You're what? Blake replied unable to believe what shed
just heard. For a second there shed thought that the impossible, irritating,
horrible woman before her had said that Seth was her husband, but that couldnt
be. Sure maybe Seth had met her, but he never ever would.
Thats right Princess, Valerie spat back at her sourly, Seth is my husband and theres no way in hell that hes going to be able to marry you today or ever for that matter.
Valerie, I cant believe that youre here, Seth started finding himself at a complete loss. He thought to Valeries repeated attempts to contact him, but they hadnt registered until now.
I couldnt stay away. Seth I had to stop you from making the biggest mistake of your life with this--this Ashford. She couldnt possibly love you the way I do, nor can she give you what you need. Seth, you and I both know that youre so much better than this, Valerie stepped forward bringing her arms out to reach for Seth except Blake wasnt about to let it happen.
Get away from him! Blake snapped back at her, I dont know who the hell you are, but youre clearly out of your mind if youre going to stand there and lie about Seth like this. You and your little friend can just go and crawl back under whatever rock it is you just came out from under
Blake, Seth began reaching out to touch her shoulder gently.
Seth I can handle this, Blake waved dismissively knowing that she wasnt about to let little miss model break up her happy day, Now you listen and you listen good
Before you start up on your little tirade Princess, maybe you should see this, Valerie pulled a paper out of her pocket. She shook it briefly letting the folds even themselves out to reveal a marriage certificate indicating that she was in fact Mrs. Seth Alexander.
Thats fake, Blake blurted out her eyes falling upon the page before her. She scanned it over twice, snatching it from Valeries hand to take a closer look, This isnt real.
Its as real as it gets, isnt it Seth? Valeries eyes glimmered with eagerness, her grin expanding more and more by the moment now that shed finally gotten Blake exactly where she wanted her.
Seth? Blake questioned a stunned expression on her face.
Blake, I can explain Seth started finding himself at a complete loss now that the past had come back to haunt him full force.
Seth, tell me its not true, Blake pleaded with him waving the paper in her hand, Tell me that this is fake.
I cant, Seth replied shamefully allowing his head to drop at the words. He fought to find the right way to explain it--to tell Blake everything, but in that moment he found himself shell-shocked by a past that had finally come back to rip apart his future.
Oh boy, Sarah gasped watching Blake transform from a cool and collected bride to be to something that mirrored the look of a madman. She leaned in closer to Kyle reaching for his arm and squeezing it for support, I think were in trouble.
Kyle too had been stunned by the scene playing
before him and up until now he wasnt sure what to say, but he realized
he didnt have to once he watched Blake rush out of the chapel in tears.
Blake wait. I can explain, Seth pleaded with her taking a step to chase after her only to feel Valerie tug on his arms.
Forget about her Seth, Valerie urged him on refusing to let go of her hold on him.
Let go of me Val, Seths eyes darkened with anger as he tried to shake her off of him.
Seth, you dont need her. Im your wife and we can be happy together. We came here to make that dream happen for us once and now that were in Atlantic City again, we can make it happen, Valerie continued with a delusional smile, her fingers curling tighter around his muscled arm.
I said, let go of me, Seths voice resonated through the chapel. He shook once more finally getting out of her grasp. Desperately he raced off after Blake in the hopes of explaining the situation to her before it was too late and he lost her forever.
Seth no, Valerie attempted to chase after him, but she was stopped by someone grabbing her arm. She turned around to see Sarah had stepped from her place at the side of the alter to grab her arm. Let go of me you
Look, I dont know who the hell you are and I dont give a damn what that paper says, Sarah motioned to the certificate that Blake had discarded on her way out, Back off.
Dont tell me what to do you Valerie snapped back at her wrenching at her own arm, Release me bitch.
Did you just call me a bitch? Sarah repeated her eyes narrowing with the word that struck a chord in her.
Thats right bitch. Back off, Valerie placed her hand out to shove Sarah in the center of the chest. Sarah stumbled backward a bit before Kyle moved in beside her ready to stop her from falling fully.
Sarah, shes not worth it, Kyle began steadying Sarah before she knocked into something. While he wasnt sure who this woman was before him, he knew in that instant that he didnt like her at all.
No, shes not, Sarah grumbled under her breath thinking about the joy the woman was getting out of Blakes pain. That in itself brought Sarah all the motivation she needed to march forward and punch Valerie right square across the jaw. That action sent Valerie backward into one of the benches that had been set up in the small chapel as Valerie hadnt seen any of Sarahs attack coming. Shed been far too absorbed in the notion of chasing after Seth to even think to give Sarah a second thought. Of course that action had cost her now that she fell to the floor with a loud thud.
Yeah, who is the bitch now, Sarah spat out after her before stomping out of the chapel in the hopes of finding her wounded friend.
Kyle glanced down at Valerie, who still sat on the floor in a state of shock. He shrugged his shoulders before speaking up at long last, You know word to the wise, next time you see her, you might not want to call her bitch. It couldve been a lot worse.
Valerie let out a high pitched squeal moving to pull herself up off of the floor, but the heel on her shoe broke in the movement sending her right down to her butt again. Kyle let out a small chuckle before going off after Sarah in the hopes of doing what he could to help with the situation that had taken place.
Nice one Val, JT chuckled unable to refrain from his laughter before he shook his head at her, If this was your big surprise, well Id hate to see what you have planned next because this didnt work.
Shut up JT, Valerie growled clenching her fists at her side knowing full well that one way or another she would get what she wanted. It was only a matter of time now that Blake knew the truth.
Im sorry, Avery apologized feeling a moment of awkward
sensation pass over her. She withdrew her hand away from Chriss touch
and felt a breath catch in her throat, but you must be mistaken.
I could never be mistaken about a vision so lovely, Chris insisted with a sexy smile of his own.
No, Im telling you that youre clearly Avery started up again uneasily.
Nonsense, he waved his hand dismissively, I never forget a face--especially one so very beautiful. After the time you and I spent together, I think that the last thing I would do is forget you. Of course I realize that things might not have ended as we wouldve liked, but Id like to think that our friendship is still in tact given that we had a very intellectual connection with one another that
There you are, Elliots voice broke through the moment as he too entered Russells office. He glanced between Chris and Avery before offering up a cheerful smile, I take it youve met Avery.
