Episode 204

“You feel any better?” Seth asked Kyle patting him on the shoulder lightly.

“He is always like that on planes,” Sarah laughed before shaking her head slowly, “He will be freaking out for the next five minutes and then he will be fine.”

“It’s not my fault that I have motion sickness,” Kyle frowned before flipping one of the bags over his shoulder.

“It’s okay Kyle,” Blake laughed looking back at him, “I understand, I used to have that problem when I was child.”

“Back to the point,” Kyle began before looking over at Seth, “Isn’t your friend supposed to be here?”

“Ria?” Seth questioned before looking around. “She was supposed to be coming, but she did say she had a lot of work at the hospital.”

“I also did say you were my best friends and I would be here,” Ria stated as Seth turned around quickly seeing her before him.

“You made it,” Seth smiled quickly hugging her, “Thank you for coming, it means so much to me.”

“Well, I couldn’t miss my best friends wedding,” Ria declared before looking towards Blake then back to him, “Congratulations you two.”

“We should be getting ready soon,” Kyle pointed out looking down at his watch.

“You're right,” Blake nodded proudly before looking towards Seth, “In just a couple of hours I am going to be getting married to man of my dreams.”

“Before that happens though,” Sarah began before grabbing Blake’s hand, “You have to get ready.”

“Sorry, but we have to do this,” Kyle frowned as him and Ria stood next to Seth as Sarah began to drag Blake to the elevator, “The rule says you can’t see the groom the day of the wedding, so we are going to have to keep you guys away from one another for just a little bit.”

“Did you and Sarah plan this?” Seth questioned with a laugh watching Sarah and Blake get on the elevator.

“Yeah,” Kyle nodded with a smile, “If you will, I think we should be getting ready soon.”

“Lead the way,” Seth grinned watching Kyle walk towards the stairs slowly.

“Just a matter of time Seth,” Ria whispered with a smile patting his back slowly. “You two will be together soon.”


Deidra felt a small breeze rush past her as she stepped out of her car. She looked to Dean’s small house thinking about how surprised she’d been the first time he’d brought her here. Most plastic surgeons had homes that rivaled their egos, but Dean was different. There was a certain simplicity that went along with him and his personality that was not only comforting, but a refreshing change from what she had been used to after her years with Andy. Yes, Dean was very different. As she thought about her plans for the morning with him, she couldn’t help but smile knowing that this was a wonderful way to start the day.

Making her way up to the door, Deidra breathed in slowly hoping that she didn’t appear too presumptuous to show up unannounced. She had second thoughts about showing up when she’d picked up a box of donuts, but after a few moments of remembering how great it felt to be close to Dean, she decided to push her trivial concerns aside. This morning would be a nice surprise for both of them.

“Here goes nothing,” Deidra mouthed to herself reaching out to knock on the door. She waited a few moments before reaching for the knocker once again. Still there was no answer and just as Deidra thought that she’d missed Dean, she heard something from inside. Standing up taller, she waited for Dean’s handsome face to appear, but instead she was met by Shannon’s surprised eyes.

“Deidra,” Shannon spoke her name in a small gasp before her hand dropped down to the front of the robe she’d been wearing, “What are you doing here?”

Deidra scowled, “I was just about to ask you the same question,” she paused her eyes traveling over the green colored robe that Shannon was wearing, “But I think it speaks for itself.”

“Deidra, it’s not what you think it is,” Shannon began realizing what it must’ve looked like to have Deidra see her standing in Dean’s front door wearing his bathrobe. “Honestly it’s…”

Deidra shook her head at her, “And here I thought you were sticking close to me because you wanted to protect me Shannon, but instead you were just sizing up my dating life waiting for that right moment to move in on someone I cared about. You’re just like every other woman in Dave’s life. Here he thought you could be trusted--that you were a friend, but you’re as pathetic as every other woman I bothered to take the time to know and trust.”

“Deidra wait,” Shannon attempted to stop her from leaving, but instead Deidra shoved the box of donuts in Shannon’s face roughly.

“Here, I lost my appetite,” Deidra blurted out unable to refrain from her tears. With that she marched off towards her car suddenly feeling like the biggest fool on the planet for thinking that she could find love again in her life. All men were the same and seeing Shannon at Dean’s just proved that.


“Hey, your things are almost dried up here. I’d say in about another ten minutes you can get right back into them, mud free. For now however you can wear some of my old sweats instead of that ugly robe that I‘d had tucked away forever,” Dean’s voice explained causing Shannon to jump after what she’d just witnessed.

“Dean I…” Shannon began finding herself at a complete loss when she saw him holding her shirt in hand.

“You what,” Dean questioned walking up from the basement stairs to see Shannon standing near his front door with a box in her arms, “What’s that?”

“Disaster,” Shannon frowned deeply before taking a step towards Dean only to hear the sound of screeching tires in the distance alerting her that Deidra was a little more than upset about what she‘d thought she walked in on.

“Okay I’ll bite, what’s the commotion about?” Dean asked glancing over towards the window wondering what Shannon had seen.

“Deidra was here,” Shannon confessed stiffly thinking about the exchange between them.

“What?” Dean’s jaw dropped clearly in a state of shock. Without another word, he rushed to his front door.

“She’s gone Dean,” she explained poignantly, “and judging by the look on her face when she left, I don’t get the feeling she’ll be coming back anytime soon.”

“Why?” Dean spun around to face Shannon, “What did you say to her?”

“I didn’t say anything, but I think it’s a safe and reasonable guess to say that I think she believes that you and I were…” she trailed off uneasily.

“You mean Deidra thinks that we…” he waved his hand between himself and Shannon before an outraged groan spilled over his lips, “No! Not now. I can’t let her think that…”

“Dean as much as I hate to say this,” Shannon hesitated struggling for the right words, “Maybe it’s best if she does think that we…”

“No,” he shook his head adamantly. He caught the look of disapproval in Shannon’s features, but Deidra was too special--too important to lose now, “Shannon, I can’t let her think I’m the enemy. After what her husband did…”

“Dean, you can’t keep deceiving her and maybe this was a blessing in disguise. If she really knew the truth about what it is you’re doing--about how you wound up being her hero that first night…” Shannon threw out a firm warning look.

