Episode 114

“Hey sweetheart,” Dorothy opened up the door to greet her daughter with a soft smile, “I must admit I was surprised to get your call this morning.”
“Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject I wanted to speak with you about, but I guess being direct is the best route, huh?” Jenna cleared her throat uneasily.  Following her mother into the living room, she could sense the confusion her mother was feeling when Dorothy turned around to face her.
“Honey, what’s going on,” Dorothy question gently watching Jenna sink into the couch cushions.
“I need to ask you a few things about Douglas,” Jenna explained after a moment’s hesitation.
“What about that man,” Dorothy frowned involuntarily at the mention of his name.
“I need to know more about the man he was back when you two were together,” Jenna began thinking to her sleepless night of worry thanks to Cameron’s visit.
“Jenna, it was a long time ago and it’s a part of my life that I’d much rather not look back upon,” Dorothy reached for her hand, “Other than you, there wasn’t anything more I could really take from my time with Doug.”
“I realize that mom, but the more I started thinking about the fact that I’m his daughter, the more I realize that I should know more about the man,” Jenna sighed heavily, “I wish I didn’t have to ask this of you, but things have come up where I’m certain that if I don’t have some kind of insight into what kind of man he is, well…I just really would like to know more.”
“There’s something you’re not telling me,” Dorothy noted with a frown, “Jen, what’s really going on?”
“I guess last night I just had a wake up call last night and I realized that if I’m going to be able to move forward in my life, I’m going to have to know more about the man who helped bring me into the world,” Jenna explained placing her hands in her lap neatly.
“So this is just about your wanting to know more about Doug?  About the man he once was?” her mother questioned in confusion.
“I want to know about the man you fell in love with.  I know that you’ve told me about his family, but what about him?  What was it like when you two were together?  Was he a good man?” Jenna asked further.
“As good as I think he could be capable of,” Dorothy sighed in remembrance, “Doug was never the altruistic type, although he’d tried for a while.”
“But in time his family became overbearing and I had to leave,” Dorothy stated plainly, “Jenna, what is this really about?  Why are you really here?”
“Mom I just…” she stopped herself knowing there was no point in hiding the truth any longer, “Last night Cameron Stone showed up at work and he said some things about Doug.”
“What kind of things?”
“Things about the two of them being a family--about Douglas being his step-father.  He said things about Doug--horrible things and I needed to know if they were true.  I need to know if my father has it in him to turn someone as evil as Cameron is and if so, I need to discover what that means to me in my future,” Jenna blurted out her concerns afraid that she’d never find the answers she was searching for.


Feeling the warmth of Jade beside him, Grady couldn’t help but feel the world had finally worked in his favor.  Sure, he had a lot going wrong, but when he held this beautiful woman in his arms, he found himself dreaming about the future--about the life they would have with one another once the situation in Coral Valley was resolved.  Last night he’d felt impulsive and ready to take that next big step with her.  It hadn’t been how he had planned on it, but in asking her to be his wife; he’d realized that he’d finally met destiny full force.  There would be no more hiding away from his heart.  Jade had reminded him of all the reasons why life was worth living and now that he’d embraced the love she’d so readily given him, he knew that he would never look back again.
“So how long are you going to stare at me,” Jade questioned with a yawn behind closed eyes.
“As long as it takes for me to realize that this isn’t just another dream,” Grady confessed feeling her shift in his arms turning to face him.
“Does it feel like a dream to you,” she questioned reaching out to touch the side of his face.
“In more ways than I can even begin to explain,” he nodded in confession.  Tipping down to steal a quick kiss from her, his lips curled in a smile, “However, the fact that it’s a reality is all the more reason for me to thank God for giving me a second chance at life.”
“I think I’m the lucky one here Grady,” Jade murmured stretching her toes out beneath the blanket, “You have no idea how long I’ve waited for something this good to happen in my life.”
“I never believed the day would come when I’d be able to have something like this in my life again,” he reached for her fingers interlacing their hands together, “Now that it has, well, it’s given me hope that the future isn’t a dark and ugly place for me any longer.  I really believe that good things are ahead for us Jade.”
“You mean when we finally leave here and return to Coral Valley,” she questioned with curious eyes.
Grady nodded, “A few days ago I might not have been able to say that, but now that everything has happened, well I’m a changed man.  I don’t see things with that same air of skepticism that I once did.  I know that whatever conflict we’ve been running away from is going to be resolved.  I have complete confidence that the police will find the person who stabbed me.”
“Even when they do, we still have to think about those charges against you,” Jade paused biting on her lower lip nervously, “we both know we can’t run from that forever.”
“I realize that and truth be told I started thinking about what we’re doing out here Jade.  I realize that in faking my death the only thing I’m doing is prolonging the inevitable.  Granted, I’m not about to leap on the first flight back to town just yet, but when they find out who tried to kill me that night in jail, I’m certain that the police will uncover everything else they need to know about that night of the shooting.  They’ll see I didn’t do it.  Avery will help show them that and then, well then I’d like for us to focus on our future--starting with our wedding,” Grady announced tickling at her sides in a teasing fashion, “what do you say?”
“I say you’re on,” Jade gleefully agreed squirming against his touch while praying that things would go as smoothly in their future with one another like Grady was hoping for.


