Avery entered the courthouse thinking about the day ahead of her.
While she’d tried to maintain an air of professionalism about the
situation, the truth to the matter was that she was more nervous than
ever about what was going to take place today. Today was the day
she’d dreaded since this whole obnoxious trial had been in the making
and as she looked to the empty rows before her, she just prayed that
she would come through for Grady.
“Hey, you okay,” Brant questioned nudging her slightly as Avery offered
up a quick nod.
“I’m fine,” she replied knowing that it was a blatant lie, but as she
saw Grady being brought out into the courtroom escorted by a
guard. “I need to just stay focused right now.”
“If anyone can help him,” Brant motioned to Grady, “I know it’s you.”
“I hope you’re right on that,” Avery thought to herself before taking a
step forward to approach Grady. She’s hadn’t spoken with him as
recently as she would have liked to, but now, well now she hoped that
she could do her best to make him believe that she was the one who
could pull him out of this. She knew she had a fight on her hands
with Carly, but this time she wouldn’t lose. She couldn’t afford
“Avery,” Grady greeted her with a small smile despite the fact it was
obvious that he was exhausted. Immediately she reached out to him
touching his arm gently.
“How are you holding up,” Avery questioned before shaking her head,
“Stupid question. You look terrible. You haven’t been
sleeping, have you?”
“Would you sleep in this place,” Grady threw out a pointed look.
“We’re going to put an end to this madness,” Avery promised him,
offering up a simple squeeze on his arm before she noticed Jade
approaching, “I’ll give you a minute.”
“Thanks,” Grady replied with a small smile before turning his attention
to the woman he loved.
“Hey there,” Jade leaned forward to kiss him knowing full well that the
guards might protest, but she didn’t care. She missed Grady like
crazy and in seeing him again, she felt as if she’d found some freedom
for the first time in a long time. Still as she noticed the
expression on his face, she knew that this battle was a long way from
“I missed you,” Grady confessed with a low breath, “I’ve missed you so
“I’ve missed you too, but I’m confident that we can find a way to get
through this,” Jade promised him hearing the sounds of the doors
opening. She stiffened as she noticed Cameron entering the
courtroom looking smug as ever.
“Hey, forget him,” Avery piped in knowing full well that Cameron’s
presence in the courtroom today was for sheer intimidation purposes,
“We can’t let him think he’s won.”
“Avery’s right,” Grady nodded in response reaching out to touch Jade’s
cheek gently, “Cameron’s not going to beat us. The truth will
“I know,” Jade replied in a feeble attempt to keep her fears from
“All right,” the bailiff spoke, “for the honorable Judge Carmichael.”
“Here it goes,” Avery mouthed watching Jade take a step back before she
looked to Grady, “Ready for this?”
“Do I have a choice,” Grady questioned nervously rubbing his palms
“We’re going to win this one,” Avery assured him before glancing over
at the prosecutor’s table only to discover it empty.
“Please be seated,” Paula Carmichael started ready to address the court
when she too took note of the discovery Avery had made.
Immediately her somber expression transformed to a full blown scowl as
she turned to the bailiff, “Where the hell is the prosecution?”
“Where am I,” Ken slowly groaned out opening his eyes, his vision
“You’re in the hospital,” a person informed him as he looked over at
them trying to clearly see who was next to him.
“What’s wrong? Why am I here?” Ken questioned trying to sit up as the
person next to him tries to motion him to sit back down and he pushed
their hands back.
“I’m your doctor,” the person got out as Ken rubbed the top of his head
taking in a deep breathes. “You were in a car accident.”
“I was?” Ken looked up his vision still blurry.
“How are you feeling?” the doctor questioned as Ken half laughed, “That
“I am fine,” Ken insisted trying to stand up as he slightly fell back.
“You shouldn’t be doing that,” the doctor declared as Ken blew him off
and stood up anyways wobbling before trying to stand up straight. “I
don’t think you should be doing that.”
“Don’t think then,” Ken yelled blinking his eyes trying to see
something in front of him, until a face appeared clearly across from
him…everything else still blurry.
“Sir,” the doctor started before seeing the dazed look on Ken’s face.
“Are you okay?”
“Caitlin?” Ken questioned recognizing the face of the person before
him, “You came back for me.”
“What?” the doctor questioned a slight bit confused.
“Caitlin,” Ken said her name again trying to walk closer to her as he
swayed back and forth.
“Sir?” the doctor questioned once more before Ken gasped seeing her
“Caitlin, no don’t leave me,” Ken whispered trying to call her back as
his heartbeats became faster. “Take me with you.”
“Oh my,” the doctor sighed as Ken fell back and they caught him in
their arms. “Are you okay?”
The doctor tried to wake him up, but he was out cold.
“Just a second,” sighed Seth standing up and walking to the corner of
the room and answering his cell phone. “Hello?”
“Seth, it’s Ria. I have some bad news,” she sighed as worry overcame
his mind thinking the worst.
“What? What’s wrong?” he questioned quickly as he heard the sigh escape
from Ria’s mouth.
“It’s Ken,” she stated lightly making him raise his eyebrow in
“What about Ken?” he questioned lightly before looking back at Blake.
“He was in a car accident,” she informed him as he shook his head.
