Episode 207

“I’m not really big on rollerblading,” Diego groaned tying the laces on his skates tightly.

“Well, I don’t really care,” Cori smiled getting up and skating around in a circle. “You are coming whether you want to or not.”

“I figured you would be saying that,” Diego frowned standing up slightly sliding back as she grabbed his hands in hers.

“I will help you,” she promised pulling him along slowly as he laughed seeing the people looking at him.

“Why did we have to come to the beach to do this?” Diego questioned before looking around. “There are too many people here.”

“Who cares if they watch you, let them watch,” Cori whispered before winking, “They are no different then us.”

“You have such a great prespective on things,” Diego pointed out before almost tripping over a crack.

“That’s because I am just a happy person,” Cori replied helping him along. “Would you look at that water?”

“I know, it is so beautiful,” Diego answered before losing his balance and falling only to pull Cori down with him.

“Ouch,” she laughed rolling back into the sand, “I should have listened to you. You do suck at this.”

“I told you,” he laughed before rising to his elbows, “I haven’t done this in a long time.”

“Maybe you just need to learn,” she pointed out as he nodded slowly, “And I think I am the perfect teacher to help you.”

“Well, before you teach me any more ways to kill myself,” he began before taking off his skates, “Take these off and follow me.”

“Where are we going?” she questioned seeing him smile. “Fine, don’t tell me.”

“Now come on,” Diego held out his hand to her as she stood up slowly, “Now run.”

“Why are we running towards the water?” she questioned seeing him smile widely as they reached the water.

“Because we are going to cool down,” he replied leading her into the water.

“If I wanted a bath, I would have went home,” she laughed seeing him shrug.

“I’m sorry,” he frowned before bending down and splashing water up at her, “You said you wanted to get wet right.”

“That’s it,” she giggled running towards him, “I am going to catch you soon or later.”

“Just try,” he shouted back with a big smile seeing her chase him through the water. He was finally having fun for the first time in a long…long time.


“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” Grady whispered wrapping his jacket around Avery’s shoulders as they stood together in the center of the police station. While he’d promised her that he’d take her back to the mansion, he knew that this latest incident on the road to the Ashford mansion was too much to ignore.

“I wish I could believe that,” Avery sighed heavily remembering the train of events leading up to Bruce’s attack on her. Even after Grady had brought her here and she’d spoken with Lieutenant Kurts she still couldn’t help but be worried for the wrath she’d have to face upon shooting Bruce.

“From the blood on the ground I’d say that you got in a pretty good shot there,” Grady reasoned reaching out to touch her arm supportively. “If he’s still out there running around in a slammed up Hummer and a gunshot wound, something is going to have to turn up.”

“This is Bruce we’re talking about. He’s not going to be stupid enough to just get caught after all the trouble he’s put into hiding there,” Avery frowned back at him, “He’s not going to let this be the key to his breaking to pieces.”

“Avery, the guy tried to abduct you in broad daylight,” he reminded her with another discontented frown, “That in itself says that he’s already snapped.”

“Grady, I’m just telling you…” Avery began hearing the doors to the lobby open. She glanced over Grady’s shoulder to see Brant rushing in.

“There you are,” Brant rushed forward pulling her into his arms almost immediately. He squeezed her as if he’d never let go before finally, reluctantly taking a step back. He touched her face searching her eyes, “Are you okay? Did he hurt you? Are you…?”

“Brant, I’m fine,” she replied weakly trying to maintain an air of control after the scare she’d been given, “I’m a bit shaky, but…”

“I told you that you shouldn’t have gone this morning. I just had this feeling after last night and now,” Brant reminded her once again thinking to the nagging fear that had consumed him most of the day. He reached out to collect her in his arms again, “Avery, I don’t know what I would’ve done if he would’ve gotten to you.”

“Fortunately we don’t need to worry about that,” Avery explained taking a small step backwards, “Grady arrived when he did and…”

“And that’s still not enough,” Grady pointed out firmly, “Given that the guy has a huge chip on his shoulder and one hell of a grudge he’s working with…”

“Grudge,” Brant repeated giving him a strange look and wondering what Grady meant by that. However, when he caught the look behind Grady’s eyes he knew. He knew exactly what Grady was referring to about Avery’s attacking Brooke and blaming it on Bruce. Immediately Brant eyed Avery again with worry, “You told him?”

“I had to,” Avery confessed fighting back the turmoil that ate away at her insides, “During the trial when Susan told him about us, I couldn’t not…”

“It’s okay,” Brant cut her off quickly, keeping her in his arms, “That’s not important right now. What is important is that you’re safe and here with me.”

“I was so afraid,” Avery confessed leaning into his embrace, “When he ran me off the road it didn’t register with me that it was Bruce, but then when I saw him there--when he tried to pull me out of the car, I really thought that was it. I thought that my time in this world was over, but then I remembered the gun…”

“You shot him?” Brant’s eyes widened with clear cut surprise.

She nodded.

“She got him good too,” Grady added thinking back to what he’d discovered at the crime scene.

“But obviously not good enough,” Avery shook her head sadly. “If I could’ve just been more focused and less shaken about what was happening…”

“You did good under the circumstances Mrs. Ashford,” Julian’s voice announced as he returned to the trio. “Not only did you get a good shot in, but there was a clinic up the road from where the incident took place that reported a person coming in matching Bruce’s identity with a gunshot wound.”

“So you’re saying that they have him?” Avery questioned hopefully. “They have captured him?”

Julian’s face shifted, a frown touching over his lips, “Unfortunately no. It was a small animal hospital. When he was there he shot one of the vet techs and then stole some supplies,” Julian shook his head before standing up taller, “but we will find him. From what one of the interns said when she’d seen him come in, he was in bad shape. He’d tried to shoot her too, but he was too shaky--he lost his aim and she ran. She got a good look at him and said that even with what he took from the vet hospital, he’s in bad shape. I’m going to get out there in a little bit and interview her right now.”

“Is she alright,” Avery questioned in a panic.

Julian nodded, “She’s terrified, but she doesn’t believe that he got a good enough look at her to find her again. I’m having a sketch artist meeting with her as we speak to work up a composite just to be sure that it’s Bruce. I’m sure it is, but the locals out there want to be sure simply because that particular incident happened outside of our jurisdiction. As I said I‘m heading out there right now to get all of the details.”

“And you’ll let us know what you find, yes?” Grady replied urgently.

Julian nodded, “I’ll do my best and for what it’s worth, I’d suggest that for the time being you lay low. Don’t take any unnecessary risks if you can avoid them because this isn’t the time to take any chances--at least not until we have him in custody.”

“I’m not planning on it,” Avery replied feeling the warmth of Brant’s arm around her.

“She’ll be safe with me. Whether she likes it or not, I’m going to have my security keeping an eye on her twenty four seven,” Brant promised keeping Avery close to him. He wondered if this time Bruce had gone one step too far. Perhaps once Julian followed the lead that turned up at the vet clinic, it would be the beginning of the end for Bruce once and for all.


