Episode 185

Guy walked into the kitchen seeing Gabe over by the stove working away on something. Guy could tell by the aroma that it was something special as he came in to take a closer look.

“Dare I ask what it is that prompted this,” Guy questioned sliding his arm around Gabe’s waist for a moment before he nuzzled Gabe’s neck gently.

“I was feeling a bit of nervous energy,” Gabe confessed tilting his head back just enough to kiss his lover quickly, “I hope you’re hungry.”

“It smells delicious, but I have to admit that I was planning on running out the door,” Guy admitted with a small frown, “I was hoping to see Mum today.”

“How is she doing?” Gabe questioned knowing too well that his lover had been concerned about his mother’s condition, yet he’d been too wrapped up in the custody case with Noelle to ask.

“There hasn’t been any change, but I’m not giving up,” Guy replied hopefully, “My mum is a fighter and I know she’s going to pull through this.”

“I pray that she does,” Gabe added before turning the omelet he was working on.

“So what’s really bothering you?” Guy questioned leaning up against the kitchen counter, “I know we haven’t talked much lately, but this thing with Noelle is really getting to you, isn’t it?”

“More than you can imagine,” Gabe revealed, his worries coming to the surface, “I mean I’ve tried to be civil, but now with her pulling this…”

“That’s Noelle for you. She just can’t be happy with what she has and her using Brittany as a tool to make what she wants happen is just downright disgusting. She shouldn’t be using Brittany as a pawn in her game,” Guy added with a frown.

“That’s what’s bothering me about all of this. Usually she tries to jab at me, but this time, well this is a bit much for her. She’s always threatened to take Brittany away from me, but she’s never taken it to this level,” Gabe informed him with a worried expression, “This just seems like something different…something…”

“That Noelle is doing in the midst of her tantrum. I mean honestly if she cared so much about Brittany, she would be with her right now, but she’s not. She’s off in Europe doing heaven knows what and you’re the one with Brittany right now. I mean honestly what was the point of serving you with papers if she wanted you to keep Brittany while she paraded around Europe?”

“That’s what I don’t get,” Gabe revealed, “While I’m sure she’s serious about this custody thing, this is all…well it’s just difficult.”

“I understand that,” Guy embraced him once again, “but if you need something--anything, you know that you can count on me. I’ll do what I can to help.”

“I know you will,” Gabe nodded returning the embrace as his thoughts lingered to his daughter.

While he wished that there was some simple solution to the situation, the fact remained that he would have to get involved in something ugly. Gabe always hated ugly, yet Noelle was leaving him no other choice. He thought about the name that Jade gave him and he wondered if he should call Jade’s friend for help after all.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” Guy tried to cheer him up a bit.

“I hope you’re right because I can’t lose Brittany. That will be the end of me,” Gabe confessed knowing that the battle would soon begin, but as much as he hated to play dirty, he’d do whatever he had to in order to keep his daughter as he was certain Noelle was about to do something terrible.


Grady’s heart was racing as he searched through each room looking for any sign of Jade.

“This can’t be happening,” Grady thought aloud as he ran his hands through his hair roughly.

He went through the rooms again hoping he had missed something, but there was no luck.

“Where are you?” he questioned worriedly before hearing someone at the door. “Jade?”

“Grady,” Seth raised an eyebrow surprised to see Grady before him. “What are you doing here?”

“Is Jade with you?” Grady questioned quickly as he looked out in the hallway.

“Grady, what’s wrong?” Seth wondered worriedly as he saw Grady shaking.

“Just answer me! Was Jade with you?” Grady questioned demanding an answer before seeing Blake shake her head.

“The last time we saw her was here before the trial,” Blake informed him as she gasped, “We thought she was with you.”

“Well she isn’t,” Grady yelled as Seth grabbed Grady by the collar looking worried.

“What do you mean? Where is she?” Seth wondered as Grady shrugged.

“I have no idea,” Grady informed him as he pointed to the purse on the floor, “All I know is that she wouldn’t have left without that.”

“Are you sure she isn’t here?” Seth questioned going to search the rooms as Grady called out to him.

“I have already checked, she isn’t here,” Grady shouted making Seth turn around.

“Well where is she?” Seth questioned once more knowing that Grady had no clue by the way he was acting.

“If you think I knew where she was, I would be here going out of my mind?” Grady questioned before shaking his head.

“I’m sure there is a very good reason for her being gone,” Blake suggested as Grady glared at her.

“Like what?” Grady asked seeing her shrug and try to think up an explanation.

“I don’t know, maybe she is still at the court looking for you,” Blake began to explain not trying to think the worst, “Her purse could be here because she didn’t feel she needed anything from it.”

“How would you explain the door being wide open then?” Grady questioned hearing her sigh.

“She could have been in too much of a hurry,” Blake offered up before hearing Seth begin to talk.

“That doesn’t make any sense though,” Seth shot out shaking his head, “I know my sister she isn’t like that.”

“Which means something bad probably happened,” Grady panicked going to the door, “I have to go look for her.”

“Wait, lets take this slowly,” Seth demanded before rubbing the back of his neck lightly, “Where could she be?”

“I don’t know,” Blake shook her head, “But I think we should be thinking the worst right now.”


Carly threw open the door to her hotel room knowing full well that today’s drama in the courtroom was a first for her. Not only had she resigned from her position with the D.A.’s office, but now she was looking at a murder case where the murder victim walked right into the courtroom and put an end to the trial. That had to be a first for her, but still, well even with Grady Denton’s good news, she was still out of a job. That didn’t change and while on some level she was certain she did the right thing, she still couldn’t help but wonder what was next.

“You made a fine mess of things Matthews,” she sighed pulling the clip from her hair that she’d been wearing. Right about now she felt like crawling into the bathtub and just dying--or at least ignoring the world for a little while. That sounded like heaven in itself and as she kicked off her heels, she made her way through her apartment suddenly struck by a very strange sensation.

