Shannon took in a slow breath trying to curb the nervousness that
overtook her. She stood outside Diego’s office straining to find
the right words to say as it seemed as though her courage had left her
shortly after she’d made the decision to make the bold move to approach
him once again. Now as she felt her heart thudding in her chest,
she half thought to turn around and leave before she made an even
bigger ass of herself, but before that last moment of escape could come
to her the door opened and she came face to face with the man she’d
thought about avoiding.
“Diego,” she breathed as her shock overtook her.
“Shannon,” Diego spoke her name in a surprised gasp after having nearly
run her over. He eyed her for a long moment before his
astonishment transformed into a less than friendly expression, “What
can I do for you?”
“I was hoping I could have a few words with you,” Shannon began
uneasily, “if you could spare a few minutes that is.”
“I’m in a hurry actually,” Diego began coldly as Shannon threw out a
“It won’t take too long,” she promised him sensing his hesitance before
he stepped aside and allowed her access to his office.
“Come on in,” he sighed caving in the moment as Shannon took this
opportunity to try to get her thoughts together. She heard him
close the door behind her before she spun around to see him standing
before her with his arms folded in front of his chest impatiently.
“I should start by saying that I owe you a huge apology,” Shannon began
feeling guilt eat away at her insides, “I shouldn’t have lied to you.”
“No you shouldn’t have,” he agreed with her not saying much more as he
stood completely still before her.
“I’m really, truly sorry about that as that was never my
intention. It was just that most men, well, it’s just that most
men that I’ve dated seem to have a problem with my profession and who I
am and when I met you, well I kind of let that part of my life slide
because it was the first time in a long time that someone hasn’t backed
away from me because of my career,” she started finding herself at a
loss as he just stared at her with his dark, contemplative eyes, “I
feel terrible for not being upfront with you about things as I
shouldn’t have let my issues get in the way with what we had going on.”
“You mean other than dinner?” Diego gave her a strange look as Shannon
suddenly felt foolish for having come upstairs to his office to begin
“I guess I just kind of thought that, well…never mind. I just
wanted to apologize for things going as bad as they did, but that’s
all…” she paused clearing her throat as her nerves got the best
of her as she started for his office door again ready to leave in
“Wait a second,” Diego beckoned her from her escape, “don’t I get a say
in any of this?”
“I didn’t think there was much more to say about things other than I
was sorry,” Shannon slowly forced herself to turn around and face him
“Actually, I think I owe you an apology as well,” Diego confessed with
a heavy sigh bringing his fingers through his hair, “as I wasn’t
exactly honest or forthcoming with you myself last night. You see
last night was the first time in a long time that I’d well, that I’d
had well dinner with someone in a while…”
“Oh,” Shannon began watching the way his expression changed. He
rubbed his palms together pacing around the room a bit as if he was the
one at a loss of words.
“You see not so long ago--well, at least not for me that is, there was
someone pretty special in my life. We were, well we were going to
be married and have a family with one another,” Diego confessed
candidly feeling the need to be upfront with Shannon about the state of
his affairs, “She died…tragically and since then, well I just haven’t
been up on the whole dating scene and when I found out last night that
you were with the FBI, well it brought about a whole string of issues
that I have with some others in your line of work not so long ago.”
“I take it the interactions weren’t positive,” Shannon noted watching
the tortured expression that passed over his features.
“That’s putting it politely,” he admitted with an ironic smile, “but
the more I got to thinking about what happened between us, well I
realized that you weren’t to blame for my feelings about those I dealt
with. Deep down I know that you’re not like them and I must
apologize for my inappropriate response to what happened last
night. It was rude and clearly out of line.”
“No, I was the one who was out of line. I wanted to tell you, but
after we met in the courtyard, well you just seemed so polite and kind
and it’s been a long time since I’ve encountered someone like that,”
Shannon admitted with a sheepish grin, “I know that must sound silly.”
“Actually, no it sounds rather refreshing to know that I’m not the only
one out there seeking that kind of peace in their life,” Diego
confessed with a look of complete understanding, “I just need to ask
“What’s that?” she questioned in confusion as he stepped towards her.
“This whole working at the hospital situation, that doesn’t have
anything to do with me at all, does it?” he inquired thinking about his
less than savory history with those FBI officials that had blown off
Maria’s death not so long ago.
“Not at all,” Shannon admitted honestly, “I’m doing an unofficial favor
for a friend in making sure that one of his friends isn’t in the line
of danger. I’m mostly keeping an eye on her just in case things
happen to get ugly around here.”
“With Bruce Mathis,” he noted as she offered up a nod.
“That man seems to cause a lot of chaos in this town and I’d like to
see to it that his reign of terror ends soon even if my superiors tend
to have a difference of opinion about my methods,” she divulged
thinking about her being taken off the case.
“Well in that type of situation, we’re in agreement as I think
sometimes people overlook the obvious in an investigation and justice
gets perverted in some ways,” he spoke up, his tone darkening with
“It sounds like you’ve experienced that kind of bureaucracy
first hand,” Shannon noted the faraway expression that passed
over his features.
“All too well, but for now, well I think it’s best that the past stays
in the past. Wouldn’t you agree?” Diego suggested with the
beginnings of a polite smile.
“That all depends,” Shannon decided feeling a bit more of her courage
returning to her.
“On what?” he arched a curious brow.
“On whether or not putting the past behind us will give me the
opportunity to ask you out again--this time without any secrets or
hidden disasters getting in the way of dinner,” Shannon suggested
boldly taking note of the surprise that registered over his features.
“Shannon, I can’t promise you that I’m ready for something that…” he
began thinking about the demons that had been haunting him lately.
