Episode 125

“Would someone like to tell me what’s going on here,” Russell asked again unable to refrain from trying to get any kind of word out of Avery or even Kyle for that matter.  Looking between the both of them, he could see that something wasn’t right, but as they both continued to be lost in silence, he realized he’d have an easier time pulling teeth from a lion than getting them to open up.  Frowning once again, he gave them both another look, “Well?”
“Russ, I just…” Avery started feeling the flushed color growing over her features when she’d realized that she’d managed to put her foot in her mouth.  Certainly she’d expected the worst out of Kyle after his threats, but in seeing him, she’d ultimately been the one to jump the gun and when she did, she’d put herself between a rock and a hard place.
“Had a bad day at work,” Kyle stepped forward clearing his throat with the movement.  “I showed up at BBK and Avery was stressing over her work when I walked in.  She raked me through the coals about bothering her when she was working on a big lawsuit and then after, well she said a few not so pleasant things.  We kind of got into a bit of a tiff with one another and I’d said some things that I’m not too proud to admit to.”
“But you both kind of implied that…” Russell watched them with a strange expression on his face, “I mean with the way you were acting…”
“Oh Russ,” Kyle groaned shaking his head at the response he was getting, “truth be told, Avery and I started arguing about your bachelor party again and when I made some sexist remark about the stripper I’d hired, she slapped me.”
“She what,” Russell’s eyes widened as he looked to his wife.
“I was totally asking for it,” Kyle added taking note of the puzzled expression on Avery’s features, “and in the midst of our disagreement, her boss walked in and it didn’t look to swell.  She was unhappy with me for having my usual chauvinist attitude and I completely deserved the hit.”
“But that just sounds so…” Russell started again.
“I was having a bad morning,” Avery finally broke her long silence, “With the case we have against us with Stone Corp and everything else, well I guess you could say I was just at my wit’s end.  Kyle discovered that all the wrong way.”
“Boy did I ever,” Kyle rubbed the side of his face before offering up a slight smile, “but hey, lesson learned and no harm done.”
“And you two didn’t want me to know about this why?” Russell couldn’t help but ask.
“Because you’re always worried about my overextending myself baby,” Avery stepped in towards him bringing her arms around his waist, “You’re worried about my taking on too much of a workload with the stress that we’ve been having in our lives and truth be told, I think that you were right.  I finally lost my patience on your friend and I behaved horribly.”
“I should’ve just kept my mouth shut,” Kyle insisted watching the way she held Russell, “I have this bad habit of just saying what’s on the top of my head without seeing the whole picture.”
“You aren’t the only one guilty of that,” Avery admitted with a relieved sigh, “but for what it’s worth, I decided to take some of your advice.  I’ve taken the next couple of weeks off from work and I plan on enjoying the time with Russ that we weren’t able to have on our honeymoon the first time around.  That is if he can find the time away from the paper.”
“Well, wouldn’t you know it, this came right at the perfect time,” Russ grinned motioning over to Sarah, “This is our latest reporter on staff Sarah Marx.  Sarah, this is my wife Avery.”
“Hi Sarah,” Avery greeted her with a smile, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Sarah smiled at her in response offering her hand.  The two women shook their hands before returning to their respective sides of the desk.
“So when do you start,” Avery questioned making polite conversation.
“Whenever your husband says he needs me around.  He’d mentioned something about a feature he wanted me working on before,” Sarah arched an eager brow.
“Actually, why don’t you get started on it tomorrow,” Russell suggested after a moment’s contemplation, “it’s getting late and there’s no point in keeping you here into the evening anymore than necessary.  Though I will warn you once you get into the swing of things that might happen more often than not, so consider this a calm before the storm.”
“I’m ready for whatever storm comes my way,” Sarah replied, her eyes involuntarily drifting over in Kyle’s direction before she looked down nervously.
“Good, I’m glad to hear it,” Russell nodded in response before addressing Kyle, “So what can I do for you Kyle?”
“It can wait until morning as well,” Kyle waved his hand dismissively while he watched Russ and Avery with one another, “I think I answered my own questions just now.”
“Excellent, then would you like to get back to that task we have ahead of us since we missed out on an earlier lunch,” Russell suggested watching Avery nod in response.
“That sounds good,” she agreed with a quick smile.
“Then I’ll just go and get my jacket and we can get right on it,” Russell replied slipping into his office to retrieve his things.  Once he’d slipped out of sight, Avery turned her attention to Kyle fully.
“Why did you do that,” she questioned in a low, hushed tone confused by his quick thinking.
“Because I realized that I was wrong,” Kyle answered in a whisper of his own, “As much as I’d love to think the worst about you in some ways, I know you’re not like the other women out there who think about their needs first.  You and Russ have a good thing and I’m not about to stand in the way of that.  That Brant guy however had better watch his step…”
“I’ve taken care of it.  Just like I said I would,” Avery informed him bluntly, “It won’t be a problem any longer.”
“For Brant’s sake I hope so because the next time I see him like that, he’s going down,” Kyle replied simply before Russ emerged from his office with his jacket and the mysterious envelope in hand.
“Ready,” Russell asked causing Avery to spin around and face him.
“Of course I am,” she nodded taking note of the package in his hand, “What’s that?”
“Oh just some work,” Russell explained tucking it further under his arm, “Nothing to worry about.  So, are you ready to go?”
“Sure,” Avery replied with a quick wave to Sarah, “It was nice meeting you.”
“Likewise,” Sarah waved back watching Russ and Avery walk towards the exit with one another.
“See you later Kyle,” Russell threw out one last wave to his friend before he and Avery stepped into the elevators.
“Well, since he’s gone, I’m out of here,” Mindy announced from her perched position on the edge of her desk.  “It’s time for me to go enjoy the rest of my day and I strongly suggest you two do the same.”
“We’ll do just that,” Kyle assured her, unable to keep his eyes off of Sarah as he spoke.
“Cool, then don’t be a stranger,” Mindy patted his arm before cutting through the newsroom to leave Kyle and Sarah alone with one another.
“So,” Kyle began clearing his throat while shifting on his feet uneasily, “it looks like you’ve got reason to celebrate tonight.”
“So it would seem,” Sarah nodded again, holding her briefcase in front of her.
“Tell me, do you think you could find room in that celebration for two now that you’re here and well, I’m here and I‘ve often found that celebrating is more enjoyable when you aren‘t doing it alone,” he grinned sheepishly.
“Well, since you put it that way, I think we can arrange that,” Sarah admitted with a tiny grin, “under one condition.”
“What might that be,” Kyle asked attempting to play it cool as he leaned back against Mindy’s desk only to knock over a few papers to the floor in the process.
Sarah couldn’t help but laugh when he leaned down in an attempt to catch them, but instead fell flat on his butt onto the floor with a loud thud.  She brought her hand up over her mouth in an attempt to keep her stifled laughter down while Kyle attempted to collect what was left of his pride.  His dark eyes slowly rose up towards her in an innocent attempt to make eye contact, but before that was accomplished, Sarah could feel the heat of his gaze over her body burning her to the core.
Clearing his throat uneasily as the tension lingered in the air, Kyle attempted to speak up again in the hopes of playing it cool, “So what was that condition again?”
Sarah laughed lightly before offering her hand to him, “That you can stay on your feet long enough for us to have some fun and second, that you’re buying.”
“I think I can manage both of those,” Kyle reached for her hand though he braced himself mostly on the side of the desk to climb up from the ground.  When he was on his feet again, he could feel the nearness of Sarah and his heart skipped a beat.  Suddenly all the cool and collected parts of him had turned into jumbled and clumsy, but then again that was the name of the game where Sarah Marx was concerned.
“Okay then,” Sarah laughed lightly, “then should we get going?”
“Yeah sure,” Kyle nodded extending his arm out to her, “Lead the way my reporter friend.”
“In that case, I will,” Sarah replied stepping through the newsroom as Kyle couldn’t help but watch her wondering how in the world he was ever going to make it through yet another night with Sarah without being able to tell her the truth about how he really felt about her.  Sure, he’d always been the in control one, but when she was around, he lost his grip on that part of himself and all that mattered was the nearness of her.  It was a feeling that he hoped he’d never lose even if it meant never telling her the truth about how much he truly cared about her.
“Kyle, are you coming,” Sarah questioned glancing over her shoulder at him.
“Oh…yeah,” he nodded staggering along in the hopes of keeping from making a huge mistake with his best friend in the whole world by clueing her in on the dreams he’d had about a happily ever after with her.

