Episode 142

"Who are you? Her brother now or something," Cameron laughed loudly at the man before him--not to be intimidated by his size.

"No, I’m not," Kyle started pushing Cameron against the wall and put his arm across his neck, "But I suggest you leave right now."

"Calm down big fella," Cameron grinned.

"I’m not going to calm down until you’re out of this room," Kyle stated pushing his arm harder across his neck.

"Well, I guess in that case I should be leaving," Cameron snickered as Kyle set him down and pushed him toward the door.

"Then I would say it’s time for you to leave," Kyle growled as Cameron fixed his shirt.

"Alright I will, but if I were you…I would watch your back," Cameron commented walking out the door.

"You two okay?" Kyle wondered shutting the door.

"Yeah…who are you?" Diego questioned raising his eyebrow.

"That’s Kyle…a close family friend," Sarah stated as Kyle shook Diego’s hand.

"Who was that punk?" Kyle wondered pointing towards the door.

"That was Cameron Stone," Diego sighed.

"I see he gives a lot people trouble here, huh?" Kyle questioned pulling the bottom of his shirt down.

"Yeah," Diego sighed.

"So how is Heather?" Kyle asked as Diego stepped aside and his jaw dropped. "Oh my god, is she going to be okay?"

"We don’t know yet," Sarah shrugged with a fear going in her mind.

Heather moved slowly as her eyes opened slightly, "Sarah."

Sarah watched as Heather closed here eyes again.
Tears started building up in her eyes, "I’m so scared."
Kyle took her in his arms pulling her in close to him. Tears came down her face as Kyle’s hand ran through her hair lightly.

"It’s okay baby, we’ll take care of her. Cameron will never get to her I promise. I will make sure, I will never let anything happen to her," he assured her kissing the top of her head.

"Actually," started Diego rubbing his chin lightly, "There is one more thing to worry about."

"What do you mean?" questioned Kyle as an urge of worry overcame his features.

"Heather had a baby and…well it was born to early," Diego sighed as Sarah looked up.

"What?" Sarah asked raising her eyebrow suddenly finding herself in a whole new situation upon Diego‘s admission.


Stepping off the elevator, Hart found himself in the lobby area wondering what to do next.  While he’d tried to get a level head about the situation that surrounded him, he felt helpless--felt trapped in the moment that had come upon him.  On one level, he knew he belonged at Jenna’s side, supporting her and being there regardless of what Dorothy said, yet he wondered how in the world he’d be able to face her after what Beth had told him.  He had a daughter--a child he’d never been aware of until now.  It all felt so surreal--kind of like he’d just leapt out of the pages of a twisted novel, yet this was no novel.  This was his life and that life had been altered simply by Beth informing him that he was a father.
“A father,” he mouthed to himself recalling the very brief encounter he’d had with Beth’s daughter.  At the time emotions were running high and he hadn’t really given her much of a second thought, but now, well now he tried to remember all the things he’d overlooked during that encounter.  Could it be possible that she was his child?  That he’d had a daughter out there that had never factored into his perception of reality until now?  That thought in itself had him shell-shocked. 
How in the hell could he be a father when only recently he’d learned to grow up?  He’d been one hell of a rebel for so many years until Jenna had stepped into his life.  He’d devoted his days to enjoying the fly by the moment type of situations, but Jenna had changed that.  He’d now found himself wanting to be the kind of man he’d frowned down upon over the years--the kind that had a real chance at happiness and love, but with having a daughter…well, that was another story.  Sure, he had to admit that he had thought about what it would be like to settle down with Jenna and start a family of their own, but never did he imagine having an almost fully grown child out there--with Beth no less!
Closing his eyes Hart thought back to his fling with Beth.  At the time they’d both been very young.  She’d been a bored newlywed and he’d been just the kind of guy to spice up her life.  It had been a wild, reckless and shamefully sexual period in his life where he hadn’t thought about consequence.  He and Beth burned hot and had fun, but that’s where it ended.  She was married, hence someone he could easily end it with before things got too emotional.  She wasn’t looking for anything substantial either as it was one of those things that was fun while it lasted.  After it fizzled, he’d had more than enough of that. 
When Travis Callaway had found them in bed with one another and threatened to blow Hart’s heat off with his nine millimeter glock, that had sealed the deal for Hart.  He’d been there, done that and he’d opted to step out of the situation with his life still in tact.  After that he’d vowed to steer clear of the married women as there were far enough single ladies out there bidding for his time.  Still, he couldn’t help but reflect upon that fateful period in time and wonder why Elizabeth hadn’t said anything to him.  How could she not considering how far off the deep end Travis had to be?
Frowning again Hart realized that perhaps he’d answered his own question with Travis’s clear instability.  Not that Hart could blame the guy for being upset.  He would’ve been furious as well to find his wife in bed with someone else, but then again given how little it appeared that Travis and Beth cared about one another, Hart really hadn’t felt guilty.  Yes, having Travis threaten to blow his head off had put his life in perspective a bit, but he’d just brushed that less than savory memory to the back of his mind never to be revisited again.  Now however, as he stood outside Samantha Callaway’s hospital room looking in, he couldn’t keep that memory buried from his mind.
“You son of a bitch,” he could still hear Travis’s raging voice in his mind, “How the hell could you to this?  Beth, how could you bring him into our lives?”
“Travis please,” Beth had begged of him, reaching out desperately from across the bed in an attempt to keep her husband from helping put Hart into a premature burial there.  The situation had been painstaking and in her own way Beth had managed to save Hart’s life.
But did that make up for what she hadn’t told him, Hart pondered watching the exchange between Travis and Samantha from the window before him.  The two were clearly engaged in some kind of father/daughter conversation.  With Beth at the other side of the bed, it clearly felt like a family moment in the making.  Hart felt like an intruder looking in upon a life that he wasn’t meant for.  So he was Sam’s biological father…  She didn’t know him--didn’t care to know him and as he watched her throw her arms around Travis, he suddenly felt as if he’d be doing her a great injustice to shake things up.  Beth had taken away his right to be a father and if he stepped in now, there was no telling what he’d do to Sam.
“You’re a screw up son,” his father’s voice echoed inside his head, “You were born a screw up and you’ll die a screw up at the rate you’re going.  Nothing you do can change that.  You’re a miserable, horrible disaster in the making.”
“Maybe I am, but today I won’t make another mistake,” Hart mouthed to himself banishing the voice in the back of his head.  His gaze returned to the sight of Sam and Travis before her and reluctantly he let out a long sigh.  He knew what he needed to do and it couldn’t wait.  Taking a step backward, he turned away from the family before him making his way to Jenna’s room in the hopes that he could get past Dorothy to speak be with her.  Things with Sam seemed under control and right about now given the turmoil he was feeling, all he wanted to do was be with the woman he loved.


