Episode 183

“You feeling okay?” Seth questioned resting his hands on Jade’s shoulders lightly as she sighed deeply.

“Yeah, I just dread going to these things,” Jade stated as Seth nodded.

“I know what you mean,” he agreed before shrugging, “At least we know that Grady is innocent and he will get out.”

“I know, but there is always that thought that he will go to jail and leave me forever,” she replied as Blake sat next to her resting her hand on top of Jade’s.

“That is never going to happen Jade,” Blake promised her with a wide smile, “Anyways you should go finish getting ready, Grady needs you to be there with him.”

“Yeah, I guess you are right,” Jade half smiled before standing up looking up at the worried expression on Seth’s face.

“Are you going to be okay?” he wondered seeing her nod lightly and smile.

“I am going to be fine, you don’t have to worry about me,” Jade stated seeing him nod.

“Alright,” he sighed before holding his arms up in the air, “Do want us to stay here and wait with you or do you want us to meet you there?”

“Just meet me there, I will be there in a little bit,” Jade declared seeing him nod raising an eyebrow.

“Are you sure?” he questioned before starting up again, “I mean we could wait for you.”

“I will be fine, I just have to go and change,” she informed him with a smile, “I will be right behind you.”

“Alright,” Seth finally agreed before saying his goodbyes to her as the two left leaving Jade alone.

They were wrong; Grady could be put away forever. She couldn’t think about that right now, she had to be strong for Grady. She pushed her own thoughts away as she walked into her bedroom and changed.

“Who could that be?” she questioned to herself hearing the doorbell as she put on her shoes and walking to the door. “If that is you Seth, I told you I didn’t need you to wait.

Jade frowned when she opened the door to find the person in front of her.

“What do you want?” she questioned with a scowl leaning up against the doorframe waiting to hear the answer from the person in front of her.


Carly finished with her lip gloss all the while thinking about the day ahead of her. Taking in a slow breath, she placed her hands down on the bathroom counter. She stared at her dark eyes trying to remind herself of what was at stake. When she’d made her deal to get Ken out of jail with Isabel she’d promised a conviction in the Mahoney case, but now as she thought to what lay ahead of her, she found herself overcome with a moment of apprehension. The video tape she’d watched with Ken last night replayed in her mind and in that moment she wondered if she was doing the right thing.

“Can you pass me a towel,” Ken’s voice rose from behind the glass door of the shower. Standing up straighter Carly let out a small breath before doing as he requested. Moments later he stepped out into the bathroom taking a long look at her while he wrapped the towel around his waist, “My, you look delicious today.”

“I don’t feel very delicious,” she admitted with a small sigh sinking back into the countertop, “Today is going to be a big day Ken.”

“You’re still thinking about that video, aren’t you?” he questioned watching her nod.

“Ken, I have a job to do and I can’t go in there with doubts. I can’t go in there today believing that I could be putting an innocent man away for a long time,” she admitted with a slight frown.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” Ken wrapped his arms around her waist in an attempt to offer up his assurances.

“Hey watch it,” she wiggled just out of his reach, “You’re all wet and I just finished getting dressed here. I can’t let you get me all messy before court.”

“Oh come on, you love it when I get you messy,” Ken nibbled at her neck eliciting a giggle from her. She squirmed in his arms feeling another damp press into her back.

“Ken stop,” she tried to be firm, but her smile was giving her away, “Ken, I mean it. I have to go in early and…”

“And there’s no way I’m letting you go in there being all glum like this,” Ken hugged her closer to his wet form, “A miserable Carly isn’t one that I think the world is ready for.”

“I’m not miserable Ken. I’m just thinking about what happens next--about what happens after today. Grady Denton is going to be going to jail for a long time if I’m wrong about this,” she blurted out, her scowl spreading as she thought to the task at hand.

“Carly, I know you enough to know that you’ll do the right thing,” he explained resting his chin on her shoulder, “You’ll follow your heart and it’ll lead you to where you need to be. If you don’t believe Grady is guilty, then you’ll find a way to let the jury see it as you do.”

“That’s not my job Ken. I have to get a conviction or else I’m through with the DA’s office,” she confessed openly remembering her promise to Chavez.

“Then you need to ask yourself this question Carly,” Ken began with a sudden seriousness, “If Isabel Chavez doesn’t want you believing in all those things that you set out to live for when you took your oath as a lawyer, then is working under her really a place for you? If you can’t let justice be seen because she’s looking for a slam dunk conviction, then is that really the kind of place you want to be at?”

