Episode 107

Deidra finished up with the final touches of her makeup taking one, last, long look at herself as she wondered why she was so giddy about dinner with Dave.  Certainly this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for them and for her to even feel this nervous was just plain ridiculous.  They’d had dinner before in the past, so why should tonight be any different, she thought to herself realizing that she’d had far too much time on her hands to stress over nothing lately.  Although, this strange line of thinking about Dave beat the alternative to worrying about Bruce Mathis and what he might be planning for her next.  Unfortunately though as she let her thoughts drift to the unmentionable topic of her thinking, she felt a shudder race over her.
“So much for trying to keep from making yourself miserable,” she groaned hearing the ringing of her doorbell alerting her that Dave had finally arrived.  Waving her finger at her appearance, she threw out a stern and warning glance, “Now don’t let your sour mood ruin tonight Deidra as you’re going to have a great time with a great friend.”
A great friend, she repeated in her mind thinking of just how good Dave had been to her since she’d returned to town.  While her own sister couldn’t be bothered by her, it was nice to know that she had someone to count on--someone who would take the time to really listen to her and make her feel important all over again.  Someone who wasn’t like Andy and wouldn’t break her heart.  Wait a second, she frowned as she stopped mid-motion thinking about that one thought that had entered into her mind.  Where did breaking her heart come into the picture?  Dave was only a friend--one of her best friends and she wasn’t about to let anything else keep her from remembering that. 
She wasn’t looking for love and now wasn’t the time to start feeling these strange nagging feelings about Dave as really they weren’t much more than her nagging hormones reminding her that she’d been without someone special in her life for a very long time.  Andy had given up on their physical relationship long ago and well, that had left her feeling less than adequate.  Of course she’d been with Christian or rather Bruce, but then again that in itself would be something she’d use to serve as a very firm reminder of just what it meant to be impulsive and reckless.  It brought trouble and danger and she wasn’t about to let that part of her take control again.  She would hold the reigns on her wild side and just be the same, old, boring, yet safe Deidra.  Yes, that was decidedly the better choice.
“Quit stalling,” she muttered under her breath again hearing Dave’s knocking beyond the ramblings in her mind.  Rushing over to the door, she opened it finding him standing before her, with a small package tucked under his arm.
“Hello beautiful,” Dave greeted her with a cheerful smile as he leaned in to give her a quick, friendly kiss on the cheek.   
“Dave,” she spoke his name feeling a whole new set of sensations register at such a platonic gesture on his end.  Certainly she was clearly losing it all over again, she frowned as she pulled back straining to keep her displeasure with herself from showing.
“For you,” Dave explained holding out the package he’d carried up with him.
“What is that?” Deidra questioned as he wiggled the box around in his hands before extending it out towards her.
“You’ll have to see for yourself, though I will give you one hint,” he added with a sparkling grin, “It’s a bit of a housewarming gift.”
“If it turns out to be a carton of pepper spray or some kind of personal alarm Dave,” she began in a warning tone.
“Not even close, although those aren’t bad ideas either,” he confessed as if pondering the thought for a second or two, “why don’t you open that and see if you like it?”
“Hmm, well since you’re being all mysterious about it, what do I have to lose,” Deidra teased inviting him in as she made her way through her apartment more curious than ever to see what it was that Dave had brought for her.  She felt herself thinking about all the ways in which he’d been able to make her smile lately and this was no exception as she could see that he truly was a wonderful guy--one that she was very fortunate to have in her life.
“So what are you in the mood for tonight?  I don’t think we covered that one already, did we?” Dave questioned making conversation as she tore the paper off of the packaging.
“Whatever you’re up for as I’m sure I’ll enjoy it,” Deidra shrugged her shoulders casually as her eyes fell upon the contents of the box, “Oh Dave!  I can’t believe you did this.”
“It was nothing,” he answered sheepishly watching as she pulled out the rag doll he’d bought for her, hugging it into her arms as she spun around to face him.
“It’s Molly Mulberry,” she squealed with enthusiasm as her eyes cascaded over the doll she was holding, “I haven’t seen one of these in years!”
“I know, which is why when I happened upon one of them, well I got to thinking about when we were kids and I remembered you’d always carried one of those with you,” he stated simply seeing the joy that the memory from their childhood had brought to her, “I know that back then she always made you smile when things weren’t going so well, so I thought that maybe now she could help give you a sense of security in those times when you’re not so sure about things.”   
“Oh Dave, I don’t know what to say.  I mean this means so very much and…” she found herself at a loss as he waved his hand at her dismissively.  “Well I just feel as if I should give you something as well as a mere thank you just doesn’t seem appropriate.”
“Hey, it was nothing and besides seeing you smiling like that is exactly what I needed tonight,” he began feeling a heat rise up over his cheeks at the way she was smiling at him.  Somehow in being close to her, it always managed to sent sparks of electricity running over him from his head to the tips of his toes.
“Oh Dave, thank you so much,” Deidra stepped forward throwing her arms around him as he reciprocated the gesture squeezing her in tighter against him.  He inhaled the sweet scent of her floral perfume as his pulse quickened, his heart stirring with all those sensations he’d vowed not to let get in the way of their friendship as he held her.  Somehow nothing in the world could be more perfect than this moment they were sharing as she was wrapped up in his arms.
“You’re welcome,” he managed to whisper savoring the seconds they’d shared in an embrace as Deidra slowly eased back to gaze into his dark eyes.
“Dave, I’d be so lost without you,” she confessed in a soft, enchanting tone as they both seemed to be lost in the moment, looking into one another in silence as something clearly was brewing between them.
“I’m so glad you’re back Dee,” he admitted allowing his thoughts to slip past as his palm grazed the side of her features, feeling a rush of thrills upon him as her eyelashes fluttered upon contact.  He watched her lips part in a shivering inhale as he leaned in towards her anticipating the sweet ecstasy of her lush, ever so kissable lips, but before he could truly seal the moment he’d waited an eternity for, the buzzing vibration at his hip caused him to leap back in shock.
“Dave,” she gave him a strange look watching his sudden reaction as it seemed that she too had felt something shift between them.  Standing up straighter, she dropped her gaze to the floor before hearing the sounds of his pager buzzing, “It sounds like someone wants you.”
“Unfortunately,” Dave frowned taking note of the number before him, “I need to make a quick phone call.”
“You can use my phone,” Deidra offered watching him slip further into the kitchen as she moved out into the living room to give him some privacy.  Leaning up against the wall between the two rooms, she exhaled a desperate breath bracing herself up against the drywall as it seemed that her mind and her body were certainly set on playing tricks with her tonight.  Could she have just imagined the moment or was she about to kiss Dave in all the ways she swore to herself that she’d never do with her best friend?  No, that certainly wasn’t happening, she tried to reason, yet she was almost certain she’d felt it beginning between them.
“Dee, I’m sorry to have to do this,” Dave began stepping out of her kitchen as a frown touched over his features.  He started to explain the phone call, but stopped short as he took in the sight of her resting against the wall, looking like she’d stepped out of the pages of a beauty magazine right before him with her eyes closed and her lips pursed in a sexy pout of sorts.
“Huh?” she questioned standing upright growing rigid as she bit on her lower lip nervously, “Did you say something?”
“Actually, yeah,” he frowned again remembering the reason why he wanted to up and quit his job for being so damn intrusive upon his life, “that was the station.”
“Is something wrong?” she questioned sensing the change in him as she wrapped her arms around her body with a brief shiver.
“Unfortunately something’s come up in the Mahoney case and since there’s a lot going on with Grady Denton and all else, I have to go in and see if this lead gets us anywhere with that investigation,” he paused feeling his heart ache at the thought of walking away from her at such a landmark moment between them as he was almost certain that if they’d had a minute longer it could’ve been something spectacular.
“I understand,” she nodded accordingly, “and you know if you want to reschedule, then we can do that.”
“Normally I’d say that I’d come by after everything was said and done, but given the level of media coverage to this case,” he sighed heavily wondering why in the world he’d ever put himself in such a high profile position to begin with.
“Dave, it’s fine.  We can do this again sometime as I’m sure I can find other ways to keep busy tonight,” Deidra flashed him a sympathetic smile, “Maybe I’ll head over and see my mother since it’s been a while since we’ve been able to have a girl’s night.”
“I’m so sorry,” he began taking a step towards her and offering up his arm as he felt so many unspoken things happening between them.
“Hey, it’s okay.  Next time we’ll just pray that the criminals in town work around our dinner schedule,” she teased with a wink before standing up straighter, “Seriously Dave go on and do what you have to.  I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure,” he questioned again watching her nod again.
“Of course I will be, but hey if you’re really that concerned, then you can walk me out to my car,” she reached for her purse before making her way towards the front door, “That way we can chat a bit longer before you have to go.  Besides, I’m dying to know where you found Molly.”
“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you,” Dave admitted following her out of her apartment as he wondered if he’d ever truly be able to find happiness and fulfillment in his life with the woman he cared about when it seemed that his job sent him off in the opposite direction time and time again.