“What the…” she looked down to see rose petals scattered over the floor. Curiously she noticed the trail started at the front door to her hotel room leading to the bathroom of all places. Curiously she followed the red, white and pink petals only to discover that the bathroom door was slightly ajar. Pushing the door open further, she realized that not only were the lights off, but there were several rose scented candles burning on the counter and lining around the tub.

“What in the world…” she spoke up again hearing the sound of footsteps from behind her. Moments later she felt the soft press of fingers against her abdomen and lips tracing over the back of her neck.

“I heard you had a bad day in court today,” Ken’s voice whispered smoothly against her skin, “I saw on the news that you lost the case.”

“I did,” she nodded feeling a tiny shiver race up and down her spine as his fingers pressed in over the tiny buttons on her blouse.

“But in a way it was a victory yes,” he questioned nibbling on her neck.

She let out a soft sigh, “For Grady Denton, it was, but for me, well you’re looking at a former government employee as I told Chavez to shove it.”

“You did?” his eyes now widened in surprise as he turned her in his arms.

She nodded, “I did and now I’m out of a job.”

“Well, I can’t say I’m sorry to hear that considering what they were putting you through,” Ken admitted with a small sigh. His hand teased in underneath the parted material of her blouse, feeling her abdomen concave in a bit as his finger grazed her skin, “They never deserved you there.”

“Whether or not that’s true, I’m still out of a job, which means things are going to change,” Carly pointed out with a frown, feeling his hands slide up underneath her blouse.

“That’s not all that bad,” he confessed cupping her breast in hand while his mouth moved in over her shoulder, sliding the silken material of her blouse down with each well thought out kiss, “Change can be good.”

“In some cases,” she sighed tipping her head back to give him the free reign that he was seeking out with his mouth, “but now, well now I don’t know how much good I’m going to be career wise.”

“We’ll worry about that later,” he captured her lips in a hot kiss, “but for now, what do you say we get you out of these clothes and into that bubble bath?”

“How did you know that’s exactly what I was thinking of,” she questioned searching through the darkness to see the sparkle behind his eyes, “It’s as if you read my mind Ken.”

“What can I say? I’m just the man who knows what you need most in this world,” he smiled down at her, tasting her lips once again in one small, sensual brush of his mouth against hers, “Besides I told you that we’d find a way to unwind together when you came back.”

“Somehow I don’t think unwinding is on your agenda, is it?” she sank into his arms, melting into his embrace despite the stress that the case had brought upon her.

“Well maybe for a little while and then perhaps we can work on well, more physical activities,” he added with a flirty smile before taking a step back, “but for now, what do you say we get you out of those clothes?”

“I say you’re trying too hard,” Carly laughed lightly taking a step back on her own. Their eyes connected as she finished sliding her blouse off of her body. She watched the way he looked at her, feeling her pulse quicken at the sensual expression on his face. Slowly she teased her fingers over her body, knowing the reaction it would bring to him. Finally her fingers found their way to the zipper on her skirt and she sashayed her hips before continuing her sensual strip tease. Once she’d completely disrobed she tossed her hair back over her shoulders revealing herself completely to him, “Happy now?”

“I’m working on it,” he took her hand in his, “now how about we get you into that tub?”

“What about you?” she licked her lips giving him a very thorough once over.

“We’ll worry about me later,” he helped her into the tub, “but for now, let’s try to do something about that tension running through your body.”

Before Carly could say another word Ken helped her into the tub before settling in behind her near the edge of the tub. He dipped his hands into the foamy bubbles, seeking out the sponge within before his fingers worked their magic over her tense muscles. She felt him ease the sponge over her shoulders, down over her spine before he dropped it back into the water, using his fingers to calm the internal conflict that had her all knotted. She closed her eyes sinking back into his touch before she felt him press a kiss on her forehead. Opening her eyes once again she saw him hovering over her, his brown eyes reaching down into hers.

“Don’t tell me you’re falling asleep on me already,” he shook his head before holding a glass of champagne in front of her, “How about a drink?”

“Ken, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea considering,” she started thinking about the last time he’d immersed himself in a world of alcohol.

“It’s for you, not me,” he promised her, tipping down to slide his fingers underneath the water, “The only temptation I’m seeking to taste tonight is the one right beneath my touch.”

“Ken,” she sighed his name, lifting the glass to her lips to take a small taste of the champagne. She closed her eyes again savoring the sweet, cool texture as it rolled down her throat, but soon she was aware of another sensation coming from yet another part of her body. Opening her eyes again, her eyes darted to Ken’s as his touch had gone from a soothing massage to a very intimate, provocative touch. She arched her body up a bit to his attentions feeling his sensual caress, but soon it wasn’t enough. She needed more from him.

“Ken,” she spoke his name bringing her hand out from underneath the water to reach out to his tie. She tugged him closer to her, her mouth ravishing his with a hungry delight.

“Carly,” he breathed in response, his words labored after the kiss she’d delivered.

“Forget about pampering me,” she pleaded with him, her fingers locking around the tie tighter than before, “I’m feeling dirty right about now and I need you in here with me right now.”

“There’s something to be said for waiting Carly,” Ken offered up in a teasing tone, feeling her fingers tug on his tie again bringing him dangerously closer to the edge of the tub.

“There’s also something to be said about disappointing the woman you’re trying to seduce,” she mouthed in a labored tone, “You don’t want to do that, now do you?”

“Since you put it that way,” he grinned down at her realizing that his plans for the evening had changed, “I wouldn’t dream of disappointing you.”

“Smart man,” she replied with a proud smirk claiming his lips again knowing full well that while the world around her was falling to pieces she had Ken to remind her of the pleasurable things that life had to offer.


Ria tapped her pen against her clipboard lightly as she thought of the conversation her and Don had earlier. He really was right; she shouldn’t let Christy bother her like that. She was letting her win by getting bothered.

