Episode 172

“Hello?” Jenna questioned answering her phone quickly after taking it out of her back pocket.

“Hi Jenna,” she heard mothers voice on the other end of the phone.

“Oh hi mom, what can I do for you?” Jenna wondered before looking backing at Hart.

“Well Preston said we don’t have family dinners anymore and I was wondering if you possibly wanted to come to dinner?” Dorothy questioned lightly.

“Sure, I would love to,” Jenna nodded with a slight smile, “I will be over in a little bit.”

“Sounds great,” Dorothy agreed with a slight smile, “We will be waiting for you.”

“Okay, see you soon,” Jenna grinned before hanging up her phone to only feel arms wrap around her waist.

“Who was that?” Hart questioned kissing her cheek lightly.

“That was my mother,” she informed him making him look up.

“Your mother?” he questioned slightly seeing her nod, “What did she want?”

“Nothing really, she just wanted to invite us to dinner,” Jenna declared enthusiastically.

“When? Now?” Hart wonder seeing her nod lightly as he slightly sighed.

“What’s wrong? You didn’t want to go?” she wondered seeing him shrug.

“I was just hoping to spend my night with you,” he stated with a simple shrug. “But I guess we could go, that’s okay.”

“Thanks Hart,” she smiled kissing him lightly, “We have plenty of time we could spend together.”

“I know but just remember when your mother decides she wants me to leave that you‘re coming with me,” he warned.

“She’s not going to kick you out because she knows better,” Jenna reminded him, “She’s not going to be a problem even if she thinks she can tell us how things should be.”

“Given what she thinks she saw, I know I’m on her hit list,” Hart frowned slightly.

“Yeah, well she can have you there all she likes because it doesn’t matter.  I love you and that’s what counts.”

“I love you too and don’t you ever forget that,” he whispered before grabbing her coat and helping her into it. “Well, lets get going then.”

“Okay,” Jenna grinned hugging him lightly, “Thanks.”

“Anything for you,” Hart grinned slightly before closing the door behind him.


Mindy sat at her desk trying to make sense of what came next now that Russ and Caitlin were gone.  She looked around the paper seeing things were business as usual, yet in it’s own way nothing would ever be the same.  Even today as she sat at her desk preparing to work on a piece she’d felt enthusiasm about before all hell broke loose in Coral Valley, she found that she was too distracted to even concentrate on what was in front of her.  She found herself returning her attention to Russell’s empty office knowing that he would never walk out those doors to tease her ever again.
Earlier in the week she’d gotten a phone call from Elliot Denton as he’d asked her if she could help him run things now that Russ was gone.  Knowing full well how important the paper was to his son, Elliot had vowed to keep the Courier going in his son’s name.  He wanted to honor his son’s dream and with Avery’s support the two had decided to keep things going.  They deserved a lot of credit for their decision, yet Mindy knew it was going to be an uphill battle.
“A penny for your thoughts,” Hunt’s voice beckoned her back to reality.  Surprised to see him standing before her, Mindy couldn’t help but smile.
“Hunt, what are you doing here,” Mindy gave him a sideways glance.
“I thought you might need a distraction today after the kind of day we had the last time we were together,” Hunt explained with a small smile, “so with that thought in mind, I figured I would stop by and see if you were busy.”
“Of course I’m busy, but given how useless I’ve felt lately,” Mindy shoved her notes aside, “I don’t think I’m going to get anything done.”
“Then it’s a good thing that I arrived when I did, huh?” Hunt smiled at her before motioning to Russell’s office, “I’m sure that he wouldn’t want you staying here sulking when you could be out living.”
“It’s not that simple,” Mindy frowned slightly, “I mean okay yeah, it sucks that my boss is gone--that he’s dead, but Russ was more than a boss to me.  He was a mentor in his own way and he’s one of the few people who really saw promise in me.”
“Now come on.  He’s not the only one,” Hunt plopped down into the seat across from her, “I mean you’re a very special woman Mindy.  Anyone would be blind not to see it.”
“Yeah well contrary to your flattery, dealing with people in this town hasn’t always been easy for me.  Though with Russ everything came so natural and I loved my job.  I loved what I was able to do here and now without him, well it’s like the spirit of the Courier is gone with him.  I know his father is trying to hold it together and I’m sure that he’ll continue with Russell’s legacy, but it’s just not the same.”
“I can understand that,” Hunt nodded sympathetically, “but it’s all the more reason for you not to give up doing what you do.  I’ve seen how you work Mindy.  You can make a difference in people’s lives and if you give up on that…”
“I’m not giving up,” Mindy corrected, “I’m just temporarily on strike given the circumstances.”
“Yeah, well then how about we go grab a bite to eat while you’re out on that strike,” Hunt suggested with a smile.
“I don’t know,” she paused giving him a strange look, “What’s it going to cost me?”
“Other than a few forced smiles at my obvious attempts at humor which I’m sure you won’t at all find amusing when I start joking with you,” he winked down at her, “not a thing.”
“Gee, when you put it that way you make it sound so very worthwhile,” Mindy half groaned shaking her head at him, “You just can’t stay serious too long, can you?”
“Not if I can help it,” he admitted with a small smile, “I just hate having to be the downer when I’d rather get people smiling.”
“In that case how would you feel if I told you that you are very good at making me smile,” Mindy offered with a tiny laugh.
“I’d say that makes me feel incredible considering how much I love seeing you do just that,” Hunt reached out across the desk to place his hand atop of hers, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you Mindy Carmichael.”
Her smile faded upon those words.
“What?” he frowned back at her, “What did I say?”
“The way you just said that it almost sounded like a good-bye rather than a step towards what’s next,” she noted.
“Would that disappoint you if it was a good-bye?” he arched a curious brow.
“Are you planning on leaving my life too,” she asked eyeing him intently, “Are you the love them and leave them kind of guy?”
“Not lately,” he shook his head at her, “and while I hadn’t thought about staying too long in Coral Valley, I do admit that there are a few things that have prompted me to reconsider that hasty retreat I’d had planned.”
“Is that right,” she leaned forward batting her eyelashes at him, “And would I have anything to do with your decision to stick around?”
“You’re pretty much everything that’s got me thinking about staying in Coral Valley as long as possible,” Hunt confessed leaning in over the desk to coax her into an impromptu kiss.  As their lips melded together, sparks of electricity burst between the two of them drawing them both to a state of surprise as they parted.
“Well if I’ve been able to do that much in such little time, imagine what I can do for you in the months to come,” Mindy couldn’t help but flirt back after the taste of his kiss burned upon her lips.
“See now that’s something I look very forward to learning more about,” Hunt replied knowing that while he’d come to Coral Valley with a definite purpose, time had changed things for him and with Mindy, well he could certainly see some very good possibilities for him in the future.