“Ken, I worked so hard to get where I am,” she pointed out with a sigh, “I sacrificed so very much.”

“Even so, is it worth your soul to go against your heart?” he tossed out at her with a solemn expression.

“I honestly don’t know where my heart is right now,” she slumped back into him no longer caring about the fact that his arms were still wet from his shower or about the fact that she would have to change her blouse yet again now that he held her. All that mattered was the security she felt in having someone to hold onto her. “What would you do if you were me?”

“Carly, I’m the last person you should be asking. If you haven’t noticed I’ve been nothing but a big screw up lately,” he laced his fingers with hers, “so the last thing you want is to follow my example.”

“You weren’t always so reckless,” she replied squeezing his hands in hers, “You were probably one of the most responsible, respectable people I’ve known there at one point in time.”

“Yeah I was, but then that all got shot to hell,” Ken reminded her with a simple shrug, “Then again there’s nothing wrong with breaking the rules as long as you’re true to who you are.”

“Tell me,” Carly turned around in his arms to face him fully, “Is that what you’re doing right now?”

Ken eyed her thoughtfully caught up in his own silence as he seemed to ponder the question. Finally he offered up a small grin before pulling her in closer to him, “Right now I’m trying to find a way to make the most beautiful girl in the room smile. That’s what my goal for the morning is.”

“I see and how do you feel you’re doing right about now,” she questioned unable to refrain from smiling.

“Pretty good--at least I hope I’m doing a good job at it,” Ken teased his fingers down over her spine crushing her in closer to him, “I mean I think I’m doing okay, but if I’m not, perhaps we can come up with some other way to work on fixing that…”

“Ken,” she let out a small laugh feeling his fingers tickling at her ribs, “I’m going to be late if you keep this up. You know I need to be focused today.”

“So focus,” he leaned forward to kiss her, “on me.”

“Ken, you’re going to be the death of me. I know it. Here I’m supposed to be focusing on a murder trial and you’re…” she fell to silence as his lips pressed into hers.

“I’m just getting you to lighten up,” he explained hoisting her up onto the countertop, “besides last time I checked you were running ahead of schedule anyways.”

“I swear Kenneth Ashford, you’re going to burn for doing this to me,” she warned with mock seriousness.

“I’m willing to take my chances especially since I know how well I’m doing at seducing you,” he revealed diving in for another heated kiss again.

“So that’s what you think you’re doing huh?” she pulled away from him just enough to look into his eyes, “What about all that talk about following my heart? I thought you were trying to help me with this case.”

“Carly, I know you’re going to slam dunk a victory if you want it. If you don’t, then let Chavez try to fire you. If she does, you won’t be collecting unemployment because you can work with me,” he shrugged his shoulders simply.

“I’m sure Hart would really like hearing this one given that he’s your partner,” she threw him another pointed look.

“Hey, Hart’s a sucker for a pair of nice legs. He won’t protest at all and obviously neither will I,” he replied kissing her once again as he tried to give her something else to think about rather than what came next in the trial.

“If you keep talking like that, I may wind up taking you up on that when I’m out of a job for losing this trial,” Carly pressed her palms into his shoulders to put a distance between them.

“God I hope you do,” he leaned in towards her once again, “because it’ll make things a whole hell of a lot easier than my sneaking over to the DA’s office to try to get five minutes alone with you.”

“Ken, if you keep talking that way I’m going to start thinking that you’re serious about what’s going on here,” she hugged him in closer to her appreciating the damp contours of his body.

“I’m very serious Carly. In fact, when this trial is over I want you to go away with me,” he blurted out surprising the both of them.

“Go away with you?” she repeated with wide eyes.

“That’s right,” he nodded, “Maybe a little cruise down on an exotic island where we can focus on each other and nothing else.”

“Ken, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea considering that…” she started to protest only to feel him press his index finger against her lips.

“Trust me on this. We both need a break from reality and it might do us some good. Besides, I’m also very selfishly hoping to get you out on the beach in a little barely there bikini,” his eyes perused her once again, “though that’s optional of course.”

“Of course it is,” she shook her head at him, “Ken, I don’t know what I’m going to do with you. Us going away together probably isn’t a good idea because…”

“Forget about all the reason why it’s not a good idea and focus on all the reasons why you can’t say no,” Ken suggested cupping her face in his hands to draw her nearer to him. He smiled for a brief moment before dipping his lips in over hers all the while hoping that he’d be able to lay out enough temptation to keep her from saying no.