“It’s just dinner,” Shannon interrupted, “and I promise I won’t have
any unrealistic expectations about how it will go. Should things
go rather well, hey I won’t object, but all I’m asking for is a decent
meal with good conversation. Do you think you can handle
something like that?”
“I think I might be able to muster up the strength to give it a try,”
he teased back with a lightness in his tone as he thought her offer
over, “only this time, well, this time how about we skip over the whole
fancy restaurant scene altogether and you let me make it up to you by
allowing me to cook a meal for you? I mean, hey it‘s the least I
can do after my behavior last night.”
“I thought we weren’t keeping score,” she reminded him, “and besides I
thought we agreed the past is in the past.”
“Even so, I think I’d like to take the opportunity to show off some of
my talents since you were interested enough in giving dinner another
try after last night’s drama,” Diego half teased laying his offer up
and out on the table again for her.
“In that case, I’m going to hold you to those talents if and only if
you allow me to bring dessert,” Shannon decided feeling a bit more
“It’s a deal,” Diego agreed as it seemed that Deidra had been right in
giving Shannon the nudge in Diego’s general direction. Somehow
while she’d expected disaster, things seemed to be turning around for
her which, she was quite certain, had to be a first in a long time.
Diane took a deep breath looking around the room. Something was very
wrong. She could feel it. She started tossing her clothes around
looking for some kind of clue to what she was forgetting to pack. She
had made a list, but the list was no where to be found in the mess she
had made to find the appropriate clothing for the trip. With a
frustrated huff she put her hands on her hips and looked around the
room once more. "What in the world am I missing? Think Diane think."
Ben walked past her door and stopped when he saw her looking
frustrated. He gave a curious look and leaned against the door frame
watching her. He watched as she rummaged through some more clothes and
bit her lip in frustration. Ben gave a light laugh, "Having some
"Oh, you scared me," Diane turned around to see Ben standing in the
"What's wrong?" he questioned looking around at the mess she had made,
"Having some difficulties?"
"I can't for the life of me find it," Diane pouted running a hand
through her hair and huffing again.
"What are you looking for?" Ben asked advancing over to her, as he
started to fold the clothes she tossed all over the place, "Maybe, I
can help you find it?"
"That would be great," she smiled running her hand across his cheek.
"What are we looking for?" Ben asked setting her clothes gently into
the suitcase and turning to her.
"That's the problem," she frowned sitting down on her bed, "I can't for
the life of me figure out what I'm missing."
"Well, maybe you're not missing anything," he smiled sitting down next
to her on the bed, placing a hand on her knee, "Maybe you're just
excited about the trip."
Diane let out a sigh and laid back on the bed, "Maybe, but I seriously
think I'm missing something."
Ben laid down next to her and wrapped his arm around her waist, "Don't
worry about it Sweetie. Everything will be fun. I promise."
"I'm not worried about that," she leaned her head against his,
"Anything with you will be fun Ben, it's just.."
"You're worried about meeting my parents," Ben finished off kissing her
"Well, yeah I am actually," she bit her lip nervously.
"Well, don't worry about it." he kissed her nose, "Seriously sweetie
it's nothing to worry about."
"But I do worry about it Ben! I mean what if they don't like me?" She
bit her lip thinking about the thought. "What if they think I'm not
good enough for you?"
"Diane," he chuckled pulling her closer to him, "My parents are going
to love you, in fact I bet my parents won't want you to leave."
"I don't know Ben," Diane took a deep breath and brushed a strand of
hair out of Ben's eyes, "It's just that I can be such a klutz."
"I know that," Ben chuckled leaning over her giving her a kiss, "and
you can be feisty, and demanding, and very bossy."
Diane smiled at him and brushed her lips against his, "I was going to
stop after feisty."
"Every little thing about you I love," he grinned running his
fingertips lightly over her cheek, "Everything about you."
"But they might not love what you love about me," she shrugged, "I mean
not many people would like how I am."
"You got that wrong," Ben shook his head, tracing her lips with his
fingers, "They will love you for sure."
"And how can you be so sure of that Ben Walters?" she questioned
kissing his fingertips.
"Because I love you," he leaned down and gave her another soft kiss,
"And they trust my judgment. If I love you, they'll love you."
"Oh Ben," Diane gave out a sigh running her hand through his hair, "I
love you so much."
Ben leaned down kissing her lightly. Diane deepened the kiss, claiming
his mouth with her own. He used his tongue to pry open her lips,
where their tongues met eagerly. Diane wrapped her arm around his neck
and flipped him onto his back. She climbed on top of him, leaning down
to kiss him passionately once more. Ben slid his hands up the back of
her shirt, running his hands lightly up and down her back. Diane let
out a slight moan in the kiss as she cupped his cheek in her hand. She
teasingly pulled away from Ben and smirked. He gave her a questioning
look as she motioned him to sit up with a seductive finger. Ben sat up
and she pulled his shirt over his head tracing the shape of his body
with her fingertips. "I love the way you feel."
Ben gave out a light laugh and leaned back down on the bed, "Hmm, do
you really now?"
"Indeed, I do." she nodded removing her own shirt and tossing it on top
of the suitcase.
Ben grabbed hold of her waist and pulled her down on top of him. He
kissed her shoulder lightly working his way up across her neck. Diane
gave out a light moan at the feel of his lips on her skin. She shivered
when he hit that special sensitive spot on her neck and she cupped his
chin pulling him over to look him in the eyes. She stared deeply into
his eyes and smiled before leaning down and kissing him once more. Ben
ran his hands over her hips and across her stomach, not letting the
kiss break. She giggled a bit in the kiss as his hands trailed across
her stomach when he hit her tickle spot. He smiled trailing his hands
across her back, reaching for her bra snaps. Diane suddenly shot up and
climbed off of him grabbing her shirt. "I forgot my toothbrush!"
