“So what exactly were in those papers, I mean what information was on
there?” Shannon questioned taking a sip of her water. They had gone to
dinner to discuss everything.
“See that’s the thing, I really don’t remember…all I do know is that he
was one of my patients, that wasn’t dead when he was under my care,”
Don shrugged unsurely.
“Well, try and think Don. It could really help,” Shannon lead him on
only hearing silence from his as he tried to think.
“I really don’t know,” he repeated trying to think of anything that
would point out at him.
“Just be smart for once Don,” she scowled before rolling her eyes and
tapping her fingers along the table and his hand covered hers.
“You see that’s the point, I didn’t know back then that those papers
could help someone get out of jail,” he informed her wanting her to be
in the position he was in, it was hard.
“Too bad you didn’t keep them in a safer place,” Shannon yawned before
hearing a silence from him and he looked up.
“What’s wrong?” he questioned his eyes looking strong with eagerness.
“I was hoping that you would know something,” she nodded before he
rolled his eyes and sighed.
“That’s not what I was talking about,” Don started leaning forward,
“What is it about me that you can’t love? I mean, am I really that bad
“Don,” she sighed not wanting to get into this now, as she looked the
“Please, just let me know. I really want to give this a try, all I need
is your help…is it me?” he questioned looking to other side. “If it is
me, I mean I could try my best to change for you.”
“It’s not you,” she started feeling bad for some reason. It was just
the way his voice sounded so sad and how his blue eyes searched for an
“Then what is it exactly? I mean I want to be with you, even if it
takes me forever to get you to like me,” he informed her touching her
in a way making her look up into his eyes.
“Don, not here,” she sighed blocking her eyes from his, it was almost
like they were hypnotizing her making her heartache.
“Please Shannon,” Don begged as she stood up. “Wait, I’m sorry…you
don’t have to tell me.”
“It’s not that Don, I just…I really can’t tell you right now,” she
stated sitting down seeing him shake his head.
“I’m willing to wait if that’s what you are worried about,” he assured
her looking up and seeing her nod.
“I understand that, one day there might be a chance, but I can’t tell
you a lot of things right now,” she shrugged seeing him nod.
“I wont push you into anything you don’t want to do,” Don half smiled
before taking a sip of his water.
Brant stood outside Avery’s door thinking of all the reasons why he
should do as she asked and leave. He’d done enough damage and he
was certain his sticking around wasn’t going to help, yet he swore to
himself that he’d find a way to make things better--that he could fix
this. Looking down at the wedding ring in the center of his palm,
he wasn’t sure he could ever repair the damage that had been
done. He knocked on her door again before speaking up at long
“Avery, please talk to me. Just open up,” he begged of her half
expecting no answer, but instead he was met by her angry stare when the
door flung open. There were tracks of tears lining down her
cheeks as she eyed him with a look that truly broke his heart.
“I told you to leave,” she shot back, her voice full of venom, “I don’t
want you here Brant.”
“Avery, you have to at least hear me out,” he insisted pushing his way
into the bedroom. “I know what Johanna told you sounded bad, but…”
“Bad,” she repeated with a huff, “Bad doesn’t even begin to cover it
Brant. All this time Russ said he didn’t trust you--that he
thought you were up to something, yet I kept defending you. I
kept telling him that no you weren’t like that…that you of all people
would never try to deliberately hurt me, but then I hear this and…”
“Avery, I made a mistake,” Brant cut her off, his guilt ridden words
pouring out of him with each painful jab at his heart, “Yes, I hired
Johanna to come to town and entice Russ into leaving, but I was doing
it for you. I thought it was best if he…”
“You weren’t doing it for me,” she scowled back at him, folding
her arms in front of her chest, “You were doing it for you. You
wanted Russ to be gone more than anything in this world and now that he is,
I’ll bet you’re just thrilled. You finally won Brant.
You got the prize…”
“No, Avery, that’s not how I wanted it,” Brant turned his head up to
fully look at her from where he sat on the edge of the bed, “I never,
ever wanted it to be like this. I didn’t want Russ to die.”
“Yet you didn’t want him to be a part of my life either, right?” she
glared at him, “You know I thought you were different. I thought
you had a heart…that you cared and…”
“I do,” Brant blurted out, “Damn it Avery I care about you so much that
I’d do anything to make you happy--absolutely anything.”
“Including paying Johanna off to take away the man I loved, right?”
Avery sneered in response, “You make me sick.”
“So take a number. I make myself sick Avery. I’ve made a
lot of really stupid, horrible mistakes, but with that, well it’s not
what you think it was,” he insisted pleading his case with her, “When I
brought Johanna in it was right after you and Russ split. When he
betrayed you with Heather I saw how it hurt you. I watched the
way he tore your heart apart and I knew that I had to keep that from
happening. When I watched you crying--when I felt your pain, Avery, you
have no idea how much it hurt me. I hated what he’d done to
you--hated that he’d taken something so beautiful between you and
ripped it to shreds. When I called Johanna it was when we were on
the island. I did it because I knew that when we got back home to
Coral Valley if you had to face Russ and Heather together it would kill
you. I didn’t want that happening,” Brant revealed with a shake
of his head, “I had no idea that things would turn out like they did.”
“Which means you didn’t think that Russ and I would ever repair things
like we did, right?” she questioned with an angry glare.
