Episode 174

“Look Ken, I didn’t come over today to fight with you,” Dave began with a heavy sigh bringing his fingers through his own hair, “but after what you said to me at the station, well I think we need to set a few things straight between us.”
“By all means, let’s set them straight then, shall we,” Ken suggested with a cryptic expression opening the door completely only to turn around to discover his bed empty.  Frowning as he realized Carly must’ve slipped into the master bathroom, Ken turned around to face Dave again with a scowl, “So talk Dave.  What’s on your mind?”
“A lot of things,” Dave admitted with a frown of his own, “but first and foremost I’ve been thinking about you and what you’re doing to yourself.”
“Oh spare me,” Ken rolled his eyes, “Like what I’m going through has ever really crossed through your mind.  Admit it, you’re secretly loving this one.  You like that you can play high and mighty and watch me fall.”
“Contrary to your popular belief Ken I’m not like that.  I’m not at all one who gets off on seeing their friends suffer,” Dave argued with him, “but you on the other hand, well I’m starting to have my doubts about that.”
“Of course you are,” Ken rolled his eyes, “because far be it for the almighty Dave Warner to have faith in those who have spent their whole life supporting him.”
“Supporting?” Dave couldn’t help but let out an ironic laugh, “Is that what you call what you were doing at the station when you were having a fit?”
“No Dave, I was setting you straight on things,” Ken insisted firmly while raising his voice just a bit for extra effect, “I was letting you see how things truly are, but as usual, you were in a heavy state of denial.  Can I help it if you’re still so hung up on Deidra that you’d like to take it out on me for the way things turned out?”
“That wasn’t about Deidra and you know it,” Dave frowned in response, “I can’t believe that you’re even bringing this up considering that…”
“That what?  That you’ve never quite gotten over the fact that she’s chosen just about everyone else over you?” Ken lashed out at him harshly, “I mean my God Dave it’s been over twenty years here.  I think it’s time to get over it and move on with your life.  Deidra simply isn’t going to fall in love with you like you’ve been hoping for.”
“I’m not hoping for anything from Deidra other than friendship,” Dave argued with him, “and for you to bring up something that went down when we were just kids…”
“Face it Dave, you never got over her.  You’re still hoping that one morning she’ll wake up and realize that you’re the one.  That’s why you leapt into the role of her support system when you heard that she and Andy have parted and that’s why you’re still miserable about the way your life is.”
“Look Ken, I came over here today to try to see if I could help you find a way to get through this situation you’re going through, but it seems like all you’re set on doing is lashing out at me about things that are irrelevant,” Dave argued with him, “this isn’t about Deidra.”
“No, Dave, this is always about Deidra.  For some reason you can’t just shake her from your system.  I mean my God man does Carly even have any idea that the reason you didn’t want to leave with her before was because you were pining away for Deidra?  Come to think of it, did you ever mention to her that the day she left you didn’t try to stop her because you were with Deidra?  That you were well on your way to try to stop Deidra’s wedding to Andy, but at the last minute you lost your nerve?”
“Stop it Ken!” Dave snapped back at him, “I’ve heard more than enough about this!”
“No, I don’t think you have because the sad truth is that you’re the one who needs to stop Dave,” Ken continued to lash out at him, “You need to stop obsessing over what you can’t have.  Deidra doesn’t love you and she never will.”
“Stop it Ken!” Dave shouted back at him, “Just stop.  You know I thought you’d grown up, but the truth is that you’re still that spoiled little son of a bitch that gets off on making everyone else miserable.  You never cared about me or our friendship and that was obvious the day that you found a way to steal Deidra from me.  You knew that I was in love with her--that I wanted to be with her, but that didn’t matter to you.  You didn’t care about what it was that I was feeling, only what you could get and you know Ken, I wouldn’t doubt that if you hadn’t stepped in the way Deidra and I would’ve found a way to be together now.  She and I could be a whole hell of a lot happier than we are after the way things turned out…”
“And I’ll bet you would’ve loved that, wouldn’t you?” Carly questioned emerging from the bathroom, obvious anger burning behind her dark eyes.
“Carly,” Dave’s jaw dropped in astonishment as he saw her standing before him, “What are you doing here?”
“Obviously seeing things as they really are,” she answered sharply unable to refrain from the tears in her eyes.  Turning her attention to Ken, she passed by him in a haste, “Ken, I have to go…”
“Carly wait,” Dave started after her watching her rush out of Ken’s room.  Turning around to see Ken’s wicked smirk, Dave realized that he’d been set up in his own way, “You!  You planned all of this, didn’t you?”
“That’s right,” Ken folded his arms in front of his chest smugly, “I just figured that Carly should see what she’s getting herself into in wasting her time on you.”   
“You son of a bitch,” Dave charged at him, unable to contain his own anger as he lashed out at Ken, throwing his fist right square across Ken’s jaw. 
Ken fell back upon impact, but still as he looked up to see Dave hovering over him, a trembling tower of rage, Ken let out a nefarious laugh, “The truth is a bitch isn’t it?  But hey look on the bright side, you’re finally being honest with yourself and with Carly, which in the long run will be doing her a favor.”
“Yeah I’ll do her a favor,” Dave waved his fist at him once again, “I’m going to make sure that you stay the hell away from her.  I don’t know what it is about you Ashford, but while you might be set on taking the world down with you, I’m not about to let you do it to her.  Do you hear me Ken?  You’re not taking her down with you.”
“It’s a little too late for that one Dave,” Ken mouthed to himself watching Dave rush off after Carly.  Sure, maybe Dave would try to persuade her to come back to him, but after Dave’s shocking confession, the damage was already done.  That topped off with what Ken and Carly had experienced with one another and Ken knew it was only a matter of time before Dave was bumped out of Carly’s life forever.  Oh and what a refreshing thought that was, Ken smiled inwardly realizing that Carly was right.  There was still a lot of living to do and Ken was about to do just that to the fullest.


“I really appreciate your coming over here tonight Don.  I know that I’ve kind of kept you on short notice with all the emergencies that have been happening around here,” Brant replied thinking about the things that kept happening surrounding his family.
“It’s not a problem Brant,” Don offered in his same usual cheerful demeanor, “You know I don’t mind doing anything I can for a friend there.”
“I realize that, but still I feel like I should be doing more for you,” Brant motioned to the bar set up in the room across from where they stood, “Have time for a drink?”
“I really shouldn’t as I have to get home.  I was hoping to get a word in with my wife tonight before I went and…” Don started eliciting a surprised expression from Brant.
“Your wife?” Brant repeated with wide eyes, “You don’t say?  You mean you went and followed my lead and found yourself settled down?”
“Actually yes,” Don smiled proudly, “Granted I’m sure it wasn’t the same kind of courtship you and Avery have had with one another, but it’s something…”
“Well Avery and I certainly have an interesting love story,” Brant looked up the stairs to the room where he’d helped Avery settle in for the night after he’d talked her into sticking around, “but it makes for an adventure.  So, what about you?  I wasn’t even aware of the fact that you were seeing anyone serious.”
“Well, I wasn’t,” Don scratched his head lightly, “That’s the ironic thing about it.  This happened at the absolute most unexpected time of all, yet I have a good feeling about it.”
“Hmm, well in that case you’ve got me curious,” Brant motioned for Don to follow him into the library, “Who is she and how long have you known her?”
“Not long,” Don divulged honestly, “I guess you could say it’s kind of an impromptu courtship considering that we were both blitzed out of our minds when we ran off to tie the knot.”
“Say what,” Brant replied with obvious interest, “Oh please tell me you didn’t take my idea to go down to Atlantic City and take in a few shows.  You didn’t wind up hitched to a dancer, did you?”