“I wish I had Don here all the time to talk me down when she is here,” Ria laughed to herself as she felt the buzzing of her pager.

As she looked down at the number of the person that paged her a wide smile spread across her face. She walked over to one of the phones dialing the number before listening to the sound of the ring.

“I was wondering when you were going to call me back,” the man laughed answering the phone.

“How did you know it was me?” Ria questioned leaning against the wall as smile spread across her features.

“I know a lot of things,” the man informed her, “I know that you want to see me.”

“Do I?” she questioned biting on her lower lip, “What gives you that idea?”

“I just know it,” the man stated before starting up again, “I want to see you too.”

“So what are we going to do about it?” Ria wondered curling the cord from the phone around her finger.

“How about dinner tomorrow night?” the man suggested before starting up again. “What do you say?”

“Well, I don’t know,” she held back hearing the man sigh, “I have been really busy with work and everything.”

“You can make time,” the man declared as she smiled to herself, “I have really missed you. I must see you.”

“You must see me?” she questioned with a laugh, “Well then I think I might consider your offer.”

“Really?” he wondered with a slight bit of excitement behind his voice.

“It’s set, dinner tomorrow,” Ria nodded, “I will make time just for you.”

“I knew you could,” the man laughed before getting ready to say his goodbyes, “I guess I will see you tomorrow night then?”

“I would guess you were right,” Ria agreed before smiling, “Bye.”

“Until tomorrow sweetheart,” the man said his goodbyes before Ria got back to work.


“I don’t think this isn’t working,” Sarah sighed looking back at Kipp whom had his arms folded out in front of him.

“Why don’t you dump a glass of water over her head or something?” Kipp questioned seeing Sarah nod.

“That might just work,” Sarah, pondered before holding up a finger, “I will be right back.”

“I was just kidding,” Kipp called out before seeing Sarah come back with a full glass of water. “I told you I was kidding.”

“Well you should stick with your first instinct on what could work,” Sarah suggested before hearing Kipp laugh.

“You are crazy,” Kipp chuckled seeing her shrug and bend over to look at Heather.

“Well, you know how things go,” she shrugged before tilting over the cup as the water poured over Heather as she stirred. “I think it worked.”

Heather’s eyes slowly opened and focused so that she could see the figure before her.

“What did you do that for?” Heather questioned a slight bit aggravated as she closed her eyes.

“You passed out, I didn’t know how else to get you up,” Sarah informed her as Heather shook her head.

“I was having a nightmare and I woke up to an even bigger nightmare,” Heather scowled as she rose to her elbows and saw Kipp before her and she rubbed her eyes, “This still has to be a dream.”

“This is no dream Heather,” Kipp shook his head before looking at Sarah, “I’m here and we need to have a little chat.”

“But,” Heather was choked on her words as her heart beat faster was she going crazy or was he really here.

“He is real Heather,” Sarah, informed her holding out her hand to help her up.

“I can get up myself,” Heather scowled trying to get up, but Sarah helped her even though she told her to back off.

“I believe you and I need to have a one on one talk and I am not leaving until I get that,” Kipp demanded as Heather stood there motionless. “Come here.”


Sarah shook her head as she shut the door behind her after she decided to give Heather and Kipp sometime to themselves. Her sister was really in some trouble now.

“What a disaster,” Sarah sighed before hearing the sound of the doorbell ring. “I guess I will get that.”

She went to the door and answered it to see Diego before her and he looked slightly puzzled to see her.

“Sarah, what are you doing here?” Diego questioned as he walked into the house.

“I came here to see Heather,” Sarah informed him as he nodded folding his arms out in front of her.

“Speaking of Heather, that’s who I came to see,” Diego stated as he went to the stairs and walked up a few before hearing the sound of Sarah’s voice stop him.

“I don’t think you want to go up there,” Sarah suggested biting on her lower lip seeing him turn around and walk back towards her, “There might be a war going on.”

“I don’t understand,” Diego sighed as confusion flooded over his mind.

“Heather and Kipp are in there…they are having a chat,” Sarah explained to him as he raised an eyebrow.

“Kipp? Kipp is dead,” Diego replied trying to catch what she was saying.

“Kipp was dead, but he isn’t dead,” Sarah tried to explain as Diego cut her off shaking his head.

“I’m not following you,” Diego sighed as Sarah tried to think of how she could explain.

“Well, Kyle went to this island to try and find information that would help Grady and the case, but he ended up doing better than that,” Sarah began to explain, “He found out that Kipp really wasn’t dead, he was just in a coma. Well, Kipp woke up when Kyle got there and Kyle brought him back and he is…back. It is quite confusing actually.”

“Yeah, I can tell,” Diego, agreed trying to put the information together as he rubbed the back of his neck lightly. “So let me get this straight, Kipp is alive and he is in that room with Heather right now.”

“Yeah, that pretty much sums it up,” Sarah nodded before seeing him raise an eyebrow.

“What is going on up there?” he questioned seeing her shrug and bite down on her bottom lip.

“I don’t even think Heather knows what is going on up there,” Sarah declared before seeing Diego put his hands on his hips.

“I need to talk to her,” Diego informed her before running his hands through his hair lightly. This was going to be a long day.


“Hey there,” Kyle smiled putting his hands on Avery’s shoulders as she smiled.

“What are you still doing here?” Avery questioned before seeing him shrug and smile.

“I had to mingle with a couple of people and I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to one of my best friends,” Kyle informed her as he got a grin out of her, “I like to see you smile, I don’t get to see that as much as I used to.”

“Well don’t get used to it,” she winked before folding her arms out in front of her, “So what is in your agenda hero?”

“My agenda? I don’t know, I think I might go see Sarah to let her know I am okay,” Kyle shrugged as she shook her head.

