Episode 139

Kyle leaned against the wall waiting, he grabbed his arm in agony feeling the pain spread up his arm. A hand tapped on his shoulder lightly as he came face to face with someone.

"Oh my god Kyle, what happened…are you okay?"

"I’m alright," he nodded, "but that’s not why I called you over here."

"Well what’s wrong?"

"There was a bombing at the airport today," he started swallowing the lump in his throat.

"Is everyone okay?"  she gasped.

"Listen I have to tell you something Sarah," he looked down afraid to look into her eyes.

"What is it?" she wondered touching his arm lightly.

"Well," he started solemnly as he felt the lump in his throat grow bigger and his mouth became dry, "It’s Heather."

"What about Heather?" she asked raising an eyebrow.

“I called you because,” he paused dreading to be the one to have to do this.

“Because what…” Sarah questioned in a panic suddenly feeling an uncanny, unsettling feeling take over her, "Where is she?"

"She was at the airport when it happened," he grabbed onto her hand lightly.

"Oh my god Kyle, is she alright?" she began to worry despite the circumstances between her and Heather.

"I don’t know, the only thing I heard…is she was going into the emergency room," he sighed as she started to walk down the hallway and he pulled her back to him.

"I have to find her, I have to know if she is okay," she said with worry in her voice.

"I know…just if something is wrong I want you to know, I will always be here for you," he almost said in a whisper running his hand along her face lightly.

"I know," she nodded with the slightest sight of tears behind her eyes, "I have to go find her."

Kyle sighed watching her walk down the hallway. Everything just seemed to have gone bad, and it was most likely going to stay that way for a long time. He didn’t even know how Russell and Avery were, if they were okay.  He thought to himself for a minute…he had to be with her, just in case something happened. He had to be there for her…for Heather. He looked down the hallway and didn’t see Sarah. He quickly started walking down the hallway to find her. He looked down each hallway seeing a tiny glimpse of her walking down it and he followed her knowing that despite his promising to be there, Sarah would still go it alone.  Deep down he knew that she would have to face Heather Gibbons alone if she was ever to find any kind of peace or understanding in her life. 


Diego inhaled a slow breath thinking about what was just beyond the doors.  While he’d hated the thought of leaving Heather’s son, the nurse with him had assured Diego that the baby would be alright.  However while Diego had been hesitant to leave, he’d been even more reluctant to face what lay before him.  The last time he’d seen Heather, he’d been so very disappointed by the way that Cameron had been able to blackmail her--now however he wondered what he would face.  Her doctors hadn’t been very optimistic during surgery, but now, well now Diego knew that Heather would have a rough road ahead of her if she pulled through the night.
Pushing the door open ever so slightly, Diego made his way into the room feeling his breath catch in the back of his throat.  He’d been horrified by the thought of what he’d encounter, but now before him with Heather in bandages, his heart sank.  Her otherwise flawless complexion was marred by the reddish tint and the charred flesh that the fire had played upon her.  Her eyes were closed, but one of them was clearly swollen shut.  Had she been awake during these times seeing wouldn’t be an option for her.  That in itself had Diego thinking about all the things he’d remembered about Heather.  Approaching her his heart sank.
“Oh Heather,” he extended his hand out to her wanting to hold her--to take this pain away from her, but instead he held back knowing that burn victims were prone to infection.  He took a seat beside her bed noticing how fragile she appeared to be laying before him.  Both she and her son had a long battle ahead of them and he just prayed that they made it to survive the disaster that had overtaken Coral Valley.
“Hey beautiful,” Diego spoke in a soft, calming tone despite the way his heart was in flip flops.  Offering up a weak smile, he continued to speak with her just needing to be close to her at a time like this, “I was just with your baby boy and I have to tell you Heather, he’s amazing.  He’s by far the most incredible thing I’ve ever encountered in my life.  Yes, he might be little, but I can see so much of a fighter in him--just like the one I see in you.  I know that right now you might be hurting, but I came here to tell you that you can’t give up.”
Diego watched her remain still as his own eyes filled with tears.  Leaning in closer to her, he spoke up in a pained tone, “I know how Cameron has hurt you--how he’d made you fear reclaiming your life again, but I swear to you Heather that when you make it through this I’ll do everything in my power to help you and your son.  I won’t let him take you away like he did with Maria.  I won’t let him rip your happiness away from you.  Whatever he said to make you lie before--it doesn’t matter.  It’s not important because I swear to you from this moment on I’m going to find a way to keep him from hurting you ever again.  You deserve more out of life than what Cameron has given you and we’ll find a way to break you out of that.  We’ll be there for your son together…” he finally brushed his fingers against the top of her hand in the faintest of movements before a single tear slipped down his face while he felt the pain of the past intermix with that of the moment.  Suddenly all he could think about was taking down the man who‘d ruined so many lives.  Sure, maybe Cameron wasn‘t behind the bombing, but sooner or later Diego would find a way to make Cameron pay for all the other sins he‘d inflicted upon the world around him.  Diego would save Heather.  He would find a way to protect her and her son and as he thought of the future he realized that somehow he would find a way make things right.


Brant stands stiffly unsure of what is going to happen next as he looks at his clearly tormented and pain filled brother. Susan looks at him a little unsettled by his appearance. Both start speaking simultaneously.

Susan: Ken, sweetie, I'm so glad you're all right!

Brant: Ken, I'm so sorry about Caitlin.

Ken's rage blows.

Ken: The hell you are!

With that he lunges for his brother and slugs him with all his strength. Then stands there over Brant menacingly as hot tears of rage and pain sting at his eyes.


Brant tries to get up hurt that his brother would think such a thing.


Ken's pain continues to drive him as he angrily pushes Ken down.


Brant practically shoves Ken back his own emotions now mounting.


Ken points accusingly at Susan while he stares angrily at his brother.


Brant practically spits out his answer shaking with emotion.

Brant: I was trying to get rid of her!

Susan who's been watching this unfold tries to reach out to Ken and places her hand on his arm.

Susan: I was so worried about you.