Zack stares out his hotel room window thinking about his conversation with Ken and about Blake. He shakes his head and sighs as he turns away from the window.

Zack: There is something truly ridiculous about Ken coming to me, promising to be good to Caitlin after the way I treated his sister. Really, what right do I have to judge anyone's treatment of women? I avoid and reject Blake every chance I get, only to turn around and take advantage of her when she's having problems with Seth. And then I turn around and blame her and push her away because my sister gets hurt? What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?! She's not connected to Jimmy and even if she was that doesn't make her responsible for his actions.

Zack plops down on the bed and sighs heavily as he rubs his face.

Zack: I'm one hell of a piece of work that's for sure. I guess Ken coming here to talk to me about Caitlin and not even bringing up Blake should show me what a truly big man he is.

He glances over to a picture of him and Caitlin.

Zack: She's happier now then she's ever been, and it's thanks to a man whose own sister I hurt.

He shakes his head and grabs the phone then dials a number soon a machine picks up.

Zack: Hey, Blake, it's Zack. Listen, I just, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for all the crap I've put you through. I know I've been a total ass to you. You deserve so much better.

Johanna comes in at this point but Zack has his back to her so he doesn't see her.

Zack: Blake, you're beautiful, intelligent, sweet, charming, thoughtful, just an all around amazing woman. I'm really sorry things have worked out this way. You are so much more to me then just a fling and you always will be. You are very special to me, I really want you to know that. I never used you, not intentionally anyways.

Johanna has heard enough and rushes out of the hotel room before she bursts into tears. Zack doesn't realize Johanna has even been in the room and keeps talking.

Zack: Listen, you can do a lot better then a player like me, and you deserve a lot better. You need to let go of me, throw my memory out of your heart and mind and just, just move on. Seth, is a good guy, and I'm sure he can make you happy. He clearly loves you. Anyway, I'm sorry to bother you, I just wanted to let you know that hurting you is something I'll regret for the rest of my life. But you're better off without me, you really are. Well, I'd better go, Johanna will be back soon. Take care of yourself.

He hangs up and turns on the TV. In the hall Johanna is trying to pull herself together, when Caitlin comes up to her.

Caitlin: Johanna, what's wrong?

Johanna shakes her head and takes a deep breath as she wipes her eyes.

Johanna: You know, I may have Zack's name, and his child, but Blake is always going to have his heart.

Caitlin hugs her friend to her.

Caitlin: Now why would you say a thing like that?

Johanna: I just over heard him on the phone telling her how wonderful she is.

Caitlin looks at her sympathetically.

Caitlin: I'm so sorry.

Johanna shakes her head and sighs.

Johanna: I can't believe I've been such a fool.

Caitlin: Oh, come on, you're not a fool. And don't you think before you jump to any conclusions you should talk to him?

Johanna: What is there to say really?

Caitlin: Johanna you're married to him and you're carrying his child. I think there's a lot to say.

Johanna considers this.

Johanna: I guess so. Right now I think I just want to be alone.

She starts to walk away but Caitlin takes her by the arm.

Caitlin: Johanna, let me come with you.

Johanna shakes her head and smiles at her friend appreciatively.

Johanna: I'll be fine, don't worry. I know my way around.

She moves off while a concerned Caitlin watches her.