“I don’t care how and why it happened Shannon. The fact to the matter is that I did save her and in her own way she’s saving me. Before I met Deidra this wasn’t about anything more than a job, but now…” he shook his head refusing to give up on the new dreams he’d carried with him, “I love her Shannon and I can’t let her think that I’m some horrible monster who could hurt her like her husband did.”

“Yet we both know you haven’t exactly been forthcoming with her Dean and protocol dictates that,” Shannon opened with the same familiar drill that he’d grown to despise over the three years he’d been working in Coral Valley.

He knew full well the things that were and weren’t expected of him. He knew of the rules--of the risks and none of that had really seemed important. It was all irrelevant and really just a minor technicality until he’d opened his heart up to Deidra. Now he knew full well what he could be jeopardizing in being honest with Deidra, but the truth to the matter was that for the first time in a long time he felt something real--something solid and he couldn’t back down now. Reaching for his jacket, he looked to Shannon once again.

“To hell with rules. I have to explain this to her,” Dean confessed giving her one last look before rushing out of his front door in the hopes of setting things straight with Deidra once and for all.

“I hope you know what you’re doing Dean,” Shannon sighed knowing full well that if Dean was honest with Deidra about what was really going on in his life, then he’d only be welcoming in trouble in ways he’d never fully understand until it was too late.


“Hunt?” Mindy questioned seeing him walk through the doors of the office. “What are you doing here?”

“I came here to see you,” Hunt replied as she got up hugging him tightly. “How are you doing today?”

“Good,” she smiled before taking a seat, “Just really busy at work and I have this new boss who is really a pain in his own strangely charming sort of way I suppose. I mean he‘s not all that bad, but you get the idea.”

“Sounds nice,” Hunt teased taking a seat in front of her desk before looking around, “It’s really quiet in here.”

“It was really quiet in here before you got here,” Chris pointed out leaning against the doorframe. “Who are you?”

“I’m sorry,” Hunt frowned before standing up, “I’m Hunt, a close friend of Mindy’s.”

“I see,” Chris nodded slowly as Hunt raised his hand out to him, “Nice to meet you Hunt, I am Chris…Chris Foley.”

“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Foley,” Hunt smiled before sitting back down.

“So what are you two up to today?” Chris questioned looking over towards Mindy who shrugged. “Going out to lunch or something?”

“We didn’t plan anything yet,” Mindy replied before looking up at Chris, “Why?”

“I was just going to say if you were leaving to tell me first since I am your boss and everything. If you were gone and I went searching for you, I might think that you were lost in the copy machine or locked in the supply closet and I‘d have to call the fire department to tear this place apart since I‘d be overcome with worry. No seriously you kids have fun,” Chris smiled before walking over towards his office.

“It was nice meeting you sir,” Hunt declared before seeing Chris nod slowly.

“You too Hank,” Chris sighed before walking into his office.

“See what I mean?” Mindy questioned seeing Hunt shrug. “I can’t stand him; he can’t even remember your name.”

“He seems alright,” Hunt shrugged before taking in a deep breath, “Other than the fact he couldn’t remember my name though you have to wonder how much of that was just him being silly.”

“You can like him, but he really bothers me,” Mindy replied before shaking her head slowly and looking through her papers slowly.

“Why do you say that?” Hunt frowned sensing her uneasiness.

“It’s more me than Chris. The truth is he’s really kind of great, but it’s just…he’s not, well he’s not Russ,” Mindy sighed heavily, “The paper just isn’t the same without him. Russ was the heart and soul of this so to have anyone else calling the shots, well it’s just hard to adjust to.”

“I can understand that, but hey if Avery believes in Chris, then maybe that in itself is something to keep in mind,” Hunt suggested encouragingly.

“Maybe you’re right,” she tried to agree, but deep down in the back of her mind, she worried about what was ahead in the future for the paper. Without Russ, well it was as if the heart of the paper itself had been taken away. With Chris around, she wondered if they’d ever truly be able to get that back. Still, maybe it was time to look forward instead of backward regardless of how hard that might be.


Brant opened the front door to the Ashford mansion stepping aside to allow Avery entrance after their flight home. While he’d hoped that they’d have far more wonderful and romantic memories to share with one another, they’d spent most of their evening dealing with the local police explaining the twisted tale of Bruce Mathis. It had been a nauseating experience and he could see that Avery was less than eager to rehash it now that they were home.

“You should get some rest,” Brant suggested gently in an attempt to ease his wife into a break from the harsh reality that had surrounded them. He placed his hand on her shoulder lightly, “You didn’t sleep much on the jet.”

“I guess I’m just not really in the mood for it,” Avery shrugged her shoulders all the while fighting not to do a mental rehash of the last four years of her life leading up to this moment in time. Of course ever since Bruce had left that disgusting thing in the bedroom on the yacht she couldn’t help but think about all the mistakes she’d made. It felt as if she’d never find a way to evolve and climb out of the dark spot she’d brought into her life when she’d met Bruce.

“Hey,” Brant stepped in behind her encircling her with his arms around her waist, “sweetheart, you really need to rest.”

“I can’t rest Brant,” she snapped at him immediately feeling a rush of guilt overtake her. She inhaled slowly silently counting to ten in an attempt to soothe her ever tense nerves before she finally faced him again. “It’s not going to help anything.”

“Of course it is,” he reached out to gently sweep a dark strand of hair from her eyes, “It’s what you need after last night.”

“What I need after last night is a new life--a new identity and a chance to take back the last four years and make them right,” she sighed heavily, her words laced with obvious sorrow.

“I wish I could make those things happen for you,” he confessed gently before curling his finger underneath her chin. He urged her to meet his dark eyes, “though I’m sure if you would like I can make two out of three happen for you there.”

“Brant, we both know it’s not going to make a difference as long as Bruce is out there,” she sighed, hating to think of what that man would do next. “He’s not going to stop until he drives me crazy or kills me. Whatever comes first I suppose.”

“He’s not going to get the opportunity to do either. I won’t allow him to hurt you,” he promised wishing above all else that he could make the man that terrorized his wife simply disappear forever.

“Brant, it’s not that. It’s just…” she started to explain before she found herself at a loss. Shaking her head lightly she tried a different approach to the situation, “It doesn’t matter. Bruce wants this. He wants me to be afraid--to be wondering when he’s going to strike and whether or not I’ll be able to get away from him.”

“Avery, that’s not going to happen,” Brant reminded her once more.