Ken whirls on her practically pushing her away.


With tears nearly freely streaming down his face he looks back at Brant.


Just then Ken feels a strong hand come down on his shoulder. He turns and finds himself face to with a very concerned looking Richard.

Richard: Calm down son, they aren't worth it.

Stepping now in-between Ken and the other two he addresses them firmly.

Richard: If either of you have an ounce of human decency in you, or at least know what's good for you then I suggest you remove yourselves from Ken's presence and preferably the hospital as well.

Susan folds her arms insulted.

Susan: This is a public place!

Richard gets in her face.

Richard: Yeah but you're not supposed to show an ass hole in public.

Susan slaps him and walks off in a huff.

Brant reaches out to his brother tears of hurt and pain now in his own eyes.

Brant: Oh, God, Ken you have to believe me...


Richard looks Brant up and down and seeing an honest hurt and concern in him addresses him much kinder then usual.

Richard: Brant, now isn't the time. You can talk to Ken later. Right now I think it's best though if you just leave him alone. Go check on your sister.

Richard turns now back to Ken who is simply standing there crying. He puts a gently hand on his arm and looks at the man he loves as a son with total compassion.

Richard: Let's go talk.

Ken allows Richard to steer him away and they move off with Richard's arm now firmly around Ken's trembling shoulders. Brant stands there looking after them with a mixture of shock and pain.


Guy approached Gabe not knowing what to say as the man he loved lay before him in obvious agony.  The cast on Gabe’s left leg indicated that he’d broken it, but more so Guy wasn’t prepared for the burns that covered most of his lover’s body.  Immediately he sank down beside him reaching for his hand.
“Gabe, I’m here.  Can you hear me,” Guy pleaded with him holding his hand as if he’d never let go.  Unable to contain the tears that consumed him, Guy placed a tender kiss upon his lover’s hand not caring about anything else, but the safety of man before him.
“Guy,” Gabe muttered under his breath in a pained tone.  Ever so slowly, Gabe’s eyes fluttered open.  He turned his head to the side seeing Guy beside him and a small smile spread over his features, “Thank God you‘re okay…”
“That I’m okay,” Guy blinked back in surprise shaking his head at his lover, “Gabe, you were the one in the middle of a horrible tragedy.  Why on Earth would I be the one that had something wrong?”
“When I called you before and you didn’t answer,” Gabe inhaled slowly realizing that it hurt to breathe.  The doctors had informed him that he’d cracked a couple of ribs in the accident, but nothing had prepared him for the lump of emotion that overcame him when he saw the man he loved beside him.  He let out a small cough, “I was afraid that you were going to try to come to the airport--that…”
“I wish I’d been there to take the call.  I would’ve tried to stop you--to keep you from,” Guy commented unable to refrain from showing the worry that had overtaken him from the moment he’d received the call, “I’m just lucky that you’re okay.  When Jade called and told me you were here…”
“Someone pulled me out of the wreckage,” Gabe squeezed Guy’s hand weakly, “They put their life on the line for me and while I never imagined this happening…”
“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” Guy held his hand supportively, “I’m here and I’m not going to let anything else happen to you again.  I just wish that you would’ve waited before you decided to leave…”
“In retrospect I’m glad that I didn’t.  If you would’ve been there and I would’ve lost you, that would’ve been the end of me,” Gabe admitted tearfully before panic overtook him, “When I think about everything that transpired…even now…I know I need to take care of things.  I need to call Noelle and let her know what happened.  Brittany is expecting me and I can’t let her think that I don’t love her--that I don’t want to be there for her when she needs me…”
“Gabe you need to slow down,” Guy reached out to prevent Gabe from jumping out of bed when his body was obviously ready to start taking on that purpose.  “You need to think about healing and…”
“I can’t let Brittany think that I’m choosing to ignore the fact that she needs me.  That’s why I left in such a haste and…” Gabe began thinking of the threats that Marc had issued.  While Marc had tried to feign an air of concern, Gabe knew better.  He couldn’t afford to have his daughter exposed to whatever Marc had planned.
“I’ll call,” Guy offered in response, “I’ll talk to Noelle and I’ll get Brittany on the phone so you can explain…”
“Guy I can’t ask you to do that considering…” Gabe started to cough, the excitement getting to be too much for him.
“You didn’t ask.  I offered,” Guy reached out to bring his fingers through Gabe’s hair gingerly, “and besides I want to.  I love you and in loving you I want to make things as easy as possible for you right now.  I know Noelle won’t be too happy to hear from me, but truth be told I don’t care.  I know how much you love Brittany and I’ll do whatever you need me to in order for you to be able to explain things to her.  Anything at all…you just have to ask and I’ll do it.”
“Guy, I love you” Gabe couldn’t help but smile finding himself at a loss for words. 

“Just rest,“ Guy urged him on with a soft smile of his own, “You need it and just know that I’m not leaving your side--not now or ever.  I love you too.”

Gabe watched him for a long moment wondering how he’d gotten so very lucky to have a man like Guy in his life.  Instead of saying anything, he just held Guy’s hand while thanking the heavens above that he hadn’t lost everything after the bombing.  Yes, there were still so many things to say--so many things to do, but for now he lost himself to the comfort his lover’s touch had provided him with.  Maybe just maybe there would be a way to come out on top of things after all.


