as her fears overtook her.
“Jade, what is it? What’s wrong?” Seth asked taking note of the
panic that seemingly filled his sister up inside as Blake sensed
something was wrong. She sat up straighter rolling off of his lap
and moving in beside him to try to hear what was going.
“What kind of trouble?” his jaw tightened at the tone of her voice.
“It’s Grady. He’s in jail and Cameron,” Jade paused, “well he’s
the one who put Grady there.”
“How? Why? Jade what happened?” Seth sat up straighter
immediately worried about his sister.
“Cameron threatened Grady. Seth, he has pictures of me from the
night of my rape that he‘s threatened to make public to hurt me,” Jade
explained feeling numb as the horror of the situation hung over her.
“That son of a bitch,” Seth’s voice darkened with rage as he clenched
his phone tighter. “Jade, where are you?”
“I’m safe as I’m going to be staying with Grady’s brother Russ and his
wife for a while, but Cameron’s only started with his mission to
destroy Grady. Grady lashed out at Cameron and attacked him once
Cameron threatened to make the photos public. The police brought
him down to jail, but now there are these charges against him that I
know Cameron threw out there.”
“What kind of charges Jade?” he asked again.
“The police came up with this information out of the blue that
implicates Grady in the shooting of Kipp Mahoney, but Grady had nothing
to do with it. I know Cameron is behind it and now I’m more
convinced than ever that he’s not going to stop with his vendetta until
he has what he wants…until he has me,” Jade gazed out
the window before her thinking about the situation she’d found herself
in as the man she loves was now behind bars. Suddenly it felt as
if the walls were closing in around her as her fears began to consume
“That’s not going to happen. Not now or ever because I’m not
going to let him get to you,” Seth vowed feeling his hatred for Cameron
grow by the moment as he thought of the hell that Cameron was
unleashing upon his sister, “In fact, I’m coming to see you because you
shouldn’t be going through this alone.”
“I’m not alone Seth, but I’m worried about you. I know that
Cameron has been trying to manipulate you and…” Jade started in a panic.
“I can hold my own Jade, but I don’t like the fact that he’s gone after
you especially when you don’t deserve any of this,” he reminded her as
his anger mounted.
“Seth, he’s not going to hurt me. I mean yes, I’m upset and I
hate what he’s doing to Grady, but right now I need to find a way to
help show that Grady is innocent. I tried to plead with Cameron
and get him to stop what was happening, but the truth to the matter was
that the only thing he wants--the only thing that will appease him is
me and I just couldn’t do it. I thought I could for Grady, but
when he tried to touch me…”
“I’ll kill him,” Seth announce with a roar growing rigid as he thought
of the man who’d been blackmailing him for so very long.
“No, Seth please, don’t do anything rash. Grady’s in jail because
of his trying to protect me and right now I can’t lose my brother to
the same fate,” she begged the sound of her tears coming through
clearly over the line, “I just needed to call you to warn you--to let
you know what we’re up against with Cameron and that maybe you could
use what I’m telling you to keep Blake safe. I know that Cameron
was targeting her family as well.”
“Blake’s with me right now,” Seth explained taking a look at the woman
he loved, “and we’re going to come and see you.”
“Seth, I’ll be okay. I really will as I’ll be staying with Russ
and Avery for now and their house is under heavy security watch, but
right now what I’m asking is that you and Blake find a way to steer
clear of Cameron. You can’t let him hurt either one of you.”
“When he tries to hurt you Jade, it hurts me,” he sighed bringing his
thick fingers through his dark hair.
“If anything happened to you Seth, then that would truly be the way
that Cameron could hurt me again. I hate that he has pictures of
that night, but I’m willing to face what may be with that as long as
when everything is said and done that you and Grady are safe.
That’s what’s important to me.”
“Jade, I love you and I wish that I could find a way to get that
bastard out of our lives,” Seth answered regretfully realizing that all
his obedience where Cameron was concerned was for not as Cameron was
now following through on the threats he’d made to Seth.
“I love you too and right now I just need to know you’re safe.
Please promise me that you’ll stay away from Cameron--that you’ll
respect my wishes and not go after him,” Jade begged of him.
“Jade, I can’t promise you that I won’t…” Seth started feeling himself
unable to commit to such a promise.