“Maybe not, but at the same time,” Avery groaned inwardly before taking a step back. “No. No, I can’t keep doing this to myself. I’ve already done enough to torture myself after what happened to Russ. For years I kept beating myself up for the mistakes I’ve made and now, well now I refuse to live the rest of my life in fear. I can’t do it and I won’t.”

“You won’t have to,” he added agreeing fully. “We’ll find a way to put this nightmare to an end once and for all.”

“You’re right. We can and we will and until then, I’m not going to sit back and let Bruce control me or my life. He can’t intimidate me to go into hiding,” Avery insisted with a stubborn expression on her face, “I have a life to live and I’ll be damned if I sit back and let him take that away from me.”

“Now there’s the spirit,” Brant cheered her on before reaching out to hold her once again, “There’s the Avery I know and love.”

“She’s still here and she’s ready to fight back,” she assured him, tilting her head up to gaze into his eyes, “She’s here because of you--because you wouldn’t let her give up on the world around her.”

“And I’m never going to let that happen,” Brant teased his fingers gently over her soft skin, feeling the soft hollow of her cheekbone, “We’re going to beat this together.”

“I know we are,” she nodded eagerly, “Together we can do that.”

“That’s right,” he tipped down to tease his lips against hers tenderly, “but for now I think I should get you up to bed. You haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in a while and I think it’s long past due.”

“As much as I’d like that,” Avery grumbled in response, “the truth is that I have to go.”

“What?” he blinked down at her with clear confusion, “But why? Avery, you can’t just leave right now when…”

“I told you I’m going to reclaim my life and as it is, I’m already going to be late for my meeting with this new editor,” she explained looking to her watch, “I’d promised Elliot that I’d go down there and…”

“And you were just put into a horrible ordeal. I’m sure Elliot would understand why you needed to cancel after last night,” Brant frowned slightly thinking about what she was saying to him.

“I’m not going to cancel,” she replied stubbornly, “This is important to me and I can’t just let it slip out of my control because Bruce is a sadistic bastard that needs to be locked up for the rest of his life. I made a promise to Elliot and to Chris and I’m going.”

“Okay, fine,” Brant decided sensing her firmness in this decision, “but at least let me take you there. We can go together and…”

“And what? I can explain to the world why you’re going to have to give up your company because you’re going to dedicate your life to being my own personal bodyguard?” Avery tossed back at him with a defiant stare, “No, that’s no going to work Brant.”

“I didn’t say I was going to be your bodyguard, but I am trying to say that I’d be more comfortable if you’d just let me go with you today. We can meet him together and…” he started to argue with her only to feel her reach for his hand in hers.

“Brant please,” she begged of him, “If I don’t do this my way, then I’m going to start scaring myself about what’s happening. I know it’s a serious situation, but if I start acting like I’m afraid--if I start behaving like I’m paranoid all the time, then, well there’s no telling what will happen to me. I’m tired of being scared…”

“It’s not about being scared. It’s about being smart Avery,” he reminded her point blank, “If you set yourself up to be hurt there…”

“I won’t be setting myself up for that Brant,” Avery explained matter of fact before standing taller, “I know how to defend myself.”

“And that’s why when I walked in on Bruce trying to kill you, you weren’t exactly getting the upper hand there,” he tossed back at her matter of fact.

“He caught me by surprise that day,” she frowned at his insinuations, “I felt like I deserved to be hurt for how I’d hurt him in ending things, but now I know better.”

“Not better enough to let me take care of you,” he squeezed her hands in his, “Avery, just let me go with you to the paper. I can stick around in the background while you talk to this guy and…”

“Brant, I can’t let you do that,” Avery started again a strange expression washing over her features.

“Why not?” he asked noticing how she’d fallen into silence again, “It’s because of Russ isn’t it? You won’t let me go and protect you because you don’t want me to play a hand in what’s going on with Russell’s paper, right?”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just that,” she shifted on her feet uneasily, “I talked to Cheryl the other night about us. We had a woman to woman about my being married to you and it opened my eyes up to a lot of things, but…”

“But what?” he questioned again.

“But I haven’t really talked to Elliot about this. Sure, he and I have been working together at the paper trying to come up with something that would’ve made Russ happy, yet…”

“Yet you don’t think he approves of this,” Brant finished for her watching her look away.

“I think he hasn’t adjusted to the fact that you and I are married,” she nodded before falling to silence again.

“So you’re going to let that stop you from being safe?” Brant shook his head at her, “Quite honestly that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard Avery.”

“Look Russ and his father were very close. Elliot meant the world to him and Russ was his pride and joy…” she started to explain.

“And you mean the world to me,” he cupped her face in his hands, “if anything ever happened to you, then I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I’d be lost without you.”

“Nothing’s going to happen to me on the way to the paper. You and I both know it’s not far from here and…well, I know how to take care of myself,” she repeated knowing how she must’ve sounded like a broken record. “Look my father made me take self defense classes and shooting lessons…”

“Shooting,” he repeated with an arched brow.

“That’s right,” she nodded in response, “I’m not all that bad as a marksman though it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to go to the range and…”

“And nothing,” he reached for her hand pulling her along through the mansion to his study, “If you’re not going to be reasonable, then you’re going to need to be safe.”

“I realize that Brant, but…” she watched him close the door to his study behind them before he turned his attention to his desk. He circled around the back of it before reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a key to the top drawer.

“Avery, I need to know that you’ll be protected,” Brant explained opening the top drawer before reaching for another set of keys. He curled his finger at her, “Come with me.”

“Brant, I’m already late as it is and…” she argued ready to go clean up for the interview when Brant placed the key in a cabinet on the far end of the wall. He opened the doors and before Avery knew it, she found herself starting at the gun in his hand.

“Take this,” he insisted moving in towards her to place it in her palm, “If you’re not going to take me, then you need this. You said you know how to shoot one of these, right?”

“Well yes, but…” her gaze dropped down to what he’d given her. It was a little different than what she was used to, but still she could remember what it was like to use a gun like this. “Brant, I don’t know if…”

“Avery, it’s either that or me,” Brant cut her off abruptly, a frown touching over his features, “and while I’d prefer it’s me, if you take that I know you’ll be safer than you’d be without it.”

“Where did you get this,” she couldn’t help but ask feeling the cold metal over her skin.