“No, I didn’t,” Brant answered honestly, “and I still never got why you
let things come together again after he betrayed you. Avery, if
you were mine, I never, ever would’ve looked at another woman. I
would’ve taken what we had together very seriously…”
“So did Russ. He and I love one another. We’re soul mates
and what happened was a mistake…” Avery insisted thinking back to the
night she’d found Russ in bed with Heather, “He didn’t know what he was
“And yet you were willing to give him a second chance,” Brant tossed
back at her, “He made love to another woman when he said his heart
belonged to you, yet you stood there and forgave him for that.
You gave him another chance and you found it in your heart to move
beyond it, so why can’t you give me that same chance?”
“Brant, that’s different. This is…” Avery stammered a bit.
“It’s what?” Brant questioned with obvious confusion, “Yes, Avery I
shouldn’t have tried to meddle like I did, but that night at the
mansion…when your heart was breaking and you begged me to take all the
pain away that’s what I was trying to do. I didn’t want to see
you ever hurting again like you were that night.”
“Brant, don’t,” Avery tried to block out his words.
“Avery, that night at the mansion--at the party when I kissed you,” he
confessed pouring his heart out to her, “It did something to me.
When you pushed me away and looked terrified like that, well, I saw you
there I thought about Jade and about how I’d failed her. I
thought about what my father had done to her and I found myself
becoming the same thing. I thought I’d hurt you and in turn I ran
away from it. I couldn’t face the monster I’d become.”
“Brant please…” Avery started watching the strain over his features as
tears came to his eyes.
“I know that you probably won’t believe a damn word that I’m saying to
you now, but it’s the truth. That night so many things happened
and when I saw you there crying…hurting…” Brant’s voice cracked with
emotion, “Avery, I thought it was because of me. I thought that
when I’d touched you like that, well that somehow I’d hurt you--that
I’d really done something horrible to you and I hated myself, but then
when I heard what Russ did. When I learned of how he’d hurt you…I
knew I had to protect you. I had to shield you from that and
that’s what I was trying to do. It was wrong and I know that now,
but when I’m with you, I can’t help myself. I want to protect you
and keep you from ever feeling the pain you’ve endured already in your
“Brant, you shouldn’t have done that,” Avery’s voice softened as she
thought back to the turn of events leading to this moment in time.
“Avery, I love you and I know that you don’t love me like I wish you
would, but that time on the island when I asked you to marry me…that
was coming from my heart. For the first time in my life I feel
like I have a purpose--that I have some kind of meaning in this world
and that’s to be there for you. I know you love Russ and I know
that you two have a child coming into this world, but Avery, if you
just shut me out now for what I’ve done…”
“Brant, I can’t deal with this right now. I have Grady’s trial
coming up and…” Avery choked up finding her own words caught in the
back of her throat.
“Avery, I never meant to make your life difficult and I’m sorry for
what I did in bringing Johanna to town. I shouldn’t have tried to
take matters into my own hands, but with you…” he took a step towards
her, unsure of whether or not she’d push him away from her, “Avery,
when I’m with you, you make me feel like I could be a better man…that I
could be that someone I always felt was so far out of my reach.”
“You lied to me Brant. You purposely tried to sabotage my
happiness with Russ,” Avery pointed out firmly, her eyes unwavering
from their lock on him, “You deceived me and now you expect me to trust
you--to give my life to you…”
“Avery, I’m not asking for your life…just a chance…a chance to prove
myself to you. Avery, I know I’m a screw up. I’ll be the
first one to admit that I don’t deserve you--I don’t deserve any of
this, but if you’ll just let me try…”
“Brant, you’re asking a lot out of me,” Avery’s voice softened a bit
while he took another step towards her.
“I know I am, but you thought I was worth taking a chance on yesterday
when you married me. You believed I was worth trusting and it’s
with that thought in mind that I’m begging you to try to forgive me for
this,” Brant continued to move in closer to her, “Avery, I know I’ve
been horrible…that I’m not Russ and I’ll never be like him, but I do
love you. You and your daughter are the most important things to
me in this world and I swear to you if you’ll just consider giving this
another try--if you reconsider letting go of us, then I swear to you
that I will do anything and everything in my power to prove myself to
you. Avery, whatever you ask of me, you’ll have it.
Whatever you need, it’s yours, but please, please don’t walk away from
me. Don’t leave me like this when all I’ve ever wanted was to be
there for you…”
“Brant,” Avery opened her mouth to speak finding no words coming out as
her heart was tangled up in knots. Finally she felt her words
returning, “You shouldn’t have lied to me.”
“I know that and I’m so, so sorry,” he revealed choked up on emotion,
“I swear to you that I won’t ever do it again.”
“You’d better not because I’m telling you now if I ever hear of you
doing something like what you did again, then that’s it. I’ll
take my chances in jail,” Avery explained firmly, refusing to buckle to
He reached for her hand bringing it in over the center of his
chest. His eyes met hers and they shared a long moment of silence
between them. Finally he spoke up from his heart at long last,
“Avery, I swear to you that I will do everything in my power to regain
your trust. I won’t deceive you like I have in the past and know
now that my intentions with you are genuine. You’re my wife and
that means everything to me. You mean everything to me.”
Avery stood firm, remaining silent for a long moment before finally
nodding, “Fine, but just know that it’s going to take time before I can
really feel like I can trust you again. After knowing what you
did…even if you did it for the reasons that you say you did…”
“That was the only reason I did it and I wish like hell I could take it
back,” Brant divulged with a small sigh, “God how I wish I could take
“You and me both,” Avery replied taking a step back, “bur right now…I
need some time to think. I just need…”
“Space,” Brant finished with an understanding nod, “and I’ll give you
that. I swore to you that I wouldn’t push and I’m not going to do
that, but just know that when you’re ready, I’m here. We can work
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Avery nodded again watching him open his
mouth to speak before he took a step back.