“What? Is he okay?” Seth quickly questioned hearing her assuring voice
start up again.
“He is fine, but he is unconscious right now,” she stated as he nodded.
“Alright, thanks,” he sighed before hanging up his phone and walking
over to Blake. “Blake?”
“Yeah,” Blake half smiled looking up at him seeing his worried
expression on his face. “What’s wrong?”
“Blake, it is Ken,” Seth started before she cut him off.
“What did he do now?” she questioned lightly before she stood up
resting her hands on her waist.
“He was in a car accident,” he informed her as she gasped and looked
“Oh my God. Is he okay?” she questioned looking back up at him
and seeing him nod. “We have to go see him. We have to make sure he
isn‘t hurt. That he hasn‘t done something stupid that…”
“Hey calm down, everything is going to be alright. Ria said that
he‘s okay, and I believe her,” Seth assured her as he started up again,
“She just wanted us to know because she thought you might want to be
there for him. We can go see him, but she said that he‘s going to
be alright, I made sure of that.”
“I’m not so sure about that Seth,” Blake replied thinking about her
brother’s retreat from Caitlin’s memorial, “After what we saw at the
church, I’m so afraid things will never be alright again with him.”
“Avery, can I talk to you?” Brant questioned seeing her motion to hold
on a second while she finished up her conversation with Grady.
Things had been put on hold as they waited for Carly to arrive and she
was doing her best to keep Grady calm under the circumstances.
Still Brant knew that what he had to say couldn‘t wait. “No, I really
need to talk to you.”
“Okay fine. Hold that thought Grady,” she suggested turning her
attention to Brant before nodding unsure of what he was up to.
She leaned in towards Brant, “What is it?”
“I think we should take this elsewhere,” Brant motioned to the doors
“Brant, we’re in the middle of a trial here. While the ADA
doesn’t think it’s smart to be here on time, I’m not leaving my
client,” she replied with a small glare, “Whatever you have to say, you
can say it here.”
“Fine,” Brant frowned looking around the courtroom before dropping his
voice to a muted whisper, “You know how Carly isn’t here?”
“Yeah, I think we‘ve all kind of realized it seeing as she‘s more than
half an hour late here,” she nodded impatiently not knowing where he
was getting at.
“Well, she was with Ken last night,” he started taking in a deep breath
thinking about the news that had just been sent on his cell phone in a
text message from Blake, “They were in a car accident together.”
“What? Is Ken okay?” Avery questioned with obvious concern as he
nodded. “How did this happen? Does that mean that they’ve
been hurt…that Ken…”
“They said he is okay, just unconscious right now,” Brant informed her
as she shrugged. “Blake’s message was rather vague, but as you
can see it looked urgent.”
With that Brant handed his phone over to Avery for a moment’s
inspection. Finally she looked up to him with worried eyes.
“What about Carly?” she questioned seeing him shake his head.
“I‘m not sure, but I’m willing to guess that’s why she was not here.
They really didn’t give too much information on her,” Brant stated
rubbing his chin lightly. “I suppose though that the judge should
know about this.”
“Well duh,” Avery threw out a pointed look, “but still what are you
going to do about Ken? If he‘s at the hospital and he was in some
kind of accident, surely you can‘t ignore the message.”
“I have no idea, but I know that I have to go see him,” Brant declared
before she nodded.
“Of course you do. Just let me even this out with the judge and
pass the information along and I’ll go with you since obviously we‘re
not going to have a trial without the prosecution here. I can tag
along with you to the hospital after that…to make sure he is okay,”
Avery assured him as he rubbed the back of his neck.
“I’m sure this is nothing. Ken‘s all about drama these days, but
the fact that he‘s dragged Carly Matthews into it, well that doesn‘t
say a lot about what‘s going on. Somehow I have a feeling there‘s
only a half story we‘re getting since they‘re both in the hospital,”
Brant shrugged thinking of how stupid his brother must have been now.
“Carly,” Dave whispered to himself after hearing part of Brant and
Avery’s conversation. While he hadn‘t intentionally gone out of
his way to pay attention to what they were saying, he‘d been worried
himself about Carly and when she didn‘t show up, he knew that wasn‘t a
good sign. Quickly rising from where he sat, he silently excused
himself from the courtroom ready to find out if there was something
seriously wrong with his ex-lover.
The heat felt smothering as Angela leaned over her desk hitting on the
old heater beside her. The damn thing hadn’t worked in months,
yet now for some unknown reason it was cranking out heat like she
couldn’t believe. Then again as she smacked the heater, she
realized that it wasn’t really shooting out any kind of air. More
so the warmth in the room was coming from inside her head once again.
“Damn it,” she pushed away from her desk feeling another wave of nausea
rush upon her. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with at a
time like this, she thought to herself. Trying to regain her
bearings, she leaned over the desktop breathing in slowly.
“You can do this,” she tried to coax herself into staying focused
despite the crazy morning she’d had. If every day had been like
this one, then she might seriously consider a career change, she
thought to herself trying to help her mind come up with a distraction,
but instead her train of thoughts were brought to an end by a tapping
on her door.
“Come on in,” Angela spoke out to the person on the other side of the
“Doctor,” the woman before her began desperately, “you must come with
“What’s wrong,” Angela questioned sensing the nervousness behind the
“There’s been an accident…there’s a man…he’s….” the woman began
desperately, “Please come and see.”
