Episode 116

“Well, what next?” Kyle questioned turning his attention to Russell eagerly awaiting his response.
“While I have absolutely no reason to believe any of what I’m hearing, I’m willing to give this guy a chance to prove I’m wrong,” Russell shrugged his shoulders turning his attention to Randy once again, “If you’re bluffing about any of this…”
“I’m not,” Randy professed once again, “I have everything you need to get Mathis behind bars for the rest of his life.  All I’m asking in return is that you help me find a way out of Coral Valley before it’s too late.”
“If you have such overwhelming evidence against him, why don’t you just take it to the police yourself,” Kyle threw back at the man unwilling to believe the tale he was trying to sell them.
“Because Bruce Mathis destroyed my life.  I lost everything and if I even thought about going to the authorities I have no doubt in my mind that he’d find a way to finish me,” Randy explained desperately, “My girlfriend already left me because of what he’s told her, so there’s no telling what the police will do to me.”
“Oh I can tell you,” Kyle quipped in response, “They’ll throw your pedophilic ass behind bars where you can become someone’s plaything…”
“Kyle please,” Russell waved his hand to silence him, “Look Randy, I’m not about to pretend that I like you because I don’t.  I can’t even stand to be in the same room with you, but if you have this information that you claim to about the man who is terrorizing my wife, then I’m ready to make a deal.”
“What,” Kyle’s jaw dropped in shock.  He took a step forward towards Russell wanting to clear up a few things with his long time pal.  Turning to look at Randy, Kyle threw out a warning look, “Don’t you even think about going anywhere while I talk to my pal.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” the man offered up with an air of sarcasm in a moment of boldness before Kyle threw out another glare.  Almost immediately the man grew silent lowering his head to the ground.
“Russ, what are you doing,” Kyle questioned under his breath, “I don’t trust this guy as far as I can throw him and yeah, okay that might be pretty far, but I smell something fishy here.”
“Kyle, look I know I didn’t get a chance to get into this with you over the phone the other night, but there’s this man who has been stalking Avery…” Russ began with a sigh.
“Yeah, this Mathis character.  I get that, but why would you even bother with this guy,” Kyle motioned towards Randy once again, “It’s obvious he’s a liar and a loser.”
“Even so, I can’t risk dismissing his words and allowing Bruce another chance at my wife,” Russ explained with an impassioned tone, “Not so long ago Mathis got in here and had this guy tear up the place.  He left the body of a dead prostitute in our bedroom…not to mention that he’s also faked his own death only to have a second coming where he continually terrorized Avery.  He tried to kill her once and then after that, well he sent her someone’s heart on our honeymoon, so needless to say I have a little bit of a score to settle with him.”
“Hey, I’m right there with you partner, but I think you need to think about what we’re about to get into with this guy.  He keeps saying that he’s got some kind of information on Mathis, but that’s where it ends.  He’s not getting more specific than a few photos and some supposed connections,” Kyle reminded him pointedly, “That doesn’t add up to a lot there Russ.”
“It’s more than the police have had to go on,” Russell informed him bluntly, “Bruce just up and walked out of the morgue in the middle of an FBI investigation and no one saw it happening.  Not to mention that this man has more lives than a cat.  Someone is helping him evade justice and I need to know exactly who it is before Bruce returns as promised and makes another attempt at getting to Avery.  Kyle, I know it sounds insane can’t risk my future with Avery by letting this guy walk out of here.”
“So we take him to the police and let them shake him up.  Eventually he’s bound to talk,” Kyle suggested as an afterthought.
“The police can’t be trusted,” Russell’s voice dropped to a muted tone, “I know it sounds crazy, but within the police station there is someone working for a man out to get my family.  It’s a long story but because of this man, well Grady’s life has been put into an uproar.  He was stabbed in jail and it’s been a nightmare ever since.”
“Grady was what,” Kyle’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Look it’s a long story, but the gist of it is that if word got around the station that I was looking into finding Mathis, then there’s no telling what could happen…” Russell began unable to contain the urge to find a way to end the nightmare that Bruce had put upon his family.
“And Avery, does she have any idea that you’re doing any of this?” Kyle asked with a bit of uncertainty.
“Of course not.  She’s been under enough stress during her pregnancy and with her dealing with the situation with Grady, I just don’t want to add to that.  Kyle, you have to trust me on this one.  I love her more than anything in this world and I’d do anything to ensure her safety even if that means keeping her in the dark about this.”
“Even if you know she’s going to rip you a new one after the fact when she finds out,” Kyle inquired once again.
“It’s a chance I’m going to have to take and if this jerk is means to an end of the reign of terror Bruce has put upon my family, then I have to take it,” Russell insisted firmly refusing to let this opportunity walk away from him.
“Fine, but for the record, I highly object to this,” Kyle stood upright once again spinning on his heel to face Randy.  Throwing a glare out at him, he stalked towards the man and huffed, “What are you looking at?”
“Listen Randy,” Russell approached the man once again, “this evidence you say you have, you’re certain that it will put Bruce behind bars?”
“As certain as I the air I breathe.  I have documents and photos that could incriminate him and those working with him,” Randy divulged with an eager nod, “and I know the last place he was staying at along with some of the places where he likes to lay low.  As I said he had me working on his girlfriend for a while there from afar, so I got a chance to really get to get a grasp on his habits.”
“And oh how blessed you must feel,” Kyle rolled his eyes eliciting a frown from Russell, “What?”
“Just how do you plan to get this evidence our way,” Russell questioned eagerly wanting nothing more than to believe this lead could lead somewhere for him.
“You two let me go and I’ll get a few things together,” Randy offered up straining not to be acutely aware of Kyle’s presence towering over him, “I’ll come back here later with what you’ve asked for and you see to it that you get your hands on the cash that I need to get out of town and be on my way.”
“How about we just break your neck now and get it over with,” Kyle quipped.
“You could try that bonehead, but then you wouldn’t be able to have what I have and he knows that,” Jerry remarked with a fleeting moment of boldness as he rose from the chair, “The way I see it, you need me more than I need you two, so you’re going to have to do things my way.”
“Nope, that’s not an acceptable answer, right Russ?” Kyle took a step forward towards Jerry.
“That’s right,” Russell nodded in response, “we’re going to do things my way Jerry, or I’ll make sure that not only do the police find you, but that Bruce knows you were here today.”
“You wouldn’t,” Randy gasped in horror.
“Don’t push me because I’m well past the point of being patient,” Russell stated in firm, annunciated tones, “Starting now, you’re going to do things exactly like I tell you to and when you produce the information that you claim you possess, then we’ll start talking about what comes next.”


