Episode 152

“What do you mean? I have been here by your side for so long,” Sarah questioned in confusion actually hoping for once that her sister would be happy to see her.

“I don’t need you here, nor do I want you here…so you can just leave,” Heather scowled with the out of the blue anger building up inside of her.

“I’m not leaving you or my nephew,” Sarah stated folding her arms out in front of her.

“I never asked you to step back into my life again.  I never wanted you around and I still don’t.  So why are you even here, when I’ve told you repeatedly that I don’t want you here?  Don‘t you get it Sarah, you‘re nothing in my life!” Heather raised her voice as Diego got up from the chair behind Sarah.

“Heather, don’t talk to her like that…she has been here for you,” he insisted seeing Heather scowl.

“If I was awake she wouldn’t have been here,” Heather informed him pointing in Sarah’s direction.

“God, for once I was hoping that you would actually be somewhat happy to see me,” Sarah shrugged.

“You’re kidding me right? I don’t want anything to do with you,” Heather laughed.

“That’s too bad because you are going to have to deal with me being here, if not for you…then for my nephew,” Sarah informed her with every intention real.

“I hate you,” Heather screamed out as Diego put his hands on Sarah’s shoulders.

“She doesn’t mean that,” he said lightly.

“Oh, but I do,” Heather insisted with every word hitting Sarah like a knife.

Heather never really treated her like a sister.  Sure, Sarah always tried to get along with Heather, but nothing she ever did was good enough for Heather--especially over the last few years and Sarah knew that this would be no different.

“You know what,” Sarah started letting a deep breath escape her lips, “I’m going to go get some air.”

“Bye,” Heather scowled seeing her sister walk out of the hospital doors.

“Why are you like that?” Diego questioned in disgust with seeing how Heather just treated her sister.

“Like what?” Heather shrugged as if what just happened didn‘t phase her in the least.

“She has been here for you, why can’t you just be nice to her…she has done so much for you,” Diego insisted putting his hands on his hips.

“Yeah right,” Heather rolled her eyes in sarcasm.

“Someday, there is going to be a point where you are going to realize that you need her and when that moment comes…she may be too hurt to even care,” he suggested watching her stubborn expression.

“I doubt it.” she huffed back at him refusing to look at him.

“You know Heather despite the fact that you’re ready to hate the world maybe you should take a long, hard look at those who have been there for you--for those who care for you and put your best interest first…” Diego offered up again.

“She isn’t one of them and as for me,” Heather shook her head at him refusing to look at him, “Why the hell would anyone want to be here?  I spent my life alone--I spent my time doing what I had to in order to survive and for me to pretend that what’s happened should matter--that the past should matter--well, that’s just ridiculous.”

“No, what’s ridiculous is you shutting the world out when what you really need is all the love you can get,” he snapped back at her, “Heather are you so lost inside yourself that you’re going to turn your family away forever?”

“What the hell do you know about family,” she blurted out harshly, finally finding the courage to face him despite her wounds.

“I know that if I had mine with me here and now, I sure as hell wouldn’t be treating them like this,” Diego answered biting back on his anger as he wondered how Heather could go from being absolutely charming to such a nightmare in the blink of an eye.  Sure, she’d been through a horrible ordeal, but in her exchange with Sarah, he wondered if there would ever be a way to heal the wounds that neither sister had spoken of with him up until this point in time.  He just hoped that somehow a reconciliation was near now that they needed one another more than anything.


