Heather heard the soft sounds of the shower running in the room just
beyond hers. While she’d drifted off to sleep sometime just past
three, her night had been quite restless indeed with all the things
that had transpired between her and Diego. Sure, at first he’d
been reluctant to embrace her in his life, but then after a while he’d
surprised her in his accepting her outlandish offer to claim paternity
of her child. When he’d kissed her, he’d just about rocked her
world in everyway imaginable…that is until he’d turned away from her.
“Heather, I just can’t do this right now,” he’d offered up in his haste
leaving her at a complete and total loss after he’d laid an earth
shaking kiss upon her. Even now when she thought to the
desperation behind his words, she couldn’t help but wonder if last
night had been a turning point for them. Somehow there weren’t
words to even begin to explain all that she was thinking and feeling,
but with the way Diego had kissed her back, she’d thought he’d felt it
too. Sure, there was no denying the fact that Heather found him
far too sexy for words, but then there was something more--something
“Intense,” she mouthed with a grin thinking about all the things that
Diego had gotten her thinking about. Sinking back into her
pillows she felt a smile creep in over her features. Sure, Diego
had been reluctant to take her up on some of her advances, but after
last night’s kiss and his promise to help her, she was starting to
believe that maybe just maybe she could find that thing she’d been
missing for so very long in her life when she’d wasted her time with
all the wrong men.
“Speaking of which,” Heather’s smile faded when her eyes fell upon the
diamond ring on her finger. How could she have made such a
monumental mistake in being with Cameron? Sure, he’d promised her
the world, but she’d learned over the years that no man truly meant
that when they’d said it. Time after time she’d encountered
someone full of empty promises, but Cameron had seemed different.
He’d offered her security and protection, but he too had turned out to
be a creep like the rest.
“To hell with him,” Heather began to yank her ring off of her finger
before stopping herself. She looked at the oversized diamond on
her finger realizing that while she’d found herself ready to discard
Cameron, perhaps there were a few more things he might be good for
before they called it quits. Smiling at the thought, she kept the
ring on her finger vowing to find good use for it.
“You always can find one good thing out of a bad situation Heather,”
she reminded herself pulling back the blankets before getting out of
Stretching her limbs out, she found herself overcome with a need to
make her way to the bathroom. That unfortunately was one of the
major drawbacks of pregnancy that she’d realized early on. With
that thought in mind, she listened to hear if the water was still
running in the bathroom beside her room. Hearing nothing, she
reached for the sweater she’d borrowed from Diego and placed it over
her head in a haste before making a rush to the door.
“Thank heaven,” Heather muttered to herself ready to give herself a
moment of relief in the bathroom after the night she’d had.
Reaching for the door, she pushed it open and rushed inside ready to
take a few minutes to herself, but instead she found herself rendered
speechless at the vision before her.
“Heather,” a very wet Diego gasped in the midst of stepping out of the
shower before her. Quickly he reached for the towel he’d set down
on the countertop, but it was far too late for Heather to pretend she
hadn’t happened upon something that would certainly give her something
to dream about later on. Still as Diego shuffled to wrap the
towel around himself, his dark eyes continued to remain upon her, “what
are you doing in here?”
“I had to use the bathroom,” she explained with a sheepish grin, her
eyes traveling over the lines of his bronzed body.
“Don’t you knock,” he questioned with a tiny gulp.
“Don’t you believe in locking your doors,” Heather threw back at him
with a wicked smirk. Taking a step in towards him, she could see
that she was making him very nervous and suddenly she felt a rush of
thrill upon her, “Not that I mind.”
“Well I do,” Diego clenched at the burgundy colored towel he’d hung
haphazardly over his hips, “I’m not finished in here.”
“Your point,” Heather shrugged her shoulders in a moment of boldness.
“My point is I’m going to need the bathroom for a few more minutes
here,” he explained with an uneasy breath.
“I don’t mind sharing,” Heather reached out to tease her index finger
over his damp chest with a seductive smile, “So tell me, did you use up
all of the hot water?”
“No, not at all,” Diego shook his head unable to believe he could even
begin to be having a seemingly casual conversation with Heather under
“Good because I like it hot,” Heather explained pulling his sweater up
over her head before motioning to the opened shower door, “You don’t
mind if I take over in here, do you?”
“Actually I…” Diego gulped straining to keep from taking note of the
perfect lines of her brazenly naked form before him as she stepped into
“I knew you wouldn’t object,” she smiled over at him, catching note of
the quick glance he’d stolen at her despite his moral convictions to be
polite. Reaching for the soap she’d spotted on the shower rack,
she held it up in the air waving it at him shamelessly, “Care to come
back in here and help me out with my back?”
Diego stared at her blankly for a long moment before remembering where
he was and just what he had been doing before her unexpected
arrival. He could feel the heat building behind his features--the
hot rush of the most primal desire coursing through his veins, but as
he thought to his own words of warning he’d issued to himself when he’d
left Heather on the couch the previous evening, he took a step
back. Kissing her had been temptation to the extreme, but being
this close to being naked and alone with her in close quarters would
only drive him beyond the brink of insanity.
“Well?” Heather questioned with a playful giggle, “Think you’re up for
the job?” her gaze dropped down over the muscled lines of his body once
again, “Something’s certainly up for the occasion, isn’t it?”
“Heather,” Diego cast a firm warning look in her general direction.
“I promise I won’t bite,” Heather couldn’t help but tease him further,
“unless of course you want me to.”
“I don’t believe this. On second thought, yes I do,“ he decided
hesitating for a moment longer before reaching out to collect his
clothes he’d brought into the bathroom with him. “I’m going to go
and get dressed now.”
“But Diego,” Heather called out after him only to witness him bringing
the door to an abrupt close upon his exit. Sure, he was still
playing hard to get, but he was weakening, Heather decided turning on
the water only to find herself met by an icy cold blast.
Squealing upon the stream’s pulsating contact over her skin, Heather
felt a shiver race over her followed by the warmth of the knowledge
that Diego having been in that cold of a shower could only mean one
thing for her cause. He was feeling it too and if last night’s
promise to play the father to her child was just the beginning of what
was developing between them, she couldn’t wait to find out just how
much more passion and determination was behind the man who’d aroused
her interest in a great many ways. Who said the good guy was
always boring, Heather thought to herself immersing herself in the idea
of what it would mean to have a man like Diego in her life.
Dave rolled over on Deidra’s couch after a sleepless night. While
he’d tried to find some way to reach out to Deidra after things had
gone horrible wrong between them, he found himself at a complete
loss. He’d hated watching her retreat, but more so he’d hated
himself for pushing things too far between them due to his restless
heart. Even now he wondered if he’d be able to face Deidra again
without making her feel self conscious and upset.
“Good morning,” Deidra’s voice called out to him in her usual relaxed
tone. Looking up from where he was laying, Dave discovered her
standing near the end of her couch gazing down at him curiously, “Sleep
“Honestly,” he confessed sitting up straighter as the stiffness in his
neck began to settle in, “no, not really.”
“Neither did I,” Deidra admitted in response moving in to take a seat
beside him, “Granted, I didn’t have this lumpy thing to lay on, but I
was a bit perplexed about things.”
“I kind of figured,” Dave nodded in confession, “and truth be told, I
never meant for things to happen like they did.”
“Neither did I, but I guess we kind of just got carried away with the
moment, huh?” Deidra questioned dropping her head ever so slightly with
the conclusion of her words.
“That’s an understatement,” Dave replied shamefully before forcing
himself to eye her again, “Deidra, about what happened…”
“Why don’t we just forget it,” Deidra suggested lifting her eyes up
towards him once again. She brought her fingers up through her
hair uneasily while shifting in her seat, “I mean heaven knows I’ve
been impulsive and stupid lately. I’ve just been so wired up and…”
“The moment kind of took a life of it’s own,” Dave continued trying to
make light of the situation.
