Episode 149

Blake returned to the guest house at the mansion thinking about the talk she’d had with Brant.  While she’d been in a much brighter mood before she’d gone to the main house, the sad truth to the matter was that her brother was hurting.  Things were going to be harder than ever now that Ken had lost Caitlin and in a way she felt guilty for having indulged so much in her happiness when so many horrible things had happened.  Opening the front door Blake was surprised to find Seth on the sofa flipping through channels on the television set.
“There you are,” Seth turned the television off before setting the remote down on the sofa as well.  Rising to his feet, he made a move towards her, “hey, what’s wrong?”
“Oh Seth,” Blake embraced him unable to contain her tears.  She sobbed into his chest, her heart breaking with the moment.  “Why is the world so cruel at times?”
“I wish I had the answers for that,” Seth offered up not quite sure what had taken place while Blake was away, but whatever it was, it couldn’t have been good.  Gently, he coaxed her to look at him once again, “Blake, what happened?”
“I went to the house to leave you and Ben some time to talk, but…well, I ran into Brant,” Blake started with a sniffle, “He was speaking with Ken earlier and…”
“And what?  Blake, honey, what’s wrong,” he questioned watching her sad blue eyes divide with a great mixture of emotions.
“My brother isn’t doing good at all.  He’s taking Caitlin’s death so very hard and I’m worried about him Seth.  Ken’s always been so strong and so stable and for him to be falling apart like this…”
“Blake, I’m so sorry that he has to go through this.  Caitlin was a wonderful woman and I know how much he loved her,” Seth urged her more completely into his arms.
“It’s just that with Ken,” Blake began thinking about her brother’s broken heart, “He’s just never had any real luck with women.  Time and time again each one of them has had an agenda.  The first time he felt something real was with Wendy and she left to be with her family.  After that he tried to be a rebel--tried to be reckless like Brant, but it only caused him more pain and frustration.  For the longest time he buried himself in work trying to convince us all that he was okay--that he was prioritizing his life, but I knew better.  When Caitlin came into town not only was I thrilled that my best friend was around, but at the same time I also knew that she’d been burned by love.  In so many ways she and Ken were so much alike.”
“I could see that,” Seth nodded urging her to follow him over to the couch.  Reaching over onto the table, he grabbed the box of Kleenex that was there, offering a tissue to her.
“Thank you,” she sniffled dabbing at her eyes, “I mean I know this sounds crazy, but with everything that’s happened, I’m just so afraid that Ken is never going to recover from this.  He tries to play a situation like he can handle it, but my brother’s already endured so much.  I‘m just so afraid he‘s going to take a trip down that dark road again.  Last time when Wendy left he became a playboy of sorts.  It didn‘t make him happy, but it kept him from feeling the pain of losing her.  Of course when she left it wasn‘t like it is now.  Wendy isn‘t dead…”
“I realize that Ken’s going through some hard times right now, as are you,” Seth wrapped his arm around her pulling her into his lap, “I know Caitlin was your best friend and that this is a difficult time in your life as well.”
“Yes, but Ken wanted to marry her.  They were so perfect for one another--soul mates and fate ripped that away from them,” Blake began to sob, “and as much as it’s hurting him and me that Caitlin is gone, I keep thinking to myself what I would be doing in his position if that bombing had taken you from me.  Seth, if I would’ve lost you…”
“You didn’t Blake,” he squeezed her tighter in his arms, “We’re together now and everything is going to be okay.  With your brother, well, Blake, anything we can do for him, well you know we will.  I’m willing to help him in any way that I can.”
“I just don’t know if there’s anything anyone can do now that Caitlin is gone,” she confessed with a tiny whimper, “I mean how can you ever repair a heart that has lost it’s love?”
“It takes time and no one ever really recovers, but you know…from what you’ve said about your brother, it seems to me that he keeps it all inside.  Maybe what he needs is someone to talk to--someone who isn’t involved in all of this,” Seth suggested thinking about the situation at hand, “I know it might not be much considering it was a different kind of situation, but when Jade’s life was ripped apart, she went to see a therapist and he was able to help her deal with things.  He helped her through a very dark spot in her life and maybe just maybe he can do the same for Ken.”
“I don’t know if my brother would be willing to see someone--at least not a professional,” Blake admitted with a heavy sigh, “He’s so very proud and to think about him revealing what’s been held in for so very long…well I just don’t know how easily he’d resign himself to that.”
“It’s worth a try,” Seth reasoned with her, “and if he doesn’t want to go that route, then we can try to be there for him.  We can find a way to help him through this time…”
“I just want him to know that Caitlin would want him to keep pushing on.  She wouldn’t want him to stop living and I…” Blake stopped herself shaking her head, “I just really don’t want to think about this right now.  Ken is with Brant and I’m sure he’ll be okay.  I just was upset because…”
“Because he’s your brother and you love him,” Seth wiped at her tears gently, “Blake, there’s nothing wrong with that.  It shows that you’re a kind person with a good heart…”
“Not nearly good enough,” Blake sighed shaking her darkened thoughts before gazing up at Seth once again, “So how did it go with Ben?”
“It went,” Seth shrugged his shoulders sensing her need to change the conversation, “He’s upset and hopefully he’ll follow his heart and do what he feels is right in this situation.”
“So what did Diane do now,” Blake scowled thinking about the woman she’d grown to hate.
“It’s not our concern,” Seth warned seeing her need to vent on something or someone, “All that matters is that Ben is figuring things out and sooner or later it’ll work itself out.”
“You’re not really going to tell me anything about this, are you?” Blake frowned up at him.
“Tell me something.  If I did, would you be willing to cut Diane a break?” he challenged in response.
“Not on her life,” Blake wrinkled her nose at him, “and to think about her hurting Ben, well it infuriates me to no end.”
“All the more reason why we aren’t going to discuss this,” Seth explained with a soft sigh hugging her body to his, “You know when it comes to relationships a lot of people are quick to offer advice, but when it gets down to it, what’s important is how the people who are involved feel about one another.”
“I know that,” Blake groaned in response, “I really do, but I don’t trust Diane.”
“That’s not really relevant or not to her relationship with Ben.  I mean think about it Blake.  How many people said we were all wrong for one another?” Seth raised a curious brow hoping to bring his point home with her.
“Okay, so maybe people can be wrong.  Not that I’m saying I’m wrong about Diane, but you’re right.  It’s none of my business,” Blake snuggled into him, laying her head on his chest, “All that’s important is that Ben finds some happiness.”
“Exactly,” he nodded in agreement before kissing the top of her head.  Running his fingertips over her spine, he thought of how far they’d come with one another in such a short time since the accident.
“It’s a pity that everyone couldn’t feel like we do right now all the time…” Blake sighed closing her eyes and listening to the strong, solid sounds of his heart beating.  While she hated to think about it, she knew in her heart that Ken had found that special feeling.  He had the kind of happiness that she and Seth had with one another and somehow it had all ended in the blink of an eye.
“Well, you have to remember, we had to go through a lot to feel this good,” Seth leaned back a bit further on the couch keeping her in close beside him.
“I know, but sometimes I wish we could’ve just skipped over all the pain and the hurt,” Blake confessed reaching out to touch his cheek gently, “Seth, when I think of all the time we wasted…”
“It’s in the past Blake.  It’s not important anymore.  What matters is what we’re feeling right here, right now,” he whispered sealing his words with a kiss. 
Carefully Blake maneuvered herself over him, easing him back further on the couch as their kisses grew in intensity.  Feeling Seth’s hands over her body, she in turn massaged the warm contours of his chest needing him now more than ever.  He was right, she realized.  Their long hard road had been something that brought them to this--to the love that they’d found with one another and she wasn’t about to let it go.
“Blake,” he breathed her name, easing his thick fingers into her blonde hair, watching the way her sad eyes seemed to shine with the love that she’d felt for him.
“I love you Seth,” Blake whispered dipping down to kiss him once again, “I love you so much.”
“I love you,” he murmured in response comforting her in his arms wanting nothing more than to prove to her how magical their love truly was.  Gingerly, he reached out to massage her spine, feeling the warmth of her above him.
“Seth,” she whispered his name, easing open his robe, allowing the warmth of him to fill her up inside.  Their eyes connected briefly as she sat upright over him, yanking her shirt up over her body before coming crashing down upon him, devouring his lips with a fiery intensity, “make love to me.”
“Oh Blake,” Seth teased his fingers over her spine crushing her body to his.  Feeling the longing behind their intimate caresses and the burning intensity threatening, he curved his arms around her, using his strength to hoist her up against his chest.  Carefully he rose to his feet, seeing her confused eyes before he explained, “Let’s not do this here.  Let’s make tonight special.”
Silently she nodded allowing him to take her to the bedroom as they vowed to spend the night exploring their love for one another.  Tonight they’d experienced a great many emotions, but the one that would reign supreme would be the one that had ultimately brought them back together.

