Episode 154

“What do you want now?” questioned Brant opening the door to see Kyle standing before him.

“I left my wallet on the couch,” Kyle sighed walking in and grabbing his wallet that lay on the floor.

He walked towards Brant as he tripped over the rug and fell on top of Brant knocking him down to the ground.

“What the hell was that for?” questioned Brant looking up at Kyle who rolled his eyes.

“I tripped, it was an accident,” Kyle stated holding his hand out to help him up.

“Screw you,” Brant scowled pushing Kyle back as he bit on his bottom lip.

“What the hell is your problem man?” Kyle growled watching Brant get up pushing him.

“You,” Brant scowled watching Kyle point at him.

“Listen Spanky, I was trying to be nice, back off,” Kyle hissed as Brant pushed him back again.

Brant stood there watching Kyle look to his feet until he looked up at Brant laughing deeply.

“You see that’s thing you don’t know what to do,” Kyle laughed lightly.

“And what might that be?” questioned Brant seeing Kyle’s face turn from laughter to seriousness.

“When to stop,” Kyle growled pushing Brant up against the wall grabbing him by the collar of the shirt. “I’m tired of people messing with me and you know what? You just walked over the line, bitch.”

Brant tried getting out of his grasp feeling Kyle’s hands dig into his arms, “Let go of me.”

“Apologize,” Kyle growled watching Brant shake his head and he kneed him in the stomach. Kyle watched Brant fall to the ground as he leaned down by him. “Don’t screw with me Brant.”

“Screw you,” Brant growled kicking Kyle in the jaw not with all his might only making Kyle fall back slightly.

“That was a bad move,” Kyle growled getting up and grabbing Brant throwing him down onto the ground.

“What the hell are you two doing now?” questioned Avery looking over at Kyle who wiped the slight blood from his lip.

“He started it,” Kyle growled seeing Brant get up slowly.

“I don’t care who started…my house isn’t a damn wrestling ring, okay?” Avery questioned looking over at Kyle who had a cut on his cheek. “You come here?”

“Me?” Kyle questioned seeing her nod.

“Yes you,” she nodded watching him walk slowly towards her.

“Don’t worry, I am not going to kill you, you just have a cut on your cheek,” she stated watching him nod.

“Okay,” Kyle shrugged walking over to Avery, but not before giving Brant a smug look to let him know that there was no way Brant was going to erase Kyle from Avery’s life--no matter how hard he tried.


Hart drew in a slow breath thinking about what this moment would mean for him now that he was going to come face to face with his own flesh and blood.  Granted he’d met Sam in passing once before, but the exchange had been entirely too short and uncomfortable for his liking.  Even now in thinking back to that moment in time, he wondered if she’d even want to see him again.  He knew Jenna was at the door waiting for him to take the lead, but still he felt frozen by his strange combination of emotions.  Seeing Sam laying there he wasn’t quite sure what to do or say.
As if sensing someone in the room, Sam turned towards the doorway, her eyes widening in response as she looked at him, “Can I help you?” she asked behind a tired voice.
“Actually,” Hart cleared his throat uneasily, “I um..”
“Yes?” she questioned giving him a long look, “What are you lost or something?  In the wrong room?”
“No, I came to see you,” he continued making a step forward feeling as if he had to use all his strength to find the courage to do so.
“Oh yeah,” Sam questioned in a thick, heavy Jersey accent, “and just who are you supposed to be?”
“My name is Hart.  Hart Steiner and…” he started uneasily.
“Wait a second,” she shifted on her bed, sitting up a bit straighter despite her injuries, “I know you.  You’re that creep that my father wanted to put a bullet in not so long ago.  You’re the foul mouthed jerk that tried to bully me around.”
“Well actually I…” he began.
“Spare me the details,” she rolled her eyes at him, “Whatever it is you’re missing, I didn’t steal it.  Hell, I don’t even want to get involved, so just back off…”
“No, that’s not why I’m…” Hart began watching her immediately tense up.
“Yeah sure, whatever,” she motioned towards the door, “Whatever it is you want I’m not interested, so you can just turn around and leave.  That’s all there is to it.”
“Sam, I came here today because…” he started feeling his courage slipping away further and further with each passing second.  Somehow this was starting to feel like a bad idea.
“Because he’s with me,” Jenna blurted out entering the room in an attempt to save Hart from falling under completely.
“Who the hell are you,” Sam remarked sourly giving Jenna a brief once over.
“I’m Wayne’s sister,” Jenna explained making her way over to the bed in the hopes of breaking the ice and lightening the mood somehow after the display that she’d witnessed.  It was obvious that today would not be the day to talk to Sam about things.  She was too defensive--too wound up and ready to attack.
“Wayne’s sister,” Sam repeated with a gulp, her features immediately shifting from anger, to curiosity, “Well, um what are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d take the time to meet the girl who has my brother head over heels in love,” Jenna offered up extending her hand out to Sam, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Sam smiled seemingly intrigued by Jenna’s arrival, “Wayne has told me so much about you, but when we decided to keep things quiet between us because of our family, well I never imagined that he’d be telling anyone about us--especially not his sister.”
“Yeah well Wayne and I are pretty close,” Jenna continued to explain, “Sure, he’s good at hiding things, but not that good.”
“Don’t I know it,” Sam laughed lightly thinking about her boyfriend’s attempts at being secretive.  “He can’t tell a lie even if he tried.”

“No, he really can’t and that’s the one thing about him that makes him very easy to read,” Jenna added with a smile of her own.

