Seth ran his fingers through his damp hair before wiping at the steam
that covered the mirror in the small bathroom. While he’d been
less than thrilled to discover J.T. on his doorstep seeking out Jade,
he had other more important things to think about--starting with
Valerie’s return to town. When he’d heard the news, he’d been in
a state of shock, but now, well now he couldn’t help but think about
what that might mean to his future.
“It won’t mean anything,” Seth vowed closing his eyes as he thought
back to the woman who’d once meant a great deal to him.
“Come on Seth. Just play along,” Valerie’s voice had beckoned him
through the dark hallway.
“Val, I’m not in the mood. Where are you?” Seth called out to
her, his own words echoing in the emptiness that surrounded him.
The thick blackness surrounded him, but it was nothing in comparison to
the haunting feel that this new place had brought about in him, “Enough
with the games already, where are you?”
“I’m right here,” her voice boomed through the darkness only to be
revealed when the lights snapped on. It took his eyes a moment to
adjust, but within a matter of minutes, he discovered her standing
before him motioning to the oversized print of her that hung upon the
wall in front of him. She smiled proudly before motioning over to
him, “What do you think?”
“I think that you probably paid way too much for that,” he couldn’t
help but tease noticing that the word “Modern Vixen” hung over her
image as if displaying the top of a magazine layout over the photo that
he‘d taken of her not so long ago. Unable to refrain from a
teasing grin, he stepped in towards her, “Where did you come up with
“Seth, I don’t think you understand,” she reached out to lace her arms
around his waist tugging him in closer to her, “It’s the real thing…”
“What do you mean the real thing,” he looked up at the cover layout
“It means that when I spoke with someone through an agency, well they
liked our work. They thought you had an eye and you showed me
like I was meant to be seen,” she tipped up on her toes, her hands
roaming down over his spine, “You know what this means, don’t you?”
“That you’re going to make a few extra bucks with this one--that is if
you haven’t spent them all on that oversized print,” he couldn’t help
“No, Seth, it doesn’t mean that at all,” she declared solemnly, “It
means I’m going to be a star--we’re going to be stars. I can feel
it happening for us already. We’re going to make it big
time. You’ll see.”
Suddenly in the back of Seth’s mind that image was replaced with
another, more haunting one. He could see Valerie standing at the
train station walking out of his life and out of Coral Valley
forever. Even now he could feel the emptiness that her departure
had brought to him for a brief moment in time. Sure, they might
not have had that begin all, end all kind of love between them, but
when he’d witnessed just how easy it had been for her to walk away from
him and never look back, he’d been careful to keep his heart
guarded. He never wanted to experience that kind of loss again,
so he’d shut himself down--that was until Blake walked into his life.
“Blake,” Seth spoke her name feeling himself warm up to the thought of
the woman he planned on spending his life with. Never before had
he felt so sure about anything--so strong about his feelings.
When he and Blake had first met, there had been an instant chemistry
between them--a sizzle that had gotten deep into his system, but more
so it was that initial spark that had prompted him to risk it all to be
with her. She was that special something in his life he’d waited
forever to find and only in loving and almost losing her did he see
just how truly important love was in his life.
“Nothing is going to get in the way of what we have Blake,” Seth vowed
hearing the phone ring in the other room. He’d secured the towel
around his waist tighter than before racing out to catch the phone, but
at the last minute the machine kicked in.
“Seth, hey it’s me…” Blake’s voice boomed in over through the apartment.
“I’m here…” he spoke frantically as he pulled the phone off of the
receiver. “Blake, I’m here.”
“Thank God. I was starting to worry,” she replied with a breath
of relief, “I’d called a few times, but when you weren’t answering,
well I was afraid that I’d missed you.”
“I was in the shower,” Seth confessed with a simple shake of his head.
“Hmm…that sounds yummy,” Blake practically purred into the phone, “I’m
sorry that I missed that one.”
“I’m sure we can fit in an encore performance later on if you play your
cards right,” Seth teased in a seductive undertone in his voice.
“Oh I’m very tempted to take you up on that…more than you can even
begin to imagine, but right now, well right now I have other plans in
mind,” she explained quickly, returning to her original intentions for
making the call.
“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s on your mind?” Seth leaned on the arm of
the couch, his grin still spreading over his features as he thought of
the woman he loved.
“Well, I can’t really say much more than that I have a few things to do
really quick before I come over. I’ll be there shortly and then
I’ll explain. Until then, why don’t you pack an overnight bag?”
“An overnight bag,” he repeated with obvious amusement, “I’m intrigued.”
“You’re going to be much more than that when you discover what I have
planned,” Blake spoke into the phone hurriedly, “But for now just make
sure that you’re packed up and ready to go when I get there.”
“Okay, I’ll work on it,” he decided thinking about what Jade had told
him, “and Blake?”
“Yes,” she replied quickly, her voice full of enthusiasm and mystery.
“I love you,” he spoke solemnly from his heart, hoping to convey that
message to her.
“I love you too Seth,” she replied saying a quick good-bye, but not
before warning him to be packed and ready.
Hanging up the phone, Seth couldn’t help but chuckle at her
enthusiasm. Somehow he knew he’d never get bored with Blake’s
spontaneous, fun loving nature. He had no idea what she had on
her mind, but somehow whatever it was she had planned for tonight, he
found himself more than eager to discover what it was. Looking to
the answering machine, he noticed that there were about a dozen
messages blinking back at him.
“I know you were eager Blake, but gees…” he laughed lightly pressing
the playback button ready to hear what she had to say to his
machine. The first message came up almost immediately.
“Hey sexy. Are you there? If so pick up?” there was a
pause, “Seth, honey, I need to talk to you. It’s imperative that
we get in contact with one another before tonight…oh…grr…I’ll call back
That message got an even greater laugh out of him. Now to the
“Seth, where are you? It’s Blake again. Honey I don’t mean
to be a pain in the ass, but I really, really need to talk to
you. I tried your cell, but you’re not answering that
either. Oh well if you’re not there when I come over I’m going to
camp outside your apartment. I mean it. You’re mine tonight
Seth. Do you got that?”
“I do now,” he chuckled listening to two other messages from Blake when
the fifth caught him off guard.