“Seth, please. I can’t afford to lose you too,” she pleaded as
Blake saw the obvious turmoil behind Seth’s eyes and she snatched the
phone from Seth’s hand.
“Jade, it’s Blake. I promise you that I’m not going to let Seth
do anything stupid,” Blake assured her as Seth’s body grew rigid beside
her, “though I wish you’d let us come and see you. We can keep
you safe and…”
“Blake, I appreciate it, but right now all I want to know is that my
brother’s going to be okay--that Cameron won’t be able to get to him,”
Jade continued overcome with tears.
“I’m not going to let Cameron get anywhere near him. You have my
word on that Jade and the same goes for you. If you need
anything--anything at all, please don’t hesitate to ask,” Blake
informed her in an attempt to help as Seth threw her a desperate look.
“Thank you Blake. You have no idea how much that means to me,”
Jade replied with a sniffle as Seth recollected his phone from Blake.
“Jade, will you at least keep me informed as to what’s going on,” Seth
asked of her as he tried to keep his anger under wraps as he spoke to
“I’ll call you once I’m settled in with Russ and Avery,” she promised
him after a long pause, “and Seth…”
“Yes,” he questioned hearing something in her tone he couldn’t quite
place as another rush of worry passed over him.
“I love you,” she replied solemnly.
“I love you too,” he answered hearing her hang up as he focused his
attention to Blake once again, “I don’t like this at all.”
“Neither do I,” Blake added a shiver racing over her as she eyed Seth’s
“She’s in trouble and regardless of what she was saying to me, you know
I can’t just sit back and let Cameron get away with this,” he declared
moving to the edge of the bed ready to get up and take action.
“Seth, no,” Blake reached for him throwing him back down on the bed as
she plopped onto his lap to pin him down beneath her, “You can’t go
after him. I promised Jade that I’d keep you out of trouble
because we both know that she doesn’t want you to get hurt…”
“Blake, I just can’t let him hurt her…” Seth’s dark eyes pleaded with
“We won’t let him get away with that as we’ll find a way to make sure
that Cameron doesn’t get the chance to hurt anyone ever again, but when
e find a way to stop him, it won’t be by impulse or by something that
could cost Jade one of the only men in her life that she depends
on. She loves you Seth and I love you which is why I’m not about
to let you make a mistake in going after Cameron.”
“If he tries to hurt my sister anymore than he already has, he’s going
to find that he’s not going to be around to live through his latest
mistake,” Seth vowed his eyes shifting with rage as Blake just prayed
that somehow they could find a way to keep Cameron from hurting Jade
any further than he already had without costing Jade everything that
she held near and dear in her life.
Grady stared up at the ceiling finding himself lost in the discomfort
that surrounded him as he lay alone in his jail cell thinking about the
one woman he should be holding right now as he thought of the chain of
events leading to this moment in time. Granted Avery had played a
part in seeing to it he didn’t have to deal with anymore unsavory
surprises, but in being locked away from the world, it only made him
all the more aware of how powerless he was against Cameron as Cameron
was the one out and about able to reach Jade at any time. That in
itself was very unsettling for Grady as he rose up from the cot he’d
been stretched out over.
Having had already witnessed first hand the extents to Cameron’s
madness, he knew that the longer he was away from Jade the more open
she would be to Cameron’s horrible evil. While Grady had promised
Jade that he’d find a way to protect her, to keep her safe from those
who’d harm her, he felt helpless and broken as he was doing anything,
but being the man that she’d needed in her life. Even now as he
felt trapped like a caged animal, he began to reflect upon all the time
he’d wasted with her--or all the mistakes he’d made leading up to this
moment in time. If only he could take them all back starting with
accepting Cameron’s offer to take on BBK. If only he could go
back to square one and begin anew, he would’ve done so many things
differently, but now as he found himself contained in the small ten by
ten jail cell, he realized that there was no point in returning to if
only as nothing was going to change unless Avery pulled some kind of
miracle out of her hat.
“Avery,” he muttered under his breath slumping down on the cot once
again as he pondered his newfound alliance with her. While he’d
spent a great many years wanting to destroy her, the mere fact that
she’d rose to the occasion to help him had him completely
baffled. Something had transpired between them after Cameron’s
attack and even now as he found himself rather restless in his cramped
cell, he couldn’t help but wonder if this was yet another one of his
mistakes coming back to haunt him. Had he been too quick to jump
the gun on his opinion of Avery? Was he wrong to have pressed the
issue with her and Russ about her presence in Russell’s life the way he
had? Was this karma coming back to haunt him for…
“Stop,” he raised his hands to his head as he sat upright on the edge
of the cot refusing to give in to the madness that had surrounded him
as it seemed that being locked away even for such a brief time period
was playing with his head.
