Episode 124

Jenna sat at her computer, trying to stay focused, but finding it increasingly hard with all the questions that had been running through her mind.  Sure, she knew that she had to be smart about the situation at hand, but given the latest twists and turns things had taken where her family was concerned, Jenna was determined to arm herself with knowledge one way or another. 
That being said she’d spent most of the morning leading up to now scanning over internet sites that were built around her father.  In the last couple of hours her head was sent spinning with various tidbits of gossip and speculation on the great Douglas Mahoney.  She learned of his various exploits with hot, young aspiring starlets and how he’d used his position of power to feast on the spoils that Hollywood had to offer.  However, the more she began to read, the more she felt the urgent need to cringe--not only was the man she’d embraced into her life in the beginning a chauvinist, but a womanizer determined to have his fill of the young beauties seeking out more in their career.  His string of failed relationships only lead Jenna further to the belief that her mother had made the right decision in running away.  Of course a great many of the tales were coming from tabloids, but Jenna wasn’t about to discredit them just yet given what she’s learned about her father.
“When does it end,” she groaned clicking off one of the pages before her when she’d realized she’d had more than enough.  However just before she was about to close another open window she’d had up, something caught her attention--something she hadn’t been expecting.  Clicking the link before her, it took her to another biography of sorts, but this time there was more than just the generic press photo of Doug and Kipp--this particular photo had another familiar face in it causing Jenna to shiver upon recognition.  It was a much younger looking Cameron Stone standing alongside of Kipp.  He has his usual gruff expression on his face as it was obvious that Cameron wanted to be anywhere, but in the photograph, yet it wasn’t Cameron so much that made the moment stand out.  It was the much younger man to the right of Douglas.  He seemed to be carefree in his own way--his dark hair wild and unruly as he wore a dark t-shirt and oversized baggy jeans.  He held a skateboard in his left arm between him and Douglas and it was obvious that in whatever had been happening in that moment, he was amused with the situation.
“J.T. Mahoney,” Jenna read aloud with wide eyes.  Clicking on a link provided beneath the image, she was directed to a page where it discussed J.T.’s problems with drugs and Douglas’s inability to keep up with his son’s chaotic lifestyle.  As the biography went on, it detailed countless run ins J.T. had with the law until the final blow out between father and son.  While the page was still a bit vague, Jenna caught the blurb on the bottom about J.T. moving to a small town called Coral Valley at the last known press sighting.
“Coral Valley,” Jenna repeated suddenly more curious than ever to come face to face with the brother Douglas had failed to tell her about.  Reaching for her jacket, Jenna decided it was time to take her investigation a step further into the unknown as her search lead her one closer to the family she never knew she had.


“So what do you say,” Sarah questioned with the first moment of pause after she’d laid out her proposal for Russell.
“I’ll admit I’m impressed, but impressing me doesn’t mean that you’ve entirely won me over just yet,” he confessed reaching for one of the papers she’d offered him.
“Then I obviously haven’t done enough to show you just how dedicated to the cause I truly am,” Sarah continued her voice growing enthusiastic.  She reached into her briefcase for yet another page to hand him, “I think you’ll find that more than meets the qualifications of those you have for your staff members.”
Russell reached for the newest bit of information before skimming it briefly.  Setting it down, his green eyes fell upon her once again, “Sarah, can I be honest with you?”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less than that since we’re both professionals,” Sarah nodded in answer.
“To be honest with you, I really hadn’t thought about bringing anyone else on staff here since it’s not really something we’re needing at the moment,” he folded his hands on top of the center of his desk before motioning to what information she’d given him, “and besides with all of your qualifications I would imagine that you’d much rather work at a more mainstream publication.  The Courier is by no means in the league of your former places of employment and…”
“I’m not looking to repeat the same situations I had before,” Sarah informed him bluntly, “It’s easy to write something that doesn’t involve heart and a sense of understanding.  I mean, yeah, sure we know that sex and violence sells in most papers, but I’m not about those things.  I’m about doing something that feels right--something that I can live with at the end of the night and I’m certain that working here would give me that.”
“I can’t argue that point, but truth be told…” he started up again.
“Listen, I know that you’re probably going to try to find a way to politely send me on my way, but I’m telling you now that if you hire me, you’ll be making a very wise decision.  You can see that I have the qualifications,” she reminded him once again.
“Sarah, you’re overqualified for the position you’re asking for and while I’d love to say that I could afford to bring you on right now, I really hadn’t planned on…not to mention human resources usually run the new hiring regime around here…” Russell explained with a sigh.
“Give me a week to prove myself to you.  I’ll work on my own--without taking a dime from you and if you still feel the way you do now, then I’ll walk without a fight, but if by some chance you are inclined to see where I’m coming from, then you’ll consider bringing me on staff with all the benefits that your employees have and with the salary I’m asking for.”
“You know what,” Russell couldn’t help but laugh shaking his head at her determination, “I can’t promise you that I’ll give you that reporter job you’re looking for, but right now I could use a good print editor and…”
“I’ll take it,” Sarah interrupted urgently before toning it down just a bit, “as long as you’ll at least give me a chance to show you where my true talents lie.”
“You are one determined woman and in that respect you remind me of my wife,” he couldn’t help but admit with a tiny chuckle.
“I’m assuming that’s a good thing,” Sarah gave him a sideways glance.
“That’s a wonderful thing,” Russell nodded in confession thinking to Avery, “In fact, now that I think about it my star reporter is off in Seattle right now and there are a few things around here I was hoping she could pick up on, but since you’re itching to get your hands on something newsworthy…”
“Just send it my way and I’ll be right on it,” Sarah piped in with an added enthusiasm.
“Alright then, when can you start,” Russell questioned with a quick smile.
“Right now,” Sarah beamed with a wide grin when Mindy knocked on the door popping her head in curiously.
“Can I get you anything,” Mindy inquired with a strange, surprising look.
“Sure, how about a coffee,” Russell suggested catching wind of the frown that touched over Mindy’s lips before he turned to Sarah, “Would you care for anything?”
“Other than a tour of the place and perhaps a visit to my desk,” Sarah replied brightly before shaking her head, “Nope, I’m fine.”
“In that case, Mindy forget the coffee and come on in here,” Russell waved his secretary, “You can meet Sarah--our latest star reporter in training.”