Hunt sat in his car looking up at the hospital with conflicted emotions.  Granted Brooke had told him to just leave, but could he really leave it at that considering that he’d wanted to be with her right now more than anything?  Her family was in turmoil and if her husband was as horrible as he’d heard, right now that was the last thing she’d needed to deal with.  Of course he could’ve just gone back to the hotel and waited for her to call like she’d instructed, but somehow that just didn’t feel right.  He couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.  That wasn’t at all who he was.  If he pretended that he was happy in that situation he was only fooling himself.
“I’m sorry Brooke, but I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care,” Hunt declared stepping out of his car and making his way into the hospital.  While he knew full well this was against his lover’s wishes at this point he knew he was doing the right thing.  Heading straight to the elevators, he found himself armed with a new mission in life now that he’d made up his mind.  There would be no more secrecy--no more lies keeping them from sharing the truth about what would be between them.  If they were to have a real relationship then they had to do it right from the start.  Okay, so maybe it was a little late for starting from the beginning, but hey he was still going to try to make up for the mistakes of the past.
“This is for the best Brooke,” he mouthed to himself stepping off of the elevator and making his way down the hallway. 
Now that he thought of it, he realized he didn’t have the first clue where he was going.  Yes, he’d decided to follow Brooke, but to follow her to where exactly?  That did seem to be the question of the hour he realized discovering that in his haste he hadn’t taken the time to figure out just where Brooke’s daughter would be in the hospital.  He knew her name was Avery…at least he thought he knew that much. 
Realizing that he was suddenly out of place, Hunt glanced around the busy hospital catching the aftershocks of bombing.  He could see the pain and suffering surrounding him and suddenly he felt his stomach tighten in the moment.  He hadn’t been exposed to this much misery in such a long time.  Not since…he paused trying not to think about that time not so long ago when he’d been caught up in a situation similar to this one.  To that place when things had felt so hopeless.
“No,” he thought to himself shaking his head at the sudden queasiness that had surrounded him.  Taking a step back, he nearly toppled over the person behind him.  Spinning around quickly, he tried to make up for his actions as he reached for her, “I’m so sorry.  Are you alright?  I didn’t mean to…”
“I’m fine,” she replied, her dark eyes rising up to his again as her jaw nearly dropped in surprise upon recognition of his face.  “Hunt?”
“Mindy,” he blurted out immediately forgetting about his intentions with Brooke now that fate had brought him face to face with the one woman in Coral Valley he’d managed to be intrigued and irritated with all at the same time.  Okay so maybe he’d managed to be the one to irritate her, but as her dark and beautiful eyes fell upon his, he wondered if fate was trying to give him a sign about things. 
“What are you doing here,” Mindy questioned trying to regain her bearings after he’d nearly knocked her to the ground.
“I’m here because,” he paused giving her a once over, “Were you in the bombing?  Have you been hurt?”
“No, I’m not hurt,” she shook her head in confession, “but a friend of mine was in the explosion.  I came to see him when…”
“When what?” he questioned watching her silence herself before she stood taller, offering up a huff.
“I just remembered I’m not speaking with you,” Mindy spun on her hell turning away from him only to leave him even more confused than before.  Okay, so yeah maybe he’d managed to piss her off, but at a time like this, he couldn’t believe she’d just walk away from him.
“Mindy wait,” Hunt chased after her, “Don’t you think you could extend a courtesy to me right about now?”
“I’ve extended more than enough courtesies to you Hunt,” she replied with an impatient huff, “and I’m tired of wasting my time on…”
“Wouldn’t you like to hear my side of the story?  Maybe if you see what I have to say…” Hunt pleaded with her suddenly wondering why it was so important to explain himself to Mindy.  Granted he’d thought about her since she’d given him the brush off, but after that Brooke had been so eager to dive into their relationship again.  She’d been so willing to give him some of what he’d wanted--yet right now…
“No I’m not because I can’t take another empty promise from yet another person in my life.  Now if you’ll excuse me,” she began to step away from him.
“Mindy wait,” Hunt urged once again, “If you just give me five minutes, then maybe just maybe you’ll understand…”
“Hunt, I get it.  You weren’t interested and that’s fine because neither am I.  I have other important things going on in my life and…” Mindy began with a frown.
“It’s not that I’m not interested.  It’s just…” he paused reflecting upon what he’d had with Brooke.
“Just what,” she asked impatiently.
“Just that I want to explain.  If you give me five minutes,” he continued hoping that she would just hear him out.  Maybe just maybe finding Mindy was a clue as to what it was he should really be doing with his life.  Maybe he and Brooke were making a mistake after all.  Regardless of what finding Mindy meant, the truth to the matter was that he didn’t want her hating him.  He didn’t want her walking away and most of all, he didn’t want to miss out on what was the most real and honest thing he’d experienced since he’d come into Coral Valley.


