J.T. took a long look around his apartment thinking about the night
he’d had with Diane. It was almost too good to be true, he
thought to himself remembering oh too well how wonderful they truly
were with one another. Sure, he’d been with other women since
they’d split, but nothing could ever truly quench that desire that he’d
had for her. Last night had opened the door to his ache, offering
up a supreme fulfillment for him and now he knew there would be no
Of course he hadn’t really been surprised to wake up alone as he knew
that it always took Diane longer to figure things out. That’s
just how they worked. He would try to convince her that they were
made to be together and she’d run off to find some loser of the moment
to convince her that he was what she needed. In reality however
the end was always where it was meant to be--with her in his
arms. Last night wasn’t the first time she’d succumbed to what
they felt for one another and he was quite certain it wouldn’t be the
“You’ll be back Diane,” J.T. smiled noticing her shoe in his fish
tank. He chuckled as he stepped towards it wondering how in earth
he should even start on getting it out, “and when you do, well this
time nothing is going to keep it from lasting.”
Whistling a tune to himself, J.T. passed on the shoe in the fish tank,
instead making his way over to the kitchen area. He could use a
good drink right about now to erase the lingering side effects of his
dry throat. Surely last night had given him enough action for
now, but after a good breakfast, he knew exactly where he was going to
head out to. Diane might be reluctant, but he’d win her
over. Last night was a good indication of that.
J.T. stepped into his kitchen surveying what he had laying around his
nearly empty fridge, when he heard a knock coming from his front
door. Standing up straighter, J.T. couldn’t help but grin proudly.
“So you’ve come to your senses sooner this time,” he mused ready to
enjoy this moment of victory. Closing the refrigerator door, he
stepped over to the entrance to his apartment and drew in a slow breath
preparing himself for the moment he’d waited quite a long time
for. Opening the door in a confident, cocky air, he allowed his
grin to widen, “I knew you’d be back for me.”
“Well, it’s nice to know you don’t believe I’ve written you off,”
Cameron noted with a curious expression, “but something tells me that
you weren’t expecting it to be me on the other end here.”
“Let’s just say that I was hoping you’d be the lady I spent the night
with last night,” J.T. opened the door further inviting him inside,
“but I’ll catch up with her later.”
“It sounds very promising,” Cameron eyed him intently, “Care to share?”
“Well, let’s just say that my plans are moving faster than I
anticipated. Diane’s no longer in denial about the fact that
we’re meant to be together,” J.T. boasted before heading into his
kitchen once again, “You could say that fate had a plan for us last
“Plans that clearly included something very interesting and arousing
huh,” Cameron noted the shoe in the fish tank.
“And then some,” J.T. nodded returning with a beer in hand, “Want one?”
“I’ll pass,” Cameron shook his head in response watching his
half-brother take a seat on the chair before him, “So I take it you’re
not interested in my help any longer.”
“Are you kidding,” J.T. blinked back at him, “Cam, I’m always
interested in whatever it is you’re offering.”
“Well what if I told you that your alliance with Diane could benefit
the both of us,” Cameron took a seat on another one of J.T.’s broken
down chairs. “What would you say to that?”
“I’d say that I’m listening,” J.T. added curiously, “What’s your angle
on this one?”
“It turns out that not only is Diane the object of your affection, but
she happens to be close to mine,” Cameron grinned wickedly.
“She’s friends with your wife,” J.T. blinked back in confusion before
giving Cameron a strange sideways glance, “Cam, what kind of woman did
“Not the kind you’re thinking about, but I’d like to,” Cameron informed
him point blank, “You see my wife is well…she’s means to an end.
Perhaps I should start by saying that she just delivered her son
recently--or rather I should say Kipp’s son.”
“Kipp’s son,” J.T. practically choked on his beer, “No kidding.
I’m surprised that little weasel could even get laid…let alone by your
wife. Come to think of it, what’s up with that?”
“My wife is a gold digging aspiring model who was under the strange
misconception that being around Kipp could advance her career,” Cameron
explained with a dismissive sigh.
“But Douglas came to town to make sure that wasn’t going to happen,”
J.T. nodded in complete understanding, “but still…how is it that you
are married to her?”
“Douglas hates the idea of my playing step-father to Kipp’s child, but
I really don’t give a damn,” Cameron shrugged.
“Now that’s where I know you’re lying,” J.T. replied wiggling the neck
of the beer bottle between his fingers, “You’re loving every minute of
it, if it means that Pops is miserable.”
“Okay, so I’m guilty as charged, but that’s irrelevant to what’s going
on right now with you,” Cameron leaned forward in his seat, “You see
your girlfriend happens to be best friends with a woman named Jade
Alexander. Perhaps you’ve heard of her…”
“Heard of her,” J.T. laughed lightly, “Oh I’ve more than heard of her
Cam. She and I knew one another when we were younger. Hell
there was this one time when…well, never mind…”
“When what,” Cameron’s eyes widened with obvious interest.
“It’s not really important,” J.T. waved his hand in the air
dismissively before catching the expression on Cameron’s face.
Finally he let out a reluctant sigh of honesty, “Let’s just say that
Jade and I know one another on a rather intimate level. Can we
leave it at that?”
Cameron’s face immediately darkened before he cleared his throat, “As
long as it stays that way J.T. because I would hate to have to see our
understanding fall to pieces.”
“So let me get this straight,” J.T. eyed his brother with obvious
interest, “You’re hot for Jade and your wife is…?”
“Irrelevant,” Cameron blurted out with a heavy frown, “Jade belongs to
me and as it stands there is this particular problem that keeps getting
in my way…”
“Grady Denton,” Cameron explained seeing nothing register in J.T.’s
face, “He’s the lawyer she’s dating…”
“Oh wait, I think I heard the name. Isn’t he the guy that they’re
saying shot Kipp and…” J.T. questioned after a moment of silence.
“He’s the one,” Cameron nodded, “and while I’ve done everything I can
to try to persuade Jade into coming to me freely, she’s having a bit of
a problem with that. Her loyalty to Grady is a bit of a bother
that I’d like to see eliminated.”
“And you’re asking me to do what exactly,” J.T. gave him a sideways
“To just keep your eyes and ears open. From what I’ve gathered
Diane is Jade’s best friend and if by some chance Jade happens to pass
information onto Diane…” Cameron trailed off.
“You’d be happy if I just so happened to bring it to you as well,” J.T.
nodded in complete understanding before taking another swig from the
bottle in hand, “Yeah, I think I can handle that one.”
“Good because I think your taste in women might prove quite useful to
me in this particular cause along with another one that’s been on my
mind involving BBK Pharmaceuticals. That one can wait for a
little while as I have it covered for the time being, but still…”
“Of course,” J.T. nodded once again, “Anything you need, you know all
you have to do is ask and I’m there for you bro.”
“Somehow I knew you would be,” Cameron replied with a pleased smile,
“You didn’t take after your pathetic excuse for a father in that
“Thank God,” J.T. chuckled before his face grew suddenly serious,
“though Cam…there is one more thing I was hoping we could talk
about. I was going to wait, but since you’re here…”
“What’s on your mind,” Cameron questioned sensing J.T.’s need to ask
him something of importance.