Dean made his way into the on call room eager to take the time to appreciate his moment of peace after the chaotic morning he’d had.  He’d thought about going over to Deidra’s office and spending this time with her, but she hadn’t been around.  Probably lost in her own hectic schedule, he reasoned making his way further into the room seeking out the coffee pot only to discover it empty.
“Wonderful,” Dean groaned inward, “you’d think whomever used the last of the coffee would just make a new batch.”
“I tried,” a voice rose up from the other side of the room, “but I think if I took the time and energy to try, you’d be picking me up off of the floor.”
Dean turned towards the source of the sound to see Ria laying sprawled out on the sofa at the far end of the room.  She looked like she’d been through a war zone and it appeared that it was taking all her strength to hold her head up to address him.  Apparently it had seeing as she’d flopped her head back down again.
“What are you still doing here,” Dean questioned setting the coffee pot aside.
“Counting my last minutes on this earth,” Ria groaned back at him.
“I thought you’d left a while ago,” Dean gave her a strange look, “I thought that Reynolds told you to go home hours ago.”
“He’d mentioned something of the sort, but another emergency came up,” Ria continued completely exasperated, “I thought that I was finally going to be up on top of things with this residency, but I have to tell you this is worse than my internship was.  I don’t think I’ve slept in three days here…”
“Which isn’t a good thing,” Dean frowned approaching her as he noticed the dark circles under her eyes, “Ria, if you’re that wiped out, you’re not going to be good to anyone.  Go home.  I’m sure that the hospital will function without you for a little while.”
“I know,” Ria nodded with yet another sigh, “but I’m not sure I have the energy to get off this couch.  The coffee didn’t help…”
“Yeah well would you like me to call for a wheelchair to have you wheeled out?” Dean questioned in all seriousness, “I could drive you home since I’m on a break…”
“No that’s okay,” Ria shook her head before forcing herself to sit upright determined to beat her exhaustion, “I’ll find a way to get out of here sooner or later.”
“Are you sure,” he gave her a very concerned look.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” she nodded once again while attempting to sit up straighter, “I’ll be fine.”
“What you need to do is get home and rest Ria.  If Reynolds sees you like this, well I’d say it’s safe to assume that things will be a lot worse,” Dean pointed out with a firm look.
“Okay, okay, I’m on it,” Ria nodded again waving him away from her, “Now spare me the lecture.”
“It’s not a lecture--just friendly advice,” he explained ready to speak up again when his pager went off.  He reached for it, giving it a once over before gazing over at her apologetically, “Duty calls.”
“Yeah well good luck with it because I’m officially turning on the answering machine and going home,” she confessed with a heavy sigh making her way off of the couch.
“Make sure you do because I don’t want you to be my next emergency,” Dean threw back at her with a concerned look, “Rest up Ria.”
“Will do,” she raised her hand to her head in a saluting motion before watching him exit.  Letting out an exasperated groan, she searched the room for her purse.  Dean was right.  Rest was exactly everything she needed.  Here she was overworked and under rested and that made a very deadly combination for a doctor.  The Chief of Staff had urged her to leave, but she’d managed to stick around far longer than she’d intended.  Now was about going back to her place to sleep for the next week--or at least the next day.
“My bed awaits,” she announced forcing herself up from the couch and snatching up her purse.  No more stalling on this one, she thought to herself.  It was time to relax in the quiet and calm of her apartment she decided stepping out of the on call room sluggishly until she felt a hand press upon her shoulder.
“And just where do you think you’re going Dr. Merhan?” she heard a familiar voice call out to her.  Spinning around, she found herself met by a pair of dark, yet welcoming eyes as they shone out from behind the surgical mask that he was wearing.
“What are you doing here,” Ria questioned blinking her eyes in confusion as her jaw nearly dropped.  Taking a step back, she gave her companion a once over unable to believe how he’d gotten dressed up in scrubs and the full doctor’s attire.
“What?  Did you really think that I wasn’t going to find my way over to see you?” he threw out a pointed look from behind his mask, “Ria, this being out of town and away for so long has been killing me.”
“Killing you,” Ria repeated with an involuntary smile, “you have no idea how much it’s been torture on me.”
“Yeah, well what do you say you and I work on bringing this torture to an end,” he pulled her into his arms, urging her back into the on call room she’d just exited.  Once they were alone together in the room, he tore his mask off devouring her lips in the same instant.
Ria felt her footing slip as he pressed her in against the door, warming up her tired muscles with the intensity behind his kiss.  Sure, she’d been exhausted, but in having him around her, it sent a spark of electricity running through her--even if it only lasted for a few seconds before succumbing to the battle that exhaustion had weighed upon her.
“Oh God, it’s good to see you,” Ria leaned forward laying her head on her lover’s shoulder, “but I have to admit right now I’m whomped.”
“Whomped,” he repeated giving her a strange look, “That’s a new one, huh?”
“It means totally exhausted,” Ria continued to explain burying her head in his shoulder, “You know like in those cartoons when you see the Coyote running around after the Roadrunner, while knowing full well that he’s never going to catch him?  Eventually he gets beaten down so many times and he’s literally been whomped by that boulder that has fallen upon him.  I’m about at that point myself…”
“I see,” he nodded stroking her back gently as he held her, “well, what do you say to my helping you un-whomp yourself there?”
“Such as,” she questioned lifting her head up again.
“What if we go back to your place, I cook you a nice dinner and then maybe give you a massage to help you relax and maybe even sleep a little bit,” he replied with a small smile, “then maybe after we could…”
“Stop before you start because I know where the massage will put me there and I’m not sure I’ll wake up,” she confessed bringing her finger to his lips to silence him.
He kissed her finger tenderly before reaching for her wrist and kissing her pulse point as well, “It doesn’t hurt to give it a try, doesn’t it?”
“No actually, it sounds like heaven,” Ria confessed with an afterthought.  It would be heaven to be alone with him except that it suddenly dawned in on her that she was no longer alone at home.  “We can’t go back to my place.”
“Why not?” he questioned puzzled by her quick response.
“Because I have company,” she blurted out.
“Should I be feeling threatened,” he asked with a hint of jealousy.
“No, not like that,” she shook her head, “My friend Valerie is staying in town.  She‘s back with this obvious misconception that she and Seth can reunite and I told her we’d have to talk about it more when I got back, which never happened and…”
“Seth you say,” he gave her a curious look, “She’s someone Seth is romantically involved with?”
“Not anymore, but a long time ago they were together before she let her career get the best of her.  She wanted more than Coral Valley and then she disappeared.  The other night she showed up on my doorstep and…well, I kind of have been letting her stay with me.  You see she’s a model…”
“A model huh,” he arched a curious brow.
She curled her lip in a pout catching his expression, “Now is it me who should feel threatened by that look?”
“Not at all,” he curled his arm around her suggestively, “because I only have eyes for you.”
“Right and I’m the Easter Bunny,” she shook her head at him, “Don’t even try to run the ‘I don’t bother looking at other women’ line at me.”
“I didn’t say I didn’t look, but when it comes to touch,” he grazed his fingertips against her cheek gently, “Well there’s only one woman I can’t seem to keep my hands off of lately.”
“Hmm, well do I know her?” Ria couldn’t help but tease.
“I’ll tell you what,” he smirked down at her, “If you’re willing to escort me back to my hotel room, then I’m sure that I can fill you in on all the details.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think that you’re trying to seduce me,” Ria laughed lightly feeling his lips skim against hers.
“I’m not trying because I already know that I will seduce you,” he whispered hugging her body tighter than before, “but for now, what do you say we get out of here?”
“I don’t know if I should call Valerie first and…” Ria paused thinking about her friend.
“I’m sure she can hold her own.  Besides, she’s a model after all and they tend to gravitate towards means of finding themselves entertainment,” he whispered with a wicked smirk.
“Spoken like someone who knows first hand about the private activities of models?” she gave him a pointed look.
“No, spoken like a man who wants time alone with the woman he loves,” he pulled her up into his arms off of the ground with a determined look, “You know the type.  The man who knows what he wants and will get it no matter what.”
“That could be dangerous,” Ria warned simply allowing herself to enjoy his embrace.
“Perhaps, but tonight it’ll work in your favor,” he assured her vowing to spend this time enjoying Ria as he’d set out to do when he’d come back to town.  Sure there was business to be dealt with, but Ria was always well worth the distraction.


