Episode 144

Kyle stroked Avery’s hair gently keeping her in his arms as her tears began to die down.  What had started as something primal and emotional had transformed into something altogether as he held his best friend’s wife in his arms.  Both of them were mourning the loss of Russell and yet they’d both been so very broken by what had happened.  Words couldn’t even begin to explain how horrible Kyle felt at having failed his pal and his family and even now as he held Avery he wished there was more he could do.
“Why was he leaving Kyle,” Avery finally questioned breaking her long silence, “Why did he go off like that not having someone to keep an eye on him?”
“He thought he had a handle on things,” Kyle admitted reflecting upon the foolish move made by his pal, “Avery I tried to talk him out of it, but with Russ…”
“He has to do things his way,” she sniffled turning her eyes up towards him to reveal the depth of their sadness, “but why did his way have to include leaving me and our baby like this?  Why couldn’t he just be honest with me?  Why didn’t he tell me what was going on…”
“Because he was afraid,” Kyle reached out to brush a tear from her face tentatively feeling her exhaustion keep her lingering in his strong embrace, “Avery, he wanted to be able to have the freedom for you and him to live your lives without worry or concern that Bruce would take that from you.  He wanted to be able to be in the day when all these horrible things that had been happening to the both of you were no more…”
“So instead he died on me and left our daughter fatherless all because he was trying to protect me,” Avery choked up on her tears, “How the hell is that helping anything?”
“I don’t think he planned on the dying part Avery and if I could, I would take his place in a second.  I would go back to that moment in time and die in his place if it meant that he could be the one here holding you--being here for you and your daughter,” Kyle admitted poignantly hating this twist of fate, “Avery, I just wish things were different--that I could do something to change this…”
“You can’t bring him back and that’s the only thing I want.  The only thing I need,” Avery began to sob once again burying her head in his chest as Kyle hugged her tightly.  The two held onto one another while Kyle tried to keep her tears from consuming her once again.  He opened his mouth to speak to say something--anything that might mean something, but instead only silence surrounded him.
“What the hell is this,” Brant’s voice questioned as he entered the room to find Kyle’s arms around Avery.  His dark eyes narrowed at the sight of the man before him.  He remembered all too well what it had been like the last time he’d encountered Kyle and immediately he was on edge, “Get your hands off of her!”
“Back off Spanky,” Kyle sneered in response refusing to walk away from Avery now that Brant had returned to the room.
“No, I’m not going to back off.  She’s been through enough and I’m not going to let you or anyone hurt her,” Brant lashed out at Kyle, grabbing his sleeve and pulling him away from Avery.  The movement was futile as Kyle had a bit of a height advantage over Brant, but it didn’t stop Brant from trying again and succeeding to separate them.  He moved in front of Avery protectively,  “Avery, you don’t have to worry about this creep bothering you.  I’m going to call security and have him…”
“Brant, you don’t understand,” Avery started to explain.
“No you don’t Spanky, so back off,” Kyle reached forward giving Brant a shove before Brant retaliated throwing his fist into the center of Kyle’s chest.
“No, you back off,” Brant sneered at him punching Kyle right square against the jaw.  He’d caught Kyle off guard sending the larger man flying backwards. 
Kyle stammered and stumbled into the wall before regrouping.  Finally he stood tall once again, his eyes narrowing down at Brant, “You’re so going to regret that move Spanky.”
With that Kyle jumped out towards Brant ready to find a reason--any reason to lay the guilt and anger he’d been feeling on someone else.  He hadn’t liked Brant Ashford from the start and after Brant had thrown that first punch, Kyle vowed he wasn’t going to let that one slide.  Not this time.