Brant knocked on the door to Avery’s office before cautiously stepping inside to find her alone at her desk.  While he’d wanted to stop in earlier, the situation that Michael had presented him with had him in a tizzy about Cameron’s attempts to ruin his company.  There would be no way that BBK would go down without a fight, he’d vowed and that was part of why he’d come in to see Avery at this very moment.  Okay, so maybe also having caught wind of the fact that Avery’s oversized visitor had left the building hadn’t hurt his decision to make a bold move to see her now, but still…
“Everything okay in here now that Bluto is gone,” Brant questioned in a teasing voice.  Immediately Avery looked up from her desktop, her eyes filled with an obvious irritation as she set her pen down.  She placed her hands down on top of her desk in an obvious attempt to keep herself from losing control, but as Brant moved in towards her, he could see the damage had already been done.
“Do you have any idea what you could’ve cost me today with that stupid move,” Avery tossed out at him with icy daggers of rage, “Of how you could’ve easily worked to destroy the one thing I’ve waited a lifetime to finally have in my life?”
“Avery, that guy was a nut,” Brant began to deflect her words, “Anyone with eyes could see that and I don’t know who he thinks he is coming into our offices and just busting in when…”
“He’s one my husband’s best friends,” Avery informed him bluntly, her dark eyes filled with rage.
“That explains a lot,” Brant remarked offhandedly with a simple shrug of his shoulders.  “That right there should tell you something about your husband if he’s hanging out with guys like that.  Clearly he’s got some serious issues.”
“No Brant, you’re not getting it,” Avery slammed her hand down on the desktop in a blatant attempt to get a reaction out of him, “Kyle could be telling my husband what he saw when he walked in and that is the last thing I want to happen.”
“Avery, when are you going to stop fighting this obvious attraction we have happening between us,” Brant sighed heavily in making another stride towards her.  “Ignoring it won’t make it go away.”
“Brant, how many times do I have to drill it into your head that I love Russ?  He’s my husband and I chose to be with him.  It’s what I want and where I belong in this world,” she informed him honestly feeling a soft sigh of frustration overtake her, “He’s my heart and if you’d only let go of this…”
“Avery, how do you expect me to let go after our sharing a kiss like that?  You can’t deny how right that felt and if you tried, you’d only be lying to yourself about what it is that you truly want,” Brant continued watching the strange combination of emotions pass over her beautiful features.
“Brant,” she pleaded with him unable to take yet another ten rounds of their all too frustrating conversation, “maybe you’re not hearing me here because I’ve told you time and time again what it is that I want.”
“It’s what you aren’t telling me that keeps me pursuing this Avery,” he reminded her simple circling around her desk only to watch her rise from her chair, “You can’t deny that we have something between us.”
“Brant, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I don’t think you’re an attractive man because you are,” she felt a blush rise over her features, “and maybe in some other lifetime you and I would’ve been great together, but…”
“Don’t go there Avery,” he placed his index finger over the center of her lips to silence her, “Don’t say something you’re bound to regret later on down the road.”
“Brant please,” she reached for his hand, taking it in hers before pulling it away from her face.  Their eyes connected before she guided his hand down over her abdomen--to the child growing inside of her, “this is something I’ve waited my whole life for.  Russ and I have dreamt about this forever and right now all I want is to have what I was meant for with Russ.”
“But Avery, if things had panned out differently,” he paused feeling the warmth of her beneath his touch.
“They didn’t Brant,” she cut him off poignantly, lacing their fingers with one another, “I can’t give you something that was never mine to begin with.  Russ has held my heart from the first time we kissed and I was lying to myself to even think that I could deny that part of who I am.  He is my heart, my soul and my one true destiny and if you really, truly care about me, then you’ll stop with all of these blatant attempts to seduce me.  You’ll respect me enough to be my friend and support the decisions I’ve made in my life.”
“But they aren’t the ones that you…” he started to protest watching the tears forming behind her eyes.
“Please, don’t make this any harder than this is Brant,” Avery reached out to touch his cheek gently, “I care about you--more than I’m certain that I should, but that doesn’t change where my heart is.”
“But I love you…” Brant continued desperately, “Doesn’t that mean anything?”