“Rough night eh,” a voice beckoned him from his thoughts as Grady
looked up from where he was seated to seek out the source of the sound
as there was a man in the cell beside his, masked in the darkness as
his voice rose with the moment. “I’m guessing that you’re not
used to being so closed in.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” Grady muttered to himself as he really
hadn’t found himself in the position to be social despite his inner
“You’ll get used to it,” the man continued despite Grady’s aloof tone,
“I mean hey, the days are long, but nights are longer especially when
you think of all you left behind. Though you know there’s always
hope for a second chance out there. I mean you seem like a nice
enough kid--kind of quiet, but, well decent enough to find your way out
“You have no idea what’s in store for me,” Grady couldn’t help but let
out an ironic laugh as the man stepped out from the shadows revealing
his weathered graying hair as he held the bars before him.
“Oh I think I might have some idea,” the man continued motioning to the
bars beside him, “though I have to tell you, I’ve seen a great many men
like yourself come and go through these kind of places and I have a
feeling about you.”
“How so?” Grady found himself making conversation despite his sour mood.
“Well, you don’t strike me as the type to stay in a situation for
long,” the man paused his voice falling to a whisper as his dark eyes
fixed upon Grady again, “Besides, I know that you’re innocent. I
know all about the man that set you up and had you put in here.
He was here earlier speaking with a few of the officers and he’s the
one that gave them the evidence against you…”
“Excuse me,” Grady gave him a strange look, “what did you just say?”
“I saw him in here earlier talking to that Lieutenant. He’d had a
few things with him and he’d been ranting about a woman,” the man
continued earnestly, “I saw it all when they thought no one was paying
attention. I’ve been in here a few days sleeping off the hangover
that is still eating away at my insides, but I heard everything.
I know that they’re setting you up and I know that it’s only a matter
of time before the world sees that.”
“What were they saying,” Grady questioned rising up off of the cot to
hear more of the man’s tale.
“They were talking about a woman--something about the shooting and how
it would be the key to bringing the man closer to the woman and that
you wouldn’t see it coming. Word spreads like hot fire in here
especially when the law thinks that no one is paying attention, but I
heard it all. I’m telling you that I heard every last word of
what they were saying and the truth is you’re lucky that lady lawyer of
yours is working so hard to keep you safe as you might not have made it
through the night otherwise.”
“What do you know?” Grady demanded feeling a rush of panic sweep over
him, “What did they say?”
“They said that you‘d be out of the picture soon enough. He even
spoke about that lady friend of yours--the woman he‘s interested in and
from the sound of things he‘s planning on making a move tonight--one
that will be sure to have her ’exactly where he wants her’ he said
right before he…” the man started to explain as the sound of footsteps
echoed from the distance alerting them that they were no longer alone
as Grady turned to see a guard in the corridor.
“What’s all the ruckus about,” the gruff looking man demanded as he
glared at the two prisoners, “It’s time to call it a night.”
“I want to speak with my lawyer,” Grady insisted rushing over to the
guard, “It’s imperative that I have a word with her or at least with
“I’m afraid you can’t do that tonight,” the man sneered back at him,
“though I strongly suggest you pipe down before we have to take action
against the both of you.”
“Wait,” Grady reached out through the bars seizing the guard’s arm
before he could walk away.
“Let go of me,” the man hissed at Grady, raising his voice to a fevered
pitch as Grady’s eyes fixed upon him.
“I need to speak with my lawyer. There’s something I need to tell
her and it can’t wait.”
“Well, it’s going to have to,” the guard shoved him away with a thud as
Grady tumbled back onto the floor watching the guard walk away.
“That’s not going to get you out of here,” the man in the cell beside
him continued with a heavy sigh, “as they aren’t going to listen to
what you’re saying. That’s not how the game is played.”
“What did you hear them say specifically about the woman?” Grady
questioned pulling himself up off of the ground desperately.
“What did he say he was going to do to her?”