“Okay, we’re listening,” Seth replied, his eyes full of concern and curiosity at what Zack could possibly have to say about the two of them.  Instinctively Seth kept his arm around Blake’s shoulders not wanting to come off as an insensitive overprotective jerk, but at the same time he felt himself still questioning just what it was that Blake’s former lover could have to say especially about their relationship.
“Well, this isn’t exactly easy for me,” Zack cleared his throat, his mind reeling with a great many things at once, “but I suppose I should start by giving you both a very long overdue apology.”
“Come again,” Seth blinked back at him practically choking on his words.
“Seth, I underestimated you and I didn’t give you a fair shake because well, the truth to the matter was that I didn’t want to admit to myself that Blake had found someone special in her life,” Zack paused returning his focus to the taller man before him, “You see Blake and I have always had this bond with one another.  She’s very special to me you see and when I found out about the two of you together, well I hated the idea.  I hated it so much that I started thinking about the chance that I had with Blake not so long ago…the chance that I threw away…”
“Zack,” Blake began feeling her face grow hot at his words, “This really isn’t necessary.”
“Yes it is,” Zack nodded solemnly keeping his focus on Seth, “You see once upon a time Blake wanted to have a life with me.  She wanted something special between us--something that she’d always dreamt about and for a while there I’d lead her on to entertain that notion of it being a possibility only to shoot her down.  When I came to Coral Valley, well I guess in seeing her again, I was thinking about the mistakes I’d made in the past.  Finding out that she was with you turned my life around because it showed me what I could’ve had if I’d only been less stubborn about giving things a chance.”
“I see,” Seth nodded stiffening at Zack’s words not really quite sure how to respond to him.
“When I learned about you and Blake, I was jealous and eager to prove to Blake that I was the better man.  I wanted her to look at me the way that she did when she was younger--I wanted to find a way to capture that part of her heart that she’d swore she’d keep reserved for me,” Zack smiled over at Blake, “and for a while we had something amazing.  I don’t regret the time that we shared with one another Blake because you taught me a lot about myself.  I thought that we were having fun and learning about life, but I wasn’t prepared for the real lesson I learned along the way.  You made me see a part of myself that I wasn’t prepared for and when I did, well I knew that I had to change--I had to grow up and you helped me do that.  When we were together it turned my life around and while I’d been hoping that you and I were going to be in it for the long haul, well I guess it didn’t work out that way.”
“Zack, I…” Blake started watching the emotions cross over his face with each word he spoke.
“Blake, I really wanted to be that guy that you’d share forever with especially after you and Seth started to have trouble with one another.   Unfortunately, the truth to the matter was that it was too late for us.  By the time I came back to Coral Valley, you’d already decided in your heart who you were meant to be with,” Zack glanced over at Seth, “and while I hated to admit it, I can see now why you chose him.  He’s a good guy who loves you very much Blake.  You two belong together and I’m just sorry that I was one of the things that kept that from happening sooner.”
“Zack, it wasn’t your fault.  We all made mistakes and…” Blake began poignantly.
“And I just kept them going a bit longer than I should’ve.  Blake, when you helped Johanna, well words can’t even begin to tell you how much that meant to me to know what you did for her and for my son.  I know how hard that must’ve been for you, but I think that it was a sign…I think that your being the one to bring my baby into this world was telling me that in some ways you’ll always be my guardian angel.  You’ve been there at times when I needed someone more than I cared to admit and in some ways I’m always going to love you Blake.”
“I’m always going to love you too Zack,” she replied unable to contain herself while reaching out to embrace him, “You’ll always be very special to me.”
“And you’ll always hold a special place in my heart,” he whispered in her ear before his dark eyes drifted up to Seth again, “though right now at this point in your life, you belong with someone who can give you the kind of life you always longed for.  Blake, you belong with Seth.”
“And you with Johanna,” she nodded in complete understanding, “You two have a family together and a chance at a future.”
He nodded in agreement, “And if I learned nothing else tonight, it’s that life is precious and that you can’t waste a minute of it.  If you don’t take the time to seize the moment, well, the moment could pass you by and you could lose everything.  Time doesn’t wait for anyone and in some cases neither does love.  When something is meant to be, there’s no point in fighting it because if you do, the only thing it can do is bring pain and misery.”
“I’m just so sorry about what happened to Caitlin,” Blake began thinking about her friend’s death.
“So am I, but I know in my heart that she would want me to make peace with the both of you,” Zack offered his hand out to Seth, “I can’t say I blame you if you hate me, but I want you to know that I understand what you mean to Blake and I know what she means to you.  I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll treat her right because Caitlin believed in the two of you being together.  She said that Blake and I weren’t meant to be and she was right.  You both should be together and if nothing else I want you both to know that I’m wishing you nothing but the best.”
“Zack I,” Seth found himself at a loss before finally accepting the other man’s hand.  “I appreciate your saying that.”
“You don’t have any idea how hard it is,” Zack revealed a small smile, “but I want you to know that if you ever hurt her in anyway…”
“I wouldn’t dream about it,” Seth vowed turning his attention to Blake again, “She’s everything to me.”
“As she very well should be,” Zack replied casting a brief glance over in Blake’s general direction, “Now if you both excuse me, I have to go spend some time with my wife and my son.”
“Of course,” Blake nodded reaching for his hand once again, “And Zack?”
“Thanks…for everything,” she smiled watching him leave before she turned to look at Seth once again.  “So…”
“So…” he repeated watching Zack’s retreat, “That must’ve taken a lot out of him to say that.”
“I can see he meant every word of it.  He wants us to be happy together,” Blake offered up trailing her fingers in over his chest, “and you know it’s everything that I want too Seth.  You’re the man I want to share my life with.  You’re the one I want to marry.”
“I know Blake and I want that too,” he curled his arm around her before leaning down to kiss her tenderly, “In fact, what do you say we get on out of here and go home?”
“I think that sounds like a wonderful idea,” Blake nodded in agreement feeling at peace with herself now that her past was successfully put behind her leaving her room to explore the possibilities of her future with Seth.  Somehow despite the tragedies that had fallen over Coral Valley, she had found her heart and she was able to be with the man she loved.  Nothing could be more rewarding than the knowledge that she was finally sure.  She had found her soul mate and this was about making all her dreams a reality with Seth.