“Alright,” Angela nodded reaching for her jacket, but then stopping
short after she thought of the heat that had been smothering her all
morning. “Give me a second.”
“Come quick,” the woman commanded desperately.
“Doctor, I tried to explain that you were busy in here, but…” Angela’s
assistant offered up once she’d reached the office.
“It’s alright,” Angela nodded in complete understanding. She
grabbed her medical bag before turning to her assistant, “I’ll be back
in a little while, but for now get a room prepared just in case.”
“But what about your patient? About…” her assistant began again.
“I’ll tend to him when I return. You said it yourself that there
haven’t been any changes in his condition,” Angela reminded her
thinking about the coma patient she’d been tending to over the last few
months. It was bad enough that she’d had Cameron trying to push
himself into her life when she simply wasn’t interested in dealing with
that. However, she wasn’t about to turn her patient away.
She had so much going on--so many things happening with her research,
yet when she’d been faced with a comatose patient, she knew she had to
do her best. She’d thought that maybe just maybe today was the
day for things to change, but alas the situation was the same--that was
until her latest arrival. That certainly changed the situation
for the day.
“Page me if anything happens,” Angela explained seriously hoping that
maybe this was a sign of things to come.
“And if Mr. Stone happens to come sniffing around again,” her assistant
“Tell him that I left the country,” Angela scowled shuddering at the
thought of Cameron. If he found her--especially now, well she
knew she’d be in for it. She’d done so very well at avoiding him
thus far, but she knew that sooner or later her luck would run
out. He knew full well where she’d be working, but she wasn’t
about to sit back and have him baby-sit her when she had a life.
She had things happening that she didn’t want anyone to know
about--especially not Cameron.
“Come quick,” the village woman began again with a low whimper.
“I’m ready,” Angela nodded in response pushing her thoughts of Cameron
aside, “let’s go.”
Following the woman out of her small medical offices, Angela was taken
by foot over the lush, foliage of the small island feeling the breeze
from the water crash over her body. Okay, so she’d thought that
being stuck in the office was bad, but this was most certainly worse
even though she’d taken to loving the water lately.
“This way,” the woman continued racing down the beach at a pace that
Angela was certain she couldn’t keep up with. Still she’d managed
to leap ahead coming in close behind the woman.
Once Angela noticed the woman slowing down, she spotted where the woman
was looking. There on the beach lay a man face down in the
sand. His clothing was tattered and darkened by something Angela
couldn’t quite place. It didn’t matter though, she reminded
herself before racing over to the water, hoping that the man before her
wasn’t dead. This wouldn’t be the first time someone drifted to
the shore like this--abused by the sun, dehydrated and torn to
pieces. More often than not, she’d encountered the unsavory types
who’d come to this place in the hopes of escaping a life that they’d
left behind. They’d been ruthless, manipulative criminals seeking
an out, but given what she’d seen with this man’s appearance she had to
question her thoughts a bit.
“Is he dead…” the woman beside her asked while Angela knelt into the
sand beside the man.
“I’m not sure,” Angela replied gently reaching out to touch his sand
darkened shoulder. She felt the side of his neck seeking out a
pulse and as she found one, she let out a breath of relief. “He’s
The woman beside her started to say a few prayers in Spanish as Angela
gently coaxed the new arrival over onto his back. Immediately her
eyes drifted over his handsome features that had been scraped by the
brutality the waters had inflicted upon him. She leaned in closer
to him realizing that he wasn’t breathing.
“You’re not leaving me,” Angela replied taking a step towards saving
him by administering mouth to mouth. He was unresponsive at
first, but then after a grueling few minutes, he started to choke up
water. Instinctively, she turned him on his side letting him
cough it out before he fell onto his back again.
His wild, frightened eyes opened and Angela tried to take a better look
at him. His jaw dropped as if he had something to say to her--to
reveal to her, but only muted, barely there whispers came out.
“What’s your name,” Angela questioned reaching out to touch the side of
his face as it appeared that he was slipping in and out of
consciousness. “Talk to me…”
He blinked back at her once, twice, three times before he spoke in a
pinched whisper, “She can’t get away with this. She can’t…” he
trailed off slipping back into unconsciousness as Angela reached out to
him hoping to save him from whatever fate it was that the water had
tried to seal upon him.
“Don’t think you’re leaving me. Not today,” Angela spoke to her
latest patient all the while realizing that the island had become a
suddenly smaller place.
“What will become of him?” the woman questioned with obvious worry,
“Should I go get Kevin to bring the Jeep?”
“Yes Marta, that would be a good idea,” Angela nodded reaching into her
medical bag to check this stranger’s vitals.
“Okay,” Marta nodded in agreement racing to her small house that was
not far from the spot where this mystery man lay.
Reaching out to push his hair from his face Angela thought about those
bewitching eyes that had spoken to her seconds earlier. There was
something about this man--something that could quite easily compromise
her project, but she couldn’t turn him away because of it. She
needed to help him. Granted she knew full well that trusting
someone had lead to trouble in the past as she’d leaned the hard way
before. She was still paying for that mistake even now, but with
this man--well, he wasn’t someone to change her life. He was just
someone who needed her help. He needed someone to bring him back
to what he was and in that moment as Angela took a close look at him,
she realized that she would do what she set out to do when she’d taken
her medical oath so very long ago. She would be a doctor first,
the rest would come later.