“Ken, I’m going to be late,” she tore herself away from the kiss.

“No you aren’t,” he argued, “besides you can’t tell me that you really want to leave me right now.”

“No, I can’t which is all the more reason why I need to get going,” she shook her head at him before forcing herself to walk away. She gave him one last look before stepping towards the door.

“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” he reached for her arm to prevent her from leaving.

“I have to get ready for court, but I promise once I’m finished there today, well you and I can sit down and talk about that vacation you’ve got planned. I have a feeling I’m going to need it by the time this case is over,” she confessed with a small smile before slipping back into the other room to change once again. One way or another today would be a pivotal moment in her career. She just wondered what would come of it when everything was said and done.


Avery paced around the guest bedroom at the Ashford mansion thinking about the day that was ahead of her. As much as she wanted to try, she was starting to believe that what was going to happen today was nothing more than a mistake. Rubbing her palms together she inhaled slowly finding herself reflecting on what had happened last night after she and Grady had worked through the misunderstanding between them.

“Avery, you and I both saw what was happening with Cameron and Judge Carmichael,” Grady ran his fingers through his hair nervously, “there’s no way I’m going to get a fair trial if they are on the same team. I knew she hated me before, but…”

“We can still win this one Grady,” Avery tried to reason with him, “As it stands even if you were responsible for the shooting--which you weren’t, well, there’s no proof that Kipp was dead. You didn’t have the power to get him transferred out of the hospital. Susan was the one who signed for that release…”

“A lot of good it does us now that the papers have up and gone missing,” Grady shook his head back at her, “Face it Avery things aren’t going to get any easier for our defense.”

“We will win this one,” Avery informed him point blank, “The ball is in our court. Grady I know we can do this. I have a few more witnesses to go through and then…”

“Avery, about that,” Grady paused for a long moment, “I’ve been thinking a lot about all the testimonies that have been tossed out on us. There’s no way that the jury is going to see the truth unless they’re convinced without a shadow of a doubt…”

“Grady, I’m working on that, but right now…” she began to argue with him.

“The only option we have is to put me on the stand. Avery, I have to tell my side of the story or else that part of what really happened could go away forever,” Grady pleaded with her, “I need them to see that I’m not a murderer.”

“Grady, you know how I feel about that,” she sighed, “I don’t think it’s a very good idea considering that…”

“Avery, look I know that it’s always the last option to put the defendant on the stand, but in this instance I think it’s really my only hope. If the jury can see the truth when I tell them about it…”

“Grady you saw how Carly Matthews crucified Dave on the witness stand. She tore him to shreds and she used to be engaged to him. Imagine what she’ll do to you,” Avery pointed out with a frown, “If she thinks that she can somehow punch a few more holes in your story or drive you to losing all control, then she’s going to do it.”

“And I’ll be ready for it. I have incredible restraint,” he reminded her bluntly.

“Oh yeah right,” she rolled her eyes in disbelief thinking about the confrontation they’d just experienced with one another, “it shows.”

“Look Avery, you know how I am. Sure I have my moments, but when it really counts I can do what’s expected of me,” Grady tried to insist further.

“But when someone sucker punches you, I know how you react. We both have seen that part where you can’t hold back any longer Grady,” Avery reminded him sharply, “and if Carly can find a way to expose that in you, then we’re doomed. It’ll be better if I keep you off the witness stand.”

“Avery, if you keep me off that stand, then I’m positive I’ll be spending the rest of my life in jail for a murder that I most certainly didn’t commit. I’ll lose everything and right now that’s not something I can afford to have happen. I need to find a way to clear my name somehow…”

“Grady, this is a really, really bad idea. If you get up there and something goes wrong, which in case you haven’t noticed about this trial is the name of the game, then we’re doomed. I won’t be able to do the damage control if this spins out in another direction than the one you’re hoping for. I mean I can try, but…”

“Avery, I need to do this. This is something that I can’t just let pass me by. If I don’t defend myself and let my side of the story be heard, then we both know that I’m doomed,” he reached out for her taking her hand in his, “I know you’re my lawyer, but this is what I want. This is something I feel I have to do and whether or not you agree with me, we both know it’s the only way. Avery, I need to testify on my own behalf. There are no other options.”

“I wish there were Grady because I really don’t like this,” Avery had sighed in defeat knowing that it was useless to try to continue to get him to see all the reasons why he’d be making a mistake.