“So what’s he doing here,” Sam asked turning her attention to Hart once again.
“He’s my boyfriend,” Jenna added motioning for Hart to come in closer, “and he was concerned about you.  We both were when we heard what happened.”
“It’s nothing,” Sam waved her hand dismissively, “I guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Yeah well, that happens a lot around here,” Jenna agreed.
“Too much for my liking,” Hart added stepping in behind Jenna as he seemed mesmerized by Sam.  The look on his face marked a man clearly in thought about things as he took the time to really see her for the first time as he daughter.
“Is something wrong,” Sam frowned up at him catching note of his expression.
“No, not at all,” Hart shook his head, “I was just thinking that maybe…”
“Sam, hey honey,” Wayne blurted out entering the room only to discover his sister and Hart standing by his girlfriend’s bed.  “Hey, Jen, what are you doing here?”
“Actually, I was looking for you,” Jenna stepped aside making her way over to her brother rather swiftly, “Maybe we can talk in the hallway for a minute.”
“Yeah sure,” Wayne nodded setting the flowers down that he’d been holding, “I’ll be back.”
“I’ll be waiting,” Sam waved at him
Once Jenna and Wayne were in the hallway, he looked back to his sister with clear cut curiosity.
“Jen, what’s going on?  Why are you really here,” Wayne questioned with obvious skepticism, “Why are you and Hart visiting Sam?”
“Look Wayne, it’s a long story and I promise to tell you everything, but first you just have to trust me okay,” Jenna appealed to her brother.
“Does this have anything to do with why mom is on a tirade lately?” he inquired with a curious expression.
“Kind of, but let’s just leave it at that okay,” Jenna pleaded with him, “There are things happening right now that go well beyond you and me.”
“Such as?” Wayne raised a curious brow.
“Such as I can’t get into it right now, but you need to believe me when I tell you that this is what need to be done right now,” Jenna reached for his hand, “Wayne, Hart just needs this time to speak with Sam.  After that, well I’m sure everything will fall into place.”
“Why do I suddenly get the feeling that I’m not going to like this,” Wayne frowned wondering what his sister and her boyfriend were up to at a time like this.  One way or another he would find out what it was exactly that Hart had to do with Sam.  “Jen, I don’t like this.”
“Look Wayne, I can’t explain right now, but later, well later I will tell you everything.  You have my word on that.”
“I’d better because if he upsets her in any way,” Wayne warned.
“He won’t,” Jenna promised hoping that somehow she could really be telling her brother the truth despite the situation at hand.  “Wayne, tell me something…”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“With you and Sam, it’s pretty serious, right?” she noted the expression on his face.
“Yeah it is, which is why I haven’t mentioned anything to mom.  I’ve seen how she was with you and Hart and I don’t want that for Sam and I,” he confessed with a heavy sigh.
“But with her parents…I mean are they…” Jenna contemplated her words, “are they understanding about the relationship?”
“You mean do they support it,” he asked giving her a serious look.
“Yeah, that’s what I mean,” she nodded.
“Well, her father is pretty cool about it.  He’s a nice guy and he’s well aware that Sam and I are together, but her mom, well her mom isn’t willing to accept it.  She knows Sam and I love one another, but she’s still not happy with the fact that…” he trailed off.
“That what?” she asked further.
“That I’m not white,” Wayne divulged with a simple shake of his head, “but that doesn’t matter to Sam.  She doesn’t care what her mother thinks considering that they aren’t as close as they used to be.”
“Has she ever say anything to you that might express her altitude about hating you two together…” Jenna questioned feeling her blood boil at the memory of Beth’s attitude towards her.
“It’s not so much what she’s said, but more so with the way she acts.  I can just see her hatred for me even though Sam loves me.  I just have chosen to ignore it because I love Sam, not her mother,” Wayne confessed honestly.
“Good for you Wayne.  Good for you,” Jenna hugged her brother gently wishing for the best in his relationship.  Still as she thought of Beth’s reaction to her relationship with Hart, she wondered if Wayne really stood a chance with Sam. 


“You really like him a lot, don’t you,” Hart noted catching the expression on Sam’s face.
“Yeah, he’s amazing.  I love him more than anything,” she confessed freely before realizing that she and Hart were alone again.  She opened her mouth to speak, then thought twice of it before closing herself off again, “but what about you?  What is it you’re looking for since I’m sure you don’t play your girlfriend’s tag along everyday?”
“Actually, I came here today because I owed you an apology,” he blurted out thinking about their first and only meeting, “I was an ass that day at Jenna’s apartment and well, I shouldn’t have said the things that I did.”
“No, you shouldn’t have.  It’s a case of you should keep your mouth closed until you know what’s going on,” she pointed out with a frown, “My father always said that and I never realized the importance of it until you tried to have me arrested for being at a crime scene.”
“I was out of line and I’m sorry,” Hart offered his hand out to her, “I hope that somehow you can find a way to forgive me.”
She looked at his hand for a long minute as if contemplating what he was saying to her.  Finally she reached out to shake it, “Yeah, I guess I can forgive you--for now anyways.”
“It’s a good start,” he shook her hand wondering if somehow he could find a way to bridge the obvious distance between them.