“It means that we can be great friends down the road, but it can’t ever be anything more than that.  I wish that I could only make you see that our not being with one another is for the best--that you could somehow snap out of whatever it is that has you coming back to me time and time again expecting something that will never be…” Avery paused unable to contain her emotions, “and maybe it’s my fault because I lead you on in the past--I let you believe in something that was bound to lead to disaster, and for that I apologize.  I never should’ve given you that kind of hope or any indication that we could have something more.  Brant, you deserve someone who is going to love you the way you deserve to be loved--a woman who is free to give you her heart and I’m just not that woman.  In some ways I wish I was, but I’m not and I’m sure when you find her, you’ll see just how ridiculous the idea of you and I together truly is.”
“Avery, I know you’re only saying that because Russell had clouded your mind--he’s lead you to believe that…” Brant began in one last attempt to persuade her.
“Brant, I love my husband and right now I need to see him.  I have to have a talk with him about a few things and with that being said, I’m taking some time off,” Avery informed him bluntly while taking a step away from him, “I know it’s probably not the best of moments to drop the bombshell on you, but my father will be more than happy to accommodate your needs while I’m away.”
“Where do you think you’re going,” Brant questioned in confusion thinking of the latest BBK crisis, “Avery, I need you right now.”
“Brant, if I’m going to keep working here, then I’m going to need some time away.  After what’s happened this week I can promise you it’s going to drive me to drastic measures if I don’t get away for a while.  I meant what I said about quitting before…” Avery informed him honestly.
“No, don’t do that,” Brant answered quickly.  “Please don’t leave me on that level as well.  If you do, then I know I’ll be completely lost--my company is in enough trouble and if I can’t have you in my life in that respect…”
“Then let me have the time off.  Let me have two weeks to clear the air and then when I return, I promise you that you’ll have me back as it was before.  We’ll deal with things like we have in the past and we’ll put all of this behind us,” Avery suggested hopefully, “That way it gives us another chance to start over.”
“I don’t want to let you go,” he reached out to touch her cheek gently--feeling her stiffening against his touch before he released her taking a step back, “but if it’s really what you feel you must do.”
“I have to,” Avery nodded in confession.
“Then you have my permission to take the time,” he blurted out remorsefully, “if and only if you promise you’re coming back to me.”
“As your lawyer and your friend,” she nodded in response, “you have my word on that.”
“Then, I guess this is the part where I wish you well and tell you that two weeks can’t come fast enough for me,” Brant issues a poignant smile.
“Believe me, it might help you as much as it’s helping me.  You might realize that I’m not the dream girl you think I am,” Avery offered up with a smile of her own before reaching for her purse.  Ready to leave to meet up with Russell, she cast a glance over her shoulder to give Brant one last look before walking out of her office and leaving him there.
“That’s where you’re wrong Avery,” Brant mouthed to himself sadly, “You’re the only dream girl there is for me.”


Cameron tapped on his desk impatiently while holding the pen he’d attempted to write with earlier.  However, while his mind was still reeling over the things that hadn’t panned out as he’d been hoping for.  There was still no word on Angel and with Jade, well he’d hoped to catch news about her current state of mind with her lover now dead and buried, but there was nothing.  It was as if Jade had disappeared without a trace and that had left Cameron very unsettled.
“Good afternoon boss,” Thea greeted him with a wicked smirk upon entering his office.
“Is it,” Cameron countered with a less than enthusiastic expression.
“That all depends,” Thea flashed him another seductive smirk, “would you like me to make it that way for you?”
“As a matter of fact,” he nodded in confession sliding his chair away from his desk, “I would.  What can you do for me?”
“A great many things,” she admitted easing down into his lap.  Running her fingers through his thick hair, her lips sought out his, “What can I do for you?”
“Actually,” Cameron began in a reluctant breath before he looked into Thea‘s eyes, “you can start by giving me a progress report on things.”
“Things…” she mouthed her dark gaze lingering to Cameron’s mouth, “are about the same…”
“The same as what,” he frowned upon her statement, “Just what are we looking at here Thea?”
“What do you want to know about,” she grumbled seeing that this wouldn’t go as she’d been hoping.
“For starters, where are we in locating where Jade is,” Cameron stated his top priority at the moment.
“How the hell should I know,” she curled her lip in a pout while running her hands down the center of his chest, “Wouldn’t you rather discuss our impending victory against BBK?  I would’ve thought that would bring you much more delight than worrying about Jade…”
“Considering that I haven’t been able to locate Angel, I highly doubt anything you could deliver to me about destroying Brant or his pathetic company could amuse me all that much,” he scowled in response pushing her away from him, “Come to think of it, things are looking rather bleak, aren’t they?”
“Cam, how can you say that?  Word is that Brant is terrified of where we’re headed with the new research and soon he’ll be losing everything when we get to the finish first,” Thea informed him bluntly trying to rebuff his sour disposition, “We’ve made great strides to be one step ahead of the game with BBK.”
“But what does that matter without Angel?  Or without Jade for that matter?  You know how much she means to me,” Cameron grumbled in response, “I’m not about to lose sight of that.”
“Perhaps you should since Jade is inconsequential to the victories we have ahead of us.  If you’d only put your focus in the right places…” Thea argued with him.
“Jade is the right place for me,” Cameron snapped in response, “and she will be mine.”
“Whatever,” Thea rolled her eyes unable to curb the irritation she’d felt in Cameron’s obsessions, “perhaps you should focus more on the situation at hand with BBK.”
“I’ll focus on whatever I deem appropriate and right now I expect you to have located Jade by the next conversation we have with one another,” Cameron shot back at her icily, “That’s where the importance really is.”
“Forget Jade,” Thea insisted with a wild glare behind her eyes, “especially considering that you have other fish to fry.  Beyond that, I think you’ve overextended yourself where your women are concerned, don’t you?”
“What is that supposed to mean,” Cameron questioned with a less than appreciative tone.
“It means that you’re worried about finding Angel, you’re concerned about what it is Jade is doing now that Grady is dead, which more than likely is nothing more than sobbing like your typical weeping, grieving woman in solitude when the real problem starts at home it would seem.  Franklin informed me of your little tantrum last night when your wife was no where to be found.”
“It wasn’t a tantrum and he had no business telling you anything of that,” Cameron snapped back at her, “I have complete control of Heather.”
“Hmm, then is that why she’s out right now living it up with one of Coral Valley’s most eligible bachelors?” Thea arched a curious brow.
“What did you say,” Cameron’s eyes grew involuntarily wide with her remark as Thea approached him once again.
“That’s right Cameron,” Thea couldn’t help but gloat in having captured his complete attention, “It would seem that your wife is making a mockery of your joke of a marriage with an enemy--an old enemy.”
“Who,” Cameron questioned, his jaw tightening with obvious rage while Thea stood behind him, tracing her sculpted finger tips down over the lapels of his jacket.
“Why someone you’d never think would be ready to play with fire, yet of course after he lost his beloved Maria, I suppose he’s thinking that your wife is open territory after you stole the one he’d wanted to share his life with,” she whispered just above his ear before nibbling upon the lobe in a firm, determined nip.
“Diego,” Cameron mouthed his name feeling vengeance boil in his blood while Thea dropped her hands into his lap to tease him.
“That’s right,” she nodded eagerly sliding the zipper of his slacks down just enough for her to reach inside and feel his hardened body, “and it seems that Heather’s is quite taken with the desperately broken Doc.  Why the two of them have been making quite an impression with one another around town while you‘ve been preoccupied with things…”
“That’s not going to continue,” Cameron vowed closing his eyes while Thea stroked him.  Suddenly thoughts of sweet revenge swirled in his mind and he caught Thea’s wrist stopping her from her temptations.
“Cameron,” she half questioned feeling him push her away before he rose from his chair, his eyes wild with madness.
“Heather’s not going to make a fool of me,” Cameron informed her bluntly before reaching for his jacket, “No wife of mine will and it’s about time I made that clear to her.”