“No, not at all,” Don replied honestly, “more so I wound up with a very incredible woman.”
“So then she’s a stripper,” Brant joked catching the glare from his friend.
“I’m being serious here,” Don informed him simply.
“So am I,” Brant laughed lightly pouring himself a drink, “I’ve known a few strippers in my lifetime and quite a few of them are pretty damn amazing.”
“And just how would your wife feel to hear you talking like that,” Don folded his arms in front of his chest.
“Ah, my friend I’m talking about something that existed in another life.  I’m a changed man now that the love bug has hit me,” Brant proclaimed raising his glass in the air, “but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have my wild ways once upon a time or that I wouldn’t mind indulging in your tale of your latest misadventure that lead you to matrimony.”
“Well, I wouldn’t call it a misadventure because I happen to think that Shannon is really incredible.  I mean she’s a bit abrasive and rough around the edges, but I tend to think that has something more to do with her career choices given that I’ve seen she hasn’t exactly had a good run of luck with the FBI lately and…”
“Did you just say FBI?” Brant’s jaw nearly dropped.
“That’s right,” Don nodded, “but not to worry because I can assure you that she’s not the kind to go nosing around into the BBK shareholdings like the last one you encountered not so long ago…”
“Oh no, I’m sure she’s not, but if her last name is Pryce, then I‘d say you‘re in for big trouble,” Brant replied with a gulp.
“Come again?” Don blinked back in surprise, the color draining from his face.
“Tell me you didn’t marry Shannon Pryce,” Brant pleaded with him, “Say that you haven’t hit an all time low.”
“I haven’t hit any kind of low and yes her last name was Pryce, but what of it,” Don began defensively.
“Don, my friend, you don’t realize what kind of mess you got yourself into,” Brant replied shaking his head as his stunned response transformed into concern for his friend, “Listen, I know that she’s sexy and all, but with Shannon, she’s a viper.  I can tell you she did a lot more digging around BBK in my briefs than anything else if you catch my drift and while the sex was amazing, she’s just a time bomb waiting to explode.”
“Okay,” Don took a step back, “I don’t want to be hearing this.  If you’re trying to insinuate that you and my wife were some kind of item, then I really don’t think that…”
“Don, listen to me.  Shannon and I were more than an item.  We were together before Heather and I got engaged,” Brant continued to explain, “Remember that hot little number that I was seeing?  The Federal Agent that had that little thing about her that could drive a man wild in bed without even batting an eyelash?  You know how I told you that she did this little thing with…”
“Okay stop,” Don shuddered recalling his own sexual experiences with his wife.  Taking a step back he felt as if he’d been kicked in the gut, “I can’t believe that this is happening.  I can’t believe that you and Shannon…”
“Yeah well that’s a hell of a lot more understandable than you and Shannon,” Brant remarked sharply, “I can’t believe that you even came into contact with her let alone you’re having wound up married to her.  Don she’s trouble and if I were you, I’d work on getting that marriage absolved in any way you can come up with…”
“Yeah well you’re not me,” Don replied with a scowl, “In fact, I think I should leave…”
“What?  Don, come on.  Don’t tell me you’re upset with me for being honest with you,” Brant watched his friend’s face grow red with anger, “Listen to me.  I know that Shannon’s hot and a great time in bed and maybe that’s what you’re trying to hold onto, but she’s not the marrying kind.  She never was and if you try to get her into the domestic sense, it’s going to blow up in your face.  Her one passion is for her career and that’s where it ends.  I know that you’ve been hoping to find something special after you lost…”
“That’s not what this is about,” Don waved his hand at him, ready to lash out at Brant for what he was saying about Shannon, but he stopped himself, “Look, I’d just appreciate it if you’d stop talking about my wife that way.  It’s disrespectful and…”
“And please tell me that you’re not going to be stupid and try to make this work.  Shannon is ruthless and…” Brant began again.
“And she’s my wife Brant.  Regardless of what the two of you may or may have not had together once upon a time, it’s over.  She’s my wife now and we’re trying to make this work,” Don piped in defensively.
“Yeah, well for you, I hope you rethink that notion before it winds up shattering you.  Shannon’s not the kind of woman you can hold onto after the fun comes to an end.  She’s wild, intense and rough around the edges, but she’s not that whole happily ever after once in a lifetime kind of gal.  It’s not her scene.”
“Maybe that was the Shannon you knew, but the Shannon I married, well she’s looking for something special,” Don continued thinking about his plans for saving his marriage.
“For your sake, I hope you’re right on that, but Don, given what I know about Shannon, I think you’re in for a big heartbreak.  Domestic isn’t her scene and women like her never change.  Given what you need…”
“Let me worry about what I need.  You just worry about keeping your life in tact,” Don motioned to where he and Brant had just left Avery to rest, “because I think you have a lot more on your hands than getting caught up in what’s happening with me.”
“Even so, you’re my friend and I felt I should warn you.  Shannon’s a real ball buster and if you’re not careful, well it could cost you,” Brant informed him honestly.
“It’s a chance I’m willing to take,” Don replied blowing off his friend’s words as he prepared to go back to the hotel and try to find a way to reach out to his wife once again.
“Well in that case I wish you a lot of luck man,” Brant followed him to the door and watching Don leave as he wondered what kind of trouble Don had gotten himself into this time. 
Once Don pulled out of the drive Brant walked up the stairs to discover Avery sleeping in bed where they’d left her.  Sure, maybe things weren’t perfect between them yet, but they would be.  He had high hopes for his future with Avery.  Things were going to work out.  He was almost certain of that, but first he knew there was something he had to do.  Carefully closing the door behind him, he made his way back to the foyer reaching for his jacket and making his way out into the night air ready to delve into yet another mystery that could help make his wife’s life easier once and for all.


Shannon folded her arms out in front of her as she took a deep breath. She was in the restaurant of her hotel waiting for Diego who had called her earlier asking if they could meet up and just talk. She slightly smiled as she saw him walking towards the table. He took a seat across from her as she folded her arms out in front of her.

“How are you?” Diego questioned sliding his chair closer to the table as she shrugged.

“I have been doing pretty good,” Shannon nodded slightly before seeing the slightly tired expression across his face, “What is it that you have been up to?”

“It’s a long story,” Diego sighed tapping his fingers on the table lightly before seeing her nod.

“Well, I have a while so why don’t you tell me what is on your mind,” she insisted as he sighed lightly.

“Well, the other day I had Heather committed with the help of her sister,” Diego started to explain seeing the confused look on Shannon’s face.

“You what?” Shannon questioned quickly before hearing him sigh deeply.

“I got Heather committed, I thought she would be more safe there than with Cameron,” he stated slightly before thinking how wrong he was. “Now I think that was one of the worst ideas I have come up with.”

“Believe me Diego,” Shannon started with a laugh, “The type of person Heather is…she is better of being locked up in there anyways.”

Diego ignored the comment as he went on; “For some reason I feel like I did the wrong thing, but if I left her with Cameron I know she would have gotten hurt somehow.”

Shannon saw the distraught look behind his eyes as she rested her hand on top of his soothingly.

“You did the right thing Diego,” she explained before seeing him shrug, “You were just looking out for her best, that’s all.”

Something caught Diego’s eyes as he looked down, “Wait.”

“What? What is it?” Shannon questioned as he lifted her hand in his looking at the ring around her finger.

“You’re married?” he questioned lightly seeing her sigh and look down, “Since when?”

“A while ago,” she informed him as she shook her head lightly.

“Obviously not that long ago considering we were sort of dating once upon a time there,” he reminded her with a pointed expression.

“Okay so maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but it’s been a surprise to say the least,” she confessed bringing her other hand to her face, “but yeah I’m married.”

“To who?” he wondered as she pulled her hand quickly from his looking down at the ring.

“I don’t think you know him,” she started to explain as listened to what she had to say, “His name is Don Leveski.”

“No, I don’t know him,” he nodded before frowning slightly, “How is it that I didn’t know about you getting married?  Granted I know you weren‘t too happy with me for a while there, but still I thought we were friends.”

“We are friends Diego.  Things have been so hectic and…” she stopped herself, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.  I’m being nosy and if you don’t want to talk about it, then you’re well within your right not to talk about it,” Diego added honestly, “I won’t push you if you don’t want to talk about the marriage.  If it’s a sore spot or you’d rather us not talk about this, then…”

“I don’t talk about it because this whole thing was a mistake,” she replied firmly before running her hand through her hair lightly, “It was just a big mistake.”

“What do you mean by that?” Diego wondered raising his eyebrow in curiosity.

“I mean I shouldn’t have married him,” Shannon declared deeply, “He was just a big mistake.”


