“What is it that you want exactly?” questioned Blake taking a sip of
her water, “If you didn’t notice, I am with a friend and we are trying
to talk after not seeing each other in a long time.”
“Well, now that you point that out, can we be alone?” the woman looked
Sarah was speechless before Blake shook her head, “If you want to talk,
just you and me…I think you should ask me not her.”
“Well, can we talk alone?” the woman scowled putting her hands on her
“You know what, no…we cant,” Blake smiled looking up, “Anything you
have to say, can be said in front of her too.”
“Fine what ever,” the woman rolled her eyes.
“Look…what was your name? I didn’t catch it, or more along the lines I
didn’t seem to care,” Blake grinned.
“It’s Valerie…” she started before getting cut off.
“Listen Valerie, if this is about that dress incident I don’t think we
need to talk about that anymore,” Blake shook her head seeing the woman
before her scowl.
“Do have some type of issues or something,” Valerie questioned
forgetting about Seth and starting something new.
“Actually, yes I do…with people like you,” Blake nodded standing up and
pulling Sarah up with her.
“What is that suppose to mean?” Valerie wondered with a scowl over her
“It means I don’t appreciate people who want attention over some small
thing and they end up ruining a perfect time between two friends,”
“Well excuse me,” Valerie rolled her eyes.
“Sarah, lets go…before the trash around this city start getting to us,”
Blake informed before grabbing her friend and walking off to only leave
a questionable Valerie behind.
Ria let out a soft sigh, rolling over on the bed only to discover that
she was alone. Opening her eyes she found herself surrounded by
darkness in the hotel room she’d come to with her lover. While
she’d promised that she would try to give him her full attention, the
fact to the matter was that work had wiped her out much earlier than
she’d intended. Even now she couldn’t believe how exhausted she’d
been. Stretching out a bit from beneath the sheet, she found
herself wondering where he’d drifted off to. Mustering up enough
strength to sit upright, she looked around the room to discover it
“That’s funny,” Ria frowned slightly tossing the sheet aside and making
her way out of bed. While this wasn’t the typical kind of racy
hotel they’d normally stayed at, she could sense something was
different about his return. This time he’d spared no expense in
showing her this beautiful hotel room, but now with him being gone.
“And here you were teasing me about being exhausted,” Ria shook her
head slipping into one of the robes only to hear the sound of the
Smiling, she turned to go pay her lover a visit when she noticed a
photo on one of the tables just beyond the bed. Frowning ever so
slightly, Ria moved in for further inspection. There before her
lay a few tabloid articles about Blake and Seth’s engagement.
Reaching for one of them, Ria felt something slide out from the
magazine. Now on the table top were a few black and white images
of Blake and Seth that were clearly taken without their
knowledge. They seemed oblivious to the camera’s watchful eye and
as Ria noticed the level of intimacy happening between them, she felt a
shiver race over her. Something was off.
“I thought I heard some movement out here,” her lover replied entering
the room with a white towel draped around his waist. He stopped
mid-step when he noticed her over by the table. “Hey, what’s
“What are these,” Ria questioned fingering one of the pictures and
holding it up to show him, “Why do you have these?”
“Ria, I can explain,” he began rushing over to swipe the photo from
her, “it’s not what you’re thinking…”
“I’m not really sure what I’m thinking right now other than you
shouldn’t be having these. I mean what is this all about,” she
motioned to the tabloids and the photos again, “Why are you spying on
“It’s really not that I’m spying,” he began with a long sigh before
running his fingers through his damp hair, “Ria, listen to me, there’s
something we need to talk about.”
“Yeah, you’re damn right we do,” she folded her arms in front of her
chest, “Starting with why you’re following my friend around.”
“I’ll explain,” he reached for her hand, “but please just give me a
moment to talk with you before you jump to any rash conclusions.”
“Seeing that you’re spying on my friends is enough for me to be upset,”
she pointed out feeling him guide her over to the bed to take a seat
“I realize that and the truth to the matter is that you should be angry
with me. I was way out of line to have someone follow your friend
Seth,” he began with a small frown.
“You were,” she blinked back at him giving him a strange look.
“I was,” he nodded in response, “but the truth to the matter is that
after he was following you that one day, well I just had to be sure
about him. I know we’ve had near misses with him time and time
again and I just had to be sure…”
“Sure of what,” she questioned in confusion, “What is it that you think
you need to check out Seth for?”
“Well for starters, the guy clearly is close to you and I was worried
that…” he offered up revealing the first hints of jealousy.
“Please don’t tell me that you’re getting possessive and resorting to
this…” Ria scowled back at him while reaching for the images, “If you
don’t have faith in me and you don’t trust my feelings for you then…”
“No, it’s not that,” he shook his head at her, “It’s just that when I’d
asked about your friend, I’d heard that he had ties to Cameron Stone
and I was just afraid that…”
“That what?” she blinked back in response.
“That you might be in danger,” he replied reaching out to touch her
cheek gently, “and foolishly I hired someone to keep an eye on
him--just to make sure that you would be okay. As you can see,
that was what they came up with. The man I hired paid me a visit
shortly before I came over to see you. When he gave me those
articles and pictures, I felt stupid for even having thought of
checking him out in the first place…”
“Yeah, well you should because Seth is a great guy. He’s one of
my very best friends and I trust him completely,” Ria explained matter
“As you very well should,” he nodded in agreement.