“I think I’ll go see if I can get a hold of Ken again,” Brant motioned
to the door before exiting. Once he left Avery sank down on the
bed, reaching for the necklace she’d been wearing. Pulling it
out, she eyed the wedding ring Russ had given her. Lifting it to
her lips, she thought of the day that she’d pledged her love to
him. How she’d wanted those days back again--how she longed for
that happily ever after that had evaded her and in that moment of
reflection she found herself overcome with tears knowing that life
would never be the same again.
“What’s on your mind?” Kyle questioned as Sarah raised her head from
his chest. He had spent the night last night to make sure she was okay.
“I was just thinking about the baby,” she sighed as he wrapped his arm
around her so she could snuggle in closer to him.
“Just how he might be coming home, here. I am going to take care of him
Kyle, like he is my own,” Sarah smiled as he leaned forward and kissed
“You know, I am pretty good with kids,” he grinned standing up from the
bed that they were laying on.
“Where is this leading?” Sarah questioned raising her eyebrow as he
lightly pulled her up to him.
“It means I want to be there, to help you and to take care of little
Charles,” he stated as she leaned up kissing him lightly.
“You mean it?” she wondered with a slight sign of happiness behind her
“Well, if I someday plan on being that little guy’s uncle, I am going
to have to practice first,” he shrugged with a slight wink.
“What do you mean by that?” she questioned eagerly seeing him smile and
shake his head lightly.
“You’ll see, soon or a later,” Kyle promised her with a slight smile.
“How are going to keep coming back and forth between houses?” she
questioned as he grinned.
“I’m not going to,” Kyle smiled lightly, “I was thinking that I could
move in here with you.”
“You want to live here with me?” she wondered with a smile.
“I want to be anywhere you are, that’s just my life,” he let her know
as she nodded.
“When?” she questioned quickly, “I mean when are you moving in?”
“Today, as long as I go and check in with Avery and she is okay,” Kyle
sighed looking up at her.
“Okay,” she nodded lightly with a slight glimmer in her eye.
“I’ll be back,” he winked before kissing her lightly and leaving.
Ken sat at the bar thinking about the fine mess he’d made of his
life. Lifting the glass to his lips, he felt the burning liquid
finally lose it’s sting. He was officially numb and it didn’t
matter anymore. None of it mattered. The damage had already
been done. He’d hit rock bottom and there was no turning back
from here on out.
“Hey, how about another,” Ken smacked the top of the bar commanding the
bartender’s undivided attention.
“The bar’s closed buddy,” the bartender informed him with a simple
shake of his head, “You’ve had enough.”
“Not nearly enough,” Ken reached into his pocket withdrawing another
wad of cash and setting it down on the bar, “Keep them coming all
“Sorry man,” the bartender pushed the money towards Ken again, “I can’t
take your money, nor can I serve you another drink. You’re done.”
“Oh come on. I haven’t had that many,” Ken sneered in response
trying to shove his money at the man before him once again.
“I said you’re done,” the bartender repeated firmly, “but if you’d like
me to call for a ride for you…”
“Screw you,” Ken shot back sourly standing up and walking away from
where he was at. He stammered no more than two feet away from the
barstool when a voice beckoned him.
“I’m sure I could find you more of what you’re looking for,” Susan
sauntered over to him, a wide grin spread over her features. She
stopped right next to him, giving him a long look, “Ken you look like
hell right about now.”
“Given that you’re here, I’m starting to think that’s exactly where I’m
at,” he hissed pushing his way past her through the crowd.
“Ken, wait a second,” she reached for his arm, attempting to draw him
back to her, “You can’t just walk away from me like this.”
“Watch me,” he mouthed with a cold, harshness in his tone.
“Ken, you’re being irrational,” Susan chased after him not taking a
hint, “We should at least talk about this.”
“Talk?” he repeated his voice raising with the moment, “You want to
talk Susan? Well, fine. Let’s talk. Irrational would
be your thinking that you’ve got a shot with me. We’re
over. Finished and nothing you can do or say is going to change
that. You’re nowhere near the woman that Caitlin was.
You’ll never come close. You were pathetic when we found our way
to one another and you‘re pathetic now.”
“You don’t mean that. You can’t possibly mean that,” Susan balked
back with a haughty laugh, “I know you better than that Ken.”
“No Susan, you knew what I wanted you to know and that’s all there is
to it,” Ken sneered in response, “All you ever were to me was a
distraction from reality when nothing better came along.
You were nothing then and you’re nothing now. That’s all you’ll
ever be Susan. That isn’t going to change.”
“We’ll just see about that,” Susan watched his retreat clenching her
fists at her side. While Ken was clearly lost in a drunken
stupor, she knew that she would find a way to persuade him to come back
to her. She would have him again. She was certain of it.
“No, we won’t,” Ken muttered to himself stumbling out into the night as
he’d heard Susan’s parting words. How he’d hated her--hated
everything that she’d represented in his life. Though right now
maybe that’s what he deserved, he realized as the bitter chill of the
night’s reality struck down on him.
Ken continued to stumble away from the bar debating where else to pick
up where he’d left off when the sound of his cell phone assaulted his
ears. Reaching into his pocket, he fumbled with it for a long
moment before finally answering, “What?”
“Ken, where are you,” Carly questioned in a panic, “I got your messages
and I’m worried.”
