Episode 176

Shannon’s eyes opened slightly seeing the sunlight sneak through the curtains and lighten up the room. She yawned and rolled over in the bed slowly before seeing Don sleeping beside her. Then it all came back to her on what happened last night.

“Oh no,” she gasped poking Don roughly as he mumbled something and dug his head into the pillow. “Don!”

She kicked his side roughly making him fall off of the bed and make a thud as he hit the ground.

“Hey,” Don frowned as he yawned slightly before rubbing his eyes, “What was that for?”

“That was for taking advantage of me again last night,” Shannon spat out before wrapping a sheet around herself and getting out of bed.

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” Don laughed as he got up and grabbed his pants and pulled them up.

“How dare you,” she yelled out as he shrugged, “You took advantage of me last night.”

“Shannon, you were the one ripping my clothes off,” Don tried to remind her with a slight nod, “Ring a bell.”

“Yeah, but you were the one that kissed me,” Shannon pointed out seeing him nod.

“Yeah, that was just a kiss,” Don informed her with a slight shrug, “Ripping off someone’s clothes is a totally different thing. I mean you were the one that told me to do it.”

“How could I have done something so stupid?” she asked herself seeing him shrug.

“That’s not what you were saying last night,” Don informed her as she walked around and pushed him back as he fell on top of the bed, “Hey.”

He went after her as she slammed the bathroom door in his face.

“Leave me alone Don,” Shannon yelled as he knocked on the door.

“Shannon come on,” Don pleaded as he knocked on the door, “I am not the only one that did it, and I mean it was the both of us.”

“I don’t care,” she got out as he sighed.

“You are never going to get dressed,” he pointed out grabbing her clothes from the couch, “Your clothes are still out here.”

Shannon opened the door and grabbed her clothes quickly from his hand before slamming the door shut. Don shook his head before jumping back on the bed and turning on the television. Obviously this was going to be a long day.


Brant knocked on the door to Avery’s room carefully maneuvering the tray in hand while waiting for her to reply.  When she alerted him that it was alright to come in, he walked inside the room greeting her with a bright smile, “Good morning beautiful.”
“Brant,” Avery spoke his name from across the room much to his surprise.  She was already dressed and ready to get a jump start on the day ahead of her even though he knew she wasn’t expected at the courthouse for a while, “hey.”
“I made you some breakfast.  I was hoping to go for the whole romantic breakfast in bed theme, but since you beat me out of this one,” Brant set the tray down on the small nightstand before him.  Sweeping up the single, red rose he’d brought up from the garden with him, he handed it over to her, “For you my beautiful wife.”
“Brant,” she started to object, her lips curling in a small scowl of sorts before she finally accepted his token for the moment, “it’s beautiful.”
“Not nearly as beautiful as you are,” he smiled, speaking up in his suave, enchanting tone that he often carried around her.
“Brant, I really wish you wouldn’t say things like that,” she took a step away from him, “especially after last night I don’t think that we should…”
“Should what?” he questioned taken aback by her tone, “Be civil to one another?  I thought that was part of being married Avery.  We should at least like each other, right?”
“We do like each other,” she paused remembering what it had felt like when they’d been making love with one another last night.  Taking another step back, she tried to control the burning of her face as she found the nerve to speak up again, “perhaps too much.”
“You can never like someone too much Avery and besides,” he offered up taking note of her uneasiness, “it’s only breakfast.  You can’t think the worst of me for wanting to feed you, right?”
“No, Brant it’s not that.  It’s just…” Avery began with an exaggerated sigh, “Brant, I was out of line last night and…”
“Avery you have every reason to be upset about what happened last night.  I know that things haven’t been easy for you and I don’t want you feeling like I’m pushing you considering that…” Brant started thinking to their conversation they’d had when Don was at the house, “I was the one who was completely out of line there.”
“No, Brant, please don’t blame yourself.  I was the one who was acting irrational and given all the things I’ve made you do for me lately--things that have only complicated your life…” she cut him off only to feel him reach for her hand.
“Avery, I do what I do because I care about you.  You know that, don’t you?” he questioned worry evident behind his eyes, “If you feel that I’ve done something wrong…”
“No, you didn’t do anything wrong,” she shook her head at him, “In fact in so many ways you’re doing everything right.  Even last night, God Brant I feel like I let you down…like I turned something that should’ve been so very special into less than what you deserved…”
“Avery, it’s not a big deal,” Brant shrugged his shoulders while offering a simple squeeze of her hand, “Sweetheart, we all have our moments and I’ll admit I wasn’t at my finest last night either.”
“Somehow I highly doubt that because you were incredible.  You are incredible,” she offered up feeling a flush pass over her features, “but with me, I was the one who really screwed up.  I went into the situation doing all the wrong things and I’m sure that you felt it.”