Nick fumbled with the keys to his place finding himself unable to work on the lock. He tried to move the key again and again, but instead he felt it jammed within the deadbolt. Cursing under his breath as the winds and rains picked up around him and Angela, he spun around to face her apologetically.

“It’s jammed,” Nick replied regretfully realizing that this day just kept on getting worse and worse between them. As if almost being killed by a fallen tree limb wasn’t bad enough, now to be stuck out in the middle of what felt like the storm of the century wasn’t at all what he’d been hoping for.

“Let me take a look at it,” Angela suggested pushing him aside before turning her attention to his front door. She jiggled the keys a bit, causing the ridiculous Bart Simpson key chain that Martha had given Nick with the keys to jiggle noisily.

“I told you it was jammed,” Nick mouthed ready to put their heads together for some other kind of solution when Angela swung her hip into the door. She did it again and again, before letting out a frustrated sigh.

“Damn it!” she cursed twirling around to face him again before holding up her finger, “Give me one second.”

“The second is yours,” he replied taking a step back. He half expected her to run right through the door by the determined expression on her face, but instead she circled around the beach house. She seemed to be looking for something until she slipped out of his sight. The winds picked up in her absence--the lightening above growing fiercer with each bolt overhead followed up by the rumbling thunder clouds and just when he’d thought that she’d vanished forever, his front door came swinging open.

“See, I told you I’d get it,” Angela smiled proudly stepping aside to allow him access to his place, “It was all a matter of knowing the trick.”

“The trick?” he repeated rushing into the foyer before turning to watch her close the door.

“That’s right,” she nodded again before her smirk expanded, “it’s all about knowing the tricks of the trade.”

“Or how to open the back door when it’s unlocked?” Nick half questioned catching the breeze that swept over the both of them.

“Oh damn,” she snapped her fingers before walking through his place to close the door, “and here I figured you’d think I was being clever.”

“I did until I realized that the lock on that thing was broken,” he confessed with a small smile seeing her tug at the door. “I will say that I was very impressed and thankful to be out of that storm.”

“How thankful?” she asked sauntering across the room towards him. She eased her arms around his neck, drawing him in closer to her for a slow, sensual kiss.

“Mmm…” he murmured against her lips, “very thankful.”

“I’m so glad to hear you say that,” Angela sighed teasing her fingers over his rain soaked shirt before her grin expanded, “because you can thank me with dinner then.”

“Dinner?” he repeated giving her a strange expression.

“That’s right,” she nodded eagerly before taking a step back, “I’m hungry.”

“In that case, dinner it is,” he readily agreed watching her move into his kitchen, “I may even go so far as to cook for you tonight.”

“Do you know how to cook?” she questioned tossing her damp hair back over her shoulder.

“I’m not sure, but I’m willing to try,” Nick replied with a small shrug seeing her searching through his cabinets with obvious dismay.

“Well, if you are intending to cook for me, it won’t be coming from here since clearly your shopping habits are beyond pitiful,” she sighed spinning around to face him again. She leaned back against his counter before wiggling her brow at him. “This is beyond pitiful Nick.”

“Hey just give me a second,” he held his finger up, reaching out to the pantry behind him. Inside he uncovered a box of stale crackers and a jar of peanut butter. Holding them up for her inspection he offered a sheepish grin, “How’s this for a start?”

“It’s something,” she shrugged her shoulders before moving towards the refrigerator. She opened the door hopeful to find something more, “but it could be the start of something. Aha!”

“What did you find?” he questioned watching her pull out a strawberry daiquiri mix.

“This,” she beamed enthusiastically, “Do you have a blender?”

“Of course I do. I’m a bartender,” he boasted with a tiny wink, “but for you, we’re not going to have those considering that you’re…”

“Non-alcoholic,” she grinned wider before shaking the bottle in front of her, “I know because this was the brand I always used to buy when I was a teenager. I wanted people to think I was cool, but my father insisted that there would be no underage drinking in his household. I guess I just wanted to rebel in my own way.”

“So you were a naughty girl then, yes?” Nick watched her scan his kitchen for the blender. Once she’d spotted it, she began to bring the contents for their virgin daiquiris together.

“If you haven’t figured that out by now, then clearly I’ve been doing something all wrong,” Angela teased with a playful expression. She winked at him before motioning to the refrigerator again, “How about some ice?”

“You’ve got it sexy,” Nick laughed lightly thinking of all the ways that the temptation of Angela had him on the edge of his seat. There weren’t the right words to explain what it was that happened when they were alone together, but at the same time it felt so very electric. Reaching for the tray of ice before him he pushed the door to the freezer shut and walked over to her. Once he set the ice down on the countertop, he slid his arms around her waist suggestively before leaning in to nibble on her neck. “So tell me, how would your father feel about this particular situation happening with us?”

She let out a small sigh of appreciation leaning into his lips over her skin. She closed her eyes simply enjoying the pleasure of it all before offering up an answer, “He’d absolutely loathe the situation we’re getting into. He was never big on my choices when it came to men.”

“So I take it that I should be insulted to think that if I met your father he would hate me, yes?” Nick questioned with a small teasing tone.

“If you met my father, then I’d be very afraid,” she frowned the lightness in her mood fading away a bit. She glanced up at him with a look of sheer seriousness, “My father is dead Nick.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I mean,” he stammered a bit feeling guilty for bringing it up in the first place, “I’m sorry that I…”

“It’s okay,” she returned her attention to the blender before her. She put all the contents inside before explaining, “He died a few years back. It wasn’t a high point in my life, but I’ve tried to deal with the changes. You know roll with the punches if you will?”

“And something tells me that’s easier said than done,” he felt her tense up a bit in his arms. Feeling as if everything he’d said was wrong, he tried to backpedal a bit, “Hey, at least you remember your father. I don’t know anything about my family--about where I came from or about what kind of man I truly am.”

“Sometimes I wish that could happen for me,” she sighed tilting her head back to look at him, “I mean I know that it sounds horrible, but sometimes I wish that I hadn’t experienced half of what I did in my life or rather I wish I could just ignore a huge chunk of it and let go of that part of my life. There have been a lot of things I’d be grateful to forget.”

“Like your father’s death,” he added gently feeling her tense up in his arms.

“Among other things,” she nodded before reaching out to the blender. She stopped herself from starting it up clearly lost in her own past memory, “I mean it was just one of those things that you can’t forget. When you lose someone so very special…”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” he hugged her in his arms wishing to find a way to will the pain away.

“It was a long time ago,” she confessed closing her eyes and feeling his chin on her shoulder, “I was a different person then. Death changes you.”

He remained silent wondering if death had been what had changed him from whatever past it was that he’d blocked out. In the moment of silence he thought about all the things he was certain he’d needed to know--the things that he’d pushed out of his subconscious and he found himself on edge.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized turning in his arms, “I don’t mean to be a downer like this. This wasn’t at all what I was hoping we’d turn to tonight. In fact truth be told I really didn’t imagine we’d have much talking going on between us with the other things I’d had in mind.”