Deidra turned her attention to the sky above watching the stars overhead as they seemed to shine just for her and Dean.  While they’d been out here a few days earlier on the backyard with one another, she couldn’t help but find herself drawn to this special spot between them.  Hearing the sound of his footsteps approaching from behind her, she couldn’t help but smile.
“There you are,” Dean whispered warmly against the back of her neck as his arms curled around her, “I was wondering where you drifted off to.  I just finished with the popcorn and…”
“And the night was calling me,” Deidra leaned back into him, “I couldn’t help but come out here and appreciate that moon.”
“It’s very beautiful,” Dean nodded in agreement, never taking his eyes off of her, “but it pales in comparison to the woman I’m holding in my arms.”
“Oh Dean,” Deidra couldn’t help but let out a tiny laugh, spinning around to face him once again.  Their gazes interlocked and in that moment she found herself lost in the magic that this place had brought upon them.  “You know, I realize that we came here to get away--to spend some time relaxing…”
“And I hope I gave you just what the doctor ordered,” Dean replied curling his arms around her to draw her nearer to him.
“You have and the fact that you’ve been so very patient with me has been such a touching gesture, but the truth to the matter is that I’ve come down with this sudden fever,” Deidra brought her hand up over her head, “You see I’ve had these symptoms all day that simply won’t let up…”
“Symptoms,” Dean repeated with a strange, worried look, “What kind of symptoms?”
“Well, they started off as these tiny little hot flashes, but then it turned into a racing pulse, feeling weak in the knees and…” she caught the first hints of his grin after he’d finally caught on.
“I think I know how to fix that one,” Dean informed her, pulling her in for a slow, sensual kiss.
“Mmm…” Deidra purred against his mouth as they parted, “I think that’s a good start, but with this particular illness, I think I’ll need a more intense approach to treatment…”
“Intense you say,” he couldn’t help but smirk at her request, “Lucky for you I happen to specialize in intense.”
“You don’t say,” she smiled up at him, “Well now then I must be in good hands, aren’t I?”
“The best hands in the world,” he boasted leaning forward to kiss her again when a sudden crashing sound arose from the night.
“What was that,” she practically jumped out of his arms taking a look around the yard.  She could see something moving in over by the trees near the water, “Dean look.”
“What?  I don’t see anything,” Dean blinked back in confusion.
“Over there,” Deidra pointed again watching as the same rustling continued, “Dean, I think someone’s over there.”
“I highly doubt it considering that it’s an off season around here and…” he stopped himself as he too saw what she was pointing at.  With a frown he stepped aside scooting her out of the way, “Deidra you get back in the house.  I’ll go check things out.”
“Dean, I don’t know if you should go out there alone especially if someone is lurking and…” she started in a panic.
“I’ll be okay,” Dean replied urging her back towards the house, “Just let me go and see what’s out there.”
“Just be careful,” she warned him, fearing what could be hiding in the shadows.
“I will be,” he started to step forward before he felt her hand press in against his arm.
“Dean wait,” she pleaded before motioning over to the tree stump beside them.  There in the center was an axe he’d set there at an earlier time after chopping some wood, “Take that with you.”
“Deidra, I’m sure it won’t come to that…” he frowned slightly.
“Please, just take it and if I’m being overly worried, then fine, but I’d rather be safe than sorry,” she pleaded with him.
“Alright,” he reluctantly agreed tearing the axe from the stump, “but you get back in the cabin, alright?”
“Alright,” she nodded promising to do as he asked.  She watched him head towards the trees before he glanced over at her waving her towards the cabin.  She nodded accordingly spinning around to enter when she noticed something gold and glittering on the ground.
“What the…” she began glancing over her shoulder to see that Dean had in fact gone into the trees to seek out what was lurking out there.  Turning her attention to the ground again, she bent down to discover a golden heart shaped locket tucked away under the corner of the porch.  Curling her finger ever so carefully she swiped it out from it’s hiding place.

“How did you get under there,” she questioned taking a moment to admire it’s beauty despite the concerns that had weighed upon her earlier.  She turned her attention to the clasp on the locket attempting to open it only to discover that it was broken.
“Hey, what are you still doing out here,” Dean called out from behind her catching her off guard as she spun around to face him.
“Did you find anything,” she asked still holding the locket between her fingers.
“No, nothing’s out there,” he shook his head setting the axe down with the movement, “at least if there was something out there, it’s gone now.”
“Are you sure,” she questioned with a slight frown.
“I’m positive, but just to be safe, why don’t we take our little picnic back inside?  I can cue up the VCR and…hey what’s that,” he motioned to her hand.
“Oh I just found this,” she held the locket up for him to take a look at, “It was on the ground just outside the cabin…”
“It was,” Dean reached for it, his eyes widening for a moment before he cleared his throat uneasily, “that’s odd…”
“Do you recognize it,” she asked watching him for a long moment before speaking up again to tease him.  “Did it belong to one of the ladies you’ve brought here before me?”
“Huh?  What?” he shook his head before handing it back over to her, “No, I’ve never seen it before in my life.”
“Hmm, well whomever it belonged to, well they must be sad to have lost it,” she shrugged her shoulders before holding it up to the moonlight again.  “It is rather beautiful.”
“It looks broken to me,” Dean replied with a wrinkle of his nose, “I see that the clasp isn’t working right there…”
“Yeah, I guess it’s not, but it’s still pretty…” she decided with a simple shrug of her shoulders.
“Well, then maybe what we heard before was the owner looking for it.  I haven’t been to this place in a while, so maybe someone else was here when we weren’t.  I have a friend I let stay here every now and then.  Maybe it belongs to a friend of his,” he suggested reaching for it and putting it into his pocket, “I’ll have to ask him next time he’s around.”
“Yeah, you should probably do that,” she nodded in response before offering up a smile, “So what’s on the tube tonight?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Dean winked at her before motioning to the door, “How about we go inside and find out?”
“After you,” she waved at him.
“Oh no, ladies first.  I insist,” he grinned sexily leaning up against the doorway to watch her walk inside before he pulled the locket out of his pocket.  He eyed it intently for a long moment before he heard Deidra call out to him again.  Quickly he stuffed it into his pocket again vowing not to let the locket or anything else take away from the vacation he’d had planned with Deidra.  The past could haunt him, but not tonight…