Carly took in a deep breath thinking about what she was doing outside the Ashford/Steiner law offices.  While her boss had a clear cut agenda, Carly had her own reasoning behind this visit.  Sure, she knew what her boss was after, but given what Carly had seen her last time in Coral Valley, she wanted to do this her way. 
Reaching for the door, she pulled it open only to discover the deserted hallway before her.  While it was past closing hours, she’d recognized Kenneth’s car in the parking lot and that was all the encouragement she needed to take the initiative.  Taking a quick look at her watch, she realized that she would still have enough time to talk to Ken, then zip on over to dinner with Dave.  It was almost too perfect with the timing.  Still she had to keep her thoughts in tact if she was going to be persuasive.
Stepping up to the door outside Ken’s office, she was surprised to see that the secretary had already left.  Still, seeing that Ken’s office door was slightly ajar, she opted to see if he was inside.  Pushing the door open, she noticed the small light on top of the desk still on with a man hunched over on the desk.  Frowning, she entered the room to be met by the stale scent of alcohol.
“Ken,” she spoke his name wondering if somehow she’d found the wrong person in his office.  She neared him keeping her eyes fixed upon the dark hair before her all the while wondering if someone else had been in his chair.  “Ken Ashford?”
“Huh, what…” he muttered in a slurred tone looking up from where he’d passed out earlier in the day.  His eyes were bloodshot, his face a sullen, discolored hint that something was clearly off. 
“Ken, are you okay,” she stepped in towards him seeing that something was off.
“What?” he asked using his palm to smear the front of his face wiping at the drool that had centered in the corner of his mouth.
“I said, ’Are you okay,’” she questioned moving in closer to the small light to notice the dark circles under his eyes.
“Yeah, I’m fine, why?” Ken questioned gruffly, “Who wants to know?”
“I don’t know if you remember me or not, but my name is Carly--Carly Matthews,” she began leaning in closer to him, “Dave and I used to…”
“Yeah I know who you are,” he replied with a quick nod shoving his chair away from his desk to get out of the light.  Uneasily he staggered out of his chair over towards one of his filing cabinets.  “What can I do for you?”
“It’s more so what I can do for you,” Carly began wondering if this was a bad time, “You see I’ve come from the D.A.’s office and we’ve taken notice of your case against Midlands.  More specifically I’ve been keeping tabs on it and I’d like to offer my services if you’d be willing…”
“I’m not,” Ken’s muted voice replied from where he stood, “I’m not interested at all.”
“I can understand your position, but if you would just take the time to hear me out I’m sure that…” Carly started.
“Look, I’m not interested and that’s all there is to it,” Ken snapped at her spinning around to face her, “It’s my case and I’m doing a good job on it.  I’m not about to let my clients be shuffled around from one person to the next when I’m fully capable of…”
“That’s not why I’m here.  I’d like to help and if I could…” Carly began again.
“What you can do is turn around and get the hell out of my office.”
“Ken, look I realize that you’ve had a lot going on, but with this case hitting continuance after continuance, I just felt it would be in your client’s best interest if you took on another perspective.  I could step in alongside of you and help you run this one with…” she started with a worried expression.
“I’m not interested, I won’t be interested and as far as I’m concerned, you and anyone else who thinks I’m unfit for my job can go straight to hell.  Is that simple enough for you?” Ken sneered back at her, dropping his hands down on his desk to lean forward just enough to glare at her.  “Now if that’s all you wanted to say, you wasted your time in taking the trip.”
“What happened to you,” Carly questioned shaking her head at him, “The last time I saw you, you were happy and you were kind and passionate about helping others.  You were…”
“Yeah well things change,” Ken snapped back at her, “So get the hell out and tell Chavez that her little plans to prove that I shouldn’t be in law anymore didn’t work.  Tell her that she’s not going to take down my family starting with me.  It didn’t pan out for her.”
“That’s not why I was here,” Carly began realizing it was a mistake in even coming to see him, “For what it’s worth, I hope whatever this is that you’re going through doesn’t cost you everything.”
Ken let out an ironic laugh, “See now that’s where you’ve made your first mistake.  I’ve already lost everything.  This, well this is just what’s left.  The aftermath so to speak and if someone wants to take it away from me, well hey, I’m up for negotiations.”
“That’s too bad,” Carly shook her head at him, “You used to be one heck of a lawyer Ken and a good guy.  If you don’t want to listen to anything else I had to say at least listen to this.  Whatever it is you’re going through--whatever happened, don’t let it take you under because you have a lot of people depending on you--people who need you to be strong if for nothing else than for them.”
“Spare me the lecture Ms. Mathews,” he waved his hand at her dismissively watching her leave his office.  When he was alone again, he opened his top desk drawer reaching for the bottle within.  He unscrewed the cap before pulling out the photograph of him and Caitlin together as he knew full well that it was too late for him.  He’d already failed the one person he’d vowed to save and now he was left to face the consequences of that.