Now as Avery stood in the guest room at the Ashford mansion she wondered if she was anywhere near prepared for whatever it was that Carly would be planning to dish out on them. Sure Avery had two more witnesses to go through before Grady would take the stand and maybe just maybe by then he’d rethink wanting to. At least she hoped he would come to his good sense about that.

Taking in another breath Avery opened her eyes to hear the sounds of faint tapping on the bedroom door. Spinning around she found Brant standing before her with a small brown bag in hand. She eyed him curiously not saying much as he stepped into the room.

“I know you’re pretty nervous before trial, so I thought I’d try something a little bit different for breakfast this morning,” he explained motioning for her to take a seat in one of the chairs over across the room, “you interested?”

“If I eat anything this morning, I’m pretty sure that it’s going to come right back up on me,” she confessed hesitantly following him after his urgings.

“Trust me you’ll like this one,” he reached out to her urging her once again to take a seat. She did as instructed, all the while her dark eyes tilted up towards him.

“Have you heard anything from Kyle yet?” Avery questioned wondering if Kyle had called while she was asleep.

“Not yet, but I’m sure we will soon. Until then,” he reached inside the bag pulling out the small box of pastries he’d picked up. Then he reached into the bag one last time to pull out the bear claw he’d picked up especially for her, “Here you are Avery.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, “Brant, are you saying you went over to that bakery I liked and you got this?”

He nodded proudly, “I remember when Russ used to bring them over all the time and annoy the hell out of me. I always wanted to strangle him for coming over and capturing your attention, but I also remembered the way you looked when you took your first morning bite. I now know why he went out of his way to do that for you and I was hoping that maybe just maybe this morning the bear claw might do the trick in easing your nerves a bit.”

“Brant, I don’t know what to say,” she began feeling a bit speechless as she felt choked up on emotion. Sure, this was something special that she and Russ had shared with one another from years back, but now as she realized what Brant was trying to do with the gesture, she couldn’t help but be touched by his attempt to make her happy, “This is…I never expected that you’d go out of your way and do something like this.”

“If it means seeing you smile, well the sky is the limit,” Brant replied honestly, his brown eyes filled with a warmth that caused Avery to smile as she reached for the pastry before her.

“You really didn’t have to, but for what it’s worth, I’m really glad that you did,” she confessed taking a small bite of the treat Brant had brought for her. Taking the time to savor it’s sweetness, she found herself overcome with a pleasing combination of the taste and texture as it was better than she’d remembered them being. It wasn’t until this moment in time that she realized just how much she’d missed being pampered by these sweets.

“Well, how is it?” Brant questioned leaning back in the seat he’d taken across from her.

“Divine,” she confessed wiping at her chin knowing full well that she was making a mess of things, “Brant, this is absolutely incredible.”

“I’m glad you like it,” he smiled in approval watching her take another bite, “and hey maybe starting off on such a positive note will keep things going that way all day long.”

“I’d like to think that it could be an ongoing trend, but I’m starting to think that regardless of what treats come before me, it’s only going to get worse,” she sighed heavily unable to rid herself of the sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach.

“You’re still worried about putting Grady on the stand, aren’t you?” he questioned knowing full well where her mind was at a time like this.

“I know he means well, but I really think it’s a stupid move. I don’t think that his testifying in his own behalf is going to put a positive spin on things,” Avery confessed wiping at her lower lip, “I have this horrible feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better.”

“So you really think Cameron already bought the verdict huh?” Brant frowned in response, although he had to admit he’d pondered the thought himself.

“I’m not sure,” she shrugged her shoulders, “but if he has, then nothing Grady says today will make a difference.”

“There’s still a chance that he hasn’t and if that happens, well then maybe Grady is doing the right thing in defending himself. I mean it does seem like something that I’d probably want to do in his position,” he pondered the thought for a moment.

“And it would totally be something I’d try to talk you out of,” she sighed again setting her pastry down, “I just don’t have faith in this one.”

“Hey, what happened to my legal viper?” Brant questioned giving her a long look, “Avery, there was a time when you would never say such a thing. You’d fight tooth and nail even if you knew it was a losing battle because you wouldn’t accept defeat.”

“Yeah well let’s just say that since Cameron came into town, I’ve lost faith in the system,” she paused realizing what she’d just said aloud. Biting on her lower lip nervously, she looked to him with sad eyes, “I wish that wasn’t the truth, but it is Brant and I’m afraid of what happens next.”

“Hey,” he leaned forward reaching out to take her hand in his, “we all are Avery, but we can’t let the world change us. Even if the odds are against us, part of who we are is the ability for us to fight for what we believe in. Grady wants to do that and with you at his side, well I know that he’s going to have the best defense possible.”

