Grady stood at the
small party store counter, surveying the ancient looking rows of
Snickers Bars before him. While he’d found himself surprisingly
in the mood to snack earlier now that he was all on his own, he started
to contemplate whether that hunger could be worth reaching for food he
was certain had aged more than he had. Still, the thought of
having to go back to that stupid cabin he’d been moved to without Jade
was enough for him to risk the wrath of the mystery Snickers bar in his
need to indulge in some kind of pleasure. Granted botulism wasn’t
his idea of a good time, but then again could you really get botulism
from a stale candy bar? He wasn’t quite sure. Extending his
fingers out only to withdraw them once again in his contemplations, he
heard a voice from behind him.
“Can I help you with something sonny,” a graying, wrinkled man
questioned from behind him. Grady spun around to notice the man’s
nametag which donned the word ‘SID’ in bright, blue capital letters
which oddly enough offset the strange yellow and green checkered shirt
he’d been wearing.
“Actually,” Grady began snatching up the Snickers bar at long last, “I
was just looking for a quick chocolate fix.”
“In that case, spare yourself some agony and put that down,” Sid urged
him on with a quick flick of his wrist, “I have something better over
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Grady questioned feeling a small sense of
relief overtake him when he deposited the Snickers bar back to where
he’d found it. He made a few steps behind Sid until he noticed
the glass enclosed array of pastries and cakes before him. How
he’d missed them before now in the midst of the bait and tackle shop
was beyond him, but this small section of the store was suddenly
transformed into a chocolate heaven--one that Grady would certainly
welcome now that Jade was no longer with him.
“I thought you might be interested,” Sid noted watching Grady’s
expression shift, “So what brings you to these parts Sonny?”
“I was needing a little break from reality,” Grady admitted thinking to
the half truth that remained in those words.
“Aren’t we all,” Sid half chuckled before tapping on the top of the
glass case before him. He wiggled his brow before offering up a
very toothy grin, “Might I make a suggestion?”
“I’m all ears,” Grady cocked his head to the side watching the man’s
enthusiasm with silent wonder. The man rubbed his palms together
before pointing to a chocolate torte type looking thing before him.
“This is the best. It’s got the chocolate, caramel and peanuts
that you were craving, without the empty feeling of guilt that is
associated with sucking those down,” Sid couldn’t help but tease, “Plus
my wife just made these this morning, so they’re a whole lot fresher.”
“They’re pretty good huh,” Grady arched a curious brow.
“The best in the county,” Sid nodded bending down to open the casing,
“Can I get you one?”
“Better make it two,” Grady couldn’t help but laugh thinking about this
insatiable need for chocolate. While he’d always enjoyed it, he
hadn’t really found himself an addict--well that was until Jade had
made it a tradition to bring with her those snack sized candy
bars. When they were working late time and time again, she’d pop
them out of her purse and offer him some, only to have him
decline. However, with Jade being Jade, she hadn’t taken no for
an answer until she’d been able to persuade him to give in to the
simple indulgences that the candy could provide. Of course right
now the chocolate was making a poor substitute for Jade, but that was
“So, I take it you’ve been enjoying the peace and quiet since I haven’t
seen you around lately,” Sid continue to make conversation with him.
Grady nodded, “My fiancée and I were here spending quality time
with one another.”
“I see,” Sid nodded as if understanding Grady’s urgent need for
“Oh, no it’s not like that,” Grady began feeling a heat rise over his
features by the expression on the man’s face, “I mean she was here with
me and it was like that, but now she’s gone and it’s not like that
now. I mean I’d like it to be, but well…”
Sid chuckled with obvious amusement, “Believe me I understand, which
leads me to yet another suggestion.”
“What’s that,” Grady questioned with a tiny laugh.
“You’d better take three because it’ll be a long, cold night without
the woman you love in your arms,” Sid suggested with a smile, “Believe
me I know. For the last fifty years I haven’t been able to sleep
without my wife beside me.”
Grady smiled at the thought of his future with Jade. Would they
have the same special bond between them in fifty years with one
another? Would he be gushing to a complete stranger on how much
she meant to him and more so would they be as happy as they’d been with
“I’ll take three then,” Grady added trying to remain focused as Sid’s
“I’ll go wrap them up for you,” Sid explained before drifting off into
Alone again, Grady began to take in the small store. While it had
seemed a bit broken down and sleepy before, it now had a whole new air
to it--one of character and history. That thought in itself had
been very settling to Grady as he moved through the tiny isles.
Granted he may have never experienced this place without the horrible
things happening back in Coral Valley, but he was going to find a way
to keep this in mind for him and Jade on their fiftieth wedding
anniversary one day.
“Here you are,” Sid smiled returning with three small boxes in hand,
“Ready to go.”
“Thanks,” Grady spun around to face him again before his eyes drifted
out across the lake to the small island before him. Motioning
towards the window, he had to ask, “What’s that?”
Sid followed his gaze, “Oh that’s Adams Island,” he explained accepting
the money that Grady had handed over to him.
“Funny, I never noticed it out there in all the time I was here,” Grady
commented noting the trees before him.
“It’s nothing special,” Sid continued to explain to him, “It’s just a
bunch of trees and construction work.”
“Construction work?” Grady repeated with a curious expression.
“Yeah some big developers wanted to make something of it one time
considering that there’s a lot of local legend surrounding the place,”
Sid informed him with a shake of his head, “but we all knew it was
doomed from the start.”
“Why is that,” Grady inquired further.
