Episode 173

Jenna twisted uncomfortably in her chair as she looked across the table at Devante who looked up and smiled at her.

“So, Devante…when did you get back to town?” Jenna questioned uneasily before looking back down at her plate picking at her food with her fork.

“Actually, I am just here for a couple of weeks,” Devante informed her with a simple shrug, “I ran into Dorothy at the market and she invited me over for dinner.”

“So how do you and…Devante know each other?” Hart wondered tilting his head a slight bit curious about this stranger who just showed up.

“Oh, Jenna and I were just really good friends when we were younger,” Devante stated before rubbing his hands together and leaning over to grab his glass of water.

“Oh Devante you know you two were more that just friends,” Dorothy smiled before looking over at Hart who seemed to be glaring right through Devante.

“That’s history though,” Devante assured Hart seeing the expression on his face, “We are just really good friends now.”

“I know that,” Hart answered quickly before nodding his head.

“It’s obvious by the way she looks at you she loves you,” Devante pointed out with a slight grin, “You two look happy together.”

“He makes me really happy,” Jenna agreed before resting her hand over Hart’s gently. She could sense that he was a bit weary as she looked over at him and he faked a smile once more.

“Hart is really a great guy,” Preston stated looking over at Dorothy and tilting his head slightly at her, “Isn’t that right Dorothy?”

“Why yes of course,” Dorothy lied before grabbing her water and drinking it up quickly. “I am going to go get us some more water.”

“Here,” Devante smiled before getting up, “Let me help you out with that.”

“Thank you Devante, that is so sweet of you,” Dorothy stated before looking over at Hart who seemed to look a bit aggravated.

Hart shook his head slightly after seeing Dorothy and Devante disappear behind the kitchen doors.

“What’s wrong?” Jenna questioned quietly leaning forward slightly to catch his attention. 

“Nothing,” Hart assured her before she went to speak and Dorothy reappeared.

“Anyone up for desert?” Dorothy wondered before seeing Jenna nod.

“Yeah, thanks mom,” Jenna half smiled before looking back at Hart and he shrugged slightly.


“Seth, you are home,” Jade smiled pulling him into the living room to where Kyle was standing there looking towards them. “Seth, I would like you to meet…”

Seth cut her off with a slight laugh, “Kyle Houston, how is it going man?”

Kyle smirked looking at the confused look on Jade’s face as he shook Seth’s extended hand, “Good, what’s going on?”

“Nothing really,” Seth nodded slightly before sitting down on the couch looking at Jade as she folded her arms out in front of her.

“I’m going to take the wild guess that you two know each other,” Jade got out before seeing Kyle sit down too.

“What gave you that idea?” Kyle questioned with a smirk looking up at Jade as she frowned. “Okay, Sarah who is my girlfriend is best friends with Blake.”

“Oh, I now understand how you two know each other,” she nodded sitting between the two guys.

“So what were you two up to while I was gone?” Seth wondered raising his eyebrow before looking at the table to see Chinese take out. “Never mind.”

“Oh I saved some for you,” Jade laughed getting up and going to the table to grab one of the containers.

“Thanks, that sounds good right about now after the day it‘s been,” Seth laughed as she handed it to him as she sat back between them.

“Actually we were talking about Grady’s trial,” Jade stated seeing Seth look up.

“Really?  How is that going?  I know I should‘ve asked sooner, but with everything that‘s been going on…” Seth wondered turning slightly so he could see both faces.

“We were just talking about the leads that I have been getting,” Kyle shrugged slightly, “Just the simple facts, like Cameron has something to do with this.”

“I could have guessed that,” Seth pointed out shrugging his shoulders slight, “Almost everyone knows Cameron wants to take down Grady.”

“Yeah, well the only thing I have to do now is find out what part Cameron is involved in and then we will be all set,” Kyle stated taking in a deep breath.

“I know you can do it and when you do it won‘t be a moment too soon,” Seth assured him with a slight bit of encouragement behind his voice, “Anyways, from what I heard from Sarah…you never stop until you get what you want.”

Jade smiled after seeing Kyle laugh, “Speaking of girlfriends, where’s Blake?”

“Oh yeah,” Seth sighed sitting forward, “She is with Sarah as we speak.”

“Oh really?” Kyle questioned tilting his head slightly, “What trouble are they up to now?”

“I don’t know, but Blake asked me to drop her off at Sarah’s place,” Seth informed him with a slight shrug, “From what Blake said, Sarah seemed to be a little upset.”

“Is that all she said?” Kyle wondered with a slight bit of worry behind his voice.

“Yeah, I’m sure she is okay…they are probably just having girl talk,” Seth nodded slightly before looking down at Jade.

“Yeah, I know how that is…all they do is blab,” Kyle laughed as Jade hit both Kyle and Seth in the stomach.

“Hey, don’t talk like that because women do more than blab,” Jade frowned as both men laughed.  “We do.”

“Oh right,” Seth teased further, “like you and Diane don’t have it down to an art form by now yourselves.”

“Hey now, you be nice or I swear that I’m going to bring out the baby pictures of you that I’m sure you don’t want Blake or anyone else to see at the wedding,” Jade threw out a warning look.

“Fair enough,” Seth raised his hands in the air full of defeat.

“Good,” Jade smiled proudly, “How about we change the subject?”

“Sounds good,” Seth nodded with a slight smile before Jade frowned once more.

“Hey are you going to take that from her,” Kyle joked, “You’re going to let your little sister bully you around?”

“If you knew how strong she was, you’d let her bully you around too,” Seth answered honestly.

“Unfortunately I do know how strong she is,” Kyle thought back to their first meeting, “She’s a brute.”

“I am not,” she objected with a frown, “You two are just…”

“Just what?” Seth challenged with a curious brow.

“You two are just weird,” she stated slightly before seeing them shrug.

“Hey, what can we say? We call it like we see it.  Besides, we’re buddies and buddies stick together,” Kyle informed her with a smile winking at her.

“You two may be buddies, but you are still weird,” she replied folding her arms out in front of her before leaning back into the couch.


“Now I can truly see why you hate your sister so much for all the things she has done to you,” Blake stated seeing Sarah shrug not really knowing what to say.

“Well, I guess the only thing I really wish for Heather is that she would grow up. I really think if Charles, her little boy, won’t change how she is then nothing will,” Sarah sighed taking in a deep breath.

“Charles will be fine,” Blake promised with a slight smile before seeing Sarah shake her head.

“You see I can’t see that happening because if Charles has mother like that for the rest of his life, then he is going to be miserable,” Sarah explained thinking back to that little baby she held in her arms earlier and how precious he was.

“You see I think you are wrong, I think Charles is lucky because he has you,” Blake started as she put her hand on Sarah’s arm, “And we all know when you are involved, Kyle is too.”

