“No that can’t be right,” Richard shook his head unable to believe the
words that his daughter had uttered, “You couldn’t have married Brant.”
“Yes, I did and I have,” Avery nodded eagerly, “Brant’s my husband.”
“Excuse us,” Richard reached for his daughter dragging her to the other
end of the small chapel in the hopes of making sense of what was
unfolding right before his very eyes. “Avery, what has gotten
“Daddy I love Brant,” Avery blurted out in a muted whisper, “We’ve been
attracted to one another for a long time and this has been a slow build
to what happened today. We decided that we didn’t want to wait
another minute given everything that’s happened. We were engaged
before and then when we talked about it and how fast life can pass you
by, we just decided to go for the gusto.”
“That’s bullshit Avery,” Richard shook his head disapprovingly, “I know
for a fact that you don’t love him. Hell, I would have to wonder
if you really even liked him, so why don’t you start by telling me the
truth about what’s going on?”
“Daddy, I’m doing what’s best for everyone,” Avery frowned in response,
“this is what I want.”
“No, it’s not what you want and if he’s bullying you into this farce of
a marriage by manipulating you and…” Richard’s voice rose with obvious
“Look I hate to break up the family reunion, but I need to talk to
Avery,” Dave marched up towards her, “because there are a few questions
I have on my mind about what happened in your office.”
“Dave, now is not the time. As you can see my wife is upset and
she’s been injured herself today,” Brant explained boldly reaching out
to bring his arm around Avery’s shoulders, “She doesn’t need this kind
“I really don’t care what you think she needs as she’s been placed at
my crime scene at the time when her mother was thrown out that
window. I have a witness who can verify that there were some
words exchanged between Avery and her mother before…” Dave continued to
inform the group.
“Bruce Mathis threw Brooke from that window,” Brant cut him off
abruptly. “Yes it’s true that Brooke and Avery were having a
disagreement due to the fact that Avery and I had decided we were going
to elope tonight. We both had discussed the matter in depth for a
while now and we decided that life was too short to wait around for
happiness to come your way again. We’d made the decision to take
off tonight to get married and when Brooke heard the news she was upset
that we hadn’t included her in the process.”
“So you were fighting with your mother about getting married?” Dave
questioned very skeptically.
“That’s right,” Avery nodded in response, “She thought that I was
moving too fast given that, well…she was just worried about the
decision I’d made and I tried to explain to her that it was really
something I wanted to do.”
“And in the middle of their arguing Bruce came out from Avery’s
private bathroom,” Brant continued to explain to Dave, “He’d
snuck in earlier in the morning, sabotaging the security cameras as well on
his way up. Since no one was there, no one knew that he was lurking.
Naturally given his obsession with Avery, when he’d heard the news about
our getting married, he came out from where he was hiding and he threatened
Brooke and Avery.”
“Is that right,” Dave questioned doubtful before looking to Avery, “So
you’re saying that Bruce attacked you and your mother?”
She nodded, “That’s right. I wasn’t really sure what was
happening, but before I knew it, he was out there in the middle of my
office. He grabbed me and he stabbed me with something in the
back of my neck…”
Dave watched her lift her hair to show him the mark that remained from
her earlier struggle. “And then what happened?”
“Then Brooke stepped in. She jumped him in an attempt to help
Avery get away from that madman. The two struggled and Bruce
threw Brooke out the window before fleeing from the scene,” Brant
hugged Avery closer to his body as her tears threatened, “It’s okay
sweetheart. You’re going to be okay.”
“I was just so afraid,” Avery began to sob into his chest, “I’ve never
seen him like that. Even when he attacked me before…”
“Bruce attacked you before this encounter,” Dave questioned watching
the genuine fear cross over her features.
She nodded, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but a few months ago after
he’d found out that I’d move on with my life, he attacked me. I
didn’t feel it was important to share with anyone after I’d thought
he’d died because I didn’t want to tarnish his reputation, but the fact
is that he was waiting for me in my apartment and he tried to kill
me. If Brant hadn’t come in when he did then or even today…”
“Funny how Brant seems to be in the right place at exactly the right
time,” Richard couldn’t help but remark watching the way that Brant
held Avery in his arms.
“So I take it you witnessed Bruce attacking Brooke then, yes?” Dave
pulled out a pad of paper jotting down a few notes.
“Yes, I did and when I walked in, I came in just in time to discover
Avery on the floor and Bruce sending Brooke out the window. I
tried to stop him, but she’d already fallen,” Brant continued to spin
his tale, “Bruce then lunged at me knocking me down in the process
before he fled from the scene. I called security as soon as
possible, but unfortunately he’d evaded my men.”
“And where were you after he left,” Dave wrote a few more things down.
“I was with Avery. Bruce had knocked her out and I was worried
about her. I’d called for an ambulance and had her brought over,”
Brant informed him with a look of seriousness and worry, “I trust you
have your men looking for him.”
“I hadn’t heard about his involvement until now. The witness I
spoke with only mentioned hearing Avery and Brooke arguing with one
another,” Dave informed them with a heavy look of skepticism.
“I see,” Brant nodded in response before pulling a card out of his
pocket and handing it over to Dave, “Well if you’d like to hear more
about what happened today, then you can direct all questions to Jim
Westenheimer. He’s my head of security over at BBK. He’ll
be able to tell you what my men have to say about the chase after
Mathis. They might be able to provide some insight for you.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Dave replied taking the card as he looked to
Avery wondering what else had transpired leading up to the accident,
“Avery, I may have to ask you a few more questions about what
happened. There are a few things that I’d like to further
“Not now. She needs her rest,” Brant argued.
“No, it’s okay,” Avery shook her head with a sniffle, “I think I’m up
to this. I just want to do what I can to help bring the man who
did this to my mother to justice. If there’s anything I can help
the police with, then I’ll be more than willing to cooperate.”