“So talk,” J.T. suggested propping himself against the corner of his kitchen table.  Watching Jenna intently, he gave her a very long once over before pulling a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket.  Bringing one of the cigarettes to his lips, he withdrew his lighter ready to light it when Jenna stepped forward reaching out to stop him from completing the task.
“Could you not do that,” she questioned with a pleading expression watching him dispel the cigarette from his lips and placing it behind his ear while his gaze lingered over her in a lecherous fashion once again.
“Whatever works for you sweetheart,” he shrugged his shoulders before flashing her another flirty smile, “So what’s on your mind?”
“Actually, it’s not what you’re thinking considering that we have something in common,” Jenna pointed out with a slight frown at his response to her.  Somehow it reminded her of Douglas when she’d first met him and a tiny shiver raced over her spine.
“Yeah, what might that be love,” J.T. questioned with a quick wiggle of his brows.
“The fact that Douglas Mahoney is our father,” Jenna blurted out watching his suave expression shift to that of then to surprise and indifference.
“Oh,” he managed to get out reaching for that cigarette he’d tucked behind his ear.  Clearly a bit shaken despite his otherwise cool demeanor, he placed it between his lips reaching for his lighter once again.  His eyes gave one last perusal before he shook his head, “Damn that’s a shame.”
“Gee, I’m glad to see you’re enthusiasm,” Jenna couldn’t help but roll her eyes at his response.
“Well, I can’t say I’m too surprised,” he admitted with another shrug of his shoulders before making his way across the kitchen, “Doug is notorious for having his way with the women eager to make their way beyond the casting couch.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more of us out there.”
“You say that as if you and he aren’t on good terms,” Jenna noted watching his walk into the living room.  He plopped down on the sofa, puffing away at his cigarette before motioning to his apartment.
“Take a good look around at this dump,” J.T. suggested with a frown, “That alone should tell you where I rate with Doug.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Jenna began making a slow, stride towards them, “I know that this might feel a bit odd for us to be meeting like this, but…”
“But you thought you’d check in on those forgotten members of the Mahoney family and see what the hype was all about,” he arched a curious brow.
“Actually, I came here to get to know who you are,” she admitted taking a seat across from him.  Folding her hands in her lap, she took in a slow breath, “Given that I just learned about you…”
“And let me guess that discovery had nothing to do with Doug,” he quipped before puffing his cigarette once again.  He noted the expression on her face before another sigh erupted in a puff of smoke, “It figures.  That man would rather I just fade off the canvas.”
“It doesn’t matter what he wants,” she urged him on, “We’re family and I’d like an opportunity to get to know you.”
“Hmm, well I don’t hear that line too often…especially from someone who claims to be family,” he let out an ironic laugh, “Are you sure you’re Doug’s daughter?”
“Believe me, I wish I wasn’t, but…” she shook the thought, “It’s irrelevant now.”
“Yeah, well in some ways I think you’re the lucky one,” J.T. noted with a dry, sardonic expression, “I mean Doug just wrote me off before I could really fend for myself.  Yet I think the one who really suffered the most was Kipp.”
“Kipp,” she repeated with obvious confusion thinking about their missing brother, “I’d just assumed they were close.”
“Only because Doug felt he could control Kipp.  Kipp had no sense of self worth you see.  He did everything and anything to gain Doug’s attention--went so far as to kiss his ass at every twist and turn.  Poor schmuck didn’t realize that it wasn’t enough.  It would never be enough…” J.T. paused before looking to her with dark, tortured eyes, “I mean take for example Kipp’s dating life--if he found someone he cared about, Doug was sleeping with them by the end of the week after Kipp brought them home.  It was like a game for him--so much so that when Kipp developed a thing for this model--oh what was her name…Heather something…well, Doug decided it was time to ‘try’ to make up for all his sins where Kipp was concerned.  Doug struck up a deal with this actress wanna be and her agent.  The two thought it would be great to have this model play nice with Kipp, so they set up this thing for him.”
“Thing,” Jenna repeated in confusion thinking about what J.T. was telling her.
“Yeah thing,” J.T. nodded in response, “You know entertainment, sex, the works.  Doug was used to doing that for himself that this time, well he decided he’d return the favor where Kipp was concerned.  After he’d seduced the latest of Kipp’s ill-fated flings, well he figured it was the least he could do.  Granted I could’ve given a rip less about it considering that Doug hates me, but I kept in contact with Kipp.  One day I was at the estate and I caught Doug paying the girl’s agent off.  He paid him good too--more than he ever would think about giving me…but I guess poor Kipp got suckered there.  From what I saw the model had a few more plans for Kipp and when Kipp saw the truth of what our father was all about, well I’m sure you’ve heard the rest by now…”
“Yeah I have,” Jenna frowned not liking where this conversation was going, “but still…you said that Doug hired Heather to be with Kipp?  That he paid for her to sleep with our brother?”
“Something along those lines,” J.T. nodded with another effortless puff of his cigarette, “but apparently the poor bastard he was paying to make the arrangement happen got greedy.  The day I was at the house, the two of them were in a heated argument because the guy wanted more money for the merchandise if you catch my drift.”
“Did this guy have a name,” Jenna questioned thinking about the discovery she’d made after being sent the ring on her doorstep.
“Yeah, he did,” J.T. confessed with an ironic laugh, “I never forget losers like that and he struck me as being even too low for someone like Doug to deal with.  His name was William--William Steed.”