“Yeah,” he couldn’t help but smile sheepishly, “about that…”

“Yeah,” she bit down on her lower lip before pressing her palms flat against the center of his chest, “Nothing like a storm to get the blood pumping. I mean what are the odds of that tree going down in that very spot like it did nearly crushing us to death? If you hadn’t seen it coming when you did…”

“I think it was a sign that maybe we’ve been tempting fate,” he replied placing his hands on her hips before a sheepish grin swept over his handsome features, “Unless of course you think Kevin played a hand in that--you know in trying to keep us from pushing the limits while he was gone.”

“That’s a stretch even for Kevin,” Angela laughed lightly the same sparkle that he’d been drawn to upon meeting her returning to her dark eyes, “Though I wouldn’t put it past him to try to kill you again for what was going on.”

“He’s pretty protective of you huh?” Nick noted raising his hand up to touch her face leisurely.

“He feels he has to be now that my father’s gone,” she paused feeling herself returning to that conversation she wasn’t ready to deal with. Spinning in his arms, she reached out for the blender once again, “So how about those drinks?”

“Angela,” he touched her shoulder lightly before pulling back. Knowing he wasn’t about to push her further than she was ready to go with him, he just nodded, “I’ll go get a few glasses for us.”

“That sounds great,” she nodded keeping her gaze fixed on the blender in action while her thoughts returned to the life she’d tried to push behind her forever.


“Hello Cameron,” Kevin smiled walking into the cell slowly as Cameron’s head rose slowly.

“Kevin?” Cameron questioned seeing Kevin nod, “What the hell are you doing here? You are supposed to be watching Angela.”

“I won’t answer any of your questions until I know what I want. You‘re going to start talking right now,” Kevin scowled before sitting on the edge of the table.

“I don’t answer you,” Cameron replied angrily, “You are the one who is working for me.”

“Listen,” Kevin growled grabbing Cameron by his hair roughly, “I don’t care if I work for you or not, but you are going to tell me what you did with Jade.”

“What is up with all of you people?” Cameron wondered before feeling Kevin cock his head back roughly.

“Listen, I’m not here for my best interest right now,” Kevin began before looking down at his watch, “I’m here to find out why someone so close to Angie is in jail.”

“She can’t find out about this Kevin,” Cameron informed him as Kevin raised his eyebrow curiously.

“Really?” Kevin questioned before licking his lips slowly. “Well, I love her and would hate to hurt her, but obviously you don’t feel the same way because it would really kill her if she knew what you did.”

“I didn’t do a damn thing Kevin,” Cameron protested as Kevin let go of him slowly.

“Listen Cameron, I want to know what you did with Jade and I want to know now,” Kevin demanded with a slight hiss hearing Cameron laugh.

“Why don’t you just go back and watch Angel like a good boy,” Cameron suggested hearing Kevin laugh.

“No chance in hell,” Kevin began before smiling widely, “You are going to tell me something…now.”

“You work for me Kevin,” Cameron began with a laugh before smiling widely, “I don’t have to tell you anything.”

“Listen you little twerp,” Kevin slammed Cameron’s head to the table pressing his arm against his neck tightly, “I worked for your father not you. If I remember correctly, you know how tough I really am, so if I were you…I would start talking.”


Chris walked upstairs with an armload of materials from the archives to make his catching up on Brant Ashford’s torrid affairs over the last few months all the more enjoyable. After their brief encounter, Chris was certain that he’d have a lot of research to keep up with before he struck a counterattack. But, oh what a fun counterattack it would be, he mused to himself with a small laugh before rounding the corner to see Mindy at the other end of the room speaking with someone.

“Mindy, what are you doing here?” Chris asked from across the room moving in closer to see her and her friend huddled over her desk, “I thought I told you that you had the day off.”

“I know you did, but there were a few things I wanted to pick up,” she explained matter of fact, “and besides now that I’m moving up in the world graduating from secretary to field reporter, well I just wanted to bone up on a few things first.”

“Given your nose for the news,” Chris winked at her before setting his materials down on a nearby desk, “I don’t think you have reason to be spending your day off on the inside like this. There are news tales to be told Mindy my dear.”

“Even so, I just wanted to come in for a few minutes,” Mindy pulled open her top desk drawer before pulling out a small key chain, “and now I’m done.”

“I see,” Chris nodded before glancing over at Hunt curiously, “and you are? Wait, let me guess. You work for me too, yes?”

“No, not exactly,” Hunt offered his hand out to him, “I’m Hunt Lockhart--Mindy’s well, her friend.”

“Friend eh?” Chris gave him a long look, “You wouldn’t happen to be related to Jonas Lockhart, would you?”

“As a matter of fact,” Hunt nodded back at him, “He’s my father.”

“Really?” Chris folded his arms in front of his chest before giving Hunt a long once over, “Well that most certainly is interesting news and if you’d like to start working for me as well, or if you’d just like to stick around and flirt with Mindy during her working hours, that would be more than fine with me.”

Hunt laughed lightly, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“See that you do,” Chris waved his hands at the both of them dismissively, “Now go out and have some fun. Enjoy life and just be well young. Trust me on this one you want to embrace it as long as you can.”

“Alright we will,” Mindy readily agreed watching Chris pick up his pile of articles and turn to leave. “Hey do you need some help with that?”

“What this?” he half shrugged nearly losing half of the papers in the movement. He shook his head adamantly, “Nah, I’m fine. Go out and have fun. Please and try not to do anything I wouldn’t do--no scratch that go out and do everything that I would and wouldn’t do.”

“We’ll work on it chief,” Mindy saluted him watching him stagger into his office before she shook her head with a laugh.

“He’s…interesting, isn’t he?” Hunt replied with a small smile.

“He’s definitely not Russ, but he’s got potential,” Mindy added thoughtfully before glancing to Hunt again, “He seemed rather impressed by the fact that you were here.”

“Most people are a bit overzealous when my father is mentioned,” Hunt shrugged his shoulders, “but I’ve learned to ignore it and today, well I’d rather take Chris up on his advice there.”

“Oh is that right?” she gave him a long look wondering just what else she had to learn about Hunt. Somehow the prospect of finding out felt deliciously wonderful.

“That’s right pretty lady,” he reached out to curl his arm around her shoulders with a flicker of enthusiasm burning behind his eyes, “What do you say you let me lead you to fun and adventure for the rest of this day?”

“I say…” she feigned that she was thinking it over before a grin spread over her features, “lead the way.”

“Exactly my kind of girl,” Hunt smiled down at her. He felt her slide her arm around his waist before they began to leave the newspaper offices. He looked over his shoulder one last time back at Chris’s office before exiting.

“So Hunt Lockhart is in town,” Chris started stepping out of his office when he’d heard the sounds of the doors closing. He thought about that statement for a moment before scratching his chin lightly, “Interesting. Very interesting indeed.”


“So are you going to tell me where we’re going or what?” Deidra questioned impatiently from the passenger side of Dean’s car.

“I could, but wouldn’t that ruin the effect we’re going for?” he replied with a small smirk, “When you agreed to let me take you out, you said that you were hoping for a nice, new beginning. I came up with one in particular and I think that together we can make the most of it.”