Ben walked up to Ria’s apartment door thinking about his talk with Seth.  While he’d thought he was sure what he wanted to do, the truth was he wanted another perspective before he made any decisions in haste.  At the time he’d had his conversation with Seth, he’d been pretty sure what he wanted to do, but rather than sitting there and spoiling Seth’s evening with Blake, Ben had politely excused himself promising to go home and think about things.  The only problem was that home reminded him far too much of Diane and tonight, he didn’t want to be left with the memories that had been haunting him for the past few days.
“You should just call her,” Ben silently cursed at himself wishing that he didn’t have to be conflicted about the situation.  He should’ve been able to just tell Diane how he felt and they should’ve been able to work through this.  Things shouldn’t be so up in the air, but unfortunately things weren’t anywhere near how they should be.  With that thought in mind, Ben had headed over to Ria’s in the hopes that she’d had a night off of work to listen to him--or at the very least kick his ass into shape somehow.
Knocking again, he waited patiently for Ria to answer, but much to his surprise he was greeted by yet another familiar face.  His jaw nearly dropped as he looked to the woman standing before him, “Valerie?”
“Ben,” Valerie squealed practically leaping into Ben’s arms.  She threw her arms and legs around him, holding onto him for dear life as Ben took a staggering step back while attempting to keep himself in balance.
“Val, what are you doing here?” Ben blinked back after finding it in himself to stay standing.
“I had a local shoot,” she explained with a bright, white smile, “and Ria said I could stay with her for a while.  Had I known you’d been close by, then I would’ve tried to crash at your place instead.”
“Yeah right you would’ve,” Ben shook his head at her, “You would’ve been there five minutes and then you’d be begging for the classiest hotel you could find.”
“You’re probably right,” Valerie laughed detangling herself from his arms, “but still it would’ve been fun.  I just really thought that you were gone.  Last I’d heard you were out of Coral Valley--that you blew this place like me.”
“Yeah well, you know I tried and I found that being back home was where my heart really was,” Ben confessed following her into Ria’s apartment, “It just wasn’t the same braving the outside world.”
“Tell me about it,” Valerie sighed heavily, motioning over to the kitchen, “Can I get you a drink?”
“Sure, why not,” Ben shrugged his shoulders, “I could use one right about now.  Hey, where’s Ria?”
“She’s at work,” Valerie wrinkled her nose in response, “She got called in last minute, so I’ve been bored out of my mind.  You have no idea how excited I was when I saw you standing there just now.”
“Oh I might have some idea,” Ben laughed lightly smiling as she returned with two bottles of beer.  She handed him one before motioning for him to take a seat on Ria’s couch with her.
“I’m being totally serious on this one Ben,” she replied taking a long swig from the bottle, “Here I was thinking that I’d got a break when I had the night off, but then with Ria gone, I’ve been in sitcom hell…”
“Yeah well I’m surprised to see you like this,” Ben admitted with a quick nod taking note of her attire, “I haven’t seen you in sweats since…well, come to think of it, never.”
“That’s because they aren’t mine,” she wrinkled her nose with obvious disapproval, “They’re Ria’s and they looked comfortable, so I borrowed them.  I figured if I was sitting around the apartment waiting for excitement to reach me, then well, what was the point of being all decked out?”
“Good point,” Ben nodded taking another drink of the beer she’d given him, “So what’s the story?  What’s the big project this time?”
“Nothing that would interest you,” she waved her hand at him dismissively, “So tell me, what brings you to Ria’s tonight?”
“You mean other than the fact that I’m completely screwed up in the head,” Ben sighed slumping back in the chair, “I guess you could say that I’m not having the best of weeks.”
“Well that makes too of us,” Valerie frowned slightly before kicking her feet out from underneath her, “Want to talk about it?”
“Not really,” Ben shifted his head to the side to look at her, “You?”
“Not on your life,” she laughed lightly before a thoughtful smile spread over her features, “though you know if we’re really just going to sit around getting totally drunk while avoiding our issues, why not do it in style?”
“Who said that I was in the mood to get totally drunk,” Ben threw out a pointed look.
“You didn’t have to,” Valerie sprung up from her seat, “but I’m in the mood, so let’s go somewhere fun.  It’s been far too long for me in this town.  Last time I was here, I was barely legal and I couldn’t enjoy the finer things that Coral Valley had to offer.”
“The last time you were here, that didn’t stop you,” Ben pointed out with a tiny chuckle, “Though I have to admit your whole fake ID routine nearly got us all busted.”
“Yeah well it would’ve worked if you and Seth would’ve stuck with the plan,” Valerie reminded him sharply, “The fake id’s he cooked up in his photography class looked too damn real.  We could’ve totally gotten away with the situation if you wouldn’t have gotten all worked up like you did…”
“Yeah well it doesn’t help your nerves when you’re about to commit a crime knowing full well your father works for the FBI.  It kind of puts a damper on the fun because if that bouncer would’ve taken the proper channels, my father would’ve still been kicking my butt to this very day and beyond.”
“Oh I could’ve smooth talked him into forgiving us,” she threw back in a moment of laughter, “Your father always did have a sweet spot for me.”
“My father was blinded by the fact that you were really the devil in disguise,” Ben shook his head at her again.
“Yeah well since you put it that way, I’m in the mood to stir up a little trouble tonight.  Let’s forget being down in the dumps and let’s party,” Valerie announced making her way towards the guestroom at Ria’s place, “Just write Ria a note and have her meet up with us if she gets off early.  We’re going to have fun tonight.”
“I guess this means I don’t have a say in the matter, huh,” Ben chuckled realizing that time and distance hadn’t changed Valerie a bit.
“Nope, not at all,” she waved her hand at him dismissively, “Now write the note so we can leave…”
“Knowing you, well I could have ten hours to write the note with how long it takes you to get ready,” he couldn’t help but poke fun at her.
“Not tonight,” she promised bringing her hand up over her chest with heavy exaggeration, “I have cabin fever and I need to work on curing myself with a night of music, dancing and beer.  Lots and lots of beer.”
“Still the same Valerie,” he shook his head at her taking another sip from his bottle before seeking out a pen and paper to pen a note for Ria.  Perhaps Valerie was right.  Perhaps tonight would be a good night to push his problems aside…for a little while at least.


