Episode 160

Shannon yawned getting up and walking over to the other side of the room seeing a shirtless Don spread out over the couch. She let him sleep there on account of how hard he tried to make her happy last night. Of course he was too tall for the couch as his legs hung over the side. She sat down across the room watching him sleep as his chest moved up and down from his light breathing. Something about this guy made him different from the rest. Something that kept drawing her back to him all the time. If it were anyone else they would have been kicked to the curb from the moment she woke up. Her eyes ran over his body as his steel blue eyes opened looking into hers. He smiled putting his arm behind his head.

“How long have you been watching me?” he questioned with a slight yawn.

“Me? I wasn’t watching you,” she scowled standing up hearing him laugh.

“Right…what were you doing then?” he started standing up slowly as he stretched out.

“Not looking at you,” she stated hearing his light laughter again.

“You were admiring these awesome curtains then, huh?” he smiled holding the curtains between his fingers.

“You know you are a real jerk,” she pointed out watching him grab his shirt pulling it down slowly.

“You still like me though,” he winked at her seeing her fold her arms out in front of her.

“I should have never opened that door,” Shannon stated watching him roll his eyes.

“You like me…you may not admit now, but I will get you to someday,” he assured her hearing a knock on the door.

“This isn’t something you did right?” she questioned raising her eyebrow seeing him shake his head.

“Who is it?” he wondered walking over to the bed where she had papers spread across it.

“Just coffee,” she yelled back to him as he picked up a paper involving Kipp. “Hey give me that!”

“Wait a second…did that paper just say that man was dead?” he questioned watching her shrug.

“Why?” she wondered raising an eyebrow.

“I had him in my care.  He was my patient. He was still alive when I was taking care of him,” Don pointed out watching her face turn white.

“Are you serious?” she questioned watching him nod. “Give me a second I have to call someone.”


Sarah yawned looking next to her where she expected to see Kyle next to her, but he wasn’t.

“Kyle?” she questioned looking around the room seeing him peek his head out from the balcony door.

“I’m out here,” he told her disappearing out the door again.

She walked to the balcony seeing him looking out into the day, “You okay?”

He sank into her touch feeling her hands on his broad shoulders, “I’m fine…just admiring the beautiful morning.”

“You seem sad or something,” she stated kissing his shoulder lightly as he turned around wrapping his arms around her.

“Not sadness, happiness from being with you. That’s the only thing I feel when I am around you,” he smiled leaning down and kissing her deeply.

“I love days like this,” she stated feeling him kiss her neck lightly.

“Like what?” he breathed against her skin.

“When I’m with you,” she smiled as he looked up at her.

“It’s always a sunny day when I’m with you,” he informed her wrapping his arms tightly around her. “If I could, in a whole day the only thing I would want to do is be with you.”

She smiled as he leaned down capturing her lips in another breathtaking moment as his cell phone rang.

“I am really starting to hate phones,” he smiled walking into the room grabbing the phone from his jacket. “Houston.”

“Kyle, it’s Shannon. Listen, I have some great information that could possibly help us in the investigation,” her voice eagerly stated.

“Well, what is it?” he questioned deeply pacing back and forth.

“I would rather tell you in person if that’s possible. I have someone who could possibly lead us somewhere,” she stated hearing him take a deep sigh.

“Alright, I’m not in town right now, but I can be there in about forty-five minutes,” he assured her grabbing his shirt out of the bag.
“Okay, just be here as soon as you can,” she hushed him as they hung up.

“What’s wrong?” questioned Sarah running her hands around Kyle’s big shoulders.

“I’m sorry, but I have to go back…for work,” he sighed closing his eyes as he felt her hand run along his face.

“Hey it’s okay,” she smiled leaning up and kissing him deeply.

“Are you sure,” he questioned watching her nod as he ran his fingers through her hair lightly. 

“I wouldn’t get mad at you,” she assured him seeing him nod.

“Alright, well I guess I have to get my stuff together and we have to get Blake and Seth,” Kyle sighed grabbing his bag. 