Ben watched as she rushed out of the room towards the bathroom and
shook his head. He reached for his shirt and put it back on. He found
he couldn't help but grin. "That's my Diane."
“Good morning beautiful,” Hart called out tapping his knuckles against
the window to Jenna’s office. He found her inside slumped over in
her chair seemingly lost in another time and place as it was apparent
that his words went past whatever world she was in at the moment.
Stepping into the room, his smile faded a bit as he studied her
features for a long moment sensing that something wasn’t quite right,
“Huh, what?” she questioned snapping out of the daze she’d been in as
her dark eyes rose up to discover him standing beside her chair, “Hey,
when did you get here?”
“A few minutes ago, but I’m guessing by the look on your face that I
beat you back to the moment, huh?” he added watching the scowl that set
in over her features.
“Truth be told I don’t think my mind is going anywhere these days
except downhill,” Jenna confessed with a heavy sigh turning her chair
in towards him.
“Still haven’t heard from the lab yet, huh?” Hart inquired watching the
exasperated expression that spread over her otherwise beautiful
“Not a thing and that irritates me on top of everything else,” she
admitted, “I mean it’s bad enough that the FBI is so insistent upon
running the show, but then when they don’t get back to telling you what
“I’m sure they will tell you soon,” he offered up touching her shoulder
“Not soon enough,” Jenna balked back with a grumble.
“Well hey there’s just more proof enough that you certainly don’t want
to take Callaway up on that offer to become one of the drones,” Hart
tossed back with a teasing grin.
“I wasn’t even thinking about that,” she frowned turning her attention
to him once again, “as all I’ve been obsessing over is the idiotic,
moronic things that my father has done to upset the situation.”
“Somehow I get the feeling that this steps beyond what happened at your
apartment, huh?” he noted the way in which the corners of her mouth
dropped at the reminder.
“He’s just so stupid and truth be told I’ve never seen my mother get
that worked up over something like that in her life. She’s always
so mild mannered…I mean yeah, she’s opinionated, but she’s never
outright decked anyone like that…” Jenna pondered the thought.
“Yeah well that’s because you wouldn’t let her take that leap with me
because I’m telling you she probably thought about it a few times,” he
offered up kneeling down beside her chair.
“Yeah well so have I, but that’s another story,” Jenna shook the
thought, “Still that’s not what’s bothering me as I’ve been thinking
about my father’s latest disaster in the making.”
“Care to elaborate,” Hart suggested watching her closely.
“He’s trying to get custody of my brother’s baby,” Jenna stated with
obvious distain, “For some reason he thinks that he’ll be a better
parent to the child than Heather would.”
“Whoa, back up a second,” Hart’s eyes widened in surprise, “I thought
you said before that he didn’t believe that child was Kipp’s.”
“Apparently something or someone changed his mind and now he’s suing
Heather for custody of the baby when it’s born,” Jenna continued to
rant, “I mean it’s bad enough that he’s screwed over his own children,
but to decide to hurt an innocent child like that…”
“Jen, now you don’t know if that baby is really Kipp’s considering that
Heather is notorious for changing men as frequently as she does her
wardrobe,” Hart pointed out once again, “Your father may have nothing
to go on there once paternity of that child is established.”
“And if it is Kipp’s baby, then what?” Jenna questioned bluntly, “Look
at what he did to Kipp. Look at what he’s still doing to Kipp and
to me by sleeping with Cameron’s assistant. There’s no telling
what kind of nightmares he could be creating by trying to uproot that
“It’ll never happen,” Hart insisted, “I mean one thing about Heather is
she’s one tough cookie and a serious bitch. If your father wants
a battle, then I’m sure Heather will go head to head with him.”
“Yes, but will she go head to head and win?” Jenna countered, “Look I’m
not saying that I think too highly of Heather especially now that I
know she’s married Cameron, but Diego seems convinced that she’ll be a
“Diego?” Hart repeated in confusion.
“Dr. Hernandez,” Jenna explained, “He and I have been friends for a
while and his fiancée was the one that Cameron had murdered…”
“Oh,” was all he could muster up as he remembered the situation they’d
“Yeah big oh,” Jenna nodded, “while I might not think too much of
Heather, Diego does and the fact to the matter is if she’s pregnant
with my niece of nephew, then that baby needs our help. I can’t
sit back and do nothing and let Douglas try to destroy his or her
life. That would be so very wrong.”
“But Heather’s with Cameron. Jen, that in itself says that maybe
this time it would be best to step aside and let the legal system
handle it,” Hart informed her seriously, “You and I both know that
Cameron is trouble…”
“What I know is that it’s my family Hart and I can’t walk away from
that,” Jenna informed him solemnly, “I spent my entire life unaware of
the fact that I had another brother out in this world. I never
knew Kipp and now that I know he’s out there--that a part of him is
still very much alive and needs my help, I can’t turn away. I
can’t ever turn away from family like that…”
“Even if it costs you more than you’re willing to pay,” he questioned
with worry evident in his voice.
“If you think I’m going to go over to Cameron and Heather’s and strike
a deal with the devil, you can dismiss that thought from your mind
because it isn’t happening, but there might be something that I can do
to try to see to it that this baby has a fighting chance once it makes
it’s way into the world,” she continued adamantly.
“And how do you propose you go about doing that one sweetheart,” Hart
questioned in confusion watching as she rose up from her chair reaching
for her jacket as it seemed she was struck by some kind of inspiration.