“So, have you pulled up anything new?” Kyle questioned watching Mindy look through the files that Russell had stored.

“Just, the facts that there was no death record for Kipp‘s death, Susan works for Cameron Stone in a position that was once Kipp‘s in town here, and the reports on the airport explosion aren’t leading me anywhere,” she sighed still trying to find something that could possibly help Kyle just a little bit.

“Alright just keep looking,” he breathed in deeply folding up the sleeves of his t-shirt.

“I’m trying my best,” she nodded as he leaned against the table watching her search.

“Give me just a second, I have to make a phone call real quick,” he stated standing up straight.

“To who?” she wondered not taking her eyes of the computer.

Kyle let out a laugh, “If you must know, I am going to call and check on Avery to see how she is doing.”

“Oh okay.”

He dialed Avery’s number listening to the endless sound of the ring tone as he hung up, “That’s weird, no answer.”

“What was that?” questioned Mindy turning in the chair to face him to see a worried expression.

“There was no answer,” he almost said in a whisper raising his eyebrow.

“She’s probably fine, just sleeping most likely,” she suggested with a slight shrug.

“You might be right, but I would feel more comfortable knowing that she was really okay,” he sighed grabbing his jacket.

“I understand,” she nodded turning back to the computer.

“Did you find anything?” he wondered looking into the screen as he put on his leather jacket.

“Well, I found two things,” she coughed out.

“What’s that mean?” he wondered with her reaction.

“Well I found one thing that could help Grady in some strange round about way maybe and the other…it isn’t too good,” she sighed watching Kyle step up closer to look at the monitor.

“Show me what you mean,” he stated as she brought up the first page.

His eyes scanned over the pictures from the surveillance camera the night that Grady attacked Kipp.

“I hope that means that is the bad one,” he whispered softly watching her nod.

“You see, this next thing will prove to you that Susan is someone who didn‘t like Kipp and clearly had a vendetta against him from the start,” she stated bringing up the next page.

“Susan and Kipp were up for the same job and while in the running shortly before he was killed.  He got the position she wanted, but after the shooting, well now she‘s filling in his shoes at Stone Corp.  Interesting…,” Kyle raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

“Does that mean Susan was the one that shot him?” she questioned seeing him put his sunglasses back on.

“I’m not sure yet,” he shrugged, “I need to do some thinking and I will be back here later…still try to find some things that may help out, anything.”

“Alright, I will try,” she smiled standing up as he pulled her into his strong arms yet again.

“This really does mean a lot to me,” he stated once more.
“It’s no problem, really,” she nodded.

“Well, I’ll see you later,” he waved goodbye walking out the doors and onto the street.

“Avery, you need to rest,” Brant insisted feeling her reluctance as she attempted to get out of bed.  “After all you’ve been through…”
“Brant, this is the very last place I need to be,” Avery sighed emphatically, “I’m fine.  Can’t you see that?”
Brant folded his arms in front of his chest throwing out a disbelieving look.
“Okay, so you don’t see it, but in all honesty, I don’t care,” Avery shook her head at him before reaching out to the table beside her hospital bed.  Throwing her legs over the side, she stood upright again, “Brant, I want out of here.  You can’t keep me here!”
“Avery, something happened at your house.  I found you on the bathroom floor, keeled over in your shower and that in itself is reason for concern on my end,” Brant argued watching her throw open the drawer beside her.
“I’m just stressed out Brant.  I was in an accident and I’m just up to my eyeballs with things to deal with,” Avery confessed with a sigh watching him open his mouth in protest, “and while I know what you’re going to tell me, the fact remains that no matter how hard and how stressful things are right now, I’m not about to walk away from my obligation to Grady.  He needs me and that’s what Russ would want me to do.  He would want me to help his brother.”
“Russ would want you to be thinking about your daughter and yourself,” Brant stepped towards her, “Avery, you can’t ignore what just happened.  I don’t like the fact that you blacked out like that and with that wound--well, you know that you need to take it easy.”
“I’m stitched up and ready to go Brant,” Avery informed him bluntly, “I know that Russ wouldn’t want Grady to spend the rest of his life in jail.  Besides, I’m fine.  I’m very resilient and I know that this was nothing.  You made a big deal out of something that…”
“That clearly hurt you Avery,” Brant shook his head at her disbelieving what he was seeing, “What if I hadn’t arrived and you bled to death on the floor?”
“Brant, that wouldn’t have happened,” Avery began in a strong state of denial, “I don’t know how this turned into something more than it…”

