Episode 175

Shannon closed the door to her hotel room. She flicked on the lights only to jump back when she saw Don staring at her as he sat on the couch motionless.

“God, you scared me,” Shannon shook her head lightly before Don rolled his eyes and scowled.

“Did I?” Don questioned slightly before shrugging and standing up, “Too bad.”

“What is your problem?” Shannon questioned folding her arms out in front of her realizing he had an attitude. “Did someone piss you off at work or something?”

“No,” Don shook his head lightly before folding his arms out in front of his chest, “Maybe it was just a mistake that I am here.”

“What are you getting at?” Shannon wondered before he laughed and shook his head.

“I heard you Shannon,” he replied as she was still clueless, “That’s all I am to you isn’t it? A big mistake.”

“What are you talking about?” Shannon questioned standing up grabbing his arm as he yanked it away from her hand quickly and glared right through her.

“I heard you with that guy at the restaurant downstairs,” he informed her with a slight scowl as he heard her sigh in deeply.

“What exactly did you hear?” Shannon wondered as Don shrugged and shook his head lightly.

“Other than the fact if you would have stayed with him you wouldn’t have been stuck in this situation,” Don spat out before shaking his head, “All I am to you is a nothing.”

“Don,” she whispered his name lightly as her words cut off and she didn’t know what to say as he glared right through her.

“I don’t care what you have to say,” he snarled before raising his hands in the air. “I mean, all I am to you is just a big mistake.”

“I don’t think you understand what I meant,” Shannon explained herself as he laughed.

“Oh I think I think I understand exactly what you meant,” he got out before shaking his head at her.


“I don’t understand why you do that,” Preston shook his head lightly before seeing Dorothy shrug.

“What does that mean?” she questioned before seeing him frown and stand up from where he was sitting.

“You are always trying to start trouble with Hart and Jenna,” he stated with a slight sigh, “Why can’t you just deal with the fact that they are happy with each other.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Dorothy repeated as Preston laughed and he tilted his head at her knowing she was lying.

“Alright then, why did you bring Devante here?” Preston questioned hearing silence come from her. “That’s what I thought.”

“No, it is not what you thought,” Dorothy stated with a slightly frown as she stood up, “I brought Devante here so he and Jenna could talk again. They were really good friends.”

“Right,” Preston nodded slightly before raising an eyebrow, “And that’s why you made the comment about Devante and Jenna being more than just friends a long time ago.”

“I was stating the truth,” she fought back standing up for herself, “They were.”

“Right,” he replied before folding his arms out in front of him, “You are just trying to find a way to heat up Hart. I am not happy with what you are doing.”

“I am not doing anything so you should be happy,” Dorothy stated with a slight smile as her smile turned to a frown, “Anyways, even if I was doing something Jenna doesn’t belong with that man.”

“See I told you,” Preston caught her before shaking his head, “Why can’t you just let Jenna run her own life?”

“Because I know what it’s like to be in Jenna’s shoes.  I know all about trusting the wrong man and where it leads you.  She deserves more from life and I can’t help it if I just happen to think that Hart isn’t good enough for her,” Dorothy protested, “Now Devante is a great guy.”

“Yeah, Devante is a really great and nice guy,” he agreed nodding his head slightly before going on, “But what you have to get over is that.  Jenna is trying to live her life the way she wants to and while I’m sure she appreciates your concern, you’re overstepping your boundaries sweetheart.  This isn’t about what happened with you.”

“I learned the hard way Pres and I don’t want her to go through that too,” Dorothy insisted.

“She’s not going to have to unless you keep pushing against her relationships.  As much as you wish you could pick and choose how it should be, the fact remains that Devante and Jenna are history. Jenna loves Hart and there isn’t anything you can do about it.”

“I will do something about it,” Dorothy whispered to herself as Preston leaned forward.

“What was that?” he questioned quickly before she shook her head and smiled.

“It was nothing,” she insisted before getting back to the subject, “I was just saying that I think Jenna would be much happier if she didn’t have that man around.”

“Well, you see I could understand where you were coming from, if Jenna wasn’t already happy with Hart,” Preston replied seeing her shake her head.

“But that’s the thing, I know he will break her heart someday,” Dorothy got out before she heard Preston sigh.

“You see that’s where I think you‘re jumping the gun.  At least give him the benefit of the doubt,” Preston pointed out before frowning, “It is Jenna’s life, not yours. She can take care of herself and I just think you should stop before you’re ahead of yourself because Jenna is truly happy.”

“I know she is happy,” Dorothy repeated wanting to stop the conversation she knew that deep down Hart wasn’t the good guy that everyone thought he was, “Anyways I wasn’t trying to do anything to Hart and Jenna. I was just simply reuniting old friends.”

“Sure,” Preston nodded before rolling his eyes and going into the kitchen.

“I will get Jenna away from that man,” Dorothy smiled proudly, “And Devante is going to help me do it.”