Seth reentered his bedroom thinking about what was going on with his sister.  While Jade had finally settled into her room, he knew full well that part of what was going on was in part due to what was happening with Grady.  He knew full well that what was happening was because of Cameron Stone.  There was no doubt in his mind about the lengths that man had done to in order to cause trouble for his sister.  That in itself was very frustrating, he realized gently closing his bedroom door behind him.
“I have to find a way to fix this,” he mouthed to himself before his gaze swept across his room over to the bed.  He couldn’t help but smile as he noticed that Blake had curled up in one of his pajama shirts.  So much for that barely there outfit she’d been wearing earlier, Seth thought with a small smile while slipping his shirt off over his shoulders.  Quietly he slid into bed beside Blake, feeling her shift a bit into his arms.
“I missed you,” Blake murmured curling her arm around his body, snuggling in closer to him.
“Sorry I took so long,” he whispered kissing the top of her head, “Jade was having a bad night.”
“It seems to be going around, doesn’t it,” she sighed heavily, her eyelashes fluttering open as she held him, “First Kenny and now Jade…”
“It’s a bad pattern,” he had to admit thinking about the trouble that seemed to be hanging over both of their families.
“One I hope won’t continue with us,” she expressed her worries aloud.
“Blake, look I know that things aren’t easy for everyone else right now, but we’ve finally made it through the hard times,” he tried to assure her, curling his finger underneath her chin.  Her worried blue eyes tipped up towards his.  “We’re almost to where we were meant to be.”
“I know,” Blake nodded in agreement, “but I guess this is just the closest it’s ever been for me in terms of happiness.  I mean, I don’t want to sound like a pessimist, but each and every time I get close to where I want to be in my life, fate rips the very thing that means the most away from me.  It started with my mother, then with Caitlin and now…”
“Now nothing is going to stand in our way,” he promised her tenderly, “I have loved you from the first moment I saw you.  Blake, nothing is ever going to change the way I feel about you--or about us.  This wedding means every bit as much to me as it does to you.”
“I just don’t want anything to jinx it,” Blake confessed shakily, “Seth, after everything that’s already happened since the day we met…”
“Hey, don’t tell me you’re letting your fears about circumstance get to you,” he squeezed her in his arms, “I thought that when you came over here tonight you were feeling particularly enthusiastic about the wedding and about the ever tempting honeymoon.”
“I was…I mean I am, but well, now I’m just…” she paused contemplating what words would fit for her tangled emotions, “afraid.”
“Of what,” Seth blinked back at her, “Blake, think of all the things we’ve made it through thus far.  We’ve had a lot of challenges brought before us, but we’ve only proved our love was stronger than those things.”
“I know that.  I really, truly do,” she began sitting upright, unable to suppress the worries that consumed her, “but then I think about Kenny and Caitlin.  They thought that they had everything in order--that everything was going perfect for them, but look what happened.  Just when they thought they had all the time in the world the bombing happened and it tore their lives apart.”
“Blake, that was something that no one imagined or expected,” Seth reached out to her, “If anyone had any idea…”
“No one has any idea and that’s kind of my point,” Blake blurted out in a frenzy, “We never know if today is our last day or what tomorrow brings.  All we have is this moment and if we don’t act upon it and seize the day…”
“Blake, hey where is this coming from,” he asked reaching for her hand.  Lifting it to his lips and kissing it tenderly, his soulful brown eyes gazed into hers, “Did something happen?”
“No, but I have this feeling that something will.  I’m so afraid that our big day will come and go and we won’t be married because something went wrong,” Blake revealed with an emphatic sigh.
“I know what this is about,” Seth replied after a long pause, “this is about that stupid talk show you had on earlier, isn’t it?”
“No, that’s not it,” she paused for a moment thinking about what she’d watched when she was worried about her brother, “Well, maybe it might’ve inspired this given that the woman on television tried nine times to marry her true love and all nine times it never worked out.  Then when he was hit by a bus…”
“Blake, honey, that’s not going to happen to us,” Seth tried to alleviate her fears, “We’re going to get married and when we do, well everything is going to be perfect.”
“You say that now, but how do we know?  How does anyone ever know?  I mean here we are making all these big plans and what if something happens and…” he stopped her words of panic with a soft, soothing kiss.
Easing his fingers over the soft hollow of her cheekbones as their kiss expanded, he felt her worries melting away.  Reluctantly, he eased away from her, his concerned gaze still upon her, “Blake, sweetie we aren’t like those couples on television…”
“I know that,” she replied fanning her fingers over the muscled expanse of his steely abdomen, “but I just can’t help but be afraid…”
“There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of,” he whispered caressing her lips again, “This wedding will happen.”
“I know, but with all the planning and the things that have gone wrong in the past,” she sighed, dropping her head back as Seth lavished her with kiss after savory kiss.
“Everything will be fine Blake.  We’re going to have the dream wedding you’ve always wanted,” he mouthed sealing his promise with a slow, seductive kiss, “We’re going to be married soon and when we are, well nothing in this world is going to keep us from sharing our dreams of forever with one another.”
“Nothing?” she repeated, her blue eyes widening with hope.
“Absolutely nothing,” he murmured, his breath a small, heated whisper over hers.  “We’re really going to have it all Blake.”
“You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this,” she confessed easing down into the blankets once again.
“If you’re anything like me, then I’m sure it’s something that you’ve spent your life hoping for,” he replied in a soft, urgent tone, his hand brushing in against her golden curls before his thumb pressed gingerly over her bottom lip, “because I’ve spent all of mine dreaming of the day you’d walk into my life.”
“Oh Seth,” Blake replied sliding in closer to him in the hopes of sharing the night with the man she loved.  Maybe she was overreacting.  Maybe that’s what was really going on, but given her history, she was just afraid that the Ashford curse would come back to haunt her.  No, Seth was right.  It wouldn’t happen this time.  Life couldn’t be that cruel to her again, could it?”


Brant adjusted his jacket knowing that he shouldn’t be here tonight, but at the same time he wasn’t about to back down from this mission he’d embarked upon.  Taking a second to compose himself he reached for the door walking confidently over to the front desk.
“Yes,” the woman behind it questioned, “may I help you?”
“As a matter of fact I believe you can,” he quickly pulled his wallet out and flashed the woman his id, “I’m Doctor Ramsey and I’m here to see a patient.  Her name is Heather Gibbons.”
“Doctor, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that given that it’s after visiting hours,” the woman explained with a slight frown.
“I realize that,” he eyed the woman’s identification badge curiously, “Mary, but Dr. Hernandez sent me over for a consult.  It appears that the patient is less than responsive to treatment and he’d like me to take a look at her.  I would’ve been here sooner, but I had to talk one of my other patients off of a rooftop after he tried to kill himself.  I was with him for five hours before I was able to talk him down…and then I had to make a three hour drive all the way out here to come and see my patient, so really the last thing I want to do is stand here and have you tell me that I can’t see her.”
“I’m sorry doctor, but I can’t break the rules…” she started to apologize.
“No, of course you can’t, but I don’t really see this as breaking the rules.  It’s more like bending them since I promised my colleague that I would be here sooner,” Brant continued adjusting the glasses he’d put on to add to the effect he was going for, “Surely you can give me a few minutes with Ms. Gibbons, can’t you Mary?”
“I don’t really think that I can.  I mean I’m new and I really don’t want to get into trouble around here considering that…” she began nervously unable to take her eyes off of him.  He could see the color rising in her cheeks and he decided to lay on the charms a bit.
“It’ll be our little secret Mary,” he assured reaching out to touch her hand gingerly, “by the way has anyone ever told you how smooth your hands are?”
“Really,” she half giggled, “well I have a really good moisturizer and…”
“And I think it’s got nothing to do with your moisturizer and everything to do with you,” he leaned in closer to her, “Tell me are you seeing anyone Mary?”
“Not at the moment,” she giggled once again and in that moment Brant knew she’d taken the bait.
“Hmm, well in that case, how about you and I talk about setting up a dinner date perhaps.  Maybe after I speak with Ms. Gibbons…” he suggested in a low, sensual tone.
“Well, I really shouldn’t, but since you did drive all this way,” she pressed the button to allow him access to the area behind her.
“What room did you say she was in?” Brant questioned teasing his index finger over her palm again.
“Let me check,” she stammered turning her attention to the computer before finding what he was looking for, “She’s in solitary right now Dr. Ramsey, but if you’d like me to go and get her out, then…”
“That’s okay,” Brant flashed her a sexy smile.  “I’ll find it myself.”
“Okay,” she nodded practically drooling at him as she watched him make his way into the secure area.  Brant waved back at her again before turning to look at the hallway ahead of him.  That had been easier than he’d anticipated, but now the real mission was at hand.
Reading a few signs on the wall Brant easily located the area in which Heather had been being held.  Once he’d made his way to the door, he reached into his pocket pulling out the key card that he’d also swiped during his flirting session with Mary.  Once he pushed it into the lock, it opened and Brant made his way into the darkness not quite sure what he would find.
“Go away,” he heard a voice rise from the far corner of the room.  He sought out the sound seeing nothing but blackness around him until he felt a slam into his side.  “I said go away you pervert.”
“Whoa, hold on a second,” he gulped feeling another jab to his ribs as he tried to get away.
“I know why you’re here you sick pervert.  You might think that because I’m in here that I’m stupid, but I’m not about to let you molest me because my bitch sister warped Diego’s mind and…” Heather charged at him ready to assault him once again, but this time Brant was ready for her.  He reached for her arms preventing another painful attack.
“Heather it’s me.  It’s Brant,” he tried to calm her down urging her to hush her voice a bit so that they wouldn’t be discovered.
“Brant,” she repeated disbelieving until he saw her green eyes shining through the darkness that surrounded them.  She let out a tiny yelp before staggering away from him, “oh God, what are you doing here?”
“I came to see you,” he explained quietly, “I wanted to check in on you.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” she turned her face away from him trying to hide the burns that covered the side of her body, “Why are you here?”
“Because I heard Diego talking about what he did to you.  I heard him say that he’d had you locked up in here and…” he stopped himself as a sudden thought occurred to him, “Did you just say that your bitch sister locked you up in here?  Heather, you don’t have a sister.”
“Yes I do,” she groaned back at him.
“You do?” he blinked back in confusion, “but I thought you were an only child.  You said that your parents died and…”
“And I lied,” she snapped tilting her head to the side to glare at him from behind a cascade of blonde hair, “I have a sister.”
“Well, that’s nice you decided to share that one with me now considering that you spilled that sob story about how your family was dead and you were the only one that…” he began harshly thinking of all the many lies Heather had spun where he was concerned.  “Never mind, I didn’t come here to argue about that…”
“Fine, then why are you here?” she questioned blankly.
“As much as it pains me to be saying this, I need a favor out of you,” Brant confessed openly.
“Really, and just what might that favor be?” she folded her arms in front of her chest before finally taking a long look at him before rolling her eyes, “Tell me why are you dressed up in that ridiculous doctor getup?  Like anyone would believe that you were even remotely connected to the medical career…”
“Look Heather, this isn’t about me or what I’m wearing.  This is about my coming to you for information and if you help me, then I’ll help you.  It’s as simple as that,” Brant stated plainly, “Now you have something I want and I hope we can come to terms on an arrangement.
“I’m listening,” Heather snapped back at him unsure of what his angle was.
“I need to know everything you know about Cameron.  I learned you married the bastard and I want to know what he’s told you about his agenda--more specifically what he’s told you about his involvement with Kipp Mahoney,” Brant blurted out urgently.
“And just what makes you think that I’d tell you a damn thing about anything related to Cameron?  The last time I checked you weren’t particularly nice to me,” she threw back at him harshly.
“Even so, right now I’m your only shot of getting out of this place,” Brant remarked sourly, “If you tell me what I want to know, then I’ll help you get out of here.  That is what you want, isn’t it?”
“Why should I believe anything you’re saying,” she glared at him.
“Fine, then don’t.  See if I care, but when the perverted orderly comes in here to violate you a million and one ways with a stethoscope, then don’t come crying to me,” he started to turn away only to feel her hand press upon his arm.
“Fine, okay.  Maybe I might think about it,” Heather’s voice grew desperate, “but only if you get me out of here first.”
“I’ll only get you out of here if you give me what I want,” Brant warned her sharply, “because I swear to you Heather if I sneak you out of this place and then you betray me like you’re in the habit of doing, then that’s it for you.  I’ll be the first one to call the police and tell them that you broke loose from this loony bin and made your way over to the mansion to screw things up for me.  I’ll tell them all about how you broke into my home and tried to cause a scene…”
“Fine,” she curled her lip in a pout, “Anything you want to know, it’s yours.  Are you happy now?”
“I’m getting there,” he smiled proudly, “but for now, well let’s start with getting you dressed.  I’m not really one for hospitals and this place is a bit creepy.”
“No kidding,” Heather replied with a groan, “but if you haven’t noticed wonder boy, I don’t exactly have anything to change into.”
“Yeah and I’m sure that must be killing you since you’re not one for the whole hospital gown look,” he feigned a shudder before reaching back to behind where he stood.  Tossing a few things in her general direction, he motioned for her to take them, “Use that.”
“What is it?” she asked reaching down to pick up what he’d given her.
“It’s your ticket out of here, so get dressed,” Brant replied insisted wondering if he could pull this escape off.  Somehow he hoped that he could find a way to make miracles happen starting with Heather.  He heard her shuffling around in the room behind him
“Ready,” she asked stepping in behind him to alert him to the fact that she was dressed.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Brant replied with a quick nod vowing to do everything in his power to take Cameron down using Heather to give him what he needed in the process.