“Avery, you’re seeing visions of your dead husband.  You’re not thinking about yourself or about your daughter,” Brant threw back at her, “If nothing else I would’ve thought that you’d put her first especially after what happened with your other pregnancy.”
That did it.  Avery just stared at him as if he’d slapped her square across the face.  That reminder of a moment she’d tried to forget rushed down over her harder than ever.
“You bastard,” she snapped back at him turning away before she let her anger overwhelm her.
“Avery, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I want you to see what it is you need to start thinking about,” he cautiously moved in closer to her, “You have a little girl who is needing you to be thinking about her--about her future and I don’t want you to overdo it.”
“I’m not overdoing it,” Avery spun around to find him standing directly behind her, “Don’t you think I know how much my daughter means to me?  She’s the only thing that I have to show for my time with Russ?  She’s everything to the both of us and now that Russ isn’t here…” she choked up on emotion.
“Avery, listen to me,” Brant reached out to touch her shoulders, “I’m not trying to upset you, but you know as well as I do that Don said you should stay here for at least a couple of days if for no other reason than to relax and recuperate.”
“I know what Don said, but you don’t understand what is happening to Grady,” Avery pleaded with him, “Brant if I don’t go back there, then Cameron will pull out all the stops to make sure that Grady spends the rest of his life in jail.  There won’t be any chance for Grady if I’m not there to prepare for the trial.  I promised him that I would try to keep him updated and…”
“And you’d risk your health and your daughter’s do to do that,” Brant eyed her intently seeing the mixed, passionate emotions burning behind her eyes.
“I’m not putting my baby at risk.  All I’m going to do is go and see Grady and then I’ll go home.  I’ll spend the evening resting and in the morning I’ll work on my preparation for trial,” Avery insisted firmly, “It won’t be what you’re making it out to be.  Arguing with you is taking more out of me than that will.”
“Avery, I really don’t want you to go against doctor’s orders here.”
“My daughter is fine,” she added, “Don said that my fall didn’t effect her in any way.  She’s going to be okay Brant and that’s good enough for me.  Besides, my doctor is in town.  Deidra is in Coral Valley and she knows my situation.  She’s very in tune with me and the health of my baby.  I trust her and I want to go back to town.  If I think something is wrong, you know I’ll put my daughter first.  This baby means more than anything to me Brant and given what I told you--what you just said to me, you should know that I would never, ever do anything to hurt my daughter.  I would move heaven and earth to see to it that she made it into this world without complication.”
“Then why are you pushing the weight of this all on yourself?  I can have someone else work on this one.  You know I can get Grady a good defense lawyer who will wind up spinning the situation so far around that it’ll look like Grady is a saint,” Brant explained with a heavy sigh, “You know that I can afford to do something like that if need be.”
“You can’t afford it when that someone is Cameron who is leading the battle against Grady.  You’ve got one battle going on with Cameron and you don’t want to invest in another only to use BBK,” Avery argued with him reaching out to touch his arm, “Trust me on this Brant.  Grady is innocent and the truth will set him free.  I just have to let the jury know the truth.  Besides, Grady wouldn’t trust anyone you would send over.  He isn’t quick to open up to someone and even with me, I had to work for this.  Grady isn’t about to let someone else hold his life in their hands,” she paused a mask of seriousness rushing over her, “and neither will I.  I owe him a hell of a lot more than that and I’m not walking away from him.”
“Fine, then at least let me go with you.  Let me take you there and then home where I can watch you,” Brant offered in response.
“Brant, I don’t need a babysitter…” she frowned.
“I’m not being a babysitter,” Brant informed her bluntly, “but if you want to find a way to worm out of being here the rest of the night, then you’d better cooperate.”
“What is that supposed to mean,” Avery glared up at him.
“It means that if you even think about not having me go along with you, then I’ll call Don up and tell him that you need to be put under strict watch tonight,” Brant shook his head hating to say it, but feeling the need, “I’ll have you locked down for the night just to make sure that you’re safe and well rested.”
“You can’t do that,” Avery hissed at him catching the look that crept over his features.  Finally she glared at him, “You wouldn’t dare.”
“If it means making sure you and the baby are okay, you’re damn right I would.  You might hate me for it, but Avery I’m not about to let anything happen to you and that little girl.  You both are my responsibility now and if I just let you walk out of here unattended, then it would be on my hands if something happened…”
“Brant, we’re not your responsibility.  I never asked you to be the one to take care of us as we’re perfectly capable of…” she was silenced as he pressed his palm in against her cheek gently.
“I want to Avery.  After all the grief I gave you and Russ when you were together, I owe him this much.  Let me make it up to him--to you by keeping you and the little one safe,” Brant pleaded with her, a seriousness behind his eyes that surprised Avery.  “Let me help you through this.”
Avery felt a lump forming in the back of her throat before she finally nodded in response, “Fine, but if you even think about getting bossy and deceiving me by not letting me see Grady…”
“I’ll take you to Grady,” Brant promised her before smiling, “Hell I’ll even help you with your work on your presentation if need be.”
“If you did that, then I know I’d be in trouble,” she finally offered in a joking tone feeling a bit more at ease despite the lingering problems with Cameron attacking her family.
“Yeah well at least you’d know I tried to help,” Brant offered up, his fingers still resting gently on her shoulder.  His gaze locked on hers for a long moment before Avery took a step back.
“I need to get dressed because we really need to get out of here,” she cleared her throat a bit uneasily.
“I’ll get right on that,” he promised giving her one last, longing look before going to the door to seek out Don.
Avery watched his retreat thinking about all of the things she’d been going through lately.  Somehow Brant kept popping up when she’d needed him whether she liked to believe it or not.  The truth was she wasn’t sure what had happened when she was in that shower, but he did have a point.  He had saved her in his own way, but now, well now she couldn’t think about that because what mattered more than anything was saving Grady.