“Okay? You okay?” Avery questioned as he slightly grinned before shrugging.

“Alright, I should let her know I am still alive,” he laughed before seeing her nod and a second thought came into his mind, “I wonder where Grady flew to so fast.”

“I don’t know,” Avery pondered before remembering Jade not being there earlier, “Well Jade wasn’t at court today and that worried him. He could be out looking for her at this point just in case we both missed her.”

“She wasn’t?” Kyle questioned raising an eyebrow, “That’s a little odd, Jade doesn’t usually do things like that.”

“I know, I think that freaked him out a little bit,” Avery suggested before seeing Kyle nod.

“She is probably just at home not feeling very well and they are probably together right now,” Kyle stated before smiling, “I am happy I got those two back to each other.”

“Well I am glad they are enjoying what you did too,” Avery replied before seeing Kyle laugh.

“Yeah, I bet,” Kyle agreed before taking in a deep breath, “I am just really glad that I could help Grady and in a way I know I helped Russell too.”

“You did Kyle, I am very proud of you,” Avery informed him as he hugged her tightly, “I know Grady and Jade are together now and that’s all because of you.”

“Speaking of together,” Kyle sighed as he looked over at Brant and let her go.

“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Avery shook her head seeming a slight bit upset as Kyle frowned.

“What did that jerk do to you?” Kyle questioned looking at Brant who was sitting down as she shook her head.

“It is nothing Kyle, just let it go,” Avery pleaded as he shook his head.

“Did he hurt you?” Kyle questioned before going to walk over to Brant and she put her hand on his chest making him stop.

“He did nothing, I am just not feeling good lately,” Avery informed him as he shook his head.

“You aren’t going to tell me what is really wrong, are you?” Kyle wondered before seeing the look in her eye that made him nod. “Alright, I will forget about it, but if he ever does anything to you and I find out about it…he is a dead man.”

“Okay, but I think you should go see Sarah now…to let her know you are…alive,” Avery smiled before he nodded and hugged her once more.

“I will catch up with you later,” he nodded before kissing her cheek and waving goodbye.


Gabe sat at the desk at the apartment going over a few of the notes he’d made about the situation at hand with Noelle. He hated to have to resort to taking the less than moral high road, but it felt like she’d really given him no choice. He thought about his daughter who was with Mindy going to the video store. While he’d hated to have her leave, he couldn’t help but want to give her a break from him so that she didn’t see him worrying. If felt like that was all he’d been doing since the papers arrived and he feared that she could sense it.

“That’s it,” Gabe decided reaching for the card Jade had given him of the lawyer she’d recommended. He was going to make the call and see if this man could pull out more magic than the one he’d been working with.

As he reached for the phone, he heard something that caught his attention from the other side of the room. Looking up he saw a news brief about Grady’s release and in that moment his thoughts returned to Jade and the news that they’d uncovered with one another. Remembering her worries about sharing the pregnancy with Grady, he reached for he phone again and started to dial her number. Surely things were looking much brighter for her now that Grady had been released, but it didn’t hurt to check in on her. He was almost finished with dialing when he heard a knock on the door.

“Don’t tell me you’re back already. That was a fast trip,” Gabe couldn’t help but laugh thinking about how Brittany would lose herself for hours in the video store. Getting up from where he sat, he couldn’t help but smile wondering what things Brittany had talked Mindy into picking up for her. He had no doubt that she’d try to sneak in Dirty Dancing yet again after Noelle had let her watch the movie on one of the local cable channels. That had been an event in itself, he thought back shaking his head at how little tact Noelle had with things. Still if Brittany had brought the movie home again, he’d find a way to get her into something else.

Opening the door, he smiled wider trying not to worry about what titles and selections his daughter made and focus only on the joys of being with her, “So what did you bring for me?”

“Something I think you might enjoy,” Marc greeted him with a cryptic smile, “and with a warm reception like that something tells me it’s going to be a very good chat for us today Gabriel.”

“Whatever it is you want, I’m not interested,” Gabe moved to close the door not caring what Marc had to say.

“Oh, but I’m willing to bet you are,” Marc put his foot into the door to prevent Gabe from shutting him out. He held out an envelope sliding it through the opening in the door, “A hundred dollars and a cup of coffee says that once you see what’s in this envelope you’re going to be more than thrilled with me.”


Guy shifted in his seat uncomfortably as his eyes never left his mother. He leaned forward taking her hand in his as he kissed it gently.

“Oh mom, why can’t you just wake up,” Guy pleaded as something at the door made him jump back.

“Relax, it is just me,” Ria smiled walking in and holding a cup out to him, “I thought you could use a coffee right about now.”

“Thanks,” he smiled taking the glass from her hand and taking a sip before holding it in his hands firmly.

“Has anything changed?” Ria questioned pulling a seat up next to him as he shook his head.

“Not a thing,” Guy sighed before taking another sip of the coffee, “I just don’t understand who would do something like this to her.”

“I know the world out there is crazy these days,” Ria agreed before smiling, “Believe me, I know Brooke is a fighting woman and she will get through this.”

“You think?” Guy questioned seeing her nod as he slightly smiled trying to believe her.

“Do I think. Boy, do I know it. I‘ve seen so many miracles in my time working here at the hospital. Given that your mother is still fighting, that in itself says how strong she is. She‘s a survivor Guy,” Ria informed him as she got a laugh out of him and she patted on his shoulder lightly.

“Just have faith, just the tinniest bit of faith could help,” she suggested as he nodded.

“I know,” he sighed nodding before looking back at Brooke, “I just have to worry.”

“I understand,” she nodded before standing up, “Let one of us know if there is any change.”

“I will do,” Guy nodded agreeing with her before feeling her hand on his arm soothingly.

“If you need someone to talk to about this whole thing, I don’t mind talking,” Ria stated as he nodded.

“I will remember that,” he grinned before watching her walk to the door and turn around.