“Here we are,” Ben announced returning to the bedroom with a tray in hand, “I had to figure out things around your kitchen seeing as you haven’t been shopping lately, but I think I managed to come through for us.”
“What did you bring,” Diane questioned sitting up in the bed of allow her eyes time to feast upon the things he’d brought with him.
“Well, I brought a little ice cream,” he explained motioning to a big bowl of heaping scoops before him, “and chocolate syrup.”
“Mmm…my favorites,” she replied feeling him slide in beside her.  Unable to resist the urge, she turned towards him reaching out to kiss him, “but I do so enjoy you better.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” Ben confessed with a soft smile capturing her lips in yet another tender display.
“Oh Ben,” she sighed his name as they parted, “You have no idea how much our being apart was killing me.”
“Probably not as much as it was killing me,” he admitted with a small sigh, “I missed you so much and in not being able to hold you, well it was like a giant chunk of my heart had been ripped away from me.”
“I’m so sorry about that,” Diane placed her hand atop of his as he reached for the tray, “because I never wanted my situation with Deidra to run over into our relationship.”
“Diane, I’d be lying if I said I understood what was going on between the two of you, but in the same respect while I’d like to see you both get along with one another, that’s a decision that ultimately you’re going to have to come to terms with.  I’m with you because I love you--because I can’t seem to get you out of my system no matter how hard I try,” he whispered nibbling on her lower lip gingerly.
“You make that sound like a bad thing,” she noted teasing her fingers through his hair.
“Not really,” he answered honestly, “Just something that I’ve never truly felt before.  Diane, I’ve never loved anyone like I love you.”
“And you’ll never feel that way again Ben because this, this is for real,” she threw her arms around him practically leaping onto his lap.  In the midst of her movements, the tray wiggled on the blankets.
“Hey, watch it,” Ben warned with a teasing wink, “We wouldn’t want to have a mess to clean up here.”
“I think I can deal with a few messes every now and then as long we we’re cleaning them up together,” she divulged dipping her fingers into the cool chocolate ice-cream before her.  She slathered her fingers with the chocolate sauce as well before bringing them up to Ben’s lips.  “What do you think about that?”
“I say it sounds delicious,” Ben licked at her fingertips taking each finger in between his parted lips as Diane dipped her other hand into the bowl.  She brought it up over his chest, using her index finger to draw a chocolate smear in the shape of a heart over his muscled form.  Instinctively she leaned forward to lick it off, feeling his body react to her.
“Diane,” he whispered her name, his fingers threading through her hair as he urged her mouth up to his again, claiming her with a heated intensity, “I love you.”
“I love you Ben,” she breathed in response losing herself to the moment when she suddenly had a flashback to her night at J.T.’s place.  She shuddered momentarily catching his look of confusion before she spoke up again, “only you.”
“And I love only you,” he replied smoothing his hands out over her spine as he gazed into her dark eyes.  Frowning slightly, he noticed a distance sweep over her, “Diane, what is it?”
“It’s nothing,” she shook the thought not wanting to relive one of the worst mistakes of her life all over again, “Ben, I just want you to promise me that whatever happens next between us--whatever it is that we might do or say to upset one another, that you’ll never let go of me.”
“I couldn’t even if I tried,” he answered honestly, bringing his hand up to touch her cheek gently, “You’re so deep in my system that I need you like the air I breathe.”
“Oh Ben,” she spoke his name wondering how in the world she’d been lucky enough to find him.  Sure, she had a very tortured past--a very unsavory history, but he didn’t care.  That didn’t matter when they were together and she just knew that somehow they could make thing work for them.
“Diane, there’s something I think we need to talk about,” he explained interrupting her thoughts for the future.
“What about,” she questioned with a gulp sensing the seriousness behind his eyes.
“There’s something I need to get off my chest before we go any further in this relationship.  You see, well I’d been thinking about things a lot lately…especially after we split up.  The truth to the matter is that I’ve been trying to build towards this big, romantic thing between us.  I was going to do it down in Florida, but after everything, well maybe it can’t wait.”
“What can’t wait,” she asked eyeing him intently, “Ben, what is it?”
“Stay here,” he urged maneuvering himself out from underneath her.  “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” she replied watching him leave her room.  She sat on the bed feeling her stomach tied in knots as she thought about the way she’d felt when she’d been so very wrong about him.  To think that she’d jumped to the wrong conclusion and then she’d jumped to J.T. and… 
Frowning as the thought of J.T. consumed her once again, she feared what would happen if Ben ever found out.  It was a mistake--one that she clearly wouldn’t have had happen if she’d been in her right mind.  She’d been drinking and she was upset.  Things wouldn’t be like that under normal circumstances, but things weren’t normal.  Surely that had to be a good enough reasoning for what happened, she thought feeling a bit anxious as she waited for Ben.
“He’s never going to find out,” she vowed to herself hearing Ben approaching from the hall.  Sitting up straighter she tried to stay focused as he entered the room.  Smiling she extended her arms out towards him, “Come here you.”
“I’m coming,” Ben offered sliding in closer to her, “but first, well I think we need to talk about this whole Florida trip.  I didn’t want to have to explain to my parents that you and I split up and that’s why I wasn’t taking you.  After everything I told my parents about you, they were certain that you were the one.”
“Really,” her eyes widened in surprise.
He nodded, “Absolutely which is a first for my mother, but after everything I told her about you, well she’s just dying to meet you.”
“I can’t wait to meet her either,” Diane replied leaning into him, “It sounds like your parents are wonderful.”
“They have their moments, but in all honesty, I don’t think I really want us to go down there with me introducing you as my girlfriend to them,” he admitted feeling her move away from him with wide eyes.
“What,” she blinked back in confusion, “But Ben I thought that we…”
“What I meant to say is I’d much rather take you there introducing you as my fiancée,” Ben blurted out pulling the ring out from behind his back that he’d had for quite some time.  He opened the small box revealing the gemstone inside to her, “So what do you say Diane?  Will you marry me?”
“Marry you,” Diane repeated looking between him and the ring.
“That’s right.  Marry me,” he nodded watching the mixture of emotions that swept in over her features.
“Yes.  Oh God yes,” she exclaimed throwing her arms around his neck and taking him down into the pillows with her all the while unconcerned with the bowl of ice-cream that fell to the floor.  Holding Ben as if she’d never let go, she realized that the rest of the world was irrelevant.  She was about to have everything she’d ever wanted and she couldn’t be happier.  She and Ben would finally have it all.  They would be together forever.  They were going to be married and have her ultimate dream come true.  Nothing would change that.