“Hey sexy,” he spoke in a slur bracing himself up against the brick
wall behind him, “don’t be worried about me. I’m just where I was
meant to be.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” Carly’s voice grew heavy with
worry, “I heard about what happened at the memorial today.”
“Word sure travels fast in this neck of the woods, doesn’t it?” he spat
out at her.
“Ken, where are you?”
“In hell, the only place I belong,” Ken announced to the night air, an
ironic laugh sweeping over him, “Care to join me?”
“I’m coming to get you. Ken, tell me where you are,” Carly
pleaded with him, “Tell me exactly where you’re at and I’ll be right
“Now Carly, babe I know you’ve missed me, but maybe tonight isn’t the
best of times to…” Ken started with a heavy sigh. Turning around
to see Susan standing outside the bar he’d just exited, he finally
caved in, “On second thought, the night’s been lonely without you.”
Guy opened the door and stepped inside the apartment finding the lights were
turned down low. He set his keys on the table top half expecting the beginnings
of a romantic evening, but instead he was met by the sound of Gabe shuffling
through some paperwork from inside the small desk area. Stepping forward
he could see that something was clearly bothering his lover.
“Gabe, what’s going on,” Guy questioned stepping in the doorway as he
noted the expression on Gabe’s face, “I would’ve thought that you’d be
resting by now.”
“I can’t rest. I can’t even think about it now that Noelle has
pulled this,” Gabe sighed bringing his fingers through his blonde hair,
“If I even think about resting, then I could lose her. She’ll
take her away from me and…”
“And what,” Guy asked making his way into the room further, “Gabe,
what’s going on?”
“Noelle is suing me for full custody of Brittany,” Gabe explained
worriedly. “I got these papers today and…”
“Let me see that,” Guy reached for them looking them over as he saw
that what Gabe was saying was true, “But I don’t understand why would
she do this? She’s not even around Brittany and then for her to
try to do this…she can’t get away with it.”
“According to her lawyer here, she’s got a good case. She’s
spouting off about abandonment and how there isn’t stability for
Brittany with me,” Gabe shook his head with obvious disgust. “You
have no idea how many times I’d thought about doing this myself, but I
didn’t want to hurt her. I’d felt that I’d already put her
through enough, but then to get this…”
“Gabe, I’ve told you that you’re too good to her. You give her
everything she wants--pay her an ungodly amount of money to live in a
lifestyle that a queen would be more than satisfied with,” Guy shook
his head at the thought, “She’s not going to win this one.”
“She’s Brittany’s mother and in the eyes of the law, that’s a very
strong bond,” Gabe sighed heavily feeling an ache throbbing in his
temple, “Somehow I knew this day would come and I wanted to be prepared
“But you will be. It’s obvious who the better parent is,” Guy
reached out to touch his shoulder gently, “Brittany loves you and you
two were meant to be together. If anyone should have full
custody, it’s you, not Noelle.”
“That’s easier said than done,” Gabe admitted with a sigh,
“which is why I wanted everything to be in place. I wanted to establish
that she would have stability and a family with me, but now…”
“Now nothing. You can beat this. Noelle isn’t going to take
her away,” Guy tried to assure him, “In fact, I think I know a way I
“Guy, with what’s going on with your mother, I can’t expect you to…”
Gabe started thinking about the situation his lover had been put in
“Trust me on this,” Guy squeezed Gabe’s shoulder supportively, “I want
to help you in this. That’s what love is all about.”
“You have no idea how much your wanting to be here means to me,” Gabe
offered up with a small smile.”
“You can thank me when Brittany is staying with you as she should’ve
always been,” Guy replied hoping that he could find a way to help his
lover through the tough times that he was certain lay ahead for him.
Kyle opened the door to what used to be Russell and Avery’s house using
the key that Russell once gave him. He shut the door behind him and
turned around to find Brant right in his face.
“Man, Spanky you should watch where you stand I could have punched you
if you scared me,” Kyle half smiled seeing the irritated look on
“You know that’s breaking and entering?” Brant pointed out before
seeing Kyle take the key from his pocket and holding it out in front of
“I call it coming home and checking on the people who live with me,”
Kyle shrugged pulling the key back before Brant tried taking it from
“I demand that you leave right now,” Brant yelled grabbing Kyle by the
jacket making Kyle push him back.
“Where is Avery?” Kyle questioned rolling his eyes after getting no
answer from Brant as he turned around, “Fine I will go find her
“No, I will not let you see my wife,” Brant demanded making Kyle stop
dead in his tracks and turn around slowly.
“Your what?” Kyle questioned looking a slight bit pissed off and
“You heard me,” Brant smiled folding his arms out in front of him, “She
is my wife.”
“What did you do to her?” Kyle wondered grabbing him by the collar of
his shirt. “You’re lying.”
“Get your hands off of me,” Brant scowled seeing Kyle glare right
“Kyle, let go of him,” Avery sighed from behind him making Kyle turn
his head to look towards her. “He is telling the truth, we’re married.”
“You’re what?” Kyle questioned dropping Brant and walking towards her.
“Why would you do that.”
“I have my reasons,” Avery promised in a way looking up into Kyle’s
“It had to be a pretty damn good reason,” Kyle slightly laughed trying
to take his anger away.
“What does you mean by that?” Brant wondered as Kyle shook his head and
“You want to explain to me why you are married to that nagging loser?”
Kyle tilted his head in curiosity eager to hear why she was married to
“It is a long story,” Avery noted seeing him nod.
“Well, I got a long time…so why don’t you tell me,” Kyle smiled waiting
to hear the exact reason why she was with Brant.
“Fine,” she breathed in deeply before grabbing his hand and pulling him
into the kitchen.