Carly entered her office thinking about the preparations she had ahead of her for the Mahoney murder trial.  While things were starting right around the corner, she knew that she had to get her butt in gear if she was going to win this one.  Her week was turning into a nightmare after she’d not only had an unsavory run in with Kenneth Ashford, but the disaster she’d had with Dave had just about done her in.
“And the hits just keep on coming,” Carly frowned making her way over to her desk to see all the messages piled up on top of it.
“There you are,” Isabel Chavez popped her head in to see Carly at her desk, “I was hoping I might get a word in with you this morning.”
“Well, I’m a bit busy preparing for the upcoming trial, but…” Carly began watching her boss take a seat in front of her desk, “Please sit down.”
“Thanks,” Isabel smiled politely taking a moment to do just that, “I was hoping you could update me on your meeting with Kenneth Ashford.  Was he at all interested in my proposition?”
“I wasn’t able to speak with him about it,” Carly replied with a slight frown, “but something tells me that he’s not going to exactly be receptive to it considering that you’re planning a major takedown where his family is concerned.”
“The Ashfords have been involved in all sorts of illegal activities for years,” Isabel huffed in response, “This offer I’m laying out for him is very generous.  It could be his last chance to redeem himself before the Ashford empire comes crumbling down.”
“You know speaking of that,” Carly began with obvious hesitance, “While I realize that you’ve been working to expose their misgivings, well the truth to the matter is that Ben hasn’t been able to uncover anything.  It’s as if all those things that you’ve mentioned were erased when Brant stepped up as acting CEO of BBK.”
“That’s just because Brant is better at hiding it, but in truth he’s just as miserable as his manipulative father.  He’s just as dirty and it’s only a matter of time before the world sees it,” Isabel vowed with a heated determination in her voice, “The Ashford family is going down.”
“Well, not to change the subject, but I was wondering what your thoughts were on a man named Cameron Stone,” Carly questioned, “His name keeps popping up around this case I’m working and…”
“And he’s just a scapegoat for the defense,” Isabel rolled her eyes, “I’ve heard the song and dance they’ve been trying to play off as fact where this situation is concerned and the fact to the matter is that Grady Denton is the one who pulled that trigger.  Forensic evidence clearly shows that.  He might be trying to point the finger in another direction, but it all leads back to him.”
“Even so, I’d heard rumors that…” Carly started with a slight frown.
“That’s all they are Carly,” Isabel stood up from where she was seated, “rumors.  I brought you in on this case because your conviction record is spotless.  You are the best of the best and I have no doubts that you’ll be bringing home another victory with this.  Just remember to go with the facts and this case will be a home run.”
“Even so with the defense saying things about Cameron Stone…” Carly frowned slightly, “Even the police chief thinks…”
“The police chief is biased by his friendship with the accused,” Isabel waved her hand dismissively before eyeing her intently, “and I truly hope that you won’t let your reputation be tarnished by doing the same.”
“I just want the truth to come out,” Carly added firmly, “that’s what’s important to me.”
“It’s important to me as well,” Isabel nodded in agreement, “along with Douglas Mahoney finding justice for his son.  He’s a very influential contributor to my re-election campaign and I’d like to see him get his son’s murderer behind bars.”
“Even if it means convicting the wrong man,” Carly questioned wearily.
“Carly, Grady Denton isn’t the wrong man.  He’s the one who shot Kipp Mahoney and if you go over the fact again, you’ll see that this is exactly how things should be.  We’re prosecuting the man who must pay for his wrongdoings.  Trust me on that,” Isabel looked at her watch, “Now why don’t you read up a bit and we’ll chat later?”
“Sure,” Carly nodded in response watching her boss leave as she wondered if Isabel was truly seeing the whole picture.  Then again maybe Isabel was right.  Maybe Dave had skewed Carly’s opinion and she had to gain perspective about this case.
“Just read the facts,” she reminded herself opening up the file in front of her hoping to get herself together enough to win this trial.  Then again when she set her mind out to doing something, she never lost.  This would be no different.  She would get a conviction.


Judy sat at her desk thinking about the way the days were going.  While she had been trying to keep the focus off of her own personal life and focus on her family, it seemed that the time she spend with her daughters was far and few these days.  Deidra was always working or with her new friend Dean and Diane had taken off with Ben after a quick and blissful reunion from what Diane had told her.  It seemed that things were finally looking up for her children, yet Judy couldn’t help but dwell on the things that were going wrong in her own personal life.
“Focus,” she snapped at herself setting her pen down, “you’ve been very blessed in your life and there’s no point in being miserable over something that wasn’t meant to be.”
“Or maybe it was and you’re just fighting the obvious,” a voice arose from the far end of the room.  She looked up to discover Richard standing before her with a smile on his face.
“Rick, what are you doing here?” she blinked back at him wondering if she was somehow hallucinating.
“I thought I’d pay you a visit,” he explained stepping in towards her before presenting her with a bouquet of white roses, “I know that you said that I should stay away, but the truth to the matter is that I can’t stay away from you.”
“Rick, you shouldn’t have done this,” she frowned refusing to accept the flowers, “I wish that you wouldn’t have…”
“Judy, I know what you said, but I’ve done a lot of thinking.  While Brooke and I are married, the truth to the matter is that the love died out in our marriage a long time ago.  I often question if it was ever really there to begin with, but with you…” he started honestly.
“Don’t say it,” she shook her head at him, “please don’t say it.”
“Judy, I’ve never stopped loving you.  You were my first love--my only love and I can’t imagine my life without you.  Even now when I think about how you asked me to stay away from you,” he set the flowers down on her desk before placing his hand over his heart, “it’s like asking me not to breathe.”
“Rick,” she felt her face grow flushed upon his words.
“Judy, I know that I have no right to be here--no right to keep disrupting your life, but the truth to the matter is that I love you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.”
“Not if I refuse to let you do that,” she shook her head at him, “You’re married to Brooke.”
“A technicality that I’m sure we can work through,” he approached her boldly, “Judy, I love you more than I’ve ever loved any other woman in this lifetime and if we can’t be together…”
“Then what?” she questioned unsure of herself as her voice came off shaky and distorted.
“Then I will surely lose my mind knowing that the best thing that ever happened to me slipped away.  I can’t lose you again--at least not without a fight.  Judy I love you and I know that I can’t make up for lost time, but together we have something wonderful.  We belong together and nothing in this world would make me happier than for us to be together again,” he reached out to her pulling her closer to him in a bold movement.  He swept his fingers against her face tenderly as his eyes reached down deep into her, “I love you with all that I am and if you turn me away again, it will surely be the death of me.”
“Oh Rick,” she couldn’t help but cave in now that he had his arms around her, “I don’t want to let go of you.”
“Then don’t,” he pleaded his lips brushing in against hers in a barely there kiss, “don’t ever let go again.  I love you.”
“I love you too,” she whispered from the bottom of her heart knowing that it was futile to resist.  While she’d wanted to keep him at arm’s length--far from her heart, she knew that she could no longer fight it.  She’d love Richard Morrison all of her life and to lose him now would surely, truly be the end of her. 