“No, I mean yes I know that you’ve got your guard up Avery, but I’m willing to work through that.  It’s something we can work through together,” Brant added seeing something flash behind her eyes, “Avery, whatever it is that’s bothering you about last night, well maybe it would be best if we just put it behind us.  We can start over anew like last night never happened.  If that’s what you would like…”
“That sounds really cold of me, doesn’t it,” Avery questioned biting on her lower lip nervously.
“No, believe me after the disaster that happened with all of us last night, I’d just as soon put the memory behind me and never pull it back into the present again,” he let out a tiny shudder, “I mean really, why would anyone want to relive any of that?  I sure as hell know that I don’t.”
“You don’t,” she replied feeling her heart sink just a bit as he’d only confirmed her worries about how awful last night must’ve been for him after they’d made love.
“I don’t,” he promised her with a small smile, “I mean my God, if we were always like that, then I think our marriage would be destined to fail.”
Avery blinked back at him shocked by his casual, dismissive tone.  Wrenching her hand away from his, she let out a tiny yelp, “I didn’t think it was that bad Brant.  My God, if you really feel that way, then…”
“Well good morning kiddies,” Ken’s boisterous tone filled the room surrounding the both of them, “How are the newlyweds this morning?”
“We were doing better until you showed up,” Brant answered tightly, turning around to face his brother with an agitated expression.
“I’m sure you were,” Ken continued dismissively making his presence known in the room, “but I couldn’t help but hear the two of you bickering in here and I thought I’d check in on you.”
“We weren’t bickering,” Brant scowled back at him, “We were just talking about the morning and…”
“No matter,” Ken waved his hand at his brother while his eyes returned to Avery again, “Like I said I heard something rather heated going on in here and I thought I’d check it out.”
“There’s nothing heated going on in here other than your annoying the hell out of me,” Brant grumbled back at his brother.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll get over it.  As for whatever it was you two were talking about, I’m sure it’s none of my business, though I should tell you that these walls are paper thin you know,” he paused, giving Avery an exaggerated once over, “and you can hear everything in them.  Absolutely everything, which had me wondering about what was going on in here last night since things sounded a bit--intense.”
Immediately Avery’s gaze dropped to the floor.  She found herself wishing she could just crawl under a rock and die as Ken’s gaze alerted her that he knew full well what she and Brant had been up to with one another last night.  So much for keeping things just between her and Brant, she realized with a heavy sigh.
“Hey, though it’s none of my business,” Ken practically whistled, smirking as he found himself amused by Avery’s sudden squirming, “So what’s on the agenda today?  Perhaps another repeat of last night’s festivities?”
“Actually, Avery and I were about to have a chat with one another,” Brant replied sharply, “So if you could just give us some time alone together…”
“Oh of course,” Ken nodded enthusiastically, “as I’m sure you both have a lot to say to one another.  I’m sure a talk between you will be very insightful all things considered, but as much as I’d like to stick around and see how it plays out, I have some things to do today.”
“Then don’t let us keep you from them,” Brant scowled back at him, “oh but while you’re out, you might want to think about staying sober because the next time your ass winds up behind bars, I won’t be coming to the rescue.”
“Ah yes far be it from you to lift a finger for me,” Ken rolled his eyes, “I can feel the love emanating in this room or is that something else radiating from the bed perhaps…”
“Just…” Brant bit back on his words fighting to keep from snapping at his brother for his untimely intrusion, “go away.”
Ken shrugged, “You don’t have to tell me twice, but hey, for what it’s worth, I hope to catch up with the both of you later.  I’d like to go over a few things with Avery after you’ve had your talk with one another.  I was thinking about a few things she said to me last night and well, I think that warrants a discussion of sorts…”
“Yeah, sure, I’d like that,” Avery replied with a polite smile despite the embarrassment she was feeling at a time like this.
“Oh I have no doubt in my mind about that,” he threw out a dismissive wave before exiting the room, “Later.”
Brant watched his brother’s retreat with a frown, realizing that Ken was up to something again.  While he couldn’t quite place his finger on it, he was certain that something had changed.  Something was going on with Ken and he would have to figure it out, but for now, he was worried about Avery.
“Avery, forget about him.  He’s just in a mood and…” Brant started to dismiss Ken’s odd behavior.
“Actually, I just--I really need to get over to the courthouse this morning,” Avery blurted out refusing to make eye contact with him, “I want to go over a few things with Grady before the trial begins and…”
“I could drive you over there,” Brant suggested eagerly, “That could give us a chance to talk.”
“Actually I want to stop by my house first to pick a few things up.  You understand, don’t you,” her dark eyes pleaded with him, silently alerting him that she needed her space for the time being.
“Of course,” Brant nodded in understanding, “but if you change your mind, I can always…”
“You don’t have to,” she shook her head at him, “I’m pretty much impossible the day a trial starts so I’m not going to make for good company.”
“Even so I still plan on heading over there to see how things go,” Brant reached for her hand offering up a gentle squeeze, “I want to help you with this any way I can…”
“I know you do Brant and for what it’s worth, well thank you.  I appreciate your taking an interest in the case and in helping me,” Avery replied watching his dark eyes reach into hers.  Without a word he lifted his hand to her cheek, his gaze offering up the first hints of something a bit more intimate, but before he could follow through on his intentions Avery pulled out of his reach grabbing her briefcase and rushing over to the door, “I’ll see you later.”
“Yeah later,” Brant replied as she sped out of the mansion and he was left wondering just what was going on in the mansion.  It seemed everyone was in a mood today, yet he wouldn’t let that thwart him from what he had planned.  With that thought in mind, he decided to pay Heather a visit and see what she could tell him about Cameron.  Maybe just maybe in doing so he’d find a way to help Avery after all. 