“Exactly,” Deidra nodded eagerly. Offering up a weak smile she
felt a breath escape her lips, “Somehow I knew you’d understand where I
was headed with this. I mean we’ve always been such good friends
that something like this wouldn’t stop that, right?”
“Of course not,” Dave replied with a sad smile, “I mean hey maybe this
is a sign that I’ve been working far too hard over the last few years.”
“That you have and I promise you that we’ll have to work on changing
that,” Deidra assured him with a quick nod, “Maybe we can find someone
around the hospital to keep you from feeling so closed off from the
“Yeah sure,” Dave nodded trying to make light of the situation, “so
that way I won’t be on my best friend like a rabid dog there.”
“You weren’t the one who was out of line. I was Dave and I feel
as if I should apologize for my behavior,” Deidra interrupted, “Ever
since Andy and I split, I haven’t been myself, but I don’t want that to
change the way you think of me. Your friendship means a great
deal to me and if I lost that…”
“You won’t Deidra,” Dave reached out to place his hand on her knee
before drawing back with uncertainty, “I mean hey if we made it through
high school still as friends, then I’m sure we can make it through this
little moment of embarrassment.”
“Somehow I knew I could count on you Dave,” Deidra reached out to give
him a quick hug before rising up off of the couch, “You’re a good
“That’s me,” Dave threw out a strained smile, “Good old buddy Dave.”
“I’d be lost without you, you know,” Deidra admitted again before
taking note of the time, “I was going to wake you up earlier for
breakfast, but you looked so peaceful earlier despite the less than
savory sleeping conditions.”
“I didn’t mind them too much,” Dave lied attempting to make pleasant
conversation with her despite the sinking feeling that had overtaken
him during their brief conversation.
“Of course you did, but you’re just being polite now that I’ve made
myself look like an idiot all over again,” Deidra brought her hand up
to her face before offering up a smile, “Regardless as I said before
I’d completely treat you to breakfast after last night. Although
I must confess I’m supposed to be over at the hospital early this
“Say no more,” Dave raised his hand to silence her, “we can pick
something quick up on the way over to work. I’ll drop you off at
the hospital on my way over to the station.”
“Dave, you don’t really have to,” Deidra started again hating to
inconvenience him any further than she already had, “You’ve already
done so very much for me and I wouldn’t want to make you go out of your
“You know as well as I do that it’s not out of my way in the least,”
Dave insisted firmly, “I’ll just take a couple minutes to get my things
together and then we can be off. Maybe we can even get a quick
bite over at the bakery on the ride over.”
“That sounds like a great plan,” Deidra nodded in confession.
“Then to work and the bakery it is,” he offered up giving her one last
look before excusing himself to go to her bathroom. Once inside
he leaned up against the door letting out a breath he hadn’t even been
aware he’d been holding. Up until now he’d had such hopes about
something starting between him and Deidra, but after their uneasy
discussion, he made a vow to himself to try to stay focused where their
friendship was concerned. If nothing else, he wasn’t about to
risk the great thing they had going just because his heart was leading
him in all the wrong directions. One way or another he’d have to
find a way to rid himself of the silly crush he’d had on her since
junior high school. It was what was best for the both of them.
“You’re still here,” Avery half groaned making her way into the kitchen
only to discover Kyle seated at the table before her drinking a cup of
“I can see you’re still pleasant in the mornings,” Kyle remarked sourly
flipping through the next page of the paper in hand.
“Oh I’m very pleasant,” Avery informed him simply, “I’m just not used
to having trouble seated at my kitchen table drinking from my favorite
mug I might add.”
“What this old thing?” Kyle questioned taking a good, long look at the
mug he’d haphazardly pulled out of the cabinets earlier in the
morning. Taking note of the Boston Red Sox logo on it, he half
groaned, “What is it with you and Russ? The Sox?”
“Hey, don’t even try knocking them or I swear I’ll have you out in the
yard before you can blink,” Avery warned sharply while reaching into
one of the cabinets for a bowl.
“Geez, you really are in a bad mood this morning,” Kyle set the mug
back down on the tabletop, “So with baseball aside, what else has got
you in a mood?”
“I’m surprised you even have to ask,” Avery remarked sourly making her
way over to the pantry to pull out a box of cereal, “You roll into town
and the body count starts to rise.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Kyle began to tease catching wind
of her less than amused expression before his smile faded, “Oh come on
Avery. The guy that died was a creep--a pedophile and while I
hate what those bastards did to my car, the guy had it coming to him.”
“Oh gee and if you would’ve been shot, then what?” Avery questioned
with a frown, “Don’t you know we’ve had enough disaster around here
“Last time I checked you were the one who had the serial killer,
ex-boyfriend,” Kyle pointed out simply only to catch another glare from
her general direction. Shrugging his shoulders he slumped down in
his chair, “I’m just saying.”
“Well don’t,” Avery set the bowl on the table top before going over to
the refrigerator to grab the milk.
“Hey, look maybe we started off on the wrong foot in my showing up like
I did, but you have to admit when trouble is happening I’m a pretty
okay guy to have around.”
“Kyle, when trouble is happening, you’re usually the cause of it,”
Avery pointed out while returning to the table to join him for
“Well, yeah, okay maybe I’ll concede to that one, but I thought I could
help out,” Kyle defended his position, “You know how Grady and Russ are
like brothers to me…”
“I realize that and while I wasn’t too happy with how things went down
last night,” Avery paused cracking the smile she’d been fighting since
the moment she’d stepped into the kitchen, “it is good to see you
Letting out a breath of relief Kyle seemed to relax in his chair, “And
here I thought you hadn’t grown out of hating me.”
“Oh well, that one is still undecided, but seeing that you’re doing
well is a start,” Avery couldn’t help but tease as Russell stepped into
the kitchen to join them.
“I see you two are taking another try at getting along,” Russell noted
with a smile.
“Since you didn’t let me kill him last night I thought I’d give it a
try,” Avery added with a tiny smile. Turning her attention to
Russell, she watched him search the pantry for something, “Russ, I have
the cereal here if that’s what you’re looking for.”
“Oh okay…” Russ spun around heading towards the cabinet to retrieve a
“I have one of those for you too,” Avery added motioning to the set of
bowls she’d picked up in the midst of her banter with Kyle.
“God you’re good,” Russell smiled at her before joining her and Kyle at
the table. He winked at Kyle before throwing out a teasing jab,
“See why I married her. She‘s good at everything.”
“And don’t you forget it,” Avery leaned over to give him a quick kiss
before sitting upright again.
“Awe, how cute. Avery still has you very whipped,” Kyle couldn’t
help but tease them.
“Watch it Kyle,” Avery warned getting up from her seat to grab a couple
of juice glasses for her and Russell.
“Some things never change, do they. Then again, come to think of
it the last time I saw the two of you Avery was half naked and on top
of you,” Kyle half whispered leaning in over the table to speak with
Russ before he cast a glance over in Avery‘s general direction.
His gaze dropped down to her abdomen and the reminder of the child she
had growing inside of her hit the top of his memory before he offered
up a knowing look in Russell‘s general direction, “Then again some
things never change, do they?”
“Hey now,” Russell couldn’t help but chuckle at Kyle’s words, but more
so when Avery walked up to Kyle, smacking the back of his head in a
swift, biting movement.
“Hey, what was that for,” Kyle grumbled with a frown.
“I heard that,” she stated plainly before returning to her seat beside
“I can see she’s still got a lot of spunk in her,” Kyle shuddered
before raising his hand up to the back of his head to rub where Avery
had hit him, “I’d hate to be in your shoes when those fluctuating
hormones get the best of her.”
“I dare you to say one more sexist comment and you’ll be seeing exactly
where those fluctuating hormones will lead me,” Avery threw back at him
in a dare.