Avery sat at her desk thinking about last night’s turn of events with Brant.  While she wasn’t sure how things had spun so far out of control between them, there was no denying the way in which she’d flipped out on him.  He’d been patient and understanding, but what she couldn’t understand was why she kept seeing Russ like she had.  No one else had been a witness to these visions she kept having and yet they felt so powerful--so real and so meant to be.  It was as if he’d never left.  He was trying to tell her something and foolishly she’d kept herself from listening until last night. 
Closing her eyes she thought about what she’d almost done with Brant.  A tiny shiver raced up and down her spine as she wondered just what might’ve been had Russ not stepped in and stopped it.  Would she have slept with Brant?  Would they have crossed that point of no return with one another?  Or was she just plain losing her mind?
“There you are,” Brooke announced entering Avery’s office with a bright grin on her face, “I was so hoping that I would run into you this morning.  You haven’t been returning my phone calls Avery and I was a bit worried about you.”
“I’ve been busy mother,” Avery replied coldly remembering all too well what it had been like the last time she’d encountered Brooke.
“Well darling, you can never be too busy for family,” Brooke explained pulling a couple of bags out from behind her back, “and besides I brought over a peace offering.”
“I don’t want a peace offering,” Avery glared up at her, “You were wrong with what you said and what you did and I’m not going to forget that.”
“I don’t expect you to forget, but at least try to see where I’m coming from,” Brooke pleaded with Avery while her own eyes turned to the coffee mug that Avery had upon her desktop.
“See now that’s where I’ve tried and the only conclusion I came up with is that you clearly hate Russ so much that you’d stop at nothing to hurt him--even now that he’s dead,” Avery hissed at her, “You never approved of our relationship when he was alive and I’ll be damned if I listen to you talk trash about my husband now that he’s dead.”
“Avery, darling that was never my intention, but what I was trying to convey in my message is that you need to move on.  You need to find a way to pick up the pieces of your life and live again.  That’s really what you should be doing instead of burying yourself in all of this.  Living behind closed doors isn’t going to help anything if you…”
“My God,” Avery stood up to glare at Brooke, “are you so sick and twisted that you’re going to stand there and lecture me about moving on with my life when my husband just died?  Do you really think that any of this is helping?”
“Avery, I just want what’s best for you,” Brooke offered again.
“Then leave me alone,” Avery glared at her, “Just let me do my job and then maybe I’ll consider our trying to communicate again.”
“You can’t push me out Avery,” Brooke insisted following Avery around the desk.
“Just watch me,” Avery replied with a snarl ready to say something more when she got a buzz from the temp that was filling in for Ben.
“Mrs. Denton, you have a package at the front desk.  Would you like me to retrieve it?” the woman asked.
“No, I’ll get it myself,” Avery decided still glaring at her mother.
“Alright then,” the temp replied as Avery adjusted her jacket.
“When I get back, don’t be here,” Avery warned brushing past Brooke in an impatient huff.
Brooke watched Avery’s exit before setting the bags down on the floor.  While she was certain her daughter was in the mood to fight, Brooke wasn’t about to let it stop her from what she came to the office to accomplish.  Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out the vial within.
“I’m not taking any chances this time Avery,” she remarked sourly dumping the rest of it into Avery’s coffee mug.  Sure Avery might be upset with her now, but eventually Avery would understand why things needed to be done as they were.  Soon Avery would realize her full potential.
“I thought I told you to leave,” Avery’s voice snapped from behind Brooke.
“Honey, I was going to, but I couldn’t just walk away when we were upset with one another,” Brooke lied still holding the small vial behind her back out of Avery’s line of vision, “I’m your mother and you have to at least try to forgive me.  Can I help it if I want what’s best for you?  That I love you so very much that it just makes me say and do things that you might not always agree with?”
“Mom, we’ve been over this time and time again,” Avery let out a long sigh, “If you really want me to have a relationship with you, you have to stop second guessing my decisions.  I love Russ.”
“I know you do sweetheart,” Brooke carefully spun around as Avery circled around her desk, “but Russ is the past.  You need to start thinking about the future.”
“I have thought about the future and I don’t need a lecture from you,” Avery shook her head at Brooke before reaching out for the coffee mug.  “I’m not going to sit here explaining myself to you when the fact is that my heart has been ripped away from me when I lost my husband.”