“Hey handsome,” Jade smiled at Grady in the hopes of lightening the mood even though she was full aware that he was about to face the fight of his life today when the trial began.  Despite the fact that he looked handsome in his suit, she could see that he was tired--too tired and worried--far more worried than he’d ever let on about.  Still she wanted to try to find a way to help him through this day knowing what was riding on this trial, “How are you?”
“I’m perfect now that you’re here,” Grady replied reaching out across the table to take her hands in his, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too, but now that I’m here, well I’m so very happy to be with you like this,” she covered his hands with hers, “You know I dreamt about you last night.”
“Funny thing,” he let out a small smile of his own, “I dreamt about you too.”
“You did,” her eyes widened with the moment, “Well are you going to tell me your dream or would you rather me tell you mine?”
“I think I’ll let you start,” he suggested feeling her fingers intertwine with his, “What was your dream about?”
“It was about us together once you get out of here.  We were laying on a beach on some private little island sipping margaritas and making love on a hammock,” she confessed leaning in towards him, “and in between all of that we were just enjoying being together.”
“It sounds like heaven,” Grady noted with a soft sigh of his own.
“It was heaven--and it’ll be our heaven when you get out of here,” she assured him squeezing his hands again, “I know that we’re going to win this one.”
“I hope so, but if by some chance that we don’t Jade, well there are some things I think we should discuss,” Grady started uneasily remembering all too well the dreams that had haunted him.  While he wished he could’ve said he’d had a beautiful dream like the one Jade had, his was much darker, far more haunting than that, but he refused to reveal that with her.  Now he was only hoping to prepare her for the possibility of what may be if things didn’t turn out in their favor.
“No, Grady,” she shook her head refusing to let him utter another word, “we don’t need to talk about that.  We’re going to get you out of here.  Avery is going to prove that you’re innocent.  I know she is.”
“Jade, I’m not saying that we have to believe the worst is going to happen, but more so we need to be prepared for it just in case…” Grady started only to feel her press her fingers in over his lips.
“Please don’t go there.  Grady, I know the reality that we could be facing, but right now, I just want to think about this time we have together now.  I just want to focus on us for a little while.  Can’t we just do that,” she questioned wanting to push reality aside for a little bit longer.
“Of course we can,” he nodded in response wondering if when everything was said in done if reality would still find a way to haunt them now that he had perhaps one of the most difficult battles of his life up ahead of him.


“Hey Mindy,” Kyle smiled walking through the doors Coral Courier remembering the time when Russ was running the place.  Sure it was still going, but it just wasn‘t the same not seeing him.  Still Kyle tried to stay focused.

“Kyle,” Mindy got up a slight bit surprised, “What are you doing here?”

“I was hoping I would be able to do some research with the whole Kipp situation.  With the trial now on, I want to see what I missed as I‘m sure there‘s something out there that I’m just not seeing,” Kyle sighed before seeing Mindy walk back to her desk and sit down in her chair. “So what are you doing?”

Mindy shrugged as Kyle walked over towards her and sat on the desk, “Nothing really, things have been kind of slow here since Russ died.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Kyle nodded slightly before thinking back to Russ. Every time Kyle thought about Russ it tore a hole right through him. There was always that thought that he could have saved Russ if he just went to meet with that mystery person instead. There were so many times when he wished that day had been different and it still haunted him even now.  His thoughts suddenly stopped as Mindy started to talk again.

“Well, all I want to know is what is going to happen to the paper,” Mindy started taking in a deep breath, “I mean now that Russ is dead and everything, there are so many questions about what comes next.”

Kyle was silent as he thought over what she just said; “Well, doesn’t Avery own the paper now?”

“Yeah, but do you think she could handle being in charge of the paper?” she questioned seeing Kyle shrug.  “I know she’s got a lot going on with Grady’s trial and with working at BBK.  I mean I never thought this would be her thing considering…”

“You never really know, I know she‘s busy, but this was Russell‘s baby.  I wouldn‘t doubt that she‘d want to do everything in her power to keep this paper alive.  It was his passion and she feels very strongly about the things that meant a lot to him.  I mean yeah she‘s under a lot of stress…,” Kyle informed Mindy as a thought caught his mind and he closed his eyes tightly. Avery was married to that jerk, which must be too much to handle for her. He was probably giving her such a hard time, God he really didn’t like Brant. He clenched his fist before he felt Mindy’s hand on his leg.