Heather stepped out into the living room watching Diego review what appeared to be some kind of work he’d seemingly brought home from the hospital with him.  Making her way out into the room, she arched a curious brow before taking a seat beside him.  Noting the way he looked up from the page he’d been scrutinizing, Heather noticed the tiny crease in his brow that had been present each and every time he’d been in deep thought in the past.
“What are you working on,” Heather questioned with obvious curiosity.  She craned her neck in an attempt to take a better look at what was in his lap.
“Something that wasn’t meant for your eyes,” Diego insisted pulling the papers just out of her reach.
“Then why are working on it now,” Heather questioned with obvious dismay, “I mean why else would you bother doing something like this unless you wanted me to see it?  Perhaps I can help.”
“It’s a patient file and I’m not allowed to share them with you,” Diego stated simply, “you should know that.”
“Aren’t there rules about seeking some kind of consult from another professional,” Heather questioned sinking back into the sofa before tucking her legs underneath her.
“To another psychiatrist there are other exceptions yes, but not to someone outside the relative field,” he explained matter of fact.
“I see, so in other words, you’re just going to stew over that file all night and be boring tonight huh,” she questioned with a pout.
“That was part of my idea--although boring wasn’t quite the word I had in mind when I started this,” Diego informed her honestly.
“Then what was the word?” she asked again.
“Productive,” he explained with a tiny nod, “something that I haven’t done much of lately.”
“Oh who are you trying to kid,” Heather reached for the pages pulling them out of his hand in a quick sweep, “you haven’t been anything, but a workaholic since I met you.  Come to think of it, there hasn’t been a real time when you’ve just let loose and enjoyed life a bit.”
“I enjoyed life,” Diego spoke up in protest, “What about the video game the other day?”
“That was nothing,” she waved her hand dismissively, “I’m talking about serious, honest to goodness fun where you can go out and be wild for a bit.”
“I think we’ve already had more than enough adventures for the week, don’t you,” Diego threw out a pointed look.
“Not even close,” she shook her head at him, “You really don’t know how to live, do you?”
“I live just fine here,” Diego motioned to the room surrounding them, “I get time to relax and find some peace.”
“And be completely boring,” she groaned extending her arm out further to keep the papers away from him when he reached out to take them back, “Diego, we can’t simply sit back and be boring.”
“We aren’t.  You’re going to rest and I’m going to work,” he informed her sharply reaching out for the papers again.
“No weren’t not,” Heather argued with him springing up from the couch in an attempt to get him to do the same.  When he followed her movement, she couldn’t help but smile, “Now see Diego, we’re getting somewhere, aren’t we?”
“Heather give me those,” he held his hand out while watching her prance around his living room.
“No, not a chance,” she shook her head at him, “I won’t give them back to you until you promise me that we can do something.”
“Heather, I have work to do and…” he started watching her start to thumb through the pages.  “Heather, don’t do that!”
“Fine, I won’t,” Heather waved the papers around again, “but if and only if you agree to take me out.”
“Heather, you know I can’t…” he began again.
“So let’s see what Ms. Rogers has going on,” Heather eyed the page again.
“Heather,” he shouted out her name before leaping over the back of his couch to catch her.  She saw his intent and before he realized it, she’d circled around his couch running around a bit more before looking to the paper again.
“Let’s just see what problems she’s having now that her husband has…” Heather started to read when Diego made another dive for the papers.
“Give me those!” he insisted barely catching her arm before she took off into the kitchen leading him into yet another chase.
“No, not a chance,” Heather called out from inside his kitchen.  When he entered the room, he noticed that Heather held the papers in one hand and his car keys in another.  She leaned up against the counter offering up a daring look, “So Diego, what’s it going to be?  The papers or the car keys?  I’m keeping one, so which is it?”
“I’m not taking you out,” he placed his hands on his hips firmly.
“Then I guess I don’t need these,” she tossed his keys at him before turning her attention to the papers again.
“Heather,” he grumbled her name, discarding his keys before he made another leap towards her.  Realizing that he’d had her cornered, he stepped up in front of her, watching her eyes widen with surprise at his advance upon her.  They both remained silent for a long moment before he spoke to her urgently. “Give me the papers.”
“Take me out,” Heather pleaded with him.  She could feel the warmth of him hovering over her as she sank back into his kitchen countertop, “Diego, please…I’m getting claustrophobic just sitting around here.”
“You aren’t going to let up, are you,” he frowned with obvious dismay.
“Not until you agree to live a little with me,” she smiled up at him, “So what do you say?”
“I think you’re going to be the death of me,” he groaned reaching for his papers and taking a step back.
“You don’t really believe that,” Heather challenged watching him pick his keys up from the table before he faced her again.
“Maybe not, but for what it’s worth, I have a feeling my days of being productive have just flown out the window,” he caved watching the victorious grin that spread over her features.
“Oh come on,” she beamed with energy reaching out to take his arm in hers, “you might find you actually enjoy the changes I’m bringing to your life.”
“Is that so,” Diego gave her a skeptical look.
“That’s right.  By the time I’m through with you, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without me,” Heather informed him brightly before leading him to a whole new world of adventure.