Diane weaved her way through the crowd over to the bar.  Waving for the bartender she realized that she was going to need a lot more alcohol if she was going to be pretending to be enjoying herself.  Already Patrick had stomped on her toes at least half a dozen times in the middle of a line dance and if that wasn’t enough, his hands had constantly been groping her.  It was enough to make her scream, but in her hopes of playing it safe and finding out what Jade needed, she’d just grinned and taken it all in hoping he wouldn’t see what she was really thinking.
“There you are,” Patrick slithered up from behind her, curling his arms around her waist.  He dropped his head down over her shoulder, teasing his chin over her in such a way that it was more of an annoyance than anything else, “I was beginning to think that I lost you there.”
“No such luck,” Diane thought to herself before reaching for the drink that the bartender had just provided her with.  Gritting her teeth, she forced herself to stay focused.  She inhaled slowly before shifting around in his arms only to find him moving in for a kiss, “I was just getting a drink.  Want some?”
“No thanks,” he replied with a slight frown feeling her shove the glass in his face.  “Actually, I was thinking more about you and me hitting up the dance floor again.”
“That sounds like fun, but you know my feet kind of hurt.  Why don’t we sit down and talk,” she suggested taking his hand and leading him over to a booth at the far end of the bar.  Sliding in one side of the booth, she expected him to move in across from her, but instead he eased himself right in beside her.
“This is a much better idea,” Patrick grinned down at her, dropping his hand down over her thigh, “So tell me sweetheart, what’s on your mind?”
“Actually a lot of things,” Diane reached down to draw his hand away from her leg.  Unfortunately all she managed to do was give herself a few inches more away from his sliding his fingers underneath her skirt.
“Such as,” he leaned in closer to her, his mouth moving in over the side of her neck in a slobbery, clammy movement.
“Such as this big Mahoney murder case,” Diane blurted out shifting just out of his reach, “I heard you were the one who made the big arrest.  You must be very proud.”
“Word does travel fast around this town, doesn’t it,” Patrick smiled down at her with devilish intent.
“It really does,” Diane nodded tilting her head away from him once again as she sensed him moving in for the kill, “though you know you must be very proud of yourself since it’s kind of put you in the light of the hero in busting the bad guy.”
“Well, some think they’re above the law, but the truth to the matter is that they all come crashing down when justice is to be served,” Patrick grinned proudly before humming the offbeat theme song to the TV show cops.  He leaned forward nibbling on Diane’s neck eagerly, “Bad boys…bad boys…whatcha gonna do?  Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
“Vomit,” Diane mouthed with a slight groan wondering why in the world she’d even considered dating such a loser in the past.  Sure, she’d been upset with Ben, but this made her just absolutely desperate.
“So…what do you say we go back to my place and I can give you a full body massage starting with those aching feet of yours and working my way up to,” his words trailed off as his hand eased up underneath her skirt.  Diane sat up straighter straining to suppress a squeal when Patrick shot up as well.
“Damn it!” he cursed releasing her much to her relief.  He reached for the pager at his side and then eyed her once again, “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay, I’ll be waiting,” Diane waved watching him cross the bar before she reached for her drink.  Not caring about whether or not drinking was a good idea tonight, she downed the glass in one large gulp before closing her eyes.  She was in hell.  That had to be it.  No doubt in her mind.
“Having a rough night,” J.T. questioned sliding in the booth across from her.  She opened her eyes to see the smile that spread over his features, “It could have something to do with the company you’re keeping.”
“J.T.,” she squealed his name before doing a quick look around the bar.  Dropping her head down, she spoke to him in a muted whisper, “what are you doing here?  You have to leave!”
“Why?” he questioned mimicking her movement as he rotated his head around the bar, “What am I missing?”
“I’m on a date and you simply can’t be here,” Diane explained waving her hand at him urgently, “You need to go like now.”
“Actually, I could, but then you wouldn’t hear what I have to say about your date,” J.T. confessed with a twisted grin.
“What about my date,” she frowned realizing he looked like the cat who ate the canary, “J.T. what do you know about my date?”
“You mean other than he’s not going to be returning for the rest of the night,” he wiggled his brow at her.
“What?” she blinked back at him, “No, you’re delusional.  He’ll be back any minute now.”
“No, he won’t,” J.T. shook his head at her, “I ran into him on the way over and he said he had to leave.  Urgent police duty.  You know how hard it is to be a hero these days.”
“Oh you can just go to hell,” she scowled in response shoving away from him, “I’m going to find Patrick.”
“Diane, I’m serious.  He’s gone.  I was on the way over when he and I crossed paths.  He recognized me from the sport’s bar and for some reason he must’ve figured that’s where he was at.  He paid me twenty dollars to deliver the message personally,” J.T. held up a crisp twenty dollar bill to show her before tucking it into his pocket, “So now that we’ve got that out of the way, why don’t you tell me what it really is that you were doing here with that loser tonight?” 