“Blake, what happened,” Brant questioned feeling his sister breaking into tears in his arms after the police had finally let him enter the estate.
“It was horrible,” Blake sobbed into his chest, “They came in here after Simon and he had a gun.  A gun Brant and he tried to shoot Diane!  Oh God, when I think about what he could’ve done--about all those times that I’d been around him unaware of the fact that Simon was some nut job…”
“Wait a second,” Avery’s began with obvious shock, “are you saying all this was because of Simon?”
“That’s right,” Blake nodded before a frown touched over her lips, “What are you doing here?”
“She’s with me,” Brant reached out to urge his younger sister to look at him once again.  Touching her cheek gently, he spoke in a soothing tone, “Blake, how did this all happen?  Why were the police here after Simon?”
“I don’t know,” Blake admitted with a shrug of her shoulders, “Ben and Diane just showed up before the police did.  Diane and I were arguing and then the door opened and Simon lost it…”
“That doesn’t sound like Simon,” Brant frowned once again, “there has to be more to this.”
“That’s because there is,” Dave spoke up approaching the trio, “I’m sorry for all the chaos that ensued here this afternoon.”
“Dave, what happened,” Avery questioned in confusion, “Why were your men after Simon?”
“Because CSI got those lab results we’ve been waiting for Avery and Simon’s prints were all over the knife that Grady was stabbed with,” Dave explained matter of fact before glancing over at Blake, “I know this isn’t the best of times, but I’m going to need a statement from you Blake.  If you would just go over and tell one of my men what happened…”
“Of course,” Blake nodded clinging to her brother’s arm desperately, “Will you come with me Brant?”
“Certainly,” Brant promised her before looking to Dave again, “but don’t you disappear because I want to have a few words with you.”
“I’ll be right here,” Dave assured him watching Brant take Blake over to one of the officers to take her statement.
“So this is it,” Avery questioned unable to curb the unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach, “Simon was the man who stabbed Grady and now he’s what?  In the hospital?  Are you going to start interrogating him now about what happened that night in jail?”
“Avery, it’s not that easy,” Dave started to explain.
“Of course it’s that easy Dave.  Once you ask him about what happened, I’m sure he’ll be willing to talk.  You can get him to tell you the truth about why he stabbed Grady as I’m certain that Cameron was behind it.  We can get him to testify and…” Avery started feeling a faint flicker of hope overtake her at the thought of justice falling into place despite the state of chaos the grounds of the Ashford estate was in.
“Avery, you don’t understand…” Dave began again trying to get her to listen to what he was saying.
“Dave, if Simon tried to fire on someone here, he was obviously desperate and seeking a way out.  We can just go to him and I’m sure if he’s willing to turn State’s evidence against Cameron, the D.A. will be willing to listen to what he has to say.  I just know that Cameron was the one who…” Avery rambled on again.
“Avery, he’s dead,” Dave blurted out.
“He’s what,” Avery gasped.
“He tried to shoot Diane and my men had no choice, but to take a shot at him,” Dave continued to explain to her, “There was no room for error and when Lieutenant Sharpe took the shot…”
“Lieutenant Sharpe,” Avery repeated with sudden distrust, “now isn’t that convenient.”
“What is that supposed to mean Avery,” Dave frowned down at her.
“Don’t you find it a bit odd that the man who allowed Cameron to come into the room with Grady and I at the jail is also the one who killed the only man who can clear Grady’s name?  I mean if that doesn’t wreak of some kind of cover-up, then I don’t know what does,” she scoffed with an icy tone.
“Avery, Patrick was doing his job,” Dave started to defend his Lieutenant’s shaky actions.
“Yeah he was doing a job alright, but it wasn’t for you Dave,” Avery argued with him, “I have no doubt in my mind that what happened here today was orchestrated by Cameron Stone.  If that man saw fit to have Grady murdered that night, then he wouldn’t want to leave a trail of evidence behind him, now would he?”
“Avery, you can’t just go making accusations without proof,” Dave sighed heavily not ready to get into another ten rounds with her.
“Oh we had proof Dave, but your Lieutenant Sharpe eliminated it before the eyes of the law were able to see it,” Avery scowled back at him, “I’m certain of it.”
“The only concrete evidence we have working with us Avery is all that has been stacked up against Grady and now that the man who stabbed him is dead…” Dave started knowing the inevitable was lurking around the corner.
“Don’t you say it.  Don’t you dare say it Dave,” Avery warned him sharply, “A deal is a deal and until we know the truth, then you can’t…”
“Avery, the truth is that Simon stabbed Grady and he reacted in a desperate moment once we closed in on him,” Dave stated the story that had been rehashed to him.
“I don’t believe that is how it is and deep down you don’t either.  I can see it in your eyes Dave.  Besides, while you might keep trying to convince yourself that you don’t have enough evidence that Cameron has anything to do with all of this, Russ and I have been doing a little digging of our own.  We found something that we think could very well implicate Cameron in the shooting at the Mahoney apartment.”
“Why do I get the feeling that I’m going to be afraid to ask what it is,” Dave shook his head at her, “Avery, I’m telling you that right now the best you can hope for is to take your chances on a trial and hope that there is a sympathetic jury who believes Grady‘s story.”
“Hmm, gee and would that jury be one that Cameron has hand picked for the task as well,” Avery grumbled in response, “If you’re so convinced this was all an attempt that Simon made upon Grady’s life of his own conviction, then give me a motive.  Or better yet, give me a logical explanation as to how he got into the prison that night undetected.  Well?”
Silence surrounded them for a long moment before Dave groaned inwardly.
“I didn’t think you could Dave,” Avery stood taller, “and maybe if you think about that, then that’s where you’ll find your solution to the problem at hand.”
“Avery, you know I can’t keep a lid on what’s going on with Grady forever.  I’ve already bent far too many rules and…” he argued with her.
“You owe it to yourself to hear what Russ and I have to say.  You need to see what we uncovered and then maybe you won’t be so reluctant to buy into what I’m saying,” Avery urged him on while taking a brief look around her surroundings.
“Avery, believe me there is nothing I could want more in this world than to put Cameron behind bars for the rest of his life, but until something comes up where I have something concrete to work with, then we’re only spinning around in circles and coming up empty.”
“Oh I’ll give you proof Dave.  You’ll see,” Avery stated her voice full of determination as she tossed her hair back over her shoulder, “That is if your police force doesn’t find a way to eliminate it in the process of discovery.”
“Avery,” Dave called out to her watching her walk over to join Brant and Blake.  Taking in Avery’s words, he realized with each passing moment that he was delving deeper into something he was quite certain would only lead to disaster down the road.