Jenna entered the apartment knowing full well that the silence she was getting from Hart wasn’t a good sign.  Sure he’d been polite and cordial enough at her mother’s place after her mother had tossed Devante’s return upon them, but she could tell that things were still bothering him.  While slipping out of her jacket and tossing it on the couch Jenna cleared her throat uneasily.
“Okay so why don’t we get this out of the way and you just ask what you want to know?” Jenna blurted out spinning around to find Hart over by the coat rack hanging up his coat carefully.
“About what,” Hart shrugged his shoulders in an attempt to downplay the situation that had been bothering him since they’d walked into Dorothy’s apartment.
“About Devante,” she cut straight to the point, “why don’t you just ask and we’ll get it out of the way?  Sound good?”
“Well since you brought it up,” Hart faced her at long last, obvious insecurity brewing behind his eyes, “care to elaborate on the history there?”
“Of my mother’s dinner invitation tonight or on his presence there?” she replied feigning confusion as he threw out a pointed look.
“Jen, I’m being serious here.  What’s the story?” he questioned impatiently, “I mean there obviously has to be a good one considering that your mother invited him over there tonight to spark a reaction.”
“Yeah well whatever reaction she was hoping for, I was glad to see him again.  He’s a friend of mine and it’s been a long time,” she replied not revealing too much just yet as she gauged herself for his reaction, “You didn’t like him, did you?”
“That all depends,” he hesitated for a long, grueling moment of contemplation, “Do I have something to worry about where he’s concerned?”
“Do I have anything to worry about where Beth is concerned,” she tossed back at him while making her way through the living room.
“Of course not,” he shook his head and let out a small laugh, “She’s ancient history Jen.  I mean yes Sam is our daughter and I know that complicates things, but you know as well as I do that you’re the only one for me.”
“Then knowing that you should also realize that I feel the exact same way about you,” she stopped moving long enough to face him once again, “Hart, you are the only man for me.  I’ll admit that Devante and I had a relationship once, but it’s very much over.”
“And you’re sure about that,” he questioned stepping in closer to her.  He reached for her, drawing her into his arms.
“Very sure of that,” she nodded sliding her arms around his strong shoulders, “Devante was someone I met that was very special to me for a long time, but ultimately we agreed that we were better off as friends.”
“Somehow I get the feeling that your mother doesn’t feel that way about the situation,” Hart added with a slight frown, “I get the feeling she was hoping that I wouldn’t be around tonight so that you and Devante could catch up with one another.”
“Catching up with Devante was nice,” she admitted with a small shrug, “but if you’re thinking I’m ready to throw you out of my apartment so he can move on in, well that simply isn’t how it is.”
“Are you sure that’s really the truth?  Your mother seemed to be hinting that she’d very much enjoy seeing you cohabitate with him over me,” he replied tipping his head down a bit to memorize her beautiful features.
“It doesn’t matter what my mother wants.  I’m my own person Hart and the fact is that I love you--and only you,” she promised tipping up on her toes to give him a quick kiss, “Now about that movie marathon we started the other night…”
“I forgot I said we’d continue,” Hart replied feeling her slip out of his reach.
“You didn’t think dinner with my mother was going to alter our plans, did it?” she questioned with a sparkle behind her eye, “You’re on popcorn tonight.”
“Deal.  Just let me put this away and then we‘ll get started,” he nodded in agreement reaching out to pick up her jacket from the couch.  He carried it over to the coat rack only to discover something had fallen out of her pocket in the move.  Bending down to pick it up he realized it was a number scrawled on a piece of paper.  “Hey, what’s this?”
“What?” she looked up from where she was thumbing through the DVD collection.
“This?” he held the paper up to show her, “what’s this?”
“It’s Devante’s number,” she answered plainly, “He gave it to me before we left.”
“So now he’s giving you his number,” he raised a curious brow before surveying the numbers scrawled on the page.
“That’s right,” she nodded making a bold step towards him and swiping the number from his hands, “as a professional courtesy.  We are in the same field you know, so it is entirely possible that we’d cross paths in the future.”
“On a personal or professional basis,” he asked trying really hard not to come off as a jealous lover.
“Maybe both, but I’m sure you won’t have a problem with that, will you?” she eyed him intently trying to decipher what she was seeing before her, “Hart?”
“Do you want me to be honest about this?” Hart asked feeling a momentary hint of guilt sweeping over him.
“I’d prefer you be brutally honest,” she admitted folding her arms in front of her chest, “Let’s have it.”
“Okay, well given that your mother hates me and this Devante guy is in her good graces, I can’t help but be a bit jealous.  She let it slip while you were helping in the kitchen that you and Devante lived together once.  Is that true?” he asked nervously.
She nodded, “We did and before my mother goes on spouting off about anything more, I’ll be up front and tell you that I was engaged to Devante at one point in time.”
“You were,” his eyes widened with surprise and jealousy before he tried to contain himself, “Oh, well I can see why your mother is so attached then.”
“No, you really can’t,” she shook her head, “because as I said before it’s ancient history.  Devante was a very good friend of mine and we confused that with love.  We worked together and it was a time in our lives when we were both looking for love.  Everyone else we knew was finding their way together and I think we just thought it was the next thing for us to take that step with one another.  We moved in together and were engaged shortly after.  We went through the motions of planning the wedding, but it didn’t get very far.  He was offered a position outside of Coral Valley that was very good for his career.  I encouraged him to go and we split.  That’s all there was to it.”
“And this split…” he probed further, “It was a mutual split?”
“Yes, it was very mutual,” she nodded in admission, “At the time it happened, we both just realized that things for us weren’t really as we’d wanted them to be.  It was fun and it was a good thing for the both of us, but ultimately we both had two very different paths in life.”
“Yet your mother seems to think that perhaps those paths have intersected again,” he added with a small grumble, “I think she’s hoping for a love connection.”
“She can hope all she wants Hart because I really don’t care if my mother loves you or not.  I love you and regardless of our less than thrilling beginnings, what we have together is well worth holding onto,” she teased her fingers over the front of his shirt, “Don’t you agree?”
“More than you know Jen,” he confessed bridging the distance between them in a kiss, “I just don’t want to lose you because you’re the first real thing that’s ever mattered to me.  I love you so much that the thought of being without you, if even for a brief period of time kills me…”
“Then don’t think like that,” she placed her finger over his lips to silence him, “because that’s never going to be an issue.  You’re stuck with me Steiner.”
“In that case, I think it’s about time that we make the most of that very fun thought,” he replied sweeping her up into his arms grateful that Jenna didn’t share Dorothy’s doubts about him.  Still knowing that Dorothy hated him, he knew that he was in for some trouble.  The question was would he be able to deal with whatever Dorothy had to dish out?  He sure hoped so.