“Because it’s haunted,” Sid expressed to him with heavy emphasis,
“Nothing good comes from that place. Rumor has it that the place
is filled with misery just waiting to happen.”
“I see,” Grady couldn’t help but be tickled by the tale the man before
him was giving him, “well, even if it’s haunted, it still looks like a
“Looks can be deceiving,” Sid reminded him pointedly, “and for what
it’s worth, you’d be best to not even bother looking.”
“Oh I’m sure it can’t be that bad,” Grady started hearing the distinct
ringing of the bell over the top of the door alerting him and Sid that
there was another customer.
“Believe me it’s worse,” Sid informed him honestly, “It would be best
suited to forget you even thought of considering the place.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Grady nodded reaching for the boxes Sid had
offered him. Smiling at the elderly man, he scooped the boxes
into his arms, before turning just in time to bump into a dark haired
woman before him. Taking a step back, he watched as her
sunglasses fell from her face down to the ground. Her purse
followed in the collision spilling out over the floor.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Grady started bending down to help her retrieve the
things that she’d lost in the impact.
“That’s alright,” she replied in a low, whisper of a voice, “I wasn’t
paying any attention to where I was going.”
“No, I was the one who was too busy talking to mind where I was
headed,” Grady continued to apologize reaching for a few things that
had spilled out before him.
“It’s really okay,” she explained, lifting her head up ever so slightly
to reveal a faint glimmer of her dark eyes from behind the cascade of
dark hair before him, “Really.”
“Are you sure,” he questioned again ready to say something more when he
heard Sid’s voice from behind him.
“Hey sonny, you forgot your change,” Sid beckoned him from his place on
the floor. Rising up Grady faced him again with a smile.
“See, I told you I wasn’t paying any attention to where I was…” Grady
started to explain further to the woman he’d bumped into moments
earlier only to discover that she’d since then disappeared.
Frowning he took a long look around the store, “Where did she go?”
“Oh don’t mind her,” Sid dropped Grady’s change into his hand, “Angel’s
not much for conversation. She comes in and out of here to get
what she needs every now and then. My wife is usually the one she
does most of the talking with. You know how women can be when it
comes to gossip.”
“Do I ever,” Grady nodded in response feeling a smile tickle over his
lips. He caught a whiff of the woman’s perfume and he found
himself struck with a bit of an uncanny feeling as he tried to
visualize that brief glimpse he’d had of her eyes. There was
something familiar--something. Shaking the thought he smiled at
Sid once again before picking up the boxes he’d set aside to help Angel
out, “Thanks again for the suggestion. I’m sure these will do the
“They probably won’t be a good substitute for your lady love, but
they’ll be a start,” Sid waved in response leaving Grady to return to
the empty cabin with his chocolate and his lingering thoughts of
Jade. It seemed so unfair.
Jade pushed her key into the apartment door, hearing the familiar click
of the lock before her. Turning to glance over her shoulder up at
Russ and Avery, she threw out an apologetic smile, “I promise this will
only be a few minutes.”
“Take your time,” Avery waved her in with a smile, “We’re in no hurry
“Well other than our reservations I made at that five star restaurant
tonight,” Russell couldn’t help but tease only to find himself the
recipient of a jab in the ribs from Avery. He frowned at the
quick jolt it gave him, “Hey.”
“Mind your manners,” Avery wiggled her finger at him following Jade
into her apartment. Russell stepped forwards to follow, but was
stopped by the faint ringing of his cell phone from within his
pocket. Spinning around to give him a quick look, Avery eyed him
intently, “Expecting someone important.”
“No, not really,” Russ shrugged his shoulders with a simple movement,
“More than likely it’s Kyle calling to make sure that you don’t mind
him still crashing on the couch.”
“As if I have a choice in the matter,” Avery groaned inwardly thinking
to their latest guest. Watching her husband take a long look on
the caller id, she could tell she knew exactly who was on the other end
of the line. Shaking her head at Kyle Houston’s invasion in their
life, she threw him a firm look, “Tell Kyle if he doesn’t find a place
to stay by the end of the week, then I’m going to start charging rent.”
“Will do,” Russ nodded with a tiny chuckle before answering his
phone. He said his hellos before putting his hand over the
mouthpiece of his cell phone, “Go ahead inside with Jade. I’ll be
in there in a few minutes.”
“Suit yourself, but just let Kyle know if he plans on staying at our
place, then he’d better not even think of throwing any wild parties
while we’re out of town,” Avery warned firmly before following Jade
into the small apartment.
Shaking her head once again, Avery thought about Kyle’s presence in
their lives. While she was well aware that Russ and Kyle were
buddies, she couldn’t help but wonder if Russ and Kyle were up to
something--something that would ultimately lead them to trouble.
Half tempted to go spy on what was happening in the hallway, Avery
turned in the direction of the door once again.
“Where’s Russ,” Jade questioned returning to the living room with a
small bag in hand while noticing that Avery was alone.
“He had a phone call,” Avery shrugged her shoulders trying to make
light of the trouble she was certain was brewing behind the scenes with
her husband and his pal, “So what about you? How are you holding
up right about now?”
“You mean other than this being harder than I ever imagined possible,”
Jade tucked a loose strand of her dark hair from her eyes, “I guess
it’s going okay.”
“I know that couldn’t have been easy,” Avery admitted thinking about
the memorial that they’d just attended, “Even now when I think about
“I guess the thing that keeps me from completely going over the edge is
the knowledge that Grady is really okay. No one can take what we
have away from us regardless of how hard they try,” Jade admitted with
a soft sigh thinking about what she and Grady shared with one another
at the cabin. Unable to suppress the smile that overtook her,
Jade tried to focus on Avery and the conversation again.