“My best of luck goes to you and your family,” she wished before walking out the door and Guy set his coffee on the table.

“Did you hear that mom?” Guy questioned leaning forward and kissing her forehead, “She thinks you can get through this, so why don’t you come back to me?”


Carly sank back into Ken’s arms enjoying the feel of his body behind hers as they lay out with one another in the whirlpool tub in her hotel. She felt his arms wrap around her and as she tipped her head back he kissed her lips tentatively before lacing their fingers in one another.

“Feel better now,” he questioned lazily.

“I do,” she smiled in response snuggling into him, “but I’m sure you’re well aware of that.”

“I’m well aware of a lot of things where you’re concerned. I know that I made you a very happy woman a few minutes ago, but I wasn’t talking about that part of things exactly…” he offered up a pointed expression.

“I knew that,” she smiled, “but I have to say that what you did before helped to make me feel a bit better about what happened earlier.”

“No it didn’t,” he called her bluff eyeing her intently, “You’re a terrible liar.”

“Okay, so I still feel like the biggest loser on the planet for losing my job,” she confessed with a tiny groan, “but you can’t blame me for being upset. I really thought that this was it for me. I worked my whole life to get to that point and then only to watch it fall away from me…”

“Hey, you’re still a winner in my eyes,” Ken tried to boost her spirits as he hugged her in closer to him, “Besides, the offer is still on the table for you to come over to work with me.”

“Ken, I know we discussed it before, but don’t you think that you’d really have to talk to Hart. I know you said he wouldn’t mind, but…” she started to protest only to be silenced by a small kiss.

“Hart wouldn’t mind having you around at all. In fact he’d welcome it. Trust me on this one. We have a lot of cases that could use someone like you on them. You have the background, the education and the legs that will surely sway the courts in our favor,” he winked at her.

“Ken, I’m being serous here,” she glared up at him.

“So am I,” he teased further before clearing his throat, “Seriously Carly I think that together we make a great team. I think that our working together like we’ll be doing makes sense. You being part of the practice makes sense.”

“In a way it does, but I have to tell you I think the D.A.’s office isn’t exactly going to be fond of your hiring me after what happened with them,” Carly pointed out with a firm look behind her eyes.

“Yeah, well I’m sure the D.A.’s office isn’t exactly thrilled with me either, so who cares? I know I sure don’t,” he shifted a bit in the tub taking her with him, “The way I see it, their loss is my gain. Today you might’ve felt like you lost something, but you really did something wonderful. You knew that you couldn’t help but follow your heart and even if Kipp Mahoney didn’t walk into that courtroom like he did, you still would’ve done what you felt was right.”

“And that’s why I’m jobless,” she reminded him simply.

“But you held onto your principles and that’s worth more than any stuffy job at the D.A.’s office. You did a good thing,” he encouraged her, easing his fingers into her damp, dark hair, “Carly, I love that about you. I love your ability to follow your heart and let it bring you to where you know you should be in your life.”

“Ken, I’m a walking train wreck. We both know that,” she replied with a small sigh, “Everything I touch turns to chaos and soon everything good in my life falls to pieces.”

“Believe me I understand that sentiment, but I also understand that there are things that just happen--things in life that we can’t explain, yet they bring us closer to where it is we’re meant to be,” he continued in an impassioned tone, “Carly, there was no mistake in our crossing paths again after all this time. When you came to my office to try to tempt me into working with you, I was lost inside myself, but then that night at the bar…”

“All hell broke loose,” she laughed flippantly trying to make light of the situation.

“No something else happened and it’s still happening,” he cupped her face in his hands drawing her nearer to him, “Fate is telling us that we belong together. The signs are all there.”

“I think we’re just reading them the way we want to because…” she tried to argue the point.

“Because that’s the way they were meant to be read,” he cut her off abruptly, “Carly I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about this and about where it’s headed and…”

“And I thought that we weren’t going to get into that just yet. I thought that we were going to try to just focus on the here and now,” she reminded him sensing something brewing behind his words.

“Carly, we can do that, but how many times do I have to make love to you before you see that there’s more to it? How many times do we have to flirt around the issue before we finally dive into dangerous territory with one another?”

“I think we’ve already passed the point of entering dangerous territory with one another Ken,” she confessed, feeling a tiny shiver race over her body at the intensity of his gaze upon her.

“Then why are we kidding ourselves like this and pretending that what we have is just simply sexual?” he questioned point blank, “You and I both know that while sex plays a big part of what we have, it’s more than that.”

“So what are you saying Ken? That you want to label it and risk our ruining everything we have together?” she questioned nervously, her lip quivering at the prospect, “Ken, love and I don’t go together well. Every time I fall in love it ends badly. It turns out to be ugly and I wind up in a position where I’m alone and someone is hating someone else or myself…”

“This isn’t about hating anyone or anything. This time it isn’t like the other times,” Ken continued his voice growing desperate with the moment, “Carly, I’m the last person to willingly fall in love. It’s the last thing I wanted--the last thing I needed in my life especially after I lost Caitlin like I did, but then you changed that for me. You caught me when I was falling into a moment of darkness. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the last couple of months--mistakes that I can’t even begin to look at myself in the mirror for, but with you, well it’s not a mistake. It’s the most real, pure thing I’ve felt in a long time and with you I feel alive. I feel as if there’s some kind of purpose in this world again and when I’m with you I don’t want that to end. Carly I…”

“Ken don’t,” she placed her finger over his lips to silence him, “Please don’t do this because I don’t want to lose you. I can’t lose you especially not now…not after everything we’ve…”

“Carly, you and I both know that fate doesn’t wait on anyone. We can’t pick and choose the way things are going to go. Not so long ago I saw my life in another direction--in another place, but that changed for me when I didn’t want it to and now…”

“Now you’re just holding onto the first soft spot to fall onto,” she shook her head poignantly, “Ken, you’re still so hurt over Caitlin and…”

“And nothing. I love you Carly Matthews and it might be the last thing you want to hear, but it’s the truth. It’s not about my grief, not about my wanting to rebound. It’s about the fact that when I’m with you, I can’t get enough of you…about the fact that when we’re apart I find myself making excuses to be with you and I’m sorry if you don’t want to hear it, but it’s the truth. I love you.”