Ben sat in the waiting room head in his hands. His talk with Ria running over and over through his head.  He couldn't believe that everything was happening like this. How could it be?  He seriously couldn't get reality to sink into where Diane was concerned.  They‘d been so close to sharing the dream vacation with one another, yet in one instant that was all ripped away from them.  A slow tear dripped down his cheek as he saw Seth walk into the waiting room.  He stayed silent as Seth took a seat right next to him. "Hey Ben."

"Hey Seth," Ben answered without even looking at him.

"How are you holding up?" Seth questioned patting his knee, "You alright?"
"I don't know," Ben shrugged his shoulders and leaned his head against the wall, "I don't know what I am anymore."

"What do you mean?" Seth questioned placing his hand back on his own knee.

"I feel at any point I'm going to just snap." Ben shook his head and completely tensed up, "Yep at any second I'm about to lose it."

"You have to pull yourself together," Seth looked at him with worry, "You need to snap out , if not for you at least for Diane."

"What does it matter?" Ben snapped back, "She might not even be here to care."

"Don't talk like that," Seth snapped right back at Ben, "You have to think positive and stop dwelling into the negative. You need to put it in you're head that she's going to be alright."

"And how do you know?" Ben asked him expectantly, "How do you know she is going to even make it?"
"She'll be alright bro," Seth gave out a light sigh, "I know you've probably heard that a lot so far, but I really believe it Ben."

"How did you find out?" he asked staring blankly at the floor, "Why did you come here?"

"Ria called me. She informed me of what's been going on," Seth ran a hand through his hair, "And I came here to make sure you were going to be okay."

"You didn't have to do that. I'm not worth coming to check on."

"Yes, I did bro," Seth reassured him, "I want to be here for you. I'm you're friend and I can't imagine being anywhere else but here making sure you're okay."

"I will be okay the minute they come out here and tell me she will be," Ben choked out closing his eyes, "This wasn't suppose to happen."

"I know Ben." Seth sighed not knowing if he would be able to help his friend, "A lot of things happen in life that we don't like, that we don't agree with. Many things happen, but they happen for a reason."

"It's all my fault." Ben started to break out into tears, "It's all my fault."

"You weren't the one with the gun," Seth assured him, "You weren't the one who was going nuts and spitting off a whole bunch of nonsense. You had no control over what was going on and you need to stop beating yourself up over it Ben. I’m telling you this as a friend."
"If it wasn't for me we wouldn't have even been there when it happened,"  Ben put his head in his hands, "We would have been on our way to Florida and on our way to the time of our life. Not this...none of this was suppose to happen."

"Ben, you had no idea what was going to happen," Seth rested a hand on Ben's shoulder, "You would never purposely put Diane in danger. You know that and I know that."

"I should have known," Ben sniffled as another tear dropped down his cheek.

"And how the hell would you have been able to do that?" Seth asked raising an eyebrow, "You wouldn't have. Nobody would have been able to tell you what was going to go down."

"I should have felt something.  I should have felt it in my gut." Ben wiped away his tears with the back of his arm, "I should have felt it."
"Ben, you are not a miracle worker. You're not a psychic. You had no idea what was going to happen and I can't stress that enough to you. You didn't know." Seth rubbed Ben's shoulder in a comforting manner, "You need to realize that or else you're going to tear yourself apart. Do you think Diane would want that to happen?"

"I suppose not," Ben sighed, "I just feel so damn guilty for everything."

"Ben, don't feel guilty. You did nothing wrong," Seth assured him again, "It couldn't have been avoided. You need to make that get through you're head."
"Well I get to thinking...Like what would have happened if I didn't go there? What would have happened if I attempted to save her? So many things are running through my head right now and I don't know what to think."

"Don't," Seth told him flat out, "Don't think of that kind of stuff. Think of how you need to pray for Diane. You probably have heard this a lot but faith and prayer will help you a lot."

"I don't know how," Ben gave out a slight shrug, "I don't know what to say or how to even pray."