“Avery, I’m not saying that you can’t grieve, but you need to at least try to move forward.  Brant seems willing to help you and if you’d only open your heart to him…” Brooke eyed the mug intently.
“Would you stop trying to push me onto Brant?” Avery snapped slamming the mug down on the desktop, “I’m not ready to move on with my life…”
“Avery, you and Russ never should’ve been together in the first place,” Brooke began with an impatient huff, “While I know that you believed that there was some kind of happy ending around the corner, I knew that he would only lead to misery for you.  He’s been nothing, but heartache and I can’t stand to see him take you down again.”
“Here we go,” Avery threw her hands up in the air, “What is it with you?  Are you really that cold and manipulative that you’re going to do this now?”
“Avery, I just think it would be best if you moved on with your life.  If you found another way of living your life without you taking him down in the process,” Brooke added with a frown.
“I don’t want to move on with my life without Russ,” Avery shot back stubbornly knocking the coffee mug over in the process.  As the hot liquid spilled all over the pages Avery had laid out before her, she began to curse.  “Now look what you’ve made me do?”   
“Avery, honey I wish you hadn’t done that,” Brooke’s crimson colored lips curled in a pout.  Carefully discarding the vial she’d been holding, she reached into the second pocket knowing that she could no longer tap dance around the issue any longer.  Watching Avery go retrieve some paper towels to clean up the mess that the coffee spill had made on her desk, Brooke made a firm decision.
“Why don’t you just leave?  I don’t need or want you here,” Avery hissed at Brooke before dropping her attention to the mess she’d made.
“Avery, I’m sorry honey, but you’ve given me no other choice,” Brooke announced stepping in behind Avery.  Pulling the needle out from her other pocket, she held it up to the back of Avery’s neck, “You should’ve just drank the coffee.”
“What?” Avery questioned turning around just in time to see Brooke ready to plunge the needle into her neck.  Throwing her hand out to stop Brooke from succeeding, Avery felt the first pinch of the needle breaking the skin in her wrist.  Startled she took a step back while watching her mother’s twisted features, “Oh my God.  What are you doing?”
“Avery, honey it’s for the best,” Brooke came towards her with the needle again, “It will only hurt for a second and I promise that mommy will make things better again--just like I did before…”
“Before,” Avery repeated with wide eyes watching Brooke lunge at her once again with the needle.  She rolled out of the way nearly stumbling over her own two feet as her mother chased after her, “What are you talking about?”
“I really thought that once you were in that explosion it would end the problems for us, but no, you just have to be pregnant, didn’t you?” Brooke’s eyes grew wild with rage, “You just had to keep that part of Russ to ruin your life…”
“Ruin my life,” realization dawned in over Avery, “Oh God, you mean you’re trying to…”
“This will be only a pinch,” Brooke leapt upon Avery, tackling her in a frenzy as Avery writhed and kicked beneath her.
“Get off of me mother!” Avery screamed in terror realizing what her mother had intended.  The two women scuffled on the floor until Avery kicked Brooke straight in the center of her abdomen sending her flying across the room.  Attempting to catch her breath, Avery pulled herself up off of the ground, trying to claw her way to a standing position.
“If you would’ve just listened to me, then we wouldn’t have to go through any of this Avery,” Brooke’s voice darkened with a twisted rage, “We need to stop this before it ruins your life.  You can’t keep fighting the inevitable…”
“Get away from me!  Stay away from me you bitch!” Avery shouted straining to reach for the phone when she heard Brooke running towards her.
“It’s for your own good Avery.  This is all for the best,” Brooke repeated her mantra as she hooked her arm around Avery’s neck in an attempt to inject her again.
“No, get off of me!” Avery screamed in horror, shaking and wiggling in an attempt to get her mother to let go of her.  However, from that vantage point Brooke was at behind her, it felt like a damn near impossible task.  Still she couldn’t let Brooke succeed in ruining her life.
“Avery, please don’t fight it,” Brooke pressed the tip of the needle in against Avery’s neck breaking through the skin.  She smiled to herself ready to give Avery the injection.
Avery let out another scream before spinning around and seizing Brooke’s wrist.  Her eyes were wild with fear as her survival instincts kicked in and in that moment the turn of events were a blur.  Everything was moving in a whirlwind of movement until the crashing sound of glass filled Avery’s office and the first gust of wind swept over the room sending papers everywhere.