Susan put her feet up on her desk roughly taking in a deep breath as she brought the small glass up to her mouth. She gulped down the last sip of her vodka before reaching for the bottle that was on her desk. She took another large gulp from her bottle before sighing deeply.

“What is wrong with me?” Susan questioned to herself thinking of all the things that has been going all wrong for her. “I mean I know I haven’t lost my touch.”

Susan thought back to all the moments of her great thoughts of getting Grady, Ken, and Kyle. It was obvious that Grady could care less, but that still didn’t bother her. Ken would break soon or a later, but that wasn’t enough for her. Kyle, the name replayed in her mind over and over again as she smiled slightly.

“I just haven’t even begun on him yet,” Susan smiled slightly before dropping her feet to the ground and scooting her chair closer to the desk as she grabbed the picture of Kyle and Grady at her wedding from her desk.

She ran her fingers over the outline of his form on the picture, “Kyle, you will be mine.”

She frowned thinking of that stupid girl he stated that he loved. She shook her head with a slight smile before setting the picture down.

“You will see that I am so much better than that bore you‘re with, Kyle,” Susan insisted looking at the picture, “I know you want me deep down…I know it.” She stood up looking out the window as she smiled, “I will have you.”

She repeated the phrase a few more times before getting a great idea, “Let’s see what you are doing right now Mr. Houston.”

She grabbed her coat before leaving with a wide smile across her features.


“I love that movie,” Sarah smiled hugging the pillow next to her as Kyle stood up to stretch. “Thanks Kyle, you are making me feel a lot better.”

“I like to hear that, but you see as you know that’s not the last thing I had to make you feel better,” he smiled before holding his hands out to hers to help her up and he walked her to the kitchen. “While, I get this ready for you, how about you tell me what was bothering you?”

Sarah shrugged slightly as she watched him open a drawer, “I don’t know, just the usual.”

“Yeah and what might be the usual?” he questioned before raising his eyebrow at her slightly shaking his head.

“Well, all this stuff with Heather and Charles. I just think Heather needs to grow up,” she sighed slightly before explaining again, “I just feel bad because Charles may grow up never having a real mother.”

“Sarah,” Kyle started slightly before walking towards her with a plate in his hand, “I think Charles is lucky because he has an aunt like you.”

“I know, but…” she started before he cut her off putting his finger in front of her mouth lightly.

“Just take a bite of this and it will cure everything,” Kyle smiled before holding a spoon of strawberry cheesecake.

“I wish,” she laughed before he frowned slightly and shook his head with a slight smile.

“Trust Doctor Houston, he knows what is best,” Kyle insisted before smiling, “Now take a bite.”

She opened her mouth as he fed it to her slowly; something about him always took her worries away.

“What about you?” she questioned as he set the plate on the counter and smiled.

“I can have a taste right now,” Kyle stated as he pulled her close to his body tightly.

“Really? And how will you do that?” she questioned seeing him shrug before grinning slightly.

“Like this,” he replied before leaning down and capturing her lips in a tempting way.

She smiled as she broke the kiss almost out of breath, “You know what else is bothering me? Cameron, I just can’t believe how he…” she was cut off again as he pressed his lips against hers again wrapping his arm around her waist tightly. He walked forward making her take steps backward slowly.

“I just can’t believe how Cameron thinks he rules everyone,” Sarah got out before grabbing the bottom of Kyle’s shirt and pulling it over his head quickly. “I just think that man is so wrong.”

Kyle leaned forward kissing her deeply before leaning back slightly and taking in a deep breath, “Sarah, shut up.”

“Okay,” she nodded as she felt the back of her leg hit the couch as she fell back on the couch and Kyle got above her slowly.

She closed her eyes feeling his mouth travel up the smooth skin of her neck before feeling his lips cover hers again.

“I love you,” Kyle sighed before kissing her lightly as he ran his fingertips along her arm slightly.


Carly entered the bar thinking about what she’d heard back at the Ashford mansion.  While she knew this was the last place she should be, something couldn’t bring her to go back to the hotel.  Sure, she knew that she shouldn’t be upset.  Heaven knows that she and Ken were more than likely going to make love before Dave showed up, but still that didn’t make the pain in her heart go away upon hearing Dave’s thoughts on how life should’ve been with Deidra.  That in itself only reaffirmed all her fears and worries about how he felt about the woman she could never measure up to.
“Give me the best thing you have here sure to give you the quickest kick,” Carly ordered the bartender, slamming her fist down on the countertop, “and keep them coming.”
“You don’t want to do that,” Dave slid in beside her watching the obvious pain cross over her features at his presence.