“He said that after tonight she’d be his,” the man continued shifting
his eyes around the cell he was in with obvious paranoia setting in,
“that he’d seek her out and make sure that she’d forget you…”
“I can’t let him near Jade,” Grady replied clenching his fists at his
“Jade,” the man scratched his chin for a brief moment, “That was her
name. He said that the bitch would soon change her tune after you
were locked up for the rest of your life--that is if prison didn’t take
you down in the process. He spoke about making a move tonight
that would change her life forever.”
“Damn it!” Grady paced around his jail cell suddenly on edge as his
fears for Jade grew exponentially by the moment, “I have to find a way
to reach out to her. I need to warn her that Cameron is coming…”
“There might be a way,” the man’s voice turned into a whisper as the
darkened hues of the shadows that hung over the small holding cell
clouded him in a haze.
“How?” Grady questioned desperate to find a way to reach Jade as the
man grew silent.
“I don’t know if I can…” the man’s voice grew shaky as Grady stepped
towards the bars between them needing a way to reach Jade.
“Tell me,” Grady demanded reaching out for the man through the bars as
his own fears compiled and he found himself in need of a way out of the
situation he’d found himself in.
“If you insist,” the man sneered, seizing the collar of Grady’s prison
issued shirt before Grady felt the cold, hard sting of a blade rip
through the center of his chest causing him to cry out with a heaving
“But…” Grady sucked in a breath of air feeling as if it was leaving his
lungs as the man pushed it in deeper, twisting it with heavy force as
his other hand slid around Grady’s neck keeping him flush against the
bars that separated them and in that instant Grady found himself
finally face to face with the man who’d been spending his time in the
cell beside him. While the dyed gray hair and obvious signs of
makeup had been something that had thrown him off, there was no
mistaking the familiar rage behind the dark eyes before him as Grady
took in the realization of exactly what kind of trap he’d fallen into.
“Cameron wants me to let you know he sends his love and that he’ll take
very good care of Jade,” the man remarked gruffly ripping the blade
from Grady’s chest before moving to thrust it at him again.
Despite the pain that overtook him, Grady sensed the movement through
the darkness realizing that one false move would send him out of this
world forever as he writhed against the man’s hold upon them. He
kicked his leg out forcing himself to use all the strength he’d still
had with him to pull out of reach of the man beside him. Even now
he could feel his life being sucked out of him as the man still
continued to reach out for him with the knife waving it wildly through
the bars. Finally, Grady raised his hand enough, balling it up in
a fist and forcing it at the man’s head watching in a blurred haze as
the impact sent the man backward onto the ground, the knife sliding out
of his hand into the darkness.
Grady took a step back seeing the blood that now soaked his shirt as a
cough rose up from the back of his throat. While he wasn’t sure
if he’d knocked the man out beside him or not, he knew that time
wouldn’t be on his side as he pressed his hand over his wound to the
best of his ability, before spinning around on staggering legs as he
strained to make his way to the front of the cell to call for help, but
just as he found himself within arm’s reach of the bars, his head
started spinning and the world grew dark as he fell to the ground
drifting to the silence that threatened to overtake him.
“Son of a bitch,” the man in the cell beside him roared mustering up
enough strength to pull himself up off of the ground as he prepared to
finish what he’d started with Grady, but as he spotted Grady in the
center of his own jail cell, lying in a thick, dark pool of his blood,
a smile lifted over his features as it seemed that it was a job well
done. With an overwhelming sense of pride, the man pulled himself
up off of the floor fishing out the key to the jail cell he’d been
waiting in since he’d been put on alert by Cameron hours earlier.
Once he’d unlocked the door, he stepped out into the narrow hallway
leading out of the containment area as he pulled his cell phone out of
his pocket dialing the familiar number as planned.
“It’s done,” he spoke into the phone darkly taking one last look at
Grady’s lifeless body on the ground as a wicked smirk spread over his
features. “Denton won’t be a problem anymore after tonight as his
days of being in the way are over.”
“Excellent,” the voice on the other end of the line mused proudly,
“I’ll let Cameron know this has been taken care of.”
“See to it you do because eventually I plan on collecting on this one,”
the man explained hanging up the cell phone and taking one last look in
Grady’s general direction to admire his handiwork before he slipped
into one of the meeting rooms to slip out of the prison wear he’d been
in before leaving the police station and Grady Denton’s lifeless corpse
behind as a sign of yet another job well done on his part.