“With Diane, well we’re just getting back into the swing of things, but
like your situation with Jade, well there’s this guy and I just don’t
think that…” J.T. shifted the beer bottle around in his hands for a
“That you want him being around to pose a problem with you and Diane?”
Cameron arched a curious brow.
“Something along those lines,” J.T. nodded, “Think you might be able to
help me out in that department?”
“Tell me his name and I’ll see what I can do,” Cameron agreed quickly.
“Ben. Ben Walters,” J.T. explained a sudden seriousness in his
voice, “and as far as I’m concerned I want him out of Diane’s
“Consider it done,” Cameron promised adding fuel to the fire in J.T.’s
quest to make Diane his all over again.
Diane watched Ben for a long moment, feeling her heart pounding in her
chest while fear raced over her every synapse. If Ben discovered
the truth--if somehow he knew about last night, well it would spell
disaster for her in ways she hadn’t even really thought of until this
moment in time. Still, there was something about the expression
on his face that had her hoping that maybe just maybe she was reading
too much into this. Immediately on the defense, she stood up
“Why should I listen to a word you have to say,” Diane challenged
stubbornly hoping to convey a message that showed him she wouldn’t
“Because I think we owe it to one another to just quit with the games
and have a little honesty between us,” Ben stated bluntly, his eyes
reaching down deep into that part of her that was overcome with raging
“Honesty,” she balked back at him deflecting from her own nagging
worries, “Yeah, like you’d know the meaning of the word. Tell me
Ben, why are you really here? Come to lecture me on Deidra once
“No, that’s not it at all,” Ben shook his head at her watching her pace
around the hallway, “Listen, can we just do this inside.”
“No,” she stomped her foot down, spinning around to face him again,
“we’ll do this right here and now because I’m not sure I even want to
let you into my apartment right about now.”
“Fine, but just remember I wanted to take this inside,” he replied with
a slight frown, “Diane, I came here to see you this morning because
these past few days without you have been hell on me. I know that
you seem to have it in your mind that I’ve been moving on without you,
but the truth is that I’m miserable without you. I wish to hell
that I didn’t feel like I do, but the truth is that without you, well
“You’re quite content seeking out life’s pleasures from someone else,
right,” she shot back at him icily catching the wounded expression on
his face, “I mean that’s really it, right Ben?”
“Diane, for God’s sake would you just listen to me about what you saw
the other day? Carly is a co-worker of mine. Chavez was
breathing down my throat about not getting her the information fast
enough and Carly and I were just touching base on the subject…” he
“Oh right and touching base just happens to take place over a romantic,
intimate lunch, huh?” she folded her arms in front of her chest.
“Diane, what you walked in on was a business meeting. There was
nothing more going on. I’m not interested in Carly or any other
woman, but you for that matter…” Ben continued with obvious desperation
in his tone.
“Sure,” she balked back with a shake of her head, “You just expect to
keep feeding me these lies all morning, don’t you?”
“Lies,” Ben blinked back at her, “Diane, it’s true.”
“Okay, so say I believe you about that one, then explain what I saw
last night,” she challenged with a heavy frown, “Who was the bimbo you
were making out with on dance floor?”
“Dance floor,” he repeated before understanding settled in over him,
“Diane, you have to be kidding me.”
“I’m not joking in the least Ben. I saw you with her practically
going at it on the dance floor,” she continued biting down on her lower
lip as tears stung at her eyes. It was bad enough that she had a
hangover and endured sleeping with J.T. in a moment of drunken
stupidity, but now to have to think about what she saw Ben doing last
night, well it was just too much.
“I don’t believe this,” Ben blinked back at her in confusion, “You mean
you were there last night at the bar and you didn’t try to talk to me?”
“How could I when you and Miss Thing were all up on each other?” she
shouted, her voice raising with emotion, “I think that pretty much told
me what our relationship meant to you.”
“Diane, I was with Valerie last night,” he informed her point blank
realizing that it didn’t register behind her dark eyes, “Valerie
“Valerie Madison,” she repeated blinking back at him before a gasp fell
from her lips, “You mean Seth’s Valerie?”
“The one and the only,” Ben nodded at her before offering up a shrug,
“Granted she and Seth obviously aren’t together anymore, but she was
staying with Ria. I went over Ria’s last night to talk to her
about what was going on with us. When I got there, I discovered
that not only had Ria been called in for another shift at the hospital,
but that Valerie was staying with her. Apparently Valerie had
some big shoot nearby and Ria offered her a place to stay for the time
“But why were you with her then,” Diane questioned in confusion, “Why
go out dancing?”
“I didn’t want to, but Valerie twisted my arm. She said she was
having cabin fever from being locked up in Ria’s place all day long, so
I took her out. I didn’t think anything about it considering that
I’ve known Valerie about as long as I’ve known Ria…”
“But she looked so different,” Diane insisted with a shake of her head,
“The last time I saw her, she was…”
“Very different,” Ben nodded thinking to the woman who had at one time
held his best friend’s heart, “Though I guess you can see what touring
the world does to a woman…”
“But still for me not to recognize her and then to think…” Diane’s jaw
practically dropped as she thought back to the moment in time she’d
asked J.T. to take her home. Turning away, she could feel her
heart pounding in her chest, leaping out of control now that her worst
fears were becoming a reality. All the things she’d thought about
Ben were completely untrue, but with what she did…
“Diane, I love you,” Ben blurted out from beyond the thoughts swirling
around in her head, “and I know what I said to you before, but I was
wrong. While I won’t pretend that I’m happy about the way you
treated her the other day, the fact remains that I can’t hold that
relationships against you. I had no right to issue an ultimatum
like that and I’m sorry.”
“You are,” she questioned with obvious surprise spinning around to see
him standing right behind her.
“Yes, I am,” Ben touched her cheek gently, “Diane, I love you and while
I know that you weren’t feeling that the other day, the only reason I
said what I did was because I hate to see you so upset. When I
heard what you were saying to Deidra…”
“I was angry and hurting,” Diane replied unable to hold back her tears,
“but I never, ever wanted that to be the thing that caused me to lose
“I’m sorry that I made you feel as if you had,” he spoke in a soothing
tone, wiping the tears from her face before cupping her cheeks in his
hands gently, “However, after everything was said and done, I realized
that I couldn’t lose you. I’m not the same without you and while
I’m sure that puts me in a position to be committed in a padded cell,
the truth to the matter is that I’m head over heels in love with you
“Oh Ben,” she broke down into full blown tears throwing her arms around
him and refusing to let go, “I love you so much. I love
you. I love you.”
“I love you too,” he whispered against her hair squeezing her in
against his chest, “and I’m sorry that things had to take a turn for
the worst before I set my priorities straight.”
“No, I’m the one who should apologize,” Diane replied pulling back just
enough to meet his eyes, “I never should’ve gone that far with
Deidra. I was just so angry and words kept flying and…”
“It’s over Diane,” he placed his finger over her lips to silence her,
“I hope that one day you and Deidra can resolve this issue between you,
but that isn’t up to me. You have to do it in your own time and
“Ben, it’s just that…” Diane paused too choked up on emotion to
“Diane, it’s okay,” he brushed her tears away from her face, leaning
down to kiss her tenderly.
“No, it’s not okay,” she shook her head unable to refrain from sobbing,
“Ben, I’ve spent my whole life being this incredible screw up.