“Thanks Avery,” Dave’s skepticism faded a bit with the expression
on her face. Finally thinking about what had happened on the island when
she and Russ were on their honeymoon, Dave realized that the monster they’d
been dealing with had returned again. This time his destruction could
cost Brooke Morrison her life it would seem, “I’m going to have
to have you tell me everything that happened today so that I can go back and
get my best investigators on this…”
“Of course,” Avery nodded in response ready to deliver one of the
biggest lies of her life. She just hoped that somehow the police
would believe the tale that she and Brant had spun in a moment of haste
with one another. At this point, she knew it was her last chance
at holding onto everything. Dave had to believe her and Brant’s
version of the truth or else her life was over.
Blake stepped into the Ashford guest house thinking about everything
that had been happening lately. While she and Seth had faced many
problems and come out on top of them, she thought of all those they’d
cared about and what they were going through at a time like this.
“Hey, are you okay,” Seth questioned stepping in behind her. He
bent down to rest his head on Blake’s shoulder before nuzzling his nose
against her cheek gently, “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“I was just thinking about Jade,” she confessed with a heavy sigh,
turning to face him, “I mean I know she and I haven’t always seen eye
to eye on things, but I like her. I really like her and I can
only imagine what she’s going through right now in not being able to be
with the man she loves. You can see that being apart from Grady
is destroying her and I wish that there was something more that we
could do to help her.”
“You and me both,” he replied honestly taking a step back as they
entered the living room area, “I hate that Cameron is trying to do
these things to destroy all the progress she’s made in her life.
For so many years she was lost within herself, but that changed when
she started working with Grady and then when she fell in love with him…
Hell, I feel horrible for all the grief I gave the two of them about
“You were just being a protective big brother,” Blake spun around to
wrap her arms around his waist, “She understood that.”
“Yeah, but now when I think about how much time I had put a strain on
their relationship. Maybe if I would’ve been more focused on
taking Cameron down instead of trying to try to keep Jade from a man
who really, truly loved her…”
“What Jade and Grady have is real Seth and I’m sure that love will find
a way for them,” Blake replied hopefully, “I mean look at us. We
beat the odds together, didn’t we?”
“Yes, we sure did,” he smiled brushing a loose strand of her blonde
hair from her eyes, “and I must say I can’t be any happier about that
than I am right now.”
“You and me both,” Blake agreed tipping up on her toes to kiss him
tenderly before taking a step back, “Hungry?”
“That depends,” he teased with a small wink, “What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking dinner,” she explained running her fingers in over his
chest, “and then maybe a little dessert.”
“Hmm…that does sound rather tempting,” Seth curled his arm around her
waist pulling her in close to him again, “but under one condition.”
“What’s that?” she questioned lightly, her eyes dreamily returning to
his sensual lips.
“That you let me cook for you. Let me take care of dinner
tonight…” he suggested in a low, sultry tone, “The other day when we
went shopping I picked up a few things that I’ve been tempted to whip
up for you.”
“Is that right,” she couldn’t help but grin as he squeezed her in his
“That’s right,” he explained, “and given all you’ve been going through
to plan this wedding, well it’s the least I can do to pamper my bride
“Say it again,” Blake pleaded with him curling her arms around his neck.
“I said it’s the least I can do to pamper my bride to be,” he repeated
pulling her up off of the ground and into his arms more completely.
“Again,” she breathed sweeping her lips in against his for a desire
“Which part,” he questioned carrying her across the living room.
“The part about being your bride to be,” Blake confessed with a dreamy
expression, “Seth, right now all I want to think about is what will
happen after we’re married…when I’m Mrs. Seth Alexander.”
“It’s a day I can’t wait for,” Seth confessed in response, “This is
going to be our dream come true Blake.”
“I’ve wanted this for so very long,” she replied leaning in to kiss him
again when a faint beeping sound from across the room caught her
“What was that,” Seth asked leisurely.
“Answering machine. Maybe it‘s the florist. I‘d hoped we
could make an appointment and when Donna wasn‘t in…,” she explained
feeling him ease her to her feet once again.
“Why don’t you go check and see,” Seth suggested with a small smile,
“It’ll give me time to work on what I have planned in the kitchen.”
“It’s a deal,” Blake nodded in agreement rushing over to listen to the
machine while Seth walked off to start his magic in the kitchen.
She pushed the button on the machine ready to hear about an
appointment, but instead Zack’s voice swept through the room.
“Hey Blake, it’s Zack. Listen I don’t mean to bother you, but I
just thought we’d touch base about Caitlin’s memorial. I wasn’t
sure if you wanted to get up and speak or not, but I told the minister
to leave some space open in case you had something you wanted to
say. I know how much she means to you and this might be asking a
lot, but…well, just let me know if you’re up to it.”
As the message faded off, Blake felt as if she’d been kicked in the gut
by the reality that her best friend was gone from her life
forever. She reached for the phone to dial Zack back at the
number he’d given her, but instead she found herself overcome with
“Hey, what time is our…” Seth stopped himself upon discovering her in
tears over by the phone, “Hey, Blake, honey what happened?”
“It was Zack,” she replied feeling him pulling her into an embrace, “he
called to ask if I wanted to speak at Caitlin’s memorial.”
“Oh Blake,” Seth hugged her tighter than before.
“I can’t believe that I didn’t think about that…that the whole thought
of the memorial had slipped my mind in between all of the wedding
planning. I mean she’s my best friend in the entire world and for
me to just ignore what is going on…” she cried into his chest.
“Hey, you didn’t forget. You were just thinking about the things
that are happening for us,” he brushed his thumb over the tears that
fell from her cheek, “Blake, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“I know that, but I’d always kind of believed that when my big day
came--you know when I was getting married that Caitlin would be there and we’d
be sharing this together,” she confessed holding him closer to her, “I
just never thought that when I got married that I’d be doing it not only
without my parents, but without my best friend in the whole entire world.