Carly took in a slow breath before entering the police station.  She’d spent most of her morning at the courthouse having it out with her boss about the delay in the Mahoney murder trial, but as it stood Carly had her own issues to deal with.  She’d been so worked up about what had gone down with both Dave and Ken last night that she hadn’t been able to think straight.  That being said right about now she was fit to be tied, even with the small success she’d made.  Of course she still had to deal with what happened next.
“But you can do this,” Carly announced making her way through the police station and checking the time on her watch. 
Ken’s hearing would be in less than a half an hour and luckily she’d persuaded Isabel to work with her on this one.  She’d been lucky enough to snag this case after some sweet talking and lots of promises for victory on the Mahoney murder trial.  Of course now that meant she was going to have to deliver.  She was going to have to win that one if she was going to stay in Isabel’s good graces after the deal they’d made to help Ken.
“Where are you,” Carly frowned slightly knowing that Richard Morrison had planned on meeting her out in the police station lobby to discuss her proposal after he’d paid Ken a visit.  Yet he was still running behind and Carly was less than thrilled about being at the station with the possibility that she’d have to run into Dave.  Right now that was the last thing she needed to deal with.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t about to get a choice in the matter as she saw him walking directly towards her.
“I see you couldn’t stay away from me for too long,” Dave teased with his usual chipper manner that had often been a bright spot in Carly’s day.  Unless of course she was having a morning like she had done today and in that situation she found it to be a bit agitating.  “So is this the part where it’s my turn to apologize for how bad things went last night?”
“No this is the part where I help you rid yourself of that smile when I tell you I didn’t come here to discuss us.  I’m waiting for someone,” Carly replied shortly, still thinking about the things Ken had told her about Dave’s reemerging feelings for Deidra.
“I see, so is this how we’re going to be from now on,” Dave questioned dropping his voice a bit before he stepped in closer to her, “because if it is, I think at the very least I should be given a moment to defend myself.”
“There’s nothing more to say on the subject,” Carly tilted her head to the side to look at him with a heavy scowl.
“No?” he arched a determined brow, “Maybe not from you since you pretty much said it all, but I have a few things that I’d like to get off of my chest here.”
“Well, I’m afraid that simply isn’t going to be happening because I’m here to speak with someone,” Carly argued with him, ready to say something more when she felt him tug on her arm leading her back into his office much to her dismay.
“They can wait,” Dave announced closing the door behind them to give him the privacy he needed to speak with her again.  “I tried calling your hotel last night.”
“I wasn’t taking any messages,” she folded her hands in front of her chest, “and besides, what more should we say since obviously the only thing we have to tell one another is how horrible we were together?”
“Because that’s not true,” he shook his head at her, “and as usual, you’re ready to win the battle before you even listen to my defense.”
“In this particular situation, I think the past speaks for itself Dave.  I know how you feel about Deidra so there’s no point in your even trying to deny it,” she informed him bluntly, “I know that in your eyes I’ll never measure up to her.”
“First of all, this isn’t about a comparison between the two of you.  Yes, I had feelings for Deidra and yes when we were together I did let that get in the way of us, but those days are long gone,” Dave explained taking a step forward, “Deidra has moved on with her life and so have I.”
“Have you,” she asked doubtful.
“Yes, I have,” he nodded, “and if you’d give me a chance to show you that…”
“Dave, look we were only fooling ourselves to think that it’s ever going to work out between us because it’s not.  It’s never going to be like we wanted it to be and if I try to force this or you try to lie to yourself about…” Carly found herself cut off by the feel of his arm around her waist and the taste of his mouth crushing against hers.  Her eyes widened in surprise as he nibbled on her lower lip, suckling upon it as her scowl had only given him easier access to her mouth.  Feeling a sudden wash of heat upon her, she instinctively curled her fingers over his shoulder, knowing that his kiss all to easily brought forth the all too familiar feeling that she’d fought like hell to forget ever existed between them.