“What on your mind?” she questioned seeing the obvious look of anger across his features.

“It’s nothing,” he assured her with a slight wink, “I was just thinking about well, truthfully it was something that‘s probably not going to go away overnight, so there‘s no point in talking about it.  I can‘t change it, so I guess I just have to learn to move on.  It‘s well…not worth getting into.”

“Well, it really looked like it was something,” Mindy pointed out before seeing Kyle shrug.

“Just forget about it,” he replied rubbing his forehead lightly with the back of his hand before looking back at her, “You think you can spare some time to help me out a bit?”

“I will help you with anything you need,” Mindy stated seeing him smile and walk behind her.

“Alright, well I will go and look through some of the files on Russ’s computer and you can look here for me. Is that okay?” Kyle wondered seeing her nod.

“I will tell you if I find anything,” she promised him as his hand touched her shoulder.

“Thanks, this means a lot to me,” Kyle sighed before going to the office that once belonged to Russ. He shook off all the thoughts of his friend as he walked to the computer. He had to get everything straight or he wouldn’t be able to help Grady. He pulled a chair up to Russ’s computer in hope of actually finding information that could help Grady.


“Oh my look at you,” Sarah smiled seeing Blake walking out from the dressing room with one of the many dresses she had picked up to try on.

“What do you think?” Blake questioned looking in the mirrors as Sarah got up from the bench she was sitting on and fixed the back of Blake’s dress.

“I think you look great,” Sarah stated with a slight smile before seeing Blake frown.

“I think I like the last one better,” Blake laughed before seeing Sarah nod and grin.

“I think the other one looks better too, but I think this one is a close second though,” Sarah shrugged before seeing Blake jump up and down. “What is it?”

“This, everything that is happening. My dreams are actually coming true,” Blake squealed before pulling Sarah into a big hug. “I am going to have that fantasy wedding that every little girl dreams of…and you are going to be there with me.”

“God, I love to see you happy,” Sarah laughed as she saw Blake let go of her and smile.

“Well, what more could I want,” Blake shrugged before smiling, “I have my best friend here to help me out and I am marrying the man of my dreams.”

“That’s a good way to think about it,” Sarah nodded before feeling Blake nudge her in the side.

“So have you been looking at any particular dress you like?” Blake questioned as Sarah raised an eyebrow.

“What are you getting at?” Sarah wondered seeing Blake shake her head and smile.

“I am sure you are going to be doing this soon too,” Blake insisted hearing Sarah laugh. “Oh come on, you and Kyle are going to have the fairytale wedding too.”

“I don’t know,” Sarah blushed feeling Blake’s hands on her shoulders.

“Oh come on,” Blake laughed before shaking her head, “You and Kyle are in love with each other.”

“That doesn’t mean he wants to marry me,” Sarah pointed out before hearing Blake chuckle once more.

“Yeah okay,” Blake rolled her eyes before biting on her bottom lip, “So, is there anything you haven’t been telling me?”

Sarah rolled her eyes as she walked over to the dresses, “So have you looked at all the dresses you were interested in?”

“Hey,” Blake pouted as she shook her head at Sarah, “I thought I was supposed to be your best friend.”

“You are and that’s why I am going to tell you this,” Sarah started as she folded her arms out in front of her. “Nothing happened between Kyle and I that is worth telling you yet.  We‘re taking things slow and seeing how it goes.  That‘s where we‘re at right now.”

“Oh that sucks,” Blake frowned as Sarah laughed picking up a dress that Blake liked and hadn’t tried on yet.

“You know there is something to be said about taking your time in a relationship.  It does have it’s perks,” Sarah pointed out.

“Yeah, well take it from me Seth and I waited a long time, but compared to you and Kyle, well it’s nowhere near as long.  You two are meant to be together.  You both shouldn’t waste anymore time.  I so wish Seth and I hadn’t like we did,” Blake sighed heavily.

“Well that’s in the past and now, you don’t have to worry about it any longer.  Here,” Sarah smiled handing Blake the dress, “I don’t think you have tried on this one yet.”

“I wonder when Seth is going to start looking for a suit,” Blake pondered seeing Sarah shrug.

“You know men, they are slackers,” Sarah laughed before seeing Blake nod agreeing with her. “We need time to pick out the perfect dress.”

“That is where you are correct,” Blake pointed out with a slight smile before disappearing behind the door of the dressing room thinking about her big day.