“By your starting with telling me where we’re going?” she asked hopefully with a small smile.

“Now see I could do that, but well where would the fun in that be? Of course since we’re here, well, why should I beat around the bush any longer? I could just tell you or,” he motioned to the building in front of him, “You can just take a look for yourself.”

Deidra’s gaze swept beyond where they sat in his car to the green and orange building before her. It was absolutely hideous, yet when Deidra saw the words printed on the building she practically squealed, “Bowling?”

“I saw that trophy you had back in your apartment,” he nodded in confession, “and I figured that since you were a bit of a champ yourself in the golden days, you might appreciate this.”

“Oh my, I haven’t played in years. I remember how much fun I had doing it during my youth league, but I haven’t thought twice about it lately and,” she stopped herself before a smile filled her features, “Dean this is awesome.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear it,” he smiled brightly taking the time to memorize the lines of her face more completely. She really was so very beautiful and that made everything that he had to do all the more harder. He knew full well that anyone who was invested in what he’d been wrapped up in would say to let her go, but when he found himself gazing into the sparkle behind her eyes, he knew he just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t walk away from the one woman that really seemed to turn his life around. It hadn’t been like this since…

“So what are we waiting for?” Deidra questioned breaking through his self-loathing thoughts. “You really think you’re up to the challenge of bowling against me?”

Dean chuckled in response, “Not even close to it, but since I figure you’ve been wanting an opportunity to kick my ass since you saw me with Shannon…”

“Dean, you don’t have to explain it any further,” she shook her head at him, “I understand why she was there. Granted I was just surprised to see her in your robe but…”

“But you don’t have a thing to worry about. Don’s a friend of mine and I would never, ever do anything to betray him or you for that matter,” he reached out to touch her cheek gently, “at least not if I could help it.”

“Dean, I know how you feel about me,” she brought her hand up over his, “and I care about you too. That’s why I got so jealous--why I acted so irrationally and jumped the gun about things. I know I should’ve just stuck around to talk to you--to have tried to see what was really happening, but…”

“But nothing,” he shook his head, “You did what you did because it was what your instincts told you to do. You can’t argue with your instincts.”

“But they were wrong,” she argued with him, “I know that you wouldn’t go out of your way to hurt me. I know that you think I’m as special to you as you are to me…”

“Deidra,” he spoke her name feeling guilt weave in over him. Why couldn’t he just be honest with her? Why couldn’t he tell her what was hanging over his head? Why in the hell were things so damned impossible?

Yes, he knew full well what he needed to do--what was at risk after the years he’d put into this particular situation, yet he found himself willing to blow it all if there was a chance that there was a future with Deidra down the road. Of course why kind of a future would they really have if she knew the truth? Why kind of life could they have after all the things that he’d done? After the things that he was still doing.

“Dean, what is it,” her smile faded when she noticed the pensive expression that washed over him.

“I’m just…” he found himself at a loss, his fingers still pressed in against her velvety soft skin, “I just want you to know that I care about you Deidra. I didn’t plan on any of this happening, but regardless of where we go from here, I need you to know that I care about you so very much…”

“I know that,” she nodded before a smile pressed in over the corners of her mouth “and the truth to the matter is that regardless of how we feel about one another, well I’m really going to have no choice, but to smoke you when we get in there and start bowling.”

“Hmm, well since you put it that way,” Dean couldn’t help but chuckle at her eager expression, “I guess I’m going to have to learn a lesson in humility then, aren’t I?”

“Oh don’t worry,” she leaned in to kiss him quickly, “I can assure you that you’re going to love every second of it.”

“Somehow I don’t doubt that,” Dean chuckled in response ready to push his worries about the secrets he’d been keeping aside in the name of being there for Deidra. The past was irrelevant at this moment in time. All that mattered was what was happening in the here and now. As long as he kept that in mind, the past wouldn’t be able to hurt him any longer.


Ken walked up to Carly’s hotel room door knowing full well that he was probably the last person she wanted to see after their last encounter with one another, but he wasn’t about to give up. Holding a bouquet of flowers in hand, he vowed to find a way to fix the mistakes of the past if she just gave him another chance.

Closing his eyes he thought back to what he’d done the previous evening--about his time with Michelle and guilt raged through him. Sure, he knew he wasn’t helping anything on the path to self-destruction. After his confrontation with Brant, he’d really started to think about that, yet he still knew that what happened with Michelle was a desperate act. All that he’d been doing lately was far from the man he’d once been, but when it felt as if the world was closing in on him, he had no choice but to react.

“Carly can fix this,” he mouthed to himself knocking on her door once again, “If she just gives me another chance, I’ll try to fix everything. I’ll do the right thing and change my ways.”

He fell to silence knocking on the door over and over again. She had to answer. She had to let him in and once she did he’d find a way to make her understand how much he needed her. He needed what she brought to him--the way she’d kept him from destroying himself. Carly was it for him and with each urgent knock on the door, he vowed to keep up at it until Carly answered.

“Hey, where’s the fire?” someone asked stepping out of the suite across from where Carly’s room was, “What is your problem man?”

“I’m just looking for Ms. Matthews,” Ken explained not bothering to look over his shoulder at the new arrival while pounding on the door again.

“She’s not there,” the man rolled his eyes watching Ken bang on the door. He spoke up once more in a sarcastic tone, “As much as I’m sure she’ll be disappointed she missed you, the fact to the matter is she left the other day. She checked herself out and I watched her boyfriend help her with her bags.”

“What did you just say?” Ken questioned spinning around to face the man with a glare.

“I said she left,” the man shrugged again before glaring back at him, “and I’d suggest you do the same before I have to call security.”

“Listen you,” Ken started watching the man slip back into his suite. Turning to the door once again Ken wondered if Dave had been the ‘boyfriend’. Frowning at the thought of what could be happening, Ken made a promise to find a way to reach out to Carly--to get her to see that they needed one another, but first, well first Ken needed to get himself a drink. That would clear everything up. He was sure of it.


“Right there. I want to go right there,” Kayla exclaimed pointing at the oversized Ferris wheel before her, “I want to ride that next.”

“Are you sure about that,” Dave questioned behind the sticky mound of cotton candy she waved around in his face. He held her closer to him feeling her wiggle around in his arms before she nodded emphatically.

“Yes, I’m absolutely, positively, without a doubt so sure that’s where I want to go,” Kayla nodded again, her grin spreading over her face rounding out over her chubby cheeks. She turned to glance over at Carly, “Mommy can we?”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” Carly frowned slightly taking a long look up at the Ferris wheel before them, “That’s awfully high.”

“So,” Kayla shrugged her shoulders before chomping down on the cotton candy in her hand. She took a hearty, sticky bite before speaking up again with a mouthful, “Dave said it’s okay, so can we?”

“I didn’t happen to hear Dave say that,” Carly glanced over at Dave wearily.

“Oh come on mom. Don’t be a party pooper. We’ve been having fun all day and I want to do that next,” Kayla squealed before batting her eyelashes at Dave, “You can talk her into letting us go, can’t you?”