“Trying to burn the remote down?” Don questioned as Shannon’s finger
repeatedly clicked the buttons on the remote.
“Don?” Shannon questioned seeing him look up at her from the couch and
“Yeah?” he wondered seeing her roll her eyes.
“Do me a favor and shut up,” Shannon scowled before he rolled his eyes
and walked over to the window looking out into the evening. Still
feeling unsettled he began to pace around the room once again right in
front of her.
“Whoops,” Shannon sighed as she dropped the clicker on the ground as
Don looked down. She bent down to pick it up before colliding her head
with Don’s. “Ouch.”
“I’m sorry,” he apologized handing her the clicker and looking at the
television. When she dropped the remote, it went to a music channel
making him smile. “This is a good song.”
“Your point?” she questioned seeing him half grin and hold his hand out
“Dance with me,” he winked before seeing her shake her head in
“No way,” she declared backing away from him.
“This isn’t me trying to hit on you or something, it is just a dance,”
Don shrugged seeing her sigh and shake her head.
“I’m not a big dancer,” she stated looking up at him and he shrugged.
“Then let me teach you,” he insisted grabbing her hand and pulling her
up to him.
“No,” she sighed and slightly laughed seeing him frown.
“You are going to dance with me,” he assured her, “Just move your feet
“Don,” she started before he put a finger in front of her mouth hushing
her until she finally went along with him.
“That’s more I like it,” he smiled swooping her around real quick, “You
aren’t as bad as you say you are.”
She gasped as he pulled her up to him a breath away from his face,
“Maybe its because you have never really watched me dance by myself.”
“Well, obviously you are kind of afraid to dance in front of me…so lets
just dance together right now,” he suggested seeing her nod.
“Alright,” she started looking up at him, “But if your hands go
anywhere they shouldn’t be, you’re a dead man.”
“Fine,” with me he nodded and then simply winked at her not wanting to
start up an argument.
“I’m waiting,” Kyle tilted his head looking at her tapping his foot on
the floor lightly.
“Don’t do that, you look like my dad,” Avery sighed looking the other
way before hearing him laugh.
“You are trying to get off subject,” Kyle pointed out making her look
up at him, “That’s not going to happen.”
“Alright, alright,” she sort of snapped at him and then calming down
realizing he was just trying to make sure she was okay and he wanted to
be there for her. “Have you heard about my mom yet?”
“Yeah,” he started before his eyes got wide and he got it, “Oh my god.
Are you okay? I heard about what Bruce did and…”
Avery gasped feeling him wrap his arms around her tightly, “You didn’t
even hear the whole story. Bruce wasn‘t there Kyle. He
didn‘t have anything to do with what happened to my mother. She
came to my office and we got into a fight. A really, really
horrible fight and things got ugly. We started screaming and
before I knew it…”
“Knew what?” Kyle asked watching the color drain from her features.
“I did it Kyle,” Avery blurted out fighting the tears that she held
inside, “I’m the one who did it. She was right there and then I…”
“Hey, it’s okay,” Kyle started seeing how upset she was.
“No, you’re not getting it. Kyle, it’s not okay because you’re
not seeing the truth about this. You’re not seeing what I’ve
done,” Avery insisted desperately. “You don’t understand.”
“Unfortunately I think I do. What you‘re telling me is that you
were the one who…?” Kyle trailed off backing up and looking at her with
a worried expression on his face.
“Well, yeah, but I had a very good reason to Kyle. I didn‘t mean
to but she drove me to it. She kept baiting me and threatening
me. She attacked me and…,” she sighed looking up into his
confused chocolate brown eyes. “She tried to drug me Kyle. She
went crazy on me and before I knew it she was trying to kill my
baby--Russell‘s baby.” A silence overcame Kyle as she folded her arms,
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
“Of course I believe you, I mean I would have thrown her out the window
days ago if I‘d thought she‘d pull something like that,” Kyle scowled
before making her slightly laugh. “I’m not kidding.”
“Kyle, the only thing is…they didn’t find the needle she tried to kill
my baby with. No one will ever believe the truth because she took
the evidence with her. Kyle, I didn‘t mean to do it, but after
what she started saying about Russ--what she was saying about me and
the baby…,” Avery sighed and her eyes started to burn until he pulled
her into another hug.
“Hey, everything is going to be okay,” he hushed her while running his
hand through her hair lightly. “Sweetheart, the only thing I don’t
understand is why you didn’t come to me first, I would have fixed this
for you somehow.”
“There wasn’t any time,” Avery explained desperately, “with Grady’s
trial right around the corner and with the fact that the evidence had
gone missing, I had to act fast. I had to find a way to protect
“Avery, the police would’ve believed you. I’m sure knowing what
kind of woman Brooke is…” Kyle started with obvious worry in his tone.
“Kyle, no one was going to believe me. They all think I’m
crazy. Since Russ died everyone thinks that I’ve lost my
mind. They think that I’m making things up, but I didn’t make
this up. I wouldn’t make this up,” she continued her voice rising
“Avery, I believe you,” he reached out to her touching her arm gently,
“Avery, you know me. You know I have complete faith in you.
I would’ve done anything to help you if I would’ve known. I
“Brant was right there,” she started to think of her reason, but at the
moment she found herself more flustered than ever about what had
happened--about what was happening in her life. “He’s helping
me. He’s keeping me safe. He saw what happened and he
married me so that I could keep the secret about what really
happened. Oh God and now in telling you, I‘ve just ruined all of
what I‘ve worked so hard for with Brant. If someone asks you,
then you can‘t lie and…”
“Avery, sweetheart, you know that I wouldn’t dream of doing anything to
hurt you,” Kyle offered honestly seeing her twisted features.