"Ben, don't be dumb," Seth shook his head, "It comes so natural. I'm here for you buddy. We can pray together. We can get everything we need to say out right now."

"Thanks Seth," Ben gave out a weak smile, "Thanks for being here for me."

"Not a problem Ben. Anytime," Seth smiled back, "Now let's start praying."

Ben and Seth started to pray together. It was one of the first times Ben had ever prayed in a long time but it seemed to help. He needed to get it out. He needed to get his emotions, his fears, and everything out. Seth started off saying how he wanted everything to work out alright, but Ben couldn't help himself. He chipped in and started praying for Diane. He prayed for her to get better, he prayed for everything to work out alright, he prayed that him and Diane would be able to spend the rest of their lives together.


Zack and Johanna arrive back at their hotel room both laughing and happy.

Johanna: I still can't believe some other couple got our bill by mistake and actually paid for it and left before anyone noticed!

Zack: They clearly didn't look at the bill, cause their dinners cost a lot less.

Johanna: I know, I feel a little guilty.

Zack: Hey it's not our fault they gave them the wrong bill. We hadn't even gotten one yet so we couldn't have known.

Johanna: True. Don't you find it odd though that their bill was so much less.

Zack: I guess no one at their table ordered the Oysters, Majestic Lobster, and Chocolate Soufflé.

He winks at her devilishly. She playfully punches him.

Johanna: Hey! I'm eating for two remember.

Zack smiles and laughs.

Zack: Oh give me a break, you've always eaten as if you were eating for two.

They both laugh.

Johanna: There is nothing wrong with having a healthy appetite.

Zack: Nope. Well, so you want to use the shower first?

Johanna: No, I'll take longer, you go ahead.

Zack: All right.

He starts to head to the bathroom when Johanna gasps and grabs her stomach.

Johanna: Oh!

Zack rushes to her worriedly.

Zack: Are you okay? Is it the baby?

Johanna looks at Zack with tears in her eyes.

Johanna: Are baby just moved.

Zack looks at her in disbelief.

Zack: It...it moved?

Johanna nods tears willing and takes his hand.

Johanna: Here feel.

She puts his hand on her stomach and they both wait with great anticipation. The baby moves again.

Johanna: Did you feel that?!

Zack shakes his head.

Zack: This...this is incredible.

Johanna: I know!

Zack: What...what does that feel like?

Johanna: I really don't know how to describe it. Gas bubbles maybe?

Zack is over whelmed by emotion as he looks down at Johanna's stomach their hands intertwined against her abdomen.

Zack: We really are going to be parents.

Johanna: Scary huh?

He looks at her with a smile.

Zack: Wonderfully scary.

He leans in and kisses her stomach gently then stands and looks deep into Johanna's eyes.

Zack: Nothing like having a baby with your best friend.

And he kisses her softly then goes on into the shower. Johanna looks after him unsure how to feel.

Johanna: Will I ever be more then just your best friend, Zack? Or will Blake always have the one thing I don't. Your heart.


Ken and Caitlin arrive back at her hotel room.

Caitlin: Thank you for an incredible evening. The carriage ride, the restaurant, the mini symphony, all of it. It was so wonderful.

Ken smiles and gently kisses her.

Ken: Only what you deserve.

She smile up at him.

Caitlin: I really don't want this night to end.

Ken smiles.

Ken: It doesn't have to.

She smiles and leads him into her hotel room.

Ken: So, what should we do? I can open some wine from the bar and we can order a movie?

Caitlin looks at him closely.

Caitlin: Is that really all you can think to do?

He smiles and blushes.

Ken: Well, no. But... Look, Caitlin, you just got out of a really bad relationship, not to mention the hospital. I don't want to rush you, and I definitely don't want to hurt you.

Caitlin smiles lovingly at him.

Caitlin: Being in your arms could never hurt me and when I'm with you I know I'm ready to move on.

Ken smiles lovingly at her as she moves closer to him and he pulls her in tight as they kiss passionately. She then gazes deep into his love filled eyes.

Caitlin: Make love to me, Ken.

Ken takes a deep breath.

Ken: I want this to be perfect for your Caitlin. Not just some romp in a hotel room after a romantic dinner, but really perfect.

Caitlin: What could be more perfect then the two of us making love?

Ken smiles.

Ken: Why don't you go into the wash room and change into something more comfortable. Maybe by the time your out I'll have found the answer to that.

She looks at him quizzically but only nods and goes into the wash room. Awhile later she hears beautiful operatic music flowing into the washroom from the bedroom.

Caitlin: What is he up to now?

She opens the door and sees all the lights are out but the room is full of beautiful burning candles and there are flowers everywhere, and rose petals scattered on the bed. She moves in closer and sees that on the bed there is also a silver tray with wine, chocolate sauce, and strawberry's. Caitlin has tears in her eyes as she takes in the scene. Then Ken comes up behind her, wraps his arms around her lovingly and hands her a single rose as he whispers.

Ken: A rose by any other name would have to be Caitlin.

She laughs as she turns to face Ken who is standing there in his bathrobe.

Ken: Did I find a good answer?

Caitlin smiles at him with tears in her eyes.

Caitlin: A beautiful one.

She puts her arms around him and they kiss passionately. Then they go sit on the bed and begin feeding one another strawberry's dipped in chocolate. Both take great pleasure in licking the chocolate off the other’s fingers. Soon they begin kissing passionately. Ken begins kissing her neck and nibbling on her ear as Caitlin runs her hands along his back and returns his hot passion filled kisses. He stops only for a minute as he looks in her eyes.

Ken: Are you sure?

Caitlin nods.

Caitlin: Make love to me.

With that they kiss again even more passionately then before. His hands find the straps to her gown and gently push them off her shoulders. While she pulls his robe off of him and sends it to join her gown which is now on the floor. Their lips and hands begin passionately exploring one another as the music plays and they become one for the first time.