“Do you think she is going to be okay?” Kyle questioned sighing as he paced back and forth.

“She’ll be fine, she just needs some time,” Elliot assured him watching Kyle sigh heavily dropping down to the couch.

“This is all my fault, I can’t believe I let this happen,” he insisted covering his eyes trying to fight back the long lasting headache he had for so long.

“Kyle, don’t say that. This didn’t happen because of you…it was just, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Elliot reminded him sitting next to Kyle and putting his hand on his shoulder in his own attempt to stay strong upon losing his son.

“Yeah, he was there at the wrong time because I let it happen,” Kyle said hating himself on the inside.

“Kyle…what really happened?” Elliot wondered as Kyle looked up biting on his lip. “It’s alright you can tell me.”

“Russell got some information,” he started feeling his throat grow dry, just like every other time he talked about the incident.

“What kind of information?” Elliot questioned.

“Sir, the only reason I am here is because Russell hired me to find information on Bruce, he just wanted to have a good life with his wife,” Kyle sighed standing up.

“Kyle…just go on.”

“Well, he got this call from some source and they were to meet at the airport. Russell insisted that he meet up with this person…I knew I should have gone, that way Russ could have protected his wife while I was away,” a deep breath escaped Kyle’s lips and he began clenching his fist.

“Kyle, you know it’s not your fault, you tried,” Elliot assured him putting his hand on his shoulder.

“See that’s it, I didn’t. When Avery didn’t want him into anything and he asked me to be a part of this then I could have said no, but you know what, I didn’t which means I didn’t try my hardest,” Kyle hissed towards himself.

“Kyle, you wanted him to be happy…and knowing that you were willing to help him showed that you wanted to be there for him. You were a good friend and you did all you could do,” Elliot offered up with a sad smile, “Russ thought very highly of you and I know that if the situations were reversed that he would’ve stepped up to bat for you as well.  Kyle, I don’t believe that my son would blame you for any of this.  Just like I don’t and neither does Cheryl, Grady or Avery.  We know that you did what you could to try to help Russ.  I realize there’s more to this than you’re telling me, but we can talk about this later. Right now you need to stop putting all this blame upon yourself.  You did what you could in this situation.”

“Which wasn’t enough,” Kyle stated grabbing his leather jacket and slipping it on, “Listen, I’ve got to go…I’ll come by later to check on her okay. Tell her that I hope she feels better and that…I’m…. I’m sorry.”

“Okay,” Elliot nodded with concern watching Kyle shut the door behind himself as Elliot wondered what it was that his son was truly involved in.  If Bruce Mathis somehow played a hand in Russell‘s death, then there would be a price to pay.