“Brant and I have worked so hard to make this cover story believable,
but now…” she shook her head, “I told you and now if push comes to
“That’s not going to happen. Listen to me Avery. I love you like
a sister, I would have married you if that‘s what you needed to be
protected in this. I won‘t say anything and if you‘re worried I
can bump off your husband now and help in my own way by taking his
place,” he stated before cutting himself off and seeing her bite down
on her bottom lip trying not to laugh. “That came out wrong, didn’t
“Yeah, it kind of did,” she laughed lightly before seeing him lick his
lips and shrug lightly.
“Whoops, well let me start over,” Kyle started smiling, but then
turning back to serious, “I just talked to a friend, and you can get a
divorce I know it. If you think marrying Brant is the
answer. If he‘s blackmailing you in any way, then tell me and I
“Kyle, it’s fine,” she assured him feeling bad seeing the worried
expression on his face.
“Are you sure? Because if there‘s something you‘re not telling
me…” he questioned lightly as she put her hand on his shoulder.
“I’m positive. Brant is doing all of this to help me. He‘s
gotten me this far and I‘m sure that as long as I don‘t keep shooting
my mouth off and the police keep believing the story we told them, then
everything will be fine,” she nodded as he looked down at her.
“Just take some of my advice, don’t tell Grady…he would go nuts if he
found out,” Kyle sighed putting his hands in his pockets.
“Grady,” Avery repeated thinking of the consequences of her actions,
“Oh God, he’s going to kill me if he finds out.”
“That’s why I’m telling you don’t say anything to him just yet,” Kyle
pleaded with her, “At least not until the trial is over. If he
knows about this, then he’ll close himself off and…”
“And we won’t be able to get him out of this. You’re right,” she
rubbed her palms together. “We have to keep this to
ourselves. Grady can’t know.”
“I know that’s asking a lot from you, but do you think that you can
handle it especially now? I mean if it’s too much…” he began.
“No, you‘re right Kyle. It‘s for the best and I can find a way to
pull through this. I can make it through the trial without Grady
knowing. I can do this,” she agreed seeing him shrug.
“I know you can,” Kyle paused wondering if he could really get back to
what he’d come here to speak with her about, “Listen Avery, there’s
something I think we should talk about--something that might not be
right for the time, but well…”
“What is it Kyle,” she questioned wiping at a tear that slipped down
her own cheek, “What’s on your mind?”
“It’s Sarah…well, she’s going through some rough times right now and
she needs me,” Kyle began with a hesitance.
“Kyle, if she needs you, then that’s where you should be,” Avery
insisted reaching out to touch his hand, “If you’re asking my
permission to do that, then Kyle you should know that you don’t have
to. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” Kyle questioned seeing her nod. “I just…I don’t
want you thinking I abandoned you. After Russ died, well I just
knew that you needed me and…”
“And you don‘t need to give up your life for me. Kyle, I‘m not
your responsibility. Russ wouldn‘t want you to give up your life
worrying about me. If Sarah needs you, then go be with her.
She‘s the woman you love and your place is with her, not worrying about
me and my problems,” she started with a smile.
“I just…I still don’t feel right leaving you on your own like
this. I promised Russ that I would protect you and,” he started
“Kyle, I can hold my own. Sure, I might get in trouble, but you
know that as well as I do,” she pointed out firmly, “Besides you’re
welcome back anytime. It‘s not like you‘re leaving the country,
“Not the last time I checked,“ he nodded pulling her into a hug once
more, “Promise me if you need anything you will call me.”
“I promise,” she nodded as he backed up and shrugged.
“You will be hearing from me,” he waved goodbye before walking out of
the kitchen and into the other room catching a glance of Brant. “You.”
“Me?” Brant questioned pointing to himself as Kyle nodded. “What?”
“You touch her while I am gone, I will kill you. I mean it literally, I
will hunt you down and I will break every bone in your body,” Kyle
started before Brant cut him off so he couldn’t say the rest.
“Okay,” Brant nodded, “I wont touch her…I get it.”
“Good,” Kyle smiled lightly before waving, “You will see me again.”
“I know I will,” Brant faked a smile before Kyle walked out the door.
“And it’s a damn shame too.”
Carly pulled into the crowded lot downtown wondering just what kind of
trouble Ken had gotten himself into after they’d hung up the
phone. She couldn’t shake the eerie feeling that disaster was
evident, but in staying true to who she was, she wasn’t about to walk
away from Ken. She needed to find him and make sure that he
didn’t do something stupid tonight. He would’ve done the same for
her and she was here to return the favor.
Stepping out of the car, she surveyed the parking lot noticing a rowdy
crowd up ahead. They were clearly caught in their own drunken
hazy and as Carly pulled her jacket around her shoulders. If she
could avoid that mess and find Ken, she’d call it a night for
sure. Stepping towards the building before her, she could hear
the hoots and hollers of those from just beyond where she stood, but
she was doing her best to ignore him. Locating Ken was top
“Ken, where are you,” she questioned with a frown glancing over at the
club window only to spot him inside on the dance floor. Shaking
her head, she took in a slow breath before making her way through the
crowd, weaving her way over to him. Once she’d approached him,
she could smell the strong scent of alcohol over him--there was no
denying that he was soaked in it as he was talking to two barely legal,
shameless blondes who were giggling like no tomorrow before him.