“Oh no, I think it’s time for me to be on my best behavior,” Kyle
insisted flashing her a bright smile intended to give an air of
“Yeah right,” she shook her head at the thought feigning a shudder,
“but seriously, what brings you into town other than getting into
trouble with my husband?”
“Oh you know your average husband is cheating on his wife, corporate
scandals gone awry after hours,” Kyle shrugged simply while sipping his
coffee, “Just the usual.”
“Sounds exciting,” Avery shook her head at him, “I’m sure your
girlfriend must be proud.”
“Actually right now I’m in between those,” Kyle admitted with a tiny
“Yeah, well that doesn’t surprise me because with your attitude you’re
going to always be that way,” Avery threw back at him with an air of
sarcasm, “No woman will put up with that egotistical, macho male theme
you have going.”
“I’m a good guy,” Kyle frowned, “I know how to treat a woman like she’s
“That I’ll have to see because as far back as I can remember you were a
player,” Avery pointed out with a firm look, “The last time I saw you,
you and Grady were having a good old time trying to pick up that
varsity cheerleading squad from NYU.”
“Hey, what can I say?” Kyle grinned from ear to ear, “I like to spread
my good charm around with all the beautiful women of the world.”
“Which is precisely why you need to find the right woman to knock you
back into line and out of that world of delusion you live in,” Avery
added with a smirk.
“Hey now I think I object to that one,” Kyle piped in giving Russell a
quick look, “Aren’t you supposed to be helping me out here?”
“Are you kidding,” Russell shook his head in response, “No way am I
stepping into the middle of this.”
“Gee and here I was hoping we’d go for a majority rule in a situation
like this…not an Avery rule,” Kyle watched her get up from the table
“In my house, you live under my rules Houston,” Avery stated plainly
before reaching for one of the power bars she’d had tucked away for
mornings such as these, “In fact, while I’m gone to work, I hope you
don’t plan on trying to convert my husband to your sexist ways.”
“Now why in the world would I dream of doing that when Russ has his own
ruler and master in you,” Kyle jabbed in response catching another
glare from her.
“Watch it, or else I’m going to ban you from coming over. Russ
doesn’t need anymore bad influences,” Avery waved her finger at him
before focusing on her husband, “I have to run by the office for a few
hours today because my father should be in later.”
“It’s okay,” Russell stood up to walk in over towards her, “I was going
to check in at the paper as well and see if I can get things back in
“Alright, then call me after you get there and we’ll work out something
for lunch,” Avery suggested with a sexy smile, “Maybe I can work in a
long lunch just for the two of us in my office. Say something a
bit romantic and intimate…”
“Say no more,” Russ beamed at the thought, “I’ll be there with take
“I knew there was a reason I married you,” Avery tipped up on her toes
to give him a quick kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you,” Russell curled his arm around her drawing her nearer for
a more intimate kiss between them. Having no patience for
anything less than the best between him and Avery, he took his time
savoring her lips in a leisurely fashion.
“Okay, it’s official,” Kyle blurted out with a grumble while watching
Avery and Russ in one another‘s arms, “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Stifle it,” Avery remarked with another glare before reaching out to
touch Russell’s mouth again with her index finger, “So you promise
you’ll behave while I’m gone? You won’t let Kyle talk you into
“Avery, you know me better than that,” Russell smiled down at her.
“Yes, but I also know him very well. Too well for either one of
you to get away with anything,” Avery glanced over at Kyle briefly,
“Don’t forget that.”
“We won’t mom and we promise no parties of wild women while you’re
gone,” Kyle mocked her tone before breaking out in a laugh.
“Ignore him,” Russ urged her before pulling her into one last embrace,
“and be careful on the way to work. If you notice anything
strange or you feel like something isn’t right, please call me.”
“Russ, I have my cell phone charged up and ready to go. I swear
to you that I’ll be careful,” she teased her fingers over the front of
his shirt, “I’ll call you when I get to work, so make sure you have
your phone on you.”
“I’m already there,” he motioned to his pocket where he’d had his phone
before he pulled her in closer to him for another kiss.
“Hmm, are we referring to the phone or something else,” she teased with
a seductive slur.
“Avery, if you don’t get out of here in the next thirty seconds, I’m
going to call you in sick,” Russell mouthed restlessly as his hold on
“Okay, that’s my cue to get the hell out of here,” Kyle blurted out
with a groan while springing up out of his chair. He made his way
towards the kitchen door before looking over at them once again,
“Please, try to keep it down if you can.”
Russ and Avery couldn’t help but laugh as Kyle stepped out of the room
with an exaggerated movement upon completion of his words.
“Please tell me he hasn’t decided to move into our living room,” Avery
began with a curious expression.
“You mean you’re already enjoying him that much,” Russ teased in
response only to catch note of the expression on her face, “Oh come on
Avery it‘s only temporary until we can get him another place.
He’s not that bad.”
“No he’s not that bad at all. I like Kyle. I really do, but
at the same time I know what kind of trouble always follows him,” Avery
admitted with a sigh, “You know how I feel about trouble right about
“You’ve always loved trouble,” Russell pointed out again.
“Even so, Kyle Houston always invites far more trouble into his life
than anyone ever anticipates. I just don’t want the two of you to
go off on some crazy scheme he’s concocted now that danger came your
“Avery, we won’t,” Russ promised her simple. Reaching for her
hand, he laced their fingers with one another, “I promised you last
night that I was going to put you and our baby first. That hasn’t
“I hope not,” she replied feeling him lift her hand to his lips to give
it a quick kiss, “but I can’t help but wonder if something is brewing
here that I haven’t caught onto yet.”
“Avery, I swear to you that nothing we do is going to lead to
disaster,” Russell informed her honestly, “All I want for us is the
kind of life we’ve spent an eternity hoping for with one another.”
“I want that for us too and if that means my indulging your having Kyle
around for a while, then I suppose I can deal with that,” Avery stepped
up on her toes to kiss him, “but I swear if I come home tonight to a
“It won’t,” Russell vowed curling his arm around her, “Besides that was
more along the lines of something Kyle and Grady would do with one
another. I was innocent in all of that.”
“Russ, you forget that I was around as well and the time that Kyle had
that stripper sent my bridal shower by mistake when he’d thought that’s
where the bachelor party you were having would be at, well that said it
all,” Avery groaned inwardly at the horrifying memory.
“Yeah, well you know he was trying to be a pal there,” Russell couldn’t
help but laugh, “and besides in the mix-up we ended up with a night
with the caterer who went over last minute preparations with me.
You can just imagine Kyle’s face when he opened the door to a fifty
year old woman in a Chef’s costume. He’d thought that he’d really
been screwed over by the place he’d called.”
“Yeah well I guess in some ways there was poetic justice in that one,”
Avery couldn’t help but laugh, “though the caterer would be nothing in
comparison to what I would’ve done to him had I known what he’d been
“Oh face it sweetheart, regardless of what Kyle was up to, no stripper
could compete with how hot you are,” Russell nuzzled her neck in a
“Oh you are smooth, but kissing up isn’t going to help on this one,”
Avery laughed lightly.
“Not even a little,” he sought out her lips for another kiss.
“Okay, maybe a little,” she finally conceded wrapping her arms around
him, “But like I said just make sure the world doesn’t fall apart while
I’m at work.”
“It won’t,” Russell promised her, “Kyle and I will be on our best
behavior. Hell, I’m going to work and he’ll be off to do whatever
it is that he does.”
“In that case, I suppose I can go through my day without being
completely paranoid,” Avery teased while saying her goodbyes to
him. Reaching out to kiss him again, she tried to focus on all
the right things to think about in her time away from Russell.
“Aren’t you gone yet,” Kyle questioned entering the room in the midst
of Russ and Avery’s parting.