The project could wait--even if Cameron had a problem with it. Of
course, that was easier said than done, Angela realized with a slight
frown. Cameron would be furious for her bringing someone on the
island. He’d try to find her--he’d learn her horrible secret and
she’d lose her freedom, but it was a risk she had to take if it meant
she would save this one man before her. It was something she had
“I can’t believe this,” Cameron hissed hitting the wall with his palm
“I know,” Susan nodded rolling her eyes, “I don’t know what that girl
is trying to do.”
“Well, she delayed this trial making Grady get an extra chance. I
thought that we were working on securing his position behind bars
Susan,” he growled biting on his bottom lip.
“He has no chance when you are running up against him in all
odds. I‘m telling you regardless of what the ADA is up to right
about now, she‘s not going to effect the outcome,” Susan pointed out
seeing him shake his head.
“I don’t care,” he started pointing at her, “I want to know where this
girl is right now. I want to know everything about this Carly
Matthews. I don‘t want to take any chances with this Susan.
This has to work in our favor and I don‘t want her becoming a wild
“She won‘t be. Like everyone else, she‘s got a price and we‘ll
find it sooner or later,” she smiled seeing him nod.
“Of course we will and I want you to go do it for me,” Cameron smiled
as she raised her eyebrow curiously, “You are going to go have a little
chat with her.”
“I am?” she questioned bluntly seeing him nod.
“Yes you,” he smiled, “You better make it good too.”
“Well let’s just say she and I have had our own little introduction
already,” Susan thought back to her confrontation with Carly, a sneer
spreading over her face, “She and I have common interests.”
“So then it won’t be hard to expand upon them with her,” Cameron noted
eyeing her intently.
“It might be a challenge, but I might be up for it,” she decided
licking her lips at the possibility of going one on one with Carly and
finding a way to manipulate her.
“I won’t only find out about her,” Susan informed him with a slight
grin, “I will convince her how much of a bad guy he really is.”
“That’s a good girl,” he winked before seeing her smile, “Now go to
“Will do,” she winked before he rubbed his hands together proudly.
“Grady stands no chance against me,” he smiled devilishly before
putting his hands in his pockets.
“Isn’t that the truth. If that son of a bitch hadn‘t screwed me
over with his little game before, I might almost feel sorry for him,”
Susan laughed before he motioned her to leave.
“Save your pity for another time Susan. You have work to do,“ He
waved her on once again before smiling to himself, “Grady will go to
jail if it is the last thing I do.”
“Grady,” Kyle called catching up to Grady as Grady smiled.
“Hey man,” Grady smiled before rubbing his hands together lightly
slightly worried. “Thanks for getting here today.”
“It’s no problem, I’ll be here for you every day if I have to in order
to show that jury that you‘re innocent,” Kyle assured him before
starting up again, “Listen, you are not going to go to jail.”
“How am I not? I have nothing to help me here. I know Avery‘s
trying, but if today is any indication of what‘s ahead, I have to admit
I can‘t help but feel a bit concerned about how this is going to turn
out,” Grady half laughed before Kyle put his hand on his arm.
“I have a lead okay? I am going to get you out of this,” Kyle promised
him as Grady half smiled.
“Well, what exactly is this lead?” Grady questioned seeing Kyle bite
down on his lip and rub the back of his neck.
“I can’t say at this moment,” Kyle stated glancing over Cameron who was
in the back of the room glaring at them.
“Does it have something to do with him?” Grady wondered seeing him nod.
“Kind of,” Kyle started with a slight shrug, “All I can say, is I am
going to bust you out of here if it is the last thing I do.”
“I trust you man,” Grady sighed patting Kyle on the back, “Just don’t
let me down. Jade‘s counting on this turning out in our favor
“I won’t, believe me I won’t,” Kyle declared, “I am not going to stop
until I know you are going to get out of here.”
“Alright, just don’t over do it,” Grady sighed looking away.
“I’ll do what it takes and I have to go right now, but I will see you
soon okay?” Kyle questioned seeing Grady nod.
“See you man,” Grady shook his hand before Kyle started to walk away.
Kyle turned around real quick to see what he needed as Grady spoke up
Dave rushed down the hallway quickly making his way to Carly’s room in
a panic. While he’d been informed that she’d been brought in, he
hadn’t been able to get in anything more than a general area where she
was at. After a few questions, he managed to get enough
information to send him in the right direction. Now as he stood
outside Carly’s door, he just prayed that he hadn’t wasted an
opportunity to make things right with them. He thought back to
their last conversation and he just hoped he’d get a second chance to
“Carly,” Dave spoke her name finding her fidgeting on the hospital bed
despite the fact that a nurse was arguing with her about staying still.
“You have to relax, Ms. Matthews,” the nurse informed her with a
“I’m not going to relax. I have to call my office and let them
know that,” Carly spotted Dave out of the corner of her eye, “Oh Dave,
thank God. You have to convince them to let me out of here
considering that I was supposed to be in trial this morning, but things
were kind of complicated and…”
“And you’re okay,” Dave couldn’t help but smile letting out a breath of
relief as he approached her.