“I got it a while ago when I had that Melissa situation to deal with,” he confessed with a shudder, “She couldn’t take no for an answer and then when I was receiving those threatening phone calls and the packages at the offices…”

“I remember that,” she nodded thinking to when Brant had been stalked by one of his former conquests. Still as she held the gun in her hand, she wasn’t quite sure what to say.

“Just take it with you,” he curled his fingers in over her hand, “That way I know you’ll be protected.”

“Brant…” she opened her mouth to protest before nodding, “alright.”

“And one last request,” he continued urgently, “You let my driver take you there and bring you back. I know that it might not sound like much but…”

“But that’s fine,” she nodded bending a little bit as she could see the worry behind his eyes, “but I’ll get a ride back with Elliot. It’ll give us time to talk.”

“If you change your mind about that you can call me and I’ll be right there,” he reminded her taking a step forward.

“I know that Brant,” she glanced to the gun again before meeting his gaze, “and for what it’s worth--thank you…for everything.”

“It’s the least I can do for the woman I love,” Brant replied bending down to kiss her gently as he prayed that he wasn’t making a mistake in giving Avery the freedom that she was seeking out. Hopefully he wouldn’t live to regret letting her go while Bruce was still on the loose.


Angela took in a deep breath thinking to herself. Whether she wanted to or not, she had to call Cameron. With that thought she went over to her phone dialing his number, but only hearing the constant ringing and no answer.

“Why aren’t you answering your phone Cameron?” Angela questioned angrily hanging up the phone before leaning against the edge of her desk lightly.

Everything seemed to be so hard lately. Everything kept going wrong when it came to work.

“What?” Angela questioned angrily hearing a knock on her door as Kevin slowly opened the door looking towards her. “Oh hey Kevin.”

“Is everything okay Angie?” he questioned with a frown seeing her nod slowly. “You’re a bad liar.”

“It’s really nothing,” she declared before taking in a deep breath seeing Kevin walk towards her and sit down on the desk.

“I have known you long enough to know when you are feeling down, but if you don’t want to tell me…I understand,” Kevin nodded slowly before folding his arms out in front of his chest.

“Like I said, it’s really nothing,” she assured him before standing up, “What about you? What’s up?”

“I called Seth,” he informed her before taking in a deep breath as she grabbed his hand in hers gently.

“Is everything okay?” she questioned worriedly looking at the expression on his face.

“I don’t know,” Kevin shrugged before going on, “I can’t get a hold of him. All I do know is that he sounded very worried the last time I talked to him. Which is starting to make me worry…very much.”

“You think your cousin is alright?” Angela questioned as she watched him stand up.

“That’s what I have to find out,” Kevin replied before rubbing his hands together slowly, “It’s also why I came to talk to you.”

“What is it?” she asked worriedly as he slid his hands into his pockets.

“I’m leaving for a little while,” Kevin answered before looking up at her, “I’m going to go and check on him.”

“Good idea,” she nodded before grabbing her keys, “I will go get my stuff together and then we could go right away.”

“Angie wait,” Kevin called out grabbing her hand before she could reach the door, “I think you should stay here.”

“I want to come with you though,” Angela replied as Kevin shook his head slowly.

“You have to stay and take care of Nick,” Kevin stated before shaking his head slowly, “I won’t be gone very long, I promise you that.”

“Are you sure?” she questioned seeing him nod slowly before she wrapped her arms around his torso tightly.

“I’ll be fine,” he laughed wrapping his arms around her tightly, “I would have loved you coming with me, but you really don’t have to.”

“I don’t mind coming Kev,” Angela restated before frowning, “You’re my friend and I love you.”

“I love you too Angie,” Kevin replied hugging her tighter, “That why you have to stay here with Nick, he’ll protect you.”

“Are you sure you want to go alone?” she questioned seeing him nod slowly.

“I have to go get ready to leave so I came to say goodbye,” Kevin informed her before seeing her frown.

“Well, at least let me take you to the airport,” Angela protested before shaking her head, “And I won’t take no for and answer.”

“Alright then,” Kevin laughed before letting her slip out of his arms, “You can take me to the airport.”


“About time you came back,” Cameron growled getting up from his seat seeing Kipp walk into the room.

“Sorry Cameron,” Kipp apologized before setting his briefcase on the table, “I am trying to do the best I can.”

“You are obviously not doing a really good job then,” Cameron pointed out with a scowl before seeing Kipp shrug, “If you were doing your best, you would have me out of here by now.”

“What am I supposed to do Cameron?” Kipp questioned slyly, “Everyone hates you in this town Cameron and that isn’t the tiniest bit my fault.”

“Very funny,” Cameron hissed before looking around the room slowly.

“I was being serious,” Kipp shrugged before taking a seat slowly as Cameron glared at him.

“Is it possible to have any chance of knowing when I might be getting out of here?” Cameron questioned seeing Kipp looking up towards the ceiling.

“No idea,” Kipp shrugged before looking at his watch.

“What do you mean you have no idea?” Cameron asked angrily before seeing Kipp shrug.

“Excuse me one second,” Kipp held up his finger hearing his cell phone ring. “Hello?”

“Kipp, it’s Kellen,” Kellen’s happy voice came over the receiver as Kipp smiled.

“If you will excuse me Cameron,” Kipp grinned as he grabbed his briefcase and walked towards the door. “I have an important phone call to get.”

“Don’t you dare walk out on me Kipp,” Cameron yelled to be cut off by the slamming of the door as he slammed his hands down on the table. “You little weasel. What can be more important than me at this moment?”


“I can’t believe this is really happening,” Blake sighed happily, “Seth and I are going to be together forever.”

“You deserve to be happy Blake,” Sarah smiled resting her hands on her best friend’s shoulders, “I know Seth can give you that happiness. You two are destined to be together.”

“Thanks,” Blake sighed before looking at herself in the mirror before her, “In just a little while, we are going to be one.”

“I don’t think I have ever seen you so happy before,” Sarah laughed as Blake smoothed her dress out.

“I've never felt this happy before,” Blake replied before taking a seat in one of the chairs, “I've never known anyone or anything that made me this happy and I want to thank you for sharing this moment with me.”

“Blake, honey, I wanted to be here,” Sarah informed her before kneeling down before her.