Sarah laughed slightly before nodding and agreeing, “Yeah, Kyle is a really great guy.  He finds time to be there whenever he can for me.”

“Which makes him the perfect guy for you,” Blake pointed out before seeing Sarah smile.

“You know, I really think Heather knew I liked Kyle when I was we were younger and she didn’t like that he kind of liked me back,” Sarah stated seeing Blake frown.

“What do you mean by that?” Blake questioned seeing Sarah shrug and start to speak.

“Well, I really don’t know if this means anything or if it is normal,” Sarah started caught up in her own thoughts, “But I used to always find her all over Kyle.”

“No that’s not really normal,” Blake started before shrugging, “But Heather doesn’t seem like a normal person.”

“Tell me about it,” Sarah nodded with a slight laugh, “To think of it I also found her kissing Kyle too.”

“What do you mean?” Blake wondered seeing Sarah shake her head.

“Its nothing really, just something that happened when we were teenagers,” Sarah explained before seeing Blake frown.

“I don’t care if it’s nothing, to me it will probably be something so go on,” Blake motioned her to lead on to her story quickly before leaning back into the couch to listen to her.

“Well, we were all hanging out,” Sarah started thinking back to the days when Heather used to tang along with them all the time, “And I went to go get me and Kyle a drink and when I got to the door I saw Heather on top of Kyle kissing him.”

“Oh my god, then what happened?” Blake gasped grabbing onto the pillow that was next to her.

“Well, I was really upset because I truly thought that Kyle liked Heather, but I was there long enough to see Kyle push her off him and ask her what her problem was. I guess Kyle caught me running to the other room and he ran to me telling me that she kissed him and she meant nothing to him,” Sarah explained once again before Blake smiled.

“Girl he has always liked you.  It is kind of obvious. I mean, every time he was at the hospital holding your hand in his,” Blake thought back for a second before smiling, “You could just tell he loved you.”

“Well, I guess I was too dumb to notice,” Sarah shrugged before seeing Blake shake her head lightly.

“Question, how did you know Kyle was telling you the truth when you found Heather kissing him?” Blake questioned seeing Sarah laugh.

“Well, Kyle and I were outside I think shooting some baskets and he hugged me and when he did Heather was behind us and she laughed. She told him he could have been with a real woman like her instead of wasting his time on me and Kyle just laughed at her.”

“And he didn’t kiss you?” Blake questioned seeing Sarah shrug slightly.

“Was he supposed to?” Sarah wondered slightly embarrassed seeing Blake gasp.

“Are you kidding me? You guys never kissed when you were younger?” Blake questioned seeing Sarah shrug.

“Well, I never said that,” Sarah blushed before hearing Blake laugh slightly.

“So you did,” Blake pointed out seeing Sarah nod.

“But they really didn’t mean anything,” Sarah stated seeing Blake shake her head, “I mean that one time just to make Heather jealous and only two times after that.”

“And you were still dumb enough to not realize he liked you,” Blake rolled her eyes turning towards Sarah. “I want to hear more about you, like stuff I don’t know.”

“That might take a while Blake,” Sarah laughed seeing Blake shrug and shake her head.

“You see you’re going to be standing up at my wedding as my best friend so I suggest you start talking,” Blake motioned her to go on as Sarah laughed not knowing where to start.