“Dead,” Grady repeated the color draining from his face, “No, Jade that’s not possible.  My brother isn’t dead.”
“Grady I wish that were the case, but somehow he got caught up in the explosion and…” Jade began reaching out to touch his arm gently.
“No, that can’t be happening.  My brother isn’t dead Jade.  There has to be some catch here,” Grady shook his head in refusal to accept her words, “The police have to be wrong.  They have to be…”
“Grady, they aren’t.  Dave brought Avery Russell’s wedding ring himself and he told her to go down to identify the remains in the morning,” Jade admitted in a tearful confession, “Avery’s falling apart and…”
“No, this can’t be happening,” Grady took a step back allowing Jade’s words to sink in, “My brother can’t be dead.  He was just coming to see me and…”
“And there was the bombing,” Jade recalled tearfully, “No one knew what was happening, but now…”
“I just can’t believe this,” Grady shook his head, guilt and fears rushing over him, “You were all coming to see me--to be with me and…” he paused thinking about what she’d told him, “How could Russ have gotten caught up in the bombing if you and Avery are alright?”
“He wasn’t with us.  He left to go back to the car,” Jade explained remembering the time before the accident, “He said he’d forgot something, but in reality he was going to meet with someone…”
“Meet with who,” Grady’s voice rose with emotion.
“I don’t know, but Kyle told Avery it had something to do with Bruce Mathis,” Jade admitted wiping at her own tears.
“With Bruce,” Grady’s eyes widened in horror, “Oh God, then that could mean that Bruce was the one who…”
“I really don’t think so Grady,” Jade continued to cry, “So many people were wounded and killed in that explosion.  For Bruce to make such a bold statement…”
“I can’t…I won’t…” Grady muttered aloud to himself before looking to Jade, “You said that Avery is okay, yes?”
Jade nodded, “She’s upset but she wasn’t hurt too badly.  She and the baby are…”
“I need to see her,” he reached out to touch her shoulders, “I need to talk to her--to try to make sense of this…”
“Grady, you really shouldn’t be here.  If anyone sees you,” Jade started to plead with him knowing what a risk he was taking in coming back to Coral Valley.
“To hell with them.  If my brother just died, then I want answers and I’m not leaving town until I get them,” Grady vowed an iciness behind his green eyes now that his mind feared that his worst nightmares were becoming a reality.


Judy stands in one of the small waiting rooms in the hospital staring out at the raging storm thinking of everything that's happened. With tears in her eyes she sighs and turns from the window wiping her face. As she starts to leave she practically walks right into and equally distressed Richard.

Judy: Oh!

Richard: Oh! I'm so sorry.

Judy: No, no, it's my fault. Pardon me.

Richard: It's no problem.