“Of course I’m okay,” Carly replied with a quick nod waving her hand in
the nurse’s face to try to get her to leave her alone, “but I’m not
going to be when Judge Carmichael has my ass for not being at the
“Ms. Matthews,” the nurse snapped impatiently before Dave waved at her
“I’ll have a few words with her,” Dave promised flashing the nurse a
small smile, “I’ll calm her down for you, but just give us a few
“Fine, but your doctor isn’t going to be happy,” the nurse huffed
“Neither is my boss, but there isn’t anything we can do to change that,
now can we?” Carly glared at the petite woman before she left to give
Carly and Dave some privacy.
Shaking his head at her, Dave finally found the words to speak up at
long last, “What were you thinking?”
“Hey, she was yipping at me from the moment she arrived Dave--telling
me what I could and couldn’t do and can you believe that she wouldn’t
let me make a phone call? One friggin’ phone call to save my
career and you’d think that I’d asked them to donate a spleen or
something,” she ranted, anger burning behind her dark eyes as if she
was oblivious to the cuts and scrapes that tarnished her otherwise
“Carly, look at you,” Dave motioned to the bandage that wrapped up her
arm, “Do you have any idea how lucky you are?”
“You call this lucky,” she hissed up at him, “Dave, I had to be in
court today to begin trial on one of the biggest cases of my career and
these idiots wouldn’t let me check myself out. I tried to talk
reason with them, but it just wasn’t happening. Hell, after the
morning I’ve had, I’m about ready to take up smoking again.”
“Carly,” Dave touched her shoulders firmly, bringing her complaints to
a stop, “You and Ken just went through a shop window. His car was
totaled and from what I’ve seen of the accident report, you’re lucky to
be alive right now.”
“I realize that,” Carly nodded in response before offering up a
simple smile, “I started wearing my seatbelt like you always told me to
do. Beyond that, well this looks worse than it is. They thought
I had a concussion last night, but I think that was just their way of keeping
me cooped up in here longer so that the defense could get more time to prepare
for what was going on today…”
“Carly, stop,” Dave warned her, watching her eyes fill with something
foreign to what she was saying, “You don’t have to pretend with
me. I know that this has you shaken up. I just don’t
understand what you would be doing in the car with Ken knowing that his
blood alcohol level was through the roof.”
“Dave, it wasn’t like that,” Carly started wanting to find a way to
make this situation less abrasive than it had become, “Ken was trying
to help and…”
“Help?” Dave repeated in a pinched voice, “Carly, he drove straight
through his ice-cream shop. I don’t think that was helping
“Well, at least the owner won’t be suing him for property damages
considering that it was his own…” she started seeing he found no humor
in her attempt at keeping things light. “Look Dave, I’m
fine. It’s okay.”
“No, Carly it’s not okay damn it. Do you have any idea how bad
this could’ve turned out? Do you know how this could’ve
gone? What could’ve happened,” Dave’s voice rose with obvious
emotion, “Carly, I could’ve lost you last night.”
“Dave, I…” she stopped herself taking in his words, “You what?”
“I said ‘I could’ve lost you‘,” he repeated feeling as if he’d had the
wind knocked out of him at the thought of what her accident could’ve
meant to his future, “Carly, why would you do something so stupid?”
“Ken was in trouble Dave. It all happened so fast and,” she
stopped herself contemplating his words, “Would it have really mattered
if things would’ve turned out differently?”
“How can you even ask that,” he frowned down at her, “Carly, given what
we had together--what I felt about you, how can you even think that it
wouldn’t matter if you were hurt?”
“Dave, I just…” she started feeling herself shaken by the moment
happening between them. Seeing the expression on his face, she
found herself at a loss.
“Carly, I can’t believe that you could even think that I wouldn’t care
if you were gone,” he sat down on the hospital bed along side of
her. Unable to help himself, he eases his fingers against her
cheek, watching the way she trembled against his touch, “Carly you and
I shared a life together. We had a love that was so special to
me. What we had…no,” he shook his head, clearing his throat as he
drew in a breath, “what we have is something I can’t bear to let slip
away again. When I told you the other day that I didn’t want you
here…that I didn’t want you back in town, I only said that because I
wanted to hurt you like you’d hurt me when you left. I wanted you
to feel the way I did when I thought you didn’t care about me.”
“Dave, it wasn’t about my not caring,” Carly insisted unable to hide
her tears a moment longer, “I wanted to be with you--to spend the rest
of my life with you, but I made a stupid mistake. I never
“I never should’ve let you go,” Dave replied in an impassioned tone, “I
still can’t let you go.”
“Dave,” Carly spoke his name, her heart racing in her chest at the
nearness of him.
“Carly, I love you,” Dave revealed, unable to hold back on what had
been buried inside his heart from the moment she’d walked out of his
“You do,” she replied with tear stained lashes, “You mean that?”
“Of course I mean that Carly,” Dave explained wiping at her tears as
they fell from her face, “There hasn’t been a time since you’ve left
that I haven’t thought about us picking up where we left off.
There hasn’t been a moment when I haven’t wondered about what it
would’ve been like if we’d stayed together--if somehow we could’ve
worked it out…”
“Dave, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for everything that I put you
through,” she started to apologize only to feel him press his finger
over the center of her lips to silence her.
