“You’re having Kyle do what?” Avery’s jaw dropped in astonishment as
she began to pace around the living room, “Russ, what were you
“I was thinking about us Avery,” Russell pleaded with her while sensing
that the battle was only beginning between the both of them, “I realize
that things aren’t exactly going too great lately, so…”
“So you decided to add to the situation by chasing off after Bruce,”
Avery gasped in astonishment, “Russ, how many times have I told you how
dangerous he is?”
“I know how dangerous he is, but I also know how our sitting around
here doing nothing wasn’t about to change that,” Russell threw back at
her firmly, “With all we’ve had going on lately, you would think you’d
be happy to see that someone is trying to put an end to the madness
Bruce has brought into our lives.”
“He’s got a good point,” Kyle added breaking his long silence after
spending the last half hour watching the newlyweds feuding with one
“Yes, I would be very glad to hear that, but why does that someone have
to be you,” Avery curled her lip in a scowl.
“Yet another valid point,” Kyle quipped eliciting a glare from Avery.
“You stay out of this,” Avery warned sharply, “because I haven’t even
started on what I have to say about you.”
“Ouch,” Kyle winced at her words before rising up off of the couch, “I
think I’ll go wait outside for the two of you to get over this tiff,
but I must say if it ends with you two going at it on the couch, could
you at least give me a heads up so that I don’t walk in on something I
wasn’t meant to be seeing?”
“Oh no you don’t,” Avery spun around to face him once again, “You
aren’t walking out of here just yet--not until I get everything I need
to know out of the both of you.”
“Avery, it’s really not that bad,” Kyle began catching her angry stare,
“Well, okay it’s bad, but it’s really not THAT bad.”
“Okay, then why don’t we back up to the part where you tell me you were
shot at earlier tonight,” Avery suggested folding her arms in front of
her chest before turning to face her husband, “or how about we back up
to why Kyle was out there in the thick of things to begin with?”
“We were trying to find the information we needed to locate Bruce and
get rid of him forever,” Russell stated plainly, “I didn’t want you to
have to worry about him on top of everything else and when Randy came
“And just who the hell is Randy?” Avery threw back at him with a scowl,
“What more do you know about the man than what little he gave you to go
on? Russ, for all you know he could’ve been working for Bruce.”
“He was terrified Avery--really, truly terrified and I don’t believe
that he would--” he started to explain.
“Russ, the man died tonight and Kyle nearly got shot up in the
process,” Avery pointed out with a huff, “That should say something in
“The guy was a loser to begin with and I’ll make those bastards that
shot my car pay,” Kyle piped in gruffly only to catch another one of
Avery’s angry scowls. He shrugged his shoulders simply, “I’m just
“Well don’t,” Avery glared at him, “because I’ve had just about enough
drama here to last me a lifetime.”
“Avery, come on. I was just trying to keep things from getting to
the point of no return,” Russell began to plead with her. Taking
a step forward, he reached out to attempt to touch her.
“And just what would my losing my husband in the process accomplish?”
she questioned unable to hold back on the tears she’d been fighting
since Russ and Kyle revealed the hidden truths about the man who’d been
spying on them earlier. Suddenly she found herself fearing far
more than she wanted to and that on top of her anger left her no room
for anything but the lashing out she was giving them. “That is
“You’re right it is. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you what I was
doing, but I really just wanted this to be over for us. I wanted
to be able to move forward in our life and not have Bruce waiting in
the wings ready to tear our happiness apart,” Russell pleaded with her.
“Russ, I want that almost more than anything, but truth be told if it
came down to your taking Bruce down and losing your life in the process
or your doing nothing about the situation, I’d take the latter because
I’ve already lived far too much of my life without you. You’re
what matters most and if you can’t think about what something like this
could do to take you away from me, then you obviously don’t have the
first clue about what you’re throwing away in chasing off after Bruce.”
“Avery, come on. You know that’s not what I’m trying to do,”
Russell stepped forward reaching out to her once again only to have her
take a step backwards. “If you just think about what I’m saying…”
“No Russ, you think about what I’ve said and then maybe just maybe
you’ll understand where I’m coming from,” she moved out of his reach
stomping her way down the hallway to their bedroom and slamming the
door behind her.
“Ouch, that doesn’t look good,” Kyle winced upon the resounding thud of
“No, it isn’t,” Russell frowned heavily casting a quick look between
his friend and the door his wife had disappeared behind, “I’ll be back.”
“Take your time,” Kyle nodded in response watching Russell chase off
after Avery. Taking a quick look around Kyle decided to sit on
the sofa with the realization that it was clearly going to be a very
“I guess we’re too late to catch the end,” Blake frowned stepping out
of the ladies room with Sarah only to discover that the audience inside
the theater was already shuffling out into the lobby.
“It must be fate trying to give us a sign,” Sarah offered up with a
“Yeah, that my brother is a buffoon who can’t keep his hold on a drink
to save his life,” Blake couldn’t help watching as Brant emerged from
the darkened theater as well.
“There you are,” Brant called out to her. He waved his hand
briefly before pushing his way through the crowd in an attempt to get
closer to her.
“Speaking of the devil,” Blake couldn’t help but laugh watching Brant
make a beeline towards her in the hopes of not getting crushed in the
“Where did you drift off to,” Brant questioned finally springing out
from the crowd with a concerned look.
“I went to the ladies room to clean up the mess you made, which by the
way didn’t happen,” Blake motioned to the stain on her pants before she
threw out a mini glare in his general direction.
“Oh no you don’t,” Brant shook his head in response, “Don’t you dare
blame this one on me considering you were the one who started bouncing
up and down when the music started playing.”
“Yeah well if you would’ve just put your drink on the other side of the
chair like I told you to, then we wouldn’t have gotten into this mess,”
Blake stuck her tongue out at him stubbornly before turning to look at
Sarah, “See what kind of crap I have to put up with.”
“Hey, don’t you even think about slandering my good name to strangers,”
Brant objected finally taking a good, long look at the woman beside
Blake before smiling, “especially beautiful ones at that.”
“Ignore him, he doesn’t have a good name,” Blake informed Sarah while
rolling her eyes at Brant’s remark. Turning to look at her
brother again, she stood taller wiggling her finger at him, “Put your
eyes back into your head Fido.”