“Something tells me there’s more to the story than you’ve told me,”
Avery noted the curious expression on Jade’s face, “What’s the story?”
“Well, I wasn’t really going to say anything, but…” Jade began wiggling
her fingers nervously before shifting on her feet, “It’s just…”
“Yes?” Avery questioned further.
“He asked me to marry him,” Jade practically squealed in response
jumping up and down in the moment of confession.
“He did,” Avery’s eyes grew wide before a smile spread over her
features. Stepping forward she reached out to embrace Jade,
“Jade, that’s wonderful news.”
“Don’t I know it,” Jade continued with obvious energy over the latest
development in her relationship with Grady, “It took all that I had in
me not to tell Diane about it considering that she’s my best friend in
the whole world, but well, when you were asking, I just couldn’t help
but say anything…”
“That’s great,” Avery continued enthusiastically, “I mean honestly
Grady has had so many hard times that I just knew that you would be the
one to change that for him. You two are so good for each other
and I’m so glad that this is happening for you…well with the exception
of the situation we’re in right now…”
“I know,” Jade frowned slightly, “That puts a bit of a damper on
things, but hopefully in time this too shall change…”
“I know it will. We’ll put Cameron in his place and then you two
can have the dream wedding you both deserve,” Avery continued eagerly,
“Though you know since we’re going away on this vacation, this really
can be a celebration now. I mean Russ and I were hoping to have
that honeymoon that was cut short, but now, well now there’s plenty to
celebrate about. I’m so excited for the both of you.”
“So am I,” Jade admitted with a bright grin, “This is everything I’ve
“In that case, when the time is right, we’re going to make this the
biggest celebration ever to hit Coral Valley because you both deserve
it so very much,” Avery explained excitedly hoping that they would find
a way to make Grady and Jade have that happiness that Cameron was
working to steal away from them.
"Alright so what is it that you are planning on doing?" Kyle questioned
lightly wondering what was so urgent on his friend‘s end of the line.
"I got information, the only thing is I have to meet someone at the
airport," Russell commented quickly in a hushed tone in an attempt to
keep his words far from Avery‘s ears.
"Back up, what did you just say?" Kyle asked confused.
"Kyle it’s alright, I just am going to get some information, okay?"
"Russell no, I told you, I’ll be the one doing all the stuff. You can’t
risk yourself, you have a wonderful wife and your going to be having a
beautiful baby. I can’t let you do that," Kyle protested lightly.
"Kyle, that’s exactly why I am doing this, it’s for the safety of them."
Kyle sighed lightly, "What do you need me to do?"
"I need you to come with us, to watch Avery."
"What about you? Who is going to watch your back?" Kyle asked with
"I will be fine okay? The only thing I care about is Avery and my
"I understand that okay, just try and listen to me. You’re risking too
much here, you don’t even know who this person is. You’re serving
yourself up on a platter," Kyle explained.
"I understand that, but it’s something I have to do. Just do it, for me
and the baby."
"You know I am always going to be there alright?” Kyle finally replied
with a heavy sigh hating what he was about to agree to with Russ.
"It’s no problem, do you realize you just left out your wife? I would
do almost anything to protect Avery. It may not seem like it, but you
and her are my best friends. I would risk your life for you two."
"I appreciate that buddy," Russell laughed lightly thinking about the
sentiment behind his friend’s words, “I know that this is asking a lot,
but I have a feeling that this would be the thing that takes Bruce down
forever. I know you’ll be the stand up guy and help me out with
"I would…but are you sure you want to do this?” Kyle paused thinking
about the situation once again, “You’re certainly taking a lot for
granted here and Russ, it’s not really like you to jump blindly into
something like this. You’ve always put Avery first and now…”
“This is putting her first,” Russ stated plainly, thinking about the
danger that hung over his family, “Until Bruce is out of our lives,
we’ll always be at risk.”
“Even so, it just doesn’t feel right to me. Are you sure you’re
really wanting to do this,” Kyle began again wondering if there was
something more to the story than even Russ could see happening.
"I’m positive, for the baby’s and Avery’s sake," Russell nodded to
himself leaning his hand against the wall.
"Well, I’m there all the way man. Let’s do this," Kyle shrugged in
response thinking about what Russ was asking. “Just tell me
exactly what you want me to do.”
Ken, Caitlin, Zack and Johanna are all in the lobby of the hotel with
their luggage getting ready to go home.
Ken: Well, I think that's everything.
Caitlin: Yeah, I think so. I can't believe we're going home, I wish
this trip could last forever.
Ken pulls her in close to him.
Ken: No reason the fun has to end just because we're going home.
He kisses her tenderly She smiles.
Caitlin: You're right.
Johanna: Is it possible we actually have more bags then we came with?
Zack: That's what happens when you go souvenir and baby shopping while
Johanna glares at Zack and playfully swats at him.
Zack sees Caitlin and Ken smiling happily at each other and thinks back
to his conversation with Ken.
Zack: Hey Caitlin, can I talk to you for a sec.
Caitlin looks at him with uncertainty.
Caitlin: About what?
Zack puts his hands up.
Zack: Nothing bad I promise.
They all chuckle a little.
Caitlin: Okay, I guess.
They move off to the side.
Caitlin: What's up?
Zack: Look, Caitlin, I know I butt in a lot when it comes to your
personal life, okay? And I know it bothers you.
Caitlin: That's the understatement of the year.