Deidra entered her office unable to believe how hectic things still were at the hospital.  Sure, she’d had her run in with the ups and the downs, but after the bombing it seemed as if everyone in Coral Valley was still suffering the horrible aftershocks.  Shaking her head, she said a silent prayer that things would pick up for everyone who had been touched by the tragedy.
“Now what do we have here,” she spoke to herself noticing the pile up of messages that were waiting for her on top of her desk.  Reaching out to them, she noticed her mother’s name on top of the pile followed by another one.  “Okay mom, what’s going on?”
Moving in around her desk, she took a seat and reached for her phone ready to dial her mother when her office door opened.  Looking up she saw the face of a man she’d heard a great deal about over the last year--Cameron Stone.
“Dr. Byrne,” he greeted her with a smile making his way over to her desk and extending her his hand, “I’m Cameron Stone and I was wondering if…”
“I know who you are,” Deidra stiffened automatically remembering what Diego and Shannon had told her about the man who had married Heather Gibbons.
“Of course you do,” Cameron nodded in response, “though I must confess that I’d been hoping we’d meet long before now seeing as my wife has been here for a while after giving birth to our boy and…”
“And I’m not at liberty to be speaking with you about her if that’s what you came for,” Deidra blurted out cutting to the chase, “Her family has made specific orders to keep news of Heather or her son under wraps from the general public.”
“I can understand the need for that, but I’m not the general public.  I’m her husband,” Cameron blurted out adamantly, “I have every right to know how my wife is doing.”
“I’m sure you believe that, but at this time you’ll have to go elsewhere to find out that information,” Deidra replied curtly turning her attention to the phone messages in her hand, “now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.”
“No, you are not excused,” Cameron stepped forward swiping the phone messages from her hand, “Maybe you aren’t hearing me right.  I’m Heather’s husband.”
“And I’m not saying another word to you on this subject,” Deidra rose from her chair swiping her messages back from his hand, “but please feel free to go speak with Dr. Reynolds if you’d like more information on your wife.”
“No, I’m not going to speak to Dr. Reynolds.  I’m speaking with you and I want an answer,” Cameron snapped back at her, “Don’t think that you can screw around with me and play games.  I want to know about my wife.”
“As I said before…” Deidra started catching the anger burning behind his eyes.
“Tell me where the baby is.  I want to see him,” Cameron reached out to her seizing her arm just as the door opened to reveal Dean on the other side.
“Deidra,” Dean spoke her name, his eyes turning to the man who now had a hold of her.  Dean stepped further into the room glaring at Cameron, “Do we have a problem here?”
“No problem,” Cameron released Deidra, taking a step back despite the fury that was still alive and kicking behind his eyes.
“Good, then I’m sure I won’t have to show you your exit now will I,” Dean stood taller than before, his eyes focused firmly on the man before him.
“Not at all,” Cameron adjusted the sleeve on his jacket before eyeing Deidra once again, “but trust me, I will be back.”
“I really don’t think so,” Dean stepped in closer to Cameron, his face tight with a warning, “because if you have anymore questions for Dr. Byrne, you can address them to my office instead.  I’m Dr. Carlisle.”
“Dr. Carlisle huh?” Cameron gave him a brief once over, “Hmm, somehow I seriously doubt you can give me the information I’m seeking out.”
“That’s probably because it wasn’t worth your knowing in the first place,” Dean replied simply, “but if you’d like me to have security walk you out…”
“That won’t be necessary,” Cameron shook his head making his way to the door before glancing over at Deidra again, “but know that neither you nor Dr. Hernandez can keep me from my wife.  You’d be wise to clue him in on that.”
With that Cameron walked out of Deidra’s office in a huff.  Immediately Dean turned his attention to Deidra seeing the obvious worry behind her eyes.  Reaching out to her, he touched her arm gently in an attempt to show his support.
“Care to tell me about that one?” Dean questioned in confusion, “Who was the creep?”
“That was Cameron Stone,” Deidra replied, her jaw tight with tension.
“The Cameron Stone?” Dean repeated with obvious surprise, “You mean Heather’s..?”
“Jackass of a husband,” Deidra nodded, “Yep, the one and only.”
“Wonderful,” Dean sighed heavily, “So I was really who he was looking for after all given that Heather is my patient.”
“No, I think I’m the one he was looking for as I got the feeling he came here to bully me today knowing full well that he wasn’t about to get anywhere near that baby.  That is I think he was going to do it until you arrived,” Deidra confessed with a breath of relief, “You have no idea how perfect your timing was.”
“What did I miss,” Dean questioned with obvious concern looking to her arm, “Did he hurt you?”
“No,” she shook her head in response, “but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it.  Somehow he strikes me as the kind of man who doesn’t take no for an answer.”
“Yeah, well then let me clue you in right now that I’m the kind of man who doesn’t take too kindly to someone trying to beat up my girlfriend or threaten her.  That doesn’t fly too well for me at all,” Dean admitted honestly.
“Your girlfriend,” Deidra blinked back at him in surprise, her eyes widening as thoughts of Cameron left her temporarily, “Is that what you consider me?”
“Is that being totally out of line,” he questioned hesitantly, “I mean am I overstepping some kind of boundaries there?”
“No, not at all,” Deidra replied unable to suppress the smile that had built over her lips.  “It’s just that it’s been a long time since I’ve been someone’s girlfriend.”
“Well, if you’re not offended by the role, then I suppose you could call me your boyfriend if you wanted to,” Dean winked down at her feeling her slide her arms in around his waist.
“Hmm, it does sound very tempting,” she admitted tipping up on her toes to kiss him.
He curled his arm around her, “So tempting that you’ll consider spending the night with me.”
“The night?” she repeated with a strange look.
“Am I pushing things again by even asking,” Dean questioned unsure of her reaction to him.
“No, not at all,” she shook her head before smiling, “In fact, truth be told I would love nothing more than to spend the night with you--with my boyfriend,” she wrinkled her nose at him as a tiny laugh crept in over the corners of her mouth, “It sounds like heaven compared to what‘s been going on lately.”
“Good because I have some big plans for the both of us,” he promised her, “Plans that will no doubt make today’s incident with Cameron seem like small potatoes.”
“In that case I’m all for it,” Deidra admitted freely realizing that right now she wanted nothing more than to distress.  She just hoped that whomever Cameron approached next wouldn’t have to endure whatever fury and wrath that man was carrying around with him.