“Mind your manners Blake,” Brant remarked dismissively while taking a
step towards Sarah. He offered his hand out to her, “And just who
might you be?”
“Her name is Sarah,” Blake answered for her, “and she’s too smart to
date someone like you.”
“How about you zip it Blake,” Brant grumbled in response taking Sarah’s
hand in his, “Sorry about her. She tends to get carried away with
the sibling rivalry thing at times. My name is Brant.”
“I know,” Sarah answered with a grin, “Blake’s told me all about you.”
“Then I would strongly suggest that you forget each and every word she
said and you give me a chance to redeem myself,” Brant suggested with a
“Why should she bother with that,” Blake stepped in between them, “She
already knows what a dog you truly are and besides she has a boyfriend.”
“Well actually…” Sarah started uneasily.
“What a pity,” Brant mouthed under his breath.
“Oh please,” Blake rolled her eyes at his words, “Sarah and I were on
our way back to the movie after you’d forced me to get cleaned
up. We knew one another from when I was doing my internship in
“How interesting,” Brant nodded half listening to his sister while he
kept his eyes on Sarah, “So what brings you to Coral Valley?
Business? Pleasure? A little bit of both?”
“Actually I’m…” Sarah started up again only to have Blake cut in
“She’s not taking the bait Brant,” Blake chastised her brother, “now if
you don’t mind, I’d appreciate you stop gawking at my friend.”
“I’m not gawking,” he scowled back at her before offering up an
apologetic smile in Sarah’s direction, “You’ll have to excuse
her. She’s just a little bit cranky about the way the night went
“Of course I am. Sarah and I were about to go back in there and
catch the end of the movie, but apparently that wasn’t in the cards for
the evening,” Blake pointed out with a tiny huff.
“That really shouldn’t pose as too much of a problem Blake considering
that we have it at home on DVD,” Brant reminded her before turning to
Sarah again, “In fact, why don’t you join us?”
“Oh I don’t know if I should considering that…” Sarah’s eyes scanned
the theater when she remembered why she’d shown up in the first place.
“That your date didn’t show up?” Brant arched a curious brow eager to
keep pressing the issue.
“Well, he was supposed to be here and when he didn’t call, well…” Sarah
bit on her lower lip nervously.
“The way I see it his loss is our gain,” Brant reached for her hand
kissing the top of it politely, “Besides, I would feel absolutely
horrible if I couldn’t find a way to make it up to my sister for making
a mess of her jeans. Blake and I were intending upon going out
for some ice cream and then heading back home at the estate.
You’re more than welcome to join us tonight if you’d like…”
Sarah remained silent, unable to take her eyes off of Brant as the
smoothness of his words and his not so subtle flirty tone brought color
to her face, “Actually I…”
“It would be great to have you come over since it’s been a long time,”
Blake decided breaking her long moment of silence, “We really have a
lot to catch up on and if you’re interested,” Blake lowered her voice
just a bit, “I can see to it that Brant disappears so we can have some
Sarah couldn’t help but laugh at Blake’s words before she glanced over
at Brant once again, “I really appreciate the offer, but I was supposed
to meet Kyle and…”
“He’s not here now is he,” Brant took a quick look around the nearly
empty lobby, “Come on. At least say that you’ll join us for an
ice cream. You like ice cream, don’t you?”
“Of course I like ice cream,” Sarah couldn’t help but laugh at the
audacity of the question. Finally deciding to call her previous
plans quits for the evening she offered up a quick nod in agreement,
“Sure, ice cream sounds great.”
“Did you hear that Blake,” Brant couldn’t help but jab at her, “Sarah
thinks ice cream sounds great.”
“I heard that,” Blake nodded in response giving him a firm warning
look, “but you’d better be on your best behavior.”
“When am I not,” Brant smiled back at his sister leaving Blake to shake
her head and pray that Brant didn’t make any moves on Sarah before the
night was over.
Dave and Deidra walked into Diane's hospital room and saw Ben sitting
in the chair next to her bed. He had her hand in his, while he ran his
other hand through her hair. Deidra stepped over to the bed and gave
out a slight gasp. Ben looked over at her and gave a slight reassuring
smile. "She'll be alright. She's just sleeping."
Deidra took a seat in the chair on the opposite side of the bed and
watched her little sister. She ran her hand lightly over Diane's face
and gave out a sigh, "How could she get caught in a gunfire? How can
people be so careless?"
"I don't know," Ben sighed not looking over to Deidra, "I don't
understand it myself."
"According to the officer, he took the only chance he had." Dave gave a
slight shrug, "I don't know the whole situation just yet."
"That's a bunch of bull," Ben snarled, "I saw the situation take place
and he had no reason to shoot."
"I'm working on solving that Ben," Dave walked over to behind Deidra
and placed a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. "Everything will be
"I don't get how things like this can happen," Deidra thought out loud
running a hand through Diane's hair, "I'm scared for Diane."
"She'll be alright," Dave leaned down, looking Deidra in the eyes, "The
doctors say she'll be okay."
"Yeah, physically if we're lucky," Deidra was staring off blankly,
"What about emotionally or mentally?"
"We don't know that," Dave gave her chin a slight nudge, "Cheer up.
She'll be okay. Your sister is a fighter. You know that and I know
"You try cheering up when your sister has been shot," Deidra snapped
and let out a light sigh, "Dave, I'm sorry. I'm just upset."
"I know, I don't blame you for being upset," Dave wrapped his arms
around her, "We just have to be strong for Diane. She needs us more
then anything now. Especially you and Ben."
"How long has she been asleep," Deidra asked gazing over at Ben.
"Since I've been in here," Ben brought Diane's hand up to his lips and
kissed it gently, "Doctors say the medicine will keep her knocked out
Deidra watched as Ben gave out a yawn. She got up out of her chair and
walked over to him giving him a hug, "Why don't you go home and get
"No, I'm fine," Ben assured her not moving an inch.
"You're exhausted. You haven't slept, I can tell." Deidra looked at him
"I'll be fine." Ben urged on, "I won't be any better at home anyways. I
need to be here. I have to be here."
"You're a good man to my sister." Deidra assured him, "She's very lucky
to have a man like you in her life. She needs it after everything
"Thank you, but I'm not much of a man," Ben gave out a sad sigh, "If I
was that great I would have kept Diane out of danger instead of
dragging her into it."