“This is never going to work,” Heather whispered from behind Brant as he looked around the hallway to see if anyone was around.
“It will if you just keep your mouth shut,” Brant warned sharply knowing that he and Heather had one last barrier to cross if he was going to get her out of the institution without being noticed.
“Brant, they do bed checks every half hour and I’m sure that soon they’ll be at my room and,” she whispered from behind the mask of hair she’d kept to shield him from her burns.
“Just trust me Heather,” Brant popped his head out and around the corner to see Mary seated at the desk where he’d left her, “Now listen.  I’m going to go talk to her and when I’m distracting her, you get out through the front door.  No one will notice you in that getup and then I’ll be on my way out.”
“Oh right,” she rolled her eyes, “Like no one is going to notice me in these.  Get real.”
“Look just push the damn garbage can and do like I told you,” Brant warned sharply taking note of the janitor’s uniform that he’d collected for her, “and for Pete’s sake would you just put the damn hat on?”
“I don’t want to,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “it’s all wrong for me and…”

“Just do it Heather or else you can march back to that padded cell for all eternity for all I care,” he mouthed with a heavy scowl.
“Fine,” she turned away from him to place the hat on top of her head, tipping it down just enough to hide her face from him, “but you just be quick about things.”
“I’ll do my best,” Brant promised taking in a slow breath and making his way out into the lobby area.
“Which means we’re both in big trouble,” Heather groaned under her breath standing in the shadows and waiting for his cue as she wondered if this plan would really work.
“Mary, hey there,” Brant approached the woman before him.
“Doctor Ramsey,” she smiled up at him eagerly--almost too eagerly.  “I was wondering if you got lost back there.  My boss came by a little while ago and I was really worried…”
“There’s nothing to be worried about,” Brant leaned forward over the desk reaching for her hand.  He caressed it gingerly while sending the signal to Heather, “I told you that everything would be okay.”
“Well yes, but I’m not one to go around bending the rules,” she paused dropping her voice again before that overzealous grin spread over her face again, “especially for hunky doctors like you.”
“Yes, well it’s not everyday that hunky doctors like me find themselves in such amazing company,” Brant leaned forward to kiss her palm watching as Heather sluggishly moved out from the shadows, pushing the garbage can as he’d instructed.
“Oh Doctor Ramsey,” Mary giggled, her words slurring into a flirty tone as Heather fought the urge to vomit at what she was witnessing.
“Sweetheart, you’ve been much too kind to me tonight which is why I must most certainly make it up to you,” Brant began watching as Mary’s gaze strayed over to Heather as she approached the door.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going,” she started to question Heather before Brant kissed her palm once again.
“Mary, my darling Mary,” he stepped in front of her just enough to put Heather out of her direct view, “I was thinking that you were certainly in need of a night of romance.  Say a little wine, a little candlelight and perhaps something a bit more sensual--more romantic…”
“You were,” she gulped with obvious surprise.
“Yes, I was…unless of course you’re not interested,” Brant withdrew his hand hearing the sound of the door closing behind him alerting him that Heather had gone outside and was making her way to his car as he spoke with Mary.
“Well I…” Mary started to reply when an alarm sounded from behind.  She rose from her desk, a strange look on her face as she held her finger up, “Just give me one minute.”
But Brant knew better.  Judging by the sounds he was hearing from behind where he and Heather had just exited, he knew trouble was ahead.  Quickly he raced to the door running out into the night only to discover Heather a few feet from the passenger door of his car tearing her hat off of her head.
“Get in!” Brant ordered disengaging the car alarm as he prayed that they didn’t get stopped before they started on their mission.
“Brant, what’s going on?” she questioned hearing the alarms sound herself.
“I’ll tell you later,” he promised, “but for now would you just stop asking questions and get in the damn car?”
“Fine,” she replied hopping into the front seat before Brant did the same and the two sped off into the night making her run for freedom.  While she wasn’t quite sure what she’d gotten into, she had to admit that Brant had played a hand in her reclaiming her life again.  That in itself surprised her.
“Buckle up,” Brant ordered as his tires screeched out of the drive leading to the hospital.
“I can’t believe you just did that for me.  I mean considering our history…” she began with wide eyes realizing that perhaps Brant cared more about her than he’d let on.
“I didn’t do this for you.  I did this for Avery and remember Heather a deal’s a deal.  I got you out of there, so you’d better damn well give me what I want,” Brant reminded her racing out into the night as he just prayed that Heather could help him get the information he needed to bury Cameron from this day forward.