“You know I was thinking,” Blake giggled before seeing Sarah raise an eyebrow.

“About what?” Sarah questioned with a small smile watching Blake shrug.

“After this wedding,” Blake began before smiling once more, “You and Kyle should be the next to get married.”

“Us?” Sarah questioned unexpectedly, “I don’t know, I don’t think it is going to happen anytime soon.”

“Why not?” Blake wondered eagerly. “You two love each other a lot, right?”

“Well, of course,” Sarah nodded slowly before thinking about it, “I don’t know if Kyle would be ready for that though.”

“Why not? It seems like he loves you a lot,” Blake pointed out before seeing Sarah shrug.

“How do you know that?” Sarah wondered seeing Blake roll her eyes before starting to talk.

“Have you seen the way he looks at you?” Blake questioned before starting up again. “That itself shows he loves you more than anything in this world.”

“I guess you’re right,” Sarah nodded with a slight blush, “I love him a lot too.”

“Believe me girl, you are stuck on him,” Blake replied before hearing Sarah laugh as she nodded slowly.

“Can I ask you a question?” Sarah wondered seeing Blake nod. “Why did you invite me and Kyle?”

“That’s a dumb question,” Blake laughed before seeing Sarah shrug, “You two are like my best friends. I mean, I could have invited my brothers, but this is better since I know I‘d have a whole world of explaining to do with Brant and Ken. They just don‘t get romance like you and Kyle do. I will make it up to them soon or later though.”

“I think they will understand,” Sarah assured her before smiling, “They should know this is really important to you.”

“I know, it’s really important to me and it’s the only thing I want to focus on right now,” Blake began before standing up, “Seth is the most important thing in my life.”


“I can’t get this stupid thing on,” Seth growled before dropping his tie to the ground.

“Here,” Kyle frowned picking up the tie, “Let me help you get it on you.”

“Sorry Kyle, I am just,” Seth began before Kyle cut him off holding his hands up in the air.

“Nervous,” Kyle finished his sentence before nodding slowly, “I know…its okay.”

“Thanks man,” Seth sighed watching Kyle walk over towards the bed where he had set his dress shirt down.

“No problem,” Kyle smiled pulling the shirt over his bare shoulders, “I know you are really worried right now.”

“I think really worried in an understatement,” Seth laughed watching Kyle sit down on the couch.

“You need to calm down,” Ria informed him coming out of the bathroom, “You are getting too worried.”

“I can’t help it,” Seth sighed sitting down in one of the chairs, “I just love Blake so much.”

“Seth, she loves you a lot too,” Kyle pointed out with a laugh before standing up, “I think everything is going to be okay.”

“I know, but there is always that worry in the back of your mind,” Seth began before Ria cut him off.

“You shouldn’t have to worry,” Ria declared before shaking her head, “I don’t think any of you will have second thoughts about this thing.”

“You are going to do great,” Kyle assured him as he began to button up his shirt.

“These suits are so hot,” Seth growled before standing up quickly, “I don’t even know why we are wearing these.”

“I actually think you two look cute in those things,” Ria replied as Kyle put his tie on slowly, “You look nice.”

“Anyways,” Kyle sighed putting his jacket on, “It’s what Blake wanted. So you are doing it for her.”

“I love her that’s why,” Seth nodded slowly; “I love her a lot. We’re going to get married tonight.”

“You traveled this far,” Kyle nodded slowly before patting him on the back, “You better be getting married.”

“Thanks man,” Seth laughed looking back at Kyle and Ria, “I know you two are trying to make me feel better.”

“It doesn’t seem like it is working too well,” Ria replied with a simple shrug. “It was worth a shot.”

“It’s working,” Seth assured them before looking at himself in the mirror, “I just can’t wait to be married to the woman I love the most in life.”


“Are you sure you’re ready for this,” Carly questioned apprehensively thinking about what having Dave with her would mean to her future. Remembering how she’d tried to keep Kayla out of the chaos that surrounded her life, she felt herself overcome with a newfound sense of nervousness. She glanced over at Dave as if trying to read his expression after the flight they’d made out here.

“I’m beyond ready for this one,” Dave confessed his voice laced with the many questions still running through his mind. He looked over to her with a small smile of his own despite the fact his stomach was tied in knots, “because I’m looking forward to proving you wrong this time.”

“Dave, I wish that it was that simple, but…” Carly began to object turning her attention to the driveway before her. She inhaled slowly knowing full well that bringing Dave to her mother’s house in the Hamptons wasn’t only nerve-wracking in itself, but after Dave and her mother came face to face, well she wasn’t sure how that would wind up.

“But nothing,” Dave put the rental car into park before glancing over at her, “I’m ready to do this.”

“Even if it means seeing my mother?” she questioned arching a skeptic brow.

“I’m sure that Helen and I can be civil,” he paused thinking about what she was saying to him, “and if we can’t, well then I’m not here to see her anyways. I’m here for Kayla.”

“Dave I…” she started watching the way he seemed ready to ignore whatever protests were coming from her lips. Within a matter of seconds she felt him at the passenger side door opening it up for her.

“Come on. Let’s do this,” Dave insisted helping her out of the car before turning to face the oversized beach house before him. He knew full well that he was probably near the bottom of Helen Matthews most favorite list, but right about now that was irrelevant. He was eager to meet Kayla and see if maybe just maybe there was a chance that she could be his. Sure, he’d seen a glimpse of her in the photograph, but now, well now he wanted more. Following Carly up the long driveway, he waited patiently for Helen to answer the door.

“Carly,” Helen greeted her daughter with an enthusiastic embrace when the door flung open, “What ever are you doing here? You never mentioned that you were coming in today…”

“I guess it was kind of a spur of the moment kind of trip,” Carly smiled back at her mother feeling a bit of her uneasiness linger over her before she looked to Dave, “Mom, you remember Dave.”

“How could I forget David?” Helen’s smiled faded as her eyes fell upon Carly’s ex-lover, “What ever brings you to these parts? An unsolved homicide that you don’t have any grasp for perhaps?”

“Not yet,” Dave’s eyes sparked with warning before he forced a strained smile, “but if you’d like to be the victim, then I’d be more than happy to help out with the investigation.”

“Well I never…” Helen brought her hand up to the center of her chest before looking to Carly again, “Why would you bring him here simply to be rude to me like this?”