“Brant, that’s just it,” she groaned inwardly pulling her hand away before rising from her chair, “I haven’t been the best at anything lately. I can’t think straight--hell, I can’t even concentrate. I haven’t been able to do it--not since…”

“Since Russ died,” Brant finished for her watching her pace around the room, “Since you lost him, you’ve let it take you down.”

“No, that’s not it,” she shook her head to argue. “it’s just…”

“Just what?” Brant stepped up from his chair to move in closer to her, “Avery, are you trying to tell me that you’re ready to give up?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just trying to--oh I don’t know…” she threw her hands up in the air with a groan, “I just feel like everything is stacked against me. Like no matter how hard I try, it’s just never going to be better. After last night I felt like I let Grady down and in my own way I know I’ve let more than him down and when we lose this one…”

“You won’t lose this one,” he silenced her with the determination behind his words, “You’re a fighter and so is Grady. He’s going to get on that witness stand today and you’re going to show the jury that he’s innocent. I know that you believe in his innocence and as long as you turn that belief into what is needed to convince the jury of that, then you’re all set. You can win this Avery.”

“And if I can’t, then Grady loses everything and he’s got no one to blame, but me,” Avery blurted out with heavy frustration, “I’ll have failed him just like I failed Russ…just like I’ve failed you.”

“You haven’t failed me Avery,” Brant shook his head reaching out to her, “I don’t know why you’d think that, but the truth is that you haven’t.”

“Brant, you’re just being nice to me. If you really looked at the situation at hand, then you’d see that I’m right. I’m no where near the wife you need me to be and I’ve messed up more often than not lately and…” she started to rant.

“Avery,” he cupped her face in his hands forcing her to pay attention to his words, “you need to stop this. It’s not going to help anything for you to go into that courtroom full of doubt. Sure, maybe you’ve made some mistakes. Hell, we all have, but today you’re going to do everything in your power to see to it that justice is served. I know that maybe right now you’re feeling down about the system--that maybe just maybe the world is corrupt and yes in a great many ways it is, but you’re the thing that separates all that. You have faith and determination and I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll convince that jury that Grady is innocent.”

“And if Cameron’s already gotten to them,” Avery questioned with worry evident in her voice.

“Then you’ll find a way to convince them to pass on Cameron’s bribe and follow their hearts. You hold all the power right about now and if you use it to your advantage, nothing he offers them can compete with that,” Brant reminded her hoping to spark that old reaction inside of her, “Avery, you can win this.”

“I hope you’re right on this one,” she replied still doubtful.

“No, I know I’m right with this and when Kyle calls to check in, he’ll only reaffirm what I’m saying to you. We’re going to nail that son of a bitch for all that he is and when we do, the jury is going to have no choice but to come in with a not guilty verdict,” Brant continued his voice impassioned by the moment at hand, “You have to believe me on that one Avery.”

“As much as I wish I could…” she started only to feel him press his finger in over her lips to silence her.

“Trust me Avery. This time--in this trial, it’s going to turn out in your favor. You have what it takes to win that jury over. I have faith in you and so does Grady. You can do this,” Brant explained supportively pulling her into his arms for an embrace as Avery held onto him wondering if he was right about this. She just hoped and prayed whatever happened today in court wouldn’t mark the beginning of the end for Grady.


Carly entered the courthouse feeling knots of nervous anticipation building in her stomach. This place was always the place where she’d always felt the most alive. The thrill of it all had always found a way to exhilarate her like nothing else in this world, yet as she thought about the day ahead of her, she realized that being here ready to begin the work that lay out ahead of her was the last thing she wanted to be doing. She looked to the statue before her wondering if she was truly doing her job in playing a hand in justice. Somehow after the tape Dave had given her last night, she too was having her own reasonable doubts about Grady’s guilt. As she tried to stay focused, she wondered if she’d be able to work through the inner turmoil she as facing.

“Carly,” Isabel’s voice interrupted her moment of contemplation, “just the woman I was looking for. Do you have a minute?”

“Isabel,” Carly spun around to see her boss standing before her, “What are you doing here?”

“Did you really think I’d miss the opportunity to watch you work your magic on the jury especially on a day like today when Grady Denton is foolish enough to want to take the witness stand,” Isabel’s eyes lit up with a certain carnivorous enthusiasm, “I wouldn’t dream of missing it.”

“Well actually…” Carly bean thinking about what Dave had presented her with the evening before.