Ken turned to his side watching as Avery snuggled into his chest.  She’d fallen asleep a short while ago and now as he held her, he thought about what they’d just shared with one another.  Sure, he knew it was a mistake in leading her to believe that he was Brant, yet she’d come off as being so needy--so desperate and those were two things that Ken himself could relate to.  Sure, he’d thought about the many times in college when she’d curl those pouty lips of hers at him, all the while wiggling her perfect little body at him and basically telling him under no certain terms would she ever think of him as anything more than a brotherly type and a rival.  Boy would she be turning over sideways to know just how he’d proven her wrong on that one. 
This was the one time he’d certainly one upped her, yet at the same time when he thought about what it had been like to make love to her, an ache started to fester in his abdomen.  Sure, it had been thrilling…exciting and surprisingly better than he’d ever expected from a competitive, straight-laced one like he’d known Avery to be, yet there had been something behind her eyes during the experience.  She’d seemed so lost--so distanced from what they were doing--as if she’d only been doing it to pacify him--no to pacify Brant.  Yes, that’s who she thought she’d been making love to and while she’d been rather attentive, he could see that she’d been holding back.  Even now as her naked body lay against his, he knew full well that she was dreaming of the life she should’ve had with Russell Denton.  That was a given and as Ken found his own thoughts lingering to Caitlin, he couldn’t help but caress her spine, feeling the damp heat of her body snuggled into his.
“I guess we both screwed up this time, huh Avery?” Ken let out an ironic laugh before whispering to himself more than her, “Still, I see what you were trying to prove to yourself, but in the end we’re both the same.  You were looking for an out and I was looking for…well, I guess I mean maybe the thought of us together had occurred to me maybe once or twice especially when you used to prance around in those little miniskirts of yours, but this…well it was sure a nice thrill ride sweetheart.  Too bad my brother missed all the action, but as I said before, he’s only going to break your heart.”
Avery shifted over beside him again, her eyelashes fluttering as it was obvious she was in some kind of world of her own, dreaming of better times no doubt.  Still, Ken had to give himself credit.  He’d done Avery a tremendous favor tonight and one day he was sure she’d thank him for it.
“Consider this a freebie for all you did for me in college,” he mouthed into her ear drawing his lips over her shoulder once again before he eased away from her.  Sliding out from underneath the blankets he watched her for a long moment wondering how her night with ‘Brant’ would change things for her.  There was no doubt in his mind that she’d behave differently and when Brant realized what had happened…
“It’ll be too late,” Ken replied with a twisted smirk thinking of all the times Brant had put him through hell.  Sure, maybe Ken had been playing it safe his whole life, but after tonight, he felt empowered by the knowledge that he’d found a way to one up Brant.  This would stick it to Brant after all the things Brant had done to make him miserable.  This would finally show Brant that Ken wasn’t about to take it any longer.  Ken was finished with his brother’s stupid games and now was about getting even.
Smiling wider, Ken leaned down to kiss Avery’s cheek tenderly, “Thanks for tonight beautiful.  It was very insightful.”
With that comment, he took a step back seeking out his pajama pants before heading out of the room to lose himself to what came next in his plans for those who had wronged him.  Closing the door behind him, he exited Avery’s room only to awaken her with the sound of the shutting door.
“Russ,” Avery sat upright speaking her dead husband’s name only to discover herself alone and naked in bed.  Suddenly her thoughts returned to what she and Brant had experienced with one another.  Looking around the room, she wondered where he’d drifted off to, but as she realized he must’ve left, she felt her heart sink.  Suddenly everything felt wrong--everything felt empty and in that moment she felt more alone than she ever had in her life.
“Oh God,” Avery bit back on her tears realizing that she’d been right all along.  Not only had she made a fool of herself with Brant, but she’d made a huge mistake in sleeping with him.  She’d given in to the moment and she’d discovered that things were exactly as she’d predicted.  He’d left her clearly after they’d made love just like she‘d always feared would happen if she‘d ever opened her heart up to him.  Things had turned out exactly as she’d predicted and what was the worst part of it all was that she’d betrayed Russ only to make Brant happy when clearly this wasn’t at all what he’d been hoping for.
Unable to stand the way she felt, Avery leapt out of bed, racing to the bathroom where she turned the shower on as hot as it could go.  Her stomach was tied in knots, her heart pounding in her chest and as she felt as if she’d sunk to her lowest point, another rush of nausea flooded over her.  Stepping into the shower she felt the burning intensity of the spray above her singeing her skin, but it wasn’t punishment enough.  She’d made a horrible, horrible mistake in letting things get out of hand with Brant like she had and from this moment on she vowed she’d never forgive herself.  Tonight she’d let Brant down, let Russell down and worst of all, she’d let herself down.  Unable to keep that thought from consuming her, she sank to the shower floor overcome by her tears.