"Ben, I'm sure you've heard this before but it's true," Deidra paused
and grasped Ben's hand in hers, "You are a great guy and you would
never do anything intentionally to hurt my sister. You'd do everything
you can to make her happy. That's what a true man does."
"She loves you," Ben stared blankly at her, "she may not show it all
the time but she does."
"Thanks Ben," Deidra gave a slight smile, "It makes me feel
better hearing that."
Dave stood in the corner watching the threesome and shook his head. He
knew something was shady about Patrick and what he had done and he was
going to find out what it was. He needed to find out what for the three
Deidra looked over at him, "You know you can go home if you want."
"I'm not leaving you," Dave shook his head and advanced over to her.
"Deidra, go home. I'm here and if anything changes I can inform you."
Ben looked over at her and shrugged, "Besides there's not bound to be
any change until morning."
"Are you sure Ben? I mean we can take over if you need us to stay here
for you," she informed him as she leaned down and kissed Diane's
"Just go home Deidra. I promise I'll give you updates," Ben gave her a
"Alright, I'm just a phone call away," Deidra squeezed him tightly, "If
you need anything and I mean anything at all just call me."
"I promise I will," Ben released her and shook Dave's hand, "Thank you
for all the help you're providing."
"I hope I just find the answers to the questions you have," Dave
released his hand. He saw that Deidra had a far off look in her eyes
and he wrapped an arm around her, "Everything will be alright. Trust
"I know," Deidra nodded as they made their way to the door, "I trust
Heather stepped into Diego’s home unsure on what to say to him after
the long silence they’d shared on the ride back from the
hospital. While he’d seemed determined to take her up on her
proposal, or at least that’s the vibe she’d thought she’d gotten from
him, his silence had left a strange feeling inside of her.
Slowly, she turned around to find him standing behind her--just
watching her with a long moment of contemplation.
“What,” Heather questioned feeling a bit uneasy at the way he was
looking at her, “What’s wrong?”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner,” Diego inquired, his voice weighed down
with emotions with each word. He stepped towards her, extending
his hand out to touch her face--to trace over the place where Cameron
had left his mark upon her, “Why didn’t you just tell me what he’d done
to you when you came to me?”
“I was afraid,” Heather admitted with a tiny tremble, “I’m not one for
opening up and I certainly wasn’t about to say anything about the
husband that I willingly embraced in my life. What he did was…”
“Wrong,” Diego finished for her, his jaw tight with obvious tension,
“Heather, no woman deserves what happened to you and the longer you
keep silent about this…”
“Diego, I already told you once,” Heather pushed away from him, “I’m
not going to the police. No one is going to believe that someone
like me could be raped by Cameron. They’ll say that I had it
coming to me and he’ll only get angrier with me.”
“No, that won’t happen. He’ll be put in jail where he belongs and
then you’ll be safe,” Diego urged her on again attempting to try to
convince her to do the right thing.
“Do you truly believe that,” Heather spun around to face him once
again, “Do you really believe that Cameron will see a day of jail time
over this one?”
Diego remained silent for a long time--to the point that Heather
started to wonder if he’d gone into some kind of daze. Slowly he
approached a chair in his living room taking a seat in it with his
silence still surrounding him.
“Well, do you,” Heather questioned again unable to take the thick
nothingness that he’d offered up in response to her inquiry.
“No, I don’t,” Diego blurted out poignantly, “I don’t think that
Cameron would spend time in jail at all at this point.”
“That’s exactly why I didn’t do anything. No one would believe
that I was raped,” Heather continued to remind him again, “They’d see
me as this…”
“Heather, I believe you,” Diego’s eyes drifted up towards hers once
again, “With all that I am I believe in what you’re telling me and if
you’d said something sooner…”
“What difference would it have made,” Heather slumped down on the couch
before him, “It would’ve been the same outcome, wouldn’t it?”
“I’m not sure,” Diego admitted with a heavy sigh. Bringing his
fingers up through his dark hair he forced himself to face her once
again, “but Heather you have to promise me one thing. Even if you
choose not to go to the police, you have to swear to me that you won’t
go back to Cameron.”
“Diego, you know it’s not as easy as…” Heather started sensing
something more burning behind his eyes when he reached for her hands.
“Heather, you have to promise me that you won’t go back to him,” Diego
pleaded with her, “I can’t take the thought of him hurting you
again. What he’s already done is far more than I want to think
about. In all honesty I’m fighting really hard not to go over
there and take care of this myself…”
“Diego, that isn’t why I told you. I just wanted you to
understand why I came to you,” Heather began sensing a dark, driving
force behind his voice, “That’s why I…”
“Heather, your husband is a monster,” Diego informed her bluntly, “He’s
a madman and a murderer and you have to swear to me that you won’t go
back to him again not now or ever.”
Ben shifted in his chair restlessly. He felt himself move for the
millionth time. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't fall asleep.
He gave out a loud sigh as he rested his arms and his head on the side
of Diane's bed. He closed his eyes and felt himself slowly drifting to
sleep when he felt fingertips graze through his hair. He shot up and
saw Diane smiling at him,
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
He gave out a light laugh scooting his chair closer, "I wasn't
sleeping. You just caught me off guard."
"I'm sorry," she smiled "How long have you been here?"
"Every moment I possibly could be. The minute I was allowed in, they
were chasing me down the hallways making sure I didn't run over
patients," he ran his hand through her hair.
"Mmm that doesn't surprise me," she gave out a violent cough then
cleared her throat, "Sorry."
"Are you alright? Do you need the doctor?" Ben questioned with a look
of concern crossing over his face.
Diane let out a slight chuckle, "No, I'm fine Ben. Don't worry about
"Diane, you were shot and in critical condition," he looked at her
seriously, "Of course I'm going to worry."
"I'm here aren't I?" she gave a slight shrug, "I'm going to be fine. I
just feel a bit achy."
"Yeah, I don't blame you," Ben leaned down kissing her forehead, "You
gave me quite a scare. Even your sister was frightened."
"Ugh my sister wouldn't care," Diane crossed her arms and rolled her
eyes, "She's probably dwelling in her own problems."
"That's not even true," Ben informed her, "She was here not too long
ago. She was worried about you and wanted to stay here with you."
"Well, then why didn't she?" she questioned, looking into his eyes.