“Well, I’ll see what I can do,” Dave couldn’t help but laugh finding himself completely taken by Carly’s little one. The more time he spent with her, the more he wanted to be her father--to be the one she spent a great many days like this with.

“If anyone can get her to say yes,” Kayla replied in a small voice, “it’s you. I’m sure of it.”

“Is that right,” Carly questioned pulling her daughter out of Dave’s arms before setting her down on the ground, “Kayla Ann after all the sugar you’ve had today I’ll be amazed if you didn’t throw up when you got to the top of that thing. You hate heights.”

“I do not,” Kayla argued with a determined pout, folding her arms in front of her, “Mom, you’re the one who is afraid of heights, not me.”

“Kayla, I really don’t think that it’s…” Carly started to argue with her not liking the idea of her daughter being so far up in the air should something go wrong with the Ferris wheel.

“Oh mom, it’ll be okay,” Dave urged stepping in beside Carly. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders before offering up a quick squeeze, “I’m sure that we’ll be safe together up there. In fact, why don’t you join us? I mean it doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”

“Dave, I really don’t think,” Carly began catching the pleading looks that both he and Kayla issued her. Her lips curled in a frown before she let out a long sigh, “Oh alright.”

“Yes!” Kayla squealed jumping up and down before rushing over to Dave, “Come on. Let’s get in line.”

“After your mother,” Dave winked at Carly knowing that he’d manipulated the situation a little bit, but given how excited Kayla was he felt it was worth it. He offered a hand to Carly while Kayla tugged eagerly on her mother’s other hand.

“Come on mom. Let’s go,” Kayla pleaded with her, “The line is getting bigger and bigger.”

“Okay, okay,” Carly agreed hearing the faint ringing of her cell phone from within her purse. Frowning she pulled away from Kayla and Dave, “give me a second.”

“Nope, not this time,” Dave shook his head a look of determination filling his features. He watched her hold her phone, but he wouldn’t allow her the opportunity to let reality get in the way of what they were doing with Kayla. Snatching the phone from her, he turned it off and tucked it into his pocket with a grin, “Now where were we?”

“Dave,” Carly frowned back at him wondering if the call could’ve been important.

“Today is about Kayla--only Kayla,” Dave reminded her scooping Kayla into his arms before marching over to the line for the ride.

Taking in a long, slow breath Carly decided Dave was right. The whole point of this trip was to let him and Kayla get to know one another. From what she’d seen thus far, they’d hit it off wonderfully. Even now watching the way Kayla took to him, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d wasted far too many years already keeping Kayla a secret from the rest of the world.

“Mom are you coming with us or what?” Kayla motioned for Carly to pick up the pace and join them.

“Of course I am,” Carly replied with a small smile enjoying this time with Dave and Kayla. Maybe this was a time for new beginnings after all.


“So what do you have to say now?” Don questioned zipping his jeans back up slowly before leaning forward to kiss her only to have her lean back.

“Goodbye Don,” she smiled going to open the door as he grabbed her hand pulling her back.

“Excuse me?” Don wondered with a laugh. “Could you repeat yourself? I don’t think I heard you right.”

“No, I think you heard me right,” she nodded slowly before patting his bare chest, “You were right. I only like what I just got from you. So I guess you would be right about nothing else coming even remotely close to working for us. Sex is really all I need you for and I don‘t have time for your drama.”

“You are just doing this to piss me off,” Don yelled hitting the door, his fist denting the door.

“You’re damn right I am,” she smiled as he brought his fist back glaring right through her.

“What is your problem?” Don questioned with a scowl. “Do you just like making people go crazy?”

“I don’t know what you mean by that,” she shrugged with a smile as he quickly pinned her to the door.

“As you can see, I’m not myself right now,” he replied, his eyes full of anger as she looked up at him.

“You wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she declared trying to stay cool seeing that he obviously was getting hurt by what she was doing to him.

“Fine,” he shrugged his shoulders before bending down and picking up his shirt.

“Fine what?” she questioned watching him pull his shirt back on and straighten it over his muscular form.

“I mean I am done,” he answered shaking his head slowly; “I’m done caring. I'm done loving you. I can’t stand it anymore. The only thing I keep getting from you is hurt.”

“Please, don’t give the pity poor me act. You‘ve only been about the same thing I have been Don. It was just a quick fix for the both of us and you know that as well as I do if not better,” she laughed seeing him shake his head slowly.

“I just can’t believe that I actually tried to be with you,” Don replied looking down at his watch, “I was thinking I was in love, but I was really heartbroken the whole time. And when I am with you, that rip just keeps bigger and bigger every time.”

“You can’t blame me for something you did. I never promised you anything Don--nothing,” she protested seeing him shake his head slowly.

“You know, you think everyone blames things on you,” he pointed out with a frown, “And that is exactly your problem. You have to stop caring about only yourself. What you have to do is quit that strong act. People actually care about you, but clearly you are too scared to notice it.”

“Like you really know what love feels like,” she snapped watching him turn towards the door away from her.

“I may not know some things, but don’t ever tell me that I don’t know what love is,” Don began before opening the door, “You see I have a heart…something you tend to be lacking.”

“Hey,” Shannon yelled seeing him walk out the door, “Don’t leave just like that.”

She ran into the hallway noticing that he could be seen nowhere. What was going on between them? Did she love him? No, she couldn’t have loved him. Or did she?


“You know, I can’t believe that I have to worry everyday…thinking that my son could be taken away anytime,” Kipp began before enclosing his hands together tightly.

“You won’t lose him,” Kellen promised patting his back lightly, “From what I just saw, I know you are a great father. What that baby really needs is someone who is going to love him right back. Not some little trashy girl who just wants to get him for dumb reasons.”

“I wish people thought more like you Kellen because I‘ll be straight with you and tell you that it‘s been a very long time since I‘ve found anyone even remotely reasonable to talk to. It‘s always some idiot spouting off about something or another not really getting the whole picture,” Kipp sighed shaking his head slowly.

“Honey, if people thought more like me,” Kellen began with a laugh, “I think the world would be really screwed up.”

“Well, I mean you are a nice guy, who really sees how things are,” Kipp informed him before leaning against one of the building walls feeling the cold brick against his back.

“Believe me, there are more people out there that think the same way I do,” Kellen promised Kipp before rubbing his hands together lightly.

“I’m hoping you are right,” Kipp sighed leaning his head back against the brick.

“You know what?” Kellen questioned looking at the building before him. “Let’s not go to dinner. I have a better idea.”

“Really what’s that?” Kipp wondered opening his eyes seeing Kellen already going into the building. “Where are you going?”

“I will be right back,” Kellen yelled back before disappearing into the building.

“What are you doing now?” Kipp questioned with a laugh waiting a few minutes, watching the cars go by.

“Back,” Kellen called out walking up to him with a couple of brown paper bags in his hands.

“What is that?” Kipp questioned trying to look into one of the bags before Kellen pulled it back hiding it behind him.

“Let me explain everything first,” Kellen cleared his throat with a laugh watching Kipp eagerly try and see what was in the bag, “I figure there is only one way to get you to feel better.”