“Mom, he’s joking,” Carly tried to assure her before throwing a warning look out in Dave’s general direction. Inhaling slowly she cut back to the point, “We’re here to see Kayla mom.”

“Kayla,” Helen repeated with a deeper frown, “why?”

“Because I’ve missed her and I’d like to have her meet Dave,” Carly continued to explain only to find herself cut off by the sounds of little footsteps on the hardwood floor approaching.

“Grams,” Kayla’s voice sounded from the hallway, “Grammy who’s here?”

Helen’s face shifted from Carly and Dave to something lighter and more welcoming when she turned to face her granddaughter. Kayla was still in her pink Pooh pajamas holding a box of cereal in hand and spilling the contents all over the floor in the process, but Helen couldn’t help but smile at her.

“Who’s here Grammy?” Kayla questioned again with big brown eyes before Helen bent down to scoop her up into her arms.

“Your mommy is here,” Helen explained with a thoughtful expression before she looked over to Dave, “and she brought a friend.”

“Really?” Kayla practically squealed. Once she’d spotted Carly she couldn’t get out of her grandmother’s arms fast enough. She wiggled to the ground dropping the box of cereal in the process before rushing to Carly. Clasping her arms around her mother’s legs enthusiastically Kayla squealed again, “Mommy, mommy it’s really you.”

“Of course it’s really me,” Carly bent down to pull her daughter into her arms for a tight hug, “I’ve missed you.”

“I missed you too mommy,” Kayla confessed with a soft, little sigh of her own, “Grams and I were making breakfast. I was about to eat some Lucky Charms and now that you’re here we can eat them together.”

“Lucky charms huh,” Carly smiled down at her before poking at her little belly, “How did you know that those were my favorite?”

Kayla laughed as if Carly had said the funniest thing in the world just then, “Why mommy I know because they are my favorite too!”

“And they’re all over the floor Kayla Ann,” Helen shook her head at the mess Kayla had made.

“That’s okay Grammy,” Kayla insisted with a shrug of her shoulders, “I’ll have Bonkers help clean them up. Bonkers. Bonkers!”

“Sweetheart, I don’t think that Bonkers is going to want those Lucky Charms,” Carly tried to explain as she thought about her mother’s overweight, oversized Persian cat who’d seen much better days in his youth. Now a days they’d be lucky to see Bonkers get up from his pillow long enough to go eat and then back to nap again.

“Of course Bonkers wants Lucky Charms,” Kayla insisted shaking her head at her mother, “Everyone wants Lucky Charms.”

“I happen to like Lucky Charms,” Dave added breaking his long silence after he’d stood in awe of the beautiful little girl beside him. While he’d known how hard Carly was trying to convince him that he couldn’t be her father, more than anything he wished that wasn’t the case--especially now.

“Who are you? Are you mommy‘s friend?” Kayla questioned as if she’d only now seen him for the first time. Her big eyes were filled with a curiosity and a spark of enthusiasm and joy for life that made her irresistible. She certainly had a lot of Carly in her, but was it possible that something so beautiful and innocent could be a part of Ken as well? Dave hoped not.

Shaking the thought he smiled at Kayla unable to refrain from doing so naturally, “Yes as a matter of fact I am. My name is Dave.”

“Dave is mommy’s friend from Coral Valley--you know where Mommy works,” Carly explained to her daughter hoping that would help fill in the blanks enough for Kayla.

“Oh,” Kayla’s smile faded a bit, “Are you mommy’s boss?”

“No,” Dave shook his head noticing the way that her expression turned to a small pout, “I take it you wouldn’t be happy if you thought that I was, huh?”

“No, not really,” Kayla explained with an emphatic sigh, “I miss mommy and I want her to come back home--not be in Coral Valley.”

“Well honey, I think we can work on fixing it so that I don’t have to stay in Coral Valley without you,” Carly promised watching the way Kayla’s face grew eager again.

“Really? You mean you’d come back to Grammy and I and stay here forever and ever?” Kayla batted her eyelashes pleading with Carly.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Carly promised hugging her once again before motioning to the Lucky Charms again, “though we really do need to work on cleaning those up for grams.”

“I know,” Kayla sighed emphatically before another frown touched over her lips. “There are a real lot of them on the floor though. It might be too much to pick up for someone little like me.”

“How about I help you clean them up?” Dave suggested taking another step forward.

“You would do that?” Kayla’s face immediately brightened before she wiggled in her mother’s arms, “Mommy you have to let me down. Dave said he’d help me and we’ll pick them up for breakfast.”

“Oh honey I don’t know if you can use them for breakfast now that they were on the floor,” Carly started to explain before Helen waved her hand dismissively.

“I have another box in the pantry,” Helen mouthed to her daughter as Kayla set foot on the ground. “You know where the broom is, right Kayla-bear?”

Kayla nodded before holding her hand up in the air in front of Dave, “Come on. I’ll show you.”

“Lead the way,” Dave decided accepting Kayla’s hand as she lead him into the kitchen with a determined tug.

Once the two had exited the foyer, Helen turned to Carly with a worried expression, “Carly, why is he here?”

“I wanted him to meet Kayla,” Carly shrugged her shoulders all the while hearing the sounds of Kayla bossing Dave around in the kitchen.

“But why?” Helen asked in a pinched whisper, “We know that he’s obviously not Kayla’s father, so why bring him here unless… Oh Carly, please don’t tell me that you’re getting back together with him. After everything you’ve accomplished--after all the changes you’ve made, please don’t tell me you’re taking ten steps backward in trying to pick up where you left off with him.”

“Mom, you have to trust me on this one,” Carly frowned back at her mother, “I know what I’m doing.”

“This time I’m not so sure you do,” Helen shook her head with heavy disapproval watching as Kayla and Dave returned with the broom and dustpan.

“Well it’s not up to you to be sure,” Carly mouthed dryly to her mother watching the exchange between Dave and Kayla. Seeing them playing together was all the motivation she’d needed to know that bringing him here wasn’t such a bad idea. With that thought in mind, she stepped forward opting to help in the morning clean up rather than listen to her mother’s million and one reasons why being around Dave again was such a bad idea. If her mother had any idea what had happened in Coral Valley, Carly was sure that she’d be even less enthused about her being here, but that wasn’t important now. Being with Kayla was and from this moment on Carly vowed to enjoy the time she could share with her daughter. That was really what mattered.