There is an awkward moment as both just stand there looking at each other searching for words.

Judy: Uh, how...how's Avery?

Richard sighs running his hand through his hair.

Richard: Physically? Her and the baby will be just fine.

Judy: Thank God.

Richard nods.

Richard: But emotionally...

He shakes his head worry etched in his features. Concern fills Judy's face as she instinctively reaches out and takes Richard's hand.

Judy: What is it, Richard?

Knowing he should pull away but not wanting to Richard allows her to hold his hand.

Richard: Russell's been declared dead.

Judy gasps in horror her hand flying over her mouth.

Judy: Oh, dear God.

She sighs and shakes her head sadly.

Judy: First Caitlin, now Russell. This just isn't fair.

Richard nods.

Richard: No, no it isn't. Now my daughter is a grieving widow and will be a single mother.

Judy looks at Richard compassionately.

Judy: I'm so sorry. Russell...Russell was a good man.

Richard: Yeah, yeah he was a good man. A lot better then that Brant character. God knows what I'm going to have to do to keep them apart.

He sighs rubbing his neck. Judy nods understanding his concern.

Judy: If there is anything I can do, anything at all, please, please just let me know, okay?

Richard half smiles.

Richard: Thanks, I just might take you up on that. So, I guess you've seen Ken?

Judy nods thinking of the pain her friend is in.

Judy: I don't think I've ever seen anyone quit so devastated. He's completely destroyed, Richard. I'm really worried about him.

Richard: Yeah, that makes two of us.

Judy: I tried to speak with him earlier but I'm not sure it did any good.

Richard: Yeah, I tried too. But I think he's just to hurt right now to hear much of anything.

Judy nods.

Judy: This is such a horrible mess.

Richard: Yeah it really is. It...it makes you really appreciate what you have, and the people around you.

Judy: Yes, I'm very thankful for all my blessings and it's times like these I really hold onto them.

Richard: You have to. It's the only way to get through times like these. You have to hold onto the people in your life that you love.
They both look at each other closely as another awkward silence comes over them. They stare at each other longingly both painfully aware how much they need the other. Suddenly without warning driven by an over load of emotions they go into one another's arms and fall into a desperate kiss clinging to each other for the support and security they both miss. As quickly as it starts it stops both knowing they can't do this. Both their faces flushed with embarrassment.

Judy: I...

Richard: Judy...

Judy: I have to go!

She races out.

Richard: Judy, wait!

But she's already gone. He sighs and shakes his head tiredly then flops down in the nearest chair and resting his head in his hands allows the emotions of the night to over take him and he begins to cry.


Avery felt the soft nudge of fingers upon her as her eyelids fluttered open and she felt the warmth against her arm. She looked to the shadowy figure before her as his hand lifted to her face and her eyes opened fully to reveal the man she’d been dreaming about standing before her. A gasp fell from her lips as he reached out to her.

"Avery, what are you doing here," Russell questioned as he looked down at her curiously.

"Russ, you’re here," she sat upright reaching out to hold him as she threw her arms around his neck, "You’re really here."

"Of course I’m here," he replied squeezing her in his arms surprised by her welcome, "did you really think that I would just walk away from you baby?”

"They said you were gone--that you went away and that you weren’t coming back," Avery explained tearfully, "I was so afraid that I’d never see you again!”

"For a moment there I wasn‘t sure," he answered after a moment’s hesitation as he touched her cheek, "but then I realized that I couldn’t leave you--not like that--not when I knew that you were the only woman I’d ever love. Avery, I couldn’t walk away from you knowing that you were worth fighting for--that our love was the only thing worth fighting for.  That‘s why I had to do what I did," he paused urging her to meet his impassioned green eyes, "I know that I should’ve been honest with you about what Kyle and I were doing, but then when it all happened like it did, I didn’t want you caught up in it.  I didn’t want you to be…”

"None of that matters anymore," she interrupted tearfully, "Russ, you’re back and we can work through this. We can find a way to have our happiness once more now that you‘re here.  I don‘t care that you lied because that‘s not important anymore.  What we have together is all that matters."

"You mean you’re willing to give me another chance--to forgive me for not being honest with you," he questioned a smile lifting over his features as he wiped at her tears, "Oh Avery you have no idea how long I waited to be able to put this behind us.  I know that I shouldn’t have kept you in the dark, but I knew that it was the only way.  If you knew the truth, then you might’ve gotten hurt and I couldn’t live with that.  When I left you to go meet with my contact, I hated what I was doing.  I hated walking away and I prayed that you’d forgive me for not being up front with you.”

"Russ, you gave me the greatest joy I’ve ever known and I couldn’t just walk away from you especially not now that we’re about to bring our daughter into the world," Avery blurted out unable to contain the tears that rushed over her, "Our daughter."