Ken sat at his desk, staring out at the world just beyond the window.  While he’d tried to focus on something--anything to pull him through the day, he knew that life would never be the same again.  Nothing would ever feel right without Caitlin and he was only fooling himself to believe that it could.  Things were just so hollow and empty without her--it was as if he was only half alive waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“Oh Caitlin,” he sighed closing his eyes finding his thoughts lingering back to that special time they’d had with one another in Seattle.  Things had felt so right--so complete between them and it had marked the beginning of something wonderful--something that they’d both waited a lifetime to had.  Now that memory would forever haunt him once he’d lost the only thing that mattered in his life.
“Why did you have to leave me,” Ken questioned unable to mask the pain that consumed him.  Turning around, he opened the top desk drawer once again looking at the gun that lay inside.  Sure, he’d never been an advocate for one ending their life so suddenly and abruptly, but Ken’s life had ended in that hospital room--in that moment in time when Caitlin had been taken from his world.  Fingering the gun gingerly he thought of the possibilities of them being reunited again in death.  With each passing moment the thought continued to consume him--so much so that he began to pull the gun out of the drawer, only to be stopped by the faint sound of tapping on his office door.
“Ken, hey, can I have a moment,” Hart popped his head inside finding his friend seated at the desk.  Ken quickly shuffled to hide his gun, eyeing Hart with the best air of professionalism that he could muster up at a time like this.  Still Hart could sense something was off, “Ken, what is it?”
“Hart I,” Ken started before letting out a sigh, “Caitlin’s dead.”
“What,” Hart’s jaw nearly dropped in surprise, “how?”
“She and I were at the airport during the bombing and she didn’t pull through.  As much as I wish she had, she died last night in the hospital.  The doctors did all they could, but it was too late,” he trailed off choked up on emotion.
“Oh my God.  Ken, I’m so sorry to hear that.  I had no idea,” Hart found himself at a loss for words, “Look if there’s anything I do.  If there is anything you need from me…”
“No, I’m fine,” Ken lied with a simple shake of his head, “I’m just doing what I need to do to get through the day.  I thought that maybe if I came in to get some work done that maybe it would help ease the pain a bit, but…”
“Ken, maybe you should go home--get some rest…” Hart suggested noting the lines of worry that crossed over his friend’s face.
“I don’t need rest,” Ken snapped back at him, “I just need to do something productive.  I have a ton of cases that need my attention and I…”
“Ken, if you need any help,” Hart began hating to see his friend upset.
“I’m fine.  Besides, I thought you weren’t coming in today,” Ken replied giving him a strange look, “What gives?”
“I was on my way over to see Jenna at the hospital,” Hart paused, “We were at the airport as well when the bombing went off, but well…let’s just say life hasn’t been the same ever since that moment.”
“You’re telling me,” Ken’s gaze listlessly drifted to the photo he had of Caitlin up on his desk.  “I mean just when I think I have it figured out, something like this happens and I don’t know where I stand on anything…”
“Ken, I wish there was something I could do,” Hart offered once again thinking of how his own worries paled in comparison to what had happened to his friend.
“There’s nothing anyone can do.  I just have to face what’s happened and move forward,” Ken offered a pathetic looking smile, “I mean isn’t that what most people spend thousands of dollars in therapy to learn?”
“Ken, shutting yourself down isn’t always a good thing to do.  If you don’t talk about it…”
“Hart, I don’t want to talk about it.  I don’t want to rehash the worst day of my life all over again especially knowing that I can’t change it.  I can’t bring her back and I can’t change the past.  I can only deal with the fact that my life won’t ever be the same without her.  I won’t ever feel that special love that we had because my heart died with her…”
“Ken, Caitlin wouldn’t want you to lose yourself to grief.  Yes, I can’t even begin to imagine what it is you’re going through right now, but I know that Caitlin would want you to keep fighting.  She wouldn’t want you to give up…”
“I’m not giving up.  Just learning to deal with the life that I have now that she’s gone,” Ken paused thinking about the gun he’d kept hidden in his desk drawer.  Finally he forced himself to fake it for another minute with his friend, “Hart, I’ll be okay.  I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that everything is perfect because it’s far from it…but I will say that I’m going to try to do what I have to.”
“Just don’t push yourself too hard and if you feel like the walls are closing in, please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.  Ken, I mean it when I say that I’ll be here,” Hart tried to appeal to him once again.
“Right now I just need some time to myself, but if you really want to do me a favor, you get back to that hospital and tell Jenna how much you love her.  Don’t let anything keep her from hearing that because that’s really what you need to do.  You hold her and never let go.”
“Ken,” Hart opened his mouth to speak before finally nodding, “just take care of yourself okay?  And if you need anything…”
“I know who to call,” Ken waved back at him dismissively, “now get out of here.”
“Alright,” Hart replied with a nod giving him one last look before leaving Ken in his office alone again.
Slumping down in his chair, Ken thought about what Hart was saying to him.  Sure maybe he should give things another look, but without Caitlin things felt so bleak--so out of control.  It was as if he’d stepped into a life that was no longer his own.  Opening the drawer once again, he looked at the gun for a long moment thinking about all the ways in which it could change his life.  He could be with Caitlin again--they could be together if only…
“If only you had the strength to do it,” he pushed the drawer shut with obvious frustration.  Rising up from his chair, he walked over to the mini bar pouring himself a glass of bourbon.  He drank it down with one long swallow before pouring himself another glass.  Three glasses later he’d found it easier to hold onto the bottle as tears of anguish consumed him knowing that he’d never be able to hold the woman he loved ever again.