“Oh Ken, I wish you didn’t say that,” Carly shook her head suddenly very uneasy at his words, “Ken, now you know what this means…”

“It means we can finally quit with the BS and be honest with one another now. You can’t tell me that you don’t love me because we both know better,” he squeezed her in closer to him, feeling the water shift with the movements he’d made, “Carly, you might want to pretend that you’re still hung up on Dave--that you haven’t moved on, but deep down you know that there’s nothing left to hold onto. You love me and that’s what terrifies you. You weren’t expecting this either and as you said you think that everything that means anything to you is destined to fail, but not this. We were meant to find one another and love was only the next logical step.”

“There’s nothing logical about our falling into love,” she protested feeling her pulse racing as he held her, “Ken, I’m not supposed to love you. I’m not supposed to feel this way about you…”

“But you do, don’t you?” he searched her eyes seeking out that answer he’d been fishing for earlier.

“You’re damn right I do, but I hate that. I hate that I’ve taken something as simple as what we have together and turned it into this. I wasn’t looking to fall in love with you,” she confessed with an exaggerated sigh.

“But now that you have and I’m opening the door for you to quit running from it?” he prompted further refusing to let her close herself off from him.

“I do love you,” she revealed leaning forward, holding her lips just above his, a breath away from making any kind of contact, “I love you to the point I think I’ve lost my mind. I can’t believe I’m saying this…”

“It’s okay,” he smiled up at her, “You need to get it out. We both to.”

“In that case, despite the fact that it’s completely illogical and goes against the principles of what we set forth with when this began, the fact remains that I love you too Kenneth Ashford,” she blurted out betraying her own promise not to get too attached to the man who turned her world upside-down, but now as he held her she knew that there would be no turning back. She’d revealed the secret that even she was afraid to admit to herself and now as she held onto him, she knew that life would never be the same after this moment they shared together.


Heather heard the sounds of the doors closing with Sarah’s departure replay in her head over and over again as she looked to Kipp. While Heather never had much use for Sarah, something about the look in Kipp’s eyes had Heather wishing like hell that Sarah hadn’t left. Slowly she took in a breath trying to play it cool though she knew that she had something coming to her from way back when. Still she couldn’t let Kipp see her fears as a weakness or vulnerability.

“Kipp,” Heather broke the nerve-wracking silence to address him, “I just can’t believe that you’re really here.”

“Why is that Heather?” Kipp challenged taking a step towards her using his cane to guide him along, “Were you hoping that I was dead?”

“No, not at all,” she shook her head, “Kipp, I never wished for any of what happened to happen to you. So many times I wanted to…”

“Save it,” he cut her off abruptly, his dark eyes sparked by a fuel to a fire that Heather had been burning inside of him since the day they’d last seen one another. “I’m in no mood to listen to your lies. I know what you are and how you feel about me. I know how you took a great many liberties to make a fool of me…how you worked to destroy my life and I’m here to tell you that it ends now.”

“Kipp, I can explain. If you’ll just let me…” she began desperately rising up to move in towards him.

“Oh I let you alright and it only ended up making me miserable. Heather, I saw what you were all about and as if your betrayals before weren’t enough. You not only lied to me and made a fool of me, but you went ahead and dug the knife in deeper when you married Cameron. How the hell could you do that to me?”

“I was trying to protect our son,” Heather explained desperately, “Cameron promised me that if I agreed to marry him that he’d keep Charles safe and…”

“Our son,” Kipp balked back at her, a snide, sarcastic laugh erupting from his lips, “as if I’d want that man anywhere near any flesh and blood of mine.”

“Kipp, I never meant to hurt you. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to go to you. I wanted you to know about our baby, but your father threatened me. He refused to let me anywhere near you and when I tried to get close to you, all he did was push me away,” she explained herself thinking back to the time that she’d attempted to pull him from his coma, “Kipp I wanted you to come back…”

“No, you wanted what I could give you to come back. You didn’t give a damn about me or anything that I felt for you. All you cared about was finding a way to get ahead and obtain what was best for Heather because that’s how women like you work. You sluts are all the same. You think that you can just tear a man’s heart out and stomp it to pieces, and then you just expect us to keep taking it from you. Well I’ve got news for you Heather. I’m not about to take it any longer. Your days of making a fool out of Kipp Mahoney are over.”

“Kipp, if you would just listen,” she began again hearing the anger vibrate in his tone.

“No, Heather, you listen,” he approached her, his eyes tearing her to shreds in the moment, “If you think for one second that I’m going to stand back and let you and Cameron do whatever the hell it is you think you’re doing with my son, I’ve got news for you. It isn’t happening so you can forget any notion that you have about keeping my boy from me. I’m back now Heather and the only father our son is going to have is me.”

“You’re the only father I ever intended for him to have,” Heather insisted with a small whimper, “Kipp, I know that I treated you horribly. I did so many terrible things to you, but I never, ever wanted it to be like this. Kipp, you were one of the only people in this world who loved me for me. I couldn’t see it then, but I see it now and…”

“It’s not going to work Heather,” he stiffened feeling her bring her arms out to try to hang onto him. He shoved her away from him, “You never loved me and even now I know that anything that comes from your lips is nothing but fiction. You never cared about anyone other than yourself and our son deserves better. He deserves more than a self-absorbed twit for a mother that is only going to work to destroy his happiness by using him to get what she wants.”

“I would never use Charles,” she explained emphatically looking as if he’d slapped her with his words, “I love him Kipp.”