Zack chuckles and smiles but then gets serious.
Zack: But you have to know, I only do that because I love you so much.
You're my sister and you mean the world to me. I'd lay my life down for
you in a second. And...and when I see someone hurt you in any way it
just...it just kills me inside. And when I see you in potential danger,
I can't help but want to protect you. I know, you can take care of
yourself, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to protect you and
making sure you're happy.
Caitlin has tears in her eyes deeply touched by this.
Caitlin: Oh, Zack, I love you too. And...and I'd be lying if I said I
didn't worry about you too.
Zack: It's part of being family.
Caitlin: And I do appreciate you wanting to look out for me and trying
to help and protect me. It's great to know I have someone like you on
Zack: And I always will be.
Caitlin: I know, and that means a lot to me it does. It's just...
Zack: That Ken isn't someone I need to be protecting you from. He loves
you deeply and truly, and is a really decent man. He only wants to make
you happy and keep you safe. I can trust Ken with you, I see that now.
Caitlin looks at Zack speechless.
Caitlin: Okay, who are you and what have you done with my brother?
Zack: Ken came and talked to me while we were here. We had a really
nice man to man chat. We talked about how much he loves you and that he
and I really are on the same page when it comes to your well being and
happiness. And he promised to never hurt you in any way shape or form.
I know men have promised that before, but I get the feeling with Ken,
that he really means it.
Caitlin smiles with tears in her eyes.
Caitlin: He does.
Zack: I believe that. And it's obvious he makes you happy. And as much
as I hate to admit it he's a great guy.
Caitlin bursts out laughing.
Caitlin: Oh wait till I tell Ken that!
Zack: Don't you dare!
They both laugh.
Caitlin: Hmm maybe one day you two will be friends.
Zack shakes his head.
Zack: I doubt it. Unlike, him I have hurt his sister. Truth is I've
been a real hypocrite. I treated Blake like dirt. Why he even felt he
had to come to me is something I'll probably never get.
Caitlin: Because he wanted me to be happy and because this wasn't about
Blake it was about he and I being happy.
Zack considers this.
Caitlin: So, speaking of Blake, I mean, I know you're married to
Zack takes a deep breath.
Zack: You know, if things were different, that would've been a
relationship that I'd have wanted to try. But Johanna came back into my
life, and she's carrying my child. And it's not as if we don't have
some history together. We have a lot of history. Truth is this
trip has helped me remember a lot of it. And, you know, it's a really
Caitlin: Well, I'm happy for you and Johanna, but...
Zack: I know, I treated Blake horribly. I actually called her while we
were here and apologized for everything. Told her what a wonderful girl
she is and how she can do way better then me. That I want her to be
happy and that I'll always regret how I treated her.
Caitlin shakes her head in disbelief.
Caitlin: Is it possible my brother has actually grown up?
Zack puts his finger to his lips and leans in.
Zack: Sshhh, don't tell anyone.
They both crack up.
Caitlin: Come here you nut.
Caitlin: I love you.
Zack: I love you too.
Johanna watches them from a distance with a smile on her face. She
looks over at Ken and mouths nice work. He laughs and gives her the
thumbs up sign. She turns back to Caitlin and Zack smiling, but
suddenly flinches as she gets a small twinge in her side. She rubs her
Johanna: I must have strained myself helping to carry all that luggage.
Caitlin smiles at her brother happily.
Caitlin: So, can I give you some sisterly advice?
Zack: Why not.
Caitlin: If you really want to be with Johanna let her know. Make sure
she doesn't think she's second fiddle.
Zack: I've actually been trying to do that.
Caitlin: Well, keep trying. Not just with actions either, tell her.
It's important Zack, no woman wants to be a man’s second choice.
Zack:: You're right, I will, I promise.
They hug and move back over to the others. Caitlin comes over to Ken
and kisses him.
Caitlin: Thank you.
Ken: For what?
Caitlin: For taking the time to make things right with my brother, and
for just being you.
Ken: Anything for you.
He kisses her back. Zack goes over to Johanna who is still rubbing her
Zack: You okay?
Johanna smiles and nods.
Johanna: Just very pregnant.
They both laugh.
Zack: Okay, let's get this show on the road!
Everyone starts grabbing bags and heading out.
Brant sat at his desk thinking about the craziness that had surrounded
him in Coral Valley. It was bad enough that he’d lost his top
legal aid for the next two weeks now that Avery had decided to skip
town, but what made things worse was this impending sabotage that Stone
Corp was trying to do to him. This drug he’d been working on had
been his pride and joy ever since his father had died. It was his
change to prove to the world that Brant Ashford was a force to be
reckoned with, but now, well now Cameron Stone threatened to take that
all away from him.
“It’s not going to happen,” Brant vowed pressing the call button ready
to bring Diane in to help him with a memo, but at the last second he
remembered that she too was out for a while. Frowning he sat back
in his chair thinking about how forces were certainly working against
“Damn it,” he shoved his chair away from his desk before rising to his
feet. Unwilling to sit idle and watch his company go down because
Cameron Stone was an incessant pain in the ass, Brant decided to take
Leaving the other more tedious things in his office behind, he made his
way downstairs to the laboratories. Knocking on one of the doors
that Dr. Michael Winston worked in, he waited patiently until one of
Michael’s lab techs opened the door allowing him access within.