“I’m the one who should apologize,” Dave insisted, “because I never
should’ve made you feel that leaving was a better option--that you
weren’t my top priority. Carly, I’ve spent all these years
burying myself in my career--in isolating myself from everyone and
anyone I’ve ever loved, but I don’t want to make that mistake
anymore. I don’t want to do it in my personal life and most of
all I don’t want to do it with you.”
“Dave there are so many things that…” she started again only to feel
her words come to an abrupt ending with the soft press of his lips
against hers. While she’d thought about this moment--imagined
what it would be like to have Dave close to her again, she never in a
million years would’ve thought that they’d be sharing a moment like
this--that he’d ever confess that he still loved her, but now as their
kiss continued, she was starting to believe that there was a place for
second chances in their life.
“Dave,” she spoke his name as they parted, her dark eyes reaching down
“I’ve missed you so much Carly,” he confessed from his heart, wanting
nothing more than to take her into his arms and hold her from there on
“I’ve missed you too,” she replied leaning into him, “more than you can
even begin to imagine. I know we made mistakes, but…”
“But it’s in the past,” Dave cut her off abruptly pulling her into his
arms, “It’s over now and I don’t want to look back. I only want
to look forward and say a thanks that last night Ken didn’t find a way
to take you away from me forever.”
“Ken didn’t mean for this. He didn’t mean for any of this,” Carly
replied unable to refrain from savoring the strong hold he had on
her. However, the moment was bittersweet for her as she thought
about the turn of events that had lead up to this moment in time.
No, she and Ken hadn’t meant for any of this to happen, but now that it
did, she wondered if she and Dave could ever truly be happy together
after what she’d done. Somehow as good as this reunion felt
between them, deep in her heart she feared that it may be too good to
“Angie, what are you doing,” Kevin Adonis questioned watching her tend
to her latest find on the beach.
“My job and if you’re just going to sit there and question me, then you
can leave,” Angela frowned giving Kevin a firm look from over her
shoulder. She finished up with the IV line she’d worked up for
the mystery man who‘d washed up on the beach before she gave him one
last worried look.
“Are you sure taking him in like this is such a good idea,” Kevin
questioned blankly giving the man before him a long once over.
“Kevin, you know as well as I do if I didn’t bring him back here, then
he wouldn’t make it through the night,” she explained turning her
attention to Kevin before scooting him out of the private room she’d
set this latest arrival up in.
“Yes, I realize that and I understand why you’re doing it, but Angie if
Cameron finds out that…” Kevin started to warn her, a crease in his
brow as he folded his oversized arms in front of his chest.
“What Cam doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Angela reminded him with a
pleading expression, “Besides it wouldn’t be the first time he didn’t
know what was going on here. Kevin, when I agreed not to run
away, you promised me that you’d make sure that you didn’t tell Cameron
anything that I didn’t want him to know.”
“I realize that Angie, but you’re asking me to keep some pretty big
secrets from him,” he threw out a pointed look before shaking his head
at her, “Angie, you can’t hide this situation from him forever.”
“Of course I can,” she argued closing the door behind her as they
walked out into the hallway, “Cameron doesn’t need to know about the
bad choice I made before and this, well this doesn’t apply to him.”
“You’re bringing someone else into this place--into the lab and…” Kevin
“And I’m doing what I went to medical school to do. I’m helping
this man and if Cameron has a problem with it, then he’s going to have
to get over it. I’m not turning him away,” Angela cut back
“Fine, but when he hears about this--and he will because he always
does, I knew nothing about this,” Kevin decided with a look of heavy
“Look Kevin, he pays you to keep an eye on me. You’ve more than
done your job lately since I haven’t been able to get more than five
feet out of your sight without you chasing after me,” Angela hissed in
response, obvious irritation in her tone.
“Gee, when you put it that way Angie, you make me sound like I’m so
welcome in your life,” he rolled his eyes at her comment, “I thought
that we were friends…”
“We are friends,” she sighed bringing her fingers through her hair,
“You know you’re the only one of these idiots that I actually enjoy
“Idiots huh?” Kevin arched a curious brow, “Is that how I rate in your
“No, Kevin. It’s just that I mean…that I…” she stopped herself
realizing that nothing she said or did tonight would get her out of the
hole she was digging herself into, “It’s just that lately with
everything that’s been going on, well, I just don’t want to worry about
Cameron. I don’t want him trying to hunt me down and make me
miserable over this…”
“I understand that Angie, which is why I promised you that your secret
is safe with me,” he softened taking a step towards her, “though I
really wish you would’ve told me who this creep was that broke your
heart so that I could go find him and break his face.”
“He’s not important,” she sighed overcome with exhaustion, “what is
important however is that Cameron never knows about this--about any of
“I still don’t like the idea of hiding things from him,” Kevin frowned
once more, “Given the way he reacts to things…”
“That’s especially why he can’t ever know about what I’ve done. I
can’t let him find out that I was stupid enough to get myself wrapped
up in a situation over my head,” Angela pleaded with him, “Kevin, you
can’t tell him a thing. If he calls you, then you have to…”
“Yes, I know the drill, but that doesn’t mean I have to be comfortable
with it,” he sighed down at her.