“Really? What might that be?” Kipp wondered seeing Kellen seeing Kellen set down the bags and pull on of the objects out. “Champagne?”

“This is what I have been thinking sweetheart,” Kellen began as he set the bottle back into the bag, “The only way I seem to get better is if I have some of this stuff and I have a Star Wars party. Which is what we are going to be having. Just me and you…and we are going to watch all the Star Wars movies.”

“You’re kidding right?” Kipp questioned seeing the look on Kellen’s face as he lifted the bags back up. “You are really being serious?”

“More than serious babe,” Kellen laughed before wiggling his eyebrow, “So what do you have to say about that Kipp?”

“I’ll tell you what I have to say about that,” Kipp started his expression tense until a wide smile spread across his features, “I say you are the smartest person I know.”

“Now that’s what I like to hear,” Kellen chuckled before shaking his head. “Now if you will, we should get going soon. We need to get back as soon as possible if we want to watch all of these movies. Which I know I want to do.”


“I can’t believe this,” Valerie flipped her hair back before slamming her fist down on the front desk, “Seth Alexander is my husband…I am ordering to speak to him.”

“I’m sorry miss;” the girl began before shaking her head slowly, “Mr. Alexander didn’t want any visitors.”

“What do you mean he didn’t want any visitors?” Valerie questioned angrily before feeling someone turn her around.

“You couldn’t just wait for Seth to tell you to screw off,” Ria laughed as Valerie waved her hand.

“You see this is your entire fault, I would be with Seth right now if it weren’t for you,” Valerie frowned before seeing Ria laugh.

“You are kidding right?” Ria questioned with a laugh before shaking her head. “If he wanted to be with you, then why did he leave to go after Blake? Oh, that’s right, because he doesn’t like you at all.”

“You don’t know that,” Valerie began before shaking her head, “He loves me, I know he does. He is just trying to keep it away from you people.”

“Nice way of really showing you he loves you Val,” Ria pointed out before pushing her aside. “Excuse me miss, this woman right here has nothing to do with Mr. Alexander…in fact all she is trying to do is harass him.”

“Would you like me to call security?” the woman behind the desk questioned seeing Ria nod her head slowly with a slight smirk across her features.

“That would be really nice,” she nodded looking back at Valerie who seemed to have her jaw dropped as far as it could go. “You might want to close that. A fly could get in there and choke you. Believe me, we really don’t want that.”

“Was that sarcasm that I just heard?” Valerie questioned before folding her arms out in front of her, “If it was, I don’t seem to like sarcasm…at all.”

“Well, then I guess you are pretty screwed then, huh?” Ria questioned with a laugh seeing two security guards coming up from behind Valerie.

“Is this the woman?” one of the guards asked Ria seeing her nod slowly.

“That’s her,” Ria answered before biting her lower lip lightly, “You see she was already thrown out earlier, but she just keeps coming back in.”

“We will stand there a little while to make sure she leaves miss,” the other guard replied as the two guards wrapped their arm around Valerie’s pulling her back.

“You can’t do this to me,” Valerie yelled out as they pulled her back, her feet sliding as they went along, “You are going to pay for this Ria.”
“Oh, I’m sure I will,” Ria laughed watching the two guards pull Valerie out of the building. “Now that the trash was taken care of…I guess I could go see what’s going on.”

Ria got on the elevator before laughing slightly seeing Valerie trying to push her way through the guards.

“She is too much,” Ria chuckled as the elevator doors closed, “Hopefully those guards can keep their promise.”


Seth placed a slow, tender kiss over the back of Blake’s neck, feeling her body melt in against his after they’d made love. While he had hoped that tonight they’d be sharing an embrace like this as husband and wife, the sad truth to the matter was that reality had found a way to rip their happily ever after away from them--at least temporarily.

“I love you,” Seth murmured in the back of Blake’s ear, feeling her damp hair press in against his shoulder. She wiggled back into him, her spine pressing up against his chest while their fingers remained interlaced.

“I love you too,” she sighed heavily, her words laced with a sense of sorrow at the way this night ended up between them, “This would be perfect--completely perfect if you had the wedding ring on your finger and we could say we were husband and wife.”

“We’ll be able to say that soon Blake,” Seth promised hugging her closer to him.

“Will we?” she asked tilting her head back to glance over her shoulder at him, “Seth, do you ever really believe that will happen?”

“Blake, I love you,” he turned her in his arms, forcing her to face him. He brought his hand up to her face, tracing her features gingerly. “How can you doubt our future knowing that?”

“Seth, you have a wife,” she pointed out with a frown, “That in itself poses a complication neither one of us were prepared for.”

“Valerie was a mistake. A very stupid, very uninformed mistake I made when I was too young to know what I was doing,” he tried to explain to her bringing his thumb over her bottom lip, “I never meant to let things get to where they did.”

“And yet, well here we are tonight on what should be the beginning of our happily ever after unable to have it now that she’s back,” she curled her lip in a pout, “It’s so unfair Seth.”

“I know it is and I’m sorry that you have to deal with this,” he confessed feeling a pang of guilt ride over him, “My past never should’ve found a way of hurting you like this.”

“And now that it has hurt us both,” she questioned behind teary eyes, “What happens next Seth?”

“We find a way to put an end to the mistake I made,” he replied sensing the need to say something more, “Blake I meant what I said when I told you I never loved her. With Val…it wasn’t about that. It’s not like I planned to marry her that night.”

“I know,” she nodded fighting back tears, “but that doesn’t change how this feels.”

“I’m so sorry Blake,” he leaned in to kiss her once again feeling the saltiness of her tears over her soft lips, “Blake if I could find a way I’d go back in time and erase all of what happened, but I can’t.”

“I know that,” she sighed lines of tension sweeping in over her face, “but when I think about the possibility that I could lose you forever because of that woman…”

“You won’t lose me forever Blake,” he squeezed his arm around her, “I’m yours forever.”

“Not if Valerie has her way,” she reminded him sadly. Her hand pressed in over the center of his chest feeling the warmth of him beside her, “Seth I love you and if she takes you from me--just like everyone else I have ever loved is taken from me…”

“That’s not going to happen Blake,” he argued with her, determination filling behind his dark eyes.

“I want to believe it Seth, but knowing how things have been in my life,” she trailed off lost in her emotions, “Seth, you know how many times I’ve gotten my hopes up in the past only to watch everything I cared about--everything I love fade away. I can’t bear to think that there could be a chance that I could lose you…”

“You won’t lose me Blake,” he inched in towards her sliding his fingers through her long, blonde hair. Tentatively he placed a kiss on her forehead, tapering off over her nose, over her cheekbones to collect her lips once more, “It’s never going to happen.”

“How can you be so sure,” she questioned wrapping him up in his arms, “How can any of us be sure knowing what we do?”

“Because I’m telling you the truth in my heart Blake,” he revealed to her, his dark eyes filled with love, “You’re the only woman in this world that I want to share my life with. That isn’t something that’s ever going to change. When I thought that we’d never be together, well, it felt like the world was ending around me. I felt like someone had sucked the life out of me and there was this emptiness inside of me. Inside of my heart…”

She felt him place her palm over the center of his chest to feel his rapidly beating heart before their eyes connected once again.