Avery, Chriss eyes widened before he nearly leapt back in embarrassment, Youre Avery? You mean youre not I just and youre not
Not who you mustve thought I was, she let out a nervous laugh trying to keep things light and friendly between them. She held out her hand again trying a different approach, And you must be Chris.
Well yes I am, but I really thought that you were that she was and you are he stammered finding himself at a loss, Wow. This is like uncanny. I cant believe that I thought you were
Someone special obviously, Avery laughed lightly feeling her apprehension slip away as now it was Chriss turn to a bright crimson color.
I cant believe that I thought, well that I would he shook his head, I suppose an apology is in order for my behavior.
Its okay, Avery smiled again, Im sure that whomever she was, she was a lucky girl to have quite an admirer.
Did I miss something here, Elliot asked with a strange look eyeing the both of them intently.
Not really, Chris shrugged, I just happened to have made an ass of myself in front of your charming daughter-in-law and now Im hoping that shes gracious enough to not hold it against me.
Of course I wouldnt do that, Avery added thoughtfully, I mean given the darkness and the way that it was in here, well hey anything is possible right?
I suppose, but I swear that you look just like her, Chris scrutinized her features closely, The resemblance is overwhelming and
What resemblance? Elliot asked wanting to get in on the conversation.
She looks like a woman I knew once upon a time--a very special woman, but well, obviously age must be catching up to me. For a second there I thought that Chris shrugged his shoulders, I havent seen her in a while and
And yet your mystery woman looks like I do, Avery shook her head offering up a slight chuckle, Poor girl. I dont think Id wish such a fate on anyone.
Oh who are you kidding Avery, Elliot added with a disapproving look, Youre beautiful. If nothing else Russ shouldve convinced you of that.
Russ convinced me of a lot of things that I never thought Id believe in again, Avery admitted poignantly before glancing over at Chris, which is why I want to make sure that his dream is in good hands.
I can promise you that the paper is in very good hands. Ive been doing some research on some of the things Russ was doing with the paper and if at any time youre not happy with what Im doing, well you can feel free to come on in and yell at me. Remember youre the boss and Im here to do right by your husbands memory, Chris did a mock bow before smiling at her.
I like the way you think, Avery admitted with an approving glance at Elliot, I think you did a wonderful job in hiring him here.
We made a wonderful choice, Elliot reminded her before speaking to Chris, She was the one whod spotted your resume and was rather impressed.
Than I shall do my best not to let her down, Chris promised with a confident smile. And I hope that we can find a way to get to know one another better--to work through some of the things that your husband had in mind for the paper.
Id like that, Avery nodded hearing another sound from outside the office. Chris turned to see whomever was out there and he raised a finger to them before looking to Avery.
Ill be right back, Chris promised walking out of the office leaving Elliot and Avery alone with one another.
So what do you really think? Elliot questioned with an arched brow.
He seems nice, Avery confessed still pondering what had taken place between them.
Nice enough to do the Courier justice? Elliot inquired again.
She nodded, I think hes got potential and his credentials kind of speak for themselves there. Hes got talent and drive and ambitions which were things that Russ was very hopeful about.
I know, Elliot nodded once again before glancing around the office, Although I have to admit that Im not ready to give this office up yet. Its still a part of Russ and
And I dont think its the time yet either, Avery agreed poignantly, Im just not ready to take that move yet. I know I should pack this up and take it home, but
But we can get to that later, Elliot suggested moving in closer to her, The way I see it, Chris can have that other office that was empty for so very long. It can suit him and his needs while we figure out what to do here
Thank you, Avery smiled lightly, I appreciate that Elliot.
Hey Im doing it for me every bit as much as Im doing it for you, he reached out to embrace her gently, I know how hard this is on all of us.
It is, she nodded before looking down to the ground finding herself in a moment of discomfort.
Whats wrong? he asked watching her pull away.
Im just thinking about Russ. Ive been doing that a lot lately, she admitted gently, and I guess in being here that brings all of it back to the surface again.
And it makes you realize what a mistake youd made in marrying Ashford, Elliot questioned with a frown catching the way his words caused her to wince. Avery Im sorry. I swore that I wouldnt do this--that Cheryl and I would be supportive, but Im not really sure that Russ would want his daughter raised by Brant Ashford. You know full well how Russ felt about him
I know Elliot, but Brants been very good to me. Hes been wonderful and Avery trailed off finding herself at a loss. Im sorry if my being married to Brant upsets you.
Im not going to say that Im happy about it because the only person in this world I could ever truly see you with is my son, but, Elliot took in a breath straining to keep from losing his cool about a situation that he had no control over, I just want you to be careful Avery. The Ashfords have a long history of causing trouble and
And Im aware of that, but I also know Brant. Hes a good man and hes doing his best to look after me and the baby. He understands how I feel about things--about Russ and I and
And all Im saying is you need to watch your back, his voice darkened with warning, I know that I really have no right to be saying this, but Ive watched first hand how the Ashfords work. Ive seen them come in and try to ruin my family
You mean with Ken and Grady? Avery questioned watching the expression that registered over Elliots otherwise calm features.
He nodded, Among other things and I just dont welcome the thought of my family being opened up to that kind of hurt again. There are a lot of secrets and dangers surrounding the Ashford family and
And Ill be careful, Avery reached out to take his hand in an attempt to assure him, This time its going to be okay. Elliot, I wish you could trust me on that.
Avery, its not you that I dont trust. Its he stopped himself before forcing a poignant smile, Just be careful.
I will, she nodded feeling a silence surround them, So hows Grady holding up? Have you spoken with him today?
Elliot nodded, Earlier I was over there. I stopped by to check in on him, but I can see hes still hurting. This not knowing is whats killing him.
Im so sorry that he has to go through this. Hes already been through so much and this hardly seems fair, Avery added with a sigh, I just wish that there was something more I could do for him.
Just by being there I think youre doing more than your share Avery, Elliot added gently, Even though you and Grady have had your share of troubles over the years, he really does care about you. He values you in our lives--we all do.
And I feel that way about you all too. Youre all my family and I hope that my being married to Brant doesnt change that, she confessed with a pleading expression.
Oh sweetheart, of course it doesnt change that, Elliot embraced her wishing that he could convey what it was he really wanted to say, but instead he just hugged her hoping that she didnt find herself taken down by the things that had surrounded the Ashfords and their reign of terror in Coral Valley.