“I’m going to have a talk with my father and one way or another I’m
going to find a way to get him to stop behaving like a lovesick
teenager and start thinking like a father,” Jenna vowed ready to do
whatever was necessary to ensure that her niece or nephew had the kind
of future that Douglas had robbed Kipp out of in his path of
“I think that we’ve got this situation under control now, don’t you,”
Cameron broke through the silence that had surrounded him and Heather
after her tears had finally died down. He stepped away from her
releasing her from the loose embrace he’d held her in as he could see
the tracks of tears that tarnished her otherwise flawless
features. Walking over to his desk, he reached for a tissue,
holding it out towards her, “I’ll take care of everything.”
“How,” Heather questioned unable to contain the shivers that raced over
her body as she thought of the dramatic mood swing her husband had gone
through since her arrival at his office. Somehow she had a
feeling that the worst was far from over even after he’d swore to help
her with Douglas.
“You need not worry about such trivial measures,” Cameron reached out
to wipe at her face removing the traces of mascara that had blackened
her cheeks, “I’ll take care of the situation and you can go home and
rest as you should’ve have gotten yourself so worked up today. I
think it would be best if you went home, showered up and took a
nap. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Cameron I…” Heather began trying to find the words she wanted to say
to him as the bitter sting of his actions and his threats swirled
around in her head igniting a fear inside of her all over again.
“You don’t need to say anything,” Cameron smirked down at her as he
finished cleaning up her face, “Our morning together was very
productive and therapeutic in it’s own way. I’ll take our
conversation into consideration in my dealings with Doug and then
tonight when I come home perhaps you and I can have a dinner with one
another. We can discuss things more in depth.”
“I’m just not sure that…” Heather started again feeling his finger
press in against her lips to silence her.
“You don’t have to be sure. I am and that’s what matters Heather,
but now I have some work to do, so I would strongly suggest you get
going,” Cameron continued emotionlessly, “You look like hell and you
need to clean yourself up. In fact,” he paused making his way
across his office to the small coat closet he’d had to the far left of
the room. Reaching inside, he pulled out a long, black jacket and
carried it over to her, “put this on as I would hate for anyone to have
to see what a mess you’ve made of yourself this morning.”
“The mess that I’ve made,” her eyes widened in protest as Cameron
silenced her once again.
“Now Heather, I told you that I would take care of things. You
need to just believe that and stop doubting me when I say I’m going to
do something as that’s what got you into trouble earlier,” Cameron
informed her bluntly brushing his fingers against her cheek in a
tentative measure as if he was admiring his trophy before him, “You got
home and get cleaned up because I have a great many plans for us
tonight since you wanted some more private time. I think that
after I speak with Doug, we can work on that.”
Heather remained silent shivering upon his touch as he took a step back
waving her away dismissively in the same fashion he’d done with Thea
upon her arrival. She watched as he slid into his chair behind
his desk as if he hadn’t a care in the world when hers was falling to
pieces. He looked up at her casually offering up another wave as
she stood frozen in place.
“Heather, I’ll arrange for a car to pick you up out back so you can
take the service elevators when you leave here and try not to cause any
other kind of uproars on your way out as I’d hate to have to explain to
the staff just how wired up you can be,” Cameron ordered firmly
pressing a button on his phone to alert his secretary to come into the
office to promptly escort Heather out.
“Right this way Mrs. Stone,” Cameron’s secretary urged Heather out the
door in her quiet demeanor as Heather reluctantly followed her out of
the room not quite sure what to do or say after what Cameron had thrown
out on her.
Silently Heather followed the petite woman listening to the various
apologizes that the woman began offering her for having tried to keep
Heather out of Cameron’s office. Now as Heather thought of the
woman’s warnings, she’d almost wished that she’s listened as she’d
stepped into a situation that she swore she’d never allow herself to
get caught up in again--not after the time she’d spent in Los
Angeles. She was better than her past--better than what she’d
submitted herself to, but now that Cameron had thrown that in her face,
she felt dirty and disgusting and horrible all over again.
“I must admit that a great many women would want to be in your shoes
right about now as you’re a great envy in being Mrs. Stone,” the
secretary offered up with a bright smile as the service elevator doors
opened and Heather stepped inside, feeling numb and empty all over as
she stared blankly at the woman before her.
“That’s a shame,” was all Heather could get out as the elevator doors
closed and Heather felt the walls closing in around her. Unable
to contain the tears that overcame her, she clenched her arms around
her body shivering as all the demons she’d fought for so very long came
back full force to haunt her after the way in which Cameron had ripped
her control away from her. Feeling her heart sinking with the
moment, Heather slid down the elevator walls dropping to the floor in
tears. She realized that all those demons she’d locked away for
so very long had come back to haunt her again sucking away the one
thing she’d fought for in her life for so very long--her freedom as it
was apparent she was trapped in a situation that was further out of her
control than she‘d ever imagined.
“So now what since we obviously don’t have the crime scene to work
with,” Russ questioned looking around Susan’s bedroom as the distinct
feel of a cover up hung in the air that surrounded them.
“There has to be something around here--something that someone got
sloppy with and didn’t manage to sweep away with the rest of the
evidence,” Avery insisted shifting around some of the paintings that
Susan had hanging on the walls, “There’s just no way that Cameron
could’ve cleaned up something like this so quickly.”
“Just think about that for a moment Avery and consider the source,”
Russell frowned making his way over to one of the dressers and thumbing
through Susan’s unopened mail that lay upon it.