Sam walked into the restaurant and spotted Travis sitting in the corner by himself reading a menu and talking on the phone. She took a deep breath as Travis hung up the phone and checked his watch impatiently. She walked over to the corner table and before she even got a chance to sit down the phone rang again. She sighed and waited for him to get off the phone once more before joining him at the table. She approached the table and cleared her throat to get his attention. He looked up and smiled, "Sam, you made it."

"Yeah, I told you I'd meet you for dinner," Sam gave a slight shrug, "And I'm not the one who makes faulty promises."

Travis brushed off that comment and got up out of his chair arms outstretched. When Sam didn't react he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly, "It's been a long time."

"And who's fault is that?" she asked pulling away from his grasp, taking a seat across from where he was sitting.

"Now come on Sam," he took his seat once more, "I'm interested in what's going on with you're life."

"Wow, that would be a first," she shot back, motioning a waitress over and ordering a water.

"So," Travis took another sip of his drink, "have you got anyone special in your life right now?"

"Not that it's any of your concern, but yes." she answered running a hand through her hair.

"What's he like?" he asked with interest.

"Not like you, which makes him a hell of a lot better in my eyes," Sam gave a faulty smile and crossed one leg over the other.

Travis gave out a loud sigh, "Is the whole dinner going to be like this?"

"Be like what?" Sam asked as she picked up a menu and focused all her attention on it.

"Being all aggressive," he took a sip of his wine, "and attacking me."

"I'm not attacking you," she put down the menu and looked at him in a serious manner, "I'm not understanding you. That's what's going on."

"What do you want to understand?" he asked reaching over the table and grasping her hand, "I'll tell you anything you want to know."

"What I don't understand is how you could want to be my father now," she paused pulling her hand out of his grasp, "After so many years you decide you want to be a part of my life now."

"Look Sam," he ran a hand through his hair and sighed, "I know I have done a lot of wrong things in life. If I could take them back I would. The biggest mistake I've ever made is not be a father to you like I should have. I missed you growing up, I missed all the things a father should be around for. I missed a lot of time and I want to make up that time."

"Well, sometimes you can't make up for the things you've lost." Sam looked him in the eye, "And sometime..."

The waitress came back and took their orders. Sam stayed quiet, playing with her water glass as Travis was also very quiet looking at Sam as if trying to read her. He didn't know what to say or what to do to make Sam understand that he wasn't the same guy he used to be during her childhood. He wanted her to know that she was very important to him and that he wished he could take back every moment he missed with her. Searching her eyes, he couldn't find the right words to say. He felt he needed to at least attempt, "Look Sam.."

"Yeah?" she looked up from her water glass and stared into his eyes.

"I'm sor..." Travis started to say something but his phone rang, "hold on I have to take this."

"Like always," Sam shot back, rolling her eyes and twirling her finger around the rim of her water glace.

"Yes I understand. Yeah, I'll be there in fifteen minutes," Travis hung up the phone and looked at his daughter with an apologetic look on his face, "I'm sorry Sam, I have to go into work."

"This is exactly why we have no relationship," Sam stood up and pushed her chair in, "the job always came before the family."

"Sam, that's not true and you know it," he pleaded with her putting his cell phone into his jacket, "I don't have a job like most fathers okay? I can't just turn down the jobs they want me to do any old time."

"That's right you choose work again. Go do your job. It's the only one you're good at," Sam put on her jacket and turned her back to him, "You know when you find the guy that truly wants to be my father give me a call, until then don't sit here and try to buddy-buddy me just to disappear again. I'm not setting myself up to be hurt by you again."

"Please, don't act like this," he pleaded attempting to hug her.

"No don't touch me," she backed away from him, "You've hurt me so many times in the past just by not being there. I'm not going to get my hopes up in the chance that you'll change. People don't change unless they want to. They won't change for their family or their friend or anyone they care about if they don't have the ambition and determination. You lack both. So I'm going to put a smile on my face, keep my chin held high, and go back to my daily life. I grew up without a father and I sure as hell don't need one now. Goodbye Travis."

"Sam wait..." Travis called out to her as she turned back to look at him once more, "Come with me. It's not a good way to be a father I know, but come with me and see what I do."
"Why would I do that?" she asked raising an eyebrow, "I don't respect what you do."
"Well, enlighten me," he pleaded with her once more, "Please just come along with me."
"Fine," Sam sighed giving in, "I'll be outside waiting."
"I swear we could..." Travis attempted to talk to her but she stormed out of the restaurant not giving him a chance.

He sighed reaching for his wallet and paid the bill. He looked at the barely eaten dinner and just shook his head. Things were going to be a hell of a lot harder to patch up with Sam then he thought. They got into his car and started the silent drive over to Jenna Carpenter's apartment to try and solve another piece of the Kipp Mahoney mystery.


Dorothy walked into Jenna's apartment and glanced around in the hopes of seeking out her daughter. She saw all of the police officers looking around the place then noticed Hart and Jenna standing in one of the corners. Jenna looked like she had been scared to death and Dorothy wanted to be there for her daughter. She rushed over and gave her a big hug, "Oh Jenna baby."

"I'm alright mom," Jenna reassured her, "I...it's not me...it’s..."

"I know baby," Dorothy ran her hand through her daughter's hair as Hart stood by their side, "I know."

"Mom...that’s Kipp," she shuttered thinking about the finger she found, "I just can't believe.."

Jenna choked off and Dorothy just held her tighter, "I don't know what kind of sick bastard would do such a thing but you listen here. Nobody is ever going to hurt you, you understand me?"

"I'm not worried about me," Jenna stared blankly at the place where she opened the box, "I'm worried for.."

"Where is my son?" Doug Mahoney burst into Jenna's apartment with an angry look on his face, "Where is he? I heard you found something on the case."

Jenna pulled away from her mother's grasp and looked over at her father with extreme irritation. She walked over to him and slapped him right across the face as she found herself unable to hold back any longer, "How dare you come in here uninvited."

"I..I.." Doug was stunned at how Jenna approached him.

"No, you listen and listen good," she poked him in the chest hard, "My brother has been brutally disfigured or worse and what for? Because of you.  Being a father you would think that you would look out for your children and be a real man, but you don't understand the term!  And being concerned with your family's safety would be your top priority, right?  In times like these, you would think you would think that you would take precautions to keep something like this from happening to your son, wouldn't you?  I mean you wouldn‘t willingly put him in danger.."

"Why ye..."

"No, I wasn't done," Jenna put a hand up to silence him, "You would think you'd take precautions and avoid things harmful to your family by avoiding conflict right?  Wrong, not Douglas Mahoney.  He has to go and make things worse by sleeping with Thea, someone who works with one of the biggest dangers to each and every one of us."