I’ve always been second best when it came to my family. Deidra
was the one who did everything the right way--the one that everyone was
proud of, but I…well I wasn’t all of those things. No one did for
me what they did for Deidra…and overtime, well I guess I just accepted
that I was different…”
“Diane,” he spoke her name seeing some of her old animosities breaking
through the surface to reveal their true beginnings.
“When I had that thing for Andy, he really made me believe that I was
the only one. I really thought that I was special when he was
around, but when he married Deidra,” she sniffled, “It just showed me
all over again that I was only second best.”
“You’re not second best Diane. You’ve never been that way,” Ben
offered up hating to see her so upset.
“No Ben, I was. I always have been--that is until you came into
my life,” she admitted freely, “You didn’t care about all the other
things that were wrong with me. You loved me for me--in spite of
my flaws and you gave me a chance to really feel like I was the most
beautiful woman alive. Ben, I love you so very much and when I
thought I lost you…when I thought you were going to walk out of my life
“I would never do that Diane. Yes, I was stupid and hasty in
making a really bad decision, but I swear to you that I’ll never do it
again. I’ll never walk away from you at a time when you need me,”
he vowed descending in closer to her to steal a kiss from her
lips. Tasting the saltiness of her tears upon her mouth, he
gently caressed her lips to sweet surrender.
Diane whimpered at the contact realizing how very close she could come
to losing him and in that moment nothing mattered more than holding
onto him. He was the only man who really understood her, who ever
loved her like she’d wanted to be loved and she couldn’t let him
go. Throwing her arms around his shoulders, she felt him pull her
up off of the ground into his arms. Their kisses grew in
intensity until she found herself fully in his arms.
“Ben,” she spoke his name, her hands running wildly over the contours
of his body. Their mouths parted as their passion-filled gazes
locked in a moment of desperation, “don’t leave me.”
“Never again,” he swore to her devouring her lips again with a newfound
intensity. Sliding her legs down over his body, Diane put her
feet to the ground again before her palms pressed in underneath his
shirt, easing it up over his perfectly sculpted torso. Within a
matter of seconds things between them had heated up to a fevered pitch
with no moment of cool down evident between them.
“Diane,” he spoke her name as his palms cupped her bottom, aggressively
pulling her flush against him. He began to nibble on her neck,
feeling her skin ablaze with passion as he held her. Gently he
whispered into her ear, the warmth of his words like fire grazing her
flesh with each clear word, “maybe we should take a bit slower.”
“And miss out on the time we could spend making up,” she tossed back at
him in a low, sultry tone, allowing her long hair to sweep back over
Ben stood in silence for a long moment realizing that she had a very
good and valid point. Shifting in against her, he lowered his
lips to taste her skin again before offering up yet another tantalizing
round of kisses, “At the very least we should probably take this into
“I think you’re right,” Diane nodded in agreement fumbling for her
purse. Seconds later, she found her keys, but not before she
threw her arms around Ben, ready to savor each and every moment they
shared with one another. Now that they were together again, she
made a promise to herself not to screw this up--not to do or say
anything foolish. She loved him. He was her one true
destiny--her soul mate and nothing could keep them apart again…not even
a mistake like J.T.
Blake blinked back at Zack surprised by his tone as he entered the room
to glare at her and Seth. She stood taller, holding Cody closer
to her as Zack moved in towards her and Seth.
“When did you two decide to get married?” Zack questioned again clearly
shell-shocked by the news he’d just received.
“Since when did it matter to you,” Blake replied sharply, not liking
his tone. Glancing over across the room at Johanna, she could see
that Johanna too was surprised by Zack’s demeanor.
“Since I kind of figured we all cleared the ice and got everything out
in the open,” Zack admitted with a slight frown before taking a step
back. He held in his breath before speaking up again, “I mean I
guess I just didn’t think that you two would be engaged yet.”
“Do you have a problem with that,” Seth questioned gruffly making no
mistake about the fact that if Zack said the wrong thing, the situation
might be getting rather ugly rather fast.
“No,” Zack answered quickly shaking his head with the word, “not at
all. It’s just that…well, I guess I wasn’t expecting you two to
be moving so fast after everything…”
“I actually think it’s wonderful that Blake and Seth were reunited,”
Johanna piped in from her hospital bed across the way, “It shows that
true love can win out against the odds after all.”
Zack’s attention returned to his wife and almost immediately that
flicker of emotion that had passed through his eyes disappeared.
He nodded before looking to Blake, Seth and Cody again.
“Yes,” he spoke up, “I suppose that is what I’m seeing…”
“Seth and I are very happy together,” Blake blurted out in a strong
warning tone that let Zack know under no particular circumstances that
she wasn’t about to let him rethink the talk he had with her and Seth
in the hallway a couple of days ago.
“I can see that,” Zack nodded again letting go of that instinctive
feeling to get worked up about the situation, “and I also see that my
son is working his way into charming you.”
“He doesn’t have to work at doing it,” Blake replied focusing on Cody
once again, “It comes naturally with him.”
“He gets that from his father,” Zack boasted.
“Yeah right,” Blake and Johanna said in unison before exchanging
curious looks with one another. Finally the two let out small
laughs unable to control themselves.
“I think Cody has his mother’s eyes,” Seth added still weary of the
situation with Zack. “He’s a beautiful boy.”
“Thank you,” Johanna smiled in response, “I happen to think he looks
more like his father, but I’m hoping that in the future he’ll have my
“If that happens, then we’ll all be doomed,” Zack teased before
extending his arms out to Blake, “Let me see my boy.”
“Alright,” she nodded taking a step towards Zack, “Here we are.
Here’s your daddy Cody.”
“Come here son,” Zack hugged Cody in his arms before exchanging one
last look with Blake. Finally Blake took a step back smiling at
“Well, I think we’re about finished here,” Johanna noted feeling
herself a bit unsure about the obvious situation before her now that
Zack and Blake were face to face again.
“I think we are too,” Blake nodded in confession, shifting her focus to
Johanna, “And Johanna, thank you for calling me over here today.
It meant a lot that you had me come over and see Cody. He’s an
“Who had an amazing woman bring him into the world,” Johanna added with
a soft smile.
“Yeah and he gets to call her his mother,” Blake informed her with yet
another smile, “because in all honesty Johanna as much as you’re giving
me credit for this one, you did all the work. I just freaked out
and happened to be at the right place at the right time.”
“For all of us,” Zack added, “and I don’t know how we can ever repay
you for what you’ve done.”
“Just be happy together,” Blake curled her arm around Seth’s waist,
“just like we are.”
“We’ll do that,” Zack promised watching Blake and Seth exit the
hospital room. Once they were gone, he looked to his wife again.
“So, tell me Zack, now that you know about Blake and Seth, is this the
point in time when you start asking me for a divorce,” she questioned,
clearly shaken by what she’d witnessed between Blake and Zack.
“Is this the part where you tell me you made a mistake and that you
want to go after her?”
“No,” he shook his head adamantly carrying Cody over to the bed with
him. He took a seat beside her, his eyes shifting between her and
their son, “Jo, this is the part where I tell you that you and Cody are
everything I’ve ever wanted in my life and that no matter how hard you
try to get rid of me, it’s not going to happen. I won’t let you
push me away.”