“Mr. Ashford,” the small man smiled at him, “it’s good to see you this
“Is Michael in,” Brant questioned his eyes eagerly roaming around the
“He’s in back, but I’ll go get him,” the man replied scurrying off to
Brant stepped further into the lab surveying the situation that was
taking place before him. He’d hired one of the best research
teams in the country to take on the task of finding the miracle cure to
a rare illness that had plagued a great many in this country. It
had taken years to get to the point where they had in their research
and Brant had to shift things around a bit to get his pet project off
the ground, but once he had, he was hoping that it would prevail.
This wonder drug he had in the works would cure a great many illnesses
that had plagued the world for years starting with the regeneration of
those injuries caused by nerve damage. Those who’d been exposed
to paralysis and other such ailments were now to be given a new breath
of life again--that was if the drug could finally be tweaked to that
phase he’d been hoping would come about over the next year.
“Brant, hey there,” Michael greeted him with a smile.
“Tell me you have something good for me,” Brant pleaded hoping that
today would be the day that his worries about Cameron’s potential ruin
of him would be over.
“I think I might,” Michael motioned for Brant to follow him over to the
microscope, “it’s not much, but I think it’s a step in the right
direction. Take a look.”
Brant obliged leaning forward. He eyes the slide before him for a
long moment before standing up straight once again, “Is this what I
think it is?”
“It’s a tissue sample from one of the experimental subjects,” Michael
explained confidently, “As you can see it’s something that’s
“Yes, but will it be ready to market in time for us to keep Stone Corp
from beating us to the punch?” Brant questioned eagerly.
“I’m hoping so, but I have to admit their mystery researcher is causing
quite a stir in various circles. No one knows anything about this
person that Cameron picked up other than they seem to be leading their
team to try to beat us at each and every punch,” Michael frowned back
“How can that be possible? I mean why would it be that they’ve
centered in on what we’ve been doing,” Brant frowned as well thinking
about how this had been his baby since it’s inception.
“I don’t know, but considering that Stone Corp has taken to a lawsuit
before maybe this isn’t business. Perhaps it’s more personal,”
Michael suggested with a light shrug of his shoulders, “Often those
with an axe to grind think that to do so, they have to strike hard.”
“Contrary to what the rumors have been telling you and everyone else
around here, my father did nothing wrong where Stone Corp was
concerned. Every arrangement that Cameron thinks was there
wasn’t,” Brant defended his company, “The man is making it up and when
the time is right everyone will know that.”
“Let’s just hope that it happens before Stone Corp gets a jump on us
with their project,” Michael added unable to quell his own concerns.
“It won’t happen,” Brant vowed more so to himself as he made it his
mission to discover just who was running the show behind Cameron’s
research team. Perhaps the way to winning this battle was to
discover what the secret weapon that Cameron was hiding was. Yes,
that certainly was the key to ending this once and for all.
Blake sits quietly looking over her mother’s journals. She finally
closes the last one and sighs heavily.
Blake: It's amazing how many times she went back and fourth between my
father and this other man. She'd give one hope, only to dash his hopes
the second the other came along.
She shakes her head sadly.
Blake: Like mother like daughter I guess. It's weird. I didn't realize
what a roller coaster ride I was putting Zack and Seth through until I
read this. I'm glad I did.
She puts down the journal and gets up then slowly walks over to a
mirror. She looks at herself closely.
Blake: Enough is enough! At this point you're going to lose both of
them unless you get your act together!
She grabs her purse and leaves. Soon she arrives at the park and begins
walking slowly around the lake.
Blake: It's so peaceful here.
Soon she finds a shaded tree and sits down under it.
Blake: Perfect place to think.
She leans back and soon the soft summer breeze has lulled her to sleep.
As she sleeps she begins dreaming vividly. First she sees Seth saving
her and comforting her during the earthquake, then it switches to
Zack's repeated rejection. Then she sees Seth being willing to wait
until the right moment to sleep with her, then it switches to Zack
being more then eager to sleep with her as soon as he could. She sees
Seth being there for her and not blaming her for what happened to his
sister, then she sees Zack pushing her away and blaming her for what
happened to Caitlin. Blake suddenly sits straight up wide awake her
Blake: Oh, my God, it's so clear! I know, I know who I want to be with!
She grabs her cell phone and dials Seth's number. Jade answers the
Blake flinches at hearing Jade's voice but steadies herself.
Blake: Is Seth there?
Jade bristles a bit hearing Blake's voice, but stays cool.
Jade: He's on a business trip, but he should be back soon.
Jade hangs up Blake takes a deep breath composing herself.
Blake: Okay, fine. I'll just wait, and when he comes home I'll tell him
what I want and how I feel, and then I'm never going to let him go
She stands up and with great purpose moves off.
Kyle walked through the doors of the office as Sarah smiled seeing him
and she got up greeting him at the doors.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" she wondered as he pulled her into his
"I came to see you," he replied setting his chin on her shoulder.
"And?" she questioned raising an eyebrow.
"Alright I need your help with something," he admitted.
"Oh the mighty Kyle needs my help," she started putting her hands on
her hips, "what can I help you with?"
"I have this key," he took out the key and handed it to her, "I just
can’t find out where it belongs."
"Who gave it too you?"
"Remember how I told you that one guy got shot? Well, he gave that to
me before he died."
"So, basically this is trouble," she sighed.
"Yes, but I really need your help or something bad could happen.
Please?" he asked grabbing her hands in his.
"Alright let me take a look at it." She looked at the key as she
squinted seeing a little marking on the side.
"What’s that?" she questioned as Kyle looked.
"I don’t know," he shrugged putting his hand on his neck.
"Let’s find out," she grasped onto his hand pulling him out the door.