Opening the door to his home, Diego stepped aside to allow Heather inside access.  As she entered the foyer, he couldn’t help but notice the glimmer behind her eyes when she spun around to continue speaking with him.  Come to think of it, this had been the first time he could truly say Heather hadn’t been able to stop talking.  He couldn’t help but laugh on the ride home when she’d been lost in enthusiasm after having met the woman she’d looked up to over the years.
“I can’t believe that Hilary actually gave me her agent’s number,” Heather squealed excitedly, “She was so sweet to say she’d put in a good word for me like that.  I just hope it pans out because you have no idea how the creeps in Hollywood can be.  It’s just one place after another and auditions, oh God, I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible the ones were that my agent sent me on.”
“It sounded very promising,” Diego nodded taking it all in with her. Closing the door behind them, he strode across the living room into the kitchen, “How about some tea?”
“Tea sounds fantastic,” Heather followed him into the room, watching him prepare some water for them, “I still can’t believe all that happened tonight.  I mean here I was just wanting to go out and do something exciting, to really have some fun for a change.  Then you took me to this place that looked as if it should’ve been shut down years ago, but not only was the play incredible, but there Hilary Delray was and she actually took the time to speak with me.  How cool is that?”
“It was rather interesting,” Diego nodded accordingly.
“Interesting doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Heather continued enthusiastically, “Did you know by my age Hilary was at the top of her game?  She had two children and a to die for figure, not to mention she was on the Hollywood A-list.  I seriously don’t know how she did it and even now, to think that I could actually be able to follow in her footsteps…”
“It’s a dream come true, isn’t it?” Diego questioned turning around to face her again.
“More than you know,” Heather nodded in confession, “I’ve waited my whole life to have something like this come my way.  All I ever wanted to was to be on stage--to be onscreen even and have people watching me--loving me as I made them feel something.  I’ve wanted it so very bad and now that this new door has opened up to me…”
“It’s only reminded you of where it was you wanted to be,” Diego offered up watching her nod upon his words.
“More than ever it would seem,” she divulged feeling that same sense of hope rush over her that she’d carried with her in her younger years before William had lead her down the dark path of destruction in Hollywood’s underworld, “I can almost taste the success and if I make an impression with Hilary’s agent, well there’s no telling how far I could go.  I could be the next woman in the spotlight--really being out there experiencing it all and having the things I’ve wanted most in this world.”
“Who knows,” Diego shrugged his shoulders before reaching into one of his cabinets for two mugs, “perhaps after the little guy is born, you can start focusing on that career of yours again.”
“Oh I’m sure I can start sooner than that,” Heather continued taking a seat by the table, “Granted I won’t actually be onscreen while I was pregnant there, but through the auditioning process, well that shouldn’t be much of a big deal.  I hardly look as if I’m this far along and I’m certain that Hollywood has a new respect for working mothers.  In fact, it might even add to my sweet persona and land me the roles that have been out of my reach thus far.”
“It sounds like you’ve got it all planned out,” Diego couldn’t help but laugh lightly.  He began to pour the two of them some tea before joining her at the table.
“I think I have a pretty good groundwork on the direction I’d like to take,” she nodded in confession, “First a few films and then maybe working my way up to director and then who knows?  The sky is the limit…”
“I’d like to think so,” he handed her a steaming mug, “Would you like some sugar or honey with that?”
“Honey would be great,” Heather replied rising up from the seat she’d previously occupied, “but I can get it.”
“Are you sure you know where I…” Diego stopped himself watching her work her way around his kitchen as if she’d been there for years.  While she continued to talk about her Hollywood dreams, he couldn’t help but watch her.  There was something absolutely fascinating about a woman who was so sure of herself--so enthusiastic about getting one step closer to her dreams and in that moment, he couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her.
“So there you have it,” Heather continued stepping in towards him, “My life is finally mine again and I owe that all to you.”
“You don’t owe me anything Heather,” Diego replied watching her take a seat beside him, “Unless of course you’d include being a good mother to that little one there.”
“That’s something I don’t plan to screw up on,” Heather informed him honestly, “Heaven knows I might not have had the best of parents growing up, but I won’t make the mistakes that were made with me.  I’m going to be a great mom and I’ll have it all.  My son won’t ever want for things like I had to.”
“I’m sure you’re going to be fantastic with him,” Diego offered up seeing something burning behind her blue-green eyes.
“I will,” Heather poured some honey into her tea before leaning in to do the same with Diego’s mug.  He opened his mouth to speak, but kept quiet with the realization that she’d picked up on his habits as well.  “I know what it’s like to have parents who couldn’t be bothered with you, but I won’t allow my son to feel that.  Never will he have to face any of that…”
“I take it you didn’t exactly have a good relationship with your parents,” Diego half questioned watching Heather tense up at the very mention of her past.
“My mother was a fool--a stupid, ignorant woman who believed in all the wrong things.  Time after time she blatantly went out of her way to sabotage herself and I won’t ever allow myself to follow in her footsteps,” Heather shuddered at the thought, “and my father, well…that’s one subject I’d just as soon skip over altogether.”
“And why is that?” Diego arched a curious brow.
“Diego, don’t shrink me,” Heather warned him with a frown, “because I’m hardly in the mood for it right now.”
“You opened up the conversation, so I figured the least I could do was continue with it,” he admitted with a simple shrug of his shoulders.
“Well don’t because I’d rather focus on this newfound opportunity before me,” she sipped her drink, “A week ago, I never thought that it would be possible, but now…”
“Now you’re seeing that maybe just maybe things are picking up for you,” Diego couldn’t help but smile at her.
“That’s putting it mildly,” Heather admitted with a soft grin, “Right now you could probably tell me anything and I’d believe it.”
Diego felt a rush of boldness creep up in the back of his throat while he spoke his thoughts aloud, “So if I told you how beautiful I thought you were right now, I wouldn’t be out of line in doing so.”
Heather’s eyes widened at his comment before a genuine smile crept in over her features.  Tentatively she leaned forward placing her hand on his leg in an open gesture of intimacy before her eyes connected with his.
“On the contrary,” she spoke in a low, sultry tone inching in closer to him, “I’d ask you why it took you so very long to be honest with yourself about that.”
“I guess I’m just a slow learner,” Diego admitted with a crooked grin of his own, sensing the nearness of her.  Feeling the warmth of her body just inches away from his, he couldn’t help but be captivated by her.
“I suppose I can forgive you for that considering what a great guy you truly are,” Heather mouthed her lips just above his, leaving them a mere breath apart.  She fluttered her eyelashes at him in a sultry fashion before the corners of her mouth tipped up into a slightly crooked smile, “Although I don’t know if I’ll be so forgiving if you don’t quit stalling when it comes to kissing me.”
“I didn’t realize I had time limitations to work within,” Diego reached out to bring his fingers through her golden blonde hair before his lips brushed up against hers in a slow, exploratory brush.  At first it was light and almost timid, but then with each passing second, the exotic taste of Heather lead him closer to the edge, driving forth that passion he’d kept under lock and key around her.  However, with the sweet, floral scent of her perfume intoxicating his senses, he couldn’t help but reach out to her drawing her nearer to him, delving deeper into the moment with the kiss until finally they parted breathlessly.
“Now that’s what I’ve been talking about,” Heather murmured resting her forehead against his while her lower lip trembled. 
She could feel the strength of his arms surrounding her, holding her close to him.  Lifting her head ever so slightly, she could see the intense fire burning inside of him and in that moment, she dove in for another unrestrained, explosive kiss.  She threw her arms around him, nibbling on his lower lip as his arms hugged her in closer to him.  Pushing herself out of the chair and into his lap, Heather’s wrapped herself around him more completely unable to refrain from letting her instincts take over.
“Heather,” Diego mouthed her name, his hands sliding up over her spine before their eyes reconnected again.  He could feel her shivering over him, her body ready and willing to be with him while his own heart pounded furiously in his chest, “we…”
“Shh…” she instructed placing her index finger over his lips to silence him, “Don’t spoil this by saying something we’re both going to regret later.”
“Heather, it’s just that this isn’t what I was expecting out of tonight,” Diego confessed feeling his strength slipping away from him with each and every caress his fingers made over her spine, “I didn’t take you there for this to happen…”
“I know that,” she dipped down to devour his lips again, “but you can’t deny that this is something that we’ve both needing this for a long time…”
“Heather, it’s just…” he started straining to keep from giving in to the need she’d awakened in him.
“Forget about all of that and just go with your instincts,” she suggested bringing her nails over the center of his button down shirt and tearing it open in a haste.  Immediately her mouth dropped down over his chest, eager and desperate to taste all of him as he held her. 
Diego closed his eyes unable to deny the feelings brewing inside of him as Heather worked her magic over his body.  It had been too long, too far from where he was now for him to experience something like this and now, he couldn’t help but give in to what she’d awakened inside of him.  His fingers threaded into her hair again, urging her mouth up to his again with a bit more assertiveness than he’d allowed himself to show with her before now.  Claiming her mouth in a frantic and scorching display, he felt her fingers fan out over his shoulders before tearing his shirt down over his shoulders.  She tore herself away from him ever so slightly to gauge his reaction before she leaned forward nipping on his lower lip once again.  Letting out a low, primal groan, Diego curled his arms around Heather squeezing her in closer to him before his urgency overtook him.  He shifted beneath her unable to hide from his immediate reaction to her. 
“Don’t fight this Diego,” she whimpered in response grinding her hips over his when she’d felt him move beneath her.
“Is that what you think I’m doing,” Diego questioned tugging gently on her hair to urge her to meet the wild intensity of his mysterious eyes.
“Isn’t it,” she questioned feeling him hoist her up into his arms ever so slightly.
“Not even close,” Diego assured her, using the strength in his arms to hoist her up off of his lap.  Within a matter of seconds, he’d used one of his arms to clear the table top of their mugs of tea before he pressed Heather down upon it ready to give in to the strength of the need he’d denied for so very long.  In moving in over her and feeling her nails graze over his spine while she continued to work him out of his shirt, he vowed from this moment on there would be no turning back.