"Our daughter," he repeated searching her eyes, "Avery, are you saying…?”

"You were right Russ.  We‘re having a little girl," she nodded eagerly, "I found out when they said you were gone.  They told me about our daughter when they said you’d died.  I was so lost without you Russ.  I couldn’t imagine my life without you and when they told me I had to…Russ I was so afraid that we wouldn’t be able to share in our little miracle together.  That you wouldn’t ever see our daughter…”

“I’m here Avery,” he tried to soothe her tears, “I’m right here with you just like I promised I’d always be.  I’m here with you and our little miracle.  I couldn’t walk away from you when we have everything together…”
“Our little girl shows how strong our love really is and I can’t let you walk out of my life forever,” she sobbed harder throwing her arms around him in a moment of desperate anguish.

"Oh Avery," he scooped her up into his arms tears of joy taking over him as he held her, "I love you. I love you so much."

"I love you Russ and I don’t ever want to be without you again," Avery pleaded with him, "I need you."

"I’m always going to need you," he whispered warmly in her ear, "and now that you’re having our daughter, oh Avery I was a fool to think I could somehow move forward without you knowing the truth.  I should’ve told you everything that was going on because your love is the only life I’ve ever truly known," he kissed her passionately as he pulled her completely into his arms, "and now that I know what we have ahead of us, I’m never going to lose you again as we really do have it all together."

"Yes we do," Avery agreed overcome with emotion as she kissed him never wanting to let go of him or the family they were bringing into this world with one another as his arms held her tighter, warmer by the moment until suddenly a coldness surrounded her and she opened her eyes finding herself still laying upon the hospital bed as the darkness surrounded her.

Suddenly the reality of the moment hit her harder than before as she sat upright and searched the room seeking out Russell, but the truth to the matter was that he’d never returned. He’d never been with her holding her in his arms and promising her forever again as he was truly gone. He’d left her life and now as she sat alone thinking of the promises they’d made to one another, she buried her head in her hands and sobbed over the happily ever after that would never be--about the man who’d captured her heart and taken it with him as he left her life.  In that instant, Avery found herself buried in the hopes of what might’ve been as her world came crashing down around her leaving her without the one man she’d ever truly loved.

“That son of a bitch,” Diego cursed pacing around Heather’s hospital room.  While he’d wanted to keep himself under control after what had happened, there was no way he could keep his anger to himself, “Who does he think he is?”
“He may be smug, but he is her husband,” Shannon pointed out the obvious hating to be the one to do so, but given what they just witnessed with Cameron Stone, she knew that the battle was far from over.
“Yeah well he doesn’t care about her,” Diego insisted, his fury overtaking him, “She’s not important to him.  He only want to manipulate the situation to his favor.”
“I understand that Diego, but we have to find a way to beat him at his own game,” Shannon tried to appeal to his sense of reason, “if nothing else, then for Heather.”
“Heather’s already been through enough hell because of that man,” Diego mouthed turning his attention to Heather as she lay in the hospital bed before him oblivious to all that was happening around her.
“You know I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m Heather’s biggest fan because I’m not, but no woman deserves any of this,” Shannon confessed thinking about everything she’d witnessed thus far.  Turning her eyes to Diego, she reflected upon what she’d read about his past.  She knew full well what was driving him on in his quest to save Heather, but she wondered if he’d be successful in the mission he’d made for himself.  “Maybe there is a way to help her out of all of this…”
“Oh believe me there is and when I find it, Cameron is going to pay,” Diego promised his jaw tight with tension.
“Diego, I know that you want to help Heather, but is this about helping her or about seeking out justice for what was done to you,” Shannon blurted out in her straight to the point action that often wound her up in a world of trouble.  She watched his body grow rigid before he spun around to face her once again, his eyes lost in a moment that Shannon was certain went well beyond the here and now.
“When I lost Maria, I lost my life,” Diego explained in a smooth, distant tone, “It wasn’t one of my finer moments, but when it happened, I fought like hell to stop it.  I tried to keep her and my son in this world--to find a way to save them…”
“But that wasn’t in your hands.  Diego, you did all that you could for them and to keep punishing yourself like this…” Shannon reached out to him sensing so very much happening beneath the surface.
“This isn’t about punishing myself Shannon,” Diego answered flatly, his voice devoid of any emotion, “This is about doing what’s right.  This is about justice for Maria and for Heather.  I may have failed the woman I loved, but I won’t stand back and let Heather go through that kind of a nightmare.  She’s already endured more than enough.”
“That she has,” Shannon couldn’t help but agree.  Turning her eyes to the woman in the bed before her, Shannon wondered if Heather had any idea of what she had waiting for her when she resurfaced.  Sure, Heather Gibbons had always been a bitch in Shannon’s eyes, but now that Shannon watched Diego doting on Heather--giving her his undivided attention, Shannon found herself a tad bit envious.  Shannon had met her share of losers--bedded a few of them along the way, but never had she found someone with the intensity and passion that Diego Hernandez seemed to have about him.  Yes, he was a man with a tortured past--a man with his own inner demons, yet there was just something about him that had Shannon longing to get closer--to know what he fought so hard to keep buried from within.
“I just want to protect her and her little boy.  I want to spare them the pain that I know Cameron will bring them,” Diego continued reaching for Heather’s hand, “I promised I would protect her and I can’t walk away from that.  I’m a man of my word.”
“And I’m a woman of mine,” Shannon finally broke her silence, “I swore to you that we’d find a way to get Cameron and make him pay.  I haven’t forgotten Diego.  We’ll make it happen and I swear to you if he had anything to do with this bombing--anything at all, well I promise you that I’m going to nail him.  Sooner or later his luck will run out and when it does I’ll be there to put him away.”
“It won’t be soon enough.  It’ll never be soon enough,” Diego sighed his focus upon Heather as he found himself reflecting upon the love he’d lost--on the hopes that had died at Cameron’s hand, but most of all on the future that he swore to make happen for the woman who’d put her faith in him.  One way or another he would save Heather and her boy and maybe just maybe in the process he would be able to save himself.