Dave picked up the phone and dialed Deidra’s number. He felt bad for missing out on the dinner date they had planned. He wanted to get closer to Deidra so much and he felt like a jerk when he couldn't meet her like they‘d planned, yet once again his job had kept him from where he wanted to be in his personal life.  He hoped she would be there to answer the phone now that he‘d mustered up enough courage to finally give her a call when things slowed down a bit. He was feeling down lately and needed to talk to someone to cheer him up a bit. The phone rang three times before he heard her soft voice on the line.
Deidra heard the phone ring and rushed for it at once. As soon as she saw the blocked call on the caller ID she knew it was Dave. She grinned to herself and picked up the phone, "Hello Dave."
"How'd you know it was me?" he chuckled in amusement as she called his name specifically.
"I'm smart like that," Deidra gave a light laugh and sighed, "So what's happening?"
"Not a whole lot," Dave leaned back and put his feet up on the desk, "Listen I called to apologize to you for the other night."
"What's there to apologize for?" she questioned taking a seat on the couch and curling up, "You didn't do anything wrong."
"I am calling to apologize for what happened. I asked you to dinner and things came up." he cracked his knuckles, "I didn't mean to bail on dinner like that."
"I understand Dave." she smiled even though he couldn't see it, "I knew something had to come up because I know you wouldn't just bail on me like that normally.  Besides, after you left my mother and I went out for a while.  I knew that duty called for you."
"Yeah, I've had a large work load especially lately," Dave switched the phone to his other ear, "I mean I've had lots of paperwork, interviews, you name it."
"Aww poor Dave," she said in a soothing voice, "You're being way over worked."
"Yeah, well it comes with the job," he sighed, "Besides even though it's tough at times, I like what I do. What I was calling for to be honest was to ask you something."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"I was wondering if you'd like to," Dave was cut off when the phone beeped signaling him that there was another call coming in, "Hold on Deidra."
"Alright." Deidra waited patiently for Dave to come back.
She was happy to hear from him and from the sounds of it, it sounded like he wanted to try and take her out again. She smiled as she waited patiently to hear his voice come back on the line.
Dave switched over to the other line, "Dave Warner, Chief of Police."
"Yes this is Dr. Clinton, no relation to the ex president," the man's high laughter rang over the phone.
"Can you get on with what you need?" Dave asked impatiently.  
"Well, I'm from the crime lab, I wanted to let you know that we're going to have results from the Grady Denton stabbing in a matter of minutes.  I figured you'd want to come down to the lab to get the results."
"Thank you Dr. Clinton, I'll be right there," Dave switched lines back over to Deidra, "Deidra, you still there?"
"Yeah, I'm here," she answered giving out a light yawn.
"I'll have to get back to you," Dave said apologetically, "They have the results from the stabbing coming in and I have to go down to the lab."
"Do what you have to," she replied laying back on the couch.
"I'll give you a buzz later," Dave hung up the phone and quickly walked over to his office door. He locked up the door and walked out, making his way over to the crime unit lab. He was going to solve this stabbing mystery once and for all.


Ben woke up as the sun peaked in through his bedroom curtains. He looked down at Diane sleeping peacefully on his chest and couldn't help but smile. He  leaned down and kissed her head gently. Diane shifted a bit, still in slumber. He casually looked at the clock and noticed that they needed to get moving. He leaned down and kissed her forehead once more. "Diane, baby, you got to get up."
"Mmm," Diane groaned rolling over onto her other side, not getting up.
Ben chuckled a bit and gently nudged her, "Come on sleepy head get out of bed."
"No," Diane huffed putting a pillow over her head, "Give me ten more minutes."
"We don't have ten more minutes," he laughed nudging her once more, "Come on we need to get you up and get you moving."
"No, go without me," she tucked the blanket tightly up to her neck, still keeping the pillow on her face.
"Diane Stevens," Ben got out of the bed, walked to the bottom of it and grasped the blanket, "Get your butt out of bed right this instant or else."
"Mmmm," Diane groaned again not attempting to get up, "I said ten minutes."
Ben pulled the blanket off from her and she shivered, "I told you or else."
"That is it!" she sat up throwing the pillow at him.
Ben dodged the pillow and stuck his tongue out at her, "I got you out of bed."
"No," Diane shook her head and laid back down on the bed.
Ben shook his head and sat next to her on the bed, "Diane, you have to get up!" She closed her eyes as if she was drifting back to sleep. Ben leaned in to kiss her and at that moment she whipped him with another pillow from the bed and chuckled to herself. "Oh that is it."
Ben started tickling her as she screeched and squirmed. She finally got out of his grasp and leaped off the bed. Ben stood on the bed waiting for her next move. She darted for the bedroom door but he dived off the bed and grabbed hold of her. Her laughter echoed through the house as she turned around and looked at him. She brushed a piece of hair from his forehead and smiled, "I'm awake."
"Now you are," he smirked wrapping his arms around her waist, "It took you forever to get you out of bed. You almost missed the trip you know."
"Now look who's stalling?" she smirked reaching up pressing her lips to his and releasing him, "Let's get dressed and get a move on it! Hop to it Walters!"
Ben shook his head and chuckled as they cleaned up and got dressed. After packing the rest of Ben's stuff into the car, they both piled in and headed to their destination. Ben needed to take a little detour as he pulled into the Ashford mansion driveway and looked over at Diane, "It will only take a moment. I just want to say goodbye to my Aunt Annie."
Diane returned the smile running her hand over his cheek lightly, "It's alright. I want to say goodbye to Annie as well."
Ben got out of the car and walked around to Diane's side and opened the door for her. He hooked his arm around her waist and they made their way to the door. Ben let himself in and found his aunt in the kitchen. He silently walked up behind her and poked her shoulders. Annie turned around and a look of delight crossed her face. "Ben! I thought you were on your way to the airport to get going."
"I decided to stop by and say farewell before we took off," he smiled once again wrapping his arm around Diane's waist, "We couldn't leave without at least saying goodbye."
Annie got out of the chair and wrapped her arms around both of them, "I will sure miss you two! But I know you will have fun down in Florida!"
Ben grunted as his aunt's hold on him tightened, "Well, if it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be going."
"Oh, it was no trouble at all," she smiled kissing both of them on the cheek, "Your mother was always wanting you to come down and I knew you could use the vacation."
"Well we really appreciate it," Diane kissed Annie's cheek as well as Annie slowly released the both of them, "I don't think we could thank you enough."
"It's no trouble at all," Annie held out her hands in protest of any more thank yous, "I wanted to do it for you. Just have fun for me will you?"
Blake walked into the room and headed for the refrigerator without glancing at them. She grabbed a bottle of Evian and turned and faced them, "What's going on in here?"
"Ben and Diane are going to Florida to visit my sister," Annie smiled over at her, "We don't know how long they'll be gone."
"What a shame," Blake rolled her eyes, uncapping her bottle and taking a sip, "Diane will sure be missed."
"Blake, do we have to always fight?" Diane asked pulling away from Annie's grasp, "for once in your life can't you grow up?"
"Me? Grow up?" Blake gave a chuckle and made her way out of the room, "Have a safe trip. Take your time. No need to rush home."  
Ben shook his head as Diane's face grew crimson with anger as she followed Blake out of the kitchen, "Just like an Ashford, always willing to turn their backs from their problems."   
"What did you say?" Blake spun around, eyes staring a hole through Diane, "Do you dare insult me in my own home? You can be just as easily removed as you entered."
"Try to get rid of me," Diane tested her, "I dare you to try."
"It wouldn't be hard," Blake smirked twirling a piece of hair in fingers, "You're a nobody. You're trash and that's all you'll ever be.
Diane's anger burst through as she took her hand and slapped it hard against Blake's cheek. Blake lunged at Diane just as Ben rushed into the foyer and fought his way in between the two girls, "Girls come on! Diane we didn't come here to fight. And Blake just back up alright?"
"She started it," Blake hissed back, holding her hand against the cheek that was turning crimson from the hard slap Diane had given her, "Just say your goodbyes and get out."
Ben nodded in understanding as he backed Diane away from Blake, "Please, just behave for a few more minutes alright?"
Diane sighed and nodded, "Just keep her away from me and we'll be fine."