“Seth, hey, I’ll bet you never thought you’d hear from me in this
lifetime again, did you?” Valerie’s voice slurred in over the machine,
“Well, the truth is that I’m back in town again…though I’m sure that
Jade already told you that. Listen, I’m sure that you’re not
really interested in seeing me, but I need to see you. We need to
talk--about the past--the future… Seth, please when you get this,
just call me back and…”
Seth pushed his finger on the machine to stop the message. He’d
already heard more than enough. Standing up he pushed the erase
button before going to get ready. Whatever it was that Valerie
wanted, he wasn’t interested. His life was perfect without her
and he wasn’t about to go inviting trouble around again. This was
for the best and in not acknowledging Valerie’s return, he was certain
that life would go on much more smoothly. At least he hoped so.
Sarah got up hearing the sound of her doorbell ring through her house.
She opened the door to not only see a dozen roses in front of her, but
the face of the man she loved.
“Hey,” Kyle smiled walking in handing her the roses.
“I didn’t know if it was you for a second, I couldn’t tell with all the
roses in front of your face,” she smiled grasping onto the flowers.
“I know what you mean. Though how many people in this town
actually are this big and have hair like me…I have no idea,” he smiled
feeling her hit him in the arm lightly.
“Why did you bring me these?” she questioned seeing his jaw drop.
“I had to have a reason? I couldn’t just bring flowers for the woman I
love?” he laughed kissing her lightly.
“Alright, I like that answer,” she stated feeling his big hands run up
“I knew you would,” Kyle smiled kissing her quickly, “So tell me,
“Well,” she started walking into the kitchen setting her flowers down
and walking back to only see him sitting on the couch with his jacket
“What did she do this time?” Kyle sighed as she took a seat next to him
and he wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“I don’t think she loves me. She never did,” she stated feeling
his cheek run along her soft skin.
“Don’t say that, she loves you…Heather has just made some mistakes in
the past,” Kyle stated pushing a piece of hair from her face lightly.
“Yeah, she hurt me a lot all the time,” Sarah laughed.
“Tell me what’s going on. I’m all ears you know,” he insisted
pulling her closer to him.
“Well she stole all the guys who ever liked me when we were younger for
sheer sport for starters,” she shrugged seeing him shake his head.
“Explain me then,” he whispered raising his eyebrow curious to know
what she was going to answer with.
“You can’t tell me that you never liked Heather,” Sarah stated with a
slight hesitant laugh.
“Yes I can,” he nodded smiled, “From the moment I laid eyes on you, I
was in love.”
“You don’t mean that,” she smiled feeling his hand on her leg.
“I mean it. I never believed in anybody or anything, but I
started to believe when you came into my life. I was a nobody Sarah,
you made me a somebody…you’re my life,” Kyle stated seeing her eyes
look up into his.
“You mean it?” she questioned feeling his mouth cover hers.
“With all my heart,” he stated breathing against her mouth. He
curled his arm around her, hugging her body closer to his as their
kisses grew in intensity. Within a matter of minutes, the passion
singed between them sending them into a whirlwind of feeling. Her
fingers grasped onto the bottom of his black t-shirt pulling it over
his head as he kissed her lightly.
“I have to tell you something,” she started as he kissed her deeply
leaning her back on the couch. “There’s something that…”
“Do you think it can wait?” he questioned running his hand across her
face before he drank of her luscious lips.
“Yeah…” she breathed feeling him kiss her again.
She felt his hot breath against the skin of her neck as her hands
worked on unbuckling his belt. The doorbell rang as Kyle growled
“Damn, this is not happening,” he started with a frown.
“Kyle, it’s…” she began in frustration.
“I know,” he nodded reluctantly getting up, “I’ll get that.”
“Alright,” she sighed watching him walk around the corner.
Kyle opened to door to see Blake standing before him. Once she
saw him her eyes got wide.
“Yeah?” he questioned watching her shake it off getting over the
“Are you guys ready?” she questioned watching Kyle raise his eyebrow.
“Say that again,” he blinked back at her watching her nod.
“Are you two ready?” she repeated yet again wondering if she came at
the wrong time seeing him with no shirt on and his belt undone.
“Ready for what?” he asked with a sheer look of confusion realizing
that suddenly his night was altered now that Blake stood at Sarah’s
doorstep looking ready to explore a new adventure that he was sure
would leave him far from where he wanted to be with Sarah.
“Does this mean I am getting another chance?” questioned Hunt holding
out the chair for Mindy.
“I don’t know it’s totally up to you,” she shrugged watching him take a
seat across from her.
“Well, what’s that suppose to mean?” he questioned watching her fold
her hands out in front of her.
“That means, as long as you don’t try and hurt me again…you will have
your chance,” she stated watching him nod.
“Again, I am really sorry about that…I made a huge mistake in doing
what I did that night. I never meant to hurt you,” he insisted seeing
her nod as it relieved some pressure off his chest.
“I think this a start to helping yourself get better there,” she smiled
seeing him grin.
“Believe me, this is the smallest to the closet thing you will be
getting from me…I need to make it up to you in a better way. What I did
wasn’t that nice, I need to prove myself worthy,” he smiled watching he
shake her head.
“Whatever you say. I think the grocery store proved yourself worthy,”
she laughed seeing him shrug.
“Well actually, that was an accident. To make you laugh I want it to be
intentional,” he insisted touching her hand lightly.
“That accident may have been not on purpose, but that was the best way
to get the attention of anyone,” she smiled seeing him shrug.
“Well you know,” he was stuck on words not really sure what to say out
“To tell you the truth I think you caught the eye of a couple of people
including an old man,” she smirked watching him shrug.
“What can I say, I’m too good not to look at,” he stated watching her
raise an eyebrow.
“I wouldn’t get too cocky now. You’re not that hot,” she said
watching his eyes grow big.
“You don’t think I am that hot?” he questioned trying to act shocked.
“I think you’re okay,” she nodded.