“I think you should go up to bed,” Brant blurted out upon entering the mansion with Ken and Avery.  He turned to look at his brother knowing full well if Ken didn’t find a way to disappear he was going to strangle him after the aggravating ride home that they’d just experienced.  While Brant was trying to be sympathetic to what was happening with his brother, he’d had more than enough of Ken’s tiresome whining and complaining about life’s irrelevant things.  Okay, so yeah he got that Ken wanted to change, but this was ridiculous.
“And I think you should shut up,” Ken snarled in response, his sour attitude returning as he made his way over towards the bar, “I think I need a drink.”
“No, Brant’s right,” Avery hooked Ken’s arm in hers, “I think you should go upstairs.  Take a shower or something and try to relax after the night you’ve had.  A drink isn’t what you need.”
“Hmm, funny how you presume to know what I need right now,” Ken turned to her, his dark eyes filled with an obvious anger, “At least I’m dealing with this in my own way instead of using other people to get over the situation.”
“You know what Ken.  I’ve heard just about enough out of you considering that…” Brant started to complain having heard more than plenty of his brother’s slinging insults at Avery and himself.
“That what?  What are you going to do about it Brant?  Going to teach me a lesson that I’ll be sure never to forget?” Ken challenged with a heavy scowl, “Going to show me what it’s like to steal another man’s wife and get her exactly where you want her without doing anything right?”
“Okay that’s enough,” Avery nudged Ken towards the staircase, “You and I are going upstairs right now.”
“Did you hear that Brant,” Ken offered an icy smirk, “She’s choosing the nice guy for the moment.  She wants to get me upstairs.  Maybe you aren’t as influential as you thought you were…”
“Listen Ken, I’ve had more than enough of your attitude and…” Brant snapped back at him feeling like he was dealing with a ten year old version of his brother.
“Spare me your sob story Brant,” Ken rolled his eyes in response before eyeing Avery intently, “because your wife wants to get me upstairs to bed.”
“No, I’ll take you to bed,” Brant stomped towards the staircase.
“I can handle it,” Avery turned around to face him.  She dropped her voice a bit before speaking to Brant once again, “Remember I had to deal with Grady in the past…”
“Yes, but you don’t have to deal with Ken.  He’s my problem and…” Brant began to argue with her.
“And you’ve made it your mission to help me with my problems, so let me help you with yours.  I can handle this Brant.  If I can’t, then I’ll let you know,” she urged him on again.
“Fine,” he finally took a step back, “but if you’re not down in five minutes, then…”
“You’ll know you’ve been replaced,” Ken curled his arm around Avery’s shoulders, “Come on Avery.  Why don’t you tell me what line my brother used to win you over because I’m sure that I can come up with something three times more appropriate for the situation at hand?”
“I’m sure you can,” Avery replied helping him up the stairs all the while knowing that Brant was fuming below.  Still, she knew that there was more to this outburst than Ken was showing them and she wasn’t about to let him hurt himself anymore than he had.  If anyone in this world knew what he was going through right about now, it was her.
“Oh believe me Avery, there’s a whole lot I could be showing you right now that might surprise you,” Ken continued as she helped him to his bedroom, “but right now I have one question for you.”
“What’s that?” she asked opening the door and stepping inside with him.
“How is it that my brother sweet talked you into marrying him so soon after you lost Russ?  I mean I thought what you two had was so solid and…” Ken kicked his shoes off, his dark eyes fixed upon her as she started to turn down the blankets on his bed.
“Thing are complicated Ken.  You of all people should know that when life throws you something that you aren’t ready for, it changes everything,” Avery offered honestly before turning around to face him again, “Though I will say that what you’re doing isn’t helping.”
“And your marrying my brother did what exactly?” he questioned bluntly, his face a mask of sudden seriousness.
“Look, there are things going on with that I would rather not get into, but for what it’s worth I happen to think your brother is an incredible man,” Avery replied standing taller than before, “He’s got a good heart and he’s been there for me when I needed him…”
“Ah yes Brant the saint,” Ken rolled his eyes, “I’m constantly amazed at how easily and readily everyone is to accept his supposed new and improved ways when really when it gets down to it, he’s still the same man.  He hasn’t changed and truth be told I don’t think he’s ever going to.  Whatever her promised you Avery, he’s not going to deliver.”
“That’s a bit cold coming from you,” Avery shook her head at him, “The man is your brother.  Certainly you should feel something more than this callous attitude you’re having.  After last night I would think…”
“After last night I realized a lot of things about my life and in reality, well I’ve embraced what I am and where I’ve come from.  I know what being an Ashford means and it’s because of my being that…well, it’s why things are as they are,” Ken shook his head, “this was fate giving me a sign.”
“Ken, you’re reading the signals all wrong.  I mean I’m not going to stand here and lie to you telling you that this is easy on any of us, but see, this is where you and I are at a difference of opinion.  I could’ve easily gone to where you’re going, but I knew that Russ wouldn’t want that--just like Caitlin wouldn’t want your doing this…”
“You can’t tell me that Russ would want you to be married to my brother either,” Ken stepped towards her, “You can’t say that he’d be happy with this sudden choice of yours.  I mean yeah sure I drove my car through my ice-cream shop in a moment of stupidity, but you’ve just betrayed everything you and Russ had together and for what?  For any of Brant’s promises for happily ever after?  Avery, I know that you’re trying really hard not to see it, but my brother is a nut.  He’s not the kind of man you think he is and…”
“And I think you should stop while you’re ahead,” Avery cut him off sharply, “because I know you’re going to say something you don’t mean.  I know that you’re hurting right now and you want to spread that emotion around, but I’m not going to take part in it.  Ken, you need to take a step back and see things as they really are.”
“That’s the problem Avery.  I have seen them as they are and I realized that I don’t like what I see,” Ken answered honestly, a sigh spilling from his lips.
“Yeah, well neither do I,” Avery threw back at him with a frown, “because the guy I used to know, well I really liked him a lot.  The Kenneth Ashford that I grew up with, well he was someone I could respect and look up to.  He was someone I always aspired to be like in some ways and now with this, well…you’re like a stranger to me…”
“Avery wait,” Ken reached out to her, snagging her arm as she started to leave his room, “don’t go.”
“Ken, I’m not going to stand here and listen to you spurn the world for what happened.  I mean my God, my baby is going to grow up without her father because of that bombing.  I know how you’re hurting.  I know what it is that’s eating you up inside, but damn it Ken, I’m not letting this destroy me.  I’m not letting it take away what’s left of my life…”
“Yes, but if you were honest with yourself Avery, you’d see that this isn’t about letting it destroy you because the damage is already done.  It’s not as if it’s something that’s continuing to happen because deep down this accident has already destroyed us both in ways neither one of us can vocalize.  I mean sure you can tell me you’re moving on for your daughter--that you’re pushing forward, but the truth to the matter is that your heart is still behind with Russ.  You’re still back at that airport none the wiser waiting for the wheels of time to turn back so you can have your dreams in your life again.”
“No Ken,” she shook her head in response, “I’ve come to the realization that I can’t ever go back.  I wish like hell that I could, but I can’t…”
“So you’ll make the biggest mistake of your life with my brother,” he dropped his voice a bit before extending his arm out to touch her cheek gently, “Avery, you know that this isn’t at all what you were meant for.”
“And you’re going to tell me that this is what you were meant for,” she gave him a pointed look, “Ken, you can’t tell me that in your heart this makes you happy.”
“No, it doesn’t,” he confessed dropping his hand down, “but it leaves me from feeling empty inside.  It doesn’t give me room to feel the pain and regret that ate away at me…”
“Maybe not, but it’s opening up the door for a whole new world of regret and I can tell you that one day it’s going to hurt a whole hell of a lot worse than it does right now if you drown yourself in that chaos,” Avery informed him poignantly, “Ken, while right now you might be set on doing things the way you think will take the pain away, it’s not really what you want.”
“This coming from a woman who married my brother when she lost the love of her life,” Ken threw back at her, “Given what I know about you Avery, I can tell you that this decision isn’t going to make you any happier than I am right now.  Brant’s only going to hurt you in the end and you’re opening yourself right up to that kind of pain.  Sure what I’m doing is bad, but what you’ve done, it’s a whole hell of a lot worse and one day you’ll see that.  I just hope that by the time it hits you, that it’s not too late to get out of the mess you’ve put yourself in.” 


Carly cleared her throat as she stood on the front steps outside the Ashford mansion.  While she knew she should be focusing on the impending trial ahead of her, she couldn’t quite shake the thought of what Ken was going through at a time like this.  Sure, she’d heard the warnings from the doctors about staying in bed and taking it easy, but that could wait.  Knocking on the door before her, she waited patiently for someone to answer until the door creaked open.
“Well, well what do we have here,” Brant eyed her intently, “Let me guess, the DA’s office decided to change their minds about Ken’s punishment and they’ve sent you to break the bad news to him.”
“Hardly,” she couldn’t help but roll her eyes at his obvious sarcasm, “Is Ken around?”
“That depends,” Brant opened the door wider, “which Ken are you looking for?  The quiet and reserved one or the one who went joyriding with you the other night?”
“Okay Brant, where is he,” Carly questioned making her way further into the mansion.
“In bed, but something tells me that won’t be a problem for you, now will it?” Brant folded his arms in front of his chest eyeing her intently, “So why are you really here Carly?”
“I’d like to check in on Ken and make sure that he’s okay,” Carly answered flatly, “You don’t have a problem with that, do you?”
“That all depends,” Brant remarked stepping towards her, “Is your being here about what happened the other night and if so what exactly did happen the other night between the two of you?  I notice that you seem chummy lately, so what’s the story?”
“You ask too many questions,” Carly frowned up at him.
“Questions that I’m sure are well worth answering given the state my brother has been in lately,” Brant replied in the same pointed tone she’d tossed out at him, “He’s changed lately and I’m willing to guess that a lot of that change is something that has to do with you.”
“Too bad people don’t pay you for making up stories in your head Brant because you’re quite good at it,” Carly replied taking a step towards the winding staircase, “I think I can find my way up.  You did say he was in bed after all.”
“Of course,” Brant nodded appropriately, “and I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see you joining him.”
“Brant, why don’t you do us both a favor and you mind your own business,” Carly suggested making her way up the staircase as Brant watched her closely.
“Hey,” Avery’s voice interrupted his thoughts as he felt her hand on his arm, “Brant…”
“Avery,” he nearly jumped from where he stood, “Where did you come from?”
“I came down the back staircase after I left Ken,” she explained simply, “Hey, what’s going on?”
“That’s what’s going on,” Brant motioned to the top of the stairs where Carly started to slip into Ken’s room.
“What’s she doing here,” Avery frowned at the sight before her.
“I’m not sure, but something tells me whatever it is she and Ken have going on between them, it’s going to wind up being nothing but trouble,” Brant thought aloud pondering the dramatic changes in his brother over the last few days.  Now with Carly popping in and out, Brant had to wonder if she had something to do with this new side of Ken.  Yes, there was certainly something going on between those two and Brant intended to find out exactly what it was.