Dave sat at his desk skimming through the various reports about what happened at the Ashford mansion.  While he’d wished it could be an open and shut case for him, there were huge chunks of something missing in the situation.  Simon Dubois certainly had been in the country on an illegal visa, but that didn’t make him necessarily the cold blooded murderer in the making that everyone wanted Dave to believe.  Okay, so it was entirely possible that Simon had snapped--his grabbing Diane had proved that, but still there felt as if there was something more--something unspoken that needed to still be said.
“You wouldn’t have been the mastermind on this,” Dave spoke aloud when looking at a photograph of Simon, “but who could you have been working for?  Furthermore, who could be working with you?”
With that thought in mind, Dave set down the image before him and tried to recall the events leading up to Grady Denton’s stabbing.  That night Dave had made damn certain that Grady had been safe.  There was no room for error when Dave had Grady put into a private cell away from the regular holding area.  Yet someone had penetrated the system and compromised the security at the station.  That feat in itself couldn’t have been done by one person--especially not when that person was none other than Simon Dubois.  Someone had to have helped Simon get into the station that night, but who?
“That seems to be the question of the hour,” Dave frowned running his fingers through his hair.  He tossed the file aside hating that he’d felt like the clueless moron on the case, but one way or another he was going to uncover the truth--no matter how buried someone wanted it to be.
“Hey Chief,” Officer Wilson knocked on Dave’s door, “someone’s here to see you.”
“Not now,” Dave waved at his officer, “I’m in the middle of something.”
“But Chief, it’s Russ and Avery Denton and they said that they’d made an appointment.  They wanted to talk with you saying something about evidence in his brother’s stabbing.”
Dave looked up from the place in his office where his gaze had lingered off to.  Nodding he waved Officer Wilson on to bring Russ and Avery back to speak with him.  Once Wilson had returned with the married duo, Dave dismissed him and urged Russ and Avery to take a seat before him.
“This had better be good because I’m all out of options here,” Dave started hating to bring up the inevitable truth before them where Grady was concerned.
“Oh this is better than good,” Russell promised ready to show Dave his shocking discovery.


"Thanks again for taking me out," Sarah said as Kyle held her chair out for her.

"Hey, it’s the least I could do for not being able to make our last meeting," Kyle replied smiling and taking a seat from across from her.

"Yeah, you never told me why you couldn’t make it."

"I was doing something for Russell.  He needed help with something and you know me I was there for him."

"Your sweet," Sarah replied as Kyle smiled sheepishly.

"You know it," he teased stretching his arm out knocking over the saltshaker. He picked it up quickly and tilted his head.

"Bad luck Kyle," Sarah shook her head at him as he laughed.

"Bad luck is my middle name.  The only thing that didn’t turn out bad in my life was you," Kyle confessed grabbing her hand.

"Can I get you two something?" asked the waitress coming up to the table.

"I’ll get a steak, medium rare," Kyle decided as Sarah raised an eyebrow.

"And what can I get you?" asked the woman.

"I would just like to get a salad, please," Sarah decided as Kyle smiled.

"I will be right back with your order."

"A salad?" Kyle asked smiling.