“Before we go into that, I actually would really like to have a word with you,” Isabel looked around the hallway, “alone.”

“Of course,” Carly nodded following Isabel as she lead her into another room away from the other court goers.

Closing the door behind her Isabel faced Carly once again with a strange, yet determined expression, “Carly, I realize that you and I haven’t exactly had the best professional relationship with one another especially lately. While I know that I’m not always the most congenial of bosses, the fact remains that I try to be fair to those that work for me. I think that what I did for you the other day with the situation with Kenneth Ashford was more than fair considering what I’m working on. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Of course,” Carly nodded wondering where this was headed with Isabel.

“You know at the time you’d asked for the favor I couldn’t quite understand why you were so eager to help the man who almost killed you,” Isabel paused scratching her chin lightly before parading around the room in a confident stride, “but then l had an epiphany last night. It suddenly all hit me and then I realized that what I hadn’t questioned from you was ultimately what had lead your actions.”

“I’m afraid you lost me,” Carly blinked back at her somewhat confused by her boss and her strange conversation.

“Maybe these will clear things up for you,” Isabel reached into her jacket pulling out an envelope and holding it out towards Carly. “I think this explains everything I needed to know about your desire to help Mr. Ashford and this is also something that only exemplifies your need to win today. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Isabel, I’m not sure where you’re headed with this, but…” Carly stopped feeling her throat go dry as she opened the envelope to find images of herself and Ken during their after hours with one another in the elevator at the hotel. Immediately Carly’s eyes widened in surprise and she cleared her throat before turning to Isabel, “Where did you get these?”

“Let’s just say a mutual friend has been keeping an eye on things for me where the Ashfords are concerned and I should hope that you’re not losing your focus Carly,” Isabel’s voice turned threatening. She placed her hands down on the table she stood behind, leaning forward to glare at Carly, “You owe me Carly and I expect a win today.”

“I’ll do my best, but before I go in there, I think you should know something. There’s a tape and it could possibly implicate someone else in the shooting,” Carly revealed to her boss.

“I don’t care if God himself stepped down to shoot Kipp Mahoney in the chest. That’s irrelevant and if you don’t win today, let’s just say that irrelevant is exactly where you’ll be with me and my staff as well as where you’ll be with the police chief.”

“Now wait just one minute here,” Carly blinked back at her, astonished by what she was receiving, “Are you trying to threaten me Isabel?”

“No, Carly it’s a promise. Not only will I clue Ashford in to what you’ve been doing with me at the company, but I’ll let Dave Warner know exactly how loyal you aren’t to him. He’ll see all about your little tryst and you’ll go down for it. There won’t be a person in this town who will hire you by the time I’m done destroying you,” Isabel promised with a wicked smirk before standing taller, “but of course you won’t have to worry about any of this if you win.”

“So this means that your interest in this is obviously going beyond the realm of justice, right? You’re working for Cameron Stone aren’t you?” Carly blurted out, clenching her fingers at her sides, “That’s really what’s going on here, isn’t it? You know he’s guilty as sin and you’re going to sit back and let another man burn for what’s really gone down.”

“I’m doing what I need to do in order to get the job done,” Isabel insisted with a scowl of her own, her dark eyes reaching out to Carly in firm warning, “and you will do the same if you want to continue to live and thrive in this town without consequence.”

“It sounds to me that nothing I do is without consequence, but you know what,” Carly stood taller, “I’m not about to be threatened by Cameron or by you.”

“Watch your tone Carly because this isn’t a threat. It’s just a warning. Should I let the judge know that you were skewed by the defense and that you purposely went out of your way to lose today…” Isabel hinted venomously.

“If I lose today it’s because the jury made the decision. They followed the evidence and as for this,” she waved between them her voice raising with anger, “Well Isabel, you don’t have to worry about firing me because when this case is over I quit. And furthermore if you even think about trying to blackmail me--if you go to Dave Warner with any of this, then so help me God I will go straight to Brant Ashford and let him know every little detail about your little tirade against the Ashford family. Sure, you might think you hold all the cards, but I’m well aware of the things that you’ve fought to hide from the public. If you even think about manipulating my life, then you can rest assured that it’s your life that will be ripped to shreds.”

“You think you know it all don’t you? That you actually have some kind of power over me,” Isabel choked out in a haughty laugh, “Oh keep dreaming princess. You’re not going to win this battle if you don’t play by the rules.”