"There he is," Sarah pointed to the little baby in the incubator who was nearly motionless.

"Poor little guy," he sighed wrapping his arms around her waist and resting his head on her shoulder.

"Kyle, I’m so scared. First it was Heather and now it’s him, it’s like I am an aunt now and I don’t even get to enjoy it," she got out as she felt her throat grow dry and tears burn behind her eyes.

"Listen to me," Kyle started making her turn towards him as his hand caressed her face lightly, "Everything is okay. Heather will be fine and so will this little guy."

"See that’s the thing Kyle, you don’t know that," she protested wiping away one of the tears that slid down her face.

"I may not, but all you have to have is faith. I will be here for you, no matter what," he assure her as his thumb wiped away another tear that lingered down her face.

"I know, I’m just so scared Kyle," she cried as he pulled her into his arms and she rested her head on his chest.

"It’s okay sweetheart, as long as I can I will do whatever it takes to help them okay?" he questioned kissing her forehead lightly.

"Thanks Kyle this means a lot to me. I know you have better things to do…" she started as he cut her off.

"Don’t say that, you’re my everything. I don’t mind being here for you, it’s what I want to do," he hushed looking down at her as she smiled.

"Did you just say I am your everything?" she wondered as he nodded raising his eyebrow.

"Of course you are, I thought you would know that by now," he nodded running his hand along her cheek lightly. He leaned in pressing his lips against hers as his hand ran through her hair.

"I appreciate everything you are doing," she smiled as he rested her head against his.

"It’s really no problem," he assured her as his fingers entwined with hers, "I love you."

"What did you just say," she questioned with a gazed look on her face as he smiled.

"I told you that I loved you," he kissed her again as his hand rested against her back. "Is that okay?"

"Yeah," she started speechless, "I love you too."

"Well, this whole bombing thing got me thinking…and I realized that I loved you. Some people lost their loved ones and I couldn’t imagine not having you in my life."

"Kyle, I truly do love you," she grinned turning around and looking at the baby that lie there. Kyle wrapped his arms around her as they looked at the baby.