Richard entered Brooke’s hospital room hearing the familiar beeps of the machine’s before him.  While he’d tried to pretend that this was something he could pull through easily, the truth was he was very bothered by seeing his wife in such a state.  Unable to help himself he took a seat beside her all the while taking in her bruised features.
“How could this happen,” he questioned more so to himself than anything else.  He inhaled slowly thinking about the tale Brant and Avery had revealed to authorities.  Thinking about the kidnapping and then to what had happened after everything, he couldn’t help but feel remorse.
“How did things get so out of hand,” he questioned reaching out to take her hand in his, “I know that you and I have grown apart, but when I think of how this has touched our lives--about how our little girl was exposed to this monster.  Brooke, this never should’ve happened.  We never should’ve allowed that man into her life.”
He paused choked up on emotion, “And while you probably don’t believe a word that I’m saying to you, the truth is that I never wanted this.  I never wanted to see you in this position.  I just wanted for you to be happy--for us both to get on with our lives and while I’m trying to be strong, the fact is that our children need their mother.  Sure, maybe I’ve been able to get close to Avery, but with Guy, Brooke he needs you.  He hates me and maybe that’s my own fault, but you’re everything to him.  You have to pull through this.  You just have to…”
“Mr. Morrison,” a voice beckoned him from his thoughts.  He looked up to see Elizabeth standing before him.
“Dr. Raines,” he cleared his throat doing his best to keep himself together despite the weight that had collected on his shoulders since this nightmare began.  “Is there any news?”
“I wish there was more I could tell you, but the truth is that this is something that is going to take time.  Your wife is lucky to be alive and it’s a miracle that she’s still here,” she explained motioning to where Brooke lay in the hospital bed.
“Brooke’s always been a fighter,” he replied with a poignant smile, “believe me I have had a great number of headaches to prove it.  I just never thought that this would…”
“If you want my best advice it’s for you to take care of yourself,” Beth informed him honestly, “There’s been a guard posted on her door and no one is going to get in here unless they are supposed to be.  You have my word that she’s in good hands.”
“I know that.  I really do, but I just worry about if she doesn’t make it.  If I’m not here when she needs me.  If she leaves and never knows that I didn’t want for any of this to be like it is,” he revealed feeling an emotional tug of war burning inside of him.
“Deep down, I’m sure she knows,” she offered hoping to ease his mind, “I’m sure that in her heart she knows what a good man she married and she knows how lucky she’s been.”
“I’m just hoping that her luck doesn’t run out here and now,” he confessed turning his attention to her again, “After all she’s been through…”
“Like I said this is a miracle in itself,” Beth added seeing the somber expression on his face, “and maybe you shouldn’t give up on believing in them just yet.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Richard nodded in response rubbing his palms together as he wondered what in the world his wife could’ve possibly done to deserve such a fate.  Sure she had moments of being utterly wicked, but to have this happen to her…was there really something so horrible that she’d entered upon that would put her into this kind of position?  Somehow no matter how hard he tried to rationalize things, he came up empty.