"I’ve got to stay healthy and so should you. You know someday that isn’t going to be all muscle, you’re going to get fat," Sarah joked as Kyle grinned back at her with an air of confidence.

"I don’t think so."

"Believe what you want to."

"I will, meat helps me develop muscle," Kyle stated flexing his arm in a playful fashion.

"Okay, show off," Sarah groaned with a quick roll of her eyes.

"Hey, I have to be strong for my job," said Kyle shrugging.

"I just think you like to scare people, that’s why you are the way you are," Sarah noted in all seriousness as Kyle looked down sheepishly.

"You know me too well."

"I can see right through you."
"Then tell me what I am thinking," Kyle question raising a speculative eyebrow.

"Your thinking I am the best person you know," Sarah teased as Kyle smiled in response unable to stifle his own reaction to her words.

"I have been thinking that my whole life," he divulged watching her features closely.
"I know this is going to embarrass you, but I have to say it. I love it when you smile, you have the cutest dimples. I don’t like it when you try to be a bad guy when I know you are a teddy bear on the inside."

"Hey now, that’s going a little to far," Kyle raised his voice in protest before turning red.

"Fine whatever you say, I just think if I saw that smile a little more it would be great," she stated her case laying it out on the table between them, “Your smile says a lot about the man you truly are.”

"In that case, I might try to do it for you and only you though."

"Here is your food," said the waitress setting it down.

"Thank you," Kyle nodded appropriately taking the time to savor the sensory delight he’d reveled in over his meal as she left.

"Yuck, I can’t believe that you’re going to eat those," she said pointing to the onions lying on his steak.

"Yeah, I’m going to eat what I got and savor every second of it,"  Kyle nodding rubbing his palms together with an added thrill of what was to come.

"They’re going to give you bad breath," she said scrunching her eyebrows.

"I’ll take a mint," Kyle decided tilting his head as he contemplated where to start with his meal.

"I’m not going to hang out with someone who has bad breath," Sarah insisted grabbing his plate to take the food away from him.  “This is for your own good Kyle.  You‘ll thank me in the long run.”

"Hey give me that," Kyle insisted pulling it back towards him.



"Fine, you want it?"  she questioned with a hint of mischief burning behind her dark eyes.

"Yes, I do," Kyle nodded.

"Ok here you go," Sarah blurted out picking up an onion and throwing it at him. It slid down his face as he closed his eyes.

"You didn’t just do that," Kyle spoke behind gritted teeth trying to keep his voice low and even as Sarah laughed.

"But I did," she said as Kyle took a hand full of onions throwing them at her.

"Hey," she squealed grabbing the salad dressing next to her and squirting him with it wildly.

Kyle laughed and grabbed the first thing he could find throwing it at her. They threw the food at each other as Kyle tilted his chair back falling out of it. As he fell from his side of the table, he extended his arm out to catch her chair thus pulling her down with him. They both laughed as she fell on top of him. Kyle looked up at her as his hand ran through her hair. They looked up as they heard someone clear their throat.

"Uh oh," Kyle gulped seeing a tall slender kid standing above them. He had dark hair and glasses and he looked less than enthused about the scene transpiring between Kyle and Sarah.

They both got up quickly as Kyle wiped his jeans off. They both tried to hide back their laughter as they saw the kid scrunch up his face.

"This isn’t a carnival, this is a restaurant. You two, out," the kid growled pointing to the door.

"No problem," started Kyle looking closer at the kid’s nametag that read Max, "Maxwell."

They both walked through the restaurant quietly. As they got out the doors they burst out laughing.

"I guess there isn’t going to be dinner included on this date," Kyle joked smiling.

"Of course there is," Sarah teased smirking.

"In what way?" he asked tilting his head at her.

"It’s all over our clothes," she said pointing down to her clothes with a haughty laugh.

"Yeah I guess your right," he nodded looking down at his clothes. "I guess it was a good thing that I took my leather jacket off."

"Oh yeah, I wouldn’t want to get the precious jacket dirty," Sarah groaned as Kyle took off his shirt off to be in a black tank top. In that moment she forgot what it was that she was saying when her eyes fell upon Kyle‘s hardened body.  She bit back a gulp in the back of her throat before questioning him, "What are you doing?"    

"I don’t want to walk around looking dirty," Kyle explained putting his hands in his jean pockets.

"It’s cold out here though," Sarah tried to argue feeling the heat burning inside of her rise with the moment now that Kyle was standing before her looking like a vision of a Greek god in his state of undress.  While she’d prided herself on being a rational, logical woman, logic fell out the window when Kyle Houston stood before her in a state of such untarnished perfection.

"Not to me it isn’t. Here," Kyle said putting his jacket around her shoulders. "Better?"


"Good, how about me and you go for a walk in the park or something?" he asked shrugging his shoulders.

"That’s sounds great," Sarah nodded trying to keep herself under control as he grinned.

"Okay, cool," Kyle said nodding.


After a long walk to clear her head Johanna comes back to the hotel and heads to her and Zack's room. In the elevator she rubs her belly aimlessly.

Johanna: You deserve a whole family little one, and I deserve Zack. But I want him to be happy, and I never want him to resent us.

She sighs.

Johanna: I have to know where we stand with him, even if I don't like the answer I have to know.

She walks with determination down the hall and into the hotel room. Zack is laying on the bed watching TV when she enters. He immediately gets up.

Zack: Hey, how was your shopping trip?

He helps her to a chair.

Johanna: It was okay.

Zack: I'm surprised you didn't buy anything.

Johanna: What? Oh, that! Yeah, well, shopping for clothes when you're pregnant isn't as easy or as fun. I ended up just window shopping and relaxing.

Zack: Sounds nice.

Johanna: So... How was your day? What have you been up to?

Zack: Well, it was, huh, interesting.

Johanna takes a deep breath.

Johanna: How so?

Zack: Well, Ken came by vowing to be good to Caitlin and professing his love for her. He more or less wanted my blessing, or at least less of my anger.

Johanna: And your response?

Zack shrugs

Zack: He's a good lawyer you know? Very convincing.

Johanna laughs.