“I realize that Kevin,” she reached out to pat his arm gently, “but at
the same time I hope you know how much this means to me.”
“I do,” he nodded with understanding behind his dark eyes, “Still
I think you’re going about this all wrong.”
“Maybe I am, but it’s my problem. I’ll deal with it the way I
have to and if that means without Cameron’s interference, then so be
it,” Angela declared turning her attention to the door she’d just
exited. “On that note, I think I’m going to go check in on him
again and make sure that he’s okay.”
“I don’t see him waking up anytime soon Angie,” Kevin replied thinking
about the man they’d brought back to the private facility that she
“Even so, I just think I’d feel better if I kept an eye on him
tonight,” she explained with a small smile, “You’re more than welcome
to join me and we can play cards or something if you really think that
I’m going to get into some kind of trouble. Of course if you do
that, then you’d have to cancel that hot date of yours and…”
“And you’re totally manipulating the situation,” he wiggled his finger
at her, “I know your game Angie.”
“Even so, how much trouble can I get into with him tonight?” she
pointed out looking at Kevin expectantly, “He’s unconscious. I
don’t see him being much of a threat or a problem.”
“You know that I’m not supposed to leave you alone…” Kevin started.
“But then again, when was the last time you had a date? I mean a
real, honest to goodness date,” she teased with a wicked smirk, “And
you know, after the exchange you two had at the market, I could feel
definite sparkage happening there.”
“And you’re just trying to get rid of me,” he folded his arms in front
of his chest again.
“Fine, don’t go then,” she shrugged her shoulders, “but if true love
passes you by because you were babysitting me, then don’t come back and
blame it on me…”
“You know Cameron’s going to kill me,” Kevin frowned at the thought of
what Cameron would say to his going out on a date instead of keeping an
eye on Angela.
“Cameron won’t ever know. You have my word on that,” she promised
with a wink before turning to the room, “and don’t worry I won’t wait
up. I’ll just get details in the morning.”
“You’re far more trouble than you’re worth Angie,” Kevin shook his head
“Yes, but you love me anyways,” she blew a kiss in his general
direction, “Now go and have yourself a good time. It’s long past
due that you got some action.”
“Yeah, well I’ll keep that in mind as I’m worrying about you and your
situation,” he replied watching her cringe at his words. “Look
Angie, I didn’t mean anything by that other than…”
“I got what you meant Kevin. Now go before you’re stuck playing
go fish all night,” she waved him on dismissively before entering the
room to see her mystery arrival again. Carefully closing the door
behind her, she just looked at him seeing the lines in his sun
“Who are you,” she questioned reaching out to push a piece of his dark
hair from his eyes. There was something about this man--something that
had her more curious than ever about where he’d come from. Unlike
the men she’d encountered in the past, he had a certain handsomeness to
him unlike the hard, coldness she’d often experienced in her line of
“So tell me, what brought you here,” she questioned leaning back in the
chair she’d placed beside his bed. As she sat in silence, she
started thinking about what it was that could’ve lead him to this
island--to this place. Her mind was reeling with
possibilities. This man was different--lost somehow and as she
settled into her seat beside him, she wondered what stories he would
have to tell when he woke up again. While he hadn’t said much
more than a few words on the beach, Angela was sure that whatever it
was he had to say would be nothing short of incredible.
“What were you thinking Ken,” Brant snapped at his brother unsure how
the hell Ken had gone from having been the strong, solid foundation in
the Ashford family to becoming the mess that lay before him, “How could
you do something like this?”
“Don’t lecture me on what I’ve done,” Ken glared up at him from where
he sat, “because it’s nothing in comparison to your exploits!”
“I’ve never gotten behind the wheel of a car when I was blasted out of
my mind. Do you have any idea how many people you could’ve hurt
with what you’ve done?” Brant shouted back at him, shaking his head
with heavy disapproval, “You could’ve killed someone--maybe even
“Would that have been such a loss?” Ken shrugged his shoulders blowing
off his brother’s words.
“Ken, what is your problem?” Brant marched in towards him, “Are you so
ready to kiss it all away now that Caitlin’s gone that you’re going to
turn into this?”
“Don’t lecture me Brant,” Ken sneered in response, “I don’t need to
hear this--especially not from you. I don‘t want to hear it…”
“Too damn bad Ken,” Brant argued with him, “Someone has to talk some
sense into you and if you’re not going to listen to anyone else, then
you’re going to have to hear it from me. Ken, you’re making a
mistake. A huge one and if you continue to keep on doing this…”
“What does it matter Brant?” Ken questioned bluntly, “I shouldn’t even
be here right now, but for some twisted reason fate keeps screwing with
me. This should’ve done me in, but no instead God keeps me around
to punish me.”
“Ken, would you snap out of it long enough to see what it is you’re
doing? Not only did you fly out of Caitlin’s memorial like a
lunatic, but you almost killed Carly Matthews in your quest to bury
yourself. Were you looking to destroy her too?”
“Carly,” Ken repeated blinking back for a moment, seemingly sobering up
at the mention of her name, “How is she?”
“Last I heard she’ll survive, but honestly what were you
thinking? Do you have any idea how bad this is? Any notion
about what could happen now?”