Guy held the array of balloons he’d brought with him in hand knowing full well that it was well beyond visiting hours, but he’d managed to pull a few favors along the way.  Tonight he was going to be with Gabe--staying with him and trying to make up for lost time between them.  Knowing full well that his lover was fit to be tied for having to stay held up in the hospital, Guy was hoping he would be able to find a way to keep Gabe’s mind off of the environment.
“Guess who’s here,” Guy announced entering the room only to discover Gabe in bed with Brittany.  Stopping in the doorway, Guy couldn’t help but watch them in awe thinking about how this was the picture perfect moment for his lover.  Time and time again Guy had listened to Gabe’s tales about his daughter--about how wonderful and beautiful she was, but up until now Guy hadn’t seen her first hand.  Sure, he’d seen photographs, but that just didn’t do her enough justice.  Taking a step forward, Guy couldn’t help but admire the two of them.
Brittany seemed to sense the new arrival in the room despite her father’s sleepiness.  She turned in her father’s arms, her eyes opening to reveal her sleepy yawn that followed.  Rubbing at her face, she sat upright giving Guy a very thorough inspection.
“Who are you,” she yawned again tired, yet curious enough to want to know more about the man who’d entered her father’s hospital room.
“I’m Guy,” he explained with a soft smile, “I’m a friend of your father’s.”
“A friend,” Brittany eyed him with intense scrutiny, “Is that right?”
“That’s right,” Guy nodded with a small smile, while motioning to the balloons, “I brought these for him, but you can have one if you would like one.”
“Actually I think he could use them more than I can right about now,” Brittany confessed turning to look at her sleeping father, “He’s not feeling very well.”
“I know that and that’s why I’m here.  I came to help him tonight, but I can see he’s already got the best nurse with you, huh Brittany,” Guy continued to speak with her watching her big eyes widened before growing suddenly suspicious.
“How do you know my name?” she questioned with a tiny curl of her lower lip, “You know I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
“I realize that, but when your daddy wakes up, he’ll tell you I’m not a stranger,” Guy explained taking a step forward.  He set the balloons down before taking a step back, “though what if I take a seat over there for a while?”
“Well, I really don’t know,” she contemplated the thought for a moment before speaking to him once again, “So what did you say your name was again?”
“It’s Guy,” he replied with yet another smile.
“That’s a silly name,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “Who would name you Guy?”
“Apparently my mother liked it,” Guy couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on her face.
“It’s kind of a stupid name,” Brittany admitted with a simple shrug of her shoulders, “but I guess it’s okay.  I’m just glad that my mom didn’t name me Girl.  I don’t think I’d like that.”
“I happen to think that you have a beautiful name Brittany,” Guy offered up while taking note of the drawings on the wall by the bed, “Did you make those?”   
“I did,” Brittany nodded proudly.  She wiggled her finger at one in particular, “And this one is one that my daddy and I made together.”
“It’s beautiful,” Guy rose up from the chair he’d been seated in, “May I take a look at it?”
“I suppose you can,” she nodded eagerly, “but just make sure you don’t get it dirty.  It’s very special.”
“I swear to you I won’t,” Guy promised reaching for the drawing.  “So who is everyone?”
“This is me,” she pointed to a stick figure, “and this is my daddy and these are my ponies.”
“Your ponies huh?” Guy repeated with obvious interest, “Do they have names?”
She nodded, “This is Mercury and this is Lila.  They are both cool ponies, but Mercury is a little crabby sometimes.”
“Why is that?”
“Because he likes Cheese puffs, but my trainer says he can’t have them,” she confessed in a muted whisper wiggling her finger at him to move in closer to hear more of her secret, “but I let Mercury have them when my trainer isn’t looking.  Just don’t tell anyone okay?”
“Okay, it‘ll be our little secret,” he vowed holding out his little finger to her, “Pinky swear.”
“Pinky swear,” she repeated just before Gabe began to move around a bit restlessly.  His eyes opened and a smile crossed over his lips when he noticed Guy and Brittany speaking to one another.
“Well what is this,” Gabe questioned with obvious exhaustion sweeping down upon him.
“This is your friend Guy daddy,” Brittany informed him matter of fact, “He came to visit you because you’re sick.”
“He did huh,” Gabe couldn’t help but smile at the man he loved.
“That’s right and he likes my drawings…especially the one with Mercury,” Brittany winked up at Guy to remind him of their secret.
“I see,” Gabe nodded again feeling Brittany shift beside him.  She leaned down to whisper in his ear.
“Do you think he can stay for a while,” she questioned, “He seems cool.”
“I don’t know.  You’ll have to ask him yourself,” Gabe urged her on watching her turn to his lover again.
“Will you stay around for a while?  If you like to color, well the nurse brought me a couple of pens,” Brittany reached out for the blue ink pen she’d been toting most of the night.
“Actually I’d love to color, but how about we use markers,” Guy suggested pulling out a pack of markers that he’d had in his pocket.
“Markers,” she practically squealed reaching out to take him from his hand, “Cool!”
“I thought you might like those,” Guy explained before looking to Gabe again, “It’s a good thing I kept them with me after work.”
“A very good thing,” Gabe nodded in agreement.
“Okay well now that we have these, you can go back to bed now daddy.  Guy and I are going to color,” she decided moving down off of the bed.  She looked up at Guy before tugging on his arm, “We can color over there.  It’s a good spot.”
“Okay then,” Guy couldn’t help but laugh exchanging looks with Gabe.  Still he followed Brittany over to where she wanted to color at.
Gabe watched in silence seeing his daughter bond so easily with the man he loved.  In that moment, he realized that he’d never loved Guy more than he did right then and there.  Watching the two interact, Gabe thought about just how very lucky he was to still have so much in his life to look forward to.  He’d been given a second chance and he wouldn’t trade that for anything in this world.


“This is insane,” Ben shook his head while following Valerie into the Cadillac Ranch, “This place has to be the trashiest, cheapest bar on the strip…”
“Which makes it absolutely perfect for me,” Valerie shouted over the booming, country music that surrounded them, “Ben, tonight I want to step out of the world of glamour and glitz and just enjoy being a wild child.”
“Somehow I knew I was in for trouble when I agreed to this,” he replied feeling her reach for his hand.  Together they made their way over to the bar where Valerie pushed her way in through the crowd.
“Yo bartender!” Valerie slammed her hand down on the top of the bar, “Bring two boilermakers over here ASAP!”
“Val, don’t you think we should start slow and easy,” Ben questioned watching her retrieve the drinks before handing him one.
“Not a chance,” she shook her head adamantly before raising the drink to her lips and downing it in a haste.  Once she’d finished, she spun around to face the bartender again, “You, come here.”
The man did as instructed offering up a goofy looking grin.  Leaning in towards him, she threw out her best flirty tone, “If you keep them coming all night long, then I can promise you there will be more where this comes from.  Understand?”
The man looked down to where she’d extracted a couple hundred dollar bills from the low bust line of her shirt.  He nodded eagerly practically drooling over her.
“You’ve got it sexy,” he beamed moving to get her and Ben another round. 
As instructed he did what he was told and Valerie coaxed Ben into chugging his second drink.  Once they’d finished she took the glass from his hand, and grinned up at him.
“Now it’s time to party,” Valerie shouted over the music practically dragging him out onto the dance floor.  Within a matter of seconds, she had Ben out in the thick of things, bumping and grinding to the music.
“I don’t think this is quite the dirty dancing scene Val,” Ben shouted over the booming country beats.
“Who cares,” she threw back in response, “I want to dance Ben.”
“Val I…” he started a bit uneasily feeling her rub her body against his.
“Come on Ben, you are one of the only guys I know that actually can dance.  You come a close second to Seth,” she clucked her tongue in a taunting tone before winking at him.
“Second,” Ben shook his head at her feeling a warmth spreading over his body at the heat the drinks he’d downed had provided him.  Boldly he reached out to grasp her hips, grinding her against him before spinning her away from him.  He stepped in behind her, bringing his arms up around her waist as she moved in against him.  He leaned down to whisper in the back of her ear despite the pounding of the music.  “Oh hell no.  I’m far better than second best.”
“Prove it,” Valerie dared turning in his arms again.  Immediately she threw her arms around his shoulders, bumping and grinding against him while the music played on.
“You’re on,” Ben decided throwing caution to the wind and leaving his inhibitions behind while he danced with his long time friend.  While he was quite certain that they were attracting a bit of attention with one another, he didn’t care.  Tonight wasn’t about worrying about the problems he was having--about the things he should or shouldn’t be doing.  He was just going to enjoy himself in dancing with an old friend and causing a stir.  It had been a long time since he’d been able to kick back and do just that.