"Grady," Jade whispered his name so lightly making him stand up straight turning around.

"Jade," he lightly said walking over to her. "How is everything going with the case?"

"Everything is fine. Avery has Cameron right where we need him.  She has everything under control," she assured him seeing him take a deep sigh.  “I think everything is going to go smoother than we expected when the case goes to trial.”

"Are you positive about that because I am worried about her," Grady stated looking down.

"Why what’s wrong?" Jade questioned seeing him tilt his head and look up into her eyes.

"I don’t know. Just, after Russ died something happened to her. I just don’t want her to hurt herself," he stated as Jade grabbed his hand.

"She has everything under control, I promise. You will be out of here in no time," she assured him watching him nod as she hoped to alleviate his concerns.
“Then why does it feel like the walls are closing in around me,” Grady questioned in confusion, “Why do I get the vibe that something big is about to happen and we’re not even aware of it yet?”
“Because you’re preparing yourself for Cameron to make another move, but this time we’ll be ready for him,” Jade promised him taking a step forward, “Look Brant’s been doing some research and…”
“Brant?” he repeated giving her a strange look, “What is Brant doing in on this?”
“He’s been helping Avery and the things he came up with on Cameron, well we spent most of last night going over them,” Jade continued to explain.
“Last night,” Grady repeated a sudden darkness sweeping over his features, “Brant spent last night working on this with you and Avery?”
Jade nodded, “He’s staying with Avery right now and before you jump the gun and say something stupid…”
“Stupid,” Grady practically spat out, “Jade, the man has just been itching for an opportunity to move in on Avery and now that Russ is gone, he’s doing his best to take full advantage of that situation.”
“Grady, it’s really not like that,” she reached out to take his hand in hers, “You said it yourself.  Things haven’t been exactly right lately and Avery’s got a lot going on.  After Russ died, well who else does she have?”
“She could stay with my parents--with her father…” Grady suggested with a heavy frown.
“And feel like she’s a child all over again?  Grady, it’s bad enough that the love of her life is gone, but then to walk away from everything she’s ever known.  That house has to hold so many memories of her life with Russ.  It’s comforting in it’s own way…”
“And Brant is ready to leap right in and make new memories with her,” Grady argued, “and regardless of what you say Jade, I don’t like or trust the man.”
“You don’t have to do either one of those things, but you have to at least let us try to help you.  If it means getting assistance from Brant and bringing him into this, then so be it.  Grady, I want you out of here more than anything…” she pleaded with him.
“I know,” he sighed heavily, “and I want that too, but I just want to make sure that Brant isn’t taking advantage of this.  Russ would be furious if he knew that Brant was…”
“Grady, can we just forget about Brant for a few minutes?  About Avery and everything else,” she suggested throwing her arms around him in an embrace, “I just want to spend this time with you remembering all the good things.  I want to savor this moment so that I can take it with me when we’re apart…”
“I want that too Jade,” he replied doing his best to embrace her in response.  He closed his eyes taking in the soft scent of her perfume as he said a silent prayer that things would have a way of turning around for the better because if they didn’t…well, he didn’t want to think that far ahead.