Hart rounded the corner of the hallway, taking a long look around before spotting Jenna’s room.  Knowing full well how much Dorothy loathed him, he knew it might be a challenge walking in and seeing the woman he loved, but he didn’t care.  It was worth facing the wrath of Dorothy to see Jenna again.  He needed to know that she was alright…that she was okay and right now that was all that mattered.  Slowly he inhaled a breath before marching into the room.  If Dorothy wanted a fight, then he’d give her one--later, but now was about being with Jenna.  However, much to his surprise he discovered Jenna all by herself in bed with Dorothy nowhere in sight.
Carefully closing the door behind him, Hart moved quietly towards his sleeping girlfriend.  He didn’t want to disturb her if she was finally resting, but he couldn’t bear the thought of being away from her a moment longer either.  Reaching for one of the chairs next to the bed, he took a seat beside her.  Unable to help himself, his eyes traveled leisurely over her features, thinking about how close he’d come to losing her.  That sent a pain rushing straight to his heart as he’d wanted nothing more than to hold onto her forever.  Of course given all that had happened, he was starting to wonder if that would be possible any longer.
“Tell me something,” Jenna’s voice beckoned him from his thoughts, “How long are you going to sit there and stare at me?  I was kind of hoping you’d just kiss me.”
“And here I thought you were sleeping,” Hart gave her a silly look noticing the way her eyelids fluttered open when her smile touched over the corners of her lips.
“I was thinking about it, but then I sensed that you were here,” she sighed up at him stretching her arm out to draw him nearer to her.  “I was beginning to think you’d never show up.”
“You were thinking wrong then,” Hart leaned in towards her, “because all I could think about was being with you.”
“Hmm, then why are you stalling when I know you want to kiss me,” she teased lightly feeling his lips brush in over hers in a tentative kiss.  Once they’d parted, she threw out a pouty expression, “Hart, I’m not broken and that most certainly doesn’t qualify as a kiss.”
“In that case,” Hart dipped down, nibbling on her lower lip gingerly, “how was that?”
“Much better,” she purred in approval, her wide eyes opening to him, “So tell me how bad were you hurt?”
“I’m fine,” he reached for her hand lacing their fingers in one another, “Well other than the fact that you had me worried out of my mind about you that is…
“I’m going to be just fine,” she tried to assure him in that same confident tone that she’d always carried with her, “My mother mentioned there was some kind of bombing.”
“There was,” he nodded in recollection, “The authorities are still looking into it, but there was a lot of damage.”
“How bad was it,” Jenna questioned in confusion.
“I think it’s going to be a long time before the airport is open again,” he admitted with a shudder thinking about the disaster they’d both been swept up in.
“Were there a lot of people hurt,” she questioned taking note of the expression that spread over his features, “Of course there were.  What a stupid question on my end.  Hart, what about Heather?  Is she okay?”
“I honestly don’t know,” he ran his fingers of his free hand through his hair, “Things haven’t been anything but hectic since we were brought here.”
“How did I get here?” Jenna questioned blinking back at him, “Did you save me?”
“I wish I had, but at the time of the bombing, there was this situation…” he paused thinking about the moments before the bomb went off, “You were being followed by someone and I stepped aside to catch him before he could do anything.”
“Who was it,” she asked noticing the color had drained from his face, “Hart?”
“It was an FBI agent.  Callaway had him tailing you.  I tried to get more information out of him, but the bomb went off,” Hart closed his eyes feeling a tremor race over him, “He didn’t get to tell me much more and when I woke up, well the man was dead.”
“Dead,” she gasped in horror, “Oh Hart, that’s horrible.  I mean I had no idea that our going on a simple trip would be…”
“I know,” he nodded cutting her off, “I shouldn’t have agreed for us to go to Los Angeles.”
“Or maybe that’s why that bomb went off.  Maybe someone didn’t want us to get there.  Maybe someone has something to hide.  What if Cameron saw that Heather and I were talking and he decided to put a stop to it,” Jenna theorized taking note of the expression on his face, “Hart, what is it?”
“There’s something you should probably know,” he admitted in confession, “You see while I’m sure you aren’t going to like it, I should tell you that Cameron is the one that pulled you out of the wreckage.”
“What,” she blinked back in shock and astonishment, “Cameron as in Cameron Stone?”
He nodded, “The one and only.  I don’t know how he did it, but when he found you, he pulled you out--made sure you were safe…”
“Cameron saved my life,” she repeated letting it all sink in, “You mean he…”
“I wish to God it was me, but when he did it, well I have to say that I’m glad he did,” Hart confessed finding himself choked up on emotion, “If I would’ve lost you…”
“But you didn’t,” she squeezed his hand tenderly, “You’re alive and I’m alive and we have each other.”
“Jenna, if I lost you,” Hart began, his eyes filling with tears at the thought of what could’ve happened, “If we weren’t able to be together like this…”
“Shh,” she tried to silence him, “Hart we are together now and nothing can change that.  You know when I was sleeping before I had the most beautiful dream…”
“Oh yeah,” he questioned seeing the smile that spread over her face, “About what?”
“About us,” she confessed lightly, a breath escaping from her lips, “I was dreaming about us living together--about us really taking that next step that we’d talked about and in the dream I found myself rather surprised.”
“How so,” he questioned moving in closer to her, longing to wrap her up in his arms.
“Because I found myself happier than I’ve been in years,” she paused a sincere smile spreading over her features, “In fact it felt like the happiest moment of my entire life and I knew that I didn’t want it to end.  I didn’t want to let go of you in it--not ever.”
“Then don’t let go,” he gave in to his urges sliding in beside her on the hospital bed and holding her in his arms, “Don’t ever let go Jenna.”
“I won’t,” she promised holding him close to her and saying a silent prayer for the powers above that kept her alive to share such a moment with him, “I love you Hart.”
“I love you Jenna,” he replied needing to keep her in his arms--to feel her love as he thought about all that happened since that bomb went off.  So many explosive things had transpired but he needed to hold the reigns on the things that really, truly meant the most to him.  He’d spent his whole life a screw up and now he’d found love.  He’d found the one thing that he’d ran away from time and time again, but now, well now it was Jenna and her love that had kept him from going under.  Holding her in his arms he realized that he never wanted to fall down to that dark place ever again.