“Well that’s a good start,” he smirked knowing it was only the
Carly sat in her hotel room thinking about her exchange with Kenneth
Ashford. While she’d expected a lot of things in being around
him, she’d never anticipate the cool reception that she’d
received. Something had clearly shaken up his world and after
she’d left his office, she found herself far more worried about him
than she’d wanted to be. Even now as she stood in front of the
mirror halfheartedly taking in her appearance, she decided to take the
time to look into what had happened to Ken, but first she had to stay
Hearing a knock at her door, Carly situated the tiny red dress she’d
put on knowing full well that it was one of Dave’s favorites.
Sure she’d come into town thinking about her personal life second, but
in seeing Dave again, well she couldn’t help but feel hopeful about the
night at hand. Okay, so she wasn’t looking for romance, but being
around Dave was a good way to start the evening. Hearing the
knock once again, she took in a slow breath hoping to remain focused.
“Remember this isn’t about making up for lost time,” she tried to
convince herself as she made her way to the front door. Opening
it up, she found herself met by a bouquet of roses much to her
surprise. Seconds later she witnessed Dave emerging from behind
the display, a goofy grin spreading over his features.
“I thought we weren’t making this an official date,” Carly threw out a
pointed look despite her own enthusiasm about what he’d offered her.
“It wasn’t, but I saw these on the way over and they seemed to be meant
for you,” Dave confessed with a soft smile, his words warming her from
her head to the tips of her toes, “I hope I’m not crossing too many
lines with them.”
“Well, normally I’d say you were, but tonight, well this hotel could
use a bit of livening up,” she confessed stepping aside to put them in
some water, “Come on in.”
“So you’re staying at a hotel,” Dave noted taking in the
surroundings. Sure enough the place did look a bit bare which was
a first for Carly considering that she was usually surrounded by a
little bit of everything.
“Temporarily,” she explained further from the kitchen, “I’m hoping to
move into the new place within a week, but I’ve been having some issues
with the contractor. It turns out one thing isn’t right and with
one thing, well it leads to another and then…”
“Then you’re spending your time and money in hotels,” Dave noted with a
knowing expression as she returned to the living room area once again.
“Pathetic, isn’t it,” she tucked a loose strand of her dark hair behind
“Not nearly as pathetic as it could be,” Dave smiled at her, “I mean
it’s kind of like an all expense vacation of luxury here at the hotel
with the service and the availability of whatever you want at your
“Yeah other than that whole lacking the all expenses paid part,” she
couldn’t help but laugh back at him, “but seriously, should we get down
“Actually I was hoping we could put that on hold for a little while,”
Dave stepped further into the room, “as I wanted for us to talk about a
few other things first…”
“Such as?” she eyed him intently.
“Such as that red dress,” Dave couldn’t help but notice her little
surprise for him.
“Oh this old thing,” she waved her hand dismissively, “Is there a
problem with it?”
“No, not at all,” Dave shook his head, his eyes still fixated upon her,
“though it does remind me of that time down in Bermuda when it started
to rain while we were walking the beach that one night…”
“You mean that night after we danced the day away underneath the
stars,” Carly questioned with the beginnings of a smile herself.
“That would be the one,” Dave nodded in response, his eyes wandering
over her curves suggestively, “Of course on that night, well we were
both soaked and that dress was far more revealing…”
“No, I think that happened after you decided to brave the storm and get
rid of the dress,” she took a small step towards him, “That’s back when
you were bent on being a wild man--on taking a risk…”
“And you were right there with me, wanting me to play it safe, but
instead you enjoyed my every moment of breaking loose,” Dave continued
to move in closer to her until they were almost nose to nose. He
felt her lean back against the couch a bit to position herself as their
“We had a lot of fun back then, didn’t we,” she smiled, her gaze
dropping down to his lips longing to recreate that particular moment
he’d brought to mind.
“More fun that I’d ever thought possible,” Dave nodded in agreement,
his heated breath striking against her skin in a sultry swirl of
temptation and provocative longing. “It was so good between us…”
“Unforgettably good,” she confessed in pure harmony with his statement.
“And yet,” he inched in towards her, his lips a whisper away from
hers. She tilted her head up towards him, her eyelids fluttering
ever so slightly at the thought of things to come between them, but
instead he pulled away from her leaving her in a state of confusion,
“you decided to go off to New York and say to hell with what we had.”
“Dave, that’s not how it happened,” she frowned immediately feeling her
wall of defenses fly back up at his accusatory tone, “You know damn
well I asked you to go with me.”
“And leave my life in Coral Valley behind? No, see that wasn’t
what we’d talked about. I mean somewhere in the midst of it all I
was under the strange misconception that when you’d mentioned wanting
to raise a family here with me and share forever that you really meant
it--not that you wanted to fly out of town as fast as you could to the
big city life.”
“Dave, you’re making me sound so cold hearted and cruel when that
simply wasn’t the case,” she insisted with an impatient huff, “I gave
you plenty of opportunity to…”
“No Carly, you were the one with the opportunity. You just were
hoping I could tag along for the ride, but I didn’t take the bait,” he
answered sharply, the old feelings of hurt returning to him.
“That’s not at all what my asking you to leave with me was about,” she
continued with a scowl, “and neither was tonight. I didn’t ask
you out to have us rehash this again and again…”
“Well see there’s yet another judgment error on your part. I
asked you out and whether or not you want to listen to it, I think I’m
well within my rights to talk about the situation,” he folded his arms
in front of his chest in a fighting stance, “You know Carly, that was
always one of the problems with you. You were so quick to try to
wax poetic on the situation, but to hell with anyone who tried to alter
your version of reality or tried to challenge your set of values.
Your career was top priority and I wasn’t. Plain and simple.”
“That’s so not true even though you’re simply being an ass,” she threw
her hands in the air dejectedly, “I don’t know why I even bothered to
agree to this.”
“Because you thought you’d kiss up a bit in order to win your case,”
Dave rolled his eyes, “I’ve seen this in the past time and time again…”
“Come again,” she blinked back at him with obvious confusion.
“Oh there’s a big case with political precedence and then Chavez
practically salivates to get it in her favor. She knows the
elections are coming out again and she’s just itching to see this one
work out the way she wants it to. So this time around, she did a
little digging and instead of sending an inexperienced, sex kitten she
keeps on reserve, she brings you back putting you right in front of me
in the hopes of getting the police support on her agenda…”
“Now wait just a damn minute Dave. If that’s why you think that
I’m back here…” she replied taken aback.