“Even so, Cameron isn’t a man who can go through life without
error. He’s bound to slip up sooner or later and I get the
feeling that when we’re able to prove that, then we can show the world
that Grady is innocent,” Avery continued determined to find some key to
Cameron’s undoing in the apartment.
“That’s a pretty big if there and we both know it,” Russell sighed
feeling his patience wearing thin as he opened up one of the drawers
finding Susan’s lingerie before him. A groan spilled over his
lips as he slammed the drawer shut once again, “Okay, I’m finished in
here. I’m going to check out the living room.”
“Fine, but just make sure if you touch something, you be sure to put it
back where you found it,” Avery urged once again as she continued to
sift through Susan’s things.
“Whatever you say,” he muttered to himself entering the posh living
room as he wrinkled his nose in disgust. Thinking about how easy
it had been for Susan to turn to the dark side, made him sick and as he
approached her desk area, he wondered how she could sleep at night
after having been part of such an elaborate scheme to destroy
Grady. Not that it really surprised him considering that Susan
had played a great role in Grady’s downfall the first time with
alcohol, but still, he found himself fighting the urge to deal with
Susan the way she’d done with his family.
“Russ, I think I found something,” Avery announced emerging from
Susan’s bedroom as she found Russell standing over Susan’s answering
machine pressing down on the playback button with his index finger,
“What are you doing?”
“I’m seeking out evidence and I think this is a good place to start,”
he stated simply with a shrug of his shoulders hearing as the tape
began to rewind to prepare for playing the messages.
“Russ, you can’t just listen to her machine because then it’s a
telltale sign that someone has been here,” Avery started to reason with
him as the first message began to play.
“Susan, hey it’s Brant. Where the hell are you? I thought
that I’d hear something after our last encounter, but apparently you’re
still in a state of indecision. That being said, you’d better
call me back soon before I decide to move forward with our plans
without you,” Brant finished as the message ended and Russ gave Avery a
“I wonder what that was all about,” Russ hinted at his already strong
distrust of Brant with the tone in his voice.
“I don’t know, but Brant wouldn’t have anything to do with what’s
happened to Grady,” Avery insisted firmly defending her boss, “Cameron
hates Brant and there’s no way that message relates to what we’re
“How do you know?” Russ countered back at her, “We saw that there was
something up with Brant and Susan and obviously there’s something to
the story that neither one of us picked up on. Brant could be
feeling sour grapes over us being together and what better way to
destroy me than to go after my brother?”
“Now you’re being just plain paranoid,” Avery pushed him aside as a
scowl touched over her features and she began to listen to the next
message as it began to play.
“It’s not paranoia,” Russ insisted once again after the message
revealed that it was the dry cleaners calling to alert Susan that her
things were ready for pickup.
“Yes it is Russ. Brant isn’t like that.”
“Or so you think,” he added with a frown, “just like you didn’t think
that Bruce was capable of all that he’s done…”
“That’s different and you know it,” she glared at him, “Brant wouldn’t
resort to doing this to Grady as it’s not his style.”
“And what is? Taking my wife to some exotic local to seduce her
and try to persuade her to forget about me,” he questioned bluntly
feeling his own anger against Brant returning to him.
“Russ, this isn’t about Brant. This is about saving Grady and if
you’ve already lost focus on that…” Avery started with a heavy sigh.
“I haven’t lost focus. I’m just saying that the fact that Brant
and Susan are obviously working together on something is reason enough
for us to put him on the list of possible suspects,” he added sensing
her obvious displeasure in his thinking, but he couldn’t bring it in
him to discount anything Brant was capable of just yet.
“Russ, if Brant wanted to go after you, he wouldn’t do it through
Grady,” Avery spun around to face him as her eyes flickered with the
beginnings of annoyance, “He’s direct in his approach and he’d find
another way to upset the balance in your life if that’s what he wanted
to do. He knows that something like this would upset me and if
nothing else, Brant wouldn’t do it because he wouldn’t want to get me
“So then explain him and Susan,” Russ insisted unwilling to let it go.
“I haven’t figured that one out yet,” she frowned again, “but when I
do, I’m sure there will be some other explanation for it instead of the
wild notions that you’re letting your imagination carry you away with.”
“I don’t trust him Avery--not after all he’s done to us.”
“Even so, he’s not the guy who is out to get Grady. Cameron is
and we need to stay focused on that or else, Cameron will find a way to
get the best of us,” Avery informed him seriously, “which reminds
me. You need to take a look at these.”
“What are they,” he asked tipping his head down to see the papers she’d
held in her hands.
“They’re a protective motion for guardianship made in Kipp’s behalf,”
Avery noted pointing to a paragraph on the page before Russell,
“According to these, well it would seem that Cameron petitioned for
custody of Kipp after the accident and a judge granted him that.
These here are for a relocation from the hospital here in Coral Valley
to a private institute.”
“Where?” Russ skimmed the page.
“It doesn’t say, but what I do know is that Susan ran the whole show in
getting the wheels in motion with the courts. From the sound of
it, things were done in a quick and quiet fashion as not to raise any
eyebrows around town especially with Kipp’s father,” Avery added
snatching the pages back from her husband, “while this might not be
absolute proof of Cameron being involved in Kipp’s showing, it does add
suspicion of guilt there as he’s working really hard to…”
“Hide the evidence,” Russ added suddenly realizing what Avery was
saying to him, “We need to get these papers out of here and show Dave.”
“Russ, we can’t just take them as that’s illegal and…” Avery began to
reason with him.
“So was breaking into this place, but it didn’t stop us. If Dave
gets to see this, then maybe he can get his men to help us uncover what
Cameron’s up to,” Russ suggested feeling an eagerness overcome him.