“Yes, I do,” she nodded emphatically before rising from the bar stool she’d been seated upon, “and don’t presume to tell me what it is I should or shouldn’t want…”
“First of all, I wish you didn’t run away like that,” Dave reached for her catching her arm in his hand.  “Carly, at least let me talk to you.  Let me explain.”
“I think what you said at Ken’s said it all Dave,” she threw back pointedly.
“I didn’t know you were there,” he offered up in his own defense.
“Obviously,” she rolled her eyes accepting her drink from the bartender before walking away from him.
“Carly, that’s not what I meant.  I mean…” he frowned heavily feeling as if he’d been kicked in the gut.  Groaning inwardly, he marched after her, “Carly at least let me explain this one.”
“Oh I think your words were more than enough,” she spun around to face him, her face twisted in anger.
“Carly, look it’s not how it came out.  I don’t love Deidra,” he blurted out emphatically, “it’s just that Ken got me upset and…”
“And you let your real feelings come out in the heat of the moment, but you know what?  That’s okay Dave.  I kind of always thought that you were hoping for a happily ever after with her and now I know the truth.  It’s clear that you’re not over Deidra by a long shot and hey I can deal with that.  I can deal with the fact that you never loved me--that what we had was nothing compared to what it is you and Deidra could’ve had together.  I understand that, so there’s nothing more to explain,” she spun on her heel stomping off in the hopes of getting away from him.
“Carly that’s not fair,” Dave continued to follow her refusing to give up on the conversation, “Yes, I’ll admit that my feelings for Deidra have consumed a great deal of my life, but they aren’t the same as what I feel for you.”
“And what is it exactly that you feel for me Dave?” she questioned harshly, “Was our whole relationship about you settling since the one woman you wanted you couldn’t have?  I mean is that all I ever was to you?  A sloppy second since you couldn’t be with Deidra?”
“No, that wasn’t it at all,” he shook his head adamantly, “It’s just that with Ken...  Damn it Carly he’s on this self defeating cycle right now and he wants to take everyone else around him down in the process…”
“It looks like you did a fine job of that yourself tonight,” she glared up at him, “Ken didn’t twist your arm into saying what you did.”
“No, but he goaded me to a point and well, you just don’t understand,” he argued with her.
“Oh of course not.  I mean how could I understand the way you feel about Deidra when clearly I was in the dark believing that you’d felt something like that for me?  I mean my God, how stupid was I?  I can’t believe that I really thought that we had something special,” Carly shook her head, “but it’s okay.  It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Yes it does.  Carly believe me it does.  Look, I know I screwed up and I made some monumental mistakes with us, but I’m sorry,” Dave pleaded with her, “Carly, I did love you.  I do love you…”
“But not enough, right?” she threw back at him before waving her hand at him dismissively, “Just forget it.  It’s not like we’re together or are getting back together.  Hell, I don’t even think we were really together when we were in our relationship, were we?”
“Carly, I wanted to give you everything,” Dave reached out to her once again, his fingers moving in over hers, “I wanted to be the kind of man you needed.”
“But just like everything else, you couldn’t give me that, could you?” she replied coldly before letting out a long sigh, “Look, Dave, I’m not about to pass judgment upon you because I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes.  I’ve been an idiot and I’ve done things that only prove that you and I weren’t ever meant to be together.  Just hearing you say that about Deidra, well it just kind of hit the point home for me.  I just can’t believe that we stuck it out so long wasting one another’s time when we were so obviously not meant for one another.”
“Carly, that’s not true,” he pleaded with her, “When I met you things were complicated in my life, but damn it I did love you.  I wanted for us to find a way to work things out between us.  I wanted to be over this stupid fixation I had on Deidra…”
“But you couldn’t do it, could you?  I wasn’t enough for you to want to try,” Carly sighed feeling his fingers slide in over her wrist, “Dave, look let’s not fool ourselves about where this was always headed.  We had disaster spelled all over us from the get go…”
“No, we didn’t.  We just let circumstances tear us apart,” he replied boldly taking a step towards her, “but I’m not about to let circumstances take this away again.”
“This time you don’t have a choice,” she replied sadly, her eyes filling with tears.
“Yes, I do,” he informed her point blank, crushing her into his arms as his lips dared her to deny the spark between him.  She let out a tiny whimper dropping her drink as he pulled her into his arms, the heat of their kiss radiating the both of them to the core in his unexpected approach. 
While they’d had something special together, Dave had never been one to assert himself about things.  Perhaps that was his biggest mistake he realized.  In holding back, he’d allowed Carly to slip out of his life, but tonight he wanted more than anything to find a way to fix the mess that they’d fallen into with one another.  His arm curled around her spine, hugging her close to him--all the while not caring what was happening around them.
“Dave,” she breathed his name as their lips finally parted.  Her forehead pressed in against his and he could feel her heart pounding beside his.
“Please don’t run away from me Carly,” he begged of her, “I know I don’t deserve a second chance, but I can’t afford to let you leave me again.  I’ve waited too long to find happiness in my life to let my illusions about how things should’ve been piss it all away.”
“Dave, I wish it were that simple, but…” she started feeling a flushed heat rise over her features.
“There are no buts Carly.  It’s just you and me and tonight I want to find a way to fix this.  I know we can fix it somehow,” he shook his head at her words, lowering his lips to hers once again as he vowed to find a way to change the direction of where their relationship had been headed up until now.  Maybe just maybe if he tried hard enough, they would have an opportunity to make it together after all.