Brant paced around the foyer his eyes darting from the clock to his jacket
hanging up in the corner of the room on the coat rack. While he knew full
well that he should just trust that Avery was alright, his instincts were
on worry overload about what could be happening. He glanced at the clock again
for the millionth time in the last minute and it was then that he decided
he was done waiting.
Thats it, he announced moving forward to reach for his coat when he heard the sounds of haughty laughter coming from down the hallway. He reached for his jacket looking up to see Ken tangled in the arms of a trashy looking blonde woman. Taking a step back into the back hall Brant watched as Ken kissed the woman heatedly.
This has been fun, Ken slurred running his hands up and down over the womans spine.
Its been more than fun, the blonde giggled grinding her hips against his before letting out another emphatic laugh, and tonight after I get off of work, well pick up where we left off this morning.
I really wish youd just blow off work, Ken moved in closer to nibble on her neck, You know youd have much more fun here.
I dont doubt that, but sweetheart I have to go, she took a step back taking his hand in hers before offering up a small squeeze, but if you miss me too much, you can always buy me something to show me how lonely you were without me. That could keep you busy for the day.
That sounds like something I might enjoy, Kens eyes traveled up and down over the lines of her body before he licked his lips, Perhaps a diamond to wear around your neck
If you get me a diamond, Ill wear anything else you want me to, she slid her arms around his shoulders in a catlike movement, or nothing at all if youd prefer
That sounds delicious, Ken purred kissing her once more before walking her to the door, Ill miss you
Ill miss you more, but tonight, well tonight well find a way to work on remedying this missing one another, she blew a kiss in in general direction before rushing off to the limo Ken had waiting for her. He watched her get inside before he shut the front door to the mansion only to discover Brant standing beside him.
Gee, whered you pick up that trash Ken? Brant questioned sarcastically watching the way Ken seemed to be eating up every second of that gold diggers attempts to rob him blind, Were they having a bargain basement special down in the red light district?
Screw you, Ken spat out at him waving his hand in Brants face dismissively, I dont have time for this.
Well thats too damn bad because youre going to make time, Brant shoved him aside, Im not going to let you bring that kind of woman into my home.
Ken retorted with an icy laugh, Oh as if youre one to talk about the kind of women we bring into this house. I think youve picked up far trashier, sleazier women than Michelle. Really, whats the problem Brant? Wedded bliss boring you already or are you just upset that Im not around to take Avery off your hands while you get some of your long overdue playtime?
Brant opened his mouth to speak, but then stopped himself--jaw clenched with rage, You know Ken if you want to ruin your life, thats fine, but Im not going to allow you to do it in my home. If this is how you want to be, then you can leave.
Oh I can leave? Ken balked back with an even greater fit of laughter, The last time I checked this was my home too. Nicholas left this to you, Blake and I. This isnt just your home.
If youre going to keep taking yourself under and making the rest of us uncomfortable, then I want you out of here. As you said Blake lives here too and she doesnt need to bear witness to any of this, Brant warned him sharply.
Its not like she hasnt seen it before in you. She was fine with it then and shell be fine with it now, Ken shrugged his shoulders stubbornly.
Do you really believe that? Do you really think that shes going to sit back and take to your bringing cheap whores into the house after you were once engaged to her best friend? How do you think shes going to feel about the way youre tarnishing Caitlins memory over and over again in engaging in this kind of destructive behavior? Brant tossed back at him.
Dont you ever talk about Caitlin again! Ken snapped, rage evident in his tone, You arent even worthy of speaking her name.
And neither are you after all youve done, Brant added anger burning over his body at the thought of all his brother had done, How do you think shed feel to know what youve become? To see how you not only have destroyed yourself, but how you raped my wife? How do you think Caitlin would feel to know what you did to Avery after she herself had been subjected to abuse in the past? Do you honestly believe shed approve of such ludicrous behavior?
I said, Shut up about Caitlin, Ken snapped lunging forward ready to shove Brant, but Brant moved out of the way at the last second using the advantage the movement had given him to pin Ken up against the wall. Reaching for his brothers arm, he tugged on it, bending it at such an angle that Ken winced.
Now you listen and you listen good, Brant warned sharply, venom dripping in his every word, If I had my way Id have you thrown in jail never to see the light of day again, but for some reason beyond my control Avery pities you and what youve become. She wants you to find a way to help yourself and while I feel I have to honor her wishes, Ill be the first one to tell you that I wont tolerate any of this in my home.
Get off of me Brant! Ken snapped feeling Brant shove his face into the wall once again.
Not until you listen to what I have to say Ken, Brant pushed him once more this time with more emphasis, The way I see it, whatever it is that you have going on ends today. You forget about that floozy you brought home and you look into finding yourself a nice, cushy institution to check yourself into. You apologize to my wife--take your time spilling your woes in therapy to a professional and grow the fuck up.
Kens laugh grew more primal, more distanced with his face pressed up against the wall, Dont presume to believe that you hold any kind of power over me Brant because you dont. You might think youre calling all the shots, but you arent
Arent I, Brant twisted his brothers arm again before throwing his knee into Kens lower back causing him to drop down to his knees. From this position over him Brant felt the power behind his movements, From where I stand Ken, it looks like Im in complete control of this and youd be best suited to listen to what Im telling you.
If you think for a second, Ken began to argue, but winced instead with the next twist Brant made on his arm. Tilting his head upward Ken glared at his brother, hating him more and more with each passing moment.
You will do what I told you to. Youll take a nice little vacation away from the house--away from Coral Valley and well all find a way to move beyond this situation, Brant continued to explain to him, Blake wont have to hear anything about the sick and disgusting, vile person that youve become and when you return Ill expect all of this to come to an end. Do I make myself clear?
You cant control me Brant. I make my own choices and while you might be running that joke of a company Nicholas started, you arent running the household. Your hero act might score you points with your wife, but not with me. I do what I want, when I want and nothing is going to change that for me--especially not you, Ken spat up at him before Brant released him shoving him face down into the marble flooring.
Then just know that whatever happens next, you only have yourself to blame Ken, Brant warned, his tone full of menace as he walked away refusing to let his brother think hed won in this situation.