Jenna sat up in bed taking a long look around her hospital room.  She was anxious and ready to just check herself out as she’d never been good at being a patient.  Even now she couldn’t get herself out of the situation fast enough she realized reaching for the television set in the hopes of distracting herself for a while before her doctors finally gave her the go ahead to leave.
“So how is the patient doing this morning,” Beth questioned entering the room with a bright smile, “Better I hope.”
“I’ll be a lot better when you tell me that I can go home,” Jenna pleaded with her desperately.
“Given the trauma you went through I have to admit I’m surprised you’re doing as well as you are right now.  I’d still like to run a few tests before I release you though,” Beth explained in her best professional test, “You know you’re a very lucky woman Jenna.  Not many people were able to come out of this bombing as unscathed as you have.  Why to think about how you almost died…”
“I’d really rather not think about it,” Jenna replied shifting uneasily on the hospital bed.  For a moment her eyes drifted to Beth, thinking bout how the last time she’d remembered seeing the woman she wanted to tear her heart out.  Still the woman had worked to save her life and she had to be gracious…for now.  “Listen, thank you for what you did.  I know that in surgery you’re part of the reason that I’m feeling this good…”
“I was just doing my job,” Beth waved her hand dismissively, “though the real hero in this situation is Cameron Stone.  He was the one who pulled you out of the wreckage and made this moment possible.  If it hadn’t been for him…”
“I think you’re giving me far too much credit Dr. Raines,” Cameron appeared at Jenna’s doorway with a stuffed animal in hand, “Jenna is the fighter here.  She’s the one who had the will to pull through.  I just merely put the wheels in motion for that.”
“Even so, I’d have to say you’re a hero,” Beth smiled at him brightly before turning to Jenna, “I’ll leave you a few minutes to enjoy your company and I’ll see what I can do to speed up the tests so that you can get back home.”
“Thanks, I’d really appreciate that,” Jenna offered up a polite smile before her eyes returned to Cameron.  Her smile faded, “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see how you were doing,” Cameron explained holding the teddy bear out in his arms, “and to offer a peace treaty since we haven’t exactly gotten off on the right foot with one another.”
“No we haven’t,” Jenna replied stiffly not sure how to take Cameron’s arrival, “What do you want?”
“To make sure that you’re doing better,” he admitted taking a seat beside her, “when you were in surgery I was worried for you.  I was afraid that you might not be pulling through…”
“I’m sure you were,” she rolled her eyes still not trusting him after he’d saved her life.
“I was,” Cameron insisted in what appeared to be an earnest tone, “Contrary to what the world thinks of me, family is very important.  While I realize that we aren’t exactly blood relatives, well I have to tell you that given that we both have had Douglas as a father whether we wanted him to be or not, that kind of makes us unofficial family.”
“Cameron, I have no interest in being a part of your family.  I know what you’re all about and I don’t want any part of it,” she explained matter of fact, “While you may have saved my life and I’m grateful for that, don’t think that it is going to make for any touching moments between us.”
“I never expected it to, but I was hoping that maybe just maybe you’d try to take the time to get to know me--that somehow you’d try to overlook all the things you think you know and see me for who I really am,” Cameron pleaded with her, “We’ve both been burned by Douglas and there are so many things I could tell you about him.  Things you’re wanting to know…”
“Cameron, anything you say to me will be a lie, so I’m not interested,” Jenna shook her head at him refusing to accept his offer.
“Hmm, well then I guess there’s no point in my trying to convince you,” he rose from the chair he’d been seated in, “though I am surprised at how easily you’re willing to dismiss me.  Given that I saved your life…”
“I knew this would be coming,” she frowned, “Let me guess, you feel that I owe you something now, right?”
“All I wanted was a little of your time,” Cameron explained simply, “I’m well aware of the fact that you hate me Jenna.  I’m not asking for that to change, but I’m hoping you’ll give me a chance to explain myself to you.  I just wanted you to see a few things…”
“I see very well what you are,” she countered, her voice devoid of emotion.
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe just maybe you could be wrong,” he questioned with an arched brow, “That maybe if you were willing to take a closer look, you’d see that there is a lot you don’t know about the man I am.”
“I know what you’ve done to people I care about.  That’s all I need to know,” Jenna answered flatly, her fingers curling around the sheet that covered her.
“Yet you’re willing to forgive and forget with Dr. Raines there?” he questioned with obvious interest.  “The woman saved your life so you’re willing to be her friend, yet she’s been trying to destroy you since she returned to Coral Valley.”
“Excuse me,” Jenna blinked back at him.
“Well with what she’s pulled on Hart in lying to him about his daughter, it’s a wonder that either one of you would bother speaking to her,” Cameron shook his head, “yet men like me get the bad reputation.”
“His daughter,” Jenna repeated with obvious confusion sparking the kind of reaction that Cameron was hoping for.
“Oh Jenna,” he feigned surprise and embarrassment, “I just assumed that Hart told you about his and Elizabeth’s daughter…that he would’ve shared the news with you about the child they share with one another.”
“You lie,” Jenna glared up at him, “This is just another one of your tricks, isn’t it?  Well I have news for you it’s not going to win me over Cameron.”
“I’m not trying to win you over, just merely trying to show you that I’m here if you need me,” Cameron took a step back, “but clearly now isn’t the time for us to do this, is it?”
“There will never be a time when I need you Cameron.  I don’t need or want you in my life,” Jenna shot back at him with a glare, “You aren’t my family.”
“It’s too bad you feel that way,” Cameron shook his head at her, “because I just wanted to protect you--to keep you safe from the thing that have been happening around you.  I hate that you’ve been lied to Jenna and I wanted to give you clarity.”
“Then leave,” she hissed in response, “That will give me all the clarity I need.”
“Fine, but when you change your mind…” Cameron threw out at her once again.
“I won’t.  Not now, not ever,” she replied sharply watching him walk out the door.  While she was certain he came out here to start something with her, it hadn’t worked.  That man was nothing but evil and lies.  She was sure of that.  He’d been wrong about her father and he was wrong about Hart.  There was no chance that Elizabeth and Hart had a child with one another.  That was something that Hart wouldn’t fail to mention to her.  That much she was sure of.