Dave sat in his office thinking about everything that seemed to be falling apart around him.  While Dave knew that he had a job to do, it seemed that the rest of the world was making that increasingly difficult for him--especially where Carly was concerned.  Hearing a knock at his door, Dave looked up to find Shannon standing in his office.
“Got a minute,” she asked closing the door behind her before he had a chance to respond.
“I guess I do now,” he sighed setting the paperweight he was bouncing around from hand to hand aside, “What’s on your mind Shannon?”
“Well, for starters, I wanted to ask you a few questions about this Mahoney murder trial since it’s right around the corner,” Shannon began with a straight to the point kind of expression.
“Gee, now if that isn’t the million dollar conversation, then I don’t know what is,” Dave leaned back in his chair, “and truth be told I don’t have anything more to tell you then what you already knew the last time we talked.  There‘s really nothing more to say.”
“Well, that’s where you and I are at a difference of opinion because while you might not have anything new, I do,” Shannon divulged thinking about what she’d uncovered, “It turns out I came into contact with the doctor who took care of Kipp after he was taken out of the hospital.”
“Come again,” Dave’s eyes widened with obvious surprise, “How in the world did you find this out?”
“Let’s just say that I have my sources,” Shannon couldn’t help but smile.
“And just who is this mystery doctor?” Dave questioned curiously.
“He’s my husband,” Shannon blurted out catching the look on Dave’s face as soon as the words were spoken.
“Your husband?  Since when?” Dave nearly gulped back at her.
“Look it’s a long story that I really don’t want to get into, but to give you the abridged version, I had a bad day, did the very thing that they tell you in AA not to do when stress is weighing down upon you and I woke up the next morning with a husband,” Shannon revealed letting out a long breath, “While I’d like to say that this was a mistake I could easily erase, unfortunately for me, I married a romantic at heart who believes in the whole till death to you part bit.  I’ve tried to explain to him it’s never going to work out, but he’s just too damn stubborn to see that.  He won’t listen to me when I tell him that we’re just not going to work there…”
“In other words, you’re being your usual self and not giving this guy a break huh?” Dave replied pointedly.
“It’s not like that Dave and besides, I didn’t come here today to talk about my marriage.  It’s not important,” she waved her hand dismissively.
“Yet it was important enough for you to tell me about it Shannon,” he paused thinking about what she was saying, “So tell me Shannon, what’s so wrong about finding a guy who believes in romance?  That’s not necessarily a problem.”
“Oh come on Dave.  This guy is the ultimate boy scout.  He’s a doctor, a hopeless romantic and an overall sap,” she paused realizing what she was saying, “I mean no offense, but I don’t get into all of that garbage…”
“Of of course not since it’s so beneath you,” he feigned a shudder.
“Look, Dave, I’m not in the mood for this.  What I am however in the mood for is to talk about this Mahoney trial.  It turns out that not only was Don Kipp’s doctor, but Kipp was alive and well when he left Don’s care,” she continued adamantly.
“That’s great news, so where is Kipp?” Dave questioned, “Have you been able to get into contact with him and let him know that there’s a man on trial for his murder?”
“It’s not that simple,” Shannon replied with a huff, “you see there’s more to this story as Kipp wasn’t exactly walking out of the hospital when he was transferred.”
“I’m listening…” Dave waved her on to continue.
“Well, it turns out that Kipp was transferred to an undisclosed private facility by none other than Susan Denton,” she continued to reveal, “While that might not seem like much…”
“It leads to Cameron’s involvement given Susan’s ties with his company,” Dave nodded in complete understanding, “So what’s next?”
“Well, we’ve got a bit of a lead we’re working on right now if it checks out and…” Shannon started.
“You mean the FBI is taking charge of this one as well?”
“No, it’s not the FBI.  Remember due to Avery Morrison’s father having a fit I’m no longer in the FBI loop and right now I think that’s probably a good thing.  The ways we’re searching into things aren’t exactly procedural if you catch my drift…” she explained with a wave of her hand.
“In that case I don’t want to know about it, but if you get something that can help with this trial…” Dave began.
“That’s what I’m hoping for, but since I’ve heard rumors about you and the ADA, I was kind of hoping that you might pass some of this along in a casual manner to her considering that…” Shannon started up again.
“It’s not going to happen Shannon.  Carly and I aren’t exactly seeing eye to eye right now and I think that maybe it’s for the best,” he paused thinking about how each time he and Carly started to make some progress with one another, another thing sent them back a few steps, “Besides, I have my plate full with the bombing and the Bruce Mathis situation…”
“Which reminds me, has Deidra returned to town yet?” Shannon questioned, “Last I heard she and Dean were taking a romantic little…” she stopped herself, “never mind.”
“No, it’s okay,” Dave forced a pained expression, “I know about Dean.”
“And yet you’re taking this rather well,” Shannon eyed him intently, “Care to talk about it?”
“Nope,” he shook his head, “It’s not something I’d like to get into right now.  As long as she’s happy and safe, that’s all that matters to me.”
“Dave, I know that you and she were kind of…” she spoke up again.
“It’s in the past,” Dave offered up a poignant smile, “besides if you haven’t heard, while you’re off getting married to the prince charming that you simply don’t want, I’m the one who is putting my foot so far down my throat that each and every woman who ever meant anything to me walks away.”
“Deidra’s a fool if she couldn’t see how much you care about her.  I mean yeah Dean’s a great guy, but…” she tried to offer in consolation.
“Believe it or not I think it’s for the best.  Deidra is looking for something that I’m not and I have other things to deal with,” he frowned thinking back to Carly’s accusatory words.
“Such as?”
“Such as would you believe I’m even more messed up than you are when it comes to love,” he confessed with an ironic laugh, “I mean here I was spending half my life wishing for the perfect woman to just come into my life and the truth to the matter was that I had her and I let her slip away.  I kept thinking that Deidra was my ultimate dream girl--that someday fate would put us together, but when it got down to it, I was blowing my last chance at real happiness with a woman who loved me for me.”
“Sounds like a bit of regret there,” she noted with a tilt of her head.
“More than you can imagine,” he nodded in response, “which is why if I were you I’d rethink this whole eagerness to get out of that marriage of yours.  If the guy is a good one, then maybe you should find a way to at least see where this situation takes you.”
“Dave marriage and I don’t mix,” Shannon started to argue.
“Maybe that was true once upon a time, but you know Shannon.  It’s a cold and lonely road to travel alone.  If this guy you’re with is willing to try to make things work regardless of how it started, maybe just maybe he’s someone worth investing a little effort in,” Dave suggested.
“What are you my damn shrink now?” she scowled back at him.
“No, just someone who knows what it’s like to wake up one morning and realize that you’re all alone.  It’s not a pretty picture Shannon.  Trust me on that one,” he added rising from his chair, “but on that note, I have to follow up on a few things here so I need to get going.”
“Alright, but I just thought I’d give you a head’s up on what’s going on with the case here.  I think that I’m on the threshold of something big,” Shannon added trying not to let herself be distracted by thoughts of Don.
“Then I say roll with it and keep me updated,” Dave nodded back at her, “and as for your husband, hey cut the guy a break.  If he thinks you’re pretty special, he can’t be all that bad, can he?”
“Dave,” she threw out a warning look despite the fact that she couldn’t argue that he had a good point there.  Maybe she was being too hard on Don after all.  Still, she was certain that love and happily ever was something that was never in the cards for her even if Don wanted to believe that was the case.