Diego pulled into the hospital parking lot feeling like the biggest jerk in the world after what he’d done to Heather.  While he’d intended on helping her, somehow he couldn’t help but regret the actions he’d taken in putting her in such a place.  She needed help--real help and this was no where near what he should’ve given her.  Yes, he and Sarah had agreed that this was for the best to keep her from Cameron, but after a night of stewing over things, he realized that he needed to see her.  He needed to make sure that she was doing okay.  He had to know if she’d pull through this.
“Stop stalling,” he ordered himself hoping that once he got inside he’d find a way to help Heather.  Maybe he’d been going about this all wrong.  Perhaps if they could have some kind of rational, calm conversation with one another, then they could be able to open up about things together.  He could explain how he only had her best interest at heart and she…  Oh who was he kidding?  She was furious with him and with good reason.  He never should’ve crossed this line.  Still he had to try to fix things.
“Dr. Hernandez,” the woman behind the desk nodded to him before her eyes widened in horror, “Dr. Hernandez, I was just about to call you.”
“Is something wrong,” Diego couldn’t help but feel a panic overtake him.
“It’s your patient.  Miss Gibbons…” she spoke up again, her face drained of all color with each word that she spoke.
“What’s happened to her?  Is she alright,” Diego asked feeling his heart thumping in his chest as his instincts were telling him what he’d done to Heather was all wrong.
“She’s…she’s gone…” she blurted out shamefully, “Your colleague Dr. Ramsey came in here to see her and then…”
“Dr. Ramsey,” Diego frowned at her words, “I don’t know a Dr. Ramsey.”
“I know that now, but at the time he came in with an id badge and he was very persuasive, but now…well she’s gone and I think he took her,” she explained frantically, “He was just so charming and he had a way with words that…”
“No, no that can’t be.  Did anyone try to stop them?  Has anyone discovered where they were headed?” Diego questioned fearing that the worst was already well on it’s way to happening with Heather if he didn’t find her.
“Security is running a print out of him right now as we speak since one of the cameras caught their escape,” she explained tearfully, “I was just about to call and tell you, but…”
“Never mind,” Diego rushed past her over to security praying that his fears weren’t all becoming a reality.  He’d worked like hell to keep her away from Cameron--to save her from the monster she’d married, yet…
“Dr. Hernandez,” Josh Wilson, head of security at the hospital began approaching him, “I need to ask you a question about this man here in this picture our cameras have taken.  Is he a colleague of yours because he just took off with your patient and…”
“Let me see that,” Diego swiped the picture away from Josh only to discover the clear cut images of Heather and her savior slipping into his Ferrari.  It was in that moment when Diego realized just who had beat him to the punch.  This time it wasn’t Cameron, but another face from Heather’s past and what came next, well that was the newest problem of the moment as Diego had no idea what his angle was, “Son of a bitch!”