“Now,” Dave mouthed breathlessly as they parted, “would you like to tell me that we still don’t have chemistry?”
“Dave, if it was only about chemistry, then we could both find it with other people,” Carly frowned back at him, feeling the warmth of his breath send shivers up and down her spine.
“Yes, but it wouldn’t be the same.  Nothing comes close to this Carly and we both know it,” he replied suggestively leaning in for another kiss again only to be met by her cheek.
“Dave, we’ve been down this road more than once before.  I know how this always ends.  It starts off hot and heavy.  We have it all figured out--or so we think, but then well, one thing leads to another and you do something, then I do something, then you react and I wind up doing something much, much worse until we destroy one another…” she shook her head poignantly.  “It’s just a never ending battle.”
“Call it what you may but the other night in the hospital you sounded like you were more than willing to give it another try Carly,” Dave added pointedly, “I wasn’t lying when I said that I still loved you.”
“And I wasn’t lying when I said that I loved you too, but Dave we can’t keep doing what we do to one another.  I mean one minute I think you’re with me--really with me and then Deidra comes right around the corner and…”
“And Deidra is my past.  I know that now.  Hell, what Deidra and I had can’t even be considered a past with one another.  She never loved me.  She never wanted me…” Dave insisted with a heavy sigh, “I know that now.”
“But does that change anything?  I mean if she called you right now and said that she’s thought things through and she wanted you in her life, would you go to her?  Would you want to try for what was never there?” Carly questioned doubtful, “Face it Dave, I never measured up in your eyes compared to the dream girl you have with Deidra.”
“Carly, that’s so not true…” Dave argued with her.
“Yes it is Dave.  Besides, you were right to think that.  I’m not at all the kind of woman you need.  I’m really horrible and I’ve done so many things that you’d hate me for.  I’m not like you.  I can’t be so damn good and perfect all the time,” Carly insisted fighting the tears that threatened. “You’re so amazing and I’m…I’m just not…”
“Yes you are,” Dave reached out to her again, “You’re all those things you’re trying to deny and more.  Carly, you’re a wonderful person and that’s part of what I love about you.  We have the same ideals and…”
“And you’re only lying to yourself if you really believe that.  Look Dave, I’ve screwed up and I know that you deserve someone like Deidra.  Maybe that was what the problem was all along because deep down I knew that she had something on me and now that I’ve come to accept that…” she began biting on her lower lip.
“Carly, I know what this is about.  Sure, at first I was a bit confused, but now I see what’s happening here.  It’s Ken, isn’t it?” he frowned down at her.
“Dave, I…” she started uneasily.
“Look, I know that he’s not happy with me right now.  I’m not really sure where all this rage is coming from that he’s directing at me, but the truth to the matter is that I’m sure that he’s the one who planted all those ideas in your head about Deidra.  Obviously he’s hating the world right now and he wants to see everyone as miserable as he is.”
“Dave as much as that sounds like that would make sense right about now, the truth is that…” Carly started only to hear a knock at his office door.
“That what…” he asked hearing the knock again.
“You should probably answer that,” Carly motioned towards the door seeing someone in a suit on the other side.
“Fine, but this will be continued,” Dave explained pointedly before going to answer the door.
“Chief, do you have a minute,” one of the undercover officers questioned looking to see Carly behind him.  “It’s about that case I’m working on as there’s a bit of a problem.  If you don’t mind…”
“Actually,” Dave glanced over his shoulder at Carly.
“Say no more.  I have a meeting anyways,” Carly cleared her throat and attempted to put on her best professional tone, “I really should get going.”
“But about what we…” Dave started apologetically feeling as if fate was giving them yet another roadblock.
“We can talk about it later,” Carly replied quickly exiting his office as she wondered if she’d ever truly be able to find a way to tell Dave what it was that was really on her mind.  Sure, she’d always been insecure about his feelings for Deidra.  She’d never made any illusions about that, but after what she’d been doing with Ken, she knew in her heart that she had absolutely no right to judge.