Ken, Caitlin, Zack and Johanna are leaving the hospital together.

Caitlin: Ken, thank you so much for flying out here with me on such short notice. I know you have a ton of work to do.

Ken smiles and puts his arm around Caitlin lovingly and kisses her cheek.

Ken: You needed me here, it's not like there was a choice.

Caitlin looks up at him seriously as they continue to walk.

Caitlin: Do you mean that?

Ken: Of course I do. I'm always going to be here when you need me.

Zack snorts

Zack: Like you were when Jimmy attacked her?

Ken gives Zack a dirty look.

Ken: I would've been if you hadn't barred me from her room.

Johanna: Come on guys, let's not get into that again.

Zack: Why shouldn't we? This guy’s vowing to be there for her, and after everything my sister has been through I want to make damn sure he means it!

Caitlin: And who the hell made you my keeper!

Zack: I'm your brother and I love you, further more with your taste in men someone better be your keeper.

Caitlin pulls away from Ken and gets right in Zack's face.

Caitlin: Okay, brother dear let's get a few things straight. I don't want or need your interference in my personal life.  In fact, I just plain don't want it in my life! Secondly, no matter what bad choices I've made that does not give you the right to try and make choices for me! Now, I'm glad we're closer now that you’re living in Coral Valley, but if you want it to continue to grow you'd better butt out!

She runs off Ken gives Zack a dirty look and races after her.

Zack sighs heavily and shakes his head.

Zack: Is it so wrong that I want her to be happy?

Johanna: No. But she's a grown woman Zack, and you can't control her.

Zack: So what are you saying? That I have to keep watching her crash and burn and do nothing?

Johanna: Not nothing, just... Well, just not as much as you've been doing. You know, let her know you're there for her, offer your support and a shoulder to lean on when she needs it. And if she asks give your opinion and advice on things. But that's it. The decisions have to be hers and you have to respect them.

Zack: But that's not enough!

Johanna looks at him seriously.

Johanna: Well, you're going to have to find a way for it to be or you're going to lose her all together.

Zack sighs as he looks off in the direction Caitlin ran with a sad look on his face.

Outside Ken finally catches up with Caitlin.

Ken: Wait up! Wow you should've been a marathon runner.

Caitlin has to chuckle at this comment in spite of herself.

Caitlin: Yeah, well, with all the stuff I've been through I guess I've becoming pretty good at running.

Ken hugs her compassionately.

Ken: Well, you can stop running now.

Caitlin looks up at him with a tired and sad look on her face.

Caitlin: Good cause I'm tired.

Ken takes his hand and gently strokes Caitlin's face as he gazes lovingly into her eyes.

Ken: I'm never going to let you need to run again. I'm with you now, and Jimmy is long gone. And I'm not going to let anything come between us ever again.

Caitlin: Even Zack?

Ken smiles.

Ken: Even Zack.

He leans in and kisses her softly she smiles at him and wrapping her arms around him they kiss again as Ken holds her to him tightly. She gazes up at him.

Caitlin: God I'm glad you're here.

Ken: Like I said I wouldn't be anywhere else.

Caitlin: As long as Zack doesn't stop you.

She shakes her head bitterly.

Caitlin: I can't believe his nerve. We've never been on the same page about my dating in general, yet now suddenly he jumps in and wants to call the shots on my personal life!

Ken shakes his head.

Ken: Not even Zack can keep us apart I promise. But, listen, I really do think you need to give the guy a break.

Caitlin pulls back startled.

Caitlin: What?! The man tried to rip us apart and you want me to give him a break!