"It's not like that Jenna," he pleaded with her, "Please understand..."

"Understand what?" she interrupted him, "Understand that you are a worthless father? Or understand that you are a heartless bastard? Which of the above."   

"Jenna, you don't mean what you're saying," Doug put a hand on her shoulder, "I love my..."

"Love isn't even a word that should be in your vocabulary," Jenna pushed his hand off her, "you wouldn't know what love was if it smacked you in the face."

"That's not fair," Doug shot back anger rising in his face. "You have no right to talk to me this way I am your father."

"And a fine job you're doing," she shot at him sarcastically, "Quite frankly you suck at it 'dad'"

"I love you as best a father could under the circumstances as from the moment I found out that you were mine, I wanted nothing more than for us to have a relationship with one another like we‘ve both wanted," Doug informed her, "and you don't know.."

"You couldn't feel love."
"I do feel love,  I may not be able to express..."

"Tell me do you feel the love now?" Jenna interrupted and raised a hand to smack him again needing someone to blame for what was happening to her brother, but Doug was too quick and grabbed her wrist.

"Get your hands off of my daughter," Dorothy stepped up pushing Doug back.

"Dorothy," Doug released Jenna's wrist as Hart came and wrapped his arms around her.

 "Don't you ever touch her again," Dorothy threatened getting up in his face, "You think you can come in here and run the show, but it doesn‘t work that way Doug.  None of us have to answer for you and you have no right to come in here and upset my daughter like this!"

"I wasn't going to hurt her," Doug groaned in disgust, "and if you think I was then you have no idea what kind of man I am."

"I have every idea of what kind of man you are," Dorothy shot back, "And that's why I say get the hell out of my daughter's apartment."

"I heard that the police found something on Kipp," Doug ignored Dorothy's request and stood his ground, "And I'm not leaving until I find out what."

"Doug Mahoney, you leave right now," Dorothy glared at him, keeping direct eye contact.

"I'm not going anywhere," Doug shot back crossing his arms, "And there isn’t anyone that can make me leave until I find my son."

“I think you need to leave right now before I make the police escort you away,” Preston was leaning on the doorframe observing what was going on, ‘Or even worse, I’ll make you leave.”
"Preston," Dorothy gasped as she saw him, "I didn't know when you'd get here."
"Well I'm here now and not a moment too soon,” he walked over to them and stood between the girls and Doug, “I believe both these ladies asked you to leave."

"Do you're worst," Doug dared him ready to go nose to nose with the man Dorothy‘s heart now belonged to, "but I'm still not leaving and there‘s nothing you can do to change that fact."


Deidra stood outside her mother’s apartment knocking on the door for the fifth time as she wondered if perhaps she’d been wrong in assuming that her mother would be home for the evening.  Somehow she’d imagined that her mother wouldn’t be out and about after she and Richard had parted ways, but perhaps Deidra was wrong.  Judy hadn’t gotten into specifics about what had happened exactly, but with the way her mother had sounded, Deidra had no doubts in her mind that the separation had been something that had her mother feeling down in the dumps.  At least that’s what Deidra had imagined, Deidra thought to herself as she knocked again ready to give up when her mother finally opened the door.
“Deidra,” Judy gasped in response bringing her fingers up to her own hair, “I wasn’t expecting you tonight.”
“I thought I’d surprise you,” Deidra confessed with a smile, “Can I come in for a bit?”
“Oh of course,” Judy nodded opening the door to let Deidra inside, “Don’t mind the mess.  I just haven’t known what to do with myself lately as I’ve been so busy.”
“I know the feeling,” Deidra nodded in agreement taking in the obvious signs of her mother’s depression as there were various boxes of Kleenex laying around the apartment.
“Well, things are rather busy at the office,” Judy continued to lie scooping up the boxes before Deidra, “as Ken had to go out of town unexpectedly and…”
“Mom, you don’t have to pretend for me,” Deidra began knowingly, “I realize what it means to have your heart broken.”
“Deidra, I’d really rather not talk about this now…” Judy began unwilling to step back into the same old pattern of self-destruction that she’d been on since she’d pushed Richard out of her life.
“I realize that which is why I came over actually,” Deidra blurted out enthusiastically, “I really just wanted to see if you’d join me for a night out on the town.  It’s been a while since we’ve done that and I really think that we should get back to giving it a try there.”
“Deidra, I don’t know…” Judy began hesitant to go anywhere in her current state of mind, “I really planned on staying home all by myself and…”
“And nothing.  I’m not going to fight with you on this.  We’re going out and that’s the way it’s going to be.  Case closed,” Deidra rushed in towards her mother grabbing her arm swiftly, “no arguments.  Got it?”
“Deidra, I really don’t want to be around town when I feel horrible,” Judy spoke up in protest.
“Fine, then we won’t be around town.  I know the best little place just outside of town and I’m sure that you’ll love it.  We’ll just get you into something a bit more appropriate for our night out and then we’ll throw caution to the wind and have a good time.  What do you say?” Deidra threw out encouragingly.
“Honey, I just don’t know…” Judy began with obvious hesitation.
“Trust me on this one mom.  You need to go out and enjoy yourself--if for nothing else, than with me as it’s been so long since either one of us could say we’ve done just that,” Deidra added pleadingly.
“You’re right,” Judy nodded as she thought it over, “you’re absolutely right.  It’s been far too long since I’ve been able to enjoy some time alone with my oldest daughter.”
“Exactly, which is why I can promise you tonight you’re going to be in for a night that I can assure you that you’ll never forget,” Deidra assured her hoping to find a way to make her mother’s life a bit more enjoyable at least for a little while as a night out was exactly what they both needed.