“My beautiful little girl,” Brooke mouthed thinking about all her plans for Avery.  While life certainly hadn’t gone at all like Brooke had hoped for, she was certain that this explosion was the key to making things right in the future.  Something had to give and now that she saw her daughter laying before her ready to begin her life anew, Brooke couldn’t help but smile.
Avery shifted beneath her touch, her eyes slowly opening as Avery’s vision blurred slightly.  “Mom…”
“I’m right here baby,” Brooke nodded squeezing her daughter’s hand, “I’m with you.”
“Where’s…where is everyone,” Avery questioned in confusion, “I had the worst nightmare and…”
“And everything is going to be okay baby.  I’m here to help you through this and so is Brant,” Brooke continued in an encouraging tone.
“Brant,” Avery repeated, her eyes widening with the moment.  She nearly sprang up from where she lay, her mind reeling with what she recalled.  Suddenly realizing she was in the hospital room, she felt her heart pounding furiously in her chest, “Oh God.”
“Avery, darling you need to relax,” Brooke tried to coax her into laying back down.
“No, I can’t relax.  I need to find Russ--to make sure that he…” Avery started in a frenzy.
“Avery, he’s dead,” Brooke spat out hastily watching her daughter’s face shift with emotion.
“No, he’s not,” Avery snapped back at her, “My husband isn’t dead.  He’s just missing and when they find him…”
“Avery, they found his body.  They have him down in the morgue and if you don’t believe that then…” Brooke started in an attempt to get her to calm down, “Baby, I’m sorry but it’s over.  He’s gone.”
“No, he isn’t,” Avery shook her head refusing to accept that, “Russ is fine.  Mom we were going on our honeymoon--on our second honeymoon since Bruce ruined the first.  This time we were going to have magic and romance and…”
“And it’s a nice dream sweetheart, but Russell is in a better place,” Brooke reached out to take her hand while she found herself thinking about how much better it would be now that Russell was in that place, “He’ll always be with you in his own way, but not in this lifetime.”
“No, my husband isn’t gone.  He’s not…he can’t be,” Avery shook her head violently before her gaze lingered over to the nightstand beside her.  Opening up the top drawer, she reached for Russell’s ring bringing it down over her thumb.  She closed her eyes feeling the coolness of it against her heated skin while she bit back tears, “He didn’t leave me.  He’s not gone.  Russ would never do that.”
“Avery, I know it’s hard to accept, but there was a horrible disaster that you both were in and…” Brooke started hoping to get Avery to listen to reason.
“He’s not gone.  He loves me and I love him.  Our daughter needs him.  I need him and I can’t do this without him,” Avery continued finally breaking into full blown tears.  While her words continued to speak of her husband’s still being alive, the fear began to creep in over her logic causing her to break apart at the seams.  “Russ can’t leave us now…”
“Things like this aren’t intentional.  They happen and we have to roll with the punches,” Brooke reached out to embrace her feeling Avery fall apart while she held her.  Avery’s soft shudders transformed into full blown trembles while her sobs intensified.
“But why…why now?” Avery sobbed, “We waited so very long to have something wonderful between us and now, well how could this be?  How could he leave me when we have everything ahead of us?  We have our baby girl--our lifetime of happiness…we didn’t have that before, but now…”
“No one has answers for why things go down as they do Avery, but you have to believe me when I tell you that this is all for the best,” Brooke spoke up in a soothing tone, but her words hit Avery like a ton of bricks.  Avery pushed back out of her mother’s embrace, her eyes full of fury.
“How the hell could you say something like that,” Avery shouted in response, “How can you say that losing my husband is something that is for the best?  That the man I love dying is for the best?”
“Avery, I didn’t mean to imply,” Brooke began to backpedal watching Avery’s rising anger right before her eyes.
“I love him.  I’ve always loved him and even though you hated him…” Avery sneered back at her, unable to keep her voice down while her emotions raged through her.
“I didn’t hate him, but I always thought you could do better sweetheart.  You were made for so much more and…” Brooke offered up thinking about her plans for Avery.
“And nothing.  Russ is my soul mate.  He’s the only man for me and I love him.  You’ve always treated him like he was nothing--that he wasn’t good enough for you or for me, but the truth to the matter is that he was better than I deserved.  He is the only man who has ever truly mattered in my life and for you to sit here and talk like that about him…”
“Avery, the man was useless.  I’m sure that he flattered you with beautiful words and promises of a happily ever after, but it wouldn’t have lasted.  Sooner or later he would’ve turned away from you and the baby.  He would’ve left you high and dry while he pursued his own restless yearnings and then you would’ve had nothing,” Brooke continued unable to contain her animosity towards the man her daughter had chosen to spend her life with, “As far as I’m concerned it’s a good thing that fate stepped in and prevented that from happening.”
“You bitch,” Avery lunged at her mother not giving a damn about consequence.  Hearing her mother’s words only sent her over the edge and on the attack now that she’d felt as if a huge chunk of her heart had been ripped away from her.
“Avery,” Brant gasped in horror watching Avery attempt to jump Brooke.  He leapt forward claiming her in his arms while she writhed and kicked and screamed out in a rage.
“Let go of me!!  Brant, put me down,” Avery’s tears continued harder than before while she kicked against him in an attempt to break free, “I hate her!  I hate her!!!”
“She’s gone mad,” Brooke placed her hand over her chest feigning surprise while she rose up from where she’d been seated.  “One moment I was comforting her and then the next…”
“You liar!” Avery threw out at her in an accusatory tone, “You wanted this to happen.  You wanted Russ dead and now you got your wish!  You wouldn’t ever be happy with what made me happy because it was never enough for you!”
“Avery, that’s not true at all,” Brooke lied glancing over at Brant, “It simply isn’t.”
“Don’t try to fool him Brooke because anyone with eyes know how you truly feel.  You’re gloating about this and loving that Russ is dead.  You’re getting off on the fact that my life is over--that my marriage and my future was ripped away from me,” Avery lashed out at her before tears of rage and frustration poured out of her.  She continued to fight against Brant’s hold upon her until she felt her strength slipping away.  Melting in against him, her tears overtook her.  Brant shifted her in his arms, turning her into his chest as he threw out an apologetic expression in Brooke’s general direction. 
“It’s going to be okay Avery,” Brant tried to console her feeling her fall to pieces against him.  He thought about what he’d just witnessed with his brother and in that moment he felt as if the two people who’d meant the most in this world to him were both going to lose complete control.  He’d seen what losing Caitlin had done to Ken and now that Avery was facing the reality of what it meant to be without Russell, he feared for what would happen to her and the baby.  She needed to calm down--to try to relax and…
“It’s never going to be okay again Brant.  Things will never be okay without him,” Avery cried harder than before, her hot tears burning into his chest while she trembled against him.
“Yes it will,” Brant spoke up in a soothing voice keeping his arms around her tightly, “We’ll find a way to make it okay.”
“Without Russ it’ll never be okay,” she continued lost in her own world of misery.  Nothing would ever change what she was feeling--never take away from the pain that surrounded her, “Why is this happening…why can’t I wake up from this nightmare…”
“I wish that you could,” Brant replied tightly, a lump forming in his throat as his heart was breaking for her.  While he’d wanted to be with her, he never wanted this--never wanted for her to be in such pain.  He glanced over at Brooke once again seeing her standing in silence before them.
“I didn’t say those things,” Brooke finally piped in again as if having to have her say on things.
“You liar!” Avery squealed at her behind her tears of rage.  “You wanted this.  You wanted me to be without Russ.  You’re glad that he’s dead!”
“No, I’m not,” Brooke started to explain.  She took a step forward only to watch Avery turn away from her while burying her head in Brant’s chest.
“Make her leave Brant,” Avery pleaded with him clenching the material of his shirt between her fingers, “Just get her out of here.  I don’t want to see her!”
“Baby,” Brooke extended her fingers out towards Avery only to watch Brant circle Avery away from Brooke.
“You heard what she said Brooke,” Brant replied, his jaw clenched in the moment as a great many emotions were overtaking him.  “I think it’s best that you go.”
“But…” Brooke started again hating to be pushed away when now was the time she needed to make her move on things.  If she’d only been silent a short while longer--if only she had…no, now was most certainly not the time for that, she realized.  Standing up taller, she drew in a slow breath, “Alright I’ll go, but please keep me updated.”
Brant nodded in silence watching Brooke’s retreat before he tipped his head down to look at Avery.  Feeling her shaking like a leaf in his arms, he squeezed her closer to him wishing that somehow the police were wrong--that somehow Russell Denton was alive and would return to the woman who loved him so very much.  Sure Brant wanted Avery, but more than that he wanted for her to be happy and if it was in his power he’d give anything right now to make that happen.