“I love you Blake Ashford and I dream of the day that I can make you my wife. I want that for us,” he promised in a solemn whisper.

“I want that too,” she replied poignantly, “but I’m so afraid.”

“Don’t be afraid,” he kissed her again, “Our love is forever Blake.”

“Prove it,” she dared him, her blue eyes reaching out to his in a moment of desperation and longing, “Prove to me that this is going to be forever for us Seth.”

“Anything Blake,” Seth replied feeling her fall back onto the mattress once again. His kisses intensified while his hands pressed over the warmth of her body. Even though he’d made love to her before, he could sense the urgency behind her request--the need racing over her and in that moment he wanted nothing more than to share himself with the woman he loved all over again.

“Seth, I love you,” she collected his lips in another sensuous kiss feeling the intensity behind his body over hers. She eased her palms down over the taut, muscled lines of his spine appreciating every sinewy inch of him before her hands dropped beneath the sheet. He shifted above her causing her to cry out.

“I love you,” he mouthed feeling her legs wrap around his torso. Their eyes connected once more before she arched up to kiss him with fiery intent.

“Mmm…” she murmured against his mouth feeling his fingers fan out over to the nightstand where the box of condoms lay waiting for them. She intercepted his movement, lacing her fingers in his and pulling his hand back into bed with her. She moved his palm over her own body tempting him with her curves. She arched upward grinding her hips against his in an urgent movement.

“Blake,” he sucked in her name knowing damn well his patience was fading with every movement she made beneath him. He attempted to reach out again only to feel her lips move in over his fingertips, taking her time to lavish every digit with her undivided, sensual attention. He closed his eyes inhaling sharply. “Blake please…”

“I want you Seth,” she murmured lifting herself up to him again before squeezing his body over hers. With every subtle movement of her hips, she was nearing them towards completion--towards the very place Seth found himself wanting to be with her.

“I want you too,” he confessed painfully straining to keep from plummeting into her. “I just need a condom…”

“Forget the condom Seth,” she breathed tangling her fingers in his hair and tugging him towards her once again.

Seth stiffened at her words. Pulling back ever so slightly he searched her features wondering where such a request would come from and in that moment reality hit him hard. Breaking out of her embrace he moved to the other side of the bed.

“I can’t do this Blake,” he announced in a pinched groan fighting to maintain a level of sensibility.

“Why not?” she asked with a frown, “You said that you’d do anything to prove to me that we’re forever…”

“I know what I said Blake, but think about what it is you’re saying,” he opened his eyes again forcing himself to face her. “Do you have any idea what it is you’re suggesting?”

She nodded emphatically, “You’re damn right I do. Seth, I want to have a baby--our baby.”

“Blake, not like this,” he bit down on his lip straining to keep a level head about the situation when she was right beside him looking as delicious as ever.

“Why not like this?” she questioned turning to her side and propping herself up on her elbow, “If Valerie hadn’t walked in during our wedding we’d be husband and wife right now. Our starting a family together would make perfect sense.”

“Blake, this isn’t going to solve what’s happened tonight,” Seth tried to reason with her, “It’s not the solution here.”

“Then what is? Letting her take you away from me,” she questioned behind a pained expression, “I mean that’s what this is about, isn’t it?”

“No, Blake, this isn’t about Valerie. This is about you and I and the future we’re going to have with one another…” he began feeling her pull away from him.

“Don’t lie to me Seth. I understand what you’re saying completely,” she yanked at the sheet bringing it up over her body, “You’re saying that you love me, yet not enough to want to have a child with me, right? Not enough that you’ll have to stick around and dedicate yourself to be committed to something real with our family.”

“Blake that’s not it at all,” he argued in response watching her tears consume her. He reached out to her only to feel her push him away.

“Don’t touch me!” she sobbed harder bringing her knees up to her chest, “You don’t want a future with me, do you Seth?”

“Blake, I want that more than anything, but I’m not going to do things this way--not tonight,” he tried to reason with her only to watch more tears flow, “Blake, listen to me. I want a family with you. I want to have a house full of beautiful children that have your smile and your spirit about them, but never in that dream did it involve my getting you pregnant during the middle of my getting a divorce. Our children deserve more than that.”

“Our children or Valerie?” she shot back at him icily. She wiped at her tears stubbornly, “Tell me Seth. Are you really so hung up on waiting until the right moment with us or is this your way of letting me know that things are far from over with you and Valerie?”

“Blake, I already explained that,” he started watching her get up and out of bed. “Blake, where are you going?”

“Away from you,” she announced stomping into the bathroom and slamming the door shut behind her.

“Blake wait. Blake,” he called out to her realizing that this was something that couldn’t be avoided. Hopping out of bed himself, he marched across the room, making his way to the bathroom. He knocked on the door once--two times, but nothing came from the other side. “Blake please…”

“Go away Seth!”

“We need to talk,” he began with a sigh.

“I think you’ve said more than enough. I know what you think about me--about us…” she sniffled before a sob followed, ‘You didn’t really even want to get married tonight, did you?”

“Of course I did,” Seth threw his hands up in the air, “Blake, I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t where I wanted to be.”

“Yet you won’t be with me because you’re still married to a woman that you claim not to love. You keep saying that it’s not going to be a problem for us, yet here we are and when I need you more than anything, you pull away from me,” she shouted through the door placing her hands on her hips stubbornly as her anger and fears consumed her.

“No, that’s not it at all,” Seth reached for the doorknob finding the door locked. “Blake open up the door!”

“No,” she snapped in response, “I’m not opening the door. You can just go to Valerie and tell her that you two can be together because you’ve made it quite obvious that’s where you want to be.”

“Blake, damn it would you just listen?” Seth frowned jiggling the doorknob again before frowning, “Blake open this door please.”

“No!” she shouted folding her arms in front of her chest stubbornly, “I have nothing more to say to you Seth. Just go be with Valerie because she’s obviously what you want.”

“Fine Blake,” Seth threw his hands in the air, “If that’s the way you want to play it, then just fine.”

Blake listened for a long moment waiting for something more from him, but only silence followed. She stood still, feeling her breath caught up in her lungs and as she half expected Seth to offer up yet another plea, there were no sounds from the room. Suddenly a thought occurred to her. What if he had taken her up on her suggestion? What if he had run to Valerie all over again? What if he was never coming back?

“Oh God, what have I done,” Blake blurted out racing over to the bathroom door in the hopes of stopping Seth from leaving her forever. She felt her heart pulsing in her chest, her fears rushing throughout her body and in that moment she felt the world closing in around her, or was that something else that had stopped her from moving after him?

“Going somewhere?” Seth questioned looping her in his arms.

“Seth!” she practically squealed his name. She threw her arms around his neck enthusiastically before realizing how he’d duped her. Frowning, she inched back before slapping him in the shoulder, “How dare you trick me?”