Ken: Caitlin, listen, to me, please? I have a sister too, so I can kind of understand where he is coming from. He loves you and he wants you to be happy and safe. Just like I want Blake to be happy and safe. And it wouldn't matter if Blake and I didn't talk for ages, I'd still want her to be happy and safe, and I'd still do anything I could to protect and help her. That's just how family is. Now, I'm not saying I like his methods or that I think he didn't go overboard. I don't and he did, but I understand why. He only did it because he loves you and he probably felt bad that he couldn't protect you from Jimmy. I think at that point he wasn't sure who the bad guys were so he just wanted to keep everyone away.

Caitlin: But I didn't ask him to.

Ken: Blake doesn't ask me either, it's just what family does. Look, if someone was hurting Zack. I mean, really hurting him, wouldn't you want to help and protect him?

Caitlin: Well, yeah but...

Ken: And if he was in a position where he was completely vulnerable and couldn't say what he wanted wouldn't you do your best to not allow anyone you thought might be bad for him around?

Caitlin sighs.

Caitlin: Yes. But, Ken, you're...

Ken: Zack doesn't know me that well, and we'd just had a fight. I don't like the fact that he kept me from your bedside, but I do understand his reasoning.

Caitlin smiles and moves into his arms.

Caitlin: That is because you are the most understanding man in the world.

They kiss tenderly.

Caitlin: So I guess I should go apologize huh?

Ken: No. As I said he did over react. Let him sweat it out. But do try to understand his side of it when he acts that way. It's only because he loves you.

Caitlin smiles and nods.

Caitlin: Yes, sir.

They both laugh and kiss again softly.


“Jenna, please don’t tell me that you believe you’re anything like your father,” Dorothy reached out to take her hand gently, “because we both know that isn’t the case.”
“Mom, it’s just when I think about what Cameron said to me…  Sure, I know I shouldn’t have listened, but is it at all possible that Doug could’ve been responsible for that?  You said it yourself that his family was cruel and overbearing at times,” Jenna reminded her.
“What I said is that they weren’t understanding about things.  They were obsessed with status and power, but I don’t believe that Doug could’ve caused that kind of evil in the world that Cameron Stone is capable of.  He might be cold, but Doug is no monster.”
“That’s not the message you were trying to convey the other night at my apartment,” Jenna pointed out with a slight frown.
“That’s because he makes me irrational at times,” Dorothy dropped her head shamefully, “I shouldn’t have lashed out at him like that, but when I think about all that I went through in walking away from him, well, I just didn’t anticipate having to face him again.  Then for him to break your heart, well that made me rather upset.  I’ve worked very hard to make life for you be as smooth as possible and for you to have to endure any of this, well it’s just so unfair and cruel in it’s own way.”
“But that’s not your fault mom,” Jenna reached out to her, “You weren’t the one who brought about the dangers that Doug has willingly allowed to take over his life.”
“Even so, I wish I hadn’t ever had to tell you about him.  I wished for so very long that your father could’ve been someone like Preston--someone with a good, kind heart and character.  A man who would put love first in his life instead of allowing fame and fortune to dominate his world,” Dorothy sighed unable to mask the emotion in her voice.
“Which in the same breath could be a man who taught a child about evil, right?  I mean isn’t that why you kept me away from him?  Because you feared what being a part of his lifestyle could do to me?” Jenna questioned desperately.
“I left because I knew if Doug’s parents got their hands on you, I’d be nothing more than a memory that they banished from you before you began your childhood,” Dorothy rose from the sofa rubbing her hands over her arms nervously, “Jenna, regardless of what a man like Cameron has said to upset you, your father isn’t capable of turning anyone into a monster.  Yes, tragedy follows his life and touches those he’s connected to, but I don’t believe that he could’ve been the cause of Cameron’s misery, nor do I believe that you will turn out evil in any way.  You’re my daughter after all and I’m the one who raised you.”
“I know this and you did an incredible job with me mom,” Jenna offered up with a sigh, “I love you so very much and I’d be so lost without you.  I just sometimes wonder about who I am--about the man who broke your heart and caused you to run.”
“I look at it as a blessing in disguise,” Dorothy stated simply, “We were able to move on in our lives and find a family and a home here.  Preston is an incredible man and he was good for you growing up.”
“That he was,” Jenna nodded in agreement thinking about the man her mother had shared most of her life with, “although that has me wondering something else now.”
“What might that be?” Dorothy asked.
“Why didn’t you say yes when he asked you to marry him,” Jenna arched a curious brow, “Wayne told me all about your refusal and I had to wonder what prompted that.”
“Jenna, you know how I feel about marriage,” Dorothy began to backpedal.
“And I know how you feel about Preston.  He’s an amazing man and I love him.  He loves you so what’s the problem?”
“The timing was off because you weren’t speaking with me,” Dorothy piped back at her.
“And now that we’ve mended fences, why aren’t you taking that leap with one another?” Jenna stepped in towards her mother, “Mom, I want to see you happy and I know that Preston does that for you.”   
“Then why should I have to put a title on that feeling?” Dorothy questioned, “Why should I have to change what isn’t in need of fixing?”
“Because maybe it would give you some of that peace of mind that you’re always keeping from yourself,” Jenna explained with a soft smile, “Love doesn’t have to be a bad thing, you know.”
“This from my daughter who is seeing a man that at one time tried to ruin her life,” Dorothy shook her head at Jenna.
“Love changes people and I think with you and Preston, it’s worth taking that next step,” Jenna added confidently, “He’s exactly the kind of father I’ve always wanted and needed.  We’ve got a great family going on mom and I’d like to see you embrace that.”
“I have embraced it Jenna.  I’m just not sure that now is the time for…” Dorothy started hearing the sounds of the front door opening.  She looked towards the source of the sound seeing Preston standing before her holding a few bags.
“Look what I found outside,” Preston stepped aside giving them a glance of Hart, who carried a few bags with him as well.
“Hey you,” Jenna smiled at her boyfriend, “what are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d come on over and pay you both a visit,” he nodded in Preston’s general direction, “and he roped me into helping with groceries.”
“It got you inside, didn’t it,” Preston teased advancing towards Dorothy and placing a quick kiss upon her cheek, “hey sweetheart.”
“Hey,” she squeezed his arm in a tentative movement keeping her gaze upon Hart and Jenna.
“Having a good time,” Preston whispered motioning over towards Jenna.
“It’s been interesting,” Dorothy nodded offering up little about the talk she’d been having with her daughter.
“So can I tempt you two into staying for dinner,” Preston questioned turning to face Hart and Jenna again, “I have all the fixings for a big meal if anyone is willing to lend a helping hand.”
“That sounds great,” Hart accepted the offer brightly, “and may I be the first to offer my culinary services?”
“You’re hired,” Preston blurted out with a tiny chuckle.
“Excellent,” Hart grinned at Jenna, “I hope you don’t mind my surprising you.”
“Not at all,” Jenna shook her head unable to quell the warmth that spilled over her at the nearness of him, “I was actually thinking about calling you later.”
“So I beat you to the punch,” Hart winked at her.
“You’ve been good at that lately,” Jenna whispered reaching out to embrace him again when her cell phone started to ring.
“I’ll hold the thought,” Hart promised watching her pull her phone from her pocket.  A few minutes passed and as Jenna spoke to the person on the other end of the line, her smile faded.
“Thank you,” she finished in a somber tone before hanging up the phone.
“What’s wrong sweetheart,” Dorothy inquired noting her daughter’s grim expression.
“That was the lab,” Jenna explained taking in a slow, calming inhale.
“What did they say?” Hart touched her shoulder gently feeling her body tense up for a brief moment.
“That the finger that was at my apartment wasn’t Kipp’s,” Jenna blurted out with a breath of relief.
“That’s great news,” Hart offered up giving her a supportive squeeze, “at least that’s something positive for a change.”
“It would be if it ended there,” Jenna frowned back at him, “but it seems that the finger belonged to William Steed--a man who lived out in Los Angeles--a man that at one time worked as an agent for Heather Gibbons.”
“Well, why would someone send you that man’s finger,” Preston questioned with a frown.
“They aren’t sure, but they can’t find William.  Apparently he was coming out here in Coral Valley to work out some kind of deal with Heather for a project she was working on.  William’s secretary mentioned that Heather was up for a part in Douglas’s new film,” Jenna confessed thinking to what the person on the phone had informed her about the severed appendage.
“You mean…” Hart gave her a strange look.
“That my father hasn’t been honest with things lately and maybe just maybe the sender was closer to home than we thought,” Jenna nodded wondering if perhaps she was next on the hit list where Cameron Stone was concerned.  Given what little she knew about her father, Cameron and the Mahoney family in general, she was beginning to think that things were about to get far worse before they would get better.