Douglas entered the hospital a man on a mission now that Thea had armed him with the knowledge of his grandson’s birth.  He’d done a little investigating of his own and discovered that not only was Kipp’s child born, but Heather had been in a state to be anything, but difficult with him.  Smiling to himself he headed to the nursery area in the hopes of getting a first look at his grandson.  The thought amused him to no end--that was until another thought occurred to him. 
Taking a detour, he headed to Heather’s room ready to have his final say with the witch who thought she could actually destroy Kipp’s life.  Entering the room, he looked to the bed before him, a proud smile spreading over his features.  Seeing Heather looking so wounded only did his heart wonders after what she’d put his son through.
“So you little bitch, are you happy now that you have everything you deserve,” Douglas stepped in to take a long look at Heather.  She looked pathetic--truly and utterly repulsive in this state and he wondered if she would last long enough to try to dare oppose his position in Kipp’s son’s life.  Leaning in towards her, he whispered against the side of her face, “You should’ve taken the money I offered when you had your chance seeing as a whore like you was destined to come up empty in the end.”
Heather lay motionless seemingly oblivious to his arrival while he continued to further taunt her, “You know Heather, Kipp wasn’t smart enough to do to you what he should’ve, but this, well this is a nice step in the right direction where justice is concerned.  A little bitch like you deserves nothing less and if there really is a God out there, then he’ll see to it that you don’t wake up ever again.  Come to think of it, it would be fun to watch you squirm knowing that I’ve won.  You and Cameron thought you were so smart, but you couldn’t beat me.  You can never beat me Heather as that boy is mine.  You’ll never see him again--that is if you ever wake up.”
“Who the hell are you,” Sarah questioned arriving just in time to find the man at her sister’s bedside, “What do you think you’re doing in here?”
“I was merely paying my condolences to this woman,” Douglas rose up from the seat he’d taken beside Heather, “I’m finished now though.”
“Oh you’re finished alright, but you’re not leaving just yet,” Sarah blocked his path refusing to allow him exit.  She took a long look at his face before a sudden thought hit her, “Wait a second.  I know you.”
“No you don’t,” he shook his head at her unable to resist giving her a brief, once over, “as I’m quite certain I would’ve remembered a pretty, young thing like you.”
“No, I do know you.  You’re Douglas Mahoney,” she blurted out suddenly remembering where she’d seen his face before, “You’re a movie producer out in Hollywood.”
“That’s right I am,” he smiled at her ready to throw out a little Mahoney charm, “I take it you’re a fan?”
“On the contrary,” she glared up at him, “I’m Heather’s sister and I know all about this bullshit motion you’re making to take my nephew away from her.  It’s not going to happen.”
“Ah so the bitch has family,” Douglas gave her a brief once over, “A pity really because for a moment I found you to be almost charming.”
“Of course you would,” Sarah balked back at him, “considering that you make it a habit to get up close and personal with all those under the age of thirty in Hollywood.”
“Ah, so you have studying my background,” he noted with an icy smile, “Color me impressed.”
“I’d be more afraid if I were you,” Sarah remarked sharply, “because I always make it a habit to know my opponent and know them well.  You’re not a mystery to me Doug just like you don’t frighten me.  I know what you’re all about and you’re delusional to think that any court in this town is going to give you custody of my sister’s baby.”
“And you’re a fool to think you can stop me,” he laughed in her face, “that child belongs with me, not your vegetable sister.”
“Heather will pull through this and when she does, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep her son where he belongs.  You won’t be taking him anywhere and if you even try to do so, then I swear to you, you’ll regret the day you even dared to cross me,” Sarah stood nose to nose with him, tipping up on her toes to straighten her posture in an attempt to show him she would not be intimidated.
“My, my…you do have a spunk about you,” he chuckled mildly amused with her, “which is more than I can say for your whore of a sister, but I have to tell you you’re fighting a losing battle.  My grandson will be with me sooner or later.”
“Over my dead body,” Sarah spat out at him.  “As far as I’m concerned, you’ll never get your hands on Heather’s son.  If you even try, then I’ll show the world just what a monster you truly are as you know that I’m well aware of digging up your secrets.”
“All I’m aware of is that you’re full of hot air.  You might think you know something on me little girl, but if you were really such an expert, then you’d see that you’re fighting a lost cause.  It would be best suited for you to back out of it before things turn ugly for you and those you care about,” Douglas replied with a mocking expression before pushing past her, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and see my grandson.”
“If you even try, then I swear to you I’ll have you arrested on the spot,” Sarah threw back at him sharply.
“You can’t deny me the right to my grandchild,” Douglas balked back at her shaking his head with obvious amusement, “You don’t have that kind of power.”
“You want to try me,” Sarah’s brown eyes darkened as she took a step forward, her mouth curving in a menacing scowl, “Go ahead.  I dare you to try and see how far it gets you.”
Douglas opened his mouth to speak before finally opting for silence.  He nodded giving her a brief once over as if to size her up before speaking up once again, “This isn’t over.  I’m just warning you now that you’ve made a big mistake.”
“The mistake was on your end when you thought you could just waltz in here and uproot my sister’s child.  It’s not going to happen not now, not ever and if you try, as I said before, you’ll be the one suffering dire consequences.  Mark my words on that,” Sarah blurted out explicitly refusing to back down from the vow she’d made to protect Heather and her nephew.
“You’re the one who will be facing the consequences sooner or later little girl.  After this moment, I’m no longer showing any mercy to you or anyone else in your family,” he waved his finger at her wickedly before leaving Heather’s hospital room in a haste.
“You want a fight Douglas,” she mouthed, her fists clenched at her sides, “then you’ve got one.” 
Turning around to face her sister once again, she let out a long sigh wondering how in the hell Heather had managed to get herself into this much trouble.  Taking a step towards her sister, Sarah watched her in silence knowing that there was so very much that they had to talk about--so many things that they still needed to share with one another.  Time had separated them, but blood kept them bound to one another and despite the way Heather felt about Sarah, Sarah knew that she would do whatever was necessary to keep Heather’s child safe and protected.  That much she was sure of.


Gabe sat in his hospital bed wishing like hell that he could be there in Europe for Brittany’s championship.  While he’d spoken with her late last night, he could see how truly disappointed she was about his not being there.  She’d tried to play it off as if she was okay with his absence, but even now he felt like a horrible father--one who had been rendered helpless by a situation beyond his control. 
Taking note of the time Gabe thought to what his daughter must be doing at a moment like this--of how she had to be bursting with eagerness at the hopes of sharing this special day with her family.  He’d wanted more than anything to be there for her--to share this landmark moment in Brittany’s life, but one look at the cast on his leg left him feeling completely helpless.
“Well, it’s nice to see you’re awake,” a voice sounded pulling him from his troubled thoughts.  Just when he’d thought things had gone from bad to worse, they’d hit rock bottom when he’d felt his stomach tighten in knots at the sight of Marc.  His ex-lover was standing before him with an exotic plant in hand.
“What are you doing here,” Gabe questioned tightly.
“Making sure that you’re feeling better.  When I heard about the bombing, well I had to come and see if you were okay.  I was worried sick about you,” Marc explained stepping in towards him.
“I’m fine,” Gabe answered tightly.
“Yet, you’re no doubt beating yourself up over not being there for Brittany,” Marc deducted eyeing him intently, “Gabriel, you don’t have to try to pretend because I know you so very well…”
“Marc, my daughter is not open for discussion with you,” Gabe snapped back at him, “and if you ever want us to be even friends again, you’ll refrain from speaking about her or even thinking about her.”
“Can I help it if I worry about the little princess,” Marc shrugged his shoulders before offering up an icy smile, “In so many ways she reminds me of my little Cathy there.  She’s so spirited and beautiful and wants to see the best in the world around her especially where her father is concerned.”
“What do you want Marc,” Gabe cut him off sharply, “I mean what is the real reason you’re here?”
“I thought I would make sure that you were healing nicely since I’m sure you are eager to get back out to Brittany,” Marc set the plant down before reaching out to tease his fingers over Gabe’s arm, “I was thinking that maybe together we could work on nursing you back to your full health.  I thought that maybe you would accept my invitation to see to your care personally and maybe just maybe we could work on coming up with some kind of game plan in dealing with Noelle…”
“I already told you,” Gabe started with a clenched jaw.
“I know what you said Gabriel, but truth be told I’m not sure that’s really advisable given the position Noelle has you in.  She’s out for blood and if you aren’t careful…” Marc started with that same sardonic expression that made Gabe’s insides churn.
“I’m not going to strike a deal with the devil to keep my daughter.  I can take care of the situation on my own,” Gabe replied sharply, “and I just want you to stay the hell out of my life.”
“Gabriel, I wish you wouldn’t take that tone with me.  You know how I feel about…” Marc began with a heavy sigh.
“Please don’t make this any harder than it already has been.  Marc, you know things are over between us.  We can’t go back, only forward and for me that means moving on with my life beyond us,” Gabe explained straight to the point, “I know you can’t grasp that concept, but the truth to the matter is that it’s where I stand on the issue of us.”
“That’s too bad you feel that way Gabriel because I was so hoping that we could find some kind of middle ground with one another,” Marc reaching out to brush his hand against Gabe’s finger tips, “I was hoping that we’d reach some kind of mutual understanding…”
“Understand this.  If you go near my daughter again, then you’re going to wish that you hadn’t,” Gabe warned sharply, “Just leave my family alone.”
“I can’t held responsible for the actions of your ex-wife.  I’m not the enemy Gabriel, but I will say that I do believe in standing up for Brittany’s rights.  She deserves stability and if you let me help you, we can give her that…” Marc threw out one last desperate plea.
“I don’t want you anywhere near my daughter.  Stay away from her Marc and while you’re at it stay away from my life as well,” Gabe shot back at him not willing to take his ex-lover’s not so subtle nudge about things.
“Fine.  Have it your way Gabriel, but one day you’re going to live to regret this decision,” Marc huffed before leaving Gabe’s room in a haste.
“No, I don’t think I will,” Gabe mouthed under his breath after Marc had left.  Sinking back into the bed, he closed his eyes thinking about the trouble his ex-lover had already caused for him, “At least I hope not.”