“But you on the other hand, well if you’re going to keep doing things
like this,” she curled her lip in a pout, shaking her head at him.
“I’m sorry Ria,” he leaned forward cupping her face in his hands, “I
just had to be sure--I had to know that you would be okay--that you
“So you had someone follow one of my friends?” she shook her head at
him, “That’s just being paranoid.”
“Yeah well given my history, you could see why I might be paranoid,
right?” he threw her a pointed look.
“Well yes, but still…” she paused biting on her lower lip in an attempt
to stay mad at him.
“Ria, when I met you, I told you that there would be certain rules and
risks that we had to refrain from. What we have is so very
special, but if for a second our being together got into the wrong
hands, then it could cost me everything--it could be the end of life as
we know it and…”
“And I understand your fears, but in this case, there’s no need for
them. They are completely out of place this time. Seth is
just my friend and as you can see from those, he’s very much in love
with Blake…” Ria continued to remind him.
“I know you’ve said that time and time again, but you also mentioned
something about your friend Valerie,” he raised a curious brow, “Is she
someone that Seth…”
“Let’s just say it’s history. Ancient history,” Ria reached for
the photos in his hand, “and besides, Blake is what makes Seth
happy. They’re good together…they really are…”
“Is that right,” he stole another look at the images, “So what about
you and Blake? What do you think of her?”
“I think that if Seth’s happy, then who am I to judge,” she swiped the
last traces of the photos away from him, “and besides right now the
last thing I want to talk about is Blake or Seth for that matter.
You brought me here to show me the time of my life and so far all I’ve
seen is disappointment…”
“That’s because you fell asleep on me,” he reminded her with a tiny
“I’m awake now,” she insisted with a pointed smirk, “and besides after
this, well I think you owe me a few.”
“Is that right,” he tugged her in closer to him.
“That’s very right,” she whispered warmly against his lips, “so I think
you’d better work on making it up to me…starting now…”
“In that case,” he captured her mouth with a burning intensity before
nibbling on her lower lip and whispering, “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Good answer,” Ria mouthed vowing to enjoy her evening with the man
who’d made her life a bit more entertaining lately. Sure there
were risks involved in such a secret romance, but she was certain that
the rewards would far more pay off eventually.
“Are you sure this is the place she was taken to?” questioned a worried
Kyle opening the hospital doors quickly.
“Like I said before, I’m positive…I made sure after Brant made the
call. This is the exact place, now calm down,” Shannon insisted
touching his shoulder lightly as they walked toward the desk.
“Yeah, that’s probably the best thing to do,” he nodded as they reached
the desk to see a dark haired woman stand up.
“Can I help you?” the woman asked.
“Yes, I’m looking for Avery Denton,” Kyle sighed before hearing a voice
behind him and turning around.
“I’m her doctor. Can I help you?” questioned a man from behind
them. He had short dark hair and light blue eyes.
“Yes, we would like to see her,” Shannon nodded seeing the doctor shake
“I’m sorry I can’t let you see her,” he shrugged putting his hands in
“Well, why the hell not?” questioned Kyle scowling.
“Listen, I am an FBI agent…we need to see her,” she insisted before he
“If you would have just let me finish what I was saying, you would have
known that she isn’t here anymore,” the doctor assured them.
“Listen doctor,” Kyle started taking a look at his nametag, “Leveski,
could you tell me what happened?”
“First off, you could call me Don, secondly…she checked herself out not
long ago,” Don stated.
“Well Don,” Kyle started sarcastically, “Could you tell me if she was
okay when she left?”
“A couple cuts and bruises…that’s about the equivalent,” Don shrugged
seeing Kyle nod.
“Okay, thank you,” he sighed turning around.
“Well that was a lot of help wasn’t it?” Shannon questioned looking
over at Kyle.
“Yeah,” he laughed sarcastically, “What kind of last name is Leveski,
that sounds so weird.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” she questioned seeing him laugh.
Avery marched out of the waiting room area ready to find Susan and rip
her head off after the little stunt she’d pulled on Grady. Making
her way towards the exit, she vowed to go over to Susan’s apartment and
have a few words with her. One way or another she would get Susan
to back off and leave Grady alone.
“Whoa, where’s the fire,” Brant questioned leaping up off of the bench
he’d been seated on while waiting for her. Tossing the magazine
he’d only halfheartedly been thumbing through, he rushed up over to her
side, “Avery, slow down. What’s going on?”
“I think I’m going to go kill Susan,” she blurted out with a frown,
“That woman has no scruples about her.”
“Tell me something that I don’t already know,” Brant reached for her
arm, “Avery, hey wait a second.”
“Tell me something,” Avery spun around to face him, her dark eyes
filled with anger at the thought of all the horrible things that
Cameron had been doing to Grady, “With Susan, are you really sleeping
with her? I mean is it some kind of sick and twisted sexual game
“Now wait just one damn minute,” he replied taken aback by her tone,
“If that’s what you’re upset about….”
“Oh no, I’m not upset by your poor judgment, but more so by the fact
that woman is so blatantly evil that she’ll do every one of Cameron’s
biddings if it means hurting Grady in the process,” Avery huffed
impatiently, “To think of the lengths that she’d go to in order to
“First off, you’re not going anywhere near Susan, especially not when
you’re feeling like that,” Brant insisted firmly, taking her shoulders
in his palms, “You need to calm down.”