“See now that’s where you and I have a difference of opinion. I don’t play by the rules. Never did especially when they were yours. I make my own rules and if you even think about taking this trash to Dave or to anyone else or if you think about tormenting Ken, well then I’ll see to it that not only will you go down for what you’ve been plotting over in your offices, but I’ll make sure come election time that you lose. And you know,” Carly leaned in towards her, her words coming out with an extra emphasis, “You’re the one who would be best suited not to underestimate me. I’ll be your worst enemy, your biggest nightmare that haunts you the rest of your life if you cross me Isabel and that’s because you don’t have the first clue who you’re dealing with.”

“You don’t intimate me at all Carly,” Isabel spoke out icily. “I’m not afraid of your petty threats.”

“Yeah well that was your first big mistake because you should be afraid, be very afraid if you even dream about making a move against me,” Carly replied standing up taller and straightening out her jacket before she walked out of the room. Sure, she knew she’d probably made a mistake, but she’d be damned if she let Isabel think that she could be pushed. Today she came here to do a job and if tomorrow she never worked a day in court again, well she’d go out knowing that she’d followed her instincts and no one could take that from her. She couldn’t back down. That wasn’t about to happen, not now, not ever.


Grady cast a gaze across the crowded courtroom watching the room fill behind him, yet there was still no sign of Jade. That wasn’t at all like her, he realized knowing that she’d always come early to the hearing even if it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. He glanced at the hands of the clock once again, feeling their constant moving leading him towards a greater sense of worry as he knew full well that court would soon begin. Jade had to be here for it. She had to get her soon or else…

“Grady, hey did you hear me?” Avery questioned touching his arm gently, “Grady?”

“What?” Grady replied with a bit of apprehension all the while focused on the doors to the courtroom.

“I’m sure she’ll be here any second,” Avery added sensing his uneasiness, “She’s probably caught in traffic.”

“I’m sure that’s it,” Grady nodded thoughtlessly.

“I’m sure it is, but right now I want to talk about you--about what’s going to happen today. Grady are you sure that you really want to be doing this? Are you up for this?”

“I don’t have a choice Avery. You and I both know if I can’t tell my side of the story, the jury will never know the truth. We both know this case has been stacked against me from the start.”

“Even so you don’t have to do this. I’m convinced that the jury is still open to listen to the evidence,” Avery urged with worry in her voice, “I can convince them…”

“No, Avery we can’t just skirt around the issue. I need to tell my side of the story. I need to make them believe that I’m not the cold-blooded murderer that they think I am. I’m not what Cameron’s made me out to be,” he sighed heavily.

“I know that Grady and they will to, but we both know that it’s a very final, desperate effort for the defendant to get up and speak in his defense,” she frowned slightly still unable to shake the feeling that ate away at her.

“Avery, this is what I have to do,” he cut her off abruptly as his eyes returned to the door still seeing no signs of Jade. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it. This wasn’t like her at all. There had to be something more going on.

“Grady,” Avery spoke his name motioning over to the doors where Paula Carmichael stepped out into the courtroom as the bailiff alerted all that court was now in session.

Grady grudgingly settled into place beside Avery after her urgings, but suddenly his thoughts weren’t about his defense. He wasn’t nearly as focused as he should’ve been. Right now all he could think about was Jade as he had a sinking, nagging feeling that things were far from right.


“Damn Avery, pick up your stupid cell phone,” Kyle growled pacing back and forth angrily before closing his cell phone and throwing it on the table as he went to go sit next to Shannon.

“Did you get a hold of her?” she questioned seeing Kyle shake his head a slight bit agitated.

“I think the stupid thing is off,” Kyle informed her before he bit on his bottom lip and clenched his fists together tightly.

“Well maybe you should keep trying and you might get a hold of her,” Shannon suggested shrugging her shoulder.

“God I hope so,” Kyle sighed before standing up not being able to sit still.

“Are you okay?” Shannon questioned before seeing Kyle nod his head.

“Yeah,” he stated before taking in a deep breath, “This is just so big that I have to tell her.”

“I know, this is really good news,” Shannon agreed as Kyle looked back at her.

“Good news? This is great news,” Kyle exclaimed throwing his hands out in the air. “I just wish she would answer her phone.”

“It is okay, we will get to her,” Shannon assured him before sat back down in his chair roughly.

“I know we will, I just don’t know if we will get there in time for Grady,” Kyle declared before rubbing the back of his neck still in pain from what happened a few hours ago.

“We will,” she assured him once more before putting her hand on his shoulder lightly seeing him wince in pain, “Sorry.”