“But about before…when you came in here and heard Blake and Seth
talking…” she blinked back at him in confusion.
“They’ve been through a lot together,” Zack confessed with a heavy
sigh, “I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think that they were jumping
the gun there, but in the same breath, I can’t tell Blake what to do
with her life.”
“But you wanted to,” she added catching that distanced look behind his
“Yeah, I did, but you know what, it’s not my place any longer,” he
sighed heavily, “My place is with you and Cody.”
“Because you want to be here or because you made a promise to own up to
your obligation,” Johanna asked stiffly, still refusing to think the
best for the both of them.
“Because I love you Jo. Because I love our son and because I want
to have a future for us,” he reached out to touch her cheek gently
while holding Cody close to him, “I’m here because this is everything
I’ve ever wanted in my life and now that I have it with you, I’m not
going to blow it ever again. Jo, I’m not going to make the same
mistake twice in a lifetime in losing you again.”
“And Blake?” she arched a doubtful brow, “What happens when the day
comes when you feel that way about her?”
“As much as I felt for Blake, it doesn’t change what I feel about
you. Jo, when we got married, I know it wasn’t under the best of
situations. I know you didn’t believe I was sincere about this
commitment we made to one another and maybe at the time…well maybe I
wasn’t nearly as into it with my whole heart as I should’ve been.
You deserved a day of magic and romance and I slighted you on
that. I never should’ve had you feeling like you were second
choice in my life. Johanna Vaughn, you are my heart, my soul and
the one woman I was meant to love in this lifetime. In fact,” he
paused a wide grin spreading over his features, “When you, Cody and I
get home again, well I think maybe we should work on making you believe
how true those words really are…”
“Zack I…” she paused thinking about what he’d just said, “Home?”
“That’s right,” he nodded in response, “I know we talked about the
possibility of going back to Seattle with one another…”
“Yes, but we didn’t ever really come up with a conclusion about…” she
began only to be cut off by his lips descending down upon hers.
“We didn’t have to,” Zack whispered as they parted from their kiss, “I
put in my two weeks notice today.”
“You what,” she blinked back at him, “but why?”
“Because I know that back in Seattle is where we were meant to
be. You have your career out there and with the hospital, well
hey, they were tossing out offers left and right to keep me. I
was stubborn, but I talked to Tom the other day and he’s offered me a
position--much more lucrative I might add, for when we return.”
“You mean we’re really doing this,” she questioned with wide eyes.
“Yes Jo, we’re really doing this,” he replied bending down to kiss her
once again, “because as I told you before my heart and my home is with
you. You and Cody are everything to me and I’m sure that this is
the right decision. Hell, it’s the only decision…for all of us,”
he finished sliding in beside her to share a moment with their son
knowing full well that fate had brought him exactly where he was meant
Kyle opened the doors of the Coral Courier walking in slowly. He looked
over towards Mindy’s desk walking behind her as he put his hands on her
“Oh my god,” she stood straight up in a hurry, “Kyle! You scared the
crap out of me!”
He laughed feeling her hit him lightly, “I’m sorry, I just need some
“With?” she questioned raising an eyebrow seeing him smile.
“I need to use the computer in Russ’s office, for some research,” he
stated taking off his shades.
“Sure, but what for?” she questioned following him into Russell’s old
“I need to do some work on Grady’s case, for Russell,” he sighed
walking over to the desk.
“You miss him don’t you?” she questioned seeing him look down to a
picture of Russell and Avery lying lightly on Russell’s desk.
He picked it up in his hands and rubbed his head lightly feeling that
pain run through his stomach, “Yeah,” he nodded setting the picture and
“I miss him too, I really do,” she started walking towards him wrapping
her arms around his big torso.
“I know,” he whispered wrapping his big arms around her and he rested
his chin on top of her head.
“I can’t believe he is gone,” she sniffed hugging him tighter.
“I know,” he started, “Which is why I have to look after his brother
He let her go and went to the computer turning it on, “You looking up
the files on Kipp?” she questioned resting her hands on his muscled
“What ever I can find will help out,” he stated opening up Russ’s
He skimmed them over until he found the files on, “That doesn’t seem
“What?” she questioned.
“You see they say Grady shot him, but he left the place and Kipp and
him had a verbal fight.”
“Every murderer does that,” she shrugged seeing his turn to look at her
before shaking his head and looking back to the computer.
He pulled up another file seeing it involved Susan, “That’s
interesting,” he shrugged reading what was before him.
“What?” she questioned.
“Do you need to know everything?” he questioned with a grin.
“Hey, if you don’t want me to know, then don’t say things out loud,”
she stated leaning towards the computer.
“Alright,” he laughed, “It says that Susan Hastings had involvement
with Cameron Stone.”
“What does that do to help you out?” she wondered.
“It tells me that my sources are looking to be in the right track,” he
sighed getting up and turning around to face her.
“What did your sources say?” she questioned touching his arm.
“Well, it says that Kipp’s murder or disappearance may have something
to do with Susan,” he started getting up and taking off his jacket
throwing it on the chair.
“Okay,” she nodded.
“I need you to help me out with a favor,” he stated folding his arms in
front of him.
“Sure, what do you need?”
“Well, I’m not really good with these computers, so I was wondering if
you want to help me look some thing up,” he shrugged as she walked over
to the chair.
“Sure,” she started pulling up to the computer, “What do you want me to
“Anything you can find having to do with Kipp’s murder, Susan Hastings,
and that airport incident,” he sighed, “I have to find out who killed
my best friend.”
“Okay, it’s no problem…I don’t mind helping you out,” she touched his
“Thanks, really,” he smiled kissing her cheek lightly, “This is really
going to help me out a lot.”
“It’s no problem, alright lets see what I can pull up,” she started
looking through the files.
“Let’s just see how good you are,” he smiled resting his hand on the
desk watching her look through all the files.
Brant paced the long, white hallway wondering what was going on behind
the closed doors with Avery. When the ambulance had arrived he’d
stayed with her--gone on the ride to this particular place, but once
she’d been taken in to see the doctors he’d been in this very place for
what felt like forever. Even now he could feel his palms
sweating, his stomach tied in knots and nothing seemed right. Why
hadn’t someone spoken with him? What was taking so long?
Was Avery and the baby alright? Where were the answers when he
“Brant,” Don Leveski called out to him from the room just off the
left. Seeing his long time doctor friend before him, Brant raced
over to his side.
“Don, give me some good news here,” Brant pleaded with him knowing that
his friend was less than thrilled about this sudden out of the blue
visit to the small private hospital.
“Brant, now you know I don’t normally do this and considering that this
was a last minute favor…” Don’s eyes narrowed with a slight frown.
“Don, look I couldn’t take her to the regular hospital. I mean
yeah I suppose I could’ve, but given what she’s been through--well I
just wanted a second opinion and you’re one of the best,” Brant stopped
himself, a sudden seriousness sweeping over him, “Don, just tell me
straight. What’s going on?”
“I was hoping you could give me more answers on that one,” Don replied
honestly, “I mean for her to come in like that…what was going on
leading up to the fall?”
“I don’t know,” Brant admitted honestly thinking about what he’d walked
in on, “but what about the baby?”