“Oh leave it to you to defend her,” Avery took a step back, her hands
on her hips defiantly, “Tell me what is it about that woman that takes
a perfectly sane and rational man and turns him into a hormonal pile of
“Well, for starters, I think you’re totally approaching this all wrong
because I’m not nor have I ever been sleeping with Susan,” he replied
honestly catching a look of disbelief from her.
“Oh yeah right,” she rolled her eyes, “Like I’d almost believe that
after what Russ and I encountered at your house…”
“Look, Susan is hot for Ken. She asked me to help her get Ken’s
attention. I figured that since they had something together in
the past, that maybe just maybe it wouldn’t hurt for them to pick up
where they left off with one another,” he blurted out surprised by his
own openness about the situation, “but I was wrong to do that.”
“Come again,” she eyed him with obvious confusion, “Did you just say
you were wrong?”
“Yes, I did,” Brant nodded before taking a quick look around the police
department, “but don’t get too used to hearing me say it because it’s
not going to happen. I made a mistake with my brother in trying
to dictate his love life and if I could go back and change things, then
“Ken,” Avery repeated thinking about what she’d read in the newspapers
briefly, “you mean because Caitlin is gone?”
Brant nodded, “I never thought that she would leave him like
that. I guess I’d always hoped they’d break up, but when she
died…well, that wasn’t what I wanted either.”
“That bombing changed everything for a lot of lives,” Avery paused
thinking about her own loss.
“Yes it did,” Brant nodded, “and while I wish I could change some
things, the fact remains that I can’t. I can’t go back and erase
my mistakes nor can I keep you and Ken from hurting, but what I can do
is stop you from doing something stupid. Do you have any idea how
bad it would look if you went over and attacked Susan right now?
Especially with the trial right around the corner?”
“I don’t care how bad it would look. I just don’t want her and
Cameron trying to hurt Grady,” Avery admitted with a huff, “he’s been
through enough lately. If she keeps trying to push her weight
“Tell you what,” Brant reached out to her once again, “If you let me
try to help you with this one, then I can assure you Susan won’t be a
She threw out a skeptic look, “Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.”
“Let’s just say I know someone who can help put Susan in her
place. I’ve seen it done before and that someone was well, your
father,” Brant confessed thinking back to the exchange between him,
Ken, Susan and Richard at the hospital.
“What exactly do you have in mind?” Avery arched a curious brow.
“I’m not quite sure yet, but I can phone in a few favors and at the
least make sure that Susan can’t get to Grady again. You have my
word on that Avery,” Brant tried to assure her.
“Brant, I can’t ask you for favors especially since…”
“You didn’t ask. I want to Avery and furthermore, I want to make
sure that you’re okay. You need to calm down and right now I
think that the best thing for you is to take you home,” he insisted
throwing out a pleading look, “remember that was the deal we made at
“Brant, I know what I said, but…” she began sensing that if she didn’t
comply with his suggestion that this would turn into yet another debate
between them. Finally biting back on her tone, she spoke up once
again, “Fine, we’ll go home, but when we get there, I expect you to
make that phone call.”
“You have my word on that,” Brant offered her his arm hoping that
somehow he could find a way to ease up some of the stress in her
life. If Susan was a problem for her, then well, he’d have to
work on putting an end to that problem. After all it seemed that
Susan had clearly overstayed her welcome in Coral Valley. Maybe
just maybe it was time to remind her of all the reasons why she needed
to leave and stay gone again.
“Right this way,” Guy explained scooping Brittany into his arms while
Gabe leaned up against the wall for support after having been released
from the hospital.
“Is this your place Guy?” Brittany questioned with wide eyes looking
around the corridor.
“Yes it is,” Guy thought about it for a moment, “well actually it’s my
sister’s apartment, but she’s letting me stay here for a while.”
“And she said that my daddy and I can stay too,” Brittany’s eyes
widened in response.
Guy nodded, “Yeah Avery said it’s okay. She likes having little
girls around here.”
“Does she have any little girls that I can play with living here?” she
asked as Guy opened the front door.
“Not yet, but she’s going to have a little girl very soon,” Guy
explained stepping into his apartment and looking over his shoulder to
see Gabe moving in behind them.
“Well tell her to hurry up because I’d like someone to play with,”
Brittany exclaimed before surveying the apartment, “Wow, this place is
like awesome. What is your sister? A princess or something?”
“Something like that,” Guy couldn’t help but laugh as he set her
down. Immediately Brittany ran over to the middle of the living
room to inspect things. Guy turned to his lover trying to help
him further inside.
“You know you don’t have to do this,” Gabe began with a heavy sigh
feeling his exhaustion weight upon him.
“Of course I did,” Guy insisted offering his arm out to him, “A hotel
is no place for you and your daughter. It’s so impersonal and
besides here I can play with Brittany while you rest. Plus you
both can benefit from a good, home cooked meal instead of room service.”
“Guy, I still just think that…” Gabe started once again only to feel
Guy press his finger over his lips to silence him.
“Don’t argue with me. This is what I want and besides Avery has
more than enough room here for all of us,” Guy continued further
helping him into the apartment.