Deidra paced around her apartment trying to keep herself calm after the phone call she’d received, but somehow that just didn’t seem to be in the cards for the morning.  Hearing a faint tapping on her front door, she rushed over to it only to discover Dave standing on the other side.
“I came as soon as you called.  What’s wrong,” Dave questioned entering her apartment to find her in tears, “Dee, what is it?”
“It’s…it’s…” she stopped herself wiping at her face, “it’s really ridiculous and after I called you I felt so totally stupid for doing so.  I just didn’t know who else to call.  I didn’t want my mother to see me upset and…”
“And what happened?  Deidra talk to me,” he pleaded with her, “what’s going on?”
“Andy called me,” she blurted out in tiny sobs, “He called this morning about the divorce.  Apparently he’s met someone and he’d like to speed up the process a bit so that they can be together.”
“Oh Deidra,” Dave reached out to embrace her, “I’m so sorry…”
“Not nearly as sorry as I am for thinking that I could actually have spent my life with that man.  I mean what was I thinking?” she continued to cry on his shoulder, “After all his promises of forever, then to have it come to this?  I mean am I so easy to forget?”
“No, you’re not,” Dave hugged her gently, “Deidra, Andy was a fool and anyone with eyes can see that.  Even if he has met someone, it won’t last.  He’s going to make her just as wonderful as he made you…”
“Or they could have what Andy and I were supposed to have together,” Deidra pulled away from him enough to cross the room.  She looked over her shoulder at him, “Did you know that he slept with Diane on our honeymoon night?”
“What,” Dave’s eyes nearly popped out of his head at her admission.
“That’s right.  She decided to tell me that at the hospital when she was on another one of her rants,” Deidra slumped down on the couch again, “I mean that is about as low as it can get right?”
“On Diane’s part, not yours,” Dave shook his head at the thought of what she’d told him.  Approaching her, he took a seat beside her, reaching for her hand, “Deidra, you have to see that she’s the one who clearly has issues that need to be dealt with…not you.  You’re a good, kind-hearted person and Andy’s just an ass.”
“I wish I could just wish I could see that he’s feeling something--anything about what happened,” Deidra sniffled, “I mean was I so very bad that he had to do this?  That we had to end up so far from what we wanted?”
“Deidra, he was the problem not you,” Dave squeezed her hand gently, “Andy was such a raving egomaniac that he didn’t really, truly see what a prize he had in you.  For him to want to rush this divorce, well I say go for it.  You deserve your freedom and the sooner you’re no longer attached to him, the better.”
“You’re right,” she nodded in response, “you’re absolutely right.  I do need my freedom and that’s what this is really all about.  Talking to him might’ve been hard, but once the divorce is final I won’t ever have to go through that again.”
“Exactly,” he encouraged her on.  “There’s the spirit.”
“I just wish,” she shook her head feeling suddenly foolish, “I mean this is crazy, but I just wish that Andy would regret what he’s done.  Don’t get me wrong…I know men like him don’t feel remorse, but still…”
“But nothing.  You’ve started a new life for yourself.  You’ve established that you’re a very professional, intelligent, amazing, sexy woman and if Andy was too stupid to realize that, then it’s his loss.  He doesn’t deserve you.  Truth be told he never did,” Dave blurted out in response, “Deidra, you can’t let him hold you back the rest of your life.  You need to start living life for you and find some happiness.”
“I know and I’ve been working on that,” she let out a poignant smile, “I mean I’m dating someone new and he’s really wonderful…”
“Oh really,” he tried not to let his disappointment show at her admission.
“Well, I don’t know if we’re officially dating or not, but he’s absolutely amazing.  Dave, you wouldn’t believe the way he makes me feel,” she boasted thinking about her time with Dean, “He’s just so…”
“Hey, if he makes you smile, then he should be something special,” Dave offered up doing his best to be a supportive pal.
“He’s really great Dave and it’s the first time in a long time when I actually feel like someone sees the real me.  He’s warm and generous and he’s really, truly everything I hoped for.  Okay, so maybe I’m jumping the gun here,” she wiped at her face, “but the fact to the matter is that I really enjoy his company.  He knows how to make me laugh--to get me smiling at that point when I think I’ve hit rock bottom and he’s reason enough for me not to be crying over Andy.”
“You should never waste your tears on a jerk like him,” Dave reached out to brush her tears from her cheek, “Andy was never worth it.  He still isn’t and if nothing else, you should see that his calling is a step in the right direction.  You can finally have that happiness that you’ve always deserved.”
“You’re right,” she nodded with a tiny sniffle, “You’re absolutely right Dave and I really don’t know what I’d do without you to show me that.”
“Well Deidra I,” Dave began feeling her arms curl around his neck in an embrace.
“Thank you so very much for being my best friend.  I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Deidra whispered feeling him hug her in response as Dave tried to push his feelings for her aside.  Despite the way he felt about Deidra, he knew that somehow she’d been looking for something that he could never give her.  How he wanted for them to find something special together, but for now, he’d push that dream aside and settle for the thought of her finding happiness with someone who could treat her right.  That is all he could ever hope for with her.