Ken heard the door slam before he looked up to discover Brant had left. Pulling together enough strength to move from where hed been thrown to the floor, Ken vowed that hed find a way to put Brant in his place. If his little moment with Avery hadnt been enough to do it, then Ken would find something else--something much, much worse and when he did, Ken would be sure to have the last laugh.
Don walked through the hallways of the hospital all his thoughts were jumbled in his mind. He was about to make a decision and he hoped this was the right one. He was going to accept the job and come back. After what happened with Shannon, he realized that this was the best thing to do. Now all he had to do was find the chief of staff so he could tell him his answer.
Don, he turned around hearing someone call out his name as he smiled noticing the person before him.
Deidra? Don questioned seeing her nod. What are you doing here? I havent seen you in so long.
I know, she grinned before feeling him hug her lightly, I need to tell you something. Do you have any time?
For you? I have all the time in the world, he took a step back before folding his arms out in front of him, Whats up?
Well, its not whats up with me, its what I saw, Deidra informed him biting down on her bottom lip lightly.
What did you see? he questioned quickly before raising his eyebrow. Is everything okay?
Well, since we have been friends for so long, she began before seeing him nod. I figured I should tell you this.
Yeah, we have known each other since we were little, Don nodded slowly before tensing his eyebrows, Just tell me what you wanted to tell me.
Well, I dont know if I should say this, she paused pondering whether or not she should tell him what she saw with Dean and Shannon.
Stop playing games Deidra, Don raised his voice a little bit before shaking his head slowly, Tell me whats up.
Alright, well I was going to visit someone and I saw Shannon there, Deidra informed him before watching him look at her confused.
What? Was she visiting a friend or something? Don questioned seeing her shake hear head.
All I can say about her is that she is definitely making her rounds, she laughed before remembering what she had saw.
What do you mean by that? Don wondered before raising his arms up in the air. How do you even know Shannon?
Well, you see, Deidra began before biting down on her bottom lip, I know Shannon because Shannon was hired to watch me.
Watch you? Don questioned once more before seeing her nod. Im sorry Im lost right now.
What I am trying to tell you is that it seems like Shannon didnt have a watch out for me, but more towards the man in my life, she replied before seeing him look confused, I mean .my boyfriend.
You mean she was with your boyfriend? Doing what? Don wondered before seeing her shrug. You must know something Deidra dont hold back. My feelings wont get hurt, just tell me.
I was going to go see Dean and then while I was there, I saw Shannon inside with a robe on, she informed him before seeing him bite down on his bottom lip.
Your telling me you think they, Don began before seeing her shrug.
All I am giving you is a little guess, she declared before sighing in deeply, From what it looks like, it looked like they were getting a little more than comfortable with each other.
Thanks Deidra, Don closed his eyes tightly before looking up at her, I appreciate you telling me that.
I didnt mean to hurt you, Deidra began before he cut her off holding his hands up in the air.
No, its okay, Don smiled before looking down at his watch, I needed to know that.
Are you sure you will be okay? she wondered seeing him nod before she hugged him lightly.
I promise, he nodded slowly before looking down the long hallway, I will have to catch you later because I have a meeting with someone.
Alright, well I wont keep you waiting, she sighed before letting him go, Call me sometime.
Will do, Don waved before watching Deidra walk down the hallway. This is great Shannon not even a few days and you are already with a new guy.
He shook his head before turning around, it didnt matter anymore. She wasnt worth his time.
Are you sure about this whole thing? Angela questioned as Kevin set his bags down on the ground waiting to hear when his plane would be leaving.
Angie, I am a hundred percent positive, Kevin smiled before grabbing her hands in his gently, Im a big boy, I think I can take care of myself.
I know, but I still have to worry about you, she frowned before snapping her fingers. I can still go with you and then when we get there we can go shopping. I can have all the things I need. What do you say?
I say nice try, he laughed before shaking his head slowly, I need to go alone. All I am doing is checking on my cousin Im sure I can handle at least that.
Well, I guess all I can say is that I am going to miss you, she sighed at he let go of her hands unbuttoning the top of his shirt.
Its hot in here, he blew out before looking around the room, It must be me.
It must be, she laughed as he picked up his bag swinging it over his shoulder.
Alright, Im not going to be gone very long, he informed her before looking down at his watch, Keep your phone on all the time because you need to be expecting too many phone calls from me.
Im holding you to that, she pointed at him as they heard his plane get called.
I have to get going, he frowned before wrapping one of his arms around her gently, Love you Angie.
Love you too, she smiled as he let her go and kissed her on the cheek lightly before walking towards the door.
One more thing, he started before raising an eyebrow slowly, Keep an eye on that Nick guy. I still dont trust him.
Alright, bye Kevin, she waved before he winked at her and walked out the door.
As much as she wanted to believe that Kevin was annoying and he shouldnt be there, but she was truly going to miss him. She wished that he would let her go with him, but if thats what he really wanted she would let it be.
Where did she go? Sarah questioned looking around the lobby before hearing someone come up from behind her. Dont tell me you came back for some more.
Hey, Kyle grabbed her in his arms as she turned around to hit him, Fists of fury.
Sorry Kyle, she frowned as he let her out of his arms lightly, I thought you were Valerie.
Speaking of Valerie, Kyle breathed out heavily, How did you learn to do that. I swear I have never seen a whooping like that before.
Its not funny Kyle, she frowned before walking towards the elevator and Kyle ran up from behind her, I have to find Blake, I could only imagine how she is feeling right now.
Im sure she is fine, Kyle hushed her turning her around to face him watching her shake her head.
You dont know how that feels Kyle, she sighed seeing him raise an eyebrow. I have to find her and make sure she is okay.
Wait a second, Kyle pulled her back to him before watching her try to go to the elevator, but he wouldnt let her go, I think what she really needs right now is some alone time with Seth.
What you guys dont realize is that a woman usually needs her best friend to talk things over with, she rolled her eyes before turning around and pushing the up button.
I would say you were right at most times, he replied before grabbing her around the waist and pulling her tightly against his chest, But right now I would have to say you are wrong.
What do you mean by that? she questioned feeling him brush her hair back lightly.
I mean what she needs the most right now is to have a talk with Seth right now, Kyle whispered kissing her cheek gently, I think they need to get things straight.