“What time did you tell your parents that we were coming over to pickup Rusty?” Avery questioned stepping into their living room area only to discover Russell working away at the computer, “Russ, please don’t tell me that you got up early to play around on that thing.”
“Not exactly,” he confessed casting a quick glance over his shoulder before refocusing on the monitor once again, “I just wanted to finish a few things here before we got a move on over to see my parents.”
“Hmm, what was so important that it got you up and motivated after our late night,” Avery couldn’t help but ponder making her way in towards him.  Slowly she leaned in over his shoulder kissing the side of his neck before eyeing the screen, “well?”
“I was inspired,” Russ blurted out clicking away at the keyboard in front of him.
“Inspired how?” Avery questioned finding her own answer before her when she noticed the words upon the screen, “Russ, are you working on your novel again?”
“I couldn’t help it,” he admitted tipping his head back to look up at her, “Last night after we got home, well I was a bit wired still.  I had a thought occur to me about the direction where I’d like to see a few scenes go.  After you fell asleep one thing lead to another and here I am.”
“So when I went to bed, you stayed up writing huh,” Avery arched a curious brow, “so what’s happening now with our beloved duo?”
“It’s still in the tentative stages,” Russell turned the monitor off before shifting in his chair a bit, “nothing worth really reading just yet.”
“Oh come on.  If it motivated you to get up out of bed, then you know I want to see it,” Avery insisted plopping down in his lap.  She reached for the computer monitor once again only to be thwarted by his hand upon her wrist.
“Not yet,” Russell eased his arm around her waist, “it’s not ready for a read through.”
“Russ, knowing the way you write, it’s more than ready for a read through,” Avery offered up with a pointed look before reaching out to the monitor once again, “You’re just too hard on yourself.  Besides, I want to know if our hero, the suave and sexy Dr. Nolan has finally managed to persuade his ever clueless love interest into seeing the err of her ways in not chasing him from the start.”
“That is yet to be determined,” he offered up with a cryptic smile reaching for her hand once again.  Unable to contain himself a tiny laugh bubbled over him, “Only you would be so concerned about the romance happening behind the scenes in the storyline.”
“Hey, I happen to think it’s a very vital part of the plot,” Avery shifted in his lap, straddling him with a sudden seriousness, “those two were destined to be with one another and the sexual tension is riveting.  Their chemistry is off the charts and if you‘d stop being so cruel to them, then you‘d certainly let a little more of their attraction evolve.”
“Is it now,” Russell quipped with an amused grin, “and how might you go about putting an end to their sexual tension?”
“Well for starters,” Avery teased her fingers over the front of his shirt in a slow movement, “I probably would have her make a move on him.”
“Oh?” he questioned with an arched brow.
“That’s right,” she nodded eagerly her arms curling around his shoulders, “Perhaps one night while he’s trapped in that stuffy office of his working on uncovering he clues to the mystery he’s working on.  Now of course while she’d realize the importance of his work, she’d also acknowledge that she’s a woman with needs--needs that only the good doctor could satisfy.”
“And so it would be her duty to see to if that he was there to provide her with what she needed,” he half questioned watching her enthusiastic response.
“Oh yes, that is exactly what they’d need,” she leaned in closer to him--her fingers dancing over the top of his back, “Perhaps she would turn down the lights and make her way over to his computer where he was putting his cerebral side to work.  She’d see that he was far too focused to really have paid attention to her entrance, so that would prompt her to take a more direct approach with things.”
“And how would you propose she go about doing something like that,” Russell inquired lazily reaching down to caress the smooth skin of her legs.
“For starters, she’d probably shut the computer monitor off--then crawl into his lap just like this,” she whispered with her mouth hovering just above his, “and then…”
“Yes?” he questioned completely entranced with her.
“Then she’d start off with something a little like this,” she completed her thoughts in slow, annunciated words while bridging the distance between them.  Seizing his mouth in hers in a bold display, she shifted above him, causing him to react immediately to her kiss.
Throwing his arms around her, Russell lost sight of the train of thought that had been driving him into the morning hours.  With his wife in his lap, he felt his mind reeling with ideas for a heated page turner that his own private love scene would provide for him.  He cupped her body closer to his, feeling her fingers thread into his dark hair.  Their kiss grew in intensity, the fire threatening to engulf the both of them when Avery’s hands eased over the contours of his body savagely.
“What time were we supposed to meet your parents again,” she questioned breaking through the moment when their mouths parted.
“Not for a while,” Russell remarked urging her in towards him again.
“Hmm, then maybe you can let me read what you were writing for a little bit,” she suggested in a teasing tone.
“Or we could skip that altogether and you can continue inspiring me,” he insisted pushing the material of her nightgown up over her body.  Pooling the soft satin up over her waist, he reached underneath to caress her velvety skin.
“If you insist, I suppose I’d be more than happy to oblige if and only if you promise to share some of your inspiration with me down the road,” Avery mouthed feeling him nibble on her neck hungrily.
“Oh I’m very sure we can work on sharing a great deal of my inspiration with one another,” he assured her with a low growl.
“I’m talking about your writing,” she reached out to curl her finger underneath his chin, “Russ, can’t I have at least one little look?”
“Now?” he frowned back at her hating to tear himself away from his latest spark of genius with her.
“Yeah,” she smiled in response, “I think I’d like that…a lot.”
“Why do I suddenly smell a setup here,” Russ threw out a mock glare before reaching out behind her to turn on the monitor, “though I warn you it’s not my best work.”
“I’m sure it’s pretty close to it then,” Avery shifted in his arms, moving to get a better look at her husband’s creativity.  Scrolling up the page, she began to skim over the words before her while Russell nibbled on the back of her neck.
“You like what you see,” he questioned easing one of the straps of her nightgown down over her shoulder.
“Oh very much,” Avery nodded eagerly swept up in the words he’d come up with during her slumber.  His hands surrounded her, caressed the contours of her body, while his mouth tasted her skin longing to devour her completely.  She let out a soft sigh, feeling his palm press in over her abdomen before she let out an enthusiastic squeal, “I knew it!”
“Knew what,” Russell questioned lazily, his eyes skimming over her shoulder.
“They’re about to make love,” Avery bounced in his lap, “I can feel it coming on.  Here you were making me think that it wasn’t going to happen, but with what she’s saying to him.  She’s going to tell him how she feels about him, isn’t she?”
“I don’t know,” he feigned innocence tipping down to place feathery light kisses over her skin once again, “I can’t seem to remember.”
“Oh you remember alright.  You‘re just trying to torture me once again,” Avery reached for the mouse scrolling down a bit further unable to get enough of her husband’s work before her.
“Okay maybe a little,” Russell admitted stopping what he was doing to seduce her.  He took note of her obvious interest in what he’d written while wondering what her take on things would wind up being. When saw the first glimmer of tears in her eyes, he skimmed the back of his hand up over her arm, “well, what do you think?”
“Russ, that was so beautiful,” Avery confessed sliding around to face him once again, “I mean I always knew that you had something incredible you were working with here, but that….”
“Yes?” he arched a curious brow.
“That took my breath away,” Avery informed him honestly feeling her own pulse race after the passage she’d read, “It was so real and honest and…”
“It might’ve had a bit of a familiar feel to it, yes?” he couldn’t help but smile.
“You’ve been basing them on us, haven’t you,” Avery decided with a grin.
“Maybe just a little bit, though I must confess that she pales in comparison to you,” he murmured cupping her face in his hands.
“Oh Russ,” she smiled in response leaning in to kiss him, “how I love you.”
“I love you baby,” he replied tenderly, “and like us, I hope to give Nolan and his lady love a little bit of a happy ending…”
“I think it’s perfect,” Avery added with a soft sigh, “The words just all seemed to melt into one another and I could feel the emotion rolling off of the both of them.  For so long they’ve waited to have something with one another, but they were both far too stubborn to allow it to be.”
“But when it happened…” Russell started seeing the expression that swept over her.
“It was magical,” Avery confessed tasting his lips again.  Wrapped up in the feelings Russell’s work had provided her with, she sank into him ready to explore her own world of romance with her husband all over again.
“Maybe we should call my parents and tell them we’ll be late,” he suggested with the beginnings of a sly smile.
“I’m thinking perhaps that’s not such a bad idea,” Avery nodded in agreement ready to lose herself to the way her husband made her feel.
“Good, then I’ll get right on it after I make love to my wife,” Russell decided lavishing her neck with kisses once again.
“That sounds like a perfect idea,” Avery nodded in agreement unable to mask the soft sounds of pleasure he’d provided her with, but before she could devour his mouth again, she heard a faint tapping sound coming from the far side of the room.  Opening up her eyes, she saw someone staring back at her and a cry erupted from within, “Russ, someone is out there!”
“What?” Russell blurted out feeling her practically jump out of his lap.  Turning around he spotted someone racing out of the bushes into the yard.
“Did you see him?” Avery questioned with a gasp straightening out her nightgown as a shiver swept over her.
“Yeah, I saw him and I think it’s time we put an end to this,” Russell declared thinking to everything he and Avery had been through over the last few months, “Avery, call the police.  I‘m going out there.”
“Russ, if it’s Bruce, I don’t want you out there,” Avery blurted out in horror.
“I’m not about to let him get away again,” he declared marching out of the living room.
“Russ wait,” Avery cried out dialing for help.
Russell raced out into the yard ready to chase after the peeping tom.  However the man was nearly halfway into the neighbor’s lawn with good amount of distance working for him.  Still, Russell wasn’t about to let Bruce slip away yet again and with that thought in mind, he raced off after the intruder ready to stop him dead in his tracks.
Running in towards the man, Russell could see something strange happening before him.  When the man began to spin around and rush over towards Russell, Russ began to wonder if the man had lost his mind.  Sure, he wasn’t Bruce Mathis, but whomever he was, he clearly was an idiot as it seemed he was coming right back to the scene where he’d been found out.  However, it was seconds later when Russell caught a glimpse of a furious looking Kyle Houston chasing after the man, did Russell finally understand.
“Going somewhere,” Kyle questioned gruffly knocking the man down on the ground.
“Hey let go of me man,” the guy squealed while Kyle held him face down into the lawn.  “Let go of me!”
“Kyle, what are you doing here,” Russell questioned in surprise making his way over to Kyle and the mystery man before him.
“Cleaning up the trash now that this sicko has decided to violate your privacy,” Kyle reached for the smaller man’s arm wrenching it in a most obtrusive way.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” the man protested.
“The hell you weren’t,” Kyle growled again, “Russ, why don’t you call the police here and we’ll see their take on the situation.”
“Look I can explain,” the man pleaded desperately lifting his head up enough to see Russell.
“Yeah, I’m sure you can,” Kyle pushed off of him, pulling the guy up by his collar, “and you can explain it to the boys in blue.”
“No, you don’t understand,” the man insisted looking to Russell again, “I came here to see you.”
“Who the hell are you and why were you spying on me and my wife,” Russell demanded with a frown.
“I came here to help you.  Look, I didn’t mean to spy on you, but…” the man winced in agony while Kyle held him in a death grip, “Look you don’t know me, but I know who you are.  I heard that you were looking for information on a man you knew as Bruce Mathis and I can help you do just that if you‘ll only listen to me.”