“Well, what do we have here,” Mindy questioned stepping into the
apartment to discover Gabe and Guy with one another while was Brittany
eyeing the finger paints in the living room intently.
“Mindy,” Guy gasped in surprise to see his roommate standing behind
him. He’d never thought to clear this with her, but he had hoped
that she’d understand why he brought Gabe home with him.
“Hey, Guy,” she smiled politely before turning to Gabe, “Gabe, how are
“I’ve had better days, but I’m alive,” Gabe offered up with a polite
smile of his own.
“And that’s what really counts, isn’t it,” Mindy nodded politely.
“Uh Mindy, I figured you wouldn’t mind if Gabe and his daughter
Brittany stayed for a while when he was recovering because…” Guy began
only to be interrupted by Brittany rushing over to meet the new arrival.
“Hello, hi, hey how are you,” Brittany tugged at Mindy’s pant leg,
“Down here please.”
“Yes,” Mindy couldn’t help but laugh as she noticed the small,
outstretched hand raised up just ever so slightly in her direction.
“I’m Brittany. Are you Guy’s sister and if so where is your
little baby because I want to play,” Brittany bubbled over with obvious
“Actually, I’m not Guy’s sister,” Mindy started watching the frown that
spread over Brittany’s little face, “but I’m his roommate and I have to
tell you, that while I don’t have a little baby, I do like to
play. My name is Mindy. Tell me Brittany, do you like to
Brittany nodded, “I’m the bestest finger painter in my class.
Want to see what I can do?”
“You bet I do,” Mindy nodded eagerly giving Guy and Gabe a brief look
before Brittany tugged her into the center of the living room.
“Have fun,” Guy waved watching Brittany and Mindy collect Mindy’s
paints and move them into the kitchen. He turned to Gabe,
offering up a small smile, “See, there isn’t a problem.”
Gabe eyed the interaction between Mindy and Brittany and he couldn’t
help but smile in seeing how easily Brittany had taken to Mindy as
well. He just wondered if his daughter was half as happy with
Noelle, and somehow he feared he’d already known the answer. That
in itself left him deeply unsettled.
“So what do you say?” Guy broke through Gabe’s thoughts, “Are you going
to make this easy or are we going to do this the hard way?”
“Do what,” Gabe blinked back at him.
“Get you to rest,” Guy placed his hands on his hips, “Don’t even think
about fighting me on this one because you need to rest up after what
you’ve been through. Mindy and Brittany will be fine together and
we both are happy to have you here.”
“Well, one of you is at least,” Gabe cast an unsure glance over at
Mindy, who now looked up at the two of them.
“Go to bed Gabe!” Mindy ordered before handing another paint to
Brittany, “She’s in good hands.”
“Yeah I’m in good hands daddy,” Brittany piped in with a wide grin,
“See, I’m cool,” Mindy couldn’t help but giggle loving this interaction
with Brittany, “so go to bed. Guy can help you get settled in the
“See, it’s settled,” Guy helped guide Gabe down the hallway a bit
towards the bedroom before gently whispering in his ear, “See I told
you everything would work out.”
“I hope you’re right on that,” Gabe sighed inwardly wondering if things
would really wind up falling into place for him and his daughter now
that he knew he had both Noelle and Marc to contend with. Still
right now he needed to focus on recovery--on getting his strength
back. The rest would have to come later. It was just how it
had to be.
Brooke sat at her desk looking over the latest financial records after
her latest campaign at Beholder. Things were going good lately
much to her excitement and now well she was certain things would only
go up. It all stemmed from the loss of Russ, yet after that, well
it seemed like not only did her hopes for her daughter become so much
higher, but her life in general did as well. Things were more
than picking up and she couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Brooke,” Marc beckoned her from her thoughts. She looked up to
see him standing in her doorway smiling with his same, suave candor
that he had on each and every meeting between them, “You’re looking
“Marc,” she rose from her seat making her way around her desk to
embrace him, “What ever are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d catch up with my latest business partner since it seems
that fate has a knack for getting in the way of our well laid plans
lately. First with your abduction and then the bombing…”
“It’s horrible isn’t it,” she wrinkled her nose in disgust before
smiling brightly, “but don’t think that these horrible tragedies in
anyway effect the potential that our companies will have with one
another in a union.”
“The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind,” he admitted with a suave
smile of his own, “In fact, all I can think about is how profitable
this will be for the both of us. With our companies hosting this
event…well, things are sure to get notice…”
“Oh I’m very sure of it, though you know I’ve been thinking about the
whole theme of the party. I was wondering if perhaps we can go
about changing it, since destiny keeps changing our dates for it,”
Brooke suggested remembering her own plans for the event.
“Just what do you have in mind,” he asked curiously.
“Well, since you asked,” she reached for his arm guiding him to move in
over towards her. She urged him to take a seat before she
returned to her own behind her desk. “I think you’re going to
“I’m sure I am, although I have to admit I came to speak with you about
something other than our party we’re hosting,” Marc confessed his face
a sudden mask of seriousness.
“You have,” Brooke gave him a quick sideways glance.
He nodded, “Yes, I have Brooke and I think it would be best if we got
what I wanted to speak with you about out on the table right away.”
“Alright,” she leaned back in her chair, “what seems to be on your
“Honestly, it’s a bit of a personal nature as I’d like to speak with
you about your son Guy,” Marc folded his hands in his lap neatly, his
eyes fixed upon hers as they sat across from one another.