"I told her to go home because I wasn't going to leave your side and
that I'd give her updates," he explained grasping her hand tightly in
his, "So she went home."
"My sister wouldn't care about me if her life depended on it," Diane
continued to be stubborn about it.
Ben shook his head and sighed. He wasn't going to get Diane to give up
on the issue about her sister. He knew that she had resentment towards
Deidra but he didn't know how bad it was. He sighed and decided to
change the subject a bit, "I thought you were going to leave me."
"Me? Leave you? Never." She wrapped her hand around his neck and pulled
him down gently towards her, "I would never leave you Ben Walters."
Ben leaned down and brushed his lips against hers lightly. He ran a
hand down the side of her cheek and leaned his forehead against hers.
He kissed her once more as he felt a tear slide down the side of his
cheek. Diane looked at him with concern in her eyes, "Baby, what's
"I was so close to losing you Diane," he took a deep breath and brushed
away the tear with the back of his arm, "I was so afraid that you
"But I'm not Ben," Diane interrupted him kissing him lightly, "I'm
right here. I'm not going anywhere, you hear me? I am not going
anywhere, at least not until I find out what my surprise was."
Ben gave out a light chuckle, "So the truth comes out. You want to know
the surprise. I see how it is. No love for me."
"Oh pft," Diane huffed tugging his shirt to make him come closer to
her, "There's plenty of love for you. More then you'll ever know."
"And I love you Diane," Ben laid down net to Diane on the bed and
snuggled in close to her, "I was so scared."
"Well, there's no reason to be because I'm right here and I'm not going
anywhere," she kissed his cheek and nuzzled into his chest.
"Neither am I," he leaned over and pressed his lips to hers, "I'm right
by your side from now until forever."
"Forever is a long time you know," Diane smirked nudging him slightly
with her elbow, "You sure you can put up with me?"
"Without a doubt," Ben smiled wrapping an arm around her waist.
"You promise?" she teased on, leaning against him, "Think before you
"You have my word baby."
“You really don’t have to stay here tonight you know,” Deidra offered
for the third time. She watched Dave unfolding the blankets she’d
given him to use during his time sleeping on her sofa, “It’s not really
“I didn’t think it was, but I’d feel better if you just let me stay
here,” Dave admitted sheepishly turning his eyes up to look at her only
to discover her standing in the hallway wearing a pair of green and
blue plaid pajamas.
“I really hate making you feel like you have to keep a watch over me
when I’m sure you have plenty of other things that you’d rather be
doing,” Deidra took a step forward unable to ignore the rapid pounding
of her heart despite the ease at which she should be approaching this
situation. It was just Dave after all. There was no need to
be nervous about him staying, nor did she really have to keep pushing
the issue about him leaving.
“I don’t mind,” Dave flashed her a soft smile, “unless of course you
have a hot date tonight that you’re trying to find a way to get rid of
Deidra couldn’t help but laugh at his remark, “Oh that’s a good one
Dave. Like I have the time or the energy for yet another man in
my life. I think by now I’ve completely learned my lesson in
between Andy and Bruce.”
“Hey now,” Dave frowned at her remark, “you can’t go comparing all the
men in the world to those two. Bruce, well that speaks for
itself, but with Andy, Dee, I don’t know how to tell you this other
than to be completely blunt,” he paused for dramatic effect, “Andy is
“Gee, thanks for giving me that information a little too late,” Deidra
couldn’t help but tease. “Where were you on my wedding day?”
“In the back of the church being too stupid not to open my mouth and
say something,” Dave sighed heavily thinking back to that moment in
time when he’d watched her marrying the wrong man.
“Yeah well, I wish you had said something,” Deidra took another step in
towards him before taking a seat on the couch beside him, “because it
would’ve saved me a lot of grief.”
“I wish I had said something too,” Dave admitted casting a quick glance
in her general direction, “I always knew that Andy was never good
enough for you.”
“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes slightly, “You never thought that.”
“No really I did,” Dave insisted returning his eyes to her again, “I
knew that from the moment you two started dating that you’d be better
off with someone who could truly appreciate how wonderful you are.”
“Dave,” Deidra felt a blush rise over her features.
“It’s true,” Dave added once again before offering up a teasing grin,
“and besides, after you’d dated Ken and dumped him, I was hoping you’d
see the light and do the same with Andy.”
“I wish I’d had half a mind to have done just that,” Deidra confessed
sinking back into the couch, “because then maybe I would’ve been able
to enjoy my life more than I did when I was caught up in all that
“We had our fun back then, didn’t we,” Dave questioned turning to face
her once again, “I mean the four of us had our share of interesting
“Oh please,” Deidra rolled her eyes, “You just liked watching me get
into trouble over situations that you, Ken and Andy created.”
“You never got into trouble,” Dave argued with her.
“The hell I didn’t,” Deidra protested with a huff, “You three were
always finding ways to make me crazy. I think you all got off on
“Contrary to your belief, you spent a great many nights driving me
crazy,” Dave leaned in closer to her, “Sure, you’d like to think I was
the one giving you grief, but I think your memory is going a bit hazy
“Oh right,” she half rolled her eyes, “Like you didn’t enjoy torturing
me when I went from dating Ken to dating Andy.”
“That’s because I was wondering what was wrong with you since you
weren’t with me,” Dave blurted out honestly before quickly covering, “I
mean you have to admit I was the cutest one of the bunch.”
“Yeah, you really were,” Deidra nodded in confession, “but I always got
the feeling you weren’t interested in me after I’d dated your best
“Hey, the only reason that Ken got an opportunity to ask you out first
was because we flipped for it,” Dave divulged feeling suddenly foolish.
“You what?” her eyes widened in response.
“It’s a long story, but in the end Ken was the one who was able to ask
you out and the rest of us just kind of had to yuck it up,” Dave lay
his head back onto the sofa, “It was a very painful time in my
life. I’ll give you that.”
“So you’re saying you all flipped a coin to see who could date me,”
Deidra couldn’t help but laugh, “Okay, now I know I should be offended,
but that’s just too juvenile not to laugh at.”
“We weren’t exactly the brightest of men back then,” Dave turned his
head to the side to gaze over at her once again.