“So what about Russ and Avery,” Seth questioned taking a slow breath, while his sister remained at his side, “How are they doing right about now?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Jade confessed bringing her fingers up through her dark hair.  “When Kyle and I got here, I was just concerned with finding you.  Someone mentioned that you were brought in and…”
“I know,” Seth reached for her hand supportively before offering up a sheepish grin, “and it’s good to know you still need me around.  I was starting to think that Grady had replaced me there on that.”
“Oh you moron, you know I’ll always need you,” she shook her head at him unable to suppress the smile that spilt over her lips.  “Although there is something to be said about Grady considering…”
“Yeah, I know.  He’s the love of your life and you couldn’t be happier,” Seth shook his head at her thinking about his sister’s quest to find happiness with Grady, “I just hope that it’s all you dreamt for it to be.”
“I know that things are difficult right now, but when he’s cleared, well, that’s when we can really begin our lives together,” Jade paused contemplating her words.  She inhaled slowly before speaking once again, “Seth, there’s something I should tell you.”
“Uh oh, this sounds serious,” he watched her features shift with emotion.
“It kind of is,” Jade admitted with a sigh, “the truth to the matter is that--well, I wanted to keep this a secret, but…”
“But what,” he arched a curious brow.
“But Grady asked me to marry him while we were away and I said yes,” Jade blurted out bracing herself for her brother’s reaction.
“He did, now did he,” Seth nodded taking it all in before cracking a grin, “well in that case I think congratulations are in order.”
“Oh Seth,” Jade reached out to embrace him, throwing her arms around his shoulders only to get a wince out of him.  “Oh sorry…”
“Hey it’s okay,” Seth squeezed her in his arms thinking about how long his sister had wanted something like this to happen in her life.  She’d been so hurt in the past, but now Grady was providing her with a future--with a chance of happily ever after--that was if Cameron didn’t find a way to step in and destroy that.  “Though you know I have to say I’m glad you finally decided to tell me here.  How long have you two been…”
“Not too long, but I figured with all else you had on your mind that I wasn’t going to put that on you considering,” Jade began to defend her actions.
“Considering that seeing my sister happy is always a plus for me,” Seth threw out a pointed look, “Jade, you should know by now that is really all I’ve ever wanted for you.  Given how unlucky in love we’ve been in the past after everything we’ve been through, well it’s about time that one of us comes out of the darkness that’s surrounded them.  I just hope Grady treats you right.”
“He does,” she insisted with a nod, her eyes lighting up at the thought of her fiancé, “He’s everything to me Seth and when I’m with him, I feel as if everything in my life is finally coming together.  It’s as if the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders and I can be me.  I don’t have to hide from my past or life in the shadows fearing the world around me.  Grady makes me feel beautiful--alive even.  It’s everything I’ve ever dreamt about.”
“Then who am I to argue with that.  You deserve to be happy Jade,” Seth embraced her thinking about his sister.  How he hoped that everything would turn out the way she’d wanted it.  She’d endured far too much suffering to have to experience pain like that ever again.
“I’m hoping I’m not the only one to find that kind of happiness Seth,” Jade pulled away from him, her eyes a mask of sudden seriousness.
“Jade, listen I…” Seth started to object.
“Seth, I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  You deserve so much more out of life than you’ve been given.  I know how happy you were with Blake before…” Jade started only to have him silence her.
“It’s not important anymore Jade,” Seth sighed heavily, feeling an ache in his heart at the very mention of the woman he loved with all his heart, “It’s in the past and she’s moved on.  She’s better off without me.”
“Says who,” another voice rose through the room causing Jade to sit upright.  Slowly, she spun around to find Blake standing in the doorway, her eyes bloodshot and it was obvious she’d been crying.  Boldly Blake took a step forward, her gaze never straying from Seth, “Did you even think about asking me what was right for me?”
“I think this is my cue to go check in on Russ and Avery,” Jade announced practically leaping up from her spot on her brother’s bed.  She noticed the protest building behind his features, before she leaned in to give him a quick kiss on the cheek, “I’ll be back later and trust me, my leaving is for the best.”
“Jade I,” Seth started watching his sister spin around to leave.  She headed towards the door, pausing for a brief moment before her eyes reconnected with Blake’s.
“I’m warning you now, if you break his heart again,” Jade mouthed under her breath, her face a mask of seriousness while she spoke her warning to Blake, “you’re as good as a goner.”
“I wouldn’t dream of doing that again,” Blake answered in an emotion filled whisper, exchanging glances with Jade for a long moment. 
After a few seconds Jade stepped aside clearly satisfied with Blake’s answer before leaving the room.  Finally Blake’s attention returned to Seth.  Seeing him laid out in the hospital bed, she felt her heart flutter.  Her pulse began to race and in that moment she reflected upon all that they’d gone through in their relationship with one another.  It was if they’d come full circle, back to the hospital where she’d proclaimed that she was his fiancée.  However this time Seth wasn’t in the coma and she wasn’t a spoiled brat determined to have her way.  This time she came to him, ready to put her heart out on the line as she knew she’d owed him so much more than he’d been given.  She just prayed that she could find a way to make him understand where it was she was coming from at a time like this.  However, she found herself rendered speechless while he eyed her with obvious scrutiny.
“So,” Seth broke the ice clearing his throat uneasily in the moment as if contemplating what to do next.  At last he chose a course of action offering up a simple smile, “how is it that the only time I can capture your full attention is when I’m in these places?  Do you have any idea how much I loathe hospitals?”
“Do you have any idea how much I loathe the idea of you being hurt,” Blake responded with a tearful sniffle.
“Well, I try not to do this, but unfortunately there’s just something about me and trouble,” Seth offered up with another light smile before he sensed something stronger going on behind her sad eyes, “Blake, what is it?  What’s wrong?”
“It’s…” she fought for her words, feeling her heart breaking into pieces at the thought of what she’d lost tonight, “It’s Caitlin.”
“What about Caitlin?” Seth inquired sensing her obvious hesitance.  She took two steps towards him, her tears falling from her face.  In that moment, he could see that something was clearly wrong--that something had horrible had happened.  While there was so much left unsaid between the both of them, he wanted to reach out and embrace her.
“She’s…she’s…” she began in a shaky tone, unable to contain her emotions, “She’s dead.”
“She’s what,” Seth’s eyes widened in shock before the horror of it all fell upon him, “Oh my God Blake.”
“I just can’t believe it,” Blake continued standing still in the spot she’d been in when she told him about Caitlin.  “I mean one minute you think you have all the time in the world with someone you love and then the next…”
“Come here,” Seth offered his arms out to her feeling Blake readily rush into his embrace.  Hugging her close to him, nothing in that moment seemed to matter other than helping her through her pain.
“I just can’t believe that she’s gone.  I can’t believe that fate would be so cruel,” Blake continued to sob hugging Seth as if she’d never let go.  So many things were going through her mind, but none of them could even come close to what it was that had consumed her since she’d found out the horrible news.  “Caitlin had it all.  She and Ken were with one another and so lost in love…they had a future together--a real chance at making it work and now…”
“I’m so sorry Blake,” Seth nodded taking in her words, “Caitlin was a wonderful person and for her to be taken from this world like she was…”
“No one knew it was coming.  One minute she and Ken were coming home ready to begin their lives again and now…” she paused tilting her eyes up towards him.  She noticed the dark concern that was revealed to her from behind his eyes.  Even though they’d wound up on less than speaking terms, he’d embraced her through her pain, no questions asked.  Feeling his supportive arms around her, she struggled to do what her heart had brought her this far to do, “Seth, she had the world ahead of her.  Caitlin had spent so much time running away from the pain in her past, but when she met Ken, her life opened up a new world to her.  She found happiness and joy and while she didn’t have as much time as the rest of the world, she seized the moment and made the most of what she was given.  She loved with all her heart and I know that even though it hurts, my brother will keep that with him…”
“I have no doubt in my mind that he will,” Seth agreed thinking about what he’d witnessed with Ken and Caitlin since he’d met them.
“The point is that Caitlin told me a long time ago that happiness doesn’t come along every day.  I’d asked her once how she could even think about finding someone in her life after what Jimmy had done to her.  Time and time again he’d hurt her in so many ways that no woman should have to face.  She’d been through the worst of the worst and yet when I was feeling down about being unlucky in love, she reminded me that in being afraid to live, you were just letting life pass you by.  In closing yourself off and hiding away from love, you were only giving yourself the greatest disservice of all because you weren’t really following your heart.  You were only half alive when you were too afraid to take a stand.  I didn’t understand it before, but I do now Seth.  I’m not afraid to take a stand for what I believe in anymore--for what I feel in my heart…”
“Blake…” Seth began watching her lip quiver with the moment.
“Seth, please,” she placed her finger over his lips to silence him, “I need to say this--I need to quit stalling because if I don‘t, then I could miss out on something wonderful and I don’t want that to happen.  Time and time again I’ve played it safe.  I’ve hidden behind what everyone wanted me to be--far away from where it was I was meant to be in this world and the truth to the matter is that I was never really living my life until I met you.  You were the last thing I was looking for when that earthquake hit, but when I found you, well I knew you were someone special.  I knew that I couldn’t ever forget you even when I tried to.  With Zack, well there was something special between us and there’s always going to be something there, but Seth the truth to the matter is that Zack is my past.  He’s a man I thought I loved at a time in my life when I didn’t know what real love was.  I thought that he and I had this thing between us…I thought that we could make it work, but I was young and impulsive.  We make great friends, but he’s not the man who made me see life for what it truly is.  He’s not the one that I dream about--the one that I want to share my life with--the one who I want to spend my future with.  Seth, I’ve waited all my life to find my prince charming.  I spent endless hours trying to imagine his face--to think about what it would feel like when he swept me off my feet and saved me from the nightmare that was my life.  Countless times I prayed that the day would come that my white knight--my handsome prince would ride up on his horse and take me away from the castle I’d been locked away in.  It was so ridiculous at the time, yet it had me really believing in romance.  Of course I didn’t know the half of it until you came into my life.  You made me want to challenge myself--to really become a better person and when I fell in love with you, well that was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me.  It was the first time in my life that I was really me.  I didn’t have to pretend to be something I wasn’t and when we were together, it was as if everything was as if it was meant to be.  I didn’t have those dreams about the faceless prince anymore because the true prince in my heart was the man who had stepped into my life.”
“Blake I…” Seth started up again hoping to get a word in as she shook her head at him again, keeping her finger over his lips.
“Seth, please let me do this.  I know that I sure as hell don’t deserve a second chance especially not after what I put you through, but the fact to the matter is that losing Caitlin reminded me of something very important.  Once in a lifetime love doesn’t happen everyday and if you wait for things to happen, then you’re only shortchanging yourself.  If you don’t reach out and grab the happiness that comes your way, then you’ll live your life without ever knowing--without ever feeling and I don’t want that.  I don’t want to go through the motions when all I can think about is sharing my life with you.  I love you Seth Alexander and when I went to that airport to find you it wasn’t because I felt you were my second choice.  I went there seeking you out because as far as I’m concerned you’re the only choice.  You’re the man I want to spend my life with--the one that I want to share my hopes and dreams with and spend forever loving.  Seth, when you told me about the things you wanted for us, I treated you so poorly and if I could take that moment back I would.  I would do whatever was necessary to keep you from ever having to experience the pain I put you through, but I promise if you give me another chance to prove myself I won’t let you down.  I won’t make the same mistake twice…Seth, I need you.  I want you and I hope to God that you want me too.”
“Blake, for you to even ask that…” he finally spoke up watching her rise up from the bed where she sat.
“Seth there’s more,” she explained taking note of his questioning eyes, “There’s a lot more and if you’ll just let me finish.”
“Don’t I get a say in this,” Seth questioned watching her fish around in her pockets for something.
“Not this time,” she shook her head at him before withdrawing a small box, “I know this is really unconventional, but since you’ve gone out of your way to make everything wonderful for me, it’s time that I took the initiative and did something wonderful for you.”
With that, she reached for his hand before moving beside him at the bed.  Reaching out to touch his cheek gently, she brushed her fingers against his bronzed skin, her eyes never straying from his, “Seth, I know this is taking a leap of faith here considering all that I’ve put you through, but I need you to know.  I made my decision and there was really no decision at all to begin with.  You are my heart, the other half of my soul and my one true love.  Without you life just isn’t worth the effort.  Things just aren’t the same without you and I’m taking a tip from my best friend Caitlin in making things happen for me.  I’ve wasted far too much time already here in being childish, but no more.  Seth, I know what I want--I know what I need and it’s a life with you if you’re still willing to give me that,” reaching out for the small box, she opened it to reveal a ring she’d carried with her.  She bought it on a whim when she’d made up her mind, but now, well now she was as sure of her love for him as she was the air she’d breathed.
“Blake is this…” Seth’s eyes widened in confusion and then understanding at what was happening.
“You told me not too long ago that you had dreams about us having a family together--of my being your wife and our living our lives together and I’d like a chance to explore that--to see what it is that you had thought about for us.  If you’re willing to show me what you have in mind, then I can show you what it is that I’ve had in mind for us.  Together, we could have something amazing--that is if you’ll have me,” she gulped feeling her pulse leaping up into her throat, “if you’ll make all of my dreams come true and be my husband Seth.”
“Your husband,” he repeated blinking back at her, “Blake, are you proposing to me?”
“It’s one damn original apology isn’t it,” she couldn’t help but smile while the tears fell freely down her face, “and I’m sure it’s the last thing you expected.”
“Everything you do is the last thing I expect,” Seth admitted shaking his head for a moment, “but you know it’s exactly everything that I love about you…”
“Then does that mean,” Blake began unable to finish her words as Seth pulled her to him, devouring her lips with a growing hunger after having decided that she’d done the talking long enough.  It was it to show Blake Ashford exactly what it was he’d thought about her and her proposal.  As he felt her curling her arms around his shoulders, he decided that this kiss was a very good beginning.