I would at least like to know where they are and if they are okay, Sarah stated feeling his lips traveling along the side of her neck slowly as she leaned into him.
I can tell you one thing, Kyle whispered holding her in his arms tightly, I know that Seth and Blake have a room next to ours.
Well that takes care of the where they are part, she smiled feeling him resting his chin on her shoulder lightly.
Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see if everything is okay, he began before taking in a deep breath, What do you say if you go to the hotel and take a bath to just relax.
I think that sounds good, she nodded before feeling his hand slip into hers gently.
Well, lets get going then, he grinned as the elevator opened and he led her into it. You have to promise me one thing though.
What might that be? she questioned as the elevator door shut.
You need to let Blake and Seth be for tonight, he whispered watching her nod. Good.
What the hell are you two doing here? Ria questioned turning Valerie around quickly before watching Valerie scowl.
Now what do you want? Valerie wondered resting her hands on her hips.
What do I want? I want to know what the hell you are doing here, Ria demanded watching JT sit down on one of the benches.
I came here to tell everyone the truth, Valerie replied with a sly smirk, I came here to tell everyone that Seth is mine.
Yours? Ria questioned with a big laugh. Honey, did you see him earlier with you? I think you are the farthest thing from his mind right now.
Thats not true, I know deep down he really loves me, Valerie protested before biting down on her bottom lip, Obviously he once loved me if he married me. I know he still loves me.
Valerie, when he married you, Ria began with a small grin, Obviously he was drunk and had no idea what he was doing.
I think he knew exactly what he was doing, Valerie snapped back before rolling her eyes, He doesnt belong with that pathetic excuse of a woman, he belongs with me.
What are you trying to do? Are you just trying to ruin Seths life completely? Ria wondered with a small sigh.
No, I am just trying to get him to get back with me where he should be, Valerie replied before shaking her head slowly.
That exactly what I mean, Ria nodded slowly before watching Valerie roll her eyes. I dont know about you, but I actually want Seth to be happy.
Seth doesnt deserve to be happy if it doesnt include me in his life, Valerie began before feeling her get socked in the jaw once more and she flew back into the bench again. What is wrong with you people?
You are whats wrong, Ria shot back before shaking her head quickly, Seth is my best friend and I am going to do whatever it takes to keep him happy. So if I were you, I would back off right now and leave him alone.
Yeah, keep walking, Valerie rolled her eyes after Ria had already left the room.
I dont think she heard you Val, JT laughed before shaking his head, You really sucked.
You have room to talk, Valerie growled before holding her jaw, Thanks for helping me.
Hey, I didnt want to get hit, JT shrugged with a small smile, You are fighting your own battle with this one.
Excuse me you two, a security guard called out making them turn around. Are you two guests here?
So what if we arent? Valerie questioned with a growl before shaking her head. Just leave you pig.
Maam, if you dont leave yourself, the guard began before shaking his head slowly, I will call the rest of security to help me remove you from the premises.
Can you believe this? Valerie questioned with a big laugh as JT held up his hands walking towards the door.
You too, the guard demanded as Valerie shook her head. Fine, Ill take you myself.
JT rolled his eyes before walking for the front door.
This is unbelievable, JT sighed exiting out the door before seeing the guard set Valerie down as she struggled. You are a pain.
Deidra, called out her name peaking his head into her office seeing her look up at him before she rolled her eyes.
I have nothing to say to you, she replied before shaking her head and standing up from the desk.
Dont leave, Dean began grabbing her hand not allowing her to walk away. Let me explain before you stomp off.
Oh, I know fully well what you are about to admit, Deidra frowned before Dean shook his head slowly.
Its not what you think, he repeated slowly before taking in a deep breath, What you dont understand is that I knew Bruce. I knew who he was. Thats why Shannon was there.
Why would Shannon be there because of Bruce? she questioned as Dean nodded slowly.
Shannon is on the case and what happened was she spilled a drink on her shirt, Dean informed her as Deidra looked up at him, Her shirt was in my dryer when you were at my door.
So your telling me she came to your house just to question you? she wondered seeing him nod.
She thought I might know a little extra about Bruce so she was asking for my help, he replied before shaking his head, Unfortunately, I couldnt help her. You have to believe me, I would never do anything to hurt you like that.
You promise thats what happened, she hoped as he nodded slowly taking her hands in his.
That was the only thing, he promised before kissing her hand gently, I would never hurt you like that. You are the only girl for me, Deidra.
Okay, she nodded slowly before biting down on her bottom lip, I believe you.
You do? he questioned seeing her nod as he bent down kissing her quickly, I promise I would never do anything to hurt you. You need to start trusting me more.
I trust you, she replied before taking in a deep breath as he brought her into his arms, I guess you could say I just got scared you know?
I know, Dean nodded slowly before kissing her forehead gently, I really know.
Don walked down the hallway slowly before taking in a deep breath. Now even more things were running through his head after what Deidra said. As he walked by someone their face caught his attention making him turn around.
Shannon, Don called out watching Shannon turn around looking around for the person who had called her.
Don? What are you doing here? Shannon questioned as he approached her quickly.
In a good mood are we? Don raised an eyebrow watching her shrug slowly.
I have things to do Don, Shannon replied looking down at her watch. She wanted to go and explain to Deidra what she really saw at Deans house. Nothing went on nothing ever would go on.
Of course, Don rolled his eyes before folding his arms out in front of himself, You always have something else better to do when it comes to me dont you?
I dont really want to do this here Don, Shannon sighed before shaking her head slowly.
You never want to do this Shannon and I am so tired of it, Don declared before shaking his head. I just dont understand you anymore.
What did I do now? Shannon questioned hearing Don laugh as he shook his head.
Sweetheart, I think it is more what you didnt do, Don answered before seeing the confusion on her face. I know what happened with you.
What are you talking about? she asked watching him lick his lips before grinning.
Was I really that bad? Don questioned before shrugging. Just because I have a son that you wont care about?
Don, I really dont get where all of this is coming from, Shannon began before taking in a deep breath, Can we just meet up later and talk about this.
Later? Don laughed before shaking his head. By later, you will already have replaced me three times over.
Excuse me? she questioned shocked from what she just heard as he nodded slowly.
Thats right, he began before shaking his head slowly, I heard what happened, you are replacing me already?