Sarah walked to her front door smiling thinking it was Blake forgetting something only a few minutes after left a couple of minutes ago. When she opened the door a huge smile spread across her face.

“Kyle,” she smiled as she welcomed him in and closed the door behind them.

“Hey beautiful,” Kyle winked before handing her a single red rose, “This is for you.”

“Another rose? I think they are becoming my favorite flower Kyle,” Sarah pointed out before going to the kitchen to only have him follow her as she put the rose into the vase that held the others he gave her a couple of days ago.

“You see, I heard from Seth that you were sounding a little down and I brought a few things for you,” he stated raising the bag that he held tightly in his hand.

“Other than the rose?” she questioned raising her eyebrow slightly amused, “What is it?”

“You see, I knew you like to just hang out so I went out a found your favorite movie for us to watch,” Kyle informed her as he pulled out an object from his bag.

“Oh my god, you brought Pure Country,” Sarah gasped excitedly as he smiled proudly.

“You see, it took me a while to find that movie,” Kyle began to explain before shrugging, “But I knew if the movie wasn’t you know, good enough to cheer you up…I figured dessert would, so I went out and got you your favorite.”

Sarah smiled as he pulled out a strawberry cheesecake and put it on the counter, “Not only have you already made me feel better, but I think you are trying to get me fat too.”

“Sarah,” Kyle laughed as he pulled her close to him wrapping his arms around her waist, “You are not fat and you never will. Unless of course me and you…”

Sarah’s eye widened as she looked up at him, “Me and you what? What were you going to say?”

“Oh it’s nothing,” he assured her before winking at her, “Anyways, you won’t get fat if I get my hands on the dessert first.”

“Hey, that’s my cheesecake,” she stated, “You will not eat it all, but we can share it.”

“No, that’s okay,” he laughed slightly before tightening his grip on her, “I bought it for you.”

“But really, what was it you were saying?” Sarah questioned as Kyle rolled his eyes and leaned down kissing her lightly.

“How about that movie?” he questioned seeing her nod as he kissed her once more.

“I’ll let it slip right now, but I will get it out of you,” Sarah insured him as he laughed.

“I’m sure you will, now come here before you miss the beginning of the movie,” Kyle yelled out before she quickly came out of the kitchen.