“Brooke, I have to go,” Hunt repeated for what felt like the hundredth time as he reached for his shirt, shuffling it up over his head to slip into it after his latest act of indiscretion with her.  He could feel her shifting restlessly behind him sliding her arm around his muscled abdomen as she placed a shameless kiss over his spine as if attempting to coax him back into bed with her, “I really shouldn’t have come over here in the first place.”
“Oh phooey, of course you should’ve,” Brooke waved her hand at him dismissively, “You know this was exactly what we both needed and it really shouldn‘t end just yet.  Come back to bed.”
“I’m late Brooke,” Hunt frowned immediately hating that he’d not been able to make his dinner date with Mindy.  As guilt spread over him, he stood up off of the edge of the bed seeking out his shoes, “I have to go.”
“No you don’t,” Brooke argued with him reaching for her robe as she chased after him throwing her arms around him.  She moved in closer behind him clinging to his body as she gave him a desperate squeeze, “Hunt, you don’t have to go anywhere tonight.  Rick isn’t around and…”
“I know Brooke,” he sighed heavily closing his eyes as he thought about what he’d become, “but I don’t think that…”
“Don’t think,” she whispered circling around him before placing her index finger over the center of his lips, “as that’s not what I have you here for anyways.”
“Gee, that’s refreshing,” he grumbled in response opening his eyes to take note of the predatory stare she was devouring him with.
“Oh don’t pretend that you don’t enjoy our well spent time together,” she curled her lip in a pout as she fanned her fingers over the center of his chest, “as I’m well aware of how enthusiastic you are about our time together.”
“Brooke, right now I just can’t…” he began trying to find an out as he felt himself slipping back to that same feeling of discontent that always followed his meetings with Brooke.
“I do love you, you know and one day, well soon we’ll be able to quit doing this,” Brooke tried to assure him, “We’ll be able to be where we want to be with our relationship and I know that when that time happens, well we’re going to be so happy together--even happier than we are tonight.”
“Brooke, I’m starting to doubt that one as you can’t be honest with yourself about what’s happening here.  Somehow I don’t see you ever telling your family what you’ve just said to me,” Hunt stated doubtful as he eyed her intently, “I think you’re just trying to appease me here since it‘s just the two of us away from the world.”
“Is that’s what’s bothering you?  That I’ve kept us private?” she questioned with wide eyes, “Hunt, what do you want from me?  A billboard giving the world our most intimate details?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying, but maybe a chance for us to be out and about in public for a change might be nice instead of always sneaking around.  I mean, what is it?  Are you embarrassed of me or something?” Hunt continued with a sigh, “Is that what it is because Brooke I’m not embarrassed about what I feel for you except in times like this when you choose to keep it a secret.”
“So you’re asking for public exposure, huh?  You want me to just proclaim that I’m with you and then I can lose all that I’ve worked so very hard to gain over the years?  Do you have any idea how fast Richard will take my company away if he thought we were doing this?” she accused as her voice grew bitter and jaded.
“Maybe he should know because then you could finally see that the world won’t end without him.  I can give you things that will make you happy.  You used to tell me that our love was enough, but I guess that was just a line too, right?” he shot back unwilling to sit back and take another second of this conversation again as he turned away, “Forget it.  I’m leaving.”
“No wait,” she chased after him stopping him mid-movement, “Hunt, I’m sorry.  You’re right.  I’ve been thoughtless and I can make it up to you.  In fact, I’ll make it up to you starting now--tonight even!”
“How?” he questioned facing her once again.
“Over dinner.  We can go out for dinner with one another.  I’ll get cleaned up and then we can go to this place that I know you’re going to love.  It’s a short drive away and I’m sure that…”
“No way,” he cut her off, “I’m not going to do it if it involves us in some dark restaurant with you hiding behind your menu.”
“I swear to you it won’t be,” Brooke moved in closer to him stepping up on her toes to kiss his neck gingerly, “as it’ll be a night of dinner, dancing, some fine wine…”
“I don’t know,” he frowned again thinking about his promise to meet with Mindy.
“Hunt please, just give me tonight.  Let me have one last chance to show you how much you mean to me,” she urged him on again as that did it.  Hunt felt his resolve slipping away as he offered up a quick nod.
“Alright,” he sighed dropping his head down low as she let out a squeal of enthusiasm.
“Excellent.  I’ll just get dressed quickly and then I’ll be out in a minute, so you just wait here and we can go,” she squealed rushing into the master bathroom as Hunt dropped down onto the bed sinking his head in his hands.
Was he about to make yet another monumental mistake?  Could he have blown something wonderful by giving Brooke another chance, and furthermore would Mindy ever forgive him for not showing up?  Feeling guilt eat away at him, Hunt reached for his cell phone dialing Mindy’s number only to have her voice mail pick up.
“Hey Mindy,” he cleared his throat uneasily, “I’m sorry about tonight. Something came up, but I promise you that I’ll make it up to you sometime soon if you’ll give me another chance.  I really didn’t mean to leave you hanging and for that I’m sorry,” he finished hanging up the phone as guilt ate away at him.
“Ready?” Brooke questioned emerging from the bathroom as if she’d just gone through a major makeover as she seemed radiant as ever.
“As ready as I’m going to ever be,” he nodded grudgingly hoping that after tonight he would still be able to face himself in the morning.