Diane felt J.T.’s lips upon her--knowing full well that he was hoping for history to repeat itself with the two of them, but today wouldn’t be yet another monumental mistake in her life.  Pushing him away from her with a hefty shove, Diane sent him back across her apartment.  Her eyes narrowed with the realization of exactly why he’d come over to see her.  Folding her arms in front of her chest she let out an impatient huff.
“Whatever it is you were seeking out J.T., it’s not happening,” Diane growled at him before placing her hands on her hips, “If you think for one second you can take advantage of the fact that Ben and I had a falling out with one another…”
“A falling out,” J.T. balked back with obvious laughter, “Diane, how long did you think a man like that was going to stay with you?  He can’t truly appreciate all that you are, but I…”
“You what?” Diane threw out at him, “You think you’re just what I need in my life?  Just what can get me going again?”
“I’d like to think I never stopped getting you going,” he admitted, his eyes doing a very hefty perusal of her.  He licked his lips involuntarily before pulling himself up off of the couch, “We had some hot times.”
“The fire burned out long ago,” Diane argued with him, “things were intense and chaotic…much like you live your life J.T.”
“You used to thrive on chaos,” he reminded her with a sardonic smile, “there was a time when you couldn’t get enough of it.”
“Yeah and then I grew up,” she shot back at him icily, “which is more than I can say for you.”
“Oh Diane, you’ve only fooled yourself into believing that you’ve evolved, but the sad truth is that you and I are one in the same.  We’re like two sides of a coin--both craving the same thing out of life and though you like to try to hide the truth about what you are, we’re creatures of habit,” he stepped around her, now circling her with obvious interest despite her uneasiness about the situation, “Sure, we might try to play nice and behave, but when it gets down to it, we’re both bad to the bone darling and there’s no point in hiding it.”
“I’m not hiding anything,” Diane argued with him, “I told you point blank that I love Ben and…”
“And what?  He’s been so very accepting of who you are?” he arched a curious brow, “He’s taken you in and loved you unconditionally?  Tell me if that was really the case, then why isn’t he here with you right now?”
“He’s…I’m…” Diane began a bit flustered by his questioning.  She thought back to Ben walking out on her at the hospital and frowned.  Clenching her fists at her sides, she glared up at J.T.  “Ben loves me.  We’re just having  disagreement at the moment.”
“Because you dared to speak your mind,” he questioned with a knowing expression, “Because you were tired of allowing your sister to ruin your life?”
“How did you…” Diane blinked back in surprise wondering how he could know about what had taken place at the hospital.
“Let’s just say that word gets around quickly in a little town like this,” J.T. shrugged his shoulders before taking a bold step towards her, “Remember how we both spoke about how we’d loathed the idea of being small town?  How we dreamt about running away?”
“That was a lifetime ago J.T.,” she dismissed him, “We were so different back then.”
“But were we really?” he threw back at her, “Diane, I know you inside and out.  I understand why you loathe Deidra--why it hurts so much to be around such a bitch when she’s worked like mad to make your life a nightmare.  I saw what she did to you when you and Andy had a chance to be together…”
“And you thought that was the time to take advantage of the fact that I was hurting,” she huffed, blowing a piece of her hair from her eyes.
“Oh no darling, that was when I gave you my full permission to take advantage of me,” he smiled seductively, “and you did time and time again.  We were both so good at losing all control with one another…”
“I’m not in the mood for this,” Diane hissed at him spinning around to open her apartment door to show him a quick exit.
“Maybe you are in the mood,” J.T. began collecting her in his arms.  He pulled her in back against him with such a sudden movement that Diane’s breath escaped from her lips.  She closed her eyes feeling the heat of his breath down upon the back of her neck.  His hand cupped her hip, moving up and down over the curve of it while his hot words struck down upon her, “Maybe that’s why you’re so adamant about ignoring what’s eating you alive.”
“I want you…” Diane started in a breathless, careless whisper feeling the solid strength of his body behind her.
“Yes love,” J.T. smirked feeling the weight of his power over Diane.  She was finally admitting that she felt it too.
“I want you to leave,” she blurted out scurrying out of his arms and straight over towards the door.  She held it open with a scowl, “Now.”
“Fine, but when you’re ready to admit what we still have with one another,” he stepped towards the door offering up a bright grin, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
“It’ll be a cold day in hell before I go back to that J.T.,” she answered flatly watching him blow her a kiss.
“Never say never,” he finished giving her one last look.  Slamming the door behind him, Diane glanced around her apartment wondering how things could go from so completely perfect to so very wrong in the blink of an eye.  Somehow things were just falling apart around her and there was nothing she could do to stop it.