“And then one of the men at the station will leak this information to
Cameron and we’ll be back to square one considering that Cameron will
be more than eager to make sure that no one finds out what he’s done,”
Avery reminded him sharply feeling her own concerns overtake her for
what they had ahead of them in proving Grady was innocent, but before
she could convey any further thoughts to Russell she heard the distinct
clicking of the lock at the front of the apartment turning.
“Damn,” Russell cursed realizing what was going on as he pulled Avery
with him back into the bedroom hoping that they hadn’t been found out
this early on.
“Russ,” Avery spoke his name in a hushed breath as she heard Susan’s
footsteps approaching from the living room area, “now what?”
“In here,” Russ decided pulling Avery into Susan’s walk in closet with
him as he said a silent prayer that Susan didn’t discover exactly what
it was Russ and Avery had set out to prove in breaking in to her
"Diane, are you ready to go?" Ben called her from outside, "We have to
get some stuff done before we leave too you know."
"I know," Diane answered coming out of the apartment carrying so many
bags that she looked like she was going to topple over.
Ben chuckled to himself and rushed over taking the bags from her, "I
got these, you just get your cute butt in the car."
She smiled and kissed his lips gently, "What would I do without my
"You're about to lose you're Hercules if you don't make a move on it,"
Ben laughed juggling a bit with the bags to keep from losing them.
"Okay, I'm going!" Diane rushed to the car and opened the trunk so Ben
can put the bags in.
He reached the car and started piling her bags in. He laughed at how
tightly he had to pack the trunk to make everything fit. He advanced
around to the driver side and climbed in, "You do realize I still have
to pack my stuff too?"
"What?" she questioned putting her seatbelt on and shrugging her
shoulders, "A girl can never be too prepared."
"Well sweetie," he started up the car and started the drive to his
apartment, "If you were any more prepared, you would think you were
moving out of state."
"Very funny!" she punched his shoulder playfully, "Be happy that I know
what to pack. That way you'll have all the essentials."
"Oh no," he shook his head and laughed, "You are not packing for me."
"And why not?" she huffed crossing her arms, "I happen to be excellent
"If you pack for me babe, we won't have any room for us in the car," he
teased running his hand on her knee.
"Fine be that way," Diane looked out the window pretending to be mad.
Ben shook his head and drove to his apartment. Once they arrived he
walked around to Diane's side of the car and opened the door for her.
She got out and wrapped her arm around his waist possessively. They
walked inside his apartment just in time to hear the phone ring. Ben
rushed over to the phone and answered it, "Hello?"
"Ben!" he heard his mother Cassie Walters' voice ring over the phone in
delight, "I'm so glad I got a hold of you."
"Yeah, we just walked in," Ben looked over at Diane and mouthed to her
that it was his mother.
She nodded in understanding and a devious smile crossed her lips, "I'm
going to go pack your bags."
He shook his head and turned back to the phone, "So how are you mom?"
"I'm great," he heard her voice grow even more excited, "I'm so excited
to see you again. And your lady friend."
Ben switched the receiver to the other ear, "How'd you know that I was
bringing her with me?"
"You're Aunt Annette informed me all about her. Well, partially about
her anyway. She seems like a nice young woman from what I hear."
"Yeah, she really is mom," Ben found himself smiling, "Diane really is
"Aww isn't that lovely?"
"It really is mom. She makes me feel things I've never felt before," he
gave out a sigh, "I can't help but feel the way I do for her."
"Hmm, do I smell love in the air?" Cassie gave out a light laugh, "She
better not be like those other girls they were..."
"Mom, Diane's different," he interrupted her, "She's a great girl and I
am deeply in love with her."
"Well, then I'm sure your father and I will love her," she assured him,
"In fact, if you love her, I love her already."
Ben grinned, "Thanks mom I really appreciate it."
"You're my son, of course I support your decisions," she paused for a
moment, "Your father wanted me to tell you he's very happy you're
coming down and to have a safe trip."
"Thanks Mom. Diane and I have some things to do before we come down
there so I have to get going," he informed her trying to look into his
bedroom to see what Diane was doing but the cord wouldn't allow him to
"Alright Benjamin. I love you."
Ben smiled at being called Benjamin, "I love you too mom."
He hung up the phone and listened closely. He didn't hear anything
being rummaged through so he advanced to his room. Ben saw Diane
sitting on his bed with his suitcase neatly packed. She grinned up at
him, "So, what do you think?"
"You packed everything already?" he asked in shock, "And in only one
Diane laughed and smiled proudly, "Yes, I did."
"You are too great," he scooped her up in his arms and swung her
around, "I love you. Did I tell you that today?"
"Hmm, I don't know but I don't mind hearing it again," she nuzzled her
cheek against his and released him. "I'm going to grab a drink, you
"Sure," he nodded watching her leave the room.
As soon as he saw her shadow leave from the hallway to his room he
rushed over to the closet and pulled out a box. He pulled out the items
he needed to complete the surprise for her and walked back over to the
suitcase. He opened it up and lightly tucked the surprise under some of
the clothes. Ben zipped up the suitcase and stood up just in time to
see Diane standing in the doorway, "What are you doing?"
"Oh, nothing," Ben shrugged grabbing hold of the suitcase, "I was going
to toss this in the closet until we're ready to leave tomorrow."
"Are you sure that's all your up to Ben Walters?" Diane gave him a
suspicious look and handed him a Pepsi.
"Yes, I'm sure," he took the pepsi from her and wrapped an arm around
her shoulders, "How about we order a pizza, kick back and relax before
we go see Aunt Annette tomorrow."