“This place is incredible.  How did you ever discover it,” Shannon confessed taking in the atmosphere of the quiet, little Italian restaurant that Diego had picked out for their evening together as it seemed that he was just full of surprises.  Now after they’d finished their meal she couldn’t help but find herself more charmed than ever by the handsome doctor before her.
“I found it a long time ago when I was working at the hospital just a few blocks away,” he confessed with the beginnings of a smile, “A patient of mine had been craving something that they could only find here, so I made a trip out here to get that for her and after that, well I was hooked.”
“That must’ve been some patient,” Shannon noted with a curious expression.
“She was,” he nodded in agreement catching note of the expression that crossed over her features, “and I have to say she enjoyed the spaghetti and meatballs I picked up for her almost as much as the Pretty Princess Pony.”
“Pretty Princess Pony huh,” Shannon felt a laugh tickle up over her spine, “I take it she wasn’t old enough to realize how handsome and wonderful her doctor was.”
“She was the wonderful one,” he replied feeling a blush overtake him, “and I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to call myself handsome there.”
“That’s too bad if you wouldn’t,” Shannon smiled at him, “as I’d have to say it would be a sin not to at least give yourself credit where credit is due.”
“Now you’re flatting me,” Diego replied leaning in closer to take note of the sexy sparkle behind her eyes as her sultry laughter swept over him.
“I only call them like I see them as I’m very straight to the point,” Shannon divulged matching his movement as she too leaned in across the table, “I hope that doesn’t bother you.”
“Not in the least as I find it rather charming,” Diego confessed unable to contain himself as he began to realize just how long it had been since he’d been able to enjoy a moment like this, “though I will admit it does have me a bit worried about the future ahead of us here.”
“Oh?” she arched a curious brow, “and why is that?”
“Well truth be told, I was wondering if you were always going to beat me to the punch or if this time I’ll be able to get the opportunity to say all the right things before you read my mind and call me on what I’m thinking,” he couldn’t help but tease noting the color that carried over her as she leaned back in her chair.
“I’m sorry,” she began to apologize, “I have this tendency to read people really well and before I know it, well I’m going around telling them what they’ll do and saying all the wrong things which usually gets me into trouble, but still.  I guess it’s just part of how I approach a situation and…”
“As I said before, it’s charming,” Diego cut her off with a sexy smile, “although I do have one question here before we go any further.”
“What might that be,” she inquired with questioning eyes.
“If I ask you to dance with me, will you be bound and determined to take the lead on that one as well,” he couldn’t help but teased loving the way her nose seemed to wrinkle up just the slightest bit as her laughter appeared again.
“I think in this particular situation I might be willing to compromise,” Shannon decided watching as Diego rose from his chair stepping aside and holding his hand out to her in a gentlemanly gesture.
“May I have this dance,” Diego questioned hearing the soft sounds on the dance floor shift to a slow, subtle romantic tone as he offered his hand out to her. 
Noting the way Shannon rose up from her seat with such grace and poise, Diego couldn’t help but wonder what more there was to know about the beautiful nurse he’d taken a chance on for the evening.  At first he’d had second thoughts about what it would mean to finally go out for an official date after all this time, but having met Shannon in a moment that she probably would’ve deemed less than flattering, he couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her charm, thus making him see that maybe just maybe she was worth taking a chance on.  Tonight however he was taking a risk that he was certain he would never attempt again after losing Maria.  Sure, he’d found himself interested women every now and then, but none that had truly captured his attention like Shannon had earlier in the afternoon.
Okay, so maybe that wasn’t entirely true, Diego thought to himself as he thought to the time he’d spent with Heather earlier in the day.  She was beautiful and impulsive, reckless and difficult, yet charming and enchanting all in the same breath.  What man couldn’t help but be drawn in by such an enigma, but then again Heather was the kind of enigma that was bound to have a man burned.  Diego had enough of that in his life and right now wasn’t about stepping into the fire full force.  Besides Heather was a married woman with a child on the way and there was no way in this lifetime that he would allow himself to give their relationship any room to evolve anything more than to the professional one he’d set firm ground rules for between them.  Sure, the lines might’ve been blurred, but Heather was completely wrong for anything that Diego might have planned for the future.
And here in the present you’re with a beautiful, intelligent, caring woman, Diego reminded himself as he lead Shannon to the dance floor.  She was stunning and words couldn’t even begin to express how easy it had been to strike up a conversation with her over dinner.  She hadn’t been like most of the other women he’d met in his lifetime that were far too concerned with their appearance to take a bite of the meal they’d ordered for dinner as she had found no shame in ordering a steak and finishing it off.  She’d also spoke candidly with him about her work at the hospital and didn’t seem to shy away from touching on topics that some woman would otherwise avoid altogether.  She was intelligent, witty and beautiful.  Sure, she wasn’t high maintenance beautiful like Heather, but she had a natural beauty that was evident to anyone with eyes as she’d worn very minimal makeup for their dinner with one another and yet Diego had never recalled a woman who had come across as being so natural, carefree and beautiful all at once as it was obvious that Shannon was clearly at ease with herself.  A trait that clearly defined the mark of a strong woman and with her take charge kind of go getter personality, Diego found himself even more interested to learn more about what was going on beneath the surface.
“So, tell me, are you having a good time tonight,” Shannon broke through his thoughts easing her arms around his shoulders as he held her, swaying to the music as the scent of her perfume enticed his senses.
“Indeed I am,” he nodded encouragingly, “as tonight by far exceeded my expectations.”
“In other words you thought tonight would be a flop, huh,” Shannon began to frown briefly.
“Not because of you, but because of me,” Diego sighed heavily, “as I haven’t exactly done this in a long time.”
“Eaten out at a restaurant,” she joked sensing a seriousness in his tone, “because I must say you had very good table manners and you were quite proper there tonight.”
“Cute,” Diego couldn’t help but laugh in response.
“I try to be,” Shannon remarked feeling his arm curl tighter around her waist as the warmth of him filled her body with a sense of anticipation for the rest of the evening.
“I think it just comes natural with you Shannon and there isn’t any real trying involved,” he confessed in a low whisper leaning in to whisk a loose strand of her blonde hair away from her face as he took advantage of the moment caressing her cheek tenderly as their gazes locked upon one another.
“Now who is being the flatterer,” Shannon questioned inhaling the sweet scent of his lips just above hers as she could feel the chemistry arching between them running rampant like a wildfire while she anticipated what it would be like to taste his mouth, to indulge in the simple pleasures of Dr. Diego Hernandez as he held her.  If his strong embrace was to be of any indication as to where he would be in terms of kissing, then she was quite certain that she would enjoy every moment spent with him.
“I only call them as I see them,” he replied using her words on her as he inched in closer to her wondering if he was bold enough to just take a chance on something completely unexpected and unimaginable for him, but before he could follow through on temptation he heard the crashing sounds of something just short of the dance floor.
“What the,” Shannon questioned nearly leaping out of his arms to inspect the source of the sound.  She stiffened seemingly expecting something disastrous behind them as she took note of the waiter, who now lay across the floor near where their table had been with his tray full of desserts that he‘d been carrying around all night smashed into the carpeting beneath him.  Letting out a breath of relief as she turned to Diego, she offered up a feeble attempt at trying to recover from the interruption, “Well it could’ve been much worse as it seems that we were lucky evade disaster.”
“Not lucky enough,” Diego frowned as his eyes darted past the waiter to the woman who was now rushing towards them full force, clearly unscathed by the strawberry cheesecake that now clung to the unusually high heel her of her shoe.
“There you are,” Heather screeched at Diego marching in towards him emphatically, “Do you have any idea how unbelievably hard it was for me to find you tonight or what I had to go through to get to you considering that I need you.”
“Heather, now is not the time,” Diego warned her sharply stepping in front of Shannon as he attempted to keep her from the whirlwind of drama that he was certain Heather had brought with her.
“The hell it isn’t,” Heather raised her clenched fist holding a wrinkled page within it, “Do you have any idea what this is?  Any idea at all?”
“I’m sure whatever it is, we can talk about it tomorrow as I’m a bit busy at the moment,” Diego started in a smooth and even voice straining to keep from losing his cool as he could only imagine what Shannon must be thinking at a time like this.
“Look Diego, this can’t wait,” Heather remarked impatiently, “It can’t wait another second and if this is something that intrudes upon your date, then tough because I need you right now.  In fact,” she stepped around him ready to face down whomever was unfortunate enough to have dared to ask Diego out for the evening as she was prepared to stake her claim on Diego, but before she could conjure up the best possible get lost speech, her eyes fell upon Shannon and her jaw dropped in shock.  Turning to look between Diego and Shannon, she felt herself speechless before she finally glared over at Diego,  “You abandoned me tonight to have dinner with her?  For Shannon?”
“Well if he was abandoning you, I could see why he would want to Heather,” Shannon quipped in response.
“I did no such thing Heather as we didn’t have any plans with one another for tonight,” Diego turned to look at Shannon apologetically, “I swear that I didn’t…”
“Oh why are you even bothering to speak with her let alone go out with her,” Heather waved her hand at them dismissively before she glared at Shannon, “Don’t you have work to do like oh I don’t know say go over to the Ashford mansion and go crying to Brant to have him take you back only to get thrown out on your ass yet again.”
“Gee, you know Heather, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind since I hear you’re the queen of that,” Shannon shot back icily, “though from what I hear you’ve been banned from the property these days.”
“At least I don’t have a restraining order against me,” Heather threw out coldly, “and besides, you didn’t get it then, nor do you get it now, but Brant was never really interested.  I mean it took him what?  A whole two weeks before he proposed to me after you were gone?”
“And a lot of good that did you huh,” Shannon huffed clenching her fists at her side as Diego took in the scene between the two women in confusion.
“Heather, that’s enough,” Diego snapped at her not really knowing what was going on, but not really caring as his date was going downhill from the moment Heather had rolled in like thunder crashing in upon it.
“No, let her keep talking Diego as she’s bound to show the rest of this town that don’t already know it just how classless she really is,” Shannon charged in response, cutting a bitter glare in Heather’s direction.
“Hmm, well at least I didn’t have to handcuff Brant down to gain his attention because you know I couldn’t believe how desperate you were to use your position with the bureau to get into his bed again,” Heather lashed out at her.
“Hey, it got me closer than it did you, didn’t it?” Shannon taunted her, “and besides, you and Brant deserve one another as you‘re both completely useless these days.”
“Go to hell Shannon,” Heather lunged towards her as Diego stepped in between them taking the brunt of Heather’s surprised attack on Shannon as Heather decked him square across the jaw sending him flying to the ground.
“That’s it Heather,” Shannon couldn’t help but react reaching out to grab Heather’s arm in a move that had her restrained as Diego shook his head, watching the scene unfold from the floor as he’d discovered himself seated upon a piece of chocolate fudge cake.
“I take it you two know one another?” Diego couldn’t help but question in astonishment.
“Unfortunately,” Shannon nodded in confession feeling Heather writhe against the hold Heather had on her.
“Let go of me or I swear being suspended from the FBI will be the least of your problems by the time my husband is through with you,” Heather warned sharply as Diego’s eyes widened in response to Heather’s words.
“The FBI,” he repeated in confusion watching Shannon let go of Heather, “No you’re mistaken.  Shannon is a nurse.”
“Is that what she told you,” Heather chuckled with mild amusement as she briefly glanced over at Shannon again, “Oh Diego, you’re in worse shape than I took you for.  More than likely she was sent here tonight to spy on you because you’re spending with me.  This town has a lot of problems with people in a position of power and since my husband has a bad rep and Shannon has an axe to grind since Brant left her to be with me a while ago, well it’s only natural that she’d tried to schmooze information on me out of you.”
“Is that true,” Diego gave Shannon a strange look feeling as if the time he’d spent with the woman before him was nothing but an illusion, “Do you work for the FBI?”
“Officially I do, but she’s completely wrong about her idiotic theory as I’m doing some work for a friend at the hospital and…” Shannon started feeling a pang of guilt at the way she’d lied to Diego about who she really was.  She’d been tempted to be honest with him, but as they’d enjoyed dinner, she found that it was the first time in a long time that she’d been able to be just Shannon Pryce without all the stigmas attached to her career.  She didn’t have to worry about her date’s reaction to her having been in such a male dominated work force and furthermore Diego was different, but now as she saw the disappointment flash behind his eyes, she reached out to him, “I wanted to tell you the truth, but I’m working undercover and…”
“What kind of undercover work,” Diego questioned immediately tensing up at the thought of what she was telling him.
“Nothing that concerns you as it’s dealing with well, I can’t really get into it…” Shannon started apologetically.
“I told you she was spying on us,” Heather insisted with a huff.
“Oh would you just shut up,” Shannon snapped at her, “Diego, I wanted to tell you, but I just couldn’t as…”
“It’s about Bruce Mathis, isn’t it,” Diego questioned knowingly, “That was what the little scene was about back at the hospital.  You wanted to know more about him from me so that you could find a way to catch him right?”
“Well the thought had crossed my mind for a brief moment, but that ended as soon as we started talking with one another.  I didn’t take the position at the hospital to spy on you or anything like that as…” Shannon began again.
“Save it,” Diego took a step back anger flooding over his cheeks as he looked between the two women, “I think I’ve learned more than enough tonight to last me a lifetime, but hey you know it sounds like the both of you have a lot of catching up to do.  Why don’t you two do just that as I just remembered I have somewhere else I need to be?”
“Diego wait,” Shannon began making a step towards him as Heather pushed her out of the way.
“Back off, he’s mine,” Heather glared at her chasing off after Diego as he dropped some money on the table top he and Shannon had been seated at before he marched out of the restaurant in a fury.  “Diego hold on!”
“I’m not in the mood Heather,” Diego shot back at her not bothering to look back as he headed out to his car doing his best to put the disastrous night behind him. 
While he’d realized that he’d been a bit harsh with Shannon, the truth to the matter was that Diego didn’t trust the FBI as far as he could throw them.  They’d been too easy to persuade when it had come to Cameron Stone stepping in and taking over the situation when Maria had died.  Time and time again he’d tried to get them to listen to what witnesses had said or even to have them question why it was that witnesses to the accident kept on disappearing, but they wouldn’t hear of it and ultimately Cameron was a free man and Maria’s death had meant nothing to the legal system.  His child had been a mere blip on the radar to forever be forgotten in Cameron’s reign of terror and the FBI did nothing to stop him from benefiting from his actions.
“Diego please,” Heather shouted out at him as he reached his car, unlocking the door, “I need your help.  Diego, if you don’t help me, then I’m going to lose my baby forever.”
Diego stopped as he heard her last statement and while he’d wanted nothing more than to just get in his car and leave, the desperation in Heather’s tone caused him to remain frozen.  Slowly turning around to discover her standing behind him, he took in a breath as she now stood before him, tears streaming down her face.
“Douglas Mahoney wants to take my baby away from me,” she continued shoving the paper in his face for him to see the horrible truth, “and if you don’t help me, then I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
“What about Cameron?” he sighed taking the page from her hand, “He’s your husband, remember?”
“I can’t find him and besides even if I could, I knew that you’d be the only one who could truly help.  Diego, you have a way with people and I know that you could do something to make this go away.  I’m certain if you could speak with Doug…”
“Now wait a second,” Diego shook his head at her, “I can’t just go speak with him and ask him to rethink this.”
“Of course you can and if anyone can convince him, well I’m sure it could be you.  Diego, please help me with this as I’ve never needed anything as much as I need your help right now in this moment in time,” Heather pleaded her tears continuing as Diego felt himself weakening.
“Heather,” he started taking in a breath before he continued, “give me one good reason--any reason at all why I should do this for you.”
“Because I need you and if you don’t help me, well I might have to face a life without my son or daughter and if that happens, it’ll be the end of me,” Heather broke into sobs, “Diego, please tell me that you won’t let that happen to my baby--that you will help me make sure that I don’t get my child ripped away from me like this.  If I lost my baby…” she fell into full blown tears as Diego couldn’t help but react by reaching out to embrace her supportively hating to see someone go through something so horrible as he had once upon a time.
“That’s not going to happen Heather.  We won’t let anyone take your baby away from you,” Diego promised her continuing to hug her as he wondered how it was his night went from amazing to awful to this all in a blink of an eye as if felt as it perhaps someone was trying to give him a sign that he was altogether unprepared for where his mission in life was concerned.