Brooke exited Avery’s room thinking about her daughter’s violent reaction to her words.  While Brooke knew full well the idea of Russell being gone forever was something she’d spent a long time dreaming about, she realized that she’d have to use a bit more discretion in keeping from allowing that glee to surface.  Yes, she’d spoken in haste, but if she was to ever get the opportunity to rid Avery of that baby she was carrying, then she’d have to try a different approach.  Clearly Brant was already rushing to Avery’s aid and that was a plus, yet Brooke had to make certain that all things were taken care of.  Clutching her purse within her hands, she thought back to the deal she’d made so very long ago with her silent partner.
“I’ll get Brant and Avery together and when I do, then you and I will be full partners,” she’d vowed, thinking about the profits that would be made from her daughter’s union with Brant.
“You’ll have to do better than that Brooke.  For us to truly reap the rewards of the potential they have, then you’re going to have to take it a step further.  You know what has to be done,” he’d told her.
In that moment they’d come up with the ultimate plan to get Brant and Avery together.  Unfortunately Russell Denton had posed a crimp in those plans.  Avery was never meant to reunite with him, much less marry him and even in his death, the fact that Avery was still very pregnant meant that Brooke had no choice but to continue.  Avery having Russell’s baby would never do.  There wasn’t enough time for that to happen, yet if Avery was mourning Russ and the baby…well that might prompt her to seek out comfort in Brant in other more profitable ways.
“Yes, it does seem as though fate has given us something good to work with,” she rubbed her hands together thinking about how wonderful things would be when Brant and Avery were wed.  That would mark the beginning of the plans that had been made--of the goals she had set for herself and nothing would stop that.  Oh sure most grandmothers might feel a bit horrible about ridding themselves of a grandchild, but given that Brooke had a little experience in taking care of the situation once before, she was more than ready to do it again.  After all any child of Russell Denton’s wasn’t meant to be at all…
“Soon, very soon,” she vowed hugging her purse closer to her.  She felt a wicked smile spread over her features as she turned to go down to the hospital cafeteria. 
However, before she made her way into the elevators, she glanced into a room across the way hearing a familiar voice across the way.  Turning her attention towards the source of the sound, she noticed a familiar face in the hospital bed before her.  Taking a step in towards the room, she spotted Gabriel Teague before her.  Finding herself curious to see what had happened, Brooke planted on a quick smile ready to step into the room when she noticed something altogether surprising.  Guy moved in beside Gabe, reaching for his pillow.
“Here, let me help you with that,” Guy began to smile down at him, “You need to rest.”
“You’re too good to me Guy,” Gabe reached for his hand, taking it for a long moment.
“Not nearly good enough,” Guy replied while Brooke watched the exchange suddenly finding herself full of a great many questions.