Brant entered Avery‘s room after making a trip downstairs to get himself a cup of coffee to keep him going.  While Richard had urged him to go home earlier in the evening, Brant had insisted upon staying knowing full well that Avery would need someone at a time like this.  He realized that Richard probably wasn’t happy about his idea to stick around, but he didn’t care.   He’d decided to camp out in a chair in the far corner of Avery’s hospital room and stay with her if she needed him.  Upon arriving in the room, he heard her soft sobbing from just beyond the other side of the curtain that divided the room.
“Oh Russ,” her voice broke down with obvious emotion. 
Rushing over to see what was happening, Brant pushed the curtain aside noticing she’d curled up into a ball on the bed, hugging her legs to her chest in a fetal position.  It was a heartbreaking scene and as Brant watched her, he feared for what the future would bring to her and her baby.
“Avery,” he spoke her name gently, making a move towards her in the hopes of breaking her out of the nightmare that had consumed her.
Avery shifted on the mattress, hearing a voice speak out to her among the shadows that surrounded her.  She lifted her head seeking out the source of the sound.  Her eyes were overwhelmed with tears, but through the shadows, she could see the silhouette of a man before her.  He was reaching out to comfort her, his hand pressing in against her shoulder and she spoke out to him desperately.
“Please don’t leave me,” she threw her arms around him pulling him in closer to her.
“Avery, shh,” Brant whispered sensing her overwhelming grief as he stroked her cheek.  She clung to him with obvious need--with a pain that was too deep for mere words, “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Please don’t,” she begged of him dropping her head on his chest, “Please don’t ever leave me again.”
“I’m not going anywhere sweetheart,” he whispered over the top of her head keeping her close to him.  He kissed her dark hair, wishing that he could somehow erase the pain that she was going through.  This was going to be anything, but easy for her and as her tears soaked through his shirt, he wished that there was something more that he could do for her--something that would take all of her pain away.
“Please promise me…” she lifted her head up, her dark eyes penetrating his.  “Promise me that you won’t ever leave me again…”
“Avery I,” Brant began realizing that she still must be asleep or not truly realizing it was him with her when she crawled up over him kissing him with an exaggerated movement.  He nearly gulped at her kiss, feeling her tears press in against his cheeks as her mouth claimed his with a fiery intensity. 
Reaching out to stop her from what she was blindly going into, Brant tried to keep his own racing thoughts from spinning out of control.  So many times in the past he’d longed to hold Avery, to have her kissing him like she was kissing him now--only this time she wasn’t thinking about him.  She was dreaming about the husband who had slipped out of her world--about the father of her child who would no longer be around to share another moment of his life with her or their daughter.  Her kiss was desperate, needy and full of that emotion that Brant had no doubt had only been reserved for Russ. 
Gently he pressed his hands down over her spine massaging her tenderly while he prepared to seek out an easy way to break away from the kiss.  Coming up empty, he kissed her in return, selfishly savoring the moment despite the fact he knew it was wrong.  Her lips were like a hot fire that burned down to his soul and with each breath they shared with one another, he felt that desire he’d kept buried inside resurfacing.  She was so deep in his system that to ignore her touch would be the end of him.  Finally Brant found himself so swept away from her touch that he felt he had no other choice. 
He reluctantly tore his lips away from hers only to catch a brief, flickering movement behind her eyes.  Their sadness seemed to ease up replaced by what felt like a small peace of mind.  With that ending, she shifted above him, keeping her arms locked tightly around him while laying on his chest.  She mouthed a few whispers that Brant could barely make out before her eyes closed again.
“I need you,” she breathed with a heavy sigh, exhaustion overtaking her.
“I need you too,” Brant confessed thinking about all the ways in which he’d been unable to get Avery out of his system.  Sure, he’d been planning ways to be with her, but having Russ die was never part of the program.  He wasn’t concerned with winning her that way.  It wasn’t what he was looking for and yet the stranger irony of the moment was that fate had given him a way to be with Avery.  Sure, it sounded heartless, but Russ wouldn’t want her to be alone.  He wouldn’t want Avery to spend her life as a widow with no one to protect her.  It was then and there that Brant promised to himself that he would step in and be whatever Avery needed him to be.  Bringing his fingers through her dark hair, he silently vowed to bring her through this horrible time she was experiencing.  Perhaps together they could find some light beyond the darkness that had surrounded them.
“Mmmm…” she murmured snuggling in closer to him, warming his heart with the movement.  Sure, he’d vowed not to fall into old habits, but old habits died hard when the woman Brant loved was hurting so very much.  Squeezing her closer to him, he couldn’t help but kiss her once again.
“I love you Avery,” he spoke from his heart feeling that he’d suddenly found purpose and reason in his life after the hell he’d endured.  Sure, this wasn’t how he’d planned it, but he was doing the right thing.  He was being what she needed him to be and he’d move heaven and Earth to give her and her daughter the world if she’d let him.
“I love you too,” she mouthed bringing a warmth to his heart before her final word brought him back to the reality of the situation, “Russ.”
“Russ,” he thought to himself thinking about the man who’d been a rival for Avery’s heart.  Sure, Russ had won out.  He’d gained Avery heart and her love, but maybe just maybe in time Avery would see that Brant could give her all that Russ had--even more.  Maybe just maybe Avery would realize that this was truly how it was meant to be.  Maybe just maybe…he stopped himself looking to the ceiling above him as he thought about Russell Denton.  No doubt Russell Denton was in heaven telling everyone like it was--probably kicking and screaming that he couldn’t keep Brant away from his wife, but now that was irrelevant.  Now was about helping Avery heal.
“And that’s what I’m trying to do Russ,” Brant spoke in a whisper wondering if Russell could hear him wherever he’d drifted off to in the afterlife, “I’m keeping her safe and I swear to you that I won’t let anyone hurt her.  You at least have to trust me on that one.”
Okay maybe not, Brant thought to himself, but in that moment he lay silent holding Avery in his arms, he vowed that he would make sure that she never experienced this kind of pain ever again.  She would have happiness and joy in her life and when her daughter came into the world, Brant would give them everything they would have otherwise missed out on.  He would be everything she needed.  Sooner or later she would see that.