Avery opened the front door to the Courier offices knowing that she’d wound up being early for her meeting with Chris. While she’d thought that she was running behind, it turned out that she was ahead of schedule. That was good enough though as she really, truly wanted to take the time to herself to really think about things that had been happening. Entering the darkened offices, she couldn’t help but feel a small smile tug over her lips at the atmosphere that surrounded her. This place was the heart and soul of her husband’s vision and now it seemed like a part of him still existed in the area.

She walked around taking her time to look over the various things before her until her eyes settled in upon Russell’s office. Taking a silent step forward she reached out to touch the black lettering on the door. Even now the thought of walking inside and not seeing him had her tangled up in knots. This place might still have a part of Russ alive inside of it, but the part that Avery so desperately needed was gone forever.

“Don’t do this now,” she instructed herself feeling tears threatening. She inhaled a long, calming breath before she reached for the doorknob, opening Russell’s office and making her way inside. His desk was much like he’d left it the last time he’d been there. His notes were scattered over the top of the desk. His pen that he used to nibble on the end of when he was stressed was on top of the papers. Avery reached for it, shaking her head at her husband’s nervous habit before her eyes fell upon the framed photo of them on their wedding day. Reaching for it Avery sank back into his leather office chair thinking about how many plans they’d had for their lives together. How they’d hoped that things would turn out differently--that they’d have that happily ever after they’d always dreamt about.

“Oh Russ,” she sighed sinking further into the chair as a flood of memories washed down upon her.

“And just what do you think you’re doing in my chair,” Russell’s voice resonated through the empty office causing Avery to look up at him from where she sat.

“Waiting for you,” she shrugged her shoulders, sliding her legs up onto the desk to watch the way his gaze followed her movement, “Have a problem with that?”

“Well…” he paused for a long moment contemplating the vision before him now that Avery appeared to be rather at home legs propped up over the top of his brand new desk, “I guess I don’t have a problem, but if anyone else were to come in here and see you looking like that all ready for sin…”

“Who said anything about being ready for sin,” Avery challenged wiggling a bit to open up the lapels of the black trench coat she’d been wearing, “As far as I’m concerned there isn’t anything sinful about my relaxing here right now.”

“No?” he took a step forward, his eyes following her through the sultry shadows that surrounded her, “Then would you care to tell me what it is you’re hiding beneath that jacket Ms. Morrison?”

“What? In this old thing,” she shrugged her shoulders before bringing her hand up to her mouth feigning a yawn, “Nothing out of the ordinary--at least not anything that I care to share with anyone other than the editor of this new paper that’s starting up. I’ve been waiting for him all day and wouldn’t you know he’s been putting me off time and time again…”

“Shame on him,” Russ made a small tisking sound before stepping in closer to her, “but you’re in luck because I’m here and I’d be more than happy to help you with whatever it is you’re interested in. I mean yes, I realize that the editor is quite busy running around all over the place since he’s opening the offices tomorrow for the first time, but I’m not too busy for you.”

“Well, I was holding out for him,” she waved her hand at him again before dropping it down over the part in her jacket. She fingered the material leisurely while her eyes sized him up in a very long, very thorough once over, “but I suppose you’ll do. Do you have a name?”

“As a matter of fact I do,” he nodded reaching out to pull her out of the chair with one full, determined yank. Once he’d collected her in his arms, she felt the warmth and the fire of his breath upon hers, “yours.”

“I think I like that,” she smiled seductively up at him, catching the sparkle burning behind his eyes before his mouth melded over hers.

“I was hoping you would,” Russ mouthed against the warmth of her full, excited lips. His fingers dropped down over the sash of her jacket, peeling the knot away before his green eyes sank hungrily into hers, “So tell me what did you bring for me tonight?”

“Just this,” Avery shrugged out of the jacket to reveal the sexy satin and lace lingerie that she’d picked out for such an occasion.

“Very nice,” Russ nodded in approval, teasing his fingertip over the top swell of her breasts to the pink ribbon that laced up the front of her body, “am I to assume that you’re mine for the taking? All wrapped up and ready to be revealed to me?”

“What do you think,” she tossed back at him throwing her arms around his neck before urging him in over her on the desk ready to give his office a christening that he’d never forget.

“Excuse me,” a voice brought Avery back to the present causing her to nearly leap out of the chair after the heat of the memory flashed upon her. She could feel her face hot with a blush, her breath a bit labored as her eyes turned to the shadow of a man standing in the doorway to the office. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine. I’m…” Avery shuffled around a bit attempting to find some way to regain her bearings. She searched for the lamp on Russell’s desk in the hopes of bringing some light into the office, but before she could locate it, the overhead light snapped on.

“It was dark out there and I wasn’t sure that someone was here, but I figured it was well worth checking it out. The light switch for this office is here in case you were curious,” Chris explained with a tiny quip motioning to the switch before his eyes fell upon Avery. He blinked once, twice and then it was his turn to look stunned.

“I’m sorry about that,” Avery began to apologize trying to still her racing heart after the very erotic memory she’d conjured up about her time with Russ. She scrambled to get out of the chair, only to feel herself caught on something trapped beneath the leg. “I meant to turn everything on but…”

“But…” Chris stammered a bit, blinking again as if his own eyes were betraying him.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized finally getting out of her chair and taking a step towards him, “I’m just…”

“Out of all the newsrooms in the world, she had to walk into mine. Just when I thought I’d never see such a vision before me, she walks into my life again looking as radiant and beautiful as ever. While I haven’t been fortunate enough to see her lovely face since that weekend in Paris, she’s always a treasure--a beauty and a true Angel in every sense of the word,” Chris began in a poetic undertone bringing his hand to his chest, “What are the chances?”

“Excuse me,” Avery blinked back at him, suddenly quite confused by the expression on his face.

“Of all the things I expected to find in this town, the last thing on my list was seeing you again, but now that I am, well things are certainly looking up for us, aren’t they Angie?” Chris began reaching for her hand and drawing it to his lips with a tender, gentlemanly kiss leaving Avery to wonder if he’d somehow lost his mind.