"Where are we going?" he wondered as she dragged him down the street.
"We’re going to find out what this says," she replied opening the door
to a building.
"Hey Sarah, what can I do for you?" asked a girl behind a counter.
"I need to read the print right here," she showed the girl who nodded.
"I will be right back."
"How do you seem to know more people that I do?" Kyle raised and
"I have a nicer approach and look on my face when I am around others,"
she smiled as Kyle rolled his eyes.
"Here look at this," the woman said handing Sarah magnify glass.
Sarah took it in her hands as she smiled, "It’s a locker number."
Kyle looked and nodded, "The question is, where is the locker at?"
"You better be thanking me because I know that answer too," she smiled
pointing to a little print.
"The airport," Kyle nodded.
"Good enough?" she asked handing him the key.
"Very good, thanks. You may not know it, but you just helped me more
than you could imagine," he smiled hugging her.
"Well, I hope it works out," she backed up watching him nod.
"I hope so too. I have to do something okay, but maybe I will come see
you later," he ran his big fingers down her arm.
"Alright," she nodded as he leaned down kissing her quickly.
"Bye," he smiled as she watched him walk out the door.
Sarah knew something was up, but she knew the type of person Kyle was.
He would do his own thing, she would find out later. He was a
mischievous person and she had to let him do his own thing.
A frazzled Blake storms into Brant's office slamming the door behind
her causing Brant to jump.
Brant: Gees, where's the fire?
Blake: I don't have time for that! Ken's out of town and I need
help. You're going to help me or I'm going to tell Ken that you
Brant looks at Blake as if she's lost her mind.
Brant: Why wouldn't I help you?
Blake: Because I know you don't like Seth!
Brant: Well, I'm not exactly high on his list of friends either, but
what does this have to do with him?
Blake: I know who I want to be with! I finally know!
Brant: And if you don't lower the volume the whole world is going to
know you know.
Blake glares at her brother. Brant sighs and leans back in his chair.
Brant: You know, I will always be here for you and always help you. Now
what do you need?
Blake sits down now calmer.
Blake: I want to be with Seth, I love him and only him. I want to build
a life with him.
Brant: So you need my help winning him back.
Blake: No. Seth told me he will always love me, but he doesn't want to
go on with this tug of war with Zack over me. He wants me and will
always want me but only if I make a clear choice, and I have.
Brant: So, what's the problem.
Blake: He's out of town on business and Jade won't tell me when he's
Brant: Can't say I'm surprised.
Blake: But I need to know Brant! I want to be there at the airport when
he arrives home. I want to start our future as soon as he gets off the
Brant: So, you need me to track down his itinerary.
Brant: Okay. You do realize you could've just walked in and asked
without making such a scene.
Blake: Well, I'm more used to having Ken help me.
Brant: I'm still your brother! It's not as if I've never helped you or
been there for you!
Blake: I'm sorry. I guess I'm a little wired.
Brant: Well, I suggest you get a grip or Seth is going to run not walk
the other way.
Blake glares at him and gets up to go.
Brant: I'll have the info you need with in the hour.
Brant: No, problem.
Blake leaves Brant watches her go and shakes his head.
Brant: I'm going to have to ask Annie to start buying decaf coffee for
Grady reentered the cabin that he’d been staying at. Somehow the
chocolate he’d stocked up on didn’t seem to make up for what he’d been
missing out with Jade. Sure, he’d tried to pretend that he could
pull through without her, but that just wasn’t happening. The
hours couldn’t pass by quick enough until they met again. He
wanted this to be over now!
“This is ridiculous,” Grady blurted out to himself wanting nothing more
than to try to stop dwelling on the separation between him and Jade for
the time being. He’d hated the idea of her leaving and more so
he’d wished all of this nightmare could end, but he was well aware that
the battle in Coral Valley was far from over.
Plopping down into one of the chairs with the pastry box in hand, Grady
reached for the television remote ready to lose himself in
something--anything on the television to distract him from the real
issue at hand. He began to flip through the channels hoping to
find something worthwhile, but alas out in this neck of the woods so to
speak reception was anything but great. He had two choices it
seemed--an infomercial on male pattern baldness or a very distorted
image of what appeared to be Days of Our Lives. Frowning, Grady
opted for the infomercial deciding that the last thing he needed was to
be sucked into some ridiculous subplot on a show that made even less
sense than his life did at the moment. Although, he had to admit
that he did happen to think that the character of Billie Reed was
rather easy on the eyes--sexy even now that she stood before him in the
midst of some kind of jungle.
“Looks like it’s you and me tonight Billie,” Grady replied with a light
grin before setting the remote control down on the arm of the chair
beside him. Slowly opening the box, he gazed over the sinful
delight he’d picked up from the small, mystery bakery in the party
store. While this had seemed like a great idea at the time, he
was certain it would still pale in comparison to a night with Jade in
Hearing Billie call out to Bo once again in a desperate plea to get her
old flame to find her Grady shook his head before sinking back into his
chair. His eyes returned to the screen watching the woman before
him in obvious turmoil before him.
“Forget Bo, he’s not going to find you now that he’s with Hope,” Grady
found himself speaking to the screen in a teasing tone as it continued
to dance before him with frantic static, “How about we call it a night
and you can come over her with me? Granted I’m sure you’d much
rather Bo and I’d much rather having Jade around, but maybe we can find
a way to keep one another company for a while. It can be out
Just then the woman’s eyes onscreen seemed to widen in some kind of
unspoken terror before the television went out. Frowning Grady
reached for the remote once again in an attempt to get the picture
back, but it was a futile attempt now that his date for the evening had
“Just as well,” Grady set the remote down in defeat before letting out
a long sigh, “It never would’ve worked for us Billie. I’m too
caught up in loving Jade.”