“Yeah, right,” he rolled his eyes at her, “you’re clearly incapable of the word.”

“Once that might’ve been true, but now, well things have changed. Kipp, I’ve changed. You have to believe that,” she reached for his hand attempting to get him to feel what she was saying.

“I don’t have to believe anything that comes from your mouth because while you might know all the right words, I’m immune to your charms now Heather,” Kipp shook her off of him, “I’m done playing games and now that I have a second chance at life, you can be sure as hell that I’m not about to let someone like you run my son’s life like you ruined mine.”

“Kipp, I never meant to do that. I know that you have every reason in the world to think the worst of me, but Kipp so many things have happened since you’ve been gone. I made so many mistakes and I’ve paid for them,” she explained unable to contain her tears, “Yes, my marrying Cameron was probably the biggest mistake of them all, but Kipp I couldn’t lose Charles. Despite what you think of me I love our son and I’d do anything for him.”

“Including sell your soul to the devil to get your way,” he shook his head at her with sheer disgust, “and to think I thought I was in love with you once upon a time.”

“I know I didn’t deserve your love then Kipp and I don’t deserve your trust anymore now than I did then, but Kipp listen to me. I did everything I could to make sure that Charles made it into this world safely. Kipp, I almost lost him and that in itself is reason enough for me to want to keep holding on. I know that I’m not the best person and I haven’t been the greatest of mothers, but I lost everything Kipp. You have no idea what I’ve been through.”

“Spare me the sob story Heather,” he groaned again, “I’m in no mood for another one of your fairy tales. You seem to be good at them given that you let me think that you were alone in this world--that your family was dead and that you didn’t have a sister or people that cared about you.”

“I didn’t Kipp. No one has ever cared for me the way you did. I used you and I betrayed your feelings for me, but I’ve paid for it,” Heather informed him wiping at her own tears. “I’ve paid for it dearly.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” he grumbled in response.

“Well then you’re wrong because I lost the one thing that made people love me and now I’m hideous,” Heather pulled her hair away from her face to show him her scars, “You wanted me to suffer Kipp and now you can see I’m suffering because being stuck in this face is hell for me. I lost the only thing I had to go on with my life and for you to stand there and tell me that this doesn’t change a person, well…you’re wrong about that because this…this has changed everything for me. You can see now that I’ve finally become the monster you believe me to be. Are you happy now?”


Diego stood outside the room listening to the muffled sounds of yelling going on between Kipp and Heather. He exchanged worried glances with Sarah as it grew suddenly very quiet. Something wasn’t right and as Diego tried to reason what was happening, he was truly concerned about Heather.

“I have to go in there,” Diego decided turning to open the doors.

“Diego wait,” Sarah touched his arm gently, “Maybe you should give them time to talk.”

“Talking is one thing Sarah, but what Kipp is doing to her is beyond cruel. He has no right to talk to her that way,” Diego insisted firmly, “I swore that I was going to protect Heather and while I understand Kipp is upset, this goes above and beyond what is necessary.”

“Diego, there are a lot of issues between them that they need to work through on their own. You of all people know that sometimes taking no action is the best course of action,” Sarah reminded him point blank.

“The last time I took no action in this situation Cameron Stone raped your sister,” Diego informed her bluntly, his own dark eyes filled with a strange mixture of regret and apprehension, “I tried to talk her out of what happened, but instead I backed off and look what can of worms this opened. Kipp is upset and angry and people who have been through experiences like what Kipp have gone through don’t act rational.”

“I realize that Diego, but…” Sarah’s words were lost as she watched him open the doors to the study ready to play the role of Heather’s protector once again, but before he could rush inside she realized he’d stopped.

Taking a step forward herself, Sarah’s eyes widened in a moment of shock and confusion as she too had heard Kipp lashing into Heather, but what she saw made no sense. Kipp and Heather sat on the couch, holding onto one another as Heather sobbed into his chest.

“Shh…it’s going to be okay,” Kipp whispered warmly in Heather’s ear, tucking a strand of her long, blonde hair behind her ear. He kissed the top of her head gently rocking her in his arms and in that moment Sarah knew that yet again Heather had poured out the sympathy card.

“Diego,” Sarah reached out to the man beside her feeling him stiffen as he silently closed the door to the study going undetected by Kipp and Heather.

“You were right Sarah,” Diego replied in a low, hollow tone, “I should’ve just kept out of it. I really shouldn’t have tried to get involved.”

With that Diego turned to leave and in that moment Sarah felt horrible for the man who obviously cared for her sister, “Diego wait.”

“I have to go,” Diego offered up in a haste making his way to the front door.

“Diego,” Sarah tugged on his arm hoping to find a way to ease whatever it was that was going through his mind, “Look, I know you meant well, but Heather, well she’s just the kind of person who uses someone to get what she wants from them. I hate that she’s done this to you, but that’s what she does. She finds someone to care for her and she latches onto him, using him until she’s sucked the life out of him. I’ve seen it far too many times for my liking and with what you saw back there…”

“It’s none of my business. I’m no longer needed around here. I can see that now,” he replied reaching for his jacket and quickly easing into it once again, “I really need to get going now Sarah, but I’ll be in touch.”

“Diego,” Sarah spoke his name once again, but it was too late. The damage had already been done and Sarah realized that once again Heather had managed to play a good guy for a fool. It just wasn’t right.


“Guys just calm down,” Blake pleaded as Grady stood up pacing back and forth.

“I can’t take this anymore, I can’t just sit here and wait,” Grady exclaimed as Seth began to yell.

“How do you think I feel knowing that my sister is out there?” Seth questioned before shaking his head and sitting down. “I called the cops and they are doing their best right now.”

“Their best? If they were doing there best, Jade would be in my arms right now and she wouldn’t be missing,” Grady shot out before walking over to the window. “I don’t care if the police is looking, I am going to go look for her myself.”