J.T. stood outside Jade’s apartment thinking about his brother’s request.  While J.T. had tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of Diane, he decided to give her some time.  Sure, he’d known that the other night would scare her off, but he had no doubts that she’d be back.  They’d be together and then, well the games would begin all over again.  That much he was looking very forward to.  Whistling as he made his way over to the door, he decided that it was time to help Cameron get one step closer to what he wanted.
“Jade,” J.T. thought aloud thinking of the sexy spitfire that Cameron was pining after.  Truthfully had J.T. not been so in love with Diane, he would’ve easily fallen for Jade.  She had it all and in some ways she was quite the charmer.  Of course now that she was on Cameron’s list of desires, J.T. would naturally put those thoughts on the backburner--for a while anyways.  Though coming to see Jade helped him as it would get him closer to Diane and that made him very happy indeed. 
Knocking on the door for the second time, J.T. waited for Jade to answer, but much to his dismay Seth answered instead.  Still, he had to put up a good front.
“Is Jade around,” J.T. asked catching the immediate scowl that came from Seth’s face.
“What the hell are you doing here,” Seth glared down at him.
“Gee, and hello to you too Seth,” J.T. forced a sugary sweet smile, “It’s been a long time.”
“Not long enough,” Seth moved to close the door in his face.
“Oh, now is that way to treat a guy whom your sister was fond of once upon a time,” J.T. kicked his foot in the door.
“She wasn’t fond of you.  She was just down and out on her luck,” Seth replied sharply, “which isn’t the case anymore, so whatever it is you’re selling, she’s not interested.”
“Actually I was hoping that I could speak with her for a minute,” J.T. added quickly, “about Diane.”
“As if you didn’t cause the two of them enough trouble already,” Seth rolled his eyes before stepping out into the hallway, “Let me say this plain and simple J.T. so that we don’t have any misunderstandings.  My sister isn’t interested in you and she doesn’t need someone like you in her life.  After what you pulled on her and Diane the last time, you’re lucky I’m being this cordial with you.  And if you’re looking to stir up trouble for Diane, don’t even bother.  She’s not interested either as she’s moved on with her life.”
“Is that right,” J.T. stood taller, his smile fading to a scowl.
“That’s right.  She’s found someone that she really cares about and he cares for her as well.  Unlike the rebound relationship the two of you had when she was chasing Andy around, this one is real,” Seth added with a scowl, “so just leave her alone.  The same goes for Jade.”
“I don’t think it’s up to you to decide who Diane or Jade spends their time with for that matter.  Just because you don’t like me doesn’t mean that…” J.T. started up again taking a step forward.
“Oh it’s not about like or dislike,” Seth offered with a frown, “I can’t stand you.  That’s where I’m at and as for Jade, well she’s not here, but even if she was, she still wouldn’t be interested.”
With that Seth stepped into the apartment again, slamming the door shut behind him. J.T. watched Seth’s exit feeling his anger bubble at the exchange between them.  Sure, Seth had been rude and in a way J.T. wouldn’t have expected anything less from that man, but in the same breath, he knew Seth was wrong.  He had made an impact on Diane this time around and he was going to win her back.  It was only a matter of time for that.  With Jade, well after Seth’s cool exchange, J.T. vowed to do whatever was necessary to help his brother get her because no one stood in the way when J.T.’s family wanted something.  That much he was sure of.


“Heather, why do you always treat your sister like that?” Diego questioned leaning against the wall.

“She is the past Diego and it doesn’t matter anymore,” Heather scowled.

“It does matter to her, she cares for you. Family, is never the past…you know what? You should feel lucky to have a family…some people don’t,” Diego informed her hating the way she was more and more.

“Is that suppose to be my problem?  I wish I was like those people who had no family,” she stated seeing the disappointment in his features.

“Tell me this one thing, what the hell did she do to you?” he questioned hearing the silence from her. “That’s exactly what I thought.”

“Diego, don’t even try to say I can’t hate my family,” she growled watching him run his hand through his hair.

“If anything, she should be the one mad at you. God, I thought this whole thing would change you…I mean you have a son. I just can’t believe you,” he stated watching her frown.

“What’s that suppose to mean?” she questioned watching him shrug.

“That means, I hate the way you are,” he stated.

“Why would you even know how my life is?” she questioned raising her voice, anger growing with each word, “You don’t even know half the things I have gone through.”

“And whose fault is that? It sure is hell isn’t Sarah’s or mine. And yeah, I have been through just as much as you…I just didn’t want it like you do.  I didn‘t sit back and let the past destroy me and it could‘ve Heather.  When things like this happen, that‘s when you need your family the most even if you don‘t want to see it,” he protested watching her scowl.

“You know what Diego? I don’t even want you here…get the hell out of my room,” she yelled.

“I guess that means you are feeling better,” Dean sighed watching Heather scowl at him.

“I want the both of you out of my room,” she growled watching Diego just walk out.

“Well, he listened,” Dean shrugged shutting the door behind him.