Dave walked out of his office after finishing some paperwork and saw Patrick standing over by the coffee. Patrick seemed perfectly content and not even upset about the situation that happened. Dave wondered why Patrick went against orders to shoot and was going to find out right now. "Hey Patrick can I have a word with you?"
"Yeah, sure Chief," Patrick picked up his coffee and followed Dave back into his office, "What do you need Chief?"
"I wanted to have a word with you with what went down at the Ashford home earlier," Dave walked behind his desk and took a seat.
"Oh...that," Patrick shrugged as if it didn't mean anything to him, "What did you want to know?"
"Like why you went against orders perhaps?" Dave raised his eyebrows studying Patrick's face for any hint of remorse. He saw nothing.
"I didn't hear that order Sir." he shrugged and leaned back in the chair, "I honestly didn't."
"Everyone else on the squad was told not to make a move like that until I arrived," Dave tapped his fingers against the desk, "Every officer I asked said they heard that order but you."
"Sir, I saw an opportunity and I took it," Patrick shrugged, "I didn't know it was against orders."
"Because of your defiance an innocent civilian is in the hospital, possibly dying from a head trauma." Dave looked down at the report then back up at Patrick.
"I'm sorry that Diane got hurt.  I wouldn’t have willingly put her in danger if I‘d thought it was a possibility," Patrick shifted in his chair continuing to try and act calm, "I didn't think the gun would go off. I saw an opening and I took it."
"You made a bad, impulsive decision," Dave flipped through the reports on his desk, "And I heard from some of the other officers, not naming names, that Simon was on the verge of being talked down."
"He was making no progress when I tried sir," Patrick told him, "I saw none."
"That's funny because more then half the squad seems to think that if you would have talked a little longer we would have gotten him to come down to the station," Dave studied Patrick's eyes and was surprised to see the coldness in them.
 "Look maybe that's what they saw but I didn't," Patrick shouted back in anger, "My cop instincts told me that he was going to shoot the girl and I needed to do something if I could. If the squad didn't agree with my decision then that's tough for them."
"I'm not approving either Patrick and that's the point," Dave stood up and walked around his desk and leaned back against it, "I don't see how you justify your actions."
"Well I'm sorry Chief. I guess you see it as I screwed up," Patrick shrugged it off as if it was nothing, "but I thought I prevented a killing spree and I stand by my decision to take the target out."
"You killed a man before we could get information out of him," Dave pointed out, "And the hostage got shot anyway. So what you did was screw up."
"Are you firing me Chief?" Patrick asked leaning back in the chair, "Because if you are get it over with and stop procrastinating."
"I'm asking where you're head was Sharpe," Dave snapped out getting a weird feeling in his gut, "I'm asking if you were even thinking."
"Yeah I was," Patrick groaned and stood up, "Can I go now? This conversation is growing very old."
"Don't lip off with me Patrick," Dave snapped angrily.
"Sorry Chief," Patrick did a mocking bow, "I shall not do it again."
"You are being way to cocky for the position you are in right now Sharpe," Dave remarked very bluntly, "You are not in a position to be telling me off."
"Sir right now I don't give a damn," Patrick replied walking out of Dave's office slamming the door shut.
Dave got to thinking how suspicious Patrick was acting. Something was telling him there was more to this case then was seen to the eye. Patrick was hiding something from it. He could read it in Patrick's face, he could read it in Patrick's eyes. Something was going on and he was going to get to the bottom of it and be prepared for anything. Dave wasn't taking anything as a surprise anymore.


Ben and Seth sat in the waiting room for over two hours still waiting on news from Diane. They had prayed together, but since then they hadn't said much more to one another. Seth looked over at Ben with worried eyes, "You alright bro?"

"Better but still not alright," Ben replied staring out the window.
"I know," Seth placed a hand on his shoulder, "but everything will turn out alright."
Doctor Carlisle walked into the waiting room and talked to the nurse asking where Ben was. The nurse pointed over to Ben and Seth sitting in the corner by the window and he nodded. He made his way over to them, "Ben Walters?"
"Yeah?" Ben shot up from his seat and grasped the Doctor's hand in his, "That's me."
"Well, I'm Doctor Carlisle and I was the doctor working on Diane," Dean shook Ben's hand and released it, "I have an update on Diane Stevens."
"Yeas?" Ben asked eagerly, "Is she going to be alright?"
"She's going to be fine," Dean smiled patting Ben's shoulder, "I stabilized her and she is no longer in critical condition."
"She's not going to die?" Ben questioned a big smile on his face.
"No she's not going to die," Dean gave out a light chuckle, "We're going to move her to recovery soon."
"Is she going to have any problems?" Ben asked raising an eyebrow.
"Physically, no.  She appears to have a good road to recovery ahead of her" Dean shook his head, "The only thing that concerns me is that she might be traumatized mentally about the shooting, but hopefully that won’t happen for her."
"When can I talk to her?" Ben asked eager to see Diane again.
"Well, you can see her right away, but she's not awake. The medication we pumped into her might keep her knocked out cold for a few more hours."
"Thank you Doc," Ben hugged him tightly, "Thank you for saving my love."
"Not a problem," Dean patted his back and released from his hold, "All in a day‘s work."
Ben turned to Seth and gave him a big hug, "Did you hear that Seth? She's going to be alright!"
Seth nodded returning the hug, "Yeah, I heard it. I told you praying would help, didn't I? Seems like God doesn't hate you after all."
Ben couldn't wipe the smirk off his face, "She's going to be okay!"
"I know!" Seth smiled as Ben's excitement ran all through him, "I told you."
"Thank you so much Seth," Ben hugged Seth tighter before releasing him, "I had no faith until you helped me."
"What are friends for?" Seth shrugged patting Ben's shoulder, "I'm glad you're okay now."
"I'm glad Diane's okay now!" Ben smirked unable to hide his excitement.
"Well, get back there and see her," Seth told him shoving his shoulder urging him to go, "Now go!"
Ben just smiled and took off running into the back almost knocking over two nurses on his way in. Seth chuckled as he watched Ben make his way to see Diane. He was happy that Diane was going to be alright and even more happy that she would be alright with no complications.