“Look, I made a mistake Brant, but at the time…” Ken began feeling a
throbbing in his temple.
“At the time it was irrelevant because you’re set on destroying
yourself. You’re so blinded by your grief that you’re only making
things worse. Ken, this isn’t what Caitlin would’ve wanted.
She wouldn’t have liked this new you that is emerging…”
“Don’t stand there and presume you even had the first clue what Caitlin
would’ve wanted,” Ken snarled up at him, “Given how horrible you
were to her, you’re the last person to talk about…”
“Ken, I may have been an ass, but my God this takes the cake. I
don’t know what it is you’re trying to accomplish, but after this,
well, not only could it have killed you on a personal level, but
professionally…” Brant shook his head at him, “This is exactly the kind
of bait that men like Cameron have been waiting for you to take…”
“And of course this goes back to you and how this effects you, doesn’t
it?” Ken hissed in response, “You don’t care that I almost died.
You don’t care what I’m going through, but rather you’re afraid of what
this will do to our image--to the glorified Ashford name…”
“That’s not what this is about Ken. This is about trying to save
my brother from making the biggest mistake of his life,” Brant
explained desperately, “Ken, I love you and I hate to see you like
“I’m sure you do,” Ken rolled his eyes, “I mean let’s
be honest Brant. When it gets down to it, I’m sure you’re
loving this. I’m sure you’re enjoying every single second
of my misery because it brings you one step closer to feeling superior.”
“No, Ken, that’s not what this is about at all,” Brant threw his hands
up in the air, “If you’re not going to listen to reason for me, then at
least try to think about Blake. What do you think she would’ve
felt knowing that you’d died last night? How do you think it
would’ve effected her to lose you on top of everything else?”
“Brant don’t even…” Ken warned.
“Ken, Caitlin was her best friend. She loved her too and she
loves you. It was bad enough that she had to go through this with
mom and then with our father, but for you to leave too… Ken,
she’s worries sick about you out there. You have no idea how hard
this was on her when she got the call about what happened…” Brant
snapped at him, feeling his voice rise with emotion, “Ken, you are one
of the only people in this world that Blake can turn to and for you to
do something like this…”
“Brant, I don’t want to hear it,” Ken tried to further dismiss his
brother’s words, but as the door to his hospital room opened and Blake
stepped inside, he knew there would be no more ignoring them.
“Ken, how could this happen,” Blake questioned unable to refrain from
crying. She rushed over to his bed, her blue eyes clouded with
tears, “Ken, when I thought I could’ve lost you…”
Before Ken could respond, Blake threw her arms around him hugging him
desperately. All Ken could do was hug her back as his gaze locked
“You scared the life out of me and when I got the call…I was so afraid
that you were gone too,” Blake sobbed harder unable to release her hold
on her brother.
“Blake, it’s okay,” Ken tried to soothe her despite his own pain, “I’m
going to be fine. Everything is going to be okay.”
“No, it’s not. It’s not okay Ken. I should’ve been there
for you. I should’ve tried to help you more than I’ve been doing
lately instead of being so damned selfish…” she argued with him, “If I
would’ve thought about what it was you were going through, then…”
“Blake, honey this wasn’t your fault. This isn’t anyone’s fault,
but my own,” Ken replied hating to see the pain behind her eyes, “Last
night I was stupid and I never, ever should’ve did what I did. I
didn’t mean to hurt you or Carly or anyone else for that matter.
If I could take it back…”
“It’s a little too late for that Ashford,” Patrick announced entering
the room with a pompous air about him.
“I tried to stop him from coming inside,” Avery explained rushing in
behind Patrick, but it was too late.
“What’s going on here?” Brant questioned stepping away from his
brother’s bedside. “What is this about?”
“This is about his little joyride last night,” Patrick’s jaw clenched
with each biting word he made. His glare fell directly on Ken
before he delivered his last final blow, “Kenneth Ashford, you’re under
“No,” Blake gasped in horror, “he’s not under arrest. This must
be some kind of mistake…some kind of…”
“It’s no mistake,” Patrick remarked simply, “I have direct orders from
the chief to take him down.”
“The chief you say,” Ken repeated with a snarl, “Gee, now why doesn’t
this surprise me? So where is good old Dave? Too chicken to
come down here and tell me the news himself?”
“Don’t say another word Ken,” Brant warned him sharply, “I’ll call Hart
“And nothing,” Ken shook his head defiantly, “You can go tell your boss
that I’m not going anywhere. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Not in the eyes of the law,” Patrick assured him with a smirk, “That
was a big mistake in doing what you did last night.”
“We’ll fix this Ken,” Blake promised him fearing the worst as Patrick
grabbed Ken roughly before slapping handcuffs on him.
“This isn’t about the accident,” Ken replied coldly thinking about his
long time rivalry with his friend. Suddenly things were starting
to make sense. First Brant’s intervention and now this.
This had to be the result of Dave’s jealously. This was about
Carly--nothing more than that.
“Not another word Ken,” Brant urged him again pulling out his cell
“Come on Ashford,” Patrick shoved him towards the door, “You and I have
a meeting downtown.”
“That we do,” Ken replied with a sneer realizing that if it was a fight
Dave wanted, a fight he’d get. That much Ken was sure of.