Diane entered Ben’s parents Florida home with endless bags tucked underneath her arm.  Making her way to the guest room, she pushed the door open to find Ben laying out on her bed awaiting her return.  He lay across the bed, his head propped up on a sweatshirt he’d packed in the event of a rainy day.  His eyes were closed and it was obvious by his breathing that he was fast asleep.  Diane couldn’t help but smile as she took it all in.  Somehow in being here with Ben, it just made everything seem so right.  Things were as they finally should’ve been for them.
“Tell me something,” Ben muttered from behind closed eyes, “Are you just going to stand there all night and watch me or can I at least get a hello kiss.”
“I think I can arrange that for you,” Diane set her bags down as a smile spread over her face, “that is if and only if you can play nice.”
“I’m always nice,” Ben opened his eyes lazily, turning his head to see all the things she’d brought home with her, “Gee, my mother wasn’t kidding when she mentioned that you two were going on a shopping spree, was she?”
“Oh that’s nothing in comparison to what she picked up,” Diane laughed lightly sliding in beside him on the comforter, “You wouldn’t believe how much she spent today…”
“Oh believe me, I’m well aware of what it’s like when my mother shops,” Ben couldn’t help but laugh, “I remember once when I was younger we went to the mall and I really started to believe it was going to be my second home.”
“You did not,” Diane swatted at his chest lightly.
“I did so,” he admitted with a chuckle, “I knew each and every one of the salesgirls by their first and last names.  Plus I think I knew just about every one of their kids just because they’d talked about them all the time.  Hell, even one year they had me playing Tiny Tim in the Christmas area where they were doing pictures with Santa just because I think they felt sorry for me since I was always there.”
“Oh please,” Diane rubbed her hand up and down over the center of his chest, “Somehow I can’t see that happening…”
“What?  Me living at the mall or my being Tiny Tim?” he turned his head to look at her.
“Both actually,” Diane rolled over on top of him, straddling his torso before leaning forward to place a teasing kiss over his lips heatedly, “because there’s nothing tiny about you as far as I’m concerned.”
“Well, now that you mention it, I can’t argue that point, but when I was a kid,” Ben revealed with a slight crimson color filling over his face, “I was a bit smaller than everyone else.  I think I was stuck at the under four foot tall mark at least until I was fifteen there.”
“But clearly that didn’t last,” Diane eyed him mischievously, her fingers trailing over his abdomen greedily, “seeing as you must’ve had one hell of an incredible growth spurt.”
“Yeah and with it I actually got a date every now and then,” Ben laughed lightly, “I was persona non grada until I was on starting on the football team.”
“And then I’m sure you were just the talk of the town,” Diane curled her fingers in underneath his shirt, massaging the firm, muscled contours of his chest, “You probably couldn’t keep them off of you, could you?”
Ben laughed lightly, “Do you really think I’m going to tell you if that’s true or not?”
“Considering that we’re about to be married soon,” Diane tipped down to suckle on his lower lip, “you might feel compelled to share the details of your past with me.”
“And bore you to tears,” Ben shook his head, “Nah, I’ll pass, but if you’d like to offer up the statistics on yours…”
“Point well taken,” Diane noted with a smile, “The past is in the past.”
“And the future is ours,” Ben promised rolling her over onto the mattress before he moved in over her.  Bringing his fingers over the side of her face, he smiled down at her, “Now, would you like me to tell you just how much I’ve been missing you all day while my mother has taken you away?”
“I think I’d more than love to hear it,” she confessed drawing her arms around his neck. 

He offered a sexy smile before leaning in closer to her, “How about I just show you instead?”
“I could also enjoy that,” Diane giggled feeling him slide in for a kiss when there was a loud thumping on the door.
“Ben, your mother wants to know if you and Diane are ready for dinner,” his father announced entering the room to catch the two of them in a very tentative position.  Diane froze up at the sight of Alan Walters standing before her, but instead of looking threatening he let out a laugh, “I think I’ll tell your mother it’s going to be a few minutes before we get going to the restaurant.”  Seconds later he closed the door leaving Diane to drop her head on Ben’s shoulder in embarrassment. 
Groaning Diane spoke up muffled by his shoulder, “Well that was embarrassing.”
“It wasn’t so bad.  My father’s doesn’t mind,” Ben couldn’t help but laugh, “He remembers what it was like to be young.”
“Yeah, but I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to find his son in this position with the girl of the moment,” Diane remarked with another groan.
“Diane, you’re not the girl of the moment,” Ben reminded her urging her to meet his eyes once again, “You’re the girl that will be in my heart forever.  You’re the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with and that changes everything.”
“Oh Ben, you have no idea just how much I love you,” Diane whispered leaning in to kiss him tenderly as it seemed that everything was perfect in her life for the first time at long last.  Somehow fate had finally smiled down upon her giving her everything she’d ever wanted.


Shannon opened her door to see Kyle and a woman standing there as she motioned them to come in.

“What’s the doctor doing here?” questioned Kyle looking over at Don who stood up walking towards Kyle.

“My name is Don,” Don smiled holding his hand out to Kyle who just looked down at it for a second then shook it. Don went to move back, but Kyle had a tight grip on his hand as he looked down.

“What’s this?” wondered Kyle pointing to the rings on both of their hands.

“Long story,” Shannon sighed rolling her eyes as Don step forward.

“I’m her husband,” Don started stepping up to Kyle, “Got a problem with it?

“Why would I have a problem with it twirp?” Kyle laughed pushing him back making him stumble over the carpet. “You’re married to him?”

“Yeah, I got drunk,” she rolled her eyes watching him get up.

“That explains a lot,” Kyle laughed wrapping his arm around the woman.

“Forget about him…who are you?” wondered Shannon as Kyle spoke up.

“This is Sarah Marx, my girlfriend,” Kyle smiled kissing her lightly. “This is Shannon.”

“Nice to meet you Shannon,” Sarah smiled as Don walked over to Sarah.