Johanna: Well, I really think he means what he's saying.

Zack thinks for a minute.

Zack: Yeah, so do I.

Johanna is a bit surprised.

Johanna: You do?

Zack sighs.

Zack: Well, I can't deny that she's happier then she's ever been, or that so far he's been great to her. So, I guess, for now I'm giving them a break. They're happy you know? And I guess that's all that really matters.

Johanna smiles.

Johanna: Yeah, that is. And I'm sure Caitlin will appreciate your acceptance of their relationship.

Zack nods

Zack: Yeah, probably.

Johanna hesitates then feeling her baby move decides she has to ask.

Johanna: Zack, are you...Are you happy?

Zack looks at her confused.

Zack: What?

Johanna: Are you happy?  And I don't mean over all, I mean, with your personal life. Are you happy here with me and the baby?

Zack looks at Johanna closely as he thinks about what she's asked.

Johanna: I really need to know, Zack. Are the baby and I going to be something you grow to resent or are you where you want to be?

Zack sighs and sits down beside Johanna.

Zack: Johanna you're my wife, my best friend, and the mother of my child. We made this little one together, and we both agreed to take a vow. I could never resent you for a choice I was equally involved in, and this baby is my own flesh and blood. I can't imagine ever holding anything against him or her. They didn't ask to be born, we created this child. So, no, absolutely not. I could never resent either of you. I've made a commitment to both of you and I'm going to stand by it.

He kisses her on the cheek and goes to the wash room. Johanna sighs and pats her stomach gently.

Johanna: Not the loving answer I was dreaming of, but at least he won't resent us. I guess, we'll just have to wait and see about the rest, little one.

She looks at the bathroom door intensely.

Johanna: We'll just have to wait and see.


“Listen thanks for taking the time to speak with me,” Jenna offered up again after her encounter with J.T.  Today had been very enlightening to say the least, she thought to herself in saying her good-byes to the brother she’d just met.
“Anytime,” J.T. replied with a half smile before moving towards the door to allow her an exit, “and listen if you ever want to catch up, well I wouldn’t mind the company.  As you can tell, I don’t exactly get a lot of it here.”
“Maybe we can work on changing that,” Jenna suggested thinking about the life she’d been completely unaware of before her research.  It seemed as if her family had been growing in far more ways than she’d ever dreamt possible before Douglas had popped back into her life.
“I’d like that and oh about before,” he paused a bit flustered as he reached for yet another cigarette, “I didn’t mean to gawk like that.  Had I known that we…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Jenna waved her hand dismissively, “If this was the worst of it, we’d have it made.”
“You’re telling me,” he let out an ironic laugh watching her walk out of his apartment.
“Take care of yourself J.T..  I mean that,” she finished exiting his apartment to make the walk back to her car that she’d parked outside earlier.  Reaching for her cell phone, she began to dial Hart only to get his voicemail, “Hart, hey it’s Jenna.  When you get this message, call me back because I really need to talk to you.  Oh, and how do you feel about flying out to Los Angeles?  In the mood for a spontaneous vacation?  Think about it,” she finished hanging up the phone ready to dive into seeking out the answers to some of the questions that J.T. had brought about with her.  One thing was for certain, by the time she returned to Coral Valley, she hoped to know all about her father’s sleazy association with William Steed--even if it opened up a door to some unsavory findings.


“Well what do you think,” Russell questioned rubbing his hands together after he’d played the tape for Dave.
“I can’t believe this,” Dave confessed, his jaw nearly dropping when his eyes fell upon the paused image before him.
“I told you that you should listen to me,” Avery stated matter of fact folding her arms in front of her chest.  Motioning to the television screen before her, she nodded again, “That in itself shows you I was right.”
“Avery, all this proves is that…well, I don’t know what it proves,” Dave frowned turning his attention to the surveillance video, “I still don’t understand how you two got your hands on that.”
“That’s irrelevant,” Russell insisted urgently before pointing at the screen again, “This tape clearly shows that Cameron Stone was at Kipp’s place the night of the shooting.  Sure, he was trying to hide the fact that it was him, but there clear as day he is.  He’s going up to Kipp’s apartment and he doesn’t leave for quite some time.”
“He and Kipp were associates,” Dave tried to think of how Cameron’s lawyers would look at the situation.
“Dave, this tape puts Cameron at the scene of the crime on the night it took place,” Avery insisted firmly, “He was the only one up there other than Kipp Mahoney.  There is no way that Grady could’ve shot him because Grady quite simply wasn’t there.”
“Avery, I understand what you’re saying, but…” Dave started unable to deny the seemingly obvious evidence that hit him directly.
“But nothing.  Cameron Stone was the only other person inside that apartment,” Russell insisted urgently, “He had to be the guy to plant the evidence against Grady.  Grady was working for him, so I’m sure that somehow Cameron managed to collect his prints and somehow make sure that they were discovered at the crime scene.”
“Even so, there’s no way we can really prove that,” Dave started with a frown.
“Dave, can you honestly tell me that you think my brother did this?  That you believe Cameron is innocent?” Russell challenged again.
“No, I can’t say that Russ, but if I follow through on this, I’m going to be taking a leap here,” Dave glanced at the screen once again.
“And you don’t think it’s worth it,” Avery questioned with an arched brow.
“Oh it’s worth it, but if we’re wrong,” Dave sighed realizing what he was about to get himself into, “it could cost me my career should Cameron’s lawyers try to refute this.”
“It’s my brother’s life on the line here Dave.  Surely you have to understand where I’m coming from,” Russell pleaded with him.
“I do and despite my reluctance to jump on this one, I know what I have to do,” Dave admitted realizing that he was about to jump into the waters with the sharks.  He just hoped that once he took action, he’d live to tell the tale of how he’d challenged one of the greatest terrors in Coral Valley.