It took a moment before she realized what he was really talking about. Obviously word got around too fast in this town as she looked into his angered blue eyes.
Angela entered Marthas bar thinking about what it meant to say good-bye
to Kevin. While she knew full well that he had to be there for his family,
a part of her really wished that hed allow her to help him. She couldnt
even begin to imagine what he was going through, yet when hed insisted
that she stay on the island, shed wanted to argue--to tell him that
she needed to go with him, but instead shed stayed behind. Unfortunately
she was starting to regret that very decision.
Ill be okay, she could hear Kevins voice reassure her, but given what hed said about his cousin being missing, she had to wonder if that was really the truth. Now as she looked around the nearly empty bar she spotted Martha up ahead.
Hey Martha, she greeted the older woman with a small smile, Hows it going?
Quiet, Martha shrugged her shoulders all the while leaning in over the bar a bit, but I suppose thats not really an answer is it?
Given the way this place looks today, Angela shrugged her shoulders as well realizing that the island rains had kept most inside rather than venturing out to enjoy Marthas place in all its glory, yeah I think thats a more than adequate answer.
So what brings you here so early, Martha questioned reaching for one of the glasses behind the bar before filling it with cranberry juice, Here to see Nick?
Is he in? Angela asked her eyes lighting up with a hopefulness before she stole a glance around the bar.
Hes out back moving in a few boxes for me, Martha explained simply, I had a shipment come in before the rains started and I thought that it would be nice to have a little muscle working on bringing them in. Too bad you didnt bring Kevin with you. Im sure he couldve really helped Nick out.
Kevins gone, Angela admitted with a small sigh, He left a little while ago.
Left? Marthas eyes widened with surprise, Kevins not on the island?
Angela shook her head, He had some family business to take care of back in the states, so he had to leave. I tried to go with him, but he wouldnt hear of it.
It sounds pretty important then, Martha noted with a small nod, Is everything alright?
His cousin is missing and everyone is pretty worried, Angela shrugged her shoulders before getting up from the barstool shed taken a seat at. She motioned to the back doors before reaching for her glass, You said Nick is out back?
Martha nodded, He sure is, but you know if you would like to steal him away for a little while, you can tell him that Im letting him leave early. I dont anticipate the crowd getting any bigger than it is right now--not on a night like tonight.
Are you sure, Angela searched her eyes watching Martha offer up a nod.
Yeah, Im sure, Martha waved her hand at her dismissively, You two go and enjoy yourselves.
Thanks Martha, Angela replied finishing off her glass of juice before setting it back on the countertop.
Turning towards the back exit to the bar, she walked through the restaurants warmth carrying herself out into the rains that fell outside. The dampness soaked into her hair, but given that shed already been caught in the rains on the way into the bar, it did nothing more than offer a small chill over her. Scanning the area that surrounded the bar out back, Angela watched the palm tree sway with the winds, the sounds of the rain filling her eardrums as she searched for Nick. She spotted him no more than twenty feet away reaching for a crate from inside the oversized truck that was parked before him.
Quietly, Angela took the time to appreciate the view before her. Nicks dark, damp hair had matted down to his face, leaving no hint of dryness to him as he worked away. Her gaze traveled southern to his bare skin as it was obvious hed shed his shirt before the rain had began. Eyeing the bronzed lines of his torso with great appreciation, she stood in the rain watching the way he worked diligently at emptying out the truck. With each planned movement he made, Angela couldnt help but feel her breath catch in her throat. The way his body flexed and tightened, flexed and tightened again and then some had her heart racing in her chest. Sure, she hadnt come out here to gawk at Nick, but somehow it felt only appropriate. There was just something about the way he worked in silence--the way his body seemed to move in a perfect rhythm as he continued to hoist box after box out from the back of the truck. Then as if Nick had felt her eyes upon him, he stopped what he was doing--standing up straighter to look right straight at her.
Nice move Angela, she chastised herself knowing full well that shed been practically drooling while gawking at him. Still from the expression on his face, he didnt seem to mind. Taking in another breath she forced herself to move forward and bridge the distance between them as the winds picked up.
What are you doing out here, Nick called over the rain. He waved for her to move in closer to him, his enchanting eyes reaching out to her in such a way that shed felt him sweep over her with a seductive embrace.
I thought Id pay you a visit, Angela replied, her throat dry and raspy after shed found herself imagining what it would be like to just walk up to him and claim his lips in hers with a kiss.
Out here? he cocked his head to the side, giving her a strange look, If you havent noticed Ang, its raining.
I noticed, she stepped forward moving to only a few feet before him, but since it doesnt seem to bother you, then I dont see why it should bother me.
Because you could get sick if youre exposed to this too long, he set the box down hed been holding before shed approached him. Im just doing my job.
Well, in that case, let me be the first to offer you some relief, Angela took another step closer instinctively, Martha said youve got the rest of the day off since business is slow moving.
Is that right? he arched a sexy brow down at her.
Thats right, she nodded feeling her stomach tied in anticipatory knots over spending the day alone with Nick, She said youre all mine.
In that case, once I finish with this, Ill be more than happy to comply with your request, he decided bending down to pick up a box. In the moment he did a small turn giving her a very tantalizing view of his backside.
Stop, she warned herself turning away from the tempting view before her. She wasnt about to let her one track mind get the best of her--at least not yet.
Did you say something? Nick glanced up from where he knelt before her.
No, she lied biting down on her lower lip nervously, I mean I dont think I did.
Okay, he offered with a small laugh before giving her a second glance, are you sure youre alright?
Yeah, I am, she nodded watching him stand up fully once again before she shook her head at him, Actually no Im not. I mean Im okay, but well Im a bit upset because--well Im not really upset, but I guess I just kind of needed someone to chat with since Kevin is gone.
Hes gone? Nick gave her a strange look, Since when?
Since earlier, she confessed feeling the dampness of the rain bring a chill over her flushed features, He left to go check in on his cousin.
And he didnt take you with him? Nick replied arching a curious brow.
She shook her head, He said he needed to do this on his own.
And I take it you werent too happy about that, huh? he searched her features closely.
Not at all, she confessed with a small breath, but you know how it goes when it comes to arguing with Kevin
Oh believe me I know, he nodded in response, though Im sorry to hear that he left without taking you along. I know how important the trip was to him and to you.