“Hi, I’m Don Leveski,” Don smiled holding out his hand to hers as she shook it lightly.

“Leveski…that name seems familiar,” Sarah stated watching him nod.

“Everyone tells me that,” Don winked at her before Kyle walked in front of them.

“So what exactly is it that you found?” questioned Kyle rubbing his hands together.

“Yeah,” Don started seeing Kyle glare a whole right through him. “I’m the one who holds the information.”
“I’m listening,” Kyle nodded folding his arms out in front of him listening to what Don had to say.

“Kipp Mahoney--he was my patient. When he was in my care he wasn’t dead. Which means your friend may not have killed him,” Don started watching Kyle nod.

“You got any paperwork on him?” Kyle wondered watching him nod.

“You name it and I have it.  Of course you have to realize that under normal circumstances this would be highly unethical, but after Shannon filled me in on things, well I think I might be able to see what I can do about helping you out,” Don nodded watching Kyle walk over to him and raise his hand and he ducked.

“Hey man don’t be afraid, I was just going to shake your hand,” Kyle stated raising his hand out to Don as he shook it. “Sorry if I came off a little to harsh.  That’s how I come off to most people.”

“Okay,” Don smiled a little bit relieved as Kyle zipped his coat.

“So what’s next?” questioned Kyle watching Don shrug knowing that they were one step closer to uncovering the truth.


“Tell me again why we are going to a karaoke bar,” Blake smiled looking up at the small building as Seth shrugged with a slight smile.

“To have a little fun and eat some good food,” he stated as he held the door open for her and she walked in. “I will be right back.”

Blake took a seat at one of the tables looking around the little place that was filled.

“Excuse me ladies and gentleman,” Seth’s voice came from the front of the stage drawing Blake’s attention. “I’m going to sing a song for the love of my life Blake Ashford.”

Blake blushed a bit when Seth pointed to her and everyone clapped.

“Alright, your going to have to give me some credit I haven’t sang in a long time,” Seth smiled hesitantly. “The song is called back at one.”

He stared into the screen as he started singing the words that appeared on the screen.

It's undeniable that we should be together
It's unbelievable, how I used to say that I'd fall never
The basis is need to know
If you don't just know how I feel
Then let me show you now that I'm for real
If all the things in time, time will reveal

One, you're like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you
Three, girl it's plain to see
That you're the only one for me
And four, repeat steps one through three
Five, make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I'll start back at one

It's so incredible, the way things work themselves out
And all emotional, once you know what it's all about, hey
And undesirable, for us to be apart
I never would've made it very far
'Cause you know you got the keys to my heart

One, you're like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you
Three, girl it's plain to see
That you're the only one for me
And four, repeat steps one through three
Five, make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
(Then I'll start back at one)

Say farewell to the dark of night
I see the coming of the sun
I feel like a little child, whose life has just begun
You came and breathed new life into this lonely heart of mine
You threw out the life line
Just in the nick of time

One, you're like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you
Three, girl it's plain to see
That you're the only one for me
And four, repeat steps one through three
Five, make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I'll start back at one

Blake smiled and clapped as Seth put down the microphone. She wiped a tear from her eye as the crowd clapped. She stood up as Seth just stood on stage waiting for her as she ran over to him. She jumped into his arms kissing him lightly as the crowd cheered.

“I love you,” she smiled watching him wink.

“I love you too,” he started with a slight laugh, “I suck at singing.”

“You were great,” she assured him kissing him again.

“It’s all because of you sweetheart,” Seth replied leaning in to kiss her tenderly as the two shared a romantic moment between them.