“So tell me that you have good news for me,” Ken pleaded with Richard after having spent the night sobering up in the jail cell with Grady.
“I’m working on it Ken as I have a meeting with someone from the prosecutor’s office, but before that I was hoping that we could have a talk before your hearing,” Richard confessed seeing the dark circles from underneath Ken’s eyes.
“Look Rick before you say it, I already know that this was something really stupid…” Ken started with a frown.
“It was, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about,” Richard confessed honestly, “I was hoping that we could skip over this matter for the moment and talk about you--about what’s going on with you.”
“Listen, I know that I’m not exactly doing what everyone expects, but…” Ken started with a heavy sigh.
“Actually, you’re doing a lot better than I would’ve thought you would be doing at a time like this.  Not to say you aren’t destroying yourself, but Ken when I was younger,” Richard paused before thinking back to another point in time in his life, “When I was a lot younger Judy and I were together--long before Brooke and I ended up together.  To make a long story short when I lost Judy I wound up not only driving through the front of the bank in a drunken haze, but I’d also damn near killed myself in the process.  I knew that I had a baby on the way, but it didn’t seem to matter.  Nothing felt like it was relevant anymore without the woman I loved.  Of course given that Judy was still alive I realize it’s a bit different than what you’re going through, but even now when I see you hurting like this…”
“I just thought that we’d have forever together, you know,” Ken admitted bringing his fingers up through his hair, “I thought that Caitlin and I would really have a chance to beat the odds--that we would be together forever and then when it was taken away from us…”
“It felt like your world had shattered,” Richard reached out to squeeze his hand supportively, “Ken, I know how hard this has to be on you, but you have to trust me when I tell you that this isn’t the way to solve things.  It won’t make matters better, only worse.  Hearing it right now is probably the last thing that you’re looking for, but I think of you like a son and I hate to see you going down that road all on your own.  Ken, this place--this situation it’s not for you.  It isn’t what Caitlin would want for you…”
“She wasn’t looking to die either Rick.  She wanted a happily ever after that life never allowed her to have,” Ken replied bitterly, “It was what we both wanted.”
“And you shouldn’t give up on that,” Richard urged him on, “Look I’m not saying that everything is going to fix itself overnight, but you have to try to keep pushing on.  You have to remember that this life is all we have and if you don’t make the most of it…”
“What’s the point without Caitlin,” Ken frowned feeling his sorrow consume him again.
“She wouldn’t want this for you.  Hell, I hate to see this happening for you,” Richard paused thinking about the week he’d had, “I know that losing a loved one does crazy things to a person.  With you winding up in here and Avery marrying Brant…”
“Avery did what,” Ken’s jaw nearly dropped in surprise.
“Something’s going on with my daughter after she lost Russ and I’m worried about her as well.  She’s not herself either and I want to help her--just like I want to help you…” Richard continued.
“I can’t believe she’d marry Brant.  I mean I can’t even fathom the idea of them together like that considering…” Ken replied clearly surprised by this turnabout.  He thought to what he’d seen in the hospital and a frown touched over the corners of his mouth, “This is unbelievable.”
“As I said before people do strange things when they are consumed by grief, but it’s the responsibility of those who love and care for them not to let those emotions take them under,” Richard explained urgently, “Now I’m about to have a meeting with someone who wants to cut you a break and I would suggest that you take it.  When you get out of this take some time for yourself--talk to someone--anyone who can help you with this.  You know I’m here for you and if at all you feel yourself going under again…”
“Thanks Rick,” Ken couldn’t help but smile in response, “Thank you for being here.”
“I just wish I could do more Ken.  I hate that this happened to you and Avery.  I hate the way fate has a way of turning things around like this,” Richard sighed heavily, “but even with these tragic twists we need to remember the positive and try to keep pushing on.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Ken nodded in agreement wondering if it was at all possible for him to do just that.  Sure, it sounded like it was possible, but Ken wasn’t at all sure if it was probable at this point anymore.