“This doesn’t feel right at all,” Russell sighed finding himself reluctant to leave the hospital as he looked to his brother, “I don’t know if this is such a good idea after all.  I mean if Cameron finds out what’s really going on…”
“He won’t,” Grady insisted as he exchanged looks with Avery, “he’s not going to until we’re ready for him to know the truth.”
“And by then we’ll be able to clear you of these ridiculous charges against you,” Avery promised squeezing Russell’s arm gently as she could feel the tension running through his body, “I’ll be sure to let Seth know what’s going on for you Jade and I’ll let him know that you’ll be calling him soon.”
“Thank you Avery,” Jade smiled over at her, “as you have no idea how important this is to me.”
“Oh believe me I know as right now what’s really important is keeping him safe,” Avery focused upon Grady again, “You’re stubborn as hell and a royal pain in the ass, but just remember we’re not ready to get rid of you yet.”
“Do you really think that I’d let you have the chance to destroy my brother without me around to challenge you?” Grady couldn’t help but tease as he eyed Russell intently, “You have a hell of a number there with this one.”
“I know I do, but I’m very fortunate to be put in a position like this,” Russell curled his arm around Avery lovingly.
“We both are,” Grady smiled up at Jade feeling the warmth of her beside him, “You sure you’re up for this?”   
“As long as we can be together, then that’s all that matters,” Jade nodded encouragingly, “the rest will fall into place later.”
“Just be careful,” Russell warned again, “we damn near lost you once and we don’t want to have to do it again Grady.”
“I promise I’ll be safe and for the record, I don’t expect this to be a reason that you don’t find your way to see me,” Grady started seeing the words of protest forming on his brother’s lips, “I know what Dave said, but hey, as far as I’m concerned, you and Avery have a honeymoon coming up from what dad was saying not so long ago, so maybe fate will have us cross paths…”
“That might be dangerous considering that I’m sure Cameron will be watching us like a hawk searching for signs of…” Russell began contemplating the weight of the situation they’d all agreed to.
“Russ, be careful,” Grady started again feeling a strong sense of unrest overtake him as he turned to look at Jade, “Jade, maybe you and Avery should go check and see if things are almost ready for us?”
“In other words you’re seeking out a brother to brother moment,” Avery noted catching Grady’s tone as she motioned to Jade, “Shall we go over the plan out in the hall?”
“Sure,” Jade nodded tipping down to give Grady a quick kiss before pulling herself up off of the bed and walking away from him.  She threw out one last glance before the two women exited the room to allow the brothers a moment together.
“What’s on your mind Grady,” Russell questioned watching as a seriousness spread over his brother’s features.
“Russ, I don’t like the idea of you all being vulnerable to whatever Cameron has planned.  I know Avery means well, but I’m worried about her too,” Grady paused feeling a hesitation as he thought back to the confrontation Cameron had with Avery, “Cameron’s up to something and I don’t like where it was leading when I walked in on him and Avery.  He’s targeting her for something and after what he’s done to Jade…”
“I’m not going to let him get the chance to hurt her, you or anyone else,” Russ promised adamantly.
“Russ, I’m being serious here.  If Cameron wanted me dead like this, then there’s no telling what he could try to do to you or mom and dad to get at me,” Grady continued worry evident in his tone, “I really think that you all should find a way out of town.  Just get away for a while and try to keep Cameron from touching you with his evil.”
“Grady, I’m not…” Russ began again.
“Russ, listen to me.  I’m a stubborn son of a bitch most of the time and I’m one to fight back.  You know I don’t back down from anything, but with Cameron, Russ, I’m telling you he’s dangerous.  He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants and in the end, well he’ll stop at nothing.”
“And neither will I until I make damn sure that we let the world see you didn’t shoot Kipp Mahoney,” Russell vowed his jaw tight with tension at the thought of what Cameron had done to his family.
“Russ, don’t lose your life because Cameron is trying to steal mine.  You worked so hard to find happiness with Avery and if you don’t try your damnedest to hold onto that, then well, it would be the biggest mistake of your life,” Grady replied solemnly, “Don’t lose that happiness again, Russ.”
“I never thought I’d live to see the day that I’d hear you say that,” Russell couldn’t help but smile as his eyes clouded over with emotion, “Grady, I just can’t believe this is happening--that it’s come to this.”
“I wish it hadn’t, but it’s not forever--just for the moment,” Grady tried to assure his brother as he wondered if the situation would ever really change, “and just know that I love you little brother.  I’ve always loved you and in some ways I’ve always wished I could’ve been like you.”
“No you don’t,” Russell shook his head in disbelief.
“Yes, I really do,” Grady nodded in confession, “Why I remember when we were kids and you were the heavy hitter on the little league team.  I saw how the crowds warmed up to you--how you had their attention and you earned their respect and I knew that I’d never have that--that I’d never be the man who could charm the world like that.”
“Grady, what childhood are you remembering?” Russell shook his head at him, “Because it certainly wasn’t yours.  You were always the shining star of the family and even now, well, you’ve done so much.”
“And I’ve pissed a lot of it away,” Grady sighed heavily thinking back, “I was always jealous of what you had with Avery you know.  I mean there you were a guy who knew what he wanted.  You had determination and the heart to give it your all in making all your dreams come true.  Russ, you have a strength that I’ve never known and now that I see how far you’ve come, well you have no idea how proud of you I am.  You’ve become an amazing man that I hope to come close to being one day.  You’re the heart and soul of this family and believe me when I say it’s because of you that I’ve made it this far.”
“You would’ve done it all on your own because you’re not nearly giving yourself enough credit,” Russell argued with him, “Grady, you’re the true inspiration as you’ve overcome so very much to get to where you are.”
“And I made a lot of mistakes--mistakes that I can’t take back and I don’t want to see you follow in my footsteps Russ,” Grady continued with an impassioned tone, “Take what live has given you and make the most of it.  You love Avery and that baby with all you have and don’t you let anything or anyone get in the way of that because you deserve the best of everything.”
“So do you Grady,” Russ reached out to squeeze his hand supportively, “You deserve a second chance to reclaim your life.”
“Thanks to your wife, I might actually get that,” Grady smiled affectionately thinking to the reawakening he’d had after the stabbing.  Now as he looked forward to what the future could hold for him and Jade, he just prayed that somehow, someway things would have a way of working themselves out for the better.