"That sounds like a plan," she nodded wrapping her free arm around his
waist, "A day in with you would be a day in heaven."
"Then prepare for a day of heaven, and a night of rest," he kissed her
cheek, "We have an early morning ahead of us tomorrow."
Cameron walked up to penthouse suite Doug was staying at and found his
anger boiling to the top. He politely knocked on Doug's door and
waited. Cameron heard the unlatch of the lock and the door swung open.
Doug stared at Cameron with utter disgust, "What in the hell are you
"Seems me and you have some things to discuss," Cameron walked past
Doug, into the hotel room and took a seat on the couch.
"I have nothing to say to you," Doug slammed the front door and stood
over Cameron, "I suggest you leave right now before this gets ugly."
"Old man," Cameron stood up and looked him directly in the eyes, "This
is already too ugly."
"What do you think you're doing showing up here?" Doug stared him down,
"You have no right."
"That baby.." Cameron paused the anger flashing in his face, "belongs
to my wife."
"That baby belongs to my son," Doug shouted back, "And I'll be damned
if I let that whore have my grandson."
"You will not have my wife's baby," Cameron glared at Doug bawling his
hands into fists, "You will not see the baby, hear the baby, or even
think about the baby or else you'll pay for it."
"You're threats mean nothing to me," Doug snickered, "You're just a kid
playing with fire right now Cameron."
"You have no idea what I'm capable of," Cameron picked up an ashtray
off the nearby desk, "I can make people disappear, I can make lives
"Don't forget that I raised you. I know exactly what kind of person you
are and what you are capable. You're scum and a bother. That's all you
"I will have that child. My wife and I will raise that baby as it is
meant to be raised and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
Cameron assured him advancing to the door.
"Oh, you better believe I can do something about it," Doug countered
walking to the door as well, "That baby is as good as gone. You can
tell that whore that."
"I think not," Cameron turned to him, "for the sake of your daughter
you might want to refrain."
"What?" Doug questioned, not sure if he heard Cameron right.
"You heard me old man," Cameron grinned a sadistic grin, "I will make
you're life miserable. I will take everything from you."
"What are you talking about?" Doug asked confusion all over his face.
"I said for the sake of your daughter, I'd suggest you get your nose
out of my wife's life and make it fast." Cameron nodded to him, "you
heard me right."
"If you lay one finger on my..."
"Then I suggest you stay away from my wife and her child." Cameron
opened the door and stepped out, "I believe I've made myself very
clear. Goodbye old man."
Doug slammed the door so hard that the molding cracked. "You think
you've won the battle Cameron, but the war has just began."
Diego sat down to prepare for his next patient as he thought about the
ground he’d made with Shannon. While he hadn’t thought of giving
her another chance anymore than he’d thought about entering the world
of dating all over again, there was something about her that he’d found
rather charming and that in itself made him willing to give things
another go. Now as he sat at his desk, he wondered if he could
really start moving forward again--if somehow the past could truly be
left in the past. As he thought to that part of himself he’d once
lost, he reached into the top drawer of his desk pulling out Maria’s
photo he’d kept with him as he wondered how she’d feel about his
“Maybe I’m crazy for even considering spending time with her Maria, but
things just haven’t been the same without you,” Diego whispered in a
muted tone thinking about the wonderful woman he’d lost, “I just wish
that I could turn back the hands of time somehow--that I could find a
way to keep from losing you. It only there had been some kind of
sign before it was too late.”
Diego stopped himself half wondering if he was making a mistake in even
thinking about taking a step forward with Shannon when he heard a faint
tapping sound on his door. Taking note of the time he realized
that Mrs. Johnson must be early. Quickly sliding Maria’s photo
back into the drawer, he prepared for his session with the depressed
housewife when the door burst open and a woman marched into his office
in an uproar.
“Hey,” Diego frowned seeing her spin around to slam the door behind her
locking it with shaky hands as Diego rose from his seat ready to give
her a few words, “you can’t just come in here and…”
“Diego please,” Heather pleaded with him spinning around to face him
with tears bursting down her cheeks, “not now.”
“Heather,” his jaw dropped as he took note of her disheveled
appearance, “oh my God, what happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she confessed taking a shaky step
towards him as he could see the condition her clothing was in beneath
the oversized dark jacket she wore.
“Something tells me we need to,” he replied moving in towards her as he
noticed a reddish-purple mark on the side of her face.
Immediately feeling a surge of concern rush down upon him, he reached
out to inspect her wounds as she nearly leapt out of his touch.
“Don’t,” she warned bringing her arms around her chest in an attempt to
keep him at a distance as her tears continued, “just…don’t…”
“Heather, what’s wrong? What’s happened to you,” he questioned
watching her tremble before him, “Heather, talk to me please.”
“It’s over. It’s all over,” Heather cried out sinking onto the
couch he had set up in his office as she buried her head in her hands
“No, it’s not. Heather, it’s no where near over as everything is
going to get better,” Diego spoke smooth and evenly as he approached
her. Carefully taking a seat beside her, he reached out to touch
her shoulder. She flinched in response putting a distance between
them as her sad eyes returned to his looking terrified as ever,
“Heather, please tell me what’s going on?”
“Just don’t make me leave. Diego, please…I can’t go back right
now. I can’t do it,” she explained vaguely unable to refrain from
her tears as Diego reached out to her again to offer up an
embrace. She was reluctant at first, but within a matter of
moments, she found herself breaking down in his arms.
“What happened Heather,” Diego questioned again, trying to be soothing
as he held onto her, realizing that this was nothing like the woman
he’d grown to know over the last few months.