“Everything checks out Brant. Avery and her daughter are going to
be fine, but I’m sure that her regular doctor could’ve told you that,”
Don informed him point blank. “She needed some stitches but…”
“But what? What about that wound on her arm?” Brant questioned
unable to contain his fears that had been overwhelming him since he and
Avery had been separated.
“She must’ve got some glass wedged in it during the fall,” Don offered
up in response, “You said it was a glass, shower door, right?”
Brant nodded, “So then it wasn’t…”
“Self inflicted,” Don finished for him knowing too well where Brant was
headed with his questioning.
“Not that I’m saying she would, but her husband just died and…” Brant
began worry evident in his tone.
“In my professional opinion what happened was just a result of the
spill she took out of the shower. Avery doesn’t really remember
anything more than waking up a little while ago. She mentioned
something about saying good-bye to her father and wanting to get a jump
start on her day, but that’s about all I got out of here. Given
the trauma she’s been through and the grief you mentioned she was
experiencing, her fainting wouldn’t be entirely out of the
question. It’s just something that you might want to keep an eye
on. I ran a tox screening on her just in case. If anything
shows up, I’ll tell you…though at this point I’m guessing that nothing
is there since the first round came back looking pretty good.”
“Thank God,” Brant let out a relieved sigh, “So, is she awake?
Can I go see her?”
Don nodded, “She’s awake and she’s a bit shaken up, so just be gentle
“Okay, I’ll do that,” Brant replied reaching out to shake his friend’s
hand, “And Don, I owe you one.”
“You owe me about a hundred, but we’ll take it up at the next
stockholder’s meeting at BBK given that I’ve heard about the
competition you’ve got going with Stone Corp. It’s beyond brutal
what they’re doing right now to try to sabotage you,” Don shook his
“Yeah well I’m not taking it laying down…speaking of which,” Brant
paused for a long moment, “How would you feel about coming in to speak
with the head of my research team?”
“Me?” Don blinked back at him.
“Sure, why not,” Brant nodded in response, “I mean Michael is
brilliant, but he could use some advice--maybe some help on getting
“You mean faster than Stone is doing so that you don’t lose out on this
particular profit potential,” Don arched a curious brow.
“More like I’d rather know that things can be moved quickly and
smoothly. If Michael had you working with him, then maybe some of
your talent and expertise would pour over into his efforts,” Brant
“Now I know you’re just trying to kiss up to me,” Don shook his head at
him, “but given that I like you so much Ashford, I may just stop in and
see what I can do. After all, being on the board does have me
curious about my investments.”
“Somehow I knew I could tempt you,” Brant offered his hand once again
before the two men shook on it, “And listen thanks again for what you
did tonight with Avery.”
“I didn’t do anything, but work up a few stitches. The rest of
the healing is going to be hard on her and more than anything she just
needs someone to be there to listen,” Don continued honestly with a
troubled expression, “Given what I know about Avery, well this is going
to be anything but easy on her.”
“You’re telling me,” Brant sighed saying his good-byes to his friend
before Don left to check up on the rest of Avery’s blood work.
Taking in a slow breath, Brant focused upon the door in front of
him. He wasn’t quite sure what to expect when he entered the
room. Still his worries about Avery guided him inside.
Opening the door, he took a long look just beyond where he stood to see
her laying in the hospital bed, looking out the window at the day just
beyond the four walls that surrounded her. Carefully Brant closed
the door behind himself, noticing the Avery appeared to still be lost
in her own, silence.
“Avery,” Brant spoke her name making his way up to her bedside.
Slowly, her gaze shifted from the window to him revealing the clearly
broken emotions that weighed down upon her. Her eyes were glazed
over with the tears she’d clearly been trying to suppress and in that
instant, Brant couldn’t help but reach out to her.
“Brant, how did I get here,” Avery questioned in confusion, “I mean one
minute I was at home and then I woke up and they told me that you
brought me here…”
“I went over to the house to see you--to make sure that you were okay
and I found you in your bathroom passed out on the floor,” he confessed
taking a seat on the edge of her bed, “I panicked and I brought you
here instead of the other hospital. My friend Don…well, you know
him. He’s one of the best and I knew that he’d figure out what is
“You mean he’d figure out how I got this,” she motioned to the bandage
over her arm. Her dark eyes returned to his again as she inhaled
slowly, “You were afraid I did this on purpose, weren’t you?”
“Avery no,” he started to lie to her knowing full well that she would
be able to read him like a book. Finally he nodded, “Yeah, I was
kind of worried about that. I know how upset you were about
losing Russ and when I saw you like that, well…I was just afraid…”
“That what?” she blinked back at him, “That I’d just kill myself and my
daughter because people choose to make me think my husband is dead?”
“Avery, I know how much stress you’ve been under and…” he started once
“Brant, I didn’t try to kill myself. In fact last night I saw
him,” Avery blurted out in all seriousness, “I saw Russ last night.”
“You what?” he questioned in confusion.
“He was calling to me. No one wants to believe me, but I heard
him. He was there outside our home. I saw him with my own
eyes and even today,” she paused, her head tipping down to look at the
sheet she now had tangled around her fingers.
“Today what,” Brant asked sensing there was something more to what she
“I saw him again,” Avery informed him with a muted voice. Turning
her eyes up to him again, he could see the tears forming behind her
eyes, “He came to me again.”
“When I was in the shower he was there,” Avery insisted, her voice
shaky with emotion, “He came to be with me and then…well…then…”
“Then what,” Brant questioned.
“Then I woke up here, but Brant I swear to you Russ was there. He
was with me,” Avery’s voice rose with emotion as she noted the sad,
pathetic expression that crossed over his features. She knew that
look only too well. She’d seen it with Cheryl and with Elliot and
even her father earlier in the morning. Feeling suddenly
defensive she sat up straighter, “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
“No, Avery, I don’t think that at all. I know you’ve been under a
lot of stress lately and for you to have to deal with losing Russ on
top of everything else…” he began.
“Brant, he’s not dead. I’m telling you that I saw him with my own
eyes. I felt him holding me…felt him kiss me before I blacked
out,” Avery continued adamantly, “He wanted me to be with him--to go to
“But what…” Brant touched her shoulder gently, watching her tears
“But then he was gone. He disappeared and I couldn’t find
him. Brant, my husband is alive. I know it, but something
is keeping him from me…someone is trying to tear us apart…to make me
believe the worst when I know in my heart…” she stopped herself, choked
up on emotion as her tears consumed her, “Oh God, I am going crazy,
“No, Avery you’re not crazy,” Brant shook his head immediately pulling
her into his arms and hugging her with all he had in him, “You just
want to believe. You want to see things the way you hoped they
“I just don’t understand how he could be there one minute and then the
next leave me like that,” she sobbed into his chest, “Brant, he knows
how much I need him--how much our daughter needs him and now he’s not
here. He promised he would always be there for us, but he’s
gone. He’s gone Brant…I‘m all alone and Russ is…he‘s…Brant, why
won‘t he just come back?”
“I wish is was that simple,” he whispered in a soft, soothing tone.
“Why can’t he see how much we need him? How much I need
him? Brant, I just wish…oh God, why is this happening? Why
can’t I just shake this feeling that’s come over me? Why…” she
drifted off overcome with tears all over again.