Even now, I can’t believe she’s gone. So many things have
happened and to think that I can’t ever talk to her about this--that she
can’t share this with me…”
“Blake, I know it’s no consolation, but there’s no doubt in my mind
that wherever Caitlin is, she’s looking down at us taking everything
in,” Seth tried to assure her, “I’m confident that she’s feeling your
enthusiasm and she too is happy that you’ve found some happiness in
your life. She wanted that for you Blake…”
“I know, but it’s just so strange not to have her here with me going
through the plans--through the little steps towards the happiest day of
my life,” she continued poignantly, “I always envisioned her being my
matron of honor and that we’d get married close to one another--have
children around the same time and we’d spent our lives closer than
“I wish that could’ve happened for the both of you,” he whispered
warmly kissing the top of her head, “how I wish that I could make that
“But it can’t ever happen,” Blake sobbed harder than before, “My best
friend is gone. She left this world before she could live out all
these dreams that you and I are sharing with one another. She and
Kenny came so close to having it all and then fate tore it away from
her. It was a horrible, cruel twist and now…”
“Now we have to find a way to say good-bye to her,” Seth thought about
how the memorial would be an emotional time for Blake, “but you have to
realize that she’ll always be with us in spirit.”
“I know that,” she wiped at her face, “I really do, but how can I stand
there in front of her friends and family and tell them that I’m okay
with this? How can I pretend that in losing her things will ever
be alright again?”
“You don’t have to pretend Blake,” Seth reminded her, “On some level
it’ll never be okay, but what you can do is hold your head up high and
honor the memory of Caitlin. You can tell the world all the
things that you love about her and share that special part of her with
“But what if I get up there to talk and nothing comes out? What
if when I’m there I freeze up and nothing happens,” she questioned
clearly upset by the prospect of what lay ahead.
“Right now is a time about healing Blake. No one is expecting you
to be overjoyed about saying good-bye to someone who held a special
place in your life. As you said Caitlin was your best friend and
you’re being asked to do something incredibly difficult, but I know
you. Tomorrow you’ll go in there and you’ll say what comes from
your heart. You’ll honor Caitlin’s memory and I know that
wherever she is, she’ll still know how much you love her.”
“It just hurts so much without her,” Blake admitted crying into him as
Seth held her hoping to soothe the pain she was feeling the best that
he could. While he knew that tomorrow would be difficult, he was
well aware that Blake had a long road ahead of her. This was one
of the greatest times of their lives, yet so much tragedy surrounded
them. He just hoped that whatever happened next that somehow he
and Blake could find the strength to pull together and beat the odds
that had taken their friends lives apart in the past.
Jade knocked on the door lightly as the door opened and Gabe was
standing before her.
“Hey what’s wrong?” he questioned motioning her to come in and sit down.
“It’s Grady,” she sighed sitting down on the couch lightly.
“What about him?” he questioned sitting down next to her as she sighed
“I’m just afraid that I may never be able to be with the man I love and
it scares me. I mean, he may never get out. We could never live our
lives together,” Jade sighed feeling Gabe’s hand on her back.
“Come on, don’t think that way. You know he is going to get out,” Gabe
assured her as she looked up at him.
“I know I want him to get out, but I just want to know he is going to
get out. Not sit here waiting,” she shook her head lightly looking up
“You should know by now, Grady is innocent and they will see that,” he
promised her with a slight smile. “Now cheer up.”
“A little easier said than done,” she laughed as a little girl ran up
“Daddy who is she?” Brittany questioned holding onto her daddy’s hand.
“This is my friend Jade,” he smiled as Brittany turned to her.
“Hi Jade, I am Brittany,” she swayed lightly after Jade laughed.
“Well, hi Brittany it’s nice to meet you,” Jade nodded as Brittany
jumped up and down.
“Oh, I got a new Barbie…do you want to see her?” Brittany asked eagerly.
“Of course I would,” Jade nodded lightly.
“Alright, I will go get her,” Brittany got out before she excitedly ran
to the other room.
“So where is Guy?” Jade questioned looking over at Gabe.
“Well, he’s with his mother,” he started before Jade cut him off.
“Why don’t you go with him?” she wondered as he shrugged.
“I can’t do that, I mean I have to stay here with Brittany. Mindy is
out on a date,” he pointed out seeing Jade smile.
“How about I baby sit?” she questioned seeing him shake his head.
“I don’t know,” he declared unsurely.
“Trust me, everything will be fine,” Jade assured him standing up and
pulling him up to. “Now go to Guy.”
“I have had so much fun tonight,” Mindy smiled as they walked down the
street hand and hand. Another date went by and every minute she had
with him was getting better and better.
“I know what you mean,” Hunt nodded getting a glimpse of the TV sitting
in the window of one of the stores. “What the?”
“Oh my god, who would have don’t that to Brooke?” Mindy questioned
seeing the news and what had happened to Brooke.
“I don’t know,” he stuttered not wanting to worry, but he couldn’t help
“I wonder if she is okay,” she almost whispered thinking about Guy and
how he must be so worried right now.
“I don’t know, I hope so. What kind of person would do this?” he
questioned to himself hoping that Brooke was okay. He couldn’t help to
worry about her, how could he not?
“She is Guy’s mother,” she stated with a sigh, “I should go see if he
“What do you mean?” he wondered looking over at her.
“Or should I go?” she asked wanting to know his opinion.
“I think you should go, I mean what do you want to do?” he wondered
looking down at her.
“Well, Guy is one of my best friends and I may not like Brooke, but I
should go see if Guy is holding up,” she declared looking away from
“You know what? I think I will go with you. Just to you know, make sure
he is okay too,” Hunt shrugged not knowing what she would say or if she
would find it odd.
“Are you sure? I mean you don’t have to,” she assured him watching him
shake his head.
“No, it’s okay,” he declared seeing her half smile.
“Okay, well let’s go,” Mindy nodded wanting know if Guy was okay. It
might not have been the best time to worry about him around Hunt, but
obviously he understands.