Blake walked down the street slowly looking at the stores as someone accidentally ran into her making her drop a bag.

“I am so sorry,” Sarah’s voice came through her mind seeing her pick up the stuff.

“Hey Sarah, how’s it going?” Blake questioned as Sarah handed her the stuff back.

“It‘s going,” Sarah sighed standing up pulling her jacket tightly around her.

“Something tells me that something is wrong…did Kyle break up with you because if he did,” Blake started before Sarah cut her off.

“No, Kyle is a great guy, he wouldn’t do anything like that,” Sarah laughed feeling her friend nudge her in the arm lightly.

“Don’t lie to me, I know when something is wrong,” Blake smiled seeing Sarah look the other way.

“It was just my sister, nothing that important really,” Sarah shrugged as Blake nodded.

“Anything you want to tell me about?” she questioned seeing Sarah shake her head.

“It’s nothing really,” Sarah insisted knowing that’s not the truth

“Well, at least let me buy you lunch,” Blake shrugged with a slight grin.

“I don’t know,” she started.

“Come on, I hardly have anytime to hang with you and it will make me feel better,” Blake basically begged.

“Fine, for you…sure,” Sarah stated as Blake grabbed onto her arm leading her down the street to a little restaurant.


Kyle walked up to the Denton house and knocked on the door. He heard no movement and no one came to the door. Eager to find out if Avery was okay, he took out the key that Russ once gave him. He walked inside looking around.

“Avery,” he called out looking around in the front of her house. “Avery are you here?”

He walked down the hallway until something caught his eye and he turned back around. The bathroom door was slightly open with the light creeping through. He slowly opened the door and gasped seeing a red substance on the floor. He bent down touching his fingers to it rubbing it in between two of his fingers realizing it was blood.

“Oh my god, Avery,” he yelled out.

He ran into her bedroom and in every room in the house.

“Oh god, please say she is okay,” he whispered to himself beginning to feel his body overcome with worry.

He quickly pulled out his cell phone dialing the numbers feeling his fingers shake as the blood from his fingers covered his cell phone.

“Hello,” Shannon’s voice came through the phone.

“Listen it’s Kyle,” his voice sounding raspy.

“What’s wrong?” she questioned hearing the worry in his voice.

“I’m at Avery’s house and I can’t find her. There is blood all over the bathroom floor and she isn’t here,” he breathed in heavily trying not to think the worst, when that’s all he could do. If something was wrong, he was going to find her. 

“Listen, I will be there in a couple minutes, wait for me okay and we will find her,” she assured him calmly

“Okay, but hurry,” he got out quickly.

“I’ll be there as fast as I can,” she stated.