With that statement Grady set the box aside before opting to take a
walk around the small cabin. Granted he’d seen just about
everything there was to see in the closed in quarters, but perhaps
another look around would provide him with some kind of
entertainment. He stepped into the kitchen ready to take a new
perspective on his surroundings, but instead he opted to make his way
over to the back door of the cabin. Opening it, he stepped out
into the night ready to brave the quiet darkness beyond the walls of
“Now you’re really getting into something,” he shook his head at his
He was ready to just turn back in and go to the television again, but
just before he started to spin around, he heard a sound from just
beyond where he was standing. Turning towards the source of the
sound, he headed further towards the woods beyond the cabin.
There was something compelling about the noise that had drawn him
in. It was as if there was a voice, a beautiful melody calling
out to him, urging him nearer to something. The question was what
would be at the end of this mysterious road?
Grady carefully maneuvered his way through the trees beyond the cabin,
feeling the darkness surround him with each breath he took. He
could feel the vapor escaping from his lips in a pool of mist.
The night was thick with humidity, ragged in the warmth that surrounded
him and yet he found himself more curious than ever to hear just where
the sound had originated from. Had there been someone else out
there? Someone who had been attempting to escape the same
solitude he’d found himself in? He had to know.
Taking a few more steps forward Grady entered a clearing. It was
as if the trees had parted just for this place--for this hidden jewel
that was now revealed to him. Just as soon as the trees had
ended, the water began and Grady found himself down by the lake.
The moonlight glistening upon the water, sending it’s reflection over
the warmth that surrounded him. It was a picture perfect moment
and yet there was something else that had captured Grady’s
A movement rose up from no more than a hundred feet away from him and
in that instant Grady watched a woman swim to the surface.
Seconds later she ascended onto the beach from the water’s edge, her
dark hair surrounding her bare shoulders as Grady’s eyes involuntarily
drifted over the smooth line of her spine. Her skin was radiant
beneath the moonlight, her body reflecting it’s perfect luster for his
eyes only. Suddenly when Grady realized that she hadn’t been
wearing anything, he felt like a voyeur.
Taking a step back into the shadows of the night, he contemplated
turning away, but he was mesmerized, completely drawn in by the beauty
before him now that she was cloaked in the mist that had risen from the
surrounding water. He held his breath hoping that he wouldn’t
give himself away as she ran her fingers through her damp, darkened
tresses. The lines of her body were hugged by the moonlight,
surrounded in the perfect glow the night had provided her with.
Whomever she was, she hadn’t a care in the world about diving into the
lake in the buff. In fact it appeared that the swim had done
enough to revitalize her as she bent over reaching for something that
lay out on the beach before her.
Feeling suddenly guilty for invading this woman’s privacy, Grady took a
step back. He could feel his heart pounding wildly in his chest,
guilt eating away at the pit of his stomach as his thoughts lingered to
Jade. He wanted to turn back, to pretend that he hadn’t stepped
into this uncomfortable situation, but something in his gut told him to
take another look. It wasn’t cheating on Jade if he was merely
making an observation and given the cabin fever he’d felt setting in
upon him, he was certain he was hallucinating. Honestly, how many
times did naked women cross his path…well at least unintentionally that
was, he thought to himself.
Making a slow movement forward again, he found the woman close to where
she’d been seconds earlier. She’d made no attempt to walk away or
to hide herself from the night. She merely stood on the edge of
the beach as if contemplating her next move. Her hair moved with
the simple shrug of her shoulders before she spun around in Grady’s
direction. Suddenly floored by what he saw before him, his eyes
greedily drank up the lines of her body, feeling a distinct moment of
warning upon him. He had no business gawking at this naked woman
especially not when he was happily in love with Jade. He
should’ve turned around--should’ve walked away and never looked back,
but as his gaze drifted up over her sensual curves, he found himself
immobilized in the moment. However regardless of how beautiful
her body appeared to be, it was her face that had rendered him
speechless. He blinked once--twice--three times unable to believe
what he was seeing when suddenly he felt delirium setting in.
“Avery,” he gasped in surprise suddenly feeling a shudder rush upon
him. Turning away so fast he almost lost his footing in the
movement, Grady closed his eyes willing the hallucination away now that
he realized he’d conjured up a naked vision of his sister-in-law.
It was bad enough that he was stuck out in this madness without Jade,
but to now be having some sick and twisted fantasy of Avery was enough
to do him in. Bringing his hands up to his head, he groaned
inwardly silently cursing at himself.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he repeated like a mantra to his subconscious
wondering how in the hell his missing Jade had caused him to drift to
inappropriate thoughts about Avery. He hadn’t had thoughts like
that about her in…well, it just wasn’t happening. That’s all
there was to it. They ended right now, he decided standing up
straighter ready to face his subconscious and the torture it had
inflicted upon him. He drew in a long, slow breath hoping to calm
his overworked nerves.
He heard the soft sounds of splashing behind him before he finally
forced himself to turn around once again. He had to prove to
himself that he was stronger than his twisted sense of logic--or
whatever the hell else it was that took him out to this place.
Slowly his eyes fixed on the spot where she’d been standing, but only a
ripple of the water remained where the vision had been.