“Grady,” Elliot almost whispered seeing Grady turn around and walk over
“Dad,” Grady smiled hugging him before sitting back down.
“How are you holding up?” Elliot questioned before hearing a deep sigh
come from Grady’s lips.
“I don’t know, I’m kind of worried,” Grady shrugged seeing Elliot
“About what? I mean you didn’t do anything, right?” Elliot wondered
seeing Grady nod.
“Of course I didn’t do anything, but I’m worried about Avery and Jade.
I mean Avery shouldn’t be able to take this right now. I don’t know how
she is holding up,” he started looking down at the desk that his hands
“You have nothing to worry about Grady, Avery is doing the best she can
to get you out of here.,” Elliot promised seeing him nod.
“Well, I know she is trying hard and I believe in her, but what about
Jade?” Grady questioned thinking of how bad she must be feeling right
“She is holding up, isn’t she? She‘s strong and she‘s been
working alongside of Avery to find a way to fix this situation.
I’m sure she has,” Elliot wondered seeing Grady shrug.
“You see she acts tough, but what if I don’t get out of here? How is
she going to take that? I mean how am I going to take it?” Grady
questioned with a deep sigh.
“You have to be confident son,” Elliot protested seeing Grady roll his
“How can I be confident when there is nothing going towards me getting
out? Nothing is going to get me out,” Grady protested standing up and
resting his hands on the table.
“How do you know that?” Elliot questioned looking up at him, “I’m sure
you will get out of here. You didn’t do anything,” Elliot reminded him.
“Well yeah,” Grady started as he rubbed the back of his neck, “Make the
judge believe that.”
“They will,” Elliot nodded knowing what Grady was worrying about, was
the same thing he was worried about too.
“Just promise me one thing,” Grady sighed seeing his dad nod, “Take
care of Jade if I don’t get out of here.”
“Don’t say that, you will get out of here,” Elliot promised seeing
Grady nod. Just the thought of him never getting to be with Jade again
got to him. He never wanted to lose her, but the way it was looking, he
“I don’t think my daddy would ever do this with me,” Brittany smiled
pulling Jade’s hair into a pigtail.
“I think he should. It’s fun,” Jade smiled looking up at Brittany
who had just finished with Jade’s hair.
“I don’t think he would do stuff like this with me,” she shrugged
standing up and grabbing an M&M from the bowl and eating it. “You
“Why thank you,” Jade thanked as Brittany held up the bowl motioning
her to take one.
“These are my favorite candy,” Brittany noted taking a handful and
putting them in her mouth. “This one time, I ate a whole bag.”
“Oh my,” Jade laughed seeing her nod.
“And daddy was mad because I was up all night,” Brittany laughed seeing
“He shouldn’t have been, I mean these things are so addictive. It
wasn’t your fault,” Jade assured her as Brittany nodded.
“That’s exactly what I told him,” Brittany squealed excitedly as she
sat down next to Jade.
“The Lion King is coming on, do you want to watch it?” Jade questioned
turning on the TV.
“Yeah!” Brittany answered excitedly.
Jade changed the channel to only freeze seeing a news blurb on Grady’s
trial. Her throat became dry thinking about it, she couldn’t believe
“What’s wrong?” Brittany questioned touching Jade’s hand as she shook
out of it.
‘It’s nothing,” Jade lied seeing Brittany frown.
“You’re lying to me,” Brittany frowned pulling her up from the couch
and turning on the radio. “I know how to make you feel better.”
“How’s that?” Jade questioned with a smile seeing Brittany start
“Dance with me,” Brittany squeaked grabbing her hands as Jade jumped up
and down with her.
“This is fun,” Jade pointed out as Brittany smiled.
“I told you so,” Brittany smiled looking up at her.
Blake snuggled in closer to Seth in front of the fireplace thinking
about the talk that they’d had with one another. Maybe Seth was
right. Maybe now was a time for healing, she thought laying her
head on his chest.
“You know, I have to say that I feel so very lucky,” Blake confessed
with a small smile, “I feel like in being with you like this, it’s made
everything that is happening around us seem a bit more bearable.”
“I just wish that there was more I could do,” Seth admitted running his
fingers through her long, golden tresses, “I hate to see you hurting
“I just wish that it was easier, but I guess when you love someone,
it’s never easy to let go of them,” Blake gazed over to the fire again,
“Though I’m sure Caitlin would be happy for us.”
“I’m sure she would,” Seth nodded in agreement, “She was an incredible
woman and I’m just sorry that I didn’t get to know her better than I
“She knew we were meant to be together,” Blake couldn’t help but smile,
“Even after we’d had our falling out, she still knew that I loved you.”
“I’d never stopped loving you or wanting to be with you when we were
apart, but I thought you were happy with Zack. I believed that he
was the one who could give you what you wanted…” he started thinking
back to that painful time they’d been apart.
“Zack was and is someone special in my life,” she shifted in his arms,
her blue eyes reaching down into his dark, soulful expression as she
cupped his face in her hands, “but you’re the man I was meant to share
my life with. You’re the man I love…the only man I love.”
“I know that now,” Seth replied with a small smile, “and while I
thought I’d lost you forever, I’m glad that I was wrong. I know
now that destiny had other plans for us…”
“And when we get married, it’ll only solidify what it is we’ve worked
so very hard to have with one another,” Blake reminded him with a
blissful grin, “Seth, I can’t wait to be your wife.”
“I can’t wait for that to happen either,” Seth’s grin expanded,
“although I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately…I mean I’ve been
thinking about what happens after the wedding. Obviously we’re
going to have to find a place to live and…”
“Well I’d kind of thought that we’d move in here together,” she
admitted looking around the guest house, “I mean it’s kind of already
our own special place and…”
“And wouldn’t you want for us to find our own place outside the
estate,” he gave her a long, serious look, “You know as our way of
trying to break out on our own? Naturally I didn’t think that
we’d stay at my apartment since Jade is there, but…”
“Well I thought we’d go house hunting, but for now I thought we could
stay here. It’s quiet,” she leaned forward kissing him
“Yes, but Blake, I was thinking that we should get a house of our
own--you know a place where we could be together without your brothers
keeping a watchful eye on us,” he explained pulling away from the kiss,
“You know a place where we could raise our children the way that we
wanted to--not in the fashion that everyone else will tell us to.”