“Blake, sweetheart you should go home,” Brant sighed thinking of how his sister must be feeling right now.

“I can’t Ken needs me here right now,” Blake shook her head not wanting to leave her brother alone. She wanted to let him know that she would be there for him.

“Maybe he’s right Blake,” Seth started as he put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sure Ken will be okay.”

“He’s right,” Brant assured her with a simple nod, “Anyways I have everything under control, Ken will be fine.”

“I don’t know, I don’t really want to leave Brant,” Blake frowned thinking about Ken and how much he needed her right now. The thought left her mind as her cell phone began to ring. “Give me a second.” She walked outside quickly answering her phone. “Hello?”

“Blake, it’s Sarah,” Sarah stated sounding a bit unhappy, “Are you busy right now?”

“Why? What’s wrong?” Blake questioned with concern behind her voice.

“Nothing is really wrong,” Sarah started with a slight sigh, “I just think I need to talk to someone right now.”

“Sure, I will be over in a little bit.  I‘m in the middle of something, but I have a feeling I won‘t be here much longer if my brother has his way,” Blake, agreed with a slight smile, “Actually come to think of it, I’m sure I would feel better if I got to talk to you to.”

“Alright, I will see you in a little bit then,” Sarah smiled to herself before hanging up the phone.

Blake frowned as she reached Brant and Seth talking.

“I have to go somewhere, but will you promise to make sure Ken is okay for me?” Blake questioned looking over at Brant seeing him nod quickly slightly confused.

“Of course I will,” Brant raised his eyebrow slightly, “Why the sudden change?”

“Sarah called,” Blake informed him with a simple shrug, “And she said she really needed to talk to someone right now…as do I.”

“Okay, well give her my best,” Brant smiled before hugging Blake lightly, “I will catch you later.”

“Bye Brant,” Blake departed from her brother looking up at Seth. “Do you mind dropping me off?”

“Of course,” Seth smiled slightly before holding the door open for her.