“Oh I’m sure it is Carly, but you can tell Chavez it’s not going to
work. She’s not going to win the election by using me or my men
to do it. She’s not going to manipulate the legal system yet
again and if she thinks that a few dates and beyond with you will sway
me, well then she’s got another think coming,” Dave blurted out
“Dave, that’s not what’s going on and if you really think so little
about me--if you really have lost that much faith in me, then…” Carly
started up again.
“I thought you trusted me. I thought that you and I had something
special there once upon a time…” she tried to appeal to him once again.
“Had being the operative word Carly. I moved on with my life and
clearly that’s how it was meant to be. I don’t need to look
back…” Dave continued attempting to stay focused on what he’d planned
to say to her when he’d arrived.
“Don’t worry about it because I’m not about to travel down that path
again,” she replied defensively fighting the disappointment that
flooded over her. She marched over to the door opening it widely
for him to exit, “and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t plan on making
this a part of my future either. You can leave now.”
“I thought you’d never ask,” Dave remarked reaching for his jacket
before making his way towards the door.
“Good,” she shot back at him icily, “and I suppose then we have nothing
more to say. I’ll see you in court.”
“That you will,” Dave nodded refusing to look back at her for fear of
revealing what had really gotten him so worked up. It wasn’t that
he’d hated her--or that he’d really felt that Chavez was playing him
yet again, but more so he feared what a night alone with Carly would do
for him. After she’d left him, he’d fallen apart and if he was to
go down that road again…well, it could damn well be the end of him.
“And Dave,” Carly beckoned him once again, “Just to let you know…when
this goes to court, I will win, but I’ll do it based upon my own merits
not on anything else. You’ll see.”
“I’m sure I will,” was all he could get out before hearing her slam the
hotel door behind him leading him to the realization that once again
he’d be spending the night alone as the odd man out. Still it was
better to be alone than to open his heart up to Carly again. If
he did in fact let her in, then he’d be devastated if she ever decided
to leave again. That simply wouldn’t do and if it meant being
distant, then so be it. He wasn’t about to fall in love with the
woman who’d taken his heart and run with it in the past. Never
Shannon opened the doors to Angle’s bar sighing knowing she was going
to regret even coming here. She was tempted. Everything was going
on so fast and it was so hard all the while reminding her of what she‘d
worked so hard to leave behind. Still this time she couldn‘t help
but find herself falling back into that old place--that time when
things felt easier. She looked around the place seeing people in the
corner as she walked to the bar side.
“Can I get you a drink, sweetheart?” questioned a bald headed man with
“No Mr.,” she started looking for a name.
“Just call me Steve, full name Steve Austin,” he smiled watching her
“Steve Austin,” she repeated giving him a strange look, “You wouldn’t
happen to be the…”
“No maam,” he shook his head at her, “we’re no relation, but some say
we have an uncanny resemblance. What do you think?”
“I think that those who say it need to get their eyes checked,” Shannon
couldn’t help but roll her eyes, “You’re much better looking than he
“Thanks maam,” he winked at her “I tend to think so too and hey if you
need anything, just yell okay?”
“Thanks, Steve,” she smiled watching the larger man walk to the other
end. She jumped only to feel a hand on her shoulder. She turned around
to see the face of the guy who hit her. “What are you a stalker now
“No, I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Don stated watching her
stand up. “I’m a doctor, it’s my job to take care of people.”
“Yeah well Don I’m not one of your patients,” she growled watching him
“I would just feel a lot better knowing you were okay,” Don sighed
watching her put her hands on her hips.
“You mean mentally or physically? Cuz, you are sure bothering the shit
out of me,” she scowled watching him look down.
“Listen, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to hit your car,” he sighed watching
her walk over to the bar.
“Steve,” she yelled out watching him walk back towards her.
“Yeah hot stuff?” he questioned moving in closer to her trying to hear
her over the music.
“I think I will take that drink now,” she smiled watching him nod.
“What would you like?” he questioned watching her shrug.
“Whatever you think is the best,” she grinned seeing him wink at her.
“You’re asking the wrong guy sweetheart. I like just about
everything,” he nodded watching her shrug.
“Whatever you think you make the best I’ll have,” she stated seeing him
go behind the bar to only to come back with a drink.
“Here you go,” he smiled handing her the drink.
“Thanks Austin,” she nodded seeing him wave to her.
“You think that’s a good idea?” he questioned watching her shrug.
“I mean don’t get me wrong a drink can take the edge off, but given the
bump we just had…”
“I don’t know what’s a good or bad idea anymore,” she informed him
looking at the drink starting to feel a panic before she took it
drinking it all.
“All the more reason not to be drinking like that. If you let me
take you to the hospital…” he started with worry evident in his voice.
“Listen Don,” she gave him a pointed look, “you can stand there and try
to lecture me all you want, but in about two seconds I’m walking
away. Or you can shut up, get yourself a drink and try to help me
salvage the rest of this miserable day I’ve been having. The
choice is yours.”
“Listen,” he started watching her take a seat on the barstool.
Reluctantly he moved in beside her, sitting next to her, “I’m real
“Yeah whatever,” she scowled getting up. “Like I said before
unless you’re in the business of getting yourself a drink and
lightening up, well, I’m just not interested.
“Wait a second,” he called out to her getting up and going after her
knowing full well that tonight was going to be one, crazy night.
He could feel it.
“Close your eyes,” Dean instructed watching the sparkle behind Deidra’s
eyes, “I mean it.”
“Okay, fine, but I don’t know why you just won’t tell me what it is you
have on your mind here,” Deidra did as instructed taking in a long,
“Just trust me on this one,” he urged her leading her through the
darkness until he’d found his place for them. “Now stay here and
keep your eyes closed.”
“I hope you realize that I have a lot of faith in you to let you take
me out like this,” Deidra noted with a soft smile.
“And I promise that it’ll be worth it,” he whispered warmly against the
back of her neck before stepping away. He glanced back over his
shoulder at her through the darkness, “Now keep your eyes closed.”