“It’s none of your business,” Diane shot back at J.T. with a glare.
“The hell it isn’t,” J.T. reached out to her refusing to let her walk away despite her attempts.  “Diane, that guy is a crooked cop and correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he shoot you?”
“That’s irrelevant,” Diane spat out at him, “What he did isn’t important to you.  I’m not important to you.”
“See now that’s where you’re wrong Diane.  I think you’re very important to me,” he looked down to the table top seeing Patrick’s beer still there along side of a couple of other glasses, “I mean my God, how drunk did you have to get yourself to be around this guy?”
“As I said before J.T. Mahoney, I’m none of your concern.  We’re over.  O-V-E-R!” she shouted at him before turning around to make a move away from him. 
Suddenly she felt herself frozen in place at the sight of what was happening before her.  She watched in horror as Ben put on quite a show with a beautiful brunette in his arms.  They paraded around like two long time lovers, giving a free show to anyone who would pay them attention.
“Diane wait,” J.T. called out from behind.  He rushed forward making his way through the crowd half expecting a chase to ensue, but when he spotted her standing there, he was thrown for a loop.  He paused for a moment wondering what had stopped her, but before he could question it, he noticed the scene on the dance floor. 
Listening to the catcalls and the hollers that were coming from all around them, J.T. could clearly see the dance between Ben and Valerie.  The two of them were all wrapped up in the music, groping and fondling one another in a dirty dancing type style.  While J.T. was quite sure that he’d witnessed that kind of dancing in other clubs more times than he cared to admit, he could tell by the expression on Diane’s face that she wasn’t used to it.  Smiling inwardly, J.T. approached her knowing that this was his moment--this was his time to move in for the kill.
“Diane,” he spoke her name in an attempt to pull her out of the trance she’d seemingly slipped into.
“I…” Diane blinked back the tears that were threatening.  She had her fists clenched at her side--her posture rigid and her heart racing.  While she felt the fight in her knowing that she’d wanted nothing more than to tear the woman with Ben apart, she was paralyzed with something more.
“Diane,” J.T. reached for her shoulders spinning her around in his arms.  He could now see the trail of tears that were spilling down her cheeks in that moment.
“Just take me home,” she begged of him, “J.T. please just take me home.”
“You’ve got it angel,” J.T. replied wrapping his arms around her.  He lead her to the exit ready to honor her request, but not before taking one last look at Ben and silently thanking him for giving him this new leverage with Diane.


Blake curled into Seth, rubbing her leg up against his as he held her.  Snuggling into his chest, she placed a kiss over his bronzed skin.  This night, this time they spent with one another was beyond perfect.  It was as if she’d stepped out of her fantasy world only to have her handsome prince return to reality with her.
“Tell me something,” Blake broke the silence between them once her breathing had returned to normal, “Will we always feel this incredible together?”
“I’m thinking that we’ll be even better Blake as time goes on,” Seth confessed tenderly teasing his fingers up over her shoulder.  He could feel her shiver against his touch, melting into him now that they’d satiated their hunger for one another, “Just think…one day we’ll be looking back upon this time thinking about how we thought it couldn’t get any better…”
“And we’ll realize that we were wrong because we’ll have so much more in our lives,” she propped herself up over him, moving up to see his face, “I mean by then we’ll have a family and our kids will be running around wanting to know all about how we found one another.”
“And what a tale it will be to tell,” he laughed lightly, his fingers sliding up into her damp, blonde tresses, “I know they’ll love hearing how I fell in love with the most beautiful girl in the world.  Our love story will be one that legends are made of.”
“If we’re anything like Sophia and Athan, then I know we’ll have the kind of love that the world envies,” Blake added with a soft sigh, snuggling into him again, “Tell me something Seth, did you ever think we’d get back to this?”
“I always wanted us to, but there was a time when I was afraid it wouldn’t happen for us,” he admitted painfully, “When I was leaving town, all I could think about was how much I wanted to stay--how I hated that I’d pushed you away when all I wanted was to be with you.”
“I should’ve followed my heart and listened to what it was telling me sooner,” Blake replied with a small frown, “I was so stupid…”
“No, you weren’t,” Seth argued with her, “Given everything that was happening, you had plenty of reasons to be unsure about me--about what was happening between us.”
“Even so, I should’ve trusted my instincts,” Blake frowned again.
“Blake, the fact that I was working for a man who was out to get your family was the first warning clue that you needed to be sure,” Seth reminded her thinking about the situation that he still had going on with Cameron.
“Yes, but once I learned the truth, I understood,” Blake replied lifting her head up once again, “I still do which is why I know we still have to deal with that before we can be free.”
“I didn’t really want to think about him just now considering how much I hate him.  When I think of what he’s trying to do to Jade…” his body tightened up at the thought of what his sister was going through.
“He won’t get away with it.  We’ll find a way to put him in his place,” she promised him, “Speaking of which, we should probably work on getting him that microfilm he wants…”
“Blake, we agreed that it wouldn’t be a good idea considering,” Seth began remembering the task Cameron had set out for him.
“I had a duplicate made.  I think I might’ve mentioned that to you before, but see I have this friend who works these things through with perfect authenticity.  He worked something up for me and I want you to give it to Cameron.  If he knew my father at all, then he won’t get upset.  He’ll expect it to turn out to be something shady,” Blake informed him point blank, “as my family isn’t one to give up secrets--not even to themselves.”
“Somehow that is unsettling to think about,” Seth frowned slightly at the mention of her father.  He thought back to the night Jade was hurt and he tensed up.
“The point is that we need to put a stop to Cameron’s madness,” Blake explained simply, “We’ll see to it he gets the copy and then we’ll work on the original.  Brant has a researcher at BBK who might be able to make sense of the formula better than Zack has.”
“Does Zack still have the microfilm,” Seth questioned straining not to grit his teeth at the mention of Blake’s former lover.
She nodded, “Yes, he does, but if I ask him for it back…”
“Do you think he’ll give it to you,” Seth asked pondering the thought of her being around Zack again.
“I’m sure he’ll give it to us, and in the morning we can go to the hospital and ask him,” Blake reminded him sensing his uneasiness at the mention of Zack’s name.  Reaching out to him, she turned his face towards hers, forcing his eyes upon her, “but right now, well I don’t want to think about Zack.  I’d much rather focus on our honeymoon rehearsal.”
“Honeymoon rehearsal,” he repeated with a slightly twisted smirk.
“That’s right,” Blake nodded in confession tipping down to steal a kiss from his lips, “It starts right about here…and then goes to here…” she tapered kisses off over his face before returning to his lips again.
“And what about here,” Seth flipped her on the mattress moving in over her.
“I’d definitely say it continues on here,” Blake laughed lightly pulling him to her in a tender kiss wanting nothing more than to live out her dreams of the future with her husband-to-be.