Avery felt a breeze sweep in over her despite the blanket she remembered covering herself in.  There was a rustling sound outside and she could swear she heard the faint tapping of something on the floor.  Opening her eyes, she felt herself overcome with a feeling of grogginess as an ache swelled up over her body.  There was a familiar aftershave in the air and then…
“Sleeping beauty finally arises,” the chilling voice spoke smoothly as Avery felt a scream build in the back of her throat.
“Bruce,” Avery gasped in horror attempting to get up off of the bed only to discover that her wrists were bound by something.  Tilting her head upward, she noticed that she was handcuffed to the headboard--her wrist tangled up in some kind of twisted concoction that Bruce had put together with the restraints.
“And here I was afraid you wouldn’t be around to partake in all of tonight’s activities,” Bruce seethed before sliding in beside her.  His hand pressed in over her abdomen while a look of menace, “It’s almost time for us to take our relationship to the next level together.”
“Don’t touch me!” Avery shouted looking to the window only to discover the blackness of the night beyond where she lay.  She writhed and struggled to break free of her restraints, but it was too late.  He’d already broken her strength away from her.  She twisted at her wrist again only to feel the weight of Bruce pressing down over her shoulders.
“You’re not going anywhere,” Bruce sneered down at her his eyes wild with the madness burning inside of him, “but I’m afraid that the whole baby makes three scenario just isn’t going to work for us.”
“No, oh God no,” Avery shouted straining to find a way out of this--to see some miracle that would bring an end to this horror she’d somehow fallen into.  She shifted away from him again only to see him pulling a syringe out of his pocket.
“Trust me sweetheart.  This will only hurt but a second,” Bruce smiled wickedly down at her, “I promise to be gentle and before you know it, we’ll be able to move on with our lives without anyone else getting in the way.”
“No, no.  Please, someone help me.  Oh God…someone…anyone,” Avery pleaded her heart pounding furiously in her chest as her biggest fears were becoming a reality.  She tried to kick her foot only to feel the burn of the ropes that Bruce had used to bind her down on the bed.
“Avery, this would be a lot easier if you’d just cooperate,” Bruce ordered, his voice commanding her attention.  Still the way he looked at her was enough to let her know that she wouldn’t be making it out of this situation unscathed if she cooperated.  Her gaze dropped to the needle again and a blood-curdling scream fell from her lips.
“I said shut up,” Bruce snarled, his face twisted beyond anything Avery could remember seeing from him.  He leaned in closer to her, the needle ready to pierce her skin and take her dreams away from her forever, but in that moment Avery felt one of the ropes around her ankle loosening.  “Stop fighting fate Avery.  It will be so much better for us if you’d just cooperate.”
“No, I’ll never cooperate with you on this.  You aren’t going to kill my baby,” Avery screamed louder than before.  She felt herself fueled with a need to break free--a need to protect her daughter at any cost.  In that moment she felt her foot free from the binds that Bruce had put upon her.  She kicked her leg out, sending his needle flying across the floor as he fell back in surprise.
“Help!  Someone help me!” she shouted in the midst of trying to free herself more completely.
“You bitch!” Bruce roared charging towards her leaving her to feel the sudden pain of his slap across her cheek, “I could’ve given you everything.  I wanted to give you the world, but it was never good enough for you.  It’s never been good enough, but the truth to the matter is that you’re not good enough Avery.  I thought I could save you--that I could spare you from the pain that life has given you, but remember you brought this on yourself!”
“No,” she gurgled feeling blood pooling in the back of her throat as the needle he held jammed into her arm.
“Avery,” another voice rose from outside.
“Grady,” she immediately recognized his voice, her heart hammering in her chest, “Grady I’m in here.  Grady, it’s Bruce he’s…”
“Shut up,” Bruce warned clamping his hand down over her mouth.  He pushed harder than before, covering her nose as well so that she couldn’t breathe.  It was in that moment she felt a panic attack coming on.  The needle was still lodged in the bend of her arm, Bruce’s violent presence overpowering her and as the front door opened, she saw the barrel of Bruce’s gun aimed right at Grady.  There was a silence and then the shot of a sound firing erupted from her ears.
“No, please no!” Avery shrieked with obvious terror as she opened her eyes to find herself surrounded by darkness again.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as it took all her effort to breathe.
“Avery, hey it’s okay,” a comforting voice broke through the blackness, “Hey, it was just a bad dream.  You’re safe now.”
“Brant,” Avery spoke his name, turning to see his dark eyes reaching out to her through the blackness of the bedroom.  Bruce was no longer with her, the gun was no longer threatening to take away life as she knew it, but more so she was still at the Ashford mansion with Brant beside her.  Unable to contain herself, she fell into his open arms, her tears consuming her as he held her.
“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” he replied in a soft, soothing tone, “Whatever it was you were dreaming about, it’s over now.”
“No, it’s not over,” she shook her head burying her face in his chest as her tears burned her to the core, “It’s no where near being over Brant.  He knows.  Bruce knows what we’ve done and he’s going to come after us.  He was trying to kill my little girl and…”
“Avery listen to me,” he coaxed her into tilting her head up to meet his worried gaze, “Bruce isn’t here.  He’s somewhere out there, but I swear to you that he’s not going to find a way inside this place.  You’re safe at the mansion.  It was just a bad dream.”
“No, it was real.  It was so real,” she shook her head adamantly, “Brant he knows what we’ve done…what we said and he’s coming after me.  He’s going to try to take my daughter and…”
“And you need to calm down,” he placed his hands on her shoulders to stop her from trembling like a leaf, “Avery, this isn’t going to help anything if you start to hyperventilate.”
“It just felt so real…so horrible…so…” she trailed off dropping her head against his bare chest again.  “Brant, what are we going to do?  How can we keep going on like this when we both know what I’ve done?  Brant, sooner or later this is going to come back to…”
“Hey, your secret is safe with me,” he replied tenderly, brushing his fingers through her damp dark hair while cradling her closer to him, “Avery, no one is going to hurt you.  You’re safe now.”
“I wish I could believe that,” Avery whimpered unable to shield her fears any longer, “Brant, when I lost Russ I thought that was the end of me, but if I lost my little girl…”
“You’re not going to lose your little girl,” he promised her, curling his finger underneath her chin.  He urged her to meet his eyes again, “I swear to you that you’re not going to lose her.  You have my word on that.”
“But…” she started feeling him cup her face in his hands as their eyes connected.
“But when have I lead you astray Avery,” he questioned, using his thumbs to wipe the tears away from her face before he leaned forward placing feathery light kisses over her damp cheeks.  Feeling her tremble beneath his touch, he urged her in closer to him as his lips moved in over her forehead, grazing over her damp lashes before his mouth met hers with a sudden tenderness that rocked the both of them to silence.  Finally he pulled away from her, his eyes still fixed upon her completely.
“Avery, I swear to you that I’m not going to let anything happen to your daughter.  All of your secrets are safe with me,” he assured her, a small, sad smile tracing over his lips, “Bruce isn’t going to hurt you.  He doesn’t have that kind of power anymore.”
“I’m just so afraid,” she admitted freely thinking about the vividness behind her horrifying dream.
“Don’t be afraid,” he coaxed her to silence with another slow, gentle kiss, “Don’t be afraid again.  Not with me at your side.”
“Brant, I don’t know what I’d do without you,” she confided, her heart racing in her chest, “I owe you so much.  I owe my life to you--my daughter’s life to you…”
“No, Avery, you don’t owe me anything,” he cut her off abruptly, his lips merging with hers again.  It was in that moment that he found himself overcome with a need to take her pain away from her--to keep her from that nightmare that had haunted her, “None of this was your fault.  You need to know that.”
“I never should’ve sucked you into this.  I shouldn’t have put you in a position to be with me like this when…” she started her words broken by emotion, “Brant, you deserve so much more than I can give you--so much more than…”
“You’re all I want Avery,” he interrupted, curling his arm around her waist to draw her in nearer to him, “You’re all I’ve ever wanted.”
“Oh Brant,” she blurted out feeling herself overcome with so many mixed emotions.  If that dream had been any indication of where the future was headed, she knew that she was in for a long, dark road--one that would surely take her under should she go it alone.  With Brant she had a chance to make things work--an opportunity to be safe and as he held her, she needed to feel protected tonight.
“Avery, you’re so beautiful,” he murmured against the base of her throat, teasing his lips up and down over the soft curve leading to her pulse.
“Brant, I just want for you to be happy--for you to have what you deserve,” she confessed with a small sigh tipping her head back ever so slightly as her fingers coiled through his dark hair.
“Oh believe me,” he smiled inwardly all the while coaxing her down onto the mattress.  Instinctively his fingers searched out the knot in the robe she’d been wearing and with one simple flick of his wrist, he pulled apart the material seeing the nightshirt she’d been dressed in.  The silken material seemed to melt away in his fingers as he coaxed her towards him.  Swiftly he tore the nightshirt away from her body, exposing her soft skin to his hungry eyes before dropping his voice to a barely there whisper, “I’ll get exactly what I deserve.”
“What,” she questioned enveloping him in her arms as her own desperate touch eased up over his spine, “what did you say?”
“I said I love you,” he mouthed devouring her lips in his before moving in over her ready to explore all the fantasies that Brant had about the woman in his arms.  He could feel the passion behind her responses, the desperation behind her needy caresses alerting him that she needed to hold onto someone as much as he yearned to reach out to her tonight. 

As he felt her walls breaking down before him with the clothing barriers between them, he knew that there would be no turning back.  This was that now or never moment in their relationship as he moved in over her ready to join them as one.  His gaze swept from her lips to her sad, tortured eyes.  In that moment he felt a fleck of guilt carry over him, but in feeling her eager hands nudging them towards completion, he couldn’t help but give in to the intensity of the situation.  Letting out a small sigh, his lips dropped down upon her shoulder as their bodies completed one another.  It was in that moment he realized that tonight was a turning point between the both of them.  She had finally given herself to Brant in every way imaginable and as their lovemaking progressed, Ken realized that it was a pity that Brant hadn’t been there to share that magical moment with her. 