“You mean you’re really serious about this?” she questioned with a
small frown, “You want us to leave the Ashford Estate?”
“Well, you said it yourself that you wanted to move onto a new level of
our relationship. I’ve been saving some money and I’m sure that
if we looked around, we could find something small that would be a good
starter home for us,” he offered up with hope behind his eyes, “Now I
know it won’t be much, but it will be our own little something…”
“Seth, I want that. I really do, but maybe we should wait for a
while and stay here. I know how hurt Ken is and with Brant, well
they need me. I can’t just abandon them while they’re going
through what they’re going through. We’re family and…” she
started to explain.
“Blake, I’m not asking you to abandon them, but I am suggesting that we
think about our finding a place of our own. It’s not that this
house isn’t nice enough, but Blake, honey wouldn’t you want to be
somewhere that we can start fresh? Where we can have our own
memories without the past getting in the way,” he questioned massaging
his fingers over her spine.
“Of course I want that, but I just need to make sure that my brothers
will be okay…just like you want to be certain that Jade is alright
before we go off and get married,” Blake dropped down to kiss him
again, “You understand, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” he nodded in response, “and I’m sure that we can work
something out. Maybe we can find something in a halfway
point…where we can be by both Jade and your brothers.”
“See, now that sounds like something we can work out,” Blake decided
conceding to his idea a bit, “We can find something that works for the
both of us without giving up what it is we’re both attached to.”
“It’s not about giving anything up Blake, but about moving forward with
our lives. You are ready for that, aren’t you?” he asked
searching her eyes for a response.
“Of course I am,” she curled her arms around his neck enthusiastically,
“especially if it means becoming your wife and having a few beautiful
babies with you.”
“Babies,” Seth murmured in response, “now that is a subject I hope
we’ll be in agreement on as I want to have at least half a dozen little
ones with you…”
“Half a dozen,” she repeated with wide eyes, “Well if we’re really
going to shoot for half a dozen, maybe we should reconsider living out
here at the guest house. That way we could have Brant, Ken and
Annie to help out when…”
“Blake,” he frowned pulling back ever so slightly, “listen to me.
I know that you’ve grown up in this lifestyle and you’ve had thing a
certain way, but for me, well it wasn’t like that. In my family,
you had to work your way into what you wanted. You had to make
decisions and sacrifices and…”
“And you’re saying that I didn’t?” she frowned not liking where this
conversation was headed.
“Blake, all I’m saying is that if I can’t provide for you as a
husband…if I have to depend on what you have for us to make it, then
I’m no where near being the man you need,” Seth argued with a heavy
sigh, “Don’t you see how important this is to me?”
“And don’t you see that I don’t care about that,” she shook her head
not seeing the problem with what he was saying to her, “Seth, I have
more than plenty so if we use that to get us where we want to be…”
“Blake, you’re not getting it,” he pulled away from her, taking in a
deep breath as he tried to explain what he was saying, “It’s just
that…well, right now I know that I’ll never be like Ken or Brant.
I won’t be able to buy us a house like the one you’ve grown up in, nor
will I ever be able to give our children everything that you had.
I know that and believe me I hate it, but at the same time I’ve got my
pride and with the way that we do things…”
“Seth, you don’t have to be embarrassed about where you came from,”
Blake reached out to touch his leg gently, “I love you regardless…”
“I understand that, but Blake,” he rose from the couch pacing around
the room and bringing his fingers through his hair, “To be a man--to
really be the kind of man that you need, I’m going to have to do this
my way. I’m going to have to prove myself…”
“You’ve more than proven yourself Seth. I know that you’re the
man I love and whom I want to share my life with,” she rose to her feet
as well, “I want us to have a family together.”
“Then please, please understand what I’m trying to tell you,” he
approached her reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “Blake, I want
to show you that I can provide for us--that I can find a way to make
all of our dreams come true without you having to feel like you’re the
one who is financing it all. Even with our wedding--in my family,
well we’ve kind of always worked together. We didn’t have the
best of the best, but what we did do came from a lot of heart. I
want for us to have a wedding and a marriage like that with one
“Seth, are you saying that you don’t want us to go through the makings
of a big wedding? That you don’t want me to do what I’m doing?”
she blinked back in confusion.
“Blake, when I pictured us getting married, I didn’t expect it to be a
big tabloid headliner,” he admitted honestly, drawing her closer to
him, “I’d always thought that it would happen down by the lake where we
had one of our first dates. That we’d be together on the beach
close to sunset in a private, intimate ceremony pledging our love to
one another as the amber hues in the sky faded to darkness. Then
when we came together for that first kiss as husband and wife, well it
would be the most perfect, memorable moment for us. It would be
all about us and everything else, well it would just kind of fall into
“So all this time we’ve been talking about a big wedding, that’s not
been what you’ve been hoping for? What we’ve talked about in
holding the ceremony here at the mansion…” she began surprised by his
“I want whatever you want Blake, but I just need you to know that for
me, I don’t need to be flashy or go out in expenses. I just need
you,” he cupped her face in his hands, “I’ve always needed only you.”
“Oh Seth,” she tilted her head up to taste his lips, feeling the
desperation and longing behind his feelings on the subject.