Avery rubbed her neck and shoulder feeling the after effects of tension still lingering after the night she’d spent with Brant and Blake trying to figure out what to do with Ken.  Hopefully by now her father had found a way to fix things.  Of course at this point in time she needed to stay focused and that focus had to remain on Grady.  Hearing the door open from behind her, she turned to see him standing in the lighted doorway.
“I can take it from here,” Avery insisted springing up from her chair to approach Grady, “My client will be fine with me.”
“Whatever,” the guard grumbled before leaving Grady and Avery alone with one another.
“Are you okay,” Avery questioned reaching out to touch his shoulder gently, “You look tired.”
“I got to spend the night up all night listening to Ken bitch about life,” Grady shrugged his shoulders, “You do the math.”
“They put you and Ken in a cell together,” Avery’s eyes widened in surprise, “Really?”
“Yes really and just for the record before you go about asking, no I didn’t kick his ass if that’s what you were expecting,” he sighed making his way over to the small table in the center of the room.
“That hadn’t crossed my mind,” she paused seeing the look of doubt over his features, “Okay, so maybe it did flip on through there for a millisecond, but it’s gone and done.”
“Good,” Grady nodded plopping down at the seat that was waiting for him, “then maybe we can work on what’s going on with my trial.”
“Well given that Ms. Matthews was involved in that crash with Ken, the judge obviously is giving her some time.  Though I’ve done some pushing and it looks like tomorrow we’re ready to start up again,” Avery explained simply, “from the looks of it, I’m guessing that we’ll be able to get you out of here soon.”
“You’re sure of that,” Grady eyed her intently, “or are you just fluffing this up so that I won’t be too upset when I’m stuck in here for life?”
“Grady, I’m going to get you out of this somehow,” she paused thinking about the battle that they had ahead of them, “We just have to find a way to convince them that you weren’t able to do this.  With that tape Russ and I found…”
“Avery, we both know that you’re going to have a hard time getting that into evidence.  Given the way you and Russ found it…” Grady frowned slightly.
“You let me worry about that,” Avery insisted with a simple shake of her head, “It’s going to come down to winning over a jury and I can do that.”
“Can you,” he raised a curious brow noting the scratches on her face, “Avery, tell me something.  What’s really going on?”
“Nothing that you need to worry yourself about,” she waved her hand dismissively at him, “and from the way I see it, we get into court--convince the jury that you couldn’t have possibly shot Kipp.  We go that someone else planted that evidence and then…”
“Then I take the stand and try to fight for my life,” Grady sighed hating what was next.
“Actually about that,” she paused, “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.  I mean sure I know that you’d mean well, but if you get up there, well there’s a good chance that Ms. Matthews will twist everything you say and we can’t have that.”
“How do you figure?” Grady frowned slightly.
“Because if you get up there, she might ask you about what happened with Kipp earlier in the evening and if you perjure yourself on the stand…” she trailed off.
“You’re really worried about this, aren’t you?”
“Grady, you never did tell me what you did that night after the party,” Avery pointed out with a frown, “you never said…”
“Do you think I could’ve shot him?  That I’m guilty?  Is that what you’re saying?” his voice rose with obvious emotion.
“No, that’s not what I’m saying at all, but in a case like this, it’s always a last resort to put your client on the stand.  I don’t want to make you an open target like that given what Cameron’s done to you.  I don’t want this to come back and blow up in our faces,” she continued reaching out to squeeze his hand gently, “Grady, I’ve done a lot to keep you safe--to see to it that you had your chance to regain your freedom, so please just trust me on this…”
“Avery, it’s easier said than done given that you’re holding my life in your hands,” he reminded her nervously, “You have no idea how that feels to know that at any second you could lose it all if your trust is put in the wrong place…”
“Grady, I swear to you that you don’t have to be afraid of trusting me.  I’ve never lost my faith in you or your innocence.  We’re going to get you out of this so that you and Jade can finally get on with your life together.  It’s what I want for the both of you…” Avery offered with a sad smile, “You should’ve had that a long time ago.”
“And what about you?  What happens after all of this now that Russ is gone?” Grady questioned with clear cut concern in his voice, “How are you going to hold up?”
“Just you worry about yourself right now.  I mean hey, a few months ago you would’ve just as soon wished I dropped off the planet right,” she added with a slight smile hoping to make light of the situation.
“I never wished that Avery,” he shook his head at her, revealing the truth once more, “I never wanted anything bad to happen to you.  I was just so caught up in what happened in my own life that I didn’t want Russ to suffer the same fate.  When I thought about what Susan did to me with Ken and then in knowing that Brant was after you…”
“Look Grady, you don’t owe me any apologizes,” Avery cut him off abruptly, “All I need is to know that we’re going to win this.  That’s what’s really important for me.  Once we beat this, then well, we can work on everything else, okay?”
“Okay,” he finally replied with a smile, “and for what it’s worth, I just want you to know that when I get out of here, I’m going to do everything that I can to help you and that little baby…”
“Grady you don’t have to,” Avery started uneasily as she thought of her marriage to Brant.
“I realize that, but it’s what Russ would want.  It’s what I want,” Grady smiled at her grateful that she hadn’t held his past actions against him especially now when he needed her help more than ever.


“Thanks for dinner,” Jade thanked Kyle as he pulled out the chair for her to take a seat in.

“It’s the least I can do,” Kyle shrugged slightly before taking a seat next to her and smiling slightly, “Buy you take out Chinese food for dinner.”

“Hey, I like Chinese food so thank you,” Jade smiled before grabbing her drink. “What were you saying earlier.”

“Oh yeah,” Kyle nodded before rubbing the back of his neck slightly, “When Russ and I were working on the case we found some leads.”

“Yeah?” she questioned with a slight laugh seeing Kyle try to use his chopsticks, but to only fail as the food fell to the table.

“Okay this is not working,” Kyle, informed her with a slight sign of embarrassment, “I think I just need to get a fork.”

“No, you can do it,” she stated with a simple shrug, “Try it again.”

“Have you seen me with these things?” he questioned holding them up slightly before seeing her nod and trying it again to only have it fall back down. “They must be used as weapons or something because they definitely aren’t easy for eating your food with them.”

“Well, I can do it,” she shrugged slight before taking a bite of her food to see him shake his head lightly. “Here, I will teach you.”

He laughed slightly as she got up and went behind him picking up the chopsticks and placing them in his hand properly.

“You hold them like that,” she informed him with a slight smile and guiding his hand down, “Then you just push together.”

“I get it now,” he nodded with a slight laugh as she sat down, “Thanks smarty.”

“Its only using chopsticks, a lot of people can do it,” she declared before seeing him frown.

“I couldn’t,” he reminded her with a small grin.

“Now you can,” she stated seeing him nod and take a bite of his food, “You were saying?”

“Oh,” he swallowed down the food before starting up again, “Well we were searching into things for Grady’s case and we found some leads.”

“And what were they?” she wondered as she folded her hands out in front of her looking at him.