“Okay,” he hesitated shutting turning off his cell phone.


Avery entered the meeting room to find Grady seated at the same table she’d last seen him at.  Offering up a smile, she approached him hoping to somehow alleviate his concerns about the battle that they had ahead of them.  Setting her briefcase aside on the floor, she took a seat across from him opening her mouth to speak, but instead he opened up the conversation.
“Avery, you look like hell,” Grady frowned upon taking a closer look at her, “What happened?”
“Nothing important,” she tried to dismiss his concerns, “Just a slip and fall in the shower.  No big deal.”
“No big deal,” he repeated eyeing her intently, “Now why don’t I believe that?”
“Because you’re stubborn and you don’t believe anything I have to say,” Avery threw back at him pointedly, “What’s new about that?”
“The fact that I know when you’re telling me a half truth,” Grady answered matter of fact, “Your eyes shift and your nose flares out ever so slightly.”
“It does not,” she argued bringing her hand up over her face to shield herself momentarily from anymore of his scrutiny.  “So let’s talk about you…”
“No Avery, let’s talk about you,” he reached out across the table, “What’s really going on?”
“I’m worried about you.  What else is going on,” Avery glared back at him.
“What about my niece?  How did she take this slip and fall?” Grady questioned with obvious concern.
“She’s fine and so am I, but you’re not going to be if you keep taking things off topic,” Avery reminded him sharply, “I met the ADA the other day and she’s going to be a real pain in the ass during this trial.”
“Somehow I was hoping you wouldn’t be telling me that,” Grady frowned slightly, “I mean first it was bad enough to have to deal with Susan and now to hear you say that…”
“What about Susan,” Avery questioned, “Has she done something more?”
“She was here yesterday,” Grady admitted with a shake of his head, “I don’t know how they let her back here.  Someone made some lame excuse that she said she was you and…”
“Whoa, just wait a damn minute.  Susan came here to see you,” Avery tapped her fingers on the table top, “In here?”
Grady nodded, “Yeah and she was in one of her usual moods.  She came in here throwing herself on me vowing to make me pay for lying to her about my ‘death’.  She went on and on practically tackling me onto the floor when Jade walked in…”
“You don’t say,” Avery’s mouth turned in a frown, “So Susan was well aware that Jade was on her way to see you then, huh?”
“Let’s just say that Cameron’s clearly not just trying to destroy me legally, but he’s still trying to go for the gusto with my relationship as well,” Grady shook his head before bringing his fingers through his hair, “He had to be the one to send Susan here--not that she needed much convincing, but still…”
“Cameron doesn’t know when to quit, does he?” Avery grumbled, “Well this is the last straw.  I’m going to get him for this one and…”
“Avery, it’s fine,” Grady reached out to take her arm, “Jade realized what Susan was up to and from the sound of things, Jade kicked her ass,” his grin widened, “That’s my girl.”
“Even so, Susan has no right to come in here and…” Avery started to rant.
“Susan is the least of my problems.  I’d be more turned on by, well, you than I would Susan,” Grady remarked offhandedly catching the strange expression on Avery‘s face.  “No offense.“
“None taken, but I’m just telling you now if you mention the phrase turned on and me in the same breath again, I may have to vomit,” Avery replied with a teasing smirk.
“Don’t worry, I’ve deleted the file from my brain there.  In fact, I’ve actually erased it considering that you and I making love would have to be one of the worst possible scenarios that I could ever think up and I know fully that we wouldn’t ever…” Grady stopped himself, his face twisting as he’d managed to dig himself deeper with each word.
“If you’re really looking forward to my vomiting keep it up Grady because I’m telling you, your niece and I are both not enjoying the horrible visuals you’re painting here,” Avery brought her hands up over her ears, “In fact I’m not listening…”
“And I’m not talking anymore,” Grady promised with a tiny shudder before drawing in a slow breath.  Finally, he spoke up again, “On another note, can you see how jail is killing me here?”
“Clearly it’s warped your mind,” Avery replied believing that fully as she pondered how many thought she was the one going crazy, “but seriously Grady, we really need to focus on your defense.  I don’t want us to go into trial unprepared.  If Susan shed any light on anything that Cameron is up to…”
“Of course she wouldn’t do that,” Grady threw out a pointed look, “She was on a power trip and that was all her visit was about.”
“Even so, I had to wonder if she’d slip up somehow,” Avery pondered the thought, “though we know Cameron’s not free from that and once we get that tape Russ and I found into the court’s eyes, then we will get you out of here as soon as possible…”
“Avery, listen to me,” Grady began thinking about what they were facing ahead of them, “Cameron isn’t going to make this easy.  We knew that before, but now…”
“Grady, we can beat this.  We can beat him and when we do, well you’re going to see that I’m not so bad after all,” Avery smiled at him despite her own worries, “I mean there is a reason why your brother loves me, right?”
“There were a million reasons why my brother loves you,” he nodded in complete honesty, “and it’s because of that I worry about what is ahead of us.  Russ wouldn’t want you to be hurt in all of this because Cameron has a vendetta against me for some reason…”
“And Russ wouldn’t want me to turn away from you when you need me the most.  We both vowed to help you and that’s something I intend to do,” Avery informed him honestly reaching out to place her hand on top of his, “Grady, Cameron isn’t going to win this one.”
“To win the war, sometimes you have to lose a few battles.  I just don’t want you or the baby to be one of those casualties,” Grady stated in all seriousness, “Avery, I know how upset and hurting you are and…”
“And this gives me something to think about other than the fact that this town expects me to bury my husband and move on with my life,” Avery admitted honestly, her eyes filling with emotion, “Believe me Grady, I want to win this as much as you do.  This is what I was meant to do.”
“But if it gets to be too much--Avery, if Cameron tries something, then don’t hesitate to back off,” Grady squeezed her hand in his, “Please don’t sacrifice something that Russ wanted more than anything in this world.”
“It’s because of Russ that I’m sitting here today Grady.  We will win this one and when we do together we’ll find a way to rid Cameron Stone from all of our lives forever,” Avery promised as Grady watched her wishing that somehow he could have that same faith that she seemed to convey. 
“I hope you’re right Avery,“ Grady sighed knowing full well that Cameron was about to pull out all the stops to prove that Grady was the one who had gotten rid of Kipp Mahoney.  He was ready for a fight and he had no doubts that if Avery was at the top of her game, so would she.  However after losing Russ and facing a life without him, Grady had seen her at her most vulnerable moment and now he just prayed that Cameron didn’t try to take advantage of that in or out of the courtroom.