Seth sat on the sofa flipping through channels realizing it was useless to try to find good quality television on a Thursday night.  Sure there were the usual sitcoms, but right now, well now he’d just as soon find himself buried in beneath the blankets instead of dealing with what useless things were on.  Reaching for the remote, he flipped to an old Friends episode thinking of how Blake so enjoyed the show.  He left it on for a moment before deciding to call it quits for the night.
“Another time,” he replied watching Joey knock on the door before he turned the television off.  Once he did he was struck by an eerie feeling as the pounding continued.  Only instead of coming from the television, the source of the sound erupted from his own front door.
“Wonder what you forgot Kyle,” Seth laughed lightly thinking of the night Kyle and Jade must’ve had with one another chatting it up.  Rising from the sofa, Seth walked over to the door opening it to discover the hallway empty.
“What the,” Seth began with a puzzled expression before a long, slender leg slipped out across the doorway blocking his path to the hall.  His gaze traveled appreciatively down the smooth, sleek curves leading to the sexy, white stiletto shoe before him.  Unable to suppress the smile that spread over his handsome face, Seth let out a small whistle, “My, my what is this?”
“Your preview of what lies ahead for the honeymoon,” Blake slurred in a low, seductive tone before sliding her leg to the floor once again.  Sauntering into the archway of the door, she gazed up at him with smoldering blue eyes.  She had her long, blonde hair pinned up loosely in a pale snow colored clip and as her crimson lips curved up in a smile, Seth couldn’t help but find himself intrigued, “Interested?”
“Baby, I’m always interested where you’re concerned,” Seth inched forward ready to take her into his arms, but before he could reach her, she took a step back, sliding her hands over the front of the brown trench coat she was wearing.
“I don’t think you understand.  You’re not getting the full effect,” she explained licking her lips before she teased her finger tips over the knot of the jacket, “but you will.”
“Blake, um, about that,” Seth started to clear his throat remembering that Jade was inside the apartment, “Maybe we should…”
“Feast your eyes on the latest find I happened upon.  I was going to save it for the honeymoon, but I figure why wait,” Blake stated boldly pulling her jacket open to reveal the naughty white satin and lace bodice she was wearing.  It was innocently white with a pink ribbon lacing right up the front and in that moment Seth felt his IQ drop at least a hundred points as the barely there garment hugged each and every one of her savory curves accentuating every positive about her body.  His eyes widened as she shed the trench coat before reaching for the clip in her hair releasing it’s hold on her golden tresses. Shamelessly she took another step back, showing off the erotic find she’d picked up on the way over.  “Well, what do you think?”
“I think that…” Seth stammered a bit unable to contain himself as she spun around to give him the full effect of the lingerie.  His throat went dry, his heart hammering in his chest and as she bent down to retrieve her jacket, his eyes were immediately drawn to the soft, swell of her breasts teasing him from beneath the constricting fabric.
“I’d say that’s a start,” Blake eased her arms into the jacket, watching the way his pulse seemed to leap up into his throat with each breath of air he’d sucked in.  Yes, buying this had been a good idea indeed.  She saw his eyes shift up and down the hallway to see if anyone else had noticed her display, but in that moment, she could care less. 
Blake stepped forward, teasing her nails over the center of his chest before she tipped up on her toes to taste his ever so kissable lips.  Her tongue teased over his bottom lip, nibbling gently upon his tender flesh before she felt his fingers slide within her silken hair.  Unable to hold back on the kiss, Blake let out a soft purr, feeling the vibration of the sound press over the both of them.
“Blake,” Seth mouthed her name, feeling her body graze against his, tempting him to let her show him each and every one of the things she’d had in mind for this prelude to their road to happily ever after.
“How about you let me inside and if you’re a good boy, I’ll let you unwrap your present,” she mouthed seductively nibbling at his neck while her hands moved wildly over his body.
“As much as I’d like nothing more than to eat you up right now, there‘s just one thing that…” Seth started to explain to her as a light snapped on from behind him in the living room.
“Seth, is everything okay?” Jade’s voice questioned, “I thought I heard the door.”
“Jade’s home,” Blake practically squealed, a bright rose color filling her face as she took a step back and quickly closed her jacket.
“I was trying to tell you that, but…” Seth began apologetically.
“Blake, is that you,” Jade moved forward noticing her in the doorway, “Whatever are you doing out there? Come on in.  Seth, I can’t believe you just left her standing out there.”
“Well…we were just,” Seth still found himself at a loss as he thought of the temptation Blake had just laid out on the table for him.  Suddenly all sorts of X-rated thoughts about her swarmed through his mind rendering him speechless.
“I was just in the neighborhood and,” Blake began attempting to downplay the situation.
“And it’s good that you’re here.  You just missed Kyle seeing as he just left, but hey you know now that you’re here, we can catch up,” Jade suggested brightly, “Seth and I were talking about the wedding earlier and I have a few ideas that I think you might like.”
“Really?” Blake smiled back at her, “Like what?”
“Like I found this magazine the other day and,” Jade paused giving Blake a once over, “Would you like me to take your jacket for you?”
“No,” Blake and Seth replied in unison, their faces both twisted in panic.
“But…” Jade gave them a strange look.
“What Blake is trying to say is…” Seth stammered a bit.
“I’m really kind of cold,” Blake offered in response, “and you know I’d just like to warm up a bit before I take this off.”
“Oh, okay,” Jade eyed her for a long moment, “Are you sure everything’s okay.”
“Everything is fine,” Seth added before stepping in along side of Blake, “Although I wanted to show Blake something in my room first.  She left something here the other day and…”
“And I should really go get it,” Blake started to catch on, “Maybe you’ll have a sweater or something to warm me up.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” Seth nodded in agreement, “In fact, how about you help me go look for it?”
“I can just turn the heat up,” Jade suggested, “Though it’s kind of warm in here, isn’t it?”
“Yeah it is kind of warm,” Seth replied tugging at the collar on his shirt, “Maybe you should check things out.”
“Will do,” Jade replied walking off to check the thermostat.
Once Jade exited the room, Blake looked to Seth with wide eyes, “You didn’t tell me that she was here.”
“You didn’t give me much of a chance given that you took any ounce of intelligence I had left with you when you took that jacket off,” Seth replied honestly, his breath still uneven as the memory washed over him.
Blake couldn’t help but smile at his comment, “Well that was kind of the point, but if I knew your sister would be here…”
“She’s had a bad day.  Grady’s trial was going on and…” he stopped when Jade reentered the room.
“It says it’s on seventy which is strange considering how hot I’m feeling,” Jade eyed Blake again, “Are you sure I can’t just take your jacket for you?”
“No,” Blake and Seth blurted out in unison once again.
“I’m fine,” Blake gulped holding her jacket together tighter than before, “Maybe I could go get that thing from your room.”
“That thing,” Seth gave her a strange look before realization dawned in upon him, “Oh, that thing.”
“Yes that thing,” Blake nodded in response.
“We’ll be right back,” Seth waved his finger at Jade before leading Blake to his room.  Quickly he pushed her inside before closing the door behind him.
“Now what?” Blake questioned in a panic opening up her trench coat to show him what she was wearing once again, “Seth, we both know I can’t go out there looking like this?”
“No, you can’t, but at the same time I can’t walk out of here without getting a chance to touch you.  If I don’t, then I know I’m going to lose my mind,” he confessed diving towards her with a heightened urgency. 
Blake fell backwards onto his bed not expecting his ‘attack’ as he moved in over her.  His lips devoured her, his hands greedily seeking out any kind of release as he touched her.  Their mouths met in a whirlwind of passion, a fire scorching the both of them as Blake wrapped her legs around his torso.
“God, why did you have to come over here looking like that,” Seth questioned unable to refrain from allowing the more primal side of his personality come to the surface.
“Because I was missing you,” she confessed tangling her fingers through his thick, dark hair before her mouth meshed with his again.  She arched up into him, her body aching with need, but before things could get too fired up, she heard a tapping on the door.
“It’s Jade,” Seth reluctantly tore himself away from her, “She’s probably wondering what’s taking so long.”
“It’s not long enough,” Blake cried out, falling back onto the bed with a slight groan, “Seth, I shouldn’t have come over here tonight.”
“Not like this you shouldn’t have,” he admitted, his eyes feasting upon her, “but damn am I happy you did.  Maybe I can talk to Jade and we can work out some kind of…”
“She’s excited about the wedding,” Blake reminded him with a curl of her lower lip, “Plus she had a bad day with Grady.  The trial has to be hard on her and well, maybe…”
“Blake, you have no idea how hard this is on me right now with you looking so delicious,” Seth admitted off the top of his head.
“Oh I have a very good idea,” Blake arched up towards him once again grinding her body into his, “and that’s kind of what I was hoping for.”
“Fine,” Seth bit back on his words, “Five minutes and I swear we’ll find a way to fix this.”
“Five minutes,” Blake repeated with wide eyes.
“Five minutes,” he nodded forcing himself to get off of the bed, but not before issuing her one last kiss.  “Don’t you move.”
“I’ll be right here,” Blake promised watching him leave the bedroom.  Smiling to herself she realized that tonight she was making a bold, yet wicked move, but at the same time she knew full well that every relationship needed a little spice.  Sure, maybe it wasn’t the best of times now that Jade was around, but she’d gotten all dressed up and ready to play.
“And play we will,” she smiled inwardly adjusting the lace that surrounded her before she lay back on the blankets.  Her eyes fixed on the ceiling and as she thought of what lay ahead for her and Seth, her eyelids grew heavy.
“I’m back and I hate to do this, but Jade’s not feeling well tonight.  She thinks it’s bad Chinese and,” Seth stopped himself realizing that Blake had fallen asleep on his bed.  She’d snuggled up with one of his pillows and as he watched her, he couldn’t help but admire how truly beautiful she was.  Sure, she was dressed like a vixen tonight, but with the way she lay before him looking so very innocent, he thought about the woman he’d fallen head over heels in love with.
Moving in beside her Seth touched her long, blonde hair smoothing it against the pillow, “I love you Blake Ashford,” he whispered leaning in to kiss her forehead gently before he went back to check on his sister once again.  Sure maybe life hadn’t been easy, but now that he and Blake were finally making their dreams come true with one another, he knew that things were going to turn around for the best.  Tonight things might’ve gone down a very different path than what she was planning on, but he was confident that once he and Blake were married, they’d have their happily ever after leaving them with plenty of nights to explore the obvious passion and chemistry between them.