“Tonight was,” Deidra began a smile spreading over her beautiful face as she reached for Dean’s hand, “everything I needed.”
“That’s kind of what I was hoping for,” he confessed raising her hand to his lips.  He pressed a tender kiss upon her creamy soft skin as his eyes met hers, “I wanted you to be able to enjoy yourself.”
“I’ve been enjoying myself with you quite a lot lately,” Deidra admitted with a tiny laugh, “probably far too much to be honest with you.”
“You can never have too much of a good thing,” Dean replied leaning in to kiss her.
“Is that right,” she questioned throwing her arms around his neck.  Feeling the weight of his body in over her, she tugged him back down onto the sofa with her to continue this erotic exploration between them.  Tracing his spine with her finger tips, she could feel the warmth of his body emanating into her.  In that moment she found herself craving something more--something that they’d hinted at with one another for so very long.  It had been quite a while since she’d had the butterflies in her stomach, the obvious anticipation crawling over her body, yet with each stroke of Dean’s tongue in unison with hers, she yearned for more.
“Deidra,” he spoke her name in a labored breath, his eyes wide with excitement and enthusiasm as their lips parted.
“This has probably been one of the greatest vacations of my life,” she revealed reaching out to him once again in another bold attempt to take things to the next level between them.
“For me too,” Dean replied diving in to indulge in the moment, but as things started to heat up for them, there was a faint vibrating sound that brought them back to reality.
“What’s that,” she asked breathlessly feeling him pull away from her.
“It’s my pager,” he frowned before letting out a groan.  “I said I’d be unavailable for the time being, but obviously someone didn’t pay attention.”
“Now it sounds like my life,” she laughed lightly thinking of the always being on duty part of being a doctor.  She watched Dean pull his pager out of his pocket to inspect the number on it, “So does duty call?”
“Actually,” Dean frowned down at her, “this is kind of important.  I have to make a call otherwise, well…”
“I understand,” Deidra sat up straighter, bringing her fingers up through her dark hair.  She cleared her throat uneasily wondering if fate was trying to give her a sign.  She’d leapt into something with Christian…um Bruce and it had ended badly.  She’d almost jumped into something physical with Dave and now with Dean, well maybe she was rushing things.  “Actually it’s kind of late and I was thinking about taking a shower before bed.”
“That sounds like a good idea.  I was thinking we’d go out on the boat tomorrow and it’s always good to get an early start with fishing,” Dean smiled at her shifting on his feet uneasily.
“Yeah, the fish like to bite early in the morning,” she replied feeling suddenly stupid for saying something that sounded so ridiculous.  Quickly she scurried to her feet, “Well, I should probably get a jump start on that shower.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” he nodded in agreement before reaching out to her, “but before you go…”
“Yes,” she started feeling him pull her into his arms for one last, longing kiss.  When they parted she felt her knees knocking a bit as she gave him one last look, “See you in the morning.”
“I can’t wait,” Dean waved watching her disappear down the hallway as he found himself wishing that he didn’t have to make this stupid phone call.  Looking to his pager again, he started to grumble hating that a perfectly good moment had been ruined by the page.
Reaching into his pocket once again, he pulled out the locket Deidra had found outside and his mood suddenly darkened.  It was the last thing he’d ever expected to see again, but now as it glistened and glimmered underneath the lighting of his office, he wondered how he’d overlooked such a small trinket.  Sure, he’d always appreciated this particular locket, but when Deidra had found it, he’d been at a loss.  He wasn’t quite sure how to respond, but the truth was that she was much better not knowing the truth.  That made things so much easier.
Quickly tucking the locket away in his top desk drawer, Dean looked up to make sure that he was still alone.  Finally he reached for the phone dialing the number all the while feeling very impatient.  It rang three times before the voice on the other end of the line picked up.
“It took you long enough Carlisle,” the man scowled in response, “I paged you at least half a dozen times this week.”
“I was busy,” Dean replied gruffly, “I said I didn’t want to be bothered…”
“Whether or not you wanted to be bothered, you don’t really have a choice in the matter.  I sent you something that you might appreciate.  You could say you’ve got mail,” the voice explained bluntly, “You’d be best to check it out and see if you have an appreciation for what the message holds in it.”
“Yeah, I’ll jump right on it,” Dean snapped back at the voice, “and don’t try to contact me again because I won’t return the call.”
Dean finished the phone call before turning on his computer.  He waited for it to boot up all the while finding him even more agitated that he’d been bothered at his hideaway.  He had plans for this time with Deidra and the last thing he wanted was outside intrusion.  Of course it was a little too late for that now.  He turned his attention to the monitor, pulling up his e-mail when he noticed there were five new messages awaiting his viewing.
The first three were junk mail, but the forth was a bit more cryptic with the subject ‘A Hot One, Eh?’.  Dean shook his head before clicking the read button.  Slowly an image of a woman’s butchered body began to fill the screen, giving off the gruesome view of one man’s appreciation for the far more perverse side of things.  At the bottom of the image was the caption, ‘Interested?’ leaving no other words beyond that.  Dean scrolled up again to take another look at the photo when he heard the sounds of footsteps in the hallway.
“Dean,” Deidra popped her head into he study after a couple of knocks on the door.  Quickly Dean turned off the monitor tipping his head up to look at her.
“Yes?” he replied swiftly--perhaps too fast to seem natural as he looked at her, “Can I help you?”
“I don’t mean to interrupt, but I don't have any more towels in the guest bathroom.  I was wondering if I could use some of yours,” Deidra began clearing her throat uneasily.
“You can do more than that.  I’ll let you use my shower,” Dean suggested taking another look at his monitor before stepping towards the door to casually scoot her out of the room, “What do you say?”
“Are you sure?” she questioned gazing up at him with wide eyes, “I mean I don’t want to impose…”
“It’s not an imposition,” Dean shook his head, “I don’t mind at all.”
“Well, since you’re being so generous, what do you say you join me,” she blurted out in a suggestive tone, surprising herself with the offer.  She could see from the expression on his face that he was equally as shocked as she was.
“Deidra, if I take you up on that offer, we both know that we won’t be fishing in the morning because we’ll be far too wiped out to think about even getting out of bed,” he replied honestly, “Are you sure you’re ready for that?”
“Are you,” she countered batting her eyelashes up at him.
“Deidra, if we make love,” he reached out to brush the underside of his thumb over his bottom lip, “then I want to make sure you’re ready for it.  I don’t want you to think I’m one of those men who bounce into a one night stand and call it quits.  That’s not what I’m all about.”
“Neither am I Dean,” she replied truthfully, “I think I know what I’m getting myself into here.”
“I want you to do more than think Deidra,” he confessed pulling her in flush against him.  His breath flooded down upon her face, his body melding perfectly against hers as she was almost certain she could feel his heart pounding with hers, “I want you to be sure because until you‘re sure, I‘m not going to risk screwing this one up.”
“I don’t want to risk that either,” she agreed taking a small step back as she felt her own resolve slipping away.
“Then how about you get to that shower and I’ll, well I’ll try not to beat myself up for not taking that invitation,” Dean stole another kiss from her.
“It’s a deal, but just promise me that one day you’ll take me up on my offer because I might not be as strong as I am tonight,” she flirted with him.
“Believe me after tonight all bets are off,” he reached for her hand saying a final good-bye before returning to his office area once again.  Frowning as he looked to the monitor, he turned it back on again to peruse the mail one more time before deleting it.  There was no way he was going to bring that into what was going on with Deidra.  Not now and hopefully not ever.


Susan walked down the sidewalk close to Sarah’s apartment where she assumed Kyle would be right now. She smiled to herself thinking of the future and how much fun he was going to be. As she past the window of Sarah’s apartment something caught her eye making her step back slightly as she peered through the window.

“What the,” Susan gasped seeing Kyle and Sarah in her living room as they kissed.

She watched as the anger built up inside of her watching the way Kyle kissed Sarah…the way he touched her. That should be her right now; she thought it over in her mind watching what was happening right in front of her. She couldn’t let this last and keep happening she had to stop it somehow. Susan quickly looked around as she found large rock by the edge of the building and she picked it up. Susan took one more glance seeing Kyle kiss Sarah deeply before she reared back and threw the rock at the window as the glass shattered. She smiled to herself before going behind the parked car to watch what was happening.

“What the hell,” Kyle got up quickly zipping his pants back up before grabbing Sarah’s shirt and throwing it to her.

“What was that?” Sarah questioned as Kyle looked out the broken window.

“I don’t know, but I will be right back,” Kyle sighed before opening the door and walking outside. He looked around and saw nothing and he went back inside.

“Did you see anything?” Sarah wondered with worry behind her voice as he shook his head.

“No,” he stated before walking over to Sarah and hugging her tightly, “It was probably some stupid kid.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Sarah agreed before he kissed her lightly.

“Nothing to worry about,” he started before picking his shirt up from the floor and pulling it back on, “I will just call someone to come and fix it.”

“Okay,” Sarah smiled before he hugged her once more. “Do you really think it was a kid?”

“Yeah, I am sure,” Kyle, replied in an assuring tone before he leaned down and kissing her once more.

Susan gritted her teeth seeing Kyle kiss Sarah again, which was so wrong. Even when you scare the both of them, you can’t tear them away from each other.

“This may be tougher than I thought,” Susan stated to herself before looking on over at Kyle and Sarah once more.


“Excuse me miss,” Don called out to one of the people who worked at the hotel, “Have you seen Shannon Pryce?”

Don worried when he went to her hotel room and she wasn’t there. He just wanted to make sure she was okay, that was all.

“Why yes, I think I saw Ms. Pryce in the restaurant sir,” the young lady replied as he smiled.

“Thank you very much,” he nodded as she smiled and he walked down the steps and through the lobby slowly.

He had to talk to her about so many things right now. Starting with what Brant had to say. Also if she was really going to give him a try at this thing, then they were going to need to have a long talk with one another. He smiled as he saw Shannon sitting at one of the tables in the restaurant and he started to walk towards her.

“Shannon,” he cut himself off quickly before hiding behind the corner of the wall to look at her. She was smiling and she wasn’t alone, she was with some guy. He hushed himself as he leaned forward slightly to hear the conversation they were having.

“I still don’t get what you mean by mistake,” Diego shook his head slightly before hearing Shannon laugh.

“Believe me,” Shannon started rolling her eyes slightly, “You haven’t met him yet.”

“I’m sure he isn’t that bad,” Diego shrugged before seeing Shannon shake her head slightly.

“To think, if I would have still been seeing you I wouldn’t be in this situation,” Shannon stated as Don closed his eyes tightly a lump growing in his throat as he still listened to the conversation.

“Well, you married the guy and I am sure he isn’t as bad as you make him sound,” Diego insisted lightly before standing up. “I should get going.”

Don bit on his bottom lip as he saw the guy hug Shannon in his arms tightly and kissed her cheek.

“I will walk you out,” Shannon smiled before walking out of the restaurant and Don shook his head lightly before walking back through the lobby to the hotel room.

That was the thing about Shannon he liked her, but she could always find a way to cut him down to the core without batting an eyelash.  Okay, so maybe they didn’t enter into this relationship like most people did and maybe he was being delusional to think that they had something in the first place.  As he looked to the wedding ring on his finger, he wondered if there was a way to try to make things right after all.


...to be continued...