“Avery, I know this is hard, but I promise you that you’re not alone,”
he spoke soothingly, hoping to find a way to help her through this
“If he’s gone, then yes, yes I am. I mean if I’m really going
crazy then this is only going to get worse,” Avery continued
poignantly, “If Russ is really dead and I keep seeing him, then
something is clearly going on inside my head. I’m losing my mind
“And you’re overwhelmed. Your heart so desperately wants to
believe what you know to be contrary. You and Russ had something
special together and you want to believe that it could last forever,”
he reached out to touch her cheek, urging her to look up at him, “In
some ways it will last forever Avery. Even after what happened,
he’ll always be here…”
“But…” she started thinking about the vivid images of her husband she’d
been having. They just seemed too real to be hallucinations.
“Avery, he’s still very much alive inside of you. He’s there with
that precious baby girl of yours and he would want you to find a way to
keep pushing on,” his thumb skimmed over the tears upon her soft skin,
“he wouldn’t want you to forget that. He would want what’s best
for you and your daughter…”
“But it’s so hard without him here. I just don’t know if I’m
strong enough to keep going if he’s really gone…if I can keep pushing
forward with any of this,” she confessed openly, overwhelmed by her
“Avery, listen to me. You’re not alone and Russ will always be
with you. I know right now he’s watching you and he’s hoping that
you and your baby girl will stay strong. He waited a long time to
have this with you and you need to think about that…”
“Don’t you think I have been,” she snapped at him, her eyes flashing
with anger, “Don’t you think I’ve been worried about my little
girl? About what I went through the last time I was
pregnant? Brant, when I lost Russ like that…well, if he’s really
gone, then this baby is the last piece of him I still have with
me. I can’t let anything happen to her even if I failed her as a
“You didn’t fail anyone,” Brant shook his head at her, “Avery your
daughter loves you very much. Russ loved you very much and what
happened wasn’t your fault.”
“But if he wasn’t going off after Bruce,” Avery choked up on emotion,
“That’s where he went that night you know. He had a lead on where
Bruce might be and he went off to see what was going on…”
“You mean he…” Brant’s jaw practically dropped.
“He was trying to save me--save us from Bruce and in the end it cost
him everything,” she sobbed once again, “I lost my husband because of a
mistake I made years ago…because I chose to be with a man that I never
should’ve been with in the first place.”
“No, Avery, that’s not true. Russ wouldn’t want you to think like
that. I don’t want you thinking like that,” he curled his finger
underneath her chin to have her look at him, “Bruce Mathis was a madman
and that wasn’t your fault. None of us saw him for what he truly
was, but I swear to you if he had anything to do with what happened to
Russ, then he’s a dead man. I’ll kill him myself. I made
the mistake of letting him go once, but I won’t let that happen again…”
“Brant, it’s not your fault…” Avery watched his jaw tighten with
“Bruce is a monster and he was bound to do something sooner or later,”
Brant frowned heavily, “if I would’ve killed him that night instead of
pushing him away from you…”
“Then you would be in jail,” Avery informed him honestly, “Your life
would be over because of me…”
“But him hurting you was reason enough for me to move in. When I
saw him choking you, I wanted to kill him…” Brant spoke behind clenched
teeth. “I should’ve done more.”
“Brant, you saved me that night,” Avery reminded him with a sigh, “It’s
no more my fault than it is yours in what Bruce did. I see that
now, but you need to see that if you hadn’t arrived when you did, I
wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be alive and my daughter
wouldn’t have a chance at making it into this world…”
Brant eyed her for a long moment of silence, his eyes trailing over her
features as he thought about how much they‘d been through with one
another already. While he had so many things he wanted to say to
her, nothing felt right in this moment in time. Finally he
smoothed his fingers into her hair urging her in closer to his warm
embrace, “Avery, we’re going to make sure your daughter has more than a
fighting chance to make it into this world. We’re going to see to
it when she’s born that she has everything that Russell wanted for her
“Brant, I don’t expect you to…” Avery blinked back at him with obvious
surprise in her voice.
“Look, I’m not going to lie. I know that Russ hated me and I
can’t say I really blame him, but one thing I will say is that you mean
the world to me. I meant it before when I told you I would always
be there for you,” he paused feeling his heart pounding in his chest at
the thought of what he was saying to her, “Look, Avery I’m not trying
to take advantage of this situation and I don’t want you thinking that,
but right now, well I know you can’t do this alone. I know how
upsetting this is and I’d like to be there for you. To help you
through what’s happening…”
“Brant, I…” Avery started feeling his finger press in over her lips.
“Don’t tell me how it wouldn’t be right or how you don’t want me to
help you,” Brant pleaded with her, “because this isn’t about my trying
to make an inappropriate move on you Avery. I care about
you…probably more than I should and to see you in this much pain, well
it’s killing me. I know if I just walked away and let you go this
alone that I’d be no better off than Bruce Mathis.”
“You’re not even in the same category Brant,” Avery confessed in a
tight whisper, “I know that.”
“Yeah, well, then why do I feel guilty as hell that I’m the one here
holding you when it should’ve been Russ,” he questioned with obvious
emotion. His fingers gingerly pressed in against her cheek,
meeting her brown eyes with sheer honesty, “Avery I’d give up
everything I had right now to bring him back to you, but I know that I
can’t. I know that all I can do is be the kind of man that you
need in your life to help you. I want to do whatever I can for
you and your little girl and in being your friend, I hope you’ll allow
“Brant I,” Avery started finding herself at a loss. She opened
her mouth to speak once again before finally laying her head on his
chest and giving him her silent answer to his pleas. Curling his
arm around her, he felt her tears soak through his shirt, but in that
moment he vowed the he would do everything in his power to keep her
from ever feeling this kind of pain in her life ever again. She
needed someone to protect her--to save her from the nightmare that had
overtaken her life and in that moment Brant knew that he was the man
who was put on this earth to do it.
Dave looked up from his desk hearing the distinct slam of the door in
front of him. He nearly gulped at the whirlwind that surrounded
Carly when she marched over to his desk. Her dark eyes were full
of fire, her crimson colored lips curled in an obvious pout.
Unable to hide his amusement he leaned back against his chair putting
his arms up behind his head.
“So Carly, what might I ask prompted you to come in here looking like
you’d like to string me up,” he asked not giving her the opportunity to
go off on him.
“You just can’t take a piece of advice when it’s coming right at you,
can you Dave?” she shook her head at him adamantly.
“Look Carly as much as I love seeing your face each and every day,
you’re going to have to be a bit more specific before I can muster up a
proper reply to your accusations,” he answered with a casual sigh.
“Dave, I’m talking about the special treatment you’re giving Grady
Denton,” Carly’s eyes narrowed down at him, “What’s this I hear about
him being given special treatment around her?”
“Come again,” Dave feigned innocence.
“Not only do you have him separate from the other criminals awaiting
trial but then to allow him to have his girlfriend spending the night
with him…” she began.
“Now Carly, before you start to tell my how to run my precinct, maybe
you should think about where you’re coming from here. You’re not
my boss--not even close to it and before you read into some rumor, you
should just think about this for a minute.”
“I have thought about this Dave and Chavez wants your head for
this. When the news hit our offices,” Carly began in a huff.