“And it seems that hasn’t changed with some of you,” she sighed
thinking to her unfaithful husband. Her smile faded and her
thoughts returned to the place they’d often lingered to in moments like
“Dee, I wish that I could take away the pain that Andy put you
through,” he reached for her hand squeezing it tenderly, “If only I
could’ve prevented any of that…”
“Hey, I made my own mistakes and I have to live with them,” Deidra
reminded him with a sad smile, “It’s part of growing up.”
“Still I just wish that…” Dave began with heavy emotion hanging over
him. He paused feeling a thick silence between them, “Deidra, why
“Didn’t we what?” she questioned curiously sensing something behind his
voice as he pulled his head up from the back of her sofa.
“Why didn’t we ever get together,” Dave questioned reaching out to her
unable to curb the weight of his emotions. Tentatively his palm
brushed up against her face. He could feel his heart pounding
furiously in his chest as his eyes were drawn to her lips.
“You mean like together…together…” Deidra’s dark eyes widened in
“Yeah, I mean we had some good times, didn’t we,” Dave continued
feeling her shiver beneath his touch as he forced himself to stay
focused on where his heart was leading him, “We had a really good
connection with one another.”
“We always did,” Deidra couldn’t help but agree, “but I guess we were
always just really good friends.”
“Friends who could very easily have found themselves involved in
something far deeper than that,” Dave continued inching in closer to
“That would be taking quite a risk,” Deidra whispered in response while
taking in the warmth of his hand upon her. She dropped her own
hand down onto his knee unable to keep from reaching out and touching
him, “A risk that we weren’t sure we were ready to take with one
“But if we had,” Dave began easing his fingers into her dark hair in a
painfully slow movement.
“We might not be sitting here today like this,” Deidra finished unable
to look away from him as her palm slid up over the center of his chest
in a tentative fashion.
“No, I suppose we wouldn’t, but you know they say it’s never too late
to take a venture into destiny when it presents itself,” Dave mouthed
unable to believe what he was saying. He felt her fingertips
teasing over the top button on his shirt and that in itself was sending
him to places he hadn’t ever anticipated happening in the waking hours
“Is that so,” Deidra questioned flashing him a sexy smile before she
fanned her palm out over his chest to feel his solid strength beneath
her. Sure, it was a bold move on her part, but the closer she got
to him, the faster her pulse began to race and her lips grew heavy with
a sudden ache.
“So they say,” Dave nodded in confession tilting his head to the side
in the anticipatory promise of tasting her lips.
“So what would they say you do in a time when destiny presents itself
again,” Deidra arched a seductive brow while leaning in closer to him.
“They’d say to just roll with it,” Dave mouthed bridging the distance
“Roll with it,” she repeated with a whisper of a giggle, “I think I
like that one.”
“Funny thing,” Dave couldn’t help but smile with his lips just a breath
away from hers, “so do I.”
With that declaration, Dave closed the gap between them tasting her
lips in a bold moment of impulse. He felt her murmur against him
while easing her slender form up into his body. Certainly he’d
thought about something like this for a very long time, but as his arm
curled around Deidra, he felt destiny calling to him in ways he
couldn’t help but want to answer to. As the kiss continued, she
parted her lips further offering him a more intimate connection to her
while her arms slid around his neck. Within a matter of seconds,
he found himself laying over her--the ever tempting warmth of her
burning beneath him as her hands robbed him of all logic. She
pressed her leg up against his rubbing it gently.
Taking the initiative Dave leisurely traced his palm over her curves in
an attempt to imprint this reality into his mind forever. Slowly,
he dropped his hand down beneath her flannel pajama top only to
discover the smoothness of her flat abdomen beneath his passion driven
explorations. Feeling her soft sighs of encouragement, Dave’s
lips moved from her mouth down over her neck to taste the vulnerable
pulse point before him. He could feel her heart racing in tune
with his while her soft sounds of pleasure awakened all the hidden
fantasies he’d had about the two of them. Briefly he pulled away
from her, hoping to read the expression on her face as she lay beneath
him. There was no mistaking the encouraging smile she had spread
over her face as he slid his index finger over her lips to trace them.
“You’re so beautiful Deidra,” Dave blurted out so very lost within
himself as his dreams were now becoming a beautiful reality.
Carefully he dropped his palm down over the center of her nightshirt
only to feel her arch up towards him. His own throat grew dry,
his body rigid with anticipation as her hands pressed in over his,
guiding his attentions over the buttons on her nightshirt. One by
one they worked together to open them, revealing more of her flawless
beauty to him.
“Touch me Dave,” Deidra encouraged him--not quite sure on where all of
this brazenness was coming from inside of her. Still as she
guided his palm over her body, urging him to touch her in the most
intimate fashion, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to
cross that point of no return with him. His lips drank up her
soft sounds of unmasked desire. His touch beckoned her to feel
alive--to break free of the shell she’d buried herself within and as
she anticipated making love with him, the sudden flashes of the last
time she’d felt so free overtook her.
“Wait,” Deidra blurted out growing rigid at the horrible image that had
overtaken her. Suddenly feeling out of control and foolish, she
did her best to push him off of her before she sprung up off of the
sofa, “Dave, I’m sorry I can’t do this. We just can’t…”
“Deidra, I…” Dave started at a loss fearing he’d done something wrong
to bring out such a powerful response in her.
“Dave, I’m sorry,” she forced herself to face him again, “I love
you. I really do and you’re one of my best friends, but right
now…well it’s just… I can’t do this tonight. Not with
anyone and especially not with you. I just can’t make another
mistake,” she informed him desperately before heading off into her
bedroom unable to face what had been happening between them.
“Deidra wait,” Dave spoke out to her hoping to keep her from
retreating, but as he heard the sound of her bedroom door closing, he
feared that he’d already crossed the point of no return and upset one
of the greatest friends he’d ever known.
“If you promise me that you’ll help me keep my baby, then I promise you
I won’t even think about…” Heather began unable to contain the emotions
that formed a lump in the back of her throat upon Diego‘s words.
“Heather, listen to me. This isn’t a bargaining chip for us to
play around with,” Diego reached for her hands pulling her in closer to
him, “Cameron will stop at nothing to get what he wants and he doesn’t
care who gets in his way.”
“Diego, I’m not about to go back there now considering that…” she
started feeling his hand press over the side of her face in a tender,
“You’re far too beautiful to let someone like Cameron take your spirit
away from you,” Diego confessed leaning in towards her, his dark eyes
reaching out into her own blue-green stare as if he was trying to touch
some hidden part of her. Sliding out of his chair, he knelt on
the floor before her his voice transforming into a solemn whisper,
“I’ll be the father of your baby. I’ll be anything you need me to
be as long as you swear you won’t go back to him.”