“Ken, hey,” Carly poked at his shoulder to catch his attention.
He spun around to see her, a drunken grin spreading over his features
as he threw his arms out towards her.
“Carly babe,” Ken threw his arms around her enthusiastically, “I was
starting to miss you.”
“Yeah I can tell,” Carly offered up with a pointed look, “Who are you
“Oh well, you see this is Candi and Mandi,” Ken nodded to the two buxom
blondes before them, “They were about to show me their little act they
have going over at Club Extreme on the weekends. Did I tell you
that they’re dancers?”
“Yeah, I’ll bet, but you know tonight I think we should just skip over
the dance number,” Carly spoke sharply glaring at the two girls just
beyond her, “I think it’s time to call it a night ladies.”
“Oh, but Kenny promised us that we could take a ride in his car,” one
pouted before the other spoke up in an equally nasal whine.
“He said we could go play at his mansion,” the second girl stomped her
“Sorry ladies, but he’s mine tonight,” Carly tugged on his arm, pulling
him away from the bar before he could get himself into more
“Hmm, see now that’s what I’m talking about,” Ken dropped his hands
over her bottom, giving her a firm squeeze, “Tell me Carly…how are you
feeling tonight about exhibitionism?”
“I think we’re going to pass,” she pulled his hands off of her all the
while keeping her tone firm and even, “We’re going to get you home so
you can sober up.”
“I don’t want to sober up,” he shook his head in refusal, pulling her
in against him boldly, “I just want you.”
“Yeah well Ken as much fun as we have together, I’m not going to do
that when you’re like this,” Carly warned him, feeling herself shudder
at the smell of the overwhelming alcohol on his breath, “Come on.
“But the night is young and so are we,” Ken curled his lip in a pout
before leaning in towards her, “Carly, you know you want me.”
“Not like this I don’t,” she shook her head before placing her hand in
the center of his chest to stop him from kissing her, “Ken, let’s get
out of here.”
“Why so soon? I thought we could have some fun and with the
girls,” he glanced over towards the bar.
“They can find another sucker to play tonight,” Carly grabbed his hand
tugging him across the dance floor towards the exit, “You’re coming
“Fine, but you can’t cut off all my fun just yet. I expect
something big when we get back to your place,” Ken slurred staggering
along with her.
“Oh you’ll get something big, but it’s not what you’re expecting.
I think we’re going to have to sober you up here,” Carly informed him
pushing him out into the night, “Ken, I can’t believe that you would do
“Do what? What’s wrong with me having a good time?” Ken
questioned in a pout, “There’s nothing wrong with that Carly. You
said it yourself that you like my wild side.”
“Your wild side yes, but this goes beyond what I like about you letting
loose Ken,” Carly informed him bluntly, “This isn’t at all attractive.”
“That’s because you’re not looking hard enough to find it, but we can
work on that,” he assured her bringing his fingers up through the back
of her hair to pull her to him in a rough kiss.
“Ken stop,” Carly replied pushing him away as they stood underneath the
neon light in front of the club, “This isn’t helping at all.”
“Not yet, but I’m working on it,” he chuckled inching in towards her
once again when Susan approached the two of them.
“Well, what do we have here,” Susan questioned with a sarcastic tone,
“Little Miss Goody-Two Shoes coming to save the day or to seduce the
victim? Tell me does Dave know you‘re in town or better yet that
you‘re out tonight with Ken?”
“Oh would you just shut up Susan,” Ken shouted back at her with a shake
of his head, “How many times do I have to tell you to get lost?”
“As many times as it takes for you to get it out of your system before
you realize that we’re meant to be together,” Susan declared boldly
taking a step towards Ken and Carly, “There’s no point in
fighting it you know. We belong together Ken and if you just give
me a chance to show you what a good time we could have together
“Just back off Susan,” Carly stepped in between them, “Go away.
Ken doesn’t need you harassing him.”
“But he needs you coming in and playing his hero? Is that it?”
Susan eyed her with obvious interest, “I think you’d be best to just
walk away and let me take care of this Ms. Matthews.”
“Look Susan,” Carly moved in closer to her, “While I realize cheap and
desperate might be in this season for you, it’s not at all
appealing. What you need to do is find yourself someone who is
pathetic enough to actually believe you’re worth wasting their time
on. When you do, well why don’t the two of you just disappear
together and never come back again? Until then, back off and
leave Ken alone.”
“Or what?” Susan dared her, “What could you possibly do to me if I
don’t? Why should I feel threatened by you?”
“Because things will get ugly--very ugly if you keep bothering
him. In fact,” Carly continued to warn her, but then thought
twice of it, “On second thought, you’re not worth wasting the energy
“Oh that’s right. Run away. Your type always does because
they don’t have the balls to step up to the plate,” Susan sneered in
response clenching her fists at her side, “You think that you’re so
smart--that you’re so much better than the rest of us, but when it gets
down to it, you’re pathetic. You’re nothing and…”
“And you’re really irritating,” Carly glared at her, “but I’m not
wasting my time on this any longer. Ken, come on. We’re
Carly spun around to discover that Ken had walked off in the middle of
her conversation with Susan. She searched the parking lot hearing
the sounds of Susan still shouting at her from behind, but that was
irrelevant as she searched for Ken. Finally she spotted him over
by the men that had caught her attention when she’d first pulled
up. Whatever he’d said to one of them had prompted one of the men
to throw one of the beer bottles at him. The crashing sounded
throughout the night as Carly felt Susan approaching her.
“Hey, I was talking to you,” Susan reached out for Carly’s arm.