Seth stepped onto the hospital floor hoping that he would be able to get a few words in with Ria in the midst of her hectic schedule.  At first he’d thought about going over to her apartment, but then thought twice of it after what Jade had mentioned about Valerie staying there.  Sure, it wasn’t like Seth was completely avoiding her, but at the same time he wasn’t very eager to run into her either, he realized.  Sure, he knew that he had to eventually face her again, but right now was about looking forward, not back.
Armed with that knowledge Seth returned to the task at hand eagerly seeking out Ria.  Lucky for him, he spotted her just up ahead in the middle of a conversation with one of the nurses.  He waited patiently for her to finish up, but he couldn’t help but wave to her enthusiastically.  He knew she’d spotted him, but she was still trying to be professional, which prompted him to start making goofy faces like they did when they were trying to mess around with one another as children.  He could see by the expression on her face she wasn’t at all amused, but he couldn’t help himself.  Once she’d finished speaking with the nurse she approached him.
“Hey Ria,” Seth stood up straighter attempting to play innocent, but he knew that she was miffed at his teasing.  Without a word she slapped his arm before shaking her head at him.
“What is wrong with you?  Are you like seven all over again?” she glared up at him.
“Hardly,” he laughed with obvious amusement, “but more so I just thought I’d liven up your day.”
“Well, while I appreciate the sentiment, I was just talking to one of the nurses about a patient and…” she started to argue with him.
“Can we continue this later because right now, well right now there’s something I want to talk to you about and it really can’t wait,” Seth interrupted flashing her a goofy smile and his big, brown puppy dog eyes, “Please?”
“Okay, now I’m not sure I should be angry or afraid here,” Ria remarked giving him a strange look.

“Ria, when have you had reason to be afraid of me,” Seth threw back at her.
“Okay, then.  I give.  What are you doing here?” Ria questioned giving him a strange look.  “So what’s the story?”
“Do you have a minute or maybe five,” he questioned watching her nod.  She lead him into one of the empty rooms with her before folding her arms in front of her chest.
“Okay, so spill it.  What’s up?”
“Well, despite the fact that you’re obviously not in a good mood like I am, well I came here today to ask a HUGE favor from you,” he explained with heavy emphasis, “because as you know I’m at a turning point in my life and well I want my friends to share this with me.”
“If it involves helping you buy some kind of kinky gift for Blake, then consider me out of this one because I’m not about to give you gift ideas considering that…” she wrinkled her nose back at him.
“No, Ria, it’s not like that.  Not at all, although I do remember the one time I did take you out to help me find a gift that was appropriate for that bachelor party and…” Seth teased her.
“Just drop it before you start,” she warned him simply, “so really what’s on your mind?”
“Well, as you know Blake and I are getting married and we’ve been working out the details of the ceremony.  She and I got to talking about how everything is going to go down and I realized that there was one very important key element missing,” he confessed openly.
“Yeah, what’s that?” she questioned with a raised brow.
“My best man, which is why I’m here today,” he blurted out with a wide grin.
“Don’t tell me that you came down here to ask me to be…” her jaw practically dropped.
“Of course I did Ria.  I can’t think of any other person more perfect for the job,” Seth informed her honestly, “I mean yeah I know that whole best man deal will have to be changed to best person, but still…”
“Seth, I don’t know what to say.  I mean I’m flattered that you would think of me although I never imagined I’d be a best man, but…” she paused for a moment, “What about Ben?”
“Ben can be in the wedding, but the truth to the matter is that I wouldn’t want to have it any other way than to have you as the best man.  You’ve been one of my best friends for most of my life Ria and if I asked anyone else to fill that position, well it just wouldn’t be me…unless of course you want to tell me no way and you’re refusing my offer.  Which if you did that, I think I would be terribly hurt considering that we always kind of said we’d be the only ones crazy enough to do this sort of thing for one another,” Seth rambled on giving her another puppy dog look.
“Seth, I can’t believe you’re asking me this.  What does Blake think about the idea?” she asked skeptically.
“She loves it,” he replied with a grin, “She thought it was a really cute idea and she was hoping you’d go for it.  We both think you’re perfect for the position.”
“I feel like I should be handing over my resume with the way you’re making it sound,” she couldn’t help but laugh, “I mean really, somehow I never quite saw myself being the best man at your wedding to Blake Ashford.  Then again I never thought you’d end up with Blake given what we both know about her family and…”
“And it just shows life is full of surprises,” Seth interrupted eager to get her to say yes, “Come on Ria.  You know that you’re at least tempted.”
“I’m more than tempted,” Ria confessed with a small smile, “but if you even think about sticking me in some kind of monkey suit there…”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Seth laughed heartily reaching out to embrace her, “You have no idea how much this means to Blake and I Ria.”
“Oh you just wait,” she laughed lightly hugging him in return, “because one day I’m going to call upon you in some similar fashion and when I do, well just know you can’t refuse.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he placed his hand over his heart, “this means the world to me Ria.”
“Yeah, well so does your being happy and if you think Blake’s the one, then you know I’ll be right there with you when you take the plunge pal,” she replied honestly as another thought came to mind, “though you know now that you’re here, there’s something I think we should talk about Valerie...”
“Don’t say it,” he frowned taking a step back, “I know that look Ria.”
“What look,” she questioned in confusion.
“That one,” he wiggled his finger at her, “I know what that means Ria and I don’t want to hear it.”
“Look Seth, the only reason I’d say something is because, well because I see how close to having it all you are,” Ria remarked pointedly, “and I just don’t want to see that blow up in your face.”
“Fine, then tell Valerie she should just go back to wherever it is she flew in from,” he folded his arms in front of his chest stubbornly, “because I’m not interested in whatever it is she’s selling.”
“I realize that Seth, but I really think you two should talk before you and Blake tie the knot.  Get it out of your system and then…” she began thinking about Valerie’s presence in town.
“Look I said all I ever wanted to say to Valerie the moment she left town.  I have no interest in going down that road again and while I realize that once again she’s tried to suck you down into the middle of whatever she’s got going, don’t let it happen.  Tell her I don’t want to see or hear from her again and then you’d probably be best suited to get her out of your apartment.  She’s trouble Ria.”
“Seth, just because you hate her doesn’t mean I can’t still be friends with her. She’s really not that bad as long as, well as long as you’re not dating her I would guess,” Ria suggested as an afterthought.
“Trust me on this one Ria.  My staying away from her is the best possible thing for all those involved, but you’re right.  I can’t tell you what to do, but just be careful alright,” he sighed bringing his fingers through his dark hair.
“Alright, I will, but you do the same okay?  I don’t want you to get into something without thinking the situation through.  I mean if you need some kind of closure with Val, then maybe you should…” she offered up again.
“I found closure the day she left town and that’s exactly where I would like it to stay,” Seth replied knowing that it was harsh, but right now the last thing he wanted to deal with in his life was the reemergence of a woman who’d long since lost his interest when she’d last left town.  Valerie was the past.  Blake is the future, he thought to himself and he intended to keep it that way.