“They’re closed already,” she curled her fingers into her thigh
listening to see what Dean had planned for them. They’d taken a
walk through the park earlier until he’d urged her to close her
eyes. They’d been closed for a while until he’d given her a few
seconds to keep them open.
“Okay, you can look now,” Dean informed her giving her permission to
take a long look at her surroundings. While she wasn’t quite sure
what she’d walked into the candlelight flickered around her revealing
the atmosphere surrounding them. She noticed an oversized play
area before her alongside of a sign alerting them that they were at
Toby’s Playland. Turning to look at him curiously, she opened her
mouth to speak.
“Before you say anything, I have to explain myself,” Dean stepped
forward, a smile upon his face, “Toby and I go way back. He and I
got to talking about how you’d been having a bad run of luck and well,
I was hoping that maybe tonight we could forget about all the serious,
depressing things going on and we could focus on something that we
could both enjoy.”
“You mean like pizza and video games,” she gave him a curious look.
“It sounds stupid, doesn’t it,” Dean couldn’t help but grin.
“No, not at all,” Deidra took another long look around eyeing the play
area before her. She spotted a little netted in spot filled with
little plastic balls and almost immediately she kicked her shoes off,
“because I see a place that’s exactly where I’d like to be.”
“Is that right,” Dean questioned watching the way her eyes filled with
an obvious plan.
“That’s right,” she reached out to bunch the fabric of his shirt up in
her hand. Drawing him nearer to her, she planted a quick kiss on
his lips before stepping back, “Take your shoes off and meet me in
there in five minutes or else…”
“Or else what,” he questioned curiously.
“You don’t want to know,” Deidra teased with a menacing laugh before
rushing over to the play area.
Opting not to argue with her, Dean kicked his own shoes off as well
before chasing off in the general direction she’d headed in. He
looked around the area before pushing the mesh netting leading to the
entrance of the play place out of his way. Taking in a slow
breath, he carefully swung his leg over into the plastic balls, hearing
them squish underneath his foot. His other leg followed suit
while he tried to survey the area.
“Deidra,” he spoke her name while tentatively taking in his
surroundings. He tried to see through the shadows that surrounded
him, but much to his dismay he couldn’t find her. Frowning
slightly he wondered where she could have disappeared off to until he
felt the distinct thump of something striking the back of his
“What the…” he spun around only to feel another one of the little
plastic balls launched into his chest.
“Ha, got you,” Deidra popped out from beneath the blanket of balls
she’d been hiding under. Before Dean could get out a word, she
threw another and then another until he found himself ducking to get
out of her way.
“No fair,” he asserted scooping an armful of balls up and launching
them at her with his pitching arm. Before he knew it the two of
them were engaged in a very heated dodge ball game with one
another. He watched her prance around, ducking out of his
attempts to get her until finally an idea formed in the back of his
mind. Sliding down into the mountain of balls that surrounded
him, Dean carefully inched in closer to her.
“You can run, but you can’t hide,” Deidra squealed out oblivious to
what was going on at her feet.
“There’s no need to hide,” Dean roared tugging on her leg and dragging
her down into the balls with him in a whoosh of noise. Pulling
her closer yet, he smiled as he lay over her, a proud, victorious
expression on his face, “Gotcha.”
“Or so you think,” she wrinkled her nose at him before worming out of
his reach. Pushing through the balls, she continued to laugh
until she’d come close upon the corner of the closed in area.
“Now what was that you were saying,” he questioned bringing his arms
out on both sides of her to cage her in. She spun around to face
him, her dark eyes sparkling with eagerness as she tilted her head up
to look at him.
“I was saying that you haven’t captured me yet,” she mouthed in a low,
sultry whisper watching him descend towards her.
“You sure about that,” he questioned claiming her lips with a heated
intensity causing a fever to burn from the top of her head to the tips
of her toes.
“You might be getting close,” she declared curling her arms around his
neck and kissing him once again.
“How about now,” he nuzzled his nose against the side of her neck.
“I think it’s a good start,” she divulged with a cryptic smile all the
while knowing the truth that somehow he’d captured her heart from the
moment he’d rescued her in that parking lot from Bruce. That was
all it took for her to see that she’d found a man well worth keeping
Ken staggered through the front doors of the Ashford estate struggling
to remember how he’d even gotten there in the first place. It
seemed as if life was just one, big blur especially after he’d lost
Caitlin. The fact that he’d had way too much to drink at work
hadn’t helped, but quite honestly at this moment in time, he really
didn’t give a damn about that. He just wanted to crawl into bed,
pass out and fast forward through yet another miserable day.
“But we’re one step closer to together again,” Ken thought to himself
using all his efforts to climb up the never ending staircase to his
While he’d gotten a brief phone call from Zack about the memorial, he
knew it just wouldn’t be the same. Caitlin was being cremated and
the service was in spirit only. He knew that he’d have to stand
there in front of a group of people and share his thoughts and feelings
with them, but somehow saying that this sucked and it was the worst
possible thing to ever happen to him didn’t quite seem exactly
moving. Still, he’d tried to drink those thoughts away, yet after
Zack had called they still haunted him.
“I’m coming Caitlin,” Ken whispered in a groan finding himself winded
as he made his way to the top of the staircase. He looked just
beyond where he stood, seeing the hallway narrow and then spread out
enough for him to feel as if he’d stepped into some kind of
funhouse. Walking in a zigzag pattern to his room, he managed to
push the door open long enough to step inside.
“Ah, there you are,” he spoke out loud with a crooked smile through the
darkness. Hurriedly, he stumbled over to his bed and flopped down
upon it not bothering to change out of his suit. It had been a
day from hell to say the least, but in his dreams he found freedom--he
found solace and more importantly he found his Caitlin again. She
was with him--in his arms, in his heart and they could be together
forever. Closing his eyes, he willed his mind to lose sight of
reality and drift to where he’d wanted to be with the woman he
loved. “I’m right here…Caitlin, where are
you?” he spoke aloud feeling the blackness shift to a bright, white
light. Suddenly he felt the teasing pull of fingers over his
“I’m right here,” she whispered warmly in his ear causing him to turn
around in the midst of the clouds that surrounded them in his
dream. “I’m still with you Ken.”