“I can’t believe we did it,” Heather exclaimed upon entering the Ashford mansion with Brant, “After all the stupid, ridiculous schemes you’ve pulled off in the past, I can’t believe that this one was the one that finally paid off.”
“Yeah, well that was your first mistake in not having any faith in me,” Brant reminded her sharply, “especially given that I’ve always been the one who does what he says where you’re concerned.  You were the one breaking all the rules.”
“Oh I think we’ve broken plenty of rules together,” she smiled tossing her hair back flirtatiously before stopping herself and turning away, “Look Brant, for what it’s worth, I want to say thank you.”
“Don’t thank me yet because we still have a lot of ground to cover with one another.  I broke you out and I want you to tell me all you know about Cameron.  Even if it seems insignificant, I want to hear it,” he continued urgently.
“I’m not really in the mood,” Heather replied sharply, not wanting for him to get another good look at her.  If he saw how horrible she truly looked now.
“Heather, we made a deal.  I got you out of that place, now you owe me,” Brant reminded her point blank, “A deal is a deal.”
“I realize that,” she carefully pushed her hair in front of the left side of her face, “but I’m tired Brant.  You have no idea how many meds they were pumping me with when I was there.  Not to mention that I just gave birth not too long ago…”
“That’s right,” Brant paused thinking about what she was saying, “you had a baby.”
“That’s right,” Heather nodded, “and my bitch sister is keeping me from seeing him.  She thinks she knows everything right about now, but she can’t take over my life like she wants to.”
“Heather, why didn’t you ever tell me about your sister?  Why lie about your family,” he questioned with obvious confusion burning behind his dark eyes, “I mean really, now that I think about it, what about our relationship--or even us for that matter was ever really true?”
“The way I felt about you,” Heather confessed poignantly, “I really did love you Brant.”
“Yeah and I can see how long it lasted.  I was good enough until a producer dangled the promise of a the leading lady title in your face,” he frowned at the memory, “Heather, it just wasn’t ever good enough for you.  Our time together was just some huge joke, wasn’t it?”
“Oh like you were any more faithful to me,” she rolled her eyes in response, “I know all about your shameless flings over at BBK--all about the women you were toting on all those business trips, so don’t you even go there and look down on me.  I did what I did to survive and I know you did the same.”
“No, I didn’t,” he replied honestly shaking his head at her assumptions, “Despite what the tabloids were preaching, the truth was that I really thought things would be different with you Heather.  I was really ready to take it all the way.  I had the ring, the desire and the ability to commit myself to us.  I was ready to take the plunge…”
“That’s bull Brant,” she argued, “You never loved me and for you to sit here and try to lay it on me like a pity plea to get the information you want from me is just plain beneath you.  At least give me the decency here to not try to patronize me.”
“Fine, then believe what you want Heather because I don’t really care anymore,” he threw his arms up in the air, “The truth is that I’ve moved on with my life.”
“Ah yes, in the eternal chase for Avery Morrison,” she practically gagged, “and just how is that sick and twisted obsession of yours going?  Has she filed a restraining order against you yet?”
“On the contrary, my wife cares about me very much,” Brant wiggled his finger in her face showing off his wedding band, “and unlike the farce of a marriage you have with Cameron, Avery and I are in it for the real thing.”
“Oh you’re so full of shi…” Heather started shaking her head as she refused to listen to another one of his words.
“Think that as you will, but the truth is that I have something special in my life and I intend to do all that I can to protect my wife which is why I want answers about that man you married,” he stepped in closer to her, “Heather, quit screwing around with me and talk.”
“Brant, I’m not in the mood.  I don’t want to get into it now,” she attempted to walk away only to feel him reach for her arm.  She stepped back just a bit to yell at him, but in that minute her hair fell away from her face and Brant’s eyes cast their gaze upon her.  His anger soon transformed into shock and in that moment Heather wrenched herself away from him.
“Heather…I didn’t realize…” Brant started apologetically thinking about what he’d just seen.
“Does it matter?” Heather brought her hands up over her face shamefully, “Does it really make a damn difference to you Brant?  I’m sure right now you’re thinking that I got exactly what I deserve for cheating on you, right?”
“No, that’s not what I was going to say,” he found himself still in a state of surprise as his mind imprinted the image of Heather’s once beautiful features.  She’d been flawless, by far one of the most beautiful women he’d ever had the pleasure of laying his eyes upon, but now, well now she was something that he couldn’t help but feel sorry for with what fate had given her.
“Liar!” Heather shouted spinning around to face him, her eyes wild with anger as she lashed out at him, throwing her fist into his chest.  He fended off her attack, but soon found that she broke down to tears in his arms.  Hugging her gently, Brant tried to soothe the emotions that poured out of her as it was obvious there was a lot more happening beneath the surface than he’d anticipated.
“I know you think I deserved this.  I know you think this is justice,” Heather sobbed unable to refrain from shaking in his arms.
“No, Heather, no one deserves this,” Brant replied his voice full of concern, “No one should ever have to face something like this.”
“I’m disgusting and horrible.  That’s why they locked me away.  They knew that my face was just wretched and now, without what I had, what do I have left,” Heather cried harder than before, her own fears consuming her.
“Heather, listen to me.  Things don’t have to be like this,” Brant replied easing her hair from her face to take a long, hard look at her disfigured face, “You aren’t hideous.  You’re none of those things you just called yourself.”
“Yes, I am.  You said just as much yourself a few minutes ago when we were talking about the past…” she sniffled, unable to hide her tears.
“Heather, we were both horrible, disgusting people to one another in the past, but now, well now is about letting go of that anger and moving on with our lives.  I’m happy now and I hate to be seeing you like this,” he confessed with a small frown, “I never wished any of this upon you.”
“But you’re not exactly too broken up about it either, right?”
“No, that’s not right Heather.  Listen to me.  You’re a bright, beautiful woman,” he paused seeing her pained expression, “inside and out.  I know that sometimes it’s hard to believe that, but the truth is that I want to help you.  I want to see you find some peace in your life--peace that you couldn’t ever have with me.”
“Do you really mean that,” she questioned wearily feeling his hand reach out to squeeze her fingers in his.
“I do,” he nodded, “which is why when this is over, I’ll do anything in my power to help you with this.  If you tell me what I need to know about Cameron, then I promise you I’ll have only the best of the best surgeons come in and do what they can to help you.  I know that sounds stupid given that it’s probably the last thing you want to hear from me…”
“No, it’s more like the last thing I expected to hear from you,” she confessed with a strange expression, “Brant, why would you…why would you do this for me?”
“Because I know that Cameron’s not going to.  I know what kind of man he is Heather and regardless of what you and I might think of one another, I would never, ever wish that kind of man upon anyone.”
“I…I don’t know what to say.  Brant, this is all just so…” she started finding herself completely at a loss.
“You don’t have to say anything.  In fact, why don’t you let Annie help you settle in to one of the guest rooms tonight?  We can figure things out in the morning if you’d like.” he suggested with a small smile.
“You really mean that?” she searched his eyes unsure if this was real or not.
“Yeah, I really mean that,” he nodded in response, “We can talk about things in the morning…really talk about things and maybe you and Avery can also get an opportunity to discuss a few things…”
“Oh no,” she shook her head, “no way am I going to talk to her--especially not now.”
“Avery is a wonderful woman and I know that she’s going to understand.  She’s been through hell herself and I can promise you that she’s not going to judge you either.  Heather, we both need you right now and if you can help us take down Cameron,” Brant pleaded with her.
“The man is a monster Brant.  You don’t want to get mixed up in this one.  He’s dangerous and…” Heather started thinking about all that her husband was capable of.
“And he’s not going to be your problem any longer,” Brant tried to assure her, “I promise you that much.”
“Brant, we both know it’s not wise to make promises that you can’t keep,” she replied with a sad smile, “but for what it’s worth, thank you for trying.”
“I just wish that there was more I could do,” he answered helplessly.
“Given that you’ve started to forgive me,” she paused unable to hide the relief that spilled over her features, “then I think we’ve got a good start ahead of us.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right.  Maybe we do,” he nodded in agreement helping her connect with Annie and get her setup in a room for the night. 
Once he was finished with Heather, making sure that she would be okay for the evening, he turned his attention to Avery’s room.  Standing outside he wondered if he should go in or not, but as he thought of the road they had ahead of them, he decided to stop inside and take a moment to speak with her about Heather.  He knocked on the door and waited a few seconds before stepping inside only to discover the bed empty.
“Avery,” Brant questioned searching the room as he heard the sound of water coming from the bathroom. 
Stepping into the bedroom, he took a long look around before finding Avery over by the sink, slumped over on the countertop.  He frowned at the sight of her, noticing that while she was bundled up in one of the robes he’d given her, she looked so lost, so utterly exhausted and his heart ached for her.  Obviously she had a bad night tonight and he hadn’t been there to help her through it.
“Avery,” he spoke her name gently, nudging her as he realized she was sleeping.  Carefully he pulled her into his arms before carrying her over to the bed.  Easing back the blankets, he lay her down gently taking a moment to watch her snuggle into the pillow before he gave her a tender kiss on the forehead.
“The nightmare is almost over for you,” he promised in a soft whisper hoping that in his bringing Heather to the mansion with him, it would be the beginning of the end of the madness Cameron had placed into all of their lives.  Sure, Brant wouldn’t be able to bring back the one thing that Avery longed for more than anything, but as her husband he vowed to himself he’d do whatever was necessary to take the stress out of her life.  Looking down to the bed beside her, he half contemplated joining her, but instead he thought to his promise not to rush things.  His gaze dropped down to the rings on both their fingers before he reached for her blankets, tucking her in more completely.  As she shifted again, he touched her cheek lovingly making a silent promise to give her whatever she needed in this world at her own pace.  He knew it would take a while before she truly was ready to open her heart to him, but he knew that she would be well worth the wait.  And when the time is right, we’ll be together Avery, he thought to himself before leaving the room for the night and giving her the time she needed for herself.