Seth turned to the doctor and smiled, "Thanks Doc for saving my friend."
"You are most certainly welcome," Dean nodded in understatement as they both watched Ben dart down the hallway looking for Diane, "Well, he could have asked me what room she was in."
Seth gave out a chuckle and shook his head, "He'll find her. They were meant to be together."


“Are you sure she’s going to be alright,” Avery questioned watching Blake head upstairs to spend some time alone after the whole situation had burst out of control with Simon a short while earlier.
“She says she’ll be alright,” Brant nodded with worry evident in his brow, “but I’m not so convinced.  She’s always had a hard time dealing with death when it’s been right in front of her.”
“You mean after what happened to your mother,” Avery questioned catching the look of surprise that appeared behind his dark eyes.  She continued to explain, “Your father mentioned it once in passing.”
“Yeah, well Blake’s never really recovered from it,” Brant admitted poignantly, “I wish that I could say that it hasn’t haunted her, but I can’t see a way that it wouldn’t.  We’ve all worked so hard to protect her from nightmares, but this time, well it feels like we invited one right into our home.”
“Brant, you couldn’t have known,” Avery watched him retreat into the study making his way over to the mini bar.
“I should’ve had some clue about what he was,” Brant argued feeling guilt eat away at him, “I mean my God Avery the man was wanted over in France.  You think my father would’ve done some kind of background check on him before inviting him into our lives.  Hell, he doesn’t even have a work visa here…”
“Maybe at the time Simon didn’t seem like the kind of man to pull a deception over anyone,” Avery suggested following him into the study.
“Or maybe my father was just an idiot.  I mean that’s really what all of this boils down to,” Brant poured himself a drink, lifting the glass up off of the counter before drinking it in a quick gulp.
“Brant come on,” Avery started watching him refill the glass and swallow it down once again, “Don’t you think you’re being a little overdramatic here?”
“My sister was nearly killed in a shooting along with my secretary for heaven’s sake.  I don’t think being overdramatic has anything to do with it,” he argued with her, “My father has made mistake after stupid mistake and now it just keeps coming back to haunt us all.  I mean hey, this whole situation with Stone Corp is because of my father’s wrongdoings.  For all we know, he could’ve promised the guy the world and then decided to take it back.”
“Even if he did, that doesn’t excuse what Cameron has done,” Avery informed him bluntly, “Cameron has caused nothing but disaster since he’s come into town and I know he was behind what happened here today.  The police can say what they want, but I don’t buy it for one second that Simon was some criminal mastermind who just decided to try to kill Grady for the hell of it.”
“Oh Avery,” Brant paused from his own self-loathing to think about what she’d said, “I’m sorry.  I forgot all about Grady and…”
“Hey, right now I’m just worried about you,” she informed him making her way towards the mini bar.  She reached for the bottle he had in his hand in an attempt to steal it away from him, “Brant, you don’t need anymore of this.”
“How would you know?” Brant threw back at her, “My sister is upstairs probably going through yet another breakdown because of what I invited into our home.  My company is going to fall to ruins because of this ridiculous association my father made with Cameron, so why the hell can’t I drink if I want to?”   
“Because drinking never solves anything,” Avery insisted snatching the bottle away from him despite his protests.
“Give me that back,” Brant grumbled in response reaching out to take a hold of the neck of the bottle once again.
“No Brant,” she held firm on the bottle, refusing to let go, “Drinking isn’t going to make any of this go away.  Trust me.  I’ve lived with an alcoholic in my life for a long time and the only thing that happens from drinking is that things get ugly.  People get ugly and the act in itself only intensifies problems.  If you really are worried about Blake, then you get up there and talk to her.  You try to be there for her and stop blaming yourself for the things your father did in the past.”
“Avery, it’s not that simple,” Brant piped in again.
“Nothing worth having ever is, but that still shouldn’t prevent you from trying.  So your father made some bad choices and yes, it  brought danger into your home, but you can’t let that danger steal your future away from you.  You can’t beat yourself up over the messes that you didn’t create.  You can just do your best and keep pushing forward while acknowledging that the past is the past and it’s time to get over it and move on,” Avery informed him bluntly, her dark eyes reaching into his.  He released his hold on the bottle giving it over to her in defeat.
Slowly she set it back on the countertop before facing him once again, “See, now this is the first step on moving forward.”
“How is it that you have this way about you to get me to pull my head out of my ass when I’m really in the mood to be impossible,” Brant couldn’t help but crack a smile down at her.
“Maybe it’s because you’re afraid of what I’ll do to you if you don’t,” she couldn’t help but tease feeling him reach out to her taking her hand in his.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you sometimes,” Brant confessed in a calm voice, urging her fingers into his palm.  He lifted her hand to his lips placing a soft kiss over the top of her hand while never taking his eyes off of her, “I’d be lost without you Avery.”
“No you wouldn’t be,” Avery shook her head feeling a heat rise up over her features at the way he was looking at her, “You’d just be impossible to deal with.”
“Even so, maybe that’s part of why we have one another,” Brant continued, his tone shifting with the moment as he took a step forward, “Hiring you was one of the only things that my father did right.  Somehow he must’ve known how special you were going to be.”
“Brant stop,” Avery couldn’t help but smile, “or else you might get me thinking that you’ve already overdid it with the drinks.”
“Avery, I’m serious,” Brant admitted extending his arm out towards her.  His fingers skimmed over her cheek in a far more intimate movement than Avery had anticipated as he leaned in towards her, “I’d be lost without you.”
“Brant,” Avery started feeling an uneasiness come upon her.  She opened her mouth to speak up once again, only to be interrupted by the sounds of something crashing in the other room.  Quickly she pulled herself out of his reach only to discover one of the police officers had knocked over a vase on the way out the door after things had come to a close in the Ashford estate.
“Oh hell,” Brant grumbled catching wind of the damage that had been done in the foyer.
“You should probably get someone to work on cleaning that up,” Avery piped in making a quick step towards the door to the study, “I’m going to go upstairs and check in on my mother since I’m sure she’s probably fit to be tied right about now.”
“Avery…” Brant called out to her watching her hasty retreat.
“Brant,” she circled around to eye him once again, “you should probably go check on Blake too after you get that cleaned up.”
“I will,” Brant nodded in confession wondering if he hadn’t just imagined a spark of something between them just a few short seconds ago.  Watching her walk up the staircase to visit Brooke, he found himself drawn to her unable to refrain from staring while lost in the realization that he was far from being able to let go of the dream of having a future with Avery.