“What about Guy,” she blinked back at him in confusion, “Is there a
“Actually there is,” Marc nodded again, “it’s a major one--one that I
was hoping perhaps you could help me remedy.”
“And just what kind of problem might that be,” she asked, her smile
fading as she sat up straighter. The corners of her mouth tilted
in a slight frown while noticing the expression on his face.
“Well, you see up until this point I’ve been quiet about it, but I feel
I must refrain from keeping my silence a moment longer,” he continued
clearing his throat again, “You see it’s come to my attention
“Yes,” Brooke waited impatiently knowing full well she wasn’t liking
the direction that this could be headed.
“The truth to the matter is that my daughter Cathy has spoken to me
about this horrible, unrelenting crush she has on Guy and I just think
that those two are really meant for one another. I mean if you
think about it, they are both very ambitious, good-looking, bright and
brilliant kids and what would be better for our companies than a
budding romance between the two of them,” he divulged with a wide grin,
“What do you say?”
“Well,” Brooke let out a breath of relief, “I must admit I had thought
about that particular union time and time again myself, but my son is
rather shy. I’ve told him about Cathy, but he’s just very timid
about these things--not that I haven’t caught him looking and showing
some interest because I have…”
“Oh I’m sure you have,” Marc quipped, his grin widening at Brooke’s
blatant lie. Still, he had an agenda to pursue, “So then you
think it’s possible for us to come up with something to help move
“I’m sure that we can as I absolutely adore Cathy and just know she’d
be perfect for my son,” Brooke nodded encouragingly.
“Excellent,” he paused, “although I’d heard rumors that he was seeing
someone else at this time.”
“She’s nothing to worry about,” Brooke waved her hand dismissively,
“I’m sure with a few pushes in the right direction, we can get Guy and
Cathy together. In fact, I know we can. Just leave it up to
“Excellent,” Marc smiled having full confidence that Brooke Morrison
would lend him enough assistance he would need to break Gabe and Guy
apart forever. Now that the wheels were in motion, there would be
no turning back. Not ever!
“Hey, you look like you’re about a million miles away,” Preston noted
nudging Dorothy slightly as she sat beside him staring blankly at the
wall before her. At first he’d thought that she’d been engrossed
in the move that they were watching, but then when he realized she
hadn’t been laughing at all at the obvious comedy in front of them, he
knew that something was up. “Dottie?”
“Huh? What,” she blinked back at him snapping to reality.
Turning to face him she let out a long sigh, “Oh I’m sorry Pres.”
“Don’t be,” he reached for her hand after setting the almost completely
full bowl of popcorn aside on the table top, “as I’d much rather be
hearing about what it is that’s troubling you, though I’m pretty sure I
could take a good guess on this one. You’re thinking about Jenna,
“I can’t help it,” she revealed with an exasperated groan, “I mean for
her to be with someone like Hart when…”
“Dottie, I thought that we agreed we weren’t going to step in and try
to dictate her romantic life. You saw what happened before when
you tried to…” he warned her simply.
“I know what I saw, but Pres that was before I knew him for what he
truly was. I mean sure I always kind of knew the guy was a snake
and never good enough for my baby, but for him to have a daughter like
that…” she began with a heavy frown.
“Honey, you can’t get upset with a man for his past,” he tried to
remind her, placing his hand on her shoulder gently, “From what I’ve
seen, he’s been very upfront about his feelings for Jenna and he has a
“Good enough to have a lawsuit thrown against her,” she shot back
icily, “Pres, you know what a creep he is.”
“I also know how much Jenna loves him,” he added with a pointed look,
“Look Dottie, I know that you want to think the worst about him, but
just because he has a daughter doesn’t mean that he’s the wrong man for
“Yes it does. He’s obviously lied to her repeatedly about things
and the fact that he’s got a daughter with some woman he’s failed to
mentions speaks volumes about who he is. I mean to think of him
going around and leaving his daughter behind in the name of a good
time…” she continued to rant.
“You don’t know if that was the case,” Pres frowned slightly, “and
besides just because he’s a parent, it doesn’t mean that he should be
off the list of potential men in Jenna’s life.”
“My daughter doesn’t need the baggage associated in dealing with
another man’s child,” she continued with a frown, “She doesn’t need to
raise Hart’s children for him while she continually gets one step
further away from the dreams of a family of her own…”
“Now wait a second,” he cut her off shaking his head at her, “Dottie,
would you just listen to what you’re saying? Do you realize how
bad that attitude is? I mean hey, think about it this way.
When I met you, you had Jenna. If I had kept that view, then we
never would’ve been together.”
“Pres, that’s different,” she frowned finally looking to him again.
“No, it’s really not,” he shook his head, “I mean I kind of knew what I
was getting into and when I fell in love with you, well I knew Jenna
was a part of the package. She was everything I could’ve asked
for in a child and I’ve always kind of thought of her as my little
girl. I mean I always knew that I wasn’t her father, but to me,
she was that special part of my life and I’d lay my life down on the
line to protect her.”
“I know,” she sighed reaching out to touch his cheek gently, “and I’ve
always loved that about you.”
“Which is why I’m telling you that Jenna will be fine with this.