Sliding her arms around his waist, she hugged his muscled body in
against hers before they finally parted, “Seth, you’re what I
want. Sure, a big wedding is something that a girl always dreams
about, but to tell you the truth, what I want more than that is
you. I want for us to be together--to have the kind of life that
I’ve always fantasized about and if it means our finding a way to do it
without having my family always overlooking what we’re doing, then
that’s fine with me. I don’t need to spend my life here at the
mansion. I don’t need to hide under being an Ashford, but you
have to understand that adjustments won’t be easy for me. It’s
all I’ve ever really known except for when I was away at school…”
“What was that like?” he questioned seeing the glow that spread over
“It was amazing. I was finally on my own and I could experience
the world as me instead of as what everyone expected me to be. It
was something I’d always wanted and with us,” she squeezed him in
closer to her, “I’m sure it’s exactly what we need together.”
“Then I take it you’ll consider what I’ve proposed,” Seth inquired
watching her smile expand.
“Of course I’ll consider it. I think that you’re right. We
need something more than what living here would do for us. We
need to find a place of our own and maybe after the memorial we can
start looking around,” she nodded in agreement, “Seth, I really want
for us to find a way to make things happen for us because of us and not
because of what everyone else has to say on the matter.”
“You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that and just know that
I’m not trying to push,” Seth started after a moment’s pause, “If you
really don’t want this then…”
“Then I’ll push right back because I’m not one to cave easily to an
idea I hate, but this, well this might work. I mean we could try
it and if doesn’t work out…” she started feeling him steal another kiss.
“It will work out,” he pulled her into his arms completely, “We’ll find
a way to make it work for us Blake.”
“I know we will,” she replied enthusiastically kissing him again only
to hear the sound of knocking at the front door. The bell rang
promptly after before the two of them exchanged curious looks.
“I wonder if it’s another delivery about the wedding. I’d ordered
a few sample catalogues and…” she explained excitedly before pausing,
“unless of course you think I should just scrap the idea altogether
about us getting married here…”
“Blake, that wasn’t what I’m trying to say,” he decided after a
moment’s contemplation, “how about we compromise somehow?”
“Such as?” she gave him a curious look.
“Well, since you’ve agreed to think about our finding a place of our
own once we’re married, what if you and I still have our wedding
here? We could have it by the fountain that you love and maybe
we’ll just try to make it a bit more personal than we’d originally
planned on, yet still give it enough to let you have the fairy tale you
were hoping for,” he suggested watching her face light up.
“Oh Seth,” she squealed excitedly throwing her arms around him again
and kissing him as she found herself overcome with excitement, “I think
it sounds perfect. I love it!”
“I’m so glad to hear that,” he hugged her in response before hearing
someone at the door again. “And hey, you know now that we got
that out of the way, why don’t you get that door and see what’s
here? Maybe we can find something we like for our wedding?”
“You’re so on,” Blake decided rushing over to answer the door only to
discover no one was there. Looking down she noticed a small
package on the ground before her. Taking a step out into the
yard, she noticed it was empty. Still, with the box in front of
her, she figured that the delivery man must’ve given up and just left
the house when she hadn’t answered. Bending down she picked up
the box carrying it into the house with her.
“Oh this looks like it’s going to be good,” she smiled noticing that it
was wrapped in a wedding themed gift wrap. Her grin expanded as
she wondered if Seth had sent this package as a bit of his surprise for
tonight. That thought in itself had her ripping and tearing at
the paper to discover what was within.
“So, tell me what do we have tonight to look through,” Seth questioned
entering the room to discover her standing at the table frozen in a
state of shock. He spoke her name again finding that he got no
reaction from her before he reached out to touch her shoulder, “Blake,
what is it?”
“Seth, it’s…it’s horrible it’s…” Blake let out a pinched scream before
turning around to bury her face in his chest.
“Blake, what is it?” Seth questioned in confusion. He felt her
tremble in his arms and as his gaze drifted to the contents of the
box. At first he noticed a thin layer of lace peeking out from
within, but as he leaned in closer that’s when he found the first red
stains that surrounded the gift that lay within.
“What the…” Seth released Blake to move forward only to discover the
small blonde Barbie doll that lay from within. She was dressed in
a white, wedding dress with a knife plunged through the center of her
chest and the words, “Die Bitch” written over the train of the gown in
the deep crimson shade.
“Oh God,” Blake gulped taking another look at the doll, “Seth who would
do something this horrible? Who would be so sick…”
“I don’t know Blake,” Seth replied pulling her into his arms thinking
about this disgusting package and who might’ve been twisted enough to
do such a thing. He flashed back to his encounter with Thea and
he wondered if it had been her or was someone else pulling their
strings? Either way as Blake cried in his arms, he vowed to find
whoever was responsible for this and make them pay for upsetting her.
Judy sat at her apartment thinking about the phone call Richard had
received earlier. That on top of the news focusing on the story
about Brooke’s accident had Judy more worried than ever about the man
she loved. While she was sure that he and Brooke were close to an
end of their marriage, she knew what kind of guilt would be eating at
him at a time like this.
Contemplating her next move, Judy heard the sound of the phone
ringing. Reaching for it she answered hastily hoping that Rick
was calling to let her know that he needed her.
“Mom,” Deidra’s voice spoke excitedly over the line, “hey how are you?”
“Deidra, honey, it’s so good to hear your voice. I’ve been trying
to get into contact with you over the last couple of days, but…” Judy
began thinking about the way life had been lately.
“I’m out of town. Dean took me to this place and…well, I just
wanted to call in check in with you to see how you were doing.”
“I’m alive. That should count for something, right,” Judy offered
with a small smile.
“That doesn’t sound too promising. What’s going on mom?”
“Well,” Judy hesitated, “Brooke Morrison was in an accident. She
was thrown from one of the offices at BBK and she’s in the hospital
right now. They aren’t sure if she’ll make it or not…”
“Oh my God,” Deidra gasped in shock, “Mom that’s horrible. How is
Rick holding up?”
“I don’t know,” Judy paused, “That’s what I’m worried about. He
was with me when he got the call and then he just left…”
“Mom, maybe you should go check in on him. I mean he probably
shouldn’t be alone at a time like this,” Deidra suggested.