Kyle walked along the empty street thinking back to the old days, when him and Russell used to hang out. He was going to miss his best friend it just wasn’t fair that he was taken away from his family and friends like that. How could this really be happening? Everything was going wrong first Russell dieing; then Heather; and to top it all off, Grady going to jail. Boy was he doing a great job he thought to himself shaking his head lightly. He closed his eyes as a picture from the past ran through his head.

“What are we doing here?” questioned Avery as they slowed down at a biker bar.

“Getting directions,” Kyle sighed getting off the motorcycle he was riding.

“Great job Kyle, this was your stupid idea to go on a road trip brilliant,” she scowled.

“Just come and get a drink or something while I try to find out where we are,” Kyle laughed opening the door out for her.

She went to speak before Russell’s hand covered her mouth, “Let’s just go inside.”

Grady laughed from behind them as they walked in to a crowded bar filled with bikers.

“Alright, all we need to do is find someone who will tell us where we are,” Russell started before Avery cut him off.

“Just watch,” she started going up to a big guy going to speak before he whistled looking down at her.

“Look at this hot piece of meat,” he huffed loudly before Russell stepped in front of her.

“Wanna back off?” Russ questioned before the man stood tall before him.

“Wanna start something boy?” he growled looking down on him.

“No, he doesn’t, but maybe you would want to try starting something with me,” Kyle scowled taking off his dark shades and then folding his muscular arms in front of him.

“Just make sure your friend stays out of my way,” the man pointed at Russell.

“You have nothing to worry about him, and believe me if you start something with him, you wont be feeling too good because you would have to go through me,” Kyle pointed out before several other men stood around the big guy.

“Is something wrong here?” questioned one of the men.

“Well, it seems like these people right here want to start something,” he spit on the ground towards Kyle.

“Is that so? You wanna start something?” one of them questioned before Kyle stood up towards them before being pulled back by Grady.

“It’s fine gentleman we will be leaving now,” Grady lightly said as they walked out the door.

“What did you do that for?” Kyle questioned with a scowl.

“You know we could have took them on,” Russell insisted standing next to the muscular Kyle.

“I didn’t feel like fighting,” Grady sighed going back to his motorcycle and starting it up.

Avery sat on Russell’s motorcycle looking over at Kyle and Russell. They both looked like they had an idea stuck in their head that wasn’t too good.

“Are you thinking what I am thinking?” questioned Kyle raising his eyebrow as a grin crossed his face.

“Does it involve the big rows of motorcycles?” Russ wondered as Kyle nodded biting on his bottom lip. “Then yes.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” questioned Kyle.

“What are you guys doing?” questioned Avery with worry.

Avery watched as Kyle went to one of the two rows and kicked down one of the bikes and they all went down like dominos as Russell did the same thing. They both ran towards the motorcycles starting it up as they sped off. They looked back as they saw the bikers come out to see the damage. For five miles Kyle could hear Avery yelling about how they shouldn’t have done it.

A smile overcame his features, but was soon replaced by a frown. He was never going to have moments like that again with Russell. He was never going to be the guy who came over to watch the baseball game with Russell while they watched over the baby. He wasn’t going to be the guy who would be there when Russell needed help moving things. He wasn’t going to have his best friend around anymore and that tore a hole right through his body. He jumped hearing the song “The Game” played his favorite the group Motorhead on his cell phone. He sighed taking his cell phone out of his pocket and answering it lightly.

“Hello,” he answered sheepishly.

“Kyle,” the voice came through the receiver.

“Who is this?” he questioned.

“It’s Shannon…listen, I need you here,” she quickly got out as Kyle rolled his eyes.

“Why?” he wondered.

“I think I found some information that could help Grady, but I need you too help me out and we need to meet somewhere,” she quickly got out as confusion spread through his mind before he agreed.

“Alright, where?”

“Meet me at a place called Hunter’s café, it’s about ten miles north of Coral Valley…we need to be farther than the normal places so people don’t follow us,” she insisted.

“Okay, I’ll be there in about thirty minutes,” he assured her.

“Hurry,” she got out before he closed his cell phone.

This was one of the things he was going to do for Russell, get his brother out of jail. Saving his life would have better, but he couldn’t do that now. He sighed walking to the rental car he had while they were fixing his hummer.