“Hey you,” Jade greeted Grady after she’d finished up with her shower, “how are you feeling?”
“A little sore,” Grady confessed setting the television remote aside.  He patted the couch beside him in an attempt to urge her to join him, “but I’m going to survive and that’s what is important, right?”
“You bet it is,” she nodded sliding in next to him, “So what were you keeping busy with?”
“Nothing important,” he shrugged his shoulders watching her reach for the remote control.  Before he could stop her, she turned on the television once again and saw the news report before her he’d been hoping to keep her from.  Onscreen there was the tale of his ‘death’ in vivid color.  It went on to rehash the details of the mysterious Mahoney shooting.  Grady reached for the remote, turning the television off in a haste, “See I told you it was nothing important.”
“That isn’t just going to go away,” Jade frowned realizing that she couldn’t keep living in a world of denial about the situation, “Grady, we both know as long as the person who stabbed you is out there, we’re never going to be free.”
“I know,” he sighed bringing his hand up to his head, “and believe me if I could remember, I would.  I’ve tried to remember the details of that night, but they’re all a blur.  I remember being in the jail cell and thinking about you.  I was so worried that Cameron would try to hurt you and then, well I was thinking about what it would be like to never be able to see you again--to never hold you in my arms…”
“And then?” Jade questioned further reaching out to touch his knee gently, “What else happened Grady?”
“There was this man…” Grady paused with a frown, “He was speaking with me--I can’t remember what he was saying, but then he said…” he stopped himself for a long moment straining to recall the face before him, “He said something about you and Cameron and…”
“Yes?” Jade questioned urgently hoping to uncover the mystery behind what had happened while Grady had been in jail.
“And nothing,” Grady groaned in response, “After that I draw a blank and don’t recall anything until I woke up at the hospital.  I wish I knew more about what happened, but…”
“It’s okay,” Jade sighed hating to think about what Grady’s memory loss could mean to their future, “I’m sure it’ll come back in time.”
“I don’t know,” Grady frowned, “but whatever happens, I just pray that it doesn’t end with Cameron getting the best of us all over again.”
“I thought we agreed not to worry about that for now,” Jade reached for his hand.
“We did, but then when you were in the shower I started thinking about what was waiting for us in Coral Valley--about the things I have to face and as it stands I’m more terrified than ever that Cameron is going to try to hurt you again.”
“Grady, nothing is going to hurt me as long as we have each other,” she tried to assure him realizing that her own fears for the future were very much alive within him.
“I hope you’re right on that Jade because I want nothing more than to give you the world.  I want to be able to provide you the kind of life you’ve always dreamt about--without your having to worry about my being in hiding the rest of my life.”
“I know Grady and one day that will happen.  Like you said earlier, it’s just a matter of time, but Avery will prove that you didn’t shoot Kipp and then the rest will just fall into place.  It has to,” Jade sighed leaning in against him.
“I really hope so because if it doesn’t,” he paused hating the self doubt that was slowly returning to him, “Jade, maybe we should prepare ourselves for that…”
“Grady, if you’re asking me to forget what has happened between us over the last twenty four hours, then you can forget it.  I’m not going to let anything take that away from us.  Cameron isn’t going to win and we’re not going to let him take away our happiness.  Avery will clear your name and everyone will know the truth soon enough.”
“You’re right Jade.  I know you are,” Grady nodded with a weak smile wondering if his sister-in-law would truly be able to pull through for him at a time like this.  Sure, earlier he’d been convinced that things were going to be better, but with the news report he’d just witnessed, he realized that there was no sure thing in this world--not even with love on his side.  He just hoped that in having been given a second chance at happiness, that it also meant he’d be given another shot at freedom.