“He has his family honey. I don’t think that he needs me around
considering that…” Judy started to make an excuse.
“Mom, if he’s hurting he’ll need as much concern as he can get.
You’re very important to him and I’m sure he’d want you there.
It’s a good idea to at least check in on him. It can’t hurt
anything as far as I’m concerned.”
“Yeah, well I’m not sure his family would feel the same way,” Judy
paused thinking the suggestion over.
“Avery loves you and besides, I think your being there would
help. He’s going to need someone to talk to and you’re good at
that. You should go,” Deidra coaxed her on again. “Just
think about it mom.”
“Maybe I will,” Judy pondered it for a long moment wondering if she
could really go and be with Richard when Brooke’s life was on the line
like it was. Perhaps it wasn’t the best of times, yet as she
thought of how upset Rick had been when he’d gotten the call, she
couldn’t help but worry about him. Maybe she would stop by the
hospital after all.
Guy stood in the hallway outside where his mother was wondering how in
the world his mother had come this close to death again. While
Avery had told the story of Bruce Mathis attacking her, Guy was more
determined than ever to find the son of a bitch that had hurt
her. To think of that man terrorizing not only Avery, but his
mother again and again only angered him to the core.
“Guy, there you are,” Gabe spoke up in a breathless tone rushing over
to his lover’s side, “When I heard the news about your mother I came
“Oh Gabe,” Guy threw his arms around Gabe in an embrace, “you have no
idea how much I needed to see you right now.”
“That’s why I’m here,” Gabe confessed holding him tighter than before,
“What’s going on?”
“They don’t know what’s going to happen with Mum, but with Avery, well
she went off and married Brant and…”
“Brant? As in Brant Ashford?” Gabe raised a curious brow, “but I
thought that your sister was married.”
“She was, but when her husband died…” Guy shook his head, “that’s not
important. Right now I’m just worried about my mother. The
doctors are being vague and given that she was thrown fifteen stories,
they say it’s a miracle that she’s alive right now.”
“Yes it is, but your mother has proven time and time again that she can
beat the odds. Perhaps in this situation it will be no
different. You have to believe that she’ll come through this one
okay…” Gabe offered touching Guy’s face gently, “You have to be strong…”
“I’m trying, but at the same time when I think of all the things that
monster has done to her already,” Guy shook his head, “I just don’t
understand why the police aren’t catching him. How can he just
keep getting away with all of this? How is it he can keep hurting
those I love and…”
“Guy,” Mindy rushed over to him after she and had gotten off the
elevators, “how are you?”
“I’ve had better days, but I’m glad you’re here,” Guy admitted
embracing her readily, “I just don’t know what’s going to happen
next. As I was telling Gabe they aren’t saying much about my
mother at this point.”
“What happened,” Hunt questioned speaking up from where he stood behind
Mindy, “Do they know who did this?”
“Bruce Mathis,” Guy informed him with a heavy scowl.
“He’s he same son of a bitch that kidnapped Brooke not so long ago,”
Mindy continued to explain to Hunt.
“Kidnapped,” Hunt blinked back in confusion, “Brooke was kidnapped?”
“That’s right,” Guy nodded, “About a month or so ago, the son of a
bitch kidnapped her and held her for ransom. He’d put her through
hell and we thought that it was over, but now…I just don‘t know what
I‘m going to do if we lose her this time. Before was hell, but
“You’re not going to lose her Guy. You have to believe that,”
Mindy replied reaching out to embrace him again as Hunt took a step
back thinking about what Guy was saying. Suddenly he felt a
sinking sensation hit him in the center of his stomach as he wondered
if something about this story wasn’t adding up. He flashed back
to his time in New York and suddenly he felt very out of place.
Looking to Mindy and Guy again he started to wonder if maybe just maybe
there was something more leading to this shocking turn of events.
Brant followed Avery into the hospital room watching as she took a seat
on the hospital bed. He could tell by the expression on her face
that she was still worried about what had taken place with Dave
downstairs. They’d told their story--said what was needed and as
she sat on the edge of the bed, he could still feel her worries about
what had taken place.
“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” Brant approached her reaching out to take
her hand in his, “Dave isn’t going to question what we told him.
When he finds the evidence that Bruce was there…”
“He’s not going to find any evidence of that,” Avery replied in a muted
whisper, “Brant, we both know that…”
“Avery, I told you that I’d take care of this and I did,” Brant
continued to explain in a hushed tone of his own, “When we left your
office I put the wheels in motion for fixing this. I called in a
few favors and I guarantee that when the police do a search of your
office, they’re going to find that Bruce was in fact there.”
“What do you mean?” Avery questioned in confusion.
“Let’s just say that I left them what they will be looking for,” Brant
offered bending in closer to her, “They won’t ever question our story.”
“You mean you set this up to look like Bruce was the one that…” Avery
stopped herself suddenly realizing what he was telling her, “You mean
you’d already thought up our story when we left the office? When
you were bringing me here?”
“I didn’t have all the details worked out, but yeah, I thought it was
some pretty quick thinking myself,” he grinned brightly, “Wouldn’t you
Avery grew unusually silent before a moment of anger flashed behind her
eyes. Rising from the bed she started to pace around the floor,
“You mean to tell me that you came up with all of this before I even
arrived at the hospital? Before I suggested that we get married?”
“Well yeah it was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing, but then
when I heard your idea on what we should do, well I figured that our
getting married would be an even better way to seal the deal,” Brant
nodded in confession watching the way her face twisted, “Avery, you
said it yourself our being married was the best possible solution.”
“That’s when I thought we didn’t have any other choices Brant.
Little did I know that you were about to set up a crime scene so that
it looked like Bruce was the one that did this. If you would’ve
said something sooner, then…” Avery snapped back at him, her voice
lowering as she didn’t want anyone to hear what they were saying,
“Brant, how could you do this?”