“I’m leaving now,” Avery explained reaching for her purse. She
waved her finger at Kyle, “but don’t you dare get my husband into
“You have my word on that one. He’s going to stay far from it,”
Kyle swore to her watching her kiss Russell one last time before making
Once very had left the room, Russell turned to Kyle with a relieved
smile, “Thanks for not getting her worked up.”
“If that’s not worked up, then I’d hate to see when she was,” Kyle
laughed lightly, “but seriously I meant what I said Russ. I’m not
going to let you get anymore involved in this. I’ve thought it
over and this is where my job comes in. I’ll do the dirty work
and you just keep on making her happy.”
“Kyle, you know that’s not why I asked you here…” Russell started with
“I realize that pal, but Avery’s one of those women that well, I’d say
that she puts fear into your heart and I wouldn’t want to be on her hit
list if you catch my drift,” Kyle added honestly, “She’d kill me if she
thought I was letting you investigate this situation any further and I
can’t live with that on my conscience.”
“Hey, you can’t control what I do. I’m not trying to wind up in
the thick of trouble, but if the situation arises…” Russell started up.
“Then I’ll take care of it,” Kyle cut him off sharply, “because there’s
no way in hell I’m about to let that beautiful wife of yours or that
baby grow up without you in their lives. Don’t even try to argue
because I’ve made up my mind and that’s all there is to it.”
The next morning Ken and Caitlin sleep intertwined in one another's
arms as the sun begins to cascade in on them. Ken wakes first and looks
down at Caitlin fast asleep in his arms. He smiles at her lovingly.
Ken: I love you so much.
He softly kisses her and then brushes a strand of hair out of her face.
Caitlin's eyes flutter open she looks up and Ken and smiles Ken smiles
lovingly back at her.
Ken: Good morning sleeping beauty.
Caitlin: Mmm if this is a dream I don't want to wake up.
Ken: No, it's real. Unless I'm having the same one of course and if I
am then I don't want to wake up either.
They kiss tenderly.
Caitlin: I wish we could stay the whole day just like this.
Ken: Me too. But I do have a little work I really do need to do today.
Caitlin: Yeah, I need to call Russell and see how things are going at
the paper too.
Ken: The world only stops for so long.
Caitlin nods Ken holds her close to him and gazes at her lovingly.
Ken: But we can put it on pause a little longer.
Caitlin smiles and strokes his face gently.
Caitlin: Yes, I think pause is a very good idea.
They kiss passionately.
Ken: I couldn't agree more.
He holds her close.
Ken: How about we order room service?
Caitlin: I am hungry, and breakfast in bed does sound nice.
Ken: Anything with you sounds nice to me.
They both giggle and kiss again. Awhile later as they wait for their
room service Caitlin goes into the wash room. Once she has shut the
door Ken grabs the phone and dials quickly and dials a number after
several rings a machine picks up.
Ken: Hey, it's me. I know this is your cell phone but I wanted to make
sure you were the one who got this message. Meet me down in the lobby
in two hours. It's really important. Thanks, bye.
He hangs up just as Caitlin comes back in.
Caitlin: Who was that?
Ken smiles and moves over to her.
Ken: No one as important as you.
He pulls her close and kisses her passionately.
Deidra entered Diane’s hospital room hoping to catch a moment with her
sister before she returned to the work that was waiting for her back in
her office. Upon entering the room, Deidra noticed her mother perched
over in the corner over by Diane. Judy appeared to be lost inside
herself as her eyes continued to remain upon her sleeping daughter.
Deidra advanced to her mother and gave her a reassuring hug. "Hello
"Deidra, baby," Judy wrapped her arms around her tightly, "I didn't
hear you come in."
"Yeah, I kind of noticed." Deidra set down her purse and rubbed her
eyes, "I didn't know if I should try and see if you were alright or
"Oh, I'm fine dear." Judy assured her, "A little worried about Diane.
But they tell me everything's going to be alright with her."
"I'm glad that everything's going to be okay with her," Deidra glanced
over at her sister then took a seat beside Judy, "I just wish that
everything wasn't going downhill right now."
"What do you mean Deidra?" Judy questioned her, "What else is going on
that you're not telling me?"
"No, it's best if I don't say." Deidra gave a slight shrug, "I don't
want you to worry anymore then you have to.
"Come on Deidra," Judy urged on, "You can talk to me about anything."
"I know mom but it'll just cause extra stress nobody needs." Deidra
shook her head, "I don't want to worry you anymore then you already
"Too late. You're my daughter too Deidra." Judy rested a hand on
Deidra's knee, "And if something happens to you, I need to know. I'm
your mother and it's my job to know these things."
"I was attacked." Deidra took a deep breath, trying to hold back the
"What?" Judy started at her in shock, "What happened baby?"
"Bruce attacked me," Deidra tried as much as she could to hold back the
tears, but they came anyway, "He held a blade to my throat and he tried
to kill me."
"Oh my god," Judy wrapped her arms around her daughter tightly and
began to rock her, "It's alright sweetie. He won't ever hurt you. I'll
tear him to shreds first."
"Mom, it was so horrible," Deidra sniffled releasing her mother slowly,
"If it wasn't for a man I saw in the parking lot, I probably would have
"There you go playing the pity me act again," Diane shifted in her bed
and sat up a bit.
"Diane, you're awake," Judy ignored the comment Diane had made to
Deidra and gave her a slight hug.
"Yeah," she nodded glaring over at her sister, "Where did Ben go?"
"He went to get something to eat," Judy informed her, "He didn't want
to wake you."
"Mom, I think I'm going to get going," Deidra kissed Judy on the cheek
and turned her back to leave, "I'm glad you're okay Diane."
"Oh sure, walk out again like you always do. Now that the attention
isn't focused on you, go ahead and leave," Diane shot back crossing her
"That's not even the case Diane and you know it," Deidra turned around
and put a hand on her hip.
"I bet you were so happy when you thought I was going to die," Diane
shot back looking Deidra straight in the eyes, "Was that something you
were hoping for sis?"
"Diane! How could you ever think something like that!" Judy questioned
in horror, "Your sister loves you with all her heart."
"Oh yeah, she sure shows it too." Diane rolled her eyes, "Yeah this is
how it is. 'Mom, I don't even question how Diane is doing I'm just
going to play the drama queen'. Give me a break."
"Diane, I love you and I don't understand why you have to be so hostile
with me all the time." Deidra sighed as Ben walked into the room, "I'm
just going to go. Mom, I'll wait for you in the lobby whenever you're
ready to get going."
"Yeah, leave Deidra, it's what you are best at anyway." Diane snarled
as she turned her attention to her mother.
Ben and Deidra exchanged looks. He gave her a look of apology while she
shrugged. They seemed to have an understanding rush through them. He
leaned over and gave her a hug, "I'll talk to her about it."
"Thank you," Deidra mouthed quietly wiping away the tears in her eyes
as she stepped out of the hospital room.
Kyle entered the Coral Valley police station already feeling as if some
form of claustrophobia had set in. While he’d made it a habit of
avoiding the police as much as possible when opportunity presented
itself, it seemed that there was no avoiding any of that this time
around after he’d witnessed Randy’s shooting. However, as much as
Kyle would much rather be out and about with Sarah kicking back and
shooting the breeze, he realized he had work to do and this place was
the perfect starting point for what he had in mind.
“Excuse me,” Kyle approached the man before him in an attempt to be
polite. When the man refused to response to Kyle, he cleared his
This time the man glanced up from the papers he was shuffling through
before turning his nose down into the pages before him once
again. Frowning Kyle stepped forward, raising his voice again.
“I said excuse me,” Kyle repeated getting no reaction out of the man
once again, “Sir…”
“The court offices are down the hall,” the man waved his hand
dismissively not bothering to look up from his papers.
“Actually I was hoping that I could speak with…” Kyle started realizing
that the officer wasn’t interested in hearing a word he had to
say. Finally he’d had enough as he reached for one of the papers
swiping it up off of the desk.