“Why--why does it mean so much to you,” Heather questioned batting her
eyelashes at him as she felt his hands press over hers in the gentlest
of caresses, “Why do you care about what I do?”
“You mean other than the fact that you’ve pushed yourself into my life
on so many ridiculous levels that I can’t help but worry about where
you’re headed,” Diego offered up a lighthearted smile despite the
seriousness behind his request.
“Well yeah, besides that. I know that’s not where this is coming
from,” Heather answered simply while still trying to read what was
going on inside of him.
“Heather, you begged me to do this for you and I’m telling you that I
will step up to the plate and give you anything you need as long as
you…” Diego continued desperately.
“Promise not to go back to Cameron,” she nodded in response, “I get
that, but Diego, what I’m not getting is what’s happening here.
You’ve fought me tooth and nail on most everything, but now…”
“I’m trying to do what’s right for you and your baby,” Diego explained
choked up on emotion, “Heather, when I was with you tonight seeing your
son for the first time it did something to me. Being there when
you were giving a first glimpse of your child, it just…”
“Just what?” Heather questioned blankly.
“Reminded me of what I’d lost,” Diego confessed in a low whisper
sliding his fingers into her hair, “of what I’d given up on in this
world and in that moment with you I realized why I’m still a part of
this world. I saw what I was meant to do and I can’t abandon you
or allow you to go blindly into danger.”
“I made the mistake in marrying Cameron after you warned me,” Heather
reminded him tearfully.
“But I should’ve done something sooner. I should’ve said
something,” Diego rose up on his knees to cup her face in his
hands. Leisurely his fingers eased into her blonde hair before he
inched forward skimming his lips against hers in a soft, tender
sweep. She felt the desperation and longing behind his kiss as
she threw her arms around him wanting nothing more than to savor the
moment between them.
“Oh Diego,” she mouthed against the exotic taste of his kiss feeling so
many things shifting between them as he held her.
“Stay with me Heather,” Diego breathed pressing his forehead against
hers in a beseeching gesture, “Let me help you…”
“Diego,” Heather spoke his name, curling her fingers into his dark hair
before drawing her lips back to his again in answer. While she
wasn’t quite sure when the change began between them, she was positive
that she wasn’t about to walk away from the one man who’d offered her
the freedom she’d so desperately craved in her life. Sure, she
had a lot of trouble ahead of her, but right now in kissing Diego, she
vowed to leave that part of her life in the past. Now was about
focusing on the man who was offering her a real chance at a future.
“Avery come on,” Russ pleaded once again watching Avery make her way to
the bathroom in an attempt to brush him off once again. “Avery…”
“Russ, I’m not about to pretend that I’m happy about you and Kyle
chasing off after Bruce,” Avery frowned stopping mid-movement to spin
around and face him, “We both know that’s a bad idea that will only
lead to trouble.”
“Avery, the guy is a nutcase and he’s made it his mission in life to
get to you,” he replied with a scowl, “that in itself gives me plenty
of reason to want to put an end to this.”
“I can understand that, but what I don’t see the point in is your going
off and having to do it yourself,” Avery sighed heavily, “Do you know
how much it would hurt me if you wound up hurt or even killed in the
process of trying to put an end to things? Don’t you learn
anything from Grady’s mistakes?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean,” Russell frowned at the remark.
“It means he went after Cameron in his overwhelming need to protect her
and look what the outcome was,” Avery folded her arms in front of her
chest, “Can’t you see I don’t want that very thing to happen to
us? That maybe just maybe I want us to actually be able to grow
old with one another and share all those things that typical married
couples do with one another in the golden years?”
“Avery, we’re going to have that. I know we will and that’s
exactly why I…” he continued to argue.
“Russ, a man was murdered tonight. He was shot down in front of
one of our friends and that in itself should clue you into the fact
that something is terrible wrong about pursuing this one. What if
the person had actually shot Kyle or what if somehow they return to go
“Then I’ll be ready for him,” he stated defiantly, “I’ll make sure that
we don’t get anymore surprises like we did before.”
“Russ, I want you. I love you,” she stepped in towards him with
tears burning behind her eyes, “what part of that don’t you
“Avery, I…” he felt himself at a loss once his eyes fell upon the
contours of her saddened expression.
“Russ listen to me,” Avery reached out to him softening her approach,
“I love you more than anything in this world and if I ever lost you
“No, Russ listen to me,” Avery pleaded with him, “When we were apart
before it damn near killed me and the last thing I want to do is ever
go down that road again. It’s just too much and if I ever have to
“You won’t have to,” he pulled her into his arms in an exaggerated
movement, “Avery, I’ve spent my whole life loving you and I don’t want
to lose what we worked so very hard to have with one another.
You’re my world.”
“Then please don’t take that away from us,” she squeezed him tighter
with tears in her eyes, “because Russ if I have to face a life without
“You won’t,” he promised cupping her face in his hands. Tenderly,
he lowered his lips to hers to kiss her again, “I swear to you I’m not
going to let that happen.”
“Then stop chasing rumors about Bruce and start thinking about what we
have ahead of us,” she pleaded behind wet eyelashes.
“Alright,” he nodded urgently, “I won’t.”
“Promise me Russ,” she searched his eyes wanting to believe the truth
behind his words, “Promise me that you won’t go off after him again
like you tried to do tonight.”
“I promise you Avery that from here on out it’s going to be all about
you, me and our child,” he whispered against her lips kissing her again
desperately in the hopes of conveying the message to her about how deep
his emotions truly ran for his family.
"So tell me how have things been going for you?" Blake asked as the she
and Sarah sat down on her bed.
"Things have been going good," Sarah replied simply.
“Good?” Blake repeated giving her a long look, “Sarah, I haven’t seen
you in quite some time and I was hoping that I’d get something more
elaborate than good.”
“Well, just what were you hoping for,” Sarah couldn’t help but laugh at
her friend’s remark.
“Hmm, let’s see. Let’s start with the juicy stuff. That’s
always the most exciting. Speaking of which, how’s that guy who
was always at the hospital with you?" Blake asked eager to know more.
"Who Kyle?" Sarah questioned in confusion.