“Oh Caitlin,” he spoke her name throwing his arms around her in a
heated embrace. Reaching out to touch her cheek gently, he feared
that she would slip away from him--leave his life forever, but instead
she leaned into his touch, bringing forth so many beautiful moments he
longed to explore still with her. She smiled at him, a warm and
true gesture and as he traced the lines of her features, she spoke up
seductively, “Make love to me, Ken.”
“You have no idea how much I’ve wanted to hold you like this again,”
Ken confessed feeling her fingers fan out over the front of his
jacket. He could feel the warmth of her body spanning out across
the center of his chest, urging his jacket open.
He leaned forward to kiss her again, but instead he was met by
nothingness. The white clouds had faded and he was back in the
darkness. Letting out a long sigh, he thought about taking the
journey to the guest quarters where the winery was housed, but instead
he closed his eyes once again dwelling on what he’d lost.
“I’m right here,” he heard a voice rise above the darkness.
“Caitlin,” he spoke her name, his eyes opening once again to see the
blurred image over him. As he opened his mouth to speak once
again, he felt her press her index finger over his lips to silence him.
“I’m with you Ken,” she continued, her blonde hair falling forward to
tease against his face with the movement. He placed his hand upon
her hips only to discover the smoothness of her bare skin over his.
“But I thought that you’d left me…that you were gone--that…” Ken began
in a whirlwind of confusion as he saw nothing more than her golden
tresses lingering over him.
“I’m right here,” she mouthed just over his lips, the heat of her
breath burning him down to the core, “and I don’t plan on leaving
“Oh Caitlin,” he threw his arms around her kissing her eagerly--knowing
that this moment had to be some kind of gift his subconscious was
giving him. He’d been so lost without her--so miserable and this
dream was so real--so perfect. Almost immediately he felt her
ease him out of his shirt and jacket and despite the heaviness in his
limbs, he sat upright to accommodate her persuasions.
“That’s a good boy,” she breathed nibbling on his ear teasingly before
spreading her fingers down over his muscled chest. She shifted
beside him, turning her attention to his belt buckle making quick work
of removing the barriers between them. She moved over him once
again, her lips devouring his heated skin as her kisses trailed over
her chest leading down his body, “I want you so bad Ken.”
“I need you,” he whispered her name, his fingers threading through her
blonde hair to urge her up towards him. However, she was not to
be deterred from her agenda. Carefully, she tugged his pants down
over his legs, leaving him only in his boxer shorts. Watching the
desire that spread over his features, she felt a proud smile tickle
over her lips.
“I need you too Ken,” she replied dipping her hand inside his boxer
shorts to find him more than ready to be with her. She took her
time teasing him until she felt his body moving in response to
her. Seeing that kind of encouragement from him, she dropped her
fingers down underneath his waistband knowing that there would be no
turning back after this.
“I love you Caitlin,” Ken moaned in a low, aching tone as she climbed
up over him, straddling his body.
“Forget Caitlin,” Susan whispered licking her lips before leaning down
to kiss him once again. She positioned herself over him, ready to
join them together as one when she realized that Ken had passed out and
with him went any hope of her seduction coming to fruition.
Frowning she smacked the side of his face watching the way his head
turned in his clear cut alternate state of consciousness.
“Ken,” she spoke his name again, her voice rising with anger and
disappointment as she watched him lost in his moment of drunken
stupor. She moved her hands over his body again, hoping to entice
him into joining her for this magical moment between them, but alas
after a few minutes she realized it was no use. Instead she opted
to slide in beside him, curling her arm around his waist as she lay her
head on his chest. Closing her eyes she listened to the sound of
his heart beating beneath her.
“Sooner or later Ken, we will be together. It’s only a matter of
time before you realize that I’m all the woman you’ll ever need,” Susan
vowed taking this night’s disappointment and putting a positive spin on
it for things to come between them in the future. Now that
Caitlin was out of the way, she had no doubt in her mind that Ken would
be hers again. It was only a matter of time.
Brant sat in the living room thinking about Kyle’s arrival at the
house. While he completely loathed the jackass, the fact that
Kyle was still a part of Avery’s life made Brant wonder just what
Kyle’s intentions were. His first instincts were to brush up on
Kyle’s history and see what the guy was all about, but instead he
forced himself to take the moral high ground. Okay, so that was a
bit of a stretch there in the sense that he’d still been tempted to
call his own investigator in, but instead he’d found himself wrestling
with the excess energy by looking around Russell’s library.
“Boring, boring, boring,” Brant thumbed through the books before him
until he found one that looked a bit different from the rest.
Curiously he reached for the book swiping it from its place before
moving back over to the couch, “And just what do we have
Sitting down in on the center of the couch, Brant opened up the leather
bound book to discover Russell’s handwriting. Upon further
inspection, his eyes fell upon the words before him much to his own
“How on Earth could she think that *I* was Brant? Is she really so
charmed by him that she would fall for his very silhouette? This calls
for drastic action. Avery isn't going to like what I have to do, but
I'll do anything…and I do mean ANYTHING…to keep her from destroying her
life with Ashford. I'd never forgive myself if Avery fell into Brant's
clutches. Somehow, some way, I will save Avery…even if that means
saving her from herself.”
“Well now,” Brant looked up from the page he’d opened up to. So
the almighty Russ was intimidated by Brant’s presence in Avery’s life.
“Well good,” he muttered aloud pondering what he’d read before he
contemplated delving further into what was so obviously Russell’s
journal. He eyed the living room for a brief moment before
turning his attention to the book in his lap once again. Tempted
to keep reading, he opened to yet another page, but before he could
read what was on it, he closed the book.
“I can’t do this,” Brant thought aloud surveying the room once again
before his eyes fell upon the leather bound cover before him. He
tapped on it with his finger tips before curiosity overtook him and he
opened the book once again. Reading another passage to himself.
“That woman…that sweet beautiful woman…Avery simply defies description.
With all the English language at my disposal, all the journalistic
training I’ve had, I just can’t seem to come up with the right words to
describe how I feel about her. But Brant Ashford…now that one is easy.