Ken and Johanna are heading back to the hotel.

Ken: I hope she likes this ring.

Johanna smiles.

Johanna: I know she's going to love it. It's so her.

Ken smiles.

Ken: Yeah, I guess it is.

Johanna: So any ideas on how you're going to give it to her?

Ken: Well, this trip has been so good for us, and Coral Valley holds so much turbulence that I think I'm going to take her away to propose.

Johanna: Oh that sounds nice. Where?

Ken smiles

Ken: Italy.

Johanna: Oh, Ken, she's going to love that! She's always wanted to go there!

Ken: I know.

Johanna shakes her head and smiles.

Johanna: Caitlin is one lucky girl.

Ken: Nah, I'm the lucky one. I just want to make things as nice for her as possible.

Johanna looks at him seriously.

Johanna: Then tell Zack that.

Ken: What?

Johanna: Ken, you're a brother. Imagine if you were in Zack's shoes. Imagine that you'd watched your sister go from one bad relationship to an even worse one over and over again. And the last one she was in nearly killed her. He loves his sister so much and he worries about her, but Caitlin is so independent she won't even let him in enough to see that you are different from the others.

Ken: So, you're saying I should ask Zack for permission to marry Caitlin?

Johanna: Ken, I'm a romantic not an idiot. No, of course not. But I think it would make things better for everyone if you let Zack know that he doesn't have to worry.

Ken considers this.

Ken: It's not like I don't know where he's coming from so yeah maybe I should talk to him.

Johanna: I think you should.