“First of all, as you said before it’s a rumor, not news Carly. I
don’t know where you’re getting your information from, but clearly it’s
someone who would like nothing more than to get your feathers
ruffled. Clearly they did a great job of it too,” he added giving
her a curious once over.
“Dave, I’m being serious,” she frowned back at him.
“So am I Carly. Yes, I’ll admit that Grady is separated from the
others, but that’s only because the last time he was here, he was
stabbed by someone who managed to penetrate the station’s security and
I’d really rather not see it happen again,” Dave continued firmly.
“Yes, but after that you allowed him to just walk out of here as if he
hadn’t done a thing wrong to begin with,” she snapped in response.
“As far as we both know he hasn’t Carly,” Dave countered catching her
look of heavy disapproval.
“Dave, it’s not your place to be assigning guilt or innocence.
Your job is just to bring them here to await trial and…” Carly started
again with obvious irritation.
“And what? Pretend that they should be condemned just because
your offices are looking for a big victory?” Dave rose from his
seat. “Tell me something Carly, is Douglas Mahoney funding
Chavez’s campaign for re-election there?”
“Douglas Mahoney has nothing to do with this, but Kipp Mahoney
does. He’s the victim and I want to see justice for him,” Carly
added with another frown.
“So do I Carly, but you’re barking up the wrong tree. What your
offices should be doing is investigating Cameron Stone. I really
think that’s where the real truth will start to surface,” Dave offered
up thinking about what he knew about the man who’d pulled so many
strings around town.
“Yeah well, you know the last time I checked Grady Denton was an
employee of Stone’s,” Carly folded her arms in front of her chest, “and
that in itself raises the bar for suspicions where he’s concerned.”
“Carly, I think you’re getting ahead of yourself, but then again you
always did,” Dave shook his head at her, “In fact, come to think of it,
that was one of our major problems with our relationship.”
“And your relaxed, take things as you think they are attitude was just
enough to drive me insane,” Carly groaned in response, shaking her head
at him, “David, this isn’t just some game. We’re talking about a
“Exactly which is why I’m not about to let Grady be put in jeopardy
just because someone wants him eliminated,” Dave piped back at her,
“Sure, okay Carly, I know that your boss wants a conviction, but aren’t
you the least bit curious to know what really happened the night of the
“Your police officers showed me what happened that night. Dave,
I’ve seen the case file,” Carly explained with another sigh, “that in
itself has me convinced that Grady is guilty. That and the
“Carly, it was planted,” Dave blurted out unable to believe his own
certainty about the situation.
“Oh Dave, please don’t tell me you’ve taken to siding with the bad guys
now. Are you really that ready to lose your career?”
“It’s not about losing my career. It’s about the truth and I
really believe it’s Cameron Stone who has worked hard to keep the truth
from ever coming out. In fact,” Dave paused taking a moment to
contemplate the situation surrounding their confrontation, “if you’re
willing to hear me out and listen to my theory on what’s going on, then
maybe we can work something out between us.”
“Dave, that’s not what I came here to talk to you about. I
stopped by to see if you’re really doing those things that Chavez was
told about,” Carly explained with a sideways glance, “I just don’t want
you to lose it all over this case.”
“Fine, then give me time to explain everything to you,” Dave suggested
with a cryptic smile, “Say over dinner?”
Carly remained silent for a long moment before letting out an ironic
laugh, “Let me get this straight. You’re asking me out to dinner
after I wanted to know about what you’ve been doing here at the
“Well if you want to know what is driving me and my decisions,” Dave
smiled back at her, “then we’ll do it in a much more casual setting
after you’ve cooled down.”
“Dave, what am I supposed to go back and tell Chavez?” she blinked back
at him, her lips curling in a slight frown.
“Tell her that you’re researching into things,” Dave suggested with a
sexy smile, “and then tonight, well we’ll research the topic together.”
“You really haven’t changed, have you,” she couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Carly, if I was still the same I would’ve thrown you out of my office
the moment you rushed in here,” Dave pointed out rubbing his hands
“No, you wouldn’t have,” she shook her head at him, “You would’ve
argued with me for a little bit and then opted to toss me out.
You haven’t changed.”
“And still she argued with me about my intentions and behavior,” he
laughed lightly, “It never changes, does it Carly?”
“Just like I was telling you,” she winked at him, “and for now, well
you’re off the hook, but tonight I’d like some answers. Deal?”
He nodded, “I’ll let you in on what I think is going on.”
“It had better be good Dave because as it stands I’m ready to go to
trial and see that Grady Denton doesn’t flee from justice yet again.”
“Then you’ll be taking down the wrong man,” Dave tried to appeal to her
“Only time will tell, won’t it,” she finished giving him one last look
before walking out of his office leaving him to wonder how in the world
he was going to be able to help Grady out of this predicament he was in
when most of the evidence so clearly placed him in the guilty light.
Jade stood outside Ria’s door thinking about the night she’d spent with
Grady. It had ended far too soon for her liking, but when Dave
had come in earlier in the morning and suggested she sneak out before
anyone found her, she knew that she couldn’t argue with that.
Saying good-bye to Grady was one of the hardest things she’d ever have
to do, but she had to believe that it wasn’t forever. Of course
she was sure that Avery thought the very same thing the moment Russ had
said he was going back to the car and now…
“Don’t think like that Jade,” she instructed herself, “Grady will be
free and everything will work itself out.”
At least that’s what she had to believe in order to make it through the
day, she reasoned before taking in a long, slow breath. Closing
her eyes she tried to remember the way it felt to have Grady’s arms
around her. She had to stay strong--to remain positive and if
living in denial was the way to do it, then so be it.
Drawing in one last breath, she knocked on her friend’s door needing
someone to help her keep her mind off of the situation for the time
being. Seth wasn’t around so Ria seemed like the perfect one do
to it. Plus, Jade had a few questions about Kipp Mahoney’s
shooting herself and she knew that maybe just maybe Ria would be able
to tell her more about what happened that night since Ria was at the
hospital at the time it happened. Knocking once again Jade
figured that Ria must’ve been out and about and she turned to leave
feeling a moment of frustration overwhelm her.
“Yes,” a voice questioned nearly stopping Jade in her tracks.
Spinning around, Jade’s eyes widened in shock to see Valerie standing
before her in Ria’s doorway wearing a loose-fitting oversized gray
sweatshirt that was now falling off of her tanned shoulder.
Blinking once, then again, Jade’s jaw nearly dropped as Valerie stepped
out into the hallway with a bright smile.
“Jade is it really you,” Valerie smiled back at her with wide eyes.
“Val,” Jade offered up a sideways glance, “what are you doing here?”
“I’m in town on a shoot and…” Valerie rushed over to her, embracing her
eagerly, “Jade, it’s so good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too,” was all that Jade could manage to get out,
“but I guess I just never thought that I’d see you in town
again…especially not after you left.”
“Well, I had an assignment that brought me back and Ria was kind enough
to let me stay here,” Valerie explained taking a step back, “though I
have to admit I didn’t imagine I’d see you popping by today.”
“I guess we’re both surprised then. I was hoping I could get a
few words in with Ria, but I’m guessing she’s not here, huh?” Jade
noted with a curious expression.
“No, she’s at work, but you know if you want to come inside and catch
up…” Valerie began.