Diane sat at her desk checking her e-mail every thirty seconds hoping that Ben would write her back.  However, much to her dismay he’d ignored her latest e-mail just like he had the last five she’d sent out to him.  She’d tried calling him before work, but he hadn’t picked up to speak with her.  Half tempted to go over to his apartment, Diane had played it cool hoping they could have a one on one at work, but that too was a failure.  She’d spotted him on the way in over at his desk, but since then he’d been playing it incognito it seemed.  Now as she checked her e-mail yet again, she contemplated the next course of action.
“So I hear there’s trouble in paradise,” Cathy chimed in making her way over to Diane’s desk, “Somehow we all knew it was too good to last between you and Ben.  It was only a matter of time until you did or said something to spoil it.  So do tell Diane, what heinous thing have you done to destroy his opinion of you?”
“Go to hell,” Diane spat back at her, “Don’t you have someone in the mailroom to seduce or did you managed to sleep with them all at this point?”
“Oh see now, I think you have me mistaken with you because I figured that would be where you come up with the next rounds of selection for your dating pool now that Ben doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that you’re alive,” Cathy replied snidely, “Why I must say that for you, this one has to hurt the most seeing since he appears to be the guy who has rebounded the fastest after being burned by you.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean,” Diane sneered back at her.
“Oh you mean you didn’t know,” Cathy laughed lightly bringing her face up to her cheek, “Oops, my bad.  I just figured you’d already heard all about the brunette that Ben went off to lunch with.  She sure put you to shame.”
“He what,” Diane blinked back in surprise, “No, Ben wouldn’t do that.”
“No?” Cathy chuckled, “Well when I was passing by his desk earlier I heard him mention something about Pavilion.”
“No he didn’t,” Diane sprang up from her chair reaching for her purse before marching out of the office in a fury. 
There was no way that Ben had moved on that soon.  Angrily she sped out of the office not caring about leaving her work behind.  If Brant could great amounts of time away from the office, then so could she, she reasoned getting into her car and driving over to Pavilion.  Cathy had to be wrong.  Sure, Ben was upset with her, but he was so not moving on.  He couldn’t do that to her and he wouldn’t…
“Ben loves me,” Diane insisted in a frenzy, “he and I are meant to be together and yeah, so we’re having problems, but that doesn’t mean anything.  He wouldn’t just go out and find someone else just because she’d made one mistake.  They had something special and it was meant to last.  She was sure of it.  She wouldn’t let go of that thought. 
Pulling up in front of Pavilion, Diane marched out of her car making a storming movement through the doors of the restaurant. She didn’t bother to wait around for assistance as she moved through the place seeking out Ben.  After a few minutes, she spotted him with a buxom brunette who looked like she’d stepped out of the pages of a girly magazine.  She had supermodel beauty and with the way she was laughing at Ben’s jokes, Diane found herself on edge--a fury sweeping down upon her while vowing the joke wouldn’t be on her.  No, she would have the last say. 
Marching up to the table, Diane cleared her throat with heavy emphasis before speaking up, “Ben, what a surprise seeing you here.  Who is your friend?”
“Diane, what are you,” he began his smile fading.
“I was just in the neighborhood and I saw you two,” Diane focused her attention upon the woman across from him, “So just who the hell do you think you are?”
“Excuse me,” she blinked back behind a doe-eyed expression that made Diane want to puke.
“You heard me,” Diane sneered down at her, “I asked you who the hell you are.”
“Well now, I think that question is one I’m not up to answering given your demeanor,” she replied with a frown making Diane all the more agitated with her tone.  “I don’t owe you any answers.”
“Oh the hell you don’t.  Did he tell you that he’s my boyfriend?  I’m his significant other and while we’re fighting right now, we’re bound to be getting back together so you may as well not even try to bother,” Diane hissed in response, “You might think that you can give him a good screw, but when it gets down to it, you and your cheap looking implants don’t come close to what we have together.”
“Implants,” Ben’s companion rose from her side of the booth they’d been seated at, “I’ll give you implants.”
“Carly, please calm down,” Ben stepped in between the two women before things could get ugly.  Reaching out to Diane, he glared at her, “You back off and Carly, can you give us a second?”
“Sure,” Carly nodded sauntering her way out from the booth while Diane lunged forward ready to attack only to be stopped by Ben.
“What do you think you’re doing,” Ben demanded with a scowl.
“What are you doing?  You get mad at me and then you go on a date!  Do you think that this is going to help anything?” she shouted at him.
“Do you think you’re coming in here and assaulting her is going to make me forgive you any sooner,” Ben questioned with a frown.
“Oh like I need forgiveness when you’re lining up the next bitch to have fun with right?” Diane’s eyes narrowed with rage, “I see how it is.  You figured that you could toss me aside like trash and find the next Playboy bunny to shack up with.”
“She happens to be a new A.D.A with the justice department,” Ben informed her sharply, “Not that it is any of your business…”
“How can it not be my business when you two are acting like love struck teenagers out in public like this?” Diane squealed at him not caring about the scene she was making.
“That’s not what we were doing Diane.  Carly and I had a meeting about,” he paused shaking his head at her, “I don’t owe you any answers.”
“The hell you don’t.  I thought you loved me Ben.  I thought you said that you wanted to share your life with me and for you to do this,” Diane shook her head at him, feeling hot tears burning behind her eyes, “What?  Because I’m not perfect you chose to get rid of me and replace me with that.”
“Diane, I asked you repeatedly to try to push your hatred for your sister aside and still you couldn’t do it.  Time and time again I tried to get the both of you to get some kind of middle ground and…” Ben began with a heavy sigh.
“And let me guess.  You’re sleeping with her too right,” she lashed out at him slapping him right across the cheek in a tizzy, “I hate you Ben Walters.  You’re no better than the rest of the guys out there as you’re all the same.”
“Diane,” Ben frowned reaching out for her only to barely catch her arm before she reached to the table for his drink.  She threw it in his face before storming out of the restaurant in a fury.
“Gee Ben, you sure know how to pick them, don’t you,” Carly noted returning in time to catch the wind down of their fight.
“Look, I don’t want to get into it right now,” Ben shook his head reaching for his napkin as he tried to process just how far out of hand things were getting with Diane.  “Let’s just finish our conversation so that you can take Chavez back what she wants to see.”
“Fine, but if I were you, I’d steer clear of her,” Carly shrugged her shoulders, “She looks like she could give you some major grief in the future.”
“Yeah well it’s par for the course these days,” Ben confessed in frustration wondering how everything could transform from so perfectly right between him and Diane to this.  Still, he couldn’t afford to dwell on that now, especially not with the justice department breathing down his neck.  He had a job to do and he had to get it done.  Fixing the problems with Diane would have to wait.