Yes, she might be a bit shell shocked by the news, but she’s got a
kind, wonderful heart,” he reached out to bring his fingers through her
hair gingerly, “She is happy with Hart and I think that they have a
chance of making things work. I don’t think she’ll see his having
a daughter as a thing that will put an end to their dreams with one
another. It might change things, but change happens naturally in
a relationship. It’s how we evolve and grow together…”
“Even so, I just wish that she would’ve picked someone else to share
her life with. I don’t trust the guy one bit,” she complained
further refusing to let it go, “He’s just not…”
“Not who you would’ve picked,” he arched a knowing brow, “Dottie, one
thing we need to learn is with our children we never get the chance or
opportunity to pick. I mean hey look at all we’ve been through
with Jenna and Wayne. It’s as if they’ve always tried testing us,
but deep down I have full confidence that our children know what’s
right for them. I trust in that and I hope that one day you can
learn to do the same.”
“I just hate the idea of what Jenna has to go up against. For her
to walk into a situation like that not knowing what will come to her in
the future…” she frowned.
“None of us know what the future holds in store for us, but that’s the
joy of living. We can learn as we go and sure, we make mistakes
along the way, but eventually things come into place. Things are
as they should be and we have to believe that God has a plan,” Pres
cupped her face in his hands, “I mean look at what happened with us…”
She couldn’t help but smile, “We were one of the lucky ones.”
“And Jenna will be too. You just have to believe that,” he leaned
in to kiss her tenderly, “She and Hart have a lot of love between them…”
“And a lot of issues they aren’t even aware of,” she couldn’t help but
sight, “You know things would’ve been a lot easier if she would’ve just
stayed with Devante. After they split, that’s when she got into
that ridiculous lawsuit with that horrible police officer and she met
“And you’re back tracking,” he placed his finger over her lips to
silence her, “Jenna can’t go back and neither can we. We need to
forget about the what ifs of the past and just focus on the here and
now, which reminds me,” he reached for the television remote control
turning it off, “This movie is obviously not doing the trick, so I
think I’m going to have to take things to a deeper level of persuasion.”
“Such as,” she questioned feeling his lips brush against hers in a
barely there, tender sweep leaving her breathless as the kiss concluded.
“Such as I think it’s time we put our children out of our minds for a
little while and we take the time to appreciate and remember all the
things beautiful between us,” he confessed warmly as he pulled her into
his arms, “and perhaps along the way we can work on some very
incredible memories to cherish from here on out.”
“I think I’d like that very much,” she confessed hugging him tighter as
she tried desperately to keep her daughter’s situation out of her
mind. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder how things would’ve
been if only Jenna had stayed with the man that got away. She was
certain that her daughter would be much happier now--that things would
be easier and life would be a lot less complicated for everyone.
“Jen, remind me again why we’re doing this,” Hart began reluctant to
make his way down to Sam’s hospital room.
“Because you need to do this. You need to be able to get to know
your daughter before you make the choice to take a step back from her
life forever,” she tugged on his arm urgently, “You can’t just leave
things up to Beth because that might not be what Sam needs.”
“Jen, I just don’t think that upsetting the balance of her life is…” he
protested, his own anxieties getting the best of him.
“Hart, if you don’t at least try, then you’re never going to
know. You’re never going to see what there is to see and you’ll
always wonder about what you let slip away,” Jenna informed him with a
serious expression, “I spent my whole life wanting to know who I
was--about the man who fathered me and when I wasn’t given that, I felt
“And when you found out who he was, it only made things worse,” he
threw back at her pointedly.
“Not worse, just different,” she added with a frown, “and while I’m not
too fond of Douglas, I have been able to discover that not only was my
father alive, but I have more family out there. I have two
brothers--two very different brothers than Wayne and there’s a family
that I had no idea about. Hell I’m an aunt and that’s something
that I wouldn’t trade for the world. There’s this whole other
part of my life that I wouldn’t have known about unless I’d been given
the opportunity to know the truth and that is something that I wouldn’t
trade. Despite the ups and downs, I needed to see this for
myself--to be able to learn about where I came from…”
“Beth and I being together was a mistake,” Hart openly admitted, “I
never thought that something like this would come from it considering…”
“It doesn’t matter what you thought,” Jenna added not wanting to hear
the details of his relationship with Beth, “The reality is that Sam is
here. She’s your daughter and the intentions you may or may not
have had no longer are relevant. What is important now is what
happens next. You can either choose to walk away or play an
active part in her life, but to do that you need to know all the facts.”
“How is it you can be so reasonable about this when any other woman I
know would’ve given me the heave ho for this coming up,” he finally
asked giving her a sideways glance.
“Because I love you and in doing that it gives me the chance to see
things in a whole new light. I’m not about to give you up because
you were an ass when you were younger. Yeah, so you had a
daughter,” she threw back at him, “That doesn’t make me think any less
of you, but if you ignored that fact in the name of making me happy,
well it would show me that you’re not the man I fell in love
with. I want you to make your choice because it’s right for
you--not because you feel some misguided need to appease me.”
“Jen, I just don’t want you upset with me because of what this would
mean. Because if I do go see Sam, then Beth is part of that
package whether I want her to be or not…” he shuddered at the thought.
“I can deal with Beth,” she reached for his hand giving it a squeeze,
“but as for the rest, you need this. Hell I need this almost as
much as you do. This is really what has to be done in order for
all of us to move forward.”