“So why the hell hasn’t that brother of yours called me,” Valerie questioned leaning back to take in some sun as she indulged in the rays that were floating in by the pool.
“It takes time kitten,” he replied watching her slide a bit in her chair, “and patience.”
“Yeah well in case you haven’t noticed bucko,” she eased her sunglasses from her nose a bit, “Time isn’t exactly on our sides especially when Diane pretty much skipped town and Seth has this stupid notion in his head that he’s going to marry that little rich bitch.”
“Well, I can assure you when Cameron comes up with something, it’ll be good,” JT explained surveying the other people splashing around in the pool in between takes during her photo shoot.
“It damn well better be because I hate having wasted my time,” Valerie sat up straighter reaching for her lemonade, “You know, that was always the one thing I hated about this damn town.  It takes everyone so long to actually make some kind of move.”
“Look, sunshine, if my brother says he’s working on something, he’s working on it,” he reminded her harshly, “Besides if you’re so firm in the belief that you and Seth belong together, then why aren’t you out there making a difference yourself?”
“Because I’m waiting until my big move comes into play,” she placed the sunglasses on her face again.  A crooked smile spread over her features as she rubbed her palms together, “The time just isn’t right for it yet.”
“And yet you are sitting here complaining about stalling,” he shook his head at her, “You know sometimes I don’t know where you’re coming from.”
“I’m coming from the point where I want the love of my life back in it--which correct me if I’m wrong is exactly what you’re seeking out with Diane,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “Honestly if all you do is whine and complain when do you find the time to actually take action?”
“I take plenty of action when I’m not catering to you,” he frowned back at her, “Which reminds me, why did you invite me down here today?”
“It wasn’t for your good company,” she hissed back at him, setting her drink down, “I have a mission for you.”
“Is that right,” he folded his arms in front of his chest, “So what am I now?  Your little lap dog?”
“If you say so scruffy,” she smirked once again, “but trust me, with this one you might actually enjoy it.”
“Then how about you stop keeping me in suspense and cut to the chase,” he suggested with a moment of agitation.
“Fine,” she eased her fingers down to the ground beside her.  Reaching for an envelope she’d had at her side, she plucked it up before tossing it onto his lap, “take a look at that and then see what you can do with it.”
“And just what is this?” he eyed the envelope intently.
“You’ll just have to look and see for yourself,” she motioned for him to open it up.  He did as instructed before his eyes widened with obvious surprise.
“Is this for real?” he blinked back at her.
“Oh it’s very for real and if you want to get Diane back in your life, then that is your first step in doing so,” she explained with a triumphant smile.  “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my shoot before Ramon starts bitching again.”
“Yeah, you do that,” JT waved his hand at her dismissively while his eyes fell to the contents of the envelope again.  While he’d been less than thrilled about this visit, somehow it turned out that things were most certainly perking up.  Carefully sliding the contents back into the envelope he adjusted his own sunglasses.  Soon, very soon he and Diane would be reunited.  He could feel it in the air.  Today was a good day after all.


Brant walked to the door after hearing rapid pounding on his door. He opened the door to find Diego before him.

“Where is she Brant?” Diego questioned a slight bit aggravated as Brant shook his head.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Brant shrugged before seeing Diego roll his eyes.

“Cut the crap Brant,” Diego scowled before pushing his way through into the Ashford mansion.

“Hey,” Brant yelled grabbing onto Diego’s arm pulling him back, “I demand that you leave my house right now.”