“Hey,” the man scowled up at him.
“Hi,” Kyle dangled the paper in front of the man’s face, “Missing
“Give me that back,” the man warned him sharply.
“Fine,” Kyle nodded in accordance while handing the page over to him
once again, “here you are.”
“Do you need something,” the impatient looking man behind the desk
“Actually, I was hoping that perhaps you could help me out here,” Kyle
nodded in confession while standing up straighter, “I’m here to make a
follow up statement about a shooting I witnessed the other day.”
“And you are,” the man arched a scrutinizing brow.
“Here to speak with someone who can assist me,” Kyle replied with a
thick air of sarcasm, “so if you could find someone to do just that,
then I can promise you that you’ll be able to get back to parking
tickets or whatever else it is that has the bug wedged up your ass.”
“Look you,” the man sat up straighter finally having had a chord struck
by Kyle’s less than polite statement. The man’s pudgy face seemed
to explode with a crimson color as Kyle fought the urge to laugh.
Sure, he knew that comment would get a reaction, but it served the man
right for being such an uninvolved jerk to begin with. Come to
think of it, Kyle thought to himself, he hadn’t been to a police
station where they didn’t have the rudest son of a bitch behind the
counter and Coral Valley clearly was no exception.
“Look before you give me a lecture on my manners, could you just get
someone I can talk to so that I can be on my way. I think we‘ve
both already wasted enough of our time with this. Wouldn‘t you
agree,” Kyle continued impatiently not wanting to engage in any further
conversation with Detective Portly, as Kyle so perfectly dubbed him.
“Oh I’ll get someone you can talk to, but I can promise you that you
won’t be leaving as soon as you would like,” the man snapped back at
“Gee officer, are you going to hold me on being rude to someone who
clearly had no intentions of pulling himself out of the donut shop this
morning,” Kyle remarked snidely watching as Detective Portly’s nostrils
flared upon Kyle’s insinuation.
“Listen you piece of…” the man began to lose his temper as he stood up
from behind the desk revealing that not only was he rather plump, but
he was half Kyle’s height as well.
“That explains a lot,” Kyle thought aloud watching as the man’s face
shifted to a twisted expression that could only mean one thing.
“You have no business coming in here and starting…” the man went off on
a rant with half of his words lost in the midst of Kyle’s involuntary
Yep, there was certainly a reason he’d avoided police stations and this
was one of them, he thought to himself. Straining to keep from
bursting into tears at the ridiculousness of what was happening before
him, Kyle folded his arms in front of his chest just taking it all
in. After a few minutes, he spoke up smoothly, noting that the
officer before him had finally piped down.
“Are you finished now?” Kyle questioned in a neutral tone watching the
man’s mouth open up again, but before he could send out anther verbal
lashing another officer entered the lobby area.
“What in the world is going on out here Johnson,” the man questioned
with a strange expression.
“This person has decided to cause trouble this morning,” Johnson
explained matter of fact, “I was just trying to assist him and…”
“Assist me,” Kyle chuckled unable to contain himself, “oh that’ll be
“You zip it,” the new officer warned sharply, “and Johnson, they want
to see you in back.”
“Yeah whatever,” Johnson stalked off but not before glaring out at Kyle
one last time.
“I’m Lieutenant Sharpe,” Patrick explained to Kyle, “What can I do for
“I’m here to speak with someone about a report I made yesterday.
I was told to come down here and speak with Chief Warner and…” Kyle
informed him simply.
“He’s unavailable at the moment, but if you’d like to have a word with
me, I’d be more than happy to relay it to him,” Patrick suggested with
a heavy look of irritation.
“No, that’s okay, I’ll just come back,” Kyle decided with a simple
shrug making his way down the lobby towards the front doors of the
police station. As he reached the doors, he cast a glance over
his shoulder watching Patrick slip back into the area he’d emerged from
“Alone at last,” Kyle smiled turning around and heading down the
hallway to do a little investigating of his own.
Sure, maybe he was here to make a statement, but a little side work
didn’t hurt anything, he reasoned as he made his way through the
hallways. Within a matter of moments, he realized that he was
down by the evidence room and with that thought in mind, a smile spread
over his features with the knowledge that he was one step closer to
cracking the case he was working on himself. Taking a quick look
around, Kyle discovered that the area was clear as he pulled out the
small tool he’d carried with him for such occasions. He whistled
a quiet tune to himself before wrenching the door open and taking a
“Piece of cake,” Kyle mused with a grin ready to get his hands on
whatever information he could to uncover the secret truths about Bruce
Mathis and who could be hiding him.
Diego stood beside his stove trying to erase the imprint Heather had
put upon him in their earlier encounter. While he’d tried like
hell to ignore the fact that there was a beautiful, complicated woman
brazenly attempting to get his attention, there was no mistaking the
level of discomfort he’d felt in turning away. Sure, he hadn’t
anticipated getting a guest in the shower room like that, but there she
was in all her beauty before him looking like a golden goddess.
She was temptation to the extreme and while Diego felt he had to
protect her, he wasn’t ready to dive into what Heather was asking for
out of him.
Okay, so yeah he couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to
be with her, but he’d be a fool to take that leap…especially now.
She was confused and in a state of turmoil after having to endure a
horrendous ordeal at the hand of Cameron. She needed to heal and
cope with the situation and throwing sex or the possibility of it into
the mix was going to confuse things further. Still as Diego
continued to fry up the eggs in the pan before him, he couldn’t help
but wonder if perhaps there was something more primal driving his
urgency to be the one to stand by Heather.
“You’ve lost your mind,” he stated bluntly shaking his head at the
thought of how far out in left field he’d gone in offering to claim
paternity to Heather’s child. No one in their right mind would
believe such a ridiculous tale. Even Diego himself had doubts
about how to make the world not question the validity of the
situation. He knew that there was a time when he would’ve
committed a man in such a position, but now, well now he was certain
he’d gone past the point of no return.
Stepping away from the eggs, Diego walked over to the kitchen window to
gaze out into the yard where he and Maria had once talked about raising
their children with one another in. At the time they’d bought the
house, it had held an air of hope and promise for the future, but all
those dreams of happily ever after had been shattered the moment that
Cameron Stone had ripped Maria out of this world forever. That
pain in losing her had been far too much to bear and ultimately it had
been that loss that had driven Diego away from any kind of contact with
the world around him outside of work…until now.
“Hey you,” Heather’s voice beckoned him from his thoughts.
Turning around to face her again, he noticed that she was now
completely dressed in another pair of his sweats with her hair still
damp and around her shoulders. She clearly was far too thin to be
in such an outfit of his, but in her simplicity without any traces of
makeup or the glamour she’d usually pushed upon herself, he found her
to be simply radiant. She leaned against the doorway smiling at
him beautifully, “I thought I smelled something good in here.”
“I thought you might be hungry,” Diego admitted snapping out of his
daze long enough to come up with a rational sentence. He stepped
in towards the stove motioning to the frying pan before him, “I hope
you don’t mind an omelet.”
“It sounds great,” Heather replied with another smile, “although you
might want to go light on the…”
“Cheese,” Diego finished with a nod, “Yeah I kind of figured so I tried
tofu instead. I realize you might not be used to it, but with
this particular recipe, well, a friend of mine showed me some tricks
around making things like tofu taste like heaven. Though I will
confess I hope you don’t mind it a little bit spicy as this particular
omelet has a Southwestern flare.”
“I love spicy,” Heather confessed entering the kitchen more completely,
“The hotter, the better I say.”
“Now why doesn’t that surprise me,” he couldn’t help but smirk as his
thoughts carried over past his lips.
“It shouldn’t,” she replied watching the uneasiness in his movements,
“I’m an open book when it comes to most things.”
“Heather, now we both know that’s a lie,” Diego cast a glance in her
general direction once again, “You are by far one of the most
complicated people I’ve met. You very seldom cease to surprise
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing,” she questioned moving in closer
to the stove to take a look at what he was working on.