Seth entered his apartment wondering what in the world had prompted Jade to keep calling him like crazy.  On the phone she’d been rather vague with her messages and he wasn’t quite sure what the problem was.  Fearing that Cameron had done something again, Seth searched the living room praying that his sister hadn’t been hurt in anyway.
“Seth,” Jade called out his name rushing out of her bedroom in a frenzy, “thank God you’re here.”
“Jade, what is it,” he questioned racing over to his sister, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, but you…” Jade paused looking around the room, “Is Blake here?”
“No,” Seth shook his head promptly, “I mean I was with her, but then I dropped her off at her place.  She wanted to check in on her brother and…”
“And as much as I like Blake, I’m glad she’s not here,” Jade reached for his hand guiding him over to the sofa, “Sit down because trust me you’re going to need to on this one.”
“Jade, you’re scaring me,” Seth frowned feeling his sister push him along through the apartment, “What aren’t you telling me?  Has Cameron done something to you?  Did he threaten you again?”
“No, Seth this isn’t about me,” Jade explained hurriedly, “It’s about you.”
“What about me?  Did Cameron…” Seth’s eyes darkened with obvious anger.
“No Seth, this isn’t about Cameron.  It’s about Valerie,” Jade blurted out watching his expression shift from one of worry and anger to a mask of complete confusion.
“Valerie,” Seth repeated giving her a strange look, “Jade, why would you call me here in a panic to talk to me about Valerie?”
“Because she’s here Seth,” Jade informed him point blank.
“What?” he blinked back in surprise, “Jade, are you saying that…”
Jade nodded worriedly, “That’s right Seth, Valerie’s back in Coral Valley and you have to stop her before she ruins your happiness with Blake forever.”


“So tell me,” started Blake taking a sip of her drink, “Did anything new happen with you and Kyle?”

“Well, nothing really…he is feeling really bad right now,” Sarah sighed thinking back on how he had been acting like for so long since Russell’s death.

“Why what’s wrong?” she wondered folding her arms out in front of her listening to what her friend had to say.

“Well, you may have not known this, Russell Denton was one of  his best friends and he just lost his best friend and he is blaming himself for everything that has happened,” Sarah took in a deep sigh realizing it wasn’t easy to not worry about Kyle.

“I know how it must feel, poor guy…it wasn’t his fault,” Blake mentioned watching Sarah nod.

“That’s what I told him, but he is taking all the pressure on himself, that’s just the type of guy he is,” Sarah shrugged, “I love him thought and that’s why I am going to help him through out what he needs.”

“You just said you loved him,” Blake smiled.

“Yeah, I do,” she nodded turning to only look back to the table, “Enough about me and Kyle…what about you and that Seth?”

Blake just smiled holding out her hand to show her ring to only have Sarah gasp.

“Oh my god congratulations,” she squeaked getting up and hugging Blake.

“Thanks,” she smiled watching her friend sit back down, “This was his grandmothers.”

“That is beautiful,” Sarah smiled looking at the ring, “I bet it was romantic.”

“Well not that really,” she started seeing Sarah raise and eyebrow, “Well okay, it was the cutest thing.  The story that goes with it is beyond ultra-romantic and I‘ll have to tell you some time there, but right now, well let‘s just say that this is really the best thing that‘s ever happened to me.”

“That’s what I thought, you two are going to love each other for a long time,” Sarah nodded with a grin folding her arms out in front of her.

“I hope so,” Blake smiled proudly, “I don’t think anything or anyone will be able to break up me and Seth.  We‘ve finally evolved past all of the problems we were having and things are exactly as they were meant to be…”

“Excuse me, but we need to talk,” a voice came from next to the table.

Blake looked up seeing that annoying girl from the store who tried taking that dress from her.

“We need to talk like right now,” the woman insisted her eyes filled with a sudden determination that meant one thing--trouble!

...to be continued...