“Oh great, another piece of shit I have to deal with,” he growled trying to open the door. “God damn,” he hissed as the door finally opened. “When can I get my baby back?”


“How could he do this,” Diane sobbed breaking down in the passenger seat of J.T.’s car.  “Why would he do this to me?  After all that I did for him--all I tried to be for him, why would he hurt me like this?”
“Because the guy is a creep Diane.  He never deserved you and if he couldn’t love you for who you are, then he’s not worth it,” J.T. informed her taking a detour to his apartment.  “He’s a jerk and if you didn’t believe it before now, then tonight should’ve proved that.”
“I just thought that he was different.  That he was someone special that I could share my life with,” Diane wiped at her hot tears feeling them sting her all the way down to her soul, “He was the first man who really made me believe in happily ever after.  I thought with him that maybe just maybe we could make it work--that we could have some kind of relationship that didn’t end in disaster.  I mean he was the good guy…the kind of man who never had an interest in me before.”
“The good guys are the ones that always make you fall the hardest,” he explained putting his car into park.  He got out of the car, walking around to help her out of the passenger side before leading her up to his place, “You know Diane, that’s how they all work.  They try to suck you in making you think that they are all high and mighty, but in the end, they’re worse than the rest of us.”
“I just didn’t believe that Ben could be like that,” Diane continued thoughtlessly entering his apartment.
“Yeah well join the club.  Disappointment runs high in this pathetic little town,” J.T. replied tossing his keys on the table top before making his way into the kitchen, “Want a drink?”
“Yeah, I do,” Diane nodded with a sniffle.  Pulling her hair back away from her face.  “I mean I just don’t get it.  There he was lecturing me on how I should try to be a better person, but look at him.”
“Yeah I saw him with that slut,” J.T. returned with two bottles in hand, “Pick your poison.”
“That one,” she motioned to one bottle before snatching it out of J.T.’s hand.  “I mean what the hell is wrong with him that he doesn’t see how great I am?”
“Exactly!” J.T. encouraged her on before watching her take another, long swig of the alcohol he’d provided her with.  Halfway through the bottle, he reached out to seize the neck of the bottle.  “Diane, baby maybe you’d better slow down.”
“Tonight I don’t want to slow down,” she argued with him snatching the bottle away again.  She finished to drink it like there was no tomorrow until finally she’d emptied the bottle.  Tossing it onto the ground, she looked to J.T. with a wounded expression, “I don’t want to be good and I don’t want to worry about not being perfect enough for Ben.  Tonight I want to be bad.”
“You are bad Diane,” J.T. replied reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “but being bad makes you so very good.”
“I could just kill that skinny little bitch right about now.  I mean she’s got nothing on me,” Diane ranted feeling her anger mounting with each passing second.  “I should’ve just decked her…and then him.  They both should’ve just went down because that’s exactly what they deserve!”
“They had no right to make a fool of you like that,” he goaded her on watching her body tighten up with tension.
“No, they didn’t and I’m not going to take it,” she vowed reaching for the bottle he’d started to raise to his lips.  She swiped it from his hand before sucking it down herself.  After she’d finished it off, she threw the bottle aside, sending it smashing down to the ground.
“There’s the spirit,” J.T. encouraged her, his eyes lighting up as he saw that fire that he’d loved about her.  She looked so damn sexy, so enthralling and as her rage ran rampant, he couldn’t help but reach out and touch her.
“Damn right,” Diane blurted out, feeling him pulled her into his arms harshly.  He planted a kiss upon her lips, allowing his wild lust for her to rush over him into her.  He felt the surprised tension that she’d felt in his bold movement and after a moment she pushed her hand into his chest shoving him away from her.
“Don’t touch me J.T.,” Diane snapped at him before her eyes wandered over his body.  She drew in a ragged breath, her pulse pounding, her body ablaze and suddenly she felt something else reach out over her.  Lust.  She’d pushed that part of her aside for so very long, but now as she thought about Ben and his bimbo.  Licking her lips, she seized J.T.’s collar tugging him in closer to her for a demanding kiss.
Without question, J.T. wrapped his arms around her, urging her up against him.  Wordlessly she did as instructed, threading her fingers through his hair while nipping and biting on his lips.  She felt him shove her against one of the walls of his apartment, his hold on her constricting with the moment.  She scraped her nails over his shoulders, up and down over his back before tearing open his shirt with a heated fury.  Sending buttons flying over the living room, she watched his chest rise and fall with obvious anticipation as he lowered her to the ground again.  His fingers sought out her hands before bringing them up over her head.  A gasp pressed upon her lips before their eyes made direct contact with one another.
“Be bad with me tonight Diane,” he spoke in a passion laced down, his body grinding in against hers, the movements growing far more powerful by the moment.
“I want that,” Diane panted, unable to ignore the intense hunger for destruction that devoured her completely.  Bucking up against him, she mirrored his movements remembering how well they used to fit together.
“I’m so glad to hear it,” J.T. replied releasing her wrists before his fingers reached down over the bottom of her dress tearing it up over her hips.  Within a matter of seconds, he’d tossed it on the floor, taking the time to admire her nearly naked form before him.  Smiling possessively, he leaned forward biting down on her shoulder just enough to hear her cry out.
“J.T.,” she spoke his name, the nails on her right hand digging into his skin before she used her left hand to scratch at his ribs.
Saying nothing, J.T. pressed his arm around her waist, shoving her over towards the back of his sofa.  Watching her body bounce with the movement, he coaxed her over the side of the couch, tearing away at the barriers between them before moving in behind her.  Leaning forward, he tugged on her hair pulling her head back just enough to claim her lips violently in a wild kiss before he indulged himself in making his fantasies a reality all over again with Diane Stevens.  Smiling inwardly he dropped his pants preparing to feed his hunger for her once and for all.  Turning her in his arms to face him, J.T. smiled, his desire drove him on with their union, her cries keeping him crazed in the moment, and with each frantic movement they shared together, he promised to take in every single second of this knowing that tonight he’d scored one of the greatest victories to date.  Tonight Diane was his and from here on out there would be no turning back.  He’d never let her go again!


...to be continued...