Russell pulled up into his parents’ driveway ready to put the situation with Kyle and Randy aside for a few hours.  After working out the details with Randy, Kyle decided that the best thing for everyone would be to have Kyle escort Randy to get the information needed to put Bruce away.  Russ had opted to let the two men take the journey on their own while he reconnected with his wife and parents.  They still had to work out the details of Grady’s upcoming memorial and while Russ was putting it off there was no avoiding the inevitable.
Putting the car in park, Russell opened up the driver’s side door making his way up to his parents porch.  Noticing that Avery’s car wasn’t parked in front of the house, Russell tried to take a quick look around wondering if he’d just missed her in the midst of everything.  However, before he could get a better look around, he found his mother standing in the doorway with Rusty in her arms.
“Russ, I thought I saw you pull up,” Cheryl greeted her son, “I’m glad you’re here.”
“I came over as soon as I could,” Russell stepped up onto the porch leaning over to kiss her cheek quickly while reaching out to pet the top of Rusty’s little head, “Hey mom, where’s Avery?”
“She called on her way over here earlier,” Cheryl explained inviting him inside her home, “Her mother called and you know how demanding Brooke can be…”
“Wonderful,” Russ groaned wondering what his mother-in-law was up to now, “like we needed that on top of everything else.”
“Avery said that her mother is trying to repair some of the damage that has been done between them,” Cheryl noted watching Russ pick Rusty up and out of her arms.
“And you believe that?” Russ gave her a skeptical look.
“Not for a second, but I thought that maybe you might,” Cheryl divulged offering up a breath of relief.
“Mom you raised me to be smarter than that.  Come on,” Russ pointed out hearing his father entering the room.
“Russ, I thought I heard your voice.  I was just in the back room working on something for the little one on the way.  How about you come and join me for a few?” Elliot greeted him with an eagerness behind his voice.
“I’ll go put on some tea,” Cheryl suggested reaching for Rusty once again, “Come on sweetheart.  Grandma will teach you all about working around in the kitchen.”
“Thanks mom,” Russ couldn’t help but smile watching his mother’s interactions with his kitten.  Turning his attention to Elliot, Russell followed him down the hallway into Grady’s old bedroom which was now serving as Elliot’s workroom.
“So I hear Brooke is up to no good yet again, huh?” Elliot questioned making conversation upon entering the workroom.
“Nothing that we can’t handle,” Russ stated with a simple shrug of his shoulders, “So what are we working on?”
“Actually I’ve already finished up with the thing I was working on,” Elliot motioned to a toy riding horse he’d setup for his grandchild, “I just wanted to get a few moments alone to talk with you without your mother being around.”
“Is something wrong,” Russ questioned in confusion.
“You mean other than the fact that your brother is out there somewhere and we don’t have the first clue on how to contact him,” Elliot grumbled, “no everything’s going well.”
“Dad, that’s not what I meant,” Russ began apologetically.
“I know you didn’t son and I’m not trying to be glib, but this whole situation has really upset your mother.  We’ve been hounded by companies wanting to host the memorial and just the thought has had her highly upset.  It’s very unpleasant to think about losing your child especially when you haven’t…”
“I know and I hate what’s happened, but Avery and I are working on that,” Russell promised him, “Just the other day we found some information that is going to be a great help in Grady’s case.”
“Really? What is it,” Elliot questioned hopefully.
“I’d rather not say anything just yet, but I can promise you that it’s going to be something that will work great in his defense.  Hell, we found out that Susan has already moved into Kipp Mahoney’s apartment and that Stone has done a number on erasing the scene of the crime,” Russell offered up in explanation.
“Susan’s living in that place,” Elliot frowned, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me?  When she came over here the other day I knew she was up to no good.”
“Susan stopped by,” Russell repeated with obvious surprise.
“She wanted to extend her apologies, but I told her where she and her apologies could go,” Elliot explained firmly.
“Good for you.  I don’t trust her especially now more than ever considering that she works for Cameron.  Not to mention I’ve caught her and Brant lurking around with one another,” Russell paused at the memory thinking about the phone message he’d intercepted at Susan’s apartment.  “I don’t think either one of them are on the up and up.”
“Is he still giving you problems about Avery,” Elliot inquired thinking to the grief his son had been through over the last few months.
“He hasn’t outwardly made any attempts at trying to persuade her of anything in the last couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying,” Russell informed him with a tiny wince, “Though right now that man is the least of our problems.  I’m trying to deal with this situation with Bruce and with everything that’s going on with Grady…”
“Now Russ, don’t you go off and do something stupid,” Elliot warned sensing the darkness behind his son’s tone, “You have a family on the way and heaven knows your mother doesn’t need anymore shaking up these days.”
“I realize that dad and I’m not trying to do anything to jeopardize what I have in my life which is why I have some help on this one.  Kyle Houston is in town and I’m having him dig up some information for me to help put Bruce behind bars for the rest of his miserable life,” Russell informed him, his jaw tightening at the thought.
“Kyle huh?” Elliot thought it over, “Well, if Kyle’s in town then I’d imagine that Bruce does have something to worry about, now doesn’t he?”
“I’d like to think so,” Russell nodded in confession hoping that Kyle would be able to get his hands on what was needed before Bruce found a way to shake things up all over again.