“A little bit of both I think,” Diego let out a hearty laugh, “though I
will say that it makes life interesting.”
“Well, then I’ll take that as a complement I suppose,” Heather decided
with a smirk, “However, I will say that I’m not the only one full of
surprises. You’re one hard man to figure out yourself there.”
“Not really,” Diego shook his head in response, “I’m a pretty dull and
average guy for the most part.”
“There isn’t anything dull or average about you,” Heather stated firmly
before noticing the strange expression on his face, “Okay, so maybe
there are a few things that you need to work on like loosening up a
bit, but you have potential.”
“I think I should be saying thank you to that, huh,” Diego couldn’t
help but tease her.
“You should definitely be saying that because I don’t normally issue
those kind of words to just anyone,” Heather nodded with a tiny laugh
watching him reach for the plates he’d had on the counter for their
“In that case, I’m very flattered,” Diego replied doing some quick work
with the pan before him. Seconds later he held a plate in hand
presenting a first look to Heather, “Well, what do you say?”
“I’m starving,” Heather announced stealing the plate from his hand
before making her way to his modest kitchen table.
“Somehow I figured you might be,” Diego prepared a plate for himself
before joining her at the table, “So how is it?”
“I’m not sure yet,” Heather confessed taking a long look at the food
before her. She leaned forward to take in the hearty aroma while
closing her eyes to absorb it all in.
“Is something wrong with it,” Diego questioned in confusion.
“No, not at all,” Heather shook her head in response before reaching
for her fork, “It’s just that it’s been so very long since I’ve had
anything that’s been made out of a real kitchen.”
“As opposed to a fake kitchen,” Diego gave her a strange look.
“Of course not silly,” Heather shook her head at him, “It’s just that
I’ve always had some kind of restaurant food or hotel food which is
absolutely dreadful. Then at Cameron’s place, well the cooks were
incredible, but it wasn’t like real food. I’d hardly call a top
chef from France someone who knows something about down home cooking,”
she paused, “I sound stupid right now, don’t I?”
“No, not at all,” Diego shook his head at her words, “I think I’m
actually flattered especially considering that you haven’t even taken a
“Yeah well that’s where the tricky part comes in,” Heather admitted
with a soft smile, “I mean I would always go to these places and order
these huge meals. When the came to the table, I would look at
them--really look at them and imagine what they would taste like, but
I’d never eat more than a bite or two. I mean hey, you don’t
become a swimsuit model by eating junk since you are what you eat out
“So you’re telling me that not only has it been a while since you’ve
had a home cooked meal, but it’s been a while since you’ve actually
eaten a real meal as well?” he frowned in response.
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but the truth is I mostly indulge in
things like this by imagining just how good they’ll be,” Heather
blurted out honestly, “That way I won’t be let down when the promise of
it ends up being less than I’d hoped for. Though right now I‘m
thinking about those two bites here that I‘ll be taking shortly.
I‘m sure they‘ll be excellent.”
“You’re going to have more than two bites,” Diego insisted with a firm
look. “I didn’t cook that for it to go to waste.”
“Diego, I’m telling you now that I don’t eat more than two bites…maybe
three now that I’m pregnant, but…” Heather started to object.
“But nothing. You’re going to eat all of that and I’m going to
watch you do it,” Diego set his own fork down to watch her intently.
“Diego, I really don’t eat a lot and I’ve been doing fine,” she
reminded him simply.
“Okay, so let me get this straight,” he assessed the situation, “You
don’t eat a lot, but you’re willing to scarf down ice cream when
everyone else is asleep?”
“Well that’s different,” she felt a heat rise over her features,
“That’s one guilty pleasure that I just can’t run away from.
Besides, you saw the consequences of that one at the hospital.”
“I also saw that you were horribly underweight for a woman in your
position,” Diego reminded her sharply, “You should’ve gained more than
you have in being this far along in the pregnancy.”
“Diego, I’ve always had a body like this. Being pregnant isn’t
going to change that--well except for the fact I look like I have a bit
of a pot belly going for me,” she shrugged her shoulders, “but still…”
“Heather,” he reached for his fork dipping it into her plate before
pulling out some of the omelet for her, “you might feel quite content
to starve yourself, but I refuse to allow you to do that to your son.”
“Diego, you can’t tell me what to do and if you even think that,” she
opened her mouth in protest only to get a forkful of food inside.
She glared at him while she nibbled on the bite before taking a moment
to savor the taste. Reluctantly, she continued to chew on the
piece he’d given her, really absorbing the texture before he lifted
another piece to her lips.
“Want another,” he tempted her once again watching her eyes grow wide
in response to the savory aroma he was trying to tantalize her with.
“I really shouldn’t,” Heather began feeling him press another bite
behind her lips. Slowly, she closed her mouth around the omelet
and allowed the flavor of it to roll over her taste buds.
“It’s good, isn’t it,” Diego questioned watching her open her mouth for
yet another bite despite her initial protests.
“This is so unfair,” Heather shot him a glare before accepting another
“So take it out on my later, but for now let’s get that handsome little
man inside of you his first taste of home cooking,” Diego suggested
watching as Heather gave into his request taking her time to appreciate
the meal he’d prepared for her. Perhaps there was some hope in
reaching her yet, he thought to himself as they shared their morning
with one another.
Deidra entered her office slamming the door behind her as it had taken
all her energy not to let loose on Diane for her wild
accusations. Sure, Deidra had tried to ignore them, but there was
no running away from the raw hatred that her sister felt for her.
Time and time again Deidra had tried to ignore it, but Diane was set on
keeping things ugly between them for the rest of their lives it seemed.
“Damn her,” Deidra cursed dropping down into her chair. She could
feel the tears threatening to overtake her as they had in the past
after encounters with Diane. No, she thought to herself.
She wasn’t about to let her sister make her miserable all over
again. Okay, so maybe Diane had just been through a life
threatening experience, but it seemed that the closer to the end Diane
became, the crueler she was with Deidra. It was a never ending
cycle with them and Deidra feared she’d never have her sister’s
approval or friendship despite the ways in which Deidra had hoped they
could one day bond with one another.
“It’s a lost cause,” Deidra mouthed to herself, while closing her eyes
and leaning back in her chair. There was no more fighting the
inevitable now that Diane had once again reminded Deidra how little she
actually felt about her. Still, Deidra couldn’t help but feel
saddened about her sister’s behavior.
Hearing a knock at her office door, Deidra wiped at her face hoping
that she hadn’t been too obvious in her misery on the way inside.
Sitting up straighter, she cleared her throat to allow her secretary
access to the room since she was certain that she would have to do some
“Come in,” Deidra offered up in a cool and even tone, hoping to convey
a message of business as usual, but much to her surprise Dean entered
her office with an unsure expression on his face.
“Deidra, hi,” he smiled weakly at her, “I thought I saw you come in
“Oh Dean,” Deidra felt a breath of relief press beyond her lips, “hi.”
“I saw you in the hallway and I tried to call out to you, but you
seemed a bit preoccupied,” Dean admitted taking another step in towards
her, “Do you have a minute or is this a bad time?”
“Oh no, I have a few minutes,” Deidra motioned towards the chair across
from her desk, “Have a seat.”
“Thanks,” Dean smiled at her complying to her request, “I had a few
minutes in between surgery. I thought I’d come on down here and
see how you were doing.”
“I appreciate your taking the time to do that, but I’m fine,” Deidra
smiled at him, “Really.”
“I can see that,” he replied a bit doubtful, “but still I couldn’t help
“I see,” Deidra nodded, “Do you take the time out of your busy schedule
to check in on all the women you rescue?”