“Okay,” he nodded finally, “then let’s do this.”
“Alright,” she agreed, “and Hart?”
“I love you,” she confessed stepping up on her toes to kiss him
tenderly, “Don’t go forgetting that okay.”
“That’s something I could never forget,” he assured her, a smile
spreading over his features.
“Good because I’d have to hurt you if you even considered it,” she
winked back at him before turning towards the direction of the room
that Sam was in. As they made their way down the hall, she
noticed Beth standing up ahead and in that instant Jenna’s stomach was
tied in knots. She knew full well that things weren’t going to be
easy in dealing with that woman, but she was going to try for Hart’s
“What are you doing here,” Beth charged at them, her eyes narrowing
with obvious anger.
“I’m here to see Sam,” Hart announced boldly.
“The hell you are,” Beth shook her head at him, “I’m not letting you go
anywhere near her. You and your girlfriend are not allowed to see
“Our daughter Beth,” Hart threw back at her, “and as far as I’m
concerned given that she’s my daughter, I have every right to go in
there and see her.”
“Oh yeah right,” Beth spat back at him, “So what? So you can make
her life miserable as well as you did with mine?”
“Look Beth, this isn’t about us,” he argued with her, “You’re the one
who told me the truth about Sam and now that you have, I want to get
the chance to get to know her.”
“She doesn’t need you in her life,” Beth snapped back at him, “All she
needs you for is what we talked about and that’s all you’re getting
from me. You can be there if we need you, but don’t think that
I’m going to let you go in there and poison her mind about me.”
“Beth, not everything is about you,” Hart frowned in response, “and
when Sam was fighting for her life, I’d thought you’d learned that…”
“What I’ve learned is that you’re the kind of man who uses people for
his own best interest. If you really think that I’m going to sit
back and let you do that to our daughter, then you’re wrong. I
was upset at the time when I told you about Sam, but the truth to the
matter is that now that I’ve gotten myself together, well I feel it’s
in Sam’s best interest if you just stay away,” Beth’s icy glare cut
back to Jenna, “both of you.”
“Look Beth, while I realize that you and I have a few issues between
us, you don’t have any right to sit there and dictate if and when Hart
can see his daughter. He’s well within his rights to go and see
her if he so chooses to,” Jenna added bluntly.
“Over my dead body,” Beth cut back sharply waving her finger at Jenna,
“and you stay out of this!”
“The hell I will,” Jenna remarked with a frown, “I’m not going to let
you keep Hart from his daughter. That’s just plain ridiculous.”
“What’s ridiculous is your thinking that your opinion means a damn to
me. You weren’t there when Sam came into this world and you’re
not a part of her life even if you are Hart’s current bed mate,” Beth
snarled back at Jenna, “Given the longevity of his relationships, I can
tell you with a clear conscience that you won’t be around after the
novelty of the sex wears off. Though I must confess his being
with you must feed into some kind of sick and twisted jungle fever
fantasy he‘s got going on.”
“That’s it,” Jenna lunged towards Beth ready to knock her straight to
the ground after that comment. Hart reached out to stop her, but
then thought twice of it realizing that Beth deserved a backlash from
that one. Finally as he saw Jenna ready to tear Beth apart, he
reached out to her.
“Jenna, don’t,” Hart urged his own jaw tight with anger, “she’s not
“You’re damn right she’s not,” Jenna spat back at Beth, finding herself
overwhelmed with anger, “She never was and I just hope to God that
Sam’s nothing like her.”
“Of course she’s not,” Hart continued with a frown, “Beth, we’re going
to see Sam and if you even try to stop us, then I swear to God I’ll
take this to the courts.”
“Don’t threaten me Hart,” Beth stepped up to him.
“That’s not a threat,” Hart flashed her an icy smile, “It’s a
promise. One well worth keeping if you ever think about uttering
another remark like that to Jenna or I ever again. We will see my
daughter and you will step back and leave things well enough alone.”
“This isn’t over,” Beth folded her arms in front of her chest defiantly.
“Yes, it is Beth,” he shook his head at her disgusted that he ever
could’ve fallen for someone like that in the first place.
Reaching for Jenna’s hand, he lead her into Sam’s room all the while
knowing that Beth was watching them--still fuming.
“Oh Hart it’s far from over,” Beth promised with a scowl, “as this is
just the beginning. That much I can promise you!”
“Have a seat, make yourself at home,” Sarah stated walking into her
kitchen to grab them a drink.
“Can you believe people these days,” Blake started seeing Sarah walk
into the room.
“I totally understand you…sometimes it could even be your own family,”
Sarah sighed taking off the cap of her bottled water.
“I know,” Blake nodded, “About that…are you in the mood to tell me what
actually happened earlier?”
“It’s just my sister,” Sarah shrugged not wanting to put her problems
in with Blake’s.
“You can tell me you know,” Blake stated seeing Sarah shrug with
“Well, I guess my sister and I really never had a close relationship.
She never really wanted to be a part of our family. When my mother was
dying she didn’t even come to visit her,” stated Sarah remembering how
her mother would just wish to see her other daughter walk through the
“Yeah, I remember…only you and Kyle were the people I saw at that
hospital,” Blake nodded thinking back to when she first met Sarah that
long time ago.