Brant paced around his study thinking about Avery’s trip to the newspaper. While he knew full well that she had a job to do in helping Elliot, he couldn’t help but wonder if something had gone wrong. Naturally he called the driver to make sure that Avery had gotten to the offices alright and he’d been half tempted to call her cell phone, but he was trying to maintain the image of a protective, yet anything but controlling husband. Of course right now he wanted nothing more than to go down to the offices and make sure she was alright.

“This is insane,” Brant decided reaching for his jacket ready to go check in on Avery. If she was unhappy with him, well she’d have to take it up in an argument later, but for now, well now he wanted to make sure that she was safe. Moving to the door he opened it to find Augustus standing before him.

“Augustus,” he spoke his grandfather’s name with a surprised tone, “Hi.”

“In a hurry?” Augustus questioned with an arched brow.

“Well I was about to,” Brant started to explain to him.

“Give me a few minutes,” Augustus pleaded with him, “because we need to talk--about something well, rather important.”

“What’s on your mind Augustus?” Brant replied trying to be polite and respectful while his mind was on Avery and what could be happening at the newspaper offices.

“I was hoping we could have a little talk about this situation with Heather,” Augustus explained a firm, yet authoritative tone in his voice, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been taking a lot of time to help her with her issues she’s been going through.”

“Heather helped Avery and I during a hard time when Avery was working a next to impossible case,” Brant explained, “She helped us find a way for Avery to win and I’m trying to help return the favor.”

“Yes, but at what price?” Augustus arched a curious brow, “Is helping Heather worth ruining your marriage?”

“It’s not going to ruin my marriage,” Brant began to argue, “Avery understands what I’m doing and…”

“No wife understands another woman living in her home,” Augustus shook his head at Brant, “While she may be saying she’s understanding the situation, the truth to the matter is that having Heather here will put a strain on your situation. That’s why I took it upon myself to take care of this for you.”

“You what?” Brant’s eyes widened in shock catching note of the expression on his grandfather’s face, “Augustus, what have you done?”

“I did you a favor--one that you’ll be thanking me for in the future and I came here today to try to talk some sense into you son,” Augustus continued triumphantly, “if you want to see your marriage work, then you’re going to have to stop thinking about those insignificant stressors that can tear your future apart.”

“While I appreciate your concern, it wasn’t really necessary for you to intervene,” Brant frowned slightly, “Heather is a friend and…”

“And she’s been doing nothing, but trying to sabotage you and Avery since she stepped into this house. That’s why I arranged for her to have her surgery,” Augustus informed him folding his arms in front of his chest, “and when she returns to town, I’m certain that she’ll step back and let you live your life.”

“Why do you say that? What did you do to her?” Brant questioned uneasily, “Please tell me you didn’t try to manipulate her.”

“I just made sure that when she returns to Coral Valley that she’ll be more focused on getting her life back together again instead of leaning on you all of the time. I realize that you cared about her once upon a time, but Heather is a grown woman. She’s fully capable of taking care of herself and her son. Up until this point you’ve let her take advantage of your generosity. She hasn’t faced up to the responsibilities that being a mother entails…”

“I realize that, but she’s been through a lot. She was hurt and now she’s in a custody battle against Kipp Mahoney and…” Brant started thinking about the situation Heather had gotten herself into.

“She’ll be able to handle herself. She’ll be okay and if she needs help, then she’s more than welcome to ask, but I just think it would be best if she didn’t from inside the confines of these walls. When Heather comes back, she’ll be able to get back on her feet again and I’ll help her with the custody battle she has going on, but for now, well I’d like you to stay a safe distance away from her,” Augustus explained simply.

“I understand what you’re saying, but Augustus, Heather and I are just friends. I’m not at all interested in her that way anymore. I love Avery and…” Brant tried to explain himself.

“Focus on your family. Let me deal with Heather,” Augustus urged hoping that Brant would take him up on his advice and finally leave that page in his history behind forever.


Kipp walked through the hospital doors slowly smiling to himself thinking of how he was going to be seeing Charles. He walked down the hallway slowly before reaching the room that Charles was always in. Holding a gift bag in hand, he thought to the present he bought for his son. How he was going to enjoy giving it to him even if Charles was too young to understand what it symbolized.

“Where is he?” Kipp questioned looking around the nursery and not seeing Charles anywhere. “Excuse me miss.”

The nurse that had recently passed the room came back as he walked over to her.

“Do you know where a baby is? His name is Charles,” Kipp informed her seeing her shake her head and walk away. His heart began to race as a thought ran through his mind. What if Heather took him?

“Oh my god,” Kipp gasped running out into the hallway, “I have to find him.”


Seth stood at the front of the small chapel feeling his palms sweating, his heart racing and his mind focused on the one woman who had captured his heart from the first moment he’d laid his eyes upon her. Now as he stood beside Ria and Kyle waiting for the moment to come when their lives were linked together for eternity, he felt his heart swell with love. This was really happening. They were really doing it.

He heard the music begin to play, he turned his attention to the doorway his eyes searching for his beautiful bride to walk inside. As soon as she did, he felt his heart stop. She was truly breathtaking--a vision in white and as he felt her presence carry over the room he knew this was exactly everything he’d wanted for them. Yes, it wasn’t at all like they’d planned and there were plenty of things missing from this day, but in watching Blake he knew that this was right.

Blake smiled at him moving in beside him after the short walk to the front of the room. She took his hand in hers feeling her body buzzing with enthusiasm. Everything was perfect. She was about to become Seth’s wife and nothing could ever change how right they were together. Yes, Jade wasn’t there and neither was her family, but it felt right. It felt…

“Stop,” a voice called out from the back of the church right before the man before them stepped forward. Blake felt an icy chill sweep in over her body before she spun around and saw a familiar face before her.

“I said stop,” Valerie repeated marching down the isle with a determined stride. She had JT stay behind because today, well today she was going to enjoy what she had to do, “You can’t get married. It would be a waste of time to perform a wedding that’s never going to happen.”

“What in the…” Blake’s jaw dropped as she looked directly at the woman who’d caused a scene on her big day. She opened her mouth further to say something--to say anything when Seth stepped forward surprising her even more.

“Valerie, what in the hell are you doing here,” Seth questioned with obvious agitation behind his tone.

“You know her,” Blake glanced over at Seth unable to believe what was going on during her special day, “You actually know this bitch.”

“Oh he more than knows me princess,” Valerie announced bluntly allowing her icy glare to reach out over to Blake, “He’s my husband.”


...to be continued...