"I think so, he was the big guy," Blake answered catching note of the
expression on her friend’s face.
"Yeah, that’s Kyle. He’s doing good, he was actually supposed to be the
guy that I was meeting," Sarah nodded folding her arms in her lap.
"So you two together now?" Blake questioned with a knowing smile.
"Kyle and I?” Sarah’s eyes widened at the thought, “Oh no.”
"Hey you two," Brant announced opening the door, "do you two want me to
make some popcorn or drinks?"
"Get out of here," Blake groaned pushing Brant to the door in yet
another attempt to get him to just go away for a while.
"But," Brant started casting a look over in Sarah’s general direction,
“See what I have to deal with all the time?”
“You’ll live,” Blake shoved at his chest once again.
“But…” he started in protest.
"But nothing, we need some girl time to ourselves. Maybe we will
come and talk to you later," Blake explained bluntly holding onto the
"You promise?" Brant questioned smiling at Sarah again as Blake rolled
her eyes and shut the door locking it.
"You can’t keep me away," Brant yelled through the door.
"Ignore him. He‘s hormonal and dateless. It has a dumbing
effect on him every now and then," Blake informed her bluntly.
“How nice,” Sarah couldn’t help but laugh, “It sounds like things are
never dull around here.”
“It’s a curse I tell you,” Blake chuckled before plopping down on the
bed once again. She heard Brant make another sound outside her
room before she exchanged looks with Sarah. They both laughed,
"so getting back to Kyle. You guys aren’t going out?"
"No we’re just close friends, that’s all. Nothing more," Sarah
said looking over at Blake who was raising her eyebrow. "What?"
"I can tell there is something between you two."
"Well, he was there everyday with you at the hospital. You told
me even a while back that he was always there for you. I could
just tell by the look on that guys face that there was something
there," Blake said pointing out the obvious.
"Well, I guess there could be, but I don’t know if Kyle, you know feels
that way," Sarah shrugged pondering the thought herself about the man
who‘d made such a profound impact in her life.
"Oh believe me, from what I saw at the hospital, that guy has it for
you. It’s just one of those obvious things you can just pick
right up on."
"I don’t know maybe you’re right," Sarah shook her head at the thought.
"Oh I know I’m right,” Blake continued with her voice full of passion
and determination, “and you should go after him before it’s to
late. Trust me on this one. I’m the queen of screw ups when
it comes to a relationship and if you meet the right guy it would be
crazy to just let him walk away without a fight. You need to just
go out on a limb and show him that he should be with you."
"Well, don’t go that far," Sarah felt a blush rise over her features.
"Well, I’m just saying. I wish I could have this advice back in the
day," Blake sighed heavily, “If I’d have had my head on straight, then
maybe I wouldn’t have made so many stupid mistakes over the years.”
“It sounds like you’ve been burned a time or two,” Sarah noted the
sadness in Blake’s voice.
“More than I care to admit, but one lesson I did learn is that life
won’t wait for you to make up your mind. You need to be honest
with your heart before you wake up one morning and everything that ever
meant anything to you is gone,” Blake sighed reflecting upon her own
"I guess I can see where you’re coming from.," Sarah admitted taking in
Blake’s poignant words. “It’s just…”
Before Sarah could finish talking, they heard a noise coming from
Blake’s balcony. It was a loud, booming movement that seemed to
vibrate through the room in a surprising way leading them both to
wonder where it had originated from.
"What was that?" Sarah asked as they both stood up wearily.
"I don’t know," Blake confessed grabbing a tennis racket from her
closet. Her eyes narrowed in the source of the sound and with
each step she took, she found herself guarded of what she might find
outside at such an hour.
With Sarah right behind her, they approached the door to the
balcony. The two exchanged looks before Blake opened the
door. Catching the first hints of a shadow in front of her, Blake
lunged forward with her racket ready to hit the person standing outside.
"Hey it’s me," Brant said catching her arm.
"Why did you do that?" asked Blake.
"I told you I would find a way in. What were you going to serve
me to death?" Brant asked grabbing the racket and rolling it around in
“Brant, I’m going to kill you,” Blake mouthed at him before turning
around to face Sarah again, “Would you excuse us for a minute?”
“Of course,” Sarah nodded fighting to suppress her grin. She
stepped back into Blake’s room while Blake closed the balcony doors to
give her and Brant a moment of privacy.
“What do you think you’re doing,” Blake snapped back at him watching
the laughter that sprung forth from his lips, “Brant!”
“What,” he shrugged his shoulders innocently, “I didn’t do anything
wrong, but you, well do you have any idea how you could’ve hurt me with
this thing? Hell if I wasn’t paying attention, you could’ve
knocked me clear off of this balcony. I could’ve broken my neck
“And it would’ve served you right,” Blake threw out a harsh glare, “I
mean honestly, what were you thinking in climbing out here? Are
you that hard up for attention that you’d start behaving like a twelve
year old all over again?”
“Hey, you were my date for the night, remember,” Brant set her racket
down and folded his arms in front of his chest, “I can’t help it if you
were the one who ditched me and I’m left feeling wounded about it.”
“Oh please, you’re just hoping you’ll get an opportunity to lay the
charm over on Sarah,” Blake pointed out with a frown, “and it’s not
going to work.”
“Tell me something Blake,” Brant leaned up against the window leading
back to her room, “You’d set Ken up with one of your friends, but you
won’t even let me talk to Sarah. Why is that?”
“Because Sarah’s a good person with a kind heart and she doesn’t need a
guy like you screwing things up for her,” Blake explained with a frown.
“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. And here I thought you
had a higher opinion of me than most others did,” Brant sighed shaking
his head upon her words.
“Brant, you know I love you, but it’s just that…well, Sarah’s been
through a lot over the years and I know how this would end. You’d
charm her, seduce her and then leave her when you got another shot at
Avery,” Blake informed him bluntly, “and don’t even try to argue that
with me because earlier I do seem to recall you speaking about how much
you loved Avery.”