“I am not leaving until I talk to Heather,” Diego informed Brant as he pulled Brant’s hand off of him as he ran up the stairs.

“Diego,” Brant called out seeing him open a door and peak inside.

“Which room is she in Brant?” Diego questioned as Brant followed not far behind.

Diego opened the third door to see Heather turn around and look at him. Diego scowled as he felt Brant grab him and start to pull him from the room.

“Let go of me,” Diego demanded as Heather nodded and shook her head.

“Let him stay Brant.  I want to have a little chat with him,” Heather stated as Brant let him go and Diego walked up to Heather and he was about to say something until she cut him off. “Before you say anything, I have something to say to you.”

“Fine,” Diego grunted looking back at Brant who stood in front of the door.

“How could you do that to me?” Heather questioned getting Diego’s full intention. “I don’t understand how you could have put me in that kind of position to begin with.  I thought that you cared about me.”

“Heather,” Diego sighed lightly before rubbing the back of his neck, “I was looking out for your well being.”

“Oh and you think locking me up in a place like that is good for my well being?” Heather questioned angrily seeing him shake his head.

“I was trying to protect you,” he insisted before putting his hands up in the air.

“Trying to protect me? Protecting me by making me go insane at that place,” Heather growled before hearing Diego try to state his case.

“Like I said I was trying to protect you from Cameron,” Diego started to explain looking into her fierce eyes, “You and I both know if you would have stayed there you would have gotten hurt.”

“That’s not true,” Heather spat out seeing Diego roll his eyes in disbelief.

“Oh bull,” Diego laughed before shaking his head lightly, “I can’t believe what you are saying.  You know it was only a matter of time before Cameron destroyed you Heather.  That was his goal.”

“Yeah, well I can’t believe what you did to me.  I expected more out of you.  I thought that you were someone who really cared, but you turned out to be just as bad as the rest of the world,” Heather scowled before seeing Diego frown.

“I was doing it to help you,” Diego informed her once more before seeing her fold her arms out in front of her chest.

“I really don’t care what you were doing it for,” Heather spat out before growling, “You still shouldn’t have done it and now that you have, I really don‘t feel I have much more to say to you Diego.  You were out of line.”

“Out of line or not, I did what I did to save you and if you want to hate me for it now, then so be it, but eventually you’ll understand why I had to protect you.  You’ll find a way to forgive me,” Diego replied hoping that one day his words would ring true with her.