“Are you almost ready yet,” Brittany questioned peering out from over the back of the couch, “The popcorn is getting cold.”
“Getting cold,” Gabe repeated with a strange look, “How can popcorn get cold?”
“The popcorn isn’t melty with the butter on it when it’s cold,” Brittany shook her head at her father, “You know that.”
“Ah yes it’s sticky and mushy and you hate that,” he tickled at her side causing her to squeal with laughter as Guy entered the room.
“Okay what do you want here?  Should be watch Toy Story or should we go for Finding Nemo?” Guy held up the DVDs in hand.
“I think we should go for Toy Story,” Brittany explained matter of fact, “Finding Nemo is kind of sad.”
“Okay, then Toy Story it is,” Guy replied putting the DVD into the player, “It’s one of my favorites anyways.”
“Really?” Brittany’s eyes widened, “Mine too.”
“How cool is that,” Guy grinned at her before joining in to take a bite of the popcorn.  She watched him wipe at his fingers before shaking her head at him.
“See I told you it was getting cold,” she added with a pointed look.
“You’re right it is cold.  How about we make another batch,” Guy suggested watching her nod in agreement.
“Hey we don’t need another batch,” Gabe began realizing that Brittany was taking being pampered to the extreme.
“Of course we do,” she insisted with a firm look.
“But what about this popcorn?  We don’t want to waste it after Guy made it for us,” Gabe pointed out reaching for a piece of it.
“We won’t be daddy,” she handed the bowl over to him, “You can have it and Guy and I will make new popcorn for us.”
“But Brittany…” Gabe began again.
“Yeah dad it’s okay,” Guy winked at him before looking to Brittany, “You know what part about Toy Story is my favorite?”
“What’s that,” she asked curiously.
“Buzz Light-year,” he explained with a tiny laugh, “I like how he could fly.”
“But he really couldn’t fly silly,” she shook her head at him, “He is only a toy you know.”
“Maybe, but you know what, I’ll bet you can fly,” Guy suggested watching a giggle erupt from her lips.
“No, I’m a little girl.  Little girls don’t fly.  Didn’t your parents teach you anything,” she insisted with more laughter.
“Why yes they did, but you know what,” Guy reached for her hoisting her up into his arms, “I never listened.  Now prepare to be an airplane.”
“An airplane,” she held her arms out at her sides, “Like this?”
“Exactly like this,” Guy nodded zipping her around the living room while making airplane noises.  They headed to the kitchen making another round of popcorn before they returned with Brittany having perfected her airplane impression.
“Look Daddy I’m flying!” she boasted zipping on down to the couch once again, “Did you see that?”
“You bet I did,” he nodded in response, “You’re a beautiful little airplane.”
She laughed shaking her head at him, “Daddy airplanes aren’t beautiful.”
“No, then what are they?” Gabe questioned curiously.
“Fast.  Very fast and that’s what I was, right Guy?” she turned to her father’s lover.
“You were very fast indeed,” he nodded in agreement watching her open up with her obvious energy. 
Brittany continued to go on and on about flying and about riding horses and how cool this place was.  Finally the movie came on and she snagged the bowl of popcorn snuggling into her father.  Finally when she’d quieted down, Gabe looked over to Guy with a thoughtful smile thinking about how great things were going.
“Daddy,” Brittany tugged on her father’s sleeve capturing his attention once again.
“Yes princess,” Gabe questioned watching her motion for him to lean in closer to her.
“I need to talk to you,” she whispered alerting him to the fact that a secret was on it’s way from falling from her lips.
“About what,” Gabe whispered matching her tone.
“About Guy,” she confessed with a tiny grin, “I think we should keep him.”
“Funny thing, I think we should keep him too,” he confessed kissing the top of her head before hugging her closer into his arms thankful that his daughter and the man that meant the world to him were getting along so well.  It was like a dream come true for all of them it seemed.


Mindy walked down the produce isle of the grocery store picking up a few things here and there. She went along with her business until she realized a guy was following her. Not trying to make it obvious she looked back to see it was Hunt. She just smiled grabbing something and putting it in her cart.

“Mindy,” he started before she turned the other way. “Hey Mindy, wait.”

She watched him walk behind her as she turned looking at something as he leaned up against one of the racks trying to act cool. She walked around and didn’t even see him as he sighed. His arm slipped making him fall to the ground.

“That worked great,” he shook his head getting up going to go and find her.

He looked down the isles to see her at the other end. He ran quickly, but he missed the floor that had a sign that said wet floor.  In his hast, he slid clear across the isle unable to prevent himself from moving when his feet had clearly wanted to stop. He came to a stop when he ran into table full of boxes all of them falling on top of him.

“Are you okay?” Mindy laughed grabbing onto his hand helping him up.

“You knew I was there?” he questioned standing up.

“Yeah, and I can’t believe you did all that to get my attention,” she smiled seeing him shrug.

“Yeah, it’s no problem,” he laughed hesitantly, “Actually that last one was an accident.”

“I figured as much,” she nodded laughing a little bit.  “Though I will say you’re surprisingly light on your feet--especially when they’re moving faster than you are.”

“You like that huh?” he smirked at her, “Well, then you should stick around for my matinee performance later.  It gets even better.”

“I’m sure,” she couldn’t help but chuckle in response watching how he was working to take a bad situation and make it into something light and humorous all to get her to notice him.  Despite her resolve to ignore him, this bold move had worked.  It had also captured the attention of the grocery story workers as well now that a man started to approach.

“Excuse me sir, I hope you are going to pay for all that,” the man from behind them stated watching the face of Hunt.

“Uh,” Hunt started before getting cut off by Mindy.

“Why should he? You are the people who should be more careful and put the wet floor sign out, so it’s visible to all customers,” Mindy stated watching Hunt’s jaw drop as he quickly nodded.