“Well, we found out that Cameron has something to do with this,” Kyle declared with a simple shrug, “Not like you didn’t know that already.”

“Hey, any little thing could help right?” she shrugged simply before taking a deep sigh.

“That’s how you should keep acting,” Kyle smiled enthusiastically, “I will get him out of there and you should know it.”

“I have faith in you Kyle,” she promised him before frowning slightly, “But there is always that slight chance that you won’t find anything and he will be in there forever.”

“The best thing to do, is not think that way,” he grasped onto her hand lightly, “You should always think the best.”

“Kind of hard,” she laughed before looking away from him.

“Hey,” he called out before she turned back to look at him, “As long as I am still alive and I am on this case…I will find a way to get Grady out of there.”


“Thanks for coming,” Sarah half smiled as she lead Blake to the couch and they sat down.

“It was no problem,” Blake insured her grabbing onto her friends hand slightly, “I have to talk to you too.”

“You can go first,” Sarah motioned her to go on before Blake shook her head lightly.

“No you can go ahead,” Blake noted before smiling lightly, “What’s on your mind?”

“Well you know how I told you the whole thing about my sister?” Sarah questioned seeing Blake nod before she went on, “Well with her having a baby that she doesn’t want to take care of, leaves me to be the one looking after him. I don’t mind taking care of him because he is so precious and I love him, but I don’t know how she could leave something so beautiful.”

“It’s sad how people do that,” Blake put in before motioning Sarah to go on.

“Well,” Sarah started with a slight sigh, “She isn’t to happy with me right now anyways, not like she was ever happy with me.”

“What does that mean?” Blake questioned slightly before seeing Sarah shrug.

“Well, to begin with the small things, when someone liked me…she always took them away from me. I’m surprised she didn’t take Kyle away from me,” Sarah frowned before feeling Blake’s hand on her back.

“Sarah, it is kind of obvious that Kyle loves you,” Blake informed her seeing a slight smile from Sarah’s features.

“I know, but she always did stuff like that. When we got older she wanted to become an actress and I supported her totally. I was there for her no matter what, but when the chance came to leave my family she took it. When my mother was dying in that hospital, she didn’t even take the time to come and see her,” Sarah sniffed slightly before taking in a deep breath.

“Yeah, I remember all I saw everyday was you and Kyle,” Blake nodded thinking back to the old days.

“And that’s all it ever was,” Sarah stated shaking her head lightly, “She didn’t care about anything but herself. And to think she even changed her last name from Marx to Gibbons.”

“Wait,” Blake gasped slightly recognizing the last name she just said, “Your sister is Heather Gibbons.”

“Yeah,” Sarah nodded a bit awkwardly not knowing where Blake was heading.

“I hate your sister,” Blake informed hearing Sarah laugh.

“Yeah, well join the club,” Sarah half laughed before shaking her head.

“No, hear me out first,” Blake insisted before Sarah turned to her with a slight shrug.

“What? What is it?” Sarah questioned quickly to see Blake raise an eyebrow.

“Heather was dating Brant and I didn’t like her when he was dating her, but getting back to the point…Brant loved Heather and then he found her cheating on him. Heather broke his heart.  She is a real bitch. Now what I am hearing from you makes me think she is twice as evil as I thought she once was,” Blake stated with a slight frown seeing Sarah shake her head.

“Heather was always the heart breaker,” Sarah nodded slightly, “I guess she is quite popular out here too?”

“I just can’t believe Heather is your sister.  You two are completely different,” Blake started with a slight gulp, “I mean I actually like you.”

“We are completely different,” Sarah agreed before leaning back into the couch, “Two completely different people.”