"Want to try that again, Spanky?" Kyle growled getting up in his face as Brant tried pushing him back.

"Yeah I do," Brant reared back his fist out to throw a punch as Kyle ducked and grabbing him as he put him in an arm lock.

"You still think that was a good idea?" he questioned tightening his grip on his shoulder.

"Yeah, I do," Brant bit down in pain as Kyle pushed him down to the ground.

"When are you going to learn," Kyle grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pushed him against the wall with his one arm.

"Hey, you better watch out, you can hurt your arm," Brant laughed as Kyle pressed him tighter against the wall.
"Ha, that’s real funny isn’t it?"

"Kyle stop it, it’s not worth doing this," Avery yelled as Brant kicked Kyle in the stomach making him fall to the ground. "Brant!"

"What?" he questioned as Kyle quickly got up slamming his fist into Brant’s jaw making him hit the wall as he fell to the ground.

"Come on Spanky, get up," Kyle motioned for him to get up as Brant just looked up at him. "What you can’t?"

"Kyle, you know you hurt him now that’s enough," Avery got out before Brant got up with a determined face.

"What you pissed you’re getting your ass kicked by a guy with a dislocated arm," Kyle scowled as Brant went to run at him and Kyle moved. "You still want some, when do you learn?"

Brant pushed Kyle back as he stood there for a second looking down. Brant raised an eyebrow as Kyle started laughing, "What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing," he laughed as he pushed Brant against the wall kicking him in the stomach. "Like that?"

"Hey break it up," Grady’s voice appeared into the room holding Kyle back as he tried to get past him.

"You better keep that dog under control," Brant laughed wiping his lip.
"Real funny…let me go," Kyle tried getting out of his grip and towards Brant.

"Kyle, listen…this guy is a piece of shit. He is a loser and he isn’t worth it okay?" Grady let go of him as Kyle pulled down the bottom of his black shirt.

"Fine," Kyle shrugged turning around as Brant got up pouncing on his back grabbing him in a chokehold. Kyle flipped him over his head as he fell to the ground. He got on top of him and grabbed his head ready to punch him.

"Do it, hit me," Brant laughed as Kyle smiled before shaking his head.

"You are so dumb," he laughed as he felt an arm grab him from behind.

"Come on Kyle, this isn’t worth it," Jade said grabbing his hand as Kyle nodded and Grady pulled Brant up.

"Watch your back," Brant pointed at him as he smiled.

"What ever," Kyle waved him off as he turned around to walk into the hallway with Jade.


“Hey beautiful,” Hart entered Jenna’s hospital room finding her staring off into space.  Carrying a brown paper bag in hand, his smile widened, “I’m here to break you out of your boredom.”
Jenna turned to look at him, her eyes a mask of sudden seriousness as she looked at him, “Hart, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, what’s on your mind sweetheart,” Hart approached her moving in to kiss her cheek gently.
“Well Cameron came to see me and he said something earlier today,” she admitted honestly, “At first I tried to blow it off, but then I started thinking about what he’d said and the truth to the matter is that it just sounded so off the wall that I figured that maybe I should just ask…”
“Jen, what is it,” Hart questioned feeling his pulse leaping up into his throat by the expression on her face.
“Do you and Elizabeth Raines have a daughter together,” Jenna blurted out cutting straight to the point.  She felt a moment of long silence pass between them before her heart sank, “Oh God…”
“Jen, I can explain,” he reached out to touch her arm gently, “I wanted to tell you, but…”
“But what Hart?” Jenna’s voice rose with anger, “It just slipped your mind.  The fact that you fathered a child with another woman just didn’t seem relevant at the time.”
“It’s not that,” Hart began to plead his case, “Jen, I honestly didn’t know about her until just yesterday.  Beth didn’t tell me and…”
“And here I was thinking that it was really over between the both of you.  When I walked in on the two of you all over one another when you almost died, that wasn’t just her throwing herself on you, was it?  That was her way of trying to get you back into her life again--of getting you to be a family with her and her daughter.”
“Jen, no that’s not it,” he began feeling a moment of desperation overtake him with the expression on her face.
“Then give me one good reason why I should believe a word your saying.  Tell me why you couldn’t tell me the truth Hart.  Why did I have to find out about your daughter from Cameron,” Jenna questioned, her eyes narrowing with the obvious betrayal she felt as Hart found himself ready to face the truth once and for all about the life he’d just had thrown upon him.


...to be continued...