“Only the beautiful ones,” he flirted back causing a heat to rise over
“Then you must’ve picked the wrong door,” Deidra shifted in her seat
“I don’t think so because you are by far the prettiest woman around
here,” he added sensing her nervousness, “but then again maybe I should
try to tone this down a bit, huh?”
“What?” Deidra questioned in confusion.
“I have this dangerous syndrome,” Dean admitted with a tiny smile,
“It’s called putting my foot in my mouth before I think. Maybe
you’ve heard of it?”
“Heard of it,” Deidra replied with a nervous laugh, “I think I’m the
reason the diagnosis was coined to begin with.”
“Oh good, then you won’t throw me out right away,” Dean laughed lightly
in an attempt to break the tension in the air, “but seriously I was
hoping I’d get a chance to speak with you today.”
“Well, here you are and here I am,” Deidra waved her hands around in
the air lightly.
“So we are,” he nodded in response, “How are you holding up?”
“Fine,” she lied quickly, perhaps too quickly, “Last night was just
another day in the train wreck I call my life.”
“Yeah, well I know the feeling,” Dean reaching into his pocket,
“although I brought something over that I thought might help.”
“Oh?” Deidra arched a curious brow watching while he pulled out some
odd looking plastic thing out of his pocket.
“Here, I picked this up for you on the way to work this morning,” Dean
admitted handing the beige handle type thing over to her.
“What is it,” she questioned in confusion.
“It’s a personal alarm system,” Dean explained leaning in over her desk
to bring his fingers over hers, “Apparently it sends out this
pulsating, deafening sound to alert others to when you’re in
trouble. Also, over here there’s a button that shoots out pepper
spray just in case the creep who is attacking you doesn’t get a clue.”
“Really,” Deidra’s eyes remained over him. She found herself
surprised by his gesture and couldn’t help but be curious about the man
“Yeah, that’s what the woman behind the counter at the store told me,”
he nodded in confession lifting his brown eyes up towards hers, “I mean
I would’ve tried it out for you, but I didn’t want to have half of my
patients going into cardiac arrest on my way in.”
“I can’t say I blame you on that one,” Deidra laughed lightly unable to
contain herself. She felt a tiny shiver race over her at the
brief contact between her and Dean’s fingers before she pulled her hand
and the security device away, “Though I really appreciate this.”
“I thought it might be useful in the future,” Dean admitted with a tiny
grin, “although there is an added bonus if you’re interested in hearing
“Oh? And what might that be?” Deidra questioned with a curious
“Well, I was thinking that if you weren’t too unnerved by my coming
down here this morning that maybe you wouldn’t mind taking me up on the
offer to be your escort out of work tonight or any other night we might
be getting out of here around the same time,” Dean explained with a
“Oh well, I…” she found herself at a loss in the moment. She was
quite certain she looked like a fool--red faced and flustered as Dean’s
eyes fell upon her, “Dean, I don’t know if that’s such a…I mean I’m
going through a really messy divorce and…”
“And I’m jumping the gun again, aren’t I,” Dean half apologized moving
away from her desk to give her some space, “Listen, I’m sorry if I’m
too bold in my approach…”
“No it’s not that. It’s just that I, well, I’ve just had a rough
few months and I’m not really sure if I’m ready to dive back into the
whole dating thing again,” Deidra admitted honestly, “My life has been
really complicated and I just…”
“I understand,” he nodded in response, “Although I will admit that I
would feel better knowing that you weren’t leaving alone at night.”
“On most nights I have someone walk me out,” Deidra confessed thinking
to the arrangements Dave had set up with Shannon, but I do appreciate
“Hey, the offer is always on the table,” Dean added before rising up
from his chair, “but I guess you kind of already figured that one out,
“Yeah,” she nodded in confession watching him start to rub his palms
“Well, then I suppose I should let you get back to your schedule for
the day. I’m sure you have a lot going on,” Dean motioned to her
“More than I care to really think about,” she half groaned in response.
“Okay, then I guess…well, I guess I’ll see you around,” Dean waved at
“Yeah,” she nodded not knowing what else to say. She watched him
make his way towards the door and in that moment she felt foolishness
setting in, “Dean, wait.”
“Yes?” he questioned turning around to face her again.
“I know it sounds crazy and I’m not promising anything, but how do you
feel about lunch?” Deidra asked feeling a moment of boldness overtake
her, “I’m free around noon--that is if you’re interested in joining me
for some of that toxic waste they pass off as food in the cafeteria
downstairs. I mean hey if you’re not busy and I’m not busy and we
just so happen to be there at the same time…”
“It’s a date,” Dean replied with a confident smile before correcting
himself, “I mean sure, I’d love to have lunch with you.”
“Great,” Deidra couldn’t help but smile in response.
“So I’ll see you later,” he gave her one last look before turning to
leave her office. Unable to keep her eyes off of him, Deidra
allowed her gaze to linger over his body, down to his oh so perfect
bottom before he exited her office.
“What are you getting yourself into,” she asked herself while sinking
into her chair. Surely she had to be losing her mind to even be
considering something like this. Then again, maybe after having
Diane remind her how pathetic she was, she decided that it was time to
prove her sister wrong one way or another.
“Good morning Mindy,” Russell greeted his secretary cheerfully while
throwing out a way in her general direction.
“Whoa, are my eyes playing tricks on me,” she questioned in a mocking
tone. Setting the fashion magazine she’d been thumbing through
aside, she raised her hand up to her chest with a gasp, “You’re
actually here at work. Is it an apocalypse?”
“Ha ha, very funny,” Russell remarked with an air of sarcasm, “I show
up for work.”
“Yeah you do, but you haven’t since you’ve been a newlywed,” she
pointed out with an air of gush in her tone. “You’ve been missing
so long, I was about to put together a search party for you. Then
again I figured that we wouldn‘t have any problems locating you since I
was pretty certain you‘d be caught in bed with your pants down.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you cared that much,” Russell remarked with a tiny
“Oh well of course I do, but I wasn’t about to walk in on something
X-rated between you and Avery,” Mindy jabbed further with an air of
laughter, “Though it’s nice to see you’ve finally resurfaced for some
air this morning.”
“Gee, it’s nice to know that I’ve been missed,” he replied with a
simple shake of his head before motioning to the magazine on the top of
her desk, “And you obviously haven’t changed while I was gone. I
would‘ve thought you‘d actually get some work done around here.”
“Why would I bother,” Mindy shrugged her shoulders before reaching for
the magazine again, “The boss was away and since his star reporter was
out of town, well I didn’t feel the need.”
“Now there’s the Mindy I know and love,” he shook his head at her
before turning to go into his office again.
“Actually, I was just kidding,” she tossed the magazine onto her desk
again, “I’ve really been working on this story that I’m sure is going
to be front page. If you give me five minutes then I’m sure
you’ll love the idea.”
“Mindy, I just walked in the door,” Russ reminded her with a quick look.
“I know, but I figure since Caitlin is still in Seattle and it’s been a
while since we’ve run something that you’ve really been able to sink
your teeth into so to speak, I was thinking about doing an expose on
the lifestyles of the rich and shameless. Brooke is having this
little soirée and I’m sure there will be plenty of scandal
happening there,” Mindy suggested thinking to the party she’d been
dreading since she’d received the invite.
“Mindy, this is a paper to promote the positive around here, not the
audacious,” he wrinkled his nose at the thought of anything his
mother-in-law would be involved in.
“Even so, I’m sure it would be fun to paint a true light on Brooke,”
Mindy insisted further, “It’s been a long time in the making and…”
“And I’m not about to go to divorce court with my wife over her
mother’s acts of indiscretions just yet,” Russell explained simply
before opening his office door and stepping inside, “Besides, I’m
already working on that project on the side.”
“So then why not let me step in and give you the scoop on the party,”
Mindy suggested following him into the room, “Because you and I both
know there’s more to the kidnapping story than she let on.”
“Why do you say that,” Russell questioned glancing over his shoulder in
her general direction.