Shannon sat outside Diego’s house in her car wondering how she’d be able to come up with the right words to say to approach him.  Sure, they’d made plans for the future, but there wasn’t anything set in stone for their dinner.  Even now she felt foolish in just showing up unannounced, but after her long day at the hospital, she’d got to thinking about him.  She needed to clear up a few of the misconceptions that they’d had between them where Heather was concerned.  He certainly didn’t owe her any explanations, but when she’d seen him at the hospital with Heather, she’d freaked out and it wasn’t like her to leap into something so impulsively.
“Just go to the damn door and knock on it,” she ordered herself feeling her stubborn side get the best of her when she refused to budge.  She looked to Diego’s house once again ready to call it quits and go home when she noticed a dark figure in black lurking near the shrubs.
“What the…” Shannon muttered to herself reaching inside her glove box for her gun before stepping out of her car.
“Freeze!” Shannon ordered watching the man run off into the thick forest of trees behind Diego’s modest home.  She started to chase after him, but as she thought back to Diego’s house a new sense of panic swept over her.  Running back to Diego’s place, she stepped onto the porch noticing the front door had been pried open earlier.
“Damn it,” Shannon withdrew her gun, holding it close to her while she pushed open the front door more completely with her foot.  Stepping inside Diego’s place she found herself surrounded by darkness except for the faint lighting coming from underneath a door just across the way.  Cautiously she stepped closer to the room feeling her pulse racing rapidly in her chest with each move she made.  This wasn’t at all what she’d planned on, but now that she’d found herself inside Diego’s home, she just prayed that she hadn’t been too late.
“Just be okay,” Shannon pleaded under her breath while making her way towards the room before her.  Carefully, she began to ease the swinging door open only to find herself met by a bright, piercing light.  Entering the room, Shannon found the counter before her empty, though there were a few scattered items sprawled around over it.  Stepping forward, she felt the crunching of broken glass beneath her foot and suddenly she was met by the sounds of an incoherent moan of sorts to her left. 
Turning towards the source of the sound, Shannon found herself in for the shock of her life.  Heather was bent over the tabletop, kissing a half dressed Diego.  His arms were wrapped around her while he was clearly enjoying her attention and as Heather’s mouth dipped down over his chest with tiny, teasing nips, Shannon couldn’t help but make out a sound causing Diego to look up in surprise.
“Shannon,” Diego yelped feeling the force behind Shannon’s penetrating stare as Heather’s mouth worked it’s magic over him.  Reaching for Heather’s shoulders, he stilled her, urging her eyes back to his.  He felt a moment of sheer embarrassment pass over him at having been caught by Shannon in such a moment.
“What the hell,” Heather questioned tossing her hair back over her shoulder to discover Shannon standing in the doorway.  Glaring at her as she kept her hands over Diego’s chest, Heather spoke up impatiently once again, “Do you mind?  We’re trying to have a moment here.”   
“I…I…” Shannon started with trembling words before taking a step back, “I thought I saw someone inside here, but obviously I was mistaken…I should go…”
With those words Shannon rushed out of the kitchen causing Diego to freeze up in what was happening with Heather.  Diego’s eyes connected with Heather’s for a brief moment before he gently urged her off of him.
“Diego, what are you doing,” Heather questioned bringing her shirt closed over her body.  Watching as he started to climb down from the table top, she found herself caught up in a whirlwind of confusion.
“I have to talk to her,” Diego began desperately, “She shouldn’t have seen that and I owe her some kind of explanation considering that…”
“You don’t owe her anything,” Heather tugged on his arm in an attempt to urge him to continue what they’d started.
“Heather, she shouldn’t have had to see this,” Diego began desperately seeing the first flicker of abandonment behind her eyes at his words.  Stepping forward, he cupped her face in his hands before leaning forward to kiss her tenderly, “Please, just let me go talk to her before she leaves upset.  I don’t want something to happen to her because of what she saw.  I lead her to believe that there was something happening with us and now that you and I…”
“Fine,” Heather nodded reluctantly before reaching out to touch his cheek, “but just promise me that you’ll be back.”
“Of course I will,” Diego promised her giving her one last kiss before leaving the kitchen area.
Once Diego left, Heather looked to his discarded shirt on the ground.  Sliding off of the table top, she reached for it.  Shedding her own shirt in the process, she slipped into his shirt to feel the warmth of him in his absence.  The scent of him sent her mind swimming with possibilities of things to come between them as she anticipated what it would be like for the two of them to continue in their attempt to make love. 
Still, the thought of Shannon interrupting had her less than thrilled as she stepped towards the kitchen door to hear what was going on outside.  However, before Heather could get out to where Diego had gone off to another sound roused her from her quest.  Turning towards the source of the sound, she realized it was her cell phone.  Something inside her told her to ignore it, to keep from going to see who was calling, but another part warned her that there would be consequences for not taking the call.  Reluctantly Heather reached for the phone not recognizing the number as she brought the phone up to her ear.
“Hello,” Heather spoke into the phone ready to quickly get rid of the caller so that she could go check on what Diego was telling Shannon.  Oh how she’d like to see Shannon squirm again now that she’d been tossed aside like the common nothing she was, Heather mused to herself when another voice put an end to all her thoughts of Diego or even Shannon for the matter.
“Hello darling,” Cameron’s wicked voice rolled over the line.  “How are you?”
“Cameron,” Heather’s fingers tightened around the phone as his voice sent chills racing over her body.
“I’ve missed you,” Cameron continued in the same menacing tone sending fear coursing through her body.  “I was so hoping that you and I could find the time you were asking for with one another.”
“Go to hell Cameron,” she spat out at him, “it’s over.”
“Over you say,” he questioned with an uproar of laughter, “Oh no Heather, it’s far from over.”
“The hell it is,” Heather slammed her phone off before turning towards the door Diego had disappeared from.
“Oh now see that’s where you’re wrong,” Cameron spoke smoothly emerging from the shadows where he’d been waiting in Diego’s living room.  Seizing Heather in his arms, he pulled her against him firmly, unwilling to let her walk away from him.  He felt her fight him at first and he clamped at hand over her mouth to keep her from crying out as he pressed her up against a wall using his strength to keep her pinned beneath him.  Placing his mouth just beneath her earlobe, he addressed her in a low, threatening tone, “Honey I think it’s time we have a talk.  One that I’m certain will get you to rethink your own personal definition of hell.”

...to be continued...