“I have to go,” Carly announced in a frenzy searching around Dave’s bedroom for her shoes, “I’m like very late.  You never should’ve let me sleep in like you did.”
“Hey, you weren’t complaining when I hit snooze,” Dave sat up in the middle of his bed, blankets pooling around his waist.
“Yeah well that’s because I didn’t realize just how late I was.  If I don’t make it to court in time, then Judge Carmichael will have my ass for once again putting a delay on things,” she explained frantically, her own words spilling from her lips when she spotted one of her shoes over by his fish tank just outside the bedroom.
“Carly come on,” Dave pushed the blankets off of his legs to get up and out of bed, “It won’t be that bad.”
“Won’t be that bad?” she repeated with a squeal, “Dave, I am about to embark upon the biggest case of my life and yet here I am in your apartment no where near being ready for this.”
“I think you were born ready for this,” Dave yawned taking a moment to stretch his arms out as he gave her a long once over, “You know taking a moment to breathe wouldn’t kill you.”
“No, but Chavez will if she thinks that I wasn’t working on this to the best of my ability,” she replied taking note of her disheveled appearance, “Damn it.  I knew I shouldn’t have slept in this thing…”
“I offered you a shirt Carly,” Dave leaned up against the doorway watching her try to even out the wrinkles in her dress, “I didn’t mind sharing…”
“Yeah well sharing leads to trouble and given the night we had, well I think it’s best I stayed in this thing,” she replied thinking about the way things had shifted for them when they wound up at his apartment after their run in with one another at the bar.
“It wouldn’t have been all that bad,” Dave couldn’t help but smile, “If memory serves me right there, you always did look sexy in something of mine…whether it be an old work shirt or just about anything…”
“I always felt sexy in your things, but that’s besides the point,” she ran her fingers through her hair, “Dave, I can’t even think about being sexy right now since this morning I have to find myself in front of a jury that can either make or break my career.”
“Carly, I think you’re looking at this all wrong.  Today is about a man’s life.  Grady Denton is on trial for murder and that’s something that you really need to think about when you go in there…” he began with a heavy sigh.  “That’s what this is about and if this doesn’t go as it should…”
“Dave, listen I don’t want to get into it,” she insisted with a shake of her head, “Today I’m going in there to do my job to the best of my ability and regardless of what you feel about the situation, the evidence needs to speak for itself.”
“And what if the evidence is wrong?” he suggested with an arched brow.
“Then we’ll have to deal with that later, but for now, Dave I really need to get to the hotel so that I can shower and change before I get over there,” she began feeling him reach out to curl his arm around her waist.  He pulled her in closer to him, his lips skimming just above hers as a small smile filled his features.
“You can always use my shower.  It’s got plenty of room for two since we’re both wanted in court today,” he suggested, a hint of mischief behind his voice.
“Dave, if I did that, well then we would most certainly be late and beyond that, well, everything I have is back at the hotel.  I can’t show up in one of your suit and ties there, now can I?” she gave him a firm look.
“You might look sexy as hell in it there,” he couldn’t help but smile.
“Even so, it’s not going to give the impression that I want to give to the jury,” she replied with a small sigh, “This is important Dave.”
“I realize that and if you give me a few minutes, then I can go find my keys…” he took a step back after a long hesitation.
“No, I can just call for a cab,” Carly waved her hand at him dismissively.
“Carly, I’m perfectly capable of taking you to your hotel.  I promise I’ll behave,” he tried to assure her, “I think I held incredible restraint last night given how things were headed for us.”
“I know you did,” she conceded reaching out to touch his bare chest gingerly, “but Dave, well you know how I feel about sleeping with someone I’m about to have on the witness stand…”
“Which is why I was on my best behavior last night,” he paused feeling a flash of the heavy make out session they’d engaged in last night when they’d arrived at his place come to mind, “well almost on my best behavior.”
“Yeah exactly, so that’s why I’m going to call for a cab,” she replied patting his arm gently, “Get dressed.”
“Fine,” he opted not to argue with her as she went to call for a cab.  A few minutes later she returned to his bedroom with her purse over her shoulder.
“They’ll be here shortly,” Carly explained giving him a once over, “and Dave, for what it’s worth, thanks for last night.  I’m glad that we were able to straighten a few things out.”
“So am I,” he approached her again, drawing her into his arms, “but promise me that before we let things get like they did that we’ll talk first.  Tell me that we won’t let a situation create a whole world of chaos for us like it did last night…”
“Dave, we both know it wasn’t just the situation that did that,” she paused thinking about her unexplainable relationship with Ken.  A moment of guilt passed over her as she saw the love behind Dave’s eyes.
“Fine, but at least let me wish you good luck today even if I hope you lose this one,” Dave offered tipping down to press his lips to hers in a tender kiss.
“Mmm…I might’ve slapped you for that one, but after that kiss,” she smiled as they parted, “I think you’re forgiven--at least for now.”
“Well later we can work on my full apology after you’re done making me testify,” Dave suggested with a wiggle of his brow.
“Yeah well we’ll just see how you feel at the end of the day,” she gave him one last kiss before taking a step back, “And Dave regardless of what you think, I am going to win this one.  You should be prepared for that.”
“I think you’re the one who should be prepared for that.  If you get a victory, it’s going to change a lot of lives Carly--even your own,” Dave added hoping that this time she was wrong about winning.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Carly replied blowing a quick kiss out at him before leaving his apartment ready to begin on the trial that would either make or break her career in Coral Valley.


“What’s on your mind?” Susan questioned seeing the aggravated look on Cameron’s face.

“Just about everything right now,” Cameron spat out rubbing the back of his neck roughly thinking about everything and how it was screwing up.

“Starting with what?” Susan wondered seeing Cameron look up and glare right through her.

“You would think you would know,” Cameron snarled before standing up and pacing the room, “I swear people don’t know what they are getting themselves into these days.”

“As in Diego and Sarah?” Susan questioned seeing him nod and run his hand through his hair.

“And that stupid boyfriend of hers too,” Cameron snarled hearing Susan say nothing, “I just don’t think they realize who they are messing with.”

“They will pay, believe me they will,” Susan assured him with a sly grin as she got up.

“I know they will,” Cameron nodded slightly before feeling her hands on his shoulders. “There is no doubt in my mind that they will both suffer for daring to defy me. Them taking Heather away from me was a wrong move.”

“Yeah,” Susan stopped for a second seeing him rub his hands together, “It was.”

“Then to top it all off, I have to deal with this tedious business surrounding Grady’s trial,” Cameron growled slightly before clenching his teeth together.

“Hey everything will go as planned Cameron,” she hushed him with a slight smile, “Grady will pay for what he has done…I know it.”

“You see I want to believe you are right, but with so many loose ends, well,” Cameron stated turning around slightly before looking Susan in the eyes. “I just want to be sure you are right.”

“What do you mean by that?” Susan questioned not knowing where he was getting at as he picked up a paper from his desk.

“You see I have been thinking about the prosecution,” he started to explain looking up to make eye contact with Susan, “This Carly Matthews...”

“Yeah? What about her?” Susan wondered watching every move Cameron made as he walked over to the corner of the room looking out his window.

“I am starting to think she may be a problem with this whole case,” Cameron pointed out looking back at Susan seeing her nod slightly, “I don’t like problems.”

“I think I know exactly how to take care of that,” she smiled devilishly with a slightly wink, “Leave Carly to me, I will take care of her.”

“I like the sound of that,” Cameron grinned before sitting back down in his chair and rubbing his hands together.


...to be continued...