Don rang the doorbell to the Ashford mansion as he folded his hands out in front of him. A woman answered the door as he went to talk before she cut him off.

“Who are you?” she questioned seeing him extend his hand out to her.

“I am Don Leveski. I’m one of Brant’s friends, I believe we have met before…he called me here to check up on his brother,” Don stated before she shook his hand lightly and let him in.

“Don,” Brant smiled before walking over to him and hugging him, “Hey, how‘s it going?”

“Nothing really, just…I will tell you later,” Don shrugged before seeing the woman walk off. “Is she feeling okay?  I don‘t think she remembered me from the hospital…”

“Oh Avery? No, she isn’t feeling too good,” Brant, informed him with a slight smile before leading him into a different room.  “She’s just got a lot on her mind and I’m sure that’s all that was about.”

“Where is your brother?” Don questioned looking around before Brant shook his head.

“Forget about Ken,” Brant began motioning Don to sit down, “He is in a bad mood.  I called because I thought he needed your help, but I realize he‘s just beyond help at this point.”

“That doesn‘t sound good,” Don nodded a little awkwardly before Brant sighed deeply.

“Yeah well nothing with him ever is lately,” Brant shook his head with a grumble, “You know I tell you, I can’t believe all that’s been going on.”

“Are we talking about Ken or about the potential threat you’re facing with BBK,” Don questioned with a slight frown, “I’ve been keeping up with it on the news given my investment there…”
“Yeah well I think sometimes it pays to be a silent partner in the company,” Brant frowned again, “I mean sure okay I know it’s a small slice of production, but…”
“But it’s big enough if you need any help, then I’m sure I can step in if need be,” Don offered with a thoughtful expression.  “I realize you have the best of the best on board, but…”
“But the stress is a bit overwhelming,” Brant confessed with a simple shake of his head, “Avery’s had a lot on her mind there.  She’s up to her eyeballs in legal issues.”
“You know as much as I hate to say it, maybe you should look into having someone else step in as well.  I know Avery’s obviously very talented given she’d have to be if she was working for you, but given what she’s been through…” Don pondered the thought for a moment.  “It might be a bit overwhelming for her especially with the pregnancy.”
“I’ve thought about that and that’s just one of the many concerns in my mind right now,” Brant admitted honestly, “Avery’s pushing herself too hard lately.”
“That probably isn’t a good idea Brant.  I know that at the hospital she was eager to leave, but when I saw her, well I just think it would be in her best interest to just take it easy,” Don suggested after a moment’s contemplation, “Not that I’m saying anything was wrong, but stress and pregnancy just don’t mix too well.”
“I know that,” Brant nodded back at him, “I do and I’m trying to tell my wife to take it slow, but slow and Avery very seldom mix.  I’m reaching out to her, but it’s like she’s built this wall and…”
“And it sounds like you’ve both got a lot on your plate right now,” Don offered with obvious understanding, “and you know that I really don’t mind lending a hand at BBK if Avery isn‘t up to…”
“Everything at BBK is taken care of,” Avery announced reentering the room again, “It’s under complete control.”
“Avery, I wasn’t sure where you went,” Brant turned to address her.
“Yeah, well you know obviously the world is aware that there are some problems here, but it’s under control,” Avery explained matter of fact before turning her attention to Don.
“I understand that, but I was just suggesting…” Don started surprised by the expression on Avery’s face.
“As appreciated as it is, I have it under control,” she shook her head looking between the two men, “Despite what you both must think of me, I have it very well under control.”
“I never said that you didn’t.  I was just telling Don that we’ve both been under a lot of stress lately,” Brant tried to explain to her.
“Stress or not, I’m still in control.  I can handle this and I don’t appreciate your thinking that I can’t,” Avery looked between the both of them, “I’m a lot stronger than people give me credit for.”
“I realize that Avery,” Brant took a step towards her, “Don was only offering to help considering that…”
“It doesn’t matter,” Avery shook her head before taking in a slow breath, “I just…I’m tired.”
“Then you should rest,” Brant reached out to pull her into an embrace, “Why don’t you just go to bed or something?”
“You know,” she paused for a long moment, her gaze pressing in beyond Don, “I think I’m going to do just that.  It’s been a long day.”
“Yes it has,” he agreed with her, “and rest might be good for you.”
“Okay,” she decided giving Don another look, “about before…”
“Don’t mention it,” Don offered watching Avery go up the stairs as he wondered if perhaps there was more going on in the Ashford home than they were willing to talk about.