Kyle stepped into Russell’s newspaper offices trying to think of some way to keep from telling Russell what he’d witnessed over at BBK.  While Avery had done her best to convince him that nothing was going on with Brant, Kyle had his doubts.  He knew all too well what it was like to have the woman you love sneaking off with another man and more so he hated the thought of his friend having been put in a similar position.  Okay, so maybe Avery wasn’t the same lying, cheating backstabber that Kyle had once given his heart to, but there was still plenty of room for worry especially with a man like Brant pursuing her.  The question was would Kyle give Russell all the more reason to be concerned, or would he just let the situation ride?  That had been bothering him on his drive over to the newspaper and now, well not it seemed that it was show time.
“Can I help you,” a small, dark haired girl questioned from the desk before him, breaking Kyle from his conflicted thoughts.
“I’m here to see Russell Denton,” Kyle began before giving her a strange look, “Wait a second.”
“Is something wrong,” Mindy asked in confusion noting the way he was staring at her.
“I know you,” Kyle continued with a hearty laugh, “except the last time I saw you, you were about this high,” Kyle explained bringing his hand out next to his waist.
“I think you’re mistaken…” Mindy started again trying to place his face before he continued.
“Right before the bachelor party, you were at Wonder World and that guy in the Frankenstein suit was harassing you.  I pulled him aside and asked him politely to leave you alone, but he just wasn’t getting it.”
Mindy eyed him for a long moment of intense scrutiny before her jaw dropped in obvious surprise, “Kyle?  Is that you?”
“The one and only,” he nodded with a bright grin watching her rise up from her chair to embrace him, “how’s it going kiddo?”
“Oh it’s going,” Mindy beamed with enthusiasm as he reciprocated her hug, “How long have you been in town?”
“Long enough to see how badly I was needed,” Kyle admitted with a tiny chuckle, “How’s your mom doing?”
“She’s doing,” Mindy shrugged her shoulders simply, “You know…she’s off doing the whole judge thing now.”
“Oh I remember,” Kyle couldn’t help but laugh, “that much I wish I didn’t however…”
“Yeah well you were the bonehead to let things get a bit rowdy at that bachelor party,” Mindy laughed thinking to the events that had transpired around Russ and Avery’s first attempt at wedded bliss.  While she was barely an adult back then, she could recall quite clearly the impression that Kyle had made on most of the wedding party.
“Oh now come on, you’re just ticked that you couldn’t kick back a few beers with the rest of them,” he teased with a tiny nudge, “Though I suppose now you’re legal, huh?”
“More than legal,” Mindy nodded, her gaze wandering to Kyle’s arms.  Reaching out to squeeze one of them, she couldn’t help but smirk at the feel of rock, hard muscle beneath her, “Hmm, been working out huh?”
“Just a little,” Kyle flexed unable to contain the urge to tease her a bit, “So tell me, are you still dating Avery’s little brother?”
“Depends on who you ask,” Mindy admitted with a tiny frown thinking about her current situation.
“That sounds awfully vague,” Kyle gave her a strange look.
“Well if you had about two months, I could really delve into it with you, but since you came here to see Russ and not me,” Mindy began hearing Russell’s office door opening up.  “Speak of the devil…”
“Uh oh, why do I get the feeling I’m about to not like what I’m hearing,” Russell teased stepping out to join the two of them, “Kyle, hey how’s it going?”
“It’s going,” Kyle admitted with a moment of seriousness overtaking him, “Have a minute?”
“Sure,” Russ nodded seeing the urgency behind his pal’s eyes, “Just give me a second to give Mindy her next task here…”
“If it has anything to do with coffee, you can forget it,” Mindy informed him bluntly, “because I promised Sarah I’d give her the grand tour…remember?”
“Actually I was going to have the both of you go on assignment together, but if you aren’t interested,” Russell remarked watching the expression that crossed over Mindy’s features.
“Oh I’m interested,” Mindy announced brightly, “I was just getting my things and when Sarah returns…”
“Ah and here she is now,” Russell rubbed his hands together, “Kyle, I’d like you to meet my newest staff member here at the Coral Courier Sarah…”
“Kyle,” Sarah’s jaw dropped as a moment of uneasiness fell over the crowd.
“Sarah,” Kyle spoke her name in almost a whisper, unable to take his eyes off of her, “what are you doing here?”
“Getting a job,” she smiled back at him before offering up a tiny laugh, “What you didn’t think I’d be unemployed forever, did you?”
“Well no, but…” Kyle paused for a long moment.
“I take it you two know one another,” Mindy noted with an arched brow.
“That’s one way of putting it,” Sarah nodded in confession, “Kyle and I grew up with one another.  We were next door neighbors for most of my life…”
“Wow, it really is a small world isn’t it,” Russell added with a smile of his own while taking note of the strange unspoken feeling that surrounded Sarah and Kyle.
“Too small if you ask me,” Avery’s voice added from beyond the group as she stepped forward.  Her eyes narrowed as she noticed Kyle standing before her.  Unable to curb her growing irritation with the man who’d jumped back into town and was leaving her in a position she didn’t want to be in.
“Avery,” Kyle greeted her with a neutral tone.  “How’s it going?”
“It was a lot better than it was five minutes ago,” Avery frowned in response clenching her hands at her sides, “I didn’t realize it was a race to Russell’s office after you left mine.  Let me guess, you started shooting your mouth off already, huh?”
“Avery I actually just…” Kyle started uneasily as she marched towards him.
“Save your breath because I’m finished with you,” Avery snapped back at him before turning to address Russell, “Whatever he said Russ, he doesn’t have the first idea what he’s talking about.  He’s completely out of line and…”
“And I didn’t tell him anything,” Kyle cut her off abruptly.
“Didn’t tell me anything about what,” Russell questioned in confusion, his eyes running between his wife and Kyle as there was an obvious tension in the air.  Finally he spoke up again in the hopes of initiating something other than silence, “Okay, what aren’t you two telling me?”


A while later Zack is alone in his hotel room when there is a knock at the door.
Zack answers it and is surprised to find Ken standing there.

Zack: Uh, hi.

Ken: Hi. Can I come in?

Zack: Uh, sure, I guess.

Zack steps back and lets Ken in.

Zack: So, what's up?

Ken looks at him seriously.

Ken: I need to talk to you about Caitlin.

Zack stiffens.

Zack: What about her?

Ken: Look, I understand how you feel, okay? I have a sister too, remember? And God knows I worry about her everyday. I worry about some guy hurting her or taking advantage of her. I worry about her making a choice that's going to hurt her in some way. I'd do anything for her. And I know you feel the same way about Caitlin, and considering the relationship she just got out of I can only imagine how much you must worry about her.

Zack: You're damn right I worry about her! My sister trusts everyone.  She believes everyone is good and is always willing to give people a chance. And her doing that has nearly cost her, her life.

Ken nods.

Ken: I know. I also know that you don't think very highly of me because of that fight Caitlin and I had. But as a man I'm sure you can remember at least one time you had an argument with a girlfriend where you said something you didn't mean, and acted in a way you regretted.

Zack sighs and nods.

Zack: Yeah, I... I can't deny that. So what's all this leading too?

Ken: What it's leading to is that I want to offer you some reassurances. Zack, I love your sister with every fiber of my being, okay? I never knew it was possible to love someone as much as I love her. And I'm not exaggerating to say I'd gladly lay my life down for her. I'd run through fire for her without a second thought. She's the love of my life. What I'm saying here Zack, is that we're on the same page. All I want is for Caitlin to be happy. All I want is to make all of her dreams come true. I want to spend the rest of my life with her Zack.