“Yeah, you’re right Don…you were a mistake,” Shannon scowled before hearing him laugh.

“You know the ironic thing about it is that I’m starting to think the same thing about you.  Here I had you pegged for something special, but I was clearly wrong,” Don replied shaking his head lightly before turning around.

“You know you are just an idiot who is searching for someone to love you and no one loves you Don, no one,” Shannon yelled out as he laughed.

“You know what? I think Brant was right about you,” Don smiled to himself before turning around to look at Shannon as she laughed.

“What did you just say,” she froze up immediately, tension coursing through her veins.

“I said that I think Brant was right about you,” he shrugged his shoulders, “but I was willing to at least give you the benefit of the doubt.  What an idiot that makes me, huh?”

“And what exactly did Brant have to say?” Shannon questioned raising an eyebrow as Don shook his head.

“It doesn’t matter what he said,” Don stated with a slight laugh, “I’m just starting to see that he is right.  You‘re clearly incapable of a real relationship because it‘s all about keeping someone at arm‘s length and playing games to you.  From what he said, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…”

“What did he say?  On second thought, you know what? I don’t care,” Shannon spat out seeing Don nod.

“That’s right you don’t care,” Don agreed, “You don’t care about anyone.”

“You don’t even know me,” she yelled walking over towards him, “So how could you say that?”

“You knew from the get go that you were never going to give this relationship a try, were you?” Don questioned with a scowl as she laughed.

“This relationship doesn’t deserve a try,” Shannon replied with a scowl, “I don’t like you and I never will.  This was just the result of one horrible chain of events brought on by a moment of weakness, but it‘s nothing more than that.  It‘s not important Don.  This is just a joke.”

“Oh come on,” Don laughed as he raised an eyebrow, “You can’t tell me you don’t feel something when I do this.”

Shannon gasped as he leaned down slightly kissing her deeply and she did nothing to try and push him away. When he backed up she was out of breath as she closed her eyes.

“I didn’t feel a thing,” she breathed in deeply as she lied knowing that there was something there, but she didn’t want to admit it.

He kissed her once more taking her breath away again as he moved his mouth with hers another time.

“How about now?” he wondered backing up slightly and taking in a deep breath.

Shannon didn’t say a word as she pulled him down slightly and kissed him deeply running her hands along his back. She pushed him down on the bed and got above him kissing him once more nibbling on his bottom lip, as she ripped open his dress shirt.

“I still hate you,” Shannon scowled before she ran her hands up his chiseled chest.

“Yeah, well I still hate you too,” Don replied before she leaned down kissing him once more.

“You’re still stupid,” Shannon sighed as he kissed her neck slowly as his hands ran up her back. She pushed him back roughly before unbuckling his belt.

“Yeah, well you’re…still cold and nasty with no feeling,” Don got out before he grabbed the bottom of her shirt pulling it over her head.

“Don,” Shannon mouth before leaning down and kissing him again, “Shut up.”


...to be continued...