“Thank God,” he let out a breath of relief turning his attention to the
small island just beyond where he was standing. He thought back
to his conversation with Sid, remembering how Sid had insisted the
island was haunted. Grady had been a skeptic at first, but now
that he’d had a vision of Avery naked and right before him, he was
convinced that only something cursed would bring him that kind of
hallucination. With that thought in mind, Grady spun on his heel
making quick time back to the cabin in the hopes of forgetting what his
eyes had tricked him into imagining all the while completely unaware of
the fact that the ripple of waves in the water continued with each
movement the woman made in her swim back to Adams island.
Russell took in a slow breath trying to refrain from allowing his
worries to come to the surface about things where this mystery woman
was concerned. He and Kyle had worked out an arrangement, but
even that was up in the air. It was seemingly a race against the
clock to uncover what was going on behind closed doors, but he was
bound and determined to do it. Reaching for the envelope he’d
been given he started to go through it once again only to be stopped by
the sound of footsteps from behind him.
“There you are,” Avery’s voice beckoned him from the archway leading to
his study. Quickly shuffling with the envelope, he pushed it into
his top desk drawer before spinning around to face her once
again. Watching the way in which she stood before him, her hair
framing her face in a soft, wild display of chestnut, he couldn’t help
but smile. She never looked more beautiful than she did in that
moment standing before him, leaning into the archway with obvious
curiosity. He watched her step forward, making her way closer to
him and it was then that he realized all the reasons why he and Kyle
had to discover what was happening outside of the love he and Avery had
found with one another.
“You’ve been so distracted all day,” Avery continued, keeping her dark
eyes upon him, “I wasn’t going to say anything in front of Jade because
I know she’s worried enough, but what’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on,” he lied feeling that same awful feeling that
deceit had awakened in him recently. Reaching out to pull her
into his arms, he placed a tender kiss on her forehead.
“Russ, don’t tell me that,” Avery tried to argue with him.
Tilting her head up to gaze into his intense green eyes, she could
sense something brewing behind his silence.
“I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately,” he offered up in confession,
“but I promise you that as soon as we leave Coral Valley, I won’t be so
caught up in all of it.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being caught up in confusion, but please
don’t shut me out,” she urged of him, curling her arms tighter around
his waist, “That’s not what is best for either one of us.”
“I know,” he nodded in confession, “Believe me with all of my heart it
kills me not to be able to explain everything to you, but I just can’t
find the right words…”
“It wasn’t ever like that before,” Avery frowned thinking about the
obvious wall between them, “Russ, why can’t you let me in?”
“Avery, nothing is going on other than I’m trying to do what’s best for
us,” his words fell upon her. He hugged her closer to him
thinking about all they’d fought for in their lives with one another,
“Avery, I love you so very much.”
“I love you too,” she confessed turning her eyes up towards his once
again, “but I have this feeling that this is only the beginning--that
something is ahead for us…something that could be just awful…”
“Don’t think like that,” he silenced her words with a kiss, “Don’t ever
say something like that again.”
“Russ, we can’t ignore the obvious that Cameron’s out to get our
family--that Bruce is on the loose and that…” she stopped herself
thinking about the kiss Brant had laid on her in her office.
“That what,” he questioned taking note of her immediate silence.
“That all I want to think about is what we have together--about our
baby and our future,” Avery insisted dismissing her thoughts of Brant,
“and if there’s something that’s getting in the way of that…”
“Nothing’s getting in the way of that,” Russ assured her with a soft
smile. He squeezed her in closer to him, unwilling to allow a
distance between them, “Avery, you and our baby mean the world to me
and I’d do anything to keep us as happy as we are right now.”
“So would I,” she tipped up on her toes to kiss him tenderly, “if we
ever lost this…”
“We won’t,” he promised pulling her up off of the ground and into his
arms. Squeezing her in his arms, he devoured her lips in a
desperate, needy kiss. As they parted, he watched her lip part in
breathless wonder before he glanced over her shoulder at the open
doorway. “Where did you say Jade was?”
“In bed,” Avery replied watching the mischievous expression cross over
his handsome features, “don’t tell me that you’re thinking that…”
“We should have a nice, romantic evening under the stars?” he wiggled
his brow before a smile tickled over his lips, “Actually, I think
that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.”
“Do you think it’s such a good idea with Jade sleeping in the guest
bedroom and Kyle popping in and out as he pleases?” Avery questioned
with an air of skepticism.
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he shook his head in response
urging her more completely into his arms, “I think it’s a great
idea. I’ll set the tent up out back and…”
“You’re absolutely insane. You do realize that, don’t you,” Avery
threw out a pointed look.
“Yes I very well may be, but you have to admit insanity suits me,” he
winked at her hating to let go of her, but eager to set up their
accommodations for the evening.
“It is incredibly sexy,” Avery offered up feeling a heat rise up over
her features before a thought occurred to her, “though you might want
to leave Kyle a note just in case--”
“Just in case what,” he questioned in confusion.
“In case we get any unwanted visitors,” she replied thinking about
those working against them to sabotage their happiness.
“Good point,” Russ frowned as reality set in. “On second thought,
how do you feel about an evening underneath the stars from inside the
sunroom out back?”
“It sounds like an incredible idea,” Avery decided throwing her arms
around him, “and much less work since you have the foldout back there.”
“In that case, the sunroom it is,” he mused with a smile hoisting her
into his arms, “Destiny awaits us.”
“Then what are you waiting for,” she teased giving him another tender
kiss ready to spend this last evening in Coral Valley before their trip
with one another enjoying the simple pleasures that their life together
had blessed them with.