“My life is over Diego. I was wrong and you were right. I
made a mistake,” Heather sobbed harder than before as she tried
desperately to cling to the only security she seemed to have these days
with their friendship. However in a moment like the one she was
experiencing, she feared that even Diego’s friendship might not be
enough as she’d already gone down a road she’d fought like hell to
steer clear of.
Susan set her purse down on the edge of her bed feeling tension creep
in and up over her neck and shoulders as she made her way into the
bedroom. While she’d initially had no intentions of returning to
the apartment this morning, once she’d found her way into the office,
she’d discovered that she’d been missing some papers vital to one of
the cases she’d been working on over at Stone Corp. At first
she’d thought she’d left them at Grady’s house, but after a very
thorough search, she’d remembered having kept them in her
Now however as she made her way into the room, Susan was feeling the
brunt of her morning getting to her. She’d gotten pulled over by
an officer for running a red light, not to mention she’d spilled her
coffee all over her white blouse in her haste. It seemed as
though the cards were stacked against her, she thought to herself as
she began to unbutton her blouse making her way towards her closet to
retrieve something else to slip into before her return to work.
“What a day,” she muttered to herself moving to open the door to her
closet as she heard the faint ringing of her cell phone pulling her
from her task at hand. A groan spilled over her lips as she
turned to retrieve her purse again, “Wonderful.”
Tearing the phone from her purse, Susan took note of the number and a
scowl pressed over her lips as she pushed the phone up to her ear and
spoke up in a professional tone, “Susan here. What can I do for
you. Oh Cameron hi,” Susan started her tone changing as she spoke
with her employer.
“Where are you?” Cameron questioned harshly.
“I had to grab a few things at home, but I’ll be back in a few
minutes,” Susan explained moving towards her closet and opening the
door as she continues to speak with him, “Is there a problem?”
“You’re damn right there’s a problem and I need you back at the office
like pronto,” Cameron snapped at her hanging up the phone as Susan
pulled it away from her phone and glared at it.
“Dickhead,” she muttered under her breath tossing the phone over her
shoulder onto the bed as she began to survey her things. Finding
that the lighting wasn’t nearly sufficient enough for her taste, she
began to reach for the switch when her cell phone roared up at her
again. Marching back towards her bed Susan reached for the phone,
her voice a bit more impatient than before.
“What?” she demanded harshly hearing the voice of one of the parking
attendants downstairs that had told her she could leave her car out
front for a few minutes as he began to convey the message that he’d
been wrong and that her car was being towed away as they spoke.
“Oh hell. I’ll be right down. Try to stall them,” she
blurted out quickly throwing her arm into her closet again to pull out
the first thing she could find before changing up and rushing out of
her apartment wondering what else could happen on a day like the one
this had started out to be.
“Thank God,” Russ let out a breath of relief while sinking back into
the shelves behind him after Susan had left the apartment. “For a
minute there I thought we were finished here.”
“So did I, but lucky for us, Susan is an idiot,” Avery added pushing
herself out from behind Susan’s wardrobe as she thought to how she’d
shoved a blouse in Susan’s general direction to just get Susan out of
the room before she and Russ were spotted.
“Sounds like there’s trouble over at Stone Corp,” Russ noted with a
wiggle of his brow.
“Or Susan is using that quarter of a brain that God gave her,” Avery
shrugged her shoulders, “either way I think it’s about time you and I
get out of here.”
“But what about the evidence we were looking for,” Russell frowned,
“There has to be something more here--something that we’ve missed.”
“That might be the case, but if we stick around, we might not be so
lucky to evade being found out once again,” Avery informed him simply,
“which means we need to split like now.”
“Fine, but I still think that we should start by…” he began with
“Russ, I think I have an idea,” Avery confessed honestly as another
thought occurred to her, “I don’t know why I didn’t think about it
before, but it might be better than us being up here since things have
been cleared out of the apartment.”
“Okay, so what gives?” Russ questioned noting the expression on her
face as she lead him through Susan’s apartment eager to make their
“You’ll see, but for the time being just follow my lead as I have a
feeling this will bring us one step closer to the truth,” she vowed as
they left Susan’s apartment ready to take a new course of action that
she was certain would prove Grady’s innocence after all.
Douglas poured himself a bourbon not willing to let Cameron or his
manipulative ploys keep him from the goal he’d set out for
himself. One way or another, he would have Kipp’s son or daughter
living with him and only then would he be able to make up for the
mistakes he’d made as a father. Sure, he might not have been the
greatest to Kipp, but there was no way in hell that he’d allow Cameron
to come near a Mahoney. It was simply out of the question,
Douglas vowed to himself as he prepared to make another call to his
lawyers to ensure that they were ready for the battle Cameron was
setting the stage for.
Reaching for the phone, Douglas thought about all the ways in which he
was going to destroy Cameron and his slut of a wife as well now that he
was staking his claim on the future of the Mahoney family, but before
he was able to complete the call, he heard a knock on his hotel room
door. Setting the phone down as a smirk rose upon his features,
Douglas marched over towards the door ready to engage in round two with
his insolate one time step-child.
Pulling the door open eagerly, he glared at his uninvited guest ready
to throw out all the stops in making Cameron feel like the peon he
truly was, “Come back for more?”
“Oh I haven’t even warmed up,” Jenna replied glaring up at her father
as he found himself rendered speechless.
“Jenna,” he gasped opening the door wider as he stepped aside to invite
her in, “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to save you from making the biggest mistake of your life,”
Jenna proclaimed, her voice full of determination as she stood her
ground with him, “and if you meant what you said about being a
good father, then you’ll take what I have to say into
consideration before it’s too late for you and the rest of our family.”