“Well someone has to pay for all this,” the man stated watching Mindy shrug.

“Now whose fault is that, if you will excuse me…we will be leaving now,” she stated grabbing onto Hunt pulling him with her.

“I guess this means you forgive me?” he questioned watching her shrug as they walked out the doors.

“I don’t know, maybe over some lunch or dinner I could think about it as long as you promise no acrobatics like that if you take me somewhere fancy,” she smiled watching him nod.

“Sounds great,” he grinned taking a deep sigh feeling as if his near disaster had given him the break he’d needed to reach out to her, “and maybe if you’re lucky I’ll show you some of my best movies.”
    “If they include what I just saw in there, I think I’ll pass,” Mindy laughed heartily finding it increasingly harder to stay mad at the man at her side.  Maybe just maybe she could find it in her heart to refrain from being mad at him after all considering that it wasn’t every day that a man made himself public enemy number one at a grocery store to capture her attention.  She turned to look back finding the man from the store ready to race after them with wild eyes.
    “I suppose I should take care of that,” Hunt motioned to the man behind him.
    “As long as you don’t get arrested and decide to be in jail rather than show up for dinner tonight at say---sixish?” she suggested.
    “Even if I have to orchestrate a jailbreak, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he promised ready to give things another try with him and Mindy.  Maybe his luck was changing after all.


Shannon drove down the dark road as the rain fell hard against her windows. She sighed turning up the radio hearing the song “Break” by Linkin Park. She tapped her hands along the wheel to go along with the music. Boy, could she really relate to this song right now. It seemed everything was pressuring her; it was like she was going to break any time now. Everything was so hard on her at this moment.

She tried looking out her windows to see where she was going; it was really raining hard…it made it quite difficult to see. She wiped away the mist on her windows as she was suddenly flung forward and back. She touched her head lightly taking in a deep breath. Some dumb ass just hit her car. She heard someone knocking on her window as she got out of the car slowly.

“Miss, are you okay?” he questioned touching her arm lightly.

“I’m fine,” she started walking to the back of her car, “But I sure as hell can’t say the same thing about my car.”

“I am so sorry, it was raining hard and my tires slipped,” the man stated. “I will pay for everything if you would like.  I am so sorry.”

“You know what asshole? I have had enough of this day altogether.  It started off bad, it continued to get worse and this, well it‘s just icing on the cake there.  At this point I‘m just about ready to crawl under a rock and die, but even death seems like too easy of an out at this point.

“Well, that’s a horrible thing to say,” he frowned back at her, “Surely it can’t be that bad.”

“Spend a week in my shoes and then you’ll see it’s no exaggeration,” she growled looking up to see his face.  “Look, never mind, just--everything is fine okay.  We can exchange numbers, go over the insurance information and just call it a day.”

“Are you sure?  I mean I don’t mind taking you over to the hospital is you‘ve been hurt.  It‘s better to have it checked than to let it go when…,” he shrugged looking down at her.

“Look, I said it was fine, so just back off,” she warned once he tried to get a closer look at him.

“I’m just trying to help.  If you’ve been injured and you need medical attention, then the least I can do it,” he started with a worried expression on his face.

“Do I know you from somewhere?” she questioned cutting him off and  trying to see his face through the rain as poured over their bodies.

“Yeah, now that you mention it I think so.  You and your friend were at the hospital earlier asking about a patient of mine,” he explained watching the blank expression on her face, “I’m the doctor from earlier,” he smiled seeing her nod.

“Yeah I kind of figured you were the doctor when you started talking about the whole patient thing.  I guess you really are dumber than I thought there and in case you didn‘t notice, the blonde hair you see before you doesn‘t equate to airhead.  I don‘t need an MD to remember a face,” she started seeing him frown, “Dan right?”

“Actually it’s Don,” he reminded her seeing her shrug.

“Don…Dan, same thing,” she stated seeing him about to say something, but changing the subject.

“If you need any information, or you need to call me about the car, just call me…here’s my card,” he insisted as he handed her a card with two numbers on it.

“Alright,” she said drifting away thinking how much she found herself annoyed with this guy at the moment.  Then again at this point, she was annoyed with the world it seemed.

“The first one is my work number and the second is my cell number,” he told her pointing to the numbers.

“Yeah, you will most likely be hearing from me,” she nodded watching him stare at her.

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” he questioned as she said nothing and just got in the car and drove off. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

He sighed getting in his car and driving away wondering how it was that someone like that could be so damn unpleasant.  Then again he was certain that was one of life’s mysteries that went best left unsaid.


“Ouch that burns,” Kyle growled as Avery put something on his cut blowing on it lightly.

“What? Did you expect it to tickle?” she questioned seeing him nod a little bit.

“I was hoping it would,” he pouted seeing her smiled.

“I’m sorry it didn’t,” she smiled seeing him shrug.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he winked standing up, “Thanks.”

“It was no problem,” she stated looking between the two men, “Now, I would like you two to stop fighting if that would be possible.”

“I just think he has ADHD,” stated Kyle as Avery hit him lightly in the stomach. “Sorry, I was just stating the obvious.”

“Kyle,” she put her hands on her hips raising an eyebrow at him.

“I’m sorry,” Kyle bit on his bottom lip trying not to laugh.

“Now will you two please keep a handle over yourselves? Or else I may have to take matters in to my own hands,” she stated looking over at Brant, “So you understand me?”

“Yeah,” Brant sighed looking away from Kyle.