“Grady wait,” Blake yelled out grabbing onto his shoulder, “At least let me call Kyle to come and help you.”

“He has done enough,” Grady sighed shaking his head as Seth shook his head standing up.

“Jade is one of his good friends, I don’t think he would mind,” Seth informed him as Grady took in a deep breath.

“Alright, call Kyle,” Grady agreed sitting back down on the couch as his body shook with worry.

“I will be right back,” Blake promised as she walked over to her phone and dialed Kyle’s phone number.

“Houston,” Kyle’s voice came over the receiver as her heart beat a little faster.

“Kyle, it is Blake,” she informed him before taking in a deep breath, “We have a big problem.”

“What is it? Is Seth okay?” Kyle questioned as Blake nodded to herself hearing the worry in Kyle’s voice.

“No, it is Jade, Kyle,” she stated taking in a deep breath, “She is missing. Her purse is still here and everything.”

“You have to be kidding me right?” Kyle wondered letting out a hesitant laugh.

“I’m not kidding Kyle,” she sighed wishing she was lying, “Grady and Seth are going out of their minds.”

“Oh my god Jade, she could be hurt,” Kyle began to freak as he turned his car around, “Is Grady alright?”

“He is going crazy…I think he needs you right now,” Blake suggested as Kyle nodded to himself.

“I already turned the car around, I will be there in about ten minutes,” he stated before looking at his watch. “Tell Grady to wait for me, I am coming.”

“I will do,” Blake agreed hanging up the phone before walking back to Grady.

“What did he say?” Grady questioned quickly as Blake nodded setting the phone down.

“He is coming right away, he said he would be here in less than ten minutes,” Blake replied sitting between the two hoping that Jade really was okay.


“I’d say a celebration is in order,” Brant announced opening the door to let Avery into the mansion, “That was some twist there with the trial.”

“It was,” she nodded in response, “and I’m just thankful that Grady is going to be able to have his life back again. We came so close to losing there.”

“But Kyle pulled through for you. I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure what kind of rabbit he was going to pull out of his hat, but the man really delivered the ultimate twist there. I had no idea he was going to find Kipp Mahoney and bring him back to town with him,” Brant shook his head before letting out an ironic laugh, “And here I’ve spent all this time underestimating the guy.”

“So does that mean you have a newfound respect for Kyle?” Avery inquired arching a curious brow.

“Well I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I have to say that the man does put on a good show,” Brant decided easing out of his jacket before moving in to help Avery with hers, “Besides anyone who makes my wife happy, I suppose is alright with me. Though with that thought in mind, please don’t get any cute ideas about the four of us going to the country club together.”

“Oh what? Are you telling me that you don’t think you could deal with having to be nice to Kyle on a daily basis?” she teased over her shoulder watching him move to hang her jacket up.

“I don’t think even a saint could deal with Kyle on a daily basis,” Brant revealed with a small smile, “but maybe if you can teach me a little bit more about patience I could be willing to give it a try for you.”

“You’d really do that for me,” she questioned eyeing him intently.

“Of course I would,” he nodded in agreement. He stepped towards her, his dark eyes reaching out to hers with a warmth and concern that brought an involuntary smile to her face. His own grin expanded as he reached out to her urging her into his arms, “See, now that’s what I like to see. That’s what I missed the most lately.”

“I can’t help it Brant,” Avery confessed feeling her smile taper off a bit, “I’ve just had a lot on my mind.”

“I realize that, but with the trial over, well maybe it’s time that we take some time for us--for you even,” he curled one arm around her waist while the other hand eased up into her hair gingerly, “Avery, you’ve been so stressed out that maybe it’s time for us to take a vacation. We could go somewhere quiet where you can relax and unwind.”

“Brant, you know that I can’t just up and leave considering…” she began to protest only to feel him press his finger over her lips to silence her.

“Avery, now you know that most of the time I’m going to let you call the shots here, but in this particular instance, I think that it’s long past due that you let me pamper you. I can take you back to the villa and we could take the time to get to know one another all over again. We kind of had a rushed wedding and no honeymoon. Not that I’m expecting anything of it other than our having the opportunity for us to really get reacquainted with one another on a friendly level,” he started to explain catching her expression, but before she could protest he continued to spill his thoughts to her, “Okay, I’m not going to lie if something more should happen beyond our being friends, then well, I wouldn’t object to that either, but as it stands right now I just want to find a way to help you get comfortable with our lives together.”

“Brant, I wish it were that simple, but…” she stopped herself thinking about what had transpired with her and Ken. While she’d been avoiding it thus far, she knew that she couldn’t keep putting it off. Brant deserved to know the truth before they could even think about building on a life together. She had to be honest with him.

“But nothing. Avery, it just makes sense for you to try to give yourself a chance to relax. I know that you want to be everything for everyone, but…” Brant tried to appeal to her once again.

“I know that, but Brant this isn’t about the trip. This is about something that’s been on my mind for a few days now. I need to tell you something,” she drew in a long, slow breath wondering how she was going to even begin to explain to him the mistake she’d made, “Brant, I know that it must’ve felt like I’ve been pushing you away lately, but…”

“But you’ve been worried about Grady and I understand that. Avery, I’m not pushing for you to move before you’re ready to. I know that our relationship will take work and some time,” he insisted patiently, “but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to work on that.”

“Brant, you’re not getting it. The problem isn’t you. It’s me. Brant, I did something the other night that I wish like hell I didn’t, but the fact remains that my judgment flaw is coming back to haunt me--to haunt us and if I don’t tell you the truth about everything here and now, well I’m afraid that things won’t ever be right between us,” Avery blurted out ready to reveal the truth to him about what happened between her and Ken. She just hoped that once he learned the truth that somehow he’d understand. If she lost him right now, well there was no telling what else she could stand to lose.


...to be continued...