He makes me want to vomit…we’re talking projectile here. An engagement
party? Is he insane? Like Avery needs to be thrust even further into
the media spotlight. He doesn’t care about her. He just wants to flaunt
her in everyone’s faces to show that he can have every woman. Well I’ve
got news for him. He can’t have every woman. He can’t have HER. He
can’t have MY Avery.”
“Is that right,” Brant closed the cover of the book, having had enough
of what the late Russell Denton had to say about him. While Brant
wasn’t looking for Russ to die like he had, clearly there were some
issues that would live on long after Russ was gone. Issues that
would still be sore spots.
“But not tonight,” Brant rose up from the couch, making his way back
over to where he’d located the journal to begin with. He began to
put it back when he heard a sound from behind him.
“What are you doing?” Avery questioned in confusion, watching him
standing before her with his back to her.
“Nothing,” Brant quickly pushed the book back in it’s place before
turning around to face her again, “I thought you were sleeping.”
“I was trying, but it just wasn’t happening,” Avery confessed with a
heavy sigh, “My arm kind of hurts and wouldn’t you know it?
That’s the side I’m ready to sleep on…”
“Well, that’s not going to help anything,” Brant reminded her with a
simple shake of his head, “thought I have to admit I’m not really
getting any rest either.”
“Let me guess,” she gave him a pointed look, “You’re plotting ways to
get back at Kyle for pissing you off, right?”
“As much as I’d like to say I was, I gave up on that about an hour
ago,” Brant shrugged his shoulders, “but you can’t blame me for being
just a tad bit upset with the guy.”
“I guess I should be willing to give you points for honesty,” Avery
offered with a polite smile, while tying her robe up tighter, “Kyle’s a
bit rough around the edges and hard to take to someone who doesn’t know
him, but he’s really a good guy.”
“Very loyal to Russ, huh?” Brant noted arching a curious brow.
Avery nodded, “Even though they haven’t talked in years, when Kyle came
to town, you would’ve thought it was like they were kids again.
Amazing to think that Kyle and Grady were best friends in college
considering how attached he and Russ are to one another…”
“Yeah, you’d think that Kyle was Russell’s personal attack dog with the
way he hates me,” Brant frowned thinking about the muscle bound
meathead who annoyed the hell out of him.
“He doesn’t hate you. He just doesn’t trust you,” Avery shrugged
“Same difference,” Brant insisted.
“Not really, but you’ll learn that the longer Kyle is around,” she
explained with a soft sigh, “Eventually he’ll warm up to you.”
“Hell will probably freeze over first,” he scowled back at her.
“Perhaps, but right now I’m thinking that I’d really rather not get
into this grudge you and Kyle have against one another. I’d just
like something like tea perhaps. You interested in any?”
Brant nodded, “Sure, but only if you let me make it for us.”
“You make tea,” she gave him a strange look.
“Yes, I make tea,” he nodded with a proud smile, “Does that really
“Honestly yes,” she confessed, “You don’t strike me as a tea kind of
“Yeah, well there’s a lot about me that you might be surprised with,
starting with my increasing abilities to pamper a woman when she needs
it the most,” he moved in closer to her. “Why don’t you sit down
for a few minutes and I’ll bring things out when they’re ready?”
“I can help,” Avery offered catching the expression on his face, “I can
“I’m well aware of it, but tonight, you take it easy. Let me help
you for a change. It’s the least I can do,” Brant insisted
slipping away into the kitchen leaving her to her thoughts.
Looking around the living room, Avery began to reflect upon all the
wonderful memories she and Russ shared with one another in that very
room. She thought to the day that she’d first asked him to marry
her and how their lives seemed to have so much promise ahead of
them. Things had seemed so right--so perfect and now…well, it was
as if a huge hole had been ripped out of her heart. Her dream had
been taken from her and what was left was the reminder of what
“I wish you were here Russ,” Avery spoke aloud before taking a seat on
the couch. She hugged one of the pillows before curling up
against another. Closing her eyes she found herself thinking
about the happiness she’d felt when she and Russ were together.
She could so very clearly recall his words of love and his promises of
forever and as she lost herself to those memories, she drifted off to
“Here we are. Tea is ready and waiting for your approval,” Brant
announced entering the room only to discover her sleeping on the
couch. He felt a small smile spill over his lips as he set the
tray down on the coffee table. Stepping towards her, he took a
moment to just watch her taking in the beauty before him. Finally
unable to resist, he leaned in beside her reaching out to touch her
“How is it that you always manage to fall asleep on me just when I
think we’re getting somewhere with one another,” he questioned softly,
moving in to brush a chaste kiss against the top of her forehead.
He watched her for another moment before finally taking a step
back. He contemplated leaving her there to sleep, but knowing
that the couch couldn’t be all that comfortable, he made another
“Come on,” Brant whispered carefully pulling her up off of the couch,
“Let’s get you to bed sweetheart.”
With those words Brant carried Avery to her room, making sure to tuck
her in carefully before taking a seat beside her. While he was
sure that he was crossing some kind of line, right now that was
irrelevant as he knew she needed him. Whether or not she wanted
to admit it, they needed one another and for tonight and however long
she needed him, he would be at her side. Settling in on the
pillow beside her, he kept his eyes upon her until he too drifted off
to sleep dreaming about a future that he’d always wanted between them.
Seth sighed clicking the remote constantly changing channels thinking
about Blake’s phone call. What was she up to? Better yet what was
he going to do about Valerie being in town? She could possibly screw up
what him and Blake had if she wanted to given her nature. Of
course as long as he didn‘t let her upset things, then maybe just maybe
it would be okay. The doorbell rang as he stood up walking to the door.
“Hey,” Blake smiled wrapping her arms around his neck.
“What are they doing here?” questioned Seth looking at Sarah and then
Kyle seeing two bags over his shoulder.
“I would like the answer to that question too,” Kyle pointed out as
they all walked in the house.
“So where exactly are we going?” wondered Seth watching Blake smile and
“You’re just going to have to wait to find out,” Blake chuckled
watching Seth raise and eyebrow at her. “Grab your bags now because
“How am I suppose to drive if I don’t know where we are going?”
questioned Seth seeing Blake pick up his keys.
“I’ll drive,” Blake shrugged, “Sarah will help me navigate.”