Dave walked into the lab and noticed all the busy workers. He had no idea which one had the information for him. He approached a female working at the front counter he politely cleared his throat and smiled at her, "Hello, I'm Dave Warner, Chief of Police. A Dr. Clinton told me to come down to the lab."
"Yes, he's been expecting you," she got out of her chair and opened a door for him, "He'll be in shortly."
"Thank you," Dave looked around at the all white room. It looked dull and boring with only a table and a few scattered chairs inside it. He sat in the chair farthest from the door and waited patiently. After about fifteen minutes of waiting the door slowly opened. A short gray haired man looked over his big framed glasses and closed the door behind him. His lab coat clung to him as he took a seat across from Dave and extended his hand, "I'm Dr. Clinton."
"Dave Warner," Dave grasped the doctor's hand in his, "You said you'd have the results in for me?"
"Yes, indeed we do." Dr. Clinton opened up a folder and tossed some papers over in Dave's direction, "We were able to lift a clear print off of the knife."   
"That's great," Dave nodded looking over the papers, "And you analyzed everything right?"
"Of course, and we have established how had handled that knife the night of the stabbing," Dr. Clinton pushed his glasses up off of his nose.
"A positive I.D.?" Dave asked setting the papers down and looking over at the doctor.
"Indeed," Dr. Clinton nodded.
"Well, who is it?" Dave asked impatiently waving his arm for the doctor to go on."
"The computer has established that the person holding this knife was none other then," the doctor paused for a moment, "A Simon DuBois."
"Christ," Dave searched through his pockets looking for his cell phone.
"You know the guy?" Dr. Clinton asked him raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I do." Dave found his cell phone and dialed the unit, "Yes this is Chief Dave Warner I need to send a unit out to the Ashford mansion right away. Simon DuBois is under arrest for the murder of Grady Denton. Treat him as if he's armed and dangerous and get out there ASAP."
Dave hung up the phone and hurried out of the lab, heading to his car. He was going to meet the unit at the Ashford mansion and make sure that Simon didn't run. He just hoped he wasn't too late and Simon had gotten to someone else.