“I’m actually kind of busy, but maybe some other time,” Jade replied
suddenly feeling a bit tense about the situation she’d walked in
upon. “I mean I was only going to stick around for a few minutes
“Then what,” Valerie questioned giving Jade a once over, “Jade, you
wouldn’t be making excuses to leave because you’re uncomfortable, would
“No, that’s not what I’m,” she paused before letting out a slow sigh,
“Yeah I kind of am.”
“Because of Seth,” Valerie answered knowingly.
“Look, Val, I know we were friends and all, but given that you and
Seth…” Jade started again.
“Jade, just because Seth and I didn’t end up on good terms doesn’t mean
that we have to hate one another. Besides,” Valerie offered up a
wide grin, “I hear Seth has moved on, so why should we hold any of that
“Well, I suppose you’re right about that, but still…” Jade paused
again, “Does Seth know you’re in town?”
“No, not yet,” Val divulged, “but I had been thinking about it…”
“Yeah well, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. This hasn’t
exactly been a good couple of weeks for him,” Jade replied thinking
about the hell her brother had endured.
“Oh now here I would think that he’d be on top of the world in being
engaged and all,” Valerie simply shrugged her shoulders.
“Engaged,” Jade repeated with wide eyes, “Seth?”
“Yeah, at least that’s what Ben told me last night,” Valerie nodded in
confession, “I must admit I was shocked to hear it myself, but…”
“But it makes sense in it’s own way,” Jade thought aloud, “I mean I
knew something was up but…”
“But what?” Valerie stepped in closer to her, “Jade, why don’t you come
on inside and we can talk about this? I’d love to hear how you’ve
been and how things are going with Seth.”
“Actually,” Jade began thinking about the awkwardness of the
situation. She pondered her brother’s happiness and what he was
hoping for with Blake. Somehow Valerie’s return didn’t quite seem
to be something that would exactly thrill Seth. Suddenly
concerned with her brother’s future, she realized that if she was
shaken about Valerie’s return, then he’d be far more shell-shocked.
“What is it Jade?” Valerie questioned breaking through her thoughts.
“I just remembered something,” Jade explained clenching her purse over
her shoulder, “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this later.
It’s nice to see you again.”
“Likewise,” Valerie nodded watching Jade leave the hallway.
Unable to contain herself, she was certain that she knew where Jade
would be headed. Sure enough Seth would know about her return
before this day was over and that only meant one thing. She would
be seeing him soon--very soon because there was no way Seth would be
able to resist her.
“What’s wrong?” questioned Blake watching Seth toss his keys carelessly
on the table.
“Nothing,” he sighed.
“Now don’t tell me that,” she started walking towards him enclosing her
fingers with his, “You have been acting weird since the hospital.”
“You know me too well,” he smiled kissing her lightly.
“Hey, let’s not change the subject now…what’s wrong?” she questioned
seeing him roll his eyes.
“Just something about that guy,” he started before she interrupted him.
“What guy? Zack?” she raised her eyebrow looking into his deep brown
“Just something about that guy tells me that he still has feelings for
you. I mean it‘s like even though he said what he said the other
day, he‘s really not meaning it. I know he hates me Blake and I‘m
sure that he‘s plotting ways to keep us apart considering that he had
no problems stepping in and winning you over while we were apart.”
“Seth I can’t believe that you’re saying that….” she blinked back at
“Blake, I know that you cared about him and hey why wouldn’t you
considering that he’s a doctor and someone who has a lot of the things
that I won’t be able to give you…”
“That’s not important to me Seth. Don’t you know by now what I
want from this life? Don’t you know where my heart is,” she
reached out to touch his chest gently.
“I know what you’ve said, but I saw the way he was looking at
you. The guy is still clearly in love with you and…” he began
feeling her place her finger over the center of his lips to silence him.
“He can have as many feelings for me as he wants, but I wont have any
for him,” she smiled kissing him again.
“Well, I know…” he started off with a sigh from Blake.
“Believe, I don’t feel that way about Zack anymore…you’re my only man,
the only person I want to spend the rest of my life with,” she reminded
him tightening her grip on his fingers.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Of course I am, Zack was the biggest mistake I ever made because we
were only meant to be friends--nothing more. You are the best
thing that has ever happened to me. I want to be with you for the rest
of my life, Zack isn’t in my life anymore…I don’t want to be with him,
I want to be with you and only you,” she reminded him as he wrapped his
arms around her.
“I am so glad to hear those words come from you,” he whispered kissing
her forehead lightly.
“Seth, I love you and I always will. Zack and Johanna have their
future and we have ours. That’s what makes me smile--that’s what
makes me so very happy Seth. It’s that thought of us together
that makes live worth living. I mean hey, did you see how cute
Cody was? He was so adorable and he has his family
together. Zack and Johanna can make his life perfect and I know
that. I mean hey can you imagine when we are going to be parents
and how cute they are going to be,” she smiled looking up at him as he
“You are already thinking about kids?” he laughed.
“Well, I think you have to think ahead of time,” she shrugged with a
grin upon her features. “Besides, I don’t think either one of us
would really mind practicing with that either, right?”
“Not at all,” he laughed lightly before growing suddenly serious,
“Thinking ahead is always a good thing, but I mean really you want to
chase after a bunch of little ones? You know the whole late night
feedings? The breaking up their fights over the little
things? The moments when you kiss sleep good-bye in the name of
being a good parent?”
“Come to think of it yes, I do,” she smiled as he pulled her into a
“Good because I can’t wait for it either,” he confessed in a low,
sensual whisper, “Every second of it.”
“Then it’s settled, we’ll have to get working on that family of ours
together,” she offered, her words swirling into the warmth of the kiss
she presented him with.
“I want you to have everything perfect,” he smiled wrapping his arms
around her completely.
“I already do, I have you,” she stated as he hugged her closer to him
knowing that somehow all of her dreams of happily ever after were now
well within her reach.
Diego smiled seeing Sarah walk through the hospital doors and he walked
“Hey, how are you doing?” he wondered seeing the irritated look on her
face. “Or better yet, what’s wrong?”
“Just, I don’t understand what the hell is wrong with my sister. She
marries that asshole of a guy,” she sighed.
“Did Cameron hurt you? If he did I swear…” he started before she cut
“No he didn’t hurt me, he was just trying to tell me that I need to let
him be with Heather and I told him to basically screw. I mean really
what is wrong…” she started before Diego cut her off touching her arm
“I bet I have some news that can make you feel better,” he smiled as
she raised her eyebrow.
“What might that be?” she wondered seeing a grin spread across his face.
“Heather is awake.”
“Really? How is she? Is she okay?” Sarah asked quickly.
“Well, why don’t you go find out yourself,” he insisted grabbing onto
“I don’t know…” she started.
“She needs you Sarah,” he stated as she nodded.
They walked down to her room and opened the door to see Heather lying
down. Sarah walked towards her bed touching Heather’s bed lightly only
to have her turn quickly around.
“Heather, it’s me…Sarah,” she smiled to only have a frown over come her
features seeing a scowl develop over her sister.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Heather questioned with a scowl
surprising Diego as it was apparently obvious that seeing Sarah was
anything but inviting where Heather was concerned. Somehow Diego
had the feeling that things were about to take a turn from bad to worse
for the two sisters.