“Something about this doesn’t seem right,” Kyle stated feeling Sarah
smack him on the arm.
“He’s right it doesn’t,” Seth agreed.
“Well it doesn’t matter what you two think because either way you two
are coming with us,” Blake grinned as Seth grabbed his bags.
“Fine, I trust you,” Seth shrugged as the women walked out the doors
“If I were you, I wouldn’t,” Kyle laughed as both the girls elbowed him
in the stomach. “What? I was just kidding.”
“Sure you were,” Sarah rolled her eyes as they got into the car.
“So where exactly are we going?” Seth questioned leaning towards Kyle
talking almost in a whisper.
“I have no idea,” Kyle shrugged as Blake looked back.
“Be patient you two will find out soon or a later,” Blake smiled
watching Kyle shrug,
“I’m hoping it will be closer to soon, instead of later,” Kyle stated
hearing Seth laugh.
Jade entered Grady’s office thinking about all the dreams and plans
they’d made for one another in this very place. She thought about
how she’d fought like hell to keep him in her life--to find a way to
get him to notice her, and now that they had found happiness with one
another, she knew that it was just a matter of time that it was ripped
away from them completely.
Walking around his desk, she found his old, blue sweater draped over
the back of his chair. She could remember all the countless times
she’d encouraged him to get rid of the old, scraggly thing, but he’d
insisted it was his ‘thinking sweater’ and that it had helped him gain
clarity during times when that felt like the last thing in sight.
“Grady, you can’t seriously believe that old sweater will do the
trick,” Jade could hear her own voice commenting on it as she reached
for the sweater in the present holding it up to her face.
“I think this sweater more than does the trick,” Grady had informed
her, “Don’t you have something that helps you? Kind of like a
“Are you saying this hideous sweater is your security blanket?” Jade
had voiced her displeasure with it.
“I’m saying that it’s a great help to me in figuring things out,” Grady
“Yeah, then why isn’t it helping you figure out where you should be
with me,” Jade could see herself swiping the sweater from him.
She quickly tugged it on over her head despite the fact that she’d been
teasing him about it. She could remember flapping her arms around
at him, “Well, what do you say to this?”
“I say you’re trouble,” Grady had expressed his thoughts straight to
“Yeah, well you should try trouble sometime Grady,” Jade had threw back
at him suggestively bringing her hand to the center of his chest, “You
might find you enjoy it every now and then.”
Now as she held his sweater up to her face, she could smell the scent
of him so clearly as if he was standing right there with her.
Hugging the sweater closer to her, she closed her eyes imagining his
arms around her instead of the sweater she was holding. Fighting
to keep it together, she inhaled another breath taking in the scent of
the man she loved when suddenly she heard the sound of footsteps from
behind her. Spinning around, she lowered the sweater to discover
Cameron standing in the doorway.
“I noticed the front door to the offices were open and since I’m still
a client,” Cameron entered the room, walking in a smooth, solid stride
of determination, “I thought I’d come inside and say hello.”
“You’re not welcome here,” Jade answered tightly, immediately on edge
by his presence.
“But as I said before I am a client and I’m in need of legal
representation,” he stated with a cryptic smile, his eyes taking her in
“No, you’re in need of a good therapist considering you’re a
sociopath,” Jade remarked sourly, “which is something that I can’t help
you with, so get the hell out of here!”
“Such bitter words from such beautiful lips,” Cameron made a tsking
sound as he rounded the corner of the office. His eyes fixed
directly on Jade while his smile slowly faded, “You know this could’ve
been avoided Jade. All of this could’ve been prevented if you’d
“I wasn’t going to let you touch me,” she spat out at him clinging to
Grady’s sweater to help her keep her strength while he stood before
her. “You repulse me Cameron.”
“That’s too bad because I’d always hoped we could be friends,” he shook
his head at her, “You know how important you are to me.”
“What I know is you’re a sick monster who takes pleasure in hurting
others. I could never be friends with someone like that,” she
wrinkled her nose at him.
“And yet you’d stay true to that belief even if it means that man you
love staying in jail for the rest of his life,” he let out an ironic
laugh, “and here I thought true love was supposed to know no limits and
“The truth will set Grady free,” Jade answered flatly, “and sooner or
later that will happen. He will be proven innocent.”
“Ah yes, our legal system is just and fair in your mind, now isn’t it,”
Cameron couldn’t help but laugh at her, “Did I ever tell you cute it is
that you cling so hard to your beliefs like that?”
“Did I fail to mention that I’m a black belt in karate?” Jade
questioned ignoring his smugness, “Or that perhaps you should rethink
coming in here before I call for security?”
“You wouldn’t do that,” Cameron took a swift, solid step towards her,
“You’re smarter than that.”
“And so is Grady’s defense team,” Jade stood taller, glaring up at him
all the while refusing to let him frighten her, “They will get Grady
out of jail and when they do, well I can promise you that you’re days
are numbered Cameron.”
“Is that right,” he laughed lightly, “You really believe that you’ve
got something on me there to take me down?”
“Oh I’m sure that sooner or later it’ll happen and when it does…well
you’re going to wish you never set foot in this town,” Jade spat back
at him, “That much you can be sure of.”
“Fine, then you have your dreams and I have mine,” Cameron leaned in
closer to her, “Before this is over you will be mine Jade. While
you might be hesitant now, there is no denying the fact that we were
meant to be together. You might think you know it all, but in
time you’ll grow to love me as I love you.”
“Go home to your wife Cameron,” Jade hissed in response clenching her
fists at your side, “After all she’s the one who married you for the
one thing you’re good for--your money.”
“You know,” Cameron started to sneer, but stopped himself taking a step
back. He adjusted his tie and flashed her a bright, enthusiastic
grin, “Jade, you can try to fight it, but sooner or later we will be
together. I have no doubt in my mind about that. One day
neither will you.”
“Get out,” Jade hissed at him, reaching for the telephone, “Get out or
“I’m leaving, but just know we’ll meet again,” Cameron promised
slipping out of the office leaving Jade to realize that while Grady was
away Cameron was sure to keep popping up. Sure, she stood up to
him this time, but she had a feeling that after tonight things were
going to get worse--much worse!