“Avery,” Brant called out her name bursting into the office just in time to witness Avery throwing Brooke out the office window.  He’d stood in silence watching the scene replay in his mind over and over again until he witnessed Avery kneeling on the floor in front of the now shattered window.  He’d heard the sound of breaking glass as he’d been right outside her door, but he’d never expected to walk in on Brooke flying out the window like he had.  In a panic, he rushed over to Avery’s side seeing the blood all over her hands and over her arm now that her stitches had come open somehow.  He bent down beside her attempting to capture her attention, but somehow she was anywhere, but there in the room with him.
“I had to stop her.  I had to stop her,” Avery repeated over and over again, rocking on the floor as she stared at the blood on her fingers, “I couldn’t let her kill my baby.  I couldn’t let her do it…I had to stop her.”
“Avery, what happened,” Brant questioned pulling her closer to him as he noticed the blood on the fragments of window still attached to the frame.  Worried, he rose to his feet again wondering what had Avery so upset to react the way she had.  Slowly he approached the window hearing the screams and shouts from below as he looked down to see Brooke Morrison laying on the ground below.  Feeling his throat tighten in horror, he took a step back.  He spun around to face Avery again watching as she curled up on the ground before him, clutching her legs to her chest.
“Oh God, what have you done,” Brant questioned in a panic as the sounds of sirens rose from outside.
“I had to stop her.  I couldn’t let her kill my baby.  She wanted to take my baby away Brant.  She wanted to kill my daughter just like she wanted Russ dead,” Avery sobbed harder than before, “She tried to…”
“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” Brant pulled her into his arms, feeling the warmth of her blood soaking into his shirt, “Avery, listen to me.  We have to get you to a hospital.”
“She tried to kill my baby Brant,” Avery continued in a panic, “I have no other choice.  I had to stop her.  I had to do it…”
“Avery, calm down,” Brant touched her face watching her lower lip tremble with obvious terror, “Everything is going to be okay.”
“No, it’s not going to be okay.  It’s never going to be okay again,” she insisted breaking down into full blown tears.
“Yes it will,” Brant spoke in a soothing tone, “but you have to try to calm down and tell me what happened.”
“She came in here and she tried to drug me.  She had this needle and…” Avery looked to where Brooke had been standing and suddenly she realized that the needle was no longer there.  Finding the strength to get up to her feet again, Avery searched her office, “It was right here.  She tried to inject me right here and…”
“Avery, you’ve got some glass in your neck there that we should get out of it, but…” Brant began rising as well as he watched her attempt to make sense of what happened.
“No, it’s not glass.  She tried to kill my baby.  She came in here like a horrible, wicked woman and she…” Avery looked down to the ground seeing the bags that Brooke had brought with her now spilled out on the floor.  Their contents were now revealed to her as she noticed a pink baby blanket and baby sleeper on the ground.  “No, no this can’t be happening!”
“Avery, listen to me…” Brant reached out to her in an attempt to ground her as she went into hysterics.
“She came over here pretending to care about me.  She acted like she wanted to be supportive, but then she had this syringe and then…” Avery eyed the floor again as paranoia set in, “Oh God, no one is going to believe that.  If I can’t find that needle…”
“Avery, if it’s here, we’ll find it,” Brant tried to assure her as he pulled her into his arms.
“No, she must’ve taken it with her,” Avery explained with worry evident in her tone, “It must’ve fallen out the window with her and if it did, then…”
“Avery, calm down,” Brant reached out to her again.
“Brant, we have to find it because if we don’t,” she stopped herself seeing the expression on his face, “You don’t believe me, do you?  You don’t believe what I’m telling you.  You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
“Avery, I know you’ve been under a lot of stress and I know that you wouldn’t willingly push your mother out the window if you were thinking clearly, but right now, well right now we need to get you to the hospital.  We need to get you out of here before…” he paused listening to the sounds outside Avery’s office.
“Before what?” she repeated watching him take a step back to inspect the window again.  He knelt down to wipe away at some of the stains that he was certain had come from her injuries.
“Before the police arrive,” he admitted with a slight frown.
“Oh God, you think I’m crazy, don’t you?” Avery blinked back at him, “You think that I’m making all this up, don’t you?”   
“Avery, it doesn’t matter what I think.  The fact is that your mother just fell out the window and dropped about fifteen stories.  That in itself is reason enough for me to get you out of here before the police arrive.  If Cameron hears about this…” Brant let his fears come to the surface about the situation.
“Then he’ll find a way to make sure everyone believes that this wasn’t self defense,” Avery finished with a heavy realization, “Oh God, Brant what am I going to do?”
“We’re going to get you out of here,” Brant began to spin a plan together in his mind, “Maybe we can make this work.  We could say that your mother was clearly a bit off the deep end due to what happened to her in the kidnapping.  She snapped.  She went after you and then she leapt the window.  I watched her do it myself.  We can tell the police whatever you want to say…”
“They won’t believe the truth,” Avery dropped her head down in horror, seeing her mother’s blood on her hands, “Everyone thinks I’m crazy already.”
“Avery, you’re not crazy.  You’re just confused and…”
“And you think that I made this all up in my mind, don’t you?” she questioned thickly.
“No, I don’t think that, but when the police get here, if you want us to stay…” Brant touched her cheek gently in an attempt to soothe her, “I’ll tell them whatever you want…”
“They will never buy it.  They’ll use what you saw against me.  They’ll throw me in jail for the rest of my life unless…” she stopped herself a thought occurring to her.
“Unless what,” Brant gave her a strange look.
“Unless we find a way to keep them from making you testify against me,” Avery continued the wheels in the back of her mind turning.
“Avery, don’t you know by now I would never, ever go against you,” Brant assured her, ‘and whatever I can do, you just name it and I will…”

“What I’m about to suggest--it’s the only way Brant.  You need to…” she took a step forward collapsing in his arms.

“Right now the only thing I need to do is get you to the hospital,” Brant replied scooping her up into his arms and rushing her out of the office frantically hoping that whatever happened between Avery and Brooke wouldn’t be the key to her ultimate undoing.


...to be continued...