Judy marched through the hospital parking lot praying to God that she didn’t run into Rick again.  That kiss had been too much--too amazing and too very close to the truth that still remained between the both of them.  She loved him--more than she wished she had after all this time.  She’d tried to keep a distance between them, but it was no use--denying her heart was just plain foolish considering that she loved him so very much.  When she’d felt his arms around her, she’d wanted to stay with him forever--to forget that he was married--that she’d urged him to stay with his wife, but she couldn’t lose sight of the promise she’d made.  However, her word was hard to stay true to after being close to him again.
“You can do this,” she tried to assure herself making her way back upstairs to Deidra’s office.  In her shuffle she’d left her car keys in her daughter’s office and she wouldn’t be going anywhere without them.  She just prayed that fate wouldn’t have her and Richard crossing paths.  That would just be too much right now.
“Please, please,” she begged aloud turning a corner of the hospital only to discover Brooke in the hall with the man who’d shown up at the office to speak with Hart not so long ago.
“What the hell did you think you were doing showing up here tonight,” Brooke’s voice accused with obvious anger coursing through her words.

“I wanted to be here for you,” Hunt replied trying to justify his actions, “I know you said to leave, but I couldn’t considering…”
“Considering that you’re just trying to destroy me,” Brooke threw back at him harshly, “I told you that I needed my space--that I needed you to just leave me be, but you wouldn’t give me that.  You couldn’t give me what I asked for when it was against what you wanted.”
“Brooke, I was trying to help you,” he extended his arm towards her in an attempt to comfort her it seemed.
“The hell you were,” she sneered back at him withdrawing from his touch, “You were just thinking about you…”
“No I wasn’t.  I was thinking about us and if you’d just stop pretending that I don’t matter…” Hunt pleaded with her, his eyes full of desperation.
“I’m not having this conversation right now,” she replied lowering her voice before taking a quick look down the hallway.  Sensing Brooke’s motion, Judy slipped back around the corner, still close enough to listen, but not to be spotted.
“Listen to me Hunt,” Judy heard Brooke’s voice echo through the hallway, “If you really care about me, then please just let me do this my way.”
“But…” he began with a heavy sigh, “fine, but Brooke I can’t wait around forever.”
“I’m not asking you to.  I’m just asking that you be patient with me for a little while longer.  You can do that for me, can’t you,” her voice softened and a puzzling silence followed, “Please?”
“Brooke,” Hunt spoke her name before sighing, “oh alright, but I won’t wait forever.”
“You won’t have to,” Brooke promised him as Judy pondered whether or not she should step around the corner and confront them.  The whole conversation seemed off--the whole sentiment seemed too personal, too….
“That’s it,” Judy decided realizing that she had to catch Brooke at her own game.  If Brooke had a secret she was keeping, Judy was about to uncover it.  However, when she slipped around the hallway, she discovered that Brooke and Hunt had disappeared.
“Interesting,” Judy mouthed to herself wondering if there was more than met the eye between the two of them.  Given what Judy had witnessed there was something transpiring that didn’t feel right--didn’t seem right at all and as Judy headed to Deidra’s office, she vowed to find out exactly what it was that Brooke was trying to keep secret with the interior designer.  Perhaps that was the key to figuring out exactly what games Brooke was playing with the lives of those around her.



...to be continued...