I just want Kevin to be happy, she explained quickly, perhaps too quickly as her gaze lingered down over his chiseled abdomen. She forced herself to meet his eyes again, I know his cousin being missing isnt helping anything. Shes already been through so much in her life that for this to happen now, well its just very emotional.
I can only imagine, he nodded clearly listening to what she was saying, well I hope for Kevins sake that they find her.
So do I, she replied with a sigh, but actually truth be told while Im upset about him leaving, well I was hoping that you and I could spend some time together.
Is that right, he questioned a sparkle of hope flickering behind his eyes.
Thats right, she nodded, but dont let it get to your head. There is a method to my madness.
And that would be what exactly, he replied leaning in against the side of the truck.
Im not going to tell you, but it does involve your finishing up so that we can get this show on the road. What do you say? she offered up cryptically before flashing him a soft smile.
I say in five minutes consider me all yours, he answered cheerfully picking up the last couple of boxes and heading into the bar again.
Angela watched his retreat finding herself appreciating the view more than shed imagined she should. There was just something to be said about the thought of Nick being all hers for the day. Maybe just maybe she could find a way to pick up the pieces of this rainy day after all.
Grady looked around his living room feeling completely helpless as he wished
like hell he could find a way to make things right where Jade was concerned.
Hed exhausted a great many resources that went above and beyond the
police in his quest to find her, yet nothing. Kyle had promised that hed
had a trick up his sleeve, but Grady was growing tired of waiting. He needed
results. Hell, he needed Jade and this standing around his living room wasnt
going to make that happen.
Thats it, Grady announced ready to begin his own search when he heard the ringing of the doorbell. Walking across this living room to see who was there, he found himself surprised to find his brothers Toyota Camry in the driveway. He blinked a few times before rushing over to the door wondering what was going on.
Grady, Avery spoke his name seeing the surprised expression on his face, hey
Avery, what are you doing here, Grady blinked back in confusion, his gaze sweeping beyond her to Russells car, Why did you bring that?
I was at work with your father--at the newspaper and while Brant had this driver set up for me, I just wanted to do my own thing, she shrugged her shoulders, I went back home and picked up the car.
Oh, he felt his voice drop and stepped aside to allow her access to his home. He shook the thought that his brother couldve actually shown up when he needed him on a night like this. He tried to keep his disappointment from showing, Come on in.
Thanks, she replied feeling a chill creep in over her when she saw the expression on his face. Feeling the need to say something more she added, It was strange for me too in taking the car out because its just so--Russ. It even smells like him still.
Grady turned his attention to her, his green eyes filled with a sudden sorrow that she readily recognized.
Im sorry that I didnt think about what you might be seeing when I pulled up in it, Avery began to apologize.
No, dont be sorry, Grady offered a weak smile, Im glad that you did. Im sure that Russ wouldve wanted you to.
I dont know about that, she half joked, a smile teasing over the corners of her lips, He always hated the way I drove.
Yeah, Grady chuckled in response, he always did.
Hey, Im not a bad driver, she objected with a small frown, Even if Russ thought so.
Youre not nearly bad at half the things that Russ and I told you that you were, Grady answered honestly before running his fingers through his dark hair, So what brings you here on a day like today?
Do I need a reason to stop by, she questioned catching the way he looked at her, Oh, alright I was worried about you.
Worried about me, he shrugged his shoulders before looking away, You shouldnt be.
Of course I should be. Jades missing and youre upset, Avery moved in closer to him, thats all the reason in the world for me to worry about you.
Im not the one who is out here being held at the hands of a madman, Grady shook his head in response, Jade is the one you should be worried about. Shes the one who needs us more than ever.
Were going to find her Grady, she offered up hopefully, Sooner or later Camerons going to crack on this one.
And when he doesnt? he threw back at her doubtfully, What then Avery? What happens when its too late?
It wont be too late, she stepped towards him reaching out to touch his arm gently, Grady, theyre going to find her.
And when they do, what if we werent able to get her in time? What if Gradys voice trailed off revealing the sorrow that consumed him.
Grady, you cant think like that. They are going to bring Jade home and when they do, well everything is going to be as it should be, she offered up supportively, You have to believe that Grady.
At this point I dont know what to believe, he admitted moving over to his couch. He slumped down burying his face in his hands as his heart sank.
Avery walked over to him hating to see him in so much agony. Moving in beside him, she reached out to touch his knee gently sensing something more happening behind his grief, Grady, what is it?
Im afraid Avery, he lifted his head up to reveal so many of the things hed tried to keep buried inside, Im so afraid that Ill never see her again and that
That what? Avery asked feeling him close himself off once again. There was a distance between his eyes--a darkness that made Avery shiver and as she squeezed his knee again, she spoke out to him, Grady talk to me please.
Its just that Grady took in a breath, feeling as though he could fall to pieces if he let go of what hed been holding inside.
Grady, whatever it is, you can talk to me, she urged him on gently, Dont you know by now you could tell me anything?
Avery, its just that well, he paused contemplating the right words before the pain resonated from within, I think Jades pregnant.
What? she questioned with wide eyes. How do you know? I mean what did you
That day at the apartment, well Id seen something--something that didnt really register until later, he admitted painfully, closing his eyes and thinking back to when hed first discovered that she was missing, There was a pregnancy kit on the countertop--an unused pregnancy test and
And you thought that Jade she trailed off realizing what he was saying, Oh Grady
And thats not all, he shook his head thinking back to when theyd all come together at the lake, I heard Gabe talking to one of the officers. I dont think hed meant for me to hear him, but hed mentioned something about Jade being worried about things changing for us. Hed mentioned something along the lines of being with her when shed found out and then how shed wanted a second opinion just to be sure
And you think that the pregnancy test was, Averys jaw dropped now horrified by what that could mean should something horrible happen to Jade, Oh Grady, Im so sorry.
So am I, Grady leaned into her overcome with his emotions, I know I might be grasping, but when I remembered that test--when I remembered what Id heard in passing with Gabe, well Avery it just got me thinking. Even now I left Gabe three messages, but so far Ive heard nothing and
And you need to know, she nodded in complete understanding feeling him becoming unhinged in her arms. He snuggled into her, laying his head down on her lap when his fears rushed to the surface. Instinctively she brought her fingers through his dark hair, smoothing through it as his pain flooded over him.