“Because I don’t buy any of what went down,” Mindy admitted honestly,
“I was there at the ransom drop and…”
“And what?” Russell questioned taking a seat in his chair.
“Something felt off. I mean she has her story that she sold to
the press and the tabloids about the horrors that Bruce Mathis put her
through, but there was something about that night--something that I
can’t quite put my finger on, but it was off,” Mindy continued
emphatically, “I can’t explain it, but my gut is telling me that we’ve
only skimmed the surface on this one Russ and if you give me the
clearance to investigate…”
“My wife would kill me if I did that,” Russ leaned back in his chair,
bringing his hands back over his head.
“Don’t tell me that Avery is buying into the whole ‘new and improved’
Brooke persona,” Mindy rolled her eyes at the thought, “She’s still a
big a bitch as ever and nothing can convince me different.”
“I see,” Russ nodded taking her words in, “so what’s in it for you if I
agree to let you snoop around?”
“You mean other than my having an exclusive that’ll rock Coral Valley?”
Mindy wiggled her brow.
“Yeah, well I know there’s something more, so why don’t you spit it
out,” Russell urged her on.
“Okay, so there’s this whole thing that’s happening before the party
and I’d like the week off,” Mindy blurted out hurriedly, “I mean the
way I look at it, I have to get really decked out for the part and
since you promised me a raise…”
“Aha, so here’s where the catch comes in,” he couldn’t help but laugh.
“Russ, you know I’m ready for this. You know I’m a good reporter
in training and if you give me the chance…” she started again.
“And a raise to go with it,” he threw out a skeptical look.
“Russ, I’m telling you I can smell something big in the air and if you
give me a chance to show you,” Mindy pleaded with him, “I know that I
can turn this into something that will knock your socks off.”
“Considering that you have problems getting me most of my phone
messages half the time,” he reminded her once again.
“That was then. This is now,” she insisted urgently, “Russ, I’m
telling you that I can get something hot…”
“And sleazy right?” he questioned with a frown.
“It’ll go beyond the realm of sleazy. I’ll make it very classy
and you’ll be proud of my work,” Mindy urged him on again, “I know that
things have been rough for you lately with Grady’s passing and all, but
I just think that if I…”
“Okay Mindy,” Russell waved her to silence again at the mention of his
brother, “I’ve heard enough.”
“Oh Russ,” she gasped realizing what she’d said, “I’m sorry. I
didn’t mean for it to come out that way in my downplaying the situation
with your brother. It’s just that I’ve waited a long time for an
opportunity like this and with everything kind of in chaos around us…”
“Mindy, do you ever shut up,” he questioned bluntly watching her bring
her hand up over her mouth in an attempt to quiet herself.
“I’m sorry. Go on and talk,” she mouthed behind her hand before
clamping her palm over her lips once again.
“Thank you,” he couldn’t help but laugh, “Listen I know that things
haven’t exactly been normal around here lately and I apologize for
that. Still, you haven’t worked on something like this before
“And I know I can do it. Russ, if you just give me a chance I’m
sure that I can come up with some of the best investigative journalism
you’ve ever read,” Mindy continued desperately, “I realize it might
sound like a stretch but…”
“Fine,” Russ cut her off abruptly.
“I’m telling you that I can…” she continued to ramble on.
“I said fine Mindy,” Russ raised his voice to get her to hear him.
“I just…” she paused upon the realization of his words, “Really?”
“Yes really,” he nodded in confession, “it might make me crazy, but I’m
willing to see where this goes, but only under one condition.”
“And what might that be?” Mindy questioned curiously.
“That you don’t go around spreading the news about this project until
it’s near completion,” Russell urged her on, “Sound fair enough.”
“It’s a deal,” Mindy nodded eagerly practically bouncing up and down in
victory. “I’ll be completely discreet about this.”
“Okay, then how about you try to tone it down a bit,” he suggested
giving her a quick once over, “because I’m sure if you start doing a
happy dance like that someone is going to figure out what’s going on
“Oh right,” she stopped herself from bouncing. “It’ll be
awesome. I promise. In fact right now I’ll start on
it. I’ll get back to work and write out a tentative plan for
where I’d like to go with this on. I’m sure you’ll love it.
You really won’t regret this.”
“I sure hope not,” he couldn’t help but laugh watching her leave his
office giving him time to catch up on the things that he’d been putting
off in his time away from the paper. While he’d hated to have
been such a slacker, in having his talk with Mindy, he realized that
there was plenty of work to do and now was the time to get a jump start
Kyle pulled out his pocket flashlight not wanting to draw too much
attention to himself while he searched through the evidence room.
After a quick look at the computer he’d made his way through the
shelves to the box where the police had placed the things they’d
collected from the Mathis apartment earlier in the investigation.
While Kyle had Randy’s final words in his mind, he had a feeling that
there was part of the missing puzzle in police possession and now was
about discovering just what that was.
Reaching for the box, Kyle pulled it down from the top shelve before
carrying it over to the table at the far end of the evidence
room. Opening the box, he began to thumb through the things
before him. Nothing seemed to raise much interest in him at
first, but after a few seconds of poking around, his eyes fell upon a
vast array of photographs.
“What in the…” Kyle questioned aloud as his eyes scanned the snapshots
before him seeing Avery splashed out before him in living color.
Suddenly Randy’s words came to mind and he could see the pleasure that
the man had taken in following Avery around. With each photo
things grew far more detailed and intimate in the images before
him. They’d contained Russ and Avery in some positions that Kyle
had never truly wanted to witness.
“I think I’ve had enough of these,” he quickly pushed the particular
set of photos aside before his eyes fell upon another batch.
“Well now, what is this?”
Reaching for the images, he noticed that Avery was with another man in
a similar situation. The label on one of the images indicated
that the man was none other than Brant Ashford. As Kyle began to
flip through the various photos he started to feel something build in
his gut--something that had him curious about Brant’s role in the grand
scheme of things. Russ had said that there had to be someone with
money backing Mathis and his great escape, but he’d sounded so sure of
Cameron Stone being behind it. However as Kyle caught a glimpse
of Brant and Avery with one another, he could clearly see that Brant
had a vested interest in Avery. The question was, did Avery
reciprocate the feeling?
“We’ll just have to find out,” Kyle mouthed to himself dropping one of
the images into his pocket before placing the lid on the box before
him. Sure, this hadn’t been what he’d been hoping to find, but
perhaps paying a visit over to BBK would be enough for him to rule out
one possibility. You could never be too sure these days, he
thought to himself before pulling out the picture of Brant and Avery
“Oh you sure look like one slimy son of a bitch,” Kyle grumbled shaking
his head at the image before him before tucking it back into
hiding. Carefully placing the box back where he’d located it,
Kyle followed the same maze he’d taken to get to the door. He
paused for a moment listening to hear if anyone was outside the room
and when it sounded like the coast was clear, he took in a deep breath
ready to get out of the station and down to his investigation.
Stepping out of the room, he turned towards the exit, but instead was
met by the very surprised eyes of Shannon.
“Excuse me,” Shannon began to apologize before she registered the
unfamiliar face before her. Her features shifted with her
piercing glare up at him, “Who the hell are you?”
“I..um…” Kyle started uneasily before standing up taller, “I’m on my
way out. I took a wrong turn, but now I know where I’m headed.”
“Oh no you don’t,” Shannon reached out to him when he’d tried to breeze
past her, “You’re not going anywhere.”
“But I…” Kyle began desperately.
“You’re in hot water mister and until I know exactly who you are,
you’re not going anywhere,” she vowed ready to discover what in the
world she’d stepped into with the muscle bound man before her.
Kyle opened his mouth to speak, but before the words could come out, he
caught the expression on Shannon’s features. It was enough to
bring shivers over his spine with her icy glare and somehow he had a
feeling whatever it was she was about to say, it couldn’t be good.