“It is okay,” he stated before grabbing his phone once more and dialing Avery’s phone number.

He heard nothing but the sound of the ringing as he closed the phone quickly.

“She didn’t answer,” Kyle growled before seeing Shannon frown, but to only be followed by a shrug.

“At least what we found is big enough to definitely get Grady out of this whole thing,” Shannon reminded him as he nodded.

“It is more than big enough, I think everyone is going to be in shock,” he laughed before rubbing the back of his neck once more, “I know I was.”

“So was I,” Shannon replied with a laugh before resting her hands on her lap, “I guess the best we can do is just wait.”

“I hate waiting,” Kyle hissed before standing up and pacing back and forth again.

“You don’t even make it obvious,” she joked before he glared at her and shook his head.

“You aren’t even taking this seriously,” Kyle sighed before throwing his hands up in the air, “I don’t think you understand how big this is.”

“I understand how big it is,” Shannon assured him before looking up at him, “I just think you need to calm down.”

“I am calm,” Kyle pointed out before rubbing his sore shoulder, “I am just nervous.”

“I would hate to be around you in the dark,” Shannon laughed before seeing him raise his eyebrow.

“Are you saying I am afraid of the dark?” Kyle questioned seeing her shrug.

“I don’t know, are you?” she questioned as he rolled his eyes before sitting down next to her.

“The only thing I am afraid of is the future,” Kyle told her before closing his eyes praying that this was going to work.

“Then bring the future upon us,” Shannon smiled before thinking about the trial. “The future is bright.”


“God, where is she?” Seth questioned looking back at the door waiting for his sister to arrive.

“She will be here, she probably just needed to do some final adjustments,” Blake assured him before seeing Seth keeping a serious expression as he frowned.

“If she was just finishing up, then why won’t she answer her phone?” Seth questioned before redialing her number, but there was no answer as he put his cell phone back in his pocket. “I can’t even get a hold of her.”

“Seth, she will be here,” Blake sighed before grabbing his hand in hers, “She isn’t going to leave Grady here alone.”

“I guess you are right,” Seth nodded agreeing with her, “I just hope she hurries.”

“Seth, we have to get back in there,” Blake informed him as he nodded.

“I will be right there, you can go ahead,” he stated as she frowned and he shrugged, “I am just going to wait for her a little while longer.”

“She will be here Seth,” Blake sighed before pulling her along with him, “Don’t worry.”

“I have to worry, she is my little sister,” Seth began before looking back at the door, “I knew we should have waited for her.”

“She said she will be okay, just come on,” she sighed before they walked into the courtroom.

“I don’t know, I just got a bad feeling about this whole thing,” Seth replied before taking his seat and looking back at the doors.

Why wasn’t she here? She never missed a thing like this; she wanted to be there for Grady, Seth thought to himself.

“Where are you Jade?” Seth questioned in a whisper looking back at the doors once more.


Avery let out a deep sigh as she stood up straight and look towards the judge.

“The defense would like to have Grady Denton to the witness stand,” Avery got out before seeing the judge nod.

Avery looked down at Grady as he fought back his fear and stood up straightening his tie before walking up to the stand.

“Raise your right hand,” a man demanded as Grady nodded trying to swallow down the lump that was growing in his throat by the second, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

Before Grady could say anything the doors of the courtroom swung open and everyone turned around to see what was happening. Grady titled his head seeing his friend Kyle Houston before him.

“Stop this whole thing,” Kyle yelled as everyone eyed him carefully, “This trial can no longer go on.”

Kyle looked over at Cameron who was glaring at him. Kyle smiled at Cameron before hearing the booming voice of the judge. Shannon walked in right behind him as Kyle looked forward.

“What is the meaning of this?” Paula Carmichael questioned seeing Kyle smile and point towards the door.

“What is the meaning? I will show you what the meaning is,” Kyle grinned before walking into the hall for a second.

Everyone gasped in surprise as Kyle came back with a person. The person had his arm wrapped around Kyle’s shoulder and a cane in his hand. This wasn’t just any person, it was Kipp.

“Oh my god,” Grady was caught on words seeing Kipp before him just as everyone else was. “Is this really happening?”

The whole court watched in awe as Kipp walked forward staring up at the judge.

“What the?” Cameron questioned looking back at Kyle who smiled widely at him.

“Before this trial goes any further, I think he’s got plenty to say,” Kyle explained knowing that this new twist was about to change everything for those he cared about in Coral Valley.

...to be continued...