“And how dare you even suggest that I go to Valerie when you are the only woman in this world that I want to be with,” he frowned down at her. Shaking his head he spoke up again this time with a pained tone, “Blake, don’t you know by now that you’re the only woman for me? You’re the only one that I want to share my life with--that I want to start a family with.”

“But Seth when you said…” she began weakly feeling her fears consuming her.

“Blake, what I was trying to tell you was that you’re worth waiting for. Doing things special is so very important to me,” he confessed touching her cheek tenderly, “I love you with all of my heart and when we decide to have a child together, I want it to be because of the love we feel for one another--not because you feel threatened by Valerie or I feel threatened by someone like Zack who happens to think the world of you. I want our child coming into this world to be all about us--not about the fear that’s inside of us.”

“But Seth, we both know that Zack isn’t a problem anymore,” she gave him a strange look, “He never truly was…”

“But there was a time when I felt threatened by him. I felt like I’d lose you to him and I’ll admit there were moments when I too was tempted to find ways to keep us together--to somehow pervert what we had by doing things all wrong, but I didn’t--I couldn’t and I don’t want to start now. As threatened as I felt about our future, I held out faith that one day we’d be together again--that one day you and I could be happy together.”

“Yes, but that was different,” she argued with a sigh, “Seth, you’re so strong and I’m so weak. I can’t do what you did. I know in my heart that if I lost you…”

“Blake, fate brought us together against the odds in the past,” he pointed out with a loving expression, “so why would you even think that something this strong--something this special is going to fade away in the blink of an eye?”

“It’s just with that woman…” she began to remind him.

“Blake, she’s got nothing on you. She never did and she never will,” Seth leaned in to kiss her tenderly, “Besides I’m partial to blondes.”

“Oh would you quit,” she swatted at him once again catching his attempt at humor, “I’m trying to be totally serious here.”

“So am I,” he replied cupping her face in his hands, “and I swear to you that you are the only woman in this world that I want to share my life with. When I dream about my future, there isn’t a moment when you aren’t a part of it--when I don’t see you and I together and what our lives will be like. We’re going to have a beautiful, wonderful family with one another and plenty of children running around driving us crazy, but that’s only going to be a reality when I can tell them that I loved their mother enough to do right by her.”

“Seth, you keep saying that, but this is right by me,” she insisted with a frown, “our having a child together makes perfect sense.”

“And I won’t argue that point, but as crazy as it sounds Blake, I’m a traditional sort of guy and I’d like to have our child knowing that when we finally decided to come together, it was for all the right reasons. I want our son or daughter to know how much we loved one another--how much we will always love one another and how our marriage was only the beginning of the union between us.”

“Seth, what if that never happens? What if Valerie never lets you go and we never get to be husband and wife?” she questioned tearfully, “What about those dreams then?”

“It’s going to happen Blake,” he promised her gently, brushing his thumb over her tear-stained cheek, “and on our wedding night if you decide that you still want to start our marriage off by having a family, then I swear to you, I won’t try to stop us from trying…”

“Seth, you and I both know that there are no guarantees considering that you and I are already intimate with one another. Even being safe there are still chances and possibilities that we could wind up having a baby,” she tossed back at him realistically, “There’s no guarantee unless…”

“Blake, if it so happens that we have a child before we’re married--if fate wants for it to be that way, then so be it. I won’t be upset if it turns out that way, but for us to go out on a limb and do this for all the wrong reasons tonight, well Blake, it could lead to something horrible in the future for us. I don’t want you to wake up one morning and feel as if you were trapped into this relationship--as if I acted out in a moment of desperation and had you stuck in a life you never wanted…”

“I’d never feel that way Seth,” she shook her head at his words, “I know that…”

“Then think about this. Remember how long it took us to come together again? Remember the way it felt when we finally were free to be together without anything stopping us from it happening?” he questioned sliding his fingers into his hair, “Think about how wonderful it’ll feel when we can start settling down and having a family after this ridiculous farce is over. It’ll be all the more rewarding.”

“Just promise me that I won’t lose you when all the pieces fall into place,” she replied in a weak voice.

“Not now, not ever,” he promised holding her in his arms and praying that someday soon they could work on all of their dreams for happily ever after with one another.


“I love you,” Kyle whispered holding Sarah tightly in his arms before kissing her on the forehead gently.

“I love you too,” she smiled snuggling into his muscular arms as she looked up at him.

“You are beautiful,” he informed her slowly running one of his hands down her arm softly, “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you here with me.”

“Don’t worry,” she cut him off kissing him slowly, “I don’t think you have to worry about me going anywhere. I will love you until the day I die.”

“I’m glad to hear that because you are the only woman I love in this world,” he informed her with a wide smile kissing her slowly.

“That’s how it should stay,” she breathed against his mouth only to hear his cell phone begin to ring.

“I hate that damn thing,” Kyle groaned as he got up from the bed wrapping a sheet around his body.

“Are you actually going to answer that?” Sarah questioned with a laugh seeing him grab his cell phone from the table.

“Oh, I am going to do something with it,” he answered opening the window.

“Kyle, what are you doing?” she questioned rising to her elbows on the bed.

“I’m sick and tired of this thing,” Kyle replied before looking outside, “I’m through with the world.”

“Kyle don’t do that,” Sarah tried to stop him as he reared his arm back throwing the phone out of the window.

“Look at that thing go,” Kyle laughed watching the phone travel through the air and land on the cement with a crash as pieces flew. “I give that a ten.”

“That was an expensive phone wasn’t it?” Sarah questioned seeing him laugh before shrugging and closing the window back up tightly. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I don’t really care about that phone,” he pointed out before walking back towards the bed, “I can always buy another phone…I can’t buy more time with you. I’m tired of the world…the world can wait, but you can’t.”

“I like the sound of that,” she declared with a small laugh as he got above her, “About the money thing, how much are willing to sacrifice to spend time with me.”

“Anything,” he whispered before kissing her once more passionately, “Anything at all.”


“He isn’t answering his cell phone,” Susan hissed trying Kyle’s number again. “Where could he be?”

After hearing the long ringing of the phone once more, she hung up the phone roughly.

“That’s it,” she scowled looking through her drawers trying to find that number the guy had given her.

She dialed the number listening to the ringing only until a man answered on the other side.

“This is Susan,” she blurted out before the guy could even answer. “This is the last straw…I am through with everything around here.”

“What can I do for you now Susan?” the man questioned with a yawn as she shook her head slowly.

“What you can do for me is to take action soon,” she answered as she shook off his tiredness.

“This soon?” the man questioned with a bit of surprise behind his voice. “This is really early I hope you know.”

“I know what I am doing,” she promised with a hiss, “Don’t ever misjudge me.”

“Fine,” the guy cut her off, “I’m sorry, I was just saying that it might take a couple of days for me to get everything together.

“I don’t care how long it takes, just hurry,” she yelled before looking down at her watch, “Make sure you call me when you are almost done.”

Before the guy could say anything else, she hung up the phone angrily.

“If Sarah wants to play with me like that, then let her,” Susan laughed before sitting back down in her chair with a wide smile. “She’ll never see what’s coming to her.”


...to be continued...