Kyle and Randy walked down the street to Kyle’s car. Kyle pulled out his keys as they reached a red hummer. Kyle pulled out his dark sunglasses and put them on.

“Nice car,” Randy said gazing up at it.

“Get in the car,” Kyle growled getting in on the drivers side.

“Oh cool,” said Randy getting in the car.
“Hey, don’t touch a damn thing or you‘ll never be able to touch anything again because you wont have any hands,” Kyle said pointing at him.

“Okay, a little over protective are we?”

“Put your seatbelt on,” Kyle said starting the car.

“I thought you said I couldn’t touch anything,” Randy said putting on his seatbelt.

“Don’t you smart mouth me,” Kyle said smacking him upside the head.

“Okay, just try and keep your hands off me,” Randy frowned sliding over.

“As long as nothing stupid comes out of that mouth of yours, you wont have any broken bones,” Kyle warned turning down the street.

“Okay man.”

“Where am I going?” asked Kyle.

“Just turn down here,” Randy replied cryptically.

“Which way smart one, you could turn left or right. Or were you too stupid to learn direction?” Kyle asked raising an eyebrow.

“Right,” Randy offered up sighing.

“God, you do know something,” Kyle quipped gasping.

“Shut up,” Randy yelled.

“What was that?” asked Kyle tilting his head.

“Nothing,” said Randy putting his head down.

“That’s what I thought,” Kyle half smiled keeping his eyes on the road.

“Were you in the Navy or something?” Randy asked looking over at Kyle.


“Because your always angry,” Randy said shrugging.

“Is that a bad thing?” Kyle asked scowling.

“No, not at all,” Randy added quickly shaking his head.

“Anyways, I am nice, just not to people like you.”

“People like me?”

“Yeah, loser lowlifes.”

“Hey, could you tone it down on the smart remarks?” Randy questioned in a screechy voice.

“Oh, is poor Randy offended, boohoo,” Kyle said putting his arm over his eyes pretending to cry.

“Whatever man.”

“Where do I go now?” Kyle asked as he reached the next light.

“Just turn left and my trailer is right on the corner,” Randy said turning his head to look out the window.
They reached his trailer and got out of the car.

“Nice trailer you got here,” Kyle said taking a piece of gum from his pocket and putting it in his mouth.

“You think?” Randy asked tilting his head.

“No, it’s a piece of crap,” Kyle confessed lightly chewing on his gum.

Randy rolled his eyes and walked to his front door unlocking it.

“You even lock your door too, not like there is something valuable in there unless of course you have something that the police could use to help lock you away,” Kyle said putting his hands in his pockets.

“You know what,” Randy started pointing his finger at Kyle.

“What?” asked Kyle taking off his sunglasses and glaring at Randy.

“Nothing, I have to grab something real quick,” Randy gave up walking in.

A few minutes later he came back out with something in his hand. “Okay, we have to make another stop,” Randy said shutting the door.

Just then the two heard the sound of screeching tires and they both turned to see. As they did a gun started shooting off as Kyle rolled to the ground to dodge the bullets. Kyle kept his head down as they shot. Once he heard the bullets stop, he quickly jumped up opening his car door and grabbing his gun that was under the seat. He ran to shoot back, but it was too late they were gone. He put his gun in his back pocket and then it dawned on him. Randy. He ran to the other side of the car to find Randy had been shot in the chest and he was breathing heavily.

“Kyle,” he said in a whisper.

“What is it?” asked Kyle sliding down next to him.

Instead of words he grabbed his hand and placed a key in it. It looked like a key to a locker or something of the nature due to his small size.

“What does this go to?” Kyle asked grabbing onto his shoulders.

No words came out off his mouth, his breathing became lighter.

“You can’t die, you have to tell me what this goes to first,” Kyle said shaking him. Randy’s eyes slowly closed and Kyle knew that was the end of him. He stood up and sighed. This must be serious he thought.

“What could be so important that they had to kill a man for?” Kyle asked himself.

He put the key in his right pocket and pulled out his cell phone.

“Hello, police, there has been a shooting at 42459 Calvin,” Kyle said looking at the address. “Yes someone has been shot and I’m afraid they are dead. Yes, I’ll wait here.”

Kyle hung up the cell phone and put it back in his pocket. He sighed sitting down on the porch and resting his arms on his legs. He gazed up and his jaw dropped.

“Damn it, oh man,” said Kyle getting up and running over to his car. He kneeled right next to two bullet holes in his hummer.

“She wasn’t even a month old,” Kyle said sighing, “my baby.”

Kyle’s face turned red with anger, “Whoever did this is dead,” he screamed out loud.

He ran his fingers over the holes in his Hummer.  He’d finally gotten enough cash for the down payment three weeks ago after a lifetime of waiting, but now it was tarnished by someone‘s attempt at silencing Randy forever.

“Now this just got personal,” Kyle said under his breath sitting down on the ground and running his hand through his hair knowing that something far more dangerous was in front of him than he‘d imagined when he‘d offered to help Russ out. 

...to be continued...