Sam and Travis Callaway arrived at the crime scene just in time it seemed as things were in full force at Jenna‘s apartment complex. The parking lot to the apartments was filled with police cars and various other law officials it seemed all interested in knowing more about the mysterious lead on Kipp Mahoney. Sam observed all the police officers questioning neighbors and walking in and out of the building. She got out of the car and walked with Travis over to another officer. Travis pulled him aside, "What's happened?"

"Ms. Carpenter received a box," the officer informed him.

"And?" Travis proceeded on, "obviously that's not it or I wouldn't be here."

"Inside the box was a finger," the officer responded, turning a little green as he said it.

"Anything else in the box?" Travis questioned pulling a pad of paper out of his jacket and jotting down some notes.
"A note," the officer pointed to a female officer, "she took care of the evidence. She'll know what it said if you have any more questions."
"Right then," Travis walked over to the female officer, "Excuse me Detective?"
The officer turned to look at him, "Yes, can I help you?"
"I'm Travis Callaway, Assistant director of the FBI," he introduced himself and showed his badge as Sam joined his side, "I'm investigating the Kipp Mahoney case with the bureau and I was told you could tell me more about this note found with the finger."

"Of course," she reached into a bag and pulled out the note that was in an evidence baggy, "Here's the note sir."
Travis took the note and read it out loud, "This is what happens to those who are unfortunate enough to encounter Doug Mahoney. Your brother is just the beginning. You’ve been warned."

"Real nice huh?" the officer asked sarcastically taking the bag back from Travis and putting it in the bag to send to forensics.
"So the finger is supposedly Kipp Mahoney's?" Travis asked her jotting down some more notes in his little notebook.

"That's what I gather," the officer shrugged, "finger is being sent down to forensics and as soon as we know if it belongs to Kipp Mahoney, we'll be sure to let you know."

"Indeed you will," Travis nodded flicking her badge, "Your job depends on your keeping me updated on this case since it‘s a Federal investigation now."

Travis gave the officer a sardonic smile and motioned for Sam to follow him into the apartment. She walked in slowly behind him and saw there were twice as many officers inside than there were outside. She scanned the room and saw some people fighting. She recognized Jenna, Preston and Dorothy from the pictures Wayne had shown her and by the looks of it the man with Jenna must have been the boyfriend Wayne was talking about. There was another man that looked really angry but she had no idea who he was. Travis approached Jenna and Hart as Sam followed close by. "Jenna?"

Jenna turned to look at him and nodded to him. She didn't seem like she was in the mood to talk, but her mother sure was. Travis took a deep breath and asked her about the finger. Jenna explained to him as best as she could what happened. He jotted down notes and listened very carefully. Sam took a deep sigh and leaned against the wall.

Hart looked over at her with a frown. “You don't look like law enforcement to me.”

"That would probably be because I'm not," Sam replied cracking her fingers.
"Then what the hell are you doing here?" Hart asked looking extremely frustrated, "This isn't a show to the public nor is it some party for the press. I'd suggest you high tail it out of here."

"Excuse me?" Sam pushed herself off the wall and glared at him, "You have no right to sit there and talk to me like I'm lower then you are. You have no right to be rude."

"You have no right to be in here sweetheart," Hart grabbed her arm to escort her out of the house, "so you'll be leaving now without your sleazy story about the situation."

"Hey, get your hands off my daughter!" Travis grasped Hart's shirt as Hart released Sam, "I brought her here, she's with me so she stays. Don't touch her again."
"You'd look for any excuse in the book to get your hands on me wouldn't you Travis?" Hart snickered pulling his shirt loose from Travis' grasp.

"You only wish you were anything, but the dog crap under my shoe," Travis responded motioning for Sam to return to where she was, "You stay out of my way, Steiner, I'll stay out of yours."

"I have no need to be in your business anymore Callaway," Hart stared Travis in the eyes with a death glare.

"Watch yourself Steiner," Travis threatened glaring back, "You have no idea what I'm capable.

Dorothy's shouting broke through the argument between Hart and Travis. They both turned to see that Dorothy was having her own little argument with Doug and as it was evident that she wasn't even paying attention to what was going on between the two men.  Jenna and Preston were both attempting to calm her down, but the anger for Doug was very clear on Dorothy's face. Preston put a hand on Dorothy's shoulder and spoke to Doug, "Doug, I suggest you leave before Dorothy does something we'll all regret."

“I'm not afraid of what she'll do,” Doug snickered glaring at Preston, “I don't give a rat's bottom what any of you people do. I have every right to be here as I want my son back and you can't blame me for that.  I need to know what’s going on and I’m not leaving until I hear everything about what happened.”

"The way you come charging in like a rabid bull isn't going to get your son bag." Dorothy spit out at him, staring him down.

"Dorothy, please," Doug held a hand up in protest, "Spare me the bull. God knows I've heard it enough from you all those years a.."

Before Doug could finish his sentence Dorothy bawled her hand up into a fist and punched Douglas in the mouth. He fell backwards, almost loosing his balance. He clutched his jaw in one hand looking at Dorothy with shock on his face. Preston walked over to some officers and informed them at Doug's refusal to leave and they escorted him to the front door kicking him out of Jenna's apartment while Sam looked onto the situation with wide eyes and in that moment she finally realized what Wayne really meant about his family. 