Simon walked into the foyer drinking a glass of water. He had been outside cleaning the car and his forehead was beading with sweat.  He walked over to Blake and attempted to make conversation as she wasn't in the mood to talk.  Ben made his way to the front door of the mansion as it slammed open and a police unit made their way in. Diane was over by the kitchen door saying a final goodbye and spun around in time to see one of the officers call out to Simon, "Simon DuBois?"
Simon saw the officers approaching and grabbed Diane. Ben advanced to get her back just as Simon pulled out the glock out of the holster under his jacket. He placed it to Diane's temple, "Back away Ben or I swear her brains will be splattered on these walls."
"Simon, what are you doing?" Blake asked in shock backing into the wall, "Where did you get the gun?"
"I am not going to jail," Simon shouted backing up a bit, pulling Diane with him, "I swear to god I will shoot her right here, right now."
Patrick pushed his way through the officers and made his way to the front of the group holding his gun up, "Come on Simon, you don't want to do this."
"To hell I don't." Simon pushed the gun harder into Diane's temple, "How did you find me? I was so careful to hide the truth."
"It doesn't matter now Simon," Patrick took a cautious step forward, "Just come with me and we'll get everything straightened out."
"There's no way in hell I'm going back," Simon shook his head violently, "No damn way."
"Look Simon I understand," Patrick took another cautious step forward, "I really understand. We can go back to the station and talk about this."
"You don't understand a thing," Simon backed up a bit more, "You didn't live what I lived."
"You're right I didn't," Patrick still held his gun in the ready position, "Help me understand what's going on Simon. I want to help you."
"You don't want to help me," Simon snickered, "You and your American ways. You want everyone who's not an American to suffer."
"Simon, you're confused," Patrick continued to try and talk him down,  "You don't want to hurt the girl."
Diane gave out a little whimper and Simon shook her violently, "Shut up! Just everyone shut up!"
"I swear Simon if you hurt her.." Ben threatened as one of the officer's held him back.
"You come because of my citizenship.  I spit at your American culture. You don't know anything. You treat all foreign people like they are beneath you. I am an Frenchman. I don't deserve to be treated with brutality. You call yourself protectors of the innocent. Well, congratulations you have just caused an innocent to die," Simon spit towards the police ready to move past the point of no return.  A gunshot rang through the Ashford home, leaving no mistaking the truth behind Simon’s words with the bloodshed in the Ashford home.

...to be continued...