“That tells you something right there, Kyle made it to the hospital
everyday and all he was, was just a best friend to me,” Sarah laughed
“Well, that just proves he is a good guy right?” Blake smiled nudging
Sarah in the arm lightly.
“Well that’s already obvious,” Sarah nodded.
“Alright, go on with your sister,” Blake insisted ready to listen to
what her friend had to say.
“Well…recently, she had this incident where I was there for her
throughout everything. She was really hurt and when she saw me for the
first time, she treated me like I was nothing. Like, she didn’t even
want me to exist. After all I did for her,” Sarah sighed taking in a
deep breath standing up.
“Which just shows you are a good person too,” Blake assured her
watching Sarah closely.
“I know it just gets hard sometimes,” Sarah sighed leaning up against
“You know what…I have an idea that will lighten everyone up,” Blake
smiled standing up.
“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Sarah smiled seeing her friend jump up and
“This will be perfect. It could be me, Seth, you, and Kyle,”
Blake stated walking towards her.
“I’m listening,” Sarah smiled wondering what her friend had her mind
Kyle walked up towards Avery’s door slowly, hoping she was okay. He had
just dropped off Shannon and was thinking about the past events on the
way towards her house. He rang the doorbell as the door opened and his
eyes traveled up only to sigh.
“My day just keeps getting better and better,” he laughed
“What do you want?” Brant scowled holding onto the door lightly.
“Spanky, I just want to talk to Avery all right…I don’t feel like
kicking your ass again,” Kyle smiled lightly watching Brant tighten his
grip on the door.
“No, you can’t see her,” Brant demanded watching Kyle shrug.
“Well, if I can’t see her…I came to get one of my things,” Kyle
“What do you mean?” questioned Brant seeing Kyle roll his eyes.
“I guess she didn’t tell you, huh? Well Spanky, Russell and Avery let
me stay at their house…so technically, I live here right now,” stated
“No you don’t,” Brant insisted seeing Kyle walk towards him.
“Either you are going to let me in, or I am going to have to get in the
hard way,” Kyle smiled cracking his neck.
“You don’t scare me Kyle,” Brant insisted watching Kyle shrug and push
him out of the way. “Hey, get out of here.”
“What in the world,” Kyle laughed feeling Brant jump on his back trying
to take him down.
“What is going on here?” questioned Avery walking down the hall to see
Brant on Kyle’s back.
“Spanky here wants to get me out of the house, could you tell him to
nicely get off me,” Kyle laughed seeing Avery sigh.
“Brant, get off him,” she sighed seeing him shake his head.
“Fine,” Kyle shrugged flipping him onto the couch. “That better?”
“You two, I have had enough of this okay. Would you stop it with this?”
she questioned seeing Kyle nod.
“Okay, I will,” Kyle stated before Brant got up to protest.
“No way in hell am I going to stop,” Brant scowled toward Kyle seeing
him fall to the couch lying on his back.
“You know Spanky, I really don’t think we should keep this up,” Kyle
sighed laying back. “This relationship just isn’t going to work.”
“He also made up some line of bull about how he was living here,” Brant
informed Avery seeing her bite her lip.
“Well, he is,” she stated seeing Brant’s jaw drop.
“You can’t be serious right?” Brant questioned looking over at Kyle who
was staring up blankly at the ceiling as he started to whistle a tune.
“I mean him…”
“I don’t know,” started Kyle looking over at Brant putting his arms
behind his head and yawning, “I’m getting kind of tired…I might just
decide to take a nap.”
“Avery…” Brant sighed seeing her shrug.
“I’m sorry, but he is welcome here,” she stated seeing Brant frown and
glare over at Kyle who had his eyes closed.
“Don’t glare, it’s not nice,” Kyle pouted opening up his eyes to see
the puzzled face on Brant.
“How did he,” started Brant before Kyle jumped up.
“That reminds me, how are you feeling?” Kyle questioned walking over
“I’m fine really,” she assured him seeing him pout.
“No you’re not,” he frowned running his fingers along the soft skin of
“I’m okay,” she hesitated feeling him wrap his arms around her.
“If you need anything you know I will always be here,” Kyle stated as
Avery patted his back lightly seeing Brant glare a hole right through
Kyle’s back. “Spanky, don’t glare…I told you it isn’t nice.”
“What in the?” questioned Brant seeing Kyle let go of Avery.
“Are you going to be staying here tonight?” wondered Avery seeing Kyle
shake his head lightly.
“As much as I would love to keep an eye on you…I have some work to do,”
“I understand, I will see you later then?” she wondered seeing him nod.
“Of course, you can never get rid of the Houston man,” Kyle smiled
winking at her.
“Oh how wonderful,” Brant spat out, but Kyle ignored him.
“You’ll be hearing from me okay,” Kyle assured her as he leaned down
kissing her cheek lightly.
“Alright,” she nodded watching him walk by Brant.
“I know you don’t like me too much, but take care of her okay? Brant,”
Kyle smiled seeing Brant nod and then patting him on the back before
walking out the door.
“Did he just call me Brant?” he questioned looking puzzled, “Is he
“I doubt it, what do you think Spanky?” she questioned with a smile.
“Alright did Kyle and Avery just switch bodies?” Brant smiled watching
her shrug as things certainly were looking up for the evening.