Kyle paced around the hospital hating this waiting.  While he’d wanted to go with Sarah to see Heather, she’d insisted upon doing this on her own.  The two had a very tortured history with one another, yet it didn’t change how Sarah felt for her.  He knew of the bond that had existed between the two women years ago and even now, when he thought back to their childhood, he couldn’t help but wonder how things had all gone so horrible wrong between them.
“Sarah, I wish you would’ve let me come with you.  This isn’t something that you should be doing without me.  In fact, I‘m coming along anyways,” Kyle mouthed taking a turn around the hallway only to come face to face with Shannon Pryce.
“Well if it isn’t the infamous Kyle Houston,” Shannon noted with a smug expression, “It seems we keep running into one another at the most inopportune moments, now doesn’t it?”
“Look, I don’t have time for this,” Kyle began with a frown thinking about what Sarah must be going through with her sister’s life hanging by a thread.
“Too bad because you’re going to have to make time,” Shannon informed him bluntly, “seeing as I have questions that only you have answers for.”
“It’s going to have to wait.  A friend of mine is…” Kyle started to argue with her, his eyes narrowing down at her.
“Your friend will be fine, but you won’t if you refuse to cooperate,” Shannon warned him sharply, “Now why don’t we start with you telling me what it was you were doing with that bomb right before it went off.  How about this time you give me the truth and nothing but the truth or else this could get very ugly?”
Kyle glanced over her shoulder at the room where Sarah had drifted off to and in that moment he realized there would be no avoiding Shannon or her questions any longer, “Alright,” he sighed, “I’ll tell you everything you need to know starting with what it was that I was doing there by that bomb and how it got there.”


...to be continued...