Thea stepped into Cameron's office and noticed him hunched over at his desk.  He was holding his head in his hands and was being very quiet as that seemed to be the theme with him lately much to her dismay. He looked as though he was stressing over something and she found herself silently cursing all the reasons that Cameron had been far too distracted lately.  She approached his desk and took a seat in front of it. Slowly she crossed one leg over the other, "Cameron?"

Cameron raised his head and looked up at her tentatively, "I didn't hear you come in."

"I'm good at that when need be," Thea gave a slight smile, "What's bothering you?"

"Nothing," he shrugged off her question.

"That's bull," she shook her head realizing that he was clearly stewing over something yet again, "Cameron, I've known you awhile and I know when something is bothering you. Might as well get talking about it now or else I'm going find ways to make you start talking."

"I can't find her," he stared off blankly.

"Can't find who?" Thea questioned, setting the papers she was holding on her lap.

"Angel..." he trailed off, "I can't find her anywhere."

“Not this again,” she groaned inwardly a frown touching over the corners of her mouth, “Cameron when are you going to stop worrying about her and start focusing on what matters?”

“She matters Thea whether you like it or not,” Cameron scowled up at her, “She’s always mattered to me.”

“I know and look, I’m sure it’ll even itself out,” she tried to pacify him realizing that now was not the time to get into yet another debate with him over Angel.

“I certainly hope so,” he shook his head returning his attention to the pages before him for a brief moment.

"Don't worry about it, Cameron." she reassured him in a moderate attempt at being supportive about a situation she could just as soon do without, "She'll show up eventually.”

“That’s not very comforting you know,” he grumbled in response hating the way the cards had fallen on the table where Angel was concerned.

“Right now that’s what you need to go on as we have other things to attend to,” she leaned in closer to him reaching out to touch his shoulder gently, “things that are well worth your attention.”

“Thea, what are you really doing here?” Cameron looked at her as if he just noticed she was there for the first time, “You don't just randomly show up at my office unless there's a good reason and given our last encounter I don‘t think that you‘re quite ready to apologize yet as you usually take longer to get to that.”

“Maybe I had a change of heart or maybe I might have something good for you,” she hinted with the beginnings of a dark grin.
“Such as?” he questioned curiously.

"I came across this," she tossed the papers onto his desk and pushed them over to him, "Something to be happy about."

"What is it?" Cameron questioned picking up the papers and looking them over.

"Seems Grady Denton died the other night," Thea pouted with fake sympathy, "as apparently he was stabbed and killed in the jail in some mishap."

“You don’t say,” he questioned skimming over the headline as he thought to his explicit orders about the Grady situation.

“Apparently someone out there didn’t want to see him around more than we could’ve dreamt possible,” she threw out with a knowing expression.
Cameron felt a smile cross over his lips, "Indeed."

"So, see not all ends badly," she reassured him with a smile as she slid her arm down over the center of his chest fingering at his buttons on his shirt.

"That wasn't exactly what I was going for.." Cameron scratched his chin contemplating his orders to Patrick.

"Maybe not, but it takes care of Denton though, doesn‘t it Cam," she   whispered brushing a hand through his hair gingerly.

Cameron's smile got even wider at the thought of Grady Denton being dead. "Indeed Thea. Thinks are starting to look up after all, aren‘t they?”

“Of course they are.  I can feel it,” she whispered kissing the side of his neck as it appeared that victory was well within their grasp after all.


“So what do you think?” Deidra questioned taking a look around as she and her mother sat at a corner table, in the midst of the dance area of the restaurant that they’d gone to just outside of Coral Valley.  While Deidra had sensed her mother’s reluctance, she could see now that Judy was enjoying herself somewhat as the country-western line dancing had provided the two women with enough entertainment through their meal to lift their spirits.
“I think this was a good idea,” Judy confessed with a wide grin as she found herself wiggling to the music from her seat, “I haven’t been out like this in ages and…”
“And you forgot about how great it could be, right?” Deidra questioned with a knowing look.
“Something like that,” Judy nodded eagerly.
“Which is why I don’t think we should let anything silly like being grown up hold us back,” Deidra decided rising up from her chair as she gave her mother a pleading look, “What do you say?  Want to give it a try?”
“Oh we can’t do that,” Judy shook her head in refusal.
“Why not,” Deidra tugged on her mother’s arm leading her out into the crowd as the two women gave into the spirit and atmosphere of the club, joining in the festivities as it seemed that things were finally picking up for them.


“Brooke, I had no idea this was what you had in mind when you said that you were in the mood for something different,” Hunt revealed sliding his arms around her waist as he couldn’t help but find himself charmed by this new side of Brooke he’d now caught a glimpse of.  “I mean to think that I never would’ve dreamt of having brought you to a place like this.”
“What, you don’t think I enjoy a little southern flavor every now and then,” she winked up at him tipping the cowboy hat she’d donned shortly after their arrival.  Now as they stood beside the dance floor taking a break from their round of line dancing, she couldn’t help but be proud of herself for having kept Hunt from following through on his temper tantrum. 
While she hadn’t exactly been up front with him, she certainly was in no mood to have him running out on her at a time when she needed his thrills more than ever.  And what thrills they are, she thought to herself giving him a long, hefty perusal as she thought of how he’d certainly filled out in the short time they’d known one another.  Who would’ve guessed that two years ago a trip to her office for an interior design consult would lead to such intense chemistry, she pondered as a smile tickled over her lips.  Okay, so maybe she’d had a great deal of this affair planned out from the moment she’d caught a first glimpse of the eager design school graduate, but still the nights only seemed to get better and better for them as Hunt possessed the enthusiasm that Richard had all but given up on years ago.  Even now as she threw her arms around him kissing him in a reckless fashion, she felt herself ready to enjoy the wild and wonderful ride that her relationship with Hunt would certainly provide her with.
“Oh yeah, I’m loving this indeed,” Hunt confessed with a grin as he squeezed her in his arms, “This is what I’ve been talking about for us.”
“I can see what you now mean and hey, if you go over to the bar and get me another drink, maybe I’ll even consider sharing the next slow dance with you,” Brooke teased with a wink, reaching down to squeeze his bottom gingerly before tipping on her toes to kiss him once again.
“In that case, I’m right on it,” he promised taking a step away from her.
“Don’t be too long delicious,” Brooke licked her lips thinking about all the things she had planned for this time Richard was away.  Sure, she’d been adamant about keeping her marriage in tact, but now was about fun and that’s exactly what she was going to treat herself to as the night held endless possibilities.  Smiling as she thought to how perfect things were working out, Brooke spun around to take another gaze at the action on the dance floor as the latest song began to wind down. 
“Hmm, maybe you’ll get that dance sooner than you think Hunt,” she muttered under her breath hearing the slow, country ballad in the air.  She felt a tap upon her shoulder and her smile returned, brighter than ever as she spun around to face Hunt, “That was quick.”
“So I’ll say,” Judy stated plainly curiosity obviously brewing behind her blue eyes, “as the last I heard you were near death and yet tonight I run into you here of all places.  Care to explain that one Brooke?”
“Judy, I…” Brooke began finding herself at a loss as she searched the bar for signs of Hunt.  She could see him talking to the bartender watching as he turned around for a brief moment to wave in her general direction while Judy continued to stare at her untrustingly.
“Yes?” Judy questioned again clearly demanding some kind of answer out of Brooke as Brooke watched Hunt paying for her drink
“Well, I was just…” Brooke started again realizing that while she’d been thinking fate had given her something to be optimistic about, it would appear that Richard’s mistress was about to call her upon her liaison as Hunt began to approach her once again.  The question was how in the world would she ever be able to get out of the bind she’d found herself in?  With Hunt closing in and Judy’s questioning stare, Brooke realized that this time it was obvious that she was going under!

...to be continued...