“Hey, you’re the one who wanted to get married. You were the one
with the idea and I asked you if you were sure,” Brant reminded her
folding his arms in front of his chest, “I asked you point blank if you
were positive that this is what you wanted and you said yes. You
were the one who stood with me before God pledging yourself to me.”
“That’s because I thought that we didn’t have any other way out of
this. That’s because I believed…” she stopped herself throwing
her arms in the air, “This is all been about what you wanted, hasn’t
it? This whole thing was just one more little ploy you had to win
me over when…”
“No, that’s not what this was about Avery. I didn’t know that any
of this would happen and when I walked into your office,” he stopped
himself before taking a step towards her, “now you listen to me and you
listen good. You were the one who wanted to get married. I
just did what you asked of me and you have to admit that right now not
only did we come up with the perfect alibi for you, but we’re not going
to ever have to worry about this again.”
“Brant, you married me knowing full well that you’d faked a crime scene
so that I wouldn’t get this pinned on me,” Avery shook her head at him,
“You’d already come up with a cover story…”
“One that I was risking my neck for you to make happen,” Brant reminded
her, his jaw tightening with his words, “Avery, I’m sticking my neck
out on the line for you and for me to enter into this like I have
knowing what could happen to me for planting evidence…”
“You still should’ve said something sooner than you did. If I
would’ve known about this before we got married…” she stopped herself.
“Then what? You wouldn’t have done it?” he arched a curious brow
before reaching for her hand to flash the ring he‘d given her in her
face, “After all I’ve done for you, you’re saying that you would’ve
taken this back.”
“Brant, we aren’t in love,” Avery argued with him wrenching her hand
away from him, “and if you think that this marriage is going to be the
key to making it happen…”
“Avery, I’ve taken a big risk for you tonight. I’ve done things
that I swore to myself after dealing with my father that I would never
do. When I did what I did for you back in that office…” Brant
snapped back at her following each movement she made through the room.
“So what?” Avery spun around to face him, her eyes filled with a sudden
rage, “Now I owe you for that?”
“Avery, that’s not what I’m saying,” he shook his head at her, throwing
his arms up in the air, “Are you really that stupid that you can’t see
why I’ve done all of this for you?”
“To get the big prize right,” she wiggled her finger at him, feeling
the weight of her new wedding ring upon it, “I mean that’s what this is
“No, this is about the fact that I love you Avery and I’d go to the
wall for you,” he took a bold step towards her, his face a mask of
sudden seriousness, “I’d do anything to protect you all because I love
“But Brant, you know that my heart is…” she spoke up again feeling a
pang of guilt hit her in the abdomen.
“With Russ, yeah I get that. I’ve got that from the moment you
ran off to be with him, but guess what? I don’t care about
that. I don’t care that you’d choose him over me in a heartbeat
if he was still alive. I know that I won’t ever replace him, but
at the same time I know that you and I have something special between
us. I know that you can’t see it now, but eventually you will and
when you do…”
“Then what?” Avery questioned in confusion, “Do you think we’re going
to fall into happily ever after with one another? That we’ll fall
in love and have all the makings of a fairy tale romance?”
“What I think is that we need each other and in time you’ll see that
you need me as much as I need you. Avery, I love you and I’m not
about to lie about it,” he touched her cheek gently, “While tonight
might’ve been about strategy for you, it was real to me. I’ve
wanted to marry you from the first moment I lay my eyes upon you and
now that I’m your husband, you’d better be damn sure to know that I’m
not about to blow off what that means. We’re in this together and
I’m not about to walk away from that.”
“Brant,” she opened her mouth to speak before stopping herself, ‘I’m
not asking you to, but this is just all overwhelming for me. I
swore to myself after Russ that I would never, ever…”
“Avery, this isn’t about Russ. This is about self-preservation,”
he explained curling his finger underneath her chin to lift her gaze to
his, “and what we did was what was best for all of us. For you,
for me and most of all for the baby. We had no other choice in
the matter. Our getting married was the only solution.”
“Brant, I…” she started to speak before letting out a small sigh, “I
know. You’re right. This was the only way and I’m sorry
that I yelled at you. I guess I’m just wound up so tight now
after all of this that I can’t think clearly. Brant, I feel like
I’m losing my mind and after everything, well I don’t know if that’s
really happening or not. I’m so afraid that I’m going to lose all
“And I won’t let that happen,” he promised pulling her into his arms
supportively, “Avery, I swear to you I’m not going to let anyone hurt
you from here on out. I’ll keep you safe. I swear to it.”
“Brant, I’m just so afraid,” she confessed burying her face in his
chest as the door to her hospital room opened up and Richard stepped
inside to see them together.
“So am I,” Richard remarked sourly closing the door behind him, “So why
don’t the two of you quit with the lies and tell me exactly what is
going on right now so that I can fix this once and for all?”
“Daddy, I…” Avery nearly leapt out of Brant’s arms finding herself at a
loss as the door opened again and a nurse stepped inside.
“Mr. Morrison, I’ve been looking all over for you,” the nurse explained
hurriedly, “The doctors wanted me to find you because your wife…she…”
“She what,” Richard questioned in a panic, “What’s wrong?”
“She’s awake,” the nurse explained, “and she’s talking to the police
chief right now.”
“She’s what,” Avery took a step forward, her face growing pale in the
“She’s coherent and she’s speaking with the police chief about
what happened to her,” the nurse informed her quickly. “He’s
in there right now and…”
“Brant we have to stop her,” Avery spun around to face her husband
fearing what could happen if Brooke opened her mouth about what really
happened in the office.
“I’ll take care of it,” Brant promised assuringly taking her hand in
his as Avery feared that this marked the beginning for the end for her
once her mother told Dave her version of how she fell from that
Despite the fact that Avery knew full well that Brooke attacked her,
she was certain that Brooke would tell the tale in such a way that
Avery would spend the rest of her life suffering for it. Suddenly
as she felt the walls closing in on her Avery realized that things were
finally over for her. There would be no saving herself now!