I just wish. I mean if Id known he began with broken words.
Grady if you want to get into contact with Gabe, I can talk to him. I can call Guy and Avery started hoping to be helpful.
Guy, Grady repeated opening his eyes to look up at her.
She nodded, Gabe and Guy have been seeing one another for a while and if you need me to try to get a message to him so that you two can talk, well I can call Guy and let him know its urgent.
Avery, I he stopped himself before closing his eyes again, Thank you.
Its not a problem, Avery reached for her cell phone dialing her brother in the hopes that he would answer. When the phone rang for the fourth time she was about to hang up when she heard his voice. Guy, hey its Avery.
Hey sweetheart, how are you, Guys groggy voice questioned alerting her that hed been exhausted himself.
I wish I was better, but look Im calling to talk to Gabe. Is he around? Avery cut to the point knowing how important this was to Grady.
Hes sleeping, Guy yawned, We had a long night trying to work on this custody battle he has with Noelle and with Mum, well we figured that wed just shut the world out and
And I wouldnt be asking to talk to him if it wasnt important, she hesitated before her eyes dropped down to Grady, Im with Grady right now and he needs to ask Gabe something about Jade--something important.
Guy seemed to sense the urgency in her tone before he spoke up again, Sure, let me get him.
Here, Avery handed Grady her cell phone hoping that whatever he uncovered about Jade wouldnt take him over the edge completely. Closing her eyes she listened to him as he asked Gabe the question that had been weighing on his mind. After hed asked, silence followed.
Grady, Avery opened her eyes to see hed hung up the phone, Grady, what happened?
He looked up to her with tear-filled eyes causing her heart to break with the expression on his face, Shes pregnant Avery. Jades pregnant.
Oh Grady, she hugged him in her arms when she felt him start to tremble.
Shes pregnant and that son of a bitch has her. He could be hurting her right now and theres not a damn thing I can do about it, Grady sobbed overtaken with grief and the helplessness of knowing that the woman he loved and their unborn child was put at risk due to Camerons hatred for him.
Blake rushed into her hotel suite slamming the door behind her. She wasnt
quite sure how shed made it back to the room as the whole exit from
the church had been nothing more than a big blur. The only thing that stuck
with her was the expression on Seths face when he admitted he couldnt
deny Valeries announcement.
Married, she blurted out painfully feeling as if the walls were closing in around her, how could he be married? After everything that weve been through with one another, how could this be happening?
Blake, Seths voice called out to her from the living room area, Blake are you in here?
Go away! Blake shouted in response unable to keep her tears from getting the best of her. Still she didnt want to be around right now--didnt even want to see Seth after the way hed deceived her. Shed been a fool for far too long already, but now knowing that he was married to that witch--it was too much.
Blake, please I can explain, Seth began entering the bedroom area to find her packing up her things. He rushed over to her in reaching out to the sweater shed started to throw into her suitcase, Blake please
Just get away from me, she shouted back at him, tears of frustration and betrayal burning down her cheeks, How could you do this to me Seth? How could you skip over the fact that youre married? All those stories about your telling me that you wanted us to be together--that you wanted a happily ever after for us
They were the truth Blake, he pleaded with her, feeling her move away from him, Blake I love you.
But not enough to mention that you have a wife, right Seth? she tossed back at him in an accusatory tone, When were you going to tell me about that? On the honeymoon? Maybe never
Blake it was a long time ago and I thought it was over, he started throwing his hands up in the air, I didnt know that we were still married
Oh of course you didnt, she rolled her eyes at him, I mean how could you bother to remember that youd gone out and got yourself a wife? I can see how that might be something thats easily overlooked there.
Blake, its the truth. I thought that Valerie and I were over, he pleaded with her making another bold step towards her in the hopes that shed listen to him, Blake, its not like you think it is.
Hmm, well you know Seth, from what I see you have a wife and youre not arguing that point--you couldnt do it back in the chapel and you cant do it now, can you? her voice grew louder with each passing word, Can you Seth?
Blake, I shouldve told you about Valerie, but I didnt think that this would happen. I didnt think that shed show up today on our wedding day and he explained desperately reaching out to take her hand in his.
Dont touch me Seth. Dont you ever touch me! she shouted at him before looking over her shoulder at a vase that sat on one of the dressers. Reaching for it, she lifted it up, launching it at his head in a fury.
Blake please, he began ducking just barely missing the vase before he felt something else flying at him.
Get out! Get out! she screamed at him throwing object after object at him in an attempt to get him to just leave her alone. She felt her tears burning in her eyes as her heart was breaking into a million pieces. Today shed thought that all her dreams would be coming true, but it had turned out to be nothing more than a nightmare. Seth was just like all those other liars out in the world and their failed wedding attempt had proven that.
Blake stop, he begged of her reaching out to scoop her into his arms with one, firm, determined sweep. He felt her protest, saw the fire of rage burning behind her sad blue eyes, but he wasnt about to let her walk out of his life.
Let go of me, she repeated again, her words raspy and broken by her sobs, but before she could lash out at him further, Seth dropped his lips down over hers to kiss her heatedly.
Blake whimpered, her heart racing in her chest, her arms longing to hold him, but in that moment she saw Valerie coming into the church--into their lives and she pushed him away. Stop!
Blake, I need you to listen to me--really, really listen to me, Seth started not quite sure how hed be able to get all of this out, I know that what happened back there was the last thing that either one of us had planned upon, but if you let me explain the whole story
I think the story speaks for itself Seth. You played me for a fool and I bought into it hook, line and sinker she argued with him.
No, that wasnt it at all. Blake, I love you. I love you more than Ive ever loved any other woman in my life. Youre my future. Youre the woman I want to marry and share my life with, he insisted refusing to budge on the issue. Youre my soul mate.
You might want to let your wife know about that because she seems to have the proof to argue her take on the subject, she shot back icily, feeling her heart breaking all over again with the memory of Valeries arrival replaying in her mind.
Blake, I love you--only you and if you just let me explain myself, youll see how this is all a huge misunderstanding, he stepped forward, determination riding over his dark features, If you hear me out--if you just talk to me not because Im asking you to, but because you still love me like I love you. Blake, please just let me explain. Thats all Im asking.
...to be continued...