“Back off,” Carly warned shoving Susan aside before approaching the
group hoping that Ken hadn’t done something completely and utterly
stupid that would land him in far more trouble than he’d
imagined. Rushing over to try to stop a fight from breaking out,
Carly realized that it as already too late. Two of the other men
were closing in on Ken before she could intervene.
“Ken,” Carly called his name watching the first of the three men throw
a punch out at him. Feeling a moment of panic sweep over her,
Carly ran to the scene hoping to keep all hell from breaking loose, but
Ken reacted with a pounding thrust into the man’s abdomen. The
man balked backward stumbling and groaning before a second approached.
“Ken stop it,” Carly cried out seeing a third man pound down on the
back of Ken’s neck and shoulders sending him crashing down to the
ground. Unprepared for the blow he’d been given, Ken tumbled to
the ground, a pile of his former self while another man kicked at him.
“Stop it! Stop it!” Carly shouted making her way to the group,
“Let go of him right now. Back off!”
“My, my, my,” the first man Ken had struck slurred, taking his time to
give Carly a once over, “Look at this. He has his little girl
fighting his battles now. Come here sexy and maybe we’ll think
about letting your boyfriend go.”
The third man laughed wildly before kicking Ken in the stomach once
“I said stop it!” Carly warned sharply pulling her pepper spray out of
her purse and aiming it at the group, “I’m not afraid to use this if I
“Oh how cute,” the first man chuckled with obvious amusement, “Look
Hank, she’s going to mace us. Can you believe that?”
“Do you really think that’s going to make a difference princess,” Hank
replied reaching out hard to yank on Carly’s arm. She pressed the
button on the pepper spray, aiming directly in his face as he squealed
“It looks like it did the trick to me,” Carly remarked with a sneer
turning to address the other two men before her, “Now do any of you
want a piece of this?”
“I think I might,” another voice rose from the darkness and Carly found
herself caged in the arms of yet another man she hadn’t spotted in her
approach. He used one arm to squeeze her in against him while his
other hand tugged at her hair, forcing her head back, “Just what do we
have here tonight, boys? Entertainment?”
“Let go of me or I swear to you,” Carly warned him attempting to wrench
herself out of his arms.
“You’ll what?” he questioned gruffly, his hand tugging her hair again
roughly, “hurt me?”
“You’ll only wish I’d stopped at hurting you,” Carly mouthed behind the
wince his sudden pull on her hair had elicited.
“Hmm, well guess what sweetheart. I like to play rough,” he
informed her gruffly, his hand tearing at the front of her
blouse. “Come on boys. I think we have a wild one tonight.”
“I see that and I’m just dying to try a piece of her,” Hank
explained with a lecherous smile, moving in closer to Carly. She bucked
against the fourth man attempting to get out of his vise grip, but his hold
was too much--too strong. Shifting her gaze to the ground again, she noticed
that Ken still remained where they’d left him moments earlier as she’d
become their latest focus.
“You so don’t want to do this,” Carly warned with an air of disconcert
as she stared down the man before her, “I’m warning you. You have
no idea who I am and if you even think about touching me…”
“Oh I’ll more than think about touching you,” the man growled reaching
out to tear open the front of her blouse.
It ripped with one quick sound and in that moment Carly knew that she
couldn’t just stand back and ignore what was going on. She’d been
trained for these kind of situations as Dave had taught her a few
things about self-defense. Remembering his words, she used the
second to assess the situation before her foot came crashing down on
the man behind her. He released her with a yelping sound as Hank
approached. Carly kicked her knee up to get him right straight
across the groin before she turned her attention to the other man
approaching. He made a move to reach for her, but she ducked at
the last minute, escaping his attempt to snag her.
“Ken, come on. Let’s get out of here,” Carly shouted out looking
to the ground again only to discover that Ken was gone. She felt
a moment of panic surround her before the screeching sound of tires
rose from the parking lot. Looking up, she saw the headlights
before her coming at full speed until finally the car pulled up and the
door opened revealing Ken at the wheel.
“Get in,” he ordered as Carly didn’t hesitate knowing full well that
the men wouldn’t be hindered much longer.
Sliding into the seat beside him, she felt her heart pounding in her
chest, her mind a whirlwind of panic as she spoke out, “Just
drive. Let’s get out of here.”
Ken didn’t have to be told twice. He shifted his car into gear
and sped off into the night leaving the cursing, drunken bikers in the
dust behind them. Once they’d made their way out of the downtown
area, Carly finally found her breath.
“Are you alright,” Ken questioned glancing over at her to discover her
shirt in ruin.
“I’ll be okay,” Carly replied doing her best to cover herself up, “What
about you? Are you hurt?”
“I’ll live,” Ken insisted turning his attention to the road, “but what
the hell did you think you were doing? Why did you think that you
could take those guys on? What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that I didn’t want you dead. That despite this
stupidity streak you’re on that I didn’t want to have to be going to
your funeral in the morning,” Carly snapped back at him before looking
straight ahead of her, “Ken, watch out. There’s a car.”
“I see it,” Ken snapped back at her doing his best to maneuver out of
the way of the approaching headlights, but it was too late. While
he’d managed to get out of the way of the truck that was approaching,
he’d somehow managed to get up onto the sidewalk and before he knew it,
the ice-cream shop before him was closer than he’d realized.
“Ken stop!” Carly’s words screamed in sheer terror as Ken realized it
was too late. The last thing he could remember was the blood
curdling scream Carly let out before the sounds of busting glass
surrounded him leading him to the darkness that only disaster could
bring at a time like this.