Zack takes a deep breath

Ken: Look, you want Caitlin to be safe, happy, and to have everything she's ever dreamed of right? Well, that's the same thing I want.

Zack: So you want my blessing?

Ken: What I want is for Caitlin to be happy, and having you on our side would make her very happy.

Zack shakes his head.

Zack: I can see why you're a lawyer, you make a good case.

They both chuckle.

Zack: Look, Ken, I'm no knight in shinning armor, here, okay? I know I hurt Blake badly and I am so sorry about that.  It's something I'm always going to regret. I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can't. So, I'm not going to stand here and look down on you, when I myself am no prize. But you have to understand, you aren't the first man to swear they love Caitlin and vow to make her happy.

Ken nods.

Ken: All I'm asking here is for a chance to prove myself.

Zack considers this and runs his hand through his hair.

Zack: Well, you have been making her happy so far. Truth is she's happier now then I've ever seen her. And you do seem like a good guy. Okay, look, I'll cut you some slack. The two of you seem happy, and as long as I don't see any signs of you not making her happy there's no reason for me to be breathing down your neck. But if I ever do see any sign that...

Ken: You won't, you have my word.

Zack nods.

Zack: Okay. I look forward to seeing you keep that word. As long as you keep her as happy as she is now, you have my blessing.

He holds his hand out to Ken the men shake firmly.


“So where are we going,” Heather questioned turning on to her side in the front seat of Diego’s car, “I hope it’s something worthwhile here…”
“Do you ever quiet down,” Diego questioned giving her a sideways glance.
“Not until I know exactly what you have ahead for me,” she insisted urgently, “considering that you really didn’t say much when you left your place.  I don’t know if I’m overdressed, or underdressed or just plain inappropriately dressed.”
“Trust me.  Where we’re going no one is going to care what you look like,” Diego informed her simply.
“Yeah right,” she rolled her eyes at his remark, “that’s nothing more than a line that ugly people have come up with to compensate for what they’re missing out on with one another.  I mean honestly, who even thinks like that?”
“I do,” Diego replied honestly.
“No you don’t,” she argued with him, “because if you really felt that way, then you wouldn’t be human.  I mean you can’t tell me that you’re only helping me because you’re a good person and not because I’m beautiful.  Let’s face it…if you weren’t even the slightest bit attracted to me, you might not have considered lending a hand.”
“Is that what you really believe,” Diego glanced over at her in astonishment.
“Hey, it doesn’t make you a bad person,” she pointed out with a simple look, “It just says that you’re human.”
“Yeah well human or not, my interest in you goes well beyond your looks.”
“So you are interested,” Heather mused with a grin sinking back into her chair, “I thought so…”
“I happen to think you’re a very special person Heather,” he continued ignoring her current round of gloating.
“And beautiful,” Heather added watching the expression on his face, “it’s okay to admit it you know.  I won’t think any less of you if you just get it out in the open that you find me attractive.”
“You really don’t know when to stop do you,” Diego grumbled in response, “Here you were asking for me to take you out and now you’re back to…”
“Trying to get the truth out of you,” Heather shrugged her shoulders, “You said you wanted it out of me and I’ve given you that.  What you see is what you get and I’ve told you things that I wouldn’t dream about sharing with anyone else in this world, so why is it that difficult for you to even consider doing the same with me?  Do you think I’m going to think less of you because you find me appealing?”
“Heather, that’s not what I’m trying to…” he stopped himself when the realization of her persistence overwhelmed him.  Offering up a tiny sigh, he continued to focus on the road, “Alright, I happen to think you’re a very beautiful woman.”
“See, was that so hard,” she smiled victoriously turning her attention to the road ahead of them.
“Harder than you can imagine,” he mouthed under his breath.
“What did you say,” she questioned eyeing him once again.
“Nothing,” Diego shook his head before pulling off of the main road onto one of the side streets.
Heather watched the new path they were taking with obvious curiosity.  It seemed they’d stepped into a whole new world before them--one that felt completely foreign to her when the buildings before her began to shift from modest to less than interesting.  Shifting uneasily in her seat, she felt a frown touch upon her lips.
“Where are we going,” Heather demanded impatiently.
“Somewhere you can have a little fun,” Diego answered cryptically.
“Somehow I seriously doubt it given that all the good things in town are in the other direction,” Heather informed him bluntly.
“Not all of them,” Diego offered up pulling into a parking lot behind what appeared to be an old, broken down building.  Heather stared at him with wide eyes, finding herself speechless in their surroundings before a huff fell from her pink glossy lips.
“Where the hell are we?” she demanded with another huff.
“Somewhere special,” he informed her with a simple smile, “Ever hear of the Adams Theater?”
“Yeah, wasn’t that place condemned like five years ago,” she gave him a strange look.
“On the contrary, it’s been renovated over the last couple of years and while on the outside it’s not much, inside they have a beautiful stage and they put on some really amazing shows,” Diego pulled his keys out of the ignition.
“You don’t honestly expect me to go in there,” Heather wrinkled her nose at the thought as she watched Diego open his door.
“Of course I do,” he nodded in response, “You wanted to do something exciting, didn’t you?”
“Well yes, but I hardly consider this exciting,” she started to argue only to be met by his exiting out of the door beside him.  A few seconds later, he opened up her door and offered his hand out to her.  Stubbornly she folded her arms in front of her chest shaking her head in refusal to accept his assistance, “Oh no.  I’m not going in there.”
“Sure you are,” Diego insisted leaning in closer to her, “You said you wanted to have a good time and I’m trying to give you one.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of a nice restaurant, maybe some dancing…” Heather wrinkled her nose again, “Not slumming it like this…”
“Hey, I don’t see it as slumming.  There is quite a bit of undiscovered young talent out there and since I knew you were wanting to get into the acting field yourself…” Diego began patiently.
“I wanted to be the star of Hollywood films, not a back alley hole in the wall,” she corrected him with a scowl, “This is so not in the same league as what I had in mind.”
“Even so, a lot of Hollywood greats started like this and a great many of them started in this very spot.  Often at times they return to get back to their roots,” Diego continued thinking about the rich history of the theater.
“Oh right,” Heather rolled her eyes, “You’d say just about anything to get me out of this car right now, let’s face it.”
“No, not really because I’d be more than happy to hop in the car and go back home and work,” he leaned up against the side of the car while craning his neck down to look at her, “I just thought that maybe you would like the opportunity to see Hilary Delray while she was in town.  She’s staring in the play this evening in A Doll’s House as Nora and I figured since you’d mentioned that you’d enjoyed her work…”
“Hilary Delray?” Heather’s eyes widened at the mention of the woman she’d modeled a great deal of her work after.  She looked to the theater once again, “She’s really in there?”
Diego nodded, “That’s right.  She’s been there all week and since her cousin Tara and I went to high school with one another.  I helped Tara renovate this place with a friend of mine and well Tara said if I ever wanted to catch a show…”
“You’re serious,” Heather’s eyes widened in response, “She’s really here?”
“That’s right,” Diego nodded, “and we have front row seats and an opportunity to go backstage after the play…”
“I just…” Heather stopped herself before nearly leaping out of the car, “Well what are we waiting for?  Let’s go.”
“Are you sure,” Diego couldn’t help but laugh.
“If Hilary Delray is really in there, um, yeah I’m positive,” Heather nodded eagerly.
“In that case,” Diego stepped aside, “After you.”
“Okay,” Heather made a move to step forward before stopping herself.  Turning around she gave him a strange look before placing her palm in the center of his chest, “Wait a minute.”
“What now,” he questioned with a frown.
“I have one question,” Heather stated firmly.
“What might that be,” he arched a curious brow.
“How did you know that I was a fan of Hilary’s?” Heather wanted to know upon the realization that she’d never spoken to Diego about her lifelong admiration of the Hollywood starlet.
“You’re not the only one who keeps up with those that surround her,” Diego admitted sheepishly, “I may have caught a Global Entertainment issue every now and then.”
“You mean…” Heather’s jaw nearly dropped as she realized what he was saying.  Not only had he been someone who’d been supportive of her, but he’d also had some knowledge of her once flourishing career in Hollywood.
“I figured you might enjoy this more than ice-skating at the moment,” he teased with a wink quoting another favorite from the article he’d mentioned before offering his arm out to her, “Shall we?”
“I’d love to,” Heather laced her arm in his walking with him up to the theater with the knowledge that there was far more to Diego than she’d ever thought possible.  With each moment she was spending with him, she was seeing shades of a different man--one that truly had her constantly guessing and surprised for all the right reasons.