“Somehow I didn’t think I’d be seeing you after what happened in court earlier,” Ken confessed as Carly took a seat at his side on the bed.
“Yeah, well something in me told me it might be better for me to stay away for a while, but then I came to my senses and I wanted to make sure that you were okay,” Carly confessed reaching out to place her hand on his arm tentatively, “I was really worried about you.”
“You were worried about me,” he half laughed at the thought, “here I was the one who ran us into my ice-cream shop and damn near killed us both, yet you’re worried about me.”
“You’re damn right I’m worried about you Ken,” Carly gave him a strange look, “Why wouldn’t I be after the things that happened leading up to the accident?  Do you have any idea how bad things could’ve gone for you in court this morning if I hadn’t stepped in like I did…”
“Which I’m sure in doing so, you probably promised your boss heaven and Earth for a deal like that huh,” Ken questioned already knowing the answer by the expression on her face, “Carly, I didn’t ask you to do me any favors here.”
“Ken, you’re my friend and I don’t want to see you bury yourself,” she explained honestly, “I hated what I saw happening the night of the accident and if it continues…”
“Carly, I wish that I could shut it off.  That I could stop it somehow, but the truth is that the harder I try to fight it, the more it takes me under,” he replied honestly, his voice broken by emotion, “When I think about what should’ve been and then reality hits…”
“Ken, I know it’s hard, but you can’t let yourself lose sight of what’s ahead of you.  You’re not alone in this.  You have people around you that love and care for you and they want to help you,” Carly continued worry evident in her tone.
“Yeah, sure,” he shook his head before letting out an ironic laugh, “All they see is one more problem that needs to be dealt with.”
“No, they see a man they love tearing himself apart piece by piece and they’re feeling helpless.  Ken no one wants to see you go under because of what happened to Caitlin.  Yes, there’s no mistaking the fact that your heart was ripped out when she died, but Ken, you can’t stop fighting in this world.  You can’t stop living because I’m sure that Caitlin wouldn’t want that.  No one wants to see you slip away.”
“I’m sure it would make a few people around here a bit happier if I just never showed my face around town again,” Ken groaned in response, “I mean if I just disappeared, then hey, it might brighten a few people’s lives there.”
“Damn it Ken.  Would you just stop feeling sorry for yourself,” Carly snapped back at him, her eyes sparking with obvious emotion, “I mean really you’re looking at this situation with blinders on.  You weren’t the only one to lose someone you loved in that bombing.  There are a hell of a lot of people in this town still feeling the after effects of what happened at that airport, but they are trying like hell to find a way to pull through it.  They haven’t given up on themselves and you shouldn’t either.  I know it hurts, but…”
“How can you even begin to think you can know what I’m feeling,” Ken snapped at her, taken aback by her words, “You and Dave broke up Carly.  He’s not dead.  He’s still very much alive.”
“And so are you Ken.  That’s what I’m trying to get you to realize here.  If you continually try to destroy yourself, one day you’re going to succeed and then…” she paused fighting the lump of emotion that pooled up in the back of her throat, “I’d just hate for that day to happen.”
“Why?” Ken questioned his dark eyes meeting hers again, “Why would it matter Carly?  You said it yourself that I’ve basically caused you nothing but trouble since we’ve crossed paths…”
“Yeah well maybe I don’t mind getting involved in your kind of trouble,” she threw back at him with a huff.
“Then you’re clearly hard up for a good time because I’m the kind of trouble that you don’t want or need in your life,” Ken argued with her, “This isn’t something that you want to get swept under in.”
“No?” Carly gave him a sideways glance, “You don’t think that I would want to care about you?”
“If you were smart you wouldn’t,” Ken added with a frown, “I mean it’s not like you owe me anything.”
“No, I guess I don’t Ken, but I just kind of thought that when we came together that maybe just maybe we could find a way to help each other.  Despite your self-loathing woes of how the world is against you, I’m not Ken.  I’m not judging you and I’m not trying to act as if what you’re doing isn’t going to take you under.  Ken, I’m worried about you and if you can’t see that, then maybe I am wasting my time after all.  Maybe this was a mistake,” she decided rising up from where she sat only to feel him reach for her arm in an attempt to prevent her from leaving.
“No, Carly wait,” he tugged her in closer to him once again.  He could see the pain behind her features--the look of disappointment behind her eyes and in that moment guilt tugged at his insides, “please don’t go.”
“Ken, I can’t watch you destroy yourself.  I thought that I could get into this without being invested in anything more than what we shared the other night, but damn it you’re my friend and I care about what happens to you,” she confessed with tears behind her eyes.
“I know you do,” Ken coaxed her into sitting down beside him once again.  He sat up straighter, brushing his thumb against the soft hollow of her cheekbone as his eyes fixed upon hers, “and I care about what happens to you too.  I don’t like to see you hurting like this because of me.”
“Then stop being such an ass and start trying to help me help you,” Carly pleaded with him, “Ken, I don’t think I could bear the thought of you killing yourself because you were burned by destiny.”
“If anyone other than you said that, I think I’d tell them to piss off, but with you,” he paused finding himself choked up on emotion, “Carly, look I can’t make you any promises about what happens next, but I can tell you that I never meant to bring you into this.”
“Yeah, well it’s a little too late for this one now isn’t it,” she tossed back at him with a poignant smile, “I’m already your partner in crime here…”
“Unfortunately for you,” his thumb grazed over her bottom lip gingerly despite his resolve to keep her at arm’s length.
“Yeah, well there are worse things that could happen, right,” she tossed back at him with a small sigh.
“Yeah, there are certainly worse things that could happen to you,” he nodded in agreement, tilting his head down closer to her, “I mean hell, you could go and fall in love with me.  That would be pretty damn stupid, wouldn’t it?”
“Believe me, I don’t think either one of us is dumb enough to fall into that trap with one another,” she replied, her eyes dropping down to focus on the warmth of his breath over hers, “We’re smarter than that Ken.”
“Much, much smarter than that,” Ken whispered heatedly over her mouth, feeling her body tense up in anticipation.  He leaned forward curling his arm around her, unable to resist the urge that overtook him as he pulled her down into the bed with him. 
Grinning mischievously, he dragged his index finger over her bottom lip, watching her shiver upon the contact of his skin against hers.  He could feel her heart racing beneath his as he tipped down to nibble on her crimson colored lips.  She writhed beneath him, her body arching up ever so slightly into his like it had so very readily the other night.  Still after he’d almost killed her, he could picture the glass and the blood so vivid in his memory when their car crashed and he pulled back ever so slightly.
“Why are you wasting your time on me Carly,” he questioned curiously, dragging his fingers lazily up and down her side.
“Because I think that deep down we both know we’re not really wasting each other’s time,” she admitted freely, feeling his hand slide in underneath her blouse before his fingers began to explore the contours of her body.
“We really aren’t, are we,” he mouthed in a low, sensual tone, his mouth melding to hers again.  Her arms curled around his body, hands roaming relentlessly as he worked to rid her of her blouse, but before things could reach their full potential, Ken heard the faint echoes of a knock at the door.  Frowning Ken pulled away from her with a curse upon his lips, “Damn it Brant.  Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?”
“Maybe this isn’t a good time,” Carly started to sit up again reaching out to adjust her blouse again.
“No, it’s a perfect time,” Ken explained leaning in to kiss her once again, “Just let me get rid of my brother.”
“Ken, if this isn’t…” she began again feeling him silence her with a desperate kiss full of longing.
“It is I promise you,” Ken assured her before climbing out of bed to stomp over to the door.  He threw it open a crack before glaring out into the hallway with an angry scowl, “What?”
“Ken,” Dave’s surprised face greeted him, “listen I know it’s not the best of times, but I was hoping we could talk.  Can I have a few minutes of your time?”
“You want my time,” Ken repeated with a grin suddenly realizing the weight of the situation he’d just entered upon.  Unable to refrain from smirking harder than before, Ken stood up taller ready to have it out with a man who could clearly put an end to his fun.  Suddenly this pivotal moment became something that Ken realized he’d waited a very long time to indulge in and with that thought in mind, he opened the door a bit further, “Sure Dave, I’d be more than happy to let you have a few minutes of my time.  You might find it to be rather insightful.”


...to be continued...