“I do love Avery,” Brant argued with her, “but maybe I just don’t want
to be all out on my own tonight. Did that thought ever occur to
“Gee, I guess it must be hard not having a bimbo to shack up with,”
Blake rolled her eyes, “but I won’t let you try to work that in with
“Blake, I’ve evolved past that. I’m not the man that I used to be
and besides, maybe I just genuinely wanted to spend time with
you. Did you think that maybe just maybe that’s why I’ve been
acting like a moron tonight?” Brant questioned with a curious
“That would be a first,” Blake paused thinking about how foolish they’d
been behaving since they’d left the movie theater, “but if you swear
you can behave, then I might think about letting you watch something
“Oh gee, really…are you sure I won’t infringe upon the girl’s night
theme you have going,” he half rolled his eyes.
“You probably will, but despite the fact that you’re an idiot, I
suppose I can overlook it to let you join us for the remainder of the
evening. Just don’t push it,” she wiggled her finger out at him
“I’ll be on my best behavior,” he promised reaching out to hand her
racket back to her.
“Yeah right,” she rolled her eyes, “I almost believe that one.”
“Hey, I’m trying,” he replied with a simple shrug of his shoulders.
“I just have one question,” she stopped him from entering her room,
“Why climb out here on the balcony like this?”
“That’s simple Blake. You told me you didn’t think it was
possible for me to get inside, so I had to prove you wrong,” he smiled
back at her proudly.
“You know you have some serious issues,” Blake shook her head at him
realizing that despite her reservations about having her brother around
maybe spending time with him would be enough to distract her from how
miserable her own life had become lately.
Kyle sat in silence after Russ had gone into the bedroom after Avery.
He grabbed his cell phone and dialed Sarah’s number. He looked around
the room as he dialed while wondering if he‘d made a mistake in not
calling her sooner when all hell broke loose. Her voice mail came up as
Kyle sighed. "Hey Sarah, it’s Kyle. I’m sorry I didn’t make it earlier
tonight. Some very interesting things happened to me today that
I‘ll have to talk with you about later in person. I wish I could
have called you earlier, but I have been tied up with work. I’m
really sorry, and I really cant wait to see you soon. Call me when you
get this message. Talk to you later."
"Where was she?" he asked himself. Hopefully nothing had happened
to her after he‘d managed to make the mistake in not honoring their
commitment to meet up with one another. Maybe she just was with
another friend right now, or she was too busy to talk, but still it
wasn‘t like her not to answer her cell phone since she usually was
attached to it one way or another.
Kyle sank back onto the couch overcome with guilt because he’d done
this to her more than once after the last few months. Things
always came up taking most of his time away so he never could be where
he truly wanted to be. Sure, Sarah was well aware of the kind of
hours his career had kept him on, but he still wasn‘t happy about not
being able to have a social life like he‘d done in his younger years
especially where Sarah was concerned. She was close to his best
friend and in some ways he felt as if he always let her down. Wishing
he could have more time to be with her, he vowed to make it up to her
somehow after tonight‘s misadventure. As he was thinking he heard the
voices of Russ and Avery in the background. He sighed to himself.
"I was wrong, this is going to be a real long night," Kyle said sighing
He stood up and stretched a bit to try to ease some of the tension that
had crept in over his neck and shoulders after the reality of the
shooting had taken place. Sure he hadn’t liked the guy he’d been
with, but there was no mistaking the fact that he’d been put into a
world of drama that he knew nothing about. That thought didn’t
settle well with him when he sat back down on the sofa once
again. He heard footsteps coming down the hallway that belonged
"Hey Kyle, sorry about all of that. You know how things can be at
times, but hey if you want to, you can bunk here tonight since I kind
of got you caught up in far more drama than I‘m sure you were looking
for," Russ said walking over to him.
"Uh, well, I’m getting used to it these situations. It’s kind of
par for the course, but since I haven’t had the time to check into the
hotel, then sure, I suppose I can kick back here tonight," Kyle said
"You can stay here on the couch or in the guest bedroom if you want
to," said Russell.
"Thanks, that would be great," said Kyle nodding.
"No problem," Russell nodded sighing as he ran his fingers through his
own dark hair.
"Oh god," Kyle groaned rolling his eyes while noticing Russell’s
"What?" Russell asked in confusion taking a seat in one of the chairs
near the couch.
"Boston," Kyle pointed to the shirt again laughing.
"Yeah they’re my favorite team, why who do you like?" Russell
"Me, isn’t it obvious I’m a Yankee man," said Kyle raising an eyebrow
while motioning over towards the jacket he‘d had hung over the back of
"Yankee?" Russell wrinkled his nose in response, “Ugh, why?”
"Because they happen to be just the best baseball team out there,” Kyle
said laughing and turning his head. "Just forget it. So how
is Avery holding up?"
"She’s okay. She calmed down a little bit, but given how upset she was
earlier, well that‘s not saying much. I know she‘s still
worried," Russell admitted thinking to his conversation with his wife.
"When you get back in there tell her if she needs any help, anything,
I’ll be there for you both of you, okay? I‘m not about to let
anything happen here that could turn things ugly…well, other than
having Avery just a little bit upset with me, but that too seems to be
normal where we‘re concerned," Kyle remarked with every intention of
sincerity in his voice.
"Thanks buddy," Russell nodded patting him on the arm.
"It’s no problem," Kyle replied with an afterthought, "So, what did she
say about the situation?"
"She told me she didn’t like what we were doing."
"She asked me to promise not to do this anymore."
"And you did?" asked Kyle nodding.
"Yeah. I told her that I‘d put the family first and I‘m true to
my word on that," Russ nodded in confession thinking back to Avery’s
"So do you want to stop this thing before anything else happens?" Kyle
asked raising an eyebrow.
Russell sighed, "No, lets keep going on this investigation. Now
that someone’s out to keep us from finding the truth, well, I know
something is up and I’m not going to stop until we find out."
"Alright, I’m there for you man," Kyle said patting him on the
"Good, just make sure we keep it so Avery doesn’t find out. I
hate having to go about doing this behind her back, but I‘m all out of
options here," Russell confessed with a determined voice knowing that
he was doing what was best for his family.
"No problem," Kyle nodded, “Just make sure you know what you‘re getting
into before you step forward and give Avery even more reason to be
“If I let Mathis destroy our lives like he’s trying to do, then Avery
will lose a lot more than she could ever gain in my just being idle and
doing nothing,” Russell confessed with a heavy sigh feeling the
beginnings of guilt tug at his insides. Sure, he wanted to hold
true to his promise to Avery, but as he thought of all the damage Bruce
had done, he knew in his heart that continuing on was the only option.