Cameron sat in the far end of the parking lot watching the exchange between his wife and her companion.  While he’d been following them from the time they’d left the psychiatrist’s home, he couldn’t quite decide what would be done with her.  Now however as he watched them enter the small theater arm in arm, he felt his anger boil.  Gripping his steering wheel tightly, his jaw clenched with the way seeing Heather with Diego had affected him.  Sure, he might not be in love with her, but damn her, she belonged to him and it was time that she was reminded of that.
“Enjoy it now Heather,” he mouthed to himself opting to deal with this in a different way than he’d originally anticipated upon arriving at Diego’s home.  Sure, she might be having her fun now, but the last laugh would ultimately be his as no woman would dare live to see the day they made a fool of Cameron Stone.  It was unheard of and it simply wouldn’t happen especially not where his wife was concerned.


Jenna parked the car right outside the address she was provided with. She squinted to read it just to double check the apartment address. It was correct. She glanced around looking for a car that could have been his. She read the number on his house and checked the parking lot. His car was gone. She gave out a sigh and turned her car off, "It's worth a shot Jenna."
She stepped out onto the pavement and glanced up at the door not taking a step forward. She never knew about her brother J.T. but did he know about her? So many questioned popped into her head and she found that she was actually nervous. She paced in front of her car for a moment, "Come on Jenna. He's your brother."
She took a deep breath and slowly made her way to the door. Once she reached it she knocked on it lightly. After waiting a few moments with no response she rang the doorbell. "Come on, J.T."
After waiting a few more moments she sighed and turned to leave the place. Just as she turned around she saw a tall man with dark hair advancing towards her. He was tossing his keys up and down in the air. She took a closer look and noticed he looked just like J.T. He had to be her brother. He hadn't noticed her yet so she just stood in place perfectly still. He finally looked up and raised an eyebrow, "Can I help you?"
"Yes, are you J.T. Mahoney?" Jenna questioned taking a step closer to him.
"That depends," he looked her up and down and grinned.
"Well, it would be a great help if you'd let me know," Jenna urged on nervously, "I really need to talk to him.
"Who wants to know?" J.T. questioned crossing his arms, "Who's looking for him?"
Jenna extended a hand out to him, "My name is Jenna Carpenter and I think if you are J.T., which I'm assuming you are, there are a few things me and you need to discuss."

...to be continued...