“What’s going on,” Ken questioned watching the judge come out from his chambers to begin his hearing.
“Just trust me on this one,” Richard explained turning to look over at the table across from where he stood.  Ken too followed his gaze and was surprised to see Carly standing there.
“Please have a seat,” the judge ordered before turning his attention to Carly, “I’ve been told that the D.A.’s office and the defense have reached an agreement on this one.”
“We have,” Carly nodded rising up again to take a few papers over to the judge to look over.  She handed them to the judge and he read through them briefly.
“Well, I must say that I’m surprised at the D.A.’s position on this, but given that it was Mr. Ashford’s first offense, I can understand where this is coming from,” the judge nodded before turning his attention to Ken, “And as for you Mr. Ashford, I hope you realize the stupidity behind your actions.  Getting behind a wheel of a car in that state was not only ignorant, but it was reckless and simply unacceptable.  If I ever find you standing before me again like this, you can rest assured that I won’t be going as lightly upon you as the D.A. has chosen to this morning.”
“Yes sir,” Ken nodded in response before his gaze wandered over to Carly.
“In that case, as it stands Kenneth Ashford, you are sentenced to one hundred and eighty days probation pending that you seek treatment for your problems with alcohol,” the judge read off the page before him, “You’ll also be serving sixty hours of community service and as I said before if I ever see you in here again…”
“You won’t your honor,” Ken added quickly before looking to Richard.
“See to it that I don’t,” the judge frowned at him, “Case closed.”
“Well, I guess this is where I tell you to take his warning to heart and try to rest up Ken,” Richard patted him on the shoulder, “because you really did get a break this time.”
“I can see that,” Ken’s eyes traveled across the courtroom to Carly, “and I think I owe someone a huge thank you.  Of course I’ll start with you.”
“No thanks are necessary son.  Just know I’m here if you need me,” Richard offered with a small smile patting him on the shoulder before closing up his brief case.
Ken eyed Carly for a long moment ready to take the time to go over to talk to her, but he was stopped by Brant, who stood directly in front of him.
“I don’t know where you’re thinking you’re going, but we’re taking you home,” Brant explained with a scowl, “I think we’ve had more than enough action around here concerning you for the day.”
“Oh piss off Brant,” Ken sneered in response shoving him out of his way, but much to Ken’s dismay Carly had already left.
“I’d say your girlfriend bailed your butt out today with her quick thinking,” Brant remarked sharply, “though given your attitude, I don’t know why anyone would want to help you.”
“Bite me Brant,” Ken scowled in response feeling a horrible ache in his head.
“Brant’s right Ken.  You need to go home and rest,” Avery announced making her way towards the two brothers, “Come to think of it, we all do.”
“Tell me, does this mean that you’ll be living with us now that my brother leapt at the opportunity to make you his as soon as Russ was gone?” Ken questioned with a sarcastic expression, “Because you know if it was a quick lay you were looking for Avery, I would’ve been more than happy to oblige without the whole till death do us part deal.”
“Why you little son of a…” Brant nearly jumped Ken at his words.
“Brant don’t,” Avery stopped Brant from assaulting Ken, though she too was surprised by his biting remark.  It was as if she was staring into the eyes of a stranger before her, “You know Ken, I’m going to chalk this up to your being a mean drunk, but if nothing else, maybe today should teach you something.”
“Oh it has,” Ken let out an ironic laugh, “It shows me that being a nice guy never gets you ahead.  I mean hell, if I want something, then clearly I’ll have to take a page after my darling brother and strike when the iron’s hot.”
“Now listen you…” Brant warned sharply.
“Let’s just get him home,” Avery insisted placing her hand on Brant’s arm to keep him from doing something he would regret, “We can sober him up and work on this in our own way later.”
“Don’t count on it,” Ken wrinkled his nose at the both of them before looking around the courtroom, “though if you really want to help, then let’s get going before I change my mind about spending time around the both of you two.”
With that comment Ken marched out of the courtroom in an obvious fit as Brant and Avery exchanged worried glances wondering just what had happened to the otherwise calm and quiet Ken that they were used to.  Something told them that those days of a happy, dependable Ken were gone now that this new side of him had emerged.  Sure, Avery was ready to blame it on the alcohol as she and Brant left the courtroom after him, but deep down Brant knew better.  He knew what was happening was worse--much, much worse.


“Honey, you are here,” Dorothy hugged Jenna quickly after opening the door, “And I see you brought Hart with you too.”

“Yeah mom, I hope that was okay,” Jenna quickly got out before looking at Hart and see him fake a smile.

“Of course it is,” Dorothy agreed quickly, “You two are welcome to come to dinner anytime.”

“Thanks,” Hart smiled slightly before Dorothy invited them in as he slowly took off his coat before helping Jenna out of hers.

“Here let me take those for you,” Preston grabbed the coats from Hart’s hands lightly.

“Thank you,” Hart thanked slightly before folding his arms out in front of his chest.

“It is great to have you here today Jenna,” Preston declared before walking over to her and hugging her lightly, “I hardly get to see you anymore.”

“That will change soon,” Jenna promised with a slight smile before enclosing her fingers with Hart’s.

“Take a seat,” Preston motioned for them to sit down as everyone sat down and the doorbell rang.

“Let me get that,” Dorothy went to get up before Jenna motioned her to sit back down.

“I will get it, its okay,” Jenna stated with a slight shrug before going over to the door and opening it.

“Jenna,” the figure before her was familiar as she stared into his eyes and realized who it was.

“Devante?” she questioned unable to speak because the words had seemed to leave her mind as she wondered what exactly he was doing here.


...to be continued...