“Kyle,” she said his name looking over at him to only see him stand up straight bringing his hand to his forehead.

“Yes drill sergeant, ma’am,” Kyle laughed as she smacked his arm, “Hey you know I was only kidding.”

“Kyle,” she gasped feeling him pick her up off the ground and into his arms. “What are you doing?”

“You have had too much excitement for one day,” Kyle stated shrugging; “Now I think it’s your bed time.”

“Uh, you’re not being serious right?” she questioned seeing him shake his head.

“I‘m as serious as they come,” Kyle nodded walking down the hall and into her bedroom laying her on the bed.

“What are you doing?” she questioned feeling him pull the blankets over her.  “Have you lost your mind?”

“You need some rest and so does that baby,” Kyle smiled tucking the sheets around her.

“Uh,” she started before he brought a finger up to her lips.

“You better be good, or I will have to call the bed bugs,” Kyle grinned pushing a piece of hair from her face.

“Uh thanks I think…,” she smiled seeing him slope down to his knees.

“No problem, I will come and check on you later, okay?” he questioned running his big hand along her face lightly.

“Okay,” she nodded not knowing what to say.  “And Kyle try to stay out of trouble, would you?”

“I’ll think about it and I expect you to do the same.  Rest up and I’ll see you later,” Kyle smiled leaning down and kissing her cheek lightly.

“Bye,” she smiled seeing him walk out the door.

Kyle walked down the hallway running into one of the tables as he knocked down a picture.

“Good going,” Brant laughed watching Kyle pick up the picture looking at it.

It was a picture of Avery and Russell, he looked at it for a quick second and then set it back on the table, “Let her sleep Spanky.”

He shut the door behind him thinking back to the picture. God this was torturing him, why did his best friend have to die? He had to take care for Avery, for Russell. He sighed feeling his cell phone ring as he answered it.


“Kyle, it’s Sarah,” he heard her voice and it kind of sounded depressed.

“Are you okay?” he questioned worrying about her too.

“Yeah, it’s just Heather again,” she stated taking in a deep sigh hearing him.

“You know what, I will be right over, okay?” he questioned smiling to himself.

“Kyle, you don’t have to right now,” she stated hearing him not take down his offer.

“No, I will be there” he insisted.

“Alright, I guess that means I will see you in a few minutes then? Huh?”

“I guess you’re right,” he smiled to himself, “Love you.”
Hearing him say those words always got to her as she twirled the phone cord around her finger, “I love you too.”

“See you in a few, bye,” he smiled to himself hanging up the phone and walking to his car.


“Can I come in?” questioned Diego peeking his head through Heather’s door.

“Depends on if you hate me or not.  I‘m not in the mood for a lecture either just to let you know in case you‘re ready to tell me how awful I am…” she frowned watching him walk to the side of the bed.

“I don’t hate, you should know that. I just wish that you could be just a little nicer to your sister,” he shrugged taking a seat next to the her.

“You act like you are on her side,” she stated not knowing what to say.

“There are no sides to this Heather.  There is a right way and a wrong way and it’s feels like you’re always choosing the wrong way lately.  You might not do it intentionally, but you‘re pushing the wrong people out,” Diego sighed watching her frown.

“I just don’t know what it is, I just feel like something about her is so wrong,” Heather stated watching Diego shrug.

“No, it’s just the way you’re approaching this is wrong.  Your sister is a great person and you need to be nice to her,” Diego informed her standing up. “You know what, I have a present for you…although if you’d like to see it, you have to be nice to your sister--or at least promise not to have a fit for the next few minutes.”

“What if I don’t like the present?” she questioned watching him shrug.

“Then I guess you wouldn’t,” he stated with a shrug hearing a knock on the door, “I think it’s here now.”

He went to the door for her to only see her son wheeled into the room by the nurse. Diego nodded watching the nurse walk out of the room.

“How did you…” she started with tears behind her eyes seeing the way her baby was.

“I have my ways Heather, I wanted to do this for you,” he stated sighing seeing a tear trail down her face.

“Is he doing okay?” she wondered touching the thing that covered her baby--her little life that she created.

“He is doing pretty good considering his dramatic entrance into this world.  I‘ve been watching him since he arrived and I have to tell you he‘s a fighter with a lot of spirit just like his mother.  He‘s not willing to give up even when the odds are stacked against him,” he smiled touching the bed cover lightly, “You know, you have to do something for him too.”

“What could I possibly do for him? I mean look at me,” she laughed sarcastically.  “I look like a monster and given how I’ve done nothing for him thus far…”

“That’s not true Heather.  You gave him life and that in itself is reason enough to be proud of yourself.  Despite the fact that you have a lot of pain and bitterness inside of you, this little boy represents all the things right in your life,” Diego continued with a thoughtful expression.

“He’s beautiful Diego,” Heather sat up straighter forgetting about her anger with Sarah--about anything else, but the way her son looked before her.  He was truly remarkable and she couldn’t believe that she’s played a part in creating something so very wonderful.

“He really is amazing,” Diego nodded in agreement, “and while I know it’s not much, I think he would appreciate to have a name.  I mean at this point, well hey that might be something that you both might appreciate.”

“I don’t know that might be asking too much,” she smiled looking over her baby once again, “then again, I’m sure I’m more than ready to come up with something for him.  I just have to make sure it’s perfect.”
“I’m sure that somehow it will be,” he spoke up encouragingly hoping this time Heather spent with her son would be the key to her opening her heart up to her family again.

...to be continued...